Click here to watch Ben Woodward LIVE on Gospel TV from Norway
Click here to watch Ben Woodward LIVE on Gospel TV from Norway
This morning my wife is sick and my children are snotty so I put on the old Disney movie about Joseph to keep them occupied while I cleaned and made breakfast. Although the movie is not an exact word for word recreation of the story in the book of Genesis, it does a great deal of good in helping remember the story (along with a whole bunch of singing!). The story of Joseph is always a powerful story to remember for those of us who are in the middle of transition.
For the last two years, KC and I have been in transition. The last six years have been spent working with the Joseph Company (now Joseph International) in Kansas City. It was about two years ago that the Lord spoke to us about transitioning out into a new season and we have spent until now in limbo waiting for whatever that transition will become.
This is where the story of Joseph comes in. I am pretty sure that when Joseph was bought by Potiphar, he thought he was onto a good thing. He learned much about Egyptian culture and life through managing Potiphar’s household. During the time he served at Potiphar’s house, he gained respect, approval and security. The problem was that Joseph was never meant to be just a keeper of Potiphar’s household. And so the Lord set up the circumstances to have him “move on”.
I am sure that at the time, it did not feel like a move forward. It felt like what it was – prison.
But if Joseph had not gone to prison, he would not have been in the strategic place necessary to gain access to the highest authority in the land. His prison became his vehicle for promotion.
For my family, the last two years have been difficult. It has not been prison, but at times we have felt trapped and confused about the future. But watching the story of Joseph reminded me that transition in the kingdom of God is always a promotion and not a demotion (even if it feels like it at the time).
So if you feel like you are in a season of transition but you are frustrated by the delay, just remember that it only takes a moment to go from the dungeon to the palace and the best way to go through it is with a heart of thankfulness. This was my reading this morning,
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:8, 9 NKJV)
For more from Ben Woodward, visit http://www.proclamationprayer.com/pp/Welcome.html
This interview is a must watch for anyone going into the music industry.
Jesus, I come today to declare your nature again. I come to stare into the truth of who you are and by staring into you I know that I will become more like you every day.
Thank you Jesus for the truth that you declared about yourself in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” You are the Truth that was spoken of by all the Old Testament prophets, you are the Seed that was foretold to come through Abrahams lineage and you are the fulfillment of all of history, the consummation of all perfection! All of history has looked for the perfect redeemer and you are that Redeemer! What an amazing promise you have given to me when you declared that I shall live even if I die. When I think about all the times that I have thought about death and how much fear I have had in the past about death, I know that I can laugh about it now! You give me great courage to stand and know that You have already conquered death and the grave. I can stand in confidence knowing that because You are the resurrection, I will be resurrected even if I die!
Jesus, you are the life. I declare you today to be my life and my hope. I declare over my family that you are the life of my family. I declare over my future that you are the source of life for my future. I declare over every aspect of my existence that you are the source of every good thing and as such, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) Every breath, every sound, every beating of my heart is the result of your life flowing through me. I no longer live for myself, I live because you are my life. I declare that your resurrection power is at work in me even today as I go about my life and that power is enabling me to accomplish all that you have for me to do in this life. You have not given me a task to fulfill and then not given me the power to do it. “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,” (2 Peter 1:3) I can be confident in knowing that the life of Jesus flows through me in everything that I do, even if I do not feel adequate to complete the task at hand. My life is Your life and even the breath I breathe is a result of your life flowing through me and giving me the power to breathe. I thank you for that life giving power today and declare you over my life as “The Life”.
Jesus, I declare you to be the way, the truth and the life. I declare over my life that I “shall know the truth, and the truth shall make [me] free.” (John 8:32) Jesus, as I stare into you as “The Life”, you will cause me to walk in the truth. By the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in me, you are enabling me to see Jesus for who He truly is and empowering me to walk in freedom as a result of the truth. I realize now, that I no longer have to strive to walk in freedom by attaining to a list of rules and regulations that I could never fulfill. All I have to do is repent and turn toward the truth, and realize that the truth is not found in an idea, but in a person named Jesus! Jesus, I declare you today to be the Truth and the only way that I can ever hope to see the Father is by coming to you. Today I come to you, I bow before you and I declare that you are the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Thank you Jesus that because of your resurrection, I now have life. Thank you that because of your mercy, I now have freedom and hope for the future. Thank you Jesus!
There is an interesting place in the earth’s atmosphere above 200 miles high, where gravity is just strong enough to keep satellites from floating off into deep space, but it is not strong enough to pull them back to earth (eg. the ISS orbits between 320 to 350 kms above the earth). Although we realize that the goal of our faith is to know God, most of our Christian lives are spent at this kind of spiritual altitude, far off and at a great distance from the true knowledge of God. We have faith in God enough to believe for salvation and to understand His nature as a Savior but that is a far as we go. This pulls us into orbit around the kingdom of God, but we never allow ourselves to come any closer. We stand at a distance when it comes to truly believing God is a Healer, a Provider, a Father because we don’t want to get too close just in case God fails us and we are left burnt by unrealized expectations. It is true that re-entry into this spiritual atmosphere could very well burn us up and we could possibly lose everything. It will certainly burn up the excess things that you think you have need of but do not, it will burn up your expectations and false ideas of who God is and it will burn up your pride and self preservation. But as you begin to grow in faith, which is the gravity of heaven, you will end up landing in far greener pastures than you could have ever imagined, seeing cities made by the hand of God.
For us to walk in what Paul called the “fullness of God”, our faith must move beyond a cursory examination of the attributes of God to an experiential knowledge of who He is. The gravity of heaven must pull us out of orbit so that we can be those who are filled with the fullness of God. The re-entry point is described by the wisest man who ever lived,
“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
What a man thinks in his heart will always lead him in the way he lives. The story of “the little engine that could” gives a picture of this reality. It was not the capacity of the engine that was important, it was the confidence that came as he approached the obstacle. What we believe in our heart about who we are and who God is will determine the way we live, move and have our being in this life. If we believe that God is impatient with us and quick to judge, then you will respond a certain way in response to that perception of God. If we believe that God is a good Father who has our future in the palm of his hands, then you will live a very different way in response to that understanding. The way a man thinks about God is the key to understanding how he believes and how his worldview is defined. Breaking through the lies and understanding the truth is the first step to entering through the atmosphere of the kingdom and beginning the descent to the intimate knowledge of God.
When I first moved to the USA, I assumed that every American girl wore too much makeup and that all Americans were loud. Where did I get this perception from? I had watched too many American TV shows and been around more than a few loud American tourists. They had formed my understanding of the American culture and without knowing it I had prejudiced myself against Americans. I was not aware of the girls who did not wear makeup and the quiet, peaceful Americans I have grown to love in the years since. My perception had become reality and I looked through a broken lens without even knowing it. If you own a friendly, placid dog as a child, it would be very easy think that all dogs are friendly and placid until you meet a wild dog one day that proves that not all perception equates to reality! Most of us have perceptions of God that have been created by our families, our culture or our own unique history. These very real and very strong ideas of God are hard to uproot.
Unfortunately, most of these ideas are not created by the truth, but by an enemy who has worked very hard to get humanity to believe a lie about who God is. We have to realize that in the spirit world, we have an enemy that is singular in his purpose toward us. His goal is to steal, kill and destroy. We have, however, a distinct advantage that works in our favor. The advantage we have is the victory that was won over the enemy’s camp as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In fact, it was for this purpose that Jesus came, to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus’ victory has given us the confidence to know that we now have an enemy who lost the majority of his firepower against us and is now a defeated foe. The one weapon he has left, however, he uses with devastating effect.
Check out www.proclamationprayer.com to get the e-book and listen to the audio prayers that can change your life!
The first time I came to the United States, I was surprised by the cultural difference that existed between my home country of Australia and the USA. Some differences were glaringly obvious, such as driving on the opposite side of the road, the curiously strong accents and the difference in the food. I did not realize, however, how much I assumed that things in America would be like things in Australia. I had a perception about the country I was coming to that had not been formed by experience, but through the media and second hand knowledge. Growing up watching American movies and television programs caused me to think that what I had seen was reality (because you should always believe what you see on television right? What was I thinking?) Thankfully, the day that I stepped onto American soil, I crossed over from head knowledge to experiential knowledge and what I had only known from a distance, now I knew in reality.
Any one can tell you that to have an effective relationship, you must have intimacy on some level. You cannot hope to pursue a relationship with a girl or guy unless you have first expressed your interest and then taken them out on a date to get to know them. To walk in understanding of the uniqueness of an individual, a culture or a country you have to step beyond a distant critical analysis and enter into a relationship of “knowing”. The problem is that most of us have grown up within an analytical education system and the lack of experiential knowledge that accompanies the bare boned facts we are presented with, limit our ability to really “know” a subject. The beauty of experiential education is that it can greatly magnify the knowledge retention of the student. This principle is just as true when it comes to the realm of theology, or the study of God. The description of Jesus in John’s gospel describes him as the “word of God made flesh” meaning that Jesus was the physical expression of the very nature of God. Part of the intent of describing Jesus with such terminology was to reveal to us that God desires to be known and that he desired it so much that made a flesh and blood description of His nature so that we could know Him, not just from a distant analytical viewpoint, but from a touch, see and feel reality. We use words to describe things that we see, touch, taste or experience but those words alone do not equate to actually having touched or tasted or seen. Words do, however, help take that which we see and experience and make it available for others to experience. The fact that John described Jesus as the “word made flesh” helps us to understand that what God had been trying to tell us about who He was throughout history He now revealed in a flesh and blood body so that we might not just know about him from a distance, but know Him intimately. His desire was that we would be restored to the place that Adam had when he walked with God in the garden and enjoyed communication, intimacy and friendship with God. When it comes to our relationship with God, the apostle Paul puts it eloquently like this,
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:14-19
Paul makes it clear that all of the strengthening with might, all of the rooting in faith and all of the grounding in love is so that we could know the love of Christ and in doing so be filled with the fullness of God. Paul understood that it was not just enough to know scriptures about who God is, it had to be translated into a “knowing”, an experiential knowledge about God, because this was the kind of relationship that God had planned for His people. Paul was inviting us to not just know about God, but to know Him on an experiential level. The prophet Hosea described it like this,
“Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.” Hosea 6:3
Hosea recognized that the greatest journey we could ever go on would be the journey of the discovery of God. This scripture also tells us that the pursuit of the knowledge of God actually enables the releasing of His nature toward us. As we pursue the knowledge of God, the result will be that He will come to us like the rain. It is the spiritual principal of faith at work in us. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, it is the seed that is planted in the ground that brings forth the harvest of what we are asking for, but it is not the harvest itself. Faith is the miracle of a seed going from dormancy to bringing forth fruit. Scripture tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, so faith must be at work even before we can begin the process of discovery, just as a seed is awakened in the earth to become a plant without anybody seeing it happen.
Faith works to awaken our souls to the knowledge of God and then works to enable us to continue to pursue the knowledge of God. As we allow faith to operate in us, we then enable the truth of who Jesus is to us to be released to us, first as a Savior, then as a Friend, then as a Bridegroom. This enables us to see the plan of God in history and His nature and character as a Father. This is the goal of all of our faith, to know God.
TO BE CONTINUED…
For more information or to download the e-book and audio prayers set to music, you can check out the Joseph International store or go to www.proclamationprayer.com
For a lot of us, 2011 holds many unanswered questions. However, due to the fact that it is the beginning of the year, most of us (at least in our minds) have tried to implement some changes in the way we live, the way we think or the way we respond hoping that this will change the outlook for this coming year. Some of these things will work, but the majority of them will disappear before February begins. Why is this the case year after year? Why is it that the things we really want to change are the hardest to implement? The reason why most people fail in their attempt to bring change is because they lack the proper tools to implement the changes in our lives.
If you want to lose weight, for example, you need more than just the desire to lose weight. You need to change the way you eat, the way you exercise and then you need some serious accountability. Without at least all of these three things, your weight loss will become a temporary reality and you will spend the rest of the year in shameful failure.
If you want to change your financial situation, it takes more than just a desire to have more money to accomplish that. You have to monitor what you spend, choose wisely when you do spend and then have an accountability structure in place that keeps you honest.
Most importantly, if you want to see a change in the way you relate to God, it takes more than just a strong desire to see more of Jesus. That desire may be a foundational aspect, but to activate the spirit of God within you takes some spiritual work.
Most of us know the scripture that says, “faith without works is dead” and although that does apply to the acts of service we do in our churches, toward the poor and in various other places (how we love our neighbor, how we treat our spouse), one of the most important ways that our faith is implemented through works is related to the spiritual battle over our souls. The weapons of our warfare are not physical, they are spiritual, therefore the works that faith is called to do is largely a spiritual work.
How many of us believe that when Jesus walked the earth, the kingdom of heaven was evident in everything he did? How many believe that it was because Jesus lived in agreement with His Father that he was able to do far greater things upon the earth? Jesus ability to do the natural work was a direct result of his faith to believe who His Father was. Faith, then, becomes the necessary tool to see the working of the kingdom of God upon the earth, the necessary tool to see more of God in our lives and the necessary tool to transform us day by day (“without faith it is impossible to please God”).
If faith is the necessary tool that we need to see more of God, how do we plant the seed that will bring forth the fruit of faith in our lives? Faith comes from hearing what the word of God says about who He is and the surest way for that to happen is when it comes out of our own mouths. What comes out of our mouths transforms our minds and when our minds become transformed, our hearts come into agreement and faith is released.
If you want to see the indwelling spirit’s activity increased in your life this year, it will take more than just hoping and begging God for more. Think of it this way. When we do not activate that which we already have, we cannot ask for more and hope to get a satisfactory answer. My 2 year old daughter is learning this right now. If you already have food on your plate and you ask for more, you are not going to get any more till you finish what you already have. We have so much already that we have yet to activate due to a lack of understanding and a lack of the right tools so we better start using what we already have.
As a musician and a worship leader, I have spent the last 13 years traveling to different churches all over the globe. The majority of believers, although well intentioned, are walking in unbelief and cynicism toward God. They may outwardly profess Jesus, but inwardly they are full of unbelief. This year, we are going to see that changed. But to see that change, we need the right tools to do it. Over the course of the next few months, I want to share with you a tool that has enabled me to walk in divine favor in my family, relationships, finances and vocation. It has enabled me to walk in a daily increase of the presence and nearness of God in my life and it has radically transformed the way I think about God. Not only that, it is a tool that can be done anywhere, anytime with nothing more than your own tongue.
You can find out more about what I am talking about at www.proclamationprayer.com. There, you can buy the handbook and also listen to and download free audio prayer tracks!
Check out this new blog coming at ya from Ben Woodward. Writings, music downloads, and more!