Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Blessing of Godly Council/Advice

My life is indebted immeasurably to the wisdom and mentoring of dozens of people in my life. My father and mother being first. I have always strongly depended upon multiple councilors to give me general wisdom and to make larger decisions. Reflecting on it now, I don't think I have ever made a significant decision in opposition to the council of these people in my life. Of course, having the right councillors is important too (asking someone  whose finances are in the ditch for financial advice is probably not a great idea). One of the greatest leaders I have known and wisest men I have had a chance to work with is Dr. George Hill. He founded and leads an organization with well over 1000 churches and continues to fire me up. I lived with him, was his youth leader and have asked his advice on dozens of occasions. Here is a devotional he recently sent out.

Dare to be a Daniel
Text Dan.1:1-21
We are at the beginning of a New Year, so we have an opportunity to put some things in place in our lives. We don’t want to carry the defeating patterns of last year into this New Year. You form the habits and then the habits form you, good or bad.

In Daniel 1 we see key tests of Daniels character and the development of his prophetic and interpretive skills during a 3year-training period, before he became great. 
1. Daniel dealt with his past and refused a spirit of bitterness.           
Daniel had to overcome a bad past. He never let his bad past separate him from his belief in a living all-powerful God, nor from his love and concern for Gods people and Gods work. You think you had a bad past; they were children of the King of Israel. They saw Israel and Jerusalem destroyed, their families and friends brutally killed and they are taken away and made into eunuchs. You talk about cause for bitterness, hopelessness and despair. No hope of living a normal life, having children or a family. This was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy to King Hezekiah in Isa 39:7. We all have a past; the question is does the past have you. What you won’t let go of won’t let go of you. Gen 41:51-52 Joseph had two children and he gave them names that spoke of God’s mercy and grace in his life.

Notice the order:
a. Manasseh means “God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.”
b. Ephraim means “For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Joseph and Daniel both started out in a pit and ended up in a palace because they refused to be a prisoner of their past or let bitterness rule their present and ruin their future. Both men found a purpose bigger than them-selves and poured their lives into it. When you find a God given purpose and pour your life into, you will also find healing from the past and grace to forgive and go on. Nothing brings healing to a bad past quicker than a Holy Spirit filled future.

2. Daniel was completely devoted to God. “Sold out”
Dan.11: 32 “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
 James 4:8 Put God first in everything. Math 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom”, First in priority. Rom 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ.” It is time to connect with the Lord in a greater way than ever before. Revelation comes from relationship

3.  Daniel had a disciplined lifestyle and developed good habit patterns 

a. Daniel was a student of the word. Dan 9:2-3 He found Gods prophetic plan in the word and this is what enabled Daniel to start praying and keep praying and fasting for three weeks. Read the word daily until something comes alive in your spirit. The word makes dead things come alive. That’s what put new life in Sarah’s womb. It is what kept Caleb strong at 85years of age.

b. Daniel had a regular disciplined prayer life.                                    
Dan 6:10” He knelt down on his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God….as was his custom since early days.” Pray daily no matter how busy you are! If you do, God promises to “direct you”(Prov. 3:6) The difference between “drifting” and being “directed” is in “acknowledging Him.”

c. Daniel had healthy eating habits.                                                                                              
Dan 1:8, 12-16. How much do you want to win? Daniels flesh was under the control of his spirit and the word of God.   He lived a fasted life and when necessary had no problem with an extended fast. Daniel fast 21 days. (Daniel10)

4.  Daniel was decisive and daring.                                                                                        
He knew what he believed; what his standards and his values were, and refused to compromise on his beliefs. (Dan 1:8-10)  Daniels friends took the same stand. When your objectives and values are clear it makes decision making easier. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den because he refused to stop praying to His God. (Dan 6:22)  This year instead of making an excuse make a commitment.

5. The reward of obedience is the development of an excellent spirit.                                            
 “Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him.” (Daniel 6:3) Today’s obedience helps develop an excellent spirit within us and positions us for breakthrough, blessing and promotion tomorrow. Without obedience we stay in the realm of potential. “God had brought Daniel into favor” (Dan 1:9)  “God gave them Knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom.” (Dan 1:17)  Daniel was a God made man not a self-made man. If you are self-made, then you must be self sustained and if self-sustained it isn’t too long before you self-destruct. God specializes in taking nobodies and making somebody’s out of them. God likes to start with nothing, then there is no doubt about who gets the glory (1Cor 1:26-30) Great hope for us all!

This month we are going to put our flesh under, get our heart and mind still so we can hear what the spirit of God is saying to us.

Together we can become world changers and History Makers!!


Dr. George Hill
President and Founder
Victory Churches International