20th of Iyar
Today May 25, the 20th of Iyar, is the day in biblical history where the glory started to move after the children at Israel rested and set up the tabernacle on their journey outside of Egypt. This happened a year after The Ten Commandments were given.
They resumed their journey when the pillar of cloud rose for the first time from over the tabernacle -the divine sign that would signal the resumption of their travels throughout their encampments and journeys over the next 38 years, until they reached the eastern bank of the Jordan River on the eve of their entry into the Holy Land.
In Exodus 40:36 says that,
“Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out “but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.”
Notice the children of Israel did not move until God moved. This is a lesson for us to be mindful when God is moving or directing, we must be sensitive to His moving. Let’s not limit the movement of God to moving in a church service. God is active all day and everyday throughout our lives. Follow when He is leading you from your job. Follow when he is leading you to a new city. Follow when He is leading you read a certain chapter in the Bible. Follow when is He leading you to pray. Follow when He is leading you to intercede on someone’s behalf.
It’s time to move and to be in sync with the move of God. You never know when it’s time to close down shop and move when God has moved.
Iyar is the second month on the Jewish calendar counting from Nissan. This is the time the Jews prepared themselves to receive the Torah and the counting up to Pentecost. This is a time of self-reflecting and self-refining on our lives’ journey.
Iyar is connected with the tribe of Issachar. Issachar is a scholarly tribe that knows and understand the seasons and times. In 1 Chronicles 12:32 says that,
“ Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.”
To understand Iyar, we can look at what happened to Israel coming out of Egypt. Nisan, the first month, was the month of leaving Egypt; and Sivan, the third month was the month they arrived in Sinai and Torah was given. So Iyar is a month of transition. During the second month, the Israelites were traveling from one place to another. God’s people were transitioning to a new level in their relationship with Him. When Israel passed out of Egypt, they knew they were God’s people, but they didn’t know much about God. During this time, God began to reveal His covenant secrets to them. The month of Iyar is associated with the Hebrew letter VAV, which pictures “connection, and linking. You need to see how you are to connect this month so you can determine your course during the year. There are certain time frames within which you need to respond in order to see how to advance forward into the next season. During this month, this is the time to receive wisdom and understanding for the next move of God.
In Exodus 17:16 says that,
“The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”
In the month of Iyar, that is when Amalek attacked. Throughout history many wars occurred during the month of Iyar. From rockets in Gaza and the attacks on Israel today, we are under attack. Both physically and spiritually.
In Numbers 1:1-3 says that,
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies.“
I was in a prayer service in the beginning of May which would be the 3 of Iyar. I am starting the become familiar with the times and during service, the Lord led to me to read a passage from the book “The Art of War”. I was led to a passage in the book about what one should do in the time of peace or laying low. This is the time to re-strategize and be ready for what is coming to us. Even if we are a season of peace, it is just for a little while.
Notice in Numbers 1, they strategize and counted those who were ready to go to war. Before going to war, one must survey the land to know the conditions of the land. Here is a passage from the book that really hit home for me:
The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions
obtaining in the field. (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
- Moral Law: The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.
- Heaven: Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.
- Earth: Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
- The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.
- Method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.
The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:—let such a one be dismissed!
This is a time of re-strategizing and hearing the voice of God clearly. God is shifting us quickly and we must be aware of the times and seasons that we are in. As God’s calendar goes in a circular motion, we are able to follow the events and times to know where we are going.
How to Bounce Back When You Have Crushed Your Own Character
As I am growing to become a better leader, I have been faced with the challenge of restoring the trust and integrity with others due to poor choices that I have made. I believe it is safe to say that we’ve all burned bridges and loss and gain trust with individuals. Whether it be a small issue or a blowout. Trust sometimes can take years to establish but yet trust can be loss within a matter of seconds. How do you come back when you have failed one another? When you have failed your spouse? When you have failed your children?
We have seen it in politics, religious institutions, and even in our homes. We have many people in our lives that we have considered as role-models or even idols have failed us at least once. There are pastors or church leaders who have been caught in unethical situations every year. Because of their mistake, many people have decided that they are not a leader they want to “follow”. But yet we make mistakes all the time in our lives. All of the good the leader have done over the years can be cancelled or forgotten in seconds because of a mistake or failure. The person can ask for forgiveness over and over again. We can ask for forgiveness all day long but that does not equate to restoration of trust? Can the Violation of trust by a self-imposed destruction of the integrity and character cannot be restored merely by forgiveness?
We can ask for forgiveness all day long but that does not equate to restoration of trust?
Trying to Build Up Broken Bridges
One of the the reason why a leader have success is because people trust them. It is not how you move through the English language with finesse or your personality. It was them buying-in or trusting in you. It took the testing of their character and integrity to build trust with others. When one fails, the door of trust is closed. But how is that door opened back up? The door of trust is opened and closed based on both parties. We have a choice whether or not to trust again. The leader have a choice to make themselves trustworthy. One of the keys of reconciliation is to know that works alone will not bring back trust. Talents and gifts are only as safe as your character and integrity. Without both, your works means nothing.
So how does one bounce back when their character was self-destructed? Or how can you restore trust when someone has done you wrong? What do you do when you have lost it all? Your character carries so much weight with where you stand with others. Now I am a Believer of Christ so I am only writing from the tense of having the Word of God as the foundation of morals and beliefs and as an accountability mechanism. The Bible is my final authority. Unbelievers foundation of beliefs is based on other things that are not of God Almighty. So we cannot hold our standards to them. You can always tell in a person of where they lay final authority in. You can always tell how people handle life’s situations whether or not they are rooted and grounded in the Word of God. If someone hurts you, how do you handle it? If you hurt others, how do you reconcile?
If you are a Believer in Christ, your final authority should be the Word of God.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
Because God brought Jesus here on earth to be the vehicle to reconcile God and man, God has commanded us to do the same with one another. With the grace and mercy that God has extended to us when we fall, God expects us to do the same. Loving how God loves us is the toughest thing to accomplish especially if He is not The Lord of your life. The problem is not the failure. The problem is how you deal with the failure. Many leaders do not know how to deal with their own failures and others as well. Pretending that it did not happen does not cancel it. Letting time past does not let it off the hook. The key is reconciliation. We have to be able to face one another and talk things out. After talking things out, we have give each other room for God to come in and handle the rest.
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Oh how we love to hold on to accusation and faults of one another and at the same time is it hard to move on when you hurt one another or others hurt you. Colossians 3:13 reminds us that “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave.” The question is what do you do when you have forgiven them? Do you hold it against them? And the answer is no. You are supposed to restore them to the place where they have fallen (Heb. 6). We should always extend the hope of recovery. The enemy wants us to believe that a someone cannot be trusted again or you have to hold reservations towards them. That is not the way of the Kingdom. If our final authority is in the word of God, then we should be able to reconcile our differences.
When we fail one another, the guilt is heavy. I know with me, The Holy Spirit is constantly in teaching mode. He allows me to see when I have done something wrong when handling situations. Whether it is instant or later, I am always corrected. I always say “you cannot trust man”. The better approach is that because we are man, we have to give other believers room to make mistakes and get messy. Also give people time for them to move forward. We all progress and move at various rates. Matthew gives a principle of how to reconcile differences. The key in that scripture is that “if you have won them over” meaning that you all have a chance to talk about it and both have seen where they have fallen and repent, then the relationship is salvageable.
The better approach is that because we are man, we have to give other believers room to make mistakes and get messy. Also give people time for them to move forward. We all progress and move at various rates.
As leaders, we are going to make mistakes, hurt people, or say the wrong thing. The test is the aftermath. Do we go and apologize? Are we so prideful to the point where we do not see our mistakes? Great is the person that can go to the one you have hurt and explain scripturally where they have fallen and what we should do about it. Only under test can your character be proven. You only believe what you believe until you are tested to break it or not. Your convictions are proven by test. Not by pronouncements. What you claim must be tested. Live out what you proclaim.
Seasonal Shifts: How Do You Respond to Shifts?
Seasons come and seasons go. Some seasons can be tough and others can be beautiful. The key to seasonal shifts in life is to embrace and learn about them. Seasons come and go in life to constantly progress or move us into new levels and phases. How do you respond to life changes? Last time I talked about how God forewarns us when the seasons are changing in our lives. But are we sensitive to the transitions? Do we take heed of the warnings?
Growing up in school I was the biggest procrastinator when it came to studying and school work. I was on honor roll but I knew that I could have done better in many of my classes. In my first year of college, I realized that I could no longer wait to study and do assignments. Especially in accounting. After closely failing accounting one, I realized that I had to change my way of studying for test and doing assignments. I actually started reading assignments ahead of time, asking questions, and making sure that I was ready for the test. So when the test came, I scored in the top percentage of my class. I went from an “D” to an “A”. Why? Because I prepared myself and realized the mistakes I was making. I had a choice to either stay in the cycle or go and put forth the effort.
When you take to time to study, ask questions, observant of things around you, and praying all the time, you are more prepared to handle life situations. Many of us have a habit of waiting while we are in the turmoil to pray rather than praying and preparing ahead of time. God speaks and He speaks a lot. He loves His children so much that He has the best motives and thoughts for us. The next time you feel in a place where you cannot discern the seasons or understanding what is going on in your life, stop and pray. Ask for guidance and direction. Then the season will start to make sense. You will pass the test with flying colors!!
In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction. In order to turn man from his deed, And conceal pride from man, He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword.- Job 33:15-18
Seasonal Shifts: How Do You Respond to Shifts?
We’ve just entered the season of fall and for us in the state of Ohio, it has been very brutal. Year by year you know when seasons will change and the various temperatures you are about to encounter. But sometimes seasons can take you for a ride if you are not prepared for the unexpected. That is how it is when we are going through life. We may see the warnings or are cautious of the signs that a change or a shift is coming, but most of time we do not prepare ourselves enough to handle and expected and the unexpected.
A few years ago, I helped start a church and during this time The Lord told me that I will be shifting seasons quickly so I must prepare myself accordingly. How in the world do you plan for something that you have no idea of what is coming, when it is coming, and how it is coming? Through prayer. Since God knows our beginning from our end and our end from our beginning, He knows exactly the answer to questions we may have concerning shifts in our lives. First we need a road map. We need to understand what is happening during a spiritual seasons of our lives. Once we have a clear understanding of the spiritual seasons, we are then equipped to handle whatever life throws our way. What occurs in the natural, happens in the spiritual. The next entry I will talk about the different seasons.
So when shifts happen in your life, how do you respond? It is like my spirit has a radar when change is going to occur because often I become unease and irritated. I am suddenly, uncomfortable with the mundane or frustrated at the little things that are occurring around me. I block everyone out and I know when it is time to rev up on my prayer life. I often quote the scripture in Job 33 that says:
For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.
Walking in Maturity
I believe that God does this for us today. He speaks to us in various ways and He always allow us to know what is going on. But we must be aware of the signs. I was waking up one day and I heard my spirit tell myself to chill out. And that helped me so much. It felt like something in me was coming in alignment with the Spirit of God. It takes maturity to discern what is going on within yourself and in the spirit realm. I am become more sensitive to the voice of God and become more aware of when He is leading and guiding me. I can always tell when the Lord is speaking because what He speaks slows me down and causes me to think on His word. What He says always lines up with His word.
God is constantly leading and guiding us when you decide to allow Him to be The LORD over your life. Sometimes it may feel uncomfortable but then you will realize that it is for the good. Seasons will always shift and change and we must be in tuned with the Holy Spirit to discern the times.
God WILL GIVE you the solution to a problem.
I remember I had to design project that I could not figure out how to do it. God showed me in a dream step by step on how to accomplish it. As I was waking up out the dream, I said “God show me again” and He did.
Instead of me spending hours and hours on a project, it only took me less the ten minutes to do.
If you have a difficult task in front of you, pray! God will give you the solution to your problem. The answer is right in front of you.
“Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.”
Genesis 21:19 NASB