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The Heart That Listens

All kingdom matters are matters of the heart. God our Father knows each heart and is concerned with what is taking place inside. Our heart is central in the kingdom. He entrusts His Kingdom to hearts He can trust. As sons and daughters of the Living God, it is through our hearts that He can set the course of our lives that will shape history with His hands.

The heart of Samuel demonstrated a sensitivity to God’s presence.  He was able to lean towards God’s will for he possessed a listening heart.  His heart was also persistent in pressing towards the things of God, which we can trace this same quality of heart to his mother, Hannah.

Hannah, together with her husband Elkanah, would faithfully go to worship at Shiloh and sacrifice every year for the Lord Almighty. And all those times, Hannah wasn’t able to bore children. Despite Hannah’s emotional torment, she maintained an unoffended heart before God.

One day while she was intently praying in the temple, Eli, the priest, mistaken her as someone drunk. A man, whose sensitivity has been dulled by his own acts of unrighteousness, unjustly criticized her as being drunk with wine. Yet, the woman whose heart has been fixed unto God, responded with high respect. As a result, she was blessed by the priest. Not long after, Hannah gave birth to Samuel, who would later become one of the greatest prophet of Old Testament. Hannah’s ultimate breakthrough happened as she positioned her heart to honor God and His servant Eli in the midst of pain. God saw her heart. God’s value for heart attitude bears much weight.

“Then Yahweh came and stood there and called out as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, because your servant is listening.'” (1 Samuel 3:10)

We can imagine that as Samuel grew up serving in the tabernacle, he was exposed to the presence of God day in and day out. Samuel’s heart was being shaped and trained by His daily encounters with God. This reached a point where “God revealed himself to Samuel through His Word”. The impact of his personal encounters in the secret place resulted to an entire nation acknowledging Samuel as a prophet from God. Israel bore witnessed to the fact that Samuel knew God’s voice.

“The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.” (1 Samuel 3:19-21)

Daily encounters with God became the foundation of his leadership and a pillar of strength in his days as the last judge of Israel. Samuel possessed a listening heart that is sensitive to the voice of God.

When Israel clamored for their own king, it did not please God.  But when God ordered Samuel to anoint Saul, he did not hesitate and obeyed the Lord no matter what.  The beginnings of Saul were extraordinary and Samuel was there as a prophet, mentor and father, not to mention that Samuel was also the intercessor for the nation of Israel.  Along the way, King Saul made some grave mistakes. The king failed God. When God repented to have made him king over Israel, Samuel was grieved and cried out all night. But Samuel will always be on God’s side. He remained faithful to God, a compassionate intercessor and prophet of a nation.

Then when the season has come and he was to anoint a new king. He had come to the house of Jesse and when he saw the eldest son, Eliab who bore physical resemblance to Saul, Samuel immediately assumed Eliab was the logical choice.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Although still reeling from disappointment and regret, Samuel’s heart was not misplaced. His heart was still postured to hear and lean to do the will of God. Oftentimes because of our past breakthroughs, we immediately assume familiar situations should yield similar breakthroughs. As human beings, we are experience-centric and memory-dependent that we rely too much on patterns of how things work. It might be that this was exactly what was going on in Samuel’s mind. But because Samuel had a listening heart, he was able to hear what God had to say about the situation.

Hearing and following God every step of the way, his obedience brought forth success everywhere he went. Samuel’s bias is always God’s side. The process that he went through shaped the prophet that he became – the kind of heart that loved God and His people Israel and  who knew God’s voice and obeyed His Word.

In the same manner, as we faithfully spend our quiet times with God, our hearts learn to be sensitive to His voice. Let us continue to soak in His presence daily and grow in studying His Word, relishing His love and glory. Our ability to hear God’s voice must be accompanied with radical obedience and enduring faith.

The Value of Process

We advance in our kingdom assignment to the degree that we bear and reveal the facets of Jesus.

Process is essential to our growth and maturity in life. It is process that brings out the true potential and value of a person or a thing. Diamonds are a much-celebrated gem around the world. A pound of coal and an ounce of diamond may have similar carbon molecular make-up but they immensely differ in value.  Diamonds are extremely valuable because of the process it takes to form it which includes intense heat and pressure. Furthermore, it takes the skillful hands of a master artisan to turn it into a priceless jewel.

The Word of God says that He is the Potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). He is forming us into unique vessels for His glory and purpose. How we respond to His dealings and seasons determine the kind of attitude, mentality, leadership, and the measure of our influence, authority and power that we are able to carry. Nobody is exempted from this. We will all go through the process of growth.

I had the privilege of visiting giant sequoia trees in the US. These trees are said to be death-defying as they can grow to up to 3,000 years old. The General Sherman, one of these giant sequoias, is said to be the largest living organism by volume today.  It stands at 275 feet, the base at 100 feet wide and weighs a staggering 2.7 million pounds.  One of the abilities of the sequoia is that they can withstand fire. It has been said that fire affects sequoias at every stage in life. The mineral soil which sequoia needs for germination should be bare, meaning it is free from forest litter like dried leaves, twigs, bark and needles, which the fire burns as well as the undergrowth and other trees that will compete for the ample sunlight sequoias need.  The sequoia bark which can grow up to three feet thick protects the tree from significant damage.  And should the fire penetrate against the thick bark, a new growth of about half an inch thick of new wood and bark can heal the scar.  This scar in fact gives beauty to the tree’s annual ring pattern. Fire brings out the best in sequoia trees – ability to heal, accelerated growth, and grandeur.

This is an apt picture of our journey with God.  When we allow God to deal with us, even through or with fire, and when we respond in total obedience and trust, we become like the sequoias – we can stand strong, withstand the adversity or trial, and give glory to our Maker.

Jesus went through the process of growth. In Hebrews 5:8-9 it says, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience through the things He suffered. And having been perfected,  He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey.” His sonship did not exempt Him from the process. The prophet Isaiah declared a prophetic description on the nature and the ministry of the coming Messiah. This is an accurate picture of Jesus and the process of growth He went through towards the fullness of His Kingdom Assignment.  Let us  take a look at this prophetic profile.

‘For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government (the Kingdom) shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.  And of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward and forever. The zeal of the LORD of host will perform this.’ Isaiah 9:6-7

There are several important details to this prophecy.

A child is born. Jesus was born in a manger as a babe. This is our entry point as well. And as children, we lack maturity and wisdom, and without maturity we cannot fully access our inheritance and step into our glory as sons of God. The child needs to be trained in the ways of the Father before he can be entrusted with authority, power, influence and the fullness of his inheritance (Galatians 4:1-2).

A son is given. During His baptism at the River Jordan Jesus was launched, affirmed and blessed by the Father as He declared, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased”. This moment came in the fullness of time. From the time Jesus was a young boy in the temple talking to the teachers, saying “…I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49) to this exact moment He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 5:52).   It takes a process to progress from a child into becoming a matured son.

The Father commissioned Jesus into His divine assignment as a matured Son, not when he was still a baby on a manger. Jesus revealed the nature, the intent and the purposes of the Father. And as Jesus is, so are we in this world. There is an appointed time that the Father launches us in our kingdom assignment. We advance in our kingdom assignment to the degree that we bear and reveal these facets of Jesus, the matured son. Sons best RE-PRESENT the Father to the world.

Unleashing the Heart of Royalty

Introduction to the Blog Series

God’s purpose is the full restoration of all things in Christ

God designed us to reign in life. Paul wrote, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance in grace and of gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17). Reigning in life is our mandate.

As sons and daughters we are mandated to take dominion. This mandate is multifaceted. To take dominion is to rule and reign,  to manage and steward all of His creation and to subdue the works of darkness and take territories for the King. He has called us to expand the borders of His Kingdom here on earth. By doing so we are pushing the boundaries where the enemy used to rule and inhabit and to take territories and to destroy the works of darkness. God’s purpose is the full restoration of all things in Christ. His death is not just to save us from judgment and the sting of sin but the restoration of our glory as sons and daughters of God,

Our Kingdom Assignment should be an overflow of our love relationship with God. Fruitfulness comes out of intimacy. Jesus said, “I only do what I see My Father do, I only say what I hear Him say.”  Jesus is our model.  He lived from this divine rhythm of beholding His Face and revealing His Face to the world.  We will see greater results  when we do it His way. What we receive in our encounters with His Face, we release to the world as we go. The deeper we grow in our relationship with Him the greater realm of influence and authority we can walk in. As love is the soil and the foundation for all that we are, it should be the motivation and intention of all that we do.

We will be introducing a weekly blog series, Unleashing the Heart of Royalty, where we will learn the secrets to our kingdom assignment.  We will learn from the lives of Samuel, King Saul, David and Solomon some of the essential keys to releasing the realm of heaven to earth.  We will study the breakthroughs and pitfalls of these biblical characters to better understand the nature and characteristics of the expansion of the Kingdom of God from generation to generation.