Winning Strategies in 2024 – Understanding the Times

Welcome to Simply Jesus Church! I’m Dr. Sunny Bhaskaran, back with Brian Jones, and we’re going to focus on winning strategies. As we enter the New Year, God put it on our hearts to talk about breaking stagnation and moving into the destiny God has planned for us through having a relationship with Him.

But the path of the just (righteous) is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day.

Proverbs 4:18 (AMP)

We’re covering:

  • Breaking Stagnation to Move into the Purposes of God
    • The Role of Simply Jesus in Fighting Stagnation
    • Understanding the Times as Christians | The Sons of Issachar
    • Using Wisdom & Discernment to Understand the Times
  • Living as Christians in the Last Days
    • Doing Business Until Jesus Comes Back
    • Can Christians Live Above the Turmoil?
  • Living a Life of Dominion & Prayer in Yakima
    • The Story of David Taking Dominion
    • Speaking the Word of God with Authority
    • Have a Personal Prayer Life with Jesus!
  • Final Exhortations for 2023

Breaking Stagnation to Move into the Purposes of God

Stop wishing that your tomorrow is going to get better! Wishing is not going to help you. If your today was like yesterday, you’re facing stagnation. Many people who face stagnation are just trying to survive, but what does God really want for us? What are His purposes for our lives?

The Role of Simply Jesus in Fighting Stagnation

What we see in the lives of many is that stagnation is caused by fear. Fear can grip people to a point where they no longer know how to move forward, and it keeps them in a place of incapacitation; they don’t know what to do.

Our goal at Simply Jesus Church is to convey to the people of Yakima (and to our readers) that there is hope for the future. There is hope in the name of Jesus! Wishing that tomorrow will get better won’t help you. What will help is getting in the presence of Jesus.

As we’re looking at 2024 and talking about vision, what does Simply Jesus Church’s vision look like? Our vision is to help our congregation to find a way to get into the presence of the Lord, to “be still and know that I am God.” In that stillness is when we know and hear the voice of God, and He gives us a future vision of what is to come.

Understanding the Times as Christians | The Sons of Issachar

As Brian and I discussed knowing what is to come, I was reminded of a portion of Israel called the sons of Issachar. The Bible beautifully talks about the sons of Issachar in Chronicles as King David is looking over his army. There were many tribes of Israel, and each had certain talents. Some were skilled warriors, some were men of valor, or leaders.

But there was something unique about the sons of Issachar:

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

1 Chronicles 12:32 (KJV)

The sons of Issachar knew the times they were in; they knew what Israel ought to be doing. We believe the importance of knowing what to do today will design your tomorrow.

Brian works in the financial sector as a mortgage lender. Many people come to him with questions like:

  • What should we do with our money?
  • What should we do with real estate?
  • Should we hold back and not do anything?
  • Should we wait for the government to change; until the Presidential Election?

Brian’s answer to them is always, “Get in the presence of the Lord, and ask Him. Gain an understanding of the times you are in.”

Using Wisdom & Discernment to Understand the Times

Brian mentioned that in America, we tend to behave like the blessing of God is on our nation to the degree where we don’t really need to understand the times; that we’re an anointed class of people. It’s a very American mindset: everyone expects the government to change so that their lives can change. But that only makes us victims of our surroundings. This isn’t how the Bible portrays believers at all!

The days of being casual with Jesus Christ are long gone. Christians must seek to understand what’s going to take place and learn to be in the presence of the Lord. When we do that, He will give us an understanding of the times and a clear direction of what to do in our:

  • Finances
  • Political systems
  • School systems
  • Marriages
  • Families

It’s very interesting that the word used for “understanding the times” also translates to what we know as discernment and is commonly partnered with with “wisdom.” Brian recalled that his mother regularly prayed that God would give wisdom to her children.

Discernment and wisdom go hand in hand because we can use God’s Word as academia; we can learn His book. But without wisdom, we can’t convey or apply it to our situations and get supernatural results.

It’s easy to feel like Christians are the spiritual minority. After all, the sons of Issachar were only 200+ people in the entire army of David. But if you are connecting with God, you are part of the majority. We may equate higher numbers with authority, but it was the sons of Issachar who were part of the respected command; their anointing allowed them to be equipped for war while navigating the times.

Living as Christians in the Last Days

I know many of my own colleagues have seen the turmoil going on in the nations, the chaos in the world, and everyone’s a little bit anxious at this time. They know that these are the last days, but many Christians across the denominational spectrum are asking: How do we live in these last days?

Doing Business Until Jesus Comes Back

Many Christians ask, “Lord, when are you coming?” but that’s an escapism mentality. No wonder believers are not influencing this world as much as they could be! I asked Brian for his thoughts this, and I love his answer:

Brother, I’m simply doing business until Jesus comes back. Whatever God is speaking to me to do, I do it, I’m occupied. I try not to let the peripheral of the world take over. My attention is isolated on Jesus. I’m always reminded of Peter stepping out of the boat; he was looking only at Jesus, not at his surroundings. The wind and the waves are raging around us, but if we keep our focus on Christ, we’re going to walk above it all, not beneath.

Brian isn’t referring to just doing his job in financial business, he’s doing spiritual business. We can look at the people around us and know that some of their lives are in trouble. They need someone to speak life into them.

Brian and I don’t want to be so concerned about escaping this world as much as we want to minister to the life that is sitting right in front of us. We want to be a blessing to others and to share the love of Jesus Christ to people in the hopes that they would come to know our risen Savior deeply.

If you are sharing the word of God with others, they can have an experience in Jesus. And once a person has an experience in Christ, there’s no one and nothing in this world that can take that away.

Can Christians Live Above the Turmoil?

Brian and I also see many Christians worrying that everything happening in the world will happen to believers. But we do see in the Bible some exemptions for men, women, and families walking with God.

As Brian was telling me about his idea of “doing business until Jesus comes” and the story of Peter, I was also reminded of two other Scriptures:

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.

Psalm 91:7-8 (NKJV)

I was also reminded of the story of Noah, who walked with God, and of the extraordinary grace he received. He was in the ark, floating over every wave, enduring the wind and destruction. But like Brian’s idea, Noah did business up until the Flood; he worked until the day the ark was shut.

And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.

Genesis 7:12-13 (NIV)

There is a way we can live a life above the waves, and it comes with living a life of dominion and having a deeply personal relationship with God.

Living a Life of Dominion & Prayer in Yakima

It’s clear we must continue to press into the Word, and into the words the Lord has given us until the very end. We never want to surrender, or be a victim, to our surroundings! The Bible is full of examples of people that God gave dominion over situations.

The Story of David Taking Dominion

The story of David approaching the battle lines and seeing Goliath is a story Brian and I thought excellently speaks about the idea of dominion.

David is such an amazing young man! He was 17 years old when he faced Goliath, and his assignment was to take cheese and bread to his brothers. When he comes up to the battle line, he sees Goliath and an abomination against God is taking place. But the children of Israel are standing in fear, rather than making war.

David chooses to take dominion and essentially says, “This is out of alignment. This is an abomination to my God. And if you, my fellow Israelites, aren’t going to do something about it, I will. Goliath, today I’m going to feed your head to the buzzards.”

Speaking the Word of God with Authority

I asked Brian what we could do in our daily lives to experience the dominion of God as we go about ministering to Yakima. He said:

Brother, I confess the Word of God over my life on a consistent basis. I take the word of God, and I apply it to my situation.

Years ago, God gave Brian a model to do this. It’s a four-step process:

  1. Word
  2. Revelation
  3. Application
  4. Result

We read the Word of God that we may apply it to our situation. Once we have the applied Word of God, it is now become revealed to us. Once we have the revealed Word of God, then we can take that revealed Word and apply it to our situation, so that there is a supernatural result in the end.

Brian is very insistent that the Word be spoken. He reflects back on the time of Adam in the garden; God taught Adam to speak the Word, to be like Him because he is made in God’s image. God spoke the world into order, and if we want to reflect His nature, we need to do the same thing over our lives.

We must be able to speak the authority of the Word.

Have a Personal Prayer Life with Jesus!

Remember, the central component – whether we are fighting stagnation, trying to live in dominion, or speaking God’s Word over our life – is intimacy with God. If we draw near to Him, He will draw nearer to us.

We can feed and maintain our relationship with Jesus in very simple ways. Brian likes to get up early to spend time with God. Even if he’s short on sleep, he finds that God will sustain his energy throughout the day.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Having an active prayer life is key. When we inquire of God, the Creator of the universe, in every facet of our lives throughout the day:

  • We’re not going to stagnate
  • We will understand the times the times we’re living in
  • We will be able to walk above the wind and waves
  • We’ll experience the dominion of God
  • Our personal relationship with Jesus will grow

Final Exhortations for 2023

I want to tell everyone who’s reading today that there is a way that we can walk on water. There is a way we can calm the elements of this world. Jesus has taught us the way. And my friends, the only way you can walk above the water is through your relationship with Jesus.

I want to encourage every one of you: I know you have a relationship with God, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, but I would challenge you to draw closer to Him. Let your decisions be influenced by your relationship with God; the winds and the waves will obey you.

So cheer up! God is with you, God is for you, and who can stand against you?

God loves you.

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