From the desk of Steve Shultz:
In this lifetime we are going to face many battles. There's a saying that goes like this, "Choose your battles wisely," and that's so true. We need to know which battles to fight and which ones to give to the Lord and let Him battle for us.
In Bob Hartley's latest article Bob explains to us how to do just that. This is one important word we all need to read.
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Fight the Right Battles with Hope Body Armor
Cities and Nations that Would Love God Well and Hope in Him
The past several years, I have had a series of prophetic encounters from the Lord regarding 2011 and beyond, where waves of challenge would come (and many of them have begun), but God had a "better than" solution for His people. The Lord is passionate about preparing and equipping "Hope Craftsmen" in this time, ones that are skilled in bringing hope and confidence in the goodness of God in all of life, equipped to meet the challenges coming in the years ahead with overcoming solutions from our hopeful God (see Exodus 31:1-11).
In 1983, I had been asking the Lord day and night, "God, what is on Your heart?" and in an open vision in a stairwell in Fort Collins, the Lord showed me several progressive pictures. I saw how Jesus had been mostly unperceived in cities across the earth, in the midst of the day and the arenas of life, like politics, education, social arenas, the arts, families, and the marketplace. The Lord shared how He desired to see His name vindicated as in Ezekiel 36:23, and how His heart burned to see cities and nations come forth that would love Him well and would receive His love and hope in Him.
I will show the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show Myself holy through you before their eyes. Ezekiel 36:23
In this vision, I also saw the "Hope Craftsmen" that the Lord was preparing to discover Him in all the arenas of life, and I have since met many of those that I saw in that original vision. They are real people and real places, and these ones are transforming their cities and nations to become those places that love Him well. It is happening!
Remembrance of the Classroom of Hope in God
In a recent encounter, the Lord was teaching these "Hope Craftsmen" from the "Book of Hope" in the "Classroom of Useful Information," equipping us with building blocks of hope that will prepare us for these times. Our last article shared revelation regarding the second chapter of the "Book of Hope," the right "Hope Hearing Aids" that would restore right hearing of God's hopeful voice in everyday life. To read more about the "Hope Hearing Aids" click here.
Encounter: Fighting the Right Battles this Year
Progressively and as of late, I was shown the next lesson as I sat in this Classroom of Hope: not fighting the wrong battles. I could sense the weariness that the Hope Craftsmen were feeling because of many battles, and how they had been challenged in their hope. The Lord said to them, "My friends, promises come with challenges, but never back off the promises no matter what it looks like! I will be with you!"
The Lord continued, "You have done so well! But you entered into battles last year that hurt you because you weren't called to fight them. I want to help you! You need to know the battles you are called into and which ones you are not called to fight. Like Paul admonished the Philippians in Philippians 1:27-28, there are battles that I want to take care of for you and bring deliverance, and you are not meant to fight them!"
...in no way [be] alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. Philippians 1:27-28
The Lord spoke to me regarding the battle against chronic fatigue that many leaders were facing in this time. The Lord said, "If you go into the wrong battles and I'm not with you, you'll be injured in your body and your faith or hope." I felt the love and kindness of the Lord as He shared that one of those battles I had fought wrongly was over my body. The Lord said, "Son, you have forced your own body into slave labor, but I will restore your body in the right rhythms and pace of life. This is an example for all of My Hope Craftsmen."
Kings are Always Required to Inquire of the Lord
In this Classroom of hope, the Lord spoke that it would be a significant time for His people to inquire of Him for the battles they face. I was reminded that throughout Scripture kings, leaders and His people were always dependent on inquiring of the Lord and then waiting for an answer, like David in 1 Samuel 23:2:
"So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" And the LORD said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines and deliver Keilah." (See also 1 Samuel 23:4, 30:8; 2 Samuel 5:19, 23; 1 Chronicles 14:10, 14; Judges 1:1, 20:18, 23.)
Then in the Classroom of hope, the Lord continued, "I can restore all, even when you enter the wrong battles, but I want to give you My hopeful, glorious wisdom for this next season. There are many battles out there, and the enemy desires to bring commotion in this season. You must listen to Me so that you know which battles to fight. You must know when it is time to rest and let Me fight them. Sometimes it is most responsible to get out of the way and agree with Me and let Me fight this battle for you, like David understood."
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Psalm 27:5
The Lord then shared with the Hope Craftsmen in the Classroom of Hope, that avoiding the RIGHT battles (ones we were supposed to fight) has also caused trouble for us as well. He said, "These RIGHT battles would have revitalized you and reinvigorated you, and you would have had grace for them. They would have made you feel vital as you fought and won for the Gospel's sake." The enemy would like God's people to faint in the day of visitation by wearing us down with the wrong battles, and in the Classroom with the Lord He was zealous to aim us in His hopeful love and direct us and strengthen us for the right battles this year.
Three Choices Concerning the Battles This Year
The Lord once again stressed the importance of asking and inquiring of Him before going into any battle, asking whether or not this is your battle to fight, and then asking for wisdom on how to be properly positioned. The Lord said, "Ask Me which of these three positions or choices you are to take for each battle you are faced with this year."
1. To be hidden from battle – like David was in the cave in Psalm 27:5. There are challenges you are to ask to be hidden from. There is wisdom at the table to help us discern what situations to be hidden from (like Enoch in Genesis 5:24)
2. To be a protector, a keeper of the promises and taker of territory like Abraham in Genesis 14:14 who pursued his relative when he was taken captive. Other examples from Scripture are David at Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30, Joshua at Gibeon in Joshua 10, and Joseph in Genesis 41:46-49 who was a protector of those in famine. In this Classroom of Hope, I saw many that would be sent to royal houses and places of government, when confusion comes, to be the keepers of promises. When challenges come, kings and queens will be looking for those who know how to pray.
3. To sacrifice and go through the battle for the benefit of others, where He will strengthen you through it physically, emotionally and spiritually (sometimes you will lose your rights or lay down your life in certain ways for the sake of others). You can make a choice to give up your rights for the sake of the Lord as Paul did in Acts 21:13.
The Lord warned that if we did not inquire and position ourselves correctly in the day of battle, that we could become victims of the challenges and suffer loss that was not intended for us. We do not want to become like Reuben in Judges 5:15-16 whose heart was vacillating so that he did not respond to the Lord and failed to enter the battle.
The Lord then brought His Hope Craftsmen once again to His Counsel Table in the "Classroom of Useful Information." He said, "There is another very important lesson: You must learn to be equipped to face your battles this year and be properly positioned on the wall. Pioneers will be challenged as they plow new ground, but I have new Body Armor I want to give you that will protect you in the days to come. You need those who will stand with you and inquire of the Lord regarding these three choices you are to make regarding your battles. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors!"
...wisdom is with those who receive counsel. Proverbs 13:10
Be Rightly Protected for Your Battles this Year
As the Lord continued to share the importance of new Hope Body Armor in the Classroom of Hope, He took a great stand for the power and purpose of "Marvelous Camaraderie" to be reestablished in this hour.
The Lord then began to explain the importance of "Marvelous Comrades," ones who are true friends who fight for one another and fight through the challenges together to find hope in God in all areas of life. The essence of their friendship is loyalty, affection and belief in one another as they hope in God together. Marvelous Comrades constantly tell each other that they can succeed in life and hope in God. They validate each other's calling by equipping one another for their fruitful expressions of love unto God in all of life.
A Covenant of Brotherhood Restored for Protection and the Glory of God
The Lord revealed to the Hope Craftsmen that it was His intention in 2011 and the years to come, to restore "the covenant of brotherhood," as in Psalm 133:
"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head..." (Psalm 133:1-2).
At the Counsel Table, the Lord continued to show the Hope Craftsmen the strength of this unity. He said, "A covenant of brotherhood acts as a strong 'body armor' for you as you face the waves of challenges that are coming. You must understand the power of your unity as you inquire of My heart together! The truth is, you cannot face the challenges on your own, and you don't have to! Together you are exponentially stronger! The effectiveness of your adoration and your hearing will increase continually as you join together."
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
The Lord continued, "This unity of brotherhood will bring glory to God even in the midst of challenges in the years to come. My people will give Me the love I am due by being pursuers of one another, as Paul spoke in Romans 15."
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
The Lord said to me, "It is time to go 'horizontal'! You have gone 'vertical' and rightly looked to Me to overcome your circumstances, but I am now calling My people to come together in unity and common passion and hope in Me! You will bring confident solutions together for challenges you face and it will reveal My heart and bring glory to Me!" Then the Lord echoed Paul in Philippians 2 and said, "Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Philippians 2:2-4).
Three Levels of Relationship Released for Hope Craftsmen
Then at His Counsel Table, the Lord began to share three new levels of relationship to His Hope Craftsmen, and how they are to relate to one another in this season:
First Level of Relationship: A Symphony of Hope
The first level of relationship that He released is relational love and deep friendship, a coming together of the "symphony of hope." At this level of relationship, we are to be marvelous comrades with one another versus commiserate friends (those who dwell on and reinforce the problem, the negative, what is NOT working, etc). This level of relationship begins through marvelous comrades who are committed to enjoying one another, celebrating one another, and serving one another in gladness with a deep bond of affection, care and hope for one another. In this level of relationship there is a focus on freedom, fulfillment and the joy of vision imparting.
Second Level of Relationship: Building Side By Side
Then the Lord shared the second level of relationship, which was a grace released to Marvelous Comrades to "build together, side by side." This second level of relationship was a family purpose together, a building with one another in a specific way, like the different instruments in the symphony of hope coming together in common fields and building together. If you try to build with those you are only meant to have a first level relationship with, you will be flustered. Second level relationships are like our own families, where we relate and build life and Kingdom purpose together. It includes co-activity and common purpose. This type of relationship is modeled by the father in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, who worked by his sons' sides and had such gladness in them. "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.'" (Luke 15:31)
Third Level of Relationship: Strength in Community
The third level of relationship was called, "strength in community." This was a Jonathan and David type of friendship and love established throughout entire communities. Jonathan and David had the kind of loyalty that would lay down their life for one another (see 1 Samuel 18). They also had a common goal of seeing God's purpose established in a whole Kingdom.
The Lord reminded the Hope Craftsmen that the pain and perplexities of building a community are not bad; they are an invitation into the adventure of love! Building community is hard work, it is meant to be! But building community grants an opportunity to experience miracles of hope and love! Hope Craftsmen are being equipped to celebrate the beauty of individual uniqueness that compliments the common purpose of community.
As the Lord concluded the third chapter in the Book of Hope, He had the Hope Craftsmen link arms as a sign of this new body armor and marvelous camaraderie, as He gave us this admonishment:
"As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love" (John 15:9).
Next Steps for You as Hope Craftsmen
The Lord is inviting us to take the next steps towards being rightly positioned for our battles this year, and to be protected with God's "Body Armor" of Marvelous Camaraderie. Here are some next steps the Lord gave...
1. The Lord told us to inquire of Him regarding the battles we face. We are to either:
• Be hidden from battle - like David in Psalm 27:5.
• Be a protector, a keeper of the promises and taker of territory.
• Sacrifice and go through the battle for the benefit of others.
2. The Lord told us to break the spirit of isolation and receive the Spirit of God for community! Come together with friends to the Table of the Lord and ask the following questions:
• The Lord told us to ask Him how He was restoring a "Community of Brotherhood" so we could see it.
• The Lord told us to ask Him, "Who is our 'Hope in God Team'?"
• The Lord told us to ask Him who our Marvelous Comrades are, that will be keepers of the promises for us.
• The Lord told us to ask Him what type of Marvelous Comrade we are to be for others.
• The Lord told us to ask Him who the Marvelous Comrades are that we are called to "build together, side by side," with.
• The Lord told us to ask Him who our Level 3 relationships are to be.
• The Lord told us to ask Him to give us a vision of "strength in community."
• The Lord told us to ask Him how to steward the relationships and community that He has given us.
We are doing this (inquiring of the Lord over these three choices) together morning by morning as a management team at the Hartley Group and we are seeing much fruit come forth.
Deeper Waters Ministry
About Bob Hartley: Bob Hartley is the founder of Hartley Institute/Deeper Waters Ministry in Kansas City, Missouri, inspired through a dream the Lord gave to Bob more than a decade ago, where the Lord spoke that the "The youth of this nation are diving into 'shallow waters' of the knowledge of God, and it is killing them!" Bob's heart is to take this generation deep into the knowledge of God through hopeful, heartfelt prayer and intimacy with the Lord, and opening up their ability to hear from His heart and partner with the God of All of Life in every arena and season of the soul.
Bob served as a pastor at Metro Christian Fellowship with Mike Bickle before entering the marketplace in 1983, with a vision to see the marketplace redeemed and cities established that value and love the person of Jesus. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Hartley Group, a "Hope Center" for the marketplace, consisting of Hartley's Executive Cleaning, Swift Chemicals & Supply, Prize Properties and H&H Management in Kansas City, Missouri. Bob is a frequent speaker to youth, churches, businesses and national leaders throughout America and the world. His quest has been to bring the Kingdom of God into every arena of life and give spiritual tools and equipping to those seeking to know and love God in the midst of their everyday lives. Currently, Bob resides in Kansas City with his wife and four children.