Sharpen Your Axe — Prophet Tony Mathias

Abraham Lincoln said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe”

This is what I plan to do with this teaching – To show that you are God’s battle Axe [skills, talents, abilities, gifts, resources].

He is waiting to use you: He can only do so to the extent you are sharp and cutting edge. No one, not even God Himself will sharpen your axe for you. You have to do it for yourself. And when that is done you will be able to complete the work God gave you.

Two key scriptures I have selected here are: Jeremiah 51:20 & Ecclesiastes 10:10.
NLT Jeremiah 51:20 “You are my battle-axe and sword says the LORD. “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms.” Ecclesiastes 10:10

If you don’t sharpen your axe, it will be harder to use. If you’re smart, you’ll know what to do.

A young strong and energetic wood-cutter was employed by a timber merchant. His assignment was to pull down trees. Given a good salary, good work-conditions and a strong axe he was determined to do his best. The First Day he brought down 15 trees and was congratulated by his boss- “Congratulations,” said the boss. “Carry on the good your work you are doing!”

The Second Day he worked harder remembering the encouraging words of his boss but was able to pull down only 10 trees despite his hard work.

The Third Day was even worse – He brought down just 7 trees though he worked much harder this time. Day after day lesser trees were brought down – He wondered why? He said to himself: “Am I losing my strength?” Plucking up courage – He approached his boss and apologized, saying: -“I do not understand what is going on. Day by day I am bringing down lesser number of trees though I work harder each day

The Boss replied: “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?”

“Sharpen? – I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been so busy trying to cut trees…” A boxing match may last ten minutes. But preparation time for the event in sharpening boxing skills may take weeks. Preparation is the key ingredient to success

You Are God’s Battle-Axe Jeremiah 51:20

“You are my battle-ax and sword says the LORD. “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms.”

What a privilege and honor to be God’s Battle-Axe! Are You God’s Battle Axe? This world is a battlefield. God is calling us to spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood….” Because we are His battle axe to destroy the kingdom of darkness and establish the Kingdom of God in the hearts of man, we must be a sharp battle axe in the Lord’s hand. *

Signs Of A Dull Axe – Ecclesiastes 10:10 “If you don’t sharpen your axe it is harder to use; if you’re smart, you’ll know what to do.” It is pathetic to see one begin and end as a clerk in an organization. Perhaps he has little vision and motivation for arriving at the top. It is false security to only feel fulfilled at work, comfortable with colleagues, boss, and the company. Such people would never think of pushing themselves out of their comfort zone? One imminent danger! Complacency can derail your career.

If you are not cutting-edge, God cannot use you mightily. He will use you in proportion – The job you handle may include management of the home, finance, business, working in an establishment and so on. But wherever you are, you will portray signs of a sharp or dull axe. A dull rusty axe will show a mediocre person not willing to do his best; not interested in updating his field and industry; not seizing his God-given opportunities; no zeal; complacency, content to live life the way it is, non-repentant, no vision, no goals, no zeal for the Kingdom of God. Most never update, never improve their skills. They think what they have learned is good enough – not so! Good is the enemy of better. They become dull of hearing Hebrews 5:11 when they refuse to renew their minds holding on to their own mindsets and not taking on the mindset of the Lord.

Those that are dull of hearing are un-teachable, because they have no desire to listen and that can lead to hardness of heart. [Pharaoh had a hardened heart, he was un-teachable]. They must rise from doing good to doing better. It is our attitude [mindset] that determines our altitude. Sharpening our skills from time to time is the key to success. Many are busybodies who have forgotten the value of rest – they become burnouts or misfits. They need to rest in-between: Even the Lord himself went to sleep in the boat – Jesus “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” Mark 6:31

Psalmist says: “Be still and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10. 

Isaiah 40:31 “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength…”

John Milton: “They also serve who only stand and wait!”

William Henry Davies: “What is this life so full of care we have no time to stand and stare”

Work became toilsome after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin entered the world. Sin and disobedience to God’s Word, make the “axe” dull and rusty. Therefore we must hide God’s Word in us Psalms 119:11.

Satan’s goal is that we lose our cutting edge and become ineffective witnesses for our Lord Jesus. He makes efforts to keep us constantly busy with other things and even in our secular work – so that we do not have intimacy with God. But God, on the other hand, has a way of sharpening dull Christians if we only return to where we lost our cutting edge reach out and reclaim it!

*Does Your Axe Need Sharpening? Do you feel you have lost your cutting – edge? Has your axe become dull?

You once had a great desire to read Christian books, attend seminars and conferences, hear Christian videotapes, attend gospel crusades, intercede, fast and pray meditate and evangelize and win souls, but it does not seem so now. Has more of the world come in? Has zeal for the house of the Lord diminished?

Are you a spectator at Church and not a participant? Have you made it a practice to keep sinning? Are you a busybody? [No time for God] Then you need to sharpen your axe.

*How to Sharpen Your Axe?

Acknowledge Lordship of Jesus Christ “Acknowledge Jesus Christ in your heart as Lord. If anyone asks why you do so, be ready to tell him, gently and respectfully.” 1 Peter 3:15. Take time to cultivate relationship, friendship and intimacy with God. Acknowledge God’s Word “For the word of God is active and alive sharper than…” Hebrews 4:12 Take time to cultivate intimacy with his Word.

The Bible shows you how – Seek his Kingdom and his Righteousness Matthew 6:33.

We need to judicially read and understand worldviews so that in that context we are able to reply according to God’s Word the reason for our hope in this hopeless world.

Be His Mouthpiece When the Word of God is rich in us, we will be a sharp axe in His hands.

We need to be His mouth-piece as ministers of reconciliation, while we seek his Kingdom and righteousness Hebrews 4:12; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Matthew 6:33

The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: Isaiah 50:4

We are God’s Battle-Axe in his hands. We must ensure we are cutting-edge and not dull so that he can profitably use us in the battlefield.

If we don’t sharpen our axe [ourselves] it will be harder to use.

Complacency will not only derail our career but also calling, place and function in the Body of Christ which is an organism rather than an organization.

Sharpening our skills from time to time is the key to success. We are always in need of sharpening.

We sharpen our axe by:

  • Acknowledging Jesus Christ as our Lord [He owns us]
  • Acknowledging God’s Word
  • Seeking God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness
  • Becoming His mouth-piece

Principles of Praise — Jyoti Samudre

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TYPES OF PRAISE

1. HALLAL (haw-lal’)

Halal is the primary Hebrew root word for praise.

The commonly used word “hallelujah” comes from this root word.

Halal means “to be clear, to shine, to boast, to rave, to show, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish.”

Scriptures

  • Psalm 113:1-3 Praise (hallal) ye the Lord, praise (hallal) o ye servants of the Lord, praise (hallal) the name of the Lord.
  • Psalm 150:1 Praise (hallal) the Lord! Praise (hallal) God in His sanctuary; Praise (hallal) Him in His mighty expanse.
  • Psalm 149:3 Let them praise (hallal) His name in the dance: let them sing praises with the timbrel and harp.

2. YADAH (yaw-daw)


To worship with the extended hand
.

The giving of oneself in worship and adoration.

To lift your hands unto the Lord.

The opposite meaning is “to bemoan, the wringing of the hands.”

 

 

 

Scriptures

  • 2 Chronicles 20:21 Give thanks (yadah) to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
  • Psalm 63:1 So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will (yadah) lift up my hands in Thy name.
  • Psalm 107:15 Oh that men would praise (yadah) the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.


3. TOWDAH (to-daw)

The Praise of Faith

By way of application, it is apparent in the Psalms and elsewhere that it is used for thanking God for “things not yet received” as well as things already at hand ‘yadah’.

This word is commonly found in connection with sacrifice-applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before manifestation. Thanking God for something that I don’t have in the natural. Agreeing with His Wordfaith in His Word. This form of praise goes in operation just because His Word is true. “Father, I thank YOU that YOUR WORD is TRUE”.

The carnal mind would fight and ridicule this particular action, but there is great faith in TOWDAH as praise.

The lifting of the hand symbolizes agreement. The right hand symbolizes my covenant with my Father. As I go through the scriptures, God is seen extending His Right Hand to me. That’s the covenant. When He extends His right hand to me, He’s saying to me – ALL THAT I AM IS YOURS, and when I extend my right hand to Him, I am saying “All that I am is yours and I agree with what You’re saying.

It is the sacrifice that God honors by His performing of miracles.

The ATTITUDE for TOWDAH is: I’m thanking God. I’m agreeing with God that it is as He says. I don’t care what it looks like. I’m agreeing with what His Word says.
Example: Father, I thank You that I am healed.

Scriptures

  • Psalm 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise (to-daw), With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
  • Psalm 50:14 Offer unto God praise (towdah) and pay thy vows unto the Most High.
  • Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise (towdah) glorifieth Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

4. SHABACH (shaw-bakh)

To address in a loud tone, a loud adoration, a shout!

Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the GLORY, TRIUMPH, POWER, MERCY, LOVE OF GOD.

This word implies that testimony is praise.

The phrase “shout unto the Lord” can be understood as the action of SHABACH.

It is not just being loud. You should have the attitude of putting your whole being into it, an attitude of being totally uninhibited.

Scriptures

  • Joshua 6:20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat.
  • Psalm 47:1 O clap your hands, all peoples; shout (shabach) to God with the voice of joy (or triumph).
  • Psalm 145:4 One generation shall praise (shabach) Thy works to another and declare Thy mighty acts.
  • Isaiah 12:6 Cry aloud and shout (shabach) for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

5. BARAK (baw-rak)

Means “to kneel down, to bless God as an act of adoration, to salute.

To give reverence to God as an act of adoration.

It implies to continual conscious giving place to God. Blessing the Lord, extolling virtue.

There is a sense of kneeling and blessing God as an act of adoration in the word BARAK.

Physical application – To bow, kneel or to do this with the intent in my heart that He is my KING and I yield to HIM. I am acknowledging Him as KING and GOD.

Scriptures

  • Psalm 103 tells us how to bless the Lord and then goes on to enumerate those blessings: loving kindness, satisfaction redemption, honor, renewal. We bless the Lord by remembering all of these things.
  • Psalm 95:6 O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel (barak) before the Lord our Maker.
  • 1Chronicles 29:20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless (barak) the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed (barak) the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the Lord and to the king.
  • Psalm 34:1 I will bless (barak) the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

6. ZAMAR (zaw-mar’)

Means “to pluck the strings of an instrument, to sing, to praise”.

A musical word which is largely involved with joyful expressions of music with musical instruments in praise to God.

 

 

Scriptures

  • Psalm 92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises (zawmar) to Your Name O Most High
  • Psalm 150 Sing praises
  • Psalm 21:13 Be exalted O Lord, in Thine own strength, so will we sing and praise (zamar) Thy power.
  • 1 Chronicles 16:9 Sing to Him, sing praises (zamar) to Him; speak of all His wonders.
  • Psalm 57:8-9 Awake my glory; awake harp and lyre, I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks (yadah)to Thee, O Lord among the peoples; I will sing praises (zamar) to Thee among the nations.

7. TEHILLAH (tehhil-law)

It is derived from the word halal and means “the singing of halals, to sing or to laud; perceived to involve music, especially singing; hymns of the Spirit or praise.”

A spontaneous new song. Singing from a melody in your heart by adding words to it.

This refers to a special kind of singing-it is singing unprepared, unrehearsed songs.

Brings tremendous unity to the body of Christ. Singing straight to God. Can move into tehilah anytime. Singing it the second time would be ZAMAR. It is the praise that God inhabits (sits enthroned on) (Psalm 22:3) God manifests Himself in the midst of exuberant singing.

Scriptures

  • Psalm 22:3 Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises (tehillah) of Israel.
  • Isaiah 61:3 To grant to those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise (tehillah) instead of the spirit of fainting, So they shall be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
  • Psalm 149:1 Praise the LORD. Sing to the Lord a new song and His praises (teh-hil-law) in the congregation of saints

8. Karar (Dance)

We should dance before the Lord as King David did in the Bible.

Scriptures

  • Psalm 149:3 Let them praise (halal) His name with the dance; Let them sing praises (zamar) to Him with the timbrel and harp.
  • Psalm 150:4 Praise (halal) Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

Nuggets of Wisdom (From A Man Named AGUR) — Rachel Mathias

Agur the son of Jakeh is a Bible Character found in the Book of Proverbs Chapter 30, better known as Agur Bin Jakeh. The word Agur means ‘one who is brave in pursuit of wisdom’.

We can glean several prized nuggets from this chapter in verses 5 to 9 such as:
God’s Word is true and flawless, all else a falsehood. God always keeps His promises. We are not to add to His Words. He understood what it meant to live a life of contentment and the paradox of poverty and riches – wherein asking for poverty might lead to stealing or speaking evil against God or asking for riches that might lead to being full of himself and denying God. So he asked neither for poverty nor for riches but only for his daily bread.

Agur understood the significance of the Book of Proverbs which displays the need for God’s Wisdom to be found only in God’s Word that teaches you how to live well; the need to be open to hearing God, receiving His Wisdom through His Word recorded in the Bible.

We are told in 2 Chronicles 1:7, 10, how God was willing to give Solomon whatever he asked for and how Solomon opted for ‘wisdom and knowledge’ to govern and lead His people rather than riches, fame, honor, long life, and victory. Not – surprisingly, he received what he asked inclusive of great wealth (vs 12).

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7. We need to start with wisdom, add to it knowledge, and we will get true understanding.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus I come before you today with a humble heart bowing down before you in worship. I ask you to fill me with the spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of Your Word.

Oh, how I long to be in Your presence. Speak to me words of wisdom through Your Word. Lord help me to be both hearer and doer of Your Word. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom help me obey Your Word in fear and reverence; that Your Word would guide me to live a holy and peaceful life in Christ Jesus. Amen!