PERSONAL PREPARATION
Eddie & Alice Smith

I AM REVEALED
B. Childress
Jan 22 2012

                                               The Father has no favorites, but He does have intimates.

                                                                                 
 Alice Smith

Any attorney will assure you that proper preparation is the key to winning a trial decision.  Nestor stood before the
Greek generals at Troy and said, "The secret of victory is in getting a good ready."  As spiritual advocates, it is crucial
that we get a "good ready" before we face the battles that lie ahead.  When we intercede in prayer, we plead our case
before the eternal Judge of the universe.  Every case we present to God calls for genuine preparation.  Without proper
preparation a lawyer would make a fool of himself before the judge, his client, his adversary, and the gallery of people!

SELF-EVALUATION

Consider the following four items in relation to your own life:

The new birth

Before we prepare a case, we must first prepare ourselves.  Personal preparation to plead a case in intercessory
prayer before God's throne begins with the new birth.  (See John 3:1-5.)
 Without salvation, we are not prepared to
face our own trials or anyone else's!
 But exactly what is salvation?

Salvation is not adopting a new belief system or code of ethics.  It is not a commitment to attend church, and it is far
more than mental aerobics.

First Corinthians 2:14 says, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for
they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."  A person without
salvation is a person without the Spirit of Christ.  In Romans 8:9 we read, "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of
Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

Salvation begins with a revelation of the absence of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the overwhelming
awareness of our personal sin before a perfect God.  It is vital that we each settle this in our own hearts.  But salvation
is more than the forgiveness and removal of our sin.  We are empowered to live because the Holy Spirit moves in.  A
Christian is a person in whom the Holy Spirit lives.  We are unprepared to live or to die without the Spirit of Christ alive in
our hearts.  The mystery of eternal life is, "...Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).

We asked several lawyers what makes a good attorney.  One of them said, "A good attorney is one who knows the
judge and knows how he tends to rule."  We might add that a good intercessor is one who knows God and knows how
He tends to rule!

Faith in God

Through the new birth we can truly know God.  Being born into His family, we become His children.  As children of God
who spend time in His Word and in His presence, we begin to know Him as He really is, not as we have supposed Him to
be.  An attorney who knows the judge and how he tends to rule has a distinct advantage over an attorney who does
not.  One can have no stronger position in the heavenly court than to be one of the Judge's own children.  Who would
dare challenge us?  Or, as Paul wrote, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).

Another lawyer answered our question this way: "A good attorney is one the judge knows and finds to be both credible
and persuasive."  

Speaking of the last judgment, Jesus said, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your
name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'  Then I will tell them plainly , 'I never knew you.  
Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:22-23).  As important as it is to know God, it is equally important that He
know us!

"Doesn't God know everybody?" you might ask.  In a creative sense He does.  We know several children in our
neighborhood, but we know none of them the way we know our own children (Robert, Julie, Bryan, and Ashlee).  Paul
wrote to Timothy, "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows those
who are his...'" (II Timothy 2:19).

A pastor whom we know told us the story of a family in his church whose young son suffered from a life-threatening
disease.  His parents, not seeing the results they had hoped for, took their child off the prescribed course of treatment
for an alternative therapy.  The medical officials called Children's Protective Services and had the parents charged with
child endangerment.

A trial date was set, and the family court judge was scheduled to hear the charges.  A famed, high-powered Christian
attorney volunteered to defend them.  The day the trial began, the judge was already seated at the bench reviewing the
charges when the family's attorney walked into the courtroom and made his way to his chair.  The judge saw him enter,
and before their attorney could take his seat, the judge uncharacteristically left the bench, walked over, and warmly
welcomed him with a bear hug.  It so happened that the family's attorney had been the judge's mentor early in his legal
career.

Want to bet on which side won the case?  You're right!  The judge ruled in favor of the parents.  The best lawyer to
have is not necessarily the most experienced or the most skilled.

There are some important considerations that will determine your effectiveness in pleading cases in heaven's court.  
These include the following:

  • Do you know the Judge? And does He know you?  Is He truly your Father?  Have you been born again?  
    "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows those who are
    his,' and, 'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness'" (II Timothy 2:19).

  • Do you know how the Judge tends to rule?  Do you know His ways, why He does what He does?  "He made known
    his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel" (Psalm 103:7).

  • Does the Judge find you to be credible and persuasive?  "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his
    ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (I Peter 3:12).

  • Do you have faith that Judge Jehovah will hear and answer you?  "And without faith it is impossible to please God,
    because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek
    him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Know your position in Christ.

In every state, an aspiring attorney must meet certain requirements, which include a very difficult bar exam.  So it is with
us who pray.  We need to be properly equipped.  (See Ephesians 4:11-13.)  The courtroom is an adversarial place.  It is
a place of confrontation and conflict.  As our friend the late Dr. Mickey Bonner used to say, "All prayer is warfare."  If we
don't know our position in Christ, we may be easily intimidated by the devil.  If we are to be effective in intercessory
prayer, we must be secure in Christ.  If we are to expect to win a case against Satan, we must know that Christ is in us!

It is not only important to know what scripture says about the case we plead, but we must also know what it says about
us!  Paul writes to the Christians in Colosse: "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have
been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority" (Colossians 2:9-10).  The King James
Version says, "Ye are complete in him."

Knowing your position in Christ fortifies you before the bar of God.  It also fortifies you before your adversary!

The seven sons of Sceva are a good example of advocates who went out half-cocked and unprepared to face their
adversary.  They were not personally prepared to go to court.

    Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who
    were demon-possessed.  They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come
    out."  Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.  One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I
    know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and
    overpowered them all.  He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.  

    (Acts 19:13-16)

These boys had no position in Christ!  They were at the mercy of their adversary.  While the court shows mercy from
time to time, the adversary, as the sons of Sceva learned, shows none!

A pastor asked a church member one Sunday morning, "And how are you doing?"

The member replied, "Oh, pretty good, under the circumstances."

To which the pastor responded, "And just what are you doing
under your circumstances?"

We are not to live our lives according to our earthly circumstances.  We are to live according to our position in Christ!  It
is written that in Christ we are:

  • Predestined to be conformed into Christ's image (Romans 8:29)

  • The temple of God (I Corinthians 3:16)

  • New creations (II Corinthians 5:17)

  • The righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21)

  • Heirs of God (Galatians 4:7)

  • Seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3-6)

  • Chosen of God (Ephesians 1:11)

  • God's possession (Ephesians 1:14)

  • Able to do all things (Philippians 4:13)

  • Complete in Him (Colossians  2:9-10)

  • Perfected forever (Hebrews 10:14)

  • A chosen generation (I Peter 2:9)

  • A royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9)

  • A holy nation (I Peter 2:9)

  • A people who belong to God (I Peter 2:9)

  • A kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:6)

It is extremely difficult for the adversary to intimidate those who know who they are in Christ and who are intimately
acquainted with Him!

Developing intimacy with God

Without a doubt the most difficult part of our Christian life is to understand how we can relate intimately with a God we
cannot see.  Yet our communion relationship with our heavenly Bridegroom will determine our effectiveness as
intercessory attorneys.

We love the story about the elderly man and wife that is written in Alan D Wright's book
Lover of My Soul.

An elderly couple sat across the breakfast table on the morning of their fiftieth wedding anniversary.  The husband put
down the paper and spoke to his wife: "After fifty years of marriage, I've found you tried and true."

Unfortunately the aging wife was hard of hearing. "Eh?  What's that you say?"

The man spoke louder.  "I said, 'After fifty years of marriage, I've found you tried and true!'"

"What?" the wife complained over her squeaking hearing aid.

Nearly shouting, the husband tried again: "AFTER FIFTY YEARS OF MARRIAGE, I'VE FOUND YOU TRIED AND TRUE!"

The old wife lifted her nose and snooted, "Well, after fifty years of marriage, I'm tired of you too!"

A bride must never tire of her bridegroom.  Tragically, the church hardly knows her Bridegroom.

In this relationship of divine love, it is in the heart of Jesus to have a close, intimate friendship.  Yet the reason intimacy
is often overlooked is because love is always tested.  And when we try to get close to God and a huge test comes, we
back up and sometimes forget the process that is most needful to know the Lord in a deeper way.  When the tests
come, the silence of God often accompanies them.  Remember, the teacher never talks during the test.  We must
realize that just because the Lord is silent doesn't mean we are faithless or in sin or that God has put us on the shelf.  
The Father is monitoring our desire for a deeper relationship with Him.

Instead of waiting on God during our wilderness of silence, we try to perform or ignore the silence.  We need trials to
purify us, but God's argument is that instead of "counting it all joy when we fall into various kinds of trials," we moan,
groan, and become unwilling to continue the process.  (See James 1:2.)  The process determines our qualification for
future assignments.  Permit us to say it this way:  Our gift or anointing won't take us where our character can't keep us!  
So learn to submit to the tests!  It can be a real learning experience if you will let it!

QUALITIES OF A GOOD ADVOCATE

Following are personal and professional qualities that make good attorneys.  Let's look to see how these qualities also
help make good intercessors.

Dedication

An intercessor must be committed to Christ, to others, and to the task of intercession.  There simply is no substitute for
dedication.  As Phillips Brooks, a noted Episcopal clergyman and author of the early 1890's once said, "If man is man
and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing; it is an infinitely foolish thing."

Reliability

It's not our ability that God looks for, but our availability.  Paul Daniel Rader, an influential Chicago evangelist during the
early twentieth century and America's first nationwide radio preacher, once said, "If you can beat the devil in the matter
of regular daily prayer, you can beat him anywhere.  If he can beat you there, he can possibly beat you anywhere."  Or
as one country preacher once said, "If your day is hemmed with prayer, it's less likely to come unraveled."

Integrity

In Alice's book Beyond the Veil, she writes:

    If we accept an assignment from God, we can be sure that He will attempt to build integrity into our lives.  I love
    Psalm 26:11-12: "But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me.  My feet stand on level ground; in
    the great assembly I will praise the LORD."

    My paraphrase would read: "In all my public trust I will walk uprightly and pay strict attention to truth, honesty,
    justice and mercy.  I will not plan evil schemes or use myself to promote my own cause.  I will be true to the
    integrity of the Word.  I will live a moral life in private and in public.  I stand firmly on principles of proper conduct
    and I will not turn aside."

Objectivity and empathy

Objectivity and empathy are tricky.  Both are necessary, but they must be kept in balance.  If we are empathetic
intercessors who cannot find objectivity in prayer, we will soon be consumed emotionally and ultimately overwhelmed
with the prayer needs we bear.  Remember the old song that says, "Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there"?

If we are objective intercessors without empathy who cannot feel the needs of those for whom we have been
commissioned to pray, our prayer life will grow stale and eventually dry up.

Kind

Kindness is a necessary commodity for the intercessor/advocate, as illustrated by the following story:  An old man
carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went.  If he passed through a door with squeaky hinges, he put a little
oil on the hinges.  If the gate was hard to open, he poured a little oil upon the latch.  Every day he found a variety of
ways to use his pocket oilcan to advantage.  Neighbors thought he was eccentric, but he went on his way, doing all
within his power to lubricate the hard places and make life easier and more enjoyable for others.

Do we carry with us the oil of human kindness?  When the traffic is backed up, the grocery clerk is rude, or your boss
decides to come down on you, are you exercising the oil of gladness?  Go ahead and do it; it will make your day.

Discipline

The intercessor will not be successful without applying discipline to his or her work of intercession.  As the visitor to a
pottery factory observed, discipline is vitally important:

    A visitor to a famous pottery establishment was puzzled by an operation that seemed aimless.  In one room there
    was a mass of clay beside a workman.  Every now and then he took up a large mallet and struck several smart
    blows on the surface of the lump.  Curiosity led to the question: "Why do you do that?"

    "Wait a bit, sir, and watch it," was the reply.

    The visitor obeyed, and soon the top of the mass began to heave and swell.  Bubbles formed upon its face.  "Now
    sir, you will see," said the modeler with a smile.  "I could never shape the clay into a vase if these air bubbles were
    in it, therefore I gradually beat them out."

    It sounded in the ears of the visitor like an allegory of Romans 4:3-5, "Tribulation worketh patience...experience...
    hope."  Is not the discipline of life, so hard to bear sometimes, just a beating out of the bubbles of pride and self-
    will, so the Master may form a vessel of earth to hold heavenly treasures?"

Leadership ability

In his book Wind and Fire, Bruce Larson points out some interesting facts about sandhill cranes:

    These large birds that fly great distances across continents have three remarkable qualities.  First, they rotate
    leadership.  No one bird stays out in front all the time.  Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence.  
    And then, all during the time one bird leads, the rest honk their affirmation.  That's not a bad model for the
    church.  Certainly we need leaders who can handle turbulence and who are aware that leadership ought to be
    shared.  But most of all, we need a church where we all honk encouragement.

It is safe to say that some of our prayer assignments are also being borne by other Christians.  Let's guard our hearts
against feeling that we - and our prayers - are "the only reasons" something happens.  As the apostle Paul warned us,
"Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance
with the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:3).

High moral character

A Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, who was acquainted with both Christianity and Buddhism, was once asked what he
thought was the great difference between the two.  He replied, "There is much that is good in each of them, and
probably in all religions.  But what seems to me to be the greatest difference is that you Christians know what is right
and have the power to do it, while we Buddhists know what is right but have not any such power.”

The monk was right.  True freedom is not
the right to do as we please.  It is the power to do what is right!

A lawyer who lived in the chambers of a temple told a story of an old gray-haired man who knelt down every night and
said his prayers aloud.  Their rooms were beside each other, and the partition between their rooms was thin.  The
lawyer heard what the old man said quite distinctly.  He was greatly surprised to hear him always say this prayer: "Lord,
make me a good boy."

This may seem rather ludicrous.  But if you think of it, you will be touched by its beauty.  Long years before when, as a
little child, that old man had knelt at his mother's knee, she had taught him this petition: "Lord, make me a good boy."

And through the years with their trials and temptations, he still felt the need of offering that cry in the old, simple
language of childhood, knowing that in the sight of the ageless God, he was still a child.

Just as a good advocate should be a person of high moral character, an effective intercessor must also live a holy life of
high moral character.

A team player

Corporate intercession is almost an unknown art.  In most places it is individual intercession in a corporate setting.  
Thankfully, the church is beginning to understand how to gather as a group and approach God as one person!

We are also beginning to network as intercessors.  We realize that the more testimonies we have in court, the stronger
our case will be.  We are grateful for the many Christians who faithfully serve us and our ministry in prayer.  We take
seriously the hours they spend in court on our behalf.

We never cease to be amazed at the self-discipline exerted by intercessors.  The abilities to work well under pressure
and with minimal supervision are grace gifts that God has given most intercessors.  People of prayer, we admire your
faithfulness to voluntarily spend the time you do in prayer on behalf of others.

We can experience transformation of our families, cities, and nations if we will be willing to labor together.

No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful
process of study and preparation
.  

                                                                                      
Horace






Source:

SPIRITUAL ADVOCATES, by Eddie & Alice Smith, Copyright 2008, Charisma House.
2010 - HIS GLORY REIGNS
LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES