Lucifer was an archangel of the highest order. The Bible refers to him being set with beautiful jewels and being the leader of music. He was in heaven, in the family of God with all the other angels. It was in this perfect heavenly place that sin was found in him and he desired to exalt himself above God. That’s when God removed him from heaven. As Jesus put it, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” Satan was exiled and essentially became the first orphan. Then, when God decided to use the earth as a home for humanity, Satan was a witness of it all. In the garden, he watched with his own eyes as God the Father created Adam and Eve, calling them son and daughter. They were the first family on earth. Being an orphan and not a part of the family, Satan has desired from the beginning to separate human beings from their true identity as children of God. Since he is an orphan, he wants us to be orphans. Through deception, fear, manipulation, and lies, the enemy of our souls has been convincing millions upon millions of people that they are not good enough to be a part of the family of God. Many people live their lives every day never truly knowing their identity in Christ. I believe identity is the single most important issue in a Christian’s life. We must find out who God designed and ordained us to be, or we will never walk in true victory.
The birth certificate issued to us when we were born is an official document that identifies who we are. We use this document throughout our entire lifetime as proof of our identity. When we become a new creation in Christ, we receive a new spiritual birth certificate, a new name, God as our father, and a new inheritance, which is eternal life. It’s time for the body of Christ to quit believing the falsehoods of the father of lies. He has done a very good job convincing people that they are not valuable to God. Psalm 139 says that God’s thoughts about us are more numerous than the grains of sand on the sea shore. You are special and valuable to God. He loves you so much and has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life. One very important role of a father is affirmation. Fathers are meant to affirm their children and encourage them to walk out the purpose God has for them. According to the Bible, there are two spiritual fathers: the Father of lies and the Father of lights. The real question is, who’s your father?
THE LORD NEEDS IT
As I celebrated and reflected this Resurrection Season I saw a seemingly unimportant passage in Luke 19. Here we see that Jesus is coming into Jerusalem and instructs his disciples to go into a village and get a donkey.
29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
What sticks out to me in this passage is the phrase, “the Lord needs it”. Up to that point that donkey was someone else’s property. The donkey was defined by its potential to work. When the disciples found it, it was tied up. As the they went to untie it, they were stopped by its owners. Instead of arguing, they simply said, “The Lord needs it.”
This year the Lord has been speaking to me about identity and purpose. Many people are walking in a cloud of confusion because they don’t know who they are. They stay tied up and ineffective, unable to fully understand that the Lord wants to use them. I just want to say to them, “The Lord needs you”.
The disciple untied the donkey and brought it to Jesus. We as believers can walk up to somebody and tell them the Lord needs them, then ‘untie’ them and bring them to Jesus. That’s my heart’s desire for the thousands of kids in the US Foster Care System. The are bound. They are defined by their situation. They may feel hopeless. Unworthy. Scared. Unfit. We, as disciples of Christ, need to go get them and bring them to the King. – Steve Hogue
On my daughter’s 12th birthday, after all the food and cake and presents, I stood up in front of the family and friends that were present, and told them I had something I wanted to say. I began to speak over her with the anointing and authority only a father can give. It was powerful, emotional, and the timing was perfect. She’s 12, stepping into teen years, still trying to figure out her identity. Our daughters desperately need three things: appropriate love and affection, affirmation as to who they are in Christ, and protection and safety. Here are the words I spoke over my oldest daughter, Selah, at her 12th birthday party. In the first three paragraphs I address those at the party who were witnesses to the event. The rest is me speaking directly to Selah.
MY DREAM FOR MY DAUGHTER
I have a dream for all four of my daughters. Today I want to declare a word publicly over my oldest daughter Selah Christine Hogue. This dream is not mainstream. It is not what society says about young ladies. But we are not of this world. We serve a living God and His ways are not our ways. I declare this dream today over my daughter and I speak prophetically what I believe is God’s dream for her life.
My dream is Selah will know who she is in Christ and that she is valuable. Jesus died for us on the cross which instantly makes us valuable. You don’t die for something that’s not worth it.
May this value turn in to Godly confidence that enables you Selah to walk in faith and do whatever others say is impossible. May you never have insecurities or a little view of who you are in Christ.
My dream for you Selah is that you live every day of your life for the one who created you. That your very existence reflects a loving Savior who gave His life for you and that every day of your life, you walk in His direction. May you always do His will and seek Him in every situation, every day of your life.
I have a dream that one day you will meet the young man that we have been praying for you since you were a baby. And with God’s direction and wisdom we will know that this is the man God has prepared for you. It is my dream that you will be a virtuous young woman, and wait in every way, keeping yourself from giving in to the pressures of this world, until the day God unites you and this young man in the holy covenant of marriage.
A dream without a strategy can often be a fantasy. So I promise today that I will strategize to hold your heart. I will guard your heart. I will give you the loving affection that only a father can give to his daughter. I will affirm you as the young woman God has called you to be. I will protect you and keep you safe. I will continue to pray for you and fight for you spiritually. I am asking you today, “May I have the key to your heart?”
When asked, Selah agreed to give me her heart. I then pulled out of my pocket a beautiful silver necklace with a heart hanging from it. The words on the heart read, “He who holds the key, holds my heart. Accompanying the heart pendant is a silver key that fits perfectly in the heart.” I placed the heart necklace around her neck, and told her I will hold the key to her heart until I hand it to her future husband. It was a beautiful moment. There were many tears, but more than that, it was a declaration from a father to his daughter, publically expressing her value and worth. Every young lady needs to know that they are valuable, that they have purpose and they are loved. If their fathers and other father figures are not telling them this, they will look for that love and affirmation in other places.
I want those who read this blog, especially dads, to come to realize the anointing and authority God has given you to speak the truth over your children, especially your daughters. If life and death are in the power of the tongue, let’s use our mouths to speak the truth. These girls will be hearing millions of lies about them their entire lives. We have the power and authority through Christ to dispel those lies and to speak the truth. My daughter was adopted when she was a little over a year old. Ever since she came into our home I’ve been speaking over her life, even when she didn’t know what I was saying. And if I am speaking God’s will and God’s word over her life, His word does not come back empty. It will be fruitful. Never give up on praying for your children and declaring God’s truth over their lives.
I have been spending the first part of 2017 fasting, praying, and seeking the Lord. One of the things the Lord has really impressed upon my heart is a desire to see the orphan spirit broken over people’s lives. Purpose, identity, and who we are in Christ is vital to living the life God has called us to live, and partnering with Christ to see God’s kingdom expand here on earth. In Judges chapter 1, there’s a story about an evil king who was captured by the children of Israel and they went to take over the Promised Land. His name was Adonai Bezek. He had captured 70 other kings and cut off their thumbs and their big toes, and forced them to sit under his table and eat the scraps that fell from his table. “Adonai” means ‘lord’ and “Bezek” means ‘lightning’– the lord of lightning. The Bible declares that satan himself was kicked out of heaven like lightning. Ever since, he’s been trying to get God’s people to sit under the table, convincing them they are unworthy of God’s love, acceptance, and blessing. Believing the enemy’s lies caused some of God’s people to have their thumbs and big toes removed. When you have no thumbs, you are unable to grip or grasp anything. You lose the ability to hold on to who you are in Christ or to the promises of God. When you lose your big toes, you lose your balance in life.
Many Christians have lost their balance and lost their way because they do not know their purpose on this earth. It’s all about identity. Our Identity is found in Christ Jesus. In II Samuel Ch. 9, you will notice the opposite story. David becomes king and he quickly makes a decision to promote Saul’s grandson, Mephibosheth, to a place of honor. He allows this crippled fugitive who feels worthless, to sit at his table as if he’s one of his own sons. Many Christians are sitting under the table barely getting, by eating scraps. But God through Jesus, has adopted us into his family and we are now heirs with Christ Jesus. We have an incredible desire to see over 400,000 kids in foster care get forever families. We want to see them saved, healed, and delivered, and the cycle broken over their lives. We want to see that orphan spirit broken. We also desire to see it broken over the lives of God’s people. May this year be a year that the orphan spirit is shattered and true identity in Christ is revealed to his people.
I will never forget the day we walked into a hospital in Orlando Florida excited about meeting a newborn baby boy that we could potentially adopt. We had no kids at the time. We dealt with infertility for many years and had recently open our hearts to adoption. We anxiously walked into the NICU and met the attorney. She sat with us for a few minutes explaining the situation. She told us that she did not have any medical history on the baby. He was 3lbs 11oz. What’s crazy is he not a preemie. We weren’t sure why he was so small. Then the attorney told us that we could go in and see the baby, but we had 15 minutes. She looked right at us and said, “I need a yes or no”. We had 15 minutes to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives. We had nothing for a baby. We didn’t have 9 months to prepare. My wife Sandra has just started a new job 2 days earlier. We now had 15 minutes to say “yes or no”. After seeing and holding the baby, Sandra looked at me and asked me and said, “well, what do you think?” I looked at her and said the now famous words, “why would we say no?” We said “yes”!
In Luke 8 we see the story of Jesus and His disciples in a boat during a storm. We all know this story and how it ends, but if you look closer, you may see something very significant. In the beginning of this story Jesus essentially asks His disciples to take Him across the lake to the other side. The disciples could have said “no”. But instead they said “yes”. Once they headed across the lake a storm came and the Bible says, they were in great danger. During this time Jesus is not frantically trying to get the water out of the boat or concerned about how dire the situation is. He is asleep. The disciples eventually wake Him up and basically rebuke Him for not caring that they were about to drown. Jesus stands up and simply rebukes the wind and the waves, and all be comes calm. Great story right? There’s just one problem. Jesus wanted to go to the other side of the lake. They are in the middle of the lake in a sailboat, with no wind. The very thing they needed to get them to the place Jesus wanted them to go was now gone. This is very significant to me because we often pray and ask God to take something away completely that He may in fact using to bring you to a place you would have never gone to unless you had been through that particular storm.
Here are several things that will happen when you say “YES” to God:
1. If he says it, it WILL happen- Jesus wanted to go to the other side of the lake. That was His will and the Bible says He only did the will of His Father. Just remember that if God has told you something will happen, it will happen. Do give up. Don’t be discouraged. Jesus did not say, us go half way across the lake and drown”. He said, “let us go to the other side of the lake”.
2. Your “YES” will impact someone else- There was a demoniac on the other side of the lake. That was someone who was bound by the enemy and needed to be set free. Never ever forget that your “Yes” will impact someone’s life.
3. Expect a storm– The Bible said a squall arose. A squall is: a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm, especially one bringing rain. When we say “YES” to God, the enemy will immediately hit us with a storm. Someone reading this may be in their own storm right now. Please understand that when move forward in the direction God has for us, the devil will retaliate. He only attacks what is a threat to him.
4. It will seem like Jesus is asleep- How often does it feel like Jesus is asleep in the middle of our storm? He’s not asleep, but it can feel that way. How can Jesus be seemingly asleep in the middle of your storm? Because he was at peace. He said he was going to the other side. He was confident that they were going to make it over. We will often stay awake at night, worrying about things that Jesus is asleep over. If Jesus isn’t worried, we don’t need to be worried.
5. Jesus has the power to rebuke the storm for you – But we now have a problem. We have no wind. They were in a sail boat – they needed wind. The very thing they needed to get them to their destiny, at least in that moment, almost killed them. Sometimes we cry out for Jesus to take away the very thing will propel us to the next place God wants us to go. The very storm that almost took you out, may in fact be the very wind you need to propel you to the next level of ministry.