Have You Passion?

Have You Passion?

(Rev. 3:14-19, Jude 20-21)

Seven years ago, I was working in southern Illinois on an 11 month assignment.  My daughter had been to the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and wanted to visit again.  She flew in from NJ and I drove across Missouri to meet her.  It was my first visit and I had some familiarity with their ministry.  If you are unaware I encourage you to visit their website at ihopkc.  They encourage prayer and worship and have a prayer room that has been continuously focused on Jesus Christ, 24/7 for over 15 years.  During my drive to KC the Lord turned my attention away from myself and toward my daughter.  He said this weekend was about her and not about me.  He was setting me up.

As we sat in the prayer room, I was awakened to a level of the love of Jesus Christ for me I had not known.  This was far beyond what I had experienced before.  We often speak about breakthrough.  We are right and in pursuit of God’s purpose for us when we seek to be free.  Our seeking in itself is a humbling and repentance.  I had real deliverance from fears and self-effacement.  Our enemy will often turn us inward on ourselves.  I experienced the passionate love of Christ for me as part of His bride.  I knew that intimacy that makes one feel like they are the Shunamite of Song of Songs.  I had known this in measure but now I knew it deeply, at a new level.  It was a life changing experience.  It was a fresh beginning of true unity with the Lord’s love and purpose in my life.

It put a fire in me and gave me an intensity I had not known before.  The Lord, by His Spirit, was preparing me for a launch that initiated in 2013.  The year in between saw personal failure in a failed marriage.  It was sad but we saw much grace.  In this life, human failures happen and we must continue to pursue love, His true love.  I learned passion from and for Him.  Jesus Christ Himself carries us through all kinds of loss, including failed relationships.  May God redeem every broken relationship for His name’s sake.  Maintaining His passion is the focus I am learning through this and my continued journey.

How do we maintain the passion?  How did we find it in the first place?  Did we initiate it?  We received Jesus and with that experience we began to know His love for us.  The more we receive that love, the more we love back.  The more time spent in His presence, the more we are joined to Him in experience and the more we learn to move in His purpose.  The fire is His passionate love for us and it flows back to Him the source.  He draws us more and more to Himself.  He is the fire.

Many have found the importance of this prayer, out of the Psalms, “Search me and know me.”  Open to Him and let Him expose all the dark and ugly places still hiding in your soul.  They are offensive to you, and would be to others if exposed.  The more we know His cleansing and find His steadfast love, the more we love Him.  The one who is forgiven much, loves much.  He doesn’t search us to condemn.  He searches to cleanse every stain.  As His refining fire works to burn away our self-centeredness, we find His life in us is revealed.  Christ in us the hope of glory.

Children want to please their parents.  While, with our human natures, we can manipulate our parents, we cannot fool God.  If we come to Him to manipulate we will find frustration.  It can bring us to a tantrum or pity party.  Don’t stay there.  When I have found myself there I cry out and ask God to fix me, save me.  Yes I am saved but still in the process. (Phil. 2:12-13)  And the process is bringing us to rest in Him.  We lose the notion that we of ourselves can please God, our Father.  It is God at work in us to will, and to do for His good pleasure.  The result for us is joy unspeakable and full of glory.  We experience His glory, His pleasure in us.

I repeat what I wrote in my previous post.  It is not time for lethargy and lukewarm living.  We individually need the fire to never go out on the altar of our hearts.  This is another way of saying, be being filled with the Spirit.  When we are allowing His Spirit to fill us, we overflow.  When the fire is burning with passion in our hearts, it is like a fire in our bones and it will come out.  Keep your door, the door of your inner man, the door of your heart open to Him.  He will come in and be your fire.  And most wonderful it is that if we maintain, we experience His continual presence.  That is joy unspeakable.

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The Time In Which We Live

The Time in Which We Live

For this message, I leave it to the reader to search the writings under the New Testament.  We find there many references to days and times and seasons.  I am not taking the time to go through them here.  As is my desire, I want you to search for yourself.  As you search, the Lord Himself will begin to open His heart to yours and in turn, yours will be opened more to His.  I have found that itself to be a worthy goal of all ministry.  That men might know Him, the One who is worthy of our very lives, and the source of our very existence.  May you be continually hungry for more of Christ.  He, by His Spirit, is the bread and the wine, the daily bread and water of life.  May these words stir you to seek Him in a fresh, deep way.

I have borrowed this title from a booklet I read years ago by a man T. Austin-Sparks.  He was part of a teaching ministry called a “A Witness and A Testimony.”  Their goal and desire was that the Lord Jesus would have a true witness in the earth.  I have been built up in my inner man by that ministry.  The Lord has worked among humanity since the beginning to raise up a people who truly represent Him in the earth, and so that through His body, the church, He might put all things under His feet.  The Lord works through His church to displace principalities and powers and put them to an open shame.  The very gates of Hell shall not stand against His church.  So that is still the Lord’s purpose that in this time in which we are living, He is building His church into a dwelling place that He will fill and be welcomed in and remain.

While I may have written this before, a wonderful disciple and true servant of God has said that when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead that time ended and eternity began.  That servant is Smith Wigglesworth.  We can begin to live a heavenly life now.  Some believers have missed this and fallen into a passive state of waiting for their physical death, or the end of this age and the Lord’s full appearing.  Many of these live godly lives and have the righteousness of Christ working in them but they have missed the calling to press in to know Him as Paul wrote to the Philippians.  We often do not overtly resist the Holy Spirit but, by fear and doubt and self-centeredness, not yield full control.

I mentioned above the New Testament.  The writings under that heading are precious records of the lives of true disciples of Christ.  But those writings are not the new covenant.  The new covenant was brought in by Christ Himself.  The old failed because it was based on man following an outward law of behavior.  That law could not change a man.  Some of us need to read Paul’s letter to the Romans again.  The Lord Himself, the Living God, spoke through Jeremiah that He would make a new covenant.  I purposely did not capitalize those words.  This is about Christ Jesus and what He has accomplished.  He is the author and finisher of the covenant.  I think again of the blood of the eternal covenant and the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.  We need to maintain this heavenly perspective of His kingdom and His continued present working.

These thoughts elevate Christ to His rightful place as the source and finish of the work of God in the earth.  So Paul writes that we are dead and our lives are hidden with Christ in God.  It is no longer we that live but Christ lives in us.  That life is eternal; it can no longer die.  He spoke to John on Patmos and said, “I AM He that was dead and behold I am alive forevermore.”  His resurrected life is our only life.  That life is the life that overcomes sin, the world, and the devil.  It is the life that has authority and can dismiss demons with a word and likewise heal the sick, and raise the dead.

So what is the time in which we life?  Nothing truly new is under the sun.  For us Christ is our life and is new and fresh every morning.  It is time always to seek the Lord, to run after Him.  It is time to awake from our spiritual slumber.  It is not time for lethargy and lukewarm living.  The wonder of His grace says, if we find ourselves so, we can simply say Lord, give me eye salve, gold refined in the fire, and robes to cover the shame of our nakedness.  Read Revelation 2 and let His eyes search you and know you.  He loves you and wants to draw you closer than you have ever thought you could be.

A Remnant

A Remnant

(Matt 24)

God has always preserved for Himself a remnant.  After the fall, Adam and Eve could have experienced physical death immediately.  They did not.  God provided animal skins to cover their nakedness, to cover their shame.  While it is not plainly written words, I think that communication with the Lord continued in some measure.  I think this because God had conversation with Cain before he murdered Abel.  The Lord saw it coming and sought to turn Cain from the sin that was crouching at the door.

Following, we know that men began to call on the name of the Lord.  Enoch walked with God and others had experience of the Lord.  Methuselah and he are in the family of Noah.  We know how Noah and His family were the remnant of their day, of the entire human race.  What a sad and sobering time.  We have been hearing more lately of the words of Jesus regarding Noah, when asked by the disciples concerning the end of this age.  Jesus had just spoken about the temple, the physical one, and that not one stone would be left on another.  In response to that statement of Jesus, He is asked, “When?”  His response is a significant and His often referenced discourse follows.

Jesus said it would be as it was in the days of Noah.  How much has been said on this!  Life was continuing as always but Noah was walking with, and listening to the Living God.  Noah was knowing Him as Father, as director, as keeper.  He and his family would be preserved as he built a vessel that would preserve them and the animals that the Lord brought to them.  So it will be at the end of the age.  As I have written before, Paul writes to the Thessalonians of those who will be alive and remain at His return.  The Matthew 24 discourse includes the disciples’ question, “What will be the sign (the indicator) of your coming?” They were aware of His return.  The Lord will have a remnant alive and waiting, looking to heaven, for the bridegroom to appear.

These are the ones who love Him, who love His presence, who love His appearing more than anything else.  Anna and Simeon are representative of the Lord’s remnant.  In Elijah’s day, the Lord told him that He had kept for Himself 7000 who had not submitted to Baal.  Today the Lord has His remnant who are not yielding to the god of this age.  He is refining a nation of kings and priests for Himself.  This is the bride of Christ, His true body, with the eyes of a dove, returning His gaze.  She allows the fire in His eyes to do it’s work in searching her inner parts.  He tests our motives and refines them so that all that we do and say reflects Himself.  If we say He abides in us, we ought to walk as he walked.  So were Enoch and Noah.  More than they so is Christ in His people conforming our image and our walk to His.

I recently heard the testimony of a wonderful, matured man of God who had a powerful, Spirit-driven experience.  In the 1980’s, the Lord used this man and a team of mature intercessors to release apostolic anointing that had been bound by strong religious spirits.  If we consider the accelerated maturing of many true disciples since that period, we can recognize the increase of the release of the Lord’s authority in the earth.  We stress this is the authority that belongs to Christ, and that He commissions.  It is dangerous for us to move in presumption.  Yet when He sends, men and women move in great authority and the kingdom of God advances.  I find myself praying for all believers to have boldness to speak as we ought to speak.  This was Paul’s own request and we honor him as a true bond-servant of Christ.  He is making us an apostolic people, not in name but in truth.  It is a dangerous practice to take the name apostle to ourselves.  Let us see ourselves rather as humble servants, like Christ Jesus, simply desiring to do the will of Father in heaven.  Such are those who are His remnant.

The Lord’s House – Part 3 – A Heavenly Building

The Lord’s House – Part 3 – A Heavenly Building

(Malachi 3:16-18, Revelation 21:14-21)

We are not built on the earth.  We are built in heaven.  We are individually and corporately formed in His presence.  Having received His Spirit and a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, we grow.  Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father and we are seated with Him in that heavenly realm.  It is a spiritual reality, not an idea, and we experience His presence.  This is what Jesus defined as eternal life in John 17:3, that we would know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.  I am troubled by so-called teachers who teach true principles apart from a revelation of Christ Himself.  I acknowledge that true principles are expressed but without a reality of the cross of Christ, I consider them deceived.  I have been accused of being religious and too narrow but, without Jesus Himself, we are easily sidetracked at best and truly deceived at worst.

The prophet Malachi spoke of those who were distressed at the state of God’s people in his day.  God called them His jewels.  (See Malachi 3) The Lord considers it precious when we are grieved with His Spirit over the state of things in His house, among the people called by His name.  So it often is with us.  We see failures in leadership, in other believers, and in ourselves.  We pray and repent.  We talk about situations but we do not want to gossip.  Should we not talk about it?  Can we pray together about it?  We need to speak the truth in love.  Some things need to be addressed.  The key is that our hearts are in tune with the Son of God who is over all of His house.

I emphasize that word all.  If we think the place God has plugged us in is His house apart from other gatherings in our region, we are immediately missing the truth.  The Lord’s way is a way of sowing seed.  We are the seeds He would spread around.  I have recently prayed in the morning, “Lord, I am yours.  Where do You want to sow me today?”  I am learning new levels of consecration and simply losing my agenda.  I find recently, He often says to me, “Stay with your plan.”  Such direction comes when we have submitted ourselves to Him.  Most important is that we hear direction from Him.  Do you know what a check in your spirit is?  I often stop in the middle of a conversation to be sure I should continue.  He is polishing us as His jewels.  We must learn to pray for one another and be careful with our critical statements.  We must also learn to speak the refining words as the Spirit gives us to speak.

In this way we build with Him.  We work with Him in His work of redemption.  We read in Revelation that the foundation stones of God’s city, the heavenly Jerusalem, are the apostles.  Interesting that John, who had these visions, was himself one of those stones.  We read on and hear that the walls of the city are like gold but like clear glass.  Transparent.  And they are compared to precious stones, to jewels.  The city has many colors.  A variety of jewels are mentioned.  Dare we use the word diversity.  Simply because the world’s view of diversity includes a wide spectrum of ungodly differences, we know that God has created wonderful diversity naturally and spiritually. (See 1 Corinthians 12)

We are the stones in the walls of that city built upon the apostles and prophets.  The Lord is yet polishing us as transparent jewels so that His glory will shine through.  Hear God’s words through Malachi.  The entire portion of chapter 3 speaks of the Baptist coming, preparing the way of Christ.  And it reveals Christ, the messenger who came to the temple, to the people of His day to refine and purge them.  Some followed the Lamb and were refined and others fell away.  And some rejected Him totally.  Simeon and Anna were part of the remnant of that day.  So were the 12, and I would think the 70 who were sent out by Jesus.  And the two on the road to Emmaus.  We all desire to be part of His remnant.  These are His true followers, true disciples, who allow and submit to all His working and refining.  Ultimately, His remnant are those who endure to the end.  That final end will see His full appearing and the remnant will be those who are alive and remain.

The Lord’s House – Part 2 – Living Stones

The Lord’s House – Part 2 – Living Stones

(1 Peter 2:4-10)

We come to Him and are born of His very life. That same Spirit that raised Christ form the dead gives us a life we never had before.  Every human, every man and woman, is born with a spirit, and the Spirit of God searches the whole earth and finds hearts who are open to receive that Life.  We can only call this a mystery, similar to natural childbirth.  When a child is born, it is not simply a physical being, it is a living soul.  The spirit of everyone of us then hungers for something naturally indefinable.  But God is searching for us.  He sent Jesus Christ, as the good Shepherd, to find us like lost sheep.  Some of us appeared to be more lost than others.  Indeed some of us were really lost.

He found us, saved us, cleaned us up and we knew Him.  We became aware, not only of ourselves now, but of the Living God.  Just before the referenced passage, Peter refers to us as newborn babes.  He continues with the description of us as living stones, being built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  Sacrifices of praise and worship are inspired in us by that Spirit He filled us with.  To be sure, we do more than praise, pray, and worship but these activities are the foundation of all else.  And our listening, our sitting at the feet of Jesus, the Master Teacher is primary.  None compares to His wisdom, His life, His love.  His words are Spirit and they are Life.

We have written, as we have heard, that we are His workmanship.  Peter writes we are being built up.  When Solomon built his temple, no sound of human working or human tools were heard at the temple site.  The stones were fitted together forming a perfect harmonious structure.  The Lord is bringing us all to that.  Everything that hinders the flow of His life, everything of self is being removed.  He brings us to a place of being living stones and His life flows from one member to another.  It is all built upon the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ himself.  No other foundation can be laid.

Often, other materials, other stuff that is not founded upon Christ is used in building.  Such material cannot stand the test of God’s fire.  If we pay attention, He will teach us to build His way as He taught the disciples.  We find we can be in the place where His fire is a gentle burn easily removing chaff and burning it up.  His sanctifying work.  As we abide in Him growth will happen.  We grow down deeper into Him and blossoms come, His fragrance comes forth, and then pleasant fruit, pleasing to Him and a blessing to others.

A few years ago, I attended a conference where a pastor, Steve Chua, was teaching from the letter to the Ephesians.  During that weekend or shortly after I had a picture of God’s building in my spirit.  I was aware of us as living stones fitted together.  Each “stone” was alive, organic if you will.  A mortar was between each stone as would be used in natural building.  I have understood that mortar to be the love of Christ working in each one of us.  Each stone was not static but growing and expanding.  As each would grow, the whole building would expand.  Finding ourselves to become a spiritual house is a beginning, not the end.  He will expand the house to hold more of His glory and presence.

As He adds to the stones with new members, what an awesome house we can expect.  The glory of this latter house will be greater than the former.  We understand this on several levels, different perspectives, but we remain focused on this spiritual house, even the body of Christ, not mystical, but spiritual.  Real and substantial, built by God Himself as a city not made with hands, or any human effort, but by the Spirit of God.  His ways are higher than ours and past our finding out, except by that Spirit that opens our eyes and ears.  My we continue to grow in grace, truth, and love ever being aligned with His plumb line.  Such as necessary for the building to truly become what He desires to inhabit.

The Lord’s House – Part 1

The Lord’s House – Part 1

(Ephesians)

We read in Ephesians 2:22 that we are being built together to be a habitation, a dwelling place, of God in the Spirit.  His goal is for us to become a house for Him to stay in.  We would be a welcoming place for Him all our days.  Over the years this thought, this desire of the Lord, has been mentioned and expanded upon in pictures to clarify and emphasize it for us.  As we press toward the unity of faith, toward being the fully mature new man (Eph 4), we hear again Jesus’ prayer that we would be one as He and the Father are one.  How seemingly impossible, but with God, this is not only possible but an aspect of His ultimate desire and will.  It will be accomplished.

He has called us to participate with Him in the building.  First, we submit to His working on and in us.  We are His workmanship, created for good works, which He planned beforehand that we should walk in them.  What an awesome thought.  Before the foundation of the earth, He called us to walk with Christ to fulfill His desire to have this dwelling place.  We are being built together into a dwelling place of God by the Spirit.  We grow in our identification with Christ, as a temple of the Holy Spirit.  No institution can represent this.  We do organize ministries and churches.  Administration is a necessary part of our functioning.  We look to keep that in the background.

Recently, a brother I met for the first time responded to a comment I made saying, we need structure.  True.  The human body has structure but the skeleton is on the inside.  If we see the bones protruding we know something is not right.  The flesh, living tissue should be healthy so that the body is seen.  Too much structure and we are distracted from the face and getting to know the person.  When we see that sort of thing, let’s not get critical, let’s pray for more flesh to cover the bones.  Pray for the spiritual health of the place.

I am more and more unsure, uncertain how to proceed in this regard.  The Lord never intended to build any organization.  We all get frustrated at such a statement but it is absolutely certain.  It does not mean we should never own a building or put a name on it.  But we must never become attached to it.  We have not here a lasting city.  Organizations built by humans are like humans.  The grass withers, the flower fades and we need to move on.  I have participated in churches, a bible school, and Christian academic schools.  They all have a temporary place in our lives.  These are places where we can be offended, hurt, betrayed as well as encouraged, taught, and experience growth.  Many of us have experienced unjust rejections.  Hold no offense.  Allow the Lord’s justice to manifest in His way, in His timing.  He then has each of us in greater measure for His purpose and He receives a greater glory, more of us.

We simply need to again consider the life of Jesus.  He grew up in a family.  He went to synagogue school.  Has anyone been touched by rejections and unjust, undeserved treatment on the extreme level that Jesus knew?  The enemy’s vicious, jealous, arrogant, and blind overreach set up His total victory over his greatest weapon, fear of physical death.  That weapon of death was utterly destroyed.  Through the process, Jesus finished His course to fully become the chief cornerstone.  As the disciples followed Him they became, as John writes in Revelation, foundation stones of the walls of the city.  They are built upon that chief cornerstone.

We are His workmanship.  That bears repetition.  This is true individually and corporately.  When we do not fit in a certain place, in certain relationships, we move.  Was trouble necessary to spread the church from Jerusalem?  Persecution accelerated and the diaspora came.  That is the word Peter used in his letter and it was translated, “to those scattered.”  They were seeds scattered.  We are not meant to only stay in one place.  That movement is primarily spiritual and relates to our growth, our upward climb toward His full purpose.  Geographic movement is often, but not always, part of the process.  I sense a personal challenge here yet not what I will or think.  I want the Good Shepherd to lead; His direction and His timing bring us to His destination.

If we are paying attention, we see He is building globally.  Technology has caused us to remain in meaningful, instantaneous connection all over the world.  And we hear more and more stories of translations by the Spirit.  God is doing more than we ask or think.  I have been praying for spiritual changes.  God has responded with natural manifestations.  This has included earthquakes, and literal fires.  I did not ask for them and they came.  His building is a house of prayer.  We are learning and seeing that prayers release His judgements.  Also prayers bring His mercy.  We all desire His rich mercy.  But without justice, no true mercy will come.

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

(Luke 15: 11-32)

The kingdom of God is not of this earthly creation.  It is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  It is spiritual.  Jesus told Nicodemus that one most be born of heaven to see the kingdom.  Spiritual birth is needed for each of us.  It has been said and written before that this can seem gradual, or instantaneous.  But a moment occurs for each person who is truly born of the Spirit where that one knows it.  The circumstances vary leading to that moment but the birth must happen.  Like a child is birthed out of the womb, we are awakened to the kingdom.  The child is brought out into the world.  The newborn babe in Christ is aware something exists beyond this world.

I notice how often we confuse our earthly attempts to understand with the reality that the kingdom is not knowable by earthly understanding.  It is the problem with training and endless reading of books.  Our desire for understanding is not wrong but I am aware of the desire to be a teacher.  We want a ministry, to be respected, admired in God’s house.  Too often we have been taught that acquiring knowledge is the highest goal.  In proverbs we are exhorted to gain wisdom, to gain understanding.  The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  When the Lord revealed the new covenant to Jeremiah, that prophet declared, you will not teach one another to know the Lord for you will all know me, from the least to the greatest.

And how did Jesus define the greatest?  The greatest shall be the servant of all.  Long ago I heard and received this truth.  We are here to wash one another’s feet.  I hear of redemptive gifts and I understand them to be a description of our natural personality inclinations.  These need to be subject to the cross.  While some of us may be seen by others and our own selves as servants, we are all called to be servants.  If we put on Christ, we put on the greatest servant of all.  He was the Highest and emptied Himself to become the servant of all mankind.  This is a mystery!  It is also the greatest truth of all.

The kingdom of God is a vast family of servants.  A family of those who know the will of God and do it.  Jesus said many times, “To what will I compare (liken) the kingdom of God?”  It is like a king who had two sons.  He often began with that phrase.  We have a king and are like two sons.  Jesus contrasted the two sons.  One of them we want to be like.  The other, not so much.  Have you ever refused to rejoice in the salvation, or victory, or blessing of another?  Have you been nursing disappointment?  That elder son was such when the wayward brother returned home.  “Dad, you never gave me a party, and look all you are doing for this kid who wasted what you gave him?  And you want me to join this party? No way!”  Most amazing to me that the Father pleads with that bitter son to come in.  Pleads?  We could easily complain to that Father, “Why would you plead with him, that bitter guy?”  The Father’s heart is revealed that He looks for that elder brother to soften his heart.  The Lord loves him too.  He had been working too hard and not enjoying the blessings, even earthly ones, that the Lord had for him.

The kingdom includes both of these brothers.  The Father loved them both.  Both needed a repentance, a return and a restoration to right relationship.  We could say more about this story, this parable but we will let you go search more yourself.  We mentioned the desire for us to be teachers.  As we grow spiritually we should be teaching others.  This is mentioned in Hebrews regarding maturity.  It has taken a time for me to begin to write into the public sphere.  I had to come to a place of confidence in whom the Lord had grown me up to be.  I often say that what we need to do is quite simple.  Learn to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen.  Find good teachers.  Connect with genuine believers.  Move from one sheepfold to another.

In all this, move as the Good Shepherd directs you.  Have you been in one stream (denomination?) for your whole life, afraid or unwilling to drink from a richer stream?  Sorry but every denomination is just that.  Individual churches with denominational names are often now more alive than in the past.  Leadership is critically important.  If a leader is still not learning of the Lord and growing, you will come to a time you must move.  Do you know His voice?  You can know it, you must.  He creates the hearing ear.  He, the living God, wants you to know Him more than you know Him today.  This is the New Covenant in the blood of Christ.  Such is the kingdom of God.  It is filled with sons.

A Woman in the Heavens

A Woman in the Heavens – Revelation 12

John was in the Spirit.  Heavenly revelations, unveilings, exposures were given to him.  These were similar to those seen by Ezekiel and Daniel.  These are spiritually understood.  Recently, I have read some of the historical interpretations of chapter 12 of Revelation and the visions recorded.  These comments did not address another understanding.  I had the privilege of knowing some saints who had grown through the movement known as Latter Rain.  With these and others such as Wade Taylor, I was exposed to teaching concerning sonship.  As with many “new” teachings, distortions abounded.  Jesus clarified it this way.  Love your enemies, bless them that curse you and so prove to be sons of your Father in heaven.  All other manifestations will ultimately be tested, some will be found illegitimate, and some will be disqualified.  The sons of the kingdom will be bound and cast into outer darkness.  Jesus said this.  I choose to be a son of our Father in heaven.

Those who learn to love like Jesus loves grow into true maturity.  This passage in Revelation reveals a woman in the heavens.  This woman is the bride, the wife, if you will, of the Lamb.  She has died to the law and been joined to the One who has brought us grace and truth (Romans 7).  She is in heaven now as the cloud of witnesses and extended to the earth among those who in experience are seated with Christ in the heavenlies.  So we, along with the Spirit and the bride and John, cry, “Come, Lord Jesus.”  Through intimacy and travail in prayer, she gives birth to a man-child.  Apparently, the Greek word refers to a mature man.  Isaiah said a nation would be born in a day.  The day is drawing near, and it seems to me, has already come in a measure.  The body of Christ is arising as a mature man, yet in child-like humility fully submitted to our Father. Many true disciples are praying for people all over the world with instant healings resulting.  Other manifestations of true spiritual authority are showing up.

Paul wrote to the Galatians, who were being drawn back to the law, that the Jerusalem above is our mother.  This is very important for God’s people to understand.  It is an aspect of our true identity.  I want to write this very carefully, meaning with grace and love.  The church, His bride, the wife of the Lamb, is not Jewish.  She is heavenly, she is of a spiritual constitution.  She is of a new creation.  This new creation began when the man Christ Jesus was raised as the first-born of new creation.  This cannot be emphasized enough.  A man sits on the throne of heaven.  He is no longer Jewish; He is the first of glorified man.  He was the last Adam, dying to sin for all of mankind and He was raised to a spiritual life, complete with a glorified body.  He is now a life-giving Spirit.  Words are insufficient to describe this One who is the glorified Christ.  This is mystery.

We are hearing that God desires a womb.  His people, His church, the called-out ones, are the bride of Christ now.   In the referenced passage, we see the woman gives birth.  Christ Himself is the initial birth.  We are the following brethren, those who know the will of God, and do it.  We must act as the Father directs us.  We are the sons in His divine, heavenly family, born of His Spirit.  And we see that with the exaltation of Christ to the heavens, that satan has no more place to stand as an accuser.  He is thrown down to the earth where we overcome him.  His main weapon is accusation against those who belong to the Lamb.  And we together overcome.  We need to put away the accusations he brings through us against each other.  I emphasize together.  I have resisted independent spirits.  Those frustrate the work of the Spirit.  It can happen in families, and in the church.  Its basis are wounds unhealed, unforgiveness, fears and insecurities, self-protection.  It inhabits such ground and we separate ourselves from those spirits.  I have done it.  We need for the Spirit to possess our land our souls, so the accuser has no ground to stand on.

To be sure, as Jesus withdrew from Judea, we wisely withdraw as needed.  We must go to the Shepherd, get healed up, and return to our place as prayers.  I mean those who pray.  I am careful with our titles that can sound prideful to others, yet they are real, spiritual functions.  I mean intercessors, prayer warriors, watchmen, fire-breathers.  I have coined a new one.  Watch out.  By that last name I mean those who have the word of God in their mouths, speak it in His name (in His character) and it devours and silences His enemies, and ours.

Prayer, deep prayer, heavenly-minded prayer in intimate cooperation with Christ by the Spirit, brings to birth the new man that God desires.  This is interpretation of the picture we see in Revelation 12.  Yes, that man, that new man is already; he exists already.  He is the body of Christ.  Later in the passage John records that trouble will come to those who dwell on the earth.  The children of the woman are persecuted.  But rejoice you who dwell in heaven.  The more we identify with our place seated with Christ in the heavens, the more joy, the more new wine is poured out through us.  Have you heard the message of Psalm 91?  Dwell in the secret place under His shadow.  Live there, stay there.

Are you knowing, experiencing, the place of authority He offers to us, as seated with Him in the throne room of God?  I have seen in the Spirit empty seats waiting for those who will take them.  I could say to each one that He has a seat for you with your name on it.  It costs you time sitting at His feet.  You find when you take your seat, like Isaiah (Isaiah 6), you are not worthy, but He brings His fire to cleanse.  More than that, as you pour out tears like the harlot, He comes to wash your feet.  I weep again when I see Him love me like that.  He wants to share His eternal, heavenly life with you now.  Just take the time to draw near.

Humility, A Powerful Weapon

Humility, A Powerful Weapon

During this past Christmas season, I have been reading Terry Bennet’s book, “Why We Fight”.  He mentions the importance of Ephesians 4:1-3 as part of our arsenal.  It is critical to maintain the unity of the Spirit for growth to proceed.  I began to meditate on this passage and the power of humility was more firmly established in my relationships.  Haven’t we tired of fighting with others?  I have prayed to lose all my propensity toward anger as it always leads to temporary separations.  Anger itself is not the problem but angry, hurtful words pollute the atmosphere.  Paul and Barnabas came to a contentious issue and split.  It was apparently necessary as other separations have been, but I am weary of them.

I have been gripped with John 17 and Jesus’ awesome and wonderful prayer.  He prayed it and it will be fulfilled.  We are seeing it as we are learning to speak the truth in love.  In Ephesians 4, Paul writes, “I, the prisoner of the Lord.”  Are you His prisoner?  A prisoner of His love?  A love-slave, a bondservant of the One who is worthy of our lives?  From this platform, Paul exhorts them.  The NKJV uses the word beseech.  That is a powerful appeal.  He continues appealing that we might walk worthy of His calling.  The first criteria for this walk is humility and gentleness.  No self-assertion here but a lowliness of mind.

Ponder deeply the glory and fellowship Jesus left behind when He emptied Himself and took on human flesh to become the faithful high priest He is for us today.  We cannot analyze this; we need to see the heavenly.  The Son of God set aside His glory.  I cannot comprehend what this means.  May the Holy Spirit reveal it to us.  It is another message of His deep and unknowable love.  We are called to do the same.  It is foundational in our lives, in our spiritual nature, to walk in humility and meekness.  First, we need to have a revelation of the throne and heaven’s glory.

Some time ago, I visited the Last Days Ministries website.  Our sister Melody Green continues in the legacy of her husband Keith.  I love that brother now among the cloud of witnesses.  They republished a message of David Wilkerson which in turn referenced a piece by Frank Bartleman.  Frank was the historian of the Asuza Street revival.  Like Luke traveled with Paul and wrote the Book of Acts, Frank followed the wonderful moving of the Holy Spirit.  The title of the message was a Christless Pentecost.  How could that be?  How can it be that in that final day, some will say “Look what we did in your name.”  Works of power and healings done in Jesus’ name, and yet the Lord says, “Get away from me.”  Whose glory were those seeking; Jesus’ glory or their own?  Bartleman saw the diminishing of that movement.  He looked for that meek and lowly Jesus.  His yoke is our place of rest and where His glory shines through us.  May we see Him as He is and so walk as He walked.

We have often mistaken volume and “coming against the enemy”, as effective warfare.  To be absolutely sure, this can be exactly what is needed at certain times but I sense volume is not God’s only strategy nor tactic.  Some may disagree but to be direct, I have seen “Pentecostalism” become a hindrance to the growth of His kingdom.  We do not shout out the enemy, we cast him out with a word of true authority.  Years ago, I was with a group trying to learn deliverance.  A lot of words, a lot of noise but not enough real authority.  And some real mistakes.  Was the Spirit directing them?  True deliverance is real, necessary, and awesome.

I do not mean by all of this to diminish true working of God’s power.  We all long to see it but we do not want a show.  Jesus Himself did not want a spectacle.  The Lord has spoken to me and said, “You are Pentecostal.”  I wasn’t sure that was good but I understood what He was saying.  The passion, the fire of God, can be expressed through our emotions.  We do not want to restrain the Spirit’s expression through us.  I think of ones who truly expressed His life and displayed His power; Kathryn Kuhlman, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth.  Among us are others; David Hogan, Heidi & Roland Baker, and now many others including young people out on the streets.  Believers stopping for someone and praying and spontaneous healings come!  Glory to God!  Todd White has inspired many to step out and this flow is increasing.  Sounds like Jesus, like the apostles.  They are going with the love of Jesus.

These works have one purpose; to draw the healed ones to the One who wants to be all for them.  I have received healings myself.  We learn who is the Source!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Yes!  Praise Him!  That is humility.  Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time.  He loves you and wants to bring you out and display His work in your life.  We live for His glory!  The goal is that His name, the name of Jesus would be known in the whole earth.

It seems that some of the church, that is the broad body of believers, still walk in a false humility.  We don’t want to look strange.  We cannot compare to those first apostles, we think.  Some of this comes from bad teaching, wrong believing, incomplete understanding.  I often hear prayer for the fear of the Lord.  Yes, we need that, it is the beginning of wisdom.  But we who have known that and had our beginning are moving into the second half of that verse.  And the knowledge (intimacy) of the holy one is understanding.  That brings the humility, that complete dependence and confidence in our Father to lead and direct us.

The Last Days – cont. – part 3

The Last Days-cont-part 3

(I Thess. 3-4)

I was impressed to continue this theme.  I stay with the same reference given to us by Paul and I will repeat some thoughts for emphasis.  We will not all sleep.  The Lord will have a people who are alive and remain at His return, at the consummation of this age.  I do not know of anything recorded in the law and the prophets that speaks to this but that may be simple ignorance on my part.  I have heard Simeon and Anna as representative of this group of people.  They are a foreshadow of those who will be alive and remain.  Simeon personally heard that he would not die until he had seen the savior.  For any reader who does not understand that God speaks directly to His servants, things that are not written, take note.  God does that, so we may be aware.  In Revelation John hears things he is specifically told not to write.  Again, take note.

A leader in the church whom I respect very much has written that at His return, Jesus would go around the earth in a fast procession so that every eye would behold Him.  I do not understand it that way.  This very moment the Spirit is speaking to His children all over the world.  We all hear Him.  Similarly, on that great and terrible day, when we transition to a new heaven and new earth, every eye will behold Him all at once.  Impossible??!! Of course!!  It will be more awesome than the first, natural creation when He said let there be light.  It has never happened before, and it cannot be explained or understood beforehand.  Eye has not seen, nor ear heard.

Twice in one passage in Peter’s letter, he writes that the elements will burn with intense heat.  It is written twice.  We need to pay close attention.  He also writes a great noise will accompany the day.  I believe we meet Him in the air to be above the intense fire that purges the elements but that understanding may be too simplistic.  Twice, in the same passage cited above, Paul writes to the Thessalonians that some will be alive and remain at that day to behold His appearing.  We will not all sleep (die naturally) but be changed in the twinkling of an eye.  These are aspects of the same “day.”  It is that last day, that great and terrible day of the Lord.

John writes, 2000 years ago, “Little children, it is the last hour.”  In one of Smith Wigglesworth’s messages, he said that when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, time ended and eternity began.  I hear that!  Smith walked a life of faith that few have experienced, but we now together are growing into it.  The last days appear to us to be some 2000 years long.  A day is as 1000 years, and a thousand years as a day.  His ways are far, far, above our ways.  Mysteries.

I caution us in searching the scripture, especially the law and the prophets, to “develop” eschatology.  Jesus said, you search the scripture for life (or knowledge?) and they testify of Him.  Again, I mention the concept of a thousand-year intermediate reign of Christ from earthly Jerusalem.  It does not make sense to me and is inconsistent with the rest of those things recorded from Paul and Peter.  But what do I know?  I do not insist on my thoughts; I do not know.  But this I believe, this I think.  Jesus is not leaving His glorious heavenly throne, nor His Father’s right hand, to take up some earthly one.  We meet Him in the air to ever be with Him, and I am not interested in coming back down to an ongoing mess.  That was not the apostle’s expectation either.

With all this, questions remain.  Are some lifted up to heaven before that great appearing?  Clearly, two witnesses (whoever they are) ascend in full view of the world, before the final day.  But I think the great and terrible day is the end, and the new heavens and new earth.  We are called now to rule and reign in the midst of our enemies (who are spiritual, not flesh and blood) and walk as He walked while He was in this world/age as a man.  Love your enemies, even lay day your life before them, as He did.

Personally, I think that the end is the tearing of the separation of heaven and earth.  If heaven is then fully present, what unrighteousness could remain?  The veil that was part of the law because of sin is already rent so that by, and in the Spirit, we have full access now.  We have full access to live and walk in His presence.