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plumbline

I apologise for this article being a bit longer but it’s length is necessary to do justice to the subject matter involved.

In light of recent events that have happened in Christendom, people have asked me about some of the things happening to people in revelatory encounters and whether they are real, valid and scriptural; and how we know.

Revelatory encounters are certainly on the increase in the Body of Christ and many people are having and are claiming to have had Throne room encounters, heavenly encounters with angels and people, revelations regarding the revealing of the sons of God, courtroom of Heaven encounters, and more. Many of those experiences are legal, real and valid but some are not and we must learn how to distinguish between the two types.

I want in this article to drop a plumbline for judging the validity of the revelatory experiences we may have. (For those that don’t know, a plumbline is a cord weighted with lead that is used in building to check that vertical structures are true. It is used symbolically to refer to the divine standard against which God, the builder of his people, tests and judges them. It also symbolises the standards by which God will rebuild his people. Zech 1:16; Zech 4:9-10 1)

The base plumblines for assessing our revelations are these –

  • The nature and character of the Godhead – God is love, is good, His mercy triumphs over his judgement; He is faithful, kind, holy, righteous and much more.
  • What scripture shows us about God, His ways and His plans for mankind.
  • The finished work of the Cross and what that resulted in as shown in Scripture – Gods plans for the restoration of mankind to his original status and into the image of Christ, the healing, wholeness, righteousness, holiness etc that the work of the Cross accomplished.
  • What scripture shows us about the way we should walk out our salvation and life in Christ.
  • What scripture shows us are acceptable experiences and what aren’t.
  • Love – receiving it, becoming it and living it out – if our revelations do not include this work in us then we are nothing, have nothing and do no lasting good (1 Cor 13:2,3).

The things listed below are an important part of the process of assessing revelatory encounters based on the plumblines above.

  1. Any revelation that denies the Godhead as being who they are, denies that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, or denies that He is above all other principalities and powers is a deceptive one. Jesus is not simply a man, a prophet, a healer, a man of light and goodness. He is the embodiment and full revelation of the Godhead. He and the Father are one and He is one with Holy Spirit, not less than or subservient to either nor they to Him. They operate in the fullness of oneness, honouring each other and their different functional roles within that.
  1. Realise that all people’s encounters are subjective (every time) – that is, how we see them and understand them is influenced by personal feelings, tastes, opinions and perceptions, our backgrounds and woundedness from life experiences, our knowledge of the true nature of God, the finished work of the Cross, our knowledge and correct understanding of scripture and more.
  1. Realise our knowledge is at best incomplete – “For we know in part and prophesy in part”…1 Cor 13:9 – 12. None of us can claim full knowledge or understanding, so we must be willing to submit our experiences for weighing and assessment. On our very best days and in our most deep revelations we still only know in part and we will sometimes get our interpretations wrong – no individual knows all truth; they are not God. We do not stand alone as islands of revelation – our revelations together should build toward a truer picture of who God is and who we are in Christ like jigsaw pieces do towards the full revelation of the big picture.
  1. We are told in Scripture to judge or weigh prophecy and (by inference) prophetic revelation (1 Cor 14:29). That judging or assessing is done by others; not just by ourself. On our own we cannot have anything but a subjective opinion of what something means because of the life lenses we look through. We must therefore be willing to submit our revelations to others who are mature believers and leaders and be willing to be called to account for them. Prov 11:14 says “Where there is no counsel people fail, but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
  1. We are called to walk in love and it is ultimately by our love that we are distinguished from all others (John 13:34,35) not by our experiences. Others will sometimes disagree with our interpretations of our revelations and sometimes we will disagree with their interpretations; that’s life and that’s different people looking at the same thing through different lenses. But even if we disagree we are called to not break relationship but to continue to live in love (1 John 2: 9-11). Breaking relationship and love is never the right way to deal with something. This does not mean you have to still be buddy buddy besties, but love is a heart stance that refuses to let go of God’s best dreams for the other person and continues to act and speak in an honouring way to them and about them.
  1. We are to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3). Not all revelation comes from God; not even all the good-looking, good feeling stuff. The demonic are well able to disguise themselves as being good and give us deceptively good experiences (2 Cor 11:14-15). Just because you supposedly talked to a historical figure or saint does not mean it was that person or that the experience was a valid experience from God, although it very well may have been. (God took Jesus into an experience where He talked to two men who had passed into eternity – Moses and Elijah, so it can happen – Matt 17:1-6) Can those you meet in an experience call Jesus their Lord? Do they inspire deep reverence and worship for themselves (warning bell) or do they actively dissuade you from that and turn you to worshipping Jesus? Do they invite you to continue accessing them for revelation or do they turn you to Christ in the way they speak and act? Does what you’re experiencing line up with what is revealed in scripture about God and the Kingdom?
  1. True revelation from God brings humility and pruning into our lives. In Scripture we see that true Heavenly experiences brought humility into the persons life who had them; and that also while having them they saw aspects of their nature that needed to be corrected. (Is 6:1-5; Acts 22:6-10; 2 Cor 12:1-10) We cannot come face to face with the goodness, mercy, grace, purity, righteousness and holiness of the King and His kingdom without seeing areas of our lives and mindsets that need adjustment. That doesn’t mean it needs to be a serious, or joy lacking experience, even a fun-filled true Kingdom experience will have the effect of working in us humility and pruning us as we see where our lives and thought patterns do not align with the Lord and His kingdom.
  1. True revelation should bring fruit that is measureable and lasts. An experience may be real but if it has no measurable fruit in our life or the lives of others it is either an invalid or wasted experience. The experiences we have should bear good Kingdom fruit in our lives – things like causing us to worship and love the Godhead in a greater way, to be in awe of them – their nature, character, love etc. Those experiences should set us free in areas, from bondages, and wrong mindsets. They should increase our love for other people, our respect for scripture etc. They should end up with us walking in a greater release of Kingdom realities on earth, e.g. healing the sick etc. Experiences without measureable fruit become self-focused at best and narcissistic deceptions at worst. It is not all about you and your experience; it never was and never is. The Lord’s plan for your experiences in Him is way bigger than you, even though you will be blessed beyond measure in them.
  1. Your experiences say nothing about your spirituality, character or your maturity. They are not commendations and recommendations of you to others. They are not to promote you in your ministry. They simply say you had an experience and that you have a good Father who loves His children to experience revelation about Him and His kingdom.
  1. Too many of us take literally what is often symbolic. We must turn to Holy Spirit for the right interpretations of our experiences; it is part of his role to lead us into truth. All through scripture we see that very few of the visual revelations people experienced were literal in their meaning, they were mostly symbolic. They are given like this because we have been invited into a walk of dependency on the Holy Spirit not on our mind and intellect. So we must ask the Lord for understanding and for His wisdom; our own understanding will in most cases translate our experiences wrongly because we think from a human perspective with human and often worldly or carnal thinking. All too often I meet people who have wrongly interpreted their revelations and have come to believe something that is not consistent with what scripture shows us or consistent with the nature and character of the Godhead.
  1. We are called to be led by the Holy Spirit in all areas and that includes accessing revelation – even though we are called to access the things of the Kingdom by faith (rather than from just a sovereign download of revelation and experience) we should still be asking Holy Spirit if this is what He has for us to access at this time. Even in the midst of an experience we need to be led by Him not just by our desires and wants. Often in the midst of an experience I will see something and want to investigate it yet on asking Him He has said something like “not this time, that’s not what you’re here for at the moment”. Some might be tempted to think that is staying in a place of immaturity but it is not immaturity, it is staying in a place of dependency and that is far different. Immaturity is doing your own thing, your own way, irrespective of others and how it affects them.
  1. God can move extra biblically – in other words show us things that aren’t in scripture. Throughout scripture we see many firsts and new things being revealed. God often shows things and then gives understanding later but that doesn’t mean all new revelation is from Him. And we cannot afford to blindly think it is. Even the elect can be deceived (Mar 13:22; 2 Tim 3) All revelations must be weighed and assessed by the things outlined above especially by the overall counsel of Scripture, whether it lines up with the work of the Cross, and judged by mature New Covenant Apostles, Prophets and Theologians. Sometimes that can take time to work out and the theology regarding new things can take years to form. Even in Scripture wisdom was applied when they said in Acts 5:37-39 …”if this counsel or work is of men it will come to nothing. But if it is of God you cannot overthrow it, you may even find yourself fighting against God”. So we should not be quick to jump to judgment and call something heresy (after all we all have some wrong beliefs about the Lord and his kingdom to some degree). But when God does release new revelation into the Body of Christ we must be willing also to move forward in it if it is proved a true revelation from Him; not to pull back and kick out because it doesn’t fit our preconceived ideas of how God does things.
  1. We are called to grow up into maturity in Christ, into His image, not just into ethereal experience. Jesus is our example and what we are to be becoming like. He was both incredibly heavenly minded and intensely practical – He was not some Christian mystic lost in some esoteric experience that was wasted on himself alone. His experiences had measurable fruit that lasted in his life and others. We may have experiences and even teach from them but if they do not have the effect of changing us into the image of Christ then they are invalid and wasted experiences.

Experience is a vital part of growing and all life is based on both experience and understanding; but if our experiences take the place of what Scripture tells us are part of Gods will for our lives then we are out of line. If they do not lead to us releasing the Kingdom into earth in tangible measureable ways – living a greater outworking of love, honouring our brothers and sisters in Christ, feeding the poor, helping the widows and broken, bringing healing to those who are wounded physically and emotionally, discipling nations etc. then they become self absorbed experiences that do nothing except to heighten knowledge and possibly foster a feeling of spiritual superiority.

God is calling us to grow up into maturity, to be those who rightly divide the word of truth, to rightly interpret our experiences, and to become mature believers who walk in true revelation and understanding that leads to the establishing of His kingdom in the earth. And we are, albeit slowly; around the world there are people having genuine heavenly encounters that are resulting in lives and communities being radically changed. Let’s continue to move forward in that. Let’s hold up the plumbline of Truth to our encounters and then move forward into all God is releasing with confidence because our revelations have been weighed and tested and proved true.

  1. Plumbline – https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/7254-plumb-line

On Sunday evening as we worshipped I felt the Lord declare that there is a paradigm shift in revelation happening in the Church by his decree at the moment – that He is releasing further revelation of our union with Christ.

In Ephesians 4 the Lord calls us to grow up in all aspects into maturity in Him, and that’s what this paradigm shift is about. We have come through a period of a few years where He has focused us on the Father’s love and that will not finish, there will always be a revelation of that love, just as all previous revelations continue on and we see deeper things in them as He reveals them to us. Now He is awakening a deeper revelation of our union or marriage relationship with Christ. During this Kingdom age we will come to understand and know by experience the fullness of that relationship.

Jesus made a covenant with us (a marriage covenant) that allowed us to become the bride of Christ; he made it both as mankind’s representative and as God. He told us in that covenant all that He would bring to the marriage union as God and all that He would bring to the marriage union as mankind’s representative. He knew we could never keep the terms of the covenant by ourselves, that’s why He made it! We step into that covenant of union by faith, in Him. We step into it in Him, with his faith; we now live in covenant relationship with Him by the faith of the son of God.

This is not a focus on first love, on the feelings that come with that. They will never fade, in fact they will grow and deepen. This is a not a focus on the wedding, the ceremony, that has happened, you are in union with Christ if you have believed in him and asked him to give his life to you. Don’t look back and hanker for the wedding to happen all over again. There are many who hanker after that first giddy love because they love that feeling. That feeling isn’t wrong but it’s time to add to that.

This is an asking by the Lord of the question “What does it look like to be married to Jesus? What does it look like to live in that place of married love, purpose and fulfillment?”

It’s a time to ask – what comes next, how do we walk in the reality of what has taken place – one heart, one mind, one spirit with Christ. It’s this he is leading us into. It’s a shift in focus – into walking as one.

There are many in the body of Christ who will say “we know about the bride of Christ”, but this is a deeper revelation of that truth. Just as we are not to stay babes in Christ, immature; so we are not to stay babes in the knowing of love. There are many in the body of Christ who have fixated on being the bride – like in an earthly relationship where the girl gets fixated on the wedding. But remember, the wedding is just the beginning.

“There are those who seek me as bridegroom because they love the feelings, but there will be days when the feelings are high and there will be days when the feelings are low. That’s when you walk in the knowledge of my love, in the knowledge of that oneness, that union. That is not a time to say that I have left you, I am one with you; that cannot happen. I have promised to never leave you nor forsake you”, says the Lord. “Look past the wedding. What does it look like to walk as one with me… resources, provision, family relationships, raising spiritual sons and daughters, ministry together, partnership, mutual love and submission and so much more.”

He is calling us back to the eternal reality of Eden – delight. This is related to the marriage relationship of the bride and bridegroom. He is calling us to know what it is to walk in the garden of delight with him, to tend the garden and see it grow and mature into a garden of seasoned delight. This is talking about love and desire but it’s not the giddy desire of first love, it’s the mature desire of love fulfilled, of love that has deepened and grown over time into a garden of deep delight within us because it’s matured and has added to that desire of first love. First love is good but there is a deeper love, a maturing of love that adds devotion, companionship, and oneness of heart, mind and purpose to the first love of desire. Don’t keep hankering back to first love, never lose your first love, your desire; but add to it maturity of love.

This is a shift in focus that is happening according to the Lord’s purpose, He’s calling the Church into maturity, as equals with Christ in covenant relationship, a true covenant partnership of husband and wife working together to release heaven into earth.

Over the last few decades particularly there has been a disturbing trend that has mushroomed; that is the “Christian celebrity” scene. This in turn has led to something I call “celebrity led Christianity” which has crept in to the Church and has caused some people to become more celebrity led in their Christian walk than Spirit led.

In many ways celebrity status Christianity it is nothing new – the Christians in Corinth had the same problem saying “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos” (1 Cor 1:12). Yet during the last half century the tendency to elevate people and their teaching to celebrity status has reached a new high-water mark. This has, I believe, largely happened because of the increase in media saturation particularly through the Internet; not to forget the devils purpose in it of turning people away from their priority of loving and following Christ first and foremost.

Why does someone become a favourite – usually because they preach what we believe or because they bring us fresh revelation. If they preach what we believe then the trap is that it can subtly feed our ego and sense of pride. And if they bring fresh revelation then the feelings of thankfulness and emotion we have because of that can sometimes causes us to focus more on that person than on the Holy Spirit who is in fact the one who leads and guides us into truth. Liking what someone shares and liking them as a person isn’t wrong – it’s when that liking slips over into a subtle idolatry that it’s wrong.

While it is not always bad for preachers to become popular there are inherent problems in that. One is the problem of preachers believing their own PR and getting sucked into the celebrity trap. This has in some cases led to pride and fleecing the flock with some preachers charging thousands to speak in a church meeting or conference either because they believe they’re worth that much or they have big money hungry organizations to keep running. The size of an organization is not necessarily a indicator of it’s effectiveness in the Kingdom. Also they can fall into the trap of believing that they have the monopoly on “their revelation” or on the truth.

Another problem comes on our end, when we accept everything someone says simply because they are popular, one of our favourite preachers or are our Pastor.  The more popular someone is the more influence they have over people and there is a danger in this because they are not infallible, they do not always see things correctly, they are growing in understanding as well as character – as we all are! Don’t fall into the trap of accepting blindly everything your favourite preacher says just because they say it.

We all see things through the lenses of our current theological understanding and preachers are no different; they all preach from their place of current understanding and revelation. That understanding should develop and change as we gain more understanding and the Lord gives us more revelation. In five years time I may look at some things I believe now and be less convinced of them or I may be more convinced of them – depending on the fresh revelation and understanding that the Lord has given me. We must make sure we don’t fall into the trap of believing that our current understanding will be our only one on any subject – it can and should change as we grow in understanding and maturity.

In this media driven world we live in it is so easy to fall into the trap of relying on what our favourite preachers say without checking it out in scripture for ourselves or asking the Lord about it. In some cases we are even taught not to question those who hold some sort of position of authority. Asking questions is sometimes seen as sowing discord or being rebellious or even worse leading to someone being labeled as having a Jezebel spirit; the amount of times I’ve seen that happen over the years isn’t funny! The reason why it is seen like that is often because a leader was themself taught never to question authority figures or sometimes because of insecurity in that leader’s life.  An insecure person will sometimes be tempted use their position to prove or bolster their sense of worth.  So if their teaching is questioned they will sometimes see it as a personal attack or an attack against their credibility and not see it as what may simply be a very reasonable enquiry.

By our fascination and promotion of Christian celebrities we are in danger of building a Church that relies mostly on other peoples revelations, that no longer thinks for itself or asks the Lord for direction to the extent that we should. In fact it may be hard for many of us to accept that our favourite preacher has somehow become someone of celebrity status to us and a subtle idol instead of being simply a brother or sister who is on a journey of progressive growth and revelation just as we all are.

There are people that are gifts to the body – the five-fold ministry is a part of that, but even they should keep pointing you back to Jesus as the focus of your attention and not try to draw you to themselves. Their job description is to train the body for it’s work of ministry, not to just do the ministry themselves, become a celebrity and build a following.  They are given to train people in how to hear from the Lord for themselves and follow him, becoming good Kingdom representatives and sons and daughters who grow into maturity, releasing heaven into earth, bringing freedom wherever they go. If they are not doing this, then they’re possibly not a real five-fold ministry person or they have gone astray from their calling.

Today do take the time to do a spot check. Are there those that you follow who have become someone of celebrity status to you? Do you accept whatever they say without checking it out for yourself; if you do then determine to change that. You have the freedom to question and to grow, the liberty to think for yourself and to learn how to function as a mature son and daughter of God, walking a Spirit lead life not a celebrity led one. By all means, honour people and their gifting but don’t make them something they were never meant to be. Don’t fall into the ‘celebrity status Christian’ trap.

It’s Easter and traditionally it’s the time to tell the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Usually in the telling we focus on the aspect of salvation and how we can know God and have a relationship with Him if we will give our life to Him.

Yet the message of Easter (the gospel message) is not about us giving our life to Him; it’s really about Him giving His life to us! It’s a subtle difference in words but a huge difference in outcome! God doesn’t need our life but we definitely need His! Without His life in us we are dead – dead in sin and dead to knowing Him.

We often concentrate on Jesus’s death and the aspect of Jesus forgiving our sins. But I don’t believe we concentrate enough on His resurrection and its meaning, which is “life”, new life – God giving His life to us in order that we may fully live and that He may live in us and through us.

When you actually think about it, that’s huge! God – the One who is love, freely gives Himself for us and to us. That’s the good news, in fact that’s really good news!

What does that actually mean ….

  • God’s love is unconditional and is not dependent on anything we do!
  • His love and grace have nothing to do with how good or bad we are!
  • In His love God gave Himself to win us back, not just so that He could know us and we know Him, but so that we could know the reality of Him living in us and through us!
  • We can live our life knowing His love, grace and favour flowing in and through us if we believe and accept what He did for us and allow Him to give His life to us!
  • He will supply all that we need to live that life of grace and favour! All of it, everything! We don’t supply any of it!

Wow, that’s really good news!

I believe that the concept of us ‘giving our life to God’ comes from our belief that because of what Jesus did we owe Him everything, which includes giving our life to Him. Yet He doesn’t ask for our life in exchange for giving us His; He gives His life to us freely. Our giving our life to Him in any way, or loving and obeying Him, is simply a response to that love, not a prerequisite for obtaining that love. Yet we have made it a prerequisite. Over the last couple of centuries we have introduced into the Church the ‘sinner’s prayer’, which we maintain must be prayed in order to obtain God’s forgiveness and have relationship with Him. Yet the only thing God actually asks is that we believe / accept what He did for us. “Jesus answered and said, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”John 6:29

His forgiveness is already a fact, whether we accept it or not. We don’t have to do something in order to get it. He did something, He forgave while we were still dead in our sin (Rom 5:8). Then, in His resurrection, Jesus invited us into newness of life; His life – flowing in and through us!

The good news is that we can know the reality of a loving relationship with the Father because of what Jesus did. The good news is that by His death and resurrection Jesus has provided for our salvation, our healing, our wholeness, and a life of fullness and prosperity in all areas of life – “He has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” 2 Pet 1:2-4.

When we accept what Jesus has done and allow Him to give His life to us we are made new creations in Christ; the old ‘us’ is crucified with Christ. (How that transpires may be a mystery to us, yet it is still true and real). We are grafted into Christ and His loving grace brings us into a living relationship with Himself, the Father and Holy Spirit. We become sons and daughters of God. We then get to live no longer by our own efforts but by the life of His Spirit living in us. There is nothing we can do to earn His grace and favour; He gives it to us freely. It is a free gift from God. Rom 5:15-18

We live and walk by faith, which is based not just on cognitive belief but on relational trust, and the more we walk in Him and experience His love and faithfulness, the more we trust and can walk in faith. (Faith is belief in and experiential knowledge of His love, trustworthiness and faithfulness that comes from knowing and experiencing His character, His loving nature and His provision in every area of our lives).

The Good News message is all about God’s grace and love – love displayed, love given, love lived in!

In this life of God’s love, grace and favour…

  • We don’t have to give our life to God in order to get salvation – He gives His life to us when we ask Him into our lives. Gal 2:20
  • We don’t have to try and become close to God – He came close to us, He made us intimate with Him – in fact you can’t get closer than being “in”… Rom 8:9,10 2 Cor 1:21
  • We don’t have to earn His pleasure and His love – He gives it freely. Eph 3:17 1 John 4:16
  • We don’t have to keep asking for forgiveness over and over again – His love is such that He has already forgiven every sin we will ever commit – ahead of time!
  • We don’t have to try to become holy or sanctified; He has made us to be holy and sanctified in Him.  1 Cor 1:30 1Pet 2:9
  • We don’t have to try to become righteous; He has made us righteous in Christ. 1 Cor 1:30
  • We don’t have to try in our own strength to not sin; sin has lost its hold on us. His grace (and His Spirit) teaches us how not to sin Tit 2:11 – 13
  • We aren’t justified (made good enough) by our works but by His work Gal 2:16.
  • We don’t owe God; He gave all things freely, not so that we would be indebted to Him, or owe Him anything  Eph 2:8
  • We don’t have to try and keep in His good books; because of what Christ did we are loved and accepted unconditionally as His beloved child. Eph 1:16
  • Just as we were saved by grace so we are kept by grace Col 2:6
  • We can’t finish (in our strength) what He started; He will complete the good work started in us Gal 3:3  Heb 12:2
  • We don’t have to struggle to know the will of God; His will is that we know and live in everything that is good, acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:2 Ps 23:3
  • I don’t read the scriptures to find out what I have to do, the rules I have to live by; I read them to find Christ in them Luke 24:27 , to learn about His nature, character and heart for me and mankind, and to learn how His Kingdom of love functions.
  • We don’t have to try… because of what He did we get to rest in Him. Matt 11:28 Heb 4:3  
  • We don’t have to keep begging God to provide – He has already done so. 2 Pet 1:2-4 Mark 11:24
  • We don’t have to serve; we are not servants, we are sons and heirs. Any service we do is a response of love and allowing Him to serve mankind through us John 4:19 Eph 2:10 Phil 2:13
  • We were not saved because God needed workers; He saved us because He loved us and wanted us back in His family Phil 2:13 Eph 2:10
  • We are no longer under the law (any of it) but under grace; we live by a new law – the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. He has set us free from the law of sin and death Rom 7:5
  • We are made whole and complete in Him; In Him we live and move and have our being. It’s His life in us that causes us to live this abundant life. Col 2:10
  • We don’t have to jump through hoops to become free; He has set us free already. Gal 3:13 John 8:32
  • God does not want complete control of our life; He wants to give us His life and teach us to walk as mature sons not as puppets or slaves/servants John 10:10

You have been forgiven, buried with Him, raised with Him, made alive in Him and, filled with Him. You get to live in Christ and Christ lives in you and through you and… He supplies all you need to live that kind of Christ life! Now that’s good news! That’s the gospel of his glorious grace and that’s the love and grace that we get to live in!

Last month in our ministry newsletter we featured an article by Stephen Crosby that unpacked the verse “The just shall live by faith”. We had a couple of emails regarding it so I thought I’d share a little bit more on its theme this month. (see original article here)

In his article Stephen shared that from a Jewish perspective/understanding faith had more to do with relational trust than with cognitive belief. Obviously both are needed, but as western Christians we have tended to believe that faith has more to do with mentally understanding something than relational trust. This has caused an imbalance in our Christian walk on a large scale with many Christians filling our churches who read the Bible, listen to sermons, give mental assent to what they hear and end up with a religious belief in Christ rather than a living, growing relationship with Him. We hear and understand that the Christian life is one of relationship with the Lord yet for many that relationship is a formal and somewhat uneasy one, based on their ability to believe in their minds instead of trust in His nature and character.

The Bible tells us we have all been given a measure of faith (Rom 12:3) and that we need to believe in the Lord (John1:12; 6:29). That’s where the problems lay – we think that believing means agreeing in our mind. Yet believing has as much to do with relational trust as it does with mental agreement. We can only truly believe someone when we know that we can trust them.

When we initially come to Christ we trust that what is shared with us about Him is the truth. And when He comes into our life, filling us with Himself, we find out that it definitely is true! From there we get to know Him, and He proves over and over again His faithfulness, love, trustworthiness and so much more.

So when troubles and challenges come our way we look back on that track record and know that because He previously came though in all those times, He will do so again. That track record of His faithfulness is what builds relational trust. And relational trust makes it easy to walk in faith because we know He can be depended on to come through.

So when it comes to the Lord asking us to do things that require faith, it’s actually relational trust that we step into more than cognitive understanding. We still need the cognitive understanding but that is not all we need; we must combine the two, understanding and trust. It’s this combination that will get us through. We read in the Word testimonies of His faithfulness to others; we read His promises to us and we recall His faithfulness to us. We then step into the reality of His faithfulness, knowing that as He has come through in the past, He will do so again. He will provide all that we need to accomplish what He calls us to, and what our need in that situation calls for.

The Christian walk is one of relationship, not mental assent, so it figures that faith must also be about relational trust not just mental assent and understanding. Everything in the Christian life is about trusting in the Lord, knowing that He has already granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness and that He will supply all our needs according to His riches in Christ – He’s done it many times before and nothing is going to cause Him to violate or break that trust you have in Him. You can depend on Him and put your faith in Him – He is trustworthy. That’s why you can walk and live by faith!

A new year has well and truly started, my batteries are refreshed and my creativity is flowing… sounds great doesn’t it? And it feels great too!

I have just finished the first draft on a new book about how to grow and enhance your creativity. It’s funny – but when you start to write you realise you know a heck of a lot more than you thought. You just are so used to putting it into practise unconsciously that you don’t stop to think what you’ve learnt along the way. You also find out how much you don’t know lol, and how much you can still learn. So the new book is in it’s infancy but should be reality fairly soon. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Today – can I suggest that you take some time to think about something you are currently involved with doing and consciously think about and be thankful for the things you’ve learnt that you’re putting into practise in that task. Gratitude is such a positive creative booster and mood booster you’ll find that your day will even go better because you took a moment to be thankful. And quite possibly your task will too.

Part 2

As I was praying for this year there were four statements that came clearly to me – SEE, ALIGN, DECLARE, MOVE INTO IT!

See

Seeing or recognizing what God is doing is of course the first thing that needs to happen. This can happen in different ways and one way is not better than another; all revelation from God is of the same immense value, no matter what form it comes in. To receive revelation by an open eye vision is not more spiritual or valuable than hearing the still small voice of God whisper in your heart and mind; they are just different forms of receiving the same life changing revelations. Be thankful no matter what form revelation comes to you in; if you let it, it will change your life!

Align

Alignment is key in this time. We must choose to align ourselves both internally and externally with what God is doing and ask Him to give us understanding and experience of it.

For example, in our nation of New Zealand we have been crying out for years for God to move, and over the last few years we have seen the beginning of an awakening that is spreading through the church in our nation. Yet in many ways we haven’t recognized that God has answered our prayers, because we are looking for Him to move in the same ways He has moved in the past. Because of that many are missing what He is actually doing now.

For the past few years, as a ministry, we have been proclaiming that God is moving ‘now’ in our nation and recently at a Prophets’ Hui that I attended this prophetic word was given by a respected prophetic minister in this nation, Lorraine Hagen, which confirmed that. Part of it said this – “I saw as we began worshiping, a complete change over in time, and the Lord said “I have come, I have come”.  It’s not a time to call out and say, “Come”, anymore; He says “I’ve come”. It’s almost like “coming ready or not”.  He says “I have come”.” You can read the whole word here on our website.

Declare

We need to align ourselves with what God is doing and saying and begin to say the same things that He is saying. What comes out of our mouths must be in agreement with what God is saying and doing.

New Zealand, God has come to you and is doing wonderful things in your midst! Salvations, deliverances, healings, signs, wonders and miracles are happening each day somewhere in our nation and the groundswell is building! Get ready, see it, align yourselves with it, declare it and move into it!

I love how prophetic voices around the world are decreeing the same things. In a recent article that I read Francis Frangipane said this “We must recognize that our prayers, attitudes, and agreement with God are an integral part of establishing the reality of the Kingdom of God on earth!” What we say and decree will become established!

While I have talked about New Zealand specifically, what God is doing is not limited to New Zealand, it is a global move. We are in the beginning stages of a reformation of the church that will lead to a new reformation of society as we know it. The church is not getting ready to ‘ship out’; she is getting ready and beginning to release Heaven into earth like never before, and this will affect whole cities and nations! Bob Hartley recently said this “The first reformation initiated on the heels of the dark ages in the 1500’s answered the profound question of the human heart, “How will we be saved?” It restored to the church the truth of Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” This understanding of how we are saved is now widely understood and accepted throughout the church. This second reformation now coming forth answers the question, “How shall we then live?” This divine initiative significantly relates to how we are to live and minister to God and with God in a spirit of hope in this world, in this age. Hope is a relentless force and an earnest expectation of seeing God’s goodness and the fulfillment of His many intentions and promises for this age, not just for the one to come.”

Move into it

No matter where you are in the world, God is moving and doing the same things for you as He is for others. It is a global reformation, not just a local revival, that is taking place. It is an awakening of never-seen-before proportions that will flood the world and see Kingdom realities released and established in the earth to such a degree that it will be impossible to miss. Move into it, ask the Lord to make it a reality in your life, cooperate with Him and live the life led by the Spirit that you were created to live. Release Heaven with confidence everywhere you go, knowing that God works with you and will perform wonders through you!

As far as specifics go we will continue to see great fluctuations in different nations’ economic circumstances. National debts will continue to escalate and the global community will find increased pressures put on them in many areas because of that.

Justice issues like human slavery will continue to be a focus, although the overwhelming hugeness of the problem will cause many to do nothing because they believe that what they could do is but ‘a drop in the bucket’ and will change nothing. But just as dictators and systems have been toppled in the past, the issues of injustice like human slavery can be toppled too. But it will not be the policy makers and politicians that cause that to happen, it will be ordinary people who believe in an extraordinary God.

The answer for our nations is not the policy makers and politicians; the answer for our nations is you and me, the children of God, moving in His love and power, releasing Heaven into earth in every sphere of society. I am not just talking about miracles and healings here but also about things that will revolutionize societies and bring changes that will cause cities and nations to prosper. Ideas that will cause positive changes in education and learning, inventions that will solve many food, lighting and fuel issues, especially for third world nations. All these things will happen in the years ahead. The world’s media tells us that the world is getting worse day by day and that we are descending into chaos in an ever increasing way, but the church will arise in the midst of this as one with answers that will cause national and global changes as the Kingdom of Heaven is released into the nations of the world. And you and I get to be a part of that, if we will see what God is doing, align ourselves with it, decree it and move into it.

Bless you. Have a wonderful year discovering more of God’s amazing plans and purposes for your life, and releasing Heaven with love and power wherever you may be!

 

We are in the midst of a great awakening in the Church where the children of God are waking up to “who they really are.” Part of the foundation of this awakening is a deepened revelation of the love and goodness of God that is giving birth to a “Love Revolution,” now sweeping the earth. The Church is learning how to live loved and, as a result, is becoming “living love” – pouring out love in ways that is causing transformation to come to thousands daily. You are called to be a part of that revolution, and it starts with knowing that you are loved – unconditionally and irrevocably.

Let Father God love you, really love you, and through the transformational effect on your life, you will not be able to do anything but love as He does. As a result, you too will transform the lives of those you come in contact with.

The One Word That Is At the Heart of the Good News of the Gospel

One of the amazing things Jesus accomplished through both His life and death was to reintroduce a reality that had not existed since the fall of mankind – a loving close relationship with God.

With one word Jesus changed everything. He declared the end of religion and proclaimed the restoration of relationship. He changed forever the way man would see God (if they really looked). That one word is at the heart of the Good News of the Gospel. It’s not the word “forgiveness,” or even the word “grace.” Those are powerful words, but the one word Jesus used to change everything is “Abba.” Abba is the word for “Father” or “Daddy.” It may not sound like much of a revolution-starting word when you first hear it, but that word “Father” changed everything and assaulted every religious belief in existence, both outside and inside Israel.

Knowing “Father” Changes Everything

Jesus came not only as the Savior, but also as a Son. He came to reveal the Father and to provide a way for us to return to relationship with Him. Knowing God as “Father” changes everything because it reveals our reason for being created – to be in a loving, cared-for, protected and provided-for relationship with Father God. We were never meant to have to strive in order to know God, or have to earn a relationship with Him. We were meant to be “children” to the Father – a Father who loves us with 100% pure, untainted, undiluted love and goodness.

Jesus came not only as the way back to the Father but as a model of how we were created to be in relationship with the Father. That’s why He came as a child, as a Son, because only a Son could reveal God as Father. A servant cannot reveal God as the Father – he can only reveal God as “master” or “boss.” Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”(John 14:9). In Jesus we see the Father’s love revealed and expressed. And once we see the Father, something in us wakes up and remembers that we were made to be in loving relationship with Him!

Experience His Daddy Love

God wants to lavish us with His love. He wants the experiential knowledge of His love to be the very foundation of our lives. He wants all that we do – all the decisions we make and our revelation of who He is and who we are – to be a result of knowing and dwelling in His glorious love. The apostle Paul understood how important it is to have this revelation of God the Father’s love and to experience it. That’s why he prayed, “That you, being rooted and grounded in love…may comprehend what is the breadth, length, height and depth and to know the love of God that surpasses understanding, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

He’s a Good Dad. God is Love. Everything He does is motivated by love. He has no ulterior motives, no agendas except to love. Love is not just something He does; it’s who He is! He doesn’t love you because He wants something from you. He’s not looking for servants. He’s not expecting people to try hard to please Him. He is looking for someone to lavish His love upon. That is the type of Father He is. Yes, we will serve and we will obey, but those are the results of knowing His love, not the means of gaining it.

Some of us never knew our fathers. Or maybe we had fathers who were absent emotionally even if they were there in person. Some of our fathers were abusive. Others demanded perfection of us. Earthly fathers have let many of us down, but we can’t afford to judge God the Father by what our experiences tell us a father is like. I used to, and because of my relationship with my dad I didn’t want to know God as Father. In my mind, fathers weren’t nice; they abused their children. Thankfully those hurts have been healed and I am set free from those lies. Now my relationship with Abba, Daddy God, is so precious to me. I know He will never abuse me, that He only has good things for me. And I know He is the same for you.

His Treasure

Daddy God has chosen us as His special treasure. He IS love and His love melts away our performance-oriented mentality. God does not want to treat us like a servant/slave but as a son/daughter. He’ll let us be a servant if we insist, but it’s not what He wants from the relationship. And if we insist in seeing Him just as master and not Daddy, Abba God, we miss out on so much.

You are a son or daughter of your heavenly Father, the One who is Love and who is forever good through and through. There are no hidden agendas in His love. You now live under a new and everlasting covenant based on Daddy’s promise that He will never stop loving you or doing good for you (see Romans 8:38-39, Jeremiah 32:40)!

God is love; and Daddy God loves you with an everlasting, 100% pure, unfailing love! Revel in His love; soak it up! You are not being greedy; you are not being somehow less spiritually mature by reveling in that love. In fact, really knowing His love is a mark of maturing in childlike faith and trust. Enjoy it – go on, really enjoy it. There are no catches here, no tricks, just pure undefiled love. God, your good Father in Heaven, wants you to know that glorious love, to be set free by it, to make your home in it, to be comfortable in it, and to find the full expression of who you are in it.

 

It’s almost Christmas and every year Christians around the world get upset with the whole Santa thing, the commercialism of Christmas and how to live in this world while not taking it’s standards as their own. When my kids were growing up I worried about the same things and in the end chose the route of teaching my children how to discern for themselves instead of using blanket “no’s” to many things.

When our kids got to an age where they could understand (about two – three years old) we explained Santa to them. They grew up understanding that he was make-believe yet fun and we didn’t feel it compromised our Christianity by allowing our children to partake in make-believe. After all God gave us our imagination to use not only to dream with him and see into the spiritual realms but to imagine – to make things up – thats where CS Lewis dreamed up Narnia and his other wonderful stories – in his imagination. (The world would be a very sad place if all imagination was removed – we would be automatons without dreams or vision and nothing that man has dreamed up would have been created yet)

The other day I was checking out some craft blogs and came across this wonderful example of explaining the whole Jesus & Santa thing. The explanation doesn’t kick in until a little bit down the page but I loved what they have chosen to do to explain it all. The couple in the blog are also learning to walk in grace-based parenting and share a couple of great books in the link that I’m sure would be well worth the read. Here’s the amazon link for them as well as another one called “Grace based parenting” which is on the same page.

I hope it gives you some ideas of how you can approach this whole subject with your family. I am certainly going to share it with my kids and hopefully we can incorporate something like it into their Christmas family traditions.

As promised here are the rest of the words from the Prophets Hui held a couple of weeks ago. They are a transcript of the words as they were spoken. Each of the people mentioned are proven prophetic voices in the nation of New Zealand. It’s exciting to see the prophets begin to speak together and share with the nation what they are hearing.

The first two are the ones I featured in the last post

Lorraine Hagen                 Something has changed in the spirit over the nation. For years we’ve been crying out to the Lord to come and things have been released and coming down from heaven, but that cry has been for the time we’ve been in. It’s been us calling out “come, Oh God come”. It’s like we’ve been offering the nation to him, we’ve been crying out as we’ve become more and more aware of our great need for him in this nation, not just as individuals but as a nation.

I saw as we began worshiping, a complete change over, in time and the Lord said “I have come, I have come”.  It’s not a time to call out and say, “Come,” anymore; He says “I’ve come”. It’s almost like “coming ready or not”.  He says “I have come”. I believe it’s a monumental change such as when Jesus walked around and did great things but they were still waiting for the Messiah, then he had come. The veil was ripped and something has been ripped over the nation. It’s probably going to take us years to see what’s come but there has been a monumental shift in the Spirit. The Lord has come for his purposes. He will use this nation in his global purposes. It is time because of the global situation. Yes we are right to call out and call and call that he would use us but now he says “I have come”.  Now I have come and things are going to move sovereignly whereas they came in the past in answer to your call, now they are going to move sovereignly I have come in this nation –  I am going to shift and reposition things, put them into right places, right networks, right positioning in every way for my global purposes. This is the day for your nation; this is the day that I have come to take up residence because of the call of the rest of the earth. I have heard you, but now I come because it is time for the rest of the earth and it is time for New Zealand to be positioned and show the Lord strong and mighty. “The Lord strong and mighty has come, the gates have been opened.” The Lord God Almighty says “I have come”.

Lyn Packer                         I saw a young girl asleep on the forest floor. She was awakened by a voice calling her – He was calling her name. He said “Hope wake up, Hope wake up”, and she woke and began to walk toward the voice, realizing that if she stayed where she was she would die. She began to walk and as she walked the voice kept calling her. I saw within her heart a flame flicker into life. It was being breathed on her. It was receiving fresh breath and fresh wind on those embers that were low. As she walked more and more, the flame flickered and she realized that she had heard the voice before but it had been clouded, clouded by her surroundings, clouded by her situation but that the voice was stronger and she kept walking. Now I can see her – she’s walking and beginning to see the forest thinning. The flame is growing within her and she’s becoming her name. I don’t know how else to describe it, she is becoming her name. She is going to walk out into the light. She is still in that place where she is not quite out of the forest yet, but she’s alive within herself.

Father, fan the flame of hope within this nation, not just in the church but out of it, fan the flame of hope in every heart, Father call us again like you’ve done in the past that this nation would hear and recognize the voice of the one who calls. Let hope arise.  Hope awake!

Noel Bowker                     I felt like the Lord was saying “It’s been a time when you have bowed in my presence and that is right but now I am saying to you, “Would you stand in my presence, and stand in the authority. You now need to stand in that place. There are still times when you should bow in my presence and that is something I really appreciate” but he says “it is time to stand in the authority that I’ve given you to declare and call into being the things that I have shown you.”

Nina James                        I saw in the skies, a wind and on the wind, the people of God. They were sitting back on the wind which was almost like a cloud carrying them. I could see angels, underneath these pockets of wind, who had been assigned to carry the wind. The Lord said to me, “the wind is my Spirit” I could see some of his people wrestling but others were lying back, just being carried by the wind. Their arms and legs were limp because they trusted the wind. They trusted the blowing of the Lord on the wind to be able to carry them into the places he was wanting them to go I could see the ones who were wrestling; the ones that hadn’t fully laid their lives down for the purposes of the King because they were still struggling to do the things of their own choosing.

But it was the ones who were limp and were able to trust God and relax on that wind that the Lord would be able to come and breathe on. As he breathed into that wind, as he breathed onto that cloud like thing, the people were carried into the places throughout New Zealand that he wanted them to be. They stepped out of that   wind into the spheres of influence that the Lord had for them. They stepped onto the ground and gold emanated from them. The presence of God was carried out of them. Everywhere they went, they transformed the place because of the presence that came out of them. The key thing the Lord said to me was “many wrestle on that cloud; many wrestle in that wind because they haven’t fully got themselves to a place where they trust me flowing them and blowing them into those places”.

I could see some of those people wrestled because they thought “God I thought you wanted me to go this way, I thought you wanted me to do that, I thought you wanted to send me here, I thought that you were going to call me there”, and because of the wrestle God was unable to take them exactly where he wanted. It was the difference between fully laying down their lives and trusting God to half pie doing it.

God I pray for your sons and your daughters in this nation, that they would fully lie down on the cloud, that they would trust you even if they heard you call them one way, one moment and then if you brought about a change in the next week, that they would be open to hear and to flow with you. God,  that if you’ve sent them somewhere one moment but then changed and sent them another place another moment that they would be free to follow your Spirit, free to hear your voice and to fly and to flow wherever you want them to go.

Lorraine Hagen                 This nation is going to be a sending nation again. In the past we thought we were such a sending nation. Out of New Zealand went many missionaries to do all sorts of things but the Lord is saying He has pulled the numbers back, waiting for the new time, waiting for the new wine skin,  for this day! He is going to call apostolic ministers out of this nation. They are going to go in answer to the cry of “Come over here. Bring the prototype that you have in New Zealand”. He is going to use us like the number eight wire thing that will break through the religious ways and the religious formulas and the set patterns in which people have been concreted. There is going to come a sending time from New Zealand of apostles sent out on answer to the Lord, to release the glory, to release the church into being the sons of God all around the nations. In the past we have called for many to come here to help us.  But now the Lord says “out of the change in the spiritual weather over the nation, you will now be the sent ones. You will go with great authority and release things in places and release the blueprint of the prototype of the sons of God”.

It will be a prototype of how to raise up the sons of God, how to release the sons of God, how to send out the sons of God. The Lord said “I have chosen you because you are at the bottom of nowhere, that it will be only me.

We will go out with more keys than we’ve had before, we will go out with more spiritual luggage than we’ve ever had before, it will be far too much for one person to be carrying and so it will be clearly God.

Cindy Ruakere                  I’ve had this picture and I’ve been aware of it for a little while. When you travel around the country you see that there is definitely a move starting to build in the nation.

I’ve seen God moving through many parts of this land, and each work is like a cog, each doing its bit, the cog has been rusty but there is movement again.  It is starting to move because it’s being blown on by the wind of God. What people don’t realize is that there are other cogs up and down the nation where the same thing is happening. The oil of Holy Spirit is beginning to flow through them so that they are starting to move together in perfect synchronization. As I pulled back from the picture I saw it was the back of a watch and this watch was saying “now is the time of the Lord Ma Te wa,” which is a significant proclamation that Ratana made when he talked about what the Lord was doing in their midst “Ma Te wa, now is the time!”

Lord I pray about this, we are so territorial and individualistic. The beauty of the pioneering spirit is that we can go where no one else wants to go but the down side of that pioneering spirit is that we become individualistic and territorial. God, I pray that as you are beginning to move in a fresh way through our nation and each work is beginning to tick over again, cogs that have been totally unable to move, they’ve rusted up, some have been slowly moving, that the breeze of your presence begins to cause those cogs to move again. But this time you are not going to come on individual works, I know that you are adamant that what you want to happen will be holistic through our nation. As these cogs are moving together, you are going to cause the oil of Holy Spirit which is a picture of unity to begin to come. The perfect synchronization of all these cogs fitting together because if one cog is going and the others aren’t and this one is and that one is not, the watch still doesn’t work. Each cog has to be slowly and perfectly moving the other that moves the other that moves the other that moves the other. God I know that you are saying “now is the time.” You desire that your time come to our land, you are desiring it God, so I pray do what you have to do that it is Ma Te wa, now is the time. Let the spirit that rested on Ratana rise up in this land again, I speak to the land to the whenua who is longing for the sons and daughters of God to be raised up out of her own soil, ma te wa, I speak to the land that groans and travails longing for them to come out, I speak to you land and I say Ma Te wa, I lift my eyes to you and say Ma Te wa.

Don Lake                            I see a picture of Jesus in the upper room where He  breathed on his disciples and they received the Holy Spirit  It was like the breath of life that came on dead bones I think Jesus is going to be breathing on dead places and bringing them back to life again. I think about that scripture, it’s been in my spirit for a couple of days when it was during the feast at the height of the celebration and Jesus said that he was going to be the living water flowing out of your bellies. Scripture says this about the spirit that had not yet been given because he as yet had not been glorified I think that as we see Jesus being glorified and increasing in this nation, now that he is here as we acknowledge what he’s doing and honour that and glorify him for it, I think that we are going to see incredible outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Sovereign deposits in places that are going to cause water to flow, almost gushings of water coming out.