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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!

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The Hui

Last week I attended a Prophets Hui (gathering) made up of Prophets from various parts of our nation (New Zealand). During that day there was a very strong sense of the manifested presence of God present amongst us and also that the times we’re in are momentous times for our nation.

Throughout the day we worshipped and prayed and talked about what God was doing in the nation. There were many things brought out during that time some of which I’ll share in the days ahead.

One of the most encouraging and powerful words that came out of the day was when the Lord said “Stop asking for me to come, I have already come!” There was more to the word but that was the crux of it. Sometimes we can miss the actual time of release because we are so caught up in the” praying for” or because it comes in a different form than what we were expecting. As a result of what the Lord said we should now begin to change our petitioning for revival into thansksgiving and prophetically release decrees of God’s will and intention into our towns, cities and nation.

That which we have been praying for has been released! It is here now – God is moving powerfully throughout the nation. There is a groundswell of Kingdom release that is building in power and being released on a nationwide scale. This move of God is not a sudden revival type move located in one place – it is an awakening that is taking place in all parts of the nation simultaneously, that is why many have missed it. People are stepping out in the power and love of God in numbers that are increasing daily. Miracles and healings are becoming common occurrences as the church is awakening to who she really is and who Christ is in her.

Back to the Hui – I want to share a vision I saw as we worshipped.

A child called Hope

In the vision I saw a young girl. She had fallen asleep in a forest, curled up under a tree. The darkness of the forest covering had caused a false sense of night, of slumber. When I asked the Lord about her I was told her name was Hope. Her name was Hope but Hope was asleep! I heard someone call her name and the call woke her – it was a call to wake up, to begin to walk again, follow the call; to follow the voice and walk out into the light again. I saw an understanding, a flame begin to flicker in her heart as she began to walk – following the voice. In the voice was love and kindness and she realized she had heard the voice before many times but it had somehow become clouded in her hearing. As she continued to walk she saw light ahead and the flame flickered brighter and her heart began to beat stronger.

As I asked the Lord about what I saw I felt the forest was a prevailing atmosphere over our nation – the feeling that darkness has the upper hand. I felt him say that for many in our nation hope had faded (it was like their hope had gone to sleep because they had succumbed to the darkness). They hadn’t lost it altogether; it was just not functioning at a fully awakened level. I believe the Lord is awakening hope within his people in this time. They are beginning to hear the call to follow and trust in a new way and are responding. The nation is awakening to hope again, awakening to the call to walk into the future guided by God’s Spirit and His Voice. We have been in the place of unnatural darkness to the point where many have been lulled into a sleep state. It is time to awake and walk out into the light again. We are children of light destined to bring light into darkness not to let darkness overtake us!

What is the call on our nation?

This was a question we asked that day at the Hui? We asked it because – if the church in our nation (New Zealand) does not know their identity and call then we will wander aimlessly and every man will follow his own personal vision and desires. While it is not wrong to have personal and church visions we need to know how our vision fits in with the Lord’s desire for us as a nation. We are all individually and as churches a part of a bigger whole and just as the Lord has plans for each person and church he also has a plan and destiny for us as a nation. For too long we’ve not been aware of or functioned from that fact and so have been a fragmented body of individualists who don’t know how to work together. It is time for that to end and for us to recognize the strengths in each other and how we can function together while still keeping our individual personalities as churches.

Today I’ll share some of what was said at the Hui re our nations call and then over the next few weeks I’ll release other prophetic words and declarations from that day as well.

We are as a nation…

So what is the collective call on the church of New Zealand – in some ways it is many stranded but one of the significant parts of it is that our nation is to be a forerunner nation many of whom have apostolic & prophetic mantles.  We are known worldwide as ones who carry a very strong prophetic mantle and are also an apostolic release nation, a nation of sent ones – of evangelists & missionaries that plant, build and disciple nations.  As such we are a people destined to move in signs, wonders and miracles, with a strong healing emphasis, to proclaim and release the reality of Heaven into Earth.

We are a proclaiming people – releasing the heart of God through prophetic proclamation that calls into being that which is not yet reality in the earthly realm,  again – releasing Heaven into Earth. This is done mainly through teaching, prophetic release, music and media.

We are a nation called to release hope amongst many things into the nation and into the nations, to call them into their destiny and fullest expression. That is why hope has been under attack in our nation – to stop us from being who we were created to be. If hope can be stifled then we will not walk in our apostolic and prophetic destiny and because of that others will miss out.

The above-mentioned giftings and call are a very significant part of who we are as a nation. I’ll share more about the call on our nation and from the Prophets Hui over this coming month in the belief that when you write the vision (and speak it) people can hear it and run with it (Hab 2:2,3). Please pass the posts along to others (individuals and Pastors) as the more that read, the more that will recognize themselves and begin to walk in their true identity.

Part 4 –  Training for reigning & Protocols for accessing heavenly places

 

Part of what the Lord has for us is to do with the ‘here and now’ – taking dominion and releasing Heaven into earth. To do so we need to be able to see and understand what God wants released into the earth. Jesus walked and lived like this – accessing the Heavenly realm, seeing what the Father was doing and releasing that into earth. We, too, need to be able to see and access the Heavenly realms in order to live like He did. Some of what He has for us to do in releasing Heaven into earth is contained in scripture – like healing the sick, cleansing lepers, setting free the captives, raising the dead and more; and some is revealed by way of revelation. Whichever way the revelation comes it is given to cause us to grow in working out our kingly reign and dominion here on earth.

There is also the aspect of ruling with Christ throughout eternity. Part of the training for that takes place now here on earth, but a part of it also takes place in the Heavenly places now. In the Heavenly places Jesus, angelic beings, and those who have gone before us tutor us. Most of us don’t think about that because we have our ‘hands full’ putting into practice the things Jesus has already revealed that we should do, so ‘Heavenly things’ are often rather low on our priority list. Yet this tutoring is a part of the Lord’s plan in this season and more and more people are now experiencing it.

For example, a friend of mine sits in the Heavenly places daily with ‘Wisdom’ and learns from her. A young girl I know goes to Heaven each night as she sleeps and is taught by Jesus and others. There are also other people that I know who are being taught by Jesus and others in the Heavenly realm, including myself. This is not a new thing. It has been happening since the Church began and we will find that it happens more as the days go by and as more Christians learn to walk in their inheritance.

When Jesus leads you into situations where He introduces you to people in Heaven and allows you to speak to them, that is not New Age or witchcraft and it is not calling up the spirits of the dead. It is simply a function of the Kingdom. It even has a scriptural foundation – Jesus, as man, before He died, conversed with Moses and Elijah at the time of his transfiguration. Moreover Peter, James and John were present with Him when it happened (Mark 9:2-8).

Right of Access to the Heavenly Realm

In the New Covenant our right of access into the realities of Heaven is through Jesus and His work on the cross, not through our works.

My first experience in the Throne Room

In my first experience in the Throne Room, as I stood before the Throne I was asked a question, “How did you come here?” As I thought about the question I realized that it was asking about my right of access, not a transport question, asking how I had travelled there. The answer was a simple one. It was not dependent on anything I did but on what the Lord Jesus did. I came there in confidence, knowing that I had a right to do so because of the work Jesus did on the cross in making a way open for me to come boldly into the presence of God (Heb 9:24, 10:19-22).

That is the only right of access for the Throne Room and the Heavenly realm. You access it by faith, by the new and living way Jesus opened for us – through the finished work of the cross. You cannot access it any other way except through the shed blood of Jesus. You don’t go there timidly or unsure as to whether you have a right to be there; you go in confidence, knowing that an invitation has already been extended to you and the way has been opened for you. You can access the Throne Room, and Heaven itself anytime because of the invitation that came through Jesus’ finished work on the Cross. Also scripture tells us that the Throne of Grace is a very real place that we can go anytime to receive help and strategy in times of need (Heb 4:16).

Right of Access questions

As I shared above, sometimes the Lord or an angel will ask you a question regarding your right to do something. These are not usually trick questions nor are they asked because the Lord needs to know the answer. From my experience they are usually asked in order to see what our understanding is and because the Lord is inviting you to dialogue with him and to question him on it so that He can teach you something. Often it’s not until we are asked to explain something that we find out what we actually believe.

If we don’t understand why He is asking a question, we may end up misunderstanding the question completely. It is always better to ask the Lord to explain what He means by a question than to make assumptions. He won’t be offended by your questions. He is the Daddy who never gets fed up with his kids asking “Daddy, why?” or “Daddy, what?” And, of course, we should always weigh up what we hear in light of scripture.

Access for Other Places

We are all on a journey of maturing; that maturing happens as we continue to get to know the Lord in a deeper way and as we learn the ways of his Kingdom through faith, understanding of our experiences, and scripture. It is possible that some places or experiences in the heavenly realm may only become accessible as a result of maturing in faith, understanding, experience and obedience. It also is very likely that there may be requirements to gain access to places in the heavenly realms that we are presently unaware of, and we may discover those as we continue to access Heaven’s realities.

From my experience we can access any of the public places anytime by faith and by following the Holy Spirit’s leading. There are a multitude of different places that we can explore at our leisure. There is the Throne Room, libraries, gardens, teaching rooms, fun places, the river and its surroundings and much more. Have fun exploring them; they were created for your pleasure and learning.

There are many books now that chronicle peoples’ adventures in the Heavenly realms and they tell of many different places. Be aware as you read them that their experiences may or may not be literal in their meaning, even though they were very real experiences for those that had them. For more understanding on the difference between literal and symbolic meanings in visions and experiences, read article 2 in this series.

In the heavenly realms there are also council chambers, courts, strategy rooms and other formal rooms and buildings. From my experience some of these places seem to be accessible in the first instance only by invitation.

Where the doors or gates to a place are shut then the safest thing to do is ask Holy Spirit if you can access it, and if there is anything that needs to be done in order to access it. Remember, though, that it is ultimately not our works that gain us access to anything – it is because of what Jesus has done, and because we are now in Christ, that we can have access. I have had times where He has said “Not today”, because accessing a certain place wasn’t part of what He wanted me to do at that time. I have, however, been allowed to enter that same room or place at another time. My thoughts are that it is always better to ask Holy Spirit if you may do something instead of just assuming that you can. I don’t think you can go far wrong then. He may say “You don’t need to always be asking for permission to do something”, in which case that is your open invitation to access at any time.

There may be times when the Lord will take you somewhere sovereignly but He may or may not tell you that you can come back there anytime. If He does then that is your invitation to do so and He expects that you will follow up on that invitation. If He does not, then ask him if you can access it at other times and see what He says.

If places are closed to us, they are closed for a reason. Just accept that and know that when the time is right you will be granted access. In the meantime enjoy exploring the vast array of things that you can access in the Heavenly realm.

Protocols

We are still learning about the way the Kingdom of Heaven operates and we will spend all eternity discovering that. The Kingdom of Heaven consists of many things – government, values, vision, relationships, culture – music, art etc. assignments, creation, education, travel, pleasures, fun and laughter, times of state and ceremony and much, much more. Each of these situations will, of course, call for different responses and behavior. Just as we are not one-dimensional, one-response beings here on Earth, we likewise will not be one-dimensional in our responses and behavior in the Heavenly realm.

While Jesus’ work on the cross enables our access into the Heavenly realm are there protocols to follow once we are there? Let’s look at what the word ‘protocol’ means, to be sure that we understand what we are talking about.

Protocol 1

  1. Forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by diplomats and heads of state.
  2. Code of correct conduct; e.g.”safety protocols”; “academic protocol”.

So the word ‘protocol’ relates to proper conduct, ettiquette or ceremony.

Our heart attitude should always be one of reverence and gratitude but our conduct may vary depending on how the Lord is relating to us. Some people think that any encounter with the Lord in the Heavenly realm will be somber, full of awe and reverence and weighty, causing you to act in a somber, awed way, and that any other way to act is inappropriate. Yet scripture tells us that not only is He holy but in his presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psa 16:11). While that reverence and awe is never lost, and we don’t come into his presence with brashness and arrogance, we must realize that God has more aspects to who He is than just being Holy.

For example scripture reveals Him as Father, the Good Shepherd, Bridegroom, Commander of the armies of Heaven, Wise Counselor and much more. So He will relate to us in different ways as He reveals himself to us, depending on what aspect of his nature He is revealing. How He wants to reveal himself to us will determine the correct form of behavior in his presence. For example, if He reveals himself as Father it may be entirely appropriate for us to call him Daddy (Abba) and to maybe snuggle close to him, as a child does. If He reveals himself as Commander it is probably not appropriate behaviour to treat him that same way. How He reveals himself will dictate our way of conducting ourselves, but in every instance we know that we have a right to be interacting with him in relationship.

My present understanding of protocols in the Heavenly realm is growing, but still limited. Some of you may have greater understanding than me on this subject and I would love to hear from you regarding it.

In the natural realm, when you come into the presence of a King or dignitary there is often ceremony to observe or protocol to follow. From what I have experienced in Heaven so far there are some aspects where that is also true of that realm. Again it will often relate to what aspect of himself God is revealing to you, or where you go. For example, there are times in the Throne Room when you are there on serious business and these times require different behavior than at other times. There are times when the only appropriate response is to bow before him or prostrate yourself, giving him the reverence and respect He deserves.

Yet the Throne Room is not all serious business. Times of celebration happen there where everyone is dancing and shouting and playing with the freedom that only comes with knowing Christ and being set free from earth’s limitations. There are other times where I and others have sat leaning against Daddy’s knee in rest or danced with Jesus on the sea of glass.

Many people have experienced playing with Jesus in the river that flows from the Throne, laughing and splashing each other as they do so. In this instance it would be inappropriate to stand on the bank saying “No, Jesus, You don’t do that sort of thing.” The only appropriate response is to jump in and play.

Heaven is a wonderful place full of adventure, life, fun, laughter, reverence, holiness and much more. Enjoy discovering it and the reality of a Kingdom full of culture that is rich beyond compare.

This series of articles is a very basic understanding of things we need to know in order to wisely steward our visions and experiences, but I hope it’s enough to help you begin to operate with some understanding in the Heavenly places.

Thanks for taking the time to read these articles. Please pass them on to those you know who are having visions and experiences. We all need to walk in those experiences in wisdom and steward them well. In fact I believe it will become more critical than ever in the days ahead to know how to wisely steward our visions and experiences as the amount of revelation being released increases.

1 – Websters online dictionary http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/protocol

 

 

 

Part 3 – Stewarding Trance Visions & Visitations

In this article we are going to look at trances and extended periods of revelation. I was also going to cover protocols for entering the Throne Room and heavenly places but decided that it would be better handled in a separate article, so I’ll look at that in the next one.

Things like trance visions and heavenly experiences are being talked about much more today than they ever have been. Are there more instances of these things happening or are people just feeling freer to talk about their experiences? I believe both to be the case. But with the increase in these things it becomes all the more important that people are taught how to understand and steward their visions and experiences. In the last article I looked at the different components of revelation – the revelation itself, the interpretation, the application, and whether what we are seeing is literal or symbolic. If you haven’t read that article (or the previous ones in this series) please do so, as it is foundational to what we’ll look at now in this article.

Trance Visions

I want to talk about trances for a minute because of all the ways that God gives us revelation, they are the most prone to being called ‘New Age’. We need to realize that nothing was created by the Devil. Everything was created by God (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11) and is a part of how his Kingdom functions, including the different ways people receive revelation. All the devil can do is twist and distort something that was created for God’s purposes.

I think the aspect about trances that freaks people out is the state of being ‘out of control’. As I said earlier, trances are happening more frequently and I know people who experience them often. For some of them the idea of ‘not knowing what was happening to them’ was freaky at first, but knowing that God is with you and is leading you is a great source of assurance and comfort. Yet not all trances have this component, as we’ll see later.

This aspect of being ‘out of control’ doesn’t seem proper or right to many of us. We believe that God is the ultimate gentleman who will only empower us, never overpower us. Yet when we look at scripture we find that in most trance states, some of peoples’ natural faculties seemed unable to function – like physical movement or ability to see the natural realm. In other words God took them over to some degree or another. This also happens when a person gets ‘the shakes’ in the Holy Spirit – their body is taken over by the power of God. Some examples of this are as follows.

  • Peter on the rooftop (Acts10:10)  – one of the most well known trances in scripture. In this trance state Peter was able to interact by speech with God.
  • Saul before he became King – he was changed into another man (1 Sam 10:6), although this is not officially a trance, as Saul was still conscious, this was an overtaking of Saul’s person by God, according to Browns-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions.
  • Paul in Acts 22:17 went into a trance where God communicated with him and told him to leave Jerusalem quickly because of danger.
  • John in the book of Revelation Rev 1:17 “I fell at his feet as though dead”, this is a trance like state – Thayers Greek Definitions says this means destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative.

So what does a trance look like? To an observer it may seem like the person has ‘spaced out’ and is unresponsive. In trance vision states often the Lord and your spirit will supersede your body functions.  You may be unaware that you are in this state, as you will be caught up into the vision or experience. Your body functions will often slow down or cease to be an issue during this time, especially in extended trance times. Hunger and thirst become non-issues and bodily functions relating to eating and drinking often don’t happen. I know a lady who has had many trance visions. Her first one lasted approximately 24 hours, during which time she didn’t move or even blink, let alone eat, drink or need a bathroom break. She was caught up into the heavenly realm, seeing visions and having experiences with the Lord there. This trance was witnessed by at least three others for this whole period of time.

 Stewarding Trance Visions

How do we steward a trance vision.

  • If it is happening to you then you will probably be unaware that it is even happening, so you won’t be able to do much. Some people have a physical or Holy Spirit given warning that it is about to happen so that they can sit down somewhere comfortable first.
  • If you observe it happening to someone else then, if possible, stay with the person and stop others from interfering, poking and prodding them etc. People try to do that to ‘prove’ whether the experience is real or not.
  • Try and make them comfortable, maybe cover them with a blanket to keep them warm if the building is cold. If they need to be moved for safety sake then do so, otherwise disturb them as little as possible. Often they will be stiff as a board so laying them on the floor or a mattress is the safest thing to do. Pray for them during this time, covering them as they are experiencing this encounter.
  • When the person comes out of it don’t pepper them with hundreds of questions. Allow them space and time to come to terms with what just happened. Later on, get them to write down as much as they can remember of what they saw and heard. They will then be able to go back to it later and process it through with the Lord. If it has been an extended time then maybe offer them a drink and some light nourishment, as they may well need it.

Stewarding extended times of revelation

How do we steward extended periods of visitation – over weeks or even months? When we are going through a season of visitation it’s important to understand how we deal with that. The following are suggestions, not a  formula. Most of them are intensely practical, but are still a part of stewarding wisely our revelations.

  • Realize that if the Lord takes you into an extended period of revelation that He will look after you during this time. Don’t be afraid to surrender yourself to Him. Many people pull back from going into revelation because of fears relating to the ‘unknowns’ involved.
  • Don’t tell everyone what is happening to you – it may not be God’s time to reveal things; in fact you may never get to reveal some things. Some things will be shown to you so that you can simply cooperate in prayer with the Father over them. Pride can also become a factor here – remember your experiences say nothing about how spiritual or mature you are, they just say that you are being blessed with revelation at this point in time.
  • Remember to ask the Lord for help in distinguishing between what is ‘literal’ and what’s ‘symbolic’ in your visions and experiences. This is important, as it will all feel real. In the same vision there may be both literal and symbolic things. Asking for the interpretation and application is also important (See article 2 in this series for teaching on these).
  • Have someone you are accountable to and can share with. We all only see partly (1 Cor 13:12) so it’s good to have someone trustworthy that we can double check our experiences with who can help us measure them against scripture, God’s nature, His character and His heart for mankind.
  • Have trustworthy people who can support you in prayer during this time if possible.
  • Have notebooks and pens ready and accessible – journaling what you see and experience is important for a variety of reasons. It is easy to forget details, especially when you are in extended times of visitation and seeing lots. Also it helps with accountability.
  • Make sure that you look at rearranging your schedule if need be – drop non-necessary activities in order to free yourself up to spend the extra time in the Lord’s presence. If that’s not a possibility then stay in the place of faith for strength and staying power.
  • Make sure that you are getting regular meals, plenty of water etc. Sometimes your body works hard during these times, especially if there are manifestations of shaking, burning etc.
  •  Realize that the Lord will look after you – physically, emotionally and spiritually during these times.

I hope this has given you a little more understanding on trance visions and extended times of visitation. We need to learn how to steward these as they are happening more frequently and may very well happen to you or someone you know in the days ahead.

Please fell free to pass this series of articles on to others to read, too, as the more who understand how to wisely steward their revelations the better.

The next article in this series will be the last and I am going to look at protocols for entering the Throne Room and other heavenly places. I hope you’ll join me again for that one.

Revelation through visions, experiences and dreams is increasing greatly in these days and will continue to do so – this four part series is written to help you steward wisely the revelations and experiences you are given. If we don’t know how to steward these gifts properly we will have a mess as people misinterpret what they see and experience and the end result could be that some will end up being decieved and going down a wrong track altogether. So let’s take care of that possibility by giving some understanding in regard to how to interpret and steward what we see, hear and experience. Please pass these articles on to others, let’s get the word out there – just make sure you include my name and blogsite url.

Part 1 – A life of revelation and encounters

Revelation of God and his kingdom – as Christians we all long for it but it’s something we often feel we don’t have or we feel that we have to work hard in order to get it. We long for a life of such intimacy. Yet the truth is that we cannot be more intimate with God than we already are. Why? Because intimacy is not a feeling, it’s a legal positioning and our state of being because of what Jesus did on the cross. You have been made intimate with God. You are one with Him, in Christ and in the Father through Christ.

Rom 6:11  “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.“

1Co 1:30  “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption…”

1Jn 4:13  “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

Can we expect to experience more of the reality of that oneness than we currently do – definitely! Can we get to know Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit more than we do?

1Cor 1:7  “so that you are not lacking… awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Can we discover more of the wonders of who they are? Yes! We can and we should expect to know them more and more but we should not confuse that with our state of intimacy or oneness with them.

Since all relationship is based on our experiencing the other person in the relationship we can and should expect to know or experience the Lord.

1Jn 5:15 “And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

To receive revelation and have encounters with him is a natural outcome of relationship with him.

1Co 4:1  “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”

Do you want to be a steward of the mysteries of God? God wants you to be one so how do we step into that?

It begins with understanding revelation and God’s purposes for it…

Revelation – it’s not some airy, fairy, esoteric knowledge that’s for a select few, it’s for all people everywhere. We cannot even get to know God without receiving revelation. And all revelation is an invitation. It’s an invitation to two things primarily – intimacy and co-operation with God. God is all about relationship and everything he does is about bringing you and I into a deeper understanding of who he is and who we are in the context of relationship and then to understand who he is to us and through us.

As a Christian one of the ways we can open ourselves to revelation is to spend time waiting on the Lord by stilling our hearts and minds. The mystics of old used to call that waiting contemplative prayer, nowadays some people call it soaking.

Psalm 46:10  says “Be still, and know that I am God.” The term “be still” in this verse means “stop striving”. It means to let go and come into a place of rest where you can hear, see and experience God. It is a contemplative state. The Christians of old knew about contemplative states of rest that led to experience – we call those people “mystics” because they experienced the mysteries of God. We look at their lives with wonder and wish that somehow we could experience what they did – yet what they experienced was not just for a select few – it is open to all. Also, the word “know” in the above verse is a “knowing by experience”. It’s not head knowledge it’s an experiential knowledge.

So how can we discover more about Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit? How can we experience them more? One of the great ways to do that is by soaking. It’s a time of waiting in quietness and rest of heart – it may include prayer and talking to the Lord and will definitely include having a listening posture and waiting for him to speak to us. Some people prefer to soak to music; some prefer quietness. Whether we have music or not though is not the main thing – it is a quietness of heart and a listening posture that is key.

We can train ourselves and develop this state so that we get to a point where we are in a contemplative state of heart even as we go about our daily tasks. But normally that comes from first learning how to quiet our heart and minds and hear him in set times apart with the Lord.

So how do we do that, what are some tips for soaking or contemplative prayer? The following list is not a “formula” or “steps to intimacy” just some tips…

  • Make a quiet space in your home where you know you can focus and be undisturbed. You can sit, lie down, whatever is comfortable.
  • Have a journal, pen and drink of water there on hand so you won’t have to go searching for them when you need them.
  • Your heart and mind will go where you focus – Focus on the Lord and his glory and your heart will begin to go there. James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Focus on the world and it’s demands and your mind and heart will go there.
  • If you have things you need to talk through with the Lord regarding sin issues do so (repent) and thank him that in his amazing grace he has even forgiven you ahead of time. Receive his forgiveness, acknowledge it and thank him for it.
  • Worship the Lord – in tongues and in your native language. Keep worshipping until you feel his presence begin to manifest around you.
  • If thoughts intrude, take them captive and tell your mind you’ll deal with that later. Write it down if you need to – this is so your mind can see that you won’t forget.
  • Present your body to God a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. Rom 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
  • Then present yourself to him as being alive from the dead Romans 6:13 “…present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
  • Recall past experiences with the Lord – visions, encounters, healings etc they will shift your heart into a thankful posture and you can also enter his glory through them by asking Holy Spirit to lead you into the reality of what you see.
  • Tell the Lord you want to experience him, meet with Him, encounter him. Tell him you want more of his presence manifested around your life and in your life.  You are not asking for more of Him – you can’t get more of him than what he has given – he has given you his all. You have the fullness of the Godhead in you in Christ – you are asking for it to become manifest to you so you can grow up into it. Col 1:19  “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,”Eph 4:13 “…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.’
  • Stay in that place of soaking or contemplation until you receive revelation. Psa 123:2  “Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.”
  • Realise that when you do receive revelation that is not the end of your time with him that is just the beginning, the gateway to the supernatural realm of God. All revelation is an invitation to intimacy and dialogue with the Lord and out of that, co-operation with him. Isaiah 64:4 Amplified Bible “God…who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.” He’s longing for us to wait on Him.

Here are some of the ways people in scripture received revelation – Dreams (Job 33:14-16; Genesis 28:10-16)
– Visions (Daniel 7:1-3,9; Acts 16:9-10)
– Trances (Acts 10:9-17, 11:5)
– Out of body experiences (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
– Angelic visitations (Luke 1:11-17; Acts 12:7-10)
– Being transported in the Spirit (Acts 8:39-40).

You may receive revelation in any manner of ways – as impressions, the quiet whisper of Gods voice, angelic encounters, nudges of the Holy Spirit, pictures, heavenly encounters and more..

Sometimes we think one kind of revelation is more spiritual than another because it is more dramatic or seems more “real” somehow.  But revelation is revelation no matter what form it comes in and all revelation has the power to transform your life. None is more special, spiritual or mature than another way. They are all revelation and all carry within them the power of God to do what he has sent them to do.

  • Write down in your journal what the Lord is showing you – draw pictures of what you see even if they are only stick figure pictures. Writing and drawing it helps to build pathways in the brain to hang memory on and helps cement your experience in your memory. This is important when you want to go back to a place you’ve been in the Spirit.
  • Talk to the Lord about what you are seeing, hearing or feeling. Ask him questions – he never gets tired of questions. The more you ask the more the revelations will unfold to you.
  • Ask him what he wants you to do in light of what he has shown you. Then simply be obedient to do it and watch God work.

Revelations purpose is first of all to deepen our relationship with the Lord and secondly to bring us to a place of co-operating with him in releasing the kingdom of heaven into earth. Don’t fall into the trap of putting the second part first. God’s kingdom is all about relationship with him and our works should be about that too. Intimacy and co-operation – the results of which lead to thankfulness and deeper intimacy – that’s what it’s all about.

Enjoy your “soaking” times, they are precious and to be guarded. Don’t let the enemy steal them from you by works without intimacy or daily life’s needs.

To experience the reality of stewarding the mysteries of God is a part of our inheritance but it doesn’t come without us being willing to count the cost and pursue intimate knowledge of Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. What I’ve talked about in this article are the beginning steps to stewarding the mysteries of God but even those baby steps will be filled with wondrous encounters and heavenly experiences. Enjoy them but don’t stay there – venture ever deeper into revelation knowledge of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and how it functions. We are called to rule and reign both here in the earthly realm but also in the heavenlies – to do so we must know how the Kingdom of Heaven functions, it’s government, protocols and God’s ways. There is far more for us to move into than we have known or dreamed and we have the best teacher of all – Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth (Jn 16:13).

In Part 2 of this four part series I will look at “Understanding and stewarding experiences and mysteries.”

 

 

The following word was just released by a friend of ours. It is a great confirmation of what God has been doing over the last couple of years and more recently in an accelerated way.
THE TUI A SYMBOL A FRESH REVIVAL IN AOTEAROA. – Ian Johnson
The  Tui Bird is fairly common in NZ especially the North Island and is  a member of the Honey eater family. The Tui is a songbird and has two voice boxes enabling it to make a variety of sounds including inaudible sounds..Thus it sings in two realms at one time. The bird represents NZ in sound – It can operate in two realms the Audible and inaudible simultaneously. Two sounds in one body.
This weekend I saw 28 Tuis in one tree – Ive never seen so many Tuis in one place and I have since had people telling me that there seems to be a Tui revival going on in NZ right now. One man said he had seen up to 50 in one place recently. Something that 10 years ago would have been unheard of.
I was already starting to think about the two sounds in one body aspect as being like Gods plan for NZ. Maori & Pakeha in partnership to bring out the sound of the land. So when I heard that there is a Tui revival going on in the land I thought wow. Then I thought I had better check out the number I saw in one tree 28 – The Strongs Hebrew is “Abidah” which means “My Father knows” but it comes from the root Abba which means foundational Father. So through the 28 birds God was speaking to me about Foundational Fathers.
This led me to think about my encounter in Sydney a few weeks ago when I was reminded by the Lord about the Partnership between  Samuel Marsden & the Maori Rangitira  Ruatara in bringing the gospel to NZ in 1814. One without the other would not have worked but togather they released a fresh sound in the nation of NZ. This partnership saw a move of God in Aotearoa that has not been replicated. By 1860 – 63% of Maori had become Christian, a revival in anyone’s terms. This was the foundation of our nation and it was born in partnership. Two voices one message, Maori & Pakeha together.
The Tui revival excites me – so I declare the Tui as the symbol of the revival about to hit our nation  Two voices in one body releasing a sound out of two realms at the same time. Two voices One sound Maori & Pakeha together. Honey eaters eating the fresh nectar of Gods revelation in our land. Song birds declaring the glorious sound of the ends of the Earth. Unique to our nation a true sound of Aotearoa. An indiginous move of God a revival in the ends of the earth.
IAN W JOHNSON
HIS AMAZING GLORY MINISTRIES

This is Post 3 of our prophetic insights for 2012 series. Post 1 – “Prophetic Bulletins – Are they valid today?” Post 2 – Prophetic Insights for 2012 – Part 1, Post 3 – Prophetic Insights for 2012 – Part 2

Todays entry is Part 2 of the Prophetic Insights. Before you read it can I suggest you read the previous two entries which can be found directly below this on the blogsite.

Prophetic Insights for 2012 – Part 2

Seek Wisdom!

Wisdom is key in this season (Matt 7:7; Prov 2:2,6). This wisdom is not just the revealing of some mystery, knowledge or mindset. It is Wisdom – the person, making himself known to us and showing us how to walk as he does; it is Jesus! Paul tells us that in 1 Corinthians 1:24 Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Now, more than ever, we need Jesus, the wisdom of God, to live in us and through us.

Shift in the Prophetic

There is a coming shift in the prophetic – more and more the prophetic will not just say, “There is something new coming” – that ‘ever elusive something new’. They will not just say “Revival is coming and starting here, or there.” As well as pointing us forward, they will point us back to the regaining of what we have lost. They will proclaim that a revelation of the old is here – Christ and Christ in us – the hope of the world.

The “Good News” will be preached in a way that it has not been for many centuries. The prophetic will trumpet the “Good News” to the church and many in the church will get truly converted as a result of it. They will then spread out like fire from their churches, proclaiming and demonstrating the Kingdom of Heaven in such a way that countless others will be saved.

The prophetic will more and more proclaim, “Christ in you (NOW) is the hope of glory – not Christ coming some day, somewhere, to do something! Christ in you here and now, revealed to the world through sons and daughters who are fulfilling the mandate given centuries ago.”

The prophets will say, as God does here and now, “Look at the Cross, look at the cross, look at the cross! See what I did already. Walk in that! Don’t keep looking for something new. I don’t need to do something new – I already did all that was needed at the cross. Look back so that you can walk forward!”

We will recognize that there have been prophetic voices amongst us who were prophesying a true word, even though we did not want to hear it. The word…. “That church, as we have known it, has not been working and that God is changing that.”

Revelation

There is an increase in revelation that is here now. People are, and will be, seeing more visions, having supernatural encounters with Jesus and angels, receiving revelation in dreams. This will continue to increase this year and in the coming years as people allow God to be the supernatural God who communicates in supernatural ways.

Miracles, Signs and Wonders 

These will continue to increase in frequency as Christians believe again that Christ will work through them to do miracles, signs and wonders. Miracles will no longer be the domain of the ‘few’ but of every man, woman and child who believes.

Justice

Justice issues will continue to become more of a focus for the church, but not in the old way of only doing the practical, but a combining of the practical and the miraculous. Hope ambassadors will continue to proclaim and demonstrate God’s heart and intent, and peoples and nations shall come to him because of it.

The Nations

We will continue to see instability and even collapse in nations’ monetary foundations as things in the world’s system get worse, but we will also see the Lord provide for his people in miraculous ways. Make sure that you know who your provider is. Is it your employer or the hope of winning Lotto, or do you truly believe that God has, is and will provide your every need? (2 Pet 1:3)

It is not all doom and gloom, despite what the news media tell us. The world’s best days will soon be upon us, as we Christians become who God originally intended us to be, and live the life he always intended us to live – bringing hope, salvation, healing and freedom to many thousands. This will, in the days ahead, even lead to whole cities and nations becoming filled with true believers and as a result we will see some of those cities and nations become safe houses for those that are persecuted elsewhere. We will also see their economies bloom as God gives ideas and witty inventions to them. The world will begin to turn to the church for ideas and strategies to feed the poor, ideas for how to provide housing and education for their people and more. Some will even ask the church for strategies to bring their nations out of the crises they find themselves in. While this will bring increased freedom for some, it will also bring an increase in persecution and hatred of the Church by others.

To Finish

To be alive and representing Christ in this day is an awesome privilege and we are called to that. Releasing heaven into earth is our mandate for 2012 and beyond. We were created and called to release it now, tomorrow and every day that follows. Let’s have fun doing it!

A little while ago the Lord told me in a prophetic word for the church –

“It’s time to put the fun back into Holy!”

Fun! Holy! – A while ago they were not two words that I would have thought went together, but then God is good at rattling our cages and challenging wonky theology.

I have noticed that most prophetic words I give to the church will first do a work in me before they do it in others so that statement dealt to some wrong thoughts about holiness in me personally. I’m sure it will do the same for you.

“God, come and destroy our wonky theology, transform our minds, set us straight!”

I knew we were supposed to be holy and had read the verses relating to it many times over the years. So I thought I understood what holy meant. I had always tried, to the best of my ability, to live a holy life and thought I didn’t do too bad.

But there was my first bit of wonky theology – my holiness isn’t dependant on me doing something but on Christ having done something.

Col 1:22 But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. (CEV)

1Peter 1:16 Because it is written, “you shall be holy, for I am holy.” NASB

Part of my understanding of holiness was that I thought that true holiness meant that we had to live morally pure and righteous lives and that this was done through effort on our part. But it doesn’t. It means, that’s what God is so that’s what you get to be! He gives it to you! Holiness is a glorious, wondrous gift.

God breathes over us the words “You shall be holy, for I am holy” as a divine benediction, an endorsement, a seal of approval – this is who you get to be because this is who I am. He releases over us his eternal approval – you are now made holy, you are fashioned according to my image and you are now in me.

Holiness is seriousness  – Somehow in the back of my mind I really did used to feel that holiness was in reality a very heavy thing and that to be holy meant I would become serious and somber. Although that understanding had been changing unconsciously over a period of time; it wasn’t until the Lord said “It’s time to put the fun back into Holy”, that I realised a momentous change had been taking place inside me.

So I thought I would actually really look at what I had believed. I re-looked at those verses and also used other aids to understanding.

Because I thought seriousness and somberness was part of being holy I looked somber up in the dictionary and it means this – oppressively solemn or sober in mood, grave. The thesaurus equates it with words like solemn, earnest, serious, grave, sober, unsmiling, stern, grim, dour, humorless; gloomy, depressed, sad, melancholy, dismal, doleful, mournful, lugubrious.

No wonder the Lord told me it was time to put the fun back into holy!

If that is what we equate being holy to then no wonder we don’t want to be it and the world don’t want to be Christians.

So as part of some scriptural study with an updated theological grid, I looked up “holy” in the concordance as well as the dictionary and thesaurus.

 Strongs concordance – Holy

There are two main words used for holy in the Word but both mean the same thing essentially.

Of Things – a sacred place or thing; sanctuary, consecrated, dedicated, hallowed,

Of A Person – saint (a person who is consecrated or set apart to God)

So the scriptural and Strongs meaning of holy is simply – A person who is consecrated or set apart for God, in other words, in new covenant language – someone who is genuinely born-again and set apart to God.

 That’s great but it tells me nothing about the outworking of that consecration or holiness, for that we have to look further. Before we do that let’s look at the thesaurus and dictionary definition of holy.

 Dictionary – Holy

dedicated or consecrated to God for a religious purpose; sacred : e.g. the Holy Bible

• (of a person) devoted to the service of God: e.g. saints and holy men.

• morally and spiritually excellent : e.g. a holy life.

 Thesaurus – Holy – the world recognizes all these words as equating to the state of a person being holy

holy men – saintly, godly, saint-like, pious, pietistic, religious, devout, God-fearing, beatific, spiritual, righteous, good, virtuous, angelic, sinless, pure, numinous, canonized, beatified,

Below is the dictionary meaning of some of those words from the thesaurus – I especially loved the meaning for beatific.

  • Beatificblissfully happy; in Christian Theology – imparting holy bliss

Being holy equates to being blissfully happy? Woooah! Grid update!

  • Canonized – as being above reproach or of great significance; beatified, ordained.
  • Numinous – having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity

Why did I not just take the scriptures at face value? Why did I not just take the Strongs meaning, why did I look at the dictionary and thesaurus? Why; because God does not just talk through scripture, he talks through many different things and in many different ways. In this case the Strongs alone did not give me a full enough picture of what a holy person is and what he looks like behaviour wise. So I had to put many pieces together to get that picture – scripture, the concordance, dictionary, thesaurus, other peoples writings…

Holiness in character comes from the transformational work of Christ in us – let’s see what J C Ryle says – his writings and sermons on holiness are still considered by many biblical scholars as being the clearest on that subject. John Charles Ryle (10 May 1816 – 10 June 1900)

“Holiness is His special gift to His believing people. Holiness is the work He carries on in their hearts, by the Spirit whom He puts within them. Holiness comes not of blood, parents cannot give it to their children: nor yet of the will of the flesh, man cannot produce it in himself: nor yet of the will of man, ministers cannot give it you by baptism. Holiness comes from Christ. It is the result of vital union with Him, It is the fruit of being a living branch of the True Vine.”

“Sanctification (holiness), again, is the outcome and inseparable consequence of regeneration. He that is born again and made a new creature receives a new nature and always lives a new life. A regeneration, which a man can have, and yet live carelessly in sin or worldliness, is a regeneration invented by uninspired theologians, but never mentioned in Scripture. On the contrary, St. John expressly says, “He that is born of God does not commit sin – does righteousness – loves the brethren – keeps himself – and overcomes the world.” (1 John ii. 29; iii. 9-14; v. 4-18.)

“In a word, where there is no sanctification, there is no regeneration, and where there is no holy life there is no new birth. This is, no doubt, a hard saying to many minds; but, hard or not, it is simple Bible truth. It is written plainly, that he who is born of God is one whose “seed remains in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John iii. 9.)”

“He that boasts of being one of God’s elect, while he is willfully and habitually living in sin, is only deceiving himself, and talking wicked blasphemy. The very idea of a man being “sanctified,” while no holiness can be seen in his life, is flat nonsense and a misuse of words. Light may be very dim; but if there is only a spark in a dark room it will be seen. Life may be very feeble; but if the pulse only beats a little, it will be felt. It is just the same with a sanctified man: his sanctification will be something felt and seen, though he himself may not understand it. A “saint” in whom nothing can be seen but worldliness or sin, is a kind of monster not recognized in the Bible!”

So let’s put all the pieces together  – Holy, is what you are if you are truly born-again – it is your state of being. You have been made holy through Christ’s redemptive work and thereby are consecrated to God.

Holiness is not a set of traditionally perceived behaviours. Holy behaviour is simply a by-product of our being holy not the other way around. We are not holy because we choose to do things we perceive as being right and proper so we can make God happy with us.

A holy life is a life that is full of Joy because Joy lives in you; and out of that state of being given over to God and full of joy (blissfully happy) flows a life that is transformed into Christ’s image, having his character and values, thereby living a morally and spiritually excellent life. And in turn that life shows others the reality of God’s amazing love and grace, what the real Christian life is, and offers them that same cleansing, consecration, that same blissfully happy joy and so much more.

A person who is truly born again or given over to God will, out of their state of already being holy, be Christ-like in nature and deed, blissfully happy and able to impart that to others. Now that begins to put the fun back into Holy! So in reality being holy is a fun filled adventure not a deathly serious set of rules and behaviours.

And that kind of Holy is one I want.

Is God serious? Yes, at times, but that is not his default personality or character. He is good; he is holy, he is love, he is joy, he is peace, he is righteousness, he is fun, he is full of delight, he is outrageously extravagant and so much more… those things are who he is not just what he does. What he does flows out of who he is. That’s the God we serve and love, that’s the God who is holy and that’s what his holiness works in us.

The Bible does not tell us that God’s nature is judgement or anger or that he demands impossibilities of his kids and punishes them when they don’t come up to that. Sure the wages of sin is death and the sin nature had to be dealt with but it is not us who deal with it. No, Christ has already taken all judgement and punishment and we will never have to have it. He has made us holy in him and we get to live out of his holiness, his mind, his heart, his nature.  It is not about our works but his unbelievably wonderful grace.

Does God demand holiness – no he doesn’t demand it – he gives it, it’s his gift to us, his holy nature in us, to live out of.

It’s holiness Church…but not as we know it!  It’s time for a mind transformation and… it’s time to put the fun back into Holy!

I have had my theology challenged lately and oh it is good. The result of that challenge has been like getting new glasses after seeing for so long with blurred lenses that are an old prescription.

We see and understand from such a limited perspective. A lot of our theological understanding comes from things we have heard preached, picked up by osmosis along the way or have studied for ourselves. The trouble is when it comes to God and even theology we only see through the lenses of our current theological grid. Things can be ‘hidden in plain sight’ in scripture but because we have been taught to see something from a certain perspective we don’t see that there could be another perspective. Or even, that maybe our current understanding is wrong.

Then along comes God and he challenges what you or I believe. What we do with that challenge is vitally important. That challenge can come in many forms and God is not afraid to use circumstances we face to challenge what we believe about him or his word. What are our options when God challenges us and do we always choose the right one?

Option 1 – Ignore the challenge. Sometimes God comes and challenges us and we choose to ignore the challenge. Why? It could be we think there is nothing wrong with our theology, that what we believe now is true and is right. Or it could be that we don’t recognize that we see in part and do not know all truth about anything. So it is easy to push the challenge away or even apply it to someone else we know.

Option 2 – Treat the challenge superficially or apathetically. God challenges us and we may even recognize we might not be 100% right but we don’t or won’t search out the truth. We have many justifications for doing this but each one comes down in the end to pride, passivity or apathy. We will rationalize and defend our passivity too. We may think – Its not like I’m going to find out I’m not saved or something like that, so it’s not vital. So we choose to live on the poverty line of revelation and understanding.

Option 3 – Find an excuse to not to let the challenge change us. We may agree in principle to the new update God has given us but that’s where it stays – as a concept and principle. It is easy to give assent with our minds to something but we must let our theology change us, we must live it out. Updated theology should radically affect everything and will often have a domino effect challenging and toppling other wrong beliefs as well.

Option 4 – Admit that we are challenged and let the challenge change us to a certain level – usually to the level of our rights – for example – I may believe  I have the right to live comfortably and with ease so no I won’t answer that call to serve on the mission field, but I will support them financially. If I ignore it maybe it will go away – usually it does too and unfortunately we stay in the place of unbelief and fear. At this point also it is all too easy to use excuses – maybe we hide behind our kids or our job or even what our Pastor believes and we don’t want the boat rocked so we do nothing.

Option 5 – Allow the challenge to do its work in us. This is where we recognize that God is at work and is challenging us for a reason – that the image of Christ may fully formed in us. In this option we are willing to hold loosely what we have believed and allow God to challenge it, shake it, sift it and let the wind blow away what is chaff. In this place we are willing to allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable while still trusting that he knows what he is doing and why. It is a place of surrender, a place that while not necessarily easy to be in is absolutely necessary if we are to move into greater revelation.

This is a season of many challenges for the church. Finances, confidence, mind sets, theology; it is a season where everything that can be shaken is being shaken. What a glorious time it is – God is challenging us and we are getting to see the truth about where we stand. For many, if not all of us, we are discovering that we don’t trust God as much as we thought, we don’t believe him as much as we ought to and largely, we don’t really experience the reality of what we believe. Oh the wonderful grace of God in revealing these things to us.

The devil would have us believe that these times are like they are because God is judging us yet the truth is far from that. In these challenging times the whisper from heaven is – “Come closer, come and see the real me, come, see and experience the reality of who I am. And when you see me as I truly am, everything will change. You will see your challenges from a new perspective, you will see the answers I have for those challenges and faith will rise in your heart, so that what you believe and what you see may be manifested in your realm.”

God is challenging our theology especially in this season – what we believe about him, what we believe about his word, his kingdom and so much more. Let him do it, let him challenge your theology. In doing so you will come out the other side with a wonderfully updated view of God that will change your world. Allowing God to update your theology in this season is vital. The church worldwide is undergoing a reformation that at it’s culmination will dwarf any other that has been before. Out of that reformation the Bride will arise in all her glory, pure and spotless, rightly displaying the character, love and power of God, releasing heaven into earth everywhere she goes.

Letting God change you in this season is not only essential on a personal level but it makes you a part of the pioneering work of birthing reformation. That’s how big this is, it’s not just about you maturing it’s way bigger than that; it’s about the Church becoming who she was created to be.

Bring on the change, I say! Challenge our theology God, change it and change us!

A prophet is supposed to hear from God clearly and deliver what they hear, and in the Old Testament it seems that there were very definite repercussions if they didn’t get it right.

How do we judge a prophecy and can we judge a prophecy solely by whether or not it comes to pass? Obviously that is a standard many  hold to, yet if we judge every prophecy by that standard alone we have a problem. We are finite people with a finite life span and even in scripture some prophetic words did not come to pass for centuries. Are we to judge a prophecy by setting a time limit or a date by which a prophetic word must come to pass or are there other factors we need to consider? Obviously there are other factors as well that come into play.

If a prophet gives a prophetic word and specifies a certain time when it will come to pass then that does set a time limit on that prophecy; but even then part of the prophetic word can be accurate and part wrong. Putting time limits in prophetic words is always risky, even when you sense God say a time specification. Why? Because God’s sense of time often does not correspond to our understanding of time.

How do we judge a prophecy then? Some simple things to weigh a prophetic word by are as follows:

Judge the prophecy and not the person giving it. (God speaks through people who might not always line up with our preconceived ideas of how a prophetic person should look, speak or act.)

The new covenant prophetic word must be for edification, exhortation and comfort (1 Cor 14:2-4). Because of redemption all prophetic words will be bathed and soaked with Father’s love and heart for that person or people.

  • The word must carry the Saviour’s heart and redemptive purpose. There is a huge difference between Old Covenant prophets and New Covenant ones. (Old was under the law – judgement; new is under Grace – love & redemptive purpose)
  • The word given will not violate Scripture or God’s character and values. Check – does it line up with the Word, God’s heart, His nature and character?
  • Inner witness. Does the Holy Spirit in you witness that this is a word from God? (It is possible for someone to prophesy from their soul – what they see or sense with their natural senses about a person or situation)
  • Does the word come to pass? This is not always easy to gauge, as sometimes years go by before a prophecy comes to pass, so for me this is one of the lower things on the list of how I judge a prophecy. It should not be the first thing we go to.
  • A prophetic word does not have to be, but may be, confirmed with outward circumstances that come into agreement with that word. eg signs and wonders 1

All this might make it seem that giving and receiving prophetic words is risky and that it would be better not to have that gift operate. Unfortunately some people and churches have chosen this route. Because of the risk factor they have chosen to shut down the operation of that gift in their lives and churches. Unfortunately this is a knee-jerk reaction, not a scriptural or even a wise one.

Part of the reason it may happen is if pastors aren’t prophetic themselves and they then place a lower value on this gift than others. Another reason is because a lot of pastors don’t understand the gift and don’t know how to pastor prophetic people. So an ostrich situation can happen – if I ignore it maybe it will go away or sort itself out. Not so, but unfortunately that can be some peoples’ viewpoint.

Sometimes the shutting down of the gift or gifts simply comes from the very practical fact of ‘a lot of stuff to do and little time to do it in’ so Pastors can make growing in the prophetic and pastoring the prophetic a low priority.

The gift of prophecy is a very needed gift in the church today, just as it always has been. There is a restoration of that gift happening at the moment and it is being used both in church and out in the marketplace with great effect in peoples’ lives. But if we don’t want to go around the same mountain again and have the same problems happen we must learn to use and pastor the gift with wisdom so that it grows up into its fullness in our lives – personally and in the corporate life of the church.

In order for that to happen part of what we need to understand is that we carry some responsibility in delivering a prophetic word, so in next month’s article I will look at that responsibility .

1 content from list is taken from “Prophetic Bootcamp” by XP USA.

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