You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘victory’ category.

The following word was given this morning at Fiordland New Life Church in the worship time by Lyn Packer. It is given for the Church in New Zealand but is also a word for the Church in the nations as well.

“I say to you, victory is your starting point, not need! Provision is your starting point, not need. I’ve given you eyes to see; will you see, will you look from my perspective?

I’m raising up a company in this nation; a company of burning hearts, a company of those who see rightly, whose starting point is the as yet unseen reality of my promise. I am raising up a company of those who will take me at my Word and see that my promises have been fulfilled before they are given, who see the provision has arrived before its journey started. I am raising up those who see ahead of time to an already established reality and I am doing it in this place, in this time.

Can you see them? Can you see them, because they are you! I am doing a work in your life that will forever shift your sight line! Today I decree a shift in your sight line. No longer will you be satisfied with seeing through veiled or faithless eyes; no longer will you be satisfied with seeing from a ‘needs’ perspective. Today I say you shall now see with spirit eyes; the eyes of a seer are released today, here and in this nation. I give you eyes to see, and to function. from the place of victory already established, from provision already given.

See beyond time. See my already established future, my hope, my plans for yourself and this nation of New Zealand. I have given you my promises so that you may know ahead of time what your tomorrow will look like.

 You are about to step into a prophetic window of time that will establish what your future and the future of this nation will look like. It is a crucial time, weighty in its implication and in its reality.

Listen for me in what you hear, look for me in what you see. Look beyond today; see your future and begin to live in that now. Who said there must be steps you must take? Who said there must be levels to ascend. What I say you can do, you can do. 

Do not say “I am too immature, I need more healing before I’m ready.” I have already made provision for it, it is already established as I see you. I will take care of character as you walk in submission to me. I have already brought you into fullness of maturity in Christ. Stay in Him, lean into Him, rely on Him. Exchange your weakness for His strength and it will become your strength. Step into your future today. Don’t put it off into tomorrow, you can walk in it today. Go beyond now and walk in tomorrow today. I operate beyond time, so you can walk according to my vision, what I see, not earth’s timeline.

Victory is your starting position; maturity is your starting position; provision is your starting position, because they are already established in me, in my plans for you and for the nation. Do not look at this nation and say “It is too hard.” It is already accomplished in me. I am making you and I am making this nation a company of burning hearts. You, my called out ones, my burning hearts, will move through this nation and the nations of the earth, sharing the reality of my Kingdom.”



A declaration to make

“I declare that I am a part of the company of burning hearts that you are raising up in this time. I have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to understand what You are doing in this time.

I declare that victory is my starting place, that provision is my starting place, that maturity is my starting place; those realities already exist because of how You see me. I declare that I walk in purpose and destiny already because You see my end from my beginning. I am Your child, called by Your Name, destined to burn with Your love so men will see and be drawn to You!

 My jurisdiction is first this nation then the nations of the world. They are mine. You have given them to me as my inheritance and so I take my place in Your company of burning hearts, as one that will burn for You!”

 

Advertisements

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Jesus’ cry from the cross has for centuries been interpreted by the church to mean that the Father forsook Jesus, turned his face from him and left him to face the cross by himself. But is that true? Did the Father actually forsake Jesus and turn his back on him?

As we read those words of Jesus in scripture a seed question becomes planted in our minds – if he forsook Jesus will he turn away from us? I want to look at both of those things in this article – did he forsake Jesus and will he forsake us?

If we take the words of Jesus at face value we might believe that God abandoned Jesus on the cross, however if we look at other scriptures and understand some cultural things we actually begin to see something different.

In scripture we find quite a few verses in the Old Testament that seem to indicate that while God promised not to forsake Israel Deut 4:31 he then goes back on his word and does forsake them. But does he actually forsake them or does their sin have consequences; are they are reaping what they have sown? Here are some of those verses for you to check out – Deut 31:16-18; 1Ki 6:11-13; Neh 9: all esp30 ,31; Is 59:2; Is 54:8.

Let’s look at how God dealt with Jesus because that has a huge significance for us and our lives.

Throughout his lifetime Jesus made some interesting claims.

John 10:30,I and my Father are one.” That reality was never rescinded before, during or after the cross.

In John 14:9 -11 Jesus says four times that he and the Father are in each other. v9 “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”  10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” 11  “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”

In speaking of his coming death, Jesus believed the Father would not leave him to face it alone.

John 8:28,29 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself…. 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone.

John 16:32, Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Then we come to those famous words on the cross… My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me (Matt 27:46)

Did God really turn his back on Jesus and forsake him or was something quite different from what the words seem to imply actually happening. I believe that something different was happening.

Why?

Because God is good (Mk 10:18), he is love (1Jn 4:8) he is faithful (Deut 7:9) cannot be false to his word or who he is and his mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13)

Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the law and obeyed all Gods commandments so God couldn’t go back on his word and forsake Jesus. God said to the children of Israel that if they obeyed his laws then he would never leave nor forsake them (see verses earlier in article).

Jesus himself believed the Father would not leave him or forsake him as seen earlier in this article.

Paul says in 2 Cor 5:19 …God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  God was IN Christ, they were one, and so he hung there too. The Amplified Bible says it like this “It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).”(AMP)

Although mankind has felt abandoned or forsaken by God since the fall he was not. Even before mankind was created God made provision for the possibility of the fall, even then he decided he would never forsake us. Scripture tells us that Jesus was the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8)

Jesus, as fallen man, was identifying with us, taking on our sin; our grief, our confusion and the inaccurate feeling of abandonment by God that mankind had suffered since the fall. He was not speaking out of his feeling of abandonment, he knew God was with him, he was speaking out of ours. You might be thinking but the Bible says our sins have separated us from God and hidden his face from us (Is 59:2) Note here it is sin that does the separating, sin that hides Gods face from us making us not able to see him1 not God hiding himself from us because of sin. It is sin that is the bad guy not God. God has not forsaken or abandoned us because of our sin.

Another thing that was happening at that point was something that would be yet another indicator to all present there at the cross, that Jesus was in fact the Messiah, the long awaited one. A teaching practice in those days was that the teacher / rabbi would say the first verse (as we know them) of a Psalm or passage and the listeners would know what was coming, where the teacher was going by quoting that verse.

Those words “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” are a quote of the first verse of Ps 22 – the prophetic, messianic, psalm of deliverance written by David that begins with that cry but goes on to say that God hasn’t despised him or his cry, he has not hidden his face from him, he has heard when he cried to him; and the passage ends with the declaration “they shall come and proclaim his righteousness because he has done it!“  In other words “It is finished” he has delivered us! David is telling us ahead of time that the Father will not turn his face from Jesus and Jesus refers the Jews back to that passage of deliverance by using this phrase.

Most of those Jews listening would know that Jesus was referencing the entire passage especially any Pharisees or Sadducees there. They knew their scriptures and were familiar with the Messianic prophecies. For those that heard this cry aright, they would have heard that Jesus did not feel forsaken; they would have heard that he was proclaiming hope and deliverance.

Yes there were some who did not get that, who thought he was crying out to Elijah but those possibly were not even Jews and while we can’t know that for sure we do know that there were many people there from different nations. Any Jew listening would have known that Eli means “My God” not “Elijah” so they would not be likely to have made that comment.

Now to the other question – will God forsake us? I recently received an email from a woman who wrote that she had been through a hard time over the last few years, losing their business and much more in the economic crash. A friend had that day given her a verse (to help her make sense of her circumstances). It was Isaiah 54:8 – In anger I turned away from you for a moment etc.

As his children, does God get angry with us and forsake us this side of the cross?

No he doesn’t ever forsake us, not for any reason!

What about when we sin?

In Jesus God forgave every sin even future ones. To be honest, when Jesus died, every sin you or I would commit was a future sin. And God forgave us ahead of time! Even when you do sin today you are already forgiven and there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1). God cannot condemn you, to do so would mean he would have to discount Jesus work on the cross. He cannot turn his back on you – to do so would be to deny his word and he would have to take back his forgiveness, making him a liar. You are forgiven, totally, eternally already forgiven!

My thoughts are that those verses from Isaiah have no place in a New Covenant believers life other than to show us how different our covenant is to the old Covenant that God had with the Jews.

As New Covenant believers in Christ it simply isn’t true of us in our relationship with the Lord. He will never leave us, forsake us or turn his face from us because of anger toward us!

He says in Matt 28:20 Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world. And in Heb 13:5 for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Scripture is clear that we are now joined to God in such a way that we are one spirit with him – 1Co 6:17. God cannot separate Christ or us from himself – we are now in Him and one spirit with him.

Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that God will or does forsake us. That God will forsake us is a strategically planted lie of the Devil who delights in blinding us to the truth in scripture and the truth of who God is. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will not turn his back on us or abandon us in our hour of need just as he did not abandon Jesus.

God’s promises to us of his continuing presence, goodness and provision for every area in our lives are too numerous to mention here, but I want you to know that if bad things do happen to you or you do sin, God has not and will not ever leave you or forsake you. He longs to give you peace, wisdom and strategy for your circumstances and to turn your circumstances into good for you (Rom 8:28) because that’s who he is and that’s what he has promised!

1 – Matthew Henry Commentary

In a meeting recently I heard the speaker mention being “promoted in the Spirit”. Normally on hearing something like this I would’ve just accepted it. But as I was sitting there a thought popped into my mind which I recognised as being a question from the Lord. “Is there such a thing as being promoted in the Spirit?” Now I’ve come to understand that when God asks me a question it’s not because he doesn’t know the answer – it’s because I need to know the answer.

I have heard that saying for many years and understood being ‘promoted in the Spirit” meant somehow going to a new level of authority or standing in God although quite what that was, was never explained. Indeed, I know of people who teach that at a certain time each year God judges our performance and accordingly either promotes or demotes us in the Spirit.

If this is indeed the case what criteria does God use to judge us by? What do we have to do in order to get a promotion, and what do we need to abstain from in order to avoid being demoted? Is earning a “promotion in the Spirit” dependent on how much we are obedient or how many good works we do, or on God’s judging us by some set of criteria that we’re unaware of? What does scripture tell us and what is the New Covenant reality?

In the world we live in we are so used to the promotion system – get good grades and you’ll get promoted to a higher class in school; work hard enough and you may earn a promotion at work. In our natural world promotions must be earned, they don’t come as a result of sitting back and doing nothing. So when people use the term “promotion in the Spirit” we presume that it must mean that they have somehow earned a promotion.

In the church we unconsciously foster the concept of promotion in several ways. One way it is fostered is by giving people ranks and titles. We call some people Generals or Fathers in the faith or Apostle (usually because they head up a denomination, ministry or a church). Mostly we do it as a sign of respect but it can foster wrong thinking and believing.

We encourage people to aim for, or earn status or title by practicing the promotion system in our churches. You have to work your way up through the ranks. You may be called to pastor people but you must start by teaching in Sunday School and then maybe you’ll be promoted to Youth Leader and then an assistant Pastor and finally one day you’ll earn the title and get to be a Pastor. Scripture may look like it gives ranks and titles eg pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet, evangelist etc but it doesn’t, they are job descriptions not titles. All these people are called to train the saints for their service and ministry not be given a title.

At first thought the idea that we can get promotions in the spirit sounds appealing, but dig deeper and there is something wrong with that whole line of thought. It means that our place in God’s order of things is dependent on what we do, but that system is called ‘the law’, and we are no longer under law but under grace. The Christian life, and our place in God’s order of things, is not based on what we do but on what Jesus has done for us.

Promotion is the idea that we can earn advancement through our efforts. People even talk about being in the school/university of the Spirit. There is no university in the Spirit; God doesn’t give a degree in Christian living or in theology. Degrees in theology are man’s idea that stems from man’s desire to please God, understand the Bible or/and be someone.

You may ask, “But doesn’t the Bible say that if we are faithful with what we have that we will be given more? (Matt 25:14-30) Isn’t that a promotion?” In these verses I believe that Jesus was not talking about a system of promotion but about a natural part of the Christian walk – we have been given a new nature made in the image of God – one of his attributes is faithfulness. So this parable is about growing up into Him it is not primarily about us earning promotion. It is about becoming mature sons and daughters.

As a part of that maturing process we should, and will, bear fruit and learn how to wisely steward what God has given us. As we do we will be given more responsibility, the grace to handle it, and his joy in doing what he has called us to do. A part of growing in maturity in Christ is that we should become increasingly more aware of just how much he has done for us. We believe it, and walk from a place of rest in his work, not ours.

Scripture says in Matt 16:27 that Jesus will reward us according to our works. This would appear on face value to say that if we work hard we’ll be rewarded for that hard work.  But this passage is not about works as we think of them. It’s not about how many duties we took on at church or how many orphans we feed; it’s about our accepting or rejecting Jesus according to the commentaries I read.1

The Church has brought into the idea of promotions partly because it has misunderstood that word rewards. That misunderstanding has now become an accepted part of church theology. It says that we will be rewarded or promoted according to what we do for God – how long and how hard we have worked. It says that by doing more we can receive more from God – a higher standing and place of authority before him and others, maybe a bigger mansion in heaven or a bigger, more jewel studded crown or a closer throne to Jesus in heaven. Thinking this-  is evidence of our not truly understanding who we now are, what Christ bought for us by his death and what the Father has consequently given us as sons and daughters.

In Matt 20, in the parable of the workers, Jesus tells us that we all get paid the same, whether we worked longer, harder or not.

I am reminded of the disciples’ mother that wanted her sons to be rewarded by being seated by Jesus in a place of honour in his kingdom (Matt 20:20–24). Jesus’ reply to that was to tell them that they didn’t get it, that they had it back-to-front; that the greatest in the kingdom got to serve more not accumulate more or get a greater place.

In this passage it says that God will choose who sits there beside Jesus, but after his resurrection and his being enthroned on high, scripture also plainly tells us who God chose to sit there – all of us! We are all seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), every believer in the same position, co-heirs and co-reigning with Christ.

(Now I am not saying people haven’t seen in visions what they claim to have seen, I’m sure they have seen those things. I have seen many things myself even. But we must remember to weigh our visions against what scripture plainly says and interpret them in the light of scripture. One problem with visions is that many people do not know how to interpret them, they are not all literal, many of them are symbolic. For example if you see some people sitting enthroned beside Jesus on thrones it may not be literally mean those people, they may just be representative of the fact that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places.)

God does indeed reward us, but not by being “promoted in the Spirit”. Col 3:24 says that our reward is the heirship or inheritance – what Christ won for us on Calvary. Phil 3:8 tells us that part of the true reward is “knowing Jesus and living with him forever”.

I believe our reward is knowing and experiencing the reality of relationship with the Godhead, and the things Jesus died to make our inheritance – some of which are his love, joy, eternal life, healing (for ourselves and others), abundant provision, and being seated with Christ in heavenly places.

Understanding that knowing Jesus and living with him forever is the true reward frees us to live for him with an attitude of doing whatever we do for love of him, not love of rewards. It frees us to take the focus off ourselves and back onto Jesus!

The idea of promotion in the Spirit is dare I say it, a subtle deception that has found its way into the church that appeals to our human desire to be the best we can be for Jesus and to our pride; but in the end it comes from a wrong base.

I believe that under the New Covenant to earn a promotion in the Spirit is actually impossible – you can’t get any higher than being in Christ, a co-heir with him. In order for us to earn a promotion in the Spirit we would have to come down from our place of seated authority in Christ, discount the work he did on the cross, come back under law and believe that our efforts are what count in ensuring our place in God’s eternal Kingdom. So we need to give up our ideas of worldly promotions and accept that he has already promoted us to the highest place beside himself. When we realize that, there is no striving for more, only gratitude for what he has done and what he has given us.

So where would you rather be – at rest in what Christ has done, seated with him in heavenly places, functioning out of that place of rest and authority or trying by your efforts to somehow earn your way into God’s good books and hope you have done enough to earn that promotion in the Spirit?

Think it through!

1 – Gills Bible Exposition & Barnes Bible Notes

It’s all very well to say we trust God but do we really? I suspect that your life is probably like mine to a degree. I say I trust God then I go and worry about whether things will work out how I hope they will.

Learning to trust God has been a journey for me. Growing up in a life where I felt I could trust no-one certainly didn’t prepare me in any way for trusting God. To start with I had to just take him at his word (in the Bible) and also rely on other peoples testimony of his faithfulness. That time spent in scripture looking up verses relating to his faithfulness was an absolutely crucial part of learning to trust him. Seeing how God came through in the lives of those recorded in scripture told me that if he came through for them he would come through for me. And over time I began to build my own record of God coming through for me in different situations.

So fast-forward to now – I was thinking about faith and trust the other day and how they are linked. The thesaurus says other words for Faith are – trust, belief, hope, conviction, expectation, reliance, dependence. Faith is linked with Trust! When I saw this it sparked some thoughts that I spent some time mulling over. So it’s that trust aspect of faith that I want to talk about here today.

Faith is so much a part of our life with God. The Bible even states that without it it’s impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6); so it’s a pretty important thing to have established right in our life. If faith is linked to trust then how much do I really trust God? What is that trust built on? How do I know He’s trustworthy? These and many other questions have invaded my mind and sent me on a journey of discovery.

Our faith is built on the foundation of the trustworthiness of God. We long to see ‘God be God’ to us and through us and for this happen we must settle the trust issue to be able to walk in the kind of faith that pleases Him.

We say we have faith and trust God but do our actions, attitudes and responses line up with our words? It is these things that really show how deep our trust goes.

How often do we make snap judgments and decide to trust someone we have known for a couple of seconds yet struggle to trust the God who has proved his faithfulness and goodness over many years or even generations?

Trust can be a very subjective thing. What do we base our trust on? Is it a snap judgment on our part based on how someone presents themself to us, their appearance, demeanor etc? Is it made up of assessing someone’s track record and seeing their trustworthiness or just blind acceptance?

In a counseling course that I attended a while ago the lecturer said that 95% (or more) of people do not have an adult way to assess who is trustworthy and who is not. Most of us simply assess trustworthiness based on our feelings (instincts) or our response to our dealings with people.

Trust is – loaning power to another. To trust means to give ones safety and future to the judgements and decisions of another. Trusting means being vulnerable to someone else’s choices and thoughts. So trusting is therefore risky. The alternative to trust is avoiding any form of loaning of power to another which results in attempting to control lives, both your own and others.

Check yourself out. Has God proved his trustworthiness to you or are you being lied to by your own bruised feelings and echoes from past hurts? Your ‘stuff’ from past betrayal may mean that in reality you trust no one, not even God. God does not mean us to go through life not trusting others and he also doesn’t mean us to go through life trusting unwisely those who don’t deserve our trust. But He does mean us to go through life trusting Him, the one who is worthy of our wholehearted trust and faith.

So how do you assess trustworthiness – I think some of the same ways you assess trustworthiness in people can also be applied to firming up our trust in God.

  1. Do you believe God is good and God is love? Because if this foundation isn’t there you will never be able to believe God can be trusted.
  1. Examine God’s track record – Is there a history of reliability, faithfulness and integrity? Listen to the testimony of others who are trustworthy. What do they say about his track record of dealings with them?
  1. Can you trust Him with what you share with Him? Will He use it in a way that will harm you?
  1. Is He forgiving? Does he hold grudges?
  1. Is he truthful or is he a liar? Is he who he says he is?
  1. What does the Word of God say about Him. Check out Ps 111:7-8; Heb 6:14-20;  Ps 25:2; Ps 56:3; Prov 3:5; Ps 93:5
  1. How does He treat His family? How does He view His stewardship as our King or Father? What is His attitude to His children or to those outside his family?
  1. Is He Love and is He loving?

If He is not Love then none of the above criteria can ever apply and He is not worthy of trust or belief but if He is, then we must settle that in our hearts and know that He is utterly trustworthy; so we can believe and have faith in whatever He says to us.

I have come to realise that while I trust God in most areas of my life there are still others where my responses are sometimes at odds with my words. I have discovered that the lack of trust in those areas stems from my past, not His character or lack of it.

Are you the same? Are there areas where your past fights against your ability to trust God? Realise that God has made provision for healing every area of your past in Christ’s work on the cross. Allow God access to those areas to heal them and choose to trust based on what you know of His love, faithfulness and trustworthiness. As we do it will build a stronger faith and trust in Him. Our faith will then have a foundation that will not be shaken easily by the storms of life or the faith steps God asks us to take. Our walk will be transformed as we step out in supreme confidence knowing that the one who is supreme can totally be trusted to do what He says He will do.

*Trustworthiness assessment questions based on David Riddell’s Living Wisdom course notes

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!

Prophetic Insights For 2012 – Part 1

Before reading this post can I encourage you to read the post “Prophetic Bulletins – are they valid today?” which is directly below this one on the blogsite.

Please also do take the time to re-read the Prophetic Insights for 2011 (you can find them on the toolbar above if reading this on the blogsite or here on our website if reading this on facebook or email). These will continue to play out over the next few years as God is unfolding his plan for the church. In writing these insights, while I call them Prophetic insights for 2011 or 2012, they are in fact prophetic insights into a “time-frame” that spans a few years, as well as being relevant to this particular year.

While these insights are what I believe the Lord has shown me I would encourage you to seek the Lord for yourself regarding them and ask him what his plans are for your personal life for this coming year.

Prophetic Insights for 2012 -Part 1

As I have been praying about this coming year there are a few things that the Lord has been saying, but one has rung louder than all the others. I believe we will hear more and more about this thing coming from many different sources. It is the foundational thing that all else is being built on – both in our personal lives and corporately, as the Church. When I share what God has been saying, it may sound in some ways innocuous or “old-news” at first, but everything the church becomes and does in the years ahead hinges on us getting a greater revelation of it. 

That statement is “Look at the Cross!”

God is calling us to look back in order to properly find our way forward!

A Largely Lost Revelation

Over the centuries the church has largely lost her way and we are hearing the voice of the Lord say again “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isa 30:21). And the way he is calling us to walk in is not some great mystery recently revealed, it is not some new revelation, but it is a revelation that we have largely forgotten. The revelation of the Cross – what Jesus did for us by his death and resurrection (check out 2 Cor 5:19; 1 Cor 15:22; Rom 5:18,19; Rom 6:8; Col 2:20 to start with).

The revelation of the cross is all about the grace of God and what it means to be born again and live in that grace. God is bringing a refocusing on the freedom that the gospel brings people into and reminds us that we live not under law but under grace (Rom 6:14; Gal 3:3; Col 1:23). While people initially get saved by grace, many all too soon get encumbered by teaching and beliefs that cause them to be unable to continue to live by grace. It is this that God is drawing our attention back to – the need to continually live in and by the grace of God. This revisited revelation of grace is revolutionizing the church.

Like with all things that God reveals or re-reveals, there is the possibility that some will believe and others won’t. The enemy wants to make mileage out of that and cause both sides (supporters and opponents) to rise up in self-righteousness and pride and defend their beliefs by tearing down the other side. Don’t let him draw you into that devilish trap.

Some in the Body of Christ are calling this the “grace revolution” but I would caution against using labels to define what God is doing. Our man-given labels have caused much dissension and fighting within the Body of Christ. Jesus is not calling us to give another label to what he is doing but to discard the labels altogether! We should not say I am of the “grace movement”, the “prophetic stream” etc – the early church had that problem (1 Cor 1:11-13) and Paul basically told them to grow up. Today I am doing the same. It is time for us as individuals to discard our stream or denominational labels. It is time to leave them behind and simply be “Christians” again.

Blending Streams

I see in the days ahead the Lord bringing the revelation truths of those different “streams” and “denominations” – Pentecostal, Evangelical, Charismatic, Prophetic, Grace, Glory etc together into a mighty river of revelatory understanding. He is currently bringing to the church an understanding of how the truths we have had revealed to us are all a part of the whole. Each has restored important revelation to the church and God is blending the truths together to cause us to grow up into a whole body, not factions that are set against each other.

There will still be some who refuse to leave their labels behind, but more and more people are discarding them and moving on to a greater maturity as they do.

The outworking of all this is that we are continuing to grow up and become the sons and daughters of God we were called to be.

It is “Christ in us” being revealed and released. It is releasing the Kingdom of Heaven into earth wherever we go, sharing the true “good news”, bringing hope, setting the captives free (both inside and outside the church), healing the sick, seeing the lame walk, and the blind see.

It is the time to reclaim our lost heritage. It is a time for the church to take back the ground we have let the enemy steal from us. It is time for stepping into our destiny and calling, to see the seemingly impossible bow to God as he empowers each of us to fulfill his plans and purposes in the earth.

Part 2 will be up on the site tomorrow. i have made them smaller posts so they aren’t too much to wade through at once.

If you received the following invitation do you think you’d take it?

You are invited on

“A GRAND ADVENTURE!”

Starting point – NOW!

Finishing Point – YET TO BE DETERMINED!

“It’s the adventure of a lifetime! I can’t tell you exactly what will happen – that would spoil the surprise but I can promise you an adventure you’ll never forget.”

“I can promise times of peace and white knuckle times, I can promise there will be times you never want it to end and times you thought you never should have come along.”

“You’ll meet nice people, you’ll meet some not so nice. Some you’ll remember forever, some you’ll forget and some you’ll wish you could forget.”

“You’ll experience times of rapturous bliss and times of deep despair.”

“You’ll experience times when you have more than enough, times when you have just enough and times when you don’t have enough – of time, of finances, of love, of creativity, of patience and of  life experience.”

“There will be times when you know exactly what to say and times when you can’t find the right words. And then there’ll be times you’ll wish you hadn’t found the words at all.”

“There will be times when you will see the world and times when you will be shut in and wish you could see the world.”

“There will be times where you’ll discover new friends and times when you leave behind old ones.”

“I can promise there will be fun and laughter and also tears.”

“I can promise there will be friends to hold your hand and speak love into your life after others have spoken unkindly.”

“I can promise you’ll be loved by many and possibly hated by one or two depending on how you treat them.”

“There will be times when it all goes well, times where you’ll hit problems and times when you’ll be the problem.”

“I can promise you will have times to sit quietly and think and times you’ll wish you had the time to sit quietly and think.”

“I can’t promise you’ll love every moment of it but I can promise you it will be a grand adventure, the adventure of a lifetime.”

Would you come along if you were offered that invitation, if you had time to weigh it all up?

Maybe you would and maybe you wouldn’t, but in some ways it doesn’t matter whether you would or wouldn’t because you’re already on it. It’s the adventure of  a lifetime – it’s the adventure of your lifetime! It’s a grand adventure, one you won’t get to repeat and one that you will remember for ever. Make the most of every moment of it even the bad ones. Wring out of it every bit of truth and understanding you can. Experience it all with every fiber of your being and in it all look for the one who created you and extended you the invitation. You will get the chance to meet him somewhere along the way. Look out for him because you never know when he’ll reveal himself and once he does a whole new chapter in your adventure will begin.

 

The other day at our “Outrageous Grace – religious detox day” someone asked me to explain the verse where Paul tells us to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’ (Phil 2:12-13). While I answered the question in an okay way, to be honest I felt that my on-the-spot answer didn’t go deep enough. So this article gives a more in-depth answer to the question. I do apologise for it’s length but it is an important topic and deserves looking at and understanding properly.

First here’s the verse in two translations:

ISV – “And so, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only when I was with you but even more now that I am absent, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him.”

WAY – “Since I am far away, work out, with fear and trembling self distrust, your own salvation. You have not to do it in your own strength. 13 It is God who is all the while supplying the impulse, giving you the power to resolve and the strength to perform the execution of his good pleasure.”

Work hard…

The most common understanding of this verse is that we were saved by grace  and faith, and while we didn’t have to earn our salvation, now that we are saved we do have to work hard at working for God and pleasing Him. We are to do so with fear and trembling (having the fear of God in our lives) in case He is not happy with us, or in case that when we stand before Him He says, “Go away, I never knew you.” It is to live in a state of uneasiness and fear, never knowing if our best will actually be good enough. But that is, I believe, a very wrong interpretation of this verse.

If that is a wrong interpretation then what is the right one?

Firstly, when the disciples asked Jesus what they should do to work the works of God, He answered that they should believe in the one that God sent (in Him). John 6:28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  (NASB)

So…

  • This is the foremost and foundational part of our works before God – to believe in Jesus, who He is and what He has done!

Is that it, though? Even in a grace walk is there nothing else we are to do? Surely it is not just as simple as that? As we will continue to see in this article our idea of works and God’s are often different.

Work out your salvation…

The salvation in this verse is not the salvation that we commonly understand – Jesus dying on the cross for us and us believing and ‘receiving that salvation’. It is something different.

“The word ‘salvation’ has many different meanings in the NT. In Phil 1:19 it means deliverance from prison. In Phil 1:28 it refers to the salvation of our bodies. The meaning in any particular case must be determined in part, at least, by the context. We believe that in this passage salvation means the solution of the problem that was vexing the Philippians – that is, their contentions, squabbles & strife. The apostle has given them the remedy. Now they are to apply the remedy by having the mind of Christ. Thus they would work out their own salvation, or the solution of their difficulty.” (BBC)

“In light of Paul’s preceding exhortation to the Philippians to unity, this passage may mean that the entire church was to work together to rid themselves of divisions and discord. The Philippian Christians needed to be especially careful to obey Christ, now that Paul wasn’t there to continually remind them about what was right.” (LASB)

So we see that part of our works is to love one another – to let Christ’s love be unleashed through us, not to love in our own strength. It is to be diligent in maintaining the unity of the Body of Christ, working out our problems with each other in a godly and scriptural way, tapping into the mind of Christ. In other words it’s not about our effort, it’s about letting Christ live through us.

In fear and trembling…

The fear and trembling mentioned here in this verse is not the fear of God or the fear that we won’t be good enough for Him. According to scholars, “The kind of fear which is recommended here is self distrust, a fear that leads to caution and care. Not slavish terror, but wholesome caution, it is tenderness of conscience; it is vigilance against temptation.” (VWS)

As mentioned above, the Philippian Christians now have the mind of Christ and Paul is saying that they should use Christ’s wisdom and His knowledge in their life and church situations rather than their own or the world’s. The world’s wisdom, or even our own human wisdom, cannot wholly be trusted so we need to have self-distrust in that way. It’s a distrust that makes us ask, “Is this Christ’s wisdom or man’s that I’m about to apply to this situation?”

So what does it mean?…

Paul is in prison, not around to keep an eye on those he loves and cares for, so he writes as an apostolic father to them. Basically, I believe he is saying something like this –

“It’s time to grow up, guys, I’m not there to keep you out of trouble. I’m not there to deliver you from your squabbles and problems. I’m not there to warn you when religion and legalism is trying to creep in. You’ve got to begin to take responsibility for your own grace walk before God. You have to learn for yourself just what the Christian life is all about. You need to get your own understanding of the wonderful work Jesus did for you – you can’t keep walking in my revelation. Outward motivation like that won’t work. It’s got to become your revelation and then you’ll be inwardly motivated. But even then, don’t rely on your own efforts to live the life Christ has for you. Don’t believe that lie; your best efforts just won’t cut it. Distrust the voice that says that you need to ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ to be a good Christian. That’s not Christianity, that’s religion and it’s not what you were born again into. Remember – it’s for freedom that Christ set you free. He didn’t set you free to bring you back into another form of religious bondage. Your best efforts are not good enough for any aspect of your salvation and Christian walk. Remember that it is Christ who gives you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him, so rely on Jesus and Holy Spirit – let them live this life in you and through you.”

Unforced rhythms…

Put the above mentioned verse (Phil 2:12 – 13) together with some others and you get a good picture of the attitude and the way in which we work out our salvation.

1 Cor 2:12 – 16  “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

  • We have been given the mind of Christ – His wisdom, His knowledge, His strategic thinking mind. We are to use His wisdom, not our own or the world’s.

Matt 11:28-30 says “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. In grace there is an ease, a rest that we can live in and walk in that is relaxed and unforced – not a result of our works, but of Christ’s.

Heb 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest… (KJV)

Again here is a verse that makes it sound as if we have to work hard to obtain something in God. But does it actually mean work hard?

Labour  = make haste, be diligent, zealous (SC, TGD)

Labour, in this verse, means to be diligent. Diligent means ‘to show care or conscientiousness’. It comes from the word ‘dilgens’ which means to love or take delight in. So this diligence is not something heavy it is something that is a delight. I believe that part of that delightful diligence, that conscientiousness, is that entering and staying in that state of rest should be a thing of prime importance.

So this is working out our salvation….

  • To receive and enter that rest state that Christ has provided and stay in it and then out of that to do what pleases Him.
  • To be diligent in maintaining that rest and all that Christ has given us (John 6:39), not letting the enemy steal it from us (John 10:10).
  • To allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds (Phil 4:7).
  • To not let the enemy whisper in our minds and establish thoughts that set themselves up against Christ (2 Cor 10:5). It means pulling down those thoughts and bringing them into submission to Christ.
  • To not let the enemy condemn us and tell us that we aren’t performing well enough (Rom 5:18; 8:1).
  • To believe that Christ will lead us, guide us, and provide a way out in every temptation (1 Cor 10:13) and give us what we need in every circumstance for everything He asks of us (2 Pet 1:3).
  • It is to believe and trust Him!

This then is what it means to work out our salvation. Our works are primarily to believe, trust and rest in Christ. When we do that we are diligently labouring to work out our salvation. From that place of rest and trust anything we do with Christ is not hard but joyful, and our burden is easy and light. And so we keep vigilant, we make sure that we enter and guard our state of rest. We work out our salvation, both eternal and earthly (problems, temptations etc), by relying on Christ, His mind, wisdom and strength to help us in every situation. Out of that state of rest, and knowing that Christ will supply our every need, we then cooperate with Him, doing His will and releasing heaven into earth.

Sources –

  • LASB – Life Application Study Bible
  • BBC  – Believers bible Commentary
  • GNB – Good News Bible
  • WAY – Arthur Way Translation
  • ISV – International Standard Version
  • MSG – The Message Bible
  • NASB – New American Standard Bible
  • VWS – Vincents Word Studies
  • SC – Strongs Concordance
  • TGD – Thayers Greek Definitions

When I was 20 I was part of a youth group that was on fire with passion for God and for people. They loved to worship and together we adventured deep into the heart of God. During that formative time in my Christian life I remember hearing a quote that I remember even today. That quote has been a foundational part of my Christian life and it’s truth still rings the same today as then. Here it is…

Sow a thought

Reap an attitude

Sow an attitude

Reap a act

Sow an act

Reap a habit

Sow a habit

Reap a character

Sow a character

Reap a destiny

My tomorrow and yours is being set by the choices and decisions we make today. Make a decision to make good decisions and to keep on making good decisions – future proof your life. Sow good thoughts, follow through on them and reap  a great future.

What an exciting six weeks we’ve had as a nation hosting the Rugby World Cup. It’s been great for the nation and a great encouragement to me as a Christian (more about that later). I’m not normally a Rugby fan but even I sat and watched the semi-final and final matches. And the final was a cliff hanger! What a match. I sat there a wound up mass of tense muscles and shallow breathing until that final whistle blew and the game was over and we had won; by one point – but we had won! The All Blacks won and now they get the spoils. In their case that’s a victory payment, a shiny gold cup (The Webb-Ellis Trophy) with their name engraved on it, hero status in the nation and the right to call themselves the world champions for the next four years.

You know sometimes as Christians we can be a bit like I was, watching the final game of the RWC, when it comes to the Lord and Satan. We somehow get into our mind that there is a huge struggle for victory going on between the forces of heaven and the forces of darkness. But there isn’t! Jesus thoroughly thrashed the enemy in a decisive ‘huge score’ win against him on Calvary, not merely a one point victory either! There is no inch by inch fight for territory from Jesus’ perspective. It’s only us that see it like that if we’ve  not understood the nature of the battle or Christ’s victory. We can take one verse from scripture and build a theology around it like this one – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principlaities and powers” and think that the battle is still happening and the war is not over yet. Yet so many other scriptures tell us that he has triumphed (Col 2:15, Eph 1: 20,22, Eph 2:6, and more…). Jesus has already won, and through him we have, too.

We are now in mop up mode, gathering the spoils and plundering the enemy’s camp – setting free his prisoners and taking back what he stole from us. That’s a far different viewpoint to see things from and operate from. Let’s get a correct view of the enemy and get out there and set those prisoners free and plunder the enemy’s camp. To the victor the spoils! That’s Jesus and that’s us!

The other thing that encouraged me about the RWC was the crowds of people that turned out to watch in the fan zones. It got me dreaming again of the crowds that will gather to worship in open air stadiums and fan zones as Christ’s power and love are unleashed in our land. And believe me, it will happen! As a team we have had a great time getting out amongst all the fans and sharing the Lord with people. We’ve had some great conversations and so many people have had destiny spoken prophetically into them and their lives have been touched in a way that they will never forget (Holy Spirit will see to that). Seeds are planted in their lives that the Lord will now water and bring to fruit. One day we’ll get to meet many of them again and they’ll say “Do you remember the RWC in 2011, you prophesied over me and it changed my life….”

Who will you ask for a prophetic word for this month, this week, today? That word will have an effect – have no doubt about that. God says that when we open our mouth he will fill it and his words never return to him void – they always accomplish what he sends them to do. Let him speak through you this month. Be a blessing and be blessed.