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Have you ever wondered “what if…”

I was thinking about some “what if’s” the other day and I decided to make a series out of my thinking. No I’m not going to give you the answers only pose the questions – you get to come up with your own answers in consultation with Holy Spirit. Why not actually ask yourself the following questions over the next month… All the questions are based on promises in scripture, see if you can guess which scripture this comes from…

WHAT-IF-COLLECTION-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does that actually mean ….

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

Wow, that’s really good news!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 1

We live in exciting times. The church is undergoing rapid change and everywhere around the world God’s people are releasing Heaven into earth like never before. More people have been saved in the last twenty years than in all of history so far. God is doing wonderful things in every nation and we are all called to be a part of what He’s doing.

While in many ways this year will continue to build on what was started or established last year, God is the God of the ‘new’ and He is always doing new things, so we can expect Him to do new things in our lives and in the church this year. Interestingly, those things that we call ‘new things’ will in fact be a combination of things already established in Heaven, things that are truths or realities that have existed for eons that we are just discovering in our journey in Christ, as well as things that the church and world has not seen before – truly new things.

Often in the church we can mistakenly expect that God will work to a time frame that is measured in years, because that is how we work, but His timetable is not necessarily measured in years but in what we term ‘ages or dispensations’. So before we can understand what He wants to do this year we need to know what ‘age or dispensation’ we are in, so that we can see how this year fits into His overall plan.

Understanding the time and season

The overall age we are in is the New Covenant or Kingdom age. But within that are smaller increments of time that are focused not around dates but around revelation that God is releasing into the church and things that He is establishing in the earth. Over the last few years we have been transitioning out of what came to be known as the ‘Church Age’ into what is being called the ‘Kingdom Age’. The church was actually birthed into the original Kingdom Age, which is what Jesus announced when he was on earth, but the church moved away from a Kingdom focus to focus on building the church as an institution. This caused a shift in focus and outworking and it has taken many centuries for us to realise this and come back to God’s original intention. That is where we are in the church at the moment – coming back to God’s original intention.

In the twentieth century part of the Church Age, the focus was on ‘our church’ and ‘our vision’, but in the last few years that focus has been shifting back to an understanding that God wants the Kingdom of Heaven released into earth with love and power and that ‘our church’ is simply one small part of ‘the Kingdom’. As a part of the Kingdom we don’t throw out ‘our vision’ entirely, but we must realize that ‘our vision’ must serve God’s current purposes in the Kingdom, not simply our purpose. In the Kingdom Age we must have a ‘global kingdom understanding’ not just a ‘local church’ one. We are also realizing in a fresh way that we are the Church, not that we simply attend one.

We are also transitioning into the time where we will see the ‘revealing of the Sons of God’ and the ‘restoration of all things’. The church is not winding down, she is just really beginning to come into who she was destined to be from the beginning – a church full of glory and power, without spot, wrinkle or blemish, a church that releases the Kingdom of Heaven into the earth and into every sphere of society. How exciting it is to be a part of the birthing and establishing of this era!

The Church

The church worldwide is in a state of change because we are in that place of transition that I mentioned earlier. The church is in many ways being deconstructed – by God. Theology and beliefs are being challenged and changed as the Lord gives new revelation. (In some cases that new revelation is of old truths that have been forgotten). Traditions and ways of doing things that have been established for centuries are being re-examined and in many cases thrown out. This is absolutely necessary if the church is to move forward and really become a true representation of Christ in the earth.

Everywhere people are realizing that the church is not about ‘meeting on Sunday in a building’, but is about ‘being the church’, that is, people that release the Kingdom of Heaven in their daily lives. One result of that will be that people are trained and released for their work of ministry instead of being trained to simply fulfill their Pastor’s vision. That is not said as a criticism, simply a fact. If we cannot state the facts we will never be able to recognise when things need to change.

Revelation of Grace

One of the things we are seeing restored is the revelation of what Christ accomplished on the Cross. This revelation of the finished work of the Cross and grace will continue to grow and become established in the church. It will cause major changes to happen in the church worldwide, both in theology and practice.

There will be those who will rise up against the revelation of grace, as there have been with every revelation God has released.  Yet this revelation is as essential to the church realizing who she is in Christ, and who Christ is in her, as was Martin Luther’s revelations of the 16th century, and it is a critical revelation for us to have in order to be able to move forward correctly into this season.

Prophetic Understanding

One of the places it is most imperative that this revelation is established is amongst the prophets – those whose voices and messages cause so much to be established. If the prophetic community does not really get this revelation then we will stay in a place of largely ineffective leadership, ministering from a mixture of the Old and New Covenants.

This revelation of the finished work of the Cross and His grace will cause a shift in the manifestation of the prophetic gifting as prophets minister out of an experiential knowledge as well as a theological understanding of that. Unless we get a real revelation of that grace and love, and of God’s loving nature as shown through Christ’s life, we will continue to prophesy that God is coming instead of that He has come. Old Covenant prophecy looks forward to God coming, but New Covenant prophecy reminds us that He has come and it calls us and releases us to walk in the dunamis reality of what His coming accomplished. The current mixing of Old and New Covenants in prophetic ministry causes the church to continue to look forward to a ‘coming move’ instead of walking in what He has already released through Christ’s finished work. It also causes us to continue to prophesy gloom, doom and judgment. Indeed we have mistaken much of what is natural disaster or the consequence of walking in sin for God’s judgment on nations, but it is not.

Because our words release, create and establish things, we will release, create and establish what we prophesy. Much of the state that the church is currently in is because of what we have prophesied, taught and established over the years. That is not to say that everything that has been proclaimed and established has been wrong. We have spoken and led out of what we knew and understood to be the truth, and as God’s children we are all on the same journey of receiving progressive unfolding revelation of the Lord and the realities of His Kingdom.

I’ll do another entry tomorrow with some more specific insights in different areas. Thanks for reading this and may the Lord give you revelational understanding of what He is doing at this time. Remember, do not take what I have shared as truth just because I write a blog or have a prophetic ministry. Indeed don’t just accept anything anyone writes or says without checking it out yourself; ask the Lord about it and may your spirit witness with what is true in what I have written, even though your head may not yet fully understand it.

Bless you, see you tomorrow.

 

 

I’m sorry that the Prophetic Insights for 2013 aren’t up yet, I’m running a few days behind due to actually having a holiday. They’ll be up by the 4th at the latest. Thanks for your patience.

 

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

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

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

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

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

Knowing “Father” Changes Everything

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

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

Experience His Daddy Love

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

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

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

His Treasure

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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