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plumbline

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

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

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

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

The base plumblines for assessing our revelations are these –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of weeks ago we were ministering in Dunedin and the Lord gave me a word that was for both the church there but also for the church in the nation (New Zealand).

The Lord said – I am changing the frequency of the Church. Everything has a frequency you know, everything receives and transmits frequencies, light and sound. The church has broadcast on a certain frequency but the frequency has been slightly off and I am turning the dial, retuning the frequency, just a little but it will have a huge effect. To reset the church’s frequency I must reset your frequency, you have a frequency and I am changing your frequency. Your frequency has been off and I am resetting your dial, resetting your receiver, tuning you in to my spirit like never before. And as that frequency is changed expect to see a huge difference, expect to see your light shine like never before.

Wholeness has a frequency you know. The frequency of wholeness needs to broadcast in the towns and cities of this nation, needs to walk these streets and broadcast into the ground and the airwaves of the streets of this nation so it can be realigned to the frequency of the Kingdom of Heaven. To do that I must change your frequency, I must bring you into the manifestation of your already received wholeness. The wholeness I gave you through my death and resurrection, that resurrection power that brought you into life, into glory.

My church needs to learn again to walk by the Spirit not by the flesh, her frequency needs to be adjusted. I’m re-tuning your frequency so you walk by my Spirit. Don’t let your mind try to change your frequency, it’s your mind that does that you know, you receive something by my Spirit and your mind goes “Oh-oh that can’t be God” and tries to reset the frequency. Stay in the Spirit, learn to walk in the Spirit.

I am releasing a disruptive glory in my church like has never been seen before. What does disruptive glory look like – when you walk down a street and a blind man screams because he can suddenly see, that’s disruptive glory. Expect to see your light, which is my light; heal people as you walk past them. When you walk into a room and people run to you saying what must I do to be saved, that’s disruptive glory. Do you want to see my glory released, to see the earth change around you and begin to bear fruit like never before, that’s disruptive glory.

Let me reset your frequency, ask me too and I’ll do so and you will walk more easily by my Spirit into my increasing glory.

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!

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.

 

 

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.

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

 

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

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

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

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

Right of Access to the Heavenly Realm

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

My first experience in the Throne Room

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

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

Right of Access questions

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

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

Access for Other Places

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protocols

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

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

Protocol 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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