Archive for the ‘Bridal Paradigm’ Category

Experiencing the Holy Spirit in Prayer

Many are awakening to the love of prayer, and are seeking to connect with God in a deeper way.  Seeking to experience the Holy Spirit is a biblical, tangible reality.

In John 5 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees; He says, “You do not have His word abiding in you, because [Him] whom He sent, Him you do not believe”   The Father sent Jesus, but they don’t believe Him. Why? Because they don’t have His word abiding in them.

  • Verse 39 is when it began to really become clear. He says, “You study the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, but these are those which testify of Me. You are unwilling to come to Me that you might have life (Jn. 5:38).
  • Often we as believers confuse the value of bible understanding we get. We confuse its value, thinking, “It’s complete; it’s enough to have this.”  Yes, it’s valuable to understand the passage, but it’s incomplete, but often you end up with leaders who have head knowledge, but they don’t interact in a fresh way with the Living Son of God, by the Spirit.
  • I read that verse once and I was shocked, I said, “That’s what I do.  I’m searching”—you can also use the word ‘studying’—“the Scriptures. I’m engaging my mind. I thought that through Bible study I would experience life. That was the same problem the Pharisees were having; but here’s the key phrase, in verse 40: “But you are not willing to come to Me that you might have life” (Jn. 5:40).

    What came to my thinking the first time I saw this, changed me forever, it is that you can do Bible study all day long, but if you don’t take the Word to Jesus with a hungry heart, you don’t experience life. It hit me like a arrow, that I wasn’t coming to Him in this way. “You’re not dialoguing with Me. You’re not interacting with Me in your searching of the Scriptures.”  The written word must take us to the Living Word, this is the way to the life and food of the Word..

    So from that point on, I began to try and have a running dialogue with Jesus as I read the Scriptures.  Each passage is a door to knock on and ask Jesus for the Eph 1:17 spirit of Revelation.  The bible never says to read it in a year, but it says over and over to meditate on it.  A verse can be made a prayer quite easy.

  • The implanted Word delivers our soul from bondage to filthiness. 21 Lay aside all filthiness…and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save (supernaturally deliver) your souls. (Jas 1:21)   7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you…ask…and it shall done. (Jn. 15:7)

  • There are three components necessary for the power of the Word to live in us. First, we use our choice to pursue God with a spirit of obedience, faith (confidence He answers) and loving devotion. Second, we feed our heart continually on the Word (implant it in our heart) through mediation. Third, we need the activity of the Spirit to turn meditation into living revelation (turn water into wine, Jn. 2) to save or deliver us from sinful desires.  We must fellowship with the Holy Spirit by talking to Him.   Summary of the three components: we must obey God, feed on the Word and talk to the Spirit.

  • The bible highlights two ways to focus our mind in seeking God: God on His Throne (Rev. 4) and God in our innerman.  The Spirit flows from our “innermost man,” its where the Holy Spirit lives in us if we are born again.  We know from Scripture that He dwells in our innermost man (John 7:38), but we only experience Him in the innerman.  The innerman contains our mind will and emotions (Eph 3:16) We turn the attention of our soul to the Spirit in our spirit to grow in the deep things of God.

1 Cor 2:14  But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

  • Meditation must be made prayer to enter the heart.  Christianity is relationship with the Man Jesus, we are sanctified and transformed by beholding Him, via the Word and Spirit.  Paul reveals here, that Scripture verses aren’t too just be figured out by the mind, but require the Holy Spirit to impact the heart, we want living understanding.  It takes God to get God.

38 If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believes on me, the way the Scriptures say,  From his innermost being (belly, KJV) will flow rivers of living water.  (Jn. 7:38 NAS)

  • By believing the Scriptures with authentic faith, we will connect with God and experience the Holy Spirit.  This experience Jesus likens to drinking from rivers of living water.  I’m going to talk about some very powerful activities that have been highlighted as a focus in the prayer movement.   Its easy to slip from the discipline of pursuing God, we must resolve to go after loving Him with all of our heart.  Getting the Word alive in your heart takes time and focus, it must become your main priority, and you must resist activity and speech that hinders it.  If we will commit to agressively feed our heart on the Love of God, we will take spiritual ground and be anointed by the Spirit to love God in yet greater ways.  If we are not agressively taking new ground, we will lose the ground we have, in stagnation.
The Mind Mouth Heart Method
Reading Scriptures gets them in our mind, and we need to love God with all of our mind, but speaking them over ourselves and speaking them to God, gets them in our heart.  John 15:7 reveals that if His words abide in you, you will have greater authority in prayer and see more answers.
4 ways to go Deeper-

1) Pray-Read Scripture to God (thanking Him, asking for revelation or power to obey).

  • Jesus said “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)   Scriptures will impact us when we pray them directly, not just thinking about them or studying them.  We when meet with Jesus, the Scriptures are our anointed conversation material.  “We let the written word take us to the Living Word, Jesus.”
  • So depending on the verse, we can thank God for the truth in it, and then ask for revelation on the verse, or ask for power to obey them.  The Scriptures are living and active (Heb 4:2) and are so powerful to transform us and renew our mind as we pray them.  They rewrite the code of our inner man enabling us to abide in God/Christ to dwells within us (Eph 3;16-19).  We renew our mind (Col 3:10) and walk as a new creation.
  • So with a verse like 26 The Holy Spirit…will teach you all things… (Jn. 14:26) We would pray, Thank you Holy Spirit that you teach me, I ask for revelation on what it truly means for you to teach me, and help me to understand you leadings.  Or John 15:9 As the Father has loved Me, I love you.  We would pray, Jesus thank you for this love, strengthen me with might (Eph 3:16) to experience this love.  I ask for greater revelation of this love.  And we would worship and journal revelation.
  • Continually asking for revelation is so powerful, we grow in revelation.  Each Scripture is like a door we knock on, as God is inviting us into encounter, in the Knowledge of God.
  • The Holy Spirit is with us to teach us, like Jesus taught His disciples.  We must lean not on our own understanding, but seek God.  It helps to ask for the Eph 1:17 Spirit of wisdom and revelation and enlightening of the spiritual eyes.
  • 26 The Holy Spirit…will teach you all things… (Jn. 14:26)
  • 13 The Spirit of truth…will guide you into all truth; He will tell you things to come. (Jn. 16:13)
  • 27 The anointing…abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things… (1 Jn. 2:27)

2) Sing the Scriptures to Him

  • Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. (Eph 5:18-19 Niv)
  • I believe Eph 5:18-19 is being emphasized by many Spirit-led ministries, as the way to be filled with the Spirit.  The verse says we should not answer the longing of our hearts with drunkenness, but rather be filled with the Spirit, by Singing to Jesus the Scriptures. I believe this is one of the most important verses in the bible about prayer.   This message of singing the Word is being spread all over the world through the prayer movement, and it needs to be a part of our prayer life.  God created the human heart so that singing opens the heart in a way that nothing else does.  Singing the Word is the main biblical prescription, the premier way, to be filled with the Spirit and set on fire for God.  Jesus was the Living Word before He became a man, and now we encounter Him by singing and praying/dialoguing the written word.  So we let the written word take us to the Living Word.  But we must grow our hearts in praying the Word.
  • “Biblical ideas that you sing are ideas that you own.” They become yours.
    Premiere means to get the scripture deep in us: sing it, pray it, and not to the air, but to Him. Often.
    Is there anything as satisfying and powerful as singing about the details of Jesus, and declaring to Him that He is beautiful?
  • To pray consistently, pray the scriptures. The word of God is the “chariot” the Holy Spirit rides on best in our lives and heart.
    To pray consistently, sing the scriptures. Singing unlocks the heart, causes truth to go deeper, and makes prayer enjoyable.
    Sing the word of God until you feel something on the inside move. Then sing more.
    To study the word and comprehend it is transforming; to then pray it and sing it – consuming.
    Prayer & the corresponding power of the Holy Spirit makes the heart fertile soil for the seed of the word to flourish.
  • Click on the picture on the top right to see an archived worship with the Word set, with us at Ihop-kc, a 24-7 worship and intercession ministry.
  • When we stand before God on Judgment Day, He is not going to ask us how big of house did we get, or how big did we make our bank account, but how big did our heart get by experiencing His love and revelation (1st commandment.)

3) Fast

  • Fasting does not ‘earn’ us more of God.  It does increase our capacity to experience the Holy Spirit, and accelerate the process of communing prayer.  I have found fasting on water, 1 day a week, to be unparallelled in terms of its impact on my experiencing of God.  I am calling fiery believers to fast at least one day a week.  The benefits are tremendous in fasting two days a week, but let desire for God drive your fasting, not commands or religious spirit.
  • This depth of fasting is well within the reach of most people.  But we desperately need more revelation of Jesus as our Bridegroom who has burning desire for us and fiery affections toward us.  As we live in the truth of the bridal paradigm, we fast because we long for Jesus.  Jesus told the Pharisees the day would come when the Bridegroom would be taken away from the disciples, and then they would fast out of longing for Him (Matt. 9:15).  When Jesus ascended to Heaven after His death and resurrection, He was taken away in the sense indicated in this Scripture.  The Bride of Christ is meant to long for His return, His Second Coming, and fasting is one way we express this longing.
  • By knowing Jesus as our Bridegroom and seeing ourselves as His Bride, we will become energized with a spirit of prayer and filled with courage to live lives abandoned to God in holiness. Only then will fasting seem appropriate, reasonable or Continue reading
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Benefits of the Bridegroom Fast

PARADOX

       The subject of fasting is a subject with a paradox; it appears to be a real difficult and hard subject but the truth is when understood properly through the paradigm of a bridegroom in the pursuit of one fasting is exhilarating and some of you are beginning to believe the Lord is going to raise up multitudes of people across the earth. Millions that live a fasted lifestyle before a bridegroom God. We have studied the idea of a new paradigm of fasting introduced by Jesus in Matthew 9:14-17.

             It is a paradigm of fasting that enlarges our heart through encountering the beauty of a bridegroom… Jesus introduced a new paradigm of fasting very different from the Old Testament although the Old Testament paradigm is still a part of the New Covenant grace but this paradigm of fasting.. this understanding is a view of fasting that enlarges our heart through encountering the beauty of a bridegroom God who is lovesick with desire for us.. who possesses indescribable beauty.

            He brings us into partnership with Himself, it is that pursuit that enlarges our heart in a way that no other dimension in the grace of God can. The bridegroom fast is a term that I use that it causes us to receive greater measures of revelation at an accelerated pace and a deeper impact. There are three things. The measure is greater… the quantity of what we receive is greater … we receive more revelation and the pace is exhilarated … we receive it faster and the impact is deeper and that is what we are after. This grace of God uses fasting and the word as a Holy Spirit catalyst to speed up the process and enlarge the measure and the depth of which we receive the beauty of the Lord. Matthew 6:18, Jesus talked about, “My Father will reward you for fasting.” “so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:18) Jesus is talking about how His Father will reward us for fasting.

POWERFUL REWARD

              Fasting has a very powerful reward… a very powerful reward. We position ourselves before the grace of God to enlarge our capacity to receive at the heart level. The primary reward of the bridegroom fast is what we are looking at here and I have 7 different facets of the reward of this fast which is lovesick for a bridegroom God. Now the reward to fasting related to the pursuit of a bridegroom is what I mean by a bridegroom fast… the rewards are primary internal. They are rewards that touch the heart….all 7 of these benefits of the bridegroom fast are related specifically to the subject of intimacy with the bridegroom. The reason I say this is because the fast of the Old Testament were primarily external. They were released in terms of circumstances, our external life, but the bridegroom fast touches the heart.. our inner life. So it is a different paradigm, a different focus. Our hearts expand, our capacity, our spiritual capacity to receive increases.

            Our hearts expand… our capacity.. our spiritual capacity… to receive increases. That is the summary of it. The complexity of all human appetites change dramatically as we pursue the Lord by the grace of God through the bridegroom fast. Our physical appetites, our emotional appetites, and our Spiritual appetites are changed in a dramatic way as we pursue the bridegroom in the grace of God through the bridegroom fast or through the focus of pursuing a bridegroom . Desire is the key idea in understanding the bridegroom fast and again it is not external prosperity, although I believe in that, and I believe it is proper to seek that but desire is the key idea as we seek to understand the bridegroom fast and is the primary focus of our heart to enlarge desire or to encounter His desire.

             The bridegroom fast is understood and engaged through the focus of this subject called desire. It is understanding His desire, encountering His desire, having our desires fulfilled, enlarging our desires. Desire is the key word if you want to use that or enlarging our spiritual capacities. I like the word desire. In a nut shell He is imparting new desires to us. Desires of delight…. He imparts new desires and that is why the very fact that God makes this available is an awesome privilege to the human race. It is not a drudgery.. it is not the dreaded call to the life of fasting… it is an indescribable privilege because it brings us into new desires of delight. There is nothing that we crave more than to enter into this reality but most people do not know this reality exists and the way to it but the Lord Jesus talks about mourning, longing, panting after a bridegroom in lovesickness.

LOVING FASTING

           The fast that would accommodate and accelerate the process. Not only is there the impartation of new desires but there is the removal or diminishing of sinful desires. Beloved when our desires are lined up properly…life is wonderful. When our desires are out of line… life is burdensome… I do not care what kind of other dimensions are happening you could have the most powerful body and greatest money and all the fame in the earth but when your desires are lined up wrong…. life is very difficult and burdensome. So it is a pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment… whenever you read the word , joy, or most times you can use the word, enjoyment. It is a fast that releases joy or enjoyment. The Old Testament fast was related so often to suffering… to the affliction of our body .. to the affliction of our soul. There was a suffering end to fasting and that is the paradigm that has taken root in church history. It is a suffering paradigm of count the cost and pay the price but I tell you there is a pleasure, an enjoyment paradigm that I believe belongs to the subject of fasting. The result of the bridegroom fast is we grow to love fasting… I really do believe that!

           There is a book in the IHOP bookstore written by a Catholic monk called, “To Love Fasting.” It is a powerful little book on fasting and he was borrowing it from a well known document written about fasting and He said, “I want to call my book, “To Love Fasting,” and his premise is that is possible in the grace of God to love fasting. I believe that and I believe we can enjoy the grace of fasting to the degree where we actually lament the interruptions that come so we cannot be engaged in it.

            When the Lord begins to establish you in a lifestyle of this .. He said this and I have understood this lamenting of the necessary interruptions because of different things in life that will cause your schedule to be interrupted. When I read that in this book I agreed with it and the Lord has helped me in the subject of fasting and I get into the rhythm and routine I have carried on for the last couple of years and when something interrupts it .. it is not like “Oh good I am on leave and go do business as usual.” I love that exhilarating high feeling that is related when the Spirit is resonating with Jesus and for those who are just at the beginning of this journey… you might be so afraid of fasting all you can think about is the negative side but the exhilaration of the human spirit where there is a holy addiction to where you get accustomed to it and I believe what this man said about lamenting the interruptions that are sometimes necessary to that.

I understand that just a little bit… to love fasting… our hunger to experience God and even to sense the presence of God upon our human spirit begins to dominate our lives in a surprising way. This hunger finds it’s expression in encountering the beauty of a bridegroom God through fasting and it is a strange paradox that we actually hunger to fast. I believe it is going to be a common experience to love fasting but I do not believe it will be the immediate experience… in the first few months but likely it will take a while before some the of the things are rearranged in our souls to where we begin to experience the grace of God in this way. I have done plenty of fasting where I did not experience any of this I am talking about but in the last 2 1/2 years or so the Lord has been touching me in a special way in this and I have just said, “Lord this is good….. this is not the rock pile called life… this is an awesome thing to be called to.” The seven benefits or rewards are related to spiritual intimacy and when we have a vision of these 7 benefits it does create a hunger and love for fasting. Without a vision of these 7 things or whatever number you might attribute to it fasting is associated with despair. We despair the idea but when we get the vision of what it does and a little bit of experience …. I tell you it changes the whole way we view it.

             One of the things I know the Lord is calling me to is proclaim all the days of my life the vision of an exhilarated way to fast before the God and call multitudes to a fasted lifestyle and to hang before them the surprise that is awaiting them of actually being exhilarated in it and trying to convince them by the word and the Spirit that it is within reach for them and will change their life dramatically over time. I love that calling, at first I was a little perplexed by it but I want to do it and I want to call people to this all the days of my life because I believe in it.

Benefit #1 It tenderizes and sensitizes the human heart to freely receive more of God. It actually tenderizes the emotions to receive more in other words it increases our spiritual capacity …I say this typically as my summary statement of the bridegroom fast but I just want to say very definitively that it increases our capacity to receive. It tenderizes and sensitizes the heart. We receive increasingly… a supernatural ability to feel God. Beloved that is a stunning reality…I do not mean it increases.. automatically but over time a supernatural ability to feel and to experience God specifically His love and His beauty and the glory of His plan for us and when we feel His love for us and we feel loved back. When we feel a little bit of His beauty where we can see it and see our beauty in Him and we understand a little bit of the plan of God of the bridegroom, I tell you it is the foundation of the divine romance. This is the beginning of the superior pleasures of the gospel and it results in the anointing for the first commandment to be first grows in our lives.

It is the anointing for the first commandment to increasingly become first in our life. This is the fast that John the Baptist was focused upon. His fast was for the enlargement of his heart in God and the scripture say very clear that John did no miracles. Many people understand fasting and it is biblical (Matthew 17:21) fasting increases the power of God in your ministry but John fasted more than anybody with the exception of Anna that I know of in the scripture but he did no miracles at all and there are no records that Anna did any miracles. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21) Fasting is related to the release of miracles Gabriel appears to John’s Father and says, “He will be great in the sight of God. He will be great in the sight of God.’ “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15) Matthew 11:11, Jesus calls him the greatest man ever born of a woman… the one with the burning and shining heart. His heart was like the burning and shining lamp of John 5:35 and this man engaged in this first commandment focus of fasting ... he did not mighty miracles. “He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. (John 5:35)

       So though I believe in that focus of miracles it is not the one John the Baptist was engaged in. I want to be great before the Lord and that is a Godly thing to want to do….you do not have to have fame, fortune, or any kind of gifting or position to be great in God’s sight. All you have to have is heart that refuses to let go. I believe this bridegroom fast is part of John’s greatness… this tenderizing of his spirit.

Benefit #2 It illumines the mind with the Spirit of Revelation. It releases the Spirit of the revelation of the logos of the Word of God and sharpens our mind and understanding in the word …the Spirit of Revelation comes in the direct sense with the word. There is another dimension of the bridegroom fast is that the Acts 2:17, dreams and visions dimension which I would put into this category. The spirit of revelation increases. I have had a significant increase of spiritual dreams about Jesus related to the bridegroom, the king, and the judge since I began to engage in this fast. There is a Spirit of Revelation that our understanding is quickened whether from the word or whether from the subjective dreams and visions revealing things about the word. I have had more dreams about the Word of God, I have had maybe 7 or 8 of them.

I do not really know the exact number and I do not know if I ever had one before where the Lord is speaking to me about the word awakening my heart to the word and particularly the word as it relates to the forerunner ministry. There is nothing better than when Jesus preaches Jesus. That is what happened on the Emmaus road in Luke 24:32, Jesus appears to the disciples and it is Jesus preaching Jesus opening the hearts and setting them on fire. When He left they said, “Did not our hearts burn like fire within us?” The scripture says Jesus opened their understanding and that is what the bridegroom fast does. It opens the understanding, either direct study of the word when you are awake or the Lord begins to visit in dreams and visions. “And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32 )

There is nothing more powerful than when God reveals God through the word and it is enhanced through the bridegroom fast. Everything really begins with God revealing God to our spirit, that is really the beginning point. In John 17, Jesus said, “I will proclaim the Father’s name in order that you would have the love that the Father has for Me.” Here is the logic: “I am going to teach you, I am going to reveal the knowledge of God to you, and the result is you are going to love me more. The knowledge of God awakens the heart to love and it begins with this knowledge of God. I believe through fasting God grants divine perspective on life. It expands our view of life as a very powerful reality… little things more consistently appear little and big things more consistently appear big.

             In our natural life is: little things appear big and big things appear little. What I mean is that big things like eternity…the end time harvest… the great judgments … the shaking of planet earth…that is around the corner. .those are big things. The average believer the vast majority.. that appears as very little. .. the idea that they will someday actually give an account before God in eternity is something they think about every year or two. Big things seem real little! Beloved we are at the end of the age… that is BIG but it really appears little to most believers. Little thing look real big… somebody steals $5,000 from you and that looks like colossal …like life ending with bitterness kind of thing. We are mistreated in powerful ways … no matter how much we are mistreated at the end of the day it is really little.

          It really is compared to big things and I find that fasting enlarges my perspective of life. Life appears bigger.. the big picture becomes more clear… and effortlessly. It is a part of the reward of fasting. We are not as bogged down in the little picture…. there is a transcending in our understanding and I find that more often I have the ability to transcend the things that normally bog em down. My perspective is enlarge and I believe this would be the common testimony of people who have embraced the fasted lifestyle through history. We do not get lost in the pettiness that is so natural to every one of us. It is so natural for me to be lost in pettiness. Fasting enlarges our perspective and lifts us to a bigger view of reality. It is very very helpful especially in the understanding being enlarged in the realm of the beauty of God.

                  We see into the beauty realm of God….it is not only that but we see our own beauty in the Lord … our understanding is enlarged. An enlarged understanding changes everything about life…we put our cold heart in front of that bonfire and our heart gets larger in understanding and I tell you everything is different when our understanding is enlarged. God opens the realm of secrets to us…John 1:20… John laid his head on the Lord’s breast and the Lord spoke to him about Judas which was the first secret.. the first scandal in the apostolic company. We all know about Judas so it is not a big deal…but when Jesus whispered it to John it was a scandal beyond anything we could imagine. One of the twelve who did signs and wonders…is actually betraying Him is a massive powerful reality that Jesus spoke to him in its content. He laid his head on His breast and He began to speak things to John that He would not speak to others. “The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” (Psalm 25:14)

THE SECRETS OF THE LORD

           The secrets of the Lord belong to those who fear Him... there is an enlarging of our capacity to enter into the deep regions… the secret regions of God’s heart. A million dollars cannot get you into that realm, a billion…. you cannot buy your way… you cannot manipulate your way into the secret regions of God’s heart but I tell you that prayer and fasting brings us and escort us into those secret regions of His heart. The spirit searches even the deep thing of God and gives them to us and the Holy Spirit will take the things that belong to Him (I add the deep things of Jesus) and give them to the disciples.Beloved that is serious.

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10) “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:15) We are supernaturally enabled to see things we could never ever see. I want to peer into those secrets things that are found laying our head upon the breast of Jesus but fasting opens up he secrets realms of God’s heart. Just a little bit of it but a little bit with our little weak humanity goes a long way. When we get into eternity we will find out how much the secret region of God’s heart … how big it really is. A little bit of it goes a long way … God will begin to give those that are called to the forerunner ministry details of how to interpret His end time activity.. how to interpret His plans related to the bridegroom, the king, and the judge. Fasting is essential to the forerunner ministry because the forerunner must understand some of the details of how to interpret the bridegroom, the king, and the judge activities in a way that makes sense of it to other people.

Benefit #3 It enlarges our emotions. Particularly in relationship to righteouness… I am talking about.

              The first point is that we are sensitized and tenderized and feel love but I am talking about right now in the realm of righteousness and to radical, righteous emotions, it says in Hebrews 1:8: “But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8) Jesus loves righteousness and He hates iniquity and I want to enter into that and feel what He feels about life. I want to feel more than loved and desired…. I want to feel hot emotions of love for righteous and hatred of iniquity. Our desires change, our emotional chemistry changes radically, not just in the realm of feeling love, that is the foundation… the number one point… but we begin to have zeal for Gods’ purpose and God’s ways….a zeal begins to lay hold of us.

                David talked about this is Psalm 69:7-10, when he talked about zeal for His house consuming him and he relates it to fasting and he relates it also to his brothers and friends misunderstanding him…. he appeared as an alien and they despised him for his zeal for the things of God. He had a passion and a zeal for the righteousness and the purposes of God. Beloved God wants to release zeal into our spirit in a new way and this zeal for God, this zeal for righteouness, this zeal for His end time purpose. “Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children; Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach.” (Psalm 69:7-10)

“Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” (John 2:17) Jesus was quoting King David in John 2:17. What I am talking about is the power to live a truly focused life….a Holy Spirit birthed intensity of being. Beloved there is an intensity of our being that when all the energies of our being are gathered up by the Lord and focused in the direction in the will of God in a primary way. I do not mean that we do not have the capacity to experience and engage in lesser things because we need to do that.

We have to mow the lawn especially if both your sons move out…. you know… who is going to mow the lawn? There is the mundanness of life that we are still engaged in. I am not talking about an irresponsibility related to that but I am talking about a Holy Spirit birthed intensity of being that is a tremendous gift of God that very few human beings have. That God would grant this.. it is empowering our emotions. Another way to say it is it enhances our preoccupation with God as the primary source of our life. It is a preoccupation with God as primary… we live before the audience of one. This empowering our emotions … the first place we discern it is in this birthing of zeal in our spirit for righteousness and for the purpose of God.

Imagine living a life where the primary energies of your life are gathered together into one Holy Spirit birthed intense focus. I am not saying that we do not engage the secondary issues of life… we have to. God has ordained that… He wants us to it is biblical to do that. To be a person of one thing in the primary sense… and that is always understood when the Lord talks about that .. it is always understood that we are a person of one thing in the primary sense but there are secondary things we still engage in. He said this about Mary in Luke 10:42, when he is talking to Martha and says, “One thing this woman has given herself to one thing.” What a statement … it is not true in the technical sense… she still washed her clothes and interacted with people and did things but Mary above all things was a women of one thing as was King David.

THE ONE NEEDFUL THING

               “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42) “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4) King David was the same and that does not mean that David did not go to war… he did go to war and he was good at war but what he meant was the primary preoccupation above everything else …he was preoccupied with one thing and that was the beauty of the Lord. The last week we looked at Psalm 42:7 and deep calls unto deep. When we experience a little bit of depth it commands us … it catapults us …. it thrusts us into new realms of depths of God. This thing has a life of its own… it thrust us forth… it catapults us and commands us into deeper regions of intensity of the Lord. I am not talking about just human intensity of personality that comes out of brokenness.

There is a human intensity that is related to just religion which is related to brokenness. I am not talking about you having an extrovert personality, you have to talk loud, I am not talking about temperament, I am talking about a focus of intensity of our being that is a gift of God. Most human beings never touch that ever in their lives but God is opening up unto us a lifestyle to enter into that grace. Most believers are content to live the majority of their spiritual lives bored… they really are. They want things, they want stuff, more than anything else even if it is to be anointed in ministry. I tell you … you can be anointed in ministry and absolutely bored out of your mind … I know of several men of God who have large ministries and they have said to me with their own lips, “I am spiritually bored!” They have vast ministries with miracle power it.

Most believers are content to live most of their spiritual life bored. Just going through the motions, a little here and a little there, a little bit of ministry. They want to make a name and establish themselves and be used of God of course but I do not want to be content with less than being a man gripped by God primarily and I know that you do as well. This empowered emotions begins with this zeal for God but it is not only that… it touches emotional desires for sin. I believe in never having a wrong feeling.. I do not know if that realm exist and I do not know anybody who lives in it so that is not even the vision I am putting before you but I am talking about in a substantial way desire for sin diminishes. Desire related to circumstances….changes dramatically. Our response I have found and I don’t want to use myself as an example because I am at the beginning of the journey and I have only experienced this a little bit but I want to talk about the testimony of others through scripture.

              There are some profound books on fasting through history… I am gathering quite a library of them and I had no idea so much was written on fasting it is not thousands of books but there are some pretty heavy duty books out there on fasting. I do not agree with all that are in the books, I eat the meat and throw out the bones….. just because it is in the book and the book is good does not mean that you buy everything.

You read it with discernment … you throw a lot out and you keep a lot. Our responses to circumstances, our responses to promotion and demotion, two opposite extremes become more and more the same response. I am not there where it is the same response but I have found in the last 2 1/2 years that I have been going after this thing with a certain diligence before … promotion … big opportunities and demotion the loss of opportunities is feeling more and more the same. It is not the same and I am not claiming that but it is getting closer and closer all the time. Traditionally in church history through the monastic movement this is called detachment and today the word detachment has a negative connotation like “detached from reality,” and what they mean is like detached from possessiveness and from living primarily as before people. They talk about detachment from… our identity is mostly established by what others say about us instead of what God says about us and a detachment from things as the primary source of our strength and joy. That is what they mean by that.

The word detachment is used negatively today but I like that word and in this detachment the ability to enjoy promotion but with an open hand … the Lord may give big things. Equally powerful is the power to refuse promotion… a profound example is John 6:15 they came, the nation came to make Jesus king by force. They said, “We will obey you… the army will yours…. the money will be yours, everything will be yours. The legislation and everything and He said, “No!”

“Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” (John 6:15) He was unmoved because to Jesus the pay was the same whether you raise the dead or take a nap literally the pay is the same in reality before God if we do the will of God. The ability to refuse promotion out of the will of God most believers have no power to refuse or even discern a promotion outside of the will of God. A promotion is a promotion that blinds us with a certain sort of euphoria if it is big … it is like, “Wow! Yes! I mean let me pray about it.” Of course it will be yes in a minute and a half… we lose our ability to see promotion out of the will of God as actually distractions that weaken our hearts with God.

BERNARD OF CLARIVOUX

          One of the most profound examples in history was a Catholic monk named Bernard of Clarivoux in the 1100’s he was born 1090 and died 1153 and is one of my favorite lives in church history. One of the most powerful men in the world as a little monk, a skinny little guy, but what I meant was he had just a small little sphere to start with and the king of France, Germany, and the king of Italy, three of the most powerful men on the earth besides the Pope, the four most powerful men in the earth would not act in a significant way without his blessing. These men would not act in a way that he would disapprove of….he would write them a letter an rebuke them and they would change their military strategies and make peace with the other nation. The four most powerful men in the earth were nearly disciples…of his. That is a little exaggerated but they followed his heart… this little Catholic monk in the valley of Clarivoux in France. They pressed him to make him Pope and he said, “No why should I be Pope when I have the nearness of God in my little hut over here?” So he refused to be bishop, he refused to be pope and said, “I will take one of my best guys, I have trained him for years, and he can be pope in my place.”

He picked him and the guy became Pope. It is not very often one guy votes and the guy gets in but Bernard says, “I refuse to be Pope. I don’t want to be Pope. I want to seek the Lord.” The reason I really like him … he has been a source of real inspiration for me… his major life book was the Song of Solomon. He taught it for years … this man was a man so committed to the bridegroom fast he understood the bridegroom fast in the 12 th century. He taught on it… he did not use that language but he taught on the fasted lifestyle before the beauty of the bridegroom God. Desires related to circumstances become the extreme ends we begin to respond more and more the same regardless what end we are on. Beloved that is serious freedom! When that begins to happen. We loose the energy we had for vengeance when we are mistreated. Our hearts, our emotions are enlarged is what I am talking about…. what bothers us changes.

What excites us changes, what delights us, what grips us, these things change, our emotions are changed powerfully in the pursuit of the beauty of a bridegroom . We begin to be distracted in a holy way by the pursuit of the Lord where we cannot do thing like we used to do them with the same kind of zeal we used to have for other things. I am not minimizing the necessity to engage ourselves in secondary things in life. I am talking in the poetic sense of life when I am talking in the poetic sense of life when I am talking about becoming a person of one thing. Promotion before people appears more as weak, vain, and temporary, and again I am not there but I have found a little bit more movement… I have found that a bunch of people really excited about what I am doing and offering something appears more weak than strong. It appears weaker than it used to appear… it appears more vain and more temporary. I am just a teeny bit on that but I want to throw it out there.

         Our energies for these things diminish little by little. The bridegroom fast increases this sense of detachment as has been used historically from living primarily related to circumstances. Circumstances will still bother us but living primarily … taking our life cues as to how things are going externally. We do not want to live that way because we are slaves all the time and there is a higher way to live. Another thing about these circumstances… in the midst of this fast the problems do not necessarily disappear. Some say through prayer and fasting… problems go away and that really does work …there really are fasts in the grace of God where God uses them to change circumstances and we believe in those and we like that. Crisis events etc… breakthroughs of God’s power. I am taking about the everydayness of life… there is no guarantee the problems will disappear… there is no guarantee the answers will appear.

I am not saying that but rather they come into divine perspective. We live more as Holy Spirit honeymooners with Jesus….what I mean by that is we begin to be preoccupied with love more than problems. You take a young couple they just got married and someone says, their car broke and they says, “Fine we will work on it in a couple of weeks. So what?” Talking about being preoccupied with love. Problems fall into a different category… I do not mean they just fall into a different category. I do not mean they go away and are all answered but they feel different. When we are preoccupied with love smaller things appear small they really do. I thought this fasted lifestyle was bad news but I tell you it is good news to have grace to touch this even a little bit.

Benefit #4 It strengthens a deep sense of our spiritual identity. That is what we all want is it not? We want a greater revelation of our true self … who we really are in redemption as Son’s before a Father and a bride before the Son. The two primary identities of the redeemed. Sons of God children before the Father and the bride before Jesus. We want to know and feel our true identity… because I tell you when our true identity connects with us we are powerful and fearless. I believe one of the great shocks of the ages when the thief on the cross dies a few moments later he wakes up, “Today you are with Me in Paradise.” And he says, “I am a King! Why didn’t anybody tell me that… I would not have been ripping everybody off.. if I knew I was a king all along. I would have done it differently.” He wakes up and before him is the prospect of royalty and a resurrected body and eternal glory in the eternal city with the Son of God who is lovesick over him and I can imagine the thief saying, “I did not know any of this. I would have done it all different.” Beloved we can do it different on this side.

            I do not know what is more powerful… which one of these… but when we connect and I am just connecting a little little bit but the more I do it … because I get this glorious tasks of teaching on Song of Solomon and Bride of Christ as my profession .. the last 10 years.. what an opportunity to get in the way of this. Sam Storms makes me teach on this! People flounder for years…without a sense of being anchored, without a sense of their bearings in life. The vast majority of the people of God do. They have an excessive preoccupation with themselves….which is totally natural … for you and for me. An excessive preoccupation with ourselves.. totally natural. It is supernatural not to have it. We should not be shocked when we meet people who have it… we are shocked when someone does not because it is totally supernatural to not have excessive preoccupation.

BECOMING A VOICE

We learn manners so we guard it and do not flaunt it or make demands on it but we are still totally obsessed with it. In our manners we restrict the expression of it but we are still obsessed and we still have an excessive obsession with ourselves even though through maturity of life we learn how to restrain the expression of it in our relationship with other people. What I mean is that we live enslaved to this idea of what we look like to other people and we are so hurt when we are not noticed even though we will never say it because we are polite and we have enough dignity to hide some of that. I tell you the bridegroom fast strengthens our identity with this stuff. It weakens the hold of jealousy, envy, and insecurity in our lives. It equips us to be more content to be a voice… I think of John the Baptist when he said, “I am a voice in the wilderness.” I know what it means to strive to be a face and manipulate to be a name in ministry. I have done enough of that in my day. I know what it means to strive to be a face and a name. John said, “I am a voice… I do not have to be known…that is not the point… I am just a voice.”

Do you know why? Because he heard the voice. When you hear His voice you are happy to be a voice because hearing the voice of the bridegroom in John 3:29, that was an issue of identity .. that did not just mean the Messiah is on the scene 10 miles down the road. He means more than that …he does mean the Messiah is in human form preaching openly now in Judea but it means more than that. “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. (John 3:29) Hearing the voice of the bridegroom is an identity issue.. a powerful identity issue. John the Baptist was a voice because he heard a voice he was content to be a voice instead of a name and a face. He had an inward tranquility of joy and gladness unrelated to having honor in the nation because the nation said, Matthew 11:18, they said, “John is demonized.”

         “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon.’ (Matthew 11:18) The consensus of the nation at the end of his ministry was that he was dangerous and demonized. Beloved in the vernacular of our day and the sense of that would have been a very painful thing to have people think you are demonized. I tell you a lot of the nation did at the end of his life he said, “My heart is filled with joy.” John that must have been pretty painful to have people think you are demonized. John says, “I do not live by their voice… I live by another voice.” I understand living by the voice of the people around us … I do it … we all do it but I want to live by it less and less. I want to live by another voice.

Multitudes said John was demonized. He was dangerous, he was deceived, and he a deceiver is what they said about him. He spent his whole life.. probably he began at 12 years old to begin to live this wilderness life, (nobody can know) and he goes to the age of 30 or so. Eighteen years of living a fasted lifestyle in the wilderness for 18 months of ministry and the gratitude of the nation to a fasting and praying man who was the greatest man ever born to a woman is to say, “He is demonized.” That is what the people of God said. Beloved that is a serious thing and he gives his final word in scripture in John 3:29, “I have heard the voice of the bridegroom and my heart is filled with joy.” He gives a very critical next statement in John 3:30, “He must increase and I must decrease.” John meant several things when he said that… he meant Jesus would take over the primary place in ministry. He said he was called to decrease and that was fine with him because he had heard a voice that gives him the power to decrease. More than just losing his sense of being the main man on the scene before the nation. I am convinced that John knew he was going to die and that was what he was also saying. It was his final statement in scripture and I believe John knew his death was just around the corner.

He knew the nation thought he was demonized…. John …. 18 months is all that you have.. preaching out in the hot sand never was invited to the temple, never addressed the Sanhedrin by invitation, never spoke in Gamaliel’s school like Paul the apostle was trained in. None of those things, the great teacher of Israel, out in a heap of sand… no one invited him to anything ever… the greatest man ever to walk planet earth besides Jesus…fasting and praying. Eighteen months his light is going out… imagine him saying, “For all the labor I did for this nation of helping to bring the awareness of the bridegroom to the nation …. they call me demonized and never open any opportunities to me at all! If I meet him I will ask him, “John what did that feel like?

        “I recorded it … I had joy in my spirit! ” “How? Living in this esthetic lifestyle in the wilderness, rejected by the nation, practically not just from the governmental leaders, but never invited to any positions of honor of anything! How?” “I heard a voice! I knew who I was.” When you hear a voice you are happy to be a voice instead of a name or a face. A main result of that is fearlessness. I believe that fasting after this lovesick bridegroom as the anointing of the first commandment begins to grow in this a fearlessness begins to lay hold of our spirit that is related to a sense of contentment… a sense of detachment from living by our circumstances. When we hear the voice of a bridegroom it changes what we want… and what we fear losing also changes. When our desires change our fears change. What we are afraid of losing today will be different in ten years. We are afraid of losing a certain amount of things today but in 10 years the things we are afraid of losing will be different. The list begins to be more filled with things you cannot lose. Like the anointing of the spirit on your heart before God. No man can take that away from you… no Herod can take the anointing of God off your heart to love God.

Nobody can imprison you and take the Spirit of Revelation off of you. Nobody can cause you not to be great in the sight of the Lord. The things we fear losing changes… I find a new resolve.. a budding of fearlessness beginning to crop it’s head up here and there. A strength and resolve to take a stand…in a way that I know I will lose out with good men. I am not trying to pick a fight but I know I will lose out … I find it easier and it makes more sense and it is not as frightening because what I fear losing is changing a little bit, not a lot right now, but I have hopes in the next 10-20 years for it to increase. These changed emotions, this new identity, insulates us from this profound discontentment related to natural things. This profound discontentment. These are the first four benefits and rewards of the bridegroom fast … they are real things which touch our hearts in God.

God I want the reward! I want to enter into this and I want my weak heart to enter into the life of this in a greater way. Lord we love you and God I want the things I fear losing to change. I do not want to lose out on being great before God. I do not want to lose the anointing of tenderness.

       I do want to feel tenderness… I do not want to lose those things Lord. Those are the things I fear but no man and no demon can take them from me. God they are in your hands and I ask you Lord to give me more of these things that I am preaching beyond my experience. I want to walk in what I am flirting with and thinking about right now and am barely touching.. I want to be a man that is a burning and a shining fire like John the Baptist.

Technically.. I don’t love fasting.. .I love the feeling in my spirit brings!

New Creations in Christ

Bridehood: The Foundation of Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). That’s the key phrase: “All things have become new.” Verse 21: “That we might become the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (v. 21).

The most difficult thing in our Christian walk is this issue of everything becoming new and our identity flowing out of this reality. We’ll find in a few moments that this is the main issue of spiritual warfare in 2 Corinthians 10: this issue of “all things being new,” and the believers walking in the revelation of that reality in terms of the image that they have of themselves or their spiritual identity in Christ. We have a new position in terms of everything becoming new, and the new position is that we possess the righteousness of God.

THE VAST OCEAN OF GOD’S LOVE This is basic Christianity, so I’m just covering this really fast. I assume most of you are very familiar with this. The first issue involved in all things becoming new is that we have been accepted by the Father. We have also been accepted by the Son. There are many dimensions to the acceptance or the love of God, many facets to God’s love. Ephesians 3:18 talks about the height and the depth, the length and the width of the love of God. I call it, “the vast ocean of God’s love.” There are so many dimensions.

Jesus spoke of two dimensions at the Last Supper. In John 15:9, He said, “As the Father loves you, that’s how Jesus loves you” (Jn. 15:9, paraphrased). Then, in John 17:23: “As the Father loves Jesus, that’s how the Father loves you” (Jn. 17:23, paraphrased).

He talked about the way the Father loves us and He talked about the way the Son loves us in two different verses. I like to separate and distinguish between the love of the Father as part of our identity and then the love of the Bridegroom, the embrace and the cherishing of the Bridegroom.

RELEASING THE WORKS OF GOD AND STOPPING THE WORKS OF DARKNESS The second aspect of this new position in the righteousness of God is that we have authority to use the name of Jesus. We can release the works of God and we can stop the works of darkness. That’s just a summary statement. We can release the works of God—healing, power, and miracles—and we can stop the works of darkness through the name of Jesus.

The third aspect of this new position is that we have Someone living on the inside of us, the third person of the Trinity. God dwells in the human spirit. Those are the three basic aspects of our new position of everything becoming new. The most important aspect of this in terms of our life on the earth and in terms of spiritual warfare is that this new position results in us having a new identity, a new spiritual identity. This is the thing that’s most difficult in our struggle: to see ourselves differently; to define our life differently in the light of spiritual truth. We can have the new position with those three issues, but when we begin to define, interpret, and view our life in light of these things, we talk about our new identity, a new image of ourselves through the gospel, through the righteousness of God.
That’s Satan’s main tool against the believers: he accuses night and day before God (Rev. 12:11). He accuses us night and day. He tells us God is a liar. He tells us we’re not loved by God, that God isn’t true to His Word, and He’s not like He says He is. The number one thing that creates strongholds in our minds is the accusation of Satan against God and God’s Word concerning us.

You have to understand this very clearly. A stronghold in the ancient world was like those giant walls; some were ten feet, some were thirty feet thick. They were the walls around the city. When a stronghold was raised around a city, the walls were built and it kept the bad men out and the good men in, right? Those ten-foot thick stone walls kept the enemy from hammering his way in. They protected the city.

Paul is using this in exactly the opposite application. He’s saying, “These ten-foot thick stone walls keep bondage in, and they keep God’s blessing out.” They’re negative strongholds. These are strongholds we don’t like. He’s using the imagery of the Roman world, of a stronghold that kept one group out and one group in. He says, “These are bad strongholds, not good ones. They keep bondage in and they keep blessing out.”

He’s talking to people who are new creations in Christ; that’s the point. He’s talking to people to whom earlier in 2 Corinthians he said, “Everything has already been made new for you. However, you still have bondages in your life.” It’s a very common thing in the lives of believers. These spiritual bondages can be discerned and torn down. He makes it very clear that the key issue of these strongholds is the subject of the knowledge of God.

THE IDEAS THAT LODGE IN THE HEART RULE THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE He says in verse 5, “. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” The central issue that empowers these strongholds is coming against the knowledge of God. They accuse the true knowledge of God in our hearts. The truth about God is attacked in our minds. It’s about ideas. Believe it or not, strongholds are about ideas.

You think, “Well, that’s pretty simple.” No. The ideas that lodge in the human heart rule the entire human race. That sounds so simplistic, but let me tell you, your life is ruled by the ideas that are lodged in your heart. Your emotions are enflamed by them, whether good or bad ideas. Most of these ideas we haven’t even thought through, because it’s a complex system of ideas that all of us believe about ourselves, about God, about life, and about death. We can’t even analyze them all. We have very specific ideas that we haven’t even fully discerned that are lodged in our minds. Many of these ideas are against the truth of the knowledge of God and we don’t even know it. We’re not even thinking that way.

Most people are so at peace with their strongholds and false identity and they real Paul and they read Jesus and they see how far they are from it, but they do not actually press in to bring their hearts and minds (both!) in agreement with God.

THE MOST POWERFUL AND UNDER-USED OF ALL OUR WEAPONS Paul says we have to break these wrong ideas, and in breaking these wrong ideas that accuse God, you’ll be set free. The whole point he’s getting at is that then you’ll be lovers of God. That’s the object of these four chapters. So God is accused. How are these strongholds broken? It says, by “casting down arguments.” Isn’t that an amazing thing? Number one: we expose the arguments against God. We expose wrong ideas against God. Isn’t that simplistic? It’s very powerful. We expose them and then we renounce them. That’s how we cast down arguments. How do we expose wrong ideas or arguments, and how do we renounce them? By the Word of God; the mighty weapon is God’s Word. The mighty weapon is the Word of God. Then the second weapon, of course, is the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit revealing it and using us. Those are the mighty weapons that everyone has but few use.  Using them has so profoundly changed my identity, I hope you will go after this in a serious way.

The most effective way for me is to take verses and meditate on them, asking Holy Spirit for revelation on them.  It takes time.  The Holy Spirit hangs out in the 25 mile an hour zone and we blow past verses at 70 mph.  Take time declare the verses, believe them and either ask for power to obey them or ask for revelation.  Paul exhorts believers to sing in Col 3 and Eph 5, singing the Scriptures open up our heart to them in a powerful way.

The link on the right that’s a picture of a bible has some Scriptures set to music, but making up your own songs is powerful too.  Praying them with a journal writing out ideas and revelation is so good.  Jeremiah said God’s word is a hammer.  It will smash strongholds and root us in Christ and in our actual identity.

We are Betrothed

2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. II Corinthians 11:2

Intimacy

We have access to be close friends with Jesus and He want us to be with Him where He is, connecting with Him.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24

For love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised. Song 8:6-7

Jesus’ identity as Bridegroom means He has powerful, surging emotions of fierce love and desire for you.  He is jealous for your affections.  We labor in pray to know this in our hearts not just our minds.

Experiencing His Love

SEEKING TO KNOW THE HEIGHT AND DEPTH OF THIS LOVE

  • We can ask for revelation and understanding, of the Deep Love of God’s Heart… But God has revealed -the deep things- unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God..Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Cor 2:10-12)
  • Personal meditation on the Word of God, made reality by the Spirit in our inner-man, is primarily His way to communicate His spiritual affections, His love touches our heart this way (Sos 1:2).
  • Meditation is most effective by turning the Word into personal conversation with Jesus. As we do this we are giving our heart to Him and receiving His heart through the Word of God.
  • And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little scroll. And he said, take it, and eat it up (Rev 10:9). To eat the scroll (bible) we take a verse and meditate, make it personal and pray it. Anointed loving meditation.  A few related verses can have an hour’s worth of revelation.
  • The sweetness of the Holy Spirit tenderizes our hearts through meditation on the Word. It is powerful as the Word of God kisses our hearts in this way.
  • Isa 56:7 I will make them joyful in my house of prayer.  For many in the church, prayer is not joyful until we see how Paul tied singing our Scriptural revelations to being filled with the Spirit in Eph 5:18.  -What a revelation that music makes sustaining prayer easier!  The Ihop model of singing passages of Scripture in Worship with the Word sets, facilitates encounter with the Holy Spirit, by unlocking the heart.  See fire link on the right ->
MEDITATION
  • Meditation rewrites the “code” of our heart like a computer program writes data on a disk.  When we have His words abiding in us, then John 14;23 can happen in greater measure.  If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  

The Mind Mouth Heart Method

Reading Scriptures gets them in our mind, and we need to love God with all of our mind, but speaking them over ourselves and speaking them to God, gets them in our heart.  John 15:7 If my words abide in you..


The Song of Solomon is His love in concentrated allegory form (See notes at mikebickle.org)
Even Rabbi’s teach God-based, non-marriage application of song of solomon.
Sos 1:2 Father, Let Him touch my heart with love by the Spirit and Word, for Your revelations and affections are better than the permissible pleasure of the world.
  • Sos 1:4 The King has brought me into His chambers (take me to the secret place of Your Presence, Encounter – Your affections, help me to press in and connect with you, so I can feel your love and you can declare your Name to me.)
  • The Revelation of Sos 1:3  “His name poured forth” speaks of the unique exaltation of His Name. It also speaks of His attributes being openly revealed to us, His beautiful personality, virtuous character, holiness, love, power, terrifying glory… and we fall in love. Oh the beauty of this Man!
  • Jesus is not our ‘lover’ like some misinterpret, we don’t go on date-night with Jesus.  Our relationship to the Bridegroom is sacred and holy.  Our culture hardens our heart to the purity of love.  This will change when Jesus returns, and in the church of Rev 22:17.

Song of Songs Overview

Since I reference this so much thought it’d be good to have it up.  From Ihop-kc

Session 4 An Overview of the Storyline in the Song of Solomon

  • Song of solomon: The Divine Kiss & The Bride’s Life Vision (SONG 1:2-4)

The theme of the Song of Solomon is the Bride’s spiritual journey to be drawn near to Jesus in intimacy and then to run in deep partnership with Him in ministry. She matures in these two realities as she experiences the kisses of God’s word touching her heart.

2 Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth (Word). For Your love is better than wine…

4Draw me away (intimacy)! We will run after you (ministry). (Song 1:2-4)

  1. The Song of Solomon has two main sections. First, Song 1-4 is focused on receiving our inheritance in God. Second, Song 5-8 is focused on God receiving His inheritance in us.
  2. Her journey begins with the paradox of grace (Song 1:5-11)

5 I am dark (in heart), but lovely (to God)…6 my own vineyard (heart) I have not kept. (Song 1:5-6)

  1. The paradox of our faith is that we are dark in our heart yet we are lovely to God. Both truths must be held in tension to understand who we are before God. Some emphasize how sinful we are (darkness of our heart) and others emphasize how beautiful we are to God (lovely in Christ).
  2. We are lovely before God even in our weakness for four reasons.
  3. God’s personality: is filled with tender loving emotions for His people. God sees us through His heart that is filled with tender love. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
  4. The gift of righteousness: we receive the beauty of Jesus’ righteousness as a free gift.

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21)

 

  • The Spirit’s impartation: of a sincere and willing spirit of obedience that cries for God.

 

15 You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15)

  1. Our eternal destiny: as Jesus’ Bride. God sees the end from the beginning. He sees us in light of the billions of years in which we will be perfect in obedience.
  2. She has a desperate cry to have more of Jesus. She wants Him to personally feed her spirit.

7 Tell me, O You whom I love, where You feed your flock…For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of Your companions? (Song 1:7)

  • Jesus tenderly reveals His heart for her. Then He reaffirms her sincerity (1:8-11).

8 …O fairest (most beautiful) among women… (Song 1:8)

UNDERSTANDING HER IDENTITY in God’s beauty (SONG 1:12-2:7)

  • She has an initial revelation of the beauty of Jesus and the pleasure of knowing Him (Ps. 27:4).

16 Behold, You are handsome (beautiful), my Beloved! Yes, pleasant! (Song 1:16)

  • She receives revelation of her identity in Christ as a beautiful rose in God’s sight.
  • 1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. (Song 2:1)

Jesus is sweet to her heart as she rests under the shade of the finished work of the cross. She experiences the superior pleasures of knowing God as she feeds at His table and lives under the banner of His excellent leadership. In this she becomes lovesick. The goal of her life is her own spiritual happiness. This happens best when she experiences God’s Presence. In the future, her goal will be to walk as His inheritance regardless of the cost.

3 I sat down in His shade (resting in the finished work of the cross) with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste. 4 He brought me to the banqueting House, and His banner (leadership) over me was love. 5 Sustain me…refresh me…for I am lovesick. (Song 2:3-5) Continue reading

Fasting for the Bridegroom

The disciples of John came to Jesus saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matt. 9:14-17).

A New Covenant Fast

John the Baptist’s disciples came to Jesus with a zealous and sincere question. They were confused and troubled by the lack of fasting among His disciples. John had taught his own disciples to fast often, and they saw that even the hypocritical Pharisees recognized how essential the discipline was. Did Jesus not value fasting? Did He lack the discipleship and leadership skills to teach it to His men? John’s disciples’ intense hunger for God had led them to give up everything in their pursuit of Him. The implication behind their question was that John was a more spiritual leader than Jesus. Jesus answered their question by asking them what seemed a strange question. “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” He then made another unusual statement, saying the days were coming when the Bridegroom would be taken from them.

He was referring to Himself as the Bridegroom who would be taken from them by dying on the cross. He implied that then His disciples would fast with the same consistency and intensity that John’s disciples did. Their fasting, however, would flow out of longing and mourning for Jesus as a Bridegroom. Jesus used their question to introduce Himself as a Bridegroom―this was His first reference in Scripture to being the Bridegroom. He was introducing a new paradigm of fasting—a fast motivated by desire to encounter His beautiful and loving presence. In the Old Testament, fasting was usually an expression of sorrow over sin or a plea for God to physically deliver His people from disaster. In many cases it had degenerated into a purely religious exercise, as the legalistic Pharisees practiced.

Now the Lord was saying there was something new. After His death, after the New Covenant had been established, fasting would take on a whole new dimension. The indwelling Holy Spirit in each believer would make this possible. The fast His disciples would enter into would be one related to intimacy with Jesus as the Bridegroom. In the New Covenant, God opened the depths of His heart to every believer through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10; Heb. 10:19-22). It is a privilege beyond comprehension that weak humans can experience the depths of God’s heart. This is our inheritance and our destiny. We must never be content to live without a growing experience of God’s heart. “For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God … We have received … the Spirit that we might know the things … freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:10-12). The apostles experienced this intimacy of knowing the Man Christ Jesus while He walked the Earth. Jesus insisted they not fast during this time, but rejoice.

Just as there will be no fasting in the age to come because we will be face to face with Him, it would have been unnecessary for the disciples to fast when God was their daily companion. But things changed for the apostles after Jesus was taken away by death. The promise of the New Covenant was still theirs— intimacy with Jesus—but His physical presence was gone. They mourned and longed to experience more of His presence. He had awakened a depth of desire in their hearts that they were not fully aware of until they were wounded by His absence. They longed for Him, for His nearness. When the overflowing gladness of His immediate presence was taken from them, they were heartsick. Then they fasted.

The Bridegroom Fast is About Desire

Song of Solomon 5:8 says, “If you find my Beloved … tell him I am lovesick!” The Song of Solomon describes the relationship between Jesus, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Bride. It describes the Church’s lovesickness for God (Song 2:5; 5:8). Even the remembrance of our close encounters with Jesus in years past create a hunger today, a craving that will not be satisfied until we experience Him again and again in even greater measures. Lovesickness is mourning for the loving presence of Jesus as the Bridegroom God. No one can console our lovesick hearts except Continue reading

The Timing of The Rapture

There’s a great outpouring of power the Bible prophesies in the generation the Lord returns; tremendous power and a tremendous harvest.

It’s a strong biblical hope. The greatest hour of the Church is yet ahead of us, beyond the book of Acts. The greatest difficulty in history is yet ahead of us as well: It’s called “the Great Tribulation.” The Church will be here during the Great Tribulation as God’s messengers and as God’s ambassadors, releasing God’s power to the nations.

The False Doctrine of the Pretribulation Rapture

This view, is sincere; it’s very sincere, but dangerous and damaging. One of the most significant deceptions today in the Body of Christ is the pre-tribulation rapture: the idea that we’re going to be gone any minute, and out of here before things become troublesome.

There are many who teach that. It’s sincere; it’s absolutely non-biblical. It’s more than non-biblical, it’s a significant deception. Many of the people who teach it are teaching it because they grew up with it in what their denomination taught them. They’ve heard it since they were five years old, and they just go with it; they’ve never thought any differently.

I want to say clearly, and I want to say nicely: It is clearly not a biblical doctrine. The rapture is, but not the pretribulation rapture. The Church will be here, and it will be the Church’s greatest hour. We will be operating in power in the nations. The greatest revival in history is yet ahead of us.

The Church in the Wilderness of the EndTime Events

It’s likened to Moses, being in the wilderness. The Lord said to Moses, “OK, I’m going to go shake up the kingdom of Egypt.”  Moses said, “Oh, I don’t want to go. Lord, would You take me home now?” But Moses was trained to go shake up the kingdom of Egypt and Pharaoh, to release the plagues and judgments and deliver the people.

The Church is in the Moses position, in the Great Tribulation, of releasing the judgments of God. The judgments of God in the book of Revelation are not judgments on the Church; they are judgments released through the Church on the Antichrist system.

The judgments of the book of Revelation are being released by the prayer movement. The prayer movement isn’t coming under them, any more than Moses came under the judgments when he stretched forth his rod.  It’s critical now that the prayer movement would be matured.  We will stops and start the judgments. Someone says, “Does prayer stop judgment, or start it?” The answer is both. Moses stretched forth his rod and the ten plagues of Egypt happened. He stretched forth his rod and prayed and they stopped. They stopped and started at his word, under the Father’s authority. He was a picture of the end-time Church in the greatest hour of history.

The reason the Church doesn’t think much or care much about the hundred chapters the bible contains about the end-times is that they think they’re going to be gone. It’s a huge tragedy, the state of the Church worldwide being nearly illiterate about end-time prophecy—almost completely illiterate.  It doesn’t matter to them because they think they’re going to be gone.

The Church is Not Preparing for its Greatest Conflict

The second reason it’s such an important, scary deception, is that the Church isn’t preparing for its greatest conflict.  It’s like the guy who’s getting ready to go to war when he’s in boot camp. He’s doing drills and exercising, training his body and their mind, and he’s flowing together. He’s going to war. Most of the Church is in vacation mode, and the greatest conflict in history is Continue reading

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