Posts Tagged ‘House of Prayer’

Bride without Spot or Wrinkle

Rev 19:7 speaks of the church as a bride made ready, spotless.  But the question here is how will the bride make herself ready???  We do know this will happen in the end times, for the church is ready and tested in the end-time events, and then Jesus comes back and then it is time for the marriage.  But how will Jesus contend with our sin and compromise, and cultural excesses before then?  How will break through minds and hearts almost fully given over indulgence in television and technology etc.,  the American church today?  Part of the answer is the shaking of everything that can be shaking that wakes up the church.

But critically, part of the answer is also in Isaiah 33:17 “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty.”   God’s beauty is infinite, but we must pursue it.   This is why the prayer movement is so being established with the mandate to call the church to regularly pray Eph 1:18 that the eyes of our heart would be enlightened, and 1:17 for a Spirit of Revelation of Christ.   The prophesy to see the King in His beauty will be ultimately and finally fulfilled in the generation that Jesus returns to.  Part of the answer is causing the church to have a larger appetite for immersing themselves in the things of God and prayer.  In Mark 4:18 Jesus warned of a Christian heart getting snared by the things of the World causing it to become unfruitful (seed falling among thorns).  In the End times Jesus will have a bride alive in love, fascinated by the Spirit and Word and a heart that is free and bearing fruit.  Bold, uncowardly, and victorious.

In this last few decades, prophetically the Holy Spirit was really highlighting and emphasizing the Father Heart of God.   He is still seeking us to “root us and ground us in the reality of His love (Eph 3:17).  However I have no doubt that what the Holy Spirit is highlighting to the bride in this hour to aid in the process of nourishing and washing with the water of the Word.   Eph 5:26 reveals the process of the washing of the water of the Word related to the experience of being nourished and cherished by God.  Take some time to look at that passage if you haven’t yet.

The Bridegroom Revelation

I believe Matthew 9 speaks of our current time period and generation.  It speaks of generation where there is a new understanding, or ‘paradigm,’ of seeing fasting and prayer as desirable above earthly things, because of seeing the Bridegroom face of Jesus.  It is no coincidence that every time Jesus talked about His return He called Himself the ‘Bridegroom.’  Look at Matthew 25.  The issue at the end of the age actually will be ‘do we have intimacy (oil) with the Bridegroom?’  Bridegroom is just a bible word for Jesus as He relates to the church.

The Holy Spirit is likened to wine that makes the heart glad and imparts to us the love of God.  The Holy Spirit also leads Pastors and Teachers to different Scriptural emphasis, or ‘wineskins.’  It is the wineskins that hold the wine, it is the different Scriptural paradigms that open the heart to experience the Holy Spirit.  When Jesus talked about this, He gave the revelation of the Bridegroom face of Jesus, or Bridal Paradigm, as the premier ‘new wineskin.’

14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15 And 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. 16 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. 17 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 9:14-16.)

The disciples didn’t need to fast, they were already with Him.  But He was taken from us at the cross and now sits at the right hand of the Father, but we can fast to be with Him!  Fasting to encounter Jesus does not increase how much God loves us, which is always infinite, but it does increase our experience of it.  Now fasting with out praying is just dieting.  Im talking about praying Song of Solomon and the many scriptures that highlight His affection like John 15:9 and John 17:26, Eph 3:16-19, etc.  Song of Solomon has always been taught about being about Christ and the church, though also the man and woman interpretation is valid.  But there is no Scripture that doesn’t exalt Jesus and even rabbis before Christ taught this book as being about a love relationship with the coming Messiah.  The Song of Solomon experience in praying it, is being led into the wilderness of prayer and broken down to the place of full dependence on God and being ruined for any other passion.

The church is called a bride in this context as Rev 19:7-9 details the Marriage supper of the Lamb where every Christian who has ever lived receives a new holy heavenly body (Mat 22:30), and the reality/concept of marriage changes but what it stands for and represents (union/communion) stays the same. There is nothing sexual or impure about loving the Bridegroom.  The “kisses of the mouth” are the same as when Jesus said “I live not by bread alone but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”  At Ihop-kc we sing ‘Kisses of the Word,’ to stop confusion.  We were never intended to picture an actual kiss, but we ask for the embraces of the Holy Spirit of the love of God on our innerman when we ask for the kiss.

Eph 5:18-19 says that we are not to be drunk on alcoholic wine, but rather be filled with the Spirit by Singing to Jesus the Scriptures.   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.  I just feel such a strong emphasis on this, WE MUST TAKE THE WORD AND MAKE IT PRAYER TO ENCOUNTER GOD, HEAD KNOWLEDGE IS NOT ENOUGH.  But we must grow our hearts in praying the Word.

That last point is driven home here: 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)  We can’t make the same mistake the Pharisees did.  The Word only enters the heart by prayer, not memorization.  The relationship with Jesus comes alive by the Word and the Spirit, and dialogue.  What is a relationship without talking?  Studying and hearing men preach are great but are no substitute.

So very many Scriptures come impact us when we pray them directly, or depending on the verse, ask for revelation on them, or thank God for the truth in them, or ask for power to obey them.  The Scriptures are living and active (Heb 4:2) and are so powerful as we pray them.  They rewrite the code of our inner man until Christ dwells within us.

A lot of people think of prayer as simply asking the Father for things we need like finances and favor.  That is important, but there is also prayer that seeks to spend time with God.  God created man to have fellowship with God.  In heaven will we esteem those who saw spending time with Jesus as what we were created for, as wise.

Prayer is the place where we are transformed into the image of Christ, by the renewing of our minds (Rom 11.)  To be transformed into the image of Christ, we must behold Him, through the Spirit, by prayer with the Scriptures.  The prayer movement is ministering to the church and in abandonment and extravagance, we are fully following and obeying God with our lives and hearts, and the first Commandment is being restored to first place, You shall love the Lord, your God with all of your heart soul and mind.

Additionally, Christian communities must redefine what they are reaching toward.  Community in the church has become about friendship and movies, where relationships are the end game.  Community without prayer the Word will end up in people devouring one another without being touched by the tenderness of God.  “The fellowship we crave with one another flows from the deep love and joy we find in Jesus in secret. Community is fruit of this communion.”-Dana Candler

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The Yoke of Meekness

“COME TO ME, ALL YOU WHO LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN”

-We really want to get the revelation on this verse. Matthew 11:28 really is the clearest teaching on how to have a vibrant spirit, a happy heart. Jesus says, “Come to Me” (Mt. 11:28). He says, “I’m the source of the instruction, but I’m also the power source. Come to Me. Connect with Me and I’ll teach you about meekness; and I’ll empower you to walk it out.” It’s the all-important, “Come to Me.” He uses that invitation several times through the Gospels.

He says, “Come to Me, all that labor and are heavy laden” (Mt. 11:28, paraphrased). And of course it’s the whole human race. To be heavily laden means you have a heavy spirit. You’re weighed down in your emotions. You’re weighed down with things. He says, “I will give you rest” (v. 28b, NKJV). Now rest is a term that involves many things. He’s talking about our emotions. He’s talking about giving us the power of a vibrant spirit, a free spirit. He’s talking about a joyous, happy spirit. And He said, “Now I will tell you how to enter into rest. I’ll tell you how to get free from the heavy spirit.” And there are many different expressions of a heavy spirit. We all know them. I mean, we’ve all experienced a heavy spirit many times throughout our life.

“TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU AND LEARN OF ME, FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLY”

But Jesus says in verse 29, “Here’s the way to freedom. You have to take My yoke. You have to yoke yourself to Me. And you have to learn from Me because I’m gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt. 11:29, paraphrased). “Lowly in heart” is translated in other Bible translations as humble or meek. It’s lowly of heart. And He says, “If you do this, you will find rest for your souls” (ibid). He repeats the promise that you’ll enter into rest. You’ll have a vibrant spirit. The spirit of heaviness will lift off of you over time.

HIS YOKE IS EASY, HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT

Then He goes on in verse 30 and He gives an encouragement: “Stay with the process, because if you stay with it, you’ll find out that My yoke is easy” (Mt. 11:30, paraphrased). Now the illustration of a yoke is very, very important. It’s central to this teaching of how to live in freedom and liberty. In the ancient world, as today, the farmer would put a pair of oxen or another pair of animals inside a yoke. And sometimes there would be two and sometimes there would be many oxen yoked together with a wooden yoke. And the yoke would be around their neck—both the lead oxen and the newer oxen that was just being broken in and trained in how to plow the fields. They would be yoked to an experienced ox, and that ox would lead the yoke.

We’re the new; and when we put that yoke on our neck, that yokes to Him. In the agricultural world, the “beginner ox” would tend to go either to the right or to the left. But they couldn’t get off the path because they were yoked in this wooden yoke next to the experienced ox that remained on the path. Jesus said, “Put that yoke on you,” because we’re chaining ourselves, we’re yoking ourselves to His pathway of meekness.

He says, “I’ll walk the path. Yoke yourself to Me. And when you want to go right and left, the yoke will keep you in the center. And that yoke is your commitment to learn from Me and to walk with Me in this pathway.”

Now it’s the yoke of meekness. And no one will put that yoke on you. God won’t put it on you; we have to put it on ourselves. We put it on ourselves by making a commitment to learn from Jesus in the realm of meekness and to follow it through with Him. And so we put that yoke on us and we begin the process of learning from Him.

Now the challenge of being yoked is this: in the earlier days of being yoked, the beginning stages of being yoked, the new ox feels the sores and the blisters of this new yoke. And it’s uncomfortable; it’s awkward. The new ox wants to get off the path and resist it, and so he kind of bucks the system and doesn’t like it at first. But over time, he gets into a rhythm. And the new ox adjusts to this new pathway, this new way of life. And so it’s a process. It takes time. There’s a resistance. It’s awkward at first. But Jesus is telling us in verse 30, “My yoke is easy” (Mt. 11:30). In other words, “If you stay with it: if you’ll stay yoked to Me in this pathway of meekness, eventually your heart will find rest. You’ll carry your heart in a new way.”

EXCELLING IN HUMILITY SHOULD BE ONE OF OUR HIGHEST AMBITIONS

Now here’s what the process of being yoked to the Lord is about. We start off being aware that humility is an important virtue. But our natural response to humility is to dodge it, to find ways to escape the yoke of humility. We’ll use Bible verses or the grace of God or social maneuvering to get out of having to face the issue of humbling ourself in relationships with people. We don’t like that yoke. But once we decide to take it on and wrestle, then over time, it becomes a primary life goal. I mean, it’s not just something we’re enduring; it’s not something we’re trying to escape. It’s actually something we settle in on. Our life goal isn’t just comfort or more blessing or more honor; our life goal is to excel in humility. And when that happens, the yoke becomes easy and we carry our heart in a different way.

THE MEEKEST MAN EVER TO WALK THE EARTH

Something happens on the inside when one of our primary life goals takes hold of meekness. Because it’s not natural to any of us to make that a primary goal in our life, but it’s the Lord’s agenda for our life. He’s the meekest Man that ever walked the earth, but He also had the freest and the happiest spirit of any man that ever walked the earth. And the two are related to one another.

Now this is the only characteristic Jesus ever proclaimed about Himself. He gave Himself titles; but He never, ever described a character trait about Himself, except here in verse 29. He said, “I’m meek,” or, “I’m humble,” or, “I’m lowly.” Use whatever word you want. The Lord commits Himself to training us in meekness if we will go with Him. He says, “Take the yoke; sign up for the class.” He won’t make you take this yoke. And again, putting on that yoke means we’re training ourselves or binding ourselves to a life of meekness according to His terms. That is what it means to take the yoke. Taking the yoke doesn’t just mean we ask the Lord to forgive us for our sins; we’re born again and we’re taking the yoke! No, that’s only the beginning of the beginning. The yoke of meekness is the call to discipleship.

As a matter of fact, in this very chapter, Matthew 11, earlier in verse 12, Jesus talked about spiritual violence: this radical abandonment to God. This is actually the yoke of meekness that He’s talking about. He described it just a few verses earlier referring to John the Baptist. He’s laying out the spiritual violence of the forerunner ministry. It’s living the yoke of meekness: not the occasional expression of humility, but humility defined as one of the primary goals of what we want to attain in this life. It’s violent, but once we settle that, it becomes easy. This doesn’t mean that the life externally is easy. But our heart comes to peace. There’s an enjoyment of God. There’s a vibrant spirit in coming to peace with this new alignment of our life, when our goal is to walk in the meekness and the yoke of humility that Jesus walks in.

THE GRAVITATIONAL PULL OF OUR HEARTS IS TOWARDS PRIDE

Well, we never graduate from this class. Sign up for the class, the yoke of meekness. And it’s a seminary course. It’s an internship that you’ll be in all your days. We need to assume that pride is strong in our being. Some folks have the opposite opinion. When someone suggests they’re proud, they’re scandalized. It’s exactly the opposite. Of course we’re proud. Continue reading

The End-Time War on the Spirit of Jezebel

I. INTRODUCTION

  1. Often when a woman in church has a leadership gift or a control spirit, people oppose her saying she has a “Jezebel Spirit.”  I do not believe that is what a Jezebel Spirit is.  We must let the Bible define our terminology.  There are two different women in the Bible named Jezebel. The first one was in the OT in context of Elijah (approx. 850 BC; 1 Kg. 16-21; 2 Kgs. 9) and the other is the NT in context to the church of Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29).
  2. I am convinced that we gain insight into the End-Time drama by understanding the intensity of “OT Jezebel’s” persecution of Elijah and the prophets of Israel and the nature of “NT Jezebel’s” seduction of the church in Thyatira. The spiritual principles seen in “both Jezebels” will be fully manifest in the End-Times. Both contribute to understanding of “End-Time Jezebel’s” persecution (murder and theft) and seduction (immorality and sorcery) as a face of the spirit of Babylon.
  3. The four primary spiritual strongholds across the earth in the End-Times are murder, sorcery, immorality and theft (Rev. 9:21). Immorality stimulates the physical body outside of God’s will as sorcery stimulates the spirit. Sorcery often works in context to mind altering substances (drugs, alcohol. etc).

    21 They did not repent of their murders or sorceries or sexual immorality or thefts. (Rev. 9:21)

  4. There is a progression in Satan’s End-Time strategy. First, he uses immorality to dull the spirit and harden the conscience. This opens the way for people to embrace sorcery which emboldens murder and theft as will be seen in persecution of the Church and Israel.

    1 The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2…having their conscience seared… (1 Tim. 4:1-2)

  5. Immorality dulls the spirit which causes the Church to stop reaching to operate in the power of God. It causes guilt which produces hopelessness so people quit pursuing the deep things of God.
  6. The church of Thyatira is affirmed for growing in their ministries, endurance in persecution and love. Yet, they lacked zeal to confront believers engaged in Jezebel’s immorality and idolatry.

    18 These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow (tolerate) that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols…22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death …. (Rev. 2:19-23)

  7. Those who sacrificed to idols did it to gain the power of demons and to interact with them.

    18 Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. (1 Cor. 10:18-21)

II. OT JEZEBEL: HER IDOLATRY (SORCERY) AND IMMORALITY

  1. Jezebel was a queen of Israel and a witch or priestess of the Baal and Asherah (Phoenician gods) who seduced Israel into immorality, idolatry (witchcraft or sorcery) and murder.
  2. She was raised in Sidon, a prosperous seaport city of Phoenicia on the Mediterranean Sea about 20 miles north of Tyre. As a foreign princess, her father Ethbaal, king of Sidon (in Tyre) gave her in marriage to Ahab to create an alliance with Sidon and Israel (about 870 BC).
  3. As the new queen of Israel, she moved to Jezreel and established a center of Baal worship there.

    31 He (Ahab)…took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. (1 Kgs. 16:31-32)

  4. Jezebel had influence through her position as queen and her strong personality. She promoted immorality and sorcery throughout Israel and stirred Ahab up to do great wickedness.

    25 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. (1 Kgs. 21:25)

  5. Jezebel’s position of influence was in being the queen. However, the passion of her heart was to operate in the occult realm of the spirit. She joined occult religion with the State government resulting in a “demonic theocracy” that will also be seen in the Antichrist’s empire.

    22 The harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft… (2 Kgs. 9:22)

  6. She used the powers of the state to established Phoenician idol worship on a grand scale in the king’s court in Jezreel. She financed 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of Asherah with state money.

    19 450 prophets of Baal, and 400 prophets of Asherah…eat at Jezebel’s table. (1 Kgs. 18:19)

  7. The conflict at the end-of-the-age will be between two Houses of Prayer (two global worship movements). The Antichrist will raise up a state-financed false worship worldwide movement (Rev. 13:4, 8, 12, 15). The Holy Spirit is raising up the most powerful worship movement in history (Rev. 22:17; 5:8; 8:4; Lk. 18:7-8; Isa. 62:6-7; 24:14-16; 26:8-9; 30:18-19; 42:10-13; etc.). He will finance it. This will be the most power, passionate and dangerous time in world history.

    8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him (Antichrist), whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)

  8. The False Prophet will function as a “Jezebel like partner” to the Antichrist in his global empire.
  9. Ahab and Jezebel named their three children after the Lord (Ahaziah, Jehoram, Athaliah). Ahab consulted the prophets of Israel (1 Kings 22:6). They embraced the “respectability of religion”.

III. OT JEZEBEL AND HER PERSECUTION OF ELIJAH AND THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL

A. Jezebel murdered and hunted down God’s prophets who opposed her. Some End-Time saints will lose their life even as John the Baptist did for confronting the spirit of Jezebel.

7 I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets…at the hand of Jezebel. (2 Kgs. 9:7)

  1. Jezebel hunted for the prophets to destroy them. They hid in caves from. Spiritually, when God’s people yield Jezebel’s immorality, they retreat in shame and spiritual dullness to “hide in cave.”

    4 Jezebel massacred the prophets…Obadiah had taken 100 prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave…10 There is no nation…(Ahab) has not sent…to hunt for you (Elijah)… (1 Kgs. 18:4, 10)

  2. Ahab, as the head of State engaged in a “propaganda” war that blamed Elijah as the one who troubled Israel because he prayed to release a national judgment of drought that lasted for 31⁄2 years due. Elijah put the responsibility on him. After Israel repented he prayed to release rain.

    17 It happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD…” (1 Kgs. 18:17-18)

    17 Elijah…prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain…. (Jas 5:17-18)

  3. Elijah called for a showdown between the “prayer movement” of Baal’s prophets and the Lord.

    19 Gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the 450 prophets of Baal, and the 400 prophets of Asherah…21 Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” …22 Elijah said to the people…23 Let them give us two bulls… 24 You call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”…26 So they…called on the name of Baal…36 Elijah…said, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell…39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God!”…40 Elijah said, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” …Elijah…executed them there…42 Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; he bowed down…45 There was a heavy rain. (1 Kgs. 18:19-45)

    13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain…or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven…and heal their land…. (2 Chr. 7:13-14)

  4. Elijah was raised up like John the Baptist to turn Israel back to God. Both Elijah and John the Baptist fulfilled God’s purpose in only turning a small number of people back to God.

    15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord…16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Lk. 1:15-17)

  1. Elijah killed all of Jezebel’s 850 prophets at Mt. Carmel with his sword. (1 Kgs. 18:40; 19:1). As God granted a great victorious through Elijah so also the End-Time will see great victories by releasing Jesus’ judgments through the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17)

    6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, 7 to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples…9 to execute on them the written judgment– This honor have all His saints. (Ps. 149:6-9)

  2. After Elijah killed Jezebel’s prophets at Mt. Carmel, she swore an oath to her gods (demons) to kill Elijah. He was intimidated by this and ran for his life to Beersheba of Judah (1 Kgs. 19:1-3).

    1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow…” 3 When he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba… (1 Kgs. 19:1-3)

    17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours… (Jas 5:17)

  3. The contest between Elijah and Jezebel will be replayed yet with a higher measure of power.

    13 He (False Prophet) performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. (Rev. 13:13)

    5 If anyone wants to harm them (Two Witnesses), fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. (Rev. 11:5)

  4. Jezebel’s theft is seen when Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to Ahab. Jezebel murdered him to take his property (1 Kgs. 21:1-16). She wrote a letter to the elders of Jezreel bribing them to have Naboth killed for blasphemy against God. She provided the initiative to do this evil.
  5. Jezebel lived 14 years after Ahab’s death as the queen-mother and continued to rule in Israel through her two sons (King Ahaziah and King Joram) and to promote evil through her daughter who was married to the King Jehoram of Judah (2 Chron 21:6). Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah married Judah’s King Jehoram, (Jehoshaphat’s son). She had the same spirit of wickedness as her mother (2 Kgs 11). Thus Jezebel also seduced Judah with her evil.
  6. Elijah prophesied that Ahab and Jezebel’s children would be killed by God’s judgment

    20 Because you have sold yourself to do evil…21 Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel…23 and concerning Jezebel…the dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. (1 Kgs 21:20-23)

    22 I will cast her (Jezebel) into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children… (Rev. 2:22-23)

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Forerunners: The Spiritual Violence of John the Baptist

What the forerunner ministry is about is preparing the generation in which the Lord returns. John the Baptist was the picture of one who prepared people for the first coming of the Lord. He’s the model, in terms of his messaging, in terms of his lifestyle, in terms of the power of the Spirit that was on him. He’s the model for the forerunners before the Second Coming.

MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS, MANY DIFFERENT EXPRESSIONS

There are many expressions of the forerunner calling. There are forerunners in the marketplace. There are forerunners in media. There are forerunners who are intercessors, and forerunners who are preachers. There are many different expressions, many different measures. John is the most extreme in terms of the fullness. That’s what I mean by extreme. He’s the full picture at the first coming, but the Bible makes it clear that the forerunners at the second coming will surpass even John in power. They will have the same kind of spirit around their life. Again, though, there will be thousands of them at many different levels, with many different expressions.

We look at John and we see how far the grace of God will take us in ministry, and how far the grace of God will take us in lifestyle. Not that we all enter into that dimension; again, he’s at the full extreme. We’re inspired by the model and the picture that he gives us in the Scriptures.

We’re going to look at this very significant passage where Jesus describes John as having spiritual violence. He’s a man of spiritual violence. It’s not physical violence, but a heart response that’s so radical that the best word Jesus could come up with to describe it was violent. It was costly; it was radical in terms of his responsiveness to God. When we look at this, we say, “Lord, would You give us the grace of God to have a measure of that spiritual violence?”

Some people will have the full measure, others a different measure, but they want to partake of that spirit. That’s what I want to challenge you with tonight.

“ARE YOU THE COMING ONE, OR DO WE LOOK FOR ANOTHER?”

Let’s read the story; it’s the context in which the Lord gives this exhortation about John’s spiritual life.

“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ Jesus answered and said to them,Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them’” (Mt. 11:2-5)

That’s a prophecy about the Messiah from Isaiah 35. These disciples are thinking, “Wow, we get it; we know that Isaiah 35 prophecy.” As a matter of fact, everyone knew that prophecy.

Jesus concludes by saying, “The dead are raised and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” That’s directly from Isaiah 61—another prophecy about the Messiah.

“BLESSED IS HE, WHOEVER IS NOT OFFENDED IN ME”

Then Jesus gives a very interesting, but somewhat strange proverb at the end of this conversation. He says, “But blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Mt. 11:6, paraphrased).

That’s an odd way to end this interview, this conversation. Let me tell you what’s happening. John is in prison, and he knows he’s about to die. One of the popular ways of interpreting this passage, which I totally reject, is that John is in prison doubting that Jesus is the Messiah. That’s not what’s happening, even though that’s often how it’s preached. Rather, John is in prison, and he knows he’s going to die soon. He’s not worried about dying. As a matter of fact, he’s looking forward to it. As a responsible leader, he’s sending his disciples so that they can get firsthand testimony of who Jesus is so that when John dies they’ll know to follow Jesus instead of being offended by the process and losing their way with God.

John is operating in a pastoral way here, so he sends the disciples. They go there. They ask Him, “Are You the One?”

Jesus heals the sick and fulfills the prophecy.

I can imagine them saying, right in front of Him, “These are biblical prophecies. You’re the One. This is amazing.”

They go back and tell John. John says, “What did you find out?”
“He’s the One.”
“How do you know He was the One?”
“You know the prophecies you told us about Him? He fulfilled them right in front of our eyes.” I can imagine John saying, “So you know it’s Him?”

“Yes.”
“This is amazing, John. This is such good news.”
I can imagine John saying, “Did He say anything else?”

“Well, not really. Some strange little proverb about blessed are the people who are not offended at Him, but we’re not offended at Him. He’s the Messiah. Why would we be offended at Him? We don’t understand that little proverb.”

I can imagine John saying, “Remember that proverb. Don’t forget it. You’re going to need that.”

Soon after that, John is killed. He’s martyred. Now the disciples of John have to figure out how they’re going to respond. People are offended at God for two reasons. They’re offended at God for what He does, but they’re also offended at God for what He doesn’t do—when He’s silent. Jesus knew He was going to be silent and not intervene to save John. He knew that. He knew that the disciples didn’t know that. He told them that. “Don’t be offended by what I don’t do that you think I ought to do.”

This is a critical message that the forerunners teach, but of course, before they ever teach it, they have to live it. They have to have it proven in their own lives. Again, people are offended at God by what He does. When He releases His judgments, it offends believers and unbelievers. When He doesn’t intervene where we think He should intervene, that offends us.

“WHAT DID YOU GO OUT IN THE WILDERNESS TO SEE? A REED SHAKEN BY THE WIND?”

Well, let’s go on and continue the dialogue. Now the disciples leave. They go back to John. Jesus knows that the crowd has made the same mistake that I believe preachers have made for 2,000 years. They think John is backsliding or John is afraid or John is doubting. I love this passage. Here’s what Jesus does: He vindicates John, and He makes many points along the way. I like that He vindicated John.

Jesus looks at the multitude. He says, “Now, what did you go out to see when you went out to hear John preach in the wilderness? Is he a reed shaken by the wind” (Mt. 11:7, paraphrased)?

Now a reed is easily shaken by the slightest wind. When the wind barely blows, the reed bends and starts shaking. It doesn’t take much wind to make a little reed shake. In other words, Jesus is saying, “What do you think John is? Is he struggling with fear right now? Is he trembling before the wrath of Herod, like a reed shaking in the wind? No, I assure you he’s not afraid. That’s not what’s happening in John’s life.”

Then He says in verse 8, “Let Me ask you another question about John” (Mt. 11:8, paraphrased).

There’s a reason I’m developing this passage. I like that it validates John, but it also gives us insight about the character of John’s life and the quality of life that a forerunner will walk in. One of the things God is committed to establishing in forerunners is that they walk in fearlessness. They’re not afraid of persecution. In the natural, we have natural fears of persecution. I heard one man say this: “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is what you do even in the presence of fear, but it’s when you have a stronger conviction than the fear.”

God is raising up forerunners—people young and old, in all stations of life. They won’t be reeds shaken by the wind. They will not waver when it’s time to stand for the message. That doesn’t just happen in one day. We begin by not wavering each step along the way. It isn’t like one day we just wake up bold and fearless. We work that spiritual muscle through the years. That’s an important one for forerunners.

JOHN CHOSE THE PRISON UNDER THE PALACE OVER THE PLEASURES IN THE PALACE

So in verse 8, Jesus is going to validate John a second time. He asks the same question three times: “What did you go out to see? What were your expectations when you went to hear John preach in the wilderness?” He’s asking them that question in order to make them ask the question. Then Jesus is going to answer it to validate John, and to give us insight into the character of how a forerunner lives.

“But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses” (Mt. 11:8). They don’t live in the king’s dungeon. If John wanted a comfortable life, all he had to do was back away from the message. You see, Herod didn’t want to kill him; Herod actually respected him greatly. All John had to do was back down a little. He could have had the soft clothing in the king’s palace, but he refused it. He had the prison under the king’s palace.

Jesus is saying, “Are you looking for a celebrity who loves comfort, who loves pleasure? Is that who you think John is? He’s no celebrity who’s seeking for more comfort and more popularity. He’s not a man with soft clothing and all that goes along with it.”

He goes to the third question. The third time He says, “What did you go out to see?” He says, “Did you go out to see a prophet” (Mt. 11:9, paraphrased)? They were pretty excited to see this prophet. You know, how novel, how exciting! Prophets are exciting because they’re unusual. There’s a dimension of God’s power and presence. The problem with a prophet is that though they’re exciting at first, they have a message that God insists on. The message is often troubling and divisive; it’s politically incorrect. So they like the prophet for a while. You can go a certain distance with the applause of the people. They love your stuff. They love your message. They love your music. They love your prophesying until it crosses a line and it doesn’t please them. Then things change quickly. Continue reading

Father I Desire

A look at John 17

I don’t know of a passage in the word of God that I make reference to more than John chapter 17.  It’s a very significant, prophetic passage in the word of God. It’s called the high priestly prayer; it’s the prayer that Jesus prayed right before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before the cross. The first 19 verses, he’s praying for the, for the apostles, he’s praying for the birthing of the church at Pentecost, he’s praying for the, first generation of believers that God would keep them and protect them and that He would keep their leaders, in the truth and free from the evil one. He was really praying for the birthing of the early church, in the first 19 verses.

You may only see him praying for the 12, but really it’s the purpose in the 12 that he’s praying for. Then in verse 20 for the last seven verses, He changes gears. He goes from praying for the birthing of the church at Pentecost and He begins to intercede for the church in history. Now you know, that when the Son of God receives from God the Father, direction on how to pray for the church and He prays that there’s something very, very powerful and prophetic going on. So Jesus changes directions, He says “Now Father I’m going to pray for the people that believed through the word of others.” I’m going to pray for the saints right up to the end.” And these seven verses give us, probably more prophetic insight, as to the will of God for the church and what God’s going to do in the church before he’s finished with it in any other passage in the word of God.

I mean it doesn’t get much higher than the Son of God praying for His bride while still in the flesh and has been recorded perfectly by the Holy Spirit. You know people talk a lot about prayer, and I would encourage you, to find as much of your theology, rooted in these seven verses. And significant amounts of New Testament theology, for prayer and intercession, you could find the seeds of it right here in these seven verses. I spent the last number of years looking over, praying over, discussing with people, reading other people’s insights on these seven verses, I tell you that, every single phrase is filled with several levels of meaning. At a casual you know, reading superficial it may not seem like much. But I want to encourage you, those of you who are unfamiliar with this passage, ask the Lord in the next 12 to 18 months, to cause these seven verses to explode in your heart. You’re going to see prophetic promises, because Jesus was not praying a myth, He was praying exactly according to the will of God the Father.

We find prophetic promises, we find the revelation of God’s heart, we find the purpose of God in a way we don’t find it in any other place so convinced, as these seven verses. So, when I have a chance to go, to another city, I normally start from John 17, because almost every major truth that is touching my heart, has got its foundations and the Son of God praying he’s seeing prophetically His church through history. He’s praying for the bride, he’s praying for his, His eternal heir, His eternal companion throughout the ages. Because Father even before I leave my days in the flesh. I want to ask you one more time, for this glorious bride and He praised it. And I believe that God the Father answered him yes, yes, yes to every single phrase that He prayed and I believed that He would’ve added to it yes, I’m the one that gave you these things, I’m the one that put these things in your heart. These are my purposes that I will accomplish on your behalf.
Now we’re not going to really develop a whole lot, but let, I just want a say it one more time even in the simplest phrases that seem like their just a little transitional phrase, and not significant, I’ve hardly found a word, let alone a phrase that doesn’t have several levels meaning if you meditate on it. I just encourage some of you, to take these seven verses for the next 20 years, and make it something  something in your life that you refer to regularly. I can’t get out of John 17, I haven’t for years, and I don’t , I hope, I’m, I’m ,it’s, it’s, it’s incurable. I hope to be in it from now to the end. I’m only going to touch a point or two. One of my favorite points, I’m going, just going to kind of cheat on because it really has nothing to do with tonight is in verse 24, I just love this phrase so much but I’m just going to throw it in, then it has nothing to do with you know tonight. He says in verse 24, and I’m reading from the new King James, He says
“Father I desire, that they also whom you gave me, may be with me” John 17:24
Just that phrase, I desire. I mean here’s the eternal Son of God, He says Abba my heart has holy cravings and longings for something I don’t have .He says I desire and when the Son of God cries out with earnestness and passion, I desire something you want to pay the attention, to what it is the desires. And you know what it is, it’s and He goes Abba, I desire…. and He finishes the sentence.

I love the fact that we have a God that’s consumed with passion in His own personality. You know why you have emotions and affections, because He does. Sometimes we get it mixed up; we think it’s the other way around. We were made in His image, we have extravagant feelings and passions and affections, because the one that made us, made us in His own image. One of my favorite themes in the word of God is the passions and the pleasures in God’s personality and I’m going to develop that theme a little bit this week. He has extravagant pass… passions He has exuberant pleasures, in His personality. And my cry is that I want to see and feel the things that things that God sees and feels. How many of you know that God sees and feels, with incredible depth and passion and power? I mean the very depths of God’s vain, see and feel proves. I want to see and feel what the Father sees and feels when He looks at His dear son. You know that the verse in 2nd Corinthians 4:6, that says talking about the light of the glory of the gospel, it talks about the glory of God that’s seen in the face of Jesus.

The glory, the personality of God, the likeness of God, every time that God the Father has looked at His dear Son that He loves with intense passion, every time the Fathers looked at His Son from all of eternity He is seeing in His dear son’s face, the very glory of His own image. He looks at His Son and He sees His own heart, His own personality, shining radiantly out of the face of Christ Jesus. I believe that God the Father looked at him like He said several times in, in His earthly ministry He just leaned over the balcony of heaven and He shouted out I am well pleased, Oh I love you my son, I’m well pleased!

There is an infinite pleasure in the heart of God when He looks at the face of Jesus. I want to see and feel what God sees and feels when He looks at His son. Because the Lord wants to give His heart to us; I don’t want just His heart for the lost, certainly I want that, I want His heart that He has for His own dear son. The heart of God pulsates with pleasure and passion when He looks at His own dear son, and He wants to give His heart to us. Anyway I just love that verse, I can’t get, I’m trying to get down to verse 26 but I can’t bypass that phrase.
I desire…we have a God that desires intensely. There is holy cravings in His own heart for His own people. And I believe that to the degree, that we can begin to see and feel what God sees and feels, it will radically transform us from the inside out. There’s nothing more dynamic than to gaze into the reality of the personality of God, even just glimpses, dim glimpses and it radically changes the inner man when we see it.

Anyway verse 26, there’s probably 15 powerful phrases in these seven verses, and I’m going to look just even for a moment at two or three of them and that’s not even the major theme in you know in itself but I’m going to build on it, tonight and then later on into the week. Verse 26 He makes four very, very significant statements, first He gives a commentary on His ministry. If He was to sum His entire ministry up with one sentence which I think it’s kind of impossible to do it thoroughly, but if He was to sum His ministry up with one sentence, and He does it about himself.

How does He do it? He says Father I have declared your name. He said when it’s all said Continue reading

The Authority of the Believer

THE REVELATION OF OUR AUTHORITY IN CHRIST

I want to look at the authority of the believer. That’s a subject that we’re all familiar with, but I think it’s a subject that we need more understanding of through the Holy Spirit. We need more than just head knowledge, although I appreciate head knowledge; we need the Holy Spirit to release a spirit of revelation in our spirit about this.

Let’s look at the passage here in Ephesians 1:17-23 where Paul is preaching. Ephesians 1:17-23: “[That] the Father of glory . . . may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His”—Jesus as a Man—“feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:17-23).

I’m just going to focus on part of the passage here. He’s praying that the Father of glory would give to the saints a spirit of revelation. Why does Paul pray this? The spirit of revelation is the Holy Spirit moving on the human heart. Why? Paul prays so that the saints could know something and experience it as well. 

Ephesians 1:19: “That they would experience the exceeding greatness of the power of God that works towards us who believe”—in other words, towards those who exercise faith to believe in Him—“which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” The very power that God the Father exerted—that power God the Father worked in Jesus when the Father raised Jesus from the dead—lives in us. The Father raised Jesus from the dead—we know that. The Father seated Jesus at the right hand. Then the Father put all things under Jesus’ feet. Then the Father gave Jesus to be the head over everything, and then He gave Him to the Church. This is a very dynamic principle in Scripture—that Jesus was given by the Father to be head of the Church.

HIS BODY IS JESUS’ CHOSEN VESSEL TO EXPRESS THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S POWER

The revelation of the Church is this: we’re His Body, and Paul goes on to describe what it means in this verse to be the Body of Christ. There are several significant implications to being His Body; but the one that Paul highlights here is this: that the Body of Christ is the vehicle that God uses to express the fullness of the Father’s power in the natural realm.

That’s what it means to be the Body of Christ, which is the fullness of Him. It means that we’re the vehicles to release more of the fullness of God’s power in heaven. It’s already fully manifest in heavenly places; we’re to be the vehicle through which the fullness of the Father’s power is expressed in the natural realm. God is doing it through human beings who are redeemed.

REVELATION OF SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY THAT’S BASED ON OUR UNION WITH CHRIST

We need a revelation of our authority; this authority is based in our union with Jesus. Here’s what it means to have authority based in union with Jesus—the power and the benefits that Jesus received as a man. That’s the important part.

This isn’t the power that Jesus had back in Genesis 1. Jesus has always been God and always will be God. However, there was a point in time when He became a Jewish man. We must remember that a real, physical man died, and this Jewish man was raised from the dead when His physical body was touched by resurrection power. This makes the entire thing even more glorious. Remember that it was a man who was exalted to the right hand of the Father, and the Father gave a man all power over everything. It’s not amazing, or surprising, that God has all power. What’s surprising isn’t that Jesus as God has God’s power; it’s that Jesus, as a human being, has all the power of God resting on Him—even in His humanity.

JESUS AS A MAN POSSESSES ALL THE POWER OF GOD

Now, what Paul is praying is that the saints in the city of Ephesus, the Ephesians, would have a revelation that they’re deeply connected to this Man whom the Father made to be the head over us. For Him to be the head over us is huge; the point is that we have a vital connectedness to Him, just like a head to a body. Therefore, whatever is true of Him in His exalted state is true of the people of God.

What Paul is saying here is that they need a revelation of this. Now these saints at Ephesus were born-again believers, and they know this in principle. However, they don’t have a revelation of the eyes of their heart grasping this reality. Many believers today may be able to quote a few of these points I just made. However, it takes a spiritual revelation to release understanding to our spirit man in order that we can grasp our deep connectedness in the Father’s purpose to this Man Jesus who has been exalted. I mean, there has been a man exalted to the heavens. This is the most astounding thing! Again, remember that He was exalted as a man—not that Jesus was in His deity, as He was always with the Father, but rather that a human was raised from the dead, and He passed through the heavens and was seated at the right hand of the Father as a human being. The Father gave this human being a spiritual connectedness with other human beings on the earth. There’s a vital connectedness, and that reality is called “union with Jesus.”

Then the Father went to the next step: He not only connected us to Him and gave Jesus all authority in His humanity; He connected Him to us—that’s the next point while we’re on the earth; we’re connected to Him. That’s a stunning reality. Then He chose that the Body, the people on the earth, us born-again believers, to be the vehicle to express the fullness of this Man’s power. Jesus wouldn’t express His power simply by Himself, but rather in relationship to other human beings. Only in that way would the power of God cover the whole earth.

Today the Body of Christ isn’t related to Jesus. There are dimensions of His power as a man, as He has been given the headship over everything. He’s head over many things that aren’t expressed on the earth, though they’re even in the will of God to express. There are several different facets in the New Testament that are related to the implications of being the Body of Christ.

WE ARE THE VEHICLE TO EXPRESS THE FULLNESS OF WHAT GOD DESIRES

We know about the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ. We know about other dimensions of revelation of the Body of Christ which are very dynamic and exciting. However, the definition here of this facet is that the Body of Christ is the chosen vehicle through which the fullness of the power of an exalted man is released. All authority was given to Him in His humanity; we’re the vehicles to express this in the natural realm. If we don’t express it, it’s not fully expressed—even to the fullness of what God desires.

It’s incumbent upon us that we have revelation of our connectedness to this Man, and that we have revelation of our purpose of the connectedness. We must realize not only that we’re connected to the head, but also that we’re actually the vehicles. Now I understand that we all understand that in a basic way. However, there’s a time when this revelation must touch our heart, and I want more and more of that. I’m not claiming that I’m there, nor implying, or inferring that at all. There’s a time when this touches our heart by revelation. Then it comes to a whole other place of urgency in our heart when we understand that we’re the Body, the vehicle through which God will express His fullness. He won’t express it apart from the Body of Christ.

GOD WILL NOT EXPRESS HIS FULLNESS APART FROM THE BODY OF CHRIST

There are things that are happening in the world right now that the Body of Christ can change; if the Body of Christ has revelation about these things and then acts out of that revelation and their relationship to Jesus Christ, things can be shifted.

There’s a false and an inappropriate confidence in many in the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God is one of my favorite doctrines in the Bible: the doctrine that God has all power. However, there are a lot of people who have an inappropriate confidence in God’s sovereignty. Here’s what I mean by inappropriate confidence: they’re trusting God to do that which God has commanded and mandated us to do.

GOD WON’T DO OUR PART; WE CAN’T DO HIS PART

God won’t do our part; we can’t do His part. When we trust Him to do our part, that’s called presumption, and it’s not faith. There are a lot of people who say, “Well, if God wants the demon gone, and the brother healed, He will do it!” Paul says that the fullness of God’s power is expressed through the Body of Christ, and we need revelation of that.

We must understand that the Lord won’t do the fullness of what’s in His heart to do without us, though He will do many things directly from heaven. However, there are many things that He won’t do except in a connected, vital, vibrant relationship with the people of God on the earth. There’s a spiritual lethargy which results in spiritual compromise that’s rooted in false ideas about trusting the sovereignty of God.

Now, having said that, the subject of the sovereignty of God is one of my favorite subjects; the Body of Christ really needs to trust in the sovereignty of God. I mean, that’s one of our greatest needs today in the Body of Christ, but we need to do it in a biblical and an appropriate way. We can’t abdicate our responsibility under the banner of trusting Him. There’s a lot of spiritual laziness and spiritual lethargy that has always led to compromise a moment later. Just a short while down the road we become ensnared in darkness in ways that we could have avoided if only we first had this revelation. We must have revelation of the fact that we have benefits, though it’s more than benefits. Paul isn’t only praying that they see the benefits; Paul is praying for more than that.

REVELATION OF OUR DIGNITY OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

If we had revelation of the dignity of the relationship that we have with God, we would marvel. Things don’t happen if the Body of Christ isn’t correctly related to the Lord. The Lord won’t do a number of things except through His Church. That gives our lives such dignity, such purpose, and such meaning. The fact is that what we do really affects the quality of our life. What we do or don’t do affects the quality of other people’s lives— even believers. If we press in, more happens. If we don’t press in, less happens. We still all go to heaven; we’re born-again believers, but I’m telling you that less happens.

GOD WOULD GIVE MORE IF PEOPLE WOULD OBEY HIM

God would have given more if His people would have obeyed Him, pressed into Him, and believed Him at His word. That’s what Ephesians 1 is talking about. There’s a man who walked on the earth 2,000 years ago. This Man was exalted in His humanity to heaven, and God gave all the power of the universe to Him. Phenomenal! That’s a huge reality! God not only gave all the power to Jesus; He gave that Man to be vitally connected to people on the earth. He gave Him to be head over the Church on the earth. Not only is He exalted, but we have access to Jesus. Not only access to Jesus, we have dynamic connectedness to Him; but, it didn’t stop there. That Man Jesus possesses all the power and is connected to us. There are many things He won’t do except through us. And if we don’t rise up to obey and believe Him, He won’t do a number of things.

There are a number of things He will do in His sovereignty. But what concerns me are the things He won’t do if we don’t respond to Him with radical Christianity and what we call faith in the Western culture. Today, what’s considered radical obedience and faith is really different than the faith and radical obedience of the New Testament. Beloved, there’s so much more that God wants to do in our nation.

WE’RE WAITING ON GOD, BUT GOD IS WAITING ON US

We’re waiting on God, and God is waiting on us. There are sovereign times and seasons—I believe that. However, even in a season in the divine calendar, that’s not the season of fullness; there’s still a lot more that can happen in this season. I believe that there are sovereign seasons for nations, but there’s a whole lot more in whatever season we’re in. However you describe it, there’s more that can be experienced in God and more power that can be released regardless of what season we’re in. There’s more than what we have.

A lot of people find comfort in waiting on God; in Isaiah 30:18, the Lord says “I long to be gracious to you. I wait on high to give grace to you, and when I hear the sound of your cry, then I will answer” (Isa. 30:18, paraphrased). We’re waiting on God, and God is waiting on us. We’re trying to convince God to release power, and God is trying to convince us that He wants to release power, but only in His way.

WE WANT MORE FROM THE LORD, AND THE LORD WANTS MORE FROM US

We say “More, Lord!” and the Lord turns it around and says, “OK, more—well, I want more from you!” We want more from Him, and He wants more from us. I’m not talking about earning anything. There’s nothing we can do in our weakness that would qualify us to have a vital connectedness with this exalted Man at the right hand of the Father. It’s impossible to do anything to earn that connectedness. It’s impossible. It’s out of our reach.

The grandest thing that you could do is to earn that connectedness with God; it’s an utter gift of God. When we say, “We want more of You,” the Lord answers, “I want more of you!” because as we give ourselves more to Him, there’s more that God will do.

I’ve said these kinds of things for some years, and people say “Well, that puts pressure on us,” and I say, “It’s supposed to put pressure on you. It’s called the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and it’s supposed to put pressure on you.”

We’ve made an idol in this nation out of comfort; and we’ve brought it over to the Church. If we’re disturbed, it can’t be the Holy Spirit because we’re disturbed. Of course, part of the prophetic ministry is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comforted. That’s part of prophetic ministry, for real: to afflict the comforted and comfort the afflicted. In our nation, we’ve made an idol out of comfort, and we’ve figured out a way to dress it up in the doctrine of the grace of God and with biblical language. We preach that our comfort is synonymous with true grace. God doesn’t buy it; the devil doesn’t buy it. It’s really popular preaching. It’s not the spirit of truth. It’s supposed to make us uncomfortable to know that in the dignity of our relationship with God, the dignity He has given us, that our choices really matter. Yes, that puts pressure on me because I want to enter into the fullness of what’s available to me. There’s pressure, and I feel I don’t want to come up short. That’s called the fear of the Lord. That pressure is a godly pressure. It’s not a pressure to earn God’s favor. It’s a pressure that we’re not wasting our lives by dabbling with the spirit of darkness. I don’t want to waste my life with a trumped-up doctrine of an American version of the grace of God; this doctrine isn’t the real thing. I want to feel this pressure if it’s of the Holy Spirit.

MATTHEW 5:3: “BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM”

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, we read the eight Beatitudes. The first one is Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3). There’s a little pressure there. The poor in spirit feel poor. The poor in spirit say, “I have need! I have need of more!” I mean, it’s not just a casual recognition. There’s a divine pressure on the human spirit; it’s called revelation. “I have need of more! This isn’t OK the way things are!” There’s Holy Spirit pressure. It disturbs me. When I walk in poverty of spirit, as I hope to do all my days, it’s disturbing. It’s a paradox, because while we have poverty of spirit, we have confidence in the love of God. Those aren’t opposites; there’s no contradiction between the two.

“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN, FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED”

Then poverty of spirit grows up into the next beatitude in Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt. 5:4). What does it look like to mourn? What? We think, “Wait, I’m an American; I want to be comfortable. I want things to be easy. I want to have confidence that things will be easy. That’s what the American gospel is. Not just confidence in God, but I want confidence that things will be easy.” I tell you, you can find a thousand places in the land that will affirm that with great energy—way more than a thousand. I’m not interested in feeling good; I’m interested in being right with God and being fruitful to make a change in people’s lives. And, of course, that’s why you’re here. I mean, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care about that.

“Blessed are those that mourn”—so we go from being “poor in spirit” to mourning. We have great need that leads to mourning. Do you know what that beatitude means? We feel the weight of it so fully, we become desperate enough to make a change. It doesn’t mean we’re sad over a calamity; that’s not what He’s talking about. It means we’re desperate. We feel weight on our spirit about our own lives. And we’re thinking, “I’ve got to make some serious changes!” Beloved, that’s the gift of God operating in your spirit.

I remember some years ago, my wife Diane came to me and said, “I just feel miserable. I’m backslidden. The Word of God is dry. I don’t feel the spirit of prayer; I don’t feel His presence. I’m not really pressing into His presence.” She was just living a nice pastor’s wife’s life. She said, “I feel terrible!”

And I was watching her in that season, and I thought she was doing pretty well, which shows where my discernment was. I mean, she was reading her Bible every day, and I thought she was doing OK. Diane always thought I did well on Sunday mornings, so I thought she was flowing in the Holy Spirit. And I was getting ready to say to her, “Oh sweetheart, that’s not truth.”

Right in flight—I don’t know if you’ve done this, as it’s just an accidental prophecy—right in flight I found myself saying exactly the opposite of what I initially intended. Sometimes the spirit of prophecy operates that way. Now don’t blame everything on God when you don’t have wisdom! That’s not a big catchall for thinking, “Well God made me do it;” it’s not one of those things.

However, I was getting ready to say to her, “Oh, sweetheart you’re great!” and I said, “You’re backslidden and so am I!” I said, “Ah!”

She didn’t even think it was weird. She just said, “Yeah, I know!” I mean, I was startled because I felt the weight of it when I said it. I wasn’t going to say that. She was already sad, and she said, “Yeah, I did that.”

Then I went on to give her this concept: “This mourning in you is the gift of God to you.” Because that’s what the Lord was putting in my heart that very second: “Don’t steal that out of her spirit! This is Me. Her desire for Me is My gift to her. Don’t you dare put out this fire that I’ve set aflame in her spirit!” That power is called, “Blessed are they who mourn.”

What I mean is when we have revelation—and I need so much more revelation—as I look at this passage in Ephesians 1, I say, “Lord! The revelation that there’s a man at the right hand of the Father who is the head of everything—that’s just stunning. Oh I love that, and that I’m connected to Him like a head in a body. And then, I’m part of the expression of the fullness of His power in the natural realm, and that’s the perfect will of God. And God won’t change that plan because He chose it, and that will be His plan forever. Forever, it will be true: we’ll be the vehicles through which the Man, Jesus, will expresses His purposes in a larger dimension. I love this, God!”

It’s as if the Father says, “Jesus, I don’t want You to exercise Your purpose independently. I want You to do it through a people who will be Your bride.”

Jesus might turn to the Father and say, “Father, Your plan is brilliant! It’s a brilliant plan and that plan will never be changed or improved upon.” We’re on the earth, and we can really make a difference. We can really change lives, but the Lord wants us to give more of ourselves to Him. He wants us vibrant in faith. He wants us alive right now in our spirit. It’s not like it all changes in one day, but He wants us on the journey of walking full of the Word and full of the spirit of obedience. It takes time to do that. I’m still on that journey. I’m not there, but I tell you that I’ve set my heart toward this. I’m going after it. I’m in the midst of a people, and we’re going after it. We’re full of weakness and brokenness; we’re full of all kinds of things. However, our obedience and our love for God is fragile and weak—just like you; but, it’s sincere.

The Lord says, “I can deal with your weakness and your fragile love, but I want you in a hot pursuit for more— and not just more power.” God means more in the sense of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That’s what’s really on my heart. We need to be hungry for the gifts of the Spirit. That’s not my point right now.

PRESS INTO GOD DAY BY DAY IN YOUR WEAKNESS AND BROKENNESS

He wants us to have power to give ourselves to Him, power to believe Him, and power to persevere before Him. He wants us to give more of ourselves to Him in a bigger way than as in a vacuum. “Lord, I want more of the gifts of the Spirit. When they come, I’ll be ready. I’m here when You want me,” and after ten or twenty years have passed, we say, “I’m still here God! Whenever You want the full gifts of Your spirit, I’m here. I’m Your guy!”

The Lord says, “That’s not the kind of relationship I want with you. I want you actively pressing into Me, day by day, in your weakness and your brokenness.” I mean, the Lord evaluates our lives through the grid of grace. In our weakness and brokenness, we can still pursue Him in a way that pleases Him. I’m not talking about a new class of elite “super saints”: you know, the three in history who ascended. I’m not talking about that; I’m talking about us. I’m talking about folks—just us. We can do this in a way that pleases God.

BREAKING OUR ALLEGIANCE WITH FALSE IMAGES OF GRACE AND CHRISTIANITY

However, one thing we have to do is break our allegiance with the false image of radical Christianity that’s in the Western culture and is hardly recognizable as Christianity through the grid of the Word of God. Because we’re more radical than the group down the road or the other people in the other part of the Church, sometimes we can slip into buying into wrong thinking.

Beloved, there’s only one standard of what radical, faithful obedience is; it’s in the Word of God, and that’s what we measure our heart by. It’s not to condemn us; it’s to measure our heart to see what God will give the human spirit in this age. I don’t read those passages and say, “I’m a creep. I just need to quit!” Rather, I read those passages, and I say, “This is what God will give the human spirit. This is what He will give people in this age.”

WE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD’S THRONE BY BEING SEATED IN HEAVENLY PLACES

We have been raised to sit with Jesus in heavenly places. Paul tells us God “raised us together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6-7). Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we’re seated with Him—that we have access to this Man’s power. That’s what it means to be seated. Our physical bodies are here on the earth. I’ve read things on this throughout the years, and people try to figure out some mystical way where they climb to heaven, and scoot over, and there are a billion of us sitting on the throne. No, that’s not what it means. Does it mean that a billion of us are seated there, and we have to picture it somehow? No. It simply means that we have access to the throne of this exalted Man. We have a dynamic access, and when our prayers are in the will of God, it draws on the throne of this Man.

The reason I keep saying “this Man” is that I’m really into Jesus being eternally and fully God.I love that Jesus has always been God and always will be God, but a Jewish man being fully God stuns me. That’s a stunning reality. I can’t get over the incarnation; I just can’t get over this. This Man is the model of what God is going to do to humans forever, and it starts in this age. It’s fantastic.

JESUS AS A MAN DEFEATED SATAN

At the cross, Jesus, as a man, defeated the demonic powers. Paul writes, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15). He didn’t defeat them as God. As a man under the anointing, He defeated them. He made a spectacle of them. The audience of heaven saw a man defeat Satan. They had never seen anything like this. Elijah wasn’t even close to it. David wasn’t even remote; no one was close to this. A man defeated Satan, and the audience of heaven exploded. The audience of hell trembled by the realization that this Man defeated Satan because He triumphed over them; He made a public spectacle of them. The corridors of hell trembled that a man broke through, and therefore, others would follow in His wake.

AUTHORITY IS DELEGATED POWER

Authority is delegated power. There’s an example I’ve heard over the years from many, and I’m sure many of you have heard this analogy. Imagine a policeman stops a car: he holds up his hand by authority and not power. When a car is coming, and a policeman puts his or her hand up, he’s not going to tackle the car and stop it with power. In order to do that, he would have to body slam the car, and they don’t do that. The power is in the U. S. military, and when the policeman puts his hand up, all the power of the White House, the government, the Congress, and the military is behind that man’s hand.

Of course, it never goes to that extreme. However, if the car didn’t stop, it might take the entire military to stop one who said no. In other words, the police stop the car through authority. They don’t have the physical, raw power. The power that’s standing behind them can absolutely annihilate someone who objects through the entire power of the military.

That’s what’s happening with us. We stretch out our hands in that sense, not that you have to put your hand out, but we say, “In the name of Jesus.” The authority of a man and His might comes forth, and the right hand of the Father is behind us.

My point is, it doesn’t matter whether we’re in a good mad or a bad mood; it’s an issue of authority. Demons move by authority. I feel really bad one day, and I feel spiritually good on another day. The authority of the policeman doesn’t change when he puts his hand out; it doesn’t change depending on whether he’s in a good mood or a bad mood, because it’s a legal connectedness to the military might of the nation. I go to prayer lines feeling bad, and the Lord says, “You know, it’s not about you feeling good or bad; it’s about the authority of a man who has been exalted and made head. He’s connected to you; He’s head, and you’re His choice to express His power on the earth.” The you is the Body of Christ. When we have revelation of this Ephesians 1 passage, we started with, we realize that it’s a remarkable passage—it’s absolutely remarkable. It’s not enough for us to have head knowledge of this; we need a dynamic heart revelation of this.

Authority in Prayer

Authority a subject that we’re all familiar with, but I think it’s a subject that we need more understanding of through the Holy Spirit. We need more than just head knowledge, although I appreciate head knowledge; we need the Holy Spirit to release a spirit of revelation in our spirit about this.

Let’s look at the passage here in Ephesians 1:17-23 where Paul is preaching. Ephesians 1:17-23: “[That] the Father of glory . . . may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His”—Jesus as a Man—“feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:17-23).

I’m just going to focus on part of the passage here. He’s praying that the Father of glory would give to the saints a spirit of revelation. Why does Paul pray this? The spirit of revelation is the Holy Spirit moving on the human heart. Why? Paul prays so that the saints could know something and experience it as well. There are three specifics, but we’re only looking at Ephesians 1:19: “That they would experience the exceeding greatness of the power of God that works towards us who believe”—in other words, towards those who exercise faith to believe in Him—“which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” The very power that God the Father exerted—that power God the Father worked in Jesus when the Father raised Jesus from the dead—lives in us. The Father raised Jesus from the dead—we know that. The Father seated Jesus at the right hand. Then the Father put all things under Jesus’ feet. Then the Father gave Jesus to be the head over everything, and then He gave Him to the Church. This is a very dynamic principle in Scripture—that Jesus was given by the Father to be head of the Church.

HIS BODY IS JESUS’ CHOSEN VESSEL TO EXPRESS THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S POWER

The revelation of the Church is this: we’re His Body, and Paul goes on to describe what it means in this verse to be the Body of Christ. There are several significant implications to being His Body; but the one that Paul highlights here is this: that the Body of Christ is the vehicle that God uses to express the fullness of the Father’s power in the natural realm.That’s what it means to be the Body of Christ, which is the fullness of Him. It means that we’re the vehicles to release more of the fullness of God’s power in heaven. It’s already fully manifest in heavenly places; we’re to be the vehicle through which the fullness of the Father’s power is expressed in the natural realm. God is doing it through human beings who are redeemed.

REVELATION OF SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY THAT’S BASED ON OUR UNION WITH CHRIST

Now what’s going on in this passage in paragraph A? I have here written that we need a revelation of our authority; this authority is based in our union with Jesus. Here’s what it means to have authority based in union with Jesus—the power and the benefits that Jesus received as a man. That’s the important part.

This isn’t the power that Jesus had back in Genesis 1. Jesus has always been God and always will be God. However, there was a point in time when He became a Jewish man. We must remember that a real, physical man died, and this Jewish man was raised from the dead when His physical body was touched by resurrection power. This makes the entire thing even more glorious. Remember that it was a man who was exalted to the right hand of the Father, and the Father gave a man all power over everything. It’s not amazing, or surprising, that God has all power. What’s surprising isn’t that Jesus as God has God’s power; it’s that Jesus, as a human being, has all the power of God resting on Him—even in His humanity.

JESUS AS A MAN POSSESSES ALL THE POWER OF GOD

Now, what Paul is praying is that the saints in the city of Ephesus, the Ephesians, would have a revelation that they’re deeply connected to this Man whom the Father made to be the head over us. For Him to be the head over us is huge; the point is that we have a vital connectedness to Him, just like a head to a body. Therefore, whatever is true of Him in His exalted state is true of the people of God.

What Paul is saying here is that they need a revelation of this. Now these saints at Ephesus were born-again believers, and they know this in principle. However, they don’t have a revelation of the eyes of their heart grasping this reality. Many believers today may be able to quote a few of these points I just made. However, it takes a spiritual revelation to release understanding to our spirit man in order that we can grasp our deep connectedness in the Father’s purpose to this Man Jesus who has been exalted. I mean, there has been a man exalted to the heavens. This is the most astounding thing! Again, remember that He was exalted as a man—not that Jesus was in His deity, as He was always with the Father, but rather that a human was raised from the dead, and He passed through the heavens and was seated at the right hand of the Father as a human being. The Father gave this human being a spiritual connectedness with other human beings on the earth. There’s a vital connectedness, and that reality is called “union with Jesus.”

Then the Father went to the next step: He not only connected us to Him and gave Jesus all authority in His humanity; He connected Him to us—that’s the next point while we’re on the earth; we’re connected to Him. That’s a stunning reality. Then He chose that the Body, the people on the earth, us born-again believers, to be the vehicle to express the fullness of this Man’s power. Jesus wouldn’t express His power simply by Himself, but rather in relationship to other human beings. Only in that way would the power of God cover the whole earth.

Today the Body of Christ isn’t related to Jesus. There are dimensions of His power as a man, as He has been given the headship over everything. He’s head over many things that aren’t expressed on the earth, though they’re even in the will of God to express. There are several different facets in the New Testament that are related to the implications of being the Body of Christ.

WE ARE THE VEHICLE TO EXPRESS THE FULLNESS OF WHAT GOD DESIRES

We know about the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ. We know about other dimensions of revelation of the Body of Christ which are very dynamic and exciting. However, the definition here of this facet is that the Body of Christ is the chosen vehicle through which the fullness of the power of an exalted man is released. All authority was given to Him in His humanity; we’re the vehicles to express this in the natural realm. If we don’t express it, it’s not fully expressed—even to the fullness of what God desires.

It’s incumbent upon us that we have revelation of our connectedness to this Man, and that we have revelation of our purpose of the connectedness. We must realize not only that we’re connected to the head, but also that we’re actually the vehicles. Now I understand that we all understand that in a basic way. However, there’s a time when this revelation must touch our heart, and I want more and more of that. I’m not claiming that I’m there, nor implying, or inferring that at all. There’s a time when this touches our heart by revelation. Then it comes to a whole other place of urgency in our heart when we understand that we’re the Body, the vehicle through which God will express His fullness. He won’t express it apart from the Body of Christ.

GOD WILL NOT EXPRESS HIS FULLNESS APART FROM THE BODY OF CHRIST

There are things that are happening in the world right now that the Body of Christ can change; if the Body of Christ has revelation about these things and then acts out of that revelation and their relationship to Jesus Christ, things can be shifted.

There’s a false and an inappropriate confidence in many in the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God is one of my favorite doctrines in the Bible: the doctrine that God has all power. However, there are a lot of people who have an inappropriate confidence in God’s sovereignty. Here’s what I mean by inappropriate confidence: they’re trusting God to do that which God has commanded and mandated us to do.

GOD WON’T DO OUR PART; WE CAN’T DO HIS PART

God won’t do our part; we can’t do His part. When we trust Him to do our part, that’s called presumption, and it’s not faith. There are a lot of people who say, “Well, if God wants the demon gone, and the brother healed, He will do it!” Paul says that the fullness of God’s power is expressed through the Body of Christ, and we need revelation of that.

We must understand that the Lord won’t do the fullness of what’s in His heart to do without us, though He will do many things directly from heaven. However, there are many things that He won’t do except in a connected, vital, vibrant relationship with the people of God on the earth. There’s a spiritual lethargy which results in spiritual compromise that’s rooted in false ideas about trusting the sovereignty of God.

Now, having said that, the subject of the sovereignty of God is one of my favorite subjects; the Body of Christ really needs to trust in the sovereignty of God. I mean, that’s one of our greatest needs today in the Body of Christ, but we need to do it in a biblical and an appropriate way. We can’t abdicate our responsibility under the banner of trusting Him. There’s a lot of spiritual laziness and spiritual lethargy that has always led to compromise a moment later. Just a short while down the road we become ensnared in darkness in ways that we could have avoided if only we first had this revelation. We must have revelation of the fact that we have benefits, though it’s more than benefits. Paul isn’t only praying that they see the benefits; Paul is praying for more than that.

REVELATION OF OUR DIGNITY OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

If we had revelation of the dignity of the relationship that we have with God, we would marvel. Things don’t happen if the Body of Christ isn’t correctly related to the Lord. The Lord won’t do a number of things except through His Church. That gives our lives such dignity, such purpose, and such meaning. The fact is that what we do really affects the quality of our life. What we do or don’t do affects the quality of other people’s lives— even believers. If we press in, more happens. If we don’t press in, less happens. We still all go to heaven; we’re born-again believers, but I’m telling you that less happens.

GOD WOULD GIVE MORE IF PEOPLE WOULD OBEY HIM

God would have given more if His people would have obeyed Him, pressed into Him, and believed Him at His word. That’s what Ephesians 1 is talking about. There’s a man who walked on the earth 2,000 years ago. This Man was exalted in His humanity to heaven, and God gave all the power of the universe to Him. Phenomenal! That’s a huge reality! God not only gave all the power to Jesus; He gave that Man to be vitally connected to people on the earth. He gave Him to be head over the Church on the earth. Not only is He exalted, but we have access to Jesus. Not only access to Jesus, we have dynamic connectedness to Him; but, it didn’t stop there. That Man Jesus possesses all the power and is connected to us. There are many things He won’t do except through us. And if we don’t rise up to obey and believe Him, He won’t do a number of things.

There are a number of things He will do in His sovereignty. But what concerns me are the things He won’t do if we don’t respond to Him with radical Christianity and what we call faith in the Western culture. Today, what’s considered radical obedience and faith is really different than the faith and radical obedience of the New Testament. Beloved, there’s so much more that God wants to do in our nation.

WE’RE WAITING ON GOD, BUT GOD IS WAITING ON US

We’re waiting on God, and God is waiting on us. There are sovereign times and seasons—I believe that. However, even in a season in the divine calendar, that’s not the season of fullness; there’s still a lot more that can happen in this season. I believe that there are sovereign seasons for nations, but there’s a whole lot more in whatever season we’re in. However you describe it, there’s more that can be experienced in God and more power that can be released regardless of what season we’re in. There’s more than what we have.

A lot of people find comfort in waiting on God; in Isaiah 30:18, the Lord says “I long to be gracious to you. I wait on high to give grace to you, and when I hear the sound of your cry, then I will answer” (Isa. 30:18, paraphrased). We’re waiting on God, and God is waiting on us. We’re trying to convince God to release power, and God is trying to convince us that He wants to release power, but only in His way.

WE WANT MORE FROM THE LORD, AND THE LORD WANTS MORE FROM US

We say “More, Lord!” and the Lord turns it around and says, “OK, more—well, I want more from you!” We want more from Him, and He wants more from us. I’m not talking about earning anything. There’s nothing we can do in our weakness that would qualify us to have a vital connectedness with this exalted Man at the right hand of the Father. It’s impossible to do anything to earn that connectedness. It’s impossible. It’s out of our reach.The grandest thing that you could do is to earn that connectedness with God; it’s an utter gift of God. When we say, “We want more of You,” the Lord answers, “I want more of you!” because as we give ourselves more to Him, there’s more that God will do.

I’ve said these kinds of things for some years, and people say “Well, that puts pressure on us,” and I say, “It’s supposed to put pressure on you. It’s called the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and it’s supposed to put pressure on you.”

We’ve made an idol in this nation out of comfort; and we’ve brought it over to the Church. If we’re disturbed, it can’t be the Holy Spirit because we’re disturbed. Of course, part of the prophetic ministry is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comforted. That’s part of prophetic ministry, for real: to afflict the comforted and comfort the afflicted. In our nation, we’ve made an idol out of comfort, and we’ve figured out a way to dress it up in the doctrine of the grace of God and with biblical language. We preach that our comfort is synonymous with true grace. God doesn’t buy it; the devil doesn’t buy it. It’s really popular preaching. It’s not the spirit of truth. It’s supposed to make us uncomfortable to know that in the dignity of our relationship with God, the dignity He has given us, that our choices really matter. Yes, that puts pressure on me because I want to enter into the fullness of what’s available to me. There’s pressure, and I feel I don’t want to come up short. That’s called the fear of the Lord. That pressure is a godly pressure. It’s not a pressure to earn God’s favor. It’s a pressure that we’re not wasting our lives by dabbling with the spirit of darkness. I don’t want to waste my life with a trumped-up doctrine of an American version of the grace of God; this doctrine isn’t the real thing. I want to feel this pressure if it’s of the Holy Spirit.

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