Weeping to Worship

In Revelation 5, John the apostle is weeping because of his deep disappointment, discouragement and despair. It seems like the persecution, pain and suffering he is enduring is all for nothing. But then Jesus steps forward. In a moment, everything changes. John realises that it's all in Jesus' hands. The Lion of Judah has absolute authority and complete control.

Immediately weeping is transformed into worship. The Spirit would remind you today that whatever you're facing, Jesus has it in his hands. He's got it under control. Just because nothing has changed doesn't mean it won't change. Just because your prayers haven't yet been answered doesn't mean that they're not on God's agenda. Our unanswered prayers are not trashed in a bin - they are before God's throne in a bowl. Your disappointment and discouragement are only temporary. Your weeping will soon be turned into worship; your despair will become delight; your pain will be transformed into praise. It's all in His hands. Trust Him. You'll see.

— 

Revelation 5:1-14

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God's people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said,“ Amen ,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

Presence Not Position

David always cared more about presence than position. In 2 Samuel 6 he has just been made king over Israel, a position he was anointed for many years before.Back then he was just a shepherd boy worshiping God in obscurity.Now that he’s finally in Jerusalem as King his first response is to call for the Ark of the Covenant to be brought to the city.The Ark represented the tangible, manifest presence of God among His people.

Many people start out longing for His presence but once they are promoted they get more focused on maintaining their position and growing their platform than prioritizing His presence.  However, without His presence the position becomes unsustainable and the platform ineffective.  It becomes dependent on charisma and technique rather than the anointing, favor and blessing of the Lord. 

If you seek first His presence, everything else that comes with it is fruitful and satisfying.  If you seek position, you’ll end up frustrated and exhausted. 

— 

2 Samuel 6:1-2; 12

“David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah a in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, b the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark....

.....Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.”

Psalm 16:11

“....you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 41:12

“Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.”

Psalm 51:11

“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”

Psalm 140:13

“Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence.”

Season Between Seasons

Right now the weather here is strange. One day it is almost freezing but then the next day it is sunny and warm. It’s almost like we are in a season between seasons. Summer is gone and autumn (fall) is here but every now and again it feels like the season hasn’t completely shifted. It’s hard to know what clothes to wear each day - which season to dress for.

I think that mirrors what is happening spiritually, and in other areas of life, for many of you right now. You know that your previous season has passed and you are entering something new - but every now and again it seems like the past is still trying to hold onto you. Therefore you find yourself a bit unsure of how to respond or move forward. You want to press into the new but some things from the previous season keep appearing and trying to pull you backwards.

I believe God is saying that in the next few days the season will shift completely. You will let go of the past and enter into the next stage and phase of all that God has for you. Let go and press forward. What you were attached to in the past season will only stifle and hinder you in this next season.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

“There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Daniel 2:21

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”

Deuteronomy 1:6-7

“The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance...”

The ‘Governor’ is Gone

This morning I noticed this written on the back of a van: "This vehicle is limited to 56 mph." A piece of equipment called a ‘governor' is installed on the vehicle to limit its speed. No matter what the engine capacity is, the vehicle will never go beyond the speed set by the governor.

As I drove on, I sensed the Lord saying that he wants to remove the governor' from His peoples' lives. False restrictions and limitations have been placed upon us and they're stopping us from fulfilling our full potential in Christ. These governors limit our finances, our relationships, our leadership, our careers, even our walk with God.

Sometimes we have placed governors' on ourselves by our negative mindsets, bad experiences or past failures. Sometimes it's just our upbringing and family history. We have inherited mindsets which inhibit and contain us. However, often others have placed governors' on us by their critical words and actions.

God is uninstalling the governors' from us that we might press into our full capacity and live out of the fullness of who we were created to be. Limitations are being removed, false restrictions are being lifted.

1 Kings 18:46

“The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.” 

— 

Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Don’t Miss Your Miracle

In 2 Kings 5 Naaman the Syrian leader was angry and offended because he expected a dramatic and instant healing but Elisha asked him to do something very simple - dip himself in the Jordan River 7 times.  He almost missed his miracle because he didn’t like or expect the way God wanted to work in his life.

How often do we miss the miracle God wants to do in our lives because He works in a way we wouldn’t expect or through people we couldn’t imagine He would use?  At times God even uses people we don’t like!  He sometimes offends our minds to reveal our hearts.

In the Bible Jesus would ask people: “What you want me to do for you?”  But he never asked: “How do you want me to do it?”  We can always ask God to do something significant and supernatural in our lives - but we shouldn’t try to control how He does it.  We simply submit and surrender to allow Him to work however He chooses. Sometimes the miracle will be instant and even dramatic.  At other times the miracle is found in the mundane and obedience to the ordinary.  Either way, the important thing is that God is at work and we experience His power, healing and freedom.

2 Kings 5:9-14

“So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman's servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”

Matthew 20:32

“Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.”

He Won’t Heal What We Won’t Reveal

In 2 Kings 5 we read about Naaman the Syrian. He was a valiant warrior, mighty leader and there was great favor on his life. But he had a hidden issue - he had leprosy. He kept it covered under his armor so that only those closest to him knew.  His condition seemed to contradict his calling; he was using his public victories to hide his private pain. It was only a matter of time before his leadership would be compromised by his leprosy.

However, when he was willing to expose his brokenness, humble himself and act in obedience, he was able to be healed. 

God can’t heal who we pretend to be. He can’t restore what we refuse to acknowledge.  Some of us have become experts at using armor to cover our condition.  We are using public victories to hide private dysfunction.  We show the world our gifts, talents, abilities and charisma when deep down we are carrying deep wounds, unresolved issues, pain from our past. God wants to heal us if we would only humble ourselves and admit we need help. 

Take off your armor today, be vulnerable, open yourself to receive God’s complete healing, wholeness and freedom.

— 

2 Kings 5:1-6; 17

“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. a Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.” …

... So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”

You Don’t Live in ‘Lack’!

Yesterday, as I was driving back from a conference in the west of Ireland, I passed through a little village and noticed that was called 'Lack’. Imagine living in a place called 'Lack’. Why would anyone write that over their community? Imagine telling people, "I live in Lack"

Yet, many of us feel that we are living in 'lack' - a place of not having enough. Or perhaps a sense that we aren't enough, that something is missing, others seem to have more than we have. We can look at our lives and feel inadequate and deficient in so many areas.

The Lord would remind us that he never writes 'lack’ over our lives. He causes us to live in a place called 'abundance', 'provision', 'sufficiency', and 'supply'. He is our Source and in Him we lack nothing. The heavens are open and blessings shower us. We are children of the King, princes and princesses - not paupers!

Anywhere that you feel empty or lacking today, ask God and He will generously and abundantly supply all your needs. Know that in Christ there is always more than enough and you are enough!

— 

Psalm 23:1

“I lack nothing.”

Deuteronomy 2:7

“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.”

Judges 18:10

“When you get there, you will find...a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.”

Psalm 34:10

“....those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

Philippians 4:19

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Refuel

This is a time to refuel. You don’t need fire -  you just need to add fuel to the fire which is already there. You are someone who burns with passion and longs for purity but over this past season, as you have given out and persevered through difficulties, the fire has dimmed, the flames are not as strong as they used to be.  You know it and you long for more. You’re not the sort of person who settles for lukewarm.

This is a time to step back a little and add fuel to the fire. Do whatever you need to do to stoke up the flames. It doesn’t mean to stop completely, it just means to intentionally posture and position yourself in places and around people who add fuel to your life.  Spend time soaking and resting in the presence of the Lord. Create space for Him to refresh your spirit and infuse you with His holy fire for all that He has prepared for you in this next season you’re entering.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Jeremiah 20:9

“But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

Psalm 39:3

“...my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned...”

Psalm 104:4 NIV

“He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.”

Hebrews 12:29

“...our God is a consuming fire.”

Isaiah 40:31

“..they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

The Tide is Turning

The tide is turning.  After much travail you are going to prevail. It has been a tough season, unrelenting at times, exhausting, and emotionally draining. At times you’ve wanted to give up.  Walk away.  No, run away.  But you’ve remained faithful, you’ve struggled through.  You’ve been knocked down but you got back up.  At times you’ve crawled, but at least you didn’t stop.

Disappointments, deep hurts, even personal betrayals shook you - but they didn’t take you out.  You’re still here.  And God sees how you’ve persevered and tried to keep your heart from becoming poisoned by the toxicity around you.

Know - the tide is now turning.  The wind which it feels has been against you is now going to be at your back propelling you forward.  The resistance is being removed and there will be an ease and freedom in these days.  It will feel like a weight has been lifted.  You are even starting to sense it now.  Breathe again.

The Lord will honor and reward your faithfulness.  Well done child of God.  Well done....

2 Chronicles 16:9

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.“

Revelation 2:2-3

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance....You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name...”

Revelation 3:7-8

“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God is our Healer

The Father wants to remind us that He is the the God who heals. He heals broken bodies, broken hearts, broken marriages, broken relationships, broken minds. Spend time in His presence today and ask Him to heal and restore any area of your life which is not as it was created to be.May his healing presence cover every inch of your body and fill every cell. May there be complete alignment where things are out of place and repair for any area of woundedness. May any chemical imbalance in your body be reset to function normally.

In the name of Jesus every affliction is gone and every infection is cleansed. 

As the blood of Jesus covers you, every assignment of the enemy is broken off from you. Any trauma which opened spiritual doors to give the enemy access is healed and those areas in your life are now to come under the control of the Holy Spirit.  Every addiction must bow the knee to Jesus.

Choose to forgive anyone who has caused you offence. Repent of all known sin.  Submit and surrender your whole body and soul to Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you completely. Today is your day for healing.

Exodus 15:26

“I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Psalm 103:2-3

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits---who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases...”

Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Isaiah 53:5

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Jeremiah 30:17

“I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the Lord....”

Matthew 4:23-24

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.”

Clearing Out to Make Room

We are in the process of moving house right now. Yesterday as we were clearing out our old house, our little 6 year old boy got upset because we were throwing out things that he wanted to keep. These were clothes that don't fit him any more or toys that he has grown out of, and yet he wanted to hold onto them because he had grown attached to them. I explained to him that we had to throw them out to create space for all the new things I wanted to get him in the new place we were moving to.

It's similar with us. Even though some things in our lives don't fit us any longer, or we have grown out of them, sometimes we hold onto them. This can be for security or sentimental reasons, sometimes we think we need them more than we do. There are some things that no longer serve a purpose in our lives and yet we don't want to discard them. But the reality is, the Father has so many new things for us - incredible gifts, fresh favor, blessing for the new place He is taking us - but He won't give them to us until we make room by clearing out the old things. We need to let go before we can take hold.

— 

Philippians 3:7-9,12-14

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ---the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Malachi 3:10

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.“

To You // For You

I keep hearing the phrase: "You will soon see - that which is happening TO you, is happening FOR you". The stuff in your life that is causing you stress, that things aren't working out, the situations which you're struggling through, relationships which are falling apart - it's messy, it's painful, it's so hard - but God is at work in the mess. He might not have caused it, but He is working through it. One day soon you will look back and see that you couldn't be where you will be then, if you hadn't been where you are right now.

Joseph could never have been prime minister if he hadn't been so badly mistreated by his brothers, and then falsely accused and thrown into prison.

The rubble surrounding his life became the roadway to his destiny.

God works ALL things - not some things, not good things, not a few things - but ALL things for your good. So as you look at the things in your life right now that seem a mess, keep reminding yourself:

 'This looks like it's happening to me, but it's actually happening for me.'

— 

Romans 8:28-32,35,37-39

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Genesis 50:20

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[a] should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Isaiah 43:1-2

“But now, this is what the Lord says---he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Zero Tolerance

Evaluate what you are willing to tolerate.

In Revelation 2, Jesus commends the church in Ephesus because they “cannot tolerate wicked people”, yet later He rebukes the church in Thyatira saying:  “I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel”.  In other words, Jesus judges these churches based on what they are willing to tolerate.

In this age of so-called ‘tolerance’, God would have us examine our lives to see if we are tolerating things that He doesn’t.  Are we allowing things that he wouldn’t? Are we ignoring things that He would confront? Maybe out of fear of conflict, possibly because of a misguided sense of love - often we let things continue that God would want us to stop.

There are times when we need to draw a line in the sand and confront behaviour or attitudes in other people, or in ourselves, and refuse to allow them to continue.

You encourage what you tolerate.  That which you tolerate tends to be repeated and grow. 

Don’t tolerate anything which God has zero tolerance towards. 

— 

Revelation 2:2

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.”

Revelation 2:20

“Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.”

Habakkuk 1:13

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”

Psalm 101:5

“Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.”

There is More

Sometimes God draws your attention to something you've seen many times to speak a fresh word. This morning, as I was dropping my son to school, a van drove past with the word "Craigmore" on the side.

I'm sure I've seen this word/company name many times, but today it was as if God highlighted it to me in a new way. (My name is Craig by the way!) I felt God clearly saying that He has so much more for me.

And also to share this with His people:

THERE IS MORE FOR YOU.

Our God is a "more than" God. He is able to do abundantly, exceedingly "more than" we can ask or imagine. He is a breathtakingly generous God who loves to lavish His children with blessing and abundance. No matter how long you have been following Him - know today - THERE IS MORE. More encounters and experiences, more of hlis presence and power, more healings and salvations, more territory and capacity, more finances and resources, more love and deep friendships, more revelation and refreshing, more authority and miracles, more freedom and joy, more impact and influence, more... more... more... THERE IS MORE!

Ephesians 3:20

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us....”

2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all---how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Psalm 31:19 “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”

Psalm 66:12 NIV

“...you brought us to a place of abundance.”

Stretch and Receive

Jesus said that no one pours new wine into old wineskins.  In the first century a wineskin was an animal skin used to store liquid. As the wine inside the skin fermented, the wineskin would stretch and expand. Once the skin was empty you could use it a few more times but eventually it would reach the stage where there was simply no more elasticity or stretch left in it. It had gone through the process of expansion too often and was no longer flexible or pliable.  A decision had to be made: keep holding onto the old skin which no longer had the capacity to contain the fresh wine or discard it and pay the price of replacing it with the new.

I believe God is calling His people in these days to be increasingly flexible, to be open to the unexpected, to move with the Spirit, to be willing to be stretched, to pay the price and make bold moves. 

These are the days of suddenlies and surprises.  God is doing a new thing and we have a choice to make.  Do we hold onto the old because it is comfortable and familiar?  Or do we let go and embrace the new?  Our decision will determine what God is willing to pour into us.

— 

Mark 2:22 

“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

— 

Isaiah 42:9 

“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

— 

Isaiah 43:19 

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

— 

Isaiah 48:6

“From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.”

Pay the Price

A few years ago we were at the theater and had seats right at the back in the ‘nosebleed section’. As I found myself inwardly complaining that I wasn’t sitting closer the stage, I felt the Lord say: “Those people have their seats simply because they were willing to pay more than you were.To get what they have, you must pay the price that they paid.”

In Mark 10, James and John come to Jesus and ask that they sit at his right and left side in the Kingdom.  His response is: “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?”  In other words, you want the promotion, but can you also handle the pain?; you want the seat but along with that comes great sacrifice.

At times we see someone doing great things for God and we want their anointing, position, spiritual authority or platform.  However, we need to understand the price that they have paid, behind the scenes, often over many years.  If you want greater anointing, spiritual power and Kingdom authority, it always begins on your knees in the secret place. There is no substitute. There is no shortcut.

If you want the seat, be willing to make the sacrifice.

— 

Mark 10:35-40

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don't know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

Luke 14:27-33

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.' “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won't he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

Powerful Prayer

God wants to remind His people today about the immense power of our prayers, intercession and prophetic declarations.

Prayer is what connects hleaven and earth, prayer brings the invisible into the visible, prayer releases all of the resources of Heaven and also frees those held captive by Hell.

That's the way God set up things back at creation - He gave dominion and authority here on earth to men and women. We were created in His image and placed on earth to represent Him, to carry Divine authority and implement His rule.

Prayer is the means God has given us to involve Him in what happens in our lives and on the earth. Prayer releases His power, presence, healing and provision. It enforces God's will and causes Hell to quake.

This week, as God's people, we need to be on our knees, praying specifically, with boldness, authority, persistence, and confidence.

— 

Genesis 1:26-28

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

“...if my people, who are 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Matthew 21:22

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Ephesians 6:18

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.”

God is Still on His Throne

Our God is still on the throne! He is absolutely sovereign, all powerful, and His perfect righteousness and complete justice will be displayed before the nations.

In Isaiah 6:1 we read: “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord...”  The death of the King seemed a national disaster for Israel, it left them feeling incredibly vulnerable and insecure.  And yet, in the midst of the fear and instability, Isaiah saw that the King of kings was still seated securely on His throne with absolute dominion and all authority. He rules and reigns over all earthly powers.  He removes kings and raises up others.  He is in control of all of human history as well as your own personal story.  In the midst of chaos and confusion, trust Him today. There is no other God beside Him. Darkness and deception will not prevail.  Yahweh will have His way. Nothing and no one can deter him. Fix your eyes, not on what you see, but on what His Word says.  He knows what He’s doing.   call of Jesus is always towards brokenness.

Isaiah 6:1-4

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.”

Daniel 2:20-22

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”

Psalm 37:1-2

“Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”

Psalm 72:2

“May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.”

Isaiah 62:2

“The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory...”

Intimacy Moves Us To Ministry

While seasons of solitude can be spiritually nourishing, we need to differentiate this from isolating ourselves from others.This is a particular danger for those of us who are drawn more to the prophetic or intercession, or who are naturally introverted.We enjoy alone time, we crave quiet reflection, we covet time with the Lord, we are energised through reading and study.However, we need to be careful not to cut ourselves off from life-giving relationships or to get too introspective.

We need others and others need us. We are part of the Body and our lack of full participation leaves the church deficient in some area.  Also, if we withdraw further into ourselves, it can eventually lead to a social awkwardness or hyper-spirituality which prevents us from engaging with other people, especially unbelievers, in a natural way.

Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, he often withdrew for prolonged prayer - but he didn’t stay there forever.  Ministry is always among people with real problems, it is often messy and noisy.  The call of Jesus is always towards brokenness.

Luke 4:1; 14-15

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness...

...Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.”

Mark 1:35; 40-42

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed....

....A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.”

Mark 5:24-25,27 NIV

“A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years....When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak...”

Mark 6:46 NIV

“After leaving them, Jesus went up on a mountainside to pray.”

Protect Your Baby...

The enemy will always seek to destroy or abort the work of God in you and through you at its earliest stages, while it is still small and developing.The simple reason is that it is easier to kill or remove a small enemy than a large one.

At the time of Moses’ birth, Pharaoh tried to kill all male babies.  Herod did the same at the birth of Jesus.  He couldn’t risk them growing in power or becoming a potential rival. 

The greatest opposition and resistance often happens the beginning of a new venture, at the initiation of a change in your life, at the birth of a ministry.  Satan knows the threat it poses if it gets going and grows, so he focuses his attention on destroying it while it is still in infancy.

Don’t be surprised at the difficulties you are facing with your small, emerging dream, vision, ministry, project, transformation, relationship, business.  In fact, be encouraged. The enemy knows that he has to get rid of it now because, given time, it will grow and flourish into something that causes all of hell to tremble.

Exodus 1:15-16; 20-22

“The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”...

...So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”

Matthew 2:16

“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”

Zechariah 4:10

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin...”