As we seek to understand what the Lord is saying to us today, and what lays ahead in the future, I felt the Lord speak to me about several ways to help many of us to respond to what God is calling us into, and to prepare for what is to come, both in the world, and by the move of His Spirit. Before sharing on this, it seemed right to set the scene.
In 2020, the Lord allowed a halt to so much in the world, and He caused us all to pause and ponder what the season ahead would unfold and reflect on our relationship with Him and each other. In this great ‘reset’, He was looking for a people who would turn their attention fully back to Him, and lay down their own agendas, for the past was the past, and He is creating a new future. But in some places lockdown was shorter, the focus was on getting back to the ‘norm’, rather than checking in with God and to seek His new blueprints.
For the start of the new season in 2021 He called for the Father’s voice to be heard, as it was in the beginning of time (see Genesis 1), when over the void as the Spirit brooded, the Father’s voice was heard. This revelation being the spark of new creation. Out of the great void of 2020, the Father’s voice speaks. And now He has both called the fathers back to the house for their voice to be heard, but importantly He also calls on all of us to directly hear His voice.
As we hear the new revelation from the Father, so He expects us His sons and daughters to respond with the voice He has given us. In this gathering we have heard the Father speak of ‘going out in to the deep’, ‘stretching out the tent pegs’, ‘strengthening the stakes’, ‘building the Ark’, ‘faith’, and ‘keeping Christ Centred’, with a reminder of ‘new things’ and releasing of the ‘Cyrus anointing’. Now in 2022, out of these revelations we are to speak what He has placed on our hearts, and to step into the world that these words start to create.
It will take bravery and boldness, to step away from the shore of familiarity and its safety, and in to the unknown. ‘Sons and daughters’ will guide us, and we need to let go of the past. At this time the important questions are: What has He being speaking to us about? What is He asking us to do that needs faith? This is not about building our own ‘church’ or organisation; this is about extending His kingdom. We need to support each other as we step into the things He is calling us to do. This is the great re-sending.
Scripture reveals God ordains certain different graces upon certain places (e.g., consider Mt. Moriah/Temple Mount, Shechem/Sychar, Salem/Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Mt of Olives); Further insight found in Ezekiel, where God reveals a little more about how His kingdom works, where heaven meets earth. I believe if we are are situated more in the northern end of your city, region, state, etc, we find yourselves in a place that has special apostolic and intercessors grace, this means you will need prayer, and we will see heaven to earth. There is a special enabling for pioneering (including entrepreneurial), even miraculous works, by God’s grace, in and through us. And our role is to help lead His body in this State in to the new. But we need to seek Him, and know our calling is bigger than our navels. As an organisation of faith, birthed by the Spirit for His mission, so our steps must follow in kind. Expect miracles, new works, seeing heaven open on earth…in whatever realm the Lord has placed you in! The sense is that God is reminding us it is more about us going out in the power of His name and love to see lives transformed, even through signs and wonders, than relying on (say) a miracles gathering on a Sunday – as good as they are. Something the City Mission is probably more familiar with than many churches.
But what of other locations, which spiritual gate are you positioned in, I wonder if we leveraging the grace given to each location. As mentioned, there is the apostolic and intercessory in the north, shepherding in the south, prophetic/worship in the east, and eldership and teaching in the west. More insight on this can be found here (particularly in pages 60-71).
For those sensing God speaking over them a type of ‘Cyrus anointing’ on us, know you carry the royal mantle to see doors opened to take the enemy’s ground. Doors of heaven being opened in the hearts of the lost in the world, while also being given the authority to rebuild His church in your region. You are called to be out in the front, breaking new ground, vanquishing new worlds, and proceeding away from the status quo. This is not about you or your church or organisation, it is about Him. If we focus on a building, our daily routines, on the patterns of the past, will only distract us from His call, and perhaps take us from it.
While some may have a special gift from the Lord, as part of the body of Christ we are all called to intercession and praying for other. We are to be naturally in the place where Mary met with the King of kings and pray with Him (that is, in the Lord’s presence). Interceding against the forces of the world and darkness that seek to enter this state, for our clients, and for the nation. Prophesying into the future, praying God’s promises. While petitioning prayer is fine, our natural stance should be as if praying from the right hand of the Father (Eph. 1:20,2:6: Acts 2:33; Matthew 25:34), looking from heaven’s perspective (not Earth’s), knowing what is His will, and standing in the gap seeking His mercy.
As we are already well and truly in to 2022, I guess we also need to consider what lies ahead in 2023 and beyond. How do we ready for the great movements that will become more obvious next year, where the new things will start to take shape? A season where global movement will truly open up, as doors open wide, while others will be forced to move. A time where those rich in spirit and natural resources will pursue the poor, and great evangelism movements will start. A time when waves, rivers and seas confound us, and so to we see great moves of the Spirit.
So, with all this in mind, knowing the scene that is being set, how do we respond/prepare?
Here are four suggested responses:
1) Keep drawing nearer to God and loving each other. As the Bible say, as we draw near to Him, He draw nears to us. In this place of intimacy, we also find new strength, a safe refuge, comfort, and His transforming presence. This is mainly about entering deeper into His love.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:16,17)
Abiding in His love is key to being in His presence. And so, our Lord Jesus affirmed the great commandment, to love God with all your being, and to truly love your neighbour. Sure, we need to spend time drawing near to Him in prayer and His word, but first in love.
2) Remember it is about building the kingdom of God, and not a building of man.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. (1 Cor. 3:9b,10)
The Bible tells us that Christians individually, and as God gathers us to be His ekklasia (church), are the dwelling places of God, that is temples of the Lord. We are God’s building (1 Cor. 3:16), living stones of the true temple of God (1 Peter 2:5), the body of Christ. Why, then, do we see churches and Christian organisations often persist in trying to build a new version of the Old Testament temple, with its focus on bricks and mortar?
Sure, we need buildings to meet, but they can become a distraction from the main purpose and consume most of our resources. It is of course understandable that this occurs, as people find it easier to relate to something they can touch, but God’s kingdom is not like the world’s. This is not a new challenge; it is something Jesus confronted when He first came. Many thought He would destroy the Roman rule and set Himself up on a throne in Temple Mount; But He came to save us from sin and death, and to see heaven fill our souls, and God enthroned in our hearts. He called us to be born again of the Spirit of God; and to extend His kingdom throughout the world. This unseen realm of much greater importance to our Lord, than those waiting for Him.
As we walk in the truth that we are His temple, being royal priests in our workplaces or neighbourhoods, or homes, God uses us to build a much bigger kingdom structure than we could ever build with our own hands.
If you think about where you live, and the Christians are part of your church or business or family, the spread of geographical locations in which the Lord has directed them, there is something bigger at play. As Scripture reveals, God looks across you and sees pillars of His house, gates, door posts, living bricks in a wall of His church. With Christ as head and cover over us, He bring together a spiritual building, that is a real place of His presence. As we build ourselves up in the most holy faith, with Christ as our cornerstone, apostles and prophets as our foundations, in relationship with God and each other, we build structure of greater influence than we can imagine. That is why we are the sent ones of Christ. For most of us, our ministry is in the families, our jobs, where we are based location…not necessarily in the church administration. Through us He seeks to build His kingdom in the people we meet, and in the atmosphere around us. We are to let Christ be in us all He wants, wherever He calls us, and together we become His tabernacle, God’s meeting place.
3) It is time to go deeper into things of the Spirit of God…in all aspects of our lives. Moving as He moves, using the spiritual gifts and talent He has given us, the love He pours into us, His power, and living by His fruit. We are called to step out into His prompting. After all, as believers the Spirit of God dwells in us, and is upon us, and this reality is what He calls us to see. This is nothing to fear. Maybe in the past there were more overt manifestations of the Spirit moving, but over the time these signs diminished, possibly as the cares of the world, persecution, fear, familiarity, faithlessness crept in. Or God simply caused some of those manifestations to pause as He wanted to see if we were faithful to Him for who He is, and not what He gives.
And while the church or small group should be a safe place to move as He flows, or use the gifts He gives you, for most of us, this still requires boldness to express the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. Prophesying over your family, bringing His strategy to a workplace, interceding for your neighbour/work colleague, healing the sick around you (body, soul, and spirit); Comforting the grieving soul; Caring for the homeless or those lost in darkness; Discerning the truth amongst a world full of many truths; Instructing others in the ways of true life; Showing the love to those who have not known true love; caring for the poor, widow; Sharing the good news, and revealing God to others through words of knowledge or wisdom. This is Kingdom stuff and applies to all who believe in Him.
We are to also recognise the Holy Spirit moves as He pleases. Look at the river or observe and feel the wind. Sometimes they are predictable, other times they are most definitely not. These are a picture of the Spirit of God, and yet why do most our lives follow the same footsteps, or church gatherings routinely follow either what I call the ‘trifle service with the cherry on top’ in the more modern churches, or the ‘three hymn sandwich’ in the traditional ones? The Spirit of God is creative, and we are to recognise how He is leading us. Each day could be different, or maybe sometimes quite similar. Our challenge is to not sit back into the routine and so form traditions of men. Each day we are to seek God for what He is asking us to do.
The winds of resurrection are coming, and so God is calling us to get ready, to put up our sails to catch them, and go for an exciting ride. If we keep our sails down, folded away, expecting nothing, and staying with the known, these winds of resurrection will (at best) pass us by.
4) Raise up the sons and daughters – honour them, listen to them, and even follow their lead. These are not just the young in years, but those who have chosen to rise into their new callings in God, have received His Spirit of adoption, and who speak the (new) word of our heavenly Father. These sons and daughters are not orphan spirits, wandering around looking for recognition, they know they are adopted by our Heavenly Father into His family, and while humble before Him, they are becoming confident of who they are in God. Biblically, the mature sons were given the keys to the business, and were no longer like servants of the house, rather co-heirs of the family.
True mothers and fathers celebrate their children becoming the sons and daughter, heirs of the promises, with the keys to the kingdoms’ business. Our challenge is to not to trap them in the past or maintain them as a sort of servant or slave to our will or long held dreams. This is pretty much what Russia is trying to do the Ukraine. Our natural and spiritual children have awesome destines in God, and His call on our lives is to raise them into Him, and what the Lord has gifted them to be…and not make them ‘minny me’s’. We are to encourage and nurture them to be who God has called them to be. We need to sow into them, putting our money where our mouth is, including the new generations of sons and daughters.
To finish, while these may be challenging days, I believe these are exciting times. I can hear the Resurrection Winds blowing, and they are coming our way. For God’s will is not for vales of discontent and disappointment, to be a valley of dry bones, but for it to become a place where the army of the living God is raised up and goes outs across the land expanding His kingdom.
Our Heavenly Father calls us:
- To keep drawing nearer to Him and those in Him
- To look afresh with Kingdom eyes, rediscovering what it means to be His sent one to extend His realm on earth
- To go deep and be braver in the things of the Holy Spirit, knowing He wishes to move in all aspects of our lives (and not just in our church settings); and,
- To honour and encourage the sons and daughters to express what they are hearing God saying, and to follow their lead into it.
I believe as we catch hold of these truths, and others, we will become part of a mighty move of God in this area and beyond that will see the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of God and Christ Jesus.