The Journey

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How can I pray for you.

So, here is really one of the purposes in this blog. So that people could specifically ask me questions and or give prayer requests. So, here is the post specifically designed for this. So...comment away.

How can I pray for you.

So, here is really one of the purposes in this blog. So that people could specifically ask me questions and or give prayer requests. So, here is the post specifically designed for this. So...comment away.

These signs will follow

So, I'm a little overwhelmed today. I mean it's one thing to have a theology about healing and why signs and wonders still happen today, and are released by believers in partnership with the Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of God. It's another thing entirely to see what I saw today.
IHOP has what I have heard called a "theology of contending" in regards to healing. The jist of what the bible says in regards to this is that if we contend and keep asking God to heal, he will. If we keep claiming the prophetic promises and biblical promises, God will answer from heaven with power as He did for blind Bartemaus, the woman with the issue of blood, the samarian woman (the one He called a dog.), and many others. They continued to press in when at first they were denied. In the end they recieved the healing which they sought.
I love this theology. It's evident that as we continue to contend we are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of instantaneous physical healings. Like today, for instance.
Graham Walshe heads up the healing department of the bible school and the healing rooms at the House of Prayer. He came to teach a session on healing to our class today. He taught for a little while and then just started letting the Holy Spirit do his thing. Unfortunately, I have not had a whole lot of experience in creative miricales. I have prayed for people and seen them get healed but where God acctually creates new material for a healing has been an almost non-existent encounter. This is precisely what I mean about there being a difference between my theology of healing and actually seeing it happen.
As we all prayed today, I watched arms grow longer. I watched legs extend to be the same length. What do you mean JM? I mean exactly that. Arms and legs lengthening as God performs creative miracles in partnership with believers commanding the supernatural to break through into the natural. For those who get a taste of the powers of the age to come. (Heb. 6:4-5) I saw a girl whose right leg was an inch shorter than her left leg. Graham set a straight edge ruler on her legs to measure the before and after. We prayed for her and commanded her right leg to grow and become the same. And it DID! Her legs were completely even afterward! We would do similar things with peoples arms. Graham said, "The Holy Spirit once showed me that a lot of times back pain can be caused by arms or legs being different lengths and therefore your whole body is out of balance." So he brought up people in the room who had back pain, measured to see if there was a difference in the lengths of their arms. Sure enought. Every person had one arm that was shorter than the other! This was either from an old injury or a varied number of reasons. Again Graham would place the ruler as a straight edge against the longer of the two fingers and begin to command the body to come back into alignment in the name of Jesus. And every time I watched arms grow or relocate and pop into place with my eyes. No illusions, no lights, no tricks, just pure power of God at work. Not to mention one guy who asked if Graham would pray for His face (acne and skin blemishes). Apparantly over the years it has been noticed that there is a correlation between skin diseases/blemishes and generational free mason or shriner involvement. Thus Graham began to break that stuff off. I kid you not, as he prayed and commanded the generational curses to break, redness fled from this mans face. The blemishes did not completely disappear, but he looked completely different and the redness was 80% gone.
I tell you God still heals today when people pray. It is true. It's time to take the words of Jesus seriously in action. As a part of the great commission He says, "And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mk. 16:17-18 NKJV) This is said directly in the context of the eleven preaching the gospel in the nations (which they never went to all the world making it both millennial command and one to be extended to all believers). This means that the "those who believe" is anyone who hears the preaching of the gospel and believes it, and is baptised. This means you and me. Let's lay hold of this to a degree we have never laid hold of it. I know I want to.

Abba, I ask that you would grant to your servants the gift of faith, that we may lay hold of the promises of your word. That the signs you promised would follow those who believe in your name. Release an annonting for healing that would prove all who doubt in your heart of compassion for them. I pray that for every whole-hearted believer who reads this that you would release an annointing over them that they would see a dramatic increase in their heart of compassion for those in need of healing, and of instantaneous healings. Release an annointing for power evangelism. Empower the preaching of the gospel. I pray that as you endowed the early church with power from on high that you would do the same for us today. I ask you to break in with power to heal. Your name is Jehovah-Raphe "The God who heals," so I ask that you would show us who you are by stretching out your hand to heal. From the smallest headache to the cancer, from the common cold to aids. Give us a taste of the power of the age to come, that Your name might be glorified. That multitudes would gaze upon your kindness and believe. That the nations would glorify the name of Christ. I ask you Abba, in Jesus name. Thank you for what you are doing even now. I love you. Amen.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Creativity

So, we all know that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. And we also know Jesus is the great intercessor making intercession for the saints day and night. That's great to know in and of itself, but why? Why these roles? What is moving in the heart of God as He intercedes for us?
I think it has to do with creativity. What do I mean? I once heard a sermon from Jason Upton where he quoted Kent Henry. He said, "The greatest killer of creativity is the voice of judgment." I believe this is a true statment. Seriously, when someone gives the beginning guitar player or painter or whatever the eye of disapproval the person is often overcome with a sense of failure causing them to shrink back from that which they once were so excited to pursue.
The same is true in our pursuit of intimacy with the Lord. We experience the initial exhileration of this new found dimension of the divine interaction with humanity. Yet when the voice of judgment is heard concerning our lack of unworthiness of such a lover, we shrink back into our religious duty abandoning that which God desired from the beginning: intimacy and communion with broken human beings. This voice of judgment does not come from God (He brings conviction unto greater intimacy). This voice of judgment that drives us to shame comes from Satan who, as I said before, is the accuser of the brethren.
Doesn't he have better things to do than stand in the presence of almighty God and accuse the people on the earth? Well, acctually I would suggest to you that his role as the accuser has nearly nothing to do with humanity but with God. Every accusation he poses before the throne of God is acctually and accusation against God Himself. Satan declares our unworthiness in order to declare God's impotence as a leader. (A false notion and the deepest deception that began the downward spiral into darkness and the presence of Sin) Unfortunately or fortunately, we are privy to the same accusations Satan brings before the throne of God.
He brings his accusations against us and in our natural reaction to the voice of judgment, we shrink away from God because we know the accusations are true. We know that there is nothing we can do to deny the reality of our sin. However, we have an advocate.
Jesus, in His earthly ministry, silenced so many accusers with a single phrase. He did it with the adulterous woman, "Let the one who has no sin cast the first stone." He did it yet again with the harlot who poured over Him an alabaster flask of oil, "Those who have been forgiven much, they shall love much." He did it again with the accuser of the brethren when on the cross He cried out, "It is finished!" The price was paid and the power of the voice of judgment was silenced forever. Those glorious words ring out today as Satan accuses us day and night, causing him to shut his mouth in the shame of ultimate defeat.
What was God's goal in this great act of meekness, humility, and love? It was exactly that to silence the voice of judgment. For if creativity is killed with the presence of judgment, then the absence of the voice of judgment allows creativity to bloom in its fullness. Likewise, if forgiveness is the wiping away of the grounds of accusation, and those who have been forgiven much shall love much then we can safely conclude that when the voice of accusation is silenced, then the human heart is made able to blossom in creative love.
What is creative love? Creative love is the spontaneous movement of the human heart towards the heart of God. It is the believer who is longing and seeking greater communion and looking for every opportunity to express that longing for greater intimacy with the Holy. Thus, by His act on the cross, Jesus broke the back not only of sin but of the accuser of the brethren for one sole reason, to free our hearts to spontaneously respond to the divine bekonings of love to Him. He, by silencing the accuser, frees us to be the creative lovers of God we were designed to be. This is a piece of the glory of the cross.

Amen.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Where are the Nazarites? Where are the prophets?

I had the privelage of listening to Dwayne Roberts speak tonight and I am absolutely undone. He spoke out of Jeremiah 23 and I perhaps am feeling the heaviness of this word for the first time. I have never been this sober of Jer. 23. What I'm about to write may be offensive to some but that's not the point. This is what the bible has to say about the hour in which we live. Please do not discard this but I pray that the Holy Spirit would allow you to feel the weight of this message.
"Woe to the shepards who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!" Says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepards who feed my people: You have scattered my flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings," says the Lord. (Jer. 23: 1-2)
In order to grasp the sobriety of this word we must understand the audience to whom Jeremiah delivers this word. It is addressed to the people of God. For our terms it was addressed to believers in Christ - this message is for the church.
Israel was in a time of economic and social prosperity only a few years prior to the invasion of Israel, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the beginning of the Babylonian captivity, which was God's judgment upon the wickedness of Israel. The nation was prosperous and feeling like they were doing well in the sight of the Lord. The prophets of the day were telling the people that they were fine; that the lives of moral compromise they were living were ok; that there comfort was the peace of God in the land and He was pleased with the nation and the church in the nation. Jeremiah 6:14 states very clearly that this was accually no peace at all but a pagan peace. "They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'peace, peace!" When there is no peace." The people, in their compromise with the impending judgment on the horizon, were informed of God's pleasure with them in their blatant wickedness. The leaders in that day were acctually paying the prophets to water down their message and tell the people that their compromise was ok with God. Then the word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah declaring that the compromise of Israel is absolutely not ok with God!
"Both the prophet and Priest (spiritual leaders of the nation of Israel) are profane; Yes, in My house (the temple/church) I have found their wickedness," ways the Lord.
This speaks directly of the compromise of the leaders of the people of God. There are so many leaders in the body of Christ today who are in secret sin. I'm not talking about struggling in a war with sin. I'm not talking about christian perfection though I do believe that the Lord will have a bride equally yoked in purity and agreement before He returns. What I am talking about is the settling in sin and refusing to make war against it, and then encouraging others to do the same. A man recently shared a story about a ministry trip he went on to a church where the Pastors were having Keg parties on Friday nights in the name of the guys having a hard week needing to relax. These are trusted leaders in the body of Christ. That is disturbing. The compromise in the pulpit today is absolutely astounding. The pornography, adultery, alcoholism, drug use, lustful thoughts, present in the leadership is not only damaging their own bodies but the body of Christ. This is not ok. It's time to eliminate these compromises from our lives, for our own sakes and for the sake of those we lead. Wheather 10 or 10,000 people we are accountable to the way they imitate our own perseverance or lack thereof in the war against sin in this age.
We must also recognize, however, that this is not only about personal compromise, though that is a piece of it. This is also about those who preach a watered down gospel. "Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem they commit adultery and walk in lies; THEY ALSO STRENGTHEN THE HANDS OF EVIL DOERS SO THAT NO ONE TURNS BACK FROM HIS WICKEDNESS. All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah." (Jer. 23:14) I know that some will say, "Well that's the Old Testament." Don't discount the words of Paul in Romans 1 who at the end of a discourse about the decline of the believer into a hardened heart and wickedness says that you, "Who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but ALSO APPROVE OF THOSE WHO DO THEM." (Rom. 1:32) The reality is that, in the western church, the gospel of grace has been reduced to a message of mercy. Yes, we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, yet when the gospel of grace stops with mercy the hearers are handed a liscene by the fathers in the faith to live in compromise and have it be ok in the name of living in the dispensation of the mercy of God through Christ. He forgives us our transgressions and failures. This is true but He requires the 100% pursuit of 100% obedience. He requires a willingness to wage war upon sin and the lusts of the flesh and to pursue life in the Spirit considering ourselves dead to sin, yet alive to God in righteousness.
We have taken the word of God and diminshed it's power and truth to our own private interpretation and allowed room for compromise in the name of weakness. We have accepted that which the word of God clearly calls sin as mere cultural difference. We have been permeated with the ideologies of Western liberal Universities. Our hearts are full of the messages of huminism, moral relativity, and universalism which are all of the of the antichrist spirit, for they deny the reality of Christ and the Father. We have swallowed the lies of those who call the nations to be politically correct and not rock the boat. We have allowed the seeds to take root within us - those seeds that say, "Everyone will find truth along the way of His or her own journey. There's no need to say someone is wrong for something they do. Morality is relative. How can you say don't lust after a woman in a culture that is filled with promiscuity? I mean really, in the bible times women couldn't even show their ankles. Is it really realistic to place such a heavy yoke on people?" Absolutely Yes! To preach a gospel that is permeated with these demonic ideologies is devastating compromise for the body of Christ. So what is the true gospel we are to be preaching? Titus gives us perhaps one of the clearest pictures of what the fullness of the gospel of grace is and what the effects of its preaching are supposed to be.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from EVERY lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:11-14) The fullness of the gopsel is supposed to catapult us into the pursuit of holiness, fear of the Lord, and the eager awaiting of the Return of Jesus. The reality is that we are preaching a watered down gospel that contains none of these realities. Instead we are having pizza parties in our youth groups and expecting that we are fine in the eyes of God because its all in the name of fellowship and the great commission. In reality we are preparing a generation to fall away from the truth they have initially recieved.
Some might ask why this is such a pressing issue. Jeremiah makes it clear. "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord." There are so many leaders who can gain a following for their own vision. Youth and the masses of Christians follow after whatever is believable and presented with a decent platform. However, this watered down gospel, though popular, makes the people of God worthless in the light of eternity.
You see this prominent in the western church: a people without power, true Godly authority, minimal annointing, and all believing that it's the norm for modern day Christianity. Radical Christianity is looked at as odd and even unbiblical. That which the Bible, Jesus, and the 1st century Church believed to be Christianity 101 is now a radical lifestyle. Yet in the midst of this, God is raising up a people who are true to the gospel, but even these are being affected by this compromise. Amos 2:11-12 says, "I raised up some of your sons as prophets, and some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?" Says the Lord. "But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, and commanded the prophets saying, 'Do not prophesy!'" In other words God raised up consecrated ones to call the people of God to repentance and the fathers in the faith corrupted their consecration and silenced the only true oracle of the Lord for the hour. This is happening again in our day. Jeremiah brought a word of repentance and the leadership of Israel told him not to prophesy. There are young prophets and nazirites in your midst and the Lord is raising them as a voice to call the people of God to repentance in bold humility. The Lord is raising up the trumpet blowers who will boldly speak the truth in love and call forth the Joel 2 sacred assembly that the people of God might rend their hearts in true repentance and turn fully to the Lord. It's time to stop watering down the gospel, preaching the visions of our own hearts, embrace the vision of God and stand in His councils by meditating upon the Word of God through fasting and prayer; and from there to declare the truth of of His word. (Jer. 23:18, 21-22)
This is the hour in which we live. Where are the Nazarites? They are being made drunk with the wine of the spirit of this age through the destructive leadership of compromised leaders, enterntainment, and a faulty foundation of cheap grace. Where are the prophets? They are being commanded by arrogant, fearful, man-pleasing men and women not to prophesy in the name of political correctness and universalist, tolerant Christianity.
It's time for the wine of the spirit of the age to be vomited out of our mouths and to spit out the ungodly gags that have kept the church in fearful silence, embrace the true gospel of grace and blow the trumpet in zion, call a fast, and live the consecrated life we were called to live. Leaders, I charge you to be bold in your procalamation of the true gospel as laid out in Titus 2. I challenge you to pour yourself out less in minstry and more in the place of fasting and prayer. (Acts 6:2-4) It is in this place only that authority that turns hearts is gained. It's time o Prophets of God. Arise into the fullness of who you are, and by the Spirit of the Lord lead the saints into repentance. This is your mandate as leaders and we will all stand accountable before the judgment seat for the way you lead the people of God.