Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Priestly & Prophetic Assignment of the Church in America

There are things that happen in the natural that reveal what is going on in the spiritual realm. Currently, President Trump is building up the U.S. military, which had been downsized over the last several years. There's a valid reason for strengthening the military. When the military of a "good" country is strong, evil is kept in check. If a bully is going to pick a fight, he won't normally choose the biggest kid on the playground to fight with. Strength is a deterrent. In the same way, when the power of God is known, it puts evil in its place.

Public display and acceptance of evil has been increasing rapidly in the United States, especially in the last 20+ years. This is the result of a decrease in the church's knowledge, release, and display of the power of God. In the 1940's and 1950's there was a great healing revival which displayed the power of God, resulting not only in healing, but salvation as well. (See link here). The Jesus Movement of the 1960's and 1970's, along with the Charismatic Movement, brought both "hippies" and many from denominational churches into a born-again, spirit-filled life. The power of God in the church accomplished much for the kingdom, and evil was kept down.

The Decline of Power
During the healing revival, and beyond, we had the Word of Faith Movement which, in spite of the good it did for the body of Christ, eventually led to many who were immature in the faith to distort the message, causing a pursuit of worldly goods, rather than building the kingdom of God. Eventually came the Hyper-Grace Movement, which, once again, takes a vitally important aspect of God and distorts it into a slap in the face of the Lord by not taking a stance against sin. While faith and grace are both important to salvation, healing, and all of the blessings of God, the enemy brought an influence into the church which distorted both. Many in the faith movement who had been "burned" by the message, turned against faith altogether and took the opinion that "whatever will be, will be." They felt their prayers were ineffective, and they turned away from speaking powerful words of faith or prophetic declarations.

The Rise of Idolatry
While this turmoil was going on, Islam and socialism were rising in the United States, and our kids began being indoctrinated in the public schools. As the power of God declined in the church, these weeds were planted, and we're seeing the result of their growth today. Of all the immigrants and refugees who have come to America, none have desired to change the core foundation of beliefs of the U.S. like Islam. Of course, many of these people are pawns of those who will use whatever means they can to take America down, yet, this too is a symptom of what is going on in the church. The church has committed adultery, worshiping idols in place of the one true God, causing a compromise of the Christian faith, and of course the power of God.

What do we do? We stay close to the heart of God, seek Him daily, and take our place as both priests and prophets in His kingdom.

In the days of Joshua, Israel entered the Promised Land after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Yet they didn't walk right in without a fight. There were many battles involved in possessing the land. The Lord told them at times to kill all the inhabitants.1 This sounds so cruel, yet it was necessary to keep the nation holy. (I'm not saying to kill anyone, I'm relating this to the spiritual battles of today!) When pulling out weeds that have infiltrated, we need to do a thorough job. This is what has been happening, and needs to continue, in the church. We are beginning to see its effect in the natural realm in our government. Keep praying!

The Priestly Assignment
There are two things we need to do to possess the land God has called us to. First involves a priestly assignment. As a priest, we can intercede and repent on behalf of the church. We can repent of having a form of godliness, but denying the power. We repent of not allowing the power of God to be fully displayed in and through us. Whether its because of fear, unbelief, or complacency, we repent and turn from it. We also repent because of our compromise and failure to surrender our heart completely to the Lord. Putting other things as a higher priority than Him. Being afraid of hurting people's feeling we turned to political correctness, trying to be "nice."

When we function as a priest, repenting on behalf of all, we are interceding. Jesus is the greatest example of an intercessor. He came to take our sin on Him so we could be forgiven and our relationship restored with the Father. He stood in the gap, taking our sin on Him. In the same way, we repent of all of the sins of the church, examining our own heart, but praying on behalf of all. Our prayers will benefit the entire church, and the country.

As we intercede, and repent, on behalf of the church for our foolishness and all of that, we truly turn around ourselves, and ask God for forgiveness. I believe this is why the election went the way it did--God's mercy in response to this kind of intercession. As we intercede, we are cutting the weeds off at the roots. We are pulling them out of the ground and removing them from our midst--as they did when they took possession of the Promised Land.

The Prophetic Assignment
After repentance comes the prophetic. As we prophesy the will and Word of God, by His Spirit, we are planting new seeds into those areas that were infiltrated by weeds. Our intercession removed them, but new, godly growth needs to occur. The barren land needs to be inhabited by the righteous so the enemy does not return even stronger. Those who hear, and believe, our prophetic words can run with this, cultivating the seed, and building the kingdom of God in their region.

After all of this, we must be diligent to maintain the land. Weeding the weeds (intercession), and planting the seeds (prophesying) are to be an ongoing part of maintaining the land. To do this, we must stay in the presence of God, in His Word, surrendering our hearts to Him always. Don't think your part is too small. When you cut off a weed root, it affects the entire plant. You're cutting off the "supply line" to an area, and many will be made free by your diligence to pray. However, don't forget to seek the Lord for the prophetic word, and plant the seeds in this area!

1 For example, Joshua 6:17-27, Joshua 11:10-12

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Story of Jack

This is the story of Jack. Jack was the youngest of four boys. He didn’t have an easy life growing up. His dad was an alcoholic and his parents divorced when he was three years old. Jack lived with his mom and brothers. They never had a lot of money, and his mother never seemed to stay at one job for very long. She was depressed often.

Jack’s older brother Zach constantly picked on him, making fun of him and sometimes beating him up. At first, Jack would hide from Zach, always afraid when he was home. But after a while Jack learned to fight back. The harder Jack fought, the more Zach left him alone. Pretty soon, Jack started fighting with anyone who disagreed with him at school. He was always in trouble and eventually dropped out of high school. He began drinking and using drugs, and turned to a life of crime to support himself and his habit. At age 16 he left home and took to the streets.

Inwardly, he longed for attention and acceptance, but he never let his guard down. If he softened just a little, someone would take advantage of him. When Jack was 37 years old, he was in prison for murder. He had been in jail before for drugs, theft, weapons, assault, and even rape, but this was his longest sentence so far.

One day, he was told he had a visitor. Surprised, because no one ever visited him, he went into the visiting room to see a smiling, old lady waiting for him. He stopped for a minute, wondering what she could possibly want from him. Curious, he went and sat down across from her. The woman was probably about 70 years old with white hair, deep eyes, and a smile that never stopped. Jack felt a warmth come over him, but pushed it aside. “Don’t be soft.” He told himself.

She introduced herself as Carol and said the Lord sent her to talk to him. Jack said he wasn’t interested and their conversation was very short. After she left, Jack couldn’t shake the warm feeling and wondered if he should have listened to her more.

Weeks passed and Carol visited again. This time Jack listened longer and enjoyed the warm feeling a little more. As time went on, Jack began to look forward to Carol’s visit, her smile, their Bible studies and the warm feeling when she prayed. One day, Jack gave his heart to the Lord. He was amazed that God could forgive him of the horrendous things he’d done. Carol assured him He did, and after a while, Jack believed it himself.

Jack loved God with all his heart, forever grateful for His love and forgiveness. One day, Jack had a new cellmate named Ron. Ron said he was a Christian and Jack was happy to have a Christian cellmate. Yet, he wondered about him. Ron said he didn’t do anything that bad, and couldn’t believe God let him get arrested. When Jack talked to Ron about God’s great forgiveness, Ron said he was happy for Jack, but he had lived a pretty good life and didn’t have much to be forgiven of.

Jack invited Ron to come see Carol with him, but Ron refused. Jack also noticed that Ron never read the Bible and didn’t seem all that interested in spending time in prayer.

One day, after Ron called Jack a Jesus freak, Jack laid on his bunk and opened his Bible. He loved the fact that he no longer wanted to beat someone up for disagreeing with him. He came to Luke 7 and read:

36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

Jack looked up from his Bible as he realized that he loved the Lord so much because he was forgiven of so much. Yet, Ron did not love the Lord very much. It wasn’t because he didn’t have much to be forgiven of, but because he didn’t see that he had a lot to be forgiven of. Ron was a sinner, just like Jack was, but Ron saw his sin as “not so bad.” “We all have a lot to be forgiven of,” Jack thought to himself. “Some people just don’t know it.” Jack took a moment to pray for Ron, that he would realize the depth of forgiveness available to him through Jesus Christ, and then he continued reading:

44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”
Jack thanked God for his forgiveness and wept tears of gratitude.