We have been discussing success from Heaven’s viewpoint, in contrast to an earthly perspective. (See previous post ‘What is the measure of success’.) How can we have a secret, hidden life in God and also be about building the Father’s Kingdom on this earth?
These 2 things – the hidden life or the public life, may seem so far apart they contradict each other. I have struggled with this concept many times as well. I am so in love with Jesus that I desire and need to spend much time alone with Him, just sitting at His feet and gazing into His wonderful eyes. Then there also comes a point where I desire and need to be out ministering to people and drawing them closer to Him as well, building His Kingdom.
One day in the middle of my confusion about this, the Lord showed me the Bride in the Song of Solomon. A careful reading of this short book will reveal that she lives there with Him in the mountains in an intimate relationship. Then she comes ‘with Him’, leaning on His arm, as they go down into the villages to check on the fruit and into the vineyards to bring in the harvest! I was stunned at their lovely and natural rhythm. It was like a dance that came out of intimacy and obedience. We are “in Him” (1 John 5:20) and He abides in us. (Gal.2:20) Intimacy produces fruitfulness. As we stay in this love relationship with Him, He flows out through us to accomplish whatever He calls us to do. It is always Him actually accomplishing anything through us. We just obey by walking through the doors He opens, going where He calls us to go or responding to His call of intimacy to come away with Him.
Recently I heard someone sharing a vision he had of the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem coming down to earth. (Rev. 21:2) There he saw the Lamb of God upon His throne and His Bride beside Him.
He said, “I looked at the throne of the Lamb. The Bride was with Him on the throne but I could not see a distinction between the two! They are one. She is with Him wherever He goes. ”
Consider the rhythm of Jesus earthly ministry. With the job description the Father gave Him, He could have been the most frustrated man on the planet! He had such a short space of time to accomplish the Father’s will. Yet, He was never in a hurry, He stopped for individuals who needed Him, He was full of peace and patience … How did He do this? Bear in mind that at this point He had laid aside His Divinity and chosen to live this life as a man filled with the Holy Spirit as an example for us to follow. (Phil.2:5-8) His method was part of that example. He only did what He saw the Father doing and heard the Father saying. He spent large amounts of time alone with His Father in prayer. Then He simply listened and obeyed whatever the Father told Him. Was He successful? In the eyes of the world and many of His followers His death looked like failure. At least for 3 days! They did not understand that He had defeated death, hell and the grave. (Rev. 1:18) Successful? Absolutely. For eternity.
True success in this life depends largely on our relationship with Him and how much of the image of Christ is formed within us. This is what the Father is looking for. ( Rom.8:29, 2 Cor.3:18, Gal.4:19, Rom.12:2 ) Everything that we ‘do’ here will only be an outflow of that foundational relationship. Christ in us. ( Gal.2:20, Col.1:27)
Our definition of success and Heaven’s definition of success are two very different things. Too much of the world’s mindset has made its way into Christian thinking and we have adopted it as our own without even realizing it. How do we judge success?
From a business perspective, success is usually the amount of money being made. It also would have to do with the number of sales, contacts, how far reaching our influence is etc. It’s about how wealthy we are, who we know and what we do. It’s about us. This same concept applies in other areas of our lives and largely focuses on how much we seem to be accomplishing and what other people think of us. Sadly, there is far too much of this in ministry as well.
But from Heaven’s perspective we usually have it upside down. It’s not about the ‘secret of the successful life’. It’s about the ‘success of the secret life’. The life that is hidden in God, where our goal is to make His name famous instead of our own, carries far more weight in Heaven. It’s a life where He is seen and we are not … where much of what we do is behind the scenes, to advance His Kingdom instead of our own.
Many of you will have read Rick Joyner’s book The Final Quest years ago. Since that time he has completed that trilogy and started another. (See my Recommended Reading list) But if you haven’t read that book for a long time, I’d highly recommend reading it again. It’s one of those things that only gets better and more relevant as time goes by. Here are some quotes from that book regarding success from people who lived their lives on this earth then died and went to Heaven. Here is the truth they found there:
“What looks good on earth looks very different here. What will make you a king on earth will often be a stumbling block to keep you from being a king here. What will make you a king here is lowly and not esteemed on earth.”
“The more influence that you gain by your own self promotion, the more striving you must do to keep your influence, and the more dark and cruel your life will become. Anything you do because of political pressures or opportunities, will only lead you to the end of your true ministry. If you do not live what you preach to others you disqualify yourself from the high calling of God. Love the Savior and seek His glory alone. Everything that you do to exalt yourself will one day bring you the most terrible humiliation. Everything that you do out of true love for the Savior, to glorify His name, will extend the limits of His eternal Kingdom and ultimately result in a much higher place for yourself.”
Doesn’t God use people to build His Kingdom? Yes, of course. We get to help. God is not afraid of heroes. He builds them Himself. But up to this point in time, too many of those who are called to large public ministries have fallen prey to the power, the prestige and the occasional wealth that may bring. This has largely been due to spiritual immaturity. However, there is a new breed arising on the scene now. They cut across all levels of society. Age and gender are not an issue. These have been tried in the fire and are coming forth as gold. They are like David, with the courage of a lion and a heart of intimacy with the Lord. They care neither for the criticism or the praise of men but seek only the approval of the King. They stand for His truth, even under threat of death. ( Rev.12:11) T hese are going forth to build His Kingdom, an unshakable Kingdom that will never be stopped. Will you be one of them?
There may seem to be a conflict between the hidden life and a truly successful (from His perspective) ministry in building His Kingdom. But they are really 2 sides of the same coin. Fruitfulness flows out of a deep intimate relationship with Him. We will discuss this aspect further as it relates to success in the next posting.
True success in this life depends largely on how much of Christ is formed within us. This is what the Father is looking for. (Rom.8:29, 2 Cor.3:18, Gal.4:19, Rom.12:2 ) Everything that we ‘do’ here will only be an outflow of that foundational relationship. Christ in us. ( Gal.2:20, Col.1:27)
In dealing with the subject of intercession, we’ve been mainly talking about how the Lord prays through us. But keep in mind also that Jesus is the ‘great intercessor’ who is always making intercession for us to the Father. (Heb.7:25)
Rom. 8:34 NIV – Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Heb.9:24 AMP – He has entered into Heaven itself, now to appear in the very presence of God on our behalf.
Let’s look at just a couple of ways Jesus intercedes for us. He prays for us when we are being tested. Do you remember the night He was betrayed and led away to be crucified? Putting His own needs aside, he looked at Peter. Knowing Peter’s weakness, Jesus said to him, “Satan has desired to have you so that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not.” (Luke 22:31,32)
Wow! When we face the hardest tests of our lives it’s beyond encouraging to know that Jesus Himself is praying for us! That’s enough right there to give us all the courage and faith necessary to make it.
The reason behind this is also life changing. He has this authority to be our High Priest and Intercessor because He became a man and went through everything we have to deal with here. He understands as no one else could. He’s been here and lived here. He was tested in all the same ways we are and yet (as an example of how we can live) He remained without sin. (Heb.4:15)
“It is plain that for this purpose [Christ] did not become an angel; He became a man, in actual fact a descendant of Abraham. It was imperative that He should be made like His brothers in nature, if He were to become a High Priest both compassionate and faithful in the things of God, and at the same time able to make atonement for the sins of the people. For by virtue of His own suffering under temptation He is able to help those who are exposed to temptation.” (Heb.2:16-18 Phillips Translation)
Yes, the Lord Himself intercedes for us when we are tempted. Here again, Jesus prayed for His disciples, ” I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one.” John 17:15 AMP
He also intercedes for us when we have sinned … “If any man sin, we have an Advocate [an Intercessor] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1) He knows how God’s judicial system works. He understands the justice of the Father. He is the Righteous Judge. ( 2 Tim.4:8) When He intercedes for us to the Father He is not saying, “Oh Father, please have mercy on them. You know how weak and foolish they are.” No. It’s a courtroom scene where the high courts of Heaven are set up. God’s legal system says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. (Heb.9:22) Jesus, God’s son, is the One who shed His own blood for us. He stands there as an ever present reminder of that fact.
How can we lose! God has set things up in our favor over and over again. When we come up against things we cannot overcome, Christ Himself is interceding for us to the Father. And if we allow Him to, He also lives His life through us doing things that we can only do “in Him”. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. We are more than conquerors when we are in Him.
Having a bad day? Check out this passage of scripture and read it in several translations until it really hits you and becomes a part of you.
Romans 8:31-39 Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]
32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]
34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?
35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?
36 Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,
39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For a visual on this, see the photo attached to the previous blog post. Have a wonderful day!
The hot wind coming from the Indian Ocean blew sand across the tent of meeting, stinging our faces. But along with the clouds of sand, there were spiritual clouds of glory that day as worshippers from around the world exalted Jesus as King. As the Holy Spirit began to give prophetic insight into how to pray for several different countries, the presence of God became thick and people began to intercede for their nations. In the midst of this, my husband looked toward the makeshift platform and saw Jesus standing high above the tent. His form stretched up into the sky and He was clothed in priestly garments. The light coming from Him was so bright that little could be seen of His face. Small orbs of light were spinning around Him, now touching, now lifting off of His glory. As intercession was made, the orbs of light were sent speeding out to the earth to all the countries and people who were being prayed for. Help and hope were on the way.
Don’t ever think that your situation is hopeless. Don’t ever think that God does not hear or that He does not care. Whether your problems are large or small, whether they concern just you or your whole nation, He hears every voice crying out to Him and sees every tear. In fact, your tears are so precious to Him that He keeps them in a bottle of remembrance! (Psa.56:8) Even your whisper for help resounds in His ears like a baby crying for its mother. He will not forget you and He will not forsake you. (Heb.13:5)
Once in an encounter with the Lord when I was feeling distraught and hopeless, He opened His hand to me. There, tattooed on His palm, was my name! I was shocked and undone. But without a word He had assured me of His great love for me and the fact that He would never forget. ( Isa.49:15,16)
Never give up. Keep praying! (1 Thess.5:17, Isa.62:6,7, Ps. 55:17, Lev. 6:13)
I was recently impacted by a message and prophetic word through Dutch Sheets, an American apostle and prophet whose ministry I have learned to trust. As this new year begins, I wanted to share these words with you.
“The decisions we make over the next 6 months are so important they will define the rest of our lives! Power to prevail is being poured out. There is an abundance of grace now to help us draw closer to God than ever before. You must take all the revelation He has given you and now step into the fullness of what it’s meant to produce.
It is a fullness of time. We have moved through a kairos window and stand at a fullness of time. No more delay! You must believe this! No more delay, it’s epiphany time, turn around time.”
I also thought it a good time to help bring clarity to the variety of prophetic words you may be receiving and reading online at this time of year. Sometimes one will appear to conflict with another and seem confusing. Here are some answers that may prove helpful.
A word about conflicting prophecies:
God has given prophets to the body of Christ (1 Cor.12:28) and He does speak through them. Paul tells us that, while all do not have the office of the prophet, all can prophesy. (1 Cor.14:31 ) This simply means that His sheep know His voice and He should be able to speak to any one of His children who will listen and respond.(John 10:27) Prophecy should be judged by what God has already established in His Word. ( 1 Cor. 14:29, 2 Tm. 3:16)
Just as there were false prophets in both the Old and New Testament, there are false prophets today. Most were called to be true prophets of God but they have taken a wrong path and been captured by the enemy. Their words are poison and bring destruction to the Body of Christ.
There are also those who are true prophets but make the mistake of thinking that everything they think must be from God. This is never the case. We are human and in great need of Him. Their prophecies are tainted with mixture which brings confusion. Even when there is scripture to back up their words, it is the underlying attitude of anger and pride that must be judged. In some cases we can ‘eat the fish and spit out the bones’ but sometimes we are wounded by a mouth full of bones.
Still other prophets have been wounded themselves and therefore speak from a wounded heart that needs to be healed before their prophecies can bring health and life to the Body. If they have been betrayed, many of their words will come out of that base, bringing suspicion and fear. It can even become a type of “if this happened to me then it will happen to you as well”. I have seen those who end up actually prophesying harm over others which is the opposite of what they are called to do. We do reproduce after our own kind. When we minister out of woundedness we only reproduce woundedness. This is why the priests in the Old Testament were not allowed to minister in the temple if they had scabs (unhealed wounds). (Lev.21:17-21) If you are in this category, please take a time out, repent and ask God for healing and restoration. Then when you are restored you can strengthen others.
Another reason for prophecies that seem to conflict is that we are in times of both great darkness and great light as portrayed in Isa. 60:1.2. Some prophecies are speaking about the darkness and warning of impending judgment if we do not repent. This is scriptural and right. We do need to be warned. We do need to repent; personally and for our families, churches, cities and nations in intercession. There are some to whom God has given this task of warning. It is a difficult task and they need to be upheld in prayer. Some of the pitfalls for them are pride, rejection and being overtaken by the very darkness they are warning about. Some have even become snipers, attacking the other prophets whose messages are of prosperity and blessing.
There are some prophetic voices I have been stung by and learned not to trust. There are others I read with some caution. But there are those whom I have followed for years. While all of us are human and flawed, these have a proven track record not only in the words they speak but the heart from which they speak them. These I have listed in my “recommended reading” and “recommended links”. I also pay attention to those new voices that they recommend. God is raising up a whole new generation of those with pure hearts that will hear and speak His words.
When reading prophetic lists of words from several different voices it can require discernment. While there is a general theme that shows God speaking the same thing to His people all over the world, there are also words that seem to contradict each other. But don’t be confused. God is giving us a wealth of treasure in these words of wisdom. There is not necessarily a conflict between the words of blessing and hope and the words of dark and difficult times. They are often both sides of one coin. It’s not either one or the other. It’s both. There is great darkness in the world in which we live but the Spirit of God is arising in us bringing great light into that darkness. (Isa.60)
Some prophecies are for specific nations or areas or times. There will be great light and great darkness in the same city. Everything you read is not for you personally. But God is pouring out more revelation for us now than ever before. We are so blessed to have been chosen to live in these times. We are being prepared to be a part of the last end time harvest. That harvest, by the way, is when ALL the seeds sown in the earth have grown up to maturity – both the wheat and the tares, both good and evil! (Matt.13:30) We are being prepared as soldiers in the army of God.
Here is a link to 2 prophetic words from a trusted source that I believe will encourage you greatly. These are words for the Body of Christ around the world wherever you are. They were actually given a few months ago but are for this new year. They are lengthy but so filled with destiny that they are worth studying thoroughly. I pray that you will receive an impartation of His courage, hope and grace as you read them.
link – http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=13850
It is time for us to arise and shine, to absorb and reflect His nature.
There is such a wide variety of creative intercession that the Lord allows us to enter when we ask Him to share His heart with us. If we are open, He will show us things we’ve never imagined. Such was the case with a prophetic experience I was taken into a few weeks ago.
Recently at our House of Prayer there was a wonderful presence of the Lord during the worship. I found myself entering deeply into His presence and dancing with Him for a long time. At last I heard the leader urging us to pray for the persecuted church in specific countries. There are times when the presence of Jesus is so sweet that I really don’t want to change gears and come out of that to do something else. So I made a conscious decision to stay in the Heavenly realms and pray ‘with Him’ from that place.
As we separated into smaller groups I saw, in the Spirit, a large group of people who were under attack for their faith. Jesus invited me to ‘stand in the gap’ with Him. He offered me His hand, also taking the hand of another person and many of us formed a circle around these people, facing outward to protect them.
As He called us deeper into intercession, I maintained my position in the Heavens and was now in the Throne Room. The phrase ‘souls under the altar’ keep running through my mind and I knew He was drawing my attention to them. Rev.6:9-11 says these are the ones who have been martyred for their faith in God. As if from far away I could faintly hear their cries. Then my eyes were opened to see a vast host of people from every tribe and nation who had all been slain for their faith in God.
Suddenly, perhaps because we were now praying for the persecuted church in Nigeria, another group began to rise out of the first one. These were Nigerians – tall, black skinned men in white flowing robes with their women in colorful dresses and head coverings, and their children … hundreds of children. Tears were flowing like rivers from their eyes as they cried out from the depths of their passion, “How long Oh God, will you not judge and avenge our blood from them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev.6:10)
But then as I listened, I began to hear other cries as well and prayers that were mixed with our own prayers for their nation. They were joining their voices with ours to pray for the persecuted church in Nigeria! They were crying out for those who were suffering for their faith and for those who will be martyred! They were praying for courage and strength for their brothers and sisters. They were bringing hope to them! I was undone.
I settled into my chair in our small group meeting and entered into the worship that was swirling around me. It was like catching a ride on a passing train with all the others. Gradually I became aware of a night sky and the feeling of flight. In the Spirit now, I seemed to be on a plane, leaning my head against a cold window pane. But suddenly I was aware of a cold wind as well. Now I realized that I was flying – but I was outside the plane looking in!
This had a different feel somehow than other prophetic experiences. There was more of a present reality sort of feeling, as though I was witnessing a particular place or set of circumstances here on earth. This was not a high-level, out of body experience but rather a prophetic impression which I had to fight to hold onto and keep believing and moving with it.
The plane was a large jet and this flight was very full. I saw the word United on the side and thought it might be a United Airlines fight. But a second look told me it was United Arab Emirates and most of the people on board were Middle Eastern.
Being somewhat new to this particular type of prophetic experience, I was unsure where I was or why I was there. But I felt I was there to pray and sensed that the plane was in some sort of danger. I prayed for safety and protection and that angels would be sent to help. Then I looked into the plane and saw many beautiful Arab children with their olive skin, black hair and big brown eyes. There were families on board with many children and babies and some pregnant women. I began to pray for them, not only for their safety but that God would reveal Himself to them, seal their future destinies for His Kingdom and bring them out of darkness. In the end I did sense a peace that the danger to the flight was past and everything would be alright.
When you make yourself available to the Lord for prophetic intercession, He can take you anywhere to pray for anyone. (See the other postings under Intercession for some exciting testimonies.) Though this was low on the scale of prophetic experiences, I mention it to show different ways He can speak to us. Some are such slight impressions that we can easily miss them or mistake them for our own thoughts at first. But if we keep pushing aside the distractions, focus on what we are seeing and keep asking for more … anything is possible with God.
Years ago in the 90s during the days of renewal, we were privileged to be near enough to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship to be there often. I spent so much time resting in the Spirit on that carpet I feel as though I have permanent rug burn on my heart. It changed me forever and I am deeply grateful to the Lord.
I remember attending an intercessory prayer meeting there that absolutely blew me away. They met in a theatre type room that seated about 100 people and it was overflowing. After inviting the Holy Spirit, the leader laid out the plan for us and gave us time limits due to the size of the crowd. We would spend 10 minutes in quiet listening prayer to see what was on God’s heart. What did He have to say and what did He want us to pray about? We were each to write down what He showed us. Then the leader began to call for people to come forward individually to share what God had told them and pray into that.
By this time there was such a thick presence of God in the room that some people were sobbing and others were shaking so hard they could not even hold the microphone. Often someone else had to read their notes for them since they had crumpled to the floor. By the way, these were Catholics, Baptists, Charismatics – people from various denominations, cultures and nations learning how to be truly one in the Spirit. It was stunning.
As the notes were read, in the beginning some of it seemed random and I wondered where it was all going. But soon a pattern began to develop and it was obvious that the same Spirit was directing it all. Something that seemed not to make any sense would be put on hold for the moment. Then another person would share what he had received and it would fit perfectly with the first word and sometimes even bring more understanding. One person shared a fairly vague sense of danger for people in Congo. But later another person had seen a vision of a specific village bordering Congo with a refugee camp. The people there had been traumatized. They had little food and no clean drinking water. Now we could pray more specifically. On and on it went. It seemed as if the Lord had opened a huge jigsaw puzzle and showered it down on us, giving everyone a piece. If you only saw your piece it didn’t look like much or make any sense. But when all the pieces were put together the things He led us to pray about fit together beautifully. We only know things “in part”. We need each other. (1 Cor. 13:9)
Imagine the possibilities of that kind of prayer. Could this be the end of the boring prayer meeting? You know, the kind where it’s all about me and my little group, none of the prayers make it past the city limits and everyone is trying hard to stay awake. Even the angels are yawning at meetings like that because they don’t have much to do! Psalm 103:20 says that they “excel in strength and do His commandments, harkening to (listening with the intent to obey) the voice of His word.” While we do not command them or tell them what to do, they are also listening for the voice of His Word to come through our mouths! When we pray according to His Word and His will, the angels are sent to ‘do His commandments’ and bring answers to those prayers.
Let’s pray the Word of God and make declarations in agreement with His Word. Let’s ask Him how He feels about things and then pray His heart and His will into the matter. His prayers get answered!
For more on this type of prayer see http://www.maheshchavda.com and their weekly Watch of the Lord. I also recommend James Goll’s website, Encounters Network and Prayer Storm http://www.encountersnetwork.org.