Tag Archives: by faith

Purpose, provision, our Promised land and Holiness. Extracts from Two Seconds to Midnight

Our purpose
To be yoked to Jesus is to be yoked to His purpose. John tells us that the purpose for which the Son of God was made manifest was to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Our purpose is to bear fruit. Think of the parable of the sower: the seeds sown in and through our lives can’t bear fruit if the devil snatches them away, if they have no spiritual nourishment in which to put down roots, or if they are choked by worldly distractions and worries. The “good ground” is where these works of the devil are being or have been destroyed: this is where we bear fruit and where we find our promised rest. Because rest follows work: we enter into the Lord’s rest when we stand in the victory wrought through the work of the cross. Whatever we are seeking to accomplish in the kingdom of God must be a work of the Spirit: unless we truly believe that Christ has already accomplished at the cross the work we are walking in, we will achieve nothing. If it is not a work of faith, it is a work of the flesh and will simply burn in the fire of testing. The rest that is born out of walking in the purpose that God has birthed in us is the rest that is found in the place of victory on the other side of the cross.

Our Promised Land
Our promised land – the “exceedingly great and precious promises that have been given to us” – is this: to be “partakers of the divine nature”. If we allow ourselves to be invaded by the Spirit of God, we not only find ourselves starting to really know Him – to know His heart, His character, His desires for us, and above all His voice – we start becoming like Him. We will do what He did, and we will do the “greater things” promised in John 14:12. We will start to feel His compassion, so it won’t even occur to us to want to feed ourselves before feeding the 5,000. We will speak out of His love instead of our self-interest. Our promised land isn’t our city, the mega-church we want to build, a worldwide ministry, or 10,000 views on our YouTube channel; it’s to be partakers of the divine nature. The prerequisite to entry is that we have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”. All that leaven has to go. Only Jesus can make this happen, because “if the Sonmakes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36) and He will do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, because “the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17). Peter needed Pentecost to be yoked to Jesus. And if it was necessary for Peter, it is necessary for us.

If you are married, it is very likely that you and your spouse became man and wife because you loved one another. If your marriage is successful, one of the reasons is probably the fact that you were attracted to the qualities you saw in your spouse. You loved – and hopefully still love! – your spouse because of who they are, and because you love the qualities and the attributes that characterise them. We worship God, and tell Him we love Him. It’s reasonable to say that God’s standout attribute is His holiness. So do we love holiness?

If we put a poster on the wall saying “Be holy, for I am holy,” our response to it at any given time would be a good litmus test of whether we are walking in the flesh or in the Spirit. The flesh is corrupt so it will always want to avoid even the thought of holiness, so in the flesh we would most likely just want to take it off the wall and put a photo frame there instead. If we want to run from the poster there is no point praying about anything, because we won’t be praying in the Spirit – unless of course we are praying about not wanting to run from the poster. However, in the Spirit we will see those words and be drawn to Jesus, and coming from our heart will be a cry that He will continue to work in our lives to remove anything that stops the light of His holiness shining in our lives. That would be a good time to pray.

God’s Provision
The important lesson for us is that God’s provision is in His very presence. What He wants from us is our hearts: a willingness to trust Him with what is ours, and to place it in His hands. We catch a glimpse, literally, of God’s perspective on our economy when we see Jesus sitting outside the Temple watching people putting their gifts into the treasury. We know the story: the poor widow, whose two mites represented all she had, had put in far more than the wealthy who gave leftovers from their abundance. We don’t see that widow again, but we can be sure that God gave back to her in the same measure that she had given to the Temple. Wealth and poverty have traded places. Our God is a creator, and loves to create, and we can so easily forget that when we look at our bank statements. But if our hearts are rich towards Him, we will see Him create in our material circumstances and fill our baskets, whereas if our hearts are bound by our bank accounts we remain in poverty, and will only ever see the loaves and fishes that we can provide for ourselves.

Signs of the Times

This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith…

As we look at the USA, Covid, and the rest of it, we can easily take our eyes off things above and dwell on what we see in the world. But what is happening in the world is only a reflection of what is taking place in the Spirit, and some of the scenario of the spiritual battle is given to us – cryptically, I know – in the book of Revelation. When tears come to our eyes – as they do to mine, when I miss my grandchildren – we need to remember that the day is coming when He will wipe all those tears away. But before then, we are called to watch and pray. And if we watch, there are some things that are visible, but which point to the bigger picture. Here is a little snapshot of a bit of it:

A lady (in the USA) with a small Ebay business sold patriotic items, which she advertised on facebook. Facebook (and possibly Ebay as well, but I’m not sure about that detail) closed her down, because use of the terms “patriot” and “patriotic” are now “contrary to their policies.” She now no longer trades. Because of Facebook’s perceived anti-republican stance, many Christians and other republicans turned to a small rival to FB called “Parler” which some of you may have heard of. Parler is French for “to speak”, and it’s a platform that champions freedom of expression – in particular, but of course not exclusively, freedom to speak what God speaks. Parler used Amazon’s online web services platform. Amazon has now closed down Parler.

Following the Capitol Hill demonstration, the Facebook mouthpieces have justified their policy by saying that encouraging patriotism can incite violence. Yet FB has kept complete silence over all the Black Lives Matter rampages throughout 2020, so their policy has nothing to do with violence and everything to do with who they want to silence.  What is actually happening is that the online giants are closing ranks against those who do not agree with their liberal policies. I only know of that one lady who has lost her business so far, but I’m sure there will be more, and we can only see the “you can only use our platform if we agree with you” trend continuing.

Perhaps you can see where this is going? It’s Revelation chapter 13, verse 17 in particular: “No one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” If this seems far off, we need to look again, because that lady who loves her country and what it stands for would say that it’s already beginning to happen.

Meanwhile COVID continues to stalk the globe, and the thin ice of the world economy gets thinner by the day as it trades its mountain of make-believe printed money. By now we’ve all heard of bitcoin and blockchain, and some of us may have used it. The solution to a worldwide economic collapse would be a complete reset to a digital currency. China has already successfully trialled one – the E Rmb – in several cities, including Chengdu and Shenzhen. And in the Covid arena again, a comprehensive and international “track and trace” programme would seem to be an obvious development to combat the virus. It would also be very useful to governments trying to close down the Church. The digital cloud covers the whole of the world.

This of course is speculative. But what could we have, if we put these threads together – and it may not be as far away as we would like to think –  may be something like this:

We are the digital state. We do not have national boundaries. The nations belong to us, and we belong to the Prince of the Power of the Air, because we are the Cloud. We know who you are and where you come in and go out. You cannot trade unless you sign up to our policies, and our policies exclude the Church of Jesus Christ. You cannot trade unless you use our currency. If you do not belong to us you will be cut off from society, and you will die.”

We need to look beyond the cloud, and look to the things above, where the Sun of Righteousness is shining. Because He will break through. The currency of the World may well end up as bitcoin, but the currency of the Kingdom is faith, and “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4) And amongst Kingdom businesses and financial organisations, God is already raising up an Ark of resources where this currency is in operation and where God’s people will be able to find shelter from the coming flood. So hen we see the news and read the papers, let us also be sure to read the signs of the times. Let us watch and pray, because we do not know the day or the hour…

The Stage is Set

I was looking at an image of a sage with the curtains drawn across and the spotlight shining on the curtains. Then I felt the Lord say this:

The Lord has set the stage and is assembling His cast. Our lines are written in Heaven, according to Ephesians 2:10. He says to us now: “learn your parts. For your parts are not playacting, they are the eternal reality of my Spirit. What is on the stage will not pass away; it is not just there for a season; it is built for eternity.“

An actor who comes out of role on stage is said to “corpse.“ The Lord says to us: “Your role is the reality. The spirit is your reality. Walk in the spirit, and do not corpse by walking after the flesh. The world thinks it is here to stay, and it is always fighting to stay; but the truth is the opposite: you are here to stay, and the world and all that is in it is passing away. Soon I will be drawing back the curtains to reveal what is on the stage that I have set, and my church will act the parts that I have prepared for them. But the spotlight will not be on you; it will be on Me. The Acts of the Apostles was just a prelude to what I have prepared for these times. Listen for my cues; wait for my cues; always move on cue and do not corpse. The world will begin to see who you are and who I am in your midst. The first act is coming; there will be many more acts after this, until the time comes for the final bow. So I say to you again: learn your parts, do not corpse, listen for my cues. And do not fear, for I am renewing faith among my people. You will enjoy the thrill of being in my theatre.”

Seated in Heavenly Places

“In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them.” (Zechariah 12:8)

“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which we have been given exceedingly great and precious promises, that we may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pe 1:3-4)

Who do you see in the mirror?

When speaking of the Word of God, the apostle James wrote: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (James 1: 23-23) The question is, what kind of people are we, who have been born from above to “conform to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29) Who do we see when we look in the mirror of the Word? We are the spiritual house of David that Jesus is building by the Holy Spirit (1 Pe 2:5). The prophet Zechariah doesn’t mince his words: he says that we will be “like God.” Peter says that through God’s “great and precious promises” we are “partakers of the divine nature.” Yet you don’t have to spend more than a few seconds with me to know that I am clearly not like God at all. What’s gone wrong?

Nothing, because you are seeing my flesh and not my spirit. I have already looked at our spiritual identities in “We shall be like Him,” and it seems to me that the evidence of Scripture is this: in the heavenly places where we are seated, we are like Him already, because we are already seated in the atmosphere of His glory, where nothing can dwell that is less than perfect.

Here are a few details of who we are in Christ that Scripture has sketched in for us:

“Those whom he justified he also glorified.”  (Romans 8 28-29)
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them” (John 17:22)

We have come to “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” (Heb 12:23)

We are “crowned with glory and honour.” (Psalm 8:5)

We have places to walk in the courts of Heaven (Zech 3:7)

We can be “joyful in glory” and have the honour of “executing God’s written judgement” on the Nations (Psalm 149: 5-9).

We “Worship God in the Beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9)

All of these descriptions of the Saints – and there are plenty more – can only relate to our walk in the Spirit: since the flesh wars against the spirit nothing of our carnal nature can have any part in them. From the moment we are born again to the time when we join the Lord in Heaven we mature as Christians, “grow(ing) up  in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” (Eph 5:15) as the Holy Spirit bears the fruit of Christ in our lives. But the question I am aiming at is this: is a baby Christian on Earth also a baby Christian in Heaven?

I think the answer has to be “No.” There is no passage of time in Heaven, where a year is as a thousand days, where the God who created time has reigned since before time began and where we are seated as His children together with His Son. If there is no duration in Heaven, there can also be no maturation: what we are in the Spirit is what we were created to be, as are the angels, the seraphim, the 24 elders and all the other members of the Heavenly host. I think we “grow up in all things into Him who is the head” (Eph 4:15) as, step by step, faith to faith, and obedient moment by obedient moment, we put to death our carnal natures and allow our spirits and not our flesh to do the walking.

Paul exhorts the Philippians to “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.” (Phil 2: 14-16)

The “crooked and perverse generation” is the generation of the First Adam (See “away in a manger” for more on this). As we let the dead shell of that same carnal nature fall away, the light of Christ’s Spirit that is one with ours shines more and more strongly and brings His light into the darkness, while His Word executes His will on Earth. The process of maturing as Christians is becoming on Earth who we already are in Heaven, and in doing so becoming the answers to the Lord’s prayer: “Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” The correct translation of the Greek tenses in Matthew 18:18 is this: “Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on the earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Everything was finished at Calvary: as we grow in the Spirit we are always reaching into Heavenly places for a completed work.

Pauls prayer for the Ephesians was

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…” (Eph 1:17-20)

It is often said that Jesus is the “bridge” from earth to Heaven. The bridge from Heaven to Earth is the Holy Spirit: the baptism in the Holy Spirit gives us all we need of Heaven’s equipping for our earthly works – “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.” The more that we can see in the mirror of God’s word who we really are, the more the eyes of our understanding will be enlightened, and the greater will be the works (John 14:12) that we will do.

The accuser of the brethren has been cast down.

 “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” (Rev. 12:10)

We have been raised with Christ and are seated with Him in Heavenly places. We know that those heavenly places are vast beyond any notion of human measure, and we also know from Ephesians 6:12 that somewhere “up” there “the principalities and powers of this present darkness” are doing battle against the will of God and the saints of the Lamb. But Ephesians 1:21 gives us some detail about where, in those heavenly places, Christ is seated. He is seated “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” And not only is Christ seated there, but we are too:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2: 4-6)

We have been raised to those same heavenly places above the same principalities and powers, by the love and mercy of God, to be seated there together with Him. And while we have been lifted up there, Satan, the “Accuser of the brethren,” has been cast down:

 “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” (Rev. 12:10)

If you have been born again – and you almost certainly have been, or you wouldn’t be reading this – you know this as a fact, and it’s always good to remind ourselves of the scripture where that truth is declared. But I think many of us – me included, for sure – can take a massive stride forward in our walk of faith if we live every day in the knowledge that any accusing words coming into our minds originate from the devil, and that when we walk free of the accusations of the enemy we can walk in salvation, strength, the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ. It’s what Revelation 12:2 says. Accusing is what the devil and his fallen angels do. And now that they have been cast down, and “there was no place found for them in Heaven any longer,” (Rev. 12:8) their desire is always to bring us down with them. Whether we are accusing ourselves, or accusing others; whatever the accusation and wherever there is a pointing finger, we can be sure that the voice doesn’t come from heaven, because there is nowhere in Heaven that accusation has a place.

By contrast, we read the following in Revelation 4: 1-2 “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” In the book of Zechariah, the prophet writes five times that he “raised his eyes” to see what the Spirit was revealing. If we too “raise our eyes” we also can sometimes catch a glimpse of what God is doing. Jesus has opened a door in Heaven and has given us access to where we can look in the Spirit to the One who is seated on the throne. And if we keep looking, we can see ourselves seated there as well.

Zephaniah said this:
“The LORD has taken away your judgments,
He has cast out your enemy.
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
You shall see disaster no more.”
(Zeph 3:15)

The accuser can have nothing more to say to us, because the Lord has taken away our judgements. Even in our trials we can “count it all joy” (James 1:2) because of the enduring fruit that is borne by the testing of our faith. So when we look up to where we are seated and praise the One whose great love lifted us there, we are not only encouraging ourselves and giving Him glory, but by the very stance that we take we are doing battle with the enemy of our souls.

The psalmist knew this battle well:

“As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
(Psalm 42: 10-11)

Our praise to God is always an act of war.

I enjoy Premier League football and occasionally go to watch matches. One day we had tickets for an away game: it was the last game of the season, and our opponents on that day were in a relegation battle with their bitter rivals from the same city. Normally all attention is on the game taking place in the stadium, but on this occasion the home fans were far more interested in the score from their rivals’ game as it flashed up on their mobile phones than what was happening on the pitch in front of them. When it was obvious that the rival team had lost and would be relegated, the following chant reverberated round the stadium: “We’re staying up; you’re going down! We’re staying up; you’re going down!”

When the enemy whispers his accusations in our ear, we just have to remember one refrain, adapted slightly from the football chant: “We’re staying up; you’re staying down!”

We Shall Be Like Him

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) 

I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,… and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band… And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Rev 1: 12, 13, 17, 18)

John, the author of the Book of Revelation, was the “disciple that Jesus loved.” He was the one who rested his head on the chest of Jesus at the last supper; he walked with Him for three years; he saw Him on the cross, he saw Him after the resurrection, he saw Him ascend to Heaven and he even saw Him transfigured on the mountain. What John saw on those occasions was the Son of Man in a form that his eyes could behold and his brain could – at least to a degree at the transfiguration – comprehend. And then John saw Him again, on the Isle of Patmos. He saw the same Jesus, but with His glory undimmed, and he fell at His feet “as one dead.” Whether or not he recognised the Jesus that he had seen on the Earth is not clear, but what is clear is that he responds to Him on an entirely different level.

I think it’s clear that John saw the glorified Jesus “as He is” while he was in the Spirit on Patmos. When Jesus went from Earth to Heaven he went in his earthly form; but when He comes from Heaven to Earth we can expect Him to be much as He appeared to John on Patmos: “One like the Son of Man.” John’s vision gives us an image of the Risen Lord in His heavenly glory, and his epistle tells us that when He returns we will be like Him too. So we read these verses, and look forward in our minds to the time in the future when they are fulfilled. Maybe we dwell for a few moments on the thought that one day ‘we will be like Jesus,’ then move on in our devotions or whatever we are doing. But do we ever think of ourselves as being like Him now?

Yet we, His brothers and sisters, are seated with Him in heavenly places. What are we wearing as spiritual beings in the courts of Heaven? Jeans and jumpers? Or maybe we too have shining robes and sashes of gold round our chests. Do we have bad hair and tired eyes? Or do we too have hair as white as wool and eyes as flames of fire? John says clearly that “we will be like Him” when Jesus returns, and Paul uses similar language when he looks forward to that long-awaited time: “The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” (Romans 8:19)  What seems inescapable to me is that what we will be on Earth then – when “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality-” (1 Cor 15:53) is what our immortal spirits are in heavenly places now. Like actors on a stage waiting for the curtain to be pulled back, the children of God – you and I – who will be “revealed” when Jesus returns are already seated in heavenly places today, waiting for the time to come when we will reign with Him on Earth. (Rev 5:10)

If we are praying in the Spirit, worshipping in the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit, we need to see ourselves in the Spirit as well. We talk and teach about knowing “who we are in Christ,” and being clothed in “robes of righteousness,” so when we see our spirit selves in the heavenly mirror of the Word of God, what is the image that we behold? Our spiritual DNA is the same as the Christ who revealed Himself to John. He is our brother. We have the same Father. Is it too fanciful to believe that in Heavenly places, where our immortal spirits, “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Heb 12:23) by His blood, are seated with Him, serving as kings and priests to our God (Rev 1:6) we may have similar eyes as well?

We have His name. We have His Spirit. We have His word. It’s time we looked at Jesus as He is now and recognised ourselves in Him, because I think that many of us would fall on our faces, just as John did before our older brother, if we saw with the eyes of the flesh who we really are in the Spirit. But once we had told ourselves not to be afraid because we too were dead – we died with Christ – and now  we are alive for evermore, we would be much less troubled by the temptations and trials of this passing mortal realm, and our faith would be on another level.

“Awake, awake!
Put on your strength, O Zion;
Put on your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city!
(Isaiah 52:1)

Are You a Believer?

“I also asked about the ten horns on the fourth beast’s head and the little horn that came up afterward and destroyed three of the other horns. This horn had seemed greater than the others, and it had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly. As I watched, this horn was waging war against God’s holy people and was defeating them, until the Ancient One—the Most High—came and judged in favor of his holy people. Then the time arrived for the holy people to take over the kingdom.” (Daniel 7: 20-22 NLT)

Are you a believer? Do you believe that the Lord made the Heavens and the Earth? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for your sins, was resurrected on the third day, is seated at the right hand of God and will return one day, possibly quite soon, to judge both the living and the dead? Do you believe that Man was created in the image of God and did not evolve from lizards? Do you believe that unborn children should not be murdered? That you and I were designed to have a lifelong relationship with a member of the opposite sex? And do you support a political party that, in the main at least, upholds these values?

If you do, you are in good company: you are in “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.” (Heb 12:23) We belong, not because we know better, but because we believe.

But when you speak of these things that you believe, are you mocked and vilified? Are you made to feel at times that you are simple-minded, ignorant and foolish when you even think them; that it really is time that you woke (pun intended) up to reality? If this is you, remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,  against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12) The voice that seeks to make you feel ashamed of what you believe is not the voice of the secular media, it’s not even the voice of the editor of that left-wing journal that claims to speak for freedom; it comes straight from the mouth of the prince of the power of the air whose servants they are, who “boasts arrogantly” against the Most High God and wages war against His people. The more arrogant the voice, the closer it comes to judgement.

And if you are a brother of sister in the USA right now, be encouraged, Child of God, for the Most High will, in His time, judge in favour of His holy people.

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” (1 John 3:1)

I am the Gate

“Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the East, but it was shut. And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.” (Ezekiel 44: 1-2)

Starting with chapter 40 and going through to chapter 48, the book of Ezekiel closes with a revelation of the Temple that is yet to come, of the restored land of Israel, of the river of Life that flows from the temple, and ultimately of the New Jerusalem defined by the final verse of the book: “the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.” (Eze 48:35). The Temple that Ezekiel is shown is a picture of majesty and perfection in worship described in the terms of the Old Covenant, which was the only frame of reference that Israel had at the time. In his vision, Ezekiel saw the Glory of the Lord enter by the East gate, which is the context of the beginning of Chapter 44 quoted above. No man shall ever enter that Holy place by the gate through which the Lord came into the sanctuary.

However, “Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Heb 9: 12-13). When that perfect eternal sacrifice of Jesus was accomplished at the Cross, we know that the veil of the Temple – the great curtain that screened off the most Holy Place – was torn in two, from top to bottom. Christ had made a way for us to enter into the Most Holy Presence of God.

The East gate was shut forever to all men, because it was touched with the majestic holiness of God which no man can come near. But now the Son of Man, the first Man of the new creation, has passed through that gate on our behalf. Jesus said: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9) Jesus Himself has become the gate to the heavenly temple that was closed to all, so that through Him all can have access to the Holy of Holies.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh… let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 19,20, 22)

Jesus talks of coming to salvation through Him; He is the Gate into the holy presence of God. Through that gate those who are saved ”come in and out and find pasture.” As Peter said to the religious leaders in Jerusalem, “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) This great salvation that Jesus and the New Testament writers speak about is not just ‘being saved from the consequences of our sin and going to heaven instead of hell’ – although of course it is that- it is feeding (“finding pasture”) day by day in the Holy Presence of God.

The apostle Peter wrote: “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9) By faith we enter that Holy of Holies which is “not of this creation,” and from it we take an experience of the Presence of God that is a reality in “this creation,” because it fills us with “joy inexpressible and full of glory.” That joy in the presence of God is part of the ‘deposit of Heaven’ that is given to us by the Holy Spirit, who is “is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1: 14)

There is no way into the Holy of Holies other than through the gate of Jesus, and having received salvation through Him the Presence of God becomes our daily food, a source of inexpressible and glorious joy. The River of Living Water in the Holy Spirit that flows out of that same Eastern side of the Temple (Ezekiel 47) pours into us, and comes bubbling “out of our hearts.”  (John 7:39) The package that Jesus and the New Testament writers call Salvation is not just eternal life in the future, but it’s eternal life bubbling through into the present as well as we experience the presence of God in our daily life. This experience is what God created us to enjoy: when Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” (John 10:10) this is what He means. The “fellowship of the Holy Spirit” is not just a phrase that comes out of our mouths when we “say the grace” together: it is the experienced reality of Salvation; it is life to the full.

If you feel like you are banging on the doors of the Eastern Gate but you do not know this “Life to the Full,” you need to ask yourself if you really do know the one Person who can give it to you. Knowing about Him, and even trying to do what He taught, isn’t enough: you need to be in Him, because He is the gate. And more, much more than that, He longs to be in you. Because when His Spirit is in you, He can bubble out to other people that He loves as well. Don’t let the thief steal fullness of Life from you any longer.

By Faith

(School of Prophesy 14 Nov 2020)

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

I enjoy cooking and do a lot of it. Some of my meals are experiments; some are “regulars.” Cooked breakfast based around bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes on Saturday morning is a “regular:” before I break the first egg I know what the complete meal will look like on the table and taste like when we eat it. I have faith for it. The word “substance,” in Hebrews 11: 1 is hypostasis, which literally means something that is “set under;” firm foundation that has actual substance. Elegchos, “evidence,” is just that: it’s proof of reality. That egg isn’t broken in a vague hope that somehow it will become scrambled and the rest of the  breakfast will also appear from an unexpected source: I have a track record of making  lot of breakfasts successfully. My faith in what is not yet seen has a substantial foundation and strong evidence to support it.

For a faith-filled walk with Jesus the same principles apply: the difference is that we put our trust in His “track record,” and not our own. We know that Hebrews 11:6 tells us “without faith it is impossible to please (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him,” but to see answers to our prayers, and, more importantly, to grow in our faith, I believe we have to be more focussed and specific in how we exercise it.

I think a key verse is John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”  We tend to connect “bearing fruit” with becoming more Christlike as we increasingly manifest the Galatians 5 fruit of the Spirit. However Jesus, whose likeness we seek, directly links fruitfulness with answered prayer. Whatever we ask in the name of Jesus the Father will give us, and that fruit will remain.

Anne and I own a small business. If I say to one employee: “John, go and ask Phil to fetch me a large box from the warehouse, please,” John will be passing an instruction on to Phil in my name. If John then just gives Phil a generic request to get me a container, and Phil comes back with a glass measuring jug, for example, did John pass on the request in my name? No. The measuring jug won’t do the job that I needed the box for. Jesus knows what He needs to build His Kingdom much better than we do, which is why Paul says in Romans 8:26 that we don’t know what to pray for. If we want our prayers to be answered we need to know what to ask for, and we have to hear this from Jesus by the Holy Spirit, because it’s in His name that we are asking.

Faith is like a muscle: it grows from exercise. The more we pray according to the Holy Spirit’s instructions, the more we will see our prayers answered; and the more we see answers to prayer, the more we will seek God for what to ask for. And so we begin to develop our own personal track record, not of what we’ve done, but of what we’ve seen Jesus do; and our faith grows until we start to see those “greater things” happening through our prayers that Jesus has promised us. No more should our faith be like a grappling hook on the end of a long rope that we sling in God’s direction, in the hope that we can hang onto something substantial: the evidence and the substance of the outcome that we are praying for, in the name of Jesus and according to His instructions, can be seen in the history of answered prayers that we already have accumulated.

Psalm 2: 8 says “Ask Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance.” God told Heidi Baker to ask Him for a nation, and she asked Him for Mozambique. He gave it to her: multiple thousands have been saved and healed in that country, and others around it, since then, and Iris Ministries was born. Heidi Baker had already exercised her faith muscle enough for the Lord to know that He could trust her with that prayer. She was a long way past “breakfast.” She has borne fruit a hundredfold, and many times a hundredfold, and has been living in a season of “greater things” for many years. So yes, God will indeed give us “anything we ask:” He said so, therefore it must be true. There is no limit to His ability and desire to give to His children. But we have to ask according to our faith. When the two blind men approached Jesus after He had raised Jairus’s daughter and asked for healing, He said to them:   “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” (Matt. 9:28). So “Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Like those blind men, we have to see by faith what God is going to do.

Where are we in our faith journey? Are we on the road to the “greater things,” or are we still standing in the same place with our grappling hook, and just hoping God will reach out and grab it when it’s thrown? The disciples asked Jesus to teach us how to pray, and in the Lord’s Prayer He gave us a series of chapter headings on the different areas that we should cover. (For more on this topic, see “Praying with Jesus, by Paul Yonggi Cho; written in 1988, but just as fresh today.) If we are still just praying the chapter headings, we haven’t learnt anything. If we are praying for “all the sick in our town,” or even in our church, we haven’t learnt anything. It’s not what Jesus wants us to do. He wants us to pray for other people out of our relationship with Him, asking the Father for what the Holy Spirit reveals to us as His will.

Like everything else in our journey, our prayers must spring out of our relationship with Jesus. If Jill’s life is in a mess and our hearts goes out to her, it’s not enough to say, “Lord, Jill’s life is in a mess. Please sort her out!” That’s just a grappling hook with nowhere to land. The test is simple: where is the faith that is the evidence and the substance of the answer? It’s not there. But if we ask the Holy Spirit for revelation, and we get a sense of a particular problem in Jill’s life that the Lord wants to address, then we can have faith for a clear outcome that becomes the substance of our prayers. Our prayers will flow from our relationship with Jesus, not our relationship with Jill. This is one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit gives words of Knowledge: if we know that God is going to open deaf ears in a meeting, because He has told us, we can step out and break the eggs, knowing that He is going to make the omelette.

As we move forward into the uncharted waters of today’s world, believing that God has got a great move of the Holy Spirit planned and knowing that the enemy will do everything he can to get in the way, it is of paramount importance that we grow in faith and keep moving along the path to those “greater things” of John 14:12. Like a parent on a busy sidewalk holding a child’s hand as they hurry to catch a train, Jesus is saying to us “Stay close!” The time is advancing quickly, but in His presence there is always provision and protection. If we ensure that our prayers always come from that proximity to Him we will bear fruit to His glory and our faith will grow. But if, in the full knowledge of Romans 8:26 we continue to pray without knowing what to pray for, we will be standing still while Jesus leads those who are staying close towards the station. And when that revival train pulls into the platform and the doors open for a few minutes, we won’t be getting on board.

If this article has helped you, please forward it to somebody else. We don’t want people missing the train.

The Refit: Part two

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

We all know this verse – or if we don’t, it’s about time we did. What we may not be fully aware of is the full meaning of the Greek word katartizo which is translated in the above version (NKJ) as “framed”, and (weakly, I would say) as “formed” in the NIV. Here is the Strong’s definition:

katartízō, kat-ar-tid’-zo; to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust:—fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect(-ly join together), prepare, restore.”

This word katartizo  sits squarely on the picture of the Church’s mission plane undergoing a refit, which was one of the prophetic words brought to Wildwood and, I believe, to the wider church, on 8th Novenber. The word talks of God working on us by His creative power, so I want to unpack something of what I see in how we can respond to it. And before going any further I want to emphasise what a strong sense of His love and grace in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit it carries: He is going to repair, mend, and restore, both individual people and ministries. There will be adjustments to make and new parts to fit, so that we can be perfectly prepared and thoroughly complete for the mission ahead.

So I believe that God is going to refit the Church by the same process as He made the worlds, because that is what He works with. But if this is the case, Hebrews 11:3 teaches that we have to understand His workings by faith, not by human reason. Many years ago I was flying to Bolivia and was sitting in the transit lounge at Caracas (Venezuala) airport where our plane stopped to refuel. But while it was there on the tarmac just outside the transit lounge window, something else was going on. I looked on, horrified, as a mechanic with a toolbox stood at the bottom of a pair of steps, while another mechanic standing on the wing reached into one of the engines with something, shook his head, passed it down to his assistant and took something else to try.  Fortunately whatever it was must have worked, but I was very glad when that plane landed. But I don’t think God is planning a tinkering job just to get the plane over the next leg of the journey, and we cannot use the toolbox of our human reasoning on what we see in order to understand what He is going to do, because “katartizo” creates  by His Word out of things which are not visible.

We often use the word “grasp” when we talk of understanding. God has put His law into our hearts and written it on our minds: this is part of His new covenant with us. So although we cannot rationally understand the infinite dimensions of His provision, we can reach into the Spirit that He has given us and “grasp” them. I believe that this is what Jesus teaches when He talks about faith like a mustard seed in Matthew 17:20, and the faith that moves mountains in Mark 11:23. I believe that we can only do this by prayer and by revelation. So what “seeds” do we need to grasp by faith so that we can be ready for the refit? Here are four that are at the top of my list, which I offer in full knowledge of the fact that there are many, many others.

Who He is in us.
He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the universe was created by Him, through Him, and for Him; He is sovereign over all, and He dwells within us by His Spirit. If we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, we acknowledge His total lordship over our lives. These are the worshippers that the Father is seeking. If we aren’t sensitive to His Spirit when we worship, we aren’t worshipping Him in spirit. If we aren’t in submission to His lordship, we aren’t worshipping Him in truth.

What He has done for us
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”(Heb 10:14). Although our sanctification is an ongoing process, Jesus has made us “perfect forever” in the sight of God by His sacrifice at the Cross, “Therefore … we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.” (Heb 10: 19) So although we may not think we are “good enough” or “mature enough” to be of any use in the purposes of God, we have all been “made perfect” before the Father and can therefore all draw near, whoever we are, to receive from His hand whatever He has for us and for those to whom He sends us.

What He has given us
As well as opening the way to the Father and giving us eternal life, giving us all the promises and principles of His Word, redeeming us from the curse if sin and death and pouring our His love and mercy into our hearts, God has given us precious and powerful gifts. Father, Son and Holy Spirit have all gifted the church and each of us as individuals in different ways. Father “has dealt to each one a measure of faith,” and we find His giftings in Romans 12: 3-8. The Son gave the five ministry gifts to the Church, and we find them in Ephesians 4: 11-12. The Holy Spirit distributes a variety of gifts “to each one as He wills” – 1 Cor 12 and 14. It is the combination of all of these gifts from the Godhead that enables the plane to fly properly as we follow the instructions that He has given us in the  flight manual – the Bible. I believe that they all need to be functioning fully if we are to be prepared for the next mission, and that God is going to focussing on all of them as part of the overhaul that He seems to be planning.

What He will do for us
He will do whatever we ask – as long as we abide in Him and His word abides in us. Greater works than Jesus did, because He has gone to the Father and left the power of resurrection life with His body, the Church. He will give us the power and authority to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead in His name. He will provide for all our need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. He will be our strength and our shield in the battles that we are going to face. He will always be with us. Whatever we give He will give to us, but according to His dimensions – pressed down and running over it will be poured into our laps. He will give us our daily bread, forgive our sins, and deliver us from evil, and His Kingdom will come, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

This list is just a faint, watery thumbnail sketch of a handful of glimpses of the mighty Lord who loves us and lives in us and whom we serve. But if we can reach out with our faith and grasp even these principles I think we can be in a place where He is able to shine the beam of His light into the machinery of the aeroplane and begin the work of the refit. And if we want to have some idea of what might come out of the hangar when God has finished the refit, and just how far beyond ‘anything we could ask or imagine’ it is likely to be, have a look at Andrew Baker’s prophesy of The Amazing Plane.

I love the sound of the word Katartizo. It’s like something out of a superhero comic book when the hero saves the day.

Ka-boom! Katartizo!