Tag Archives: walk in the light

Buckle up the Belt of Truth (Teaching)

When God spoke through his prophets to his old covenant people he repeated the same message many times and in many different ways: “Return to me or face the consequences!”

The same God speaks through his prophets today. He continues to say the same thing to different people in different ways. His heart of love for His people has not changed: He continues to say “Return to me!“  And the call hasn’t changed: He said to the first Adam “where are you?“ and today, although the context may be different, He still says to us, the brothers and sisters of the second Adam: “Where are you?“

Because He still is longing to walk with us in the garden of His promises, and many in His church are still nowhere to be seen. He has a plan and a purpose, and He wants to see that plan and  purpose fulfilled in our lives; but this will not happen unless we walk with him, close to him, yoked to him.

The message that He is giving to many of his prophets today is clear: the vision is “written on tablets so that he may run who reads it!” (Hab 2:2) There is a great shaking coming on the world; and there will be much upheaval; but in and through this we will find safety under the shadow of his wings; we will be a light in the darkness as we walk in his light, and as His light arises on us so many will come out of the darkness to seek Him. There have been pictures of earthquakes, of storms, of avalanches; there have been words of the lion roaring, of light shining, of a strong tower standing, but the message is fundamentally Isaiah 60: 2-3, and ultimately the deepest symbolism of the Book of Revelation:

For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the LORD will arise over you,
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
And His glory will be seen upon you.

Nevertheless there is a new emphasis now, a new note that hasn’t been heard before. In summary, what I feel the Spirit is saying to the Church is this:

“Buckle up for a bumpy ride, because this really is about to happen soon. Buckle up the belt of Truth, because this is what will keep you safe. But pay attention, because it will be the new thing I am doing, and not the old thing that you have been doing. Listen to me and learn from me and you will tread the high places of the Earth in my presence. But if you refuse to listen you will seek me but you will not find me; you will see my light shining over the mountains but you will continue to stumble through the undergrowth of the valley that I want to lead you out of; and your heart will be in danger of growing bitter and critical towards those who are experiencing my glory.”

Our response.

Prophesy requires a response. When Agabus prophesied a famine, “ the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea” (See Acts 11: 28-30) So how do we do to prepare for what is coming? Here are a few suggestions.

Intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus tells us that His sheep hear His voice – but it’s only through the Holy Spirit that He speaks, whether this is directly into our hearts or via the Bible, so unless we are familiar with that voice we will not recognise it when it comes, and we will miss His directions. This doesn’t just mean spending a fixed period of time every day praying and reading the Bible; it means staying close to Him all day so that we can hear his whisper as we walk, that “voice behind us, saying this is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

Openness to change.
God is doing “a new thing.” This doesn’t mean that it’s not in the Bible, because it is. It will either be prophesy that is now coming to fulfilment, or aspects of new testament church life and ministry that God is only now restoring to the church. We need to make sure that our openness to what God is doing today is is only shaped by what He did when He first established the church 2,000 years ago. and just not by what we, our fathers, or our Bible teachers saw God doing yesterday.

Practical love
Are we free and generous in our giving? As the financial systems of the world become more shaky, the best place to invest our money is in the Bank of Heaven, where “moth and rust do not corrupt, and thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt 6:19) As we shovel out, God shovels in – and His shovel is bigger than ours.

Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). Jesus is coming for a bride without spot or blemish. God judged idolatry and compromise among His Old Covenant people and He has not changed today. We all need to ask the Holy Spirit if we have any idols ourselves, and what we need to do for our “houses” to be an acceptable dwelling place for Him. We must recognise that when Peter meant what he said when he wrote “Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”.

None of these – or other principals of discipleship – are new ideas. I think that the “new thing” that God is doing today is to allow unprecedented erosion of the sandy foundations that the world’s civilisation is built upon, so that what is build on the Rock of Jesus Christ is the safe haven that can be seen by all, more clearly than ever before. His call to us today is to make sure we are in it and are not wandering around outside.

Entering the Land (2): Greater is He that is in you…(Teaching)

“So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we  had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.” (Joshua 5:1)

The new generation of the children of Israel had been circumcised and were gathered between the Jordan and Jericho. As I wrote in the previous article we, the Church of Jesus Christ and the brothers of the second Adam, are the new generation who will enter the Land of Promise: the old generation, the children of the first Adam, cannot enter. And we live in a time when many prophetic voices are declaring that the Divine Nature will be manifested more powerfully than ever before when a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit equips us to live more fully in the good of the “great and precious promises” that we find in the Word (See 2 Peter1:4). So we too find ourselves between the Jordan and Jericho: we’re born again of the Spirit – we’re over the Jordan – and we know that there is a great advance ahead of us. But first we need to get past Jericho. What can we learn?

First of all, we need to remember that “greater is he that is in us than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) The darkness is scared of the light, because it knows the light is stronger. The devil knows that he is no match for the spiritual weapons of our warfare, which are “mighty for pulling down strongholds (2 Cor 10:5),” because of course he knows what they are. The question is, do we? I think one of the devil’s main strategies in our warfare is to make sure we don’t. Jesus cast demons out ‘with a word’ because they knew who Him. The demons that overpowered the sons of Sceva knew Jesus, and they knew who Paul was, but they obviously couldn’t see anything of Jesus in the sons of Sceva. Their words alone were not enough.

Over the years I have done my share of “spiritual warfare.” I think I’ve won a few battles, but I have also lost many; and I have come to the conclusion from reflecting on my own experience and applying what I understand from Scripture, that we spend a lot of time firing blanks when we think we are shooting down the enemy.  We can talk, pray and declare all night, but Paul says that we are to “stand” when we have “done all.” When we “stand” in prayer against the forces of darkness, have we “done all?” Are we actually wearing the armour of God, walking in faith, righteousness and truth, spreading the gospel and speaking God’s word, or have we just rushed into prayer mode while the armour of our spiritual selves is still shut away in a locker in our heavenly home? James says we need to be “doers of the word, not hearers only” (James 1:22). The two house builders of Jesus’s sand and rock parable have both heard His word, but only one of them keeps it.

The enemy knew who Paul was because he clearly didn’t just teach the church about the armour of God; he wore it himself, all the time. To put on the armour of God, stand in it, and to “do all” is to put on Christ and walk in the Spirit. The enemy looked at Paul, and doubtless at Peter and the other apostles after Pentecost, saw Jesus, and had to succumb to the victory of the cross. Paul didn’t give us a check-list for a quiet time procedure in Ephesians 6, he gave us a picture of what the weapons of our warfare look like when we let our spirits do the walking in our lives. If we are walking in the light before confronting the enemy, he will see us coming before we reach him: he will recognise Jesus in our faith (the shield), our righteousness (the breastplate), our thinking (the helmet), our words (the sword), and our footsteps (the shoes). He will still put up a fight, but will be defeated in the end. But if he doesn’t see them he won’t know who we are, and no amount of “praying against” him will make any difference: we will just be firing blanks.

We must remember that the same spiritual powers of darkness that were over  the “Kings of the Canaanites” are at work in today’s world. If they had had shut up Jericho for fear of the people of God, what weapons of warfare are they scared of finding in our possession today? The answer can be summed up in a single word: Christlikeness. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more like him we become, and the more likely we are to pull down the strongholds that stand between us and the promised land.

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.

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)

Walking in the Light

 “If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

There are three elements to this verse:  walking in the light, fellowship, and being cleansed of all sin by the blood of Jesus. If we walk in the light we are walking with Jesus. Jesus said: “If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (John 11: 9-10) If we walk by the light that is in us we can see where we are going: our vision is clear. With clear vision, we can discern truth from error and good from evil, and we can  fulfil our priestly office which is to “teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezekiel 44:23).

If we walk in the light, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we can ask the giver and source of the Light to shine on what we  face and reveal its source. We can expect answers to questions like “Is what I am thinking from God, from my own imagination, or is it a lie of the enemy designed to divert me from God’s purposes?” We can look at someone’s condition and expect to be able to determine whether it is natural or demonic. We will know if a “word” we have for someone actually is from the Holy Spirit, or just from our own desire to see that person encouraged. We can expect to receive words of knowledge in, or for, conversations with unbelievers. To walk in the light, as well as all that it means in terms of walking in love, is to be able to see clearly into the supernatural, spiritual realm. We are called to walk after the Spirit, but we need the light to walk by.

If we keep ourselves in the light, we will ensure that whatever sin the light reveals in our lives is brought to the cross and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. The cleansing is a result of walking in the light. But it is also true that we couldn’t walk in the light without having first received that cleansing: the two are interdependent. However they both have one consequence, which is true “fellowship with one another.” This fellowship isn’t just coffee after church; this is the outworking of 1 Peter 1: 22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit  in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” The fellowship of those who walk in the light is the fruit of the divine seed that we have been brought forth from;  the John 17 unity that glorifies the Father who sowed it.

David’s cry to the Lord was ever thus: ”Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Who is it that ascends the Hill of the Lord? “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.” (Psalm 24:4) Who does Jesus say will be blessed because they will “see God?” Again, it’s the pure in heart. To be pure in heart is to be holy. The only way to walk in holiness is to walk in the Light, and the only way to keep walking in the Light is to allow that light to shine on anything in our lives that the blood of Jesus has to cleanse us from. If our hearts are pure our fellowship with one another is untainted and we can see clearly by the light of the Spirit. If sin comes into our relationships the light that we see by is dimmed and we need to go back to the Lord for our hearts to be cleansed.

I believe we are coming into the fulfilment of Isaiah 60 vs 1-3.

“Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.”

If we want the “Gentiles” to see our light, if we want kings to come to the brightness of our rising, we need to diligently walk in it ourselves. Psalm 119:130 says “The entrance of Your words gives light.” With the crystal-clear vision that is borne of a purified heart and unsullied relationships we can bring His words of light into any arena that He sends us to, including the courts of kings.