Empty Bowls?

God is waiting. All Heaven is holding it’s breath, and all creation groans with anticipation.

And I continue to live my life, much as I did yesterday.

God won’t command us to do that which He is not going to enable us to do. I know it has to be in Him, His Holy Spirit enabling me to walk in His righteousness….

But I don’t always put my best foot forward in my ‘attempts’.

Jesus said that His house was to be a house of prayer for all nations.

But my ‘house’ is often anything but a house of prayer.

On the day of Pentecost they were all in one place and all praying in one accord, when God poured out His Holy Spirit. I’m given to believe they had been at this for some time. Pentecost was four weeks after the resurrection.

There was a single-minded purpose behind this marathon of prayer.

And the waiting was over.

In Revelation 5, the 24 elders are holding bowls of incense, representing our prayers rising up before God.

But given the state of my own ‘prayer-life’ and of the modern ‘church’ in general, I have to wonder just how much Incense is actually in those bowls right now.

Many churches are calling for revival, for a fresh move of the Holy Spirit in their cities and states. And many believers feel they are ready.

But are they?

Am I? Have I counted the cost? Am I ready to throw my schedule, my personal agendas, my preferences aside? Am I ready to place my entire life on the altar, a living sacrifice?

Is the local church I belong to ready to make these same sacrifices? If not, am I willing to lead the way, and be one of the first?

What so many of us want is for God to move, as long as it doesn’t rock our world too much.

I’m not pointing any fingers. change is scary. Big change is even scarier.

But we live in a world that IS changing, and not for the better. Despair, depression, drug abuse and sexual sins are all symptoms of a world of pain, And millions have given up hope. As world events unfold, it becomes ever more apparent that we all stand to lose much of what we cling to. Change is coming whether we like it or not, one way or another.

But we can be architects of change.

The only chance left for so many thousands of hurting people, is in fact revival. A last great outpouring.

I must not make the mistake of waiting for God to just bring revival to my city and ‘fix it’. I have a part to play.

God, you see, is waiting for me to be what He has called me to be. And He’s waiting for you too.

God is waiting for us to bring revival.

It’s time.

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The culmination of all things

Can you feel it?

It is change, it’s revolution. There’s upheaval in so many places. It is manifesting in every arena of life, even in the physical realms of geology and plate tectonics. This is not business as usual. It’s not even ‘global warming’. It’s more than that, and it’s quite unstoppable. The world as we know it, is passing away.

What the new one looks like is largely dependant on you.

This is not a doomsday prophecy, although it is prophetic in nature. The revelation of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of Prophecy, and His nature will be revealed. It has always been shared with His followers, but what’s coming next will completely extinguish what we think we know. God will unveil His Glory to and in those who are ready. The sick will be healed. The blind will see. Cripples will go running and jumping, and the dead will live. The Glory of God will manifest in man, and he will become fully, Spiritually alive. You will not have ‘church’ anymore.

Are you ready?

Are you ready to shelve your personal agenda? Are you ready to leave your comfort zone? You’re going to find the only real comfort is in leaving it! God has a calling and a purpose for each and every one of us. What we need to do is HONESTLY seek it. No whitewashing or toning it down. No rationalizing it. We need to find it and actually DO it. We need to walk in the works prepared for us.

I don’t know what that looks like for you, but you will know it, when you find it (or it finds you!)

The truth of the matter is this; We are coming to the culmination of all things. Not just political reform, or even spiritual awakening. All things. Very soon there will be two very distinct groups of people on this earth. It’s not going to be a question of race or gender or nationality that sets us apart. It will be those who are walking in the will of God bringing light, and those who are desperately in need of that light. I don’t know how much time is left, but I do know that the lines are being drawn even now. The choice is ours, It’s yours and mine.

Can you feel it?

Are you ready?

 

On the threshold of the dream

It’s the wee hours of the morning, and what better time could there be for a midnight ramble, or to talk about dreams? Dreams are, after all, what fuels our lives, and we all have them. When we’re young, we dream of what we’ll do when we ‘grow up’ (yes, some of us are still waiting), and as adults we have dreams of achievement or success and recognition. Maybe you have a ‘dream-home’ or car that you can’t get out of your head.

And then there’s the dreams we all have at night. Oh yes you do, you just don’t remember them. It’s clinically proven that everyone dreams. In fact your mental health depends upon it. More often than not these can be the aimless excursions of an unfettered and unoccupied mind, but sometimes they have meanings. This site of course, frequently deals with the latter (Oh, THAT’S why it’s called ‘dreams&visions?!), and I truly believe in the prophetic nature of some dreams.

Having said all that, there’s still another dream. It’s the shared dream. It’s the dream or vision of a country, a city or perhaps your church. This type of dream has a unique quality in that the stronger the vision, and the more people who get behind it, the more likely it is to come to pass sooner than later.

I happen to live in the Detroit metropolitan area of Michigan. It’s well-known that this is one of the most economically hard-hit, high-crime areas in the country. Yet many, many people have a dream and a vision for this region. Many leaders both within and without the church have high expectations for a sweeping and radical change in the entire social landscape of this city.

And truthfully, it seems like a dream.

Recently, there was a gathering of christians from every walk and persuasion, to fast and pray for 24 hours at a 70,000 seat stadium known as Ford Field. I don’t know that there are any manifest changes in the city as of yet, but I do know that the stronger the vision, and the more people get behind it, the more likely it is to come to pass.

Change is coming.

The church, the body of Christ must also have a dream, and it must be the will (the dream, if you like) of God. Yes, God has a dream. It’s you and me, and all who will come, entering into a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father. We must share Gods dream, in fact, it must overshadow our own. There is a dream for a great harvest of souls for the kingdom, and of the greatest revival this world has ever known. Many Individuals have had prophetic dreams and visions pertaining to this, and many local churches share this common goal.

But it starts with you. It’s really about your dreams. Do we share the dreams of our leaders, our church, our God? Can we re-make the church and re-build our cities?

I can’t answer those questions for anyone but me, but I do know this; The stronger the dream, and the more people who get behind it, the more likely it is to come to pass.

What are your dreams?

reformat

Reformatting is a concept of the information age. It generally involves completely clearing a data storage device such as a hard drive, so it’s ready for reprogramming.

In other words, wiping the slate clean and starting over. Everything gets erased.

This is usually done only when there’s no other choice, as the process can be rather time-consuming, and you may never recover all of the stuff you had on there in the first place.

One term that comes to mind in this is ‘terminal error’.  If you’ve ever gotten one of these, you know there’s no way back. The only way to go is forward, into the brave new world of reformatting, and starting over.

If you think about it though, it could be applied to a lot of lifes situations. Starting over in a friendship or relationship that has had some challenges along the way, or even making a fresh start in your marriage could, in a sense, be considered reformatting. It could be applied to re-structuring a business, or an organization.

Or your church.

One of the benefits of reformatting a device, such as a computer, is that you can get back to a basic program so you have a solid foundation to start building on again. All the extraneous junk that accumulated has been erased. It’s no longer a hindrance to the functions you really need.

Reformat comes from the same root as the word reformation, and they mean basically the same thing.

The first century church operated from the enviable position of a clean slate. The first disciples ministered without going to seminary or bible college. There wasn’t a ‘new testament’ to refer to yet because it was still being written. Yet if you read the book of acts, you will see that God backed up His will and His word with signs and wonders. The sick were healed, the dead were raised and people all over were being delivered from every sort of demonic stronghold. It was said of the early believers that they were turning the world ‘upside-down’.

Today things look a little different. Unfortunately, except for the miracles taking place in third world countries, there doesn’t seem to be too many signs and wonders going on in the church. Don’t get me wrong, miracles DO occur, and I’ve been blessed by more than a few myself, but they have become the exception rather than the rule. We have a ‘format’ that we’ve grown used to, and nobody goes to church expecting anything much is really going to change. We are comfortable. We are complacent. We exhibit all the right ‘forms of Godliness’ but our traditions deny the power and nullify the Word we spend so much time teaching. Not only has our program slowed down, it’s threatening to stop.

Terminal error.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it’s time to reformat, my friends.

I know change is uncomfortable. I know it’s scary, and I know nobody really likes it all that much. But if we keep doing the same things we’re doing now, and expect a different outcome, then we’ve defined ourselves as insane, haven’t we?

God is ready to shake things up. He’s been ready for a while now, but He’s waiting for us. He’s waiting for us to crave the power and wonder of His kingdom manifesting on the earth, and to embrace whatever kinds of change it will take to see it. We already carry the spark of ‘revival’ in each and every one of us, but it’s up to us to fan the flame.

Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and brought freedom to the captive. His disciples did the same. It’s time to get back to the original program. It’s time to reformat.

Severity and Love

Severity and Love, like mercy and judgement, make up the two-edged sword of the Word of God. The entire history of the human race, as seen in the Bible, can be summed up by these words. And these words, like our relationship to God, seem to form a paradox. In reality however, they are all aspects of His divine nature. God is Love, but He is also Holy, and righteousness can not coexist with evil. There must be separation of holiness and evil, and this brings judgement, even though God is Love, full of compassion and mercy.

 Because Gods’ divine nature is the source and wellspring of Love itself, the act of creating the universe and everything in it, was, in fact, an act of Love. Because God is Love, we were created out of Love, and His love for us has never decreased or changed in any way since the dawn of creation.

That it was good is an established fact, as God said HIMSELF that it was VERY good.

But that was not the end of the story…

Although God does not change, we unfortunately did, and not for the better. Sin entered the world, and with it came separation from God, death and judgement.

Judgement became the unavoidable and absolute reality, because holiness must exist apart from evil.

But while judgement became the definition of our fallen nature, Gods’ Love cried out for compassion and mercy. God Loves us so much you see, He would die to have us back.

There’s just one problem; God is eternal and He can not die.

Unless He becomes a man.

Can you feel the anguish and passion of God as the Son takes on mortality? As He comes to live and die among us?

We can never love enough, or live long enough, to fully understand the depth and intensity of Gods’ Love.

But we must also be aware of the severity of the judgement that separated us, not from His Love, but from His presence. We must never take our position in Christ for granted.

God, in His Holiness judged us, but His Love had mercy on us. He became a man so He could give His life for yours.

We should be awestruck with fear and trembling, when we realize the absolute Holiness of God.

And we should know that we are loved beyond anything we could ever imagine.

Rend the heavens

Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence— Isaiah 64:1

In chapter 64 of his book, The cry of Isaiahs’ heart was to see God in all of His glory, and for that glory to manifest on the earth. We know Isaiah did, in fact, witness the Glory of God on at least one occasion;

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one cried to another and said:

“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth isfull of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. Isaiah 6:1-4

Seraphim translates literally into the ‘burning ones’. Some of the most powerful and glorious of the angelic hosts. The sound of their voices praising God shook the temple to its very foundations. Yet they covered their faces with one pair of their wings, I believe, because the intensity of the glory they beheld was more than even they could bear

Don’t you want to see this glory manifest on the earth?

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

At the time of King Uzziahs death, Isaiah found himself in the temple, profoundly worshipping God. In his vision, the seraphim had joined with him in his worship, and their praises shook the earth! This is worship in spirit and in truth, and although it did take place in the temple, it could have happened on a mountainside, in a house, or anywhere else for that matter. The only thing that matters is that it is in spirit and in truth.

Jesus said “I am the truth!”  Think about that for a minute. If we are worshipping in the spirit ( by and with the Holy Spirit), and in the truth (Jesus), then God the Father will come and INHABIT OUR PRAISES!

This is what rends the heavens. This is what creates an ‘open heaven’ over our place of worship. This is what makes the mountains shake, and this is what brings Gods glory down, and manifests it in our times of worship.

Let’s press in for this. Let’s contend for this, so we can take it out into our cities, and transform them with the incredible weight of His glory. Amen?

 

Shadows running in the rain

A VISION

The setting is a dark, wet night. I am in a gathering of hundreds of believers, and we are all standing outside in a steadily falling rain. Nearby is a large building or structure, but no one is going inside. Oddly, It seems to be a time of fellowship, and we are all standing clustered in groups of three to ten individuals.

Suddenly and without warning, shadowy faceless creatures appear, running on long bird-like legs out of the darkness. They seem to emanate from some unseen point in the distance, and as they pass between the groups of people, you can feel them spreading  fear and confusion.

HEADS UP!

This is really close to what I saw.

You can’t imagine my surprise when I found images online so close to the ones in my vision. The fact that other people have depicted similar creatures lends reality and confirmation to this vision. We need to take this seriously! I’ve decided to call these things ‘runners’, and I believe their purpose is to run ‘interference’ and spread fear and confusion in the body of Christ.

This is a warning, but it’s also good news because it prepares and equips us to defeat this type of spiritual opposition. Let’s take a look at some of the images in this vision and see what they might mean.

Our fellowship was taking place outside in the rain in spite of the fact that there was a building to go into. I believe that this building represents ‘church’ as we know it. Rather than go inside to ‘business as usual’, this group of believers are after nothing less than a complete restructuring, braving resistance and opposition (the darkness and rain) along the way. This is also the reason this group is being assaulted by the runners.

It’s also significant that this was a time of fellowship and NOT worship. Fear and confusion can not spread during a time of true worship, but they CAN spread during times of fellowship. This part is fairly clear; we need to guard our hearts, minds and most importantly, our tongues.

You could not tell where the runners where coming from. This is true. The real source is not this church or that organization, but in the spiritual realm. Pray for those operating out of fear. Pray they gain clarity of Gods purposes. And pray for the body you belong to, because an ounce of prevention is worth a TON of cure.

This is important; DO NOT BE AFRAID! This warning is a blessing. God sends just such visions to prepare us for what’s coming, so we can check our armor and stand ready.

God Bess!