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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Aligning Ourselves to the Prophetic Word

Oftentimes, when we have received an encouraging personal prophecy or perhaps God has spoken to us personally in our quiet time with Him, we are filled with joy and excitement. The Lord Jesus said that His words are spirit and life. Hence, when we receive a prophetic “rhema” word from the Lord through the Holy Spirit whether through a messenger or directly, life is imparted to our spirits. However, after the initial excitement has subsided, we are left clueless as to what we should do with the "rhema" prophetic words we received.

I was once taught that for each prophecy that you receive, keep it in the shelf and wait for the fulfillment of the word. If the word does not come to pass, it is more likely than not that the word given was not inspired by God. Such an erroneous teaching would appear to be the safest and most conservative approach to be taken by Christians as we tend to shift all responsibility to God, i.e. do nothing about the word and if indeed God has spoken, He will fulfill His word. However, this teaching does not sit comfortably with the accounts of men and women who have accomplished great exploits for God whether mentioned in the Bible or in the biographies written of such giants of faith.

When we first receive a prophetic word, it is likened to a divine seed that is sown into our hearts. We have a part to play to nurture the seed and to see the seed growing to its full potential. Of course, when we say that we have a part to play, immediately we think of the misadventure of Sarah who compelled Abraham to have a child through her maidservant, Hagar in hopes of fulfilling the prophecy given by God to Abraham. The two extremes we are to avoid are (1) helping God to fulfill His Word by our own fleshly efforts; and (2) having a passive attitude where we do not do anything and just be contented to sing “que sera sera”. In this post, we will briefly examine a few principles that we can do to align ourselves with prophetic words given by God to us. There is a need to align our lives to His Word before we can see the fulfillment of His Word in our lives.

The Right Heart
Firstly, as in the parable of the sower, the right soil is of utmost importance to determine the life of the seed. The condition of our hearts is the key to seeing God’s word fulfilled in our lives. When we talk about the condition of our hearts, it is both the “internal” and the “external” conditions. We will first discuss the internal conditions of the heart i.e. this speaks about what we have kept in our heart, i.e. the attitudes of our hearts. Many at times, when God released a word to His people, His foremost desire is that the Word would accomplish a change in the lives of the hearer first before the Word brings a change to the outward circumstances. How do we ensure that the “internal” conditions of our hearts are properly aligned? Praise the Lord, for we have the Holy Spirit to help us. We have to actively ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and to respond to Him accordingly. He will bring us through the process of cleansing and conditioning until our hearts are after the heart of God. Healings from past hurts, bitterness, anger, etc. are but a few of the things the Holy Spirit will do as we open our hearts to Him. The Lord will be also purifying our motives and our vision.

Focus vs Distraction
The second aspect is related to the first point above, i.e. the “external ” factors of the soil. After we have received a prophetic word and if the word has not come to pass after months or even years, we begin to question the “validity” of the word received. And at this juncture, we are prone to be distracted by many external factors. Sometimes, these external factors may be good things but may turn out to be distractions. There is a need for concentrated focus on what God has spoken over our lives before we can see it coming to pass. External factors may also come in the form of temptations, cares of the world or to be lulled by the spirit of the age. It is therefore, important to ask the Holy Spirit to always keep our eyes on Jesus, running the race with patience, knowing that He who has given the Word is faithful to fulfill it.

Seeing and Declaring
Having determined that our hearts are rightly aligned with the Word by the help of the Holy Spirit, the Lord also desires that we take an active part in seeing the Word coming to pass. How do we do that? This would involve the use of our spiritual organs. Briefly, this is when we are to allow the Holy Spirit to use our sanctified imagination as a canvass to paint the glorious picture of the fulfillment of God's vision. It is an avenue for us to see the fulfillment of the Word through the eyes of the spirit. God painted the stars in the sky and the sand on the earth on Abraham's sanctified imagination and he saw with his spiritual eyes the fulfillment of God’s promise to him. Not only do we see, but we also take part in the process by speaking and declaring, calling for those things that be not as though they were. Our tongues hold the power of life and death to the vision and Word God has implanted in our spirits.

His Grace is Sufficient
Each time a rhema Word is released, there is an impartation of grace and life to the hearer of the Word. This grace and this life is the strength imparted to birth the Word into existence in the natural realm. The measure of grace imparted is sufficient but usually we are unable to maintain the grace level in our lives when we go about with our daily tasks in life. Therefore, God in His mercies had opened the new and living way for us that we can always draw near to the Throne of Grace to receive fresh supply of grace anytime we need it. This speaks about the maintenance of our spiritual walk with God. There is a need for a consistent waiting upon God to have the divine exchange in the secret place for our lives to be aligned with His Word. A consistent walk with God will always keep the Word strong in our lives and keep us nearer to the fulfillment of His Word. Each time we think of His Word, we can draw near to God and the Lord will renew our faith and vision.

An unavoidable fact is that there will be opposing forces against the fulfillment of His Word in our lives. Sometimes, in the natural, everything seems to be the opposite of what God has said. What should we do then? It is a time for us to arise and fight the good fight of faith. My wife received two prophecies before our second daughter was born and one of the words was that this child will bring joy to us. Towards the end of the pregnancy term (at about the ninth month) the gynecologist told us that the fetus had stopped growing since a few weeks back as there was no increase in the measurement taken via ultrasound scanning. Furthermore, just a week before the estimated due date, we were also told that my wife was not ready to give birth at all. We were a little dejected after hearing such news from the doctor. However, this was not a time to be passive and have a pity party. My wife began to storm the heavens by praying and declaring the prophetic words given. We refused to accept the medical advice and we chose to believe His Word instead. My wife began to call forth our daughter and she began to declare that the Word is done now. In less than two days after receiving the negative reports of the doctor, my wife gave birth naturally to a healthy, normal and beautiful daughter! All glory to God! Indeed, there is a part we can play and sometimes it would mean warfare on our part.

From the above discussion, we can see that as we align ourselves with the Word, we become more like the Word of Life, Jesus Himself. The Lord desires that we are full of faith when we receive His prophetic Word and that our faith is not dead but are filled with Spirit-inspired works that we do as we align our lives to His Word. This is a season where we are going to see the fulfillment of God’s promises and prophecies in our lives. It is a time to declare, believe and appropriate His promises. Let’s not be discouraged and let’s not give up. Let us cry out to the Lord, arise in my life and let the enemies be scattered in Jesus’Name! Hallelujah! Amen. What a Mighty and Loving God we have.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How do we prepare for hard times?

Given a choice, everybody would like to have a life that is like a bed of roses. However, it does not take us long to begin feeling the prickling pain of the thorns that accompany the roses. We are told in the Bible that, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all." Therefore it is wise for us to acknowledge from the outset that Christianity is not a form of escapism. We face trials, difficulties and challenges throughout our lives but in Christ Jesus, we emerge from such circumstances triumphant and as the Apostle Paul reminded us, "we are more than conquerors" for we know that our Lord and Saviour has overcome the world! What we would like to know is how do we appropriate such truths and promises in our lives so that our feet are firmly planted on solid ground and not on sinking sand when trials and crises hit our lives.

A very common scenario for most of us is that we are usually "pumped up" after listening to inspiring messages on Sunday mornings but when we are faced with difficult situations between the Sundays, we are somewhat lost and do not know what to do. In times of uncertainties that we live in today, many are living in fear and finding themselves under a cloud of confusion, depression and helplessness. When our physical senses are constantly bombarded with negative news and predictions, we begin to focus on the giants and mountains that seem to stand in our way. Just like the Israelites, when they heard of the giants in the land, they began to see themselves as mere grasshoppers and feared for their lives.

What do we see?
Firstly, it is important to know what do our eyes see? Not just our physical eyes but our imagination and inner eyes. Our vision determines our destiny.
  • Do we see the storm around us or our eyes are fixed on Jesus?
  • Do we see just giants or the rewards for slaying the giants?
  • Do we see the enemy troops or the heavenly host around us?
  • Do we see through the eyes of Lot or the eyes of God?
  • Do we see abundance or just 5 loaves and 2 fish?
All through the Scriptures, we read of examples after examples of how men and women stepped into the supernatural and lived their lives fulfilling God's destinies when their vision was corrected and brought to alignment with God's vision for them. Jesus Himself did what He saw the Father doing in His earthly mission. As long as He did that, no one could harm Him until the fullness of time when He was subjected to the sufferings and cruelty of death on the cross. Similarly, we can live our lives in the supernatural realm notwithstanding the raging storms around us if our vision is correctly aligned to His vision.

It is time to re-examine our vision. We are living in an age where God's children are re-discovering their inheritance of spiritual sight. We can be in the Father's perfect will when we see in the spirit and do what we see the Father is doing right now. Intellectual knowledge is not sufficient to equip us for the coming days but the army bride of God has to be armed with the constant flow of divine revelations and insights. When the eyes of the flesh are switched off, the eyes of the spirit are then open to access the heavenly realities.

A different spirit
Joshua and Caleb possessed a "different spirit" when everybody around them was gripped by fear of conquering the promised land. Daniel and his three friends displayed a "different spirit" from the day they were taken in to the king's courts and all through their lives in Babylon. These lives show us that when one makes a choice to live differently in obedience to God, no gates of hell shall prevail over them. God is raising a company of people in these last days who posseses a "different spirit" to live for Him and fulfill God's destinies in their lives.

Loren Cunningham in his book, "Winning God's Way" described such a different spirit as living in the opposite spirit, i.e. to act in generosity where greed abounds, fighting evil with good, etc. In fact, if we were to examine closely the central theme of Jesus' teachings which is fondly known as the Sermon on the Mount - it contains principles and values that are contrary to social norms. Such principles and realities have a heavenly origin and are the building blocks of kingdom living on this earth.

Another expression of such a "different spirit" is as described by Rev Susan Tang - to live lives that will be the antithesis to all that is happening.
"Can we hear God calling men and women to live lives that are the antithesis to the horrible system of greed, materialism and compromise that has defiled the church and the land? To live a life that is the antithesis to all that is around us is like a fish swimming against the tide."

Now is the time to heed the call to live lives that are the antithesis to all that is happening around us. To possess a different spirit, living in the opposite spirit or living the antithesis are all but different expressions of living the Jesus' way of life. No compromise. This way of living is likened to building our lives on the rock and when the storm comes, we are secure in Him.

God's grace is sufficient
The Apostle Paul could boast and glory in his weakness because he has discovered the secret of strength. He said that when he was weak then he was strong. He received a divine revelation of God's grace when he heard the Lord speaking to him, "My grace is sufficient for you." God is our strength when we are weak. The way to access such spiritual strength is by coming to the throne of grace. There are many who have been Christians for a long time but have never learnt to come to the throne of grace. God promised that we will find grace and help in time of need.

God's grace has been misrepresented by many as the license to sin. This is but one of the deception that the enemy has sown in the mind of many Christians. God's grace is a real, tangible spiritual substance that will enable its recipient to be overcomer in whatever trying situation. We can always access such spiritual strength as and when we approach the throne of grace. God's grace leads us to righteous living and enables us to be and to do all that God wants us to be and to do.

If we have never learnt to approach the throne of grace, it is a good time to draw near to Him today before His throne. It is a new and living way that is open to all blood-bought children of God. Once we have learnt to access the throne of grace, let us also spur one another to do the same. Come what may, once we have experienced the reality of receiving grace from the throne of grace, we will know where to find grace and help in time of need.

Always there
Living under an open heaven simply means, living in the manifest Presence of God. As much as we want to dwell in His Presence, God wants us to know that He is always there with us even when we fail to recognize His Presence. He was with us through our ups and downs and He will be with us all the time as He promised never to leave us nor forsake us. These are not just nice words and greetings to say to one another. This is a reality and a consciousness that must become a part of us.

One of the ways God has always shown Himself faithful in my walk with Him, especially when I am weak or when I stumble and fall is His constant reminder that He is always there with me. Each time God reveals this truth afresh in my heart, there is an infusion of divine life within me and I know that I can carry on and He will never fail me.

It is of utmost importance that we receive fresh revelations of Him being there with us all the time continually. Such revelations impart divine life into our spirits and empower us to walk victoriously on this earth. When you are weak or when you are weary, hear Him whisper to you, "My Child, I am always here for you." Let the consciousness of His Presence be a constant reality in our daily living.

A Closing Note
God is our strength when we are weak. The Lord allows us to experience the ups and downs in life for us to discover how helpless we are in ourselves and to seek our true strength and help in Him alone who lives within us. As we learn to live a life of dependance on God, we are also equipping ourselves for tough times. Genuine faith is one that can withstand testings and trials.

In the Bible, we read that God instructed Noah to build an ark before the Flood. God in His great mercies, spoke to Noah of what was to come and the task that He has prepared for him. Noah needed to take heed of what God had told him and obeyed each detailed instruction given by God. Noah was known as one who was righteous and walked with God. Do we know our God? The One Who is our Refuge, Redeemer and our Strong Tower in times of trouble. Do we walk with God?

There is an ark (a secret place) where we can find our safety and refuge when the storms are raging - this secret place is in Him. (Psalm 91:1 -  He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.)  As we draw near to God He will give us specific instructions to prepare ourselves for what is coming to the face of the earth. Let us examine our lives in the light of the above discussion and ask the Lord to speak to us that we will find ourselves in the secret place of the Most High and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty at all times.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Season of the Lord : Time to Enter In

Whilst I was in the midst of perusing some office documents yesterday, I heard the whisper of God's voice in my heart, "Season of the Lord, time to enter in." It came as a little surprise to me because the word of the Lord came to me not during my usual devotional time or not when I was waiting for Him to speak. Indeed, this is the beauty of walking with our awesome God. As the hymn writer aptly described our relationship with the Living God, "He walks with me and He talks with me..."

Shortly after the above 'divine incident', I checked my email and saw the title of Melissa Flores' post which caught my attention: "A Clash of Seasons". It was like I received an immediate confirmation of what I have just heard!

A Strategic NOW Word
I believe God is releasing a very strategic word to His body right now. We are in a time and season of divine acceleration in God's calendar. Sometimes, perhaps due to the long wait for God's answers to many of our prayers and His fulfillment of His promises, we are accustomed to thinking that we will see the fulfillment of His words "some time in the future". Yes, we may be excited when we first received the vision but as years dragged by and when we seem to be "wiser" after the days of trials and wilderness, we've lost the child-like faith of believing God for the PRESENT and for the NOW. In the past weeks, I have personally experienced two amazing accounts of God's divine acceleration at work which completely caught me by surprise! Hallelujah! All glory to God!

What time is it?
It is important to know the times and seasons we are in according to God's calendar, especially God's kairos time for His people in this hour. The consequence of missing God's timing could be disastrous as we can see from the example of King David's life. When it was a time for kings to be out involved in battles, he was up on the roof relaxing! Let's take heed and move according to God's timing instead of ours. Now is the time to enter into God's season. It's time to believe, declare and to be focussed on Him. It's time not to be distracted but to move forward and step in to His season. Do you know what time is it now? Its' the Season of the Lord and it is Time to Enter in.

A side note
We have been receiving a number of personal prophecy requests lately and some of you may have waited for a while to receive any feedback from us. Please be rest assured that every request will be attended to. We appreciate your patience and we covet your prayers too! We believe that the Lord is also leading us to begin a free online prophetic school soon as it is the inheritance of God's children to hear the voice of the Shepherd. So, please pray with us and check back regularly for updates on the free online prophetic school (if you're interested!). Bless you!