Prophecy

A Word for the Prophetic Movement

by Mark Sandford,

In mid-April I began to feel purposeless, as if I were going nowhere (in spite of the fact that the opposite is true). I felt heavy and dead, and could take little joy in ministry. I have encountered many prophetic people who have been feeling the same way. But when I tell them why, their heavy feeling lifts.

Have you been feeling this way? Here's what I'm sensing. A change is coming in the prophetic movement. The movement began with a vibrant vision: we would rediscover the prophetic gift and office, and bring them back into the life of the Church. Joy came to many as prophetic words were fulfilled, but immature zeal has had its way. The need for accountability has been eclipsed by a quest for the excitement of prophecies (especially personal ones). We want so much to hear from God that we often fail to test prophetic words, as Scripture commands (1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 1 John 4:1).

Although the Bible regards false prophecies as a very serious matter, too many Christians treat them as a non-issue. A prophetic leader may give false prophecy after false prophecy, and it doesn't even occur to followers to test his words. When even our watchmen are not held accountable for their actions, who is left to warn teachers who would stray into heresy or pastors who would fall into sin? Ample objections come from the internet attack dogs who spew their vitriolic fire hoses not only on fires, but on the very fire of the Holy Spirit. But not enough prophetic voices are speaking out with the balance of firmness and compassion needed to protect the precious gifts with which God has entrusted us.

I sense that in order to protect His children from themselves, at this point the Holy Spirit is applying loving discipline by sending thousands of prophetic Christians into what St. John of the Cross dubbed, "the dark night of the soul." . If you are feeling the heaviness I have described, you may be one of them.

Or, if you have already been through the dark night, such feelings may signal a call to pray for others who are entering into it. God often causes us to feel what others feel, to prepare us to pray from a stance of empathy rather than judgment. If this describes your situation, you are probably beginning to feel lighter even as you read this, for you are realizing that the emotions you have been feeling are not your own.

In the sixteenth century, in his book, "The Dark Night of the Soul," St. John noted that when Christians discover spiritual gifts and mystical experiences they too often fall into spiritual pride, either knowingly or unknowingly, desiring to use these to gain notoriety. Some, aware of this temptation, become overly scrupulous. They desperately attempt to scrub every imperfection from their souls, unaware of a hidden motive to find peace in their own perfection rather than in the arms of a gracious and forgiving God.

St. John saw both of these reactions as expressions of "spiritual gluttony." Through his own suffering he learned that whether we are ravenous for notoriety or perfection, God cures us by putting us on a "spiritual diet." The following are signs that this is happening:

-- You may no longer find pleasure in the things of God or life in general.

-- You may no longer easily feel God's presence, have mystical experiences or hear prophetic words.

-- You may find it difficult to pray, feeling little or no enjoyment in it.

-- You may feel spiritually dead.

-- Because of all this, you may feel like God has abandoned you.

-- You may feel like you are backsliding.

--You may feel like everyone has forsaken you, especially your friends.

You may take all this to mean that God has removed His presence. Quite the opposite is true; He has increased it! It only feels like He has removed it, for two reasons. First, during the dark night you may feel like you are walking from a dimly lit room into full sunlight. The brightness of His holy presence can seem blinding, so that you can't see the light of His presence until the eyes of your spirit slowly adjust. Second, Malachi 3:3 says that God refines us like gold and silver. His increased presence can heat up the metal of your heart, causing dross to surface more quickly. You can become so aware of your sins and the deadness of your soul, that at first you do not perceive that His presence has increased.

You may also think the dark night is punishment or reaping for wrongdoing. It is not; it is God's way of leading you to despair of relying on your own strengths, abilities or gifts. In the process, you may discover sins you were previously unaware of, but these did not cause the dark night; they were merely revealed by it. So don't blame yourself for the dark night; be thankful that God is using this experience to build humble character that reflects more of His likeness.

How long must the dark night last? St. John suggested that in order for it to be effective, it should last at least a few years, but that is not absolute; there are many exceptions. It will last however long it takes to get you to the point of despair of self and then beyond it, to where you can abide in Christ, resting in the knowledge that without Him you can do nothing (John 15:5). Only God knows how long that will take.

Meanwhile, do not try ever harder to hear God or spend extra hours in fasting or Bible study in order to jump-start your stalled spiritual sensitivities (not that you should avoid these activities, but do avoid basing them on this motive). Rather, lean into God's embrace and cling to Him like a child in need. Jesus said, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them" (Mark 10:15-16, NAS).

To live in Jesus' embrace is, quite simply, God's goal for the prophetic movement. For what is the ultimate purpose of any prophecy, whether it be a word of encouragement, a warning, or even an announcement of impending discipline? Simply to draw us closer to God. What, then, is most destructive to the prophetic movement? Focusing on prophecies instead of God.

For those of you who have been feeling the heaviness in brothers and sisters who are entering the dark night, pray that this will not be a time of torment for them. Torment will come if they strive to recover the thrills His gifts once gave them. Pray for the grace to let that go and to embrace the choice fruit which God designed this season to produce -- sweet contentment in the arms of a loving God. Imagine the babies Jesus took into His arms in Mark 10. Were they prideful? How could they be?

Babies have no gifts or achievements in which to take pride. Did they seek gifts instead of God? Babies know nothing of such things. All that matters to them is the rapturous heart-to-heart and spirit-to-spirit flow of the Father's love. "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." How we squirm in His arms! We would rather be down on the floor where we can play with our spiritual toys.

If you go through the dark night, spend a great deal of time in the quietness of God's embrace. Choose to soak in His presence, even if you cannot yet feel it. Eventually you will! The wait will cultivate patience and humility. Having endured a period without spiritual accomplishments, more than ever, you will know that you truly can do nothing in the power of your flesh. You will become more aware of your shortcomings and sins, yet be far less self-conscious and more self-accepting than before.

And when you finally begin to imbibe the deep satisfaction of the Father's love, it will make you "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3), for you will no longer feel the need to become rich in spiritual gifts. When gifts come, you will enjoy the God who gives them. When they are absent, you will enjoy God.

When the dark night has made you into a child who knows no reason for pride, it is then that God will increase the gifts, not only because you can be trusted with them, but because there will be less danger that you might use them to bring harm to yourself and others. And although you will be more able to feel God's presence and power, you will no longer see feelings as the measure of God's presence and power.

Lust for emotional highs will fade within the placid stillness of God's heavenly hug. And you will be able to invite others into that peace; you will be able to speak the truth -- even hard truth -- from no other motive than love.

Not everyone's "dark night" will look exactly like that outlined by St. John of the cross. Throughout Scripture we see saints who experienced elements of it, but each one's list of woes had its own configuration. What was common to all is that their time of suffering always led to the same blessed place.

David wrote, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1 NAS). But he also wrote many of the most joyful Psalms. Job complained, "I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me" (Job 30:20, NAS). But his life after his time of trial was twice as blessed as before (Job 42:12 NAS). In Lamentations 3:1-33, Jeremiah mentioned many of the elements of the dark night. He complained, "He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light (vs. 2, NIV). "Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer" (vs. 8, NAS). "My people...mock me in song all day long" (vs. 14, NIV). "I have been deprived of peace" (verse 17, NIV). "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord" (vs. 18, NIV).

Although Jeremiah's prophetic gift brought him nothing but rejection from his countrymen, he found his blessed place in God's embrace: "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (vss. 21-23).

In Lamentations 3:24 (NIV), Jeremiah said, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait on Him." This outlook was what got him through his trial, and the increase of this outlook was the end-result. What is your portion? The extent of your gifts? The "high" they make you feel? The admiration they inspire in others? Being right when others are wrong? Your mind might protest that this is not so, but only God knows your heart. He knows how long it will take you to learn to really live the words, "The Lord is my portion."

You may pray that the length of the dark night be shortened, but do not be dismayed if it is not. I sense that for many, it will last for the next three to four years. For you, it may last for any length of time within that time period. During that season, prophecies may be scarcer than before. Spiritual highs may be harder to come by. But afterward, you will find yourself in a place to be guided by a new vision -- one centered on the simple premise that it's all about the Father's love.

Jesus said, "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24, NIV). In order to bear the fruit God intends, the current prophetic movement must die -- not die off, mind you, but die to its present form and state, to be resurrected into the balance that God intends for it.

"The Lord is my portion." When this season passes, for those who have allowed God to have His way, this may become the catch-phrase of the new vision for His prophetic movement.


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Prophecy

A Word for the Prophetic Movement

by Mark Sandford,

In mid-April I began to feel purposeless, as if I were going nowhere (in spite of the fact that the opposite is true). I felt heavy and dead, and could take little joy in ministry. I have encountered many prophetic people who have been feeling the same way. But when I tell them why, their heavy feeling lifts.

Have you been feeling this way? Here's what I'm sensing. A change is coming in the prophetic movement. The movement began with a vibrant vision: we would rediscover the prophetic gift and office, and bring them back into the life of the Church. Joy came to many as prophetic words were fulfilled, but immature zeal has had its way. The need for accountability has been eclipsed by a quest for the excitement of prophecies (especially personal ones). We want so much to hear from God that we often fail to test prophetic words, as Scripture commands (1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 1 John 4:1).

Although the Bible regards false prophecies as a very serious matter, too many Christians treat them as a non-issue. A prophetic leader may give false prophecy after false prophecy, and it doesn't even occur to followers to test his words. When even our watchmen are not held accountable for their actions, who is left to warn teachers who would stray into heresy or pastors who would fall into sin? Ample objections come from the internet attack dogs who spew their vitriolic fire hoses not only on fires, but on the very fire of the Holy Spirit. But not enough prophetic voices are speaking out with the balance of firmness and compassion needed to protect the precious gifts with which God has entrusted us.

I sense that in order to protect His children from themselves, at this point the Holy Spirit is applying loving discipline by sending thousands of prophetic Christians into what St. John of the Cross dubbed, "the dark night of the soul." . If you are feeling the heaviness I have described, you may be one of them.

Or, if you have already been through the dark night, such feelings may signal a call to pray for others who are entering into it. God often causes us to feel what others feel, to prepare us to pray from a stance of empathy rather than judgment. If this describes your situation, you are probably beginning to feel lighter even as you read this, for you are realizing that the emotions you have been feeling are not your own.

In the sixteenth century, in his book, "The Dark Night of the Soul," St. John noted that when Christians discover spiritual gifts and mystical experiences they too often fall into spiritual pride, either knowingly or unknowingly, desiring to use these to gain notoriety. Some, aware of this temptation, become overly scrupulous. They desperately attempt to scrub every imperfection from their souls, unaware of a hidden motive to find peace in their own perfection rather than in the arms of a gracious and forgiving God.

St. John saw both of these reactions as expressions of "spiritual gluttony." Through his own suffering he learned that whether we are ravenous for notoriety or perfection, God cures us by putting us on a "spiritual diet." The following are signs that this is happening:

-- You may no longer find pleasure in the things of God or life in general.

-- You may no longer easily feel God's presence, have mystical experiences or hear prophetic words.

-- You may find it difficult to pray, feeling little or no enjoyment in it.

-- You may feel spiritually dead.

-- Because of all this, you may feel like God has abandoned you.

-- You may feel like you are backsliding.

--You may feel like everyone has forsaken you, especially your friends.

You may take all this to mean that God has removed His presence. Quite the opposite is true; He has increased it! It only feels like He has removed it, for two reasons. First, during the dark night you may feel like you are walking from a dimly lit room into full sunlight. The brightness of His holy presence can seem blinding, so that you can't see the light of His presence until the eyes of your spirit slowly adjust. Second, Malachi 3:3 says that God refines us like gold and silver. His increased presence can heat up the metal of your heart, causing dross to surface more quickly. You can become so aware of your sins and the deadness of your soul, that at first you do not perceive that His presence has increased.

You may also think the dark night is punishment or reaping for wrongdoing. It is not; it is God's way of leading you to despair of relying on your own strengths, abilities or gifts. In the process, you may discover sins you were previously unaware of, but these did not cause the dark night; they were merely revealed by it. So don't blame yourself for the dark night; be thankful that God is using this experience to build humble character that reflects more of His likeness.

How long must the dark night last? St. John suggested that in order for it to be effective, it should last at least a few years, but that is not absolute; there are many exceptions. It will last however long it takes to get you to the point of despair of self and then beyond it, to where you can abide in Christ, resting in the knowledge that without Him you can do nothing (John 15:5). Only God knows how long that will take.

Meanwhile, do not try ever harder to hear God or spend extra hours in fasting or Bible study in order to jump-start your stalled spiritual sensitivities (not that you should avoid these activities, but do avoid basing them on this motive). Rather, lean into God's embrace and cling to Him like a child in need. Jesus said, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them" (Mark 10:15-16, NAS).

To live in Jesus' embrace is, quite simply, God's goal for the prophetic movement. For what is the ultimate purpose of any prophecy, whether it be a word of encouragement, a warning, or even an announcement of impending discipline? Simply to draw us closer to God. What, then, is most destructive to the prophetic movement? Focusing on prophecies instead of God.

For those of you who have been feeling the heaviness in brothers and sisters who are entering the dark night, pray that this will not be a time of torment for them. Torment will come if they strive to recover the thrills His gifts once gave them. Pray for the grace to let that go and to embrace the choice fruit which God designed this season to produce -- sweet contentment in the arms of a loving God. Imagine the babies Jesus took into His arms in Mark 10. Were they prideful? How could they be?

Babies have no gifts or achievements in which to take pride. Did they seek gifts instead of God? Babies know nothing of such things. All that matters to them is the rapturous heart-to-heart and spirit-to-spirit flow of the Father's love. "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." How we squirm in His arms! We would rather be down on the floor where we can play with our spiritual toys.

If you go through the dark night, spend a great deal of time in the quietness of God's embrace. Choose to soak in His presence, even if you cannot yet feel it. Eventually you will! The wait will cultivate patience and humility. Having endured a period without spiritual accomplishments, more than ever, you will know that you truly can do nothing in the power of your flesh. You will become more aware of your shortcomings and sins, yet be far less self-conscious and more self-accepting than before.

And when you finally begin to imbibe the deep satisfaction of the Father's love, it will make you "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3), for you will no longer feel the need to become rich in spiritual gifts. When gifts come, you will enjoy the God who gives them. When they are absent, you will enjoy God.

When the dark night has made you into a child who knows no reason for pride, it is then that God will increase the gifts, not only because you can be trusted with them, but because there will be less danger that you might use them to bring harm to yourself and others. And although you will be more able to feel God's presence and power, you will no longer see feelings as the measure of God's presence and power.

Lust for emotional highs will fade within the placid stillness of God's heavenly hug. And you will be able to invite others into that peace; you will be able to speak the truth -- even hard truth -- from no other motive than love.

Not everyone's "dark night" will look exactly like that outlined by St. John of the cross. Throughout Scripture we see saints who experienced elements of it, but each one's list of woes had its own configuration. What was common to all is that their time of suffering always led to the same blessed place.

David wrote, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1 NAS). But he also wrote many of the most joyful Psalms. Job complained, "I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me" (Job 30:20, NAS). But his life after his time of trial was twice as blessed as before (Job 42:12 NAS). In Lamentations 3:1-33, Jeremiah mentioned many of the elements of the dark night. He complained, "He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light (vs. 2, NIV). "Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer" (vs. 8, NAS). "My people...mock me in song all day long" (vs. 14, NIV). "I have been deprived of peace" (verse 17, NIV). "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord" (vs. 18, NIV).

Although Jeremiah's prophetic gift brought him nothing but rejection from his countrymen, he found his blessed place in God's embrace: "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (vss. 21-23).

In Lamentations 3:24 (NIV), Jeremiah said, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait on Him." This outlook was what got him through his trial, and the increase of this outlook was the end-result. What is your portion? The extent of your gifts? The "high" they make you feel? The admiration they inspire in others? Being right when others are wrong? Your mind might protest that this is not so, but only God knows your heart. He knows how long it will take you to learn to really live the words, "The Lord is my portion."

You may pray that the length of the dark night be shortened, but do not be dismayed if it is not. I sense that for many, it will last for the next three to four years. For you, it may last for any length of time within that time period. During that season, prophecies may be scarcer than before. Spiritual highs may be harder to come by. But afterward, you will find yourself in a place to be guided by a new vision -- one centered on the simple premise that it's all about the Father's love.

Jesus said, "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24, NIV). In order to bear the fruit God intends, the current prophetic movement must die -- not die off, mind you, but die to its present form and state, to be resurrected into the balance that God intends for it.

"The Lord is my portion." When this season passes, for those who have allowed God to have His way, this may become the catch-phrase of the new vision for His prophetic movement.


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Prophecy

Shawn Bolz Speaking to the Northwest

.Every vision will be fulfilled.
  .

NorthwestProphetic.com
facebook.com/northwestprophetic
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Prophecy

Shawn Bolz Speaking to the Northwest

.Every vision will be fulfilled.
  .

NorthwestProphetic.com
facebook.com/northwestprophetic
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Devotionals, Letters

Terms and Conditions for Trick or Treating

Have you ever seen the fine print on some of the websites out there: “Your use of this website constitutes your agreement to comply, and be bound to, the following terms and conditions…” If there’s ever a legal issue, the case will be decided by how well you and the other party comply with the terms and conditions of the website where the legal issue occurred.
These terms and conditions are very often tricky to find. Sometimes they’re in very small print at the bottom of the page. Sometimes they’re not even on the page you see, but are hidden away on a “Terms and conditions” page that nobody ever sees. But they are binding nonetheless, on every visitor to the website.
1 Corinthians 15:46 says “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” So let’s take this natural principle and apply it spiritually.
I expect to have a larger than average number of visitors to my home tomorrow night. I expect that many of them will be wearing costumes that they think of as valiant or funny or scary. (I expect that I’ll think they’re mostly “cute.”) And some of them will be adults waiting on the sidewalk for their beloved munchkin to return with candy.
But I’ve been setting up some “terms and conditions” that apply to every single person that sets foot on my porch, or my walkway, or even my lawn tomorrow night. (And I may leave them in place indefinitely.) They are not posted publicly, but they will be binding nonetheless, on every visitor to my property.
The terms and conditions that affect them include the following:
● Every visitor to my neighborhood is welcome to bring the Holy Spirit with him or her, their own human spirit, and any angels that submit who are in service to the God of Heaven, but any other spiritual beings, any fallen angels, any demons, must be checked at the gates to my neighborhood, and are not permitted in. (This one’s old news: http://bit.ly/gatekeeping)
● Every visitor to my own property, by setting foot on my property (which by legal definition extends to the centerline of the street, so it includes many of those driving by as well) agrees, by coming onto my property, to be targeted for grace and mercy by the Kingdom of Heaven.
● Every family and every household that receives candy or other nourishment from our home agrees, by receiving from us, to receive nourishment from the Spirit of God and from the Word of God, and to receive New Life from the Creator of Life. If anyone receives something from us by theft, they are still agreeing, by receiving from us, to receive the same nourishment, and the same Life.
● Every guest to our property agrees, by coming onto our property, to receive an angel or angels as their guests and guards, to lead them to the King of Kings, to teach them the ways of the Kingdom of God, and to protect them from harm.
● Every guest on our property, by coming onto our property, receives freely and without cost or obligation, our blessing upon their lives, their future, their family, and their family’s future, blessing for peace, and not for evil, to give them a future and a hope.
● These terms and conditions are subject to change and can be modified at any time without notice. Changes may be effective retroactively. Check with the Holy Spirit for the latest terms and conditions in effect.
So I encourage y’all to set up similar “terms and conditions” for your own property.
Here’s a hint that I’ve learned: I’m relying on the resources of the Kingdom to carry out the terms and conditions I’ve specified. The metaphor of “terms and conditions” was something I worked out with Father in prayer, which was also where these specific terms and conditions were formed.
Have fun. Wreak glory upon your guests!
(Feel free to share this idea with your friends and co-conspirators if you wish.)
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Devotionals, Letters

Staying Current with Spiritual Technologies

Here you see the nearly 18,000 vacuum tubes and 6,000 switches of the ENIAC, the first electronic computer.
This was once considered the pinnacle of technological perfection! The first machine that could calculate. How very impressive. It was the best thing EVER!
This device was very expensive, took up an entire room, generated an immense amount of heat, and, based on vacuum tubes, it was nonfunctional about half the time.
While it was the fastest calculating device available on the planet at the time it was made, it is so no longer. The handheld calculator my daughter used in junior high school (it cost $7.99) is faster – much faster – than this behemoth ever dreamed of being.
In like fashion, the computing power in a $19.95 wristwatch is greater than the computers that supported the first moonwalk. That, too, was the fastest computer of its day, but its day has long since passed.
The engineers who were (rightfully) so proud of those machines are no more than curators of museum pieces now.
In some ways, there is a tendency for the church to function like this. Father gives us a new gift (or brings back an old one that was in every day use in the Book of Acts), and we’re all excited: “This is the best thing EVER!” we declare, and we blog about it, and hold conferences on it, and a few very brave souls take it to the streets.
But the Spirit is not through moving. Just like there are newer and better computers available every few months, there are newer and better insights, strategies, gifts from Holy Spirit real regularly as well.
If we intend to stay current with the computer world, we would need an upgrade every few months. That’s overwhelming: it overwhelms my mind and my budget! In reality, I don’t need to upgrade our personal computer every time a newer and better one is available. I just need to make sure that the one I’m using is current, that it can run the current software that I need, and I need to stay in touch with where the world of computer development is going, so I know when it is time to upgrade.
If we intend to stay current with what Holy Spirit is doing in the world today, we’d need to fully embrace every new thing he does every week or month or so. That would be overwhelming! It would overwhelm any individual’s capacity for change. I don’t need to be personally involved with every jot and tittle of what Holy Spirit is releasing in the world today; I just need to make sure that I’ve invested myself in what he’s doing, that the move that I’m involved in is the right move to accomplish the task that He’s given me. And I need to stay in touch with the bigger picture of what He’s doing, so I know when it’s time for me to upgrade.
For example, there are a bunch of things that I’m aware that Holy Spirit is doing on the earth today (and I’m confident I’ve not seen it all!). The development of the prophetic gifts has been going on for a few decades, and is now approaching a measure of maturity. The development of apostolic gifts is newer, arguably more complex, and necessarily less mature. The healing movement is in full flower right now, ready to bear good fruit! Father is pouring out immense new understanding of his grace: but the grace movement is still relatively young and unsure of itself. There are signs that God is beginning to release gifts such as are found in Acts 8:39 and 2 Corinthians 12:2; won’t that be exciting!

But the real question is, will we upgrade our gifts, the gifts from Holy Spirit that we exercise, that we have proficiency with? Will we upgrade in order to stay current with where Holy Spirit is moving in the earth today?

Or will we be content with our current gifts, our current grace, our current expertise, becoming stagnant and nearly irrelevant to what God is doing today, sitting in the padded seat of honor on the platform, criticizing the new gifts, the new spiritual technologies? “Who needs those newfangled things? An ‘eye-pad’? What in tarnation is an iPad? If vacuum tube computers are good enough for me, they’re good enough for you! iPads and Androids are HERESY, I tell you!”
It’s a scary thing: moving from being expert in a gift that is not as needful today, since nearly every believer is walking in that gift, moving into the place where I’m as much a beginner as anybody else! The guy on the platform really often resists moving from “the anointed man of power, with the word of God for the hour” to a mistake-prone rookie, the same as any other mistake-prone rookie, nothing special anymore.
I invite us to press in to the newer gifts, not leaving the old behind, into the newer moves of what God is doing on the Earth! I invite us to guard against becoming complacent with the gifts that we’ve become expert in, and become a mistake-prone rookie as we learn new ones! I invite us to guard against criticizing our brothers and sisters who are becoming expert in gifts that are different than the ones that we’re becoming expert in.
And I invite us to pray for those around us who have been the big names, the leaders, the people on the platform with status: they need our prayers and our friendship in this season more, perhaps, than others do.

But regardless of who goes with us, or who stands behind criticizing, let us press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. Let us upgrade, always upgrade, our giftings as he offers them!

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Devotionals, Letters

Brass Heavens? Consider Some Options.

The phrase “brass heavens” comes from the King James translation of Deuteronomy 28:23. “And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.” It was part of the consequences that God warned Israel would experience if they wandered off and rejected God in their new Promised Land.

We use the term “brass heavens” to describe an environment where it’s tough to connect with the heavenly realms, it’s difficult to hear from God, rare to experience his presence. Fundamentally, it’s about our experience of interacting with heaven.

Have you ever felt like no matter what you did or prayed, nothing was happening? That’s what we’re talking about.

There are a number of reasons for us to experience brass heavens. Deuteronomy says it’s a natural consequence of abandoning God. Indeed, it’s hard to connect well with God when we’re avoiding him. It is also commonly inferred that if the population of a region rejects God, then the heavens in that area may become brazen to them, and also to anyone else who comes into the region. Hmm. Maybe.

Personally, I believe that sometimes the “brass heavens” are a lie. There are times that the enemy simply accuses God before us: “He didn’t respond to us quickly or personally enough. You must be on the outs with God!” No, the devil just talks louder and faster than Father does.

There are times (Daniel 10:13 is an illustration) where the “brass heavens” are the result of events in the heavenly realms which we cannot see. Job also experienced this. It’s real, and it happens. In fact, in the Bible, it appears to only happen to good people.

There are undoubtedly other causes for that sense that we have which we describe as a brass heaven. Hold that thought; we’ll be back in a minute. Right now, let’s take a detour through the woods.

Some time ago, I was walking in the woods, and my attention was captured by something I saw there. I saw the same conflict acted out in two different ways, in two different parts of the forest.

I saw a giant fir tree, a grandfather, perhaps eight feet in diameter. The only tree of its size in the area, it was accompanied by its adult children: thousands of mature fir trees two to three feet in diameter surrounded it.

But the detail that caught my attention was the third generation of trees. There were not many saplings in the shadow of the larger trees. There were only a few young ones there, but they were thin, weak and yellowed from never having seen the direct light of the sun, their source of life. There were many that had died.

As I walked further, I came to a part of the forest that was dominated by great maple trees. A few giants spread their canopies, well separated from each other, the light through their leaves coloring the undergrowth a bright green.

Unlike the fir trees, the grandfather maple trees were not closely surrounded by their children. Between the great trees was a bright meadow, thickly populated by shrubs and berry bushes, but not a single young tree was growing in the meadow, though the meadow was surrounded by younger maple trees competing with younger fir trees for the light.

I’ve studied botany a little, enough to know that both behaviors are defense mechanisms for the mature trees. The fir trees grow tightly together so that there is no light left for any competitors, even their own offspring. The grandfather fir trees, the old growth giants, have no need to hinder the growth of any competitors: they tower above all others, secure in their own capacity to reach the sunlight.

The great maple trees do it differently. The great giant trees give off a chemical that poisons the soil near them so that no tree can grow there, thus eliminating any competitors for the precious sunlight. Grandfather maple trees are broader, not taller, than their younger competitors. They cannot tower securely above the younger trees as the old growth firs can, so they must eliminate the competition.

Here’s a radical thought: what if the “brass heavens” over some people is the “forest canopy” of others?

I have lived among a metaphorical stand of fir trees. The community of saints were largely mature (both in age, and in their walk of faith), and they were so closely connected with others their age that there was no room for someone young in their faith to break in and discover the life that they needed to thrive.

Do you know how many churches have fights about the worship music? Just the question of “organ music or pop-rock music” has destroyed thousands of American churches. Other communities continually preach the same salvation message for sixty years, or, on the other extreme, the same marriage-and-family messages, ignoring the needs of the younger members, forcing them into the darkness, stunting their growth. The “brass heaven” there comes, at least in part, from the unwillingness of the adults to become parents, the inability to make room for the young ones.

I’ve also served the metaphorical mature maple trees, where the ministry is all about the one leader, and where no real growth is permitted among any other leaders who might challenge the position of the senior leader.

I’ve seen churches where the founding pastor is still the senior pastor 40 years later, but no youth pastor or worship leader is kept for more than 3 years, and the only associate pastors are those who’ve learned never to grow beyond a certain limit. The “brass heaven” in those places is, at least partly, the result of the senior leader’s ego.

As I’ve reflected on my lessons from the forest, I’ve been very grateful that I have feet instead of roots. I’ve used those feet to depart those deadly forests. There are thousands like me, unwilling to sacrifice my own growth for the comfort of the fathers and grandfathers that have gone before me. Unfortunately, there are millions more, lost in the shadows, withering, dying without the sun.

Of course, wherever I go, there is always the temptation to gather a tight group of friends who support each other, but really don’t make room for another generation to be part of the community. Or there’s the temptation to create my own forest, where I’m the reigning monarch, and everybody else is reduced in order to serve my own needs.

The old growth fir tree is easily the best model from this particular day in the forest: tall and strong, secure in his own relationship with the sun of life, he broadcasts seed, carried by wind, and he populates entire regions, reshapes the environment within his influence.

The drawback, of course, is that it is incredibly costly to become the old growth fir tree: costly in time. It requires, in the tree’s case, centuries of growth to reach that size, centuries of avoiding the forest fires and logging companies and diseases that are the end of so many of its peers.

But I suspect that we can, ideologically, at least, become the old-growth giant long before we’re either old or giant. Being creatures that (unlike the trees) are created in God’s image with a free will, we can exercise our will.

We can choose to not participate in the closed relationships that keep others at a distance. We can choose to let others grow and thrive around us, encouraging the ones that will eclipse our own growth or gifting, so that they become greater and more successful than we’ve ever been.

We can choose to raise up and release a generation that’s just now encountering the “brass heavens” of the saints. 
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Prophecy

I Can See Clearly Now: Doug Addison on 2014

Expect things to clear up

If things don’t seem all that clear right now, don’t worry. February’s uncertain times will become clearer towards the end of the month. Clarity is coming and some new radical positive events will start happening in March. Expect to see the clouds lift by the end of the month while God pours out encouragement in March through April.
Attacks of 2013 become authority
What were your struggles and how did the enemy attack you in 2013? Your attack in 2013 is the area of your new authority this year. In many cases, the enemy overplayed his hand against you and 2013 was about trying to get you to quit.
For those who stuck with it, God is giving new levels of authority and anointing. But there is a key to this new promotion this year: we must get rid of accusations against others. God is releasing new anointing and authority to those who are humble and able to love others.
A key verse for this time is Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
God spoke to me that if you have anything against someone else, it is time to put it behind you. Especially if you are holding evidence saved to prove you are right. Let it go. It’s time to trust God to fight your battles and let go of any grievances because they will disqualify you from promotions this year.
New ideas and inventions
I had a prophetic dream this month that God is releasing from Heaven new strategies, ideas and inventions right now. I was standing next to an angel and suddenly a high-tech umbrella appeared in my hand that not only shielded me from the elements but also had a mist of refreshment falling down on the inside. The dream means that God’s angels will shield us while bringing a creative, inventive spirit. When we are protected by God, new divine strategies and inventions create Kingdom finances even through tough times.
I also had several dreams of violent weather. God is saying do not worry about how things look but trust that God will open up opportunities to be blessed in any situation.
God gave Isaac a strategy to reap a hundred times during a terrible famine.
Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him.” Genesis 26:12
In every downturn there’s always a way to reap. Ask God for eyes to see what you can do right now in your situation.
Super Bowl score
Even though the Super Bowl was not that super this year, unless you are a Seattle Seahawks fan, the final score was intriguing to me. I felt it was significant and knew that again, like last year, it was not intended to say that God is judging.
Taking a look at the final score, Seahawks 43 to Broncos 8, God led me to some powerful verses packed in Isaiah 43 which many of us know. Here God brings comfort during rough times, forming us into people of godly character, able to lead others by following Holy Spirit into new things (Isaiah 43: 1-2, 5-8 and 18-19).
Check out the verse corresponding the final score, 43-8 to Isaiah 43:8.
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.” Isaiah 43:8 NIV
God is opening people’s eyes and ears. People who have no idea about the power of His Spirit will be lead by those called by God’s name. Like the power of God’s spirit, who helped deaf Seahawks fullback, Derrick Coleman, who “stuck with it” and despite his disability, gained much new authority.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
God’s challenge in the game of life is to take comfort during character-forming times. Your heart’s re-shaping helps you and others show God’s awesome goodness. Read through the entire chapter of Isaiah 43 because it is packed full of promises from God to pray into your life.
New type of religious spirit
I was featured in Darren Wilson’s documentary, Father of Lights. In the film, we were doing outreach on Venice Beach but a group of highly religious, judgmental sign carriers, a.k.a. Bible Thumpers, were shutting down the spiritual atmosphere.
I prayed and blessed the guy with one of the angry signs. When we think of religious spirits, usually we think of this group. But God showed me there is a new type of religious spirit that is being released in the Church today.
This new type of religious spirit is now active in charismatic and evangelical Christians. Many people that are operating in this new covert legalistic spirit believe they are truly nonreligious. In reality, they are falling into judgment.
When God does something new, quite often the previous movement is judgmental towards it. This is repeated throughout church history. God is doing something new right now to draw in people who have been rejected by Christianity. I have been encouraging people everywhere to embrace anyone who needs God and not judge them.
Before we can help others, we must ask God to look at our own hearts and see if there is any judgment against others.
I’ve been praying a prayer for a while, “God, show me what the enemy does not want me to see about myself.” And also, “God, reveal to me anything I might have in my heart towards others.” As we get rid of judgment, we are better able to embrace people who are different than us.
Let’s pray together that God would help us be more persistent so we can “stay in it.” And we would have judgment-free eyes to see clearly and find new ways to hear how to use our new authority to touch many.
Blessings,
doug-sig

Doug Addison

February 14, 2014
http://dougaddison.com
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Prophecy

Bob Jones: Preview of the 2014 Shepherd’s Rod

Preview of the 2014 Shepherd’s Rod
Each year on the Day of Atonement we set our self aside to receive revelation from the Lord for the body of Christ for the upcoming year and the years to follow. Some of the things the Lord highlighted this year are: the Father’s love, resurrection power, the international banker, warnings to the church about immorality and paralyzing fear. We want to share with you one message we feel is vital to the church this year as we get ready to move into a season of the baptism of fire.
Baptism of Fire
By Bob Jones

Second Birthing
Bob was handed a huge white egg and as it was placed in his hand it began to hatch open.  As he drew closer to examine the egg, he saw that it had fire inside and it was like a birthing of fire.
This egg represents a new birthing and new life because it represents the second birthing of the baptism of fire. This baptism will be far greater than Pentecost and more powerful than Azusa Street of recent times. I believe we’re all getting ready to be birthed a second time in fire. This was the timing and we will see the fire of God this year. (Hebrews 6:5)
John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16)
It’s the same kind of fire as the burning bush that was not consumed. I believe that now is a time of commissioning like when Moses received his instructions. When this egg opens, the wisdom that will be given is that of the Father’s will because it will reveal the Father’s heart to us. Then our only testing will be obedience to that which the Father puts in our conscience.
This baptism of fire means that plagues and viruses cannot cling to it. No demonic control can survive around it and the enemy cannot trouble you. The baptism of fire will bring in holiness and holiness is one of the main words this year. God is a holy God and when we are consumed by this baptism of fire, anything unholy that comes into our presence will not be able to stand. The power of this consuming fire will cause demons to flee and sickness, disease, infirmities and plagues to die instantly. There will be no question that the power of God is resident in His people.
Highway of Holiness
I saw that we had been working on a roadway and were just near finishing it. The road was made so you could drive up the mountain. I felt this was the highway of holiness of Isaiah 35 and I think this year there’s going to be more emphasis on holiness than ever before. We are called to make the highway of holiness presentable so people can drive on it. If you walked on this road it would take quite a while. But I feel the Lord wants it to be made possible for you to get there quicker.
A highway shall be there, and a road,? And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.? The unclean shall not pass over it,? But it shall be for others.? Whoever walks the road, although a fool,? Shall not go astray. No lion shall be there,? Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it;?It shall not be found there.? But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,? And come to Zion with singing,? With everlasting joy on their heads.? They shall obtain joy and gladness,? And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.(Isaiah 35:8-10)
We were nearly finished working on it so people could drive right up on top of the mountain and park. This is a year of holiness and there will be a quietness that the body needs. At different times they will come to the mountain top just think on the Lord and rest in His holiness. 
Conditions for Holiness
The project we were finishing at the very top of the mountain was the highest way in God. We had worked on this mountain road so we could navigate it by auto. And that auto means being really impressed with the Lord. The conditions for getting on the highway of holiness are in Isaiah 55 which means your thoughts must line up with God’s. If your thoughts are in agreement with God’s, your actions and deeds will follow.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)
Many Christians are coming into the Spirit of Holiness this year and that is the Spirit of Resurrection in Romans 1:4. We are called to be holy as the Lord Thy God is Holy (Lev. 19:2). Then we have the power to heal the sick, raise the dead and do the greater works. The Spirit of Resurrection is coming to the remnant so they can bring thousands into salvation by knowing the way and the way is holiness through obedience to Isaiah 55:8.
We had been working on the road going up a mountain and had it graded down and graveled so you could drive on it. We just needed to finish it at the very top so people could drive up and park and look into the heavens. I believe this is saying that the heavens are going to be open this year. So expect to receive greater revelation than ever before. Then take it down the mountain road and into the cities and villages and watch them be transformed as you deliver them from demonic oppression, plagues and disease. When the glory rests upon you like it did Moses, no demon will be able to resist its’ presence.
Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down!?That the mountains might shake at Your presence— (Isaiah 64:1)
House Ablaze
By Bonnie Jones
In a dream I saw people running toward a house that was greatly ablaze; fire was blaring everywhere. There was yellow police tape stretched between trees in the foreground that read “DO NOT CROSS.” But people paid it no mind. They just broke through the tape and ran toward the fire.
I believe the house represents the church and its about to catch fire. The glory of the Lord is going to fill the house in such an extraordinary way that it’s going to be contagious. People will come from near and far to feel the presence and power of the baptism of fire.
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Prophecy

The Marriage of the Visible and Invisible

Editor’s Note: This is not your normal “Release this prophetic word to the world” kind of post. Michael Danforth is a prophet in Yakima, WA, and this was part of his monthly newsletter for the end of 2013. Michael is a reliable Northwest prophetic voice, and the word has been judged profitable, if unfamiliar in its presentation.  

I felt compelled to write to you about a few of the outrageous transitions that are going on in the spirit and how they will impact the years to come.
I have always seen faith as point of entry. It’s the doorway into the supernatural and the unseen world of the spirit. Once we step through these spiritual doors by faith, from that moment on, we should expect to see the invisible with our own eyes. Many have asked, “What do you believe will be one of the most significant revelations in 2014?” Without hesitation, I have said, “The marriage of the visible and invisible.” In other words, what is visible will be seen in a different light and what is invisible will become just as apparent as what is already visible.”
  
Before I go on, let’s settle the issue that I am not your normal everyday prophet. To many, I come across as being a little less sociable and a bit dysfunctional. If my mother were present today, she would be the first to say, “Michael was always a bit withdrawn and had a tendency to view the world around him with extreme imagination.” Of course, none of us knew then, that even as a child, I was seeing the world from a prophetic perspective. The world I engage in has always been very different from the visible world around us. I know many of you could attest the same.
Like some of you, in my youth, my spiritual understanding and sight was not nurtured like it could have been. Therefore, it took me a while to realize that what I was seeing was not just some wild figment of my imagination, but invisible realms of God’s kingdom.
I have a confession to make. During the last number of years, I have been slow to become fully transparent about what I have believed to be the intended outcome of God’s intentions for humanity. Much of my concealment was because many already viewed me as being unreasonable and less practical when it came to spiritual things.
I sadly confess, as a result, though I have carried the appearance of being a spiritual forerunner, I found myself dialing down the extreme radical nature of the kingdom of heaven within me. Looking back, I can clearly see how I let the fear of man restrain me from exhibiting the expectations of Father on the earth.  Nonetheless, that was then and this is now. 
Let me encourage those of you who have felt somewhat restrained because of the peculiarity of the Spirit of God working in you. The box of confinement is ultimately being destroyed for the purpose of manifesting whatever revelation of heaven that has been in you since the beginning of time.
Let there be doubt, God is piloting His people completely off the known charts of spiritual flight. I believe one of the reasons this nation and other nations in the world are in the condition they are in, is because many people in the kingdom of God have allowed the fear of man to hinder the revelation of heaven in them. Again, I am an example of those who have appeared spiritually radical, but have exhibited far less than a 100-fold potential. Therefore, the power of acceleration is upon me and is readily available to anyone who has a desire to make up for some lost time.
There is one important thing to remember about forerunners, whether it relates to spiritual things or natural things. Most want to participate in the eventual fruit of their labors; however, most are unwilling to be identified with the stigma and ridicule that is often a part of their journey to get there.
For a number of years now, I have referred to a spiritual gathering of the saints that would redefine what it means to see eye to eye. Many have interpreted an “eye to eye” encounter as people on earth coming together viewing each other on the same spiritual plane. While this sounds reasonable enough, the fact is, there will always be those who will be willing to lay everything on the line for the sake of the Kingdom, while others will not. In this respect, many will continue to have difficulty seeing eye-to-eye.
Nonetheless, spiritual maturity is indeed on the rise and those who appeared to be living beneath their relational potential in the Father, are now approaching a new definition of what it means to not only have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus, but with all the saints of God.
Having an eye-to-eye encounter with the saints of God reaches far beyond any earthly meeting where everyone seems to be on the same page. Even before Christ, there has been a continual invitation to interact with the saints of God, in heaven and on earth, simultaneously.
A time is coming when the people of God on earth will no longer refer to those who have come and gone, and whose permanent dwelling is now in heaven, as being dead. Nor will they view them in the past tense. Every day, there are countless people who are exiting this earthly realm and entering into the heavenly realm, thus heaven is now their final dwelling place.  However, there are also those who are ascending and descending from earth to heaven, yet earth is still their primary dwelling place.
As I have mentioned in earlier writings, this Kingdom ascending and descending has widened the eternal gate of glory between heaven and earth. This means that the appearing of those in heaven on earth will become more frequent. It also means that those on earth will frequent heaven far more readily as well. .

The body of Christ has broken a barrier of understanding of what it means for God to be the “God of the living, not the dead.”
Mark quotes Jesus as saying,
“But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:26-27)
Jesus is making it very clear that when God spoke to Moses and said, “I am the God of…” it meant that God was still the God of those who had once lived on the earth, but are now living in heaven. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still very much alive, even more so.  Thus the words of Jesus when He said, ‘you are completely mistaken if you think I am the God of dead corpses.’
All the saints in Old and New Testament times, as well as, anyone else in God who has gone before us, are very much alive. The primary difference is that they are a living revelation that their true citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. I have long been aware that not only do angels gather with us when we come together, but even the saints of God who once walked upon the earth.
While this might sound eerie and spooky to some, for others it is a glorious expectant reality. If we are serious about hanging on to the doctrine of repentance, then we should be repenting for excluding the rest of the church, the body of Christ that is still very much alive in heaven.
For years, I have nurtured my sight, my spiritual senses, to see thousands come together and participate, in the spirit, during our public gatherings. This will soon become an eventual visible manifestation. Like Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses, Elijah and countless others, will begin to appear in plain sight. Jesus was extremely sincere when He said, “Greater things than these, you will do.”
A good friend of mine, who has entertained angels for years, told me that before he saw his first angel with his own eyes, he started acting as though they were with him all the time. He would talk to them and refer to them continually. He even went as far as making sandwiches for them during various lunch times. Sound ridiculous? Of course it does. However, on one occasion, while he was in the kitchen preparing lunch for himself and his invisible friends, he heard a giggling sound coming from the other room. When he went to investigate, he saw three angels setting in his living room. When he saw them, they looked just as shocked that he could see them as he was. I forgot to ask if he made enough sandwiches. 
For me, one of the most troublesome things about our western Christian culture is that we have a desire to go far, but not too far, certainly not far enough. This is why “forerunners” are so necessary in the kingdom of God. One of their primary purposes is to venture out into the depths of the Spirit, beyond our current state of spiritual understanding and reveal the hidden knowledge of the Spirit.
Theory is a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something. Theology is the study of religious faith, practice, and experience. Either theory or theology alone is sufficient to transform one’s mind into the mind of Christ, thus our eternal state. Like faith, they are a point of entry, one of which is designed to lead us into a genuine encounter with the Spirit of the Lord. The future will be filled with a generation that will break the barriers of theoretic and theological understanding. Their revelation will include both knowledge and experience.
Isaiah writes,
“…For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)
Hosea writes,
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord…” (Hosea 6:3)
True knowledge includes the act of knowing, hearing and seeing. In fact, it involves all of our senses. Its intent reaches far beyond mental knowledge about someone or something. In these passages of scripture, the Hebrew meaning of “knowledge” is to know God in the sense of personal experience, not just literal understanding. It means to experience the ways of God, to know His paths and to know His heart.

In the near future, the earth will quake and the heavens will shake because of another increasing heavenly invasion. An unusual terror is about to hit the earth in ways unimaginable. Not terror in the sense of chaotic horror, but terror in the sense of the raw glory of the Lord becoming so visible that many will be terrorized by the brilliance of His appearing.
Michael Danforth 

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