The Need for Aggression

Matthew 11:12(NKJV) 12And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

I believe God has given our church a mandate for 2012. This mandate is the same as that given to the nation of Israel as they were poised at the gates to the Promised Land of Canaan

Deuteronomy 1:8(NKJV) 8See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.’ they were poised at the gates to the Promised Land of Canaan.

God intended Israel to take possession of a land that God had promised them hundreds of years before. The land was theirs because God had given it to them; however, they did not live there. They were not able to take advantage of the blessings in that land. In order for them to reap the benefits of the promise of God, they were going to have to drive out the enemies that lived there. Once they did that, they would be free to enjoy a blessed life occupying every corner of the land God said was theirs.

We also have been given a land. Our land is not so much a promised land but a land of promises. Jesus bought these promises for us with his blood. They are ours today, but there are some enemies that want to keep us from receiving them. Those enemies are in three categories: the world, the flesh and the devil. The world represents all the outward influences, from culture to the media, which keep us from possessing what Jesus died to give us. The flesh represents the inward enemies such as the wounds of life and laziness, which do the same thing. The devil is that being who uses both the other elements and anything else he can in order to try to kill, steal or destroy us. His aim is to be sure that we never posses our land of promises.

I believe it is very important for us to understand the nature of what is at stake here. These enemies are trying to take the best of what life has to offer from you. All that is negative in the human condition has been addressed by what salvation provided for us. Life can be difficult. I cannot say that possessing your promised land will keep you from ever having trials. I can say that the degree to which we possess our promised land is the degree we will have victory over every and any trial that comes. You peace, prosperity and wellbeing depend on you possessing your land of promises.

In addition to the personal benefits that are available to you, there are also ramifications for the church and the world in which we live. The world needs help. Romans 8:19-22 seems to describe our day.

Romans 8:19-22(NKJV) 19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

The world is groaning under the weight of sin. There is a redemption coming to the earth in the second coming of Jesus Christ. However, we also see that the world is waiting for a manifestation of the sons of God. The world needs the body of Christ to rise up and be what Jesus intended us to be. We must possess our land of promises so that we can preach the gospel to those who are perishing. How will the world believe us if we have no more power to live life than they do? We must defeat our enemies so we can occupy the land God has provided for us. Your life depends on it and so does the future.

When Israel entered the Promised Land, they could not come in as a peaceful nation willing to coexist with the enemies they faced. They had to come in as a conquering army. The first thing they faced was Jericho. Jericho was the biggest, strongest obstacle they would face in their quest to possess the Promised Land. God’s direction to them was to kill everything in that city and burn it to the ground. They were not to take anything out of it. They were to sow the soil with salt so the land would be useless for generations. That was a very aggressive action.

I believe we have become far too passive when it comes to how we deal with the enemies keeping us from our land of promises. We allow the storms of life to come against us with very little resistance in the spirit. We may complain in the flesh. We might use every natural resource at our disposal, however, when it comes to spiritual resistance we put up a little fight and then back down. Sometimes we just lose interest. We cannot see the results of our spiritual resistance and we simply quit doing the kind of warfare that is necessary to drive out our enemies. I assure you the world, the flesh and devil never lose interest or back down of their own accord.

Israel would never have taken their promised land if they had approached Jericho in that manner. God had given them a plan, but that plan did not produce immediate results. They had to march around the walls once a day for 6 days. That means that for six days they had to be faithful with no results to show for it. The last day they had to march around the walls 7 times. Even after they had fulfilled everything God said, they saw no result until they shouted. Then the walls came down. Even when the walls fell, Israel had to continue to be aggressive. They had to go and destroy everything. God would not do that part for them.

In today’s scripture, Jesus tells us that the entry of John the Baptist into the world initiated a new era. From that time until the day Jesus was speaking, the kingdom of God suffered violence and the violent had to gain ground by force. What changed when John came? John’s ministry signified the beginning of the era of the body of Christ.

The first manifestation of that era was the earthly ministry of Jesus himself. Until Jesus came the devils reign as “god of this world” went unchallenged. The Jews, through the law and the covenant of Abraham, had the ability to live in limited relationship with the Lord enabling them to walk in great blessing. However, when Jesus came, he was serving notice to the devil, “Your time is up!” In the spirit realm, there were 3 and ½ years of violent warfare and Jesus won every battle.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, he made a very aggressive statement.

Matthew 28:18(NKJV) 18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Then he told us to go in that authority to the whole world. This is the continuation of the violent ministry of Jesus. We are the body of Christ. We are called to take our land of promises by violently resisting the world, he flesh and the devil until we reclaim what God has already provided for us. We must violently take back spiritual authority over the world in the name of Jesus. Then we can live in the promises for which Jesus died. We must also violently go into the world, preaching the Gospel to every nation until Jesus returns and brings all things together under his Lordship. (Ephesians 1:10)

This is important. Look at your life. Is there an area where you have not been aggressive in your resistance to the devil? Are there areas where you are being too passive in allowing the world to influence you? Are you simply sitting back and letting your flesh rob you of the blessings Jesus died to give you? Are you passively sitting by while the people around you slip into an eternity without God? We cannot afford to be passive any longer. Get aggressive! Get into the battle! The Word of God assures you that you will be victorious.

Greetings from Limuru Kenya: The Prophetic Voice

This week I have had the privilege of ministering in a conference for pastors, ministers and church leaders in the city of Limuru, Kenya.  During this time I have been speaking on the need for us to minister in the power of the prophetic voice. 

One definition of prophecy that I like is that it is a specific word to a specific people at a specific time.  When we stand and speak the “Word of the Lord” in prophecy we are not just speaking words of edification, exhortation or comfort.  We can do that out of our own heart and mind.  As long as they agree with the bible they can bless and help people.

However when we speak a word of prophecy unto exhortation, edification or comfort, we believe that God is using us to speak a specific word to whomever we may be ministering.  He knows their heart.  He knows their need.  He puts a words in our minds that will specially minister to that person or those people. 

While any word that is based on the bible can be a blessing, the specific word that comes through prophecy is more accurate and more pointed in its ability to break the yoke of bondage.  Ministering under the prophetic voice means that the same “specific words to a specific people at a specific time” is underneath whatever we do.  However it is not limited to words.

If I am going to preach or teach, I can bring forth any topic and it will bless the people of God as long as it is from the bible.  It will bring revelation on whatever the topic may be and people will grow in the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is good and valid ministry.  However, what if we add the prophetic voice to the equation.

Whenever I stand before the people of God I pray for the specific word for the specific people I am ministering to at that specific time.  I have hundreds of good messages that I can preach at any given time.  However, I want that one message that will bring the most impact to the people.  I can teach many topics effectively.  However, I want to teach the specific topic that people needs at that time.

When we are praying for direction, we can have many good ideas, but what we need is that one “God” idea that will take us in the direction he knows we need to go.  I believe all kinds of ministry, both pubic and personal need to be touched by the prophetic voice. 

When we witness, the prophetic voice can lead us to the person that is ready to hear.  If we lead worship, we can sing good songs or we can sing the songs that will release the presence of God.  If we would lean on the prophetic voice instead of psychology, our counseling would take on another dimension. 

Some might think that this is an overly dramatic view of how we should live.  I have experienced this in some dimension and I believe we need it even more today.  I need to know the specific direction of god for me in this specific day.

In Acts chapter 2 we read the first message ever preached in the church age.  In it Peter quotes the prophet Joel.

Acts 2:17-21(NKJV) 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

I believe the Lord is giving us an insight for what ministry must be like in the last days.  Over and over again we read about prophecy.  We see that male, female, young and old are all supposed to prophesy.  We see that there should be dreams and visions and I believe he is speaking of prophetic dreams and visions.

We live in the last days.  They began on the day of Pentecost and will end with the return of Jesus to the earth.  I do not know if these are the last of the last days, but I know that we are closer to them then ever before.  We need the prophetic voice functioning in our lives and ministries today more than ever before.  There are no natural answers to the problems we face.  However, the prophetic voice is able to meet specific needs for specific people at this specific time. 

(Due to my travel schedule I will not be able to be as consistent as I would like in posting.  I will try to get some things up now and then, so keep checking.)