Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Go to the Cries Outside!"

"Go to the Cries Outside"

"To the Church:

"Come out! Come out from behind your walls! Come out, and your light will penetrate the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome you. But if you saty behind your walls, you will be overcome by darkness.

"I am opening before you a gap in your walls for you to walk through. Today, if you hear My voice, do not be afraid to follow Me beyond your walls! Do not be afraid if no one else is with you, for I will be with you, and I will be your light and your protection. Your walls cannot protect you from the darkness, but I can.

"Your walls have only kept you safe from being light in the darkness and from giving bread to the hungry. I have given you My light so that you may share it with them, but you have hidden it behind your walls. Yet you cannot hide from darkness behind your walls, and I will not hold the darkness back much longer. But if you follow Me, you will always walk in the light."

Friday, April 29, 2011

"My Purpose For Riches"

"To the rich:

"Clothe the naked,
feed the poor,
welcome the outcast,
and fight for the oppressed!

"I am with you when you are with them.
But if you are not with them,
if you take advantage of them and ignore their cry,
then I will allow your deeds to return on your own head.

"I am giving you the gift of being able to participate in My service.
But if you serve only yourselves, who will clothe your nakedness?"


Art: "In His Image"

"America, You Will Be Humbled
Among the Nations"

"To the people of the United States:

"I am the One before all things, and I am the One bringing all things together. I am the Lord of the nations, both those who acknowledge Me and those who do not.

"In My heart I have cherished you, not because you are greater than other nations, but because I love and cherish each of My children, and you are not an exception! You are precious and priceless in My sight, and I love you as a father loves his own.

"It is because I love you as a father that I must discipline you.

"You have been proud and have exploited your brother and sister nations for your own interest. Few of your brother and sister nations have been as generous as you have, but few have also practiced as much deceitful control over nations as you have. You have both helped your neighbors and abused them.

"Woe to you! for your good deeds will not be remembered by the nations when your time comes to be humbled before all! Woe to you! for the nations will remember your abuses and return them upon you! Woe to you! because you have throught that you could help with one arm and harm with the other, but when both of your arms are tied your 'lessers' will make you drink the cup you had given them! Woe to you! because your pride has kept you from admitting your abuses and repenting so that you would have friends instead of enemies when the days of humbling come upon you!

"I cry and wail for you because of the suffering you will know when the cup you mixed returns to you. I mourn because you would not have it any other way, though I have sent you prophets to call you to repentance. What more could I have done for you?

"Now listen to Me, for I will not leave you but will give you comfort in the midst of your humiliation if you turn to Me. When you have been brought low, do not curse the nations for failing to remember your good deeds, and do not curse your leaders as if these things have come upon you because of their leadership, for I tell you that your pride would have brought about this fall regardless of who was leading your nation. Bless, and do not curse! Turn to Me and learn love for your enemies, just as I loved you while you were My enemies and gave My life for you.

"I will turn your shame into blessing and life if you repent, but if you mourn for your pride and curse those who have made you drink from your own cup, then there will be no light in your darkness and no healing for your wound. Yet among you I will raise up a people filled with My heart, and they will hear My call. They will go out to repent to the nations for your abuses. They will endure your mocking and your hatred, but they will be My prophets of redemption for you and for the nations. You will not be able to harm them for they will be My messengers to you and the nations. When you try to harm them you will only magnify their testimony and increase your own woe.

"Listen to My heart!"


Art: "For Our Rescue (Ending Rebellion)"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Greedy For Gifts

"What do you want, My people?
Do you want Me or what I can give you?
If I give you My blessings, will you remember Me?
Will you walk out the door and forget Me?
Will you talk to Me only inasmuch
as you get what you came for?

Many of you have come to Me as if I were a store.
Many of you have been 'witnessing' and spreading 'the kingdom'
by telling people about what they can get from Me.
Many of you have been telling people all about My things instead of Me.
You come for grain and new wine, but Me you have forgotten.

My people, how will you know when I have left the store?
How will you know when I am no longer here among you?
Will you come looking for Me even if I leave you
with the store and all My 'things' that you've wanted?

You can have blessings, power, anointing, miracles,
signs, wonders, and more, but these things are not Me.
And these things are not things that I've ever wanted you
to try and figure out the 'keys' or 'principles' to attaining.
You don't have to figure out how to 'get' them from Me!

I am happy to give you everything and more
if you simply want to be with Me.
(And I already have given you everything
when I gave Myself for you on the Cross.)

What good is it to gain all of these things and lose Me?
What good is it to gain all of these things
and lose your own heart?
If you don't have Me, you don't have your heart,
because I am your very life!

Behold, I will leave you with many 'things'
if you do not want Me Myself.
Repent and return to your first love!"


Art: "Greedy For Gifts"

Monday, April 25, 2011

On the Waters

On the Waters

"To the Church:

"I am calling you to be set apart from the streams of the nations. You are not to be divided between My kingdom and the kingdoms of the world. I have called you to be one, to be bound together in My agape love.

"I promised I would lead you by still waters, by waters of rest. But the waters of the nations are troubled, and will become more troubled and divided in the days to come. Do not drink from them. Do not drink from the pride, prosperity or the righteousness of nations. Do not assume that because nations profess or deny My name that they are on My side or against Me. Stay apart from such judgments, lest you be swept away by them. If you drink of these waters you will become poisoned with their pride and their bitterness.

"I AM your kingdom. I AM your nation. I AM your heavenly citizenship. I AM your home and your country. You belong to the Jerusalem that is above, not to the Jerusalem that is below."


"To the prophets:

"Behold I am setting a scroll before you.
I am calling you to speak the truth and to call nations to repentance.
And, I am calling you to lead the way in repentance.

"Many of you, or many people around you, have been using My name and My words
to support the ideas and actions of your nations,
political parties, causes, policies, campaigns and conflicts.
Some of you have used My name and My words to gain cheers
and offerings from audiences who have looked up to you as a prophet.
Some of you have become drunk on the wine of the nations
and on the wine of your ministries.

"I am calling you to repent.
I am also calling you to identify with transgressors around you
and repent on their behalf to those who have been wounded in My name.
I am calling you to represent your whole family,
for better or for worse, not just the presentable parts.

"I am calling you to come take this scroll—My heart—and speak My whole counsel
instead of just the part that you know will be agreed with and accepted.
I have not called you to financial prosperity.
I have not called you to material gain.
I have not called you to popularity or renown.
I have called you instead to take up your cross for Me
just as I took up Mine for you.

"Come, take it.
Can you swallow what I have to tell you?
Can you stomach it for the sakes of My people
and for the nations who need Me?"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Having Church

"Having Church"

"To the Church:

"You are the apple of My eye. You are My precious bride, My beloved. I love you so much that I gave My life on the Cross, so that I could spend eternity with you.

"I am all you need, and you are all I want. Your programs, your rituals, your buildings and your traditions are not what I died for on the Cross. You are My bride. You are My Church, My body.

"All of your programs, rituals and traditions can be done without Me. All of these things can be performed without My Spirit. Yet none of these are the same as Me, nor are they part of Me. To have them is not the same as having Me, and to have Me will not necessitate having them.

"Behold, many of you do not know the difference between Me and these things. Meetings, rituals, traditions and programs have taken the place of Me in many of your hearts. Therefore I will remove many of your buildings and abilities to have meetings. All will mourn, but to those who have Me already the darkness will not be dark, for I will be their light. But for those who have not known Me--who have only known 'church'--they will be in distress, overwhelmed by the storm and lost in fear of tribulation.

"I have already begun calling many of you out of churches so that you may be with Me and learn to hear My voice. I will call more of you in the same way. You who have come out before the storm have been called so that you may receive My heart for your brothers and sisters, who have known 'church' instead of Me. Do not despise them, but love them in patience, just as I have loved you."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The End of All Things

God's intention for us with the book of Revelation is for us to discern His heart, and then step out in repentance to the world. Before He judges the wickedness of the world, the people who profess His name (but do not carry His heart) will be.
"The Lord, Yahweh of Hosts,
called you on that day to weep and to wail,
to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth."
(Isaiah 22:12)
Many want to be alongside Him in His power, dominion & victory, but many don't give a damn about people who don't know Him, or those who get wounded by the things we do in our right-ness along the way (and which often we do in His name).

If we don't know His heart, His agape love, we will misinterpret the book of Revelation. If we miss His heart (the love He has for people—even enemies—that compelled Him to go to Calvary), then we have not known Christ or the Father.

The End of All Things
Here Christ is holding the book of Revelation, a scroll that, if we read, means accepting the ashes that come with it (the call to repentance). And it means that there will be suffering and martyrdom for many of us, which we do not want or expect to have to go through.

But for others, we often prefer to *not* identify with the transgressors & unrighteous in the world. We are concerned about justifying ourselves, our actions, our pride, our groups or nations. We have a choice whether to accept the Scroll of Revelation --and the ashes of repentance & chains of martyrdom that come with it-- or we can wash our hands of responsibility (and His love) like Pontius Pilate did.

This painting is called "The End of All Things" because this is where all things head to: either to identificational love & letting go of one's life, or instead to making excuses in order to seem excusable.

In other words, He's calling us to carry the cross. And if we break that down here, we can focus on and understand it's about people who need Him, about accepting suffering, letting go of pride, identifying with transgressors instead of trying to appear righteous, and most of all being filled with His breaking heart in all these things.


See also: "The Call of Revelation"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Except Opponents!"

In Matthew 5:21-24 there is a very telling interpolation—something someone added or changed to the original words:
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister (*) will be subject to judgment... Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."
Some manuscripts add "without cause", so that it reads,
"Anyone who is angry with a brother or sister without cause will be subject to judgment..."
The interpolation changes the radical nature of what Jesus said and makes it worldly: "Don't be angry with your brother or sister, unless, of course, they deserve it! If I have a good reason, then it's okay to be angry and I'm excepted from having to go and be reconciled with them!"

That would be in a completely different vein than the rest of the chapter:
"If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also... You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? ...Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:38-48)
Why did someone add the "without cause"? Surely they thought they were clarifying something Jesus had said. Surely they thought that being angry with or hating a brother because they had caused it (or they had started it) were justifiable.

It's natural and human for us to try and justify our own "justice", our own "righteous indignation"—fancy words for saying that basically the last thing we want to give people who offend us is any kind of mercy. We have the right to withhold mercy from them and wish for their damnation. After all, they were the ones who were wrong.

We make excuses so as to not give agape, grace and mercy. And we call it "justice". We judge that they are unworthy of the grace of God from us, and we may even judge that because of what they have done to us they are also beyond God's mercy and grace.

The Lord sends this warning to Christians everywhere:
"The hour is late, the sun is setting on this world and the harvest is now. The ones who have offended you are the harvest, and they are white fields for reaping. When you deny them mercy, when you deny them grace, you hack away at the very Cross that saves you. Do not do this, My people. The Cross is your only hope. I overlooked your offenses to give you grace; so you too must overlook offenses and give grace. If you do not give the grace you have received, you have no part with Me, and you will be crushed by what you have tried to cut down. Do not try to keep the Cross from the harvest or demand that they first become worthy of it. You were not worthy, yet I died for you anyway."

See also: "Shedding Blood in My Name"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Standing With Hagar

"Standing With Hagar"

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

- Colossians 3:1-4
Part of the Church is setting her heart on things below instead of on things above. Part of her is trying to please God and attain His favor by encouraging Jews to be planted in their land (miry clay) instead of being on the Rock (who is above, not below).

"Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother."

- Galatians 4:25-26
The Church, Israel, and all nations are called out of the "miry clay" of perishable earthly inheritances, because God has given us "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade... kept in heaven" (1 Peter 1:4).

None of us can afford to try and put our hearts in both earthly treasures and heavenly treasures. Israel can't afford to have both feet planted in the mud instead of heaven. And the Church can't afford to keep even one hand in the miry clay, but must wholly rest on the Rock, and call others to the same Rock. Calling people to "land" is calling them to mire, not to Christ in heaven. The path to heaven for Israel—both now and in the end days—is faith in Christ alone, and does not detour through securing a certain strip of land in the Middle East that is destined for fire like the rest of the earth. God has a much better inheritance for her.

Christians: Encourage her towards her eternal inheritance, not a fading one! Do not encourage her to forfeit her soul!


See also: "Fallen From Grace"

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

An Urgent Call to Love our Enemies

By Hazel Holland

Recently I've been receiving, and continue to receive, repeated "pictures" in my mind of the face of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. I believe that these images that continue to interrupt my normal thought processes throughout the day are God's way of calling my attention to the desires and purposes of His heart for this leader, and for all those who have been schooled in a similar cultic mindset.

Although the ultimate desires of Ahmadinejad’s heart are to kill all Jews and Christians, and destroy the western way of life, purposing to bring the world under Shariah law, the desires and purposes of God's heart towards him are not to harm him, but to bring him a revelation of the agape love of God that will ultimately change his heart. God's ways are far higher than our ways. God does NOT want to kill and destroy this man or any other man, because God does not coerce people into His kingdom. Rather, God loves all people and wants to save them from eternal separation from Himself.

As I've been asking God about all this I keep receiving reminders from Scripture like: "Love your enemies... pray for those who despitefully use you, etc.!" God's desire for us is in the body of Christ is to love and pray for our enemies, because they are people for whom He died and wants to save, heal, and restore to Himself.

This has got nothing to do with politics. It doesn't matter if we are republicans or democrats, conservatives or liberals, leaning towards the left or towards the right, or anything else in between, we are first and foremost called to be God's children. This has got nothing to do with where people stand on the positions President Obama is taking on Libya, Iran or any other place. It's not about taking the side of any human leader who espouses ideas and beliefs that we feel most comfortable supporting, but rather choosing to be on God's side... ultimately the winning side.

This is an urgent call for those of us who know God personally to lay aside our own personal fears of persecution and Shariah law coming to America. Apparently it has already made inroads into some of our courts and banking system in various places, striking fear into the hearts of those who clearly understand the goals of Islam.

This is a call for us in the body of Christ to lay aside our own personal needs, and our American way of life, and to seek first God's kingdom and what is on His heart. This is a call for us to love and pray for those who want to kill and destroy us. Most certainly we cannot do that unless we get God's perspective on them, and receive His heart for them!

The Nations are Our Inheritance

The Scriptures tell us that the nations are on God’s heart. The nations are on God’s heart because all the nations are His inheritance. He died for all the people on planet earth. “Ask of Me” the Father said to the Son, “and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth Your possession” (Psalm 2:8).

This means that all the people in every nation that do not know the Father's heart for them are also His inheritance! He died for all, but we know from Scripture that not all people will respond in repentance towards God, and allow themselves to be broken by His goodness for them.

Since every one of the Father’s promises that were made to the Son will be fulfilled, we can be sure that this promise given to Him will be fulfilled, also. For every one of God’s promises are “Yes!” in Christ. But we need to ask Him for the nations. They are our inheritance, too. I was born in England, but have the people of England been born in my heart? Now I live in America, but have the many people of America been born in my heart?

Let’s bring it closer to home. These nations that are our inheritance are made up of diverse people of many races and different ethnic and cultural groups. They belong to different faiths, and worship God in a variety of different ways… especially here in America where freedom of religion has allowed both Jew and Gentile alike to peacefully co-exist side by side for many years.

Before 9/11 those of us living in America generally felt “protected” and insulated from the violence that we have witnessed from a distance in the Middle East over the years. However, that feeling of security appears to be dwindling fast. As we watch the nightly news we see people within the Arab world taking to the streets and calling for revolution—a revolution they hope will destroy Israel, along with the western way of life. We witness oppressed and angry people who want to take down and overthrow their own respective governments as well as ours.

Naturally these signs of turmoil and unrest in the Middle East bring about a certain amount of apprehension into the hearts of people here in America. We’re afraid that these protests could spread into our country, and bring the collapse of law and order here, and our American way of life.

So let’s get to the difficult questions. Why are we more afraid of losing the comforts of our American way of life than we are afraid of seeing people from radical Islam sell their souls to the enemy? Which is more important to God’s breaking heart—the comforts of our American way of life, or the salvation of their lost souls? You already know the answer. God first needs to change the hardness of our own hearts before He can ever use us to change the hardness of theirs.

So unless we as believers radically repent of clinging to our material world and the American way of life, God will do whatever it takes to shake us loose from placing our faith in our nation’s strength instead of in His strength. Although America has been a great melting pot where people from every nation have come to find a safe haven—that is changing fast. Many from within and without the melting pot want to destroy the pot.

Does this mean that the many freedoms we have enjoyed in the America way of life are slowly coming to an end? Is God allowing this so that we as believers might place our faith in the One who alone can bring us real freedom? Have too many American believers put their faith in the glory of their nation equating it with the glory found in Jesus Christ alone?

If so, then we need to repent of this idolatry and get our priorities back in order. If we fail to repent and choose to wash our hands of the responsibility we have as Christian to be His witnesses, then doesn’t it mean that we are not His after all? Although we have professed to be His, we are actually turncoats! We are on the wrong side!

The command given to us by Jesus to "love your enemies"—whether they are the enemies within our own households, or within our own state or nation, has been given to us because agape love is the chosen method that God uses to reach people’s hearts. For only agape love can break down the wall of fear and separation that exists, preventing people from knowing God’s heart for them... and hearing the truth of the gospel.

I believe that as the church receives more of God's heart, and begins to express God's agape love in radical ways towards those we consider our enemies, and begins to boldly pray for His will to be done in their hearts, some who are now Saul’s will eventually become Paul’s! Our love and faith in God will storm the gates of hell and snatch back those whom Satan has wrongly deemed as his property.

People like Ahmadinejad need to have their hearts broken by the agape love of God just as much as we do as believers. This is what repentance is all about. God is calling people everywhere to repent and turn away from sin. He's calling the church to repent for our lack of faith in expressing God’s love in authentic and tangible ways towards those who need to see it the most... those we consider enemies of the gospel. And He's calling our enemies to repent of the evil in their hearts towards God’s children because evil begets evil. Only God can bring good out of evil as people are brought into the light of the cross and see God’s goodness expressed towards them while they were unrepentant sinners.

May the love of God so fill our hearts and minds that we will willingly choose to lay down our own agendas, and instead begin to carry the burden that is on God’s heart—the many people in nations like Syria, Libya and Iran who do not yet know the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ that can conquer the hardest hearts!