There is much confusion surrounding the ministry of John the Baptist. This is not to say that we shouldn't live a lifestyle of turning away from sin, but our goal should not be to model our ministries after old covenant prophets. Our goal should always be to bring out the victory we have received because of the cross. That being said, John wasn't a baptist nor was Jesus a Pentecostal. Let's take a look at the holy scriptures and learn about the importance of this great prophet and his ministry.
Who was John? According to scripture, John was the son of Zechariah. The angel said, "Fear not, Zechariah; for thy prayer is heard and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John" (Luke1:13). The angel then told Zechariah about John's ministry: "And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17). Before Christ came, John was sent to prepare the way. He was a prophet with a timely message for his generation.
Malachi prophesied about John the Baptist: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers" (Malachi 4:6). John was the fulfillment of this prophecy. He was to be a voice in the wilderness, preparing the way for Christ to come. It would be accurate to say that his message was for that specific time and season. "As it is written in the Prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (Malachi 1:1-3).
Jesus recognized John as the messenger, the voice sent before Him. "And His disciples asked Him, saying, why then say the scribes that Elijah must come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elijah truly shall come and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed (wanted). Likewise shall the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that He spake unto them of John the Baptist" (Matthew17:11-13).
Jesus recognized John as the fulfillment of this prophecy spoken by Malachi. When John saw Jesus, he said, "Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). John saw Jesus and instantly knew that he was the messiah. Jesus was the very one that John had prophesied about. Once John discovered Jesus as the messiah, he then said "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). John wasn't talking about himself, or his personal walk with God. I have often heard this scripture taken out of context. John was talking about his ministry; John's followers were now to follow Christ. John's ministry was to decrease more and more, as Jesus' ministry was to increase.
Even though John was a prophet in the New Testament, he was not under the new covenant, because the new covenant had not yet been established. The New Testament does not necessarily mean "new covenant." There was a transitioning happening from the old to the new. John is not a prophet that we should model after, nor is his ministry continuing today. He was a prophet of the old covenant, with the unique purpose of preaching repentance, to prepare the way for the messiah. Now, the transition has already taking place, through the cross and blood of Christ, from old to new. John was, however, a voice, helping to prepare the way for Christ to come and establish a better covenant.
Listen to what Jesus spoke about John. "Verily I say unto you, amount them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding he that is lest in the kingdom is greater than he" (Matthew 11:11). Jesus spoke this about John as John was in prison awaiting his execution. Its clear to see that Jesus had great respect for John, and much compassion for him. He was giving honor to John for his ministry and sacrifice. Jesus said that John was a prophet and even more than a prophet (Matthew 11:9). Jesus was saying that John was the greatest born among women. Why? Because he was the greatest of Old Testament Prophets, the only prophet to prophesy about Christ's coming and to live to see the fulfillment of what he prophesied. Yet, The least in the kingdom is greater than John? John did not have Christ within him, and any believer that has Christ abiding in him is greater than John. Why are we greater than John? Because we have a better covenant with better promises (Hebrews 8:6). "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come" (Matthew 11:12-14). It is clear for us to see that Jesus was talking about John as the one that would come in the spirit and power of Elijah. It is important for us to know that John was an old covenant prophet. John's ministry has been fulfilled is and is no longer continuing today. Jesus came with a greater baptism than John. We have a greater covenant and a greater glory than Moses and Elijah, and even John! (2 Corinthians 3:7-11). We have entered into a new dispensation! The Bible says that the prophet's prophesied about a great grace that would come, and longed for it to come! (1 Peter 1:11). My friends, we have it so much better on this side of the cross!
In His Love,
Freedom from the Law
"As sure as you are in the law, you are in judgement, and judge everybody. Law is always judgement, and no one is right except those people who are keeping the law.They are full of judgement. But we have passed from death, from judgement, from criticism, from harshness, and from hardness of heart.''
- Smith Wigglesworth -
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty where with Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1).
If you read what Paul is saying in context, you will find that Paul wasn't talking about sin as bondage, but the law as bondage. That's right; the law is bondage. Now we know that sin is bondage, but so is the law. That's why Jesus made a way for us to be free from both. Why, after we have converted to Christ, do we still feel that we must practice the Law? If you really take the time to study out the book of Galatians, you will find that Paul was combatting a spirit of legalism within the church of Galatia. Those that taught the law taught that it wasn't enough for them to receive Christ by faith. According to Paul, the church was doing well before this happened.
"You did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth" (Galatians 5:7).
What is legalism? It is a mindset that says, I am righteous because of what I have done. It is a false humility that stems from pride and self-righteousness. God will never be pleased with it. It is a spirit that brings a mindset upon people that isn't composed of simple faith. The simplest way to define legalism is this: unbelief. What makes the gospel so amazing is that none of us deserved it and couldn't do enough to earn it, but Jesus gave it to us freely.
"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6).
What is the leaven of the Pharisees? It's unbelief. Jesus was warning his disciples not to be subject to their mindset. The Pharisees saw many of the miracles, signs, and wonders that Jesus performed, but never came to the conclusion that he was the Messiah. They couldn't enter into faith because of their unbelief. This is what polluted the church in Galatia.
What was the purpose of the Law?
Paul said that the Law was good (Romans 7:12). Why is the Law good? The law came to point the way to Christ .
"Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" ( Galatians 3:24 NASB.)
The Law was given to expose a sinful nature in man, and reveal to man a need for a savior. The Law was entirely based upon man's performance to try to be righteous and holy through works. Yet, man cannot do it. The New Covenant is based upon our faith in what Christ accomplished on our behalf. "...not by works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:9) By grace, through faith, we receive it.
"Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).
Though it is clear that righteousness can only be received by faith alone, this legalistic mindset that we must work our way into righteousness is still at work in the church today. Somehow we have bought into the lie that we need to mix our salvation with law.
"Christ is the end of the Law" (Romans 10:4).
Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for your sin and mine. All your self-effort and sacrifice to become holy could never measure up to the price that Christ paid. Righteousness is a free gift that we have the privilege of accepting by faith. When we repent and come to Christ, we are made free from the works of the Law, free from it's bondage.
"My righteousness is just as good as Jesus' righteousness, because it is Jesus' righteousness." - E.W. Kenyon
I love this quote by E.W. Kenyon because it is so true; we are partakers of Christ righteousness. This is how the father sees us: justified before him, or just as if we have never sinned. The Bible says that, "He hath made him to be sin for us who knew know sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV).
Isaiah said our righteousness is as filthy rages. Yes, if you are claiming your righteousness based on what you have done, then it's self-righteousness that equals nothing. But we are not claiming our own righteousness, we are claiming Christ's righteousness.
Walking in Righteousness
Am I saying that since we are saved, we should live however we want to live? Absolutely not. Am I saying that the Lord won't ask you to repent of certain things? Absolutely, he will. Yet, the answer isn't following after the law. The answer isn't, let's live however we want, because there is an abundance of grace. The answer is in the cross. Peter said that we are ''partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The moment that you received Christ, he placed his word on the inside of you, his nature, his power. His nature inside of you empowers you to overcome this world, it empowers you to walk without sin, to resist every temptation. God expects the believer to develop faith in the righteousness that has freely been given, so that you and I can walk in righteousness.
The Ministry of Death and Condemnation
"For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. for even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (2 Corinthians 3:9-11KJV).
The Law was a ministry of death and condemnation. Its glory was to be done away with. The New Covenant is a ministry that is more glorious, because it is a ministry of righteousness. It is a ministry of mercy, rather than judgement.
Read this quote below by church father and general, Smith Wigglesworth,
"The Lord has brought in a new covenant, putting his law in our minds and writing it in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) - this new law of the spirit of life. As the holy spirit comes in, he fills us with love and liberty, and we shout for joy, "Done away! Done away!"
There is a new cry in our hearts: 'I delight to do your will, O my God'" (Psalms 40:8).
"He takes away the first that he may establish the second" (Hebrews 10:9).
In other words, he takes away "the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones" (2 Corinthians 3:7), so that he may establish "the ministry of righteousness." You ask, does a man who is filled with the Spirit cease to keep the commandments? I simply repeat what the Spirit of God has told us here, that this "ministry of death, written and engraved on stones" (and you know that the ten commandments were written in stones) is "done away (with)" (v.11 KJV). However, the man who becomes a living epistle of Christ, written by the Spirit of the living God, has ceased to be an adulterer, or a murder, or a covetous man: the will of God is his delight. I love to do the will of God; there is no irksomeness to it. It is no trial to pray, no trouble to read the Word of God."
- Smith Wigglesworth -
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17 KJV).
The Old Testament law is not what is written upon the believer's heart. It is a new nature!
"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered to by us, written not with ink, but the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart" (2 Corinthians 3:3 KJV).
Christ is the word of God; he moved inside of you and brought his nature with him.
"Therefore seeing we have received this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:1 KJV).
Paul is talking here about how we are ministers of the new covenant, not of the old covenant. The old covenant is the "letter that kills." The law was a letter that was impossible to perform; it brought judgement and condemnation. The new covenant is "the spirit that gives life." We are ministers of the new covenant, which is a ministry of the spirit which brings life. I have often heard people say, you cannot have too much word because it kills. No, the word of God imparts life and power to you. The word of God is not a letter that kills! Jesus said, "the words I speak unto you, they are spirit and life" (John 6:63 KJV).
"God want you in a new order. It is "the law of the Spirit" (Romans 8:2). It is a law of life. It is not a law of death and bondage."
- Smith Wigglesworth
I want to share this dream, because I believe that it speaks to so many of us in this particular time. I truly feel that this is a fresh word this season for many of you! I pray that this encourages you and imparts strength to you in this season! I had a dream that I was walking in Eden. I knew that it was Eden because of how peaceful it felt, filled with the glory of God. I wasn't in heaven, but it was heaven on earth. It was in this place that I felt no warfare, no distractions. I felt only rest. Then I saw others that where coming to this place to receive refreshing and strength to endure, because it was in this place that you could abide in the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
This was a place where you could rest because you were focused upon the glory of God and not upon the demonic realm. It is the enemy's strategy for us to get our minds focused on him and off of the Lord's presence. When we do this, we lose our peace and we are then overwhelmed in our minds with the problems and circumstances that we are currently facing.
"Set your affection (mind) on things above not on things on the earth" (Col 3:2)
Paul was telling us to set our minds upon the Lord and to constantly remind yourself that you are seated in heaven above the enemy, above every demonic harassment (Eph 2:5-6; Col 3:3). Paul also taught the church that what we think upon is very important. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil 4:8). We know that the enemy is a defeated foe. We know that he was stripped of all power at the cross (Col 2:15). It is always a wrong mindset to think we must fight the enemy to get victory. We truly have the victory because Jesus supplied it at Calvary.
I have never found it to be helpful when Christians over-emphasize on warfare or focus on power of the devil. Are there times when we must take authority over things and speak to trespassing spirits, absolutely, yet it's an unbiblical mindset to overly focus on the enemy and the demonic realm. It places our minds on the enemy and not upon Christ's victory. This is what Paul so often addressed, teaching us that the battle is in the mind. I want to encourage you to renew your mind to God's word, begin to thank the Lord for what he's doing in your life! Begin to praise the Lord and worship the Lord! As I was in this place, which I believed to be Eden, such peace and glory surrounded me. Then I saw a flowing river. I stopped to gaze upon this beautiful river and the Lord spoke to me in the dream, giving me the scripture Isaiah 43:19. I awoke from the dream and looked up the scripture. This was not a portion of scripture that I knew by heart or was overly familiar with, but as I read it, a new strength came to me.
"Behold, I do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert" (Isaiah 43:19).
I believe that God is releasing something fresh upon us as we take Him at His word above everything else! Where there has been no provision in the past, there will be provision! Where there has been lack, God will bring abundance! It is His refreshing river coming to strengthen you, revive you, and refresh you! If God can release a river in a dry wilderness, then he can provide for your needs, no matter how impossible they may seem! Now it shall spring forth!
MANTLES OF AUTHORITY by Amy Shamp
Kings and Priests
“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev 5:10
We are all called as kings, because God wants to exercise his rulership over the earth, and establish the governance of God through you and I. There are divine designs within each believer that Christ wants to release. There is a kingly authority that we have been given; earthly dominion has been restored to us!
All of us are called as kings - we each have a realm of influence in which we are to take territory for the kingdom. When you walk into your workplace, you carry an atmosphere of royalty, and you have kingly authority over sickness, dominion over demonic spirits and witchcraft, and you have the privilege and the mandate from heaven to release the justice and the jurisdiction of God in your sphere of influence. The kingdom of a God suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:10). The kingdom of God looks like something. It looks like depression being broken off of the lives of men and women, like sicknesses being healed, like families restored, like souls being saved, and lives being changed. That is your calling as a king and a priest: to extend the peace of God into the earth!
There is no king without a territory. Now although we all have been called as kings and priests, to some are given a mantle for governmental authority.
Mantled with Power
“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months” (James 5:16-17).
In 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah boldly declares to King Ahab, “Surely, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
Elijah had been given a mantle of authority, and he was confident in what God had entrusted him with! He was mantled with governmental authority and the ability to call forth rain, to call down fire, to command the weather, the earth, and the land. He possessed greater authority than earthly kings and the priests of the foreign gods.
Many things can signify spiritual, governing authority: signs and wonders, commanding the heavens, authority of the spoken word, creative miracles, and more.
In her day, Aimee Semple McPherson was considered the “spiritual governor” of California. There was a time when Maria Woodworth Etter called her to minister at her church in Indiana; many people in that region were contracting a disease and dying. It was an epidemic! Aimee said, “When I get to the border of the town, the epidemic will be broken.” Sure enough, when Aimee arrived, the power of the sickness was broken, and the plague ceased to spread! This signifies a mantle of authority and power.
John G. Lake was another incredible healing minister who carried governmental power and authority. Spokane, WA became a cancer free city due to his healing rooms!
The Rod of Authority
Beginning with the fourth chapter of Exodus, we read, “Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.”—Exod. 4:1-4
The rod represents Divine power and authority which was to be released through Moses on behalf of the children of Israel.
I believe that God is releasing power and authority in this hour; I see a new breed of ministers who are being mantled with governmental authority and power!
God had raised Moses up, positioning him in the Pharoah’s own house, brought up as a prince of Egypt! I believe that God was instilling Moses with an understanding of kingly rule and authority. As Moses spent time in the wilderness, God removed the earthly understanding that he received in Egypt, and instead, clothed him with spiritual influence and power! Spiritual authority always trumps all earthly systems or powers!
God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” See, the rod that Moses had used to herd sheep in the desert, suddenly was elevated into a new level of assignment! I believe that there are many men and women that God is equipping and training in this hour; he has given them the shepherding rod, but is preparing to alter the assignment and anoint many for a new commission!
With great authority, comes great responsibility! Every rod of authority, each governmental commissioning, comes with a weighty purpose. The purpose of governmental mantling is to bring freedom to the masses, and to reveal the plan of God in the earth!
"You and Jesse prayed for me concerning a kidney issue that showed up on some tests my doctor had taken. I felt fire on my lower back as you guys were praying. The tests were re-taken a week after your prayer and absolutely nothing was out of order. Perfect kidney function." - Pastor Brian Tunstall
By Amy Shamp
Isaiah 22:22: "The key of the house of David
I will lay on his shoulder;
So he shall open, and no one shall shut;
And he shall shut, and no one shall open."
Recently, God has been speaking to me about taking regions and territories for the Kingdom of God. Much of our time as Christians is spent within the four walls of the church. While church services and conferences are necessary for our spiritual growth, we must constantly remind ourselves that our privilege as believers is to extend the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of God beyond the church walls. We are called to reign as kings in this life (Rev 5:9-10)! God's power must be demonstrated publicly. You and I are ambassadors of the Kingdom, image-bearers of God, and agents of assignment and purpose. The world needs to see God's children displaying unity and power, reigning as kings and priests.
As God began to speak to me about the inner cities of America, I saw an unveiling of the glory of God in America like never before. Action, however, is the only way to see this promise manifest. The Body of Christ must rise up as an army and take action against the forces of darkness! We are the hands and feet of Christ in the earth.The answer to the troubles of the nations lies within you and me! The solution to the world's suffering is contained in the life-giving Spirit which was seeded in you the moment you were born again! "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…" (Matthew 28:19).
Not only are we called to preach individual salvation, but to demonstrate societal change and transformation! We are called to make disciples of ALL nations! One man or woman can do mighty exploits for the Kingdom of God, but how much power could a Body of kings and priests release together? As the Body of Christ comes together in unity of the faith, stepping out in their destinies and callings as children of God, we will see an unfurling of Christ's banner over our nation.
I believe God is getting ready to pour out His Spirit in an unprecedented way! Get ready! A new breed of glory carriers, armed with miracles, signs and wonders, coming together as one prophetic voice, is being equipped and released in this hour! A new era of kingly authority is upon us!
"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Ps. 27:13).
Don't lose heart friends, for we will see the goodness of God in the land of the living! Here, on earth, is where we will see heaven reigning! Jesus observed that "from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12, NKJV).
Though the enemy may take territory, he has no legal right to occupy. You and I are the enforcers of Christ's victory for our households, our cities, and for our nations! Stand, and see the salvation of the Lord!
I pray that this will be a year for you of abundant blessing in your life! May the Lord release an abundance of anointing, miracles, grace and divine supply! The Lord has been speaking to me about the realm of abundant blessing as we come into this new year. Jesus said, "The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). We know that the enemy's strategy is to create destruction in our lives. Yet, Jesus said he came to give us abundant life! The word life is translated "Zoe" in the Greek, which means the God kind of life. You are called to live the God kind of life! This life is not a life of lack but a life of abundance, a life of overflow! Do not settle for anything that is not God's best! God wants the very best for his children!
"Ask, and you shall receive that your joy may be full." (John 16:24) It's the Lord's desire to give good gifts to his children. As the word of God says, He wants to give us the very desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4). God spoke to me and said, "Jesse, I want to bring you into the realm of abundant blessing!" I believe it's a word for you as well. God has been speaking to me about His body and how He desires that the church receive a shift in thinking, to understand that God will not only supply our needs, but He wants to give us an abundant supply! The Bible says that my God shall supply all of your needs, according to his riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). There is a place where God supplyies your needs and he will sustain you! He will provide for you, beyond a shadow of a doubt! Yet, there is a realm where God brings you into an abundant supply.
"Now to Him who is able to (carry out His purpose and) do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think (infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams)." (Ephesians 3:20 Amp)
God would have us to lift our expectation and believe on Him, not only to supply our needs but for God to bring us into a place of abundance and overflow! (1 Corinthians 10:1) I began to think of the children of Israel and how they were set free from the bondage of Pharoah, and the Lord brought them out of Egypt with a strong and mighty hand. The Lord sent His cloud! The purpose of God sending the cloud of glory was to provide for children of Israel. They ate manna everyday from the cloud as they were in the wilderness. The cloud keep them from sickness, and also protected them from their enemies. This is what God's cloud and His presence does in our own lives. Yet, the wilderness was not the final destination; that was the promised land. A land that flows with milk and honey, a place of abundant supply and overflow! If you recall, it was right before Joshua and the children of Israel took the land of Canaan that the manna ceased from coming. "And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of cannon that year." Joshua 5:12.
You may ask, Why did the Lord stop sending the manna, right before they were going to take the land of Canaan? Because God wanted to bring them out of the realm of just enough, and lead them into the realm of abundant blessing! I declare abundance and overflow today, in every area of your life! I speak breakthrough over your life: Breakthrough in finances, in relationships, in opportunity, in Jesus' mighty name! Let abundance and breakthrough be yours in 2017!
Friends, there is a new breed on the horizon! There are soldiers that God is raising up in this hour!
I have a word for you today: it's your time, it's your hour to have dominion in your life! This people that God is raising up are those who are unwilling to buy into the lies of the enemy that they are living under His dominion. They know that they have have been redeemed. They know that they have been placed at His right hand where there are pleasures forevermore (Psalms 16:11). You have a place at the King's table! Do not settle for crumbs when you have a table set before you in the presence of your enemies (Psalms 23:5). Your enemy has been spoiled; he has been defeated. He has no right to touch the redeemed.
The Bible says that God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:6). The enemies' strategy is to get you focused on what he is doing, so that you live in a place of constant warfare and come under the grip and power of fear. Fear is simply an illusion.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear; because Fear has torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18)
What is perfect love? Perfect love was demonstrated by God sending his son to pay the ransom for us! Jesus liberated us from Satan's dominion, placing us in the King's dominion and at the King's table. Fear is what causes torment by the enemy. God did not call you to live in fear! The truth in God's word frees our minds to see past the illusion. When we draw our attention to the victory that Jesus gained at Calvary, we truly see how defeated the enemy is. We suddenly realize just how much power, authority, and dominion Christ has given his sons and daughters. When we truly embrace the revelation of the cross, we find that we focus on the devil less, and as a result, the warfare diminishes as we magnify God. Christ then becomes so much greater and victorious in our lives. There is truly a greater revelation than living with a constant sense of paranoia toward the enemy. We should never make the enemy out to be bigger and more powerful than he actually is. When we develop our faith in Christ, we enter into a place of victory; we enter into His rest and peace. There are times when we have to rebuke the storm and there are times when we have to rebuke devils! Absolutely. Yet, we are not called to live in a place of constant defense and fear. No, the church is on the offense. We do not have to defeat an already defeated devil. Jesus said, "come unto me, all of you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28). Thank God there is a place of resting and abiding in him! Where fear is no longer present, where worry cannot effect you! Yes, there is a place of rest that we can enter into by faith, where we know that we have the victory now, today! We have total assurance and confidence in Christ's finished work! If our minds are not renewed to God's Word, fear will have a stronghold in our minds. Our minds must be renewed to the word of God. I've often heard it said that the battle is in the mind. This is where most of our warfare comes from: the mind. The enemy torments people in their minds! The enemy plants seeds of hopelessness and doubt in the mind. He tries to talk the believer out of the authority that they have been given in Christ! We must turn our attention away from the enemy and place it upon His word! When our minds are renewed to the authority we possess now in Christ, we find ourselves living in a place of constant victory.
Jesus did not come to give the church a momentary victory; He came to give the church total victory at the cross. We must have our faith and focus on the cross, not the devil.
"Jesus already fought the devil and won. That's why Jesus said to us, "Occupy, till I come" (Luke 19:13). We're to take our stand on the Word against a defeated foe. Therefore, we are in the army of the Lord, but it's the occupying army. The occupying army is not in battle. The occupying army is just enforcing the victory that's already been won by our commander and Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ! That's why believers shouldn't magnify the battle; they should magnify the triumph!"
Child of God, you have to stand in the victory that Christ has already give you! Moses said unto the people, "fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exodus 14:13). What the enemy hates more than anything is the confidence or faith in the heart of a believer that says, I will not fear. I will see the salvation of the Lord!
Whatever you are going through, I want to encourage you put your eyes on the cross. That's where he paid for it all! That's where our victory comes from! "This is the victory that overcomes the world even our faith" (1 John 5:4). Our faith in what Jesus accomplished for us is the victory that overcomes everything that the enemy tries to send your way! My friends, feast at the King's table; it's a place of rest. It's a place of dominion!
I declare the peace of God and overcoming faith over you, in Jesus' Holy Name,
The Lord has spoken to me a great deal this year regarding love. I do believe this is a fresh word for the Body at this time. The Lord has been giving me a greater understanding of the purpose of love than ever before. He has spoken to me about love towards others, and love towards His bride. God loves His bride, and how we talk about His bride matters to him. How we discern the members of His body, or His bride matters to him. We must see God's bride the way that he does: through the eyes of faith, patience, and love. Remember, there is always someone that is counting on you to believe in them! Don't let them down!
"May the Lord cause you to increase and excel and overflow in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you." (1 Thessalonians 3:12 AMP)
Everything that we do and say must be filtered through the eyes of God's love, even when it comes to those who are not saved. They are in need of the love of Christ and the power of Christ. It could be said that miracles, signs, and wonders are expressions of God's love toward His bride and toward the lost. God longs to bring the harvest in through the demonstration of His love to the world through you and I. Paul said that through the truth spoken out of love, we will grow to become mature in Christ (Ephesians 4:15). Paul also said that love knits the hearts together (Colossians 2:2). The gospel + love is the recipe for unity. God's greatest desire is for us to grow together in Christ with love and respect for one another.
The greatest anointing is not the anointing on an individual; it is the corporate anointing. It comes from a culmination of different anointings coming together.
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all in one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 21-3).
As the disiples gathered together, the fire fell, and a corporate anointing came. The church was birthed and something changed in a nation. 3,000 souls were saved as a result of this great anointing! I believe the key is that they were all in one accord; they were in agreement, as the early church was in one heart and mind (Acts 4:32). This same anointing came in Acts 4 also. Though we have experienced a level of the corporate anointing, I long for the day when the body of Christ comes to this place collectively. When the five fold ministry gifts come together in unity, we will see whole cities overshadowed by God's glory! Isaiah asked the question: Can a nation be born in a day? (Isaiah 66:8). I believe the greatest corporate anointing is yet to come, as the body of Christ comes to together in unity and agreement on the word of God, honoring one another in love. Love is a great place to start with seeing the fulfillment of this great anointing! We are all connected as we are members of His body. We are a family in Christ. Though there are different offices and different functions as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12, we all need each other. No man is an island to himself. We need all the different flavors of those anointings and offices! They are precious to the Lord! We can take more ground for the kingdom collectively, rather than individually. This is why unity is so important. This greater anointing will never come without honor, love, and appreciation for one another. One can put a thousand to flight, but two can put ten thousand and to flight (Deuteronomy 32:30). We are truly stronger together than apart.
We must grow in the precious fruits of love and patience. We must know the enemy's strategy. We are not ignorant of his devices (2 Cor 2:11). His strategy is to bring dishonor and division. It is to bring the wrong form of discernment, which is accusation or faultfinding. Do not side with the enemy in accusing your brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible says that faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). When we are truly motivated by love, we err on the side of honor, grace, and love. Honor is one of the greatest signs of maturity and humility. David truly modeled a lifestyle of honor. I truly believe that God is raising up a generation of Davids that are truly seeking the heart of the father that understand the importance of love and honor!
In His Love,
The Bible mentions many different forms of discernment. The most common form of discernment that we hear most about is the gift of discernment mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10. Firstly, I want to talk about our foundation in the word of God, which is most important. If our foundation is not right, our discernment will come out of the wrong spirit.
"Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even by those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14 KJV).
The author of Hebrews is not necessarily talking about the gift of discernment. He is talking about mature believers that are discerning good doctrine vs bad doctrine, right thinking vs wrong thinking. Not everything that we hear, even though it is well meaning, is truth. Not everything that we perceive to be truth is truth. It must be in line with God's word and heart. We cannot have proper discernment without first a foundation of love. How we see ourselves in Christ has everything to do with how we see others. Paul talk about us being accepted in Christ and the beloved (Ephesians 1:6). The Word of God causes us to truly know the heart of the father towards us, and His children. The heart of the father is love, patience, and long suffering. These are the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 6, that mature believers walk in! However, some Christians may be growing in faith and are still on a certain level of spiritual maturity.
Jesus gave us two commandments: love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength AND love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-30). We are to love our neighbor because we are all members of his body. We are a family! We can never go wrong with love. Jesus desires for us to love one another despite flaws and differences. Paul often told Christians not to judge one another (Romans 13:14). The Bible calls Satan the accuser of the brethren. He will condemn you! Yet Jesus will never condemn you. He will correct you, he will convict you, but not condemn you. Jesus always calls us back into his love and presence.
"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or peril, or sword?" Romans 8:35
If we do not discern out of the right heart, we end up condemning people, or making false assumptions. It could be that we are pointing the finger at those that are still maturing in Christ. I've noticed that some people think that there is a demon under every rock, behind every door. They are so focused on the demonic, mainly because they have been influence by 1980s deliverance ministries. So their belief system is always geared toward the demonic. They often think everything is a demon, everyone has a demon, or that there is always a principality out to get them. They often think someone is moving out of the spirit of Jezebel or that someone is a betraying Judas. In all my years of being in ministry, I have never met a Judas. I may have met carnal Christians that are still growing in grace and love, but never a Judas. I've heard some of the harshest criticism come from those that think they are discerning something about someone. If everything is negative, harsh and critical, then you have to question, is there any love in it? Discernment does not always mean demonic. Even if someone is doing something that is demonically influenced, or out of line, we should forgive and pray for them out of love. How are we any different from the world if we point our finger at others. Let's remember that the gifts of the spirit are for edifying the church, His body. Even the gift of discernment must be used out of love for members of the body of Christ! We are all apart of this one family, as we are of His body! Anyone can have the ability to tear someone down, but few answer the call to build an individual up and celebrate their progress and cheer them on.
"Some things that folks attribute to the devil are really nothing more than works of the flesh. It's important to realize that everything that's wrong in life is not directly the work of an evil spirit" - Kenneth E. Hagin, The Triumphant Church
The Triumphant Church is one of the greatest books I have ever read about discernment and deliverance. It's about resting in the victory that Christ has provided for us through the cross. I highly recommend this book. Hagin talks about how to cast out devils, and how to walk in your divine authority as a believer! Jesus never intended for us to live in a constant state of paranoia. We do not fight to get the victory; we have the victory already, through Christ! Believe that you have it! Walk like it, and talk like it! Kenneth Hagin was truly a new model for deliverance ministry. Some of the greatest teaching that we hear today about our authority in Christ came from Kenneth Hagin!
In His Love,