Now that it’s nearly the end of the 5th of January I just thought that I’d make a note of some of the things I and others feel that the Lord has been speaking at the outset of this year. I suppose not all of them are to do with the year ahead per se, perhaps they are or perhaps they are just general things that He is saying, but it is important for us to pay attention to the things we have heard.
On December 31st I and some other prophetic people gathered down in Horsham, Sussex, for a time of fellowship, prayer and prophecy. There was a whole number of things that were coming out but in particular I felt the Lord emphasising John 10:10 after one of my friends quoted it in prayer. I was reminded of a particular way of translating the latter part of this verse, so that it says “I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have abundance.” I was reminded too of Psalm 37:19 where Scripture says that “They [the righteous] will not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they will have abundance”.
I believe it is just like the Lord, that in a time when economically the world is sliding into a time of “famine” of sorts, and the world is constantly churning out bad news in the press, He would choose to prophesy life, abundance, and blessing. It is His nature to go against the grain of the world and to declare the opposite. He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world (1 Jonh 4:4), and so no matter what the world and the devil could throw out there, we will always have a greater message, and a reality with that message, to overcome the evil time.
So I believe this will be a year of fruitfulness for the church. Some of the other words that were coming out were to do with no longer striving. I think often we have striven for fruit and failed, because the work has come from our own flesh, and so at best we produce temporal, fleshly results with no lasting impact. When the church ceases to strive and comes back into the awareness and knowledge again that, He is God, then He will be exalted in the nations and in the earth (Ps 46;10), not merely us with our own efforts. And then we will see true kingdom fruit, the stuff which lasts, because it will be not of might, nor of power (as though we in ourselves had any in the first place), but by His Spirit. Mountains will become rubble. (See Zech 4:6-7)
Tonight at another gathering my spirit was being freshly stirred about a word that the worship leader sang, and somebody else later used in prayer: hope does not disappoint.
It occurred to me that, there is often much disappointment in the church. Anyone vaguely acquainted with church life and with other believers will probably be able to agree with that. Disappointment with the church is common I think and with individuals; moreover disappointment with God certainly exists, and it is this especially which I believe the Lord wants to address.
Because it would seem to me that according to this statement which comes from Romans 5:5, where there has been disappointment it is quite likely because there has been no hope in the believer’s heart. The verse continues: “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” And so where there has been no hope, there has been no love, because there has been no release of the Spirit being ministered into people’s hearts and lives. People experiencing disappointment are quite possibly seriously empty people and we need to get filling them up again in the church! I think it’s time we started laying hands on each other again – realising the importance and significance of impartation that takes place in this way – to see the love of God poured out in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, in order that they may learn how to live in hope and not experience disappointment with God any more.
Hope positions us to overcome and get through the trials. Note that it does not mean the absence of them. Paul’s very context is the subject of trials, saying that we “exult” in tribulations because they bring about perseverance, and that brings out character, and character when we see it formed in us produces hope, presumably because we realise that God has been at work in our lives! (See Romans 5:3-5)
Finally, yesterday I found notes from a prayer time at new year a couple of years back when we felt the Lord lead us to 2 Kings 13:14-19 and the story of Elisha and the King who struck the arrows – but not enough times to show that he had perseverance to keep striking at the enemy if necessary. Interestingly this came up again tonight. So I shared what I remembered from two years ago, that when the king was commanded to battle at “Aphek” we discovered that the name of the place had to do with strength, and so I shared that I believe the Lord would have us take back a place of strength. This accorded with what many others were feeling tonight, that there were many weakened in the body of Christ, and we would not settle with the church being in a weak state – we are to be people of strength!
Paul in fact chided the church at Corinth when he explained that “for this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” The reason was that they were not properly examining themselves for sin in their lives. They were sharing fellowship with the believers at the Lord’s table – sharing in that symbol of the sacrifice of the cross itself – without dealing with the things that the cross ought to have exposed in them! So I believe the Lord wants to deal with sin in us also, so that we can not only be a holy people, but a strong people. The people “who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Dan 11:32) Can I suggest that we cannot know God without being a holy people who want to deal with sin in our lives?
God does not want a weak people. Yes, He wants a humble people, and yes He wants a people who do not trust in their own strength, absolutely. But this is no excuse for lack of power. When we are weak, then we are strongest – because we acknowledge the end of our flesh, which is the beginning of His glory and power. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” (2 Cor 4:7)