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Friday, May 20, 2016

One of the Best Kept SECRETS for Personal Victory

“Take communion as an act of spiritual violence,” I encouraged my friend. She was a bit puzzled by that. Understandably, she needed me to explain what I meant.

Would you like to know too? Wonderful! Cuz I’m about to tell you.

I mentioned in a previous post that eating the Lord’s Supper is a prophetic act. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes” (1 Cor 11:26, NKJV). For those with ears to here, this verse does not mean that we are simply making a heartfelt remembrance of His dying. One definition of the word proclaim is “to announce officially or publicly.” Holy Spirit is encouraging us to take communion with deeper understanding in our spirit of what we are doing. We are issuing a loud and clear PROCLAMATION when we do.

To whom are we making this proclamation? Both to our own inner being, and to the spiritual realm around us.  We are first of all, reminding our own soul of all His benefits. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Ps 103:2, NKJV). Lovingly admonishing your own soul is a powerful practice modeled for us in the Psalms. Speaking out loud all that Jesus purchased on the cross for you feeds your faith and strengthens your spirit. Our English word “proclaim” comes from the Latin proclamare, “to cry out.” This gives you an idea of what passion is to surge through our hearts as we give vocal expression to the tremendous power available to us through Calvary.

This proclamation of His death goes even further than that, however. When you proclaim the Lord’s death, you are also exercising your authority over the spiritual realm around you. You are “subduing” and “having dominion” as we were commanded to do from the very beginning (Gen. 1:28). You are delivering a mighty, binding legal announcement of what the Lord has done for us.

Angels and demons alike hear the pronouncement, and respond to its force. Your proclamation shackles the enemy. It also looses angelic assistance to “heed the voice of His word” that you have just proclaimed and “do His pleasure” (Ps. 103:20-21) on your behalf. They hear His word when it goes out from your mouth. They joyfully act on it. It thrills them to do their jobs as “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). His word puts them on specific assignments to help and minister to us. Yes, all of this really is available through the Lord’s Supper!

When a proclamation is made in a kingdom, that proclamation holds the force of law. For example, when a prominent leader is proclaimed emperor, from that moment on, he IS the emperor. The Lord has put a mighty Kingdom tool into our hands, inviting us to proclaim His death. When we do so, we are actually legislating in the heavenly realms. We are not only reminding our own soul of His many benefits; we are at the same time actively, legally enforcing those same benefits as kings and priests here on the Earth.

Every time I take communion, Holy Spirit prays prophetically through me in a distinctive way. As I am slowly chewing and swallowing the unleavened bread that I use, I tune in to what He is praying. I plug into the prayer of His heart that I am picking up with my spirit in that moment, and I engage with it. I pray what I am hearing. It usually relates to a practical situation in my own life, or in the life of someone that I love. The same is true as I hold the fruit of the vine in my mouth for a moment and then mindfully and purposefully take it into the depths of me through swallowing.

Here is a sample prayer that you might use when eating the Communion bread/cracker:

“Lord, in Matthew 15, You made reference to healing and deliverance as ‘the children’s bread.’ I need healing in my mind and emotions from this traumatic issue that has been causing me great stress. I am Your child. Your healing and deliverance is my bread. Right now, I take this bread into me [chewing mindfully and activating your faith]. I receive Your healing now! [swallowing, and feeling the bread go down into you]. The virtue of this bread is now going to every cell of my body, every fiber of my being. Thank You, Jesus, for by the stripes You took in Your flesh, of which I am now partaking, I am healed.”

This is another example of a practical prayer, one that could go along with drinking of the Cup:

Thank You, Jesus, for pouring out Your life’s blood for me and for my son. As he goes to school today, I cover both myself and him in Your blood. Just as Your children long ago applied the lamb’s blood to their doorposts and the destroyer could not touch their homes, I now apply Your blood to our lives. I draw a blood line around my son and proclaim that the enemy may not pass it, and may not touch him today!”

You have just proclaimed the Lord’s death. You have just activated His benefits. The blood line you just drew is exceedingly real. The enemy sees it, and knows. He may not pass. He may not touch your son. You have lawfully bound him to obey. Just as the Israelites had to actually apply the lamb’s blood for the protection to work all those years ago, you have just done the same. At the same time, angels on assignment to your family heard you speaking out the Lord’s word. They are put on attention through your prayer to Him, to vigilantly guard your son from all attack.

I am not implying that you specifically have to take communion in order to invoke the power of Jesus that is available through His body and blood. Certainly not. But there is unquestionably something very special in using this provision that He has given us. I believe that this is a key weapon He is calling us to implement in this day and age in which we live. The unique virtue and power released as we do is vitally strategic for all that we are facing today.

I have no doubt you have noticed how aggressive our enemy has become in forcefully shoving his agenda forward in the nations of the world. I am not specifically referring to politics, though he has indeed been ferociously active in all sectors of society. Rather, I am talking about the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples…” (Isa 60:2, NIV).

Do not be afraid! We were put here not to just survive, but THRIVE in these last days before the Lord’s arrival. In order to do so, we urgently need to lean into the voice of His Spirit. We must learn to be filled with His dunamis power. We have got to develop proficiency in the use of the weapons that He has generously provided for our fight. These are the weapons He had in mind when He taught us, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt 11:12, NKJV).

I am convinced that the personal practice of communion as part of our spiritual disciplines is one of these devil-terrifying weapons intended for the destruction of strongholds. When we proclaim His death, we unleash the power of His might into the spiritual battles that are raging around us. I would even suggest that it would be foolhardy not to take full advantage of such superior, indomitable armaments that are put into our hands for such a time as this!

I will add this. Be Spirit led. Don’t just pray something because it seems like it would be a good idea to do so. Let Him pray through you as He feeds you the Living Manna and you drink deeply of His covenant. He has life changing, prevailing prayers ready to pour through you each and every day. Make your time alone with Him the most important part of your life. Close the door, turn off your phone, quiet your heart. No exaggeration, He is at the edge of His seat, yearning to have you at His table. It really is an astounding thing that the most exquisite times of worship and intimacy with Him have the wonderful side effect of rendering shattering blows to the enemies opposing you! Take communion as an act of spiritual violence today!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Eating the Food of Angels

An angel fed my daughter.

If you are familiar at all with my twelve-year-old, you know that supernatural things happen to her on a regular basis. A couple years ago, she had the stunning privilege of seeing some of Heaven. That is a story in and of itself that will hopefully become a book. For today, though, I am going to tell you about one of the many experiences she has had with angels.

Ester was hanging around on her school campus after classes. She was hungry and frustrated. The way things had worked out that day, she wasn’t able to go home right after school. She had to wait for her aunt to finish up work and take her to our house. Her tummy grumbled and she muttered to Jesus about her discomfort. Shortly thereafter, she glanced at the shiny transparent vinyl covering the notebook in her hands. In it, she saw the reflection of someone approaching her from behind.

The next moment, that someone put a small plain cake down next to her. She looked up, and he had disappeared. She fixed her attention on the gift he had left. Instinctively, she picked it up and eagerly ate it. In spite of being quite simple, it was delicious. In spite of being small, it was filling and wonderfully satisfying. Soon afterwards, the delicate, lacey napkin on which the cake had been sitting also disappeared. She smiled as she realized that Jesus had listened to her unhappy prayer. He wanted to show her how intimate His care is in a very tangible way.

Ester’s experience reminds me a bit of Elijah’s: “Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.” (1 Kings 19:5-8, NKJV)

Ester was learning about how extremely practical the Lord’s provision for her is. Elijah, too, was in great need of practical care in this 1 Kings story. He was exhausted after his confrontation with the prophets of Baal. God fed the old prophet, and God fed my daughter. The thing is, these are not actually isolated incidents. God fed the multitudes of His people supernaturally for forty years in the desert! And today, He wants to supernaturally feed you.

I actually share these stories because they tie back into the theme of taking communion. This might surprise you. What does being fed by an angel have to do with communion? Everything in the world, actually. Because taking communion means eating supernatural food. Again, in bringing these narratives to your attention, I am encouraging you to engage at a deeper level with the Lord’s supper. As He fed my daughter, as He fed Elijah, as He fed His children in the desert, so He wants to do for you.

Can you imagine receiving a meal so packed with power, that it gave you strength to journey tirelessly for forty days and forty nights? That was some incredible food and drink! What is all the more remarkable is that, prior to eating this meal from the angel, Elijah had not even wanted to live any more. He ate it, and all of a sudden, he had enough energy for a six week hiking trip! What was in that food?? It was definitely more than just a few extra calories. That meal ministered to the very depths of him.

The food that Elijah received, like so many other things in the Bible, is a spiritual picture for us. It connects right in with what we have been discussing: eating Real Spiritual Food and drinking Real Spiritual Drink as we take communion. As we participate in the Lord’s table, supernatural strength and courage for our life’s journey surges into our spirits!

Since we are talking about food from God, let’s delve even a little deeper into the concept of Jesus our Living Manna (John 6:49-51). Remember, when Jesus first gave the instruction to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He related it to the Israelites’ desert experience of eating manna. He prefaced this new concept of feeding on Him with the words, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead…”

He brought up the subject of their ancestors’ supernatural gastronomic provision. He did this to get it across to them that HE HIMSELF was the fulfillment of the spiritual picture painted by the outpouring of manna in the wasteland. God had fed His people with bread that literally came down to Earth from the physical heavens above – because in doing so, He was shouting out a prophetic announcement. He was proclaiming through a vivid, live parable that the time was coming when the True Bread would be coming down to Earth from Heaven. This far superior Manna would infuse us with not just energy for a day, but life forevermore. Life bursting and spilling over with abundance.

This is the very same life you ingest when you take communion. When you eat His flesh and drink His blood. This, dear friend, is what John 6 is teaching us.

The Psalmist Asaph gives us further insight into this bread from Heaven:

“Yet He had commanded the clouds above,
And opened the doors of heaven,
Had rained down manna on them to eat,
And given them of the bread of heaven.
Men ate angels' food;
He sent them food to the full.”
(Ps 78:23-25, NKJV)

There you have it. Manna was angels’ food. Supernatural sustenance. Somewhere in the culinary family of what Elijah got to taste. And yet, you and I get to feast on something even better. Asaph tells us that God opened the doors of heaven to rain down this sacred nutrition over them in abundance. How much more, in the new and better covenant that we now have, will He open Heaven’s doors over us as we receive His food! How much more will He feed us “to the full”…when He feeds us HIMSELF. Truly, the feast that He spreads for us now is blissful beyond expression!

Bread from Heaven. Are you beginning to capture in your spirit just how much provision is available in and through the Lord’s supper? Supernatural strength. Renewed energy for the journey. Nourishment in abundance. The heavens open over you! Just as Ester and Elijah both learned, Jesus will lavish on you whatever you are needing today, at His table. Come to the banquet…

A prayer of response:

Daddy God, I have great need of Your supernatural food. Right now, I respond to Your invitation. I come to the feast You have spread for me. Please meet me where I am and give me Your Bread from Heaven. You are my Living Manna. You are my strength, my sustenance, my delight. Please feed me You!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Explosive Communion Elements – You Want Me to Eat What??? Part 3

Do you want to learn to feed on Jesus in a new way? To ingest this Bread from the Father to a greater degree than before? I am going to present you with an idea to pray about. What if you start taking communion on a regular basis – as part of your devotional life?

I would like to explore with you some of the vast array of benefits that come with the act of taking communion. This practice is immeasurably more than just a meaningful addendum to a memorable church service. You just may want to start incorporating the cup and bread into your quiet times, once you understand better all that it may mean for you.

For starters, this holy meal has a tremendous amount of transformational power hidden in it, ready to explode into your struggles and practical needs. Here’s how:

The unleavened bread, or cracker, represents Real Manna from Heaven, Manna pulsating with life. “But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die,” Jesus proclaims to us, looking again right into our eyes (Jn. 6:50). He is communicating to us deeply that if we eat it, eternal life literally enters us, in that very moment of intake!

He continues with zeal, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (v. 51). Jesus, the Living Manna, infuses the eater with eternity. Each serving of Him is a dose of that which will ultimately make you immortal. The corresponding spiritual reality at work when you partake of the Bread of Communion unleashes explosive power into you, and into your life circumstances.

This is raw power. The power of immortality. Resurrection power. It is exactly the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Available to you. Available to your marriage. Available to your health. Available to your emotional state. Available with very present help – in this moment you are experiencing, right now. Available as you partake of Jesus.

Communion is a prophetic act. As you chew on the bread or cracker, purposefully meditating on your Lord, you are activating heavenly reality on your behalf. The physical action of swallowing and digesting correlates with what you are setting in motion spiritually. You are eating Real Spiritual Food. You are actually feeding on Jesus in real time. His life is entering you, becoming part of you. You are coming alive more than you ever have before.

As you drink the grape juice, you are imbibing the virtue that is in His blood. This is why Old Testament law proclaimed, foreshadowing Jesus, “Life is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). The amount of power in this act is actually quite stunning when you flow in the Spirit of revelation as you carry it out (Eph. 1: 17).

This dynamite released into your spirit will also have direct implications for whatever adversity you are facing today. You will experience change, especially over the long haul, as you commit yourself to making a lifestyle out of nourishing your inner being this way.

You may reflect on this, thinking, “I have taken communion for years. I have always been blessed by it. But why did I not experience the full extent of what you are describing?”

Here is something to consider, in answer to that question. 1 Co. 11:29 uses the phrase, “discerning the Lord’s body.” To discern means to perceive or recognize. This requires the use of your spiritual senses. Just like our physical body, our spirit can see, hear, touch, feel. Holy Spirit invites us to exercise these senses in discerning Jesus’ body, as we participate in His meal. We need to tune in with keen focus, practicing our spiritual perception. We need to lock eyes with Him as He feeds us Himself. We need to lean closer to pick up even the slightest murmurs of His heart. There is rhema, revelation for us, in the moment He gives us the Manna and we swallow Heaven. The more we discern and connect with the spiritual reality involved in communion, the more we benefit from it.

Remember the reference in Hebrews to our spiritual senses? As the Amplified Bible expresses it, our “senses and…faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish…” (Heb 5:14, AMP, italics mine). As you invest parts of your day to intentionally engage with the realities of the Spirit of God, you are practicing each and every time. Each time you practice, you advance in His training process. To the degree that you are willing to invest in practicing, your progress in being able to discern the spiritual realm will directly correlate to your investment.

Receiving the full benefits of communion happens when you discern the Lord’s body. In other words, when you are fully leaning into the Reality of feeding on Him. Fully engrossed in eating spiritual food and drinking spiritual drink. Fully tuned into the sacred power packed into each element of communion, and into the transaction of receiving that power into and through your being. This requires practice.

Feed on Him. Drink Him in. Repeat.

At the same time, engage. Listen. Watch. Lean in. Perceive. There is SO much to take in! The enticing question He poses, “What do you see?” whispers invitingly to your heart that there are immeasurable treasures in this meal He is offering you…waiting for your discovery (Jer. 1:11).

Hungry for more? So am I! This post will be followed by others further developing these concepts as He beckons us deeper into His heart. A prayer of response for today:

Lord Jesus, thank You for teaching me the vital importance of discerning Your body when I take communion. I ask for Your Spirit of revelation poured out into me as I partake of Your Manna and drink deeply of the life that is in Your blood. Open my inner eyes and increase the sensitivity of my heart to the realm of Your Spirit. Capture my gaze. Help me to lean in to that which is eternal. Guide me in steps towards daily growth in the training of my spiritual senses. Please also make this clear to me -- are You leading me to take communion more often?