Traducir al EspaƱol

Friday, July 29, 2016

Victory Outside the Box: A Duct Tape Sword and an Oil Drenched Warrior

While I was in the midst of writing up my recent posts about prophetic acts, a living example of these principles was unfolding right under my nose. I want to introduce to you my friend Christina, who is about to let you in on the story. Christina is a missionary who moved here to Iquitos a year ago to work with our ministry. She has quickly become an integral part of what God is doing in our midst.

When she related the following incident to me, suddenly it clicked. I knew that the Holy Spirit was illustrating His own sermon. He led Christina into a series of fascinating prophetic acts right as I was writing on the subject. I asked her to share them with you. She cheerfully did so; what follows is that account in her own words.

“The past two posts from Jennifer have been highlighting prophetic acts in the natural and their connection to the spiritual realm. This past week I had an incredible experience with exactly what she has been writing about, and I would like to tell you about it here.

First, I would like to say that this world is entirely new to me. I did not grow up in the prophetic, and I have been on quite the learning curve since I moved here to Peru. If anyone had told me three years ago that I would be doing some of the things the Lord has had me do lately, I would have thought the one telling me was absolutely crazy. But here I am, and this is the latest in His intense training of me.

About a week ago I felt called very strongly to an afternoon of intercessory prayer. During that time, I saw a vivid picture of a sword that the Lord was giving me. The sword had a double edged blade. It was made perfectly for my hands… With the point touching the ground, it came almost to my waist in height. Scripture references were written on the blade that were promises of God that He wanted me to remember and use to fight. The blade was silver and the grip was gold, with a ruby pommel, and the cross guard had TRUTH written on it. The blade was also burning with a brilliantly bright fire. The Lord told me He wanted me to fight.

A few days later, the sword was so very much on my mind. I was sitting in my bed looking around the room, and my eyes fell on a tent stored there. My mind immediately went to the tent poles in it. Before I even really realized what I was doing, I had gone and taken one of the tent poles out and folded it to where I felt was right. I held it up to my side, and it was exactly the same length as the sword in my vision. I knew He wanted me to make a physical representation of that sword. The Lord had me cover it with duct tape and mark off the handle with a sharpie. He then instructed me to write on the blade I had fashioned, Scriptures that had been on the blade in the vision. One of them that He led me to me write out was: 'Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance…' (Ps 149:6-7a)

Then the Lord told me, 'It is time for you to fight for what I have promised you. As you take up the sword I just had you make in the physical, you are picking up the sword I gave you in the spiritual realm. It is the sword of Truth, covered in My Word and the Fire of My Spirit. Anoint it with oil, and consecrate it for Me and My service.'

I had long felt that He wanted me to pray over the upstairs area of the house where I stay. The second floor is currently under construction, and no one lives up there. It has so many spider webs, it is difficult to walk through without running into them. The Lord summoned me up there. I took my sword, some praise music (Kari Jobe’s 'Majestic'), my Bible, and a bottle of oil.

His next words were, 'I want you to begin with the oil. It represents my Spirit that I am pouring out on you to do this task. Pour it out on your head.' I poured out a little on top of me. As I felt it dripping down my scalp, I could feel His presence falling on me. Seven times He had me pour the oil on my head until half of the bottle was gone, and the oil was dripping down my head and down my neck and back.

He continued, 'Now, take up your sword and work your way through this floor. I want you to pray over this house. As you enter each room, I want you to cut away at the webs in the physical realm. While you are cutting the webs in the physical, you are also cutting away at the webs the enemy has tried to spin in an attempt to block you and others from their destinies. I will give you what to pray as you cut through each one. Now… sing and worship as you fight!'

I began to sing, and in each room He had me cut away at the things the enemy had tried to use to block the Lord’s moves in my life and in others’. At one point I found myself with my sword positioned in front of me and declaring, 'I am the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and heir with Him in the heavenly realms. The Lord my God will reign in this place. With this sword lit with Holy Fire, I cut down the cords you, my enemy, have attempted to tie the people of God down with!'

When I finished all of this, I collapsed on the floor utterly drained from what He had poured through me, overcome with His powerful presence. I can say with absolute certainty that I felt something break in the spiritual realm while carrying all of it out. A little while later I was sitting down in the patio area downstairs and looked up to take in one of the clearest and most complete rainbows I have ever seen in person. I believe it was a sign of His promise of the victory.

The Lord may lead us to do things that do not make earthly sense, but the Bible shows us that He never has made ‘logical’ requests of those He has great things for. I believe that so very often skepticism and doubt greatly hinder what He wants to pour out on and through us. We think we can’t be important enough, or that He just doesn’t do those kind of things anymore. But He DOES! It takes simply laying ourselves down as living sacrifices to be used mightily by the Lord… He is so kind and loving… He beckons us to yield ourselves to His Will and Way – especially when it doesn’t make sense to our natural minds. The more I lay myself down, the more I long to lay myself down again and again to see what else He will unfold in and through me. Such a magnificent adventure!!!”

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lessons from an Ex-Fisherman on Making Your Every Day Prophetic

Did you know that simple aspects of daily life can become prophetic if you let them? Did you know that the Holy Spirit can come upon something as mundane as drinking a glass of water or unlocking your front door?

Ponder this question for a moment: Is there any limit to what our infinite God can do with the ordinary and humdrum elements of our earthly existence?

As promised, I want to continue sharing my thoughts about prophetic acts in this post. My main goal here is to emphasize how Holy Spirit yearns to get into the practicalities of our day in and day out living and make them extraordinary. If we will let Him, He will insert Himself into our banalities, and turn them into prophetic acts.

On a hot and humid day not long ago, I was pouring myself a big serving of thirst quenching water. Holy Spirit nudged me to tune in with my spiritual senses to His nearness. “You could receive a drink of My living water as you down that glass,” His soft voice suggested. He was pointing out once again to me the intimate connection between the physical and spiritual realms. If we will lean into Him each day, He will teach us how to bring Heaven into our daily activities. You might even try this exercise later today. If you feel Him leading you to do so, get a cup of water and invite Him to pour into your spirit as you savor each sip. Make your afternoon refresher into a spiritual activity. Make it into a prophetic act. I assure you, you are not overspiritualizing things. The more you invite Holy Spirit into your day, the more He will come.

Not only is He longing for your invitation, but He is also eager to surprise you with His innovative initiatives. I am truly convinced that He delights in taking our boxes labeled “Everyday” and “Normal” and intentionally transforming them into unexpected and remarkable shapes. Actually, He often prefers to do away with our boxes entirely. I have learned that He is rather fond of being unpredictable.

God decided to heal a spring of undrinkable water by instructing His servant to toss a dirty old stick into it. He decided to provide a needed temple tax through the mouth of a random fish pulled out of the sea. He decided to heal a grievously ill woman by having her grasp at the edge of His Son’s robe. I could fill many paragraphs with lists of all of the unanticipated, unconventional things that God decided to do historically with everyday objects to accomplish His ends. We find an unceasing supply of them recorded on the pages of Scripture.

For those of us that have been reading the Bible for years, these stories sometimes lose their surprise element. How enriching it is to pause and jump freshly into the narratives with our imagination! When we let God’s spontaneity displayed in each account strike our senses anew, we are refreshed. His sheer creativity and unbounded willingness to tackle each circumstance with a brand new approach is both staggering and life giving.

There’s one such story that the Lord keeps bringing me back to repeatedly over the last few months. I’m going to share it with you here because it’s a brilliant example of how Jesus gets into our daily activities to make them prophetic.

In Luke 5, we read about Jesus walking into Peter’s everyday life for the first time. Peter the fisherman is in his little world doing his regular thing – going through his unremarkable, mundane routine – wrapping up a night of fishing. Jesus strolls into his boat and transfigures what Peter has been doing all night into a powerful prophetic act. This prophetic act is so momentous, in fact, that it turns out to be this unlikely disciple’s commissioning. "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch,” Jesus says to him, looking penetratingly into Peter’s soul with His eyes.

Jesus was a brand new figure to Peter at this point. He must have had an intensely compelling presence about Him to inspire this seasoned expert in all things aquatic to follow His instructions. After all, we are talking about a team of men under Peter’s leadership exhausted after a long night of coming up empty handed at the fishing nets. They knew very well, at a very personal level, that there were no fish whatsoever hanging about those parts at that time.

However, something stirred deep inside of Peter. His spirit was responding to the Holy Spirit.

As usual with God’s plans, bodily action was required. "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Peter set his physical frame into forward movement. Immediately, the prophetic unction on Jesus’ directive activated the spiritual realm when Peter obeyed. Fish were supernaturally gathered by the masses from only God knows where and deposited in an instant into those nets! Maybe there were angels assigned to move those fish into place. Maybe the Spirit just moved them Himself. Either way, power from heaven was released when Peter engaged with the prophetic mandate through a physical action.

Peter’s unquestioning obedience also set into motion a prophetic picture of the calling that opened up over his life through that encounter. As he gazed in wonder at the copious amount of shiny fish flopping around in his now overloaded and sinking boat, the Holy Spirit whispered to his heart, “Just as I sovereignly filled this net full of fish, I will from here out extravagantly fill your ministry boat with souls, as day by day you learn to act upon the surprising and sometimes seemingly irrational things that I tell you to do. Never forget this moment, the spiritual power released through physical obedience, or this picture of the supernatural abundance in which I am now calling you to walk. From now on you will catch men!”

You never know what will happen when you let the Holy Spirit mess with your day to day activities…but you can count on the results being “exceedingly, abundantly” better than anything you could come up with yourself.

Here’s something to experiment with as you chew on these principles. Try standing in the shower and asking Him to wash over you with His cleansing love. Concentrate on His presence bathing you as you feel the water running down over your skin. Then as you get dressed afterwards, picture yourself “clothing” your whole being with the garments of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love (Col 3:12, 14) – with every item of clothing that you put on your body. “Thank You, Holy Spirit, for this t-shirt of Your love that is covering me. I am now wearing Your glory and ready for the day.” As you spray on your perfume, declare, “Everywhere I go today, I will carry the fragrance of Your genuine care for everyone I encounter!”

See, you just did it! You just made your morning routine into a series of powerful prophetic acts. I would truly love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments section below. Holy Spirit is so eager to transform our mundane into mighty! Let’s make room for Him in every big and little thing we do with the hours He has given us today.

Our brother Peter can tell you, there’s nothing better than this. When you look at your weather worn boat and see it hardly able to support the weight of the biggest catch of fish you’ve ever seen… When the same old thing you’ve been doing every day is suddenly transformed into a dazzling picture of your destiny… When you look up into the Savior’s eyes and see He is beckoning you to follow Him into ever greater and more exciting adventures, you know. Activating the spiritual realm through physical obedience is the lifestyle you want to run after with abandon. I’m with this fisherman-turned-apostle. My heart cries out with his, “At Your word, Lord, let’s do this thing!”

Daddy God, I am so thankful that You want to breathe life into my daily routine! I lift up to You what to me is mundane, and ask You to make it sacred. Let the soft breeze of Your closeness, Your holiness, blow into and over my chores and scheduled activities for today. Come in, Holy Spirit. Turn my banalities into prophetic acts. I welcome You into what I am doing right here and now. Fill my movements with Your vitality, with Your power, with Your love, with Your energy, with Your joy. Show me the way You want to direct each of my steps today. Take over completely! I trust You with all that I am.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Naaman's Unexpected Prophetic Act and How It Relates to You

I used to almost unconsciously think that the people in my world who were into all things prophetic could get a little loony or exaggerated in their behavior. Especially when it came to what they called prophetic acts. In 1999, I took a class while I was a student at Fuller Seminary on engaging in spiritual warfare. Peter Wagner showed us a video depicting a team of intercessors climbing one of the highest mountains in the world to stake out spiritual territory there. They performed a number of prophetic acts that bordered on quite eccentric. I watched with fascination, not sure what to think. I have always been open to the Lord teaching me new things, but I was being stretched.

Over the years, my understanding and appreciation of prophetic acts has increased dramatically. In this post and the next, I would like to share with you some of the insights I have absorbed on the topic. I am hoping to remove for you some of the mystery perhaps shrouding the subject and help you see how straightforward and practical such matters actually are.

My Teacher has intensified my awareness of how intimately interwoven the spiritual and physical realms are. The Western mindset tends to want to separate and compartmentalize them. However, this tendency is actually a departure from reality. The two flow naturally in and out of one another. This is why Jesus explained to us, “What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This truth is so important that the Holy Spirit inserted it twice in the book of Matthew (16:19 and 18:18).

A prophetic act works on this principle. The prophetic act is a way of engaging with the spiritual realm through a physical action, as the Holy Spirit initiates, leads, and empowers. As the child of God receives His instruction and begins to step into obedience in the material realm, he or she is partnering with His Spirit to set into motion a corresponding movement in the heavenly realm. Let’s jump into a biblical example to illustrate.

2 Kings 5 narrates for us the story of Naaman’s healing from leprosy. Naaman arrives in Israel from Syria with all his pomp and glory, expecting a grandiose reception appropriate to his level of honor and status. Instead, Elisha won’t even come out to personally acknowledge him. He sends his servant out instead with a simple message: “Go dip in the Jordan seven times.” Naaman is furious and almost misses his opportunity to be liberated from misery and early death. These orders seem absurd and insulting. Thankfully, his servants are able to gently reason some sense into him. He humbles himself and decides to obey the word of the Lord. He carries through with the physical action of getting his sick body into the waters of the Jordan and submerging himself in the water seven times.

The seventh time, he comes up out of the water completely restored. His skin is now enviably as beautiful as a child’s. (I want to go dip in the Jordan!) His heart is indelibly altered through this experience and he requests permission to take earth from Israel home to Syria to set up permanent worship to the one and only true God.

We could get into the meaning of the number seven and the symbolic implications of being submerged in water, all intriguing angles to this story. But my main point is that, Naaman’s bath that day was a prophetic act, even though he didn’t initially understand its significance. A physical action was required of him to activate the spiritual power of healing on his behalf. As he moved his body (flesh and bones) through the steps of the instructions God laid out, he tapped into the heavenly realm. Power began to flow into him. And since Daddy God is never halfhearted about anything He does, he got better skin out of the deal than any of his peers. (I bet he was excited to go to his next high school reunion after that.) This story makes me eager to follow through when God doles out strange instructions!

Actually, I’m convinced God is fond of handing out perplexing directives. Each time He does, He is giving us the opportunity to go deeper into the realm of leaning not on our own understanding. How about these fine specimens entrusted to some of His better known public servants?

Turn your staff into a venomous snake and then grab it as it slithers around
Make a regular diet out of insects
Marry a sexually promiscuous woman who will not be faithful to you
Cook your food over feces
Lie on your side for months. Don’t move!
Spit in the dirt, make some slimy mud, and slather it on the poor unsuspecting blind man’s eyes
Eat what is unclean from a sheet hanging down out of heaven in front of your face
Lie on top of a dead body
Walk around stark naked for three years

As you might notice, these are taken from both Old Testament and New. Yes, they are extreme examples. Thankfully, I bet He will never request that you to replicate any of the items on that list. But what if He does ask you to do something that makes no sense at all? And what if that something is tailor made by His design to activate the power of heaven on your behalf? What if it’s a prophetic act in disguise?

For Naaman, the prophetic mandate received carried an unction for the supernatural manifestation that God wanted to bring forth in his life. Hidden away, enclosed in disconcerting instructions, was raw power that could only be unlocked by following them. The path to heaven’s Answer was humility. Naaman wisely chose to sacrifice his own notions of how things should be done on the altar of obedience. Complete restoration was his reward.

Have you been sensing any nudges from God recently that don’t seem to reconcile with logic? Maybe, just maybe, He is offering you a key that will unlock and pull down to the earth untold treasures currently stored in heavenly places for you…

Daddy God, I hold out my hand to You. Please take it and lead me onwards in Your paths of righteousness laid out for me. Teach me to partner with You in activating heaven’s movement on earth’s behalf. Train me to tune into Your nudges, and to obey them quickly as they come, even when they often don’t seem to make sense. I want to lean completely and wholly on Your understanding and not my own. I acknowledge that You reserve the right to be sovereign, immensely immeasurable in Your wisdom and glory, and mysterious! I surrender my desire to have everything figured out and neatly ordered, under my control. I lay myself in Your hands. I am Yours.