Tuesday 30 October 2012

The Father’s Cry

I am hearing and have been hearing a cry from the Father in recent months that I have not heard before. Maybe I have not been able to hear His cry before or maybe I have been crying so loud that I drown out His cry. Maybe my crying has brought me to a place that I can hear His cry. I don’t know for sure but I do know I hear His cry today.

When I reflect on this, I have many thoughts and they all seem to point in the same direction. I am asking why is the church today so hurting? Why such brokenness, turmoil, un-happiness, despair, defeat and lacking? Why do we see so little of the Kingdom? Why do we not see prosperous souls? Why do we see so little testimony of the abundant life that Jesus spoke about? Why do we see more defeat than victory, a remnant and not the many or nothing like the nations spoken of in the great commission? Why is our vision so small, why not the immeasurably more that Paul speaks of in the Book of Ephesians? Are these matters connected with our poverty of vision? Does God sense the lacking in our heart and therefore allows our environment reflect that poverty of spirit? Have we become a people afraid to dream and as a result have grown content with that which we now possess? 

By now you have the gist of what I am seeing and sensing and it’s not my intention to be judge, indeed I am not or I don’t wish to provoke you to become judgemental. I am just speaking the questions that my heart is asking God.

In church now for almost a year the same prophetic words are being spoken over and over again. I divide these words into two categories or groups. One speaks of an outpouring of the Spirit amongst us (river flowing, rain falling, downpour, flood, glory and a flow of liquid molten rock). The other speaks of a blockage, restriction, holding back or being held back (oil wells capped, shackles on our ankles, dehydrated church, feet stuck and a body buried alive reaching out to be rescued). The words appear to be at odds with each other though I sense they are incredibly linked, the outpouring is the solution to the dehydration . One suggests amazing potential in our body but the other suggests there is something holding it all back. One soaked with God ordained blessing and favour, the other hemmed in awaiting release by man. 

Do you ever ponder these words we hear every other week? Do you ever wonder what it is that God is saying? Do you ever feel when we meet as a body something is wrong, something missing? Do you ever feel what we experience resembles religion more so than intimacy or encounter with the living God, if we don’t move into what the Father is saying its religion we have. Many days I feel robbed in the body and yet my heart so desires to be there because that is where we should be. Am I the only one who feels like so? For years I lived out of a poverty spirit, today I don’t accept it. I sense we are being robbed and God too. In Lucan congregation two years ago, a word “we are being robbed” was spoken in our meeting, today I sense the same thing happening.

Where are the ones that live out of Christ’s victory? Where are the ones who are more than conquerors? Where are the ones who will do greater than that which Jesus did? Where is the one that trusts fully in Christ? A verse recently shared with the body 1 John 5:18 “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him”. Why does sin prevail in individuals saved by Christ? What is wrong? 

Though we understand and identify sin easily, sensing that we are not who we are meant to be is somewhat harder than knowing we sin. On the cross Jesus said forgive them Father for they do not know what they do, even then they did not sense what was really going on. Many today don’t discern either and may feel its normal and therefore they don’t know that they are living in a place of “lack”, or living with a poverty of spirit mentality. But there are also many who know it and don’t know how to respond or react in that place. I was there for years and not one recognized it. Why? Why did I live with such pain and hurt for years and it go undetected? Why?

Jesus’ death was for a purpose. Don’t allow yourself miss any of that which the Father intended for you. Jesus deserves every ounce of what he put into the cross. The cross is a gate to life. Life is not at the gate, but through the gate. Don’t stay at the gate, gates are access points. The Father cries that you come to Him, coming to Him is entering His presence, not staying at the gate. I stayed at the gate for 20 years. Why?

When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, we read after Jesus came up out of the water in John 1:29-34 that the Spirit came down and remained on Him. Note it says “remained on Him”. Isaiah 42:1 talks of God putting the Spirit on the Lord (note - not in Him). When you become a Christian you receive the Spirit into you. The Baptism with the Spirit is completely different. Grasping this single point helped change my life. 
Looking back at Jesus it then says ‘Then Jesus full of the Holy Spirit was led by the Spirit into the desert’. To be led also means follows, so Jesus followed the Spirit. 
We can read in Luke 4 what happened to Jesus in the desert…three times Jesus defeated the devil and Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. Jesus demonstrated what so many of us miss and I have missed this for all these years since I became a Christian. Fortunately for me “a knowing” inside of me that there was something wrong caused me to literally cry and call out to God for the more I read about in His word but had not ever experienced. 

Today I hear the Father crying, it’s a cry of his broken heart, a cry that says I want you, it’s a cry that is saying God is also missing something. Please don’t jump on this comment, yes I know God is complete and therefore does not lack, but amazingly He allows Himself be in that vulnerable place of missing you. Jesus cried over Jerusalem, reflecting the Fathers heart, please hear what I am saying, the Father is crying over you, there is more than you currently experience, much more.

Am I speaking clearly above, do you hear me, listen and wait until you hear the Father’s cry yourself? Today most of the church lives in a salvation mindset, one which says I’m saved by the cross of Jesus, I am a Christian. Many Christians are afraid to move from this position. Jesus never told His disciples to wait for the cross or indeed at the cross, but He did tell them to wait for the Holy Spirit. The salvation mindset is better than nothing but if that’s all you have, you are living out of a poverty mentality. There is much more than the cross. 

In the Old Testament we read of Moses’ Baptism, he brought God’s people out of captivity and baptized them so to speak when they came through the Red Sea. This signifies the Baptism of Repentance. A poverty mentality came over those people in the desert. Joshua and Caleb thought differently though. They did not fear the enemy like so many then and so many today. I was there for many years but not so today. Today I believe what the bible says and I trust in Christ, experiencing the reality of this has been an amazing breakthrough for me. I always believed it in my head, I trusted Christ but I doubted much because I did not experience it. 

When I was baptised with the Holy Spirit and experienced the Holy Spirit in my life everything changed instantly. Joshua in the Old Testament also baptised the people of God when they went through the Jordan River on dry land to enter the Promised Land. This was the second Baptism of the Old Testament. Jesus had a second Baptism and now I know I have had a second Baptism. Believe me this is outside the box for me because my background or my experience of Christianity did not have a shelf for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. Note when Joshua brought the people of God through the Jordan River, they did not stay at that place where they entered the Promised Land, they captured and possessed the land. God is calling us to possess our spiritual birthright, our land, our nation. That’s our co-mission from the Father.

I believe we are limiting the gospel today and as a result we pick up only a little of the plunder that Jesus left at the foot of the cross when he defeated death. The plunder is the spoils of war for the victors. Who are the victors? If we are honest we have to admit that we have left far too much at the foot of the cross for far too long. More and more I am believing that we have a “remnant expectation”, we dare not expect much by way of miracles, signs and wonders or a harvest because if we allow ourselves have great expectations, we believe we will be disappointed. I use believe this now I know otherwise because I have seen it and tasted it. I believe we are on the brink of an amazing revival in Ireland, this revival is birth in the Holy Spirit, the unknown person of God in this country. Those who step into the Spirit will walk in revival. I know because I can testify to it and so can a number of others amongst us. Am I saying that I am better than you or a better Christian? No not at all, I am saying I am not settling for less and I expect exceedingly more than that which I have now begun to see.

During the week I read Isaiah 41, I found myself asking where are the Christians such as Isaiah prophesied?

"8 But you Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, 9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. 16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Where are the ones that claim Jesus’ victory over the enemy? Where are the ones He made into a threshing sledge? Where are the ones that crush mountains? Where are the ones that move with the wind of the Spirit? Today after spending 20 years having my mind battered by the enemy, I have moved into the place of Christ’s victory and I experience His victory in my mind and as a result in my body. The taunts of the enemy are feeble now and I just tell him “IT IS FINISHED” at the cross and he is on his way then. Simple but effective, freedom by the Spirit as promised.  

In all the fuss of life have you like me left the Holy Spirit out of the picture. Isaiah 10:27 says that it’s the anointing that breaks the yoke. The yoke upon me was broken when I was baptised with the Holy Spirit. Today I am seeing Christ’s victory manifest in my life. The person of the Holy Spirit has changed my life completely and in the Holy Spirit I now walk in the presence of the Father. He fights for me and walks before me, it’s a wonderful transformation that I have experienced. This week I was challenged to see the body of Christ as my body. In response to this challenge I write this paper and say to you, this body of mine sees the Father crying for you to experience all of what He has for you. As you experience this abundance, do you know I am going to be blessed because you will become a revelation of the Fathers glory on earth, namely Christ? (1 John 4:17).   

We read in Isaiah 42:16-17

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. But those who trust in idols, who say to images, 'You are our gods,' will be turned back in utter shame”

Are you willing to walk in ways unknown to you, along unfamiliar paths because if you are Jesus will lead you there. He will do for you as He has for me, turn the darkness into light before you. To do so you must turn from your idols. Now an idol is an Old Testament word that few of us understand, it simply means something that’s man made and the worst idol of all is religion. Religion is not about which church you attend it’s about the affection and state of your heart.

Isaiah 43:18-21

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past See, I am doing a new thing! …… I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. …… I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise”

I am hungry for the new things of the Father. Are you? To drink from His river requires a heart set on pilgrimage as said in Psalm 84, a heart that says I have had enough of the old, I want new wine. Andrea Wigglesworth carried a similar prophetic word to us last year. Andrea cried “out with the ordinary in with the extraordinary”. 

Today the Father lays before us a “new thing”, though there may be shackles before us or indeed holding us back, if we are willing to take hold of the Father’s promises, He is willing to break those shackles. For some it’s taking hold of the promises, for others it repentance and forgiveness that will break the shackles from your feet, but I guess it both these for most of us and I believe this is an individual thing and indeed a corporate thing for the body. It’s time, it’s time for release and taking hold of His Kingdom. Don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow never comes.

Romans 14:17 says “For the kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit”. I challenge you to adapt a “kingdom mindset” and leave behind a “salvation mindset”. This nation of ours is crying like the Father, our nation crys for an encounter with the living God. I cried for this encounter for years and that desire has and is being fulfilled. Today I hear the Fathers cry, something I never heard before, it’s so beautiful and intimate, it will make you cry. Experience the Father and you will be transformed.

Declan D.