A Hot East Wind

“Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” – Hosea 13:15-16

This prophetic word to Israel came at a time of calm. When Ephraim was fruitful and flourishing. When they seemed to be at peace with the major powers of the time (Assyria and Egypt). They took the nations around them to be their brethren and continued at ease in peace and prosperity, trusting them completely.

When suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere like an east wind. The armies of the Assyrians would move in. Not only an army from the east but one that (like the hot dry harsh east winds of Israel does to a vineyard or plant) would serve to dry up their fruitfulness. There peace, their prosperity, their plenty would be withered instantly. Strong and violently would this enemy from the east sweep over the land and ravage it.

It was the Lord who would allow this as a judgment for their sins. It would be as the winds that come up out of the wilderness of the south east. Which for Israel meant the winds that come across the desert. Very hot and dry and destructive. Consuming moisture and all that brings life, liberty, and fruitfulness.

It would dry up the springs and fountains of water. This speaks not only to a scarcity of physical resources, but more importantly of the living water of the word of God. They had forsaken it for so long and taken it for granted. Now would they see what it was like to want it, but not have it. An enemy that despised the God of their fathers, who dried up the wells and springs of His words and teachings. They had served the spirit of this enemy willingly, now would they be turned over to him physically for a season that they might see how cruel and destructive it was to be in agreement with this wickedness and the dangers of spiritual laziness; for we have a real enemy and when the spiritual warfare is forsaken for selfishness, prosperity, entertainment, and laziness, the enemy keeps plotting and advancing until eventually the enemy manifest and the war becomes physical. This happened to Israel over and over again and it is no different in our current climate, for there is nothing new under heaven. The enemy uses the same tactics.

The passage continues to prophesy that this enemy would rob the treasuries of the government and pleasant vessels of the people. Their materialism would be turned against them as it attracted violence to plunder their possessions. All that they had trusted in would fail them or be taken.

Verse 16 begins to talk about Samaria which was considered the royal city, or capital, at this time. The prophet warns that it will be attacked, besieged, laid waste, made desolate down to it’s very foundation. They trusted in themselves and they fell. This capital not only forsook, but openly rebelled against God, therefore did He remove His hand of protection from them and showed them how weak they really were without Him.

They had encouraged idol worship, greed, selfishness, perversion, sin, they shed the blood of the innocent (including their own children), they rejected the worship of the God of Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob, and they removed the rightful Kings from leadership that had been chosen by God through the bloodline of David and appointed new kings illegitimately.

For all this would this enemy from the East come like a scourge across the land. Harsh, cruel, and wicked. A hot wind burning, poisoning, drying, and laying waste to it. The capital would fall and violence would befall them to the degree of cruelty that they themselves had agreed to let in spiritually. They had killed their own children on the alters of convenience and in doing so had come into agreement with the demons that influence men to do such wicked things. Now would their women and children be killed openly in the streets for the convenience of their enemies, where all could see the evil, wickedness, and cruelty that such acts unleash. No more hidden sugarcoated sin. It would be preformed out in the open by the enemy they themselves let in. Until such a time as they began to see it for what it is, distain it, cry out in true repentance, and seek the God of their Fathers for deliverance. The judgment of God is more often then not, to simply give to men what they think they want.

It’s Time to Go

“And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.” – Mark 1:32-38

Let this passage come alive in your mind for a minute. Jesus preached the gospel, healed the sick, and cast out devils all evening. Probably even into the night. I’m sure he was tired, but how exciting! The people were believing and receiving and coming to see Him!

He retreats for the night and they all get a few hours sleep. A moments rest from this busy blessing and move of the Spirit! When morning comes the disciples look for Him but he has been out praying alone in the quiet, preparing for the day ahead.

The disciples come to Him and inform Him that many people are there waiting! There is a crowd that excepts Him there ready to hear Him, to be taught and delivered! He has a following here! This is starting to look and feel like revival! Or what we think it should look and feel like anyway…

So what does Jesus say? “It’s time to leave. I’m going to preach in an other city.” Perhaps the disciples may have thought, “wait, what, why? Isn’t this what we are here to do? The people here love You. They believe You. They understand that they need You? Why go to an other place and start over?

The Bible tells us that there is a way that seems right to a man and that we ought to let God order our steps because His ways or not our ways nor does He think the way we think. Jesus then tells them that He is going to a new place to preach and to teach because that is why He came. You see the fact that he was excepted and that all men came to see Him was not a reason to stop and build a cathedral, following, or movement there. He was not here to build temporal kingdoms but an eternal and invisible one laid on a foundation of truth. He had preached and spoken the truth here backed up by miracles, signs, and wonders, healings and deliverances. The truth had been spoken, the territory had been taken, He had born witness to them of the Words of God. Now it was time for Him to move on. To go share that same mission and mercy to the next towns.

There were times when He was not so well received but never the less that was His mission. To be God’s Faithful Witness. So did he continue to rise early, steal away and pray, and go where the Father said to go that day. True revival doesn’t build cathedrals, it builds the Kingdom of Heaven. Not by the works of men’s hands or by huge followings but by yielding to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to lead you and speak through you the foundations of Biblical truths. Because it is the truth that sets men free when they believe it. Not a man or a ministry. Faith in a person never saved anyone, except for faith in the person of Jesus. So don’t seek to build people’s faith in you, simply do the work that God sent you to do and then move.

Many a temple to men has been constructed for those who chose to sit in the spot where God first used them. To stay in that place where all men believed them, where they had a following. But the commission that we have been given says to go, and to preach, and to tell others all that Jesus taught us, and if we do this then He will be with us.

Don’t grow stagnant, be obedient when the command to go comes. Whether that be in the physical or in revelation, don’t simply stay where men except you. The next place God brings you might not be so easy. Go none the less, it’s part of the mission. Be willing to be sent.

Yes there are times when God calls us to stay. Like the demoniac that was delivered of legion. He wanted to go with Jesus but Jesus told him to stay and to tell others what had been done for Him. But imagine if he had only told one person and they believed him and he was satisfied with that territory. What if he told only his family? No, Jesus said to go and tell everyone. Every new person to hears and believes is new territory taken from the enemy. So don’t sit content with the few who believe you. Rise up early and seek the Lord while He may be found that you might clearly hear when the order comes that it’s time to go preach to the next town.

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:18-20

Don’t Count the Congregation

“For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer–sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my Lord the king may see it: but why doth my Lord the king delight in this thing? Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel” – 2 Samuel 24:2-4

God had brought David many mighty victories by God’s own hand and the congregation of Israel began to increase. Then David began to get prideful, boastful, and arrogant thinking that a large following reflected his greatness. He commanded to count the congregation as a determination of his successes, and the Lord counted it as wickedness.

In fact, an angel of the Lord came with a plague and wiped out 70,000 of them in one day. Proving that the Lord giveth and the Lord can take away. None of it was because of David’s greatness, in fact it was actually in spite of him and his frailties that it was given and this was a lesson that was needed for David. Though it cost him and his congregation greatly to learn it.

I think that many among the church today might do well to be reminded of this. That God positions us all in our place in the body and calls us to do His good work and will and when we are obedient to it, most will not like or appreciate it. Therefore to use numbers of followers as a measure of success is very dangerous. God had to act quickly and sternly to prevent David from developing and spreading that kind of mindset.

Of the original 2,000,000 that Moses led out of Egypt, only two made it into the promised land. Paul, after giving up all to travel, preach, and start churches becoming the cheif Apostle to the gentiles. A man who’s messages are still preached in every church around the world today. Yet in his own day he was chased out of every place that he went to preach. In one city he was stoned and thrown out as dead, got up and went back in and kept preaching. Yet at the end he tells Timothy that only Luke was with him and that at one point no man stood with him. Many of the churches that he had planted had turned against him and most were preaching that God was against him and that his hardships and imprisonments were evidence of it. These men had fallen to the deception that followings determine success in God’s Kingdom when historically it is usually quite the opposite.

Praise God when preachers preach the truth and men receive it, but the truth is that they rarely do. Noah preached righteousness for 120 years and only managed to save 7 members of his on family and himself, but he changed the world doing it.

The measure of success in the Kingdom of God is not masses of followers but humble obedience. Did you go where God told you, stay where God put you, and deliver the message that He gave you no matter who received, despised, or rejected you for it. Because we are called to be a witness, to testify of the Words of God, the teachings of scripture, and the testimony of Jesus. Those who receive it in faith will be saved by the grace it offers to those who believe. Those who reject it will give an account for that decision before the courts of heaven where we will be called once again to be a witness. Only this time we won’t witness to them of God’s words, we will witness against them of their words to God. That they received the truth and are without excuse.

Who was a better example of this then Jesus? He who is called by God “The Faithful Witness”. He who said, “they hate me because I come to bare witness of them that their deeds are evil.” Jesus, the most successful in God’s Kingdom in all of existence was not impressed by the masses. He had barely more then 12 and one of them was a devil. Yet He did the Fathers will and those few that He was faithful to Shepherd changed the world. Just like Noah’s few, or Moses’s 2, or Paul’s handful.

My friend, get this in your spirit, biblically and historically those who followed the masses usually ended up following the counterfeits and the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus Himself warned us of this when He said that they would lead many to the broad and easy way of destruction. While he reminds us that the few who were true were not usually excepted by those they were called to speak too.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matthew 5:10-12

Jeremiah was thrown into a pit and eventually stoned, Isaiah was sawed in half, Maciah was imprisoned, Ezekiel was killed, John of Patmos was exiled to an island, John the Baptizer was beheaded, the disciples were martyred. Were they not successful because they had few followers? No, quite the opposite. The counterfeits in fancy garb in their elevated pulpits had the masses while speaking to them lies and hypocrisies that flattered and fluffed their depravity. All the while the truth was being despised and rejected, along with the ones who spoke it, as those faithful few stood as witnesses before men, demons, and all of heaven. Like Stephen who got a standing ovation from an angelic congregation and even Jesus Himself, while the masses stoned him as a heretic. Let history bare record of them, that they did the will of the Father and there is no other measure of success then this, that they were obedient, even when no one liked it.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:24-27

Where did the church get this idea that to be liked and excepted by the masses was a measure of success in the Kingdom of God?

When biblically usually only the counterfeits, false prophets, heathens, and Pharisee had the big followings. When did we stop believing that straight is the gate and narrow is the way and “few” are they that find it?

My friend I assure you of this, that if you look to be part of the crowd then you will follow them straight to hell because that’s where the “many” or going. They think they will make it to heaven but they won’t. Jesus Himself said this. He said that they will say on that day that they did many wonderful things in their churches in His Name professing Him as their Lord and King, but while they professed with their lips their hearts were still far from Him. He will be forced to tell them, “depart from Me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.

Many or they that are called, but the chosen are few. The few that do the will of the Father that is in heaven. No matter who hated them for it. No matter how humble, sacrificial, or un-glorious. No matter how lonely it was. To do the will of the Father was enough. Even if the work was thankless, this side of heaven. To hear those words spoke to us when we enter in, “well done My good and faithful servant, enter into your rest”, will be worth it all in the end.

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” – John 4:34-35

Worthy is the Lamb

“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.” – Mark 15:42-45

God does not delight in suffering and Jesus did not suffer for one moment more then what was necessary to fulfill God’s purposes and prophecies. You see, Jesus was not a criminal like most who were crucified and died a slow death that often took days. He was spotless, without blame or sin. It was Passover and the time of sacrifice had come. Therefore was He led as a lamb to the slaughter, placed upon the wood and His soul offered unto God before the evening was done.

Pilot was surprised that He had died so quickly. He was use to crucifixion taking days. He didn’t understand what was happening. Jesus didn’t die of natural causes, He prayed for the sins of the people asking God to forgive us, saying that we didn’t know what we were doing, and then willingly gave up the ghost for us as a sacrifice and atonement.

“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” – John 19:28-37

“And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” – Mark 15:37-39

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” – John 10:11-18

Some may say that Jesus was so severely beaten that those wounds are actually what killed him. The truth is that both His survival of the flogging and His quick death on the cross are miracles. It speaks to the fact that the devil could not kill Him and that He is the one who willingly offered His life at the proper moment to fulfill our atonement.

The devil was never in control of anything, though he thought he was. So was his pride used against him in this checkmate moment witnessed by all of existence. Prophesied of old, recorded in the moment, recounted for all generations, and celebrated in eternity by all who were and will be atoned for by it. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. Praise be to God for willingly making the way.

“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” – Revelation 5:8-13

Click to play: “This is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham

Where Heaven Touches Earth

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” – 2 Peter 3:13

As believers in Jesus and His teachings, we don’t live for this life. We are in this present world but not of it. We have a role to play in our covenant (which means partnership) with God while we are here but it is not our life, only our service and fellowship in His work, as we wait for our better life to come.

We are on a mission in this mission field called earth. If we look at it as such we will not so easily be caught up in the trivial things of this life. We won’t try to build heaven here, but rather “bring” heaven here. You see, we can look at the Garden of Eden as a place where heaven and earth met. Why? Because God and man walked together their in fellowship and the scriptures tell us that where God is, that is heaven, and where man in the flesh is that is earth. So where they both are is a merged space, a place where heaven touches earth and this can only happen were there is holiness.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” – Hebrews 12:14

Yet because that sin crept in in the garden, man fell from the perfection of what God had created. The place of fellowship where heaven and earth melded. Fast forward a few thousand years and a tabernacle (or dwelling place) was constructed. In this tent or temple God could dwell and if a priest was cleansed he could enter in for a short time and in this small space heaven and earth were merged once again!

Yet this space was very limited so fast forward a few thousand years again and God does a new thing that exceeds far beyond what anyone had imagined. He puts His Spirit into a new temple, the man Jesus! This temple lives and breathes and walks among men once again. A new space where heaven and earth are merged, and this time not confined to the small space of the Holy of Holies in the temple and only accessible by those who were ritualistically cleansed for a moment by the blood of lambs and goats. Now the temple was mobile!

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.” – John 2:19-21

Then finally comes the crucifixion and in death does Jesus release His Spirit. The temple is demolished and the Spirit is freed from it. Then three days later, God rebuilds it and Jesus is resurrected! He tells his followers that He must return to the Father so that they can receive of His Spirit! Then on the day of Pentecost after much time in prayer, the Holy Spirit came and rested upon them like fire, just like it had come to the tabernacle or temple of old so many times before and they knew that in seeing this that it meant that they were now His new tent! His dwelling place among men! The place where heaven and earth met once again because Heaven is where God is!

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17:20-21

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Those who had received Him were then commissioned to go out and spread Him. To tell others of the good news that God now fellowshipped with men again! Yet does it not end there! Tell them also to prepare for more! Because one day Jesus will return to earth with a new home! He will be the temple once again and bring with Him New Jerusalem! The promised city! The one given to Abraham by covenant! The one that His descendant will rule the whole world from, and with Him all those who believed, followed, and were grafted into that promise!

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” – Galatians 3:16

In this please will we see a large space where heaven and earth are merged! A place where righteousness is because that only the righteous can get in! This place will effect the whole world as it spreads forth truth and purity and brings creation back into a state that hasn’t been seen since the garden of Eden! A new Earth and new heavens wherein dwelleth righteousness! Live for that moment. Believe for that promise. It is the core of the gospel message. And as we wait for it, let us remember that we too have a purpose in the earth, a part to play in the covenant partnership relationship that we are in with Him. To be His temporary temple by which He can interact with men. The very Embassies and Ambassadors of heaven, the merging. Until He comes again and brings the fullness of that great city New Jerusalem.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

So why didn’t He just do that from the beginning? Because only righteousness can inter into it and He wants you there. So He tarries and gives His faithful ones a little more time to bring the truth of what He did for you to light. The good news that He made a way for you to take on His righteousness so that you too can inter into it. Because one day the old will all pass away and only the new will remain and all those who cling to the old will perish with it.

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke 13:3

So that knowing this, is He patient not being willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), because the first step to receiving His righteousness is to humble yourselves in repentance. To turn away from wickedness which is pride, rebellion, arrogance, and selfishness from which all suffering stems. Because that those things have no place in New Jerusalem, the final place where earth will merge with Heaven. A place of peace, righteousness, holiness, and fellowship with Jesus; where we will once again eat of the tree of life and drink of the waters of God freely with Him in paradise.

“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” – Isaiah 11:5-12

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:1-8

“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” – 2 Peter 3:14-15

When to Pour Out

“Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” – 1 Samuel 16:10-13

One of the major roles of the prophetic is seeking the wisdom of the Holy Spirit on who God is really calling you to as an assignment. Who should you be discipling. Who should you be enforcing or positioning. Who should you be putting your time into training.

It should be any and everyone who comes, right? Well that’s not what the Bible teaches us. Unless you want to pour a lot of effort into a Judas. Jesus knew who he was from the beginning and allowed him into his inter circle of leadership training for a purpose. The purpose of betrayal and His own crucifixion. So let us hope that He is not calling you to that mission and if not then there is no reason to pour resources out on those who are not submitted to the will of Jesus when it would be better spent pouring into those who really want it.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matthew 5:6

This may seem like a strange message but hear me through on this. You can waste a lot of time, seed, and resources trying to grow in stoney ground and end up neglecting the good soil that God had really called you to because of it. Preach to everything that has breath and be a witness of the teachings of Jesus to all men but save the oil for the David’s. Pour out on those whom the Lord chooses and sends you too. Don’t ware out trying to disciple everyone. Not everyone is ready at this moment. Not everyone has the same calling as you. Not everyone is meant to be part of your community or inner group. Be kind and compassionate but don’t become weary in well doing and dry up misusing what God has given you. Don’t be over burdened by the enemy or fail to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit as to when, where, and who you are truly called too. The enemy will send assignments too and they will look good and fit for God’s purposes but they will be bad ground and only God knows what lies beneath so don’t move in the pride of trusting yourself or the error of trusting what you see.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jeremiah 17:9-10

When God called Samual to pour the anointing oil out on David, 7 others stood up to receive it but God prevented it from being poured on them. He demanded that it be saved for the one that Samual was sent for. The eighth, the shepherd boy with a humble heart who was more worried about tending to his fathers flock then receiving a public mark of leadership or greatness.

“Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” – 1 Timothy 5:22

We are so quick to anoint people but in the bible the anointing oil was precious, sacred, and expensive. It was saved for a purpose. In the Old Testament it was used to anoint Kings and priest. In the new it was used to anoint ministers into their calling and to anoint the sick for healing. The oil represented the anointing of God and believe me the true anointing of God is precious, sacred, and very expensive. Like the olive oil of old, it comes from much time spent waiting on growth, watering by drawing up those deep waters or praying for rain, and finally the crushing.

The anointing is not something that comes easy by cheap impartation. It comes from much time spend waiting on God faithfully in prayer, fasting, drawing up those deep waters in study, growing in grace forgiving those who crush you, being broken, being used and abused and rejected for obedience to the words of Jesus. Salvation is free but the anointing cost you something, in fact, it cost you everything. It cost you all your plans and ambitions. It cost you your life, your time, and your attention. It cost you your will and desires. These are the things that release the anointing in you. Leonard Ravwnhill often said that the anointing is the hardest thing to get and the easiest thing to loose; and like the oil of the old lamp stand in the temple that had to twice a day be renewed, it takes a daily diligence and discipline of obedience to keep it trimmed and ready to be used. Save it for its anointed purposes, don’t waste it, or you won’t have enough for what God gave it to you for. You’ll run out, dry up, become empty and exhausted. I know this seems counter intuitive to what you’ve been taught but God does not expect you to pour out until you pass out and miss the mission that you were created for. Be strategic, be obedient, be gentle as lambs but wise as serpents. Be like the wise virgins who knew that the oil could run out if they were not wise and diligent and not only made sure to refill it but also did not waste it.

“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” – Matthew 25:6-10

So my message to you today is this. Do like Samual and be patient. It’s not about numbers and masses it’s about being effective in the Kingdom by seeking and trusting the leading of the Holy Spirit. Don’t pour out on everyone that comes or you won’t have it for the David that you were meant to pour it on. Seek the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and listen when He tells you, not that one. He knows the heart. The inter workings. He knows the ones that are humbled and broken, the ones that the Lord has been working on in the unseen places. The fields, the pastures, the wildernesses. He knows where to place it where it won’t be wasted. Yes love everyone, yes pray for them, but some simply aren’t ready to be poured into yet and if you go by what you see you will waste the anointing and your energy that would have been better spend being more effective pouring it on a David who no one expected to have the heart of the King hidden inside of him.

“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.” – 1 Samuel 13:13-14

“And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:6-7

“And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” – Acts 13:22

Cross Pollination

On our property there are plumb trees that were planted 30 years ago. They are lovely trees that put on beautiful white blossoms in the spring but never bare fruit. With talking to the man that planted them he tells me that they have never born fruit, though they all came from a very fruitful tree.

So I asked someone more knowledgeable then me what the problem might be. To which they replied, “they are all from the same family. You need a different variety to cross pollinate them.” So I set out to find good fruit, the best variety of plumb trees I could find and plant them together for a time.

Sure enough, as soon as I did the older more established trees began to come alive and bare fruit.

So is it with the Spirit. Jesus told us to go into all the world, preach the gospel, and bare much fruit. Why did He not let them stay in Jerusalem? Because He desired for the good fruit of His Holy Spirit to be spread abroad. So is the nature of our great commission. Movement and fruitfulness. Cross pollination.

I can say for me personally that I came from a very fruitful tree. My parents and grandparents were both ministers of the gospel. Our church was good ground, preaching truth in love, holiness, and very humble family oriented. Yet it wasn’t until God sent me out into other places and congregations on missions that I really began to bare a lot of fruit for the Kingdom. I took what was good and lacking and brought it back and we all benefited from it.

Now granted, I was not impatient in this, leaving before God had clearly sent. Even His disciples who had been with Him personally for over three years were told not to leave Jerusalem until He had said so. There is learning, maturing, equipping, infilling, and commissioning that must be done first. Yet still can the gospel not be corralled into one or two pastures, nor a great variety of fruitful trees be kept in one vineyard less the blessings of it die in it and not be spread to bless others beyond it. The Holy Spirit “must” be allowed to move as it sees fit.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV

The priest job, according to scripture is to teach the young ones coming up under them to discern between the clean and the unclean, the holy and the unholy, the good fruit and the bad. Because yes good fruit will cross pollinate and better your vineyard but so can bad fruit cross pollinate and pollute or ruin it. So that i tell you that it is of the utmost importance that your disciples learn the difference.

“Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

Teach your family, disciples, and congregants to seek God for themselves and not to be dependent on you to lead them indefinitely. It’s not healthy for children to be kept from growing and made perpetually dependent, they are to be nurtured and protected while they are taught how to be productive and effective members of the family and community of believers at large. You are preparing them for the day that they walk away and step out on their own. Don’t keep them crawling when your role is to teach them to start walking.

Show them godly character, teach them the word, let them experience all the fruits of God’s Spirit and warn them of the Consequences of partaking of the fleshly ones. Then release them to go find good fruit and watch them bring the sweetness of it back to you in the proper season. Because most trees, no matter how fruitful the parent tree may be, can bare good fruit abundantly, without being cross pollinated. It brings growth, it bring strength, it brings health, and it bring variety to the vineyard. So trust the husbandman to do His work and let the Spirit move and remove and do what He needs too. He knows what He is doing. You simply teach them to see the difference between the good and the bad fruit and you’ll do great things for the Kingdom.

“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” – Matthew 28:19-20

The Teacher

In the beginning Adam and Eve walked with God personally. They fellowshipped and were taught by Him directly. He was their Father, Friend, King, God, Protector, Provider, and their Teacher!

After the fall, they lost that direct fellowship. God still found ways to teach them through experiences and certain chosen men but not so directly and things were often misunderstood, or the vessel failed to rightly represent Him.

So eventually, because that men could no longer go to Him and walk with God, God instead came to them and walked with men. Jesus came as the word of God manifested. God in the flesh teaching and rightly representing God’s message. Jesus fellowshipped and instructed. A momentary restoration, or so it seemed.

Then the unexpected happened. He died and left them. How could this be? You see, He actually died for them, and for you and me and all who would believe that God came and took the blame for our sin and failed to maintain His word and instruction that was originally given. Such was the purpose in Jesus’s crucifixion. In doing so was the enemy defeated and our faith built in the resurrection when we see that Christ Himself was risen.

Yet because He ascended into Heaven was His Holy Ghost released and sent back to us as both the Spirit of God drawing truth from the Father, and the spirit of a man coming from the son, Jesus; and able to continually interact with us feeding us spiritual wisdom and revelation given as our daily bread to those who seek it. By this was access to the Teacher given to every man in any given moment, location, or situation!

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” – Revelation 4:1-2

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus’s blood was shed to atone for our sins. Through it we can obtain forgiveness. The Holy Spirit was given to resort fellowship and to give all men who would receive it, a teacher.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” – Titus 2:11-15

Jesus said that if we abide we will stay connected to the vine and produce good fruits, the fruits of the spirit or the evidence that we are being taught and led by it. Jesus said that this Holy Spirit would come to lead us into all truth and would speak only of Him. Why is this? Because He is the truth, the way, and the life. The word of God manifested. An object lesson for all of humanity.

The Holy Spirits purpose is to make you holy, like Jesus. To teach you who He really is and to instruct you to surrender to His characteristics. The more time you spend with Him the more you will reflect His teachings and the more you will be like Jesus in character and in obedience to the will of the Father.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” – John 16:13-16

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” – 1 John 2:27-29

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.” – Galatians 1:11-20

We have direct access to the teacher whenever we desire. We can learn and grow as much as we want. Yet can we also reject Him, His leadings, and instructions. We can walk out of the classroom. We can choose the playground, we can plug our ears, we can refuse to go to school at all and stay immature. The choice is yours. How far to you want to go, how equipped to be used? The way has been made and the door has been opened unto you. It’s up to you to seek to walk through. The bell is ringing, He is calling, the question is, are you coming?

For most, the problem in their spiritual growth lies in this. They rather depend on copying the work of other students then to take time to sit with the teacher themselves and be corrected and go through the testings that help cause them to learn the lessons. Don’t get me wrong, their are students that are more advanced then us in certain areas and it’s not wrong to have a tutor, but don’t see them as the teacher. They are students too.

Ministers are merely tutors, students who have passed the test and can help you to understand what comes next because that they are a few grades ahead of where you are. Their wisdom and friendship is a valuable asset to those who are growing in the Spirit of the Lord. Yet I warn you of this, spend more time with the teacher then with tutors and don’t allow those to lead or to teach you who have not passed the test themselves yet. If the blind lead the blind they will all fall into the ditch. Furthermore, don’t blindly trust those who say that they have passed the test, wait until you see the evidence of it manifested in the fruits of the Spirit. Jesus Himself instructed us in this lesson in His message on wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Have patience with the teachers methods. Don’t try to skip grades, classes, or lessons. Don’t try to title yourself as being further along then you are. Don’t try to play teacher. Simply direct men to the one who truly is. Bring them to the feet of Jesus and teach them how to be taught personally by the Holy Spirit.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” – Acts 2:38-39

“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” – 1 Timothy 4:14-15

Seed

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15

Temptation to sin (act against the will or instructions of God) does not ever come from God, it comes from the voice of the enemy. He speaks a word in your ear and entices you to receive it. Then once received that seed conceives something that grows inside of you until it births a work (or act) that eventually, when matured (allowed to play out over time) leads to death (destruction of others and hell for one’s self).

Yet does this work the same if you view it from the other perspective. That of truth, or the word of God, the good seed being planted in you. Once you receive it, if not plucked up by unbelief, eaten up by the lies of the enemy, or choked out by materialism, entertainment, or the cares of this life, will begin to grow in you until it is birthed in a work (or act) that eventually, when matured (allowed to play out over time) leads to life (blessing and deliverance for others and heaven for ones self).

James was able to clearly see this because that he was a son of Mary (the mother of Jesus). He heard the story and He could see it played out in his own family. God had spoken a word (the seed) to Mary. She had received it by faith. That seed of grace combined with her faith, conceived something that grew in her while no one else believed until eventually it was birthed through an action, a labor, her work was to give birth. To let this impossible thing that God had spoken come forth through her, and when she did, the word became flesh. It manifested into something that all men could see, but being yet small and humble could very few believe. Yet over time it did eventually mature into that which brought eternal life to everyone who would believe and receive the seed of it themselves.

So no, we are not saved by works because some works are evil being conceived by a seed (or word) planted by the enemy. Even when it looks good and tempting, like a pleasing piece of fruit hanging on a tree with a voice offering wisdom and notoriety for partaking. (Bad fruit will always cost you more then if offers you). Yet the true seed, when received and mixed with faith will conceive something, a labor of love and sacrifice, a travailing birthing of that promises manifested unto eternal life.

Jesus received a seed Himself. The Word that God had spoken to Him was travailed over in Gethsemane, it was labored for at Mt Calvary, it was birthed at the garden tomb and it grows even still, through me and you. Yet once you receive that seed you must also nurture it in the season when no one else can see it, but you can feel it. Feed it with prayer and supplication. Guard it with faith and dedication. Carry it with sacrificial determination and eventually it will birth a manifestation of the Word that God gave you into something that can be seen and believed by those around you. Then watch it mature into the fullness of the greatness of God’s promises in a way that will astound you bringing deliverance, hope, and life. Even through the hard times. Because that’s what God does. He revives. He surprises. He goes above and beyond all that we can hope or imagine. But it takes faith to get from the seed to the mature manifestation of the promise and the greatest part of it won’t even come until after our work in this earth is done. So no matter what part you are in, keep believing! Keep receiving the good seed and rejecting the wicked ones! Keep pressing forward and guarding, watering, and feeding those promises, because this one I know, the best is yet to come. For His Word, tells me so.

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” – Luke 8:11

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” – Matthew 13:31-32

Uzziah’s Transgression

“And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” – 2 Chronicles 26:4-5

The whole of the 26th chapter of the book of 2 Chronicles is the story of King Uzziah. He sought the Lord and the Lord led and instructed and blessed him with great victories, inventions, and expansion in the Kingdom of Israel.

He became known for all his great works and wars won. He was renowned and respected because that the Lord was with him, for He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. What a stark difference from most of the Kings in Israel’s history! How astonishing the story of his victories!

However, as we continue to read we see that pride snuck in. His heart was lifted up within him, the scripture says. He became arrogant, thinking that he could do anything. Forgetting that God was the one who really did these things and He chooses who He pleases. So that Uzziah went into the temple and burned incense (which was the priest’s function, the sons of Aaron) to offer prayers unto heaven.

He did the right thing but did it the wrong way. He got out of his role and took control and when one does that God equates it to witchcraft.

The priest came to Uzziah and confronted him. I fully believe that in this moment there was space for repentance. Even evil King Ahab, considered to be among the most wicked of all Israel’s King’s, was given a reprieve when he humbled and repented immediately at the word of the prophet. (Though he later returned to his sin and was judged for it.)

So that surely had Uzziah heeded the words of these priest and humbled himself before God in repentance then God would have excepted and fixed it. Our response when corrected is oh so very important, as we see in the difference between Saul and David who both sinned but their response to the Lords correction of it determined the end of the matter. David humbled and repented and Saul didn’t listen to the words of the prophet.

Sadly, when the priest came and spoke the truth to Uzziah, he did not humble and repent but rather grew angry with them and in the moment that his anger rose up, so did Leprosy. In this was he put out of the temple and made to live a part while his son stepped up into his role as King over Israel. How much more could there have been to this story of His if he had not gotten arrogant, or if he had been willing to humble and repent once he did?

Prayer:

Lord help us to not fall guilty of this, the sin of Uzziah. Who had been such a mighty man in Your kingdom as long as He trusted You to lead it. Yet once You had done miraculous things because he was humble enough to seek Your leading, did he start to move independently of the body that You Yourself had chosen and positioned to help him. Lord help us to never step outside of our roles thinking that we can do everything on our own. Forgive us of this arrogance and teach us to honor the limits You give us, because that we have all faith in the limitlessness of the one who positioned us. You know what you are doing. Help us to trust that enough to not try to usurp what You are doing with our own ambitions. Nor to reject Your voices of correction in arrogance, but to work together in perfection as a body who is led by the head of perfection, which is Jesus.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4:11-16