As I was praying last week and in worship at Church I had a picture of a bride. I first saw a picture of a lion and knew that this was Jesus – the lion of Judah. The Lion was looking at something and when I followed his gaze, I saw that He was looking at a bride.
The picture shocked me. Although the bride was dressed in a beautiful white dress and veil -the dress was truly beautiful – spotless and pure bright white, the bride herself looked grey and gaunt, withered and frail. Her beauty had faded and she had no vitality or joy. Her skin was stretched tautly over her bones and was grey and papery. She looked weary as if she had no strength in her from lack of food. She reminded me of a living corpse. It was a terrible sight. The bride was not old which accounted for her appearance. She was young.
I thought is this a picture of the church at the moment- the body of Christ as a whole in the world? Is this what Jesus sees when He looks at us? That the body has lost its vitality, its beauty and is famished and without strength. I was encouraged that the bride’s dress was pure and white. Jesus’ blood truly cleanses us from all sin and purifies us. It reminded me that Jesus is coming back for a spotless bride, but I believe He also wants to come back for a radiant, beautiful and strong bride who is full of His life, joy, power and strength and who radiates His glory and goodness in the world.
I pray that if this picture is correct that the Holy Spirit will reveal it and show us our true condition. That our hearts will be convicted of our lack of His life working in and through us. That we will acknowledge and repent over our condition and turn again to the living hope which is in Christ Jesus by the power of His Holy Spirit to be restored and refreshed. We will realise our desperation and need of Jesus and that without Him there is no power for living. He alone is the bread of life and the living water. John 7 v37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink, he who believes in me as the scriptures say out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”. John 6: 48 Jesus said “I am the bread of life”. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and His words are life to us. The bible is food for our soul.
Jesus is in the business of restoration. The Lord reminded me of the picture of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 later in the same day and God’s question to Ezekiel – can these dry bones live? In my picture – Can the bride’s strength, joy, life, beauty and power be restored? In faith I believe that the answer is Yes and I say Yes to God. As Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones – we say to the Church – hear the word of the Lord. “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live” V5 “I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live” v13.
Isaiah 40 v 29 says “He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might, He increases strength”. V31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. I believe God wants to restore our strength for these days ahead so that we will not grow weary in doing good but will have the strength to continue in the face of adversity and persecution and persevere. We are called to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. May our vitality be restored. May we be filled with the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God.
Isaiah 30: 21 says “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying “This is the way walk in it”. Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left”.
If you are looking for direction in your life and seeking the path that God wants you to take or a new door is opening up to you then take encouragement from the promise in these verses. God will direct your way.
This is a season for stepping into the new things of God. It may be paths that you or no-one else has travelled before, areas which you have never ventured into, things you or nobody else has ever done but take comfort that God will make it clear that you are on the right path. God will direct you to move forward into new things. Don’t look back at the old or try to do things in the same way but with boldness step into the new. This is a season for God to show you how to do things in a different way. Don’t worry or be anxious that you don’t know what’s up ahead – trust God. If you are walking where God wants you to walk then you are going in the right direction.
You may face discouragement – people may think you are crazy even to attempt something new but God will give you the vision and you will hear His still small voice saying “This is the way walk in it”. You will know it is God speaking to you. I encourage you to be bold in faith today as you hear Him speak to you. Take hold of the opportunity which God is bringing your way.
I sense this may be a season for some that God will completely turn things on their head. God will flip things upside down but you will emerge unscathed. Allow God to be in the driving seat.
I pray God will increase your vision in these days. To stir in you a new vision, a bigger vision and to break new ground for Him. To see new things and create new opportunities for the gospel to be preached and people to be reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.
As we have been praying recently there has been a great sense of God speaking again about His Fire and Oil being poured out on believers in an incredible way. A mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit to come suddenly and deluge us just as the rain came in the day of Elijah following years of drought. The fire first and then rain with a river of His Presence, Power & Glory. This will see many people being brought into the Kingdom as the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached with power.
I sense in my spirit that the Lord is saying Prepare and Position yourself ready to give and receive. The Lord gave me this word “Hitch up your garments and take up your position ready”. I believe preparation and positioning are keys for this season. In each of our lives we can prepare and position ourselves ready to give and receive and birth as the Lord shows each one of us by His Holy Spirit. Each of us has different gifts, callings and ministries and resources to use in the body of Christ and for the work of the gospel. If we have put these down or let them get a bit rusty then perhaps now is the time to pick them up again and start practicing and get ready.
I pray God will show each and every one of us what we need to do to prepare. I sense that for some people God is saying that you have to let go of the old in order to receive the new. If you are holding on to something from the past then perhaps it is time to let it go in order that you can receive the new thing God wants to do.
I am reminded of people of faith in the bible who prepared – Joseph prepared provisions for a severe famine, Esther prepared a whole year for a night with the King, the Jews prepared themselves with weapons to defend themselves against Haman’s plot to destroy them, the widow in the time of Elisha prepared jars ready to receive the miraculous provision of oil which only stopped when all the jars were used. At the wedding feast the jars were filled with water ready for Jesus’ miracle. Jesus gives us the example of the virgins who were prepared for the bride groom’s return with sufficient oil in their lamps. In times of difficulty God will use his people to be His voice and to help those who are in need.
In Isaiah 54 v 2 the word is “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes”. This was a word on preparation. The barren woman in this verse did not need room in her tent as she had no children but God was promising that the desolate would have children and to get ready to receive them. You may feel barren at the moment and your ministry may look barren but believe in faith that God is going to bring in a harvest and birth something new. There are green shoots breaking through. Let us make room to receive the harvest and put in place the necessary support systems so that the stakes are well and truly strengthened. Let us mend the nets ready to receive the fish.
Some of us may need to re-position ourselves in this season. Are we in the right place to receive or prepare for what God wants to do through us? If you are in doubt then ask God to show you. It may take boldness and a step of faith to move out of a place of comfort – out of the comfort zone and into the new place or ministry that God has for you. Where does God want to position you for His glory to work through you. It might be time to move out.
The instruction to “Hitch up my garments” reminded me of Elijah. In the time of drought Elijah first heard the rain in the Spirit. Before the rain even came he said to the King to go up and eat and drink “for there is the sound of an abundance of rain”. Elijah sent his servant to keep looking for the cloud and eventually on the 7th time of looking there was a small cloud. Elijah saw the sign and knew that the rain he had heard in the Spirit was on its way. He prepared himself by hitching up his garments in order that he was prepared to run ahead of the rain and presumably the dangerous floods due to the dry and hard ground. Elijah managed to outrun the chariot of the King over a great distance of about 25 miles. The people of God will do great and mighty things in these times. Elijah did something which was not possible in the natural. He outran a chariot and over such a distance – God enabled it miraculously.
As the people of God, I believe this is a season to prepare ourselves and position ourselves ready to give and receive. God use us for His glory. Lord show us how to prepare and how to position ourselves so that we are ready for you. Ready to go, Ready to run.
God wants us to be free. He is the God who sets the captives free. The God of deliverance. Jesus died and rose again so that we might live in spiritual freedom. I believe the church is entering into a season during which God is going to reveal by the power of the Holy Spirit the things in our lives or mind sets which are obstacles or hindrances to us living fully as Jesus wants us to live and doing His works. The power of the gospel working in and through us. Jesus wants to set us free from every oppressive work and lie of the enemy which is operating in our lives and restricting us. It might be fear, unbelief, guilt, lack of self-belief, un-forgiveness, trauma, depression, anxiety, sinful behaviour or addictions – there can be many things which hold us back and from stepping out in faith. Things which restrict the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit in and through us to others.
There is a word for this season from Isaiah 60 verse 1- “Arise, Shine – for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you”. The Lord asked me -What is stopping you from rising – what is trying to stop you from doing things for me? What is stopping you from shining? What is tainting the light shining from you? In my case it was fear – fear which I didn’t even realise was there. The Lord showed me that a traumatic event in my childhood had left a mark of fear on my life. It wasn’t a gripping, completely debilitating fear which paralysed me but it still used to rise up out of the blue causing me to question and torment myself over things I had said or done. Decisions made and actions taken – Was I right or wrong. It caused me to worry about making mistakes and over analyse the decisions I had made. Thankfully the Lord set me free and healed me from this fear. Who the son sets free is free indeed – Fear no longer has a part in me because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross and His resurrection power.
I encourage you to let the Holy Spirit reveal things which may be holding you back in this season or which may be tainting your light so you are not shining brightly for Him. Jesus wants you to be free and He alone can set you free.
As I was fasting and praying, I believe I heard in the spirit, the Lord, Jesus saying the following “The day is coming when My fire, My breath will blow across this land. Great swathes of the land will catch fire and the fire will spread. Those who submit themselves to the fire of my holiness and glory will be refined. They will shine like the stars of heaven. They will go out like a mighty army of people to serve me with whole hearts and faithfulness. The process of refining will be quick now. It will be a time to jump into the fire of God to be refined. All the muck and chaff to come off and away and what is left to be pure and reflect My glory. For I am a Holy God and I desire a holy people. Totally committed to me and with faith in Me. For this time is coming soon and the bride must prepare herself. Those who will not get into the fire will have no place in the ministry to come. They must be pure in Me, cleansed in Me, redeemed in Me. I have come to bring fire down from heaven. All glory and praise and honour to My name. He who has ears let him listen and understand what the Spirit is saying. The things which are not of Me are required to be burnt up like dross. They are required to be burnt and destroyed so that new life can come. Those things which are dead need to be put on the fire. I will breathe new life into you.”
The Lord has been impressing the importance of the gatekeepers taking up their positions as watchmen in the gateways of our nation. To stand against the wicked schemes and influence of the evil one in and against our nation. There is a sense of urgency to pray for the protection of the nation, especially that any schemes or plots (particularly terrorism) which would seek to bring violence and destruction in public places will be discovered, foiled and exposed. Please pray for those who are in positions of authority and overseeing the security or involved in the security of our nation on any level that they will be blessed with Godly wisdom, foresight and knowledge to stop any such evil plans and expose the works of darkness. Pray that eyes will be anointed to notice and see the truth about situations especially to see through things which are not what they seem. That people in positions of authority will heed any warnings and not ignore them but take the right action at the right time. We declare our trust in God. God help us, protect us and guide us at this time. We declare that light is more powerful than darkness.
Psalm 24 encourages us to open the gate and let the King of Glory, Jesus, come in. The one who is strong and mighty and mighty in battle. Gates are important places of influence and decision making. The elders gathered at the gates of the city to discuss and make decisions. Gates are opened to allow access or shut to refuse entry. This can be for protection and safety. Whoever enters through the gate brings their influence and authority with them. We all have gateways in our lives and minds. Every day we make decisions to permit or refuse things to operate in our lives and indwell our thoughts whether for good or bad . There are gateways in my home, my family, my work place, my town, my region and I want them to be opened for Christ and closed to evil. Not just a little bit open for Jesus but flung wide open. I encourage you to make a decision to swing wide the gate and let the King of Glory come into your situation whatever it is and wherever He needs to be. Trust him to help you overcome and strengthen you and bring freedom.
I believe there is power in prayer when believers come together in unity from different churches to pray about the gateways in their town. The local churches in our area did this for a season as God led us to pray at various gateways within the town. At one prayer meeting we stood on a bridge over the river which flows into and through our town. As we prayed, one of our group felt that we should all join hands and sing the words of the song “Swing wide the gate and let the King Come in” which is based on the verses in Psalm 24 and then the two people in the middle break hands and walk apart as a prophetic sign that we were opening the gate over our town to the Lord. As we did this and moved apart we looked down and a wooden gate was floating in the river and floated right underneath the bridge. We couldn’t believe our eyes at the time. The fact that a whole gate was floating down the river and that it passed just at that exact time we broke apart we believe was a heavenly sign from God. He had heard our prayers for our town and was showing us that the gate was opened. We are trusting God to bring that river of His presence into and to overflow through us in Christ Jesus so that we can bring His healing and restoring power to not only our town, but our region and nation. I encourage you to pray and believe for the same.