My friend, Geoff, heard these words in the Spirit when he was praying recently. He sensed God was saying “That’s enough – Stop – You have come far enough. You are not coming any further”. He recognised that the words were not being spoken to him directly but did not have a further sense of what God was saying.
As we prayed into this in our fellowship group for more insight from God, one of our member, Heather had been reminded of the scripture in Job 11 when God says to Job about the seas “When I fixed My limit for it; and set bars and doors: When I said , This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!”
We had a sense that the enemy has been overstepping his mark. That God was saying it is time to speak to the enemy and say “Enough is enough. You are not coming any further”. It was time to rebuke him for stealing from us believers- stealing our joy, our peace, our families, our relationships, our finances, our seed, our harvest and to say “Enough is Enough” – “You are not stealing from us any more”. As we prayed the Holy Spirit revealed areas in each of our lives that the enemy has been stealing from us and overstepping his boundaries.
When Lot, his family, his servants, goods and everything was taken captive by the enemy, Abraham got together his armed servants and went in pursuit. He recovered Lot and everything which was stolen. I believe it is time for the body of Christ to say to the enemy “Stop – Enough is enough -you are not stealing from us anymore”. “You are not coming any further”. Then I believe it is time to actively pursue restoration and recovery of those things the enemy has stolen from us. The Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us into how we activate our faith to do this in prayer and also showing our faith in works. It’s time for a prayer offensive.
Let’s not be on the back foot any more but let us exercise our faith in Christ Jesus and the victory that He has secured for us by His death on the cross and resurrection, over all the works of the enemy. Praise be to God in the highest. It’s time to move some boundaries and push the enemy back where he belongs.
In June this year (3/6/19) as I was praying the Lord gave me 4 songs which were each in a different tongue and which were not my usual tongue. The Holy Spirit gave me the interpretation to each tongue. I recorded the songs and interpretations and then each day during June I played them as prayers and declarations as the Holy Spirit led me in various locations and at different times during the day.
This Sunday (17/11) as I was walking in the park, the Lord suddenly brought one of the tongues to my remembrance and I started speaking it out again. I felt led by the Lord to share the interpretations here at this time. The last interpretation contains references and speaks of cutting off the enemies head -this is in the spiritual sense of course of cutting off the influence/authority of the enemy which is being manifested in various ways e.g. through witchcraft, the leviathan/jezebellic spirit and many other ways in opposition to God and believers.
The first song was a declaration towards the North.
“For I speak to the North and I say to you; You will come no further. The boundary is set; the line is drawn. The Lord has said no further. He has set a boundary and you may not cross it until He calls you forth but at this time you can come no further. The boundary of the nation is set and we say to you North – you will come no further. The boundary is set. You will stay, you will stay, you will stay, until you are called forth but until that time the Lord says no further. The boundary is drawn, the boundary is drawn, the boundary is drawn. No further, No further, No further, No further, No further. The voice of the Lord has spoken. It is set. It is set. It is set. ”
The second song was much faster – it was partly sung and partly spoken and it’s rhythm reminded me of horses’ hooves. It is a song of a time of an offensive strike against the enemy and enforcing the victory of the Cross of Christ.
“For the Lord God has sent forth His warriors against you and see the horses run and see the hounds run and see the eagles fly. For they come after you, you enemies of the Cross of Christ. They come after you and they say – you are going from this land. We break down your strongholds now in the name of Jesus and we set forth the lion upon you now. We release the lion and we say – Go forth and plunder the kingdom of darkness. Plunder the kingdom of darkness and bring out the captives and set the captives free. We crush you satan under our feet in the name of Jesus, by the power and the authority of Christ and from the Cross of Christ, – we lift it up and we say victory, victory, victory is ours in the name of Jesus and we lift up the Cross, we lift up the Cross, we lift up the banner and we sing a Hallelujah, we sing a Hallelujah, we sing a Hallelujah. For the light has broken into the darkness and we push the darkness back and we have set forth light and we say – Let there be light in the name of Jesus and we call forth the captives and we say – Hear the word of the Lord -Be set free now in Jesus’ name. You are no longer under bondage, you are no longer under a yoke of slavery but you are set free and we say – Rise up in the name of Jesus and be free; for whom the Son sets free is free indeed – in Jesus’ precious name”. Amen.
The third song was slower and reminded me of a lament – it was sorrowful.
“My church, My church what are you doing? Why are you there in darkness? Why do you hide? Why do you strive? The Lord says – Rise and come up high. Stop standing there – in the shadows. Let your light shine. The Lord has put you on a hill to shine for Him but you are dark and He wants light. Let the candlestick come or the Lord will remove you, if you do not shine bright, if you do not shine bright. The Lord says – Shine, Shine for Him, Shine for Him, Shine for Him for He has created you to Shine for Him, to Shine for Him.
Matthew 5:14 “you are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put under a bushel but on a candlestick and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
The fourth and last song was a declaration to the enemy who is working unseen – It speaks of a time of exposure and cutting off the hidden influence and strategies of the enemy.
“The Lord says you can hide no longer. He is calling you out of the shadows. You have to come forth, you have to come forth for the Lord has His eye on you and the Lord says – He is calling you out now. He is calling you to be exposed, for the Lord says -you can no longer hide in the darkness, for He is sending forth His sword against you and He is cutting off your head. He is cutting off your head, He is cutting off your head and you’ll no longer be able to do the things you have done for the Lord is going to cut off your head and He is sending out His Word, He is sending out his Word, He is sending forth His Word and He’s cutting off your head. The Lord says – your time is at an end, your time is at an end, your time is at an end. You will lurk in the shadows no more, you will lurk in the shadows no more, you will lurk in the shadows no more for the Lord has put His hand around you and He is calling you out, He is calling you out, He is calling you out into the light and He is cutting off your head, He is cutting off your head.”
Ezekiel 6;3 Behold I even I will bring a sword against you and I will destroy your high places.
Holiness – it’s a word we don’t generally feel comfortable using these days. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:15 “But as He called you is Holy, you also be Holy in all your conduct”. Our Pastor says when you think of being Holy just think it’s being different to the world because of Jesus.
It seems to me that when we try to be Holy ourselves (apart from Jesus) then it just becomes a religious list of dos/don’ts which can then lead to frustration and guilt when we fail. We can end up doing lots of works with little fruit.
A wise person said. “Holiness will take care of itself when we see ourselves as the Holy people of God with a Holy destiny”. The way of holiness is living through Jesus.
In Revelation 2 Jesus says to the Church at Ephesus:
“I know your works, your labour, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil, and you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars, and you have persevered and have patience and have laboured for My name’s sake and have not become weary, Nevertheless I have this against you; that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works”
Jesus said they were patient, hardworking, persistent, hated evil – but they no longer had a fervent love for Christ and God out of which their works should have flowed. They had lost their first love.
The greatest commandment is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” and then “to love your neighbour as yourself”: In effect Holiness in action.
In my life, it seems to me that Love has been key to living out a practical holy life.
Love acts as a true motivation for holiness. Love is, in its true actions, a true outworking of holiness.
Love for God –
The Bible says Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul & mind. – Do not worship any other idols.
When we are mature in faith, it is good to stop and consider, whether our hearts still burn with a fervent love for God and for Jesus, our saviour? What is it that motivates us daily in the things we do and say? Remember that first time you became a Christian and how you were so hungry for the things of God?
If that fervent love is not still there, then what has taken the place which God had in our lives?
Idolatry is putting something before God – we can make idols of money, careers, other people -worshipping anything other than God. Idolatry is one of the areas I believe Holy Spirit is bringing conviction to us as the Body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit can reveal the true nature of our hearts and what it is that is actually taking the first place in our lives, our thoughts, prompting our actions. Sometimes, we are just blind to what or who is really sitting on the throne in our hearts.
We love God because He first loved us and gave His son to die for us while we were still sinners.
Love for God will manifest itself in spending time in His word and in fellowship with Him through prayer and praise. Times of fellowship with God; being obedient to His Will; allowing His Holy Spirit to fill us and mould us.
Love for each other
Thessalonians Ch 3 v 12-13 says “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all; just as we do to you so that He (God) may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints:
Love for one another – loving other Christians.
Love for all – everybody.
We all see this love expressed in Peter’s first letter to the church. Peter was concerned with how Christians should live their daily lives – with each other and also in front of non-Christians.
Peter confirms that we express holiness to one another through love. First Peter encourages us in Ch 1 v 15-16 “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written “Be holy, for I am holy”
V22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” or other translations “so that you have a genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart”
Pure Heart – Ch 2 “laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking”
No hypocrisy, no jealousy, no gossip – all this rubbish has no place in us and needs to come out of the body of Christ.
Someone said “where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offences, and even some large ones are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding and conflicts abound to satan’s perverse delight”
Humility will help in our relationships with one another. Peter goes on to say that there should be “unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart and a humble mind”
Is loving each other as Christians optional? According to the Word the answer must be NO.
As Christians we can’t really opt out of loving one another if we are followers of Jesus – it was Christ’s commandment to us – to love each other as He loved us. It’s a commandment – if we love Christ then we ought to love one another.
We recall Jesus’ teaching at the last supper. This was his last opportunity to talk to his disciples before He went to the Cross. Jesus reiterates 4 times his new commandment to love one another. He didn’t remind the disciples of all the great miracles they had witnessed – it was love which was important.
JN 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
JN15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Jesus said “if you love me then you will obey my commandments.”
JN 2:3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
1JN 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
As Jesus said to the church – Have we lost our first love? Have you lost your first love?
It takes us back full circle – if we love Christ and he is our first love then out of this love will flow love for one another. Let us start with love for God first and the rest will follow.
John Wesley said that “Holiness misses the mark if the essence of godliness found in purity of heart expressed in love is missing” His favourite saying was “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love”
I don’t believe we can manufacture this love successfully. We could perhaps do it for a while but it will stagnate and eventually die – it must develop naturally out of relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5: the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us and love is created in us by the Holy Spirit Galatians 5: 22 says it is a “fruit of the Spirit”
So instead of striving to do it in our own strength and with our own love – let the love of Christ come through us – let the fruit be produced – How – by abiding in Him & receiving God’s love.
Jesus tells us:
JN 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
JN 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
JN 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
So How is love evidenced practically in holy living?
1JN 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Love will manifest itself in generosity, meeting others’ needs, unselfish giving. This can be truly testing when we are going through our own times of difficulty.
Our reward is not earthly but heavenly:
M.T 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
MT 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
MT 25:40 “The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
I believe that Love for God is holiness which is then expressed in love for those in the body of Christ and others. Love in its actions is the true outworking of holiness.
The Apostle Paul said:
1 Corinthians 13
1CO 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1CO 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1CO 13:8 Love never fails.
If we as the body of Christ are serious about living holy lives then let’s ensure that we have not lost our first love and that we truly love one another. Then the light will shine from us and men will see our good deeds and praise our father in heaven. If we want to see people come to Christ then one of the keys is to obey His commandment to love.
In Isaiah Ch 5 – we read about :God’s disappointing vineyard” – ‘My well beloved has a vineyard, on a very fruitful hill, He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so he expected it to bring forth good grapes but it brought forth wild grapes”
God’s expectation is that you will produce good grapes – good fruit for Him. He has a plan for you individually and for your fellowship. You are important to Him. God never gives up – He never slumbers or sleeps – He is always working with you to produce god fruit. Let the fruit of His Love grow and develop in us.
God reminded me today that even though at times my life seems chaotic and overwhelming to me when I am trying to balance work, family, home and many other things which distract me, the truth is that He is always right there with me and I am made right with Him through Jesus. I am living out His perfect plan for my life because He is in it. I don’t have to earn it or work at it – I just have to accept the greatest gift which Jesus has given to me – the gift of relationship with God.
I wrote down the following words which came to me as I spent some time with God today:
“My children, From the very foundation of the world I had a plan and My plan has not altered. It is a plan set in the heavenly realm and My son Jesus achieved and accomplished in perfect obedience and perfect sacrifice and in perfect timing that plan. Every person on earth who has ever lived and was created with life has a place in My perfect plan. There is no-one who has ever lived who is not able to partake. None has been left out. I long that all would come into My perfect plan for their lives. My plan is simple. It consists of relationship between Father, Son, Holy Spirit and you in perfect harmony of relationship. There is nothing which can stop you being part of My plan. All that is necessary is humble acceptance of My son’s sacrifice and offering of Himself for you. He has obtained by His death and resurrection the keys of death and hell so that the door is open to walk into the perfect plan for your life. No other plan will bring you the desires of your heart for no other plan can bring you into perfect harmony with Me. It is simple and it is true. There is only one plan which is perfect and so why accept anything less for yourselves.”
Just as the name suggests this gate which Nehemiah rebuilt was the one used to get rid of the rubbish and dung. I don’t know about you but even after being a Christian for over 40 years, I am still a work in progress and I still sin (even when I don’t want to or intend to) and get things wrong. However, I don’t write myself off. Even though I still sin, I know that the power of sin over me has been broken because of the work of Christ at the Cross. I repent when I know I have done wrong and the Holy Spirit convicts me and I am cleansed by the power of the blood of Christ. The rubbish is swept out of the door. When the accuser comes to me I just point to the blood of Jesus and he has nothing on me. The slate is wiped clean. I don’t use the grace of Christ as a licence to sin but I rely on the grace of God in my life to convict me of sin.
If there is still rubbish in your life or you are carrying it around then I encourage you to get rid of it. It is only choking the word of God and the fruit of the Spirit maturing in you. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives then He will convict us of sin. Keeping our hearts soft and not hardened by disobedience. What rubbish needs to be out of our lives today? Let’s be ruthless with it and get rid of it – once and for all.
The fish Gate was another gate which Nehemiah rebuilt. As followers of Christ we are called like the disciples of Jesus to be fishers of men. We have been given the great commission to go out and make disciples. It is the mandate from Christ to His church. If however we just put all of our efforts into catching the fish and seeing converts, but don’t disciple them properly afterwards, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see any growth or maturity.
Discipleship requires service, commitment, love and sacrifice. In order to walk alongside people, especially people who are hurting, we can need grace, patience and love in great abundance. The Holy Spirit can help us to develop the fruit of the Spirit in discipleship and teach us how to disciple others. We need to know the truth of the gospel ourselves in order that we can help others to mature in Christ and follow Him. The Christian life can be one of suffering, hardship and persecution because of our faith in Jesus and preparing people for that is a key part of discipleship.
Are the nets ready for the catch? If there is to be a great harvest of souls then we need to get ready to disciple them. If you are a follower of Christ then I encourage you to share your testimony and life with others who are new to the faith and disciple them. Help them and strengthen them to grow and mature in Christ and share your experiences with them. We all have something to offer in service to Jesus. Is there someone that you can take under your wing today or give a supporting hand?
Here are some questions for us? How and What are we building in our lives? First the How? I am encouraged by the example of how to build from Nehemiah Ch 3 in the Old Testament. The order in which Nehemiah describes how the gates and walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt is an example of how the Holy Spirit inspires us to build in our lives. Jesus said that he would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
The Sheep Gate was the first gate to be rebuilt. This is the most important in our lives. We have to come to God through the Sheep gate. The bible teaches us that it is only those who enter in by Christ (the Shepherd and the Sheep gate) who can come into relationship with God. Have we come through the Cross – and really understood the power of the Cross in our lives? That the power of sin and death is broken. If we try and build on anything apart from the true revelation of Christ and the Cross we will be in difficulty. Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. We need to come in through the Sheep gate.
Christ warns us about those who don’t come in by the Sheep gate – not sheep but wolves in Sheep’s clothing – and false shepherds. John 10 -7 – Jesus says “Most assuredly I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” “But he who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep – To him the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep he goes before them and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus went on to explain: “Most assuredly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, If anyone enters by Me he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” Please beware of any teaching about Jesus which is contrary to what the Bible reveals to us about Jesus and weigh and test it against scripture. We need to come to Christ through a true revelation of the Cross and build on Him as the cornerstone of our faith.
I understand that the Sheep gate was the only gate that didn’t have locks and bars. To me this symbolises that the way to God is open through Jesus and it is open to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. Nothing can disqualify you from receiving grace and forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ and the redemptive power of the Cross. If you have never come through the Sheep Gate then I encourage you to confess your sins and take that step by faith today. Receive forgiveness and start a new life in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.