Matthew 16:6 -- "Watch out! Jesus warned them. 'Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.'"
Ephesians 1:17 -- "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him."
The Pharisees emphasized knowledge over revelation and their blatant disregard for God's voice. Of all the people that Jesus encountered, His harshest statements were toward the Pharisees and Sadducees. He called them "dead tombs" and a "brood of vipers"? They were more interested in asking provocative questions and they tried to justify themselves with their own so-called "knowledge" of the Old Testament. And because of their spiritual ignorance, they missed out on the most important move of God in history -- the Messiah. They proved out the Scripture that says, "Where there is no vision (no redemptive revelation of God), the people perish." (Proverbs 28:18).
MOVING TO A DIFFERENT SPIRITUAL POSTURE
God wants to move us from living a life full of head knowledge (Greek - Gnosis) into His understanding and His revelation (Greek - Epignosis). That takes us moving into a different spiritual posture. We have to start listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying, waiting on Him and His revelation, and start walking that out instead of being satisfied with just knowing about it.
We need the reality of scripture working in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. That's the difference between knowledge and revelation. One HAS, the other DOES.
God is giving us the best occasion of all: to work with the very Bread of Life and participate in what God is cooking. One of His requirements is just that we leave our leaven behind and follow His directions.
I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the mysteries that are locked in scripture.
I hunger for and receive revelation as part of my everyday life.
I seek on-going, life-changing revelation from God.
On-going revelation and encounters with the power of God launch me into understanding of things I've never understood before.
I must have my own revelation from the Father of who Jesus is. I refuse to settle for a shallow mental understanding of Him.
Genesis 3:1 - "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
When we succumb to guilt and shame, we give in to the single oldest temptation in the Bible - the temptation to question our identity and God's identity.
The very first temptation in the Bible was not to partake of forbidden fruit, but to question what God had said. The serpent said, "Has God indeed said, ' You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Once he got them to doubt God's integrity and identity, it was easy to lure them into foolish actions.
In the same way, before the devil tempted Jesus with anything else, he tried to pry Him away from His identity: "If You are the Son of God...." (Matthew 4:6). He wanted Jesus to doubt His identity.
So what is the devil's strategy with us today?
I AM A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST.
I AM THE RIGHTEOUS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.
I HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.
I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION.
I AM AN AMBASSADOR FOR CHRIST.
I AM IN CHRIST JESUS.
Romans 5:3,4 - "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope."
Jesus did not come to deliver us from our problems, but from ourselves. He did not come to change our circumstances - He came to change us.
"Others mocking said, 'these men are full of new wine.'" - Acts 2:13
"New wine" - a new order, new inspiration, new manifestation, a new creation. It is God's mind to fill us with that wine, to make us ready to burst forth with new rivers, fresh energy, no tired feeling.
What shall we do?
Believe -- stretch out -- press on -- let there be a new entering in -- a new passion to have it. We must drink deeply of the new wine, that multitudes may be satisfied and find satisfaction too.
1 Corinthians 1:31 -- "As it says in the scriptures, 'If anyone is going to boast, let him boast only of what the Lord has done.'"
If someone were to ask us, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" we would probably tell him, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved."
A rich young ruler asked Jesus the same question but instead of telling the man to believe in Him, Jesus gave him the law (Mark 10:17-22).
CONSCIOUSNESS OF LIVING BY THE LAW
Jesus saw that the young ruler lived his life taking PRIDE in his ability to keep the law to earn salvation and the favor of God. But because of His love for the man, Jesus had to show him that those who live by the law must realize that their self-efforts cannot save them.
So Jesus had to tell him, "One thing you lack....sell whatever you have and give to the poor... and come... and follow Me." When the young ruler heard that, he walked away sorrowful.
BOASTING ONLY IN JESUS
When we boast of having kept the law, it will always point out something we lack or have failed to obey. The law is so holy and perfect that if we don't keep even one small part of it, it has no choice but to judge and curse us. (Galatians 3:10). That is what the law was designed to do.
Let's boast only in Jesus' finished work on the cross -- that He is our strength, health, favor, prosperity, wisdom, hope, salvation, and glory. That is how we will see ourselves enjoying our inheritance of abundant life!
We must not perceive things the way they are in the natural.
The Body of Christ is entering a time of transition and God is about to raise up a new breed – a Jonah Generation.
Sometimes, the Western Church can look more like an institution; maintaining an appearance of having its act together when the reality is that many are backslidden in their hearts. Many others are caught up in a merry-go-round of being slaves to the system rather than being heirs of the Kingdom.
This Jonah Generation will rise from among those who once had a life-changing mandate from God – a word, a prophecy, an encounter – but who walked away from it because of the religiosity in the Church. These people have not necessarily hardened their hearts, or intentionally gone off the rails, but they, nevertheless, have walked away from their mandate and gone back to trading.
God is calling back these "Jonahs" who have walked away from their original CALLING and mandate and have instead gone into business. God uses business and finance for the Kingdom, but not if you're running from your true CALLING and mandate.
This is precisely what Jonah did. He had a calling to declare the word of God to Nineveh, but in fear of its great wickedness he walked away from his mandate. He fled to Tarshish, an ancient city famous for its trading in silver and gold. This Old Testament story is very much a prophetic message for today.
On his way to Tarshish, Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. In a dream, a big fish may be a metaphor for a Believer, but it is also a metaphor for revelation.
THROW YOUR NET ON THE RIGHT-SIDE
The disciples had a three-year encounter with Jesus, witnessed the resurrection, and had a clear mandate to "Go into all the world," but John 21 shows us that they didn't see that as a way of life.
When Peter announced he was going back to his fishing business, some of his fellow disciples went with him. Jesus on the shore called out, "Have you caught anything?" When they told Him they'd caught nothing, Jesus told them to throw their nets on the right side.
Walking away from our mandate and going back to trading makes it easy to forget the Lord and become dull and numb to the revelation of Jesus Christ. When the Lord told the disciples to let down the net on the right side, the nets were completely filled but without breaking.
This is a metaphor for the new wineskin and the big catch is a metaphor for the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The disciples said, "It's the Lord!" and Peter immediately swam for the shore to be with Him. The disciples gathered around the fire that Jesus had made to cook the fish they caught, and they had communion with Him. They ate, they had revelation, and they were restored to their heavenly positions, especially Peter.
JONAHS WILL HAVE THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
When Jonah was swallowed by the big fish it was as though he was enveloped by the revelation of the heart of the Father. Remember, the fish took Jonah to the deep heart of the ocean. This is a picture mirrored in Psalm 42:7, "Deep calls to deep." Jonah went to the deep heart of God, and following that revelation of who the eternal God is, the fish spewed Jonah onto the shore.
Jonah was spat out and released into the natural realm as one prepared to deal with the dark evil of Nineveh. But Jonah was a sign and a wonder, who walked into Nineveh, opened his mouth, and saw that whole atmosphere of darkness changed. He could do that because he was not a slave to the system anymore, but exercising spiritual dominion over it. The result was that Nineveh's leaders bowed the knee and repented.
In raising a Jonah Generation, God will restore people who have been perceived as "backslidden."
They will have revelation of God's PURPOSE for their life and come into the intimacy that activates the Kingdom of God. They will be people who walk in signs and wonders that change the whole atmosphere of their environment.
At the present time there's a lot of darkness covering the earth, but it's the dark before the dawn, and we need to see it with hope and excitement. This darkness is to inspire followers of Christ to rise up to be instruments of the Kingdom in their divine CALLING. For many, this will be Joel's "valley of decision" (Joel 3:14) to bring in the greatest harvest ever seen on planet Earth.
We need to be encouraged and fasten our seat belts. Jesus Himself said in Luke 21:28, "When you see these things happen, lift up your head, because your redemption is near."Psalm 24 tells us to "lift up your heads you gates and allow the King of Glory to come in." The new breed of the Jonah Generation are the gates.
"They said to one another, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?' And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, 'The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.' They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread" (Luke 24:32-35).
When we discover who Jesus is at one level, He will empower us to know Him in a deeper and more profound way. Our hearts are ignited to burn with a passionate love. The living, resurrected Word will manifest in flesh (our flesh) once again.
Jesus was the firstborn of many brethren. God knew Jesus was the prototype, the first of many sons and daughters to come. God had a divine plan from before time began. God knew us before He brought the world into existence. After we are saved, He gives us His PURPOSE for our life.
God fashions the lives of those who love Him to reflect Jesus' life and ministry on earth. Every one of us mirrors a diverse form and reflects a different aspect of Jesus. God orchestrates everything to bring forth His love and PURPOSE in our life. God is faithful to establish us in our CALLING, to build us until we are transformed into His image. We see who we are destined to become in glory when we see Jesus (see Romans 8:28-30).
As we mature in Christ we take on His form. We look more like the God we love. None of us look the same as we did ten years ago. If we are not continually changing, then we are stagnant. Remember, we are destined to know Him from glory to glory.
"He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And I answered, 'O Lord GOD, You know.'" - Ezekiel 37:3
God is always standing by, ready to breathe new life into anything lifeless when we ask. He is there in our spiritual springtime and in the cold, winter months. And He is even closer, hovering nearby in our darkest hours, according to Psalm 34:18 where it says: "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
This scripture asks the question, "...can these bones become living people again?" The word living does not only mean to come back to life after being physically dead, it also applies to brokenness, a dying dream, a losing struggle, and times of hopelessness and despair in any area of our lives. To live means to be refreshed, rejuvenated, revived, or to be given the promise of life. It also means to be restored or renewed—or simply to be made whole again.
Just as the wind breathed new life into the dry bones from the Ezekiel passage, God wants to resurrect our spirits as well. He wants to welcome us into His living presence and impart that same resurrection life to us, breathing new life into the dead places in our lives. And while some may come along and say, "God can't use us," God is saying otherwise, and His is the last word on the subject!
"Therefore, prophesy and say unto them, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel." - Ezekiel 37:12
"And Goliath cursed David by his gods. The Philistine also said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field." - 1 Samuel 18:43,44
Goliath first used fiery darts against David (his words of negativity), believing that the negativity alone would cause David to cower down! Yes, Goliath's negative words were meant to be a "first-blow" against David to weaken him so that Goliath could move in quickly for the kill!
For us today, a Philistine spirit might sound like this:
• You're too young (old) to be used of God. • You haven't attended Bible college, so you're unqualified to lay hands on the sick and see them healed. • You're not a good speaker. • Your family was poor. How can you ever consider yourself blessed of God? • You are not attractive, you're fat (skinny), or too short (tall). • You are weak. Just take a good look at yourself. Is there anything about you of which you can really be proud? • You failed. You sinned. God will never use you. God has abandoned you. • Shame on you!
KNOWING AND UNDERSTANDING OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST
Did you notice that this spirit targets our significance? In other words, it targets our identity as a Christian: a blood-bought Believer, a child of the King, a son, and daughter of God. Satan desires for each of us to get stuck in cycles of feeling "insignificant." The dictionary describes insignificance as being unimportant and having no purpose in life. However, when we don't know our full identity in Christ, we remain in a continual search for significance. This is exactly what Goliath attempted to do with David...infiltrate his belief system concerning his identity and his relationship with God! This search will remain on our wilderness wandering map unless we begin to rebuke the words (fiery darts and arrows) and begin to agree with what God says about us.
WE MUST POSSESS OUR PROMISED LAND
You are already victorious because of the Cross. Still, we must possess our Promised Land through AFFIRMING and MEDITATING the scriptures that have to do with our identity as born-again believers. Jesus paid the price for it – let's believe it and enter into it!
IT'S TIME FOR BREAKTHROUGH
Our true identity has been on the line – what do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about God? The truth must become established for breakthrough to occur. The fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) are targeting our identity. The identity thief has a plan – to steal, kill, and destroy your future.
Let's exalt the Lord and declare His identity as "The Breaker"! Yes, He is the Breaker – the one who breaks forth on our behalf (see Micah 2:13). God is breaking forth for us. Jesus broke forth and gave us life by the shedding of His precious Blood. It's time for faith to arise once more. Raise up your shield of faith today! Lift up the name of Jesus – your shield!
"The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me." - Acts 20:24
There are no shortcuts and there are no other paths. There is only your CALLING in Christ and it is this path. If you stay on it, it will lead you straight to the top of the mountain; and to make the climb, you have to lay down all your baggage. It will also change you from the inside out. This journey will do a work of humility within. If you stay steady in the midst of the steep climb, it will produce diligence and endurance for your next season.
You are CALLED to serve God. Regardless of your job or career, you are called to full-time Christian service.
"We must run with patience the particular race that God has set before us." - Hebrews 12:1
As we ascend to the very top of the magnificent Mountain - as few men and women actually endure the climb. Those who lay it all down cry out Psalm 24:7: "Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in."
They stand in a place of great authority. This is the place where we have the authority to cry out, "Lift up your heads, O you gates!"
STEADFASTNESS IS THE KEY
Many people get this invitation, but few make the whole journey (into God's DESTINY for their lives). For many start the climb yet want to keep their baggage and are unable to continue up the Mountain. Some people wander off the trodden path for other adventures that looked better to the eyes but were worthless to the soul.
"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10
There are no shortcuts to the top of this Mountain. It is easier to stay on the PATHWAY of yourCALLING in Christ. It is easier to keep walking. This Mountain, this climb, is an invitation of the Lord to climb His Holy Mountain with clean hands and a pure heart, and all the while embracing humility which produces great authority. Though some people start with baggage, or offenses, or unforgiveness – we all have the opportunity to lay it down. In order to continue upward, you have to lay everything down, otherwise it is impossible to make the climb, for the weight of these will make the climb too burdensome.
You are commanded to serve God. Jesus came "to serve" and "to give" -- and this should define our life on earth, too. "Jesus said. "Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life." - Matthew 20:28
THE INWARD LIFE
This PATHWAY produces an inward life, a steadiness that you can only get if you stay on the path. This trek is a place of great gain, living from the inside out...and if you can make it to the very peak, it's a place of new authority.
Where are you in this climb? Is the pathway too steep and hard because you need to lay down some baggage? Do you find yourself looking for easier paths, easier ways to reach the peak? Maybe you have become distracted with the pleasures of this age, they might have caught your eye.
For we are all invited. We all receive the invitation to lay down our baggage, to stay on the pathway. We all get to be a part of this great climb up the Mountain of the Lord.
"Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself." - Philippians 2:5
This is the season to lay it all down and to stay on the path: Lay down offenses, lay down unforgiveness, lay it all down and stay steady for the journey of a lifetime.
"Always think about Jesus Christ." - 2 Timothy 2:8
Luke 17:20,21 - 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."
The word "observation" in verse 20 literally means to stand beside and watch. This accurately describes the posture of many who are looking for a rescue or a revival. They stand beside as life passes by and watch passively for the Lord to move sovereignly.
Jesus told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God would not come when they stood by and watched for it. He then told them the kingdom of God was within them.
Jesus was saying that the kingdom of God will not come if we are not actively engaged in bringing it. Since the kingdom of God is within us, it is within our power to see it come to pass. The kingdom of God will not come if we are in a passive posture, because we are God's agents to bring out the kingdom He has planted within us.
I START WORKING WITH THE LORD TO BRING IN THE KINGDOM FROM WITHIN MY SPIRIT WHERE GOD HAS DEPOSITED HIS SPIRIT.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMES AS I LABOR WITH THE LORD TO BRING IT IN.
WHERE THERE IS BARREN LAND, I PLANT; WHERE THERE IS FRUIT, I REAP - I STOP LOOKING FOR THE KINGDOM TO COME FROM WITHOUT.
"God put His stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised...so that your minds may be opened to see His light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you...and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power in us is the same as the mighty strength which he used when he raised Christ from death." - Ephesians 1:13,18-20
Shall we stop short of what He says we ought to be -- shall we cease to come into line with the Mind which is always thinking for our best -- shall we cease to humble ourselves before him who took the way of the cross for us -- shall we cease to withhold ourselves from Him.
Can a true believer come to God today without a cry to God to make them, as it were, flames of fire? God shall endue you in that you won't be satisfied until you feel the very members of your body on fire with a Spirit-kindled PURPOSE.
DAILY AFFIRMATIONS: I have Jesus indwelling me and vitalizing me with a faith that believes I can speak the word, and the thing is done.
I have Jesus within me who has never let me get faint-hearted or weary.
I press on in faith along the line of God's purpose for my life, and the outpouring which I have longed to see will come.
I never let go of the vision.
Since all blessings come from above, I stay in communion with Jesus who strengthens me in the way.