216. Twelve Steps to an Orphan Heart

Mike Parsons – 

We are coming into a revelation of who we are as sons of God, and learning how to live out of that revelation. But if instead, we listen to the whisperers, the familiar spirits which empower demonic strongholds and mindsets, then we can find ourselves on a downward spiral.

12 steps to an orphan heart

Humans are designed to be survivors. We develop coping mechanisms and protection mechanisms – layers, walls or skins that we believe keep us safe. But they quickly become behavioural blind-self prisons, and they are stumbling blocks to our destiny.

How does a slavery mentality or an orphan heart form?

  • Nature – we can inherit it genetically from previous generations.
  • Nurture – upbringing, parental and relational influences. Words, attitudes and treatment can have a powerful effect on how we see and think about ourselves.
  • Traumatic events.

And we too can pass it on in our DNA to future generations. In the field of epigenetics, scientists are showing that genetic material can change, even within a single generation.

Here are the 12 steps:

  1. We are affected by faults in parental activity.
  2. We receive parental faults as disappointments, discouragement, grief, rejection or insecurity.
  3. We develop unmet needs and coping mechanisms.
  4. We move into the fear of receiving love, comfort and admonition from others.
  5. We develop a closed heart.
  6. We take on an independent, self-reliant attitude.
  7. We start controlling our relationships.
  8. Our relationships become superficial.
  9. We develop an ungodly belief that says no-one will be there to meet our needs.
  10. We begin to live life like a spiritual orphan.
  11. We begin chasing after counterfeit affections.
  12. We begin to daily battle a stronghold of oppression.

Counterfeit affections

Depending on individual circumstances we may have extreme or mild symptoms. But we are all born with a sense of separation from God, so our souls have unmet needs and an emptiness that must be filled. Until we come to a full revelation of being truly loved and accepted in God, the counterfeit affections we seek include:

  • Passions – addictions – food, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, escapism etc. – comforts for our needy hearts.
  • Possessions – security in materialism.
  • Performance – perfectionism, doing things to prove or feel better about ourselves.
  • People – looking to people to meet our needs as substitutes for God – whether being people-pleasers or abusers.
  • Places – needing somewhere better to be happy – wanderlust, looking for home.
  • Position – striving for acceptance and approval, especially from significant others, including God: praise of man.
  • Power – seeking to control life and our own destiny by controlling emotions, people, or circumstances so as never to be hurt or disappointed.

We have all tried these things, and we know they do not work. Only God can truly meet our needs. So how can we get free of this bondage?

We have a 20-part series on Transformation which will certainly help!

We need healing from our wounds. We need to surrender our defences and be willing for those coping and defence mechanisms to fall away. We need to experience the reality of being redeemed, reconciled and restored to our relationship with God. We need to open our hearts to God as our Father and receive His adoption, acceptance and affirmation. Nothing and no-one can replace our Father God, He wants us to receive our security and acceptance in the fullness of relationship with Him.

We need to desire an intimate relationship with God where trust develops; to pursue Him – to ask, seek, knock, as Jesus taught (and it takes persistence to overcome the obstacles). Let’s give Him our first love, give Him our priority time, and then we will get to know Him personally and feel His great love for us by experience.

Love languages

God desires to father us in such a way that we know we are truly loved as individuals. We are not just a ‘job lot’. We all have different love languages – the way we feel love is different. Our particular love languages may correspond to our different gift types or unmet needs. We need to find out which is ours:

  • Gift-giving
  • Quality time
  • Words of affirmation
  • Physical affection
  • Acts of service

Our love language with God may be different from the one we have in our natural relationships. It took me a long time to realise it, but quality time is my spiritual love language. Father God sharing revelation with me of His heart, mind, purpose, and word is what makes me feel loved, valued and appreciated. I am unique, special, and He fathers me uniquely, according to my destiny.

At one time we were ‘alienated and hostile in mind’ (Col 1:21), feeling separated and orphaned from God, and separated from our souls and bodies, and from our heavenly home too. That was the ‘reality’ we lived in until we realised the truth that we were included when ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them’ (2 Cor 5:19). The spirit was orphaned and the soul, therefore, had a slave mentality.  Satan was the first orphan spirit, and therefore disunity, disharmony and division is always his goal.

Meeting our soul’s needs

We have seen this diagram before:

orphan1

Our soul has natural needs but is accustomed to living in separation from God and from our spirit. Our body (flesh) reaches out to the world looking for love, acceptance, security, significance and purpose – it does not know where else to look. That causes damage (including hurt, pain, rejection, insecurity, fear, disappointment, guilt and shame).

orphan2

When we realise we are born again and our spirit is brought back to life, we then have access to the fountain of living water that is within us. We can find love, acceptance, security, significance and purpose in God and in our relationship with Him. We are connected to the source of life. So when we go through a process of transformation, in which we are restored and renewed to God’s original intended condition, we have this tension between how we have learned to meet our needs when disconnected from God and how we now know we can get those needs met in Him. After years and years of following the flesh, this is a battle we must persevere in and win. Once we learn to be cut off from the world, then we can be healed, restored and ultimately transfigured, so that the flow of life from heaven goes through our spirit, soul and body out to the world. We will begin to manifest God’s glory, His presence and His power to change the world in which we live.

We are supposed to be world-changers. It was always our destiny to bring God’s dominion and His blessing to the earth. But to fulfil that destiny we need to be willing to persevere and go through this process.

In Genesis 2 God said that it is not good for man to be alone, and that is because relationship is key to reflecting heaven on earth. Relationship is at the core of the life of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God’s desire is for man to experience being joined, reunited, reconciled, and restored to Him in relationship. That is why unity is so important, as we see the early church of one mind, one heart, in one accord. They were together in their love for and their pursuit of God, and they changed and transformed their world.

Centre of our being

Here is another familiar diagram, representing the gateways in our spirit, soul and body.orphan3

But we have a black hole on the inside which absorbs everything, lets nothing in and nothing out, until we experience relationship with God through Jesus. Then we can connect with God’s glory and His Presence in the very centre of our being (see the next two images), so we can engage with God in our spirit. However, for far too many believers God is locked away in there.

orphan5
‘Gateways’ by Adam Butterick (Vimeo video). Click the image above to play (opens in new tab).

One spirit with Him

“But the person who is united (joined) to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him” (1 Cor 6:17).

That is God’s intention, that we become one spirit with Him by being joined or united to God. We do that by opening up our first love gate because that establishes a reconnection between our spirit and the Father and heaven. It also reconnects our spirit to our soul and body, so that we become one, holistic, unified piece. God’s desire is for us to be whole, that we would be completely reconnected to everything, to have the relationship with the Father and the Son that our spirit was designed to have in eternity.

Our spirit will be orphaned unless it finds its home with the Father and in heaven and God finds a home in us, which connects it all back together.

I encourage you to look at this picture right now, at the First Love door in the centre. Behind that door is the presence of God, the glory of God, God Himself. This is in the midst of your spirit.

orphan6
‘Gateways’ by Adam Butterick (Vimeo video). Click the image above to play (opens in new tab).

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20).

That is an invitation to relationship, fellowship and intimacy. It is an invitation to all – whether or not we call ourselves ‘Christians’. Maybe you have never opened that door. The handle is on our side, so we have to open the door. Will you open that door today? Will you become joined and reconnected to God today?

Open the door

Close your eyes and imagine this picture in your mind’s eye. There is a door, and behind it is God: His love, His acceptance, His affirmation. If you have never opened it before, you can do so now. You can say, in your heart, “I open that door to you, God. I choose to let you into my life. I choose to receive Your love. I choose to follow you and become Your disciple. I choose You.”

I encourage you, open up the door of your life to God. He is knocking, wanting relationship with you so that you can begin this journey from slavery to sonship, this journey of intimacy with God. Meet Jesus, meet the Father, meet the Holy Spirit; hear what they say to you.

Now for those who have done this before, maybe you too are feeling separated, distanced from God? Again, just open up that door right now, because Jesus is the source of life, and start drinking from the river of life that begins to flow. Get into that river of living water, allow it to envelop you. As you open the door, feel His love, feel His embrace, feel the joy that comes from His heart to you. Jump in the river. Let the energy of that source of life begin to flow in you, becoming rivers of living water, ready to flow out of you. Just spend some time there, if you just need that refreshing, enjoy the feel of His arms around you.

Perhaps you are used to opening this door, and you want to go further, then you can walk through the open door and follow that river back into heaven. You can get into the river of life there and follow it back to its source at the throne of grace, back to the Tree of Life, back to the garden of God. The atmosphere of heaven is the breath of life, the glory of God is the oxygen of heaven. You can experience Him in the realms of heaven because you have opened that door and it becomes a two-way flow of life.

Meet the Father today.

Wherever you are in your journey, just spend a few minutes today in the presence of God, in your own heart or in heaven, experiencing His presence and receiving His love and affirmation. Receive His acceptance. Hear these words of affirmation from your heavenly Father.

I love you, my child. Receive My words of affirmation.
I accept you. I affirm you. I embrace you.
Receive My peace. Receive My love.
Return to me. Return to your heavenly home. Return to the intimacy of relationship.
I love you.

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Note: all the ‘Gateways’ images are based on a diagram originally shared with us by Ian Clayton.

215. Revealing the Sons of God

Mike Parsons

We are all on a journey from slavery to sonship, and those two conditions are very different. Slavery breeds a poverty spirit, fear and lack of identity; sonship breeds faith, identity, resources and responsibility.

Empower a slave and it leads to rebellion, betrayal and treason, as with Israel in the wilderness. They were given freedom and responsibility, but they showed no loyalty to God or to Moses because they still had a mindset of slavery (see Exodus 15-17, 32, Numbers 21). On the other hand, restrict a son and it will hinder creativity. When someone knows who they are, God can inspire them to release their own creativity into His creation.

So we have to be careful not to empower people who don’t know who they are nor to restrict those who do. We need to put things in place which will help sons come into the fullness of sonship and to deal with any slavery mentality they may have.

The spirit of slavery vs the spirit of sonship.

The root issues of how we think are in our hearts, not our heads. To use a computer analogy, the heart is like the hard drive and the head is like the Random Access Memory (RAM): things get loaded from our heart into our conscious thinking and then we act out of them.

Our characteristics and behaviour will help us identify to what extent we are acting out of a spirit of slavery and to what extent out of a spirit of sonship. Almost none of us will fall completely into one category or the other. A spirit of slavery is often the product of poor nurture, unhealed wounds and brokenness in our own lives, but it can also be generational: particular ways of thinking handed down to us from previous generations.

We are going to look at a number of areas. It’s important to be honest with ourselves, not asking ‘how ought I to think?’ but ‘how do I in fact think?’ And please, let’s use this as a tool to assess our own condition, not to label or judge anyone else!

In the tables below, you will see a category in the centre column, and on either side of it, the characteristics typical of slaves and sons. You can download these tables as a PDF file to save or print if you wish.

slavery #1 Slavery #2 Slavery #3 Slavery #4

An opportunity to be transformed

Spend some time working through this. Use these checklists to ask yourself: “do I have more thinking on the left side as a slave or more on the right side as a son?” Then you will get an idea of where you are on this journey. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, so that you can change.

If you recognise demonic strongholds in your thinking, see it not as a criticism but as an opportunity to be transformed. Those strongholds are defended and empowered by familiar spirits – spirits that are familiar with your mindsets, your patterns and ways of thinking – and they constantly seek to ensure that you continue to think that way. Continuing in that way of thinking only results in continuing to demonstrate the same patterns of behaviour, or worse, a downward spiral that leads to an orphan heart, shaping us and blocking our destiny.

But God wants to do something about it. He is only showing you any slave-mentality you may have so that He can free you from it and enable you to think and act more and more like a son. Access to heaven and heaven’s blessing, heaven’s authority and heaven’s power all come from knowing who we are as sons.

In the heavenly realms we have places of authority that God has destined for us: mountains with thrones that God is calling us to possess. We can only possess them when we come into maturity (see Gal 4).

What do we do?

When we recognise that our mindset is not right, we:

  • forgive and release those whose words and deeds have resulted in us being the way we are. We don’t rationalise it away. We see that it happened and had an effect on us, and forgive and release them.
  • own the way of thinking or the behaviour. We don’t make excuses for it, it is sin to think like a slave when God has said you are a son, and if you don’t treat it as sin you will most likely carry on and be comfortable with thinking that way. Confess it, renounce it, repent of it (turn from it and turn to the truth). Take it to the courts, if you know how to do that, and get divorce papers which enforce separation from that way of thinking and behaviour.
  • meditate on the truth of God’s love for us and his acceptance of us. Meditate on the destiny He has for us. Get these things into our spirit by experience and encounter so that they become the basis of how we live. This is not an instant fix – it takes time.
  • attack the familiar spirits. Don’t let them lie to us and whisper into our minds. Take captive every thought. Deal with the thoughts that come, don’t entertain them and allow them to take root. Challenge them! We must be very careful about what is coming out of our mouth, not saying negative things that line up with the spirit of slavery. Speak out the truth.
  • get help if we need to. If we cannot deal with familiar spirits ourselves, we enlist the help of someone else who can minister deliverance to us. We may need healing from a wounded heart, and someone to minister that healing if we are not receiving it on our own.

Then we can be restored, and come back into a place of peace and rest, knowing who we are as children of God, knowing God’s love.

He really wants us to know our identity as His sons, and to renounce our slavery and orphan mentalities. He wants us to receive our security and acceptance from Him. Then we will be manifested as sons on the earth, to bring the whole of creation back into alignment with God’s eternal intentions before Satan fell.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).

That’s us!

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214. The Hearts of the Children

Mike Parsons

Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt (Acts 7:39).

A whole generation saw their home as Egypt and not the Promised Land, because they saw themselves as slaves, not sons. How do we see ourselves? Are we looking to our past to define us, or are we believing what God says about us and looking to our future? The fact is, we tend to look the way we’re going.

Generations of slaves

They were generations of slaves. They had no understanding of freedom, and no understanding of godly leadership – they had to do what the taskmasters told them to do. They had no connection to God as Father, and had lost sight of their covenant family identity from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They had no sense of belonging, no sense of heritage, no sense of purpose. They had riches, because they came out with the gold of Egypt, and yet they had no wealth. Money does not bring happiness or fulfilment, and it does nothing to root out an underlying poverty mentality or an orphan spirit.

They had no loyalty either to God or to Moses, no faith or trust in God, and as a result they all died in the wilderness except Joshua and Caleb – including Moses himself. Joshua and Caleb had a different spirit, and a different relationship with God. They knew him as Father and were able to enter in, taking the next generation in with them.

Turn our hearts

He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse (Mal 4:6).

God’s desire is to turn our hearts back to our Father in heaven, and to see that His heart is for us. This is a fatherless generation, a strategy of the enemy to steal destiny by separating and removing fathers from their families, but we do not have to be part of it. We do not need to have an orphan spirit.

  • Orphans have no parents
  • Orphans have no inheritance
  • Orphans have no home
  • Orphans have no connection to heritage
  • Orphans think like slaves

A son or a slave?

Let’s ask ourselves, do we think and act like a son or a slave? It may not be black-and-white: perhaps sometimes we think and act like sons but then slip back into thinking and acting as slaves. De we identify with slavery or sonship? Do we know our identity as a son, our royal identity as a son of the king?

God wants to heal your father- (or mother-, or other relationship-) wounds. He wants to remove the scars that are on your life. He wants you to have a home in Him. He wants you to know you are adopted, accepted, and loved. He wants you to know and fulfil your destiny.

Will you allow God to be your Father? Or will you allow your relationship with your earthly father to rob you of that intimacy?

Will you trust Him with your heart? If your heart has been damaged, if you have been betrayed, disappointed, let down and hurt, then it is no small thing to trust someone with your heart again (even if that someone is God). It is a choice, and a choice that comes with risk attached.

Will you allow him to deliver you from an orphan spirit? Will you lay down your old natural identity? Will you pick up your new supernatural identity?

Stand and speak

If you will, then stand and speak these declarations out loud (if you can’t do that now, please be sure to come back and do it later, because speaking these things out carries power). When we have made these declarations, God is going to minister to us and speak to us in our hearts.

I choose to lay down my old identity as an orphan and slave
I choose to turn away from my past
I choose to forgive and release my earthly father for not representing true fatherhood to me
I choose to look to my heavenly Father for my acceptance

I choose to let go of rejection, fear and insecurity
I choose to embrace my destiny
I choose to give my heart to You, Father, afresh today
I choose to allow you to heal, deliver and restore me.

Now receive what God is going to do for you.

In the authority you have released I loose each person who made those declarations from an orphan spirit and a spirit of slavery and a spirit of rejection. I pray for the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit to break those yokes, destroy those burdens and loose them from the control of their mind, their emotion and their will, from that orphan spirit and that spirit of slavery.

I loose them from it in Jesus’ name, in the power that Jesus is releasing today under an open heaven.
I bind each of them to their full destinies in heaven and on earth as sons of God

Now I want you to close your eyes for a few moments and see with the eyes of your heart the scars that may be over your heart from the past. You may picture them, you may feel them, or just sense that they are there.

Now hear the voice of Father God speaking to you and to those wounded areas of your heart. And this is what God says to you:

‘I love you my child – I love you, I love you.
I love you my child – I love you, I love you.
I love you my child – I love you, I love you’.

Over and over, hear Him repeat those words. Allow His words of love and acceptance and affirmation to heal the wounds and remove the scar tissue from your heart.

I release the angels, release the Holy Spirit’s presence and power, to bring that healing oil to heal the wounded hearts. Receive the love of God, receive the Father’s embrace, as He says:

‘I accept you as my child
I affirm who you truly are
I call out your spiritual identity as my son
I invest you with the authority as a prince (or princess) to subdue, rule, and manifest My kingdom on earth as it is in heaven’.

Receive that into your spirit. Let your spirit embrace and begin to expand and grow and mature. Let it bring God’s blessing into your life.

Receive a revelation of who you truly are as a son of God, and allow Him to continue that process of conforming you into His image, into the image He always had of you from eternity, into the image of Jesus. A son of God, taking up the full responsibility of who you are in the heavens and on earth.

God’s desire is for you to truly know that you have a home, that you have a family, that you are accepted, that you are loved.

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213. Embrace the New!

Mike Parsons

Moses had an orphan mentality. Imagine what it was like for him, growing up in Egypt. He didn’t look like one of them, didn’t feel like one of them, and probably got sick of hearing the story of how he was found floating in a basket. Apparently abandoned by his parents, he was adopted by the Egyptian royal court, adopted by an enemy system, and he was even a prince within it. Many of us have sought for success in the world’s system, and maybe even been quite successful, but it will never satisfy our eternal destiny. At the age of 40, something rose up in him, calling him to his destiny, but we saw last time how he tried to do it his own way, failed spectacularly, and ran away into the wilderness.

The wilderness prepared Moses for his future, and after another 40 years God called him again to embrace his destiny. His natural identity was as a shepherd, looking after sheep in the wilderness for his father-in-law. Sheep are really awkward and certainly do not always readily go where you want them to, which meant he was well prepared to lead a bunch of obstinate, ill-tempered, quarrelsome people through the wilderness into the Promised Land.

But when he met God at the burning bush, God took something from him: his badge of office and all-purpose tool-of-the-trade, his staff. His natural identity as a shepherd was stripped away from him, and he was given a new, supernatural ‘shepherd-identity’. No longer an orphan or a slave, no longer a success in the systems of the world, instead he was to be the deliverer for a nation. But Moses still had issues.

Let go of the old, embrace the new

Now God was asking him to lay down that symbol of his natural abilities and identity – not just a staff but all it represented: his job, his well-being, his financial welfare and his future. That was the choice he faced.

When he picked it up again, it had become a powerful symbol of all that God was going to do through him. He used that staff supernaturally in the years that followed – he threw it on the ground and it transformed into a snake (Exodus chapter 4); he used it to split the Red Sea (Ex 14:16), to bring water from a rock (Ex 17:6), and throughout Israel’s wilderness journey.

But he had to choose to let go of the old, and embrace the new. It is a choice many of us have to make. Even when we become Christians, we still face that ongoing choice: am I going to do things my way, or God’s way? And your own way never works – you feel uncomfortable around ungodly people and uncomfortable with God – you have one foot in one camp and one foot in the other.

Who am I?

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex 3:11).

Moses began to reject his destiny, to avoid doing what God was calling him to do. God was going to use his position and experience, but Moses didn’t think much of God’s HR skills. And ‘who am I?’ – well, he was a prince of Egypt, so naturally speaking he was well-placed for the task God was giving him, but he didn’t want to do it. Certainly he had things in his past which were holding him back, but God is always ready to deal with issues like that. Unlike Moses, let’s not allow our past to spoil our present and hinder our future.

Here am I – send somebody else!

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” The Lord said to him… “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.” (Ex 4:10-13).

Either he was unaware of his own abilities, or he was lying to God to try to get out of his destiny (the New Testament tells us “Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22)). And finally he asked God to please send someone else! But God swept aside all his objections and every obstacle he tried to put in the way, eventually agreeing to send Aaron to speak for him.

God wants to set us free

God is calling each of us to embrace who we really are and what He has called us to do. He wants to set us free from everything that would seek to hold us back from fulfilling our destiny: our mind-sets, our slavery mentality, any way of thinking that prevents us knowing who we truly are as His sons.

This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. (Acts 7:35-36).

How many of us have felt rejected, even disowned, as Moses was? Yet God called him to be exactly what others failed to recognise in him, and even sent an angel with him for the rest of his life to ensure that he accomplished everything He intended for him. And we, too, have angels assigned to us, ready to supernaturally help us fulfil our destiny.

Familiar slavery

All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt” (Num 14:2-4).

God does not want us to miss out on receiving our full inheritance because of the issues in our lives. He wants us to deal with them. Israel saw God come down on a mountain; the Red Sea part (and close behind them, drowning their pursuers); clothes and sandals not wear out; food provided for them every day; and water spring from a rock (twice). Yet they still felt like slaves, and they wanted to go back to the ‘comfort’ of their familiar slavery instead of going in to possess the inheritance God had lined up for them. They continually rejected Moses’ authority, grumbling and complaining.

Robbed of his destiny

That rejection eventually caused Moses to react out of his insecurity. Instead of speaking to the rock (a further dimension of the supernatural that God was calling him into), he went back into his own familiar comfort zone and struck it instead. As a result, he missed out on leading Israel into the Promised Land, and there is no record of him ever doing another miracle.

Moses allowed his need for acceptance and approval from people to rob him of his full destiny. Little wonder, then, that those he led also allowed their issues to rob them of their own inheritance and destiny by refusing to go into the Promised Land.

It is possible to perform amazing miracles and enjoy remarkable encounters with God, and yet still miss out on the fullness of our inheritance. Instead, let’s allow God to reveal and deal with our issues, to heal us of past hurts and transform us into the image He has of us from eternity past.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way
(Psalm 139:23-24).

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212. Who We Really Are

Mike Parsons

We are on a journey from slavery into our full inheritance as children of God. Even as natural children, we start out as babies, infants, and coming into maturity is a process that takes time and perseverance. Yet God always intended us to have a relationship of intimacy with Him, our Heavenly Father: and He wants to embrace us and reveal Himself to us as Father so that we can begin to feel, think, and act like sons.

As we saw last time, we need to be willing to allow Him to heal any relationship wounds which hinder us from having a proper child-to-father relationship with Him.

Characteristics of slaves

Our journey has many parallels with the history of Israel coming out of slavery into their Promised Land. Like them, we may have generational slavery in our family line, yet God wants to bring us into something entirely new. Our journey is from a slavery mentality to a mentality of royalty, knowing our identity as sons of the King. There is both blessing and responsibility associated with that, and so different from thinking of ourselves as slaves:

  • Slaves own nothing
  • Slaves live in survival mode
  • Slaves have no hope
  • Slaves have no expectations
  • Slaves have a poverty mentality

God wants to deal with those slave characteristics in us so that we can know the fullness of who we are and what we have in Him. Otherwise, that spirit of slavery, or orphan spirit, will effectively prevent us from being who God created us to be. If we persist in poverty thinking, our mind will stop us fully engaging with the truth of who we really are.

If you are a slave and an orphan, with a poverty mindset, it demonstrates a lack of trust in relationship. The children of Israel knew God’s works, they saw some of the things He did, but they did not know His ways. As a result, they did not trust Him, as we read over and over again in the story of their wilderness experiences. They had been set free from Egypt, but were still thinking like the slaves they had always been. It is the same for us. We have been set free from sin, and from slavery to a world system that exists to keep us enslaved and rob us of our inheritance, but sometimes it is a real struggle to trust and to enter into a deeper relationship with God.

Every time they faced an obstacle, they blamed God, or Moses, or both. They were motivated by fear. At the Red Sea, it was “Oh! You have brought us out of Egypt and now we’re all going to die. We might as well go back”. On the mountain, when God came down, they wouldn’t go to meet Him themselves and told Moses, “we can’t go, you go for us”. Whenever there was no water, or no food, they kept on grumbling and complaining instead of trusting that God would meet their needs.

They did not know God well enough to trust Him to be their deliverer and provider: they made Moses their intermediary and then gave him a hard time as well, because he represented God to them. Authority figures are always obstacles to people who think like slaves, because they think they are being robbed by people in authority, when in reality those in authority are there to release them into sonship.

Destiny

You see, Moses had a destiny but the enemy tried to destroy it by wiping out a generation of children, just as he would later try against Jesus (with a similar lack of success). When Moses then tried to fulfil his destiny independently from God, using his own natural strength and resources to fulfil the call he knew in his heart, he experienced rejection by his own people, which caused him to run and hide from his destiny.

But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand (Acts 7:23-25).

Many people will not understand who we are, will not understand our destiny. Many people will try to get in the way and prevent us from fulfilling what we are called to do. But we must not try to fulfil it in our own strength, as Moses did. If we have been trying to make our way in life by doing things that make us feel accepted, loved, approved of and valued by others, rather than depending upon God, that will always cause problems.

On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ But the one who was injuring his neighbour pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ At this remark, Moses fled… (Acts 7:26-29).

How many times have we baulked at the obstacles people have put in our path? How many rejections have we experienced? Have we given up, and fled from what we know is in our heart, just because something difficult happened? If we are not actively pursuing our destiny, what happened to deflect us from it? Every one of us has a destiny from God: when He started to reveal it to us and draw us towards that destiny, did we start to try to make it happen our own way, and mess up?

After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush. When Moses saw it, he marvelled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look (Acts 7:30-32).

Forty years on, God appeared to Moses again, reminding him of where his heritage lay and where his destiny came from – ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’

And this time, he would do it God’s way.

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211. The Father’s Hug

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Behold I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite their land with a curse (Malachi 4:5-6).

There is a curse, in the world, and the curse is fatherlessness: for some, not even knowing that they have a father. For others, the father they do know does not match up to the fullness of God’s intention. God wants us to know Him as a real Father and wants us to feel loved and accepted as His real children. He is releasing His Spirit to turn the world back to Him, in an outpouring that embraces who we are as God’s children and releases that out to the world in an experiential and practical way so that everyone can experience His love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Abide in My love (John 15:9).

This is Jesus’ call to us to live in His love, and it has to be practical. It has to work: as God loves us then we love each other.

My testimony

I want to share briefly from my testimony, from my journey in which I have come to know something deeper about the heart of God.

With my natural dad, I didn’t know love, affection, affirmation, approval, encouragement: really no fathering at all. Even while he was there physically, emotionally he wasn’t; and then he physically left too, leaving a big hole on the inside of me. Not knowing what a father should be, I just thought that was what fathers were like because I didn’t know any better.

So when I became a Christian I didn’t have a relationship with God as Father. I knew Jesus, because Jesus died on the cross for me. And I know He was supposed to be my Lord. So I knew Him as Lord, but ‘Father’? It didn’t even compute. It wasn’t that I struggled with it. I didn’t even know that God could be my Father: it was such an alien concept to me. When I was baptised in the Spirit it was like liquid love poured into me. It was an amazing experience. Yet although I felt called to something because I felt love, I still didn’t know where it was from.

The Father’s hug

My first real encounter of the love of God as Father was in a time of worship. It was like God came and put His arms around me and hugged me. I knew that was the Father’s hug. I just felt it in my spirit. Now that really challenged me: how could that be a father? And I suddenly started to realise more about fatherhood. I had a revelation of the truth that God was not like my earthly father. Now you might think that’s really simple but actually, you don’t know it, until you know it.

And I had a revelation of that. God started to work that in me, but I needed ministry, I needed help because I could not break through into this whole area. So I had some ministry sessions, and God gave me a picture. It was a picture of a photograph, a real photograph that was in our kitchen when I was growing up. It was a photograph of me sat on my dad’s knee. It just hit me like a ton of bricks that this was a posed picture, a sham that never actually happened in reality. And it really, really got to me emotionally. In fact, my whole relationship with my earthly father was a total sham.

Forgive and Release

Emotionally it was a really hard thing to do, and I had to really choose to do it as an act of will, but it caused me to choose to forgive him and release him from not being a real dad to me.

It was hard because I didn’t want to do it: it suddenly hit me that he didn’t deserve it, that he had screwed me over for years – that’s literally how I felt. It really hit me hard. I didn’t let those emotions out right then, but I chose to forgive and release him, and God enabled me to go and see him and give him a hug. He did not know what to do, he stood there frozen as I gave him a hug and told him I loved him. He didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t have a problem with that because I knew the reason was that he’d never been loved by his own father. But when I chose to forgive him, it opened up a whole different relationship with God for me.

Now that was back in the early 1990s. Then, just before we moved here in 1994, we had a series of meetings in the Castle Centre in the town called More for ’94. One evening I had come up and I was doing some teaching as a prelude to setting up the church. We had a time of worship and all the emotion I hadn’t been able to let out from this whole thing with my dad all of a sudden just spilled out like a torrent. I wailed and I wailed and I wailed on the floor, and all the emotions flooded out. I realised it had all been stored up inside me; and at the end of it, I was glad it was gone. That was a powerful experience.

Encounter

Then about a year or so later, I had what I now know was my first encounter in heaven. Again, it was in a time of worship, and this one long note on the saxophone just took me into heaven. God took me on his knee, just like in that sham photograph with my earthly father, but this time gave me a real experience of what it was to be bounced on a father’s knee and played with. It restored something deeper again of the relationship I had missed with my father. God is a great God and wants to restore us.

A father-wound

But in spite of all this, years later when I was on a 40-day fast, going into heaven and seeing God and meeting with Him for 2 weeks, it was Jesus and the Holy Spirit I was meeting with, not the Father. Then Jesus came to me and said: “You need to meet with the Father”. I knew in my own heart I needed to meet with the Father, and yet I couldn’t. Then Jesus showed me a big scar that went right over my heart. I was looking down at this wound and He said, “you have a father-wound.”

And I started to argue: “I’ve forgiven my father. I’ve done everything I can.” He said again, “You have a father-wound.” He spoke to me in that encounter and told me He loved me over and over and over again. And each time He said loved me and I received it, that wound began to disappear bit by bit until it was completely gone. It took about 45 minutes in earthly time (I don’t know how long it took in heavenly time) but it just went on and on, because He just would not relent until that wound was gone. And it went.

Back to zero

Since then my whole intimacy with my heavenly Father has been restored. I hang out with Him in His garden, He hangs out with me in the garden of my own heart. Now that was just the wounds being healed. You see, I might have been minus 60 on a woundedness scale, and some people are a lot worse than that if they have experienced real abuse from their earthly fathers and others. But although all my wounds were healed, that just brought me back to zero on the scale. I didn’t want to be zero. Zero is better than being minus 60, but I wanted to be on the plus side!

Intimacy

I still needed to be fathered. What was it to be fathered? I did not know because I had never been fathered. So then I had to learn, how does God father me? I had an encounter with Him one morning and I was talking to Him, but I felt something was missing: I didn’t feel intimate. And He spoke to me and asked me “Why do you feel that?”

I struggled to explain, “Because I don’t feel it felt intimate”. He said, “Well, what is intimacy?” Now I was looking for the kind of experiences that other people had described. I was looking for intimacy to have all the ‘warm and fuzzies’, and to feel lovely (and actually, sometimes you do get that, which is great).

But God said “When is it you really feel alive? When do you really feel close to me?” So I thought about it. “When You are talking to me and You’re sharing Your heart with me and when You are revealing the Word to me”. He said, “That’s me fathering you.” It totally freaked me out to think that I didn’t have to have a relationship like anybody else’s or experience what other people said intimacy was. I could just be me.

And for me, with my redemptive gift, God’s love language to me is sharing with me and just having quality time with Him, quality time in which we just get to hang out together. It doesn’t matter if I feel all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes I just spend an hour with Him and come out of that time with pages of notes, because He has talked to me about stuff. I know He loves me. That is for me what has brought me into a place of freedom. We all need to find the love languages of our Father: how does God love you? What is (or would be) intimacy with Him to you?

Lavished on us

Do you feel like you don’t belong? Do you feel you don’t fit anywhere? Do you still feel like an orphan? Do you feel that no one loves you? Do you still feel rejected? If you do feel any of those things (and others), God wants you to feel His love and acceptance today.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us... (1 John 3:1 NIV)

He wants to lavish His love on you today so that you will know you’re His child. ‘Lavish’: He wants His love to just overflow, so much that it almost seems wasteful. Another version says:

See what an incredible quality of love the Father has given, shown us, bestowed on us, that we should be given, and named and called and counted the children of God (1 John 3:1 AMP).

prodigal

We are called children of God, and that is who we really are. God’s desire for us is intimacy with Him. The story of the prodigal son is a story of reconciliation back to the Father, and He wants us to experience that reconciliation and restoration of relationship today; not as a slave, or a servant, but as a son, with the full rights of sonship.

I believe that just like the father in that story, God wants to meet you with a hug. If you need a hug from the Father today, come to Him. If maybe you have never embraced the Father in a personal way, take that step today. He wants to hug you and tell you how much He loves you, as His child. And allow the Holy Spirit to fill you, to shed that love abroad in your heart, so that you feel accepted, valued and appreciated; so that you feel loved.

Related articles from Freedom ARC
Other resources from Freedom ARC
SoundTrack (also from 1994)

We are the Fatherless – Brian Doerksen

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210. A Beloved Child

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back to the weak and elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? (Gal 4:8-9).

Relationship releases us and empowers us. Religion enslaves us. Are we serving God in order to have a relationship with Him? If we are, we will end up in religious bondage. Or do we serve because of our relationship? That will bring us into life.

Every one of us can enjoy a relationship with God. He has reconciled us to Himself through the cross. It is a free gift of grace. Sadly, though, if we listen to the lies of the enemy, we can be enslaved all over again by going back into religion, back into dead works, trying to please God – and trying to get a relationship with Him (when we already have one) – by what we do.

We serve God not so that we can have a relationship with Him but because we already have a relationship with Him in Christ. We serve from the security of our relationship with Him, so we are co-heirs with Him. We work with Him, not for Him. If we are working for God then we will be looking to get something in return. But if we’re working with God, we’re working in partnership with Him and simply enjoying all the blessings that brings.

Who has labelled us?

Who has given us our identity? Who has labelled us? What labels have people put on us? Parents, siblings, friends? Authority figures, society? What has labelled us – and do we still believe the label? How do we label ourselves? Is it according to our past and what other people say? Or is it according to what God says about us?

If we label ourselves ‘sons’ then we will think, feel and act like sons. If we give ourselves some other label then we’ll think, feel and act the way we labelled ourselves instead. Who are we agreeing with? With God, or with what other people say?

Identity

Where do we get our identity from? From what we do? From our work? How do you introduce yourself? I’m a doctor, I’m a housewife, I’m a cleaner… If your identity is so tied up with what you do that you cannot separate it, then what you do has power over you.

Some of us will get our identity from relationships, with a father, mother or husband, wife, friend… Those relationships can define us. People join clubs – or even gangs – because they are looking for identity. They are looking to belong. Whereas, in God, we already belong.

Culture itself can provide our identity. I am British, and British people have a reputation for being stiff-upper-lipped. Is that who I am? We can adopt those traits and it can affect how we are when we could be seeing and hearing what God says about us and getting our identity from Him.

Too often people base their identities on what they do, on anything from their jobs to their roles in relationships and their pursuits, and by doing so they significantly limit their lives. The truth is God intends for all people to find their identity in Christ. That is where we will find the truth of who we are and embrace it.

beloved child logo2

The abundance of a beloved child

 

Mark Driscoll says, “if you’re a Christian, your identity encompasses all the abundance of being a beloved child of God”. It encompasses the abundance, the overflow… everything it means to be a child of God (in reality, that was the case even before you became a Christian). But our spirit has to grow and overrule the soul. It must overrule everything that has told us who we are, everything that has naturally defined us, so that our spirit decrees who we are, based on what God says. Then we can live in the truth of that identity and revelation of who we are and why we are here, and we can start living our lives fully in Christ.

Blessed

You are reconciled to God; you are accepted as a child of God; you are adopted into His family. You are a saint, not a sinner;  you’re blessed; you have a new spiritual identity as a son and an heir. Believe it. Start thinking that way, start meditating on that. Start embracing what God says about you!

By virtue of our adoption, we have been given a new name, as a son, not a slave, a new legal standing and status. Accepted; not alienated nor condemned. A new family relationship: God is our Father, not our Judge. A new image: the image of Christ. these are awesome things that God has done for us.

Destiny

Knowing your identity is the key to knowing and fulfilling your destiny. Because if you don’t experientially know who you are (that means actually know it by experience, not just know about it), then how can you know what belongs to you and what you are called to do? See, if you were the son of the Queen of England but you were taken as a baby and put into another family, you would never know who you really were. And we have been robbed, we were taken into captivity, so (even though we have now been released) we have never known the fullness of who we really are.

But God is revealing to us in these days who we really are as His children; what sons really do in the kingdom of God; and what our inheritance really is in that kingdom.

Related articles from Freedom ARC
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