237. New Things Have Come

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott  

Comparing the old and the new

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Cor 5:17).

When Jesus came two thousand years ago, He came with a completely new perspective and radically reinterpreted everything the religious people thought they knew. In my experience, He still does the same today. Here are a few things He has shown us in a totally new light:

Prayer – we used to pray from earth asking for God’s help from heaven, hoping that God would hear us from a distance. The new way is to come to meet Him face to face, to come boldly to the throne of grace, sit on His lap and talk to Him.

Revival – this is such a huge desire and expectation among the Christian community, but we have been praying in the way of the old: “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 64:1). In the new, we see that God has already come down, He has already rent the heavens. What is more, He has gone back up into the heavens and opened up the veil for us to come. We have been asking Him to come and do what He is asking us to come and do!

In the old, access to holy places and the holy things of God is limited to only some special people – mediatorial priests. In the new, access is open to all of us. Now we can all enjoy the intimacy and rest of relationship and out of that flows our ability to fulfil positions of government as sons in responsibility.

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things” (Rev 4:1).

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God… let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:14, 16).

There are going to be times of need, but we don’t need to be cowering, pleading with God to come and rescue us. His help is about empowering us to overcome the obstacles we face in restoring all things to His original design and purpose.

…that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:21).

Operating as lords, kings and sons

The old is like being in the wilderness and expecting God to do it for us from heaven. In the new God has given us responsibility to be co-heirs, partners in heaven operating as lords, kings and sons. As transfigured sons we are going to radiate glory to bring the whole of creation into its freedom, to restore it so that heaven and earth are in complete harmony.

Spiritual warfare as we have previously known it was never very effective because it was attempting to pull down something from below. There was a lot of shouting into the heavens or into the atmosphere of the earth, binding this and that, but no-one ever went into heaven first to bind things there. In the new, all that is now replaced with judicial verdicts from above in the courts, which have heavenly authority to bind and to loose (to bind things to what they should be and to loose them from what they should not be). We have gone from houses of prayer and prayer closets on the earth to having charge of the courts of heaven, a completely different mindset, and we have learnt that everything must now first be done beyond the veil to be effective.

“Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”: in the old way of thinking, God sovereignly administers from His throne whilst we just obey here on earth. In the new, God has chosen to operate His sovereignty through us, having given us authority over this whole created order:

…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6).

If we are seated with Christ, we are seated on thrones from which we administer in heaven.

Mature sons

The old way is like being children whose parent does everything for them and on their behalf. It is time for us to mature and become responsible adults. Like a parent encouraging His adolescent children to take responsibility for more and more of their own lives, God is withdrawing His support for the old, which will slowly but surely (or perhaps sometimes suddenly) stop being effective. What once worked for us will no longer do so, even if it is still seems to be working for others. At that point we will have no choice but to embrace the new. If we are really forerunners, we will not wait until that happens.

God wants to manifest us as His sons to fulfil our destiny and restore creation. Each of us has a destiny, and those destinies interact with one another to bring about God’s purpose. We have been called at the end of the ages. Each of us has a role specifically chosen and designed for us by God. Like Esther, He has chosen us for such a time as this.

Why can’t I keep the old ways?

When Israel crossed over into the Promised Land, 2½ tribes chose to go back across the Jordan. From that time on there is no record of them in scripture and no evidence that the old ways continued to work for them. We might all long for the simplicity of childhood with few responsibilities but we are called to grow up. We can’t just keep drinking milk like babies if we want to be mature sons.

If you decide to stay in the old you risk dying in the wilderness with those who do not want you to cross over into your inheritance. The old order has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They don’t want you to hear God yourself, because then you would not keep coming to the prophetic conferences they are putting on (the ones where they will hear God for you rather than equipping you to hear Him for yourself). The lure of the familiar and comfortable is powerful, but it is an illusion: once God begins to challenge you, you may never be comfortable with the old and familiar again.

The old order

The old Moses order has failed to prepare for the harvest. The 5-fold ministries have failed to equip the church but instead built empires. They have failed to lead people into their destinies or help them access their scrolls and their true calling, making a generation of dependent slaves rather than manifest sons. They have failed to honour people, instead making them spectators or servants of their visions. They have not released people into their highest calling or recognised their spheres of authority. They have created religious systems from the pathway of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, establishing businesses out of worship and making celebrity idols out of servants.

Prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers and evangelists have become professionals. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, they have made people dependent on them as mediators who hear God for them, fuelling a dependency and co-dependency mentality. There are no rabbis in the new day but Jesus. Please stop trying to follow earthly rabbis – and whatever you do, don’t treat me as one.

We cannot keep trying to use wilderness methodologies expecting Promised Land results. We have to change, to align ourselves with what God is saying and doing now. He is changing the way we do things. We are no longer to expect others to tell us what to think but to be taught how to engage God for ourselves. We evaluate everything we do on the basis of whether it is ‘as it is in heaven’: have we established it in heaven first before we try to work it out on earth?

We are called to be forerunners and, like Joshua and Caleb alone among the Promised Land spies, we need to give a good report. In the next post, we will look at how we do that – in the new.

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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236. The Hallmark of the New

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

What is the ‘new wine’?

In this series of posts we are looking at new wine and new wineskins. Last time we saw how the new wineskin is each one of us, both individually and coming together as a new order ekklesia, but what is this new wine? What does it represent? Here is some of what I have seen (and if you will engage with God for yourself, I am sure you will see some of this and more besides):

    • New governmental mandates and new government patterned after heaven. New revelation and understanding of how to expand the kingdom, subdue and rule from a new heavenly perspective of servant leadership.
    • New values and ideals. Jesus introduced the manifesto of the kingdom, a completely new way of living. As we have seen, the ekklesia is to be a reflection of heaven’s values, an embassy of heaven on earth. We are to be ambassadors of that embassy, carrying the authority of heaven and exercising it on the earth.
    • New things established in heaven.
    • New heavenly strategies instead of earthly ones. Let’s stop trying to figure out how to do things and instead go to the heavenly strategy room and get a strategy which will be effective.
    • A new heavenly identity of sonship. It is in heaven that we operate in fullness of sonship, so that we can be manifested as sons on the earth.
    • A new health service – healing and health for the world, to demonstrate that God is a loving God who wants to heal. As a first step we will be living in health ourselves: body, soul and spirit in wholeness, connected to heaven, with the life of heaven flowing from the inside out. That will draw those in the world looking for healing.
    • New economic and financial services. Jesus threw all the money changers’ tables over: kingdom finance and economics bear no resemblance to the systems of the world. Kingdom finance is a love-based system in which we can freely give because we freely receive under an open heaven. Serving in love is the currency of the kingdom, going the extra mile and putting others before self.
    • A new society – paradise restored. God wants to bring back human society to how it would have developed in the Garden (if the Garden had expanded to fill the earth as it should have). The way up is down; the first will be last and the last first.
    • New speech, new attitudes, new ideals, new culture. Everything comes from a new perspective as redefined by Jesus.
    • New behaviours, abilities and powers. We will recover everything that was lost at the fall, at the flood, at Babel and throughout history as our DNA is renewed and restored and as we renew our minds.
    • Heaven transforming earth. This is God’s ultimate desire and plan.

    Experiential

    All new ways flow from beyond the veil and they are experiential.

    • New experiential ways of ministry. No longer will we set ourselves up as ministers who tell people what God is saying and what to do. Instead we will get alongside them and equip them to hear God for themselves. Liebusting is a good example of this new way, in which the person asks Jesus what He wants to do in their life and asks Him to show them how to deal with what stands in the way. And teaching people how to go to the courts equips them to hear first-hand, rather than getting someone else to tell them what the issue is and how to address it.
    • New experiential ways of teaching – we have to get away from a scenario where it is just me or some other teacher lecturing a roomful of people. It will be all of us together, experiencing. The activations we do together on a Sunday morning and in some of the hangouts are a first step towards that. Alongside the new kingdom financial system, I am sure we will see a new education system as well.
    • New experiential ways of prayer. We will not just be crying out from here on the earth, hoping that God might hear something, but going to meet Him face to face.
    • New experiential ways of interceding, not from below but from above. We can stand before God, identifying with the person, city, nation or planet we are interceding for, in a heavenly courtroom, getting His judgment and verdict on the situation.
    • New more effective ways of kingdom administration: outworking heavenly government on the earth.
    • New ways of partnering with the angelic realm: angels are ministering spirits sent for the sake of those who inherit salvation. We are already hearing more testimonies of angelic engagement, and that will only increase. They are awesome, powerful created beings, and they can do things which have never even occurred to us yet!

    Growing in maturity

    The new ways are about our maturity. Moses did miracles, parted the Red Sea, food just appeared, the Israelites’ clothes never wore out, they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire – all this while they were just children who only knew God by His deeds. If they had gone and engaged heaven with Moses, they would not have needed any of that.

    Under Joshua’s leadership, the people did the miracles, parted the Jordan, caused the walls of Jericho to fall. They did not need supernatural food or clothing provision because they could all sow in the Promised Land, and reap the harvest of what they sowed.

    Jesus showed his disciples how to multiply food, do miracles, produce provision and so on. He taught them how, then sent them out to do it themselves. Unlike Moses, He did not just do it for them. And today He will show us new ways of being salt and light in our world, new ways of being agents of change in history, society and culture, so that we are not influenced but influencers. He will open up new ways for us to bring transformation to our communities. We will do all this by establishing all things in heaven first so they can be manifested on earth – that is the hallmark of the new.

    This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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235. New Order Ekklesia

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The blueprint that has come from heaven

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt 9:16-17).

In Jesus’ time and culture the old wineskins were not just thrown away but were renewed, restored and reconditioned to make them suitable to hold the new wine. They had invested a lot into those wineskins. God has invested a lot into the wineskin of church (ekklesia), and He is not just throwing it out.

I hear a lot of people talking about a new wineskin which is not the ekklesia. I do not accept that. The ekklesia is still what Jesus is building; He has not changed His mind. It is still the blueprint that has come from heaven. By all means let’s throw out the old concept of what has become known as ‘church’, with any negative connotations and past experience of hurt and oppressive controlling authority. But since the manifold wisdom of God is to be displayed to the usurping powers and authorities through the ekklesia (Eph 3:10), we need to recognise that without it we are not likely to see the kingdom fill the earth.

…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pet 2:5).

All of us have a responsibility to be who God has called us to be, both individually and corporately.

Characteristics of a new order ekklesia

So a new order ekklesia will comprise people gathered together around a heavenly blueprint. It will function as a heavenly royal priesthood bringing agreement between heaven and earth. It will be built on a foundation of servant leaders, a heavenly foundation of the agreement of heaven’s oracles and a form and style of government which is a reflection of heaven on earth.

It will demonstrate a heavenly pattern of government – bench of 3, bench of 7 and bench of 12. It will not be a copy of any other ekklesia but will be established from its own individual heavenly mandate and blueprint: this variety will demonstrate the manifold nature of God’s wisdom (Eph 3:10 again). The image at the head of this post incorporates a diagram of our blueprint here at Freedom, but please don’t be drawn into trying to reproduce it where you are. Each ekklesia needs its own.

Its shape will be flexible, continuously determined by the living stones who grow and mature as they outwork their destinies within it, and by living stones added and taken away. Its objective is to bring agreement between heaven and earth, to contribute to the restoration of all things to God’s original intent and purpose.

Flexibility

Locally, we have been transitioning into such a new order ekklesia over a number of years. We are forerunners, and even if we are not a perfect example, at least we are evidence that it is possible. Over the years we have produced several different, updated diagrams representing our blueprint, of which the one given here is just the latest, 2017 version. Does that mean that the blueprint has changed? I do not think so, rather it is that God has revealed (and that we have become aware of) different aspects of it over time. When I look back to our beginnings in 1994 and the revelation of Isaiah 61, a foundational scripture for us, my understanding of that now is totally different to what I understood then. The text is still the same, but God has progressively deepened and expanded the revelation of it which we have been able to receive; my perception of it has changed and so, I am sure, has everyone else’s in the ekklesia. Therefore we are not now doing exactly the same things we were doing in 1994, but we are still outworking that same scripture as we now interpret and express it.

We did have a saying, back in those early days: ‘constant change is here to stay’. Little did we know how true (or how important) that was! The structure of our ekklesia is flexible, and it is the people who are part of it who determine what it will look like at any given moment. For example, our seven mountains: who was it who got the blueprints for what those seven mountains were? It was not me; it was not the bench of three; we just had the revelation that we had seven mountains. It was the people who heard the call of God to those mountains, and they continue to determine what those mountains look like. And that flexibility is essential to the continuing growth and development of the mountains, because we will find seven sub-mountains of each, again with different people determining what those are called and what they look like, finding their place as living stones and outworking their destiny in it.

So although we have an overall blueprint which says ‘we are an ekklesia and we will be part of a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven’, the actual form it takes will be totally determined by those who are called to embrace it. And in ten years’ time, when new people have come along, embraced the vision and received revelation themselves, certainly they will see and express something new, and the shape of Freedom Church will look different then to what it is now.

God always requires a new wineskin for new wine, but it is a constantly refurbished one, not something that did not exist before. God will carry on progressively releasing new wine of revelation, and the wineskin of the ekklesia has to remain flexible and be continually renewed if it is to receive it. We must never become rigid and set in our ways.

So whatever we are doing now, I can guarantee that down the line we will be doing something different, because we will have received fresh revelation from God for that season. That is why the concept of being like the sons of Issachar is important: understanding that God operates according to times and seasons, and in each season we need to know what God is calling us to do and to receive the necessary provision from Him to accomplish it.

Angelic engagement

An ekklesia of gathered people will live under an open heaven with angelic engagement. Jacob saw angels ascending and descending at a place he called ‘Bethel’, saying it was a house of God and a gateway of heaven. Individually and corporately we are all ‘Bethels’ into the earth.

Each of us is always a representative or ambassador of the ekklesia 24/7, not only when we are meeting physically in the same location. We do not ‘go to church’, we are church. Our whole lives are an expression of being a house of God, an ekklesia. But when we do come together, that is multiplied exponentially. We need to understand what it is to be built together as living stones, joined in love to fulfil God’s purpose.

Shadow

An ekklesia both individually and corporately is a shadow of what is established in heaven. You have to have something with a light shining on it to produce a shadow on the far side of it. So we must be in heaven in order to cast a shadow on the earth. If we do not live in heaven there can be no shadow on the earth.

I used to go into heaven, try to produce a shadow on the earth, and then come back out of heaven and occupy that shadow. The trouble was that the shadow no longer existed because I was not in heaven any more. That is why we have to learn to live in dual realms of heaven and earth at the same time; things on the earth will change dramatically when we do.

Embassy of heaven

Here, we are developing into a resource for the local community as we expand our work and influence through Freedom Community Alliance. I believe that eventually every ekklesia will be a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven, either in itself or as part of something larger in its city, area or region. That will be a full reflection of heaven’s government, with the mountain of the house of the Lord raised up above all the other mountains as we are an expression of God’s household, God’s kingdom, God’s authority on the earth. All the nations will run to it.

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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234. Revolution of Love

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

Turning the law on its head

Whenever God does something new, it challenges what already exists, because we are so familiar with the old ways of thinking and doing things.

When Jesus came defying all the religious norms, He was rejected by the religious people and institutions of His time. He brought a radical new perspective, completely reinterpreting Old Testament scripture and revealing the truth behind it. He said things like “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath”, turning the external law on its head, making it into something that was to be used for people rather than to control or restrict them. Religion is all about keeping people restricted and under control, so this was never going to go down well with the religious elite. They quickly decided to do away with Him because they realised that the future of the whole religious system they depended on was under threat.

In the Sermon on the Mount, again and again He said “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”, shifting the focus from external religious observance to what really goes on in our hearts. True, He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, He came to fulfil them – but in a totally unexpected way, in the context of relationship – love – rather than in legalism and religious duty. For religious people, brought up to keep every little rule and regulation, to be told that the most important thing was to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength cut to the heart of everything they had ever known.

His new values and new ideals of the kingdom challenged all those external legalistic perspectives. This was a revolution of love, where the King came to serve and not be served, demonstrating an entirely new model of leadership and authority which had nothing to do with hierarchy and control.

Jesus gave the Pharisees, Sadducees and Teachers of the Law every opportunity to lay their preconceived notions aside and follow Him, yet most of them could not get past being offended and threatened by His demolition of the foundations of their world. Ultimately, those religious structures were swept away in AD70, and those who were determined to defend them met with a violent end at the hands of the Roman army. It cost them their lives, whilst those who had embraced the new and become disciples heeded Jesus’ warning and left the city.

New wineskins for new wine

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt 9:16-17).

The old order was coming to an end. There was to be something new, something different from the old religious ritual of bringing sacrifices into the Temple. This issue of new wineskins for new wine is one we have touched on before and need to be continually aware of because in the religious mindset there is a deep-seated tendency to revert to the old wineskin.

The Old Covenant wineskin was one temple, in one city, in one nation; one king, one earthly priesthood from one tribe (Levites) and one High Priest from one family (Aaron’s).

Such a mediatorial system prevents people accessing God for themselves: only the priests could enter the tabernacle and only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year. It encourages a ‘top-down’ model of leadership which is the exact opposite of Jesus’ own servant-hearted example. This is still operating today wherever we see division into clergy and laity, and in a more subtle form where family members inherit religious positions from generation to generation. If people are artificially restricted, it will hinder them from fulfilling their destiny.

David’s tabernacle

One person in the Old Testament caught a glimpse of the new, and as a forerunner he adopted it ahead of time, at least for a while. In David’s tabernacle there was open access to the arc of the covenant and the Presence of God in worship, and when you read what they did in those days it is an amazing thing when you consider what the Law prescribed. I have never really understood how they could go back to putting God in a box – perhaps it is proof of the strength of that religious mindset again – but the fact is, they soon reverted to the cycle of sacrifice and ritual in a brand new temple.

Heavenly royal priests

In the new covenant, we are all heavenly royal priests. Every individual one of us is a new wineskin, a house of God and a gateway of heaven. We operate from heaven, and we are the nation, city and temple. God is in us and we are in Him. In the old covenant the Holy Spirit came upon prophets, priests and kings but now He dwells within us. We all have access as priests of the heavenly order of Melchizedek, not of an earthly Aaronic order: when the old covenant was made obsolete all the former priestly functions and roles came to an end with it.

Each of us has a destiny, an earthly and a heavenly outworking of God’s kingdom and His government. Every one of us is a reflection of the four faces of God, the kingly, prophetic, priestly and apostolic, expressed and outworked in the proportions appropriate to fulfilling that destiny.

A heavenly blueprint

We are a new wineskin in a corporate sense too. Individuals can come together around a heavenly blueprint as living stones, being built up together on a foundation that reflects heaven’s government: foundational servant leadership which releases people into their destiny rather than imposing mediatorial coverings, restricting access to God and to the realms of heaven.

…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the capstone (Eph 2:20).

Ekklesia

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church [ekklesia]; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matt 16:18-19).

I increasingly use the Greek word ‘ekklesia’ because the English word ‘church’ carries so much baggage in our thinking. The structures and institutions of what is known as ‘church’ are mainly man-made constructions based on old wineskins. They tend to look like the old covenant rather than the new. And this is not just a side-swipe at established denominations and streams – even in independent churches like Freedom we have done the same in the past: none of us knew any better.

Today Jesus is building His ekklesia with living stones of all shapes and sizes. Therefore all local ekklesias will be different, depending on the living stones built into it using the blueprint God gives. We cannot produce a formula or a template which we just duplicate. In the next post we will look at the characteristics of a new order ekklesia, but for now let’s just agree on this: anything which does not have a foundation which is a reflection of what is in heaven is an old wineskin.

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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233. Wider, Deeper, Longer, Higher

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

Face to face

From the beginning we were created to have an intimate relationship with God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-38 to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” and in John 14:6 that the only way we can come to the Father is through Him. Face to face engagement reveals the reality of who God truly is – Love – and exposes the untruths we may have assimilated over the years. Jesus is the ultimate expression of that Love, so if it doesn’t look like Jesus then it probably isn’t Love.

God wants us to know the truth of who He is and who we are as His children. It is the tactic of the accuser to get us to think wrongly about God and about ourselves. As long as we see God as having a dark side, we will never trust him completely. There will always be a slight fear that contradicts love.

Quantum physics 1.01

For example, somehow we have come to believe that God cannot look upon sin, and that He has to turn His face away. If it were true that He could not look upon sin, we would not be here! Quantum physics 1.01 tells us that if He were to stop observing us, we would cease to exist.

On the cross, when Jesus quoted the opening words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was drawing people’s attention to the content of the whole psalm and its relevance to the events playing out before them. But He had previously told his disciples:

“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32).

We can clearly see that the hour He was referring to was His crucifixion. According to Jesus, the Father never turned His face away from Him. He was right there with Him.

God’s justice

How could we have got this wrong? The answer is, because we have got something even more fundamental wrong too. We think that on the cross Jesus was taking our punishment for us, suffering the wrath of a vengeful God in judgment that should have fallen upon us. We are used to our human justice system which requires retributive justice – payback – but the truth is that God’s justice is always restorative. We will look at this whole subject of the atonement in detail in another post, but for now let’s consider what the cross was about, if not punishment.

The sin

The original Greek word for ‘sin’ used most often in the New Testament is ‘hamartia’. It is a noun (the sin) not a verb (to sin). ‘The sin’ is the sin of Adam, choosing to follow the DIY pathway of the tree of knowledge of good and evil rather than the pathway of the tree of life. From Adam we all inherited spiritual death (which is a lost relationship with God and lost personal identity), so like Adam we are living in something less than God’s original blueprint or design for us, not recognising our true identity as a person made in His image.

So the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23 NASB), but God has a solution ready: for as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). ‘The sin’ did not need to be punished, as religion would have us believe, but forgiven, corrected, dealt with and removed. We cannot earn God’s forgiveness by doing ‘good’ things (that is the DIY tree again): forgiveness is God’s gift to each of us in Christ.

The word of reconciliation

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19).

The Greek word for ‘the world’ in that verse is ‘cosmos’: it certainly includes the whole planet, and much more besides. Jesus came to reconcile and restore absolutely everything and everyone in the whole of creation back into relationship with God. That is exactly what He accomplished through his death and resurrection, and now we all share in the victory of the cross and resurrection life. In relationship with God we all have a restored identity, knowing we are accepted, forgiven, blessed, and made righteous.

Since we now have the same ministry of reconciliation that Jesus had, we choose to show love and mercy to others just as He has shown love and mercy to us. What is more, the more we engage with the real God, the wider, deeper, longer and higher we perceive that love and mercy to be.

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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Future post, as promised

232. The Greatest Scandal of the Age

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

New things

“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”
(Isa 42:9)

Think of everything in your life that has already come to pass… and now God is saying ‘I declare new things’. Everything that is old has gone, everything that may have brought feelings of unworthiness, guilt and shame, and it has all gone because of the power of the cross.

The old things can no longer be of any use to us, if in fact they ever were. God has already decreed and declared for us a new place of relationship. We need to be aware that the old things have gone, so that we can accept the new things that the power of Jesus’ resurrection has opened up for us.

As those who are called to rule and reign as sons of God, we need to know God as our Father, otherwise we will operate as if we were orphans, as if we did not have a relationship with Him. What is more, we are made in God’s image, but if the image we have of Him is distorted then we will act in a distorted way. So if our view of God has Him as angry and vengeful, that is exactly how we will be as sons – and if you look at the world, it is an angry, vengeful place. Much of that has come from the way religion has presented Him: even though people may not ‘believe in God’, that is still the image they have of the God they don’t believe in. So God wants to reveal Himself to us, and to the world, in a completely different way.

Scandal

God spoke to me towards the end of 2016 and said,

“Son, the greatest scandal of the age is about to be exposed. Many will not believe it but the truth of who I am (and therefore who you are as My sons) will be revealed. The lies of religion will be exposed to the pure light of truth. The great I am is about to reveal Himself as the lover of your souls in what will amount to a whole new reality”.

So everything that we have believed about God and the version of reality that religion has presented to the church and the world, God is about to expose as a complete lie. And when it is exposed we will be able to see the truth of who God is and who we are.

The sin

We can engage God face to face, because it was never Him who hid from us, only the other way round. When Adam and Eve fell, and God came to find them in the Garden, He did not say ‘What have you done?’ He said, ‘Where are you?’ They were hiding because they were focussed on what they had done, but He was still looking for relationship. The enemy will always try to keep us focussed on what we have done, but God never is.

Sin is not really about behaviour, it is not about what we have done wrong. The most common word for ‘sin’, used 174 times in the New Testament, is ‘hamartia’. It is a noun, not a verb, ‘the sin’ rather than ‘to sin’, and it is not about our ‘doings’ at all. Religion is mostly concerned with ‘doings’: as if all these bad things we have done mean that God does not really like us, and does not want a relationship with us. But whatever we may have done does not affect how God sees us or how much He loves us. We just think it does.

The DIY tree

Sin brings its own consequences. Young’s literal translation of Romans 6:23 says,

For the wages of the sin [is] death, and the gift of God [is] life age-during in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The sin did not need to be punished but forgiven, corrected, dealt with and removed. This is what Jesus accomplished by his death and resurrection. He did not come to deal with our individual actions, as much as He came to deal with sin as a power, something that was at the very root of our situation. It was the sin of Adam in following the DIY path of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, trying to become like God by his own do-it-yourself efforts. That is what Jesus came to deal with; everything else is just a consequence of that.

Although the serpent said “If you eat of this tree you will become like God”, the truth was that Adam was already created in the likeness and image of God. Adam failed to grasp and hold onto his true identity and likeness from God’s perspective. So whilst God has never changed how He sees us, Adam suddenly saw himself as less than he was. In this spiritual blindness about himself and about God, he lost sight of the fact that he shared and participated in God’s own image and likeness.

That blindness has affected everyone ever since. We try to hide and cover up our nakedness with fig leaves because we have believed a lie about how God sees us. We do not see ourselves the way God really sees us or the way He created us to be. The spiritual death we have inherited is fundamentally a loss of relationship with God and a loss of personal identity.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Cor 15:22).

Just as we all inherited that spiritual death and blindness from Adam; just as we all shared in the spiritual-soul-death that it created, so we all share in the victory of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection life.

Love

When we do engage God face to face, we will see what He is really like. God is love. Everything He does is love. Think of that, then compare how religion has depicted Him! Often those non-believers I mentioned earlier seem to be fine with Jesus but they are not so sure about ‘God’. Jesus came to share the truth of who He was and who His Father was. In reality, He is not some sort of schizophrenic, He does not have a split personality. Father, Son and Spirit are in complete unity, and if you have seen Jesus you have seen the Father.

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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231. Meet the Real God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

New for old

God is always doing new things.

Please understand that, as we said before, He is always the same, faithful and full of lovingkindness, and He has never changed. But when we engage Him intimately, He reveals Himself in continually new, surprising and sometimes even shocking ways.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you”
(Isa 42:9).

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it,
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert”
(Isa 43:18-19).

God is revealing new things in our day, yet often we try to cling on to what is old, comfortable and familiar, just like the children of Israel did in the wilderness. Old forms of church wineskin, church government, ministry, prayer, evangelism, doctrine and theology are all being challenged by new, fresh revelation of truth.

Have you ever stopped to question how much of what we believe is because we have always believed it, based on what someone else has taught us, or from a religious construct, doctrine or theology? How much is derived from or influenced by our particular culture and society? And finally, how much is actually from revelation, coming out of our direct personal experience of relationship with God Himself? In short, how much are we ‘leaning to our own understanding’?

The Joshua Generation are forerunners of the new. We are finding a new level of experiential relationship with God, a new level of communication with Him, new ability to hear and see what He reveals. We are finding out what it means to have the mind of Christ!

God is calling us to let go of the old and embrace the new: new mindsets and new paradigms, new worldviews. We must not be surprised if we encounter great resistance to change, and not only from the quarters we might expect it. Certainly some people in the old established churches will oppose what God is doing, but the greater resistance will likely come from more recent moves of God which have settled into maintenance mode.

Deeply ingrained

Even within ourselves, we may struggle to overcome the comfortable inertia of wanting to keep things the way they are. We experienced some of this within the church here: for a while the old pastoral form of church government steadfastly opposed and resisted the new heavenly apostolic order. We discovered just how deeply some of these things are ingrained into our thinking and practice. But eventually we made an individual and corporate decision to step into the new.

“… The dynamic of our strategy is revealed in God’s ability to disengage mindsets and perceptions that have held people captive in pseudo fortresses for centuries! Every lofty idea and argument positioned against the knowledge of God is cast down and exposed to be a mere invention of our own imagination” (2 Cor 10:5-6 Mirror Bible).

God has begun challenging the very pillars of our minds. We find ourselves in a time of transition, of uncertainty and change, in which we cannot be sure of anything we thought we knew. He has even told us,

“You have been invited to know the real Me, so that you can be forerunners of the glory presence”.

If He is inviting us to get to know the real God, what God did we think we knew? Is it possible that we have been seeing and presenting a false image of Him all this time? If so, we have only been introducing new believers to the same false image we have been worshipping. And if the world has rejected that image of God (and often, it has), then what might happen when we present the true nature of God, when we ‘show and tell’ what He is really like?

We need to meet Him and experience Him for ourselves. Then what we are offering people will not be some theoretical, theological perspective and doctrine, but a real relationship with a living God. And that is what the world needs; like us it needs to meet the real God, not the image that has been painted of Him up to now.

Seen Me, seen the Father

Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.

“Jesus is the crescendo of God’s conversation; he gives context and content to the authentic thought. Everything that God had in mind for mankind is voiced in him. Jesus is God’s language. He is the radiant and flawless expression of the person and intent of God. He mirrors God’s character and exhibits his every attribute in human form. He is the voice of God announcing our redeemed innocence. This voice is the dynamic that sustains the entire cosmos. He is the force of the universe upholding everything that exists as the executive authority of God, enthroned in the boundless measure of his majesty” (Heb 1:3 Mirror Bible).

He declared, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. As Mirror Bible translator Francois Du Toit says, “the best translation would always be the incarnation”. So Jesus has to be the lens through which we both see and project what God is really like.

Transformation

As ‘forerunners of the glory presence’, we must get to know that presence by our own experience. The glory is the glory of the true God, not some dim, fractured, distorted image of Him. The principle is that we will be transformed into what we behold: if we see God as angry and vengeful, looking for every opportunity to pounce on us and strike us down when we get out of line, then we will display the same traits ourselves. So even as we look to unmask what Brad Jersak calls ‘the toxic representations of God’ so prevalent in the traditional church (and therefore in secular western society), we have to be careful to operate in love towards those we enter into discussion with. We can only do this if we are beholding the real God. The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod is still working its way through the lump: religious and political spirits love dispute. By seeing and revealing the truth and operating in love we can help people to engage God themselves rather than feeling they have to engage in argument.

When Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, there was first of all a time of consecration. Alongside new experiences, new thinking and new levels and patterns of authority, we must display new levels of openness, honesty, sincerity, honour, respect and commitment.

Sacred cows

The old, the comfortable and the familiar have to be left behind when God brings us into a new day. If we are to receive all that God has for us we will need to let go of those old familiar ways because they will no longer be effective. Two and a half tribes elected to forego their inheritance in the Promised Land. We are not to be tethered to the past: old ways must not become idols we will not abandon.

So what are your pet doctrines, ideologies, methods and other sacred cows? Are you willing to meet God as He really is and ask Him to expose, remove and replace them?

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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Fasten your seatbelts!

God is always the same, faithful and full of lovingkindness, and He has never changed. But when we engage Him intimately, He reveals Himself in continually new, surprising and sometimes even shocking ways.

You may have seen from some of our recent YouTube releases and Facebook video clips that God is once again challenging that herd of sacred cows in the church we first confronted a few years ago. There are a whole lot more of them than we ever realised!

We want to bring the blog right up to date with what Mike and the rest of us here at Freedom are currently hearing from God and experiencing in the realms of heaven and earth. So from the next post onwards, fasten your seatbelts and be prepared to question some of your most deeply held assumptions and beliefs about yourself, God, faith, life and death, all in light of revelation which comes from your own deepening relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We can’t promise an easy ride. But then, that’s not what you’re here for, is it?

Blessings,

Jeremy.

P.S. Watch out for blog post #231 Meet the Real God, at https://freedomarc.blog or in your email inbox*!

*If you are not yet receiving email updates, sign up here, or you can go to www.freedomarc.blog to read our latest posts at any time.

230. Your Destiny Revealed

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Every one of us, whether we know it or not, has an inheritance that Jesus died to secure for us. It includes our identity, our redemptive gift and our destiny. If we choose to cooperate with what God has prepared for us, then we will find total satisfaction and fulfilment.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book (scroll) were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

(Psa 139:16-17).

All God’s thoughts about us are good, because He is always smiling over us. Some people present Him as an angry God waiting to pounce when we get it wrong. That is not the God I know, nor is it the God revealed in the person of Jesus (who is the exact representation of God’s nature). He is always running with open arms to embrace us even when we do get it wrong, because His deepest desire is for relationship with us.

But there is a battle going on for our destiny. There may be problems to solve, messes to clean up, and raw materials to be shaped. Don’t let the obstacles, opposition or past mistakes stop you fulfilling all that God has destined for you, instead see them as stepping stones. He brings good out of every situation.

Perhaps you feel constrained, contained, limited by your life circumstances? God can explode the walls of the box your life seems to be in. Even if religious or political authority, position, power or laws are against you, God is bigger than all that. Willing hearts are all He needs to work with.

What is your destiny?

Most people never know what their destiny is. Of those who do, a small percentage know from childhood, but the majority only find out between the ages of 30-50, when perhaps they have more time to reflect or are more mature and willing to listen. But our age does not need to restrict us: Caleb was 85 years old when he took possession of his inheritance.

Here are three kinds of evidence to help us identify our destiny:

  • Physical evidence (what we can see or deduce by examining our lives).
  • Relational evidence (what God says to us).
  • Heavenly supernatural evidence (what is written on our scroll in heaven).

Physical

Abilities and desires

We can look for the things God has included in our design that have no cultural, generational or nurture basis, qualities unique to us. Abilities and desires which none of our family or peers share, our reactions to events and situations, the positive and negatives which stir us, these are clues we need to find. What lights us up, what do we find fulfilment in already?

But beware, brokenness can also be a strong driver. Say we lost a close relative to a particular disease, we might find purpose in running a campaign or support group for sufferers and their families, but that could be a hindrance to finding our true destiny. So let’s be sure that we are really looking at clues to God’s design, and not the results of our own brokenness.

These are like the Lego or jigsaw pieces of our destiny; we need to put them together to see the bigger picture.

For me, they include:

  • my inquisitive desire to understand how things work
  • my concern for issues such as racial inequality and injustice
  • a fascination both with history and the future
  • a liking for science fiction, the unexplained, the outside-of-the-box, broadening the perspective of the possible.
  • mountains always being special for me.

Later on, I was drawn to the Bible, to study it, to meditate in it, and eventually to encounter God in it, and that was something He placed in me. And I was always attracted to revivals, to moves of God’s Spirit. None of this could be explained by nurture, or by brokenness.

Challenges

We should also look at the challenges we face, at opposition seeking to hinder us.

  • I had a fear of public speaking. I could not even read aloud in class! Yet later on, people kept asking me to speak. Eventually I did, and now it is one of the main things God uses me in.
  • I had to overcome serious health issues, and pursue living in supernatural health for myself. So now I have a testimony which can help others do the same.
  • I had no fathering, no mentor, and thus no sense of identity; I experienced being let down and betrayed, which led to loneliness, so I struggled with community and relationship. But all of those are things God is calling me to be involved with.

Are there character issues with which God keeps having us go around the mountain, until we deal with them? Negative personality traits He is asking us to work on? Things He gives us repeated opportunities to get transformed? Those, too, are clues.

Let’s not be limited by our past, nor let cultural constraint, gender, race or social standing stop us. God really is no respecter of persons.

Let’s surround ourselves with the right connections and associations, with people who will encourage, challenge and support us. Let’s be willing to obey even if God asks us to do something unexpected or unusual. Let’s not be passive, but actively pursue our destiny.

Relational

We can develop an intimate relationship with the God who has these vast thoughts about us. If we can learn to listen to and speak with God daily, then surely this is the simplest way to get to know our destiny?

His sheep know His voice (John 10:27). If we ask, we receive (James 4:2-3). Let’s draw near to Him (Heb 4:16, 10:22, James 4:8), get closer, go deeper, be real, be vulnerable in intimacy; get to know Him, know His thoughts, know His heart for us (John 16:13-14, 1 Cor 2:9-12).

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:18-20).

God has made resurrection life available to us to enable us to fulfil what He has called us to do.

Supernatural

Deep calls

God is releasing a sound, a vibrational frequency, calling us to come into alignment with our heavenly destiny. It is coming out of the spiritual realm. People are hearing it, all over the world (and not only believers).

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls… (Psalm 42:7).

We can engage Him in this sound in our worship. We need to tune into that sound, to engage our spirit with the creative light realm, that spiritual dimension all around us where we can access every spiritual blessing.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:3).

And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6).

Our destiny has been particularly fashioned for us, and involves ruling in heaven and walking it out on earth.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Eph 2:10).

Scroll of destiny

We saw in Psalm 139 that our destiny is recorded on a scroll. We can go into the record room of heaven and see the scroll of our destiny and the scroll of our life. When you compare the two, you can see where they line up (and where they don’t).

But I believe our destiny is also encoded in a double-helix scroll, our DNA. That is why, when we break bread, we speak words of transformational realignment over our DNA.

Search my heart

So let’s engage our destiny, fight for it, be prepared to be transformed for it. This is a good prayer to pray if you want to know your destiny:

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).

Draw near

Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:7-8).

God has placed it in our heart, so we can engage with it (and with Him) there. We give God access into our heart and He gives us access into heaven:

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. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throneAfter these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things” (Rev 3:20-21, 4:1).

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near… (Heb 10:19-22).

In the heavenly holy place we will find the arc of the covenant. The blood of Jesus is on the Mercy Seat, which always gives us access to come. Inside the arc are manna (representing the will of God for our lives), the tablets of stone (representing God’s law now written on our hearts) and Aaron’s rod (a symbol of authority).

Let’s go there now.

[Click here to play an audio version of the following activation: https://goo.gl/8s6uLA]

Close your natural eyes
And open the eyes of your heart, your imagination.
Think of a door. Picture the door in your spirit.
Jesus is knocking. Open the door, let Him in.

Feel His love, acceptance and affirmation.

Hear the sound of many waters, feel the vibration of His presence.
He embraces you and draws you close to His heart.
He affirms your identity
He affirms your calling
He affirms your destiny.

Listen to His voice.
Feel your heart engage.
Feel the desires of your heart released.

Now think of the door standing open into heaven.
Step through that door.

Jesus takes you by the hand
And leads you through the veils
To stand before the Arc.

His Name is manifested as you stand in His presence:
יהוה
(Yod Hei Vav Hei)
The Lion, the Ox, the Eagle and the Man.
The Presence of God manifests between the wings of the cherubim.

Open your heart to Him.
Let Him unfurl your scroll.
Let Him write and reveal the contents of the scroll onto your heart.

Let Him cause those longings, yearnings and desires to be released within you.

You can eat the manna, as it reveals more of God’s will for you.
Feel the energy.
Pick up the rod and feel the authority,
the confidence and boldness to fulfil your destiny.

And now you can step back into this realm…

I would encourage you to practise this daily, to feel and engage with the presence of God in the realms of heaven. Expect your heart to be changed, expect your destiny to be revealed and the longings that God has for you to be released.

SoundTrackCloser- Amanda Cook via amazon.co.uk*
*Transparency: FreedomARC will benefit from any purchase you make from amazon.co.uk using this link.

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יהוה  POWERFUL Manifesting Prayer | Adonya via YouTube

229. No-One Said It Would Be Easy

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Subdue

No-one said it would be easy (or if they did, they lied).

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).

So apparently there was something in their destiny that Adam and Eve would need to subdue. And it is always that way:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).

Most of us are familiar with that scripture, but how many of us really do consider it joy when we encounter difficult situations? Yet we would probably all say we want to be mature, complete and lacking in nothing. Do we see every obstacle as an obstruction and a barrier, or as an opportunity to overcome and grow in faith? That is what will make the difference in our experience.

Every battle on the pathway of our destiny is intended to create dependence on and intimacy with God. We are not supposed to overcome it alone, independent of Him, but to learn that we need Him. When we come up against something that seems impossible, if we keep looking at the obstacle it gets bigger and bigger until we end up in despair. If we look instead at God (who is God of the impossible), we get hope. Faith can arise and then nothing is impossible.

Jesus said we could speak to obstacles and tell them to move, but only if we have hope and faith in our hearts. He has been there and knows what it is like to face obstacles. If we try to avoid the battles, conflicts, trials and tribulations then we are cheating ourselves of experiential intimacy, growth and transformation. That will actually hinder our development into maturity. Sadly, the kind of gospel preaching many people have responded to has completely failed to prepare them for the battles they will face.

The first step

When God gives us a vision, usually we do not immediately get to see the whole of His purposes in it. Often, we only get the first step or two, like Abraham did: ‘Leave everything behind and I will show you where to go’. This encourages us to pursue Him for further revelation, and we then find that this only comes by first pursuing relationship with Him.

He uses that initial encounter or vision to get us started on the pathway. Sooner or later we will meet opposition which we need to press through to overcome, often from well-meaning believers, friends or family who try to put us off doing what God is asking us to do. Other people’s negative words have hindered many from fulfilling their destiny.

Fight for it

“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen 3:15).

Adam lost his inheritance but God’s ultimate plan did not change. He promised restoration through conflict. There is conflict, enmity, between the path of the tree of life and the path of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

We have to be willing to fight for our destiny. Jesus himself overcame the circumstances of His illegitimate birth and an early attempt on His life. Later on, He faced temptation and opposition from all kinds of people, from his own family and disciples through to the religious and political leaders. He persevered even to sweating drops of blood in Gethsemane and willingly giving up His life on the cross.

Abraham

Many other people we read about in the Bible experienced the same thing. Abraham did not just get the Promised Land handed to him. God took him (and his descendants) on a journey in which they could learn to trust Him and be obedient, with varying degrees of success. When the people of Israel came out of Egypt they crossed the wilderness to the Promised Land only to find it full of giants needing to be conquered. But God gave them divine strategy to overcome the opposition they faced.

So where are you? Are you in slavery in Egypt, wandering around in the wilderness, or are you in your own Promised Land, fighting to take possession of your inheritance?

Joseph

Joseph had wonderful visions, but his family reacted badly. He had a coat of many colours, favour, a double portion… and it seemed he had lost it all. He was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery in Egypt. He suffered false accusation and imprisonment. He was forgotten and let down by other people time and again.

Most people would have given up, thinking ‘those dreams must not have been from God’. Not Joseph. He continued to believe that God’s plan was alive and well. The reality is that he started out somewhat naïve, and his destiny for ruling could never have been learned in his father’s house, so God removed him. His experience of exile and prison taught him about people: through encountering animosity and jealousy he became streetwise.

Instead of being deflected from our purpose by treating everything we face as misfortune, how about we call it ‘refining’, and allow it to transform and change us?

David

David eventually became the great king he was destined to be, but not without first facing family opposition, killing a giant, surviving the previous king’s attempts to assassinate him, living in a cave with a bunch of oddballs (which sounds a lot like ‘church’ to me) and fighting off Philistines trying to rob him of his family and possessions. Only when he had overcome all that could he fulfil the purpose of God in his generation.

Esther

Esther was seemingly on a fast track to nowhere. Orphaned, kidnapped to a harem, separated from her remaining family, not allowed to speak to anyone, she went through a whole year of purification in order to spend the rest of her life in futile servitude at the whim of the king. God had other ideas. As her uncle Mordecai asked her, ‘What if you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ God is saying the same thing to each of us today.

She saved a whole nation by taking her life in her hands, stepping out of cultural expectations and going to see the king uninvited. You may not know the significance of your destiny, what its consequences might be in the plans and purposes of God for yourself, your family, your nation, your world. God has a purpose for you. Be an agent for change. Be a world-changer.

Let’s be willing to be transformed, to come into maturity. Let’s embrace the fullness of who we are and fulfil every part of the destiny God has for us. We sing,

I am royalty
I have destiny
I have been set free
I’m gonna shape history
I’m gonna change the world
(Jake Hamilton – The Anthem).

It’s great to sing that we are going to change the world – but it will only happen if we believe that, because of who we are in God, we really can.

SoundTrack: Jake Hamilton – The Anthem

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