239. The Things They Now Believe

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

“Good souls many will one day be horrified at the things they now believe of God” (George Macdonald, 1824-1905).

For me, that day has come. As I have encountered God, He has shown me that more and more of the things I believed about Him were not really true. He has been really considerate and taken me in stages through this process, because it would have been too much for me if He had done it all in one go. Will you let Him do the same for you?

Jesus is the exact representation of the Father, but that is not the picture religion paints at all. A whole host of doctrines widely accepted without question by most believers today do not really line up with a God who looks like Jesus. Since God is love, I am now very suspicious of any image of God that does not look like love.

Penal Substitutionary Atonement

One such doctrine is ‘penal substitutionary atonement’ (PSA): that Jesus died to appease God’s wrath. We will look at God’s wrath, anger, eternal judgment, punishment, eternal conscious torment and hell later in this series of posts, but PSA is the key to all these others. It is a really warped view of God which has Him saying ‘I will kill My Son to show you how good I am’.

Does God’s anger really need to be appeased? Almost all human justice systems come from the DIY tree, and are based on retributive justice, making offenders pay for their crimes one way or another. If we are hearing a little more about restorative justice today, it is because people are realising that retributive justice does not work. But God’s justice is and has always been restorative. The fear of punishment is not a good motivator. ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love’ (1 John 4:18). Why would God use fear of punishment to keep us in line?

It was man who came up with a ‘GOD’ who required appeasement (look at any primitive religion). But the truth is that ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire’ (Ps 40:6, quoted in Heb 10:5) and ‘You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering’ (Ps 51:16).

‘Redemptive violence’

“You have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness…” (Matt 23:23).

The Pharisees’ religion was all legalism, missing out truth, justice and mercy altogether, and in the ‘Christian religion’ (itself a contradiction in terms), a belief system of so-called ‘redemptive violence’ will inevitably affect the way we relate to others. We will steward the cosmos from that angry, retributive perspective. That is the ‘GOD’ image we will reflect to a broken world which needs healing, not punishment.

But God is not as we have been led to believe. The corrections of God are always restorative. The judgments of God are pure and bring mercy and life:

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face.
(Ps 89:14 NKJV).

Mercy and truth always go before Him. His justice is mercy and love, not punishment and retribution. Even painful truth is revealed only for our good and healing.

“God is a God of fierce judgement. I sense God’s burning judgement falling upon many of you today. He has made up His mind and the verdict is unchangeable. His judgement is: ‘You are forgiven, loved and accepted’. So, enjoy your judgement” (Benjamin David, Facebook post).

The cross

Jesus warned his disciples that He was going to the cross but He did not say He was going to suffer the just punishment for our sins at the hands of His Father. He would suffer at the hands of men:

Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men” (Luke 9:44).

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Matt 16:21).

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them: “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” (Mark 9:31).

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matt 20:18-19).

Look also at Mark 10:33-34, Luke 18:31-33, Luke 24:6-7, John 18:3-6, John 18:12, John 19:14-18, Acts 2:23, Acts 2:36, and Heb 12:2.

Jesus suffered at the hands of ruthless men, Jews and Gentiles, representing the religious and political systems. They agreed to condemn Him to keep their DIY system in control. Men crucified Jesus, and God used our punishment of Him to bring restoration and reconciliation.

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through by our transgressions, He was crushed by our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed (Isa 53:3-5).

There is simply nothing in scripture to support the idea that Jesus went to the cross to suffer the fiery wrath of His Father so that we could escape it. ‘We ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted’ but that is not how it really was.

The purpose of the cross was to undo the consequence of Adam’s sin, a loss of identity which produced spiritual death. It was a demonstration not of God’s wrath against humanity, but of His love towards humanity. When Jesus took the sin of the whole world upon his shoulders He was showing us the depths of God’s love.

“Our Father never needed a sacrifice; we did. And we, as one man, with one accord damned His Son, and our Father accepted our ‘faith’ and our ‘will,’ and our ‘decision’ to crucify His Son as the means to establish a real and everlasting relationship with us inside our faithless betrayal. This is salvation. This is adoption. This is redeeming genius and love almost beyond our wildest imaginations” – C. Baxter Kruger.

Atonement, propitiation

In the New Testament the Greek word katallagé (reconciliation) is often misleadingly translated ‘atonement’. ‘To atone’ is to make amends, to make reparation for wrongdoing. However, this old covenant word used to describe how a sacrificial animal covered people’s sin is not a word used in the new covenant. And animal sacrifices were not tortured by the priest, they were just killed.

Hilasmos (‘propitiation’) is another word which has been translated in a way which assumes an angry deity who needs to be appeased. It comes from the verb hilaskomai, meaning ‘to conciliate, be merciful, forgive, show favour’. It does not mean ‘atone’.

“But the church has always believed this!”

It hasn’t. Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA) may be a commonly held view in evangelical circles today but it was not formulated until the 11th century, by Anselm of Canterbury. Personal encounter with God could never lead us to the conclusion he reached through scholasticism, a method of study that emphasises reason, research and constructive criticism.

PSA is a man-made, demonically inspired doctrine of distortion. It only sounds plausible to us because we have been conditioned to accept that God is angry with us.

Forsaken

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Ps 22, quoted by Jesus on the cross in Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34).

This was Jesus’ cry of true identification with us in our brokenness and in our deepest, darkest pain. It was our separation He felt. Most of those who heard Him would know the rest of the psalm, including v24:

For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

We have seen before that God the Father never left Jesus the Son. Do we really imagine that the Triune God was somehow pulled apart at the cross? Whose side was the Holy Spirit on? The whole concept is preposterous when you know God for yourself. And yet we happily sing:

“One final breath He gave
As heaven looked away…”
(Forever by Brian Johnson, Kari Jobe, Christa Black Gifford, and Gabriel Wilson).

Heaven did no such thing.

The wages of sin

The cross was God showing the world that He was willing to take on flesh and die – for us and as us – not to pay off an angry God who couldn’t stand the sight of us. Jesus did not save us from God, He saved us from death (the wages of sin). The aim of Jesus’ death was to make personal, healing, life-giving, forgiving contact with us sinners, at the root of our sin and alienation.

A battered reed He will not break off, and a smouldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory (Matt 10:20, quoting Isa 42:3).

God’s justice does not break people; it heals those who are broken.

“God doesn’t need to punish anyone. “Sin is its own punishment.” … No one gets away with anything. There are terrible consequences for our actions, but God is forever with us, weaving grace into our stories to redeem even the worst situations for our good” (Brad Jerzak, ‘Unfundamentalist Parenting in The Shack – Part 1’).

Meet God

But please, don’t believe anything I say. Not without meeting God for yourself.

How much of what we believe has been handed onto us by someone else? Reading books, hearing sermons, just picking it up from being in a particular stream or community… none of that is a valid substitute. Get your revelation direct from Him, otherwise you are just leaning on someone else’s understanding (when, according to Proverbs 3:5, you ought not to even lean on your own). My understanding has come from my own personal experience, but it is no good to you. You need your own experience.

So meet God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Meet Him face to face and find out what He is really like. Let Him reveal Himself as the Truth. And be prepared to lay aside anything which does not line up with Who He is.

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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, that 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.

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

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).

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 1990’s. 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 that it almost seems wasteful, He’s giving us so much love. 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.

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199. Attitude Determines Altitude


Mike Parsons

with Jeremy Westcott – 

When we accept Jesus as Lord, ask God to forgive us, and become born again, the Spirit of God comes to live in us. That is, God Himself comes to dwell within us. We become a house of God; a dwelling, a habitation of God. Heaven can manifest through our lives. We become a gateway of heaven on earth. Wherever we are, we are ambassadors for God and the embassy of heaven on earth.

Not only should people see that we are healing the sick, doing miracles, casting out demons, doing the things Jesus did (and some even greater things that He didn’t), they should also notice that our whole attitude to life is different to theirs. We are to be recognisable by our love for one another, our readiness to forgive, not judging others’ motives, going the extra mile. The world is watching. Every problem, every crisis we face, is an opportunity to overcome and demonstrate heaven on earth.

Attitude determines altitude

There is a principle in aviation, ‘attitude determines altitude’. The angle on the back of the wings determines how high the plane goes. The attitudes we have in our heart and thinking will determine our life and how high it goes with God. The standards of heaven are higher than the standards of earth; they are based in love, in giving rather than receiving. We represent heaven’s superior authority, values, ideas, principles and wisdom, which are all higher.

God wants us to have a positive attitude that is dependent on what He says, not on our circumstances. Whatever our attitude, it will always be reflected in our behaviour.

‘Beautiful Attitudes’

In Matthew’s gospel (see Matt 5:1-11) we find what are traditionally
called the ‘Beatitudes’ (from the Latin word for ‘blessed’). It’s a well-used play on words, but the fact is that they are about beautiful attitudes, the kingdom attitudes God is looking for in us.

square wordle

Every verse starts with the word ‘blessed’, meaning ‘empowered to prosper and succeed at the highest level’. The Amplified version says, ‘blessed, happy, to be envied and spiritually prosperous with a life, joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of outward conditions… with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of his matchless grace…’

If we believe ‘God loves me, He has forgiven me, and He wants the best for me. He is not there to punish me and take things away from me. He is there to bless me, give me all things, and bring me into abundant life’, then our relationship with God brings real satisfaction for us, regardless of outward conditions. Having the right attitude will enable us to live in that favour of God and take us to the highest level of blessing.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (v3).

The Message version translates this as ‘Blessed when you are at the end of your rope’. God gives the kingdom resources to those who know they can do nothing profitable in their own flesh or their own strength.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (v4).

You can interpret this as feeling compassion.  But really it is about losing the most important thing in your life, which is you. ‘Me, myself and I’ must die. That is what mourning is about. I give up my life to gain His life.

Blessed are the gentle for they shall inherit the earth (v5).

Gentleness is strength, but surrendered, like a wild stallion with a bit in its mouth being directed by its rider. God wants us to be directed by Him. The inheritance we receive as a result is everything God desires for us. We know who we are, our identity in God (no more, no less), but we surrender that for His purposes just as Jesus did.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied (v6).

The world will never be able to satisfy us. When we seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, we finally discover what true satisfaction is. He will satisfy us. The Message again: ‘…work up a good appetite for God. His food and drink is the best meal you will ever eat’.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy (v7).

What we have received, we freely give. We have received mercy. When we treat people the same way God has treated us, it means we cannot seek revenge or retaliation: we show mercy. When we put other people’s good before our own, then God looks after us. That is His desire.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (v8).

Pure means without mixture. We have to be willing to allow God to deal with our hearts at the deepest level (as we have seen in Transformation) and get rid of all the rubbish which distorts our view of Him. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing.  If we want to be good ambassadors, we have to be able to see God as He did.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God (v9).

It is our desire and God’s to bring shalom, which really means wholeness, completeness and fullness.  Bringing shalom does not mean we never argue with anyone.  It means we bring truth that will set people free. God wants us to restore creation to its original condition. And creation itself is groaning, longing for us to be revealed as sons of God.

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (vv10-11).

No one likes to be persecuted, especially for doing good things, or maligned or wrongly blamed. When it happens, our attitude should not be one of retaliation or wanting revenge.  We can bless our enemies and love them, as Jesus commanded (and modelled for us under extreme provocation). The flesh will always try to get revenge, but the spirit alive to God will always look to sow blessings and peace.

When everything is going well, it is easy to be a nice, smiley person. When things are not going great, what are we like then? Are we a grump and miserable? Let’s cultivate an attitude that reflects God’s promises and blessings, rather than the circumstances we live in. We represent a different kingdom, and we have the authority to change the circumstances.

We expect good things to happen. We expect God’s favour wherever we are. We expect, when we enter a room (or how about a city, or a nation?), that we bring the power, the light and the life of God to change it. We can establish Cities of Refuge, which the world will stream to when its own systems are failing. We do not have to come under the circumstances and situations of the world. We are ambassadors of a higher kingdom.

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193. Rendering Service (Angels – Part 2)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

“Paradiso Canto 31” by Gustave Doré

All the miracles Jesus performed, He did as a man, a forerunner of the church that was to come. There was an open heaven over Jesus’ life. He lived in both realms, connecting earth and heaven, and angels were part of that connection. They were actively involved in all that He did, from the announcement of his birth to the empty tomb. This is a whole dimension of the supernatural which Jesus interacted with, and if we are to do ‘greater works than these’(John 14:12), then surely we will need to interact with it in the same way Jesus did.

On earth as it is in heaven

Jesus died so that we could inherit. That inheritance is both earthly and heavenly, both natural and supernatural, in line with God’s eternal intention: for man to bring the rulership of God to the whole of creation:

Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
(Matt 6:10).

Throughout most of church history the enemy has blinded our eyes and convinced us that we are weak, powerless and of no effect. If we will start believing the truth of who we are, of our identity as sons of God, as joint heirs with Christ who have authority in the heavens and on the earth, then our lives will become a gateway for heaven to manifest on earth just as Jesus’ life was.

We saw in the last post that as a Joshua generation we are called to operate with the angels and the heavenly realms. The ‘promised land’ we are entering is the fullness of our inheritance, physical and spiritual, which God has set aside for us. Joshua met with an angel (the captain of the host of the Lord) who came and gave him revelation from heaven, and with an open heaven over our lives we should expect the same kind of thing to happen for us.

Ministering spirits

If ‘angels are ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation’ (Heb 1:14), then they must be bored silly, because most of us don’t have any connection with them. We are ‘those who will inherit salvation’, but how many of us actively enlist the help of angels on a daily basis?

What service do we want them to render to us? Do we want them to bring blessing, favour, finance, healing – for our benefit, or for others? Do we want them to minister to our families, our children, our friends and work colleagues? They are messengers, worshippers, warriors and more. We need to open up our perspective on this, and broaden it, because there is so much that they are available to do for us. God wants us to expand our understanding – and experience – of the angelic, so that we can do the things Jesus did.

When our baby grandson was seriously ill, we prayed for the angels to surround that room, that the spirit of death would have no place there. There was a sense of the angelic presence when we went in there, because we sent them. And his recovery amazed everyone at the hospital.

Personal attributes of God

Angels are often at work where a personal attribute of God is mentioned such as the arm, hand or eyes of God. God is spirit, and He does not have a physical body like that. When He does show up in person, He comes in a dark cloud for our protection. But the angels are the executors of God’s actions and the means of the revelation of His personal being to man.

The activity of the Holy Spirit is often confused with the activity of angels. A common argument you will hear from people who don’t believe we should engage with angels goes like this: ‘we don’t need angels, because God sends the Holy Spirit’.

The Holy Spirit is God. He was only ‘sent’ once, on the day of Pentecost, to come and fill the church. We come into that experience for ourselves when we get born again and baptised in the Holy Spirit. He is our internal Guide, Comforter, and Counsellor, bringing a sense of love, joy and peace. We know that we are dearly loved children – that is the Holy Spirit at work. And it is He who brings the power and the anointing for our mission. I am not seeking to minimise the importance of the Holy Spirit.

But God uses angels to do His business. So I believe the trembling, heat, electricity, fragrance and so on that we may experience in worship are actually angelic presence. ‘But that’s God!’ you may say. I agree, it is God. It is God using the angels to manifest these things so that we can experience them.

The angel of the Lord

The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush… When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exod 3:2,4).

How much of this was the angel and how much of it was God? I believe all of it was the angel – and all of it was God, using the angel to speak to Moses.

The angel of His presence

In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old (Isa 63:9).

We can feel the presence of God in the presence of the angelic. Angels communicate His presence to us. The angel of His presence can bring love, and mercy – and, according to this scripture, redemption and salvation.

The hand of the Lord

Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling (Dan 10:10-11).

When we tremble and shake, are we being touched by an angel?

The eyes of the Lord

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His (2 Chron 16:9).

The fear of the Lord

“For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land… I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you” (Exod 23:23,27).

God sent the angels ahead of His people as they entered the Promised Land. As we seek to enter into our inheritance, we can expect angels to go before us and prepare the way.

Word of the Lord

The word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet.  I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are”. And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth” (Zech 1:7-10).

It is time for us to see the angels commissioned and released. There is nothing wrong in our asking God to do these things for us, especially when we are spiritual babies. But as we mature, we begin to understand that we have the authority to send the angels out for ourselves.

How many angels are there?

Jesus said He could instantly call on more than twelve legions – or more than 72,000 (Matt 26:53). If we are joint heirs with Him, how many can we call on? But the enemy wants to keep us ineffective, so we have never been taught to think that way.

Hebrews speaks of countless thousands (Heb 12:22). And there are 10,000 x 10,000 = 100 million angels surrounding the throne in heaven (Rev 5:11).

If angels are as numerous as the stars of heaven (see Rev 12:4), then there are around a billion stars in our own Milky Way galaxy, and between 1022 and 1024 stars in the Universe (that is, the number 1 with between 22 and 24 zeroes after it). That is a lot of angels.

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Heb 1:14, my emphasis).

God made the angels, and He made them for us.

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Image attribution: the image at the head of this article is “Paradiso Canto 31” by Gustave Doré – Alighieri, Dante; Cary, Henry Francis (ed) (1892) “Canto XXXI” in The Divine Comedy by Dante, Illustrated, Complete, London, Paris & Melbourne: Cassell & Company Retrieved on 13 July 2009.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – http://bit.ly/1ON8PY3

189. The Books Are Being Opened

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Progressive revelation

How many of us have suddenly seen something in a scripture that we have never seen before? How many of us believe differently to what we used to believe a few years ago? This is the time Daniel wrote of, when the books are being opened and fresh revelation is coming to the church.

Looking again at this passage:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:47-51).

Those who ate manna still died physically. Jesus was comparing manna to Himself, saying that though they ate manna they still died, but if you eat ‘this bread’ you won’t.

Since then, though, everyone in history has in fact died. However, a whole generation who will see Him return will not have to die. It is significant that this revelation is being released right now: the timing suggests that God may today be preparing that generation who will not die.

When Jesus spoke about this, ‘many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him any more’ (John 6:66). Jesus continues to bring unconventional revelation today, and some respond in exactly the same way.

But Jesus is the living Word, and He has the words of eternal life.

Would Jesus have died?

Jesus said that the enemy had nothing in Him. If He had not gone to the cross, I do not believe that He would have died, physically. There was nothing in His genetic record that the enemy could use to bring death to Jesus. If there are no iniquitous genetic patterns in our life, then there is no need for sickness or death in us either. As we break bread and apply the truth of the power of the cross to our lives, God transforms us (body, soul and spirit).

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves… always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4: 7,10).

We deny ourselves, take up that cross, and follow Him. If we carry ‘the dying of Jesus’, then we are carrying the power of the victory of the cross, giving us authority over sin, sickness and death. We can expect a manifestation of the life of Jesus to be operating in our mortal flesh, in our body (not soul, or spirit). Why should we be subject to sickness and disease? Let’s be really open to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit about this.

Jesus radiated the glory of God and was able to do miracles in His physical body. Through presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice, and being transformed or transfigured, our bodies can do what Jesus did and we can live as He lived.

Law of Precedent

Yes, ‘it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment’ (Heb 9:27), but that verse is not about the inevitability of death, it is about not being reincarnated.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death (Rom 8:2).

The Law of Precedent means that if any man has not died, then it is possible for another man not to die. Enoch ‘walked with God, and was not’. Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind. Since they did not die, then there is a precedent: not everyone has died. And there will be a whole generation when Jesus returns who will not die either. I believe that God is preparing that generation today.

The glory revealed

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:18 NKJV)

People have understood this to mean that we will be glorified when we get to heaven. But we can be glorified and have the glory of God manifest in us today.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 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 8:19-21).

The ‘glory of the children of God’ is not glory that is robbed from God, but is a manifestation of God on the earth, bringing creation back into its original condition and purpose. The whole of the universe, and the whole spiritual realm, is waiting for the revealing of God’s sons, those who manifest the glory of God on earth as it is in heaven.

‘Sanctify you entirely’

In the last two or three years my whole understanding of Scripture has changed, as I begin to see the fresh revelation that God is opening up. In our day, the Holy Spirit is unveiling revelation for the end of time.

This is a powerful scripture, which I have read hundreds of times without seeing the significance of the revelation that is being released to us now:

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5: 23).

With the help of a Bible dictionary, let me offer an expanded version of that verse to meditate upon:

  • The God of Shalom (wholeness, restoration, nothing missing and nothing broken)
  • will sanctify you (purify you and cleanse you inside and out, free you from the guilt of sin through the atonement)
  • entirely (perfectly, completely, in all respects)
  • so that not only your spirit and soul, but also your body, may be preserved
  • complete (whole, entire, with no part wanting or unsound, without blemish or defect of any kind, consummate)
  • without blame (faultless, free from sin and its effects)
  • at the coming or return of Jesus

Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:25-27).

That is the church for which Jesus will return. That is why God is pruning us, refining and purifying us, transforming us into true sons who are joint heirs with Jesus. Removal of stumbling blocks, gathering angels, the fire of God’s presence – those things mark this period in God’s Prophetic Timetable.

If we want to be part of the generation that sees Jesus return, let us be willing to be transformed and transfigured into true sons, so that we receive our full inheritance.

Operate in true power and authority

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

We should increasingly operate in true power and authority, doing what Jesus did and greater works. It is going to be exciting to find out know what those greater works might be!

These are some things Jesus did that most of us have never done:

  • Moved through matter
  • Transported through space
  • Disappeared in front of people
  • Walked on water
  • Multiplied food
  • Turned water into wine.

It was not magic. If we are to do greater things than Jesus, we need the same power He had. Let’s be hungry and thirsty to receive the revelation and the power that we need to enable us to do as He promised.

The closing section of our Communion Prayer reads:

I speak creative words to my DNA to release the supernatural abilities of God.
I trigger the ability to see in the realm of the kingdom.
I trigger the ability to move in the realm of the kingdom.
I trigger the creative ability to transform matter.

I want to do those things, and I hope you do as well. Let us apply all we are learning to our lives, on a daily basis, until we see the manifestation of the glory of God in us – and attain to the fullness of all our inheritance in Him.

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182. Not Of This Creation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Therefore I urge You, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present Your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is Your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of Your mind, so that You may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1-2).

Spiritual service of worship

We are spirit, so this is what we were created for. ‘Service’ and ‘worship’ are exactly the same Greek word, and they go together. You cannot worship Him without serving Him; nor serve Him without worshipping Him. My service, my worship, is God’s will for my life, my eternal destiny; and it will be revealed as I come and offer myself as a living sacrifice.

A living sacrifice

We can treat this living sacrifice as an analogy, as most of us have probably always done, or we can experientially present our lives as living sacrifices, by faith, in reality. It can be a real thing we are doing in a real place, in the presence of God.

heavenly-realms-2 (1)

The altar for this sacrifice is in the tabernacle in the heavenly realms. On a macro scale, the tabernacle is a pattern of the heavenly realms, but on a micro scale it is also an actual dimensional realm of kingdom authority.

The sacrificial lamb was prepared by the priest. It did not prepare itself. We cannot transform ourselves, however hard we try. We need the presence and power of God to change us. All we have to do is surrender, and let Him do the rest.

The priest slit the animal’s throat and drained the blood; skinned it, split it open and washed its inner organs; and split open the backbone to reveal the marrow. As we have gone through this series we have seen what some of those things represent.

Head and legs

Finally he chopped off its head and cut off its legs.

The head is all about government, rule or authority. We surrender our choices, our rights and our decision-making; our own head is severed, and we become connected to the Head: Jesus. We have the mind of Christ. We seek first the Kingdom; God’s rule in, around and through us. We seek His righteousness, ‘His way of being and doing right’ (Matt 6:33 AMP). ‘His way of being’ manifests as the fruit of the Spirit; ‘His way of doing’, as the power of the Spirit. We are under authority and we exercise authority, confidently expecting God to add to us all that we need.

Our legs are symbolic of our walk and lifestyle: we walk a surrendered walk, a walk of obedience. The one who says he abides in Him (Jesus) ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (1 John 2:6).

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:20).

Now we can walk by faith, not sight; not swayed by what we see around us. Having a heavenly perspective, we see things through God’s eyes. God blessed Adam: He empowered Him to succeed; and then told him to be fruitful and multiply; to subdue and to bring the rule of God to the earth. He is still calling us to do the same today.

Jesus is the only way

Way, Truth and LifeJesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

There is no other way we can come. The only access point we have into a relationship with the Father is through Jesus and what He did on the cross. He is our only means of access into the presence of God in the heavenly realms.

Not of this creation

Jesus went into the holy place in the heavenly tabernacle, and the same passage of scripture says that we can go there too:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation… For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb 9:1, 24).

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 with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb 10:19-22).

We can enter the same holy place (there is no other holy place any more), and be cleansed, changed, transformed into the image God has of us.

Ark

Know the will of God

And in that holy place is the ark, containing manna, the tablets, and Aaron’s rod. The manna (bread of life) is the will of God (John 4:34); the tablets are the Word of God, now written on our hearts (Jer 31:33), enabling us to recognise Him in what goes on around us; Aaron’s rod is God’s authority, anointing and power to do His will and purpose (Matt 6:10).

I want to know the will of God for my life every day, so each day I step in to where God’s presence rests over the ark, and I take what is in the ark and apply it to my life. The blood of Jesus is always on the mercy seat, so I always have access to come and make a connection.

My spirit needs to resonate and harmonise and agree with the contents of the ark. When I come into agreement with God, I can expect God to reveal His will, His word, and His heart, and to release His authority. I get the thoughts of God, and I ask Him to show me if there is anything He wants me to do today, anything I need revelation of, anything I need specifically to do. If not, I ask Him to touch my heart so that my heart will see and recognise Him around me.

God’s will has a frequency. Resonance happens when I vibrate at the same frequency as God, to produce harmony and agreement; that is when authority and confidence come. Since God has told me to do something, I can be completely confident that He is going to give me everything I need – the authority, the power, the resources – to accomplish it.

Practice

I administer the kingdom government of God through my life, with authority and power, in the sphere of influence He has given me. But it is heaven first, earth second: I need to know the will of God in heaven before I can outwork it here on earth.

I encourage You to practise engaging until You can live and operate out of the revelation you have accumulated, and it becomes a pathway of entrance.

When you learn to drive a car, at first the driving instructor has to constantly remind you to think, be aware, look in your mirrors, step on the gas, apply the brakes and so on. But once you can drive and have built up some experience, you do it all without thinking; it comes as second nature to you.

When I first began to access heaven, it used to take me quite a long time. I was going through the process, learning to present all the different parts of the living sacrifice. Now, I can go from here in this dimension right to the very presence of God in one step, following the pathway I have learned. This is what we mean by learning the protocols of engaging heaven, so that we can step into whatever realm of heaven we need to, whenever we need to, in order to bring the rule of heaven to earth.

We need to live on the other side of the veil, in the realm of His presence. The earth responds when we govern from beyond the veil, no longer looking to live on the earth out of the supply of heaven (great though that sounds), but living our life both in heaven and on the earth, in dual realms, at the same time; no longer trying to get heaven to come down to earth, but to be in heaven, and bring heaven to earth with us.

Let’s engage as we step in:

Jesus, I thank You that You have opened up the veil.
You are the door, the matrix to the Father
into the realm of His presence

I thank You that You have torn the veil.
So today by faith I step through the veil of the natural world
into the realm of Your presence.

I thank You that while I am standing here in Your presence
I am a gate of eternity.
I open the gate of eternity in me
and I receive the realm of eternity.

I receive the fullness of the breath of God into my body

[breathe in]
that my body would take on the reflection
of who I am in the kingdom as Your son.

Father, I engage that and I push and pull it in
and draw it into my spirit being.
I ask You to breathe into me while I am in Your presence,
Breathe Your spirit and Your being into me.

I draw it into my spirit being
so I become one with You

I step back into the atmosphere of the earth
to administer the breath of God.
[breathe out]
I breathe out the breath of God

into the atmosphere of the earth around my life
to establish Your kingdom.

I step forward into the realm of Your presence.
I open my life to expose my inner being to Your presence.
All that I am, Father, I make open
for Your presence to gaze upon.

Jesus, You are my high priest,
You take my living sacrifice and make me clean.
I receive Your purity and holiness
through the absolute cleansing of Your presence.

Lord I breathe You in,
Baptise me afresh in Your Holy Spirit.
Bring me to the house of wine
to the banqueting table of Your presence
under the covering of Your government and love.

I ask You to fill me with the wine of Your love and presence.
I drink the wine of Your presence
and engage this as provision for my life
out of the realm of heaven.

I step back into the realm of earth
and release the wine and atmosphere of Your presence
into this atmosphere around my life.

I release it out of my spirit being
through the matrix gate of eternity
into the atmosphere of the earth
to administer Your kingdom through me.

You can find your own words; you do not have to use these. But as you practise stepping in by faith day by day, you will start to engage. And as you step out, things will begin to change. You will be bringing God’s kingdom into the atmosphere around your life, to His glory.

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169. Beholding As In A Mirror

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1-2).

We have seen how we can come into Holy Place in the heavenly tabernacle through the cross, through Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Just as the sacrificial lamb was prepared by the High Priest, so Jesus prepares us daily as a living sacrifice.

Beholding as in a mirror

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18)

Besides the altar of incense, in the Holy Place there is also a laver (a large bath, made of polished bronze) (Ex 38:8) in which the priests would immerse themselves to wash. This mirror surface is supposed to reflect the image of God. The word of God is our mirror (James 1:23), and when we look into that mirror we should increasingly see the reflection of His image in us.

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 with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb 10:19-22).

We may have thought this something we do on earth. Look again: we do it in heaven. We have access through the blood of Jesus, a new and living way, into the heavenly realms.

…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word… (Eph 5:25-26).

Authority of the word

Are we willing to submit to the authority of the word of God in our lives? The Spirit of God breathes life into the word and applies it; we surrender to it and make it the authority in our life. The logos (written word) becomes the rhema (spoken word).

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and separating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb 4:12).

This familiar verse is not about the Bible, the book, but about the living word which addresses the issues in our life. When we look into the word; when we surrender our lives to it, God can reveal to us aspects of our life and behaviour to which we have been blind (our ‘blind self’). We see and surrender to the truth, and step into the light where the 7 spirits of God are burning, bringing knowledge, wisdom, understanding and so on (represented by the candlestick there in the Holy Place).

When Jesus, our High Priest, prepares our life as a sacrifice, He removes all our coverings, skins, and masks; all our onion layers of self-protection. We stand before Him naked, transparent, uncovered; our flesh completely exposed before God. Fig leaves did not work for Adam and Eve: we need to stop trying to cover up with dead works, self-righteousness, defence or coping mechanisms, trying to meet our needs apart from God. We need to surrender.

Threes

Hebrews 4:12 (which we looked at above) talks about three things: dividing, separating, judging; three layers of God’s dealing with us. The division of soul and the spirit is about our behaviours (transgression); but there is a deeper level, our thoughts and intentions, our motives (sin); and deeper still, the bone and marrow, the root or source of things in our lives (iniquity).

We are a 3-part being: spirit, soul and body.
God is a 3-part being: Father, Son and Spirit.
This is because 3 is the number of government.

  • The body has 3 layers of skin – dermis, epidermis, sub-dermis
  • The heart has 3 layers – endocardium, myocardium, pericardium
  • The brain has 3 layers – dura matter, arachnoid matter, pia matter
  • The soul has 3 components – heart, emotions, will

Everything operates in threes, even transgression, sin and iniquity.

Trauma, nurture, nature

God wants us to deal with the layers in our lives. We acquire these skins, layers, masks, and behaviour patterns in one of three ways:

  • Trauma – experiential programming
  • Nurture – environmental programming
  • Nature – DNA genetic programming

Trauma is the record of our experiences, stored as memories in our lives. We create layers of protection, coping and defence mechanisms because of such things as

  • Abuse – physical, sexual, emotional, physiological, verbal
  • Incidents and accidents – emotional
  • Grief and loss, death, divorce, moving home

Nurture is our environmental programming, the record of our upbringing. We may have been affected by:

  • Parents – less than perfect acceptance, affection, affirmation, approval – security
  • Family, school, friends, church
  • Words – curses, vows, agreements, lies
  • Familial and familiar spirits

Nature is our:

  • blood line – records of family sin, behaviours, spirits – iniquity
  • seed line – our DNA genetic record, which may contain reptilian seed (Cain), Nephilim seed (angelic/human hybrid) or righteous seed (Noah).

We can deal with both trauma and nurture by surrendering; by entering into the realms of heaven to present ourselves as a sacrifice. We allow ourselves to be skinned of all masks, coverings and layers; self-righteousness, religious coverings, denial and projection; self-protection, coping and defence mechanisms. We will see how to deal with our nature (blood line and seed line) later in this series.

Our being

Transformation 2012 6_277

We are made in the image of God, spirit, soul and body. Our spirit is where the Holy Spirit is resident, with the mind of Christ, the glory of God and the heart of the Father. When we surrender our spirit and the throne of the government of our life to God, then our spiritual senses are activated to express God’s glory through us to the world around us.

Transformation 2012 6_279

Our spirit is surrounded by our soul. Our conscious mind is the outer layer of our soul, the connection between it and our body. We can have lies masquerading as truth in our subconscious (at Freedom we call it our ‘knower’ because it is where we know that we know that we know things). But just because we ‘know’ something does not make it true. Our strongholds defend our right to believe lies. We need them demolished so that lies can be replaced with truth, reprogramming the mind and renewing the heart.

Transformation 2012 6_280

I do not know anyone who grew up with the ideal of perfect love, esteem, worth, value and security. We have all had unmet needs which we tried to meet through imperfect people, who inevitably disappointed us (God is the only one who can meet our needs). Emotional damage eventually comes out through our conscious mind and expresses itself in our behaviour every day. We have lived under the rule of things that shaped our lives.

If we present ourselves to Him, God heals and restores us.

Transformation 2012 6_281

In our will, sin and iniquity have caused stubbornness, doubt, fear and so on. As we surrender, as we daily present ourselves as a living sacrifice, God replaces those with patience, confidence, humility, endurance – all the positive attributes you see there.

If we pursue transformation, God deals first with our behaviour. And if we persevere, beyond that there are still motives and roots that He will begin to address.

Wash me, skin me

Father I thank You that You have made a way for me
To access Your heavenly presence
I step in through the veil of Jesus through the way of the cross
I step into the realm of Your government

I look into the mirror of Your word
Reveal my blind self to me
Show me the hidden motives of my heart
Show me how I look compared to Your image
Wash me and cleanse me with Your living word

I step through the veil of truth into the Holy Place
I stand in the light of Your truth
I ask You to search me

I present myself to You, Jesus, my High Priest, as a living sacrifice
Prepare me for the altar of incense
That my life would be an acceptable offering

Skin me
Remove all layers of self-righteousness
Remove all the masks I hide behind
Remove all my defensive behaviour patterns
Remove all my coping mechanisms

Remove all the mindsets and strongholds I have built
To defend my false beliefs and values

Remove all patterns of thinking,
Philosophies, ideals, lies and values not of Your kingdom

Remove all layers of doubt and unbelief
Remove all my emotional layers of rejection, insecurity, fear, dependence,
Remove all layers of guilt and shame
Remove all layers of anger, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness
Remove all layers of control, independence,
Stubbornness and rebellion, pride and self-sufficiency

Give me revelation of my true identity as a son of God
Renew my mind to the mind of Christ
Meet all my unmet needs in Yourself
Heal all my unhealed hurts
Restore my soul

I receive Your unconditional love, acceptance, affirmation, approval
I stand transparent, naked and unafraid before You
I hear You say ‘I see You and I love You’
I receive Your value, esteem and worth
I receive Your strength, patience, perseverance,
Courage, boldness, humility and confidence

I step back into this realm to walk in the ways of Your kingdom
Manifest Your glory through me on earth as it is in heaven

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168. The Fire of Transformation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Refiner’s Fire

There are three things you need for fire: heat, air, and a fuel source. God’s presence is the heat and the wind of the Holy Spirit is the air (the more the wind of the Spirit blows, the hotter the fire). Now, who is willing to be a fuel source? There is no other fuel for this fire. To enter glory we must go through the fire of transformation. We are being prepared so that He can turn up in person.

Fire changes the composition of a substance at a molecular level. Chemically, this is the process, and there will be parallels for us in our lives too:

  • Heating – temperature rises
  • Transition – softening of bonds
  • Degradation – bonds break
  • Decomposition – release of gases
  • Oxidation – combustion
  • Transformation – change of substance (e.g. wood to charcoal)

Fire from heaven

We can see instances in scripture where the fire of God fell:

Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces (Lev 9:24) [see also 2 Chron 7:1, 1 Chron 21:26, Rev 8:5].

But we are not dependent upon fire falling from heaven. We have access to heaven, where the fire is. We can enter into the fire of God’s presence every day.

Pure in heart

Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God (Matt 5:8).

Our lives become an offering when we go through this process of refining and purifying. Purity means there is no mixture. We gave God the go-ahead for this when we prayed “Try me, O God” (from Psalm 139) a little earlier. ‘The Lord tests the heart’ (Prov 17:3), and ‘when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold’ (Job 23:10).

We can count it all joy when we go through trials (James 1:2), because we know the end will make it all worth while. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, we are not alone in the fire, and when we come through we will not even smell of smoke.

A new heart

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26).

We need pure hearts, because the heart carries the testimony record of our life and past generations. The heart forms from the sperm and the ovum joining to form the first cell and contains 23 + 23 chromosomes from our mother and father. It contains the DNA record of our seed line and the cell memories of our past generational blood line.

Transformation is the process of rewriting our hearts (2 Cor 3:3). This is what will happen when we start dealing with these generational things in our lives:

You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place (Deut 12:3).

  • What are your idols?
  • What are your family idols?
  • Where are your high places?
  • Where are your family high places?
  • Where have you sacrificed?
  • Where has your family sacrificed?
  • What have you traded with?
  • What has your family traded with?

This is all coming as we ask God to transform us.

Heavenly realms

We are to lay our lives on the altar, and come as a living sacrifice. That altar is not in a physical place on earth, but in the tabernacle in heaven.

Heavenly realms 2

This is a diagrammatic representation of seven realms of heaven. Between each of these realms or dimensions are gateways, and there are protocols for passing through them. The two cherubim and fiery sword are there to block the pathway to the tree of life, but Jesus has unblocked that pathway for us as we come through Him, through the cross.

When He described Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life, (the names of the veils between the various parts of the temple), His contemporaries understood very well that He was saying, ‘It is (and always has been) only through Me that you can access the realms of God’s Presence and the realms of heaven’.

Way, Truth and Life

The seraphim and fire

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, Woe is me, for I am ruined! Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is purged (Isa 6:4-7).

We may well exclaim ‘Woe is me, I am ruined!’, or in more modern language, ‘I’m totally wrecked’ because that is how we feel when all the impurities come to the surface in the heat of the fire. The burning coal purges our sin and takes away our iniquity when we engage the seraphim. If you have not yet experienced that, then that too is coming.

A living sacrifice

We have looked before at what it means to come as a living sacrifice. Please feel free to read those blog posts now if you have not done so before. By faith we enter through the veil, to the brazen altar, to Jesus our High Priest, who prepares the sacrifice. Our part is to come and present ourselves.

Jesus told us that this is the protocol if we want to come after Him: to deny ourself (surrender), take up the cross (the place of exchange) and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

Walk in the light

If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7, 9).

How many of us have only ever applied this scripture to this earthly realm? But it is in the realms of heaven that we are cleansed from sin; it is in the realms of heaven where Jesus is, walking in the light. That cleansing comes as we step into His presence through the cross. We can experience cleansing here in this realm only because we can do so in that realm. And we can do it in an instant by learning to step into that place, to go through the veil of the cross and exchange old for new, sin for righteousness and so on.

covenant-exchange-belonging

Here are some declarations you can use every day:

Father, I thank You that through your mercy
You have made a way for me to access Your heavenly presence.

I choose to deny myself, take up the cross and follow Your way.
I choose to lose my life to gain your life.

I step in through the veil of Jesus, through the way of the cross.
I step into the realm of Your government.
I come to trade on the brazen altar of covenant exchange.

I exchange my sin for Your righteousness.
I exchange my rejection for Your acceptance.
I exchange my guilt for Your forgiveness.
I exchange my sickness for Your health.
I exchange my old life for Your new life.

I exchange my old identity for Your new identity.
I exchange my old name for Your new name.
I exchange my old nature for Your new nature.
I exchange my old bondage for Your new freedom.
I exchange my old records for Your new record.
I exchange my past for Your future.

I exchange my darkness for Your light.
I exchange my weakness for Your strength.
I exchange my thoughts for Your thoughts.
I exchange my character for Your character.
I exchange my ways for Your ways.

I step back into this realm
Forgiven, cleansed, and clothed with righteousness.
I am empowered for transformation
To manifest Your glory
Bringing heaven to earth through my life.

I would encourage you to do this every day. Step in and step out; exchange old for new at the cross. Be transformed. Make this a way of life, daily denying yourself, taking up the cross, and following Him – into the realms of heaven.

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—

166. Tadpoles and Caterpillars

Mike Parsons 
with Jeremy Westcott – 

[We] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor 3:18).

We are to be transformed into the image of Jesus. As John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). He adds to me what is like Him, and He takes away from me what is not like Him.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2).

Metamorphosis

Transformation (the Greek word is metamorphosis) is a change from one form into another, such as a caterpillar into a butterfly or a tadpole into a frog. It is not something which happens just on the surface. The kind of transformation God requires will affect our spirit, our soul (mind, will and emotions) and our body, right down to DNA level.

Look at the life cycles of the butterfly and the frog:

lifecycles

There are similarities, and one major difference. The tadpole gets to enjoy freedom while he gradually changes, a little at a time. The caterpillar is shut into a cocoon and radically changed, all at once. Some of those cocoons look very pretty, but what goes on inside really isn’t. The caterpillar is dissolved, its DNA is completely deconstructed, turned into mush, and recoded to form a butterfly. The emerging butterfly struggles to escape from the cocoon, but that very struggle produces the strength to overcome and fly.

I know which kind of transformation I would prefer.

Now a tadpole can live only in the water, but a frog is at home both in water and on the land. A caterpillar is earthbound, whilst a butterfly can fly in the air or perch on the ground. As a result of our transformation, we are enabled to operate effectively in the dual realms of heaven and earth.

Visions of a dark cloud

A number of people have seen a dark cloud over us here at Freedom. It is not a warning of something bad about to happen: the dark cloud is like a cocoon, a canopy over us, protecting us and enabling us to operate as a safe haven, a city of refuge, even as we are transformed here ourselves. It is the cloud that surrounds His glory:

…there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain…  the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently (Ex 19:16,18).

We can see our place of transformation as a cloud, as a cocoon, a wilderness, a crucible, a furnace. In all of these it will be our situations, circumstances and relationships that God uses to bring about the result He desires. We may find ourselves asking searching questions. Where am I? Who am I? What am I? Why am I?

When the cloud overshadows, the Spirit is brooding, hovering, resonating: causing us to come into harmony with Him. The vibrating energy of the Holy Spirit causes shaking, realignment at the very deepest level, and brings us into resonance, into harmony with our identity and destiny as sons. His overshadowing always produces change:

The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding, vibrating) over the face of the waters (Gen 1:2).

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…” (Luke 1:35).

Pursuit (the proof of desire)

We can run, we can criticise the fire for being too hot, we can complain that other people are unsympathetic and uncaring. Or we can submit, and allow Him to have His way. Let’s even pursue and embrace the transforming cloud and fire of God’s presence. What is buried deep in us will come to the surface. What is hidden will be revealed. We may feel disoriented; that it is dark, restricted, hot; that we are falling apart (there may be some truth in that). But heat and pressure turn coal into diamonds, and weeds into fertile compost. Our identity as sons is forged in the fires of adversity and challenge.

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 perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Rom 5:3-5).

We must fight, press in, press on and not give up. We must pursue our inheritance; not being settlers but pioneers. We must also not cave in to pressure to help others out of their cocoon. We can encourage and support, but we must not try to rescue them from their struggle, because it is the struggle that will enable them to fly.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force (Matt 11:12).

Ready to move?

God is always moving, and He wants us to chase after Him towards maturity. He makes us uncomfortable where we are: it may be that we find the spiritual techniques and disciplines we have relied on no longer work, that we cannot see or hear as we once did. He is moving us from His presence to His glory.

Are we ready to move when the pillar of fire or cloud moves? He is not where He was; He is not doing things as He was. But His glory and grace depart slowly – in the Old Testament they were unaware that He had left the temple (Ezek 8-11).

God is calling us to transformation because He loves us; calling us ‘deep to deep’ (Ps 42:7) to engage heaven; calling us to a supernatural lifestyle; calling us out of the wilderness into our true inheritance. He wants us living in dual realms so that we can bring His kingdom government from heaven to earth.

Transformation is the only way to maturity, to sonship, and to the true fulfilment of our destiny, which is nothing less than the restoration of the whole universe (Rom 8:19).

I dare you to pray this prayer; I dare you to continue praying it as the heat and pressure build and you engage with the process of change; I dare you not to stop praying it until you are fully transformed into the likeness of Jesus:

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
(Psa 139:23-24 TM).

Search me thoroughly, 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.
(Psa 139:23-24 NASB).

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157. Manifesting His Presence

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

God’s presence is within us. He wants us to open the door so that He can fill our whole being.

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)

Opportunity for the world

Jesus is inviting us to have a relationship with Him. God is on the inside of us. When we are born again by the Spirit He wants to flow out through us so that we manifest His presence around us. In that way the world has the opportunity to interact with the kingdom of God.

There are senses in our spirit, gates through which God can flow. Depending what your destiny is, some of those gates will be more used than others.

newcolours

Revelation from God

Now I spent a long time meditating on my gates. In praying, I would picture a gate and meditate on it, asking God to show me what that particular gate meant for me. I did that for all those gates in my spirit, soul and body until I had a revelation from God about all of them. I went through a process of opening my gates and learning to allow the flow of revelation to go through my spirit, soul and body.

I have taught others how to do this and they agree how challenging it is, as God highlights the areas which are blockages to His flow. But they also agree how effective it is in opening up their lives to receive revelation from God. Their experience (and mine) is that this can transform your life.

I spent a long time considering each of the combinations of gates through which the life of God can flow through my spirit and soul and out from my body. It took a while, because I think there are something like 280 of them. But it was worth the effort, because it has opened me up to being able to hear God, see Him and flow in Him so very much more than I ever could before.

Removing the blockages

The process is one of perseverance and practice. But as you start to understand how this works, you find there are things operating in you which are blockages to the things of the spirit.

They may come to you as pictures. Some people see brambles, or chains, all over their gates. Some see their gates all boarded up with wood and nails and are crying out “I can’t open it! I can’t open it!”. The truth is, we will be able to open it, but there may be things God wants us to deal with and get rid of, so that the gate is unblocked. We have to go through the process.

Transform the world

Jesus is knocking, and I just want to encourage us every day to open up the door inside us. Let Him in. Let Him into our spirit. Invite Him to be Lord of our life. Allow Him to start flowing, through the gates of our spirit, soul and body, and so out into the world around us.

As we do that, we find that we start to change and transform not only our own lives and how we live, but also what goes on around us. We become subject to God’s kingdom flowing from us rather than what is coming at us from the outside, so we learn to overcome things like sickness and be in authority over them. This is something God is teaching us how to do.

When Jesus came He was the model of the kingdom. Everyone who came to Him, He healed from every sickness. Everyone who came to Him, He set free from the demonic influence that was operating in their life. He brought people into fulness of joy, and peace, and hope.

Flowing like Jesus? It does not happen overnight. But with dedication, practice and perseverance we will be able to experience this in our own lives.

The question is, how much do we want it?

Related articles from FreedomARC

Image accreditation: The ‘gateways’ diagram in this post and elesewhere on this blog is based on an original by Ian Clayton (see ‘Gateways of the Threefold Nature of Man’).

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