254. Restored to Sonship

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Therefore repent and return, so that the sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:19-21).

Relationship and responsibility

As sons of God we can have and enjoy relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and within that relationship we soon discover that we also have responsibility. At the very least, we have responsibility for our own lives and the spheres of influence He has given each one of us already, but as we mature we are called to step into further positions of responsibility: to take our heavenly positions, seated and enthroned, to legislate the kingdom in heaven; to manifest heaven on earth. And ‘heaven on earth’ is nothing less than the fulfilment of God’s original intent and purpose for everyone and everything He has created.

In this blog series we are embarking on a journey to unpack the meaning of ‘the restoration of all things’. We will look closely at what ‘restoration’ means, what ‘all’ means and what the ‘things’ are. We are going to look at the scope of that process of restoration and see that, as sons of God, we have a part to play in it.

Justin Paul Abraham says “I believe we are going to see Love overcome the greatest darkness and a new era of Light birthed across the Earth. The end result: there will be no war, no sickness and a restored world. How can we know this? The future is already agreed and when it comes it will change quickly. ‘I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.’” (Isaiah 60.22).

The future is already agreed within the heart of God. He has not changed His original intent just because we may have gone off track.

Restored to sonship

The context for this restoration is found in our position as sons. If we are not restored, then neither will the rest of creation be restored. The restoration of all things begins with Jesus working in us now, and not in a future event of his coming sometime in the future. So much of religion has put everything off until some future day, with the result that past generations have missed out on what God intended for them – and present and future generations are at risk of doing the same. Let’s recognise that restoration is taking place in us, through us and around us as we embrace our sonship.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom 8:14-17 NASB).

The original life of the Father revealed in his son is the life the Spirit now conducts within us. Slavery is such a poor substitute for sonship! They are opposites; the one leads forcefully through fear while sonship responds fondly to Abba Father. His Spirit resonates within our spirit to confirm the fact that we originate in God. Because we are his offspring, we qualify to be heirs; God himself is our portion, we co-inherit with Christ. Since we were represented and included in his suffering we equally participate in the glory of his resurrection (Rom 8:14-17 Mirror Bible).

In those verses you can see Father, Son and Holy Spirit all involved in relationship with us and helping us to see both who we truly are and the potential that exists in us to influence and govern because of who we truly are. So much of what we have done up to now has been to prove who we are (or to compensate for who we think we are). This is different: it is doing things because of who we really are: co-heirs together with Jesus.

He has done everything necessary for us to be restored to sonship: will we believe it? God sees us the way He made us. We do need transformation by the renewing of our minds, but it is to enable us to agree with and believe what God already believes about us and what He has already done for us.

Creation mandate

Religion has put the emphasis on God doing everything because He is sovereign and it has given no consideration to the fact that He has made us co-heirs. The truth is, we are sons of God, called and chosen to be participators and not just bystanders and observers in this process of restoration. It is not that we are getting delusions of grandeur and suddenly deciding we want to be like God: this is what He intended all along.

As God’s sons we need to know what His original plan and purpose is. We need to understand what we are co-heirs of, and what we have responsibility for, so that we can fulfil our proper role in the government of the kingdom. In the book of Genesis, we read:

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:28).

That may seem like a fairly comprehensive mandate, and one we’re barely even starting to fulfil. But it was only the beginning and not the end of what God has in store for us. Paul sees our influence stretching even wider to encompass the whole created order:

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God… 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).

Whatever God’s intended for mankind, this planet was just the beginning of it. The restoration of all things goes beyond the earth to include all of creation. Consider the implications of that!

This whole topic is going to challenge and stretch our mindsets and our belief systems. As we begin to grasp the truth, it will shake us free from the limitations and restrictions put on us in the past and release us into the fullness of God’s original intent and purpose. Revelation of that truth will only come through relationship, through becoming ‘intimately acquainted with the love of Christ on the deepest possible level’ as the Mirror Bible says in Eph 3:16.

You cannot take my word for any of this; you need revelation, not information.

Engaging God

So take a few moments now, if you can (if not, do come back later).

Look into the eyes of the Prince of Peace.
Allow the deep pool that is the way, the truth and the life to draw you in.
Ask Him to reveal your name, your identity and your position as a son of God.
Ask Jesus to take you beyond where you have ever been before.
Let Him reveal your origin within the heart of God.
Let the Father reveal the vast sum of His thoughts about you.
Let the truth of God’s original intentions for you begin to restore your identity as a son.

Put no limitations on what God can do or wants to do for you.

Face to face, allow Him to breathe into you.
Allow Him to refresh you, to breathe life into you, to restore you.

Soundtrack: Restoration Through Harmony – SML Music (Samuel Lane) via SoundCloud.

Click here to view Akiane’s painting of ‘The Prince of Peace’

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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 of the knowledge of good and evil, 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. He did not say He would suffer the just punishment for our sins at the hands of His Father but that 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.

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

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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 – 

The Spirit of God has come to live in us. That is, God Himself dwells within us. We are a house of God; a dwelling, a habitation of God. Heaven can manifest through our lives if we are willing to act as a gateway of heaven on earth. Wherever we are, we are ambassadors for God and we are an 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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Image attribution: the image used in the header of this post, Opened_spoilers_on_a_A319_wing.jpg, is by Clément Bucco-Lechat [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons.

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193. Rendering Service (Angels – Part 2)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

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 Life

Jesus 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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