208. Whose Slave Are You?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are on a quest, and in a battle, to lay hold of and possess all that God destined for us (and destined us to be). That quest and that battle will lead us into deeper intimacy with God.

Jesus is the firstborn Son, but the Father always desired a larger family.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom 8:29).

It is my destiny and yours to be His son (this is not about male or female but about our relationship with our Father and our position as heir). Now, it is all very well knowing as a piece of factual information that we are sons, and even knowing in our head that God sees it that way, but the question we must ask ourselves is, do I feel, think, and act like His son? Am I experiencing that, and living it out? And if not why not? If I am not fully embracing everything God says about me and thinks about me, then I need to know what is preventing me so that I can overcome it, and enter in.

A heritage of slavery

We all started out as slaves. Mankind was in slavery because of what our ancestors, Adam and Eve, did in the Garden. Therefore we are all born into slavery, and we are all spiritual orphans, with a sense of separation from God. Adam and Eve became spiritual orphans because they chose to follow the DIY pathway of the knowledge of good and evil, rather than the pathway of the tree of life that God had designed for them. God wants us to turn away from following the pathway of the knowledge of good and evil, to come back and embrace the tree of life. Even good things, if we do not get them from God, can still lead us into slavery.

So because of Adam and Eve’s sin (that is, loss of identity), naturally speaking slavery is our heritage. It affects how we feel and think about ourselves and about God. Keep going that way and we end up with a wounded soul as a result of trying to meet our own needs in the only way we know how – from the world – and our spirit is disengaged from God and dead to Him. That is what is in our natural family line, and ‘sons of disobedience’ carry on the family tradition.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest (Eph 2:1-3).

People who do not know God as Father, and do not have a relationship with Him, will carry on in the pattern set up by Adam and Eve. All of us either have lived or do live like that. Yet He never intended any of us to be ‘children of wrath’, and that is why He has made a way for us to live differently.

Whose slave are you?

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (Rom 6:16).

Adam and Eve chose to present themselves as slaves to sin, and the result was death, both physical and spiritual. But Jesus has given us a choice now: we can present ourselves to God.

So, whose slave are you? Who is your master?

One master brings life; the other brings death. We have a choice about who we serve, and it is a choice offered to every one of us. I choose to serve the perfect God of love rather than a fallen being who wants only to destroy me.

God so loved

This is how God made that choice possible for us:.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Take out ‘the world’ and substitute ‘me’. It is too easy to read the words ‘the world’ and think it means other people, everybody else, but not ourselves. No, it means ‘God so loved me’. It means that by believing in Jesus I can enter into life rather than continuing in death.

The Amplified version says that ‘God so dearly loved and prized…’ You are a prize, to God. He deeply desires intimacy and relationship with you. As a result of that, He was willing to give His Son so that you could become His child.

Paul puts it this way:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Eph 2:4-5).

And,

God sent him [Jesus] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children (Gal 4:4).

It is by God’s grace and God’s power, through the victory of Jesus on the cross, that we were saved from the path we were going down and brought into this relationship with Him: from death to life, from slavery into freedom, from separation to intimacy.

We are royalty

God has paid the price, and bought us back so that he could adopt us as His own children, just like Jesus. Awesome! How would we feel if the Queen of England adopted us, gave us the run of the palace and access to all the people she has advising her and looking after her? If she said to us, ‘I want you to inherit all that I have’? How special would we feel? That is what the God who made the whole universe and keeps it all together has done for us!

We have been redeemed, bought back from slavery by Jesus, given a new home and a family. We are adopted as sons into the family of the King. We are royalty: princes and princesses, regardless of our history or background. What we have done, what has been done to us, none of that has any effect whatsoever on how God sees us. We look just like Jesus to Him, holy and perfect and righteous. God does not hold our past against us, unlike the devil who constantly accuses us and tries to cause us to remember our past. Since God chooses not to remember it, neither should we!

We have been born again into a new family with a new identity. We have a new heavenly home (which we can engage with now, not only when we die) and are ourselves a home of God. We have a new, heavenly citizenship, and a new (yet eternal) identity and purpose. We have come into sonship, into a relationship with our Father.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you (John 14:18-20).

…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 5:5).

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:35-39).

So let’s fully embrace all that God has done for us in His love, so that nothing, nothing, nothing will ever remove us or separate us from the fullness of all that He has for us as His dearly loved children.

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Soundtrack: Jake Hamilton – The Anthem

207. Restored to Original Condition

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favourable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes, 
The oil of gladness instead of mourning, 
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness.
(Isaiah 61:1-3).

Every 50 years in the Jewish calendar there was to be a Year of Jubilee (or freedom), when everyone had their inheritance restored to them. That is the ‘favourable year of the Lord’ that we are called to proclaim. God wants all his people to have everything restored to them.

We will receive liberty in exchange for captivity, healing instead of brokenness, beauty for ashes, double honour for shame, the oil of joy instead of mourning. The time for mourning is over. It is time to know the fullness of joy in our salvation. God is looking to restore all things to original condition, including us. He will restore us not to the condition we were born in, but to His original intention for us, all those wonderful plans He has had for us from eternity past.

He wants us to know our identity – who we really are. He wants us to know how He designed us, to know how we were made to be. And He wants us to grasp our destiny, our birthright, all that we are called to do.

Picture yourself

I encourage you to take some time out now.

Imagine that Father God is standing before You.
He is calling you to your destiny.
Picture yourself walking towards Him.

Come in repentance*, with your head bowed, as a servant, because that is how we all come at first.

Now, look up. See the Father waiting with His arms wide open, with love in His eyes for you.
Look into His eyes of love.

Run to Him.

Feel His loving embrace.

Just like in the story of the Prodigal Son,
Feel the ring of sonship He puts on your finger,
A seal, a signet ring you can use as His representative, with His authority.

Feel the clean robes He puts on you
All the dirt of the past has been completely removed
These are robes of righteousness
How clean and fresh they feel!

You have been declared righteous, made right with Him.

Enjoy the joy and celebration of His heart
Feel His acceptance and restoring love
Feel His affirmation.

Listen with your spirit

Just as God opened up the heavens to speak over Jesus, He has opened the heavens over you and is declaring this over you. I would urge you to listen with your spirit to what He is declaring. This is your Father speaking directly to your spirit, calling forth that eternal destiny He has placed within you.

I declare you are my beloved son and I am well pleased with you.

I call you My child
I am your Father
You are mine and I am yours.

I legitimise you as my child
I call forth your spiritual destiny.

I call your spirit to attention
Listen with your spirit to the words that I, your heavenly Father, have for you.

The Spirit of your Father gives witness to your spirit that you are My son
I bless your spirit with the spirit of sonship and the mindset of sonship
I bless you with a deep heart identity as My very own child, securely loved in My family
I bless you with the settled assurance that I have a future and a hope for you
And I have written all your days in My book with love
For your best interest and for My ultimate glory.

I bless you with the deep knowledge that I know what you need
And I have all the resources of the universe to meet that need.

Listen with your spirit to My words for you
My Spirit testifies to your spirit that you are My child
Feel your spirit pulsating with My life, My love, My acceptance.

I bless you with the ears to hear the testimony of the spirit of the Lord,
The spirit of knowledge, wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel, power and fear of the Lord
To hear what they say about you.

I bless you with being tuned into Me
With eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, and a mind for understanding
I bless you with being led by the fullness of My Spirit of Truth
To see things as I see them in the heavenly realms.

I bless you with the deep knowledge that you are an heir with your brother Jesus
To all of My treasuries
I bless you with the confidence that you lack for nothing you need
Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and practically.

I bless you with the sure understanding that I want you to have My blessings and My glory
To possess your birthright
I bless you with the desire to press forward to see the glory that I am revealing.

I bless you with a heart that does not rebel or shrink back
From the opportunities which I put before you daily
I bless you with a hunger for the manifestation of My glory day by day
In you and through your life.

I declare that you are no longer a slave, an orphan or a victim
I declare that you are mine and I am yours:
I am your inheritance and you are My inheritance.

I declare that I am your Father and you are My son
And I give you access to your heavenly home
I give you access to the river and tree of life in your heavenly home.

I call you to be a gateway of heaven on the earth
You are my child and I call you to be displayed as a mature son on the earth.

Soak

Let your spirit receive those words. Go over them again and again, day after day if you need to. Receive them as an affirmation of who you are as a son of God, as a child of your heavenly Father, as one who has a destiny in Him. Allow your spirit to just soak in it. Soak in the words of God to you. He approves of you, blesses you.

He wants you to know your identity, and outwork it.

He wants you to know your destiny, and fulfil it.

*’Repentance’ is the Greek word ‘metanoia’: it means changing the way you think about yourself – and everything and everyone else – and instead, thinking as God thinks.

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Soundtrack: Beauty For Ashes – Chris McClarney

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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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165. Mercy: God’s Covenant Love

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).

God wants us to be ready for His glory to come in increasing measure. If we are not ready, we would be foolish to venture anywhere near His glory, but God is looking for a people who can stand in that glory and reflect it to the world. We need to be transformed.

Discipline, not punishment

Transformation requires discipline, but let’s not confuse discipline with punishment. We may have been brought up by parents or teachers who punished rather than disciplined, and we will have to overcome that if we are to allow God to discipline us. He is not there threatening us with a big stick. If that is our view of God, then we need to repent (think again, line up our thinking with how God thinks) and deal with that mindset. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4), not fear of the consequences. To be sure, every action has it own consequences, but God is not keeping account of our sins.

…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19).

Discipline is done in love, for the benefit of the person being disciplined.

The Hebrew word muwcar and the Greek word paideia both mean ‘reprove, correct, train, warn, educate, instruct’. Punishment is about payback, about the imposition of a penalty. God does not require us to make amends. He does not punish people (and He did not punish Jesus on our behalf, either) but He does discipline us in order to train us and help us live right.

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).

Discipline is a good thing, because it corrects and trains and transforms us. When we face up to looking honestly at the reality of our life, it can be uncomfortable, even painful in the short term. But if we allow God to work in us, it will produce fruit in us, and bring us into a place of peace and joy as we persevere

Covenant love

The Lord’s mercies [lovingkindnesses] indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness (Lam 3:22-23).

The word ‘mercy’ is checed, traditionally translated ‘lovingkindness’, but it actually means ‘covenant love’. And it is by God’s mercies that we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to be transformed, as the passage from Romans 12 at the head of this post tells us.

Covenant is a commitment, agreement or contract only ended by death, and often sealed in blood by walking through the pieces of an animal sacrifice. It is a total commitment to each other. It binds each party to love one another and do good to one another, to share all they have and to support one another to the death when attacked by an outsider. It carries stipulations and terms which both parties know about before entering into it, and it is ratified by exchange, for example of coats or weapons.

God has always dealt with men through covenant (you can see this with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus). God’s covenant with Abraham was actually with his seed; and Jesus is the Seed, as Paul explains (Gal 3:16). Since we are in Him, we also benefit from that covenant.

And if you belong to Christ [are in Him Who is Abraham’s Seed], then you are Abraham’s offspring and heirs according to promise (Gal 3:29 AMP).

Heir of the world

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world… (Rom 4:13).

This was not about possession of a little piece of land in the Middle East. This covenant is for the whole world. It is not restricted to one group of people: it is for everybody. In His death on the cross, Christ made the promises available to us. The gospel goes to the ends of the earth, bringing blessing to everyone.

We did not make this covenant, so we cannot break it. The New Covenant is God’s fulfilment of His promises to Abraham, through Jesus. It is totally reliable. God will never break a covenant He has made in the blood of His own Son. And this is the basis on which we can be saved, healed, and transformed.

When Jesus died, I died. He was my representative to deal with the power of sin. Mercy (covenant love) applies the covenant power and the victory of the cross to our lives.

Covenant exchange

covenant-exchange-belonging

This is the covenant exchange that took place at the cross. We can come to the cross every minute of every day and enter into that life which is ours in eternity. His mercy, His covenant love, is new every morning.

Grace

…through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand (Rom 5:2).

We now stand in the grace of God, His divine enabling power, to be transformed. It is not something we can do ourselves by our own power or ability, but only by willing submission and surrender to Him. Because of His grace, we have an opportunity to turn away from our old way of life and follow a different path, turning to the way God has called us to live.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:15).

The Father and the Son

God is a covenant-making God. Covenant expresses his inexhaustible and supreme love. The love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is covenant love, and we are brought into that family of love.

In giving his life for the sins of the world, Jesus entered a New Covenant in His blood with the Father. It was total commitment and self-giving without reservation on behalf of both parties. The Father and the Son entered covenant for us.so that we could come into the fullness of relationship with God. That covenant is stronger than death; it cannot be broken or annulled: it sustains our salvation, and enables our transformation.

That New Covenant means that everything belonging to the Father now belongs to Jesus. And since we are in Christ, everything belonging to the Father now belongs to us. We have access to everything of God. We have access to the omnipotence of God, the omnipresence of God, the omniscience of God: surely that will enable us to fulfil our destiny and our purpose.

Come to the cross

I would encourage you to meditate on scriptures about God’s mercies, His lovingkindness and covenant love, because they are the basis of our transformation. God’s mercies are motivated by His love, and His love motivates us to change.

Is there anything of the old that you need to exchange? Anything which is death to you that you want to exchange for life? Come to the cross. If you have a mindset that is fearful of what God might do if you were to surrender and allow Him to transform you, then come to the cross. If you think God will punish, is punishing or has ever punished you, then you really need to come to the cross.

You can do this in a practical way if you find it helpful. Just as the parties in a covenant would walk through and around the split pieces of the sacrificed animal in a figure-of-eight or eternity symbol, you can walk a path the same shape, and come to the intersection, the crossover point, the point of exchange. At that point you can break bread, and exchange the old for the new. You can be set free from bondage and from everything that is holding you back, because you walk through the victory that Jesus secured for you.

You can come to the cross today.

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144. Stepping Stones To Change

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

While we are building up our spirit by opening that first love gate inside us, praying continually, and waiting on the Lord, we also need to allow God to work on our soul so that it comes into proper submission to our spirit.

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

The whole relationship changes when I recognise that I have been crucified, and when I die to self, because God is then able to join Himself to me in manifesting Himself to the world around me.

Search me, try me

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.
(Ps 139:23-24).

When we pray a prayer like that, God takes us at our word: He takes us up on what we have prayed. If we are willing to pray that prayer, He will search our heart. And He will also enable us to know what is going on in our heart. This is part of the process of change: we have to be prepared to allow God to search our hearts and show us what is there. We have to be willing to look at ourselves and see what is going on on the inside.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor 11:31 NKJV)

In judging ourselves, though, we do not compare ourselves to anyone but Jesus. God wants us to be transformed into the image of Jesus, and if we compare ourselves to Him we can see how far we have come, and how much more God still has to do in our hearts.

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil… (Matt 13:18-23)

The word of the kingdom gets sown into our heart. There are four kinds of soil mentioned here. Because of the past there may be areas in our hearts which are trampled down, compacted and hard, like a path, and the seed cannot grow there. Or it may be the rocks and stones in our heart, the things that have happened to us, that make it hard for the word to take root. We may get distracted by allowing our flesh to direct our thinking and our behaviour. Our hearts need to be changed, transformed into good soil, so that the word of the kingdom of God can grow in us and flourish, and bear fruit.

Consider it joy

But there is a process we need to go through in order to deal with the things that are in our hearts.

…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, – this sounds really good so far – and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22).

How is that ‘encouraging’? Because when we are in the middle of the troubles, trials, or tribulations, we need to know that it is all part of the process of God bringing transformation. I am not talking about sickness or things like that (God does not bring any sickness on us) but about situations and circumstances in our lives that highlight for us the condition of our heart in a particular area.

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).

How many of us actually consider our trials as joy? But it is the attitude we have to the trials that will determine their outcome. And if we consider that God uses trials to transform us, then we will have a different approach to the situations we face. We can allow those trials to be stepping stones to change, transformation and growth; or we can resist those trials and then nothing in us will change. We have to welcome them with thanksgiving and joy. We can thank God for the trials He brings, because we know that we are being perfected, becoming complete, and will lack in nothing – just like Jesus.

If that is the outcome we are looking for, then we have to be willing to look within our lives so that we can learn, overcome, grow; so that we can see what is on the inside transformed.

Exult in tribulations

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).

Exulting in tribulations is exactly the opposite of what our flesh wants to do. Gifts are given, but fruit grows. We want to grow in the fruit of the Spirit, and be more like Jesus. It is great to receive things as a gift; but we do not get character that way: it is a fruit of dealing with the trials and troubles in our lives. How we deal with them is what shapes our character and causes us to act like Jesus.

And everything operates through love. The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and it enables us to deal with every situation, every trial, every trouble that we face. The love of God is in us.

It is not that He is disciplining us because He does not love us. Quite the opposite: He disciplines us because He does love us, He cares for us, and He wants us to be transformed and changed. Then He can reveal us on the earth as the manifest sons of God, shining with His light, displaying His character and the fruit that comes from a life transformed by the situations that we have faced.

He Won’t Relent

The process itself may not sound too pleasant. But it will be less painful if we surrender to the process rather than struggling against it. Jesus said:

And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder (Matt 21:44 NKJV).

Our soul can be broken, and then restored; or it can be crushed. Which would you rather? As I allow brokenness in my soul, the fragrance of God’s presence comes from me. The other way fragrance can be released from something is by grinding it to powder. God wants us to be changed. He won’t relent (as we have been singing again recently) until He has it all, all of us.

God loves us too much to let us go. Time and time again He will give us opportunities to grow and be transformed. We can give Him our heart, and surrender to the process, and be filled with joy, peace and love; or we can fight, struggle, and resist what He is wanting to do. Then all that happens is that we get to go around the mountain one more time, until He gives us another opportunity to deal with the same issue. I am sure there have been times when most of us have been around the same mountain more than once, until we learnt this truth.

He wants us to look at the mountain and say, ‘This is not going to stop me. I am going to deal with this and overcome it. I am going to climb this mountain’.

When we do, that mountain is going to elevate us higher into the purposes of God for our lives.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFdeOT3lzqc

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137. Our Need For God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25).

Sin

Sin, and all the ‘sins’ we commit, are an indicator of our need for God.

The original ‘sin’ came about through losing sight of our true identity (that is what Adam and Eve did in the garden); individual ‘sins’ are things we do to make us feel better about ourselves because we fail to see ourselves as He sees us. Those who struggle with lust, it is because they desperately desire intimacy: God is the best there is if we are looking for intimacy and love.

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 in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20-21).

Am I willing to love God in return, and give myself up for Him? For Him to change me, transform me and conform me to His image, so that I become more and more like Jesus here on the earth?

I did this as a crash course and worked through every year of my life, to deal with every blockage in every area of my soul, and I did it in three weeks. Now, I had three weeks I could set aside to do this, and I know not everyone can do that, but I am encouraging you to make a choice today to start working through the things that have accumulated in your life and to allow God to change you.

Emotional damage

The First Love gate is the key. All of us have emotional damage through relationships, spouse, parents, family, friends, or authority figures. That damage causes us to lack trust, and to put barriers up to protect ourselves. When we want to let God in, those barriers get in the way. We are often afraid to ‘let go and let God’ come and be in control. We have to deal with those things.

Unmet needs will affect my soul’s desires and motives. Unhealed hurt will affect my emotional desires and motives. Unresolved issues in our lives will affect our trust. We have to surrender and allow God to do what only He can do. And if we have problems, we need to work through them: forgive people who have let us down and disappointed us, repent of and renounce the things we have done to meet our own needs and protect ourselves.

God will meet our needs

All of us need acceptance, love, affection, value and worth; approval, significance, affirmation, identity and purpose; security and safety. They are all needs that God has built into us: they are all needs that He wants to meet in us Himself. He does not want us to try to meet those needs through the flesh,  but all of us have tried exactly that. As a result, all of us have been damaged, and all of us need to be transformed and find God’s love.

I worked through these areas: my conscience, my imagination, reason, subconscious mind, emotions, choice and will. I worked through each one, to deal with the things that were blockages and stopping God flowing through me and working through my life. Is that really complicated and difficult? No, it is a choice. Do I really want God’s presence and His power? Do I really want to be manifesting the kingdom of heaven on earth? Or am I content to carry on living the way I have always lived?

God will do it: the choice is mine.

Note: This post has been around for a while. More recently Mike has had even more startling revelation about sin…
https://www.facebook.com/freedomarc.uk/videos/1612916992092902

Image attribution: Background image of a hand reaching up through the clouds by ds9hselee from Pixabay

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133. From The Inside Out

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

I have written before about how God gave me four words: investiture, succession, enthronement and coronation. You will notice that once you have been invested with authority, then before you have an enthronement there is succession.

If we are invested with the power of the kingdom, then we have to dethrone the things that are ruling in our lives: our self, our soul; me, myself, and I. If I want to see the kingdom of God flowing through my life there is no place on the throne for ‘me, myself and I’. ‘I’ will only get in the way of it. ‘I’ will spoil it, ‘I’ will block it. ‘I’ need to be dethroned.

Nature, which has programmed me, programmed my DNA from past generations, needs to be restored and renewed. Nurture, environmental programming in my life: my upbringing, what has gone on around me, needs to be restored and renewed. Trauma, which is experiential programming, things I have experienced that cause me to respond in particular ways, needs reprogramming. I need to be transformed, restored to my original eternal condition. That is what God wants to happen here, in this realm; not just in eternity, because what happens here will determine what I do in eternity once time is finished.

This is a picture which describes how we can start operating in the kingdom of God (Ian Clayton saw something similar to this on a scroll he received from heaven, though the origins of the diagram go back to at least the year 1919).

It starts with the glory of God, His presence on the inside of us. In our spirit, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have come to make their home as Jesus promised. They want to occupy the seat of government in our lives. As we open that inner door of first love, the glory of God first flows out into our spirit and develops our spiritual senses. Then it flows out through our soul and transforms our soul. God comes into our heart, where our scroll of destiny is seated, and begins to transform us. Eventually His glory flows out through our body, a manifestation of transfiguration, where the light of God’s glory will shine through us.

Notice how the flow is always from the inside. Everything in the kingdom happens from the inside out. It is no good us trying change ourselves from the outside in. We need to learn to surrender ourselves to the presence of God on the inside, so that the presence of God flows through our whole being, and transforms us.

We begin by opening the First Love gate. That is where Jesus is knocking in Revelation 3:20.  He wants us to enjoy intimacy with Him, and He wants access to the whole of our lives, spirit, soul and body. The door handle is on our side.

Here is an animated version of that diagram, created by Adam Butterick for Son Of Thunder (click here or on the image below to play the video in a new tab/window).

gateways animated .jpg

We will look some more at this diagram over the next few posts. There are gateways between each of these parts of our lives, and they have been blocked, often by things that have come in from the outside.

The things we have seen, smelt, heard, tasted and touched will have affected our soul. If we try to change them by the things we can see, smell, hear, taste and touch on the outside, it will not be effective because all we do is reinforce the operations of the self.

But if we allow the Spirit of God to flow through us, we allow His presence to change and transform us – from the inside.

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

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*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.