150. Eye Of The Storm

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Be still

It is really good to simply sit in the presence of God, and do nothing. That may sound like it should be really easy, but actually it is not. I remember going through a period of two to three months in which God taught me simply to rest in His presence and do nothing. I could hear His voice, but He kept me in a dark place under that shadow of His wing so that I could not see anything. I am not used to that at all.

If we want to build our spirit, we have to quieten our mind. Then we are not going into His presence already thinking about all kinds of other things, and we can really focus our attention on Jesus. It is our spirit that we want to engage, not our mind. When our spirit begins to engage with God, we will find that it starts to develop and grow, and to discern the presence of God so that we can engage with Him more readily.

In that place, we can worship and adore Him. Worship is not really about singing. It is an attitude of surrender and obedience to God. From there we can go on to listen and receive revelation from Him.

If we practice these things, our spirit will continue to grow stronger. We will find ourselves able to engage more clearly with the spiritual realm around us, engage with the realms of heaven, and see God face to face as we meet with Him.

We looked last time at the seat of rest, one of the most important things we can understand if we are to engage with God’s kingdom in the heavenly realms and then to outwork things here.

Weary and heavy-laden

Come to Me, all you who are weary and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. (Matt 11:28-29 AMP)

This is the time to take Jesus’ yoke and be joined to Him. When He sets the field, the path and the direction, then He will carry the weight. We are all called to live in a state of rest regardless of what is going on around us in our lives. What wears us out is trying to do things in our own strength. The storms of life come to everybody: it is how we respond to them that will demonstrate to what extent God’s kingdom is manifested through us.

We are called to live in the eye of the storm. There may be violent winds blowing all around us, but in the eye, everything is completely peaceful. Jesus never promised we would have no troubles – the very opposite, in fact. But He gives us His love, joy and peace, so we can live at rest all the time.

This is not automatic: we have to learn how to do it.

Peace, be still

Jesus is our example. He was asleep in the boat, crossing the lake, when a great storm rose up. His disciples were in a panic, even though He had already told them they were going to the other side. They woke Him up, and He brought peace. He rebuked the storm and everything became calm (that particular storm was demonic, designed by the enemy to stop Jesus getting to the other side of the lake where He would set a man free from a legion of demons).

I know we can sometimes feel up or feel down according to our circumstances, but true joy and peace comes out of our relationship with God. We need to be able to live in the peace and joy which comes from that relationship and does not depend upon our circumstances. We need to live with an attitude of thanksgiving and praise, rejoicing always. That will keep us in the eye of the storm.

Choices

Bringing a sacrifice of praise is a choice. Sacrifice means it costs us something. We may not feel so good because of what is going on in our lives, but still we choose to praise Him. We choose to acknowledge Him, His mercy, His goodness, His love.

Treating trials and tribulations as joy and an opportunity for growth and transformation: that too is a choice. When something happens, we can choose not to react; we can choose how we respond to it. We can choose to sit in that seat of rest and live in the eye of the storm.

What Jesus did, He has called us to do. So just as Jesus said ‘Peace’, we can say ‘Peace’. When He said ‘Peace’, the storm was stilled. We need to take authority and live from the place where we can change situations around us. We cannot change the situation around us while we are ourselves being swept around at 200mph, caught up in the hurricane. But from the seat of rest we can.

The seat of rest is the Kingdom of God within. It is the manifestation of the fullness of the government of God in us to bring revelation of the kingdom to the world around us. When we live from the seat of rest, the world sees a manifestation of God’s kingdom.

From the place of rest, Jesus wielded the power of the kingdom in order to bring everything into subjection to God’s will and purpose. He wants to train us to live the same way.

Related articles from Freedom ARC

Image: Typhoon Haitang 7-15-2005 1402 UTC.jpg via Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

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13. Battle for Your Attention

Mike Parsons

What God wants is our worship.

It has nothing to do with singing songs, that is not what worship is – worship means obedience. It means that God wants us to be His people, who will do what He says and fulfil His purpose. It is described as service in Romans 12:1.

‘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’.

That is, giving our life to Him as an offering, surrendering our life daily to His will and purpose. That sacrifice is acceptable to God, it says, and it is your spiritual service and worship. ‘Spiritual service’ and ‘worship’ are the same Greek word, they mean the same thing. They mean that when we surrender to God, we become vessels fit for Him to use. But only if we do indeed surrender, and it is our choice: He gives us free choice to surrender to Him or not. And it is a daily choice, as Jesus said, daily to take up your cross, deny yourself and follow Him. It’s not something you just do once for all, you have to make that conscious decision daily.

And when we come together to worship, we need to release what is in us to fill the environment. We don’t come to suck it in, we come to let what is in us come out: the Presence of God in us.

Who are you going to serve?

But there is a battle going on for your attention, for your worship, and for your choice. Everything around you – the world, your flesh, the devil – everything is competing for your attention, for your worship, for your choice to say ‘yes’ to God on a daily basis. There is competition, there is battle, there is warfare. The question is, who are you going to serve – world, flesh, devil or God?

That is a choice we must make every day. Every day we need to come as a living sacrifice. Every day we need to say ‘Not my will, but Yours be done.’ Every day we need to say ‘I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in this body I live by faith in the Son of God’ (Gal 2:20). And not just faith in the Son of God, though that is what we start with: we become those who have the faith of the Son of God (Gal 2:20 KJV). We can do the same things Jesus did by faith; we can do the miracles that He did if we have that same degree of faith. So who are we going to serve? God is challenging us, He is challenging his church.

God is Love. That is His very nature. It was what caused Him to create the universe and to create every one of us. And Love wants the best; God wants the best for us, for each of us. He knows what the best is for each of us, that best is already written on a scroll, if you read Psalm 139 it says that He knew you before you were even born. Already on that scroll in heaven your whole life is set out, His will for your life, and He wants to reveal it to you. He wants you to know the best.

‘Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword’ (Matt 10:34).

God has plans for us

Now because God wants the best for us, He is not going to leave us as we are. He is not going to leave us in a mess. He is not going to leave us with all kinds of things going on in our lives that stop the best, that stop us being like Jesus. He is going to come with a sword, the sword of His Word, the sword of the Spirit, speaking the truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, so there is no other Way: He is going to bring the best. There is no other Truth, there is no other Life: it is the very best that God has got prepared for us. He has got plans for us.

Some of us may look at our lives and think, ‘Is that ever going to happen?’ That’s why He is coming as He is coming: to ensure that it does happen, to ensure that everything – every negative experience in our past – gets dealt with.

‘For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart’ (Heb 4:12). That is what has been taking place here. God has been challenging the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, asking what is our motive, why is it that we want to come and be touched by Him? Why do we want more of His Spirit? What is going on? Why is He drawing us? Well, it is because that sword of truth is coming to divide. It is going to show us what is in our hearts. It says in Jeremiah that the heart is deceitfully wicked, it can deceive us. So it needs purifying. God is coming to show us the truth, to purify and refine us, to create the best, to create the image of the glory of Jesus. He wants sons. That includes the ladies, it’s a generic term, He wants to reveal us to the world as His sons.

First of many sons

He sent Jesus as the first Son, who was the firstborn from the dead. He rose from the dead so that He could be the first of many sons, and we are all those sons, but we need to be transformed into that image of Jesus. So that we can be like Jesus, do the things that Jesus did, we need to be prepared.

Therefore we need to pay attention to what God has said. We need to pay attention to what God is doing, we need to listen, because He is saying to get ready. There are situations, obstacles, challenges coming that we need to be ready for. So let’s be prepared to see and to hear, in the realm of the kingdom of God. Prepared to act in obedience, to step out when He says to step out, even if it might cost us, still willing to step out. We have got to ‘be prepared to be prepared’. God is coming to prepare us, and we need to be prepared for the warfare that is coming. Prepared to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, operating under another value system. We have got to be prepared to be revealed as sons, real sons of God, to take dominion and rule. Adam and Eve were given dominion of the earth and they lost it to Satan; but Jesus came and got it back, and now He wants us to administer it for Him. We have got to be prepared to bring heaven to earth, therefore we need to have access to heaven: we need to be able to access the realms of heaven in order to be able to bring them to earth.

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