231. Meet the Real God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

New for old

God is always doing new things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deeply ingrained

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seen Me, seen the Father

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

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

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

Transformation

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

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

Sacred cows

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

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

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140. Pray Without Ceasing

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

All the flow of the life of God comes through us from the inside out. The choice is ours whether we surrender, and allow it to flow, or not.

Last time we looked at various prayers and declarations (you can read them by clicking here). I want to encourage you to use those declarations to unblock your conscience, reason, imagination, mind, and all the other gates; use them every day.

Spirit, soul and body

In this series on Preparing For Destiny, we are looking mainly at two areas: how to build up the spirit and how to restore and refine the soul. In today’s post we are looking mostly at building the spirit, but we need to have both things going on at the same time. It is no good trying to deal with the soul if the spirit is not strong enough to assume its rightful place. It is no good having a strong spirit if our soul is still battling to remain in control. We need to deal with both aspects together, so that we become spirit, soul and body (not body, soul and spirit).

If our spirit is really weak because it has never really been used, then it is going to find it difficult to rule. And if our soul is really strong because it has become accustomed to being in charge, it needs to submit. We have to learn how to build up our spirit and how to have our soul restored and refined so that everything is in its proper order in us.

When God created Adam, originally his spirit was in charge. His soul was not connected to the outside world but through his spirit and his relationship with God. He had no self-awareness apart from awareness of God, and God’s Spirit. God wants to restore us to that condition.

We looked before at a list of some things we can do to begin to build our spirit.

First of all we saw that we need to give God first place, first love, first priority.

Praying in tongues

The second area to focus on is praying and singing in tongues. This was probably the most important breakthrough for me in training my senses to engage the heavenly realms: learning to pray in tongues without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

People have taught it as if that verse just means we should pray regularly. That is not what it says. It says, ‘Pray without ceasing’. That means all the time. 24 hours a day, our soul can be directed by our spirit because our spirit is connected with God and praying without ceasing, and receiving a constant flow of revelation as it does so.

We begin by praying in tongues on the outside. We pray out loud in tongues, and we begin to train our spirit by praying in tongues and getting connected with God. And we can also pray in tongues on the inside. Most of us find it easy enough to pray inwardly in tongues when we are quiet and not doing anything else.

But we can train our spirit to pray in tongues on the inside whilst doing something else on the outside, and also to be praying in tongues on the outside whilst meditating on the Word on the inside. It takes practice to do those things, and we have to take the time to do spiritual exercises so that we learn.

Two exercises

We can try two exercises now.

We begin by praying on the inside, silently, in tongues for a minute or so.

Then, as we begin to flow in that and our spirit engages (and without stopping praying in tongues on the inside), we read aloud Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

It seems strange at first, but with practice it becomes easier!

Now we are going to pray in tongues on the outside, whilst meditating on this same scripture on the inside.

We begin again by praying in tongues, but this time out loud, for one minute.

Then, as we begin to flow in that once more and our spirit engages (and without stopping praying in tongues on the outside), we begin to meditate on the first verse of the psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want

We read it over slowly several times, a word at a time, on the inside, and allow God to speak to us about what we are reading, all the while continuing to pray in tongues out loud.

If this is new to us, we can feel that it is a stretch for our spirit, just like physical exercise is for our body if we are not used to it. But if we do this for a few minutes every day, then with practice and perseverance our spirit will grow stronger.

The Night Watch

We are told to meditate in the Word day and night (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2). How can you meditate when you are asleep? You can train your spirit to be awake, while your body is asleep. It is called the ‘night watch’ in the Psalms. We can be awake in our spirit and engaging with God even as our body sleeps. Then we need to have our soul be awake too, so that we can remember all the things we are engaged with, and all the revelation we receive.

Training, practice, discipline, exercise

When I was on the 40-day fast a few years ago, God told me that He wanted me to start each day by praying out loud in tongues for an hour. And as I was doing that, my spirit began to get really stirred so that I started to learn how to pray on the tongues on the inside. So now I can be praying in tongues while I am speaking to someone, or listening to them, so that I am receiving a flow of revelation.

Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1).

That means we need to desire them eagerly. They have to be really important to us. If building our spirit is not important to us, our spirit will remain as it was: weak and ineffective, subject to the whims of our soul.

As we have said before, if you want a strong physical body; if you want to be in good shape with plenty of muscle, you have to get regular exercise. You cannot do it any other way. Maybe you have seen those advertisements for devices you can strap on while watching the TV and they promise you will get a six-pack? Save your money. They don’t work. You have to train your physical body, and it is the same with your spirit. If we want a spirit that is like Jesus’ spirit, able to do all the things that He was able to do here on earth, we need to train our spirit, and go to spiritual gym. Praying and singing in tongues, and using other spiritual gifts, is spiritual gym. It builds our spirit up. The more we use our muscles, the stronger they become.

Paul writes, Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues (1 Cor 14:5) and, ‘I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all (1 Cor 14:18). The spiritual language that we have might be a language of men, it might be a language of angels; but it is a language we are given to communicate with God.

Building, edifying, strengthening

One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself (1 Cor 14:4), he builds himself up, strengthens himself. If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful (1 Cor 14:14). That is exactly how it is supposed to be with praying in tongues. We have to put our conscious mind in its rightful place, which is in subjection to our spirit. And sometimes we might wonder ‘what am I praying when I am praying in tongues?’ Actually we are not supposed to know, in our head, in our conscious mind. Our spirit will know, and we may get to know consciously if a flow of thought comes spontaneously to our mind from our spirit. But not the other way around.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit… (Jude 1:20).

So praying in the Holy Spirit, when our spirit and the Spirit of God are joined together as we pray in tongues, builds us up in our faith and it strengthens our spirit. And we need a strong spirit that is able to rule, able to be in charge.

So I pray in tongues while meditating, while reading the Bible, while doing everything I can possibly do. I pray in tongues while I am ministering to people, so that I get a flow of revelation. I pray in tongues when I am seeking God for revelation and direction. Because it is a flow of the thoughts of God that flow from the spirit. Praying in tongues keeps me connected to God who is on the inside of me.

He knows everything, so if I need to know something, where is that going to come from? It is going to come from the revelation that flows from His boundless knowledge. He is all-powerful, so I can be connected to His power, so that His power can flow through me to change things around me. He is also omnipresent, and since I am in Him, I can see things outside of my physical domain. I can see things in other parts of the world (or cosmos), I can see things that are going on in the heavenly realms. I can do that because He is everywhere. He is in all things, past, present and future, and I can be connected to Him. But I have to be flowing, and my spirit (rather than my soul) has to be strong, in charge, and ruling.

Rivers of living water

Tongues keeps the flow of the life of God coming.The more I pray in tongues, the more the Spirit is filling me, moving me, leading me. The rivers of living water flow from within me (as Jesus promised in John 7:38), because my spirit is open and allowing the Spirit of God to flow out through my life to touch people around me.

This is just how it happened for Jesus. We are here, as Christians, to be ‘little Christs’. That is what the word means. Anointed ones, just as He was anointed: we are anointed by the Holy Spirit to fulfil the purposes of God.

You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
(Isa 58:11 NLT).

The flow of life comes from within our spirit out through our lives. We need to build our spirit up. I would encourage you, pray in tongues as much as you can. Even if you are doing something else, because you do not need to engage the left side of your brain to pray in tongues. It is a right-brained activity. That is the same area of our brain where visions can be projected, from the inside out, from our spirit onto the screen of our imagination. Then we can see them, see the things of God, and have visitations with Him.

Praying in tongues is absolutely key to developing all of this. We need to practise it.

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