225. God Chooses You

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Our destiny was formed and fashioned in eternity. It continues on into eternity beyond this lifetime, but it is available for us to find here and now.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book (scroll) were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
(Ps 139:16-17).

One day we will have to give an account for whether the scroll of our actual life matches up with the scroll of what was God’s plan for us. God has provided all we need for our lives to produce the gold, silver and precious stones which make up our destiny. Wood, hay and stubble will not survive the testing fire.

Here is a definition I found: destiny – the treasure that God has set aside for you, designed you to possess (but it requires a battle and maturity to attain). It will enrich your life and bring you fulfilment based on your unique design and will advance the kingdom of God.

Our design matched with our destiny will bring fulfilment, rather than the futility and frustration we often experience when we are trying to do our own thing.

God chooses you

In biblical culture, the firstborn son had the right to a double inheritance. But God was never bound by that culture. He chose Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David and Solomon, none of them firstborn; he chose Deborah and Esther, though the culture dictated that they could not inherit at all! Everyone has a destiny, regardless of gender, position or any other worldly measurement, and none of those considerations can hinder us if we pursue it.

Wisdom does not hinder us, but it is not why we are chosen. Strength does not hinder us, but it is not why we are chosen. Position does not hinder us, but it is not why we are chosen.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor 1:25-30).

It is ‘by His doing’. We will not find and fulfil our destiny by intellectual understanding, physical strength or willpower, nor by anything of our own doing, but only by His doing: He has brought us into intimate relationship with Him. And in that intimacy of relationship we are able to see, hear, sense and feel His vision, His voice, His heart. We will never find our destiny if we miss our eternal relationship with our Creator.

To know God is our highest calling and the central focus of our destiny. The first step in our destiny quest is for intimacy with the Lord: getting to know Him – Who He is, what He does, how He thinks, and what He desires; His character, His nature, and His ways. All that can only come by the spirit of revelation.

Close relationship

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words (I Cor 2:12-13).

Even though God is often invisible and inaudible to our physical senses we can still get to know Him by developing our spirit and soul senses. Close relationship with Him is cultivated in exactly the same way human friendships are, through spending time together, communication, vulnerability and sharing our lives.

We have access to the thoughts of God, and the tangible spiritual experience of His emotions, by the spirit of revelation. And when we agree together, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words, there is power in that agreement.

Is that the kind – and the depth – of relationship with Him that we are pursuing? He has opened up the door of access to Himself and is asking us “do you want Me?”

Our invitation

Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity (2 Tim 1:9).

Because of His purpose and His grace, all this was ours long before we ever existed.

He has saved us. ‘Saved’ comes from the Greek word ‘sozo’: to save, to deliver or protect (literally or figuratively), to heal, preserve, to do well, to make whole. Bringing us back into our eternal purpose is what our salvation is all about.

He has called us. ‘Kaleo’ means to call, to bid or to invite. He has invited us to participate with Him in our eternal purpose and destiny.

With a holy calling. Holy is ‘hagios’ – sacred, divine, pure, morally blameless, or consecrated. It is something uniquely designed for us by God. And calling is ‘klesis’, which shares the same root as ‘kaleo’ and means destiny, vocation, invitation.

God saves us, restores us to wholeness and invites us to participate in the pure and holy destiny that was established for us in eternity.

How will we answer that invitation?

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101. Filthy Garments and Festal Robes

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

The kingdom of God is all around us. Not separate, not a long way away. So close that we can turn and look into it.

So, too, is the kingdom that is in darkness.

Which will we draw from?

Depending on where we look, that is where we will draw our resources from. Our spirit has access to the kingdom which is in light. God wants us to access all that He has for us in that kingdom and to draw all our power and authority from it every day, so that we can overcome.

Which way to turn?

If we do not, we will inevitably draw our resources from the other kingdom. The soul and the flesh will look to meet their own needs in their own way, and will look to obtain their resources from the kingdom that is in darkness.

Every time we try to do something in our own strength, according to our soul power, it will ultimately prove unsuccessful. We have to get over the fact that we can do nothing in our own strength. So we can turn and engage the kingdom of light or we can turn into the kingdom in darkness. It is a choice we all have, but co-operating with God is much more productive than resisting Him.

God’s desire was for Adam and Eve to be successful in carrying out His plan for them and for the earth. So He made available to them everything they needed to fill the earth and subdue it. They chose to look for resources elsewhere, and failed to fulfil their destiny.

“The Lord rebuke you, Satan”

We have looked briefly before at Zechariah 3, and it is a really important chapter in understanding this:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by (Zech 3:1-7).

This scene is set, not on the earth, but in the heavenly realms. Joshua was a man, a priest just as we are, and he had access to the presence of God. But Satan was there to accuse him. So we understand that we are looking at a courtroom in heaven, because courtrooms are where accusations are made and verdicts delivered.

It is God, not Joshua, who deals with Satan here.The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!”. So if there are accusations against us it is God who will deal with them.

Filthy garments

Notice that Joshua was ‘clothed with filthy garments’. Surely you cannot come into the presence of God wearing filthy garments? Actually that is exactly what you must do: He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”

God does the cleansing and cleaning up. We do not have to try to make ourselves clean in our own strength, by our own effort and initiative. That is just what Adam did when he messed up. He hid from God in the bushes and tried to cover himself with leaves. It does not work, and it is not our place to clean ourselves up. There is no need to feel guilty or condemned, or try to make amends for our sin in our own strength.

We just have to come into the presence of God, and He takes all the filthy garments off us and gives us a new robe.

Run to Him, not from Him

Now this all sounds very familiar, I know. But what we have maybe not realised before now is where this takes place. It takes place in the realms of heaven. That is why it is so important for us to access the heavenly realms: we can get clean every time we go in there, and when we are clean, we are confident to exercise the authority that God has given us and see the enemy defeated. If we feel guilty and condemned because of the accusations brought against us, then we lose our confidence, and are unlikely to overcome. So when we mess up – and we all do – we can step into the place of God’s presence. We can run to Him, not from Him.

He will deal with the accusations against us. He rebukes Satan. He does so because the blood of Jesus is constantly before Him as a testimony of what Jesus did on the cross. He took every single sin that any one of us has ever committed, every thought, every deed, every action, every omission. Everything. Jesus took the punishment in our place so that we do not have to suffer it.

When we go and take the bread and the wine in communion, we are partaking of the life of God, His very essence, His DNA, and we are transformed. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin and all our iniquity is done away with.

One of the enemy’s favourite tactics is to make us believe that we cannot come to God because we have sinned, whereas in fact it is the very thing that we need to do, and as quickly as we possibly can, to receive God’s forgiveness and His cleansing.

If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  ‘Faithful’ means that He will always do it. He will ‘clothe [us] with festal robes’ (Zech 3:4).

 Free access to stand 

We will never enjoy our free access to the realms of heaven if we think we have to be worthy. The enemy will always tell us we are unworthy. That is how he operates. We need to know the truth, because then we find the promise:

And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here” (Zech 3:6).

54. Salvation and Judgment

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Stone and Mountain

I want to begin today by looking again at two scriptures we have seen before:

Now it will come about that In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it (Isa 2:2).

You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands …But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (Dan 2:34-35).

This Stone and Mountain are very important: Jesus taught about it, and so did the apostles. The Stone is Jesus and the Mountain is His kingdom; the house of the Lord is God’s people. The kingdom is manifest (or demonstrated) through the church as God’s people, not through the institution called ‘church’.

The kingdom of God is going to fill the earth, in our time. As we have seen, tares have been sown into the church in terms of false doctrine which has put that off to another time or another people.

There has only ever been one people of God: people of faith. Faith is the key: it is not about being born into a Christian family. It was never even about being born into a Jewish family: you were not of the true Israel unless you had faith. It really wasn’t a national thing, as we will see.

‘Two sides of the same coin’

When God comes in righteousness, He often comes in judgment as well as in salvation: they are two sides of the same coin.

‘Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne (Kingdom); Lovingkindness and truth go before You’ (Ps 89:14).

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“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt 3:10-12).

  • The Flood brought salvation for Noah and his family, but judgment for the world.
  • In the Exodus, in the crossing of the Red Sea, there was salvation for Israel, but judgment for Egypt as all their army was swept away.
  • At the Cross there is salvation for believers, and it is open to everyone. But if you do not receive it, there is judgment.
  • In fact in all Jesus’ comings – and there are many comings of Jesus, ending with his Last Coming – there is both salvation and judgment.

Speaking of that Stone again:

This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and,  “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;  for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed (1 Peter 2:7-8).

The Stone, we know, was Jesus. Those builders who rejected Him were the Jewish people at the time. Not all of them rejected Him of course: the earliest church was made up of Jewish believers. But for those who did reject Him, those are strong words. ‘Doom’, like ‘woe’ in Matthew 23, is a covenant word.

No peaceful co-existence

Jesus ascended back up to heaven in around the year AD 30. The destruction of Jerusalem and its temple happened in AD 70. That 40-year period was a generation in which the old covenant people co-existed with the new covenant people. It was not a peaceful co-existence. Saul, before he met Jesus and became Paul, was sent out by the Jewish leaders to persecute Christians. They were trying to stamp out what they saw as heresy. Later on, in every city where (as Paul) he went to preach, he spoke to the Jewish people there first as God’s people and inheritors of God’s promises. When he showed them that these could only be received in Christ, most of them persecuted him, though some believed. That is why he was beaten and stoned.

So in this period the Old Covenant (with its Natural Country, City and Temple) was still in existence alongside the New Covenant (with its Spiritual Country, City and Temple). Much of the New Testament was written from the perspective of the persecution which arose because of this.

In particular, the whole of the book of Revelation was written about the covenant judgments (‘doom’) that were to come at the end of this period, the consequences of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah and their persecution of the church. It was written to provide comfort to those Christians who were suffering that intense persecution, to reassure them that God had a plan in it and that it would come to an end. It was not written about ‘the end of the world’. We need to get that out of our thinking, and then look at these scriptures for what they actually say.

That is a process we will begin in the next post. I want to look at the whole passage which leads up to the disciples’ question in Matthew 24, because that is essential if we are to properly understand the answers that Jesus gave them.

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21. Conflict for Souls

Mike Parsons – 

One Sunday, as we were singing, I saw Jesus, and He was looking at me. He was the Jesus of Revelation chapter 1, with fire in His eyes; His gaze was penetrating, seeing into my head, seeing into my heart. There was love in His eyes, and fire, and He was looking deep within me.

The eyes of God

The scripture says that the eyes of God are going to and fro throughout the earth (2 Chron 16:9), looking for those who He can strongly support: those whose hearts are completely His. That is what He is doing in this time, looking for willingness; willingness to say, ‘My heart is Yours. There may be stuff in it that needs dealing with, but I am willing for You to do what needs to be done, to restore me and make me whole. I am willing to step out and do Your will’. God’s eyes will penetrate your heart. If He looks into your heart and mind, what is He going to see there? Certainly you are not going to be able to hide anything from His eyes. And because He is also a warrior king, He is coming with a sword in His mouth; His words too will penetrate your heart and life, bringing division between the positive and the negative, the good and the bad, what can remain and what must be got rid of.

God never acts without revealing his plans to His prophets. Some of you reading this, you are on a crash course. You have been saved into this environment, into this understanding of God’s revelation and His purposes in our days. It will not take you the twenty years or more that it has taken some of us to come into the reality of the presence of God. And things are only going to accelerate, if we are willing. We do have that choice – we can resist Him and stop Him having His way in us, prevent Him from purifying and refining us, clearing out the dross and revealing the image of His Son in us. My advice is, don’t hide, don’t resist; allow God to deal with what is in your heart. In what is coming, a level of holiness – a level of being set apart – will be required that we simply do not have as yet. The highway of holiness is higher than we have imagined.

Harvest

Jesus is returning. He will return, at the end, but He is returning all the time. He is coming to us all the time. Open your heart, and He will come to you. The reason He is coming is to prepare us for the conflict for souls. The harvest that is coming is a battle for souls, make no mistake about it, and there will be conflict. People are falling into a fiery pit every day, and they are making that choice to go there.

I had a vision while I was on my 40 day fast, a vision of people, hundreds and thousands of them, walking across a plain. In the distance I could see that fiery pit, and people were just walking straight up to it and falling in. And I saw other people, Christians, standing in front of them and planting a sword in the ground right in front of them and saying, ‘Stop!’ Some of them did stop, but they looked around them, then they stepped to one side and carried on going.

Others did turn around though. With some of them it took 3 or 4 people to plant a sword in their path and cry, ‘Stop!’ before they turned and went back. The enemy has blinded their eyes. Our part is to bring the light. This is a real battle, this battle for souls: we are not playing games, not just having nice times with God for our own personal enjoyment, for the sake of the experience. Yes, He wants us to experience Him, but He wants our hearts and lives transformed for purpose, for His eternal purpose. People’s destiny is at stake, and we must shine so brightly that we get their attention so that they see that God is real and that they too can be transformed through His love.

What did Jesus say? ‘Look around you, the fields are white but there are not enough labourers’. He is seeking out those who have a heart for the harvest, to bring it in. In everything God is doing and planning to do, this is what it is about: bringing in the full harvest, seeing all those people saved, and healed and delivered.

The first stage we have looked at in God’s Prophetic Timetable is that call to intimate knowledge of Him, to really know Love. But the second stage has already begun for some people, even as that first one continues. Every stage of this plan takes us closer to the return of Jesus. We have already seen that God has established forerunners of everything He plans to do, little tasters if you like, to give us an appetite for what he intends to bring about on a much greater scale. So everything we have seen so far is tiny in comparison to what is coming.

That second stage is the removal of stumbling blocks, and the revelation of a generation of those who will bring in and train the harvesters. You have to understand, there are two phases of the harvest. There will be a final harvest at the very end of the age, but first the harvesters themselves need to be brought in. We will consider this next time.

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