169. Beholding As In A Mirror

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).

We have seen how we can come into Holy Place in the heavenly tabernacle through the cross, through Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Just as the sacrificial lamb was prepared by the High Priest, so Jesus prepares us daily as a living sacrifice.

Beholding as in a mirror

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18)

Besides the altar of incense, in the Holy Place there is also a laver (a large bath, made of polished bronze) (Ex 38:8) in which the priests would immerse themselves to wash. This mirror surface is supposed to reflect the image of God. The word, the message we hear and carry, is our mirror (James 1:22-25); when we look into that mirror we should increasingly see the reflection of His image in us.

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb 10:19-22).

We may have previously thought that ‘entering the holy place’ was something we did on earth. Look again: we do it in heaven. We have access through the blood of Jesus, a new and living way, into the heavenly realms.

…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word… (Eph 5:25-26).

Living and active

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and separating 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).

This familiar verse is not about the Bible: they really did not even have a Bible for two centuries after this was written. It is talking about the specific word God speaks to us which addresses the issues in our life. Are we willing to submit to the authority of that living word in our lives? The Spirit of God can breathe life into the written word and apply it; if we surrender to it and make it the authority in our life then the logos (written word) becomes the rhema (spoken word). But the Spirit can also speak to us directly, or breathe life into anything!

When we look into the word He speaks; when we surrender our lives to it, God can reveal to us aspects of our life and behaviour to which we have been blind (our ‘blind self’). We see and surrender to the truth, and step into the light where the 7 spirits of God are burning, bringing knowledge, wisdom, understanding and so on (represented by the candlestick there in the Holy Place).

When Jesus, our High Priest, prepares our life as a sacrifice, He removes all our coverings, skins, and masks; all our onion layers of self-protection. We stand before Him naked, transparent, uncovered; our flesh completely exposed before God. Fig leaves did not work for Adam and Eve: we need to stop trying to cover up with dead works, self-righteousness, defence or coping mechanisms, trying to meet our needs apart from God. We need to surrender.

Threes

Hebrews 4:12 (which we looked at above) talks about three things: dividing, separating, judging; three layers of God’s dealing with us. The division of soul and the spirit is about our behaviours (transgression); but there is a deeper level, our thoughts and intentions, our motives (sin); and deeper still, the bone and marrow, the root or source of things in our lives (iniquity).

We are a 3-part being: spirit, soul and body.
God is a 3-part being: Father, Son and Spirit.
This is because 3 is the number of government.

  • The body has 3 layers of skin – dermis, epidermis, sub-dermis
  • The heart has 3 layers – endocardium, myocardium, pericardium
  • The brain has 3 layers – dura matter, arachnoid matter, pia matter
  • The soul has 3 components – heart, emotions, will

Everything operates in threes, even transgression, sin and iniquity.

Trauma, nurture, nature

God wants us to deal with the layers in our lives. We acquire these skins, layers, masks, and behaviour patterns in one of three ways:

  • Trauma – experiential programming
  • Nurture – environmental programming
  • Nature – DNA genetic programming

Trauma is the record of our experiences, stored as memories in our lives. We create layers of protection, coping and defence mechanisms because of such things as

  • Abuse – physical, sexual, emotional, physiological, verbal
  • Incidents and accidents – emotional
  • Grief and loss, death, divorce, moving home

Nurture is our environmental programming, the record of our upbringing. We may have been affected by:

  • Parents – less than perfect acceptance, affection, affirmation, approval – security
  • Family, school, friends, church
  • Words – curses, vows, agreements, lies
  • Familial and familiar spirits

Nature is our:

  • blood line – records of family sin, behaviours, spirits – iniquity
  • seed line – our DNA genetic record, which may contain reptilian seed (Cain), Nephilim seed (angelic/human hybrid) or righteous seed (Noah).

We can deal with both trauma and nurture by surrendering; by entering into the realms of heaven to present ourselves as a sacrifice. We allow ourselves to be skinned of all masks, coverings and layers; self-righteousness, religious coverings, denial and projection; self-protection, coping and defence mechanisms. We will see how to deal with our nature (blood line and seed line) later in this series.

Our being

transformation-2012-6_277

We are made in the image of God, spirit, soul and body. Our spirit is where the Holy Spirit is resident, with the mind of Christ, the glory of God and the heart of the Father. When we surrender our spirit and the throne of the government of our life to God, then our spiritual senses are activated to express God’s glory through us to the world around us.

Our spirit is surrounded by our soul. Our conscious mind is the outer layer of our soul, the connection between it and our body. We can have lies masquerading as truth in our subconscious (at Freedom we call it our ‘knower’ because it is where we know that we know that we know things). But just because we ‘know’ something does not make it true. Our strongholds defend our right to believe lies. We need them demolished so that lies can be replaced with truth, reprogramming the mind and renewing the heart.

Transformation 2012 6_280

I do not know anyone who grew up with the ideal of perfect love, esteem, worth, value and security. We have all had unmet needs which we tried to meet through imperfect people, who inevitably disappointed us (God is the only one who can meet our needs). Emotional damage eventually comes out through our conscious mind and expresses itself in our behaviour every day. We have lived under the rule of things that shaped our lives.

If we present ourselves to Him, God heals and restores us.

Transformation 2012 6_281

In our will, sin and iniquity have caused stubbornness, doubt, fear and so on. As we surrender, as we daily present ourselves as a living sacrifice, God replaces those with patience, confidence, humility, endurance – all the positive attributes you see there.

If we pursue transformation, God deals first with our behaviour. And if we persevere, beyond that there are still motives and roots that He will begin to address.

Wash me, skin me

Father I thank You that You have made a way for me
To access Your heavenly presence
I step in through the veil of Jesus through the way of the cross
I step into the realm of Your government

I look into the mirror of Your word
Reveal my blind self to me
Show me the hidden motives of my heart
Show me how I look compared to Your image
Wash me and cleanse me with Your living word

I step through the veil of truth into the Holy Place
I stand in the light of Your truth
I ask You to search me

I present myself to You, Jesus, my High Priest, as a living sacrifice
Prepare me for the altar of incense
That my life would be an acceptable offering

Skin me
Remove all layers of self-righteousness
Remove all the masks I hide behind
Remove all my defensive behaviour patterns
Remove all my coping mechanisms

Remove all the mindsets and strongholds I have built
To defend my false beliefs and values

Remove all patterns of thinking,
Philosophies, ideals, lies and values not of Your kingdom

Remove all layers of doubt and unbelief
Remove all my emotional layers of rejection, insecurity, fear, dependence,
Remove all layers of guilt and shame
Remove all layers of anger, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness
Remove all layers of control, independence,
Stubbornness and rebellion, pride and self-sufficiency

Give me revelation of my true identity as a son of God
Renew my mind to the mind of Christ
Meet all my unmet needs in Yourself
Heal all my unhealed hurts
Restore my soul

I receive Your unconditional love, acceptance, affirmation, approval
I stand transparent, naked and unafraid before You
I hear You say ‘I see You and I love You’
I receive Your value, esteem and worth
I receive Your strength, patience, perseverance,
Courage, boldness, humility and confidence

I step back into this realm to walk in the ways of Your kingdom
Manifest Your glory through me on earth as it is in heaven

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168. The Fire of Transformation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Refiner’s Fire

There are three things you need for fire: heat, air, and a fuel source. God’s presence is the heat and the wind of the Holy Spirit is the air (the more the wind of the Spirit blows, the hotter the fire). Now, who is willing to be a fuel source? There is no other fuel for this fire. To enter glory we must go through the fire of transformation. We are being prepared so that He can turn up in person.

Fire changes the composition of a substance at a molecular level. Chemically, this is the process, and there will be parallels for us in our lives too:

  • Heating – temperature rises
  • Transition – softening of bonds
  • Degradation – bonds break
  • Decomposition – release of gases
  • Oxidation – combustion
  • Transformation – change of substance (e.g. wood to charcoal)

Fire from heaven

We can see instances in scripture where the fire of God fell:

Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces (Lev 9:24) [see also 2 Chron 7:1, 1 Chron 21:26, Rev 8:5].

But we are not dependent upon fire falling from heaven. We have access to heaven, where the fire is. We can enter into the fire of God’s presence every day.

Pure in heart

Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God (Matt 5:8).

Our lives become an offering when we go through this process of refining and purifying. Purity means there is no mixture. We gave God the go-ahead for this when we prayed “Try me, O God” (from Psalm 139) a little earlier. ‘The Lord tests the heart’ (Prov 17:3), and ‘when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold’ (Job 23:10).

We can count it all joy when we go through trials (James 1:2), because we know the end will make it all worth while. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, we are not alone in the fire, and when we come through we will not even smell of smoke.

A new heart

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26).

We need pure hearts, because the heart carries the testimony record of our life and past generations. The heart forms from the sperm and the ovum joining to form the first cell and contains 23 + 23 chromosomes from our mother and father. It contains the DNA record of our seed line and the cell memories of our past generational blood line.

Transformation is the process of rewriting our hearts (2 Cor 3:3). This is what will happen when we start dealing with these generational things in our lives:

You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place (Deut 12:3).

  • What are your idols?
  • What are your family idols?
  • Where are your high places?
  • Where are your family high places?
  • Where have you sacrificed?
  • Where has your family sacrificed?
  • What have you traded with?
  • What has your family traded with?

This is all coming as we ask God to transform us.

Heavenly realms

We are to lay our lives on the altar, and come as a living sacrifice. That altar is not in a physical place on earth, but in the tabernacle in heaven.

Heavenly realms 2

This is a diagrammatic representation of seven realms of heaven. Between each of these realms or dimensions are gateways, and there are protocols for passing through them. The two cherubim and fiery sword are there to block the pathway to the tree of life, but Jesus has unblocked that pathway for us as we come through Him, through the cross.

When He described Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life, (the names of the veils between the various parts of the temple), His contemporaries understood very well that He was saying, ‘It is (and always has been) only through Me that you can access the realms of God’s Presence and the realms of heaven’.

Way, Truth and Life

The seraphim and fire

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, Woe is me, for I am ruined! Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is purged (Isa 6:4-7).

We may well exclaim ‘Woe is me, I am ruined!’, or in more modern language, ‘I’m totally wrecked’ because that is how we feel when all the impurities come to the surface in the heat of the fire. The burning coal purges our sin and takes away our iniquity when we engage the seraphim. If you have not yet experienced that, then that too is coming.

A living sacrifice

We have looked before at what it means to come as a living sacrifice. Please feel free to read those blog posts now if you have not done so before. By faith we enter through the veil, to the brazen altar, to Jesus our High Priest, who prepares the sacrifice. Our part is to come and present ourselves.

Jesus told us that this is the protocol if we want to come after Him: to deny ourself (surrender), take up the cross (the place of exchange) and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

Walk in the light

If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7, 9).

How many of us have only ever applied this scripture to this earthly realm? But it is in the realms of heaven that we are cleansed from sin; it is in the realms of heaven where Jesus is, walking in the light. That cleansing comes as we step into His presence through the cross. We can experience cleansing here in this realm only because we can do so in that realm. And we can do it in an instant by learning to step into that place, to go through the veil of the cross and exchange old for new, sin for righteousness and so on.

covenant-exchange-belonging

Here are some declarations you can use every day:

Father, I thank You that through your mercy
You have made a way for me to access Your heavenly presence.

I choose to deny myself, take up the cross and follow Your way.
I choose to lose my life to gain your life.

I step in through the veil of Jesus, through the way of the cross.
I step into the realm of Your government.
I come to trade on the brazen altar of covenant exchange.

I exchange my sin for Your righteousness.
I exchange my rejection for Your acceptance.
I exchange my guilt for Your forgiveness.
I exchange my sickness for Your health.
I exchange my old life for Your new life.

I exchange my old identity for Your new identity.
I exchange my old name for Your new name.
I exchange my old nature for Your new nature.
I exchange my old bondage for Your new freedom.
I exchange my old records for Your new record.
I exchange my past for Your future.

I exchange my darkness for Your light.
I exchange my weakness for Your strength.
I exchange my thoughts for Your thoughts.
I exchange my character for Your character.
I exchange my ways for Your ways.

I step back into this realm
Forgiven, cleansed, and clothed with righteousness.
I am empowered for transformation
To manifest Your glory
Bringing heaven to earth through my life.

I would encourage you to do this every day. Step in and step out; exchange old for new at the cross. Be transformed. Make this a way of life, daily denying yourself, taking up the cross, and following Him – into the realms of heaven.

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—

167. Pursue and Embrace

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Fire Season

Prophetic Timetable 2019 FIRE SeasonThe fire of God’s Presence is coming to the church, to remove and gather stumbling blocks, to raise up a Joshua Generation.

We must be strong and ready if we are to withstand the coming storms: and we will find God in the midst of some of them, hidden in the fire and the clouds and the smoke.

At the dedication of the temple, the priests could not stand and minister when the glory of God’s presence came. But we have to learn to stand and minister in the storm of glory, in the storm of judgment that is coming to the church, where God is drawing a line, saying ‘This is Me, and this is not’.

Open spiritual warfare is coming: we must be able to withstand it. When everything starts to fall apart, God’s people will be raised up. When the time comes for the storm of judgment to come upon the world, we are not only to have the answer, we are to be the answer.

In being transformed (2 Cor 3:18) we are being changed into the image of Jesus, the image we had before the foundation of the world, from one degree of glory to another. That process of change enables us to display the glory of God, the manifest presence of God, on earth as it is in heaven. We do not call heaven down, we bring heaven down. To bring heaven to earth, we have to be able to access heaven: God is opening up heaven so that we can engage there.

We can choose to pursue and embrace this process of change, or not. Only by so doing can we be prepared and able to do all that God has called and destined us to do. Otherwise we risk being unprepared and unable. Do we want to stay babies and infants for ever? One day we will have to give account for what we have done about the call of God and our scroll of destiny. I have chosen to respond to His call, and go after my destiny: how about you?

Wall of Fire

‘For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst’ (Zech 2:5).

To come into the glory, we have to go through the wall of fire. That wall of fire is God’s Presence. The glory in the midst is His Person. God wants to take us from having wonderful experiences of His Presence to being able to look Him in the face, a completely different level of relationship.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Jude v24).

He will keep us from stumbling (the removal of stumbling blocks is part of our transformation), so that we can stand in His glory and not be completely destroyed by it.

Wilderness

A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isa 40:3-5).

The environment in which transformation takes place can seem like a wilderness. God has a purpose in bringing us there. Let us be willing to face and embrace it, unlike the children of Israel:

Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (Ex 14:11-12).

But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent” (Ex 14:13-14).

They were afraid of the uncertainty of change, preferring the slavery of their previous life. They were like baby Christians, saved out of Egypt but not willing to be transformed. How many of us responded to a gospel of salvation rather than to the true gospel of the kingdom, and have been surprised at the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus? We have seen salvation as a one-off event, whereas the Greek word ‘sozo’ implies a process of transformation.

If we want our old life to ‘never be seen again for ever’, we cannot keep looking back towards it. Instead, we focus on what is to come, on the change that God desires. The wilderness is a place of separation in which we can deal with our souls and allow that transformation to take place. It is a place of calling, as Moses was called at the burning bush. It is a place of testing and overcoming, as Jesus was tested and emerged victorious.

Forerunners will go into the wilderness to prepare the way for others. It may be inconvenient, uncomfortable, inhospitable, but here we can learn to fight, to overcome, to be obedient, to trust in God’s provision. Here we can be prepared to possess our inheritance. Here God can deliver a message that will transform our lives.

Here He can make straight the crooked ways of our behaviour. He can fill the valleys, the low places of our lack of confidence, our inadequacies, insecurities and weaknesses. The mountains of pride, personal agendas and ambitions, self-promotion, self-reliance and competitiveness He can make low.

Our crooked, uneven ways of thinking and understanding, our carefully concealed secrets and moral compromise He can straighten out. The rough ground of our defects of personality and character He can make a plain. He will bring about changes in our attitudes, beliefs and actions to bring us into alignment with the kingdom, so that the Glory of the Lord can be revealed in us.

The Highway of Holiness

A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way (Isa 35:8).

Righteousness is gifted to us, so that we can choose to be holy. The highway of holiness is built in our souls, in our hearts. In this process let us seek to be ruthless, honest, and open to the light. We will identify by revelation the patterns of sin, weakness, hurts, mind-sets, character  issues, behavioural fruit and so on which are operating in our lives. We will deal with them by owning them, confessing, repenting, renouncing and forgiving. Blockages will be removed from our conscience, imagination, mind, emotions, and will.

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent (Rev 3:18-19).

How do we buy? We present ourselves for transformation, as living sacrifices. We step into the presence of God through the pathway or veil of Jesus, through the cross. He will do the work in us, but beware: it will be at a deeper level than we have ever experienced before.

If we understand that, and are willing to submit to Him, then let’s pray:

Father by faith I choose to step into Your heavenly presence.
I receive Your acceptance, love, mercy and grace.
I stand in the victory of the cross forgiven, justified and cleansed.

I thank You that You clothe me in white robes of righteousness.
I am the righteousness of God in Christ.

Father I choose to give You full permission 
To do whatever it takes to change me 
And transform me into the image of Jesus.
I give You full permission to remove all stumbling blocks from me.

I give You full permission to use whatever means you see fit
To purify, refine and restore me to my original eternal condition.

Father I choose to deny myself
And surrender control of my life to You.

I give You my conscience.
I repent of and renounce everything that has damaged it.
I ask you to purify and restore my conscience,
Direct and protect me through my conscience
By a flow of reverence and fear of the Lord.

I give You my reason centre.
I repent of and renounce doubt, unbelief,
Rationalism, scepticism, cynicism and denial.
I ask You cleanse me of all false doctrine, philosophies and ideas.

I ask You to renew and restore my reason.
Use my reason to interpret your thoughts
And understand your ways

I give You my imagination.
I repent of and renounce viewing any image that has polluted me.
I ask you to blot out every negative image with the blood of Jesus.

Purify and restore my imagination.
Restore my screen, vision and revelation

I give You my heart, my sub-conscious mind.
I repent of and renounce all strongholds,
Negative belief and value systems,
Vows, words, curses, doctrines, triggers,
Coping and defence mechanisms.

I ask You to cleanse every negative memory.
Purify, restore and reprogram my heart
With Your truth, Your values and my destiny.

I give You my emotions.
I repent of and renounce all unforgiveness, bitterness and anger.
I ask You to purify and restore my emotions
Use my emotions to feel Your heart and guide me through intuition.

I give You my will.
I repent of and renounce all sin,
Rebellion, stubbornness, wilfulness, control, fear,
Doubt, unbelief and indecision

I ask You to purify and restore my will.
Restore courage, perseverance and boldness.
Use my will to enable me to do Your will
Through obedience and true worship.

Father I surrender my spirit, soul and body to You
I declare that Jesus is Lord of the gates of my life.

I step back into this realm
Readily available to do Your will and purposes.
Manifest Your glory and presence in and through my life.
Manifest Your kingdom authority and power through me and around me.

Amen

If you prayed that prayer, please do not be surprised what God brings to the surface in your life as a result… and please, don’t blame me! Be willing to deal with those things when they come up, so that God can have His way.

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Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
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163. Gateways Open, Flowing Freely

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Me, myself and I

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Gal 5:16-17).

Self-centredness, selfishness, self-importance, self-promotion, self-control, self-respect, self-esteem, self-worth, self-image, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-belief, self-righteousness, self-help, self-expression, self-gratification, self-indulgence…

You might think that not all of these are bad. But it really depends on what is driving our lives. If we are to reflect the glory of God and flow with His life, then ‘me, myself and I’ will have to die.

Our soul is supposed to get revelation and direction from God, on the inside. Once it finds the true source of life and grows accustomed to drawing from that source, it will not want anything else. But while we keep trying to feed it from two sources, it remains confused. We have to re-train it to receive from the inside out.

We were looking in our previous post at the diagram of our spirit, soul and body gateways, and we understand that we need all our gateways open and flowing freely.

So what might block and close up our soul gates?

Common blockages

Sin: unforgiveness, rebellion, independence, self-centredness.
Strongholds: mind-sets, beliefs, lies.
Negative emotions: fear, doubt, unbelief.
Demonic: familiar spirits, generational spirits.
Deception, confusion, control.

Mind gate: strongholds, words spoken, words received, curses, fear, false doctrines
Imagination gate: images seen or imagined, TV, films, books, fantasy, games, internet
Emotions gate: rejection, disappointments, unforgiveness, betrayal
Conscience: sin, deception, pride, independence, judgment, criticism, defensiveness

Unmet needs affect our soul’s desires and motives. Unhealed hurts affect our emotions. Unresolved issues affect our trust and foster doubt. Sin and rebellion will dull our conscience so that things no longer seem wrong, so that we become comfortable with our weaknesses and patterns of sin, and eventually they seem to us to be normal, acceptable behaviours.

How can we open our gates?
How can we keep them open?

Whatever it is that has blocked our gate(s), we must own, confess, repent of, and renounce. As we apply the blood of Jesus, there is no guilt, shame or condemnation for us: we receive forgiveness and cleansing. Cleansing the gateways by the blood of Jesus is essential to fully opening the flow.

Step 1: Open the gate of first love

This gate is often most damaged by our natural experiences of hurt, pain and rejection. Renouncing inner vows, repenting of fear and forgiving hurts, we invite Him into our spirit and out through our soul and body by deliberately opening the door. Jesus is knocking: the door handle is on our side and it is up to us to open it (Rev 3:20).

We give God first love, first place, first priority

Step 2: Opening spirit gates

In our relationship of intimacy with God, we act in faith and meditate on each gate, surrendering our spirit to Him. We pray in tongues, open it up and welcome the glory and fire of God’s presence to come through.

Here is an example prayer for one of those gates (revelation). These are just words I have used – you are welcome to use or adapt them, but you can find your own if you like:

Father, I choose to open the gate of ‘revelation’ in my spirit.
I open it and yield it to Your glory.
I receive and release the power of God through this gate
I begin to receive revelation of Your kingdom
So that it will change my soul into the image of the Son of God who abides in me.

Persistence and diligence are key. We can work on all the gates, one at a time or in groups, but we must pray until we start to see the results – and then keep going.

Step 3: Opening soul gates

The soul gates are often influenced by demonic familiar spirits and our sin nature (which we know must be crucified with Christ and reckoned dead daily (Rom 6;6, Gal 5:24)).

As gateways begin to open, we can expect warfare from our soul as the kingdom influence begins to exert itself. We have to take back possession of our souls and dispossess anything residing there: demonic spirits, blockages, strongholds, controls, or anything else.

Again we act in faith, this time speaking to our soul and yielding control to the direction of our spirit. We take God’s word as a sword to separate our spirit from the control and dominion of the soul (Heb 4:12), declaring, “Soul, you will not motivate me, control me, or block the flow of the spirit”.

Our soul draws life from our spirit, but it has been used to drawing from the world, through the body. It has been used to ruling, being in control, which is why it fights the spirit when the spirit seeks to assume its rightful place. We break soul ties to our spirit, and break independence by surrendering control to our spirit.

Here is my example prayer for the ‘conscience’ gateway:

I bring my conscience into submission to my spirit.
I release the life of God to flow from my spirit
Through the gateways of reverence and of the fear of the Lord
To a consciousness of God’s righteousness and truth.

Where my soul has been seared by sin,
I now take the sword of the spirit and cleave the gateway open
To allow the flow of God through it, to dictate my actions.

Father, make me aware of my actions
That I may submit to Your authority in my spirit…

Step 4: Take possession of the gateway and place Christ at the centre of it

We yield the soul’s gateways to the dictates of the spirit. We allow the life and glory of God to flow through them to the body, influencing and dictating its actions.

Step 5: Repent (change our mind and think about these things the way God does).

We repent of allowing any demonic spirits access through the individual gateways of our souls. We take the blood of Jesus by faith, wipe the gateway clean and redeem it. We acknowledge that we have not been diligent in the past and now accept and fulfil our responsibility for guarding the gates.

Continuing my example prayer over my conscience gateway::

Today in Jesus’ name
I take authority over [the spiritual force or condition]
That is resistant to the flow of God in me.
I loose it and cast it out of this gateway in Jesus name.
I make, and place, Jesus as Lord over this gateway today.

Father I thank You that my conscience gateway is full of Your glory.
I thank You that my conscience receives and releases
The flow of godliness and holiness through it in Jesus name.
My conscience will now dictate my body’s actions in the world.

[Thankfulness is very powerful. I may not feel that my gateway is actually yet full of His glory, but I declare that which is not as though it were, and give Him the opportunity to use my words to bring that about in me].

Persistent, diligent

When the life of God begins to flow, sometimes it is just a trickle. That is better than no flow at all, but we want a flood! This type of praying needs to be persistent in order to maintain the victory and widen the flow. Once our gates are open and functioning, as long as we are diligent and keep short accounts with God, we will never allow sin to block them again. But even if we do, we now know how to get them open and flowing freely again.

We lay hold of the gates of our life by faith as our inheritance, so that we exercise our God-given right to exercise dominion and authority there. We cast out any spirit seeking to exercise authority in those gates. Jesus is Lord of the gates only as we give Him the right to flow through them. In the spirit, by faith, we raise the banner of victory over each gate as a declaration that Jesus resides there.

God’s desire is that we manifest His kingdom, so that the world can see His love, His grace and His mercy, flowing freely to them through us. Let’s begin to enforce the kingdom of God from the point of authority in our spirit, so that it floods into our soul, through our body and out into the world.

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161. Familiar, But Dangerous

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

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).

…penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analysing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart (Heb 4:12 AMP).

For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7)

God is more interested in our motives than our outward appearance or actions. So in preparing to fulfil our destiny, we must look closely at our heart.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

He desires that we operate in the fullness of the Spirit’s power, just as Jesus did. But who gets the glory when I do a miracle? If it is God, that is great. But evidence from history and from around the world suggests that is not always the case. When we do things that people appreciate, it can feed a need in us.

God will do awesome things through us, for His glory. But will we use them for ourselves instead, to gain money, position, popularity or power? Those are the temptations of the flesh.

Two examples

Let’s look at two biblical examples of this:

In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira sold property, gave some of the money to the apostles, and held some back for themselves (as in fact they were perfectly entitled to do). But they lied and claimed they were giving it all, so Peter asked Ananias, ‘Why is it you have conceived this deed in your heart?’ It was because they wanted to be thought more generous than they actually were. They were looking for approval from people.

They dropped dead because of what was in their hearts. I do not want anyone to die. But with greater power comes greater responsibility. We have to be pure in heart.

In Acts 8, Simon the sorcerer was claiming to be someone great. He believed and was baptised, but because he was still looking for position, tried to buy the power to lay hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit. Peter admonished him to ‘pray that the intention of your heart may be forgiven you’.

Search me

This is a familiar prayer to many of us by now:

Search me, 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.

(Psalm 139:23-24)

Familiar, but dangerous. Are we willing for God to show us what is in our hearts? Are we willing for Him to change and transform us? Let us not be too quick to answer without considering the cost. It is not always easy to agree with Him. We can find it hard to accept that we have wrong motives, that our heart is not right. We do not like others to think that of us either. We think we are mostly OK. But this is our opportunity to humble ourselves and allow God to do what needs to be done.

Encounters in a dark cloud

Let me share with you from my journals a little of how this went for me.

15 Nov 2010: I saw a cloud, like a nebula, and my scroll of destiny flashed before my eyes. In the centre was a crucial point. All things were leading up to this point in time on the scroll and all things were then flowing from this point. I saw a fire, a flame.

fireandsmoke

Jan to May 2011: If we want to come into the presence of God, the presence of His Person, we have to come through a dark place. The dark cloud is there for our protection, but with preparation we can go through it (see Gen 15:12, Deut 4:11, Psalm 18:11-12, Psalm 97:2). You do not want to meet God unprepared (I have heard it said that the High Priest had a rope tied to his leg when he entered the Holy of Holies so that they could pull out his body if he had not prepared properly and was burned to a crisp).

3rd May 2011: I asked, “Father how do I meet You in the fire and the smoke?”

“Son, you have met Me but you have not been hungry and thirsty enough to come where I am in the thick cloud. You have held back, you have been fearful. You have not been ready to surrender everything. If you really want to come you can but you will never be then the same. You can’t act the same. You must want to come above all else, you must need to come”.

“You have too many encumbrances to come; they anchor you to the world. You must be willing to have them dissolved away. You have been far too comfortable. The gathering angels need to gather from you the things that hold you to the ground and restrict your range of movement”.

“Son, I fear that if you come now you would not go back. Prepare yourself; discipline the flesh, discipline your mind. Surrender your emotions again and I will welcome you in to see Me”.

6th Nov 2011: During a worship time I was lost in the presence of God on the dance floor within a swirling curtain of colour and I was instructed to spend the next 4 months in the garden, dance floor, soaking room and bridal chamber. I was to make a marriage contract and take it into the canopy of darkness, into the presence of the person of God, for consummation.

I was shown that February 20th would be my breakthrough day.

The garden for love, the dance floor for joy, the soaking room for peace, and the bridal chamber for hope – four months like that did not sound too bad. But it turned out to be a time of darkness, in which I could do nothing, see nothing, know nothing, ultimately even be nothing, a time of intense testing.

He told me, “I don’t need your assistance, just your surrender”.

Would I trust Him without seeing and knowing what He was doing? Could joy come from nothing external, only the Lord? Was I willing to take the yoke of Jesus, to offer my obedience even when it made no sense?

In the fourth month, in the bridal chamber, I was instructed to wait expectantly in hope.

I entered into 21 days of fasting, and spent the first 6 days reviewing 15 months of my journals. I had not been ill for 16 years, but I became sick by drinking contaminated water, because I had not cleaned out the water cooler properly. I had no sleep for 5 days, could not even keep water down, and was physically running on empty, all reserves gone. I did not do what I would advise anyone else to do, I did not fight, stand against the sickness, or call the elders – God said just to wait.

Psalm 22:1 became very real to me. ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’

I started losing my reasoning abilities, could not focus, was struggling even to pray in tongues. Emotionally I started to feel really vulnerable, that I needed to put my house in order. I began to think that nobody at home would miss me if I wasn’t around. I realised I had sown 18 years of my life into church to the detriment of my relationships with my wife and family, that my priorities needed to change.

I wondered if I would make it to February 20th, my breakthrough day.

One night there was intense fire inside and out, waves of loss rolling over me: disappointment, despair, despondency, grief. The 59 points of the marriage contract, which I had drawn up in obedience to what God had told me, were lost one by one. And He was asking, “Do you still love me?”

If none of my dreams were realised
If none of the prophecies came to pass
If my destiny was never fulfilled

Would I still love God?
Would I still trust God?
Would I still have joy and peace?
Would I still be able to rejoice and give thanks?
Would God still be a good God?

Could God trust me?
Was it all about Him? Or me?
Was it about what He could do for me?
Was it about what I could do for Him?

Was it all worth it just for a relationship with Him and nothing else?
Eventually, the answer was YES.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched…” (Isa 43:2)

Monday 20th February: I was totally restored to health and wholeness. The shackles were removed, and I was free to minister again. Straight away I found I was able to engage God in the heavenlies.

I met face to face with Him.

Fire

Can God trust us, His church, with all that He desires to give us?
Is God more important to us than what He does for us?

Not without the purifying of our hearts. It is the pure in heart who shall see God.

His fire is coming, to refine and purify. I saw God on His throne with a large can labelled ‘accelerant’. Jesus is preparing to come and cleanse his temple. Judgment will begin with the house of God.

God disciplines those He loves, because He wants the best for us. Not everyone will have to go through what I went through. I am a forerunner: I break through for others to follow. But are you willing to go through the fire of refinement, purification, preparation? Whatever this means for you, are you really willing for the motives of your heart to be tested in the fire?

Careful how you answer.

[This post is based on session 10 of Mike’s teaching series Preparing For Destiny.]

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153. I Have Called You Friends

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

There is a period of training we have to go through in order to sit in the seat of rest, the place of government, and to bring kingdom authority into our life. We have first to give up control of our lives, and learn to be servants and stewards. But beyond that, God wants us to come into friendship. In all this process we are gradually getting to know the ways of God (Zech 3:7).

Friends

Friends enjoy a measure of revelation that stewards and servants do not. Being a friend of God comes through relationship, but it also comes about through obedience, as we shall see.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you (John 15:13-14).

When we surrender He is able to bring us into a place of intimacy and fellowship and revelation where He reveals things to us.

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:15).

He wants to entrust us with insider knowledge and revelation. This will give us an advantage in the world around us, and we will have the favour of God upon us. Because of our faithfulness as servants and stewards He will now trust us with those intimate secrets He wants to share with us.

Jesus is Lord. We learn how to be a servant and do the works of God. He then starts to entrust us as stewards with more resources and responsibility. He shares His heart with us as we become friends. We begin to learn the ways of God. We engage with the Holy Spirit and learn to recognise His voice and to learn the things of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is there to lead us to Jesus. He does not promote Himself, but He leads us to Jesus. Jesus becomes higher in our lives.

Lords

Jesus is Lord of lords, and we are the lords of whom He is Lord. He enables us to be lords who govern with authority and power, and we start to administer the principles of the kingdom.

Kings

Jesus is also King of kings, so we understand that when Jesus takes us to a yet higher revelation of authority, we become kings. A king has a greater and wider authority than a lord. Instead of simply administering the laws, kings can make them. That is when we can ‘rule the house’ (Zech 3).

Sons

But Jesus in turn does not want us to remain just in relationship with Him, so He always leads us to the Father. As we get into that relationship with the Father we can operate as sons. Sons operate in a whole different level of authority and power than do lords and kings.

This is a process and a journey of training which all starts with surrender. I can only become a son if I first become a servant. Am I willing?

God is looking for that surrender so that we can judge the courts of heaven and operate in the kind of authority that most of us have never even dreamed of. Because of the storms that are coming in the world, God wants a people who can live from the eye of the storm in authority and power as lords, kings and sons. He desires a people who can administer the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Equipping

When kingdom authority comes into our lives, we can command things around us to be subject to the realm of God’s kingdom. We have authority to change things so that they come into line with God’s purposes for our life.

We need to come into alignment with the desire of God, engage in the purposes of God, and set ourselves apart to yield to His Lordship. As we surrender to His government in our lives, we receive His equipping on the inside. This enables us to engage external things so that they change and take on the reflection of the internal authority of God’s kingdom within us. Then we can walk into chaos and transform it, bringing peace and order just as Jesus did.

Step in, step out

We will finish today by stepping in to God’s presence, and having engaged with Him, stepping back out, as we have learnt to do. We need to practise stepping in and out of the presence of God. This is not just for corporate prayers: in our own intimate time with Him, we can learn how to step in and pray like this about particular things in our own lives, and then to step out bringing answers from heaven.

If you want to come to that place of surrender from which this process begins, then I would encourage you to find somewhere you can stand, and will be able to take a step forward. Then as we speak these words out together, we will practise entering the seat of rest.

Father I thank you that You have made a way for me to come into your presence
By faith I step [take a step forward]
into the realm of Your presence

and ask you to forgive me for not fully surrendering
to the absolute government of Your kingdom in my life.
Today Jesus I wilfully and with desire
abdicate the throne of my heart
so that you would come and seat yourself as Lord and King;
as Lord of lords and King of kings over my life

I surrender my seat of rest,
that mountain throne

with its domain and government,
into Your hands.

I give You the keys of my heart.
I give You the keys to every doorway of my spirit, soul and body.

Today by faith I thank You
that You are seated on the throne of my life as Lord.

Train me, Jesus, 
to surrender to Your Lordship
and to come to that place of maturity
to assume responsibility for the seat of government in my life as a lord

Now Lord I step back [take a step back]
into this earthly dimension
bringing You to this realm
to teach me how to administer your kingdom government
to the world around me.

Amen.

As we surrender to His lordship, He will train us to be lords, kings and sons who will fully bring the manifestation of His kingdom as it is in heaven on earth through our lives.

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152. Resources and Responsibilities

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The first step in our ‘training for reigning’, as we saw last time, is to give up control of our own life and learn to be an obedient and willing servant.

Stewards

Beyond servanthood, there is training to be a steward. A steward has responsibilities – and access to resources – that a servant does not. Stewardship carries a higher level of authority and responsibility, and Jesus will train us to be stewards of all the resources He has made available to us for our lives and for the works He has prepared for us to do.

In Matthew 25 Jesus taught about responsibility in the kingdom:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them (Matt 25:1-3).

All ten were entrusted with a task, but only five of them took their responsibility seriously. Five did not, and Jesus’ response to them was ‘I do not know you’ (Matt 25:12). I do not believe He meant that they were not in relationship with Him, He meant that He did not recognise Himself in them. They were not operating in good stewardship.

Talents

For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability (Matt 25:14-15).

We have been entrusted with Jesus’ possessions while He has gone back into heaven. All of us have calls and destinies in God, which He will give us the resources to fulfil. A talent was an amount of money, and each of us needs a different level of resource to achieve our particular calling.

Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money (Matt 25:16-18).

Trading is taking something God gives us and putting it to work to achieve a desired result. Here, the two servants who traded with their master’s money acted responsibly, and doubled his money for him. The one who hid it in the ground was an irresponsible steward.

Whatever God has given, He has given for a purpose. We can hide it in many ways: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not worthy’, ‘I can’t do it because of my past’ and so on. We can come up with any number of excuses why it is too difficult or too risky to go after our destiny in God, but Jesus will not accept any of them. He knows what He has called us to do, and He has given us the means of achieving it. He expects us to use our gifts for His glory.

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master. (Matt 25:19-21).

All of us will have to settle the account of our life, before the judgment seat of God. I have been there, and I know it is not somewhere you want to go if you have messed up, and not used the resources God has given in the way He intended. God wants to train us to be faithful in using what he has given us. If we are faithful with a little, He will entrust us with more. That is a principle of good stewardship in the kingdom, and it applies both in this age and in the age to come.

As for the servant who did not act responsibly with His master’s resources:

But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant… you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 25:26-30).

This is not ‘hell’, but the outer courts. The weeping and gnashing of teeth will come as people realise how they have failed to fulfil the call of God and squandered His resources. The good news is that we can go before that judgment seat now, repent and pursue our destiny, beginning to act as faithful stewards. Then we do not need to find ourselves in that situation.

Faithful

He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much (Luke 16:10).

God tests us. He gives us opportunities to demonstrate whether we are going to be faithful with what he has given us. Those of us who are looking for something from God, whether it is anointing, finances, gifts or anything else, need to be faithful with the little things first. God will not give us a huge international healing ministry if we are not prepared to minister healing to the person next door. God’s training involves giving us opportunities to grow.

Authority comes as a result of learning to be a good steward:

And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities (Luke 19:17).

Trustworthy

And here is Paul, talking about the things that God revealed to him when he went to heaven and had a face to face encounter with Him. He sees himself as a steward, who would wisely use those resources to bring blessing to others:

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy (1 Cor 4:1-2).

God wants to entrust us with all that He has for us, but He starts us off with a little, so that we can learn to be faithful, and acquire the wisdom to handle greater anointing, greater revelation, greater levels of finance, greater honour.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).

In our finances, if we are faithful with what we have, He will give us more. When we honour Him by faithfully administering a little, He is able to entrust us with everything. Are we faithfully using our gifts and abilities, whether spiritual or natural, for the purposes for which God has given them? How are we using our covenant relationships, with one another and with Him?

Heart attitude

Everything we have belongs to God, and He wants to train us to be good, faithful stewards. After all, we are only stewards of everything we have. Our money, homes, cars and possessions all belong to Him. When we make Jesus Lord, we make everything we have  available for His use. If it all belongs to him, then He has first claim on it, whatever and whenever He wants. When He asks us to give something away, it will reveal the attitude of our heart (particularly if He asks us to give something precious).

Are we willing to surrender everything to Him? An attitude which says ‘It all belongs to You’ – that is the hallmark of a good and faithful steward.

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151. Abdicate and Serve

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

When Jesus lived on earth, He had power over nature, power over sickness, power over demons, power over everything. He taught about speaking to the mountain and telling it to move. He operated in the power of the kingdom to bring everything into subjection to God’s will and purpose. He wants us to live the same way.

‘Training for reigning’

Those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17)

It is clear from this verse that we will reign. Reigning is what is done by a king, on a throne, over a territory or an area they govern (their kingdom). Notice that those who are to reign need to receive it as a gift. It is not achieved through our own strength, self-effort or self-worth. It is through receiving the gift of righteousness.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth (Rev 5:10).

There is a period of training we have to go through for this. Many of us find ourselves in that place of training right now. If we try to remain in control, seated on the throne of our life (which contains the scroll of our destiny), there is no seat of rest or government for us. We have to abdicate the throne of our lives in favour of Jesus. We have to give up the throne, give up control of our lives.

When we make Jesus Lord, He can then train us to be lords. That training involves trials, troubles and tribulation, circumstances which teach us to overcome and to grow, situations in which we manifest His kingdom.

Servant

But the first thing He wants us to do is to learn to be servants.

We sing about ‘lifting Jesus higher’. The first way of lifting Him higher is for us to go lower. When we have abdicated the throne of our lives, when we are on our faces in obedience, He is higher. The servant does the works of God. This is part of our training to occupy the throne and the seat of government.

Jesus is our example of what it means to be a servant. Even though He was a king, he came to serve. Everything in the kingdom of God starts with having a servant heart:

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matt 20:26).

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him” (John 12:26).

When Jesus talks about ‘where I am’ in this verse, He is referring to the relationship He has with the Father: He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. He says that we can be part of that relationship too.

Humility and obedience

When we humble ourselves, when we bow down in obedience to serve Him, the Father will raise us up. It is not for us to raise ourselves up, and try to get on a throne. We certainly do not try to lord it over other people, or seek to control or manipulate situations. We bow down in humility, and we surrender our lives to Him who will equip us to be on a throne. If we sit on a throne, and do not know how to use authority correctly, we will abuse that authority. The correct use of authority will bring blessing to ourselves and to others. And God will honour us.

Jesus was obedient to do the works that the Father directed Him to do. In absolute strength, He surrendered that strength to His Father. He learned to allow God to work through Him.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19).

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).

Obedience is the training to know that we are a habitation of God’s presence; to know that God will work through us as a channel of His glory and power – if we surrender.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).

Doing greater works than Jesus may sound pretty impressive, but it is actually just being a servant.

Bond-servant

“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5).

In the Old Testament, when someone was sold into slavery, they could go free after seven years. Many chose not to go free, and became bond-servants. So a bond-servant is someone who could have gone free, but chose not to; someone who chose to surrender their freedom in order to serve their master. They wore a ring in their ear to show that was their status. This is how Paul describes both himself and Jesus:

…although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-8).

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered (Heb 5:8).

Through the things that Jesus went through in His life (and death), He learned obedience.
We learn to obey through exactly the same process, even through the difficult things that sometimes happen to us. Jesus totally humbled Himself and surrendered His authority and power so that the Father could use Him for His kingdom purposes.

Jesus was a bond-servant, and God is looking for those who are willing to become bond-servants, just like Him. Because they can be trained to be kings, and ultimately revealed as sons.

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149. Seat of Rest

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

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).

One of my most significant encounters in the heavenly realms was face-to-face with Jesus as He talked me through this scripture. He sat me down and talked to me about living from a place of rest, a place of peace and wholeness. He gave me a revelation from this passage that I can live in, and that He wants all of us to live in.

Take My yoke

Jesus asks us to take His yoke upon us. We are to be joined to Him. We go where He goes. This means that we do not get to choose which field we go to plough in. Jesus sets the field, the path and the direction.

He wants to carry the weight of our burdens so that we can be at rest. But we also have to learn from Him. By looking at His life we can learn how to live at rest. In His relationship with the Father and how He operated, He modelled how to live in rest. Jesus wants to train us and disciple us in that.

He describes Himself as ‘gentle and humble in heart’. Being gentle is not being wishy-washy and allowing yourself to be treated as a doormat. The meaning of the Greek word used here is that of a wild stallion which has been broken and has a bit in its mouth. God wants us strong and powerful, but wholly submitted to His will and purposes.

It is the same with humility. Being humble is not saying ‘Oh, I am a worm and no man! I am nothing!’. Humility is acknowledging who you are as a child of God and accepting your royal identity, your destiny and calling. Jesus took on the form of a servant, even though He was the Lord of creation. But He knew who He was, and what He was called to be. He lived totally surrendered to the will of His Father: ‘I only do the things I see the Father doing’ (John 5:19). We must accept who we are as children of God, and live out of that knowledge.

Weary, heavy-laden

Most of us would say we want to live in ‘rest, relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and blessed quiet’, prospering in all we do, and not having to struggle and strive. But we will not be at rest if we are feeling weary, heavy-laden or overburdened.

So if I feel tired, I am going to ask Jesus to show me if I am:

  • trying to survive and cope with life myself. Or am I surrendered to Him?
  • trying to provide for myself. Or is God my provider?
  • trying to protect myself. Or do I trust in His protection for me?
  • trying to find significance in achievements.
  • trying to create my own self image.
  • trying to compare myself with others. Or am I content to be unique?
  • trying to be somebody else. It is OK to have role models, but I need to be me.
  • trying to meet others’ expectations. Maybe even the expectations my parents put on me as a child? It is God’s expectations I need to fulfil: that is my destiny.
  • trying to wear a mask of pretence. Keeping up appearances.
  • trying to maintain control. Or have I surrendered control to God?
  • trying to cover up my inadequacies. He knows all my faults and weaknesses, and loves me anyway. He loves me enough to accept me, but also enough to transform me and make me whole.
  • trying to be good and righteous with dead works. Jesus’ sacrifice provided all I need for salvation and for transformation.
  • trying to please God, others and myself. I cannot please everyone: I must choose to please God.
  • trying to make amends for my past. Or receiving forgiveness as a free gift?

If I feel burdened, am I carrying things I shouldn’t be?

  • burdened by false responsibilities for family, finances, or future?
  • burdened by sin, guilt, shame and condemnation? In Christ there is no condemnation. In Christ I am cleansed and made the righteousness of God.
  • burdened by the weight of expectations?
  • burdened by sorrows and grief? Jesus came to carry my griefs and sorrows. There is a grieving process, but I do not have to bear it on my own.
  • burdened by disappointments? Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Prov 13:12).
  • burdened by unforgiveness? That would probably be the heaviest weight for me to carry. I have been forgiven completely and unreservedly: He wants me to be able to forgive everybody else.
  • burdened by worry, anxiety, fear?
  • burdened by debt?
  • burdened by carrying the responsibility for my own life?

If we will hand all these things over to Jesus, He will take the weight. How do we do that?

Covenant names of God

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

The compound names of God, the covenant names, are really important here.

  • The Lord my righteousness.
  • The Lord my sanctification
  • The Lord my peace
  • The Lord my provider
  • The Lord my healer
  • The Lord my shepherd
  • The Lord my banner of victory
  • The Lord is there

All are names God has revealed because He wants us to live and know Him in these ways.

Cast your care

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7 AMP). He has broad shoulders and can carry everything we would like to lay on Him. He longs for us to hand over the burdens of our lives to Him, our future, our present and our past.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt 6:33). Places to live, clothes to wear, food to eat: everything we need will be added to us when we seek first the kingdom. I cannot put myself first, and still seek the kingdom. If we insist on providing for ourselves, we cannot expect that God will provide for us. It is one or the other. God wants us to surrender.

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you (James 4:10).
God wants to raise us up and give us a position and a place of authority and rule to fulfil our destiny and call. Will we surrender and humble ourselves before Him?

Let us pray these things through, step into the presence of God and allow Him to change us and transform us. We can step into His presence, because the kingdom of God is as close as the hand in front of our face: we have a choice to turn into it or elsewhere.

So, if you really want to hand over to God all your cares, worries and burdens, everything that is making you tired and weary, here is an opportunity to do it.

I suggest you stand if you are able, and find a place where you can take a step forwards and backwards as by faith we engage our physical bodies with this process.

Father I thank You
that You have made a way
for me to come into Your presence

By faith [take a step forward]
I step into the realm of Your presence
and ask You to forgive me
for doing things in my own strength.
I repent of providing for and protecting myself;
I repent of finding significance in achievements
and trying to create my own self image;
I repent of comparing myself with others.

I repent of trying to be somebody else
and trying to meet others’ expectations;
I repent of wearing masks of pretence to cover up my inadequacies;
I repent of trying to be good and righteous
using dead works
to try to please You and others;
I repent for trying to make amends for my past.

I repent for trying to maintain control of my life.
Today Jesus I wilfully, with desire,
hand over responsibility for my life to You.
I cast all my burdens onto You
and hand over responsibility
for my family, finances and future.

I cast all my sin, guilt,
shame and condemnation onto You
I cast all my sorrows, grief,
disappointments, worry, anxiety and fear onto You.
I cast all my debts onto You;
I cast all the weight of expectation onto You;
I surrender control of my life to You.

I choose to be yoked to You Jesus:
Train me in gentleness and humility
to bring me to the place of maturity.

Now, Lord, I step back [take a step back]
into this earthly dimension,
bringing Your rest with me
to live in the eye of the storm.

I choose to live from the seat of rest.

Related articles from Freedom ARC

I Surrender – Hillsong (via YouTube)

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148. Be still and know

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

In seeking to build our spirit, we have seen how important it is to give God first love, first place, first priority in our lives, and also how praying and singing in tongues is a key. The third point, which we are going to consider in this post and the next one, is waiting on the Lord and being still.

Be still

Be still, and know that I am God (Psa 46:10).

What does it mean to be still? Firstly it means we do not move; that we stop whatever it is we are doing. And then we can know that He is God. If we are always ‘doing’, we are not allowing Him to be God in our life.

The NASB translates this phrase as ‘Cease striving’. God wants us to stop fighting (‘striving’ comes from the word ‘strife’), and surrender. We need to stop striving to do things in our own strength and submit to Him. We have to stop doing things in our way if God is to lead us in His way and into the destiny He has prepared for us.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
And do not lean on your own understanding
(Prov 3:5)

He makes me lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside quiet waters
He restores my soul
He guides me in paths of righteousness
(Ps 23:2-3)

Physical calm

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest (Heb 4:9-11).

This requires diligence: we have to actively pursue God’s rest, His peace. For every one of us, there is a place of rest that He wants us to find and enter into. God rested on the seventh day of creation, and He intends rest for us. We do not get just one day in seven: we get every day, because our rest is in Him. In relationship with Him, we allow Him to work through us and our destiny can be fulfilled.

Focused attention

relay

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:1-2).

Those witnesses are the men in white linen who are appearing in various places around the world, the saints of old who have gone before us. They are cheering us on. In a 4x400m relay race, the first three runners do not pack up and go home once they have completed their lap: they stand and cheer and encourage the last runner. I believe God is saying that we are on the last leg, and all those people are watching us and cheering us on. I have met some of them, and they want to be involved in our lives and help us.

‘Let us lay aside every encumbrance’: if you are running a marathon, you do not wear a suit of armour, unless you are foolish (or running for charity – people wear all kinds of strange things when they run for charity). No, you get prepared, you wear a running vest and shorts, and proper shoes. Maybe you even cover your body with Vaseline so that you won’t rub. You do not carry anything with you that is not essential. We have to get rid of everything that will hold us back and keep us from running effectively. God wants to set us free from the things that are holding us back so that we can run the race. We do not want a ball and chain around our leg.

‘For the joy set before Him’: The joy set before us is that of achieving our destiny, just as it was for Jesus. Each of us has a destiny prepared for us to fulfil, and there is a race to be run if we are to get there. It might be 100m or it might be 26 miles: every race is different and will require something different of us, but we all have a race that God has prepared and set before us. Are we going to run it? Are we going to allow God to prepare us for it, to train us and to equip us?

And how are we going to run? Fixing our eyes on Jesus. We take our eyes of all that surrounds us, we take our eyes off ourselves, and we fix our attention on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. He authored our faith by dying for us on the cross, to set us free, to release our destiny to us, and He will also enable us to complete the race if we keep our eyes fixed on Him. He did all that for the joy that was set before Him – and the joy that was set before Him was us.

When He embraced the cross; when in the garden He looked into a cup and saw all of our sin  (yet still said ‘not my will but Yours be done’); when He took every sin, every sickness onto Himself, onto His own body on the cross; when He died our death which is the wages of sin; He went through all that because He loves us. He did it because He wants us to enter into our destiny and fulfil the joy; He wants His joy to be in us, and He wants our joy to be full and overflowing.

And then, when He had done all that, He sat down at the right hand of God, higher than every authority in heaven and earth, and He wants to raise us up to sit with Him in those realms of authority too.

Let be

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).

‘Nothing’ and ‘everything’ do not leave much room for argument. We do not need to be anxious about anything at all if we are handing control of our life over to God and trusting Him to meet our need, to provide for us. If we are willing to surrender and stop trying to do it ourselves, He will do everything we need in our lives.

Be receptive

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

Abiding in Him speaks of a relationship. We cannot produce fruit of any eternal value unless we are connected to the source through the Vine (Jesus). We may be a branch of that Vine, but the branch does not provide the nutriment and supply of life in itself. If you cut the branch off, it dies. The life is drawn up through the roots and the plant to produce the fruit. Fruit in our lives comes from the flow of being receptive to the life of God flowing through us. If we want to fulfil our destiny, the call of God on our lives, we need to abide in Him.

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident… (1 Cor 3:12-13).

When fire comes, gold, silver and precious stones survive. Wood, hay and straw do not. If we do anything outside of God and our relationship with Him, it will be burnt up and be worthless in eternity. We trust Him, we live in Him, we allow Him to live in us, and we produce the fruit that is lined up with our destiny.

Spontaneous Flow

Our spirit needs to flow in the life of God. We need the living flow of the life of God in us and flowing out of us to transform the world around us. It is His spirit and His power which will bring about that transformation, but He has chosen to flow through us to achieve it.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’ (John 7:38)

We will look some more at what it means to ‘be still’ in the next post.

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