When I was in the Spirit about one year ago, I had a vision where I was walking with the Lord on a beach. The beach was breathtakingly beautiful and extended infinitely into the mists in front of us. I felt his captivating love for me as He said:
“My thoughts are as endless as the sands on this beach. You can access as many of them as you choose to as long as you walk with me. And my glory is like the waves on this ocean. Wave after wave, I will allow my Spirit to break over your life until you are conformed to my nature.”
As he said this, I felt regret for how little I’ve sought His thoughts or His Spirit and I longed to remain there with Him. I wept under the weight of love I felt as he said this and felt a burning desire to seek Him more, to truly know His thoughts and walk in His ways.
Then, I started to ask Him about people in my life that I’ve been praying for —especially those who I didn’t really know or understand. He picked up a seashell, at which point I noticed that many seashells were washing up on the shore. Then he said,
“I will only reveal to you what I will do in other people’s lives to the extent that you love them as I do.”
As soon as he said this, I realized that the shells represented prophetic clarity about the people that I was interceding for. He would give me the revelation to hold those in my hands who I would commit to love as He loves.
I also believe there was a hidden message in this parable. As we walked, there were more and more shells washing upon the beach until it was almost covered. There are many people who have been in God’s “breakers” for a long time but are about to land in the infinite expanse of God’s thoughts.
The Psalmist said, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” (Psalm 42:7) Revelation from God often moves in tandem with trials and brokenness. However, many have been walking in brokenness for a long time and it’s time for them to get grounded in the thoughts of God that can sustain them. God is often in the brokenness because he uses it to knead the leaven of the kingdom through our nature. The end result is not meant to be perpetual depression and confusion, but a breakthrough of the very Presence and voice of Christ into our lives that is utterly transformative.
We can be confident that we are beginning to access God's thoughts and God's ways when we begin to walk in His love. This is a love that begins with his desire for us personally. However, if we are really walking in His love, then we will also sense his overwhelming love and great calling upon the lives of everyone around us. This is why John wrote:
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8)
God wants to share his most intimate thoughts and deepest desires with us. He wants to give us revelation of the heavenly realms and wisdom for living our lives as a service to others. However, all of this begins with the amazingly simple revelation of His great love for us.
Since I had this revelation of the beach a year ago, I have had plenty of time to test what the Lord showed me. I have found that this strategy actually works. If I can not see or sense anything to pray for someone, then search my heart to make sure that I am loving them as much as God does. Once I learn to love them, then it becomes an easy matter to see the Father's perfect will for their life and declare that it be done.
How will you walk in loving intercession today?
Photo courtesy of Rebloggy.
"I will only reveal to you what I will do in other people's lives to the extent that you love them as I do."
I first began writing about the Highway of Holiness twenty years ago, when I was seventeen years old. So, I was blown away when I first heard Bob Jones preach about it and lay out Isaiah 55 as the “conditions” for walking on it.In order to walk on the Highway of Holiness, you need to be willing to set your own thoughts and ways aside so that you can live according to God’s thoughts and God’s ways.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
If you’ve spent decades in dead religion, than this may sound like a rather constricting proposition. However, keep in mind that religious thoughts and ways are in opposition to God because they substitute carnal striving and pride for the treasures of God’s thoughts. The ways and thoughts of God are much higher than our religious traditions. Learning God’s thoughts and ways doesn’t describe doing things for God, but doing things in God. This is what Jesus was referring to when he said we can’t bear fruit unless we learn to abide in God and let God abide in us. (See John 15) We receive revelation of God’s thoughts and ways by learning to abide in His Spirit all the time and becoming more aware of His Spirit working in us.
The thoughts of God are so breathtakingly beautiful and captivating that I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to spend his entire life exploring them. The most remarkable thing about God’s thoughts is that they actually involve us personally. David explained:
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalm 139:17-18)
What did David find so precious about God’s thoughts? Why was he so utterly captivated by them? The context of this scripture makes it clear. Just before David said this, he explained how the thoughts of God concerned him personally:
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalm 139:1-18)
Notice the spiritual realities that David is describing here. He became aware of God’s presence enveloping every aspect of his life, from his very conception until the present day. He describes how God is completely “familiar” with every aspect of his life. He is overwhelmed by the revelation that he is “hemmed in” on every side by the inescapable Presence of God. This is describing what it feels like to be walking in the highway of holiness. You won’t be able to go anywhere without God. Whether you’re encountering the darkest forces that hell can unleash or you’re discovering the glorious beauty of heaven itself, God is right there with you, bombarding you with his endless love, beauty, and His sustaining Spirit. Once you begin walking in the thoughts of God that concern your life personally, it’s like discovering the most romantic lover imaginable. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to get off this road.
How will you discover God's thoughts towards you today?
Bob Jones had a major impact on my life, my theology, and my walk with God. Check out his teachings on his ministry website by clicking the picture.
The thoughts of God are so breathtakingly beautiful and captivating that I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to spend his entire life exploring them.
“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests.” (Hosea 4:6)
Would you grant resources, power, and authority to someone who has never met you and is totally unfamiliar your agenda? Would you want someone representing you and speaking on your behalf if are totally unfamiliar with the way you think and make decisions? In a similar manner, mere intellectual knowledge about God is totally insufficient to make us His priests.
The best military and economic advisors are able to fully comprehend the way that their superiors think and strategize. This is because they have spent countless hours in the “war room” thinking and strategizing alongside the one who has the final word. As a result, they come to know the one they are serving so closely that they develop an intimate knowledge of how he thinks, to the extent that they can even begin to anticipate what decisions he would make in the event that communication is lost. This is the kind of intimate knowledge that we need of the Lord.
We are called to know the Lord so intimately that we become completely familiar with all of His thoughts and ways. We access his thoughts and ways by revelation from the Spirit of Knowledge (See Isaiah 11:1-2). Then, just like a trusted military advisor, we began to develop an innate sense of who He is, how he thinks, and how He moves. This knowledge of God’s nature, His thoughts, and His ways is meant to be so continual and transformative that we will still think with His mind even in seasons when it’s more difficult to receive revelation from heaven.
Revelation of God’s Thoughts and Ways
God warns us that there is a sharp distinction between His way of thinking and ours:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is the word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)
First, the Lord makes clear that his way of thinking and accomplishing his agenda is “much higher” than ours. This also makes his ways infinitely more effective at accomplishing what he desires than our ways. Next, the Lord compares the revelation of His thoughts and ways to rain and snow that come down from heaven and water the earth. This is important because it highlights the value of understanding the way the Lord works over a period of time. We must have the mindset that we’re in this for the “long haul.”
Just as no one will hire a military or economic advisor who plans to only stay for only a few months, God will not anoint us with power unless we’re committed to internalize his thoughts and ways over a period of many years. This requires disciple, focus, and self-sacrifice. The reason that many Christians do not access and internalize the mind of the Lord is that they expect Him to “download” his thoughts and ways to them in a matter of minutes. This is an incredibly immature mindset that is rooted in our culture of consumerism: Like infants, we expect to have what we want when we want it. We’ll throw a fit if we’re not satisfied immediately. If the joint chiefs of staff had this mindset, the United States would have been reduced to rubble many decades ago.
When Moses faced the false prophets of Egypt, they both had a lot of knowledge. Jannes and Jambres, the two false prophets who opposed him were equipped with centuries of deep occult knowledge and were esteemed highly enough to be serving in Pharoah’s court. What made Moses different and led to the Exodus of God’s people is that Moses had the highest form of knowledge, which is intimate knowledge of who God is.Moses’ encounter at the burning bush, in which He came to know God intimately and in a direct encounter, is what qualified Him to be God’s representative on the earth. The power and authority that Moses had to directly confront the dark powers that held God’s people in bondage was entrusted to Him because He had intimate knowledge of who God is, which was based on direct experience.
The Knowledge of the Lord that Moses walked in began with his encounter at the burning bush, but it certainly didn’t end there. Moses walked in a continually increasing and unfolding revelation of the nature of God. God proclaimed his glory, his love, and every aspect of His eternal nature to Moses. As a result, Moses knew God. However, the flip side of this reality is that God knew Moses. This is why we see Moses’ relationship with God described in such a remarkable way: “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” (Exodus 33:11) The Spirit of Knowledge is poured upon those who ask for His Presence so that we can begin to walk in this kind of intimacy with God.
How will you pursue a greater knowledge of God's thoughts and ways today?
I took this picture of the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq when I was stationed there as an Infantry soldier in 2004-2005.
We are called to know the Lord so intimately that we become completely familiar with all of His thoughts and ways.
"For I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.
One will say, `I belong to the Lord': another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, `the Lord's,' and will take the name Israel." (Isaiah 44:3-5 NIV84)
There is immense spiritual power in daily consecration. Bob Jones taught that man was made of six things: the heart, mind, spirit, body, will, and emotions. Over the past few years, I've made it a habit to open every session with the Lord by saying:
"Father, I consecrate my heart, mind, spirit, body, will, and emotions to you."
This is my way of saying, "I belong to the Lord." However, there is no magic formula. Internal desire and hunger for God are the driving force behind consecration. Just as in a healthy marriage, we give ourselves to God because we crave His close companionship. I'm attached to my own daily confession because this ritual is filled with life for me. Others have a different way of declaring their commitment to the Lord. Some people do a lot of fasting. Some people get a tattoo that expresses their lasting dedication (These are the ones who "write their name on their hand"). Others simply give themselves to abandoned worship or take a walk with God around their neighborhood.
The most weighty matter is not how we consecrate ourselves to the Lord. Our different methods of consecration reflect our diverse personalities, callings, and backgrounds. The important thing is that we develop the driving force of desire for more of God. This longing and desire is the flame that has the capacity to consume everything else in our lives. Consecration without desire has no power because it's insincere. There's no point in performing any ritual unless it reflects what is already bursting out of your heart.
Consecration has the power to remove everything that stands in the way of a deeper relationship with God. For instance, we reject negative and dirty thoughts to make room for pure and fresh revelation. We push out bitterness and rejection to make room for perfect love. We learn to discipline our thoughts and emotions and abide in peace. Through desire and consecration, we become pure vessels that are ready for the next level of transformative love and power.
When we learn to live this way, then we will find ourselves under a deluge of God's holy love and power, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. We will find that he's pouring out a flood of anointing over our lives and blessing everything we set our hand to--even when the world around us is falling apart. Our relationships and vocations will be flooded with light, life, and love. In the desert places of work and home, life will spring up all around us like "grass in a meadow" or "poplar trees by flowing streams." This is because when we are truly consecrated to God, we are empowered to release this consecration on everything we touch.
What does consecration and desire look like for you?
Photo is from www.JulietGraceDesign.com
When we learn to live this way, then we will find ourselves under a deluge of God's holy love and power, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.