SHOWERS

Ezek.34:26 – And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.

This is an amazing prophetic word involving renewal for all of us. I found some amazing commentary on this verse from Matthew Henry. First, Henry says that this blessing begins in the local church.

“The heavens shall yield their dews; the trees of the field also shall yield their fruit. The seat of this plenty is God’s hill, his holy hill of Zion, for on that mountain, in the gospel church, it is, that God has made to all nations a feast; to that those must join themselves who would partake of gospel benefits.”

Secondly, Henry points out that the cause of this season of blessing is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“The cause of this plenty is the showers that come down in their season, that descend upon the mountains of Zion, the graces of Christ, his doctrine that drops as the dew, the graces of Christ, and the fruits and comforts of his Spirit, by which we are made fruitful in the fruits of righteousness.”

He goes on to point out the effect of these outpourings, we are refreshed and God is glorified by the fruit in our lives.

“The instances of this plenty are the blessings of heaven poured down upon us and the productions of grace brought forth by us, our comfort in God’s favor and God’s glory in our fruit-bearing.”

Next, Henry says that the effect is far reaching. Everywhere the river flows there is healing and there is life.

“The extent of this plenty is very large, to all the places round about my hill; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, shall go forth light to a dark world, and the river that shall water a dry and desert world; all that are in the neighborhood of Zion shall fare the better for it; and the nearer the church the nearer its God.”

Finally Henry says that those effected by renewal will be extremely blessed and blessing to all they associate with.

“And, lastly, The effect of this plenty is, I will make them a blessing, eminently and exemplarily blessed, patterns of happiness. They shall be blessings to all about them, diffusively useful.”

Times of renewal are sure as long as the church exists. Lord, let me and our church step into these Showers of Blessing today.

THE ALMOND BRANCH

Jer.1:11,12 – The word of the LORD came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”

This passage was given to me and our ministry in January of 2000 as a word from the Lord by the prophet, Dick Mills. After Brother Mills shared this word with me he asked me if I knew what it meant. I said no so brother Mills proceeded to share the meaning of this prophesy. He said that the almond tree was like the “watcher of the harvest in Israel”. He went on to explain that the almond harvest came in first. He said that the almond harvest would point toward the harvest of the rest of the crops for that year.

The thing Brother Mills didn’t know was that we had just started the production Beyond the Grave about two months earlier. As soon as Brother Mills explained the significance of the prophesy it suddenly hit me. Beyond the Grave would be the almond branch watching over the coming harvest. Almost twenty years have passed since that first performance of BTG. Many thousands of people have come to Christ through this production and are now in churches all over this area. The exciting thing is that the BTG harvest is the almond branch pointing to the super natural harvest about to break out. Here is Dick Mills definition of this word translated ‘watching’ in the NASB Bible.

“Watching – shaqad: Watching, waking, hastening, anticipating; to be sleepless, alert, vigilant; on the lookout; to care for watchfully. This verb occurs 12 times, including Ps. 127:1: “Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” In Jer. 31:28, God promises to watch over His people with an intent to build and to plant. The present reference may best be understood by noting the linguistic connection between “waking” (shaqad) and “almond” (shaqed) in Hebrew. The almond is considered the “waker” in Hebrew thought, because it, of all trees, blossoms early, watching diligently for the opportunity to bloom. Thus, in vv. 11, 12, the linking of the vision of an almond branch and its interpretation is clear.”

So get ready, get ready, get ready. I think the harvest of the Lord in this region is about to break out suddenly.

ONE OF THE LAST PROPHETIC PIECES OF THE PUZZLE

Rom.11:12,15 – Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

I remember a class I had at Bible School in the fall of 1973. Our teacher showed up in class looking like local weatherman Bob Breck when a cat 5 hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico. Obviously the teacher was totally disheveled and disturbed by what had happened in the news that day. Israel had just entered into a war with the Muslim nations surrounding them and had a sudden overwhelming victory. What disturbed our teacher was what he expected to happen next. He said that Jerusalem could be surrounded by Russian tanks by morning. Obviously that didn’t happen but what did happen is that I suddenly became aware of Israel’s involvement in God’s prophetic time clock.

As I began to study Bible prophesy on my own I became aware of something Jesus said about Jerusalem and the last days. He said in Luke 21: 24, “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled“. This is the phrase that grabbed me, “until the time of the gentiles is fulfilled”. I had no idea what that meant and I just had to find out. What I discovered was this, that the Lord had dealt primarily with the people of Israel until the time of Christ. Their rejection of the messiah brought the destruction of their land. That is actually what Romans 11 is about. The Lord turned to the gentiles for a season and the Jews were blinded from the truth. The good news is the Lord is not finished with Israel. Paul also referred to the time of the gentiles in this chapter. He said that there would be a great harvest of Jews when the time of the gentiles is fulfilled. Here is how Paul says it in Rom.11:25,26, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery — so that you will not be wise in your own estimation — that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

So what conclusions I have come to in my studies of Bible prophesy is this, keep your eye on Israel, He is not finished with them yet. Finally, don’t be rigid in what you believe. What you believe may have to be altered as you see the events unfolding before your very eyes.

PREACH

Lk. 4:16 -18 – And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

Today’s passage reminds us why Jesus came to earth as a man; it also reminds us what it means to be one of His followers. This is our first real glimpse into the preaching of Jesus. This is the message He preached in His home town. He was preaching in the synagogue He had attended all of His life. He saw the same people He had known throughout His childhood still sitting in their familiar spots like they had done for all of those years. His message outlined what He would preach and live for the next three years; it also upended the apple cart. He started by saying He was anointed to preach good news to the poor. He came to break the power of poverty from our lives through His death and bring God’s message of provision in His actions and words. He would feed the hungry as well as teach them about the blessing of sewing and reaping. After all it was Jesus that taught us “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.

Secondly He proclaimed release to the captives. Man has been enslaved to sin since our first parents fell. The message of Christ is forgiveness and release from the power of sin. His death is the basis for our freedom from those horrible shackles of sin. We are freed from sin”s bondage by the power of forgiveness.

Next Jesus proclaimed recovery of sight to the blind. Not only did Jesus open sick, blind eyes; He also opens the eyes of our heart. One touch from His hand and we view our world differently. This is part of our ministry, opening the eye of the spiritually blind to the beauty of our Lord.

He also preached healing from oppression. The power of the gospel releases us from the ramifications of our sinful past. No matter how much we messed things up He has provided a way of escape.

Finally, Jesus declared the beginning of the season of God’s favor. The gospel is good news. The season of our bondage is over. We are now entering the season of God’s favor on our lives through the power of the gospel.

VISION IN OUR HEART

Hab.2:2 – Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.

This scripture played an important role in the early days of our church. Our hearts were inflamed with a passion to see the vision of the Lord fulfilled in our city. This word vision in this passion is an important Bible word. The very nature of this word is supernatural. It is describing a prophetic vision. The Hebrew prophets were a very important part of the Old Testament jewish world. Their ability to hear from the Lord kept the people of Israel on course. Without a prophetic vision from the Lord that would “come off the rails” and end up in a bad situation. We too need to “hear from the Lord”. Today, all of us have an ability to hear from God. He speaks to our hearts by the scriptures inspired and breathed upon by the Holy Spirit. We too need to have “vision” that we can fulfill God’s plans in our lives. Here is how Dick Mills explains today’s verse.

“vision, chazon (cha-zohn); A prophetic vision, dream, oracle, revelation; especially the kind of revelation that comes through sight, namely a vision from God. This noun occurs 35 times and is from the root chazah, “to see, behold, and perceive.” Chazon is especially used for the revelation which the prophets received. The prophets understood God’s counsels so clearly because He revealed matters to them by visible means. Prov. 29:18 shows that when a society lacks any revelation from God (divine insight), such a society heads in the direction of anarchy.”

So today our spiritual vision starts with having a vision of Christ in our hearts. What do I mean by that? Having a vibrant, daily relationship with the Lord where He actually becomes real to us. Out of that “vision” of Christ comes His vision for our lives. He has a plan for each of us. He has a ministry of touching and helping people for each of us. Finding that “vision”, recording it on the tablet of our heart, is critical to having a complete life. Once we begin to allow the Spirit to write His vision on our heart it becomes part of us. Then, and then only, can we begin to run. Draw near to the Lord. Seek Him and His vision for your life. Before long, you too will find yourself on the run.

CATCH THE WAVE

CATCH THE WAVE

John 1:16 ¶ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

It was early summer of 1994 when I received this prophetic phone call from Dick Mills. Now receiving a phone call from Brother Mills was not that unusual, he would often call me and talk about his latest treasures he had discovered. His treasures were old books that he would come across in his travels. It would be a set of Bishop Ellicott’s commentary he found somewhere in England or the discovery of a reprint of John Trappe’s commentary. He loved those books but that is not what this conversation was about. He was asking me what I thought the next move of God would look like. At the time I didn’t really understand the question (I thought I did). To me, it was irrelevant. I didn’t really know what a move of God would look like. Brother Mills was seeing through different eyes. He had been a teen at Sister Aimee Semple MacPhaerson’s church, he had witnessed much of the healing revival, and he had been a key player in the charismatic revival of the sixties and seventies. He had tasted the different streams and had an anticipation that something great was about to hit again. Thus the question, “What do you think the next move of the Spirit will look like?”
Several months passed until I heard from Dick again. This time he called me with the excitement of a teenager in his voice (in 1994 Brother Mills was in his seventies). He was calling from Toronto and wanted to know if I had heard of the Toronto blessing. Suddenly I remembered our last phone conversation and I finally understood his question. “What will the next move of God look like?” You see by this time our church had been swept into a fresh move of the Holy Spirit. We were experiencing waves of supernatural joy, people falling under the power and going into trance like states for hours, healings, deliverances, salvations; God had come down in a very unusual way. The most outstanding and common trait of this move of the Spirit was the joy, the kind of joy that was accompanied by laughter. You know the kind, that deep belly laughter that goes all throughout your being. Peter called it joy unspeakable. Now the question was making sense, before now I had no way of knowing what a new revival would look like. Sometimes our preconceived ideas just get in the way.
Looking back on these events, I want to learn again from Brother Mills example. Too many older Christians get stuck on the proverbial good old days, I don’t want to be like that. Brother Mills had tasted of the afterglow of Azusa as a child in Sister Aimee’s meetings, he had tasted the power of the healing revival, he had been involved in the charismatic renewal; he still wasn’t satisfied. There had to be one more wave. That’s where I am today; Lord, just one more wave. Are you ready for a new move of the Spirit. If so, let me ask you a question. What do you think the next move of God will look like?

JOSEPH’S WELL

JOSEPH’S WELL 1

Years ago I was given a word from The Lord that described the future of the ministry The Lord has blessed me with. Some people get nervous about personal words from The Lord. This one was pretty safe, it was entirely scripture. Here it is with a few comments from me.

PLANTED BY A FOUNTAIN

Gen. 49:22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a well;
His branches run over the wall.

This has been very precious to me over the years. I have enjoyed “drinking” from this spiritual fountain all throughout my ministry. This is the secret to having a fruitful life and ministry.

HARASSMENT AND PERSECUTION

Gen. 49:23 The archers have bitterly grieved him,
Shot at him and hated him.

We have had our fair share of criticism over the years. I have come to the conclusion that if no one is speaking bad about me something is wrong. The anointing always brings persecution. Ask Joseph, it was just after he put on his Father’s coat (type of the anointing) that his brothers attacked him. Joseph was persecuted throughout his life.

STRENGTHENED BY GOD

Gen. 49:24 But his bow remained in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong
By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

The anointing also brings supernatural strength. All of us face various obstacles throughout our Christian walk. Often times, these problems intensify as we drink from the well and begin to walk in a fruitful life and ministry. As long as we stay close to the well and continue to drink we will be fine. The Shepherd, the Rock of Israel hangs out by that well. He becomes a very present help in our times of need.

THE SHEPHERD AND THE STONE

Gen. 49:24 But his bow remained in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong
By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

I love this reference to the Shepherd and the Stone. Immediately, all of us think the same thing. The Lord is my Shepherd. Even if I walk through the Valley of The Shadow of Death I will fear no evil because the Shepherd is with me. The Lord is my Rock. My shadow in the times of fiery trials and the very strength of my life.

SUPERNATURAL HELP

Gen. 49:25 By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

This is a promise of divine help. He provides all kinds of help and help at the right time. What kind of need do you have today? Stay close to the fountain, drink in His life. As you do, you are drinking in help itself. Maybe I should say help Himself. The living water that we drink from the well is God the Holy Spirit. He is more help than we could ever need and He is always on time.

PART 2 TOMORROW

HELD BY A PROPHETIC DREAM

HELD BY A PROPHETIC DREAM

Gen. 37:5 ¶ Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.

Visions and dreams are one of the most controversial yet common phenomenons of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On the very first day of the initial New Testament outpouring, Peter prophesied of an increase of dreams and visions as a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all mankind. As a matter of fact, dreams and visions are seen all throughout the Bible. From Abraham’s burning torch to Daniel’s beasts, the Old Testament is filled with prophetic dreams and visions. In the New Testament we see Peter’s rooftop vision of creeping and crawling critters all the way to the vivid and shocking visions that make up the book of Revelations. Joseph began to experience these prophetic dreams after he put on his father’s coat. Wow! Did you get that? We have a coat to put on as well. The Father promised us we would be “clothed” with power from on high after the Holy Spirit came upon us. We also put on our father’s coat and often the coat brings with it these prophetic impressions. Here is what J.W. Ryle said about Joseph’s dreams.

Prophetic Dreams and Visions
The Hebrew word for “had a dream” means to bind firmly. Joseph became firmly bound up in the dream that God had given him. Dreams that are from God are spiritual experiences that root deep in our hearts, never to be forgotten. “Joseph had a dream,” but perhaps we could accurately say that the dream had Joseph! The dream sustained him through all that happened to him over the years (37:12-36; 39). Like Moses, he “endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27)

Joseph had a huge journey ahead of him filled with all sorts of twists and turns. It seems that that just goes with the territory of the calling of God. This coat that Jacob gave to his favorite son Joseph is a type or shadow of the Father’s multi-colored coat that He has reserved for all of His sons. This special coat designed individually for each of us has all the tools we will need for our journey. Joseph’s dream impacted and sustained him in the many dark days he lived as a slave and as a prisoner in Egypt. Not only did the dream inspire him to keep on, the anointing also gave him supernatural tools that God used to bring Joseph to his place of influence to become a deliverer for his people. It took years for those dreams to be fulfilled but the power of those dreams worked in Joseph’s life until their fulfillment
How about you? Have you put on your Father’s coat or are you afraid of what your “brothers” might say? Everyone may not understand the power of God’s dreams but that has never stopped God’s people from embracing them. You may have a long journey in front of you, don’t get started without your Father’s coat.

A WORD OF PROPHESY

UNAFRAID AND UNASHAMED

Rev. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Prophesy is a very powerful spiritual gift. John said that the actual testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophesy. It is actually the living word being spoken into a person or group of persons’ lives by the power of the Spirit. Paul said it encourages, exhorts, and comforts. This supernatural gift has the ability to impart courage and spiritual strength into our lives. This gift seemed to be very common in the early church, it has been neglected and misunderstood over the years but makes an appearance every time the Spirit is poured out again. The Lord gave me a word for the church a number of years ago that was recently brought to my attention. Here is that word of prophesy, let it produce strength in you today.

“Be strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid of what men shall say. Be not afraid of what men shall do. I am the Lord Who strengthens you. I am the Lord Who sustains you. I am the Lord Who empowers you. I am the Lord Who protects you. I am the Lord Who provides for you. I am the Lord Who guides you. I am the Lord Who empowers you. Be not afraid of what men shall say. Be not afraid of what men shall do.
Be not afraid of the circumstances that surround you in your day to day life, but look unto Me, the Author and Finisher of your faith, and press into My presence, looking unto those who have gone before you as an example of faith. Looking unto those who have gone before you and gone in behind the veil and grabbed hold of My promise and lived in My Glory. Grab hold of the things I’ve placed before you. Grab hold of that substance that I’ve placed before your hand. Grab hold of Me, the Anchor that anchors your soul, that strengthens you.
Unafraid and unashamed. Unafraid and unashamed. Unafraid and unashamed. Unafraid and unashamed. Filled with courage. Filled with boldness. Filled with strength. Filled with mercy. Filled with patience . Filled with love. Filled with peace. Filled with the joy of the Lord.”

Unafraid and unashamed, that sounds like the testimony of Jesus to me. In our secular and godless society we need spiritual power to live a Christian life. Pressure is constantly put on Christians to tone it down, especially in the realm of spiritual gifts. I want to express a different way to live, tone it up. Stir up the gift of God that you received in your life, pursue spiritual gifts. Paul said especially to pursue the gift of prophesy. As you press in to the Lord, He will begin to express Himself in you. Don’t be surprised when you begin to prophesy, after all, the testimony of Jesus in you is the Spirit of prophesy.

THE PROPHETIC NATURE OF DAVID’S TABERNACLE

PROPHETIC MESSAGE OF THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

Acts 15:16-17 “After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the LORD who does all these things.’

There was tension in the air as Paul gave the account of what had been happening amongst the gentiles through his ministry. He told of town after town, where a local church had been planted and thousands of gentiles were experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in and upon their lives. These jewish believers were okay with an occasional proselyte becoming a Christian, but this was different. The church was now becoming international, there were more gentiles than jews calling themselves Christians, this could hardly be the plan of the God of Abraham. That’s when James, the brother of Jesus, stood up and begin to prophesy using this passage from the book of Amos. James said that Paul’s ministry was the beginning of the fulfillment of this profound prophesy. He gave us a glimpse into the very purpose of the local church as he spoke about the restoration of the Tabernacle of David as being fulfilled in the establishing of new testament local churches.
What does the local church have to do with the temporary tent that David pitched on Mount Zion? Actually everything, the outstanding characteristic of David’s tabernacle was this, free access into the very Shekinah Glory of God’s Presence. This was unheard of, the tabernacle of Moses and the future temple had veils of separation. David’s tent had no veil, you could worship in the very presence of God before the ark of the covenant. Can you see the importance of this? The veil was a picture of man’s sin that separated us from God, this veil has been taken away by the blood of the cross. In the New Testament church, we have open access into the presence of God. What this means is this, the local church’s primary purpose is to provide a means for whosoever will in every nation to come into the Glory of His presence for themselves. The church is to be primarily a place for the habitation of the power and person of the Holy Spirit.
So I pose you a question today, is that what the church is doing today? I hardly think so. The church actually does everything but allow for the powerful manifestation of the Glory of God. We have conferences, and relevant worship followed by a motivational talk using an occasional scripture text, but never an allowance for the outpouring of His Presence. If James is right, this Tabernacle of David will be powerfully restored before the end of this age, frankly, that is all this age is about. Today, our primary purpose as a follower of Christ, is to promote and build His local church for the express purpose of providing a place for His Glory. A new day is dawning, as Isaiah prophesied, Is. 4:5-6 “And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”