THE PRAYER JOTTER: MANNA FROM HEAVEN, WISDOM FOR CHURCHES

For the last two years in times of prayer with my wife, Carolyn, there has been a manifestation of prolific utterances that have been spoken, mostly by her, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I recognized these utterances in prayer as a manifestation of John 14:26.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said unto you.”

Many of these utterances were full of wisdom and revelation from the Holy Spirit. Some of it was in the form of teaching but others took on a futuristic form of prophecy according to John 16:13.

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak of His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will show you things to come.”

Many times private direction was given for our lives and ministry. Other times revelation was given concerning a church, city, or nation we were ministering in. And some times it was just us praying with the help of the Holy Spirit concerning a person or a situation.

Most always there was supernatural wisdom and revelation attached to these utterances that helped us immeasurably.

We began sending some of these prayer jottings out to pray-ers and people of the Spirit. After sending them out for an entire year our Constant Contact stats revealed that less than half of the recipients were even opening them. So we decided in this coming year to begin sending them out to our blog followers. Less work and more readership.

Here are our most recent prayer jottings from a prayer session earlier this month before we ministered at a church.

Change in the mindset of the American Church and what it should be

These strongholds of “God doesn’t move here like overseas” needs to be brought down

These strongholds put great limitations on what God desires to do

Receive manna from heaven’s kitchen (fresh cooked food)

Thoughts direct the man into faith and God’s plan, or into doubt and unbelief

2 Cor. 10:3-5 – Casting down thoughts and imaginations

1 Cor. 2 – The spiritual man receives

Images have been formed by thoughts not of God

It stops the moving of faith and the miraculous

Image of God distorted into man’s views

Devil even used the Word to distort truth in the temptations of Jesus

Oh, that your people would discern the truth by the Spirit of God!

There is a spirit behind the deception of what men speak

When falsehood is not allowed there is no agreement with Satan

Jesus came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit because He did not bow His knee to falsehood and the devil’s temptations

Time for those who have overcome in the wilderness to come out in power

So many influences of men like, “everybody’s doing it”

Imagery in the mind is how idols are formed, and it is true also on the positive side (godly imagery)

Some in the church have struggled in their minds with these things but others have stood strong

People (and their minds) placed under the influence of Him who reveals, and it’s time for them to walk in the power of the Spirit

________ is an example in the dream Carolyn had of a falsehood imagery in the Church because of popular church growth concepts

Political correctness of the world in the Church also creates an image that stops the power of God

This church is among those who have not succumbed to falsehood

Some people develop wrong images of God and mind-sets because of an evil or wrongdoing committed against them

Ex: _________molested by a priest and so he rejected Christianity

Ex: _________ with Pentecostal legalism closed his heart to the true message of holiness

Like the scalded cat with hot water

These churches that have refused the wisdom of men are candidates to walk in the power of the Spirit

Many churches with form of godliness but no power

All about numerical growth – some churches will do anything for growth, but where’s the power?

This is a word we will carry in 2015 wrapped up in the fire of heaven

Can you see the wisdom and revelation contained in these utterances? Can you see how they bring wisdom, understanding, and direction to the Church?

If you desire to receive these prayer jottings consider signing up to receive them by email. In addition to sending out fire-filled articles through my regular blog, The Flaming Herald, we will also endeavor to send out a Prayer Jotter once a month.

 

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MY TESTIMONY – HOW I CAME TO KNOW THE REAL JESUS AND THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

In the summer of 1979 while sharing a rented house with several of my college fraternity brothers in Bangor, Maine I came under the conviction of the Holy Ghost.

I was living in an old room adjacent to a garage and sleeping with just a mattress on the floor. While lying on that mattress one night after a drinking binge I turned on the television to see and hear a fiery preacher boldly proclaiming the gospel.

Immediately my senses were arrested and I sobered up. My conscience was smitten. I knew I was not living right. I knew the things I was doing were sinful in God’s eyes.

As the gospel program came to an end the preacher extended an offer for the viewer to write him if they had made a decision for Christ. If my recollection is accurate I was held back by a thought. How can I stop sinning? So I wrote a letter to the television preacher asking him that very question. I never received a response so I continued to live a sinful lifestyle.

At this time the college mail room clerk who was a stalwart Christian had taken an interest in me and was a gospel witness in my life. This man was just a few years older than me and shined with the peace and presence of God. My curiosity was aroused by his disposition. One day I saw his Bible open on his desk and knew instantly the secret of his bright countenance. I was intrigued by that.

Over a process of time he shared many things with me always answering all of my religious questions with, “the Bible says”. One day in a moment of exacerbation I asked him if he could not think for himself and give me his own opinion instead of quoting the Bible all the time. His response: “The Bible says that the carnal mind is enmity or hostility against God.” ARRGGGGHHHH!

I saw that this man really believed the Bible to be the unadulterated Word of God and he lived by it. That impressed me. As a devout Roman Catholic I had never met anyone like him.

Gradually we became good friends and he led me to Christ and taught me to observe the things He commanded from His Word. Immediately he baptized me in water. The desire to drink, smoke weed, and live a party lifestyle departed from me as I read His Word. I quickly proved my repentance by getting rid of my rock and roll albums which promoted sex, drugs, and evil. I made restitution by paying for some pornographic magazines I had stolen from a convenience store. I spoke to the store manager and offered an explanation as I handed him the money and a letter with my testimony – quite different from many so called conversions today when a prayer is made, a preacher’s hand is shaken, but no change is forthcoming.

I thank God for my humble beginnings and for a faithful witness who taught me what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Isn’t this what we should all be doing for those who are still lost?

This week as I celebrate yet another Christmas – my 34th in Christ, I am reminded that just as Christ was birthed and formed in the womb of the virgin Mary so has He been birthed and formed in each of us who are His disciples. In a real way His incarnation 2,000 years ago repeatedly reproduces itself in human flesh every time someone is truly born from above and follows Jesus.

Although I strongly despise the many pagan rituals and commercialism that surround the Christmas season I still celebrate our Savior’s birth with great joy and cheer. What I grossly detest is the perversion of the message the angels brought to the shepherds concerning His birth.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  (Luke 2:13-14) 

The message the angels announced was not man having peace and good will towards one another, but it was a communication from the heavenly Father to mankind – “The armies of the heavenly host have not come to destroy you but to bring you a message of peace and good will. The Father has sent His Son as a Lamb (that is why He is was born in a stable) and a peace offering to all of mankind.”

How sad that the peace and good will the Father offers to all of mankind in His Son has been reduced to, “All human beings be nice to each other and give each other gifts.”

His birth and incarnation – God becoming a man – should remind us all of God’s ultimate purpose to be embodied in mankind, and for each of us to represent Him and His attributes.

“Christ in us, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) This is the real Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas.

Pass it on and Merry Christmas to you all.

KENNETH E. HAGIN PROPHECY 1990: HOW MUCH MORE TRUE IS THIS TODAY

Every spirit that’s of God will talk in line, walk in line, and act in line with the written Word. For the Word has been given by the Spirit and that which contradicts the Word is not of the Spirit. So one is at a disadvantage if they don’t know the Word, or if the Word has not been taught or preached unto them. And so truly they are spiritual children and at a disadvantage.

Be no longer spiritual babies or children who are carried about with every wind of doctrine whereby they lie in cunning craftiness to deceive.

Stand firm upon the Word. Follow those of sound character. Follow those who have proven themselves over the years as steadfast and true. Follow those who are not filled with frivolity and foolishness. Follow those who are true, for I say unto you that there are many false apostles and prophets loose in the land today.

Those who go about calling themselves apostles are not apostles. Do not honor them as apostles. Those who have a true bonafide ministry in this area will be recognized by the body of Christ, and the body will be the ones who recognize them and honor them.

And those who call themselves apostles and say, “I am apostle so and so,” or “I am prophet so and so” don’t you accept it for a moment for they are false apostles and false prophets.

Those who are truly called of Me saith the Lord of hosts will humble themselves before Me and will  minister in the power of the Spirit, and they will have a recognized ministry without putting any name tag on it, and the Church will be blessed.

But those who come along and say, “I’m a prophet and you must listen to me; you must do what I tell you to do, and follow me.” No, they’re not following the Lord so don’t follow them. You follow the Lord and you will be blessed and your children, home, and household shall be blessed and you will be a blessing to many.

But follow that which is false, and confusion will set in and the enemy will gain control over you and over your children and over your household, and great shall be the fall thereof. But walking in the light will dispel all darkness and fear will depart and the goodness of the Lord shall be thine and thou shalt enjoy the blessings of your heavenly Father and you’ll have much cause for rejoicing.

ESTEEEMING OUR SHEPHERDS AND SHEEPFOLDS

We’ve got a whole new generation coming up that knows so little of the Word of God. Pastors have got to do more teaching now than ever before. And yet, with it, they must also have the move of the Holy Spirit that is lacking in the overall Church today.

There is far too much lightness and looseness in the Church – a spirit of irreverence if I may say. Laziness is prominent and has led to Biblical illiteracy as most Christians depend on the latest contemporary Church fads and the popular teachings of those who have been elevated in the marketplace of Christianity, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves.

But there are certain segments of the body of Christ and groups of individual men on the earth that possess great light. They have a track record of faithfulness, integrity, and longevity. They are sound in the Word and have a thorough understanding of the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit. They are more than leaders, teachers, or figure-heads. They are fathers.

Seek them out. Sit at their feet. Learn from the example of their lives and ministry. Too many young people are not respecting and listening to these elders in the body of Christ. The amount of false ministers that stalk our land does not do away with the true. There wouldn’t be a counterfeit unless there was a real.

I’m a missionary evangelist. I travel. I see two extremes in churches today. I see the error that many young pastors make in opening up their churches to fanaticism and sensationalism without the thorough teaching of the Word and the order of the Spirit. Some are so hungry for revival that they try and run their churches like that.

You can’t run a church like a crusade or by having constant revival meetings. If you teach the sure Word of God and have true Pentecost without fanaticism, fluff, and sensationalism you will reach people in your city and community. And if you teach and train your people to reach the lost you will have salvations, baptisms of the Holy Spirit, and people healed and delivered every week inside and outside the church walls.

The other extreme I see is older pastors who may teach well but do not open up their sheepfolds to the flow and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. So their members suffer from the impartation and edification that comes with the move and fullness of the Spirit. This is the reason many churches are dry, dull, and listless. And so to make up for that lack, churches will often use entertainment, fun activities, and social events as a substitute. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. I enjoy them myself. But they don’t satisfy, fulfill, and equip the spirit of man.

I recall a story that an old Pentecostal minister recounted to me when he was a young youth director in his home church. He had all these great ideas and programs that he wanted to implement into the youth ministry with the pastor’s permission. His pastor sat and listened patiently to him expound on these ideas for a long while. Finally, he spoke up and politely responded: “Over the years we have found that prayer, teaching the Word, and moving in the Spirit will always get the job done.”

Prayer, teaching the Word, and moving in the Spirit builds strong local churches with substance where it cannot be blown down. Spiritual houses that are built with heavenly materials will not be shaken when the storms of life and winds of doctrine blow, or when persecution comes.

One day my wife and I were praying for a pastor. The Holy Spirit told us that this pastor had only been given one talent, but because he had taken a stand against man’s wisdom to grow the church numerically and had not compromised, he had qualified for a strong spiritual house. That doesn’t mean he would have a mega church with multitudes of people, but he qualified for his reward based on his faithfulness to obey the Lord’s wisdom instead of the wisdom of men.

I’ve been in the ministry long enough to know that a pastor’s responsibilities are numerous and challenging. As a good shepherd, not only does he have to feed the flock and be available for them in life’s crisis, but he must learn to conduct different kinds of meetings, counsel people, visit the sick, and perform weddings and funerals. He must also care for the young, train workers, keep unity among the flock, and administer church discipline when necessary, and yet carry out all these functions with great wisdom so he won’t make a worse mess of things. It takes a special grace to shepherd a local body. Perhaps the greatest of these graces is possessing a true shepherd’s heart that finds great joy in laying down his life for the people.

But we must also understand that one could perform all these duties without much prayer, solid teaching of the Word, and the move of the Holy Spirit. God wants us to pastor and minister supernaturally. Those are the heavenly materials that hold it all together.

Strong local churches are necessary in this hour for the perpetual growth of vibrant Christianity. There is an attack on the local church that must be guarded by the faithful. Without the local church my own ministry would have no sending power for most body-wide traveling ministries depend on the local church for care and support, and the local church needs these ministry gifts.

There has always been great opposition to strong local churches from the outside – the devil, religion, and the world. We expect that, but what a tragedy it is when the local church is attacked from within – when Christians criticize, burden, and bring trouble and division to these churches and their shepherds.

Let us all realize that every local church has its imperfections, but if hearts are right God can use them for His purposes. Let’s be an asset and not a liability to our local shepherds and sheepfolds. When we bind together and stay in love and unity we are strengthened, the grace of God is multiplied, and we can change the world.

The days we are living in require our steadfastness in these things more than ever before. Strong local churches are the hope of the world.

THE DANGER OF THE “HYPER-GRACE” MESSAGE: ERROR THROUGH OVEREMPHASIS

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor and theologian, was asked in 1943 how it was possible for the Church to sit back and let Hitler and the Nazis seize absolute power. Bonhoeffer’s reply: “It was the teaching of cheap grace.”

His firm answer fits the modern day and can greatly aid the Church in narrowing the broad way of destruction, which similar winds of doctrine are paving today. Apparently what he was saying was that the teaching of cheap grace resulted in passivity within the Church that greatly diminished human responsibility, and allowed the enemy to move in.

What can the Western Church learn from this?

Isn’t it interesting that now in our day there are winds of doctrine blowing again which are producing this same type of passive and irresponsible behavior?

With courage and conviction I must tell you that if a certain course correction is not made in regards to some of these winds of doctrine, it could shipwreck the faith of many professing believers and contribute to the death knell of vibrant Christianity in the West.

The ministry gifts that Jesus gave to the Church (Eph. 4:11) bear the primary responsibility of equipping the saints for works of service so that the body of Christ may reach maturity and will no longer be children tossed to and fro by “every wind of doctrine”.

“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Eph. 4:14 – NLT).

Winds of doctrine are clever and tricky because there is often truth attached to it. Winds of doctrine are very common when a particular truth is taken out of context or twisted until it actually becomes a lie, or is overemphasized at the expense of other equally important truths.

AVOIDING THE DITCHES

Someone once said that if an aircraft leaves New York City with a destination marked for Alaska and the flight course is off by a few degrees upon departure; if not corrected at the offset it could wind up in Los Angeles. This is the effect that winds of doctrine produce. It is not the 95% truth that will take the body of Christ off course, but the 5% error that will potentially run us into the ditch.

One wise old maestro repeatedly warned his students: “When it comes to doctrine, stay in the middle of the road and you will avoid the ditches. Avoid extremes, excesses, and abuses of doctrine.”

This is what I’ve witnessed in regards to what many refer to as the “hyper-grace” message – many truths overemphasized at the expense of other equally important truths. These so-called “new” truths are not new nor are they “revolutionary” as some say. They come around about every 20-25 years or once every generation.

The message of what Bonhoeffer called “cheap” grace was around in the 1930’s and 40’s. Finis Dake called it “ultra-grace”. Today it’s called “hyper-grace”. These winds of doctrine toss immature believers to and fro through overemphasis or clever lies that sound like the truth. Sadly, even preachers sometimes get caught up in these winds. It is a characteristic of immaturity.

Here’s an example from a book of one of the leading proponents of “hyper-grace”.

In this book he compares what he calls the “mixed grace” message with the “hyper-grace” message.

• Mixed grace is grace + effort; you’re saved by grace and kept by works.
• Hyper-grace is grace alone; you’re saved by grace and kept by grace.

Now what is wrong with that comparison? There is actually truth in both statements, but because the book is emphasizing the hyper-grace message it de-emphasizes the other perspective. Here he rightfully declares that we are saved and kept by grace, while minimizing the importance of effort and works. The Scriptures, however, have so much to say concerning the importance of our works, the truth of it being so obvious, that it is ridiculous and an insult to true Christian intelligence to elaborate on it in any great depth here.

It is like asking, “Does obedience save you or keep you saved?” Yes and no. We’re saved by grace through faith, but faith without works is dead. Actually, imbalances constantly occur when we isolate certain scriptures at the expense of the sum counsel of the Word.

For example, by isolating the following scriptures we could conclude that we are indeed saved by works and obedience.

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Jam. 2:24).

“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32).

“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:9).

But the middle-of-the-road truth is that works and obedience are outflows of an inward grace and faith. They are evidence of our salvation.

Here’s another one of his comparisons:

• Mixed grace says forgiveness is maintained through repentance and confession.
• Hyper-grace says forgiveness is a done deal; in Christ we are eternally forgiven.

Once again there is truth on both sides, but the error is spawned from overemphasizing one at the expense of the other. The aircraft is off course by 5 degrees in both statements.

For example, if all a believer does is repent and confess his sins and never learns to stand on God’s grace and Christ’s righteousness he will have a tendency to develop a guilt-consciousness and will never be able to take full advantage of his position in Christ.

On the other hand, if forgiveness is a done deal, and we are eternally forgiven for our past, present, and even future sins, then repentance and confession become unnecessary. Over the course of time you can readily see where that will lead you. Soon every carnal man would be doing what is right in their own eyes and ensuing spiritual anarchy would result.

Here’s one more:

• Mixed grace tells us to be holy because without holiness no one will see the Lord; so watch yourself.
• Hyper-grace says, “in Christ you are holy so be who you truly are.”

Again, there are truths in both statements, but the mixed grace message insinuates that it is wrong to “watch yourself”. But the Bible admonishes us to watch ourselves.

Examine yourself (2 Cor. 13:5)

Judge yourself (1 Cor. 11:28-31)

Take heed to yourself (1 Tim. 4:14)

Cleanse yourself (2 Cor. 7:1)

Although some of the truths of the hyper-grace message are actually sound positional truths, the error through overemphasizing one and minimizing the other creates an imbalance that is potentially dangerous.

Here’s the problem:

The “hyper-grace” message emphasizes the God-side of redemption while nearly refuting and dismissing the man-side. It rightly brings emphases to what God has wrought in us through the grace of God in Christ, but it de-emphasizes the human side and responsibility of walking it out.

The Bible is a mixture of positional truths and the practical application of those truths. We need both. The apostle Paul tells us to put off the old man’s deeds and put on the new man. He exalts the finished work of Christ in the heavenlies, but he also instructs us in how to practically live out that truth in our earthly walk.

Why do you suppose Paul gave that kind of instruction to born again, Spirit-filled people if it was just supposed to happen automatically? And the other New Testament writers followed the same pattern, often reminding these early saints not to sin, lie, steal, commit adultery and fornication, to make their calling and election sure, to maintain good works, etc. The epistles are full of such admonitions.

Even though God through grace was working in the believer to will and to do of His good pleasure Paul reminded them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12-13).

What some advocates of hyper-grace call the mixed grace message is simply the God-side and man-side of our redemption and sanctification.

SANCTIFY YOURSELF

It is true that God has already sanctified us. It is true that Jesus Christ is our sanctification. That is a high and lofty positional truth expounding on the legal aspect of our sanctification. But the Word also tells us to sanctify ourselves and reminds believers of their personal responsibility to apply that sanctification to their lives. That is called the vital or the experiential aspect of our redemption and sanctification.

So in essence, what I’ve observed in the “hyper-grace” teaching is error through simple overemphasis of one glorious truth at the expense or an almost complete dismissal of another equally important truth. We need the mixture of the God-side and the man-side of our sanctification.

Paul was sanctified and separated from his mother’s womb (Gal. 1:15), but he also sanctified himself lest he be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:24-27). The imagery in these verses is that of a Grecian Olympic athlete who trained rigorously for 10 months to compete in the games. That doesn’t sound too effortless to me, and yet it is understood that when we yield to the inward grace it seems effortless.

Because Paul sanctified himself he admonished Timothy to do the same (2 Tim. 2:21-22). “Purge yourself” is a part of the language Paul uses – yet another example of the man-side of our sanctification. The problem has been that we are asking God to do many things for us which He tells us to do ourselves.

Of course He supplies the grace and the Holy Spirit to help us, but He will not do it for us. The Holy Spirit is a Helper, not a doer. There are multitudes of examples in the New Testament of this sort of cooperation that exists between God and man, and between grace and works.

I think it’s high time in the body of Christ to heed the wise old maestro’s sound wisdom: “Avoid the ditches, and stay in the middle of the road.”

In doing this, you will not be tossed by winds of doctrine, and the grace of God won’t be received in vain (2 Cor. 6:1).