FIRST LOVE LOVERS: AN END TIME THEME

Jesus said that His Word would judge everyone who rejects Him and fails to receive His words (John 12:48). Conversely, His Spirit is like a fire that burns the present hour speaking of His Word into our hearts.

Rev 2:1-5 is such a word. This message of returning to your first love is an end-time theme and one the Church so desperately needs.

The church at Ephesus possessed some noble characteristics. Jesus commended this church for many things. By today’s standards this church would be thought of as a strong and even dynamic church. They had doctrinal and moral purity, labored without growing weary, the people were active in the affairs of the church, had exercised patience and perseverance etc., but there was one thing Jesus had against them; they had forsaken their first love. Jesus called this position a fallen place or in today’s terminology, a backslidden state. What a lesson to learn that Jesus, the Head of the Church, does not see as man sees.

What does the Lord of glory see in today’s churches? What of those who boast in great attendance, occupy large buildings, and have dynamic programs for their members? Jesus does not esteem things as a man esteems them. He so often regards as least that which men esteem highly. On the other hand, those things that men often esteem lowly are so highly regarded by the Master. You see, it doesn’t matter what size building, attendance, or organizational powers and abilities a church possesses. If first love has passed, then it is a fallen church, and one in danger of having its lamp-stand removed from its place (Rev 2:5).

The lamp-stand represents the church, and the stars are the angels (Rev 1:20). Every church ordained by God has an angelic covering that symbolizes the power and anointing for that church to operate. The lamp-stand being put out represents the angel leaving and being assigned elsewhere. There are churches that still exist today whose angel left 100 years ago. Sad, but true. There is no longer a covering or an anointing for that church to operate. They lost their love for Jesus. Over a period of time religion had hardened their human spirits and left the hidden places of their hearts untouched. Thus, intimacy with Jesus was lost, and by failing to make the adjustment the church lost her power.

Religion is the crowning work of Satan. He works to extinguish the intimacy of the Lord from our lives so that everything we produce comes out of works not born of love, but of duty. These are dead works. The spirit of religion always causes us to produce outside of the new nature, which is love. This results in a form without the power. Falling in love with Jesus and staying in love with Jesus is your sure foundation for protection against the deception of having a form without the power.

The apostle Paul’s heart cry to know Jesus (Phil 3:10) was like the loaded gun he carried in life and ministry. He called it a prize to be won. Here is a man who had come to visions and revelations, some not to be uttered…he had come to a place of great power in ministry where handkerchiefs were taken from his body and placed on the sick and demon possessed, and the diseases and demons left them…angels had visited him…mighty churches were raised up by him…and nearly two-thirds of the New Testament was written by him. Yet, Paul’s chief aim was for the prize of knowing Christ, and having a privileged seat next to Jesus for all of eternity (Rev 3:21). Do you want that seat?

Not all saints will sit on thrones in the holy city (Rev 20:4). That beloved city is the Bride of Christ, called the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:2). It is the wise virgins, the first love lovers, who will receive that privilege. No wonder Paul was so passionately consumed with being a first love lover of Jesus. Within the realms of that love is an eternal glory, position, and ranking which shall never be taken away.

First love lovers are those who have stayed close to the heart of Jesus thereby keeping their vessels full of oil and their lamps burning bright (Mat 25:1-13). Their first love produced first works that translate into gold, silver and precious stones, which are in turn, used as building materials for our eternal home. The New Jerusalem is an ongoing construction project being built from the works of those who lived surrendered and consecrated lives to Jesus. Thus the reason for the call to the church of Ephesus to repent and return to her first love so that she might do her first works (Rev 2:5). Are these words burning in your heart yet?

There will be sorrow and regret among many saints for the wood, hay, and stubble that will be burned up at the judgment. Their works, when tested by fire, will be found wanting. What would Jesus find today in many of our prominent churches and ministries across the globe if all our works were exposed? With fear and trembling we must serve the Lord. Jesus is at the door.

The mountaintop Christian life is one of first love. Anything short of that is a fallen state (Rev 2:5). From that heightened place of first love flow all first works. This is a great position of power. It is a place of sometimes almost silly but such pure delight. This is such a lovely place to be, a place of continually beholding the face of Jesus, of seeing His glory with the eyes of your understanding, of blessed rest where nothing un-nerves you.

You can buy this place with no money. You can pursue it without any earthly craft or ability. It is not a place exclusive to anyone above another. It is purchased with your heart only. It is purchased with a spiritual hunger for living bread, and thirst like a deer that pants for the water. It is a place available to the lowest status human being on the earth as well as the rich who will encounter difficulty in pursuit of this prize. Can you count the cost as Paul did? Count all things dung for this holy knowledge? Cast aside all other pursuits? How much is it worth to follow the Lamb wherever He goes throughout eternity (Rev 14:4)? Do you want that seat (Mat 20:21)? Will you enter into that holy city (Rev 21:2)?

Behold the Bridegroom cometh!!! Are you His bride in patient waiting? Do you long for His face? Is He your first love? If not, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works. If true repentance works its course, in the end the glory revealed shall be so much greater than any of your present sufferings.

All the love of our glorious Bridegroom is backing the pen of this ready writer. May He bless these words to your ears, and multiply His grace in your life to love Him.

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Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival and restoration that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

ALONE WITH GOD: THE KEY TO WHOLENESS AND A FULFILLED HEART

Shortly after Billy Graham’s 80th birthday, Larry King interviewed him and said: “It must be rewarding to you to look back on your life and not have to live with regrets.” 

Here’s Dr. Graham’s compelling response:

“I am the greatest failure of all men. I was too much with men and too little with God. I was too busy with business meetings and even conducting services. I should have been more with God, and people would’ve sensed God’s presence about me when they were with me.”

Let’s not wait until we’re 80 to say that. 

You see, in spite of all of Rev. Graham’s accomplishments, he sensed there was more. The greatest thing man can still do with his time is to spend it in holy communion and solitude with God. 

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35).

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12)

Charles Spurgeon wrote: 

“King of kings, and Lord of lords, the ‘Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace. Yea, he is altogether lovely.’ There are no flaws in Him. Jesus is lovely in the highest degree. Jesus is as lovely to my heart as to my head, as dear as He is good. He is lovely to my hopes: are they not all in Him? Is not this my expectation—to see Him as He is? But He is lovely to my memory too: did He not pluck me out of the net?” 

As David puts it in Ps. 84, “My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God”—the whole of the man seeking after the whole of the Savior; the whole Savior sweet and inexpressibly precious to the man’s entire being. 

May it be so with you and with me. Oh, to love Him wholly, and to love Him only, so that we have no eyes for other beauties, no heart for other loveliness since He fills our souls, and is to us “altogether lovely.”

Be a support to us and follow our blog and help spread these messages. Also, consider subscribing to our ministry YouTube channel for weekly 15 minute Face to Face video impartations on the Spirit-filled life from my wife and I.  

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival and restoration that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

RECOVERING THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER

This is another excerpt from my new soon-to-be released book, Cleansing The Temple: Restoring The Glory Through Purity, Prayer, and Power. 

Charles Finney, in his excellent book How to Experience Revival, compares the spirit of prayer to the great conviction sinners often feel. Sinners are especially convicted when they think about their sins. Finney equates this to a spirit of prayer that a Christian may obtain as he also thinks on the condition of lost souls. In other words, if the believer will cultivate a deep awareness by thinking on their state and cherishing the slightest impressions, he will come into a spirit of prayer for the conversion of sinners. He encourages Christians to go through their Bible and find verses of Scripture that describe the conditions of a world without God. “Look at the world, your children, and your neighbors, and see their condition while they remain in sin. Then, persevere in prayer and effort until you obtain the blessing of the Spirit of God.”

Finney explains that, with most Christians, this is a progressive and prolonged process. Gradually they cultivate a burden about something until it consumes them in sighing out their desires to God during their daily activities. He likens it to a mother who sighs as if her heart is broken because her child is sick. If she is a praying mother, her sighs are breathed out to God all day long. If she leaves the room where her child is, her mind remains on the child. If she sleeps, her thoughts are still on the child. She will even jerk in her dreams, thinking that perhaps her child may be dying. Her mind is absorbed with that sick child. Finney says that this is the state of mind in which Christians can enter into the real spirit of prevailing prayer for the lost.

This burden is the natural result of great benevolence and a clear view of the danger sinners are in. This is a reasonable sentiment, Finney says. He compares it to the average Christian witnessing a family shrieking with agony in a burning fire. He would become extremely burdened and moved to action to save them. No one would consider these actions strange but, rather, cold-hearted if there was no powerful response or reaction.

This depth of concern and burden for souls is thoroughly Scriptural. The apostle Paul was familiar with it.

“I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh…” (Rom. 9:1-3 – KJV).

The psalmist of old was familiar with it.

“Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law” (Ps. 119:53). “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law” (Ps. 119:136 — KJV).

The Old Testament prophets such as Jeremiah also experienced great sorrow because of Israel’s sins.

“My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war” (Jer. 4:19 — KJV).

In light of these Scriptures, why should it be considered fanatical or abnormal when Christians become burdened this way and pray fervently unto groanings and travailings when they contemplate the wrath of God on sinners and the misery of those nearing eternal damnation?

Occasionally the Spirit of God may initiate a burden to pray, but more often than not, you must cultivate it and move into it by faith and learn to yield to the Spirit of God. It’s usually not all God, and certainly not all man, but a cooperative work between God and man. The Holy Spirit does not pray, but He helps us mightily in prayer.

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26).

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

“As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Is. 66:8)

Groanings and travail of soul are elements of prevailing prayer. Persistence and perseverance are usually required. These elements of intercession are often extensions of praying in tongues. Finney believed and taught that this travail of soul in prayer was the only real revival prayer, and if anyone does not know what that is, he does not understand the spirit of prayer, and he is not in a revival state. That is, until he understands this agonizing prayer, he does not know the real secret of revival power.

We don’t learn to pray that way by just hearing about it or reading about it. As with most skills, we learn by doing it.

For example, you don’t learn to drive an automobile by reading the handbook on it. No — you must get behind the wheel and start driving.

You don’t learn to cook a delicious meal by just reading a cook book of recipes. You must actually prepare the food and various ingredients and cook the meal.

It’s the same way with prayer. Unless this spirit of prayer and certain elements of intercession are passed on by those who understand and operate in these dimensions, it will be lost to the next generation. This is probably the primary reason why we are no longer witnessing the great depths of revival and outpourings of the Spirit that was seen in Finney’s day. Let us consecrate ourselves to the Lord and cultivate the spirit of prayer. Perhaps God is calling some to make prayer your business and to labor fervently this way for the conversion of souls and true revival.

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

THE PRAYER JOTTER: WE WERE PRAYING AND THE HOLY SPIRIT STEPPED IN

The following article is another summary of one of our many recorded prayer sessions when the Holy Spirit stepped in and became the Teacher. Once again, for the last several years this has been a common operation whenever Carolyn and I pray together. Most of these revelatory utterances  would be classified as a word of wisdom from the Lord. I’ve included Scriptural references to confirm the prayer utterances.

(Note: Spoken and prayed with the same Spirit that came on Jesus when He went into the temple and overthrew the tables and drove out the money changers).

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Heb. 8:10-11).

“Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mk. 15:38).

PRAYER BEGINS…

The veil was rent in two so we could come to God without a human mediator. Closing the veil is the spirit of religion that tells us we need to go through a man, an organization, or a program.

This is being manifested in many forms today. There is to be no more condemnation concerning these things.

For this is truly a judgment of the heart for all believers to put their fellowship with God above religion and the traditions of man, or having to go to a prophet to hear what the Lord is saying.

For this was the same spirit always confronting Jesus and the manifestation of His compassion, “Who does He think He is healing and forgiving man’s sins?”

Behind the open veil is everything we need, but man ruled by his traditions, wittingly or unwittingly, seems to always be trying to close that veil.

True freedom comes to the one who believes and knows they have free access to the Father through Jesus.

There will be some in traditional churches today who will not fall away simply because they’ve been taught to go into the Holy of Holies for themselves.

Our part is to show them the access without criticizing the traditional church.

It’s necessary and important that the young ones (babies) know how to go into that place in the Spirit even as we were trained in local churches and learned to move with the body.

The key is to train them to move into the Spirit and access that place on their own. Once they learn they can be established as strong trees of righteousness.

For if you train just one to come and be a part of an assembly without man’s restrictions, it’s a victory…(The Holy Spirit brought to remembrance Carolyn’s first church worship leader and what she did with Carolyn and the group in training them to access that place).

Even in Pensacola during the great outpouring of the 1990s those young revival babies learned the presence of God.

Never does it benefit when a man leads another to a man and the wisdom of man.

Keep pointing them to the veil and the access.

For you and the pray-ers are to hold open that door and that entrance for others to come through. And it’s the leaders who then encourage them to move on in.

That is why we can never be satisfied with playing church. Christ has been formed in us.

Instead of being like Joshua who sat on the outside of the tent of meeting and listened (Ex. 33:11), it’s our place as ministers to draw them on in and teach them to stay there and meet with God.

There will always be saints who want to go on in.

This is the only place we are truly rooted and grounded in the Lord.

Gal. 3:1 – That is why this place of man putting their dependence on man is such a bewitching place.

For we will not always be there for them, but they must learn to go there beyond the veil on their own.

That is why this bewitching in toning down the move and manifestations of the Holy Spirit is such a diabolical move – the spirit that closes the veil makes it hard to access Me.

Got to keep people moving toward the Lord where they are at home with Him.

He is the door, the only door.

Free access is through the Blood.

The seeker friendly philosophy closes the door and says you can only have this much access, and you can only go this far by toning down on the Holy Spirit and His workings.

God is in the midst of His people, not behind a veil (Carolyn saw leaders standing in front of a veil and pulling it shut).

Confusion and bewilderment came to those who were used to free access but now are being blocked and bewitched by man.

I believe this is truly a word of wisdom from the Lord that traditionalists may have difficulty receiving. 

The file that contains this wisdom and counsel is called, The Prayer Jotter, and we hope to make a unique book or journal from these some day. But for now we will just be blogging some of them. I hope this one was a blessing to you. If so, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help our ministry? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

WE MUST FIND OUR WAY INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES

We were in a missions prayer meeting recently and I heard these words:

“The Holy of Holies is the deepest part of My heart.”

As we were praying for unreached people groups I saw the faces representing all human beings that have ever lived on planet earth. I saw God’s great love for each one. I saw that He had made provision for all of them to live with Him forever. I saw the uttermost parts of the earth where many had not been reached or engaged with the gospel. I saw the great struggles of humanity. I saw them as if walking through a hot desert with a load of goods being carried on their backs. They were slumped over with weariness and heavy burdens of hardship. It broke my heart. I was seeing them the way God sees them.

Your own heart will break and melt, too when any aspect of the deepest part of God’s heart is unveiled to you. When His unfathomable love for humanity is revealed to you it turns you away from self-centeredness. You will take on more of the Lord’s nature as people start becoming the object of your love. You reach out to help them as meeting their needs becomes your joy. Your meat and drink is doing the will of the Father and finishing His work (John 4:34).

It is in those intimate moments in the Holy of Holies when the Lord speaks to you and teaches you His heart and ways that you are most alive. You are one with His heart. You burn with His fire when you hear His living word and the Scriptures are opened unto you.

“And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Lk. 24:32)

This is the greatest need of humanity. This is the greatest need of the Church—to know and actually feel God’s heart. In this way we are one with Him and we abide in Him. We are filled with His Spirit and the ministry of Jesus flows so naturally out of us, and His will is fulfilled in our lives. Once we receive God’s Spirit all of us have access into this secret place.

All of my life I’ve consciously or unconsciously been led to this place called the Holy of Holies. At times I didn’t know what it was that kept gnawing at me when I couldn’t find complete satisfaction and total fulfillment any other way. It was the Holy of Holies calling me in. It was the Holy Spirit wanting to get me in there. It is always our flesh that stands in the way and hinders us.

In the last several years of my life this has been my constant driving passion—to abide in the secret place. It is not necessarily a geographical place where you pray, but a place in your heart. It is there where you learn God’s ways and you become a friend of God. I am determined not to leave this earth until I learn to live as a friend of God every single day. It is my constant pressing as it was for Paul in his latter days.

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).

The excellence of God’s holy intimate knowledge was Paul’s quest. This revelation led him to count all things loss and pursue a place of death to himself in order to gain Christ and His resurrection power.

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” (v. 10)

It also led him to this ongoing pressing attitude:

“…but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 12, 14).

It is this pressing attitude that will lead you “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).

Oh beloved, to be filled with all the fullness of God is worth more than anything in this world. It is pure eternal ecstasy and heavenly bliss. Few of us have barely touched this realm.

Begin by praying in the Spirit quietly and reaching out in worship to God the Father of our spirits. Don’t be moved by the initial spiritual dryness. This is only evidence that the operation of your flesh has had ascendency over your spirit. It takes time to cultivate true spiritual fellowship and friendship with God where your spirit gains the ascendency.

Be assured that you can know the Father in a new dimension. His Son is the Bridegroom who is waiting for His Bride to awaken to this upward calling. And the Holy Spirit is always endeavoring to lead you into it.

May the cry of the Bride echo the desire of the Bridegroom to meet with us, ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ (Mt. 25:1-13).

Beloved, it is the midnight hour. It is the last hour to purchase more oil and not be found wanting. It is the end of an age when many antichrists are in the world (1 Jn. 2:18). It is a day to read and ponder the last words of Scripture until our hearts resonate with the same cry as the Spirit—until all who hear and thirst for the water of life come and drink freely.

I believe it is then when our cry is heightened to meet the measure of His cry that He will come quickly.

Oh what a day that will be!

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” “And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:17, 20)

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus, The Real Salvation, and  The Real Spirit Of Revivalare especially strategic in trumping the many falsehoods spreading in the modern day Church. If any of our books or articles on this blog are a blessing and encouragement to you please use the social media buttons below to share them.

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.