A VOICE WITHIN A VOICE
(Genesis 3:8, 17) And they heard the voice of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God in the middle of the trees of the garden........... And to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it! The ground is cursed for your sake. In pain shall you eat of it all the days of your life.
- For a period of time Adam and Eve lived in and enjoyed the presence of God, they shared in fellowship with Him and were familiar with His voice. However, a day came when they listened to other voices rather than listening to and obeying the VOICE of God. Eve listened to the voice of the tempter and Adam listened to the voice of Eve. As a result of listening to other voices they hid from God’s presence, were estranged in their relationship with Him and their hearing became dulled.
(Isaiah 40:3-5) The voice of him who cries in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight a highway in the desert for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked places shall be made level, and the rough places smooth; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
- Isaiah was one of God’s messengers chosen to communicate God’s VOICE to his generation. He prophesied that someone was coming (we now know that someone was John the Baptist) and from within that someone a VOICE would proclaim prepare the way of the Lord. Isaiah was in effect saying that there would be a VOICE within the voice of John the Baptist.
- God is a speaking God and like a ventriloquist, He projects His VOICE through the messengers He has chosen and prepared for that purpose. When God’s VOICE is proclaimed through His messengers earth (and heaven) shaking events occur and God’s glory is revealed and evidenced.
(John 3:29-30) The one having the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom, standing and hearing him, rejoices with joy because of the bridegroom's voice. Then this my joy has been fulfilled. That One must increase, but I must decrease.
- A VOICE is especially for people who desire Christ more than anything else. More of Christ is a desire to increase to the fullness of His stature. More of Christ means a decrease to the emptiness of self.
- Jesus Himself is the best example of what it means to decrease. He left the glories of heaven to take the form of an earthly servant (Philippians 2:5-7). While on earth Jesus didn’t lean on His own understanding or strengths, He found no merit in His natural gifts and talents and He didn’t pursue His own ambitions or personal vision. He relinquished everything to the Father because He knew that His identity and purpose were in Him. (Luke 2:49). He only spoke what He heard the Father speak (John 12:50) and only did what He saw the Father do (John 5:19). He knew that without the Father He could do nothing, yet in the Father He could do all things. Because of His faithfulness He is highly exalted and His kingdom continues to increase without end.
A Voice purposes to faithfully proclaim Christ and the Gospel of the Kingdom. Be forewarned that as you are exposed to and embrace Christ and the Gospel two things will inevitably happen. First, the Holy Spirit will lead and empower you to decrease so that Christ might increase. Second and most importantly, you will see Christ and the Kingdom of God as never before and in seeing Christ you will transformed from glory to glory….into His likeness and image.
(Matthew 13:9-16) He who has ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables. He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said, "By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; for this people's heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
(John 12:25-30) He who loves his life shall lose it. And he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also My servant shall be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. And My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this cause I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name! Then there came a voice from the heaven saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again. Then the crowd who stood by and heard said that it thundered. Others said, An angel spoke to Him. Jesus answered and said, This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sakes.
- In the natural realm there are sound waves all around us but only those sounds that fall within a certain range of frequencies can be perceived as sounds we receive, hear and discern. If and when anyone is exposed to loud and constant sounds over an extended period, they can experience a loss of or dullness in hearing. When one loses their hearing, they first lose the higher frequencies, those that most affect the distinction of sound.
- (Matthew 13) contains a number of parables about the Kingdom of heaven. When the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, He replied that the only ones who could understand His parables were those who have ears to hear. The majority of people in the crowd couldn’t understand the parables because they had become dull of hearing.
Another time when Jesus was addressing a group of people A VOICE from heaven sounded. It seems everyone heard the same sound but their perception of what they heard was very different. The (dull of hearing) crowd thought they heard thunder, an indiscernible background noise. There were others, probably just a few, who perceived the voice as being that of a heavenly messenger but they weren’t able to clearly discern who was speaking or what was said. Lastly, there was Jesus who had “ears to hear” and distinctly heard and proclaimed the VOICE to be the Father's.
In the opening chapters of (Revelation 2 & 3) the Lord addressed seven Ekklesias and ended His message to each Ekklesia by saying "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Ekklesias." Those whose hearing hadn’t become dulled could hear what the Spirit was saying, which is the essential requirement for overcomers. Those whose hearing had become dull wouldn’t hear what the Spirit was saying and couldn’t overcome. The messages to the seven Ekklesias help us understand what creates dullness of hearing.
The Lord admonished the seven Ekklesias about the very things that contributed to their hearing loss. To summarize, what He admonished them about was their religiosity, their carnality and their worldliness. It is obvious that they listened to, were influenced and led astray by religious, carnal and worldly voices.
There are many voices; religious, carnal and worldly, competing for our attention. Listening to the constant drone of these voices is what dulls the hearing and causes one to become insensitive to the higher frequency of the VOICE of the Spirit. Those who are disciplined and mature in hearing are able to discern between the VOICE of the Spirit and other voices.
(John 6:63) It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.
(John 7:37-38, 43-46) And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."………… So there was a split in the crowd over him. Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him. That's when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, "Why didn't you bring him with you?" The police answered, "Have you heard the way he talks? We've never heard anyone speak like this man."
(Revelation 1:10,15) I came to be in the Spirit in the Lord's day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet…..And His voice was like the sound of many waters.
- It is clear that Jesus intends His people to be a source of life. Hearing His VOICE through His servants is one of the ways His life flows out to others. More and more we are hearing the VOICE of God speaking through a corporate (as one) Voice of servants (the many waters ) He has chosen and prepared for such a time as this.
(John 7:43-46) is an account of a meeting between some officers, priests and Pharisees . When the Pharisees asked the officers why they didn’t arrest Jesus the officers replied “We've never heard anyone speak like this man.” No one had ever heard a man speak like Jesus because there never was anyone like Him. He was the Word made flesh, a message embodied in a man. When you heard the Son you heard the Father, when you saw the Son you saw the Father. He was the prototype, the original script of “Like Father like Son.”
We have requested and received permission to include the writings of people God has chosen, prepared and is speaking through at this time. These servants have been disciplined in love and matured by grace. More and more they are manifesting the likeness and image of Jesus, their elder brother and Head of the Body. These Godly servants recognize that human understanding and strength, natural gifts and talents, personal ambitions and kingdom building have no part in Christ or the Kingdom of God. Their ministry is increasingly free of religious, carnal and/or worldly influence.
Although each of these servants has a unique way of conveying what they sense God is saying we must remember that they and we are still in that realm Paul referred to where all we see and are able to communicate is incomplete and imperfect. (1 Corinthians 13:9-10 )For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect) But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded). As you read the various posts ask the Lord to open your ears to hear the VOICE of His Spirit and the eyes of your understanding to see only that which reveals Christ. We pray that as you read the posts from various servants they will trumpet a pure, clear and distinct sound. The many voices are flowing together as one, A VOICE of many waters. Prepare to hear a new sound and to say "Never have a people spoke like this people".
(Revelation 4:1) After these things I looked, and behold, a door was opened in Heaven. And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you what must occur after these things.
- Whenever you hear the VOICE of God you can be certain it is His call onward and upward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
We understand that visitors to A Voice come with different levels of understanding and what they find here may communicate a sound unlike what they’ve heard before, nevertheless it resonates and witnesses deep within their spirits creating a fresh expectation and excitement for spiritual things.
Although it may be new we encourage you to keep reading and pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him, the eyes of your mind having been enlightened, for you to know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:17-18) If you’re stirred to pray for us, one of the things you can pray for is that we remain sensitive to what Holy Spirit is saying and that we share it with a Voice of conviction and without compromise.
A Voice is a platform for posts, not open season for roasts. A Voice invites corporate input and welcomes comments. As much as we appreciate comments we will only respond if we sense our response will build others up in Christ, and then will do so at an appropriate time. Comments we welcome, but we absolutely refuse to be drawn into or to get emroiled with arguments and/or debates ….and ask that you do likewise. We ask the Lord to help us leave our carnality, differences, divisiveness, legalism, religiosity and worldliness at the cross. Enter in filled with His Spirit and the sole motivation to be edified and to edify. Focus on Christ and ask God to speak to you……and He will.
focaLocal is a digital communications medium we hope will encourage and foster face-to-face fellowship with others who are hearing the same VOICE. If you are one of these please feel free to contact A Voice.
By Chip Brogden
“He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).”
These seven words found in John 3:30 contain the entire mystery of God’s dealings with man from ages past to eternity future. “He [Christ] must increase.” All of God’s works are towards this end of increasing Christ.
In other words, everything God has done, is doing, and will do is related towards revealing His Son and bringing us into the full-knowledge (epignosis) of Him. The goal is for Christ to have the preeminence in all things, beginning with us individually as disciples, then with the Church, and finally with all creation, “that He may be All in All.”
He MUST increase. Isaiah tells us that there will be no end of the increase of His government and peace. In the beginning was the Word, and we can see how God has worked steadily from the beginning to increase Christ. From types and shadows in the Old Testament we see Christ coming into view. Then the Word is made flesh and dwells among us, and Christ is increased yet again. Next He comes to dwell within us, and this is a major increase. Finally, He begins to conform us to His own image through the indwelling Life. If we are growing up into Him then He is increasing daily. Eventually every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Beyond this, we are told that God will continue to reveal His Son in the ages to come, bringing us into depths and dimensions of Christ that we cannot fathom.
God is not moving backward, but in the Son and through the Son, He moves steadily forward. Christ MUST increase. This is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Just as we cannot have gravity without having the law of gravity, so it is impossible to have the Life of the Lord but not have the Law of that Life. And the Law of Life is that Christ must increase.
What Prevents the Increase of Christ?
“But I must decrease.” Why doesn’t God reveal His Son to us, in all His glory, all at once? What prevents Christ from filling all things and having the preeminence now? Why do we not yet see all things submitted to Him? Because we must be decreased. If He is to become greater then I must become lesser. When Paul says, “Not I, but Christ,” he is saying “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Just as all things are working together towards God’s purpose of increasing Christ, so all things are working together towards decreasing us. It does not matter if we understand it or comprehend it. It does not matter if you believe in it or agree with it. You are being decreased just the same, and Christ is being increased. It MUST be so, therefore it IS so. Scientists call this decreasing “entropy”, and it means, “inevitable and steady deterioration”. We can observe this in creation. The present things are groaning and travailing in pain, deteriorating in order to make way for a new heaven and a new earth. We begin to die as soon as we are born. We can look in our own bodies for evidence of “inevitable and steady deterioration” as we move towards a redeemed body. But more importantly, WE, the “I”, the “Self”, is being decreased that Christ may fill us.
How are we decreased? Let us say right away that it is not your duty to decrease yourself, to become an ascetic, and crawl around in the dirt in abject poverty. It is not an outward decreasing, but an inward decreasing, a coming to the end of ourselves. The Kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. Earlier, John said, “A man can have nothing except he receive it from heaven.” Now we may have quite a bit, but if we obtained it from a source other than Christ, it amounts to nothing. Only those sufficiently decreased, the poor in spirit, can see this. This poverty cannot be achieved through self-effort. In fact, part of the decreasing process is the realization that I can do nothing of myself, including decreasing myself. Just as I cannot commit suicide by crucifixion, so I cannot crucify my flesh. The only way to learn this is to fail hundreds, even thousands of times. Then we will learn to say, “I have no confidence in the flesh.”
In the world we will experience temptations, testings, and trials. We will experience persecution, tribulation, and afflictions of soul and body. We will experience mistreatment and misunderstanding. It is not a question of God allowing or not allowing things to happen. It is part of living. Some things we do to ourselves, other things we do to each other. Our Father knows about every bird which falls to the ground, but He does not always prevent it from falling.
What are we to learn from this? That our response to what happens is more important than what happens. Here is a mystery: one man’s experience drives him to curse God, while another man’s identical experience drives him to bless God. Your response to what happens is more important than what happens.
If we see that offenses are bound to come, that there is no way to live in the world apart from what happens, then we must see that the difference between overcoming and not overcoming lies in our response to what happens.
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By Ron McKenzie
Hierarchies of power pervade all the institutions of the modern world. Societies are structured from the top down. Authority flows down from the central government at the top. Political leaders decide how much power will be delegated to the regional and local authorities that control the structure of cities and towns.
Unfortunately, the perfect system of Government that God gave to Moses will not work in a top-down, hierarchical society.
God was able to give a new model of government to the children of Israel because they had left hierarchical controls behind when they escaped from Egypt. Their new society in the Promised Land was structured the other way round, with authority flowing from the bottom to the top. The greatest authority resided at the bottom among families and households, with only limited authority being delegated up.
This unique social structure was perfect for the government of God. In the next few sections, I will describe how it was intended to work and how it was later destroyed when the Israelites rejected God’s government to be like other nations.
Before the Government of God can come to fullness in our time, modern society will need to be changed, so that authority flows from the bottom to the top. In the last part of this article, I will explain how the Holy Spirit can transform the followers of Jesus into local communities where God’s perfect system of government can be established.
The Government of God is based on Free Authority, so it cannot be imposed from the top. The big challenge that I take on is explaining how a human society can function effectively without hierarchy and control.
New Social Pattern
God’s pattern for society was demonstrated when Moses led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Up until then, God had worked through the families of people like Noah, Abraham and Jacob. He was now beginning a new stage of history with a nation of families, so he needed a suitable government.
While living in Egypt, the Israelites were controlled by slave masters exercising authority delegated down from Pharaoh. They did not need a political system because they had no authority. Their taskmasters controlled everything (Ex 1:11-13) and the leaders of families were powerless.
God could start with a clean slate in a new land because Israel had no government hierarchy to be removed. Once they escaped from slavery, all that remained was their family connections. Families naturally linked up with other families from the same clan and tribe because they knew and trusted them.
During the Exodus, the Israelites had no central authority, like the Pharaoh in Egypt. Moses was not a ruler, but a temporary military leader with very limited authority. He was an expert on life in the desert, because he had been a shepherd for forty years, but he could not force the people to do his will. If the leaders of families and tribes refused to follow his lead, he was powerless.
Joshua took over from Moses as a temporary military leader, but when he died, God did not appoint a replacement. The main battle was over, so a national leader was not needed anymore. This seems strange to modern eyes, but God’s system of government does not need a national leader.
Moses did not understand what God was doing because he had been raised in the house of Pharaoh, close to the centre of power. He had been trained by Pharaoh’s courtiers, so he assumed that he would have to control the people from the top in the same way as Pharaoh controlled the Egyptians. Moses only realised that God was creating a new society with a different structure when he visited his father-in-law in the wilderness.
Jethro saw the strain that Moses was under because he was trying to be a national leader controlling everything. Jethro was a prophet, so he told Moses to give authority back to the leadership that already existed in the community and focus on representing the people before God (Ex 18:19).
The timing of Jethro’s challenge was critical because it came just before the Israelites would receive the law at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19). While they were journeying to a new land, they needed a military leader to keep them safe, but God did not want this structure to continue into the Promised Land.
The Government of God cannot be established by Imposed Authority. The new system of law he was giving does not work in a top-down society, so God had to take authority away from Moses and give it back to the people.
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- To accept anything new (including what follows) requires a willingness to lay down personal agendas and pre-conceived ideas. It requires courage to turn from and come out of centuries of tradition. It also requires a strong commitment and resolve to ONLY do things God's way.
- This may be a hard message for some, particularly those who have faithfully served in the existing church systems for a long time.
- Although it may be challenging it is time for God's people to become what God has called and purposed us to be, rather than some man made version of God's intention.
- John records what Jesus did and shared during the last supper and evening He had with His disciples in John 13-17. Knowing it would be the last extended time He would have with His disciples I believe Jesus saved His best and because of that in my estimation these four chapters are the among, if not the most important chapters in the gospels.
- Of the four chapters I believe John 17 is the most important chapter because the words spoken, prayed and penned reveal the heart of our Father beating in unison and echoed through His Son.
- I'll make a brief reference to Jn 17:20-23 at the outset as an introduction and springboard for what I sense Father would have me share on oneness because these verses reveal the Father and Son's ultimate plan for disciples and their influence in and of the world.
Jn 17:20-23 And I do not pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one, I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.
- In Jesus prayer He emphasized three things that will happen as a result of the disciples' (our) oneness:
- that the world may believe. That is salvation for the people of the planet, because they'd become believers.
- that the world may know that You have sent Me. That’s real revelation and reconciliation for the planet’s people.
- That believers may be made perfect [teleioo- complete, accomplished] in one. That is believers/disciples would be a perfected, completed and accomplished Body of Christians.
Please click this link to read the rest of this teaching.
By Frank Viola
I’m defining revival in the classic sense. It’s when scores of people are converted to Jesus Christ in a short time-span (usually over the course of two to four years).
There’s a great deal of prayer, a lot of repentance, and many conversions.
Churches and chapels are marked by the functioning of the body of Christ where “laymen” spontaneously start songs, share, exhort, testify, and even prophesy.
There is “leaderless” worship, the felt-presence of the Spirit, and sometimes demonstrations of God’s healing power.
There’s also an overall awakening to the reality of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.
Aside from the numerous local revivals that were restricted to a city or denomination, since the 20th century, there have been two major revivals in the United States that swept the entire nation.
The first occurred from 1948 to 1952. It began in Texas among the Baptists, and it is known as the “Youth Revival Movement.”
The second revival occurred from 1968 to 1972. It began in California, and it was primarily outside the organized church where God’s Spirit moved among the hippie counterculture. It is known as the “Jesus Movement.”
Over the years, I’ve met many zealous Christians who were converted during one of these two revivals.
In a true revival, a believer can spit on the sidewalk and a fountain will gush forth.
Wandering sheep are brought back into the fold and the lost are unusually open to the gospel.
Revivals are beautiful, and I’m 100% for them.
So I hope what’s happening right now in the upper South spreads throughout the entire nation and the world.
But beyond their short shelf-life of two to four years, there is another problem with revivals.
Revivals merely resurrect a dying church back to zero.
Once the revival ends, the churches and chapels that were affected by it continue as they were before.
Same practices, same mindset, and same traditions. It’s business as usual.
Christian community dies, enthusiasm dies, and the functioning of the body of Christ dies.
The Youth Revival Movement didn’t change the Baptists churches. The revivals of the past that took place in the upper South didn’t change the Methodist churches after the waters receded.
And all the revivals that took place among the Pentecostals and charismatics never changed their traditional structures or systems.
For example, in the mid-1990s I had a front-row seat to a localized revival that started in central Florida among the Pentecostals and spread to different parts of the State all the way up to Canada.
I visited some of those churches when the revival first broke out. Several years later, when the revival was over, I was invited to speak at one of them.
The same church where thousands of people descended from all over the world had reverted back to what it was before the revival began.
That was true for every other church that was affected by it.
Revival, therefore, is a temporary solution to a long-term problem.
Historically, it has never touched the root.
And in many cases, what has killed some of the past revivals are insecure ambitious leaders with institutional mindsets who either squash it or seek to leverage it to advance their own ministries.
John Stott made this remarkable statement about reform:
“The hallmark of an authentic evangelicalism is not the uncritical repetition of old traditions but the willingness to submit every tradition, however ancient, to fresh biblical scrutiny and, if necessary, reform.”
To reform something is to keep the original, but to make improvements upon it.
This has been true of every reformation that has taken place in history.
For instance, Luther and Calvin reformed certain aspects of Roman Catholicism, but they left a great deal of it untouched.
Reformations are wonderful, and I’m 100% for them.
But something beyond reformation is needed to meet the heart of God.
We can think of reformation as redecorating an existing house. A fresh coat of paint is applied to the walls and doors, furniture and hanging pictures are updated.
Restoration, however, is completely refurbishing the house. Old appliances are replaced with new ones, new cabinets are installed, bathroom fixtures are updated, old carpets are ripped up and new flooring is put in, etc.
In restoration, God uses one of His vessels to lead a group of His people to restore a truth or experience that has been lost to the body of Christ.
In the charismatic world, “restoration” focused on restoring spiritual gifts and manifestations.
Two movements before it (one in the United States and the other in England) were focused on restoring the unity of the body of Christ.
Restoration is wonderful, and I’m 100% for it.
But it’s never gone far enough in dealing with the overall structure and mindset of the Christian populace.
That brings us to revolution.
A revolution is a radical departure from what previously existed.
Think American revolution, French revolution, Communist revolution, the scientific revolution, and the various technological revolutions that have radically altered our way of life.
Revolutions turn everything upside down.
They destroy the “perfect” and enable the impossible. They introduce game-changing, Spirit-inspired innovation.
While reformation redecorates the house and restoration renews parts of it, revolution tears the entire structure down and builds a new one in its place.
Here’s how I put it in my book Finding Organic Church:
“What is needed in the body of Christ is not restoration. It’s not even revival. What is needed is a revolution—a complete and radical change from top to bottom, a new sighting of Jesus Christ and His church, and a change of both mindset and practice. To put it bluntly, we need a revolution in our understanding of the Christian life. We need a revolution in our practice of the church. And we need a revolution in our approach to church planting.”
A.W. Tozer spoke in the same vein.
In his book Keys to the Deeper Life (originally published in 1957), Tozer wrote the following in a chapter entitled, “Leaning into the Wind.”
“I believe that the imperative need of the day is not simply revival, but a radical reformation that will go to the root of our moral and spiritual maladies and deal with causes rather than with consequences, with the disease rather than with the symptoms … It is my considered opinion that under the present circumstances we do not want revival at all. A widespread revival of the kind of Christianity we know today in America might prove to be a moral tragedy from which we would not recover in a hundred years.”
Tozer’s observation about the limitations of revivals and reformations is the same as my own.
(How he defines “radical reformation” is what I mean by “revolution.”)
A spiritual revolution is a complete overhaul opposed to a cosmetic upgrade.
It’s a total renovation opposed to introducing new pieces of furniture and/or rearranging the old decorations.
Since 1988, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with groups of Christians under the headship of Jesus Christ where the body of Christ functioned in life and power.
Many of the features of revival were present in these fellowships.
Namely, the functioning of the body, leaderless worship, free testifying, sharing, prophetic utterances from the whole body, and the obvious work of the Spirit to shed light on and glorify Christ.
People would fly across the Atlanta to visit our meetings. Having never seen anything like it before, their testimony was “this is a revival!”
But it wasn’t.
For us, it was the normal experience of the body of Christ when she’s properly equipped to function according to her organic nature.
(For details, see Kingdom Ministry: Past, Present, Future.)
By the way, I’m NOT talking about a “house church,” but something far beyond a group of Christians who meet weekly in a home.
If the name of the game is conversions (souls being saved – which I’m 100% for), then Tozer’s analysis doesn’t make much sense.
But if God is after something higher than lost people being converted to Christ, then Tozer’s words should be seriously considered.
I contend that God’s primary interest is His eternal purpose, which includes reclaiming the explosive gospel of the kingdom.
And that, my friends, is revolutionary.
Historically, God has worked in seasons.
This is true for revivals and spiritual awakenings.
I’m thankful for every report about revival winds blowing. I just hope it spreads beyond a city, denomination, or movement.
Even more, what we need today beyond revival, reformation, and even restoration is revolution. A revolution in how we conceive the Christian life, how we live it out, and how we practice the church.
All of my work is toward that singular goal. The aim is that God in His mercy would use it to help ignite a revolution in the Christian faith.
That said, I’ll take revival, reformation, and restoration whenever and wherever they come.
But revolution is where my heart beats.
And that’s precisely what THE INSURGENCE is all about.
It’s a revolution from inside to outside, from ceiling to floor, from one edge to the other.
If you are someone who has witnessed the gamut of present-day Christianity, and there’s a cry in your heart that says, “There has got to be more than this!” than welcome to the revolution.
There is an Insurgence happening right now – a revolution. But it’s the size of a man’s hand. And it’s outside the industrial religious complex.
One of the essential ingredients needed for the Insurgence to move into high gear is this:
That those who are genuinely called to God’s work and who grasp the explosive gospel of the kingdom would be willing to labor together with their peers.
(See My Vision for a Ministry Dream Team for details on this.)
My prayer is that this takes place sooner than later.
I plan to write more about revolution in the future, so stay tuned.
#FrankViola, #revival, #reformation, #restoration, #revolution
By Patti Amsden
Jesus commissioned His church to take the Gospel of the Kingdom into the whole earth (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15). He authorized His disciples to be witnesses unto Him “both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The early church obeyed Christ’s assignment to evangelize or to spread the good news (Greek – euaggelion) throughout the inhabited world, and they accomplished that task (Colossians 1:5-6, 23; Acts 19:10; Matthew 24:14; Romans 10:18). From that day until this present time, the church has been faithful to the mission of seeding the nations with the Gospel. The season is now upon the church to train the nations through the ekklesia to reflect the reality of the Kingdom of God every aspect of those nations. The Statesmen Project and the Global Council of Nations are committed to that discipleship aspect of Christ’s commission.
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus identified His followers as His ekklesia, which literally means "called out," and gave them the authority to steward His Kingdom. The ekklesia of Christ was commissioned against the backdrop of the ekklesia of Moses. Jesus’ disciples would have well known that the nation of Israel had been called out of Egypt and that their nation’s forefather, Abraham, had been called out of Mesopotamia. Both the nation and its patriarch had been given the assignment of Kingdom stewardship. Both had been given authority to align their territory with heaven and to be God’s representative government for His Kingdom in the earth. Jesus was continuing this historical progression when He identified the next stage of the scriptural metanarrative of ekklesia.
The former ekklesia, which were called out under Moses, had been given a particular spot on the earth known as Canaan as their assigned territory and their place of ekklesia governance. To understand why the sphere of their authority was limited to a single nation, we must consider what was transpiring in the earth during the days of Abraham’s call. The first several chapters of Genesis cover the stories Adam’s sin in the garden, Cain’s transgression against his brother, the pre-flood civilization’s rebellion against God, Ham’s iniquity against Noah, and Nimrod’s wicked Tower of Babel scheme against the Lord. Although this history is truncated, the theme of mankind aligning with fallen spiritual entities called elohim and rejecting their creator, the Almighty Elohim, can be seen again and again.
Abraham’s call followed the event at the Tower of Babel. That Tower was a ziggurat, which was a man-made mountain or staircase used by pagan worshipers or priests in their attempt to break into spiritual domains and make contact with evil spirits. On these ritual mountains, leagues between men and lesser gods were made for manipulation of and control over the physical realms. The architects of the Tower succeeded in getting the attention of the heavens, but Yahweh rather than lesser gods responded. The Most High God appeared and scattered the people of the earth into the 70 nations known as the original table of the nations (Genesis 10). Not only did God disperse any unified effort of the people, He also separated any collective effort of the fallen gods. God separated the nations “according to the number of the bene elohim” (Deuteronomy 32:7-9; 4:19-20). Each people group was assigned earthly land and a spiritual deity. For example: Ashtoreth was the elohim of the Zidonians; Chemosh was the elohim of the Moabites; and Milcom was the elohim of the Ammonites (I Kings 11:33). Mankind had continuously chosen to align with other gods, and the Lord allowed them to inherit what they desired. As for Yahweh, He chose Abram and his lineage for His inheritance (Genesis 12).
After the dispersion and disinheritance of the nations in Genesis 11, the Scripture records the call of Abraham. This called-out patriarch, who became the progenitor of the Lord’s inheritance, was promised that “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). The plan to redeem and reclaim all the nations began immediately after the dispersion and in the covenant made with Father Abraham. The children of the patriarch multiplied into the nation of Israel and, in due time, occupied the promised land. That spot on the earth was considered holy ground. There, man met with God in the tabernacle. There, God talked with man from the glory throne by way of His prophets. From there, the called-out ekklesia of the Old-Covenant era were given authority to align their territory with heaven and to be God’s representative government for His Kingdom in the earth.
To understand God’s view of the earth or ground of Israel, a quick review of the story of Naaman the leper is helpful (II Kings 5). Naaman was the captain of the army for Syria, which was a pagan nation that often warred against Israel and which was a nation assigned to one of the fallen gods named Rimmon. Naaman was a leper. Syria’s king, Ben-Hadad II sent a letter to King Joram of Israel requesting that Joram arrange for the healing of his captain. Joram was troubled by the request fearing that Syria’s king was trying to set up a dispute between the nations should the request go unfulfilled. The prophet Elisha heard of the king’s distress and asked that Naaman be sent to him.
Elisha instructed Naaman to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times, and through this action, the captain was cured of his leprosy. Naaman responded to the miracle by acknowledging that there was no God in all the earth but in Israel. The revelation and proclamation were quite extraordinary during that post-dispersion time when all nations had gods and all geographical lands were under the management of fallen elohim. Knowing that he was returning to Syria and would be required to accompany his king into the temple of Rimmon, Naaman requested that the prophet pardon his actions in advance. Elisha granted him this pardon.
Naaman also requested two mules to carry dirt from Israel back to his nation. The captain not only acknowledged the set apart, holy nature of the only true God but he also acknowledged the set apart, holy nature of the land of Israel. Under the Old Covenant order, God’s inheritance included His chosen people functioning as an ekklesia to align her appointed territory with heavenly patterns, and it embraced the idea that the land managed by a faithful ekklesia could have the curse rolled away by God’s power at work in the very dirt. Naaman wanted his standing to be that of a covenantally adopted Israelite, so he took a portion of the holy land into his Rimmon-infected soil. In a land under the management of a fallen elohim, Naaman could stand on non-cursed earth and serve the only true God.
The order of the Old Covenant radically shifted at the coming of Christ and His substitutional sacrifice at Calvary. Scripture presents Christ as the near kinsman who paid the redemption price for family members and family lands. All the heirs and all the earth lost in the first Adam were regained by the Last Adam. Through the lineage of Father Abraham came Christ; and through Christ, the promised Abrahamic blessing came to all nations. The New Covenant reality means fallen gods have been stripped of all right to rule (Colossians 2:15), and disenfranchised ethic groups have been invited to participate in God’s family, the Kingdom of God, and covenantal life (Ephesians 2:11-18). The soil of every nation has the potential to be called holy ground.
God is self-authenticating. He never tries to prove His existence because it is already evident through the created order.
Since He is the only objective being, all other living and nonliving objects emanate from His creative fiat word hence all reasoning (different from God’s) is circular and subjective.
This is why scripture says that the fool says there is no God (Ps. 14). There is never an apologetic attempt to prove God’s reality. The evidence for His existence is so overwhelming that the opening words of the first book of the bible (Genesis) assume His existence. The following are nine reasons why God never tries to prove His existence:
1. God already put eternity in the heart of every human. Every person is born with an innate sense of the existence of God and eternity (Eccl. 3:11). Thus, from birth, every person is already intuitively aware that reality is much greater than the phenomenological world.
2. The evidence of design. The apostle Paul wrote that creation demonstrates His power and divine nature (Rom. 1:19-22). The Psalmist said that the heavens declare the glory of God (Ps. 19). In the same way, the existence of an airplane proves the existence of its designer, the vast unified, complex creation of the cosmos demonstrates the intelligent design of a supreme being.
3. All humans already live in the matrix of God. The apostle Paul wrote, “In Him, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).” This statement essentially says that time, space, and the whole universe exist inside the incomprehensible matrix of its creator!
(Proponents of the erroneous teaching of “open theism” purport that God cannot fully know the future and make the mistake of thinking that God is subservient to time and space.) Indeed, scripture teaches that God created time and space and knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:9-11). Hence, thinking God does not exist is as foolish as a fish not acknowledging the existence of the water they abide in.
4. The testimony of multiple billions of people who encountered Him. Since the dawn of human life, multitudes have claimed they encountered God and have received guidance from Him. Furthermore, since the birth of Christianity, countless billions of people over the past two millennia have claimed they believe in Jesus’ resurrection because He came into their life and converted them. All these billions of people are either delusional or have really found the truth. Count me as one who knows Jesus rose from the dead and personally encountered God!
5. The reality of immaterial logic. One of the great philosophical conundrums is trying to understand the nature of logic and human thought: is it material or immaterial? If, as naturalists teach, thoughts are merely the result of chemical reactions and impulses inside a physical brain, how can a person visualize an elephant without it being physically present between their ears?
However, if logic and reason are immaterial, that proves the existence of a powerful non-material realm not visible to the human eye. It is something that coincides with what the Bible calls the spiritual world. Scripture says that God is a Spirit. This can explain how the invisible world can impact human thought and life even though it is non-material and invisible (John 4:23-24). Hence, God influences the material world through His immaterial word and essence, which would also explain why most people have an innate sense that God and the unseen realm is real (John 6:63).
6. The reality of conscience. The fact that a person can physically desire to do something that they would afterward feel guilty about shows the reality of the human spirit or soul. Who gave us this immaterial spirit, and why does it have an intuitive sense of right and wrong? This sense of right and wrong comes from God, whose Spirit utilizes human guilt to lead people to repentance and salvation (Rom. 2:14-15, Rom. 7:21-25).
7. The reality of the spirit realm. Numerous shows depict the reality of the so-called paranormal world. Television shows have even captured images of what appear to be spiritual beings. Many people have also experienced demon possession or have had a Christ follower cast these disembodied spirits out of them.
In my experience of casting out demons, they only fear and submit to the name of the Lord Jesus. Consequently, if there are both good and bad spirits, there must also be a Supreme Spirit (God) to which the unseen realm submits.
8. The existence of good and evil. Some say there is no such thing as good and evil, and these beliefs result from a human psychological construct based upon an individual’s upbringing and culture. If this is true, how is it universally acknowledged in every tribe, culture and nation that certain things are right, such as doing good to people, and wrong, like stealing and killing? This transcendent sense of good and evil, a knowledge of right and wrong, points to the creator God who gave moral laws to guide humans in their interpersonal relations.
9. The unity and profundity of the Bible. The canonical bible was composed of 66 books, written by about 40 different authors, over 1,600 years by people with various ethnic, educational, geographical and economic backgrounds. Despite this diversity, its sacred writ has incredible unity, beauty, complexity and profound truth that could not emanate merely from the mind of men.
The accuracy of its prophecies of past historical events and predictions regarding the coming of the Messiah shows that it is a divinely inspired book. It is no wonder that it is always the best-selling book that has dramatically changed the world in every sphere of life. Finally, the greatest proof of the Bible is the impossibility of the contrary. The world would not make any rational sense without understanding the biblical concepts regarding the origin of life, the fall of man, redemption and future consummation.
In conclusion, God never had to prove His existence since it is as obvious to objective, rational humans as the air they breathe.
LIVING HIS GLORY IN ONENESS
1935 – 2023
God is Spirit, living His glorious and abundant life through all who have been baptized into Christ and crucified with Him.
I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. - Galatians 2:20
The Lord said, “. . . Indeed as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” - Numbers 14:20-21
One of my favorite verses, and I have a ton of them, is found in Colossians 1:27. Paul wrote it, and it goes, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’”
Jesus prayed to our Father, “I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected and completed into one, so that the world may know [without any doubt] that You sent Me, and [that You] have loved them, just as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given to Me [as Your gift to Me], may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” - John 17:22-24
The fullness of His glory will be revealed in the united Ekklesia where we live.
I love you!
TO WHAT DEGREE WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE A HOLY, DEDICATED and CONSECRATED VESSEL
FOR GOD AND HIS COUNTRY, THE KINDGOM?
Wolfgang & Mercy Simson
In order to be initiated and accepted, Freemasons and Satanists have to literally sell their soul and curse themselves on pain of death should they ever leave their silly cabals. US Navy SEALS have to go far beyond their abilities and pass almost inhumane ordeals to be accepted into the army. Catholic priests have to prostrate themselves in public to be ordained, civic servants have to swear an oath of office and even low-level patriots run around with their flags. Christianity, however, has completely lost any element of serious dedication to God’s code and cause, and has abdicated Gods kingly rule and relinquished his monarchial authority. It is all grace, grace, love, love, take it easy, we will all see how it goes... In the Old Testament God called his people to be set apart for him, sorted out from mediocracy. This was called to consecrate yourself, to no longer be harmless, mainstream-religious, middle of the road, meet me in church on Sunday folks, where we will sing 12 songs. If you can hear what the Spirit is saying, he is calling out his Revolutionary Guard at this time. But will you qualify?
Friends, the times are coming now where there will be less and less of a spiritual gray zone; it will all become more and more black and white; we now live in a post-democratic order, so the question is: who is your King, your dictator, your master? We all need to firmly chose: Babylon or Zion, whore or Bride, Mammon or God, religion or Kingdom.
My wife Mercy received this message five year ago and carried it out like a baby. She feels the time to release it is now – and I agree. But be prepared – this is not spiritual milk. And once you watched the video, God may ask you not for another Facebook like, but: How will this truth manifest itself in and through you?
So, take a deep breath, watch it, manifest it, share it – and be counted. Exciting days are ahead. With you, or without you. But better with you…
CONSECRATE! FOR GOD AND HIS COUNTRY
Blessings in Christ and may Holy Spirit confirm to and write upon your spirit what HE desires you to hear!
By Elwin Roach
Do we suppose it pleases our Father when we work at gaining people’s admiration? Do we think He is proud of us when we impress people with our talents, and endear their hearts by our personalities? It’s very doubtful. I don’t think we ever hear Him saying, "Well done, My good and faithful son." The fact is, I would be very surprised to find that He is pleased with such human overtures. There is, of course, nothing wrong with possessing God-given talents and attractive personalities. Such qualities in people’s lives are portions of who they are, and not to be despised; but talents and personalities should never be used as tools to manipulate others.
We have no record that Jesus, our prime example, went about trying to win friends and influence people. His security was not in people, but in something higher, much higher. It was in His Father and also in knowing who He was. It mattered not what the world thought of Him, He remained the same. If the sea of religion roared and foamed out its anger, He rested in His Father and slept in the back of life’s ship. When there was a need to move on, and while the storm continued its fury — He was not daunted. If He did not still the waves for the sake of others, He walked over the boisterous billows of condemnation.
Jesus never went to the leaders of religion hoping to gain their favor and calm the storm against Him. It was not His intention to get His foot in the door to their hallowed halls so He could be endorsed and set up with a ministry. Compromise was not in Him, and neither did He use His charisma to draw crowds of thousands to be recognized as "God’s man of the hour." He didn’t have to. He knew He was more than that — He was the very Day, the Daystar, the Sun, the Light coming into the world that would light every man (John 1:9).
Moreover, our Lord did not join clubs in order to get acquainted with the city fathers, the right business men, judges, legislators, and other people of influence, to insure His livelihood and social status. Such carnal tactics had no part with the life and Kingdom wherein He dwelled. His livelihood was rooted and grounded in His Father.
An excerpt from WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SON