Tag Archives: Ephesians

Vision – A Prophetic Word for 2014 – The Ring of Fire.

On New Year’s Eve as I was going to bed I had the following vision:

In the vision I saw a of a ring of angels and messengers of God who were like flames of fire. The phrase God brought to mind for this was ‘The Ring of Fire’. Overhead were storm clouds, very dark, swirling and ominous.

In the centre of the ring was one angel who had been sent from the throne in heaven itself. He had raised a great sword which was the Word of God which was cutting through the clouds and allowing light to reach the ground.

As I was watching I saw others coming, these were the saints in prayer who were seeing what the Father was doing and were responding. As they too raised their swords the hole got larger and more light was able to stream through the clouds.

The numbers of those who were raising the Sword of the Spirit in prayer were not great but they had a massive effect on the region within the Ring of Fire where they were, they were changing the spiritual climate where they were.

This happened as God broke the power of the storm clouds and shone his light on the land. This light did two things, it revealed that which people had hidden in the darkness, and it also gave new life and hope to those who could before only see darkness and despair.

 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7 NRSV)

 … and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:17-18 NRSV)

 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NRSV)

 Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished.” (John 5:19-20 NRSV)

 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NRSV)

Advertisements

Galatians 4:8-20 – Back in Bondage or Living Free

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted. (Galatians 4:8-11 NRSV)

Before we became Christians we were slaves to false gods who were in fact no gods at all. One person’s god might have been alcohol, another’s could be evolution, and someone else’s the false gods of Hinduism or some other religion. On the surface these gods give freedom, but in reality all they bring is slavery, but a slavery that those enslaved cannot see.

Once we have become a Christian we now know God and more importantly, he now knows us. This is as real a relationship as any physical relationship – if anything more real – as we are now spiritually alive and our spirit and the rest of us is now known by the Living God. This is true life and freedom.

Knowing this it is no wonder that Paul is shocked and incredulous that they are turning back to legalism, slavery and bondage instead of living in the permanent Sabbath and Jubilee that is in Christ Jesus.

The spiritual eyes of the Galatians seem to be closed, and so they seem to be back to living solely by natural sight. It is no wonder that Paul is shaking his head in frustration.

It is no wonder that about 10 years later when Paul writes to the Ephesian Christians that he says how he is praying, ‘that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.’ (Ephesians 1:18-19 NIB) It is so important that we pray for spiritual light, life and growth for each other so we don’t turn our back on the great salvation that we have in Jesus!

Heavenly Father, open our eyes to see if we have slipped back into bondage and slavery in our lives, or if we are living in the fullness of all that you have for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Matthew 16:18 – The Dry-Stone Wall Church

Before my prayer time on the evening of the 11th January 2013 I just felt that God was saying he had something special for me but I didn’t know what.  As is usual these days he was already there waiting for me to come into the place of prayer in his presence, not the other way round. I was saying ‘Thank you that your presence is already here’, not ‘Please come, Lord’.

 When I walked back into the living room to spend time with him he literally knocked me to my knees by the weight of his presence. While on my knees God gave me a glimpse of Jesus building his church in a vision. What I saw was a physical representation of the spiritual reality.

 The church was made up of rough stones, not dressed stones, and the building method Jesus was using was that of dry-stone walling.  This I easily comprehended and understood as I was brought up in Derbyshire where almost every field boundary is a dry-stone wall!

It was not a dry-stone wall like you sometimes see these days will regularly shaped dressed stones, but was one made up of irregular stones of different sizes and shapes.  In a dry stone wall there are faced stones which you see on the outside of the wall, within the wall you find many smaller stones which are used for packing and to stabilise the whole wall.  The whole church was being built on top of a large slab of bedrock, and the builder was Jesus. There was also a small bell tower on top, an open one and contained a single bell.

Boulder and Bedrock.

 ‘And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.’ Matthew 16:18 (NRSV)

Here Jesus tells Peter that he is a ‘petros’, a ‘stone’, a ‘rock’, a ‘boulder’. He may be substantial in size, but he is separate from the bedrock.  He is one of the big stones built into the bottom of the dry stone wall of the church.

On the other hand he is not the ‘petra’, the ‘bedrock’.  The ancient city of Petra is called that because it was built out of the very bedrock itself.  That bedrock is Jesus himself and the fact that he is ‘the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ Matthew 16:16 (NRSV) as Peter stated on the Father’s revelation.

In this Scripture, as in the vision it is Jesus who is building his church. It is not you or I, it is not the pastor or elders or anyone else, it is Jesus. We need to make sure that we do not try to take credit for something which is not of our doing!

Bell Tower and Bell.

A bell makes a very pure sound and so should our preaching of the gospel. Living lives in holiness should be an integral part of our message that speaks volumes. We should also not complicate the gospel. The message is simple, we were dead in our sins (Ephesians  2:1) as all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory that God wanted mankind to have (Romans 3:23) so Jesus came and paid the price by the shedding of his blood on the cross to take away our sins (1 Peter 2:24). He then rose again and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Acts 2:33), when we trust in him we have eternal life which starts now (1 Timothy 6:12) and he sends the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33) to enable us to live lives that are both holy (Ephesians 1:4) and a demonstration of his power on earth (Acts 1:8).

There was only one bell, not many. Unity in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24) is very powerful. God is calling us to live in unity as Christians. To come together in worship, humility, prayer and intercession as a united people. ‘If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’ 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NRSV). In past revivals God has moved because of the prayers of a few, this time I feel he wants more of his people praying in faith for him to move in power and reveal his glory. Are we prepared to come before him as a humble people united in prayer?

 Faced not Dressed Stones.

The fact that the stones were faced but not dressed is in fact significant. In the Old Testament God told Moses, ‘But if you make for me an altar of stone, do not build it of hewn stones; for if you use a chisel upon it you profane it.’ Exodus 20:25 (NRSV). This was one thing that separated an altar to the Lord from an altar to a false god, as their altars were generally made from dressed stones.

We are all different, like the stones being used to build the church building. We are to be in unity, but not uniformity. We are to celebrate our differences and be the individuals God wants us to be, then we will truly all fit together as he builds us into his church.

The visible stones were faced. In the past many people in churches have been taught not to reveal their struggles, but God is calling us to be honest. We can neither fool him, nor non-Christians with our religiosity, they see straight through it as easily as God does. In fact hypocrisy switches non-Christians off very quickly and is very bad witness, and it is one thing that makes God very angry as it is spiritual pride! We need to ask him to help us to be real, both with him and with all others whether they are Christians or non-Christians. Faced stones also look clean and fresh, we need to let Jesus knock off anything that will get in the way of his light shining through us.

 All important.

Not all of the stones were visible, but the hidden stones used for packing are incredibly important in the making of a dry-stone wall. This is also true in the church. As Paul says ‘the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect’ 1 Corinthians 12:22-23 (NRSV). We need to learn to raise up the encouragers, the intercessors, those with administrative and practical gifts so that their service is a joy not a burden as can often be the case because they are the lifeblood of the church and are central to its stability.

Jesus is building his church, and we are the living stones being built into its structure (1 Peter 2:5), although the vision I saw was of a physical structure it represents the spiritual structure of the church. Let’s be the church that Jesus has called us to be!

Prayer Lists

What place should prayer lists have in our personal and corporate prayer?

If you have read some of my other posts on this site then you will know that I am not a fan of prayer lists.  I shall explain why I dislike them, and also what their good points are (and I do admit that prayer lists do have good points).

I shall look at why I dislike them first by asking a few questions, I am doing this on purpose so that when you then look at the good points of prayer lists it will actually put those good points in perspective.

Let’s first define our terms.

What is a prayer list?  A prayer list is a list of things or people that you feel that it is necessary to pray about.  In its simplest form it would just contain names or headings, but will often contain more detailed information.

What is a prayer outline?  A prayer outline gives you points around which you can focus your prayers, again these may just be single words or headings, or may give you more information.

Are prayer lists biblical?

This is a very simple question, ‘Are prayer lists biblical?’, or to put it another way will you find a prayer list anywhere in the Bible?  God at times asks people to pray, or not to pray about specific things.  People asked other people to pray for them and what God was doing in and through them (e.g. Ephesians 6:19-20).  But nowhere do I find a list of things to pray for.

By contrast I find plenty of prayer outlines.  Here are a few examples that I have personally used, and the situations I prayed about them for.

  • Psalm 96 – I prayed through this for about 6 months, praying for Israel and her place in God’s plan of salvation of the world, and place in God’s present and future plans.  From it I was led onto other scriptures which I also prayed through including Romans 11.
  • The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) – I have prayed through this in various ways, at various times over the years, and I look forward to many more years of getting to know it better.
  • I have used many, many scriptures as bases for prayer, and all the prayer outlines I now write for Kingdom Revival Prayer are completely based on scripture.

Do prayer lists deepen your prayer life?

What I mean here is, ‘Does it draw you closer to God and to know his heart in how you pray?’.  Let’s be honest here, in general the answer will be a resounding ‘NO!’.  In fact, one problem with prayer lists is that praying for things on prayer lists can be a good way of avoiding going deeper in your prayer life with God.

It is not wrong to pray for things and people, but prayer should be a conversation not a monologue.  What is more, prayer is most effective when you really touch the Father’s heart in prayer because he has first touched you and shown you what is really in his heart.  This is how Jesus acted and prayed, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.  The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing’ (John 5:19-20 NRSV).  When you pray in this way you know that God is listening to your prayers, even if the ultimate outcome is not the one you hoped for!

Now a prayer list can be a springboard for moving into deep places with God, but as one can often get in the way it is not the one that I would generally recommend, and would say that having the starting point of scripture is generally preferable.

Depth of prayer is important.  If you read accounts of revivals then you will see that God led deep prayer, intercession and repentance are a feature, and are key to that move of God taking place.

Do prayer lists broaden your prayer life?

If the only prayer list you have is a list of your immediate family, friends and only about your local church then the answer may well be no, in all other cases the answer will be yes!

This is the main area where prayer lists can be very good.  They can give you a wider perspective of what is happening elsewhere in the church and in the world.  Basically this is where prayer lists really shine, especially those that have been put together prayerfully and skillfully.

In conclusion.

Prayer lists, as I have said before in The Tyranny of the Prayer List in a Meeting and Growing Beyond It! are good slaves, but very bad masters.

They can have a place in broadening you prayer life, but our ultimate basis for prayer should always be scripture, and we should also always be seeking to deepen our prayer lives and not use prayer lists as an excuse for not asking God to do so.

Do you use prayer lists?  Are they a help or a hinderance to you?  What do you think!