Tag Archives: Revelation

Revelation 22:20-21 – Its All About Jesus

‘The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints.  Amen.’ (Revelation 22:20-21 NRSV)

These are the last two verses of the book of Revelation and so are also the last two verses of the Bible, but these are also the two verses that I feel that God wants me to bring into 2013.  They are my verses for the year.

Now in context this is referring to Jesus’ Second Coming.  I am not quite using it in context, but am interpreting it prophetically for this year ahead.

What do I feel God is saying about the year ahead?  I feel he is quite simply saying ‘Its all about Jesus’.

God has promised that he will move in revival power once again in the UK.  If there is one thing about a true revival it is always Christocentric, Jesus is always at its heart.

It was Jesus who bought our salvation on the cross, Jesus who is the firstborn of the dead, Jesus who is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit and Jesus gives the glory back to the Father!

It is Jesus who must be central to our prayers for revival as we seek the Father’s face, power and presence in his name alone.  In fact to live in revival is to experience the ultimate expression of the Kingdom of God here on earth that we can until Jesus returns.  Our prayer is Lord Jesus touch us again with your glory for your sake!

Yet it is still more than that!  We need Jesus to be central to all we do!  We need to be like Jesus in doing only what we see the Father doing.  We need to be like Jesus by sacrificially serving one another.  We need to be like Jesus in moving in the power of the Holy Spirit and glorifying the Father in all we do.

We also all need to grasp that we are saints who are seated now in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, we are defined now by God’s holiness, not by mankind’s sinfulness.

And we need more of his grace, both for ourselves, and to extend to others.

Heavenly Father, help us to make this coming year all about Jesus our Saviour, God and King, and about seeing his kingdom come on earth as it already is in heaven.  Help us to know his grace, truth and power in all we do.  In his name we ask, Amen!

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2012/2013 Looking Back/Looking Forward

This is my first blog post of 2013, I had originally intended it to be my last blog post of 2012 but it doesn’t really matter either way!

 I am looking back with thankfulness for the year just past, and am looking forward with expectancy to what the future holds, and in both case I am looking to God and what he has done, what he will do in the next year and beyond.

 2012 was for me primarily a year of envisioning, but it has also been a year of prophetic declaration as I have started to share the vision that God has given me.  2013 is going to be a year to start moving out and doing what as yet I have mainly talked about.  And 2014 and beyond, well that is in God’s hands.  The examples I am giving are but a few examples of what God is doing, it is by no means an exhaustive list.

 2012 has been a year when things have shifted, when we have really seen the spiritual tide noticeably beginning to turn, in such a way that even those in the secular world are tapping into it.

  • Nationally we not only managed to pull off The Olympics, but did it with style!  Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was spot on, his inspiration was definitely divine!
  • Locally Staines changed its name to Staines-upon-Thames.  This may seem insignificant, but is far from it.  Around here a great problem for a long time has been apathy, in the secular world to some degree but especially in the churches.  This change instigated by secular people, but it is a sign that God is working to change this in his church in this area as well.
  • There was the National Day of Prayer at Wembley, which was awesome.  This is a definite turning point in the spiritual life of this nation, but we must not see it in isolation, as this year was also a full year of constant prayer across many churches with the Kingdom Come 2012 initiative from 24-7 Prayer.

2013 will be a year to build on what has been done, God is on the move, we need to keep our eyes firmly on him.

  • In London and the Home Counties we have the Crossing London 2013 initiative, this is the first large-scale evangelism for generation, and will be part of seeing the church regain its confidence in God, and in the power of Jesus to save sinners and see many start a new life in him, this is exciting.
  • I am going to be looking to set up the first Kingdom Prayer Leaders Network in West London and/or Surrey, the geographical area covered is yet to be decided on.  I will also be seeking greater involvement with the church we moved to last year, Maswell Park Church in Hounslow.  Although I know now God is calling me beyond working in one local church, I also know that local church is central to God’s plan and I want to use my gifts, talents and calling to grow the church of which we will be members.
  • The National Day of Prayer is going on the road this year with a Roadshow, again this is really exciting.  The baton for praying continually is being passed from Kingdom Come 2012 to young people with United.

 2014 and beyond…

  • Groundbreakers have a vision for both large-scale evangelism in 2014, and an ongoing vision for building and empowering local churches to reach their local areas. They are working with God to see 100,000 saved by the end of 2014.
  • For me God has said that the first phase of my working with him will be for 18 months, beyond that God knows and I look forward to seeing how things progress when the time comes!
  • The National Day of Prayer will return to Wembley, and will fill the stadium completely having built on the vision being shared through the Roadshow.

 Let’s look forward with expectancy and faith, and in prayer seek God’s face and his hand.  Let’s seek to deepen our relationship with him, and in humility seek revival in the UK once again, as ultimately that is the only thing that will turn this nation around.

‘Amen. Come Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.’ (Revelation 22:20b-21)

Revelation 8:3-4 – Incense, Prayer & Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

In Revelation 8 we have a lovely picture of incense and prayers rising before God,

‘Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.’ (Revelation 8:3-4 NRSV)

This is such an amazing picture of prayer, and more than that, of our prayers coming before God.

There are two other verses which refer to incense and prayer, one more from the New Testament and one from the Old Testament:

‘When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.’ (Revelation 5:8 NRSV)
 
‘Let my prayer be counted as incense before you’ (Psalms 141:2 NRSV)

Prayer is incense, is like incense and is offered with incense!

This says a great deal about how important prayer is to God.  The incense that was used in Tabernacle and later Temple worship was not cheap!  It was made from costly ingredients, some of which came from long distances away.  It was also to be made to a specific recipe that was to be used only for worshipping God (see Exodus 30:34-38).

Prayer that God listens to costs!  Now there are times when we pray and it costs us nothing, God still hears those prayers, but they do not really grab his attention.  Jesus’ prayers were answered by his Heavenly Father because he put all of himself into them.  This is also something we see in great hero’s of faith, they know that they have to put themselves on the line when it comes to prayer.  It can be very hard to say, ‘yet, not my will but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42 NRSV) as Jesus does in the garden of Gethsemane, but this is what the hero’s of the faith have done, and it is also what we can do too!  This is where we get our depth in prayer.

Prayer is made up of different ingredients!  This may surprise you, but this is one reason why breadth of prayer is so important.  In the incense recipe different things were to be mixed together in equal quantities, this would have balanced the scent, and made the incense more beautiful to smell!  It is no wonder that the incense was to be burnt before God alone.  What do you mix in your prayer?  There should be worship, petition, intercession, listening, praise and thanksgiving to name but a few things.  We should also pray in different ways, both individually and especially corporately.  This is why we need breadth of prayer.

In this association  between incense and prayer we also see something else.  They seem to be especially closely linked when prayer is being answered by God.

As I said in my post 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 – The Fragrance of Jesus that last week I smelled incense in the service at Maswell last week.  This was during the worship and God’s presence was really there.  One thing that I did not share though was that during the service we had prayed for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to be released, and I did feel that God was really happy with that.

Today, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani had been released and acquitted, that is God!  He is now back with his family, and with the other members of his church.  I praise God for his faithfulness, a reflection of God’s faithfulness to him!

Now I know that incense had two meanings, although I only at first recognised one fo them.  That Jesus was there among his people, and that all the prayers of all the church (including Maswell) for Pastor Youcef had come before God, and that the answer would soon be revealed!

WOW!!! WHAT A GOD!!! HE IS SO AMAZING!!!

Heavenly Father, help us to realise how highly you value prayer, and how it should be made up of different ingredients.  Help us to be prepared to give all we have in prayer as Jesus did, and help us to have balanced prayer lives.  And thank you that you do answer prayer, help us to be expectant to see your answers, praying in faith to see you act.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer #9 – Holy Father.

‘Our Father in heaven,
     hallowed be your name.’ (Matthew 6:9 NRSV)

This is the first of the four parts of The Lord’s Prayer that we shall be looking at.  This prayer is also known as the Paternoster (from the Latin) and its English equivalent the ‘Our Father’ by Roman Catholics.

In this section we are looking at the fact that God is our Holy Father and how we should respond to that.

If you are a Roman Catholic reading this, then you will be saying but that is the Pope’s title.  I would challenge that!  That title should belong to God alone.

Jesus said, ‘call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven.’ (Matthew 23:9 NRSV). And elsewhere we read that God is ‘Holy, holy, holy’ (Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 NRSV), we see this here by two things that ‘Our Father’ is ‘in heaven’, and that our response is to hallow his name, that is to treat it as holy.

Let’s unpack this section in a bit more detail.

The first thing that we should notice is that we pray in , the prayer starts with ‘Our Father’, not ‘My Father’.  Even when we pray alone we always pray as part of the Body of Christ.  In fact we never can pray alone! Jesus could, but when we pray all the Trinity is involved, we pray to the Father, through the Holy Spirit and in the name and power of Jesus.

So we pray in community, but we are also praying as part of the family, this is unique to Christianity.  Under the Old Covenant Abraham was a friend of God, and John was the last and greatest prophet under that Old Covenant, but Jesus said that, ‘the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he’ (Matthew 11:11 NRSV).  There are two reasons for this, firstly because John was not filled with the Holy Spirit, and secondly because under the New Covenant we are children of God which John was not under the Old Covenant.

We are praying to ‘Our Father’ who is ‘in heaven’.  Scripturally there are three heavens. The physical heavens, the spiritual realm, and heaven where God dwells (I shall look at this in another post).  It is the third of those that is being referred to here, where God dwells.  Here there is nothing unholy, because God is absolutely HOLY.

This is why our response must be, ‘hallowed be your name’.  Our response to God’s holiness must be to recognise that holiness, and ask him to help us to live all of our lives in the light of that.  God’s heart is that everything will be ‘Holy to the LORD’ (Zechariah 14:20 NRSV) from horse bells to common cooking pots.  It is not about retreating from the world, but being so filled with God that all we do is touched by God and can be used to glorify him alone.

Holy Father, help me to live my life in light of who you are.  To worship you alone, and to live my whole life dedicated only to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Two Visions of Jesus – Like Revelation 1 and Commissioned by Jesus

About four months after I became a Christian, I had two visions within a short space of time.  You may ask whether these visions were in or out of the body.  Paul says (though speaking in the third person, he is probably talking about himself), ‘whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows’ (1 Corinthians 12:2 NRSV).  If it was not important to Paul then neither should it be important to us, and to be honest I don’t know, but I do know that I was there physically in both cases and that God knows even if I don’t!

By sharing these visions in this blog post I am sharing something that is very personal to me.  When I first had the visions I did share them, but most people did not seem to be able to comprehend what I was talking about and if anything gave me strange looks, or just had glazed expressions since they could not get their heads round it.  As I result I went for many years not sharing these visions, now I understand more that visions in general are well beyond many Christians experience, which is why in my post Ezekiel 1:26-28 – A Vision of The Glory Of God I talk about how ‘like’ is used a lot as you try to describe the heavenly in earthly terms.

In the first vision, I saw Jesus glorified, almost identical to the vision of Jesus that John saw in the book of Revelation.

‘and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed in a long robe and with a gold sash across his chest.  His head and has hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like flames of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.’  (Revelation 1:13-17a NRSV)

As I have already said my vision was almost identical to that of John, but not quite.  I only saw Jesus, I did not see any candlesticks or stars.  I saw Jesus glorified as John described with his voice like many waters, which I visually saw like transverse waves coming out from his mouth and spreading out.  I did not however see the two-edged sword come out of his mouth, but next to him.

I was in a time of prayer when I saw the vision, and like John I also had the same reaction, I fell as dead before Jesus, I lay prostrate on my bed unable to move for about 4 hours.  The first prophetic word I had given a month or so earlier was of a picture I saw of Jesus saying, ‘Come to me’.  Jesus in this picture had been gentle, and was asking us to draw closer to him.  In this vision however I saw another side of Jesus.  This was Jesus glorified, he was almighty and all-powerful, this was no gentle Jesus meek and mild, but Jesus as he will be when he comes to judge the world.

Whenever I think of this vision I am still filled with holy fear, Jesus is not to be messed with!  He is our best friend, but he is also our Lord, our King and most of all our God and we should never forget that.

In the second vision I was among a crowd of worshippers and was commissioned by Jesus.

In the second vision I was kneeling near what was like an altar in a church, behind me there were crowds of people as far as the eye could see worshipping and praising God.  Jesus came to me, he anointed me placing his hands upon my head and spoke one word to me, ‘Go!’.  My reaction to this vision was the same as the first, I was prostrate in worship and unable to move.

At the time, I did not really understand what this vision meant, but now I do understand it.  Jesus is saying that it is he who has:

  • Called me – I was there with him and not with the rest of the worshippers because he wanted me to be there.  Jesus has called me to a close walk with him;
  • Anointed me – It was Jesus who was anointing and enabling me, not anyone else.  After all, it is Jesus who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit, and I was baptised in the Spirit on conversion (read Prayer is … #1 Adventure for more information);
  • Commissioned me – Jesus has sent me out to work in his church, and now I know in what way.  I have always known that my heart is primarily in this country, and that I have always had a focus on church, up until now I always assumed that would be on one local church, but now I know that God is calling me to itinerate ministry to the whole church.  What God is calling me to do is to grow prayer, both personal and corporate prayer in churches.  I will share more about that in the future.