The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except a man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. 2:10b, 11
As times grow chaotic and the noise of the culture rises to seemingly destructive levels to our spiritual ears, leaders in the Body of Christ must delve deeper into the Kingdom of God. The scripture says that the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. The Holy Spirit is the great search engine of all Kingdom truth. He is the teacher for those who are teachable.
Searching the depth of all things God is a good thing! Searching the deep things of God is not for bragging rights as to our scriptural prowess. It is not for self-exaltation in knowledge. It is not to create another spiritual fad for the church fashion show. The Word declares this for a greater purpose.
Searching is for the purpose of revealing. Revealing is for understanding. Understanding is for wisdom. Wisdom is unto stability and maturity. We are called to have the Spirit show us the depths of the Word, the width of His grace, and the magnitude of His kingdom. We, then, gain understanding, grow in wisdom and become stable leaders in a culture of instability.
When we begin to know what God is thinking, we can walk in His divine will personally and corporately staying abreast of what He desires to do in this day and hour.
Delving deeper can be intimidating. It can be lonely…few desire to go there. Deep means deep! I like the Amplified expansion of this scripture, "The Holy Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God (divine counsels and things hidden beyond man’s scrutiny)." Sounding the ‘bottomless things of God’ can be intimidating. They are bottomless! When I was learning to swim, I was comfortable only when I could touch bottom of the pool. When I entered deeper water up near my neck, fear encroached. But as I learned to swim, I understood it was not the depth that was fear causing, but the water itself. It could drown me! It threatened my safe place! When I learned to swim, depth no longer mattered. Whether water was neck deep or ‘bottomless’, I could stay afloat. I would live and not die.
Do not fear drowning in the depths of His Word and His Kingdom. He is the water of life. His Word is life. God’s thoughts reveal His intentions for this day and hour; His intentions for you; His intentions for the church; His intentions for nations. Go there with the Holy Spirit. You will live, and live more abundantly!
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. (Rom. 12:9b, 10)
Deborah and I recently returned from ministering in Uganda and Tanzania. En route home we learned of the Islamic Jihadist attack in Paris that devastated the lives of many in that country. It was sad, yet predictable, given the open border policies of European countries. Virtually every member of the EU embraces a very liberal immigration and refugee policy that has resulted in Islamic intrusion at an astounding rate. There is little integration into European society and culture, but great expansion of local Islamic social structure and values.
The USA is opening to more Syrian refugees. Certainly some of these are legitimate refugees of the ISIS-Sunni-Assad conflict in Syria. However, a vast number are young men simply taking advantage of the conflict to enter Europe and America via the Syrian refugee issue.
According to State Department records the USA has admitted 2098 Muslims and 53 Christians via refugee status since 2011. While the CIA World Fact Book indicates about 10 percent of Syria is Christian, only 2.4% of the refugees entering the USA are Christian. Yet we know from news reports that a disproportionate price is being paid by Christians in Syria and Iraq. Christians, known as ‘People of the Book’, are the primary target of ISIS and other Islamic persecution in the Middle East. When Christians try to enter UN refugee camps in parts of the Middle East, they are heavily persecuted and most leave the camps. The UN camps are the primary mechanism for gaining refugee status throughout Europe and America.
What does this have to do with the Gospel? Everything! Christians in Syria are our family members; brothers and sisters in Christ. We must hate the evil perpetrated on them. Our first responsibility is to them! Paul wrote to the believers in Rome saying ‘be devoted to one another in brotherly love’. As believers, our first level of devotion here on earth is to our brothers and sisters. Yet evangelical organizations are failing to publicly address this issue with policy makers in Washington DC. Many would perceive it as ‘discriminatory’. Our president insists that America does not have a religious test for refugees, yet the statistics indicate otherwise…and it is not a test in favor of Christians. The most persecuted, maligned and harmed people group in the Middle East is the Christian minority. They must be moved to the front of the line and asylum policies adjusted accordingly. As the church in America we are called to advocate for this compassionate position.
|Olympia Park, Munchen Germany|
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious. Isaiah 11:10
As I embark on a trans-Atlantic journey I am reminded of the words of Isaiah declaring that the nations will rally to the Root of Jesse, the Son of Man, the Messiah. Isaiah’s prophetic word sounds a signal for the gathering of God’s people in Munich, Germany. Deborah and I are joining thousands of other like-minded leaders from dozens of nations. We and our team will partner in birthing a shaking and awakening on the European continent. This is NOT a conference. This is a move of the Holy Spirit birthed in Asia and now entering the global sphere of influence through the gateway of Munich, Germany. From 2009 until now each of these worship gatherings was named for the nation hosting it, a specific nation coming into alignment with the Lord’s end time move. However the Munich gathering is called the ‘Global Gathering’ declaring the next level of influence for this day and hour. It is interesting that the Apostle Paul pioneered the spread of the Gospel of the Kingdom in Asia. He was happy with that and would have continued in that direction. But suddenly, he took a sharp left turn on the map toward Europe. He was called by the Holy Spirit to Europe. So it is today.
In my spirit I sense a shaking in Europe. We’ve seen the historic decline of the church, the massive influx of Islamic immigrants, the elevation of intellect and knowledge over faith and spirituality, and the lack of national will to contend against evil. As Bret Stephens recently wrote, ‘It’s not that Europe stands for nothing. It stands for shallow things shallowly.’
While 65% of Germany is nominally Christian, only 2% is evangelical. The institutional church in Europe is dead. But there is a remnant; flaming fires of faith, contending for the Kingdom on that continent. In Germany house churches are springing up, Christian publications are expanding, and new streams of worship are flowing toward heaven. These fires of faith are vibrant and visionary; not intimidated by the darkness around them. It is from this remnant we see the banner of the Root of Jesse waving over the nation. I believe a remnant in the nations of Europe will rally in unity to Him. Watch and pray for the gathering in Munich to fan the flame and raise the banner!
You can access live streaming and video recording of this epic event beginning Sunday October 25 at www.watchmen.org.
Want to know more about this global move of the Holy Spirit? Read Harvey's post regarding the Gathering in Japan 2015.
Want to know more about this global move of the Holy Spirit? Read Harvey's post regarding the Gathering in Japan 2015.
The Prophet Jeremiah knew what it was like to be opposed in his own country. He lamented his frustration with Israel when he said I am ‘a man with whom the whole land strives and contends’ (Jere. 15:10). Jeremiah spoke forth warnings and declarations of what would happen if the Hebrew people did not return to God. Israel’s response to Jeremiah’s ministry was annoyance and rejection. They had so mixed their faith and identity with the surrounding cultures and religions that they no longer responded to the ministry of the prophets. They turned their hearts toward other gods and immersed themselves in the economic and religious systems of that day. They strived and contended against him. Jeremiah was a small, but loud, remnant voice amidst a majority culture. Despite his lamenting, Jeremiah did not silence his voice or end his ministry. He moved forward contending against the culture embraced by his own people.
The word ‘contend’ implies the presence of tension; a lack of agreement on some issue. For Jeremiah it was Israel’s complete lack of agreement on Truth, the Law of Moses, the first covenant between God and man. We live under a better covenant than Jeremiah and we are called to advance the kingdom of that covenant. We carry the message of Jesus Christ, salvation for all who believe, abundant life in His kingdom, and eternal life through His resurrection.
Today many in leadership in the 21st century church find themselves in a position of contending against what seems like the ‘whole land’ of America. The land (culture, government, systems, and beliefs) strives and contends against us and the message we carry. Our message runs counter to the culture. Many embrace the idea that all religions are the same, that no one belief system has the Truth, that all beliefs must be treated with tolerance...except the belief that Jesus is the ONLY WAY. That is the one thing that cannot be tolerated.
Even as I write this I find myself encouraged by the persecuted believers in Islamic countries who have endured, persevered, and in some cases prospered for centuries under far more oppressive opposition. They contended for the faith amidst oppressive cultures and beliefs without discarding Truth. I am encouraged by Paul who told the persecuted believers at Philippi to ‘contend as one man for the faith of the gospel’ (Phil. 1:28). Paul understood how to contend. The church at Philippi, Ephesus, Corinth, and across the Middle East understood the meaning of contending for the faith. It is time for the church in America to contend for the faith, something most of us have yet to fully understand. But we will endure. We will persevere. We will overcome. As we contend we will be led in triumphant victory according to Paul’s words to the church in Corinth (2 Cor. 2:14). What that victory looks like here on earth remains to be seen, but it will be victory!
|"The bread symbolized the continual presence of the Spirit of God making provision and giving life to His people".|
In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from the intrigues of men. Ps 31:20a (NIV)
The power of the presence of God is unsurpassed in its divine ability to shelter the believer in Christ from the wiles of the enemy. The Psalmist David wrote these words under the influence of the Spirit of God. He had personal experience with great opposition to his righteous rule and devotion to the Lord. David often wrote of the overwhelming effect of the ‘presence’ of the Lord in his life. It was not a theoretical or theological concept, but the reality of living a life led by the Spirit and abiding in the Kingdom of God.
The presence of the Lord is symbolized in Exodus 25:23-30 where God gives specific instructions under the Law as to the construction and content of the table for the Bread of Presence within the Tabernacle. The Lord said in verse 30 ‘Put the bread of Presence on this table to be before Me at all times.’ The bread consisted of 12 loaves of bread equally aligned in two rows of six. Frankincense was placed along each row with the bread. The bread symbolized the continual presence of the Spirit of God making provision and giving life to His people. The oil represented the anointing of an offering made by fire before the Lord. The bread was to be eaten by the Aaronic priests for their nourishment.
Under the new covenant we see the bread as a type of Christ, the bread of life, always present giving life to and sustaining the believer/priest. Our Lord’s prayer was for Him to ‘give us each day our daily bread’. (Luke 11:3) The oil symbolizes the continual availability of anointing as we abide and live in His presence. This manifests the power of His presence, the continual shelter from intrigues or plots of the enemy. In this day and hour we MUST live in His presence, consume His provision, and manifest the blessings of His continual anointing. David lived in a time when the enemy used men to plot destruction. We live in such a time as well. But in the place of His presence there is shelter and provision to overcome all the devices of the enemy and manifest His favor and influence into every situation. Practice His presence today.