Five-Fold Today - Elijah Does Come First - Where Is the Power? - A Matter Of Timing - Toward the Light - The Death of Charles Templeton - Pastors on Probation - Cut Off Hand - Ambition, Jealousy and Envy

June 12, 2001

Elijah Does Come First

Chimezie Onyebilanma

to be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all thingsĒ Matt. 9:12

The Elijah ministry is that of restoration to prepare the way for Godís visitation. The Elijah task is that of preparing a way for God. Of raising every valley, of lowering every mountain and hills. Of leveling every ground and making plain every rugged place. This was like what Elijah did on Mount Carmel to prepare the way for Godís fire to fall. He restored the altar of the Lord that was in ruins and he set things in order.

This is not a pleasant experience. We always like to think of Godís visitation as a beautiful thing to look forward to. And indeed it is. But before Godís glory can come in any individual lives, or community, ďElijah does come firstĒ.

The Elijah ministry is not attractive or pleasant. It involves getting into the mud and sorting things out. When we are going through it, it is not usually an emotionally high experience.

For some of us the Elijah work might be going on right now in our lives or our particular Christian community. Suddenly we are being brought face-to-face with the ugliness of our nature. God often introduces the Elijah ministry in our midst through particular experiences he allows our way to help us see beneath our neat religious clothing. Suddenly the rottenness of our life begins to come to the surface. Some of us might be passing through a time in our lives or ministries when we are coming to see that we are not as sanctified as we thought we were. Perhaps we have failed terribly and can see in deed that ď I know that nothing good lives in meĒ. And the tendency at this time is to despair and to feel that God is in the process of setting us aside. Yet the truth is that God is bringing the Elijah ministry of conviction of sins so as to prepare the way for his glory to be revealed in our lives and in our community.

Malachi describes this experience ďBut who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refinerís fire or a laundererís soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who bring offerings in righteousness.Ē

Here we see the truth so clearly Ė repentance must come before revival. God must set things in order before he can send down his glory. The trenches and channels must be unplugged and cleansed before the river can flow. To desire the latter without expecting the former is folly.

Yet we need not despair if we or our community are going through times of unpleasant harsh realities of our ugliness. Remember that the fact that Elijah has come should encourage us that the LORD is preparing to visit us. Hallelujah ! What we need to do is to endure the dealing of God. Those that would see the glory of God are those who refuse to hid behind their Pharisaic self-righteous garments. Those who like Isaiah (when he faced the Elijah ministry in his life in Isaiah 6), would face up with the truth in repentance asking God to restore order into their lives.

We are in the final days, this is the time of the final harvest and God is intent that ďthe glory of the LORD be revealed (in his church) so that all mankind together will see it.Ē This why once again God is raising up the Elijah ministry all around his body. He is shaking all that can be shaken. Let us beware of despising the Elijahs or the ministry of Elijah in our midst. Rather let us cooperate with God to restore order in our lives, our families, our ministries, and in the Church.

chim_ibidun@hotmail.com

Where Is the Power?

Michael and Dorothy Clark

I have for some years been relating to what Paul said to the Philippians chapter three, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." At first, like so many "full gospel" type Christians, I wanted the "power of His resurrection." We reason, "If I could just get His power, I could do so much for God!" Right? Wrong!

I heard a story of a traveling evangelist who came to a church and gave a message and then an alter call. He invited all those who would wanted prayer to receive the power of God to line up on the left side of the church and all those who wanted to receive God's brokeness to line up on the right side. Well, it seems that about 95% of the folks got in the power line and the other five got in the brokeness line. After they were all lined up he walked over to those in the brokeness line and turned to the others and said, "I will pray for these and they will get their brokeness and they will also be the ones who get the power."

God does not give out His kingdom power so that we can go out in our rebellious hearts and do exploits for Him. He gives His power to those who want the fellowship of His sufferings and to be made conformable to His death. No pain, no gain. No death, no glory. We must fellowship with Him in His sufferings before we will know Him in His power.

We have seen for years this sham of men and women who parade before us in our meetings, claiming to have power in the presence of God. For a long time the best they could come up with was stretching legs, now they fill teeth with gold and claim the manifest presence of God with gold dust on the people. When God's real power shows up on His broken ones, there will be no doubt. But the true sign of His men and women of power will not be the overt signs that men seek after. No it will be the sign of the Messiah, one who comes in all lowliness and humility, waiting for God to lift them up in his due season and not before.

This I am willing to wait for. I want nothing to do with the dog and pony shows that call themselves the power workers of God as they parade across the stages of churches and conference rooms, boasting of their greatness (in all humility, of coarse). I am reminded that the two final witness in Revelation are dressed in sack cloth and not shark-skin suits with gold rings on their fingers. The smooth clothing and fine jewelry is found on the Great Whore later in the book. Do not be fooled by the counterfeit false prophets, apostles, and wonder workers of this hour. Look for the brokeness of Christ in those who say they are of Christ.

God bless you,

Michael

"A Wilderness Voice"
http://www.wildernessm.homestead.com
johnone23@icehouse.net

A Matter Of Timing

BaBette Bechtold

Our desire to see God move and His kingdom to come must be balanced on the tight rope of waiting on the Lord for His timing vs. pressing ahead in faith and urgency without complacency.

God has ordained seasons upon the earth, in our lives, and in the spiritual realm. The sower must release the seed before the harvest will come. There is a time when everything lies dormant (winter) before the shoots of new life appear in springtime. The amazing part is that while we sleep the seed bears life! It can really be likened to birthing a child. Inducing birth prematurely is not wise because the child will not able to live primarily because the lungs aren't developed, and it will be unable to breathe, or receive life. As well, pushing before the appropriate time will damage the one giving birth, bringing about a tearing in the body where it isn't necessary.

The birthing of this next move of God must be brought about by His timing. Like a good birthing coach we must watch the body to see when to counsel to push, pant, bear down, etc. Releasing a prophetic word is much like giving birth. Each child is different, and each circumstance is different. Some are "easy" deliveries, and some are "hard"! Regardless, the "baby" is born and life results. I also believe that as Habbakuk says, it is the prophet that "sees" what God is doing first and proclaims it into existence by the Spirit of God. So we are actually going to speak things years before they happen. Inexperience can cause us to want to see the fulfillment before it is ready. As an example, I have been prophesying revival for the past 18 years or more. I have been so dry, weary, and hungry to see the fulfillment of the promise that I have sat under the proverbial vine like Jonah and pouted and argued with God. Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the capture of the Israelites for at least as long, and it is clear from the scripture that he had some similar conversations with God:)

Like others on the list, I have found giving a prophetic word to an individual is different than giving one to a church or group. It also really depends on my relationship to the person or group, and what the "word" is regarding. I find giving a prophetic word to a stranger is more welcome, and easier to deliver. If I know the person well, or if they are in leadership, it is more difficult. If it is a rebuke regarding sin in their lives, corporate or individual, I have made it a habit to seek the Lord in intercession for as long as it takes for me to hit pay dirt - compassion and mercy - for that individual before I go to them and speak. Often, like others have found, I find that all that was required of me was to intercede. If, however, the compelling words of the Lord still burn within me, then I know that I will not be released from this obligation and responsibility until I am obedient to speak it.

For the most part, delivering a prophetic word to the church is done the day that I have been given the word, unless directed by the Holy Spirit otherwise. Some aspects of timing are only learned by trial and error. Usually it is in the church that I am a member, with connected relationships, that I "weigh" the word, and wait upon the Spirit of the Lord, although I have to confess there are times I "weighed" it far too long and missed the opportunity. There have been many times that I have been woke in the wee morning hours on Sunday to sit with the Lord in His chamber for that mornings service. At other times, the Lord speaks to me in the car on the way. Still others He gives me one word and doesn't give me the rest until I am obedient to start!

In the early years I held my tongue (I was just a young teenager), and allowed the Lord to train me. Inevitably the sermon would be in keeping with whatever "thus sayeth the Lord" He had spoke to me. The words of knowledge he would whisper in my ear would come about. And so, I finally stepped out. As I gained courage and understanding of the gift, I would seek the Lord for a fleece, and He was always faithful to perform accordingly. But as I grew in maturity, He consigned me to not rely on those things for confirmation. I remember distinctly when the Lord withdrew even the physical manifestations of His presence from me (y'all know what I'm talking about - the racing heart, flushed warm feeling, etc.). That is not to say that I don't experience those at all. I don't know about anyone else, but all my life I have been more sensitive to the spiritual realm, both the holy and profane. I could sense the spirit of God, and the demonic very keenly even before I was saved. Thankfully I was saved at an early age. I had to be weaned from this arena. I was told by the Lord that "feelings are not fact in God's kingdom", and that relying on those feelings made me vulnerable to the enemy for undue influence. I floundered for awhile, and remained silent for a season, until I was sure again of the leading of the Lord.

As the Lord drew me further into working in the enemies camp dealing with deliverance, I realized those physical manifestations and emotions that were "spiritually" dulled were extremely helpful. There is no way that I would have been successful in the circumstances that God has placed me in dealing with the demonic had I "felt" the enemy as I had in the past. The spirit of fear operates in the flesh, and manifests itself upon our flesh. I also would not have been able to operate on the level of receiving words of knowledge, discernment, and instructions in rapid fire succession had I been concerned and caught up in dealing with the physical manifestations of God's presence as I had in the early years. Often when I am ministering to one individual, the Lord is already drawing my attention to and speaking to me about another.

I would also like to touch on the subject of poor timing. There are going to be faux pauxs in the church services by those inexperienced in the gifts. I think the church gets so caught up in everything having to be done "perfectly". The Apostle Paul wouldn't have had to write I & II Corinthians if we were meant to do everything "right" the first time. God has been faithful to give us a protocol booklet to learn and discern with. There should be room for error in these things in the midst of the assembly without the new prophet being beaten into discouragement, or scared into silence. I believe that we miss out on alot of what God's spirit desires to do because of this element of fear. We are told in the Word of God to speak the word "in season and out". To me that means that when I am perceived as snowing on someone's July 4th picnic, and as a chilly wind out of place, that I still obey to speak it to them! How I wish that every word I was called to deliver was "in season", then the hearer rejoices for the rain delivered on their dry field! Regardless of how the reception of it takes place, if the word of the Lord is true, then what He purposes to accomplish will be done whether the messenger is rejected or not. We must be willing to sacrifice our reputations (notice I didn't say good character) just as the one who became of no reputation.

Which brings me to the next concern I have had regarding the prophetic being released in our midst. We are told that we are not to be "too emotional". Now I'm not at all proposing we throw caution to the winds, or to become a spectacle because the Lord certainly does "everything decently and in order". He also has subjected the spirit of the prophet to the prophet. Operating in our flesh for fleshly motives displeases the Lord, no matter if we spoken to by the Lord. With that said, however, the scripture is replete with instances in which the "Spirit of the Lord" anointing an individual has brought about recrimination and mockery by those watching. We must be very careful about despising the anointing of the Lord because of what it will cause us to do, and how it will cause us to act.

I think of David dancing before the Lord as one instance. His wife was ashamed at him for his display of emotion, and I find it interesting that the Word declares that she was barren because of her despising the anointing on David. Many churches are barren for the exact same reason. The priests in the Old Testament were also admonished not to consider the prophets "mad". Something pretty emotional had to have been happening in their midst for them to receive that kind of reputation. I don't know about anyone else, but sometimes the Spirit of the Lord upon me is like a fire that I just can't bear up under! As the scripture says, "Who can stand before the Lord, and not faint?"!

Think a moment about the fact that the scripture says it is the gift of tongues that is a witness to the unbeliever! Now, I don't know about you but I would have picked something else if I were God to impress the unsaved with. Thankfully, God's ways are not our ways. Our intellect will lead us astray each and every time. I have been called to say and do some crazy things by the Spirit of God. If I relied upon my genius, or that of my friends, I would have been disobedient. I'm sure Isaiah was asking for a release from some of the crazy hair brained things (in our human understanding) God told him to do. What we may not realize is that those crazy hair brained things release something in the supernatural that brings about a change in the natural!

Well, I certainly didn't intend to write a book! May we be wise as serpents and gentle as doves as we operate in the gifts.

blessings,

BaBette

Thebechtolds@juno.com
Given to the prophetic Mentoring Group at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propheticmentoring

The Death of Charles Templeton

Terry Miller

THE TRAGIC PASSING OF CHARLES TEMPLETON: HISTORY IN THE MAKING

I was deeply saddened this morning to learn of his death. The headline seemed to scream at me: JOURNALIST, EVANGELIST CHARLES TEMPLETON DIES. CBC Radio later announced, "Charles Templeton, whose career included everything from writing news and plays to preaching the word of God, died Thursday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 85."

Usually, in my "Church History" postings on the Global Net I write about events in "another time and another place". Although the passing of Dr. Templeton on Thursday is really a current event, it is very much HISTORY-IN-THE-MAKING. Please, let me tell you about him. Then you will understand why his passing is so tragic, and why we must learn from it.

"Who in the world was Charles Templeton, anyway?", you might be asking, especially if you are young. You have heard of Billy Graham, right? When Graham was just starting in the revivalism circuit, he was only half of a team. Charles Templeton was Billy's best friend and original preaching partner. They were both only in their twenties when they met in 1945 at a Youth for Christ rally at a jam-packed Chicago Stadium. "Billy Graham and I sensed an immediate affinity when we met," wrote Templeton in 1996, "and it led to a close and continuing friendship that has been sustained - albeit now only occasionally - over fifty years".

One of the press accounts I read today said, "back in the 1940s and '50s (Templeton) was an associate of Billy Graham's and, for a time, the world's most popular and compelling Christian evangelist, even topping Graham", for more than twenty years a major figure in the church in Canada and the United States. Another wrote, Templeton "in particular was known to be every bit as 'strong' and 'foursquare' in the Gospel as Billy Graham". A Canadian, Templeton spoke nightly to stadium crowds "of up to 30,000 people" across the Untied States, Canada and Europe, leading many to salvation in Christ Jesus. (In 1946, the young evangelist was listed among those "best used of God" by the National Association of Evangelicals.) He and Graham were leaders and evangelists together in the YOUTH FOR CHRIST INTERNATIONAL movement, which touched the lives of multitudes of young people for Christ. "Such a powerful evangelist", another writer recorded.

I've read his powerful testimony of how he became a "born-again Christian" at nineteen. "I knelt by my bed" Templeton wrote, "a sense of guilt pervaded my entire mind and body. The only words that would come were, 'Lord, come down. Come down..." "Slowly, a weight began to lift...an ineffable warmth began to suffuse my body...cleansed me...I could have leaped over a wall, and I heard myself whispering softly over and over again, 'Thank you, Lord. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.' ...an indescribable sense of well-being. The EXPERIENCE dramatically changed the direction of my life - a change that radically altered the next twenty-one years of my life. I became a 'born again' Christian."

"How wonderful", you must be saying, and yes it is; it's always wonderful when Jesus comes. So where's the tragedy? "Why is his passing so tragic?", you ask. Perhaps, from a spiritual perspective, there is something for us to learn from "the rest of the story", from Charles Templeton's tragic "fall from grace". His is NOT a story about moral failure or corruption, O no, but quite simply, what the Bible calls the sin of "unbelief". It didn't happen over overnight. The doubts began to surface quite early, however. The questions kept coming. The flesh (intellect) was warring against the spirit. Trying to "understand" things eternal with "common sense" and "intellectual skills" (natural mind), and theological (seminary) "training", approaching Holy Scripture just as one would study the sciences or economics or even engineering. At this point, Templeton writes, "I wanted very much to believe, but questions and doubts began to plague me". Quite simply, inevitably there would no longer be any room left for the revelation of the Spirit. Jesus said, "that which is flesh is flesh, but that which is spirit is spirit". Yes, beloved, it is one thing to "begin in the Spirit", but O so tragic to "end in the flesh", full of unbelief.

"But, Billy (Graham)," Templeton said, "it's simply not possible any longer to believe, for instance, the biblical account of creation." Charles, Graham replied, "when I proclaim it as the Word of God, my preaching has power. When I stand on the platform and say, 'God says,' or 'the Bible says,' the Holy Spirit uses me. There are results." "That's intellectual suicide," said Templeton. As was inevitable, Billy Graham and Charles Templeton drifted apart, taking divergent paths. Graham would be quoted several years later as saying, "I love Chuck to this very day. He's one of the few men I have ever loved in my life. He and I had been so close. But then, all of a sudden, our paths were parting."

By 1957 Charles Templeton, the former evangelist for Christ, decided his faith was based on a lie and he renounced his belief in the resurrection of Jesus. He slid into almost total unbelief and later publicly renounced "my Christian faith" and rejected the beliefs on which Christianity is based, but especially the authority of the Bible from which he'd once so fervently preached the Gospel to thousands each night. He's not, he said, an atheist, arrogantly dismissing the existance of God totally. He's an agnostic, he declares, the difference being, "I cannot know." In other words, there might be a God, but it can never be known for sure. (Tonight, I'm certain, all doubts of that are gone.)

After leaving the ministry, Charles Templeton became a very "successful" journalist. His resume' is "impressive" in a worldly sort of way: Executive Editor of the TORONTO STAR, Editor-in-Chief of MACLEAN'S magazine, Director of News and Public Affairs for the CTV-TV Network, author of twelve books, host of many television programs in Canada and the United States, a daily radio program with Pierre Berton, winner of awards for broadcasting, and the list could go on and on. Suddenly, yesterday, it all ended, following a long battle with alzheimer's, the disease that destroys the mind. Like many, I am deeply saddened and my heart is heavy, O so heavy. (I think, especially, of the many yet living who personally came to know Jesus through the anointed preaching of Charles Templeton and the gift of God that once was operative in him.) From the depth of my Spirit, I cry out, "O Lord, our Lord, may we learn all that you want US to learn from the life and times and struggles of Charles Templeton."

Where is Charles Templeton now? There will be those who are quick, too quick, to brazenly declare "he's surely in hell tonight". I'm glad we're not the judge. I have no idea what might have happened in the heart of Charles Templeton during these last years in his fight against alzheimers. I will have to leave that with our just God, the judge, the reconciler of all. He is now in the hands of our great God. He will know exactly what to do with Charles Templeton.

In one of his very last writings (1996), in reference to his old friend Billy Graham, Templeton wrote "I occasionally watch Billy in his televised campaigns... When he gives the invitation to come forward...I turn off the set and am sometimes overtaken by sadness." "I think Billy is what he has to be. I disagree with him at almost every point in his views on God and Christianity..", wrote Templeton, "But there is no feigning in Billy Graham: he believes what he believes with an invincible innocence. He is the only mass-evangelist I would trust. AND I MISS HIM."

____________________________________________________________________

by Br. Tarrel (Terry) Miller,
a servant in the Body of Christ
Sharon Gospel Broadcasts, Canada
Sharon Schools - N. Battleford, Saskatchewan
sharongospel@hotmail.com

Pastors on Probation

by Ron Wood

The month of June and its entry into July is a turning point chronologically in the year. It marks moving from the first half to the last half of the year. I will explain why it is also a turning point in kairos time, a brief time of opportunity in which to hear and obey the LORD. Any word from God requires our response or else we have despised Godís authority. God has been speaking to His church about the restoration of apostles and prophets. Now, He is specifically addressing the critical issues of apostolic power and apostolic purpose.

"The office of the pastor is on probation." On the eleventh day of June, I awoke with these unusual words running through my mind. It seemed the Lord had been talking to me in my sleep.

By probation, I understood the Lord to be saying that a sentence had been handed down, but mercy from the Judge was delaying its implementation. By office of the pastor, I understood the Lord to be referring to the congregational leader, the typical model we picture today of the local churchís senior pastor who oversees a church whether that gathering is fifty or five hundred.

Congregations have emerged as the de facto model of church life. In fact, they are an adaptation taken from the days of captivity, a synagogue form of former Temple worship. That doesnít make them wrong. But we need to recognize that there is nothing sacrosanct about that particular model. It is just a practical tool to get the job done, an alternative method to extend the kingdom, a traditional strategy to preach the gospel, and an easy way to provide care for the people of God. Other methods also work well in some locations and cultures. Are we results oriented? Or stuck with a method just because that is the way we have always done it?

The congregational model takes many forms and is quite varied. For years, I have complained that the Pentecostals had imported a Baptist model of congregational church life, implementing Robertís Rules of Order to run church meetings as though Godís word needed manís system. But different streams have adopted different rules, and different gift-mixes in the leadership have produced church forms that met the need of that hour. When a leader emerges with grace for government, the church certainly develops along lines that seem more biblical and effective.

No one can build beyond their own calling and vision. You canít exceed your calling, only fall short of it. A carpenter canít be an architect. The problem has been that church structures have been invented that have no basis in the Bible. The foundation of government and structure has rested mostly on pastors, yet Paul said the foundation should be on apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20). This error by default has produced a hybrid of church life that misses the mark.

Why would God say that pastors are on probation? Because Godís leaders have settled for something less than the kingdom imperative. The congregational model measures success based on buildings, budgets, and buses. How many people have attend my church? That vision misses the mark. God is concerned for more than just your congregationĖ He is after your whole city!

Apostles have faith to take cities. They arrive on the scene (or grow up from within our ranks) with a different spiritual DNA. They donít settle for building solitary congregations. That vision is too small. They are Generals in Godís army who are sent to un-seat principalities and liberate a city for Christ. Apostles think in terms of territory, not buildings on a street corner. Apostles see the need for spiritual leaders in a city to network together for the gospelís sake. On the other hand, pastors care for small groups of people who have been saved within that city.

Jonah was sent as a prophet to a city, Nineveh. God was concerned for the fate of that wicked city, that it might repent and be spared judgment. God wants whole cities to be saved. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. He cried because they had not known the hour of their visitation, a unique opportunity characterized by kingdom envoys of prophets and the Chief Apostle being present within her city walls. A city is more than a socio-economic community. It is a also a battlefield where God wants to marshal His troops and destroy enemy forces. Cities were strategic in the Book of Acts for the extension of Godís kingdom. They still are.

The church is meant to minister to the city, not just bring a few escapees to her meetings.

Despite our errors, fortunately, God rarely starts over. Usually, He gives us space to repent, to return and to do the first works, to re-hear what we missed, to begin obeying Him now. God patiently re-speaks Himself into His people until the Word of God takes hold and affects our lives and our community of faith. In our cities, God wants His word to prevail, not just any one church or denomination. Jesus is Lord of our city!

Pastors are being offered an opportunity for the Head of the Church to adjust their thinking and modus operandi. It is time to partner with apostles and prophets, to network with other pastors, to break out of traditional molds so that vibrant church growth and Godís kingdom authority can be manifested among us. It is time to see evil spirits cast out and severe illness cured and whole households saved! When the government of the church gets right, the government of our cities an dour nation will get right. How can this happen? A paradigm shift is needed!

We need an adjustment. Have you ever been to a chiropractor? Jesus is the Great Physician. He is a Kairo-Practor. He can line up the backbone of the Church with an adjustment that makes us snap into alignment with the head! Jesus can fix us so that the pain in the body goes away.

It is time to quit playing in a pastoral pond and start swimming in an apostolic river. Think strategically regarding your city, not just about your own individual success. Think of the resources God has placed in your city, the other churches and leaders, the outside help you can bring in, the facilities you have built, the ministries God has planted among you, the felt needs in your community. Marshal resources to win your city, not just build your church! See the church in the city, not just your congregation.

Sometimes to win big, we need to think small. Donít overlook the power of small groups. A small gathering of pastors praying in earnest for their city can have a giant effect in their region. Gatherings of believers in house fellowships in every neighborhood can powerfully affect the community. Understand, the church has three layers: 1) The Church in the City; 2) The local Congregations; 3) Cells, or little flocks that meet for nurture and prayer. Congregations are in the middle. They need to reach upward, into the city, and downward, into cells. Our structures should serve our purpose. If they donít work, change them.

Apostolic purpose involves whole cities. And now God is releasing apostolic power to accomplish that purpose. Grace-gifts that have been long dormant are now being restored in order to equip Godís people for works of service. The ancient mantles of power that clothed men and women of renown are now being taken out of the closet and draped on the shoulders of modern prayer warriors and preachers. Healing centers are arising again. It is transformation time. The first Pentecost of the new millennium has now occurred.

Godís kairos openings from heaven are worked out in chronos space-time. In the fullness of time, God sends His word and we see the results. We become pregnant with His word and carry it to term. It is Jubilee time. Fifty years have passed since that last great revival. It is time to repent so that what was lost can be restored. We canít do Godís work without Godís power. Power is coming back to the church. But this time, it wonít be marred by independence and arrogance and competition. It will be sanctified by apostolic purpose and guarded by teams of leaders who in honor prefer one another, who love the church more than they love their own ministries.

June 5, 1951, was the beginning of the great stadium campaign led by Tommy Hicks in Argentina. That revival affected the whole city and the nation. Miracles confirmed the word and multiplied thousands were saved. Today, the Argentine revival has produced an on-going renewal that is refreshing the whole Body of Christ. It continues to touch the whole world and affected Toronto and Pensacola and the prayer-movement.

That same era saw a powerful revival of signs and wonders. Awesome evangelists were raised up whose ministries shook nations. Church historians call it the "Latter Rain" revival, a resurgence of the gifts of healing and miracles. Giant tents marched across the country being filled with people being saved and healed. These were the days of William Branham, Rymond T. Richey, Jack Coe, and Oral Roberts. My life was impacted by one of those men, Richard Vinyard. This healing revival was short but powerful. It was a foretaste of things to come.

Apostolic power and purpose are returning with a rush. The prayers of Godís people are mounting up to the altar of heaven, the incense is being mixed in, and fire is being cast on the earth. Armies of angels are entering the harvest. Intercessors wonít be disappointed. Leaders are being promoted even as we watch, promoted into intimacy with Christ, into authority over the devil, into the privilege of winning their city for Godís kingdom.

© 2001 by Ron Wood, Touched by Grace, Inc. Permission is hereby given to duplicate or distribute free of charge without any changes. Ron and his wife, Lana, are preparing to fulfill an assignment to South Africa. They are members of the Reconciliation Team led by Bishop Joseph Garlington.

Ron & Lana Wood
Touched by Grace
www.touchedbygrace.org

Cut Off Hand

Angel Howard

Upon waking this morning, I had the oddest picture come. I saw a right hand rebelling, saying "I don't need you" to the rest of the body. It went on to say things like "I'm not into that" or "you just don't understand me" among a few other similar lines. It conveyed to me both the pride in that type of thinking but the absurdity of it.

I sense the Lord is saying to those who have estranged themselves from THE BODY (the corporate Church) "In cutting yourself off from my body you have deprived my body of it's strength, you also have cut off the blessing to the body by your refusal to connect with the rest. I created you to need each other to function as one. Not separate and independent but interdependent upon each other and all united in me. Come, be restored to your rightful place which I have established for you by MY Hand."

Angel Howard
Fireflaim1@l.com

Ambition, Jealousy and Envy

By Robert I Holmes

We know that it is not healthy to compare ourselves with others. We also know it is not good to be too competitive - although some encouragement and spiring one another on is good.

As we pursue the things of God, we often move from pursuit to ambition, and from ambition to jealousy. In the end jealousy leads to envy and rage. I want to look at these three behaviours.

Ambition

The Australian Oxford English Dictionary defines ambition this way: "An ardent desire to be distinguished, the desire to be the best, to pursue excellence".

Ambition has an upside and a downside.

Elisha is a great example to teach us about responding to others. Elisha seems on the surface to be tenacious, almost to the point of arrogance in asking Elijah for a double portion of his anointing. Yet he receives it! He received because he was a servant, and God did not despise his hunger. Elisha was, however, not able to see any of that power until Elijah died, and after he'd undergone 14 years of humiliating service to Elijah. Elisha's desire seems to be ambition, which in itself is not a bad thing.

Paul taught us to, "Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts" (1 Cor 14:1). That word for strive is also interpreted 'desire'. It is the root for zealousness and literally means "have affection for, covet earnestly, have desire toward, be jealous over". As you can see this is a good kind of ambition.

However the darker side of this trait is a thing the Bible recognises as selfish ambition. In comparing ourselves with others, we usually find people lower or worse than we are, so that we appear exalted in our own estimation. Paul had ambition to preach the good news where it had not been shared before (Rom 15:20). However he noted that others, "proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition" (Phil 1:17). Selfish ambition is next to vain conceit - And is only a heartbeat away from jealousy...

Jealousy

Jealousy: "Rivalry, intolerance of disloyalty, a desire to preserve what is right, being provoked".

This kind of emotion can be rightly harnessed, or wrongly abused. God is jealous for our affections. "You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God" (Exod 20:5). When Jacob married Leah instead of Rachel, and then she bore children the Bible says Rachel was 'sore jealous' (see Gen. 30:1). And rightly so, she was barren, though beautiful and must have felt rejected by Jacob and by God.

However jealousy can easily become jaded, leading to rivalry and resentment. Jesus told the parable of the labourers (Matt ch 20). He hired people in the morning and agreed their wage. He hired people at midday, and late in the afternoon. The land owner paid everyone the same rate at the end of the day. Those who were hired at the start complained, "And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner" (vs 11).

In Numbers 11: 26-30 Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, when Moses is absent. Young Joshua ran screaming to Moses regarding their behaviour. He was sternly told "are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lords' people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!" Jesus reiterated this when John came running to him, reporting of a man driving demons out in His name. Christ replied "do not stop him...for who ever is not against us, is for us" (John 9:49).

Jesus is not distressed by the competition nearly as much as we are!

Envy

Envy - "Full of resentment, admiration mixed with anger, desire to own by taking". Envy is always listed among the sinful acts and evil desires of man (e.g. Mark 7:22).

Miriam spoke with envy against Moses and was struck down with leprosy (Numbers 12:1-12). Saul was deeply jaded against David's' anointing, and ended up possessed by an evil spirit (1 Samuel 18:12). Korah contended against Moses and the role he had among the Israelites. He was killed for basically saying, "We are all equal, and therefore as holy as you are" (Numbers 16:1-5).

James warned, "You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts" (James 4:2).

A quick self test

James gives us a quick self test to see if we are walking on the right side of ambition or not. He says, "If you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy" (James 3:14-17).

shm@storm-harvest.asn.au
http://www.storm-harvest.asn.au

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