Five-Fold Today - Prophetic Assessment - Where are your eyes looking? - An e-mail to God - Cleansing Our Souls - Evangelism: At Ease While the World Burns - Vision for the Church - The Summit - Elijah's Mantle - Turning Wine into Water - Rivers of My Spirit

August 11, 2000

Prophetic Assessment

Cathian Surbrook

One of the problems I see in the prophetic community these days is the desire we have to be accepted and loved by all. We struggle and strive to make our doctrine, or our "appearance", such that others we admire will accept us into their circle, and perhaps lend credence to our work. For instance if I can get XYZ ministry to approve of me by the prophetic words I send out, then they might even endorse me and that will make my name spread far and wide. The inverse of this is if I am XYZ ministry and others are seeking my approval, and by seeking it they invest me with the power to affirm or deny them. How is any of this motivated by the Holy Spirit? Yet we see it happening all of the time. What is the fruit? Is it not striving, gossip, backbiting, and slander or favoritism, blind acceptance, unwise allegiance and loyalty to man rather than to God?

Let's say I have a passion for evangelism, and you have a calling to teach. Should I downplay my gift of evangelism just to fit in with you? Should I downplay your effectiveness in teaching just to make my gift seem better? Or worse still, should I put down your ministry because it is in the minority? Should I discount you to others because you don't evangelize like I do? It sounds ridiculous but that is exactly what is happening in the apostolic/prophetic community. We seem to cling to one extreme or the other. But neither one gives the preeminence to Christ (or we give it to this weird, exclusive amalgamation of Christ + XYZ ministry), and both focus on who we THINK we are. We forget that we are all parts of the same Body but we have diverse functions. So if everyone evangelized, who would teach those new converts? And so on...

Doesn't this attitude of selectiveness boil down to man pleasing? How can we please Christ if we are worried about pleasing men? Yet, when we seek to use our God-given gifts to please men, we end up becoming false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And isn't this the epitome of being lukewarm? If I truly believe something or have a passion for it, I am hot. If I am truly turned off, I am cold. Jesus said to the Laodicean church that He would rather that they were hot or cold. But the lukewarm He would vomit out of His mouth. Why? Lukewarm-ness comes from adulteration of our passions/callings because we are afraid of man. Man pleasing is a great cause of having a lukewarm condition.

All of us who are prophets have given a false word. We all have prophesied out of our flesh, or our own human spirit. It is so easy to do. From the best intention (I won't even explore the worse ones here) we see something that we feel SURE God wants to have happen in a person's life (or in the life of a church) and so we use logical deduction mixed with our own human compassion to put together a scenario that we think is coming from the Holy Spirit. We say it, we cross our fingers and hope for the best. Everyone loves it, even though it may contradict what they KNOW to be the truth. They love us because we have said what they wanted to hear, and suddenly we are in favor with man. It's a warm, fuzzy feeling, and we aren't so quick to want to change it. The more we fall into it, the deeper our sin becomes, and it is especially hard to confess our sins to the ones we have deceived!

It is a seductive trap. Too many fall in but don't find their way out by accident. It takes acknowledgement of this "soothsaying" as SIN, it takes REPENTANCE, it takes submission to God and a desire to have our mouths clamped shut by the Spirit of God until we KNOW we are speaking the truth. Or don't we realize that every idle word will be accounted for?

At this point, Jesus' words to the Laodicean church are very apropos to the apostolic/ prophetic community:

Rev 3:14-22 14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- 18 "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' " (NKJ)

Jesus Christ is standing at the door and knocking. This is not to nonbelievers. This is to CHRISTIANS! This is to RELIGIOUS LEADERS, to people like US! These words of Jesus Christ are to those of us who: * have defined their little niche and are happy with the status quo. * have made some sort of a name for ourselves (emphasis on "for ourselves") and are enjoying the accolades and honor that come with the territory. * are so stiff in our doctrine that there is no room for the LOVE of GOD. * are slipping around on greasy grace so that we are not accountable to anyone in the body. * think that holiness is equated with legalism so we don't have to "go there." * think we have the right to do as we please because we are "gifted" and "above" our brothers because we have a greater revelation. * desire to build a super church as well as to those who love to bring heavy condemnation to their brothers to keep them in bondage to us. * think WE are the HEAD!

I weep inside my own heart because I know that I have been in this trap in a multitude of ways, and only humility, sorrow and repentance will cure our hearts of the desire to be FIRST. Yet, until we come to that place of seeing our true nakedness, we will keep on giving false prophecy and trying to garner the approval of man. When we truly die to our own desires, plans, goals, visions and let it all fall to the ground, THEN we will be content to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord with NO guarantee of a more "distinguished" ministry.

We apostles and prophets must stop applying the corporate financial world's evaluation of success to our "ministries" and move on to the high calling of Jesus Christ. If we are going to do what HE did, we are going to lay down our lives, open our homes, our hearts, our dinner tables, our closets, our libraries and our pocket books (and not expect it to be the other way around) and we are going to tell the TRUTH! We are going to stop hiding our own past, downplaying or over-emphasizing certain points in an effort to gain acceptance, and we are going to get REAL with each other.

There is not a good thing I have ever done that will promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ unless it is Jesus Christ in me (the test will be IF people DO see Jesus in me, and not ME talking about JESUS!). There is not a bad thing I have done that will make my testimony any greater than the blood of Christ. If I lie about the magnitude of my sins, it is as bad as if I lie about the sinless-ness of my past. If I lie, I do not have the Kingdom of God within me, and I must repent of my efforts to either promote myself or promote Jesus with my exaggeration or minimizing.

If I am enjoying prophetic or apostolic "star-status," I will also partake in snubbing others I deem to be less gifted than myself. I will judge according to an unrighteous judgment, and will miss the true visitation of the Holy One when He comes. If I think I have arrived, I will do my best to hold my position as "king of the hill" and I will subvert the work of others that I consider a threat to my position. If someone comes to me to test my words, I will shut them up with some sort of "spiritual word" that will make them unsure of their salvation. I will be unteachable, uncorrectable, unsubmitted and unloving. If someone gives a message that exposes me, I will do everything in my power (sphere of influence) to stop them and shut them up. We've all seen this done. Some of have done it! But whether we admit it or not, it won't stay hidden in the darkness forever. It will come to the light. God is nobody's fool, and we will account for this spiritual kidnapping and murder.

Yet, if we repent, if we understand that NONE of us will arrive without the others, then won't it behoove us to reach out and help our brothers and sisters who are languishing in the ditch (that perhaps we helped put there by our false prophecies?) and begin sharing the true life of Christ with them?

In closing, let me reassure all of us that Christ gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and even though we have really made a lot of mistakes, we are still called.

Eph 4:11-16
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-- Christ--
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (NKJ)

We must humble ourselves, repent, accept correction (by which we know we are children of God) and go on with new hearts and attitudes. There is much work to do, and He has chosen such vessels of clay to convey His Word and to do His works. But let us never forget that we are not only those He called and gifted, but we are also merely part of the Body that HE is the Head of, and we will not get "there" without everyone else.

Let us love, share, work together and do our part so that we as the body will grow up as God has intended, edifying ourselves in love until that day we all come as the Bride to be joined forever with our Bridegroom.

In love and humility I submit these words to you. I have been a victim of these abuses, and, worse yet, guilty of these same things, so I seek to help open eyes so that others may see their sin and repent.

Your sister in Christ Jesus,

Cathian
cathian@surbrook.org

Where are your eyes looking?

Alice Weeks

Psalm 123:1-2
"Unto you I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens."

Where are your eyes looking? Are you lifting your eyes up to heaven? Or are your eyes looking at: your problems , your circumstances, Other people, husband, wife, children, job etc., your wallet, your debts, Your sickness, your faults, someone else's faults, your successes, someone else's success, your failures, someone else's failure, your health, your age/ too young/too old.

Where are your eyes looking ?

Are your eyes looking to the hills (ie.other gods), lottery/bingo, material possessions.?

Are your eyes looking to Him who dwells in the heaven's? Or are your eyes looking at the devil and what he is doing? do not put your eyes on the devil/except to cast him out!

Where are your eyes looking? Are you looking at the works of the flesh? (Gen.3:6 So when the woman saw...that it was pleasant to the eyes... )

Where are your eyes looking? Are they looking at forbidden fruit? That was Eve's first mistake. First she looked, then she took and then she ate and then she gave to Adam and he ate. The Fall began with Eve's eyes looking at the wrong place.

Matt. 6:22-23
The lamp of the body is the eye

Luke 6:41
Are your eyes looking at the speck in your brother's eye but you do not perceive the plank in your own eye?

Mt. 5:26-29
Where are your eyes looking? Are your eyes lusting?

As the eyes of servants look to their masters
As the eyes of a maid looks to her mistress
So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He has mercy on us.

A servant, looks to his master to provide for all his needs, A servant seeks only to please his master , not himself. He is totally dependent upon his master and his master's mercy.

We serve a wonderful master who loves us so much that He sent His only begotten son that we might have eternal life and life more abundantly.

Where are you eyes looking?

ahweeks@webtv.net

An e-mail to God:

Stephen Gray

Our Lord our God most high - Adonai, Elohim -- God most high - there is none - like you!

My spirit is yearning to be with you - A holy passion for you -- Just to rest in your presence - Draw me closer to you - Draw me closer to your heart - You fashion in me this thirst for you - To drink of this water that flows from you - I hunger for the bread of life --

These words on this Craig Smith CD seem to almost cry out for a desperate heart for God. I find refuge, comfort in them.

THE WEIGHT OF THIS BURDEN
Lately I have been sitting in the "school of the Spirit" listening as our Lord teaches me about the nature and state of idolatry in His church. It has not been a pleasant experience, but I have prayed for under- standing and He is giving it. The weight of knowledge of our idolatry is so heavy. I sense God's concern for me because He knows the weight of this burden -- He has carried it for so long. God forgive us! Please let us see how far we have fallen. Please Lord, out of mercy send your gift of repentance. Have mercy!

HUNGER FOR SELF
This morning in my quiet time during worship this song was playing. I was quickly reminded of Christians I have seen at meetings. When I talk to them they seem so preoccupied with their desires and agenda, non-God stuff. Sometimes I find myself listening but drifting away into the secret place where I can feel God's heart and burden. Someone this week called me radical for God, like I was different. I realize God is showing me how idolatry of self manifests in the lives of His people.

We get a hunger for whatever the god is that we have created or focused on -- ourselves, books about God, family, children, ministry, job, whatever we spend our time and give the majority of our attention to. Our hunger for the true God weakens and fades -- and that is almost unbearable to for those whom God has ignited with a passion for Him. With that comes a passion for His people.

THE TEST OF A FREE DAY
God's greatest gift is a desire for Him. Hebrews 11:6 says God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. That word "reward" in the Greek means to render, like an artist renders a sketch. The words on this song, "He fashions a thirst in me" -- what a picture of the blessings of seeking God -- to be in love with the creator. It is the great jewel of life to those who find it. Those who do, become mighty weapons of light.

The Lord has even shown me that our love and passion for God and his word are His barometer for where we are. Do you burn with a passion and desire for Him? Let me ask you: if you had the day off what would you go and do? Go away for the weekend? The beach? The mountains? Sleep, shop, work in the yard? How about pray or spend time in the word or withdraw to a quiet place like our Lord always did? I wonder, would following Jesus also mean we are to withdraw often to be with God as He did?

DO YOU FEEL THE SHORT LEASH?
We are moving from renewal into the final harvest revival. It will be an outpouring of God's glory -- and to walk in the glory we must quickly learn that God will not share our attention with anything or anyone! God is aligning priorities and agendas in all those who will submit. Many of you feel the short leash; He is fashioning a stronger inner witness and new desires. These may seem painful or radical, but they are necessary to walk in His glory.

SURVIVAL IN REVIVAL
When God allowed us to move into this move of His glory in May of 1999 the one thing He kept saying was, "Remember -- enjoy Me". In a world with so much evil we must understand that the call to separate ourselves is a call to "survival in revival". You see, we still don't understand that there is no choice -- we MUST have revival. It is the norm. To live in a world of corruption is to choose death. Lot in Genesis 13 could not live in Sodom, and you can't either. Living in the world will cost you and your family dearly; they will be destroyed (as was Lot's wife). In our Lord's infinite mercy He is fashioning the road to revival in each and every life. It is a thirst for Him; a new passion and desire for Him.

Saints, pray for hunger. Everything comes from a hunger and thirst for God! The pursuit of God -- which is life itself -- travels on the highway of hunger! Repent for a lack of hunger and passion for your God, and then for your family and His church. God forgive us for putting other gods before You and for losing our passion and hunger for You! Send us the gift of hunger and thirst for You, Lord!

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matt. 5:6).

In the school of the Spirit,
Stephen Gray
IXOY3@aol.com

CLEANSING OUR SOULS AND..........PREPARING OUR HEARTS

HOW IS THE CONDITION OF YOUR GROUND ? ( HEART )

Sharolyn Baldwin

I first draw you to me, then you come to me

I fill you with my desires, so that you will then call out to me, to fill you with those desires.

My child, if I show you your flesh, it is so that you you will cry out to Me, to kill the flesh. So you can be filled with more of me.

I know, it does feel a little scary to you but trust me to complete the work I began in you.

I promise you My child, it hurts alot more to hold on to that which is not of Me, than to let Me cut it away.

My child, you can trust Me....For I love you unconditionally.

I love you My children.......My Bride !

Inspired: By The Holy Spirit
Aug 8, 2000
sharolyn Baldwin
sharolyn1@home.com

Evangelism: At Ease While the World Burns

A. W. Tozer

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. --2 Corinthians 5:20

The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis. It will last until sin has been put down and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world.

Until that time the earth remains a disaster area and its inhabitants live in a state of extraordinary emergency....

To me, it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the world as well. They are at ease while the world burns....

I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in the Fall of man! Renewed Day by Day, Jan. 17.

"I'm too often at ease and consumed with my self-interests, Lord. Open my eyes to see the tragedy of friends and acquaintances on their way to a Christless eternity. Do it for Jesus' sake, Amen."

Read "Insight for Leaders" online at:
http://www.litmin.org/tozer.php3

Vision for the Church

Gloria Shepherd

There was a desert-a place full of sand as far as the eye could see. All across there were leather "bags". These sacks were made to hold water, wine, and oil. They were empty appearing, although deep, deep inside the residue of what they had contained was evident and remained to this day. It is true some had indeed dried up, some had become rancid and spoiled and even changed from sweet to bitter. These bags were tough though and although wrinkled, cracked, dried, and worn from the time that had past; and the elements of wind and rain and scorching heat they had been exposed to, they had not been destroyed.

*Note the inside of these sacks was still in tack and holding what was unseen and hidden.

As I walked I discovered on the scene a broken rust covered chain that looked small and flimsy. I guess it had been forgotten and left alone. After I picked it up, I noticed an old ferriswheel and was drawn towards it. As I got closer, I could hear music still playing, almost inviting me to hurry up. I could not understand this since the wheel was in obvious need of repair and the chain was missing. It needed to be painted, and most of the seats were broken. It could not still be useful due to being time worn and weather beaten.

But oh, the song! It was so loud and clear and sweet and inviting. I almost expected someone to appear and offer me a ride!!!!!

Word from the Lord:

There are two groups of people I am approaching at this time. Both of which have developed according to My schedule. First I speak to My faithful ones. Some of you have thought I have taken to long to come and refresh you. You attempted to wash yourselves up, put on clean clothes, and continue on the journey. I have more for you. It is I who has awaited this day. It is time for you to taste that of which has been waiting for you. I come now to pour out My fresh water and wine and oil. The oil flows freely for you My faithful. By My own Hand I remove the tough, leathery covering that has kept you. Although you have been encased in safety, you have been hindered in movement. I release you in order for the oil to have its way within you, for then the wine shall flow freely and in abundance with living waters from your midst. I grant new life, moving and breathing. Do not laugh as Sarah did! I declare new life comes with the oil to make your hearts merry and to give you joy. As your heart continues to beat in step with Mine, a new rhythm shall be felt and heard and made evident. You shall be able to function as intended when first filled with the water and wine and oil of My Spirit. Yes some have with persistence and determination held on to what was first granted, Yet I say this day---let it go. Let it go and be filled a new!

You had longed for the return of My Son, and the stirring of that desire is being fanned by My Breadth once again. Hear My word to you. It is the children, the generation of the righteous whose cries I hear day and night. In your behalf they have turned to Me as you use to do. I come now in response to their pleas. It is your children who shall herald in the return of glory. They look for and hasten the day, each day from across the face of the earth. It is they who have led the way to this out pouring. I am a faithful God, faithful to all generations. The chain you saw so small and weak and broken in appearance is also being lubricated by the oil of My presence. It's name is Unity. Look now, I am being faithful to your fathers. I was faithful to their fathers, and to their fathers fathers. I continue in My faithfulness to you. I now demonstrate My faithfulness to this generation, this chosen generation. As the chain of Unity is being secured in place, look. It is shiny and bright with the oil and polishing of My love. It is made of silver and reflects the light of My redemptive power. The wheel is beginning to turn in time with the sound of worship erupting. As the wheel turns, again it is the same song that Moses and Noah and David heard. It is the sound of joy in my people and victory in their land.

As your children sit their rightful place with Me , your "pouch" (that bag from the desert scene) covers the handle of the wheel and they are launched to arrive where assigned. They shall not spin round and round as you have done. Not just prophesy is being place in them--but true prophets are arising. Not just those who can pray for the sick--but workers of miracles are in your midst. Not just those trained to pray--but ones anointed with the mantle of intercession come before Me. Not just those who set their minds on things above--but true seers into My kingdom now walk the land. This is MY anointing, and it doesn't just break the yoke, it destroys it, never to function again over your lives, or theirs!

So come now all of you and join in the sound of the song rising to the throne of grace and mercy. I free you from the pain of your own judgment, and that of one another. I alone am the judge and My decree of Freedom is being proclaimed loud and clear through the bond of love now functioning in unity once again.

debbcossu@juno.com

THE SUMMIT

MARY CLARK

Today, as I was driving home, I was talking to the Lord about wanting to advance in His will. Then I said to Him that I wanted to reach the "summit." As soon as I said the word, I knew that He had something that He wanted to tell us about this word - "summit." *** I am asking My beloved to come closer into the realm of the living God, leaving behind all that would detract from your advancement. Many of you desire this deep in your hearts. You are asking Me for My assistance. You are telling Me, "Father, all I want to want is YOU!" Beloved I hear you. I hear the cry of anguish coming from your heart. I hear and you may count on Me to rectify those areas that are keeping you from touching the summit. Beloved, beloved, it is My desire to have you come up higher with Me. It is MY desire to have this sweet intimate contact with you. Never doubt it! Never doubt it, beloved. Never doubt it for a moment. For the living God is in love with His bride, and there is nothing He will not do to enable her to advance into maturity. Remember this, beloved, when the trials that beset you become cumbersome. Remember that I love you, and I am enabling you, by the power of My Spirit working within your willing heart, to advance you to that sweet and wonderful place in your most loving Lord. Yes! Beloved, remember that!!!

summit- 1. The highest peak, part, or elevation; top or apex the highest degree or state; acme

devoted1@digitalexp.co

ELIJAH'S MANTLE

SHELLY MATHIS

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5-6

The spirit of Elijah has come! He is here in the land uniting as one power the spiritual fathers with the spiritual sons. I am now moving the spiritual fathers to cast their mantles upon the shoulders of their spiritual sons, even as Elijah cast his mantle upon Elisha. So, to the Elishas of this day, I say that it is time to take up the mantle of Elijah. You are the Sons of Glory that will manifest My power and glory to the whole earth, fulfilling the prophecy of Joel:"...A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations." (Joel 2:2b) Yet, you must follow the divine process to receive the double-portion anointing that will be available to you. I am requiring you to be as Elisha and sacrifice upon the altar of your heart every place of comfort, provision, and self-rule that you have known until now. Count the cost of this high calling and be willing to abandon everything of old. You will then walk in the path of your fathers, serving them in humility while being trained to be a son. You will learn obedience by the things which you suffer. And your faithfulness will reap great rewards, for then you will behold My glory and receive the double-portion anointing.

"...Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, 'Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.' And he said to him, 'Go back again, for what have I done to you?' So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant." I Kings 19:19b-21

http://www.NothinButJesus.com
samathis@uswest.net

Rivers of My Spirit

GLORIA SHEPHERD

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall we not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert " Isaiah 43:19

Rivers of My Spirit Are Flowing Over the Earth

In the dry and thirsty land and desert, I am about to flood your lands with the waters of my spirit, everflowing springs of living water are about to erupt over the earth in so many places now. For I am doing a new thing upon my earth, my children. For you have been thirsting after my living waters in a dry desert land, and I am about to unleash the rivers of my spirit over the earth. There will be no spot of this earth untouched by these waters that are going to begin to flow like the everliving springs of my living waters spring forth like geysers over the earth. There will be many gushers springing up over my earth now and out of those gushers the waters will flow out to the dry and thirsty land about it.

So prepare my children, the rivers of my spirit are going to begin to flow with such a force now to quench the thirst of the land about it. Come and drink of this water, come and drink the waters of my spirit, for they will quench your thirst and you will not thirst again, for they are living waters of my spirit, that are beginning to flow now through the earth. Refresh in the springs that are about to erupt up and out of the earth, and let my waters give you a quenching and a refreshing that you have not had yet.

nitehawkdw@earthlink.net http://www.angelfire.com/ga/GardenofJesus/

Turning Wine into Water

Bryan Hupperts

I'm not advocating drinking with this story but it serves as a powerful illustration. Several friends got together to celebrate and opted to have wine with their dinner. They purchased a 1998 California white wine for their meal and had a laugh when they realized that they didn't even own a cork screw. Securing one from a neighbor, they opened the bottle and clinked glasses preparing to toast each other. A surprised look crossed all faces as they began to drink.

Someone said quietly, "This wine tastes like grape flavored water." The others quickly agreed and put their tumblers down. It put a damper on dinner. After the meal, they called the number of the winery in California, got customer service, explained the situation and read off the identifying serial number on the bottle. It turned out to be true. Somehow, the fermentation process had gone awry and perhaps even reversed itself. The fledging wine had turned back to water.

John chapter 2 tells the famous story of the first miracle of Jesus. At a wedding, he took 6 stone water pots and by his miracle working authority, turned the water into wine. When Jesus did miracles and healing, they were more than mere demonstrations of God's power. They served as illustrations of his character for anyone caring enough to look and understand what the Spirit was saying.

The Bible declares that 6 is the number of man. These water pots represented unredeemed humanity filled with ordinary water. Wine is a type of His Holy Spirit that God gives to those who come to Him by faith. This first miracle was a picture of God's deepest desire to take mere humanity the 6 pots and change our unregenerate spirits by filling us with the New Wine of His Spirit. It is an illustration of the ultimate miracle of God transforming a lost sinner into one of His beloved children by his miraculous touch.

It is the express desire of God to fill his people with New Wine, to be overflowing with the presence of His Spirit so that the world can taste of the Lord in us and see that He is indeed good!

Enter legalism. A legalist is someone who is motivated by a desire to be righteous before God apart from the blood of Jesus. They have more rules and regs than the army and no matter how hard you strive, somehow you never quite measure up to their artificial standards. The truth is they don't measure up either but are very good at masking their actions and hearts. Because they cannot raise themselves up higher before God, they slowly pervert within and begin trying to tear down others to their level all they while adopting a superior tone to those they are secretly trying to destroy.

Legalism is like an infectious sore that when left untreated, spreads toxic gangrene killing off body limbs. When legalism gets into your spirit, instead of relying the free forgiveness God offers through the Cross of Jesus, you start striving to be good enough for God. A level of demonic frustration begins to rise and you start looking for ways to injure your brothers for their own good, of course.

If left unchecked, legalism will kill your joy, sour the sweetness of the Presence of the Lord, and transmute you into a stone slinging Pharisee - all in God's name. The New Wine within becomes like ordinary water again with perhaps a haunting after taste of the good wine it once was.

We're warned in Proverbs 4:23, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Guard your heart! Don't allow legalism to turn your New Wine into ordinary water.

Bryan Hupperts 2000
SheepTrax Ministries, Inc.
www.SheepTrax.com
bryanh@igateway.net

Latter Rain Discussion Archives



The Lord has given us the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

As One Body

  • We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
  • Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain
  • Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory

Help To Prepare A Holy Bride!

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