Tanks?

28 Aug 2013

The other night (Aug 25) God woke me up from sleep with a mini-vision. I saw a group of identical steel-colored vehicles, sort of tank-shaped but small. Gathered in a disordered bunch, some sat nose to nose, some side by side, some sideways to others.

“What is this army?” The Lord asked me.

Army? I said. These little cars? Army?

They are indeed my army, he said. The blood-washed army of the Lamb.

He showed me that each vehicle contained one soldier only. Clothed in steel, the Lord said. Armed with steel, double-edged swords. Fueled with my fire.

That was the end of the conversation, for then. I went right back to sleep, but the next morning I remembered and wrote it down.

Today I asked the Lord for more of an explanation. Who are these people, in these little tanks?

This is my army, my people who are filled with my fire, he said. When the devil sees one of those cars, he doesn’t see an ordinary human being – he sees the fire of God.

He sees the Creator of the Universe. He sees Jesus. He sees the shed blood of the Lamb of God. He sees the Presence of God, the glory of God! And he flees.

My fire is a Cleaner, he said. A Disinfectant. It removes germs, bacteria, viruses. It’s an Eradicator. It removes all stains of sin.

The fire of God is a Destroyer of evil and its works. It destroys sin and its contamination. Destroys corruption and its effects.

The fire of God is My Presence, the creative life of God. Where there is death, I create more life.  Heal every disease. Every disability. Deliver from every bondage. Break every stronghold.

As more people are filled with the fire of God, the enemy has less territory, he said. Fewer places to flee. He won’t always go without a fight, that’s why the soldiers need armor and swords. But flee he must, and flee he will.

That was the end of the conversation, but what a wonderful explanation! Today I am more excited than ever. God is growing his army, filling them with the fire of the Holy Spirit, filling them with his Presence. His glory!

And he is also increasing His presence in those who have been filled with that fire, using them as powerful warriors to defeat the enemy and spread his glory around the globe.

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Be Ye Holy

BurningBush(Previous title Bush. Burning. Holy?)

When Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock up in the mountains, he saw an angel in the middle of a bush on fire (Exodus 3:1-6). Well, that was certainly unusual.

Curious, he went a bit closer to check it out, and God called him by name! That was even more unusual. Then God said, Take off your shoes, the place you’re standing is holy ground.

Wow. The dirt was holy. I could understand the bush being holy, but even the dirt? God himself had picked that spot for an encounter with Moses. Because God was there, the place was separated for his use.

It’s as though God had drawn a line around that bush, claimed it for his own purpose, set it on fire and then settled first an angel, then his own presence into the middle of the bush.

That story is fascinating and so is the rest of Moses’ life, but this is about being holy. Holiness. What is it, exactly?

I Peter 1:15-16, “But, as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of life, Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.” Peter was quoting Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2 and 20:7, God’s instructions to the children of Israel. God’s people. Peter was making it clear to Christians that this same instruction applies to us. We are also God’s people. We must be holy.

“Holier than thou.” That’s about all I could remember from my childhood about holy, or holiness. That and the old hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy.

What did it mean? In my child’s thinking it meant Long-faced. Somber. Serious. Gloomy. No smile. No laughter. No joy. No happiness. No colorful clothes. No fun. Nothing attractive, that’s for sure. But an actual definition? I had no idea and really didn’t care. These days, I have a different idea.

The English word for holiness has an interesting origin. Wholeness. One hundred percent one thing. Not contaminated with anything else. Not mixed with anything else. Wholly one thing. Like an element, not a compound. Sodium. Gold. Hydrogen. Not Salt. Not Brass. Not Air. Those are compounds.

Also, whole means nothing is missing. There’s not a bite missing, not even a tiny chunk missing. One hundred percent complete.

In the Bible, the original words are interesting too. Most places in the Old and New Testaments it means set apart, separated and kept for one particular use. Sacred. It is used to describe God, people, places and things. Sometimes it is translated sanctified. The sabbath is to be kept holy. The priests were to keep themselves holy. All the articles used in the sacrifices and worship were to be holy.

In my kitchen I have a manual can opener. I use it for one particular thing, opening cans. Now, I suppose since it’s clunky and fairly substantial, I could use it as a blunt object. You know, hit a burglar over the head with it. That’s a remote possibility. Still, my can opener is holy, sanctified, going by the original Bible definition.

But there’s another word also translated holy. That word means pure. Clean. Free from defilement. Uncontaminated. Uncorrupted. Wholly one thing. This is the word used to describe the holy place. The Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and in the Temple. The Holy One of Israel – Jesus. Applied to people, it means morally upright. Having integrity. Honest.

This word corresponds more to the old English definition. One hundred percent one thing. What thing? I think it means the righteousness of God. Set apart from everything else and everyone else, separated for one particular use by God and for God. Pure, and purely his for whatever purpose he decides.

There’s one problem with that second definition. How can a person be holy? In the Old Testament, it took a lot of work. And a lot of blood. Blood of sacrificed animals, smeared on the priests’ clothing and on their bodies, blood dabbed on the altar, blood poured on the ground, blood everywhere. Blood mixed with anointing oil. All day, every day, day after day — blood everywhere, and never cleaned up.

Really, that blood was the only thing that kept the priests from being burned to a crisp when they approached the presence of God. It recalled the night of the dead first-born children of Egypt. It was a perpetual memorial to the deliverance and mercy of God.

There’s only one way a person today can be holy, and that’s to have the Holy One of Israel settled into your life. Jesus, the resurrected Lamb of God is one hundred percent pure God. Jesus, the one who made the ultimate sacrifice of his own blood. Jesus, who anoints us with the Holy Spirit, the fire of God in the midst of us. In us, and on us.

Since he has paid for us, he has a right to separate us from everything else to his own use, his purposes, his agenda, his itinerary. To make us wholly his.

Love – what’s that?

Faith that is real is described in James 2:15-20: If you see someone naked and hungry and say, Be warmed and filled, but you don’t clothe or feed them – is that faith? No. Clothe them. Feed them. Demonstrate real faith.

Love that is real can be described, too. Jesus did it very well. He described God’s love by demonstrating compassion.

Jesus had compassion on the crowd, so he appointed the disciples to go out and do the same things he had been doing. (Matthew 9:36-10:1) What had he been doing?

He had compassion on the multitude, so he healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14)

He had compassion on two blind men, so he restored their sight. (Matthew 20:34)

He had compassion on the leper, so he cleansed him. (Mark 1:41)

He had compassion on the demon-possessed man in the tombs, so he cast out the demons. (Mark 5:19)

He had compassion on the demon-possessed boy, so he cast out the demon. (Mark 9:22)

He had compassion on the mother of the dead boy, so he raised him from the dead. (Luke 7:13)

Compassion is defined as “Mercy; pity; to suffer or feel what others are feeling.” When Jesus had compassion, he did something about it.

He preached the gospel – that the kingdom of God was at hand (see Matthew 12:28) – then he healed the sick, cast out demons, cleansed the lepers, and raised the dead. He trained the disciples to do the same things and they did.

Love is defined as “To be full of good will and exhibit the same; to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of. Of the benevolence which God, in providing salvation for men, has exhibited by sending his Son to them and giving him up to death.” (Greek agapao, Strong’s Concordance)

This kind of love originates in God himself. We only have it if we have Him living in us. Once we do, then we can obey Him. Jesus said If you love me, keep my commandments (instructions, precepts); keep my words (logos). (John 14:21-23) What commandments? What words?

Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5 and Matthew 28:19-20 are good places to start: get the power to do it, then go make disciples and teach them to do what I do, what I have showed you, trained you and told you to do.

Note: First, get the power to do it. Then, go do it. Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then preach the gospel. Heal the sick. Cast out demons. Cleanse the lepers. Raise the dead.

The first disciples obeyed Jesus. They received the promise of God, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They preached and demonstrated God’s love the way Jesus did it. Thousands were born again and the work of making new disciples began, teaching them to do those same things. (Mark 16:20, Acts 5:12-16)

Disciples demonstrate God’s love by obeying him and demonstrating his compassion to the world. Receive God’s power. Preach the gospel. Heal the sick. Cast out demons. Cleanse the lepers. Raise the dead.

Why are so few who call themselves disciples actually doing it?

Kindling

fireplaceThe other day I asked the Lord what he was doing across America in all these revivals – I had watched several services from different places that had been broadcast live or recorded on video.

These services are different in many ways but there is one distinctive similarity. They are all ministering the “fire of God” to people. This is not just the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this is the “and with fire” that John the Baptist spoke of.

The Lord answered, quite matter of factly.

“I’m making kindling.”

I instantly visualized a fireplace with a fire being built. Kindling is needed to get a good fire started. Here in my area we used to use what is called fat lighterd – pine wood full of resin, gathered and saved especially to start fires.

This wood is split into small lengths because it only takes a small amount. It burns fast and hot. Kindling will get the other wood hot enough to catch on fire and start burning also.

On top of the kindling will be larger lengths, small logs perhaps, that have been “seasoned.” That is, dried out over a period of months. This wood burns slow and long, making a good steady source of heat.

Going on with the conversation, I asked the Lord to explain.

He is using a number of evangelists today to spread the fire of God across the United States, indeed across the world.

Most of those the fire of God falls on become the kindling of God, because they burn so hot they will start the long-lasting fires that he desires for our nation and world.

Fires that will burn up the chaff, the dross, everything that is not God in our lives. Fires that burn out the sin. The strongholds. Fires that purify. That will mark the tangible, visible kingdom of God on earth.

The larger logs are those faithful people of God who have been praying for so long for God to move again in America. They have lain in the cold fireplace for a long time, but soon they will begin to burn again, and burn steady and long.

So, Lord, I asked, what starts the kindling to burning?

Firebrands, he said. Firebrands are like a “spark” that starts the fire. These are the longest burning of them all, torches that are so fuel-soaked they can carry fire from place to place without it going out.

Evangelists are firebrands. Some of those the fire of God falls on today will become evangelists, not just kindling but firebrands.

I was processing all that when the Lord went on to say, “Fire falls on the altar.”

Suddenly I saw the altar of God in the Tabernacle of Moses. Fire fell on the altar, but there had to be a sacrifice on the altar for the fire to fall on. That fire consumed the sacrifice. No flesh remained. No sin.

So it wasn’t a fireplace I had been seeing in my mind, I realized. It was the altar of God.