Tuesday, 18 September 2018

O On the edge of revival

Responding to and moving in the Anointing

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Pre-Revival Night – Dordrecht, The Netherlands - November 25th, 2016

When you’re searching for something for so long, you’re so happy when you’ve found it. The book of Proverbs says that a hope deferred makes the heart sick, but that when the desire comes, it is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12). When the end time revival comes, followed by the latter rain, the greater measures God promised will be here. These greater measures are not here to stay and they are also a ‘once in a lifetime’ happening. Actually it is a ‘once in the history of mankind happening’, for God only promised one season of latter rain. There are several seasons of rain, which we know as revivals. But the Word of God describes this literally as the “known measures”. The latter rain is beyond that and is more or less described as the “extra measure”. That has never happened before, an extra measure on top of the known measure. But when it happens, you’re experiencing something no one has ever experienced before and no one will experience again on this earth. Like I’ve mentioned in the previous studies, this extra measure will not be given to everyone. Only those who go after it, and who ask for it, will receive it (Zach. 10:1). Personally I believe that both the known and the extra measure combined are measures of the Sevenfold Anointing. 

There will be a day that this will happen. Suddenly. Out of the blue. And then what? History has taught us that the Anointing can easily be wasted. This actually happened quite a few times. One great example is the revival that God gave to The Netherlands, 250 years ago. The Dutch people are known for their extreme criticism and slander, especially towards spirituals matters. So when the revival finally started to happen, the government and the Church leaders did everything they could to condemn and to stop this move of God. And they succeeded. The people didn’t know what was going on, and because of their lack of knowledge, wisdom and insight, they just let it happen. Since then, The Netherlands has never received a new revival again. This is just one of many examples. 

What was the problem in these cases? Why did it stop? The keyword here is dependency. When we want God to work in our lives, in our churches, in our cities and in our nation, we need to surrender all of our control to Him. Not a little bit, not most of it, but everything. That doesn’t mean that we have to do it all right in one time. It can be a process. But God is looking at our hearts, in order to see if we really want to surrender all. If we do, He is extremely merciful and patient, even if we make mistakes. But if, in our hearts, we are not willing to surrender control, the Holy Spirit will withdraw, the fire will go out and the Anointing will pass us by. God will give us several chances to respond in the right way, but if we do not respond to any of those chances, at one point it will be gone. God will not fight with us about this. He offers us the choice to voluntarily surrender control and to let Him take over, or to keep control and to do everything without Him. Those are the only options. If He doesn’t have all the control, all you have is religion. Useless religion. It’s powerless, boring and it leads to nowhere. In my life I have seen way too many of those kind of churches. Deep down inside they do not have any desire to give up control. They have their own structures and programs and everything has to bow for that, including the Holy Spirit. Sure, they will never admit this, but actions speak louder than words. If the shoe fits, wear it. The choice is completely ours. At this moment we may long for control, but it is not to late yet to surrender. That is a choice we can make here and now. And it will change the course of your life. But whatever you choose, just keep in mind that only the Holy Spirit will lead you closer to Jesus and that only He has the power to change you from the inside out. Only when you are under His guidance, when He has your control, you are free of the law. Once again, you may say that He has all control, but your actions speak louder. It starts with the attitude of your heart, with the way you are thinking, that which no one else but God can see.

When our precious Jesus was baptized, something remarkable happened. Imagine what it would have been like if the Word would have said “and He saw the Spirit of God running like a lion towards Him.” The lion, being a symbol of power and strength, would have been suitable in the eyes of many. How else does an all-powerful and almighty God represent Himself? But instead of a symbol of power and strength, God choose a dove to represent His Holy Spirit. A fragile and weak animal. 

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:13-17

Instead of presenting Himself as a powerful and frightening animal, He came as a harmless dove. Does that make any sense? Yes. When He comes to judge or to defend, He presents Himself in might and splendor. Then a lion would have been a suitable choice. But when He comes as a God Who wants to be accessible, Who wants to save, heal, deliver and restore, without terrifying people, then a dove is an excellent choice. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of a dove, in order to understand more about the character of this precious Holy Spirit.

The dove is not the fastest bird, but is known for its high speed and they also fly in a straight line. Not only that, but they are also excellent in their orientation. They know where they’re going, they know how to get there and they’re going in a straight line to their goal. Doves are very domestic birds and are known to be extremely loyal to their partner. They don’t mess around, but they truly care for their partner. They stick around. Doves do actually mourn when they lose their partner. After losing a partner, they will be on the lookout for a long time, searching their beloved. They are very emotionally sensitive. 

It is often assumed that a dove has no gall and therefore no bitterness. But it’s not true that a dove has no gall. They don’t have a gallbladder, but the gallbladder doesn’t produce the gall, it just stores the gall. It is the liver that produces gall and doves do have a liver. What image does God want us to understand here? The Holy Spirit has emotions. In fact, it is the most emotional being that is described in the Bible. But emotions are more than just happiness. It includes anger and grief as well. Make no mistake, the Holy Spirit can become angry and grieved. But does He become bitter? No. Why not? The Word of God doesn’t tell us that we are not allowed to become angry or grieved. It says that we should not stay that way for too long, because otherwise bitterness may root in our lives. Now how does that work? I will use the example of water to clarify this to you.

Water is very healthy for everyone. More than that, our human body consists of 70% water. Water is pure and it’s always fresh, as long as it’s moving. The moment it stops moving, and becomes stagnant, it will only stay fresh and good for a little while. Then it becomes bitter. The same applies to emotions as anger and grief. Those are emotions that were created by God, to process negative events in our lives. When expressed in a normal way (without committing sin), it is very healthy and will bring healing and restoration, so that we are able to move on. But when we hold on to it, and the anger or grief becomes stagnant, it will cause a root of bitterness in our hearts. The fruits will come soon after. Bitterness will block all the good things, including the Anointing, so that the bad events only grow bigger in our lives. The bigger they grow, the more pain it will cause. In many cases it will even cause deceases and unexplainable physical complaints. That’s why the Word of God tells us to deal with it before the day is over (Ephesians 4:26-27). That is a choice of our free will. If we need to forgive someone, then we have to choose to forgive them, in order to get rid of the anger or grief, and in order to give bitterness no chance. If the tears are coming, we should not push it back. Let it come and allow it to come out. God created it that way. That’s how the inner pain is processed and how healing can enter. The Word of God doesn’t say that all the emotions will be gone the same day, for it can take some time to heal. It talks about our attitude in regard to these matters. When we choose right, in line with the Word of God, it will start the process of healing at the very same moment. In the beginning it may hurt, but the hurt becomes less and less, as the Anointing and comfort of the Holy Spirit takes over and brings complete restoration. 

So while a dove has a liver that produces gall, it doesn’t have a gallbladder, so it doesn’t store any of the gall, which is bitterness. So every form of bitterness leaves immediately, without any chance of remaining in the body. The image of that is that the Holy Spirit does not hold on to His anger or grief. He is not bitter. He has very strong emotions, but He does know when to let go. We should follow His example and lead. The Anointing is also something that needs to keep moving. You never receive the Anointing for your own pleasure or entertainment. When you are in need of salvation, healing, deliverance or restoration, it will be given to you for those aims. Other than that, it will be given to you in order to share. It needs to flow through you, to those in need. So as long as you give, from the right motivation, the Anointing will stay with you and will flow through you. But when you are just being entertained by it, without doing anything with it, it becomes stagnant. The Anointing will stop, the supply of fresh oil is cut off, and your lamp will become empty, until the Light goes out. We are the tool in His hand, not the other way around. When we want to move in the Anointing, we have to align ourselves with His perfect will. 

Doves are also known to be very aware of danger and they can easily be startled. This image of the Holy Spirit is very important to remember! It is probably one of the most important images to remember. I have been in services where there were moments that the man of God suddenly said something like “the Anointing for … is here, come forward quickly”. They then started to act with a lot of care, as if they could scare away that Anointing. Honestly, at the time it seemed a bit stupid, because I didn’t understand yet. Why would a loving God limit His Anointing only to those who move fast enough? That was my question back then. But this is not about how fast you move forward, it is about how fast you decide. Because if the condition of the heart is right, you don’t have to think twice before you decide. If the heart is right you want everything God has in store for you, regardless of what it may cost you. When you surrendered your life to Jesus, you became His. He bought you and paid for you with His precious blood. Not partially, but in full. That means that, from the moment you’ve decided to accept Him as your Master and King, you became His property. It also means that you are no longer alive.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
Galatians 2:20-21

If we live the life of Christ, then who should decide what to do and when to do it? You? Do dead people still decide things? Of course not. If we are His, then it is His right to decide what happens with your life and when it happens. When the Spirit of God wants to move now, He doesn’t mean in an hour, not even in five minutes. When He wants to do something now, He means now. Any form of delay is rebellion. We are the tool in His hand, so we need to be available at any moment. That applies to the person who is ministering and to the people who are being ministered to. Now means now. If we do not act at the moment the Holy Spirit wants to move, we waste the moment and the Anointing. When the Spirit wants to move, that’s when you stay even closer to Him, giving Him all of your attention, with great care and precision. 

Someone once said that you can compare all of this with the attitude you would have when a dove would land on your shoulder and you don’t want it to fly away. How would you act then? You adjust the way you speak, the way you move around and the way you act. You don’t jump around, you don’t shout, you don’t make loud noises or start doing crazy things, you pay attention to that dove. This is the exact same way we should act when the Spirit wants to move and the Anointing is increasing. You treat the Holy Spirit with great care, reverence and respect. He’s not there for your entertainment, not to put on a show. He’s there to fulfill the perfect will of God. That is a huge difference. There are moments to shout out and to praise God, but those are not the moments I’m talking about. There are also moments to become silent. To realize Who it is who is moving around, to worship at His feet and to give Him all the honor and glory, with great respect, care, precision and reverence. Stand in awe before Him, realize that He is God. Those are the moments where you know that you know that it is no longer about you and your will, but about Him and His will. All your desires and needs become secondary. There can only be one number one. If that’s not God, it’s something else. Everything that has the first place in your life is your god. If that is your desire or need, then that is your god. God is not indifferent to your desires and needs, and He will actually meet every desire and need that is in line with His Word, but He accepts nothing less than the first place in our lives. Only then He will move in and through our lives.

What happens when we do not pay attention or listen to what the Holy Spirit wants to do? Then you feel His presence and the Anointing move away. For the more mature ministers, that is a disaster. When you have learned to move in the Anointing, you feel extremely helpless when He moves away. Suddenly you stand there on your own strength, without any help from above. No person is perfect, and we all make mistakes now and then, so this happens to many people, including mature ministers. Does it mean that the Holy Spirit leaves? No. He withdraws for the moment, but He stays close. Until you become aware of His absence, until you become aware that nothing of value is happening, for your strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight are insufficient. A mature Christian will realize that he/she made a mistake. When he/she repents, while submitting to His will again, the Spirit and the Anointing will return. If not, He will stay at a distance until we do. He will not share the first place with anyone. If you take over, He lets you do it and simply withdraws. Today, we have more than enough of those kind of churches. In fact, it is really easy to step up and to take the first place, because we often think we know it all, without realizing it. It can even take a while before we become aware of His absence. But is always pays to start with researching ourselves, with testing ourselves, in order to see if something is wrong. We need Him. Every moment without Him is a moment that is wasted. It’s just dead religion. The Spirit makes everything alive. He is our connection to heaven, the One Who reveals everything we need to know. So at the end of this study, I will leave you alone with just one question. Are you available to Him?

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