Friday, 20 April 2018

W Worship

How worship can change a nation (Part 7)

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When God created the heavens, the earth and everything on it, he also created us, mankind. When He created Adam and Eve, His aim was that mankind would rule over the earth, out of their relationship with Him. That last part is very important to remember, because we were never meant to rule based upon our own knowledge and insights. Let’s start with God’s original plan for mankind.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 1:27-28

From the very beginning, this was the aim of God. That we would have dominion over the earth. We know that the course history had an unfortunate change, because of sin. That changed a lot of things. But we also know that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, came to this earth to change all that. Not only did He gave us eternal life, He restored the original plan of God, that we may have dominion again. 

For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17

My Dutch Bible says “eternal life”, but that isn’t what it says. It actually means that we will reign in this life, through Jesus Christ. Again, it is having dominion out of our relationship with Jesus. The keys here are the relationship we have with Jesus, the love we have for one another and the unity among us. But there’s more than that. Besides our visible world, there is also an invisible spiritual world among us, with demons, fallen angels and satan himself. Of course God’s angels are also present, but in this case I want to point out something else. The evil forces of the enemy have the assignment (from satan) to influence the lives of people. Once they give in to sin, that doesn’t give them immediate rights, but once people start to continue to give in, that creates legal ground for the enemy to demonize people. Jesus was fully aware of this situation and He knew that we needed more than just dominion over the earth. In order to reign over the earth, we need to be able to reign over the spiritual world as well. Therefore He gave us power over the enemy in the spiritual world.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:19

Not only did Jesus restore our dominion over the earth, He also gave us power over the spiritual powers in the heavenly places. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul emphasized that our battle is not of this earth. 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12

So we do have the authority to reign over the earth and to reign over the enemy. Yet I hear a lot of people say that it is end time and that we can do nothing against all the evil forces that are flooding over the earth. I hear people say that Jesus said that there would be very little faith on the earth when He returns. Most Christians I know more or less say that we have no other option then to submit to these circumstances. I do not agree with these statements. The only thing that is true of all of this is that this is end time and that Jesus is coming soon. Very soon that is. I believe we are the generation that will witness that event. However, what I do not believe is that we should in any way submit to circumstances that were foresaid. It is true, things need to happen and Jesus said they would happen. But He didn’t say that we could use that as an excuse to stand back and to do nothing. He also didn’t say that in the end time we would be powerless. There is one other VERY important thing I want and need to point out. That is the fact that many Christians say that Jesus will not find faith on the earth when He comes. It is not what Jesus said. 

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:6-8

Read it carefully. That is not a statement, no matter how you look at it. It is a question. A question that is already being answered by the majority of the Christians of today, who are proclaiming that He will not find faith on the earth. That is a pretty strong proclamation to make. But what is our answer? What is your answer? When Jesus asks you if He will find faith on the earth, what will your answer be? I know what my answer is. If it is up to me, He shall find faith. We know that faith comes by hearing, so when we speak faith it multiplies. But that only happens when we act and speak in faith. It is what we should do, so in fact that question Jesus asked should be easy to answer for us. 

Then we have the next thing, which is our authority in the end time. Many believe that there is nothing we can do against the evil that is now flooding the earth. Really?! Tell me, what was the moment when Jesus revoked His authority from us? When was the moment when He said that it is enough and that we should stand back? There never was such a moment. That moment will come soon, but is not yet. And while we still have the chance, we should use our God given authority when and where we can. The moment when all authority will be handed over can be found in this verse.

It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Revelation 13:7

That moment is yet to come and until that moment comes to pass, nothing changes. So for those who still doubt, His authority is still with you in full measure. Use it! Now let’s take a look on how we can use it, which brings us back to the topic on how worship can change a nation. As some of you may know, it has been my long desire to see and experience a brand new world wide outpouring of the Holy Spirit and of His glory. So I asked God to show me what needs to be done from our side. In fact I’ve asked that for a long time. Not only did I wanted to know it, I also wanted to be able to understand it. And then, totally unexpected, I received a vision from the Lord. This is what I saw.

I saw a picture of The Netherlands, with myself in the middle of it. Above me there were thick clouds, which were tough and impossible to break through. It were not just normal clouds, but some sort of spiritual barrier and it was covering the whole nation. I saw myself trying to break through, shouting at it, but nothing happened. Then I saw myself becoming very disappointed, because of all the failed attempts. I was just standing there, with my head down, like I gave up. The clouds did not move an inch. It was exactly how I felt at that time, so it was a familiar feeling. But then, suddenly, I saw myself lifting up my head, facing the clouds, and I heard myself firmly saying: “Jesus Christ reigns!”. At that moment a very small gap appeared in the clouds and a small beam of light shined on me. Then I heard myself say it again: ”Jesus Christ reigns!”.  And I said it again and again. Every time I said it, the gap became bigger and bigger, and more light started to shine through it, until I was able to see the clear blue skies above it. While I saw myself standing there, amazed and looking at the gap, I saw an angel ascending from behind me, all the way up to the gap, then going through the gap, higher and higher. In his hands he had some sort of scroll. Somehow I knew those were my prayers. Suddenly I was no longer looking at myself through the eyes of someone else, but through my own eyes again, and I was lifted up, just high enough to be able to look above the clouds. Close to me I saw an angel blowing at a shofar. All over the place I saw angels flying over. Above that all I saw the angel with the scroll going further and further away from this scene, towards the heavens. Then the vision ended. 

While I’m writing this I hear the Holy Spirit say that the layer of clouds, the spiritual barrier from the vision, is caused because of a lack of knowledge. Because of that lack of knowledge, we also lack in using our God given authority. Sure some of us use God’s authority, but most of us don’t realize that there is so much more authority to be used. When we don’t use our authority to reign over the nation, someone else will use it for us. How can we know if the Church uses her authority? Because everything can be tested according to the fruits that are visible in the nation. 

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. “The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. And it shall be: like people, like priest.
Hosea 4:6-9

The priest equals the people. The Church equals the nation. The spiritual and the natural world run parallel to one another. Every situation has a cause in the spiritual realm. The root is always spiritual. When we have our victory in the spiritual realm, the fruits become visible in the natural world. The Word of God says how we can overcome: By the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony and by not loving our lives unto death. But when we don’t use our authority, there is a huge army of the enemy who will abuse our authority for us. Those fruits also become visible in the natural world. So the only thing we need to do is to look at what happens in the nation. Everything that happens in the nation, the good and the bad, is the direct result of what we – as the Church – do or don’t do. When I look at the situation in The Netherlands, I can only conclude that the Church is slumbering and sleeping, while this nation is taken over by all sorts of spiritual forces. This was also the case in the time of Amos. Let me add that I understand that many people never have learned about how to use this sort of authority or how they can impact the nation. My reason for writing this is to help you understand what can be done and how it can be done. 

Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, who cause the seat of violence to come near; Who lie on beds of ivory, stretch out on your couches, eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall; Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, and invent for yourselves musical  instruments like David; Who drink wine from bowls, and anoint yourselves with the best ointments, but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
Amos 6:3-6

While the northern kingdom of Israel was destructed, the people of Israel didn’t really care. They were too busy living their good lives, eating, drinking and singing happy songs. All along the northern kingdom, Joseph, was destroyed. Now that is what we call a lack of (taking) authority. Not only that, they really didn’t care. A lot of the same is going on in the Churches of these days. While the nation is going downhill and the lives of people are being destroyed, the Church is having a good time and are singing their happy songs. And even that I can partially understand.

The Bible teaches us that there is nothing good that dwells in our own flesh. Our own flesh is completely self-centered. It is a desire that comes from inside of us to put ourselves on the first place, above the needs of others. Everyone has that problem. However, Jesus has set the ultimate example of selflessness and He expects us to follow the path He has set before us. We cannot change ourselves, but we can tell Him we are willing to change and we can ask Him to change our hearts and to give us His heart instead. When we have His heart for our nation, then we will start to see the needs of people and we shall feel the need and urge to do something about it. That has to come from the inside, not because someone tells you that you should feel that way. 

In the vision I saw it became clear how much power the name of Jesus has. It also became clear that when we proclaim His Lordship over us, there is no barrier or hindrance that is able to stop us. The more we proclaim His Lordship of the nation, the less of the coverage remains, even to the point where we can constantly live under an open heaven. Imagine the power when the whole Church would take this serious and would start to proclaim – from a sincere heart – His Lordship over the nation! And yes, that is a form of worship! Our worship is not just a song, it is a lifestyle. When we stand in unity, acknowledging and proclaiming His Lordship over ourselves, our families, our cities and our nation, we cannot be stopped! Fruits will become visible. 

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

“My people”, that means unity. “My name” talks about the authority we have. If we stand in unity, and are willing to submit and humble ourselves for Him, and to seek His face instead of His hand, and if we turn away from everything the world has to offer, to everything God has to offer, then He will hear us, forgive us and heal our land. The proclamation “Jesus reigns” is an acknowledgment that not you, but He has the right to reign in your life and it already is an act of submission. The safest place we can be at is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That is the reason why Jesus added “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. It is way more than just a prayer, it is an awesome powerful proclamation and an establishment of His authority. 

Jesus is in the business of healing, delivering and restoring. That is His will. He wants to restore us, our families, our cities and our nation. But we are His hands and feet. The initiative already came from Him. Now it is our task to respond in an appropriate way. That always starts with a sincere and humble heart that is willing to submit to everything God wants to do. Without that it’s useless to proceed. If you can’t honestly say your heart has that condition, then first work on that and ask Jesus to help you, to change your heart. He will do it if you really want it. Then the next steps. As we all know, Jesus became our sacrifice. Because of Him, we no longer have to bring burnt offerings and because of Him we no longer need the temple, because we are His temple now. God lives inside of us, through the Holy Spirit. 

In the last centuries a lot has changed in the Churches, and it were not the good kind of changes. As we can read in the Bible, the first Churches were far from perfect, but they had spiritual power! They took care of the orphans, widows, the poor and everyone else who was in need and was considered a burden for society. They testified about Jesus, everywhere they could. For every Christian that was murdered, ten people surrendered their lives to Jesus. There was no stopping of the Church in these days. If that was considered to be an imperfect Church, then I seriously wonder what we should call the Church of today. It is a ruined temple, mainly because of a lack of knowledge. Mainly because of a lack of teachings to challenge brothers and sisters to grow to spiritual maturity. Mainly because most were not taught about dying to self. Thank God, He restored a lot of those teachings so we are able to stand up out of the ashes. What has all of this to do with worship? A lot! Restoration starts with worship. That was the case in the ancient days, and it still is today.

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.
Ezra 3:10-11

Like I’ve mentioned, times are changed. We are His temple now. In the old days, before the Israelites did anything, they first raised an altar and would bring offerings. This was a high place and everything else was built around it. This can be found in the first verses of Ezra 3. Basically nothing changed, just the way we do it. What we now offer is our life, our heart. Then we proclaim His Lordship over our lives, whether we do that by worship or by spoken words, it’s just as powerful. By doing that we acknowledge and establish His Lordship in our life, which is the foundation. From that moment we start building on the rock of our salvation. That will become a building that will remain standing, no matter what storms will come to pass. 

In the same way it works for our families, our cities and our nation. Everything that is wrong can be made right. Everything that is broken can be restored. It works exactly the same. We can confess the sins of our families, cities and nation before the thrown of God. We can take the place of our families, cities and nation before God. We can confess on behalf of them. That is part of the authority you have received. By doing that, justice can be restored. The next thing would be judgment. But because you belong to Christ, His judgment will be grace instead of condemnation, because of your plead. When we stand in the gap on behalf of our families, cities and nation, every form of God’s judgment can be avoided and turned into grace. Why? God is just, so His justice will prevail at all times. There will always be judgment. However, the verdict can change. When sins are confessed, it changes the verdict from condemnation to grace. We can do that in our lives, but also by standing in the gap on behalf of others. When that happens, justice has been restored. So when it comes to ourselves, our families, our cities or our nation, we only have two options. The first option is that we do nothing. In that case God’s judgment will come over our lives, with all its consequences. The second option is that we confess, whether it is for ourselves or on behalf of others, and we will receive grace. You will find that God is extremely faithful.

When justice has been restored, through confession, the foundation can be rebuild. That needs to be done in the spirit and can be done by worship in spirit and in truth, by acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus Christ over your life, your families lives, your cities and your nation. That creates that open heaven that I saw in the vision I shared. That is a process of endurance. But from what I see, God is stirring more and more people to stand in the gap, which causes all these proclamations to become extremely powerful. Once that foundation is laid, the shout of His people will follow, just like described in Ezra. It is the shout that proclaims that the King has entered the camp.

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