New Wine for New Wineskins July 2021

By , July 1, 2021 8:57 pm

Give Him Five (Part 4)

This is the final part of this series and so I would like to begin by referring again to the prophetic word I received last year in regard to the response of government to the coronavirus outbreak, and the restrictions that were placed upon the gathering of the church as a result.

The word was:

This ain’t no lockdown, this is a siege that began with a backdown and it will end in a shakedown if there is no showdown.

A siege is  defined as: a military operation in which enemy forces surround a city, town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside.

Hebrews 10: 23 – 25 (AMP)

23 Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy

and faithful [to His word]; 24 and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, 25 not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.

I believe it is our responsibility to host the Lord’s presence in his church in accordance with his directions as we come together to give him thanks and release our praise to him, and to receive instruction and direction from him through the five-fold ministry. I also believe – and it has been my consistent experience – that something unique and entirely supernatural takes place when we gather together for worship and instruction, something that I believe can never be fully replicated in any other format.

Matthew 18: 19 – 20

19 Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

Give him five. Give him a high five and say I don’t go low, I go high.

I mentioned last time the ruling of Lord Braid in the Court of Session where he delivered a historic judgment in response to an action brought by a group of Scottish church leaders in regard to the closing of churches during the coronavirus outbreak.

In his judgement he stated that “it was not for the Scottish government to “dictate to the petitioners, that, henceforth, or even for the duration of the pandemic, worship is to be conducted on-line. That might be an alternative to worship but it is not worship. At very best for the respondents, in modern parlance, it is worship-lite.”

He also ruled that “the decision by the Scottish government to close churches in Scotland as a result of the coronavirus outbreak was unlawful, unconstitutional, and disproportionate“.

This is very significant and fits with the word the Holy Spirit gave me regarding a backdown in the sense that as churches we would actually have been within our legal rights to continue meeting together during the lockdown periods. However, this also begs the question of why did the churches back down so readily?

To answer this question I need to refer back to the last meeting of our church prior to the original lockdown in March 2020 when I shared something that I believed the Lord showed me during our worship time about the source and purpose of this whole coronavirus business. I detailed this word in a short video message which I recorded on the 8th of April 2020 titled “Exit Strategy Exhortation” and which I made available at that time to anyone who wanted to hear it.

The substance of what I believe the Holy Spirit showed me was that although there were obviously much wider implications in the world at large, in the context of the church the coronavirus was being employed as a strategy of the enemy to come against the church and to silence us by feeding on the soulish desire that much of the modern church seems to have to be accepted and to receive the approval and endorsement of the world.

This was based upon Paul and his apostolic team’s visit to Philippi (Acts 16) where they met with Lydia and where a fledgling church was established in her home. As they made their way to prayer every day a young woman, who it later turned out was possessed by a spirit of divination, would follow them and cry out, “These are the servants of the Most High God who proclaim to us the way of salvation“. At first this seemed like free advertising but after a few days Paul, greatly annoyed, distressed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her“.

A spirit of divination is a python spirit and a python is a constrictor in that it kills its prey by wrapping itself around its victim and asphyxiating them by literally squeezing the life out of them. It took a few days but Paul eventually discerned that what sounded like an endorsement was actually wearing him out. In our contemporary way of saying things I guess you could say that his response contradicted the popular narrative – with similar results to what tends to happen these days as Paul and Silas experienced the full force of cancel culture.

But Paul and Silas weren’t going to allow the reaction to end in a shakedown. They determined to have a showdown as at midnight they continued to pray and sing in the middle of their own personal lockdown. And the prisoners were listening to them, until the heavenly showdown broke everyone loose and restored freedom to those who had been bound as a demonic stronghold over a city was broken.

In the natural the symptoms of advanced coronavirus are said to cause serious breathing difficulties and in extreme cases can result in a horrible death similar to suffocation. In the spiritual realm the measures introduced to supposedly limit the spread of the virus – measures that were all in direct contravention to the scriptural mandate given to the church to be a gathering of worshippers to sing praise and to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom – had the effect of silencing the church and squeezing the life out of her in that the life of the church manifests in corporate gatherings in a way that, as I have said previously, can never be fully replicated in any other format.

I don’t know about anyone else but my spirit has been greatly annoyed during this period and no amount of online worship lite has soothed that annoyance.

Again in the natural, it has been proven by reputable and highly qualified doctors that there are very simple, inexpensive, and highly effective means of treating coronavirus, but sadly, these people’s voices have continually been silenced and their characters and careers dragged through the mud and canceled.

In the spiritual realm the church has the most simple and effective treatment of all. In fact we have the ultimate vaccine against all disease, but attempts have been made – and I believe this has been the enemy’s ultimate goal – to silence the church in its proclamation of the pure, uncompromised, and unadulterated message of the Cross and all that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished there on behalf of all people everywhere.

Let me repeat the entry point that I believe the Holy Spirit showed me was responsible for the church being so quick to back down – a confusion between being relevant and being accepted. Confusing relevance with approval is a big mistake because the reality is that you can be very relevant and not be accepted or meet with the approval of the status quo.

Romans 12: 2 (Amplified) is very clear….

2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

It is a simple choice – conform or transform but please be aware that you cannot do both. You will never transform that to which you choose to conform. Please ask yourself, has my tendency over this time been to conform or to transform?

Give him five. Give him a high five and say I don’t go low, I go high.

There is much I could say concerning the events of the past year, but right now I want to address a particular aspect of our response as the church so that any residual weakness is removed and we don’t suffer a spiritual “long covid”.

First of all I want to introduce a word that can be conspicuously absent in the vocabulary of the church in our generation although it is a word that most accurately describes much of the prophetic content of both the Old and New Covenant scriptures.

The word is warning which is defined as a statement or event that indicates a possible or impending danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation.

You see, I believe the first word that I received in March 2020 and the subsequent word regarding this not being a lockdown but a siege were both prophetic warnings that came to equip us to successfully navigate our way through these times without the work of the ministry suffering in any way but rather prospering.

As I have stated many times over the past sixteen months our message of the kingdom has never been more obviously relevant in regards to our opportunity to testify about our heavenly Father’s supernatural provision and protection as opposed to looking to faulty science and experimental medicine to save us.

For some reason I don’t think the modern church receives warnings very well. It is as though a warning is no longer accepted as a valid part of the gospel message.  It is received as bad news and is rejected as being too negative. But the truth is that a warning is very much good news and extremely positive if it saves you from disaster and prevents you from missing out on God’s glory.

Give him five. Give him a high five and say I don’t go low, I go high.

Personally, I can truthfully say that I have never felt any fear in relation to the coronavirus. I have perfect shalom peace and every day the joy of the Lord continues to be my strength. And yet, like Paul I have felt greatly annoyed many times as this past year has progressed. I kept bringing it before the Lord, and recently he reminded me of the Scripture from which he first called me to ministry and we had a wee dialogue on the subject.

Basically, the Lord called and commissioned me at a personal level from Ezekiel chapters 2 & 3.

The substance of the call is in chapter 2 and the commission is detailed in chapter 3.

Ezekiel 3: 4 – 11

4 Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. 5 For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, 6 not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. 8 Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.” 10 Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. 11 And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, “Thus says the Lord God, whether they hear, or whether they refuse.”

Just recently the Lord asked me what prophetic role he had commissioned me to function in primarily, and he led me back to verses 17 – 23.

17 ¿Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. 20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” 22 Then the hand of the Lord was upon me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you.” 23 So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.

I have made you a watchman – so hear my word and give them warning.

The Hebrew word for watchman is tsaphah and means to look out, to peer into the distance, spy, keep watch, to scope something out especially in order to see approaching danger, and to warn those who are endangered.

In the previous part of this series I asked the same question in regard to three scriptural examples of why things had to be done the way that they were done. I asked why it was necessary that they be done that way, and of course the answer is that things had to be done the way they were because that is the how the word of God said they were to be done.

Give him five. Give him a high five and say I don’t go low, I go high.

One of the examples we looked at was when David the worshipper wanted to restore the ark of God’s presence to the midst of God’s people where it belonged so that everyone could have unhindered access to his presence. The only problem was that he failed to consult the word of God on how the ark was to be moved and through that failure a warning was missed and a man called Uzzah died.

I believe it was no accident that our prophetic declaration for 2020 was the year of the unashamed – an unprecedented opportunity to unashamedly proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God and all of the provision and protection freely available to all who would choose to exit the kingdom of this world and enter his kingdom.

Instead of ensuring that the ark was moved the prescribed way on the shoulders of the priests they rolled in a new cart and set off down the road. As I have meditated on this as a parallel to much of what has been rolled in during this past year by way of substitution for the gathering of the church I again see that our prophetic declaration for 2021 as the year of the local church is no coincidence as the Lord calls us back to his original and exclusive design for making his presence freely available to all who love it, all who want it, and all who need it.

There is no question that modern technology has opened up tremendous opportunities for the church to communicate the good news of the kingdom but when it comes to the manifest presence of God in the gathering of the local church there is no acceptable substitute for physically gathering together to release our praise and to receive instruction in real time.

Once you roll in a new cart it’s like anyone can wrongly assume that they are qualified to drive but there is no accountability, there are no safeguards, and there is no character validation.

God designed the local church to function in the way that he did fo a purpose – so that all of the checks and balances are in place to ensure that everything possible is done to keep the church on track. In the context of the local church there is at least a measure of accountability and there are real-life relationships that must be nurtured and preserved in real-time.

When just anyone who could have all kinds of issues but is deemed to be qualified just because they possess a measure of charisma gets up to drive the cart then sadly there is going to be loss.

Malachi 2: 17

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, In what way have we wearied Him? [You do it when by your actions] you say, Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and He delights in them. Or [by asking], Where is the God of judgement?

Have you noticed how much the term prophet is being thrown around these days? There are so many people claiming to be prophets that the term has been seriously devalued. The word of God allows for all to prophesy – but not all are prophets.

There seem to be so many unqualified cart drivers, and when I say unqualified I don’t mean they lack formal qualifications like theological training or bible school diplomas. Even though they may feel called and have a measure of gifting they are self-appointed and are not set in the Body as the Lord chooses.

Acts 13: 1 – 3

1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

Even after Paul’s spectacular conversion and calling he didn’t assume that he could just take off and start Apostle Paul Ministries. It was the Holy Spirit in the midst of the local church who spoke and said to separate Paul and Barnabas for the work to which he had called them, and even then then the men of Antioch prayed and fasted some more before laying hands on them and sending them out.

All of us need encouragement and often that encouragement can come by way of personal prophecy, but we shouldn’t need continuous pumping up, and there are occasions when we need to hear from the watchman prophet – someone who God has appointed to genuinely watch out for you and to warn you of approaching danger.

The biggest danger of the new cart of online ministry (as good as it is up to a point) is the lack of genuine relationship. So many of God’s people are now feeding from those with whom they will never have a personal relationship, whose phone number they will never possess, and with whom they will probably never have direct contact in any kind of meaningful way. And if they get offended at anything that so and so says they can just disconnect and there are plenty of other options available, and nobody notices they are gone because nobody really knew they were there in the first place.

Our heavenly Father designed the church to function in the very best way and commanded us to continue according to his perfect design. Remember, this is the year of the local church. Paul, who had a far-reaching traveling ministry gave the following counsel to the local church. 

Hebrews 13: 17

17 Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognising their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either].

The problem of being distracted and giving extra value to counsel from those with whom you have no relationship goes all the way back to the garden of Eden where our original parents allowed the warning of their Creator – with whom they had a real walking talking relationship – to be usurped by the enemy of their souls who rolled in on a new cart in the form of a serpent with whom they had no real relationship and the consequences were catastrophic.

As a watchman I have always tried to keep up with current trends and teachings, etc. emerging in the church from around the world because there is a good chance that what is out there will eventually reach our door and it is always better to be prepared in advance. As a result I have seen many new things on many new carts come and go, rise and fall, flourish and fade, help and hinder.

In the midst of it all the most profound message the Lord has communicated to me is that there are no shortcuts. Our flesh loves to look for shortcuts and so it is possible to roll in a new cart because you think it will help you to advance your righteous desires and reach your goal quicker. However, if it is not God’s prescribed way then your efforts will more likely result in a frustrating delay.

And so, in these days of great spiritual turmoil – because that is what they are – it is important that we take notice of the many warnings of the New Testament regarding these days so that we are not found to be sleeping in the time of our greatest opportunity.

Give him five. Give him a high five and say I don’t go low, I go high.

Please take note of the two warnings which I believe the Lord showed me as a watchman so that I could pass on the warning of approaching danger to his people. This is the year of the local church. We have been silenced long enough. Our message of the gospel of the kingdom is the most relevant message in these days. We are not here to conform but to transform.

Even though churches have begun to gather again the government continues to place restrictions on numbers, singing, social-distancing, mask-wearing, etc.

I cannot say that I know everything that is going on in the background and the full extent of the wickedness that is driving the current radical changes and the stripping away of personal freedoms but I do know that Jesus said that the thief only ever comes to steal and to kill and to destroy – and I do know my own calling and commission as a watchman.

One thing that has greatly troubled me is that there doesn’t appear to be any clear and bold prophetic input into the whole coronavirus debacle which is possibly the biggest deception foisted upon the world since the Garden of Eden.

It seems to me that the enemy has not shifted his strategy from that which the Holy Spirit warned me of in March 2020 and he is still seeking to employ that strategy to stifle a church that it would seem to a great extent remains so hungry for the approval of the world that it continues to back down and comply with strategies and conform to rules that are literally squeezing the life out of not only the church but the world that we have been commissioned to transform.

I have also met several believers recently who have basically told me that they are completely backslidden, no doubt as a result of having no real fellowship for the past sixteen months. Others have gotten out of the habit of meeting together and have no hunger or enthusiasm to resume. This is tragic.

I don’t believe the current drive to attempt to force experimental drug treatment on the world’s population or the gathering momentum to introduce vaccine passports is what is prophesied in Revelation as the mark of the beast but I do think you would be hard pushed to come up with a better dress-rehearsal. And so, I would issue a warning here. Please don’t assume that having been so compliant in this case that you will be any slower in queuing up for the real thing, which will not be announced as the mark of the beast but will no doubt be sold to an unsuspecting and fearful people as a means of keeping everyone safe and ensuring the survival of your family and community.

As believers we already have the assurance of our eternal security. I am no doom and gloom preacher, and in fact I am fully committed to being a good news preacher and I will continue to live and preach in the steadfast belief that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Romans 10: 13 is very clear in its simplicity and inclusiveness.

13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 

savedsozo – to save, heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, deliver.

That’s it – the good news in a nutshell.

Give him five. Give him a high five and say I don’t go low, I go high.

But I will also pass on the warnings that I believe the Holy Spirit gives me for the church, even if the concept of a warning is not always the most popular aspect of prophetic ministry.

Mark 6: 4

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”

The reality is that Jesus issued many warnings throughout his ministry.

1 Timothy 5: 17

17 The leaders who lead well should be considered worthy of double honour, especially those working hard at communicating the Word and at teaching.

Paul also gave many warnings to the churches.

There is a spiritual storm blowing all around us and it is essential that we make the choice of whether to conform or to transform – to stay low or to go high.

Very often people ask me if I have had the vaccine and when I tell them no they want to know why. I simply tell them that I don’t need it because Jesus is my healer, and that he provided the same healing for everyone. It is an opportunity to give my personal testimony to our heavenly Father’s faithful provision for spirit, soul, and body and to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ – our Saviour, our Healer, and our Deliverer. 

The word of God covers every base and we are exhorted and encouraged in 1 Peter 3: 14 – 16.

14 But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed (happy, to be envied). Do not dread or be afraid of their threats, nor be disturbed [by their opposition]. 15 But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. 16 [And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behaviour in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives].

In closing I would simply like you to consider the two clear warnings that the Lord had me bring over the past year so that we can stand fast in the freedom for which Christ has set us free and be the city set on a hill that we are designed to be as we gather corporately without fear to proclaim the praises of the One who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light and to receive instruction and direction from him. 

Give him five. Give him a high five and say I don’t go low, I go high.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy