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A decade of Hope

2011 will be a significant year; for the Church, the world and individually. It will set the tone for the rest of the decade; HIS glory will be seen, nations will shake and HIS Church will grow.

Introduction…

A New Year has just begun, in fact a new decade is beginning. The time is 12.40am, the 1st of January 2011. After seeing in the New Year, Janette and I prayed, gave thanks for a great and awesome year just past and asked for wisdom, strength and grace that we might continue to be found in the centre of HIS purpose throughout the coming year and beyond.

It should have been time to sleep, but HE who neither slumbers or sleeps was stirring my spirit and I was wide awake…….

Seed to inspire…

This edition comes from the ‘seed’ thoughts planted in my spirit during the earlier hours of this new decade. I therefore submit this to you for your discernment and judgement. The following I believe reflects the heart of our Father above.

I have written what I believe are the impressions of the Spirit on my spirit during those early hours of the morning and over several days since. Yet, I feel frustrated that not even the half has been told. I simply put that down to the enormity of our God and HIS revelation to us; it is just all too big for any one individual to contain.

His glorious, magnificent, awe inspiring self is greater than anything we have yet dared believe for or even sought. I encourage you, press in, take hold of all the glorious promises HE has for you. HE is an awesome God! May the seed sown herein be an inspiration and challenge to seek HIM more and be filled with the glorious abundance HE has in store for you, in Jesus name!

The shaking is not over…

Firstly, may I remind you that there has been a season of transition, preparation and of convergence, with more of the latter yet to take place. This will be on going as Kingdom minded people contend for and pursue new levels of unity.

Ahead there will be a time of great and quick change, for many not even expecting it. The shaking has not finished and the world will see more shocking moments of tragedy and sadness, but through and out of these global shaking events there will arise opportunities to deliver a renewed message of hope.

Individually and corporately we need to be ready for this next season. On one hand we will witness great blessing, increased and fresh outpourings of the Holy Spirit, but on the other hand strong persecution will return or break out. In some quarters we will be shocked from where this persecution will come.

Nevertheless, the work of God world wide will continue to expand and there will be great increase, even in places that have been dry and hard for decades past. Yet at the same time others will be found stumbling, falling and even turning away from the faith, being deceived by evil men and seduced by demons.

New and intense seasons of intercession are coming and will also fall on many who previously have not experienced such things. Unusual signs and wonders will manifest causing some to stumble while inspiring others to press in for more of HIS glory. Prophetic insight will intensify, gifts of discernment will need to be employed more strongly. Man-made ‘apostolic’ structures will fall, while the restoration of authentic apostolic ministry and function will increase and be established.

The Church of God…

Over the last few weeks I have, once again, found myself thinking about and focused on the importance of the Church. There is no other organisation or institution on earth as great as HIS Church. Not yet made perfect, it is still God’s choice for the distribution and demonstration of HIS power and glory here on earth until Jesus comes again.

In particular the local church throughout the earth is what most of us relate to and where we participate in the work of God. Multitudes of congregations spread across and through communities, cities, towns and villages all over the world, consisting of people of faith, in love with their God, followers of Jesus Christ, serving Him faithfully day by day; they are the Church. Therefore, it is imperative that these are trained, equipped and released to be the “church” outside where they live, work and play.

These are congregations led by faith-filled and faithful men and women, many of whom have laid down everything to serve the “Chief Shepherd” caring for, leading and shepherding the flock of God entrusted to them. Whether they are leaders of large or mega-churches, pastors of average churches or shepherds of 20 or 30 people in obscure villages and towns, each of these men and women are significant and important players in the purpose of God. Workers who need to be cared for, encouraged, respected, honoured, supported and loved. The greatest, but one of the most difficult jobs on earth is, shepherding the people of God.

Please do not misunderstand me, I am not exalting the church over the Kingdom. Nevertheless, in the greater scheme of things we must not forget nor loose sight of the importance of the Church and in particular local churches. Jesus said “I will build my church”. For the majority of believers that means relating to and participating in and out of the local church.

His Kingdom come…

Yes, without a doubt we are to be Kingdom minded people. We pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done…..” I truly believe that if we understand correctly HIS Kingdom, plans and purpose, then we will understand rightly the role and function of HIS Church. Therefore let the power and majesty of the Kingdom be displayed through His Church, more precisely, the people of God, through their lives and ministries.

We are the custodians and servants of the greatest story ever told; the Good News of the Kingdom of God and all the riches that pertain to the unpacking of this great message.

The Word of Hope…

It is a message of hope, spurred on by love and acted on in faith that must be manifest. I believe it is time for us to renew ourselves in this living hope and become the distributors of a clear and uncluttered WORD of HOPE to those around us, to the nations and the peoples of this earth. Let HIS Church go forth and tell the world of the glorious hope that is found only in Jesus Christ! May it be confirmed with signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This is not a time for criticism or accusation, pointing fingers or of passing judgement on those already condemned, or at one another, but a season where the voice of hope must be heard. A word of hope from the very foundations of the eternal Kingdom of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

A powerful expectation…

The power of hope is yet to be fully realised within and without the Church of God. For too long hope has been neglected. It is a new day, therefore enter fully into the hope of our God and become the messengers of hope; an army of transformers and reformers in Jesus name.

The world knows what the Church is against, for we tell them often, but does it know what the Church is for? Do they know it is not really about buildings, religious practices, regulations and judgements, but about life; the life of God? The true church of God stands for HIS love; a witness of HIS transforming, miraculous, power that gives hope to the hopeless no matter how difficult their situations or circumstances are.

How do we and many, many other missionaries (and Christian workers) survive and work in the most difficult and challenging places and among the world’s most broken people? Hope!

Hope is a confident expectation; a deep seated realisation that things can and will get better. Hope is knowing that if we don’t give up we will come through. Hope is holding on to what you know is right. Hope is loving and never giving up on those around you. Hope is believing in and expecting the best for those who hate you and persecute you. Hope is knowing that the eternal God and Father cannot fail and HE will never leave you nor forsake you. Hope is founded on the absolutes of the immovable, unshakable, from everlasting to everlasting Kingdom of God! Hope is spiritual dynamite!

The time to arise…

This is the time for the Church of God to rise, take its place and make its mark in the spheres of this world. Not from a position of superiority, self-righteousness, arrogance and judgement, but one of humility and servant hood with actions that follow and echo loudly a bold and compassionate message of love and hope.

While many will not recognise the day of visitation, those with their hearts and ears tuned to what the Spirit is saying will find themselves caught up in a magnificent, powerful and fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Whereas some are frustrated, disappointed and ready to give up, the Spirit of the Lord says, “Come, enter again, call on My name one more time for I am about to break forth and visit you again. This is not a time to be silent, raise your voice and call on My name for I will not disappoint you, I will not turn My face from you, I will come to you who are thirsty, those who seek Me with all their heart, I will be found of them.”

You have been born again to a living hope. A hope that does not disappoint, a hope like an anchor that will hold and keep you through the storms to come. Though HIS glory is about to be revealed in greater measure there is an adversary who will try to interrupt you and distract you from the path and task at hand. Be aware and do not be caught up in arguments and discussions of meaningless disputes. Know that you have an enemy who wishes to deceive and distract you.

Therefore turn away from the issues that distract you, the behaviour, practices and habits which you have allowed to dominate your life this past season. It is time to change, turn away from wasteful practices return to the Lord and your first love. Let the Holy Spirit renew your passion and zeal, for the Father wishes to endow on you lavishly HIS love and fill you with power and hope.

Let HIS Word go forth…

The nations may tremble, but the Lord has prepared you for such a time as this. You are hope to your household, you are an advocate of peace, you are a messenger of hope and of reason in the market place, a voice of authority to speak and bring about freedom and deliverance to set the captives free.

In a world of growing uncertainty the Lord has prepared HIS messengers to go forth and speak with authority; words of hope, not of derision, but of peace, unity and love. Men and women of faith who know their God; many who have been hidden away, trained, prepared and equipped for such a time as this.

Kingdom people will speak of the Kingdom to come, not their own will, but the will of the Father. They will be more interested in God’s glory than their reputations, they will not sacrifice HIS presence on the altar of relevance.

Righteousness and holiness must be the undergirding of those who stand and speak with Kingdom authority. Let not the accuser and enemy have a foothold. Be bold, be strong, let integrity be your guard and your guide.

Plant hope in someone’s life today…

Be rescuers, restorers and healers to those who have wandered and lost their way. This is a season to see backsliders healed. Do not be harsh, but in a spirit of gentleness and kindness reach out with love and hope and see their backsliding healed.

It is time to speak into the lives of the oppressed, tell them there is hope, there is a Saviour a God who is able to deliver, the One who keeps HIS promises, HE does not fail. Cry out for justice and mercy, raise your voice for those who cannot cry out for themselves. Tell them that there is hope, there is a better world to come, there is hope in this life and for the life to come. Warn the oppressor, that HE who defends the orphan and the widow will come quickly and HIS judgements will be swift.

Arise all you servants of our God, go in HIS name declaring and demonstrating a message of love, faith and hope in Jesus name.

Romans 15:13  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:21 HE is our Hope Romans 15:4 Confident expectation
1 Timothy 4:10 A living hope Colossians 1:27 The hope of glory
1 John 3:3 Hope keeps us working 1 Peter 3:15 Testify of hope
1 Peter 1:3 Hope that motivates holiness Hewbrews 6:19 Hope our security

Foot Note:

When disaster strikes it easy (for some) to make statements pertaining to God’s judgement and predictions of more and worse unless we repent. However, in those times of human tragedy I believe that the church’s voice should be heard declaring hope to people, who in many cases have lost everything, while offering a helping hand to those afflicted.

I know I’m setting myself up for possible criticism from some quarters. I may even be accused of  compromise, but those who know me will also know that I am not one to compromise nor am I soft on sin. I believe in repentance that releases the grace of God into a sinner’s life, but ranting of judgement falling on innocent people caught in the midst of a catastrophic event reveals lack of compassion and faulty theology on the part of the these so called prophets.

Let’s pray for God’s intervention, HIS grace and mercy to come on those afflicted and the wisdom to know what we can do to relieve their suffering and the strength to carry it out.

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