Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Wedding Day Approaches





On December 27, 2011 I had the following dream:

There was a wedding approaching. I had two things to do as the wedding day drew near. One was to help the bride prepare; the other was to announce the wedding and invite guests. This was a very important event. I felt a sense of urgency as I worked. I did all that I could to encourage people to clear their calendars for the wedding and be sure to come to it prepared. The days went by quickly, but finally the wedding day arrived. I was excited, but busy as there was still much to be done before the bride would be made perfect for her king. Just before the wedding ceremony began, the dream ended.

As I thought about the dream the following day, I saw messages to three different groups of people. There is one for those who consider themselves to be the bride; one for those are preparing the bride and one for those who don't yet know about the wedding.

The wedding itself speaks of the consummation of our betrothal to the groom, who is Jesus. While the heavenly man tarries, His bride awaits His return to rule with us in righteousness. The dream is a reminder that there is a day, fast approaching when He will return as promised. No one knows that day but the Father, but we are still to be about the business of making preparations for the wedding.

If you haven't accepted the invitation to the wedding, it is important that you do so. Don't put this off. The day is approaching quickly.

There is a message for those who consider themselves to be the bride of Christ - prepare yourself to meet your king. As I look at the bride today, I see a shadowy form of the beautiful bride the Lord would have us to be. There is indeed much work to be done.

The bride has been assaulted, molested, beaten and abused at the hands of too many people. Church leaders have used her as a punching bag. Politicians use her as a target for the shooting range. And many of us suffer gossip, slander and every kind of treachery at the hands of our brothers and sisters. Much of the abuse the bride receives is self-inflicted.

We've received these words of condemnation into our hearts. As a result we've developed a shattered and distorted identity. Seeking revenge, we've become militant warriors bent on destroying those who have abused and accused us. We wage war against secular institutions, the liberal media, Islam and anyone who dares to disagree with our world views. We've become combatants against the world that our king came to save. We've truly lost our focus.

The bride makes herself ready.

We need to be about the business of making ourselves beautiful for our king. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you've become lovely for the king who purchased you with His own blood. In your character, do you see the love, faith and compassion our King would look for? Or do you have an angry, doubtful or mistrusting heart? These are the things we should focus on. It's easy to become focused on politics, economic worries, rumors of war and the like. These things are distractions. Let the bride be focused and filled with the love, being made beautiful for her king.

There is a message for those whose task it is to prepare the bride - do not grow weary in well-doing. It's the duty of apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists to train and equip the saints, who are the bride. Part of that training and equipping involves developing Godly character in the body of Christ. It is this character that makes the bride beautiful.

We must assist the bride in growing into maturity. We must help her to be healed of the wounds she's received. We must re-shape her identity. The bride is not at war with the world, but rather through acts of mercy, love and compassion she is to defeat the powers of darkness. The bride was meant to be the envy of the world, not the scourge of it.

The king is coming. Let the bride make herself ready.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

How To Stay Out of Deception




Kris Valloton discusses the problem of deception with an example from his own life.





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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Mountain and the City

This prophetic revelation began as a literal verbal interaction with Father, and then this article flowed as a "parabolic understanding”. 


Dangling from the edge of the cliff, I struggled once again to pull myself up unto the level plain before me which capped the top of the mountain. At least one hundred times in the last 10 years I had come to this same place in my climb only to lose my grip and fall back down with bumps and bruises to a ledge far below the cloud line. Many times I had passed above the clouds in my journey into a place of clear vision only to slip and fall back down again confused.

This time, as I inevitably began to slip again, a voice rang out to me, "Do you trust me?" It was Him! He appeared in brightness before me with an outstretched arm. I knew in my heart now why I fell so often. I felt fear! Fear of losing my own life. The same fear the Israelites in the desert felt when the clouds and smoke covered the holy mountain and they ran because they feared to die. This fear was really unbelief in Father’s ability to take care of me if I let go of everything; even my own life!

I then realized that letting go of my own life was His goal all along, and the struggle to save my life must end now. Fear did not leave, but I made the choice, like a little child I reached out to His outstretched hand and surrendered to the unknown, Trembling I reached out and said, "Yes, I trust you..."

I wept as His presence surrounded me and I was swept up in His arms of love. Fear vanished and what overtook me was peace. I no longer had any need to worry, I was standing in a broad place with His love and peace overshadowing me and I was safe, but more importantly, He was my God. He had told me years ago theta He would be my God, and now I knew He was. He said, "It's not that you tried, it's that you died! Your trying and finding only failure led you to the end of yourself, trying was never going to get you unto this level plain.”

A WITNESS

It was my Father who held me dear and spoke tenderly to me. I was wrapped in His continual presence that drove out all my fears and blanketed me with peace. I had been here before, but only as a revelatory experience to help me press on to seek out this place with Him. I began to realize that what I had seen and experienced as divine revelation in the Spirit had now become a reality.

“You have been a witness to the truth”, He said. “Up till now you have been given revelation as a witness to others of the truth I have been speaking to them. By the mouth of two or three is something established; My Spirit and the revelation given to my many witnesses have helped establish my kingdom in the hearts of my children who have been seeking me. But, the day of simply being a witness of revelation alone is coming to an end, and the day of the manifestation of that revelation is beginning. 

The brightness of His glory kept me from seeing His form clearly, but I could now see His eyes; eyes of love that were swirls of fire. I then asked the question, “But, what about those witnesses who have not made it here yet? What will become of them?” He replied, ‘There are still more that will overcome and meet me here. But, at this time many of my witnesses have themselves been overcome.

BABYLON
He then stretched out his hand and pointed to the plains below the mountain. “Behold Babylon!” He said.

As far as my eyes could see on the plain below, there was a mass of humanity as the sea, churning, moving, and crashing together in confusion. In the midst of this sea of humanity was a large city set upon seven hills. I realized that much of the churning and motion was from the movement of people and beasts bearing burdens in and out of the city. They were bearing these burdens to and from the four corners of the plain which seemed to have no end. 

The city itself was sprawling, and it was hard to see where it began and ended. It was built as a mass of confusion with no regular pattern to its towers and buildings. Yet all of its structures were made out of worthless material; shards of broken wood, hay, and stubble. 

And as I looked more closely I saw that the burdens borne by beasts of burden and men were the same worthless materials, yet men were hoarding and trading these “treasures” as if they were precious treasure. 

My eyes then followed a trail of traders to the base of the mountain upon which I stood. To my shock I saw that much of the mountainside was covered with small enclaves of buildings made out of the same worthless materials. Most of these people milling about the structures below the level of the clouds, yet I could see through these clouds without difficulty. A few who had traveled above the clouds were busy climbing. The numbers of people on the mountain were not as numerous as those on the plain, but the trading of the goods of Babylon back and forth among the separate enclaves had the same effect of confusion that dominated the masses on the plain. 

“Who are those people?” I asked, pointing to those on the mountain. He replied,“Some of these are journeying their way to the top of the mountain as you have already done. Others who have built and settled on the mountainside have been overcome by the lure of Babylon.” 

In horror I began to recognize some of the people and places that on my journey that I had once tried to become part of and left in dissatisfaction. At the time of my travels, these places had seemed so elegant and alluring. But from the top of the mountain their appearance was that of disheveled and appalling shanty towns, fashioned together with wood, hay, and stubble.

“These places were built by those given my revelation and gifts to help men come to the top of my mountain,” He said. “Many of these like you also had revelation of the top of the mountain, and gathered men unto themselves to share that revelation. They have built their shanty towns of wood, hay, and stubble around the very revelation and gifts they were given to bring people here.” 

I then noticed some of the enclaves had signs that read “The New Jerusalem” He continued speaking, “Many of these have had a revelatory vision of the New Jerusalem, but have settled for the praise of men, and have believed the delusion that they are building the Holy City.”

I noticed that some dissatisfied people were leaving the larger enclaves and beginning to make the trek up the mountain. Others, who had also recognized the bankrupt state of the shanty towns, began to gather themselves in smaller groups and began building their own disheveled shanties apart from everyone else. To my amazement they began building again what they had just left, only smaller. Everything built by man on the mountainside was simply an extension of the nature of Babylon; in fact every structure on the plain and on the side of the mountain looked like Babylon.

Then He spoke, “When Satan offered the nations of the world to the Son he offered the Babylon you see. Satan thought these manmade glories were a treasure the Son could not refuse. But, the Son saw the works of men’s flesh for what is was; wood hay and stubble, and so has everyone who has made it to the top of My Mountain. These shanties are the works of men, built by the wisdom of men, in order to make a name for themselves.”

I queried again, “If this is your mountain, how is it that these are building upon your mountain with wood, hay, and stubble?” 

He answered, “They remain because I am merciful and patient. I have sent prophets to warn these of the dangers of their mixture. These places also serve the purpose of causing those truly seeking me to recognize Babylon for what it is and move up higher in their journey. ” 

The Day will reveal all men’s works for what they are, and that which is not of me will be burned up, and that Day is now come upon men. In the days to come, these places will then serve as gathering places for the tares to be gathered and burned. 

I had one more question, “So what is this mountain?” He replied, “This is the place where heaven meets earth, where the divine becomes one with creation. This is the mountain spoken of in the book of Daniel which dashes to pieces the nations of the earth and covers the whole earth. It is My Unshakable Kingdom!” 

THE HOLY CITY

He continued, “You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.” I dared to ask, “If this is mount Zion, then where is the heavenly Jerusalem? I don’t see any city.” It was then that I began to see His form clearly, and to my surprise Jesus Himself stood before me, I looked to His eyes and saw they had not changed; it was the same eyes of love swirling with fire. To add to my recognition He said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father. I AM one with my Father.” 

It was then I saw others gathered in robes of white on top of the mountain singing praise to God. Companies of angels surrounded these worshippers unified in worship to God. He said, “You can only see the New Jerusalem clearly when you see me clearly. These gathered here ARE the New Jerusalem. These are the city prepared as a bride for her groom! This is my bride, the one whom I have chosen to become one with! I will dwell in and with her forever and my glory shall be seen in her and upon her.” The contrast of what I had seen of the nature of the city below and the nature of the city above made me speechless as it sank into my being the meaning of what I just heard.

He said, “These are my witnesses who have overcome by the blood of the lamb, the word of their testimony, and have not loved their lives unto death. These are my brothers, the sons of God who have chosen the narrow way and made the same journey of death to self you have made. The number of overcoming witnesses is reaching completion. Just as at Pentecost 120 persevered until my coming, so I have a remnant that have persevered and overcome to bear witness with My coming Glory. I have been gathering unto my self the firstfruits that shall bear witness that the King has come and the Day of the Lord is here.” 

He then disappeared, but the sense of His presence and peace within me and around me was palpable and I knew He had not left me, I turned to behold the wonderful scene of complete unity of worship and adoration to God with the accompanying angels and my heart wept in praise to God! His Spirit spoke from within me, “Go and join them, you have a place among them!” 

I stepped forward led by the Spirit to an open space between two worshippers, and for a brief moment looked around and noticed a few I knew and loved, but fewer then I expected. It seemed people from every race of men were joined together in a song of praise that rose higher and higher. I wept with joy and love toward my Father at the sound of it. I began to sing the deep crying in my heart and it began to form into a song that fit in perfect harmony with those around me. Joy and peace like a river flowed from our hearts as the song continued. 

Suddenly the Spirit spoke within and said, “Look around you!” I looked around me at the others worshipping and saw a resemblance to Jesus in each one that I had not noticed before. I then looked into the eyes of these and saw the same eyes of love swirling with fire that I saw in both Father and Son.

Suddenly from within me the Son began to speak, “The top of this mountain is the heavenly place where heaven has already come to earth, where My will is done on earth as it is in heaven; it is the merging place of these two realms. These who have overcome and abide on this mountain ARE in heaven and on earth at the same time; and are even now ONE with heaven and with each other, even as I am one with my Father. But their oneness is founded upon a greater truth; they have become ONE with Me and my Father. It is in this oneness with My Father and I that the people below will know that I have been sent of My Father.”

Then Father himself began to speak within me, “The day of My Son’s coming is here, but it is beyond the scope of men’s understanding or ability to grasp as to how He is coming to men. The Holy City descending out of heaven comes as ONE with the Son and one with Heaven, He is coming in and among the Holy City, the Bride, My sons, My witnesses, as they descend to the valley below bearing witness WITH the Presence of My Glory in and upon them. They will bear witness first to those who are on the mountain, and then to all the earth. All that is wood, hay, and stubble will be burned as Babylon falls in the face of My Glory. Even those who have seen by revelation what is about to transpire cannot fathom what is happening, it is beyond the ability of men to comprehend.”

“As my sons go forth, this mountain will cover all the earth, for it is my kingdom, and all the earth shall be covered with My Glory as the waters cover the sea. The earth itself will be renewed as heaven and earth merge and become ONE as a result of My coming in and among my sons, and all that is not of me will be removed.”

Suddenly, as if by silent command, the sounds of worship ceased as the host of those in white stood side by side in perfect alignment prepared in silence ready to move out. An angel put a trumpet to his lips and prepared for a blast. The Spirit within me cried, “Behold He Comes!!” 

Revelation 3:11-12 (JB 2000)Behold, I come quickly; hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.12 He that overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God which is the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from and with my God, and I will write upon him my new name.

Kriston Couchey 
Christ in Me Chronicles


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How Do You Measure Success






A cloud is on the horizon! Winds of change are gathering strength! A storm is coming…it is a storm of change!

All over the world the Spirit of God is causing sincere believers to re-examine how we “DO CHURCH.” It is no longer about size…small groups…spiritual gifts…or seeker sensitivity. It’s about making a significant and sustainable difference in the lives and families of our communities and cities! There is a growing awareness that we cannot continue to do the “same old things” and get different results! If we want to be “Salt and Light” as God meant us to be, we must do something different and be something different!

Community transformation will not be accomplished alone by spiritual services, powerful preaching, musical masterpieces, or choir cantatas—as good as these are. The church today needs a “Churchquake” of seismic proportions if it is going to be all and do all that the third Millennium requires!

I define “Churchquake” as a paradigm shift! A “paradigm” is a model consisting of shared assumptions of what is true or what works! A “paradigm shift” is “a moment of ‘AHA!’ when one sees things in a new light and can never go back to the old ways again!”

The first paradigm shift we need is a shift from building walls to building bridges! Matthew 5:13-14 states, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.” The root of this first paradigm shift is to ask ourselves this question: How do we as the church see ourselves in relation to our community? Most churches see themselves as outside the community inviting people to “come into the church and out of the ‘world’ and be separate.” As the Church, we must begin to see ourselves as inside the community as an agent of change and transformation! Being “separate” in values and lifestyle is not the same as being “isolated” from those God has called us to love and reach.

Here is a real example from a church in a mid-western state. One day a pastor became “fed up” with the marginalization of his church within his city. He knew that his people had what thousands needed and desired but did not know how to find. So he made an appointment with the mayor and asked one question, “How can we help you?”

The mayor gave him a list of “Challenges Facing the City.” He went back to his church and asked them one question, “What can we do that will cause people of this city to say that God is here and at work in this city for no one could do these things if God were not with him?” This simple leadership act made that Church no longer a “walled-in clique,” but a “bridge-building church” to the community God called it to love and influence!

Since then, in just four years, one hundred other churches joined that one! Five thousand volunteers built bridges into their city by building parks and playgrounds, refurbishing fifty schools, setting records for Red Cross Blood donations, enlisting thousands of new organ donors, offering scores of “Life Skill Classes” on finance, marriage, aging, parenting with over 5,000 attending, and donating nearly $1,000.000 to human service organizations for at risk youth.

All of this leads to one conclusion: once a church makes the mental shift from “set apart” to “Salt and Light,” it is limited only by its imagination and creativity in how it can serve and transform its community and city!

But a legitimate question arises. “Is this what the church is – a social service organization?” Of course not! The Church is the visible expression of the Kingdom of God in the earth! Well, then, is it not enough to stand there separate and “over against” the community (the world) and “throw the Gospel like a rock” at it? No! It is not enough. Jesus’ command was to “go into the world-system and make disciples…” We must do everything in our power to earn the right to shine our light (the Word of God) and sprinkle our salt (the Spirit of God) in our city!

When we have “made His praise glorious” by our good deeds and people see them and begin to “glorify our Father who is heaven,” the door will be open to plant the seed of Christ’s love that will heal hurting hears, mind shattered, restore broken families, and transform our city from within! This is our mission! This is why God has placed us in our city!

Let’s stop just providing ministry programs and worship services for our community and earn the right topenetrate our community as “Salt and Light” to offer help, healing, and perhaps even transformation!

From the Coalition of Apostles.

Ronald E. Cottle, Ph. D., Ed. D. Christian Life Educators Network

http://www.clenetwork.org/



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