Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Commission of the Community

This morning, I heard the word commission. Most of you have heard the term "great commission" in reference to the instruction of the Lord to preach the Gospel to the nations. As individuals we have a mission. Together we have a co-mission. The body of Christ has a mission and a commission. So does our families, churches, communities, and nation.

At the tower of Babel, the people were trying to work together to accomplish a big thing. It may have appeared that they would come into unity by working on the same thing (Genesis 11) but they were restructuring God's order of things. God designed the family unit to have its own authority structure.  With as little as two people, He made the first family. It is families who are to make up communities, and communities make up nations.

At the tower of Babel, they were working for their own desires. All of them together, to reach God's place in the heavens. Sounds similar to what Lucifer tried to do. So God confused their language and they were scattered over the earth, back to individual tribes and families like He originally planned.

In Acts 17:26-27 we read that God sets the boundaries and the times of men's habitations. God decides the boundaries of the nations, as well as when and who will live there. These things are set by Him. We don't decide that. Our purpose is to fulfill the mission and commission that He has ordained. We need to guard against getting side-tracked away from that mission.

The other word I heard this morning was communion. Which is co-union. When Paul talked about communion, or the Lord's supper, he revealed that there is a way to take communion unworthily. There is a right way and a wrong way to partake of the Lord's supper. He says we are to "judge the body rightly" and we are to judge ourselves rightly. We are also to wait for one another so we do it together.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. 1 Corinthians 11:27-34
As we take communion, we are to honor the Lord first and judge ourselves as compared to Him. We also judge ourselves in relation to the body of Christ. We honor Him--His physical sacrifice--and we  discern our place in the body. So we are judging our relationship with Him and to each other. We wait for our brothers and sisters, allowing them to do this for themselves too. They judge their relation to the Lord and the body of Christ as well. 

So we have a commission (co-mission) and communion (co-union). It's not about trying to get everyone else to do the same things we are. That's not unity. That's man's attempt at unity. Paul says that some of them were weak, sick, and had even died physically because of not judging these things properly. 

Sickness is when the body is not working together with the head and the rest of the body. There is a natural flow to the physical body when every part is working together, cooperating with each part yet doing their own individual function as the head determines. Paul compares the body of Christ to a physical body and says that not everyone is an eye or a foot. We each have our place and we are to properly discern what that place is. (1 Corinthians 12).

So what is our commission? What is the commission of the community? Jesus sent out the twelve to the lost sheep, who were His people who were lost.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;
6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. Matthew 10:5-8
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. 

When you heal the sick you are bringing the body to a place where it functions as the Creator intended. A dead person is separated from the body, which is where his mission on earth can be completed. Raising the dead brings a person back into the place where he can fulfill his call. A leper is one who was cast out of the community due to his sickness. When we cleanse the lepers we are bringing healing so the person can come back into their place in the community. There is also a demonic force that tries to stop people from fulfilling their mission so we take authority over that as well and boot him out.

God desires us to be healed physically and to be properly connected to Him and each other spiritually so we can fulfill our mission and co-mission. Like the physical body, we work together to heal and restore each part.
Paul talked about our individual gifts and unity of the Spirit in Ephesians 4:  
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:1-7
We each have a calling--an individual calling. Yet our dealings with each other are to be done in humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance and love. We are to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit. It's not a unity of man's purpose we are building. Man's globalism will never work. Even if globalists have good intentions of bringing the world into peace and harmony, it won't come through man's attempts. It won't work. We learned that at the tower of Babel. It will come through unity of the Spirit.

Unity will not come through trying to make everyone like us. We do have the common purpose of working to honor the Lord and build His kingdom, but we're not all the same and we shouldn't try and function as if we were. Paul goes on in the rest of Ephesians 4 and talks about the individual gifts--leadership gifts and the individual parts of the body and how we need each other to function properly.

We need to properly discern our place in the body and our relation to others in the body.

Paul called the Corinthian church fleshly because they divided themselves according to human leadership.
1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:1-7
Let's learn from this and look for the unity of the Spirit to fulfill our corporate commission.

Father God, we pray this for the people of this community--the individuals, the families, the churches, all those in this community, and the nation. Make it clear to Your people the mission You've given to them--the commission, their individual calling--and bring the families together so they discover their family calling. We ask that the families come together and find their place int the community.

Lord, bring the people to Waterford that You've ordained and commission to be here. We recognize that You are the one who sets the boundaries. Bring those who You want here to this country, this state, to Waterford, and even the individual neighborhoods. Bring the families, plant them here. Show them their call and purpose. Teach them to properly discern who they are to connect to. 

Even those who are already here, show them how to properly judge themselves in relation to You and to those around them, so they go to the right church, and connect with the right people, through whatever groups--jobs, clubs etc.--You want them in. We pray that they fill their mission individually and their commission as a group. Plant and connect, we ask in Jesus' Name.

Let the unity of the Spirit come so we properly discern that not everyone will be just like us. The unity of the Spirit allows for the diversity of people, families, churches etc. Those who say they seek diversity when they're really trying to build a false unity--expose that. Expose that here in this community so people see that unity through man is not the answer. We want the freedom for people to function in their individual gifts and call in their own lives, their family, the church, and throughout Waterford. Alert Your people so they make the proper connections.

The commission and the community. The mission of the community. The mission of unity. 
We will preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons so people pass from death to life, join Your body, are healed so they can connect and join to the community as You've called them to. We heal the sick so the people take their proper place and the flow of the body is as You desire. 

We take authority over the demonic forces of hell that would try and attack to keep people from fulfilling their purpose. We declare to the enemy that you shall not stop the purposes of God for this community--for the individuals, the families, the churches--for those who have a call and are ordained by God to be here. We shall fulfill the mission God has called His people to do in Waterford. No devil or demon of hell will stop it or interfere with it in any way shape or form in Jesus' name. 

Lord, stir up and wake up the people. Encourage them so they can find the hope of their calling.Wake them up to the hope of their calling. We do it for You who are the head of the body. Make it clear what this community's commission is. Let the community's commission be made clear. To the individuals and groups, as well as our part in the county, state, and nation. Let the commission to the community be made clear.

Holy Father we thank You, praise You, and honor You on behalf of all of Waterford. On behalf of the churches, the families, businesses, government, schools, and courts. We honor You and give You glory, praise and thanks. You created it all. You are the Most High God, yet You care for us with Your everlasting love. Thank You for Your great love. Encourage Your people by the Spirit so their commission and mission becomes clear. Let them properly discern where they should be connected in this community.

Thank You for raising up these groups. For the home-school group. We ask that Your Spirit move among them. So the mission and commission of the families to come together and educate their children, training them up in the ways of the Lord, be fulfilled. We come against the demonic forces that would try and interfere with this in Jesus' name. 

Raise up Your army and open the eyes. We open our eyes so we can see our proper connections to the body. Let the angelic host of heaven be sent to do Your biding in Waterford. Release them in a way that will accomplish the mission of Waterford--Your mission. Raise up Your people to partner heaven and earth together so Your purposes are fulfilled here.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Call to Maturity in the Church

I had a dream where the Lord revealed several things about the condition of the church and where He wants to bring us to. There were several different scenes all related to what was going on in a particular church.

First, there was a scene where two people were engaged in adulterous sex. I was in the room, in a separate bed but they didn't seem to mind that I was there. In fact, it almost seemed as if they wanted me to participate with them. At one point, the male subject quietly said something about losing his faith, so I began talking to him. I was surprised to hear that he attended this church. It surprised me to think that there are people in the church that are quite involved in sin.

Lord, we pray that the church loses her desire to participate in sin. Has the desire to be the holy bride she is called to be. That we desire a holy relationship with You in Jesus' Name.

In the next scene, I was in a room with some people, I made a statement and a woman said, "Oh, you must be catholic." I knew that she meant that I must still have a lot of guilt feeling. I said, "I was raised catholic." Then I wondered if I was carrying a feeling of guilt that I shouldn't. I wondered if I needed a greater understanding of the work of Jesus Christ to free me from sin and guilt.

Is there still a sense of guilt in the church that needs to be replaced with the knowledge of all that Jesus did for us? Was the church "raised" with a sense of guilt which needs to be replaced with the knowledge of holiness? Lord, I pray that Your church learn the reality of Your finished work on the cross and all that You did to free us from sin and the guilt of sin. Help us to understand the reality of being a new creation in You.

Then I was talking with an accountant-type person. We talked from time to time and I began to think that he must be pretty high up in the church organization--maybe on the church board. But I didn't want to ask him what his position was yet because I just wanted to hear what he had to say. It seemed like if I knew his position then that might change things. Towards the end of the dream I asked him what his position was. He said he was the treasurer. I understood that there was more than one treasurer and he wasn't the "top" treasurer, but I thought, wow, he has a lot of responsibility.

I seemed to know that I could have become impressed with who he was so I was intentionally trying to avoid finding out who he was so that wouldn't distract me from what he was saying. I needed to discern what he was saying not because he was "important" but because he was speaking truth. Lord, I pray that any vying for position that is going on in Your church, or people who might be trying to impress others for the purpose of recognition or promotion be exposed. Those who are "rubbing elbows" with the leaders for unholy purposes. Awaken Your people to any of this that is going on within their own heart. Instill a desire within us to hear what all of Your people have to say, not just those who appear to be an "important' person. 

It seems that as some groups get large, and certain people gain respect because of their anointing, there is a danger of falling into this political, worldly type spirit. This may be why the Lord likes smaller groups because there is not so much temptation to fall into pride because of recognition or selfish ambition. Lord, expose this in Your people, if there is any of this going on. Wake us up to it. Let the love of God and humility rise up in Your people so we are not led astray by pride or arrogance.

The Lord told Abram that He would make his name great (Genesis 12). However, this is something the Lord does. We shouldn't "promote" people because of their outward appearance, worldly status, or elegant speaking, but because they are called by the Lord. Oftentimes, people weren't recognized for their greatness until after they died. It's not important to strive for recognition or greatness now, but to follow the Lord and what He's called us to do. He's the one who will call attention to it if and when it needs to be done. 

Peter told the people not to look at them as if their own power or their own holiness caused the man at the Gate Beautiful to be healed. He directed their attention to the Lord who did it (Acts 3:12). This could be not only for the people's benefit, but for theirs, desiring to stay humble and resist all forms of pride.

Jesus said, whoever will be great among you let him be servant of all (Mark 10:43).

In the next scene of my dream some people were talking about money and they said there was something like $70,000 that came in to the church that year. I thought that seemed quite low for a big church/ministry like this one. I was comparing it to the income of our church and I knew they had a lot more people than we did. It didn't seem right. I thought there must be a lot of people not tithing, and not giving. Are there a lot of poor people in this church? No I don't believe so.

I asked if people weren't tithing. Some of them made it seem like it was immature to tithe. They didn't believe it was something they were obligated to do. I said that I was going to continue to tithe, and another lady there said she was too. I thought if everyone were to tithe, imagine how much money the church would have. I said that if they didn't want to call it tithing they could at least give a big offering. 

It seemed as if the people wanted to make it appear as if they were spiritual and didn't have to tithe. But in reality it was just an excuse to try and cover their stinginess. Making the evil (stinginess) appear good and good appear evil (Isaiah 5:20).

Then there were some people drinking beer and wine. I noticed it and recognized they felt the freedom to do that in this church. I turned around and saw a guy getting some out of a refrigerator and offering it to others. I realized the church stocked alcohol there and made it available to everyone. I said that my husband and I did that for a while. We took advantage of our "freedom in Christ" to drink alcohol, but then it got to where we were doing it all the time and we decided it was more of a hindrance and we stopped.

Lord, I pray that the church's desire for the Spirit of God increases more than the spirit of the world. I pray that even though You have given us freedom, we don't abuse that. I pray for wisdom, that we are led by Your Spirit, that we desire what You desire in our heart. That we come to a place of knowing what to stay away from and what we are to engage in. That we are not deceived, not under the influence of wrong spirits, but that we stay true to Your Spirit and walk in the holiness and righteousness You've provided for us and called us to.

Then the leader of this church and ministry--which is a worldwide ministry--was speaking and talking about not doing so many conferences and events. He wanted to focus on the church services and building relationships. It seemed that he had noticed people weren't building relationships with each other and wanted to remedy that. I thought he's getting things in order for when he passes away and the leadership passes on to someone else.

Once again, smaller groups. If the opportunity is not there for us to look for recognition and huge crowds to lead, or to get close to the leadership out of a sense of pride, then we will be able to build closer relationships and work together with others we know and care for. Instead of looking to take their place or be like them, or desire their call and anointing, we will be encouraged to fulfill our place and call. This is also the attitude we should pass on to new leaders. 

1 Timothy 3:1-7 speaks of not putting a new convert into position of an overseer in the church so will not become conceited and fall into the devil's trap. It's interesting that this passage of Scripture also mentions being "the husband of one wife...not addicted to from the love of money" among other things. These are also things addressed in this dream.

At the end of the dream, we were in a meeting room. I spoke up and said something to the whole room. I felt like I got some strange looks and was not real well received. I wondered if I should have said anything, but I also felt as if I needed to say what I did and not hide my feelings.

This dream seems to indicate a need for balance between having freedom in Christ and being bound by guilt. Yes we have freedom and yes we have discipline, and we need to walk in balance with both as the Lord desires us to.

Lord, bring an awareness to the church so they can respond to You, repent where needed, and grow up. Instill within us a desire to grow and mature in You. We want Your heart. Bring this revelation to Your people along with a desire to turn to You. 

When we see the Lord for who He is, and realize how we compare, it can ignite a desire to grow to be more like Him. We don't want to just tickle the ears of others, but we don't want to point fingers and condemn the church either. We want to reveal the beauty and holiness of Jesus. Shine His light so our own hearts are revealed in comparison to Him. Glorify the Lord. Magnify Him. Shine His light in our hearts so we can turn away from all darkness and respond to the Light. The pure in heart will desire Him. The pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).

Those who are His will be drawn to the Light. Those who are not will be repelled by the Light. Just like His fragrance gives life to the living and death to the dying.

Release Your fragrance Lord! Smelling Him brings discernment to our heart so we can see truth. We breathe in His Spirit and become more like Him. We also are a fragrance of Christ to both those who are perishing and to the saved. The fragrance of Christ that we give off is death to those dying, and life to those who are saved (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

Bring us into a place of maturity in You. (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

We release Your fragrance and Your light into the community and into the church, to call Your people into a greater holiness. So they breathe in Your fragrance, are filled with Your Spirit to a greater degree, and are changed into the image of Jesus Christ. All of this so their heart's desires are the same as Yours. Bring Your church into maturity! Wake us up. Wake up all of our spiritual senses. We cooperate with You in Jesus' Name. Amen!