I was taking a long drive from South Florida to Orlando, praying in the Spirit, and asking the Lord to reveal some prophetic direction for 2013. I must have prayed in the Spirit for two hours before I heard these three words: “Return to Antioch.”
With a long, dark stretch of highway still in front of me, I could not readily dive into Scripture to seek understanding about what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me. So I continued praying in the Spirit and meditating on those three words: “Return to Antioch.”
When I opened my Bible to Acts 14, prophetic revelation for the body of Christ—particularly the leadership of the body of Christ—began to unfold:
This is coming to you from a man who has just passed through the valley of the shadow of death. Since my close call with eternity just a short while ago ... everything has become clearer. I can hear His whisper. Unabated obedience has become my mandate. That is why I'm writing this word from the Lord.
A few days ago, after enjoying quality time with Jesus, I was surprised by an alarming vision. I saw a massive, majestic mountain covered in glistening snow. It reminded me of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Its peaks were sparkling white and I was amazed by God's attention to detail. It was so realistic I wanted to go skiing! But I sensed that there was more that the Holy Spirit was about to reveal. As I closed my eyes, I was in a winter wonderland bustling with thousands of vacationers. The ski lodge, condos, hotels and cabins were at full capacity at this popular resort.
I call them “baby dreams”—and these prophetic encounters have been a running theme in my life over the past decade. It seems God has been laboring with me to birth a new thing for nearly that long. Along the way, there was at least one Ishmael, a couple of near-abortions, and plenty of spiritual warfare. But God in His grace somehow worked all things together for good.
There were lessons in this series of prophetic dreams. When I put those principles into practice it caused what looked like a stillbirth to become a healthy baby. I still don’t have all the answers, but God has made one thing clear to me: Sometimes a small shift makes all the difference.
The First Dream: Surrendering My Will
The “baby dreams” started about eight years ago. I had a dream I was pregnant. I was not happy about it because it was going to turn my life upside down—but I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. I tried to pretend it wasn't real, but ultimately pretending wasn’t an option. The lesson of this first prophetic dream was that I had to be like Mary, who gave her will over to the Lord despite the trouble it was going to cause her in the natural. I woke up and committed in my heart to let the Lord’s will be done in my life and moved ahead.
The Second Dream: Birthing a Man-Child
About a year after that prophetic encounter, I had a second “baby dream.” This time, I was in the hospital giving birth. When the baby was born, it was like a man-child. It had the appearance of a baby, but it had the features of a full-grown man. Immediately after the baby was born, he started running toward his goal. Those around me said, “It must be nice to birth a full-grown ministry. That's what you can expect.”
When I arrived at Independence Hall last Friday night for the America for Jesus solemn assembly, I was struck with the reality that our Founding Fathers had gathered in that very spot more than 200 years ago to declare freedom and deliverance for our nation.
Just steps away from where Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and others drafted and ratified the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, a remnant of impassioned believers gathered to declare freedom and deliverance for our nation once again: freedom from the spirit of greed; deliverance from the spirit of Jezebel; liberation from pride; and justice for the unborn.
As the youth rally got underway, I stepped aside to observe and pray. As I did, the Holy Spirit showed me the remnant is rising. After all, it was a remnant who founded this country—a remnant looking for, among other things, religious freedom. A 21st century remnant was now making a new declaration of independence from the ties that are binding our nation.
The Holy Spirit told me this:
It was a stark contrast between two prophets: one too busy to bear true kingdom fruit and the other too busy deceiving and being deceived.
I woke up from this prophetic dream disturbed and prayerful and I’m recording this because I’m quite sure I don’t have the complete meaning. I am also convinced the meaning will become more clear as time goes on, so I want to record the details.
Again, it was a stark contrast between two prophets: one too busy to bear true kingdom fruit and the other too busy deceiving and being deceived.
The first prophet was a female. She was polite enough, but far too busy with far too many excuses about why she didn’t have time for a quick visit. Ironically, she spent more time explaining why she didn’t have time for a brief meeting than it would have taken to sit down and talk for a few minutes about how we could work together to bring more clarity to the prophetic movement.
I walked away feeling as if this prophet was full of pretense. She pretended to care about the people she was ministering to, but would never get close enough to allow them to see her for who she really was. She came off selfish and self-centered; self-important and self-absorbed. She had arrived and she wanted everyone to know it.
This prophet was more concerned about marketing than ministering and if the meeting didn’t advance her career she wasn’t interested in even taking the time to pray about what the Lord’s will might be. I was disappointed because this prophet’s public-facing ministry gave a much different impression than the face-to-face encounter I had just experienced.
While I was praying over 2012, I received impressions about many things—some warnings and some promises. But what burned most on my heart to share with the masses wasn’t a list of predictions or a prophetic directive. What burned most on my heart to share are four simple words: Revival begins with you.
We yearn to see signs, wonders and miracles manifest today as they did in the book of Acts, don’t we? But are we willing to pay the price the early church paid? Are we willing to die to self? Are we willing to relinquish control to the Holy Spirit so He can move like He wants to move? Are we willing to repent for the character flaws that hold us back? Are we willing to walk in love and unity with true believers who don’t believe exactly the same as we do? Are we willing to war against the spirit of compromise that is raging against the church in this age? Revival begins with you.
The book of Acts never fails to fascinate me. It is the Holy Ghost in action, the gifts of the Spirit made manifest, a charismatic believer’s delight. Indeed, many of us want to see the Holy Ghost move in the church—and in the world—like that again. Well, I beseech you to consider these four words: Revival begins with you.
Sure, we see a ration of revival spring up from time to time. We see a measure of the miraculous. We see demons cast out, in the name of Jesus. But it doesn’t compare to the book of Acts, does it? Revival begins with you.
Despite 24/7 prayer movements that bear plenty of fruit, we don’t see people waiting to stand in our shadows hoping to get healed. Despite the apostolic movement (and the thousands of Christians who call themselves apostles), we rarely see people raised from the dead. Despite large stadiums of sincere people repenting in tears before the Lord for the sins of generations, we are yet a far cry from the reality of the book of Acts. Revival begins with you.
We can’t do the Lord’s part—we can’t force miracles, signs and wonders. But we can do our part—we can tear down the strongholds in our own souls that are preventing us from walking in the fullness of the Spirit. We can stop tolerating spirits that tempt us to sin. We can start interceding for the fallen saints instead of playing judge. In other words, we can start living like the saints lived in the book of Acts: sold out, on fire and ready to die for the gospel. Revival begins with you.
Again, we can’t manufacture miracles. We can’t work up wonders. But we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to separate the profane from the holy in our own hearts and in our own minds. We can purge ourselves and lay aside every weight that holds us back. We can allow the Spirit of God to do a deep work in us and so the Spirit of God can do a great work through us. Revival begins with you—and me.
Don’t look back: Three words that together make up what I believe is a timely prophetic utterance for the Body of Christ in this hour. Let me write them again: Don’t look back.
Many are carrying hurts and wounds from the past. We don’t shake them off and come up higher because we keep looking back to the people and circumstances that crushed our hearts. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to use the injustice to propel us to places of greater authority in the kingdom like Joseph did, we rehearse our past in our own minds like a scratched CD. Out of the abundance of the bitterness and resentment in our hearts, our mouth speaks poison that defiles us. And we remain less-than-effective in proclaiming the kingdom of God because we won’t bury the dead and say farewell to the past. The good news is, Jesus is our past, present and future healer.
Others are paralyzed by the past. We’ve become spiritual paraplegics, so to speak—unable to move forward because fear of an unpleasant history repeating itself has gripped our souls. We’ve given up on the dreams that God has put in our hearts because of a traumatic life event arranged by the evil one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. We are afraid to pursue the prophetic promises the Lord has spoken over our lives, sometimes more than once. Like Lot’s wife, we continue looking back at the death and destruction and figuratively turn into a pillar of salt, frozen in time. The good news is, Jesus came to loosen us from our spiritual paralysis.
Then there’s shame, a spiritual disease that’s running rampant in the Body of Christ because of past sin. Because we don’t understand the heart of the Father, we wallow in a stew of guilt and condemnation and feel unworthy to move out into the things of God. When Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, ESV), I don’t believe He was condemning someone who looked back. I believe He was warning us of the danger of looking back. Why? Because looking back makes us spiritually unfit for kingdom work. By looking back, we are essentially putting God’s kingdom off until tomorrow. Faith is now. The good news is, Jesus bore all our shame and all our sin so we can repent and move forward in the grace of God.
Yes, there is such a thing as looking back to past victories to encourage ourselves in the Lord like David did. But other than for purposes of glorifying His name, looking back has little value—and it can rob our peace, our joy and even our destiny. I’m reminded of Kathryn Kuhlman’s teaching on the Beatitudes. She taught that when God created man in His own image and after His likeness, He created man with a forward look, with a pair of eyes that would constantly be looking forward and not backward.
A woman and my church prophesied this earlier today. It impacted me so much. I thought it might help some of you.
“Do not look back…” is what I heard in my spirit. I asked the Lord to tell me more. This is what I continued to hear…
Lot and his family were instructed to “not look back”... So too are you…”not to look back.” You have been rescued, the old life destroyed…you are to continue stepping forward through new doors into fresh anointing.
Every day is new, let go of the old, let go of yesterday, let go of yester-year. Hold no longer to the past, it is done…dead…done. Look forward with hope and anticipation…step out onto the water and walk…all things ARE possible.
I provide for you daily…fresh bread, fresh manna. Taste and see that I, the Lord, am good. Let go of the past…it was…it no longer is. Shift your thinking to the future. Ask me to stir up in you my hope and dreams…my plans…as designed for you from before you were born. Nothing is impossible for me, nothing. All things are possible.
It does not matter what the past looks like…it is gone, past, no longer alive…unless you keep it alive in your mind. Shift your thinking to the future…intentionally drown the past with thoughts of the future…of what is to come…with the hope of what will be. Believe what I have for you…your destiny has not changed…it remains and awaits you.
Looking at the past has you frozen like a pillar of salt….has you wading in the stagnant waters of the Dead Sea. The choice is yours…look back or look forward with a hope and a future. Step into the race set before you, step into the river of life…full of fresh living water. Press on to the finish line…daily drinking fresh living water, daily eating fresh bread. Yesterday’s bread is moldy and there is no need to eat the bread of yesterday…for daily there is fresh bread for you.
I have for you a hope and a future…join in the race and look ahead to the goal…to hear my say…”well done my good and faithful servant.’’
Which way will you now look?...Choose life…choose ahead!
Do you feel taken advantage of at times? Disregarded? Disrespected? Consider this a Word from the Lord that will help you overcome those feelings as it relates to your giving so the devil can’t rob your harvest:
If you resent giving a gift after you’ve given it, you only rob yourself. For a seed mixed with resentment won’t yield a righteous harvest. When you give, don’t expect people to repay you with kindness and consideration. As generous as you may be, people will always disappoint. But when you give to people, give as unto God and He will repay. Don’t allow devlish resentment to rob your righteous harvest. Give as unto the Lord and He will return it unto you some 30, some 60 and some 100 fold. And when the opportunity to become offended at the person you blessed comes, laugh in the devil’s face and praise the God of justice.
I heard the Lord say this on Saturday, Dec. 5: “You have to press into change rather than resist it. That’s the perspective you need. To everything there is a season. Embrace each season as it comes but be ready to embrace the changes as it ends. The trouble many face is in the transition from one season to the next. Instead of searching for My will they allow fear to cause a stumbling block in what should be a time of great progress and growth. Change, great change, takes place during transitions because during these times your faith is stretched. You have to let go of what’s comfortable before you can see the greater thing ahead. But faith is a rest and the Comforter is there to lead you and guide you from the former glory to the next glory. Embrace the change. Look for ways to better yourself and be ready to receive the blessings I have for you in the next place.”