Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for this one reading this who is lost in the crowd. I ask Lord that You would clear the room and bring deliverance from people, places, and things. Clear the room of the voices of doubt, scorn and any influence that hinders. Let life flow through their very being and let them arise and awaken to You in a way they never have before! Let their relationship with You and what You are doing become famous in the land so that souls can be saved and people set free! Thank You Lord! Amen & Amen.
This morning, I was standing at my kitchen counter and was simply making turkey sandwiches. Not really engaged or fully awake. I had basically rolled out of bed and with one eye open, headed out to make my sweet daughter’s lunch for the day.
At first it came to me a bit garbled, breaking through my fog. “Constantinople.”
But then, just as I was grasping that an unfamiliar word was entering my thoughts, there was a shout in my Spirit. “CONSTANTINOPLE!!”
It was so loud and so clear, there was no mistaking! Listen up!
I, still in my jammies, hair tussled, head out to start the car and I can’t stop this feeling that something is emerging! Something is happening. Constantinople.
I head back inside and ask my son, “What does Constantinople mean to you?”
He replies, “Ummm…. (eye roll)… it’s a city?”
Yeah. No kidding.
So, I do what any uneducated parent does who resorts to asking their freshly schooled children and falls short. I Google it! (Not that I am uneducated. I’m certain I have learned about this already but my every day usage of Constantinople is a bit rusty. Especially since I was unsure of even how to spell it. And it’s not exactly something I need to refer to when making cheese raviolis for dinner and it’s not an item on my list of errands to run.)
So here it is, according to Wikipedia and you can find the entirety of the explanation here… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantinople
From its foundation in the 4th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe and it was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom’s holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. After the final loss of its provinces in the early 15th century, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, and the city eventually fell to the Ottomans in after a month-long siege in 1453.
Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defences. Although besieged on numerous occasions by various peoples, the defences of Constantinople proved invulnerable for nearly nine hundred years before the city was taken by foreign forces in 1204 by the Crusader armies of the Fourth Crusade, and after it was liberated in 1261 by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, a second and final time in 1453 when it was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, and surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. Later, in the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Land Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 km (1.2 miles) to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front. This formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity and the city was built intentionally on seven hills as well as juxtaposed between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara and thus presented an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes, and towers, necessitated from being the gateway between two continents (Europe and Asia) and two seas (the Mediterranean and the Black Seas).
From this, I am bulleting some things that are of importance to take note of. As with anything, take what is good (what comes from God) and discard the rest. This is simply history and if history repeats itself, perhaps we can learn from it.
- the guardian of Christendom’s holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross
- famed for its massive and complex defences
- proved invulnerable for nearly nine hundred years
- The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, and surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts.
- later, a double wall was erected.
- a formidable complex of defences which was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity and the city was built intentionally on seven hills. (Makes me think of Lance Wallnou’s, The 7 Mountain Mandate)
Is there a Constantine arising?
Isaiah 60:18, Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
It’s been too long, I know. Much has been going on. Many changes taking place and honestly, I’ve been dealing with my flesh. I’m thankful for this forum, where I’m among dear friends. I’m about to bear my soul here and believe me when I say that I know what the scripture means when it says, that we are to continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) I’ve been having to work out a great many things here lately. However, I take great comfort in that because this trembling… this fear of the unknown… of being somewhere in the “in between”… this testing of my faith… is EVIDENCE that (verse 13) “it is God who works in me to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”
All that being said, let me lay some ground work for what’s on my heart to share. Many years ago a prophet came to the church and I wasn’t one to seek a prophetic word. Almost right away, after I was first saved, God put that strange fire out in me. The prophetic isn’t strange fire. The unchecked zeal in seeking after a man to do for me what only God could do for me, that’s what God had to deal with. And so… I was a little uneasy sitting there, listening as my church family received glorious and seemingly glamorous words for their life. One was a prophetess. One an evangelist and a worshiper. One this and one that. You see where I’m going here? What was I? I knew what God had said. I had discovered it on my own and was happy being who God made me to be. But I wasn’t ready for someone to put a label on it.
Long story short… the minister of helps. That’s me. The prophet called me up there and nailed it. I was ALL that and a bag of chips. Well… at least a minister of helps and a “servant”. Now, please don’t misunderstand me but my heart broke. Even though I knew everything he had said was right and it was GOD, (he even said “Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. You aren’t called to do just one thing. There are many things for you to do.”) I did not receive the Word with honor. I was swallowed up in offense and pride. And then God graciously reminded me…
But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (Luke 22:26-28)
You see, He was actually getting to the heart of the matter with me and honoring me with such a humble Word. I didn’t know but I was having an inward struggle that was very much like the disciples… (Luke 22:24)
“And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.”
He so tenderly reassured me, “No Stacey. Not you. I won’t have you comparing and striving in your heart about who you are. I won’t have you vying for a label or a title or a position. I am among You as the One who serves. Be like Me.”
Years have passed and much has happened. I’ve had more joy in serving the body of Christ than I have ever imagined possible. It’s been the greatest privilege of my life and I am deeply grateful. More than I can even express. And He has placed BIG dreams in my heart.
Which leads me to where I am today. Part of the BIG dream is Uganda. Having been sent there twice and having tasted that “yes, it’s going to happen”, you can perhaps sympathize with the trying of my faith when God required my obedience in a way I didn’t expect as I made ready to go a third time. Everything was in order and I was all set. It was the DAY BEFORE I was to leave. THE DAY BEFORE. And God said, “Do NOT go!” That’s an entire blog post in itself but what it came down to was, was I willing to do what He said, even when it didn’t make sense… even when all seemed lost… even when relationships would be strained, my integrity scrutinized and I would never know why? Was I willing? And the answer was yes! I stayed home.
Afterward, I grieved… deeply.
And wouldn’t you know it, during that season of grief, a man came to the church. He and his wife pulled in to the church parking lot with the RV, he walked through the front door and basically dropped the bomb. He said, “Here you are. You’re a minister of helps and don’t be surprised when God requires more of you here.” The word came in a haze really. I don’t really know that I heard much of what he said. Forgive me. I don’t mean any disrespect. God knows everything I’m about to say but when he showed up, I was scrubbing toilets. He came in like Captain Obvious with his cape and stated what was plainly seen. “You’re here to help.”
Let me just tell you. I believed him. I knew what he said was true and that God had sent him but boy was I mad! When he and my pastor left the building, I went back to cleaning the toilets and yelled and carried on. “Why God? Why?!” I felt like the biggest joke ever! The kind of joke that no one gets and doesn’t even laugh at.
What I failed to hear were the words, “I will increase you and prosper you. And as you serve, I will add to you and bring help. You will be happy.”
God again had to revisit my pride issue. He again had to remind me… “No Stacey. Not you….”
I am among you as the One who serves. REMEMBER…
The next day, I was driving to work and passed a truck that read, “ALL”. And on the side in huge letters, “ONE CALL DOES IT ALL.”
What hope filled my heart.
And shortly after that, I was called into the office and was asked to take on more. I said yes and it’s been a privilege. It has challenged me. Stretched me. It’s even been God’s rod of correction unto me. My plate is FULL. Not your ordinary dinner plate either. It’s an oblong, divided, cafeteria style plate FULL! But man, it feels good. I know this is where God wants me and somehow, I am happier now in my work that I have ever been. Not only is my plate full but my cup is running over.
And, are you ready for this? It’s been since October that I made that heart-rending decision to trust God’s “no” and I just now realized that the prophetic word is in the early stages of coming to pass. I’m living it out. If I’m in the stage of “don’t be surprised when God requires more of you here“, that means the rest is coming! The part about increasing me and prospering me. The part about adding to me and bringing the much needed help. The part about being happy. It’s coming! It’s here.
The same is true for you.
I woke up this morning hearing, “I am troubling your borders now. How far will you let Me take you?” I see how we have yellow taped off our comfort zones, maintaining our self-appointed jurisdictions. We’ve been policing our lives, as if they are our own.
I see boundaries roped off in our swimming holes. “This is deep enough.” What we think is waist-high is only ankle-deep. There are deeper waters still. We’ve been playing in the puddles of broken cisterns and calling man-made pools oceans.
A flood of His glory is coming. Like waters cover the seas and then defy the banks and the brinks when heavy rains fall; this is what is coming. Prepare to be swept up in the current and allow God to carry you. I see houses and landscapes changing. Houses and lands. All will be effected. Denominational walls. Man made walls cannot stop even the trickles of this next move. For there is a river pouring forth from under the threshold of the throne room of heaven now. “I am poring over your life, says the Lord. And I am pouring over your life.”
Last week about this time, I felt a strong stirring in my spirit and the Lord instructed me to begin interceding. He said, “It’s time to put to flight.” Immediately, I connected that phraseology to the passage Leviticus 26:5, And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
I began praying, not realizing what the Lord had set out to accomplish through my prayers. I was riding on the wind of the Holy Spirit.
As I walked and prayed, I had a vision. I saw the land (farm land, harvest fields and vineyards) covered in locusts. I understood that it was the land the Lord has given us for inheritance. It’s the ground we have invested ourselves in. It looked brown and barren…dead. Yet, as I continued to pace, the ground began to move in almost fluid motion before me and I realized that the wind had begun to pick up and it was sweeping over the ground and over the trees.
Again, God spoke to me and said, “There is a strong west wind blowing.”
You’ll find reference to that in Exodus 10:19, And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
As I kept praying, I saw that what I perceived to be fruitless and barren… stripped to dirt and bark was actually the remains of what had been plaguing the ground. The wind made quick work of blowing every last locust away and there in the soil were tender green shoots. The very thing that had been sent to strip the land was in fact covering precious seedlings. The harvest is here. What has been just under the ground shall produce suddenly. Many have sown and many have watered but God is bringing the increase. Now is not the time to gauge our success by the world’s standards or the condition of Pharoah’s heart. God is bringing the harvest for the coming harvest. What we have been waiting and believing for is here and it’s for His glory.
In Matthew 3, we read of another time when there were locusts in the land… on the threshold of the Lord’s entrance… on the brink of liberation! It’s evidenced in verse 4, John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. The man crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” fed on the very locusts that preempted a move of God like the world had never seen!
What has been stripping you down has been itself stripped away. Look up! Your Redeemer is drawing near! You are on the brink of your breakthrough!
Misalignment of the spine can cause any number of problems in the human body and can affect not only the skeletal system but major organ function as well. Studies show that heart, lung, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, stomach, kidney, bladder, prostrate and uterus issues can be directly influenced by the spine. Furthermore, nerve fibers stem from the spine into every major immune system organ.
In the spiritual terms, misalignment can be just as detrimental to the Body of Christ. When we fail to come under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ and those He has set in authority, things become out-of-order. As children of God and necessary parts of the body, our function can be hindered and our immunity weak.
For the remainder of this post, I want to call the misalignment, a “spiritual learning curve”. To spare you the more in-depth and wordy definition of “learning curve”… here it is in short form. The learning curve averages everything out. In other words, new skills or knowledge can be quickly acquired initially, but subsequent learning becomes much slower. At first, a minimal investment of resources yields significant results, but the payback from continuing effort is smaller.
This is daunting in the world we live in of bigger, better and limitless upgrades.
At first it’s easy to make progress and our efforts are rewarded quickly but as time passes, the efforts we’re making do not garner the same results. Just as when much is given, much is required, there are times when more is asked of us, with seemingly little to no increase. This is when we are in real danger of settling for less in terms of spiritual gain if we fail to rise to the challenge. The average Christian walk, with a letter grade C and without challenge can begin to look rather appealing. It’s still passing right? Yet, God wants us to excel in the call upon our life, walk worthy of it and increase more and more. Come up higher and get an A!
I do believe God wants us to be straight A students… studying to show ourselves approved by Him, regardless of the applaud of men or the immediate result. He is interested in our commitment and our longevity in our faithfulness to Him, the church, our leaders, fellow believers and the duty assigned to us. We should be nothing less than valedictorian in the Spirit as we serve from scrubbing toilets to preaching to the multitudes. Every season of our life comes with its own report card.
How are we faring?
“Average is just as close to failure as it is to success.”-Dr. John Polis
Luke 12:15-21, And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
It’s important to take inventory of our lives. To examine ourselves. What does my life consist of?
When we find ourselves in a prosperous season… when the harvest of seeds sown has come to bear, there comes with it a temptation to “pull down” our barns and build greater. An upgrade is due us.
Somewhere along the way maybe, we’ve been lead to believe that we will arrive at a certain level of prosperity. It’s a lottery of sorts… a sweet spot in life, where we can just rest easy. “Eat, drink and be merry”, right?
We long for the day when we won’t have to work so hard. When we can just retire and finally “live” a little.
We start to daydream of pulling down our barns. It might look something like this…
“Oh, God has great things in store for me. His plans are SO big that I’m gonna need a better ______________, a better _______________, a better _______________. That’s what I intend to do! As soon as I get MY harvest, I’m gonna leave this ______________ behind. I’m gonna build the life of MY dreams!”
Perhaps this kind of mindset has truly diminished the things that God has already equipped us with to use for His glory. We’ve pulled down our barns. And if these barns already aren’t enough for us, then how could something bigger and better ever be enough?
And here it is… that man was rich already. He was significant. He was provided for. He was equipped. In essence, he had what was necessary for today. He was taken care of, yet somehow, He thought he had to take care of himself. Somehow, he thought the ground he was given belonged to him.
So what it all boils down to is that there is a question left unanswered.
In all of your pulling down and building greater, who have you served? If you got your harvest and bought your dream _______________, to what purpose was it? If it all ends at sunset…whose will it be then?
Will our children know what to do with it? Will our extended friends and families? How about our neighbors and communities? And heaven help us, our government?
We must consider the “whose” of our harvest! We must begin something with what God has given us that will live well beyond our years!
Get ready! The harvest is upon us. It’s time to seek the Lord! The Lord of the harvest is visiting our ground! He is preparing laborers to who will not labor in vain but will produce more of His spirit and yield His glory in this earth! Unless the Lord builds it, we will labor in vain! Even if we give it ALL away, we will not find ourselves wanting. The windows of heaven are opening and God has promised that He would pour out a blessing, so much so that there would not be room enough to contain it! For some, even the most faithful among us, He hasn’t been able to release such a blessing because with even a handful, we pull down our barns! We must settle it in our hearts that the foundations are good! What is already built is good! Yes, the barn is good! This is the year of the open door! If we will refrain from pulling down our barns, we will discover that He has opened the door of those barns and His bounty shall spill forth! If we will rejoice in our room, He will give us a realm! Be rich toward God!