Prophetic Words for 2013 by John Belt
Have a Blessed 2013!
Have a Blessed 2013!
In 1988, my wife and I adopted a child right out of the hospital. I remember walking up to the nurses’ station to sign the adoption papers, and I wondered, Will I be able to love this child as much as I love my natural son? My mind said, “Yes,” while my heart said, “I don’t know . . .” I was uncertain.
But then something happened. I was standing there at the nurses’ station, the adoption papers before me. It seemed like there were 50 different things I needed to sign. But as I picked up the pen, something came over me. The best way I can describe it is that a blanket dropped on me. I felt the weight of it, and right there in front of the nurses and administrative team, I just began to weep. I loved this little baby I was taking into my household. I loved him as much as I loved my firstborn son.
I don’t know how to convey what happens with the Spirit of Adoption. Those of you who are foster parents or have adopted children know exactly what I am talking about. The Spirit of Adoption is real. It is not a “make-believe” feeling. It is not something that says, “Well, you start to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and that’s how you know.” No, it is a fierce attitude of heart that declares, “I would give my life for this child. I will do everything in my power to protect this child.” It is so much more than a feeling. It is the understanding that your life is not as important as the life of your child.
While He walked the earth, Jesus just oozed the Spirit of Adoption. Essentially, He declared to the world, “I love you more than I love My own life. I am here to give My life for you and keep you from death.”
The Holy Spirit is known as the Spirit of Adoption. He is also known as the Spirit of Life, which is a similar concept. Romans 8:2 says that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The lesser law, the law of sin and death, existed until Jesus died and rose again. When He took the keys of death, hell and the grave, the law of sin and death was abolished — but all of us know what that law feels like. We know what it feels like to be alone, to be children without parents. We are familiar with the shame and weight of sin. When God signs our adoption papers and makes us His own, something happens in the spiritual realm, and our adoption is literally fulfilled. It isn’t just pleasant words but something that actually happens. We are no longer alone. We become flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone (Ephesians 5:30) — we become His natural-born children.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
~ Romans 8:15 (NASB)
God is your Father. You have been reconceived in Him, and because He is your Father, He will not give you a stone when you ask for bread (Luke 11:11–13). He will father you. He will be there for you. He will hold you up. He will comfort you.
Many of us live in fear, not understanding the relentless strength of this Spirit of Adoption. We think we could somehow discourage His love. But that is not true. He has picked up the pen and signed the papers with His blood. The deed is done. The Spirit of Adoption has come upon us, and it is an intense love.
On a personal note, my younger son recently returned home for a short visit. A soldier in the Army, he spent the last year in Korea, and today he left for Fort Bliss. My wife and I were given a son to raise, and the Lord is taking him where He wants him to go. Though he is now as strong as an ox and almost as big, I wept as I hugged him and saw him off. I suppose the Spirit of Adoption never leaves the heart of a father.
You’ve been apprehended by God for a reason. Even without words you should impact those around you with His power and anointing.
Time and again we ask ourselves, “Why can’t I win my friends to the Lord? Why is it that my family members just don’t seem interested in God?”
The answer may shock you: The reason people who know you aren’t interested in God may be because you don’t have enough of His presence in your life.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be so saturated with God’s presence that when I walk into public places everyone near me will suddenly feel uncomfortable if he’s not right with God. I’m not wanting to condemn or to convict; I just want to carry the fragrance of my Father with me so that people will know that He is there.
The Purpose of His Presence
We understand “program evangelism” – knocking on doors, passing out tracts or participating in other outreaches of the church designed to reach the lost. And John Wimber helped us to understand “power evangelism,” which involves praying with someone on the street instead of just witnessing or giving out tracts.
But there is little understanding of what I call “presence evangelism.” This is what occurs when the residue of God on a person creates a divine radiation zone of His manifest presence that affects those around him (see Acts 4:13).
“Shadow healing” would fall into this category. That’s the kind of healing that took place when the shadow of the One with whom Peter walked created a healing zone around him (see Acts 5:15-16).
So would spontaneous deliverance–the kind that occurred when Jesus set foot on the Gardarene shore and a possessed man a half-mile away was suddenly freed from the grasp of demons (see Mark 4:35-5:20).
The demonized man ran to worship Jesus as soon as he saw Him. Up until that moment, he had had no control over his own actions. He responded to the demons’ commands, even when they told him to harm himself.
Today we need to hear the footfall of God as His foot touches the earth. When it does, we won’t have to worry about telling demons to run. We won’t even have to scream Scriptures against their princes or practice pulling down demonic strongholds – because the purpose of His manifest presence is to set the captive free (see Luke 4:18). This purpose will be fulfilled automatically when He shows up.
Bring Back His Glory
If the Father of us all can allow His manifested presence to touch earth just once, then the flood of glory it will spawn will bring revival throughout the land as demons flee and sinners fall to their knees!
We have managed to turn what we erroneously call “church” into a big “bless me club.” I’m not so sure that we need to seek blessings anymore.
We need to seek brokenness and repentance and say by our actions as well as our words, “God, we want You. We don’t care if You ‘do’ anything or not. We are crawling up on the altar. Let Your fire of cleansing fall so we can finally see Your face.”
Why would we go through all this? There are at least two reasons I can think of. First, the experience of seeing God’s glory is life-changing. It is the most habit-forming experience a human being can have, and the only side effect is death to the flesh.
Second, God’s glory aids evangelism. If we can carry even a residue of it back into our homes, businesses and lukewarm churches, then we won’t have to beg people to come to the Lord in repentance. They will run to the altar when His glory breaks their bondage.
We have tried to pave the way for people to come to God through painless, cheap grace and costless revival. But all we wound up with was bargain-basement salvations that lasted hardly a week. We gave people an emotional encounter with man when what they really needed was a death encounter with the glory and presence of God Himself.
The Nation is Hungry for More
I have a problem with our “part-time, gone fishing” church mentality. Most of America’s churches attempt to satisfy the nation’s hunger for God while operating only two hours a week on Sunday morning!
Aren’t we supposed to be offering the Bread of Life to the hungry? Something is terribly wrong, and I don’t think it is America’s hunger for God.
People are hungry, but they are smart enough to know the difference between the stale bread of yesterday’s religious experience and the fresh bread of God’s presence. We must conclude that the reason the hungry aren’t knocking on our doors is because the House of Bread is empty.
The hungry need fresh bread in abundance, not stale crumbs from the last century. The United States is ripe for revival. It is time for God’s people to get desperately hungry for Him because the fires of revival must first ignite the church before its flames can spread to the streets.
I am weary of trying to accomplish God’s works with the hands of man. What we need for nationwide revival is to have God show up.
There have been times when God’s glory has been flowing in His churches so much that His people had to be careful in area restaurants. Bowing their heads to pray over their meal, they would look up to see waitresses and other customers weeping uncontrollably and asking, “What is it with you people?”
My wife had an experience like this. She was standing in line to pay for some purchases at a store in Houston during God’s recent visitation when a woman tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around to see a total stranger weeping unashamedly.
The woman told my wife, “I don’t know where you’ve been, and I don’t know what you’ve got. But my husband is a lawyer, and I’m in the middle of a divorce.” She began to blurt out her other problems and finally said, “What I’m really saying is, I need God.”
Suddenly the woman turned to the woman standing in line behind her and asked, “Ma’am, is it OK if I pray with this lady right here?”
But that woman was also crying and replied, “Yes, and pray with me too.”
The Fresh Bread of His Presence
Supernatural experiences such as the one my wife had will happen to you too, but there is no shortcut to revival or the coming of His presence. God’s glory comes only when repentance and brokenness drive you to your knees, because His presence requires purity.
What we need to do is come clean and confess our sins. We must repent and ask God to put a hunger in our hearts for Himself, not just for His things.
Like the prodigal son, sometimes we use the very blessings God gives us to finance our journey away from the centrality of Christ. It’s very important that we return to ground zero, to the ultimate, eternal goal of abiding with the Father in intimate communion.
It was the prodigal’s revelation of his poverty of heart that propelled him back into his father’s arms. We must recognize our poverty of spirit–that we don’t have what the lost are hungering for. And what is that? The fresh bread of His presence.
If we repent, God will give us such a heart and passion for Him that we will begin to see His glory flow out of us to convict and save the lost. The faintest shadow of His presence in our lives will heal the sick and restore the lame we meet in the streets.
His presence can so saturate us that unsaved guests won’t be able to step into our homes or be around us with unrepentant hearts. His glory will bring conviction in their lives that leads to salvation–not because of the words we say, but because of His presence and power in our hearts.
You may think that it is time to switch ministries, but it may just be time for you to switch your “spiritual seat” and begin to see through the revelatory eyes of the Spirit. That’s what I did…and it changed my life. So pull your chair up to your father’s table, and dig in!
Many Christians across the world are now making the transition from legalism into grace. Legalism is the belief that my works are the basis of God’s acceptance and blessing. Grace is the belief that I am always accepted and qualified for every blessing because of the finished work of Jesus.
With legalism the focus is always upon self. With grace the focus is always upon Jesus. Legalism says, “Do”. Grace says, “Done!” There is nothing I can do to make God love me more; and there is nothing I can do that will make Him love me less. This is grace. When we try to relate to God and the Christian life through law-keeping we leave the realm of grace. Legalism nullifies the grace of God.
But not everyone is convinced. Here are some of the popular objections I come across to the grace of God, and how I answer those objections:
Paul was deceived into thinking this, and it ‘killed’ him spiritually. Rom.7:11
Legalism actually incites us to sin, not holiness. The commandment puts a thought in our mind that wasn’t previously there, so that we obsess over it. And it touches the point of our rebellion. Rom.7:5,8
The Law is good, but our ‘marriage’ to it is bad, because the power-base in this marriage is the flesh, which is weak. Rom.7:18; 8:3. God’s plan for us is not to be married to the Law but to Christ. Rom.7:1-4
In other words, grace saves us but works keep us? Having begun in the Spirit are we to be made perfect by the flesh? (Gal.3;3)
What we call balance is really mixture. Rom.11:6
Grace must stay pure in order to be radical and effective
No, grace is the only thing that can get us out of sin. It is God’s ability in the place of our inability. It is God’s way of holiness. Rom.6:14
Some people might abuse grace and turn into licentiousness, but true grace is not an encouragement to sin. Titus 2:11-14
Our part is to believe that Jesus has done it all. John 6:29. Our full salvation is provided by Him.
The Christian lives by faith. Rom.1:17; Gal.2:20
Everything that God wants to do in our lives has already been paid for. False teachers try to get you to pay for what Christ has already paid for. Rom.8:32
We are already blessed with all things. Eph.1:3; 2 Pet.1:3
Good works are our free response to what God has done for us. Any works that seek to pay for blessing and favor from God are dead works
Paul taught grace more than any other, and yet worked harder than all others. 1 Cor.15:10
If the only reason you serve, give, obey, etc. is to receive something from God in return, then grace does not remove the motive for giving, but rather it reveals your mercenary motive!
The only acceptable motive for serving, giving, obeying etc. is love. Gal.5:6
If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend.Psalm 55:12-13
“You will always be attacked in the place of your inheritance,” said the man sitting across the breakfast table. “God dhas called you to bring people together and to impact other people’s lives as a result of this anointing in your life. You must make sure that you seek to maintain righteousness in all of your relationships.” Those words came from someone who had the wisdom and authority to speak them to me.
I have had a number of close relationships that ended in betrayal. I am very loyal to my friends and those with whom I have covenant relationships. Yet there are times that no matter how righteous you are, when someone means to betray you, he will do it. Loving those who betray you is “graduate-level Christianity.” The religious community and one of His closest friends betrayed Jesus. Those who were closest to David betrayed him. Joseph’s own family betrayed him. Loving our enemies cannot be accomplished by mustering it up. It can only happen when we have come to a death in ourselves so that Christ can love through us. It is truly one of those acts of identifying with the cross.
If you are a leader, you can be sure God will allow you to experience betrayal. It is one of those courses in the Kingdom that may not be required until God has seen that you have successfully passed other tests. It is the most difficult and most gut wrenching of all tests. A godly response goes against all that is in us. Our natural response is to protect, retaliate, and retain unforgiveness and bitterness. Our natural response is Satan’s most powerful weapon; to overcome it requires much grace from God. Ask God to build His nature in you now so that when such attacks come, you will be aware that it is a test and you will respond in righteousness.
By permission only. To learn more about Os Hillman, go to:www.marketplaceleaders.org.