Insurrection Against God

This has been the “way” of our American evangelical family over the last seventeen months:

When the Lord visited the earth and our nation with a plague in 2020 our response was false prophecy, and then redacted false prophecy. We ran quickly to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and feasted on rumors, fear-mongering, malice, and vows of self-preservation. We did not humble ourselves. We did not cry out. We emboldened ourselves in our self-righteousness.

When racial hostility flashed (again) across our nation we did not extend justice, meekness, and empathy, we continued to self-protect and condemn, justifying our wicked history. We were not noble in compassion. We spurned every call to contrition. We even developed a theology to inoculate ourselves from having to listen to the cries of our black & native neighbors – many who are our own sisters and brothers in Christ.

When the elections did not give us the result we wanted we wrapped ourselves in a flurry of false prophecies, and we did the dance of baal before the Lord. We became unapologetic in our rebellion. Unaccountable and unrepentant, we spread rumors and scandal, we cursed and fomented counterinsurgency, and then shifted blame for the war that rages within our own hearts.

When the children of our native neighbors were unearthed, and the heinous racial sins of our nation and our family were exposed, we ignored the dead altogether… we did not weep with those who were weeping. We did not mourn with those who mourn…

Now that COVID is re-emerging we are doubling down in our resistance to His voice; we demand our liberty rather than humble our hearts. We vow to fight and protect our own selfish constitutional rights rather than extend ourselves with tenderness to our confused and fearful neighbors upon our Kingdom cross. Our faces are like flint. Our necks are stiff. Our hearts are hard. Our souls are intoxicated with rebellion – a revolt that heaven sees as insurrection against our King.

On top of all this, we divide, separate, and condemn and we ignore the testimony of God’s Word – from beginning to end. We do not know that He sees us as one body; one family; one people; one Church – us, and our fathers in this land. This is “us”. This wickedness belongs to the whole household of God in America. This is not only part of us. This is the whole of us. One people. When one part of the body has cancer, all of us are compromised. We cannot jump ourselves out of the number (Isaiah 53:12). The prophets did not. Jeremiah did not. And most importantly, Y’shua does not.

What will it require for God to purge us of our rebellion, and align our unrighteous hearts to His?

We’ve given our contentious selves to the social-media-driven opinions of men” non-stop, for 17 months. It’s time to sincerely, honestly, and thoroughly “seek His Face.”

JEREMIAH 22

1 Thus says the Lord: “Go down to the house of the (leaders of My people), and there speak this word,

2 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, (you leaders) and you people who enter these gates!

3 Thus says the Lord: “Execute judgment and righteousness and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

4 For if you indeed do this thing, then you shall enter the gates of this house.

5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the Lord, “that this house shall become a desolation.”

6 For thus says the Lord to the house of the leaders of His people: “You are a testimony to Me; yet I surely will make you a wilderness, communities which are not inhabited.

7 I will prepare destroyers against you, every one with his weapons; they shall cut (you) down…

8 And many nations will pass by; and everyone will say to his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this people?’

9 Then they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshiped other gods and served them.’ ”

10 Weep not for the dead, nor bemoan him; weep bitterly for him who goes away, for he shall return no more…

13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice,

14 who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house…’

15 “…Did not your fathers eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord.

17 “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence…

20 Go up and cry out, and lift up your voice…, for all your lovers are destroyed.

21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not hear.’ This has been your manner from your youth, that you did not obey My voice.

22 The wind shall eat up all your rulers, and your lovers shall go into captivity; surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated for all your wickedness.

23 …How gracious will you be when pangs come upon you, like the pain of a woman in labor?

25 …I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear…

26 So I will cast you out…

29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!”

30 Thus says the Lord: “(These ones) shall not prosper in these days; for none shall rule anymore in the land.”

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JSB • August, 2021

The Anti-Christ

History has never been more ripe for the appearance of the antichrist.

But the most sure and holy way to make sense of who the antichrist is is by setting our gaze on Y’shua Christ (Colossians 3:1). The antichrist will be His dark opposite;

a.) seeking his own glory (John 8:50),

b.) breathing contra Sermon on the Mount threats (Matthew 5:3-12),

c.) doing his supernatural best to keep humanity from taking up their cross (Luke 9:23-24; Matthew 16:23),

d.) The religious pharisees and scribes will hail him (John 6:41-71),

e.) He will promise humanity bread (Matthew 4:3), security (Matthew 4:6) and glory (Matthew 4:9) just like he did our older Brother,

f.) He will arise to public acclaim (Luke 23:21); in response to humanity’s cry for a king Barabbas (John 6:14-15),

g.) and in turn he will feed on the praise of men (John 5:41),

h.) Whereas Jesus’ anointing is of the Father (Psalm 2:6-7) the antichrist’s anointing will come from the world and from men,

i.) His heart will wholly be antithetical to the ways of the Father (John 14:9 and 1 John 2:15-16).

Beloved. It is vital that in all our ways we give ourselves to beholding Jesus so that we may understand the heart of the Father. This is our one and true source of strength and wisdom in this hour. The rest will be apparent to us.

JSB • October, 2021

The Wind of the Lord

This is a reprint of a prophetic word the Lord gave to our House of Prayer on March 8, 2019. One year before COVID-19. The Lord confirmed the word with a record-setting spate of tornado activity that spring – recorded below. Several features of this word stand out 30 months later. These features are more than fascinating correlations. They are meant to be sign-posts for the body of Christ so that we know how to function and what to give priority to during an hour of unique activity of the Lord. These features include:
1. The wind of the Lord will disturb both the sinful and that which is precious; the righteous and the unrighteous.

2. The wind will bring the Holy Spirit’s judgment, purification and purging to the Church.

3. The wind will cause long-held institutions and paradigms to suddenly collapse.

4. With a primary thrust to “prepare the way of the Lord!” the Lord’s wind will empower the prophetic and God’s supernatural gospel message to America.

5. Many (within the Church and without) will be so inebriated by self-determined ways that they will curse the disruption of the wind and yearn to fall asleep again in their self-absorbed ways.

Here’s the reprint of the original prophecy:

Beloved, the Spirit of the Lord is about to come like the wind!

When the wind comes, it disturbs both that which causes us problems as well as that which is precious. It spares neither our trash, nor our treasure. The Spirit will bring both judgment and revival to our world.  He will purify and purge, and He will empower and exhilarate the Church.

John the Baptist declared that in preparation for the Messiah’s arrival, that which our world elevates needs to be brought low, and that which our world has crushed, is to be elevated. (Luke 3:5) The wind of heaven will accomplish this on many levels.

It’s also important to remember that what looks indiscriminate to us, is actually perfectly precise under God’s direction. His Word divides joint from marrow (Hebrews 4:12) without missing a spot, a wrinkle, or blemish (Ephesians 5:27). His ways often look reckless. But then, His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8,9). His lines of division, and His lens of discernment are not our own.

Whether it destroys, or brings life, all aspects of the wind of the Spirit require that we ready ourselves for His work. “Prepare the way of the Lord!” (Mark 1:3) It’s eternally vital that we prime our hearts, our faith and our lives to perceive and prevail through what is about to sweep across our land.

THE WIND OF THE LORD WILL BRING GREAT PURIFICATION, PURGING DESTRUCTION AND A PROPHETIC AWAKENING

So He said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord… (1 Kings 19:11)

PURIFICATION
Millions of believers struggle each day with stubborn unrighteous ways that cling to them like stains embedded in fine china. Within them remains a burning desire to live fully yielded to the reign of Jesus. A new wind of the Spirit will break in on thirsty hearts, almost overnight, releasing tens of thousands from the brutalizing ways of besetting sin; deceit, bitterness, complacency, sexual perversion, unforgiveness, idolatry etc. sweeping them into the joy and kindness of deep revelations of the beauty of God.

These winds will blow scores of believers, pastors, leaders, evangelists and intercessors to the altars of confession and repentance; hungry to abandon the ways of destruction for the sake of increasing exhilaration in the liberating winds of His presence.

In this atmosphere, it will be relatively uncomplicated for believers to engage the house-cleaning winds of deliverance. Demonization will be seen for what and where it is. Thousands in our communities (both saved and unsaved) will be set free and need mothers and fathers to feed them a love of Biblical truth (1 John 3:18). Many ungodly strongholds and ways of thinking, will amazingly crumble within the Church, and the nation.

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, that it’s spices may flow out. Let my Beloved come to His garden and eat it’s pleasant fruits. (Song of Songs 4:16)

PURGING
The wind will also purge the false church, and much of what steadfastly opposes the reign of Jesus Christ within orthodoxy. The Lord, in His love, will fall upon those of His who have made flesh their strength, and those who have troubled their own house, will reap the whirlwind. (Proverbs 11:29) His wind will ruin multitudes of arguments against the true knowledge of God. It will blow back alluring curtains that have concealed bones of death, in both conservative and liberal churches. Ministries will be undone in a day. This purging will fan wildfires of suspicion within the Church. Only those who seek refuge in the secret places of His heart in prayer will find God’s breath to stand in the midst of these storms. And those who refuse to enter into His strength will, out of emotional desperation, grasp for the naked lies of demons.

Therefore, I will scatter them like stubble that passes away by the wind of the wilderness. This is your lot, the portion of your measures from Me’, says the Lord, ‘because you have forgotten Me, and trusted in falsehood.’ (Jeremiah 13:24)

At the same time, whole systems of secular paradigms will be weakened by a series of typhoons from the Lord. In their wake, small and meek saints will speak a single word and watch charred frames collapse. The loss and weakening of these institutions will spell chaotic economic and social upheaval in our nation. Those who have built their lives dependent on the strength of these institutions will be left fragile and bankrupt. It will be an amazing time of gospel opportunity.

A wind too strong for these will come for Me; now I will also speak judgment against them. (Jeremiah 4:12)

The east wind carries him away, and he is gone; it sweeps him out of his place. It hurls against him, and does not spare; He flees desperately from its power. (Job 27:21-22)

NOTE: The truth is, when the Holy Spirit bring His wind to our nation, who, where and how people get saved, delivered and healed is going to do more to disrupt and uproot the ways of the American Church than any real, or perceived political, social or satanic assault.

PROPHETIC AWAKENING
When these winds blow, then His fire will fall. All across the land the Lord will bring His (Psalm 135:7) wind out of His treasuries and raise up John the Baptist’s who will be filled with the Spirit of Christ, speaking with authority and baptizing with fire.

Who walks on the wings of the wind, Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. (Psalm 104:4)

These messengers will emerge from the barrenness of nowhere, exhorting God’s people to enter into the house of the Lord and receive the promise of what has been prayed for, for decades – to stay, and not run out of the house, so that they may receive the suddenly – mighty rushing wind (Acts 2:2).

Multitudes across the nation will wonder at the message of these Christ-bearing ministers that have been brought up by the wind, and they will marvel saying: “Who can this be, that even the winds… obey Him?” 

NOTE: When I pray for a great harvest in America (as I do for hours each week), what I hear is that the Lord has only promised that He will raise up a great message unto America. Yes, the winds of the Lord will bring a great awakening. But much of America may be so drunk with love for her self-dependent, unrighteous ways that millions will simply curse the wind and tragically fall back to sleep.

O Beloved, pay attention to the wind! Pray that His wind will bring many to glory!

JSB • March 8, 2019
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NEWS REPORTS JUST AFTER “WIND OF THE LORD” WORD WAS RELEASED

“After several quiet years, tornadoes erupt in United States”  AP NEWS (May 27, 2019)

“12 Straight Days of Tornadoes Shatter US Twister Record”  Accuweather.com (May 28, 2019)

“The12th consecutive day with at least eight tornado reports, breaks the U.S. record. We are flirting in uncharted territory.”  Patrick Marsh, Federal Storm Prediction Center (May 28, 2019)

“More than 500 tornadoes reported by National Weather Service in past 30 days.”  TIME (May 27, 2019)

“The number of tornadoes across the nation is increasing, but explaining this uptick has been challenging.”  NBC News (May 27, 2019)

“In 12 days, the U.S. has reported 352 tornadoes in 22 states from California to New Jersey.”  ABC News (May 28, 2019)

“Use the strongest language you have ever used to get people out of the way of this storm.”  NWS Kansas City (May 28, 2019)

It’s An Hour To Put Our Narratives On The Threshing Floor

“They do not know the thoughts of the Lord, nor do they understand His counsel; for He is gathering them like sheaves to the threshing floor. Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion.” (Micah 4:12-13)

IT’S AN HOUR TO PUT OUR NARRATIVES ON THE THRESHING FLOOR

Rasmussen published the results of a survey yesterday. The stats shed light on how our evangelical culture is receiving truth and developing its narratives about politics, pandemics and the like.

This past April (2021) GOP and evangelical voters were asked if they believed the election was stolen from Donald Trump. 74% said “Yes.” 3 out of 4 of us believed the official results of the 2020 election were rigged against the former President.

This past month (October, 2021) the same group of conservative voters was asked this very same question. This time 84% (10% more of the very same population) now believed the official results of the 2020 election were rigged against the former President.

My friends. NOTHING new has been unearthed about the 2020 election in the last 6 months. In fact, what HAS been learned has only reenforced the official voting results certified by
The United States Senate
The Vice-President of the United States
Trump’s own cyber-security chief,
Trump’s own Attorney General,
200+ conservative state legislators,
the SupremeCourt,
15+ GOP pro-life Governors and Lt. Gov’s
More than 70 court cases,
and a highly partisan investigative team in the state of Arizona who very much wanted to find evidence of significant vote-tampering.

The results of the Rasmussen survey are telling us that SOMETHING other than the facts are driving a narrative that widely circulates within our household. Social psychologists call this type of narrative formation the power of “group speak”: when we say things often enough, attach enough emotion to it, add an unhealthy dose of threat to the plot, ascribe righteous virtue to “discerning the truth”, while ostracizing those who dissent from the forming narrative – viola! We’ve just built a kitchen where “cult narratives” can be made all day long.

I don’t have to tell you that creating a cult-narrative is always not a good way for a Christ-follower to live in the world. In a nut-shell, it means we’re being played by the father of lies – filled with his dynamics of fear, suspicion, malice and self-determination; operating with secret knowledge and using it for his destructive purposes while undermining the integrity of the gospel, all under the guise of “righteousness”.

When our world is shaking (because our Lord tells us He’s going to shake our world [Hebrews 12]) one of the great human temptations is to make sense of the shaking by leaning upon our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) – even our religious, Biblical worldview understanding. The Lord calls this type of “truth accumulation” eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:17) The truth we embrace may be “a truth” that is meant to fit another conditon or timetable of the Lord’s real narrative. But when misapplied by principle, or because we’ve not come to the Lord to hear His application of truth to our context, in spite of our best intentions, it becomes poisonous fruit.

This dynamic is all the more accelerated when we hear many leaders in the family calling for the saints to “stand up for truth”. Now you’ve added fervor, haste and emotion to the already destructive elements of the “group-speak” kitchen.

Beloved. It does us no good to simply demand our right to assemble if all we’re doing is further entrenching ourselves in our prefabricated storylines. Our family urgently needs a spirit of waiting on the Lord and seeking His face in this hour. Urgently! MUCH of the narrative we believe is true is in fact corrupting our hearts; undermining the preeminent narrative we’ve been commissioned to communicate; and, it’s bringing the judgment of the Lord’s rebuke and punishment upon us as a people – collectively.

With all this on the table, it behooves us to relentlessly and thoroughly put our narratives on the threshing floor.

Here are two practical encouragements:
1. Stop turning to the unrepentant false prophets, and pundits for information and insight into what’s happening in our world re: rigged elections and plagues. If they were not able to prepare us for COVID, incorrectly predicted the pandemic’s demise (several times over) and also falsely prophesied a mighty landslide victory for our former President, the Lord has not sent these prophets. (Jeremiah 14) Neither are we “to fear them or their words”. (Deuteronomy 18) “And the Lord said, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.” (Jeremiah 14:14) “You may be wondering, ‘How are we to know if a word has not been spoken by Adonai?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of Adonai, and the prediction does not come true — that is, the word is not fulfilled — then Adonai did not speak that word. The prophet who said it spoke presumptuously; you have nothing to fear from him.”

(Deuteronomy 18:21-22) Heeding Jeremiah 14 and Deuteronomy 18 is being people of the book.

2. Seek the Lord’s face for yourself; with your small group; your prayer group; your church. Learn how to engage the Lord in a prolonged and focused way that lays all our paradigms on the table, and listens for His order, His priorities, and His values. This won’t happen overnight. Paradigms and belief structures aren’t built in a day. Your’s weren’t. However, a resistance to laying our paradigms on the altar as we seek His face IS a 100% sign that we’d still rather reach for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil than receiving His peaceable fruit of “the right order of the King”.

There are many good ways to Seek His Face in this hour. He is so making Himself wide-open for dialogue and inquiry. Many churches and ministries are hearing the invitation and equipping the body to respond well to His voice of grace and His zeal to strengthen His Bride in this hour of confusion and calamity. If you don’t know of any other way to begin this process of seeking His Face, I encourage you to pick up a copy of our book “Seek My Face: A Guide to Praying Through the Judgments of the Lord”. You can get it on AMAZON here: tinyurl.com/SeekMyFaceTheBook. Or if you write me at xaris4u@yahoo.com I’ll send you a free PDF copy of the manuscript.

There will be a real end to the unrighteousness and deceit, and a real dawning of His everlasting truth and righteousness on the earth. In preparation for that day, He is training His people to lean into Him tighter so we may respond to the pangs of His heart.

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JSB • October, 2021

SHAKING EVERYTHING

“Once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven… so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27)

The Lord is shaking everything that can be shaken.

Everything.

“Once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven… so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27)

That which cannot be shaken will live among that which is shaking, but only that which cannot be shaken will remain. (Hebrews 12:28)

One IS being divided from the other. (Hebrews 12:13) Those issues of the heart over which we’re willing to sell our birthright are being divided from those issues over which we are not willing to sell our birthright. (Hebrews 12:5)

The cross is the glorious birthright of every believer. (Isaiah 22:23; Ephesians 2:6)

Tragically, some are, through the storms of 2020 etc, selling their birthright and becoming enemies of the cross (Philippians 3:18) dividing and divorcing themselves from the household of God and those who are not and will not sell their birthright.

The Word, which is a two-edged sword is that which is dividing one from another. (Hebrews 4:12) His Word is dividing joint from marrow; soul from spirit; thoughts from intentions. (Hebrews 4:12)

The One Who walks among the lampstands is speaking with a two-edged sword from His mouth. (Revelation 1:16)

“Today, if you hear the sound of His Voice” speaking His Word (Hebrews 3:15) “see to it that you do not refuse Him Who is speaking.” (Hebrews 12:25)

A blessing of the Inheritance will increasingly be upon some. (Hebrews 12:17) A curse of realization, desperation and no repentance will increasingly be upon others. (Hebrews 12:17)

The Word of the Lord is that which pierces (Acts 2:37; Hebrews 4:12) the inflated and swollen ways of the heart. If not pierced, this curse will ultimately fester, harden and manifest itself as (Psalm 2:1-3) rage against God; a casting off of restraint (Proverbs 14:16 and Proverbs 29:18) ; yoke; discipline and correction.

Many Christians don’t have a theology of shaking.

Many don’t believe in the (1 Peter 4:17 and Revelation 2 and 3) judgments of the Lord.

Many many have no understanding what the Lord is zealous to have remain and what He is removing.

Many many have a “false understanding” of what needs to remain and what will be removed.

Many many many don’t know what they need to do in order to cooperate with the Lord in the division process. They don’t know how to “strengthen the things that remain” (Revelation 3:2)

Many do not recognize the values/ways/life-patterns which are in the process of dying. (Revelation 3:2)

Many many many many will not “stay alert”. (Revelation 3:2)

Many will not seek the Lord (Psalm 27:8) while He may be found. (Isaiah 55:6)

Many do not know how to call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

Many will seek Him when it is too late – having to attempt to do something that’s abnormal for their lifestyle in an hour of desperation. (Hebrews 12:17)

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JSB • October, 2021

Repentance: Our Response to the Judgments of the Lord

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  (Isaiah 55:8)

Whenever the Lord invites His people into a new thing, He calls them to repentance. Old natural ways must give way to new eternal ways so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:4)

Repentance was the central message of John the Baptist’s ministry. It was also the opening line to both Jesus and the apostle’s public ministries:

Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand. (Matthew 3:2) 

From that time, Jesus began to declare, “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

Then Peter said, “Repent each one of you, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 2:38) 

This same appeal heralds the end of this age. The return of the Lord Who will rule the nations in love and righteousness is at hand.

Here’s the trouble. Neither the world nor much of the Church is ready for the way Jesus will run things. We are still gravely invested in sin, bias, subjugation, hostility, unforgiveness, self-justification and autonomy. We turn our eyes from the oppressed, we wink at gross sin, make excuses for operating outside of the Sermon on the Mount, coddle bitterness, idolatry, and malice. Our hearts are still invested in the dominion of the flesh. Like the disciples in Luke 9, we may thrill to the mountaintop glory of Jesus, but back home, we’re still arguing for our superiority and filled with fire to destroy our enemies. Though we may gaze at Jesus with sincere love and desire, our habits and social structures can still be so out of sync with His heart. So much of us remains filled with core-level mistrust of His ways.

This is why Jesus’ first coming aroused hot rage and opposition within the systems of His day. Beloved, His second coming will evoke no less. The kingdoms of this earth are about to become the Kingdom of the Lord. He has been Anointed by the Father to reign (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 11:15). Our world, animated by the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19) now shakes with the awareness that the Son’s return spells an end to our corrupt and unrighteous paradigms. In the shaking, the residents of the earth are confronted with a choice between the two. Will we choose to divest ourselves of the tyranny of the old order and ally ourselves with God’s approaching government? The religious term for this divestment strategy is called repentance.

The Bible primarily uses four words for repentance – two from Greek and two from Hebrew. 

METANOEOW

METANOEOW is the Greek word the New Testament most frequently uses for repentance. It literally means to renew our mind. 

I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind METANOEOW, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and the perfect will of God.  (Romans 12:1-2)

The call to repentance is an invitation to discover new ways of thinking about life and the inferior ways of sin. But primarily, it is an invitation to think new thoughts about God and the perfection of His ability to lead.

Romans 14:23 tells us that the root of all sin is unbelief in God. For whatever is not from faith (in God) is sin. It stands to reason then, that a transformed understanding of Who God is will uproot the weeds of sin in our lives. Then, armed with increased confidence in Who God is, we can entrust ourselves to Him and His ways all the more.

METANOEOW repentance calls us to look deeply into the truth about Who God is. He is a God of holiness, wisdom, and might. He is also filled with compassion. He’s slow to anger and rich in lovingkindness and mercy. He is the God Who is an extravagant rewarder of those who seek Him. He is filled with joy. He is love itself. All of His ways are just and filled with grace. He is meek and fierce, humble and zealous, intimate and all-encompassing, vast and personal, kind and terrifying. All of these qualities about God are the stimulants for our repentance. As we think new thoughts about God, we discover how wise and good it is for us to trust Him and obey Him.

Beloved, in the next age, we will forever be learning new things about God. Our minds will forever continue to be transformed. We will live in an eternal dynamic of METANOEOW. All of our hearts have room for more glad-hearted agreement and yieldedness to The Perfect One. METANOEOW is the way we tell the Holy Spirit, “We’re eager to give ourselves now and forever to being fully pleasing(Colossians 1:10) to our Savior and our King.” 

One of the most confounding realities about how the Church navigated the pressures of 2020 was the degree to which we did not METANOEOW new information about ourselves and the Lord’s character. Instead, much of the Church exhibited just the opposite. When our world pressured us with plague, racial insensitivity, and political threat we took refuge in the bunkers of suspicion, accusation, and self-justification. We had ready-made space to nourish ourselves on new realities about God and new levels of our need for God. Instead, we used the months to gorge ourselves on endless stories of how evil, dark, and sinister our world was in the hope that we could prove how wise, anointed, and wronged we were. Armed with endless conspiracies, we set out to defend ourselves and murder each other rather than stand naked before the Lord in humility. The conversations the Father longed to have with us face to Face, we had with others on Facebook. He was inviting us to fathom new dimensions of His willingness and ability to save, defend, deliver and provide. And far too often, we gave ourselves to developing novel, deprecating thoughts about our neighbors.

Fortifying our disputations is most certainly not the transformation the Lord had in mind for us in this season. But it is now a fundamental part of the compounded thinking from which we need to be untangled. The Church in America urgently needs the Godly application of the repentance of METANOEOW  that comes from having given ourselves to beholding the Lord and inquiring in His temple (Psalm 27:4).

HUPOSTREPHO

HUPOSTREPHOis the second word the New Testament uses to describe the act of repentance. It means to turn around in the opposite direction. HUPOSTREPHO is a plea to reverse the course of our attitudes, our ways, and our behaviors.

In every turning there is a turning from and a turning to. HUPOSTREPHO bids us to turn from our ways of sin and to the righteous ways of the Lord.

For He will turn HUPOSTREPHO many in Israel to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:16) 

Unfortunately, messages calling for repentance nearly always put all the emphasis on turning away from sin. And we must turn away from sin. But, if the enemy can keep us focused on what we’re leaving: the loss of self, nationalism, racial justification, sexual indulgence and pride we will not avail ourselves of the holy strength that comes from gazing at the One to Whom we’re turning.

The fact of the matter is there is so much more of God to repent into than sin to repent from. Unrighteousness is a mud puddle compared to the ocean of God’s pleasures; mystery, beauty, power, transcendence, unconditional love, unity, wisdom. The enemy has nothing to offer us that compares to the height of exhilaration the Lord has for us in these Godly dynamics. When we HUPOSTREPHO we’re leaving the vastly inferior promise of sin and turning to the exceedingly abundant blessings of the Lord. The two cannot be compared. 

When John the baptizer cried, “Repent,” he was calling humanity into the Kingdom, no less than he was calling us away from unrighteousness. Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 3:2). It is standing right before you! Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29 and 36).His messages were exhortations into the depths of One Who was coming. He must increase, and I must decrease (John 3:30). He was saying, set your eyes on the One mightier than I  Who is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16).

Consider. What revelation of the Messiah burned in John’s bosom? What of His immense splendor had he seen? What heavenly glories did he encounter in his years of beholding Him face to Face? What did He know of the God Who melts mountains like wax (Psalm 97:5)? What stories could he tell about the One from Whom heaven and earth flees (Revelation 20:11)? What had the God Who has Genesis 1 on His resume shown him in the wilderness?

I guarantee you; John was far far more fascinated with the inexpressible wonders of the One Who was coming than the piddly issues of unrighteousness that were being moved out of His way (Isaiah 40:4). The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. (Isaiah 40:5) This is the magnificent invitation of HUPOSTREPHO. 

I’m convinced that should the Church adopt this full proclamation of repentance, the colossal glory, and majesty of Jesus would quickly swamp the thin, one-dimensional arguments of the humanists and socialists in our land. And rather than tussling with the adversaries of the gospel in the quagmires of human thinking, we’d see the Holy Spirit baptizing them into the eternal waters of our King’s holy love.

SHUBV 

This is the most frequently used Hebrew word for repentance. From the root it means to burn your house down and leave with Me. SHUBV is making a radical life-correction, abandoning an old way of living, to do life God’s way, with God Himself.
Therefore say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 14:6)

It’s the Lord’s kindness (Romans 2:4) to expose the poverty of our ways. His call to SHUBV repentance is an invitation for us to leave our rickety self-constructed self-governance and be enlisted into the soundness of His leadership.

Through the cataclysmic events of 2020, it’s become apparent that the Holy Spirit is confronting every believer, every fellowship, community, and confederation in America with this question: “How willing are you to have Me? Do you see that through plagues and race-riots and political treachery I am helping you to ‘burn your insufficient house down’ so that you may live in My superior mansion? Do you understand that I am dismantling your meager perception and human-powered reasoning in order to bring you into My eternal frame of mind? As I am bringing My government to this world I want you with Me, thinking My thoughts, enjoying My emotions, agreeing with My judgments and thriving in My wisdom.”

The season of 2020 has been all about the King “burning down our old normals” so that He may bring us into the order of His new, dawning normal. Some of the corrections we need to make will be less costly than others. On the other hand, some will require severe reorientation if we want to respond faithfully to the Lord. Jesus was thinking about His immoderate remedy in the Sermon on the Mount when He was addressing several of the seven issues on our list. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29)

Will we spurn His diagnosis and oppose this treatment? Or though it be drastic, will we amputate death so He may fit us with life? This is the question that confronts us in SHUBV repentance. And it will only be adequately answered as we seek the Face the One Who is worth burning our house down for.

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple… Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:25-27 & 33)

This is the claim that God has on the lives of those He has redeemed. It’s a mark of our “laissez-faire”, “manifest destiny” culture that we would think Christianity is an invitation to anything less radical. The Lord is returning to a planet that is alien to His ways. And He is calling His people to come out from the midst of them.

I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord… I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:16-18)

The Greek word for Church itself is ECCLESIA. It means “the called out ones”. To burn our houses down and follow Him has always been the charge of His Church.

NACHAM

There is one final word used in the Old Testament for repentance. It is the word NACHAM. It is only translated once as the word repentance, butit is quite frequently coupled with SHUBV repentance. The word that NACHAM is most often translated into is the word “comfort”.

NACHAM is the comfort that the Lord invites His people into in His opening proclamation in Isaiah 40:1. Comfort NACHAM, NACHAM My people! And tell her that her hostility to My ways is now finished.

Isaiah is saying, ”There is One Who is coming Who will cause you to have the strength to walk in My ways of life and righteousness. Take comfort in this truth! Repent and remove the obstacles from His way, so that your restless and wandering souls may find comfort in the care of His perfect leadership.”

NACHAM is the Lord’s “end-zone” for everyone engaged in the ongoing Kingdom activity of repentance. NACHAM maintains that we will experience more comfort in doing things Jesus’ way than in doing things our way.

Many in the family of God never experience the deep comfort and blessings of God in their lives for one simple reason: they refuse to acknowledge the depth of their bankrupt need for God. (This goes for whole nations, denominations, and church cultures too.) They refuse to give themselves to the thorough, Biblical application of repentance.

When we respond to God’s judgments with repentance, we are telling Him, “I trust You. I choose You and Your worldview to reign in my life. Not me and mine.” This is the solace of all who know they cannot control their own world. In our weak, impaired, and unfinished state, we need the leadership of a willing and compassionate God. And under His Lordship, we experience a growing comfort in understanding that He is not only willing and compassionate, but He is omnipotent in His ability to bring the human heart and the human race into the place of blessed strength, satisfaction, and peace.

It is also vital that we not neglect the other side to NACHAM. Should we fail to repent and turn to the Lord for comfort, He assures us we will ultimately not find it anywhere else. This was the message of the prophet NACHAM (Recognize the word?) to the people of Ninevah. And it stands as a foreboding word to our own prosperous and prideful culture:
Because you have acted like a wanton prostitute… I am against you, declares the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I will strip off your clothes! I will show your nakedness to the nations and your shame to the kingdoms… I will treat you with contempt; I will make you a public spectacle. Everyone who sees you will turn away from you in disgust; they will say, ‘Nineveh has been devastated! Who will lament for her?’ There will be no one to comfort you!… Your shepherds are sleeping… Your officers are slumbering! Your people are scattered like sheep on the mountains, and there is no one to regather them. Your destruction is like an incurable wound; your demise is like a fatal injury. All who hear what has happened to you will clap their hands for joy.” (Naham 3:4-7, 18-19)

REPENTANCE IS A CORPORATE RESPONSE

Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth.(Isaiah 40:3-4)

Isaiah 40 is heaven’s grand invocation to repentance. But the call isn’t a single trumpet blast. It’s a sustained concert. When the Lord appeals to His people to repent, He isn’t calling us to a one-time act. He’s calling us to live in a spirit of repentance. This is a big distinction that bears explanation.

The civil rights movement wasn’t a 30-minute prayer. It was years of addressing the inequity of what our culture had become and carried out in an ongoing spirit of honesty, humility, and contrition. Here’s a statement that’s worthy of much consideration. The degree to which the Church is out-of-kilter with Jesus’ Kingdom is even greater than our dis-alignment with societal justice. The call to repentance is a call to a new, humble, self-crucifying, life-altering paradigm until justice (the right order of the King) runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream (Amos 5:24) into all aspects of life.

If we are to manifest the fulness of the repentance the Lord is calling us into we must establish New Testament communities that major on repentance, contextualize repentance, train us in repentance, celebrate it, and won’t run from it. In short, the people of God must learn to live repentance. 

When the Lord said to David, seek My Face, (Psalm 27:8) He was calling him to something more than an isolated event. He was inviting him to invest in a lifestyle that would also create a cultural vehicle where others could encounter the presence of God.

The vehicle that David invested in was the “temple of the Lord” ultimately built by his son, Solomon. On the day the temple was dedicated, this is how the Lord met His people:

When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3)

The Lord was saying, “Now you have entered into My paradigm. This is how I want you to meet with Me. I will bless you, and walk among you as you gather in this place.” Once it was established, the temple shaped every aspect of the way Israel related to God. It was the “new wineskin” (Mark 2:22) for the people of God.

Here’s how David and Solomon’s story relates to our story. The Lord isn’t calling us to seek His Face for a remedy until the trouble passes by. He’s calling us to seek His Face as the foundational experience of how we relate to Him. He’s changing the understanding and expression of Christianity so that encountering the tangible, dialoguing presence of the Lord becomes the Church’s essential normal.

The repentance that’s in the Lord’s heart is not an eccentric experience that churns in a few religious zealots. It’s a whole new way of relating to Him that requires reestablishing our corporate way of life. It’s putting public prayer and repentance ahead of everything else in the Church. It’s what the Church does when it gathers for Sunday worship, women’s groups, social-service activities, board meetings, conferences, etc. And ultimately, it’s the lifestyle the Church invites new believers into – now until He returns. 

The truth be told, the Church needs to repent of our emaciated idea of repentance. We aren’t familiar with the vision of repentance that’s in the Lord’s heart right now. It’s an exceedingly foreign pattern of doing things. Repentance was revolutionary to the Jews in the Lord’s first coming, when the Kingdom of God was ordained to exist under the agency of the governments and social structures of the world. How much more extreme will repentance be when it leads to the total rending of the old and the inauguration of His tangible reign on the earth?

The repentance that’s in the Holy Spirit’s heart in this hour is a rich, fascinating fanfare that invites all of creation into alignment with His flawless majesty! O Beloved, how deep could be our repentance!?

Come, and let us repent before the Lord… that we may live in His sight. Let us know; let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth. (Hosea 5:1,2,3)

Holy Spirit, give the Church in America a repentance that our Bridegroom King is worthy of.

THE CHALLENGE TO REPENTANCE AND PRAYER

Allow me to be candid here. If we experienced the calamities of COVID and are spending no more time in prayer, we must not be deluded; our souls are in danger. We are not preparing ourselves for the increase of trouble that lies ahead. We are not availing ourselves of the strength the Lord urgently wants to give us. Our minds and our hearts will be buffeted by the storm of accusations, conspiracies, and sensationalism that will increasingly fill the world. In this hour of compounding confusion and tribulation, all who decline to enter into the primary paradigm of humble prayer will see neither our world nor our God right nor respond to Him and His judgments as they need.

Beloved, there are pivotal issues that the Lord wants to see bloom within His Son’s Bride. The way we do this is through repentance. Don’t shrink back from this proposition. Yes, it willentail work. But the Lord is faithful to give us much grace for this “new normal”. He knows we’ve never experienced the unique pressures of an hour like this. Our God is passionately committed to bringing all who Seek His Face into the unfathomable generosity of His blessing. He is so zealous for our good!

It’s the people who cultivate the expectation of the Lord’s presence who will receive the Lord’s dispensation of authority. The next season of the Church’s life willbe filled with His compassionate, supernatural, healing presence. He will affect the miraculous reconciliation of families, races, and churches. Millions will be delivered, saved, and added to our number. But this Kingdom reality will only break in upon us as humble, united, intimate, God-seeking, corporate prayer becomes our cultural norm.

Who will partner with the Lamb of Revelation 5 as He opens the scrolls of judgment over the nations? Who will meet Him on His terms as He brings His reign to earth?

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! (Revelation 5:12)

__________

This is an excerpt from our book “Seek My Face: A Guide to Praying Through the Judgments of the Lord” (2021). If you would like a copy of this book write us at xaris4u@yahoo.com for a free PDF manuscript version, or you may purchase a copy at AMAZON: tinyurl.com/SeekMyFaceTheBook .

The Siletz

Believe it or not, I am about to juxtapose, Jeremiah 5, Revelation 1 and Critical Race Theory – AND keep them all in context !

The year is 2021. One with Eyes like fire (Revelation 1:14); the Man Who spent more time confronting His own covenant people about their racial sin than anyone else in the Bible, is walking among our American evangelical lamp-stand (Revelation 1:13). His sharp, piercing Tongue (Revelation 1:16) declares our antiCRT self-justification “deceitful” (Jeremiah 5:1) and “false” (Jeremiah 5:2).

You wanna tell Jesus you’re confronting socialism?
He may just confront you with the Siletz.

In 1856, after decades of invading their land, hunting, building, burning, and breaking constitutional treaty after treaty, the American war department forced the Siletz people onto a reservation stretching 111 miles down the Oregon coast; some of the most bountiful land in all of America. In 1954 the US government rescinded its land-grant to the Siletz, and in an official act known as “the termination” determined that it would no longer recognize any of the native nations, its own treaties or the constitutional rights of these Oregonians themselves.

1954. While your parents were listening to “Sh-boom” and “Three Coins in a Fountain”. Whole families were forcibly removed from land they had logged, fished and farmed for hundreds of years; their children forced into reeducation camps and schools.

Today, where 38 distinct nations existed, there now exists 9. The rest of the people are no more. The people who fought to be re-recognized by our government are now plagued with rampant drug-addiction, suicide, unemployment rates over 90% and extreme poverty. Some miraculously embrace our same Jesus.

What part of this story did either the Democrats or the Republicans object to? What part of this story did our Pentecostal parents (who greatly inhabited this land after WW2) protest? What part of this story would you tolerate if some foreign power had inflicted it on your family? What part of this story should future generations of evangelical children not be taught?

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know, and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her. Though they say “As the Lord lives,” surely they swear falsely. O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return. Therefore I said, “Surely these are poor, they are foolish; for they do not know the way of the Lord.”

(Jeremiah 5:1-4)

JSB • October, 2021

16 Degrees of Repentance

The 16 Dimensions of Repentance found in Joel

I’ve studied and prayed through the book of Joel intensely for more than 15 years. In chapters 1 and 2 of Joel, the Lord issues 16 key instructions that will help His people to authentically and thoroughly (the capacity for our hearts to deceive us is great) yield and repent to the Lord (think Daniel 9).

  1. “Hear and listen to the Word of the Lord.” (Joel 1:2) Keep on listening. Keep on hearing.
  2. “Be awakened.” (Joel 1:5) Let the light of the Holy Spirit illuminate your heart.
  3. “Blow the trumpet.” (Joel 2:1) Declare the need for repentance.
  4. “Gather the elders.” (Joel 1:14) Share and dialogue what the Lord is saying with the leaders.
  5. “Call a sacred assembly.” (Joel 1:14) Gather the people – call everyone to humble themselves unto holiness.
  6. “Sanctify the congregation.” (Joel 2:16) Establish the purpose and intent of your gathering as holy and focused on the intentions of the Lord.
  7. “Consecrate a fast.” (Joel 2:12) Focus the hearts and appetites to be fully attentive to the Lord.
  8. “Rend your heart.” (Joel 2:13) Make your self, your ways, your history, your heritage, and your hopes exposed and vulnerable before the Lord.
  9. “Tremble.” (Joel 2:1) Be aware of your unrighteous nakedness before the God of perfect holiness and power.
  10. “Lament.” (Joel 1:13) Meditate upon how decimated and barren you are apart from the Lord.
  11. “Weep and wail.” (Joel 1:5 and Joel 2:17) Let your naked, barren condition and the condition of your family and your people bring you to tears and touch your emotions.
  12. “Be ashamed.” (Joel 1:11) Let yourself feel the shame of your nakedness before the Holy One and all the holy ones in heaven.
  13. “Lie in sackcloth.” (Joel 1:13 and Joel 1:12) Let your whole being be brought to nothing – to death – the grave – despair and ashes. Lie in that reality. Let it be your clothing.
  14. “Cry out to the Lord.” (Joel 1:14) Repent out loud. Pour out your heart, your sins, your barrenness, your inability, your need, your hope, your falseness and your despair before the Lord. Keep on crying out.
  15. “Prioritize the Lord’s paradigm.” (Joel 2:16) As you continue to listen to His Word, let Him reveal His righteousness and His righteous ways to your heart. Dialogue these righteous ways among the company of the repentant ones until they become agreed upon values and priorities.
  16. “Gather and tell your children.” (Joel 1:3) Establish an agreed upon paradigm for teaching yourselves, and your children the right order of the Lord. This is where your repentance becomes your new cultural narrative that emphasizes the mercy and the right order of the Lord.

Each element on the wheel points to a relational reality that is important for us to follow in the repentance process. These elements are like lights in the cabin of an airliner that’s filled with smoke and plummeting into the ocean. They are practical steps to help us corporately respond to the Lord while we’re experiencing the emotional destabilization (think 2020+) that comes with being in a “time of trouble” (Psalm 27:5). It’s vital that we know how to come to Him “without one plea” in wholehearted truth, and not in a superficial, or self-saving spirit.

Beloved, HIS mercies are sure. Though we come with real fear of the Lord, we can also come with great confidence that the ugliest truths about ourselves are embraced and forgiven by the blood-drenched cross of His Son.

The acid test that tells us we’ve given ourselves to this thorough, naked work of repentance is that when we get up from the cross our hearts glory in HIS MERCY – and not in our RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Beloved, our King is coming. Like the generation of John the Baptist, our family – the people of God – urgently need to stop feeding the strongholds of self-justification and pride and engage the Lord in the radical work of contrition and repentance.

This is the only ground that will remain through the (Hebrews 12:26-27) shaking that is intensifying around us.

JSB • September, 2021