Revival: His Increase and Our Decrease

“The friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John the Baptist)

As the judgements of 2020 blur, and the pressures of 2021 shift, I hear numerous voices in evangelicalism declaring: “revival is coming”.

As one who was born in, studied, tasted, been disappointed, prayed for and rejoiced in revival for more than 40 years, I believe what most of us envision when we hear the word “revival”, bears very little resemblance to the vision of what’s in the heart of God. The revival that is coming (and it “is” coming) will not be marked by God making “Church” popular. Nor will it be about Him making big, Jesus events popular, or American, conservative values popular, or charismatic personalities popular, or even making a Biblical world-view popular. As revival burns in our nation, it will undoubtably appear alongside many of these elements, but these will not be the signs that God is in our midst.

I’m convinced the revival that’s coming will be marked by three cascading, connected dynamics.
1. Revival will run like wild-fire across our nation upon the sparks of viral REPENTANCE. Repentance, abasement, humility and poverty of spirit will be the defining human response to salvation springing up from the ground in gathering after gathering, in region after region.
2. This viral transparency and vulnerability before the Lord will be ignited by an unparalleled spirit of the FEAR OF THE LORD and FIRST-COMMANDMENT LOVE FOR THE LORD. Wise servants, intercessors, evangelists, pastors and leaders will aim the people of God into a (Psalm 2:11) rejoicing and trembling spirit, and refrain from calling anything “revival” that isn’t.
3. The fear and love for the Lord will arise in the power of the Holy Spirit, from both small and large groups giving themselves to rich, combustable atmospheres saturated with the a pure adoration and exaltation of the BEAUTY OF JESUS.

Any thought of a revival as densely glorious as this becoming about ministry prestige, or political domination, or anything else we can take ownership of should be as troubling to us as the story of Ananias and Saphira. In Acts 5:11 Luke tells us that “great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.” All who embrace the revival that’s coming for temporal gain will watch the living presence of the Lord run like water through their hands. If we want what God has in store next, it’s imperative that we who pray for it, purge the self-accumulating voice from our minds – post-haste. Truth-be-told, the longer we tolerate this voice the further we remove ourselves from experiencing true revival.

The revival that’s coming will eclipse every other close comparison in our nation’s 250 year history. It will out-shine and out-shake anything 2000 years of Christianity has ever seen. For the same reason that THIS MUST BE TRUE, this revival will be marked by viral fear of the Lord, humility, repentance and joy. Both the unruly demonized and the religiously disciplined will bow low and break under the weight of His presence. It will produce glory-rich-atmospheres where no human is safe to stand; and no hand worthy to steady His holiness. It will literally be consummately about Him, and His increase. Period. In this hour, it would be impossible for revival to come any other way.

“For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14 and Isaiah 11:9) 

Jesus is not returning to one ministry, one region or one nation. Neither is He coming to exalt any one of them. He’s coming to claim a Bride, separate the sheep from the goats, and rule 195 nations! What’s coming is a revival to herald His arrival; one that gives way to a global manifestation of His Isaiah 40:3-5 glory, where every impediment to Him will be touched, confronted and ultimately leveled… Economics, social justice, politics, schools, church-life, family structures, recreation, philosophy, medicine, relationships, heart attitudes and mind sets will all shake at the sound of His Word – dividing joint from marrow, so that it might establish His right order at the very core of the human heart. At the same time, everything that opposes His unique worthiness to reign will be consumed by the fierce judgement of His Mouth.

Beloved, envisioning what’s on the horizon is enough to melt flesh where we stand.

“The revival that’s coming will eclipse every other close comparison in our nation’s 250 year history. It will out-shine AND out-shake anything 2000 years of Christianity has ever seen. For the same reason that THIS MUST BE TRUE, this revival will be marked by viral ‘fear of the Lord’, humility, repentance and joy.”

Consequently, those who herald this revival, of necessity, must first be overtaken by a radically crucified spirit. This is the spirit that stirred in John the Baptist. The apostle John, wrote about the forerunner John: “He was not the Light.” (John 1:8) Through a life of sanctification, solitude, prayer, obsession, fasting, beholding, longing, confrontation and scandal the Spirit forged John into a man of great fidelity to the amplification of One singular vision: the brilliant increase of the One Who IS THE LIGHT. 

John the Baptist wasn’t just a good opening act for the main attraction. John really DID prepare the way of the Lord. His selfless, focused words humbled the noisy hearts and scene-stealing souls of an animated, turbulent, clamoring, claiming and fearful people so that they might “behold” the “True Light Who enlightens every man” (John 1:9).

As the Messiah’s light illuminated hearts through John’s preaching the world saw itself through the lens of this God/Man’s dawning glory. The result was massive repentance of valleys, mountains, crooked ways and rugged paths. Everything of self was baptized into death, or they were left in “great sorrow”. (Mark 10:22) The authentication of John’s ministry was human zeal to yield self to the increasing the reign of the arriving King.

What then of those who herald revival today? What should be our spirit and determination?

Beloved, it should not need to be said: if we are heralding the vision God promises, and “all flesh”(Isaiah 40:5) is beholding HIS GLORY, our glory will not be interrupting it. Indeed, it means that our definition of maturity in this hour must be equated with becoming increasingly jealous for HIS reputation and selfless for our own. We must learn to be content with humility and obscurity, marginalized on the wilderness of culture for the sake of a billion souls being apprehended by the preeminence (Colossians 1:18) of the King.

“The One Who has the bride is the Bridegroom.” (John 3:29)

It will also mean that when the foundations of the world feel revival, they will be feeling the tremors of His arrival. The principalities that “lie in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19) will seek to vanquish the voice of not just one, but many… Revival will be the way of those who “love the day of His appearing” (1 Timothy 4:8) so much they “love not even their own lives unto death”. (Revelation 12:11)

Who understands that this is the the revival that the Lord has in His heart?

Who will so glory in what He is worth that they joyfully make way for His increase, even at the price of our own decrease?

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JSB • April, 2021

POST-SCRIPT

Below is a negative “case-in-point” regarding prophecies of Revival in our land. This word states revival will sweep across our nation in April, 2021, and was published by Charisma – in April, 2021.

Can you spot what’s “off” in this prophetic word?

REVIVAL IN APRIL
“Beloved, are you ready for the Lord to move suddenly with good things in April? If so, you will be encouraged by what the Lord showed me today! This is the prophetic word the Lord gave me for April 2021:”I am pouring out My Spirit of freedom on you. In April, you will have a tremendous desire to be free from all shackles that bind you.” This desire is from Me. Do what you can to get free, and trust Me to do the rest. Ask Me daily to free you from debt and from any imprisonment in your mind. There are things I planned for you before your birth that I will be pouring out on you in April. These are special things. It is true that I wrote all of your daily works in My books before the foundation of the world, but I am referring to special things here. There are special things that will come as a result of a kairos moment in April, things that will propel you forward into the bright and glorious future I have in store for you.” Ask Me now to send My creative works to you from the four winds of heaven, and I will. My Spirit Will Blow on You. You will be refreshed; springtime will come to your soul even as it comes to My earth. My Spirit is even now renewing and refreshing your soul, but the fullness of this work will be a process. By the end of April, you will feel completely rejuvenated again if you will cooperate with My Spirit. A Special Present Bestowed Look for it, and watch for it; it was created the year you were born, even though it will be a surprise to you. Things are coming full-circle to you, and you will be blessed and astounded! I say to you again, you will be astounded in April! You will be shielded from the rebellion of those who rise against you. The enemy has planned two attacks against you in April, but pray now for the devourer to be rebuked on your behalf. Pray now that the plans of the enemy would come to nothing, and I will step in and intervene on your behalf. Clearly see my plans for you. Even to your old age I will carry you, but you have been feeling lately like I have abandoned you. However, I say to you today: Far be it from Me to do such a thing! Abandoning you is not in Me! I am holy, pure, just and true, and I will remain faithful and true to you. It is who I am! In April, your life will shine again. The doldrums will be far from you; you will get your energy back! And with your energy will come a vision of your future. You have been seeing things so darkly, but indeed I say to you that in April you will see gold again! You will see clearly! Confusion and obscurity will be far from you; you will arise and shine into the morning of your life! Your work will be blessed; your business will be blessed; your business will prosper. Trust Me at all times with the things that concern you, for I am perfecting them all! I am with you to comfort you. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for I the Lord Your God am with you wherever you go. Go out in confidence, knowing that the Lord of hosts is on your side. Call upon Me as the Lord of hosts, and I will be with you in trouble. You shall come out shining like gold! ‘Prepare for April; in April, you will be astounded,’ says the Lord! Beloved, are you ready to be astounded? If so, print this article off or write down the prayer points and pray over them faithfully starting now and throughout the month of April!”

I have withheld the name of the author of this prophecy. I don’t know anything about them. What I have become familiar with is the nature of false-prophecy. The fact that this wave of the Holy Spirit is not currently happening across our nation is not what makes this prophecy “false”. Take a moment to re-read this word. Where are the eyes of your heart directed? Did you recognize that Jesus isn’t even once mentioned in a prophecy about revival??? The spirit of this word is ALL ABOUT THE INCREASE OF SELF.

Sisters and brothers, the potential for deception in this hour is enormous. It’s so important that we seek the Lord and understand His definition of revival. Literally, it is life and death.

When the Lord calls us to REPENT…

“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to REPENT, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man Whom He has ordained.”

Acts 17:30-31

Last year, many prophets marked Passover, as the final day that COVID-19 would ravage America. None had foretold of the plague’s arrival, but now, after failing to predict it’s departure at Holy Week (two weeks prior) they claimed to have heard from God: “It would cease at the end of Passover”. Christian periodicals trumped these false assertions. Millions of believers used these proud statements to bolster their ire against evil forces at work in our world.

On April 17, 2020, the day AFTER PASSOVER Johns Hopkins recorded the following information: 4593 Corona virus related deaths.

Instead of ceasing on this date, the date marked a record number of contracted cases – and more COVID deaths than any prior day. I don’t need to tell you where the statistics went after that. The judgment of the Lord has proven to be very “real”; the prophets and their prophecies, very “wrong”.

As we continue in this hour of trouble, it is wise for believers to keep the failure of these prophetic messengers in mind. Many redacted their accounts, shifting their presentiments to the day of Pentecost. When those forecasts also failed, many turned their attention to the political firestorms that raged throughout the summer and autumn of 2020. These same soothsayers, declared a landslide victory for the incumbent President – someone who was currying their favor, turning their churches into campaign rallies, and injecting poisonous, contra-Christ rhetoric into the body of Christ. Throughout the rest of 2020 it was primarily his narrative, (and tragically not the Lord’s) that ruled the hearts of millions of evangelicals. Rather than humble ourselves before the Face of our Deliverer, (Isaiah 40:26) we allowed ourselves to get caught up in conspiracies to explain away our need to face our own unrighteous ways. We took up his rage against civil rights, foreigners, political enemies and traitorous allies rather than prayerfully, intently examine His scriptures and let the Holy Spirit identify the sin, rebellion, impurities and worldly attachments in our own hearts.

This continued unabated, for even months after the election, as our indignant Commander-in-Chief, in spite of 72 failed local court cases, the determination of 16 conservative Governors and AG’s, and the assertions of his own cyber-security chief, Attorney General and Vice-President, continued to foment hate-filled storylines to explain away the embarrassment of his defeat.

And through it all, the failed prophets of spring, became the failed prophets of the fall, became the failed prophets of winter. In spite of a string of endless prayer rallies, feverish prayer initiatives and bogus endeavors to counter the alleged election fraud, their champion left office after a pathetic, yet violent insurrection attempted to keep him in power at the final stroke of midnight. Every step of the way, encouraged and not discouraged by the prophets.

And many false prophets will appear and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)

“Your prophets saw visions for you that were worthless whitewash. They failed to expose your sin so as to restore your fortunes. They saw oracles for you that were worthless lies.” (Lamentations 2:14)

“The prophets prophesy lies.The priests exercise power by their own authority. And my people love to have it this way. But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes!” (Jeremiah 5:31)

The poison that gave rise to the many, many false prophecies in 2020 still courses through the veins of our body in 2021 – greatly undiagnosed, ignored and even justified by many. Over the past three months the urgency has receded. The spirit has returned to a mode of pretense. But the same proud spirit refuses to hear; refuses to bend; refuses to come near the Lord’s circumspect gaze, and refuses to turn from its wicked ways.

What was 2020 all about?

I’ve written, but more importantly prayed, a great deal about what the Lord is/was speaking to the Church over this past year. The most simple way to state it is “2020 was about the Lord arresting the Church’s attention, inviting millions of saints, churches and ministries to ‘reason together’ with Him in His tent of meeting over the state of our heart, and the nature of our ways.” In a word, the Lord is judging His household and calling us to repentance.

“Our Christian walk is an ongoing refining process. The Lord loves us too much to leave us where we are today. Our spiritual intention (where we want to be in our depth of love and biblical understanding) matters, but He wants to show us our reality—which is our present condition. The Lord wants to wake us up to our real condition so that we can deal with it in light of His truth and grace. He has plans to take us places richer and deeper than we’ve ever known.” The International House of Prayer Kansas City

Now, four months into 2021, the Church that was embroiled in false prophecy, self-justification, and hostile idolatrous nationalism continues with the same poison in her veins, believing that they are all the more persecuted for their own righteousness sake; unmoved by the pressures that the Lord is putting on their heart; and while still raging with accusatory anger, are plying God’s favor to receive the ascendency of revival within their old, corrupted wineskins. It is as ludicrous today, to believe the Lord will pour out new wine in this hour as it was to believe the Lord was going to abruptly crush the plague without the people of God giving ourselves to repentance last spring.

The Lord is delivering His people from this wicked, evil age, and we, the body of Christ in America are intent on bringing all of our idols with us while we mock, condemn and disparage the wicked culture we’re leaving behind.

We’re no different than the Pharisees, who were filled with their own self-justification as they displayed their disdain for the lost while refusing to extend themselves to their salvation with compassion.

The Lord will not have His Bride this way. If we’re intent on remaining in this condition, He will let us, but He will not have “us”. He is the Lord.

The fact that He is Lord means He calls the shots. He determines our way. He leads. We follow. He calls. We respond. To press Him for blessing and more power in an hour when He’s calling us to abase ourselves and repent of the way we’ve been using our power is an insurrection spirit. It’s telling the Lord, we will have Your Kingdom our way. It’s that serious.

When the Lord calls the Church to repent, it’s time to repent. Any alternative course of action is not only unwise, it is unworkable.

When Jesus rebuked the “rich” Church at Laodicea (Revelation 3) as “poor, wretched, blind, naked, and miserable” they understood that they needed to stop investing in their old definition of wealth and repent before they would be able to “sit with Jesus on His throne”.

In Isaiah 1 the prophet declares the summons of the Lord to a people who had equal problems hearing the clear voice of the Lord:
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! for the Lord has spoken:
“I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me;
The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”
Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken the Lord; they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel; they have turned away backward.
Why should you be stricken again?

You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints.
From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment.
Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah:
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” says the Lord.

“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.
“When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts?
Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me.

The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.

Cease to do evil, and learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
(Isaiah 1:2-20)

It would have been one more sign of their self-indulgent ways for the Children of Israel to seek His provision for their conferences and worship festivals while the Lord was calling them to “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.”

At Sinai (Exodus 32), when God confronted Israel with her idolatry the people understood they’d go no further toward the promised land until they repented and let the Lord remove the cultural adultery from their midst.

The Lord is calling the Church in America to respond to His judgements. It’s time to repent. Any other course of action, pursuit, strategy, zeal, or focus is not level-headed. When the Lord is telling us our foundational ways are unsound – He means for us to let Him demolish our old ways, so that He can establish sufficient ways that will support the house of His choosing. Any effort to continue to build on old foundations is not only futile, it is insubordinate.

When the Lord of the Church calls us to repent, it’s time to repent. Any alternative course is not only unwise, it is unworkable.

When the Lord commanded His disciples to “remain in Jerusalem” and “wait and pray” (Acts 1), they would have missed the promise from the Father had they “taken their liberty” of the city and “not prayed”.

Beloved, there IS a sure Word from heaven coming to the Church in this hour. It is THE GLORIOUS remedy to all our fears and maladies! One that vastly outshines the alternative many of us have become fastened to. But we must enter into it.

The good news is, availing ourselves of this remedy, while vigorous, will be the most exhilarating, healing and empowering thing we can do in this hour. It’s where we meet HIM.

Yes. I still believe this, one year later. Only with more urgent intensity coming from Jesus that His Bride trust His leadership and respond to His judgements.

I deeply believe, if in gathering after prayer meeting after Bible Study after staff meeting, the whole Church were to embrace the Lord’s exhortation in this hour, press into the New Testament paradigm of corporate prayer (more ardently that we’re pressing into learning new technology), humble ourselves, and deeply repent of our unrighteous ways – we would experience the Holy Spirit’s wind of viral repentance, mourning, prayer-filled humility, can’t-make-it-stop-surrender, longing, abasement, adoration and utter yieldedness to the approaching Bridegroom.
Throughout our nation, this “spirit of (Isaiah 40) repentance” would launch the household of God into a new expression of Kingdom power that
a.) the Word promises,
b.) would dethrone our cultural/political idols,
c.) would release billions from demonic bondage,
d.) explode the conventions of 21c western churchianity,
e.) unite the Bride, together with the Voice of the Holy Spirit,
f.) would usher in a world-wide harvest of souls,
g.) pierce Israel with the revelation of their Messiah, and
h.) together we would hasten the return of our King.

____________________
JSB • April, 2021

We’re in the Process of “Becoming”

“The kingdoms of this world have BECOME the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:5)

Friends, we’re in the hour of “becoming”…

The “shaking” that’s happening all around us and within us is the “becoming” of (Revelation 11:5).

The truth is, through the shaking we’re either “becoming” 100% His, or we’re “becoming” defensive about why He should not have our attitudes, our opinions, our trust, our heart, our love, our obedience, our dreams, our family, our nation, our… 100% allegiance.

The shaking that’s intensifying around us is meant to drive us to “one thing” – the place of prayer and beholding His supremacy.

“The One whose voice shook the earth; has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven (that I may remove) those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27)

But ultimately, this shaking is not about our SECURITY.

It’s not even primarily about our DEPENDENCY.

It’s about HIS ASCENDENCY.

It’s SO VITAL that we understand this narrative from heaven’s perspective, friends. The shaking that’s going on around us is absolutely not about our hearts, our lives, our families, our communities or nation returning to some sort of economic, personal, emotional, social or political SECURITY.

Neither is it primarily about us developing economic, political, emotional, social or spiritual DEPENDENCY upon Him – although He is phenomenally committed to our dependency – UNDER THE GLORY OF HIS REIGN. (A man on a horse may be dependent upon that horse to bring him to everything that he wants and needs without ever having to make the journey about the horse itself.)

It’s about HIS ASCENDENCY as the King, to the glory of the Father, the applause of the Holy Spirit, the adoration of living creatures, the praise of the angels, the worship of the elders, the magnification of Israel, and all humanity, and the submission of the devil and his angels and all those who choose something other than His worthiness to reign…

“Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…” (Isaiah 40:4-5)

Beloved, if we don’t get the vision of His increase established in our hearts and minds, we’ll seriously misread what’s happening in the days ahead. Our responses to Him will be shallower than they could be, off-target, self-retaining, pointed toward externals, rather than rooted internally, and ultimately devoid of the authority that He will give all those who are abandoned to the increase of His reign on the earth.

“It’s about His ascendency!”

____________________
JSB • April, 2021

Father Give Us the Zeal of Jesus

In an hour when there is no end to the injustices that will enflame our hearts it’s seriously vital for us Christ-followers to remember that it was primarily ZEAL for the Father and His house, not merely HOSTILITY against those perpetuating injustice that Jesus manifested in the temple in John 2.

“ZEAL FOR Your house has consumed me.” (John 2:27)

It’s so easy for our anger to cloud our minds with self-justification regarding our stance over any given issue. How do we know when we’re operating in a spirit of ZEAL, and not a spirit of shallow HOSTILITY?

The spirit of ZEAL will empower us to take up our cross and lay down our lives; not just on behalf of a cause or an issue, but on behalf of those who most oppose us! Jesus’ Kingdom isn’t merely an order of righteousness. It’s an order of righteousness where the unrighteous are miraculously made righteous under the authority of the Righteous One.

Jesus could take up a whip against the wicked because He was also willing to take up a cross on their behalf. His indictment against their evil, was ultimately connected to intercession on behalf of his enemies, as well as an invitation into a new way of living.

In an age when rage is kindled so quickly throughout our culture, we evangelicals (remember what that word means?) do well to remind our hearts that we follow the One Who prayed for His executioners: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:24)

Today, He issues the same prayer to the enemies of His Kingdom; (Yes. Even THOSE enemies…) And He invites them, (and us) into a fellowship of intimate forgiveness where His Spirit of love fills our hearts and floods every aspect of our lives. This is the self-denying power of the gospel for which the enemy has no counter-measure; one that witnesses to hard hearts and pierces the angry lies of the devil.

Heaven is not an inch concerned about us merely winning an uncivil war for morality. But there are crowns aplenty for those who win uncivil hearts into allegiance to the King. This must remain the victory ground we’re zealous to take: we only, ultimately win a cultural conflict when He wins the souls of those in hostility to His Kingdom.

“Father, give me the ZEAL of Jesus.”

____________________
JSB • April, 2021

Pondering The Paradigm of Profound Preparation

I am daily underestimating the kind of preparations that need to be made in my heart… my relationships… the way I think about God… etc. in order for me to receive and gladly herald the perfectly holy, loving, powerful, humble and “other” King on the horizon…

The paradigm-shift the Church and our world has entered into is unfathomable from a human perspective.

Consider: if Jesus’ first-coming to the single nation of Israel was prefaced by a massive move of repentance through the ministry of John the Baptist, what kind of move will it take to herald His second-coming to the whole earth?

We’ve never seen this kind of move of God before…

This King isn’t coming to make our churches big, or our political opinions more popular, or our lives more self-fulfilled. He’s coming to rule 195 nations, as well as the hearts and relationships of every soul on the planet!

Our world is about to go through the most cataclysmic transition in human history – from the age of Adam, and the curse of satanic rule – to an age where the Son of God Himself establishes His sovereign government upon the earth, and goodness and justice are the unopposed social, political and economic operational norms!

In this hour of preparation for His arrival, it makes sense that His (1 Peter 4:17) household would be on the precipice of a furious, soul-rending, fervid, can’t-make-it-stop, everywhere-present, unprecedented earthquake of repentance. The Word of the Lord has promised, every valley, every mountain, every crooked way, and every rough pathway will be brought into alignment with His ways (Isaiah 40:3) as the prelude to His arrival.

The shifting “understanding and expression of Christianity” is much more profound than we have yet believed. And, because of our reluctance to let go of the familiar, it will only “be accomplished” through the shifting of our hearts as we obediently respond to the judgements of the Lord. None-the-less, the signs from the Word and the Voice of the Spirit are telling us that everything is beginning to fall into place – just as He said it would.

A year ago Mike Bickle wrote: “Friends, we can not afford to be Biblically illiterate in this hour, or our hearts will end up confused and offended by the increased shaking (the judgements of the Lord) on the earth.”

If we can say anything about the shaking of this past year, it’s that it produced great confusion and offense within the people of God. It’s important that we settle in our minds that the shaking will only escalate from here on out beloved. Elements of the Church will only grow more confused and offended. Those who embrace humility, “seek His Face”, and align ourselves to His dawning eternal order will find ourselves more and more alien to the thrashing vestige of this world – both in and out of the Church.

In view of this, (as Hebrews 12:25-28 instructs us) it is supremely wise to “rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11) at the working of the Lord within our midst. Only those who say with the Psalmist: “My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times” (Psalm 119:20) will ultimately have grace to say “we love the day of His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

“Only those who say with the Psalmist: “MY SOUL BREAKS WITH LONGING FOR YOUR JUDGEMENTS AT ALL TIMES” (Psalm 119:20) will ultimately have grace to say, “WE LOVE THE DAY OF HIS APPEARING.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

This is the responsive, self-crucifying attitude that will sufficiently prepare us for the arrival of a King Whose government will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

It’s going to be worth it all…

____________________
JSB • April, 2021

The Great Self-Delusion

“If any man would come after Me, let him deny…” (Luke 9:23)

One of the cultural dynamics that has tripped us American believers up for more than a generation is the soup we live in, day-in and day-out that tells us Christianity is all about us. It’s not about us. It’s not even mostly about us. It’s only by His grace that ANY of this is about us at all.

If we make the Christian life about us we’ll never give ourselves to (John 3:30). We’ll never see the wisdom of attaching our life to a cross that’s attached to a grave. We’ll never surrender our will to the glory of the Father. Our self (with a little help from the enemy of our souls) will always make sure that our religious experiences are about… our self.

The late Elizabeth Elliot writes: “The fact is, as believers, it is not about us. It is not about my happiness, my joy, my well-being. It is about the glory of God and the Kingdom of Christ. The only means to real joy and content,ent is to make His glory the supreme objective in my life.”

The centrality of “me” is a great delusion, and it’s SO ubiquitous in our consumeristic Christian circles… The Kingdom is not about making my life work. Our part in the Kingdom is about enthroning His reign in our lives. (This is a big difference.) But the truth is, when we DON’T make it about ourselves our lives are filled with infinitely more satisfaction and fruit than we could achieve in our own effort.

The heart of the heart of the heart the Kingdom is about the Father’s promise He made to His Son; that He should rule the nations, and have an eternal partner, redeemed, purified and brought forth in first commandment love. This means that He WILL have a Bride, not necessarily that everyone WILL be a part of Her. It’s the invitation to joy. But it’s an invitation that must be traveled by dying to self. “Rejoice, but with trembling… lest you perish in the way.” (Psalm 2:11)

This is why I like the laconic proclamation of the gospel: “Jesus is Lord. How are you responding to that reality?” This is the gospel that John points to. This is the gospel that Jesus brings. This is the gospel that the apostles and the whole of the New Testament proclaims: “Jesus is Lord! And He’s coming to reign. And you’ll want to be cleansed of your rebellion; receive His pardon; and be filled with the administration and authority of His government, because He intends to co-rule with a prepared people. Nothing! in hell or on earth will stop this King from receiving this promise from the Father. The best life we can know (and it IS unbelievably fulfilling and fruitful) is for us to make our peace with Him, enter into His terms of agreement, and surrender to His reign of love – while we can.”

This is the nexus of the separation that is being accomplished in the Church in this hour. Many will experience the tremors of His voice calling us to come out of the tyranny of our own self-focused-rule and either not see Him for Who He is, not understand His call or reject His authentic call because it doesn’t look like the call they’re used to hearing Christianity issue. Some will gloriously go through the baptism of fire that He is sending to the earth and abandon themselves to come forth “without spot, wrinkle or blemish”. (Ephesians 5:27)
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JSB • April, 2021

Revelation 17 Religion and the Great Rebellion

Kamala Harris Set to Bring Baptist Faith, Hindu Roots to Historic Role, (Sojourners, November , 2020)

Sadly, in celebrating our Vice-President’s unholy blend of humanist Christianity and Hinduism, Sojourners is “true-to-form” giving us a pretty vivid picture of what the Revelation 17 religion looks like in 21c America…

The rise of the false church over the span of my lifetime is extraordinary. It’s one of the major signs of the imminent arrival of our King.

The truth is, when Jesus comes, He is bringing with Him a government that will be more contrary and disconcerting than any regime change in history. The power structures of this world, along with the dearly held values of billions of common people will resist Him immensely;
hating what it is that He stands for;
despising His exclusivity,
offended by His love for Israel,
enraged at His opposition to our self-made definitions of gender and marriage;
confounded as He confronts our idolatry;
and indignant as He exposes our “self-exalting” and “self-justifying” ways.

Billions will stare the God of the Bible in the face, shake their fist at Him and consciously and fervently reject both His “justice-system” and His selection of Jesus of Nazareth as the sole Arbiter of that justice. It will be a totally futile, but thoroughly fierce and adamant temper-tantrum where many people that we know will literally choose a vapid eternity apart from God rather than have His way of doing things rule over them.

Ultimately, any thought of a transcendent religious body will be swallowed up by a government that is entirely hostile to the order of the Perfect and Rightful King of the Earth, Jesus. And both religion and government will come to an agreement that will unite the world in a very “Babel-onian” (See Genesis 11) rebellion against the God of the Bible and His Son. (Incidentally, it’s the same spirit that we see in Isaiah’s [Ch.14] pre-creation depiction of the rebellion of satan in heaven.)

Of this hour Jesus says, “Many (or most) hearts will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) – both in love for God, and for others…

Do you know what Jesus’ remedy for this soul-condition is?
Do you know that in many chapters in both the Old Testament and the New the Lord repeatedly gives us clear, single-pointed instruction on how to avoid being swept up in this “great delusion”?
If you had to explain it to a loved one who is seeking refuge from the mounting spirit of the age, what would you tell them to do?

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JSB • March, 2021