Revolution, Repentance and Revival

Right now, it’s a real possibility that if the redeemed reach for revival without bending in repentance our nation will erupt in revolution.

The clear-eyed options before the nation and the Church in this hour are revolution or repentance & revival. Those who refuse the way of repentance & revival will most certainly be bound up in either the hostility of anarchy, or the hostility of conservatism. Lest it not be said, neither of these hostilities will stand on the Day of the Lord.

If we don’t see the depth of the crisis before us we will most certainly NOT understand the depth of the solution God’s making available to us, nor the degree to which He wants it applied through our lives.

The only way forward for the Church (much less America) in this hour is through Luke 9:23,24 radical Christ-following; to learn the incarnational way of repentance and humility and cross-bearing… in all that we do – in our board meetings, our community service, our Sunday services, our worship teams, our small groups, our strategic planning sessions, our preaching and our posting, but mostly in our daily prayer.

A repentant, crucified church prays.The Lord is hemming His Bride into “His normal”. There is no hope for a church, nor church leadership that does not pray. If we’re not praying, we’re not repenting. If we’re not repenting, we’re not crucified. And if we’re not crucified all our international ministries, pet projects, blogs and Christian commercial labels will be the fodder of eternal regret.

Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Simply put: if the Church will not learn the way of prayer, neither the nation nor the church will survive. Our God who is a Consuming Fire” (Hebrews 12:29) will guarantee it.

Church, the Lord is graciously giving us space to REPENT, SEEK HIS FACE and establish the priority of ONE THING. The time will come when, because of the deceitfulness of our unrepentant sin, we will be unable to see the wisdom or way of giving ourselves to these vital realities.

“Exhort one another daily, while it is called today lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

____________________
JSB • June, 2021

Evangelicals and Critical Race Theory

Anti-CRT arguments, like the one broadcast above by Candace Owens, are trending in evangelical circles. I believe they are also keeping us from one of the vital, honest conversations the Lord wants to have with His household about how disconnected our hearts are from His heart re: race and racial sin.

Dr. Esau Mccaulley (Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College) writes: “Instead of the conversation our nation has needed, we’ve been sidetracked into a national conversation about “CRT”; one tool of analysis (that most of us conservative believers do not use anyways) and not the thing “racism” itself.”

I lament with my esteemed brother’s cry above. When the black community (our black sisters and brothers in Christ) have been asking for us to hear their cry about racial justice (as they markedly have been for the last ten years), our next loudest response cannot be “All lives matter”, “Black Lives Matter is communist”, or “CRT is a socialist plot to bring down America”. These are the same arguments that the anti-civil-rights crowd (and far too many evangelicals) lodged against MLK in the 60’s.

Of all the memes, articles and podcasts I’ve heard sounding the alarm about CRT, I’ve not seen one that calls us to humble ourselves before God. They’re all a call to “rise up”. The rest of Owens quote above, reads: “We must rise up against every form of Critical Race Theory. It is the new Jim Crow.” Rise up against those who are attempting to steal our nation. This should trouble any believer in the King of Philippians 2. Risky thing to “rise up” when the Spirit of the Lord is calling the Church to “bow low”.

The antiCRT argument is rooted in fear – not humility, and certainly not compassion. It’s an attempt to revise history and establish a man-derived theology that saves the dignity of a noble nation filled with sinful, fallen – and in many cases – wholly anti-Christ leaders. It’s premised on a homogenized version of history. And, most tragically, it’s a siren-call to self-protection in an hour when the Spirit of the Lord is saying: “There IS no protection from the illumination of your soul. I love you too much to let you stay comfortable in sin and unrighteousness.”

Recently, a respected leader and friend wrote the following about Critical Race Theory. I find it typical of the evangelical/nationalist argument that is being championed in our family. I believe it is also poisoning our vital dialogue with others in our nation, and with the Father, Himself. This leader writes: “The Critical Race Theory was rejected by many leading thinkers when it was proposed as was its sister, the idea of SYTEMIC RACISM. The 1619 Project and ITS (FALSE) CLAIM THAT THE US WAS FOUNDED IN RACISM… was rejected by many scholars, I think most serious scholars.The people who founded colonies came for different reasons. 1607 is the first date not 1619 when the first slaves came. New England colonies were not founded at first for promoting slavery but for practicing sectarian Christianity (the Pilgrims) and Puritan Calvinism (the Puritans). Roger Williams founded Rhode Island for religious freedom and to reject religious coercion. And yes, some founded colonies to get rich and slavery soon became a part of that but… revisionist histories were rejected by historians. CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS BOGUS. The theories fit the narratives that the (“socialist”) revolutionaries desire TO FOSTER THEIR GOALS. The U.S is coming to the point where what is taught in schools will not reflect the broad consensus of historians.”

What my honorable brother conveniently fails to identify is that slavery is only one element of the racist history of this nation. (Truth-be-told, it would be terrible enough to warrant more humility and meekness than most anti-CRT apologists demonstrate.) He himself, (as are the many others who are sounding the trumpet against CRT) is redacting history to “foster his goals”.

The facts are, even the earliest Pilgrims and Puritans settled, divided, subjugated, and disenfranchised the first-born of the land. And for the next 300 years, the nation they sought to give them “religious liberties”, (a wholly self-asserting concept in itself) dealt with Native Americans with duplicity, dishonesty, inhumanely, and totally contrary to any objective measurement of Biblical godliness. To say that our nation, as wonderful as it is in many ways, is NOT founded, rooted and grounded in racial hostility is patently deceitful.

How much better that we, those of us who know of the great grace of God, own the truth, humble ourselves and live in His sure mercies afforded to us by the cross, with compassion for the rolling consequences of our social/personal/ecclesial/and national sin, rather than in the fig leaves of historical revision and self-exoneration.

If you’re tempted to ply the antiCRT rhetoric of this hour, here are several questions that we do well to address:

A. Do you believe that our nation was rooted in racial subjugation and unjustifiable dispossession?

B. Do you believe that our nation (as a nation), politically, economically, socially, and even spiritually (from our 1776 outset) codified vile racism, disenfranchisement, dehumanization and even genocide?

C. Do you believe that these policies were contrary to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ?

D. Do you believe the rolling trauma from centuries of these societal sins has left an unrighteous mark on generations of individuals and families – even to this day?

E. Do you believe that what our nation needs is an honest, humble dialogue about the roots and fruit of our nation’s racial animosity?

F. Do you believe God wants to lead, forgive, heal, redeem and unite the distinctively beautiful races in our nation under the blood-covenant leadership of His Son?

Beloved, if we’re more concerned about humanism’s attempt to redress racial animosity in our nation, than we are that we, the people of God

a.) fail to magnify the Father’s heart for the beauty of race,

b.) fail to bear the cross re our nation’s racial sins and/or

c.) fail to apply Jesus’ healing love to the rolling pain, fear and disenfranchisement of millions – for centuries… we need to have an honest, face-to-face conversation with the One Who’s coming; the One the nations are desiring.

He’s serious about our self-justification. And He’s about to up the ante. You can bet He Who holds the stars in His hand knows how to shift human circumstances in order to “foster His own goals”.

______________________
JSB • May, 2021

What’s Holding Us Strong in the Time of Trouble?

“What if Jesus is asking us to choose between following Him and our U.S. Constitution?”

A sharp, Jesus-loving, ministry friend posed this piercing question on his page yesterday. From some of the responses he got, you’d think he had questioned the divinity of Jesus…

The challenging question to those on the political left is little different: “What if Jesus is asking us to choose between following Him and forcing our own definition of social justice on our neighbors?”

I believe these questions will be all the more relevant to us Americans as we see the Day of the Lord approaching.
Another way of asking the same questions is: “What are we counting on to hold ourselves strong when our world is shaking? Rights (either conservative or liberal) promised to us by our nation, or the love and authority of our King?”

One of these is imperfect. The other is not. One may be attained by the demanding self. The other is coming, whether we’re ready or not, and can ultimately only be attained by experiences of love and faith.

It’s a mark of Jesus’ goodness that He would address us with this question today. Much like a father would tackle a son who was about to go to sea in a boat with holes in it.  

When Jesus came the first time, He challenged the besieged Jewish nation with the same question: “Choose today what you’ll put your faith in: the law, your own power to overthrow the Roman occupiers, a self-indulgent self, or… Me, and the increase in My government.” (See Isaiah 9:7)

As the day of His return draws closer, He’s confronting 7.4 billion souls with the question of “Who do you say that I Am?” 350 million of us are specifically receiving the probing, idol-dethroning question: “When all that you love is threatened, will you look to the constitution, socialism, Islam, humanism, self, guns, or ___?___ to keep you secure?”

Make no mistake. He will encounter the Church more and more pointedly with this question in the days ahead. He loves us too much to let our hearts be enmeshed to the inevitable tyranny of democracy. (See Romans 3:9-23)

Today, I don’t know of a better form of government on earth than ours. However, one day we’ll know a better one face to face. Before it fully arrives, that’s the one I want to be found abandoned to. That’s called “faith”.

From where I sit, what I read in the Word and what I hear in prayer, the enemy has just watched the Lord shut down 195 nations – over Passover – AND provided a ready-made “space” for all of humanity to respond to Him. The devil knows his time is running short (better than we do), and he’s doing everything he can to distract us from entering into that deep, self-abasing dialogue with the Lord.

Beloved, if the enemy of our souls can stir up the hostility between us, get us fearfully protesting each other for our rights, filling ourselves with offense and bitterness, when we could be humbling ourselves before God – he wins.

It’s only our Lord’s incredible patience and incomparable kindness that doesn’t allow our hostile, self-demanding protestations be our final word…

It’s an hour to seek His face my friends. There IS an hour soon coming when we will no longer want, nor be able to.

____________________
JSB • May, 2021 (Reprint from May, 2020)

Sowing to the Wind

Kathy and I are experiencing a level of spiritual warfare that is blatant and aggressive. Hostile to our rest. Mostly interrupting our dialogue with the Lord early in the morning and throughout the nights. Monday I woke up with the Holy Spirit speaking the phrase: “You have sown the wind and you will reap the whirlwind”. It was a conversation that I had to fight for… Constant interruptions. Thoughts. Distractions (at 3:00am!). Even demonic manifestation…

I knew the phrase the Lord was using was significant because in 2019, the word He gave us to proclaim was “The wind of the Lord is coming.” A wind that would shake the infrastructure of the Church and the world. I believe 2020 was the year of the beginning of that wind.

Beloved. You don’t want to sow to the wind. You want to sow to the Lord of the wind. There’s a difference. If you sow to the wind itself you let the wind take your seed, your thoughts, your focus, your energy, your hope, your passion etc. and it does what wind does in a fallen order. It scatters the seed so that it lands in unfruitful places – and your efforts come to nothing.

This morning, Bob Sorge writes: “When you devise plans independently of consulting the Lord, your plans are likely to eventually come to nothing.” Psalm 33:10

If you sow your seed (that which is most precious to you) to the Lord Himself, He will guard it, protect it, and plant it safely – but He’ll do it in His timing, and in His way. It takes great faith to entrust our seeds to the hand of the Lord – especially in an hour of intensifying wind. If He doesn’t plant, you don’t eat. Your family doesn’t eat.

This is what the Lord is saying, “Give me your seed. Trust me with your heart for the wellbeing of your nation, your church, your industry, your mission, your health etc… There’s a storm raging and you don’t have the ability to protect your seed and sow it on your own. It’s only safe with Me.”

The Lord has been evaluating (“judging” is the Biblical term) how His Church has responded to these past 12-16 months. He sees how we have made great strides to protect our own seed, and little strides to seek His face, humble ourselves before His fierce and loving reality, and entrust our seed to Him. This type of response to the increasing judgements of the Lord in our world will not keep our seed safe. It will do just the opposite. It will actually make sowing the seed futile, and us, the sowers, frustrated. And the world will look on and view our efforts as foolish and our frustrated hearts as “angry”. Sound familiar?

This isn’t the way to weather the hour of tribulation. This also isn’t a pathway to revival. (Truth-be-told, in many instances, we evangelicals have stopped worrying about sowing the seed at all, and have gone directly to “sowing wind” – which is the intended interpretation of this scripture…) Consequently. And out of great love for us, for His purposes, and for the well-being of the Kingdom seed that He’s entrusted to us, the Lord is saying: “You who have (unwisely) sown your seed to the wind – I will now send you a whirlwind. I will send you an increased storm that will cause you to reconsider your ways, and hem you in to My original invitation to hold, protect, and plant your seed Myself.”

“You who have sown your seed to the wind – I will now send you a whirlwind. I will send you and increased storm that will cause you to reconsider your ways, and hem you into my invitation to hold, protect, and plant your seed, Myself.”

Truth-be-told, this is the only way we and our seed will bear fruit in the hour that’s upon us: by coming to Him, pouring our hearts out before Him, good. bad. fearful. angry. hopeful. tearful… beholding His response to our hearts – and beholding His character to secure our hearts and trembling while rejoicing as we entrust our seeds to the Only One strong enough to keep that which is most valuable to us safe. (For us Christians that’s our love for the Lord, our tenderness toward His Word, our compassion for others, and our fruitfulness within His Kingdom.)

Beloved. A whirlwind is coming upon us. What He is urgent for us to know is that He, Himself is releasing it for our (the Church’s) own good, and with great love! If we don’t understand that this is what’s in His heart, our penchant for cursing the wind AND SOWING TO IT (condemning the socialists, the CDC, the race-baiters, the media, the democrats, the deep-state, fictitious principalities, as well as fighting battles that don’t need to be fought, denigrating others, and dividing friendships where there should be no division etc.) will only increase – and our seed will be rendered useless, and our hearts all the more embittered.

Make sense?

Monday morning, after the Lord was speaking to me in the silent darkness. No writing. No reading. Just warring for the little word I sensed He was giving – “You have sown the wind. Now you will reap the whirlwind” – I heard Him say: “Jon. Do you trust that I am speaking to you? Do you trust that this is a word I’m giving you to share?” (To be honest, I’m a little fatigued – scratch that – A LOT fatigued. I’d rather not bear more difficult words from the Lord. They’re heavy. They make prayer and relationships more complicated and painful than I’d like. Just being honest…) I could feel He was testing my truster mechanism… I also knew that if I didn’t let Him put weight on the muscle of trust, I would not grow, and I would not carry His word faithfully. (I am thankful that the Holy Spirit has faithfully made this course grievous to me.)

Later in the morning, I was still in the throes of deliberating my response to the Lord about carrying this word when I went into our Prayer Room for our morning prayer sets. (FYI: We pray from 7am to 12pm every day…) I sat down in “my spot” with my Bible next to me. I heard the Lord say, “Let’s look at Hosea.” I said, “OK. What chapter?” He said, “I want you to read chapter 8.” I said, “Great.” Eager to discover what He had for me in chapter 8 of Hosea…I’ll let you read verse 7 for yourself.

Honestly. I had no idea.

Now I do.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Thursday morning, after four nights of intense warfare, Kathy and I compared notes. Wednesday night, the Holy Spirit woke her up at exactly 11:30. She spent the next two hours looking up all the passages in the Bible with a 30th verse in the 11th chapter. To be succinct, the word the Lord was giving her was, “You need to know how to sow in this season. I’m bringing you into the land of promise and, although there is going to be much work in this new season, you’re going to need to know how to work. You’re going to need to know how to keep your eyes on Me, and not the storm around you. I want you yoked with Me, looking to Me in this season.”
One of the main passages she was led to was Matthew 11:30 – “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Beloved, we need to be yoked to Him as we sow in the season of the whirlwind.

It will be both great. And terrible.

Hosea 8
Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law.
Israel will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know You!’
Israel has rejected the good; the enemy will pursue him.
“They set up kings, but not by Me; they made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.fFrom their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, that they might be cut off.
Your calf is rejected, O Samaria! My anger is aroused against them. How long until they attain to innocence?
For from Israel is even this: A workman made it, and it is not God; but the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces.
They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; it shall never produce meal. If it should produce, aliens would swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the Gentiles like a vessel in which is no pleasure.
For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Yes, though they have hired among the nations, now I will gather them; and they shall sorrow a little, because of the burden of the king of princes.
11 “Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin, they have become for him altars for sinning.
12 I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing.
13 For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. They shall return to Egypt.
14 “For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his palaces.”

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?

____________________
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.

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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!”

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JSB • April, 2021