I’m attempting to take time to prepare sessions for next week’s School of the Heart in Golden Valley Church, but I’m feeling very stirred prophetically about a few things, which I feel the need to put on paper.
I am aware right now of the word I shared a couple of months back in GVC, that it was a “Year of Change” – that was May 17 to May 18 was that year. Much change would happen or could happen. But there was an emphasis on “May” [which was interesting as it was also the name of the Prime Minister, who at that time was standing for re-election]. This is a play on words. It’s about choice and it’s about giving God permission to do what He is wanting. Even in this nation, as the ruling name is ‘May’ I believe there is an unprecedented season of choice before us. That is obvious in a way with issues like Brexit being negotiated, but I think it is more subtle than that as well. There is much that God is asking the church to lay hold of, to intercede over, to declare and to decree. He is constantly saying “May I… Will you let Me do this or that? Will you give Me this decision? Will you allow Me to change this thing or that thing in your life; to take you where I have chosen. It’s a time which has echoes of Jesus’s words to Peter, “Another will clothe you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Peter was no doubt freaked out by that ‘promise’, but he came round to making it his own choice. In effect he said to Jesus, “Yes, You MAY do that with me [because I love You, I trust You, and I believe that the greater glory will follow].”
So I feel to gently challenge us not to treat lightly the choices that are before us, even those which are seemingly minor or insignificant, or those which have no emotional thrill attached. He is saying over and over, “What do you choose? Will you choose Me? Will you choose My Presence over your pleasures? Will you choose to listen attentively to what I am saying to you? Will you seek it out until you understand it, even if at first it mystifies you?”
The last few days, I keep seeing the equation, “DISTRACTION = DESTRUCTION”. This is serious, yet my soul doesn’t get it like it should! My natural reasoning tends to measure distractions by their perceived ‘size’ – just five minutes, etc. Yet, increasingly I think, some of the deposits of heavenly gold are destined for that ‘just five minutes’.
What are we being distracted with? Ultimately we need to wise up that our enemy will literally stack up the distractions. They will stand like a queue of visitors outside our door, and we will have to choose over and over to say, “You know what, you can all wait outside the door right now!” Why do these distractions come? To destroy! We see momentary ‘buzz’ but the devil sees longer term destruction. Sure, we remain saved. We’ll go to heaven…and to church again next Sunday. We’ll even pick up our Bible again the next day. But if something is a distraction, it has been assigned to us to destroy something. It’s the “little foxes” that creep in under the hedge and look so cute we can’t bear to shoot them! But they eat the grapes, or they knock them off the vine in their rough and tumble playtime. And when it comes to new wine time, we don’t have any, because the distractions came in and destroyed the wine before it could be fermented. What is the obvious result? We have to go round another set of seasons to grow some more. Our destiny is delayed. Maybe when we are younger that doesn’t seem so bad as the years stretch ahead of us. But the reality is for all of us older or younger, there is something about right now being the accepted time – Heaven’s choice time. May it be ours. The nations are on a precipice. Political scenarios could go in either direction. There is a great harvest out there to be gathered in. Waves of revival are poised over the planet. And over and over, there is a call to us to “Come up higher”; to enter into heavenly realms and rooms where we have never or rarely been.
[Take times when you tell Facebook to ‘split’! That is get in God’s FACE and get in His BOOK!]
The other element of this that is in my atmosphere right now is that of closing doors. I think Holy Spirit is gently – maybe not so gently – blowing on some of the parts of our present lives to close them off. This is because their time is over. They belonged to a previous season, but not to the next one. They were good then, but if allowed to remain into the next season they will become stale, and eventually disgustingly mouldy. Their staleness would permeate everything in the next season if He allows them to remain. But of course, again, there is a divine, “MAY I? Will you let me close this one off now?” And we can say ‘yes’ or we can say ’no’. But be assured, so much hangs on those little words.
I’ve been spending a bit of time in Acts 16 recently. This is partly due to our own involvement in Macedonian Greece, and my desire to understand the initial wells which were dug in the Spirit two millennia ago. But one of the issues that is tugging at me again is that Paul and team HAD TO go through a period of CLOSED DOORS. It was in God’s plan for them. He set them up to encounter things that didn’t happen like they assumed they would. But He was using the closed doors to reposition a complete shift in their focus. They were looking one way, He was looking in the opposite direction. So I feel strongly to encourage us not to despise the shutting of doors, even if it seems like that season is more prolonged than you would like it to be. We must ‘GET it’. God shuts doors. God shuts things down. Within the sphere of earth, God works in seasons. Leaves which were luscious have to dry up and fall off.
For Paul and team, the season of closed doors led them to a higher level encounter, which led to an open door into Macedonia, Greece, and Europe. The gospel hit our continent because of closed doors in the opposite direction! We don’t usually appreciate the ramifications of God closing doors and opening others. But in heaven’s purposes they are far reaching and often set up a legacy for others to experience, or be influenced by.
We are the DOORKEEPERS of our doors. What we open and shut affects everyone and everything on the other side of the particular door. Jesus said He was the ‘door’, and the ‘door of the sheep’. As the unique Saviour of the world He opened up a door for us which only He could do. He was and is our (only) door into salvation, redemption, and the Mountain of God. However, as a leadership principle, we are all ‘doors of the sheep’ wherever we are called to lead or pioneer (family, church, business, missions, community, etc.). What we are; what we allow; what we open and shut affects more people and more situations than we realise.
Often when there is a seasonal shift, the doors carry far more weight to them. And often there is a challenge to choose something that is beyond – maybe way outside – our comfort zone or the sphere of familiarity. But it it in those places – when they are ordained by God – that our true destiny is discovered, and a legacy is set up that stretches far beyond what our own eyes can see.