Life is Today
A few days ago, I was on the phone with my daughter, Kim, and she said something so "prophetically profound." It was one of those phrases that I knew I had heard before, maybe in a differently phrased package or cliche, but it still rang true. Actually, it was as if the liberty bell was ringing! She said to me, "You know, Mom, I've decided to live every day to its fullest. After all, life is today!"
This past year, for me as well as for many of you, has been one of the hardest years of my life. My sister and I buried our beloved mother, my son-in-law is still suffering with the results of a brain tumor, and, economically, it has been one of our most challenging seasons in over twenty years. Even as I am writing this article, I have bronchitis (which is the fourth time I have had this in one year!).
Some of my closest friends have buried loved ones, lost jobs, and have faced unbelievable challenges. It has been a "crisis year" for most of us! And yet, we must always remember that God is in control and that life is today.
Every day really does deserve a new beginning. God is a covenant God and we must never allow unbelief to take root in our hearts or we will lose courage. When we are not "encouraged," we often lose our "courage" to face the future. Let me point out that, obviously, the word encouragement has the word courage in it.
How do we remain encouraged during such times of pressure? I have several suggestions and let me be honest with you - these suggestions have come to me through times of "pressing against the press (pressure)." It has been either sink or swim for me and I've decided to start swimming!
In order for me to explain what I feel that the Lord is saying in this season, we need to look at this season both microscopically and macroscopically. Microscopically, we look deep inside our own hearts and look closely at Isaiah 6:1. Macroscopically, we look with a broader view of God's purposes concerning eternity.
In other words, we can live life fully on a daily basis by letting go of our past, our mindsets and tendencies toward legalism, and then also truly comprehend that Jesus has already paid the price for us to be free at Calvary. What we experience on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis affects the broader view we have of life. We are here for a purpose and what we do now affects eternity.
The Jewish Month of Elul
We are currently in the Jewish month of "Elul" which is September 1 through September 29, 2008. I love studying the Hebraic calendar and embracing the truths connected to God's timing. Those of you who follow the Hebraic months are probably as excited as I am to wholly follow God and gain every tidbit of knowledge that empowers us to draw even closer to Him. However, even as diligently as I attempt to study and show myself to be approved, I seem to fall short. There are days that I am so hard on myself, as if everything were up to "me." Talk about being self-focused!
I have to remind myself that it is not in "my ability" to do all things right - that becomes legalism. In trying to live life today, I found myself in an old pattern of "measuring up" again. I got mad at myself, spoke loudly to myself, and grabbed my calendar to pencil in (again) a day to shift into a better life with God. Nope, that really isn't going to work, because it proved that I was still in captivity to legalism.
My self-generated motivations toward righteousness keep leading me down the road to more legalism and captivity. I must remember that in choosing life I was choosing freedom. But, it was more than being released from captivity (bondage); it was a state of being "free indeed!""If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36
The word "indeed" is the letter "a" from Greek origin (alpha) which is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and used often in the Hebraic context. It implies "first" or the "beginning." So, we can say that Jesus' first thoughts are devoted to freeing us from all captivity! And, it should be of such top priority as to be first on my list as well! To believe that it is left up to me to do everything "right" is a result of pride. I can only do "all things" because it is "through Christ"!
To my surprise, when I pulled out my studies on the month of Elul, I realized it is a month devoted to a time of repentance, mercy and forgiveness. I had already heard the Lord say that prophetically, we are in a season of covenant and humility. So, this is our confirmation to understand that God is requiring that we cycle out of pride (which is entangled with legalism) and embrace humility. As we repent and ask for forgiveness, we will embrace the New Year with great expectations! (I am referring to Rosh Hashanah, the Hebraic New Year which begins at sundown on September 29, 2008.)
With a microscope, I examine my personal bondages toward legalism and perfectionism. Macroscopically, I realize that the Church is also still attempting to measure up with God's expectations, all the while He just wants us to let go of our past and move forward.
The Old Has to Die In Order For Us to "See" the King on His Throne
I heard the Lord say: "Prophesy and tell My people to read Isaiah 61 and to memorize verse 1. Verse 1 is the key to unlock their new year."
I already knew the passage and it has always been one of my favorite passages. It says:
"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple." Isaiah 6:1
Over the years, I have taught numerous messages using this passage. All of the messages include the theme of "letting go of the old and embracing the new." There normally has to be a death to the old thing to move forward with the new. But, this time when the Lord spoke it to me, it involved a "timing." In other words, it is a kairos time, a "year" that the old has to die in order for us to "see" the King on His throne.
The King is establishing His Kingdom and the old "year" has to die! We have been experiencing sorrow over natural "kings" and "kingdoms of man," thus the year connected to that old cycle of exalting man has to die. It is God's Kingdom, His rule and reign that must be established. The kingship of Saul is dead. Saul represents the old order. It also is symbolic of building kingdoms of man, stubbornness, pride and self-centeredness.
God is looking for Davids, which are those after His heart. To these Davids, God has and will release the Key of David to unlock doors to the future. It is our season to take the keys of the Kingdom and prophetically speak to closed doors that hinder our destiny. We, too, can access the Key of David and praise our way to victory.
King Uzziah had to die for Isaiah to see God, and our "Uzziahs" must continue to die with an old season. Isaiah was well-educated, and was probably from a fairly well-to-do family. And, interestingly, it is said that he was from the royal tribe of Judah. Isaiah didn't even get commissioned into ministry until Uzziah died! Many of us are awaiting our release into a new season. Is Uzziah dead yet?
Uzziah means "the Lord is my strength." Most of his reign reflects that statement. But, one day, he made a fatal mistake. He presumptuously assumed a priestly office (pride) and burned incense in the Holy Place within the temple. This was not his positional authority. He was not anointed to perform that duty, nor called. He had always remained humble, until that day! My goodness, how easy it is to forget how debased we were before the Lord lifted us up! Pride will blindside us if we are not careful. Uzziah was immediately struck with leprosy. Immediate captivity.
A New Year to Change Garments
Dear Ones, we must seek God for more pride and presumption to die with each passing year. God has blazed a trail of freedom before us; let's not allow any pride to contain us. According to the Hebraic Calendar, the New Year begins with the month of Tishrei at the end of September. It is a month which is connected with "being strong, a (new) beginning, and a month of the ancients."
I believe that if we will take time in September to repent from pride, we will move strongly into our next year. Pride manifests differently and comes in many forms. Fear of failure is a form of pride - ouch, that one cuts deeply, doesn't it? Dear Ones, so often we will not let go of our past because we do not "see" all that God has for us in the future. (This is still pride, because we don't trust God.)
Amazingly, we remain content with an old, rotting wineskin full of holes. Now, how could we possibly contain the new wine with a wineskin full of holes? Yes, we leak! We're moving with God one day and lagging behind the next. (This is a God-process that we are continually learning and progressing in.)
We are moving into a season of increased obedience. We will be required to follow the cloud not because we "feel like it," but because He says to! Obedience will always win the battle against our feelings. We must let go of the old - let go of it strictly through increased obedience. Take a moment and do that.
Now, do you see His mighty hand reach out to take yours? It's there; just allow Him to "vice grip" you! That's the type of hold He desires. He promises that He will take the pain of your past and rebuild you!
I also heard the Lord say that, "He is going to rebuild the ancient ruins" in this next year. We will exchange our garments of grief and sorrow for new garments of praise. This next year will be a year of covenant and praise. It will also be a season of forgiveness.
The Keys of David to Restore the Ancient Ruins
The Keys of David are covenant keys. The keys also represent government and authority, but it is more than that. We will have the Keys of David that will open doors into which we already "see." We will unlock what has been blocking what we see on the other side. The prophetic anointing will begin to increase because those with this gifting will be empowered with His might to "see" what awaits on the other side of doors and gates.
To take our future will require a strong prophetic anointing. We must clothe ourselves with prophetic insight and praise. And, as we do, we will be empowered to "see" past the ancient doors which have been locked. As we use our authority, we will use our keys to unlock the original words that the Ancient of Days has spoken concerning our future!
In the ancient times, before we were even formed in our mother's womb, God had a plan for us - this is seeing our future macroscopically. However, there are also ancient spirits that have set themselves in conflict with our destiny. Our generations have been targeted and it has affected us. But, God is going to rebuild those ancient ruins in this next year. Look what He says:
Isaiah 61:1-4: "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.
"They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."
Our New Year is a Prophetic Season of Building and Planting
A good way to view ancient strongholds is to think about what has adversely affected our generations. So many of those in our generations have bowed their knee to idolatry. You may be thinking, "None of my family has ever been an idol worshiper." Let me make this as simple as possible, because it is more than just bowing down to a statue or a manmade image. Idolatry is having anything in the place where the Lord Himself belongs.
Thinking back into your generations, you may notice many areas where the Lord took a backseat to other interests. In Deuteronomy 5:7-9, notice how He commanded us to "have no other gods before Me (Him)." Then, observe that He states He will "(punish) the children for the sin of the fathers (generations)" (verse 9).
The original Hebrew word for punish is paqad, which means - and I choose to see God in this manner - to "visit, oversee, care for, and deposit" (Strong's). We must see this microscopically as it relates to our personal lives and macroscopically - a broader view - in order to fully shift into our next year. Individually, God is visiting us, examining the sins of our generations, and expecting us to "forgive them" for their sins and "forgive ourselves" for allowing the same sins to hold us captive. This is God's prescription to heal our past.
Then, with a broad perspective, understand that sin will not go "unpunished," meaning that God means business, right now, and we must understand that He is requiring obedience. During this season we are to embrace God's mercy as He forgives us and also at the same time forgive others. As we do, we will be released from the captivity that has become a stronghold and held us captive to our past.
Shifting into Our New Year
Are we experiencing a shift or a transition? The answer is yes. We are experiencing both! Standing at a threshold of great shifting and transition, we must be as the Sons of Issachar who understood and discerned the times and seasons. God is not only changing our direction and focus, He is also establishing us as builders and planters of His Kingdom.
For several years, I believe that God has been shifting us into a building mode. We have been uprooting generational curses, throwing down powers of darkness, and pulling down satan from his seated positions. Yes, satan has had a seat of authority over our individual lives, our families, churches, businesses and nations. We have prayerfully bound up the enemy and have loosed his evil works from our midst. Now, we must focus on building and planting.
We are NOT to stop warring! Absolutely not! We still have much work to do in the area of spiritual warfare. In fact, much warfare is still required to shift this nation. So, as we shift into a building mode, let's be like Nehemiah who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with a brick trowel in one hand and a weapon in the other! We must build, but at any moment's notice be prepared for war! (See Nehemiah 4:17.)
Let's agree together that as we repent from all strongholds that have held us captive that His Spirit will empower us to exchange our old garments for new ones. This is our season for a "new beginning." The Ancient of Days is restoring the ancient ruins and our King Jesus is establishing His Kingdom upon the earth.
A Prayer and a Declaration of Life
My prayer over you: Father, I pray for each person who was led to read this article. It is not an accident that You asked me to write this. You have a plan and a purpose for every reader. I humbly ask Your Holy Spirit to reveal any area in the lives of the readers that needs repentance. (Precious Believer, allow Him to speak; this may take a few moments. After He speaks, take some time and repent for all pride, presumption, legalism, or any area of generational sins, etc.)
Empower each person to forgive his or her past generations for their sins and also to forgive themselves for participating in any form of pride, idolatry or generational sins.
I agree with my Brothers and Sisters that You desire to restore the ancient ruins of their lives. We agree in this coming year that we will receive fresh garments of praise. We let go of the old year and let that year die so that we can "see" You. We take the ancient Keys of David and unlock all that we know You have prophesied over us concerning our future. In the name of Jesus, we open doors that no man can shut and shut the door to the old, ancient evil spirits. Amen!
Now reader: Stand up and declare this statement:
"I choose to live life today. I do not have to wait until tomorrow."
You're off to a great start into your New Year! I'm proud of you.
Zion MinistriesEmail: email@example.com
Article from The Elijah List