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Sunday PM, June 8, 2008
Since my first commentary on
over a week ago, I have been on a spiritual roller coaster. I have passed through intense discussions with some of you as well as my own intercessions over what is happening. These together with my constant waiting on the Lord have brought forth many new perspectives with illustrations to share. The problem is, I am not able to keep up with them. Lakeland
Over the preceding week I have run into forces emanating from the revival quite contrary to what I originally encountered. I have sensed Bentley-focused distractions, oppression and even witchcraft at work. There has been a subtle intertwining. In some moments (such as tonight) I have experienced soaring heights in worship and soundness of message ("No second chances--judgment is nearing--Christ was crucified for us--repent, Christ is coming, and if you want to be taken, you have to be ready--there's no room for self--we want the fire to "rip the old man out of us!'").
Yet in others I have hit gut-wrenching walls over attention focused on the event itself and some associated with it (It's about the revival--the revival--some prophet gave me some obtuse dream-- [Bob Jones this--Bob Jones that--] welcome the angels!"). Depending on which "stream" I am sensing, I am either oblivious to or distracted by other issues outside what is deemed "appropriate" such as Todd's body piercings, "bam" or his unconventional healing methods like kneeing somebody's gut.
Last night was particularly oppressive. To be fair, it had been declared at the meetings earlier in the week that a witchcraft assault against the work had been revealed and had to be repelled. I took this into consideration regarding the negative emanations and distractions. In the middle of last night, I was awakened to pray for Todd and against the satanic element, only to be attacked with a sudden coughing fit that woke the entire house.
After having first given you such a direct positive, challenging exhortation on what God was doing, this morning I confessed to Him I felt a bit like Moses returning to the Hebrews from the desert with a message of promise, only to find as soon as they began acting on the message, it just brought them more oppression! You see, I take this ministry very seriously; and the last thing I want to be guilty of is leading anyone astray because of inaccurate perception. Knowing that what I first perceived was unquestionably from the Lord, I've been asking Him, "What really gives?"
I can't give you His full answer to that question in this report. But I can briefly say the following with conviction:
1) On the whole, the mortal church after 2000 years is still not mature enough to responsibly steward any major outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
2) Despite this, the Lord is not so worked up about this as we tend to be; these events are instructive to mainstream and wilderness alike;
3) Our current wilderness capacity for spiritual discerning of major outpourings is as yet no more adequate than the overall church's capacity for responsibly stewarding them;
4) The Lord is using Lakeland to challenge wilderness people to a higher kind of discernment essential to our own receiving of the Lord ahead of our own future release (kneejerk cries of "false revival" based in our usual predisposition to the negative impressions will not get us there--even if the impressions are accurate); and
5) That higher discernment and the ability to receive from the Lord relative to major mainstream outpourings will only come through a very refined degree of fearless spiritual listening such as few if any of us yet have. (A disciple is a learner, and a learner is foremost a listener--not a reactor. A very deep listening challenge is before us.)
These points will serve as pillars in any further commentaries I have on
. In this regard, an older First Love teaching may be a key to building this further discernment. I'd like to request everyone read again the 2002 message "The Birth of Esau and Jacob: A Prophetic Key to Discerning Christ from Antichrist in the End Time Moves of God." Lakeland
For now, I close with this excerpt from Frank Bartleman's Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern Day Pentecost (Bartleman was an eye-witness and first hand participant in that revival.) Remember as you read this that the entire Pentecostal heritage from which our own prophetic capacity descends today is traced to this 1906 outpouring with the conditions Bartleman described (Italics are mine for emphasis):
From pp. 47-48
[Thurs., April 19, 1906]
I was under tremendous pressure to get to the meeting that evening--.We finally reached "
" and found about a dozen saints there, some white, some colored. Brother Seymour was there, in charge. The "Ark of God" moved off slowly, but surely, at " Azusa ."-- The priests were "alive unto God," through much preparation and prayer. Discernment was not perfect, and the enemy got some advantage, which brought reproach to the work, but the saints soon learned to "take the precious from the vile." The combined forces of hell were set determinedly against us in the beginning. It was not all blessing. In fact the fight was terrific. The devil scraped the country for crooked spirits, as always, to destroy the work if possible. But the fire could not be smothered. Strong saints were gathered together to the help of the Lord. Gradually the tide arose in victory. But from a small beginning, a very little flame. Azusa
I gave a message at my first meeting at "
." Two of the saints spoke in "tongues." Much blessing seemed to attend the utterance. It was soon noised abroad that God was working at " Azusa ." All classes began to flock to the meetings. Many were curious and unbelieving, but others were hungry for God. The newspapers began to ridicule and abuse the meetings, thus giving us much free advertising. This brought the crowds. The devil overdid himself again. Outside persecution never hurt the work. We had the most to fear from the working of evil spirits within. Even the spiritualists and hypnotists came to investigate, and to try their influence. Then all the religious sore-heads and crooks and cranks came, seeking a place in the work. We had the most to fear from these. But this is always the danger to every new work. They have no place elsewhere. This condition cast a fear over many which was hard to overcome. It hindered the Spirit much. Many were afraid to seek God, for fear the devil might get them. Azusa
We found early in the "
Azusa" work that when we attempted to steady the the Lord stopped working. We dared not call the attention of the people too much to the working of the evil. Fear would follow. We could only pray. Then God gave victory. There was a presence of God with us, through prayer, we could depend on. The leaders had a limited experience, and the wonder is the work survived at all against its powerful adversaries. But it was of God. That was the secret. Ark
From p. 44-45
The finished article is not realized at the beginning. Men may wonder where it came from, not being conscious of the preparation, but there is always such. Every movement of the Spirit of God must also run the gauntlet of the devil's forces. The Dragon stands before the bearing mother, ready to swallow up her child--(Rev. 12:4) And so with the present Pentecostal work in its beginning. The enemy did much counterfeiting. God kept the young child well hid for a season from the Herods, until it could gain strength and discernment to resist them. The flame was guarded jealously by the hand of the Lord, from the winds of criticism, jealousy, unbelief, etc. It went through about the same experiences that all revivals have. Its foes were both inside and out. Both Luther and Wesley experienced the same difficulties in their time. We have this treasure in "earthen vessel." Every natural birth is surrounded by circumstances not entirely pleasant. God's perfect work is wrought in human imperfection. We are creatures of "the fall." Then why expect a perfect manifestation in this case? We are coming "back to God."
John Wesley writes of his time: "Almost as soon as I was gone two or three began to take their imaginations for impressions from God. Meantime, a flood of reproach came upon me almost from every quarter. Be not alarmed that Satan sows tares among the wheat of Christ. It has ever been so, especially on any remarkable outpouring of the Spirit; and ever will be, until the devil is chained for a thousand years. Till then he will always ape, and endeavor to counteract the work of the Spirit of Christ." D"Aubigne has said: "A religious movement almost always exceeds a just moderation. In order that human nature may make one step in advance, its pioneers must take many."
Another writer says: "Remember with what accompaniments of extravagance and fanaticism the doctrine of justification by faith was brought back under Luther. The wonder was, not that Luther had the courage to face pope and cardinals, but that he had courage to endure the contempt which his own doctrines brought upon him, as espoused and paraded by fanatical advocates. Recall the scandal and offense which attended the revival of heart piety under Wesley. What we denounce as error may be "the refraction of some great truth below the horizon.'"
John Wesley himself once prayed, after the revival had about died out for the time: "Oh Lord, send us the old revival, without the defects, but if this cannot be, send it--with all its defects. We must have the revival.
Adam Clark said: "Nature will always, and Satan too, mingle themselves as far as they can, in the genuine work of the Spirit, in order to discredit and destroy it. Nevertheless in great revivals of religion, it is almost impossible to prevent wild-fire from getting in among the true fire."--
Until I receive anything further, be blessed--.
(from a fellow learner)
Next: Guest Commentary -- Greg Austin
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
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