Saturday, January 30, 2016

Close to the Edge

April and I received prophetic prayer on a Friday night in November at King's Way Church in Birmingham from members of the church who were called to pray over others.

A woman came to April.  She shared with April words of knowledge - you'll make your living with your mouth, you have a light in your mouth from God, and you have discernment.  The woman then told April she will see people come to her.  They'll be drawn to her.  April sensed an awakening within her of seeing herself as Debra, the judge (this same connection with this Old Testament judge was expressed by others to April before).  In scripture, people came to Debra for prophecy and judgments.

A woman named Debra (ironic?!?) spoke to me.  She said over me - deep calls to deep, there is more to come to you, you're standing on the edge of the abyss, take a step, you have a deep calling in God, a current will carry you quickly when you step into it, you'll be trail blazing, going where you've never been before.  She hugged me repeatedly.  She stood behind me as I sat overwhelmed after worship.  At one point, she told me to look at her.  She looked in my tear-filled eyes.  She then said, as she hugged me again, she wanted to see what was going to happen through me.  She said it was very exciting.

This evening brought us great encouragement.   We've learned after having such encounters or experiences to record what we've heard or seen.  We've received such encouragement before.  Its important not to take it for granted.  In addition to having such experiences, we've also had dry periods and seasons when such words or declarations we're hard to come by.  In such times, our records of such experiences were handy, and we've gleaned through them to keep us grounded in faith and hope.

This experience in November caused our faith and hope to overflow.  Since, when we've had dry and discouraging days, we've reminded each other of these words.  Our destinies are grand and deep in God.  For myself, I've taken these experiences and words and others, as well, and used them in prayer, thanking God for such declarations and reminding my heavenly Father what the Spirit has said to us (Psalm 119: 49, 50), and what only he can do to fulfill these outrageous declarations for us and through us.

This experience has come back to me recently because of a re-connection with an album I haven't listened to in ages but has returned to me through Spotify.  I was using the app recently.  In doing so, I considered searching for albums and artists I haven't listened to in ages.  The album, Close To The Edge, by Yes, came to my mind, and I found it on Spotify.  My brother gave it to me on my birthday many years ago.  I've always enjoyed its synthesized, mystical qualities.  Its terrific.

As I was listening to it again yesterday, the title of the album finally connected with me in light of last November's experiences - Close To The Edge.  We're close to the edge. I'm one step away from falling and being carried into a deep, deep calling in God.

The lyrics are truly mystical and cryptic, but they do ring true the images of journeys, past experiences and mysterious futures in the midst of wrestling with what is current:
Crossed the line around the changes of the summer
Reaching out to call the color of the sky
Passed around a moment clothed in mornings faster than we see
Getting over all the time I had to worry
Leaving all the changes far from far behind
We relieve the tension only to find out the master's name
Down at the end, round by the corner
Close to the edge, just by a river
Seasons will pass you by
I get up, I get down
Now that it's all over and done
Now that you find, now that you're whole
Are there ties of this album with recent dreams, experiences, prophetic words, etc ("It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings" (Proverbs 25: 2))?    

Before Christmas, in a dream, I saw a t.v. or monitor screen that had on it a slide picturing a sunset with the date, February 29, 1972, imposed on it.  I looked up the date.  Nothing significant happened in history.  I recollected nothing in my personal or family history on that date.  It was leap day in a leap year.  2016 is, also, a leap year, so, there will be a 2/29/16.  The difference is 44 years.  Four is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the heavens, angels or God's created intelligences.  When numbers are doubled, it denotes emphasis and certainty.  Something is in the offing, I believe.  Regarding this album, it was released in 1972, 44 years ago.

All of this, subtly or concretely, communicates to me we're in a new season of growing momentum heading for multi-dimensional, multi-experiential manifestations of the glory and purposes of God in Christ Jesus.  We're going to be a part of it.  We're close to the edge, and we invite your prayers, faith-filled participation and joyous expressions of praise to our God who will, again, be made famous.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Your Heart Is My Desire

I was recently encouraged to make a simple slide-show video for an old Pentecostal praise chorus.  I became familiar with it through Bill Johnson who sang it spontaneously at the close of a sermon he preached in December, 2012.

I wrote a post last year, Some Days In January (1/26/15), where I described an encounter I had with God years before.  As I had personal Bible study on the subject of prophets in the Old Testament, I recollected a conversation I had with a church member regarding prophets and if there were any today.  In the conversation, I was left uncertain if there were any.  As I recollected this in my personal study time, the Lord spoke to me plainly, "Jeff, what if you are a prophet?"  If you're interested, you can read the complete account in the post, Some Days In January (1/26/15).  This encounter led me to Bill Johnson.

In honor of the man who was brought into my life years ago by the Lord, I write this post and embed the video.

As I find myself writing this, creating the slide-show video and posting all of it, I'm encouraged to believe afresh we've entered a new season of glorious manifestations and new steps into a new spiritual reality where we will encounter God anew and witness his love and power in and through us to others like never before.

I was led to Bill Johnson. He taught and encouraged April and me through his messages and testimonies to "pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14: 1)"  The kingdom of God has truly come near to us because of what we've encountered and experienced through Bill.

This song is posted in honor of what Bill carries and how he's blessed us over the years.  Also, this song utters a prayer from all of us.  This new season is the beginning of a wonderful outpouring of God's love and power.  As we sing, we pray and believe.  The Lord's heart is our desire.

Pour out your spirit,
Answer by fire,
Show forth your mercy,
Your heart is my desire,
Your heart is my desire

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

(Rocky) Mountain High

Remember your word to your servant, to which you have made me hope.  This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life.
- Psalm 119: 49, 50
One morning prior to Christmas, I read Hannah's story in 1 Samuel.  She was imploring to the Lord in prayer for a child.  Eli comforted her and prophesied over her the Lord would grant her the request.  After Samuel was born and given to the Lord to serve in the temple, Hannah praised God in song.  One of the phrases that caught me in her praise was, He will guard the feet of his faithful ones . . ." (1 Samuel 2: 9a).  Other translations of this verse interpreted feet as steps.

Earlier that day, Bob Hazlett posted on Facebook - 
When your steps are ordered by God, the journey should be a delight.  Most of the difficulty we face in our journey is not when we enter a new path, its when we try to stay on the old one too long.  Your journey is about to get very exciting. . . .  Look ahead and be happy.

April and I bought shoes on clearance earlier this week.  This occurred back on Sand Mountain.  We drove there as a day trip and as a journey to hear the Lord speak in familiar places.  Were we returning to old paths and not new ones?  Were our steps still ordered by God?  Were we entitled happily to exciting journeys?

From my post last January, These Hallelujahs Be Multiplied, I wrote what I believed we were in store for in '15.  Our praise and worship was to punctuate what the Lord was to say and do.  

There will be the multiplication of expressions of praise this year.  There'll be moments, periods, prolonged times of worship and experiences of the Lord's presence. . . .  We will be challenged to focus on what's been promised and declared and to never forget the vision conveyed to us individually and corporately.  There will be combat and resistance, but those who stay devoted to the end will receive the prize.  

2016 is a new year.  Praise and focus will continue to be our expressions and grounding this year.  

Last Sunday night at work, in a moment when I was alone, I declared out loud to God we were due to step into our destiny.  Based on some recent and not-so-recent words and visions and dreams, I called our God to remember what he'd said to his servants (Psalm 119: 49) - April will speak with a light in her mouth from platforms built for her; she has fire in her hands for healing as a fire starter; I'm on the verge of taking a step off into an abyss of a deep, deep calling in God.  

I read from Psalm 85 the next morning,  Let me hear what God the Lord will speak (vs. 8a).  I prayed this phrase that morning believing the Lord will speak, and we'd hear.  

The next day at work, I heard a noise that seemed to me to be a tone or a note.  Immediately, I heard in my mind and spirit that same noise as the first note in the song, Rocky Mountain High.  The song in my spirit took off.  It brought me joy.  Throughout the rest of the day, I felt the Lord's presence as I sang the song to myself or recollected phrases in verses or the chorus, I believe I heard the Lord speak.

I listened to the song in the car on my way home.  I teared up again, felt the Lord's presence and great joy.  

Two days later, April and I drove to Sand Mountain.  She said she needed to leave Anniston for the day and recapture the vision of stewarding a portal for God's presence on Sand Mountain.  She didn't know what we'd experience once we got there.  She'd feel perhaps the same darkness and depression as in the past, but it was necessary to go.

As we traveled on US 431entering Gadsden, I prayed out loud for us to hear the Lord's voice, for us to experience what God wants us to know and encounter.  I then asked April if she had felt anything.  She said she hadn't.  I told her I felt something shift.  We'd come out from under an umbrella, of sorts.  

On the other side of Gadsden and beginning to ascend the mountain, April felt joy.  Depression left her, and there was an expectation of the environment welcoming our return.

In Albertville, we went to get something sweet at a local bakery.  We were making our choices of what we wanted at the counter.  After deciding, I suddenly felt God's presence with joy and tears.  We paid for our sweets and returned to the car.  In the driver's seat, I prayed out loud, "Do you want us to pray some place?'  I then said, "We want what you want - heaven to earth on Sand Mountain and Eden revisited where there's freedom and your presence."

After driving on lots of familiar streets and noticing many changes, we ended up at our favorite coffee shop on Sand Mountain.  We went in for hot beverages, sat in the back room and debriefed for a bit.  We affirmed, agreed and declared things we discovered through God's presence between us on this day trip to Marshall County.

The mountain is waiting for us to come back.  The angels have gathered and been busy.  We've invested in this mountain with prayers over the years for its prosperity and revival.  There's evidence on this visit of growing prosperity and new construction which could mean angelic activity and some answered prayers.

April said in the past she felt she needed to rescue this mountain, and that frustrated her.  "How could that ever happen?"  Now, because of what she saw, heard and sensed, this place doesn't need to be rescued.  We agreed that afternoon, as we had before, "Lord, if your presence isn't there, don't take us back to the mountain."  What is promised to us remains far beyond anything we could think or imagine. The mountain is waiting for us to come back.

We bought our shoes in Boaz.  I told April I felt this was a prophetic act of clothing our feet (our steps) with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  Alleluia.  New shoes for a new day.  New shoes for a renewal of calling and a pending journey that will be very exciting.

The next morning, we continued talking about yesterday.  Rocky Mountain High continued to echo in my spirit.  It was important for the Lord to give me that song earlier in the week to prepare us and inspire us to return to the mountain where we're called.

Rocky mountain high
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high