After the outpouring in Dudley and elsewhere in 2008, what does 2009 hold? I truly believe that God wants to do even more, but that He plans to mature the church this year so that we can be carriers of revival, and enjoy the habitation of God rather than just visitation.
The Lord led me to John 21 where there is a threefold commissioning of Peter. Three times Jesus asks him whether he loves him but the Greek translation “agape” is used. In telling Jesus that he loves him, The text uses the word “philio” for love. What’s the difference? Agape is a mature love, a sacrificial love, whereas philio is associated with affection. Its interesting to note that when The Holy Spirit brought a fuller understanding to Peter of agape, we see that word used no less than nine times in his writings. The threefold commissioning occurs after each time that Jesus asks Peter about the depth of his relationship with Him. Peter is called to “feed my lambs” “tend my sheep” and “feed my sheep”. A significant part of Peter’s ministry was to be pastorial and as a teacher. How would this be most effective? Through intimacy. How will any ministry be effective? Through intimacy, the intimacy of intense passionate “agape” love for The Lord where we will do anything for Him whatever the cost.
At the start of 2009 I believe He is asking the same question to you and me. How much do we love Him? What price are we prepared to pay in following Him? Romans 8: 19 says “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” The Greek word for revealing is “apokalypsis” which is defined as what was hidden now being manifest. The church has been hidden, but it is now time for her to be revealed to the world. People might say this is ahead of schedule, but this is what we must press in for because the world is getting darker and more people are getting deceived by the enemy to pursue a path that leads to a lost eternity. With global economic meltdown and voices already calling for one world government there is clearly a shaking of the nations, yet as we read in Haggai God says “and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of all Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory.” It’s interesting too that in verse 9 God doesn’t just promise the greater glory, but peace as well. We can’t put our trust in the economy, the politicians, our jobs, and people. Peace only comes through our relationship with Christ. He IS our peace. In Exodus 14 verse 14 Moses exhorts the Israelites by saying: “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” I believe that as 2008 has seen many battles and tests, for those who have been faithful there will be great favour to overcome.
What a glorious opportunity for the body of Christ! We must not waste it. As it becomes more clear that the answers are not found in world systems, for those who put their trust in God I believe there will be the rich reward of revelation direct from Heaven, the kind of wisdom that can only be spiritually discerned. We can expect to get new divine strategies as Jesus uses us to build His Kingdom. I want to see greater power on the streets too this year, I believe this will happen, and also more of the body of Christ taking a risk to reach the unsaved outside of the church walls within their divine sphere of influence.
I am not in any hurry to rush out into the streets this week with the weather so cold, but will still look for divine appointments. There is a time to pursue intimacy with God in the secret place so He can be more glorified through our lives, and for me that time is now. Paul says in Philippians 3 verse 10 “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to his death.” It’s not even about knowing Him with an agenda, just because we love Him with an everlasting “agape” love as He loves us. It might seem paradoxical though, but as we crave more of Him, more of being with Him and in His wonderful presence, when we sit at His feet He won’t let us stay there for too long even if that is all we want to do. Like Peter, He has commissioned us. Let’s draw as close as we ever have to The lover of our souls, The King of Kings, and be obedient to all He asks us to do in 2009 for the sake of love, for the sake of His Kingdom, for the sake of the lost, and most of all for His glory.