One of the things I've been trying to impress on the people in our church fellowship over the last several months is to read the scriptures, the Old Testament in particular, with what I call "Jesus Goggles". One of my pet peeves (and I have many) is to hear people talk, post, tweet scriptures and Bible verses regarding sin, condemnation, judgement, wrath, deliverance, provision... as if it's something we should be wary of or begging God for when in actuality it has already been fulfilled in Christ. For example, when we read a scripture regarding judgement or wrath, we must always read it in light of how Jesus bore the judgement and wrath of God on our behalf on the cross at Calvary.
Another example of something I hear prayed or even sung is "oh that you would rend the heavens and come down" from Isaiah 64:1 and while that's an "okay" prayer, I guess, I can't help but think, didn't He already do that? Mark 1:10 tells us "As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove." Here we see that Heaven itself was opened when Jesus came and inaugurated His Kingdom movement & through that same Holy Spirit those of us who are in Christ possess a mandate, an assignment to continue in that vain.
We see in Matthew 28 that as a result of the resurrection there was a violent earthquake and an angel came down from Heaven (verse 2, see also Genesis 28). Later in that chapter Jesus tells us that He possesses ALL power & ALL authority in HEAVEN AND EARTH and releases us to do the stuff of the Kingdom in His name and in His authority. So why do we stand around asking for an "open" window or for an assignment or for authority? The window has been opened, the assignment has been given & the authority granted already. Was the window closed; the assignment and authority withdrawn? Hardly. Through the indwelling & leading of the Holy Spirit, the authority, reach and impact only increases.
Is it wrong to ask God to open the heavens? Not exactly. I would acknowledge that things such as worship, intercession, faith, love and unity within the body would absolutely influence the "openness" but that has less to do with whether the heavens are open and much more to do with the degree to which it's opened.
We had a group of teens from our church here in St. Pete and from a few other Vineyard churches from Miami & Augusta, Georgia gather here in St. Pete to do Kingdom ministry. On one particular day the leaders simply turned the teens loose on a mall in Tampa, encouraging them to be led of the Holy Spirit & only do what they felt led of the Holy Spirit to do. As a result of some good old fashioned boldness and obedience they saw (in just a little over an hour) people encouraged, bodily healing, marriages restored, people encouraged in their faith and a host of other things. I think too often we stand around waiting for some sort of spiritual "bat signal" telling us there's a need or signaling to us that it's ok to step out when I think what the scriptures indicate is that we are in a perpetual "open season" to bring the Kingdom and touch lives around us.
- Have you ever hesitated to step out and minister to someone due to uncertainty or fear that God might not be in it or willing to back your play?
- How differently would our lives look if we walked through our day with the assumption & acceptance that God was indeed with us & anxious to break into any situation at any time?
- Is it inconceivable or unrealistic to think that we could be involved with or be a witness to a miracle every day? And I don't mean miracles like a sunrise, a flower in bloom or hitting several consecutive green lights but real and true contradictions to the natural order of things due to God's supernatural influence. I welcome some feedback and discussion on this, thanks.