Spheres of Influence

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott -

Rule

Your destiny is to rule, to bring God’s kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.

This is His ‘Plan A’, and He has no other plan. God said to Adam and Eve when they were first created:

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule (Gen 1:28).

He intends us to bring His will (His kingdom) from heaven to earth. It is our individual destiny, and also the destiny of the church: the mountain of house of the Lord will be raised up above all other mountains (Isa 2:2).

But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him (1 Cor 6:17).

It is in relationship with Him that we become one. With time, dedication and obedience, His will and purpose and kingdom will be increasingly outworked through us as we become increasingly in tune with Him. Our destiny to rule comes only through relationship with Him, and is based in love.

Spirit, soul, body senses

This is a picture we have seen before, courtesy of Ian Clayton, showing how we can relate to God and how He can flow through us.

gatescol

Before we were born again, that yellow circle in the centre was missing. We had no connection to God and our spirit was dead to Him. But after we were born again, He came to live inside us, empowering us to live, to change, to be transformed.

We all have a body, soul and spirit. Our body enables us to relate to world; our soul to relate to ourselves; our spirit to relate to God. Our destiny flows through a strong spirit, but can be blocked by a dominant soul. So it is vital for us to have our soul restored and refined, and spirit – soul – body in the proper order, not the other way around.

When we are born again, we become a dwelling of God’s presence. Heaven is a spiritual dimension all around us, and we are now connected to it through God who is in us. We have a flow of abundant life flowing through us like a river from heaven (from the spiritual realm), and we can experience the goodness of God, on the inside.

This means that everything we are used to getting from the outside, God can give us much more effectively from the inside. God is love, so we can now experience the love of God from the inside instead of looking to meet that need for love from somewhere else (which is ultimately unfulfilling). God is light, so we can receive understanding and knowledge from Him, on the inside.

The river flows from heaven through God in us, to our spirit, soul, and body, and from there into the world around us. God’s will (His kingdom rule) in heaven is able to operate in us, through us and around us. Every single person reading this can be a world-changer. Even if it is only your own world you are changing, that is still something of eternal significance.

Spiritual blessings

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3.)

In our relationship with Christ we are blessed. And those spiritual blessings can be manifested in the physical realm, equipping us to succeed in life. Those heavenly blessings can flow to us, through us and around us.

But more than being connected, we have access to actually enter into those heavenly places:

…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6).

So we can engage with the eternal things of God and manifest them here and now.

Flow

A flow of revelation comes from heaven into our lives through God’s presence. Rather than trying to build up our intellect from the outside and get worldly knowledge (which may be good to have, but is not of eternal value), we get revelation knowledge from God. In that flow there are also resources, authority, light, glory, God’s presence and power, all coming from the unseen spiritual heavenly dimension into the physical realm through the gateway of our lives.

…the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, from, for) eternal life (John 4:14 AMP).

He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water (John 7:38 AMP).

In the world, everything flows from the outside in. But with God, everything flows from the inside out. So if we are looking to change, to be transformed, then we can be changed from the inside out rather than picking away at the symptoms of our behaviour, and peeling away the onion layers one by one. We can go straight to the root, from the inside out.

Higher

This physical realm is held together by the spiritual realm, which is higher than the physical realm in power and authority:

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Col 1:16-17).

Spiritual laws or principles supersede natural laws and principles: healing overrules sickness and disease; freedom overrules captivity and bondage, and so on. Jesus is our example of heaven ruling earth through His life – the will of the Father was perfectly demonstrated through Him. He demonstrated the higher authority of the spiritual realm over the natural. He walked on water, turned water into wine, multiplied food, passed through crowds of people and disappeared from natural sight. He made money appear in a fish’s mouth, controlled the weather, stilled the storm, healed the sick and cast out demons, restored limbs and raised the dead – the spiritual realm has authority even over death, proved by the resurrection.

If we are to do the same, and greater things (as He said we would), then we too need access to and familiarity with that spiritual realm.

We have learned how to relate to the world around us through our five physical senses, from the outside in. Our soul also has senses that have been trained from the outside in, by nature, nurture and trauma. But our spiritual senses can only be trained from the inside out, through our relationship with God. We cannot get them trained anywhere else. This will transform our soul and body senses from the inside too.

He is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present – and connected to us, which gives us access to all He knows, everything He does and everywhere He is. Through Him we are connected to everything, everywhere, at every time.

Positioned to receive

We are in position to receive a spontaneous flow of revelation knowledge: inside information. Prophecy, for example, is information from the future: God disclosing to us what is to come. So if we want advance information about what is going to happen, to know all about our day before we live it, we can get in touch with God in the morning and ask Him to show us. God wants to give us an advantage. The information we can get from the physical world will never be greater than the revelation we can get from the mind of Christ who is in us.

The thoughts of God dance in our mind, as Einstein said. The feelings of God move our emotions; the impressions God gives motivate our wills; He causes visions and pictures to form in our imagination. We can learn to tune in, to hear God’s voice on the inside. We can learn to see from the inside – see angels, see that spiritual dimension, the spiritual signals people are giving out. Learn to hear from the inside, that still small voice, sense of peace, the umpire in our hearts; to feel from the inside, moved by the compassion of God; to smell from the inside – spiritual fragrances, which often indicate what God is doing; to touch from the inside – many of us have experienced heat, or vibration, when we have laid hands on someone for prayer.

We need to activate our spiritual senses: the fear of God, intuition, revelation, worship, hope, faith, reverence and prayer. Some of those senses we may use more than others because of our particular gifts and callings, but we all need to use them to some degree.

Channels, conduits

It is when we have these senses functioning that our lives become an open gateway to manifest God’s presence in this world: His rule, as it is in heaven, on the earth, through us. Each of us has a kingdom sphere of influence in which we have authority to rule. For some it may be wider than others, but we all have the power of God’s kingdom to bring godly influence into our home, family, social gatherings, workplace, street, church, and ministry. If where you work is miserable, you can come in with joy and peace to transform it. Let’s start bringing heaven into our workplace, and every other setting in our lives.

We can change the atmosphere, and we can change a situation, because we carry the kingdom of heaven within us. If we see someone sick, we can bring healing. If we see someone in poverty we can bring blessing. We can find the will of God in heaven and bring that will to earth as a manifestation of the kingdom.

Keys of the kingdom

We will need to use the keys of the kingdom.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matt 16:19).

We have to bind or loose it in heaven first. We bind to the will of God, to the truth and so on; we loose from the restrictions and chains of the enemy.

We need to be flowing from the inside out, God’s kingdom manifesting through us. We need to know our identity as sons of God, that we have a right to bring God’s rule wherever we go. Then we can walk into a situation with boldness, knowing that we will affect it and bring change to it rather than being affected and changed by it ourselves.

We can change our lives, and those of others, by being open to God’s kingdom rule.

Your destiny is to rule.
Your destiny is to be a world-changer.

God I thank You for Your presence in my life
I open the gate of first love and invite You into my spirit
I invite You to activate my spiritual senses and flow through me
Jesus I surrender control of my life to Your lordship. You are Lord of my spirit.

Transform me into the image of Jesus from the inside out
Renew my mind, heal my emotions, restore my conscience, cleanse my imagination
Train my senses to hear Your voice,
Know Your heart, see Your vision, be directed by Your peace.
Manifest Your kingdom rule through me to the world around me.

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Familiar, But Dangerous

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb 4:12).

…penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analysing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart (Heb 4:12 AMP).

For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7)

God is more interested in our motives than our outward appearance or actions. So in preparing to fulfil our destiny, we must look closely at our heart.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

He desires that we operate in the fullness of the Spirit’s power, just as Jesus did. But who gets the glory when I do a miracle? If it is God, that is great. But evidence from history and from around the world suggests that is not always the case. When we do things that people appreciate, it can feed a need in us.

God will do awesome things through us, for His glory. But will we use them for ourselves instead, to gain money, position, popularity or power? Those are the temptations of the flesh.

Two examples

Let’s look at two biblical examples of this:

In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira sold property, gave some of the money to the apostles, and held some back for themselves (as in fact they were perfectly entitled to do). But they lied and claimed they were giving it all, so Peter asked Ananias, ‘Why is it you have conceived this deed in your heart?’ It was because they wanted to be thought more generous than they actually were. They were looking for approval from people.

They dropped dead because of what was in their hearts. I do not want anyone to die. But with greater power comes greater responsibility. We have to be pure in heart.

In Acts 8, Simon the sorcerer was claiming to be someone great. He believed and was baptised, but because he was still looking for position, tried to buy the power to lay hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit. Peter admonished him to ‘pray that the intention of your heart may be forgiven you’.

Search me

This is a familiar prayer to many of us by now:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

(Psalm 139:23-24)

Familiar, but dangerous. Are we willing for God to show us what is in our hearts? Are we willing for Him to change and transform us? Let us not be too quick to answer without considering the cost. It is not always easy to agree with Him. We can find it hard to accept that we have wrong motives, that our heart is not right. We do not like others to think that of us either. We think we are mostly OK. But this is our opportunity to humble ourselves and allow God to do what needs to be done.

Encounters in a dark cloud

Let me share with you from my journals a little of how this went for me.

15 Nov 2010: I saw a cloud, like a nebula, and my scroll of destiny flashed before my eyes. In the centre was a crucial point. All things were leading up to this point in time on the scroll and all things were then flowing from this point. I saw a fire, a flame.

Jan to May 2011: If we want to come into the presence of God, the presence of His Person, we have to come through a dark place. The dark cloud is there for our protection, but with preparation we can go through it (see Gen 15:12, Deut 4:11, Psalm 18:11-12, Psalm 97:2). You do not want to meet God unprepared (that is why the High Priest had a rope tied to his leg when he entered the Holy of Holies – so that they could pull out his body if he had not prepared properly and was burned to a crisp).

3rd May 2011: I asked, “Father how do I meet You in the fire and the smoke?”

“Son, you have met Me but you have not been hungry and thirsty enough to come where I am in the thick cloud. You have held back, you have been fearful. You have not been ready to surrender everything. If you really want to come you can but you will never be then the same. You can’t act the same. You must want to come above all else, you must need to come”.

“You have too many encumbrances to come; they anchor you to the world. You must be willing to have them dissolved away. You have been far too comfortable. The gathering angels need to gather from you the things that hold you to the ground and restrict your range of movement”.

“Son, I fear that if you come now you would not go back. Prepare yourself; discipline the flesh, discipline your mind. Surrender your emotions again and I will welcome you in to see Me”.

6th Nov 2011: During a worship time I was lost in the presence of God on the dance floor within a swirling curtain of colour and I was instructed to spend the next 4 months in the garden, dance floor, soaking room and bridal chamber. I was to make a marriage contract and take it into the canopy of darkness, into the presence of the person of God, for consummation.

I was shown that February 20th would be my breakthrough day.

The garden for love, the dance floor for joy, the soaking room for peace, and the bridal chamber for hope – four months like that did not sound too bad. But it turned out to be a time of darkness, in which I could do nothing, see nothing, know nothing, ultimately even be nothing, a time of intense testing.

He told me, “I don’t need your assistance, just your surrender”.

Would I trust Him without seeing and knowing what He was doing? Could joy come from nothing external, only the Lord? Was I willing to take the yoke of Jesus, to offer my obedience even when it made no sense?

In the fourth month, in the bridal chamber, I was instructed to wait expectantly in hope.

I entered into 21 days of fasting, and spent the first 6 days reviewing 15 months of my journals. I had not been ill for 16 years, but I became sick by drinking contaminated water, because I had not cleaned out the water cooler properly. I had no sleep for 5 days, could not even keep water down, and was physically running on empty, all reserves gone. I did not do what I would advise anyone else to do, I did not fight, stand against the sickness, or call the elders – God said just to wait.

Psalm 22:1 became very real to me. ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’

I started losing my reasoning abilities, could not focus, was struggling even to pray in tongues. Emotionally I started to feel really vulnerable, that I needed to put my house in order. I began to think that nobody at home would miss me if I wasn’t around. I realised I had sown 18 years of my life into church to the detriment of my relationships with my wife and family, that my priorities needed to change.

I wondered if I would make it to February 20th, my breakthrough day.

One night there was intense fire inside and out, waves of loss rolling over me: disappointment, despair, despondency, grief. The 59 points of the marriage contract, which I had drawn up in obedience to what God had told me, were lost one by one. And He was asking, “Do you still love me?”

If none of my dreams were realised
If none of the prophecies came to pass
If my destiny was never fulfilled

Would I still love God?
Would I still trust God?
Would I still have joy and peace?
Would I still be able to rejoice and give thanks?
Would God still be a good God?

Could God trust me?
Was it all about Him? Or me?
Was it about what He could do for me?
Was it about what I could do for Him?

Was it all worth it just for a relationship with Him and nothing else?
Eventually, the answer was YES.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched…” (Isa 43:2)

Monday 20th February: I was totally restored to health and wholeness. The shackles were removed, and I was free to minister again. Straight away I found I was able to engage God in the heavenlies.

I met face to face with Him.

Fire

Can God trust us, His church, with all that He desires to give us?
Is God more important to us than what He does for us?

Not without the purifying of our hearts. It is the pure in heart who shall see God.

His fire is coming, to refine and purify. I saw God on His throne with a large can labelled ‘accelerant’. Jesus is preparing to come and cleanse his temple. Judgment will begin with the house of God.

God disciplines those He loves, because He wants the best for us. Not everyone will have to go through what I went through. I am a forerunner: I break through for others to follow. But are you willing to go through the fire of refinement, purification, preparation? Whatever this means for you, are you really willing for the motives of your heart to be tested in the fire?

Careful how you answer.

[This post is based on session 10 of Mike’s teaching series Preparing For Destiny.]

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Our Defining Moment

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott - 

God only ever has ‘Plan A’. There is no ‘Plan B’. Each of us has a destiny, conferred and agreed before the foundation of the world, and with that destiny come both the ability and the authority to fulfil it. Our options here are extremely limited. God has made it really simple for us. We can either step up, say ‘yes’ to His plan and fulfil our destiny, or hesitate, hold back, say ‘no’ and miss it.

Three generations

God is calling a generation in our days. In fact, He is speaking to three generations and calling them to fulfil their destiny.

  1. A Joshua generation, who will see the Promised Land, enter into it as forerunners and draw others in with them.
  2. A generation of harvesters, a billion of them, as prophesied (in 1975, nearly a generation ago – and let us not miss the significance of that) by Bob Jones. These will reap the final harvest, which will be far more numerous, and to do so they will need to be operating in the fullness of Jesus’ greater works (John 14:12).
  3. The Moses generation, who have seen and experienced God’s deliverance and His miraculous provision. Faced with the giants and the walled cities, they have a choice to make. It is not too late for them, not yet.

The church today is in transition from one place to another, or at least, a part of it is. And we all have a choice to make. Two-and-a-half tribes of Israel chose to stay on the near side of the Jordan, chose not to enjoy the benefits of God’s provision for them, and more or less completely disappeared from history.

The generation who entered the Promised Land were offered exactly the same choice their fathers had rejected forty years before, with exactly the same obstacles to overcome, but this generation said ‘yes’ to God rather than ‘no’. Still, the process of taking the land was not easy. The cities had to be conquered (using God’s strategy, not theirs); the giants and the nations had to be dispossessed. Even though we choose to say ‘yes’ to Him, we will still have to fight for our inheritance, and we will have to be overcomers if we are to fulfil our destiny.

“This is me, and this is not”

Some will choose not to enter. We will honour them for the path they have trodden in the forefront of the purposes of God, some of them for decades. But if they are not prepared to take that final step, then we know that in God’s Prophetic Timetable there is a time for judgment to come to the house of God. Judgment is as simple as Him drawing a line, and saying “This is me, and this is not. Which will you choose?”

The church has a very poor reputation with the world. We may laugh at comedy shows like ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ and ‘Rev’, but they are an accurate reflection of how the world sees us. When I first taught this series, God told me that in three years He would be coming to overturn the tables of the moneychangers in His temple. Coming to us individually as the temple of the Holy Spirit, certainly. But also coming to the church, wherever it is not a true representation of Him.

Authentic works of the kingdom

We may think that here at Freedom, especially in Barnstaple, our reputation with the world is somewhat different. We are engaging with and meeting the needs of people in our community. But we cannot afford to be complacent. It is not enough. We must not settle. We must go in, inherit our destiny and take our Promised Land.

There is a whole generation of young people to be won for Christ. They will not respond to the same boring experience of church they have already rejected. And not just young people – the Joshua Generation and the harvesters will be of all ages. Nothing less than an authentic demonstration of the works of the kingdom will draw them in.

Cleansing the temple

I am going to once again shake all things.
I am going to turn over the moneychangers’ tables in My temple.
I am going to drive out the thieves and robbers from My temple.
I am preparing the whip right now to expose the attitudes and motives of your lives.
I am going to expose in My temple the church those who are using it for their own purposes.
There will be many exposed for who and what they are.

My temple will once again be known as the Father’s house; a place of habitation.
My temple will be known as a House of Prayer
Where My words of truth will set My people free.
And through free men
The world will be set free from the chaos, confusion and dominion of darkness it is in.

My desire is to reveal sons to the world; true sons living in the truth.
True temples where rivers of My presence and power are flowing to fulfil My purposes.

I am preparing the whip now,
So be ready for motives that are selfish and self-centred to be revealed.
Know for sure that My temple will be known as a true house of prayer.
(See Matt 21:12-13, John 2:12-22).

Jesus is plaiting a whip, and all those who are trading for their own purposes are going to be turned out. That three-year period will be finished early in 2015, when it will also be 40 years since Bob Jones’ prophecy. This is a serious business.

Visions

We have had a vision of a canopy being stretched over us, and eagles flying out, carrying the four corners of it into the far distance.

In another vision there was a portal opening, and angels coming through in great numbers. They were carrying cords attached to stakes, and dropping them at people’s feet. Some ignored the stakes completely, some knocked them into the ground where they stood, but others picked them up and took them as far as they could, until the ropes were pulled tight, and drove them in there.

The message is clear, and how we respond is of critical importance. These are exciting days. Although the time before Jesus’ return will be like the days of Noah, when evil becomes more overt and the darkness more apparent, we have the opportunity to be part of a generation who will make history. This is a definitive choice, and our defining moment.

“Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15).

[This is a 'now' word, though much of this material was originally taught in session 9 of 'Preparing For Destiny' at Freedom Church in 2012. The audio and Mike's notes for the whole series are available at freedomtrust.org.uk/AR. - Jeremy].

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Equipping a Joshua Generation

Aside

Equipping a Joshua Generation to live a supernatural lifestyle

Engaging God on the Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility

We are sorry, applications for this test group are now closed. Please stay in contact with us for news of the full public launch of the course when it happens.

[You can find the original post in the comments]

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Your Word, Treasured in my Heart

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

In meditation, we position ourselves to hear God’s voice and experience His presence. Meditating on the word of God, so that we have that word firmly established in us and can live from it, will enable us to prosper and have success in all we do.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:8).

Give attention

The process of meditation is as simple as giving attention to the word of God.

My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
(Prov 4:20-23).

He wants our attention. Yes, we can relate to God in the busyness of life, but it is important for us to give Him quality time too. When we meditate, we repeatedly bring the things God has said into the forefront of our thinking. What we repeat gets stored in our heart, in our subconscious mind; and what is in our subconscious triggers our conscious mind: Out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

Meditating on the word of God also ministers life and health to us. Certainly healing can come through the anointing and laying on of hands, but if we get the truth of health and healing in our hearts, we will not normally need anyone else to pray for us.

God’s life in us comes from our spirit, out through our heart and through our body to impact the world around us. So let’s keep watch over and guard our hearts. Worry and anxiety come from focusing on the wrong things, driven by fear. The word can protect us by guiding and directing us, but only if it becomes part of us, through meditation.

Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You
(Psalm 119:11)

Remember

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches
(Psalm 63:6)

I shall remember the deeds of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old
(Psalm 77:11).

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands
(Psalm 143:5).

The logos word of God reveals God’s nature and His character. It safeguards truth, and becomes our standard, our plumb-line. When we remember God, call Him to mind again and again, meditate on His character and nature, on the way He does things, we recognise Him in the world around us and He can flow through us out into that world to transform it.

We must be not only prepared to listen, but also to respond. God speaks truth into our spirits, into our hearts. We respond to that rhema word in obedience, we act on it and live it out. And God then always responds Himself to our living faith in His word.

In Psalm 119, verses 1-40, we read of meditating on God’s word, ways, testimonies, judgments, law, precepts, statutes, ordinances, commandments, and wonders. Then those verses speak of what we do with that word: how we walk, observe, seek, look, treasure, tell, rejoice, meditate, establish, delight, live, long for, cling, run, incline, reverence, give thanks. Finally we see the ways in which God responds to us: blesses, ordains, teaches, opens our eyes, rebukes our enemies, takes away reproach, revives us, answers us, strengthens us, grants us, enlarges our hearts, gives us understanding, and deals bountifully with us.

Beholding and becoming

[We,] beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18).

What we consistently look at, we become like. If we look at, focus on and meditate on the Lord, if we have an intimate relationship with Him, we will become more like Him. It does not happen overnight, but little by little, step by step, from glory to glory, until people can see God in us and in what we do.

Preparing to meditate

Here is a prayer we can use as we prepare to meditate on the word:

Lord, cleanse and prepare my heart.
Give me a teachable attitude.
I surrender my senses to You
Open the eyes of my heart.

Lord, I present to you
My abilities to reason and imagine
For You to fill and flow through.

Lord, I focus my attention
On what You show me
And I thank You
For what you are revealing to me

Garden of our heart

In closing, here is another way of looking at meditation: every testimony we have, every encounter, every vision, every victory won, every revelation from God; every word God has spoken to us, we can take as a seed and plant it in the garden of our heart. The River of Life flows through our garden and waters it. We have the authority to speak life to what we plant, and command it to grow. So we can expect to receive fruit from it again and again – and not only fruit to eat, but more seeds to sow. These in turn will grow into more plants, producing fruit and seeds of their own.

What are we growing in our garden?

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A Flow of Spontaneous Revelation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

God speaks to us in a flow of spontaneous revelation. He communicates through thoughts, pictures, feelings, and impressions which we need to pick up. We need to be able to tune in to them; to see, feel, hear, and touch them. The word of God is the basis for all this, but the word of God is the beginning for experience, not the end of it.

The word becomes a doorway to encounters with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, with our Father. It also becomes an anchor for experiences we have now and a platform for further experiences still to come. We can go to the word, and find out if there is a scripture which talks about aspects of our experience. That is what I mean by finding an anchor in the word.

In the song Nigel wrote, we sing that we want to meet Him ‘face to face’. That is a reality we can all enjoy, here and now.

Journal everything

The Hebrew word for ‘know’ means ‘to experience by personal encounter’, and it is possible for us to have experiences, encounters, visions, dreams, and revelation. The word of God is full of examples of such things.

I want to encourage you, if you want to benefit from encounters with God, write them down. Journal everything so that you can go back to it, review it, meditate upon it, and draw further revelation. You can also revisit the experience. The more we repeat experiences, the more our brain learns to value and store those experiences, rather than forgetting and shredding the memories.

There are three stages of experience with God that we might identify:

1. Visions

These are snapshot pictures or moving pictures, as seen from the outside, a kind of 3rd person experience of seeing ourselves or someone else.

2. Visitations

In these we experience something in the 1st person, and are involved ourselves in the ‘action’. This may involve being in a trance, such as the one Peter had on the rooftop when God showed him a sheet coming down from heaven full of animals; or even being translated.

If you think all this sounds very New Age-like, that is because the New Agers have hijacked what the Bible says, and have twisted it for their own ends. They have polluted it, and then told us that we cannot touch it. Huge sections of the church have swallowed – and proliferated – that particular lie. And if you are worried it is too much like eastern religion, ask yourself where the Bible comes from. Not America. Not the UK. It comes from the Middle East, and that is the cultural setting which must inform our grasp of what it says.

Paul writes that he didn’t know whether he was in or out of his body when he went into the heavens. The western mindset has a hard time with statements like that. Ezekiel was taken out of his body, and his spirit was transported into Jerusalem so that he could see what was happening there. These experiences are for us, too. The Holy Spirit can come and take us to different places on the earth, and to different places in heaven, and we may not know whether we were there in body, or in spirit, or both.

The reason for all this is to enable us to bring heaven to earth.

3. Habitations

This is when we live in the dual realms of heaven and earth simultaneously, as Jesus did:

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven (John 3:13, my emphasis). Jesus was on earth, speaking to Nicodemus, but said He was in heaven at the same time.

That is how Jesus was able to see the things the Father was doing, because He was in constant spiritual connection with the Father in the heavenly realms. Whatever Jesus did, He has made available for us. He said “You will do the works that I do, and greater works than these, because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).  He went to open up this door for us, this avenue into the heavenly realms.

Open the eyes of our heart

We can see with our natural eyes, but at the same time we can also see with our spiritual eyes, and flow in revelation which comes from God’s presence. This is where meditation becomes so important. Meditation is the biblical process for opening the eyes of our heart to see; to encounter the truth of who God is and the truth of His word in practical, experiential ways.

Definitions

Here are some dictionary definitions of meditation: the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse, reflect, contemplate, babble, mutter, imagine; to murmur; to converse with oneself; to ruminate (chew the cud and extract all the goodness from it).

It is not madness to speak to yourself. I speak to myself all the time. As we speak aloud, we are communicating the things of God to our spirit, which will grow and engage with the word. And using our imagination is very much part of the process of meditation. If we are ‘just imagining it’, what is wrong with that? It is how God speaks to us.

Music is very useful in meditation. It provides a platform which engages our imagination. The right side of our brain is where creativity and imagination reside. When we speak in tongues, scientists have found that it is the right side of our brain which is engaged in that activity. And the right side of the brain activates better, and more blood physically flows there, when we are at rest. So it is best to meditate when we are in a state of relaxation, which we can achieve by calming ourselves, taking deep breaths, and so on. Again, this is not wrong: it is simple and sensible preparation of our body.

Logos to rhema

Meditation turns the logos (written, fixed word) into the rhema word (spoken, to us, now), stirring faith from which we can live. It turns head knowledge into personal experience, and enables us to hear the voice of God. In meditation, God can use a scripture to speak to us (sometimes completely out of context – He wrote it and He can use it however He wishes), to get across to us something He wants us to hear and understand.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:8).

Meditating will enable me to prosper. In my destiny, in what God has called me to do in my life, I want to prosper; I want to succeed and excel to the highest level.

Don’t you want the same?

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SoundTrack: ‘Face to Face’ by Nigel Harris (via Spotify)

Manifesting His Presence

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

God’s presence is within us. He wants us to open the door so that He can fill our whole being.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev 3:20)

Opportunity for the world

Jesus is inviting us to have a relationship with Him. God is on the inside of us. When we are born again by the Spirit He wants to flow out through us so that we manifest His presence around us. In that way the world has the opportunity to interact with the kingdom of God.

There are senses in our spirit, gates through which God can flow. Depending what your destiny is, some of those gates will be more used than others.

gatescol

 

Revelation from God

Now I spent a long time meditating on my gates. In praying, I would picture a gate and meditate on it, asking God to show me what that particular gate meant for me. I did that for all those gates in my spirit, soul and body until I had a revelation from God about all of them. I went through a process of opening my gates and learning to allow the flow of revelation to go through my spirit, soul and body.

I have taught others how to do this and they agree how challenging it is, as God highlights the areas which are blockages to His flow. But they also agree how effective it is in opening up their lives to receive revelation from God. Their experience (and mine) is that this can transform your life.

I spent a long time considering each of the combinations of gates through which the life of God can flow through my spirit and soul and out from my body. It took a while, because I think there are something like 280 of them. But it was worth the effort, because it has opened me up to being able to hear God, see Him and flow in Him so very much more than I ever could before.

Removing the blockages

The process is one of perseverance and practice. But as you start to understand how this works, you find there are things operating in you which are blockages to the things of the spirit.

They may come to you as pictures. Some people see brambles, or chains, all over their gates. Some see their gates all boarded up with wood and nails and are crying out “I can’t open it! I can’t open it!”. The truth is, we will be able to open it, but there may be things God wants us to deal with and get rid of, so that the gate is unblocked. We have to go through the process.

Transform the world

Jesus is knocking, and I just want to encourage us every day to open up the door inside us. Let Him in. Let Him into our spirit. Invite Him to be Lord of our life. Allow Him to start flowing, through the gates of our spirit, soul and body, and so out into the world around us.

As we do that, we find that we start to change and transform not only our own lives and how we live, but also what goes on around us. We become subject to God’s kingdom flowing from us rather than what is coming at us from the outside, so we learn to overcome things like sickness and be in authority over them. This is something God is teaching us how to do.

When Jesus came He was the model of the kingdom. Everyone who came to Him, He healed from every sickness. Everyone who came to Him, He set free from the demonic influence that was operating in their life. He brought people into fulness of joy, and peace, and hope.

Flowing like Jesus? It does not happen overnight. But with dedication, practice and perseverance we will be able to experience this in our own lives.

The question is, how much do we want it?

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Store, or shred?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott -

We are continuing to look at building our spirit through meditation.

Everything we perceive goes into the brain. Whatever we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, the information comes in through our senses and is relayed there via various pathways. When we see something, for example, light comes in through our eye and is projected, upside down, onto our retina. That information travels along the optic nerve to the brain, which then interprets it – in this case, turning it the right way up.

So if I am teaching on a Sunday, looking at a room full of people, I am not seeing them where they are, out there seated in their chairs. I am actually seeing them in my own brain. But I have learnt to interpret those messages to mean that there are people are out there, and I can tell pretty accurately how far away they are. We all do that, all the time. But we had to learn that spatial awareness as we were growing up.

Sorting by relevance

Now there is a part of the brain called the hippocampus which is a shredder machine. All the irrelevant information that goes into your brain, everything that is not important to you, gets shredded. You may see everything, hear everything, feel everything – but you don’t retain it because most of it doesn’t really matter too much. Those things that do matter can be stored. The sorting happens by repetition.

For instance if I walked into a room in a building where I had never been before and the lights went off I would struggle to find my way out. But if I walked into the Freedom Centre and all the lights went off, even if it was pitch black, no problem. That’s because I have been in the Freedom Centre hundreds of times and I know my way around. My imagination would be able to show me, even though I couldn’t see naturally, because that information has been stored in my brain. I could describe the building to someone, and where everything is in it, because I’ve been here many times and I remember. My brain knows that the information has some value because I have repeated it over and over again.

Again, most of our church members could not tell you what the pattern is on the carpet in the main hall of the Freedom Centre, even though they may have seen it many times and walked over it every time they have been here. I can tell you exactly what the pattern is: I know because I have been face down on it so often that I remember it. It is three little dots going at different angles in different colours. That information may not actually be all that important to me, but my brain has assigned it relevance because of repetition.

Meditation

Meditation is going over and over something in your mind, drawing the truth from it. As time goes on, because of the constant repetition, your brain learns that this is something important to you, and stores the information instead of shredding it. When it comes to meditating on the word of God and interacting with the Spirit of God, I know that if you don’t repeat these things regularly then your brain will not treat the information you acquire as something that’s important or valuable to you. It that happens, you risk losing it.

With repetition, synapses close and form a neural pathway to the memories, which are stored in our heart, in our subconscious. Trauma can cause the same thing to happen instantly. Sometimes something happens to you which is so severe that you form an instant memory and you can’t get rid of it. This often happens to people involved in wars or serious accidents. You may have experienced it yourself. Sometimes, though, the trauma can be so severe that your brain actually forms pathways around the memory of the event so that you can’t remember it at all. You block it out, or you dissociate from it – that’s what happens with people who have multiple personality disorder. It is a form of protection against the effects of severe trauma.

Just as we may sense everything physical but don’t retain it all, we also sense everything spiritual. But most of us can’t remember spiritual sensations or information because we have no anchor for it. That is because we don’t go back and repeat the experiences, nor do we have them often enough. If we want to grow in the realms of the spirit we need to stimulate the right side of our brain by speaking in tongues and meditating regularly and on purpose. As we do, we will find that we are having (and retaining memory of) visions, dreams, pictures and so on. The more we repeat the process the more the information gets stored rather than shredded.

Through meditation, through repetition, through agreement with the truth, those memories get stored and become something we are able to use. The revelation that comes from the word of God becomes something that we start to live from. As we operate in it, we experience it in increased measure and begin to manifest the truth of God’s word around our lives.

If you don’t know what’s the word of God says by experience then you are simply acting like a parrot when you speak it. A parrot can speak words but it does not know what they mean. We need to become those who have the word in us so that when we speak it, we speak it with the same authority and power as the person who wrote it, the Holy Spirit. That, too, comes by learning how to meditate.

Use it or lose it

We can help the process by writing out what God has revealed to us in the word, reviewing it and revisiting it. Experiences, evenly heavenly ones, are easily forgotten. The principle of ‘use it or lose it’ definitely applies in this case. God used to speak to me all the time through the Bible. Whenever He would speak, the words would jump off the page and I would think ‘oh that’s very good’, and I would underline the passage or highlight it and then go on to read something else.

One day He said, ‘When are you going to use your Bible as something more than a filing cabinet? When are you going to get the truth, and live from the truth of the words that I speak to you?’

That changed my whole understanding of how to read the word of God . When I come across a word that speaks to me I will stop until I draw every bit of truth that I can out of that word. I have sometimes spent a month or two just on one verse. And now, those have become scriptures I actually live from. They are now foundational truths to my life. I live out of that revelation that God has given me because I took the verse and spoke it to myself, going over and over it drawing God’s revelation from it.

Now when I read the word of God I don’t always need to read a whole chapter or a whole section. I might sometimes read one word. God can give me revelation from that one word that changes my life. Now I have the word of God as a deposit in my life because I walk around full of it. When I meditate on the word of God, it starts forming pictures and visions. It joins up and links up and forms connections because I carry a deposit of the truth within me through meditating over it for a long time.

All of us need to have that. Meditation opens a doorway to vision, encounter and experience. When our visions, encounters and experience are anchored in the word, we can go over and over them again, and our brain will then categorise them as important to us, and store them.

Store or shred? The choice is ours.

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A Plumbline, a Doorway and an Anchor

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Not in the Bible

This may seem really obvious, but it is a fact that not everything is actually specifically mentioned in the Bible. For example, Jesus said we should do greater works than He did, without being specific about what they might be. We have experiences in daily life which are not mentioned in the Bible – there are no computers or glasses or cars or mobile phones - but it is OK for us to use them.  In just the same way, we may have some experiences of heaven which are not in the Bible.

A plumbline

plumb lineThe word of God is a plumbline for us though. A plumbline is a string with a lead weight (or plumb-bob) hanging from it, which builders use to check that vertical surfaces are true. So does our experience line up with God’s principles, His character and His
nature? That is a safeguard for us, so that we do not go off into flights of fancy which have no basis in God. The enemy will do all he can to cause us to go astray, but we do not have to be frightened of that if we keep true to a clear revelation of who God is. He will never do anything in a vision or a dream which goes counter to His word.

Using our imagination

In this way the word of God becomes our starting point for future experience. When we meditate on it we can picture what it talks about and use our imagination. We ought not to be scared to use our imagination: God has given it to us so that we can see things, picture them, and visualise them. Now some Christians are wary of concepts like ‘visualisation’ because they have been adopted by New Age and occult people. Even meditation is viewed with suspicion in some circles. But these things are not wrong in themselves. It is simply that we have to approach them afresh and learn how to use them in a godly way.

A doorway

If we read Revelation chapters 4 and 5, they tell us about God’s throne, thunder and lightning, the seven spirits of God, four living creatures, angels, 24 elders and so on. Ezekiel 1 and 10 speak of a similar scene. There are pictures in these passages which we can visualise, and the word then becomes something we can engage with. It can open a door to encounter and experience.

An anchor

As well as a doorway, the word can be an anchor for further heavenly experiences. I have had many encounters with God in the heavenly realms, following which I went back to the word to find a foundation and an anchor for those experiences. That meant I could return to those experiences again, using the word to ensure that I was standing on a good biblical foundation.

So sometimes our experience comes directly out of meditating on the word of God. At other times, our experience comes in a different way, but we can still go back to the word and make sure that what we have experienced is in line with what it reveals of God. In either case, if it is firmly rooted in the word we can pick up our experience again another time and go further with it.

For example, I had encounters where God took me and opened up scrolls relating to my life, and showed me what was written there. I was not expecting that. I did not know if it was biblical. But then I read in Revelation that there was a scroll written on the front and the back which Jesus would open, and realised I had found the truth of God’s word that anchored those experiences solidly for me. As a result I am able to go back there and make sure my life lines up with what is written on my scroll.

Left brain, right brain

To meditate you have to learn to use the right side of the brain, the creative/intuitive area. I used to be a very left-brained person, a scientist, who naturally tended towards the cognitive, logical, and mathematical. But speaking in tongues or meditating, because it comes from a flow of the spirit, uses the right side of the brain. So we need to learn to activate that part of the brain so that we can see, and visualise, and experience spiritual realities, and especially the heavenly realms.

That flow of the spirit is revelation from the inside which comes as spontaneous thoughts and pictures and feelings. If we are not used to tuning in to them, they can slip past and we can miss them. It works like this. The air around us is full of radio and television signals of which we are not normally aware. But if we were to have a radio, turned on and tuned in, we would be able to hear whatever was playing on that particular station. If we had a TV set tuned in we would be able to see what was on that channel. And it is just the same with tuning in to God.

Meditation, imagination

God is sending out signals all the time. They flow through our spirit and are projected into the right side of our brain, so that we can hear His voice, see visions and pictures, and receive revelation from Him. We tune in to that through meditation.

Our imagination is the screen on which God projects things. But it can also receive images from our soul, from our subconscious, and we need to know the difference. Our imagination can play back experiences we have had in life. There may be a song, or a smell or a taste which can transport us instantly back to an experience we had many years previously. We can imagine it, recall it even feel the same feelings we had at the time (whether positive or negative).

We do not want to be led from our soul, and especiallly not from our past negative experience, but we want to be led by the Spirit of God. We need to learn to let those spirit projections rule over the soulish ones, so that we are tuned in to a flow of revelation which enables us to follow God and do what He has called us to do. We have to learn how to open ourselves up to these things, just as most of us actually learned to shut them out.

Retuning

Every child, up to the age of about three or four, is creative and intuitive. Children of that age can see the angelic much more readily than adults, and have the ability to function in that intuitive way.

By the age of 7, only 10% of children retain that spiritual and creative ability. Our western educational system is very effective at training us to use the left side of our brain. It does not value the right side at all. Because the spiritual is not reinforced and encouraged, but rather dismissed and ignored (or at best, humoured) by our elders and teachers, we learn to focus almost exclusively on the natural realm instead.

But now, born again by the Spirit of God, we have an opportunity to re-learn how to engage our spirit; how to retune and see things from God’s perspective.

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb 5:14, my emphasis).

It only comes by practice.

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Grow Your Own

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott - 

In preparing for our destiny we need to build our spirit. Over a number of posts on this blog we have looked at:

We are going on now to consider a fourth means of building up our spirit:

  • Meditating on the word of God

My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
(Prov 4:20-23)

For the word of God is living and active (Heb 4:12).

It is alive, and it has power if we focus and fix our eyes on it. When we allow the power of God’s word to transform us, we can live in the power of that word. As we meditate on it, it is like going from 2D to a 3D experience. It comes alive and jumps off the page. You become part of what is going on.

A picture paints a thousand words

There is a saying, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. That is why Jesus spoke in parables. The Bible is full of stories and illustrations that enable us not just to hear words that are being said, but to imagine and participate in what is going on. So we can have experiences, visions and pictures. We can gain revelation. We can experience things practically for ourselves. We can see things sometimes in worship, pictures visions, trances, all sorts of experiential things in which we can know God’s presence. You cannot know something, in the biblical sense of the word, with intellectual understanding. The word ‘know’ in the bible means ‘to know intimately, by personal experience’. You cannot know what you have not experienced. God wants us to receive those revelations.

Store or shred

When we receive them, it is really important that we do not just pass over them. We do not just say, ‘I had this picture, I had this dream’, and then forget about them. We write them down, record them, journal them. Then we can go back and review what we have seen, what God has said, and we can revisit those experiences and obtain more revelation and more understanding from them.

In meditation, if you go back over something and keep looking at it, drawing life from it, it shows that you value it. What you value, your brain will store (instead of shredding it).

We do not want to be consumers of the word. You can sit and read this blog, or watch one of my YouTube clips, and allow me to teach you something. But you can also be a producer of the word, by taking what the word says, and applying it to your own life, and bringing forth your own fruit.

I can share my experiences of going to heaven, and having heavenly encounters with the Father, with Jesus, the angels, the men in white linen and so on. That is all very good, but God wants you to have your own experiences. They may not be the same as mine, but they will be yours. God shows no favouritism. If you do what I did, you will get what I got. But you will not get it just by reading these posts or hearing me speak. You have to pursue Him for yourself. You have to put into practice basic techniques and principles: and meditating on the word is one of the most important of them. And meditation is not just something ethereal: you have to read the word of God and apply it to your own life.

Tomatoes

It is like tomatoes.

If you like to eat tomatoes, what most people do is go and buy some from the greengrocer or the supermarket. That is being a consumer. Someone else puts in a whole lot of effort to grow them, package them, transport them and offer them up for you to buy and eat. But you could learn how to grow tomatoes for yourself. You would have to have seed to plant, learn about types of soil and compost, transplant your seedlings, remember to water and care for them, make sure they get the right amount of sun and shelter, support the growing plants, prune them, and so on. Eventually, you get tomatoes. tomato plant

When you eat a tomato you have grown, how much better does it taste than one you have bought from the shops? Even Tesco’s Finest? It tastes wonderful. There is nothing like picking fruit and vegetables straight from the garden and eating them. And besides all that, you have put so much into them that you get a real sense of achievement too. It is a lot more work, but it is a lot more rewarding.

Seek it for yourself

In the same way, when you hear about my relationship with God and my encounters with the Holy Spirit, that can benefit you, and you can be blessed by hearing about them. But maybe hearing about my experiences will create a desire in you for something, so that you go away and seek that relationship and those experiences for yourself. And that, I can promise you, will bless you and benefit you on a whole other level.

Be willing to get hold of the truth of God’s word. Spend time in His presence. Learn how to meditate on the word. Learn how to speak in tongues, inside and outside. Build up your spirit so that you can encounter God for yourself in that way. Then you will have first hand revelation knowledge of God as Father, of Jesus as a friend, of the Holy Spirit as a guide.

If you plant a seed and just leave it, it is true you may get some fruit from it. But it is likely to be a far healthier and more fruitful plant if you tend and water it. God’s desire is that we learn to live from the fruit of our relationship with Him and His word, and when we eat, it transforms and enables us.

It is not instant, or automatic. But if we are willing to put the effort in, God is willing to reveal Himself to us in deeper and more intimate ways.

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