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.
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’.
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.
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.
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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Sons Of Issachar is a blog edited and maintained by Jeremy Westcott on behalf of Freedom Apostolic Resources. ©2014-2015 Freedom Apostolic Resources Freedom Apostolic Resources is a trading style of Freedom Trust, a charity registered in England. Registered charity number 1039290. Registered office: Freedom Centre, 1 Howard Avenue, Barnstaple EX32 8QA, UK.