164. The Image of Jesus

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Transformation: embrace the season

We are entering into a season preparing us for holiness; a season of removing stumbling blocks; a season of preparation to cross the threshold into the glory realm; a season for transformation. Not just a minor adjustment of surface appearance, but fundamental, radical change, affecting body, soul and spirit.

final14Let’s not resist it, but embrace it. Let’s cooperate in being changed from glory to ever-increasing glory. Entering into the process of refining and purifying is entirely voluntary. That said, we know that sometimes God will engineer circumstances around our lives to give us further opportunities to volunteer. We can fall on the Rock, or the Rock can fall on us.

Like you have never known

Here is part of a prophetic word which God gave me before I first taught this series at Freedom in 2012:

“It is time to pray that the lid comes off and to call forth my angels who are waiting to start gathering and removing stumbling blocks both within and without. Holiness fire is coming, the highway of holiness has been prepared. It is time to walk in the river of fire. You have walked over it and felt its heat but now it is time to be baptised in fire. The heat will turn idols back into the dust they came from: to be under your feet, not in your hearts.

Call forth the gathering angels. The lids are coming off the sewers, the secret and hidden things of the heart are about to be exposed. All I ask is for the willingness to submit to the fire that will refine, purify and prepare you for true holiness.

I am about to restore your souls like you have never known, and lead you on paths of righteousness like you have never known.

I am going to prune the church. I am going to cut off the branches that are producing no fruit. I am going to remove the stumbling blocks to true kingdom government. I am going to close the access doors that the enemy has had. Some have already been removed.

I am looking for those who are willing to be pruned in the unproductive areas of their lives and in their desires and their priorities…”

Metamorphosed, transfigured

We have seen that happen at Freedom Church (kingdom government has been established here, but in the process, lids have certainly come off some sewers and we have experienced some painful pruning, both corporate and personal). What is true for us locally is true for you, wherever (and whenever) you are reading this. God wants His whole church transformed, metamorphosed, transfigured, changed, conformed into the image of Jesus; not patterned, moulded, conformed to the world.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1-2).

Transformation is a process of change, a renewal, a restoration to original condition; not to what Adam was like before his sin but to what he would have become. How would things be today if Man had not fallen, but had spent the intervening centuries pursuing God’s plan for him and for creation? How would we be?

Our goal in transformation is to become wholly like Jesus; to live like Him; to do as He did, and greater things (John 14:12); to be conformed to His image.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29).

One degree to another

In our day, the prophetic books (portals) have been opened and we are receiving deeper levels of revelation and understanding. But these also call for deeper levels of transformation. It is like going from preschool mathematics (recognise a number), through primary school (counting, simple sums, addition, multiplication), to secondary school (algebra, equations, calculus), undergraduate, postgraduate and so on. I suspect many of us are not much beyond preschool as yet.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18).

There are progressive levels of transformation to maturity, progressive levels of responsibility and authority. God wants to take us from servant to bondservant to steward to friend; lord to king to son.

By the mercies of God

Freedom from sin (Rom 6:16-18); the gift of eternal life (Rom 6:23); peace with God (Rom 5:1); the grace of God (Rom 5:2); salvation from wrath (Rom 5:9); the gift of repentance (Rom 2:4-5); the love of Christ (2 Cor 5:14-15): the mercies of God are new every morning, and they motivate us to present ourselves as living sacrifices, ready for transformation.

It is indeed a process, and it may take some time. But we can begin today (and every day) by offering ourselves as a living sacrifice. We can invite Him to do what He needs to do in us.

He will challenge our conscience, imagination, reason, mind, emotions, will, and choice; our motives, desires, attitudes, mind-sets, belief systems, familiar spirits, patterns of sin, trading systems, idols, stumbling blocks, entanglements; hurts, pains, rejections, fears, inadequacies, inferiorities, disappointments and more besides. He will deal with our sin, transgression and iniquity. He will restore our supernatural abilities.

Are we up for that?
If so, let’s pray:

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 life.

I choose to be a bond servant.
Train me as a good steward
So that I can be your friend.

Renew my mind
Heal my emotions
Restore my conscience
Cleanse my imagination
Direct my will.

Train my senses to hear your voice
To know your heart
See your vision
And be directed by your peace.

Cleanse my bloodline and seed-line
Transform my DNA.

Father I choose to follow my eternal destiny
Into lordship, kingship and sonship.
I choose, as an ambassador of heaven,
To administer the rule of the kingdom of God
On earth as it is in heaven.

Display me as a son of light on the earth.
Manifest your kingdom rule through me to the world around me.

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147. Present A Living Sacrifice (3) – practice

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

channelBecause of practice

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant,.But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Hebews 5:13-14).

If we have received revelation, we must act on it. All that we are learning, we have to put into practice. Things do not just happen automatically for us because we have read about them, or even by doing them just once or twice. It takes practice. But even though we call it practice, of course we are doing it for real.

For example, presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice. We have posted about this on a couple of occasions: now we are going to practice doing it (I do it myself every day). As part of that, we are also going to practice stepping in and stepping out of the presence of God.

I suggest that you stand, if you are able. When we step in, take a step forward; and when we step out, take a step back. It is just a practical cue here in this realm, a step of faith into His presence. It reminds us that the kingdom is always right there in front of us and that we can step into it at any time.

Let’s pray along these lines each day:

Father I thank you that You have made a way
for me to come into Your presence

By faith I step in… [step forward]
to the realm of Your presence
into the holy place in the heavenly tabernacle

I stand before the altar of incense
and present myself as a living sacrifice to You
Jesus, my High Priest.

Today, Jesus, I desire and choose,
as an act of my will,
to abdicate the throne of my heart.

I ask You to crucify and kill my flesh
I choose to deny myself all my rights
and to give You my life, to gain Your life.
I am dead to sin and alive to righteousness

I ask You to remove my head
as I surrender to Your lordship.
I choose not my will but Your will in my life.
I give up my right to free will
and choose to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness

I ask You to skin me
and remove every covering I have placed around my life.
Remove everything I use to make myself acceptable to You and others.
I renounce all dead works.
Remove all my masks, pretences, defence and coping mechanisms

I ask you split me open down to my bones and marrow.
Cleanse my heart and its motives.
Purify the thoughts and intentions of my heart.
Restore my heart
Give me Your desires.
Renew my mind
Heal my emotions
and strengthen my will.

I ask You to remove my legs
I surrender my walk to You
I choose to do only what I see the Father doing
I choose to walk by faith and not by sight

I step out of heaven… [step back]
back into this realm
I choose to let You do Your works through me
as I become a channel for Your kingdom to manifest
in this world around me.

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29. Surrender Your Whole Life

Mike Parsons

abandonI believe that God is challenging us to surrender. And especially if you have been hardening your heart when you have seen God at work in revival, resisting what He is doing because things are not as you expected, this is an opportunity for you to surrender totally to Him, and allow Him to do what He needs to do.

All of us, everything

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).

If we are willing to turn away from ourselves and surrender to Him, He will refresh us with His very Presence. That is a promise: the question is, are we willing, or do we still want to do it our own way? Do we still want to do it according to our own thinking or are we willing to surrender that and allow God to do it however He chooses? Are we willing to give Him everything? He wants our heart; He wants our mind; He wants it all. He is not satisfied with what we are giving Him: all of us need to surrender everything.

Let us abandon ourselves to Him: be that living sacrifice we looked at last time, and let it all go. Let go of our past and let Him heal it and restore it. He will restore our soul if we are willing to sit in green pastures by quiet waters and look at His face. See His eyes, looking at us, loving us. Seeing our pain and our hurt, and bringing healing because He loves us. He went on to the cross and took every sickness, every pain, every disease, every sorrow; He took every sin we have committed or ever will, every sin that has been committed against us, and He died for us. And He was resurrected and is alive to enforce the victory of the cross in our lives – if we will allow Him to do it.

The question is, will we let it go? We need to receive our true identity as sons of God. The only way we receive it is letting go of our old identity, letting go of our old way of doing it, our old strongholds and mindsets, to embrace our destiny. Every one of us has a destiny in God, God wants us to embrace it.

Today

And today, I really believe, is the time when we need to make a decision in our hearts. Some of us have been lukewarm, resistant, doing as little as we have thought we could get away with. If we have been thinking that would be OK, we need to recognise that is not enough anymore. It never was. It is not enough to play around with this: God wants our whole life: everything. And when we give Him our whole life, we receive His abundant life in return; we get everything we ever desired or wanted, but has been blocked by our stubbornness, because of the flesh and the strongholds that get in the way.  Today is the time when we can surrender.

Can we take a minute to be quiet, close our eyes, and be honest before God about where we are with Him right now? If we are struggling, to surrender that struggle. If we know there are things we have not handed over to Him, to hand them over now. Just count the cost of what doing things our own way might be for us, if we miss what God is doing right now. Consider where it will lead us and where it will take us, compared to what will happen if we surrender our life to God, compared to our destiny in God,  in the Holy Spirit, in the future Kingdom of God.

Selah

Please, pause for a minute to do that, and only continue reading this post when you are done.

Prayer of surrender

Now I am inviting you to pray with me if you are willing to surrender the whole of your life. Whether you have prayed a prayer of surrender like this before, or whether this is the first time, He wants to give you so much more than you can imagine or think, but He cannot if you are not surrendering everything to Him. Surrender to Him right now. Forget what anyone else is doing around you, just get in the presence of God.

Father,
I pray that You will receive the living sacrifice
That I am presenting before You right now.
That You will receive it into Your hand,
Receive my life, receive my soul,
My mind, my heart, my will, my emotions, my choice.
Receive me as a living sacrifice,
Heal, restore, make whole,
Empower, envision, equip;
Draw me into an intimate relationship with You, Father.

As I surrender to You,
Come, meet with me at that point of surrender.
As I surrender my life, give me Your abundant life;
As I surrender my hurts and pains, bring healing and restoration;
As I surrender my past, give me revelation of my future.
Open up the eyes of my heart to see, to hear, to feel and to know
Who I am as Your son.
Release my true identity as Your son,
Called to the kingdom for such a time as this.
Prepare my body with fragrant oils and fragrant perfume
To come into the presence of the King.

I come into the presence of the King right now
As a living sacrifice,
To present it before You in the heavenly realms
So that I can take my seat,
Seated with Christ in authority and power in the heavenly realms;
To manifest Your kingdom
On earth, as it is in heaven, through my life,
Manifesting the light of Your glory.
Take me, Lord God,
Take my heart, melt it with Your love.

With Your eyes of love
You are looking into people’s hearts, saying,
“Give Me your heart,
Stop being stubborn,
Stop resisting;
Surrender,
Be a living sacrifice.
I have so much to give you,
So much more than you can imagine or think.
Today, just surrender to me
And allow me to do what I want to do in your life.
Allow me to direct your life
In the way it should go,
To empower you and envision you;
Embrace your destiny.”

I pray, Holy Spirit, touch our lives today.
As we have turned away from our own way
And we have repented and turned to You,
Let times of refreshing come from Your very Presence.
Let Your Presence rest on us;
Open up the realms of heaven
As you invite us into the throne room
To meet the King.

God wants to give you new things: He wants you to be invested with new clothes, new robes of righteousness and kingly authority. He wants to put a ring of authority on your finger. He wants to release power and anointing upon you. You are called to the kingdom for such a time as this.

But first of all, He wants you to surrender.

Soundtrack: Holding Nothing Back – Jesus Culture (via YouTube)

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28. Present a Living Sacrifice (1)

Rom 12 1 wordleMike Parsons

Paul writes to the Romans, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Rom 12:1).

A living sacrifice is a prepared sacrifice. It will help us if we understand what was involved in offering a sacrifice in the Old Testament. When they sacrificed a lamb they prepared it in a certain way so that it was able to be received as an offering. It was the High Priest who prepared and arranged the sacrifice on the altar, and we know that Jesus is our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14). So now we come into the holy place within the heavenly tabernacle and present ourselves on the altar of incense to be a sweet-smelling aroma to God; we invite Jesus to prepare us as a sacrifice: we know what He is going to do, and we deliberately allow Him to do it.

This is how the High Priest prepared the sacrifice:

  1. He slit its throat and drained its blood. If we are going to be prepared as a living sacrifice, we have to be willing to have our throat slit and our blood drained so that our life in the flesh is exchanged for His life in the spirit. Not literally, not physically having our throat slit, I hasten to add. But Jesus said, “You need to deny yourself, take up the cross daily, and follow me”. Lose our life, to gain His life. We are going to need to totally die to doing it our way, as a choice where we say, “I die to myself,  I deny myself”, daily.
  2. The head was chopped off. We cannot be in charge, with our head. We have to be saying, like Jesus, “Not my will, but Yours be done”. He is the perfect sacrifice. He did this every day. He presented Himself morning by morning as a disciple (Is 50:4). I renounce the right to my free will. Every time, my flesh would get in the way and I would choose to do what suits me rather than what suits God. Therefore, not my will, but Yours be done: I am not going to let my head decide what I am going to do.
  3. The skin was removed. We cannot have defence mechanisms, protection mechanisms and our own self-righteousness as a barrier: we have to be vulnerable and transparent before God, and before others. We cannot protect ourselves: we must live in His protection. We have the armour of light, the armour of righteousness, and the armour of God to protect us. We do not have any of them if we try to protect ourselves with inferior armour of our own making. It is time to let it go.
  4. He split the body completely open, and washed all the inner parts. God wants our heart purified, refined and washed in the living water of His Word and His Presence. We have to be willing to open up our heart, open up our life. That’s what a living sacrifice is, it is saying “Everything belongs to You. I am not hiding anything from You. You have it all”.
  5. Finally, He chopped the legs off. We cannot walk our own way, we have to surrender daily and walk according to how the Spirit leads. “I am going to do nothing other than what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19). That is how Jesus did His miracles: He saw the Father doing it. He is calling us to do the same: miracles, signs and wonders, being led by the Spirit daily, following Him, not doing our own thing and going off in our own direction, but every day surrendering that day to God and saying, “God, this day belongs to You. This is Your day, I am just here as a servant. You lead me, You use me, empower me, envision me, show me what You are doing.

When we go to heaven and He gives us revelation there, when we spend time in our spirit, in communion and fellowship with Him; if we present ourselves as a living sacrifice, He will reveal Himself.  He will use us if we give Him the opportunity. But we have to surrender and allow Jesus to prepare us to be the sacrifice, and we cannot offer it half-heartedly; because if we do, He knows.

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