As I engage in different conversations with brothers and sisters around the world, and as I experience wonderful things I have never experienced before, things I thought I never would live long enough to see, there is a recognizable “theme” emerging in little pockets here and there . . . kingdom testimonies of a different order and quality than anything I have ever known.
At the risk of ruining something the minute we touch it and define it (God help us all) . . . there is a “move” of His Spirit involving a corporate manifestation in love and power (NOTE: not meetings, gifts, anointing, power, personalities, and sermons) that is unlike anything I have seen or been a part of previously in my life.
It is not flashy. It is not: “come to the show” or “come see the superstar preacher and wonder worker.” It is not “mystical” unless empowered resurrection love and life in human vessels is mystical. It is “behind the scenes” in little “Bethlehems” scattered around the world. It is not something you can “go and see.” It is not something you can write a headline about. You can’t do an “interview” with the functioning Body of Christ. It is not centered on a personality. It is not about “a man, a meeting, a message, and a miracle.” It is not something to be found in a meeting, but it is as real, and discernible and as “manifestational” as a change in barometric pressure is in the weather. You can’t see it, but you can feel it and you know when it happens.
These are the best kingdom days of my mortal existence on this planet.
Yes, that includes “signs and wonders” and all the things that people are “begging God to do” in tiresome and straining eternal prayer meetings for “revival.” Yes that includes genuinely TRANSFORMATIVE conversions (Like I haven’t seen since the 1970’s.). But the catch is: it is outside of everything we have valued and known.
Too often “revival” in our understanding and in our prayers is: “Give us more of what we already have and like, don’t make me change anything, don’t ask too much of me, don’t challenge my doctrinal beliefs, but do something so me and mine can be great, successful, and famous, and so I can be rich, and my church and ministry can have a bigger sanctuary.” Revival is about an end to everything about me and mine! Much if not most of our alleged “crying out to God for revival” is compromised, blind, and self-agendized. Revival is here. It’s just not happening on the frequency and in the way we want it to, or in the ways our traditions and teachers have conditioned us to expect.
Just as those who were obsessed with the routine in the temple in Jerusalem could not recognize the most significant event in the history of the cosmos happening under their noses in their own neighborhood, this “thing” I am seeing and experiencing (and it’s not just me, that’s what’s so encouraging and interesting!) is the same. If we look for it where we think it should be happening, we will not see it, though it be in our own neighborhoods and under our own noses.
Open your eyes. Start loving. Start caring. Start giving. Start sharing, and the revival you are hoping for will explode around you. You just won’t be famous and it might cost you everything you currently esteem and value.
The issue is not that God has not sent, or is somehow withholding “revival.” The issue is God is broadcasting an FM signal and we have AM receivers. We can pray, cry, beg, repent, moan, groan, travail, do “restored Davidic prayer and worship for 24-7” and other forms of spiritual calisthenics all day long, every day of the year, to try and coerce God into broadcasting on our bandwidth. He isn’t. He doesn’t. He won’t. The problem is not reluctance in God. It is not having the right receiver to hear what is already all around us. Tune in. Get on on His bandwidth. Dump your AM receiver. You’ll be amazed at what you hear that you were not aware of even though you were literally being bombarded and surrounded by the signal in the heavens, every day of your life.
Copyright 2014, Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact email@example.com.
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Will be re-blogged, my brother! Extremely pertinent insights. Peace!
Thanks, Bryon . . . you and yours are part of the story!
Reblogged this on Forerunner Perspective and commented:
Please take the time to read the newest blog by our brother, Dr. Stephen Crosby! Peace!
Stephen, I believe it from the depth of my heart, and I also believe that it is hard to see it unless you have been drawn out into the wilderness, abiding in your own little booth that He has designed for your death. There the feast of Tabernacles awaits us. In Genesis 5:1 Moses and Aaron told Pharaoh to let My people go into the wilderness that they may hold a feast unto me. “Who is this coming out of the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5. Thanks Stephen.
This blog post hits the nail on the head – it is not about all the work we do, it is simply about “connecting with the Lord”
Jesus practiced this everyday – as He did nothing of His own initiative, but only that which He saw the Father doing. He lived in a “connected” state!
He also gave us the key long ago – He taught us how to pray (which is not a memorized regurgitation of the Lord’s Prayer);
He say let your will, that is BEING DONE in Heaven, also BE DONE on earth (and we can also personalize it by praying, also BE DONE in my life)
thanks, Jay. Amen.
Yea I agree..today in our little gathering here in tulsa,ok the head guy said we are fixin to do a study on the cross for our Christian living so pray about when we will do this..I was so excited.sounds like revival to me.
Gold brother, gold! Bring it!
Thanks, Stephen. I don’t know how well you are connected to your brothers and sisters here in South Africa, but your post echoes so many of the conversation a lot of us have been having down here over the past few weeks. That is truly amazing, and it boggles the mind. Did he not say: “I will build MY church…”?
Indeed, Tobie. Well said. I don’t have much contact in SA, but I am glad to hear the report and it doesn’t surprise me. Matches what I Am hearing elsewhere.
His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
Asking for what has already been given is an expression of unbelief. People are beginning to really believe that Christ in us is indeed the hope of glory!
Thanks for posting, Don. In my opinion, these foundational things can not be hit on or repeated enough.
I can see by your post of Sept that you have been through a dark night of you soul and spiritual senses, (that post is how I found you, it was posted by a FB Friend, I thought it was excellent and posted it too).
If I may offer… I agree with you about the Move of the Spirit of Father God which is taking place. It will be like nothing we have conceptualized, nor will we be able to duplicate … such was put into my heart in the 80’s… and I recognize it’s unfolding. The Brilliance of God and His plan is being manifested as new wine in new wineskins:
Mature Sons and Daughters who have been set aside for a deeper work are rising up as one among so many, no one will be set above another. As A Son of God, who HE is, is who we are in this present age. Selah
I was moved to write the following as a Note on my FaceBook Page on the 14th of February, 2014. This blog brings it to mind. Please, if you are moved to do so…. read it in context, keeping dark nights of our soul and spiritual senses/Job Type of experiences in mind. Many have gone through such, more will follow:
A Spiritual Tsumani….
Jesus, as the Christ exposed the man made Kingdom of Religion to those who were oppressed. He healed the brokenhearted by proclaiming the Good News of Gods unconditional love; a love towards them which could not be earned nor destroyed. He preached deliverance to those who were captives, the recovering of sight to the blind; to liberate those who are wounded. He preached Gods acceptance… He exposed the corrupted Religious works of men and the traditions of such men that had fruit that was of death not life. He urged them to go directly to God as their Father with the faith to believe He provides all their needs because of His great love for them. He urged them to seek God’s Kingdom and the righteousness of God towards them, with their whole heart. He urged them to ask for God’s true Kingdom to come on earth, replacing Religious bondage.
Mature sons and daughters of the Most High, have become aware they live in HIS Kingdom now… it came on earth beginning in their hearts when they first began to pray with their whole heart. Through a living relationship, their will and their Father’s have become as One … and like Jesus their elder Brother they reveal the Heart of their Father.
The Anti-Christ Spirit …. attitudes that are not of our Father’s heart has no life/part in them. They are Overcomer’s through their relationship with Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit within. They are walking out their Salvation day by day… with an awareness they are being conformed by the Spirit of their Father into His Image and Likeness.
The works our Father began to do through His only Begotten Son before the Foundations of the world as a Thought continues …. becomes a part of our spiritual Reality when we are translated out of a Kingdom of Lies into His Kingdom of Truth…
‘While in prayer… the Lord gave me a vision of a Holy temple… fully destroyed, except for the foundation. The foundation that was left standing was the chief cornerstone… which I understood represented Jesus Christ and God’s messages which came through Him. The rest of the stones which were left… was that which God had placed… through His Prophets and Apostles of old and through the outpourings of His Spirit since.
I was aware a Spiritual Tidal Wave had come in… and wiped everything else out… as far as the eye could see… so that all which remained was God’s work and not mans.’ continued at: http://www.enterrest.com/godsvisionforhischurch.htm
Bren, I received this message. I read in twice. Many of the things that you saw, we have walked in, sung about since the 80’s. As in your vision our garden has been polluted. We have had such mixture over the years even after coming out of the institutional church. I will let this message be absorbed, because at the present, in my dying process, I can do nothing more or nothing less. Thanks!
I believe and see, too, that God is doing something new. Just in the last couple of weeks, this knowing between believers has been a topic of conversation – that God is up to something – and it’s certainly exciting! In my personal life and in the town I live, it looks like this – a sister’s marriage being restored and her and my brother-in-law opening their hearts up to God’s love (after years of hurt feelings on my sister’s side because of a bad “church” experience), another brother-in-law’s faith suddenly exploding even after years of growing up attending “church”. In this same brother-in-law, he has been moved quite definitely to reach out to our city’s homeless…..which is a huge way God is working in our city right now. It seems God is bringing unity among the churches in our town as they love “the least of these” – and as we realize we, too, are the least of these. And, I have found a group to fellowship with who are learning and understanding God’s purpose for His Church and who are walking this love, forgiveness and forbearance thing out together, putting aside differences in our beliefs that only divide. In my own heart, God is revealing idols and stripping them away (painful, but oh, so worth it!)
I just received this article today Stephen and I am very impressed, but of course in a common riding on a donkey kinda way….LOL. I read your bio and articles of faith and I am deeply refreshed and know that I have found something here with you and your ministry I relate to and perhaps need. Place on your list, the first one. I am undoubtedly called to the office of a prophet…..and also not doubt can relate to much failure on my part, but mercy on His.
Perhaps, since this is introductory I will attach below this my general testimony and then a subsequent one from a dream I had recently….
My Christian Testimony
Though my initial salvation experience was dramatic, indelible, and life-transforming (and it took place way back in 1979 when I was a young man just several months removed from living with my parents) my subsequent walk before the Lord as a new creation was often interrupted by just as dramatic, indelible, and life-transforming failures, lapses of faith, and fidelity problems. A genetic stream of alcoholism coursed my veins when the remedy, that pure stream of Christ’s blood, also began to course my circuits; today the stream is clarified and its healing virtue has secured the victory.
But before mercy triumphed over judgment, this body of death, which often overwhelmed me and dictated to me the horrors associated with its alcoholic nature, won many battles. The command to mortify the deeds of my flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit was not something I could easily do; drunkenness and debauchery, and followed hard by adulteries, greed, theft, and other sins, dominated me intermittently and sporadically throughout the early years of my Christian experience. I would binge, black out, and remain drunk for weeks and sometimes as long as a month straight; then I would repent, God would graciously take me back, and I would serve Him with vigor and sincerity for another season. In spite of my inconsistency, God fought loyally and vigorously for my soul, and I longed to develop and mature, to be faithful, stable, and established.
One day, amidst the fog of my existence, God graciously dropped a promise from the book of Hosea into my spirit (and then it grew); He spoke of healing “faithlessness,” in the Amplified Version of the Bible, of “backsliding” in the King James Version, and “apostasy” in the New American Standard Bible; and each version ended their respective verse by stating that He would love me freely and turn His anger away from me (Hosea 14:4). Though I loved God more than anything, I never had the power to remain utterly faithful until one day when He promised me by His Spirit that a miracle had been wrought within my soul. Not but 5 or 6 years ago, then in my mid-forties, did His promise to me manifest and remain; He had healed my faithlessness (those backslidings and apostasies).
Alcohol faded into the background and He distinctly told me that I would never fall away again. It has proven true and solid since then, but I am humbled by my performance because I know that only He wrought this steadfastness in me (and that I can take no credit for the faithfulness I now walk in). Because He is the God of resurrection, death already has no sting with Him; though I am the chief of all sinners, and every outward sign had been one of abject failure, I overcame and won the entire victory (regardless of what many brothers and sisters in Christ thought and still think of me and my Christianity).
Almighty God never loses anything placed into His hands, and even though I failed to do many things right in this lifetime, one thing I did do right was to allow the placing of my life into those scarred, gentle, and secure hands. Only because God never loses or fails, I never lose or fail (ultimately).
2/9/2014, by Edward V. Beck
I Had A Dream
I had a dream last night (2/9/2014) that was still alive in me as I awoke this morning. Somehow I know it was about the year and a half I spent in Zanesville, Ohio from about May 1996 to November 1997, a period of time which literally began with 40 days and 40 nights of rain followed by a nightmarish existence that ended with a drunken binge leading up to God speaking to me to go back to Virginia Beach, Virginia.
In the dream I reached for and took out some letters from a pigeon-hole-style mail slot, and grabbed two brown-grocery-bag-papered packages from off the top of a mail cart, one about two times as large as the other. The dream didn’t show anything more about the letters, but each of the two packages contained business cards, the larger one too plain and picture-less, the smaller one correctly formatted and with my professional picture, but with wrong information printed on it. As I was looking at them, feeling quite disappointed and even a bit irritated by the errors, I started to get wind of a funky odor. As I looked down at the black patent leather dress shoes I was wearing, I noticed they had “dog crap” smeared all over the tops and bottoms of them.
I then walked out of the office in search of a water hose to clean my shoes. The office was a modest rectangular shaped single story home on a small flat parcel of land situated directly in the middle of it. The home/office had equal parts lawn on all four sides, and dog manure strewn across every inch of it. There was so much “crap” in fact (and it was so equally distributed across the entire property) that it was impossible to avoid stepping in it.
As I began to wake I found myself washing my shoes off while standing in the middle of the backyard in the middle of a minefield of it. The cleaning was effective if I remained where I cleaned it, but it was obvious I could not move if How was I going to get out of there without re-soiling my shoes? I awoke with that question lingering in my mind.
A few ideas of its interpretation struck me: 1. The idea that as a Christian, each day needs to end with foot washing to remove dust (the residue of walking on the valley path of earth), not dog crap (the substance of walking on the pathless waste-land of an imprisoning dog pound off the course of life) occurred to me; instead of needing a mere dust washing at the end of each day, I needed a washing and scrubbing away of a caked on mess for each day of all the wasted days I walked about there. It was a year and a half of wilderness wandering, a self-imposed exile; wasted time and an expenditure of vain effort. It was a crappy time indeed. 2. Thoughts of where I am now, and where I should be is on me hard. God is gracious, but lost time is lost opportunity and a less solidly formed character in the mold of Christ’s image; God, please help me!
More thoughts: What did the unopened (and not even further considered) letters mean? What is to be made of the two different sized plain packages, one too generic to be useful, the other wrongly imprinted?
As I write this, these interpretive thoughts are striking me: perhaps the unopened and never considered letters represent opportunities only grasped out of the slot (understood when God first spoke it to me), but never opened, and therefore never experienced (never obeyed and therefore never accomplished).
The larger package of a bunch of too common and indistinct business cards seem to represent a too common and indistinct of a life in a vein of existence not specifically prescribed for me. The smaller package of wrongly imprinted business cards is about me in perhaps the right vein of existence, but in a disfigured way.
Cleaning away the crap was fine and necessary, but being still in a situation where I could not get away from stepping into more of it as I walked out of it, was a hopeless situation and the feeling which weighed heavily on me as I awoke.
Basically, I’m a failure in business and life in extraordinary measure; now at 53 years old and broken down physically, I see no hope of changing that. Even though I now have a firm sense of utter victory because of whose I am, and I know He will eventually turn all things around for my good (and by His work alone), I feel as though there is something important to glean from this particular past chapter of my life.
The answer: I got saved in 1979 and was destined to serve in a pastoral function with a wife at my side whom God presented to me in the early 1980s. Instead of following on to know God and life in that vein, however, I deviated, became deviant, and ruined that particular course of my life. The time I spent in Zanesville, Ohio is perhaps the peak of that deviance, and is therefore symbolic of the whole tragedy. It was from there, from the bowels of the hell I was putting myself into, that God picked me up by His kind Hand (extended to me by His Almighty Right Arm [Jesus]) by a tender and divine intervention, and took me back to my spiritual roots in Virginia Beach, VA and planted me back into the soil of my lot in life.
But before He replanted me and before my wanderings culminated in Zanesville, I began those wanderings in the military in 1983. I still remember the tenderness in God’s voice as He asked me (before my wanderings began), “Are you willing to bear the yoke?” I knew this question arose out of the thoughts behind these words from the prophet Jeremiah: “It is good for a man that he should BEAR THE YOKE IN HIS YOUTH. Let him sit alone and be silent since He has laid it on him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, perhaps there is hope” (Lamentations 3:27-29). I could not say no to the Lord, my God whom I had come to know, and love dearly. I didn’t know, however, how dark and painful it would get. I relate to the prophet’s sentiments:
“I am the man who has seen affliction…He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand repeatedly all the day…He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in secret places. He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate…He has made me cower in the dust…So I [said], ‘My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the LORD’” (Lamentations 3:1-18).
My first Army duty station was Ft. Greely, Alaska. The beginning of my wandering about in the wilderness. I arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska on December 7, 1983, on the 42nd anniversary of that date in our history which will live in infamy, an auspicious beginning for me indeed. The fact that there were 42 stops along the wandering-wilderness-way for Israel before they reached the Promised Land is not lost on me.
Ft. Greely, located at the termination town of the famous Alcan Highway, Delta Junction, was in the cold and barren landscape of a desert region of southern Alaska. Dark, bitterly cold, and unending (40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit with 40 mile an hour winds being a typical winter day there), it seemed to reflect my inner sense in the exact terms of the sentence imposed upon it by the verdict feelings of my isolation.
Like a dog returning to its vomit, I returned to wine, women, and song; I drank often and much, interspersed with seasons of turning back to God. I married an unbeliever and got my heart ripped out of my chest. God came to me, not so much angry, as hurt and jealous for my wanderlust affections. That moved me back to Him for another season, but alas, when my deviant heart could not accept the answer to my wanton prayer of saving my wrongly premised marriage, I fell away again into a base existence.
Alas, I only superficially got the message! I meandered along in spiritless way for many years, occasionally coming to my senses in small doses. And of course, as was inevitable, because I hadn’t yet learned the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I repeated my history. I married again outside of God’s plan (and if it weren’t the case that God’s love is more outrageous than my sin is egregious, it is doubtful I’d ever learn to stop making the same old mistakes). As they say, “The definition of insanity is to keep doing things the same way and expecting different results.” Only because of His grace and mercy towards me did I marry someone this time who, although not a perfect match for me, was someone less despicable and more godly than the first.
But it too ended in divorce. It had to! She has since passed away, and in Christ I might add joyfully. I did get a wonderful step-daughter, her husband, and two grandchildren out of the otherwise debacled affair. I am now sitting clothed and in my right mind because God removed legion from me (inclusive of a few Goliaths). And the wonderful thing about God is that He is a know-it-all, not like delusional man who feigns to be. He told me in advance that I would go astray; it is therefore a comfort to me that He did. It assures me that I cannot leave the reservation without reservation. Knowing that He knows all things, past, present, and future, in addition to seeing that He is always kind and gentle even with that knowledge, comforts my heart beyond words (and beyond words to me is huge, because words to me are already enormous). Anyways, these are the words He used to assure my heart before I entered into my wilderness experience:
“The Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly, or grieve the sons of men. To crush under His feet all the prisoners of the land, to deprive a man of justice in the presence of the Most High, to defraud a man in his lawsuit—of these things the Lord does not approve” (Lamentations 3:31-36).
And in the next two verses it is explained who (me) that had to be utterly corrected:
“Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?”
And after that, in the next verses still, it gives the reason why:
“Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins?
Finally, in the last verse in this chain, the answer:
“Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD.”
Thank God I did, but more importantly, thank God for Jesus Christ, the ground upon which I was afforded the opportunity to return by the simple but effective means of repentance, changing my mind and attitude about myself. By God’s help, I broke the insanity circle.
I am now more certain than yesterday that God will restore everything the cankerworm has eaten and fix all the brokenness I alone inflicted upon my foolish heart. And one day, the only day, that endless day of eternity realized, after all my tears are wiped away, my failure will no longer be remembered, at least with the sting of sorrow and the strike of pain still attached to it. I know that He has already made all things new for me (and I can honestly say that it now real in my experience today). And I am inclined not to waste another minute occupying my thoughts and feelings with remorse and guilt, but I wanted to testify of God’s incredible mercy and longsuffering love to me (and which is no doubt available to all the brokenhearted).
**FLASH UPDATE! I took a silly quiz 2/14/2014 on a link from a friend on Facebook; here is what happened, and my words attached to the results of the quiz: “I just had a dream about two nights ago about my time in Zanesville, Ohio, 96-97 timeframe, and I interpreted it as epitomizing wasted time in servitude to God, wilderness wandering time. Then here I go wasting my time doing this silly horoscope-like quiz and lo and behold I get Ohio! Go figure, huh?”
“I got Ohio! What State Do You Actually Belong In? [Go to] ‘www.buzzfeed.com.’ Ohio—YES! You’re an honest person, someone who isn’t afraid to let others know how you feel. Others value your opinion immensely, and they should. Besides that, you’re an adventurous person – why else do you think Ohio has the most astronauts out of any…”
Hello, Ed. Thank you for the post.