The following passage of Scripture was received by my wife (Julia) on June 16, 2009 at 12:00 a.m. in the morning. I thought that it was a true word for that time, and it continues to speak to where we are in this season.
Isaiah 6:8–13 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “‘Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump. ESV
In the past five-plus years this passage of scripture has come to mean a lot more to us than it did when it was first quickened to my wife, and while we continue to look for the land of our fathers and the people of our tribe, we know in our heart that His seed still remains like the stump of a tree that has been cut down. The seed lives…BELIEVE!
Note: The past decade for many of us has been about stripping, gutting and crushing everything about our lives and ministries.
It was like being demoted, downsized and exiled to the back side of the desert. It was like being publically humiliated and paraded through the streets naked for all to see and mock. It was like being laid open, vulnerable and exposed to the elements. (Stripped)
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. ESV
Philippians 3:7-8 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. ESV
Philippians 4:12– I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. ESV
It was like having your entrails ripped out by a meat hook and drawn and quartered by a team of wild horses. It was like not having the strength or courage to continue. It was like your head is on the chopping block and all you have known of life has come to an end. (Gutting)
It was like carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, while trying to breathe with an elephant sitting on your chest. It was like everything in your world was imploding and collapsing in on itself. (Crushing)
Note: I have come to understand that everything that we have become apart from Him is dying or being systematically killed off.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ESV
Colossians 2:9-15 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.
This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
In Him we live, move and have our being is becoming our new reality, and for me to live is Messiah and to die is gain, is our reasonable service.
Question: What has this season been all about?
1). This season has been about dying to ourselves and learning to live in, by and through Him.
Acts 17:26-28 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,“‘For we are indeed his offspring.
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
He made us alive together.
He raised us up together.
We are now seated with Him in Heavenly places. (This truth speaks to the past, present and future) – (Purpose–That He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in the ages to come)