How do I receive revelation?

How do I receive revelation?

Many people ask me to pray for them to receive greater revelation from Scripture. While it’s always an honor to bless someone with prayer, it is seldom understood how revelation comes, or to whom it comes. One of the greatest joys in life is hearing from God. There is no downside. But there is a cost that comes with the impartation.
The following is a list of practical suggestions for those wanting to grow in revelation from God.

1.    Become childlike. Simplicity and humility of heart helps qualify a person to hear from God, while the desire to be profound is a wasted desire. What many discover after years of teaching is that the word that is simple is often the most profound. “At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” (Matthew 11:25)

2.    Obey what you know. Jesus taught His followers, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” (John 7:17)  “If anyone wills . . . he shall know” – Clarity comes to the one willing to do the will of God. The willingness to obey attracts revelation, because God is the ultimate steward, investing His treasures into fertile ground – the surrendered heart.

3.    Learn the biblical art of ‘meditation’. “I call to remembrance my song in the night; I will meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.”  (Psalms 77:6) Biblical meditation is a diligent search. Whereas religious cults teach people to empty their minds as the means of meditation, the Bible teaches us to fill our minds with God’s Word. Meditation has a quiet heart and a ‘directed’ mind. Mulling a word over in our heart, with a pursuit that springs from the inquisitive child’s heart, is meditation.

4.    Live in faith. Living by faith in my present assignment makes me ready for more. “Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  (2 Corinthians 4:4) Notice that the light of the gospel comes to the person who believes. Revelation comes to the one expressing faith! Live with the understanding that God has already willed to give you His mysteries (Matthew 13:11),  and ask accordingly. Then thank Him in advance.

5.    Acquire an understanding heart. This sort of heart has the foundations in place for something to be constructed upon it. These are the basic concepts of the King and His kingdom. Proper foundations attract the builder (revelator) to come and add to those foundations. “But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.”  (Proverbs 14:6) God wisely stewards fresh insight to those who have the basic principles in place. When fresh insights come, the understanding heart has a “slot to put it in”. It is not lost as seed spilled on the ground.

6.    Give God your nights. I try to end each day with my heart’s affection stirred up and directed to the Holy Spirit. What an amazing way to go to sleep. The Song of Solomon reveals this poetically, “I sleep, but my heart is awake.”  (Song of Solomon 5:2) God loves to visit us in the night and give us instruction that we would have a hard time receiving during the day. (Job 33:15-16)  The desire to give God our night season flows naturally from the child’s heart that knows revelation cannot be earned. Ask Him specifically to minister to you in the night through visions and dreams. Once you have a dream or vision, write it out, and ask Him for understanding.

7.    Give away what you have already received.Never underestimate what hungry people can “pull” from you while you minister the word. Being in a place of continual giving is a sure way of getting more. When we’re in ‘over our heads’ in a ministry situation, we find out what God has been putting into us during the night. He draws out of the deep places in our hearts things that are not yet a part of our conscious thought processes.  (Proverbs 20:5)

8.    Become a friend of God. God shares His secrets with His friends. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) He makes all things known to His friends. Not only does He want to share all, He’s invited us to ask anything of Him. But be accustomed to hearing more than you can share with others. Listen as He speaks, but speak only what He gives you freedom to speak about. Some things are revealed only because we’re friends, and are not to be shared with others.

Dreaming with God, pages 131-134

by Bill Johnson

Thoroughly Biblical Church By Beresford Job Essex England

What are the irreducible, minimum requirements for a church in order for it to be biblical?

It was argued earlier in this book that the practices passed on by the apostles have the force of biblical command, and this is true be they, for instance, concerning people working and providing for themselves and not being idle, or the manner in which churches functioned (such as what they did when they met together). From the New Testament as a whole we can piece together a clear picture of just what this apostolically commanded church practice actually was. I would consequently list the following:

Believers met as churches on the first day of the week. (And it is instructive to note at this point that this is the only apostolic practice that the early church fathers didn’t mess around with and change. And of course the reason for this is that it doesn’t in any way touch on the actual nature of what a church is, and therefore didn’t affect the wrong teachings and changes to church practice they introduced one way or the other. They therefore left this one thing unchanged and it remained as the apostles had originally established.)
When churches came together they met in houses.
When they came together in their houses their corporate worship and sharing together was completely open and spontaneous (1Co 14:26 describes the proceedings as, “each one has”), with no one leading from the front. The early believers didn’t have anything that even approximated a church service.
As part of these proceedings they ate the Lord’s Supper as a full meal, indeed as their main meal of the day, commonly referring to it as the love-feast.
They understood each church to be an extended family unit (the idea of churches being institutions or organizations would have been totally alien to them), and practiced non-hierarchical plural male leadership that had arisen from within the church those elders would subsequently lead. This indigenous eldership (elder, pastor/ shepherd, bishop/overseer being synonymous terms in the New Testament) sought to lead consensually wherever possible, and was understood to be purely functional, and not in the slightest way positional.

Now that is what the Bible clearly reveals as to how the apostles, who were the recipients of Jesus’ full revelation and teachings, established churches to operate and function. But the question before us is: How much of their blueprint could be changed whilst leaving a church as still fundamentally biblical in it’s nature and functioning. (I use this phrase because nature and functioning are totally interrelated, being actually different sides of the same coin. As in the rest of life, form follows function – it is just the way things unalterably are! Parents and children, for instance, function together differently than colleagues at the work place, and it’s the difference in nature that makes the difference in function so important. A family where parents and children relate together more like workmates than blood relatives would be an example of, not a normal family, but a dysfunctional one. So likewise, churches that function as institutions or organizations, rather than extended families of the Lord’s people, are examples of dysfunctional churches and not, biblically speaking, normal ones.) So let us now proceed in earnest to the answering of our question, and see what parts of the apostolic blueprint, if any, are non-essential in maintaining both the nature and functioning of a biblical church. And we’ll start with the issue of which day churches ought to meet.

Now as far as nature and function are concerned this is indeed entirely neutral, and the early church fathers realized this and so saw no need to make changes. They saw that you could alter the functioning and nature of churches without reference to the day on which they met and so in that regard left things as apostolic status quo. And, conversely, a biblical church could change the day on which it got together yet remain everything it already was, and continue to practice and function in the same manner in every other respect.

And I would be the first to say that being (nature) and doing (function) church biblically is more important than the day on which you meet in order to so be and do; and would rather be part of a church that was biblical in practice and function but which met on, say, Thursdays or Tuesdays, than one that met on Sundays but which wasn’t biblical according to our earlier definition. But here is my question: When the early church fathers themselves chose not to change the day of the gathering of believers, on what basis, and for what possible reason, should we?

Though I say again that I do accept without reservation that a church meeting on a different day of the week to Sunday can be otherwise fully biblical. Further, if it ever became illegal to meet on Sundays, but not Thursday, then I would probably, under such circumstances, be quite happy to make the necessary changes. But outside of such extenuating circumstances, and I shall be back to that thought later, why change the day on which the early church, under the guidance and care of the apostles, met?

And let me also answer at this point the completely legitimate point that in the world of the New Testament, the Jews started a new day in the evening, and this means the first day of the week for them started on Saturday evening. Therefore, if any church met on Saturday evenings specifically for that reason then I would accept it as a biblical thing to do. However, it must still be said that this would seem to be illogical in countries where each day is reckoned to commence in the morning. For most of us the first day of the week is the time period from when we get up on Sunday morning until we go to bed again, so I would still maintain that meeting as churches on Sundays remains the biblical norm as far as we are concerned. So let’s move on now to the question of meeting in houses.

That the early church did meet in houses no one with an ounce Bible knowledge is going to deny, and the nature and functioning of the meetings they had when they came together as churches simply meant that there was never any need for them to do otherwise. Numbers in each church were, by definition, supposed to be small, and interactive gatherings with no one leading, and with a meal thrown in to boot, are just perfect for a house setting. After all, what better place could there possibly be? And so once again we see form following function as it always does in the New Testament. (The eventual move from houses into specially sanctified religious buildings was, as with all the other changes we are considering, due to the early church fathers. And it is interesting to note too that this was the final change they made to the apostolic blueprint, and that meeting in houses was actually the original apostolic praxes that survived their reinvention of the Christian church the longest.)

But let us now consider the plight of twenty Eskimos in a village somewhere near the North Pole who have just become Christians, and who therefore want to become a church, but whose largest igloo can only fit 8 people in it. Now if they therefore decided to hire a slightly larger igloo with the express purpose of using it for their gatherings as a church, then assuming they still meet as the Bible describes and don’t therefore change the nature of what their gathering together ought to be, then I would see no problem. Indeed, I would rather be part of a biblical church that met outside of homes for their main gathering (assuming though that the other biblical practices were in place) than part of a church that met in homes but which was unbiblical in every other respect. You can maintain the nature and functioning of a church, if you really have to, whilst meeting somewhere other than in a home. Indeed, the church of which I am a part sometimes used to rent a hall for the bit of our gathering together that includes the singing, this being out of love for neighbors having heard their complaints about the noise. But we sit in a circle, just as we would in a home, and what we do in that hall is still completely open with everyone free to spontaneously take part, and without anyone leading from the front. And when we are done we return to one of our houses for the love-feast. But let me underline now what I just said about if you really have to; because we must make sure that we don’t let deviations from the biblical norm, permissible only because of extenuating circumstances, actually become the norm. Let me illustrate what I mean by this from what the Bible teaches about baptism.

Biblical baptism, like apostolic tradition for the way a church functions, is a command from the Lord. And although it’s actual mode isn’t anywhere commanded in the pages of scripture, we know from the way the early church did it (apostolic tradition again) that it was to be done upon conversion, with no time lapse, and in water. (And of course the immersion bit we get from the simple fact that the actual word baptism in English is simply a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo which literally means to dip, dunk or immerse.) And many of us would be greatly concerned at any idea that we are free to make changes to this, whether regarding who is to be baptized, the mode of their baptism, or indeed it’s timing, and remain painfully aware of how the church at large has massacred it in each of these ways for far too long. So our position would be that, in order to comply with the teaching of the Word of God, a person should be baptized upon profession of faith in Jesus, as soon as possible, and by full immersion in water.

But let us now address an instance of someone coming to the Lord but who is bedridden because of illness. Baptism, as biblically commanded and exampled in the New Testament, is clearly out of the question as far as they are concerned, so would not coming up with some other more appropriate mode be incumbent upon us? And of course we would respond to this in the affirmative! In such a circumstance one would technically be out of step with the teaching of scripture as to the mode of baptism, yet still be in complete harmony with it’s intent and spirit. But here is the vital point: Nothing of what I have just said could possibly apply to the conversion of an able bodied person, and the normal mode would have to be employed in order for things to be as the Lord wants. And neither could anyone argue for baptism for someone who hadn’t responded to Jesus by faith, because that would attack the very nature of baptism, even though it’s external mode might still in accordance with the scripture.

And of course this is what I mean when I say we must not make biblically permitted deviations, necessitated because of extenuating circumstances, become the norm. If the church of which I am a part here in England had access to the size of houses that similar churches have, for instance, in America, then we would not in a million years have even thought of using a hall for part of our gathering together. And if we return for one moment to our postulated brothers and sisters at the North Pole, should it turn out that they do have igloos big enough to fit a good number of people in after all, then what possible need would they have of hiring a large public building-type igloo for their church gatherings? And of course the truth of the matter is that any process of negotiating away any of these factors which together make a church biblical is usually a lead up to attempts at smuggling in alternatives to the other three things I listed:

Open worship and sharing with no one leading from the front
The Lord’s Supper as a full meal
Non-hierarchical, plural, male, indigenous leadership
And do let me make it quite clear that with the above three things we are now looking at the completely non-negotiable and irreducibly bare minimum requirements for a church to be said to be biblical. But let me make it clear as well that I do not by this mean that everything has to be in place from the word go, there is often and frequently the need for instruction, development and spiritual growth first. Yet it still remains the case that these things must be at least where a church is headed, it’s destination so to speak, even if it has not yet arrived. Of course the Lord’s Supper as a full meal ought to be in place from the word go, there is no possible reason for such to not be the case, but eldership will normatively arise later. And it is often the case too that someone might take an initial lead in the corporate weekly gatherings until others learn how to begin to play their part. But the thing to grasp is that it would nevertheless be quite clear where the church was headed in regards to how it functions and does things.

And of course the issue here is that anything that touches on these three things does indeed impact on the very nature of what a church is. Change things here and you cause a church to begin functioning in a way that is not only different from what the New Testament reveals, but completely alien to it and virtually it’s opposite. To return to our example of baptism we might say that here we have the equivalent of baptizing an unbeliever. The very nature of the thing is changed and the Lord’s intention for it made void, canceled out; indeed, virtually done away with! And it boils down to this: Why would anyone who understands these last three parts of the blueprint want to play around with the first two in any case, unless there were the most pressing extenuating circumstances virtually forcing them into it? I have yet to hear it put better than by my good friend Steve Atkerson: “The question is not so much why we should do things the same way the apostles did, but rather why would we want to do anything differently?”

The Leadership of Empowerment | Lloyd Williams

Some inspiring word by my good friend, mentor and brother…

Throwback Leadership Development

In 600BC Lao-tzu declared that: “[a] leader is best when people barely know they exist; not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, then they will say: ‘we did it ourselves.” The title for this first Throwback Leadership Development Blog has been adapted from a book: Learning as a way of leading: lessons from the struggle for social justice by Preskill & Brookfield. Studying this book has transformed my analysis of contemporary leadership modalities and catalyzed the genesis of my own journey towards leadership wholeness.

Throwback Leadership Development, now five years on, has to date been the Everest in my leadership induction. Over the last ten years I have been afforded the opportunity to fulfill multiple roles both as a leader and a follower in some of the…

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Truth is a person…

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
When Jesus said “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” he was not making any general statements about the power of truth to improve the quality of our lives in any generic sense.

In other words, Jesus is not suggesting that the phrase, “Yes, those pants DO make your butt look remarkably huge” has any power to set us free. Truthful statements are not what makes us free. If that’s what Jesus meant he would have said, “Speaking the truth sets you free” or “Hearing truthful facts will make you free.” But that’s not what he said. He said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

So, what was Jesus implying? He was saying that Truth is a person, not a statement or a fact. His actual statement was related to being someone who follows Him – a disciple. If, Jesus says, “you hold to my teaching” (or take my words seriously enough to actually try putting them into practice), then you will be my disciples, and if you are my disciples…”then you will know the truth”.

So, being a follower of Jesus is a pre-requisite for “knowing the truth.” If you know this person, Jesus, (who is Truth) then he will make you free.

He makes it much clearer when He says:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
See? Jesus is the Truth. The truth is a person. Not a fact. Not a statement. The truth is a living, breathing person that you and I must get to know. Why would we want to get to know this person? Because if we know this person, He will set us free. How do we know Him? We start to follow Him and become a disciple. We become someone who actually tries to put his teachings into practice in our lives. Then we will know him, and then we will be set free because we have entered into a relationship with the truth.

“So, if the son sets you free, you will be free, indeed.” (John 8:36)

http://subversive1.blogspot.com/2013/01/truth-is-person.html

Rapture versus Resurrection

The idea that the church will be raptured out of this world at the end of this age was first introduced into Christian teaching in the latter part of the nineteenth century…

Feasting at the King's Table

The idea that the church will be raptured out of this world at the end of this age was first introduced into Christian teaching in the latter part of the nineteenth century by John Nelson Darby (18 November 1800 – 29 April 1882), an Anglo-Irish evangelist, and an influential figure among the original Plymouth Brethren. This teaching then gained wide acceptance through the teachings of Dr C I Scofield. This doctrine was not taught by any of the early church fathers; as a matter of fact, the word rapture is not even in the Bible.

The idea of rapture, however, has great appeal, for such is to be preferred over the idea of one being able to enter the Kingdom of God only through much tribulation!

The fact that early apostles of the church understood that it is through much tribulation, is clearly seen in Acts 14:21,22:

And when they…

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From Many Comes One » Bizweni Community Church

We are a corporate body, each one carrying a different grace gift. Divisions in the body are demonic; diversity is divine. We don’t major on differences; we see the diversities and appreciate that. It has been proven that God loves diversity. The twelve apostles were different from each other. Jesus chose his twelve disciples because of the diversity and variety of gifts. I want to appeal to this household to accept one another as Christ has accepted you. Make room for each other and appreciate the diversity.

via From Many Comes One » Bizweni Community Church.