Priscilla Van Sutphin
© 2000 revised 2010
In many of the old testament books, there are keys to apostleship which is the ministry of Jesus. Joshua is one of these. On Nov.12, 1998 the Lord drew me to re-read Joshua 3:8 onward to bring understanding to something He'd shown me years ago.
Joshua 3:5-8 NKJ And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." Then Joshua spoke to the priests saying, "Take the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people." And the Lord said to Joshua, "This day I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you."
This is what God has been doing in His people now. He has been working everything that we would be sanctified, that He may do wonders among us; that we may be walking signs and wonders; that we might bear His glory. In verse 8 Joshua is commanded to order the priests to take up the ark and stand in the Jordan River. They are encouraged that the Lord will help destroy their enemies from the land of their inheritance. I wonder what the priests thought at the time. I wondered if they grumbled or complained or if they fought over who would get to go? In verse 12 it says, "Now therefore, take for yourselves 12 men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe."
Twelve is the number of apostleship/ apostolic government. Also note it says "One man from every tribe".
Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJ says, "Arise, shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold the darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the people, but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be SEEN upon you." (emphasis mine)
At Azusa Street revival, people literally saw tongues of fire on the people as they came out of the church service, and on one occasion people called the fire station saying they saw fire on the roof of the building, but when the firemen came, they found that the fire did not consume the building. It was the fire of GOD - like Moses and the burning bush.
I know people who have the gift of seeing things in the spirit realm, and who have seen the glory on people. One saw it on John Wimber when he was ministering in healing as a golden glow all over his body. So I think this is literal not that all will have this gift, because not all have the gift of discernment, but I do think that the gifts will be more commonly manifested in the days ahead, according to many visions shared by others who are prophetic. One prophet has seen youth laying their hands on hospitals and ALL are healed.
The Lord has said to me many times, "THE GREATER THINGS ARE COMING !!!!!" The Lord has said to many that He is making us His "arks". We are to be bearers of His glory. Jesus promised we would do greater things than He did, which some have explained way as "more" but more is NOT the same as greater ! I've had dreams of people rebuking the nuclear waste off of areas of Russia. I believe we must have greater FAITH.
In Mark 14:58 NIV it says, "We heard him say, ' I will destroy this man- made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.' " which the Jewish Pharisees did not understand, but we understand that He meant US; we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. And in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17,19 NIV it says,
" Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you ? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple…Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God ? YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN."
God cannot pour out apostolic power without creating apostolic holiness. He is preparing us to be vessels of gold and silver for the outpouring of His glory. His presence transforms us.
In Malachi 3:1 NKJ it says, "Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant , in whom you delight. Behold He is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. " (emphasis mine)
Just as He suddenly came the first time, the Lord will again come suddenly
( a word He's used often in speaking to me over the years) -saying “suddenly I will come into My temple”, whose temple you are, people of God. A few years ago I had a dream that John Wimber was correcting me in prayer, and told me to pray more direct, short prayers, and he wanted me to go to an aunt of his with a gift, and I saw myself climbing up this snowy, icy hill ( looked like a scene from Illinois or Iowa ) to this old white two-story house out where there were not many other houses. And as I get to the top of the hill - I see this Jesus (very tall - like 30 ft.) suddenly sweeping into the house, and He's dressed in a coat of many colors. (representing the apostolic)
The house represents the church – the true body of Christ - but it's in winter. That's a timing in the earth. Jesus is coming and I believe He will come amidst persecution and the great judgment and trials to come. I remember a long time ago reading about the Armenian revival in the book by Colin Whittaker, and weeping, and weeping as the Lord showed me those days would be repeated - but in that revival, as 1 person was murdered - 20 more were saved.
[ See www.upstreamca.org/armenianrevival.html ]
Therefore we must prepare ourselves and ask God to prepare us for the times ahead so we are not to overcome with fear and panic. He must get all the fear and unbelief out of the us. Look to the Armenians for an example of true Christian faith of that time.
Ephesians 2:21 NIV says, "In HIM the whole building is joined together and rises to become a HOLY temple in the Lord."
God wants a HOLY remnant, who are able to bear His glory even as the priests "bore" the ark of the covenant as they stepped into the Jordan.
Joshua 3:13 NKJ "And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream and they shall stand as a heap.(ref. to Psalm 78:13, Ps. 114:3) " [The Jordan overflowed its banks - flooded the land every year and so these waters represent troubled waters (trials, tribulations) that establish character in us. When floods occur they deposit minerals that actually restore the earth]
John 16:33 NKJ "In this world you will have tribulation. Do not fear for I have overcome the world."
We needn't fear in the midst of trials. God is killing the unbelief that is in our hearts and in the church these days. WE MUST LEARN TO TRUST in HIM, and not in ourselves (self reliance) or men (idolatry to man). Isaiah 57:13b NKJ says, "But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit My holy mountain."
Mountains are symbolic of authority. If we want authority to increase in our lives, we must put the WHOLE of our trust in Him - NOT in our ability to work things out or to fix things, or provide for ourselves because that is not trust; it is UNBELIEF and SELF-SUFFICIENT PRIDE. Surely our God is to be trusted. We must give Him more than lip-service in this area. Many of us say we trust but then we do NOT go to God for help but trust in our own means and own worldly wisdom.
FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things UNSEEN.
Years ago, the women in our church went with the pastor's wife to pray for a young child and her mother who live by the beach cities where the church of Satan was originally founded before moving to San Francisco, because her daughter and she had been being tormented by the Satanists in that area. Her daughter had been tormented while sleeping. They would come in the spirit and attack her in her sleep. (when I heard this I was enraged and stirred up in my spirit ). So we went in unity to pray and while we prayed in the girl's room the young adult witches came by and were looking to see what was going on. The presence of God came SOOO powerfully to defend this young widow and her daughter - we were empowered to prophesy to the powers of darkness and the fire of God came so HOT in the room I was sweating profusely. We prayed for God to reveal Himself to these young people who are deluded to think they have so much power they can do whatever they want.
The 9 year old related that the first time she opened the cupboards in the hall - she had a vision of a child locked up in there. There was a joyous victory when we had church Saturday night because no one could touch her there after we prayed. God had so blessed us with revelation and His presence. Then the mother could read her bible again. She had been so bound up with mind-binding spirits. Previous to this, she had asked other churches to come and help her pray but no one would come, sad to say.
As the priests who minister to the Lord step into the troubled waters of the lives of others; the waters abate. There is salvation, healing and deliverance, bringing an ability to "cross their Jordan" and to come into the inheritance God has for them. THIS is the ministry of intercession which includes prayer and worship done under the direction and in the power of the Holy Spirit of God, with HIS LOVE and COMPASSION. Intercession, as intercessors know is more than prayer and worship, however; it involves the whole of your life. Has He not told us to "bear one another's burdens" ? And to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep ? ( See Romans 12:15) Christ was and is the ultimate Intercessor.
Paul also said this in Colossians 1:24 AMP, [ Even ] now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on YOUR behalf. And in my own person I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed [on our part] of Christ's afflictions, for the sake of HIS BODY, which is the CHURCH. (Selah! I might add)
This suffering, affliction, persecution, reproach of men and of brothers and sisters in the Lord, & sickness (like Epaphroditis) in His intercessors is not only to burn up our flesh, although that is a good cause, but to bring us into humility, and to bear the cross for the rebellious church. The ministry of true disciples is intercession like Jesus.
He is the ultimate role model for 5-fold ministry and He got alone with the Father daily to get His instructions and plans for ministry !!! He did not have an apostolic think-tank. Out of that intimacy came ministry! A great harm has been done teaching otherwise. And a great harm has been done to many who are sick saying you don't have enough FAITH, when their faith has been actually greater. For those who are suffering with Christ for the sake of the body, for they've had to persevere despite the rejection of brothers and sisters in the Lord condemning them, the very ones they are are also suffering for (like Jesus...I might add). It has not been taught enough that those who are godly in Christ must suffer as scriptures say.
So many prophets I know have been suffering prophetically for the church. A few years ago I was greatly afflicted while attending a conference in Pasadena. I'd suffered candidiasis and a depressed immune system for years and was taking an anti-fungal medication and I had an unusual reaction (for me) to the dosage. My underarms became greatly enflamed and terribly itchy. It was sooo uncomfortable and I was so focused on the uncomfortableness, that I got my eyes off the Master until another sister in the Lord admonished me and helped me to pray for an answer for what I was going through. ( I had chronic fatigue syndrome as well with asthma, so my immune system had been greatly assaulted). The next morning, I woke up with grossly swollen eyelids. I looked like a frog. And as I looked in the mirror, the Lord said, ever so quietly and clearly..." The eyes of My church are swollen with pride! "
That evening I heard Wes Campbell from Canada talk about someone who once saw the Lord pull a spirit of pride out of the heart of a man by reaching through his armpit! I suddenly realized the connection between my suffering and the sin of pride in the church and in me, as the Lord had spoken. That night I walked over to the wife of a well-known prophet to give her a note, and her eyes were also slightly swollen and the Lord had told her the same thing about it. She recently died of cancer. I then didn't feel too stupid or self-piteous about being alone in my suffering. ( Sometimes we can think like Elijah....I alone am suffering, or I alone am left ).
The next day, it got WORSE! My whole face was swollen and red and in the shape of a heart, and oozing this yellow, stinky fluid from my pores. And I said, OH My God, it stinks, and the Lord said, "And the sin of my people is a foul- smelling stench in My nostrils!" & "The face of My church is the heart attitudes of My people." I've never shared this with but a couple very close friends, and I didn't complain anymore either, because My sin was among the foulest, and after the answers I got, I was too filled with the fear of the Lord. Believe me - The fear of the Lord is a strong tower ! The righteous run into it and they are saved! And I am among the worst of sinners, yet God privileged me to share in His sufferings for the sake of the church. And there are many who are suffering in their bodies, not knowing that they suffer on behalf of the dying (spiritually speaking). Some don’t realize they are suffering for the ministry their children will have.
Many don't realize they are in TRAVAIL, laboring for the kingdom of God and it's establishment in the earth. Romans 8:18-23, 29-30 NKJ "for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now, and not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the redemption of our body.....for whom He foreknew , He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom he called, these he also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."
2 Timothy 1:7-12 NKJV says,
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to HIS OWN PURPOSE and GRACE which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, Who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
For what reason does he suffer? He just said for the sake of being a preacher, apostle and teacher to the Gentiles.
Remember how God told Ananias, "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." Acts 9:16 NKJV These sufferings are part of the birth pangs for the things to come, and some are suffering for the ministry their children will have, not only their own ministry. For God is raising up a righteous generation in the midst of a perverse one, who will do mighty signs and wonders and He has not left out "generation X". The enemy has thought that they are his, but many are righteous seed who will be greatly used for the kingdom. God has shown me they will be His "Showbread".
Joshua 3:14-17 NKJV
"So it was when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water, (for the Jordan overflows it's banks during the whole time of harvest),
(Harvest time is not an easy time),
that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
How long do we have to suffer? - Until the work is accomplished that all may cross over - that is up to God. Did not the apostles suffer much in the midst of great miracles and great harvest? Paul recounts a lot of his great suffering in 2 Corinthians 11, when he defends his apostleship.
In the great Armenian Revival as soon as they murdered one Armenian it was said, another 20 were saved. In the midst of revival there is often great persecution and suffering. (This is the water overflowing during harvest in Joshua 3) In any battle there are those who pay the price for those who do make it through. Why do we think somehow we should be protected from pain when the world's Christians are suffering so greatly for the cost. Look at China for example, 35,000 getting saved in a week, and how many are tortured or killed each week? America needs a great awakening and America needs to WAKE UP to the signs of the times and to the true cost of discipleship! We want the power without paying the cost, but there is no such thing!
T. D. JAKES once said, “pain is the crucible from which power is born”. There is no apostolic power without HOLINESS! Judas was an apostle, but Judas did not last after betraying the Master. Those who today are called apostles will not last either if they don't come clean, if they don't maintain intimacy with the Lord for healing so they can be freed from demonic infestation and able to bear the glory that comes with apostleship. He just wants us to come to HIM - to do whatever HE asks - to get to that place. But He does NOT want us to strive. It can not be done through striving – only in applying the CROSS.
All PRETENSE must go. We must DIE TO SELF. God has been warning us for a while to get intimate with Him - to "come away my beloved" - so that we can be transformed by His glory. But so many of us are too prideful or too busy and stubborn to admit that maybe they are not fully healed. We have to put on a good front, to look good to men unable to humble ourselves at times, but God is Jehovah Rohi; “God Who sees.” He saw Hagar staggering in the desert, and He sees our staggering. He sees the insecurity and worthlessness and false humility in us. He sees the greed, the pride and selfish ambition and lust for power and fame, and the world, and He will not let us go till we are clean or dead. He wants to give us new garments of white linen, and we are saying no, we don't want to look at any more pain - it hurts too much to look at our own hearts. Or I don't want anyone else to know what I've done, or been through as if everyone else hasn't been through it, or done it.
How frustrating it must be for God as a good parent to look at us, such a rebellious group of children - so prideful - full of material wealth and still crying out for more. How His heart is aching to heal us and to let us know Him so intimately - to share all His secrets with us. All He's asking for is willingness and a little of our time. Time with Him is never wasted! There are born-again Christians who've been saved for years who can't even stand worshipping for more than 15 minutes without fidgeting. When I look at Nehemiah 9:1-4 where the people stood for a quarter of the day confessing their sins and another quarter of the day reading scripture and worshipping - it amazes me that many can't handle more than an hour-1 1/2 hour of church on Sundays. Even some revival churches have even limited their hours when the Spirit is moving greatly in our midst.
The Portion of Jacob, the Desire of all Nations, the Consuming Fire is in our midst and we cut Him off and tell Him how to do things and how long He can do them!
We are a pitiful lot in America ! No one had better mess with our schedules ! Not even God Himself ! In the great Awakening years ago, some people stayed all night being ministered to by the Holy Spirit and here we argue over what He can and can't do. Some say, “He can't MAKE you do anything” when scripture clearly illustrates otherwise. The God of the whole universe can't make us bark, or groan, or roar - when He made Isaiah go NAKED for 3 years to illustrate His disdain for the sin of Israel, and He made Saul lie down naked prophesying for 24 hours on his face when he had a murderous spirit! ( 1 Samuel 19:24 )
But we say NO, we're not prideful, - MUCH. And we are in great denial of our condition. We are like the Laodicean Church, and we need to buy from Him gold refined in the fire. Ask for white linen garments, and eyesalve, that our condition would change!
Open our eyes LORD!!
As the Lord is birthed in His people through His presence, coming in the worship; the troubled waters in the lives of others are cut off. The enemy is cut off from their lives, and the kingdom of God increases, with salvation, healing and deliverance. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21) It is released in intimacy with HIM.
As people are cleansed, healed and delivered, they are enabled to inherit the promises of God for their lives, and to take the land. Exodus 29:43 NKJ says, "And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory."
Our tabernacle is also sanctified when He comes down to tabernacle with us, in our place of meeting with Him. At home or at church, or wherever He wants - If we want His glory, we must be sanctified. And that is not a one time event like some have made it. It is an ongoing PROCESS. We must seek His face, not His hand, and ask for the glory to sanctify us; our temple. Seek the Lord while He may be found, for the days that are to come will test us severely and we will need more of His glory in us.
Jeremiah 51:11 NIV "Sharpen the arrows, take up the shields! The Lord has stirred up the kings of the Medes, because His purpose is to destroy Babylon . The Lord will take His vengeance, vengeance for His temple." And so God has stirred up the enemy in our midst to test and purge us in order to destroy all that is Babylon in us...all our rebellion, all our idolatry, and all that is in this nation that is Babylon.
2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV "What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols ? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:' I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.' "We must lay down our idols, our "pets" if you will - our control, our lust, our greed, our rebellion, insecurities, envy, fears, love of money, selfish ambition, our fear of man's opinions, our fear of loss and death. Our "old man" must DIE ! Praise God !!!
Just as God had Joshua circumcise the Israelites before Jericho, so God is circumcising our hearts before we can conquer our Jerichoes.
Malachi 1:10 NIV "Oh , that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on My altar ! I am not pleased with you," says the Lord almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands." God wants no "strange fire" in His temples. He said obedience is better than sacrifice. He's not interested in what we can plan, He wants us to set with Him and get His plan - to be obedient to what He wants, not what we want or can think up. It's only about what He wants - not to make a name for ourselves - but to glorify HIS NAME. We are not to touch his glory. He alone is worthy.
When they crossed over the warriors went first (Joshua 4:13) ! The people who know how to war God's way pave the way for others who cross over. And who went ahead of the army around Jericho ??? The worshippers! Worship destroys the power of witchcraft. Rebellion is as witchcraft. It is the formidable force (the great Harlot) we are up against in this country, and all over the world. The world is drunk with our intoxications - pornography, snuff films, drugs, alcohol, lust for things - greed. And God is using His warriors now before any can cross over now.
There is a new force in the earth - a powerful Gideon's army that knows the secrets of resting in the love of the Father, how not to strive, how to depend FULLY on the Lord, trusting alone in the LORD to deliver us.
Great FAITH, not the unbelief that now permeates the church is needed. I believe that is why God raised up great faith preaching; to instill Faith in the church for the greater things - to stand on the WORD of God. But preaching alone is not the key. Character needs building. Greater faith only comes when you've been through the storms and seen God's keeping power. Character is built when you've been pummeled by storms and trials and God is the only One you have to rely on. Otherwise we might run to men. God has to corner some of us more stubborn ones to accomplish His purposes. Once you've crossed the desert, and persevered, you can see it wasn't by your own strength you got through. This builds faith. Faith is also built through study of the word, and through impartation. It also is a gift. “Faith comes by hearing , and hearing by the Word of God,” and faith is also listed as a supernatural gift from God.
There is no substitute for knowing the word of God. The word brings conviction, as well as faith, so that our minds are renewed and healed. The word also brings more revelation. There is a direct correlation between the word and prophecy, and prayer. As we read, the Holy Spirit shows us what only He can reveal as our Teacher and Comforter. Those who depend on being spoon-fed, instead of chewing on the meat of the word, will be greatly disappointed, for, there is so much apostate teaching, if teaching of the word at all in our churches in some places, that it boggles the mind. There is syncretism in many churches where Christianity is mixed with other belief systems, like freemasonry, new-age, witchcraft, humanism, etc.
Several years ago, a friend of mine had a vision of pastors in our city preaching and turning into skeletons as they preached. and as they preached the congregations were turning into skeletons. The meaning is obvious, dead, dead, dead churches. At the time the Lord was also showing how there were clouds over certain areas of the town that represented prayer covering. And she saw a withered woman' hand sending demonic assignments while looking through a crystal ball to certain areas, but where the cloud coverings were, they couldn't get through. And the Lord was saying, there needs to be more prayer. Most of our churches rarely pray for needs outside their own, much less other churches, or the lost.
John Dawson of YWAM has indicated in his book “ Taking Our Cities for GOD” that we will never have authority over our cities that we want if we never pray for anyone outside of the church. So many Christians that I know are so self-absorbed that they rarely ever think of the lost, much less witness to them. Often this is because of fears and insecurities that are still unhealed, but a great principle of His kingdom is "If you reach out to others, I will reach out to you " This He spoke through a prophet when I got baptized in the Spirit and greatly delivered once. Again, if you have been touched by the love of Jesus. Then you will want to bring that touch to others. Touching others with His love requires that you sit at His feet and receive the love to give from HIM. It requires being in His presence. If we don't receive His love, we won't have enough to give to others.
The same principle exists in the natural. I did research in graduate school on touch stimulation in babies. A mother who doesn't receive enough love from a significant other, often has difficulty giving love to her child. It is a significant parameter that we look at to measure probability of abuse. We too will be deficient as well if we don't spend time getting the love of the Father.
2 Corinthians 5:10-6:10 NIV "...for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since , then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.
(Now there is a lesson for us today !)
If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them . And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made
(Note: he's speaking to an arm of the church of the time )
Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For He says, " In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: In great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God ; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing and yet possessing everything.
Paul is of course speaking of the spiritual when he says, yet making many rich, and yet possessing everything). We will have everything we need to do the work ahead - not everything we want - but all we need since Christ is our Resource. May we all say as John the Baptist, " I must decrease, that HE may increase." What right do we have to resent those things which are working the character of Christ in us ??? We ought to rejoice! and again I say rejoice! Even though I'm well aware how painful it has been, we need to worship Him for all He's doing in us.
The priests who ministered to the Lord were those chosen to STAND in the water. Are you a worshipper? Know that your worship in private or public (even though you may be ridiculed) is NOT in vain. It is POWERFUL, and God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.(Heb. 11:6) You will be used even more mightily in the days ahead. Don't give in to discouragement! In Joshua chapter 4, Joshua is told by the Lord to have the priests carry a stone from the midst of the Jordan out in order to make a memorial. (Joshua 4:3) the Hebrew word for memorial: sik-rown means memorial or record and comes from a root zakar meaning to mark ( so as to be recognized) i.e.; to remember.
So the priests each took a stone on his shoulder and carried them (4:8) over with them to the place where they lodged across the Jordan and laid them down there. There were 12 priests (again, 12 the number of apostolic government) each carrying a rock back to where they lodged. Who is the Rock of all ages but Christ? and what does the shoulder represent? "The government was on His shoulders" (Is 53) So like Christ, I believe the rocks represent the authority of Christ on the shoulders of the priests, who minister unto the Lord.
If we will walk in true humility, letting Christ be the author of judgment, and the authority upon which we trust, and not our own; and to judge, not using our own opinions, and if we walk having His heart of compassion for others, and towards ourselves I might add, then we will be able to walk in His authority, having our hearts cleansed from all iniquity.
They also walked in obedience to Joshua's instructions, as God's prophet, and there was unity. No one tribe resisted the power of the Holy Spirit's commands. The remnant within the church will walk in UNITY of the Spirit. We too must be obedient, humble, loving and compassionate, all of which comes from intimacy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
If we want apostolic power, we must come to KNOW HIM; His person, not just the logos, albight it's importance, but to know Him as the Living Word, our Bridegroom, and our Beloved , the Lover of our souls. He chastised the Pharisees saying, "You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me, that you may have life." John 5:39-40 NKJ
There were those born in the wilderness (symbolic of the outcasts) on the way out of Egypt who had not been circumcised. Then there were men of war who died in the wilderness, due to complaining and disobedience. There are also those now who might die spiritually and physically if they don't obey. ( Remember Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy spirit about the money they kept back.) It may take such shocking judgment to get the fear of the Lord to fall in our churches again. Those who were circumcised at Gilgal, stayed in the camp it says, until they were healed. This is true for us as well. We will have to stay at Gilgal and circle around some more unless we learn our lessons and overcome our unforgiveness, pride and disobedience.
We must bend to the healing efforts of the Lord. We cannot bypass Gilgal either. We can't avoid the circumcision of our hearts that God is doing. We must bend to the knife of the Lord in our lives and allow Him to cut out all that displeases Him. Again this is a continuous process. He alone knows our hearts. He alone can heal them.
( Not that He doesn't use any humans to help, still all is the Lord's doing).
Gilgal means rolling, or circle. It's where God rolled away the reproach of Egypt ( the influence of the world). Many have stubbornly resisted change and defended their laxity in submission to inner healing of the Lord and His deliverance, trying to say, "I'm OK....you're OK." Everything was taken care of at the cross. How many of us even knew all our sins when we came to the cross ??? And how many of us see our sins clearly now ??? We have to REPENT to be free, and that takes GODS GRACE and our forgiveness of others. So many of us have had prideful hearts. If you don't think so, see how the lost look at us! They have reason to mock when "Christians" or people who call themselves that are blowing up abortion clinics, and killing homosexuals instead of praying and loving them into the kingdom like Jesus did. A loving Father tells the truth to his children.
Sanctification for most of us is process not instantaneous. Often it takes a great while, if not the rest of our lives. There is only ONE who is perfect. We have fleshly resistance often to what the Spirit is trying to do in us. We rationalize our sins instead of taking responsibility for them. Or we are blind to them totally, due to our stubborn PRIDE. We must ask for eyesalve, for we are the Laodicean church, and we desperately need eyesalve. We must come to the cross daily, and we must humble ourselves and ask for God to crush our pride and to destroy all that displeases Him.
We ,must ask for the spirit of BURNING to burn off all our fleshly ways.
Luke 11:34-36 NKJ "The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore , when your eye is good, your whole body is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body is also full of darkness. Therefore, take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light."
Now if part can be dark, that means a Christian can have a demonic oppression or infestation. We can have demons, on us, in us, or around us that control us, and torment us. I for one, don't want any more critters, and I know it's taken me a long time to get rid of the ones which are gone, to overcome. There was much I was unaware of in my life, a lot I'd forgotten. If you are physically sick, you go to the doctor, he diagnoses and prescribes treatments or medicine, or surgery for you. You pursue healing, because you don't want any limits on your life, on your activity or abilities. You'll do whatever necessary to get well if you are healthy minded. Yet we've been taught in much of the church that you don't seek healing, spiritually. It will just come. Well, it did not "just come " for me without prayer, without pursuing Christ and denying self.
I remember well, the time God lifted the veil of pretense off of my eyes - I all of a sudden found myself acting differently because someone was looking. I had been pleading with the Lord to remove the scales from my eyes, and He, as ever, is Faithful and True. Even now, having been saved these 20+ years, I am still seeking sanctification. I want all of the Holy spirit that I can get (glory to glory) and there is much more to be had.
The word says the Spirit gives by measure - therefore, we go from grace to grace, gradually climbing the mountain, till we get to the top for whatever God has created us for; whatever design He has for us. Happy climbing! For God is determined that we get to the top ! We're not to strive, and there is the difference. Pursue, don't strive. We sometimes become obsessive about it. That too is SELF focus. We can get compulsive about anything we do, constantly striving and getting nowhere. If you intercede, God will show you where to focus your energies - how to rest in HIM, and the process.
Let Him touch you in the secret place, under the shadow of His wings. It's a safe place, a wonderful place of communion with Him. He's so awesome, so kind, so gentle, so strong to bear all our burdens. Come to Him, to the King of Glory, El Shaddai, (many breasted One; mother Father God), to the Defender of the Lame! He is the Resource for everything we need. Oh come to Him. He loves you as no other does. He forgives all. He is SO generous, no matter how often we have failed, He forgives. He's waiting with open arms, Come! You are His beloved.