Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Synergistic Working of Apostles & Prophets

Apostles and Prophets have clearly been linked together in Scripture in the Epistles.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11 NASB

“And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28 NASB

“Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20 NASB

  • In all three of the texts listed above these two offices are linked.
  • It seems like through much of the New Testament we see a linking of Apostles and Prophets together.
  • The gift of Apostle along with the gift of the Prophet together make up the foundation that the church is built upon. (See Ephesians 2:20 above)
  • God’s true Apostles and Prophets are not in competition with each other. They were designed by Christ to complement each other. They are the only two of the five that are paired together in ministry.
  • “As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.” Ephesians 3:3-5 NLT
  • It is God’s pre-ordained will for Apostles and Prophets to work together.
  • Apostles and Prophets are like a team of two horses harnessed together and pulling one wagonload of anointed ministry.
  • Peter Wagner in his writings declares that he loves the analogy of Apostles being “hitched” to Prophets…he explains; Apostles can do certain good things on their own, Prophets can do certain good things on their own, but hitched together they can change the world!
  • In looking at the New Testament it seems that there are two types of Apostle - Prophet relationships:
    • A Casual Relationship – much like that of the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Agabus, they were acquainted or “Tied Together”, but did not work close together.
    • A Structured Relationship – much like that of the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Silas. Silas was Paul’s traveling partner and ministry companion. They are a great example of the biblical linking of Apostles and Prophets. We would consider them as being “Harnessed Together”.

The offices of Apostle and Prophet have been joined together by almighty God, and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. In order for both the Apostle and Prophet to have maximum impact and effectiveness, they must be synergistically working together.

This word comes from the root word synergism - interaction of discrete agencies (as industrial firms), agents (as drugs), or conditions such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects. Webster’s Dictionary This word really came to popularity in the health supplement industry regarding the use of vitamins. Many were just popping handfuls of pills randomly, but after much research they discovered that it was better to have certain vitamins paired together in certain doses known as “SYNERGISTIC COMPOUNDS” which gave the user the maximum impact and benefit from the supplements they were taking. So it is with the Offices of Apostle and Prophet; when they are synergistically linked there is a maximum impact.

In order for us to get the maximum impact of these two offices of Apostles and Prophets not only must they be synergistically working together but they must also be mutually respecting, honoring and receiving of each other’s ministries.

“The ethical meaning of mutualism is interdependence as opposed to individualism. Mutual means that two people have so many things in common in their abilities, vision and ministries that they are interdependent on each other rather than independent of each other. There is no competitiveness, but a complementing of each other. Their callings, ministries and destinies are linked together. They give each other their mutual respect and honor with each having acceptance and appreciation of the other. The mutual ministries of Apostles and Prophets could be likened unto twins who have so much in common, but each has his or her own unique personality and abilities. But their methods and approaches seem to come from opposite directions, like the right and left hand, in fulfilling goals for their personal life and ministry.” Dr. Bill Hamon

  • When the prophetic revelation of a Prophet is combined with the wisdom of an Apostle, there is a whole new level of strategic application.
  • The insights Prophets receive into God’s strategy and timing for nations, cities and people are an incredible help to an Apostolic Church.
  • The combination of prophetic anointing and the signs and wonders that accompany apostolic ministry creates an incredible atmosphere for Kingdom advancement.
  • Even in a Paul – Agabus type relationship it is critical that Apostles be open to receiving prophetic ministry from “Proven Prophets” with whom they are NOT in a team relationship. (In fact many times a Prophet who is not intimately acquainted with a person’s life can speak more accurately because the “Word” is not affected by their natural knowledge.)
  • Through the prophetic gift Prophets can bring Apostles revelation that is vital to their ministry; whether it is a warning, encouragement or comfort, this aspect of the Prophet’s ministry cannot be minimized.
  • One of the hardest of all relationships to successfully negotiate is the relationship between peers. Even though God has placed Apostles in authority over Prophets, many times they will also be peers and even intimate friends. (In our case, My Mom & Dad, Apostles and me a Prophet, family members) When this is the case mutual respect, humility and submission to one another are even more critical.
  • The fruitfulness of Apostles and Prophets can increase exponentially when they are willing to work as a team. Whether it is the revelation provided by the Prophet, or the wisdom and governmental grace of the Apostle, these ministries have an ability to complement one another that is unique in the Kingdom of God.

Thank God we are living in a day when God’s restorational truth is being explained, proclaimed, and received and being implemented in many circles. We are seeing greater alignment and working together of these two ministry gifts than I have ever witnessed in my 47 years in the church and 35 years in ministry. It is indeed an exciting and new day as Apostles and Prophets are Synergistically working together.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Looking Unto Jesus

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 KJV

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.” Hebrews 12 2 NLT

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NASB

  • We must always keep our eyes on Him.
  • He is the author and the finisher of our faith. (KJV)
  • He is the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (NLT)
  • He is the author and perfecter of our faith. (NASB)
  • He is the Head of the Church.
  • He is the Chief Cornerstone which the builders rejected that the whole foundation of the apostles and prophets ties into.
  • He is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.
  • He is the bread of life that came down out of heaven.
  • He is the Prince of Peace.
  • He is the bright and morning star.
  • He is the Healer.
  • He is the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost.
  • He is the Redeemer.
  • He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God and Everlasting Father; and of His Kingdom there will be no end.
  • He is the Son of Man and the Son of God.
  • He is the one mediator between God and man.
  • He is the living Word of God.
  • He is the expressed image of the Father.
  • He is the fullness of the Godhead in Bodily form.
  • He is the way the truth and the life.
  • What Are You Looking At?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Whole Counsel Of God

We are living in a day when I dare say many a Preacher and many a Believer have no clue what the whole counsel of God is. The Apostle Paul was clear that in his ministry it was something that he preached.

“For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:27 NKJV

“For I never shrank or kept back or fell short from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan and counsel of God.” Acts 20:27 Amplified Bible

Before Paul stated the above he also said to those he was ministering to in Ephesus after spending three years with them and knowing that his physical assignment with them was concluded:

“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.” Acts 20: 25 & 26 NKJV

Why was Paul innocent of the blood of all men? Because he preached the whole counsel of God to them. He declared that he did not shrink back from declaring or not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. What does it mean to preach the whole counsel of God? That is a valid question. Simply it means to preach all the truth of the Word of God and all the Doctrines of the Bible.

Why is it so important that we preach the whole counsel of God? Paul gives us some dangers that could arise from not preaching the whole counsel of God.

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20:28-31 NKJV

The first danger that Paul points out is that savage wolves will come in not sparing the flock. The warning is for the Overseers (Leaders, Preachers, or Teachers) to shepherd the church of God. How do they do that? Looking at this passage contextually it would be by teaching and preaching the whole counsel of God. It seems that Paul was convinced that if the people had the whole counsel of God declared to them they would be spiritually strong and not susceptible to savage wolves.

The second danger Paul identifies is men rising up from within the church who will speak perverse things and draw disciples away and after themselves. This sounds very much like what Jesus warned:

“For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones).” Matthew 24:24 Amplified Bible

Notice Jesus said if possible even the elect, God’s chosen ones would be deceived and led astray. Why? Because they do not know the Word of God. They have not been taught the whole counsel of God.

Paul stressed to these Ephesian believers to remember that for three years he poured into them day and night. He wanted to make sure their foundation was solid and would not be led astray.

This sounds very much like what he later wrote back to this same church in Ephesus regarding the purpose of what we commonly call the five-fold ministry (the same ones he admonished in Acts to shepherd the flock of God):

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:14 NASB

If leaders do their job by teaching and preaching the whole counsel of God the people will not be tossed around by every wind of doctrine nor by deceitful scheming; conversely if the whole counsel of God is not declared they will be.

In the day and age in which we are living this could not be more critical than it has been in all of my existence in the church. There has never been a greater need for the whole counsel of God to be declared unashamed than there is today because we find ourselves living in a day that Paul also declared would come:

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult (perilous KJV) times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB

This certainly is a picture of our day…and right in this context…Paul goes into Chapter 4 admonishing his son, the Apostle in training, Timothy with these words:

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled (having itching ears KJV), they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5 NASB

What is the cure for these days of the perilous or difficult times? What is the cure for these days when they will not endure sound doctrine? What is the cure for those who want to have their ears tickled or having itching ears? It is the same cure in all cases…PREACH THE WORD!

Paul did not say preach part of the word. He did not say preach your favorite doctrine. He did not say to ride your hobby horse. He said to Preach The Word!

We have many today that do not preach the word; they preach parts of the word. They preach one or two pet doctrines. Many ride a hobby horse and nothing else. Notice that Paul said that we would REPROVE, REBUKE, & EXHORT in season and out. When we do we will keep folks being deceived. What Paul was saying in this admonition to Timothy is exactly the same thing as what he said he did in Acts 20 while he spent three years in Ephesus:

“For I never shrank or kept back or fell short from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan and counsel of God.” Acts 20:27 Amplified Bible

In this day of hobby horse riders, God give us Preachers that will Preach The Word! God give us Preachers that will Declare the Whole Purpose, Plan and Counsel of God! The spiritual wellbeing of the flock of God hangs in the balance.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Not Ready Yet

I remember when I was a student in Rhema Bible Training Center (now Rhema Bible Training College) back in the 80’s, Rev. Kenneth E. (Dad) Hagin used to tell us that there were things that he could not share with us. There were things that he was walking in as part of his revelation and personal walk with God that he said he could not share as much as he wanted to. He said that no one was ready to hear it yet.

Lately I have been thinking about this quite a bit. Every time I begin to think about it I am reminded of the words of Jesus:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” John 16:12 NKJV

When Jesus walked the earth he had the same issue with His disciples. He had many things to share with them but they were not ready yet. So it was with Dad Hagin, he had many things to share with us, but we were not ready yet…nobody in the Body of Christ was.

I look at much of the revelation of the Apostolic & Prophetic Restoration, Worship Explosion & Emphasis on the Kingdom that has been released to the Body of Christ in the last 25 or so years and realize now that these were some of things that Dad Hagin was referring to when he spoke to us back in the 80’s. My first year at Rhema was 1983 and I graduated in 1987. Most of the real growth of the Apostolic and Prophetic began to be released around the early 90’s and forward.

Dad Hagin went to be with Jesus in 2003; and much of what was released in the Body of Christ from the early 90’s to the time of his home going were things I believe that he referred to when he spoke to us back in the 80’s when I was a student. It wasn’t that dad did not understand them, have revelation of them or walk in them; he just knew the timing of God and that we were not ready yet.

If Jesus knew that the disciples were not ready for certain things that He knew and walked in, and Kenneth Hagin knew that we as Bible school students were not ready for certain things that he knew and walked in; isn’t it quite possible that as leaders today there are things that we may know and walk in but we cannot share them yet? Why? Because those we are called to minister to are not ready yet!

There is timing and season to everything and that includes new things that we are experiencing and walking in that maybe others are not. Do we always have a green light to share what we see and know? Or do we need to get the timing of God?

I can look back over my life and ministry and can remember around 1993 - 1995 I was working with a group of men doing Revivals, Leadership Seminars & Holy Ghost Meetings. We saw some things in the Word and were walking in them and began to share them and try to bring them to folks who were in the circles we were in, but most were not ready yet. In retrospect I can see that we were ahead of our time.

As God continues to give us revelation and show us new things to walk in and experience…before we begin to release them to our circles…let us keep in mind Jesus and Kenneth E. Hagin…and make sure that they can bear them…because sometimes…they are not ready yet.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Confusion Over Tongues

One of the things that I constantly marvel over in today’s New Testament church is the widespread confusion over Tongues. The Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the church at Corinth:

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.” 1 Corinthians 12:1 NKJV

I find it so interesting that the very thing that the Apostle Paul said that he did not want the church to be ignorant about; seems to be the very thing that most people in the church are ignorant about. When I was attending Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma back in the 80’s Rev. Kenneth E. (Dad) Hagin used to tell us that there were two reasons for this ignorance:

1.      No Teaching
2.      Poor Teaching

If we have no teaching on a subject, we will be ignorant on that subject. If we have poor teaching on a subject, we will also be ignorant on that subject. Both are bad, and both are prevalent in the church today regarding Tongues.

It has been my observation over the last thirty-seven years since I was first filled with or baptized in the Holy Spirit at fifteen years of age, that most of the confusion stems from the fact that most folks don’t recognize or understand that there are two different manifestations or operations of Tongues in the New Testament:

1.      Your Prayer Language (what I call ‘Private Tongues’) – used in prayer and worship for your benefit. (Special note this type of Tongues can also be interpreted)
2.      The Public Gift of Tongues (what I call ‘Public Tongues’) – which must be interpreted by either you or someone else who has the “Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues”.

Let us first deal with your prayer language or ‘private tongues’:

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4 NKJV

“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” 1 Corinthians 14:14 & 15 NKJV

In Acts chapter two on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out fulfilling Joel’s prophecy and beginning the Church Age we see that it says speaking of those that those who were gathered in the upper room who were obedient to the Lord’s command in Luke 24:49 to wait to be endued with power by the Promise of the Father; “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Notice that this manifestation of Tongues that these folks displayed has no mention of any Interpretation. Now if Tongues always needs to be interpreted to be in order by the teaching of some; then these folks who birthed the church were out of order. Now if we take the account in context we will find that they were speaking of “the wonderful works of God.”

So this was a manifestation of Tongues that was not interpreted and was used to give glory to God. If we look at what Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter fourteen we find that the Apostle Paul is talking about praying in Tongues…then he calls it Praying with the Spirit and Singing with the Spirit.

Notice that Paul said that when I pray in a Tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful, or does not understand what I am saying. One of the lies that the enemy has used against praying in Tongues goes something like this: “Well that is just gibberish; you don’t even know what you are saying.” WELL DUH! Paul clearly stated that I would not understand what I was saying when I prayed in Tongues, but that my spirit was praying. Sometimes I think this translation of this verse can help us in our understanding:

“For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive [it bears no fruit and helps nobody].” 1 Corinthians 14:14 Amplified Bible

Notice in the Amplified it brings out that my spirit by the Holy Spirit in me prays. So even though our mind may not have understanding of what we are praying, we are praying by the Holy Spirit within us. Notice this was first manifested in Acts chapter two when the Holy Spirit was poured out. Also notice Paul’s conclusion in verse 15: “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

Paul said that he would pray with the spirit, (tongues) and pray with his understanding as well as sing with the spirit (tongues) and sing with his understanding. Notice that Paul made this determination which means that he controlled both operating by tongues that which he did not understand as well as operating from his understanding. From our text in Acts we see that it was the Spirit who gave the utterance, but the individual believers were the ones that did the actual speaking, or we could say the Holy Spirit gives the ability to operate this way but we must still open our mouth and give voice to that prompting within us. It does not say that the Holy Spirit spoke…they did. Paul did not say that the Holy Spirit prayed, he said that he prayed by the Holy Spirit (enabling him).

Now we will deal with the Public Gift of Tongues:

“…to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12: 10 NKJV

“In the law it is written: ‘With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,’ says the Lord…How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” 1 Corinthians 14: 21, 26-28 NKJV

In these two texts of Scripture we find Paul giving instruction on the Public Gift of Tongues. Notice here in both texts it stresses the importance of the Tongue being Interpreted (special note that it is an interpretation not a translation, which we don’t have time to teach on here) where when the Prayer Language was talked about there was no such mention. So it is imperative that any Public Message given in Tongues MUST BE INTERPRETED! Tongues & Interpretation working in tandem equal the Gift of Prophecy…Tongues & Interpretation of Tongues does it in two steps; Prophecy does it in one step.

Did you notice that Paul quoted Isaiah 28:1 saying that God would speak to men through this Manifestation or Gift?

“For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people.” Isaiah 28:11 NKJV

God chooses to speak to men through this Public Gift of Tongues. Whenever we come together Paul says that everyone should participate with something to share and that some would have a Tongue and some would have an Interpretation. Again he stresses that if there isn’t an Interpreter the message in Tongues should not be given. A Mike Rule…NOT a Bible Rule is: “If you can’t give the Interpretation yourself…Don’t give the Message!” If this was adopted it would solve a lot of issues and problems.

The last point I want to tackle regarding the Public Gift is where it speaks of two or at the most three and each one in turn. Most who teach this interpret it to mean that there should only two or at the most three messages in Tongues in a particular meeting. Allow me to submit to you contextually that is an incorrect interpretation. All the through this whole context Paul is speaking about people using words like ‘each one’; so why would he all of sudden shift his focus from people to the number of messages? I submit to you that he is speaking in terms of two or three people allowed to give messages; there is no limit to the amount of messages, and each one in turn with it being Interpreted.

Finally, this is by no means an exhaustive study on the two different manifestations of Tongues. There is much more that could be shared, but the purpose of this Blog was simply to try and remove some of the confusion that is so prevalent in the Church regarding Tongues because folks are trying to make the rules that apply to the Public gift to the Prayer Language and vice versa. If we could just those two things we will go a long way towards eliminating the confusion over Tongues.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Importance Of Right Relationships

I was meditating earlier tonight over some Prophetic Words of past years. I don’t know how many of you keep folders (whether electronic or old fashioned hard copy paper) but I do. They are good to go back over just like re-reading portions of Scripture you have read before is good to do.

There are several things that can come from going over Prophetic Words:

·         It encourages your faith to remind yourself of what God has spoken previously.
·         It reminds you of things you may have forgotten that God has spoken and you have taken your faith off of.
·         It enables you to war a good warfare by them as Paul instructed Timothy.
·         It also allows you to gain perspective that many times God will speak similar themes through many voices, especially in a certain season, either for that season or for one that is just about to begin.

One of things that governs my life is the practice of Hermeneutics, which is the art and science of Bible interpretation. It has been drilled into me since I was a child by both of my Parents who are both Apostles today. I knew and understood the practical applications of Hermeneutics before I knew the technical names or terms.

Some of the Principles of Hermeneutics used in Bible Interpretation are:

·         The Comparative Mention Principle – comparing two verses of Scripture that deal with the same subject or theme to see how they are alike and how they differ.
·         The Complete Mention Principle – taking all the Scriptures that deal with the same subject or theme to get the full scope and picture of what God is saying about that subject.

What I have discovered is that we can do the same thing with Prophetic Words. If we keep records or files of Prophetic Words we can find the ones that deal with the same theme or subject and see how they are the same, how they are different and how all together they form a complete picture. It also reminds us when discovering Prophetic Words along the same subject line that it is in line with Scripture fulfilling the words that Jesus spoke:

“…that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” Matthew 18:16b NKJV

What I discovered by going over some older Prophetic Words is how many dealt with the Importance of Relationships. I believe the truth of these Prophetic Words is just as vital and important right now as it was over the last several years that they were spoken.

The Spirit of the Lord just spoke in my heart and He said that these are strategic days that we are living in. These are days of alignment. For He is causing His Body to align, and there are affiliations and associations that are going to fall by the wayside because they are not productive to Kingdom purpose. And there are affiliations and associations that have yet to be, that are soon to be because they are for the fulfillment of Kingdom purpose. And you will see that people that you have been in fellowship with and that you have associated with, you will have to cut them aside, for they will not help you, and they will not aid you in fulfilling your destiny. But instead they will be as it were those weights that must be cut asunder so that you may run the race that is set before you. For anyone that is a weight and that drags you down is not of benefit to you but a hindrance to you. And there will be those that will be brought across your path, some presently and some in the near future that just by association it will seem like it is the breath of God underneath your wings that will help propel you into your destiny. These are strategic times says the Spirit of God. Watch your associations, and watch your alignments, and be willing to sacrifice dead wood and cut it loose and seek only after Kingdom purpose that you may run the race that is set before you and fulfill your destiny in this hour.” Michael Fram

“…Alliances and coalitions will be instrumental. Spiritual alliances will be formed that will NOT be personally, carnally, or selfishly motivated, nor will these alliances be looking for self-blessing or receiving, but to be a blessing to the cities and nations…” Hector Torres

“…Those who are properly aligned relationally with apostolic leaders will experience heaven and earth connections that will bring increase. To not be aligned properly with relationships will cause the flow from heaven to cease...” Jean Steffenson

“   Proper alliances and coalitions will be key and instrumental during this season. Some relationships based on old wine structures will pass away and new relationships will form between like-minded leaders, regardless of denominational or non-denominational affinities. Right alignment is essential. If we are not in proper alignment it will cost us fruitfulness, health, a loss of revelation, and destiny. Setbacks will begin for those who are not properly aligned. Do not be afraid of change--there is a pruning that will take place in all aspects of God's Kingdom…” The Apostolic Council Of Prophetic Elders

“And as change comes you must look at your relationships. Look at your alliances, and there are some you need to sow into more. There are some you need to spend more time with, and others you need to spend less or no time with; because change is coming.” Michael Fram

Did you notice how often God spoke about alignment and relationships? Do you think just maybe God is trying to get something across to us? I do! There is an old saying that goes something like this: “A word to the wise is sufficient.” Heed what the Spirit of God was and still is saying…watch who you are in relationship with. Make sure you are aligned properly. It could be the difference between success and failure.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Placing A Demand On The Power Of God

Some years ago while teaching a class in a Bible School I was struck by a verse that I had read more times than I knew. I even had it highlighted in my Bible. But that night it spoke to me like it never had before. It is the transition verse of a very familiar text. It is from the story during the ministry of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel where the four men let their friend down into the house through the roof. “And it came about one day that He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.” Luke 5:17 NASB (Emphasis Mine)

I want to focus on the last phrase of that verse, THE POWER OF THE LORD WAS PRESENT FOR HIM TO PERFORM HEALING. We need to realize that there are times that the power of the Lord is present. It is not always present. If it were the Scripture would not have specified that it was present at this time. Now you may say that the Lord is omnipresent so there is never a time when His presence is not there. In this article we are drawing a distinction between the omnipresence of God and the manifest presence of God. They are not one and the same. The miraculous power of God to deliver, heal, and set free does not come with His omnipresence, but with His manifest presence. Unfortunately it has been my experience that many times when the power of the Lord is present, people don’t receive and get their needs met because they have not learned how to place a demand on the power of God.

There are three things that we as believers must learn about the power of God. 1. The power of God (or anointing, or manifest presence of God) can be stronger or weaker at any given time. 2. When the power of God (or manifest presence, or anointing) is present, there is a flow in the realm of the Spirit that we must cooperate with (or flow with). 3. How well we flow with the move of the Spirit will have a direct bearing on the strength of the power present.

I have learned through the last 35 years of ministry that I can be more or less anointed at any given time. The more time I spend in the Word, the more time I spend in prayer, the more time I spend in meditation, the more anointed I am. The less time I spend in the Word, the less time I spend in prayer, the less time I spend in meditation, the less anointed I am.

So it is in our corporate settings of worship. There are things that we can do to bring a stronger anointing or presence of God into our meetings, just as there are things we can do to experience a stronger anointing personally. We must learn to follow the flow of the Spirit. In the Old Testament the children of Israel had to follow the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire, which represent the presence of God. One time while teaching along this same line something came out of my mouth I did not plan on saying, but it was definitely by the inspiration of the Spirit:

“The first notice we have of the Spirit is in Genesis chapter one and we are told that He was moving. The Spirit is always moving but not always the same way. When the cloud moved, Israel moved. When the fire moved, Israel moved. As the Spirit moves in our services, however He chooses to (which won’t always be the same way), we must move with that move. What we are talking about is maintaining the strong presence of God (or anointing, or glory of God). If the presence is moving and we don’t move with it, we end up with ICHABOD (which means the glory has departed).”

Not only must we learn to recognize the strong presence of God and to cooperate with it so that it intensifies, but we must also learn to place a demand upon it in order to receive the benefit of it. I’m sure you have been in services like I have through the years where you might say that the presence of God was so strong that you could have cut it with a knife. Yet many times in that kind of atmosphere, dear saints of God leave exactly as they came not receiving from the power that was present, simply because they have not learned to place a demand on the power of God. Nothing bothers me more than to see people not get their needs met, especially when the power of the Lord was present to heal, deliver and set free.

Placing a demand on the power of God is not a hard thing to do once you are taught how. We can learn a great deal from both those that received and those who did not receive during the earthly ministry of Jesus. Jesus was anointed by the Spirit without measure (John 3:34) and we by measure, and yet there were times that even Jesus had people who did not receive. “And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief-their lack of faith…” Matthew 13:58 AMP “And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them.” Mark 6:5 AMP Another translation of this verse in Mark says “…a few sick folks with minor ailments…”

From these verses we can conclude then that unbelief will keep us from receiving. Therefore the opposite must be the way to receive. We must receive by faith. Let us consider the woman with the issue of blood in Mark chapter 5. “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.’” Mark 5:34 NASB Notice that Jesus did not say that it was the power or virtue that went out of Him that made her whole, although we know that if the power did not go out of Him she would not have been made whole, He said that it was HER FAITH THAT MADE HER WELL!

In this story we see the principles of faith in operation. 1. She heard of Jesus (faith comes by hearing Romans 10:17). 2. She pushed her way through the crowd (faith without works is dead James 2:17 & 26). 3. For she was saying (verse 28, literal Greek translation of word thought) (whoever says to mountain Mark 11:23). Faith always is the way to place a demand on the power of God. Let us go back to the story of the four men and their friend in Luke chapter 5 for a moment. And seeing their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’” Luke 5:20 NASB (Emphasis Mine) Notice the thing that Jesus took notice of was the faith of the four friends who put it into action by ripping off the roof. Without exercising faith we cannot place a demand on the power of God because: “…Without faith it is impossible to please Him…” Hebrews 11:6 NASB

Faith is simply an expectation. Many times even though the power is present we have no expectation and therefore do not receive. Some people won’t even go forward in a prayer line to receive because they have no expectation. Others go and do not receive because they do not know how to receive of the power being administered. We must learn to cooperate with the power of God to receive from it.

Some stand there like a statue made of stone not even open to the power of God and then wonder why they don’t receive. They shouldn’t even waste the preacher’s time or their own for that matter, and remain seated. Some come forward and pray in tongues harder faster and louder than the preacher, and thus also don’t receive. If you are giving out of your spirit by praying in tongues you can’t receive what God is trying to give you. You can’t give out and take in at the same time. That is like trying to pour water into and out of a pitcher at the same time, it does not work.

Receiving from the power of God like trying to drink a milkshake through a straw when the milkshake is too thick, you want that milkshake really bad so you draw on that straw with all your might to take it into you. You need to do the same thing with the power of God. You need to want it just as much as you want that milkshake and with all that is within you, draw it into you.

In conclusion, we must recognize the presence of the Lord when it is there. We must learn to cooperate with that presence and flow with the flow of the Spirit at that moment to avoid ICHABOD. We must have expectancy and place a demand on that power in order to receive the benefit of it. This article is by no means an exhaustive study on this subject, but let it stir your heart to deeper study and meditation in this area so that you will always receive because you have learned to place a demand on the power of God.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Latter Is Greater

The days we are living in are indeed some of the most exciting since the Book of Acts. All that God has ever done He is doing again, but only in greater measure. Now I can hear you thinking Prophet how can you make that kind of a statement? The simple truth is because we are living in the fulfillment of what the Word of God promises!

“‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions And your old men shall dream dreams; Even on My bond slaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.’” Acts 2: 17 & 18 NASB

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” Acts 3: 29-21 NASB

“‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:9 NASB

“Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month.” Joel 2:23 NKJV

What we must understand about rain in Biblical terms is that the early rain came at the time of the planting of the crops and its purpose was to cause the seed to germinate and take root. The purpose of the latter rain, which was a more intense rain than the early rain, was to bring the crop to a place of maturity and be ready to be harvested. From this we can conclude that if the book of Acts is to be likened to the early rain, the time of the latter rain will be much more intense than the Book of Acts.

The Bible is clear that there is a coming day of not just the early rain or former rain of the Spirit (the Book of Acts), but of the latter rain of the Spirit (our day). In fact not only has He promised the early rain and the latter rain, but He has promised the early & the latter at the same time (literal meaning of in the same month Joel 2:23 in the Hebrew). There is a double portion rain that is coming…a time when the intensity of the early rain and the latter rain would come down together at the same time or in the same season!

So what God has promised by Joel was fulfilled in the Book of Acts which was the start of the Last Days according to Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 where the early rain of the Spirit was poured out. What Peter declared in his second sermon in Acts chapter 3 was a time period before Jesus would return (because heaven would hold Him until this time period called the ‘restoration of all things’) when all that the Prophets spoke would be restored.

What have the Prophets spoke? The prophets declared that the glory of the latter house would be greater than the glory of the early house. This means that the ending days of the church will be greater days than the starting of the church! The prophets declared a more intense rain coming, in fact a double portion rain coming. I am here to declare to you that everything that you see in the book of Acts is being restored in the church in our day before Jesus comes. (This includes the fullness of all five ministry offices; Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers; as well as the fullness of the power to do the ‘Works of Jesus’ and BE A Witness)

The Bible says that if we believe His prophets we will prosper. Conversely if we don’t believe His prophets we won’t. Not only do we have what the prophets in Scripture have written to believe, which already began to be fulfilled starting with the Day of Pentecost, but we have the word that the prophets are speaking today. Do you listen to the words of the prophets? What are the prophets speaking today?

One recurring theme that I have both prophesied and heard others prophesy is that that we have moved into a fullness of time moment, a time of the fulfillment of His word where this Scripture is being fulfilled:

“However, as the scripture says: ‘What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him.’” 1 Corinthians 2:9 GNT

We have moved into a day when God is literally going to boggle the mind His people by the things that He does. He has already (past tense) prepared these things for those that love Him. In fact this was actually prophesied initially by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4), then re-declared by the Apostle Paul.

I don’t know about you but I have noticed an increase of late in the supernatural power of God being released and I don’t believe we have seen anything yet. Are you hearing the reports of the supernatural? I have personally heard of terminal stage-four cancer being healed in one of my meetings after hands were laid and a deaf ear popping open while I was preaching.

The Prophets both in Scripture and today are speaking about our day. They are declaring the same thing. Be encouraged, you are alive in the most exciting time to be alive on planet earth. Peter and Paul would be excited to live in our day. Recently in prayer the Lord gave me this phrase: “There must be a performance of Your Word!” Every promise of His Word, every prophetic word spoken that has been spoken by the Inspiration of the Spirit MUST come to pass!

There must be a performance of His Word! The Latter rain of the Spirit is our portion! The early and the latter in the same season! The latter glory of this house will be greater than the early! The best is yet to come!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Look At Sonship From Elijah & Elisha

Being a Prophet I have a desire to study and learn from the life example of Prophets in the Scriptures. At the same time there is a tremendous amount of revelation being released in this hour regarding the truth and importance of “Sonship”. Scriptures like these are really starting to garner attention in the Body of Christ like they haven’t in all of my time in the Church:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4: 5 & 6 NKJV

“For though you may have ten thousand teachers in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Through the Good News I became your father in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 4:15 NCV

I want to look at the Elijah/Elisha relationship as it is a great case study of both being a Prophet and of “Sonship”. There are some very key points that we can pull from their relationship that perhaps you may not have ever considered before. I am going to quote quite a bit more Scripture than I normally do just to make it fresh in your mind and to lay the proper Biblical foundation.

“Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.’ And he said to him, ‘Go back again, for what have I done to you?’ So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant. 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21 NKJV (Emphasis Mine)

“And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’ So they went down to Bethel. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent!’ Then Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’ So they came to Jericho. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?’ So he answered, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent!’ Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’ So the two of them went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?’ Elisha said, ‘Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.’ So he said, ‘You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.’ Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, ‘My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!’ So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’ And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.” 2 Kings 2: 1-15 NKJV (Emphasis Mine)

The first thing we want to notice about the Elijah/Elisha relationship is that there was “Sonship” already in operation in the earth at the time these two had their relationship begin. As Elijah & Elisha made their way through each location to the point where Elijah was taken from Elisha they were greeted in each location by the ‘sons of the prophets’, however Elijah was not operating in “Sonship”.

God had to give Elijah a course correction to get him involved in “Sonship”. God spoke to Elijah directly telling him: “And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.” After God’s instruction he came into alignment with God’s program of raising up the next generation, of raising up his successor, of raising up his son. One of the greatest tragedies we see in the earth in our day is that a mighty ministry through a man or woman of God dies in the earth with the home going of that man or woman of God because they never caught God’s heartbeat for raising up Sons & Daughters.

The second thing we can see in the Elijah/Elisha relationship is that Elisha even though he was anointed to be prophet in Elijah’s place, did not start out as prophet in his place; he started out as his servant. Notice in the Scripture it is clear that after Elijah threw his mantle over Elijah, (the symbol of his anointing and office): “Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.”

Elisha became his servant. He started as what I call in the P I T (Prophet in Training) (like Joseph). If you will Elisha began his OJT (on the job training). He began his apprenticeship. You know we have trades today like carpenters, plumbers and electricians and before one can be a full-fledged master in their field they must go through the apprecticeship process. It is no different for us today moving into our calling. We must spend that time in apprenticeship.

Too many want to move right from calling to walking in the fullness of the office. There is a big difference between “Calling” and “Commissioning”. It doesn’t work that way in the natural and it surely does not work that way in the Kingdom. Even the Apostles of the Lamb, hand-picked by the Master did not start out as Apostles; they started as Disciples under the discipline and training of the Master before they were released into the fullness of their calling. If Elisha started out as Servant…so should we. The Scriptural principle is clear:

“And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” Luke 16:12 NKJV

The last thing we can draw from the Elijah/Elisha relationship is that somewhere between the “Calling” when Elijah threw his mantle over Elisha’s shoulders and his “Commissioning” when Elijah was taken up from him into heaven and he picked up the mantle of Elijah; he moved from “Servant” to “Son”. Notice if you will Elisha’s words when Elijah was taken up into heaven from him: “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen.” Elisha was now no longer the servant of Elijah; he was the son of Elijah.

To help illustrate this point further I want to share something with you that my good friend Apostle Ricci J Hausley Sr. shared with me. When we look at the exchange between Elijah & Elisha before Elijah was to be taken from Elisha; we get another indication of “Sonship”. Elijah asked Elisha: “What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” To which Elisha replied: “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”

Now most of us have been taught through the years, me included, that this is why Elisha did twice the amount of miracles in his ministry that Elijah did in his. That is one application of this event, but if we look at this event through the lens of “Sonship” we see something else entirely.

To understand this we must go back to the ways of inheritance in the Old Covenant. When a father had sons and was about to die his possessions were divided among his sons, but not evenly; if a father had four sons each son was not given 25%, the firstborn was given “the double portion” 40% and the other three sons would receive 20%.

This is what occurred here. Elisha said let me have my place as your “First-born Son” and receive the “Double Portion”. This was the last sign that Elisha’s apprenticeship was complete and he was ready to move from “Calling” to “Commissioning”. He was in the place of “Sonship”. He declared my Father my Father! When Elijah’s mantle fell and Elisha picked it up, he then did what Elijah had done and the ‘sons of the prophets’ who watched said: “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” This shows us the end result of true “Sonship”; as it was with Jesus a Prophet, who was also a “Sent Son”, The Son takes on the Message, the Method, the Mandate and the Mantle of the Father! May it be so in our day!