In a recent dream on July 4, 2009 at 2:48am, a door closed directly behind me and then another door (more like a gate) opened, and I walked through it. Right before waking up the Lord spoke these words: "This is an era closing and a new one beginning." We are starting a totally new era on this earth. Not a new season, but a completely new epoch. It is as impacting as going from the old steam engines to bullet trains, or moving from horse and buggy to electric hybrid cars. The former systems are fading quickly. It is time to let the old wineskins officially die. Close the doors of the past and open the gates of the future.
Is your system changing fast? This year, practically every imaginable adjustment that can come is happening. For example, our computer finally gave up, and as a result, God gave us two for the price of one.
The insurance that we used to have has now been exchanged for a completely new program. Just a year ago I would have said "absolutely no" to this type of medical coverage. When we stepped out on the road full-time (June 30, 2006), we got rid of a dog, but just this year God gave us back an incredible one, perfectly fit for travel. Recently God paid some of our bills off in a day's time. I could go on and on, both in the natural and spiritual.
Remove Our Personal Religions and Unveil a God Opportunity
1 Corinthians 8:9, "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them who are weak."
There was a temporal change that stunned us. Because of being on staff and pastoring for nine years, I was accustomed to being in a suit and tie on Sundays. When we stepped out on the road three years ago, Cathy and I felt the Lord tell us to dress nice, but not in dresses and suits anymore. A few months ago we went to a church who would not let Cathy minister in prophetic worship because she did not have a dress on. Now I know what you probably want to say, "That religious group of people!" This is what I thought at first.
Then God showed me a different side. As I talked this over with my dear friend Bill Yount, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him saying, "Andy, you are going into a new season and territory where you must be ready to humble yourselves and put on a tie, with Cathy in a dress, if it is required of you to minister there. Don't miss a God-opportunity because of the way you want to look. You must be meek and willing to meet the people you minister to by going there as a servant of the Lord, not for any other reason." Then Bill said, "What if God has truly asked those churches to dress nice on a Sunday?"
Since the time we decided to be in season, the blessings and anointing have increased. No wonder the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, "Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offense, neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God. Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."
Bill Yount also had a similar experience: "I remember when I first got saved and had longer hair over my ears. I went to a certain church with an evangelist, and he had asked me to come along to sing a song. Before the service began the pastor took me into a side room and explained that I could not sing in this church because my hair was over my ears. After the service that night I went home thinking, 'God looks at the heart and not our hair, and their religious spirit caused them to miss hearing a great anointed song.'
"Going to bed that night the Lord began talking to me. 'Son, which is more important to you for eternity—the length of your hair or ministering the Gospel? Are you going to let the length of your hair stop you from ministering the Gospel?' I realized that wanting to keep my hair long was just as religious as they wanting it short. Since I got my hair cut, there hasn't been a church that has a problem with the length of my hair.
"Also, concerning appearance, I used to be bound by wearing a tie all of the time in church since I was raised that way. Then I thought that real freedom was not having to wear a tie. I later learned that I am only free indeed when I can wear one or go without one, and it doesn't bother me either way! In regards to the length of hair, I should be free enough to grow it long again if it is to help relate to people that God has me minister to as well."
"What I'm saying is this: Do not miss what God is about to do in your life because it cramps your style. This next era will be distinct with many implausible paths and open gates. If we aren't careful, we will walk as a persistent old wineskin that is undying to change, instead of moving in true servant humility.
"We must allow our agendas to expire and learn to live for the Lord's plans. This requires deep humility and mature faith. The Lord is saying now, 'Be prepared to do big things. Be enthusiastic to do the small and temporal in order to bring something great in another's life.' God has to break and cleanse us with the water of humility in order to display the shining spiritual diamonds that are hidden deep within."
Take a Close Look at the Israelites
Joshua 2:1,"…Go, look over the land he said, especially Jericho. So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there."
God used such an abnormal condition to later bring transformation. God's methods can be challenging to our patterns. God was setting up something totally new. He will do this in many lives. In spite of the fact she was a sinner, Rahab's household was spared. Then God blessed her womb to be part of the greatest genealogy of all time: Jesus Christ. In this new era, God will call the prostitutes of our nation back to Him. Like Rahab, their wombs will be blessed and they will lead large regions for Christ.
Matthew 1:5-6, "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David..."
What if the Israelites would have said, "No! This can't be God." They might have missed it! We must get ready to work with people that have rough edges. In fact, the person who you don't like just might be the fertilizer that God has sent your way to help you grow into His likeness! Be alert, they are coming to do you good!
Ask Joseph how he made it to the Palace and his testimony will be filled with the wickedness of his brothers. He will tell you about the 13 long years he spent in prison and even encountered Potiphar's wicked wife. He will probably not tell you much about the Palace itself, but he will make sure you understand how he got there and the people God used in his life. Looking back he will tell you that his dream was so big that God chose to use his enemies to unwrap it!
God still seems to use the enemy's plans to bring out the best in us! You and I may have old wineskins hanging on that must go in order to prepare for the lost to enter the Kingdom. This is an era that is changing on the entire earth. God's ways may not come about exactly how we planned, nor will it look precisely how we thought. We need to be flexible to handle the new strategies of the Holy Spirit. God's plans may look very unusual!
Remember that Rahab was spared. Hebrews 11:31, "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."
Remember too that one door shut and another larger gate-like door opened. As this happens we must be like the men of Israel. They were pure enough to stay the night in a prostitutes den, yet they remained faithful and spotless before the Lord. This is walking in the fruit of the Spirit. Get ready for unexpected plans to unfold in your life as you become a light in a darkened world.
Andy and Cathy Sanders Ministries
Blowing the Shofar Ministries