We are on the verge of a significant spiritual shift. Can you feel it? The Lord is drawing many into times of intimacy and preparation for what He is prepared to pour out.
He is inviting us to encounter Him in secret. Along with this invitation, many are feeling a desire to return to the contemplative spiritual disciplines of generosity, prayer (including meditation), and fasting as outlined in Matthew 6. With these disciplines come a great grace for spiritual hunger and the revealed Word.
Jesus said when we respond to this invitation by coming away with Him, then our Father would reward us openly in the days to come (see Matthew 6:6, 18). The reward is not our motivation, He is. However, He is a rewarder of our diligent and faith-filled – longing to experience more of Him as we position our hearts to be flooded with the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him (see Ephesians 1:17).
This is a season where we will transition as a people from knowing about Him to knowing Him. It is my hope that we, with Job, will soon be able to say, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You (Job 42:5)."
Becoming the Wave
On Wednesday, May 16, 2012 I had a brief spiritual encounter related to this truth. This experience gave some definition to the season I am experiencing, and may be helpful to many of you in the same place.
I was standing on a beach looking out into the water that was drawn to sea, in preparation for a coming wave. I noticed the ebb of the water continued for much longer than I thought it should have. As I pondered why it could be taking so long for the tide to turn from the place of ebb into the coming flow, all of a sudden, I became the water.
As I left the shore, the sands receded and exposed hidden treasures, including seashells and other rare and exotic nautical gems the likes of which I have never seen before. It was then that I began to have understanding of this present process, recognizing that while it may appear to some that we are being pulled back or somehow delayed, the truth is that we are being pulled in. This "pulling in" is in preparation for what's about to break.
As the wave continued to build, I realized that it is in this process that we actually become the wave. I watched as the wind (Holy Spirit) continued to blow upon the water (the Word), bringing with it infusions of divine energy that continued to permeate and pulse throughout the current.
The Coming Shift
How long is this season of ebb to be? The answer to that question is two parts: part Him and part us. I believe a lot of God's timing is not recognized by when a spiritual outpouring itself occurs but when the hunger and desperation for it is imparted. This is the initial point on Heaven's timeline.
When those hungry disciples gathered in that upper room they did not know how long they were signing up for, they just knew that they were signing up. Jesus had given them a Promise – the Promise of His Father. He told them to wait in Jerusalem "until" they received power from on high (see Luke 24:49).
A good way to define the coming turning point in this spiritual tide is the word "until." "Until" represents the breaking point where shift happens.
This coming shift will bring with it tremendous breakthrough and blessing. We all have areas where we are in great need of the Lord of Breakthrough, but remember that before God broke through David's enemies, he returned to the stronghold and inquired of the Lord (see 2 Samuel 5:17-20).
Return To the Stronghold
Breakthrough is found in our private devotion and personal pursuit of God when no one is watching. If you are in need of breakthrough, make it a point to "return to the stronghold" and watch what the God of the Breakthrough does for you. When He breaks open, we break out (see Zechariah 9:11-12 and Micah 2:13).
Jesus modeled this profound truth in His own life. We see in Luke 4:14 that His time of fasting in the wilderness produced great power as well as preparing and positioning Him for His next stage of life and ministry. Great miracles along with public demonstrations of tremendous power and authority were often preceded by significant time spent hidden away with His Father in secret.
When we purpose to live a life of sacrificial devotion to our Father in the secret place through contemplative prayer and fasting, we and the world we live in will become greater for it. This is one way that we can say "yes" to the ebbing pull of the Spirit in our daily life.
David found the God of the Breakthrough in the stronghold, not on the field of battle. He is our stronghold (see Nahum 1:7). It is in our returning to Him that He restores, breaks through, and gives back more than what we had lost and better than we had!
The book of Zechariah provides a wonderful promise of restoration in response to our "returning." "Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you" (Zechariah 9:12).
A Door of Great Hope
Many of us feel that we have been pulled into a place that at first we did not see as necessary in our apprehension of God's promises in our life. Truth be told, it is in this place that we are prepared to inherit and fully occupy the promises.
For some of us, it may feel like a wilderness, but if we can embrace His pull we will begin to know and experience the Lord in a new way. It is in the "valley" of our troubles that He establishes a door of great hope (see Hosea 2:14-23).
Properly recognizing and engaging in the wilderness experience is as vitally important to our divine destiny as when the "walls came down" for Israel. There we begin to see God and the treasures of His inheritance in a way that we have never seen before.
Launch Out Into the Deep
At the beginning of this year, the Lord began to speak to me from Luke 5:1-11. As the story goes, Peter had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. They had just returned to shore and were cleaning their nets when Jesus jumps into his boat and asks that they push away from the shore so that He can instruct the multitude that had gathered to hear Him.
Once Jesus had finished teaching, He turned to Peter and instructed him to first "launch out into the deep," and secondly, "let down your nets for a catch." To this Peter replied, "'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.' And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink."
As great as this "catch" was, it pales in comparison to how radically their lives would be transformed. Verse 11 says, "So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him."
The word "forsook" means to leave behind. In one day, they abandoned their way of life and everything familiar to them to pursue Him and the destiny for which they were created.
What had happened? What made the difference? When Peter was willing and obedient to do what the Lord asked, the harvest of what he had believed for came to him (see Isaiah 1:19). In that moment his previous desires were replaced with a new desire.
In this place of undivided devotion to Him, He captures our hearts and, like the disciples, we abandon everything to pursue Him wholeheartedly. It is in this place that we find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13).
I believe Jesus' invitation to Peter is still being given to us today. Are you ready to leave the shore and become something more?
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all your waves and billows have gone over me. Psalm 42:7
Can you feel the depth of God's heart calling to you in this season? Can you feel the depth of your spirit desiring Him more than your next breath? Launch out, my friend, and launch into Him. It is in this place that your wilderness becomes a fruitful field.
The letting down of our nets has several applications. Firstly, the coming catch is not according to human effort, but trust and rest in Him and His Word to us. Secondly, it is a place where we let down our guards and allow the Lord to go deep in us. It is in this place of humility, willingness, and obedience that He brings to us the very things we have need of as we delight ourselves in Him.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
"Delight" means to be pliable, soft, and effeminate. It's a willingness to be molded and changed as He sees fit. "Desires" can be broken down as "de" (of) and "sire" (father) to mean "of your father."
As we situate ourselves on His Potter's wheel (see Jeremiah 18:1-11), He begins to mold us and shape us "until" we are gloriously transformed into a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work (see 2 Timothy 2:21). Through this process, the desires of His heart become the desires of our heart.
Jesus was the exact representation of His Father. He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). That day, Peter saw his Father – a Father who takes delight in the blessing and prosperity of His sons and daughters, a Father Whose good pleasure it was to give him the Kingdom (see Psalm 35:27 and Luke 12:32).
For us, I believe "the catch" speaks of much more than resources. It is the revelation that brings resources. Peter had a revelation; therefore the resources came to him. His obedience to "Launch out into the deep and let down his nets..." was a choice he made by faith in response to Jesus' word to Him.
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). This is speaking of the rhema word of God, or the spoken and revealed word of God. That day, Peter heard the Word, Himself, and received a revelation.
Not the Time To Be Complacent
Waking up on the morning of May 24, 2012, I heard the first few words from Isaiah 32:15 echoing in my spirit, "Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high..."
In this passage, Isaiah was speaking to a group of women who had not recognized the season in which they were living and the way in which they needed to posture themselves in preparation for what was coming. Their complacency to act and failure to discern the Lord's voice was leading them to a place of lack, disappointment, and despair if they did not recognize their invitation and adjust accordingly.
As Isaiah addressed the consequences of their complacency, he pleaded with them to recognize the areas of injustice that were being wrought in their day. Sadly, they lacked the eyes to see, the ear to hear, and the heart to perceive what the Lord was asking of them.
Because of their complacency and failure to recognize the Lord's voice, they were told, "In a year and some days you will be troubled, you complacent women; for the vintage will fail, the gathering will not come" (Isaiah 32:10). Their "catch" would not come to them, because they had not first come to Him. Now is not the time to be complacent.
We must also not be like the Shulamite who was not willing to respond to the voice of her beloved in the day of her visitation (see Song of Solomon 5:2-8). She responded to the very invitation that she had so longed for with a list of reasons why His coming wasn't convenient for her.
In verse 6 she looked back with regret, recognizing how her heart leapt within her at the sound of His voice. Let us not look back with regret, but instead do whatever we can to meet with Him when He comes knocking. Her complacency cost her the visitation that she had so desired. When He knocks, we must open!
Partnering With the Promise
We have a responsibility in receiving what we believe for. The Lord gave a promise of power to 500 of His disciples in Luke 24:49, but only 120 were committed to partner with the Promise "until" they received power from on high.
When they were given that promise, it does not say how many went into the upper room, it only says how many were left. How many of those 500 actually desired the Promise enough to go, and at what point did it became inconvenient to stay?
If we were able to interview those 380 today, there would be a number of folks echoing the same regret as the Shulamite. If they could have only discerned how close they were to the Promise knocking at their door.
We are standing at a place in history, poised to see the greatest wave of God's Spirit to ever come upon the earth. He is knocking and He is calling, in this season of ebb, to those who will open the door and launch out as we dine with Him in the deep.
If we will make it our highest goal to receive from Him everything that He has for us in this season, we, like Jesus, will come out with power greater than we have ever known (see Luke 4:14). Let's join Jesus in becoming the water (the Word) breathed upon by His wind (Holy Spirit) that we might, with Him, become the wave!
We are about to cross the line of "Until..."
Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places... Isaiah 32:15-18Jason Hooper