Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tearing Down the High Places

There is a testing that comes to the body of Christ prior to a move of God. God asks some questions and poses circumstances in the lives of His people to discover some of the following: "Will you lay down what's on your agenda in order to make yourself available to move with what's on His agenda?" "Can you discern between the many voices of the world, your own ideas, a good idea and a God idea?" "Are you prone to jealousy if God chooses to move through someone other than yourself?" "Can you recognize God's delegated authority?" "If God moves in a way that you do not understand or in a way that does not fit your theology, will you criticize or speak against it, or even try to hinder it – or, will you allow Holy Spirit to bring revelation?" "Are you building your own kingdom or the kingdom of God?" Many times people do not realize that they are being tested but God is in the midst of them, moving silently, presenting opportunities for each person to reveal what is in their heart. How we respond could mean the difference between being included in what God is doing or being shut out of it entirely.

As Gideon was gathering the people that would battle against the Midianites, the Lord appeared to him and said, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there." (Judges 7:4). God was not going to share His glory with anyone that would try to take it for himself. God IS getting ready to move in a mighty way, and I believe that God is testing the hearts of His people right now. He will not allow anyone to own this next move of God or try to control it. It is not for selfish gain, self-promotion or to build man's personal kingdoms.

God will test the body of Christ to see if people will hear and respond to a call for action. That action involves tearing down the high places in our lives where self is in control rather than God. Let me jump back to the story of Gideon for a moment. The strongman over the Israelite nation at that time was Baal. The name "Baal" literally means "owner, master, or husband." Baal worship included self-mutilation, prostitution and child sacrifice. Baal worship was promoted as the state religion during the administration of King Ahab. Now look at the spiritual parallels. We know that Satan wants ownership of the earth and wants to deprive God of His rightful worship through His sons and daughters. Satan has always contended to be our master, or our husband, and has always looked for ways to get us to come into agreement with him. He knows that wherever we come into agreement with his deception also allows an open door for him to bring other forms of deception, worldly enticement, illness, ruin or things that will rob us of the desire to fulfill the call of God for our lives. Some of the manifestations of "other masters" are alarmingly evident in the lives of the younger generation as they promote mutilation, piercing, tattooing, cutting, sexual promiscuity, and emotional detachment towards pregnancy and abortion. Life by self-rule is exalted as Baal (or Satan) becomes their master and husband. The current presidential administration and many national leaders have approved legalized abortion and even the funding of it. Child sacrifice is alive and well, we've just been deceived (and desensitized) as a nation into buying into a more liberal viewpoint that attempts to justify our own god-ship issues and the premature ending of innocent lives. We've got a modern day Ahab as a national leader, and through his agenda (which promotes euthanasia, assisted suicide and abortion among other things) a spirit of Baal has strengthened its grip over our nation. 

Satan gleefully accepts the worship that is offered to him on these thrones of iniquity. A throne of iniquity, in case you aren't familiar with the term, is a place where Satan is worshipped through the actions of repeated sin. It is a modern day "high place" that needs to be torn down. This is what causes the prince of the power of the air to be able to set up and establish principalities and powers over regions. The power of sin and darkness is strengthened where ever Satan is worshipped. In order to displace and tear down these demonic forces, we must operate in humility. We must overthrow self rule and deny what our flesh wants so that Christ can rule in our heart and life. The question is, how do we tear down what we cannot see - especially if it hides in the hidden places of our own hearts?

The first thing I suggest is for each person to ask Holy Spirit to examine their heart and reveal to them whatever may be resisting His authority to rule over their heart, life, decisions - and yes, the sacrifice He may ask you to put on the altar. I will give you a hint: it is whatever feeds your flesh, ego, pride, or something from which you gain a sense of identity outside of what God has revealed in His word. It is the thing you probably do not want to give up. The second thing is to pray to surrender the things God asks as a sacrifice. The last thing I suggest is to pray our breakthrough prayer that looses the enemy off of you and eliminates the blind spots where he has had attachments to your life. The link can be found on the main page on the right hand side, called BREAKTHROUGH PRAYER. 

Many of the enemy's strongholds live within us. We may not even be aware that they are there! The enemy hides himself in every little crevice of darkness – areas of our heart that we have not truly surrendered to the Lord. I have been at that place many times, thinking I was fully surrendered to the Lord until He started working on a deeper issue in my heart or character that I had not understood was still a "crooked place" in need of straightening. Gideon's campaign and his assignment from the Lord was to tear down the altar and the high places of Baal, overcome the Midianite army and build an altar to the Lord. It was by the destruction of the ungodly altars that put fear in the hearts of those that worshipped Baal and its ungodliness. When the Midianites saw that their god and his temple were defeated, conquering them in battle was a done deal. It wasn't the size of the army that was important; it was their commitment to the task at hand. Gideon went to battle with jars of clay, torches and trumpets. They didn't even have to do anything difficult. They did their part and God did His. He turned the enemy's camp inside out! The battle will be won with humble vessels that are passionate torch bearers for the Lord. They shed light on the path for others through prophetic revelation, and it is the decree from their mouth that will overcome the works of the enemy. God is looking for men and women who are committed to Him. He is looking for those that can discern His voice asking His army to fall in rank and follow Him into battle. He is looking for those that will take a stand. He is looking for those that will respond to a call for action. He is looking for those that won't try to take the glory for themselves, put Him in a box, or control this next move of God. Will you be one of them?

Declare: Satan, the sword of the Lord is upon you! Let the trumpets be sounded! Let the army of the Lord arise! Let God arise and His enemies be defeated, in Jesus name!

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