Are you hungry to see revival break out in our day? Are there ways we can position ourselves for a major move of God? Drawing on one leader’s successful vision for renewal in his kingdom, Rev. J. Patrick Bowman outlines Hezekiah’s pattern for revival in 2 Chronicles 29. Looking through examples of these pattern pieces in historical and contemporary contexts, Bowman makes a good case that although Hezekiah’s model is not the only model for revival in scripture, it is yet a significant model and viable for today’s church. Written to be both informational and inspirational, the Questions for Reflection in the appendices provide a transformational opportunity for the reader. This easy to read volume is a great individual or group study.
The Lord gave me a word picture this morning with instructions to write to my dear friends in the prophetic office. He showed me a man on a submarine sitting in front of a radar screen diligently looking at the screen for something unusual. There were many blips on the screen that he was ignoring because they were the typical kinds of blips that don’t usually raise alarm when seen by a seasoned radar specialist. The Lord showed me what would happen if the specialist reported every blip to the captain. There would be chaos on the ship because the captain would be responding with the call “Battle Stations!” to every insignificant blip reported to him, assuming the specialist knew how to distinguish between a real threat and a non-threatening situation.
The prophet’s office is one of a specialist. They are trained to sound an alarm when a threat is apparent. They should not be alerting the captain to every blip that shows up on their screens. Why is this important? Because as we move closer to the end of this voyage on earth, enemy activity is going to increase. But much of this activity is going to be a noise the enemy is creating to try and confuse the Body of Christ as to the real threats.
God used this tactic of noise making when directing the children of Israel and was successful with it. In Judges we read how the noise made by Gideon’s army was used by God to confuse the Midianites.
And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath. And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.
(Jdg 7:16-23 KJV)
Satan is an imitator. He often takes the real and counterfeits it. What was a real strategy of God worked and whatever has worked for God, Satan will try to use the same strategy for his own agenda.
So as the noise increases in these last days, it is imperative that God’s prophets learn to filter out the noise of the enemy and tune in to the real threats around us. And if this is not done the Body of Christ will be in chaos, trying to respond to every blip reported by the prophet, most of it being distractive noise. Prophets please hone your skills and more fully discern the real threats from the noise. Don’t report the noise of the enemy because many will take up arms against the noise and leave us defenseless against the real threats around us. Maybe check with other prophets before you post it, preach it, or broadcast it. We need you to be increasingly sharp in the days we live.
An excerpt from chapter 1 of my new book “Like a Tree” available now from Amazon in Kindle edition and paperback:
If we think of light as intimacy with God, we get a clearer picture. Remember in the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned, they hid themselves from God’s presence. They tried to cover themselves with leaves and hid amongst the trees when they heard God’s voice call to them. Before they sinned they were naked and didn’t know it. There was no shame (Genesis 2:25). But because of sin, they feared the intimacy they had enjoyed with God and with each other. The Light of His love was no longer comfortable to them and they hid. The light preference in human beings, unlike trees, has to do with the sin nature we inherited from our spiritual parents as well as free will and personal choices we make along the way of our journey here on earth.
Jesus was talking to a Jewish leader named Nicodemus in John 3:1-21 and was sharing with him about the need to be born from above. In the course of this conversation, he talked about those who would rather hide in the darkness of condemnation rather than come out into the light.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:19-21).
We have a choice in what we do with the light given us. Do you remember hearing the song “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine?” Jesus talks about this in the gospel of Luke.
“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light” (Luke 11:33-36).
Who would light a candle to see and then want to hide it? What if what is shown by the light makes that man uncomfortable? What if he’s embarrassed about the dark places in his life and doesn’t want anyone to know about them? Jesus encourages us here to see the light, embrace the light, and let the whole body be filled with light.
“Like a Tree- Spiritual Lessons From Nature” is now available at Amazon.
Drawing from years of experience in both horticulture and Christian work, Rev. J. Patrick Bowman has gleaned vital spiritual lessons from the life of a tree. In this concise easy to read study, the author parallels the unique factors that keep a tree healthy and fruitful with the health and fruitfulness available to Christian believers. Although laid out to be read as an inspirational study, the appendices of questions for reflection for each chapter provide transformational opportunities for the reader. This format allows “Like a Tree” to be enjoyed individually or as a dynamic group study. With little effort, this rich volume is readily adaptable as the centerpiece for a spiritually challenging and edifying weekend retreat. New believers and seasoned saints alike will appreciate its relaxed style and Biblical, apostolic perspective. “Such a great book with apostolic depth and wisdom! I am not just recommending it to disciples of Christ, I am recommending it to those saddled with the assignment of nursing and growing spiritual infants. They will do well by following the insights and wisdom you shared.” -Oluwasina Oluwaleke, Lagos, Nigeria
Rev. J. Patrick Bowman serves the body of Christ with a heart to see believers be all they can be in Christ. Patrick has ministered in mainline denominational and Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, as well as home groups, Bible studies, and para-church meetings. He is a gifted teacher and delights in seeing spiritual illumination come to God’s people. Patrick loves being “Papa Pat” to his grandchildren and a spiritual father to those God sends his way. He and his wife, Jan, launched Late Harvest Ministries International as “An Apostolic, Prophetic Ministry with a Pastor’s Heart.” Their primary focus is encouraging and mentoring pastors, prophets, and other Christian leaders both nationally and internationally. They currently reside in The Dalles, Oregon at the heart of the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. Find out more at http://www.m6and10.org
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Co 6:14-18 KJV)
We often think of being unequally yoked as having to do with externals. And yes, the scripture above does lead us to that conclusion. But if we are able to go down deep we will see that external connections always start with internal values. In light of this, I have identified three oxen that we can find ourselves teamed up with. All are strong, all are going in a direction, and all want us to come along with them. The difference is the result we will accomplish being teamed to each one.
The first ox is our self-will. As believers, we still find times when that old nature kicks in and we are determined to go and do in our own way and time. When we agree, or team ourselves, with that old nature we can get a lot of plowing done. But the result is edifying or building up that part of us that is self-absorbed, self-serving, and self-destructive. That ox needs to be brought to the altar of the cross and slain as a holy, acceptable sacrifice to the Lord.
The second ox is man’s will. When we team ourselves with an ox that demands we please it in all that we do, we end up as man pleasers instead of God pleasers. We want to be liked, we want to be admired, we want to be honored. We want to be part of something larger than ourselves. And the ox of man’s will is more than ready to do that for us in ever increasing ways as long as we are participating in its agenda. The result is a field full of furrows of man made rules, ambitions, and ideologies, and the soil is poor. The scripture exhorts us to come out from among them.
The third ox is God’s will. This is the teaming that will produce the results that God wants and therefore what we should be seeking after. When we are teamed with God’s will, there is a dying of that old nature as well as a separation from the world with all of its trappings. The result is a life filled with purpose and free from the oppressive demands that come from our own flesh or others’ expectations of us.
By slowing down long enough to ask “Who’s yoke am I walking in today?” and waiting quietly for the answer, we can know the motivation behind our actions. Is that course of action I’m considering self-serving, man-serving, or God-serving? Are we asking God to bless something we’ve already decided we’re going to do, or are we asking God for the direction He desires for us? Are we willing to get rid of one teammate and embrace the ultimate Teammate who will assure our victory in life? Who are you teamed with?
I’ve been quiet for quite a while now. When deep things are happening in my life, I tend to withdrawal to my own little corner of the world and talk to myself a lot. It may not be the best place to go, but it feels the safest to me.
God is writing a new chapter in our lives. Not sure what the final draft will be but I know it will involve a new setting, a new plot, new characters, all on a timeline only God knows.
Our apartment is within a couple hours of being completely packed. That was the instruction we both heard the Holy Spirit give us on the same morning as we awakened. So we got to it. Kitchen is left with a few odds and ends, but the boxes lining one wall in the living room attest to the fact that we are seriously doing what we heard the Lord say. We’ve given some things away and sorted and disposed of a bunch of other “stuff.”
Our destination is unsure at this time, although we have applied for housing in a little town in another state. It is not where we thought we might go, but where we both decided we want to go. Small town with a little larger town nearby with a larger city not far away. Lots of snow in the winter but more temperate summers, which we both long for. Lots of fun activities in the summer within walking distance of our hoped for 600 square foot apartment. Simple is really starting to sound attractive to us.
Jan started an online Prophetic Teaching and Mentoring ministry about 4 months ago which has continued to grow with good response from around the globe. I’ve kept busy doing the editing and production work on that as well as handling a few of the weekly podcasts myself. I also continue my studies and deeply think and dream about our next phase of life and ministry.
It feels a lot like turning a blind corner. Sure glad I know who is there to meet us on the other side.
Last week we looked at the book of Haggai. Remember Haggai had a recorded public ministry that consisted of four short messages to two leaders of the returning exiles from Babylon over a period of four months. His messages center on encouragement to these leaders, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, regarding God’s desire for his people to rebuilt the temple, the house of God, which had been destroyed 70 years earlier when King Nebuchadnezzar overtook Jerusalem.
In chapter 2 verse 3 God asks a question to the people through Haggai: “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?” This of course is a rhetorical question. The place was in shambles. And then in verses 7-9 God makes a promise: “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Have you ever thrown a stone into a quiet lake and watched as the initial impact of that stone caused a ripple of circles across the surface of the water? The writings of the prophets are often like that. When they first spoke the word is like when the stone hits the water. That first circle radiating out from that impact is how and why that word is spoken in its contemporary context; how God was directing the prophet through inspiration to speak words of encouragement, exhortation, direction, or correction. The next circle represents what that word might say to future generations or peoples, sometimes separated by many years, cultural changes, and political upheaval and uncertainty. Each successive circle radiating out will fall on new ears and be interpreted in new ways; not so much the meaning, but the application of the word.
I want to share with you an idea I found today on line that will further help us in our understanding of how the prophetic works. An article I came across says this: “There is a saying that a poet is a prophet, and this saying has great significance and hidden meaning. There is no doubt that although poetry is not necessarily prophecy, prophecy is born in poetry. If one were to say that poetry is a body that is adopted by the spirit of prophecy, it would not be wrong. Wagner has said that noise is not necessarily music, and the same thing can be said about poetry. A verse written in rhyme and meter is not necessarily true poetry. Poetry is an art, a music expressed in the beauty and harmony of words. No doubt much of the poetry one reads is meant either as a pastime or for amusement; but real poetry comes from the dancing of the soul. No one can make the soul dance unless the soul itself is inclined to dance. Also, no soul can dance which is not alive.”
With that thought in mind, I want to look at the word glory. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts. What is God talking about when He says glory. In the Hebrew, glory means a variety of things. It can be used to mean weight, honor, esteem, majesty, abundance, and wealth. But poetically it means a soul or person.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that when Haggai uttered, under the prophetic anointing, “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts,” I’m not sure he was aware of the impact of these words for the future. He was speaking to a select group of people about a particular thing at a particular time, and I don’t know that he was looking past the immediate. I’m not sure that he knew that as his words rippled out from the immediate, the meaning of glory would expand to its full poetic meaning, that the complete fullness of God’s words would come at a much later time. It’s these ripples of fullness that have reached us in our time that I want us to look at.
There’s a wonderful statement of hope in Romans 8:26-31: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Let’s unpack this passage a little bit and really ponder what Paul has to say here. Verse 27: “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” So we see here that when Jesus prays for us, knowing the mind of the Spirit, He prays according to God’s will for us. There is no division in the Godhead.
Verse 28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God’s call and purpose for us is His will. They are one in the same and God works all things to accomplish His will in our lives.
What is that will? Verse 29: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” His will is that we be conformed to the image of Jesus, in other words, that we be made to fit the mold of Jesus. As Ephesians 4:13 says, in describing the timeframe for the fivefold ministry, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” This is the mold in which we are to be fitted. His is God’s will for us. This is His purpose for us.
Back to Romans 8:30: “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” He gave us a living soul in which the fullness of what is in our spirit is to dwell. We have the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ in our spirit by the Holy Spirit already. God’s will and purpose is that our soul come under full submission to our spirit and manifest the fullness of Christ.
Later in Romans 12:1-2 Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The good, acceptable, and perfect will of God is that we not fit the mold of the world, but submit ourselves to the sanctifying work of the Spirit to be fitted to the mold of Christ. Our minds have a bent toward fitting in with the wrong things. That is why our minds must be renewed, that is why our thinking must change. That is why repentance, a change of mind that brings about a change of heart and action, must be a continuous action in our lives.
A computer, as well as many types of systems, has background programs running all the time in order that the outward manifestation of the system runs properly. Repentance is a background program in us that needs to be continuously bringing us back to the purpose of God for our lives.
Nest we’ll turn to Ephesians 2:18-22: “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” And I say to you tonight that “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace.”
In Colossians 1:25-28 Paul says, “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:”
You see this ripple didn’t begin with Haggai, but Haggai spoke that which the Lord God had in His heart from before the foundations of the world. As Haggai spoke to the exiles, Paul spoke to the Colossians and to us, that the word of the Lord be fulfilled, that every man be made perfect in Christ. That he be made mature, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. That he fit the mold of Jesus. This is the will of God for you: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace.”
1 Peter 2:1-12: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Let’s, once again, unpack this passage, and pick out some keys for our understanding.
I want to read verses 4 and 6-8 as one thought and then comment on it. “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious… Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” This is where I want to remind us of what was said last week. Remember a key phrase in Haggai was consider your ways. In his third message, The Call to Holiness, He wanted them to consider, even before they began to lay the stones of the building, that holiness was the foundation on which God wanted to build His habitation, His temple, His house. Christ is that foundation. Christ is a rock of offense, and the holiness that Christ represented in human form is a rock of offense, and the holiness that Christ is working within us is a rock of offense, and many trip over that foundation stone, that word of God, and remain in disobedience. These are those not only in the world, but those in the church who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof to change lives. Paul says in 2 Timothy, from such turn away. Keep your distance. Don’t let their conformity to the world hinder your conformity to holiness as a foundation in your life.
Next let’s look at verses 5-6 and 9-11 as one thought. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”
You are lively stones, living stones, stones with the purpose and will of God in you, and your are being built both into God’s habitation, but also commissioned as the priesthood whose sacrifice will be accepted by God in Christ. You become not only His dwelling place internally, but the expression of His glory, His soul, through your soul externally. And in this you will not be confounded, or ashamed. But we are chosen, we are royal, we are holy, and we are unique, that we should show forth the praises of Him who has called us into light from darkness, has called us into life from death, has called us from being hard and cold pieces of rock to living stones full of His glory. For in times past, we were not a people, but now we are the people, the soul, of God. We are the many brethren of which Jesus is the first born. He laid down His life as a sacrifice, we have received His mercy, that we might have life through Him and show forth that praise to the world.
C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity” says, ““Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” And I say to you tonight that “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace.”
Haggai’s call was to restore the vision. He was commissioned by God to speak encouragement into a remnant of returning exiles to follow a particular path. As not all the Jews returned from exile, not all will want to follow on to full measure in Christ. But my message, as was Haggai’s, is to the remnant, those who sense there is more, but as of yet, may not have fully caught the vision. I’m asking the Holy Spirit tonight to help you catch the vision. Only He can do it.