Posts Tagged ‘2 Cor 3:17’

The Garment of Praise

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

The answer against a “spirit of heaviness” is to put on the ”garment of praise.”

Satan hates praise:

Praise exalts Jesus no matter what the circumstances may look like. It engages our trust in God and activates our faith like nothing else can do. You see, praise introduces light and supernatural life into our circumstances. It is the ultimate release of spiritual freedom. Just listen to the following verses and let something click inside.

(2 Cor 3:17) “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

(Gal 5:1) ” Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

(Jn 8:36) ” Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Praise is Agreement with God!

Praising the Lord and agreement with the truth of God’s Word, renews the mind and lifts the spirit of heaviness off your shoulders. Notice the Prophet Isaiah says that your life is designed to reflect your calling as “trees of righteousness”. Its your destiny to become the “planting of the Lord”. As you praise Him daily, you will release the stature of Christ within you… “that He may be glorified”, seen and celebrated as your Deliverer! Nothing so clearly displays the power of God like our freedom in the spirit.

The Effect of a Spirit of Heaviness:

It darkens our countenance. Our hearts are down cast. This spirit brings a “heaviness” over us and dims our vision, robs our hope and crushes our sense of purpose. There are testimonies I’ve heard from people who say “when this spirit comes it even makes the room feel darker”. It brings a heavy and oppressive atmosphere that restricts and quenches our perception. It may come like a cloud hanging over you or your location, but the most difficult part to deal with is that it causes isolation. The devil’s goal is to remove you from the atmosphere of love and approval. Think about it, if Satan can get you isolated, then he can break your spirit and remove your source of inspiration and hope.

Recognize it:

This is the first step. You are a Child of God! This is not God’s will for you!  “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Don’t believe the lies… Praise God instead! Accept no criticism and carry no extra baggage. You must learn the art of selective hearing, so that you choose the things you ignore and the things that come from the Throne of Heaven. We destroy arguments and pull down strongholds, so that every thought is made captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). That means I am actively discerning where my thoughts are coming from and believe me… I can rule over them with praise!

Put on the Garment of Praise!

This literally means to be “wrapped up in praise”. God has given it to be worn and provide insulation. So put it on like a jacket every single day. Take a few moments each morning and every time there is a battle raging, to put it on like armor on a soldier. You will watch your enemy run for cover with his tail between his legs… like a whipped puppy. That’s right, praise is your most effective tool in magnifying God and shrinking the influence of the devil. Get loud, get aggressive and set your heart on spiritual freedom!

It is the anointing that breaks the yoke! (Isa 10:27)

Prophetic Clarity

In the bush regions of Uganda

In the bush regions of Uganda

“Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy… he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” (1 Cor. 14:1 & 3)

Over the past 20 years, the Lord has graced us with better understanding of prophetic ministry. We have seen a wonderful restoration of the ministry of the prophet in our day… and for that I am grateful. Gone are the days where there is no word from heaven and the image of prophets are simply a picture of Elijah with a long, grey beard in a flowing robe. I believe that now God wants to raise the prophetic standard in our churches and train us to hear with clarity and precision.

The Standard of Clarity:

Hearing the voice of God with clarity and understanding the anointing of the Holy Spirit are the pre-requisites to speaking words that edify, exhort and comfort the people of God. It takes experience and knowledge of God’s Word to become consistent and it is a life long pursuit. Here are some thoughts about raising the standard of prophetic ministry.

1. All may prophesy, but not all are prophets. We must release the prophetic in our fellowships and begin to allow more freedom of expression. We can learn how to identify the difference between someone who is simply prophesying a word of encouragement and someone who has a prophetic ministry. But we cannot grow in our understanding without vital experience in spiritual revelation. One way to test the gift of the prophet is by measuring the accuracy and authority by which the person speaks (1 Jn. 4:1). Some well meaning individuals, who lack maturity will use a harsh tone or “old fashion” pentecostal tone. But true prophets speak the word of the Lord with clarity, as if it is the very word of God (1 Pe. 4:10-11).

2. Prophetic people need patience. Just because you have received a message from God doesn’t mean you are to speak it forth. You must learn the right timing in which to prophesy. Unless the word is spoken at the right time or “kairos” moment, it will likely fall on deaf ears. Hold the word, pray into it, let it develop and expand and at the right time deliver it with a sense of boldness. It will carry a fresh anointing and accomplish what it was sent to do, because it was set in its proper season. It helps to look at examples in Scripture, like the Sons of Issachar (Gen. 49:14-15) who were Jacob’s descendants. They were prophetic people who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (1 Chron. 12:32). They spoke into key events with clarity and eventually their descendants were influential in King David’s reign in Jerusalem. 

3. If you have no prayer life, you have no prophetic ministry. In order to “be a voice”, you must first hear God’s voice. Scripture makes it clear that we must abide in Christ in order to know the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). “The Lion roars, who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8). In other words, first the Lion of the Tribe of Judah must roar, and then those who hear it begin to prophesy. I know that sounds simplistic, but believe me when I say it is a problem, when our standard is accuracy and edification.

4. Let the prophetic word come sharp and clear. The Spirit doesn’t author confusion, so if you don’t understand the meaning or interpretation of something then it’s possible that you should not share it. Words without interpretation are not edifying to people. I personally enjoy hearing about rainbows, clouds and exciting visions, but we must recognize that some of these things only leave a person that much more confused. I understand there are occasions where the meaning of a vision is not disclosed, but someone else should have the interpretation. God is not hiding anything from us (Jn 15:15), we can always ask for the interpretation. Be patient and God will speak with clarity (1 Cor. 2:10-12).

“Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)

5. We are Dependant Upon Revelation. The prophetic ministry puts a demand upon revelation. Its a ministry that has its roots in pursuing God in such a way that He begins to reveal the secrets of His heart (Prov. 25:2).  I am not talking about revelation beyond that found in the Scriptures. No, but within the revelation already given – and God knows it is bigger than our imagination! The Holy Spirit still moves to reveal what “eyes have not seen, nor ears heard” (1 Cor. 2:9). This is the role of prophetic ministry… to bring others an unfolding revelation. It was there all the time, but somehow hidden. God is doing new things and the only way we can see it is to shift the way we see (Mt. 4:17). 

Liberty:

That is the wonder of a life in the Spirit. It is a life of constant new discovery and everything that once was mystery is full of surprise and wonder. A life set on the Holy Spirit can never be static; it is full of liberty and freedom. God’s thoughts are beyond limit. We cannot reach the place where Truth is no longer enlarging our perception of who He is… nor who we are in Him. This is our liberty in Christ, to listen to the Holy Spirit and become activated in something bigger than ourselves.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3:17)

Called to Freedom

We have been called to freedom! Sin’s curse is broken by the blood of Jesus and the faith of the believer. No question, we must recognize the significant privilege we are offered as God’s Children. What can we say to such a gift?

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all…” said the Apostle Paul (Rom 8:32).

The great Apostle’s analysis comes with several conclusions…

  • There is therefore no condemnation for the believer!
  • If God is for us, who can be against us!
  • Surely He will give us all things!
  • In all this we are more than conquerors!
  • Nothing can separate us from His love!

Jesus said, “…you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). The key to genuine freedom is found in the phrase, “know the Truth”; because Jesus would later tell us that He was “the way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

To know Christ is to walk in freedom and to walk in the Holy Spirit is how we maintain our freedom.

The word “Christ” is actually a title, not a name. It means Anointed One. Jesus, God’s Christ, was the Anointed One sent to destroy the yokes of bondage and lift the burden of sin from our shoulders (Isa 10:27).  When Jesus was about to begin His ministry He announced the fulfilment of Isaiah 61… that He was the Anointed One of the Holy Spirit sent from God to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. To call all humanity to freedom from poverty, brokenness, captivity, blindness and oppression (Lk 4:18-19). To declare that this would become the season of Jubilee; freedom from debts and freedom from sins that made us debtors.

Jesus has set us free by forgiving our debts!

Therefore, since we have been called to freedom and made free by our faith in the blood of Jesus, we should never allow ourselves to again be subject to a yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1). The Apostle Paul tells us, ”Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17). Through our fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the Word of God is brought to our remembrance and transformation takes place. As we yield ourselves to Him, He renews our minds and maintains our freedom in the Truth.

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