1 Corinthians 13:1-4 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
The kingdom of God is arising in a way that is creating distinction and separation. Distinction for the sound of the kingdom is love and the sound of the kingdom is service. Separation because those who are not of biblical love, which is actually service to others, is being not separated from the community, but separated from the distinct sound. The bible says, that if you have not love, you sound like a clanging symbol. As the sound of the kingdom, which is love, continues to increase, the lack of love is evidenced in the sound you produce.
In years, past, you could get away with being selfish in a service, whether in church or the community; in the past your selfishness was common, it was a choir of clashing symbols, so no one really noticed that you did not have love, for they did not have love either. But it is a new day, and there is a new way. No wonder Jesus said that new wine needs a new wineskin, for you must be a lover to release the sound of love. You cannot fake love in an atmosphere of love. The kingdom of God on earth, is an atmosphere of love, of service to one another, of 1 Corinthians 13 manifested.
While in a church service, I heard this separation of sounds, this new distinction that is upon us. Being in a service where there is liberty to be the community, means some can prophesy, others can speak, and many have to learn to follow the lead of the one who went before them in order to transition the service well. But when someone does not have love, they are selfish, they want to say their own thing, they want to have their own way, they do not want to join the symphony of sound that is being created in that service, by the Spirit, then they sound like a clanging cymbal or clashing brass. It is no wonder they do not have cymbals in the symphony, they are truly out of place.
The kingdom of God is like a symphony, with one conductor, Jesus, and many instruments, that have different sounds, but work in connection with the other pieces of the orchestra to create a symphonic sound that is pleasant to the ears of the hearers. If you have not love, in what is here and coming in greater influence, you truly will sound like a clanging cymbal. In order to operate like the kingdom of God on earth, we need love, we need to listen to one another and to the Spirit of God, so we can join the song that is being played in that situation. Selfishness, which is you saying what you want, spouting your agenda, passion or personal preference has no room in a symphonic service.
Our conductor, Jesus, will call for different instruments at different times, for He knows the song structure and style. For us to be a success in the kingdom, we must listen to one another, we must be willing to not be heard, we must follow the flow of the sound that is being created in that symphonic service.
One of the greatest challenges people on earth face is the reality that there are a lot of people talking, but very few people actually saying anything. Pop singers have #1 hit songs with lyrics like, Watch Me, Shake It Off or Baby Baby, just to name a few and we spend millions of dollars on their albums, to tell us what, nothing. I was a teenager once before and we had some songs like this as well, where they were just to dance to, not to have some deep meaning in them, but it is not just in pop music. Worship songs are no better, we have gone from deeply theological hymns like Lift High the Cross, How Great Thou Art and To God Be The Glory to one chorus songs repeated over and over again, of which I love by the way. The challenge is we are not saying anything of substance or significance and we wonder why the wind blows or the snow falls and people are screaming it’s the judgment of God, the world is ending, or Jesus is coming back, tomorrow.
One of the greatest gifts the Bible gives us, is that it is filled with substance. It is riddled with the history of how a personal God walked and worked with people. How He took a no name group of people and made them into the most powerful nation on the earth. It is about how to live in community, how to be a family, how to work, play, teach and train. It is full of wisdom, romance, grace, consequences, choices and colorful characters. The Bible is rich in history, deep in understanding, full of mystery and glorious in expression. It tells of men, women and children, it includes the young and old, it is a book for the slave and the free, the lost and the found. People like Henry Ford found wisdom in it to invent the automobile and George Washington quoted it when he was establishing a brand new nation.
People have tried to burn the bible, kill the ones who printed the bible, destroy the followers of the bible, and to this day mock the ones who believe the bible, but it is not moved. It is an ancient text that is unshakable, unbreakable and unstoppable in its ability to inflict change. It is full of substance, secrets, mysteries, over and covert ways of doing life and it is a love letter, a manual, a blueprint for success. No wonder people wanted to take prayer out of school, change the definition of marriage, and ban Christian t-shirts, because the word of God is powerful, no matter what format it is presented in.
Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” – Jesus
In a system that is seeking to dumb you down, so they can feel like they have control over you. There is one book that will lift you up, correct you up and build you up from the inside out and that is the word of God. If you want to be inside strong, you must know the word of God, not memorize it, so you can quote it or slap somebody with the truth you know, but so you can learn to be a lover of God and a lover of people. The word of God transforms you from the inside out. The world is going to shake, challenges will arise, but if you are established in the word of God, you will be immovable, unshakable and undeniably able to speak less, but say more. And we need some people who have something to say, not just people who talk about a whole lot of nothing. So think deep, pray wide, sing loud, worship hard and watch God dig a well in your life that produces the oil of joy, the rivers of the life and the power of an indestructible life.
Every person carries and atmosphere with them, we call it an attitude, but I like to call it an atmosphere, because it invades the room when they arrive and it departs when they depart. Some people’s atmosphere is more pronounced than other peoples, but nonetheless, everyone carries an atmosphere with them and people adjust to your atmosphere or they resist your atmosphere. An atmosphere is invisible, but noticeable. People do not walk in the room with a sign on their chest that says, angry, wounded, cynical, sassy or some other label, but the atmosphere they carry speaks of what they carry.
Not only do individuals carry an atmosphere, marriages, families, communities, churches, companies and even countries carry an atmosphere. Atmospheres are experienced by others even if they are not recognized by the one carrying it. Many have wondered why an omnipresent God does not move in all churches in the same way? Some have asked how can revival and the power of God break out in that church but not the one down the street? Or how can healings happen in that man or woman’s ministry but not in someone else’s? It is because of the atmosphere that people create when they walk into a room. If you are the leader of any given space, you set the atmosphere for that space. Leaders of churches set the atmosphere of their church; executives of companies set the atmosphere of their business; moms and dads set the atmosphere of their home. When people walk into a place where you are the leader they can sense the atmosphere of the place and they adjust accordingly to the created atmosphere.
The analogy of a thermostat versus a thermometer has been used in a variety of settings as it pertains to this thought. Some people are like thermometers they take the temperature of the room, while others are like thermostats they set the temperature of a room. I would propose that leaders are thermostats and that they set the temperature of the room whether they are in a titled leadership position in that room or not, because lovers have a fragrance.
In Luke 7:36-50 it says, “When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. “Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven. “The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
In a room full of religious leaders who carried titles far greater than her own, an unidentified woman by name, but an identified woman by behavior enters the room and changes the atmosphere with the fragrance of love. What I noticed about this woman is that she was prepared for her meeting with Jesus, she came with perfume, very expensive perfume. This woman was courageous, she followed Jesus into this house of Pharisee’s and did not care what atmosphere was in the room when she entered. She was coming with a love that would change the fragrance of the whole room. As she knelt down, in her regalia that identified her as a sinful woman, you can almost hear the crowd gasp, wondering what she is going to do. Can you imagine yourself as a Pharisee, watching this Rabbi, named Jesus, come into this house with this questionable woman, and now she is getting on her knees, behind him. What is she about to do? Is she about to do it in front of all of us, whatever the it may be? The room was stunned, shocked, holding its breath, you could feel it in the atmosphere, people were not sure of what was going on, and Jesus, He was completely at peace the whole time, not moved by what was going on around Him.
Then she opens the jar of perfume, the aroma fills the room, it smells so good, even the hardest heart cannot resist the smell of it, for it was not just a really expensive perfume that filled the atmosphere, it was the behavior of a lover that was leading the way. With all eyes on her, she wets Jesus’ feet with her tears, she then takes her long hair and wipes his feet, not in hurry, in a way that expresses gratitude, love, kindness. The fierce love of Jesus melted the hardness of this broken woman’s heart, and she began to respond with weeping, wetting and wiping of his feet. Can you picture it. So often we read the Bible as though it is a dry history book, rather than a love story, an actual account of someone who did the unthinkable in a time in history that she never knew others thousands of years later would read about. She was leading like a lover, she was responding like a lover, she was creating an atmosphere that only a lover can create.
Now with His feet washed, she lifts the jar of perfume, that was filling the room with its smell in a very subtle way and she begins to pour it out, liberally, upon His feet. She thought nothing of cost, she never considered it a waste, she only had one goal in mind and that was to pour it all out on the feet of this man who emanated with fierce love. She knew who she was, she knew her past better than all her accusers, but lovers don’t take notice of cost, they only take notice of the object of their affection. Now the room is filled with the smell of this perfume, the whole atmosphere has been changed by the love of this sinful woman for Jesus. The Pharisee’s can’t handle this much intimacy, so they begin to question who this woman was to Jesus and why a “man of God” would allow such a woman to do such a thing to Him. The atmosphere of the room was changed by love and no one could deny it.
Whether it is actions or attitudes, lovers that are leaders, titled or not, change the atmosphere of every room they enter. For love smells like something and we were created to be lovers, so we can smell it when it is there, we can see it when it arrives and we can hear it when it speaks. The fragrance of love filled the house of some Pharisees and the words of love, changed a sinful woman’s life forever. You don’t have to have a title or even be welcomed into a place, to change the atmosphere if you lead like a lover.
In the Hebrew calendar we are in the year 5775AD, which is the Year of the Whirlwind. 5 is the number of grace and 7 is the number of completion, which means we have double completion of grace this year. Daniel 4 confirms that grace has an expiration date, by revealing a prophetic word that was spoken over King Nebuchadnezzar and then in verse 28 says, 12 months later, an angel spoke the same word to him and immediately the word spoken had come to pass in his life. Grace has an expiration date and I believe we are coming upon that date this year. I believe God has been speaking to people about what He wants, even expects from them and he has given us a grace period to obey, but if we refuse to obey in the grace period, when grace expires discipline begins, so we can repent and be restored. (Daniel 4)
This year is going to be a whirlwind year, the Hebrew calendar says it is, the signs in the heaven are declaring it with the 4 blood moons, which mean change in a way that is unprecedented (I encourage you to study the 4 blood moons and what they are saying to the earth). Another sign in the heavens was the double tornado (whirlwind) that hit Nebraska in June 2014. Any time there is double it means it is going to happen. Jesus would say, truly, truly or in some versions, verily, verily I say unto you. I believe God is speaking through the prophets and the signs in the heavens, truly, truly this is the year of the whirlwind.
So, what does it mean, what can we expect in the year of the whirlwind? I believe the year of the whirlwind means everything is going to change and it is going to happen suddenly. The prophets in the land are speaking of acceleration, fast, sudden, swift change. When I was inquiring of the Lord about the year of the whirlwind, He reminded me of the movie the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy was in her house, when the whirlwind came and took her into a world she could not even have imagined or dreamed of. Her whole life changed forever. Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. (2 Kings 2:1) Whirlwinds take everything and fling it to somewhere new. I believe the year of the whirlwind is going to usher in something brand new, that some have tried to put into words, but none of us can accurately articulate it.
The year of the whirlwind is going to be the end of one age and the beginning of another. Pastor Steve Gray said on Friday night, we serve a God of endings and beginnings. He went on to say, we cannot have a new beginning without something coming to an end. I believe we are on the tail end of one age and on the precipice of another. This end is going to mean a season of discipline for some who did not repent (change the way they think), and a season of rewards for others who endured the flames of the last season and came out as vessels of honor as Frank Seamster said just this week. Gold must go through the fire in order to withstand any fire. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were made of gold, so they came out of the fire without even the smell of smoke (Daniel 3).
The signs are in the heavens, the words of the prophets are in the earth, so what is God telling you do, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Do what he has told you to do, no matter what personal cost it will be to you. This is the year of the whirlwind, we are about to see everything change, forever, these are incredibly exciting times we are living in and it is going to be very very good for the people of God, so repent, heed the warnings you are hearing and get ready for a whirlwind year.
Every country around the world has a form of currency they use for the exchange of goods and services. Some currency has a higher exchange rate than others, but in the end each currency is used for the same purpose, everywhere around the world. The kingdom of God is no different, the kingdom has a currency that people spend/save all the time, whether they realize it or not. Not being able to recognize the currency of the kingdom has caused many to go bankrupt, and for some without notice.
Since the early 90’s the church has been preaching prosperity, using verses that have nothing to do with money, while wondering why people are not getting what the church has promised. Prosperity in God’s kingdom has to do with his currency, not ours. Dollars, Ringgit, Euro’s, Yen, Peso’s, Franc’s are all currencies of earth and we have spent so much time pursuing these, we have neglected kingdom currency. So, what is the currency of the kingdom?
*Time: How you spend your time shows what you value. In the kingdom there is equality and we all have been given the same amount of time (24 hours in a day), but how we spend that time is determined by what you value. If you want to know what you value, evaluate what you spend your time on.
*Choices: Everyone has been given a free will, another equalizer in the kingdom, what we choose, whether to obey God or disobey God, determines our level of prosperity in the kingdom. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit, will from the Spirit reap eternal life”.
*Words: Our words are our seeds that we plant and when they grow produce a harvest in our lives. What we sow, we grow, our words are our seeds. Mark 11:23-26 is speaking about our words that grow unforgiveness, unbelief, etc. Solomon said it best, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who live it will eat its fruit”. (Prov. 18:21)
*People: John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world (nations, ethnic groups of the world) that He gave His one and only Son…”. People are of an extremely high value in the kingdom of God, how you treat them is of the utmost importance to God.
*Faith: The more you agree with God, the more faith you get. The more you believe what you read in the word of God, the wealthier you are in the kingdom. Faith is walking in agreement with God.
*Hope: Confident expectation of good. No matter what you see, you know God is good. Romans 5:5 says, “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit that was given to us”. Expectancy that God is always good.
*Love: The absence of fear! Fearless people are lovers and love wins.
I am sure there is so much more kingdom currency that others will be able to add to this list, but one thing I know for sure, God wants the content of our message to match our character, that is why 3 John 2 says, “May you prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.” God delights in the prosperity of His children, so let’s be good stewards of the kingdom currency!
Have you ever slowed down long enough to analyze why you do what you do in any given situation? Most people are so busy doing whatever they do, they never stop long enough to hear their heart cry out, why are we doing this? The Lord has been speaking to me about doing things from love and how different it feels when I do it from love, rather than for something else. I was in Dallas this weekend and I went to Chuck Pierce’s Global Spheres Center, where I experienced so many things there that produced in me freedom and fire. One of those experiences was standing in line for 15 minutes to give my offering. I have never experienced so much joy, delight and desire to give in my whole life. I waved my offering, danced my way to the front and sang my heart out with over a 1000 other people as we moved toward the front to give our offerings. While I was doing this, the Lord’s still small voice said, this is how you give from love. It was so much fun, so freeing, so God.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I have spent 25 years as a Christian wondering what is means to have your righteousness pass that of the Scribes and Pharisees, then in one experience, I realized how this happens. Love is what surpasses the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees. You see many people, myself included, do things out of obedience, duty, or an expectation someone has put on us, this is the law. It is not wrong to do it for these reasons. But there is a higher way, there is an easier way, there is a more fun way. It is the way of LOVE. When you do what you do from love, it looks different, for love is an attitude. When you worship, because you love to sing praises to God, it looks different than if you are doing it because it is right. If you love so much, you want to give, it looks different than if you are just squeezing out that 10%. When you say something or do something from love, it looks different, sounds different, comes across different, than if it is from ought to, duty, or have to.
The Bible says in I Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Love is far more powerful, liberating and enjoyable than the law, no wonder Jesus came to fulfill the law, now we can be lovers. So, why do you do what you do? Love Wins!
Judgment is coming to the house of the Lord, as an act of grace and as a cleansing. He has to remove our idols, since we have not removed them ourselves. This judgment is going to leave cities desolate, houses uninhabited, and the land devastated. We are already seeing the beginning of this in pockets around the world with the Bokka Horan in Nigeria, the riots in St. Louis, MO, the ISIS in Iran, and the issues between Russia and the Ukraine. Isaiah 6 is the reality in which we are living right now. If you read Isiah 1-5 you will understand the context of Isaiah 6, but here is what Isaiah 6:8-12 says, “8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “Lord, how long ?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate, 12 “The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.”
The Lord is saying, that Christians have become insensitive, dull of hearing and dim of eyes (calloused, deaf and blind). If you read Psalm 135:15-18 it says, “15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. 16 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.17 They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths 18 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” The evidence of our idolatry is plain to see, so our judgment is inevitable. We need this judgment, for the new wineskin to come and the new wine to be poured out. Judgment is an act of grace, it is actually good news, for God loves us so much He has to discipline us, for we have chosen not to repent.
So, as we see these things happening all around the world and the news broadcasts the judgment of God, we are not to become afraid, actually we are to look for the stump. When the land is laid desolate, look for the stump; when the houses are without people (this actually is referring to churches, of which we are seeing a steady decline of church attendance), look for the stump; what is happening to the world is because the church has not obeyed the voice of God, the commands of God, so we are under the discipline of God, but look for the stump. Why? Because Isaiah 6:13 says, “13 “Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak Whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.”
The holy seed is in the stump! God is going to remove all the idols, but there is a seed in the stump, it only takes one seed to start a brand new harvest. The seed is in the stump, look for it in the midst of all the devastation you see, all the desolation you notice. Look for the seed in the stump!