Worker of God, be encouraged! You have turned your back on the world! You are focused on Him! He is absolutely focused on you! He’s got your back!
Have you been called? Did you count the cost of your calling? Are you suffering some hardships as a result of positively responding to God’s calling and God’s anointing on your life? It is not going to be easy you know! It is not supposed to be easy!
Today I want to encourage you, servant of God. Yes, you who started the walk of faith and the walk of obedience in the service of the Lord. I am going to tell you today what the outcome of your faith-walk with Christ is leading to. I am also going to tell you what you are going through and why you are going through these things in your life right now.
If you have been called for something great, you are definitely going to be tested.
It is going to be difficult but if you put your faith in God you are going to make it! God will not forsake you and He will not leave you! He will not allow you to be defeated! He will achieve through you and in you what He planned for you all along….if you do not give up. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. This is very important. God does not want you to give up! He wants you to persevere! He loves you too much to allow you to fail! You do not have to face anything on your own. You face everything with Him IN you.
He knew that you were going to struggle and He knew that you were going to question some things. He knew that certain things were going to be difficult for you. He however wants you to know that you are not going through these hardships because you have sinned or because you have made a mistake somewhere. No, He wants you to know and to understand that you are going through these hardships because you were willing to follow Him and you were willing to respond to the calling. Now this point I am going to prove to you! It happened in the life of David. It happened in the life of Paul and it happened in the lives of many other people right trough the ages. Many people in the past, who decided to follow God and who decided to be obedient to the calling, know what I am talking about.
It is like being trained for battle. Except of course, that we are not really entering a battle but instead being formed to be a useful instrument in the hands of God. He is the Potter and we are the clay. He needs to shape us into the vessels He wants us to be so that we are able to successfully contain Jesus Christ in His fullness. He needs to live and minister IN us and THROUGH us without us hindering Him in His ministry or us blocking the anointing of the Holy Spirit. God needs to burn away the chaff and He needs to remove anything that might hinder His plans for your life.
Somebody said that God needs to be like a heart surgeon. He needs to take the scalpel and remove pieces of our hearts that is not part of His. In turn He takes pieces of His heart and plants it into ours. This is hard! We need the heart of God inside us! This is what God showed Alana Vawser about this:
THIS IS A STRATEGIC MOMENT, WHERE I AM IMPARTING NEW PARTS OF MY HEART
This morning I heard the words “This is a strategic moment, where I am imparting new parts of My heart.”
Instantly I saw the people of God in the fire. I saw many were fighting the fire of God for many reasons, a major one was because of the intensity of the pain or fear, and then there were others that were embracing it because they knew the Lord was doing something deep.
Between the two groups I saw beautiful Jesus, again, dressed as a surgeon with the scalpel of love in His hand. He has been showing Himself to me a lot lately as a surgeon, I believe because of the season of pruning, purifying and presentation we are in.
The Lord was moving between the two groups. To the first group He stood before them with such love and a river of life flowing from every part of Himself, and was encouraging them to embrace the fire, He was with them and promised to never leave them. He went on to say that this process was necessary for what was to come. His words of love assuring them there was nothing to fear. Even in the ‘not yet embracing of the fire’, He stood with them, unmoved, ministering to their fearful hearts and inviting them into the fire that would change everything, it would lead them into the ‘alignment’ needed that the second group represented (right alignment) to receive a precious, strategic impartation.
I then saw Him move into the second group and He moved through these ones, one at a time, working deeply on the heart. As He dealt with the heart, I saw a GLORIOUS level of being UNDONE before Him opening up. A deeper realm of being undone by His nature, His love and kindness. As this undoing was happening, He was unravelling wrong mindsets, unravelling religious boxes, undoing boxes He had been placed in. Undoing limitations and boxes of fear and unbelief. Undoing ‘assumptions’ and ‘preconceived ideas and expectations of how He was going to move’.
This deep UNDOING and UNRAVELLING was done in such love. As His love enveloped His people in the fire, I heard them crying out in repentance and singing songs of praises to Him. Their repentance and worship was paving pathways of fire for a great revival, awakening and outpouring of His Spirit and power in their lives like they had never known before.
As Jesus worked deep on their hearts, I began to see Him take parts of His own heart and He placed it within theirs. They began to cry and cry as greater IMPARTATIONS of His heart were transplanted into theirs. He was imparting His heart for different nations, different people groups, cities all linking together in the divine dance of two hearts that began to beat in deeper ways as ONE. A great extension was taking place.
There were moments of DEEP tears and groans of intercession, there were deep moments of longing and contending the people of God were experiencing as they saw through heavens lense to what He was releasing on the earth.
As Jesus worked on their heart, they were crying out for a powerful move of God in the very areas of His heart that He was imparting.
Once the impartation was “in place”, I saw Jesus breath upon their hearts and LIFE blossomed everywhere. I saw fruit exploding from their hearts.
The VERY AREAS the Lord is imparting new parts of His heart into His people for nations, people groups, cities, revival etc, that was the next area the people of God were going to see a move of the FULLNESS of His power and LIFE!
ABUNDANCE of FAVOUR and FRUIT is and will open up in the areas of the Lord’s heart that He is imparting in this season right now.
Do not look at the impartation process and the intercessory process you are walking now, as bad, it is glorious! The Lord is opening up new areas of what is on His heart to you in this season and it is strategic for what He is doing on the earth. It is happening IN THE FIRE!
The very areas of His heart He is imparting to you now are the very areas favour, fire and fruit are going to fall upon, to USE YOU, to bring radical transformation, change, demonstrations and manifestations of His love and power to all around.
Embracing the fire, embracing the process of a new level of undoing right now is CRUCIAL! He is positioning and aligning you for a deeper part of His heart, a new extended impartation of what He is doing and wanting to release THROUGH YOU.
This new and deeper impartation of His heart is crucial and connected to you moving on higher levels than you have before and moving further forward into your destiny.
The power of God is going to fall heavily upon you in the fire, deep power encounters in the impartation of His heart that will awaken you and set your hands and feet to increase in areas you have ministered in before and new areas you have never stepped into, to release the greatest and most powerful move of God and His love through you than you have ever experienced.
Get ready to be undone by Him in a whole new, fresh, amazing way! Undone by His power and love and the privilege it is to carry His heart.
– Alana Vawser
You haven’t done anything wrong! No, you have handed yourself over to God to form you, to shape you and to fill you with Christ Jesus in His fullness. This is not easy.
Do not give up! We always have a choice you know. We can walk away from this but then you will not fulfill your calling. If we walk away from this then we have failed. We have to persevere until we obtain the victory. Yes we do have a choice. I have heard people say that we haven’t got a choice when it comes to our calling. That is not the truth. God calls us and we can respond either negatively or positively to that calling. Even when we accept to be obedient to God’s calling we still have choices. Although it was always going to be difficult, we can experience the preparation process in a very negative way or we can experience it in a positive way. We can make things easier or more difficult. We can cause the preparation process to take much longer that it should. We can be less successful in our faith-walk with Christ or more successful, all because of the choices we make and the attitude that we adopt. We need to stay focused and we need to stay positive.
Do you doubt your calling? Do not doubt yourself just because you experienced some difficulty or some failures. Do the people close to you doubt your calling? Remember that you never have to prove your calling to anybody. Not even to those closest to you. The ways of God is sometimes a mystery. Sometimes it seems so complicated and sometimes we feel that we are really in the dark regarding His ways. Many times I myself did not have the slightest clue exactly what I really went through and why I went through it. Something that I have certainly learned through the years however, is that God can be “relentless” when He is testing your faith and your character. Make no mistake about this fact! The trials and the testing of God can be severe! But do not fear! You will survive it! This quotation about the American Navy Seals is quite interesting and should give you a better understanding of the preparation of a five-fold minister in the school of the Holy Spirit:
If you want to be a Navy SEAL, you have to be able to do this: 20 pull-ups, more than 100 pushups in two minutes and a 500-yard swim in under nine minutes.
And that’s all before Hell Week, the grueling Navy SEAL test that consists of 120 hours of virtually nonstop training on fewer than four hours of sleep.
“They get most of the quitters out first, and then they teach you how to be a SEAL,” said Stew Smith, 42, who served as a SEAL from 1991-1999.
The SEAL training course – known as Basic Underwater Demolition School/SEAL (BUD/S) – is held at the Naval Special Warfare training center in Coronado, Calif.
For six months, aspiring SEALs are forced to crawl through mud for hours, tie brutally complicated knots under water and endure hypothermia and sleep deprivation. Roughly 70% of recruits drop out in the first few weeks of training.
“You have to be physically and mentally tough,” said ex-SEAL Dick Couch, 67.
The 25-week course starts with a five-point screening test – a mix of brutally demanding strength exercises and endurance tests.
The trainees who pass are put through a rigorous regimen of drills on land and at sea.
Hell Week starts on day 15.
The would-be SEALs are subjected to a soul-crushing series of workouts. They must swim dozens of miles in freezing, rough surf, then run and roll in the sand and mud – all in full gear.
Former Navy SEAL Stew Smith, 42, shows how it’s done.
Over the entire five days, they are given only four hours of sleep.
“You run, you paddle boats, carry boats – it never stops,” Smith said. “You’re wet, sandy and tired – and you don’t sleep.”
This is when the majority of the trainees quit, and even the act of quitting is painful. They must ring a brass bell to signal they don’t have what it takes to be a SEAL.
Ex-SEAL Marcus Luttrell provided a terrifying account of Hell Week in his book “Lone Survivor.”
“Guys collapsed onto the sand, others just stood there … too many of them wondering how they could possibly go on,” Luttrell wrote.
“Including me. Knees were buckling. Joints throbbing. I don’t think anyone could stand up without hurting.”
Trainees who survive Hell Week go on to receive training in diving and land warfare, learning to become snipers capable of jumping from planes and navigating the depths of the ocean.
“If you can make it through, you will never quit at anything else again,” Smith said.
The amazing thing is, would-be Seals know all this before they sign up! They know exactly what they are in for before they enroll but still they do. The five-fold ministry is no different. I really want to bring your attention to something that Johann van der Hoven posted on his facebook page once. This short post was really a wonderful piece of information that really encouraged me when I really needed it:
THE RARE CALLING, LIFE AND MINISTRY OF THE REVIVALIST IN HIS MINISTRY OF REVIVAL – (A summary) A POST MOST WOULD NOT UNDERSTAND, NOR HAVE THE ABILITY TO DISCERN RIGHTLY – BUT THE FEW WHO ARE CALLED AND KNOW, WILL FIND ITS CONTENTS AN ENCOURAGEMENT, AND NOURISHMENT FROM WHICH TO CONTINUE TO GROW.
You have heard a lot about revival. You have read many books. You have studied the lives of men of revival. You have been intrigued by their ministry, by the glorious accounts of what you have read has happened through their ministries. You may have even read some of their famous quotes and some of the ‘secrets’ to their ministry that were made public by them, or by others around them who have studied them.
My purpose with this writing is not to tell you about revival or the secrets thereof. It is to pull back the curtains on the actual life of a revivalist, authentically called by God in a genuine and authentic call in revival. It is to show you the reality of the call and to prepare you for it. It is to tell you what others cannot, for you cannot tell what you have not experienced and you cannot experience without having lived through an experience yourself. What is the call of a genuine revivalist? Why are there so few of them recorded throughout history? What makes their ministry reach the Standards that it does? How come they seem to walk on a different plain than most other men when it comes to the revelation of Jesus Christ and the manifestation of His Spirit, in the working of His Power through Signs, Wonders and through Miracles?
Twenty five years ago a journey began in my own life. It began because it was twenty five years ago that God had first spoken to me about revival in South Africa. The idea thrilled my soul and soon I was totally sold out to God’s process and preparation school to see the Glory of the Lord being poured out in my own native country, South Africa. Little did I realize where this journey would lead me or how long it would last, what the price would be for living in the Shadow of God’s Presence and for becoming a spearheading ministry, through whom God would display His Will, His Heart and His Spirit-Word on earth.
Little did I realise that I would enter the loneliest life that any man could ever hope to live, and yet also at the same time, the most glorious life, constantly being in awareness of God’s Presence and constantly being Overshadowed with His Glory. This life of preparation led me from one altar to the next, progressively leading me into a place where, literally, everything in my life would be placed upon God’s altar, and where at the end, I myself would also be on His altar. It was a life of total seclusion and of spending countless hours, days, weeks and even months in the Presence of God. Growing into the deeper realms of His Spirit. Constantly being in vocal communication with God, constantly being stretched and transformed. Constantly bleeding and dying. It was a life of total consecration. Total yielding and total sacrifice.
Throughout the years and years and years of schooling that followed, my wife lived with a husband that was more like a shadow than a reality, my children with a father who was there always, but hardly ever present. It costs a price! It costs everything! Not only to me, but to my family also! It led us through dark days where it seemed that we may not come through, but where I had to remain true to that which God had called me to do, and true to Him above all else. True to the process, even if it meant that I had to follow on alone, I could not turn back! Tests came throughout the years and by God’s grace and His grace alone we came through them all! It is nothing short of a miracle that we as a family are still in tact! Few men will be able to explain this. Few men will be able to stomach even the thought of this. Many will utterly condemn all that I have just said and written and judgmentally write it off instantly as being contrary to God’s will. Others may even find ‘scriptures’ whereby to condemn it and ‘prove’ it wrong. Only men who have lived the life will really understand and know. Only those who understand that even in ‘searching the scriptures’ the truth about God and His will is many times still hidden to the understanding of men’s hearts. Only those who know and understand that there is no mould for the revivalist, that he or she does not fit into the moulds and the ministries of other men and women, but are called as men and women apart, distinct and are prepared as peculiar, as their ministries would become.
The life and the calling of a true revivalist called by God is a life lived on the cross. It is a life lived in the Audience of God and in the absence of men. It is a life wherein you are are called to lay absolutely everything, and more particularly the very things that means most to you and that you love dearly, at the foot of that cross! Sometimes and many times, especially with my family, it felt as though a piece of my heart had been ripped out from my chest, without any anesthetic to soften the pain – Yet I knew it was all a part of God’s process and program to ultimately form me into the servant-vessel He needed me to be.
In conclusion, let me say this – The process is never voluntary! We do not choose to do these things, we are led there to do them. In essence it is Jesus saying – “You want to serve Me in this ministry? Then leave everything behind, come here and follow Me”. Revival and everything pertaining to its life, never falls on you from Heaven, it is birthed through you in living experience and in life. You live your Message, before you get to deliver it. The Anointing is birthed inside of you, before it operates from within you! Today school is out, and I live by the wisdom, understanding, the Power of God’s Knowledge and the Anointing that He has imparted in me during those many years of schooling and of hard-earned learning. My advice to those who really feel they want to pursue the life and the calling of revival, Be ready to sacrifice. Be ready to lose what you now value. Be prepared to ‘lose’ your family (time spent as you know it now). Be prepared for many hours in the Presence of God. Be prepared to be broken and to be moulded and remade. Be prepared to serve. Be prepared to spend more hours with God than you do with humans.
Be prepared to spend more hours on your knees than you do in ministry. Prepare for yourself a place where you will be alone with God, make it as comfortable as possible, for there you will spend the better part of your future life.
MOST OF ALL – COUNT THE COST OF YOUR CALLING AND COUNT IT WELL!
– Johann van der Hoven
Did this scare You? Remember we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. It did not scare me, instead it immediately brought a sense of understanding to me. It illuminated quite a few dark areas in my faith-walk and it certainly answered a few questions. It made me realize that I am not crazy. It made me realize that other people went through the same things I did and some are still going through the same things that I am going through right now. It made me realized that God did not give up on me. It made me realized that God did not forsake me. It made me realized that I am not a failure and that I am definitely not loosing it.
So many times I thought that surely, if things do not work out the way I anticipated then I must have made a mistake somewhere. Yes, my ministry in the body of Christ is not really what I anticipated. A few things I did expect but some things really took me by surprise.
I thought that success in terms of all aspects of ministry is the “proof” that you have been called. I thought that a successful “public life” in the church is God’s way of telling the world that He approves of you and He approves your ministry. I mean, here I was, working for God and doing what I think He expects from me but still I am struggling with certain things in my life. The struggle in terms of looking after my family financially for one did not make sense to me. Even the lack of some practical manifestations of things I thought God would lead me to do did not materialize as I anticipated and that did not make sense to me. I sometimes felt that God took me to a higher level, established me there and then, the next moment, He disappeared leaving me hanging there like a sitting duck. It felt like one moment I was firmly established and the next moment totally abandoned.
This was really confusing to me. I could not answer all the questions people asked me. I knew people close to me judged me because of this. If you have been called and if God is with you, why do we see all these hardships and failures? Why did this or why did that not work out? Why are you not successful pertaining this aspect or that aspect? Even I asked these questions myself. Although I never doubted the word of God, there really were times that I doubted myself.
What I did not know is that this is part of the process. This is part of the trials and testing that we need to go through in order for God to mold us. This builds character. This enable us to be clean vessels and usable instruments in the hand of God. This purifies us and it takes away fleshly things and fleshly strongholds that are not from God. This helps us to allow Jesus Christ to live IN and THROUGH us. This is what happened with David and other men of God.
Very roughly put; God calls a man, then He anoints him, then He prepares him for ministry, then He appoints him, and then He puts him on a platform of ministry. The preparation stage is really hard. It was never easy.
This is what the apostles went through in the Bible. This way of being prepared for ministry is Biblical. It is God’s way. The moment I grasped this I realized that the ministry of the apostles and the rest of the five-fold ministry as we see in the New-Testament, would very often today be considered sub-standard or such people would be considered failures.
Just take a look at some of the New-Testament Scriptures pertaining to the apostles and their ministries:
1 Corinthians 4:9-13
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
These guys did not appear to be successful to me. They really struggled. They were a spectacle to people. They were poor. It really appeared that they sometimes struggled to make ends meet. They were definitely not held in high esteem by people as the norm is today.
These men of God were married and yes, most of them or at least some of them, took their wives with them when they went out to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
1 Corinthians 9:5
Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
This Scripture is proof that Simon Peter (Cephas), who was married, and the brothers of Jesus, did take their wives with them on their trips to preach the gospel. Their wives suffered with them! They also had to endure the hardships of such a trip and such a life! Do not be mistaken. It was just as hard for them as it was for their husbands.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s…
What do we see in this Scripture? We see a worker of God suffering for Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We see a man who lost his house and his family. I think the real reasons why workers of Christ loose these things differ but the reality is that they suffered loss for Christ. Sometimes their families betray them and leave them. Sometimes they are persecuted resulting in them abandoning their belongings and property. Sometimes their property and belongings are confiscated by evil or corrupt governments and people. Sometimes they loose it through hardships whilst preaching the gospel.
There are countless Scriptures in the New-Testament that indicates that it was quite a difficult life that these people had to endure for Christ. They were assaulted, they were stoned, they suffered disgrace for the Lord, they were hated, they were martyred, they were crucified, they were murdered, they were severely persecuted, they were betrayed, they were incarcerated. Their property and belongings were taken away from them. Nothing changed! All this are still happening today. Right across the world millions of people are going through exactly what you have just read above, today, as you read this.
Just have a look at this Scripture:
2 Timothy 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
It is only in a few Western countries that we do not see these things happening. It is also only in the institutional church in these Western countries and some European countries that we see members of the five-fold ministry living wonderful carefree lives of religious and financial freedom. Many of them have never been persecuted a day in their lives. Many haven’t tasted any suffering for Christ at all. They have been taken up in a well oiled system we call the “institutional church”, and as a direct result of this system many of them did not have to go through what Johann van der Hoven described above. Unfortunately this is why many of them are involved in powerless and mediocre ministries. Persecution and suffering builds faith and a Godly character.
Many people have a high esteem for these ministers and that has became the norm right through the western civilization. A full-time worker of God who is struggling and suffering is often seen as a failure. This view is however not Biblical. We have seen in Scripture that Paul and the other apostles suffered at some stage of their preparation. Now lets take a look at the life of David:
No better place to look at the life of David than Psalms 119! I never knew it but Psalm 119 was written by David right in the midst of the preparation phase of his life, rather closer to the end of his preparation phase. Many Psalms that David wrote depict the victories that God caused in his life. There are so many psalms depicting the praises and the thankfulness that David had towards God because of redemption, healing, victory and blessings in his life. Psalms 119 is however all about David’s years of struggle. It is all about those difficult years when he had to learn to trust God.
Psalm 119 contains 176 verses. It is the longest single chapter in the Bible. As I said, I believe it was written by David but most scholars believe that it was written by either David, Ezra, or Daniel. Each of these proposed authors suffered serious difficulties in his life, and the author of Psalm 119 reflects that in descriptions of plots, slanders, and taunts against him (verses 23, 42, 51, 150), persecutions (verses 61, 86, 95, 110, 121, 134, 157, 161 ), and afflictions (verses 67, 71, 143, 153). The persecution and affliction of the man (and woman) of God is a major theme of Psalm 119. This is already an indication that things are not always well in the life of a man or a woman of God. My view is that this statement usually refers to the preparation phase of such a man of God’s life. There are many Scriptures that indicate that it is quite a different story when such a man of God has been appointed and functioning in the position or role that He was called for.
The inherent message of Psalm 119, specifically taking the foundation of the calling of a man of God into consideration, emphasizes the following:
When a man of God is called he needs to walk and live in righteousness. He needs to be trustworthy, truthful, faithful, pure and firmly rooted and founded in and on the unchanging and everlasting word of God. The word of God, the statutes of God, the will of God, the regulations of God, the decrees of God, the commandments of God, the covenant of God, the rules of God, the principles of God, the standards of God, the laws of God and the ordinances of God all are very important to such a person. God Himself and subsequently His word, are the foundation of a man of God.
When a person is called he goes through different phases pertaining to the above. Now we all know that in the institutional church ministers are prepared for ministry according to the relevant institution’s training and development curriculum. Some have their own colleges and some have approved faculties in secular universities. They all have different subjects and different criteria that they follow in order to get a man prepared for ministry. The main focus of these courses, diplomas and degrees are all theoretically or intellectually based. Yes, learning the word of God is part of the training and development process but at the end of the day the learner or minister only gained intellectual knowledge of God and His word.
The word of God, which includes all aspects of God’s will, is very important in a man of God’s life. God’s way of training, developing and preparing His servants and also the different phases of this preparation is clearly seen in Psalms 119. Lets look at these phases:
Verses 1-8: Study and learn: David makes a few statements regarding the importance of the word of God. Everything is well when you believe God and His word. If you live according to that word you are blessed. He acknowledge the fact that he needs to live according to that word. Then, being a rookie, David admits that he does not know and understand God’s word in its fullness yet and that he does not live according to that word yet. He however shows that he really desires to learn God’s word and to live according to God’s word. He then started studying God’s word. This is the first phase of a servant of God’s preparation.
Verses 9-16: Starting to live the word of God: In this section David makes a bold statement. He says he has learned God’s word and that he started to live according to that word. He has the word of God firmly planted in his heart and he continuously focuses on that word. An important fact to note here is that David said the following in verse 13, “With my (own) lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. One really needs to trust God and believe God in order to that. Every minister comes to a place where he must believe every word that ever proceeded out of the mouth of God. Every minister who does that are going to teach that word publicly and then he is going to expect God to make that word come true. David did this with gladness and with the zeal of God. Now it is important to understand that this was already challenging for David and will be for every man of God who lives according to the word of God. When the word of God says something, you have to believe it beyond any doubt. It goes even further, you have to start living according to that word. In the process you have to denounce worldly systems and worldly beliefs. The word of God needs to materialize in your life supernaturally as a result of your faith, obedience and perseverance. At this stage things were going really well for David and he could see the fruit of his labor. He could see how the word was changing his life and his circumstances. This is the second phase of development.
Verses 17-24: Facing some challenges: David is suddenly asking God to be good to him. He has done what God expects from him. It is evident that things are not so well anymore. He is experiencing some difficult challenges in his life. He suddenly realizes that there are still things that he does not know. He wants God to reveal those things to him. He reaffirms his commitment to follow God and to be obedient to him. At this stage a man of God might ask himself whether he has done something wrong somewhere. What he really needs to do is to persevere and learn to trust God even when things are not going so well. This is the third phase of development.
Verses 25-32: Affirm commitment in spite of difficulties: David is really starting to suffer here. He brings it under God’s attention that he did exactly what God expects from him yet things are not getting better. It is really getting bad. He is getting a little worried and he does not really know what is going on. He asks God again to teach him His ways and to reveal his truths to him. David again affirms his commitment to God. It is evident that in spite of difficulties he decided to persevere. He is in this thing for the long haul. This is the fourth phase of development in a man of God’s life.
Verse 33-40: Trust even in darkness: David sticks to his commitment. Things are tough but he is pressing through. Although he sows he does not see any crops. He reaps nothing and it seems that he is doing everything in vain. He plants but nothing grows. Yet this doesn’t bother him too much. He believes God and His word. He knows things will eventually turn around. He knows that God’s word and God’s promises will eventually materialize. He knows that God’s word will stand firmly for all eternity. He rather focuses on the tasks ahead of him and not the results because he trusts God. He decided to persevere and he will not allow anything to divert him or to hinder him in this. This is the fifth phase.
Verses 41-48: Difficulties and challenges becomes overwhelming: In this phase David is starting to ask God to cause His word to really materialize in his life. He wants the goodness of God to be really evident in his life. When he looks at his life he does not really see the word of God being a major influence on his circumstances. He made quite a few bold statements to people close to him. Even people not so close to him knows what he stands for and what his beliefs are. Yet, his beliefs are not really evident in his life. David however knows that God’s word is true and he does not doubt that fact one minute. He is waiting on God to perform miracles in his life so that people can see that the word of God is the truth. In verse 42 it starts becoming evident that David does not really know how to answer people anymore. They are asking more and more questions. David used to answer them with phrase like, “things will happen soon” or that “things will start happening before long”. Specific things are queried and David assures them that it will materialize soon. Each time he refers people to the word of God.
Sometimes he admits that he does not know what is going on or why certain things take so long to be fulfilled. This phase is starting to really get difficult. The challenges are getting more and more difficult. At times it feels that he might even loose his life. At this stage men of God realize that they cannot rely on anything else but the grace and the favor of God. David is now longing for and appealing to God to take him out of these circumstances. He wants God to establish him. With a deep groaning in his spirit He calls out to God. Psalm 91 becomes very real to him:
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
He wants to stand before important people and he boldly wants to proclaim God’s word without being ashamed. At this stage doubts of being ashamed or even failing are slowly setting in. He does not doubt God’s word but he is slowly starting to doubt himself. Maybe he made a mistake somewhere but he he has a faint feeling that he did not slip up. This is phase six.
This phase just seems to go on and on and on. There is no light in sight. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Yet God expects from His servants to persevere.
Psalm 119:49-176: Willingness to suffer for God: During this last phase of preparation, men of God either become willing to suffer for God to the end or they give up. They made piece with their circumstances. They decided to persevere even though it might take ages to get better or even though it might never get better. They just love God and His word too much to turn their backs on their calling. Deep inside of them they somehow know that redemption will come. They know that God will eventually show up and miraculously change their circumstances.
This is what we must go through in order to be prepared for ministry. Eventually God will show up and He will restore us and our families. The damage will be repaired. We will be healed and we will be restored. David was anointed king by Samuel but he did not take up his throne immediately. David had to be spiritually prepared in order for him to be the king that God wanted him to be. An anointed man of God cannot start his ministry in the church of Christ before he has been prepared for that. First you are called and then you are prepared and then you are appointed! It cannot be any other way. After David’s “calling” he was anointed king but he had to endure many years of hardships and preparation before he could take up his throne. That is exactly how God wants to deal with the five-fold ministry. The institutional church however, many times bypass this preparation by means of man-made systems.
If you read Psalms 119 though, you can clearly see how God prepares His servants for ministry. We can see it by looking at David’s life and by the statements he made in Psalm 119.
We now need to deal with a few specific versus in Psalms 119 and then I want you to read the whole chapter in order for you to understand exactly what you are going through and why:
Verse 4: Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
Verses 10-13: With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Verses 19: I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
Verses 41-48: Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
Verse 49: Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
Verse 58-59: I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Verse 67-72: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
Verses 74-80: They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
Verses 81-88: My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes. How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law. All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
Verses 89-96: For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants. Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. I am thine, save me: for I have sought thy precepts. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
Verses 97-101: O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Verses 105-112: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law. The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.
Verses 116-120: Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
Verses 121-128: I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors. Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness. Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes. I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
Verses 129-136: Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
Verses 137-144: Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
Verses 145-152: I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment. They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
Verses 153-160: Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
Verses 161-168: Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love. Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
Verses 169-176: Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
Psalm 119 ends with a man still on his knees. He is still crying out to God to help him. He is still calling on the Name of God to restore him. After all this time God is still his source of life. After all this time God is still his only hope. He still does not rely on any other help or source than God alone. Even though things did not change yet. Even though people who know him are still mocking him and still asking him where his God is, he still believes. This is the core aspects of preparation in a man of God’s life; can he still believe in the word of God although months and years passed without the promises and the word of God coming true in his life? The book of Psalm 119 is telling us two very important things:
The word of God is true!
A true believer keeps on believing that word even if there is no evidence of that word in his life!
The preparation process therefore also serves this purpose: To test a man of God to the ultimate, to determine whether he really believes God’s word or whether he is moved and influenced by circumstances in his life. What moves a minister of God? The word of God or what he feels, hear and see? Those of us who decided to believe God and his word and if we persevere, we will one beautiful morning wake up and see and experience that word come true and that God miraculously doing the most wonderful things in our lives. That is what happened to Joseph as well. His life took a bad turn when his brothers threw him into that pit. It went from bad to worse when he ended up in jail. We all know the story of Joseph. For many years he suffered but one beautiful morning he was raised up and appointed the ruler of an entire nation. Why? Because he was willing to follow God in righteousness and in truth even in a time of great tribulation and difficulty. He allowed God to mold him into a vessel of excellence which could be used by God for great things.
There is victory now in this life!
Now for some wonderful encouragement! As you can see above, Johann van der Hoven wrote that one marvelous day, School was out! I also often heard Joyce Meyers’ testimony of the six dreadful years of trials and testing she and her husband Dave went through just before her ministry started to escalate. Yes, take courage my friend. The trials and the testing will end. Persecution might not end but surely trials and testing do come to an end. God does not want us to suffer forever. He does not want us to live miserable lives of trials and testing forever. He wants the present trials and testing to build our most holy faith and our Godly characters. He wants to mold us into the vessels that He wants us to be so that He can use us to minister unto His people. As soon as that is done, the testing and trials are over. Unless we fall back into bad attitudes again we do not need to suffer anymore.
Are there Scriptures that proves what I am stating here? Check this one out!
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
What we see here is that in this worker of God’s life, a major change occurred. The one moment he was still without house, land and family but the next moment (in this life) he received a hundredfold of what he lost! And in the world to come eternal life! How is that for being rewarded by God for the work that we are doing for Him?
This is exactly what happened to David. After being anointed king quite a few years before Saul eventually died, he finally acceded the throne of the kingdom of Israel. God’s word came true in David’s life exactly as he has written in Psalms 119. Every word and every promise eventually came true. David was completely delivered. The word of God and the promises of God were now completely evident in his life. People who mocked him, even those close to him who doubted him all had to swallow there words. They were all standing ashamed just as David prayed in Psalms 119. He was not ashamed. Those were ashamed who did not believe God’s word and who did not live according to that word.
Be encouraged my brother and my sister! Nothing that we do for Christ Jesus is in vain. We will be rewarded! Not only in the world to come but even now in this life! One beautiful morning, school is out! As from that day we will reap the good fruit of the seed that we have sown through the years. That wonderful morning, our tears will be wiped off our faces and we will rejoice like never before. Look what Lana Vawser wrote about this:
FORERUNNERS ARE MOVING FROM PREPARATION TO PRESENTATION AND DEMONSTRATION
I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about Esther and her journey. The stages of preparation, presentation and then demonstration she went through.
This afternoon the words have been going over and over in my spirit “It has been a time of preparation, now it’s the time of presentation and demonstration” and I kept seeing the face of Esther again before me.
The atmosphere around me was pregnant with “For such a time as this” and I could feel hope and anticipation arising in the Spirit.
As I pondered what I had heard, I felt the Lord highlight the forerunners and those who have yielded themselves to the process and to the fire of God. That there has been an intense time of preparation. There has been fire on levels that many have not known before. Prophets have been facing fires that are seven times hotter. Forerunners and forefront leaders taken into a season of intense shaking, moulding, pruning and purging. I felt the Lord highlighting those who have said YES, those who have embraced the fire and embraced the process to which He has been leading them on, EVEN when they don’t understand that the season of preparation for the next step of destiny has come to an end. There is a shifting that is taking place in the spirit right now.
It’s time for the PRESENTATION and DEMONSTRATION. The Lord has been fashioning hearts, hearts of purity to seek Him and Him alone. To be in the place of truly seeking to know His heart, and to hear His voice, to BE WITH HIM, simply just to BE with Him. He has been developing DEEP DEEP levels of intimacy in the fire and in the shaking and the process many have walked has led them to a greater place of surrender and humility before the Lord which has opened up a glorious new level of divine romance with the King of Kings.
There has been a ‘hiddenness’ that many have been in as the Lord has dealt with the heart and shaped character. The Lord is looking for pure hearts and pure motives and as the forerunners and those in the body of Christ have yielded to the process, they are now moving into the season of PRESENTATION and DEMONSTRATION.
Get ready to be called for! Get ready for huge doors of favour to open up to you that you could not even imagine and DO NOT BE SCARED FOR YOU HAVE BEEN PREPARED.
Your intimacy with Him and what He has done in your heart in the season of preparation has made you ‘steadfast’ in Him. DO NOT be scared!
The Lord is about to place the forerunners and those who have yielded to His process on platforms of favour, I saw huge levels and doors of favour opening up over night for some, incredible connections with people of influence and destiny doors not just opening a crack but swinging WIDE open BECAUSE He wants to DEMONSTRATE His POWER, His GLORY, His GOODNESS and His LOVE in SIGNIFICANT ways.
In the fire character has been developed and strength has been developed, not in one’s ability but IN HIM!!! The place of deep surrender and humility, the Lord is releasing many into their PRESENTATION and DEMONSTRATION season that is going to see the greatest harvest of fruit released from their life that they have ever seen. As they have been through the fire, and yielded they have come to a place of giving ALL GLORY to Him. A heart cry for HIM to be seen!!!
The power of God is going to move through these ones in ways they have never imagined and in places they could never have dreamed of, flowing from the divine dance of love with Him. A fresh expression of His LOVE and POWER will be demonstrated. The King of Kings is taking the stage in the lives of the forerunners to SHINE, SHINE, SHINE!
These ones arising are arising with MOUTHS FULL OF HOPE!!!!! The demonstration of Jesus through them in power, is going to shift the most impossible circumstances as they step forward into their destiny, free of striving but in the slipstream of grace.
You have been prepared for such a time as this!! (Esther 4:14) The preparation season you have walked hasn’t been for nothing. The opposition of the enemy has been relentless because he has been terrified of what you are stepping into.. YOUR PRESENTATION AND DEMONSTRATION SEASON!
– Lana Vawser
Please read my post about the prosperity that God has in store for all of us. Not only for Christians but also for the workers (Five-fold ministry): Money! What a Babylonian Confusion!
It is very liberating and it gives you the balance pertaining to finances that we need in order to prosper in a Godly way in the kingdom of God.
Just because you suffer now does not mean that you are not called. Just because you are going through a hard time does not mean that you have done something wrong. Stop hurting. The apostles did everything right and still they went through bad times. They suffered, they struggled and they could not always look after their families the way they wanted to. We cannot judge each other based on what we observe and what we think should be the norm. The bottom line is that there will be hardships but there will eventually certainly be victory, peace and wonderful times also.
I do want to mention a few things in terms of all sorts of hardships and challenges that I had to go through during my preparation for ministry. Things like financial challenges, my health conditions and other personal and social issues. I were severely tested and tried on all these issues from all directions and sometimes all at once. Needless to say that my family, Marinda and the boys, went through all these difficulties with me. They were just as much tested as I were.
There were times when it really felt that I was physically dying. A number of times I walked in the streets praying, not really sure that I was going to reach my residence again. A few times I had heart attacks in a nearby field where I used to pray or in bed next to my wife. I chose not to make use of the medical profession because I preferred trusting the Lord for healing.
There were times that our financial situation was absolutely out of control with absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel. I just refused to panic or to doubt in God’s provision. This was only possible because of the grace of God. If it was not for Him I wouldn’t have been able to stand firm in faith.
I am not sure why but although I went through all these things I always had the victory in each and every situation. Me and my family lost nothing! We still have everything we had before we went into ministry and each time we overcame each and every challenge. This reminds me of the Scripture which says that “many are the afflictions of the righteous but the LORD delivers him out of them all”. (Psalm 34:19)
I hope this post will bring some light in the darkness a lot of people and families who are called experience today regarding this aspect of spiritual life. I want to close this post with another quotation by Lana Vawser. This will give you a lot of hope for the near future:
WHAT I AM DOING WITH YOU AND IN YOU BEHIND CLOSED DOORS IS PREPARING YOU FOR THE OPEN, PUBLIC BREAKTHROUGH!
“What I am doing with you and in you behind closed doors is preparing you for the open, public breakthrough. Trust Me in the process. Trust Me in the refining! Trust Me in the fire!! For what I am speaking to you about, what I am leading you into, what I am revealing to you, what I am bringing up, healing, cutting away and pruning behind closed doors in not a sign of failure. It is a sign of ADVANCEMENT. Don’t allow the enemy to tell you that you have missed it. Don’t let the enemy tell you that the process you are walking through right now is a sign of defeat. You are not a defeated one, you are an OVERCOMING one. You are overcoming in ME. The VERY process you are walking through behind closed doors with Me now, is YIELDING your heart to Me more than ever before. You are being positioned in the yielding for a more powerful move of My Spirit in this season. More fruit, more revelation, more breakthrough and ground taken is going to be released out of the ‘”yielded’ place than what you could attempt to build with the work of your hands. There is a lot in this season fighting for the yielding of your heart. I am calling you to “draw away into the cleft of the rock” with Me, to be yielded to Me in deeper ways than before.
“Arise, my love, my beautiful companion, and run with me to the higher place. For now is the time to arise and come away with me. For you are my dove, hidden in the split-open rock. It was I who took you and hid you up high in the secret stairway of the sky. Let me see your radiant face and hear your sweet voice. How beautiful your eyes of worship and lovely your voice in prayer” (Song of Songs 2:13-14 (The Passion Translation)
The paths you are walking may be ones that you understand, but you are finding your greatest treasure.. ME!! I am stripping away, cutting away, pruning, but not for your harm, for your good, and bringing you to that deeper place of yieldedness that is going to bring you into a greater public demonstration of fruitfulness. Do not put ‘fruitfulness’ before your yieldedness. It will cause you to run ahead, out of pace with Me. There is a deep level of your trust of Me required in this season, but take heart, I am leading you into something bigger and greater than you have imagined, but the preparation process must come to complete fulfilment. Do not rush the preparation process, for what I am doing in you in this is going to ‘keep you’ in the breakthrough.
Going deeper in Me as your “FIRST LOVE” is what is going to cause you to “SOAR ABOVE”.
I am raising up faith in you from the deepest places. I am deepening your trust in Me. I am teaching you in greater ways how to be one with Me. I am moving powerfully behind closed doors in your heart, preparing you for greater levels of breakthrough and how to remain “in step” with Me when there is a storm raging all around you. As you partner with Me in all I am doing in you and through you, I am deepening and strengthening your foundation in Me. Your roots going deeper in My love, SO you can STAND in the breakthrough. So you move INTO the breakthrough with longevity.
– Lana Vawser
If you are going through a very tough time in your preparation, you MUST listen to this podcast by Graham Cooke:
Further reading: Spiritual development and Spiritual preparation for ministry: Reigning As Sons Of God!! and The Revelation Of The Sons Of God!!
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