Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 25 May 2014
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Everything for Honey Scrolls – Part 2 (Surrender)
When you step up into a call of God, you step up into seeing God’s power at work – there is breakthrough and fruit – but (at the same time) you also step up into warfare:
The Bible also confirms the common fight-back attempts of the enemy against any advances of God’s kingdom. As mentioned earlier, Jesus Himself experienced the baptism with the Spirit and at once found Himself in a battle against satan. Satan immediately challenged the confirmation of Jesus’ sonship, which He had received at His Spirit baptism. Whatever Jesus had gained at His Spirit baptism, satan immediately challenged in a battle experience of fasting and temptation in the wilderness (see Luke 3:21-22; 4:1-13).
Other outstanding examples of fight-back attempts are the experiences of Moses, Elijah, and David. It is satan’s common and persistent strategy to challenge immediately any breakthrough in God’s work. When Moses finally obeyed God in Egypt and confronted Pharaoh with the request of releasing the slaves from Israel, God’s people, the aggressive fight-back consisted of increasing the labor of the slaves. Pharaoh reacted by commanding his slave drivers, “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks…but…don’t reduce the quota. …Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies” (Exod. 5:7-9).
It took ten national plagues of judgment before Pharaoh finally gave in to God and let the people of Israel go from Egypt. Especially the last breakthrough was decisive. All of Egypt, including Pharaoh, was mourning the death of their firstborn sons. At last, the power of God proved to be too strong for Pharaoh and the Egyptians urged the Israelites to hurry and leave the country (see Exod. 12:31-33). The former slaves did not even have to go empty-handed but received silver and gold from the Egyptians so that “they plundered the Egyptians” (Exod. 12:36).
However, this last decisive breakthrough was still not the end of the enemy’s fight-back attempts. The Israelites could have been forgiven for rejoicing and relaxing in their victory. They now enjoyed freedom and plenty of plunder. God had demonstrated His superior power by putting the firstborn sons of their enemies to death. There seemed nothing more to fear. The Egyptians were glad to see them go. Only, the rejoicing was cut short again, and this time the fight-back not only threatened to worsen their condition but extinguish them. Pharaoh had changed his mind and decided to pursue the Israelites so they were trapped between his army and the Red Sea. In desperation, the Israelites cried out to Moses: “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exod. 14:12). However, God delivered them by dividing the water and granting them safe passage through the Red Sea. Moreover, He drowned the Egyptian army in the very same water as they followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived (see Exod. 14:21-28). After this victory, there would be no more fight-back attempts from the Egyptians, but it took a long time to defeat this enemy without the experience of constant repercussions.
The prophet Elijah opposed the idolatry of King Ahab and Jezebel, his wife, and also experienced persistent backlashes after stunning victories. As they were killing the Lord’s servants, Elijah invited the whole nation to Mount Carmel for a showdown between him and four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. They were to sacrifice a bull each and call on the name of their respective gods to light the fire of the sacrifice. Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal and mocked their prayers because there was no response. Then, he drenched his bull with water, prayed, and the fire of the Lord fell and consumed not only the sacrifice but also the stones of the altar. King Ahab and the entire nation of Israel witnessed the superior power of the Lord and turned against idolatry and the prophets of Baal, whom Elijah killed with the sword. The crowning climax of the day came when, at the word of Elijah and his prayers, the three-year-long drought was broken and rain refreshed the land (see 1 Kings 18).
Elijah probably expected that this triumph was decisive enough to establish a lasting breakthrough whereby the idolatry of Ahab and Jezebel was removed from the nation of Israel. He had won the power encounter on Mount Carmel. Four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal were dead. Before the King and the nation, God performed miracles and brought glory to Himself. Yet, it was not enough. There would still be another fight-back attempt. Immediately, the King’s wife, Jezebel, threatened Elijah with death so that “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life” (1 Kings 19:3). After all the intensity of Mount Carmel, the prophet crumbled under the renewed onslaught and wandered into the desert in despair. He wanted to die. Eventually, he was restored and lasting victory came in God’s time, but his experience was not unusual.
The enemy always attempts a fight-back after a spiritual breakthrough and the fight-back attempts are persistent even after spectacular victories. As Christians, we must expect and prepare for them.
It was the same for King David who had been contending hostile forces for years before he was crowned king. The triumph of his coronation was not the end of opposition. Another immediate fight-back occurred. Twice the full force of an enemy army challenged his newfound authority:
When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over
Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard
about it and went down to the stronghold. …So David went to Baal
Perazim, and there he defeated them. …Once more the Philistines came
up…David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the
Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer (2 Samuel 5:17-25).
The experience of David demonstrates again that spiritual breakthroughs are followed by the enemy’s immediate attempt to recover lost ground. God had assigned kingship to David, but there was persistent opposition.
One last example may be Jesus’ own experience of reaching amazing powers for healing, only to face inane inquisitions in response. Jesus no longer even touched the sick. The Spirit’s presence on Jesus spilled over to His clothing so that any contact with the edge of His cloak accomplished perfect healing for the sick. Yet, the religious authorities were still not satisfied and tested the resolve of Jesus by confronting Him with queries about hand washing regulations rather than embracing His kingdom authority:
And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to
all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and
begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who
touched it were healed. Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law
came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break
the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they
eat!” (Matthew 14:35–15:2).
In a sense, every member of Living Grace is part of the warfare that exists because we are pursuing the calling that God has for us. We are in this together and, in a way, everyone is paying a price for belonging to this church which God uses to bring restoration and renewal to other places and people.
However, it is fair to say that some of our leaders – including my own family – are targeted especially for retribution by the enemy. [For instance, we know that warlocks and witches pray especially against pastors and their marriages and against the unity of churches where again leadership is the key.] At Living Grace, I would say that Gary and his family had to withstand much in the past years. Then, there are Helen Moohen and the intercessors who do extensive warfare in prayer. They expose themselves to backlash but, this morning, I have permission to mention another one of our leaders that has been paying a price – Vicki Meagher.
She was scheduled to join Helen and I and come to Canberra. However – instead – she spent weeks in hospital and on her knees to fight for the life of her newborn grandson that was born with near-constant seizures wrecking his fragile frame. Is the grandson’s sickness an attack of Satan on Vicki? I cannot prove this but other frontline ministers report the same phenomenon where they battle in prayer against much sickness (e.g.: Paul, Rolland & Heidi Baker, David Hogan) and we do know from the Bible that Satan attacks the health of people.
Acts 10:38: … Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil …
Luke 13:11-16: … and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all … Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?
2 Timothy 4:20: Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.
Galatians 4:13-15: As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
Before the Jesus Tent at Easterfest last year, Vicki was put in hospital with worrying heart-problems but the doctors could not identify anything wrong. The same happened again this year. Before the Jesus Tent at Easterfest, Vicki was in intensive care because of heart problems which again remained undiagnosed. We prayed and she came home again and made it to the tent.
This year, it was Vicki’s heart that threatened to take her out of the tent ministry; then it was the first crisis with Oliver, her grandson, and so it continued.
Throughout the whole time, we are celebrating amazing testimonies of God’s goodness and breakthrough but especially Vicki was in a battle and, throughout the whole time (maybe less so in Portland – there was not much breathing space), I – together with Helen and our intercessors and many others – was also carrying Oliver in my heart and prayers. We fight to win but there is warfare.
According to the doctors and the expectation of the nurses, Oliver should no longer be with us. Miracles happened along the way but how much do you think is required of Vicki and her family? How high is the price for victory and can God actually ask so much of us?
How would you feel if God asked you to risk the welfare of your child or grand-child for the sake of fighting Satan and his evil schemes until victory has been achieved? This is not an airy-fairy question but down to earth – practical – for now. Where do you stand with God? What can he have?
We know that fasting increases the power of prayer (Matthew 17:21) because, as we deny ourselves – let go of all other appetites – and only want Jesus, he can take greater possession of us. As we fast, there is less of us and more of Jesus and I think that the same principle applies in every other aspect of our lives. The more we let go of our attachments to even the most precious people (our spouses and children and grand-children) and things – the more we are prepared to surrender them to Jesus – the more he can be everything to us and work everything through us.
According to the Bible, sometimes God actually tests our faith – how exclusive his lordship is in our lives.
Isaiah 48:10: Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
Revelation 2:10: Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Acts 14:22: … Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians 11:25-27: Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labour and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
Are you prepared for this? This is not fluffy religion but following Jesus whom we owe everything.
1 Cor 6:19b-20a: You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God …
Two months ago (9 March), I preached on God always providing prophetic warnings before trouble and disasters so that his people would not be confused (e.g.: Israel’s slavery in Egypt, Israel’s exile, Peter’s denial, etc) and I shared some of the numerous prophetic warnings for this church – the prophecies of decline in 2011 and 2012 and even citywide decline in 2013 – and, about a week later, Vicki also heard from God in her prayer time. God seemed to say: “Even though …” which Vicki recognized as a phrase in the Bible. She finally found the verse and read it to me:
Habakkuk 3:17-19: Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
Vicki thought that this verse was not meant to get me down but that there was rejoicing: “I will be joyful in God.” However, none of us would have expected that these verses would apply to Vicki herself when Oliver was born so sick. Who rejoices in God when there are no figs, no grapes, no olives, no food anywhere, no sheep, no cattle – nothing?
Could God really require your child from you? He did with Abraham:
Genesis 22:1-2: Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
Vicki went through all the normal human emotions of fear, anger, desperation and exhaustion and, knowing what put her in the hot-seat, she asked God whether she could be released from this church and especially from me. God said nothing; so here she is.
This morning, I have taken time to share the positive testimonies of Canberra and Portland because it may help to look at some of the fruit which comes out of the sacrifice. However, Jesus had wonderful fruit – mass appeal – and Paul planted many new congregations but even the positive fruit of our labours is not to be enjoyed uncontested. In Jesus’ case, the cheering crowd turned against him and asked for his crucifixion and congregation after congregation deserted Paul – embracing the corruption of the good news of salvation with legal demands instead of simply trusting the blood of Jesus. “Wolves” came in.
Yet, there is a way through and it is a way that is not lacking in grace. First of all, God imprints on us that he is good all of the time. The experience of pain makes us question many things but – so help me God – never the love of God. He is neither mean nor mad with us. On the contrary, he – freely – with the maximum intensity possible – made the highest sacrifice for us – first:
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God gave everything so that we would have everything. Then, he made us a promise: We would never have to face more than we can handle through him.
1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Philippians 4:12-13: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
It seems absolutely contrary to human nature for a grand-mother to surrender her grand-son. How could Abraham surrender his only son which even seemed to contradict all of God’s promises? Yet, we have permission to do so. We fight but rest in the complete surrender of our will to his and this is the way of victory:
V. Raymond Edman: They Found the Secret, Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1960, p181-185: I was outlining 2 Corinthians and had reached the second chapter. I came to the second paragraph, beginning at verse 12, in the American version of 1901. It read, “Now thanks be unto God which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ …” The words staggered me: always leadeth us in triumph in Christ.
I read them over several times, slowly, thoughtfully, a word at a time. Then I turned to another translation. It read: “Wherever I go, thank God, he makes my life a constant pageant of triumph in Christ …”
The contrast between this verse and my life was complete: my way seemed impenetrably obscure. Possibly a door was closing before me. Physical strength was ebbing away so that life itself might soon be done. Yet to Paul, life was “a constant pageant of triumph in Christ”! My heart therefore went out to prayer. “Dear Lord, be pleased to make my life that constant pageant of triumph, always to be led in triumph in Thee!”
The answer to that prayer was startling. By the still small voice of the Holy Spirit there came the question, “Are you willing to go anywhere for Me?” “Anywhere?” Possibly, I thought the Lord of the Harvest was asking me to relinquish the new little Bible school and go to some unreached area in Ecuador. After a moment or two I said slowly, “Yes, Lord, anywhere in Ecuador Thou mayest say.” “I did not say ‘in Ecuador,’” came the answer, “I said, ‘Anywhere.’”
Not necessarily in Ecuador? Possibly not in Latin America? Even possibly not on the mission field? Just anywhere at all? The questions tumbled over themselves in my mind. For a long time I looked across the wide wastes of the Pacific, conscious that the Lord himself stood by my side, awaiting an answer.
Then quietly, with utter sincerity, came the choice: “Yes, Lord, anywhere Thou sayest I will go, only that my life may be always a constant pageant of triumph in Thee.”
During those sacred moments in the crisis of comradeship I had utterly abandoned myself to him. Who would not do anything, go anywhere, be anything He decreed, He, the unspeakably precious companion? Could any choice be as wonderful as His will? Could any place be safer than the center of His will? Did not He assure me by His very presence that His thoughts toward us are good, and not evil?
Death to my own plans [Missionaries: You can do nothing to dead people] and desires was almost deliriously delightful. Everything was laid at His nail-scarred feet, life or death, health or illness, appreciation by others or misunderstanding, success or failure as measured by human standards. Only He Himself mattered …
How long my heart stood in His presence I don’t know. The decision had been made … [miraculous finding and salvation of a backslidden Ecuadorean Christian in New York City] … Life with this divine companion becomes an adventure. My health gradually returned … minister in a little church at the edge of Worcester, Massachusetts … opened the door at radio station WORC for a morning watch program … Ph.D. in the field of International Relations … Wheaton College …
Complete surrender means complete abiding in the will of God which means complete victory which is not losing anything due to our disobedience. And doesn’t the world need saving? Life is short. There is an urgency to get the message out.
Not a single one of our prayers and not a single one of our sacrifices (our obedience) that we add to our prayers is in vain.
Genesis 22:15-18: The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
At the last moment, God spared Abraham’s son, as he may spare Vicki’s grand-son but the child is his.
Lastly, there is personal joy and peace and intimacy with a most loving God.
Charles Finney: “ … this winter … my mind was . exercised on the question of personal holiness … I gave myself to a great deal of prayer … After praying … for weeks and months, one morning … the thought occurred to me, what if … my heart is not really subdued … Just before … I had had a great struggle about giving up my wife to the will of God. She was in very feeble health, and it was very evident that she could not live long … I had never before seen so clearly what was implied in laying her and all that I possessed upon the altar of God, and for hours I struggled upon my knees to give her up unqualifiedly to the will of God. But I found myself unable to do it. I was so shocked and surprised at this that I perspired profusely with agony. I struggled and prayed until I was exhausted, and found myself entirely unable to give her altogether up to God’s will, in such a way as to make no objection to his disposing of her as he pleased. This troubled me much … But … I was enabled, after struggling … to fall back in a deeper sense than I had ever done before upon the infinitely blessed and perfect will of God. I . told the Lord that I had such confidence in him that I felt perfectly willing to give myself, my wife and my family, and all, to be disposed of without any qualification according to his views and will … I then had a deeper view of what was implied in consecration to God than I ever had before. I spent a long time upon my knees … giving up everything to the will of God … the whole of that day … nothing troubled me. I was neither elated nor depressed; I was neither … joyful nor sorrowful. My confidence in God was perfect … Just at evening the question arose in my mind: ‘What if God should send me to hell – what then?’ … my mind . settled. I said, ‘No … hell could be no hell to me if I accepted God’s perfect will.’ This sprung a vein of joy in my mind that kept developing more and more for weeks and months, and indeed I may say for years.
For years my mind was too full of joy to feel much exercised with anxiety on any subject … It seemed as if my desires were all met. What I had been praying for for myself, I had received in a way that I least expected. Holiness to the Lord seemed to be inscribed on all the exercises of my mind … The language of the Song of Solomon was as natural to me as my breath … I not only had all the freshness of my first love, but a vast accession to it. Indeed the Lord lifted me so much above anything that I had experienced before, and taught me so much of the meaning of the Bible, of Christ’s relations and power and willingness, that I often found myself saying to him, ‘I had not known or conceived that any such thing was true.’ … I had had no conception of the length and breadth, and height and depth, and efficiency of his grace … I found myself exclaiming, ‘Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!’ … “ (Charles Finney: The Original Memoirs Of Charles Finney, Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1989, p328-332).
Habakkuk 3:17-19: Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
1 Peter 1:3-9: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 5:10: After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Acts 7:54-60: When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
It’s not easy to get there but we give God everything to get everything in exchange – his will, his victory, his triumph in any warfare, his joy, his love, his salvation for all those that believe in Jesus.
Are you ready? God wants to hand out honey-scrolls this morning. Are you ready to receive the commission and give God everything? Life will be such an adventure. Amen.
Prayer of surrender
Prayer to receive and eat the honey scrolls
2 He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” 2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
3 He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
3 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
4 He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”
10 And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11 Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.”
12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound as the glory of the Lord rose from the place where it was standing. 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound. 14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord on me. 15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Aviv near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days—deeply distressed.
16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
22 The hand of the Lord was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.” 23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.
24 Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25 And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. 26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious people. 27 But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people.
10 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
Keith Miller: Surrender to the Spirit, Shippensburg: Destiny Image 2006, p19-22: In August 2002, in Amarillo, Texas, we were planning the school of revival. The Lord spoke to me that something powerful would happen. I pressed into God for something deeper. During one of the school sessions, the Lord gave me a life-changing prophetic vision that catapulted me to another level in him.
Then in August during the worship at a meeting, I was caught up in the heavenlies and I saw a huge angel. He was the perfect picture of strength. He resonated with authority and might.
He shouted, “Open your mouth and eat this!” I did and he threw something into my mouth and I ate it! I thought, what in the world was that? It appeared to be a scroll or a book.
I had never experienced anything like it, even though prophetic encounters were not new to me. It blew me away. I grabbed my Bible, searched the Scriptures, and marked several passages that related to the experience. (See Ezekiel 3:1-4; Revelation 10:8-11). My team, curious, asked me what had just happened. Although I was still in shock, I stammered, “I-I-just ate a scroll – a big angel threw it at me!” They looked just as surprised as I felt. This event launched a series of prophetic encounters with the Lord. For the next three months, that experience had a profound impact on my ministry, my family and in my life.
In September 2002, I had another encounter. I woke up one morning at 3 o’clock. I knew the Lord wanted to meet with me, so I got in my car and went to my office. Stepping inside, I felt the atmosphere in the room change instantly. The whole room was filled with the Lord’s electrical presence, along with a deep holiness. It was as though the old atmosphere had been vacuumed out and a purity of the holiness of his presence came rushing in. I thought, Yes, this is going to be one of those times.
I kicked off my shoes and headed toward my office. At the back part of the corridor was the same massive angel who had given me the scroll. He radiated strength, power, and authority. I shook, I trembled, I came undone. I knew I was not having a vision. I was seeing him in the natural – he was as real as any human being. He looked down at me, unsmiling. I dashed right into my office and slammed the door. I said: “Holy cow! OK, Lord, what’s going on?” And I began to pray.
My heart was racing. My desire was to seek God’s purpose. I cried out to be a vessel, a proclaimer to release the heart and mind of the Father. During this time, the Lord pulled down a heavenly movie screen. He showed me the counsel of his heart and strategies for cities and regions. I got all excited. After about 45 minutes of divine instruction I knew the Holy Spirit was finished talking to me.
I said, “OK, Holy Spirit, what’s up with the big angel in the hall?” He said, “Go look; he’s got a name on each arm.”
I had to muster up some courage to see if he was still there. I was sure all the cloud of witnesses in heaven were laughing at me. But you must understand – this guy was huge! I looked, and sure enough; he was still there. There was a name on each arm. Stature and strength!
Then he was gone. The Lord spoke to me that the Body of Christ needs stature and strength to begin walking in the next level of commissioning and deposit of the anointing. He wants to release to us. To walk in those realms, we can’t be weak. We have to be people strengthened in our inner man, so as to completely fulfil and be finishers of that which is given us to do. We have to walk in the maturity of Christ in us.
Right now, you may be in a place of character and strength building. Embrace that. As the Holy Spirit reveals his depth to us, the mature stature of Christ forms in us. A new level of destiny requires us to ask the Lord to “search me, and try me!” It demands that we walk not by our ability, but by that very character and stature of Christ in us as mature sons and daughters in the Lord.
The angel actually had a name on each leg as well, but I haven’t been released to share those yet.
Bernie Tranter (happened on 13 May 2011 and shared on 22 May 2011): I wasn’t really familiar with that story of the scroll being placed on your tongue sweet in your mouth and sour in your belly. But I was open and trusted my leaders. And I went forward for prayer and actually as we were praying I saw a vision of an angel prying open my mouth and he was pretty big and he put this little tiny thing (maybe twenty centimetres length and quite thin) and it was kind of golden and he put it on my tongue. And, at that point, it was very sweet and my tongue went numb. (And I went [makes mouth movements and smacking lips and tongue].) I had no feeling in my tongue. It was really weird. What was going on? And then I felt like a thick kind of substance went down my throat. It was a bit like snot. Helen suggested that it might be like honey. To which I responded: “Yes – this may be a nicer way to describe it.”
And then Sunday afternoon (my husband and I were out for a drive), I said: “Oh, you gotta get me home. I don’t feel very well.” “What’s wrong?” “Get me home.” He looked over to me and suddenly drove home quite urgently. Only when I saw myself in the mirror did I realize that I was not very well. I had gone as white as a sheet. I felt as bad as I looked. It was horrible and I wondered whether this was something like being sour in the tummy because I was so nauseous.
Oh, it was horrendous but, since then, I have not stopped hearing from God. It’s been continual. He’s been waking me up in the night. I have seen really visual picture – just being in continual communion with him and I feel like he has been prompting me for some time to pray and I have been saying he was wrong because I don’t like to (I’m a pretty social person) do things by myself and I thought, “Well, you would not have made social if … You commission me to do something social.” I should have just listened to what God … He knows best.
But he’s been calling me to prayer and opened up my spiritual eyes since that evening just to hear … oh … I feel a bit overwhelmed and been sharing a lot with my dear friend Helen and she’s just been overwhelmed too by the volume and how specific some of the things have been that I am getting. It’s been awesome but it’s been overwhelming too … I am hearing words. I am seeing things. Sometimes I see things and say: “God, I don’t know to pray for that.” And he just takes me through it. (E.g.: Pray for an angel. Pray for this …) And then it’s resolved. I have never done that before.
[All five senses work in Bernie spiritually. She hears, sees, smells, tastes and there is also touch.]