ACTS BOOK II (Part 4)“ A Change Is Coming
ACTS BOOK II (Part 4)
A CHANGE IS COMING
by Nita LaFond Johnson
He comes and satisfies the hungry heart. The key to attaining wonderful places in God is hunger. If you can look at your life in God and think that He does not give you enough attention, then I question your hunger because He always satisfies hunger. He desires for you to hunger and thirst after Him. The tides are changing; the world is becoming a new place and we must also change. The Church must change; she must come to understand that her place in God is higher, greater and more profound than she has ever thought before.
This is a very important picture of what is coming. I believe God put this Scripture in the Word for us today. Some might argue that He put it there for many generations but no generation has needed it like we do today:
Hebrews 11:24 “[Aroused] by faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”
There is a day when God touches the heart of each one of His children and gives us the opportunity to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. It is not a decision we can simply make or take lightly. Deciding that we are going to separate ourselves from the life of Pharaoh means a complete alteration in our passion, desire, direction, and outlook on life, God, the Church, and faith. It requires a complete alteration in the way that we perceive everything with which we are connected. It takes maturity. This is why the Bible says “…when Moses had grown to maturity…” A child cannot make this decision. This kind of separation requires a grace that God has worked within you over time which develops a maturity of faith. Moses preferred to share the oppression, suffer the hardships, and bear the shame of the people of God rather than have the fleeting enjoyment of the sinful life; this came through maturity. It takes mature faith. Therefore, God works to develop this faith. He in fact spends a great deal of time and energy on developing a relationship with you, so you can have this faith.
Faith is an honest and pure relationship with God; your faith is as substantial as your intimacy with Christ. Where this intimacy ends, so does your faith. It is very difficult to have the faith that you need to come out of this world and go deep in God without intimacy. Will a child run to a father she does not know? No. Will the boy sit on the lap of a dad he has never met? No. Even so it takes the intimacy of a relationship to develop the faith that is strong enough to leave the world behind and go deep in God.
We are in an era when the voice of the Lord is going into His Church and calling those who are willing, to come out of the world and go deep in God. My dear brothers and sisters, never have we needed it more than we do today. We cannot deny that the world is changing before our very eyes; you do not have to be a genius to see it. You do not even have to be a Christian to see it. The unbeliever sees it and they are standing at the precipice of fear because of it. They do not know what it is changing to and what it is going to mean for them in the end and that creates fear in their hearts. God’s seasons are changing. We’re leaving summer, moving through fall and will find ourselves thrust into winter very quickly—faster than we can know. I never understood the time clock of God like I understood it when I sat down to write my book Prepare for the Winds of Change. The things that the angels had given me were taking place in the natural before I could even get the book written. I had to keep updating my book even as I was writing it because within months things were being fulfilled before my very eyes. Then, I understood that God’s time is running and to keep up, I must run.
It is not like before, where we waited 2,000 years for Israel to become a nation. Here we are in 2009 (this the date this message was given) and things are changing, moving more quickly than we have seen them move before; so quick that even in the Church many are fearful. The world is fearful because they do not know who is going to save them and the Church is fearful because they do not know how He is going to save them. If all I say is true and if where we are headed is into the arena of the antichrist, what must we do? If evil is coming and it is getting greater, so much so that we are looking behind every rock to see who the antichrist is, then what does that speak to us of our faith? It tells us that if we are going to be established and stable during an unstable time, we must press into God. If we do not press in, we will find ourselves standing on a magnitude 10 earthquake of instability. My point is that we do have a choice and my purpose in this message is to help you make the right one.
Moses was living in a time similar to today; life was very uncertain for the Jewish people and Egypt. His own people did not seem to be seeking the Lord the way they should and he, himself, was trapped in a kingdom he did not understand or desire. He knew there was something higher and that there was a God, the God of Israel. He knew that he was created for a purpose.
The people God wants are those who understand that they have a purpose in this life. He longs to download into you an understanding of your purpose in this life. If you know you were created for a purpose then your heart is open to receive direction because you are seeking it; you want that purpose fulfilled. God wants that purpose fulfilled. He did not create anyone to fall short of His ultimate plan for them. Never before in history has it been more important for everyone to fulfill their purpose in God.
There is one thing hindering the Church; we discover it here in Hebrews 11:25. The Church has a different mind than Moses did:
Hebrews 11:25 “Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.”
This is where Moses differs from the Church today. The Church prefers not to have hardship or suffering; the Church prefers not to have to identify with that part of Christ and His ministry. They would rather identify with the world in creating its own comforts – extravagant, beautiful gardens free from thorns. And, since the Church prefers not to choose what Moses chose – the sufferings of Christ, it is also without what Moses gained in return – the glory and power of God.
Something inside of us has to awaken in order to come to the reality of knowing that if we are going to have a deeper life in God and live above the storm, then we must travel through the season of trouble to get there.
Hebrews 11:25 “Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.”
God is calling us out of the sinful life, out of the place where sin is ruling and reigning, into the place where the life of God is ruling and reigning.
Hebrews 11:26-27 “He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked forward and away to the reward (recompense). [Motivated] by faith he left Egypt behind him, being unawed and undismayed by the wrath of the king; for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on Him Who is invisible.”
If you are going to leave Egypt, then you will have to pass through the contempt of Egypt, because Egypt is not going to let go of you easily. Pharaoh despises those who break free from his enslavement. You must be willing to pass through the narrow gate out of Egypt into the Promised Land. In this narrow gate is a place of pressure, affliction, misunderstanding, stress, and even confusion and doubt. I can promise you that when Moses was trekking through the desert he felt confusion and doubt, but he kept gazing inwardly on the purpose—the knowledge and understanding that he was created for a higher purpose. He knew he was created to be the deliverer; he did not know how or what it meant at the time, but he had made the decision to run from Pharaoh, from Egypt, and head out into the desert to discover his call.
This is where God is calling the Church. He’s asking us to leave Egypt and head into the desert. He is not asking us to head to the oasis. Personally, I have never liked deserts. I remember traveling through the desert in Israel; that desert was terrible. Even in a car with air conditioning and water in hand you still feel as though you are shriveling up because the heat is so dry. I do not think the desert is the prettiest place; I prefer the oceans, trees, and mountains. I would prefer to be anywhere but the desert but where did Moses have to go? He went into the desert, because that is where you have to go to find God. You have to be willing to leave your comfort zone and come out of the oasis where green trees shield you from the sun, where water is ever-present in plentiful supply, and come into the unknown and the uncomfortable. I can promise you the deeper you go into the desert the hotter and drier it gets. Not that the desert gets drier. It is your body that is responding to the heat. You understand – the longer you stay in the desert, the thirstier you get.
The Church will never understand its call in this hour if she does not go deep in God, because you cannot produce it from your soul or flesh; it can only be produced by your spirit. You cannot read books and get the road map for tomorrow. Even the apostles and prophets who are hearing from the Lord and have a relative understanding of where we’re going, even they cannot really tell you how to get there. God is creating the road map as we go along. Now that’s a little scary, isn’t it? Can you imagine standing at the mouth of the desert knowing you’ve got one hundred miles of desert to cross and not even knowing which way points East, West, North or South? God is calling the Church to learn to live by blind faith. In the desert where blind faith is learned, you are going to get knocked down; you are going to enjoy hardships, encounter pressures and know what it really means to be confused because you’ve never walked this way before.
The Bible says that the Lord leads the blind by a way they know not. You’ve never walked this way before. Man is used to being led by the senses of sight, hearing, and the other senses. God does not lead that way; He leads by the inner call. Many times, you do not even know why you are walking in one direction or another until you are almost or completely through it; only then do you realize why He led you in the way He did. He leads the blind by a way they know not. Moses had a call to be a deliverer, but look where he went. He learned that he could not answer the call in the flesh, and his attempt to answer the call in the flesh led to complete failure. When he realized that he couldn’t do it the way he had been taught in Pharaoh’s home, he went into the desert. He came to understand that his only hope of being the deliverer he was created to be was to find the One who was responsible for the call.
This is where the Church is missing it. They want to go out into all the world and take the gospel, but they have never done what Moses did. They have not left the world behind to find the Author of the Gospel, so that they could take not only the Gospel, but also its Author to the world. Taking the Gospel will accomplish some things, but when, like Christ, you take the Author Himself, what is accomplished is a whole different dimension of reality. The Church has been down here pressing through the darkness trying so hard to fulfill what God seems to be saying. They are trudging through the trenches, trying to be obedient, not realizing that they have left the most important thing behind. Even if you have a prayer life, that is not enough. There is more that is needed, and this more that I speak of is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Moses left Egypt and did it the right way, heading into God. The Bible says that he never flinched but he held staunchly to his call. You see him standing before the burning tree and it sounds like he’s flinching; God’s telling him what to do and he’s telling him he can’t do it. It sounds like he’s flinching, but you can’t always tell by a man’s words what is going on in his heart. He wasn’t flinching; he had fears and concerns, but deep inside there was a determination to possess what he set out to possess.
God is securing this in many Christians today. He is securing staunchness, an unflinching attitude and a refusal to retreat, this desire to have more of God than they have ever had of Him, even though they may not understand what having more means. There are those who understand that they have got to press into the light so that the light can fill them and lead them in the path they know not. There are those who are beginning to understand that they will never know exactly what they are called to do until they are resting in the bosom of God. They must know Him and experience Him. They need more than even a tangible relationship with God; they must be united to Him, their soul completed in Him. Those who understand this are not going to do business, Church or fellowship the same way again. Everything begins to change when they understand that what they are lacking is something they really can have, and that is more of God. You do not come to Church anymore to sing pretty songs or hear a great message; you come to Church to touch God and to be touched by Him. Worship changes. You’re not coming to Church any more for your Sunday fix; you’re coming to meet God, to hear the voice of God, and to hear what He’s saying to you personally, whether He speaks through His preacher, His Word or His Spirit. You’re here to do the will of the Father.
There is a change coming; the tide is turning. The way we have done it in the past is not the way we can do it in the future. How things will be done in the future we have not yet completely learned, which can be very disconcerting, but I promise you that if you will stay true to the path, call, and the Word, you will not get lost. You cannot find God without the Word, and you cannot truly find the Word without God, who alone can interpret what He has written.
The day is here and the pressing has begun. God is pressing the grapes. Many are feeling the tribulation of the pressing; many are feeling the brokenness of the pressing. Think about what it would feel like to be a grape in the winepress. From the day you were born you had skin, substance, and a purpose—to grow up and be sweet and come to the richness of your color. Then someone throws you into a winepress and the first thing that happens is that you are squeezed out of your skin with no identifiable form. You can no longer relate to yourself as a grape. What was once your comfort no longer exists. You are thinking that you do not even know who or what you are anymore. Here I am in a vat of juice with a bunch of grapes I do not know, and that is assuming that I might still be a grape!
What is the purpose for all this crushing? I thought I was going to sit on some beautiful table and be a delectable dessert; they would come and ooh and aah at my beauty, and here I am crushed into a pulp. I do not even know what shape I am anymore; all the juice that made me so attractive is gone. Relate to a grape. There’s a crushing and a pressing and it is beginning in the Church. You get thrown into the vat and a foot comes down. When that foot comes down for the second time, you are screaming because you felt the pressure from the first pressing. There is a crushing, a disfiguring, a confusion and a dismantling of everything that ever felt comfortable. You are never going to find out what you were created to be until you get your own image of that purpose crushed. It is okay to be crushed; it is alright not to be perfect in the eyes of the world, the Church, or even in your own eyes. It is okay to look foolish and walk through the fields of shame. If you go there, you are walking with the greats such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Elijah. They all walked through it and it is okay that everyone else does not understand.
When God begins to speak to the desire of your heart that He has personally put in you, you just know that you are not satisfied with what you’ve heard in the past anymore. The people you love the most do not understand what is taking place inside of you, and you yourself do not understand what is taking place inside of you. You just know that you’re not satisfied with the same kind of enjoyments you used to run to. Sometimes you go to bed at night feeling an aching inside because you are not satisfied; you don’t know how to find the answer to what ails you, and that is okay.
May I tell you how God works? When God is calling you out into a new place in Him, He starts by silently placing something in your soul. You rarely even know that He’s done it, but He places it in your soul like a tiny little seed, and the seed enters the seedbed of your soul and begins to germinate. While the seed is germinating, things inside of you start going into disarray. You cannot do things the way you used to anymore; you can’t necessarily say why; it is just miserable trying to do it the old way. You do not know what is going on inside of you because it is a silent work. You are feeling discombobulated, like someone has picked you up and shaken you and the pieces are still falling, and you do not know quite how they will all end up. There’s an aching and a longing in you to have everything settle down, and to again have security, strength, and maybe even respect. You might be dealing with the fact that respect has been taken from you, and you want with everything inside of you to have stability and to know where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. It’s like someone who has lived by a day planner since they’ve graduated college and then all of a sudden the Lord says that He wants them to throw it away. What do you do without a day planner and how do you remember what you are supposed to do? It seems as though everything has been changed and you are now walking minute by minute instead of in orderly twenty-four hour time frames.
When the shaking begins, it is amazing what gets shaken. Relationships get shaken that you never dreamed would shake. You endure losses you never thought you would have to encounter. You find yourself believing things you never knew you would need to believe. If you have been saved for many years, maybe there is an alteration taking place in your doctrine. Maybe you once believed like the Presbyterian and then you find yourself moving into more of a Baptist stream, and from that to a Pentecostal or Charismatic stream. One of the people on my leadership team came out of a Methodist Church into the Charismatic movement through the Brownsville Revival. She said that it shook up her world and everything she ever thought she believed. There is a shaking going on; God is changing your mind about things. He is trying to prepare a place to plant His wisdom so that He can pick you up and move you into the place He needs you to be, right on time and fully prepared. In all this disheveling, what is His highest desire? That you might seek God. That in all the disheveling, you might come to desire Him more than stability, comfort, or understanding – more than anything you’ve ever desired in your life.
He wants you to come to a place where you so desire Him that you will go through whatever disheveling you need to go through in order to be filled with the light, for He cannot put the light where darkness reigns. He must shake out the darkness of misunderstanding and misperceptions so that He can put His light in those areas and bring you into the place, the position, and the condition you need to walk in for your purpose and your plan to be realized in you – for God’s holy plan for your life. When He finally gets you to a place where you want this bad enough, you will finally come to a place where it does not matter what it takes – even forty years in the desert – as long as, at the end of that forty years, you are beholding His face.
God is changing things. The world is changing because it must. We are growing closer and closer to the time of the end and the world must change. Man is coming into his maturity in rebellion, and when he has reached it, he will look like the antichrist. You’re not going to be able to continue to rub elbows with the world comfortably, because when the maturity of rebellion is released and comes into its fullness, it will be so distasteful that it will be unbearable to you if you love God. The world is changing and it must change to make a place for the antichrist. While the world is changing, the Church is also changing, because God is going to keep you one step ahead of the changing world. The Church is changing. She is beginning to desire more light and truth. She is beginning to get tired of the milk, of hearing “peace, peace, all is well” when she knows that all is not well in her life until she gets where she needs to be in God. Those who hear the clarion call, who understand the voice of the Shepherd and have a hunger for truth are hearing the call of the Spirit and that call is changing them. They cannot help it; they have to change even when they may not want to. They have to align with what the Spirit of the Lord is doing within them. God has this core of Christians that He is working with. He is moving, changing, altering, and rearranging them. Then there is the outer layer which is the rest of the Church, which is beginning to feel the shaking as well but much less than the inner core. Before it is over, He will have His whole Church whirling around like a wheel, independent of the wheel of the world.
Right now His Church is not independent; it is very codependent, but when this change has reached a certain point, He will have a beautified, strengthened Church walking in divine wisdom, divine insight, and light. She will move in grace, power, and authority, revealing the Son of the living God, while the other wheel will be revealing the antichrist and his nature and ways. Everything they love will be evil upon evil and everything the Church will love will be wholly beautiful. Two realities will be manifested side by side. As God’s wheel continues to turn, it will cause a magnetic pull that will draw in those who will not go with evil, even though they are not saved. The evil will be distasteful to them; they may not understand why, they just will not want it and this magnetic pull of God’s wheel will begin to reel them in. Then they will start moving in the wheel and will understand that this is Christ, this is good and this is what they want.
This is what is happening in the world: God is separating. I can remember when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself came and said to me, “In this day they are going to call Me the separator.” He is separating those that love their sin from those that hate their sin. He is separating you. He is separating the life of your soul from the life of your spirit – the life of your flesh from the life of your spirit. He is causing a separation to take place so that you can rule and reign in God in this hour.
What has motivated you? Faith. You might say, “I don’t have any faith. I don’t feel faith.” No one feels faith in the desert; all they feel is the hot sun, but faith is what has motivated you and faith will bring you through. Until He is done with the breaking, stay true to your course. Don’t hold back; don’t withdraw. Keep your eyes transfixed on the Word and your heart pressing into God.
How do you begin? Start talking to the Lord every day. Worship Him for who He is, even if you don’t think you see that reality in your life. He is great, mighty, wonderful and holy; worship Him for who He is. Continually ask Him, “Lord, I want to know You. I want You to reveal Yourself to me. Prepare me for Your divine revelations. Do in me whatever You need to do to prepare me for revelations of Your light.” Pray this way every day. Fast. You can go on a Daniel fast, or you can fast activity. Maybe there is something that you like to do—just give it up for a month. You can go on a complete fast where you fast everything but water, juice or fruit. You can do a vegetable fast or fast a meal a day. There are many different kinds of fasts that you can go on; seek His face and ask Him what kind of fast He would want you to engage in. During the fast, spend the time that you would normally spend in that activity with the Lord. Tell Him again and again, “I want to know You. I want to know You more. Deeper. Please reveal Yourself to me.” It doesn’t matter if you sound like a broken record. Say it again and again and again, until your heart comes into full alignment with your words and you begin to crave Him with your whole heart.
Spend time in the Word every day. You don’t have to be brilliant to understand what you are reading. The key is to change your heart toward the Word; your heart needs to be soft and pliable. The Word is the only thing that can make your heart good ground, so you need the Word. Ask Him to help you understand His Word, and to teach you His Word.
Spend time in prayer. Ask Him to help you become an intercessor, a person of prayer for other people. The more you pray for other people, the more it is going to change you. Ask Him to help you develop your faith; that is what the Spirit of the Lord has been given to us for. Learn to walk with Jesus in the Spirit of praise. Get rid of murmuring and complaining because it crushes your faith. When you learn to walk in praise through your trials, thanking Him for the difficult times, it gets a lot easier. I won’t go into detail, but I’ve been going through some difficulties in the last few months, but I never complained. I didn’t complain because I knew the goodness of the Lord took me down this path; how can you complain about His goodness? If there is a trial or tribulation, it is in your path by God’s goodness. I know it doesn’t feel good and can get scary; I even got scared, but I never complained. If there is difficulty, He is helping you to grow in a different way than before and you need that adjustment. He does it out of His loving goodness. Never can a trial come into your life that God is not allowing out of His goodness to bring you to a place of Christ-likeness.
There is a change coming – are you changing?