The War Against the Harvest
One morning years ago, I was getting ready to go to church and my mind was flooded with negative thoughts about a friend of mine. She had hurt my feelings a few weeks earlier and I had forgiven her, but here I was weeks later assaulted by thoughts about her that were not the victorious, loving, forgiving thoughts I wanted in my head.
All morning I fought the battle, but the thoughts kept coming. With the Lord's help, I was able to keep my mouth shut and not to speak out the negative thoughts, and pray for her instead. In blessing her, I was able to keep my heart from rooting in bitterness.
That morning as I got to church, I heard a familiar sound - someone was singing. It wasn't our regular worship leader, it was my friend. Yeah, that's right. I knew when I entered the sanctuary and heard her leading the worship service that was the reason for the enemy's assault against me.
The enemy had seen the difficulty between us and wanted to use it to gain access to my mouth so I would speak out his agenda over my friend when what she needed was blessings and prayer. I thought, "You sneaky devil! That's what you were up to." I was really glad I kept my mouth shut and didn't give him access to hurt her and hinder the anointing from flowing through her that morning.
I have been in her spot when others have "suddenly" had an issue of offense with me and cursed me when I was at that moment being used by God. I was in a position to bless the kingdom, but was struggling under the weight of a war launched against me. It was very difficult to work through it during a time when I needed to be blessed. I felt the people I ministered to were somewhat robbed of the blessing that could have come through me to them due to the attack launched against me.
So often we think our offense is important, but when you look at it in the light of the work of the kingdom, it really isn't. As warriors in the kingdom, the battle for Him has to come first in our heart - no offense is worth hindering the flow of God's Spirit.
Return of the Prodigals
In Luke 15:25-31 when the prodigal son finally returned, the older brother was offended by his father's response. He refused to receive the return of his brother with joy because he did
not understand that neither he nor his family would be whole until the prodigal was fully restored to his previous place in the family.
There is something in the church that cringes at sin being fully forgiven. Too
many want to see those who've fallen stay broken in their sin. They think to themselves, "They have fallen and don't deserve to be restored." They want them to be punished for what they've done, to
bear the shame of their behavior, even after the person has come to repentance.
What the older brother and so many others don't understand is that sin carries a heavy burden with it, and the sinner naturally
bears the weight of the curse sin brings into their life. It is a terrible weight that torments a soul and leaves a person trying to cope with it in unusual ways. Some fight against it by hating God or people, but really
their war is with themselves.
The pressure sin brings into a life is immeasurable, that is why God hates it so much.
So you see, the idea that a prodigal who returns to the Father needs further punishment
goes against everything Christ stood for. Christ died to redeem and restore all those who would believe so they could truly become a new creation - a brand new person without the hindrances of their past hanging over them.
In the days ahead of us, we will see a tremendous miracle - the return of the prodigals - on a level so far unimaginable for us. They are even now starting to return. Increasingly, I hear reports of prodigals who
have a sudden awareness of the truth of their present condition and return to their Father.
We are entering a time of unprecedented harvest, something foretold since the days of Christ. As a generation, we
will reap a great harvest for the kingdom and yet, historically, we know that in the days of the harvest the enemy waits lurking in the shadows to try to devour what the Lord is restoring to us. One way he does this is
through offense and the attitudes and strongholds of the "older brother" toward the returning prodigal as in Luke 15:25-31.
Fight for Your Inheritance
It was in the time of the harvest that Cain, angry at his brother Able because of his own jealousy against him, killed his brother, causing the harvest to come to an abrupt stop. Able was killed and Cain was cursed because of his sin and the harvest suffered (Genesis 4:3-12).
As our eminent harvest looms on the horizon, I feel a unsettling anger attempting to threaten the harvest we are about to enter. Can you feel it?
Similar to the spirit that plagued Cain, I see even the most seasoned Christians fall prey to this devouring spirit of death. Clamoring to be heard, they cry "deceiver" or "heretic" about anyone who does not agree with them - often times their anger is directed at those who are winning the lost to Christ. Their own jealousy causes them to strip their brother of his humanity by their unreasonable demands of perfection.
If someone disagrees with them, they become judge and executioner and under the control of this spirit they see only what it wants them to see. They are unable to see that the person they're attack might just have a different point of view, or a different call or even that they've made a mistake. When we seek to control or to devour a brother, we strip them of their humanity and this stops the harvest.
This is obviously a planned attack by the enemy. Those who are swept up in its hold are deceived, yet cannot see it. They are in danger, and while they suffer, they endanger the harvest. It is the enemy's plan to offend us and distract us from our calling. He will do whatever he can to turn us away from claiming our inheritance and unfortunately it is often all to easy to offend us.
This slanderous spirit is as vicious as the spirit that possessed Cain when he killed his brother and it releases a spiritual death, not only to the ones being slandered, but also to the ones slandering. Just think of all the countless babes in the Lord who listen to the slander and are turned away from hearing about their Redeemer. Think about those who listen to the anger and rage in Christians as they gossip and strike with their slander. They are turned away from the only One Who can save them.
And who is to blame?
Yes, the enemy of course, but we will be held accountable. Caught up in his lies, he can use us as a tool to fight for the accuser of the brethren.
That's why the Lord says, "Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves." We've got to interpret our enemy's actions if we are to keep ourselves from being used by him.
In my years under Francis Frangipane's ministry, he taught often about the dangers of offense. He made up a word that I will share with you because this is what we must become, "Unoffendable." To be honest, I really didn't like that word when he taught on it at first - I thought it was impossible to achieve. Now I realize, it is not impossible, but it does take concentrated effort - it is a battle.
Pray for Laborers
In Matthew 9:35-38 "Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of
disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, 'The harvest is great, but the workers are few.
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.'"
As the disciples of Christ, we are commanded by Him to pray for the workers for the harvest, and we
are, indeed, in great need of laborers. For too long we've asked faithful Christians to sit in a pew with very little thought to their actually laboring in the fields. Now is the time to activate the laborers and fight
for the harvest. And, even more so, pray for them to be sober and vigilant - to watch for the enemy and guard their hearts to keep them from the snares of the enemy that would keep them from receiving their harvest.
The Lord has promised us an inheritance; it is our destiny! Watch and stand guard over it, because our adversary the devil "prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
He is seeking those he can use to steal all that belongs to us - our rightful inheritance as God's sons and daughters (Psalm 2:8).
Guard your heart from those who seek to poison it with the slander of a brother.
Watch and be wary of those who call themselves saints, yet devour the humanity of God's creation.
Pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44) they are under attack as well, and only by interceding for
them will you be able to counter the attack against yourself.
Beloved, remember, if you were not a threat, the enemy would not attack you. Be encouraged and know, He Who is Faithful and Just will deliver you. He is
able to use every attack, every vile word thrown against you to make you an iron tower of His strength. Strengthen yourself in the Lord. "Be strong in the Lord and in HIS MIGHTY POWER" (Ephesians 6:10).
The battle we fight is God's war. It's the battle for mankind. We are made victorious in Him - we can endure - we will persevere and be victorious. We do not battle with flesh and blood (with people). Our
battle is with unseen forces for the souls of men (Ephesians 6:12) - all souls, even those who persecute us.
Dear One, please pray with me:
Dearest Father, please forgive me for any unforgiveness I may
harbored against those who persecute me. Give me Your forgiveness for them - I choose to forgive them! And give me YOUR LOVE for them.
Protect all that You've birthed in me. Make me strong IN YOU and
in Your name I will persevere. In Your name, I declare: I will be mighty in the power of Your strength - I will not stop, I will not even slow down!
In Jesus' name, I come against every word-curse or soulish
prayer prayed against me and I cancel its assignment against me. In Jesus' name, it will have no power to affect me
in any way, shape or form. I declare it will not manifest in my life at all!
Father, I ask that you would deliver those caught in the bondage of the accuser of the brethren. Redeem them and restore them to their rightful place in Your family. Pour out Your love on them and help them to fulfill their destiny in You. Make us one, Lord - one with You and in You and may we truly become a glorious, radiant example of Your goodness and power!
In Jesus' name we pray.