Deeper Waters (Part 4)
These notes from Paul Tothill are based a version of his message preached at Gateway Church on 8/9/19. Listen to the message on Apple Podcasts or any other podcast player (available the Wednesday after the sermon).
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Part 4: HOW TO CARRY YOUR PROPHETIC DESTINY
To round out this four part series I want to conclude by explaining how we carry our prophetic destiny into reality. This is often very confusing for people, and so often I have seen great disappointment and prophetic destinies not fulfilled, and God-opportunities missed because of a lack of understanding of how a prophetic word is actually outworked in our life.
Remember what we have been saying about Psalm 24 and Luke 5. Wake up you gateways, and of course moving into deeper waters. Psalm 24 mirrors Revelation 16:15, “God’s blessing is with the one who remains awake and fully clothed in me and will not walk about naked, exposed to disgrace”. God is wanting to establish us in Him and come through us in this season.
My main focus today is to bring some understanding of how the prophetic journey unfolds. I will take you to a number of Psalms to do that and Romans 8:28. I will touch on how to deal with disappointment, showing you from the story of King Ahab how the spirit of Jezebel tries to use our disappointment as a point of vulnerability to seduce us to giving away our kingly authority. By comparing the stories of King Ahab to the future king David, I will explain to you there is a massive difference between pouting or sulking from a sense of entitlement as King Ahab that allows Jezebel to take our authority and disappointment causing Godly brokenness as David as a future king did to establish us in Godly authority and re-envision us.
I will continue with the idea of our spiritual warfare, and how Satan, and in particular, the spirit of Jezebel seeks to destroy generational inheritances and your inheritance, limit the promises of God in your life and our collective advancement towards maturity and God’s plans and purposes for us all.
LIVING OUT YOU PROPHETIC DESTINY
When God leads us, it is always into victory, not failure, in what He wants to establish both in you and through you (or us). If we remain humble He even uses our mistakes as lessons for development and towards our advantage.
WE ARE NOT ON THE DEFENSIVE
Let me remind you: God never places us on the defensive. We are not victims. We are more than conquerors in union with Christ. We have both defensive weapons of our warfare and offensive weapons of our warfare but we are not on the defensive. We are called to advance the Kingdom of heaven on earth as it is in heaven. Further, we need to understand, as I have been saying, God’s truth is our greatest weapon to destroy the enemies strategies. Demonic powers consistently attack at an opportune time and try to deceive us by having us deny or distort God’s truth.
The spiritual battle is in our mind (our thoughts) and heart (our emotions and attitude). Jezebel, like other demonic powers will get you to rely on your negative feelings and emotions. God through the empowering Holy Spirit gets you beyond your negative emotions and by His grace, releases the power to heal and overcome your feelings to draw the sword of the Spirit and the power and authority of His word as truth to destroy Jezebel’s deception and seduction.
Every time we stand fully clothed in the spiritual armour of the Lord we repel the enemy and his plans and push him back into discouragement until he leaves us for a more opportune time. He tries to intimidate us to see what we have by way of resolve and weapons of our warfare.
We are not always in battle mode, however, but we must always be ready for battle. When we are, we remind him that he was the one defeated at the Cross and in his dominion realm of death was stripped of its power. In turn, as His ecclesia or church or Spirit people, Jesus has given us all spiritual authority under His absolute authority as King over the works of the enemy to bring forward Heaven’s dominion authority and government both in our lives and through our lives towards others.
Satan, the fallen gods and the demons are under God’s judgment and Christ has defeated them. We are now joined as one with the King of kings and the Lord of Lords to drive them out of our life and the regions they have been occupying. Our battle cry is our praise and worship and the testimony of Jesus- a truth we completely identify with and become one with. Hence we overcome by the power of our testimony which is the testimony of Jesus and the blood of the lamb. We also need to note that whenever Israel went into battle the tribe of Judah always led the progression. They praised God towards their God-intended victory.
It is so important that we start to think like kings who carry spiritual authority. So the examples of Ahab contrasting David are important to grasp.
Having said that, I need to repeat, we are not always under attack although you must be alert and aware that the enemy can attack at an opportune time. We have times of refreshing and times of warfare, trials and dark times. This becomes clear from Psalm 23. David well understood the processes of God. But in it all what we give ourselves to is very important. And God uses it all to our advantage.
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That is where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along his footsteps of righteousness so I can bring honour to his name.
However, there is another side of this Psalm. There are times the Spirit of the Lord will lead us and provide for us in a unique way as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. This does not mean we are out of God’s will or we have necessarily done something wrong. Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit as part of the perfect will of God. David recognises that we are at times led by God into paths that cause us to be in the midst of our enemy. God always creates paths for our good even paths of opportunity for spiritual formation in what we think look like dark times. He is right there with us ready to make provision and opportunity in ways we can’t get any other time.
Lord even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness fear will never conquer me for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me though it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows. So why should I fear the future? ESV You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, Ill return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!
Indeed, King David also wrote Psalm 139. In that Psalm he speaks of God’s omnipresence, (God is everywhere) and omniscience (God is all knowing) which we should find great comfort in. Satan and the demonic do not possess these qualities as God does. They are fallen created spiritual beings that are limited in their capacity. If allowed to they can cause havoc. But, they are not even close to God’s capacity and they do not have authority except what we give them. Even in their rebellion they must still obey God. They remain under God’s judgment we are to prosecute against them. They know they are all heading to the Lake of fire that was created for their rebellion. They are just stalling and trying to hang on to what they have illegally established through deception and fear.
As long as the church remains spiritually immature and weak in spiritual authority they continue to intimidate believers out of their assignments and fulfilling their prophetic destiny. However, they are not even a match for God and His plans and purposes and according to David’s revelation in Psalm 2 God sits in the heavens and actually laughs at their strategies as God uses their schemes to our advantage.
Every time you are led into a testing, a trial, or what seems a dark time of your life, God is setting you up to resource you in a way you cannot get at any other time in your walk, and an increase in authority and anointing to be victorious. These victories establish us in Christ and our prophetic destiny! This brings out the moral imperative of all Scripture and our prophetic destiny to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.
There are times we need to do battle with the prophetic words God has spoken to us as we live by the present word of God revealing His promises to us.
ISAIAH 55: 8-11 NET
“Indeed, my plans are not like your plans, and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deed and my plans superior to your plans. The rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return, but instead water the earth and make it produce and yield crops, and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat. In the same way, the promise that I make does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. No, it is realized as I desire and is fulfilled as I intend.”
Lord you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me Lord. You read my life like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding brings me wonder and strength!
You saw who you created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book. Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O’ God your desires towards me are more than the grains of sand on every shore!
God goes before us to speak from our future into our present. He has set the path for our increase. Every step moves us towards the fulfillment of what He has written in His Book of Destiny for us. Therefore every present word carries with it a present and future intention on God’s part, and becomes the weapon of your warfare as against the enemy who seeks to derail our future, our calling and our development that is designed to spiritually rule over darkness.
GOD USES HIS PROMISES TOWARDS US TO PURGE OUR CHARACTER
Then we have the reality and example of Joseph.
He became an example and a testimony that David refers to in Psalm 105. In particular the testimony of Joseph becomes part of a wider history of how God moves to establish His promises in our lives. What is very important to understand is that God’s promises to you and the prophetic destiny become the very words that God uses to develop or purge your character so you can carry the fulfillment of your prophetic destiny as God intends.
Joseph’s brothers hated him and were jealous of him because he was considered “not one of them” and his father seemed to favour him. When he told them his dream he actually never told them they would bow down to him. They interpreted the dream. Joseph in his inexperience in interpreting dreams did not. But God used that opposition to Joseph’ s dreams and future to Joseph’s advantage. Indeed, every testing, every adverse situation in which Joseph overcame or learnt from, including patience in prison before his promotion, developed his ability to carry his prophetic destiny into fulfillment in God’s timing. Joseph was able to look back and say, “God meant it all for good.” Hence Romans 8:28 I will come to shortly.
PSALM 105:19 TPT
God’s promise to Joseph purged his character until it was time for his dreams to come true.
In all of this you will see that God goes before you when He leads us. He works everything together for good as Romans 8:28 tell us: the dark times and the amazing times. The hard times and the times of refreshing as Psalm 23 shows us. The valleys and the mountains join together as part of our prophetic journey. Our journey is not neat and tidy nor a comfortable linear progression as I hear so many believers tell me and some leaders teach. God is in every step and each step we must learn perseverance and emotional resilience and self-control. Put differently- character.
God plays the long game but Satan and the spirit of this age, even our own desires play the short game.
Living immersed in our union with Christ, the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and the fulfillment of what God has written in the Books of Destiny concerning all of us. As David says, we don’t fear because the life of Christ has conquered or overwhelmed us. Perfect love casts out all fear. In every situation we need to learn to trust God on the basis that we are in union with Him, His perfect love towards us, He knows us better than we know ourselves and that He has called us into this very destiny with all of His promises and blessings towards us. Never doubt God’s love and faithfulness towards us. Never doubt that our willing obedience to God will bear its harvest in your life at the right time according to the long game that God plays, even if in the immediate present things don’t appear to be different. We live by faith not sight, because things get held up in the spirit realm as we have discussed.
GOD MOVES FUTURE PRESENT
God is always moving future-present and at the same time hemming us in with His loving kindness protecting us from our past. To get you to the future He has planned for you, He reveals things and speaks to you by the present word, prophetic revelation, dream or vision. The present word always has the future in mind! He knows how to get us where we need to go and pull everything together to cause it to happen. By His empowering grace and the depth of our intimate union with Him, He always gives us the ability to overcome and get through the test, if we do not rely on our flesh but yield to the Spirit and use the testing as a time of opportunity, increase, learning, character development and spiritual formation.
ROMANS 8:28 NET
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
THE PASSION TRANSLATION
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfil his designed purpose. For he knew all about us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him. Having determined our destiny ahead of time, he called us to himself and transferred his perfect righteousness to everyone he called. … So what does all this mean? If God has determined to stand with us, who then can stand against us.
God will always lead us on the offensive in Him and His empowering presence to push past limitations the fallen world imposes, to drive out darkness in our life and near our life, and carry the character of who we are as mature sons of God into the world so that we are conformed to the likeness of His son. That is what God has called each of us to do and given us His grace ability to do in Him. He is with us every step of the way, and present and available in every life situation.
This should not suggest a performance model of success. We are led by the Spirit not driven by the flesh. But we are led by the Spirit to victory even in the mess and the dark times. Standing up in Christ and using the power of His words is victory. Overcoming our feelings that deny the truth is victory. Forgiving is victory, and praising and worshipping God all the while is your battle cry. Judah with the motif of the Lion always led Israel into battle conquests. Worshipping God with all our heart terrifies the demons. Being humble is your strength. I could go on and on. Hopefully you get the idea I am drawing out.
CASTING OFF RESTRAINT
When we have a God-vision for our life, a prophetic destiny it encourages us to aim our life towards something. If we do not have something to aim our life at we will cast off restraint, and we will be easy prey for disillusionment and disappointment. Further this prophetic vision as part of God’s perfect pleasing and acceptable will for our lives helps us create necessary life disciplines and decisions that are both intentional and consistent with that vision. Let me emphasise this. The Bible tells us that “Where there is no clear prophetic vision people quickly wander astray ( cast off restraint). But when you follow the revelation of the word heaven’s bliss fills your soul.” Proverbs 29:18
Restraint is actually our life decisions that arise from our life disciplines which develops our character. It means learning how to say “no” to some things and “yes” to others and letting the empowering presence of God empower us in the spirit of self-control to overcome negative feelings and emotions and the spirit of truth to overcome the spirit of deception to walk in God’s truth and promises.
Spiritual disciplines not only protect us they establish us and build our character and reputation before God and man. Of course it goes without saying, the demonic want us to cast off restraint so we are easy prey and vulnerable to the spirit of this age and the god of this age and his schemes that work against us and the advancement of God’s heavenly realm on earth. Disappointment will invite us to cast off restraint. And by casting off restraint we become spiritually vulnerable to the spirit of Jezebel.
THE SPIRITUAL SOUL-GATE OF DISAPPOINTMENT CONCERNING PROPHECY AND GOD’S PROMISES
Some of us have had prophetic words in our life that have not been fulfilled as yet. We must remember that there is a process in every prophetic word, even when it is genuinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. When we don’t understand the process of prophecy and the timing of its fulfillment we start to get frustrated and in some cases lose hope even to the point of becoming bitter and critical. We actually do what Scripture tells us not to do- we start to despise prophesy. So we need to discuss this in a practical way.
Disappointment with not getting what we thought or what we want when we thought it would happen or how it would happen becomes an open door to the spirit of Jezebel to seduce us in giving away our spiritual authority and power. This is clearly established in Genesis 4:7 with Cain. Disappointment became a spiritual gate to undermine spiritual authority. Indeed God said “sin is crouching at your door and you need to master it! “
Desiring things ahead of God’s timing is a short cut to getting an outcome we want before God wants to give it to us and we are ready to handle it. In other words God’s timing is perfect. He alone knows how to pull all things together. What you self-promote you will need to self-sustain. It is immaturity to demand something when you are not ready for it. Let me give you a Biblical example of how disappointment opens a gate to Jezebel. Later we will compare King David’s response to King Ahab’s response as an important lesson.
In 1 Kings 21, King Ahab doesn’t get what he wants. So he pouts in his sense of entitlement. This leaves a door open for Jezebel just like Cain in Genesis 4:7. We know Jezebel intimidated Elijah the prophet after bringing the present word of the Lord and he called down God’s fire to deliver God’s people from the evil authority of King Ahab under the deceptive and seductive influence of Jezebel. Jezebel’s intimidating and threatening words caused Elijah to be fearful, self-righteous, deceived, isolated, confused, and depressed to the point of wanting to die- He lost his passion for life, God and his calling. That is what the spirit of fear does when the spirit of Jezebel is operating. We lose our passion for the things we were once passionate about!
This is why the Bible says guard your heart and not let unforgiveness, bitterness and anger be stored in it. We should add disappointment! That is why Jesus says that unforgiveness limits our faith and our prayers to move mountains that oppose us! Let me tell you the story of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.
Naboth the Jezreelite owned a vineyard in Jezreel adjacent to the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard so I can make a vegetable garden out of it, for it is adjacent to my palace. I will give you an even better vineyard in its place, or if you prefer, I will pay you silver for it.” But Naboth replied to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should sell you my ancestral inheritance.”
So Ahab went into his palace, bitter and angry that Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not sell to you my ancestral inheritance.” He lay down on his bed, pouted, and would not eat. Then his wife Jezebel came in and said to him, “Why do you have a bitter attitude and refuse to eat?” He answered her, “While I was talking to Naboth the Jezreelite, I said to him, ʻSell me your vineyard for silver, or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in it’s place.ʼ But he said, ʻI will not sell you my vineyard.ʼ”
His wife Jezebel said to him, “You are the king of Israel! Get up, eat some food, and have a good time. I will get the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you.”
Notice that. It was not her right to do so, nor did she have any authority to do so. She intervened to use an authority she did not carry to misuse Ahab’s authority and God’s justice system through lying witnesses on the basis of some misconceived sense of entitlement. This actually goes on in the Body of Christ!
She wrote out orders, signed Ahabʼs name to them, and sealed them with his seal. She then sent the orders to the leaders and to the nobles who lived in Nabothʼs city. This is what she wrote: “Observe a time of fasting and seat Naboth in front of the people. Also seat two villains opposite him and have them testify, ʻYou cursed God and the king.ʼ Then take him out and stone him to death.” False accusations became a judgment leading to death and illegally taking a family inheritance!
WE MUST DEAL WITH OUR HEART
We must quickly deal with the issues of our heart and our corresponding feelings. Our feelings show us what is in our heart. We start there. We do that by going to God and confess how we really feel in our disappointment. We do not validate our disappointment no matter how right we feel, but we need to understand where our disappointment is coming from and the feelings are real. It is probably a heart issue that God is trying to expose to us for our good.
We don’t go public like Jezebel did! We learn to forgive and ask God to heal our heart as we praise and worship Him. If necessary we repent where we covet or want something ahead of God’s timing or outside of His processes of establishing things and His justice, or if we step in with an authority in a situation that we have no God- given authority in!
We fully immerse ourselves into God’s love, His promises and His faithfulness. We clothe ourselves with the disciplines developed with the power of the Holy Spirit that guard our hearts against those open doors of our emotions by bring them into alignment with the Spirit of truth and our new nature. Then we worship, worship, worship. We hold all of God’s promises before us and don’t give that disappointment another thought so it does not create a foothold in our mind. God has got you covered. He has gone ahead of you. Rehearse Psalm 139 and Romans 8:28!
If you are right, God will vindicate you. But let God be God, not us be God. He is faithful. Trust God more than you trust your negative emotions and your own self-righteousness or sense of entitlement!
Satan like the spirit of Jezebel needs an opportune time. They are intentionally either trying to influence an opportunity or seize an opportunity. They wait until we are “weak”, “naked”, or emotionally vulnerable, or we have cast off restraint when there is an opportunity often through isolation. They influence our thoughts to rehearse and validate our negative emotions. This is done quite seductively and intentionally as I have been trying to explain. But what comes against you can only have effect if you give it the authority in your life to do so. This is where we need to be self-aware, have understanding and spiritual discernment, know God’s truth, stand upon it and use it to overcome by using the present word of God as the sword of the spirit.
THE EXAMPLE OF DAVID AS A FUTURE KING
Let’s see how David’s life was different to King Ahab by way of character and how he carried his prophetic future. Let’s also see how God uses dark times for our growth and development and fulfillment of prophesy that He has written in our Book of Destiny.
We know in this journey that things don’t go the way we thought and we know things seem hopeless and even dark at times. There are times were we walk through genuine suffering and opposition. Remember Satan looks for opportune times. He is a strategist. Remember too that God is without limitation to accomplish His promises. David as King of Israel could say both “I am safe and protected dwelling in your presence and yet I am attacked by those who oppose me constantly.” His resolution was to be found in the secret place with God, to live from His presence and the power of God’s promises and words revealed to him knowing God was absolutely for him.
From a young boy and the least in his family amongst his brothers he learnt to develop spiritual disciplines in the field when he was tending the sheep. What he practiced in private was his confidence for what he performed in public. He developed a strength in God and developed God’s heart in private worship as an expression of desire and love towards God, and His words and promises towards Israel- which meant towards him personally. Israel’s promises were his promises too. He also learnt how to fight the lion and the bear to protect what God had given him. We need to win the private battles so we can be positioned to win the public battles.
He learnt hand to hand combat when no one was watching so that God that was with him in the hidden place was the same faithful God in the public place. God was not looking anywhere else except his heart. His heart towards God would become the vision that developed his character that could carry Kingly authority as a man after God’s own heart.
His inheritance as God’s promises and his own future destiny as King of Israel became his vision against Goliath when he applied the faithfulness of God to his anointing in the battle that was keeping the whole of Israel out of what God wanted to bring them into. He trusted God that as an anointed future- King he would one day become a commissioned King. He thought like the kind of King he would become and behaved accordingly!
Yet one battle and one public victory did not make the man. It never does. The deeper work began after the public battle, and it was at Zitlag, under the emotion of abandonment, rejection and failure, the test of character and resolve was presented, that David as the future King but not yet King had to strengthen himself in the Lord to overcome.
Whist we can and should encourage each other, we are uniquely personally responsible for our life decisions and how we deal with adversity and the adversary in our life. It is our responsibility to govern the condition of our heart. No one else’s. As soon as we use blame to avoid personal responsibility for the condition of our heart and corresponding actions we become powerless and miss the opportunity to develop our character and transcend our personal suffering and feelings. Character is demonstrated in adversity. Character is formed in brokenness. Places we think are failure, God sees as increase.
At Zitlag David could have pouted like King Ahab. He did weep but he didn’t pout. He was not being entitled. He was broken. That is a very different emotion from pouting. Remember Cain and Abel? Cain got upset about his offering that God was not pleased with that I mentioned earlier. He was entitled. Brokenness is part of character development. Pouting is not. It is immaturity.
Here is the difference between Ahab and Cain and David. David in his brokenness went before the Lord until his heart was healed and God re-envisioned him and gave him a solution for victory and restoration.
There are times we do not feel powerful. We do not feel like a king. But David used the future, and his prophetic anointing and prophesy over his life to behave like a King although he was not yet King. He developed the character of a God-centred king before he was commissioned as King, when he showed emotional resilience and strength of character. In biblical terms he showed himself to be a man. This test was the promotional timing for God to release him to be commissioned as King.
This is the importance for prophetic vision in your life. We have to think like the person we are becoming and who we already are before God in our inner spirit-person and how heaven sees us. We do not live from the world around us, but ultimately we live from the world we form within us from every present word of God. This is why we need to establish God’s word as truth in our heart.
We establish our prophetic destiny one decision and one present word at a time. It’s a walk. Not a sprint. It’s a long game not a short game. It’s beyond a matter of obedience. It is a matter of life and spiritual formation to become in the world who we are already before God in his heart recorded in the Books of Destiny in heaven.
God alone knows how to get you into your future, and He invites you to walk with him every step of the way as He goes before you to make a way and come behind you to protect you from the wiles of the enemy who wants you to live in the limitations of the past not the limitless realities of God’s word and your prophetic future.
Short cuts only create delays and work against us in the long run. Don’t allow Jezebel to steal your inheritance and your prophetic destiny through disappointment or let it steal your passion that you once had. It is time to come into deeper waters and realise the things God has prepared for us to do and become into the world even as it already is in heaven, in his heart, in his mind.
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