Category Archives: intercession

Shadows and Light (Part 3)

Recently, I was struck by Psalm 104:2, which speaks of the Lord in His majesty: “You cover Yourself with light, as with a garment….” As I meditated on that phrase, the Lord reminded me of other verses which say we, too, are to be clothed with light.

Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), but He also said, You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). 1 John 4:17 says, “… As He is, so are we in this world.” Truly, His plan is that we be like Him in this world in every way, including being clothed with light. There are no shadows attached to Him, and we should not have any attached to us, either.

Does being clothed with light happen all by itself? Yes and no. It is partly the work of the Holy Spirit and partly something we consciously participate in. Once we have become Christians, the Spirit dwells within us. He begins to fill us with God’s own nature, even though we are not constantly aware that He is doing so. The more we yield to Him and fellowship with Him, the more we take on His attributes, and those attributes begin to ooze outward from us, so that we shine with His glory. In our last post, I mentioned some steps we can take to open ourselves up to the Spirit, so that He can work these transformations inside of us.

However, we are also exhorted in the Word to take an active role in clothing ourselves with light: “… Let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). Putting on the armor of light is not at all passive. Romans 13:14 gives us additional information about what this “armor of light” is — “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ….” It continues, “and do not make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” The light we are clothed in is Jesus Himself. Always, always, it is about Him. He is our righteousness, our light, and every good thing which we manifest. But we are still responsible for starving our fleshly nature and its lusts by making choices which are in keeping with what Jesus would do.

We learn even more about the armor of light which we are to put on in Ephesians 6:11-18. Again, verse 11 tells us to put on the armor.” You are probably already familiar with the rest of that passage, so I won’t talk about it here. (But if you want a detailed explanation of the armor, go here.)

Many years ago, I received a vision of the condition of the Church. In it, many people were camped alongside a river. They were handling suits of armor and weaponry, exclaiming over the beauty and power of what they held. They were so happy to have the equipment they needed. But no one was putting the armor on. They were content to just look at it and talk about it. They were totally unprepared for the looming battle. Many in the Church are like that today. We’ve absorbed oodles of teaching about the armor of God, and we can recite the armor’s parts, but few are actually putting it to effective use.

It is time to suit up in that armor of light and take our battle stance. We cannot hope to win if we aren’t clothed in Jesus, the Light. And we certainly must quit making the mistake of trying to fight our battles using the enemy’s tactics of darkness and shadows.

If you are a prophet or a prophetic intercessor, I encourage you to take the needed steps to come out of shadowed thinking and speaking. Take a look once again at the suggestions I have given in the previous post for how to do that. Spend lots of time in the Presence of Jesus so that you will reflect His glorious light. You will have a much better idea of what the Lord is saying and how to convey that to others, as well as how to pray, having God’s heart.

Let’s mirror the Lord, Who does not cast shadows with His words, but instead, dispels darkness. This is our calling as prophetic people — to exude His light, so that others will be drawn to Him.

Previous: Part 2

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

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Shadows and Light (Part 2)

Light Dispels DarknessIn our last post, I commented that it is very easy for prophetic intercessors and prophets to become darkened in our revelation. How can we keep that from happening? And, if we’ve already stepped into the shadows, how can we shift back into being messengers of light?

1.) Use the Bible prophets as your pattern. When we look at the Old Testament prophets, their messages were often dire. But what we usually see along with prophecies warning of judgment is a message of redemption and hope:

  • “If you repent, I, your God, will spare you.”
  • “When you have turned from your evil ways, I will restore you.”
  • “Though terrible times are ahead, I will protect My remnant who stay faithful to Me.”
  • “Even in the coming distress, I will be a tower of safety to you.”

Even Jeremiah, often called the weeping prophet, delivered messages of hope to Israel. Yes, he told them of awful things to come, but he also spoke of how the Lord would take care of them in it, and he gave them a glimpse of better times on the other side of the calamity. This is God’s nature, to give hope to the hopeless, comfort to the sorrowful, mercy to those who seek Him, deliverance to the helpless.

Study both the Old and New Testament prophecies. Make particular note of the messages of hope given in them, usually at the end of whatever judgment warning had been pronounced.

2.) Feed on the whole counsel of God’s Word, not only the prophecies. We need all of Scripture, not just portions. I recommend feeding daily in the Psalms. They are filled with revelation of God’s nature and comfort for the downcast.

3.) Pray for healing restoration from hurts you have endured. All of us have experienced rejection. Prophetic people tend to have received even more rejection than average. This is because the enemy wants to silence, or at the very least warp, the word of the Lord on our lips.

The good news is, what the enemy means for harm, God is determined to use for our good. He can use the wounds of rejection to refine us into better, more humble people, as we give them to Him.

Receiving inner healing starts with forgiving those who have hurt us. We make a deliberate choice to let go of the offenses inside, and then we ask God to take the pain away. Restoration can only happen if we are willing to let go of resentment, no matter how justified it might be.

4.) Feed on Jesus, the Lamb. Again, we do this primarily through reading His Word. Focus on the gospels in particular. Spend time thinking about Jesus — how kind He is, how self-sacrificing, how tender, what He says about the Father, His call to love one another as He has loved us, etc. Think about that moment when you will see Him face to face.

5.) Sit at Jesus’ feet, as Mary, Martha’s sister, did. This goes along with feeding on Jesus. In Luke 10:38-42, Mary refused to let the seemingly urgent steal her time away from her Savior.

Isaiah 40:31 reminds us, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 

When we invest time in quietly waiting before the Lord, sharing conversation with Him, asking Him what is on His mind, we come away refreshed. What is weary in us takes on new strength. When we’re worn out, we are susceptible to becoming darkened, but when we rest in the Lord’s Presence, we absorb His light, much like Moses did in His times with the Lord, so that his face actually shone with God’s reflected glory (Exodus 34:29-35).

Psalm 34:5 says of those who seek Him, “They looked to Him and were filled with light; and their faces were not ashamed” (LITV).

Spiritual reconnaissance warriors have to frequently come in from the field and spend time at their Commander-in-Chief’s banqueting table. He is not only our Commander, but also our Beloved. This is not the way it is in earthly, human warfare, but it is the way in spiritual warfare. God’s kingdom ways are often different from how things are in our fallen natural world.

In our next post, we will look at a few more ideas from the Bible about how to come out of the shadows and into a light-filled life.

Previous — Shadows and Light (Part 1)
Next — Shadows and Light (Part 3)

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Shadows and Light (Part 1)

Prophetic shadowsThose of us who are prophetic often perceive beyond the surface appearance of our natural surroundings. We are sensitive to what is taking place in the spirit world as well — both in God’s kingdom and the kingdom of darkness.

Because we are sometimes able to see and hear what is happening in both of these invisible realms, we can develop a tendency to “see” what is wrong more than what is right. It is easy to get into a rut of speaking forth the negative things we become aware of. If we focus more on what the devil is doing than on what the Lord is up to, our prophetic utterances can become tainted with darkness.

There is a definite place for prophesying warnings to the Body of Christ. I am not advocating only speaking “positive” prophetic words. Limiting ourselves to the positive can end up producing false prophecy which panders to people’s feel-good desires, but never calls them upward into closer fellowship with the Lord. God does use prophetic revelation to warn and correct His people, to lead us to repentance, and to reveal difficulties in the path ahead of us. But there must be a balance.

Correction and warning prophecy which is genuinely from the Lord has a different feel to it than prophecy which only talks about how bad things (or people) are. It will have Christ’s light shining around and through it — showing the way out of darkness, promising restoration and hope for those who will turn to the Lord and put their trust in Him.

There was a time in my early prophetic life when I was hearing mostly negative revelation and then reporting on it. I thought this was just the particular prophetic gift God had given me. What I did not then realize was, while I was probably hearing and seeing some real things going on in the spirit realm — things which needed to be prayed into — I was looking into the enemy’s plots way more than I was gazing upon Jesus and what He was planning to do.

I wanted to see the enemy’s strategies so that I could thwart them in prayer, but, partly due to hurts and fear I held inside, I spent little time viewing the Lord’s beauty and mightiness. As a result, I became unhappy and heavy-laden in my intercession. This is a common scenario for prophetic intercessors.

I have seen the same thing happen with some very gifted young prophets. They see the problems, they hear the warnings, and they begin to focus on all that. They get emotionally beat up by people who scoff at their prophetic revelation, their hearts get wounded, and before we know it, everything they say is critical. Their messages now accuse and browbeat, instead of uplifting the Body of Christ. Grace, mercy, hope, and encouragement are lacking in their messages. They now report the problems, but rarely the answers God wants to unfold. Their frequent words of doom leave their hearers feeling darkened and chilled, as though the sun had suddenly disappeared behind the clouds.

If we desire to accurately represent the Lord Who has sent us to speak for Him, we need to be balanced. We must deliberately see the light of God as larger than the shadows surrounding us, for James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  God is light. He does not cast shadows. Instead, He dispels them.

In our next post, we will take a look at how we can maintain balance in our prophetic revelation — or restore our balance if we have already tilted.

Next: Shadows and Light (Part 2)

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Are You Among the Least?

Do you ever feel like you are one of the least of Jesus’ disciples? Maybe your “least” means least of the intercessors, or the prophetic people, or the singers in the choir, or the teachers, or the soul-winners in your acquaintance. It doesn’t really matter what your least is: this post is for you.

I deal with feeling like the least a lot, especially when it comes to intercession or prophecy, my particular functions in the Body. I’ve gotten to know some of the people who read my blog regularly, and I tend to admire them for how succinctly they hear the Lord and how they are able to turn what they hear into such powerful prayer. And then, there is their great faith for answers. Or their ability to move boldly in the word of knowledge or personal prophecy. It’s easy for me to wonder, “What do I have to offer these folks in my writing? Aren’t they already miles ahead of me?”

That’s the way I was feeling some weeks back, and I realized I needed to get free of such a mindset. After all, doesn’t 2 Corinthians 10:12 warn us, “… But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise”? Whether we’re comparing ourselves to others and thinking we’re a notch above the rest, or whether we go the other direction and think we’re on the bottom rung of the ladder, it isn’t in line with God’s view at all.

So, as I was asking the Lord to help me break free from my little inferiority stewpot, He brought to mind John 15 — that familiar chapter where Jesus talks about being the Vine, while we are the branches — “For without Me, You can do nothing” (v. 5).

I started to see myself as one of the branches, attached to the Vine, with an abundance of other branches surrounding me, also attached to the Vine. Each of us who is connected into Jesus as a healthy branch has the same sap flowing to us — the life of His Spirit within us. And because of that continual flow to us, we each produce fruit for Him in just the right amounts. Some branches may have a few more grapes clustered on them than others, but that doesn’t really matter a whole lot, because all are doing what they are supposed to do — bearing fruit. It is only when the sap supply is cut off that the branch becomes withered and dried, so that it doesn’t produce fruit like it should.

If grapevine branches could think, would they obsess about whether they were producing as many grapes as the branches around them? I suppose we can’t really know for sure, but I’m guessing they wouldn’t. They are just enjoying being connected to their vine, the source of all which they produce.

In the same way, whatever we do completely depends upon Jesus. We can’t strain harder to produce fruit and voila! our straining suddenly brings miraculous results. It is Jesus the Vine Who makes it all happen. Sure, we have to cooperate with Him by listening to the Spirit’s promptings and acting upon them, but as long as we are doing that as best we know how in our present stage of maturity, we produce the intended fruit. It may not look exactly like someone else’s fruit, and it may not ripen as quickly, but it is still fruit, and it is good in the Lord’s eyes.

Living in performance mode has become so much the norm in today’s church scene, that most of the time we don’t even recognize what is happening to us — or how wrong it is. Here in America, our independent, pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps work ethic influences our perception of self-worth: If I just try harder, I can do more for Jesus. If I can’t prophesy with all the pizzazz of Sister Susie, I’m not as valuable as she is. If I’m not a superstar with an audience of 5,000, I am insignificant.”

1 Corinthians 4:7 puts our function in the body of believers into better perspective: “For Who makes you different from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now, if you received it [as a free gift from God], why do you glory, as if you had not received it [but had somehow come up with it on your own]?”

The Lord also reminds us that each of us has been given unique purpose and custom-designed functions within His overall plan: “… Every man [or woman] has his proper gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that” (1 Corinthians 7:7).

So let’s find joy in Jesus, our Vine. And let’s rejoice that we get to be one of His branches, whether large or small, enjoying His sap, bearing fruit as He designed us to do. We can be thankful that we are part of a bigger picture, working together with all the other branches. It’s all about Jesus, not us, anyway.

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World, by Lee Ann Rubsam

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Personal Spiritual Warfare (Part 2) — Where Did That Thought Come From?

Winning our personal spiritual battles starts with knowing that every thought which enters our mind is not necessarily our own. Nor is every emotion we feel.

Some thoughts do come from our depraved nature, and those must be continually put to death. Eventually, as we gain ground through absorbing the Scriptures and spending time with the Lord, we develop more and more of a “renewed mind,” as mentioned in Romans 12:2.

But there is another source of wrong thoughts: evil spirits. They study our lives, including our words, and thereby figure out what our vulnerable areas are. They then inject thoughts into our minds accordingly. These thoughts are cleverly styled to sound like our own, but they are actually coming from outside ourselves.

This means that when we have an evil thought, instead of being shocked by how bad we are for coming up with such a thing, we must recognize that it perhaps did not originate with us, and we don’t have to buy into it. We immediately reject it, rebuking the evil spirit which planted it. It only becomes “ours” when we accept it and begin to flow with it. A thought caught and rejected in the first couple of seconds has no power over us. It is not sin until we agree and then run with it.

The apostle Paul gives us some ideas about how warfare over our thoughts works:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [soulish; according to the natural man], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds). We are casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

Paul indicates that we cannot succeed in winning the war for our thoughts in our own strength (“warring according to the flesh”). This is why simply pushing away a wrong thought usually doesn’t work: it will keep on coming back, along with a flood of other evil thoughts to reinforce it. Instead, we must use the authority we have in Christ Jesus through His name, depending on the Lord to back us up.

When we recognize a thought which is not compatible with how the Lord thinks, our job is to immediately reject it, and then command the enemy to be silent and flee from us, in the name of Jesus. James 4:7 instructs us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The condition is that we stay yielded to the Lord. We put to death our own selfish inclinations. Then, when the enemy tries to manipulate our thoughts, we can speak confidently, “I resist that thought and the spirit behind it. I command the enemy to be gone from me, in Jesus’ name.”

When we are yielded to the Holy Spirit, depending upon Him for His power to be at work within us, our warfare is truly “mighty through God” (2 Corinthians 10:4). However, although we depend upon the Spirit to aid us in spiritual warfare, we cannot passively expect Him to do it all. If that were the case, there would be no warfare about it for us. Instead, He has given us supernatural ability so that we can cast down the wrong imaginations, and we can take every thought captive to make it line up with obedience to Christ (v. 5).

The problem for most of us, though, is that our natural tendency is to carry out life according to the flesh. This means we go by how we feel and what we perceive by our natural mind. We are not vigilant over our thoughts. We don’t pay attention to the steady flow of what we’re thinking, so sometimes we don’t recognize that the mental trail we are taking is off the Lord’s path. This is especially the case once we have developed a pattern of agreeing with wrong thoughts. Those patterns, or mindsets, can deepen into mental strongholds, which we will cover in the next post.

Previous: Part 1 — Intro
Next: Part 3 — Mindsets and Strongholds

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Personal Spiritual Warfare — Intro

We who are intercessors often tend to think of spiritual warfare as an external thing, where we achieve prayer victories for others. We war on behalf of individuals, cities, states, people groups, our nation, and even international situations. But what we often fail to understand or deal with is personal spiritual warfare.

The enemy initiates frequent (even daily) assaults against us in his attempt to render us incapable of carrying out our James 5:16 mandate, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Most of these attacks do not announce themselves with drumroll and trumpet fanfare. They are subtle, meant to distract us or steal our peace and joy. And if we aren’t paying attention, we can easily miss what is really going on.

The greatest spiritual warfare any of us will ever encounter is what rages within our own minds and emotions. We must learn to overcome in this personal arena, for, if we neglect to fight our battles there, we will eventually be rendered ineffective in intercessory prayer as well. The good news is, once we are conscious of the war within and are actively committed to engaging in it, we are already on the road toward winning it.

Perhaps a good place to start is by making sure we’re ready to go to battle. Soldiers go through extensive training and preparation before entering the battlefield. Doing a spiritual health checklist can be part of our preparation. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I invest time in simply being with Jesus, or does all my prayer life revolve around intercession?
  • Do I absorb and meditate on portions of the Bible daily?
  • How is my thought life? How much does it look like Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true … honest … just … pure … lovely … of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things”?
  • Am I holding offense and bitterness in my heart toward anyone?
  • How do my thoughts and words line up with 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (the “love chapter”) on a regular basis?
  • Do I carefully monitor what I allow into my inner being through my eye- and ear-gates?

In the coming series, we will examine our personal spiritual warfare task in detail, using Scripture as our anchor. I will also share some practical tips I have discovered through the years for how to gain the victory. As we learn to effectively deal with our own inner battles, we become stronger and more able to take ground for the kingdom of God.

Next: Part 2 — Where Did That Thought Come From? 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered