Category Archives: intercessors

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

Advertisements

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

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

Praying into Current Events

“Preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” It was a popular saying years ago, which eventually morphed into, “Pray with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” among intercessors. Pray the news is one of the methods intercessors are still frequently encouraged to use. It has its place. We should be aware of what is going on in the world around us.

However, intercessors can wear out fast, praying about every current event (or supposed current event) that they see in the news and on social media. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Fox, etc. all thrive on the next big story, and if they can’t find one happening on its own, they manufacture something sensational out of what little material they have. The enemy of our souls uses these things to distract prayer warriors into engaging in lots of anxious prayer scattered in a bazillion directions … for things which are really nonissues from God’s perspective.

We’ve probably all heard that it’s important to choose our battles. If we fight on too many fronts, we lose. So, when there are apparent causes for concern, our first question should be, “What do You say about this, Lord?” He may tell us, even in the face of something which looks like a big deal, not to trouble ourselves about it at all — that He’s already taken care of it. If we ask Him first, and wait for His answer, it will save us a lot of useless care and wasted energy.

Part of the enemy’s spiritual warfare strategy is a smoke and mirrors deception. “Smoke and mirrors” is an idiom derived from the magic tricks illusionists pull off, where things seem to appear or disappear through the clever use of mirrors and sudden puffs of smoke intended to distract the audience. The expression has come to mean that reality is hidden, blurred, or blown out of proportion through half-truths or irrelevant information.

That’s exactly what Satan does. He uses partial, inaccurate, or overblown information, often dispersed through news and social media, to divert intercessors from the truly vital conflicts. He presents numerous false battlefronts to our eyes, attempting to convince us of their urgency. That way, he keeps us from mobilizing where our prayers are genuinely needed. He’s been pretty effective in using this tactic, too! Because we are constantly running in this, that, and the other direction, putting out fires, we are exhausted before we even get to the real deal!

God does not want us to be in a distracted tizzy all the time. It’s easy to go there, based on the mountains of natural information available all around us, but we must resist the urge to pray mainly by what our natural senses are presented with. Instead, the Lord wants us to calm down and listen for His marching orders. If we do that, we’ll be ready and available for the strategic prayer locations where we are actually needed. We’ll do the damage and gain the major victories we’re supposed to have.

When Distractions Ruin Prayer

Sometimes prayer flows like a river. We float along on its current and let the Lord lead us where He wills. However, that’s not always the way it is. In fact, it might not even be how things go the majority of the time. Often, our prayer life is more like a battleground. I’m not even talking about actively going against the gates of hell and prevailing against them, as Matthew 16:18 puts it. I’m talking about just the battle to keep praying!

A few months ago, I went through an extended season where my prayer life seemed like a disaster. It was hard to focus, hard to keep a heavenly perspective, hard to get past a swirl of thoughts. Hard, hard, hard! I even struggled to continue praying in tongues at length, which is not at all normal for me. At times, I asked myself, “What did I just do for the last hour or two? My intent has been to pray, but I feel like I have accomplished little.”

In the midst of being concerned about this, the Lord spoke encouragingly to me: “Persevere, My child. Just persevere.” It is in the persevering that we take ground, even when we don’t think we are getting anywhere.

Prayer is not always as perfect as we could wish. The enemy distracts us in various ways. Our own soul distracts us. Sometimes, even good and noble thoughts or causes distract us.

We know what we’re supposed to do: “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 10:5). But it gets exhausting when we have to do it a couple of dozen (or more) times in any given prayer session, just so we can carry on a coherent, consistent communication with the Lord!

When we run into a battle such as this, we don’t need to get down on ourselves for being weak in prayer. God encourages us to keep pressing on in spite of the struggle. Even when our prayer efforts are imperfect, puny, and even downright messy, all He asks is that we get up and do it again … and again … and again, until we get through the season of distraction. As we do that, we really do continue to make progress, even though we can’t always see it.

The process of persevering through embattlement against our thoughts is something God allows, so that we become stronger. Psalm 18:34 says it this way: “He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms.” Perseverance through the warfare of distractions is a tool God uses to make seasoned warriors of us.

If you are struggling to stay at prayer in a focused way, I encourage you to keep at it. You are not a prayer dud. It’s just another form of spiritual warfare. In persevering, you will be doing what the Lord said in Ephesians 6:13“Having done all, stand.”

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered