By Kathi Pelton
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD; you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
The Key: Yielding and Love
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me…” If you remember nothing else after reading this word except that reference, then you will have everything you need in the days to come. There is no good thing that we can accomplish in our flesh that will not end in our flesh. Everything Jesus accomplished while on Earth, He did completely yielded to the Spirit of the Lord. The Old Testament is filled with examples of men trying to please God in their own strength, but falling short due to the limitation of human strength. When Jesus came and died for our sins, He left us His Spirit so He can do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves.
The past couple of years we have seen many in the body of Christ become weary, reaching the end of their own resources. Why is this? One reason is that God, in His mercy, will not leave us in our own strength. We must completely yield our lives to the Spirit of the Lord in all that we do. Whether we are trying to love our families or minister in public settings, we have to ask the Spirit of the Lord to impart what we need. We must do everything from a heart of love, but how can we love the people or things that we actually do not care about? We can act in a loving fashion, but that will only take us so far. If we would truly love those that the Lord puts in our paths, we must ask the Spirit to impart the love of the Father into our hearts. This is not a work of the flesh, but a manifestation of the Spirit. The anointing that we need is an impartation of His Spirit.
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6
We must walk by the Spirit to accomplish the complete and finished work the Lord desires. We must walk in love—the love that the Holy Spirit imparts to us. The measure of your love is the measure of your authority. We should not put our hand to anything which we do not first love. If you don’t love something or someone that the Lord is asking you to minister to, then ask Him to impart His love to you. By doing this, you will have authority grounded in love. This is the key to walking in Isaiah 61: yielding to the Spirit and the letting His impartation of love be the strength and authority for everything we do. The Church must understand this truth. We can either be a container that is limited by our capacity, or a river that allows God’s love to flow continuously. The Spirit flowing through us allows us to transcend our own capacity to extend love. Love is the key to authority; any work apart from love is merely “a resounding gong or clanging cymbal”.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1
Unity: The Fruit of the Tree of Life
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23
The love that the Spirit will give to us will also begin to release unity. God longs for a family. That was His intention in creating mankind and still today is His greatest longing. In Genesis we find numerous accounts of family lines. This is because God is emphasizing the importance of family and lineage. The prayer of Jesus in John 17 is a powerful and wondrous example of the longing within the Godhead to draw us into the family unity that they share.
The enemy always seeks to create counterfeits. The “Political” or “Religious” spirit is one of those substitutes. The best way to recognize that spirit is that it always creates camps or parties. Unity creates family, but religion creates divisions. The political or religious spirit will find a “cause” to build its platform upon, and then draw people to a cause rather than to the Father. The cause may even be righteous, but when it isn’t founded in love, it merely creates noise that divides rather than peace that unifies.
Here in the United States we are entering an election year. The “Political Spirit” is on the move and the Church must be aware of its snare and tactics. In everything we do we must move from the foundation of love. Love will make a place for righteous causes to naturally and organically rise up within the context of family, but the political (religious) spirit will attempt to displace love for the sake of a cause. We must yield our hearts to the Holy Spirit in order to have love imparted to us; then we can stand boldly for righteousness from a place of love, rather than stubbornly clinging to a “right cause”. This is the difference between eating from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and eating from the fruit of the Tree of Life.
Love unifies, where a cause, not grounded in love, will force itself upon others and act as a sword, dividing family members. The Lord is looking for willing hearts that are yielded to His Spirit and His heart. As we walk by His Spirit, we will be given the wisdom we need to bring forth justice and mercy without causing division or disunity. The Church is not a political party, we are a family! Within a family there may be differences and diversity, but there remains loving unity that makes room for differences. I am not talking about making room for sin or unrighteousness beliefs; I’m talking about different mantles, positions or callings; or even different understandings of various aspects of God’s Word. We all walk in unique positions and anointing, but we are under one Father through one Spirit. When we honor and yield to this truth, then jostling one another will cease and honor will be given room to create unity, family and oneness that comes out of love.
Beauty, Joy and Praise…and First Love
“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3
Ashes, mourning and despair have been a perfect description of what we have been hearing each day in the news—and often in the Church as well. But this year will bring forth reports of beauty, joy and praise. Again, this is a work of the Holy Spirit. As we allow the Spirit of the Lord to impart the heart of the Father to us, we will begin to see marriages healed, prodigals returning home, the grieving ushered into joy and praise breaking the spirit of despair. There are too many reports of despair. God is about to turn that around by His Spirit. His light will shine in the darkness like never before and His promises will come to pass in the lives of His sons and daughters, through the lives of His sons and daughters.
The amazing thing about allowing the Spirit of the Lord to accomplish what we cannot is that as we come into full reliance upon Him, we are able to enter into peace and rest that we have never before known. We come to the end of our strength and the beginning of His strength in us. That does not mean that we will not be busy, because His Spirit works through the lives of men and women, but we will be busy in the grip of His peace and rest. The end result will be reliance upon on His Spirit.
A Letter to the Church: Return to First Love
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Revelations 2:1-5
Just as He announced to the Church of Ephesus, God is calling today’s Church back to first love. First love doesn’t count the cost; it is compelled to sacrifice its own for the sake of another.
Recently I was listening to a dear friend share how when he was first in love with the lady who later became his wife, he would not even think twice about driving for many hours in the middle of a day to spend a lunch hour with her. The price he paid to be with her was never counted or considered, because love trumped every other consideration. Then he said that recently, his wife asked him if he wanted to come and see her on her lunch hour. She was only a five minute drive from him, but he decided not to go because he knew would see her when she got home that evening. At that point, he remembered how he used to drive for hours just to be with her for one hour, and his first thought was, “Wow, I’m glad that I’ve matured beyond that.” At that moment, the Lord spoke to him and said, “You have not matured, you have fallen away from first love. Go back and do as you did before.”
Love does not count the cost or focus on the sacrifice. Love is ignoring the calling of self and becoming aware of the rhythm of Heaven. Love is what caused Jesus to pay the price on the cross for all mankind. This is also what allowed the Father to send His only Son: love. His love is the type that does not count the cost but is compelled to die in order to see the other benefit. Love brings death to your own desires because it lives for the one you love.
Take time to humble yourself before the Lord and ask the Spirit to give you back your first love. First love for God will impart a love for His Body to you. The deeds of the Church of Ephesus were righteous, but they did not come from a place of love. God is calling for us to return to first love this year.
We long to fulfill Isaiah 61, but we must do it by His Spirit, from a place of first love. This is good news! This year can be a year of good news and good reports, but we have a choice to make. Every prophetic word is subject to the will of the listener. The only requirement to see this fulfilled is to humble ourselves before the Lord and ask that the Spirit of the Lord come upon us and impart His heart and love to us. The work is His; but the willingness must be ours.
Sowing and Reaping
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
This year your seeds of faith will bear fruit. The fruit that ripens will drop seeds that produce a multiplication of fruitfulness in the years that follow. It is important to clear the land of your life of any remaining doubt and fear; doubt is a weed that will choke the planting of the Lord in you. Abiding trust will be like a weed killer for you. It is time to trust Him so doubt will die.
Fruitfulness will burst forth as you cultivate faith, and this will cause many to enter an eight year season of bountiful harvests both personally and corporately. This year will be a time that produces abundant return for all the seeds that you sow. Generosity is a key to financial breakthrough. Though this is always true, this year it will set a precedent in your life for provision and resource. There is an alignment and agreement with the goodness and generosity of Heaven that will release prosperity and financial breakthrough on God’s people this year in unprecedented measure.
I was in a meeting last month, and one of the leaders shared a dream in which his oldest son was eating stones and his mouth was full of blood. He was quite alarmed by the dream, but as soon as he recounted it, I remembered that the previous morning as I woke up, I immediately heard the words, “No more stones, no more stones!” Then I heard the verse out of Luke 11:11:
“You men who are fathers—if your boy asks for bread, do you give him a stone? If he asks for fish, do you give him a snake?”
We as God’s people have often withheld from one another (love, finances, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, etc.), and in doing so we have fed stones to our sons and daughters. I believe that this dream is both a correction and an exhortation. It is a correction regarding the “withholding spirit” that many have operated in, and an exhortation to become like our Father who gives generously. Some of the lack the body of Christ has experienced in the past years is a direct result of withholding that has occurred as doubt and fear took root in many hearts and lives. God is about to deal with these strongholds as He sets His house in order for the days to come. Doubt, fear, withholding and lack are all connected; we need to ask the Spirit of the Lord to free us from these things so that we can embrace trust, the fear of the Lord, generosity and abundance.
Withholding merely produces lack where a generous lifestyle of giving will produce a life that is marked by abundance. You cannot out give God!
A Re-calibration for the New Climate
A few months ago I was at a conference and a lady walked up to me and said, “I see the word re-calibration over you.” She said that she was reminded of her recent move from a warm climate to a cold climate. After the move her vehicle was not running well. When she brought it into a mechanic he said that he needed to re-calibrate her carburetor. He explained that her car was calibrated for a warm climate, and that it must be adjusted for the cold climate to run properly.
When she said this I was immediately aware that I personally—and all of us corporately—have moved into a new spiritual climate. This is true in both the spirit and the natural realms. I needed to allow the Spirit to re-calibrate me to this new spiritual and natural climate. Love, trust, peace, generosity and living by His Spirit are part of the re-calibrations. Not that I hadn’t been living in these things but they were taken to a deeper level. Even a greater alignment between my public and private life was being re-calibrated. No longer could I compartmentalize aspects of my life, but all areas needed to be aligned and purified so that the enemy could not accuse me of any hypocrisy. Once again, this is a work of the Spirit, but my willingness to yield to this work.
The body of Christ must be re-calibrated to stand against the climate of fear with the spirit of peace; we must dwell together in unity in a world climate that is full of division; we must practice trust in the climate of suspicion and we must freely offer love in a climate of hatred.
2016 will posture the body of Christ truly to be a light set on a hill.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-15
We will carry the Light of the World into darkness and see many saved. I believe that light will be a beacon to many. I keep hearing that we have entered an eight year period of light and fruitfulness. It is like the eight nights of light celebrated during Hanukkah. We may only have prepared the purified oil for one night, but God will give us eight nights (years) of light. I not only saw the light that shines from the Menorah but I saw fruit hanging from all its branches.
Happy New Year, Family!