Sunday, June 8, 2014

An Appeal To Heaven

Dutch Sheets

A Man With a Burden to Pray
            Dutch Sheets has been one of the foremost leaders of the prayer movement in the Body of Christ in recent US history.  Until recently he has been the Executive Director of Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas.  Once in a great while a message from God comes along significant enough that it must be passed along.  This is the type of message I heard from the lips of Dutch Sheets.  Dutch was one of the speakers at the CBN Week of Prayer 2014.  He delivered a message he called “An Appeal To Heaven”, which I feel is a word for the Body of Christ in this nation.  I believe that if you take the time to read this blog, you will agree with my assessment.   I have received permission from his ministry to give to you the essence of his message in my blog.
The Synergy Of The Ages
            As I mentioned, Dutch was the Executive Director of Christ for the Nations, which was founded by Gordon Lindsay.  God spoke to Dutch that he was to agree with the prayers of Gordon Lindsay.  Dutch thought to himself, I can’t. he’s dead.  God said to Dutch, “his prayers aren’t, and until this generation comes into agreement with his prayers, I can’t fulfill them.”  Then God gave Dutch a concept, “the synergy of the ages.”  Synergy can be defined as the interaction or cooperation of two agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of the separate parts.  God was speaking to Dutch that he wanted this present generation 
to agree with the  prayers of previous generations, which will not just add to their prayers but multiply themHe knew that he could agree with people sitting next to him, but he never realized he could agree with the prayers of past generations.
            This motivated Dutch to start studying among other things, Hebrews 11, which we refer to as the hall of fame of faith. He noticed in v. 39b-40,  yet none of then received all that God had promised. For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can’t receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race (NLT).  God began to reveal to him that there is an inter-connectedness of God purposes where we need them (past generations) and they need us.  God will promise us something knowing that he will fulfill it through our children or our grandchildren.  When God saw Abraham he perceived the twelve sons of Jacob.

Put Yourself In The Storyline
            God started to reveal some miraculous things through visions by night that would speak to Dutch.  A lady he knew had a dream where there were seven ambulances lined up with their lights flashing.  She looked into the first ambulance and saw an angel trying to revive a body.  The angel looked at her and said, “we can’t find a heartbeat.”  She peered in the other six ambulances and the same thing was happening.  One of the angels told her these are the intercessors.  Then an angel in one of the ambulances screamed, “I have a heartbeat but it is very faint.”  One of the other angels asked, “how did you get this to happen?”  The angel responded, I began to tell them of revivals past and as I told the old stories the heart started to revive.  The angel said, “tell the old stories,” and commenced to mention the First Great Awakening and the Second Great Awaking, people like the Finneys and the Wesleys.  Then the angel said something very interesting to the women in the dream, “put yourself in the storyline.  Those revivals are your revivals; they are just another act in the same play.”  Dutch realized that God was saying to him to get in the storyline.   There is a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on and saying that if we don’t get with it, they (generations past) don’t get finished what they started.

Everlast And Evergreen
            A man had dream that added another part of what God was speaking to Dutch.   In this dream Dutch was a boxer.  He boxed five giants and knocked out all five.  He alternated hands.  The first round he knocked out a giant using the right hand.  The second round he knocked out the giant with the left hand.  For five rounds he did the same using alternate hands.  He (Dutch in the dream) says, “if you are going take out the giants you are going to have wear these two gloves.”  On one glove was written Everlast and on the other the inscription, Evergreen.  And that was the end of the dream. 
            Dutch thought he understood what Everlast is all about.  He has been studying about the everlasting God.  In Genesis 21:33 in Hebrew you have Olam El, “the Eternal God”.  It’s the God of infinity in both directions, past and future.  In this portion of scripture, Abraham was calling on the everlasting God.
            Abraham had made some pretty major blunders in his life.  He had been deceitful and lied about Sarah being his sister to insure his safety.  He had compromised his faith by allowing Sarah to convince him to father a child through her slave Hagar.  In calling on Olam El, the everlasting God, he was saying that God’s purposes were eternal.  In spite of Abraham’s flaws, and the weaknesses of the patriarchs (their story in part reads like a soap opera) he believed that God (Olam EL)was bigger than their weaknesses. If we think God is going to answer our prayers because of our goodness, we are on the wrong track.

The Tamarisk Tree: An Everlasting Covenant
            So Dutch has a handle on Everlast, but what is Evergreen all about?  As his role as the Executive Director of Christ for the Nations he had to choose the speaker for the graduation ceremony.  This particular year he made an unusual choice.  Instead of a preacher or teacher he picked a military man.  At the end of his speech, the military man took out a flag that some of the founding fathers of this nation had flown before we had our present flag.  He brought it to give to Dutch.  He unfolded the flag and it had the phrase on it, “An Appeal To Heaven” plus an evergreen tree.  Dutch said to himself, “I am going to get the other glove.”
            The speaker explained the significance to the evergreen tree.  The tree was put on the flag because of the influence of the Iroquois Nation.  They had an Iroquois Confederation, where they joined with other Native American tribes in a covenant relationship.  They took weapons and buried them at the foot of an evergreen tree.  They were saying that we will fight with you and never against you.  This is where we got the expression “bury the hatchet”.  They chose the evergreen tree because to them it was a symbol of eternity (never losing its leaves or ever changing).  The flag expressed that our founding fathers would “Make An Appeal To Heaven” based on an eternal covenant.
            In Genesis 21:33, before Abraham called on the name of Olam EL, the Everlasting God, he planted an evergreen tree. Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba(v 33).  A tamarisk tree is an evergreen tree.  It is a very slow growing tree.  It has been said that no one plants a tamarisk tree for himself, but for future generations.  .  One lexicon has said that in planting this tree, Abraham was saying to future generations that you will sit under the shade of my covenant with God.  At this point, Dutch asked this question,  “Is this not what we are doing today?  Sitting under the shade of the efforts and covenants of previous generations.  We must commit ourselves to God’s eternal purposes.  Not ours, but His.”

Reaping The Harvest Of The Ages
            You are not going to believe this, the story continues on through yet another dream.  One month after Dutch is given the flag a friend of his has a dream.  The man who had the dream waits three months to pray it through to make sure it is from the Lord before he tells Dutch.
            In this dream the man finds himself in an old camp meeting style building.  An old gentleman comes up to him and says “let me show you around.” He takes him up to the platform and puts him on a stool.  The gentleman points to the window and they see ships coming to shoreline.  They were the Puritans and Pietists.  Several thousand make a procession into the room and start worshiping the Lord.  He looks out the window again and he sees pioneers.   Sure enough covered wagons appear.  Then they make their processional into the building while the previous generation cheers, “well done, thanks for keeping the dream alive.” Then a third generation comes in and the old man says, “They are the planters.” They built the railroads, the towns and the cities.  They march in to the cheers of the previous generation.  Six generations came and the old man points to automobiles and airplanes.  Then our generation comes in and there are seven generations in the room worshiping the Lord.  Dutch then asks a rhetorical question “Is this the synergy of the ages?”
            Then the old gentleman looks at a double door and a Pilgrim comes through it and goes up on a metal bridge that was over the platform.  He begins to prophesy about the destiny of this nation.  Five more generations do the same.  Then it’s our turn, our generation, and the old man says to him, “Are you ready to take your place “in the synergy of the ages?”  The man like Dutch had never heard this expression.  The man answers, “yes I am.” The double door opens and a delegation from our generation, the 7th, enters and Dutch is the last person in the delegation.  Dutch gets up to the top of the bridge and the man in the dream notices he has something in his hands.  None of the other speakers carried anything.   Dutch unfolds a white flag.  Quickly Dutch says to his friend who had the dream, “was there and expression on it?  Did it say, “An Appeal To Heaven?” The man replies, “yes, how did you know?”  This man doesn’t know anything about the flag that Dutch was given.  With a look of rising expectation on his face, Dutch says, “did it have a evergreen tree on it?”  The man says, “yes.”  Dutch is speechless as the answer resonates in his spirit.  He has goose bumps on top of goose bumps.  In the dream for about ten minutes he doesn’t say anything, he stands on the bridge and waves the flag in a figure 8 (the symbol of eternity.  Then he starts to prophesy and the last thing he says is “America is returning to the ancient path to reap the harvest of the ages.”

My Reaction
            Like many Christians in this nation, I have been very concerned about what seems to be the downward spiral of this country.  At certain turn of events I have been downright disgusted and angry.  But after hearing this message there was a flicker of hope in my heart again.  I thought to myself, maybe it is not too late to pray for this land.
            God has blessed the American people but in many ways I think we have become proud of the blessing.  We have started to believe that God has prospered us because of our goodness or greatness.  We have started to worship the provision rather than the provider, God.  The Jewish people were not chosen because they were special.  They were special because they were chosen.  It’s not about America but God purposes. But saying all this, Americas have been called to be a missionary sending people, a light to the nations.  Pray with me that we will return to the ancient path, and be blessed to be a blessing. 
            Please pass this along to anyone who you might be interested in agreeing with the prayers of pass generations to see God purposes accomplished on this earth.  Give it to those who want to make “An Appeal To Heaven” to reap the harvest of the ages.

I would be very interested in your comments.  and the spirits of the prophets are
subject to the prophets;
(I Corinthians 14:32 NASB)





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Truth Will Set You Free

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;  and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
(John 8:31-32 NASB)

Modern Culture and the Truth
            Tim Keller in his sermon "Absolutism" defines how much of the world looks at absolute truth and freedom.  Keller makes the case that the modern mindset is that Christians believe they have absolute truth and what everybody should believe and practice.  They believe that Christians try to limit our freedom and end up oppressing people. To be free, according to modern thought, everybody should be able to determine for themselves what is right or wrong.  This probably came about from the influence of the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who reasoned somewhat like this. You say we should accept the truth of the Word of God.  Why do you want us to this?  Is it a power play so that you can control us and take away our freedom?  Now, before we totally write off Nietzsche we have to remember that Jesus Himself accused the Pharisees of the same thing.  He exposed how they used a set of laws (mostly man-made) to manipulate, control, and take advantage of people.  They tried to make people live in a manner that they weren’t able to do themselves. But just because you have groups of religious people who use what we might call tainted truth and apply it in an unrighteous manner, doesn't mean there is not legitimate truth that produces righteous results.  The outcome of this mentality is we have two conflicting worldviews.  One that says that absolute truth produces a loss of freedom.  And another supported by the Bible, which purports that without truth you have no real freedom.

There Are No Absolutes?
            The type of thought mentioned above leads to the belief that all truth is individually determined.  The statement that "there are no absolutes" is in essence is an absolute statement.  Did you hear about the perceptive student in a philosophy class?  When the professor opined, "there are no absolutes", said "are you absolutely sure"?  A world without unchanging guidelines as to how things work produces chaos.  I once heard Ravi Zacharias tell a story that shows the absurdity of a life without absolutes.  A person who worked in a factory would walk past a clock shop and stop and adjust his watch every day.  One day the clock shop owner asked him why he did this.  The man said that he was in charge of blowing the four o’clock whistle at the factory.  He was ashamed to admit that his watch did not keep very good time.  The shopkeeper replied that he hated to let him know, but his clock in the clock shop did not work very well either.  He adjusted his clock every day according to the four o’clock whistle at the factory.  Without unchanging standards to guide our lives we are as clueless as the shopkeeper and the factory worker were about the time of the day.

The Word (Truth) Became Flesh
            In John 1:14a (NASB) the Bible states, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. Word in the Greek is logos.  It is the written or absolute word. It is the root from which we get our word logic.  It was used a lot by the Greek philosophers to discuss the absolute meaning of life.  Remember Nietzsche and his crowd said that Christians absolutes were power plays to make people virtual puppets.  John blew a hole right in the center of this reasoning when he said, “The Word (or truth) became flesh.” There is an absolute word but it was not given to us in a list of dos and don’ts, rather in a person, Jesus Christ.  There are guidelines as to how we are to live but they are presented to us on the basis of relationship and not an impersonal legal contract.  If the rules we follow come from a legalistic list of requirements, the freedom we lose to follow them seems to come only from one side, ours, which can appear to be dehumanizing.  But if the absolute is a person, who has already proven He is willing to give up his freedom for us by dying on the Cross, we love, follow, and serve Him, not out of fear but love.  Not because we have to submit His wishes, but because we want to yield to His reasonable requirements.  The freedoms we lose are administered on the basis of a loving relationship where both parties are willing the highest possible good for the other.  And though, we don’t always love and live out our commitments to Him perfectly, His perfect love never changes and is unconditional in nature.  Who, my friends, could not serve a God like this?  As it says in II Corinthians 5:14a (NKJV), “For the love of Christ compels us”, it does not force us.  Embracing Christ is the only way to be truly free.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36 NASB).
            A song written by John Newton expresses this thought with these lyrics.
Our pleasure and our duty,
Though opposite before,
Since we have seen His beauty
Are joined to part no more.

To see the law by Christ fulfilled
And hear His pard’ning voice,
Transforms a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.