Restoring the Sound of Glory

Isaiah saw the Lord elevated upon His throne with the hem of His robe filling the temple. He saw the burning ones – seraphim – and the Glory filled the temple. Isaiah heard the sound of Glory, a combination of the roar of God’s consuming fire, the swoosh of the fiery ones who rush around Him with constant movements of flaming urgency, and the deep tremors of Glory that shook the door, or the temple’s full measurements, (the Hebrew word for “cubits”).

Isaiah heard the restoration of the sound of Glory in the place marked for its release. The temple had been without the sound of Glory, and Isaiah sees what Israel and her temple should be like. More importantly, he experiences the reality of the nation chosen as God’s heritage among the nations in its cultural norm. The one place on the earth where Glory was supposed to be was now experiencing Glory again.

Remember, when Solomon dedicated this temple, God’s fire lit the altars and Glory filled the temple so even the priests could not enter it. Isaiah sees what happened: seraphim and cherubim accompanied His presence at the moment of dedication, and Israel saw the reality that the architecture represented. The inner walls of the temple revealed both palm trees and cherubim, and the cherubim carry Glory on their shoulders, a heavenly chariot carrying Glory where God wishes to go. This is specific to the Hebrew in verse 1: “lifted up” translates “nasah,” which means, “carried or lifted.”

When Glory arrives, carried by cherubim, the seraphim accompany Glory. The fiery ones move quickly with a “swoosh” as their wings cut the spiritual atmosphere and the fire propels them about with continual motion. They operate all around Glory, precede and accompany with Glory, and announce Glory by altering the atmosphere before and around Glory with fire.

The Sound of Glory

Glory has a spiritual sound, heard by spiritual ears. The sights and sounds of Glory manifest when God reveals Himself so “the knowledge of Glory” becomes available. However, Glory fills the entire earth. So, we are hearing Isaiah describe a spiritual experience in which He experiences Glory, and one predominant theme of Glory: the sound of Glory with the roar of God and burning fire.

The sound of Glory comes from who God is because Glory is manifestation of His character. The seraphim cry one to the other as an announcement of spiritual realty, “Holy and Holy of Holies is the Lord or armies!” These words shift the atmosphere with the power of prophetic or revelatory declaration, just as our worship can shift atmosphere when our worship declares the character of God.

As this declaration is released, accompanied with the roar of God’s glory and fire, the dimensions of the temple shake and tremble. (The Hebrew word for “posts of the door” is the word, “cubits.”) The sound shakes them! “At the voice of the one who cried” clearly points to the shaking, as the sound of announcement, in the atmosphere of Glory, with the release of fire, the entire structure from foundation to roof responds to the spiritual vibrations.

“The entire earth is filled with His glory!” This phrase declares the design and desire of God to manifest His glory or have it manifested everywhere. God chooses Israel as His heritage so that He will have a nation through which to release and reveal His character and Glory, and the temple was the place from which this manifestation was to begin. He always wanted all the nations to come and appear before Him, but He could not dwell in the temple if His heritage was not worshipping Him with holy hearts and lives.

Isaiah sees a reset of the Glory and kingdom by a reset of its purpose: to fill the entire earth with God’s Glory by investing His Glory in the temple and culture of one nation, Israel. The sound of Glory and fire completely alter the atmosphere of a place and the character of the people of that place.

A few years ago in Sao Paulo, Brasil, as we were worshipping prophetically, the roar of God came into the building. Coming in from behind the platform, the worship team was first impacted. The sound of Glory moved steadily into the right side and then the left side. People immediately experienced the roar of God as it came up to the row in which they were standing in worship, and their response was observable. People were worshipping in one way declaring Glory, then they were responding to Glory as the roar of God moved from the front to the row where they were standing.

As the roar came through the right side, among the many things happening all at once, a lady seated on that side – the only person sitting down – seemed to be untouched by Glory. I remember stepping to the very edge of the stage and speaking to her. “Stand up!” I said, but she didn’t understand English. My interpreter was not functional at this point because of the Glory. I said again, “Stand up!” with a commanding voice. I was being motivated in speech by the Glory, with an insistent boldness. “Stand up!” I said again. I didn’t know that she could not stand up, had come in wheelchair and been helped to her seat.

Her daughter next to her realized what I was saying and leaned down to tell her what I was saying. As I watched, her face changed with understanding that my words were words of response to the Glory, so she could respond to Glory. She stood up! Healed and strong!

This was only one of hundreds of things going on at the same time as the roar of God came into the room. Glory has a sound!

Isaiah’s Revelation

Immediately the roar of God manifested, Isaiah experiences revelation of God’s character and the judgment of the sound coming from Isaiah and the culture of Israel. The stark contrast between God’s character and theirs becomes immediately apparent.

“Woe is me! I am silent, emptied out, turned inside out, and revealed!”

“Woe” means “hopeless despair.” Isaiah understands his powerless incapability to be as God is and as God would design and desire Him to be, and the hopeless despair of Israel being what God designed and desire the culture to be. What is the source of this revelation? The sights and sounds of Glory!

The Hebrew word can be understood as “cease to be, cut off, or silent.” The sense of Isaiah’s cry would be one of unworthiness but much more. He is not simply recognizing his unworthiness, but his inability to be what Glory expects him to be.

Glory always reveals purpose. Glory reveals Isaiah to be radically short of purpose. Glory reveals Isaiah to be radically incapable of measuring up to purpose, just as the temple without Glory trembles in all its cubits when Glory restores its purpose.

Isaiah hears the sound of Glory and is emptied of the sound he has been producing as part of a culture called to release Glory that has lost the sound of Glory!

With despair of any hope, he cries out his last gasp of inadequacies, emptied of sound, and silent with, Isaiah stands in the atmosphere of quivering, trembling, resonating Glory.

As nearly all of you who know FreedomMinistry International are aware, we pray for everyone every session of a FreedomMinistry seminar, and I like to put on a CD or play worship music during this ministry time to allow everyone to receive ministry. For the first years of FMI, I used a particular worship CD that released anointing in me, that had the sound of Glory in it. Both in the US and the nations, we played this CD as we ministered to thousands of people.

One night as we prepared for ministry time, I said to the people in the sound booth, “Please put on the worship CD now. We are going to minister to every person in the building who wants ministry.” But when they music started, almost immediately I said, “Stop! Put on another CD, please.” The worship CD we had used hundreds of times had no sound of Glory on it anymore. I assumed it was simply time for a new worship sound.

About ten days later, returning to Jacksonville, I learned that at the very time the sound of Glory was no longer available on that worship CD, that worship leader had left his wife for another woman. He lost the sound of Glory from his voice, even from the CD’s through which God was releasing that sound into nations!

Isaiah recognizes that he has no Glory in his voice, and the entire culture of Israel has lost the sound of Glory from its culture. “I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips. I am emptied out because I have seen the King, the Lord of armies!”

Restoring the Sound of Glory

When Isaiah cries out his empting despair, the last vibrations of fleshly cacophony drained from his soul, a burning one rushes to the altar and picks up a coal with tongs, then rushes to Isaiah and puts that coal on Isaiah’s lips.

The seraph declares, “Your sin is atoned. Your iniquity removed.”

The sin of Isaiah and the culture of Israel? The failure to fulfill purpose, to live out assignment, misrepresenting the Lord of armies, and releasing a sound of religion and human opinion instead of the sound of Glory. The coal from the altar of atonement made Isaiah’s point of covenant breach the sacrifice for a consuming fire! The iniquity that served as the source of this sound was removed at the source! The restoration of the sound of Glory could now begin.

The temple was constructed, as the tabernacle before it, to represent in natural ways the reality of what Moses had seen in heaven while on the mountain of God in Sinai. “See that you build it exactly as I’ve shown you,” God says. The tabernacle and temple were built to represent the reality of heaven so the reality of Glory and fire could be housed on earth, so God could come and stay awhile.

However, even the appearances and perceptions of heaven, though prophetically accurate, cannot represent and release Glory and fire when the source of those sounds is iniquitous. The essence of our understanding of iniquity should be “recompense” or “limitation upon what should be expanded.” Iniquity and curse run along hand in hand. When we understand either and both properly, we understand that Glory and fire cannot be released and represented by people who substitute for that manifestation of God with their own glory and fire.

Glory will not stand misrepresentation. Glory will rest upon and surround imperfect people, but Glory cannot be released in mixture. The whole concept of cleansing iniquity speaks to ridding the source of release of substitution and mixture.

The seraph places the coal at the point of sacrifice, upon what must be submitted to God, surrendered to God, in order for it to become what it was designed and defined to be. This is the sense of “holy” that we must experience.

“Holy” means “uncommon.” The sense of “holy” is singular in purpose. “Holy” means that a specific purpose defines something and any other purpose for that something would violate or substituted for its purpose.

That is why you can do good things and be a good person, love and care, share and embrace, pray and sing, but never experience Glory – because Glory rests, releases, and represents purpose. If or when you choose your own purpose, no matter how wonderful that purpose may be, Glory watches and waits, on pause in terms of manifesting, because Glory manifests God in order to reveal His character and purpose.

“Holy, holy of holies,” is the King, the Lord of armies. He rules His purpose, fights for His purpose, and manifest Himself in His purpose, so the buildings, people, altars, words, prayers, and offerings that manifest His purpose are those that manifest the purpose for which He created them.

Who Will Represent Heaven?

Immediately Isaiah is purged of iniquity and atoned for sin, a restoration of the sound of Glory becomes available. This is why God shows up in the first place. God comes to reset the sound of Glory, and He starts with a representative of Glory.

“Who will I send to represent Us?” Isaiah, silent a moment before his encounter with purging fire, boldly responds from a new source of sound with in himself, “I will. Send me.”

To represent heaven, you need the sound of heaven within you. The sound of heaven represents heaven, manifests Glory, vibrates in your foundations, so it can vibrate the foundations in others. To shift the culture, God sends one person with the sound of Glory. In this case, as we read further, we understand that God is sending Isaiah to a people who will not hear, empty out, or respond, and Isaiah is sent with instructions to continually release the sound that rests with in him even though no one is listening. “Keep releasing that sound until there is not one there!” Perhaps the sense of these words continues to be: “Keep releasing the sound in hopes that someone will listen, Isaiah, but when they do not, keep releasing it anyway.”

You can concert, conference, convention, and conduct anything in His Name you wish, nobly and sincerely, with a history of understanding about what that looks, sounds, appears, and communicates, but until you pray, worship, prophesy, preach, live and breath a manifestation of Glory, you do not represent Jesus!

Personal Disciplines to Mature the Prophetic

The term “discipline” describes any process or behavior that produces maturity. Self-discipline describes process or behaviors produced by strength of will. In one sense, all discipline is self-discipline even when the discipline received comes through a leader. Submission to that leadership or “following,” applies the discipline. Discipline and punishment differ in both intention and application.

Discipline produces maturity through endurance. Discipline comes through our response to principles and protocols. Doing things “right” leads to doing things with greater power, precision, and maturity.

For prophets and people who operate in the gift of prophecy, maturity comes through the application of principles and protocols in the prophetic process. The prophetic process begins with revelation; it starts in perfection because it starts with the mind and heart of God. Immediately the process engages humanity, the process meets principles and protocols, the disciplines of function that help maintain the integrity of the prophetic process.

Revelation, communication, interpretation, application, and implementation. No particular of the prophetic process functions within a vacuum or as a stand alone void of further purpose or strategy. Revelation does not function in solitude even when the revelation is completely personal: Holy Spirit teaches us by revealing things but this is not technically “prophetic” even though it involve knowing and learning by spiritual means.

Therefore, for those functioning as prophets or operating in the gift of prophecy, personal disciplines that mature the people involved in the process matures the process. Mature the people, and you help to mature the process.

Your Words

Prophecy communicates revelation. Until communication occurs, nothing prophetic has happened. To be technical, we may receive revelation from God that is not prophetic. Prophetic activity involves communication. The word, “prophetes,” combines “forth or before” with “communicate, speak, bring to light.” Thus, prophecy means, “speak or communicate openly or make known (what is hidden).” Revelation received requires communication to be prophetic. Moving revelation into communication may be as simple as writing in your journal but requires communication to be prophetic even if you are communicating with yourself at that point in the process.

Therefore, a vital personal discipline for a prophet or someone functioning in the gift at a more mature level would be to guard your tongue, to discipline your communications, to watch over what comes out of your mouth, and to speak with increasing maturity as a person whether that communication is prophetic or not.

A consistent, personal, and spiritual battle surrounds revelation that involves the prophetic person’s speech patterns and habits. This battle occurs at the heart for communication is the overflow of the heart. Anyone engaged in revelatory process encounters a pattern or cycle of testing temptation toward impurities, foreign objects, filters, forgeries, interruptions, and hacking from the enemy. Count on it. Prepare for it. Engage in intentional disciplines to avoid being victimized by the methods of hell to pollute and pervert your heart in order to pollute and pervert revelation.

Your Ears

“He that has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit says.” Communication often arrives in words, language, and conversation. So, the purity of your conversations, language, and words may become extra important in the maturing of your function and operation. All people involved in prophetic function and operations must learn to speak or write what they “hear.” They must become good listeners or adept at selective, discretionary, and discerning hearing.

Listen for God’s secrets with ears that lack interest or attention in any sources of information contrary to His voice. By that I mean, that prophetic people have discerning ears that listen for God’s finished ideas. Beware the tendency to question God when you should be questioning everything and everyone but God. Prophetic people mature in listening to God because they grow up in their listening. They stop questioning the very leaders who would mature them into better listeners.

I am talking about listening with your spirit and your heart with speech recognition awareness. Mature prophetic people discern that “God doesn’t talk like that” and “that doesn’t sound like God.”

Gossip is murder. Fear of man is theft because it communicates to diminish people as a means of feeling better about our present condition or as a means of striving for something that does not belong to us. Pretense and exaggeration embellish, a lying spirit that discredits truth with exaggeration as a means of rebellion. What the heart embraces will overflow like a spring through the mouth.

Paul says value prophecy, put to the test all; take possession by grasping hold of what is good. “I’ve already heard it,” you say, “What do I do with the bad?” Now you are really talking the language of discerning listening! Mature listeners maintain a hold on good stuff when they hear it. They learn to dismiss things unworthy of attention across a broad spectrum of good, bad, meaningless, trivial, and distracting. The sense of Paul’s words speaks to listening for value and grasping hold of what is treasure.

Your Eyes

Revelation arrives through visionary impression, vision, trance, and “seeing with your spirit.” Many people see more than they hear. The imagery immediately requires processing, and the more quickly spiritual people move spiritually revealed things through spiritual processes, the more pure the communication of revelation becomes.

God will relate things visually that you recognize from natural world experiences but the processing of these images must immediately pass through a different process from the ones used by the natural man. “To the spiritual, all things are spiritual” does not mean that spiritual people cannot enjoy a painting without seeing some demonic or kingdom message in the brush strokes. What is does mean is that when spiritual things come into the spiritual person’s life, they process spiritual things spiritually.

So, make a covenant with your eyes! Turn away. Dismiss with your mind. Reject with your heart. Get mature in processing what you see. Do not fall for the presentations of the world! Stop the mesmerizing efforts of python cold!

Your Heart

Consider how the heart is the real source of prophetic function, gift operation, and revelation processing, even more than eyes and ears. From the heart of God through the heart of the prophet or prophetic person or seer or intercessor – words arrive and release, actions and activities move, filters and blockages form. “Above all, guard your heart; everything you do flows out of that spring-source.” No matter how perfect the revelation, mature the principles and protocols; a hard, impure, fearful, wounded heart will always produce some inferior communication, interpretation, application, and implementation.

Relationships in the prophetic person’s life will always be less than perfect. The issue is not perfect relationships and peoples around you, but the maturity of your responses, the unselfishness of your expectations, the priorities of your motives.

The enemy is after your heart, and the test exposes the maturity of your heart. No matter at what level the revelation empowers the prophet or prophetic leader; the heart of that prophet or prophetic leader provides a limit to the process. Elijah’s prophetic immaturity diminished his victory on Carmel. His heart condition was exposed by the immaturity of his expectations.

Interpreting Your Tests

Interpreting Your Tests

Perhaps David’s rejection became his open door to seeking God’s acceptance.

Key thought: A kingdom leader’s greatest battles prophesy his greatest destiny.

One thing is certain: the pathway of preparation for reset leaders is not peaceful, pretty, or panacea. Kingdom leaders face crucibles of intense personal pain, rejection, misunderstanding, abuse, solitude, and hopelessness.

Kingdom leaders learn to interpret their tests instead of cursing their tests, so the tests move them into maturity. Reset leaders often experience these tests uniquely as God teaches them proper responses to crises, responses that build character.

God positions Saul to contrast with David and reveal true kingdom leadership; what God saw in Saul was a heart short of passion for purpose. Israel demanded a king “like the other nations” when Israel had a purpose, so God gave them a king that answered to their perversion of purpose as a means of exposing that fatal flaw.

When the final harvest came for Saul’s reign, those seeds would be separated from planting for the next season. The people welcomed David’s new spirit of leadership. The days of Saul were forgotten.

What tests provided opportunities for you to develop character? I speak of the imperfect, brutal, abusive, terrorizing experiences through which God made a way for your development. Did you learn to curse the test or interpret the test?

David was not a coddled royal but a fledging reject sent to watch sheep to get him out from under foot. When Samuel shows up to anoint a king, David’s own daddy doesn’t even invite him to the dinner. David appears to have been a problem for the family, perhaps because he was illegitimate. At any rate, he spends a great deal of his time in solitude.

In all this, David develops excellent character by passing tests he interprets instead of repeating tests he curses. And, David turns to worship and prayer in these long hours of solitude. His passionate expressions of prophetic intercession mature his spirit, and he shares God’s heart for nations while sharing his earthly father’s heart for his sheep.

Risk Your Life for Someone Else’s Lamb

Key thought: Passion for principles and protocols shapes David’s heart so that he steps into a kingly anointing filled with spiritual understanding of kingdom.

David lives out the consequences of his values and beliefs. David responds to his challenges with the passion for Father’s principles.

When a lion comes into the valley, David could have said, “No one expects me to risk my life for a lamb.” David knows well that many ewes give birth to twins, that the loss of one lamb could easily be explained away, and that his father or anyone else would never know about the loss of one lamb. But David’s passion for principle says, “This my valley! No lion will conquer this kingdom!”

David responds to the roar of lion and bear with a sense of spiritual passion. When he later tells the story, he has the lingering sense of God’s enabling courage, strength, skill, and passion. He rises up as a shepherd the way a kingdom leader rises up for God’s dominion. He risks his life for someone else’s lamb.

Challenges to his assignment call up passion for principle: “I will do this because this is right.” David kills lions and bears on principle. He later responds to a giant with the same passion for principle!

Take care about jumping to the conclusion that David knew he was to be a king and acted out that anticipation. Nothing of that appears in the story. Because you know the rest of the story, you might say, “Well, David knew he would be rewarded, knew his destiny, so he responded to the lion and bear because of what he would gain someday.” Nope. David anticipating his kingship would more likely think: “I can’t risk my destiny as king of Israel over a few little lambs that no one will miss.”

David risks his life. Center on that thought. David takes that risk because of a principle for which he had passion. “No lion will take a lamb while I’m shepherd.” No reward seems forth coming from Jesse or his brothers. No shout sounds from heaven. David simply says, “Lions and bears will go to some other valley if they are hungry. They aren’t getting any lambs here.”

David quarantines the valley of sheep of lions and bears. Because he had passion for principle: “It just ain’t right that lions and bears eat my daddy’s lambs.”

The question, “From where does David’s heart come?” may be the wrong question. It doesn’t necessarily come from somewhere or someone in the sense that it is received or imparted. A heart like David’s is developed. It matures by the priorities it chooses, priorities that crowd out other considerations leaving room only for passion.

Understanding Discipline and Why God Disciplines

You wrestle, contest, and fight, like an athlete in a bout or a warrior in a battle. Your face your opponent at every step, turn, and meter of the race. Your opponent is sin. Father’s response to your struggle with sin is discipline – not punishment for the fact that sin surrounds you and you struggle with it, but discipline that prepares you to win and finish the race route you must complete.

The context of this discussion in Hebrews 12 uses the metaphor of the athletic contest: we are running the race that Jesus has run and won. The writer discusses Father’s discipline in light of “running the race” and “looking to Jesus, our Source and Resource for enduring faith.” The struggle in this marathon comes from “the well-placed sin that surrounds us.” The sense of “well-placed” opposition calls to mind that our opponent remains a part of the entire route set before us, and we face this opponent at every turn. The race lifestyle meets up with this opponent continually; while we might assume the race struggles with our own limitations and training, Father knows that we have the ever-present challenge of a satanic method to entangle our feet and trip us up.

“Looking to Jesus” means seeing the Champion who has run and won this race. His victory in the race conquered sin. We are running against the same opponent but must receive more than we can ever possess in training ourselves, so He endured the hostility of sinners. We endure the surrounding sin that seeks to entangle our progress; He endured the hostility of sinners because He had no sin. He ran through endurance as we do, but His race broke the back of the opposition in ways that provide us with what we do not have, what we must have to win the same race.

At this point in the discussion, the writer of Hebrews says, “In our marathon battle with sin, we have not yet experience blood loss.” Jesus did. We have not. Instead of shedding our own blood, which wouldn’t provide us what we need in any case, we see Jesus who did shed His blood; His contest did go that far, the hostility against Him much more severe than what we must endure to win.

We are struggling with sin, however, and in that struggle we receive what God knows we need to endure the battle and win the race! We receive Father’s discipline. Jesus sits next to Father, so we don’t die to win the race. He already did that shedding of blood, so Father provides what His death makes available through discipline. We can win this race because of Jesus! We can endure the opposition with a course of continuous victory because of Father!

Father Disciplines His Children

Father disciplines authentic children who run the race with His jersey on their backs. The discipline isn’t for every contestant. He does not discipline people who are not yet born of God.

That first premise of the discussion of discipline specifies the relationship in which discipline occurs. Father disciplines true children. He deals with others in a different way.

Father’s discipline is spiritual. When He spanks you, you will not see welts on your body or experience the physical pain of the whip. Sickness and disease is not discipline. Fathers of the flesh (verse 9) would produce physical pain in the process of discipline, in other words, but not the heavenly Father. While His discipline cannot be experienced physically, it is more real than what our earthly fathers can provide us.

We submit to this physical process of discipline, provided by natural fathering leaders, and we should submit even more readily to the spiritual disciplines of our Father.

If you have no spiritual birth, you cannot receive God’s spiritual discipline. You are not His legitimate child unless you are born of God. That doesn’t say God isn’t involved in your life that mercy isn’t fully functional, creating opportunities as each day dawns through which you can turn to Him. God is dealing with people who are not His legitimate children, but not dealing with them in discipline. Discipline is for His true sons and daughters.

Father disciplines because we need discipline to win the battle and finish the race. The race isn’t the battle. The race is the process. The struggle we have with sin could knock us out of the race, hinder our progress, or entangle us in ways that put us on the sidelines.

Discipline provides us what we need to continue running toward the “finish” Jesus has provided for us. Because authentic children receive discipline and others do not, we understand discipline in its valid, empowering function: discipline strengthens us so we overcome sin.

Jesus overcame sinners because He had no sin. He overcame the temptation and tests of sinfulness surrounding Him, but He had no sin within Himself or in His history. On the other hand, His victory in this race opened this marathon route to us so we can run the race He ran. Before Jesus, we couldn’t run on this track! That is, the race set before us is for Father’s authentic children who enter this race to finish the same route Jesus finished. Unless you are born of God, you can’t run this route at all. You would be entangled to the point of complete immobility at the first step. Father doesn’t discipline you if you aren’t an authentic child simply because you can’t run this race route at all.

Father’s Discipline for Endurance

“Discipline strengthens us so we can overcome sin.” The sin mentioned here surrounds us, entrenched all along this route, well placed with battlefield strategy, and alert to every opportunity the route and our running provides for attack.

Listen to what Scripture tells you about discipline, and you will embrace Father’s discipline with quiet, restful concentration. You will embrace a lifestyle of His discipline because you have learned that your own discipline does not produce the necessary endurance for overcoming entanglements.

If you could overcome without Father’s discipline, He would not be applying His discipline. If you needed something else, or already had something else you needed, He would not be prioritizing discipline as His response to your daily contest! Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Father knows what you need when you do not know what to ask for!

Discipline strengthens the will so you endure. Discipline strengthens your will so you continue to choose to empty yourself out for the next step, the next turn, the next marker while you stare ahead at Jesus as the only Goal post for the finish line. Discipline strengthens you.

Physical discipline profits little, and that kind of disciplined determination can help you understand Father’s spiritual discipline. However, physical and spiritual disciplines are so different that your strength of will to endure physical discipline limits your endurance of spiritual discipline. [Yes, that is what I said. Read that again.] Your greatest hindrance to winning this race is your own strength and wisdom.

Physical and spiritual disciplines are so different that your strength of will for physical discipline limits your endurance of spiritual discipline.

Physical discipline produces selfish determination and makes you strong. Spiritual discipline produces God’s determination – what He determines for your life and how you can achieve what He wants – and He makes you strong through your submission to His grace and strength. Father will discipline your life so that you become weaker in your own wisdom and strength so receive ultimate grace and Divine strength!

Father knows you need enabling grace and heavenly strength to run this race, so His method for providing that is discipline and your response to receiving that is submission.

Discipling people to be strong in themselves defeats the power of the Cross and Spirit and provides people with substitutes for grace and strength that only comes from God.

Discipline Strengthens Your Will to Submit

To know the love of the Father is to know the discipline of the Father. To know His love more deeply, submit to His discipline. To mature in love so you can experience Father’s love, you need to trust. You build trust by submitting, resting, and enduring.

What does that look like? It looks like a sweaty runner pressing muscles, stretching tendons, gasping for air and reaching the next level of endurance while fully at peace, rest, and joy with the process.

Champions do not skirt confrontations with the enemy, quit running the race to rest on the sidelines in their efforts to avoid the strains of competition. Champions rest while running; they are at rest in the midst of their enduring, weak with surrender to Father’s grace and strength, and at home with pressing through entangling encroachments of sin.

Rediscovering Discipling

Rediscovering the lost art of discipling will reset kingdom leadership in remarkable and powerful ways!

Many assume the term “disciple” means “follower.” It does not. Jesus did call people to follow Him so they could be discipled, because a person cannot be discipled when they do not follow.

Many assume the term “disciple” means “student.” It does contain that aspect of meaning but simply calling a disciple a “learner” does not adequately describe the process.

The term, mathetes, speak to a process by which a learner experiences what he or she learns from a discipler in order to “think the thing all the way through.” Jesus says, “It is enough, or the goal of discipling, that the disciple become like His discipler.” The consequences of what is learned, both by instruction and impartation, measured the success of discipling.

Discipling differs significantly from education in that it involves a more specific process; a learning process that includes shared experiences. Kingdom discipling functions spiritually, so the discipling process includes shared spiritual experiences. Disciple do not learn about things; they learn to be and do what the process is designed to make them become and accomplish.

Unless or until a disciple finishes the process, he or she fails in his or her discipling. They cannot cease being discipled until they reach the ultimate end.

From this profound foundation for kingdom leadership development, Jesus of Nazareth intends to build an Ecclesia that can displace every strategically positioned authority of Hades! Jesus intends to assemble, shape, fit into place, join without the sound of saw, hammer, or file, and solidify without fillers or cement a living stone building!

Ask yourself, “Have I ever been truly and authentically discipled? Have I followed God’s assigned pathway of preparation to its conclusion? Have I become like the One Who provides the discipling principles, protocols, and personalities?”

Jezebel Methods

“Jezebel his wife said to Ahab (her husband and Israel’s king), Do you not govern Israel? Arise, eat food, and let your heart be happy. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

Jezebel whispers, “Trust me. I’ll get you what you want.” She has uncanny ways of being available for people with a complaint, helping them voice their complaint. In this way, she is there when the moment is right for rebellion. Jezebel will partner with people angry or disgruntled and complaining that they aren’t getting what they want. She will blend rejection and rebellion into doubleminded confusion. She will assist you into a passive surrender to her control, giving you a sense of supernatural peace.

Step 1 – provide plausible justification for their false dreams, desires, and demands. Being king of Israel give Ahab no legal right to this property. The vineyard remains in the family through inheritance, and that inheritance is God’s law of the land. Jezebel justifies Ahab’s entitlement to something that doesn’t belong to him with an appeal to an exaggeration of a king’s authority and power. She actually accuses him of the very thing she will use to trap him: passivity. “You are too passive. So, be more passive, and I’ll get you what you want.” Jezebel influence produces this doublemindedness, an internal contradiction through which the person being mean preaches against meanness, Ahab believing someone is being mean to him or dishonoring him because he isn’t getting what he feels entitled to.

Jezebel operates well within people who entertain or harbor false expectations. She justifies their false expectations with quirky viewpoints filled with common misconceptions of false equality and falsified entitlement.

In this case, Jezebel redefines the power and authority of the king of Israel.

She says, “Forget God’s kingdom protocols for inheritance, private property, and justice. Exert your kingship. Establish new standards for justice. Making him feel strong, she is really saying, “Surrender to me and I’ll get you what you want. You are entitled to this vineyard. You are the king! God put you into that position, so He wants you to have what you dream, experience all to which you are entitled.”

Consider the common misconception of modern believers toward kingdom privileges and standing that assumes false equality and falsified entitlement: “I’m a believer. All believers are equal. All believers are entitled. So, I want that and I can have that because I want that.”

“Covetousness is idolatry,” Paul clarifies. Immediately you covet, you look for a source to provide what you desire. That source usurps God’s place of leadership, and you demand what God has not promised you. Jezebel loves idolatry because idolatry produces covetousness, thrives on covetousness, and assumes that the idol can be appeased so that you win the lottery of personal fantasy and false expectation. In a larger context of corporate influence, Jezebel creates the politics of envy through this deception.

Jezebel is at work, right now, in your life, to whisper in your ear, “Trust me. I’ll get you what you want.” Position. Power. “My own ministry.” Friendship. Money. Love. Name it and immediately Jezebel prophesies false destiny as a means of establishing herself as your source. You embrace a false deity to gain a false destiny.

Jezebel thrives on pride. Pride is delusion; a deception that assumes you should have something not yours or be someone you are not. Jezebel says, “Trust me. I’ll show you how to get what you want. That should be yours!”

Remember this: if you decide what should be yours, you will look for a source for your desires other than God. The very concept of deciding you should be the source of your dreams and desires initializes idolatry. The name, “Jezebel,” has “baal” in it. In this sense, it reads, “Without a lord, husband, or god.” The sense of her name alone hints at her character.

Step 2 – gain the surrender of the victim to her method. “Allow me to work for you. Relax. Be happy. Put your feet up emotionally and mentally about this and allow me to work. Feel the peace.” That is the “don’t worry; be happy” verse she sings. However, the source of peace and relaxation remains delusional and doubleminded. The victim surrenders to Jezebel and feels real, sustainable peace.

Immediately Jezebel victimizes a leader, that leader will gain greater pride and peace in their passivity. By assuming they have an enforcer for their desires, they seldom see themselves as victims of Jezebel. They have already bought and paid for the victim viewpoint that separates them from the legitimate authority and leadership God has provided.

In other words, Jezebel will convince a man that he has the right to something God has said is off limits just as satan convinced Eve to eat forbidden fruit. Jezebel whispers, “Trust me. I’ll get you what you want.” Next thing you know, a leader is in pornography, adultery of another sort, or leaving his wife. All the time, his mind and heart tell him how justified this behavior must be because the whisper of Jezebel and his own passive doublemindedness produce supernatural peace.

Jezebel will convince a woman to reject her husband’s leadership role with justification of his failures to live up to her expectations, her desires for ‘what isn’t really hers,’ or legitimate complaints about the very real feelings she has that Jezebel uses to diminish her inhibitions.

She surrenders to “peace” that comes when the relationship no longer requires her proper and legitimate participation because she redefines that participation along the lines of Jezebel’s method. Suddenly, the person supposed to meet her needs has been pushed into a corner while Jezebel works to provide substitutes for God’s design for marriage.

Apply this method to Ecclesia and kingdom leadership to uncover the hidden motivations at work. Desiring leadership when you have a leadership calling makes perfect sense. Desiring leadership position or authorization that isn’t yours or belongs to someone else immediately opens the door to the Jezebel whisper because it assumes that you are the source of what you should be and do. Jezebel loves to cut off Body parts but will be happy with dislocations if she has no leverage for ‘severage.’

She will dislocate a member at the place of joining so that this member loses function and becomes a liability to the rest of the Body.

Jezebel, by character, separates a victim from leadership submission. Jezebel means “without a husband, lord, or god” and translates into rebellion against assigned authority because that authority isn’t living up to false expectations. The deception that “I am free!” follows along with the “false peace” provided by the sudden end of struggle. The person struggling against their submission to authority suddenly feels “peace,” and feels convinced that they have had a breakthrough.

Step 3 – attack the voice of God to substitute Jezebel justifications for legitimate discipline. Jezebel’s character remains “without a leader.” Her appeal sounds perfectly sensible to people who wish to be a law unto themselves, lawless, or “have a problem with authority.” Jezebel makes perfect sense to a people who believe in false equality as a means of avoiding obedience and submission.

The greater the mindset of pretense, the more powerfully it opens the opportunity for Jezebel. Pretense is rebellion. Pretense is presumption. Presumption is pride. (In a different discussion, we could trace how Jezebel embraces religion because religion offers justification for substitutions based upon pride, pretense, and presumption.)

Jezebel always offers justification for pretense based upon erroneous presumptions. The presumption opens the door to pride. The pride opens the door to deception. The deception turns desire into sin. Desire becomes selfish ambition, and passion for purpose turns to striving to get from Jezebel what never yours in the first place!

“For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” [James 3:16]

Jezebel attacks the voice of leadership in marriage, family, Ecclesia, kingdom, and government. On a cultural level, she presses people into envy, entitlement, and equality that are all based upon false presuppositions about “rights.” Jezebels moves people toward a different voice, one that allows them to continue justifying their rejection of God’s order and God as their Source.

People feel peace about their passivity and deception when they surrender to Jezebel, of course, but they must continue to reinforce this peace by hearing voices that falsely prophesy consistent with their desires and destinies. These voices provide greater justification for their deceptions, until they can say “right is wrong and wrong is right” with a perfectly straight face, in a voice filled with passionate conviction.

When you hear that voice you recognize Jezebel’s tone of voice, a voice that lacks God’s heart or mind, but the person speaking may sound like a prophet in their sense of purpose and conviction. They will reinforce the validity of Jezebel’s point of view with Scripture and quotes from their new voices and sources that justify their rebellion.

The voices the person will appreciate least will be the very ones God sets into their lives because those voices will not tell them they can have what they want or be who they have decided to be. At some point they will say, “Well, I have freedom to choose. I have wisdom of my own. I hear God too!” At some point they will have Scriptures to prove, beyond discussion, that they have confirmations. Then, they will shut the mouths of all legitimate sources of wisdom and counsel with their doubleminded confusion.

Several months ago, I talked with a person I love and believe in as a kingdom leader who made really poor choices at one point in life. At that time, I was a leader speaking Truth, and this person rejected both my words and my leadership. Then, they rejected me personally to the point that they justified lying and cursing my ministry. The person later repented.

Looking back over the decisions that never produced what the person wanted and allowed the person to become what the person demanded to be. This person realized that all the voices that spoke to the contrary were voices sought out to justify rejecting the leaders God had put into that person’s life.

“I felt such peace when I listened to them. I felt such conflict when I continued to press for what you were sharing with me, Dr Don,” they said. “I went away from your leadership with peace because the Bible says that peace is the umpire, quoting Scripture to myself to justify my rejection of your leadership. I finally realized my justifications for God’s assignment on my life were not coming from God, but from my rejection and rebellion.”

Of course, I quote that Scripture to people all the time – “allow God’s peace to be the umpire” – because God’s peace is an umpire when you are standing in a good place. I explained to this friend that false peace comes when you abandon your place of alignment with kingdom leadership. False peace comes from a different source, and does not umpire at all; false peace eliminates your responsibility to choose between conflicting sources of information. Peace comes from surrender whether or not that surrender is to God.

Tragically, when Jezebel gets you what you want and enables you to pursue being someone you are not, having forfeited what God wants you to have and who God wants you to be, you awaken one day with the painful regret that you didn’t really want what you finally received!

The vineyard, once acquired, did nothing to satisfy Ahab.

The Way Home

The way home begins when you ‘come to yourself’ in real spiritual awakening. No matter what Jezebel supplies you, you remain unfulfilled. You fail to pursue God’s will for your life, chasing a Jezebel justified fantasy. Once you surrender to Jezebel so she can get you what you want, you begin walking the path that leads to what Jezebel wants. You end up with what Jezebel wants, not what you want, because you assume they are the same things.

If you still want what you want, you are not awakened. You have not hit bottom. When you do reach the end of that deception, you will be ready for what God wants you to have and who God want you to be.

Step 1 – overcome despair. Despair killed Judas. All the disciples forsook Jesus and returned, except Judas. He hung himself in the city dump because of despair. Despair is hopelessness. Despair says, “There is no way back. Learn to live with it, or learn to die with it.” Despair is a lie!

Despair will always get the better of you if you continue to run things in your own strength. Since you surrendered to Jezebel, the “after Jezebel” moment may cause you to surrender to despair. You require a different surrender.

The prodigal son recognized that surrender to his father would put him in a better situation than the surrender to a stranger. He came to himself and said, “I’ll go home and serve my father. At least I’ll eat. But I still will not ever be a son again.”

Note that he didn’t have any sentiment of “I’m going get what I want and deserve from God now that Jezebel failed me.”

You have not hit bottom and awakened when you continue to embrace the false expectations that opened your heart to Jezebel in the first place. The returning son had no such a sentiment, no residue of the subtle witchcraft that uses God and spiritual power for selfish ambition. That deception continues to produce striving behaviors because it assumes that “no leader” equals “freedom.” This means Jezebel remains in control of this victim through that person’s entitlement mentality. The person has not come to himself or herself in awakening at all if they continue to assume that coming home is just another way of getting what they want. They are simply looking for a different source, cycling back to Jezebel’s control. They are not in despair or danger of despair, just disgust. Their return will mean that leaders will continue to be a limitation to their destinies instead of Divine strategy.

When the person returns unawakened, they demand to be restored with experiencing restoration. They demand to be restored as a son or daughter by entitlement. They will create a greater sense of confusion by calling attention to their limiting leaders because those leaders cannot restore them when they continue to harbor rebellion.

The truly repentant person assumes hope lies in surrendering to God without questions or reservations. There is no longer a “who can I trust to get me what I want or make me who I want to be?” in the soul. Instead, there is an offering of self as a sacrifice to be consumed by God’s will through transformation. [See Romans 12:1, 2.]

Step 2 – fall upon God’s mercy. Mercy means, “I don’t get what I deserve; and, I get what I don’t deserve.” Mercy offers us the opportunity to fully surrender: “By the mercies of God offer your body as a living sacrifice.” Mercy produces the opportunity for sacrificial surrender; the door is wide open for full restoration! Fall upon God’s mercy!

Many people fail to properly discern the prodigal’s response to awakening. They assume that he understood that being a servant was better than eating with pigs. They interpret his return as “I will get a better situation for myself.”

The prodigal returns to father with the idea of being father’s servant because his disconnect with father remains in place, the very disconnect with father that caused him to leave in the first place. He has given up on being a son when he never functioned as a son in the first place! The prodigal son used his father to get what he wanted so he could be what he wanted to be. He rejected his father from the beginning.

When the prodigal came to himself, he didn’t see himself as a son. He did know that his father had a better sense of what he should want and who he should be than he did. He hit bottom and gave up on his own wisdom and strength and returned to seek mercy from father, not as a son, but a servant.

Some modern viewpoints seem to define both grace and mercy in ways that make this story sound different than it did in Jesus’ discussion of “lost and found.” A father cannot go get a prodigal son. A prodigal son has no basis for receiving him as a father. That is, the son wishes to be an employee because he remains dysfunctional in his sonship. His father doesn’t recruit him for employment in order to get his “son” back home. Hitting bottom, the prodigal lets go of his own false expectations and entitlement. He receives the father he didn’t wish to honor as his boss!

In order for the open door to Jezebel to be closed, the person must return to the place of pretense. There, they must surrender to God’s strategy.

God has a strategy for that person to “get what God wants” instead of what he or she wants. God has a strategy for that person to “be who God wants him or her to be” instead of who he or she wants to be. That strategy always includes leaders who are people, the father he left for a stranger.

Step 3 – receive the restoration of relationship to regain the fullness of inheritance. To inherit, you must become the person prepared and positioned for the purpose. The father restores a son, not a prodigal. “Prodigal” means “waster.” Inheritance wasted is not the same as inheritance lost. The father maintains the source of inheritance, so the fields the son left behind were continuing to produce, waiting for their true heir to return and work them again. (This really ticked off the elder brother.)

To be restored as a son or daughter, you should begin with your relationship with your father.

How many assume the restoration process means they should go choose a different father. They continue the “I’m in charge and I’m free to do what I want” mentality that opened the door to Jezebel influence in the first place!

If the father was not the problem in rebellion, the father will not be the problem in restoration. Return to the place of your last disobedience to step into your process of full restoration. Do not expect God to create a new inheritance for you somewhere else!

The Called-Together Ecclesia

While this is the most common launching pad of meaning for the term “ekklesia,” the meaning should be considered a bit more technical in nature than the sum of its parts. The term is a compound of two Greek words, “ek” and “kaleo,” that is certain, but the combination of their simplest meanings doesn’t produce our clearest understanding of the term, “ekklesia.”

Let us begin with a discussion of the word, “kaleo.” Certainly, its simplest meaning would be “I call.” Then, consideration must be made for the use of this simplest form. About a third of the time the word is used, it carries the idea of invitation, but more than two thirds of the time, the word means, “appointed, positioned, ordained, or designated.” Within this understanding of the root word from which ekklesia is built, we sense a more clear intention in the word we often translate “church.”

While the word kaleo denotes the idea, “to appoint, place, designate, position, or name” with equal substantive meaning, modern language no longer uses “call” for the concept “to appoint, designate, or position.” Previously in history, the king’s call or invitation to serve was equal to a royal appointment to a position, since none dared refuse the call of his monarch. Therefore, kaleo picked up a secondary sense of meaning from royal court protocol, a sense of inviting or bidding because an invitation from the king was equal to an appointment.

Now, let us apply this meaning to the term “ekklesia” and see that “invitation” does not enter into the meaning of the term. The “called” are “the appointed, designated, and positioned” with a sense of being placed. “Called together into assembly for a purpose” has a better sense of the meaning than merely “called out.” The “for a purpose” aspect of the meaning comes form the intentionality of the One calling them together.

For example, let us consider the words of Jesus: “I will build My ekklesia.” The sense that Jesus is inviting anyone and everyone to assemble and the gathered who respond to the invitation compose the Ecclesia does not fit the descriptors or purpose of His kingdom Ecclesia. The sense that Jesus builds an assembly of those positioned, appointed, and designated for a kingdom purpose does.

The “called together assembly” is built. Intentionality remains the impetus behind the assemblage, the building. Jesus does not throw out an invitation for everyone interested in hearing a Message and use that assembly to displace the strategically positioned authority of Hades. Jesus assembled appointed, designated, and positioned people from the kingdom, sets them into assignment, aligned with His kingdom leaders, and confronts existing entrenchments of the enemy.

This is not to say that gathering for other kingdom purposes are invalid, only to say that these gathering cannot fully define “ekklesia.”