This was a word for Elim Church Dunedin given on Easter Friday 2020, but is an encouragement for anyone who considers themselves a follower of Jesus.
Over the past few months God has been impressing on the hearts of our leadership of God's intention to RESET the church. It means resetting how we do church, how we do family, and how we personally follow Jesus. We need to reset our priorities and tune in to what God is saying to us in this season. Obviously, since then our nation has gone into lock-down and we cannot do things the same way anymore even if we wanted to, so this has taken on a new signficance.
God is Calling Us Close
Most importantly, God is calling us to Himself. Ps. Then Hon Chew heard the Lord say "I am turning off the world to draw attention to me, the Lord, your God." These exceptional circumstances requires us to no longer look to others or structures to find our source of strength, but to find strength in Him, to find peace in Him, and to find rest in Him.
In this time, as we go deeper with God, He is going to be building us up.
When this word was shared on Easter Friday, one of our members opened up her journal and shared the words God had given her several days before. It captures the heart of God so beautifully I have included it here (I couldn't have written it better!)
God is going to reveal himself deeply, personally, and in the quiet to His people - to the lovers of Christ. He comes close, drawing near. In our solitude, we find the spirit of the Lord lingering for a moment with our hearts. He is going deeper and more personal in this time of 'isolation'. Sometimes God makes us lonely by worldly standards and meets us in the midst of that, to consume our hearts with His love. God is coming close. Meet with him, dwell in him. And when He releases you to the world again you will step out covered in a shroud of the presence of the living God.
And passion will ignite among his people. (Anika Durham, 22-3-2020)
The Shepherds Crook
"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:35-36
Just as Jesus personally went throughout the towns and villages, He is personally entering our homes and families and workplaces in this time. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not restricted in any way.
And the truth is we are not sheep without a shepherd. Some of us are certainly feeling harrassed and helpless right now, but Jesus is the good shepherd who has compassion on his people. The word is to rely on Him and rest in Him.
I received a picture of Jesus standing at the sheep pen with a shepherds crook. This is not like a staff which is used to hit and strike, but has a hook on the end which is used to draw sheep closer, to redirect and to ward off predators. It is a sign of his love and care (and also ownership - these are HIS sheep).
In the picture He began to spray paint each of the sheep in bright colours. The flock became a collection of technicolor spots!
Jesus is marking out his people. The colors represent new spiritual gifts, new roles, new positions.
some will receive their own shepherds crook and are being called to lead in their families or to care for the flock.
some will discover they need to pivot; to take what they used to do and use it in an entirely new way
some will start whole new careers as a result
The sheep are not confined to a holy huddle, cowering in fear or anxiety. Instead the church is to be alive and vibrant, just like this easter graphic! (which was actually designed weeks before this prophetic word).
The Crayon Bucket
I am a firm believer that the Holy Spirit doesn't just prophesy through individuals but is speaking to others at the same time and will confirm the Word of God in some way (Col 3:16). Here's a funny story that someone shared that does just that.
"When I heard the word this morning about God painting us different colours I was taken aback. On Tuesday night I was spending time with God. I was trying to talk with him about something and as I was doing this I kept noticing a box of crayons on our mantle. They became a distraction, so much so, that I eventually jumped up, opened the box, tipped them out and said;
"Lord, what colour am I?"
I started scribbling the colours on a piece of paper. After a while I thought I''m distracting myself, what am I doing? Get back to talking with God.' It played on my mind a little and didn't make sense to me until I heard this word of God painting us different colours!
How encouraging is our God? I was so surprised, well I thank God. He told me what colour I am and what it means is so encouraging." (Barbara Matheson,10-4-20)
Take a moment to ask the Lord what colour He has marked you with.
What is the first color or image that comes to mind? (don't overthink it)
Now ask the Lord for a word or phrase that gives a reason for that colour.
What signficance does that colour and/or word have for you?
Share this with a friend and pray for further wisdom to respond to what God has shown you.
Colours may have their own symbolic meaning in the context of a biblical story or vision. e.g. red = blood of Jesus, purple = royalty, white = pure, but God can also use a specific colour to speak to you in your own context.
Here is an example of a specific colour God showed me and the word of encouragment He had for the person He had spray painted LIME GREEN.
Where is the green sheep?
Funnily enough, in keeping with the theme of this prophetic word, in the story all the sheep were different colours! Spoiler alert, but at the end of the story we finally find the Green Sheep curled up fast asleep, with a contended smile on his face.
This helped me understand the word of encouragement for this individual. They were feeling the pressure that everyone wanted something from them right now.
However, God says it is time for resting in Him.
The good shepherd carries the lamb, not always becuase it is injured, but because He loves to have the lamb close to his heart. God is going to carry this person and they can relax and enjoy guilt free rest.
God is calling you to Himself
No matter whether this season of lock-down finds you with more time on your hands, or you are more busy than ever, God is calling you to Himself. Be encouraged that as you turn to Him for your strength and rely on Him, you will not be disappointed. The Holy Spirit will not only minister to you in your own home and heart, but use you to minister to others in your own unique way.
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace."
Pops of Colour
For further encouragement of what God is doing in the church right now, watch this prophetic vision shared by Vicki Simpson with her (very colourful) Rubik's cube.
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