Knowing What Is Next
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
In a dream I was on a visit at a family’s home right in the middle of a town. We were talking and walking around the back yard. There was a garden bed, it seemed 3 times bigger than my own garden at home. I had put this garden in for them, it seemed a while back. I remember building up the soil and measuring out the size of the bed, and planting seeds, and plants, in the garden for them, while they had been busy with life and family. I almost walked past it.
At first glance it looked over grown – with greenery, it hadn’t been taken care of. I didn’t see any thing ready for harvest yet. But when I looked closer and moved the overgrowth out of the way, I saw vegetables of all kinds: tomatoes, peppers, and onion, lots of vegetables ready to be picked. The garden was ripe and ready. Some over ripe, but nothing had perished yet. All the work had been done for this garden, it just needed harvested. I had planted it, but it was time for others to do their part. The Lord impressed upon me to look at the names, in the dream, to SEE the message and the Church. The name of the property owners in Hebrew meant:
The Store House Of Jehovah’s Flame.
There were children and babies in the house! “I looked up and saw a figure standing on the porch looking out. Their Hebrew name means “Where The King Meets.” In the arms of where The King Meets was “Rest.” It was up to the Flame of Jehovah to pull in the harvest. Flame represented the Zeal Of The Lord! All they had to do was harvest it, it was harvest time! A few things were at a fermentation stage but not lost. When I looked up I saw that they had fenced off their own land too narrow. It was suppose to be 4 times wider, and 3 times longer. This speaks of vision or the lack there of. (I’ll cover that in a moment). I was trying to get them to see their property line was farther down and wider than what they had fenced off. As far as the garden itself, the fruit was almost lost due to the lack of searching for a thing in its time, and season. They didn’t make the necessary effort towards WHAT IS NEXT, after cultivation, planting, and watering … that they clearly didn’t even have to do. There seemed to be no expectation for fruit. It was simply a matter of waiting for the fullness of the season for them, but the Store House Of Jehovah’s Flame, just walked past it all, pre-occupied with the back yard view. Clearly, this a form of spiritual blindness, on more than many levels, and I believe those plagued with this blindness are products of the institutionalized Church, that have a disconnect with who and what they are in the kingdom.
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months until the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ripe for harvest.Already the reaper draws his wages and gathers a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together. For in this case the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the hard work, and now you have taken up their labor.
We need to understand sequential processes that even nature teaches exist! To know what comes after … what is next, and look for it. The Kingdom of God is built upon the principles of agriculture and animal husbandry. Look at most of the Lord’s parables. Parables about plowing, sowing seeds, harvest, and threshing floors. Vineyard keeping. Stewardships, and debt settlements. All of these have one thing in common. That is natural order. Stages of activity required in any given season, that leads to the next. The bible says that there are times and seasons that are not for us to know that are in the Fathers hands. This has to do with Jesus’s return and the time of the end. All that is required of us is readiness and watchfulness. However, there are those things that are given into our hands to know. The time of harvest comes when it is time. It is “looked for, watched for.”
This dream tells me that there is a harvest that I’m in close proximity to, that is being neglected. From a personal level to a generational one. The laborers are so few, those looking and expecting for God to move are the only ones showing up for WHAT IS NEXT. As the sons of Issachar had wisdom to know times and seasons, so wisdom lines us up with God’s timing. An ability that knows what’s next, by observation and expectation of the demonstration and power of God- these are evident in those that walk in this because nothing will keep them from it! Pearls of great price, treasures in the field … are sacrificed for. But we cannot have passion in our slumber, no matter our zealous activity or activism; true passion seeks an awareness of what God is doing, and will be a part of it.
1 Ch 12:32 Of Issachar knowing times and seasons.
… And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brothers were at their commandment.
Commentary tells us this was a knowledge or gift they had that kept Israel on course, of them were 200 chiefs among the people. I believe the Body of Christ has this same kind of wisdom among us when we are operating properly. After all we are spiritual Israel. If members of the Body are isolated then they are cut off from the general concession in the determination of what IS NEXT, or left alone in it. Neither condition promotes the fulness of God, but I would rather go it alone into the field of harvest, possibly reaping another’s reward, than never going at all.
I’ve never seen the Lord do any thing random. One work, meeting, or outpouring, was in preparation for the season coming next. Yet, I’ve seen people step out of the order of God doing things that seemed a good thing to do, but they were cleverly disguised distractions. Equivalent to abandoning the plow in the middle of the field, in order to go build a barn. Failing to see that if that field doesn’t get plowed and seeded, in the right season, there will be no need for a barn! The worker of God needs wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; with their zeal, and fervor, to be most affective in the moment they are in. Above that they must believe in purpose. For everything there is a time, and season under the sun. They need to know, by the Spirit of God, the instrument that they are, and giftings surrounding them. Purpose is aborted when the purpose for conception is never realized. People abandon the natural process of what is next because they are either blind to it, or oblivious to their potential in it. Institutionalization creates a pattern or mapping in our brains that creates a mindless herd instinct. Rather than the realization that we are the temple of a fiery Holy Indweller that calls us to the Father, one life and breath at a time; our ability to see as individuals has corporate value, as corporate vision has value to individuals.
Hosea 4:6 declares-
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
When we understand our calling, our gifting, and our placement, our focus cannot get side tracked. When we see the bigger picture, we find how disruptive our absence is when random impulse overrides intentional living.
Every farmer knows when to plant, when to tend, and when to harvest. It is by observation. Look and see!
To DISCERN the days of harvest.
All it took was to look. SEE the fields are white already!! In the parable of the harvest they were told to LOOK and SEE! There is a strange phenomenon being addressed in this parable. It is a blindness to what should be the obvious. Most churches send out a monthly calendar, planning their meetings and activities according to dates and holidays, often months in advance! Never considering that their yearly activities aņd holidays, are interrupting momentums of God! Often one person is in charge of planning these events rather than the entire presbytery meeting in fastings and prayers to plan, and assign commissionings, and gatherings of the saints. The Body is connected to the heart and mind of Christ collectively. Therefore WHAT IS NEXT should be seen collectively, or at least they would bear witness to the vision or direction collectively! But, that requires a Body fitly joined together. A devoted presbytery is enough, but ideally the flock is in unity. Look how they arrived together sending out and receiving one another in the New Testament. No one person is assigned to the decision making. Except when they are commended to God to fulfill a specific and singular calling. But, even the Apostles had to be received by the Church in their circuits. We see that John was actually wickedly rejected by one of those Churches, by someone acting on his own.
3 John 1:9 I wrote to the Church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, receives us not.
A seeking people submitted to one another is less likely to derail the purposes of God. One acting upon their own, making decisions on their own, is trumping that they have no need of the hand. Or foot. It is simple. If our endeavors are the result of a personal commission of God, we act upon the leading of the Holy Spirit, and counsel and confirmations He crosses our path with. If our endeavors involve the Body of Christ as a worker among a Body of saints, than we are collectively led, using the presbytery- not forgetting to involve the congregation. In this way we can be sure our foot steps are ordered of the Lord.
Acts 15:22-2 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia .. (study chapter 15 to see the churches rightful place in corporate decision making.)
Notice how visitors were sent out and received in this passage? Collectively, corporately. This minimized the chance of sending or receiving an apostate among the flocks of God.
Zeal without knowledge will find us barreling down dead-end streets that lead to no where. I can tell you countless times where Holy Spirit outpourings became derailed because of the Christmas season, and divine momentums lost because Easter had to be served with egg hunts and pageantry. Or, the yearly church picnic; or the Pastor’s family vacation. (Revealing reliances are not on Jesus’s headship but a personality.) A deeper discussion could be explored on how some of these activities, (say certain holiday observances) may actually grieve the Holy Spirit, and cause His departure, in the middle of what should have been days of renewal. Or, an entry into the field of harvest. Rather, these moments are frivolously squandered. Fruit falls to the ground and a harvest is lost. Many times people just shrink back. When all that we have to do is what comes next. This life style of making our appointments, as a people, requires a reliance on the Spirit of God, and an assembly of the faithful, not apart from either one. Follow the Spirit, and hang out with the faithful. Huddle with the ones who pay the price to obey. This will never forsake you.
Jesus ends the parable of the harvest with instructions to pray to the Lord of the harvest, to send forth laborers! Harvesters are skilled for just that, you have to know what you’re doing! But, it is field work so it doesn’t take that much instruction, more so, it takes the willing!
In this dream, the one appointed to bring in the harvest was taking a stroll, instead! There was vision but it was limited. Mindsets can limit vision. We were on a tour, but what I saw and what they saw was not the same! I saw a harvest over due. I saw work that couldn’t wait. I saw that the Store House of Jehovah’s Flame had a harvest about to rot in the ground, and a trust not comprehended, an inheritance fenced off too narrow, from its original size. Blind and short-sighted! Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint. In other words they do not live intentional lives. According to the responsibility staked out before them. They have everything they need but vision and wisdom to know what’s suppose to happen next.
This Christian at that very moment whose name speaks to having a zeal for God, was pointing out to me perimeters of a vision that I could see was just a quarter of what it was really suppose to be, while neglecting to see a garden ready to be harvested. This is twice the blindness.
Zeal is what all active Christians have. But activity and passion is not Wisdom Knowledge and Understanding. Thomas in the bible had a problem with doubt and unbelief, but He was not without zeal and passion. While Jesus was preparing to go raise Lazerus from the dead Thomas was preparing to go with Him and die. That is ZEAL. But it was zeal with out knowledge, with out understanding, with out expectation, it fell short of the will and purposes of God. Thomas was ready to die with His Lord. But, not prepared to believe in his resurrection power. For even as He saw what Jesus did for Lazerus, Thomas still doubted when he was told Jesus himself was resurrected from the dead. Thomas had zeal and passion, or he would have never been a follower of Christ. Yet, he lacked faith. This zealous disciple is known as Doubting Thomas. We can call Him Zealous Didymus according to the following scripture.
His disciples said, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone you; and go you thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he said to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. However, Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent you may believe; nevertheless let us go to him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him …
Dieing for a cause is commendable. But it is a waste when our zeal and passion runs us past God’s plans and purposes for our lives. Again we see Thomas falling short of the point of it all, missing the power of His resurrection. Yet, he was chosen to be a disciple, and apostle of Christ. Jesus took the time to walk Thomas through, for better understanding.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen! Blessed are those who have never seen Jesus with their own eyes, but yet believe. Faith looks for the fruit in the days of harvest. Wisdom embarks upon the task with all the right equipment.
The trees and vines of spiritual inheritances, are hanging low, and heavy, but few labor to visit that place where expectation and harvest meet. We sometimes wonder why God uses others in the extraordinary way He does while life for most is status quo. I really am beginning to believe that faith is the factor. Too many are short sighted. Distracted, or just not using the wisdom of God available to them. There are a lot of busy souls in the Church! Activity to the brim with people trying to do something for God! But is it the right activity? Is it about what is next? I could see that the Storehouse of Jehovah’s Flame had been real busy. Busy fencing off potential, and ignoring the harvest they didn’t have to plant. Other laborers prepped the ground for them.
All God has for us to harvest is in plain sight. But we need to understand our seasons as a collective body of believers. When the house is in order as one people, rather than one personality, the Church will be what Jesus gave Himself for. When expectation doesn’t merge with knowledge and understanding, distraction easily pulls God’s people out of the point of why we cultivate, seed, and water in the first place. Otherwise, they acclimate to an endless cycle short of resolve. Short of harvest. Time and time again. It is a condition we can’t get a way from until we get it out of us. There is an epidemic, a curse in the land, where we are killing fruit before its term. This is called abortion. The Church, the body of Christ in our country, needs to take a cold hard look at why we seem to come to the threshold of movements, that are either aborted or lost at infancy. Break the curse. Trust the anointings that have brought works to term, that are anointed to do so. It takes every part of the plant to bring forth fruit. It takes every part of the Body Of Christ to do so too. Just as a pregnant woman’s condition is that she is pregnant. Not just her womb.
Harvest time is a change of routine. It often demands late nights with the combines in the fields, and early morning risings. Meals are on the move, because harvest is time sensitive.
” With out a vision my people parish. With out a vision they cast off restraints.”
Clearly, in the dream a work was planted among a people who had limited vision. While God has said one man sows, another man waters, and God gives the increase, it is also written, “Pray the Lord of the Harvest, to send laborers.” It may not be the laborers originally intended- others may walk in just in time to reap a harvest not planted in their yard. It is sad to see people lose benefits they didn’t know they had for lack of expectation, and wisdom to know their time and season. Times and seasons that sometimes shift as quickly as the shadows of eve, and then are no more!
God’s chosen vessels who have a purpose we may not understand, that come into our lives, are either utilized or rejected, we need to have the discernment to know they are a bridge for crossing. To take us where we can never go without them. Any more than the foot can be functional without the ankle. If that willing and obedient component is not realized, the Father will eventually move it out until it is realized somewhere as a significant part to the whole. That fellowship will reap the benefits, and accomplish the work. While the others that would not seek discernment to know whom God has set among them, continue to stumble in a cycle of never coming to term.
Counsel leads to acts of might as workings lead to miracles.
Walk the fields of expectation, seek to harvest that which has come to fruition. Pray that you have eyes to see, what is hidden out of view but is ready for harvest. Pray restrictions off understanding of the saints of God to remove mindsets that counter act vision, to see. To many times I’ve seen doubt and unbelief put the brakes on just short of break through. Many romance the thought to be greatly used by God, but shrink back at the threshold where mockery is intensified, and the opponents of Christ wish to lay them bare. Remembering without faith it is impossible to please God.