Loving greetings from the Valley of Angels! We are so grateful to the Lord for those who are joining us daily at 6:00 p.m. Central Time to pray together for an hour (or so) on our Firewall Prayer Call. I believe that Heaven and Earth are moving in concert as we pray the heart of our Father through the leading of His Holy Spirit. History truly belongs to the intercessors, and the agreement of the saints who pray along increase the volume of prayers that are filling Heaven’s bowls (Revelation 5:8). As the bowls fill, the answers are being poured out in the spirit realm and we will soon see the results in the natural realm. The wheat and the tares have grown up together and it is Harvest Time! The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit has begun! Do join us if you are able. Dial (425) 436-6348, when the recorded voice answers, dial 7411925#. Normal toll charges apply as any long-distance call would normally on your phone.
Unity or Conformity? For years we have heard various people calling for unity—sometimes it’s in the Church, sometimes in politics, and other situations. Sometimes and individual might declare, “There’s no unity here!” But everyone else in the room was in unity—they just didn’t agree with that one person. Many times, people who are calling for unity just want everyone to lay down their opinions and take up those of the leader. I recently heard someone say, “Their definition of unity is ‘absence of opposition’!”
Unity is important if you want to get something accomplished, but that doesn’t mean that every opinion and attitude has to be formed by a cookie cutter. Conformity against one’s conscience for the sake of unity (or perhaps to avoid persecution) will never be right. That’s the wrong kind of unity!
Romans 12:2 exhorts us: “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]” (AMPC).
The word in Greek that is translated “conform” (syschēmatizō) means, “to conform one’s self (i.e., one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern, (fashion one’s self according to).” This is a choice you make to fit yourself into a pattern by your own doing. It’s more of a change of appearance rather than a change of character.
That’s not what our Father has in His heart for us! “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!” (2 Corinthians 3:17). There is a splendid unity within the liberty of the Holy Spirit without the loss of the glorious diversity that God created in us. That comes from being transformed by the renewing of our minds. When we no longer think according to the world, but according to the Kingdom of God as expressed in His Word and made alive by His Spirit, then our unity will truly give glory to God.
There is another Greek word for conformed found in Roman 8:29. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” This word is symmorphos, and it means, “having the same form as another, similar, conformed to” or “fashioned like unto.” This is the conformity to the likeness of Jesus that is a part of God’s design of us. 1 John 3:2 expresses it this way: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” This conformity to Him comes as we allow Him to loose us from the world to become what we were created to be!
How Ought We to Think? The Apostle Paul goes on in Romans 12 to explain how with our renewed minds we are not to think of ourselves more highly that we ought to, but that we are members of a very diverse body that has many unique parts, and each part is needed. We are not like each other in appearance, culture, and perhaps even in function, but we all relate to the Head, Christ Jesus. We all think and process information in a totally unique way, but as we are transformed by embracing the mind of Christ and learn to discern and “reason” by the Holy Spirit, we will find that we reach the same conclusions and confirm each other in the Lord. That’s an interdependent UNITY with each adding a portion to the whole according to the gifts God has given! Each one is needed and helps to sustain the rest of the body. Whatever your gift, use it to its fullness, according to the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Verse nine (AMPC) says, “[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good.” Faked love is a hollow imitation that doesn’t build up the Body.
The whole chapter describes the conformity to the image of Christ that is the goal of the disciple. Here are a few more verses (18-21) to meditate on: “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing, you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not let yourself be overcome by evil but overcome (master) evil with good.”
Wake Up the Bride! As we “behold the threatenings” that seem to be at hand, I’m reminded of the vision Linda Gladman had many years ago of a woman sleeping in her bed. Linda asked the Lord who it was that she was seeing. The Lord said, “That’s my Bride, and she’s asleep.” Then Linda heard the alarm clock going off, and the Lord said, “I keep sounding the alarm, but she keeps turning on the snooze. But I’m getting ready to sound the alarm that will shake her to the depths of her being, and when I do, she will leap off her bed of complacency.” Then she saw the Bride leap up out of bed feet first and land at the foot of her bed. Her armor was laid out on the floor, and in one swoop of motion, she bent down and slipped into her armor. As she was walking out to go into the battle, she heard the Lord say, “Take up your bed, and make no provision for a relapse!” She knew that this was the end times and she wouldn’t be coming back to her bed anymore.
Armor up, Beloved, and get into the spiritual battle at hand! It’s time to overcome evil with good. Get your mind renewed and be a part of God’s great Outpouring of His Holy Spirit!
Convention 2021 – Save the Date! We don’t know yet what 2021 will bring for the freedom to assemble—2020 certainly didn’t happen according to our expectations! In 2019 we signed a two-year contract with the Hyatt Regency DFW for our annual Convention. As you may remember, the hotel preferred not to rehire their staff for our brief event and basically cancelled us. So, we held our event in our own facilities, streaming the meetings to our YouTube channel.
The dates we are holding are June 29-July 2, 2021. We are holding this event before the Lord for His guidance. If the circumstances open up to allow us to meet together in Dallas (and we’ll be planning on going that direction), that’s what we will joyfully do. If not, we’ll joyfully do as we did in 2020. Just keep the dates open and stay tuned for further developments. Here’s the link to our reservation page at the Hyatt so you can book your room there. https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/DFWAP/G-HMDN As rooms are booked, it will give us and the hotel a better feel for how many people to expect.
Thank you for all you are, all you do, and all you will yet do and see as you obey the Holy Spirit!
Your handmaiden and servant,
Sharon and Philip