6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, "Come and stand here." And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?"10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, "Stretch out your hand." And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
The Twelve Apostles
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Here we look at a common verse of scripture where Jesus releases a command of faith to the man with the withered right hand---and the next thing that we read (although it wasn’t in the same time frame) is about Jesus going off to pray (as He did on other nights) and upon the morning, he appoints twelve disciples and specifically names them apostles.
We are living in such a time when much has troubled men hearts, from storms, poverty, governmental power-plays, the oil spill disaster, earthquakes, (etc.) It seems that the need for prayer and supplication has come into an all time high. However, in the midst of everything, I can hear the command of the Lord calling in the distance. “Come and stand here.” “Stretch out your hand!” Jesus spoke these powerful words at a time when there were those who opposed His actions because it was a Sabbath day. He further explained that even though it might have seen unlawful to the religious leaders of that time, He was the Lord of the Sabbath, doing good.So, why should there be controversy around it - if it was good, and if it saved lives?
Many have referred to the five-fold ministry as the hand of God (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers). There have been questions as to whether apostles and prophets are for today, or were they only present during the beginning of Christianity? Now, does that mean that the body of Christ has no need or purpose for the full hand of God today? Has religious dogma and the doctrine of God’s word been altered (interpreted) by the intellectual minds of today and as a result has suffered some “withering?”
The word “wither” means:
·To shrivel or dry up, as part of the process of dying,
·To fade or lose freshness or vitality
·To make someone less confident
·To make one to feel foolish, embarrassed, or incapable as a result of scorn and contempt
·Dry, deprived of their natural juices, shrunk,
Could it be as a result of being separated from the other functioning members of the body of Christ, that we have lost our vitality in building up of the kingdom in this day? Have the scorn and contempt come against present day apostles and prophets? And was it because of other religions which were non-Christian in doctrine, that deviated from God’s word: having books to supplement their teachings and these were spearheaded by false apostles and false prophets?
And who determined that the Lord was only interested with raising up apostles during His time upon this earth? Or was that man’s interpretation? All I know is that I would not be as effective in utilizing only three fingers on my hand, instead of five.
In the body, each functioning part supplies and aids the member that it is attached to and it takes all of us to work together to build the work of the Kingdom. Many have been hurt and unappreciated, and as a result the withering process has taken its toll on the body as a whole. But the Lord is saying---Come forth and stand!!! Stretch out your Hand and let me restore you!!! Body of Christ—the Lord is talking to us!! We need apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers---as well as psalmists, intercessors, watchmen, miracles, helps, etc. and with all of us coming together, we will be an unstoppable force to be reckoned with in the face of the enemy’s opposition.
Sometimes our biggest challenge is extending ourselves beyond our normal boundaries. It’s time to enlarge our coast. We know that stretching is an exercise that is used prior to running. So why not stretch? Many times when we are stretching we can strain some of those muscles we haven’t used in a long time, but after a while those muscles begin to strengthen. The limbs develop within the body for greater capacity and efficiency. So why not stretch? The body now rests better after a good workout and yields towards even greater preparation than it previously had. So why not stretch? A strong body wards off attacks of sickness and disease. It is time for us to push ourselves to go beyond the limitations of our minds when our spirit man is saying, “Yes, Go for it!!!”
As we stretch, we strengthen each other, lovingly challenge each other to grow, mature and take up slack while we encourage, and motivate others to rise up and stand in the midst. The withering stops, and life freely flows throughout the body. The vine flourishes, and the husbandman is pleased with the development of the vine; and even that which was pruned back begins to shoot forth, bud, and flower. So why not stretch?
We are living in a time when the right hand of God’s blessings needs to be extended over the people and over our land. When the right hand of God is extended over our nation through the five fold ministry, the true work of the Kingdom will be seen by all.
~ Carpenters Touch Ministries ~
October 16, 2010 - Part II
When the Hand of God is stretched out all over this nation, awesome things begin to happen!! We are in a month where the stage is being prepared for the rest of this year and then we count down to the New Year, 2011. With God’s hand extended, we begin to see more hands lifted up in worship, all hands on deck, outstretched hands in giving, and hands prepared to make war with the enemies of our day.
In October’s word, the Lord said, “There shall be family restoration, because the Spirit of Elijah shall rest upon the Elishas of this day. And I will release a double portion of miraculous healings of hearts, minds, and bodies, and many shall be ushered in as I move mightily. Many will see the tangible presence of angels. I am establishing a ready people prepared with my orders that carry breakthrough, and they will also bring breakthrough to others, says the Lord. So, do not be weary neither disheartened, for I am also moving across the land releasing my peace, joy, and grace and releasing coverings, garments, and mantles that carry the wisdom and anointing of those who have gone before us - as patriarchs of the faith. There will be a new walk and a new talk as those who receive this impartation will declare; for I am pouring forth my glory and raising up apostolic and prophetic strength and anointing to deal with the evils of this day, and those appointed shall walk in my integrity to make way for my coming and my return.”
In this portion of the word—we see and hear a sovereign move of God—a time when God’s hand is extended and the Hand of God himself stretches out over us. Angels appear. Miraculous healings take place. People are preparing for the next wave of glory that is coming upon the earth, and breakthrough is in the very midst. What are the benefits of apostolic and prophetic ministry in our churches if properly utilized by people who have paid a great price?
Here are some characteristics of Apostolic Ministry:
1.God’s vision—Apostles are responsible for being able to identify and articulate the Lord’s vision and are able to communicate it to leadership in the body of Christ.
·They provide clarity and insight in biblical kingdom teaching.
·They initiate and lend strength in establishing kingdom goals in various aspects of life (within the church, within the marketplace, over nations, over governments) which include spiritual and natural matters.
2.God’s Strategy----Throughout God’s word, those who were designated by God received revelation and learned various patterns and even strategies for battle - for the purpose of building up and expanding the kingdom. Apostles must be able to:
·execute the necessary planning to carry out goals and objectives.
·oversee people groups and regions in councils and local assemblies.
·assign specific duties within the Lord’s framework of what He is looking to accomplish.
·identify steps that will help achieve what will get the job done within the time frame necessary.
·set up systems for follow-up and adequate reporting.
·train up leadership, recognize giftings, authorize and set in place eldership, mentorship, ministers, missionary workers by supplying materials, impartation, demonstration, reproof, rebuke, encouragement, and empowerment.
·utilize those trained (by having those appointed to delegate others) into areas of service where they can best walk out what has been given by God.
3. Unifying the Body
·Establishing a call to prayer (which includes building Apostolic House of prayer/worship)
·Gathering leadership over various areas to prayer and planning so that the areas that they have been called to can be properly ministered to the felt needs in the community.
·Providing unity with cultural diversity and with other ministries for those who are also in the “faith.”
·Promote conflict resolution and continue to share the Fathering message of “Abba” to the people.
·Make clear the word of God---so that a standard of holiness and right standing before God may be followed.
·Make clear foundational truths so that deceptions and false doctrines don’t continue to confuse those who are young in the faith.
·Help develop adequate discipleship programs at all levels of faith and maturity.
Many of you may say, “Wow, I carry so many of those traits.”That is because God has raised you up to lend strength to the apostolic leadership in the body of Christ, because the work of the apostle touches a lot of lives and regions, and many are called to assist in that process. When everyone is trained properly and encouraged to work in the area that they have been gifted--- the body flourishes with new life.
When these elements break down, we have spots and wrinkles in the body—that can affect every aspect of life, within the church and outside the church. Being an apostle is a grace that only God can give and validate. Many of the ones that I know don’t even refer to themselves as one---they just are.
You might say, “Wow, remember there are all kinds of things going on right now ---judgment in the land, the fear of terrorism, so many things are going on, our nations is under attack!!!” But I say to you, “Until we move into position and begin to rule and reign ----we will not be effective in dealing with all these things that are going on right now.”
Am I saying to ignore these things that are going on? No, in fact I am saying that if you are a kingdom warrior---you will run, reign, and rule in the face of everything going on and guess what!?! The enemy will begin to feel the power of the Lord increasing all over the earth…..and but the people who do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel )!!!
Apostles in order to fulfill the assignment that is before them need prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, psalmist, watchmen, intercessors, helps, administration, etc-----all hands extended----they are all essential in order to get the job done. Together, things began to happen.
The spirit that opposes the apostolic anointing is the spirit of Leviathan
(see description, definition and characteristics HERE ).