I recently attended a significant Elijah List conference at the River Church in Hamilton, Canada. Steve Shultz and Doug Addison both spoke very unique and powerful words related to "contending". My heart was moved since God had been stirring me in this direction in days prior to the conference, as the Holy Spirit brought to mind specific revelations He had given me about this particular subject.
Contending is clearly a now word for the Body of Christ and imperative to the advancement of the Kingdom of God in this important hour of history. God is awakening our spirits to rise up to contend for our breakthrough, the dreams He has given us, for our families and communities, cities and nations, and for His intentions to come forth.
"I Have Spoken It, and I Will Do It"
The Lord usually speaks to me through Scripture, then over time will unpack the revelations embedded within it as it unfolds at opportune times. Ezekiel 36:36-37 is one such passage He has been highlighting over the years. This chapter speaks powerfully of Israel's restoration to the land and the abundant outpouring of blessings which God makes clear He plans to release to them. As we are grafted into Israel, these blessings and promises are for us also. Each blessing spoken of is with intentionality as something He has predetermined to do as the One with whom, "...there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
I was therefore baffled when the Holy Spirit highlighted Ezekiel 36:36-37, first revealing His determination, "...I, the LORD, have spoken it, AND I WILL DO IT," and the second revealing the condition: "Thus says the Lord GOD: I WILL ALSO LET THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL INQUIRE OF ME TO DO THIS FOR THEM.." The Hebrew word for enquire means also to seek continually, ask and pursue.
As I prayed and sought the Lord about this, I received an understanding that God was looking for a people who would be willing to TAKE OWNERSHIP of His dreams, desires and intentions. A people who would tend the dream and travail in union with Him to bring it forth; a people that would unite with Him in mind and in heart for the promise to be realized and the Kingdom enforced and advanced.
The example that came to mind was of a father who owned an empire and had two sons; to one son everything came on a silver platter—everything he asked for he was given, he did not have to exert himself for anything. The other son went to work with his father in the company at an early age. He started at the very bottom and worked his way through every department learning every aspect of the business. He spent time getting to know all the people who worked for his father, building relationship with them.
He listened to His Father's heart for the company and not only understood his vision for it, but united with his father to see his dream come forth. When the time comes to hand over the company to his sons, which son will the father put in charge? The one who will protect the company and pursue the vision and contend for its success; the one who paid the cost and travailed for its achievement with his father!
In Ezekiel chapter 36, the Father clearly lays out his intention, places it before Israel and challenges them to rise up and own the vision. The implication in verse 37 is that if they take ownership and contend for it—it would be theirs! God's dreams are guaranteed for the contenders...the reason why He raises up those with a spirit to contend to inspire others to contend—to give Him no rest until He fulfills what He has promised!
"Hold Me to My Promises"
I once heard a leader share a related story; he promised his children that after church he would take them to their favorite restaurant, the children were very excited! After church he was asked to attend a leaders meeting and told his children the outing would have to be cancelled. However, his children refused to accept this. He was pummeled over and over with statements of, "You said," "You promised!" until finally he had no choice but to give in. At that moment he heard God say to him, "I wished that My children would hold Me to My promises the way that your children hold you to yours!" Our Heavenly Father is looking for those who will not only believe His promises, but who will hold Him accountable to His Word.
The Lord once gave me a vision for something He wanted to do. I was not too thrilled at the idea and was wrestling in my spirit about it, but I said I was willing. As I sat in prayer over it, He reminded me about Ezekiel 36:37 and I understood. I not only agreed to be willing, but I began to pray and ask Him for the vision as though it were mine. As I did that a supernatural exchange took place and I received joy and passion for this vision to come forth.
However, time passed with no breakthrough in that direction. I soon stopped praying and actually forgot about it. One day the Lord spoke clearly to my spirit and said, "That was very easy for you to drop the vision." I was convicted and understood that Ezekiel 36:37 meant to:pray, ask and contend for the vision until the breakthrough came! That is the spirit of a contender who will birth the purposes of God on planet earth! To knock, seek and ask until the door is opened!
After teaching this word for many years, and I must say faltering at many times to stand on its truth, the Lord brought to my attention a most powerful commentary on this same passage in Ezekiel that again began to stir me to contend again! It is so potent that I am putting it in point form that no one will miss anything.
1. God's promises are given not to restrain, but to INCITE TO PRAYER.
2. They SHOW THE DIRECTION in which WE MAY ASK...
3. And THE EXTENT to which we may EXPECT an answer.
4. They are the SIGNED CHEQUE MADE PAYABLE TO ORDER...
5. Which we must endorse and PRESENT FOR PAYMENT.
Pray and Contend! Ask and Take!
The day must come when we leave the wilderness and begin to take the Promised Land of God's intentions. The world is daily descending into dark times. The light of the Glory of His Presence will rise upon those who have broken through in contending for the Glory. These are the ones being called forth to do exploits in His name; they have travailed with the Father and carry His burden for the lost and for the world. Those who have travailed with Him will enter into union with Him; they will carry His authority and the strategies to complete His will to save and transform nations and people groups. God does not exclude any who are willing!
According to Ezekiel 36:36-37, first we must ASK—we must desire what He desires and receive it in our spirits as our own. Second we TAKE—we endorse the cheque and present for payment. We put our finger on His promise and say, "As You have said Lord." We hold God to His promises as David did: "You, my God, have revealed to Your servant that You will build a house for him. So Your servant has found courage to pray to You. You, LORD, are God! You have promised these good things to Your servant" (1 Chronicles 17:25-26). FAITH IS CONFIDENT ACTION IN WHAT GOD HAS MADE KNOWN TO US—God cannot bless us beyond our belief, and belief will lead to action—to contending!
Job 22:28 states, "YOU SHALL DECREE A THING AND IT SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR YOU." To decree a thing is to contend for it! The Hebrew word for decree also means to decide, to make a firm decision, one where we will not waver; and the Hebrew word for establish means to rise. This verse closes with, "...light will shine on your ways." The word light means to be illuminated, the word shine means to glitter, and ways also means the road.
A mature Christian will have learned the discipline of contending through much trial and tribulation and will see the rising of the vision and the dream. The illuminating Light of God will light up the road ahead with the glitter of His Glory. It is time for the sons and daughters of God to TAKE the Promised LAND – Time to declare and Decree. Esther and Mordecai prayed, they fasted, then they decreed the deliverance of the Jewish people.
"Take Ownership! I Am Ready To Perform My Word!"
I hear the Lord saying, "TAKE OWNERSHIP! The Kingdom of God is yours! All that I have belongs to you, invest in it. With the currency of your faith purchase stock in it! Set your focus on the eternal not the temporal. Ask large! I am a great and mighty God, greater and mightier than you could ever imagine, though you may try. Bring all your appeal and petitions before the court of Heaven; the time of fulfillment has come. Show your faith; give Me something to work with. I am ready to perform My word!"
God is preparing vessels of Glory to stand in the last days having the fortitude of spirit to withstand the demonic assaults, and like the mountain tree, to thrive in the midst of the swirling and violent winds of change. Wade Taylor shared this on a previous word posted onthe Elijah List:
Poem by Loyal Marion Thompson:
A Mountain tree if it would see
The far horizons and the stars
May never know a sheltered place
Nor grow symmetrical in grace.
Such a tree must battle doggedly
The blasts and bear the scars.
This poem by Loyal Thompson expresses, in the imagery of a mountain tree, the price and the reward for our persevering in the ascent up into the realm of Kingdom identification with our Lord. A mountain tree speaks of elevation. It is a lone tree, jutting out from the crest of a very rugged, wind-swept mountain, far above the peaceful forest beneath. There is a reward for its singular loneliness, and its struggle to survive. It can see... Here, this lonely, battered tree can view the distant skyline or look up into the expanse of the Heavenlies in all their glory; for this mountain tree abides in a pure, clear atmosphere. But, there is a price; it has been set apart from all others. -Wade Taylor
"Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel;
for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." Genesis 32:28
Faith Marie Baczko is the Pastor of Yahweh's House Fellowship and the President of Headstone Ministries International & Schools of The Last Wine. She brings significant revelation to mobilize, equip and strengthen the Body for this momentous time of history. Her teachings are rich with revelatory insight released to undergird the work of preparation for the saints to be fashioned into a holy sanctuary for the coming of the Lord. She is a prophetic preacher, encourager, author and international speaker, ministering the word of the Lord to the nations. She has held many conferences & Seminars in South America and the Caribbean and her books are all available in Spanish.
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