From the desk of Steve Shultz:
This is a penetrating word...right to the heart...about many "familiar" traditions we celebrate during our Christmas season.
There is nothing wrong with our traditions or celebrating them...and we should! Yet as we celebrate tradition, let's not forget that there is great POWER available to us as you'll read about in Larry Spark's "fascinating" word this Christmas.
Larry shares here:
We are meant to live astonished by the wonder of Jesus. Motivated by this level of awe, we could approach singing Christmas carols in a very different way. Rather than seasonal tradition, they could become impassioned anthems of praise. Awe and wonder incite genuine praise and worship and thus, create an atmosphere for God's power to move without restraint. On the other hand, familiarity pulls the plug on divine power. If only Nazareth STAYED astonished by Jesus. If only we could STAY astonished. What pulled the plug on divine power?...
I pray as you read through this word, you experience the POWER of Christ made available to you to share with the world around you...now and beyond! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Enjoy! And thanks for forwarding this to your friends! They can subscribe here.
Steve Shultz, Founder and Publisher
The Elijah List & Breaking Christian News
P.S. – Oh, and a Quick Note to our readers: To EXPLORE our more than 2,500 Christian Prophetic books, CDs, and gifts go to: elijahshopper.com.
"The Lord is Extending a Christmas Dare to His People – To Be Fascinated"
This Christmas, the Lord is extending a DARE to His people: "I dare you..." Dares from Heaven to Earth are not flippant. They're not like adolescent dares from our childhood peers, where the reward for our risk was a mere high five. When Heaven extends a dare, the Lord seeks to partner with a willing, obedient vessel in order to release something into the Earth. This year, the dare has everything to do with HOW we engage the spiritual airways during the Christmas season.
Consider These Familiar Lyrics:
"Glory to the newborn King!"
"King forever, ceasing never..."
"Let Earth receive her King!"
"Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day. To save us all from satan's power..."
In the same way we encourage people not to "go through the motions" as they sing popular praise choruses, we must provide this same encouragement during Christmas season.
"Unbelief doesn't change Jesus' nature; it simply prevents those who embrace familiarity from experiencing His power."
I believe the Lord has two assignments for us this Christmas: 1) Plug the power back in when it comes to our Christmas church gatherings and services, and 2) receive our assignments to partner with the intercessory "declarations" that are released over the airways through Christmas carols. Yes...there is great power in our traditional Christmas carols and I share about this and more below!
The Power of Christmas Carols
Christmas carols contain some of the most powerful intercessory decrees and revelation about Jesus.
Jesus is the ONLY SOURCE that will ultimately satisfy the deep longing of EVERY thirsty human heart. David recognized this in Psalm 63:1—we live in a "a dry and weary land where there is no water." Apart from an encounter with the living God, that's very true—there is no source of fulfillment for the cry of the human heart. And yet, even though nothing in the world can satisfy this longing, "There is a River..."
Jesus announced in John 7 that there is a River residing within us. He's a person called Holy Spirit, and He is meant to be released: "Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (Jn. 7:38). The key word is "OUT." OUT of you, out of me; out of this community called the Church will flow the very life-giving, thirst-quenching water that has the potential to satisfy every desperate cry of a "dry and thirsty land."
If there was any time during the calendar year when the Holy Spirit should be moving with unusual power in our gatherings, it should be at Christmas. There is nothing wrong with our concerts and candle lighting services, or preaching the "Christmas themed" series and singing Christmas carols in the standard praise and worship sets...but here is where Heaven's dare comes in... (Photo via Unsplash)
It's like when we start singing the "Christmas carols," we go into a different mode. Somehow, we see the Christmas carols as a traditional fare of the season. Meaning that often we sing them with smiles on our faces and warmth in our hearts—but do we have an expectation of a divine encounter? I propose it's time to recapture the awe and wonder of the profound realities these carols announce!
"Familiarity" Shuts Down the Flow of Supernatural Power at Christmas
Immediately, the Lord reminded me of a Gospel account that is comparable to what we face during the Christmas season today. In Mark Chapter 6, Jesus comes to His hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath, He proceeds to teach in the synagogue. What an amazing scene: Nazareth was experiencing a divine visitation by the very Son of God!
Consider the supernatural possibilities that were available at Nazareth because of the physical presence of Jesus. And yet, Nazareth missed its moment of divine visitation. "...many who heard Him were astonished, saying, 'Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to Him? How are such mighty works done by His hands?'" (Mk. 6:2)
We are meant to live astonished by the wonder of Jesus. Motivated by this level of awe, we could approach singing Christmas carols in a very different way. Rather than seasonal tradition, they could become impassioned anthems of praise. Awe and wonder incite genuine praise and worship and thus, create an atmosphere for God's power to move without restraint. On the other hand, familiarity pulls the plug on divine power. If only Nazareth STAYED astonished by Jesus. If only we could STAY astonished. What pulled the plug on divine power? In Nazareth back then, and for us today, the culprit is familiarity.
"'Is not this the carpenter, the Son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?' And they took offense at Him. And Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor, except in His hometown and among His relatives and in His own household.' And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief." (Mk. 6:3-6)
"When Heaven extends a dare, the Lord seeks to partner with a willing, obedient vessel in order to release something into the Earth."
To them, He wasn't the Son of God, the Miracle Worker, or even the Prophet of the Lord. He was "the carpenter, the Son of Mary." Unbelief didn't make Jesus less powerful; it simply prevented the community in Nazareth from having an appropriate level of expectation of what Jesus could do in their midst. Nazareth could have experienced a divine visitation. The dead could have been raised, the sick healed, and the demonized delivered. The Kingdom could have come with dynamic power to that community. It did...and didn't. Jesus, the King of the Kingdom, had come.
Unbelief doesn't change Jesus' nature; it simply prevents those who embrace familiarity from experiencing His power. Likewise, our religious, traditional, familiar approach to the Christmas season has the potential to pull out the plug of divine power. The Holy Spirit is powerful...period. Our unbelief or familiarity with Him does not change Him; it simply changes what we have the potential to experience from Him.
Dare to Be Fascinated!
The airwaves are ripe with possibility. As it was in Nazareth, so it is today. Will we stay in familiarity or be awakened and fascinated?
What would happen if we sang a familiar carol like "O Holy Night" from a heart of awe and expectation, and the lyrics became manifested? Could you even imagine a church service at Christmastime, where the entire congregation is gripped by the fear of the Lord and falls prostrate before the presence of God during the carols?
What if the Church fell to its knees as the people sang these lyrics in worshipful adoration? What if the gathering became a "thin place," where Heaven and Earth interacted with increased ease and intensity? What if we could literally hear "angel voices" and witness angelic activity in the midst of worshipping with these carols? What if we declared the lyrics, "Chains shall He break... and in His name all oppression shall cease," and people experienced divine healing and supernatural deliverance? (Photo via Unsplash)
I believe God is daring His people to welcome His Spirit, engage the Christmas season with Kingdom expectation, and partner with the declarations being released over the airways.
Your Call to "Boots on the Ground" Intercession
You have influence in the environments you carry Holy Spirit into. Perhaps the greatest assignment the Lord extends to His people during this season, other than evangelism, is intercession...and it's boots on the ground intercession.
God wants His Church RIGHT in the middle of where hurting people are. And where there are people, there are problems. There is torment and oppression. There is sickness and bitterness. There is family strife and broken marriages. There is seasonal depression. This is what people carry around with them into the environments you interact with...every day.
What if the Christmas carols playing in the background became an opportunity for YOU to DECREE and to pray in agreement with the lyrics being sung?
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become a spiritual governor of the different atmospheres you come into contact with by: 1) hearing the lyrics being sung, 2) bringing your declarations and prayers into agreement with the lyrics, and 3) asking Holy Spirit to show you how to partner with the truth being released through these carols to see His Kingdom come this Christmas and beyond in many peoples lives!
Larry Sparks, MDiv
Larry Sparks is publisher for Destiny Image, a Spirit-filled publishing house pioneered by Don Nori Sr. in 1983 with a mandate to publish the prophets. Larry is fueled by a vision to help the church community create space for the Holy Spirit to move in freedom, power and revival fire, providing every Christian with an opportunity to have a life-changing encounter in the presence of God. In addition to publishing, Larry is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, he conducts seminars on revival, hosts regional Renewing South Florida gatherings, and has been featured on Sid Roth's It's Supernatural, TBN, CBN, the ElijahList, and Cornerstone TV. He earned a Master of Divinity from Regent University and enjoys life in Texas with his beautiful wife and beloved daughter.
To receive more words like this in YOUR inbox, subscribe FREE to the Elijah List at this link http://elijahlist.com/subscribe.