Lynn B. Fowler

A thought provoking prophetic word by Lynn Fowler, a member of Women’s Apostolic Alliance

The book of Haggai talks about the time when the people of Israel had returned from their exile in Babylon. They had been back in their own land for a while, and because of opposition and pressure they had given up on rebuilding the Temple of the Lord, and instead had busied themselves in building their own houses and re-establishing their lives. Things were not going terribly well for them, though. It seemed that everything they put their hands to failed; there was never enough to eat or drink, and their crops never produced the amount they expected. When they worked for someone else, they found their wages disappeared far faster than they could earn them.

God sent the prophet Haggai into this situation to rebuke them for being too busy building their own houses, whilst neglecting His. “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” (Haggai 1:4) God made it very clear that this was the reason for all their problems, and if they wanted things to improve, then they had better start paying first attention to His house.

It seems to me that the Church today is not very different from ancient Israel. Far too many Christians are far too busy building their own houses – their own little worlds of comfort and ease – while neglecting the House of God. For too many, church has become something to do “if there is nothing more important or more interesting to do.” If you take that attitude, you can be absolutely certain that the devil will always make sure that there is something that seems more important or more interesting than spending time with the Lord. Too many feel that giving to the Lord’s work is something they can do “if there is anything left over at the end of the week.” Again, that attitude will guarantee that the devil ensures that there is nothing left over, whether it is by waving temptation to buy something you don’t need in front of your face, or causing costly accidents and problems that eat up your funds.

These attitudes are greatly disturbing, but there is something that is even more so, and that is the leaders who are too busy building their own kingdoms, and neglect the Kingdom of God.

When John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus’ ministry, he proclaimed, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus began His own ministry with the same words. In fact, He spent more time talking about the Kingdom of God than He did about anything else. And when He gave His disciples a model prayer, the first petition of that prayer was “Your Kingdom come.” Why? Because something cataclysmic was in the process of happening: something that would change the world forever.

To understand it, we need to go back to the beginning of creation. God made man and woman in His own image, and gave them a three-fold mandate: to fill, subdue and rule the world. That rulership, however, was never meant to be apart from Him. He was not setting them up as gods over their own kingdom, but as vice-regents over His. It was the devil that came along and suggested to them that they could be gods in their own right, not needing to come under God’s authority but ruling their lives just as they pleased. It was, of course, a lie. In rejecting God’s good and loving authority over them, they did not get to rule themselves, but rather made both themselves and the world over which God had placed them subject to the harsh and cruel rulership of Satan. The whole universe is, and always will be, God’s Kingdom, but earth became a rebel state within that Kingdom, and the kingdom of darkness ruled.

When Jesus came, all that was to be turned on its head. As the Last Adam, He would undo the rebellion of the first Adam. Where the first Adam tried to become his own god, Christ laid aside His Godhead to come as man. Where the first Adam rebelled, Christ bowed before the Father’s will, declaring “Not My will, but Yours.” Where the first Adam had handed the rulership of the world over to the devil, Jesus would reclaim that rulership and re-establish the world as a rightful part of the Kingdom of God.

Yes, Jesus died to buy the salvation of mankind, and to pay the price of sin for every individual who has ever lived. Yes, His death secured for us not only eternal life, but healing, deliverance, provision and all the blessings that come with being re-connected to God. But all that is only a small part of the story. Jesus’ death was nothing less than a full-scale uprising, the overthrow of the entrenched rebel government, and the creation of a new world order. Never again would Satan have the right to rule on this planet.

Tragically, Satan does still rule in many areas. He is able to do so for only one reason: the Church has defaulted. We have failed to enforce the victory of Jesus. We have allowed a defeated enemy to continue to reign over individuals and nations. And mostly it has happened because many of the leaders in the Body of Christ have been too busy building their own kingdoms to be bothered building the Kingdom of God.

Jesus has won the victory, but He has left it up to us to enforce it. With His return growing closer every day, we cannot afford to keep our narrow focus. We must begin to look at the big picture. We must begin to think and act in ways that will not only build our own ministries, but will build the Kingdom of God.

Look beyond your own house! Ask what God is doing through the brother or sister working down the street. Begin to pray for that one. Pray for them everything you would want for your own ministry. Release blessing and anointing upon them. Rejoice when you hear that they have had a breakthrough, even if you are still waiting for yours. Weep in intercession for their struggles, even if you are riding high on the crest of victory.

Visit that other work and ask what you can do to help build their vision. Seek ways that you can work together to establish the Kingdom of God in your town or city, and beyond that in your nation.  Stretch beyond your denominational boundaries.

I was saved in the middle of the Charismatic Movement of the 1970s. I remember a preacher at the time saying that it was as if there had been all these sheep separated into different, fenced-off paddocks. Then the rain of the Spirit had begun, and the flood waters began to rise till they covered the fences, and the sheep were just swimming everywhere. Sadly, the waters receded, and the fences were rebuilt higher and stronger than ever.

It would be nice if God sent another flood of the Spirit to just wash the fences away. But I suspect that this time, we have to first tear the fences down and use the wood to build the House of the Lord.

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