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TICK TOCK TO THE HOLY CLOCK. As we enter the final three days of the Gideon Reclamation Project, Jolene and I want to thank you for engaging. We pray you are being enriched and filled with fresh vision for the year. 

It’s been an amazing journey. Your prayers have helped secure our national security, and even unexpectedly touched the highest seats of authority in our land—with congressional leaders leading the way! 

We have also gained significant understanding of the times. Jolene’s vision of the clock comes immediately to mind. I hope you’ll never look at Armageddon the same way again.

Most importantly, we together have carved out forerunner pathways that will propel us into the real-time breakthroughs and turnarounds the Lord has for us, even in the midst of emerging challenges. Gideon and Elijah have become our prototypes. They both brought their assigned spheres into realignment with God’s covenant, divorced from the Baal principality, as a means of reclaiming the land and initiating God’s recovery. 

As it was in the days of Gideon and Elijah, so it is in our time. Lets pick up the “turnaround mantle” and prepare the way for the Lord to move. 

Upgrading Your Seat of Authority
Today I want to touch on an imperative for every other aspect of your call. That is securing and cultivating your own seat of authority. You are due for upgrade. 

But be forewarned. Some of what I share may be contrary to what you have been taught. Some of it may challenge you, or even offend you. Hopefully you will gain a conviction that compels you to ‘come up higher’ with Jesus. 

Note that Gideon and Elijah were both granted seats of authority over God’s covenant land. No king, lobbyist, influencer or company president gave them their seats. Conversely no man could take their seats away. 

It is the same with you. Ephesians 2:6 conveys how you too have been seated with Christ in heavenly places. Like Gideon and Elijah, you have been granted a throne. A seat of covenantal intimacy and authority from the Lord.  

Remember thrones are established by covenant. That’s why Gideon was asked by God to tear down his father’s altar to Baal and restore the altar of the Lord. His father was complicit in the compromise with idolatry that caused the Angel of the Lord to depart the land. Only after this betrayal of covenant was met with sufficient repentance was the Angel of the Lord released to partner with Gideon and reclaim the land. 

Friends, it’s the same with you and me. Today. Your politics will not gain partnership with the Angel of the Lord to move in power and bring deliverance from the devourer. Nor will your favor, fame, leverage, influence or capabilities to manipulate behind the scenes. Lets thank God for the refining He has given us all, and continues to give. We become so much more effective when we break our allegiance with the political spirit. 

Notice that Elijah suddenly appeared on the scene. Just as with John the Baptist, most likely the Lord brought Elijah into a deep refining process—a wilderness season—before upgrading his seat of authority to shift the covenant land. The gates of sabotage in his life were shut. Loyalties were tested and refined to the extent that Jesus became his singular passion. And true to his name Elijah lived for God alone.

The hallmark of Elijah’s ministry is that he stood before the Lord. His priority was intimate communion with the Lord, living in authenticity and integrity, and following through with His directives. Remember Elijah’s message to Ahab. “As surely as the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there will be no rain nor dew all these years except at my word.” 

A Higher Standard for 2023
Standing before the Lord meant that Elijah stood in the council of the Lord. Many prophets have prophesied Psalm 23 for 2023, and I wholeheartedly agree. But I feel the Lord is also emphasizing Jeremiah 23 for 2023, which calls for a realignment of apostolic and prophetic ministry centered around council of the Lord. 

This standard was brought home as a “now” word for 2023 during a recent prophetic council. I saw a vision. Jesus was standing, surrounded by seven burning lampstands. He dropped a plumbline from His Throne right into the midst of the convocation of prophets. By this He was making clear how we are being called to align. He is summoning us all to embrace a higher standard.

For the early church, not aligning came with consequences. It will in our day too. The Lord warned the church of Ephesus that they had lost their first love, and they were in danger of losing their lampstand of covenant, intimacy, influence and authority. “I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and I will remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).  

Like John the Baptist, who came in the spirit and power of Elijah, many lampstands are going to receive upgrades this year. Where it felt as though your lamp was barely shining, in this season you will blaze for Jesus with holiness and power. You will receive a perpetual flow of fresh oil for fuel. You will become true burning and shining lamps!

Conversely, some have become so hardened that they refuse to heed God’s summons. It is sobering to think that lampstands could actually be removed from their places before the Throne. 

Lets return to first-love devotion. Lets resolve to shine!

Jeremiah 23 for 2023
Jeremiah 23 carries a similar theme to the warnings to the seven churches. The passage directly addresses what we would today consider the apostolic and prophetic movement. And it gives us a warning of exactly what to repent of, and ow to realign. Not coincidentally, toleration of Baal influence made the list, right alongside prophesying deception. Above all, the Lord gives a clear summons to return to first-love devotion. Here’s just a few excerpts from the passage:

As for the prophets: My heart is broken within me… For both prophet and priest are defiled; even in My house I have found their wickedness, declares the Lord… They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. They committed adultery and walked in deceit; they tell a vision of their own imagination,
not from the mouth of the Lord.

But who has stood in the council of the Lord, that he should see and hear His word? Who has paid attention to His word and listened? I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied.

BUT IF THEY HAD STOOD IN MY COUNCIL, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have TURNED them back from their evil way And from the evil of their deeds…

To see Jesus authentically, perceive His word, and release His turnaround. That’s what I want, don’t you? It’s what we aspire to with all our hearts. 

Note that access to this realm is not just the privilege of a chosen few. In fact, prophets—or what we today largely refer to as apostolic and prophetic ministries—were only rebuked by the Lord for NOT standing in the council of God. Your access to God’s council has been forever secured by Jesus’ body and blood. He has granted you a throne before His Throne. But as with Elijah, there’s a price to pay to stand consistently before Him. 

Just from our limited experience, it’s worth it all. Friends, a clear standard within apostolic and prophetic ministry is being set before us this year. We are being summoned to “come up higher” and grow into the mantle He has released to us all. 

It’s time to receive His upgrade. Lets forgive—ourselves and each other—for our faults and challenges. Lets realign. It’s time to prioritize intimacy with Him, and integrity in every aspect of our lives, including how we hear, steward and convey the word of the Lord. It’s time to reclaim “holy” as our delight and highest pursuit. 

For 2023, it’s how we secure our seats. And it’s how we position ourselves to receive His upgrades. Covenant blessings to each of you. And NO KING BUT JESUS…