I had just got out of a taxi outside Newcastle train station and I was burning with the Holy Spirit of God. (more…)
I’m reading this jolly good book in my lunch-times at the moment – Recapture the Wonder by Ravi Zacharias.
At the beginning, Ravi focuses on an ancient theory from Plato who believed that all philosophy began with wonder until it was replaced by knowledge – that there is a world of difference between belief and knowledge:
Plato said, ‘belief was the position of a child; knowledge was that of an adult.’
Zacharias replies to Plato’s theory with this:
Can it not be our hope as well that the shadows and beliefs of our childhood become only greater and more wonderful when dispelled by knowledge? Can there not be a reality where the mere world of fantasy is superceded by the fantastically true?
He’s pointing us of course to our daily waking reality as followers of Jesus which is meant to be thoroughly infused with wonder and knowledge together (imagine a diagonally ascending line from left to right where X is knowledge and Y is wonder).
Like me, you may have secretly wandered into a wardrobe as a child, shut the door quietly behind you and gently reached out to touch the back, longing for it not to be there. As your finger tips touched the thin splintered back, the crashing knowledge that the fern cones and snow weren’t really there felt genuinely gutting, only compounded by a brand new sense of your own ‘silliness’ as your childhood dreaming began to drift across Plato’s bridge to the cul-de-sac of adult knowledge.
But both little children and big adults can be reminded again of the truth that the Kingdom within really will be like a ‘magic’ Kingdom without – to touch and taste and see; that this suspension bridge of other-worldly, gospel hope is more than sufficient for the wonder of belief to thrive side by side the ‘knowledge’ of our enchanted here and now.
In Matthew 9, Jesus has a bunch of finger-pointing guys come up to Him and demand an explanation for His disciples not fasting while the disciples of John were. (Matthew 9:15)
Jesus’ response was surprising because He pointed immediately to the issue of His forthcoming absence as being the fitting time for His disciples to fast and the appropriate time for their ‘mourning’.
This word ‘mourning’ isn’t sadness as we understand it in human terms. It’s a word linked to the word in Psalm 84:2 that describes what was happening to the psalmist’s soul…i.e. it was faint, pining, longing and homesick for that place of full presence of his God.
The significance of Jesus pointing to His identity as a Bridegroom God in response to the question about fasting has a massive implication about how the end-time church ‘gets itself ready’ (Rev. 19:7). The end-time church will be a praying church full of the grace of fasting, prayer and worship and who are homesick for their God. The end-time church will have an authority in response the spiritual darkness plaguing the Nations…the authority will come from a radical change in lifestyle of the church and transfer of appetites of believers.
Every year, multiplied hundreds of thousands of Muslim believers fast and pray and enter into intercessory places in the spiritual realms. Do their fastings and prayers effect the spiritual climate of the Nations? Absolutely. It is estimated that, by 2040, 50% of Europe will be Islamic. Europe, not the middle East. Things happen when believers join hands in holy prayer and give themselves to fasting in ways that, currently, we perceive to be radical.
Is it really radical that the praying Christian church arise and enter into new lifestyles of personal and corporate prayer? Is it really radical for the young people of this Nation to prefer the place of prayer to Night clubs and bars? There is no high like the Most High. The lifestyle of prayer, worship and fasting that Jesus desires from is bride is not doable in isolation….it requires the strength and safety of a company of believers.
So, like Lucy in Lewis’ Narnia, there is an invitation to have an extra sensory (Eph.1:17) awareness of the movement of Jesus. Of the four children, Lucy has a special relationship with Aslan who, for her, was everything. When it came time for Aslan to leave, Lucy mourned and fasted by leaving the party.
May we miss Jesus. May we become more abandoned in our love for Him. May we encounter His nearness as we give ourselves to prayer and fasting and discover the authority that will break every spiritual bond of darkness in this Nation and see the veil of unbelief blown off the eyes of unbelievers, just as Lucy’s Aslan breathed on stone statues and saw life return.
And may we pray and fast for His return.
“Come, Lord Jesus, come…the Spirit and the Bride say come!”