The other night, Cazz and I went to Rocky Point which overlooks Torquay to stand in prayer for the town we live in. It was about 9:30pm and we were led there to pray and lift up our region, our state and our nation to God and believe for a shift to take place. It was a very powerful time together and something that I have often done before and continue to do. But the motivation for us going there on that night was that we both sensed a strong atmosphere that was resting upon our region and one that had to be dealt with in prayer as we partnered with Jesus. By the way, Rocky Point is also known as a common meeting place for local witches and new age practices, so we renamed it...ROCK OF JESUS POINT!
For a long while we have often referred to the powerful revelation that as God's people, we are empowered to shift the atmosphere that is hanging over us which is often felt with a strong sense of heaviness. I don't know about you, but this has become very obvious in recent days under this current stage of lockdowns. It seems there is a common thread in what people are saying and expressing as they try to navigate this season of uncertainty with some level of sanity. Even those that are usually very level-headed and stable in their faith are finding this ongoing stage to be quite unsettling. I know that it is easy to revert to clichè statements at this point which can create guilt in those that don't feel too good, but could it be something more? Could this be something we can learn from and actually embrace so that this heavy atmosphere shifts? Are we actually sensitive in the Spirit and what we're feeling is meant to bring us to a point of faith, prayer and intercession instead of fear or anxiety? I guess the first step is to become aware of it and then be equipped to do something about it because we don't have to live under the circumstances ever again!
I'm not one to focus on the devil and his evil agenda or cling on to the many ridiculous conspiracy theories that have gained a lot of traction. But I am one who believes it is important that God's people walk in wisdom and discernment so that we rise above the circumstances when the situation calls for it. I do believe that spiritual warfare in it's proper context and timing is required, but never out of a fearful response to what satan is doing. I see the perfect example of this in the life of Jesus. He never lived in reaction to satan but rather in a daily response to what Father God was doing. Look at these amazing words from Jesus as He explains how He lived each day,
"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing." (John 5:19-20 NLT)
Many of you know by now that those verses are among my favourite verses in the Bible. I often use the phrase that we are to live each day like Jesus...WALKING ON THE FATHER'S FEET. But what those verses show me is that we too have access to the heart of the Father because He desires son/daughters, not slaves. Sons and daughters who go where He goes, do what He does and say what He says. Believe me, that kind of lifestyle will always come into conflict with the demonic realm. But like Jesus, we deal with it and then move on.
So as we learn to discern the atmospheres that are moving around us, we become alert to a glorious fact - we see these atmospheres because God wants us to do something about them! This becomes very exciting when you realize that God is showing you His intended course of action in that moment and is inviting you to join Him, just like Jesus did. Whether it's praying on top of Rocky Point (aka ROCK OF JESUS POINT), or driving around your area releasing the presence and blessings of God over the many households or praying for your workplace, your neighbourhood and region, it all makes a difference.
Right now there is a spiritual atmosphere in your home, your street and your community. What is it? Is it heavy with a dark emotional feeling that is generating discouragement? Is it an atmosphere of fear that is gripping your thoughts? It is an angry atmosphere causing you to react in aggression? Pay attention because as you will realize, these atmospheres have great power to cause a response from everyone around you.
In our College in Melton I loved teaching about this. We learned a four-step approach to this that simply helped us to put this into action. Some of you may also remember that Cazz preached a great message about this and it is one that many remember because we have all experienced this in some way. You can listen to her message "The Four R's of Shifting the Atmosphere" here. For a quick summary, here are the four R's that we have used numerous times when shifting an atmosphere;
RECOGNIZE: When you come under an atmosphere, Holy Spirit will enable you to recognize what it is and will bring you into faith. He will help you to understand that you have become aware of it for a reason and that He wants to partner with you to do something about it. In Ephesians 2 we see how Paul explains that before we followed Jesus we were under the devil's dark atmosphere (who is described as "the prince of the power of the air") and lived under it's influence. Satan is using the atmosphere all around us to try and manipulate people to his evil agenda. But what a glorious revelation to know that Jesus has given us power and authority over the devil's plans and his evil ways can be silenced when confronted by a superior Name...JESUS!
REJECT: Once you have discerned the atmosphere, in the authority that Jesus has given you, you are then empowered to reject it's influence over you and others. Later in that Ephesians 2 chapter, Paul then explains how we are no longer people living under the devil's atmopshere of darkness but are now alive with Jesus above it all. Look at this, God has, "...raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus..." Now that's a position of power! In a very real sense we are seated with Jesus at the right hand of Father God and this spiritual reality can have a direct impact on our physical one if we know how to function from this heavenly position. That then leads us to the next R...
RELEASE: This is where you release the reality of God's Kingdom realm into that situation, into that room or that moment of need that you find yourself in. Of course, the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray to God reveals this, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Later Jesus expands on this when He teaches in Matthew 16:19 (AMP), "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earthmust be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earthmust be what is already loosed in heaven." Yes, we have permission by Jesus to pull down to earth what Heaven has. I am still unpacking this and learning to do it as a first response, not a last response. But how amazing to think that Heaven is not a far away place that is coming one day, but is a promise that we can access now. How much of heaven can we access now? I don't know, but I will spend the rest of my life finding out.
REJOICE: When you have sensed the atmosphere shift, break-out in praise! As a matter of fact, why wait? Praise Him even before the miracle! To rejoice is to have a thankful attitude that God is worthy, faithful and far above it all. To rejoice is to live bigger on the inside than the outside circumstances are trying to dictate. I love Philippians 4:4 (NKJV), "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"
My prayer for you is that you will grow in this and if you haven't already, start going to key places in your area and shifting the atmosphere over your region. Seek God on what you need to see. Ask God to tell you what to say and in faith go, knowing that Jesus has authorized you to speak out in the power of His Name. Wow, we have been given such a huge privilege to partner with God to see His Kingdom come and His will be done in our communities as it is in Heaven.
If you are interested in digging into this topic, I highly recommend that you invest in some great resources. For a few years we have been greatly encouraged by Dawna De Silva's ministry out of Bethel Church. She is at the forefront of equipping the people of God to step up into our God-given authority in the spheres of influence that God has placed us in. Her book "Shifting Atmospheres" is highly recommended, as well as her other resources on that topic.
Finally, I encourage you to feed yourself on things that inspire and add strength in this season. There are so many loud voices of opinion and influences seeking to distract us from why we are really here. It is essential that we, the people of God, discern what is happening and with Holy Spirit do something about it. I am praying for a mighty army of God's sons and daughters arising to new heights of power and authority and to see our towns, state and nation transformed by the love that motivates us to pray. Please read this carefully...YOU ARE MADE FOR THIS!