This word carries a prophetic mandate. I must speak. For a number of years, I have prophesied what I believe Scripture affirms, that a last-days outpouring of the Holy Spirit is coming that will be greater even than Pentecost. Such a thing, however, does not come to pass without opposition from the enemy of our soul.
Consequently, a twisting, lying spirit has been at work over our nation as a whole. Figuratively speaking, we call it "Leviathan", the twisting serpent. I'm fairly certain that not everyone will agree that what I'm about to say is demonically inspired and energized, but every sense in my spirit tells me it's true. A lifetime of experience in supernatural things has taught me the feel of demonic sickness. Leviathan has been working overtime in and through our culture and society, twisting words and perceptions to keep us divided and to fuel hate. If we think this will not also affect families, ministries and churches, or if we think we are immune to its influence, then we are being naive, even prideful, and we render ourselves vulnerable. None of us is that pure, Spirit-filled or strong. Jesus said, "Without Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5b). "Nothing" always means "nothing".
I'm seeing the effect of this twisting spirit all around me in families I minister to, in reports from churches I have relationship with, in the religious-spirited critics who invalidate every move of God on the basis of differences of doctrine that have no bearing on the requirements for salvation, in politics and in the way the news is reported. It is ugly, born of the spirit of the accuser, and it is destructive at every level of society, as well as, tragically, to the church of Jesus Christ. It divides families, congregations, political parties, nations, the races and more. As it infiltrates our hearts and spirits, it distorts even the manner in which we express ourselves so our words don't come out with the heart and meaning we intended, which makes it all the more easy for people to hear and perceive those words in twisted ways. The result is offense, anger, hatred and alienation from one another. We end up doing both emotional and spiritual violence to those around us. Families break up, churches divide and societies crumble.
To counter this, we must realize that we live at a crucial moment in the flow of history when we must radically center ourselves in Jesus, His heart and His Spirit, and diligently maintain our guard against influences that flow from the enemy's camp. We must determine to move in an opposite spirit to that of Leviathan, speaking love and encouragement to one another as we seek after God's truth with diligent hearts, really hearing one another. We must determine to radically love even those with whom we strenuously disagree or who seem to offend us in some way. Cultivating a kingdom culture of love and honor is much more important than doctrinal agreement on issues like eschatology, apostolic authority, church structure, ways to pray and so on. In this way, we feed a culture of the kingdom of God and so reveal who He really is. As the apostle John so clearly put it, "God is love" (1 John 4:8b). No form of hatred is ever justified in the kingdom of God. No form of division is ever God-authored except the kind that calls us to refuse to participate in what is clearly evil.
Two "words of the hour" flow from heaven in this season. The first is the Father's incredible love that passes understanding, and the second is holiness. This that I'm speaking of is one form of holiness we must seize upon and practice. In fact, if we are to stem the tide of humanism, atheism, progressivism, Islam and other ungodly trends, we must be more loving, more righteous, more moral, more filled with integrity than any other people on earth. And we must be seen to be so.
R. Loren Sandford is an author, musician and the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado. He has a bachelor's degree in music and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. In addition to pastoring, Sandford has an international teaching and worship ministry. Married since 1972, he and his wife, Beth, have two daughters and one son. They live in Denver, Colorado.
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