If we are going to see the healing for the tragic consequences of years of bad decisions, the results of rebellion against God’s Word and eternal principles, we are going to have to come together on our knees before the Living God, committed to Him and one another.

Supernatural Unity

Last week’s Awaken NOW Conference gloriously demonstrated supernatural unity in the body of Christ. In this spirit, the Holy Spirit touched hearts and lives. One powerful testimony we received came from Martin Shufflebotham, a former British soldier who now lives in Dallas. He gave me permission to share his email:

I served for most of my adult life in the British military, a member of the Queen’s Guard, a stoic statue, immune from, and inured to life. That too was my relationship with God. I have sat through impassioned, moving, sermons by military chaplains in some of the most historic chapels in the world, chapels that house battle honors and standards dating back over hundreds of years, rendered so faded and translucent that sunlight passed through them as easily as the beautiful stained glass windows behind them; I felt nothing, I heard nothing.

Then, on Thursday my life changed forever. I have not tasted the salt of tears in many, many years; but at Awaken Now I wept like a child–great silent, wracking sobs as I acknowledged God for the first time in my life, I felt His presence and love well up inside me. It may have taken me 46 years to find my way home, but home I am. Thank you both so much for opening the door. Though I ignored God’s presence in my life, believing every choice and accolade was my own, I now look at my career path and see His hand throughout. My successes were, in fact, His.

The Scriptures say it is “wonderful and beautiful for brethren to dwell together in unity,” and the apostle Paul emphasized that we should seek diligently to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace.”

With this commitment of love, those who have been placed in the church to minister truth, (whether it is a pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet or evangelist) must build up the community of faith – those who have come into a relationship with God through Christ.

In so doing, we will inspire the various, unique members of the church to fit together, even as joints in our own body, respecting the unique purpose and divine assignment for each and supplying one another as we have need so that we function as a healthy family—truly a people through whom He can bless the families of the world. That’s who we are to be as followers of Christ.

God said we would be built up into the “fullness of the stature of Christ.” In other words, people will be able to see Him. We may appreciate people’s gifts, what they bring, what they deliver, and how uniquely they are gifted, but we will not gather around the personalities. We will become His body, and Christ Himself will be exalted. He will be lifted up, and I am convinced when He is lifted up, He will draw far more people to Himself than religious gatherings have been able to attract.

Too often, religious people seem to turn people away from God. When we don’t walk in love, truth and in the Spirit, we can become as repulsive as any people on this planet. God forgive us and deliver us. Restore us to fellowship first with You and then with one another.

I am seeking diligently to preserve the unity of the Spirit into which we were born as those who profess faith in Christ and are truly born from above. This is not a matter of religious affiliation or membership. This is a spiritual encounter with Almighty God that Jesus shared with Nicodemus, perhaps the most self-righteous and good man He ever encountered. “Unless any person is born of the Spirit…born from above,” he told Nicodemus, “they will not see the kingdom of God.” This means they will not experience spiritual kingdom life here and in eternity.

For those of us who know Christ, we must find the common ground to address our common concerns with common purpose for the common good. This is what must happen if we’re going to see the land healed.

With all my heart, I’m seeking to follow the counsel of a good, respected friend, Billy Graham, whose advice lines up with God’s Word concerning the importance of spiritual unity. We have only glimpsed the unity God calls for a few times in human history. Every time we have it has had a positive and profound impact.

Dr. Graham advised me during one of our conversations to “diligently seek to spend time with people I had been taught to avoid” (that is a paraphrase, but it is how I heard it, how it registered, and what I have been faithfully seeking to do). I have found this counsel to be as wise as any I have ever been offered or any message I have heard preached. His words of wisdom have had a profound, positive impact not only on me, but on all of those I’ve spent time with.

As I’ve met with people from diverse backgrounds, I have never once found myself encouraged to compromise my deep, heart-felt convictions that I believe are based firmly in sacred Scripture. God’s Word is reliable, and we can understand it with the help of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to “guide us to all truth” if we are yielded to His will and abiding in His Word. I do not find myself compelled to prove to others that I am right. I make it clear that I’m on a diligent pursuit of truth and want to find ways for us to work together for mutual benefit.

No one will spend much time with me without becoming keenly aware I want the best for them. Does that not sound something like a good, loving father would do? Perhaps even the heavenly Father? Is that not the desire of every parent for their children? Should it not be the desire for all who consider themselves to be friends? And should even adversaries and those who disagree try to find the best solution to their personal and community challenges? The answer should be a resounding “yes.”

Understand that the difficulty we have in seeing this happen is because “the father of lies” is set on deception and, ultimately, the destruction of our life’s purpose and best interests. Satan himself is the “accuser of the brethren” and schemes to turn us into adversaries. We can see this manifest in the halls of Congress, in the national media, in every community and, tragically, in too many churches.

As I have followed the advice given to me by Billy Graham, I have found walls removed and love lifting us above barriers that have too often been prison walls rather than a hedge of protection. I am going to continue to meet with others. I am doing so now with people across all party lines, social divides, racial barriers and, yes, sectarian barriers; and I will do so without compromising God’s Word. While discussing the truth, even debating it and when disagreeing, I will do it with such love that it will disarm most who disagree, and both parties will be honed to a sharper cutting edge for the glory of God.

If you study the Old Testament and are an observer of human history, you know that when people move away from God and biblical principles—not religious traditions of men, but biblical principles of Nature’s God and Nature’s Law, as our founders described it—those nations suffer tragic consequences. Not only are individuals personally defeated, not only are relationships destroyed, not only are people unable to carry on a civil conversation, but you see the end result of that: You don’t have good civil government. So it is today in America.

Throughout the Old Testament and throughout history, every time people moved away from God, the end result was a loss of productivity, blessings, opportunity and, yes, prosperity. In an agrarian culture, the crops failed. Today, our economic systems and their effectiveness are disrupted. People lack wisdom, judgment, discernment, character and trust—and we suffer loss. Bad decisions produce bad results. Excessive regulations produce limitations leading to bondage, along with the destruction of opportunity and productivity. The only cure for it is a return to God. We return with our whole heart and allow His truth to renew our mind through its transforming power. Then we see the blessings of God restored.

If you look at the prophet Joel’s book, you will find that the locusts devoured the productivity of the land. They worked in total destructive harmony, committed to their purposes resulting in destruction. Notice in chapter 2 that these destructive forces worked together in perfect unity. The powerful effect of such unity must come to the church in order to see the enemy’s assault on life and freedom overcome.  God said, even after this awful plague, “If you will return to Me with your whole heart—not just going through the emotions of repentance, but really allow Me to change your mind and thinking—I will make up to you for the years the locusts have eaten.” In an agrarian society, they understood when He said, “I will pour out the former and the latter rains. I’m going to do whatever is necessary to restore the blessings to the land if you return to Me.”

Believe this: If we are going to see the healing for the tragic consequences of years of bad decisions, the results of rebellion against God’s Word and eternal principles, we are going to have to come together on our knees before the Living God, committed to Him and one another—loving Him with all our heart and loving our neighbor.

As my friend Sammy Rodriguez says, “It’s the vertical and the horizontal.” We love God, we love one another. We reach up to Him! We reach out to them! It’s the ministry of Billy Graham and Martin Luther King combined. It’s the spiritual and the moral and the social, and it works effectively.

This is the will of God for us, and I promise healing and restoration will begin when we come together in supernatural unity as a family. I want to be a part of encouraging that great sacred gathering. I’m committed to it, and I’m asking you to join me.

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5 comments

  1. Our 20-year old son was killed in a terrible accident on the day this was posted. I found it comforting to read this today and realize that even on the day he went to be with the Lord, a movement was and is taking place here on earth to move more toward loving God and loving each other. My son Bailey was the kindest rebel you could have ever met. Eight different people, including two of his siblings, claimed him as their “best friend” at the memorial service. He could point out every one of their (and his) faults without hesitation (and with a laugh), then turn around to do everything in his power to love them and care for them in every moment of need. A moment of bad decision led to his death in the accident. Now he is learning at the feet of Jesus. His family will spend the rest of our lives striving to love God as Bailey now understands he can, and to love others as he would have if he were here.

  2. Laurence St.John

    James, you commented:

    “Understand that the difficulty we have in seeing this happen is because “the father of lies” is set on deception and, ultimately, the destruction of our life’s purpose and best interests. Satan himself is the “accuser of the brethren” and schemes to turn us into adversaries. We can see this manifest in the halls of Congress, in the national media, in every community and, tragically, in too many churches.”

    The supernatural is occurring on both sides of the chasm. Satan and his army consisting of 1/3 of fallen angels from heaven (200,000,000, Rev. 9) are at war with the saints of God and are trying to wear us out. And he (Satan using religious and political leaders) shall speak great words against the most High (anti-christ teachings and politics against the Revelation of Jesus Christ), and shall wear out the saints of the most High (attempt to wear us out by such a saturation of unbelief, iniquity, and Laodicea oppression of lukewarmness), and think to change times and laws (Satan, by false anointed teachings and political anti-christ propaganda, are changing a time of judgment to a time of peace and prosperity, this is their message) the law is being changed by Satan anointing his ministers to take the law of God, the revelation of Jesus Christ, and make it non-effect by man-made traditions, and (forms of godliness, calling right wrong and wrong right): and they (as Job) shall be given into his (Satan’s hand, his anointed politicians and preachers) hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. The elect of God will be in the world, but not of it; we are experiencing the oppression of Laodicea’s spiritual lukewarmness, blindness, wretchedness, and nakedness for a season in Sodom and Egypt’s Hell on earth. But the prophecy for the Messiah is the same prophecy for his Wife; I will not leave his/her soul in hell, neither will I see my holy one see corruption. (Psalm 16:10).

    As a spiritual type in the scripture, while Jesus was in hell with the devil, and we are in this hell with the devil, (woe…the devil has come down to the earth) He preached to the souls in prison (I Pet.3) and the third morning he resurrected and we are preaching to the souls in spiritual prisons, and the third day of resurrection is nearing for the rapture. What happened?

    “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matthew 27:52-53). As a spiritual type, the bride is in this earthly hell, she is preaching the same message he preached, Come out of her my people…and his wife today has the same message she is preaching in this Laodicea, blacked out church age to those who are asleep spiritually; Come out her my people…that you receive not of her (spiritual harlot, religious and political church system) plagues. Do not receive the plagues of Laodicea; lukewarmness, blind, miserable, naked and doesn’t know it. These spiritual plagues are the result of the devil causing all upon the face of the earth to receive the mark, whose names were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world.

    Satan himself is the “accuser of the brethren” and schemes to turn us into adversaries. We can see this manifest in the halls of Congress, in the national media, in every community and, tragically, in too many churches. This anti-christ spirit has been sent to deceive, divide, confuse, misinterpret the word, misplace the word, and dislocate the word. The current administration is anointed by an anti-christ spirit, deceiving and being deceived. It’s not the men, they are just clay, but it’s the potter (Satan) who is molding them as he has planned. This earthly nation is moving towards judgment exactly the way every prophecy of the prophets has prophesied it to be. It is Thus Saith the Lord God. At the same time, you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness (Laodicea) into his wonderful light (the Revelation of Jesus Christ). And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude (his saints glad and rejoice, and give honor to him), and as the voice of many waters(his voice in his saints give honor to him:), and as the voice of mighty thunder (the revelation of his voice and in his wife has made herself ready), saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is where the supernatural presence of Jesus Christ is pulling us too…this is where we feed. We do not eat the man-made denominational forms of godliness void of the power of the word of Jesus Christ…we eat the bread which came down out of heaven, which was Christ, his revealed word. Amen….

  3. Laurence St. John

    James,

    I just watched your message on Judge Not on Vimeo and you spoke of very similar issues you are echoing today. Very inspiring and food from the Master’s Table. In your closing comments above you said, “This is the will of God for us, and I promise healing and restoration will begin when we come together in supernatural unity as a family. I want to be a part of encouraging that great sacred gathering. I’m committed to it, and I’m asking you to join me.” I am with you my brother. We have never met face to face, but my heart hears the Spirit of Christ in your life and I am ready to join you literally very soon. I am ready to minister, pray for the sick, counsel damaged souls, offer up intercession and supplications, dig a well, rescue the captive from human trafficking, clean the toilets, sing, fix you or someone a dinner, wash a car, or and just sit at your feet and listen to the wisdom from our Lord as you speak.

    This is not to exalt you above measure. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no not one. But the scripture admonishes us: “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.” Amen. I am finishing a semester at the University in a few weeks and I desire to ride down on my motorcycle and meet you and all the family of God there. We have much to discuss. The same Lord Jesus, who visited you in that “chair” in the motel, is the same Lord Jesus who has another gift of Love he wants to share with you. He loves you very much to be mindful of your hearts cry. His eye is on the sparrow, and knows that he watches you.

    Keep the Faith in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Peace to all, Until we meet,

    Laurence St. John

  4. I had a heart transplant this past week. Through detours & delays coming to and throughout the conference, God brought me literally face to face with my pride, predjudices & self righteous anger. The surgery began even before the journey. We came from California. At midnight before we departed I discovered that I had purchased only an airline ticket for myself and not my husband (ADD will do that to you). When It was all worked out, we were together on a later flight. That was where destiny began my lessons. Every step of our way, we met just the right person to speak just the right message I needed to hear. Each speaker at the conference softened my edges, but called me out and into action. James, Betty and all who participated….thank you, it was life changing. I am seeking to impart here what I got.

  5. Amen and Amen. I remember, after Pearl Harbor, how our country came together and changed the world and won the war. At the Awaken Now conference the unity was felt everywhere, in the sessions, during the meals, when we arrived at home – and it continues. You are awakening the church and we must spread it to the world of unbelievers, in love. Keep on keepin’ on!