August 19, 2022
Greetings and Solutions! Today, we were going to move on to the second part of Jesus' use of the two metaphors describing our authority in the earth -- the first one was the way we permeate and "season" our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, etc., as salt -- and the second being our function in Christ as "the light of the world." We WERE going to move on to that second part, but I got to thinking about some experiences that really illustrate our "saltiness" and decided to share those today. We'll move on to the sharing on being light next week.
First of all, here again is the amplification to Matthew 5:13.
"In the same way that salt personifies the need for seasoning, restraint and protection from spoilage or rotting, and preparation for soil to produce; in the same way that salt represents wisdom and grace in one’s speech and behavior, you are that grace and wisdom, that seasoning and protection for the world. You are that which restrains and holds back the execution of my judgment upon a world corrupted, spoiling and decaying in sin. If you lose the ability to season and influence the world around, you lose your usefulness [to the Kingdom] and, like salt that has lost its ability to make things palatable, and winds up being thrown out, you become worthless [to the Kingdom] and cease to have (spiritual) value, requiring that you be cast aside." (Matthew 5:13, RAC Translation and Amplification)
I may have shared the following with you in the past, and if I'm being repetitive, well…be blessed! (grin!) During my years at Long Beach Christian Center, I found a house for the family on Harding Street in North Long Beach, perhaps a mile and a half or two miles from the church. It was in this house that the Lord stirred me to begin fasting at least once each year for forty days.
Following one of those early fasts, I just felt in my spirit to begin walking the neighborhood each morning. In Deuteronomy 11:24, we read of Moses’ prophesying in part to Israel prior to their entrance into the Land of Promise, “Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours.”
That scripture went through me like a shot! The emphasis of the Holy Spirit was that I should “possess” the territory where I lived – not by buying up all of the houses and property, but by exercising the authority of the Lord in a tangible way. I was also fulfilling the mandate of being "salt" for our neighborhood.
As my walks began, I started one block at a time. Each morning, I would walk the complete circumference of the block, praying over each home on that block, occasionally stretching out my hand toward a home as I was directed by the Lord and speaking something like this, “Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I establish your Kingdom authority in this home. Raise up righteousness here. Bring salvation, healing and deliverance. I claim this home and this family for the Kingdom of God.”
Over a period of weeks and many months, the practice continued. I began to enlarge the territory. For awhile it was simply one block. Then it was two. Then it increased to three, then four, then five, then six, and so forth, until I was covering a pretty large territory.
The practice was always the same. As I walked, I would pray in tongues. Sometimes I would pray with my understanding, saying, “Father, I agree with your Word, and I take this territory for your Kingdom. Everywhere the soles of my feet tread, I take this territory and possess it for your Kingdom.”
I frequently extended my hand towards homes, towards the public schools, toward businesses, praying over the occupants, the school children, the school administration, the businesses and their owners. There were other churches in the area, and I would extend my hand toward them, declaring the release of Kingdom authority and revelation by Holy Spirit. There wasn’t any visible effect from my prayers for perhaps as much as two years. One by one, I began to hear of or meet families in the homes I was praying over. Very few of them actually came to our church, but I began to find that many of these families were coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Frequently, as I met the families, they would tell me where they had begun to attend a church or become involved in some fellowship. In some cases, I actually met their pastors. People began to be saved, healed of various diseases and afflictions, and set free from evil spirits – all as a direct result of simply consistently walking the territory, praying over them and extending the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ as I walked and prayed.
One day, about a block south of our home, I happened to see the Long Beach police conduct a raid on one of the houses I had prayed over. It was a house I had really felt strange about, but was new enough to this kind of prayer and intercession not to recognize what I was sensing. It was a house I consistently proclaimed the authority of the Kingdom of God over.
Turns out the house was being used for the manufacture and distribution of drugs – heroin and cocaine. The police shut it down and put the drug dealers out of business – at least in my neighborhood. I knew it was a direct result of the prayers and the consistent walking of the area.
A few months later, a house on the opposite side of the street and down a half block from our home was raided by the police and shut down. It was a whore house. Again, the Holy Spirit made clear to me the fact that it was because of the exercise of spiritual authority taking place.
I became emboldened. I called up Dick Parrish, who also served on the pastoral staff of Long Beach Christian Center, and asked him to join me in some of these walks. Then Dwain McKenzie (who had been my lifetime friend, brother in the Lord, and was the senior pastor at LBCC) began to join in the walks. We began to walk the territory near the church.
About two blocks from the church was a home where some bikers lived. Every time we walked past the place, I stretched out my hand toward the home and proclaimed the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Nearly twenty years passed after we had walked that territory when the Lord orchestrated an opportunity for Della and I to meet the bikers who had occupied that home Dwain, Dick and I had walked past and prayed over. Della and I were in Atlin, British Columbia sharing and ministering with friends from Anchorage. We were invited to come over for dinner to the home of an artist and sculptor who lived in Atlin with his family. Sitting around the dinner table that night, we happened to mention Long Beach. The artist perked up his ears, as did his wife.
“You were in Long Beach, California?” he asked. “When was that?” I responded that I had been there for about five years in the early and mid-1970’s. “Wow, what a coincidence,” he exclaimed. “So did we!”
I asked him what part of Long Beach he had lived in, and he described the street where Dwain, Dick and I had walked. Now it was my turn to be amazed. He and his wife went on to tell us that they had been a part of the biker crowd, living a pretty wild, hippie kind of life. I started to laugh. “We never met during those days,” I said, “but you were surely some of the people we prayed for as we walked the neighborhood.”
He almost came out of his chair. “You! You! I used to watch you stop in front of our house and stretch out your hand toward us. Never could hear what you were saying, but we figured you must have been praying or something like that. That’s when my wife and I experienced the Lord Jesus Christ coming into our lives and convicting us. That’s when we came to know the Lord for the first time in our lives!”
I continued to walk the neighborhood where I lived, gradually increasing the size of the territory where I walked until I was walking portions of Atlantic and Long Beach Blvds. One day as I was walking Long Beach Blvd., I was shocked to see an X-rated porn theater that had just opened up. Something rose up inside of me in anger that Satan would attempt to so brazenly encroach on territory I had been claiming for the Lord. I walked right up to the front of the theater, put my hands on the building and began to proclaim the establishing of the Kingdom of God in the place.
Despite the fact that folks were standing out front of the place and staring at me like I’d lost my marbles or something, I began to speak out loud, “Father, in the name of Jesus, I establish your Kingdom authority in this place. I shut this theater down!” It was several weeks later that I was driving down Long Beach Blvd. and decided to check on the porn theater. Not too surprisingly, it was shut down. All of the billboards and placards were gone and the theater marquee was empty. I thought to myself, Wow, this is just too good to pass up!
I parked my car and walked over to the front of the building, and again I placed my hand on the outside of the place and began to proclaim the Word of God. I said, “Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I again establish your Kingdom in this place, and I raise up righteousness. Let this building become something that will serve your purposes and be to your Glory.” Then I got back in my car and drove away.
Again it was some weeks that passed before I thought of the theater and decided to go and check on it. As I drove towards the building, I saw a man standing on a ladder putting letters on the theater marquee. I pulled over and parked and watched him spell out the following, one letter at a time: E – V – A – N – G – E – L T – E – M – P – L – E.
Brother, did I ever let out a war whoop! It had worked! What was once an X-rated porn theater was shut down, and a church and worship center opened up in its place. I’ve no idea how long that church functioned in that building, but years later when I came back to Long Beach for a visit, it was still operating.
Naturally, I wasted no time in sharing it with the folks at Long Beach Christian Center. Dave Dobbs, who was also part of the pastoral staff, happened to be driving with his wife in the San Fernando Valley some months later. They came across a huge construction site where a large number of construction workers and a lot of equipment were busy building some very elegant appearing structure.
Dave drove around the place out of curiosity to see what was being built. A large sign with an artist’s rendition displayed a future Buddhist temple. Dave remembered my experience and sharing about the theater and thought, This is a principle we need to apply here.
He and his wife parked their car, got out and walked to the chain link fence that surrounded the property. They stretched their hands towards the partially constructed building and proclaimed, “Father, in Jesus’ name, we establish your Kingdom over this place, and we shut down this project now!”
It must have been two or three months that passed before they happened to be back in the Valley and thought about the incident. They drove back to the construction site of that building, and –- to their astonishment –- saw weeds grown up around the place. Construction had ceased almost from the day they had spoken the word of authority.
It must have been almost a year later that Dave was back in the Valley and thought about checking on the place one more time. The Buddhist trappings of the place were gone, and it had been redesigned into a nice office building.
By now, you are beginning to understand what I mean when I talk about our ability to season and alter the taste (to the Lord) of the areas where we live. That is the authority of the Holy Spirit working in folks who are submitted to the Lord and sensitive to His voice and leading. That's the authority that comes when you function IN Christ Jesus as the Salt of the Earth!
That’s the kind of authority that brings healing. That’s the kind of authority that brings deliverance to people in captivity to Satan. That’s the kind of authority that tears down the thrones of spiritual rulers – the apostle Paul refers to them in the Greek text of Ephesians 6 as kosmokrator: world rulers of darkness – demon princes who exercise power and influence to execute wickedness.
What is so incredible is that Joe everyday Christian has access to that authority, if he only knew it. Folks get cheated out of living and walking in this realm because of false teaching, because of screwball doctrines, and mostly because of fear, doubt and unbelief. If Christians could see themselves in Christ Jesus, and Him in them, they would understand their role as salt right where they live! If Christians would begin to exercise this kind of authority right in the neighborhoods where they live, we would have a radically different world today.
I said it last week, and I'll say it again! That means that those people will truly season, add savor, and alter the status quo in the earth the way they are supposed to. We have been commanded to be the salt of Heaven in the earth. We have been commissioned to be God’s salt to restrain, to hold back, to preserve this earth.
We have been commanded and commissioned to season the societies that live therein until the day our role as salt has completed that purpose. That role can never be minimized or degraded, or else we suffer the consequence of losing our “saltness,” and cease to fulfill the destiny He has set before us.
Let's do it, folks! Let's bring back an America under God! Let's restore the savor of God's presence in this nation, and on this continent! Let's be the seasoning of Heaven!
OK. Now we can move on to being the "Light of the World" -- next week, that is.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Once again, the number to call for healing is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (559) 726-1300, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long.
Blessings on you!
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