Does Church Need Heart Surgery?
In the natural heart disease is one of the biggest killers of mankind, epseically in western nations. What then is the condition of the spiritual heart of the church? Is it healthy or as risk? We are in a time when the Lord is causing us to see the reality of our hearts.
“Revelation” about the heart condition of the bride is not to bring discouragement. Nor is it to be seen as a put down. In the natural an accurate diagnosis usually brings a sense of relief to know why you are suffering. While “knowing” the condition doesn’t immediately relieve the condition, it does bring clarity and understanding and a willingness to co-operate with the surgeon!
No doubt about it, Jesus is the best heart surgeon we can have. Naturally and spiritually, heart issues are very serious as disease or irregularities can be the difference between life and death. And there can be various causes. It may be hereditary or maybe bad lifestyle. Spiritual heart conditions can come from wounding (broken-hearted) and some come from sin, either personal or generational. The Lord is exposing the realities and truths about ourselves that we have not realized before. Or perhaps they are things we were not ready to face before. For many of us this has been a journey that has been quite confronting and challenging.
HEART SURGERY FOR BRIDE
The revelation that Isaiah was granted when he saw the Lord caused him to see clearly and be aware of his own unclean lips. Jesus said that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man…” All of the important matters and concerns of life come from our heart. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
WHO CAN ENDURE THE DAY OF HIS COMING?
We know that a part of this current season is that the Lord is doing a deep work preparing His bride to be ready for His coming. When Jesus comes He is coming in the fullness of His glory as the King of kings and we will see Him in the fullness of who He really is. One needs a healthy heart to cope with a major surprise or something that is astonishing. The fullness of Jesus’ glory caused John to fall like a dead man. What about us? “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire…” (Malachi 3:2) The Apostle John said that the face of Jesus shines just like the brightness of the noon day sun. In Revelation 21 it says that heaven has no need of a sun or moon because Jesus is THE LIGHT! His brilliance is more than our humanity can cope with. But God desperately wants to have fellowship, communion and intimacy with sinful man. But if God was to come near our old nature, it would be like us trying to fly to the sun: we would get “fried”. The wonder of the gospel is that Jesus gave His life to pay the bride price and provided us with the only protection that allows us near to Him i.e. His own blood. God’s light and glory shining on us now removes us out from the shadow of deception and helps us to see our true condition. When His glory shines, everything is revealed. Just like those insects that I could not see before the light shone on them. “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.”( Mark 4:22) When His bright light shines and penetrates all darkness, the contrast between Him and us becomes crystal clear. Step by step, layer by layer and from glory to glory. Sometimes I feel I am just making progress to be like Him and then some more light shines and, ouch, things are not as good as I thought! This exposure is not to condemn us or to humiliate and shame us but to realign us with His holy nature. Holiness is not about doing but about being. This preparation is about us being like Him as His nature is formed in us! Holiness is about us, little by little, step by step, and from glory to glory; becoming just like Him. The brightness of His coming will prevent us from hiding behind fig leaves like Adam and Eve. Therefore in His grace and mercy He is preparing His bride now so that we can stand before Him on that day.
THREE RECENT VISIONS
I want to share three significant visions about the heart of the church. Two of the visions were received by intercessors in our ministry. The third was by a prophetess from England and shared when visiting Western Australia. Each of the three visions reveals how God is seeing the heart (and lips) of His bride at this moment. There are several overlaps in these visions which are rather challenging. But He only reveals things when we are ready to cope with it. And He only brings things to light to the depth we can handle. Like the proverbial onion, He deals with one layer then another. To each layer He lovingly brings healing, restoration, wholeness, holiness and maturity. While it is somewhat confronting, it is also a fresh reminder of His eternal love, the destiny He has for us and the wonder of the Gospel.
1. Vision of a Beautiful bride with Deformed Mouth
While praying and seeking the Lord I saw a lady with her back to me. As I continued to look, I saw it was a bride. She had a veil secured in the middle of her head with a beautiful brooch or stone. The veil was long and beautiful. As I was watching she started to turn around and as I saw her face I was horrified because her mouth was very ugly and it spoiled the beauty of everything else about her. Then I saw the face from the opening of Luna Park.
The church is being prepared like a bride. At this point her garment looks beautiful (acts of righteousness) but the mouth is yet to be healed of slander, gossip and ungodly talking and soulish praying. Jesus revealed that the heart directs the tongue and thus the heart is in need of cleansing and healing. The Luna Park face reveals that the Lord sees the heart and mouth as serious issues for the bride to be ready. However, much of the bride currently lacks the understanding of the real condition or the seriousness of it.
2. Vision of Major Heart Surgery to Remove Scar Tissue
I saw a heart that was pumping. On the surface it looked okay but inside there was scaring. Right in the middle, the most central part, of the heart was a V shaped scar. It started from the centre of the heart and V ed out. The bottom of the V started very small, maybe the size of a pin head and extended to a very large area. This pin size is the root cause. The root is: rejection, trauma, devastation, shame, guilt, disillusion, deception. The scar was thick and difficult to get at. In the natural a surgeon would have to stop the heart to operate in this place. Spiritually it is an area that had previously experienced hurt. It had healed but had caused a thick, hard, unforgiving scar. The scar tissue had no elasticity to move with the heart as it pumped. In the vision the scar affected the function of the four chambers of the heart as it tried to contract and expand, stretch and release. The Spirit used a sharp sword to cut ALL the scaring away, but delicately enough not to damage the good muscle fibers. Then HE brought the raw edges together and sealed it in His hands, keeping the edges together while the healing was taking place. This surgery was done in secret.
Interpretation The Lord wants to heal our hearts completely so that they are fully functional and with no damage or impediment. Sometimes the root incident or circumstance has happened so long ago, and has been buried so deep that we assume all has been forgotten. God has not forgotten. Life’s hurts and disappointments continue to pile on top of that root that inflicted damage. In life we learn strategies and behaviors so that we can survive. In the process these “coping mechanisms” cause lots of hard scaring to form. Because we can “function” we may think that we are “healed”, until somebody presses our buttons! The Lord wants to remove all the scar tissue because it hinders the full function of the heart. He wants us to be pliable to Him. To do this, HE has to surgically remove it with the sword of the spirit. He will cut along the borders of the scar, as well as the root cause. This can be painful because the raw nerves are exposed. But what HE is going to do is pull these edges together and seal them in HIS hand, so the healing will be complete, without scaring. Thus our emotions, thoughts and decision making can return to full function. His desire is for His Bride to be able to walk in His ways and utilize our giftings and fulfill the purpose that HE has pre-destined us for.
3. Vision of Beautiful Bride with Death over her Heart
At the Perth City Wide Prayer Breakfast in May 2009, Candace Frances (prophetess from Britain) shared a vision she was given of a beautiful white linen dress, studded with diamonds - she was shown that this was the lovely Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:7-8) that is being prepared, and sensed that God was looking at her heart in this season. This was followed by another vision of a woman on all fours with a chain around her neck with four links attached to a skull and cross bones that was decorating her chest. This was a picture of Jesus’ bride at present. There are four chambers in the heart, and she said that the chambers she could see holding the woman were 1) Rejection, 2) Shame 3) Unbelief and 4) Hatred.
Interpretation and Understanding.
Jesus wants us to contend for the individual’s heart – it must come from the leadership down. We need to pray for the church to move from rejection to acceptance and sonship, from hatred to agape love, from unbelief to faith and from shame to honour. She noted that the inside of the heart is shaped like a cross. All rejection, shame, unbelief and hatred must lead us to the redemptive power of the cross of Jesus who was and is victorious. His bride is to rise up in righteousness to honour our King and honour one another.
THE BRIDE JESUS IS COMING FOR
“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Jesus is not coming for a bride that is a harlot and He is not coming for a harem. These are not comments to get attention or to be disrespectful; rather they reveal the deep and great work He is doing in our midst. When God’s people do not love Him with all their hearts, He calls it harlotry. And He only has one bride. Different denominations and ministries do not constitute different brides. He is coming for one united bride whose heart is captivated by Him and who has become like Him. Jesus will present His church as a glorious, splendid, honourable and magnificent Bride who loves Him with ALL of her heart. All “harlotry” will have been removed and her eyes will be for Him only. Her heart will become totally captivated with love for the bridegroom. Jesus is returning for a bride without blemishes, stains, defects, faults or defilements. She will not be divided, fragmented or crippled. All toxins in her body are being removed and all hormones will be in divine order. She is being healed of every fracture and wound. She is being made whole by the washing of the Word and “swimming” in the healing river of His Spirit. She will have no shame, dishonour or disgrace, either perceived or real. She is learning to exchange these at the cross and receive His forgiveness, cleansing, glory and honour. She knowingly and lovingly wears His protective and honorable robe of righteousness. She will be without wrinkles so she will be fresh. Any furrows and creases she gained from walking through the trials and tribulations of life will be removed as her youth is renewed like the eagle. And when He comes she will be pure white, holy and glorious.
So how does the Bride get from being crippled by “heart disease” and having a “deformed mouth” to be this glorious radiant bride? We are being made holy as He is holy. It is a process that takes place throughout our journey of life. When we are born again we instantly become His possession. Yet, and this is the irony and the hard part for our minds to cope with, the Spirit of God spends the rest of our earthly lives helping us to be “sanctified”. That simply means we are set apart for God. When a bride gets ready for her wedding day, she is preparing to be set aside just for her groom. No-one else can have her. And she spends many hours and many dollars making sure that everything is just beautiful and perfect. Being ready for Jesus is a process just like a natural wedding.
Ephesians 5:25 points to the work of Jesus on the cross; “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…” On his DVD, “Guilt, Shame & Rejection”, Derek Prince shares that shame and rejection are the deepest and most debilitating wounds that a human being can experience. But he then proceeds to teach how to apply the cross of Jesus to these significant wounds of life to bring victory and healing. If we do not apply the cross of Jesus to these wounds they can take us into unbelief, rebellion and even hatred of God. At this point the enemy has an open invitation to destroy us. Jesus paid the price on the cross to end our heartache. Jesus came to give us abundant life, not misery. There is no doubt about it; Jesus is the best heart surgeon we can have. Last year after some personal and ministry traumas I had a dream. In this dream my heart had been ripped in two and I was bleeding to death. After that I experienced the Lord’s surgery over a three day period. It was painful - but life saving! The anointing upon Jesus is to heal the brokenhearted. Doctor Jesus is also the Good Shepherd who RESTORES our SOUL. Our soul includes our thoughts, our emotions and will. Wounding has a profound affect on all parts of our soul. It can fragment our soul leading to a “divided heart” causing us to be “double-minded”. A divided heart struggles to rise up in faith. (James 1:6,7) The Psalmist says; “I hate the double-minded the divided in heart or mind” (Psa 119:113) A divided heart impacts on our love and worship of God. The Lord longs for us to love and worship Him with ALL one hundred percent of our heart. That is every part of our emotions, minds and will. If our heart is “divided” only a part of us will be able to love and worship Him. Allowing Dr Jesus to mend and heal our broken hearts is critical.
THE WORD Ephesians 5:26 says the change from blemish to purity comes by washing in His Word. We know that Jesus is the Living Word, that His Word is like medicine. He sends His Word and delivers us from destruction. We know His word, being a double edged sword, is like the surgeon’s knife. It divides and separates between our soul and Spirit and it exposes the real intentions of our hearts. We know that the Word that the Spirit brings to us is LIFE and we must soak in it and OBEY it. We know these things but it is much harder to willingly agree to go under His surgeon’s knife! In the midst of this process the Lord gave a gradual revelation in regards to the heart condition. It is not necessarily “new” but perhaps something the Spirit wants to emphasize and remind us of.
CIRCUMCISION The revelation began as I experienced a sensation like “God was trying to kill me”. That might sound strange but He then reminded me of Moses after the burning bush. God had called Moses to deliver Israel but as Moses set off to obediently fulfill the task God tried to kill him. Why? Moses had not circumcised his sons. Perhaps this reminder has come as we seek to arise into our destiny and the Lord is revealing these pictures of the heart to ensure that every preparation is in place. In her book “Fathers Heart”, Irene Swan says; “God prepares us by His word and Spirit. From time to time He opens the eyes of our understanding…He wants us to be well prepared and ready for what He is doing in our midst. He does not want us to be caught unaware and miss the golden moments of our life.” 1 At a similar time, a couple of our intercessors confirmed about the Lord speaking about “circumcision of the heart” especially in regards to rejection, shame, unbelief and hatred as was revealed in the third vision. One of the intercessors had an experience during a worship time where it seemed God was doing “something with my heart, it was a 'covenant’ thing… it signified something new… A week later I knew that the Lord was circumcising my heart. I thought this was odd in a way because surely God has done this when we have committed our life to Him, nevertheless I knew that this was what God was doing.”
JORDAN The Lord then spoke to us about what happened to Israel as they passed through Jordan on their way to the Promised Land. Geographically (and spiritually), Jordan is the lowest point on earth – it is 1290 feet below sea level. Yet at this lowest point on earth the priests were required to carry the ark into the river. The nation of Israel was told to follow the ark because they had not been that way before. As the priests entered the river with the ark, the waters receded and they could walk through on dry ground. So at the very lowest point on earth and in the middle of the dry river, the lowest of low points, the priests had to hold the ark while the rest of the nation passed through. As the Lord brought our attention to this, it described exactly how I was feeling; at the lowest and driest place. Yet it was here in this difficult place that the Lord told Israel to “follow the ark”. And at this lowest point the priests had to hold onto the ark. Despite the circumstances they could not put the ark down. As the Lord brought this revelation I felt weak and even defeated, yet this new understanding became a turning point. He simply said “Hold onto the Ark”. There are times when all we can do is to say, “Lord I am holding onto Your presence and Your glory”. There are times when in the midst of confusion, insecurity and a “dark place” the declaration to hold onto the His Presence and to follow Him is all that is possible. Once Israel had passed through the Jordan the Lord then told them to be circumcised. The previous generation that had been circumcised had died in the wilderness from rebellion and disobedience. This new generation, like Moses before them, had to tend to the matter of circumcision before they could fight for and claim their inheritance. Although the instruction in Joshua 5:2-9 was physical circumcision the prophetic word in Deuteronomy 30 speaks of circumcision of the heart. As Israel obediently sealed covenant with God, this circumcision “removed the reproach of Egypt.” (Joshua 5:9) This act removed or “cut away” the shame, disgrace and all ties to slavery. The root of the Hebrew word used for reproach is to pull off or to “betroth as in surrender”. Had the slavery to Egypt been a type of betrothal or surrender even though they were forced? Wounding to our hearts, whether as victims or consequences of our own actions, frequently bring with it shame, reproach, bondage, and even cause us to “surrender” to some form of ungodliness. God’s circumcision of the heart is to cut away all shame and any surrender to the tyrannical spirits that emanate from spiritual Egypt.
CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART “Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it... 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deut 30:5, 6) While the men had to be physically circumcised the Lord was spiritually causing their hearts to be cut. There are vital parallels between physical and spiritual circumcision. Medically, male circumcision is a cutting away of the foreskin. It takes the edge of the flesh that is hard to clean and subject to infection. Male circumcision involves the most personal part of the body that causes the most pain when surgically cut. Yet it is the organ which is used to seal covenant, to express the most intimate love and through which comes reproductive fruitfulness and inheritance. Spiritual circumcision is not restricted to gender. The heart is the most important spiritual “organ” for it is the seat of our affections, our thoughts and our actions. To cut away the “flesh” of the heart inflicts immense pain, it is extremely personal and requires delicate surgery. However, circumcision of the heart is also where our covenant with God is sealed, it is where intimacy with Him takes place and where fruitfulness springs from. In the Old Testament circumcision of males was the outward sign of circumcision of the HEART. Why? The Lord said He was circumcising their hearts so that His people could LOVE Him with their whole heart. This “heart surgery” was to cut away everything that would be an obstacle to loving Him. It can include the fleshly inclinations to idolatry and witchcraft. Or it can be the grief, stress and wounding from traumas, major incidents, our own sin or sin against us that wounds us. These can include loss of job, divorce or marriage breakdown, loss of significant relationship, death of someone close, change of house, job or church, major disappointment, accident, surgery, major illness, theft, murder or tarnish of reputation by false reports. Anything that wounds or divides our heart can impact upon us loving the Lord with the totality of our heart. Therefore we are in need of a heart that has been healed, made “whole” and circumcised. God’s intention for circumcision was so that we could love Him totally. Jesus reiterated that this was the one major purpose of the law; “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:34) The Lord said to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:6 that His heart surgery would save their lives and cause them to live. He is the one applying the surgeon’s knife! Being able to love Him without impediment will save our lives! “…the LORD your God will circumcise your heart…to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, THAT YOU MAY LIVE.”
In the natural, heart surgery is sometimes necessary for survival. It can be the difference between life and death. Circumcision of the heart is not just a good idea, a recommendation or a suggestion. It is a necessity for our spiritual survival!! In speaking to Israel Moses said, “what does the LORD your God require of you?” The answer today is still the same. The requirement for God’s people, Jew or Gentile is;
“…to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes…14Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. …circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome... 20 You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God…” (Deut 10:12-14, 16-21)
Circumcision of the heart is to make us flexible so that we can obediently and unquestioningly follow and love Him. Knowing exactly “who” the Lord is, His position in the universe and fearing Him is a vital reason to willingly endure circumcision. [Hence, the first article.]
CIRCUMCISION IS A WORK OF THE SPIRIT – for true worship!
The Apostle Paul clearly states that true circumcision is “of the heart” and is not a work of the law but of “the Spirit”. Romans 2:28,29 says; “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh…circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter…”
There is such a close correlation between the work of the Spirit, circumcision of the heart and true worship, that these three cannot be separated. The ministry of the Holy Spirit and circumcision of the heart are vital “pre-requisites” for us to be able to worship God in “spirit and in truth.” “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit… and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:2)
There are two manifestations of a circumcised heart;
(a) to worship in the Spirit and
(b) no confidence in the flesh.
Jesus said to worship God we must worship in the Spirit. (John 4:23, 24) Worshipping in the Spirit and not having confidence in the flesh go hand in hand.
A SEAL OF COVENANT
Paul says that when Abraham was physically circumcised, he “received the sign of circumcision”. This “sign” was “a seal of the righteousness of the faith” (Romans 4:11) The marriage supper of the Lamb requires the bride to be in covenant with the Lord. This covenant is by faith. Circumcision of the heart cuts away our bondage to the enemy and seals covenant with God. All shame is rolled away. While it may be unpleasant, circumcision perfects and enables the bride to love the Lord with her whole heart, totally one hundred percent. It removes every obstacle, blockage, impediment and obstruction to her ability to completely and fully love Him. Physical circumcision removes the flesh that is subject to infection. Spiritual circumcision deals with both our flesh and the works of the devil that have been blockages preventing us from totally loving God. These have also stopped us from being “true worshippers”. Therefore circumcision of the heart is vital preparation for the worshipping warrior bride.
It is somewhat like the preparations that Esther had before going to the King. The first part of her preparation was removing the toxins from her body. The Lord wants our hearts and eyes to be fixed upon Him and totally satisfied with Him.
The second part of her preparation was sweet perfumes so that she was desirable and attractive to the most powerful man on earth. How amazing is it that the pure, perfect HOLY God who created the heavens and the earth, desires and longs for intimate communion with us weak human souls. His purity is so intense and starkly contrasted by the frailty of our humanity. What good news! The wonder of the gospel is that by the sacrifice of Jesus we are “covered with His robe of righteousness” so we can come near to Him and have intimate fellowship and union. That we can have the closest friendship with the most dazzling person in the universe is nothing less than extraordinary and humbling!
1 Irene Swan: Father’s Heart p 129