– Article – Preparing Our Hearts for the Coming Move of God

Preparing Our Hearts for the Coming Move of God by Scott Flanagan

This is the fourth and final year of the pilot teaching of the Level I training. It now covers one entire academic year, including fall and spring semesters and an intensive six-week summer session. Over these first three years of our training, we have been developing the Level I curriculum. In the first year, we had two six-week semesters. Now we have two 14-15-week semesters and a summer intensive. In the first year we had one book published and taught several chapters of a projected second book. That second book grew into two books and both of those books have grown over the past two years. They are now completed and being published, and we will have a 4th book by summer. Each year the Lord has been revealing deeper understandings of the pathway to sonship so that we can comprehend it and teach it better. This year we will be working on study guides for the fall and spring semesters which hopefully will be ready by the fall of next year when the Level I training will be launched worldwide. This year we will be learning how to make our new website an effective tool to further enhance the value of this training.

As we embark on this new academic year, it feels very different to me. In past years, we have talked about the coming move of God. Now it feels imminent. So now it is no longer enough to explain what is coming. Now it is most important to teach you how to position yourselves to receive the most from the coming move of God. Our focus this year will be on the Baptism of Fire, which is the third of the five steps that take us to perfection and transfiguration. Because it will come for most as a corporate phenomenon, it will affect different people in different ways, depending on where they are in their spiritual journey when it comes. So it is important to understand how to prepare for it now and how to receive it.

Presently, in the English-speaking world, I know of 8-10 very public forerunners in the Kingdom stream for whom Heaven is just as real and tangible as our world. Moreover, they have developed close personal relationships, not only with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit but also with a number of angels and saints in Heaven. For those that are prepared, the Baptism of Fire has the potential to take us to that same level of experiencing Heaven. I know this is true because I have seen it in dreams and visions. Thousands will have that experience worldwide, perhaps 14-15,000 during this first wave in the birthing of the manifest sons of God. I believe that will take place over the next 1-4 years. The second wave of the birthing of son will begin 14 or more years later and be much larger, bringing the number of sons birthed in these two waves to 144,000 (Rev 7:1-4).  

These things are happening in our day because around 2012 we entered the last transitional generation from the roughly 2000-year Church Age to the 2000-year Kingdom Age. In the Bible, a generation is usually a 40-year period. The Church Age began with Christ’s first coming and the Kingdom Age will begin with His second coming.

Even if the corporate expressions of the Baptism of Fire fail to bring you to perfection, experiencing that corporate baptism will greatly advance you from where you are. Moreover, the path to experiencing the full transforming power of that baptism will not be closed off to you. You will still be able to pursue it individually with the Lord. I believe that before Jesus returns, roughly 10% of the world’s population, representing the bride of Christ, will go all the way through the Baptism of Fire to perfection. Jesus will then present the bride “to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27 ESV). With the 144,000 transfigured son, who Jesus referred to as “the friends of the bridegroom,” (Matt 9:15 NKJV), the bride will “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4:17 NKJV) in the rapture and attend the wedding supper of the Lamb. This 10% down payment represents the earnest, the promissory note that Jesus will give to the Father at that wedding supper guaranteeing that virtually all the rest of mankind will be redeemed and restored to the Father by the end of His millennial reign.

The Bible tells us that some will be eternally lost and cast into the lake of fire, but I believe that, in the end, this will be a very small number. The Bible tells us, “The lake of fire is the second death” (Rev 20:14 NIV). The Lord told me that the first death is the death of the body and the second death is the death of the soul. Those that experience the second death will cease to exist forever. That is what Jesus referred to as “eternal punishment” (Matt 25:46 NIV). We can be confident that those who experience the second death will be very few because God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV) and He has the power to make it so.    

The pathway to sonship is the pathway to perfection, transfiguration and oneness with God. You do not move forward on this pathway by receiving prophecies, impartations or mantles. That was what God used during the Church Age. To participate in the coming Kingdom Age, during this last transitional 40-year generation, we must pursue transformation. We must die to self and yield to the work the Lord wants to do in us. We must also pursue deeper and deeper levels of intimacy with Him. That is a major theme in this training. To help you on your journey into the heart of God, we will provide you with many exercises, spiritual disciplines and activations that will help you along the way. Many of you are likely to find some of these difficult and hard to do. Many of you will not see immediate progress in doing some of these things. What will help you the most in this process, will be pressing in for a closer relationship with the person of Jesus, Father and/or Holy Spirit. Once you learn to engage the Lord at a very deep level and are touched by His love and begin to walk in His glory, you will find that you are ruined for anything else. Then what was very difficult for you to do will become easy, because the longing of your heart is only for more of Him.

Should We Pursue the Gifts or the Giver? – The Lord has asked me to say a few things at the start of this year’s training, so that we all begin with the right attitude and the right understanding of what it is we are trying to pursue. There are many dangers and distractions on the pathway to sonship, and the enemy is always trying to trip us up. So at the beginning of our journey, we need to have a clear vision of what it is we are seeking. During the Church age, what was sought was demonstrations of the power gifts – healings, miracles, signs and wonders. They were seen by both Christian leaders and followers to be the badges that identified spiritual maturity and greatness. That was a mistake. The gifts had to be given to some to show us all what was possible in God and the heart of God to love and restore us. The spiritual gifts are not a sign of spiritual maturity and many leaders who have walked in amazing signs and wonders since the dawn of the modern Pentecostal movement (around the turn of the twentieth century) did not finish well. Typically pride, selfish ambition and competition opened the door for the enemy to attack them at their weakest points and bring them down. No revivals or healing movements of the past have ever endured. They all came to an end because, after wonderful beginnings, they ultimately came to be used to glorify man rather than God. It is not to be that way this time. We have been told that this move of God will never end. Therefore, to participate in it, we will have to do so through a different model with a different mindset.

I want to tell you the story of an experience one of the forerunners had a few years ago to make this point. Joseph Sturgeon tells us that one day he was following a car in a rural area in Alabama and the car began weaving and then ran through a brick mailbox and into an oak tree. Initially, no one else was around. Joseph stopped his car to see if there was anything he could do to help. It was clear that the driver had a seizure and had driven at a very high speed into a very large tree. The car was demolished and the driver’s body was a gory mess. The bricks had smashed his face and his bones were broken in multiple places. Joseph lifted the man out of the car and laid him on the ground. It was clear to Joseph that no medical attention could save this person’s life. He was on the brink of death.

Jesus had been teaching Joseph about the meaning of praying in His name. Just saying “in the name of Jesus” has no magical power to make our prayers come true. Praying from a place of being IN the name of Jesus is a position in the Lord from which power flows because of our relationship and intimacy with Him.[1] So Joseph went into that place and prayed for the man’s healing and restoration. Before his eyes, he saw the man’s body levitate off the ground and then heard crack, crack, crack, crack as God’s healing light flowed through the man’s body restoring it from head to toe. His bleeding stopped. The wounds were closed and healed. The man was completely restored. He came to and asked in a confused voice, “What just happened?”

Joseph wanted to remain hidden and as other people began to run to the scene, he moved away. But the thought entered his mind, “There has to be more.” He had seen miracles and people raised from the dead. If Jesus could do the impossible with the body of a human being that had been hopelessly mangled in an accident, why could He not do the same thing with the car the man was driving. So Joseph went over to the car and said, “You too.” Then, in a similar way, Joseph saw that terribly damaged car, piece by piece, cracking and popping out and being restored back to its original condition. Joseph was understandably amazed at the level of dominion this new key had enabled him to walk in. In his fallen humanity, which we all share, he could not resist trying it out on his old car, and said, “In the name of Jesus – Lamborghini.” Of course, nothing happened.

What was God trying to teach Joseph and us through this experience? When he got back in his car, he was thinking how cool the restoration of the man’s car had been. He had never seen or heard anything like it. As he was thinking that, he heard Holy Spirit say to him, “If that is the reward of your faith, you have received second best forever.”[2]

What was Holy Spirit saying? A new level of faith based on a new level of position in the Lord had made the healing of both the man and the car possible. This deeper level of faith and standing in the Lord made the impossible, possible. Joseph’s faith born out of his intimate relationship with Jesus had enabled him to touch the place in God of walking in complete dominion over the material realm. It is faith born out of relationship that will enable us walk in the level of authority Jesus spoke of when He said, “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:23 NKJV). However, what Joseph saw had dazzled him and focused His attention on the manifestation of the faith – healing the car – rather than on what made the healing possible – a new level of intimacy, faith, and trust in God. The choice before us is always a choice between focusing on signs and wonders or focusing on the giver of the signs and wonders. Joseph’s first instinct after healing the man and the car was not to recognize that he had engaged a deeper place in Jesus than he had ever attained before. He did not turn to the Lord and ask, “Lord how can I live with you from this place of intimacy, so I can manifest Your will on the earth.”

I am not criticizing Joseph Sturgeon. He understands the lesson of his experience better than all of us. He is telling on himself for our sake. The problem throughout the Church Age has been that many outstanding Christian leaders began well with an intense hunger for God, but when God rewarded their hunger with amazing giftings, they lost their first love and focus on God. Their gifting’s elevated them in the eyes of men, and they became seduced by worldly rewards – large followings, money, influence and adulation. Because of the unhealed wounds in their souls, which we all have, these worldly benefits comforted them and made them feel better about themselves. So, they ended up assigning top priority to pursuing more signs and wonders and worldly benefits, rather than more of God.

The Bible tells us that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6 NKJV). What is the highest reward that God can give us? It is not more power and dominion over the material world. That is putting the cart before the horse. Jesus told us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt 6:33 NKJV).  Jesus is telling us that we should seek Him and seek to become like Him and then everything else that we need and desire will flow out of that. How do we do that? How do we become like Him?

We do not overcome bad habits and insecurities and change through willpower. That is relying on “self” and self is what has to die. We change by yielding to His transforming work in us and pressing in for more of Him in our lives. For example, God is love and so to become like Him we must become love. That means we must learn to love the most fallen and unlovable, even those that hate God and serve satan. That is not something we can do in our own strength. It only happens as we become so continuously engaged with Jesus that we see others through His eyes. We must strive to enter into a deeper place of union with Him so we can be continually filled up with Him. As Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20 NKJV). “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27 NKJV).

The path of union with God is the path of intimacy. We realize that union as we pursue the five levels on the path of presence. We will teach you about the first of those five levels next week and the other four in the spring semester. As we progress through these levels we are changed and become more like him. There are great benefits associated with this pursuit of more of Him in us. The first is that we learn to live in His glory for longer and longer parts of our day. The wonderful thing about the glory is that when you are immersed in it you cannot get upset. Nothing can disturb your joy and peace. It is only when the glory fades that the enemy can again plant worries, anxieties and other negative emotions in our minds. So our task is to learn to live in the glory all the time, so that it never wanes. That is what the Lord has been teaching me. The pathway of presence is the pathway of living continuously in love, joy and peace.

The second benefit is that as we press into the person of God in the realms of Heaven, we come to realize what an incredibly wonderful place Heaven is. As we begin to long to be permanently in Heaven so that we can be closer to the Lord, we lose our fear of death which keeps us in bondage to the enemy. “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18, NKJV) and frees “those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb 2:15 NIV). Our fears are what strengthen and empower the enemy to attack and torment us. To overcome our fears, we have to overcome the fear of death. That comes as we begin to realize that, regardless of how challenging and difficult the experiences we must walk through are, the Lord can transform and reframe those experiences so that they become the best possible things that could have happened to us because of the fruit they yielded in our life.

Finally, the path of presence is the path of living a transcendent life. So it is pursuing deeper levels of intimacy with the Lord that leads to dominion over the material realm. If our focus is on Him, “all these things shall be added to you.” If our focus is on attaining the power gifts and pursuing the things the world has to offer, we will miss the mark. That has been the problem of the Church Age. The Church Age focused on the gifts the Spirit but not the fruit of the Spirit.  The focus was walking in power rather than walking in holiness. We should keep in mind that the enemy’s camp can mimic almost all of the power gifts. So walking in those gifting’s is not a sign that someone is of God.

The Bible warns us that in the last days the antichrist will be performing “all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” to deceive “those who are perishing” (2 Thess 2:9-10 NIV). Moreover, as Joseph Sturgeon learned through experience, at some point in our journey back to oneness with God, we must return the spiritual gifts the Lord has given us. They are only meant to be our training wheels. We are to learn to operate in the gifts out of what we have become in Christ rather than by means of a supernatural capacity that has been loaned to us. The gifts will naturally flow out of us as we attain the higher levels of spiritual maturity that we will walk in after we receive the Baptism of Fire. What will be new is that, not just a few gifted leaders, but such a great many people will be walking in gifts of healing that major healings will become commonplace and expected at every church gathering. Remember when Paul enjoined us to “go on to perfection” he included in “the elementary principles of Christ” that we are to move beyond the laying on of hands for healing and the raising of the dead (Heb 6:1 NKJV).

The Transformative Power of God’s White Light – The Bible tells us, “God is light” (1 John 1:5 NKJV) and “lives in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6:16 NIV). People who have seen this light in dreams, visions or near-death experiences (NDEs) describe it is a white light, whiter than anything on the earth, even much whiter and brighter than the sun. The disciples on the mount of transfiguration saw that light emanating from Jesus. As they described it, “His face shone like the sun” (Matt 17:2 NKJV) and “His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (Mark 9:3 NKJV). They were trying to describe a light that is whiter and brighter than anything that exists in the natural world. Paul was blinded by this light on the road to Damascus. We learn two things about this light from NDErs. The first is that although this light is blinding and unapproachable in the material realm, in the spiritual realm, people can look directly at it, even though they say it is ten times brighter than the sun. Secondly, those that encounter this light are radically change by it. Regardless of how far they were from the Lord in the past, they become lovers and pursuers of God. They instantly understand who they are in God and no longer believe all the enemy’s lies about them. Increasingly, we are seeing examples in our world of those who have experienced the power of this white light without dying. They also were instantly transformed, even those that were deeply involved in sin and the occult. This white light is the river of life. The river of life is a river of light, fire and glory that flows from the Father. This powerful transforming white light is love. So the saying is true, “Love conquers all.”

Here is the paradox. God could instantaneously redeem every human being on the earth by zapping us with His white light. Why doesn’t He? That would get us back to the union Adam and Eve enjoyed with God before the fall. However, that would not allow us to learn the lessons which our sojourn in our fallen world are supposed to teach us. The purpose of our earthly experience is to learn to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. Unfortunately, we cannot learn that living in the bliss of Heaven. We have to be tested and refined by fire. That is why James writes, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2 NKJV).

Many of the trials we face are extremely traumatic and difficult, but no matter how bad our experiences are, God uses them for our good. They work for our benefit, often in ways that we do not presently understand. But some things we do understand. Typically, we do not change when things are going well. We change when things are going very badly. That throws us into the arms of God. We will not fully understand the mystery of suffering until we come to perfection and transfiguration, but as James continues in the beginning of his first chapter, we must “let patience have its perfect work (in our trials), that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4 NKJV).

Jesus has told us in the last days, great natural disasters and fears will come upon the world, not unlike the days of the Exodus. He will use these cataclysmic crises to force people to change. As Jesus told us, “Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:26 NIV). He also told us to “pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass” (Luke 21:36 NKJV). So there is a way of escape for those who pursue a Kingdom Age relationship with Him. That escape is not the rapture. There will be no pretribulation rapture.[3] 

Here is the deeper irony. Lucifer was the most glorious of all the angels. His name means light bearer. He was the covering cherub that first saw Father’s plans and had the privilege of revealing them to all of Heaven. Then one day he saw that God was going to create mankind to replace him as the ones closest to the throne. God wanted him to train us up to replace his role of announcing God’s plans to all of creation. The name Lucifer means light bearer. He was God’s light bearer, but God now wants us to become His light bearers. We will take that role one step further by implementing the plans of our Father, something that Lucifer could never do. He was designed to help us in the transition from our preexistence in the heart of our Father as spirit beings to tripartite beings of spirit, soul and body in the material world. Lucifer rebelled and instead of trying to help us, he has worked tirelessly to try to destroy us. He is no longer the light bearer. He has become satan, “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night” (Rev 12:10 NKJV).

The irony is that God uses everything the enemy does for evil to refine us and work for our good. In the end, Lucifer or satan will perform the role God intended him to play from the beginning. Unintentionally, he is helping us in the transition from children of God to co-heirs and rulers of the Kingdom of God. Moreover, God is going to bring many of his sons and daughters to transfiguration so that out of their “innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38 NASU). What will flow from these transfigured ones is God’s white light which will transform everyone around them. God’s plan is to redeem mankind through mankind – through the white light that flows from the transfigured sons of God.

Three months ago, after I had read another amazing account of the power of the Lord’s white light to instantly turn lives around, I had this exchange with Jesus during one of our morning chats.  You will hear many more of these revelations I have received from the Lord in our books and in our Level I training. That will encourage you to pursue these kinds of daily conversations with the Lord and we will teach you how to do that. Here is an except about that exchange we had concerning the power of His white light.

Scott: Jesus, as I come to you this morning, I am in awe of Your power to transform lives. I am in awe of the power of your white light. I am asking You, Jesus, to be a light bearer. We were created to be Your light bearers. With everything in me, the desire of my heart is to become a light bearer so that the white light which comes from You, Father and Holy Spirit, that light would flow out of me and transform lives as You have transformed my life. Make me a light bearer. There is no higher goal in life. Against your white light nothing can stand, no demon, no argument, lie or false belief, no health issue, no addiction, no demonic stronghold, no wounding of the soul, nothing. Your white light is checkmate. The enemy is totally powerless in the presence of that light.

Jesus:  Little Brother, now you have the vision. Now you know the goal. The purpose of transfiguration is to transform you into light bearers. As you learn to dwell in that light, which is My glory, it will overcome all the resistance and incompatibilities in your soul and body until you become one with Me and that light is pouring out of you. You will have become a pure conductor of My light which is Father’s light, which is the light of the world that will transform everything and bring Heaven to earth. This is where We are leading you. This is the destiny We have prepared for you. This is the purpose of the training We are having you write. This is the path that leads to transfiguration and becoming white light. Walk in it.

[1] See Ian Clayton’s teaching on In the Name of Jesus, on his website, www.sonofthunder.org.

[2] Joseph Sturgeon, “Framing an Atmosphere for the Miraculous” Glad Tidings Church, May 9, 2020, YouTube.

[3] We explain this in Chapter 2 of our Volume 1 Text, Scott Flanagan and John Graham, The Pathway to Sonship: From Salvation to Transfiguration, Kingdom Academy MF Publications, 2019.