During the first year of our time in Los Angeles, I had kidney stones seven times. They always hit on a Tuesday because Tuesday nights were when we did our ministry gathering. I knew they were demonic but no matter how much I or others prayed, they kept coming, sometimes lasting for days. I slept in a room right above the gathering space for our meeting. I could hear the worship on these Tuesday nights, and I loved it; while I was in pain, I would cry out to God for everyone gathered and just feel the pains and sufferings they had gone through and present them to God asking for Him to make them champions and influencers, whole, full of love, in a family, resourced.
This particular night, I had my eyes closed as I prayed and rolled around in pain. I felt someone was standing next to me and thought, "Who on earth came into my room?" thinking maybe someone had violated a boundary. Then when I looked up, it was like a biblical figure standing there. I heard internally audibly: "Welcome the Deliverer!" I began to weep and realized I was totally healed. There were no more kidney stones ever after this. I was so overwhelmed I started to think of all the people downstairs and I knew so many had such real present problems. I started to pray for their deliverance, and I was filled with the Father's heart and passion for them; I do not know that I have ever prayed like that.
But even so I heard the voice say, "He has not come to just deliver them from all of that; He has come to deliver them into promise." And I heard in my spirit: "What would that look like?"
I realized that I did not know. I was not thinking of each of them in the fullness of the Father's dream on this side of eternity, let alone all eternity. I was not imagining what their life would look like if they were whole, full of His Spirit and power to take on their destiny purposes. I mean of course I believed for them but I didn't know what any of their promised lands would look like. Then I realized I didn't know what mine would look like.
"The promises of the overcomer are available in the book of Revelation, but not just to get away but to occupy the promise."
I knew God was contrasting the children of Israel who had been in captivity for so long, enslaved to the point where they didn't even have the Hebrew religion easily accessible anymore. Four hundred years of Israelites were crying out from their DNA "Deliver us God!" God promised them a land and purpose, a restoration to all that He could do for them on this side of eternity to prosper them, to dwell with them, to walk with them. I am sure their original mentality couldn't even fathom what a land of promise looks like; they were more in the mindset of "Can He really get us out of here?"
Moses did get them out though, through the power of God's love for them. Not only were they about to go into a land and take possession of it but they had what the Bible said was all the best stuff of Egypt that the Egyptians had released to them. For forty years they carried around enough resources to buy anything they wanted, to create and craft and occupy a rich land. They were still in a survival mindset though, not an occupying mindset. They didn't know the flip side of the Deliverer ... they didn't know what it was like to be given a land that flowed with every blessing they prayed for.
When they inherited it, God had to have them walk out spiritual, prophetic acts to claim the promises. They were confused by many things, and God had to answer their fears and care for their hearts as they went, like the question: "Why was the land was already occupied?" God showed them as a prototype for us: The land was being cultivated for hundreds of years before they even got there so they did not have to build from scratch. When it was their time to occupy, they moved into houses that were furnished perfectly that they hadn't built, into cities that were elaborately designed that they hadn't architected. They were brought into one of the mysteries of what God does when He places His people into His purpose: He matches the resources to the maturity He has placed inside of them.
That night when I had this encounter with the Deliverer, I went down healed to my church and shared it with the whole group. I couldn't stop crying but I said, "Let's ask God, who is our Deliverer, to give us a vision past the survival, past having to get out of hard things. Let's ask Him for a vision of what we look like in our promised land, what we are called to possess once there is wholeness and foundational health in our lives." God gave a lot of people visions that night that changed their lives in our small starter group.
He gave me a vision for you. That when you cry out to see what your promised land is in this lifetime, if your aim is walking out your life for Him, really surrendered, then He will show you what His life past overcoming issues looks like. He will show you on this side of eternity and help you walk into part of what He dreamed before time began.
You will be a promised land kind of person where people who run into you won't know what to do with the quality of life you live because of the relationship that you have to God.
The preceding is an excerpt from chapter 15 of Shawn Bolz's Encounter (Charisma House, 2022). For information or to order Encounter, visit mycharismashop.com.
Shawn Bolz is a TV host, an author, producer and a Christian minister. He has been leading conversations in the church, entertainment industry and in social justice that have helped believers connect their faith to culture in a transformative way. Shawn's deeply connected yet humorous style of speaking, media hosting and coaching through his unique expert perspective has brought him around the world to meet with churches, CEOs, entertainers and world leaders. His areas of passion include: developing Christianity that brings transformation, the intersection of Christianity and popular culture, business from a faith perspective, social justice through faith and hearing God's voice with a focus on restoring dignity to biblical based prophetic ministry.
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