Mary Audrey has been pastor of Equipping Ministries and Women in Ministry at Catch The Fire Toronto (formerly TACF)...
The word restoration has many facets to it: renew, revive, return, recover, re-establish, reconcile, rebuild - and let me add revive and refire.
"in these days, something is stirring"
The Lord made a promise in Joel 2:25 where He says, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.” (ESV) Would it be acceptable to say that, over the centuries, many “locusts” have been allowed to strip much of the life of the Spirit from the church - “locusts” of disunity, religious traditionalism and man-made institutions, manipulative control, prejudice, exclusivity, jealousy, ignorance, spiritual blindness and unbelief, to name but a few?
However, in these days, something is stirring; something is happening; something is bursting forth in God’s perfect timetable. He is bringing restoration and revival to His church, rescuing us of our spiritual barrenness, dryness, and fruitlessness - definitely the work of the “locusts”. In these days the Spirit is pouring out not only as refreshing rain to quench our spiritual thirst, but also as a turbulent river drawing us up into new depths in Him. Life is not the same as before - not in the old religious ways and expected patterns and opinions but in the ways that are often disturbing to set, structured systems and people. All the old stiff, rigid “stuff” in us is being shaken up and out. He is building His church, according to His way and His word!
The Holy Spirit is creating within us such a hunger for the reality of His presence, a desire for intimacy with God, and a longing to hear His voice. He is moving us into the purpose, destiny, and anointing that He has provided for us where our lives will finally be a witness to the truth of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 1:8).
"the church bought into the “locust’s” lie"
One of the most redeeming, reconciling things the Spirit has been doing over this past decade or so is the release of women into their calling and full potential in the body of Christ. It is especially notable that, where the Holy Spirit is honoured and respected, men and women are drawn to honour and respect each other equally. Where there is an emphasis on a dynamic relationship with the Lord and a submissive, obedient yielding to Him, it becomes obvious that ministry functions and opportunities are not based on gender but on God’s anointing and appointing.
In the early years of the church, when the life of the Spirit was vibrant among believers, we find anointed men and women equally ministering alongside each other, even filling the roles of apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors. History shows us how this became distorted and how, sadly, the church bought into the “locust’s” lie as a great wall of separation, division and discrimination evolved. Ignorance of the Bible, human arrogance and prejudice among believers have caused many to use the scriptures to hinder and cripple the daughters of God, stunt spiritual growth in men and attack the very image and character of God Himself.
But now, new history is being written!
"we find these walls coming down"
As the Holy Spirit is welcomed to have his way amongst us we find these walls coming down. We are being restored to God’s creation design as in Eden. There is an ever-increasing understanding of God’s word and his heart towards freedom for women and liberty in the church, expressed especially through Jesus and Paul.
Weights of bondage, shame and perceived inability to function alongside men in declaring the word of God and doing the works of the Kingdom are being lifted off. Women were designed to communicate and nurture and the church is recognizing that God anoints and appoints His “daughters” to prophesy, preach, teach, evangelize, intercede, and assume leadership roles together with his “sons”, both in the local church, the broader body of Christ, and the world.
These are definitely days of Restoration!
Originally published in 2007 TACF eNewsletter.
This archived article was written by Mary Audrey Raycroft for release in Aug, 2007. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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