Strategy

31 May

Kathryn Hauser’s Special Reflection
For the Feast Day of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
Friday, 31 May 2013
Strategy
On Monday, 27 May 2013 Dutch Sheets talked about opposition from a spirit of religiosity:
“I also heard Holy Spirit say, “Opposition, both from the Church and the world, will increase as we break out of normal. Religious spirits will insist on maintaining old structures and systems, and the kingdom of darkness will react aggressively to the spirit of revival. Don’t be alarmed at this. Stay the course and resist the demonic pressure!”
I took this into prayer to see what the Holy Spirit was saying in the lectionary readings for today’s special Feast Day for the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. I went looking with an expansive heart and a soft eye for strategy because Dutch Sheets had also said,
“Just as the strategy of the Lord for John the Baptist changed when Jesus began His ministry, Holy Spirit is about to speak new plans, ideas, activities and methods to those who are listening.”
I was amazed to “see” there was a strategy there in the lectionary readings just by two women getting together. Who knew that paying a visit could prove to be so powerful?
After the Angel Gabriel had visited Mary (Lk 1:26) and told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her (v 25), then Mary set out and went with haste (v 39) to visit her relative, Elizabeth, who was six month’s pregnant (v 36) with John the Baptist. So here we have Mary receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit and then she goes to Elizabeth who is then filled with the Holy Spirit at Mary’s greeting (v 41), and this affects her baby (John) as well. (v 44) Then Mary stays with Elizabeth a few months. (v 56) Strategy: Worship > Share > Abide. This isn’t new. This pattern is consistent throughout life and scripture. I asked God what “plans, ideas, activities and methods” could today’s lectionary passage show us? The Church-as-Institution herself has provided the structure by offering us this lectionary reading. As I read the passage with a soft eye, I noticed that the clues and strategy to defeat religious spirits are in the verbs (action words.)
Plan: Mary set out with haste (v 39) to specific GPS coordinates. Elizabeth was on the map. Mary had purpose and her destination in mind. The journalistic questions present themselves:
WHOM was Mary visiting? Elizabeth (v 40)
WHAT was Mary doing? Visiting, providing companionship and comfort since Elizabeth’s husband was struck mute (v 20) by the same Angel Gabriel who visited Mary six months after that event. (v 26) [Would we call that event a “mutation”? [smile]] Truly, we women go nuts without someone to talk to. Zechariah wasn’t “bad.” He was just infected by a religious spirit and Gabriel shut him up. Still, this affected Elizabeth, and would have affected her baby in her womb as well.
WHERE was Mary going? To a Judean town in the hill country. (v 39)
WHY was she going there? To meet Elizabeth. Mary carried the blessing within her being. Not every divine message is carried by a supernatural angelic being. My NIV Notes say: “Only two angels are identified by name in Scripture: Gabriel (Dan 8:16; 9:21) and Michael (Da 10:13,21; Jude 9; Rev 12:7). God is the God of Enlightenment and the Holy Spirit provides the Light. A torch bearer is not the source of the Light. The torch bearer only carries it. Those who are ready to receive it will leap at it just as John did in the womb. (v 41) Then others are filled with the Holy Spirit as Elizabeth was. (v 41) Joy is contagious and is much more powerful than grumpy old religious spirits.
HOW did Mary visit? She entered Zechariah’s and Elizabeth’s house. (v 40)
So, now that Mary has a reasonable plan, and she has entered the house, we can see the results of her visit.
She entered into relationship with her relative. (v 36) The text says that Elizabeth got greeted; who knows about Zechariah? Mary stayed for about three months (v 56), so maybe it took him awhile to soften up to her charms and sweetness. He might have had some jealousy issues to deal with inside his own soul before he could open his mouth at John’s b’rit-milah (the rite of circumcision and naming.) (v 59) When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, John leapt in her womb. (v 41) This applies to the awakening Church today. On 02 April 2013 Eileen Fisher had prophesied of the Lord and He had said:
“And you will hear a new sound that will go forth, but you will recognize it because of the discernment I have put into your spirit this night. You will recognize the right [trumpet] call with the right note. And you will jump [!], and your spirit will leap [!], with acknowledgement of My Spirit. I am reawakening My generals who have gotten discouraged.”
After Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (v 41) Cynics could mock that there’s no distinction between the feeling of the baby’s movement in the womb and the on-rush of the Holy Spirit. They could say, “So the baby kicked? What’s the big deal?” Well, so does the Paraclete (Holy Spirit). And He’s got a paira cleats that kick some Astroturf! After Elizabeth’s anointing she exclaims with a loud cry! (v 42) This also ties into the present and what Jesus spoke through Eileen Fisher affirming the same thing to us today:
“He said, “I’m shaking them to awakeness, and I’m going to start to put heaviness upon their heart. [Doesn’t that sound like pregnancy?] It will be a heaviness that will be of My presence, to where they will weep at My goodness, as Moses wept, and as I wept over Jerusalem. They will weep, but it will not be unto death, but it will be the weeping that will be unto the new birthing [!] of revival.”
After Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit (v 41) she exclaims a blessing with a loud cry. (v 42) Why? For Mary BELIEVED that there would be FULFILLMENT of what was spoken to her by the Lord. (v 45) And Mary’s response?
Luke 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,

1:47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
God was personal to her. God looked on her with favor. (v 48) The Mighty One had done great things for her. (v 49) She blessed His holy Name. (v 49) She extolled His enduring mercy. (v 50) She marveled at His strength (v 51), in humbling the proud (v 51), in lifting up the lowly (v 52), in filling the spiritually hungry with good things (v 53), and in sending away the selfish. (v 53) He helps us all in the remembrance of His mercy (v 54) according to His promises to every generation. (v 55) It does take time to remember. It takes time and quiet to reflect and contemplate. And it takes time to share the fruit of what comes out of those divine, intimate, quiet times. God provided for Mary with that too, in that she stayed with Elizabeth for about three months. (v 56) How does this apply to the awakening Church? God has been giving us time to get to know each other on a personal level before the explosion of birthing the revival.
“For there will come forth ONE voice, ONE battle cry, ONE agreement, and ONE provision, and it will be done by My Spirit,” says the Lord your God, in Jesus’ name. Amen.” (Eileen Fisher; emphasis with all CAPS mine.)
The foundation of revival must be grounded in solid, honest, trusting relationships, where reliance on each other’s spiritual gifts has had a chance to be firmly established. We have had this time. Relationships are solid among the leaders. There’s just one that is still waiting to be made real…
The relationship with me.

Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth Friday, 31 May 2013 Gospel: Luke 1:39-57
1 Samuel 2:1-10
2:1 Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory.

2:2 “There is no Holy One like the LORD, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

2:3 Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

2:4 The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength.

2:5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.

2:6 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

2:7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts.

2:8 He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.

2:9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might does one prevail.

2:10 The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered; the Most High will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.”

Psalm 113
113:1 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD; praise the name of the LORD.

113:2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time on and forevermore.

113:3 From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised.

113:4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.

113:5 Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high,

113:6 who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?

113:7 He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

113:8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.

113:9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!

Romans 12:9-16b
12:9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;

12:10 Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.

12:11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.

12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;

Luke 1:39-57
1:39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,

1:40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

1:42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

1:43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?

1:44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.

1:45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,

1:47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

1:48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

1:49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

1:50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

1:51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

1:52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;

1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

1:55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

1:56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

1:57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.

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