Throughout the last several years there has been a reoccurring dream that I have had perhaps 100 times. The dream always involves the people with whom we are in relationship and ministry association. The essence of the dream always takes place in the fraternity house that I lived in during my college days. Uniquely, this fraternity at Mississippi State University had as a large portion of its membership, openly radical Christians. In fact, other fraternities often made the statement that our fraternity house should have a steeple on it.
It was not uncommon for us to have campus-wide Bible studies and private prayer meetings two or three times a week. We would regularly have awesome worship leaders come with 100-200 students participating. There existed among us true brotherhood that preferred one another and reinforced each other during times of hardship and difficulty. It was a truly significant time in my life in which many of the seeds were sown for the things we are presently doing. For that reason, I believe the Lord uses it to emphasize His desire for a body of people who live together in “fraternal” affection who genuinely have all things in common.
Fraternal affection and brotherly love is emphasized in the ascending pyramid of graces and Godly attributes discovered in 2 Pet 1:5-8 that are essential in our quest to become one with the Lord.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Greek word for “brotherly kindness” in this passage is “philadelphia” and is defined as “fraternal affection; brotherly love (kindness) or love of the brethren.” From a position of fraternal love we move forward into the “agape” of God. If it is our hearts’ desire to participate in the harvest of the ages and the healing of the nations, then it must be from a position of authentic compassion birthed in love. These can only be imparted to us through the Holy Spirit.
As summarized through the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, we are to abide in faith, hope and love. We dwell in faith through the conviction and belief of man in his relationship with heaven as well as hope, which is our confident expectation of redemption. But the greatest of these is the true affection for God and man expressed through saints and generated by a deposit of Heavenly virtue resident in us— LOVE.
The truth to be greatly emphasized in this generation is the transference of our lost nature for His divine nature. We have the precious and magnificent promises by which we become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption of this world and its lusts. By virtue of being joined with Him as His body in the mystery of incarnation, we likewise share in His heart of love and desire for the brethren as well as lost humanity.
As the Lord declared in John 17:23,
“I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
We are being sent in this generation in like fashion as the Lord Himself was commissioned of the Father. We are to be carriers of His heart.
Strengthen Our Tent Cords
The phrase that Bob heard in his dream was, “now is not the time to lengthen our tent cords but to strengthen existing ones.” We are in present need of having our relationships strengthened in order to endure the winds of adversity that are coming.
The Bible declares that there are appropriate times and seasons for all things. It becomes a great responsibility of God’s people to suitably recognize the spiritual climate and when to emphasize certain characteristics.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven– A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. Eccl 3:1-8
According to the prophetic indications that we are presently receiving, we are currently in a season to reinforce our tent cords which represent relationships that we currently enjoy. There will be a time for the extending of our tent cords with the expansion of power and authority that will soon be delegated. However, the present need is for existing relationships to be fortified and cultivated in a deeper fashion. Our adversary is often called the accuser of the brethren. This divisive role is frequently subtle in its erosive effects on relationships ordained by heaven.
Therefore, the Lord is asking for those who are joined in common purpose and ministry to take the time and effort to strengthen those existing relationships before we move into a season of expansion.
The Insignia of Love
The following is a portion of one of our previous prophetic articles emphasizing this truth that developed from a series of dreams and revelations the Lord gave me:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34) As the Lord was about to leave the disciples he gave them a new and unique command…that they love one another as He loved them. Surely after three years of life and ministry together, they experienced such love emanating from the Lord toward them that it was beyond the expression of words. Yet, they were given this new commandment, not only as an admonition but a banner or badge of their discipleship. This great fraternal affection was to be a signature by which they might be known as His friends and followers, and by which they were to be distinguished from all others.
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) Never before had there been a precedent for such a command as this for a people group to be distinguished and recognized. Now, in the case of born again believers in Jesus Christ, we are not to be known by distinctions of wealth, or education, or fame, although some may possess these; we are not required to aspire to earthly honors or acclaim; we are not even mandated to adopt any special style of dress or insignia. This new royal Priesthood is to be identified by tender and constant affection and allegiance for one another.
This great command to walk in brotherly love will transcend all distinctions of national origin, color, social status, or denomination. The Disciples of Christ are to uniformly perceive we are all in the same spiritual family with common goals having all been redeemed by the same sacred blood… each having the same eternal destination. We are to befriend each other in trials and ardently guard each other’s feelings and reputation… even denying ourselves to promote one another’s welfare. Amen.
Mankind is looking for something as a standard by which to measure. Brotherly love and living by the “golden rule” will be the “rule” by which the church will receive its authority. Those willing to adopt these principles will find great blessings, favor and anointing.