From the desk of Steve Shultz:
Stan Smith shares a great word about God bringing His light into us – He is the one who lights our lamp. John Mark Pool is a friend of Stan's and writes a short intro for him below.
Stan Smith is a minister and was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancerous brain tumor and had surgery to remove the cancer. He is going through chemo treatments to prevent a recurrence and he could sure use prayers of healing over him. Let's stand in agreement for complete healing in Stan's body, and for no recurrence of any cancer. You can read more about Stan's current condition and prayer needs below his word.
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The Glory Focus: He is Releasing More Light Into Our Lives
Stan is extremely gifted as a prophetic voice, psalmist and song writer for God. As a brother-in-the-Lord and a close personal friend, I wholly recommend this powerful word on the Glory Focus, which is really a timely call for all of us to dive headlong into the heart, passionately pursuing Jesus. As Stan writes, we must allow the Lord to light our lamps and be His light through Jesus wherever He places us.
Please keep Stan in your prayers for complete healing as he walks out his life of demonstrating a passion to be like Jesus. As I read this word all I could do, as I prayed for Stan's total healing from his battle with a brain tumor, was sing an old hymn. Tears streamed down my face melting again my heart to further be like Jesus, "To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, all I ask is to be like Him!" Please pray this over your life as my dear friend, Stan Smith, takes us closer to the heart of our Savior, in pursuing Jesus Christ, the giver of the gifts. Thank you my dear friend and brother, Stan, for sharing your heart from the Father to ours!
All My Heart for All of Jesus – always,
John Mark Pool, Co-founder and Author
Word to the World Ministries
The Glory Focus
God is giving more and more open Heaven experiences – visions of Jesus, angelic visitations, encounters with His glory – to His people. Though these things have happened occasionally in the past, now God is giving these experiences more often and to more people.
This fulfills Isaiah 60:1-2, which promises an extraordinary visitation of God's glory in a time of great darkness. God's goal in these days is for the Church to shine brightly. To make this happen, He is releasing more of His light into our lives.
Because many of us are new to these experiences, some of us have tended to misinterpret them. We might have an exaggerated expectation when we see angels, and sometimes we get things out of perspective. But in the same way we have learned to set the gifts of the Holy Spirit into a Biblical context, we will learn to do the same with open Heaven experiences.
My own encounters with God are starting to cause me to see the Scriptures with new eyes – it reminds me of what happened to many of us thirty to forty years ago when the Charismatic movement was opening the Church to the gifts of the Spirit. We read the same Bible we had read before, but somehow it looked new. Many verses we had taken symbolically suddenly were vivid and literal.
It feels the same today. We are finding that Scripture is more literally true than we had realized.
With this in mind, I'll share a familiar passage that looks new and different in the light of the open Heaven experiences that are happening in the Church. It's about the importance of keeping our eye single. To keep things simple, I'm breaking the passage into four key thoughts.
Key #1: Let God Light Your Lamp, and He Will Position You
Jesus said, "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light" (Luke 11:33).
Who lights the lamp? If we do, we have to set it up where it will shine; if God does, He will position us.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus said we are the light of the world; in John 8:12, He said He is. We have to get our light from Him. He lights our lamp.
When Jesus spoke of putting a lamp on a lampstand, His Jewish hearers may have thought of the Temple's Inner Court and its lampstand with seven golden bowls. God had given the fire many centuries before, but it had been up to the priests to keep this original flame burning as they trimmed the wicks and kept the bowls filled with oil.
Some of us have received God's fire many years ago and spent the rest of our time trying to position ourselves to make an impact with it. Some of us have low oil levels and sputtering wicks. We're burnt out.
But we are not Levites. We are in a new covenant, and Jesus is prepared to ignite our lamps again. But what exactly does this mean?
Key #2: Your Eye is the Lamp. What You Focus on Will Determine How Much Light You Bear.
An eye that is good is an eye that is simple, single, pure. It means we focus on Jesus with sincerity and transparency. Jesus said, "The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness" (Luke 11:34).
Years ago I struggled to become humble, and it was a losing battle. Eventually I learned to stop looking at myself and to start looking at Jesus. He is humble; as I follow Him, I learn to act like Him. This is one thing that helps.
But the other thing I noticed about humility is that if I searched my own heart, it made humility impossible. Sometimes I found that I didn't have it. Worse yet, sometimes I found that I did have it; then when I admired it, it was gone.
Many years later, I learned the same thing about faith. If I search my heart to see if I really believe, faith slips away. If I look away from myself and the impossibility I'm praying about and see Jesus, faith happens automatically.
Our bodies will shine with the light of humility and faith as we focus on Jesus. We get in trouble if we focus on anything else.
Key #3: To Focus on Anything Other Than Jesus is to Diminish Our Light
It is worth the effort to stay focused on Him. We will be filled with darkness if we focus on the wrong things. Jesus said, "Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness" (Luke 11:35).
We've all faced this kind of thing. Focus on the wear and tear of ministry, and our fire grows dim. Focus on Jesus and it burns brightly.
Sometimes we get into spiritual warfare and all we can see is what the devil is doing. We need to be like David, who conquered Goliath by focusing his physical eyes on the giant and the eyes of his heart on Yahweh.
When we focus on Jesus, our spiritual senses open. But when we let other things capture our imagination, they become like static that impedes our hearing and a smoke-screen that dims our vision. To experience God's direction more clearly, be ruthless in eliminating things that steer your attention away from Jesus.
God gave the urim and thummim to the Levites, so they could guide His people. These words literally mean "lights and integrities." Light is the revelation God provides. Integrity is singleness of heart, with unmixed motives.
Jesus lived by light from the Father and the integrity of His single eye. Though He resisted the religious mindset of His day, He focused not on the failings of other leaders; instead, He always watched for what the Father was doing. His eye stayed single.
Key #4: God's Strategy is to Make Us Into a Brighter Light – Then He Will Set Us Where We Can Shine
It's not our job to position ourselves; it's our job to focus on Him, then our bodies will be full of light. If satan comes, he will find nothing in us, no darkness he can call his own.
If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.—Luke 11:36
How clearly can we see Jesus? How often? How consistently? This will be the key to our brightness, which in turn will determine where God places us.
As God is opening the Heavens, we need to be careful to stay focused on Jesus. Other phenomena will happen, as they did in the book of Acts: open visions, messages from angels, unusual miracles. Enjoy them and draw from them, but let nothing distract from Jesus. Seeing Him will keep your lamp burning.
Stan and JoAnn Smith have ministered together ever since their marriage eleven years ago. Stan had already spent four years as a teacher and 17 years as a pastor, but whatever he did in ministry always had a prophetic flavor: teaching, spontaneous song on guitar or keyboard, and flowing in the gifts of the Spirit. JoAnn began to step up with Stan when he would minister, and began to flow with him in the Word and in the gifts. Stan has been traveling in ministry for the last 12 years; often JoAnn accompanied him both in the United States and overseas.
In early 2010, it suddenly became impossible for Stan to travel: he was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancerous brain tumor. After emergency surgery, he went through radiation and chemo. About a week before the crisis began, Jesus spoke to Stan, warning that part of his life was about to be pruned, but Stan was to focus on abiding in Christ; more fruit was sure to follow. So Stan's healing strategy has been surrender, soaking, abiding.
The doctors consider it a miracle that he is still able to write, to preach, and to play spontaneous music. After the surgery he had, several marvel that he's a functioning human being at all. Since then, Stan and JoAnn have stayed busy. He has begun recording soaking music in a rich prophetic flow at home. Stan has also created a 31-day devotional, "Learn To Hear From God." Stan and JoAnn have filmed several programs that will soon be available. And he has been working with JoAnn to finish a book-length version of her testimony, Mind Lost, Mind Found. As doors open for JoAnn to share her testimony, she will travel as needed.
Prayer needed for Stan's current medical situation: It was near Valentine's Day, 2010, when the surgeon removed all the cancer he could see. A biopsy revealed that it was the most aggressive form of cancer there is. This has necessitated ongoing chemo and radiation treatments, lest a microscopic cell begin to grow again. For several months there was no sign of the cancer's return. Then early in November, an MRI showed a new tumor. Stan received gamma knife treatment, which appears to have been successful. But again, Stan is continuing on a new regimen of chemo treatments to prevent a recurrence. The doctors are hopeful but say it's too soon to make promises or guarantees. Meanwhile, Stan is praying for minimal side-effects of the medication, and good results on future MRIs. It will require at least a year of good MRI results before the doctors will consider discontinuing chemo. Only then will Stan be able to travel again.