Here are some headline notes that outline my thoughts on boundaries / borders. On the macro scale related to ‘peoples’ the kairos times and the boundaries are connected: rather than take a ‘there is no revelation of God in other cultures (religions?)’ Paul seems to have a positive view of God in relationship to humanity, for God ‘gives to all mortals life and breath and all things’ (Acts 17:25); all of humanity are related as ‘offspring of God’ (v.29) hence all war (even ‘just’ war) is simply a version of civil war, intra-familiar war.
If ‘God-set’ boundaries are in place there are kairos opportunities to perhaps find God. If we insist that the only way to God is the ‘Christian’ way we are on the path of bringing faith in Jesus down to the level of another, but probably superior religion. Jesus is the way to know, and to know intimately, who this God is. The Jesus path is not a path to bring about a knowledge of God but to live within the conscious embrace of the God who made the world and all that is in it (v.24).
A major (and simple) way of obscuring God is to establish boundaries that are not those that are ‘God-set’. Hence wars, carving up whole aspects of lands and imposing boundaries that are not ‘natural’ but dictated to by imperial / colonial benefits and the like work against the finding of God.
Boundaries are groaning at this time, and alongside that are attempts to strengthen old boundaries (I appreciate that ‘securing our borders’ is a complex issue, but always there is a third way in God – a redemptive path). I anticipate that the next 6 years – the remainder of this decade will be filled with border conflicts and also some border resolutions.
Dropping down to the personal level: boundaries are vital. Internal boundaries where we do not allow ‘trespassers’ to encroach – a ‘no-one takes my life from me’ stance. That has to be matched by a ‘but I lay my life down’ response.
An establishment of internal boundaries then allows us to determine ‘our field / fields’. This is very much Pauline language – my field extends as far as you. He knew where he was to work and carried a responsibility for that; it was a work of enabling others to find their field so that he could move on and not crowd out the space. We will not operate at that level, but nevertheless we can determine what we carry responsibility for. As we do that we will create / hold space where there is a freedom for people to find God and not have their lives pressed in on by oppressive powers. I have seen where all-but daily blazing rows in homes dial right down so that after a few months such rows become rare.
Borders… so important; within them there is an inheritance; moving boundary markers comes with a warning… and maybe one final thought – we do not naively go beyond our boundaries. There are ‘powers’ that were defeated at the cross and made an open show of… this does not mean we spend out lives confronting them. They are to be confronted – but clarity that they are within our ‘field’ needs to be our conviction. A lot of declaring will not shift them, but will lead to something very uncomfortable or something worse for us.
God works at all levels – internally we will always be working on our boundaries, so it is not sort that out then the ‘next’ level… Each and every level, and ones I am not aware of, will be the focus throughout.
For some six months or so I have been focused on borders / markers. Personal boundaries are vital and we are to forgive those who ‘trespass’ across our boundaries; within the boundaries that God sets for us we have an inheritance; we can go beyond our boundaries and we will find ourselves in difficulties. Personal / internal boundaries are vital for if they are established in a greater way we can anticipate what ‘God does in us s/he will do through us’.
In this video I seek to push into boundaries that are beyond the personal. At this time there is a major groaning in the boundaries, and I consider that there needs to be the re-establishment of God-set boundaries. An enemy strategy is to set boundaries that are not God-boundaries. The key Scripture for me:
From one ancestor he made all peoples to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps fumble about for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26,27).
Below is a transcript – pretty close to what I said!!
In this short video I want to talk a little bit about boundaries and borders.
Something that has been on my heart and mind over the last, six months or so is that we are coming into a season – we’ve always been there of course – but we’re coming into a season where borders and boundaries are going to be challenged and need to be reestablished. Scripture is full of talk about boundaries and borders. You can go back to the inheritance of the 12 tribes and you have from this territory to that one, etc. You could even talk from Deuteronomy about the angels who come and who were numbered in order to shepherd the nations so there are borders there.
I want to focus on borders at that kind of level in a moment but there’s a lot in scripture about personal boundaries. I love it when Jesus said that He laid down His life for us. That’s why we have life in God today. But He also said nobody can take His life from Him. He knew where His borders were. He knew where the boundaries were. They were not trampled over. He laid down His life and as I understand it, that’s at the origin of things like: “Forgive us our trespasses where we trespass over somebody else’s boundaries or borders where we should not travel.” “Forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us – who cross our boundaries. So personal boundaries are absolutely vital and I think there has to be kind of a parallel movement in where we are.
For example, of Martin learning his personal boundaries and not overstepping them and not going into other territory. For example, not going into territory beyond where he’s anointed or territory beyond where he’s responsible, and not allowing anyone else to trample over his boundaries but he’s establishing them.
If I can establish internal boundaries then I’m sure that I can be used by God to help establish other boundaries. Now the scripture that really has been of interest to me in this last while is Acts 17:26 and onwards. “From one ancestor He made all peoples to inhabit the whole earth.” That’s one of the reasons why all war is ultimately “civil war”. It’s not simply “nation against nation.” We are all descended from one ancestor. It is a “family affair.” And that’s why all war ultimately has to be ended.
Going on: “He made all peoples inhabit the whole earth and He allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries (or borders) of the places where they would live.” The “times” of their existence is the Greek word “Kairos” so there’s something here about an opportunity. Borders for people are to give an opportunity. Opportunity for what? So that “they would search for God and perhaps fumble about for Him and find Him though He indeed is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As even some of your own poets have said. For we too are His offspring.” We’re all children of God by creation. Yes, we have to come into redemption to find that real home in God as Father, but there’s this place where boundaries that are established – that God establishes – are places within which God can be found. Hence one of the areas of major attack is boundaries.
If the enemy can establish boundaries that are not God boundaries, then he absolutely removes that possibility of people “stumbling and finding God” or at least making God obscure to them. God wants to reveal His own life, His own personality and His own being to people. Ultimately, of course, that revelation is through Jesus at the Cross, but within God’s set boundaries that are a place for people to seek after, stumble, fumble along, BUT find God. Hence, I do believe what we’re seeing at the moment is a real “groaning” in the areas of boundaries.
Two illustrations in recent days (and these will be within a UK context):
· The sycamore tree on the old Hadrian Wall cut down (they don’t know quite how it happened) a landmark marking that boundary. In this time there’s a groaning at that boundary.
· At the same time the felling of an old yew tree in the area where the Battle of Hastings took place.
So, one boundary, the English-Scottish border defined by the Romans, and another, a marker where the Norman Invasion took place – issues of history – trees that have stood there marked time. That yew tree was a thousand years, probably plus, old, and perhaps originally saw that conflict and establishment of the Norman Conquest. So we see simply at an illustrative level there is a provocation with regard to boundaries.
The Ukraine boundaries and the Israel and the Gaza Strip boundaries – they’re under attack and they’re seeking to be reestablished. It tells me something. Even my homeland of Orkney, positing “could we leave Scotland” and maybe join as part of a Scandinavian country, Norway for example. There’s a groaning going on, and I think this is where somehow, we need to be involved now, maybe not the macro level but I think what we need to be involved in is saying, “God establish boundaries in me. Help me live within them.” Because whatever God does in us is what He will do through us so that we can establish boundaries.
I think one of the mistakes we make as believers is to get caught quickly into a political area: “Should there be independence for this country?” “Should a Brexit happen or not happen?” The real issue is the politics need to follow and serve the boundaries that are being set spiritually.
So where am I going with this?
I’d like to suggest that in this season God wants to really hone in on us personally – that’s Number One – with regard to our boundaries:
· that they cannot be crossed
· that we know where they are
· we know who we are
· that we begin to establish the boundaries that God has given us and defend them.
Because within those boundaries the psalmist says, “I have an inheritance.” They’ve “fallen in good places”, “beautiful situation” and inside that, there I have an inheritance.
I believe also in our geographies or among our people group or where we feel called that we begin, in the spirit, to establish boundaries. “This is in.” “This is out.” That, I think, actually to be honest with you, is the origin of the “binding and loosing” scriptures. It’s a Jewish idiom, or a way of speaking that the rabbis used, which was, what you bind is what you did not allow, and what you released is what you allowed. This is what is allowed within our jurisdiction (the community of God), this is what was not allowed. That’s the origins of binding and loosing, what you bind on Earth, what you loose on Earth, etc. It’s what is established there.
I want to encourage you, in a season when boundaries are being set – and we will see major, major, major shifts in political boundaries and alliances. I think if we can participate with God (think “Beyond The Four Walls” of Church, this is God’s world and everything in it) to begin to establish some boundaries, begin to ask God, “What is the boundary?”, and it might be incredibly small in our mind: it could be the boundary of a street where you live, or three or four houses. You know that’s one of the areas where I pray, where Gayle and I pray, is with regard to immediate neighbors, that within those boundaries because we live there, certain things can flourish and certain things cannot flourish.
But for some of you, it’s going to be wider and some of you are going to be “walking boundaries.” It might not be the boundary that is stated by politics it might be ancient boundaries some of which need to be reestablished some of which really need to be uprooted and changed. So, it’s not about finding political community boundaries, things set by a local council, local government or a national government or European government or whatever. It might or might not be that but it’s what are the boundaries that God is giving. Because if we can really see in the spirit, boundaries established, what we will find is, angels appear at boundary areas. That’s where Jacob met the angels. As he left one territory to enter another, he met angels ascending and descending at that point. Heaven and Earth were touching there.
And if we can just begin to establish boundaries, and many of them will overlap with what other people are doing, I do believe we’re going to begin to see a situation whereby people understand, “this is a Kairos moment.” The boundaries have been set by God, not by demonic forces, not simply by politics, not by big business, but they’ve been set by God. Something that both might include nations, transcend nations, be smaller than nations, be bigger than Nations. Boundaries that God has set and within it, yeah maybe fumbling along, maybe stumbling, but in order that they might find God. That is the Kairos moment I believe we’re coming into. And I think one of the things that we’re called to do in this season is to set boundaries that are “God boundaries”.
So, in closing, think about your own internal boundaries, where they’ve been crossed. Forgive us where we’ve crossed boundaries of others. Help us establish our own boundaries as we forgive those who have crossed boundaries and hemmed us in. And also, to be aware not to overstretch. There are areas of anointing that we have and there are areas, to be honest, where we’re not anointed or gifted, but have character and have been trained in order to cross over. But there are boundaries, beyond ourselves, that I believe God wants to give us in order that we can establish boundaries for others. This, I believe, is one of the mandates that God is giving us over these next, I would suggest, six years, that God is giving to us to begin to establish. if we can do that, I do expect that we can see, where boundaries are being threatened, as we see in issues of war, we can see peace come to those. Reconciliation at the at the crossing points. And we can see something reversed of the horrendous things that we’re witnessing at this time.
So, I commit this to you I submit it to you and if it resonates, go back to scripture see what you see there and let’s journey forward together.