Every year in December we are afforded the opportunity to reflect on the events that came by God's hand to the earth to bring us our salvation through His Son, Jesus. The story is spectacular as we read it in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. And there is more than a story written down of what happened. The record of what God did, what He said and to whom these things were done and spoken, still speaks to the listening heart two thousand years later as Jesus prepares to come again.
In Luke 1 we read that the angel Gabriel came with a message of good news, not only for Zacharias and Elizabeth who had longed for a son, but for all Israel and those in the nations who longed a Son from Heaven who would fulfill God's word through the prophets to release a new Heavenly Kingdom of light.
But Gabriel revealed that God's plan for bringing His Son involved preparation. And that is where Zacharias and Elizabeth's son comes into the picture. God had uniquely prepared them to bring forth and parent a son who would in turn prepare the hearts of the people to receive the ministry of Jesus. This son, whom Gabriel directed should be called John (God's gracious gift or Jehovah has graced), would operate in the special anointing prophesied by Malachi: the spirit and power of Elijah. And this is the anointing that Malachi revealed would be operational in the last days before Jesus' second coming.
What does the anointing do? It prepares hearts to respond to God and receive His Kingdom dominion. How does this function? Gabriel reveals two things to Zacharias: turning the hearts of the fathers back to the children and turning the hearts of the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous. This was necessary as preparation before Jesus could effectively release the Kingdom of God to Israel and the nations. And I believe it is necessary still for today's church to function in this to prepare the world for Jesus' second coming. But it will not happen through us until it happens to us.
The wounds of the various forms of fatherlessness in families (and churches) and the breakdown of healthy family culture has been used by the enemy to distort the face of Father God, hold people captive to an orphan mindset, and to steal the spiritual inheritance intended to flow through generations. And this has a profound affect on the second function of the anointing.
God's Kingdom can not flow into the earth through a people who have rejected God's family culture of righteousness even though they may believe in Him and have received his gift of forgiveness. This is not about a set of rules we follow, but a desire to be like the Father and walk in His ways. This is the "attitude of the righteous" that forerunners carry in themselves and seek to release into other's hearts.
The original Greek language that Luke uses in his gospel narrative describes a people who have allowed their hearts to embrace and long for insight and understanding of God's heart, character and perfect ways, that they might enter into that family likeness. But no one does that unless their hearts have been "turned back."
This Christmas my prayer for you and me is that we ask Holy Spirit to turn our hearts back to the Lord. If you have experienced wounding rather than nurturing from your earthly father, ask Holy Spirit to heal your heart so as to fully be able to respond to God as your perfect Heavenly Father. Ask that all spiritual inheritance that belongs to you through your family line be restored as you turn back to embrace family culture.
If you have not had a desire for God's heart and ways, ask Holy Spirit to turn back your heart to what you have been missing from heaven. Cry out for insight and understanding into Who your Heavenly Father really is and that you would love everything about Him in order to be like Him. And open your Bible again to search for the knowledge of Him.
I believe that 2016 will be the most amazing year yet for those who let their hearts be "turned back" by the Spirit of Elijah. When you read in the gospels what this son, John (the Baptist), accomplished to prepare people to embrace Jesus and His Kingdom, you can believe that it will happen again through us who have received the Holy Spirit without measure.