March 31, 2001

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Last night, during our Friday night service, Elder John Fiddyment began the service by telling us about something the Lord had spoken to him earlier that day at work. As John began to speak, he called to me at the back of the room, and told me to "put your prophet hat on". Let's just say I got the message to pay attention.

John said that as he was working, the Lord spoke to him very loudly...so loudly that he thought that it was an audible voice. The Lord spoke one word: preeminent.

John proceeded to share what that meant to him. I came home and began to ask the Lord two things: why did the Lord shout it to John, and why did the Lord want me to be involved in respect to my position as a prophet?

That word, or the closest thing to it, preeminence, appears in two places in the New Testament. As I looked at these two scriptures, I had a vision.

In the vision, I saw a child's playground toy, called a "teeter-totter". On one side of the toy, Jesus was sitting. On the other end, there I was. Every time I would try to go higher, I would push Jesus down.

Colossians 1:13-18

"In whom we have the redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him; And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell."

There we have the Jesus side of the teeter-totter. It pleased the Father to make him preeminent. The scripture says that "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me." Jesus and the Father absolutely love it when we make Him preeminent, for this means that we go lower.

There is only one other scripture where this word is used.

3 John 9

"I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not."

Ah yes, there we have the Stephen side of the teeter-totter. We must always be examining ourselves and our motives in everything we do, for the heart is deceitful above all things. Who is preeminent? Is it Jesus, or is it self? Who is being lifted up by what I do? Who birthed the idea for what I do?

When I sit in front of my bible, do I read what I want to read, or do I inquire of the Lord, as to what He would have me read? Which approach makes Him preeminent?

In all the ministry I have done and in all that I do today, I find this teeter-totter principle constantly in effect. If I have humbled myself, and sought him and made him preeminent, He is lifted up, and blessing is the result. If I am lifted up and exalted, bad things happen as a result, sooner or later.

Experience has taught me that during times which I will call "the wet times", when God is moving in power and might in the church, it is imperative that we lift Jesus higher. This is such a "wet time". We have all gone through dry seasons, but rainy season is here in the spirit.

In an article that I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about "the old testament prophet spirit, and how it waits for an opportune time to deceive the prophet. Such an opportune time can occur when miracles and words of prophesy are prevalent. These can be heady things that can tend to puff us up. I recall one past spiritual rainy season, when the Lord spoke these words to me: "Go Lower Stephen".

I encourage all of you to go lower today, and lift Jesus higher.

Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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