Swedish pastor John Derneborg spoke during the evening celebration at Sligo 15 on Monday 13 July. Here, VOX magazine's editor Ruth Garvey-Williams brings you a summary of his message:
There was something very special about Daniel. He was a man in whom was the Spirit of the Holy God (Daniel 5). The people had rebelled against God and despite many prophecies and warnings, they continued in their evil ways. Because of that, God had placed them in Babylon - a brutal place.
Daniel had done nothing wrong and he found himself in an atmosphere of oppression, poverty and hopelessness. Yet he stayed close to God. He cultivated a love relationship with God, spent time in God’s presence and stayed clean.
All the consequences of the people’s sin did not affect him. He lived in a different realm. He was not defeated. He lived in God’s goodness and glory, in the midst of oppression. Instead of being infected by his environment, he influenced others and became a leader. He wrote prophetic writings - things God was speaking to him. He was unjustly put in a den of lions and even in that situation, he brought an atmosphere of peace. Daniel lived in a realm of victory, purpose and promise.
I am so encouraged that in place after place in this nation there are people who really value God’s presence and who put God first. Because of that, God is doing great things.
Let us not put a limit to what God can do. The very fact that you are here, you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. God wants to fill people, heal people and refresh people. God wants to use you more than you can imagine.
Areas of Influence
You can change the atmosphere where you live. God has given you a territory. God has called you to bring His glory into your towns and cities. He has given you areas of influence or some activity you are involved in (e.g. in schools, medicine, sports… ) Whatever God has given you, you can bring God’s glory into that situation.
When we talk about atmosphere it is the special mood or character of a place. It is possible to walk into a home and feel peace or feel conflict in the air. Whatever you are feeling is because of the people living there. People create their own environment.
The heavens belong to the Lord but the earth, He has given to men. God has given you a sphere of influence and whatever field you are in, you can bring God's glory to that place!
A man was in a difficult environment at work and his pastor suggested some tools - prayer and worship - to change the atmosphere in his workplace. Soon he was going into work early to pray and seek God for a change. Before long it happened!
When Jesus walked on the earth and ministered from the miraculous, He was bringing God’s kingdom to this earth - He was operating in two realms.
Sometimes I walk into a church and there is a sense of faith and expectation. Other times you can meet the opposite - skepticism and questions. Then we need to stop and ask the Holy Spirit what is the key to unlock this situation. In some situations, it might be to prophecy over the people. Prophecy can change the atmosphere. It can also be worship and prayer. God can show us how we can see things change into a realm of love, honour and humility.
I want to encourage you tonight to believe God for great things. When you leave this conference you are not going to be the same. It is just Monday night and there is so much God is going to do in your lives in these days. Why is it that some people can be in a meeting where God is moving and yet they find it harder to receive? There is no simple answer. It starts with a decision, “God, I need you. I’m hungry for you. Do something new in my live. I want you to be part of what you are doing in this nation, in my city or town and in my workplace.”
To receive from God, you don’t receive more because you do something. Sometimes we are so busy doing things. It is important to stay in His presence and let Him do what He wants to do.
It doesn’t always happen fast. Sometimes we need to wait on God and take time! We need to be “pickled”… it takes time to make a pickle - the vegetables have to stay in the vinegar for several weeks. It is a similar process with God. We need to stay and wait for God to fill us with the Holy Spirit.
When the church was born, God opened heaven over us in a new way. I believe there is an open heaven over us tonight. In Ephesians, it says we shall be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit.