For some time now, I have been cultivating a word that I heard from the Lord in June. It was during a moment in worship that I heard the Lord say, "Prepare. Prepare the people. I am looking for those who will be carriers. Prepare the carriers of oil. Tell MY people to be carriers of oil."
After this word came in the midst of worship, I had an understanding of what the Lord was saying, and I have shared this with some others for their insight since then.
From that time until now, this word had yet to be released from my spirit. I have been hearing it echoing in my prayer time. It feels like a word that has an expiration date stamped on it. It feels like a word that has a warning attached with it. It feels like a word that is marked with urgency.
Expectation Without Preparation
Matthew 25:1-13 says:
"Then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
"And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
"Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
When we read these Scriptures, we need to recognize the error of the five foolish virgins and how their same mistake applies to our own lives today. The foolish virgins had their own lamps, but took no oil with them. Their problem wasn't in the expectation of the bridegroom. Their problem was in the reality that they were not prepared. What separates the foolish from the wise is their unwillingness to be prepared. Both the wise and the foolish are expecting a return. However, it is the expectation alone (just the expectation, without preparation) that exposes the foolish ones' failure in the moment of revelation.
Today there are many within the Church who are like the five foolish virgins. They have their lamps, but they are unwilling to pay the price for the oil.
Look at the Scripture again. The five foolish virgins knew where to get the oil, but they refused to pay the price of the oil. Because they did not pay that price when it was available, they immediately expected the wise virgins to pour out the oil that they had paid for.
Today, the Church is often filled with individuals who are looking for someone else to pay the price for oil. These individuals aren't willing to pray, seek the Lord, worship, praise, show up, minister to others, and more. These individuals are looking for the fast-pass of Christianity while expecting to be considered among those who have paid the price for oil.
Conferences are filled with individuals clamoring for the latest prophetic word of encouragement (only). Altars fill with people wanting impartation without sacrifice. Individuals want the apostle to "go" for them, the prophet to hear for them, the pastor to feed them, the evangelist to save them, and the teacher to grow in knowledge for them. The multitude has become foolish, while demanding to be identified as wise. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Preparation Without Expectation
Acts 12:1-17 says:
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the Church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
"Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the Church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.
"Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, 'Arise quickly!' And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, 'Gird yourself and tie on your sandals'; and so he did. And he said to him, 'Put on your garment and follow me.' So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
"When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
"And when Peter had come to himself, he said, 'Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.'
"So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, 'You are beside yourself!' Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, 'It is his angel.'
"Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, 'Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.' And he departed and went to another place."
In these passages of Scripture, we see where the apostle Peter had been imprisoned and was facing certain death. While in prison, the Scripture says that the Church was in "constant prayer" for Peter. We read this passage and see how the Lord intervened for the life of Peter, and through supernatural events, an angel led Peter from the depths of his prison cell to the (opened) gates of the city. From there, Apostle Peter went to the home where those in the Church were praying for him, and we learn about the young girl Rhoda.
Here is where we need to pay attention to what is happening. You have to understand that the Church was praying for Peter. Possibly, the prayers consisted of the release of Peter and/or the pardoning of Peter's impending death. Regardless of what exactly the prayers were, we can definitely say that they were seeking the Lord for the safety of Peter's life. In other words, the Church was preparing for the life of Peter to be spared. Then, in the midst of prayer, Peter arrived at the gate of the house.
Herein lies the problem. A young girl recognized the "voice" of Peter and immediately alerted the praying Church. We can only imagine that because Rhoda was a young girl, the Church disregarded the possibility of Peter being at the gate for multiple reasons. The Church was preparing for the life of Peter (outside of prison) through prayer, but when the prayer was answered, it came in a way that they did not expect. They possibly envisioned the leaders standing before Herod, pleading for the release of Peter. They could have prepared their speech before Herod, and when the idea of that not happening was presented to them, they quickly dismissed the girl because it was not how they expected it.
How many people, within the Church today, are dismissing those who recognize the "Voice" of the Lord simply because the Lord is showing up in ways that the Church does not expect? Individuals are preparing for the presence of the Lord, yet their preparations have them missing the reality through wrong expectations. Today, many are not only denying the movement of the Lord because of missed expectations, but they are also refusing to open the gate!
Look at the Scripture again...Peter remained at the gate (that was never opened to him), while the Church remained at the door of the house. Churches have become settled with the Lord at the gate yet never welcomed into the house. Individuals are satisfied with a wave and a conversation at the gate, while unwilling to open the door for dwelling. (Photo via Wallpaper Flare)
The Watchman and the Gatekeeper
Psalm 24:1-10 says:
"The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
"Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face—even Jacob. Selah.
"Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah."
I believe this passage of Scripture is detailing the communication between the watchman and the gatekeeper. The watchman declares, "Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!" The gatekeeper responds, "Who is the King of glory?" The watchman replies, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle."
It's a beautiful description of how the watchman and the gatekeeper must remain in communication with each other for the sake of the Kingdom. The watchman is positioned higher than the gatekeeper for the purpose of being able to see wider and farther away; while the gatekeeper is positioned at the entrance of the gate for the purpose of being able to open the gate when the King is arriving, or to close the gate when an enemy approaches.
Today, we are missing the communication between the watchman and gatekeeper. There is a communication barrier happening as watchmen are looking for their individual platforms in order to be heard. The gatekeepers are maintaining their own gates without the ability to rightly open/close them based on who is near. The lack of communication within the Church is creating tribalism rather than family within the Kingdom. It's "us against them," or "they aren't loyal and therefore a predetermined enemy." We desperately need watchmen to be in right relationship with gatekeepers for the sake of the Body.
Be the Carriers of Oil
We need the sons and daughters of God to pay the price for the oil. Individuals need to stop depending upon others to do it for them. Stop demanding the oil from those who are willing to pay the price. Cultivate and steward your prayer life, the Word of God, your worship, and your praise to the Living God. Pay the price for the oil. You cannot keep demanding that everyone does the work while you sleep with half empty lamps.
The culture is redefining the Church in this hour simply because many have chosen the route of the foolish and defined it as the wise. It's time to get our expectation to meet our preparation so that we may be the Carriers of Oil!
* Please don't miss our emerging and newly found prophets! Subscribe here.
Ryan Johnson Ryan Johnson Ministries email@example.com
The Story of The Oil and The Oil