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Chanukah: A Look At Freedom From Oppression and Tyranny

The eight days of Chanukah have just concluded, but it’s not too late to reflect on the events around this holiday. You may not be familiar with this ‘Jewish Holiday’ and the events surrounding its inception or how it is connected with Jesus and His followers. It is not one of the seven commanded feasts outlined in the Torah, so how is it that Jews are celebrating it for eight days?

We find mention in John 10:22-23 that Jesus was walking in the temple, in winter, and celebrating the Feast of Dedication, as Chanukah is known. It is also known as the feast of lights. The events occurred in 166 BCE in Jerusalem. The Seleucid (Greek) ruler Antiochus Epiphanes forced many changes in Torah observance among the Jews. He suppressed the worship of YHWH and did away with temple worship and sacrifices to YHWH in exchange for sacrifice and worship of Zeus or other Greek divinity.

During this time of tyranny, many Jews had sought reform while many remained faithful to the Word of God. Of those who obeyed the Teachings of Moses were a family called the Maccabees. They sought to worship YHWH as was prescribed, and since that was hindered by an oppressive government, they rose up and rebelled against this oppressive regime.

The temple is lit by a seven-branched menorah fueled with olive oil. The story tells that there was only enough oil for one day, and yet the menorah remained lit for eight days until fresh oil could be procured. The message is Jesus is the light, and as His disciples, we are carriers of that light wherever we go. We are to bring it into the darkness all around us. Eight means new beginnings, and it indeed was a new beginning.

The Maccabean revolt lasted a couple of years, and in it, Judas Maccabees and his followers were able to take back Judea and tear down the altar of Zeus. Previously Antiochus is supposed to have sacrificed a pig in the temple, which would fly in the face of any Jew and YHWH. That would be almost the ultimate desecration of the temple and altar. I say almost because it is only a prelude to the coming Antichrist and his plans.

In Matthew 24:15, Jesus refers to Daniel 11:31 when He mentions the abomination of desolation and the abolishing of the daily sacrifice. This occurred under Antiochus IV but is only a prelude to things to come. If it was fully fulfilled before Jesus, then why is He speaking of it as an end of the age event?

Are All Governments Instituted By God?

In Romans 13, Paul writes to the church in Rome that was being persecuted by the likes of Nero. He explains that governments are servants and ministers for God for good. Therefore, we are not to fear the government and its leaders. They are supposed to be for us and not against us. These people were facing severe persecution.

Paul is not condoning the evils that kingdoms and governments carry out. God established government for our protection and welfare, but wicked people have perverted that and brought oppression, tyranny, and injustice. In some nations, governments change almost daily. Nevertheless, there are legitimate governments and leaders God places over a people.

Proverbs 21:1 tells us that the heart of the king is in God’s hands. We pray for God to bring about change in a situation, especially where it is counter to His Word and the values of the kingdom. We need governments to pass laws that help people and not hinder them. Paul tells us to obey the government, but there is an exception.

Freedom From Tyranny

In the USA, we have seen many good things do for the people, as well as some that shifted the oppression from one group to another. Since the beginning of human history, there has always been an individual or a group seeking to control those placed under their leadership. Likewise, there have always been those who sought to serve and help the people.

The history of the United States has been a checkered one, to say the least. Slavery, intolerance and oppression of Native Americans, and extended poverty among immigrants. Some of the worst living conditions occurred among immigrants working in big cities in poor working conditions and little pay. African Americans continued to struggle long after freedom from slavery, and the struggle for them and other international groups continues.

Many argue that governments don’t exist to feed the poor, provide housing and other basic life necessities. The Church has long failed to minister to the poor, needy and down and out resulting in many moving for political means to fix the problems that have been around for thousands of years. Oppression and Tyrannical forms of government will continue and worsen as we anticipate the coming of the Lord Jesus.

Moving Toward The Man Of Lawlessness

There is a point where one must ‘disobey’ government rules and regulations. That comes when those laws run counter to the Word of God and His commands. Telling people they can’t gather for worship, even in homes is the primary example. We hear about this in China and similar areas but we don’t think of it as a Western thing.

Yet, in Canada, UK, and other Western nations people are being arrested for gathering to worship, preaching in the streets and similar freedom of religion expressions. But non-Christians do not suffer the same fate in these areas. More and more in the US we are seeing persecution of Christianity take place. We can’t be passive any longer.

While we don’t take up arms as believers like the Maccabees we must let our voice be heard and likewise take a stand and say thus far and no more. The persecution has extended to Social Media, and we often find Christians pitted against one another.

All of this is preparing the way for the Man of Lawlessness of AntiChrist. We see cities being destroyed and burned without anyone taking a stand to stop it in those cities and if someone does they are considered a traitor. Burning everything down is not the answer. Yet, eventually the Man of lawlessness will step up and tell us that he has all the answers. In other words he will let lwalessness abound so he can provide the solution.

Preparing The KIngdoms For The King

While many disciples are preparing for the return of Jesus to rule and reign on the earth, many leaders, government, religious, and others are preparing for the AntiChrist. There have been many tyrants throughout the ages who tried to rule through oppression. Names like Nimrod, Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Caligula, Nebuchadnezzar, and Nero remind us of how one man can be used to control and oppress, murder, and control so many people.

The final attempt will be much like what many have done in the past but on a global scale. What Antiochus did in the temple will be minuscule compared to the Man of lawlessness requiring worship of him from a central place like Jerusalem.

After all, Jerusalem is God’s eternal capital, so why wouldn’t he rule from there if he claims to be God or the Messiah? But, it will be short-lived just like all of his predecessors. Jesus will return and set up His capital in Jerusalem and the nations will come and worship Him there.

The Kingdoms of this world will be His. So this holiday season remember that we have victory over the Anti Christ and that spirit through Christ. We do not accomplish it with swords like the Maccabees did but rather knowing that Christ will win in the end and we will rule and reign with Him.

Enjoy Life In The Kingdom

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Five Ways To Avoid Identity Theft

Recognizing and Maintaining Your Identity In Christ

Amid the political, cultural, social, and religious wars that seem to be endless, there is one thing people forget about. Identity theft is at an all-time high, and with a digital economy and so much on social media, it’s no wonder that identity thieves are on the rise.

However, I am talking about the oldest form of identity theft known to us. This one goes back to the garden of Eden and is Satan’s number one tool in deceiving every person of their true identity. You may have had your social security number compromised, your bank account hacked, or even your IRS account hacked and used.

But that pales in comparison to losing your identity as a Child of God, heir, and co-heir with Jesus, priest to God, and chosen to rule and reign with Christ. The vast majority of believers don’t even understand or identify with who they are in Christ. Worse, those not yet born into the kingdom do not know their true identity. Below I will discuss five practical ways to avoid identity theft by Satan and his minions.

Don’t Get Offended

Satan’s number one tool is the bait of offense. He used that with Eve when he said, “Did God really say that?” This placed doubt in Eve’s mind, and since she only had Adam’s word as to what God actually said, she became offended at God and her husband. Imagine not believing your spouse or close family member and taking up an offense, and deliberately disobeying the command of God.

That is exactly what we do when God gives us a command, and then when someone questions what we are doing, or ridicules us, we doubt, second guess what we heard, and then disobey and birth Ishamel. We then blame God when everything goes wrong.

Ephesians 2:10~ “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Adam and Eve were created by the hand of Yhwh. You say ‘how can ‘they be in Christ if came three thousand years later?’ John 1:1 tells us, ‘in the beginning, was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ That is Jesus.

Colossians 1:16 ‘by Him all things were created. So the Son played a role with creation as the Father and Spirit did, together in unison. When we blame God, we blame the creator. We must stand our ground when the deceiver comes when His lies. In the hour we live in, we are bombarded with news and words that sound good, but they are not the Word of God. Listening to any voice other than the voice of God leads us astray, and ultimately we get offended.

We get offended at God or someone who offends us, and that sets up a whole mess. When we are offended, we set the offense as an idol and focus on it and replay it repeatedly. This is a result of taking our eyes and ears off of Jesus. The only way to avoid losing our identity to an offense or offender is to give that offense to Jesus, place it under the blood, and worship. Crucify the flesh.

Galatians 5:13

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another.

Leviticus 19:18

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Realizing that we are in this flesh and that it is easy to slip over and be offended, we need to be quick to do the next step on our list.

Be Quick To Forgive

Unforgiveness can destroy relationships, families, churches, workplaces, governments, and individuals. Unforgiveness can lead to sickness, bitterness, and broken lives. Ultimately, when you choose not to forgive an offender, then you are saying what Jesus did on the cross is not good enough for them. You put them in bondage to you, and it is idolatry.

Idolatry has many aspects and is more commonplace than we realize. Placing the offense is putting it above your relationship with Christ. It pulls you out of being a child of God. Kingdom people are quick to forgive because they understand the power of forgiveness. It goes with our identity.

Matthew 6:15, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. ESV

Not forgiving also places you as an enemy of God. He is a God who loves reconciliation and forgiveness, after all, He sent Jesus to reconcile us to the Father. We must stay reconciled, so choosing to live a lifestyle of forgiveness is the path to maintaining the proper fellowship with God.

Staying In The Word: Discover Your Identity

Knowing who you really are is the ultimate key to avoiding identity theft of identity crisis. Study the Word to see what it says about who you are. We are born into a fallen world and we are born into the Kingdom of God and then we come into the fullness of who we are. But we have to walk it out.

Galatians 2:20 “ I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

The list of verses are endless, describing who we were created to be and who we are. The cross is the stopping place that transforms us from the old, dead man or woman to the person filled with life, joy, and confidence in their calling as a Child of God, a priest, and one destined to rule and reign with Christ. Don’t listen to anything that tells you differently. It’s an identity thief.

Unceasing Prayer

Prayer is our lifeline with the throne of God. It is part of how we were created to be in joyous fellowship. Jesus spent hours alone in prayer with the Father. Paul said to pray without ceasing and to give thanks in all things. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

God seeks for people to share His heart with in prayer and intercession. We often hear people say, ‘intercession is for a select few.’ That is like saying evangelism or any other ministry is just for a select group. We are called to personal prayer and devotion. Without it, we cannot mature and develop as people of God.

Prayer also increases our ability to hear the voice of God and brings life, joy, and peace. So, when the enemy comes with deception or an opportunity to be offended, we recognize it and take authority over it. That is the mind of Christ, a mind that seeks to kive in the word, be unoffendable, forgive and pray for those who persecute us or offend us.

Consider Job and his three friends. Job’s friend’s advice may have been sound and reasonable, but it was misapplied. No one really understood what was going on until Elihu showed up. In the end, God told the three friends that Job would pray for them. So Jesus told us in the Sermon On The Mount to pray for those who despise us and pray for our enemies.

Worship The Lord At All Times

What we place the highest value on or who we spend our time with says a lot about what or who we worship. Worship involves surrender. People like Mary of Bethany demonstrate extravagant worship. Anna at the temple is another one that lived a life of worship, surrendered to the King.

We were made to worship God. If we choose to become offended, live in unforgiveness, or identify with any sin or life-controlling issue in our lives as believers, then we have lost our identity. By choosing to focus on things of this world, it replaces our true place of worship. We are hindered in our identity as a worshipper.

Learn to worship Him continuously. Choose not to fall from a place of worshipping before the throne at all times. It is a choice. It is who we are.

Kingdom people should know who they are and live in that place daily. We should not allow Satan, a person, or anything to keep us from walking in our identity in Christ. Live loved. Live forgiven, and forgive quickly. Stay in the Word and in prayer. Blessings

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Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?

To have to ask that question means something is missing or there is a misunderstanding. I have a clock, and every device I own has a digital clock that is working fine. So exactly what am I referring to when I ask the above question? Looking around the world, especially in the United States, answering that question would depend on who you ask.

The Western Church has undoubtedly lost the urgency of the hour. So few are praying for the nation’s direction, and few are teaching and preaching the real gospel. Our country is more divided along political, racial, religious, and many other lines. We have pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine. Our country’s southern border is out of control, and the only time we hear from our leaders is to promote personal agendas.

Many are talking of the ‘mark of the beast,’ one-world government, and so on. Fear abounds like never before, and the Church of Jesus is not exempt. Many who call themselves disciples of Christ bear no fruit and often look and act just like those who are not followers of Christ. Despite all of the changes with Covid-19, lawlessness, famine, and so forth, we seem to think things will eventually return to the way they were.

Many are still amassing their fortunes, and attempting get rich schemes, preying on the poor. Then there are those calling evil good and good evil. No one is seeking the Lord! Few are crying out for corporate and national repentance. The selfishness continues to abound as long as we can get food, clothing and we are still in our warm dwelling. We seem to act oblivious to what is going on all around us.

It’s Not A Time For This!

Before I tell you what time it is, let me tell you what time it is not. We all have basic needs in this life. We work and serve, and God provides. There is nothing wrong with having things we can enjoy so long as they aren’t controlling us. But, let’s look at the story in 2 Kings 5:15-27. Here we find the story of the Syrian general Naaman who leprosy. He went to Israel to seek healing. But, he was upset because the prophet, Elisha, didn’t come out to meet him, and worse, he told him to wash in the Jordan River.

Nevertheless, Naaman obeyed and was completely healed. In return, as a show of appreciation, Naaman asked Elisha what he could do for him.

2 Kings 5:16 “as the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing.” Naaman urged Elisha to take something, some clothes or gold, anything, but Elisha refused. The gospel is free, but those who preach it have needs. They are provided for by the hand of God through various means. Elisha was a faithful servant who would not accept worldly possessions for what the Lord had accomplished.

Gehazi’s Greed

But the prophet’s servant had a problem with Elisha not receiving from Naaman. So he devised a scheme whereby he would get something for himself. Gehazi runs after Naaman and explains that two men of the sons of the prophets showed up and needed a change of clothes and some silver.

After depositing the goods in the house, he went before Elisha, who already knew what had happened. 2 Kings 15:25 And Elisha said to him, ‘where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” NASB

2 Kings 15:26 Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants?”

Elisha tells Gehazi that the leprosy of Naaman would cling to him, which it did before he left Elisha’s sight. This story is packed with so much for us to glean. But, my focus is the prophet’s statement regarding a time to receive stuff. Obviously, it is not a time for those things. Elisha had already refused Naamans offer, and if the sons of prophets had need, Elisha would have accepted something.

There are times to receive wealth and goods. God provides our needs through the jobs we work, other people we encounter, or supernatural means. My point here is we need to discern the time we are in and know we need to spend our every hour wisely doing what the Lord has called us to.

Time To Seek The Lord!

If it is not a time to focus on amassing things of this world for this age, then it must be time for something else. America, and really all nations, but especially the United States, has departed from the ways of the Lord. The Covid-19 pandemic has forever changed the world. Yet, many in the body of Christ are still bound in fear, and others are being led astray by false doctrines, false Christ’s, and doctrines of demons. We also war with one another with name-calling and labels.

Instead of being divisive over vaccines, political agendas, conspiracies, and media reports, we should do what the prophets of old told Israel to do. Yes, we need to refocus. We need to obey the Lord and seek Him, not man’s wisdom or the ways of the world.

The prophet Amos reminds them that they carried pagan gods through the wilderness and even offered their children to Molech, just as we have done. Like Israel and Judah, we have become at ease.

Amos 5:1 ‘Hear this word which I take up for you as a dirge.” The prophet reminds them of their failures and many sins. Yet, he takes up a dirge or a lament. Then in verse four, He directs them, “For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel, ‘Seek Me that you may live.’”

Verse 6: “Seek the Lord that you may live, lest He break forth like a fire, O house of Joseph, And it consume with none to quench it for Bethel.” NASB

Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.”

Isaiah adjures the wicked to forsake his way, unrighteous thoughts, and return to the Lord, who will have compassion on him. Repentance is a good thing that leads to righteousness.

The Lord’s mercy and compassion are new every day, but are we experiencing His compassion or His consuming fire? Are we spending more time in the Word, prayer, and personal or corporate worship? Or do we spend eight hours in front of the television, on social media, participating in worldly pleasures? I’m not legalistic, as I enjoy a good football game, movie, or time of fellowship.

This is a call to run after and seek His face. Isaiah said, seek Him while you can, meaning there will be a time where it is too late. There is coming a time where this age will end and the next begin. If you have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and followed Him now, then there will be no more life after you die, except the Great White Throne judgment.

Now is the time to repent and turn away from this world and age’s selfish pleasures and foolish whims. America needs revival, and it will come. But it must come to the house of God first. Now is the time to fast and pray like never before. We are losing more freedoms, and our freedom to gather and worship corporately is being threatened. Will you regress and hide? Will you be like the Church in Germany in World War II that stood by while Jews were rounded up and sent to their death.

God loves us and will show compassion, but we must turn away from our wicked ways and seek Him, now!

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Three Reasons We Should Rejoice That Jesus Is With The Father

As Christians, disciples of Christ, or believers, we should always be filled with joy and a glad heart. Why? There are many reasons, but having our names written in the Book of Life is cause enough by itself. However, we rejoice for so many reasons, including the fact that we can have fellowship with Him, and we can hear His voice.

So many Christians are living in fear or are still bound by life-controlling issues. This not only hinders their relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but limits their ability to be ready for Christ’s return and life in the age to come. Further, we often ‘obey’ but not out of a heart of love. This also blocks our joy.

John’s Posture of Joy

In John 3:29, John the beloved writes about John the Baptist when he says, “the friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the Bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.” MEV Why did the fact that John heard the voice of the Bridegroom bring so much joy to John.

The Jews of that day understood the paradigm of the bride/bridegroom as it related to the Messiah. In ‘The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah,’ Alfred Edersheim, a Messianic believer, mentions that God was married to Israel and the tabernacle was the place of consummation. This was a cause of great joy.

Edersheim also indicates that Jesus’ appearance in John chapter 3 at the Jordan corresponded with the Messianic marriage week. There was a tradition among the Judean Jews known as the institution of the ‘friends of the bridegroom,’ and among the Galilean Jews, the ‘sons of the bridechamber.’ So John’s appearance was like the best man introducing the Bridegroom to the bride. What a great cause of joy, the gladness of heart, and rejoicing!

In John 14:28, Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to the Father. They didn’t understand and asked many questions. They wanted to know about the timing of Him establishing His kingdom and the end of the age. They also inquired as to when He would return.

But, Jesus tells them that ‘if you love me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father.’ So, I give you three reasons why they should rejoice and why we should rejoice that Jesus went to the Father.

The Return To The Father

Jesus’ return to the Father had many implications. It meant that He could send the Holy Spirit to dwell in believers. It also meant believers had a teacher, guide, and counselor. Jesus’ return means that He is interceding for us. But the most significant reason is His death on the cross. Yes, without Jesus returning to His Father, the cross and even the resurrection would be void.

Jesus loves every one of us and desires to be with us, but He loves the Father too. The day is coming when we will all be together. Meanwhile, Jesus had to ascend to heaven to cleans the heavenly temple and place His blood on the Mercy Seat. But, in accordance with marriage preparation, He is preparing a place for us.

The Greatness of The Father

The Father’s greatness is a source of joy for all believers. But, unfortunately, the Children of Israel saw the miracles, signs, and wonders but did not learn to rejoice at His greatness. Instead, they chose to murmur and complain.

I am afraid the Western church has lost the ‘fear of God’ and no longer recognizes the greatness of the Father. Instead, we treat Him like a vending machine, or worse, when He doesn’t do things as we expect, we get mad and fall out of fellowship. We sing about His Goodness but do we really understand it? If we did, we would be overflowing with joy.

Jesus understood the greatness of His Father. He did nothing without His Father. The Father and Son are so intimate that they desire that each of us have the same relationship with them as they do each other. Many of us have mastered fellowship with the Son or the Holy Spirit, but we still stand afar off from the Father.

A Confirmed Faith

One major aspect of faith is what is unseen. We believe because we don’t see it, naturally. But, after all, isn’t faith the ‘substance of things not seen.’We believe in Jesus, but we don’t see Him. Further, we take Him at His word when He says He will return. How could He return if He didn’t go back to the Father?

It all plays into the wedding theme and the friend of the Bridegroom preparing for His return. He gave us the Holy Spirit and told us to disciple the nations and prepare for His return. By pouring out the Holy Spirit, He demonstrated His desire to pour out and fill us with His Joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

There is much to say about what He is preparing for each one of us. In the age to come, we will each have various responsibilities, and each one will be done with joy and out of love. But why do we need to wait? While He is preparing for us, shouldn’t we be preparing for Him and His glorious return?

Like the early disciples, we long to be with Jesus. However, we are joyful and glad that He chose to endure the cross for the joy set before Him. That joy includes a seat beside the Father, pouring out His Spirit on His people, and preparing to return for those who have prepared joyfully for His return and the establishment of His Kingdom.

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Three Reasons There Is A Labor Shortage and God’s Remedy

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive labor shortage in the USA and other nations. There are many reasons for this, including fear of the virus, fear of the vaccine, mandates, and other causes. However, that is not the labor shortage I am speaking of.

You have probably seen fast-food restaurants closing early, department stores, schools, government, healthcare, and other areas running into many problems due to these work-related issues. Of course, those situations will eventually be alleviated. But there is on labor shortage that has been ongoing for at least two thousand years.

The Laborers Are Few

Matthew 9:37-38 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will send out laborers into His harvest.” MEV

Jesus tells His disciples to ask the Lord of the Harvest, the Father, to send laborers. While we were driving to visit family this past weekend, I came upon miles and miles of white cotton fields, ready to be harvested. Soon the farmers will fire up harvesting equipment and the harvest will be reaped.

Of course, it requires effort on everyone’s part. Then there is the need to fuel the equipment. In the end, the cotton is taken to a gin, where it is separated from the seed and processed.

As I looked at the white fields, waiting to be harvested, I was reminded of Jesus’ words in John 4:35, “ Do you not say, ‘there are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Listen! I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for the harvest.’

Why The Laborers Aren’t Laboring In God’s Field

There are numerous reasons why we don’t work in the Lord’s field. First, the harvest is the lost, those without the knowledge of Jesus as Lord. They are the ones who have never heard the good news. They are also the hard-hearted who have resisted the gospel. They are without Christ, without salvation, and therefore have no hope. Yet, the time is never more urgent for their salvation. The field is truly white with the harvest of souls. But why aren’t we reaching them?

It’s The Pastor, Evangelist, or Missionary’s Job!

Wrong! No scripture says it is only the work of the five-fold ascension gifted ministers from Ephesians 4:11. It is not just the job of people who move to foreign lands and live among a least-reached people group.

The job of Pastors, Evangelists, teachers, and other like ministers is to equip every believer to do the work of ministry. Yes, you are a minister. If you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, Kingdom, you are a minister of reconciliation to bring others into the Kingdom of God. Jesus sent out twelve to the nations. There were others among His group. They were already sharing their faith long before He was crucified.

The mission of the twelve was to make disciples of nations, and as such, they were fulfilling Israel’s call to be a light to the nations. Later, Paul went to the Gentiles and raised up churches, but he had helpers and established elders in every city. The work quickly spread because the few spread out, and those that they reached, in turn, reached others. They didn’t keep silent. So what is our problem?

Too Busy With Our Own Needs

Often we become inundated with doing life, and as we go about our daily business, we fail to engage people. We are so wrapped up in our own needs that we miss opportunities when they present themselves in front of us.

We fail to pray for the person at Wal-Mart, or even our co-workers. Often we don’t share our faith because we are embarrassed or fearful. We want to be accepted, after all, we need our job. We put our job above God and His commands. We forget who our provider is. So many do not speak out against the evils of the day.

Complacency and Lack of Concern

When we are first born into the Kingdom, we are fully alive and in love with Jesus. We are eager to share the gospel. But soon, the cares of life weigh on us to the point that we don’t pray for the lost. We are not burdened that people are dying with no hope. They die without Jesus and will meet their doom.

Our lack of concern causes us to turn a blind eye to the needs around us. The other thing we hear is people say, “let someone else tell them.” We leave it up to someone else to go, and yet God may have chosen us to go to the streets of some big city here in the USA.

It Is Not Good News If It Doesn’t Reach Them In Time!

Pauls Answer

1 Corinthians 9:16 MEV “Yes, woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel!’

In Romans 15:20, Paul tells the reader that he sought to go where no one has gone so that he would not build upon another man’s foundation. He was compelled to go. He was under an obligation.

Why should we who have been so blessed keep this gospel for ourselves? Paul even went so far as to say that he had ‘fully’ preached the gospel in all the places where he was sent. The spirit led him, and even when he suffered, was jailed and stoned, he did not stop. We quit if someone gets offended at us just for standing up for the gospel.

No matter what happened, or who opposed him, Paul was steadfast,and he drew strength from the Lord. We must yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and share our faith. Likewise, there are those of you who God has singled out to go to the least-reached people and bring the gospel. After all, they can not hear without a preacher, and they cannot preach if they are not sent. (Romans 10:14)

IT Must Be Finished

Samuel Whitfield has written an excellent book entitled “It Must Be Finished.” There is no other way to put it. Jesus is not coming back until every person on the planet has heard the gospel at least once.

Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and the end the end will come.” MEV

Many believe Jesus could come at any moment, but that is after Jerusalem calls Him to come back, Matthew 23:39, and the gospel is preached to every tribe, ethnos, nation, people group, and language as a witness. So what are we waiting for?

Already persecution is at an all-time high. Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors minister to the persecuted church in some of the most challenging places for the gospel on the earth, while we in the west continue to enjoy our freedom to worship. However, that is slowly dwindling away. The Church in Canada is experiencing unprecedented persecution, and street preachers are being arrested, having broken no law.

It is time to be counted as the laborers. Will you answer the call. You may not can go to the nations, but you can pray and sow for those who do go. Sadly many return broken due to lack of proper prayer and financial support. But you and I have a role here and in the nations. It must be finished. Meanwhile, pray for the laborers that have answered the call.

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Four Applications of The Feast of Tabernacles: Now & Forever

The celebration of the final feast on the Hebrew calendar is known as the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, or Feast of Booths. It began at sundown on September 20 and will last one week until sunset on September 27. It commemorates the years that the Children of Israel spent in the desert on their way to the promised land. During this time, God protected them, and they lived in booths.

Leviticus 23:33-36 “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel, saying: The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no regular work. For seven days you shall offer food offerings made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day it shall be a holy convocation to you, and you shall offer a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly and you shall do no regular work.” MEV

Leviticus 23:39-43 “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep a fest to the Lord for seven days. On the first day is a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. You shall take on the first day branches from majestic trees– branches of palms trees, branches of leafy trees, and willows from a brook and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native children of Israel shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” MEV

There is a lot to unpack in these verses. First, the children of Israel lived in temporary shelters that God provided after leaving Egypt. Second, Sukkot celebrates the fact that they were between the Promised land and Egypt. It also mentions it taking place after the gathering of the harvest. Further, it is a joyous celebration with lots of food and branches offered to the Lord. Finally, it is a feast with the Lord.

It goes without saying that the Feast of Tabernacles is the most joyous celebration of the seven feasts. We find the celebration of this feast mentioned in several places, namely 2 Chronicles 8:13, 1 Kings 8:2, 2 Chronicles 31:3, Ezra 3:4. Zechariah 14 reminds us that the nations will be going to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts.

I used to wonder why and how that would be possible? There have to be nations and an Israel in order to fulfill that prophecy. I believe that will be fully fulfilled in the following age or the Millennial Kingdom. Nevertheless, the Feast of Tabernacles has many prophetic applications for Jew and Goyim (Gentiles) now and for the future. Here are four that remind us to celebrate every day with the Lord.

From Wilderness To Promised Land

One of my mandates is to prepare people for Christ’s return, and that entails various components. First, I want us to see our lives here on the earth as it is now as living in a wilderness. The wilderness is not such a bad place if we learn to embrace the life that God calls us to live. The wilderness is the place of trial, tribulation, and ultimately it represents surrender.

We tend to speak of the wilderness in negative terms. However, John the Baptist lived most of his life there, as did many others we are unaware of. That is the place of encounter. Consider Moses and the burning bush. Elijah sat by a brook and waited for his next assignment. The wilderness was also the place of trial and testing for our Lord Jesus.

We speak of the wilderness in a negative light, and we are always trying to get out. Our seasons free from the wilderness seem to be short-lived, though. Could it be that we need to continually go through these seasons to be fully prepared and equipped for our Lord’s return? After all, the earth became a wilderness when Adam lost dominion. However, that will change at our Lord’s return and we must be ready to follow Him as the earth falls under the control of The King, Jesus.

Ingathering of the Harvest

Moses mentioned the Feast of Tabernacles following the harvest. It was important that the celebration could only commence once the harvest was fully gathered, and then they could rest. This reminds us that at Pentecost the harvesters were filled with the Holy Spirit. But, the time will come when we will not be working in that vein anymore.

Consider John’s words in Revelation 14:15, “Then another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap. The time has come for You to reap,for the harvest of the earth is ripe. ‘” MEV

There is coming a day of reaping or gathering of the harvest. Jesus told us to pray for laborers because the harvest is plentiful, but there are few laborers. (Matthew 9:37, Luke 10:2). The prophet Yoel (Joel) spoke of a great harvest after a tremendous outpouring of The Holy Spirit in Joel 2:28. It’s past time for the Spirit to be poured out without measure so that when the angels reap there is a great, great harvest!

God Tabernacling With Man

God’s original plan was to fellowship and tabernacle with Adam and all humanity that would follow. But, unfortunately, that was lost, and ever since, God has established patterns and protocols to get us back to that place of fellowship.

The tabernacle in the wilderness was a temporary booth like those the people lived in. Solomon’s temple was a temporary structure, just as the second temple and Herod’s improvements were. These would give way to when Messiah will establish His throne in Jerusalem, and the nations will worship. This, however, is a prelude to the age beyond where the New Jerusalem will come down, and Father and Son will dwell with humanity forever.

When God came in the flesh, we see the Word dwelling among men. Later God chose to fill everyone that confessed Jesus as Lord and repented and turned away from the old life with His Holy Spirit. What other God has chosen to live among all of His disciples? That is reason enough to rejoice and celebrate!

Joyous Celebration

Tabernacles is the most festive of all the feasts, and it points to when we will celebrate with the Lamb and the Father forever. One of the great feasts mentioned in the Bible is the Marriage Supper of The Lamb in Revelation 19:7-10. Now, you have to be invited to attend. These are the elect or chosen of the Lord. He chose you before you chose Him.

The one’s not invited are the ones who refused to follow the Lamb here. They declined the invitation by not accepting Jesus as their Saviour, King, and Lord. This is the wedding of eternity. You don’t want to miss this celebration. I believe it will be ongoing for 1000 years.

Regardless of how long the wedding supper lasts, we will be rejoicing and celebrating with Jesus in Jerusalem with Israel and the nations. Then will be celebrating eternally with the Father and the Lamb for an eternity.

Hallelujah! Rejoice and be glad for the bride has made herself ready! The Ekklesia, the church, the bride, will be ready.

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Jesus Our Mercy Seat

Jews and Christians should be familiar with the term ‘Mercy Seat’. Ask anyone familiar with the word “Mercy Seat,’ and they conjure up images of the High priest entering into the Holy of Holies every year in a supernatural manner. We know that he had a sacrifice in one hand and incense in the other, and so supernaturally, the thick veil that separated the Holy place from the Holy of Holies was lifted so that he could enter.

Once behind the veil, the High priest placed the atoning sacrifice on the mercy seat, and the Glory of God would descend and consume the offering. The room would be lit entirely with the brilliant, radiating beauty of God almighty. The shekinah kabod would fill the whole room.

The people on the outside could see this brilliance and would be on their knees at the incredible presence of God. The High priest remained in God’s presence until it lifted. Unfortunately, this process had to be repeated year after year. The only way people had access to God’s glorious presence was through this high priest. We now have a High Priest in Jesus who has provided us continual access to the Father through Him.

The Mercy Seat

The Mercy Seat was the lid on the ark of the covenant that was surrounded by two angels facing each other. One represented the Old Testament by looking forward to the New Covenant, while the other looked back at the Old to remind us where we have been or where we have come.

The Mercy Seat was the place where the priest laid the sacrifice, and God would descend and rest. It was His throne on the earth for that period that He rested. Then, he would meet with the High Priest here. This is where God would meet with the High priest to get a ‘word’ for the people for the coming year.

Exodus 25:17-22

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends.

The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark, you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel. (NIV)

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Mercy-Seat

Many other verses discuss and develop the Mercy Seat: Leviticus 16:2, 14-15; Exodus 30:6, Numbers 7:89, Exodus 26:34. This was the holiest piece of furniture in the tabernacle/temple. The Philistines once captured it due to the Israelites treating the token of God’s presence as a trivial piece of ordinary furniture. It was tantamount to idolatry since the ark itself is not God’s presence.

Later, David had the ark moved to Jerusalem after no one sought it for thirty years under Saul. They didn’t follow protocol and carried it on an ox cart. This resulted in one man’s death and another, Obed Edom, being immensely blessed.

Later, when the Babylonians surrounded Jerusalem, the ark was moved and hidden to prevent it from falling into pagan hands. The ark that Moses had built has been lost ever since. This means that there was no ark in the second temple, signifying a prophetic shift pointing to the coming of the Messiah.

The Mercy Seat In The New Covenant

I mentioned in the title that Jesus was our Mercy Seat. But first, I want to see how this was developed. The cross was the place of sacrifice. The temple veil was rent in Jerusalem at the moment Jesus died. Jesus was man and God hanging on a wooden cross. He was placed there by brass nails. This fulfilled the requirements for an altar under the Old Covenant.

He was the sacrifice, and He was God. The glory of God filled Him. When the breath left His body, He descended to hell to get the keys to death, hell, and the grave. (See Ephesians 4:9, 1 Peter 3:19, Colossians 2:15). Later we see Jesus was in the tomb for three days, and then on that Sunday morning, some disciples visited the grave only to find it opened.

John 20:11

11 Now, Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.NIV

Jesus was laid on a slab of rock and laid there three days. When it came time for Him to be raised from the dead, two angels appeared. That is what Mary saw when she looked in. She was the first person to see the Mercy Seat in the New Covenant. Two angels at each end where a sacrifice had been laid. The glory of God in the flesh had been there but had conquered death. Later, Hebrews tells us that Christ cleansed the heavenly copies, meaning He cleansed the actual altar and mercy seat in heaven. (Hebrews 9:23-28)

Jesus Our Propitiation

The New Testament Uses the word propitiation in several places. 1 John 2:2, Romans 3:24-25, Hebrews 9:5.

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Propitiation

As the propitiation, He became the sacrifice. He is God and is the place where we meet God. He is the second person in the Godhead and offers access to the first person. Jesus also became the altar of incense which represents prayer. Thus, He is our High priest, intercessor, and the place where we meet God. Without Jesus, we have no access to the Father.

We need to take time and soak in what Jesus did for us and what He represents. I want you to know that there is no other sacrifice, and He paid it all. However, we are in a fallen world and in a body with a nature to sin. We have been redeemed or bought, and we belong to Christ. But we sin daily by simple things like gossip, pride, jealousy, and other things. So, we must daily confess our sins and repent, but know that we are always loved.

Unconfessed sin hinders our relationship and separates us from the full fellowship with the Godhead or the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s not legalism, but rather relationship. Be obedient but know that the price was paid, and you are covered.

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You Don’t Have To Hide Until the Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is one of the Fall Feasts outlined in the book of Leviticus. Jews will celebrate with fasting, prayers, reading the Torah, repentance, and forgiving others. It is a solemn day to seek the Lord. But, does the Bible teach a ‘Day of Atonement for all people of the nations.

Do We Need To Be Atoned?

Hide Our Nakedness

The idea of atonement is as old as original sin. The first time we see a need is in the garden of Eden. Shortly after Adam and Eve partake of the forbidden fruit, they realize their nakedness and seek to cover or hide it. God even asks the question, “who told you that you were naked?”

Yahweh covered their nakedness with clothes of skins. (Genesis 3:21 NIV) Notice that their nakedness was covered. So, God demanded a covering of sins. He hates it and doesn’t like to be reminded of it. From that moment on, the plan was set in motion to restore mankind to his previous state of glory.

The Blood of Bulls And Goats

The age of the law came with Moses and the Ten Commandments. The path to having the people’s sins forgiven and covered now was marked with blood from animal sacrifice. Previously the Patriarchs had offered offerings of slain animals. They burned them, and God received these offerings. Job was one of the earliest mentioned. Then, of course, Abel was the first man mentioned to offer a burnt offering.

So, Moses and his brother Aaron set up the Levitical priesthood that would be in charge of making these various offerings for the sins of the people of Israel. Notice that the need for atonement has gone from two people to everyone, but one nation is setting the path to the future Messiah.

These offerings were required annually and could never satisfy the need to atone for the many individual and national sins committed. There would have to be a better solution, and God had planned that before He created the world.

What Is Atonement?

Simply put, to atone means literally to cover or make amends. The Jewish hat men wear is called a Kippur, the same as the name of the Day, Kippur. The day of covering. The best way to describe it is to admit wrongdoing when someone robs someone and gets caught.

Admitting guilt is the first step, but then they must say they are sorry or demonstrate remorse. Remorse is not repentance, but when we sin or come out of agreement with kingdom values, we repent by coming back into agreement with Kingdom values.

But now, there must be restitution. So they may have to pay back the money, tell the victim they are sorry, and now because they broke the law, face the penalty. That is where the court orders everything from probation to prison time.

The Kingdom Of God’s Requirements

So in the Kingdom of God, when we sin or break one of the commands or statutes that Jesus gave, what is the penalty? Well, we go back to the garden and see that God told them they would die. That is not physical death but spiritual.

That is why Jesus came, and that is the Good News. But what did He do? He became the penalty for us. His death was an atoning death. Hebrews 9:5 says that He literally became the Mercy Seat or propitiation. The mercy seat was in the Holy of Holies, and the High Priest entered once per year to offer the sacrifice there.

The author of the book of Hebrews tells us in 9:12 that Christ entered the Holy Place in heaven by His own blood, not with bulls and goats. Hebrews 9:25 says that he put away sacrifice and sin for all time. It doesn’t mean that people quit sinning, but now they have a way to escape, a way for atonement for all time. Christ literally became the punishment or penalty for us.

Christ’s sacrificial death did away with the need for bulls, goats, lambs, doves, and any other sacrifice that we could offer. He also provided a way to access the Father and enable us to live the glorious life we were intended to now and forever. His blood not only covers but washes away our sins.

That Day: The Lord’s Day

Yom Kippur reminds us that Christ not only paid our penalty but gives a blessed hope for this and every age to come. The Old Testament mentions ‘That Day’ and the Day of The Lord several times. There are indications that there are different Days of The Lord.

I previously discussed the various days of judgment day. This is where the atonement kicks in. There is the judgment seat of Christ where believers will be judged and receive crowns and rewards followed by a wedding and coronation of a KIng, Jesus.

There is the judgment where Jesus separates the sheep and goat nations at the end of the age. (Matthew 25:31-46) Finally, there is the Great White Throne Judgment where all who have rejected Christ or the wicked from every age whose names are not found in the book of Life will be judged by Yahweh and cast into the lake of fire and be eternally damned. This occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom and will usher in the time when Heaven comes down and meets earth, and we go in and out and live eternally there. (Revelation 20-22)

If not for atonement applied now and forever, we would have no future. There would be no one to stand as our advocate, no intercessor, and on judgment day, no one to say, “your sins are forgiven and washed away.” Therefore, be glad and rejoice that your name is written in heaven. Enter into the joy of His rest forever and forever, amen!!

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Five Keys To Glean During The Days Of Awe

You may not have heard of the term ‘Days of Awe’ as a follower of Christ but it is part of the Fall Feasts that Jews are currently celebrating. Previously I wrote concerning the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, and its correlation with the end of the age. I discussed why a Christian should be concerned with all of the Feasts and how Jesus has, and will ultimately fulfill them.

Currently, we are in the midst of the ‘ten days of awe’ that began on Rosh Hashanah and will conclude this Tuesday on the Feast day of Yom Kippur. I will detail more about that in other work. What is meant by ‘days of awe,’ and what does it mean for believers? During these ten days, there is a lot for anyone to ponder as every person must be judged and has a choice of whether to be atoned by the blood of Jesus or reject it and spend eternity in everlasting punishment.

The Jews take this time to examine their lives and seek to forgive and be forgiven. This is in line with Jesus’ words where He says in Mark 11:24-25, “therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” ESV

Matthew 6:14 “if you forgive people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” NIV

Besides a time of examination, forgiving, and being forgiven, there are several other things associated with these feast days that I want to reflect on as we ponder our past, present, and future in the Kingdom of God. First, these should be a reminder of how much Jesus, or Yeshua, has done for us and our future with Him and that we can be confident that there are rewards for overcoming the trials of this life.

The Days of Awe & The End of The Age

  • Creation- The awe of creation is associated with Rosh Hashanah, and it is believed that God’s creation of mankind is marked by this day and His calendar has its beginning at this time. Creation reminds us of God’s original intent for man to have dominion over the earth and rule and reign. Since Adam forfeited that right with original sin, it has been redeemed by Jesus, and we can look forward to the Millenial reign where we rule the earth with the second Adam Jesus, who is our King.
  • Judgment- Yes, there is judgment coming. That comes in many ways, and it will depend on what you do with Christ and His teachings or Kingdom values.

A- Judgment Seat of Christ is where rewards are handed out: 1 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 16:27, 1 Corinthians 3:10-13,15. Christ will sit as judge. The idea of the judgment seat was developed in the Old Testament. It is known as the bema seat. John 19:13, Acts 25:22. See 2 John 8, Revelation 3:11. Other verses include 1 Corinthians 4:2, 1 Cor. 2:9-10, Luke 19:17,19, 2 Timothy 2:7, Revelation 3:4-5.

Paul vividly describes our walk with Christ and eternal rewards in his writings with such language as running a race for the prize, levels of attainment such as gold, silver, clay, wood, hay, and stubble. Christ talks about the Father being the judge, but He also mentions rewards for faithfulness and overcoming trials. Thus the judgment seat of Christ is for believers and is a time where our actions will be rewarded in one way or another.

B- Great White Throne Judgment- Revelation 20:7-15. This is when the wicked, and all who have rejected God in every age, those who rejected Jesus, from this age and the age to come, will be judged and cast into the lake of fire.

C- Christ’s judgment of the sheep and goat nations-Matthew 25:31-36. This is where Christ separates the nations according to whether they have followed Him or not. This will occur at the end of this age. There will be a remnant from every nation worshipping the lamb in Jerusalem in the age to come. However, many nations will fall away as many are currently under the control or influence of the ‘gods’ of this world.

3- 3 Books of Life- Psalm 69:27-28, wicked are blotted out. Daniel 12:1- those whose names are written here will be rescued at the time of the Great tribulation. Luke 10:20, Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, Revelation 20:15. If your name is not written there, you will be cast into the Lake of Fire at The Great White Throne judgment.

4- Book of Remembrance-Malachi 3:16. Psalm 56:8. The book of remembrance is special in that it records the righteous and their righteous deeds. This could tie into the rewards handed out by Christ. Suffice it to say your name can be in the Book of life and the book Of Remembrance.

5. The Wedding: I have written about this elsewhere. Jesus talked a lot about weddings, Paul mentions it in his writings, and finally, we see this in Revelation 19:7-9 and 21:2, 7-11. Those at the wedding are the chosen or elect in Christ. They are prepared ahead, and Jesus talked about wedding guests and being prepared in various parables.

We see the wedding theme developed in the Old Testament: Isaac and Rebekah. God consummated His marriage to Israel at the tabernacle, and language such as unfaithful Israel denotes God’s devotion to her. Suffice it to say that the bride of Christ and the wedding should take place before the start of the following age as they will be the ones partnering with Christ in ruling and will receive rewards, as I discussed above.

More To Understand

There are at least five more areas to glean from regarding the days of awe:

1- an awakening blast of the shofar. This should arouse us from slumber to be ready for the trumpet that will send us up to be with Christ.

2- The time of Jacob’s Trouble or the Great Tribulation where the Jews will suffer more horribly than ever before. Jeremiah 30:7. Matthew 24:15-31.

3- Opening of Gates- many gates opened in heaven and here that have remained closed until these last days. They also reference the opening of the age to come. Gates denote government and authority.

4- Resurrection- Regeneration- 1 Corinthians 15:17, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. This occurs at the time of the rapture. The saints receive new ‘glorified’ bodies like Christ had after His resurrection and will live in these for eternity.

5- Season of repentance. After all, that is the primary reason for the Holidays. As believers, it affords us a great opportunity to draw closer to Jesus and prepares for the Great Harvest. Joel 2:28. Incidentally, revival requires repentance.

In conclusion, the days of awe should make us become more fascinated and amazed by our Lord Jesus and bring us closer to serving Him with hearts of love, overflowing with His joy.

We should embrace the end of this age and be more prepared to live in eternity with Him. There is no place for fear in the Kingdom of God for fear, shame, or guilt. Be ready to face the future, knowing your name is in the Book(s).

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Should Christians Care That It’s Rosh Hashanah?

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Beginning Monday, September 6, 2021, on the Gregorian calendar, Jews and some Christians will celebrate the feast day known as Rosh Hashanah. The day will be marked by the blowing of the Shofar a total of 100 times in synagogues all over Israel, New York, and other places around the globe. The feast will conclude on sundown on September 8, 2021.

But the question that I am asking is one of major importance and one we, as disciples of Christ, need to take a long, hard look at. I am not Jewish, but I fully understand the importance of the feast days and how they tie into God’s calendar in this age and in the next. In order to answer that question, we need to define what Rosh Hashanah is and then its importance now and in future days.

The Name Says It All

The word Rosh Hashanah literally means ‘head of the year.’ That is why it is called New Year’s day, Jewish New Year, or the beginning of the year. The Hebrew calendar actually has two New Year’s, a civil and an agricultural. It sounds confusing, but God arranged it that way.

The civil year begins at the feast of Passover, which celebrates the Exodus from Egypt and the birth of the Jewish Nation. The Hebrew calendar is tied to the moon and its phases. Thus, the date is not set until the New Moon arises for the corresponding holiday. The agricultural year, as well as Sabbatical years and Jubilees, begin at Rosh Hashanah.

Numbers 29:1 “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you will have a holy assembly. You will do no ordinary work. It is a day of blowing the trumpets for you. MEV

This is the verse that established the feast day known as Rosh Hashanah, but the various teachings, meals, and other things that are part of this feast developed over the centuries to follow. Originally God told them to blow the trumpet or shofar. Anytime the word shofar appears in the Old Testament it is translated as trumpet.

Creation and Judgement

The Hebrew calendar is based on God’s creation of mankind, Adam. The word Adam or Adamah has many meanings, including ground, earth, and man, or humankind. Thus Hebrew scholars believe that Rosh Hashanah is linked to the creation of Adam and Eve and that every year God comes down and examines every person’s deeds, good and bad. That is why the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur follows, and finally Tabernacles.

The current year on the Hebrew calendar is 5781. The new year that begins tomorrow evening is the year 5782. That is important because of the Hebrew letters פב or peh-bet. The importance is the letter peh represents the mouth, and bet is the second letter. The prophetic significance of this year is speaking what edifies and glorifies the Son, Jesus. For a deeper understanding of the prophetic meaning of 5780, 5781, and 5782, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUlU7dFFSUM.

So, you see how the calendar is linked with creation and judgment, and God has set times for certain things to occur. Accordingly, we know that Israel was born after the Exodus around 1500 years ago. My purpose is not to establish a young or old creation narrative but to establish how God’s seasons are different than ours.

The Feasts Fulfilled Thus Far

When Jesus came the first time, He celebrated the feasts as well as the holiday of Chanukah. We see the latter in John, where He celebrated the Feast of Dedication as Chanukah is known. He was celebrating the Passover with His disciples just before He was arrested. Likewise, He was the fulfillment of the Passover feast.

But He told His disciples: “And He said to them I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you that I will never eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15-16 MEV

Mark 14:25 “Truly I say to you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” MEV

Wow! Jesus told his disciples that He would not celebrate the Passover meal until He celebrates it in the New Kingdom. The Passover meal evolved years after this to become what many celebrate today with the egg, apples, nuts, and horseradish. Yet, we know that when Jesus celebrated it, they broke bread and drank the fruit of the vine.

The second feast that Jesus has fulfilled was Pentecost. This holiday occurs fifty days after Passover and celebrates the ingathering or harvesting. Again, Jesus promised that His disciples would receive the Holy Spirit and be powerful witnesses in all of the earth. (See Acts chapters 1 & 2, Joel 2:28). This is the period we are currently living in where the Holy Spirit is working in all of the earth to bring the Harvest.

The next feast in line is the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Teruah or Rosh Hashanah. It is celebrated by the blowing of shofars, but Jews also celebrate it with food and joy. Apples, nuts, pomegranates, and honey, along with many traditional dishes, are associated with it.

The fact that Jesus celebrated all of these feasts and told us He would celebrate Passover again in the New Kingdom should be enough to say to us that The day of the Trumpet blast or Rosh Hashanah should have a literal fulfillment.

A Shofar Blast, A Wedding, and A Wedding Feast

So the next prophetic event on God’s timeline associated with humankind is the day of the Shofar Blast or Yom Teruah. Since Jesus died and arose at Passover to institute a new ‘holy nation or holy people,’ and He sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost for the Harvest, why should we not expect Him to come around the time of the Fall Feasts? I am not a date setter, but we must be aware of the season upon He returns.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4 that the regeneration or resurrection of the dead in Christ would appear at the sound of the last shofar or trumpet. Then at some point after that, there will be a wedding where Jesus marries His bride, the Church, followed by the greatest celebration ever. (See Revelation 19:7-9, 21:2.9, Eph. 5:25-27, 2 Cor. 11:2)

The exact way this will all play out is another subject and has brought on many debates. However, we should focus on the fact that there will be a heavenly shofar blast, followed by a wedding and a long, perhaps 1000 year, wedding feast. Thus, we will be drinking the cup of the fruit of the vine in the next age.

Live Ready

Regardless of what goes on around us, we need to live ready. We must fellowship with the Spirit, Son, and Father always. Worship the Son and stay in the Word. Intercede and pray for the nations and the salvation of Israel. We have been given all we need to live for Him and make disciples of the nations. Celebrate the feasts now and recognize there is a shofar sound, and there is also a judgment.

One final word about celebrating the feasts:

Then it will be that all the nations who have come against Jerusalem and survived will go up each year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (MEV) Zechariah 14:16

The day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles follow and will be fulfilled in the age(s) to come. Live Loved, Live ready.

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Don’t Be The Least In The Kingdom

Previously I discussed becoming the greatest in the kingdom. It requires one to humble themselves like a child and remain humble and serve. The kingdom of God is the upside-down kingdom where the greatest is the one willing to go to the lowest place, as in humbling themselves and serving in it, the example of Jesus.

But who is the least, and what does one have to do to become the least in the kingdom. The ‘Sermon On The Mount’ teaching is about kingdom lifestyle and the values of the kingdom. So much good teaching is found here, but it is often overlooked or not taught properly.

Matthew 5:19-20 “ Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” ESV

In verse 18 of Matthew chapter 5, Jesus tells the listeners that until heaven and earth passway, not one iota or yodh will pass from the law. In other words, even the smallest letter, yodh, in Hebrew is essential. Everything is important when it comes to all of the commandments and statutes. We cannot pick and choose which ones to follow.

Teaching Others To Break The Rules

In these passages, Jesus is not just saying if you break one of the rules (or values of the kingdom), you are the least. We all can rebel, turn away or come out of agreement with one kingdom values here and there. Already today, I may have judged somebody or forgot to inspect the beam in my eye. But, I can quickly turn away from that mindset and seek forgiveness and align my mind with the kingdom value that says look at the beam in my eye first.

Where we fall and become, the least, is by aligning ourselves with values contrary to the kingdom. When we break a minor command and then go unrepentant and teach others to do the same, then we are on the road to be the least. It is not enough to relax the commands, as one translation puts it.

We have to go so far as to adjust our lifestyle to teach others to break the same command. That occurs in several ways:

  • BY our actions- people see what we do, and they follow our bad example.
  • By what we say- just the words we use
  • By actually teaching or preaching that which is contrary to what Jesus taught
  • Who we associate with- aligning ourselves with people teaching and practicing doctrinal error with no repentance.
  • Where we Go- people see everything we- where we shop, eat, etc.

Everything we do must glorify God, and our speech, actions, and even what we listen to must reflect kingdom values. It is one thing to relax or break one of Jesus’ commands here or there, but He is talking about continually doing it and causing others to do likewise.

Matthew 5:20 ‘unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.’

The Pharisees’ brand of righteousness was based on strict adherence to the letter of the law and not the spirit. They were self-righteous, pious, and upright. They jumped through all of the hoops. Their brand of righteousness was more like religion and legalism. They had added to and taken away from what God had given them. They had missed the intent of it all, and that is why they couldn’t inherit the kingdom.

You Can’t Keep It

The Pharisees tried to force everybody to be like them, and no one could keep every letter of the law. That was the whole purpose of Jesus’ coming and giving us the Holy Spirit. We will stumble, but we have an advocate who can bring us back. If you are in the Word, praying and worshipping daily and being led by the Spirit of God, then you will not become the least in the kingdom.

The Pharisees actually caused everybody to stumble

The Holy Spirit is our counselor and teacher, and if we listen to His promptings, we will not get off course. When we try and keep every command in our strength, we have already set ourselves up for failure, disappointment, and eventually causing others to stumble. Do yourself a favor, and don’t fret over being the least. Stay humble and in fellowship with the Spirit of God.

Time To Turn Back

If you find yourself doing things you shouldn’t, or practicing something contrary to the kingdom’s values, stop and repent. If you have been teaching others doctrinal error, then repent. That is the beauty of the kingdom. Unlike the Pharisees, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.

There are many teaching and practicing doctrines of demons and tickling men’s ears. But they can also repent and find the truth. Maybe you were led astray by these modern Pharisees or wolves in sheep’s clothing. Then you still have the opportunity to go from least to greatest. That is the simplicity of the kingdom of God.

I have to continually ask God to put a guard over my mouth, protect my eyes, and guide my steps. Why? Because I can relax any command at any time. If I am not careful, I can relax so much that it becomes a habit, and others soon follow me down the slippery slope. That is why we must quickly turn away from evil thoughts, lusts, or anything that might pull us off the narrow path.

Just Stay Humble

The key then is to stay humble, stay in fellowship with the Spirit, and watch who or what you let into your life. I am not talking about people you are evangelizing or helping in Jesus’ name. I mean your close friends, church, etc. Remember, humbling yourself like a child is the path to be the greatest in the kingdom. Pride to remain a kingdom command breaker and leading others astray is the way to the least in the kingdom!

Stay humble My Friends!

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So You Want To Be The Greatest In The Kingdom Of God

Human nature means that we want to be loved and feel appreciated, not just by God but by people everywhere. We want to be well thought of, respected and we desire that our voice is heard. We even go so far as to say, “I want to be great and well-known.” We are no different than those first disciples who asked Jesus, “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-6)

We can all identify with one or more of the disciples, and it is no different when we ask questions as they asked. However, the answer may surprise you. It surely surprised them, and it is contrary to the world’s thinking. When we think of great people, we think of famous leaders, inventors, authors, politicians, military leaders, and business people.

Those famous people may or may not have had what it took to be great in the Kingdom of God. Remember, it is the upside-down kingdom when compared to this world. So, that is one reason we need our minds renewed to have a heavenly perspective. Before we come into the kingdom, we think like the world.

Are You A Child?

So then, who can be great in the kingdom of heaven? In answering His disciples, Jesus called a child to come over and explained, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3 MEV)

So, the question is, are we like children? Remember when you were born again? That childlike simplicity and joy we experienced. How we wanted just to obey and serve Jesus and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. That was our only desire. Our every desire was to please the Father, walk with Jesus, and be filled with the Spirit.

But, somewhere along the way, we let the world’s ways take us up, and if you are like me, you wanted to climb the ladder of success, even in the church. So, many want to be well-known in the church as great leaders, with degrees, accolades, and titles like Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, and Bishop, just to name a few.

Our job is to stay humble and be known as a servant. Where are the servants? Do you want to be great? The apostles were known as the scum, the off-scouring of the world. It doesn’t sound great, but they were humble servants. Paul often referred to himself as a bondservant of Christ. We are co-heirs, friends and we will marry the bridegroom, Jesus. But our position is still as sons and daughters, with child-like faith and humility.

My wife and I have worked with children for many years, and when it comes to teaching and really anything we do with them, we keep it simple. That’s how we want it. Children can tell if I’m genuine. They know our motives. They don’t want to be lied to or manipulated. Just tell them what to do, and they do it. Yes, there are those troubling kids that are difficult, but we seem to find a way.

Humble Yourself To Be The Greatest

Matthew 18:4 (MEV) “Therefore whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom.”

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Humility is the opposite of pride. You can have great ideas and be used mightily by God, but you are the lowest in God’s kingdom without child-like simplicity. Humility is demonstrated a lot by Jesus. Consider who He ministered to and where He went. He often did work that was for slaves of the nations, like foot washing.

He put His hands in the mud and healed the blind or ate with ‘sinners,’ demonstrating this principle. Ultimately, He suffered the death penalty that was reserved for criminals, opponents of the Roman government. We say we want to be like Christ, but when was the last time we went to the lowest place, whether in our prayer closet, the soup kitchen, the slims, or where the homeless hang out. When was the last time we offered to clean the church, cut the grass or visit a widow?

We tend to think that all of that is for the hired people or the staff. We typically don’t see Church leaders walking in humility as described in these passages. That means we have to do better. Instead of raising the bar, we lower it. But, we should be lowering to the point of humbling ourselves as servants and then let Jesus raise us up. Jesus set the bar high to go low.

Receiving Jesus

“And Whoever receives one such child in my name, receives me.” (Matthew 18:5 MEV)

If you receive a child or anyone like a child would, then you have received Jesus. Children usually don’t have motives unless they are planted there by someone with false motives. Children just want to have fun and enjoy life. When they have a need, they expect mom or dad or the adult they approach to help them. So it is with the kingdom of God. When someone has a need, we approach as if it were Christ Himself. Giving that cup of cold water means it is as if Christ is drinking it.

So often, we shy away from the less desirable, the unlovable, those that look and act differently from us. But aren’t they the ones to whom Jesus went? James tells us that pure religion is to minister to the poor, widows, and needy.

Concerning the gifts, I just would like to mention that they are to be used to build up and edify. When the Holy Spirit uses us to prophecy, or heal, or any other gift, we become the servants, and we are the vessel. It is as if we are speaking to Jesus. One who prophecies, for example, becomes the mouthpiece of God at that moment. The prophets of the Old Testament saw themselves as servants.

Serve With Thankful and Humble Hearts

So, the challenge is to continue to serve and labor for Christ as little children. Develop a thankful heart and stay low and even when He raises you up and your name becomes famous among men, stay humble and serve Him and His body. The day will come when all of these things will be judged!

Enjoy life in the Kingdom!

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Wielding The Keys of The Kingdom

When it comes to teaching on the Kingdom of God, one area that has been overlooked or improperly taught is the ‘Keys’ to the kingdom. The kingdom of God is governmental, and it offers its citizens the same rights as any earthly kingdom or government. However, because the Kingdom of God has not fully manifested in the earth, there is a continual battle between the kingdom of darkness as to which kingdom will prevail.

Jesus has won the victory, but we are in a battle to advance the Kingdom until He returns and establishes in full in Jerusalem for millennia. After that, heaven will come to earth in the form of the New Jerusalem or heavenly Zion. In the meantime, Jesus gave His disciples ‘keys’ to the government and operation of His Kingdom in the earth to be used now.

The Keys Received By Faith

Jesus mentions these keys in Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In the preceding verses, Jesus asks a question to the disciples ‘ Who do you say I am? Peter answered, stating that He was the Christ or Messiah. This was the answer to a long-sought question: when will the Messiah come, and what will His kingdom be like. They were looking for an earthly government to overthrow the kingdoms over them.

Peter’s statement required faith. Faith is necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus made a startling proclamation to Peter when he said in verse 18, “thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build my kingdom.” What is the rock Jesus spoke of? Was it Peter the rock, whose name was Cephas meaning ‘rock?’ That is what many early believers taught. They also taught that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, which became the Papacy’s office.

They see Peter as Christ’s successor on the earth. But is that what Jesus was teaching? The rock that Jesus’ kingdom is built upon is the rock of faith that Jesus is the Messiah or Christ. That bedrock confession gains entrance into the Kingdom. But there is more. Jesus asked the question to all of the disciples, and Peter answered. Jesus answers Peter and all of the disciples by explaining that He will give them the ‘keys of the Kingdom. It was their belief and later ours that allows us to receive these keys.

The Keys and Authority

Keys allow the holder to gain access to something that has been locked. It also allows the holder to close or shut out certain things or people. Keys give someone authority. The Catholic church teaches that the pope alone has these keys since he is Peter’s successor and Peter alone the keys. As I have already stated, that is not proper exegesis, and there are numerous scriptures relating to keys and believers’ authority.

Ephesians 2: 19-22 tells us that Jesus is the chief cornerstone and the disciples, not just Peter, are the foundation upon which the church is built. 1 Peter 2:9 explains that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a chosen people to proclaim the excellencies of Christ. Jesus is the rock upon which the kingdom is established and built, not Peter, the Pope, any denomination, or other leaders.

Luke 9:1 “Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. 2- And He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. 3- He said to them, “ Take nothing for your journey: no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, and do not take two tunics.” (MEV)

Jesus sent them out to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. Matthew’s account in chapter ten tells them to raise the dead and cleanse lepers. Then we have the Great Commission, given in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18. Here He tells them to disciple the nations and that all authority is provided to them through Him. They again preach the kingdom, and Mark talks about power over serpents and scorpions and deadly things. I believe this is the authority over demons and the kingdom of darkness.

We Have Received The Keys To Use Them

If we believe that faith in Christ gives us these keys, then why are we not using them? He tells us what doors they unlock. Healing, salvation, eternal life, joy, peace, deliverance, cleansing, and protection are benefits of the Kingdom. There are many other benefits. We have been given authority, all authority in heaven. Jesus holds the keys, and He gives them to those who believe. We are saved by grace through faith, and that faith allows us to receive the keys. Then we have authority over sickness, demons, and worldly influence. But, we must learn how to use these keys.

It’s like a policeman or doctor who has been given authority to represent the courts or healing. They had to learn the rules and how to apply them. When a king sends His ambassador, He has the same authority as if the king was standing there. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we are ambassadors for Christ. We are representatives of Him and His kingdom.

Someone once asked how can we be seated in heavenly places? (see Ephesians 2:6) I explained that we are spiritually connected to Christ through the Holy Spirit while we are here on earth. It is like a policeman who represents the laws of a city or state. They have the same authority as the mayor, governor, or a king. When we show up, it is as if Christ was there since He lives through us by the Holy Spirit.

Now we have been given all authority, so why do we not use it? We have free healthcare-physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We must take the time to sit with the one who gives that authority and develop our relationship and understand how His kingdom functions. This is one of the main things not taught today. The Kingdom of God is life-changing, bringing joy, peace, and complete freedom.

I pray that we will all grow to understand our authority and how to use the keys. Jesus said whatever we bind or loose here, it is as if we did it in heaven. That is the reality of the Kingdom of God being here now, even though it will fully manifest at His return.

Until then, use the authority you have received when you confessed and believed Jesus is Christ and made Him your Lord by surrendering to Him. It is quite humbling to have been given so much authority, and so we must stay humble because that is who we are, humble servants of the King.

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The Gospel Of The Kingdom: Good News Not Fake News

In Matthew 24:14, Jesus told His disciples that ‘this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all of the nation’s and then the end will come.’ Unfortunately, that has not occurred, and even worse is the fact that what is often preached is not the gospel that Jesus preached. When He came, He brought the kingdom of God to the earth, and healings, deliverance, miracles, and the dead being raised were manifested results of His presence and authority.

Why did Jesus say this gospel had to be preached? Previously He told them that false Christ’s would appear and preach a different gospel. Missionaries and evangelists have spread the ‘good news’ but often, what they taught was that you get saved in you believe in Jesus and are ready to go to heaven. Discipleship includes learning kingdom values and surrendering your life to live out those values.

The Good News

The real gospel includes what Jesus taught and what He did. He taught the Sermon on the Mount, which takes the Ten Commandments and expanding them into New Covenant life. He taught that He was the fulfillment of the expected Messianic ruler. He was, in fact, to sit on David’s throne. The good news also meant that people would no longer live in bondage, or be sick. Healing and deliverance are manifestations of the kingdom of God.

The Good News was not fake news, but the religious leaders tried and eventually succeeded in quieting His preaching. But, it was short-lived as He defeated the grave and, after His resurrection, sent out His disciples to the nations while He returned home. Now the Good News would spread faster unless Satan entered to alter the message.

The Message Is Changed

The gospel’s message has actually never changed, but the messengers changed it or at least what they preached. They taught many heresies early on, including Gnosticism, but later the message alone was not enough. It became works-based, and many who thought they had received the gospel had heard a thimble full of truth. Thus, by the time of Martin Luther, the church wasn’t all that needed reforming. The message needed to be made clear and spoken clearly. The truth had to be made alive.

After a few centuries of advancing the kingdom to the uttermost part, we still have many people groups who have not even heard the name of Jesus. So it is ashamed that they haven’t heard of Jesus, and we have many preaching a different Jesus or a different gospel. Many teach about prosperity, amassing worldly wealth, and living for the world.

Repentance as a lifestyle is no longer preached, and worse, many are teaching a hyper-grace where you don’t even need to repent. That is almost worse than works-based and leads to more bondage. People are not receiving the truth, and they are too focused on filling their coffers or building their kingdoms. Thus the messages we often hear are focused on us and not Jesus.

The Cross: A Throne For A King

The kingdom of God is the complete opposite of the kingdoms of this world, and what kingdom exists where the king actually dies for His servants? Where else is there a kingdom where the king is enthroned and raised up at His own execution? At that moment, as Jesus suffered and was dying, He found His first new servant. The thief who asked to be remembered went right into the kingdom and experienced a new life.

After His resurrection, Jesus walked among men and sent twelve Israelites out to be a light to the nations, thus partially fulfilling Israel’s role. They took the real gospel as far as they could. It would be centuries and a scattered and regathered Israel before the real gospel would reach the uttermost parts. Since Jesus said this gospel had to go to the whole world before the end, it has taken this long, and soon the Good News will return to Israel, and there will be a remnant crying out, “Blessed Is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’

God’s throne is built upon justice and righteousness, and what better place to see that than at the cross. He made it possible for us to be right with the Father and be justified freely.

The End-Times is Part of the Gospel

One final aspect of the good news of the kingdom is that Jesus will return. You see, when we die, our spirit goes to be with Jesus, but that’s not the end. After receiving a resurrected body, we will return to the earth and rule and reign with Jesus for 1,000 years. Jesus promised to return, and He will land on the Mount of Olives and walk into Jerusalem through the eastern gate and set up His throne, and His kingdom and all of the nations will come and worship there, in Zion.

So without the end-times, there is no gospel. We know that Jesus told His disciples no one knows the hour of His return except the Father, but He told us what season and what signs to look for. He also told us which ones are just the birth pangs. He gave many parables explaining how some would be ready and some would not. He sent the Holy Spirit to prepare us as well as to comfort and teach us.

We have been given the greatest gift we could ever receive: That God would come and live inside of us and prepare us for the most significant moment in the History of the world. That is when Jesus returns and judges the whole earth and establishes righteousness.

Be careful and examine the scriptures like a good Berean and follow the teachings of Jesus and be ready for His return! That is not fake news.

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Being Continuously Comforted In These Difficult Times

Truly the days we are living in are tumultuous ones. Everywhere we look, there is more opportunity than ever to want to withdraw and disengage from the world around us. Lawlessness, disease, political turmoil, natural disasters, pestilence, and the ongoing enigma associated with the pandemic known as COVID-19 continue to cause us increasing discomfort. The uproar continues as new variants form, and the debate to vaccinate continues.

There is enough misinformation without Christians camping out on their favorite Bible topics and beating each other up if you dare disagree. I am not talking about the non-negotiables such as the trinity or Godhead, Jesus-birth, death and resurrection, and His return to establish His kingdom. Original sin, Holy Spirit- gifts and fruits, baptism and Communion are also what I term non-negotiables. All followers of Christ must adhere to certain beliefs.

We may differ on the timing of specific end-time prophecies, worship styles, or how a local congregation is governed. Still, we agree on these ‘non-negotiables.’ So many focus on the bad, such as lawlessness and the rise of the Babylonian system, the one-world government, that they forget to focus on Jesus.

Comfort, Comfort My People

When John the Baptist came preaching, he declared the Kingdom of God. We seem to remember the fact that he called for repentance and changing of our minds and lifestyles. We see the Elijah aspect, and we tend to gravitate towards the negative. But John’s ministry is a ministry of comfort.

John 3:29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this Joy of mine is complete.” (MEV)

John was satisfied because the one whom He was waiting for was present, and He could now diminish. His work would be slowing down, and he was making room for the one he had been telling others about. Thus, John was comforted, and he offered comfort to those he ministered to. His joy was full, and he was complete and satisfied. As the days grow darker, we must carry joy wherever we go. How can we declare the kingdom and its king and His return if we are not full of His joy?

John understood his role and was full of joy because he stood intimately in the presence of the bridegroom, spiritually and physically. None of us have actually stood in the presence of Jesus unless we visited heaven, physically or He showed up physically. I have heard His voice, and I talk to Him, and I know He hears me. That alone is satisfying.

I hear all of the bad news, the politics, the vaccine discussions, murder, abortion, death, and all sorts of worldly stuff, and I keep myself in check through prayer, worship, and the Word. I am delighted when I am in His presence and His Word. That is the key to remaining at peace in these troublesome times.

The Promise of Tribulation

Jesus spoke a lot about suffering, trials, troubles, hardships, and even persecution to His disciples. Paul tells us not to let these things separate us from God’s love in Romans 8:35-39. Jesus has overcome the world according to John 16:33. That is enough to give us joy every day. We should wake up rejoicing and go to bed praising Him.

I am not there yet, but as we move along in our walk, we should learn to make rejoicing a lifestyle. Our security is in Jesus, His promises, His presence, and the victory He has already afforded us. If we believe that He died and arose and He has a place in His kingdom for us, then we must believe His promise to return and set up His kingdom and we will rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years and for eternity.

Rejoicing in suffering is difficult, especially when we are going through it. It seems like I have had a long string of trials. I never know how He will come through or what the end of that season will look like. My job is to rejoice and trust Him. That is how we turn it over to Him.

Comfort Comfort

Isaiah 40 begins with those two words: comfort, comfort. We should be comforting the world around us instead of joining in the discomfort that the world seems to offer up continuously. The rest of the verse says to tell Jerusalem that her warfare has ended. Wow! We are supposed to be pointing Israel and the nations to Jesus, but we seem to be engaged with the warfare.

Warfare can be physical and spiritual. For Jerusalem, it is both, and it is some of the hardest I have ever endured. The spiritual battleground around Jerusalem is so intense because that is the number one battleground on the earth. It is the spot where Jesus will return and set up His kingdom.

That is what comforts me. Knowing that He will rule and reign from that spot, and the enemy’s time is coming to an end. That is our blessed hope. That is such a liberating thought. We have the assurance that not only has He overcome the world, but He will physically return, and we will rule with Him.

In The Meantime

As the world grows darker, we, the body of Christ, must continue to rejoice and be the light in the darkness. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, and we welcome Him in every situation we go through, and in all of the turmoil in the world. It is truly the Father’s pleasure to see us rejoicing as we anticipate the return of the King to Zion.

We must recognize the events of this world as the enemy making His greatest stand to try and prevent the return of the King. If He can keep us from being comforted or walking in victory, then He is winning. He will do anything to pull us down, including deception, fear, anxiety, and persecution. No matter what comes our way, be comforted and rejoice.

When Jesus said, ‘those that mourn will be comforted,’ another way to look at it is the lovesick for His return shall be comforted. We will fully be comforted when we see Him, but for now, let the Holy Spirit fill you with peace, comfort, and joy.

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Living A Lifestyle Of Repentance

Growing up I was exposed to the words repent and repentance all of the time. I had this mental picture of someone always bowing before Jesus and never being able to do anything else. But the only time I heard anything about repentance was at church, so I thought that was just something we did on Sundays.

Today, we hardly hear any preachers or teachers talk about repentance and the good that goes with it. While it is wonderful to hear how much Jesus loves and enjoys us, we could experience more of that love by letting go of more and more of the junk in our lives that hinders us from going deeper into the things of God.

Many are now teaching a hyper-grace that says Jesus paid it all and you just come and accept what He did and that’s the end of it. Then there is the legalistic view that I grew up with where you come to Jesus, repent, and do some works like evangelism, ushering, feeding the poor, etc. Those things are needed but we should do it because we love Jesus.

Repentance That leads To Fruit

As John the Baptist comes on the scene we find him preaching ‘repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.’ In other words, since the Kingdom is near and the Messiah is near, at hand, the way to gain entrance is through repentance.

Later, he told the Pharisees to bear fruit that foes with a life of repentance.

They were the teachers of the Torah and the ones charged with instructing the people, but they had strayed away from the intent of the law and were bearing religious activities instead of fruit worthy of the kingdom of God.

As Christ-followers we are called to live a life worthy of the King. We represent Jesus everywhere we go. We encounter the stuff of the world daily so we need to come out of agreement with those things. Also, when we are saved, or enter the kingdom of God, we repent but our minds must continually be renewed.

In other words, we have to take every thought captive and pull down strongholds. When we don’t take thoughts captive we allow them to take hold in our spirit. Instead of thinking kingdom-minded, we think our thought or worldly thoughts. Regardless we must daily come out of agreement with old thoughts, old life choices, and past hurts, wounds, and where we have let our emotions rule our actions.

That is the power of repentance and as we move into maturity as kingdom-minded people we should be bearing fruit that reflects a life of repentance. What we did twenty years ago we should not be doing, and we shouldn’t let things affect us the same. Daily we are to come out of agreement or change our mind regarding choices, actions, and words.

New Creation

Since we are a new creation, then we should act like it. New creatures aren’t the same. So why do we not act and look like new creations to the world? The Holy Spirit is the one that convicts us of sin and helps us to come out of agreement and enter into agreement with the ways of God.

As new creations, we are like a snake shedding its skin on a daily basis. Or we are peeling our onion layers back daily. We enter the kingdom with a lot of baggage and ten or twenty years later we are still holding on to our favorite ones.

Christ died for our freedom and He is worthy of us letting go of all of our hurts, wounds, traditions, lusts, addictions, pride, jealousy, and rebellion. When we give Him those strongholds they are placed under the blood and then He puts up a no fishing sign. The enemy tries to get us or our family and friends to go fishing and bring it back again.

Deliverance and inner healing are really repentance and coming out of agreement with things like anger, wounds from rejection, and all of the other junk. Repentance is a good thing. We need repentance so that we can recognize how much He loves us and enjoys us. He wants to fellowship with us and we need more of Him.

Repentance, inner healing, and forgiving those that have wounded and hurt us opens the path for more of Him and to go deeper in His love.

Do you want to experience more of Jesus’ love and power? Do you want revival in your home, family, or church? Then live a life of daily repentance. But I caution you not to keep reminding God of the same thing day after day. If you repented of being rude at Walmart yesterday then that was the end of it.

So we need a healthy view of repentance. It is necessary, but it is not works. We need to repent of previously unconfessed or unrepented sins.

That is when repentance becomes burdensome. Like everything else in the Kingdom of God, we need balance. We need to live a repentant lifestyle birthed from a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and not just going through the motions. When it is truly led by the Spirit of God we will experience more of Him, more freedom, and we will bear fruit of repentance.

That is true freedom in Christ. Enjoy life in the Kingdom!!

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Freedom From Depression/Heaviness

Preparing For Zion

Part I

Freedom from Depression and the Spirit of Heaviness

I am consistently refining and redefining how I approach my message and how I achieve fulfilling my assignment in helping to prepare the way for the ‘Return of the King.’ I will continue to delve into the valleys, mountains, stones in the road, and crooked places so that we will each be prepared for the return of the king, Jesus. Jesus will return to Zion after he stands on the Mount of Olives. He will establish his one thousand years of peace and rule where all nations will worship Him in Zion, Jerusalem.

The issues we encounter today will not be part of that lifestyle. There will be many born in that age, but those of us who follow Jesus now will be in our glorified body. It is that transition period where Heaven will soon be on earth entirely. Therefore I will continue to explore the valleys, and this blog deals with depression and heaviness.

Depression and Heaviness Defined

First of all, let me define depression. Depression can be defined as a mood disorder that is defined by sadness and loss of interest. Depression keeps you alienated, isolated, and often confined to bed. Medical news today defines it as sadness, a feeling of being down, and loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities. Persistence of these moods and identifying with them leads to long-term depression, and we get to the point that we feel heavy all of the time.

Depression is real, and if we do not deal with it early on, it takes root and becomes a significant stronghold. It is often associated with rejection, fear, insecurity and can lead to anger, paranoia, and rebellion. There is a real medical disorder with a chemical imbalance, but that is less common than we think.

Most people today find prescribed or other medicinal agents to help overcome. I am not against these as they have a place, but we often do not apply the scriptures that we read in our devotions. We read it, pray, and then when something comes up, rather than believe and stand on the word, we allow heaviness and depression to overtake our minds to the point after a while, we cannot function in life as we were meant.

This article is not intent on dealing with the whole medical side, but the spiritual and emotional aspects of heaviness. When we deal with trauma, depression, fatigue, and other emotions will generally arise. However, we must not let traumatic events rule our lives. Christ has already given us victory over every valley and mountain so that we can enjoy a kingdom lifestyle now.

I can truly address this disorder as I have faced many days, weeks, months, and years where I succumbed to depression and heaviness. I can speak with sympathy, empathy, and as one who knows that you cannot tolerate or play mildly with these mindsets. I have often identified with the prophets, David or even Job, as each one of these went through various stages of depression, heaviness, rejection, and experienced victory over these areas through the Word of God.

The Prophets, and a King and Depression

Elijah and Jeremiah are two of my favorite characters in the Bible. Perhaps because I have studied them a lot and can identify with some of their issues, I feel like an expert sort of. We are familiar with Elijah’s run from Jezebel to the cave where he hid and came calling, asking, why are You Here? He answered that ‘he alone was left of the prophets and those that did not bow to Baal.’

Then there is Jeremiah, who often asked, “why does the way of the wicked prosper?” In Jeremiah 15, he explains to God that he did what he asked him to do. All he got was persecution and ‘pain.’ I have often thought that his incurable pain was physical. Still, as I studied his life, I see rounds of depression, self-pity, and just feeling sorry for himself, feeling that God was not trustworthy.

God explains to Jeremiah that he needs to repent and find the good in everyone, and by repenting of feeling this way, God will restore him to his place standing before him. He told Elijah that there were at least 7,000 who had not bowed the knee, and God wasn’t through with him. Both of these men continued to minister and be God’s spokesmen. Much of Jeremiah’s sadness came from his lament over the coming destruction of Jerusalem and later what he saw as a lonely city. He gives us five chapters outlining this sad event as the city of the Lord lies in ruins in the Book of Lamentations. In Hebrew, it is actually the book of How? Meaning How did it come to this?

Then there is King David, who spent many years running from Saul as he had been anointed the true king, chosen by God. Later, David has one of his lowest moments at Ziklag. David and his men return home in the town of Ziklag only to find their women and children had been captured by the Amalekites. Now his men want to stone him. His Philistine ally, Achish, had to send him home since the other Lords Philistine refused to let him fight with them.

Now David is devastated. He lost his own family, and his men have turned on him. 1 Sam. 30:6 gives us the answer for all of our Ziklag moments and other traumas.

“And David strengthened himself in the Lord.”

David also had a traumatic moment when his son performed a coup and took his throne. Later, Absalom is slain, and David must mourn. He also mourned the loss of the child conceived from his lustful moment with Bathsheba. For a good study on David’s emotions during these times, read Psalm 18 and find how he trusted God and rest, peace, and joy in God.

The Garment of Praise

The Bible is filled with other stories where people faced difficult seasons and how they found their way to breakthrough, victory, and an overcoming lifestyle. Psalm 54:7 says that “the Lord has delivered me out of all of my troubles.”

Psalm 55:22 “cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.”

The Lord and drawing strength from Him enables us to press through to the next day and the next level.

Isaiah 61 is the chapter Jesus read from in the synagogue where he speaks of Himself as the one fulfilling the acceptable year of the Lord, setting the captives free. In verse three, we read, “to those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. (KJV)

We are supposed to be like oaks, trees planted by the Lord that will not wither in the heat. Depression and heaviness are the enemy’s heat that he sends to cause us to wither and die. Receive the garment of Praise today and walk in a life of continual praise, even when adverse events are occurring all around us.

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Introducing The Friend Of The Bridegroom

A Well and A Wedding

John 3:29 “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.”

John The Baptist: A Friend of The Bridegroom

In the above verse, the author of John’s gospel, John the apostle, is writing about John the Baptist and his role as the forerunner of Jesus. John came preaching repentance, and he quoted Isaiah 40:3-4 when mentioned that he was ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness.’ This was John’s answer to his disciples explaining why he didn’t try to stop Jesus from baptizing.

John the Baptizer, as the name should be correctly translated, explained his role was to get people ready for Jesus’ arrival on the scene. He used the analogy of members of a wedding party for several reasons. First, weddings were a joyous occasion in the Jewish culture then. Weddings are still an incredibly festive time among Jews today.

John also used this analogy because he understood his role in introducing the groom to the bride. Jesus is the groom, and his bride is the righteous from the Old Covenant and those born of the Spirit in the New Covenant. The forerunner is the one who went ahead of the groom to go and prepare the bride or make sure that she was ready.

The forerunner, or friend of the bridegroom was supposed to go through the streets shining lamps, and at some point, he would sound the shofar, or ram’s horn, announcing the coming of the groom. The friend of the bridegroom was a long tradition going back to the days of Abraham. It was a message that the Essenes, of whom John was affiliated, knew quite well, and some Essenes spent most of their time fasting and praying in this vein.

A Bride And A Well

Genesis chapter 24 outlines the story where Abraham gets a bride for his son Isaac. It is a very typical story where marriages are arranged in Middle eastern fashion. But it is also a story for us to apply as we anticipate the return of Jesus.

Abraham sends his head servant, Eleazar of Damascus to seek a bride in a far away country. Instructions and gifts are provided to Eleazar so that when he arrives at the place he will know what to do. Isaac is back with Abraham and never sees his future bride until she arrives with Eleazar.

When Eleazar arrives he finds Rebekah at a spring, or well where many young women were gathering water in their jars. Eleazar prays for favor and for the right young lady that God would have to be the bride of his master’s son to offer water for him and his camels.

Before the servant could finish his prayer, Rebekah arrives with her jar on her shoulder. Her father was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor. His name was Bethuel and Rebekah was very beautiful and still a vigin. When Eleazar saw her he ran to her and asked for water from her jar, and she obliged him.As the story goes Eleazar finds favor and Rebekah is given permission to return with him and become Isaac’s bride. He gave many precious gifts to Rebekah and her family. She returns with Eleazar after they blessed her saying, “ May you, our sister, become the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them.” Genesis 24:60 MEV

Upon arrival Isaac sees Rebekah and she sees him and they are both immediately in love, and Isaac takes her into Sarah’s tent and she becomes his bride, and the mother of many , many thousands and millions of peoples. The story has many symbols that we can easily overlook. Eleazar is the servant, but he represents the Holy Spirit seeking a bride for his master and his son. The master is God the Father, Isaac is Jesus and Rebekah is the church, the bride of Christ.

Jesus Seeks A Bride At A Well

Jesus spoke of weddings and made many comparisons to His ministry and His return to a wedding and wedding feast. He performed His first recorded miracle at a wedding feast in Cana. You see God has been looking for a bride for His Son for eternity. The prophet Jeremiah told the Children of Israel when they were preparing to be removed into exile that the voice of the Bridegroom, the voice of the Bride, and the voice of those who rejoice in the Lord would return to the land. (see Jeremiah 33:11)

Weddings were so important in that culture that Jeremiah spent a lot of time prophesying that the voice of a wedding feast would not be heard. How sad. No wonder he lamented, and later wrote How? How did it come to this? God had married and consummated the marriage in the tabernacle in the wilderness and now Israel has become a harlot.

When Jesus arrives on the scene, John is not only preparing the way for Jesus as Messiah but as the Bridegroom of the Righteous to become the bride of the lamb. Jesus gave us an example of His intent to include the nations in this bride to be when He went out of His way to go to Samaria. We make so much out of this story, but we always miss what Jesus was trying to tell us.

Jesus did come to the lost sheep of Israel first but their role was to be a light to the nations and that would be fulfilled when He sent out the twelve. So Samaria is the last place a righteous Jewish rabbi from Galillee would be found, unless He is making a statement.

He goes to a well. Why? Was he looking for water? He said He was the living water. Was He looking for a bride? Yes, but not the literal woman, but all of the Samaritans, certainly all nations, not just Israel.

Jesus went to a well looking for a bride amiong the nations. (see John 4)

The Holy Spirit: Friend of The Bridegroom

We like to put ourselves in the context as forerunners like John the Baptizer as preparing for the return of Christ. There are special voices that God has raised up to be just that. Also, every believer and disciple of Christ is a forerunner in some way.

We are not only the bride but we assume the role of ‘friend of the bridegroom’ when we introduce others to Jesus. But the real friend of the bridegroom, the one doing all the work is The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is looking all over the earth for people to come into agreement with their destiny as the bride of Christ. Not only do we enter as citizens of the kingdom but we will marry the lamb. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring us gifts and prepare us for the wedding.

Sure, He uses people like us to prepare the church. Others help us to get ready. We help each other, but it is Holy Spirit’s job to prepare us and then He will tell the Father that the bride is ready and the Son will come get her.

In Revelation 22:17 ‘the Spirit and the bride say come. Let him who hears say ‘come.’ Let him who is thirsty come. Let him who desires take the water of life freely.’ MEV

Notice that the Spirit and bride are inviting others to the well, or river of life. Wells and weddings are what it is all about in the Kingdom of God. Join me with the real friend of the bridegroom and say come quickly Lord Jesus and come all you who are thirsty.

Revelation 19:7 tells us that the Bride has made herself ready! That is only accomplished by and through the work of the Holy Spirit. So let us allow the Holy Spirit to make us ready!!!!!

Thanks to Jill Austin and her book Dancing with Destiny :Awaken Your Heart To Dream To Love To War, for the revelation of the Holy Spirit as the Friend of the Bridegroom.

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Five Signs You May Be Dealing With A Mammon Spirit

Jesus talked a lot about provision, money, wealth, and its effect on the kingdom lifestyle. He talked about putting God first and storing up treasure in heaven. He also talked a lot about serving and helping others from a love relationship with Him and the Father. When it came to dealing with storing up earthly riches, Jesus talked about a spirit called Mammon.

Matthew 6:24 “no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” NASB

What Is Mammon?

The Greek word mamonas is translated as wealth, riches, possessions, or property. Having land, houses, cars, and other possessions are by no means bad. It takes those things to live. But the question is ‘do they own you or do you won them?’ Does money work for you, or do you work for money? In other words, it is true what the scripture says ‘the love of money is the root of all evil,’ 1 Timothy 6:10

I am not here to judge or tear anyone down but rather to help you take a look at your heart and examine it as I have and allow the Holy Spirit to bring freedom in the way you handle money and finances. Everything we have belongs to God, and we are just stewards. However, if we get into debt or can’t pay bills or buy food, etc., we tend to stress and worry. This is not healthy, nor is it part of God’s plan.

Matthew 6: 26 “ Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Birds, Birds and More Birds

I’ve noticed since spring an abundance of birds on and around the property where we are located. I have watched them, and they get closer and closer to where we sit outside. There is a barbed wire near that area, and they come and sit and watch us and sing. Most recently, I have seen a goldfinch land and perch there. Most people WhenSuch a beautiful creature and a reminder that God orders their steps. Then there are sparrows, wrens, chickadees, crows, cardinals, blackbirds, bluebirds, larks, robins, and geese. The geese stop off in the field and, without fear, eat and lay and move about until they are done, and the leader honks and they follow in perfect formation.

Not only are these birds taken care of by our Father in heaven, but they seem to know that they are safe around here. Even the geese know when to stop and leave. I have also seen a few doves, and they are marvelous birds. Every bird has a function, purpose and is part of God’s plan. Don’t you think he has a role, purpose, and plan for you and me?

Whatever stage you are at on the journey in the kingdom, we must always consider how we handle money and ‘riches’. This reflects how we view God and His kingdom. We are so accustomed to borrowing money for nearly everything around us. Amazon, Target, and all major retailers each offer their own credit card or line of credit. At some point, we have to quit being the slave to debt and be free as we were meant to be with the resources God has provided us.

I have five things that signal you may be under the influence of the spirit we call mammon (mamonas) or riches.

Worry And Anxiety Over Money

Concern is not the same as worry, but it can lead to it when we obsess over money and constantly figure out ways to make more money. That leads to stress, anxiety, insomnia, and a whole host of psychological and physical problems. When this happens, then you are working for money, and not the other way around. In addition, a lack of trust in God’s provision leads to anxiety.

Money Mismanagement

I know people, and I have been one myself, who never have money because they simply cannot handle or manage money well. They make good money, but they are always broke. They don’t tithe or give into the kingdom, they never save or invest, and they spend beyond their means. This leads to worry and other problems.

Impulse Buying

Have you ever went shopping and walked into the store, and before you found the first item on your list, your cart was half full of stuff you don’t need? Are you one that watches infomercials and purchases the latest fashion or nifty, trending items? Those impulse buying habits will keep you broke, and with a lot of stuff, you have no use for and probably never will.

Greed

You probably want to skip past this, thinking that it only applies to the super-rich when it can apply to anyone, especially the super poor. Greed is like cancer that is never satisfied. I have seen poor people go to a thrift store or even ministries that offer free items, and they just can’t be satisfied with a few items. Often, they are worse than those loaded with many.

Greedy people have a thirst and hunger for money and possessions that cannot be quenched. Shopping addictions are also a form of this monster.

Bondage of Debt

I have already mentioned that the Bible says that the borrower is the slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7. But also, the Bible tells us that the wicked borrow and do not pay back. Psalm 37:21 Nasb. So many people have a mortgage, two car notes, and credit card debt.

Most people, when they do borrow, can’t seem to help themselves and get too much house and too expensive a car for their income. So they don’t plan ahead. So, yes, God is our provider, but he gives us wisdom also. He is not a genie in a bottle or a vending machine.

When we come into the Kingdom of God, we work for Him. He owns everything, and we are stewards. He provides for us as he sees first. Money is just one means to obtain goods and services we need to live. The job is not the only way in which God provides. Kingdom-minded people must learn to live a kingdom lifestyle and not be controlled by riches or wealth. Jesus told us to lay up treasure in heaven.

One final thought: God is all about multiplication, but He likes to use what we have. Elisha used a widow’s oil to help her get her miracle. It multiplied, and she sold it to pay her debts. Have you set money aside that God can multiply?

If you identify with any one of these areas, then come out of agreement and come into God’s plan for provision and let your money work for you.

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Ten Characteristics of A Religious Spirit

The term religious spirit or spirit of religion is not mentioned by name as such in the Bible, but the evidence is everywhere, especially in the Gospels. Daily our thoughts become a battlefield where we must take captive every thought, putting it at the cross and taking up the mind of Christ. Unfortunately, however, we often yield to thoughts that are being guided by demonic influences.

Through time these thoughts take root and become strongholds and influence or control us. That is how it is with the ‘spirit of religion.’ Jesus encountered it when he confronted the Pharisees or religious leaders of the day. There was no Biblical mandate for a Sanhedrin or any similar religious group. This evolved after the exiles returned and rebuilt the temple.

Since there was no ark of the covenant in the second temple because it was hidden before the destruction, there was nowhere to bring the sacrifice, no mercy seat, and thus the priestly function was altered. In response to the need for instruction, the schools of the prophets gradually evolved into what we see present when Jesus arrives on the scene. They had taken ten commandments and built a system of dos and don’ts of 613 in number.

No wonder he spent so much time dealing with this spirit. They had lost the heart or true meaning of the matters. They had become dull, full of tradition and man’s ways, and had no relationship or understanding of what the Torah was really there for. The word Torah should be translated instruction, but we have lost that understanding.

Today the same spirit exists in our world. Religion can be a good thing, and according to James’ epistle, it is a heart matter where we serve those in need. Whether it shows up corporately or individually, we have all been subjected to the snares of this unclean spirit at one time or another. Below I give ten characteristics that anyone can identify with. This is only a sampling.

1-Leave The Command of God For Man’s Traditions

Mark 7:8 ‘You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.’ ESV other translations say you have left the commandments of God and hold onto man’s traditions.

I remember growing up as a Pastor’s son, and my dad would ask his flock why they did something a certain way and the reply was, “ we’ve always done it that way.”

If we are doing something, we need to know why and it should be from God. If it is no longer working, we need to let the Holy Spirit lead us to fresh streams.

2-Teach Doctrines AS Commands

Many of the things that are taught and practiced are commands from God through His Word. However, there are some things we call doctrines that are not commands of God. Telling someone that Salvation requires works or putting needless conditions on how to mature in discipleship are examples.

3-Hypocritical

Often someone can say something, but in practice, they do the opposite. For example, they say they are a prayer warrior or intercessor but never show up for a scheduled prayer meeting. Perhaps they say they love helping the homeless but never participate in any way.

4-Critical Spirit

A person operating in a critical spirit often is being controlled by a religious spirit. They never find the good in anything, and they always criticize the sermon, the music, the lights, and everything else. They can never find a good word about a person or situation.

5-Jealousy

Jealousy and envy are strong spirits in their own right, but they often come in with a religious spirit. A church or person operating with religion often is jealous of everyone and everything around them. They compete and desire position and recognition and will step on whoever they have to to get it.

6-Pride

Again, this is a major spirit affecting so many in the body of Christ. The Pharisees had a lot of pride due to their status. Many in the body of Christ are afraid of losing a position when a new move of God comes. As a result, many get comfortable and are unwilling to change because pride has helped them maintain a position, one that often was not where they were supposed to be in the first place.

7-Rejecting God To Establish Your Own Traditions

We often do what God says, and through time, we just keep doing it because it feels good. God has moved on, and we are unaware of it. I have been part of some major moves of God where this happened, and once the leaders realized and decided to move with God, it was too late. We need fresh streams to keep His work fresh and alive.

8- Always Looking Back At The Past

If we are always admiring what God did twenty years ago, we will never see what He is doing now! Looking back helps us learn and grow, but we should never camp out on past moves of God.

9- Accuse Those Who Do Not Follow You

We want everyone to like us and like what we teach. When we get a fresh revelation, and people don’t think it is as great as we did, we get offended and offer labels to them like Jezebel or deceived. We should always speak the truth and let the Holy Spirit handle the results.

10- Glory In Anything But The Finished Work Of The Cross

A religious spirit will always steer the focus away from Jesus and the finished work of the cross. That is the last thing Satan wants us to focus on.

Satan always offers a counterfeit to what God says and does. That is His goal. He doesn’t care if you go to church, pray, feed the poor, or read your Bible; he just doesn’t want you to fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Come out of agreement with a religious Spirit and stronghold like pride, jealousy, accusation, and come back to the Word. Repent and return to your loving Father’s arms.

Get ready for the New that God is bringing. You will never accept what God is doing if you and I remain under the guise of religion, always watching and criticizing.

Scripture references: Mark 7: 1-14; Matthew 15:3, Matthew 15:12.

Some material adapted from Peter Wagner’s Book ‘Freedom From The Religious Spirit”, Chosen books, available on Amazon. See Chapters 3,4 and 5.

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Understanding The Mark of The Beast

A Jewish and First-Century Context


I hesitate to even write on the Mark of the Beast with all of the carrying on about the COVID-19 vaccine. Yet, I feel that I must do so now as there is so much out there that is simply error, lack of understanding, ignorance, or just plain untruth. We need to take a look at the context of the book of Revelation and particularly chapter thirteen.

The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John on the island of Patmos, where he was living in exile. Jesus appeared to Him and told him to write what he saw. Jesus tells us plainly in the opening verses that the Book of Revelation that it is a revelation or revealing of Him. Yes, there may be strange creatures, a lamb with seven heads: slain, Beasts, plagues, bowls of judgment, horses released, a city compared to a bride, and many unusual things, but this book is all about Jesus.

With that in mind, remember it was written near the end of the first century where the Roman empire was already persecuting and killing Christians in large numbers. It helps to understand the context of something and why and when it was written. Since Revelation is prophetic, it is often misunderstood. You have to put it with the other one hundred and forty or so chapters about the End-times to get an understanding.

Marks Mean Property

Marking the body is an ancient technique used to identify personal property, such as a slave or a brand on cattle. In addition, the Amalekites used to mark their bodies to show their dedication to their gods. Women who were involved in prostitution or who were sex slaves also had marks to identify them as such. Marking the body, whether through piercing, tattooing, or scarring the flesh were used in every society throughout history.

The Native Americans marked their bodies for war, religious ceremonies, and other special needs. Likewise, African slaves were marked in various manners, often to identify who they belonged to. Hitler had numbers marked on the bodies of Jewish people during WWII. Today we find gangs have a unique mark, often a tattoo that means they belong to a particular gang.

Every one of these serves to demonstrate that the recipient of the mark was someone’s property or a devotee to a religious cult, tribe, gang, or other similar groups. Regardless of the purpose or the recipient, there was always someone on the other end of the mark, whether enemies, a slave master, a pimp, gang leader, cult or other religious leaders or even an organization. Even in modern warfare, armed service members often get a tattoo as an identifying mark, sort of a rite of passage.

Binding The Law On Their Bodies

Deuteronomy 6:4-8 “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”

You may recognize verse four as the Shema that every Hebrew child can recite at an early age signaling their recognition of the one true God, YHVH. Then we find the greatest commandment, loving God with all of our being. The Jews were told repeatedly to teach their children the statutes, laws, ordinances, and commands of God. Moses went further to say to them to bind them to their bodies but notice where.

The first place was between the eyes, near the seat of thought, memory, and where learning is located, the head. Between the eyes indicates that they were to meditate on it day and night. The second place was the ‘hand.’ The original Hebrew just said hand. We use the hands to work and perform duties such as writing down God’s Holy Word.

Today you can find religious Jews wearing a tallit and the phylacteries as they are known on their forehead and left hand. No one knows why the left hand is used, but that has been the case for three thousand years. The wearing of the phylacteries or symbols of the law is an outward symbol of their devotion to YHVH, Adonai, or God and His laws, statutes, and ordinances. They are making a statement saying that they belong to God and He is near through His Word.

The Sealed of God

Revelation chapter seven lists those sealed in their foreheads as 144,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. In chapter nine, we see the angels being told to only harm those not sealed with God’s seal in their forehead. We see this introduced at the beginning of chapter seven.

We see in the latter half of chapter seven those who came off victorious from the Great Tribulation from every tribe standing around the throne and worshipping the Lamb of God. So now we have those with God’s seal in their foreheads and those tribulation martyred saints worshipping around the throne of God. The Bible also speaks about another seal, and that is the Holy Spirit. When we first come to believe, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13 ESV)

Other verses that speak of the Holy Spirit as a seal for believers include 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 4:30, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Revelation 22:4, which says they will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads.

Worship of The AntiChrist: His Mark His Property

I will not belabor this work by reciting Revelation chapter thirteen. You can read it, and you need to after this. I just want to focus on a few key ingredients. First, the Beast has a mark that he requires everyone to have to buy and other essential goods and services. Without it, you go hungry. Second, this Beast is part of the AntiChrist unholy trinity with the false prophet as the third member.

To tie it all together, we saw that the Jews had a ‘mark’ or bound the law to the left hand and the forehead, the saints of God are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and the Jewish witnesses are sealed in their forehead. This sealing indicates we belong to the one true God and that we have pledged to worship Him alone and no other ‘god,’ not even a Beast with a number of a man.

Thus the AntiChrist will seek to lure people of every status into making an eternal pact with a bowl of lentils like Esau and Jacob. But this is not about a blessing, but one’s eternal soul. Therefore, by taking this mark, you cannot be sealed by God, and you have decided who you want to serve.

One Final Key From Daniel’s Friends

There have been many ‘Anti-Christ’ figures throughout history, and each one demanded worship of all of those with whom they held influence. The book of Daniel highlights one of the famous empire builders who ruled over many nations. His name was Nebuchadnezzar, and he built a statue demanding that when the people heard the music, they should bow to the statue and worship.

Daniel’s three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, as they were called in Hebrew, refused to bow to the statue when the music played. You know the story of how they were thrown in a fiery furnace, and Jesus appeared and walked among them. They came out unscathed by the fire and smoke because they were obedient and served God first.

The lesson is that the AntiChrist, Beast, and false prophet will demand worship of every tribe, tongue, nation, people, and language on the earth. They will require them to be marked, so they know who is devoted to them. Those who refuse to face a death sentence where they will either starve, suffer, be tormented, or ultimately martyred.

I think that makes it pretty clear. You will be sealed and marked by God or the Antichrist ruler and his Babylonian system. Where do you stand? Will you bow and worship the statue? Will you sell out to Satan and his kingdom? That is what it is all about, not a vaccine, or chip. These are just means to an end. A dry run to see what they can get away with.

The kingdoms of this world will fall, but before they do they will make one last effort to rule and take as many to hell with them! Who’s mark or seal do you have?

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Pruning Season In The Kingdom of God

https://www.tiktok.com/@jlfloyd103/video/6985511443726667013?lang=en&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6981029436221933061

Follow the above link for a short video on this subject.

I’ve been talking a lot about dealing with baggage, hurts, wounds, and stuff that holds us back in our Kingdom walk. I have discussed how we need to be zealous to get rid of those things in our lives that hinder us from walking in full fellowship with God. Still, sometimes there is a time where Jesus takes care of stuff for us.

I am talking about pruning season where the Master gardener comes and cuts out the dead, useless, and often times worthless branches. We think we are ok and we are doing things that please the Father, and we may be bearing some fruit but to the world, they see a half-dead tree. If we are truly abiding in him then every branch will bear fruit.

Abiding is Pruning

John 15:2, “every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and

every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Verse 4 “Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

The meaning of truly abiding in Christ is often misunderstood, but it is simple to understand. Abide means to remain stable, fixed, wait patiently and accept without objection. Jesus uses the illustration of a vine. He calls Himself the master gardener, vinedresser, and pruner.

If you have never grown grapes, scuppernongs, or muscadines, then this illustration may not be familiar. However, even if you have done any gardening, whether flowers, fruit trees, berries, or vegetables, you know the principle still applies.

I used to help my grandmother with her vines. Every year after the fruit was picked and gone, we had to determine which branches needed pruning. You see, we are the branches, and Jesus is the vine. He is the one the supplies the sap to the branches. The branches are nothing without Him.

That pretty much illustrates abiding. The branches yield to the vine and are unable to grow or produce fruit without the vine.

The branches grow and sometimes they just produce green leaves and no fruit. When a branch continues to bear no fruit, it is worthless from producing grapes or fruit. It needs to be cut back so new life will stream forth, and it can produce fruit and not just leaves. Knowing where to make the proper cut to prune is vital. Cut too short, and it may do no more than just produce two worthless branches. Cut too close to the vine, and it may trigger the branch to wither and die.

So you see, while abiding means life, pruning is a part of abiding and means hope to bear fruit again. Who wants just to produce leaves and look good. Yet, that is how we often do in the kingdom of God, we do a lot of things, but they really bear no fruit for the kingdom.

It’s Our Turn

It’s time to examine our lives and everything that we do. Is it bearing fruit, or is it making us feel good and look good? Why do we do what we do anyway? What is our motive? Maybe we are doing exactly what He told us, but it has become mundane and void of life.

There are many reasons why we stop producing fruit in any given area. If we are not in a state of continuous worship, prayer, and daily in the Word, we loosen the vine’s flow, and we are unable to receive. Perhaps we have grown into a big branch, looking like a superstar, and we just need to be cur back. Whatever the case, let Jesus highlight those things in your life today and allow Him to make the cuts. If we do it ourselves, we will surely make a mess.

After all, He is the vinedresser, and He knows what He is doing! Jesus, we thank you that it is pruning season, and we permit you to prune us back. WE also allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse and heal the wounds where the pruning cuts. WE choose not to be offended at you or any means by which you use to prune us.

Thank Jesus for preparing us to bear much fruit in the days ahead.

Enjoy pruning season with the Master.

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Is Critical Race Theory Just More Racism & Hate?

I have hesitated about weighing in on this issue, but it has become such a hot button, and millions of children are being exposed to this lie that I felt it was time to see what the Bible says. Critical race theory was developed in the 1970s and has recently come to the limelight due to racial tensions expanding across America.

What CRT espouses is that everybody is oppressed, and most are at one point the oppressor. Primarily it seeks to pit ‘white’ males as the ones oppressing the others. It teaches that all of the problems are due to ‘white men.’ This is sad, yet many people believe that all of the problems are the Jew’s fault.

No One Is Without Fault

Throughout history, there has been one group always seeking to dominate another. That is true for every ethnicity, including empires in Africa, Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and so on. When Western Europeans began exploring the New World, it is no secret that it came with a price to indigenous peoples and many of them became slaves, were diseased, lost their land, and were forcibly converted by missionaries. That last one has led to a black eye on the modern missions movement.

But, before the Europeans arrived, these same tribes warred against one another and did many of the same things. When slaves were rounded up in West Africa, they were done so by the hands of their own people. Still, I am not justifying what Western Europeans or any ethnic group has done. I am pointing out that, as Solomon wrote, there is nothing new under the sun.

The Mongols, Chinese, Koreans, Huns, Goths, Angles, Saxons, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and many others have conquered peoples along the annals of history. Some empires were great and friendly, while others merely sought to conquer and destroy other peoples. For example, Islam was advanced by force when it told people to submit or die.

Therefore, no one group is exempt from the problems that white people of America or Western Europe are accused of. They are just the most recent culprits. The British Empire used to be in every time zone so that the sun never set upon it. Other nation’s also colonized around the world and sought to impose their ideals and culture as the right one. Finally, missionaries tried to make western looking converts instead of contextualizing the gospel.

NO Nation Is Greater Than Another

In the scheme of things, God looks at all nations as having transgressed the covenant He established, even Israel. Israel was supposed to set the example and failed to a degree. So Jesus called His disciples to disciple the nations.

CRT tells whites that they are the bad guy, and when they admit it, there is no offer of forgiveness and hope. You are now so-called ‘woke,’ and that’s it. You have become the oppressed. That doesn’t sound like the gospel to me. Jesus only flips things against Satan and his little kingdom. He doesn’t set captives free to go put others in captivity.

I digress. We are in a spiritual battle, and that is what this is all about. I am not oppressing or being oppressed by anyone except the kingdom of darkness. I may have offended many along the way and ask forgiveness, but each one will have to put it under the blood and nail it to the cross.

Nation Vs. Nation

Jesus said that there would be an increase in nation or ethnos rising up against the other. I understand that people are angry and upset. The indigenous peoples of America have more to be upset about than any nation or people group here. They still live isolated on worthless land, for the most part. Where is the cry for justice there?

Still, the only answer is found in Jesus, but not a white or black Jesus, or a red Jesus, a Jewish Jesus sitting on the throne waiting to come and gather all nations around His throne to worship, in the New Jerusalem, that will come down where the old one is.

I am not a politician and do not claim to have the answers, but at some point, we have to forgive and bury the past and move on. We cannot move on if we keep changing oppressors or oppressed. Politics, education, and special interest groups are not the answer.

No nation should be superior to another. God’s heart for the nations was to be one, and that was lost at Babel. Since then, the nations have built empires, cities and fought one another. The original intent was for all people to spread out and fill the earth. They broke that command at Babel. Babel was a counter or false New Jerusalem or heavenly city. That city will come down, and a remnant from all nations will gather and worship together.

Why can’t we worship as many nations in one accord now? Why do we have to come up with more reasons to hate? That’s all CRT is pure hate. God is love!

Some verses regarding the nations:

Psalm 86:9 “All of the nation’s that you have created will come and worship before you, O Lord.”

Isaiah 66:18 “ For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My Glory.

Matthew 25:32. ‘All the nations shall be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Jeremiah 25: 31-32 “ a clamor has come to the end of the earth because the Lord has a controversy with the nations. He is entering into judgment with all flesh; as for the wicked, He has given them to the sword. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, “Behold, evil is going forth from nation to nation, and a great storm is being stirred up, from the remotest parts of the earth.”

If there was a storm in Jeremiah and Isaiah’s day, what do you think God is saying now? NO, nothing will go unpunished. That is why I say a remnant from every nation will gather and worship because there will be sheep nations and goat nations. It’s not my job to figure out if America is sheep or goat, but to lift up the standard.

I will end with this scene in heaven taken from Revelation 7:9-10:

“After this, I looked and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples, and languages standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the lamb.’”

There is enough hate in the world so let’s love every nation, tribe, tongue, language, people group, and ethnicity with the Love of Christ.

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The Purpose of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles

We live in a fallen world with much sickness, disease, pestilence, poverty, and many other evils. While the kingdom of Heaven may have come, it has not yet manifested fully. In heaven, none of the evils mentioned above are present, nor is there sin. Everything is in order as it should be.

All of creation was made perfect, and God said it was good. However, after sin entered this realm, things got out wack. It was no longer the good and perfect world that existed at creation. People get sick, they die, there is lack or poverty, and sin abounds. Yet, God has sent His Son Jesus to make everything right and to restore all things. In the Old Testament, there were many instances where God intervened and performed a miracle or sign amid the people.

God Performs Signs

In The Old Testament, we see that God performed many heavenly signs, such as the rainbow, which is a covenantal sign, and when He caused the sun to stand still in the book of Joshua. Later, we see Him giving dreams to men like Joseph as a sign of things to come. Finally, when He allowed the ark to be captured by the Philistines, it was a sign to Israel of their idolatry and His power and later to the Philistines as their ‘god’ fell and worshipped YHWH. Many might consider this a wonder.

We see the star of Bethlehem as another sign in the heavens placed by God. Other signs mentioned were the sign of a virgin conceiving. While this is a miracle in itself, it was called a sign since it pointed to something, in this case, the birth of Jesus. Isaiah had told King Ahaz to ask for a sign about the two enemy kings and what would happen to the Northern Kingdom. He wouldn’t, protesting that he would not test the Lord, but the Lord gave the sign anyway.

When Elijah held the contest at Carmel, the sign was fire consuming the altar. This sign demonstrated which God was the real God. In the above examples, God sent signs as a reminder of who He was and to point to the time when He would come as a man. These all pointed to the fact that He was the one true God and that He was in covenant with His people.

Miracles Through People

Elijah and Elisha are different than all of the other prophets in one unique way. They are known as ‘sign prophets.’ While the others talked about signs and wonders and what God would do, Elijah and Elisha performed many miracles and signs and wonders. But, of course, God was working through them. John the Baptist was named the greatest of all prophets, yet he never performed any miracles. The words spoken by the prophets are the words of God and were given to bring the people back in line with the covenant and law. They were there as God’s mouthpieces to see justice and righteousness go forth.

Elijah raised a widow’s son from the dead, and God filled her jars with oil so she could pay her debts by the word of Elijah. He shut up the heavens so that it did not rain until he said it would. His ascension into heaven was itself a sign and wonder to those watching and later to all who heard about it.

Elisha asked for his inheritance as the senior prophet in training and received this double portion. Then we see Elisha perform crazy miracles like throwing flour in a deadly stew to make it edible and throwing a stick in the water to make an axehead float. Elisha could see the enemy’s plans and help Israel avoid disaster. He also raised a child from the dead and performed many other miracles. After he died, a dead man’s body was thrown in his grave, and the man was resurrected. Wow!

So what was the purpose for these signs and wonders?

Jesus performed many miracles, healings, and signs.

The gospels are full of healings, miracles, and other supernatural phenomena that came from the hands or ministry of Jesus. He raised people from the dead, cast out demons, healed many diverse diseases, and cleansed the lepers. Jesus Himself was a sign and a wonder. How? Everything he did pointed to the Father, but ultimately He was raised from the dead to sit at the Father’s right hand, and there He remains until He returns for His Ekklesia, church.

Jesus then told His disciples to make disciples of the nations, and while they were doing so, signs and wonders would accompany them. He told them to wait until the Holy Spirit was poured out on them, and then they were to go and do. We see Paul transformed by a wonder when He was blinded and later received his sight again. This began his transformation into the great church planter and miracle worker we know. He also wrote letters to help churches that became about two-thirds of the New Testament.

So Jesus worked many signs, wonders, and miracles and his disciples did the same. The mandate to do and disciple nations has not stopped, and neither has the accompanying signs and miracles. God is healing all over the world. Miracles are taking place, and we see signs in the heavens and elsewhere at the same time. But what is the purpose of these things?

Glorifying God

That statement says it all. There is nothing else to add. Still, I mentioned earlier about a fallen world, and then later the Kingdom of Heaven coming down. When heaven comes in power to the earth, the result is sick bodies healed, people raised from the dead, missing limbs and body parts growing, and the blind seeing. The list is endless.

Miracles occur somewhere in the world every day. Sometimes there are financial miracles where money or provision shows up at the precise time needed. It may be someone getting out of a life or death situations. Miracles and signs or wonders occur with or without faith. Faith helps a person get to the place of breakthrough and is often the source of the miracle. Often angels show up unannounced, and miracles take place. Likewise, people who have given up run up on someone who just prays, and heaven shows up, and they are healed.

When Jesus healed, everyone got healed or delivered. He had a one hundred percent success rate. God desires to heal everybody. He loves to work miracles. But not everyone gets healed or receives that miracle they expect. There are many reasons why some do, and some don’t. My purpose here is to state that miracles, signs, wonders, and healings are still valid and never ceased, and it is always the will of God to be healed.

We pray “as it is in heaven,” and in heaven, there are no sick people, no one needs a miracle, and everyone is free. We are still on the earth where heaven has not been fully manifested. The gospel is preached somewhere every day. Many people listen and do not believe. Often, when a miracle takes place, those around them become believers and disciples.

The miracles and signs accompany the preaching of the gospel, and they ‘declare’ Him and His incredible, extraordinary power. John 11:4 says, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified in it.” NIV

Did you catch that? Lazarus was sick, and Jesus tarried. He died and was dead more than three days, and according to Jewish belief, it was impossible for Lazarus to be raised from the dead. Nevertheless, Jesus deliberately waits until the fourth day so that He, the Son of God, will be glorified.

The real purpose of miracles, signs, and wonders is to Glorify God and validate the gospel.

As disciples and followers of Jesus, we should always expect the gospel to be preached with accompanying signs and wonders. Whether we preach by serving, orally, or through media, we must expect God to be glorified and for people to be healed around us.

It must be normal and part of everyday life. I pray for more of the Holy Spirit and that we will be used and see healings and miracles every day.

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Modeling Christ, Beholding Christ

We have all been taught and can recite the ‘Great Commission”, found at the end of Matthew chapter twenty-eight. Jesus sent His disciples out and told them to disciple or make more disciples of the nations. Jesus was taking the charge that Israel had been given to be a light to the Nations and gave it to twelve men who had been with Him.

If Jesus was telling them to take the light to the nations, they must have received that light for themselves. After all, isn’t that what Jesus’ teaching ministry focused on? He told them that you would be like the Father if you become like me, and others will be drawn to that light.

Discipleship Begins With Beholding

They had to be discipled to make disciples of others. That begins with beholding or gazing at the thing you hope to become. For example, if you set out to be a dancer, then you study dance. You not only take dance classes and practice, but you also watch your teachers and what they eat and their lifestyle. Everything that made them a qualified dance instructor will help you become a better dancer.

The disciples spent three years with Jesus learning what it meant to be a follower of Christ. This is a model of the ancient rabbinical way. Students would follow their rabbi or teacher and model what they were taught and saw! This meant that part of their studies depended on watching how the teacher handled certain situations, diet, sleep habits, and virtually everything about them the students watched and sought to duplicate. We also see this in the monastic movement.

Jesus’ disciples had God in the flesh teaching them. They had a desire to go deeper and fully know HIm, which requires more than just watching. Beholding is more significant than watching to learn. Beholding means so much more than casual observing.

Beholding is Gazing

To behold is to gaze intently upon something or someone. This morning I beheld some deer feeding in the meadow. I watched, stared, and observed their every movement deeply. I studied their mannerisms. I watched as they left the meadow and went into the wooded forest. I gazed, intending to understand these creatures.

To behold Jesus requires that we spend time with Him just as the disciples did. This is a twenty-four-seven activity. Behold Jesus doesn’t end when we close our Bible and leave our prayer room to begin our daily routine. It is a lifetime process.

But, our move to become a disciple of Jesus must begin with beholding. Yes, we study the scriptures, but we do so much more than that. It includes prayer, communion, fellowship, journaling, and deep study in the word. But it also means obedience. Beholding is practicing what we have seen and learned from gazing intently at our Lord.

We see that Joh is known as the beloved or the disciple that leaned on Jesus at the Last Supper. John was part of the inner circle that had close fellowship with Him. It is not to say that the nine didn’t desire to be with Jesus, but Jesus called the inner three to be with Him. He saw something in them and knew they desired to be with Him more than the others.

Beholding Through Sight

One of the first things I do when I want to learn and behold something is seeing it and looking at it from every angle. For example, if I am trying a new recipe, I look at the picture of the final product and then the ingredients, and finally, I study the preparation and procedure. After that, I don’t do anything until I have studied it long enough that I think I can reproduce it.

That is what Jesus wants us to do. We ‘behold, gaze, and study Him so much and for as long as we need to model what we see. Part of that comes from studying Him in His word and spending time in His presence and prayer.

Demonstrating What We Have Beheld

As a dancer would be a model to their students, we must be a model to a world that needs to see who Jesus is. Once we have studied the word, been taught, been in His presence, and someone has mentored us, we can demonstrate to others around us what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ.

One aspect that is missing from disciples of Christ today is the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God. Luke 4 records that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit when He left the Jordan and was led into the wilderness. Part of His preparation was stepping into the baptismal waters to be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Later, we see Jesus performing many signs and wonders, including miracles and healings. Then we see Him telling His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon them. Finally, Peter and the disciples are filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, and they preach powerfully, heal the sick, and perform signs such as raising the dead and other miracles. When Paul and later others are admitted among the ranks of disciples, we see this same pattern repeated.

Therefore, we modern disciples must be filled with the Spirit to demonstrate the Kingdom of God. This filling with the Spirit not only brings power but the ability to walk out the kingdom lifestyle with the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle and bearing the fruit of the Spirit we find in Galatians 5:22-23. Jesus walked in power and humility. He was a teacher that practiced what He taught. Before we teach and preach to others, we must learn patience and love along with all of the fruit of the Spirit.

What Are You Beholding?

If you call yourself a follower of Christ, then I must ask, are you one that beholds Christ in prayer and the word? Of course, it is a lifelong process, but we must do it every day, and when we do it out among the people of the world, they must see us as true followers. So let us learn from the pattern outlined in the Bible and be like the disciples.

1- Spend time in His presence

2-Spend time in the Word

3- Pray always

4- Repent daily

5- Be continually filled with The Holy Spirit.

6- Fellowship with other believers.

Repeat

Remember those that you disciple will only model what they see you do. Teach them to behold Jesus every day, and they will be model disciples.

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Enjoying God: Freedom From Fear

It seems today that there are ample opportunities to become fearful or walk in fear. Whether it is the COVID-19 virus or the tension in our government, we are becoming a fear-ridden society. No one seems to be exempt. The ‘spirit of fear’ is constantly knocking on our heart’s doors seeking to come in. Why? Because fear can paralyze and torment us. Fear is punishment.

Opening the door to fear gives it the freedom to hold us back and bring despair and hopelessness into our lives. The opportunities to be fearful are endless. Everyone knows what a phobia is. So it seems that it is acceptable to have one or many phobias. There is a phobia for everything from spiders or arachnophobia to going out into the market or agoraphobia.

The list is endless. I do not like snakes, spiders, or going to the market at certain times or places. Yet, I refuse to be paralyzed and sit at home or avoid certain areas because there may be a snake, rat, spider, bug, or other creature. I won’t fear gangs or eating certain foods. I will exercise wisdom and caution because God created us to get wisdom and live with wisdom and common sense in everyday life.

God is love, and everything that He made is good and full of love, so why would He not want us to enjoy His creation? We also treat God the same way that we do His creation and everything else in this world. But, unfortunately, most people have the wrong approach to God. They see Him like Job did, as a judge, ready to come down against them. Yet, Job was a righteous man who prayed for his family and friends.

Fear Hinders Us From Receiving From God

When we look at the effects of fear in a person’s life, we see that it can control them to the point that they cannot function or live a normal life. When one approaches God from a place of fear, they never really connect and see Him as the guy that will judge them one day, and even though they are saved, they have no revelation of what that future judgment day entails, nor can they have a relationship now.

Fearing God is like this: when I was a youth, and I made a mistake or did something that I knew my father would highly disapprove of, I dreaded telling him. My entire focus was on the consequences. I walled myself off because of insecurity and kept it to myself until I was so miserable that I couldn’t eat and enjoy daily routines.

I had to tell my father, and alas, while he was upset and disappointed, he told me he loved me and was sorry and that he didn’t want me to be afraid to tell him. Relief came quickly, and I soon wondered why I was scared to tell him. But, the next time something terrible happened, I reverted to the way I was the last time, except it was worse. After my father died, I still carried that approach in job-seeking, education, employers, supervisors, or just about anything I did.

I was self-conscious because of rejection, and so I dreaded dealing with people and issues. This was how I approached God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I didn’t see them as my friend or that I was their friend. I had a wrong perception of who God was. I studied the text, and I knew what it said. I taught the word, but my prayer life was based on one where I felt like I better get it right or He would punish me. Sometimes I pictured some big guy on a throne watching me mess up.

Like my biological father, I couldn’t fully receive His love and enjoy Him. I was full of religion. I didn’t know that I could enjoy God. We enjoyed hanging out with our father, but it was usually when we were doing something he enjoyed, like fishing, watching Braves baseball, or working on a car. He enjoyed woodworking, too. It’s funny how the only one of those things I still enjoy is baseball. Perhaps that is because he taught me about the game. He once pulled me out of the hopeless, hapless position of right field to that of catcher. I really enjoyed catching it even though it was dangerous.

The point of all of this is whether we had bad father relations growing up or something else. Most of us battle with fear and approaching God. We can’t receive love from Him as we should and live a kingdom life in fear, rejection, and insecurity. How do we get free?

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment (torment), and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

I hope that verse sinks in with you! I must have been perfected in love, or at least I now see myself as a work and creation of God’s love. I am not perfect, but His love has already perfected me. I just choose to identify with that and know when I get angry or gossip or think sinful thoughts, and I can come clean, repent and receive God’s love through His son Jesus.

Perfect love only comes from God. That is what casts out fear. You can be delivered from a spirit of fear, but it is replaced with perfect love from the Father. That is freedom.

I see that I am always loved, and what separates me from that love is my own fear. My sins separate me from enjoying Him fully at that moment, but I am still loved, and repentance is so easy because I know that He will forgive me, and I am cleansed and can continue to walk in love and enjoy Him fully.

Isaiah 62: 4 is the verse that turned everything around for me.

“ No longer will they call you Deserted or name your land desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married.” NIV

Some translations say that the Lord ‘takes delight’ in you. The light bulb went off. He delights in me so that I can enjoy Him. I can find pleasure with Jesus, with the Father and Holy Spirit, no matter what I am doing. I know He loves me and delights in me, and I am confident in His love for me. That is liberating, and I pray that you receive that today.

Isaiah 61:10 “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, He has clothed me with garments of salvation, and He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks Himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

When you come to salvation or are born into the kingdom, he clothes us with robes of righteousness and garments of salvation. We are priests, and we receive those priestly garments. When we approach the throne of grace, we must see ourselves as covered by the blood of Jesus and wearing our priestly garments.

How about it? Receive today the perfected love from God. Jesus paid the price for you to be free from fear. Enjoy life in the Kingdom!!!

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The Zeal Of Phineas In Dealing With Life-Controlling Issues

Torah Commentary - Pinchas"Phineas" - Zeal In The Camp - SCRIPTURES FOR  July 27, 2019 | Study pictures, Bible, Bible study

Identifying Phinehas

In Psalm 106:30, we find the Psalmist outlining an event from Numbers 25:7-8, where a man named Phinehas executed judgment on the sins of Israel, and a plague that erupted as a result of their idolatry was stopped.

The Children of Israel disobeyed the Lord’s commands by mixing with the Moabite men and women and fornicating with them. In addition, they had sinned by worshipping their false gods. This resulted in a plague brought upon the camp of Israel. God had promised what would happen if they violated His commands.

Phinehas became jealous for God’s holy ways and stood and threw a spear into the camp, killing a Moabite woman and Israeli man. The two people died, and the plague ceased. Phinehas was zealous for God and holiness. His deed was remembered forever as righteousness. The Lord looked down and smiled upon Phinehas and his actions. He was pleased.

Executing Judgment On Sin

In the New Covenant, we know that Jesus has already judged our sins and taken them upon Himself. However, we are still weak vessels and living in a fallen world. We also have junk and baggage from our past that we have to put under the cross. Many of our life-controlling issues result from things in our past or even handed down from our parents and grandparents.

For me, insecurity, fear, and rejection have been familiar foes. I have confessed and repented, but I never understood how much God loved me and how he delighted in me. As a result, I didn’t walk in a life of Joy and rejoicing. Instead, I allowed a spirit of rejection to overtake me, and that led to insecurity and pride.

It caused me to make poor choices or not to be led by God. Ultimately, I had enough and put it under the blood and refused it to have reentry. I chose to trust Jesus and not doubt Him. Sometimes, when I doubted, He would show up suddenly with a provision or a breakthrough. I had persevered, but my faith was still weak.

I came across the spear of Phinehas in my reading one day and applied it to prayer and intercession. More recently, I have understood that God wants us to live a life with the same zeal as Phinehas on my sins or life-controlling issues. God is jealous for all of our attention and love.

God’s Zeal For Us

He wants to always be first in everything we do. If He tells us to do something then fear or insecurity are not options. W must proceed with obedience and with a heart to obey out of love and not works. Often, works come from a feeling of having to prove ourselves by overcoming things like rejection, insecurity, fear, and pride.

God is jealous for us to put Him first. He is jealous of our time, attention, talents and He wants to spend time with us. He is always wanting to spend time with us. As Christ-followers we are commanded to love Him above all others. Really? Yes all others, including ourselves. When we allow a spirit of rejection back in or we choose doubt and unbelief in an instant we open the door for the enemy to once again bring in fear and insecurity to say the least.

We need to be like Phinehas, and no matter what others say or do we have to maintain a Holy zeal to walk in the ways and manners of God. If we deal with each thought as Phinehas did with the spear, then we would have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5 “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6- who existing in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, 7- but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, 8- and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. KJV

We need to lay our lives down for Christ as He laid His down for us. What I am talking about is radical, but that is what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. Becoming a zealous disciple means we are like Phinehas, who displayed the heart to execute justice on the sin in the camp. Before we can help others, a city or a nation, with their problems, we have to radically deal with our sins, issues, and whatever is holding us back.

Discipleship Means Obedience With Joy

Serving Jesus is not always easy, and it is indeed difficult to have a lifestyle of Joy. But when we sign up to follow Him, that is what we are saying. We choose to rejoice, whether we are suffering or experiencing the fullness of His joy over us.

Jesus went to the cross joyfully for us, so I believe we need to choose righteousness and joy for Him and His kingdom.

Haven’t you had enough of the enemy beating you up, telling you that you are no good and that God has forsaken you? Are you tired of hearing those voices telling you you are better than them and you can do it better than them?

Instead, tell those voices to cease and desist and leave and choose to rejoice that you are fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14

Meditate on the word of God and how He formed you and made you. You are uniquely you. There is no one exactly like you, even if you are a twin. Spend some time, a lot of time enjoying what He says about you. Understand how important you are to the Kingdom, and quit identifying with your past or who the enemy says you are.

It’s time for you to be radical and zealously resist the enemy and joyously follow Jesus and His commands from a place of love and rest.

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Three Takeaways When Dealing With Insecurity

Deborah and Barak: If God Be with Us by Trudy J. Morgan-Cole

1-Identifying Insecurity

We all have to deal with insecurity at some point. But, left unchecked and intact, insecurity can lead to fear, rejection, pride, jealousy, and even depression. The root of insecurity results from past traumas or events from our youth that may have led to us aligning ourselves improperly with fear and ultimately lack of trust in God.

Insecurity can lead us to a path of destruction that causes us to fear man, and as a result, we allow pride to enter in, and we take on a ‘works’ based mentality. In other words, we do things from trying to prove ourselves rather than out of love and trust from God. Insecurity is brought on when we are hurt or injured. When we do not see the Father’s Heart modeled, we model what we see.

Mountains and Valleys

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25

Insecurity can lead to isolation and depression. These are the valleys that the enemy wants to keep us in. The mountains are pride and false humility. Rejection, fear, and insecurity are like the fuel that keeps us bouncing from valley to mountain instead of living a balanced life as we are called to live. Our prayer life, worship, and Bible Study remain weak, out of balance, and motivated from a place of trying to please the Father and Jesus.

Ultimately we do not identify the Father as Father but solely as a Judge waiting to smite us for any wrong move. We are paralyzed by fear and unable to move deeper in our relationship with God. The roots have grown into a fully developed tree fed by pride and more rejection that sprouts new branches of jealousy, and the cycle goes on and on until we are set free.

Lessons From Barak

One character that is highlighted in the Bible is found in Judges 4 thru 5. Before we beat up Barak, let me remind you that he is mentioned in the hall of faith located in Hebrews 11:32. He did what God commanded him to do, but with hesitation, fear, and loss of honor.

We first find our character being summoned by the prophetess Deborah. Not only was Deborah a prophetess, or mouthpiece of God, she was the leader assigned to govern Israel and bring judgment in disputes. She was a ‘mishpat’ or judge whose decisions were final.

So, when Deborah summoned Barak, it was a divine summons, and it was one in which he must obey. Deborah relays the command of heaven that Barak needed to gather an army and go defeat Siser and his troops. Yet, Barak had some insecurities and fears. He was reluctant to go and do what was commanded.

We all remember Deborah, and the song is sung about the victory that she and Barak won. Deborah tells Barak that she will go with him when he asks this of her, but she, a woman, will get the glory, not him.

Honor and glory are only temporary in this life unless it is birthed and nurtured from a place of obedience to God’s command. Honor is ours eternally when we do what He tells us, and we do it from a place of love and trust. As I mentioned, Barak gets mentioned in Hebrews for his faith. But, what would the story have sounded like had he not acted out of fear or insecurity?

2-Realigning A Life of Insecurity

Insecurity or fear is not sin unless we allow it to control us. If we entertain thoughts of rejection and fear, they will control our mind, will, and emotions. If left unchecked, then we fall into jealousy and pride. We have to apply Isaiah 40:3-4 and make every valley that has developed into level ground. This also applies to the mountains of pride and jealousy.

We do this by applying the cross and blood of Jesus. While good, helpful, and beneficial, counseling and teaching are insignificant and useless without understanding the blood of Jesus and the cross. Thus we repent and come out of agreement with insecurity, depression, fear, rejection, and jealousy.

Proverbs 28:13 describes the process as ‘we are not to confess our sins, but forsake them.”

I may sound hard, but I have lived a life where these valleys and mountains are real. I was told to confess my sins and that Jesus would wash them away. I wasn’t told that partnering or agreeing with fear and insecurity was sinful. Being jealous of what someone had or did was something that I knew wasn’t right. I wasn’t really taught until later that I could have victory over all of these things and that they were not who I was created to be.

3- Going Deeper In Him And Away From The Roots of Insecurity

As my life has unfolded, I have learned that the deeper I go in Him, the more He can cut out those rotten roots. We are taught that when we get saved, we are going to heaven and that we have all we need to live the victorious life as a disciple of Chris. Yes, we get to live and reign with Him, and the price is paid for our sins. But salvation is a process, as Paul wrote, ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling.’

None of us have actually been saved until we reach the Judgment seat of Christ. Otherwise, we are being saved, as we have accepted the lifeline, and He is pulling us in.

When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Father sees us differently. Actually, He sees us differently before that, but we are still in the world and not the kingdom. Now that we are in the kingdom, we must see ourselves as He sees us.

Jeremiah 17:7 is one of my favorite verses when it comes to understanding trusting in the Lord.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. 8- He will be like a tree that is planted by the waters that send out its roots by the stream. It will not fear when heat comes: its leaves are always green.” (NIT)

The answer to insecurity and fear is trust in God. After allowing Him to remove the roots of fear and insecurity, to realign yourself is to let Him plant roots of Joy and delight deep within us. This brings the smooth road that allows Him to abide within us continuously. We become a deeply planted tree that does not wither under pressure. We learn to come out of agreement with fear and insecurity and stay out of agreement.

We have to be aggressive when it comes to dealing with these things. Spending time with the Holy Spirit requires us to be bold and takes time. Our time is important, but the more we spend with Him, the more freedom we can experience.

Discipleship Begins With Beholding

One of my more recently found authors has written a book, “Discipleship Begins With Beholding.” I urge you to get a copy of Samuel Whitfield’s news book and understand more of what I mean about beholding Jesus as the foundation of discipleship. Order from Amazon or at Samuelwhitfield.com.

The more we spend time in the Word, prayer, and worship, we behold Him and His beauty. He is beautiful no matter how you look at Him. As disciples and followers of Jesus, we must realize that He is the King and is therefore worthy of all of our attention. That is where discipleship begins. We will never be able to follow His teachings and obey if we are not spending time with Him and loving Him. Works will follow out of love.

Don’t be like Barak or Gideon. Trust and obey from the start. Lean not on your own understanding, but trust Him in everything. In the days ahead, we will be faced with many challenges, including persecution. We cannot reach a lost world and endure with perseverance persecution and suffering if we do not get free from insecurity and behold Him.

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Are You A Well Or Fountain?

Water Well Fountain with Tiering Bucket – Fountainist

A well can be shallow or deep, depending on how it is dug. But, the water is no good without a way to access it. We hear a lot about re-digging wells of revival, but what good is a well full of water if the water is not accessible?

Wells are important in the Bible, beginning in Genesis 26 where we see a quarrel over five wells with Isaac and various people groups. Later, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. This was unheard of for a Jewish teacher to meet with a woman alone, and especially a woman that was a lower class, possibly mixed bred woman.

She asked him how he proposed to draw water when he had nothing to draw the water with. Alas, Jesus offered her living water, from Himself.

Jesus has provided living water for us, and it is a fountain. A fountain spews forth and bubbles continuously. Jesus offers us a fountain, and if you are a Christ-follower, then not only are you a well, but you are a fountain because He is a source of water that never runs dry. His water is continuous and needs no dipper!

Are you a fountain of living water that bubbles from the overflow? I challenge you go deep, get filled up and overflow, because the world needs fountains today. It’s time to minister to a dry world as living fountains bubbling forth the life of Jesus!

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From Rejection To Favor

Daily Bible Verse | Strength | Psalm 18:19 (ESV)

Who Is Rejected?

Rejection affects everyone. No one is immune to being rejected. Like me, you have been subjected to rejection from many sides, different people, and at different seasons. Perhaps, you felt or lived much of your life feeling rejected by the church or even God.

What is Rejection?

Merriam Webster defines it as the act of rejecting. To reject then means the act of refusing to accept, consider, submit to some purpose or use.

Essentially it is the refusal to accept something (or someone).

The Old Testament Hebrew offers us a better look at what we are trying to say here.

The word Zarach is used at least ten times in the OT, with different words used to say the same thing.

It is translated as spurn, discard, reject, refuse to accept, excluded, and cast off.

Wow! That says it all. I have truly felt the sting and carried the wounds of feeling cast off, forgotten, or even just not accepted.

In the days ahead, I will discuss what happens to us when we have been rejected, and we allow it to take root in our hearts. In other words, how we identify with rejection and carry the wounds all of our lives, if we do not allow the Lord, through His word, Spirit, and the cross, to heal and deliver us.

But I want to look at a famous character in the Bible today.

Like me, you may have been hurt or felt rejection from the church for various reasons. I always knew I had a high call, but no one around me understood the dreams and visions I had.

I was told that God doesn’t speak like that today. Many other things happened through the years, and I eventually gave up on God. But, He brought me back.

In 1 Samuel 27:5-6, we find the future king David on the run from King Saul. He was allied with the Philistines, and he asks one of their leaders.

“ If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of your towns that I may live with you.” NIV

We find that Achish gives David the town of Ziklag. So, he and his 600 or so men and their families settle in Ziklag. Later, David seeks to join the fight against King Saul, but the Philistine leaders are not on board with that, so David and his men return to Ziklag.

But, when they return to Ziklag, they find that the Amalekites had burned the city and taken the women and children as captives. Now David’s men are ready to stone him. They blame David for all of their troubles. David has lost his wives and children, his town has been destroyed, his men lost their families, and they are against him.

They have rejected David and his leadership. Everyone blames David.

I have felt the sting of being cast off and discarded. At times I felt alone and often excluded. I wanted to do right and serve God, but I wanted friends. I chose the wrong friends. They weren’t friends. They just wanted to party. I often never seemed to fit in.

How about you? Have you felt the sting of rejection?

Have you wanted to please everyone but didn’t know how because you felt excluded or discarded? Many in society have been discarded and excluded. Many have left the church and turned from God because they were not accepted. I am not talking about living a life of sin. People who are different don’t fit the traditional church model, yet they want a relationship with Jesus.

Maybe you were the child of a church leader, and you identified that way. You were like me, and instead of identifying who I was supposed to be, I identified as the preacher’s kid. But at school, that wasn’t cool. So I was whatever it took to be cool.

Rejection causes us to identify with whatever we need to be so that we are not rejected or cast away.

The men in our story identified with David until something went wrong. God had chosen David for a high calling. He had to posture his mindset from being Jesse’s son who keeps the sheep to step up to a higher calling. So, he kills one of Israel’s greatest enemies, Goliath.

But that made things worse for him eventually. Saul wanted to kill him, so he had to flee.

Often those who bully or exclude us are jealous, or they have an unresolved issue.

I had dreams and heard God’s voice when I was a child. This intensified as I grew, yet no one could explain what was going on. I hadn’t met the people that understood the supernatural power of the kingdom of God.

No one really could help David but God.

1 Samuel 30:6 we read, “ and David was greatly distressed for the people spoke of stoning him. But, David strengthened himself in the Lord.

Previously David had favor with the Philistine leader Achish, but now his own men are out to kill him. His response should be ours. To turn and find strength in the Lord.

That should always be our response. I always, deep down, knew in my spirit knew that God had all of the answers. One day I found out that I had favor with God. He delights in me.

I didn’t say he delighted in my sin, my hurts, and wounds but rather in me. He enjoys helping me become who he created me to be.

David said that the Lord delights in him in Psalm 18:20. After all that David went through, he found that God was always for him.

What about you? Do you identify with your hurts and wounds, or have you come to realize that God enjoys you and gives you favor.

Forgive those that have wounded us through rejection. Many may not even know that they have hurt us. But we must forgive them. Then we must agree with rejection and identify with the mindset that God delights in us.

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Developing A Lifestyle Of Mercy

Free Printable Christian Message Cards – Blessed are the merciful | Free  Christian Message Cards

In the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:7 we read the beautiful words of Jesus that read,

“Blessed are the Merciful for they shall receive Mercy.”

That is quite a statement and causes me to ask a question “how does one receive Mercy? And from who are we receiving Mercy?

In this day and time, we don’t see many people exercising mercy or being merciful. We see lawlessness and selfishness abounding. This seems to be the age where people only consider themselves and what they can get from a situation. It’s every person for themselves and never mind you.

What is Mercy?

Merriam Webster defines it as compassion or kindly forbearance shown to an offender.

Other words used to explain Mercy are lenience, clemency, pity, and charity.

The word translated in Matthew 5:7 means compassion, kindness, or mercy. It can be divine or human mercy.

Jesus is exhorting his followers to show compassion and mercy and that they would receive mercy.

Jesus set the bar for us in how to live and treat our fellow man. Jesus is God and Jesus showed a lot of mercy. There were moments when he did not demonstrate compassion, such as the cleansing of the temple. These moments are reserved for special times when the offender has usually crossed the line. We see this a lot in the Old Testament.

Consider the story of Jonah where Jonah seemed to be more concerned about the gourd that he had not planted that was providing shade for him. God told him the people of Nineveh did not know the difference between the right or left hand. In other words, they didn’t know right from wrong. They hadn’t been taught.

I have encountered plenty of people where that was the case, or they lived such a lifestyle of poverty that they were trapped and knew no other way. No one had really taught them or helped them.

There are those people that seem beyond help. They just never get it.

But what do we do? Jesus’ example and teaching instructs us to live a lifestyle of demonstrating mercy, compassion, and charity. It is difficult in the age we live. There seems to be so much evil in society, and we live in a dark world where people are taking advantage of us at every turn.

We don’t want to be taken advantage of, and we know that there are people who literally stand with signs begging for food as a job. Instead of getting a job, they choose to ‘hustle passersby for hard-earned money. But how do we separate them from those who are in real need?

While it is a dilemma, we should remember that if we demonstrate mercy, we will receive mercy. My point is that we should be compassionate as often as we can. Don’t let people take advantage of our kindness, but don’t quit being kind.

I realized a few years ago that God has been very merciful to my family and me. I shouldn’t be here writing this at 5 a.m. I could have been one of those people holding a sign or standing in the line at the soup kitchen. We never know what we have until we are faced with the possibility of being out on the streets.

But, I realized how much Mercy God had shown me, and once, I told a dear friend, and he replied that I must have been merciful. I stopped and pondered. I thought and asked myself whether or not I had been a merciful man?

I quickly understood that I had shown a lot of mercy to a lot of od people. There were people that I felt did not deserve one ounce of compassion from me. I had been offended, but I chose not to be offended and turn the other cheek and show some compassion.

I have done some horrible things in my life, but it seems that I always had the heart to show mercy.

I worked for many years in a job where I dealt with all kinds of people. Everyone from sweet old ladies, house moms, the rough and down and out, and professionals like doctors and lawyers were my clients. I met and helped all kinds. I provided a service for people that helped their quality of life. But, so many were unappreciative and uncaring. If I made a mistake, they weren’t kind or compassionate. They weren’t unforgiving.

It wasn’t easy, but I usually shook it off, and the next time around, I smiled and demonstrated mercy. It seems like showing a little mercy is hard now. But I still manage to do it.

Have you shown kindness lately? What about the person that always jumps ahead of you at Walmart, or when you have sat at the doctor’s office for an hour, and someone comes in and is immediately taken back?

We never know the whole story. We want to think, well, I’m being overlooked, and our emotions get stirred up, and we go to the desk to create a stir only to learn that that patient was an emergency case that they worked in.

We just don’t know what is going on, and next time the shoe might be on the other foot.

In the Old Testament, we learn from Moses and the prophets that God was ‘merciful and compassionate, and slow to anger.”

Slow to anger is closely associated then with being Merciful. It is an attribute. Jesus, the Son of God, was not telling us to do the impossible. He is Merciful, and if He is going to live in us, as His followers, we had better adopt a lifestyle of showing mercy.

Have you have read and sung that God’s Mercy is fresh each day? Yeah, we want and need that. But are we merciful? Is our mercy new each day. It’s a crazy world that more than ever demands that we adopt a lifestyle of being compassionate.

The reward is not just for the ages to come.

God is very, very merciful to me. I don’t think I come close to being as compassionate to others as He has been to me. Nor will you!

After all, the one that came and told us to be merciful demonstrated the ultimate act of mercy when he took my offenses as His own.

The next time you want to be offended at the store or whoever, think about what I have discussed and be merciful.

For more check out my podcast here:

I recommend checking this out and other similar messages to go deeper.

Next time we will discuss Going from rejection to favor.

For more resources on developing a kingdom lifestyle, visit https://mikebickle.org/watch/mb_3326.

Watch for my soon-to-launch youtube channel, where I will begin a series on dealing with Rejection. I will mainly deal with those who have been rejected by the church or felt rejected by God.

You can find that soon at Joseph L Floyd

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It’s Time To Pick Up Our Harps Sing The Lord’s Song

Psalm 137 – “Entrusting God With Our Hatreds” | PreacherMike

It seems these days that most of the church is consumed with events of the world, whether it be politics, business, healthcare, sports, or entertainment, to the point that we have ‘hung up our harps.’ We no longer sing the Lord’s songs in this foreign land called planet earth. Many church worship services are no more than going to a rock concert, and as we cry, Holy Spirit come, He has left the building.

We are pilgrims and strangers in this world where we are supposed to be salt and light. Instead, our witness has become blighted and tainted with the bickering among the various groups in the Church. Our focus should continually be on the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom. The kingdoms of this world will become His soon enough, but we are supposed to be advancing His kingdom until that time.

Singing the Lord’s Song In a Foreign Land

The Church, or Kingdom of God citizens, is literally in a foreign land. The writer of Hebrews tells us that when we come into the kingdom of God, we are already, spiritually, in the City of the living God, the New Jerusalem, The Mount Zion from above, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant. (Hebrews 12:22-24) The list also includes the general assembly and church of the firstborn enrolled in heaven and the spirits of righteous men made perfect.

While that may be our home and our spirit is connected to it, we are still in a body connected to this earth, and as the days grow more wicked and darker, we will find it more and more difficult to sing the Lord’s songs here, in the earth!

We are like the exiles in the books of Daniel and Ezekiel. We are like those in Nehemiah and Ezra preparing to return to Mount Zion and build. We are building the kingdom of God in a world that hated our king and hates us as well. Consider the following verses from Psalm 137.

“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. 2- We hung our harps upon the poplars 3- For there, our captors made us sing, and our tormentors made us entertain, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’ 4- How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? 5- If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill.” (MEV)

The Jewish exiles found it difficult to sing the songs of Zion in Babylon. Imagine being carried to a foreign land and living in exile. They were separated from Zion, where the Temple was located and worship of YHWH went on constantly. They longed for home.

Indeed, you have been homesick, and you wanted to sing the songs of your state or country. When I lived in Florida or Kansas City, we would take trips to Georgia to visit family. I longed to see my Georgia home, but it wasn’t until I saw the sign that said welcome to Georgia that I started singing Georgia On My Mind!

Likewise, we are citizens of heaven, and we long for heaven, and often we find ourselves singing the songs of Babylon. Notice the language used by the writer of Psalm 137. By the rivers of Babylon, we wept and hung our harps. It appears more and more that Christ-followers have laid down their harps and stopped singing the Lord’s songs. I don’t even think that we are mourning and longing for home, heaven.

We Must Pick Up Our Harps Now

Now is not the time for believers to weep by the rivers of Babylon. Yes, we long for Jesus’ return, and we can’t wait, but we must be diligent to work the tasks He has entrusted to us. Part of the work requires worship of our Lord Jesus here on the earth amid the chaos of the Babylonian system.

More than ever, the nations are longing to see the kingdom of Heaven come near in all of the earth. This is accomplished when we sing the songs of the Lord. When we bring the songs sung in heaven, we exalt Jesus, the Lamb of God, darkness trembles, demons flee, and cities, regions, and nations are transformed.

You don’t have to play an instrument to worship. You don’t have to be on stage leading worship or even in a prayer room. You can worship in your car, at Wal-Mart, Starbucks, or even at Quick Trip pumping gas. We take our daily worship into the Sunday morning assembly, and all of our worship arises together as a powerful instrument that brings down God’s glory.

If we don’t sing now, how will we overcome the dark days ahead? How will we come off victorious over the Anti-Christ rulers of this world?

Dark Days Demand The Lord’s Song

The darkness that continues to build in the earth will only be repelled, and a mighty Awakening/Revival occur with continuous night and day worship. As Biblical prophecy continues to unfold and we anticipate the King’s return, there will arise a final assault on the Kingdom of God and a last attempt to prevent the return of Jesus. I am not here to exalt the beast, his number, or his name but to remind you that it will arise, and there will be a generation alive that must face it and will overcome. We see this in Revelation 15:2.

The Songs of the Lord will strengthen the Church and enlarge the kingdom of Heaven. Worship will keep our focus on our King, bridegroom, and judge. Worship will exalt Jesus and clear the way for nations to sing their unique song that the Lord has for them. I believe that every nation, tribe, or people group has a song in heaven, and they need to be taught it by those willing to go and teach them. Then every nation will sing the song of the Lord here, in Babylon, and then around the throne.

Defining The Song Of The Lord

Singing on The Sea of Glass

Revelation 15:2 “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who have victory over the beast, and over his image, and over the number of his name standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God,” (MEV)

Notice that these are standing on the sea of glass holding harps of God. These are the ones that had come from the last days’ battles victorious. We are facing only a fraction of what is coming. Whatever the enemy throws our way, we must stand on the sea of glass with a harp of God. How can we do that now? The same way we approach the throne of grace. Our spirit is connected there. We come before him in spirit.

Revelation 15:3

“They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God and the song of the lamb, saying, ‘ Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4- who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For you alone are holy; For nations shall come and worship before thee, for they judgments have been revealed.” (MEV)

Finally, we read that they sang the song of Moses and the Lamb. The song of Moses is recorded in its fullest in Exodus 15 and Deuteronomy 32. The Exodus 15 version brings worship to God for defeating His and Israel’s enemies, like those in Revelation 15 have reason to sing.

The Song of the Lamb describes the worthiness of Jesus, the lamb, and how all of the nations will come and worship around the throne.

Worthy, Righteous, and Just

If for no other reason, we should always worship because He is worthy!

No matter what hell may throw at us, or what setbacks, defeats, and sickness we face, Jesus is always worthy.

He is righteous, and as the last stanza reveals, His righteous acts have been revealed.

Don’t stop worshipping and ask the Lord for your song. Cry out to Him, and let the Holy Spirit sing through you, giving you a new song.

We are vessels made to worship, so let’s pick up our harps and sing the songs of the Lord!!

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The Current Mideast Situation and The Rise in Antisemitism

Road signs in Israel - Wikipedia

We have all seen the rockets, sirens, and pictures coming out of Israel and Gaza. Likewise, there are numerous attacks here in America on synagogues, mainly pro-Palestinian groups openly attacking Jews or pro-Israel people in the streets. These latter occurrences are happening in places like New York and Los Angeles. The disturbing photos look like something from the West Bank or someplace in Israel, like Jerusalem.

In the last few days, I have been asked about what is going on and whether I am concerned for Israel? While it is evident that I am concerned, I am not overly concerned to the point that I fear this is the Psalm 83 war or Ezekiel 38 war. So, what is going on and why now? Recently, the Jews celebrated Jerusalem day at the Western wall, while Muslims celebrated the end of the thirty-day holiday known as Ramadan.

The Story Goes On

I explained to one man that it is about the land and particularly Jerusalem. It all began with a man named Abraham, and the promise to his seed, through Isaac, and Jacob that they would possess that land forever. Later, God establishes the Davidic covenant with King David that someone from his line would sit on the throne of Israel in Jerusalem forever.

The Muslims, through the Quran, teach that the promise goes through Ishmael. They teach that God has no son and that Jesus is a good prophet. The Islamic advance gained control of Jerusalem and the holy land, resulting in the infamous Crusades. Jerusalem remained in the hands of Muslims through the Ottoman empire until 1917, when it was surrendered to the British and the ‘British Mandate’ resulted.

Israel became a nation in 1948 and was given a slither of land by the United Nations, and the rest was set aside for a future Palestinian state. Remember, the land was given to Israel by God, but he carted them into exile under Babylonian occupation. Later, they returned and rebuilt the temple and city of Jerusalem.

The land we know as Israel remained under Persian, Greek, and Roman occupation until the collapse of the RomanEmpire. Romans 11:26 tells us that the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable, and Isaiah 49 tells us that God cannot forget Israel or Zion.

God began restoring the people of Israel to the land slowly until, by 1948, there were enough to form a nation with a small army, that with God’s help, were able to defeat its attackers. Fast forward to 1967 when Jordan, Egypt, and Syria attacked Israel in the 6-day war and were defeated in this war, losing land to Israel, including Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and land in the Sinai that was later given back to Egypt. Most recently, Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, lining the world up to God’s plan.

Jerusalem: The Battle of The End of The Age

What Donald Trump did was recognizing Jerusalem as God’s chosen city, which is outlined throughout scripture. It is the city where He has chosen to place His name forever. This is a prelude to The New Jerusalem. Nevertheless, it has always been God’s intent for the nations to come and gather in Jerusalem worshipping His son, The King of Zion, and King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

Many Christians argue that God doesn’t have a capital on the earth and even go so far as to say that the church has replaced Israel. This is contrary to scripture, and Paul outlines this in the New Testament in Romans chapters nine thru eleven. Jerusalem is the unique place where Jesus died, was buried, and arose, and later ascended to heaven from the nearby Mount of Olives, where He will return and establish His Kingdom on the earth for 1,000 years.

Despite God’s plans for Jerusalem, Israel, and the Church, in the end, Satan seeks to prevent all of this. When Paul wrote all Israel shall be saved, I believe that it will happen at some point. I also believe, as scripture teaches, that it must come through Jesus, and there is no separate path to salvation now for Jews. The covenant with the Jews is about the land.

The Jews gave us the Bible, a day off each week, and salvation through Jesus. Why would we not want to see His own people repent and be saved?

Still, this is all a spiritual battle for Jerusalem, mainly to prevent the return of Jesus. Jesus told His people that they would not see Him again until they say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ Satan’s goal is to prevent that any way he can.

By destroying the Jews, keeping them out of the land, and preventing Jesus’ return to Jerusalem, Satan plans to stop the return of Jesus and His rule on the earth.

There will be great battles with the loss of much life over Jerusalem in the end. Before that, there is much that must take place.

Iran (Persia) and War

In his first one hundred years in office, President Joseph Biden has undone much of Donald Trump’s accomplishments. One of the worst steps was to take the gloves off of Iran, allowing them to freely move freely, with no sanctions, and restart their nuclear program (if they ever stopped). We know that Iran is the leading supporter of terrorism in the Middle East and a major supplier of arms to Hamas in Gaza.

Iran also incites riots in the West Bank and Gaza and Western nations with large Jewish populations or Pro-Israel stands.

In Psalm 83, we see many of Israel’s enemies listed who desire to wipe them off the map. Included are the tents of Edom, which are the Palestinians. I don’t believe that most people in these nations are terrorists and genuinely seek to live in peace. Many Arabs lived alongside Jews in Israel in peace. But we saw the rise of hatred and rioting as neighbor fought neighbor recently.

Even though we may not see these wars yet, we see the beginnings or increase in birth pangs. Anti-semitism and anti-Israel is a spirit of division, hate, and a spirit of Anti-Christ. To hate Jews is to hate Jews and hate Israel. Jesus will return as a Jewish King. He will return as God. He has not ceased to be fully God and fully man, and a Jewish man at that.

Road Signs Increasingly Closer

Think of it this way: When I left St. Louis heading back to Kansas City, I would see a sign that would read Kansas City 242 miles. Consider that like the destruction of the temple and scattering of the Jews in 70 AD. Then later, I would see another sign, KC 192, 175, and 150, until I got within 101 miles of KC.

Each sign was letting me know that I was closer to Kansas City and what lay ahead. From mile 242 to mile 101, I passed several signs, but, in between each sign, I encountered rivers, towns, farms, and change of scenery.

It’s like The Jews encountered another diaspora, the Crusades, Inquisitions, and other related tragedies until finally, the Russian pogroms were issued in 1881, allowing one-third of the Jews there to return to Israel.

At mile marker 101, it was always a great place to stop and refresh before that last push. That would be like the freedom from the Ottomans to the British mandate leading up to 1948.

It seemed that I would always get more tired as I drove closer to Kansas City, and yet I could feel home nearby.

So it has been for the Jews. Many hundreds of thousands have taken aliyah from Europe, the former Soviet Union, and also South America, Canada, and the US.

The signs are here for us. What we see now is like a sign I might see stating that I was only 28 miles from Kansas City. You see, it has been a long journey for Israel. It has also seen the church go from being its worst enemy to the best friend.

As we enter the last stages of the battle for Jerusalem and the return of the Jewish King to His city, we will see more such attacks on Jews and even lovers of Israel. Many people blame all the problems of the world on Jews. Like any ethnic group, they have their faults and are undoubtedly guilty of many things. Taking over the world is not one of them.

Jesus is returning for one church, made up of people from the nations and Israel. This is the one new man that paul wrote about in Ephesians 2. While we are praying that Israel is provoked to jealousy by the church and the nations, we know that the enemy will do all he can to stop this. If he can bring division between Jew and Arab, then he will. But the truth is that many Arab Muslims are becoming followers of Jesus, which is causing many Jews to turn to Him as well.

Establishing Jerusalem as a Praise

Isaiah 62:7 speaks of placing watchmen on the wall until ‘Jerusalem is made a praise in all of the earth.” Jerusalem is far from being a praise. It is fought over, and many seek to divide it. There is no peace in Jerusalem and will not be lasting peace until Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom, thereby establishing Jerusalem as ‘a praise.’

Every instance of violence between Jews and the nations is a counter what God has planned for Jerusalem and Israel. The struggle to displace the Jews from their ancient homeland and to return it to other nations will continue as part of the demonic plan for the anti-Christ spirit to not only destroy Israel but rule the world. It is nothing new, but it is growing more and more intense.

As terroism increases and the struggle for the land continues, the drive for a two state solution will continued to be heralded by the ‘nations’ until that is realized, Israel is wiped out by the Psalm 83 confederacy, or Jesus returns.

Watch the signs and study the Bible, praying for the Peace of Jerusalem and that God will establish Jerusalem as a praise. Pray for the nations to recognize Jesus as their King and fall in line with the prophetic plans that God has promised for Israel, the Church, and the nations.

A few things that must take place before Jesus returns: Jerusalem cries, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the nations evangelized (gospel preached to all nations) and worldwide revival. I believe the revival that is coming to Israel will begin in Tel-Aviv as it is a very secular city with little religious presence. This is where Peter was used to raise Dorcas from the dead. It was Joppa, modern Tel-Aviv where this took place. There is already a mighty move of God taking place. Secondly, Arabs will come to the Lord and that is happening.

Don’t Lose Heart

I urge you to not lose heart but pray and watch just as Jesus told His disciples to do. Don’t let the news media or events determine your response but rather the Holy Spirit. As the signs say we are close the return of Jesus then look up and cry out Maranatha! Even so, Come Lord Jesus, establish your kingdom.

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Pentecost in Ruth: A Prelude To The Harvest Of The Nations

Morning Prayer: 23 Oct – Revelation 14:14-16 ~ harvest time – The Peanut  Gallery

While Christians will celebrate Pentecost Sunday next week on May 23, 2021, at Sundown today, Jews will begin to celebrate this special Holiday associated with Harvests. This year, it is an unusual time as Jews in Israel, especially near Gaza, are under attack, and a barrage of rockets being launched by a few terrorists in Gaza.

But, how fitting that this is happening at this time. It reminds us of God’s heart to bring all of the nations back home and worshipping His Son, the lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Pentecost is about harvest and the Torah (law) and the nations. Last year I wrote about Moses receiving the Torah at the first Pentecost, which occurs fifty days after Passover.

A Time of Harvests

Passover is the first of the feasts and occurs at the beginning of Spring. It marks the first of the year. It begins the agricultural year and is a series of three feasts. It is celebrated at the beginning of the barley harvest and is followed fifty days later with Pentecost, which is at the end of the wheat harvest and start of the fruit harvest.

So, it is a sure bet that God is into celebrating harvests. We see these hints throughout the text, and when we come to Ruth, it is totally centered on the wheat harvest. Ruth was a Moabite woman whose husband had died while the family was in Moab due to a famine.

Naomi was Ruth’s mother-in-law and tried to make her stay in Moab, but Ruth refused. She follows her back to the little town of Bethlehem at about Passover time. Ruth gleans the field of the kinsman-redeemer, Boaz, and in the end, they marry and are the great-grandparents of King David. It was not a common thing to marry a foreign woman, but God had great intentions as He begins to open the door for the nations to start to be grafted in.

Ruth is read in synagogues everywhere at Pentecost, and we Christians need to take note. We focus on the giving of the Holy Spirit, as we should, but we fail to see the Father’s heart in this event. The People gathered at that first Pentecostal outpouring were Jews from other nations. They spoke different languages, and the goal was to take the gospel, with power, back to their nation and spread it.

Not For Just A Few

The story of Ruth gathering the leftovers in the field demonstrates that there is provision for everyone. It shows God’s lengths to gather the nation’s. Ruth, the Moabite, the enemy of Israel, was allowed to do something that required special permission. But, she had been married to an Israeli, and when it came time for her betrothal to Boaz, the closest kinsman turned her down. It wasn’t a rejection, but rather an approval from the one who had to give it that he wasn’t interested, but another man was.

It is such a beautiful story, packed full of shadows and types pointing to the New Covenant and the harvesting of the nations. The best thing about it is that it occurs during the upheaval, known as the period of “Judges” in Israel’s history. That is just like God to set the harvest of nations and a beautiful love story that points to Jesus and His Bride coming from all of the nations amid war, rebellion, sin, apostasy, and repentance, and the raising up of a deliverer known as a Judge.

It sounds like today, and still, it could be the book of Revelation. Wow! What an amazing piece of literature. Israel was fighting the nations that oppressed her, yet God brought one in here or there as a token of the coming days of harvest.

We Need The Holy Spirit More Than Ever

AS you can see, harvest time is set right smack in the middle of chaos, war, peace, and everyday life. To walk in our identity and fulfill the church’s mandate to disciple every nation, we must carry the full anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The book of Ruth demonstrates God’s desire to harvest people from every nation, no matter the cost.

The poor of Israel’s enemy, Moab, was allowed to gather the leftovers as if they were a part of the nation of Israel. This must-have infuriated the Political and Religious leaders of the day. Like the Church of today, we don’t want to reach the poor and down-trodden in our backyard or the nations. We also camp out on our pet doctrines and practices and dissociate with those who disagree with how we worship or pray.

For the nation’s to be harvested, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us so much that we have no choice but to walk in love and unity. That is what the world needs to see, a Church demonstrating the love of Christ. A Church that loves all peoples, tribes, tongues, and ethnicities and lets the Holy Spirit transform them instead of trying to get them to conform to ‘our way.’

We need the Spirit, Word, and Power to come together like never before so that we can prepare the Church, the nations, and Israel for the return of the King, Jesus, Ruth’s descendant.

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Praying For The Peace of Jerusalem: Jew and Arab

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem - Mount Hermon Baptist Church

The current Mideast crisis and near civil war in Israel have brought many issues to the light. The eruptions come as Israeli Jews celebrate Jerusalem day concurrently with the end of Ramadan. We know that this is a huge spiritual battle that goes back thousands of years, even to the life of Abraham and his sons Isaac and Ishmael.

Since Islam came to the region over a thousand years ago, tensions and struggles grew. In modern times we can see how God restored the state of Israel, as the Jewish homeland and a nation of many people groups and religions. Israel has laws allowing its citizens to practice religion without hindrance. Jews and Arabs have lived side by side and helped each other now for many years. Arabs are elected to the Knesset, or Israeli parliament, and serve the country in many ways.

Twenty percent of the population of Israel are Arabs. Then there are the Arabs who live in Gaza and the West Bank. All of them are cousins of the Jordanians, descendants of Edom and Moab. There are also many Arab Christians. Many of these despise Jews, but they still get along.

The current crisis is a continuation of the many ethnic, religious, and other cultural differences from the past millennia. There is a spirit behind it that drives the hate and division. Yes, Satan desires to wipe out the ‘apple of God’s eye” and prevent Messiah from returning to Mt. of Olives and Mount Zion. It is God’s desire, and it will happen, that all nations will gather in Jerusalem and pray and worship Jesus. It will happen. But, we must continue to pray.

Psalm 122:7 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’

This verse details God’s command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Great! What does that mean? The Palestinian Arabs are a part of the land of Israel. They also live in Jerusalem. Yes, the nations are in Jerusalem.

Psalm 122 is primarily about ascending to Jerusalem and the house of the Lord. It is about that city prospering for the sake of the name of God and the house of God.

The two-state question continues to be a significant source of division among the peoples of Israel and even the nations. Ultimately, Jesus will come back and set up His kingdom on the earth with Jerusalem as the capital. For now, there is no peace in Israel, Jerusalem or the nations.

The situation in Israel reminds us of the racial problem in America, mostly between black and white. The Arab-Jew situation in some ways is no different as it is a racial problem, but it goes deeper. I am reminded of Jesus’ words about nation vs. nation in the end times. This will only get worse until it ultimately ends when Jesus returns.

There are many prophecies about many wars regarding Israel in the latter days. There is the Psalm 83 war, Ezekiel 38-39, and many others. God also promised to wipe out the Edomites in Obadiah and other prophecies. Yet, there is always a remnant. The terrorists that have fueled the current crisis are driven by demonic structures from places like Iran and groups like Hamas (Gaza) and Hezbollah (Lebanon).

As the crisis continues, we must pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all Israel and the nations’ to come to salvation in Jesus. We must pray that Jerusalem will become a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:7). We must pray the other nations will not continue to see Israel as the aggressor but rather a nation defending its land and people. Eretz Israel and Am Israel are synonymous. The land and the people of Israel cannot be separated. Pray for more Christians or followers of Jesus to understand this, but likewise for peace and salvation for the Arabs.

When I was in Israel, the Lord gave me a heart for the Arabs. God is bringing salvation to Muslims all over the world, as well as many Jews, through Jesus. I believe that God will use the Arabs to provoke the Jews to jealousy, as Paul wrote in Ephesus.

Many believers visit Israel and the Holy sites and never encounter any Arabs, or they are never really exposed to any of the plethoras of problems that exist there. There exists an infatuation with Jews, Israel, and the Holy land without ever considering what is going on behind the scenes and what is at stake. They visit, put money into the economy, go back home, and never develop a heart to truly pray and intercede for the Salvation of Israel (all) and the peace of Jerusalem.

Not only do we need to see an end to the current crisis, but peace, in Jesus’ name to fall everywhere. We need to see the advances made by bringing Israel’s neighbors into the peace process over the last year flourish. It’s time for the Philistinian land of Gaza to fall in line with God’s desire for her to become a nation worshipping around His throne. While the current residents of Gaza are not descendants of the ancient Philistines, the land of Gaza has long been a thorn in the flesh of Israel.

After the reign of King David, the Philistines ceased to be a nation at war with Israel. The Philistine cities continued to be around until the Babylonian invasion, but King David seemed to end Israel’s fighting. So it is with Israel’s King, Jesus. He is the only one that can end the terror driving from Gaza and all of Israel’s enemies.

Let our prayer be, ‘come Lord Jesus’ and establish your throne in Jerusalem. In the meantime, when you pray for Israel, make sure you don’t forget the Palestinian Arabs and their Salvation and hope in Isa or Jesus.

Let us not sleep or slumber until He makes Jerusalem a praise in all of the earth, according to Isaiah 62!!!!,

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Twelve Ways The Church Is Called To Prepare The Way Of The Lord: Introduction

A Voice, Crying!

Isaiah 40:3-4 is the forerunner message and is the verse that John the Baptist quoted to say who he was when he came on the scene.

“A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain shall be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.’” (ESV)

Later we read in John 1:23, “‘I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (NIV)

John says that he is that voice, and we know that he partially and fully completed that prophecy. He fulfilled it since he was right there crying ‘repent the kingdom of God is at hand.” He later pointed to Jesus and said, ‘Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’

John came baptizing, and later he would baptize Jesus as if he were anointing the High Priest. John indeed was a voice in the Judean wilderness and in the wilderness of darkness, where there was no authentic voice from Heaven. He preached among the religious spirits that could not recognize the Messiah was among them.

John only partially fulfilled that word because He was preparing the way, and the Messiah did appear, but Jesus returned to Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the Father to say, “Go get your bride, son.”

John is dead and numbered among the cloud of witnesses in the New Jerusalem that are watching you and me saying, ‘Hey are you going to prepare the way this time?” There was no church around in John’s day. Most people were trapped in a religious system where they went to the synagogue, and the rabbi taught. They tried living according to the Law as strictly as possible, with males going ‘‘up’ to Jerusalem three times per year as was prescribed.

Then comes John, who sought the face of the Lord in the desert with a group known as the Essenes. They lived a life of fasting and prayer and studying the texts looking for the Messiah. It was these people that Jesus referred to when he sent some disciples to go and prepare the place for them to take the Pesach (Passover Meal). These were the men who lived in an upper room outside the city, but today is beside the old city.

John was one of them. There were specific characteristics that they had. The Jews have been taught since Malachi’s days to look for Elijah first. Many today are looking for Elijah, and perhaps he is one of the two witnesses, or maybe it is a ‘spirit’ that will be in a few people or on the body of Christ as a whole. I don’t know, and I am tired of trying to figure it out. I am of the mindset now the whole church is like Elijah. We have been entrusted with the task of ‘preparing the way of the Lord.’

In the last thousand or so years, there have been those forerunners who stood out because there were no others to take their own special place and go and do in the name of the Lord. The Patrick’s, Boniface’s, William Carey’s, Amy Carmichael’s, Zinzendorff’s, Wesley’s, Spurgeon’s, William Seymour’s, Billy Graham’s, and Steve Hill’s, just to name a few, took their role and obeyed the Holy Spirit. They walked in power and anointing to fulfill their task.

But, what if there were hundreds more like them in their day. Just imagine how many souls would have been won, unreached peoples reached, or how many healings, deliverances, and miracles would have taken place. How many intercessors or worshippers missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime because they didn’t take the time to prepare themselves?

The Church is the bride of Christ and should be preparing the world for Christ’s imminent return. To do that, she must be made ready herself. It is a two-fold assignment that runs concurrently. The bride must be made prepared but must also prepare the way. But you might be saying I thought the forerunner prepared the way.

It is like men are the bride of Christ with women, yet women are Sons of God with men.

I do believe that there are forerunners who have unique jobs in the kingdom in preparing the way. I am a small voice who is called to write, preach, and sound the shofar. I also expect miracles, salvation, wonders, deliverance, and healings to occur as a result of my ministry. These things should follow every believer, but they don’t. (Mark 16)

Because so much of the church does not believe in most of the things that she is supposed to, it is incumbent upon a few to be the forerunners and carry the glory in these last days. But, the task still belongs to every believer.

We are called to be worshippers, intercessors, healers, deliverers, and we can all prophecy. Yes, we all have the Holy Spirit, and we can be intimate with Jesus and serve him by doing mercy deeds. We can do spiritual warfare and fellowship with the saints. The Bride is capable of doing everything that Jesus did. She must prepare herself and the way of her King.

This is a call to action, to be a voice in the wilderness of the earth and remove the stones of injustice in spiritual warfare, healing, prophesying, preaching, and so much more. But, you have to see yourself as important and a necessary member of the body of Christ. You and I are raising valleys every time we stand in the gap in intercession or give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.

What follows are twelve practical ways that the Church must operate in before we can see the way of the Lord prepared. Many are talking about training Forerunners in the power of Elijah, and some are talking about burning and shining lamps. How are they (we) supposed to accomplish ‘preparing the way.?’

That is the purpose of this writing. I want to take you on a journey to discover the practical ways that the church must be doing to prepare the way for the King’s return. Each of us, in our particular way, is a forerunner. There are those with powerful ministries, but none more powerful than when you and I worship, pray, serve, deliver, preach, operate in the gifts or fellowship.

We are each called and anointed for specific purposes, so let’s take that anointing and glory to a dark world and tell them that the King is returning!

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My Life: The Making of A Shofar

2 Cor. 14:8 “If the trumpet (shofar) does sound a clear sound, who will get ready for battle?”

Who has not heard the sound of a shofar? It makes a clear, distinct sound when it is blown correctly. In Israel, you hear them all day long on Rosh Hashanah as they declare the Head of the New Year. It also is a time of reflection on creation and the creator and for repentance and judgment. The shofar had many uses in ancient Israel. There are at least twenty uses detailed in the Bible, and you can find more about that in a previous article here entitled “Sound the Shofar’, originally published September 2018.

The shofar is a unique trumpet made from the flesh of animals like rams, kudu, goats, and similar animals but not cattle. How a shofar is made and the life of a shofar after it is formed is genuinely a marvelous story. I realize my story, and perhaps yours, are similar to the life of a shofar. From the time it is removed from the animal carcass until it is a fully functioning shofar, anointed and ready to sound like the voice of the Lord, the process it undergoes is much like the process the Lord takes us through.

Killing The Flesh, Life In The Spirit

A shofar may be used in worship, warfare, or to sound like the voice of the Lord, but every shofar starts as a horn on an animal. I will use a ram for this example since that is the Biblical reference. Horns in the Bible speak of power and anointing, so it is essential to understand that an animal with a horn has power. When the ram dies, the horn is removed, and the flesh hollowed out.

We come into the Kingdom of God full of the carnal or fleshly nature. I was saved when I was young and studied the word, and later I learned about inner healing. I applied the principles that Jesus taught about dying to myself so that He could live. It is an arduous process to remove the blood and cartilage from a ram’s horn. There is also some bone present.

After the flesh is removed and cleaned, the ram’s horn is allowed to dry before the process continues. So it has been in my life where the Holy Spirit would teach me how to apply the word, and the stinking thinking of my soulish ways would eventually surrender to the Spirit which is alive. When you are saved, the Spirit becomes alive, and the struggle between the old mind and the new mind begins.

Like the shofar, we tend to smell like flesh or Spirit. As Jesus takes over more and more of us, the flesh smell ceases, and we start to smell like Him. But what about the outside and the sound? The Holy Spirit has to do some drilling on us and makes us a useful mouthpiece. The Hebrew word for mouth is the same as the letter peh, which means mouth. The prophets of Old were known as the mouthpiece of God.

The New Testament Mouthpiece

Every believer in Jesus has the Holy Spirit and therefore can speak for the King of Kings. We are all emissaries or ambassadors of the king. Our lives become a living speech, yet what comes forth from our mouths must edify and build up, not tear down.

For me, I make no extraordinary claims or have no titles except for servant of the Lord. Yet, He has called my wife and me to sound the alarm in these end of days. We are to declare His coming to set up His kingdom for 1,000 years and prepare the Church, Israel, and the nations for His return.

I have been through the process of having my speech refined and shaped to the point where I pray that I am a fit vessel for Him to speak through. But, it has been a painful process. It has not been easy, but like Paul, God’s grace has been more than sufficient, and He has shown much kindness and mercy towards my family and me.

The Bending in Repentance

A shofar must be bent since part of its sounding and representation is repentance and being bent by God. In one of the notes, Shevarim sounds like crying and is bent to sound like the people cry out in repentance. As I mentioned the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah is a day of joy but also repentance. This should demonstrate that repentance is a good and joyful thing, especially since we have Jesus and the cross.

Therefore, the shofar must be bent, so I have bent through the years towards the goal and purpose that God has for me. The process is not complete but will continue until I leave this life.

The bending of the shofar requires heating up and cooling down, much like the seasons we go through as we are prepared for service. It is like refining silver or gold, where the impurities must be removed. Once we are bent to the desired posture for the high service we are called to, we must be polished.

Polishing the Rough Edges

When we are saved, we all come into the kingdom with a past and a history. We put it under the cross, and we crucify the flesh, but we often retain some ‘rough edges.’ We have to learn the heart of the Father, and that is accomplished by watching His Son and becoming like Him. I have gone through seasons where it was so dry and painful, and I felt nothing of God that I wanted to die. I could not carry on,

But, as those seasons closed and I entered a mountaintop and moved in the Spirit and began to be used, it was like I was polished and shiny. I could go to Walmart, and people could see the reflection of Jesus, and I would not be overwhelmed by the world around me. The polishing process comes after the grinding and makes us ready.

Anointed!

A shofar needs to be anointed with olive oil, and not only does it consecrate it for service, but the oil protects it from drying out and cracking. Did you catch that? The Holy Spirit not only anoints us for the purpose as priests and ministers but so that we don’t become dry, cracked, and stale. I have gone through some dry seasons and felt like I was cracked open and would never heal, but the Holy Spirit has continuously poured fresh oil and refreshed me for more fit service.

Don’t allow the hard seasons to let you get dry, but ask for fresh oil!

Finally, A Unique Sound!

Each shofar makes its own distinct sound. It’s like any musical instrument. Each one sounds different because they are unique. You and I are unique. How God sounds through me will sound different than you or any other follower of Christ.

We have a sound, and it must sound like God, the Father, Son, and Spirit. When the Father picks me up and speaks through me, I must be like that shofar and allow Him to blow through me so that a lost, broken, hurting world will hear the sound clear and distinctly.

We sound the cry for the battle that is here, but we must also sound repentance, joy, love, and hope. The Shofar is an instrument of worship, and we must sound like we spend time in the presence of God through worship and prayer.

Continuous Cleansing

A shofar has to be cleansed and washed and re-anointed from time to time. Saliva mixes with the animal flesh and bacteria, viruses and fungi can set up shop and grow. So it has been with my life and any disciple of Jesus. We need to be continually cleansed from the various things of the world and sins that we may fall prey to. This cleansing ensures that we will always sound clear, crisp, and distinctly unique.

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Where Is The God of Elijah?: My Prophetic Journey

Most believers can recite the cry of Elisha in 2 Kings 2:14 where Elisha takes the mantle of his spiritual father/teacher Elijah that had just fallen from heaven. He picks it up and strikes the waters of the Jordan River saying “where is the God of Elijah?” It is an often quoted phrase today, and many are seeking the anointing and power of Elijah to be poured out on these last days generations. The Jews are still looking for Elijah to return, ahead of the Messiah.

Each and every one of us is on a prophetic journey, whether we realize it or not. If you are not a follower of Jesus then you have yet to embrace the journey. For most who call themselves Christians, they are not even aware they are on such a journey. They try to follow the ordinances outlined in the Bible and follow Christ as best they can. They never connect with the reality that they are on a journey with the Lord and it is a prophetic one. It is prophetic since it is unfolding and is leading each one of us closer to our destiny in God. It is prophetic because we only know pieces of the plans that He has, but don’t know how He will get us there.

My Prophetic Journey

My prophetic journey began when I was about eight years old. I remember I was baptized when I was five or six by my father who was was also my Pastor. I remember saying I was born again, but I didn’t really understand. I was taught the Word, but I always felt there was more to life. When I was eight years old, I remember hearing a voice in my head saying, “Where is the God of Elijah?” I asked my father/pastor ‘where’s the stuff, and why does God not work like He did in the Bible?’

The answer I received was the typical answer from a pastor trained in a seminary that teaches what I now understand is known as cessationism. That simply means that God chooses not to perform signs, wonders, miracles, and healing, or that it went out with the last of the original Apostles. I was devastated to learn that the stuff I read about in the Old and New Testament was no longer valid.

Yet, I had these supernatural encounters, such as visions and dreams. Unusual stuff happened and I just seemed to have great discernment. As I grew up I always read my Bible and tried to pray, but there was always something not right. I rebelled often, yet I still had a hunger and thirst to know the God of Elijah, His word, His Spirit and His Son in a deep way. I also knew that I was not being told the full truth.

So I wandered through school and went to college like we are all told to do. I was trying to find the so-called American dream. I had heard about the Kingdom of God and Heaven but never really understood it. Still, one day I was driving to downtown Atlanta to school and it seems the heavens opened, and I saw a man with a beard, some sheep in a pasture, and I heard a voice say, “Feed My Sheep.” That vision changed my whole life. I sought to answer the call but everywhere I turned Christians, both leaders and non-leaders said that God didn’t speak like that today, or they simply looked at me like I was from Mars.

I didn’t give up as my dream life was a vehicle that God used to show me things and encourage other people. Finally in 1995 in Conyers, Ga. I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and nothing has been the same ever since. My prophetic journey has been filled with many wildernesses, and seasons of hunger and thirst for more of God.

Silences of God and Dark Night of The Soul

It doesn’t sound like God to be silent when He is always speaking, but I encountered a season where God was silent, and I was told by a prophet to embrace the silence. I quickly learned that God speaks in many ways and it was part of the process in growing and maturing on my journey. It was preparation for greater things. At one point I walked away since I no longer heard God or had dreams and visions. Later, God showed up in powerful ways and I soon began receiving words of knowledge and wisdom for many people.

I had experienced many moves of God, but when everything went wrong and we had no answers, our only hope was to cry out to God and trust Him. I didn’t have a vision or a word except that He would take care of everything if we followed Him. There were many ups and downs and turns and twists as the path often became obscure.

Miracles, Signs, and Healings!

Back when we first got married my mom had a massive cerebral hemorrhage and by all means should have died or been a vegetable for life. But God decided He needed her around and he healed her. We still didn’t know about divine healing. It seems that there have always things going on around me in the supernatural.

In 2012 I took my wife out for her birthday and a man came over at the cafe near the missions base where we worked. He asked if he could sit with us and as the conversation began he looked at me and said ‘minister out of the revelatory.’ Later I tried to follow up with that man and the phone number he left was valid and it was as if he came out of nowhere, and left suddenly. I always felt he was an angel. Since then we have seen many, many angels in many forms.

The Lord continued to increase dreams, visions, and angelic activity as we cried for more and were found faithful in what He had given us previously. I also began to experience periods where we would be on our last penny and food or money would show up. God used the least expected person or way to provide.

My prophetic journey has seen many battles and confrontations as the enemy has threw all it has to try to stop me and my family from advancing into our destiny. The journey continues and He is teaching me to do everything from the place of rest. That is the goal, where we are at rest at all times and we are trusting fully in the Holy Spirit.

Elisha’s prophetic journey began long before Elijah threw his mantle on him and told him to follow him. I still cry out for the God of Elijah, but what I have discovered is the God of Elijah is the God of Joseph (Joey). He answered by fire for Elijah, but for me He answers suddenly.

Your prophetic journey is unique to you. It is never ending and like everyone else’s it is full of encounters with God as well as seasons of dryness. Do not despair as you move on the journey, for God is always for you. I suggest that you sit down and write out your prophetic journey. Begin with encounters, including salvation, special dreams, and moments where God stepped in and changed the course of your life.

This is your story that He is writing. Continue to seek Him daily and expect Him to speak to you fresh every day. Study the prophetic journey’s of people in the Bible. Look at their lives and characteristics that they possess. I am sure that someone will stick out to you that you admire and wished that you had their anointing or that God would use you like that.

Our subject here, Elijah, seems to have burst on the scene when he proclaimed that it would not rain for seven years except at his word. But we know that the journey started long before that. He was most likely from a priestly family in the area of Tishbe. All that we have is the words recorded in the text, but we see a humble man with a heart for widows, and to see God’s justice and righteousness upheld. We see a man that knew how to call fire down from heaven, and intercede like a twisted potato chip. But we also see a man who had a little fear and looked for a cave to hide from the wicked queen’s threats.

He was a man who could turn hearts back to God and also train the next prophet. His journey ended when a chariot of fire from heaven came and took him to heaven. What was it about his life and character, like Enoch, that grabbed the heart of God to the point where God just brought him on up to live around the throne.

Whatever our prophetic journey, it must have a desperation in this hour for more of the presence of God, more Holy fire, and more of His glory. While he is developing our character and shaping our journey we must continue to seek Him with all of our heart. Don’t stop, the best is yet to be written for your journey.

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Carriers of The Glory: To The Streets

Illustration Of Four Priests Carrying The Ark Of The Covenant And Crossing  The River Jordan High-Res Vector Graphic - Getty Images

You may have heard the saying ‘we need to take the glory to the streets’ or ‘get the church past the four walls.’ But what does that mean? Do we really understand what the glory is and how to carry it? Is there a Biblical precedent for such language?

To grow and thrive and the message of the gospel to go forth in the vast swaths of darkness that surround us today, we must understand what we, as disciples of Christ, have and how to carry it and shine the light of the gospel. We all know that Jesus is the light and that when we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, we are carriers of that light.

It’s Not For Our Entertainment

Unfortunately, the Western Church has come to the place that the Holy Spirit is reserved for Sunday mornings and a few prayer meetings. We spend most of our time at corporate gatherings trying to get filled up and wanting a fresh touch that we forget the Holy Spirit’s purpose. He lives in us to teach, guide, bless, lead, direct counsel, and a whole host of other things. He is our worship and prayer leader, but we treat Him solely as the guy that makes us feel good in meetings.

You see we should come filled up to overflowing and expect more and then leave and go to our homes, businesses, restaurants, and wherever we go overflowing so that the power of the Holy Spirit falls on the people we meet. But, what we see is Christians walking around without the power of God flowing in our lives.

The Holy Spirit is the person of the Godhead that dwells inside of each believer. He took the time to come as a man, Jesus Christ, pay the price for our sins, suffered, died, and arose from the dead and ascended to heaven where He is seated awaiting His return and establishment of His kingdom here. He sent the Holy Spirit so that we can live the life he called us to live. Yet, we have placed the Holy Spirit to a prayer language we use once per week, and maybe a few healings and a couple of decent prophecies.

The Holy Spirit is not our source of entertainment, nor is a worship[ service a concert!!!

Where Is The Power?

So, where is the power of the Holy Spirit? Where is the power to help us overcome the thoughts and evil ways that constantly pervade our minds? Finally, where is the power to heal, deliver, and set captives free?

It is in us, but we are not partnering with Him. We forget that the Holy Spirit is a person. We tend to treat him as a force like on Star Wars. He is a member of the Godhead and wants to fellowship with us, and He wants to use us. He wants to fill us with power to heal, deliver and set captives free. So what is the problem?

It has something to do with faith and lack of surrender. We don’t believe, so we don’t surrender and obey. He gives us our daily battle plans and tells us when to worship, pray, and when to sit at the feet of Jesus. He also wants to tell us to pray for the sick, cast out demons, and set the captives free.

We must learn to walk in accord with the Spirit like guitar strings flow in harmony. Otherwise, we will continue to flounder in our selfish, powerless ways, and the world will continue to dwell in the darkness around us. Without the Holy Spirit flowing through us, the world will not experience the love and freedom of Christ. God’s glory or light and presence must be demonstrated outside of the four walls of the Church.

Lessons From The Old Testament

The token or symbol of God’s presence in the Old Testament was the ark of the covenant. The ark was where the mercy seat was and where the presence of God came and settled when the High priest laid the sacrifices for the sins of Israel. There are a few times when the ark was carried in broad view to demonstrate the presence and power of God to the world.

In the book of Joshua, God commanded the priests to carry the ark around the city of Jericho for seven days, and then on the seventh day after the shofar was sounded, the walls fell. Now, we know that the walls of Jericho could have quickly fallen by the hand of God without that demonstration. I believe the application for us is that God partners with His people in taking the land. We need the preaching of the gospel, but we also need a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. He needs us, and we need Him. That is His plan to bring glory to the earth.

Later, the Children of Israel take the ark from the Holy of Holies and flippantly place it on the battlefield in front of the Philistines. It is equivalent to believers attempting to bring the glory to a lost world without the Holy Spirit’s power. There is protocol, and the Children of Isreal did not follow that when they brought out the ark. We have to take the time and sit in the presence of God and worship and pray and listen and obey what He says, not do it our way.

After the ark sat in a village near the Philistine territory for thirty years, David decided to bring it to Jerusalem. No one had sought it since Saul became king. Don’t let it be said that we didn’t seek the Holy Spirit but instead deemed Him to just our corporate time or our prayer closet at home. David pitched a tent for the ark. You are a tent of clay, according to the book of Job. Have you prepared your tent through repentance, consecration, and worship for the Holy Spirit to overtake you and use you?

It’s Time

It’s time to take the Glory of God to the streets, whether that be at your workplace, business, factory, mega supermarket, school, and college, or governmental entity. It’s Biblical since we see Paul and others doing much of their ministry ‘in the streets’ or, as some call it, the marketplace. The true Church or body of believers cannot be confined to a building or even a home. It needs to breathe. It is a living, breathing being, the bride of Christ and must walk in full, mature stature.

Part of being a bride made ready is not just a Holy, cleansed bride who knows and understands intimacy with her bridegroom, nor is just limited to being a warring bride. The bride of Jesus Christ becomes mature when signs, wonders, miracles, healings, deliverance, and moving freely in the streets are normal.

What are you waiting for? Get filled to overflowing and take it out wherever you go.

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Trusting God Or Testing God

How Israel Complaining 14 Times Mirrors Your Christian Journey | One Lord  One Body Ministries

We hear it all throughout the Bible, and every day we hear someone telling us ‘just trust God.’ It sounds simple enough. We say to a friend to trust God, or sometimes we ask, ‘where’s your faith?’ We often say I believe God, or I trust God, and it’s in His hands. When in reality we grow impatient, worry, become anxious, and finally, we start to complain.

Throughout their history, Israel constantly complained to God and about God. Right after they left Egypt, they were complaining to Moses about the lack of water of food. We see the pattern repeated over and over. Then there is the idolatry that they are plunged into when they turn to the nations around them.

Not Satisfied

When we complain, we become like the children of Israel who were not satisfied. Over and over, God tells the writers of the Old Covenant that if they had only obeyed Him, He would have satisfied them and filled them to overflowing.

Psalm 81:10ff

I the Lord am your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11- But My people did not listen to my voice, and Israel did not obey Me.

13- Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways.

14- I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their adversaries.

In Deuteronomy, God had Moses repeat the Law and the promises of God to a new generation, the generation that was born and raised in the wilderness. The generation before them murmured, complained, and groaned to Moses about God about everything.

They did not trust Him to provide or that He could deliver them into the promised land when ten spies gave an evil report. The pattern is repeated in the conquest of Canaan. In Deuteronomy 28, Moses outlines all of the benefits and blessings that God would heap on the Israelites ‘if they would obey His voice.”

Serve God With Joy and Gladness of Heart

Deuteronomy 28: 47

Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart for the abundance of all things; 48- therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord sends against you, in hunger, thirst, and nakedness and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.” (NASB)

God gave them the commandments as boundaries to protect them from all of the curses of the nations and their ‘gods.’ He told them to obey Him and His voice and what would happen if they didn’t. By not serving Him and complaining and turning to other gods, they were in essence not satisfied. There was no joy in the abundance of His provision. Had they realized His provision when the spies saw the abundance, then they would have all joyfully said, we can take the land, with God’s leadership, of course.

Testing God Equals Not Listening

If we serve God, then we must obey His voice. Obedience is trust, disobedience is a lack of trust and therefore is putting God to the test. When we do not trust God and complain, we are testing Him as the Israelites did in the wilderness.

Numbers 14:22 “ Surely all of the men who have seen my glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and the wilderness, yet they have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice.”

Did you catch that? Complaining is the same as testing God, and both of those equal not listening to His voice. We have the word of God, which tells us not to worry or not to be anxious but how much our heavenly Father loves us and will provide for us. He is always good and faithful. We want it instantly and the way we want it. We tend to complain if He does not do it the way we thought.

Perhaps our thought was derived from not listening. God’s written and spoken Word is what we need to live by. It is there for us, and we should say thank you and obey Him joyfully. When we believe His word, we do our part and wait and watch for Him to perform the rest.

Not Just an Old Covenant Thing

It’s not just an Old Testament topic. Paul writes on Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent children of God, without blemish in a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (ESV)

Paul was writing to the Church at Philippi to be thankful in all things and not give way to grumbling and complaining. He tells them it not only separates them from God but also diminishes their witness among the nations. That is exactly what happened to the Children of Israel in the Old Covenant. Their complaining went up to the ears of YHWH, and he heard and wanted to destroy them, but Moses stood up and interceded. Later, we see a plague break out after the Israeli men were fornicating with the Moabite and Midianite women. Phinehas stood up and interposed this time, but not in prayer but by throwing a spear into a guilty couple caught in the act.

There was a reason that God had forbidden them to marry and have sex with the other nations. They were supposed to obey God and be a ‘light to the other nations.” But they were not satisfied with God and did not serve or worship him with joy and a glad heart. Thus, instead of trusting Him and obeying and being satisfied, they put Him to the test and complained.

Entitled To What?

We hear so much of entitlement today. Every group uses the term to get what they want. That might be equality under the law, or some monetary gain or better jobs, or housing. Each group says that they ‘deserve’ it based on some quality.

Does any of us really deserve anything? Jesus died on the cross to keep us from what we deserve, banishment to hell or separation from God forever. We should live a life of joy and thanksgiving for that alone. But as believers and disciples, we are alive in the kingdom of God. We are born into it through repentance. He has provided so much for us, but we look around and want what the world offers.

Really? We feel that we deserve things of the world. God blesses us with the riches of His glory. Cars, houses, and good jobs are worthy things to have. God provides the best for His children. But, we cannot grumble and complain when He gives us a twenty-year-old car that runs and looks like a new one, and we wanted a $100,000 car and a million-dollar house when we just needed a cottage.

We don’t deserve it, but He provides for us. So, why are we not satisfied, and why do we serve Him with continual grumbling and complaining.

Remember, we laid down our lives when we came into the kingdom. Jesus is our Lord, and we should rejoice and be grateful.

It’s Time To Trust With All of Your Heart

Now is the hour to trust Him with all of your heart. After all, isn’t that the first commandment, ‘to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, emotions, etc.?’ In all that we do, we must quit complaining and trust Him, not test Him. Listen, obey and trust, not stop up your ears, complain and grumble. Don’t you get tired of complaining I do!!!!

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Applying James 2 to Your Dreams

Applying James 2 to Your Dreams

FightTheFear: Getting Out Of The Boat | Jesus walk on water, Walk on water,  Boating quotes

We all have dreams and desires that God has put in our hearts, yet we still see them unfulfilled. We are quick to blame it on the enemy, circumstances, or other issues standing in our way. Then we hear someone quote a verse from James 2 stating, “Faith without works is dead.”

They are quick to cite story after story about someone’s faith and the remarkable exploits of the Bible. Perhaps we read some faith-inspiring book or blog or watch some video telling us repeatedly the stories of someone else faith. It was their faith in what God had called them to do that led them to do it. Hebrews eleven is filled with the names, deeds, and outcomes of these people.

God’s Plan, Not Ours

I have had many big dreams all of my life, and I have had many prophetic words spoken to remind me of those ideas, plans, callings, and desires. They were not delusions in my mind. God had spoken. The problem was I sat in the boat too long. Jesus told Peter to get out of the boat. For years I kept hearing “get out of the boat.”

Peter got out of the boat and walked on water briefly. Scripture tells us that it was Peter’s lack of faith that caused him to sink. Matthew 14: 22-33 explains that Peter saw the wind and sank.

It was God’s plan for Abraham to be an ‘exalted father of many peoples. ‘ It was his plan for Peter to not just walk on water but by faith do great exploits. His plan for the disciples and all who would call themselves disciples since then is to walk with Him by faith.

I sat in the boat, and when I finally stepped out, I complained or whined when things started getting rough. I knew I was called to greatness and turn the world upside down. I set out to be a history maker. But what happened? Oh, I forgot that it was His plan, not man. I had faith, but I lacked initiative, and when I finally moved forward,d I had missed the opportunity. But it is still not too late.

Moving Forward

Peter sank in the water, big deal! You and I have fallen many times. Did we quit? No, we are still here. I have faced many adversities only to see God bring my family and me through. But we had to learn some hard lessons. The stories of the Bible don’t include all of the setbacks that our heroes of old faced.

Consider that Abraham had to get permission from Sarah to take Isaac up to Moriah. Maybe she nagged him, but Abraham faced many questions along the way, and probably some relative stood in the way. Perhaps he didn’t bring enough food or other provisions. The point is we don’t know what he was challenged with, but he got up and got going.

Perhaps you are like me, and you had a vision for something and tried to think it through and figure it out. Faith requires immediate obedience. If God gives you a world-shaking idea or ministry, it won’t happen overnight. It requires the first step. Start with a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name for your neighbor or the co-worker who despises you.

Or, if you are called to preach the gospel, start by teaching the sixth graders at your church or take out the trash.

Partnering Not Doing

We are called to partner with the Holy Spirit in carrying out what Jesus is asking us to do. When he told Peter to ‘feed my sheep’ he knew Peter was weak and needed a lot of help. Peter’s job was to believe and obey. That is our job too. We don’t say ‘how do you want me to do what you called me to do’ but rather ‘Jesus, I am partnering with you, you do it through me.’ He does this by giving us a simple plan. He does things with excellence and purity. We tend to add to it or take away from what he said.

By not obeying Him precisely as He said, we are doing it ourselves, and it is no longer faith. Faith with works means that we are Jesus’ feet and hands. He knows what He wants to do and how to do it. We tend to use excuses like Moses or the Children of Israel. I have done a lot of things, and I have met with opposition. I didn’t quit, but I kept praying and did exactly what He said, and things turned out rather well.

When we partner with Him and not just do something, we are walking in faith and operating from a place of rest. Faith requires us to walk in rest, the kind of rest that He intended for all of humanity to live in all along.

Way back in the nineties, I knew I was supposed to write a book or two. As of this writing, I have just begun a couple with many ideas floating around. I only started blogging in 2018 to write a book eventually. Before that, I studied the Word and wrote many notes. I journaled and wrote dreams, visions, and interpretations of them. I documented the highs and lows of my life and my prophetic journey,

As I look back, even in my ‘doing,’ I finally came to the place of partnering. Faith caused me to create this blog, and as I take ‘action,’ I will do other things. That action now flows from a place of rest. I cannot be led by fear or doubt or the results of my efforts. If no one ever reads what I wrote or is changed for the better, it is sad, but at least I stepped out and obeyed.

What About You?

Are you doing something that you never thought you would ever do? Do the desires of your heart seem distant? When we are young, we have many beautiful desires but family, careers, and the stuff of life can pull us off course. Still, if you are raising a family or just living one day at a time, then you are further along than you may realize. You will never fly an airplane without taking lessons or learn Hebrew without signing up. Yeah, I waited and made many excuses why I couldn’t learn Hebrew, but now in my fifties, I am learning it. I’m not focusing on the difficulty or where the money will come from because I know it was a God-given desire.

Are you in school? Are you studying what you feel God called you to do? Or are you doing what you need to do so you can have a big house, cars, cash, and all of the other things we so often think we need to enjoy life? If you dream of your own business, there are many ways to be an entrepreneur without going into debt. You will never know unless you ‘get out of the boat.’

You may want to open a restaurant, then wait on tables, or start cooking some of grandma’s best recipes. It can turn into many opportunities.

It takes a step or two to get it started, but one day you will look back and see that baby steps of faith have turned into giant leaps of faith. Begin today accomplishing what He has called you to do by partnering with Him and take the first step.

I pray that when you get out of the boat that you will keep your eyes on Jesus and not the adversities that come your way. Rejoice that God is working in your faith.

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When You Are In The Pit: Don’t Despair

When You Are In The Pit: Don’t Despair.

This is an excerpt from the soon to be released book From Babel to The New Jerusalem: God’s Heart For The Nations

Evelyn Dunbar: Joseph in the Pit (1947)

You may feel like you are in a pit and that there is no way out. All seems lost as everywhere you turn, you face hopelessness, lack, and impossible situations. Everywhere you turn, it looks like a brick wall is staring you in the face.

How did you get here, and what are you going to do about it? Did the enemy surround you and pull the wheels off of everything? Was it circumstances beyond your control that led you into your current situation? Maybe you have a life-threatening disease, loss of job or income, strained relationships, and then no one understands you and thinks you are crazy. Things may have been thrust on you that was not your doing, and no, you see no way out.

You are in good company. Others around you are in a pit. Maybe they dug their own pit. Perhaps someone was out in a pit that God built just for them and this season. Did you catch that? Yes, God can design a pit and put you there to accomplish His purposes. Let’s look at the life of someone we consider to be a forerunner of Christ.

Joseph The Dreamer Goes Down Into The Pit

We find the story of Joseph scattered in the latter chapters of Genesis. Jacob loves Rachel, and she finally bears Jacob a son, whom they name Joseph or may ‘God add.’ Joseph has many dreams where he is elevated to a position of authority. He relates these dreams repeatedly, and it annoys his brothers to the point that they place him in a pit. Later, they pull him out and sell him to a band of Ishmaelite traders.

Eventually, Joseph is raised up to be in charge of a man named Potiphar’s household. Potiphar is a wealthy and powerful man under Pharaoh’s kingdom. But things quickly go awry again.

When Joseph was in the pit, I am sure he pondered why he was there. Maybe he reminded God of all of the promises that He had made him. “You promised my family would bow to me,” he may have told God. Now God is telling him you are in a pit, and you are in no place to dictate terms and what will happen.

God had a purpose in giving Joseph those dreams. He has a purpose in giving you dreams. You may not be called to be the prophet that feeds the nations of the world, but whatever God calls you to do, it is only something that He can do. You can’t do it without Him.

These are when those pit moments become great. God allows us to put ourselves there, or He uses the enemy to get our attention. Sometimes we have to endure multiple pits because we didn’t understand the others, and God had to pull us out, or we got all we needed in that pit.

From Head of House To Head of Prisoners

Joseph had found himself in a nice position since becoming the steward of Potiphar’s house. Everything in that household was at his disposal except for Potiphar’s wife. Joseph had been grounded in the Word of God and knew it was not his place to have his master’s wife. So when he refused her strong and continuous advances, he was eventually thrown in prison since Potiphar’s wife could not have him.

I am sure that by now, Joseph is wondering if God was still on his side or if he would ever see those dreams come to fruition. He had survived the pit, and that turned out ok. He had everything going for him, and now this jail thing has him down. What in the world is going on?

Like Joseph, you may have survived a few pits, and the favor of God is all over you. Suddenly the situation changes, and you find yourself in a bigger, deeper, wider pit than ever before. Or you feel like you are in prison. You quickly lose sight of the promises of God. But the promises of God are still valid. What changed is your circumstances.

God knows where you are at, and He sees all that you are going through. Remember, he allowed you to be where you are. If you ever hope to rise above the place you are in now, you need a fresh set of lenses to see what is happening. You need God’s perspective. He may have promised you a huge promotion, job, or ministry, but right now, you are in deep debt, and you have no income, your spouse is sick, and you can’t afford a doctor.

In these moments, when you surrender everything to God and rest in His promises, you can rise above the situation. God takes us through various seasons where we are pruned, we flourish, and we go through summers and winters and springtimes again.

In Joseph’s case, he had the fortunate opportunity to interpret two of Pharaoh’s top servants’ dreams. You see, God knew that the cupbearer and baker would be in the same prison as He would put Joseph. Nothing takes God by surprise. God needed to get Joseph in front of Pharaoh so that he could not just interpret his dreams but advise him on what to do regarding the potential famine.

Dealing With Character

When God calls us, he prepares us. The bigger the task, the more work He needs to do to get us ready. Pride is undoubtedly one of those things that must be dealt with. Jesus already paid the price for our sins, and we still have character flaws that need work. God allows these pits, prisons, and people who forget us so that every defect and stronghold in our life is dealt with. Joseph had way too much pride to be Pharoah’s second in command.

Joseph’s pride was dealt with to a degree in the pit. God gave him a favor, but Joseph was still not ready to be God’s prophet to the nations. In this case, his prophetic ministry was not so much an oracular one like Isaiah or Jeremiah but a sign ministry. He prepared the nation’s for the famine by saving and storing food. Later, the nations, including the Hebrew children, come down to Egypt to get their provisions.

God loves the nations, and ever since that Babel incident, He has been trying to get their attention. The story of Joseph is just one of those stories that indicate God’s willingness to go to great lengths to save people everywhere, and he will prepare His chosen vessel by any means necessary.

You may not be called to be a significant leader like Joseph, but whatever God calls you to, He will deal with character and shape you into a choice vessel for His service. If you are in a pit, you are in good company, and God is for you.

For more, read Jeremiah’s experience and thank God you are not in his shoes.

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5 Take-Aways on Deliverance and Passover for 2021

What is the story of Passover? - CBBC Newsround

Passover celebration is upon us for 2021, and it’s time to take a look at what we can glean this year from Passover. You don’t have to be Jewish to celebrate Passover, or Pesach, as it has many applications to Jesus and what His life, death, and resurrection entail.

Understanding Passover, past, present, and future, will help us in the days ahead as we encounter the various end time forces seeking to keep us from our destiny and delay or prevent the return of the Greatest deliverer of all time, Jesus Christ.

We can learn and apply many things from the original Passover over 3,000 years ago, but I believe these five things are what the Lord is highlighting for now and the hour we live.

Deliverance From the House of Pharaoh

The house of Pharaoh had held the Children of Israel in bondage for four hundred and thirty years. God had promised Abraham that they would be slaves in and serve the nation that had enslaved them. Pharaoh is like a ‘god’ and is also considered synonymous with the nation of Egypt. To be a slave of Egypt was to be a slave of Pharaoh and his house or lineage.

Pharaoh is also an Anti-Christ type figure as he sought to keep the Children of Israel in bondage and prevent the nation from going out and worshiping the God of the Hebrews or Yahweh freely. Ultimately an Anti-Christ figure or any religion or system that not only opposes worship of Jesus or, in the case of the Hebrews, Yahweh, and seeks to prevent His followers from worshipping Him freely, is an Anti-Christ system.

Anti-Christ is a spirit that seeks to prevent or eradicate the worship of Jesus and God and draw that worship to himself. Pharaoh demanded worship since he was considered a ‘god.’

Later we see in Revelation 15:2 those who had come off victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name standing before the throne of God singing the song of Moses and of the lamb.

The song of Moses has to do with the victory that the Children of Israel gained over the House of Pharaoh and the slavery and bondage that accompanied it. The song of the lamb is the song of Jesus and how He has earned the victory over every Pharaoh spirit that seeks to keep us back. This also demonstrates the victorious church or ekklesia, which includes believers from the nations and Israel and the future victory over this world’s powers. But, mainly, it points to the future time where the saints of God will be victorious over the beast and the Babylonian system.

Do you realize that Jesus delivered you from the House of Pharaoh and the Anti-Christ spirit that tries to stop you from worshipping Jesus? The politicians and the so-called cancel culture and the like are trying to silence your worship. When we speak the truth according to the Word of who Jesus is and what He said, the world hates it. You are free and must never bow to any image, idol, or man. Be like the three Hebrew children in Daniel who would not bow to the Anti-Christ spirit and worship Nebedhunezzars golden image.

Passover means we are free.

Deliverance from the House of Slavery

As previously mentioned, the Children of Israel were slaves for over four hundred years. They came out of slavery and bondage but still had a mindset of slavery. If you have been in bondage to fear, anger, bitterness, addictions or doubt, unbelief, or any other demonic stronghold, you can be free thanks to the blood of Jesus. Like the Hebrews, you are saved, but your mind needs renewing.

The washing accomplishes this renewing of the mind with the water of the Word of God. BY studying the Word of God and declaring what it says about you and not your past or what your mind tells you, your mind becomes transformed. It is a process, but that is how we are to live. We walk by faith each day, studying, praying, and worshipping Him. This Passover, take the time to let the Holy Spirit show you all that Jesus has done for you and let Him show you what the Father says about you. That will liberate your mind. You are a son or daughter of God and not a slave.

Study the book of Galatians, particularly the last chapter. It describes the children of promise and the children of slavery. It’s time to identify with being a child of Promise in the Kingdom of God.

Deliverance To God Himself

If you are delivered from something, then you must be delivered to something. The mail carrier delivers your letter from you to its recipient. Likewise, a newborn child is delivered from its mother’s womb unto its mother’s arms.

When the Children of Israel were delivered from the House of Slavery or House of Pharaoh, they were delivered by Moses to God Himself.

Exodus 19:5 tells us that God brought them to Himself. He says that He bore them on eagle’s wings. It was God, not Moses, that delivered the Hebrews. Moses was the prophet, deliverer, and intercessor who stood as God’s mouthpiece and later stood in the breach for the nation. Moses led the way through the freshly parted sea over onto the dry ground. But Moses was just a bush that refused to be consumed in the desert. He was a vessel that wholly belonged to God.

Moses thus delivered God’s people to Him and not to the promised land. Yes, it is about the land, but first, they must become one with their maker.

Jesus also called twelve to be with Him, but of that number, He chose three and later one who would sit at His feet. Jesus has called us all to be with Him. This Passover, you need to take the time and realize the price that Jesus paid for you to be with Him.

The Holy Spirit has the job of preparing the bride for the bridegroom. God the Father had a whole nation for Himself, Jesus took twelve out of that nation to be with Him, and the Holy Spirit takes anyone from the nations or Israel who will say yes to Jesus and fellowshipping with the Spirit.

Deliverance From Sickness and Death To Healing and Life

One of the things that the New Covenant promises us is that we can have victory over sickness and disease through the cross and the blood of Jesus. Isaiah wrote that by His stripes, you were healed. The blood of Jesus is seen in the four cups of the Passover and the blood on the doorposts.

When the Death Angel passed over the houses marked by the blood, the Children of Israel were spared from death. The blood protected them from death in this case. The Passover table offers us an opportunity to fellowship with Jesus and what He did for us in suffering so that we can only have life eternal and enjoy it now.

Life in Jesus through the cross provides a victorious life here and now but also in eternity. Granted, we are still part of this world, and our bodies suffer sickness and will suffer. Nevertheless, there is healing and life as a result of faith in Christ. This Passover is a time to celebrate healing and life accomplished for us by Jesus.

Deliverance From Lack and Poverty to Being Fully Satisfied

The Children of Israel were slaves, and thus they lacked many essentials of life such as food, clothing, and shelter. The Hebrews received the bare minimum since they were slaves. They often grew their food, and they performed many tasks they were forced to perform for Pharaoh.

On one occasion, they were forced to make brick with no straw. Thus, their life was tough, and they built many of the structures of worship such as temples and pyramids, yet they were not allowed to have their own house of worship. They were cursed as it were, for the nations believed that a slave was a cursed individual, and as a nation of slaves, they were a cursed nation.

The Passover allows us to see an incredible transformation from lack to being blessed and fully satisfied. Not that God intended for them to live like the nobles of Egypt, but instead, God intended for them to be blessed and satisfied.

By being blessed, God met their needs by feeding them in the wilderness as a token of His provision. God was their supplier, not Pharaoh. Yet, we see them often complaining that they had it better in Egypt. This complaining came about since eating manna and quail was not part of their dietary regimen. They enjoyed leeks, garlic, and other spices and vegetables.

They failed to see that God’s intent was for them to depend on him rather than depend on what they could do for themselves. It was a new idea, but indeed they were blessed, and they were fully satisfied, but they didn’t know it. They had all that they needed in Yahweh. He was their source, and they would never lack again, so long as they obeyed His voice and His commands.

The Invitation

The invitation that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit of God extend to us today is to come out of agreement with the past and come into agreement with the provisions of blessings, healing, life, deliverance, and being heirs in our heavenly kingdom. God called the Children of Israel to be a ‘kingdom of priests to the nations around them. We are a kingdom of priests to all of the nations and non-believing Israel.

Celebrate with joy everything that Jesus has accomplished this Passover and this Resurrection day (aka Easter).

Enjoy what was as a result of Passover and Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven.

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The Prophets Primary Job?

The Prophets Primary Job

There is so much being written and taught about the prophetic, prophesy, and prophets today that it is often hard to discern what is truth and what is just a lot of fluff. There has been a call for a reformation of the prophetic or a more pure prophetic flow. But, shouldn’t prophecy be pure, straight from the heart of God?

Prophets were and are still mouthpieces of God. The Hebrew word for mouth is “Pey” and there are many instances where this was associated with an OT prophet. Exodus 4, for example, is where Aaron was to be the prophet or ‘pey’ for Moses to Pharaoh. Jeremiah 15 tells us that Jeremiah was a ‘pey’ for God to the nations and Israel. Jeremiah spoke what God told him and often caused great harm and injury to him.

It seems that the prophets dealt with rejection after speaking God’s words. That is why a prophet must first pledge their head to heaven before they at as God’s mouth. In the same way, New Testament prophets are supposed to speak as the ‘pey’ or mouth of God. In the church prophecy and prophetic voices are first to encourage, exhort, and build up the body of Christ.

However, a true prophet whether New or Old Testament will be a reforming voice, whether to the church or the nations. They bring change as they seek to bring people back to God. All prophecy should bring some sort of change if the recipient acts on it. After all ‘the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.’ Prophecy should always point to, and buildup the name of Jesus. Even a judgment prophecy should end with hope and encouragement that points to Jesus.

But what is the primary function of a prophet? To prophecy? Yes. but is that what they spend most of their time doing? Prophets, whether they are seers or word prophets are about prayer. Prophets and prophetic people are intercessors first and foremost. The first person in the Bible allied a prophet was not Samuel or Moses, but indeed it was the Father of Nations Himself, Abraham.

Genesis 20:7 tells us that Abraham was a prophet because he was a man of prayer. God told Abimelech that he should return Abraham’s wife because he was a prophet and would pray for him. Men like Job prayed a lot as we see in Job 42 and Jeremiah 15. Others who prayed and were special to God’s heart were Moses, Noah, and Samuel.

So, prayer is vital to a prophet’s life and is a necessary part of his or her functioning effectively. Prayer is not a one-sided effort. No one just sits and prays without stopping and listening. Prayer requires the prayer to listen to God’s heart and voice to know what to pray and decree. Otherwise, it is just divination as we pray what we want. Now we can ask and seek and knock but we still need to be about His heart.

If prophets and prophetic people are to be people of prayer then is that their primary job? I submit that a prophet’s first or primary job is to listen to and hear the voice of God. Prayer flows from connecting with God’s heart. We do that mostly by listening to His voice, but also by studying the word of God.

John 3:29 details the position and primary function of any prophet, prophetic person, or any believer since we all can prophesy

“The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.”

John declared that Jesus was the bridegroom and that in this story he was the friend of the bridegroom. John was considered the last Old Covenant prophet, but he introduced the kingdom of God, the Messiah, the lamb of God, and the one who takes away the sins of the world. That is quite an accolade. Jesus even said that John carried the Spirit of Elijah.

But, John himself said that what he really enjoyed and what he identified with was standing and hearing the voice of the Lord. I believe that hearing God’s voice and rejoicing to hear it is the first job of any prophet or prophetic voice.

God asked Jeremiah ‘who has stood in the counsel of the Lord?” A prophet must stand in the Lord’s counsel or else they have not heard God’s voice. It is in the council, where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit meet that a prophet is transformed and gets God’s heart and can truly become His mouthpiece.

So many believers want to be prophetic or to be a prophet but they are not willing to take the time and listen to the Holy Spirit. Listening is a major part of developing the prophetic because in listening we learn to know His voice and we come to be familiar with it. When the enemy comes and speaks or we are tempted by our voice we can recognize it since we know the ‘real’ voice of the Father. We know the voice of Jesus and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

In John 10 Jesus says that His sheep know His voice and will not follow another. This only comes by listening to His voice. Becoming familiar with someone’s voice helps us to recognize a counterfeit. When you were a child you listened to your parent’s voice call you or tell you to eat or just basic commands. That is how life started- listening to someone else telling you what to do and soon you were repeating the things that you learned.

So it is in the kingdom of God, we listen to the Word of God, and the voice of God until we only know and obey His voice. That is the goal when our parents are raising us. Hearing their voice and obeying what they say is the ultimate outcome. And so that is a primary task of the prophet, hearing and obeying God’s voice. I will take it one step further, and say that we need to do it with joy and rejoice that we and hear His voice.

So, whether you are a prophet, prophetic voice, or a believer who can prophesy, you need to take the time and listen. We all have two ears and one mouth which means we need to listen twice as much as we speak and when we speak we will speak only what He tells us. We will speak what flows from His heart because we have taken the time to listen and we do it with joy.

To be a mouthpiece for God means you have heard from God!!

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A Joel 2:12 Answer To America’s Problems

World War II – The Preacher Pollard Blog

Most believers are familiar with the prophecies outlined in Joel 2:28-29 which is partially fulfilled in Acts 2. This prophecy states that the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all mankind and ‘sons and daughters will prophesy, old men will dream dreams, and young men shall see visions. God said that He would pour out His Spirit in the future. Peter told the audience that at Pentecost that this was what was happening then and there.

Christians are quick to cry out for the Holy Spirit to be poured on in these last days. But what we so often fail to also pray is Joel 2:12. What does Joel 2:12 have to do with the end times and America’s problems? Wouldn’t pouring out the Holy Spirit on every believer fix our problems? I mean after all, seeing visions, dreaming dreams and prophesying is a good thing. We would be bring the kingdom of Heaven to earth, right?

Hold On! Read Joel 2:12-13

” Yet even now declares the Lord, ‘Return to me with all of your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13- and rend your hearts and not your garments.'” Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil.

The prophet Joel paints a doom and gloom picture of Israel and what will happen to her because of her continual idolatry and many sins. Yet, after all of that he brings out the fact that God is compassionate and slow to anger. Does this sound familiar? Yes, this is the same language that Moses used when describing God to the Israelites after He called them to repent. The Children of Israel had complained and murmured and repeatedly tested God by turning to idolatry and demonstrating a repeated lack of trust and faith in the Lord God.

Joel and Moses would definitely say to the Church in America, and especially to America that you need to rend your hearts, weep, cry, and repent. Oh, wait, repentance seems to be an old-fashioned word that has lost its true meaning. We hear repent and we conjure up masses of people sitting in ashes and sackcloth, weeping and wailing so that God would not smite them or punish them.

Actually, that is an extreme form of repentance but if that is all that you see or know about repentance then you really don’t know what it is about. Joel tells us in verse 13 of chapter 2 that it is returning to the Lord your God. Yes it is really that simple. Returning to God indicates that at some point you left. You may have heard the old saying ‘if God seems far, them who moved?’

The point is that we move away from God when put anything above Him and His Son. When we disobey the commands and statutes outlined in His word, and when we continue to do the very things that Jesus told us not to. That is what sin is= anything that violates God’s laws or the teachings of Jesus. It is as one teacher puts it, ‘anything that Jesus wouldn’t do.

The Church in America has so much to answer for. Idolatry, fornication, witchcraft, divination, New Age and Humanistic teaching and false doctrine, error, and pride are just a few. These sins have crept into the church subtly and many do not know their Bible well enough to recognize the error and sins before them. Our nation is in turmoil from election chaos, burning and looting cities, lawlessness, Baal and Molech worship in the form of abortion, and modern slavery in the form of human trafficking just to name a few.

The world needs answers and the church has not been there to give those answers. Why? We have been too busy feeding our egos, building our kingdoms, and trying to figure out who the next president will be. Hey, we have a king, His name is Jesus.

The point is that we have strayed far from where God would have us be as a nation and especially His church. Many nations around the world where Christians are persecuted and tortured are looking at the Church in America and asking why we have allowed things to get to this point? We haven’t suffered like so many do in other parts of the world. But that is all changing.

The only hope for any nation is for that nation to return to God as Joel outlines. That return must begin with the ekklesia or Church of Jesus Christ. I am talking about the true church. Those that have counted the cost and said yes and are willing to lay down their lives for the King of Kings and for His kingdom. Those who wake up in the morning and are ready to give their lives for the sake of the gospel. It’s time to Return To the Lord With All of Your Heart and with Fasting, Weeping and Mourning.

So the question is where are the mourners? Where are the weepers and the fasters who will cry out and stand in vicariously like Daniel did and say Lord we have sinned, and we have moved far away from you and what your Word requires of us? Who will fast until an angels shows up and announces that your prayers have been heard?

This is not a time to be caught living a lifestyle outside of God’s will. This is not the hour to pick your pet sins and hang on to them. No it’s the hour to lose your life for the sake of the kingdom in order to gain it in the heavenly kingdom. It’s time to weep and repent and return to God with all of your heart. Then we an experience revival and times of refreshing and the Holy Spirit being poured out and sons and daughters prophesying and many dreaming dreams and seeing visions. Then we will experience a great harvest like never before.

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Canceling St. Patrick

Keeping St. Patrick’s Day while Canceling St. Patrick

Forgotten Miracles of Saint Patrick

In less than two weeks millions of people, mostly of Irish descent, will celebrate what is supposed to be the Feast Day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Many Catholics will gather for mass celebrations, while many cities and towns around America will have parades, and in some places like Savannah, Georgia, they will even dye the river green with food color. Many people celebrate this day by drinking huge volumes of beer, often dyed green.

Most people in America and elsewhere have no clue who St. Patrik was or what it was he did and why there is a holiday named for him. To most, it is the “Irish” holiday where we all wear green and eat green sugary snacks. However, none of that has anything to do with St. Patrik or why the Catholic church has assigned March 17 as his feast day, or why he is the patron saint of Ireland.

In fact, Patrick was not Irish at all and would probably be appalled by all of the foolish celebrations taking place in his name. Patrick was a true disciple and follower of Jesus Christ who would wish that He receive all of the adoration.

Patrick was born in Britain in the late fourth century. There are many tales and legends about his life and events surrounding him. The best Source is Patrick’s Confession which is his biography and confession of his life as a slave in Ireland and how he escaped back to Britain only to find his family deceased or enslaved.

His grandfather was a pious priest and perhaps Patrick would have endeavored to be a priest as well. He spent six years as a slave in Ireland and after his escape, he spent much time studying the Bible and in prayer. At some point, he had a dream where the Irish were asking him to come back.

“We bid thee, O’ Patrick, to come back to us”.

Truly this was a Macedonian call to bring the Gospel of Jesus to Ireland. Patrick is credited with bringing the gospel to Ireland and is known as the Apostle to Ireland, If you want to study the life of a true post-Biblical Apostle then Patrick is one to review. When he arrived in Ireland his old captor heard of his return and locked his family and other slaves in the house and killed himself as well as his family. He feared Patrik coming for revenge.

Having heard of this Patrick realized the Spiritual warfare he was up against in coming to Ireland in bringing the gospel. He was going to forgive his old master, but now that would not take place. Patrick realized that he must face the wicked, religious demons and principalities over the nation of Ireland. So he set up a contest at ‘Tara’ the place where the Irish kings and druid priests would gather and meet to determine the plans of the nation for the future. They would call on the false gods and seek to appease them.

Knowing this Patrick set out to meet them there and in an Elijah-like showdown the God of Patrick prevailed. Details of what happened that day are not well known, but after that meeting, many kings came into the kingdom of God. The king of Dublin sought Patrik after his daughter died and it is known that she was raised from the dead. This was the beginning of the truly Apostolic ministry of Patrick as he brought the one true God and declared his kingdom to the island of Ireland.

Patrick used the three-leaf clover to explain the Godhead or more commonly known as the trinity. He probably didn’t expel snakes from the island since there most likely weren’t any snakes on post-glacial Ireland in the first place. The only snakes he drove out were the spiritual ones that the people had been influenced by and worshipping. These were the demons and other satanic forces that claimed the island until Patrick brought the Gospel of the Kingdom.

You Can’t Cancel Patrick

Patrick would not only be appalled at the celebration that takes place in his name but he would be an outspoken voice against many of the issues we face today. Patrick would speak and declare the truth of the word of God today just as he did then. The ‘cancel culture’ would definitely try to cancel him, but as is evidenced by his life he would not bow to Satan’s music and allow the voice of the enemy to cancel him or shut him up.

Patrick’s ministry was one of signs and wonders and that is what it will take to encounter the evil that we face today. Let Patrik be an example to us that we shall not keep silent and speak the truth of the Word of God, in love, but with zeal, passion, and with unction.

Like Patrick, we will not be canceled. The enemy has tried to cancel the Bible, Jesus, and His plans for the age for centuries. We in America have not encountered what believers in many nations face daily. The cancel culture is nothing new, so why are we astounded by what is happening? It is merely the enemy stepping up his game and we are caught off guard much like Patrick was when he returned to face his old master in an effort to preach the love of Christ.

This Year What Will You Do?

ON March 17, 2021, what will you do? Will you don green clothing because it is what everybody does or will you remember the real Patrick and use your voice. Will you speak the truth in love or will you party your life away?

Will you eat green sugar snacks only to get fatter or will you fast for your nation and the nations that are walking more perilously close to utter darkness each day?

The darkness is here so now is the time for the light of Christ to be seen. Light is seen better when it is surrounded by darkness. Are you a light like Patrick, or will you put your light out so you can celebrate the holiday the way the world does and not the way Patrick would, in fasting, prayer, and worship, and telling others about Jesus?

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Lessons From The Mandalorian

Put The enemy to flight!

Luke Skywalker is in his Prime in The Mandalorian

Television programs and movies like Star Wars and Lord of The Rings often offer moments where we can apply Biblical teachings to our daily lives. Disney’s The Mandolorian’ offers one particular moment where I saw a popular prayer in action.

If you haven’t watched the Mandolorian, it is set after the Empire has fallen and during the New Republic. The Mandolorian is a bounty hunter just like Boba Fett who is sworn to follow the way of the Mandalorians. He is charged with protecting a young creature who is of the same race as Yoda. He finds that he must get him to a Jedi to help him and train him.

Throughout the series, Mando encounters many obstacles attempting to steal the ‘child’ or defeat him. He is helped at various times by friends and finally gets to the enemy’s ship where they are surrounded by ‘dark warriors who are nearly impossible to defeat. It looks hopeless for the team when suddenly a stranger arrives and makes his way to where the child is located. dismantling the enemy along the way.

It is revealed that it is Luke Skywalker, a fully trained Jedi, who one by one single-handed defeats all of the dark warriors and is allowed to take and train the child. How could one put what were invincible warriors to flight or slay them by himself?

I was reminded of the verses in the Bible that we often quote in prayer and spiritual warfare:

Deuteronomy 32: 30 “How could one chase thousand and two put ten thousand to flight?”

We quote this part without finishing the rest of the text: “unless their Rock had sold them and the Lord had given them up?”

Moses is reminding the Children of Israel that God led them out of Egypt and through the wilderness, and He had given them over to their enemies to teach them to trust in Him and not in their own skills, devices, or weapons.

When they faced giants in the book of Joshua it was God who defeated them. Even when ten spies said they could not take the land, two stood up and said that could because they trusted the Lord.

It was and still is the Lord who puts the enemy to flight. How else could a young nation who spent its entire existence in slavery or wandering in the wilderness facing many adversities, face and defeat the sons of Anakim or the Rephaim in the “land of promise?”

By putting their trust in Yahweh and being obedient to what He commanded them, He was able to defeat all of their enemies. When they became idolatrous, as in the case of Dan, they not only did not take the land assigned to them but settled where they were not supposed to.

That one mistake is still seen today in the area known as Gaza. It was never conquered by Israel and to this day is a thorn in their side because of Hamas and the fighting that flows from there.

In our story, one man, Luke Skywalker, was able to defeat an army of previously considered invincible warriors. He used the skills and abilities that he had been trained to use. He faced each one separately or in small groups until at last, he had achieved his goal.

So it is in spiritual warfare, we must face the enemy one at a time. Whether it is in personal deliverance or inner healing, or we are praying for the sins of a nation we deal with them one at a time.

When a host of the enemy’s demonic forces bombards us, we need to remember that we can send a thousand to flight, and if we are gathered with two or more in prayer we can put ten thousand running. We must be reminded that we are surrounded by a host of angels sent from heaven. God sends angels to minister to us and to help us. How else could we put the enemy to flight?

The tabernacle in the wilderness contained a covering made of animal skins that had angels woven into it to remind the worshippers that they were surrounded by angels. Of course, they were on holy ground, but as disciples of Christ are we not also?

As worshippers of Jesus and God, we are continually in the presence of God, and there are angels around the Son, the Father, and each one of us. God is known as the Lord of the hosts, or Yahweh Sabbaoth, which means He commands angel armies.

Finally, we have been given authority by Jesus over unclean spirits, and demons. We can cast them out of people and we have the authority to put them to flight. Just as God gave them authority to take the land, we have been given authority to drive out demons. We must be careful, as we must stay pure and holy and not allow any root of bitterness or unforgiveness or any other sin to take root in our lives, as it will allow the enemy to put us to flight.

Do not take the enemy lightly, but know that you have authority and you have angels on assignment to help you. Like Luke Skywalker did in the Mandalorian, you need to deal with one area at a time unless you are faced with multiple problems. Don’t face deliverance and intercession alone, but get help from prayer partners, and other believers who are walking in strong faith and living pure, holy, and spirit-filled lives.

These days we need to be constantly on guard from the tactics of the enemy more so than ever, and we need to be ready to take up our shield of faith and sword of the spirit and put thousands to flight. You have been given authority from Jesus Himself, so use it!

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Are You A Monument Or A Movement?

Image result for monument

We hear a lot today about this movement or that movement. This terminology is being repeated in the body of Christ as we refer to revival and awakening. There is the ‘prophetic movement’, the ‘apostolic movement’, ‘prayer movement’, and the list goes on. Society has many movements such as ‘civil rights’, ‘the gay and transgender movement’, black lives matter movement, and so on.

Within each of these movements, especially those that have been around a while, there exists a history whereby we can look back at the past and see what has been accomplished. Often there are significant moments where that movement took a leap forward. However, many movements take a turn backward and slow down or stop altogether and they become a part of history.

When it comes to revival we can study history and see that there were many revivals that changed cities, regions, and nations. Consider the First Great Awakening and the many lives that were changed, the fruit that came out of it such as educational institutions designed to train and raise up pastors and other church leaders. Schools such as Harvard and Princeton were founded for just such a purpose.

In our own lives, we can see movements like the Brownsville Revival or the Toronto Blessing in which hundreds of thousands of lives were changed. The impact of those movements is still felt today. However, they are all monuments of what God did and how He operated and changed lives and regions.

The Second Great Awakening came and one again many souls came to the Lord and the church was changed forever. Charles Finney preached so much in Up-State New York it became known as the ‘burned-over district’. Many revivals have occurred, some with fruit seen today. But, we speak of every one of them in the past tense. The Great Awakenings are monuments to the power of the cross.

After World War I governments began erecting markers and monuments dedicated to the brave men and women who fought to ‘keep democracy safe.’ The Liberty Memorial was built and dedicated in Kansas City as a monument or memorial to the events that led up to the war and the war itself. We build these monuments to commemorate an event and to learn from it. Washington D.C is littered with monuments and memorials that seek to remind us of past events and the change that they brought.

I am afraid that we have made revivals of the past monuments. We study them and try to mimic or duplicate the methods hoping for similar results. The schools of the First Great Awakening are not even monuments of the great revival. They are so far from what they were organized to do that they look like broken, crumbled, dilapidated markers in a cemetery.

It is not enough to just study and follow past revivals. If we want a revival movement we must keep it fresh or else it will quickly biome a monument. The church is more than a movement because it is a kingdom with a king. Prayer, prophetic, or any other movement in the church must be part of the greater kingdom plan. The church is alive so we are constantly on the move. Praying, worship, prophesying, serving, helping, preaching, loving, and everything else that the followers of Christ are supposed to do.

If we stop doing anything that Christ has called us to do then we begin to lose momentum and soon we stop praying, studying the Word, worshipping, and serving with joy. In essence, we become a monument. Can people point to your life and say that you are a movement or part of the kingdom of God movement? Or do they look at past events in your life and say that is where you peaked. Do they just remember what Christ has done through you or what He is still doing through you?

Monuments are ok if we use them for the right reason. Keep building monuments in your life but always be a movement. Today you are a movement, but will you be a monument or movement tomorrow? If we want revival in the Church in America or any other nation we can’t focus on the monuments of the past. I do not want to go back to my three years in Pensacola, Fla. at the Brownsville Revival, but I want something fresh and something new from heaven.

That is what it will take to see Revival in the Church and Awakening in society. Henry Blackaby taught in “Experiencing God” to ‘watch and see where God is working and join Him.’ That is revival every day. It may be just smiling at the cashier at Walmart or cooking for your neighbor. As someone once told me, we preach by serving.

Whatever it is you are to do each day, remember that day you are a movement.

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Benefits of Living On Mt Zion (New Jerusalem)

Benefits Of Living In Mt Zion (New Jerusalem)

As disciples of Christ we are guaranteed eternal life, but we also have all of the benefits of a heavenly citizen available to us now. Yet, most Christians walk around defeated and do not understand the place they have through Christ and where our home really is. Most Believers act like this earth, and the Babylon system of this world is the way we are supposed to live.

Hebrews 12: 18 (NASB) ‘for you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind 19- and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be apple to them. 20 For they could not bear the command ‘if even a beast touches the mountain it will be stoned.’’

21- So terrible was the sight Moses said, ‘I am full of fear and trembling.’

I am not talking about the victorious, Christian life being one filled with riches and glory of this world. It’s not about cars and houses and stuff. It is a life of victory over sin and all of the evil strongholds that come with it. It is a life free from the curses of sin and all that goes with a lifestyle of sin.

The children of Israel were warned to prepare themselves before they came to the mountain. God was coming down to meet them and would later give the law to His servant Moses. The demands placed upon them were so hard that they asked Moses and Joshua to go near.

Exodus 24;10 Moses and Aaron, with Nadab and Abihu went up with seventy of the elders of Israel. Verse 10 ‘ and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.’

Wow! It appears that the God of Israel was sitting on His throne and came down to Sinai. The elders were looking at the sea of glass that we see in Revelation. Verse eleven says that God did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the children of Israel, and they beheld God and ate and drank.’

God had brought the throne room down to Sinai and only a few could go up. Later only Moses and Joshua were allowed up. The children of Israel were afraid to go near, and they sent Moses and a few others. Yet, God has protocol about how to approach Him and who He allows near His throne.

We often sing songs and pray prayers about being at or before the throne of God or The throne of grace. We often trivialize it as if we have no reverence or fear of God as the Children of Israel had. Yet, we are supposed to approach that throne with fear and reverence but we are not to be afraid. It is something that is part of our lives. The same lighting and thundering that we see in Exodus and Numbers are found around the throne in the book of Revelation. Nothing changed. The people had not been taught about holiness and shed blood to atone for sins, allowing them to be clean and approach God. Rather, they would have to go to a priest and go through a high priest at High Holy days.

If we as disciples of Christ have not come to Mount Sinai and trumpets and a mountain that cannot be touched then where have we come to? If we are not at a mountain where others begged that no more word be spoken, then where are we as followers of Jesus?

Hebrews 12:22 “But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23- and to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.’

Wow! When we are saved and brought into the kingdom of God we immediately have access to all of that and everything else that is in Heavenly Zion. That is why when Jesus came, He declared, ‘the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ That is why we pray for God’s kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven. Look at all that is in the Heavenly City, the Heavenly kingdom.

The Children of Israel did not want to seek the Lord for themselves. Like so many in the body of Christ today who want the pastor, or teacher, or prophet, or some other ‘specially anointed’ minister to seek heaven and get the breakthrough so that they can grab it from them without doing anything. Many just want all of the benefits without doing the work. There is suffering and persecution that go in living the Christian life.

How can we suffer and yet be living in that city described in Hebrews 12:22-24?

The Children of Israel never realized that they were part of something better and greater than Sinai. That comes through much revelation and faith. The patriarchs saw it from a distance but never obtained it due to the fact that they all died before Jesus appeared in the flesh, suffered, died, rose again, and cleansed the heavenly copies. (Heb. 9:24 NASB)

Do not be like the Children of Israel and fail to realize that we are part of something bigger than Sinai with the covenant that required repeated sacrifices and a God who was far off and unapproachable. Learning to live in the heavenly realms and that we have access to all that heaven offers is what the Christian life is all about. There is no sickness, and while I believe in Divine healing, I also am aware that we are still living in a fallen world and that ‘it is appointed for man to die one.’

It’s time to live a kingdom of God lifestyle and live like we are citizens of the New Jerusalem 

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The Spear of Phineas and God’s Zeal In Intercession

The Spear of Phineas and God’s Zeal in Intercession

Lately, it seemed like we were in a whirlwind in our lives. Busy, busy, busy, trying to do all the things we normally do plus tending to other things and situations that had cropped up all came at once. It seemed like we were having a plague of bad car problems, with no end. I know we have to tend to our vehicles and maintain them but what was happening was very unusual and all at once. After spending a thousand or more dollars on one car on multiple problems we purchased a second vehicle as we had only had one vehicle for almost a year, and felt it was time to purchase a second vehicle.        God had blessed us and were able to pay cash. But, I never made it home with that second vehicle, as it blew out a seal on the transmission and ultimately burned up before I knew what was happening. While we didn’t have to pay for those repairs I felt something was going on in the spirit to try to steal the money God had blessed us with for kingdom work.
So, one morning at about 5 a.m,. I went to the kitchen table where I usually have morning devotions before prayer and intercession. The Lord took me to Psalm 106: 30-31.
“Then Phinehas stood up and interposed, and the plague was stayed. Verse 31
And it was reckoned to him for righteousness for all generations forever.”
Immediately the word interposed stood out to me and so I looked it up as well as I looked back at the passages in Numbers that deal with this story. Phinehas was the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the high priest of Israel. Numbers chapters 24 and 25 tell us the story of Balaam, Balak of Peor, the Moabites, the Midianites, the sins of the children of Israel, and what Phinehas did.
When Balam couldn’t curse the Children of Israel for Balak he told Balak the way to bring about their downfall was to entice them away, to fornicate with the foreign women and to fall into idolatry. That is exactly what happened as the men of Israel went after the Moabite and Midianite women, and they bowed to their gods and aroused the Lord’s anger. Nos. 25:3
In Numbers 25:7 we read that when Phineas saw it he arose and took a spear or javelin and killed a man from Israel and woman of Midian in the tent, and the plague that had broken out was stopped. Now, I didn’t have a plague of sickness or anything like that or idolatry but the enemy was definitely trying to drain our bank account so we couldn’t finance kingdom work. But I did stand and intercede with the mighty word of God to end the car problem plague. Verse 11 tells us that God said Phinehas was zealous for God’s zeal. WE need to be zealous with God’s zeal to stand and hit the target with our prayers.
The word ‘interpose’ is translated as intercede or pray in other translations. But I believe that word highlights what was taking place. Phineas’ act of thrusting the spear through the idolaters was an act of zeal for God’s righteousness, and holiness. It was true standing in the gap.
It is clear that there are some in the church that have fallen into the doctrine of Balam and have brought in things of the world into homes, businesses, and worst of all the worship services. Sometimes the church doesn’t look any different than the world. Often we bring things into our lives subtly, because the enemy works that way.
We need intercessors to rise up with a fresh holy zeal sent from heaven to stand and ‘interpose’ for those situations where the enemy is robbing our families, churches, ministries, businesses, etc. WE need to thrust the spiritual spear of Phineas into the things that are plaguing us. Use the word of the Lord and hit the target. We need intercession that has God’s heart, and is zealous to see His heart and will performed in all the earth.
It’s not so much a “spiritual spear” as it is the zeal we have and the zeal to be precise and specific in our prayers and petitions. James Goll calls it ‘Target Practice.” It is simply hitting the mark, praying the word and getting specific in bringing the Father’s Heart in our prayer and intercession. It is vitally important that we hit the mark as Phineas with zeal as often the ones we are praying for cannot.

The recent events in the United States, everything from COVID-19 to the elections and in between has one again caused many to call for special prayer. Much of that prayer has focused on the reelection of President Donald Trump. While there have been some voices calling for repentance and citing 1 Chronicles 7:14, there has been little mention of exactly what needs to be repented of.

Intercession requires us to stand in the gap and make up the hedge. If the hedge of protection is broken down then why? Where and how was it broken down. We have to stand in the gap that the enemy has exposed until it is once again closed and built up by God the Father. Understanding what went wrong begins by asking what went wrong with the church, the ‘Bride of Christ.’ How did we get here? The church has become complacent and full of compromise. For many Sunday morning is a time to socialize have have a ‘feel good’ message. When we are never challenged to take up our Christ and suffer as Christ suffered then we carnal lives and become spiritually lazy and full of compromise.

The problem God has now with America is the same problem that He has with the nations. It is the same problem that He had with Israel when the prophets arrived on the scene and prophesied. Godlessness, unfaithful, idolatrous, and wicked were the words that God used to describe Israel and the nations. Israel became unfaithful whenever she compromised and turned to broken cisterns and idolatrous ways.  America used to be the number one nation sending people out to the nations to ‘disciple’ the nations, or what we often call missions. That rank now belongs to South Korea and likewise they are sending missionaries to America. Many nations are coming to America to bring the Gospel.

The irony is that we have been playing church and not living it. It’s tine for zealous intercessors to rise up and stand firmly in the gap as Phineas stood when he interposed. It is time to see this unfaithful generation turn back to God. NO single man or government for that matter can save us. We have a king and we owe Him our loyalty first. We must pray for all of our leaders and our nation as a whole. Revival and Awakening will only come when we allow Jesus to be the KIng that we say He is. That means complete and total submission to His will!

I pray that every one who reads this will take up the task of intercession with the Heart of the Father, with fresh zeal, a zeal like that of Phineas. Amen

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