Rejoicing In Suffering & Persecution

Rejoicing In Suffering & Persecution

In the world we live in and especially in the perilous times we currently are in there is much suffering, persecution, and sometimes even martyrdom. People in general suffer from sickness, disease, poverty, hardships, disasters and death. Loss and suffering have been with mankind at some level since our first parents lost the original status in the garden of Eden after disobeying the commands of God. There was never supposed to be death, but that entered as a result of the ‘fall’ of man. So how can we speak of rejoicing in such evil times? How can we have joy when there is so much destruction, and evil and it only seems to grow worse?

Christians all around the world face persecution at various levels just for being Christian. Because they have chosen to follow and be disciples of Jesus they are faced with imprisonment, abandonment, loss of personal property, families being torn apart and ultimately death, sometimes violent. Most believers in The Western Church, particularly in the United States have no real understanding of persecution. We here have so many freedoms, and we tend to take so much for granted. Rarely, if ever do most Christians tell of the faith outside of the four walls of the church. Many don’t want to ‘rock the boat’, or upset someone, or get involved in matters that they feel should be avoided.

It is for this reason that we are faced with the current crisis here and in many western nations. A crisis where we are losing some freedom to speak or take a stand for our faith. Or when we do there is no real outcry from within the body of Christ. Many are left to stand alone to choose to take a stand against gay marriage or abortion, or just immorality or indecency. We don’t want to offend anyone, or hurt someone. While it is important to have good relationships with peers and co-workers, there comes a point where we must be recognized as true believers of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (NASB)

1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange was coming upon you, 13- But to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing so that at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells His listeners, which includes anyone now who reads and hears His words, that when you are persecuted, or insulted and when people say all sorts of evil things because of Him. In other words, if you ‘truly follow Him’, and obey Him, at some point you will be insulted, and yes persecuted. You will suffer. Suffer for being human is one thing, but for serving Jesus is another. Peter speaks about sharing in Jesus’ suffering. We forget that because we have been redeemed and Jesus paid it all that we still suffer like Him, and must endure hardships from time to time.

Believers in many nations today face suffering just for naming the name of Jesus. They don’t have to speak out against current events or issues. They just confess, ‘Jesus is Lord’. We here in the US have no real knowledge of the level of persecution and suffering the rest of body has in the world. We seem to be isolated or feel we are insulated against it.

However, there is a level of persecution coming that we never thought we would face here. AS times grow more evil, the church or ekklesia will grow more glorious. There is glory in suffering for Jesus, and I’m not talking about some unkind word. I mean for instance like the Pastor who basically lost his job because he said ‘homosexuality was a sin.’ He never said anything about the people, just the act is indecent and sinful. Yet, his congregatio felt that that was not the right thing to put on there sign. Or what about the clerk in Kentucky who was fired for not granting a marriage license to a gay couple because it went against her beliefs.

When we take a stand we must count the cost and be ready to suffer whatever consequences here man may offer. Yet we must rejoice. Keep on rejoicing. The revelation of His glory is a daily thing, but the full revelation of that glory will come in the Millennial reign as we rule with Christ. In John 17:13-14 Jesus prayed for the joy that the Father put in Him would be in his disciples. He said ‘the world hates them.’ If the world hated the early followers how much more are we hated today. Yet we need His joy.

John wrote to various churches in 1 John 1:4 that his purpose in writing was that their joy might be complete. In John 15:11 Jesus said that He spoke about abiding in Hi so that His joy may be in them. Whatever comes our way in this age we are not to let it steal our joy. WE are to agree with God’s word that we have the abiding Word (Jesus) living in us, and that word brings us joy. In Hebrews 12:2 we are told to ’fix our eyes on Jesus’, for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

There is an age coming where we will rule and reign with Him. Many of us will have a lot of responsibility while some less. What we do now prepares us for that age and how we will serve. We should weep for those that persecute us especially the lost or those perishing without Jesus. God doesn’t desire that any should perish.

Count everything with joy, esteem others higher than yourself for there is coming a day when we will have Jesus and He will make all things right. Let us run the race set before us with ‘joy’. Of all of the disciples John was the one that fully understood what it meant to have Jesus and the joy that went with that. He often wrote about joy and rejoicing. Yet, John was persecuted, so much that they tried and failed to kill him. He was finally forced into exile on The island of Patmos, where he received the final Revelation Jesus.

None of no for sure what we may face but one thing is for sure we can face it with joy and rejoice that we will be with him forever. We are part of the plan to bring restoration to the earth.

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!!!!!!! Phil. 4:4 my paraphrase

Don’t forget to pray for our brothers and sisters all around the world who are facing torment and imprisonment daily.

Visit opendoorsusa.org or voice of the martyrs on how you can pray effectively for the persecuted church

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2019 Promises, Blessings, Decrees & The Will of God

2019 Promises, Blessings, Decrees & The Will of God

We all have needs and situations that went unmet in 2018. There are many reasons why we may not have seen everything we felt God was going to do, or goals we set not achieved. There are many speaking promises, and prophetic words today, or will be in the days and weeks ahead of what they believe God may be speaking over our nation or a particular situation. Sermons will be preached, resolutions made, goals set, decrees made, and blessings given, all with the intent of speaking ‘comfort and hope’ for the coming year.

I am all in when it comes to edifying and comforting people, so long as we speak it from the hope of the cross.I love prophecy and all of the gifts of the ‘Spirit’. We need to hear what God is saying through leaders and those gifted in the body to speak forth what He is saying. But, we also need to weigh every word against the Word of God, and as Paul says ‘test the spirits.” We need wisdom and discernment.

All of that said we know that God speaks in many and varied ways, including circumstances and even non-believers. Whatever we need for God to do or we what to see Him do we must first ask what His will is and what is He saying about a particular situation. All of this obviously comes from a relationship built on time in the Word, worship and prayer.

Speaking a blessing over someone or asking God to bless is a good thing. He certainly does not want us to go around speaking curses over ourselves, families, friends, nation, etc. Speaking blessing, and being thankful and praising Him in all things, 1 Thes. 5:18. Praying the Word of God is also important and you can’t go wrong as it is His Word. Unless of course you misapply it. Praying the Apostolic prayers and the blessings found in the Psalms and throughout the Bible are good.

Then there are decrees and declarations. As priests we are mediators making intercession, and as kings we make declarations, but they must be made on His Word or through what God shows us and tells us. Again, that comes from a place of intimacy. Job 22:28 say, “you will decree a thing and it will be established for you.” (Nasb) The previous verse talk about Job delighting in the Lord, and these things will happen.

You see there is always the part we play. God gives us a promise or prophetic word but it doesn’t happen like magic. We have to pray and guard and keep the enemy from stopping it from coming forth. We have to let our hearts line up, and remain pure, and be thankful, and not grumble, complain or be accusative. God will do what He said, but not when we want it or how we expect it.

James 4:13 says, “Come now you who say ‘tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills we will live, and do this or that’ 16 But as it is you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”

Now don’t misunderstand what James is writing about. He is talking about us making our plans without God’s input, direction, leading etc. Even when we get a “Word from the Lord’ and we pray and everything checks out it does not mean it will just happen immediately and certainly then enemy will try to stop it. By the same token, we need to plan every day according to what God would have us do. There are some things we don’t need to ask or plan too much. Getting up every day and going to our jobs or doing the work we have for that day is something we must do. Often He interrupts us and changes things.

When God called me to serve Him I wasn’t ready nor prepared for all that it required. Further, I have always heard Him speak for me and my wife to do something or He was going to do this or that but we had to always do our part, and even in that we had to be led by the Spirit. When He told us to move to Pensacola and for me to go to school at Brownsville we had to make some adjustments. We had to ask Him when and how.

I pray and ask Him for His guidance about everything. I used to ask for direction and then go and do what I wanted to do and say the Lord said for me to when I was just asking Him to bless what I was doing when I was clearly out of His will. Now, He has through the years afforded much mercy and grace and I am thankful. He also disciplined us when needed. It is better to seek His will and not make my plans and then ask for mercy and forgiveness.

Let 2019 be the year we all say ‘I will seek the Lord with all of my heart, and obey His commands.’ Let this be the year that we ask Him in everything ‘what is His will’? Let our boasting be that God has ordered our steps.(Psalms 37:23).

Remember prophecies and prophetic words are meant to encourage, exhort, comfort, and confirm. They should never be used as a guide or for direction except to confirm what God is already speaking.

He has promised us all certain things, mainly salvation, deliverance healing, and His return. Again we had to do some things, but the rest we wait on Him. So let us also, wait for Him to do what He promised, loving Him more each day.

Just like He left the rainbow as a token of His promise He is faithful to do what He said.

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

How To Know What God Is Really Saying!

It’s that time of year when everybody likes to forecast what lies ahead for the up and coming year. Likewise we all like to reflect and ponder what went right and what went wrong. Where did we as individuals get off the path God has for us, or did we do alright? If you are one to make New Year’s resolutions, then by now you probably have taken an inventory of how well you did.

But is all of that really important? Remember it is only what God says that really matters. If you are disappointed with your results then ask God what He thinks. Repent and ask for grace to move on. Still, why do we need to make resolutions. I believe it is important to have goals both short-term and long-term. We must make sure they are of course bathed in prayer and based in the Word of God.

In the ancient days the Children of Israel knew when it was time to reflect, repent, and look for the New. That took place around three seasons called ‘feast days’. The spring feasts, focused primarily on Passover, then 50 days later there was Pentecost, then the ‘fall feasts’ beginning with Trumpets, Atonement, and finally Tabernacles. There were other times like New Moon Feasts, and Jubilees that had special significance, and special meanings.

So, we have precedent to take a season to stop and look back and ask God to examine us over the past season. Yes, it is a daily thing but sometimes we need to see the bigger picture. In the Book of Acts we typically don’t read of New Year’s resolution, but see Peter talking about repentance and experiencing seasons of refreshing. The early Church began with just Jews and until later centuries they always celebrated the feasts. The feast were and are a good time to also sow special seed.

That seed sowing can be giving an offering to your church or a missionary or orphanage, or special need. We can sow our time and from our talents or skills. It helps us to break the cycles we have fallen into over the year. We can see others less fortunate or in need and we have not only opportunity to help but we are ‘storing up treasure in heaven.’

I began by talking about looking ahead. How do we know what God is really saying when we have 20 prophetic words over our nation or church or government. Or the prognosticators of the world start speaking. Who do we believe? We need to always submit everything to the Spirit of the Lord and His Word. Pray, and ask the Lord first what are His plans for your individual life for the upcoming year. Seek Him in prayer the Word, worship, and then pray with others. Every Word is not for each of us.

If the Lord moves on you to make changes be obedient, but make sure if you are married you are both in agreement. Pastors and leaders need to fast and seek the Lord for their Churches. Business and government leaders should seek heaven. The world is not where we get our guidance. Psychics, astrologers, wiccans, or anything from the world is not for believers of Jesus Christ to seek out or even give an ear to. Pray about everyone in authority over you and what they are telling you and make sure that it lines up with God’s word and that your spirit bears witness.

By staying in God’s Word and seeking Him in prayer you will be on the right path, and it will keep you there if you are obedient and if you stray and are quick to repent He will forgive and be merciful and bring you back to the place you need to be. Embrace the new seasons ahead with joy and delight and be thankful that it is also a time to just ‘wipe the slate clean’ in some instances.

It is my prayer that each one will seek God first before making any decision and obey. Perhaps this may be your biggest year where all of your dreams and everything you have been waiting for God to do will be accomplished. But, if not, grab onto the horns of the altar and don’t let go. Enjoy Him every day and do not give the devil any place.

The Watchman’s Watch

The Watchman’s Watch

The Lord Sets The Watchman In His Post

He Sets Him In His watch

He Watches The Lord To See What He Says

He Will Watch His Word With Thanksgiving

The Watchman Looks With Praise And

Waits In The Lord With Thanksgiving

The Watchman’s Watch May Go on for one hour

Or it may Go On An Entire twenty-four

The Watchman Knows Not How Long

For He Watches In Listening And Inquiring

Yet, He Must Not Forget To Watch His Household

Watching His Heart And His Ears

His Mouth And Especially His Eyes

The Word Is His Diet

The Watchman Watches Joyfully Shouting

Entering Into Victory Warfare

The Intercession He Makes Stirs The Heavenlies

He Reports What He Sees

Yeah, He Shouts Even More THe Shofar Sounds

For The Enemy He Sees

Then He Watches And Prays

Not To Enter Into Temptation

He Stays Awake His body Always Alert

His Spirit Never Slumbers

Weary He Must Not Be

For Not One Second He Shall Not See

He Strengthens What Remains

He Stands Pouring Out His Heart

Before The Chief Watchman

His Cry Comes!

Finally, The Watchman Watches

Coming Up Out Of Zion

Sounding The Shofar Warning

All The Way Long

In The End The Watchman’s Watching

Is Finally Finished!

When He Sees The Return Of The Chief Watchman

Then He Will Bow His Head

Lay His Head At His Feet

Just To Hear Well Done

You kept Your Watch Well

What Type Of Prophet Is A More Than A Prophet Prophet

What Type Of Prophet Is A More Than A Prophet Prophet?

We are all familiar with the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:9 where Jesus asks ‘what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, and I tell you more than a prophet.”

Many sermons have been preached and books and other writings talking about the fact that Jesus said John was more than a prophet. But, have we really grasped what Jesus was saying? What was Jesus trying to say.?

I will only discuss this simply here for this could involve a great deal of discussion. Regardless, Jesus did in fact say John was a prophet. At that moment and time John the Baptist was in the Old Covenant and thus he was an Old Testament Prophet. So, what does that mean. Simply he was to remind the people of God’s covenant and call them to return to the teachings of God and His commands thus he was calling them to repentance, but in the Old Covenant.

John is often compared to Elijah and Jesus even said, “if you are willing to accept it he was Elijah to come.” (Matt. 11:14) Elijah did many things but the main thing is to call for Israel to return to righteous living, and obeying the commands of God. John called for repentance. All of the Old Testament prophets spoke of repentance. So we have established the fact that John was a prophet under the Old Covenant. Yet, here he is with the Messiah, Jesus the Christ the one many prophets spoke of.

If John was indeed a prophet, then why did Jesus say he was more than a prophet? This could be either a Messianic statement or eschatological one. In other words he did more than call for repentance, he pointed to the Messiah, and thus to the beginning of the “End of The Age”. The term eschatology simply refers to the end of the age or the time before the return of Jesus when he comes to establish His kingdom on the earth.

Malachi 3:1 talks about Elijah returning before the great and terrible ‘Day of the Lord,” which is often meant to refer to Jesus return. There is another Day of the Lord where judgment is meted out. That is later. So when Jesus said John was Elijah if you care to believe, He is saying in essence he is one that has come before the great Day of the Lord to announce it is near, or right around the corner.

So, John is a prophet who calls for repentance in the manner the Old Testament prophets and also is more than a prophet in he is saying the kingdom of God is here, because the Messiah, the one who rules and leads it, is here!

We know that Jesus later died in Jerusalem, in the manner of many prophets, but also arose and ascended to heaven where He is waiting to return. So, John was right in saying the Messiah is here and thus the kingdom of God was here, but it was only partially fulfilled. Also. Jesus continued John’s ministry in that he called for repentance, but as usual, He took it deeper calling for the Spirit-man to be born anew or come alive. That is how you enter this kingdom.

So, John was a prophet calling for repentance and change in living, but also more than that he established a new type of prophet or pattern in saying that the kingdom of God is here, now, because the Messiah is here and with Him is soon to come His kingdom established on the earth permanently. John pointed to more than changing your life to obey God’s word but he was also preparing the hearers for what was next. John’s was indeed a preparation ministry, making the way clear for Messiah.

In these last days it is more urgent now than ever that we declare more than just repentance, and repentance bearing fruit. We must declare that the kingdom of God is here, yes, even though it is only partial, but that it is also near, closer than ever. The fullness of the kingdom of God is ready to be poured out but we will only see the that when Jesus returns and sets it up. In the meanwhile as we get closer we will see more signs pointing to His soon return. Signs, wonders, miracles, judgments, etc. are all part of the kingdom of God. Like John, God has raised up and will continue to raise up those forerunners who are “more than a prophet prophets.”

You may not be called to be a frontline forerunner or carry that message with a burden, but f you are a believer in the kingdom of God then you have a voice and can still share the message of Jesus to repent and turn to Him and follow Him and prepare for His soon coming!!!

One of the hallmarks of John the Baptist is found in 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 made complete.” Preparing the way for Jesus’ returns is not a ministry of dread, but rather one of joy. All believers, but especially those called to point the way for His return should be full of His joy, not only for hearing His voice, but that He is coming.!

Giving God Glory Ahead of The Victory

Giving God Glory Ahead of The Victory

This morning I awoke and realized it was a new month. I also felt like I heard the Lord say, it’s time to sing the ‘Song Of Moses”. You might be asking what in the world is that? It is actually mentioned a couple of times in the Bible, twice in the Old Testament and once in the New. The poem found in Deuteronomy 32 is often called the “Song of Moses”, but that is not what I am referring to.

After the Children of Israel were delivered by God from the hand of Pharaoh and the Egyptians it tells us in Exodus 15, “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord.” Later in Revelation 15:2-3 we see that ‘those who overcame the beast and over his mark and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. (3) And they sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb.”

There is a picture around heaven’s throne of those who overcome the ‘beast’ and all of the end-time schemes, standing before the throne singing the ‘Song of Moses’. Notice they are standing on a ‘sea of glass’. The scene is a scene and it is right after they were delivered from on like pharaoh. They were delivered from a power known as The Anti-Christ Spirit, that I believe is not only alive, and has been for a long long time, but is growing more and more powerful each day. They sing the song after a great deliverance.

I feel like this is a season of many changes and many things we have been seeking the Lord about are coming to pass. Our prayers are not only being answered, and things are turning we will see great breakthrough in the days and weeks ahead. But why do we wait until the victory manifests? Why do we wait until we see things shift or we get our prayer answered and it comes forth in the natural?

A Lesson From Jehosaphat

2 Chronicles 20:22 (NLT) At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon Moab and Mt. Seir (Edomites) to start fighting against themselves.

In verse 21 Jehoshaphat had appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness, ahead of the army. They said “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.

You see the Battle is the Lord’s. We see that the praise and worship preceded the enemy’s route. Not only that the enemy was confounded and confused. Praise is a weapon. We can’t go wrong praising and worshipping Him. In the Exodus 15 passage the key was they exalted God. When we lift Him up and exalt Him He is given freedom to move and work in our lives and in impossible situations. We are saying God I give it to you, I thank and praise you ahead for what you do. Of course it probably will not look like we want it to but we still should praise Him especially in the times we live in.

One of the tasks of he people of God is ‘to show forth the praises of God.” We must be consistent. The world is looking for answers and they are looking for a victorious church, not one that shrinks back when the enemy rears his ugly head and hides. WE need to demonstrate power in praise in everything. Paul wrote it best, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes. 5:18.

With the darkness in our country and with the elections due in just a few days we need to thank God and praise Him for hearing our prayers and answering them. It just makes sense. We live by faith and we believe that God hears us and answers our prayers, if we pray according to His will. I believe it is His will for America to experience an Awakening/Revival, and for Him to be exalted. He wants to be exalted in our government, media, arts, and all aspects of society. Lets praise and thank and exalt Him Now!!!!

Father God we praise and thank you for hearing our prayers to bring righteousness in our land, We thank and praise you for pouring out your Spirit on your Church and on ‘all flesh’ as you promised and for healing the land. Thank you in Jesus’ Name

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

As I sit under the shade of the trees at a table at the beach, I can hear the wind more clearly and louder than when I could just moments ago as I walked on the beach. In fact, I saw the waves and knew there was some wind, but it wasn’t until I sat away from the beach that I heard the ‘sound of the wind.’!

You see we walk through every day oblivious to what’s going on in the Spirit. We ask God to speak to us and yet we often are unaware that He is speaking or moreover that we can’t hear clearly. This can be done due to an improper perspective, as I had, or not being in proper alignment.

Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something, or a point of view. It can be one’s outlook or viewpoint. There are other various meanings, but this is what applies for my point.

As Christians our perspectives on any matter should always be from the point of the “Word of God”, and from what the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit say on a matter. Anything else is really idolatry and is a perspective born from this world. We all have opinions, but at the end of the day the only one that matters is what God has to say.

We often go to the ‘Word” and pray and still don’t get what we need. Why? Because we may be trying to interpret the “Word” of God or Voice of the Lord through a fleshly, carnal or worldly lens. In other words, we can try to make the “Word” say what we want or we become so caught up in our own lives we miss the bigger picture. We become inward focused and not outward.

Often we need to get out, like Abraham, to change our perspective. When Abraham looked up at the stars and God told him his descendants would number more than the stars his perspective changed. Had he remained in the tent or even in Ur of Chaldees, he would have missed what God was really trying to tell him.

Walking along the beach I see only what I can. I can only see from that point of view, the point from where I am standing. The same goes for hearing. As I moved away I saw the sun’s reflection on the water differently, more vividly. I also heard the wind with greater power and I saw the waves rolling in a different manner. Just a few steps one way or the other changes the whole perspective.

So maybe you need a change in lifestyle or routine. Get away from the city or go to the city. Wherever you are, perhaps you are not seeing or hearing what God is trying to say because you need a change of scenery or even a change of pace. It could be just a simple thing as how you approach God, or how you study the Word. You may need a slower pace or some may need more tasks. But, wherever you are ask God first what do I need to do differently? How can I get your perspective, Lord? We don’t want just a different perspective.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will direct you in everything you do and see and hear through the perspective of the Father. Finally, like Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (19) an what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”