A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

December 10, 2017

The Holy Standard of God

     There are times, as I am immersed in my Bible, when I get those "Aha" moments and I feel like God has opened a direct line of communication from His throne to my brain.  Other times it is my heart or my spirit that nudges me to take another moment to meditate on that verse because I just know there is something more to glean. 
     If you've been reading this blog for awhile you know that I love the history of God's relationship with His chosen people in the Old Testament. There is much there for us to learn because God never changes.  He is a God of order, and I believe He has set a standard by which He operates, and He does not waver from it.  In essence, that means He does not break His own rules, and is faithful to what I call His "Spiritual Mechanics".  All this is to set up a nugget of revelation that my husband pointed out in Exodus, Chapter 33.  I want to preface this blog post, by saying this is my opinion, and there are many facets to the following discussion, and I cannot address them all in this one post.  I know there will be differing opinions, and that's okay.  Our God is pleased when we come seeking knowledge of Him, and He is not condemning when we are seeking Him from a faithful heart.
     Here is the setup:  In Chapter 32, the Israelites had broken a couple of those rules, which we call commandments, that God had established when He brought them out of the Land of Egypt ... You shall have no other Gods before Me, and You shall not make for yourself any idol. But while Moses was visiting with God on Mount Sinai, the Israelites became concerned because he was delayed.  Worrying that something might have happened to him, they pleaded with Aaron to help them make a Golden Calf; an idol that could go before them and lead them.
     We know the consequences of that act ... YHWH was angered and determined to destroy the Israelites (Exodus 32:10) until Moses interceded upon their behalf.  Yet, three thousand were slain that day because they refused to consecrate themselves to the Lord (Exodus 32:26-28).  
     Now, here is the nugget that was revealed to me:  In Chapter 33, YHWH tells Moses that He is going to send an angel before the Israelites as they enter the Promised Land and drive out the idolators who inhabit the Land [the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizites, Hivites, and Jebusites] because if He went, Himself, He would destroy them.
     Once again, Moses intercedes for the children of Israel and reminds God that He has told him he [Moses] has found grace in His sight.  Moses asks to know who will accompany them, and YHWH says , "My presence shall go with thee".  So what does this tell us?  Several things.  First, God hates idolatry and sin so much He is willing to blot us out of the Book of Life (the list of those who will inherit eternal life and live with God in heaven forever).
     SIDE NOTE: Now, I know that there will be those who say Jesus fixed that problem by taking on the punishment that is due us.  And you can find commentaries that support the belief that Ephesians 1:3-6 says that God chose us from the foundation of the world and predestined for us to be adopted as children of God, so if your name is written in the Book of Life, it cannot be blotted out. My personal opinion is that these verses show the heart of God and that is was His plan and purpose that all would remain in Christ according to the grace He has given us in Christ.
     BUT THEN, there is the verse in Revelation 3:5, when Jesus is addressing the Churches ... He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will accordingly be dressed in white clothing; and I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess and openly acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels [saying that he is one of Mine].  Various translations record those first few words as, "He who conquers", or "The victor".  Either way -- whether you are an overcomer, a conqueror, or a victor, there is a suggestion that there is a battle; a fight that might possibly result in your name being blotted out.  The very concepts of overcoming, conquering and winning alludes to repentance of sin in one's life. And repentance is an ongoing activity in the life of a Believer.  If it is a foregone conclusion that God chose us and predestined us [with no decision on our part for failure], then why would Jesus even need to present the option of blotting out a name? Could unrepented sin be the causal factor?
     Okay, back to my original premise ... God tells Moses that He is sending "an angel" before the nation of Israel to drive out the native inhabitants [who are idolators] because ,if He went Himself, He was so angry, He would destroy His chosen people.  Later, he relents when Moses asks for mercy and God says, "My presence shall go with thee".  I believe we should understand this "angel" and "presence" to be Jesus.  
     For me, this is a picture of the Nature of God.  He maintained His Holy standard of no other gods, and no idols, by refusing to accompany them Himself -- while exhibiting His attribute of Mercy by sending His presence with them.  It is also a picture of His Grace.  He never relents on his hatred of idolatry and sin, yet provides a way for us to remain in His presence, even when we sin [repentance].  In this Old Testament picture, it is through the angel who goes before them, which is a picture of Christ in the New Testament.
    From this nugget of revelation I received this week, I can know that I serve a God who never changes.  There is no God of the Old Testament who is different from the God of the New Testament -- it is the same God ... the One who is at the same time Holy [maintaining His righteous standards], yet also Merciful and full of Grace.  He is a God who commands us to be holy and righteous as He is, for we are made in His image. And we need to understand that there will come a day when we will stand before our Savior, and in order to not be blotted out of the Book of Life we must overcome this world.  We know that some of will succeed, some will fail, and some will fall away.  It is not God's will that He lose anyone, just as it was not His desire that the Israelites accept Him as their God and then fall victim to idolatry and sin.  Are we any different?  There is a very important lesson to learn from this Biblical example. The same concept of our God is presented in Exodus as is represented in Revelation. Do not let us think that we are beyond the temptations of those ancient Chosen People. 
     We are to walk out our salvation with fear and trembling ... lest we stumble and fall away. If we see only God's attributes of Mercy and Grace, and ignore His Righteousness and Holiness [which includes His Judgment], we run the risk of becoming complacent and spewed out of His mouth.  We serve a Mighty God, who reveals Himself day by day to those who seek Him!

1 Corinthians 10:12   "Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation]".


December 7, 2017

The Holy of Holies In Our Temple Of God

     I know there are differences of theological opinion when it comes to discussing the Temple of God in modern or future times.  There are those who are focused on the rebuilding of the physical Temple in which the Antichrist sets up "an abomination of desolation" in the Last Days.  They wait with anticipation for signs that this Temple is about to be constructed, because they know the return of our Lord is near.
     While I do not discount the importance of this final Temple being built, I have been seeking ways to press into Him within the temple that is my human body.  You see, I am fully aware of all that Scripture tells me regarding the truth that I am the Temple of God. Yet I still find there are times I struggle to enter the Holy of Holies in my spirit.  I can read in 1 Corinthians 3:16, Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  Or 2 Corinthians 6:16, For we are the temple of the living God; or 1 Peter 2:5, You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 
     When God instructed Moses to build His Tabernacle, it was because He desired a place to meet with His people.  His presence was with them.  The Tabernacle, or Temple, included the Outer Courts, the Inner Courts, and the Holy Place (where the golden candlestick, the table of showbread and the altar of incense were place).  Behind the altar of incense was a thick veil that separated off a small area called the Holy of Holies. Inside the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant, upon which rested the mercy seat and the cherubim. God’s presence rested on the mercy seat.
     This is where God's attribute of Mercy was displayed.  Sin is a deadly serious matter to God, because it is what separates man from God. Therefore, sin is an issue that man must acknowledge about himself and reckon with. The mercy seat represented where sins were acknowledged and forgiven.  And because God is Holy, and man is unholy, the meeting place in the Temple, the Holy of Holies, was a restricted area.
     But that is no longer true.  Because we are now the temple of the living God, we have access to the Holy of Holies in our heart because of Jesus's sacrifice on the cross.  Scripture tells us that the very moment Jesus gave up His spirit, the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).  Man now had access to the presence of God and was no longer separated from Him.  And to make sure we understand this, Scripture confirms it in Hebrews 10:19-20, Therefore, believers, since we have confidence and full freedom to enter the Holy Place [the place where God dwells] by [means of] the blood of Jesus, by this new and living way which He initiated and opened for us through the veil [as in the Holy of Holies], that is, through His flesh.
     But how many of us have instituted new veils that keep us from His presence?  How many of you struggle with knowing there is more to receive from your relationship with God, but you just can't get past some impediment that keeps you from the Holy of Holies in your heart?  Is it something you covet in your flesh, or perhaps some sin you can't quite forgive someone [or yourself] for?  How many want to see in the spirit, but there is a dirty veil that keeps you from getting that breakthrough?  Or you want to hear from Him, but there is a soundproof barrier that keeps you from entering your Holy of Holies?
     And how many have only been able to press into the Inner Court of your heart, while others are still stuck in the Outer Courts?  You don't even feel worthy to enter into the Holy presence of your God, even though you desperately long for that connection.  I have a feeling that for many of us, we find ourselves navigating in and out of these Courts and the Holy Places.  Why can't we enter into His presence and maintain that peace and love and power that defies description?  Who doesn't want to experience communing with the Spirit of God and meeting with our Living Lord?
     It is a serious matter and undertaking to seek and find God in our Holy of Holies.  It is a matter of pressing in, acknowledging His Holiness, and seeking Him diligently until we break through whatever new veils have been erected in our hearts.  But it is worth the effort because it is a sacred place; it is our personal meeting place with God where we experience His presence and receive instruction to move from glory to glory in our redemptive journey. Praise Him for our opportunity to spend a lifetime in His presence, and then seek Him with all your heart.  Press in until every shred of those human veils are eliminated and you bask in the revelation of His glory!

Ephesians 2:21   We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.


December 4, 2017

You Know Jesus As Your Savior ... Do You Know Him As Adonai?

     Christians are able to identify Jesus as their Savior because [they will tell you], He died for their sins. I'm not sure they all recognize the enormity of that statement, or the concept that because of the Divine Nature of God, and who He is, we all deserve damnation and death for sinning against our Holy God (Romans 1:32 and 3:23). Therefore, Jesus "dying" for our sins means He took the punishment of all God's Creation who rejected Him.  That is a debt we can never repay, either independently or corporately.
     And the New Testament gives us a very clear picture of Jesus as our Savior in Acts 5:31, God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior and Deliverer, in order to grant repentance to Israel, and [to grant] forgiveness of sins.  This grace through faith is also extended to us because we are grafted in as God's sanctified people.  But Jesus is worthy of an additional title, if you will, as expressed in Luke 2:11, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
     It is common for Christians to refer to Jesus as their Lord.  But there is a more accurate description of who He is in the Hebrew ... Adonai.  The title Lord for Jesus comes from the Greek Kurios, a translation of Adonai. And this word "Adonai" means Lord, Master, Owner.  It is also important to see that Jesus's name in Hebrew, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach (Jesus Chist) is YHWH "come in the flesh".  So, to say that Jesus Christ is Lord is to declare that He is YHWH (Adonai), Himself. 
     But Adonai is more than a name or a title.  It essentially speaks of the relationship we have with YHWH.  It is God's total possession of my life through my submission (surrender) to Him. We get a good picture of this in the Bible with the relationship between Abram and God. In Genesis 14, God has delivered Abram through the War of the Kings and he (Abram) announces to the King of Sodom that it is El Elyon (the God Most High) who has given him the victory. It is then in Genesis 15:2, that the name Adonai first appears.  Abram addressed God as Adonai or Master, understanding that the Master has the right of possession, and the one possessed is charged with submission to God, his Master. The Bible affirms this in Genesis 15:6, Then Abram believed in (affirmed, trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord (Adonai); and He counted (credited) it to him as righteousness (doing right in regard to God and man).
     Abram understood this Master/servant relationship.  He knew that the Servant depended on the Master to be faithful in provision, protection, and direction (guidance). We can see this concept reflected in the New Testament with the idea of believers as bondservants. This is a reflection of Jesus as Lord or Master.    
     But I have a question ... Do we in the 21st Century still walk in that identity?  Do we acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Master and Owner?  The Biblical relationship that "Adonai" signifies means that Jesus has mastership and ownership over us; and it indicates that God is the owner of each member of the human family, which gives Him the authority to claim the unrestricted obedience of us all. 
     Unfortunately, our American history has stained this idea of a master/slave relationship.  But human history need not sully the spiritual portrayal of God's relationship to us as Adonai.  From a Biblical perspective, Pastor Kenneth Hemphill explains it best: "The relationship of slave and master in the Bible was more often one of love and allegiance. In the Jewish relationship, a slave had more privileges than the hired help. A slave could participate in the Temple sacrifices and was a member of the household. The hired help was excluded from these privileges. The servant is assured that his Master has the resources and ability to care for him. As a member of the master’s household, the master provides for all the servant needs. The servant need not worry about his basic provision. The servant is assured that help and resources are available for him to carry out his duties as a servant. The master provides what is needed, not only for basic needs, but also for the fulfillment of the tasks assigned to the servant. The servant has the privilege of calling upon his relationship with the Master to get the help he needs. Access to the Master is guaranteed, and is only a prayer away". 
     To some, it may seem that this look at Jesus as Adonai is simply a mundane word study, but I believe the acknowledgement of this concept of Jesus as our Lord, Master, and Owner has great implications for the Body of Christ today.  For far too long, the Church has allowed the culture to dismantle the identity of Christ. As I stated in a previous post, I am concerned that we no longer fear God. And I see Jesus relegated to an equal with other gods, while the Holy Spirit has largely left the Western Church. 
     Sadly, too many Christians don't read their Bible with any hunger to know the Father or the Son.  And if you don't know Them, how can you have a relationship with Them, let alone in the proper perspective?  I want to see and know and declare Adonai as Abram did! And it starts today!  
     Yes, Jesus is my Savior, and I know the eternal gift of salvation that He has afforded me!  But I also know Him as Adonai -- my Lord ... my Master ... and He owns me! I acknowledge that I am His servant. And I acknowledge that, as Adonai, Jesus is Owner of all, and we are all stewards who have been declared worthy by Him to serve -- and we all count it a privilege to serve. 
      I understand and declare that as Adonai, Jesus is my Master and can supply all my needs, including supernatural empowerment enabling me to serve God.  And, finally, I recognize that I can do anything and all that Jesus, as Adonai, commands me to do. There is no doubt or fear or unbelief in His authority and power -- or mine to carry out His commands! 
     Yes, I know Jesus as my Savior, and I truly honor His sacrifice and the gift of eternal life that is mine.  But I never want to diminish His role as Adonai; as my Lord and Master.  Nor do I want to refuse the challenge to live my life as a demonstration of His Lordship in it.  On that day when I stand before Him, and say, "Lord, Lord", I want Him to smile and say my name, acknowledging that He has known me. And I will cry out, as King David did, "You are my Adonai. I have no good besides You."

Thanks to the website, Precept Austin, for their references on the meaning and concept of Adonai.
Malachi 1:6    A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is the [reverent] fear and respect due Me?’ says the Lord of hosts...

November 30, 2017

Come All Ye Angels!

     I am so blessed to be surrounded by such Godly friends who constantly inspire me with their hearts of faith!  And I recently had just a couple minutes of conversation with a good friend about one of my favorite subjects.... angels.  And then my husband, Mark, told me he was awake in the early morning hours today and while reading, he happened upon a 2014 article, titled How To Command Your Angels by Tom Brown.  I am fully aware that just reading that title will be enough to send some Christians into shock. But it was enough affirmation that perhaps this is a subject that we should discuss, and so began my research.
     First of all, I want to make it perfectly clear, I do not worship angels! And I am perfectly aware that each time [in the Bible] a man falls to his knees to worship the appearance of an angelic being, he is told, as in Revelation 19:10, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” So, I want to assure you that I take that mandate in Scripture very seriously.
     That being said, I am also very aware of the importance and purpose of angels in the Bible. And Scripture is clear about their status when it comes to both Jesus and man, so let's establish a few things first, according to the Bible.  As Believers, there should be no question that Jesus, as God, is the Creator of all things, including both man and angels.  That's a no-brainer.  Therefore we understand that He is superior to all things, right?  But we also need to understand, as put forth in Hebrews, Chapter Two, the following truth: But we see Him [who for a little while was made lower than the angels], namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
     For the short time that Jesus was on earth as a man, He was made a little lower than the angels. But that is not His reality today, as Chapter One tells us:  After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Jesus resumed His superior position when He ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.
     But what about our relationship with the angels?  Where do we fit into the hierarchy, and what is our connection to angelic beings?  I'm going to give you my rather unorthodox opinion, which I believe can be backed up by Scripture, and we will see where this theory goes...  We are made in the image of God [and are primarily spirit beings as Genesis 1:26 tells us], and we were given dominion over the earth.  I believe Scripture tells us that the angels were created before the Seventh Day:  Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them (Genesis 2:1)While the word "host" sometimes refers to God's army or military, here it signifies angels, and is confirmed in 1 Kings 22:19, I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.  Yes, this could be the army of heaven, and if so, it is an army made up of angels.

     So, at this point of the story in the Bible, it appears to me that we were given dominion over the earth, and the angels served the Lord in Heaven. And I would say that being created in the image of the Father and the Son, we were a close second in authority.  But by Genesis 3, man has turned over dominion of earth to the devil, and lost that authority. But what of the angels? Were they ever given any authority?  First of all, I want to make clear that angels are not the chubby looking babies that resemble Cupid. Nor are they people who have died; the Bible clearly calls those beings Saints. One of the clearest descriptions of angels is found in Hebrews 1:14, Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]
     The primary job of angels is to do the bidding of God; to serve Him in various assignments.  Those assignments include our protection, our deliverance from danger, the worship of God in Heaven, and to minister to our needs. Some angels are Messengers; chief among them is Gabriel.  Others are Chief Princes; Michael is one. Still others are Divine Attendants, such as the Cherubim and Seraphim. Then there are those whom Timothy referred to as the Elect Angels; the Living Creatures as referenced in Ezekiel; and the Watchers whom Daniel mentioned.  But in the context of this article, I want to concentrate on the "ministering angels" mentioned in Hebrews 1, because they are specifically referred to in relation to us.  It seems that their job, according to all the references to them in the Bible is (1) to worship God (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8); (2) to serve as messengers of God (Dan. 9:22; Luke 1:11, 26; 2:9; Rev. 1:1); (3) to serve as soldiers in spiritual combat (Dan. 10:13; Rev. 12:7); and (4) to serve as ministers to God’s people.
     At this time, I'm going to interject the controversy that is occurring in our theological discussions today.  There are those [like me] who discern that these ministering angels can be called into service by Believers; and then there are those Believers who interpret that as giving angels more authority than they have, and it can border on worshiping them.  But it is my humble opinion that it is not the angels who have the authority, but us, the Believer!
     You see, under the prior covenant with God, [and before the Cross], man had lost his authority.  But after the Cross, Jesus has been "crowned with glory and honor", so that the angels submit to Him and His name.  Scripture is very clear about this ... Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him (1 Peter 3:22) ... and That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth (Philippians 2:10). 
     Here is where we really need to see the Big Picture.  As I have put forward many times in the past, Believers need to recognize the power and authority given them by Jesus.  Not only were we given authority over all the power of the Enemy, but we were told that anything we asked in His Name, would be given us.  So when Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:18, Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven, it should be clear that we are binding the power of the devil and his demons, and we also have the authority to loose the resources of Heaven.  But how is that accomplished?

     Follow this line of reasoning ... Psalm 103:20 says, Bless the Lord, you His angels, You mighty ones who do His commandments, Obeying the voice of His word! By this, we should understand that angels in Heaven listen [and act] upon the VOICE of God's Word.  We know that the Bible is His Word, right? But unless we SPEAK the Word, no voice is given to It.  So, when Jesus spoke the Word during his temptation in the Wilderness, He was able to resist the devil, and afterwards, Scripture says, Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to Him.
     The same is true for us!  When we give voice to the Word of God, the angels in Heaven hear us, and are loosed to act upon the Word and carry it out in our lives!  You've heard the expression, "Just say the Word", right? Well, when we quote Scripture aloud during our prayers, it looses the angels to do the assignments and work they were created to do.  They have purpose and I believe they love working with us to see God's will done here on earth.
     Here's another way to look at it ... since Jesus announced that the Kingdom of Heaven "is at hand", and returned to His position in Heaven, we are regaining territory from the Enemy and coming into our own identity as His co-heirs. The full reality of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth will not be fulfilled until Jesus's Second Coming, but it is important to know that we, as Faithful Believers, have been given His power and authority to act in His stead until He returns.  And because we have been given the authority to use His Name to accomplish God's will, and the angels are subject to that Name, then we can loose them to help us do Kingdom work until Jesus returns.  And at that time, we will co-rule the world with Jesus.  And what does the Apostle Paul tell us in 1 Corinthians 6:3?  That we will not only judge the world, but also judge the angels!  
     In conclusion, I am clear about what Scripture says about angels and how they minister to us in our service to the Lord.  Only God is worthy of our worship and praise, but He has created angels to minister not only to Him in Heaven, but to us, here on earth to see His perfect will done.  And that's a partnership made in Heaven!

Nehemiah 9:6    You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships You.  

November 27, 2017

What Has Happened To Our Fear Of God?

     I know I am not the only one who is receiving new and previously undiscerned perceptions of the Nature of our Lord Jesus.  So, what I am about to share has been carefully gleaned from Scripture and reflects how He is widening and stretching my field of vision, so to speak, and allowing me to see a bigger picture of Him through God's Word.  And I'm afraid that what I am about to write will be met with resistance by many in today's Church. But I hope you will read with a heart to receive and accept the Word of God.
     I'm sure that some of you will be way out in front of me on these revelations, while others may not be as far along the path of your own journey.  And that's okay -- I am not writing this so that we compare ourselves to each other, but rather, to rejoice in the fact that these revelations are being shared in stages throughout all of our lives.  In fact, I am beginning to see clearly just how far the Body of Christ has come in knowing Jesus ... and how far we have to go.
     So, I'm going to try to express my latest revelations in easy-to-understand premises, and then unpack it all to share why it is important that we not lose our fear of God.  Here is the new discernment that I have received, and while it may not seem earth-shattering at first, when I looked at the implications of it, I was actually astounded ... Let's start here: We should be able to acknowledge that Jesus existed as God before His birth to the virgin Mary. And while the Body of Christ is coming into a fuller understanding that Jesus experienced everything on earth as a human being -- at no time did He invoke His privileges as Deity to deal with demons, disease, or difficulties with man -- He has now returned to His original identity as God, seated on His throne at the right hand of the Father.
     So here's what I found so amazing: Out of all the immense vastness of infinite time, those three-and-a-half years spent as a man changed the dynamic of everything that came before and all that has come, and will come after.  BUT ... and here is where we must be careful in our discernment; we cannot become stuck on the image of Christ as a man, and must now [more than ever] see Him in His fullness and greatness as Deity.
     While we honor Him as our Redeemer and Deliverer, I'm afraid we may cling to an image of Him as He was on earth -- the precious baby in the manger; the prophet and teacher who performed signs and wonders as God; the sinless man who was willing to die to save us from the wrath of Almighty God.  True, He was all that and more! But He is greater than He was while on earth, and we must respond to Him as Supreme Creator of all (1 Corinthians 1:16-17); King of Kings (Revelation 17:14); Mighty God and Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6); and Righteous Judge (Acts 10:42)!
     Because, you see, as John says in the first chapter of his Book, Jesus was God. And He loved the world so much that He sent a part of Himself to earth to live as a man, not only so that He could identify with our struggles, but also as the payment due God for our sins. God established in Leviticus 20:26, "You are to be holy to Me; for I the Lord am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples (nations) to be Mine". This was spoken to the nation of Israel, but Peter reiterates it to the Early Church, who are our ancestors in the Faith, "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  He then goes on to say, " If you address as Father, the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, [then] conduct yourselves in [reverent] fear [of Him] and with profound respect for Him throughout the time of your stay on earth" (1 Peter 1:15-17). We must discern that God takes sin very seriously, and that Jesus [who is called Everlasting Father in Isaiah 9:6] will be the One who judges us!
     And here is where it all comes together....  In John 1:21-22, the Apostle makes God's position clear: Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life [and allows them to live on], even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment [that is, the prerogative of judging] to the Son [placing it entirely into His hands]... And here is where the Modern Church has been tempted to be deceived.
     How many of you have spent your church lives under the teaching that we are no longer under the Law, but under God's Grace?  That is certainly true, but do we know the full implication of that premise?  John 1:16-17 says, For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 
We must first understand that God's grace abounded under what we commonly call the Old Covenant in the Old Testament. (I have come to understand that the covenants found in the Pentateuch are principally agreements made between God and the Biblical Israelites, while the covenant He made with Noah applies to all of humanity and to all other living creatures. In this covenant, God promises never again to destroy all life on Earth by flood and creates the rainbow as the sign of this "everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth").
     Back to the premise that grace was evident in the Old Testament... the Bible abounds with examples of God's grace. I think we can all agree with A.W. Tozer, who says that grace is “the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving.” It was certainly the case with Adam and Eve, who received grace after sinning in the Garden.  And how many times were the Israelites disobedient to God's commands as they came into the Promised Land?  Yet, He continued to offer them His grace.  King David is another good example. He killed Uriah, and lusted after his wife, yet God called him "a man after His own heart".  And Jacob, who cheated Esau out of his inheritance was a man that God declared He loved, while Esau, He hated.  So, we cannot deny that God's grace existed in the Old Testament under the covenants He held with the Israelites.
     Here's what we need to understand about Grace in the Old Testament.... It did not set you free from the consequences of sin.  In fact, sin had dominion over the people because the Law of Moses couldn't do what Jesus did; it couldn't set us free!  Death was often the consequences of your sin under the Law of Moses.  For instance, any Israelite who offered their children as sacrifice to Molech was to be put to death; anyone who cursed their mother or father, or committed adultery, or any number of sexual perversions were all to be put to death.  And King David certainly suffered the consequences of his sin, with the death of his son with Bathsheba. Sin had sovereignty over one's life.
     But Jesus's sacrifice on the Cross proved to be greater than the Law for setting us free from sin, and offered man a greater concept of God's Grace. So, what is different about the Grace offered in the New Testament?  This [New] Covenant of Grace is where God promises eternal salvation to Man based upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Blood sacrifices in the Old Testament [where the High Priests used the blood of animals] could not take away our sins.  It only cleansed the outer man, and that's why they had to be done every year.  Jesus is now our High Priest and is greater than the Priests who were under the Law, and who died and had to be replaced.  He is eternal and He never dies. And we understand that His sacrifice was "one time for all", and with His own blood.  His blood has the power to forgive everyone on earth, and we are now under the Blood.
     But here is the danger of deception in the understanding of God's Grace versus the Law.  Yes, we are forgiven our sins, and we no longer have to worry that we could be put to death if we sin.  We confess our sin, repent, and ask for God's forgiveness.  BUT, we must not forget that God, from the beginning, has called us to be holy, as He is Holy. That why Paul warns in Romans 6, "we can [not] go on sinning so that God's grace abounds".  In fact, the writer of Hebrews warns, "For if the message given through angels [the Law given to Moses] was authentic and unalterable, and every violation and disobedient act received an appropriate penalty [death], how will we escape [the penalty] if we ignore such a great salvation [the gospel, the new covenant]"? (Hebrews 2:2-3).

      Remember, Jesus is greater than the angels, greater than Moses, greater than the High Priests of old.  So, here is what I am afraid the Modern Church has ignored in Scripture; a passage that should have every Christian examining themselves to see if they are living a holy life ... and what is plainly declared in Hebrews 10:26-31: "For if we go on willfully and deliberately sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice [to atone] for our sins [that is, no further offering to anticipate], but a kind of awful and terrifying expectation of [divine] judgment and the fury of a fire and burning wrath which will consume the adversaries [those who put themselves in opposition to God]. Anyone who ignored and set aside the Law of Moses [was] put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much greater punishment do you think he will deserve who has rejected and trampled under foot the Son of God, and has considered unclean and common the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and has insulted the Spirit of Grace [who imparts the unmerited favor and blessing of God]?  For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”  It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath]".
     I'm afraid the Church thinks we are under Grace and we won't be punished like the people of God were under the Old Covenant and the the Law of Moses.  But that is not what the aforementioned verses in Hebrews says! We should understand that Jesus is so much more in Heaven than He was while on earth!  Yes, He is our Mediator and Advocate, but we cannot ignore Luke 12:10, which says, "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven".  This is affirmation of what is declared in Hebrews 10... the one who insults the Spirit of Grace [who is the Holy Spirit who imparts God's grace to us] will be repaid with vengeance by the Lord. We have ample evidence of what that looks like in the lives of Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts.
     I know there will be those who accuse me of being legalistic and corrupting the concept of Grace according to the Church.  But a complete and exhaustive study of the Book of Hebrews will give you a more accurate understanding of what Scripture says, instead of following Church culture.  And I am NOT saying that if you are sincerely trying to live a righteous and holy life and encounter struggles, which result in confession and repentance, that you will suffer vengeance by the Lord. 1 John 1:9 shows the heart of God and Jesus: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But if you are a Christian that is indifferent or callous towards your own sin, thinking you have nothing to worry about because we are under the new covenant of Grace, then I would suggest that you examine your attitude and see if you willfully and deliberately continue to sin, without any consideration of consequences, or just because you think all you have to do is continue to ask for forgiveness and it will be yours.  And I would recommend you take to heart Psalm 25:14:  The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
     In conclusion, I just want us to be aware that the fear of the Lord is not only awesome reverence for who He is and what He has done for us, but should be seriously considered if we, who have received that knowledge of Truth [of eternal salvation due to His sacrifice for us] should willfully and deliberately continue to sin. For Scripture very clearly states that there is no further atonement to be made for us, and there is a terrifying expectation of divine judgment. Just as Jesus is greater than the Law of Moses, so is the punishment greater for us than it was under the Law.  This is the undeniable truth of Scripture and no amount of 21st Century Church doctrine or softening of the language can negate the Word of God.  That is why we should all work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).  It is a process, and your eternal life [and my Lord] are worthy of this admonition.

2 Corinthians 7:1    "Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God".


November 23, 2017

What Does It Mean To Be A Part Of God's Remnant?

     You've often seem me write and refer to the remnant of God's Church on earth.  But what does that mean, and what significance does the Bible give to this term?  According to the dictionary, remnant means "a small remaining quantity of something; a surviving trace".  The dictionary even gives a definition as to what the word means in Christian Theology: "a small minority of people who will remain faithful to God and so be saved (in allusion to Biblical prophecies concerning Israel)."
     In this manner, the only time that I have seen Jesus refer to "the remnant" is in Matthew 22:6, as it pertains to the Wedding Feast: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. In this instance, He is indeed, alluding to Israel who slew the prophets God sent to them to reveal His will that they might glorify Him among the nations on earth.  This truth is attested to by the first appearance of the word, remnant, in Genesis 45:7-8 when Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God."
     But even though "the remnant" refers specifically to a minority of the Israelites that God destined for His purpose, we in the Christian Church are grafted into God's promises to the Israelite remnant, if we have been called to demonstrate His power and glory to a skeptical and unseeing world (and Church).  And it is indeed God who has brought us to this point, for the purpose of God's remnant, whether Jewish or Christian, never varies ... they are used to speak His Truth to His people, revealing a timely Word for the particular season they have been called.
     And since I am writing to a largely Christian population, I am attempting to impart the significance of God's remnant within the Western Church and the implications of their calling. To begin, the remnant may look different than you might expect. They are not perfect, and often include those who are relegated to the sidelines by Church leadership. They are often those injured by the Church. They just don't seem to fit in. And they can be the meek as well as the outspoken.  The point is that the Remnant doesn't choose their role, but are chosen by God through an encounter with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  It is not His desire that they be seen as separate from His Church, but rather to be the conscience of the Church as they seek to speak into the heart of Believer's and call them to repentance and obedience to the fundamental Truths of God and His Word -- Truths that very often, are no longer understood or practiced by the established Church.
     It is a sad fact that the Remnant shouldn't look any different, at all, from the rest of the Body of Christ!  But it is a testament to the state of the Church that they do.  Keeping in mind that we are all part of one Body; and members of that Body with different functions according to the gifts given to us by God's grace, then what is the role that God is calling the Remnant to undertake?
     From my humble perspective, I see that the Remnant of today's Church is being guided by the Holy Spirit to cause a revival and hunger among the Body to seek the Kingdom of God first -- just as Jesus commanded, and instead of remaining mired in doctrine, religious practices, and comfortable theology.  In essence, the Remnant will find themselves taking the brunt of the Enemy's attacks because they are a threat to Satan's kingdom here on earth, as well as the brunt of the Church, itself, as it struggles against new revelation that threatens its status quo.  In other words, the Remnant will find themselves positioned on the front lines of the Body of Christ as they partner with the Lord to take back territory for Heaven's Kingdom on earth.  In addition, the majority of the Church will be happy to let the Remnant be "the tip of the spear" while they remain safe and comfortable at the rear of God's army -- even to the point where they will disapprove of where the Remnant is being led by Christ, Himself. The Church might see themselves as "Christian soldiers", but they never enter the battle.
     So, if you identify with that forward guard of the Church, let me suggest how you came to be called to this position.  First, I would suspect that you had a stirring in your spirit that there was "something missing" in your experience as a Christian.  You wanted more, and it was nothing that this world could offer you.  You found yourself seeking more of God on your own because your spirit was hungry for regeneration and revival. Your prayers became more powerful and deeper in their urgency and desire for the Lord.  It became important to you to hear God's voice, and your time in His Word revealed new concepts of His Nature and His call upon your life.
     What's more, you actually believe all the promises in the Bible as to your power and authority! You know that spiritual warfare is real and that Satan and his demons really exist because you literally engage in battle for the Kingdom.  You know what it means to practice discernment and intercession.  You know that the Church must be revived and enter into a new understanding of the full counsel of God's Word -- not just the politically correct, watered down version that leaves your fellow Brothers and Sisters locked in an immature, powerless faith and unable to reach a lost world.
     You sense that our time is running short and you desperately try to drag the Church into the destiny God has planned for them; speaking boldly with urgency and heartfelt compassion, that no one [whether in the Church or out] miss the true Gospel Message of repentance, prayer, and obedience... yet, you are often misunderstood and isolated.
     But take heart!  You have been called by the Most High God for such a time as this!  You know who you are!  You are not anti-Church, nor do you want to be separate from the Church, but you are passionate about seeing the Church step into their true identity and the power that Jesus assigned to us.  You long to see the Church rise up in revival and transformation to share the Gospel of the Kingdom as our Lord modeled for us and commanded us to do. And you also realize that Scripture tells us Jesus warned of the "luke-warm" nature of the Church in the Last Days.  And He has called you to stand, just as He did Jeremiah, who declared, ...if I say, "I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name," His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot" (Jeremiah 20:9). You will find yourself in the position of Ezekiel, whom God told, "You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen..." (Ezekiel 2:7).
     So, my friends, if you identify as a part of God's Remnant, then I would say you're in pretty good company.  Count it all joy as you partner with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Go forth, boldly and confidently, knowing that this is the path you have been called to walk.  Rejoice in your mission, and draw strength and encouragement from your fellow sojourners and your Lord, who also experienced obstacles and disappointments on His way to glorifying the Father. For there is no greater calling this side of Heaven. Walk in Victory, for it is ours from the Lord.

Isaiah 58:12    "And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in". 

November 21, 2017

How Religious Spirits Keep Christians From An Intimacy With The Lord

      Have you ever encountered a religious spirit in a fellow Christian?  I daresay if you are walking in your delegated power and authority from Christ, and know who you are in Him, then you most likely have met a fellow Christian with a religious spirit.  How will you know and what effect does this spirit have upon the Body of Christ?
     First of all, a Believer with a religious spirit will be critical of any revelations you might have received from God that are outside of his or her mainstream doctrinal training.  Just think Pharisees, and you will get a good picture of men with religious spirits. They might accuse you of being deceived, or constantly challenge you to show where that particular spiritual truth is found in the Bible. But I'm not writing this post in defense of those of us who have found ourselves at odds with our fellow Christians, nor to condemn those who don't see eye-to-eye with us, but rather in the hopes of highlighting the detrimental effects this spirit can have upon the relationship of our fellow Christians with our Savior.  Let me repeat that ... THIS POST IS NOT CONDEMNING CHRISTIANS, BUT RATHER EXPOSING THE SPIRIT THAT KEEPS THEM FROM A SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS. You see, I want all Christians to enjoy the intimacy that I have with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and I want them to step into the freedom that can come when this spirit is expelled from their lives.
     So, what exactly is a religious spirit?  This may shock many in the Body of Christ but it is actually a spirit that comes from the Enemy to wage war against an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus in a Believer's life.  And I want to take a moment to point out a fact that escapes so many people who say they believe in God .... we are made in His image, and the Bible says, God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  So, if we are made in His image, then we are spirits, too, correct? But here is what too many people miss when considering how they live out their faith in God .... we are created as spirits who are living through a temporary physical experience.  We came from Heaven where we were spirits, and after a very short life span here on earth, we will return to Heaven (which we call "home", right?) as a spirit. We are not primarily physical beings created to stumble upon an occasional spiritual experience, even though I'm afraid that this is how most Christians see themselves. When the Bible says those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth, that is the truth we must embrace as we seek to relate to Him as spirits in a spiritual realm outside of this physical world. 
     But back to the purpose of a religious spirit, which is in all reality, a spirit sent by the Enemy against Christians to keep them feeling distant from God and to ensure that they never meet Jesus in the spirit.  This spirit can severely limit a Christian's intimacy with their Lord and Savior, and result in a life lived in virtual isolation from the One who created them and Who longs for a heart/spirit relationship.
      I heard an excellent Youtube video by Ryan LeStrange, the founder of Impact International Ministries. Ryan gives a very short and concise description of what a religious spirit is and how it affects a Christian's life.  He describes the religious spirit as "a demon power that uses religious structures to entangle people in bondage; to prevent transformation; and to enforce the spiritual status quo".  In other words, the spirit entraps the religious person into religious systems and traditions that result in little or no growth in their understanding of how they are to relate and work with Jesus, which essentially results in no fruit.
     LeStrange goes on to say, "The religious spirit fights [against] revelation; it defies prophetic insight; it hates apostolic authority; and it uses tradition to build structures of limitation".  All that is just another way to say that it builds a chasm between the Believer and a spiritual intimacy with God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.
     If you have spent time with God in His Word, then you know that it is His heart's desire to lead us into new and fresh revelations of His nature and His plans for invading earth with the Kingdom of Heaven.  It only makes sense that Satan would do everything he could to keep that from happening.  As long as the devil can keep us entangled in our limited human reasoning, and uninterested in pursuing the spiritual realm and encountering Jesus there, then he can keep us impotent and ineffective.
     You see, God wants us to be in sync with Him; to be aware of what He is saying, what He is doing, and what He is releasing in the earth -- just as Jesus was when He walked among us.  We can only do that if we are tuned in to the Spirit through our own spirit.  We must be aware of His presence, and the only way to do that is in the spirit!  It is the devil's express desire to keep us from being transformed from our physical limitations into a spiritual awareness where we can commune and work with Jesus to bring about God's will on earth.
     Satan loves it when we, as Christians, are stuck in a paradigm that is unable to experience the presence of Jesus in our lives.  When we are stuck with our religious ideas and traditions, we are not able to partner with Him to bring about prophetic change on the earth.  The religious spirit works to block people's minds from becoming renewed and seeing and hearing in the spirit, which is our birthright -- it is what we are created to do!
     You see, God wants to reveal the deep and hidden mysteries of His Kingdom to us, so that we can help bring about the times and seasons of His plan for mankind.  But the Religious spirit develops blockades that keep men from seeking those new revelations. So, as a Body of Christ, we must pray for freedom from this spirit; we must pray to break the opposition that comes against us as we share these truths with Believers; and we must pray that our Brothers and Sisters in Christ are transformed with new hearts and minds that can resist this hindering spirit and come into alignment with us and our Father in Heaven, to bring about His plans for these times. It is now time to defeat and remove this spirit's stranglehold on the Church, so that we might enter into our inheritance!

1 Corinthians 2:14   The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him [absurd and illogical], and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters].

November 18, 2017

An Encouraging Word

     Mark and I have been on a little road trip for the last week, and it's always interesting to view the world when you are out of your comfort zone and away from familiar territory.  We drove over 4,000 miles across our amazing country and had lots of time to contemplate our Kingdom assignments and observe what God is doing in our culture. Let me address the latter first...
     It seems like overnight, the national spotlight (which I know is God's Light) has focused on the sexual misconduct and misdeeds of not only those who have made it their job to entertain us, but those who have been elected to govern us and administer our laws.  I find it intriguing that the definition of a spotlight is as follows: A spotlight is a powerful stage lighting instrument which projects a bright beam of light onto a performance space. Spotlights are controlled by a spotlight operator who tracks actors around the stage.
     It isn't difficult to see this situation in the spirit.  God is projecting a bright, powerful light onto the moral and ethical performances of men who have received His blessings of influence and power.  He is making it clear to those of us who have spiritual discernment, that He is the operator of this spotlight and that this is His time to reveal and judge their sins.
     And if you think that sounds just a tad too morally legalistic, let me refer you to some prophetic statements in the Word.  First, let's look at Luke 12:1-3 ... Jesus began speaking first of all to His disciples, “Be continually on your guard against the leaven [the impurity] of the Pharisees [that is, their pervasive, corrupting influence and teaching], which is hypocrisy [producing self-righteousness]. But there is nothing [so carefully] concealed that it will not be revealed, nor so hidden that it will not be made known. For that reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. 
     That's a pretty clear picture of what we have seen over the last couple of weeks, isn't it?  And when this same Word is repeated in Mark 4:22 (For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been kept secret, but that it would come to light [that is, things are hidden only temporarily, until the appropriate time comes for them to be known]) and Luke 8:17 (For there is nothing hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come out into the open), then you can be sure that the Lord meant it for our ears to hear.
      But that is not all!  If that isn't enough to begin to realize that this latest news cycle has been orchestrated by our "Spotlight Operator" in Heaven, then consider 2 Corinthians 5:10 ...  For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].  Even the wisest, richest and most influential king in Israel's history, Solomon, knew the truth of this Word when he wrote, "For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
     You see, I do not believe it is coincidence or simply bad luck that we are seeing the moral misconduct of the rich and powerful come to light.  I believe that God's remnant are humbling themselves and praying for His forgiveness for the sins we have done as a nation.  We confess that nearly 60,000,000 babies have been killed because our laws approve of abortion (nearly 1600 today alone). We confess that nearly a quarter million (244,000 to be exact) American children and youth are at risk for sex trafficking each year. We acknowledge and repent that pornography is a $12 billion industry in the U.S.
     And I believe the Lord has heard our prayers and it is His hand that we are seeing as His Light shines on every immoral and evil act committed by men in positions of power and influence.  You just don't get this kind of upheaval and unveiling [nearly overnight] without the intercession of Heaven.  May God continue to reveal the devil's impact upon the souls of sinful man, and may He continue to encourage us as He heeds our prayers. We confess, repent, and seek His forgiveness for the rebelliousness of this nation and our abandonment of the covenant He made with us.
     Now I would also like to extend a word of encouragement to those who find that their Kingdom assignments are outside what their Church family finds acceptable.  Do not despair! As I recently wrote to a dear Sister in Christ, "I also know what it is like to be called by God to walk towards Him on a path that diverges from the path of comfort and contentment.  With that comes the excitement of new revelations and seeing God in a new light ... His light.  And it can be a lonely place.  All of a sudden, your spirit is awakened to a view of God that is exhilarating as He shows you His glory and character and power in ways that you've never seen or understood before.  All of a sudden the Bible is opened up wider and your understanding reaches new heights that are almost dizzying.  And you want to share it all with your fellow Christians.
     Then you discover that God is not showing them the same things -- or they are unwilling to receive it.  And, at first, you may have doubts that what you are discerning is correct, because your church family doesn't see it, and they have Scripture to back up their warnings.  But when you go to the Father in prayer, the Holy Spirit convicts you that He is, indeed, calling you to a greater and higher understanding.  And you cannot turn back".
     But what do you do when those Brothers and Sisters in Christ admonish you to be careful of being deceived by the new revelations that your spirit KNOWS are from God?  All I can tell you is what I told her ... when you are called by God to a Kingdom assignment, you will learn that being a true Disciple of Christ is an exciting journey, but it can also be a lonely road. But when you willingly and obediently go where the Lord takes you, you probably will no longer look like your fellow Christians or meet with their approval.  But neither did Jesus or the Twelve.  And that's pretty good company, from where I sit.
     My final word of encouragement comes from the Bible: "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands". (Psalm 138:8).  In other words, pray that the Lord will finish the good work He has begun in you, because it is for His glory. And know that you will never be alone.  He and the Holy Spirit will always be with you, and along with the saints in Heaven, they are interceding for you and praying before the Father on your behalf. Remember, you are part of a holy and consecrated remnant; set aside and called for holy purposes.  Rejoice that you stand out as different among the multitudes of the faithful. You are not alone! I share in your identity and count it joy that you have joined our ranks.  Blessed are we who have been entrusted with hearing God's heart for these End Times, and whose Word is a Light for the path we are on.

Luke 8:15   "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance".

November 15, 2017

A New Season of New Assignments

     After attending the Christian Warriors retreat for female military veterans, and spending hours in conversations with new and old friends who have been called to a new understanding of our place and duties in the Kingdom of God, I am coming to a new realization that I think God is about to do something completely different in the Body of Christ.
     I can't explain it, but I have a heightened sense that those of us who are being called out of the traditional model of service to our God are going to be given new assignments that will greatly advance the Kingdom.  First of all, just in my own experience, I have been able to step back and see that how I view my faith is worlds apart from what it was just four years ago.  Then, I was content to accept the doctrines of the denomination I attended without question, and without any real interest to go beyond the surface level of understanding His character, His will, or His nature.  I didn't even understand that He desired to partner with me, or what I could possibly do for Him.  I admit He was somewhat of a distant fatherly figure whom I didn't really know.
     But He changed all that because He had an assignment for me.  Why He felt I was worthy of being called, I couldn't have told you at the time.  But the ensuing years have been nothing less than astounding in regards to how I view our relationship now.  I will tell you that for me, my faith has evolved into one that is completely Christ-centered.  Oh, I knew John 3:16 in my prior Christian life, but I cannot say I knew Jesus.  But now when I declare that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, I mean it and I live it.  He is literally at the center of everything I do.  He has invaded my soul and spirit and nothing is more important than serving Him in obedience.
     When I read the Bible now, I see Him on every page, in both Old and New Testaments -- not just in the red letters of the four Gospels. He is at the center of the Bible; He IS the Word! And although I was introduced four years ago to the concept of Christ's delegated power and authority to all Believers, this concept is now a guiding principle by which I live out my faith.  And it is exciting to see more and more of my brothers and sisters in Christ embracing this same mandate from our Lord.
     Perhaps even more exciting is the acceptance of the supernatural in our faith lives.  I have been saying for the last few years that the Bible is a supernatural Book and we serve a supernatural God. What's more, the Supernatural permeated the lives of Jesus and His Disciples and Apostles. But it seemed to me that the only ones who were willing to accept and espouse the supernatural were those who engaged it from the dark side.  Not anymore!  Christians are coming into their authentic identities as spirit children of a God who is spirit, and we are no longer skeptical or afraid of letting Jesus and the Holy Spirit work through us [and with us] supernaturally.
     And this all results with us being able to identify more with Christ.  After all, the Bible tells us we are being changed into His image with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), and we will, in all things, grow up into Christ (Ephesians 4:15).  And with our new identity in Christ, we grow into a desire to empower others to come into their true identities.  No longer are we satisfied to just be a part of a group called Christians, but rather, we desire to fulfill our destinies as designed by our Creator from the foundations of the world. We are no longer pleased to just bide our time on earth until God calls us home.  Instead, we want to actively carry out our assignments to advance the Kingdom until Jesus returns.
     Up until now, I believe that Jesus has been training us for these all-important assignments.  I believe that it will soon be revealed what part each of us will play in the Master Plan to defeat the Enemy's evil moves.  I do not think that it is by accident that we have discovered how to release people from the bondage of Satan, or that we have the capabilities to heal and cast out demons, just as Jesus and the first century Church did.  I believe the revelations of these truths that we have been receiving in recent months and years is just the beginning.  Jesus is going to give us the keys to unlock so much more that hinders us from achieving the fullness of God's Kingdom here on earth.
     Things that haven't quite made sense, aren't in alignment, or that seem to be veiled will come into full view, and we will have no hesitation about stepping into our roles as co-heirs with Christ.  In other words, we need to get ready for a major shift in how we operate in this realm as the spirit children of God.  I don't know exactly what that looks like, but my spirit is telling me to get ready.  I already recognize a remnant that is forming into a cohesive group of willing Disciples for the advancement of the Kingdom. We have all independently been transformed and are now coming together under the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit, being provided with wisdom and knowledge for what will be coming.  I feel it in my spirit; it's a new season for new assignments, and it will all be for the glory of YHWH.  It's an amazing time to be alive!

1 Corinthians 7:17   "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches."

November 12, 2017

Martyrdom: Receiving The Crown of Life

     What I am about to discuss is a sensitive subject.  And to some of you, it will be a difficult subject to contemplate. I want to broach it however, as we, here in Texas, are still mourning the loss of 26 lives from the demonic attack on the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.  The state's official count is 25, but because one of the victims was pregnant, God recognizes 26 killed in this evil slaughter of His saints.
     While the media has continued a constant barrage of cameras and reporters who have besieged this small town of 600 souls, causing chaos and confusion, they have failed to accurately report the horrendous actions that took place at the beckoning of Satan, himself.  Based on local and first-hand reports, the massacre was orchestrated straight from hell.  As always, the Sunday morning service was recorded, and when the gunman entered the sanctuary with a semi-automatic carbine, among the first victims were those recording the service.  So the cameras kept rolling.
     I know that the promoted storyline is that the attack was based on a domestic dispute with the gunman's in-laws.  But they were not even present at the church that day, and what occurred at the scene could only have been carried out by a satanically influenced individual.  It is beyond comprehension that if the intended victims were not there, that any person (even a mentally ill one) would empty magazine after magazine into the crowd and then systematically apply an execution-style shot to each victim.

     The world may want to label these innocent church-goers as tragic victims, but I'm willing to say that, in heaven, they are viewed as Christian martyrs.  And I think they deserve to receive that notable title.  As I stated in an earlier blog, the Enemy of all mankind knows his time is short.  And he is very aware that God's remnant is walking in the power and authority Jesus gave us to "trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy".  So he is actually feeling cornered and is ramping up the persecution and martyrdom of God's saints.
    The Apostle Paul warns us of these days in 2 Timothy 3:13, when he writes, "But evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." No one knows for sure how the gunman became seduced by evil, but it is obvious that he was deceived into thinking he had a right to do what he did.
     It is commonly accepted that we are in the last days before Jesus's return.  The world is in chaos, and our sense of security is being tested.  I mean, if you can't feel safe at church, then you know that evil is on the rise, right?  But it is exactly because this attack was so evil and took place against Christians that we must identify these saints as modern-day martyrs.  Jesus, Himself, said,  "Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake" (Matt. 24:9).
     It is natural that as these kinds of events become more commonplace, that Believers begin to fear for their lives.  But we must face the fact that lawlessness the Bible predicts is indeed increasing, and that the Bible also tells us that we must be prepared to "overcome him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony; and love not our lives unto death."  That is exactly what those 26 innocent saints did one week ago.  They are those who are written about in Revelation 6:9-11 ... "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed".
     That may be a frightening picture for some, if not most, of you.  But we must realize that Death was the price the faithful in Sutherland Springs paid for the testimony of their faith in Christ.  And we can rejoice that as Revelation 2:10 tells us, because they were faithful until death (martyred) they will receive the Crown of Life. the martyr's crown.  And just like Stephen, who was martyred, their spirits were received by Jesus, Himself.  In truth, they have no better testimony than they were hated by the Anti-Christ and his human agent.  We can take some comfort in knowing that they stood in the presence of Jesus immediately upon their martyrdom.
     Did any of these people wake up that morning and think it was going to be the day they would be called to martyrdom?  I seriously doubt it.  But martyrs they are, nonetheless.  And their numbers will rise as we close in on the Day of the Lord. We must not be surprised nor dismayed.  The Holy Bible tells us this will happen.  So how do we prepare for martyrdom should we be called to that fate?
     These are just a few suggestions, but we can begin by confessing all known sin to God and asking for forgiveness.  Next keep the Word of God in your mind and heart as much as possible, staying focused on our Lord instead of fearing the Enemy. Pray for the Lord's Grace to keep you strong in your faith until the end. Pray for our Lord Jesus to be glorified by your death and martyrdom. As difficult as it might be, pray for the murderers.  And above all else, keep looking to Jesus.
     None of us want to think that we will be faced with the possibility of martyrdom for our faith.  But if we can fear God more than we fear evil men or the Enemy who wishes to kill and destroy us, then we can endure what this world brings against us for the sake and purpose of glorifying Him.  And if nothing else, last week's tragic event should tell us that we cannot expect advance notice -- it is time that today's Christian be prepared to confess the Lord Jesus Christ every moment of every day.  Such is the course laid before us.

Revelation 14:13    Then I heard [the distinct words of] a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes, [blessed indeed],” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest and have relief from their labors, for their deeds do follow them.”