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

November 20, 2019

A Look At The Big Picture: Satan's kingdom vs The Kingdom of God

     Before we dive into this conversation, we need to ask some questions. The first obvious question is this ... did you know that Satan rules all the kingdoms of the world? He says so in Luke 4:5-6 ... Then the devil took him [Jesus] up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please."
     But what is Jesus's ultimate response to this? It's in John 12:31. In this verse, the Lord says, From this moment on, everything in this world is about to change, for the ruler of this dark world will be overthrown. What exactly does that look like? When the Son of God came to the earth the first time, He came to re-establish dominion of the earth, bringing all the power and authority of the Kingdom of God with Him. The earth was designed to be governed like God's Kingdom in Heaven and ruled by man's authority [who was made in the image of God and given dominion over the earth]. But Satan usurped that authority in the Garden of Eden, and set up his own kingdom in opposition to the original design. When Jesus was resurrected and ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, He gave all power and authority [to continue the Kingdom of God here on earth] back to man. 
     When He returns at His Second Coming, the Lord will render His final judgment of the world systems which will result in the irrefutable overthrow of Satan's kingdom of darkness. When Jesus announces that everything is about to change, He is foretelling the impact that the Cross will have on this world. Satan's primary weapon to control man -- the reality and fear of death -- was defeated by Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, which delivers mankind into the eternal Kingdom of God.
     The good news is that Satan will not always dominate and rule the earth and its inhabitants. The bad news is that Jesus has yet to return, so the devil still reigns over his kingdom. Yes, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you will one day reside in Heaven with Him. But what about the rest of your life while still on earth; or the lives of an unknown number of generations until He does return? The truth is that we are in the midst of a transition from Satan's domination and supremacy over the earth to the future reality of Jesus Christ's sovereign rule. And this transition will be neither easy nor painless. In fact, the closer we get to Christ's return, the more difficult our existence will become because Satan knows his time is short. 
      The prophet Daniel calls those last days "a time of distress", and Jesus, Himself, says, For this will be a time of great misery beyond the magnitude of anything the world has ever seen or ever will see. Unless God limited those days, no one would escape. But because of His love for those chosen to be His, He will shorten that time of trouble.
     This we know: Satan is not going to go easily or willingly. The Bible gives us many warnings that his fury will be focused on the followers of Christ, God's chosen people of Israel, all of humanity to keep them from turning to Christ, and to the returning Jesus, Himself. He will instigate religious persecution, and as hard as it is to fathom, a lot of it will come from "the Church" itself. Sadly, there is a vast number of the Church who are Christian, in self-proclaimed name only, and will easily fall prey to religious deception and false teachings. 
     That may be hard for you to digest, but it is the truth of the Bible. And it is becoming increasingly clear to me how few "Christians" actually read their Bible, let alone take the time to study and understand it. In this day of technology, it is far too easy to listen to a podcast or read an article that declares it is the purveyor of God's Truth. But how many people take that information and measure it against Scripture? For that matter, how many people sitting in churches, whether small or large, simply accept the teachings of those who hold authority over them? 
     As true believers in Christ, we must love the Truth, and our beliefs must be firmly rooted in the Word of God. It is also incumbent upon us to have the strength of character to defend our beliefs, or we, too, could fall prey to satanic deception and false teachings. 
     I do not write this to give you pause, or to cause you to shrink back in fear and anticipation of anxiety, sorrow, or pain. On the contrary, I write this to activate your spirit to get in the fight! The Lord promises that we can look forward to the end of Satan's rule on earth. There will be a new age in which Satan and his demons will be isolated from humanity for 1,000 years and the earth will be under the sovereign rule of our Lord and Savior. The battle for humanity that has raged for thousands of years will be over and we will stand victorious with our King! 
     Yes, Satan will use a human ruler who will "make war with the saints", and there will be a false religious system that will lead many astray. But if you know the truth of all this in the Word, then you can also know the truth of the promise that Christ's kingdom will never end. In the end, it really is a battle between two kingdoms -- Satan's kingdom on earth, and God's Kingdom in Heaven. It is important that we be prepared for what's coming and know how to recognize God's Truth. Your eternal life depends on it!

Daniel 7:27    Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey Him. 

November 17, 2019

A Historical and Biblical Argument In Favor of Women

Once more, it seems as if Beth Moore has found herself the target of religious men. This time it is Reformed Baptist pastor John MacArthur who has her square in his sights. Although MacArthur lists his church as non-denominational, his doctrine of salvation is clearly founded upon Calvinist theology. [It has been my experience in a church I attended for 20 years that many Baptist churches move to a "non-denominational" designation to appeal to a wider audience]. But let me be clear, this post is not about my views on any particular belief system, but about the good Pastor's recent statements regarding the place of women [such as Beth Moore] in the the leadership of "the Church".
     During a panel discussion among male preachers, MacArthur was asked his opinion about including Beth Moore as part of the Church's circle of leadership. He responded that he would tell her to "Go Home", and then followed that comment with, “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion.” According to The Christian Post, MacArthur argued that 1 Corinthians 14:34, which reads: “Women should remain silent in the churches,” shouldn’t be “hard to understand.” “You don’t say anything,” he stressed, later adding: “Women need to get themselves under control and realize they are not to speak in a church.” But MacArthur wasn't through. He went on to say, “When women take over a culture, men become weak; when men become weak, they can be conquered. When all the men have been slaughtered, you [women] can sit there with all your jewelry and junk. You’ve been conquered, because you overpowered your protectors.”
     Okay, Pastor, I think I have presented your argument fairly. Now, let me bring another point of view to this little controversy you've stirred up. In fact, I am borrowing from a post that I originally wrote over four years ago. I still stand by it. So, let me first share another Scripture that is often used to substantiate Pastor MacArthur's position: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet (1 Timothy 2:11-12). By the way, although both verses in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy refer to women remaining silent, the latter verse is the only I could find in the Bible that refers specifically to women's authority in the Church. So, without a confirming witness, I decided to take a deeper look at this conflict and see within what context the Apostle Paul made this statement.
     As always, I find that our English translations of the Bible leave something to be desired when comparing them to the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.  Such is the case with the central word in the argument against women leading men in instruction ... it's the word, authority.  It seems that a study of Paul’s letters shows that he regularly used a form of the Greek word “exousia” when referring to the use of authority in the church.  But in this particular verse, Paul used the word "authentein".  This unusual Greek verb is found only once in scripture and rarely in extrabiblical texts, where it is usually associated with aggression.  Authentein is translated as “domineer” in the Latin Vulgate and New English Bible and as “usurp authority” in the Geneva and King James Bibles.
     So if Paul used the word exousia when talking about the use of authority in the church in 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Colossians, 2nd Thessalonians, and Romans; why would he choose to use authentein to refer to the same thing in 1 Timothy?  Could he have been referring to something else?
      This is where the context of this passage is so important!  In the case of 1 Timothy, Paul was writing a personal letter instructing Timothy about how to deal with heresy being spread by false teachers in Ephesus. This is spelled out at the beginning of the letter: "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies…".
     On the surface, there are a few things to consider when correlating this warning with the suggestion that Paul meant women had no authority in the church.  1)  Could it be that most of the teachers of false doctrine in Ephesus were men, and that women might have had little training in theology; making them subject to repeating these false doctrines?  It would seem to me that Paul might have been warning the Ephesians that any interest in these false doctrines by women might become dangerous to the Church.  If that is the case, then this warning in 1 Timothy is specific to that church in Ephesus, at that time -- not meant to be a permanent restriction on all women for all time.
     2)  Keeping the context of this letter and these verses in view, remember that Paul was writing to the Church in Ephesus; a city known for its worship of goddesses, as well as heretical Gnostic teachings.  Some of the Gnostic texts of the time sometimes described Eve as Adam’s teacher. She is also depicted as superior to Adam, as preceding him, and as giving life to him in some way (part of the goddess obsession).  His admonition that women should not assume authority over a man might have been in answer to these Gnostic teachings.  (The Gnostic teachings on Eve could be what Paul is referring to in 1 Timothy 2:13-14 when he pointedly explains that Adam is the superior one, not Eve.  Reading these verses out of context to what was going on in Ephesus gives a completely different meaning).
     3)  Then there is the contradiction between other examples of Paul's writings where he provides instructions for women praying and prophesying in church (1 Corinthians).  When Paul mentions the spiritual gifts, he does not state that women are restricted from receiving any of the leadership gifts.  And it is interesting to note that he takes special care to record commendations to a number of women serving in leadership positions (Romans 16).  Can we agree that Paul is generally supportive of women’s participation, which contradicts the idea that women must be silent? 
     But I keep coming back to that word authentein.  The mystery of why Paul used that particular word instead of his more common use of exousia drove me to dig deeper.  Why did he include this passage about women and authority in a letter that began by warning against false doctrines and myths?  As expected, the uncertainty of 1 Timothy 2:11-12, has resulted in much historical study of the times.
The goddess Cybele and her consort, Attis
     It seems that in Timothy’s time and locale, the goddess Cybele (called Artemis by the Greeks) was worshipped through violent rituals against men that symbolized the murder/suicide of a false god named Attis.  In his letter to Timothy, Paul repeatedly warns against false doctrines, mythology and extreme forms of self-denial (1 Timothy 1:3-7, 4:1-5, 6:20-21), even referring to the false teaching and related practices as “demonic”.  The violent act symbolizing the death of Attis was indeed an extreme form of self-denial.  Male priests of Cybele and Attis renounced all sexual feeling, irrevocably, through ritual castration.
     When the 5th Century Christian theologian Jerome translated 1 Timothy for the Latin translation of the Bible, he forever changed the meaning of our contested verses.  Let me explain.  He translated the key verb authentein as "to exercise authority", and rendered it more in terms of “having dominion over” or “dominating” a man.  Prior to Jerome's translation, the word more commonly referred to the instigation or commission of an act of violence, suicide or murder.  In the Greek Septuagint, for example, a noun form of the word (authentas) refers to those who engaged in ritual violence in the worship of a false god.
      Are you starting to see the connection between Paul's initial warning against false doctrines and false gods or myths, and the more accurate interpretation of giving his prohibition against women teaching or instigating ritual violence against men?  It's all in the context of what was going on in Ephesus!  The nature of Paul’s concerns, the most common meanings of the verb “authentein,” and the religious and cultural context in which these verses were written are all lost in Jerome’s Latin translation of 1 Timothy 2:12-15.  Subsequent translations into German and English followed Jerome's misleading example.  Concerns about women becoming involved in false teaching and violent rituals were replaced with warnings against leadership and teaching roles for women in the Church.  It seems very possible that Paul's true counsel was lost in translation!
     I recognize that this new understanding I have projected is only a theory; and I also discern that it will likely not change the 1600 years of bias against women as having a place in the Church's ministry as teachers ... or in the case of John MacArthur .. as preachers. Believe me, I am no feminist looking to usurp the leadership of men -- I am simply trying to put forth the argument that the Lord has bestowed the spiritual gifts of teaching and prophesying and wisdom upon women as well as men.  Why would any man deny himself the benefit of learning from a woman whom the Lord had blessed?  Certainly, Priscilla played a major role in furthering Apollo's education on the full gospel of Jesus (Acts 18).  And then there is Phoebe, whom Paul commends in Romans 16 as a "servant of the church". I find it interesting that the word servant is translated from the Greek word, diakonos, from which our English word deacon comes from. At the very least, it does seem that Paul intends us to understand Phoebe as in some sense an official representative of the church at Cenchreae.
     And again, it's ironic that in a time when women could not be legal witnesses, Jesus Christ chose women as the first witnesses of His resurrection. So, Pastor MacArthur, I believe that women can still be witnesses of His glory today, to all who will listen. I pray that you receive divine revelation on this matter.
It seems that in Timothy’s time and locale, the goddess Cybele (called Artemis by the Greeks) was worshipped through violent rituals against men that symbolized the murder/suicide of a false god named Attis.  In his letter to Timothy, Paul repeatedly warns against false doctrines, mythology and extreme forms of self-denial (1 Timothy 1:3-7, 4:1-5, 6:20-21), even referring to the false teaching and related practices as “demonic”.  The violent act symbolizing the death of Attis was indeed an extreme form of self-denial.  Male priests of Cybele and Attis renounced all sexual feeling, irrevocably, through ritual castration.

For a more comprehensive look at the ancient Gnostic teachings, false doctrines, and translation errors that contributed to our confused understanding of 1 Timothy 2, please click here.  My thanks to Bob Edwards for his outstanding research and commentary.

Acts 2:17-18    And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams. Yes, and on My menservants also, and on My maidservants, in those days I will pour out of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God’s kingdom].

November 14, 2019

"Go In By The Narrow Gate"

     Ask a group of Christians the meaning of the Bible passage that speaks of the narrow gate and the wide gate, and you will probably get varying answers as to their meanings. I've heard it explained as pertaining to Salvation ... "the wide gate has a broad road that leads to disaster [or destruction], while the narrow gate is the harder path, but leads to eternal life". Surely, that is talking about Believers and Non-Believers -- those who refuse Christ's invitation and choose the world, and those who profess faith in Christ and receive Salvation and eternal life ... right? Or is there a different meaning?
     Could there be a deeper connotation to the juxtaposition of these gates? Taken in context of the entire Chapter 7 in the Book of Matthew, Jesus is speaking about more than salvation from death and the evils of this temporal life. Yes, He offers eternal life, but it is in the context of the Kingdom of God and how we are to live our lives while on earth.
     Sometimes I get frustrated by the English translations of our Bibles. Just the difference in a few word choices can alter the understanding of an entire passage. Let's look at Matthew 7:13, for instance. A more modern version, the J.B. Phillips New Testament, reads this way: "Go in by the narrow gate".  Yet another new version, the Passion Translation, reads, "Come to God through the narrow gate...". The 1599 Geneva Bible [along with the 1611 King James Bible] refer to this gate as "straight and narrow", and commentaries state that "The way is straight and narrow, and we must pass through this rough way, and suffer and endure, and be thronged, and to enter into life.".  Can you see how difficult it is for Christians to come to any kind of consensus as to the meaning of this passage?
     It is so important for us modern-day Christians to do a thorough word study when we read the Bible. We cannot rely on the contemporary meaning of words to explain what God is trying to tell us. Our Bible is written from the context of a Middle Eastern culture over 2000 years ago. And the first thing we need to determine is what is meant by the word "gate".
     Here is what I want you to see ... in Biblical times, the judicial system of the day was carried out at the gates of a city. They served multiple purposes: a combination of town hall, ad hoc law court, gathering place for free speech, marketplace and park bench. When Abraham negotiated the purchase of the Cave of Machpelah as a tomb for his wife Sarah, “it passed to Abraham as a possession in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city” (Genesis 23). The agreement was witnessed; the deal was done.
     The gate of the city was also a podium for the Israelite prophets of old, the feisty social reformers of their day. “Hate evil and love good,” declaimed Amos, and establish justice in the gate".  King David's royal presence was re-established at the city gates after his army defeated the revolt fomented by his son Abasalom. Justice, peace, and allegiance were restored to the nation.
     So, as you can see, this mention of the "narrow gate" and "the wide gate" is important to discern. So what is the true implication? From the research I've done in connecting the Biblical dots, I find that the New Living Translation gives the most accurate translation of Matthew 7:13. In this version, it is rendered, "You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate". Now, you may recall other posts in which I've pointed out Jesus's conversation with the religious leader Nicodemus, in which the Lord says, "unless a man is born from water and from spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Can you see that the narrow gate is synonymous with "being born again" or "being Saved"? Then the rest of verse 13 in the New Living Translation says "The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way." 
     Here we see that the narrow gate leads to the Kingdom of God and its way of living. The wide gate is the easier path because one spends it in the kingdom of darkness, pledging allegiance to the "ruler of this dark world" and the "god of this world"... Satan. But we must not think that being Saved leads to the Kingdom life. It certainly leads to eternal life in Heaven, but there is more to the Kingdom life than Salvation. 
     Jesus goes on in Chapter 7 to teach about the importance of bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God, stating "every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire." And the verses that strike fear in every Christian's heart are found in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.
     This is a difficult passage to navigate and I've heard it misused to suggest a variety of reasons why these people "were never saved in the first place". But I would ask that you consider it in the context of people who hear the Word, receive it unto Salvation, but never progress to Kingdom Living, which is God's government on earth. {Note the reference to God's laws in verse 23 above]. For that, we need to juxtapose Matthew 7:21-23 with the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13: "When a man hears the message of the kingdom and does not grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is like the seed sown by the road-side. The seed sown on the stony patches represents the man who hears the message and eagerly accepts it. But it has not taken root in him and does not last long—the moment trouble or persecution arises through the message he gives up his faith at once. The seed sown among the thorns represents the man who hears the message, and then the worries of this life and the illusions of wealth choke it to death and so it produces no ‘crop’ in his life. But the seed sown on good soil is the man who both hears and understands the message. His life shows a good crop, a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
     Can you see the parallel between a man who enters the gates to the Kingdom through Salvation but never produces fruit for the Kingdom, and ultimately never truly knows the One who saved him? Yes, Salvation is the narrow gate and the entry point into the Kingdom. But unless one journeys beyond the gate into the righteousness and justice and government of Kingdom living -- which is opposite of living by this world's standards -- and produces fruit for the Kingdom, the message Jesus came to bring about the Kingdom will be wasted on him. 
     I know this is a sobering passage and one that takes much time to contemplate. I am still receiving revelation; and am not satisfied that I have discerned the depth of my Lord's teaching on the matter. I'm pretty sure there are more dots to connect. And that's the beauty and the majesty of the Bible. The Lord is drawing us ever nearer to His heart and mind. Don't ever stop searching for deeper meaning! 

Matthew 13:35    ‘I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world’.

Thank you to Mike Rogoff of the Israeli Haaretz website for providing the historical context of gates in the Ancient Middle East and their Biblical significance.

November 11, 2019

The Power Of The Kingdom of God In Us

     I am writing this blog as an encouragement to everyone who has ever felt that they had no power to overcome the troubles of this world. And I also want to address those who believe that the troubles we encounter are meant to bring us closer to God and strengthen our "spiritual muscles". I hope by the end of this article that you have renewed your mind to God's Truth.
     Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but until my last breath I will proclaim that the Kingdom of God is on this earth. And if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are a citizen of Heaven [who happens to live on the earth], and your relationship with the King of Heaven and Earth aligns you with the God who overcomes the world. Now can you picture the power you walk in?
     It is important that you understand that with your allegiance to Jesus, it is indisputable that you have moved from Satan's kingdom of darkness into Jesus's kingdom of Light. Do not take that lightly! And do not fear! We must discern that since we have left the world system, we are now behind enemy lines, but King Jesus will protect us in this enemy territory. 1 John 5:18 says, We are convinced that everyone fathered by God does not make sinning a way of life, because the Son of God protects the child of God, and the Evil One cannot touch him. 
     But as citizens of heaven behind enemy lines, we need to be prudent and aware. We are in the midst of a spiritual war that has been raging since it first erupted in Heaven at Lucifer's rebellion. But there is no need to panic. God invites you to Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith. For you know that your believing brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing the same kinds of troubles you endure (1 Peter 5:7-8). We must be wise in knowing who we are, and not become discouraged when we find that we are a target of the Enemy. 
     This is where you declare that you walk in the authority of your King and that your Enemy has been defeated by your victorious King on the Cross! You don't have to listen to the lies of the devil and his hordes who try to convince you that they have power over you. It's just the opposite! When you submit yourself to God, you can resist the devil and he will flee from you. That's clearly stated in James 4:7. As we surrender to the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God in us, the devil must surrender to Him as well. There is no need or reason to give up or give in! Remember: He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world! Just believe it!
     But here is where far too many Christians find themselves struggling ... they try to fight this war in their own natural power. Our flesh cannot defeat a supernatural demon in a spiritual war. Now, that may be hard for you to accept or digest, but it is the truth of our situation here on earth. The only way to win a war against demonic power is by the supernatural power of God the Holy Spirit. And we have Him in us! Ephesians 6:10 tells us to "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might". In other words, don't try to be strong in your own strength, but call upon His mighty power in you!
     And you need to concentrate on Jesus as your model. Jesus fought His own spiritual battle with the devil when He spent 40 days in the wilderness, preparing for His ministry. Jesus can identify with your battles because He experienced Satan trying to exploit His humanity. Jesus was hungry, thirsty and tired after 40 days of fasting. Satan tempted Him with everything from bread to satisfy His hunger, to offering Him the kingdoms of the world. But Jesus won His war with the devil by being led by the Spirit. This same supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of Christ" that "dwells in you" (Romans 8:9). The very same spirit that empowered Jesus throughout His life on earth and raised Him from the dead is available to you. So don't ever let the lies of the devil tell you otherwise! 
      The Kingdom of God existed in Heaven before the world or mankind was created. But we need to know and have faith in the power of that creation, recognizing that God's kingdom rests in supernatural power -- power that characterized Jesus's life [and death] on this earth and which He transferred to us. And here is the amazing truth of that Power: Jesus's death and the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit destroyed the work of the devil and disarmed the demons. That same power resides in us and likewise is able to destroy the devil's agenda in our lives and disables the demons who attempt to keep us in bondage to the devil's lies. Jesus said it Himself, "the kingdom of God is inside you"... and all the power that comes with it!

1 Corinthians 4:20   For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 

November 7, 2019

More On Why We Are To Be An Ekklesia And Not A Church

     If any of you have been following this blog for any length of time, then you know that I struggle with what we call "The Church". And please know that I am not painting a broad brush across all churches or church-goers. But if we can honestly look at our culture and the state of our families and say that the Church has done a good job, then we are misleading ourselves. And many times I am perceived as misleading, at best -- and heretical, at worst -- when I express my opinion that our modern versions of the Bible have mistranslated the original concept of Jesus's "called out ones" to convince us that our models of a body of Christians who meet in a building, hire a minister to preach to them, and support the organization with their tithes is what Jesus said when He proclaimed, "Upon this rock, I will build My Church." He actually used the word Ecclesia, which comes from the Greek words ECC, meaning "out", and KALEO, meaning "to call".
     When the original writers of the New Testament wrote the Books of the Bible, they used the word Ekklesia, not the word, Church, [which comes from the Greek word, Kuriakos, meaning "pertains to, or belongs to, a lord"]. So, why would they choose to use the word Ekklesia to refer to a Christian body of people? Remember, Ekklesia means "called out ones", and what would these Christians have been called out from?
     Consider Acts 17:1-9. Paul and Silas were in Thessalonica, speaking in a synagogue about the lordship and kingship of Jesus. Apparently they were causing quit an uproar among the citizens and a mob approached the home of a man named Jason, where they suspected Paul and Silas were staying. But listen to how they describe Paul and his companion: “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 
     What did they mean that Paul and Silas were "turning the world upside down"? They were turning the WORLD SYSTEM upside down! In ancient Rome, the Caesars were king and oftentimes deified upon their deaths. But here comes Paul saying that they should owe their allegiance to the resurrected Jesus, who was a greater King than King Caesar, and whose kingdom was not of this world! They were dethroning human kings and calling out groups of believers to stand in opposition to the worldly systems of their day, and to act as representatives of their Heavenly king. Paul wasn't a  "church builder" as we so often hear him declared. He was a "kingdom builder", teaching the principles of God's heavenly government -- in opposition to the civil government of Caesar. Paul and Silas were extending Jehovah God's call to whoever would receive it and obey. Those whose hearts responded to the call became citizens of King Jesus's (the Messiah) kingdom and joined themselves to the Ekklesia; the community of believers who walked in Heaven's system of government, not the world's. 
     Let's go to the next step -- it is important to understand that these bodies of believers were independent civil bodies of Christians. They saw themselves as independent from kings and governing officials and ruled by God's system of government through the Holy Spirit. They shood for independent self-government under the authority of God, Himself, and guided by His anointed leaders. Does that sound like anything the majority of our "Churches" represent today?
     It seems to me that instead of being in opposition to the world system, they have become enslaved to it. Our churches have become religious organizations attached to their 501(c)(3) designations. Instead of the Ekklesia of the Book of Acts, who stood in opposition to the world system, our churches too often look just like [or promote] the systems of the world.
     I want to summarize this notion that as the Body of Christ, we have a misplaced identity, and are incorrectly positioned. Jesus said He would build His EKKLESIA! It's becoming urgent and critical that we step into that role! Opposition to the world's system, its form of government, and its rulers was the message Paul and Silas carried on their travels. And I would like to quote from a sermon by Catherine Booth, known as "the Mother of the Salvation Army", but who also championed women's rights to preach the Gospel. She wrote, "Opposition! It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day that it provides so little opposition. If there were no other evidence of it being wrong, I should know [it] by that. When the church and the world can jog along together comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong. The world has not altered. Its spirit is exactly the same as it ever was, and if Christians were equally faithful and devoted to the Lord, and separated from the world, living so that their lives were a reproof to all ungodliness, the world would hate them as much as it ever did. It is the church that has altered, not the world". She died nearly 130 years ago. Think how far down the rabbit hole to "little opposition" we've come.
     The Bible is clear -- Paul and Silas turned the world systems upside down and proclaimed a new kingdom; the Kingdom of God. I invite you to answer their ancient invitation to become a "called out one". It's okay to come together as an independent body of believers, ruled by the Holy Spirit to overthrow the world systems of abortion, gay marriage, sex trafficking, pornography, adultery, pharmakea, and all anti-Christ spirits. And in doing so, it is crucial that we carry forth our King's message of love, service, and sacrifice. But be prepared to be hated, just as Jesus said we would. In the final analysis, I'd rather be hated as the true Ekklesia, than loved as the compromising Church. 

Revelation 3:14-22      Then write this to the angel of the Ekklesia in Laodicea: ‘These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation ...  you have no eyes to see that you are wretched, pitiable, poverty-stricken, blind and naked ... All those whom I love I correct and discipline. Therefore, shake off your complacency and repent...

November 3, 2019

It Never Gets Old!

     There are days that I am overcome with the blessings that Mark and I receive as we participate with Jesus to see those held in bondage to Satan's kingdom of darkness set free. Today is one of those days.
     The last week has been an emotional roller coaster for us, and to be honest we are tired. We have spent four days working with devoted followers of Christ to help female veterans walk in true freedom, and then another two days with a woman who overcame a lifetime of bondage and is literally a new creation in Jesus.  I will tell you, it is hard to bear witness to the pain that the devil brings into innocent lives, but the joy of watching Jesus wash away the false identities and restoring wounded souls and spirits is indescribable! We wouldn't change a minute of it, and we will never weary of our Kingdom assignment.
     And this post is not about revealing the details or information about the newly liberated, because while each story is unique and each person is deserving of mention for how Jesus healed their broken hearts, the themes of the Enemy's attacks on these precious lives runs along similar lines. It may sound trite, but when Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, "There is nothing new under the sun", it is actually true when it comes to Satan's attacks on individuals. We see the devil using the same familiar pattern to entrap and enslave both Believers and non-Believers. He certainly does not have the creative mind of Christ!
     In fact, I think we sometimes have become desensitized to the truth of familiar Bible verses, and just take them for granted, which permits these recurring attacks to be so successful. We must realize that John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8, and John 8:44 reveal the modus operandi of our Enemy on this earth. I want you to really meditate on the following Scriptures ... The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy ... Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour ... [the devil] is a liar and the father of lies. 
     Each of these verses reveals the methodology and the spiritual blueprint of how the devil is able to impact so many lives. Yet we read them and it is as if we don't take them seriously. Quite often the wounded [and even uninformed Christians] will ask, "Why did God allow this to happen?" First of all, we simply cannot dismiss God's spiritual law, if you will, of Free Will. He established it so that our choice to become a child of God actually glorifies Him; and that is the reality of why He created us ... Bring all who claim Me as their God, for I have made them for My glory (Isaiah 43:7).  And once Free Will is established, it cannot be changed; our God's character and principles never change. And that is how the devil is able to be so effective in carrying out his attacks. Someone decides to use their free will in an ungodlike manner. And that gives Satan the legal right to open up a spiritual door and begin the attacks.  Other times, the devil is simply looking for vulnerable people to devour, and then tries to convince us that God could have stepped in and stopped it. But He didn't even stop His own Son's death on the cross, so He is uniquely familiar with the pain of unexplained and unexpected circumstances. Jesus willingly went to the Cross and suffered all the pain we might ever encounter so that He could identify with us when those unforeseen attacks of the Enemy come into our lives.
     As hard as it is to comprehend, no matter whether we meet with a Beloved who has been beaten, raped, molested, bullied, verbally and emotionally abused, abandoned, cheated on, rejected, or been subjected to some other kind of pain, the methodology of the devil is always the same. He is trying to steal their joy and peace and relationship with the Father as a child of God; destroy their self-image; or ultimately to kill their body. And he is always on the prowl, looking for someone who will assist him in his goals. And it might be our own selves, or someone else who is only too willing to use their free will to listen to his tempting voice. And that voice only speaks lies. He lies that we aren't good enough; that someone else is responsible for our unhappiness; that we are unforgiveable, unloveable, and unworthy of the love of others, especially Jesus. And then he whispers that we will never be free, and that is the most deplorable lie of all.
     Because the truth is, Mark and I have been witness to countless freedom celebrations in the spirit, as Jesus shows up to counter the lies and expose the truth of who we really are. He not only reveals that He was there through the pain, but then rewrites the story of the person's life and destroys the place, the cause, and the time that the devil orchestrated, even giving new names to the once-wounded spirit of a person .... names like capable, restored, pure, beautiful, loved, Mine. When the God of the Universe shows up, it is indescribable and life-changing!
     I just want us all to realize that no one has to live in the pain of this life or this world. But it takes a willingness to take a chance on Jesus. The devil will try to lie to you and tell you there is nothing that can take away the pain; that you deserve it. But I have many, many witnesses that nothing is further from the truth. Jesus stands at the door and knocks, and He is waiting to be invited in. When you let Him in, you can count on Him to lead you to victory in your life. Just listen to the testimony of Paige, who found her freedom just a day or two ago. She has kindly given me permission to share anything of her story, but I think this one line sums it up best ... "I have no shame weighing me down. I have no more fears. I have nothing but this light, sweet, loving feeling!" Amen! And I'll say it again ... It never gets old!

John 8:36    "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

October 30, 2019

How Far Are You From The Kingdom of God?

     I love to revisit my posts to see how my theology has changed, and to see how far God has taken me in my journey. This post was first presented in May, 2017; nearly two-and-a-half years ago. I'm happy that I was seeing the Kingdom of God, but my spiritual vision was still a little blurry. So, I'm going to revise it to include the new revelation(s) that the Lord has shown me.
     The post is based on Mark 12:33-34, which says, "... And to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
     It's important that we look at these verses within the context of the passage. Jesus has made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, setting the stage for His eventual trial and crucifixion.  He has already thrown the money-changers out of His Father's House, and then the chief priests, scribes, and elders begin questioning His authority to "do these things".  When they cannot answer His question about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, He refuses to tell them under Whose authority He acts.
     So, now in Mark Chapter 12, we find both the Pharisees and the Herodians (Hellenistic Jews who were more Greek than Hebrew) trying to trap Him in their questions about loyalty to Caesar versus loyalty to God.  We then find the Sadducees trying to ambush Him about the afterlife (in which they don't even believe).  
     But there's one scribe who has been watching all the arguing and subterfuge, and realizes that Jesus's answers are accurate.  And then He asks a question that shows His heart ... Which commandment is the most important one of all? He is not interested in maintaining his own power or prestige, or in trying to diminish Jesus's authority.  It is in his heart to be obedient to the commands of God and he wants to find out the answer that this man, Jesus, has to this important question.
     Jesus gives a two-part answer to the question:  "The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second [part] is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
     The Scribe recognizes that Jesus has captured the entire substance of the Ten Commandments [given to Moses] in this one answer.  But he goes further... He shows his understanding of Jesus's Truth by declaring that following God's command to love Him [and his neighbor] is worth more to God than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices established by the Law.  And Jesus's answer to him?  You are not far from the Kingdom of God.
     I want to expound on what I see happening in this extraordinary exchange between Jesus and the Scribe.  What is happening here is what needs to happen in the Body of Christ!  Let me try to explain what I mean... This Scribe has discerned that the laws and rituals of the sacrifices are less than God's commandments to love Him and others.  And as a good Scribe, he would have been familiar with God's exhortation in Deuteronomy 10: Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?  (If you love me, you will obey my commands!)
     Furthermore, although this Scribe may not have come to the full realization that Jesus is the Son of God, he has connected the dots that are leading him to the doorstep of the Kingdom of God.  He has correctly discerned the underlying principles of the Ten Commandments. The first five point to God as the One True God, and that we are to love and seek Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  The last five commandments exhort us to love our neighbors as we would wish to be loved.
      Then the Scribe realized that these two commandments were greater in God's eyes than any of the rituals or sacrifices that had been instituted when Israel came out of bondage to Egypt.  Those rituals were established to separate the Israelites from 400 years of being immersed in a false god system.  They were meant to be temporary, and God now expected them to have grasped what He wanted to accomplish with them through His covenant.       The next dot the Scribe connected was understanding that God desires that we show our love for Him by obeying His commands. What he doesn't know is the next dot that Jesus is getting ready to put before him.
     And this is where my understanding in 2017 was immature. At the time, I thought Jesus's comment that the Scribe was not far from the Kingdom of God hinted that there will be more commands coming; that if the Scribe will be faithful to obey these commands [and thereby show his love for God], his obedience will usher in the Kingdom of God. Now, that is true -- but it's not the whole truth. [I'm not sure that we will ever discern the completeness of our God this side of heaven]. But our obedience to do the Great Commission [which is to cast out demons, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers/spiritually unclean, raise the dead, and spread the Good News that the Kingdom of God had arrived on the earth] will certainly mean that territory will be taken from the kingdom of Satan and transferred to the Kingdom of God.
     But I now discern another, and perhaps, more credible understanding to Jesus's remark that the Scribe was not far from the Kingdom of God. And it is centered on Jesus's conversation with Nicodemus, another religious man, in John, Chapter 3. He tells the Pharisee that unless one is born again he cannot see or enter the kingdom of God (John 3:1-5). So, can you see that Salvation is the key to our admittance into the Kingdom? But in the Mark passage, Jesus has not yet gone to the Cross, so mankind has not been given the gift of Salvation at this time. But it wasn't far off... hence, this is why Jesus tells the Scribe, "You are not far from the kingdom of God".
     I just love it when I uncover another nugget of truth and glory in the Word! Remember, Scripture says it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search it out (Proverbs 25:2).  The dots that the wise Scribe connected are these:  God commands us to love Him and others ... we show our love for Him by following His commands ... Jesus commands us (in the Great Commission) to do the things He did (healing, casting out demons, preaching the gospel) ... and it brings the Kingdom of God to earth! I just added dots that he would have been unable to understand because Salvation was not a reality yet. Thank you, Father, for revealing this scriptural jewel, and I pray that there will be many more in my lifetime. I invite you to join me; whether you are Saved or not, the Kingdom is nearer than you may think. Don't waste another day!

Matthew 5:20    "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."


October 26, 2019

What Does It Mean To "Have Your Mind Renewed"?

This is an excerpt of my book-in-progress on the Kingdom of God. Since I will be out of pocket for a few days at a retreat doing Inner Healing Ministry, I thought I would share just a portion of what the Lord has revealed to Mark and I about how the Kingdom is meant to infiltrate our lives and our Christian walk. Enjoy!

     As professed Christians, and having reached the state of Salvation, it is important to understand that we now have the opportunity to enter into the Kingdom of God, where we can have dual citizenship. Our flesh and soul reside in the physical world, but our spirit has the rights and privileges of a citizen of Heaven, seated [as we are] with Christ in the heavenly realms.
     Building on that truth, I now want to introduce you to a concept that I discovered during a class on the human spirit, taught by Dan Duval, Executive Director of Bride Ministries, and Pastor of Fire Place Church. Just as we recognize a Triune God – God, the Father; Jesus, the Son of God; and Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God – we are created as a triune man. We are created with a body, soul, and spirit.
     NOTE: This may be a new concept for you because I am aware that some denominational doctrines teach that the soul and spirit are the same thing. Hebrews 4:12 makes it clear that they are separate parts of us: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit…
      We know that our body is made up of flesh; it is our physical body. Our soul is our mind, our [free] will, and our emotions. Our spirit is the part of us that is made in the image of God and is actually trans-dimensional. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear in Ephesians 2:1-3 when he says while we were dead in our sins [as citizens of the earth] we were influenced by “the dark ruler of the earthly realm [Satan] who fills the atmosphere with his authority”. But now, as saved Believers, we no longer belong to Satan, but have been “rescued completely from the tyrannical rule of darkness and been translated into the kingdom realm of God’s beloved Son. That word “translated” means we have been moved [in the spirit] from earth to heaven, and citizenship in Heaven has now been conveyed to us. In fact, that’s where the dual citizenship comes in; we have free access to Heaven while still here on earth.
      So, as citizens of Heaven, we are to no longer act or think as we did as citizens of this world. We are to become transformed, and the most powerful tool we have to make that transformation is our mind. That is the essence of Romans 12:2. But since we still live here on the earth, it should be obvious that there is a tremendous battle for our minds. In order to begin to act like a citizen of the new and different realm of Heaven, we must begin to think differently. We must begin to think like God and Jesus think, and develop the mind of Christ.
      But here is where our mind [as part of our soul] and our human spirit often come into conflict. Along with our body, our soul is the part of us that begins to exist at conception – our brain is formed and with it our mind; out of which comes our ability to think, and feel (our emotions), and to make decisions (our free will). Our spirit is the part of us that has pre-existed with God since the foundations of the world. And Jeremiah 1:5 tells us Jesus knew us before He formed us in the womb [as a spirit being, made in His image]. It is important that we understand that the soul and spirit are different and serve different functions. And because our mind is part of our soul and is intertwined with our physical body, it presents itself as the consciousness with which we engage the world. This is important to understand because our soul is designed to be submitted to our spirit; thinking and hearing and seeing ‘in the spirit’ so that, just like Jesus [who never did anything on His own, but only what He heard or saw from the Father], our mind can be in sync with our spirit and we can grow into the image of Christ. But until we have a conversion experience, our mind and soul may never be aware of our spirit, and never see or hear or interact with our spirit. 
     As Dan Duval teaches, we must remember that when we are saved, our spirit is one with the Holy Spirit (we are stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit). So, we can now understand that much of what the Holy Spirit is doing is happening in and through our spirit. The stronger our spirit is, the more powerfully the Holy Spirit is able to work in and through us. But our carnal mind [in the soul which is in the flesh] must submit to our spirit, which is now seated in the heavenly realm. IF our soul overwhelms our spirit and refuses to submit, then [although Saved] we will not be effective [or bear fruit] for the Kingdom because our mind will be focused on things of this world. 
     Being carnally minded, you can imagine that Satan is going to be only too happy to try to get you to revisit old memories and habits from your days in his dark kingdom. But we must become deliberate in our understanding of how God’s kingdom operates. We must consciously and consistently be in submission to God’s plan to restore the earth to His original design … man ruling earth according to the government of God’s Kingdom in Heaven.
      That means we must mature in our faith in order to renew our minds and let go of this carnal world and experience the spiritual realm. Paul explained this dilemma in Romans 8:5-9, For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit... You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. If you are truly Saved and Redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, then you now represent a different world: His Father’s Kingdom in Heaven, and you must be intentional about renewing your mind – changing the way you think and subsequently, act – all from God’s Heavenly perspective.
      That is why Jesus asked us to pray, Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed [holy] be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. As Bill Johnson writes, in his excellent book, When Heaven Invades Earth, “When we pray for His kingdom to come, we are asking Him to impose the rules, order, and benefits of His world over this one until this world looks like His … [God’s] world collides with [Satan’s] world of darkness and God’s world always wins. Our battle is always going to be a battle of dominion – a conflict of kingdoms”.
      And there will not only be a battle between the two kingdoms for dominion over our minds, but there will be a battle for dominion over the territories of marriage, the sanctity of life, sexual identity, our children, etc. Because our minds are powerful tools in the hands of God, we have to be able to discern if what enters our minds is coming from this world, hell, or from heaven. And if we know it is from heaven, then we must agree with it and act upon it. That will lead to a transformed life and kingdom living! Your mind must be sanctified unto the Lord and surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
      When we begin to think like God and act like Jesus and hear/see with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can collaborate with Them and bring heaven and earth into agreement through our thoughts and actions. All of Heaven’s resources are available to us through our spirit, which in proper alignment with our soul, prompts our minds to think and act righteously. Our human spirit will get a download from God [through the Holy Spirit] and then impart the divine thought or concept to our soul [which includes our mind]. The soul has to come together with the spirit in order to be implanted with the seeds of revelation, breakthrough, and those things that have been written upon our scroll in heaven. If our mind has been renewed to think from heaven’s perspective, rather than this world’s, then we will be able to receive the heavenly concept, plan according to God’s ruling principles, act on what has been revealed, and produce fruit for the Kingdom. Our mind/soul and the spirit must work together to give birth to the designs of God in the earth

 Romans 12:2     Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


October 23, 2019

We Need To Pay Careful Attention to Genesis 6:5-7!!

     I know there will be those who scoff at my Old Testament reference in the title of this post. And they will say, "That has nothing to do with us". But need I remind you that Malachi 3:6 gives us this quote: "For, I the Lord, do not change...?" Or, that Hebrews 3:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever?"
     I feel led to bring this immutable character of God to your attention, along with the Genesis 6:5-7 warning because of the evil I see man perpetuating on the earth. Before I lay out this depravity for your consideration, let's focus on what the Word of God says in Genesis. This particular passage [in the Amplified version] reads "The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy (annihilate) mankind whom I have created from the surface of the earth—not only man, but the animals and the crawling things and the birds of the air—because it [deeply] grieves Me [to see mankind’s sin] and I regret that I have made them.” 
     If you are a student of the Bible, then you know that these verses refer to the Fallen Angel incursion of Genesis 6:4, and the subsequent defiling of the human DNA, as created by God. But with the following snippets of news that I read just today, I believe that God may be just as grieved in His heart in 2019 as He was nearly 4400 years ago.
     Let me begin with this headline: The Ghastly, Ghoulish Practices of Planned Parenthood, an article written by Michael Brown for the WorldNetDaily website. And I do not relish reciting the macabre and grisly details of what is revealed, but I also do not want to diminish the evil being committed.
Child Sacrifice to the god, Molech
     In the article, Mat Staver, founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, reports that Planned Parenthood clinics "were taking babies and intentionally aborting them so they could harvest intact organs, some of which were born alive while the hearts were still beating. Hearts were being removed while they were still alive." He continued, "Brains were being removed while the hearts were still beating, and we have evidence where they sliced the baby's face in two with a scalpel and then extracted the brain while the baby was still alive."  
     But that isn't all! This same article reported that companies like Stem Express had full menus on their website where you could make customized choices when ordering your baby parts. "You could actually go on the website and select … that you wanted a certain heart at a certain gestation at a certain size, intact. Then Stem Express would take that to Planned Parenthood that day. They would fulfill that order from those babies that were brought in, never telling the parent, the mom, what was happening with her child in the room next door."
     The Liberty Counsel website carried the headline, Selling Baby Scalps, stating that, "A former board director for the Center for Medical Progress testified during [a] civil trial in the San Francisco Federal District Court that the scalps of babies provided by the abortion industry are being harvested for research in treating baldness."
     Does this sound eerily familiar to the ancient pagan practices of child sacrifice? Apparently Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas, Texas thinks so. After he made a similar comparison during a recent interview, referencing Moloch, the ancient god of child sacrifice, this century's pagans responded with sarcastic glee. One tweeted, "ALL HAIL MOLOCH HIS WILL BE DONE." Another wrote, "DON'T MESS WITH OUR GOD, MOLOCH." While, they may have thought they were being clever, they don't realize they are the mouthpiece for the Ruler of this dark world.
     Now, let me take you to another article as presented on TheBlaze.com. This article was titled, Texas Jury Rules Against Father Trying To Protect 7-Year-Old Son From Forced Gender Transition. According to the article, a Texas jury returned a verdict on Monday that will prevent Jeffrey Younger from protecting his 7-year-old son from a forced gender transition by the boy's mom, Dr. Anne Georgulas. Younger had petitioned the court to grant him sole custody of his twin sons, James and Jude. But on Monday, a Dallas jury — by a vote of 11 to 1 — granted Georgulas, his ex-wife, sole custody of the boys, making her the sole decision-maker concerning the medical and psychological care of the children.
     In court, Younger argued that Georgulas was forcing James to undergo gender transition. With the jury's decision, Georgulas is free to give James puberty-blocker medication that results in chemical castration and, ultimately, hormone pills to complete James' female transition to become "Luna."
     As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 19 Is it I whom they provoke? declares the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own shame? 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched (Jeremiah 7:16-20".
The goddess, Luna
     Does anyone else find it curious that this precious child is now going to be named after the Roman moon goddess, Luna, whom the Roman poet Horace called the "two-horned queen of the stars". Along with her consort, the sun god, Sol, this imperial duo represented the magnitude of Roman rule over the world, with the aim of guaranteeing peace. Could she be the infamous "Queen of Heaven" that the Lord speaks to the prophet Jeremiah about? He says, "
     Have we become so depraved in our culture that Feminism has taken mothers to the point where they try to change their sons into daughters?!? How much longer will the Most High God of the Universe suffer His creation to destroy His children?? I'm sorry, but the actions noted in these two articles are not being done by people who are made in His image! They do not have the mind, heart, or Spirit of the Lord in them!
     And consider the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, in San Diego, California, who in 2016 hosted an exhibition entitled Cannibals: Myth & Reality. Built "to inspire human connections by exploring the human experience", the guides didn't describe cannibals as freaks, but as warriors from many cultures, European kings and queens, American and European sailors, American colonists, accident survivors, the sick, and more. In fact, one newspaper review said this: Cannibals: Myth & Reality is a poignant and beautiful experience, the type that you hope to get at a museum. It deftly guides you from one emotional place to another, revealing connections across time and cultures, until you reach a point of deeper understanding. Through history, art, films, interactive displays and games, visitors confront what seems, at first, to be an unthinkable choice. By the end, you might realize that it’s far more nuanced and complicated.”
     I would like to add a postscript to that altruistic review. It is Lamentations 4:10-11, which says, "The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they became their food during the destruction of the daughter of my people. The Lord gave full vent to his wrath; he poured out his hot anger, and he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed its foundations".
     All I have to say about each of these stories is BEWARE! Whether you believe in God or not, there is judgment coming against mankind for these evil acts. Ignorance or lack of knowledge will be no excuse.... we will perish for the lack of it! I used to pray that these depraved people would be able to see the error of their ways and repent, but I'm not so sure that I think that is possible anymore. I believe we may have crossed the spiritual line from which there is no return; only irrevocable commitment and ultimate destruction. Lord, I appeal to the same spirit of justice You rendered to Abraham when he interceded for Sodom ... "I am but dust and ashes; Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" I would not blame You, Lord! And my heart, too, is deeply grieved.

Ezra 8:21    Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river Ahava, so that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions.

October 19, 2019

Hungry, Humbled, and Healed

     Mark and I are preparing ourselves spiritually for a new opportunity in the Kingdom of God. Next week, we are going to be part of a team ministering to female military veterans at a 4-day retreat. The Lord answered our prayers for expansion of His Kingdom into new territories, and we are praying that these women will find their freedom in Christ and be set free from whatever bondage their spiritual enemies have inflicted upon them.
     As I have prayed for the Lord's guidance, direction, and protection, I clearly heard the desire of my spirit -- that they would come hungry, be humbled, and leave healed. Yes, Lord! That's my prayer for each attendee! But I soon realized that this is my hope for each person that we come into contact with for the Kingdom. Whenever we meet with anyone whom we've invited to the Lord's table for healing, it is important that they be hungry for an encounter with Jesus; that they arrive with the awareness that they are longing for something [or Someone] that they have been separated from. It is that hunger for more that drives them to the table -- a thirst for more from life; more in their relationships with loved ones; more of knowing who they are and what their purpose on this earth is; more answers to their torment; and more of a spiritual experience with their Savior.
     I'm going to get personal here -- if this describes you, I bet you have tried to fill that hungry void with everything but a personal encounter with Jesus. More money, more drugs, more sex, fancy cars, big houses, trips to Europe, titles at your job or in your Church -- none of it will still the voice that whispers you are unloved, rejected, unworthy, or unimportant. Yet you are hungry and thirsty for more! 
     That's why Jesus says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied". Here, righteousness, is "whatever is right or just in itself that conforms to the revealed will of God; whatever has been appointed by God to be acknowledged and obeyed by man" (Strong's Concordance). Please -- don't just read over that definition as we've all done so many times in our attempts to study the Bible. When you are at the point that you are hungering and thirsting for God to reveal Himself and His will for your life, that's usually the point you are most desperate. All those others things I mentioned in the last paragraph haven't satiated your hunger or quenched your thirst.
     But Jesus is telling us that when we hunger and thirst to have the Father actually show up and reveal His will for our life and what He has appointed to us from the foundations of the world -- and we are ready to acknowledge and receive what is revealed and appointed, then we achieve the satisfaction that we've longed for! And that takes us to the next step ... to be humbled.
     Once we're desperate to have our hunger and thirst satisfied by God, we have to come to the end of ourselves. It's here that we have to admit that all we've done to fill that bottomless pit has failed. In fact, it is our own actions that have often dug that pit deeper; our pride and refusal to surrender to the One who created us and knows us best, has only pushed us further away from Him.
     When we are able to look at ourselves -- in all our filthy rags -- we see that our selfishness and pride have been the driving force that has led to our insatiable hunger and the thirsty condition of our heart. And because God has given us all free will, He will not step in and remedy your situation. From the depths of your hungry soul and spirit, you must be willing to reject and defeat your pride and confess your need for Jesus. It is from that position that you can become obedient, receive God's grace, and begin to be healed.
     You see, our Father in Heaven longs to heal us all. He paid an indescribable price to deliver us from Death and the devil's torment. But to be restored to full health and healing, we must be hungry for the Healer and humble ourselves before His throne. It is only then that we are teachable and can learn His ways. And that's when the Father will stretch out His hand to restore honor and goodness and character to your life, along with health to your body, soul, and spirit. 
     I can only imagine what wounds we will see at this upcoming retreat. But I also know that they will be no different than the ones who find their way to our door and Jesus's table every week in our home. The devil's tactics never really change -- he seeks who to devour because of willful sin, which leads to open doors of torment. They all come looking for the same thing; a way to quiet the voices of condemnation. So it is my prayer that God will create a hunger in them for the Kingdom of God in their lives and the freedom that it brings. Bring them hungry, Lord! And I promise we will help them to humble themselves; we will speak of Your Mighty hand that seeks to exalt those who tremble before You. And, right now, I praise You for the healing that is even now being prepared for those who will submit to You with contrite hearts. Their healing and their victory is on the way! And I truly thank you, Father, for all those You entrust to us. Bring us more! Bring us those willing to come hungry, to be humbled and to be healed by the Blood of Jesus. What an honor it is to serve You!

Proverbs 4:20-22    Listen carefully, my dear child, to everything that I teach you, and pay attention to all that I have to say. Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap my words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being.