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

Showing posts with label God's Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God's Nature. Show all posts

May 20, 2024

What Does God Demand of Us, and What Does the World Tempt Us to Covet?

As I have expressed in past posts, I want less of what the world has to offer. And as I advance in my faith [and my number of years on this planet], I yearn, instead, for more of the Kingdom in my life. Furthermore, as I learn what it means to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, I can discern the differences in a life lived surrendered to Him, and one that answers the call of the world.

So, these considerations have led to an awakening in my spirit of the ways our Enemy diverts the paths of Christians and steals our peace and joy. It's easy to see how the Unbelievers respond to the world. For them, there is no contemplation of what the Lord might ask of them, or how He might desire they live their lives. Instead, those with little or no faith simply are drawn to what the world tells them has value, or that promises them they will receive validation from their fellow men. 

What does that look like? It's easily seen with spiritual eyes. The world sets the standards ... you must have a big house with a pool; hundreds of followers on social media; the latest hairstyle, clothes, and weekly pedicures; belong to the "right" club, group, or clique; climb the corporate ladder; have a title, whether it's in the boardroom, the community, or the church. And above all else, the world teaches us that we put ourselves first; that self-gratification is our means to achieve happiness, success, wealth and power -- it all culminates in the indulgence or satisfaction of one's own desires. 

But did Jesus teach any of that?? What does God demand of us? What does He desire our lives to look like? If we call ourselves Christians, there is an obvious Bible verse that shines a light on what God desires. It's Micah 6:8 ... And what does the Lord require of you except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness [compassion], and to walk humbly with your God. Put simply, God wants you to live a lifestyle that shows you know right from wrong. Such a lifestyle is characterized by being just [ethical, moral, righteous, principled, full of integrity] in an unjust world. Jesus is our example. Consider how He conducted Himself in the midst of Roman autocracy. He did not respond as the world would have responded. He hit the mark on every one of those descriptions that I used to describe what just means. But the world would have us react out of anger, pride, and vengeance. Just turn on the TV and watch the News channels, talk shows, and the live broadcasts of our Congress in action.   

Secondly, God desires that we love others and practice kindness, compassion, and mercy. Remember that at the time Micah wrote this, Israel's religious focus was on their rites and sacrifices as the way to curry favor with God for forgiveness of their sins. But their emphasis was all wrong! They were convinced by hard hearts to add to the sacrifices sanctioned by the Law of Moses. They followed the pagan culture and began sacrificing their firstborn sons as a means to cover their sins. That gives such a profound meaning to Jesus's quote in Hosea 6:6 ... I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I think God's most intimate desire is that we know His love and how to share it with others. That is the most important thing to Him; He sent His Son to model that for us. He does not demand rigid, religious rites. He desires changed hearts which reflect Him to the world; justice, mercy, and love are the foundation of God's Holy Nature. The modern Church has sadly compromised with the world, and too often subverts God's holy commandments in order to listen when the world's culture whispers "diversity, equity, and inclusion".   

Thirdly, Micah 6:8 tells us God desires us to walk humbly with Him. Again, this shows a heart fully surrendered to God; one that sets aside worldly pride to stand committed to showcasing God's glory and His attributes, rather than our own. Let's be honest, it is easy to recognize a person who puts God first in their life. They do not call attention to themselves [as the world tempts them to do], but rather, they simply do what is right, and people are drawn to them because of their loving heart. Their walk with Jesus is their way of life. And that brings us to another thing God desires of us: that we walk in all His ways in our steadfast relationship with Him. That requires a healthy fear [or reverence or awe] of the Lord, rather than idolizing what the world holds up for our entertainment and worship. His goodness should motivate us all to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and spirit because He is worthy of such adulation and respect. Walking in the ways of the Lord means it is incumbent upon us to seek knowledge of His Word, and to walk in obedience to do what He calls us to do, wherever He sends us, giving all honor and glory to Him. The world, however, encourages us to love ourselves and what it defines as worthy -- money, fame, beauty, material things, power.

And anyone who has experienced life with Jesus knows that those things are empty and meaningless in the Kingdom of God. Regrettably, I have seen those very temptations draw people [that I love dearly] further away from a life that will lead them to God. The world speaks lies that these idols are worthy substitutes for a life lived in the midst of God's love, and the joy and peace it brings. It doesn't mean our life in the world will be a bed of roses -- in fact, our Enemy will do everything to persuade us to abandon our allegiance to God and His ways. But, I will continue to pray that I grow more into the image of Christ, that they may have the dirty veil removed from their eyes and see the world in all its decay and deceit. Until then, I will do my utmost to live a righteous life; show kindness, compassion and mercy to others; and to walk in humbleness before my Lord. I know I am not perfect and there will be times I fail [a lot], but I also trust that He knows my heart because I know He is full of forgiveness for the repentant.

So, join me in praying for the world; pray that we who desire to please the Lord by following Him in all His ways can be a righteous influence and role model for those who desperately need to know Him. Let's show them that they don't need to follow any religious rules, but just allow Him to come close to them. They are His delight and His joy, and He paid everything for them to restore their relationship. And then let us invite them to tell them how we know!

2 Peter 1:4     And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.  

September 24, 2020

Warfare in the Spiritual Realms - Part 1

This is the first of a two-part serious posting; a solemn follow-up to my previous post on the power of a praying Ekklesia. And I want to begin by sharing a short essay that Glynda Lomax wrote in February of 2017. It is truly astounding how quickly her words have become our reality. Entitled, "My Children, Prepare for the War Coming to America", it is the perfect lead-in to what I want to say on the subject of warfare in the spiritual realms. Hear the voice of the Lord...

My children, prepare for the war that is coming to America. This will not be a war fought in other countries, but a war fought in your own streets. You will see many you know die before your eyes.

There is dissension brewing in the heart of America, and it will soon boil over. America, though greeted by smiles, also has many enemies. The combination of the two shall be her downfall.

My people are not ready for war, for they hesitate even at using the weapons I have left them in My Word. They are a people faint of heart, unaccustomed to seeing bloodshed, and not courageous for battle.

My people, do you not know I am a God of War? Do you not know I am coming back for the final battle against all evil? Why then do you shy away from the battle before you? Why are My churches filled with smiling imposters, who cannot even face their own sins? How do you plan to survive what is on its way to you? Do you think courage shall suddenly overtake you and you will be filled with faith?

My servant David did not learn faith and courage from doing nothing, but from battling the enemies he met on the way to where he was going. First the lion, then the bear, then the armies who came against Israel.

If you have no courage now, you will have no courage then, and you will fall to the hands of the enemy. Do not be foolish in believing otherwise.

What Glynda Lomax wrote three-and-a-half years ago describes where we are today. Generally, the American public is not ready for the dissension or the combat we see on our streets. We are not accustomed to seeing the bloodshed and the violence that our own citizens are perpetuating against each other. This nation suffered a horrendous Civil War just a little over a century and a half ago and the wounds are still being healed. The majority of us don't want to suffer through another one.

But we have enemies within our own borders who are supported and encouraged to rip apart the very fabric of our freedoms in order to subvert and overthrow the foundation of our fundamental rights and principles. The Constitution of the United States is the oldest constitution still in existence in the world, and both our physical and spiritual enemies must dismantle and destroy it to achieve their goals. The destruction of our form of government will make way for the anti-God trifecta of Communism/Socialism/Marxism that will allow Satan to begin his final push to capture the peoples of the world.

God is the only answer for us now! But we Christians don't even know His full nature! We only want to see God as Love because that allows us to continue with our comfortable and convenient lives without having to suit up for battle. So, we ignore the Scriptures that tell us [at His Second Coming] Jesus will pass judgment and wage war; dressed in a robe that is dipped in blood -- perhaps representative of His victory on the Cross, or the certainty of the defeat of His enemies. The troops of Heaven follow Him, and from His mouth will come a sharp sword that will strike the nations. He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath and indignation of God Almighty! The followers of the leaders and rulers of the world will meet the fate of their generals and captains, as they go down to a fiery defeat.

But as the Lord asks in Glynda Lomax's prophecy, "Why are My churches filled with smiling imposters, who cannot even face their own sins? How do you plan to survive what is on its way to you? Do you think courage shall suddenly overtake you and you will be filled with faith?" It is necessary that we train like David, who grew his courage and experience in warfare by engaging the Enemy. BUT THE CHURCH REFUSES TO ENGAGE IN BATTLE WITH THE ENEMY! Therefore, they are ignorant of his field of operations, or how to defeat him.

The Church is largely uneducated about the levels of heaven, the dimensions of the heavens, and the heavenly places. To be honest, the Bible isn't exactly clear in describing these territories. But it is essential, if we are going to be the Ekklesia, that we understand them and how to operate in them. And I will admit that it requires diligent and dedicated study to uncover the extent and scope of them -- and this blog post is inadequate to reveal all that I have discovered [and am still discovering]. But I will give you the essentials to begin your own study, and then I would recommend that you read Higher Dimensions, Parallel Dimensions, and the Spirit Realm by Dan Duval, along with the Book of Enoch, which was considered as Scripture [and still exists in the Orthodox Ethiopian canon] until about the 4th Century. Early Church father Tertullian wrote [circa 200] that it was rejected by the Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ as the Messiah. I do not propose that it be regarded as Canon, but it is a historical account of Enoch's experiences in the heavenly realms.

Down through the centuries our knowledge of who occupies the heavens and how spiritual warfare operates has been slowly eradicated from the Christian experience. Genesis tells us "in the beginning God created the heavens [plural] and the earth". Then Genesis 1:6-8 identifies the first heaven: "And God said, “Let there be an expanse [canopy] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven". This is a description of the dimension and realm in which we live -- earth, sky, clouds, our atmosphere. 

In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, the Apostle Paul reports, "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter." Paul was visiting the realm where God resides and rules! 

Now, if there is a first heaven and a third heaven, it only makes sense that there is a second heaven, correct? Yet, the Bible never references it by that name. However, I want to present an argument that this realm is where the forces of evil develop their strategies against us here in the first heaven. And I will tell you that this, by itself, is a controversial statement among many in "the Church". They will argue that there is no distinct "chapter and verse" statement of this theology -- no logos Word or black ink on white paper -- and coupled with no direct mention of "second heaven", we must be careful of being deceived, because the Bible's canon is closed and God "has spoken". 

That terminology is past tense -- does that mean He no longer speaks to us? What about the rhema Word, the supernatural revelation of Christ when we seek more of Him? That is the significance of Proverbs 25:2 ... "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search it out"! I assert that the manifestation of Satan and his crew's evil strategies is apparent on our streets today and I believe the Bible has a lot to say about second heaven; the spiritual realm where Satan and his fallen angels rule. We just have to be willing to "search it out" and believe that He still gives us divine revelation. And when we understand how these realms interact and the mechanics by which the warfare is conducted, it will go a long way towards instructing us Christians how to defeat the spiritual enemies who are openly attacking us today. 

In Part 2 of this discourse, I will present a succession of scripture from Old Testament and New Testament -- from Daniel to Revelation -- in which the Bible shows us the truth of warfare in the Second Heaven, and gives us clues as to how we are to battle "in heavenly places" alongside the Lord and His angels. The God of the Bible is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, therefore His Word is for all seasons and all times. I will show you the weapons of war He makes available to us through His Word. And like David, I will encourage you to join me in battling our enemies as we walk along this way to where we are going -- from glory to glory in the service and army of the Lord. It is time that we throw off the shackles of Religion and complacency and follow the courageous warriors of the Bible. Our future as a nation, and survival as a people depends on it!

Ephesians 6:12    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.


August 21, 2020

Culture Wars: Straight Out Of Satan's Playbook... Again!


     You've heard me say multiple times that Satan uses the same tactics over and over through the centuries. Why? Because they keep working! Mankind never seems to learn the lessons. Because of God's mercy and grace, if there is a remnant that recognizes the Enemy's strategy and repents and truly seeks righteousness, there will be a revival or movement that sets mankind back on course. But I'm beginning to wonder if we've run out of reset opportunities as I watch the world careening toward escalating chaos.

     The violence in the streets is getting worse. The hearts of men are growing colder. When you can beat a man and kick him in the head, knocking him unconscious, and then brag about it on social media, and the major news outlets refuse to report it, then I fear we have crossed into a new and deeper sphere of wickedness and lawlessness. 

     The mainstream media likes to dumb things down to keep secret the hidden agendas of those who seek to control the world by manipulation and unscrupulous control/influence. So they use terms like "culture wars" and "systemic racism" and "social justice warrior". They try to identify and define the changing morals in the world by using these coined phrases, but it's just a repeat of Satan's plan to dominate mankind and the world.

     According to Dictionary.com. the term "culture war" refers to "a cultural conflict between social groups and the struggle for dominance of their values, beliefs, and practices. It commonly refers to topics on which there is general societal disagreement and polarization in societal values is seen." In Biblical terms, that means there is a conflict between God's values and Satan's; a conflict between morality and immorality; and a conflict between righteousness and lawlessness. Those in the media and politics would have us believe that one side is being unjustly treated, therefore they have a right to use anything within their means to get what they want and equality. The end justifies the means, as long as you play the social injustice card. In other words, violence is permitted to atone for real [or perceived] ill-treatment, regardless of personal responsibility.

     But my purpose is not to debate whether injustice has been carried out against any social group, or whether violence should be stopped at any cost. I want us to realize that division within a nation has been a popular [and successful] tool of the Enemy. Currently there are conflicts and clashes between Black Americans and White Americans; between Republicans and Democrats; between Fascists and Marxists; between Believers and non-Believers. But these conflicts are nothing new. From the very beginning of time, a "culture war" was created in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan's temptation and believed his lie that God's value system and culture was contrary to their best interests. That clash between values can be seen throughout history.

     You have the clash between Cain and Abel; between the Fallen Angels and mankind in Genesis 6; between the nation of Israel and the pagan nations; between Jesus and the Pharisees/Sadducees; between the Jews and Gentiles; between Christians and Muslims in the Crusades; between Jews and Arabs today... the list can go on and on. All serve Satan's purpose to cause division and chaos in the world. We can even see the culture war that destroyed the ancient nation of Israel -- resulting in both the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern (Judah) eventually being taken into captivity because they abandoned the values of God and disobeyed His commandments. 

     The kingdom of Israel fell into apostasy and worshiped false gods and adopted the rituals and belief systems of Baal. Heavier taxes on the people and the abandonment of  Jerusalem as the home of the House of the Lord, in favor of two golden calves to submit sacrifices to [one placed in Bethel and one in Dan], led to the eventual capture by the Assyrians and the disbursement of the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom across the globe. The southern kingdom and the people of Judah "did evil in the sight of the Lord. They provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done, with their sins which they had committed. For they also built for themselves high places [to worship idols] and sacred pillars and Asherim poles [for the goddess Asherah]. These were on every high hill and under every luxuriant tree. There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They committed all the repulsive acts of the nations which the Lord dispossessed before the Israelites" (1 Kings 14:22-24).  

     Can we say that our nation has sinned any less? Abortion, same-sex marriage, human trafficking, child porn, greed, corruption, idolatry with false gods -- all are against God's values and His commandments and the culture of Heaven. Are we any less deserving to be taken into captivity? 

     The Enemy is bolder than I've ever seen him. Is it because he has been so successful in tempting hearts away from God? Or has man willingly chosen to disobey God's commands to serve his ultimate god ... himself? And I know we, the remnant, see clearly the machinations of the Evil One, and some of us may be getting weary. But we cannot take a break from these "culture wars"; we cannot let our guard down. We are engaged in a very real war; one that will decide the destinies of many people on earth. We cannot relinquish the field of battle to the Enemy. 

     We must remain stalwart and unwavering in our purpose -- to bring the Kingdom of God to bear against the kingdom of darkness. The culture war in our nation right now is increasing and becoming more violent and resistant to the Lord and to our presence. But we do not fight alone! The King of kings and the Lord of lords is fighting with us! He has told us to occupy territory until He returns. We must stand our ground and fight back alongside the Heavenly Host. The war is being hotly contested from both sides and we cannot give an inch. And we can't escape this war, even if we want to -- we are here for a reason in this season of the history of the world. We must remember that God is sovereign over the kings and the kingdoms of the earth. The Enemy will be defeated! The victory is already the Lord's! But until He comes with His army of angels, we represent the Light in this present darkness. Let's hold the line!

 1 Chronicles 29:11   Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all.



June 27, 2020

"There Is Wrath In His Anger, But Life In His Promise"

      The title for this blog post is a portion of the Septuagint translation of Psalm 30:5. The rest of the verse reads, "weeping shall tarry for the evening, but joy shall be in the morning". I sense that we are in the midst of great weeping in this nation [and the world], and it may be difficult for some to even imagine that joy could exist in the morning. After all, people's lives have been turned upside down by sickness, unemployment, separation from family and friends, and fear of an unknown future. The truth is, none of us know how long this night of mourning is going to last.
     I think a lot of people in the world can identify with David when he wrote this Psalm. I believe he perfectly describes our national psyche [before this chaos dawned] when he writes in verses 6-7, "I remember boasting, “I’ve got it made! Nothing can stop me now! I’m God’s favored one; He’s made me steady as a mountain!” But then suddenly, You hid your face from me. I was panic-stricken and became depressed." Can any of you identify?
     We, in this nation, have lived a blessed life -- yes, there have been grave injustices in our history, and we still are far from perfect! We have a lot of work to do to overcome our sins, transgression, and iniquity. But so far, this is still a land of opportunity! I agree that the Beast System is desperately trying to establish itself, and the Christians who are awake can see the handwriting on the wall. But we must also admit that we have been complacent and content in our prosperity, and comfortable in a form of faith that didn't require much of us. Too many of us thought that just calling ourselves "a Christian" was enough to get us through this life until we could go to Heaven. Any difficulties would surely be short-lived because, after all, we live in America and God loves us, right? Like David, we thought we had it made and God would keep our path steady and sure. But now, it may seem as if He's hidden His face from you, too. Suddenly, this easy, grace-filled American life doesn't seem so stable. It's as if our anchor has come unmoored.
     And all this makes me mindful of the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Once a unified nation; the apple of God's eye, and His chosen [favored] people, Israel suffered much because of their sins and rebellion. After the death of King Solomon, the nation split into two kingdoms, Israel [as the northern kingdom] and Judah [the southern kingdom]. The kingdom of Israel eventually was taken captive by the conquering nation of Assyria and its people scattered across the world. The kingdom of Judah found itself caught in the midst of continuing wars between Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires, followed by subjugation to Persian, Greek and Roman conquerors. Although the kingdom of Judah no longer exists, God's promise to Abraham that through him, "all the families of the earth will be blessed" has found its fulfillment in Yeshua, Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
     But we cannot ignore the fact that Israel and Judah's rebellion against God was not overlooked by Him. Our God is a Holy and Righteous God; He will not tolerate continued rebellion. He shows us that over and over in the Bible, as His righteous anger falls on those who stubbornly persist in disobedience and following their own ways -- even if they are the apple of His eye. We can see by Judah's history of repeated cycles of rebellion, idolatry, and restoration, that YHWH is patient in allowing us to recognize our rebellion and to right it. But we can also discern that He is a just God, and He will not turn a blind eye to repeated offenses in which repentance is absent.
     Both the nation of Israel and Judah paid a price for their repeated rebellion. As a 2009 article titled The Experience of Israel and Judah: A Lesson For Today informs us, "Israel [the Northern kingdom] was at the height of her power under this king. The period was one of great wealth, luxury, arrogance, carnal security, oppression of the poor, moral decay, and formal worship. The moral declension and spiritual degradation of the people were appalling."  Furthermore, Judah followed in Israel's footsteps, and the article tells us they often lapsed into rebellion and idolatry; "they mocked God’s messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against His people and there was no remedy" (2 Chronicles 36:16).
     Sound familiar? Not every citizen of America meets those qualifiers, but we cannot ignore the social, moral and spiritual failings of this nation. We cannot say, "But I live a good life... I love God and worship Him in righteousness... surely God will not turn His back on me... we are a Christian nation!" But does the fruit of this nation bear witness to those claims? How do you think God looks upon us as a nation that consumes and exports pornography and child sex trafficking? How deep is the stain on our land of the blood of 60 million murdered babies by the abortion industry? How, in a land that is so rich and prosperous, are the poor getting poorer? How does He look upon our greed and idol worship of money, property, technology, fame, and worldly power, while rejecting the foundational principles of the Bible in our homes, businesses, and government?
     How can we expect to escape judgment, when God, in His Sovereignty, let Israel and Judah, reap the errors of their ways? What has been the excuse of the Church as we find ourselves sliding down an ever steeper hill of moral decay? It's not enough to say we were in Church every Sunday! It's not enough to say we prayed for our nation! We were to stand up and challenge each and every move of the Enemy of God as he advanced his plan to eradicate the authority and supremacy of God Almighty in the United States of America. We were supposed to rise up in our identities as true sons and daughters of our mighty God, and bear semblance to His mercy and righteousness and justice!
     Yet, here we find ourselves in a civil and moral battle with our fellow countrymen. There are plenty of prophets in the Body of Christ warning us of these things and the way we should go. Are our hearts truly prepared to take those steps? Can we wake up from our slumbering spirits and join forces in the spiritual realm to fight alongside the heavenly host to conquer the invading Anti-Christ spirit and his hordes? I can't imagine how terribly weary the angelic warriors are, waiting for us to get in the fight!
     I want to finish by saying that I know I've painted a pretty miserable picture of the state of our Union, but I'm afraid when you look at the fruit we've produced, it's starting to spoil. We don't come off looking too much different than ancient Israel and Judah. I know God is not pleased with us and we deserve His anger. But I also know that He is a God of promises, and He does not break them. Yes, we must repent -- not only ask for forgiveness of our grievous sins, but change the way we think about what our purpose and responsibilities are to His Kingdom while we are here on earth. And then we must put on that spiritual armor that we've left rusting in the corner, and get in the fight! We can bring down the strongholds of the Enemy, and we can cast down all the evil imaginations that are being used to go against the knowledge of God. If we truly trust in the Lord, then let us sink our spiritual roots deep into the soil of this nation, and nothing the Enemy brings against us can uproot us. He promises to never leave nor forsake us, and He promises to heal our land if we seek Him and turn from our wicked ways. There is hope in the Lord's promises. Do not give up now and there will be joy in the morning!

Isaiah 40:31    But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.

July 8, 2019

Our Two-Sided Commission: Family and Kingdom

     I have not been shy about expressing my frustration over not being able to rightly convey the Gospel of the Kingdom to my fellow Christians. And here's the thing ... once the Holy Spirit opens your spiritual eyes to "see" it, and you know how to "enter" it, you wonder how you missed it all those years during your walk with the Lord. And you wonder why others can't see it as easily as you do! But I believe that the Enemy throws every tactic of confusion and misconception into the arena of our communication, and we Believers end up misunderstanding each other.
     I recently listened to an excellent YouTube video by Dutch Sheets, the Executive Director of Christ for the Nations. The title of the video was The Power of Ecclesia, and it captured every emotion and frustration and disappointment Mark and I have encountered in trying to communicate with other Believers about the importance of understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom, and why it is important that we DO it. But the video showed me so much more. It caused me to humble myself before the Lord and realize that the problem is not just that people won't accept it, or try to understand it, or walk in it -- but that our message has been misinterpreted by the Church. Everything we have said about the Kingdom has been true to Scripture, but how we delivered the message was wrongly perceived by them, and we played a part in that delivery. Let me see if I can lay it out a little plainer....
     Jesus has given us a two-sided commission. The Body of Christ is to act as both an OIKOS, or House of God [think Family] and as an EKKLESIA [think judge and justice]. These two sides of our Commission are to act and work together to accomplish the Father's will "on earth as it is in Heaven". The problem is, the Body of Christ has been grossly out of balance, weighing heavily toward the Family side. We have largely represented Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the Groom, and our High Priest (this is the Family side of the scales}. And we have ignored His identity as King, Master, and Commander-in-Chief (the Kingdom side of the scales). Consider these few points in the equation (there are many more):

     • In the Family, we are part of Jesus's flock. In the Kingdom, we are Jesus's army
     • In the Family, we are sheep, and in the Kingdom, we are soldiers.
     • In the Family, our mission is to grow the family of God [Believers] until He comes. In the Kingdom, our mission is to grow and extend the Kingdom and its culture until He comes.
      • In the Family, we pray and petition. In the Kingdom, we war, decree, bind and loose.
      • In the Family, Jesus is our Friend. In the Kingdom, Jesus is our Commander-in-Chief.
      • In the Family, Jesus is Protector and Provider. In the Kingdom, He is our Victor and Sender.
      • In the Family, we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In the Kingdom, we need the keys of the Kingdom.
      • In the Family, we need the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the Kingdom, we need the weapons of our warfare.
      • In the Family, we worship. In the Kingdom, we govern.
      • In the Family, we are healers. In the Kingdom, we are Destroyers; tearing down strongholds
      • In the Family, Jesus is the Son of Man. In the Kingdom, He is the Son of God.
      • In the Family, we need intimacy with God. In the Kingdom, we need knowledge of God and His ways.
      • In the Family, we need love and compassion. In the Kingdom, we need power and authority.
      • Family is the completion of the Genesis Mandate: to reproduce the family of God. Kingdom is the completion of God's restoration of His Kingdom on earth.

     By now, you should be getting the idea. It isn't either/or, and it's not one versus the other. It's not denying one in favor of the other. We are to reflect both Family and Kingdom. And to be honest, sometimes we lump it all under one category called Religion/Church. And for the most part, the Body of Christ has gotten real good at being the sheep, growing congregations, praying, seeing Jesus as our Friend, asking Him for protection and provision, seeking the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and worshiping Him. We've accomplished that assignment. But we haven't accepted our roles as soldiers in His army; or expanding His Kingdom; or warring/binding/loosing; seeing Him as our Commander-in-Chief, our Victor, or our Sender; asking for the keys of the Kingdom or the weapons of our warfare. And we most certainly have not learned how to govern upon the earth. 
     But here is the important point I want you to get. In our zeal to explain the importance of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and the need to expand it and extend it not only among the Church, but among the nations, we are not saying or asking that the Family side of our Commission is wrong or that it is to be abandoned. But that is how some of the people in the Church interpret the message! No! We do not abandon the Grace or Mercy or Worship or Salvation messages. Those are all important and the correct message about our Lord. What we are saying is that this is not the complete picture of who we are to be as Followers of Christ. Along with Grace, we need to be walking in Truth ... along with Mercy, we need Justice, and when necessary, Judgment ... along with Worship, we are to Govern ... and by receiving Salvation, we are to Rule and Reign. It is a two-sided commission.
     I want my fellow Believers to understand that when we promote Kingdom, we are not denying any of the components of Family. But if all we concentrate on is Family and a household, called the Church, then someone else will write the laws we live by. And we're seeing that in today's society! We can worship and praise Jesus all we want, but someone else will write the laws that govern us and the lack of Kingdom will be reflected in our culture.
     We have to know when it's time to love one another and worship and teach and equip -- and we have to know when it's time to govern and go to war. We hear lots of talk about the Seven Mountains of Influence: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business. We cannot influence those mountains from the Family side of our commission. That doesn't make the Family side wrong or bad! We just need to recognize that we have to do Family AND Kingdom in order to achieve real transformation in all peoples, nations, and tongues. It's not enough to act like His sheep; we must also act like His soldiers.
     The bottom line is this: I have prayed to the Lord about why it's so difficult to be of "one mind" like the Church in the Book of Acts. I clearly heard that He cannot build His Ekklesia until we are of one mind about His Kingdom.  And He reveals His Kingdom in His Word, so the Book of Matthew is where to start in understanding Kingdom as Jesus taught it. I pray and war in the spirit that the Body will grasp their full identity as both Family and Kingdom Citizens. So I plead with you to diligently study Matthew and try to discern the difference between [and acceptance of both] the Biblical concepts of Family and Kingdom, and then ask yourselves if you are out of balance; where do you stand on your understanding of the Family of God and the Kingdom of God? We must come to a mutual understanding that both Family and Kingdom are essential to bringing Heaven's Kingdom to earth. Until then, the Body of Christ will be divided in their commission, in understanding His whole counsel, and in knowing their complete identity. Let's be all we are supposed to be!

2 Chronicles 30:12   Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them one heart to do that which the king and the officials had commanded by the word of the Lord.


February 19, 2019

Is It Time For a Spiritual Pruning In The Church?

     Different parts of the country have different seasons for pruning trees and flowering bushes and plants. And I found the reasons for pruning to be both interesting and Biblical: Some pruning is done to change or train a plant's growing pattern or to restrict growth. And the pruning of fruit trees is a necessary chore that improves penetration of the sun and increases air movement through the tree. Maybe I've just got an unusual way of seeing things, but I couldn't help but relate these descriptions to our spiritual pruning -- changing or training us for growth or constraint; and receiving more of the penetration of the Son and an increase in the movement of the Holy Spirit through us [being the air/breath of God].
     The principle verses in the Bible that refer to pruning are the ones we all know, John 15:1-2, I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. 
     Although the purpose of this blog post is to address the Body of Christ, it is necessary you understand that while these verses in John are applicable to us Christians, they are clearly addressed to Israel. If you take in the whole counsel of God in His Word, you will see that in both Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5, the nation of Israel is called the vine, and God is the vinedresser ... You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land (Psalm 80:8-9); For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel... (Isaiah 5:7).
     So when Jesus calls Himself "the true Vine", He is identifying with Israel. According to American theologian and pastor, R.C. Sproul, Jesus is saying that He is the embodiment of all that Israel should be. “Should be” because, as is well known, Israel did not faithfully execute her mission as God’s representative. Her sins and lack of repentance prevented her from being a faithful witness.  And that's where Romans 11:17-24 brings us Christians into view. We were grafted into the vine, and now share in its nourishing root. But, lest we become arrogant, Scripture tells us that we, too, can be cut off if we become proud or lose our fear of the Lord.  
     I have to tell you that as we entered into this new year of 2019, I have been overwhelmed with the number of Christian websites that are prophesying of great turmoil and transition this year. Believe me I am not diminishing the ability of the anointed to prophesy, but perhaps I am feeling inundated with the number of self-proclaimed prophets. There are times I sense that "to prophesy" has become an idol among the Body of Christ; that it is "the gifting of the hour", if you will.
     But are we possibly seeking after giftings more than fruit? I mean, Jesus makes it pretty clear in John 15 that every branch in Him must bear fruit, or it is pruned. Are we clear that "to prophesy" is to speak under divine inspiration, or to share the counsel from God that we have received? Or have we, as the Body of Christ, become arrogant in believing that our own counsel is worth proclaiming as God's? We are to abide in Him, which results in bearing fruit. But if we just attach ourselves to Him, without truly abiding in faith, then we are just dead wood, not a thriving fruit-producing branch of the vine. And we will be "cut off" -- please see that distinction ... not pruned, but cut off! 
     To be pruned means that all the branches that are fruit-bearing will will be trimmed to increase fruitfulness and growth. Remember that pruning includes changing or training a branch's growth pattern. We, as the Church, should expect to be pruned to increase our yield of souls for the Kingdom so that the harvest of the Lord will be abundant.  Before we embrace every prophetic warning that is being spoken, perhaps we should wait to see if the Lord is about to prune to bring forth a truer word. Every prophecy spoken is not necessarily coming from the Lord; and my spirit is beginning to sense a competition among the "prophetic voices" to gain loyal followings. 
     I do not want to be so cynical, but I think of Jesus, standing before the Sanhedrin. They beat on Him, and taunted Him, saying, "Prophesy to us!" But He stayed silent. He didn't need to speak to hear Himself heard. At that moment He was silent and surrendered -- not working in His giftings of prophecy or miracles, but surrendered to His flesh and waiting for the Father to reveal His counsel. Through the hardship of His trial, the discipline to wait for His Father's counsel, and the suffering of the Cross, Jesus bore far greater and sweeter fruit than Israel, the original vine of the Lord of Hosts.
     I think it is imperative to the Church today to remember that Israel did not faithfully execute her mission as God’s representative. And for that she is temporarily cut off the vine. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that true faith - real, authentic faith that abides in Christ -- is affirmed by the fruit of good works. We must examine our faith and determine if, by acting in our gifts -- whether it be prophecy or any other -- we are producing good fruit for the Kingdom, or serving ourselves. Let us examine ourselves to see what the world sees more of in us --- our giftings or our fruit.  Do we need to be pruned because we are growing the wrong way? Are we sprouting branches out of our flesh, or from the true vine? Are we willing to be pruned so that the Son can penetrate our branches and the breath of God move in us? Let us be willing to have every unholy branch be pruned by our loving Father so that we are effective representatives of the Kingdom, and we produce blooms of faith ... healthy, vibrant and beautiful blooms that grow into an abundant harvest of fruit. And let us thank God that He loves us enough to prune us!

John 15:4    "As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."

February 16, 2019

Who God Is In His Judgment, Holiness, and Love

      His Judgment - For awhile now, I've been hearing a misguided cliché spoken by people in the Church. It goes something like this: "We don't need to worry about God's judgment against America. If God were really going to judge us, He would have to apologize to Jesus." What?!?
     The skewed reasoning behind this ludicrous statement relies on a false understanding of the gospel -- that Jesus bore our sins on the Cross, and therefore our judgment is nailed there, too. God will not judge us because, after all [they say], doesn't the Bible tell us that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? This misunderstanding is a prime example of one of the Body of Christ's most egregious shortcomings, which is not taking into account the whole counsel of God.
     And on this matter of God's judgment, I hate to say it, but .... in the current Church culture there is almost an ignorance of what the Word reveals on the subject. The failure to study and understand God's judgment -- and dare I say it, His wrath -- has led to a lack of holy fear in a lot of Christians. Many think that we don't need to worry about God's judgment or wrath because that doesn't happen until the End Times. They think that until then, we are covered by the blood of Jesus, forgiven of our sins, and righteousness has been imputed to us by our faith. No need to worry, right?
     Well, when you take a look at what is becoming the norm and acceptable in our nation -- in our culture and our laws, and yes, even in our churches -- I believe you will see we are being judged even now. How so? Consider Romans 1:18, which says For God in heaven unveils his holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions. For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God (TPT).

     When I consider what has happened in this nation since I came of age in the early 70s, it is astounding. I have seen the acceptance of casual sex through an immoral sexual revolution; the institution of full-term abortion in the laws of our land; the acceptance and promotion of same-sex relations and marriages; gender manipulation and elimination; and much more. And it is not just unbelievers who have taken part in these actions, but those who profess to love God! But what does God's Word tell us in Romans 1:18? What God sees as the"wickedness of humanity" will result in his holy anger because people refuse to acknowledge the truth about God -- that He is a righteous God who cannot tolerate unrepentance and continued sin. That chapter in Romans goes on to say that because people exchange the truth about God for a lie, He gives them up to their sins. Isn't that what we're seeing today in our society? That is judgment in itself, and should give anyone pause. 
     But it is verse 32 that I see so clearly in our nation today -- from the home to the boardroom; from the halls of Congress to our Church buildings ... Although they are fully aware of God’s laws and proper order, and knowing that those who do all of these things deserve to die, yet they still go headlong into darkness, encouraging others to do the same and applauding them when they do! 
     His Holiness -  If you mention "holiness" in today's society, it's almost an irrelevant term -- looked upon as outdated and insignificant. But I believe that the moral confusion we see in our culture is a result of a lack of understanding about holiness. In regards to each of us, holiness is being dedicated and committed to living a pure life; consecrated to God in our word, thoughts, actions. In other words, we do not conform to the world's standards, but rather to God's.
     As holiness relates to God, one of the best definitions I've ever heard is the following: "Holy refers to life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself". Only God is perfect in goodness and righteousness, therefore He is worthy to be exalted and worshiped. But where is the acknowledgment and reverence for His holy nature? To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, not ourselves, and is set apart for His purposes.
     Yet, I sense a frightening silence about God's Holiness in the Church -- the meaning of it and our responsibility to it; the necessity of it in our decaying moral structure; and yes, even the endorsement of it from the pulpit. It's as if somehow, the Church is afraid to offend the world with an idea that we should be holy like our God. The lack [or ignorance] of holiness in the masses leads to a distorted and limited view of the true God. When we do not uphold God's standards of holiness, we are short-changing His expression of love. And that brings me to the final attribute...
     The True Love of God - God's love is not a permissive love. He has set Divine standards for the purposes of our lives, and He does not capitulate based on man's fleshly desires. His is not a sentimental love based on our emotions, but rather a Holy love designed to bring us into righteous relationship with Him.
     For example, we can consider homosexuality, and the ordaining of gay clergy in some Church denominations. This practice has been adopted, all in the name of love. Should we continue to love our homosexual friends and family members? Absolutely! But that does not mean that we change God's Word to match the way we feel.
     No man was more loving than Jesus Christ. Yet His love for all men did not prevent Him from disapproving of lifestyles and motives. Sometimes His love even made people angry. But it was a love that could not deny His Father's Holiness, and it was His desire that this holy love transform people into the image of God.
     In fact, Jesus mixed God's love with His truth and His holiness to give us a clear Biblical blueprint by which to live our lives. But we want to ignore certain verses, or even alter their meaning to make it more palatable to our lifestyles.  Some have even gone so far as to disregard and nullify any attempt to shine a light on God's judgment [or wrath], His holiness, or the truth that hell actually exists! The result is that God's love is watered down and corrupted to simply an emotional feeling.
     I fear that the Body of Christ is not doing justice to the full nature of God. When we want to make Him in our image, we diminish the power of the Gospel to effect the world. He IS a God of Judgment, and yes, even wrath. At the end of this Age, we who have been faithful will not be subject to that wrath, but it doesn't mean that the world won't experience it. He IS a Holy God; one who is perfect and separate from man's corrupted state, with sacrosanct values that are not to be interfered with. And He IS a loving God who isn't afraid to use discipline when it is necessary to correct disobedience and establish His truth. It's time we, as the Church of Jesus Christ, take a good hard look in the mirror at how we are manifesting His glory. We are all praying for an awakening in the souls of men, but the stirring must start with us.

Proverbs 11:31    If the righteous are barely saved, what’s in store for all the wicked?