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

Showing posts with label Kingdom government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kingdom government. Show all posts

January 7, 2022

The Kingdom of God Is the Answer To All Things!

As I contemplate all the disorder and chaos that the world has seen throughout time [and in the last two years of our lifetimes], I cannot help but discern how far mankind has fallen from God's original purpose for us. We were designed as images of the Godhead; to be a branch or colony of God's Heavenly Kingdom, maintaining Heaven's order here on earth. It didn't take long for the one who rebelled against God in Heaven to reassert himself here on earth and to infect the nature of man with a disrespect for divine law and moral code. And very quickly, men lost the idea of Kingdom living as they developed societies and cultures that served themselves.

Yet, our Creator never abandoned His desire to reconcile our relationship, nor did He give up on His ultimate goal of establishing His Kingdom colony here on earth. In fact, He was so committed to us and His plan that He sent a part of Himself, His own Son, as a guarantee that those who would believe in Him, and pledge their loyalty, could never be separated from His Kingdom. And no matter what the world sowed, there would be those who would stay dedicated to living, promoting, and executing the Kingdom.

And what exactly does that look like here in the midst of a contentious twenty-first Century? First of all, I think we need to come to an understanding that the "Kingdom of God" is not just a "Church" concept. It was Jesus's absolute goal and the answer to everything in the world! In the Sermon on the Mount, in the Book of Matthew, we see Jesus's treatise on the Kingdom of God. And I do mean "treatise", which is defined as "a written work dealing formally and systematically with a subject"; in this case, Matthew exhibits how God orders His Kingdom government in Heaven and intends for it to be mirrored here on earth.

So, all that's conceptual ... what should it look like in reality? Everything in our lives should come under the control of the Kingdom of God. That includes our personal lives and how we live them; our economy; our education systems; our society and how we treat each other; our international relations with other nations -- everything! It's easy, as modern Western Christians, to consign the Kingdom to the Church, but that limits it. The Kingdom, as Jesus saw it, was absolute; it gathered all of life and earth's concerns under its umbrella, and established a divine order by which it all functions -- just as it does in Heaven. 

As I listened to President Biden's live speech on the anniversary of the January 6th event at the Capitol, I couldn't help but think how much we need that understanding of the Kingdom now! Our society needs a transformation to "Kingdom living" in the way we view each other and our differences in politics, lifestyles, beliefs, and opinions. There is room for dissimilar viewpoints, but Jesus introduced ethics and moral law into His discussion of Kingdom on earth. His message in the Sermon on the Mount was grounded in the transformational Kingdom Thought that there is freedom for all men in the principles and solutions of Kingdom living. 

The principles of the Kingdom of God transform hearts, which transforms the social order of all men on earth. We can discover the fullness of life [and all it offers] when we organize and construct our lives around the Kingdom. During the centuries, we have lost the idea that the Kingdom of God provides the answers to all things. Our lives no longer function with the Kingdom as our goal or our main influence. We have given that authority to other men. But I am happy to say that there is a remnant that is re-discovering what man and the Church lost. We are redefining our lives, as our spirits recognize the fullness of all it represents; that it is more than our present sanctuary and security; more than just a future hope. The Kingdom of God contains the totality of God to meet the totality of man's needs NOW!

If we ever discover and step into the truth that the Kingdom of God is the answer to the chaos in the world, and that we can be transferred from that disorder and chaos into the realm and order of God's Kingdom, then the deception of the world will be clearly seen for what it is... the strategies of those who seek their own power and influence over the masses in order to control the way the world systems operate. And they control it through self-centered love, fomenting division on many levels ... race, gender, age, wealth, education, opportunity, and social class. All that creates disorder, and the foundation of God's Kingdom in everything is order.

When we can be true imitators of Christ [which was the goal of our original design] by becoming Kingdom citizens, we will find purpose and order in our lives -- even through our trials and battles. That's what brings meaning to our lives and the answers we seek in the midst of our journey. We are not promised the fullness of the Kingdom until Christ returns and we are translated into bodies as glorious as His, and we enter into our citizenship in the Heavenly Kingdom. But until then, we can be intentional about Kingdom living here on earth ... 1) understanding where we are now and that nothing in this life is accidental or incidental; we are here for a purpose; 2) believing with a spirit of expectancy that God will honor His promises to those who have faith in His Son; 3) stepping out in faith and obedience to God's moral laws; 4) knowing that our names are written in God's Book of Life, along with our victories and His grace in our times of need, which are a part of this life; 5) being willing to live separately from the world; being intentional about being righteous, even when you're swimming against the current of the world; 6) putting God's opinion before man's; refusing to submit to the fear of man, and what people think of us, instead preferring to please God in all matters; 7) and finally, we can choose to act as a Kingdom citizen in all our circumstances -- at our jobs, in our families, in our marriages, and even in the midst of the evil we see in the world.

The bottom line is this ... we are no different than the Disciples and the followers of Jesus in that first Century. We find ourselves as outcasts in a world that defiles the Divine nature of God. But there's good news, too! We are part of the remnant that God has always chosen to represent Him throughout history. We are coming into the fullness of our identity and our purpose, and we are not afraid to be deliberate about declaring that it is the Person of Jesus Christ -- not the religious institutions of Western Christianity, the traditions of Eastern mysticism, nor the New Age belief systems of humanism and relativism -- it is Jesus who is the manifestation of God on earth. It is the Person of Jesus Christ who unlocks the prison doors of spiritual darkness and leads mankind to freedom from his self-imposed blindness. 

Jesus came, bringing the Kingdom of God with Him, and challenged us to establish it and expand it until He returns. I believe our time to capitalize on that directive is now. Have we reached that point in history when His return is imminent? When the Kingdom of God finally overthrows the kingdom of darkness? No one can know for sure. But the distinction between the two kingdoms is clearly understood by those called as Ambassadors to the King here on earth. We must come together in acknowledging that nothing in the world BUT the the King of kings, in all His demonstration -- is the only answer. Politics, religion, technology, science, and the authority of man will never solve our problems. Only our Lord and Savior, Himself! I pray that this generation will be the one that ushers in His power, His glory, and His Kingdom forever! 

Revelation 11:15    “The Kingship of the world now belongs to our Lord and to His Messiah, and He shall be King for timeless ages!”

November 4, 2020

Be Hopeful! The Destiny Of Our Nation Is At Hand!


I'm sure there is no one who would disagree with my statement that, at this moment, the destiny of our nation is looking precarious and our future seems uncertain. We appear to be a nation divided; not only along political lines, but in regards to social issues, racial matters, and economic principles. Our nation is bracing for predicted unrest in the coming days -- no matter who wins this Presidential election. As evidence of these disparities, voter turnout is forecast to be the highest we've seen in over a century. For those of us who look to God during this national crisis, what does all this portend?

Well, I would tell you that I don't have all the answers. Like many of you, I can recognize that our nation has strayed from its dependence on God, and the Enemy has sown an abundance of weeds into what was meant to be a good harvest for the Lord. Once centered on sound Biblical principles, the heart of our nation has slowly been corrupted and tempted to follow man's selfish desires. The will of God has been overlooked as this nation followed the ancient path of Molech worship, ritually sacrificing children in the act of abortion. We've seen God's institution of marriage, His design for genders, and even His plan for eternal life erode in favor of a social-scientific model for living one's life. By all appearances, our shifting cultural standards have led to the deterioration of Biblical morals and laws. But does that mean that God is done with us? Has He turned His back on the United States of America? Will we, like so many fallen nations in world history, be forgotten by future generations?

Here's how I suggest we look at our situation .... just like all those ancient nations, there are two segments of the citizenry: the general population and what God always sees as "His remnant". These are the true, moral, and pure followers of Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. So, if you are a righteous follower of Jesus, then you are part of the remnant of the United States of America. And God has instilled the destiny of our nation into our hearts. His purpose and plan for this nation will be carried by us, as believers and the remnant -- not the unbelievers, no matter how much they outnumber us.

Let me give you a visual. I want to take you a little deeper into the reference I made above about the sowing of wheat and weeds. The unbelieving population is like weeds that Satan has sown into the world. The Bible calls them "tares". From the outside, they look just like a kernel of wheat, [and therefore just like the remnant], but on the inside, their center is black and poisonous to man, producing sleepiness, nausea, convulsions and even death. Without God, the unbelieving general population has degenerated into willing subjects of leaders who are false teachers and prophets leading them astray. But as the remnant, God looks at the condition of the center of the seed He planted, and sees the fruit of our nation's destiny. 

And I think He does that for all the nations! Just take a look at China. If you are looking through spiritual eyes it's not hard to see that the world characterizes China as the repressive and controlling Communist regime. But God sees the remnant of the underground church in China, and their courage and faith. They are the ones who carry the purpose and destiny of their nation as far as God is concerned. The same thing can be said of us! As the remnant, we carry the destiny of this great nation, and as the Ekklesia, we will see the purpose and will of God done in this nation! As of this moment, we don't yet know what that will look like --- will we be afforded four more years to make amends for our national sins and rise up as the true Ekklesia, governing this nation in spiritual righteousness? Or will we be subjected to persecution and unrighteous control and restraint -- in both our faith and freedoms? 

I remind you again -- regardless of the outcome of this election, God will see us as the remnant! Whether in the midst of triumph or defeat, we can count ourselves blessed to be part of the remnant. And let us not forget the example of Elijah, who cried out to the Lord after receiving the death threat from Jezebel. He bemoaned the fact that God's people had abandoned Him; had torn down His altars and killed His prophets -- and now they were trying to kill him! He begged God to just let him die; he'd had enough! We may well be facing such a dry and unproductive season, but we must remember that God did not abandon Elijah in his darkest hour! God had a plan and a purpose for Elijah in the future and destiny of his nation. And He will for us, too!

Just like ancient Israel, the history of our nation is found in both a positive divine destiny and a negative demonic destiny. We are in the midst of that struggle for our nation, and we must engage in spiritual warfare to see God's purpose for America fulfilled. Let us act as the Ekklessia and intercede on behalf of the remnant of the United States of America! 

I want to give you a quote from Asher Intrater, an apostalic leader of a congregation of Messianic Jews in Israel. He knows well the purpose and destiny of his nation, and what he speaks over the remnant in Israel is applicable to us. I want you to take his proclamation to heart; this is meant for you!  "You are the representative within your nation that carries the destiny that God desires for your nation. You contain within you a vision for the salvation [and deliverance] of your nation. Your future is to be among those from all the nations who will gather each year to worship King Yeshua in Jerusalem. This is The Destiny of the Nations that is carried within the remnant of every tribe and tongue and people and nation ... including Israel and including your nation."

So, let us sit back and watch the results of our national election with hope and spiritual clarity. Yes, we all have our desires and expectations about this election. All of us want to experience a future full of comfort, security, and prosperity. But if that is not to be our reality, we must never lose sight of the truth that we are the remnant of this nation and our destiny lies in our tireless and tenacious representation of God's will and purpose on the earth. We are the fruit of righteousness in this nation, and it doesn't matter what the "outer shell" looks like. We each have a destiny and we have been born into this nation to see its destiny align with God's purpose. We have the authority and the authenticity of the Word of God to lift us up. Do not give in to despair or fear. Rejoice and abound in hope; may our God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as a member of the believing remnant. Amen!

By now, we all know that our election has been compromised and we must join together to pray in the spirit for God's justice to prevail. Do not give in to a spirit of fear or deception or dejection. As the Ekklesia, our prayers need to move beyond asking God to "fix this election", and ask Him to show us how to out-strategize the Enemy in the spirit. Just like Joshua waited for instructions from God about how to defeat the Canaanites, let us all pray and listen for a strategic plan to defeat the demonic tactics coming against this election. It is clear -- We are in a spiritual battle for our nation. Let us put on our spiritual armor and stand as the Children of Light against the forces of darkness and evil. God is for us, so who can be against us? 

Psalm 22:28      For the kingship and the kingdom are the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.




October 1, 2020

How I Am Praying For Our Nation

All of us who believe in the power of prayer can have a tremendous impact on the spiritual war being waged against America. It has become very clear that our country is under demonic opposition and attack.  The deterioration of our society is ample evidence of the Enemy's influence through the assignments given to Satan's provocateurs and generals.  However, if you have read my previous posts on Warfare in the Spiritual Realms, then you know that I have also come to know the importance of Prayer and the Word of God as powerful weapons in our battle to destroy Satan's strongholds.

I offer no formula or precise way to pray; just my sincere thoughts as to how we might join together to defeat The Enemy and those in agreement with his lies. So, what I offer are some tactics that I hope you would consider in your own prayer time with the Father. Meditate on these ideas in your spirit and then pray as you are led. Here are some strategies to take into consideration:

• We can humbly, yet boldly, approach God's throne as part of the privilege we have as His child. His Word tells us in Hebrews 4:16, that we can "approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor and power] with confidence and without fear, so that our nation may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in this desperate time of our great need. Not since the Civil War of 1860, has our nation been so polarized, and it is going to take God's intervention to keep us from repeating that destruction.

• We can bow down at YHWH's throne, and ask that He consider our request as He did the requests of Moses when he pleaded on behalf of the rebellious Israelites. Over and over again, when they turned their backs on Him, He forgave them and restored them to His favor.  We must confess that we have turned away from Him and opened spiritual doors for Evil to transform this nation in ways that dishonor Him. It is imperative that we repent of the sins of this nation, ask for forgiveness, and humbly request that God send His warring angels on our behalf. We cannot turn this nation around without His help!

• We can specifically ask that we be made into a strong, bold, spiritual army.  We can speak His Word into the spiritual realms: "We are human, but we don't wage war as humans do. We use the mighty weapons of the Lord, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing the Lord!  We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ". (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). 

• In the name of Jesus, we can renounce the spirit of Anti-Christ and the demonic spirits of anger, hatred, racism, tyranny, anarchy, and murder that have overwhelmed our country in recent days. We can renounce, in the mighty name of Jesus, the demonic spirits of division and discord that feed upon our sins, and pray that the Heavenly Host would be put on assignment to place every spirit of disharmony and disunity under the authority of Jesus. We can invite Lord Jesus to take the throne of the realm of this nation, and rule over this territory with His rod of iron. In His mighty Name, we can bind all of Satan's gatekeepers and place each and every portal access point belonging to him and his followers under the authority and jurisdiction of the Kingdom of God.

• We can place the blood of Jesus upon every portal access point and open door of evil and seal them with the Holy Spirit. We can take the sword of the Spirit and the Word of God, which are the strongest weapons we have, and cut this nation free from Satan's realm and his promised inheritance. We can appeal to the Father's righteous justice, and declare that as a man sows, so shall he reap. Therefore, we can pray that Satan and his prince of America would now reap a hundred-fold return for all of the evil sown against us individually, and as a nation.

• We can, in the name of Jesus, take authority over every demon that has been operating under the authority of Satan and the rulers of Marxism, Communism, and Socialism that have been assigned to the United States, and we can declare that they are discovered, apprehended, bound, pierced through, and thrust out of our country for judgment. We can declare that these demonic spirits will be sent to wherever the Lord Jesus sends them. And we can place the Cross between them and this nation, so that they may never return.

• We can proclaim Psalm 18:2-3: "The Lord God is our Rock, and our Fortress, and our Deliverer. He is our strength, and our God in whom we trust.  He is our Shield, and the power and strength behind our salvation, and He is our tower of refuge.  We will praise the Lord, for He is worthy to be praised, and we will be saved from our enemies".  And we can declare Ephesians 3:20-21:  "Now, to Him, whose Power is at work in us; who is able to carry out His purpose (in our lives and in the world), and to do it more abundantly than we could ever dare to ask or think; to Him be the Glory in His Ekklesia, in Jesus, our Savior, and to all the generations to come". We can declare, "So be it!"

• And not least of all, we can put on the armor of God; the complete armor He provides us in these days of battle ... we can put on the belt of Truth, which is His Truth -- not the truth of the world, not our own truth, not the truth of the media or the political parties, nor the truth of the Enemy. It is the truth of His character and His promises; it is the truth that is the foundation of our life. Next, we can put on the breastplate of righteousness, which protects our hearts, where His laws have been written.  It is a free-will choice that we make to put that breastplate on and to determine to walk in the footsteps of Christ.  And in the midst of heated battle, that breastplate is also a symbol to those in the spiritual realm -- they recognize which side we belong to, and Whom we obey.  We can also strap on the sandals of the peace of the Gospel; the Good News that Jesus has returned the dominion of the earth to His followers, and we are Kingdom ambassadors. We can shout, "He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"! We can also embrace the peace that comes from knowing Jesus is forever with us; He will never leave us nor forsake us. We can then pick up the shield of Faith, which is our trust and confidence in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  It is also the faithfulness of our Father, in protecting us from the fiery darts of the Enemy. We can praise Him for the countless times we have been protected and shielded without even knowing it. And lastly, we can wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, who is Jesus, our Savior, and the Lord and Master of our soul. When we speak the Word of God out loud in this physical realm, it is a mighty weapon to defeat any spirit that might come against us. When our spirits speak the Word into the spirit realm, it may not be heard in this world, but it destroys strongholds in the spiritual world.

So, these are some of the tactics that we can employ in the momentous days to come. There has been a battle in the spiritual realm over ownership of this earth since the Garden. And it is our time in history to join that battle as part of the Lord's earthly army. We fight alongside the angelic army in the Second Heaven, and our prayers have consequences in both this heaven and the next. We must stand up and be counted as we join our voices in forceful and urgent prayer! We must drown out the voices of those who call for division, destruction, and ruination of our country. 

As you contemplate these battle plans, I want to share what might seem like a trivial comment, but it is the farewell message of the Ambassador from the Philippines, General Romulo, as he returned to his home after 17 years in diplomatic service in the United States: "Never forget, Americans, that yours is a spiritual country. Yes, I know you're a practical people. Like others, I've marveled at your factories, your skyscrapers, and your arsenals. But underlying everything else is the fact that America began as a God-loving, God-fearing, God-worshiping people, knowing that there is a spark of the Divine in each one of us. It is this respect for the dignity of the human spirit which keeps America invincible. May you always endure and, as I say again in parting, thank you, America, and farewell. May God keep you always, and may you always keep God." 

That statement was made 58 years ago. Does his description of our country still apply? Did we keep God? Are we still a nation that loves and fears God; are we still a nation that worships the Most High God? Or have we allowed the Anti-Christ spirit to invade our land and sow the seeds of Marxism and rebellion? Do we still respect the dignity of the human spirit, and believe there is a spark of the Divine in each one of us, or have we abolished that notion through our worship of abortion? If so, then perhaps we are no longer the invincible nation we once were. Perhaps we better declare that our failures have made us vulnerable to the lies of the Enemy and that our youth are drinking from the cup of our disobedience and rebellion. Are we, the Ekklesia, joined with the true followers of Christ, enough in number to forestall the discipline and judgment that we are due? Can we avoid captivity and enslavement to unjust forces, and can we hold on to our freedoms? 

Our Father in Heaven is not insensitive to our needs. I believe He hears our cries. But I know that His Word says there comes a time when the powers of darkness begin to take over the governments of the world, and the voices of the righteous [in Jesus] will be suppressed. I don't claim to know where we are on that timeline, but my spirit senses the birth pangs of that reality. This nation's Declaration of Independence says that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of our rights to pursue Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. In this election cycle, we can see the unrest and rebellion against our foundational principles of government and a desire to institute a "new" government. And it is not hard to see that it is not a God-loving, God-fearing, or God-worshiping style of governing system. 

So, are we at a point of no return? Nothing is impossible when we side with God! Please join me in praying that He is not through with America; that we can still be His instrument of righteousness and justice in the world. Take these strategies of prayer that I have presented and add to them as the Holy Spirit guides you. Trust in the Lord to deliver us; and if we are to go into captivity, trust Him to use you to put His Light upon a stand, so that all may see it and come to it. Be the one who lifts that Light on high, and announces that the darkness can never extinguish it!

Matthew 6:13     And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever. Amen!

September 28, 2020

Warfare In The Spiritual Realms - Part 2

In the previous post I presented my theological position on spiritual warfare in "the heavenly places", and today I wish to take a more in-depth look at what our responsibilities are as followers of Christ and members of the Ekklesia. 

So, I will begin by stating that I operate in this life by a Biblical worldview; in other words, the truth of who the Bible says I am, and whom I serve, is the foundation of how I live and what I say and do. That includes my understanding of the topic today. In the light of spiritual warfare, I also want to re-establish that the Bible speaks of the First Heaven as the realm where we exist; the earth, sky, atmosphere, etc. The Third Heaven is the place where God and Jesus dwell and where they sit on their thrones. It is their domain/Kingdom and the seat of their government. Since there is a First and Third Heaven, we must assume that there is a Second Heaven. Although not specifically mentioned in Scripture, there are many indirect references to it as the place where Satan and his demons exist and exert their influence over cities, nations, the Church, and anything or anyone who restricts the kingdom of darkness. One such reference is Ephesians 2:1-2, which says, And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince (Satan) of the power of the air (the realm of Second Heaven), the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—

Since Scripture makes it clear that Satan has been expelled from Heaven for his disobedience and mutiny against God, it is apparent that Paul is talking about his influence in the Second Heaven when the apostle says in 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. Paul is making it clear that we aren't battling with flesh and blood human beings on the earth, but rather with "spiritual forces of wickedness" in "heavenly" places. Those "places" include both the First Heaven and Second Heaven. Since we find no Scripture that says Satan lives on the earth, how are we to understand how Satan can afflict us in both of these "heavenly places? We must move beyond our Western mindset [which is based on Greek (rational) thinking], and begin to comprehend the mindset of the Bible. 

We begin by grasping that there are hierarchies of demons that follow Satan. It will help if you can understand that demons are "disembodied spirits of the deceased Nephilim", who were the offspring of Fallen Angels mating with human women [noted in Genesis 6:1-4]. Since these ungodly offspring are derived from immortal heavenly beings, they cannot be destroyed completely. Neither can they return to Heaven, as is the case with our spirits. Therefore, these spirits are cursed with remaining on earth to wreak havoc in the lives of humans, causing torment and oppression. These are the "ground level" demons on earth that operate in anger, bitterness, guilt, shame, hatred, rejection, etc. -- and keep the sons and daughters of God from living in freedom.

But as Ephesians 6:12 shows us, there are higher levels of demons; namely, rulers, powers, world forces, and spiritual forces. Included in these designations are fallen angelic powers such as the "Prince of Persia" and the "Prince of Greece". They fought against the angel who was responding to the prayers of the prophet Daniel in Daniel 10:20. The archangel Michael, who is the "Prince of Israel", fought alongside this angel [sent to Daniel] so that this heavenly being could let Daniel know that his prayers had been heard, and that he came bearing a vision of what the future held for God's chosen people. This passage describes the battles that rage in the Second Heaven between the angelic forces of Heaven and those who owe their allegiance to Satan. Just like with Daniel, many times the earthbound demons receive instruction from higher-level, "cosmic" demons and work with them to attack and obstruct our assignments to take back the dominion of the earth that God originally gave us in Genesis 1:26-31.

That is a very short and abbreviated explanation that attempts to explain the spiritual layout of the Heavens, who occupies them, and the opposing forces loyal to God and Satan. So how are we to operate in this dynamic? What are our duties and responsibilities, and how far do they extend? What exactly has our Lord commissioned us to do, and what power and authority have we been given to wage spiritual war?

Sadly, "the Church" in 21st Century America has very knowledge, and let's face it ... tolerance ... for this discussion. Once the Lord revealed [to me] these higher truths of the spiritual dimensions and the activities that go on there to obstruct the Body of Christ from knowing their true identity, I have only met opposition from within the religious structure of the Church. And that only serves to allow Satan and his followers to continue their war against the Kingdom of God on earth. It is important that we take off our "religious glasses" and see the Kingdom and our position in God's army come into focus. That first requires that we know the power and authority that Jesus has given us.

If you are familiar with Luke 10:19, then you know that Jesus says, Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. It is important -- no, I believe vitally important -- that we understand that Jesus is referring to power and authority we have in the world; in the realm of the First Heaven. The reason I believe this is because He repeatedly instructs His Disciples and us [as subsequent followers], to "cast out demons" as part of exercising our power and authority in the commission He has given us. Note this exhortation from our Lord in Matthew 10:1, And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. When Jesus walked the earth as a human, He cast demons out of afflicted human beings on the earth, and healed human disease and sickness, and instructed His followers to do the same. These are the demons that are earthbound and "ground level", NOT the higher level rank and file demons that exist in the Second Heaven.

Furthermore, what is known as "The Great Commission" in Matthew and Mark, supports this argument. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus says, All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you;. This assignment is obviously to be carried out on the earth, NOT in the Second Heaven. They are to make disciples of nations, baptizing people, and teaching people on earth to do what He commanded them, which was to cast out demons and heal the sick and raise the dead; all earthly activities. 

Mark 16:17-18 also supports this thesis: And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Again, these are all evidence of the power and authority the followers of Jesus have been given to minister on the earth. NOTE: Do your own research on what Jesus meant when He talked about picking up serpents and drinking poison. His listeners would have understood these idioms that He used.

This understanding of our power and authority in the First Heaven [to defeat the schemes of Satan] must necessarily lead us to ask the question, "Do we have power and authority to wage war in the Second Heaven"? Remember, this is where the demons of high administrative rank and great authority reside; and they are in full obedience to Satan who resides in this realm. This is my understanding, and as always, I advise you to do your own research and seek the counsel of the Lord and Holy Spirit. But I have discerned through study and experience that the way we battle in this realm is through mighty and fervent prayer. Satan has assigned high level demons (principalities, powers, rulers, etc.) to conduct warfare against cities, governments, nations, organizations, and yes, even individuals who stand in his way of dominating the earth. James 5:16 clearly emphasizes this principle: Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. Jesus also proclaims this truth in Mark 9:29 : And He said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” I believe Jesus distinguishes the higher ranking of that demon by calling the attention of His Disciples to the fact that "this kind" requires more than just casting out because it is a higher level demon.

Unless we are specifically commanded by the Lord, we do not engage in Second Heaven warfare. That is the domain where God's mighty angelic army battles the high-ranking demonic army of Satan. We were given dominion (authority and power) "over the earth" in our Genesis 1:26 mandate, not the Second Heaven. And that is all the more reason that we endeavor to comply with "everything Jesus commands us to do" in Matthew 28 -- cast out demons, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers (the spiritually and physically unclean); raise the dead, and spread the Good News of the Kingdom... that God's heavenly government has once again been re-established on the earth where there are to be no demonic torment, no sickness nor disease, and no death -- if we step into our identity and power and authority!  As the followers of Christ, we are called to "do the things that He has done, and even greater" (John 14:12). That involves keen discernment and proper training and instruction. The Disciples spent three years at the foot of the Master to learn their assignments. Don't you think we should spend considerable time learning from those who are successful in this sphere and whose obedience is pleasing to God? 

We, the Body of Christ, must rise up in our commission; battle in the First Heaven; doing what Jesus did; and fervently praying into the Second Heaven war so that God can put our cries into action on His behalf. He has invested SO much into us, His creation, and He desires that we work with Him to bring about the final defeat of Satan and his hordes. Do not be afraid! Increase your knowledge and training! Be wise and courageous! Stay in your lane! Fulfill what is written in your pages in the Book of Life! And most importantly, remember that the victory has already been won, and WE WILL PREVAIL!

Romans 8:31     What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us?   



September 18, 2020

A Word From The Lord: Be Strong and Confident and Courageous!


Those words were actually spoken to Joshua by the Lord before he was commanded to cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land given to the Israelites .... Be strong and confident and courageous! Joshua receives the promise that God will not fail or abandon him. And remember, Joshua had spied out the land, so he knew what was waiting for him. And I believe there is a lesson for all of us who know the magnitude of what is facing us as a nation and as individuals. As Americans in the 21st Century, we see the potential for chaos, lawlessness, and anarchy that lies before us; and we have never been here before. As Christians, we discern the spiritual battles and judgment that are looming over us; and again, we have never been here before. Our physical and spiritual lives have been pretty undemanding and painless until now ... and the rapid changes have left us stunned.

And I want to primarily speak to my fellow Believers today, although what I have to say applies to secular friends, too. I know that many of you struggle with the idea of "prepping" or "training" for a future event that would require us to store up supplies or to defend ourselves. We modern Christians have adopted a belief system that tells us that we are to rely on the Lord for all our needs. While this precept is true in many aspects, it does not represent the fullness of our relationship with God. Yes, God does promise us protection and deliverance, but it may not always look like how we want it to. 

Joshua was a wise military leader for the nation of Israel; wise enough to know that the battle was the Lord's and it was his job to trust the battle plan he was given, using the provisions he had been given, the training he had received, and the men who would follow his orders. He didn't always know how the Lord planned on defeating His enemies; only that he would be obedient in using all the resources at his disposal. We must act in the same faith and wisdom! 

If you are awake at all as a Christian, then you intuitively know that a significant battle with the kingdom of darkness is at our doorstep. And I am discerning that many Christians are struggling with their own concepts of how they want that battle to play out. They desperately want to rely on the old paradigms and traditions of the Church that tell us that 1) we will either be raptured out of here before the battle begins, or 2) as long as we live a righteous life, Christians won't suffer anything consequential -- God will protect us and provide all we need. But God and Jesus have never promised that! In fact, in Isaiah 43:1-3, God tells us that even when the battle is His, He will sometimes lead us through fire or the waters. There is no promise that those closest to Him will escape trials or testing! 

For those who want to dismiss the Old Testament and cling to the New Testament covenant and promise of the Cross, I would remind you that the purpose of Jesus's death and resurrection was to offer us Eternal Life through faith in Him. It delivered us from Eternal Death, but did not promise us we would not suffer from the ensuing battles between the Kingdom of God and Satan's evil kingdom. REMEMBER: Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:45 that God "makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]." There are no promises that we will escape Satan's wickedness or God's judgment upon the nations, even if we are a righteous individual. As an individual citizen of a nation that has sinned mightily against God, I understand that I may be subjected to the righteous judgment upon this nation. I rest in the knowledge and the promise that when that judgment comes, I know He will separate the good from the evil, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

So, I want to make the point that the battle is in both the physical and the spiritual. Yes, we are to pray continually and fervently as the Ekklesia; acting as the representatives of God's heavenly form of government, bringing it to the earth. We must put on our spiritual armor and go to war in the second heaven against spiritual forces of wickedness. There we will battle [in our spirits] against the army of Satan who seeks to infiltrate this physical realm with his demons and powers of darkness to keep us from regaining our Genesis 1:26 dominion over the earth. And besides these supernatural, spiritual agents of the devil, we also must battle with physical opponents. We are seeing that in our halls of Congress and on the streets of our cities!

Again, God does not say that we will not suffer in this physical battle. Just as He tells Joshua to inform his commanders to "prepare your provisions", we need to discern that it is our responsibility to increase any needed food and medical supplies for a potential crisis. And just as Joshua receives instructions from the Lord that his men "shall go across [the river] before their brothers (the other tribes) armed for battle, all your brave warriors, and they shall help them [conquer and take possession of the land]", so must we be prepared to battle in the physical. 

But we must not become obsessed or unbalanced in either the physical or the spiritual. We must pray for wisdom and be willing to evaluate and re-evaluate every situation in which we find ourselves.  We must  use our spiritual gifts and talents, and our physical provisions and training to determine the circumstances and forces we are facing. Then praying in the spirit, we must seek God's battle plan; we must be prepared to act according to His will, whether He intervenes or sends us to the front lines. 

We must come to the understanding that God loves to work through His people; He wants us intimately involved in both the physical and spiritual aspects of this world. That's what Moses and Joshua walked in. It is what the Disciples and the Early Church walked in. That, too, is how we are to walk out our faith. So, I have some serious questions for you in this hour of our history, both as Americans and Christians: Are you waiting for God to orchestrate a miracle that will insulate or shield you from any scary scenario in the future? Or are you willing to be an ordinary instrument of the Lord to do extraordinary things for His Kingdom? Are you focused [in distress] on the problems we face, or are you focused on the Lord of the battle?

I remind you that as Joshua prepared to do battle for the Lord, the Bible says that the inhabitants of the land were terror stricken (Joshua 2); their hearts melted in despair and fear. We must fight against this mindset because it only leads to doubt and unbelief. We must believe that God's will is for us to be protected and succeed in our battles, and that His Grace [which is His power in us to do what we cannot do on our own] always accompanies us to help us carry out our calling and purpose, no matter the circumstances.  

So whether our future holds defeat or victory over the physical and spiritual forces aligning against us, we must be prepared and trained for war; with our provisions in place and our armor on. We must rest in the knowledge of how precious we are to the Lord; the tremendous price He paid for us is our inheritance. When the waters and the fires of testing come, we will not be overwhelmed. We will endure and persevere. The Lord will not fail us or abandon us. And above all else, we must be encouraged by the knowledge that as we pass through these trials, we come ever closer to seeing God's plan fulfilled. And I can think of nothing more valuable in this life than knowing I played my part and accomplished my assignment. Let us overcome old paradigms of how this is going to play out, and let us walk in strength and confidence and courage!

Psalm 66:10-12    But you, God, have tested us—you’ve refined us like silver, trapped us in a net, laid burdens on our backs, let other people run right over our heads—we’ve been through fire and water. But you brought us out to freedom!

June 21, 2020

God Will Bring Order Out Of Chaos

          Our God is a god of order. He brings His discipline and authoritative direction in the midst of confusion and upheaval. The perfect picture of this is Genesis 1:1-2, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Let's dissect these familiar verses, and see if we can get a picture that mirrors what we see coming upon this modern version of the earth.
     "Without form" is the Hebrew word tohu, and "void" is the Hebrew word bohu, giving us a picture of an earth that was a desolate wasteland; an empty ruin. "Darkness was over the land and the face of the deep" .... "darkness" is the Hebrew word chosek, defined as misery, destruction, death, sorrow, wickedness; and "deep" is the Hebrew word t'hom, meaning an abyss (as a surging mass of water").
     "And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters". Here, the word "hovering" indicates movement, as in a shaking, or a tempest [violent storm]. So, we have a picture of an earth that is existing in chaos and turmoil. The environment is one of destruction, death, and wickedness, which results in misery and sorrow. And the culmination of all this disorder is that the Spirit of God begins to shake one of the foundations of the earth: the waters.
     Obviously this is not the same earth about which the Bible says "and God saw that it was good" in verse 10. But I'm not hear to debate the question of whether something happened to a prior earth in Genesis 1:1-2, or that God re-created a new earth beginning in Genesis 1:9 that He was then able to declare "good" in verse 10. My point in dissecting the first two verses in the Bible is to show that God is able to identify when His creation is a wasteland shrouded in chaos and confusion; misery and destruction. And He is not above violently shaking it to bring it back into an orderly state that pleases Him.
     In fact, the Bible is full of references by both Old and New prophets and writers who describe just such discipline from God ... and they aren't referring to what happened in the past in Genesis 1:1-2. They are talking about a future event. The prophet Haggai says, "For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land (2:6)". Isaiah prophesies, "Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of His fierce anger (13:13)". Jesus, Himself, tells us in Luke 21:25-26, "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken." Even the Apostle Peter declares, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish with a [mighty and thunderous] roar, and the [material] elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are on it will be burned up."
     So, we must not be like those people "in the days of Noah" who were unaware until the Flood came and swept them all away. God has promised that He will never destroy the world with a flood again, but He is not blind to what is happening upon the earth in these days. There is much deception and lies as men are being used by agents of Satan to cause disorder, chaos, and destruction. There is much misery and sorrow among the fellowship of men, and lawlessness is abiding in hearts that are devoid of the love of Christ.
     The very fact that there are numerous reports of Satanic marches in the major cities of our nation today, on this day of the summer solstice, is evidence that our Enemy is emboldened to openly display his opposition and antagonism towards our God Most High. Our Enemy believes he is closer than ever to gaining complete dominion over the earth and destroying the followers of Christ. We can see wave after wave of evil, fostered by multiple factions within the kingdom of darkness. It has the appearance of that violent storm or tempest which moved over the earth in Genesis 1:2.
     But we must not yield to his wickedness and scare tactics. Our Lord has already defeated him and we must rise up in an even greater tsunami of praise, worship, and spiritual warfare that will crush the devil's waves of evil. Pray fervently that the curtain will be pulled back on every contingent of Satan's conglomerate of evil-doers. Call down warrior angels to expose the duplicity of politicians [both Democrat and Republican; black and white] who are financially/politically benefiting from the very world systems they claim to be against. Ask our Lord to confuse the Enemy's schemes and cause confusion in his camps, just as He did in Joshua 10.
     The demonic realm rejoices over displays such as a Luciferian March for a One World Government, and the rituals and curses that accompany it. But Satan and his hordes also celebrate the chaos and destruction they have been able to convince the men and women of earth to commit on behalf of what they see as a "righteous cause". Pray that the veil that separates dark and Light will be torn by our Lord Jesus, as He reveals what's really been going on behind the scenes. Pray that the Church will rise up to be the voice and representative of Heaven, declaring that this dark kingdom of the world is coming to an end, and the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior is going to reign for ever and ever. Pray that everything that is counterfeit is exposed for the lie that it is, and that the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirits of Wisdom and Knowledge and Understanding; of Counsel and Might, and the Fear of the Lord will sweep this land, making way for the "true" One World Government ... the Government of God's Kingdom on earth.
     So, it's time we discern that God will bring order out of this chaos. He's done it before and His Word says He will do it again. Please pray that mankind rejects the lies and temptations of the Evil One before we've gone too far. The Man of Lawlessness is ready to take the stage, but God, in His Sovereignty, will determine His appearance. Father, we pray for Your protection from the shaking that we deserve! Destroy the plans of everyone whose heart is aligned with the Enemy, and may Your Holy Spirit guide us towards restoration and reconciliation. You are our Hope and Strength and Refuge!

Jeremiah 10:10     But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation.

January 8, 2020

Kingdom Changes Our Circumstances

 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

     This passage is part of what the Bible calls "The Great Commission". Although the Church has long acknowledged that we have been given a commission, I'm not sure the 21st Century Christian could explain what his commission is.  I'd like to share the journey I've taken in dissecting these important verses.
     So, this is where it is really important to understand the meaning of words and what they tell us about who we were created to be. To begin with, it is important to comprehend that we are on a co-mission with Christ. This can be perceived in two, yet equally valid, ways -- 1) Jesus was given a mission by our Father in Heaven, and we are to be a partner in that mission (think co-worker); and 2) We have been given a legitimate commission by Jesus to accomplish something in particular; we have been officially charged with a particular task or command. 
     Then it is important to know that the mission of the Body of Christ (as outlined in the other Scripture about the Great Commission, Mark 16:15) is to Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel [of the Kingdom] to the whole creation. That means proclaim it to people, plants, mountains, the wind, the sea; everything on the earth. And before you think that sounds like some New Age craziness, remember that Jesus is our model! He cursed the fig tree and it died. He spoke to the storm, and it calmed. He took command over the water, and walked on it. Furthermore, Jesus challenged the Pharisees who warned Him to tell His disciples to keep quiet about the works of Heaven (miracles) that they had seen, praising God in His glory, and Jesus responded, I tell you, if these [disciples] were silent, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40). And let's not forget Romans 8:22-23 when Jesus says the whole creation has been groaning along with us for the redemption of our bodies. I believe He is showing us that there is a huge difference between having faith IN God, and having the faith OF God, which can move mountains and calm the seas. 
     It is that faith OF God that enables us to carry out our mission for the Kingdom of Heaven. It was the vision of God, from the beginning, that He would create Earth, where He would rule [as He rules His kingdom in Heaven] through His children. But that plan was derailed in the Garden of Eden. So now His vision is the same, but we have been given another chance to accomplish our mission [to preach the Good News that the Kingdom of Heaven has arrived on earth] by doing everything His Son has commanded us to do. As I've said so many times before, that is clarified in His instructions spoken in Matthew 10:7-8,  And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. It couldn't be any clearer!
     Put simply, our goal as Christians should not be to get to Heaven, but to make Earth look like Heaven. But RELIGION tells us we shouldn't be satisfied on earth until we go to Heaven. But that's a wrong picture of God's vision! There is no sickness in Heaven, and by using the power and authority Jesus gave us, we can come against sickness here on earth as Kingdom citizens and ambassadors. Sickness can't defeat the Kingdom, and in all reality, Kingdom solves the problem of sickness and conquers it!
     We see this principle displayed in Luke 13:10-17, Now he [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
     Notice, Jesus is in the synagogue preaching; He is in the church and notices a woman who had "a disabling spirit" and was obviously so tormented that she could not stand up straight. She had suffered for 18 years and I believe it is reasonable to suspect that she had been coming to that synagogue hoping for relief and healing. So what does Jesus do? He changes her circumstances by laying hands on her and releasing the healing power of God that is present in Him through the Holy Spirit. But the religious ruler of that synagogue is indignant because Jesus dared to heal her on the Sabbath! That priest's words and actions show that it was more important to keep his religious traditions than to set her free from her circumstances of disability. 
     But what is Jesus's answer to this condemnation? I'm paraphrasing here, but His answer was something like this ... Isn't this woman not more valuable than an ox, which you would choose to water on the Sabbath? She comes from Abraham's lineage and got healed under Abraham's contract with God that by his seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. That should satisfy you religious people. But there is a bigger contract than the one with Abraham! I have brought the governing principles of the Kingdom of God with Me, and we don't allow sickness in Heaven. So, I have changed the circumstances under which she's lived the last 18 years by the Kingdom principle of healing. You religious leaders here in the synagogue could have tried to heal her, but instead, you kept her comfortable in her circumstances; you kept her helpless against the torment of the Enemy."
     Can you see that our churches too often do the same thing? How many people have been sitting in the pews of their church for 18 years [or longer] suffering from debilitating physical ailments such as diabetes or arthritis; or tormented by lust and pornography; or burdened with the shame and guilt of promiscuity or abortion? Oh, they are wonderfully saved and believe that Jesus died on the Cross for their sins, but they are still suffering physical pain or the pain in their souls and spirits from the lies of the Enemy about their past. Jesus brought the Kingdom of Heaven to earth so that we don't have to continue in our circumstances! When we become Saved, we have the ability to see and enter the Kingdom of God, and that Kingdom citizenship gives us a right to be healed! But our church doctrines and traditions don't make that healing available. Instead, they serve to keep us comfortable in our harassed and tormented states, teaching us that we just have to wait until we get to Heaven and we will be healed of everything that caused us pain. That's not what Jesus taught!
     In Luke, Chapter 9, the Bible says that Jesus called his disciples together and gave them "power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick". That is our commission, too! It's really that simple ... "Spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God to all the nations, and then the end of this age will come" [Matthew 24:14]. That means the end of sickness, the end of death, the end of poverty, the end of pornography, the end of the sex trade, the end of corrupt government -- the end of everything the devil has used to support his dark kingdom on this earth. 
     Isn't it finally time that we begin changing the circumstances in the lives of people who love Jesus? Isn't that the underlying message in my opening Scripture? Jesus said to make disciples and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you .... tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and then heal the sick [in all the manifestations of that word]. KINGDOM CHANGES OUR CIRCUMSTANCES!

August 21, 2019

Romans 13 And The Kingdom of God

     There is no denying that our nation has been in turmoil over the past few decades in regards to deciding how we want to be governed. The Presidential cycles are becoming more and more hostile; and citizens are aligning themselves along polar-opposite political lines, leading to aggressive and combative attitudes and actions -- not exactly following the commandment in Ephesians 4:32 to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
     But we can hardly say that the world's governments follow the dictates of the Heavenly government can we? And how many people -- even Christians -- understand that how God governs in His Heavenly domain is to be the role model here on earth? I suppose secular people, who have no relationship with their Creator, can be forgiven for not asking those questions and seeking the answers. But, if you call yourself a follower of Christ, it is incumbent upon you to read His Word, taking the whole counsel of it and study what He had to say about how mankind was to be governed; and then pursue an understanding of how His Disciples interpreted government. If not, your opinion is not Christ-oriented.
    All that being said, I would submit to you that most Christians look to Romans 13:1-7 to try to define how we are to regard government. So, let's consider that passage: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
     Before we dive into an expository on this passage, I believe [as always] that it is important to look at what is spoken within context of the bigger picture. It can be a mistake [in understanding] if we let these seven verses alone determine our doctrine on what God thinks about earthly governments. So, let's look at who the Book of Romans was written to, and see if that gives us a clue where to start, because all 16 chapters would have been written as one long letter, without the chapter divisions that modern Bibles include.
     Romans, Chapter One, verse 7 says [in the Amplified version], [I am writing] to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called to be saints (God’s people) and set apart for a sanctified life, [that is, set apart for God and His purpose. So Paul is writing to "God's people", not the general secular population of Rome. Furthermore, the Bible records this letter [to this particular group of people in Rome] right after the last two verses of the preceding chapter. Acts 28:30-31 says Paul lived in Rome two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
     Can you comprehend that when Paul writes in Romans 13:1, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God, that "every person" refers to every Believer [his audience as stated in Romans 1] and he is reminding them to submit to the kingdom of God's government? 
     There is no reason to doubt that Paul understood that Jesus came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God had arrived [and along with it, its government]; Paul wrote about the kingdom 17 times in the 13 books of the Bible that bear his signature. Since he was writing to Christians and understood that Jesus came to establish God's governing principles on the earth, the "governing authorities" he referred to should be understood to be godly men entrusted to execute Heaven's government on earth. When you understand Romans 13 from the kingdom perspective, then you know who these authorities are, and who they represent. Then the statement "there is no authority except from God" makes perfect sense, and "those who exist have been instituted by God", should tell us that God is establishing an earthly kingdom that resembles His heavenly kingdom [through chosen Believers that will legislate according to His purpose]. And what was God's purpose for man as stated in Genesis 1:26-28? To rule the earth in His stead!
     That makes verse 2 even clearer: Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Whose judgment? God's! And the next three verses make more sense from the kingdom perspective as well. The rulers who are appointed by God to administrate His kingdom government on earth are not to be feared if you are walking in the ways of a citizen of the kingdom. Only those Believers who stray from the righteous path should be concerned about the authorities of the kingdom. I invite you to think from a renewed mind [one that thinks from God's perspective and not the carnal mind] -- Romans 1:7 establishes that this letter is written to Christians, right? If you read this passage from the commonly accepted viewpoint, you must ask yourself this question: why would God give "worldly" authorities power over righteous Christians? Does it make sense that He would tell us to be subject to them above Him? 
     And I know that verses 6 and 7 might cause confusion because they tell us to pay our taxes to the ministers of God. This has long been interpreted from a secular government frame of reference because we all pay taxes to our nation's government. But when we stop to realize that Jesus came to re-institute God's kingdom and its government here on earth, He was fully aware that He was bringing a new kingdom that would have to exist here in the world; think "in" the world, but not "of" the world. That means God's righteous ministers of His kingdom's government would need to be supported to do God's work here on earth. Since we are in this world, that requires support by earthly means ... taxes and revenue; but all for God's purpose [establishing righteousness among His people], and showing respect and honor to whom it is owed.
     A very dear friend sent me a link to a website called EmbassyofHeaven.com which gives a very good and concise summary of Romans 13: "The best way to understand Romans 13:1-7 is to read it as a blueprint for Christian government. Paul was not telling us to obey Caesar or the Roman State. He was giving us a definition of lawful [kingdom] government. Punish the evil and reward the good ... Jesus did not come to earth to put us under governments of men. He came to bring us a government to replace the governments of wicked men."  
     We must look at the big picture! Paul was beheaded for promoting a rival government to Rome's government. In Romans 12, Paul tells us "do not be conformed to this world." If, in Romans 13, he says to be "subject to the governing authorities", and is referring to the governing authorities of Rome, wouldn't that be hypocritical? No, Paul is presenting a very important argument in favor of the Kingdom of God. It is critical that we recognize our Father in Heaven's government is here NOW -- and that we share the Good News, encouraging every nation, tongue, and people to stop seeking the kingdoms of this world. Let us rejoice that we, in this time and age, are seeing this truth, and let us step into our purpose and destiny as the sons and daughters of the King. Partake of the government Jesus promised His disciples [and all who follow Him]...

Luke 22:24-30   The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. 25 Jesus interrupted their argument, saying, “The kings and men of authority in this world rule oppressively over their subjects, claiming that they do it for the good of the people. They are obsessed with how others see them. 26 But this is not your calling. You will lead by a different model. The greatest one among you will live as one called to serve others without honor. The greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one who has a servant heart. 27 The leaders who are served are the most important in your eyes, but in the kingdom, it is the servants who lead. Am I not here with you as one who serves you?
28 “Because you have stood with Me through all My trials and ordeals, 29 I give you your destiny: I am promising you the kingdom realm that the Father has promised Me. 30 We will celebrate in this kingdom and you will feast with Me at My table. And each of you will be given a throne, twelve thrones in all, and you will be made rulers on thrones to judge the tribes of Israel.”


August 6, 2019

Mixed Messages

     I am oftentimes perplexed at the interpretation of Scripture from people whom I greatly respect and who I know walk in reverent obedience to the Lord. No wonder the Body of Christ is often confused and question their own life's journey and purpose. For instance, I was excited to receive my monthly newsletter from an organization founded by a Scripturally-sound Messianic Jewish leader. The lead article was entitled Rock and Key, and perfectly coincided with the recent teachings Mark and I have been conducting on the Gospel of the Kingdom.
     I was encouraged by the message of Matthew 16:13-19 that represented a historic breakthrough for the disciples following Jesus, and should be serving as a rediscovery for us in the 21st Century. These important verses read as follows:

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ekklesia, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

     I agreed with the article Rock and Key that this passage is important on so many levels. First, notice that Jesus asks who the people say the Son of Man is -- not the Son of God. Here, He is wanting to see how He is being perceived. Up til now He has been careful to guard His deity from the general public, and has concentrated on preaching [and teaching His disciples] that the Kingdom of Heaven was to be restored to the earth. This moment at Caesarea Philippi marks a decisive change in His ministry. Now He is ready for His disciples to gain the bigger picture of who He is, why He came, and that He must soon be rejected, killed, and will rise from the dead three days later. This leads to deeper knowledge that all those who choose to follow Him, must be willing to suffer in this life, as He's about to, in order to gain eternal life in Heaven's Kingdom.
     The fact that Peter receives the revelation that Jesus is the Son of [the Living] God means Peter and the disciples are ready to receive authority from heaven through Him. If they can rightly know who He is, then they will soon be equipped with spiritual authority to carry on His assignment. I agreed with the author that this spiritual authority can be administered directly through His Name -- by declaring in the Name of Jesus. Then the author said it could be delegated through the leadership of the local congregation. In both ways, all spiritual authority comes through submission to the One from whom it is given. And being under the cover of authority is a place of protection, where it is safe, secure, and stable -- that is where the rock comes in.
     It is from the stable foundation of Jesus and the covering of His blood that we are protected from the forces of evil in this dark world and able to release God's good, perfect and acceptable will into this earth. In fact, we are so confident in the power of God in us [Holy Spirit] and our authority from Heaven that even the "gates of hades" cannot defeat us. [This particular site at Caesarea Philippi was considered the entrance (gate) to the underworld of death]. We have so much power and authority to release God's will that what we "bind" or "loose" on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven. And I understand the Scripture to mean that the Lord Jesus said He would build His ekklesia (legislative body of believers] to govern the earth in the model God has established in heaven. 
     As I have pointed out before, Jesus did not say He would build a Church, as in a building full of believers. He would build a group of believers gathered together to carry out the government of Heaven on the earth. So, when the author of this article wrote "if we do not have a personal revelation of Jesus and/or we are not members in a local congregation, we have little authority to influence the world for good by the kingdom of God", well, I was dumbfounded. He went on to say that our influence requires both the revelation of Jesus (I agree!) and the active membership in a local congregation.
     To me, that negates the authority of the believer as an individual. Now, I agree that the power of a committed ekklesia can be more powerful by virtue of the number of obedient spiritual warriors [working in their legal authority] to pray down strongholds and govern in the Name of Jesus. But to say that you must be "an active member in a local congregation" does not fit the biblical model that Jesus shows us. I cannot find anywhere in the Gospels that Jesus demands of His disciples that they must be members of a local synagogue to receive His power and authority. In fact, our English Bibles only record Him using the word "Church" twice, one in the aforementioned Matthew 16:18 and again, in Matthew 18:17-18. In both instances, the English word is mistranslated and He actually used the Greek word [adopted by the Romans] of Ekklesia, meaning "a political assembly of citizens" -- it is not a religious congregation. But down through the centuries, we have loosely substituted "church, congregation, and assembly" for this very deliberate word of "ekklesia". 
     Yes, Jesus taught in the synagogues, but the purpose was to introduce the Gospel of the Kingdom and the government of earth according to the Father's will. He taught in order to defeat the works of the devil [and his kingdom] by bringing a superior kingdom that offered Salvation as the entry point to a life spent transforming the earth [and the lives of men] to reflect Heaven on earth. 
     To say that this can only be accomplished in a religious group setting does not sound like anything my Lord spoke. Now this particular author doesn't go as far as others I have read, who say that Matthew 10:1 (Jesus gathered his twelve disciples and imparted to them authority to cast out demons and to heal every sickness and every disease) was only for a particular group of people for a particular time of ministry. This is known as Cessationism, a doctrine which teaches that spiritual gifts, power and authority ceased when the original apostles died. 
     So, I guess the whole point of this blog post is that it concerns me when leaders of our faith tell us that we have no power and authority as an individual. What I see is that all the parables are teaching lessons that revolve around individuals -- not groups. Everyone He healed was on an individual basis. They came to Him, one-by-one, and He healed them. Even the early Church knew their mission was to raise up disciples of Christ who would go out into the world, as individuals, continuing the work He commanded. As a disciple of Christ myself, I am not on any roll of a local church or congregation. But Mark and I are working to be a part of a committed ekklesia who will come together as a local body of believers who, in contending prayer and fasting, and our legal power and authority, can transform our families, communities, and nation. 
    But, even when not in the company of these obedient ambassadors of Heaven, I know that I, as an individual believer, have been given Christ's authority and the power of the Holy Spirit to effect change on this earth; to take back territories from the kingdom of darkness for my Father's Kingdom in Heaven. Could this just be another tactic of the Enemy to shut down our ability to defeat him? If  he can convince us [out of fear or a lie about needing a covering other than Jesus], then we will be rendered ineffective in stopping his kingdom from advancing. 
     This is what I know for certain: that when I encounter someone in a WalMart parking lot that needs a healing hand; or Mark and I sit with a wounded and tormented believer at our table; or we are called to teach a hungry group of Christians about the Gospel of the Kingdom, we are under the covering and protection of our Lord Jesus. He doesn't require our membership in a local church or congregation to continue His work. His Word tells me that whoever believes in Him will also do the works that He did; and greater works than these will we do, because He has gone to the Father (John 14:12). He needs all of us -- individuals and corporate bodies of believers -- to continue His work! And His Word tells me that He has imparted to me all His authority to trample over Satan's kingdom. I can trample upon every demon before me and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm me as I walk in this authority (Luke 10:19).
     Again, I say that He needs us all! Don't believe Satan's lie that you do not have our Lord's permission to represent Him! You are an ambassador of Heaven, and a child of God, made in His image. Your authority comes from God's Word, and being diligent to follow the Word, not your own will or any other man's. Your power comes from the baptism of the Holy Spirit in you. And whether you walk out your faith as an individual, as a part of an Ekklesia, or within the corporate body of the Church -- He can use you! Do not be made irrelevant by man-made doctrine!

Titus 2:13-15   ... our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.  Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.