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

Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts

November 2, 2023

What It's Like To Be A Watchman On The Wall -- Part One

Although I have understood since around 2012 that the Lord was calling my husband and me to be Watchmen on the Wall, I have just recently come to know the effects of that assignment. I have never thought of myself as particularly gifted in prophecy, or that the Lord chooses to reveal to me what is to come in the future, but I have come to realize that He is currently reminding me [through other people and conduits] of what He has shown me in the past. 

By that, I mean that dreams I have had [or articles I have written; or conferences at which we've taught] weren't necessarily for that particular time in history. But I am now finding them to be of significance now, years later. And, people are coming to me and sharing their newfound understandings of what God is showing them and I am struck by the fact that I was sharing that several years ago, but it had no validity to them at the time -- they couldn't see the significance for them, and therefore didn't hear me. In other words, I believe God has been revealing things to me; things "to come", and although I understood them to be warnings and wake-up calls, the timing of this "knowledge" was not in sync with the world --- yet.

Like Jeremiah, both Mark and I could clearly discern that what we were seeing and hearing came from the Lord, and we knew it was the truth and it would be fulfilled. But no one was yet ready to receive it. Therefore a lot of it was forgotten or dismissed. And believe me, that is frustrating to a Watchman on the Wall. We are well aware of God's admonition to Ezekiel about the responsibilities of being a Watchman. We know that it is incumbent upon us to share the warning and information we receive from God -- if we do not, and evil comes upon people, their blood is upon our heads. But if we share God's warning and they ignore it, then they are responsible for whatever befalls them. It is just so hard when it's people you love and care about that reject what God has told you.

There have been times when I knew the message was from God and was of utmost importance to share, even if I did not fully understand the purpose for the warning. But now, as I am seeing the news and podcasts and websites broadcasting what we were shown years ago, I am discerning with even deeper conviction that God was asking us to warn of what was "to come". 

With the world's spotlight on the war in Israel and the possibility of it becoming a World War, God has drawn my attention to current internet sites that point back to what He was showing me several years ago. For instance, a well-known radio host and author featured an article on his website that mirrors a couple of conferences Mark and I presented in 2020 and 2021. This current article, by Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, declared that "War Is a Racket", which also aligned with an article by Dr. Stephen E. Jones, titled "Sliding Toward World War 3 and What You Need to Know" on the godskingdom.org website. Both of these articles are well-written and timely for today. But, God showed us the truth of what they are saying three years ago and no one was ready or willing to hear it! That is frustrating! But I thank the Lord that people with bigger platforms than ours are now also sharing these truths. 

Here is what we spoke about in early 2020, three-and-a-half years ago ... As we spoke to the group, we were honest about it all being Spirit-led; we did not claim that we had come to the knowledge by ourselves. Our presentation was the result of 5 years of listening to the Holy Spirit and going where He told us to study, until the Lord finally said, "It's time to share what you've learned". So, we gave our presentation, and called it Freemasonry, the NWO, and the Anti-Christ Spirit

It's hard to summarize a 7-hour talk into a few sentences, but suffice it to say that we covered the objectives of Freemasonry, as stated by Albert Pike, the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council, in his handbook titled "Morals and Dogma [of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite] of Freemasonry". Here is what he said: Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve to be misled; to conceal the Truth from them [which it calls the Light] and to draw them away from it. 

The Lord revealed that the titans of industry, the political and military leaders of the world, and even the giants of entertainment were all members of this powerful ring of wealthy men, who saw themselves more important in the world than God. And in cooperation with the Anti-Christ Spirit, their goal is to manipulate the masses through Politics, Education, Marxism, Satanism, Transhumanism, AI, Protest movements, Violence in society, and War. The Illuminati, founded by Amschel Rothschild, is a partner, and this group pools their corporate resources to form a secretive worldwide dictatorship of the banking families and a banking system that backs wars for profit. 

As we wrote in our presentation Global Reset vs The Kingdom of God, "The route to this dictatorship is paved by manipulated strife, instability, chaos, confusion, perpetual bloodshed at an increasing and horrific scale, world wars, depressions, homelessness, famine, devastation of countries and their "rebuilding", bondage of debt, spying and the end of personal privacy as well as free thought". Maybe people couldn't hear it or receive it three years ago, but I bet this is striking a chord now!

And to coincide with today's article, "War Is a Racket", we shared then that Historian Alan Burger had pointed out that for every soldier who died in battle in World War One, the international bankers made a profit of $10,000 [from their part in financing the war machine]. Over 9 million military personnel died in that horrific war. That is a profit of over $9 Billion in 1918 dollars!!!  And look at the wars the world has suffered since then; all the lives lost -- and all the profit that was made at the expense of our nation's future generations. 

I know that many of you saw, and are now seeing, what I've pointed out in this article. And believe me, I do not think the Lord has shown us any more than anyone else could have seen. He just asked us to vocally warn others so that men and women could come together in prayer and spiritual warfare to try and prevent [or at least forestall and minimize] the Biblical prophecies of famine, war, plagues and persecution by returning to the Lord. Again, I do not see myself or my husband as being any smarter, any more faithful, or special in God's eyes. Perhaps it's simply that we were willing to turn away from what the world wanted us to focus on so that we could hear His voice and be obedient to become those Watchmen on the Wall. 

I am extremely happy and praising the Lord that people are waking up and beginning to take notice of the implications of world events. And if I can repoint them to what the Lord shared with me in the past, then I'm more than happy to do that so that we can join spiritual forces to see God's will done on the earth. The messages He gives to His Watchmen are for all men, for all time, but they seem to be exceptionally timely in these days and hours. I pray that you will be receptive to the Forerunners; to correctly consider their words in relation to Scripture; and to always be open to hearing from the Lord yourself. He needs people to share His heart, His warnings, and His strategies for what's "coming". It's not the time for fear or doubt. Rather, for everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven. It's vitally important that we all know the season we're in!

#watchman on the wall; #hearing god's voice; #biblical prophet; #biblical prophecy; #Ezekiel 33; #kingdom of god: #for everything there is a season; #spiritual warfare; #rumors of war; #knowledge from God; #war is a racket; #world events; #rebuilding nations; #international bankers; #God's will on earth  

2 Peter 1:21    For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.     


September 12, 2023

My Personal Testimony Of Obedience To My Kingdom Assignment

I've been writing about, and speaking/teaching, and attempting to do my best to live the Kingdom lifestyle for quite awhile now. And this, I will tell you for sure: If you are following Jesus's command to "Seek the Kingdom first and righteousness", and you are committed to Kingdom living, then sooner or later, you can expect to hear from the Lord and be given a Kingdom "assignment". That word assignment has lots of connotations ... task, appointment, mission, an anointing. And it can take on grandiose implications, or it can hint at a more modest significance. In other words, our assignments might range from a lifetime as an apostle equipping thousands of saints, to being called to pray one afternoon for a single person. In other words, assignments come in all sizes.

But I will also tell you this ... that in order to receive your assignment, I believe you must renew your mind to understand that the Kingdom of God is exclusive. By that, I mean nothing can come before the Kingdom of God in your life. It must be your priority over everything this world can give you. And that includes your family, the religious Church, and the marketplace. And here's a truth that is hard for many Christians to accept: The Kingdom will cost you something! Salvation is free; it doesn't cost us a thing. The price was paid by Jesus on the Cross. But walking in the Kingdom is costly. You will have to cut the cord to this world to inherit the Kingdom!

In fact, Jesus was pretty clear about that when people [who came to hear Him preach on the Kingdom] proclaimed they were ready to follow Him. In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus doesn't hold back when telling them what it will cost them: As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  To another He said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”  Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” 

Jesus makes it clear that Kingdom living will cost you the comforts of this life [including everything from a place to sleep, to a home, itself]. He makes it clear that the Kingdom of God must come before your family -- you must be willing to have an exclusive relationship with Jesus and God the Father, which means being willing to cut all ties to other relationships; including all family members, both the living and the dead.  And He shows us that if any part of us longs for that "old life" with its human/family attachments, we are not prepared to serve the Kingdom and will not be given Kingdom assignments. Just as for the men in the Bible, I believe that cost is too high for many Christians. 

 I've learned that Kingdom Living has nothing to do with my personal priorities -- and everything to do with God's Kingdom taking precedence in my life. Once I was able to recognize that the Kingdom of God [and all it encompasses] was to be my primary objective in serving the Lord -- and I was obedient to say, "Yes, Lord"! --  my assignments have become clear.  It began with a dream [or vision] that Mark had from God, telling him to sanctify ourselves and our property to His purpose. And without an iota of doubt, I was ready to obey. Mark was given very specific instructions as to what that sanctification process was to look like, and although we did not yet know to what "purpose" we were being called, the Lord led us to specific people (Dr. Charles Kraft and Barbara Bucklin) who spoke into us and activated our assignment to participate with Jesus and Holy Spirit in an Inner Healing Ministry, and then to teach others as we also preached the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Because I can now see my assignments so clearly, I am careful to guard them. You see, the Enemy would like nothing better than to distract us from our Kingdom mission. And I will tell you that as Mark and I have continued to pursue Kingdom, the spiritual warfare has escalated. The devil does not want us to educate and equip others to seek the Kingdom first! Since receiving our assignment as Kingdom ambassadors and Inner Healing Ministers ten years ago, Mark and I have experienced increased spiritual attacks. And when I decide to hammer home the Kingdom message in successive posts, the Enemy lets me know he notices it. Therefore, it is important that, not only do I keep my spiritual armor on, but that  Mark and I recognize it is inevitable that our Kingdom assignment will come into conflict with the worldview and ideologies that control the political, economic and social systems of this world. 

Therefore, it is important we understand that the purpose of a Kingdom worldview is to focus people's hearts and minds on a system from God's perspective. Therefore, everything of this world will be challenged, and since satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), he's never happy when we point people [especially Christians] away from religion and towards Kingdom. He knows we can actually change the culture, not only of the Church, but of all mankind in general! So I've learned that it is important to be effective in my prayer life; to have powerful intercessors praying for us; and to recognize that spiritual warfare is now at a higher level. And I don't have to tell you that the warfare is raging now like never before.

All that being said, I also know that my Kingdom message must be centered on Jesus; my ministry and assignment must reflect His love and the principles He taught in His ministry. If we seek first His Kingdom, and focus on Jesus being the center of our lives and ministries, then He will lead us to do the things [in our assignments] that will glorify God and bless the lives of those we come in contact with. We will reflect His righteousness in the words we say, in our actions, and how we walk out our Kingdom lifestyle.

I have also learned that my Kingdom assignment not only effects me, but my husband, so I am extremely blessed that we are on the same page. In fact, I am seeing God bringing couples into covenant partnerships as they receive their "team" assignments. And as you come into a mutual alignment with the Father, I have learned that it is important to stay "mission-focused". It can be easy for one or the other of you to get pulled into other obligations to serve the Lord [out of a desire to be obedient] by serving the needs of others. But it is important to be able to discern if every new opportunity aligns with your original assignment. If not, as hard as it may be, there will be times you just need to say "No". Time taken away from your primary assignment can result in a failure to fulfill or carry out God's plans. And that will lead to a dissatisfied spirit and frustration. 

To take it to the next step, I just want to make this comment, as well: After ten years of meeting with countless people and listening to the counsel of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in each session, we have learned that we sometimes have to say "no" to those who come seeking freedom. That may sound un-Christlike, but let me explain. Some people just want a "magic pill"... i.e., "Just make all my pain go away. I don't really want what you're telling me about Jesus and how the devil or some demonic spirit wants to keep me from pursuing my purpose. Just tell me some prayer to say that will make me happy and I'll be on my way". But if they don't want Jesus, then we're not the ministry for them. Or if they just want to be right in the troubles of their marriage, or keep their sins, or live life according to their rules, then we just try to [lovingly] tell them to come back when they've figured out nothing is working and they're truly desperate for their freedom -- because Jesus is the only way! 

I think one of the most important things I have learned is how vital it is to have people in my life who understand and partner with Mark and I in our Kingdom assignment. I believe it is important to be connected to a body of believers that walks in a Biblical model of discipleship. If you are blessed to belong to a Church that actively equips and releases the saints for the work of the Kingdom ministry, then count yourself fortunate, and take advantage of that connection. Sadly, I do not believe many Churches can meet that criteria. Therefore, it has been important for Mark and I to be connected to small Home Church groups who share in this ministry assignment and are willing to run the Kingdom marathon with us.

Finally, one of the most important things I've learned about accepting my Kingdom assignment is the need to find a balance between my work for the Kingdom and a time of rest and restoration. It is important to do things that strengthen me spiritually, such as prayer time, Bible study, community with like-minded Believers. But I also need to have some "me time" to do the things that feed my soul (reading, writing, music). It is essential that Mark and I spend time together apart from our ministry to get revived and just enjoy the simple things Jesus has created. It is equally important that we have down time with friends who understand our hearts as well as make us laugh. We are there to support each other in our Kingdom assignments and adventures. Jesus called His disciples His friends, so even though the Bible doesn't focus on it, I believe there were times they laughed and sang and enjoyed life as they traveled the countryside preaching the Good News of the Kingdom. I think that is one of the things I enjoy the most about how the series The Chosen" portrays Jesus's ministry. We must do the same. Remember, relationship is the key to God's heart! 

In summary, my journey in my Kingdom assignment is far from complete, and the Lord is unfolding new layers and revelation each day. I know that my citizenship in the Kingdom is more important than my citizenship in the world. I know my assignment and I am dedicated to fulfilling it. I know that accepting my Kingdom assignment will paint a target on my back -- and satan, the world system, and even the religious will be aiming for me. But I know who I am in the Kingdom, and I know the purpose of my assignment, and I will not waver. It is a privilege to be called to serve the Kingdom of my Lord, and He will be my strength and my refuge. I will be victorious in my assignment!

1 John 2:27    But the wonderful anointing you have received from God is so much greater than their deception and now lives in you. There’s no need for anyone to keep teaching you [the false doctrines of men]. His anointing teaches you all that you need to know, for it will lead you into truth, not a counterfeit. So just as the anointing has taught you, remain in Him.   

May 30, 2023

God's Calling Us To Decide: Commitment vs Compromise?

It seems that Thomas Paine's historical quote becomes more appropriate with each passing day. These are the times that try men's souls ... welike Christians of the past, are facing a critical turning point in our faith. The Enemy is challenging every proclaimed Believer to stand firm in our commitment to follow the Lord. Notice I'm not talking about commitment in other facets of our lives, such as to our spouse, our families, our job, or even to our church. I'm talking about the kind of commitment that puts Jesus above everything and everyone else in our lives -- and that includes ourselves. 

Jesus promised that we would have trials in this life, and I believe we are just at the beginning of what will become supernatural tests of our faith. After all, the Bible tells us this will happen, and I'm always amazed at believers who try to circumvent this truth with modern theology that somehow we can avoid the affliction/suffering if we just worship more or work for a revival. Mind you, both worship and revival are desirable outpourings of our faith, but in facing the consequences of our compromises in the last half century, God needs our commitment to start doing things His way ... to follow Him all the way, all the time. 

What exactly does committing one's life to God look like? Some common understandings for the word commitment are responsibility to, obligation to, duty, dedication, allegiance, faithfulness, and fidelity. But here's the tough truth: giving God the commitment that He desires and demands is costly. Our commitment to Him must replace and override our commitment and loyalty to anything else -- causes, jobs, or family. And that means those relationships and connections can come to an end. If we are presented with an either/or decision, we must choose to follow Jesus and leave all else behind. Can you honestly say you would do this? If not, then we do not qualify to be His disciples.

If we are to fulfill our purpose on this earth, it is imperative that we understand there are tough trials headed our way; our endurance will be tested. And Jesus didn't pull any punches when describing the cost of being His disciple: If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Jesus showed us what that looks like: selflessness, service, sacrifice, and total self-denial. We must be willing to sacrifice everything of this life for the privilege of following His example, even unto death. The question of our lives is Am I prepared to do this?

OR, in order to maintain the life I love, will I choose to make concessions and adjustments to His commands? I'm not saying that all compromise is bad or wrong. There are certain instances when God prefers we keep the peace and remain in harmony rather than cause undue strife and conflict. But when it comes to His holy and righteous commands, there can be no compromise. We have seen the consequences when Christians have relinquished their commitment to God [in favor of compromise] in the areas of abortion and marriage, for instance; and have turned a blind eye to child trafficking, child pornography, corruption in government, and immorality throughout our society. 

We may try to fool ourselves by saying, "I don't partake in any of those sinful activities", or if we do, we convince ourselves that God will forgive us because we still have Jesus. But that is not acceptable to our Holy God. It's okay to compromise on whether your Church uses wine or grape juice during Communion; or what charity you and your family decide to support. But when it comes to the Lordship and Authority of Christ in your life; or your moral convictions or rightly representing the Word of God, there can be no concessions or compromise -- no matter what it costs you! We must not only know and speak God's Biblical truth and commandments, we must walk them out and do them. A committed and real relationship with God demands that we obey Him in all things; that we look neither to the left nor the right -- compromise is never an option! 

I'm afraid, my fellow believers, that we have come to an apex in our country, in the world, and in our personal lives. If we take an honest look at our current state of affairs, it is quite evident that compromise has infiltrated our commitment. And the instability of our future reflects that. The impending trials we face are a result of our failure to give Christ sole authority over every decision made. We must return to true and uncompromising commitment to follow Christ, no matter the pain or cost. We must unerringly trust Him, fix our nature upon Him, and preserve His Holy principles and commandments. 

We cannot avoid the trials and, yes, tribulations that are coming -- Jesus, Himself, said we will experience them. But if we hold fast to our commitment to Him, He will help us through them. When we commit our whole life [heart, body, mind, soul and spirit] to Him, we receive His strength to endure and we will be empowered to serve Him in the midst of all things. So, will you agree with me to no longer suffer compromise in our areas of influence, but rather to commit to representing our Savior in all we do and say -- to surrender by trusting Him to be our sole authority in all matters and to be our moral compass in all our ways? "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments". That requires commitment, and there is no room for compromise. 

Psalm 119:9-16     How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me Your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of Your mouth. In the way of Your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.


July 5, 2022

Obedience, Faith and Discipleship: The Road To Jesus


I have really been endeavoring to seek the wisdom and counsel of the Holy Spirit in how to walk closer with Jesus. I don't say that out of a desire to be more "religious" or to meet any kind of standard that the organized Church might put on me; but out of a heart that discerns what shape the world is in, and a longing to more fully follow Him in this season. To that end, I have been studying a particular passage in the Bible, as well as diving into a deeply powerful book, called The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich was the martyred Lutheran pastor who defied Hitler and the Third Reich while attempting to expose the mass murder of Jews in his homeland. He was hanged as a spy mere days before the Allies arrived in Germany to liberate the concentration camps, and although he did not live to see that evil empire defeated, what he wrote about following Jesus is especially poignant and instructive for today.

In light of all this history, here's where my head and my heart are ... What does it mean to be a true disciple of Jesus? How do we get there? What is the cost? First of all, we must all understand that what Jesus taught about discipleship over 2000 years ago still holds true today. We are not any more enlightened, or sophisticated in our faith than the first disciples who answered His call to follow Him. If anything, we are more involved in the world and our selfish ambitions. 

So, what is the significance of Obedience when considering Discipleship? Mark 2:14 gives us a clue ... As Jesus was passing by, He saw Levi (Matthew) the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax collector’s booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he got up and followed Him. Notice that it was Jesus who initiated the call to Matthew. And the call was responded to immediately with obedience. There is no evidence that Matthew had any prior knowledge or relationship with Jesus, the Christ. And I want you to understand that Matthew didn't respond out of faith, because as of yet, he had none. 

It is as simple as this: Jesus called and Matthew responded out of obedience. There were no promises of wealth or status if Matthew followed Him. In fact, by being obedient, Matthew left his life of relative security for a life the world would categorize as absolute insecurity. Yet, in reality, there is no life more secure and safe than one spent in fellowship with God's Anointed One! We leave a life that is bound in rules, parameters and legalism for a life that has infinite possibilities when we bind ourselves to Jesus. Nothing else in this world matters but following Him! Matthew's story is a testimony of a man whom Jesus summoned, and the response was one of obedience; forsaking all else to follow Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 

Keep this in mind as we take a good look at Luke 9:57-62 and hearken unto the words of the Messiah... As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” He said to another, “Follow Me [accepting Me as Master and Teacher].” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the [spiritually] dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and spread the news about the kingdom of God.” Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord [as Your disciple]; but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Notice that Jesus is addressing three different people here, all who profess to want to follow Him. How do our 21st Century responses compare to the 1st Century responses to the call of Jesus? First of all, the first man offers to follow Jesus without waiting to be called. But Jesus gives the man a warning -- He shows the would-be disciple that life following Him will not be easy nor comfortable. Even foxes and birds have places they call home, but His life is one of never knowing where He will sleep that night. In fact, Jesus knows He's on the way to the cross and suffering is His fate. Today, how many times do we see our fellow Christians declare that they are ready to be a follower of Christ, yet there is no evidence they've been called by Jesus nor that they have considered the cost or consequences of following Him in this fallen world? They know nothing of the suffering or what life with Him will require. Jesus's lesson to this would-be disciple is that no man can voluntarily call himself to such a destiny. To be genuine, the call must come from Jesus and the response must come from obedience alone; from a change of heart that instinctively knows the life to which they are being called.

Next we see Jesus actually initiating the call to the second candidate for discipleship who asks to be allowed to go and bury his father first before he answers Jesus's call on his life. This man is conscious of the Jewish laws that burial of the dead must be the same day. Yet there is no information that the man's father has even died yet. Perhaps he is like his 21st Century Christian counterparts whose hearts like the idea of following Jesus, but want to set their affairs in order before making that commitment. Jesus responds with a command to follow Him and to let the spiritually dead bury their own. Because this man is not ready to submit to the call on his life, there is a barrier erected against authentic obedience. If this man's father has truly died ... does he follow the Jewish law regarding burial, or does he answer the call of Jesus? There are times the call of Jesus will look as if it goes against every standard "the Church" has mandated for men. But the true disciple will know that nothing on earth can keep him from accepting that call because it is irresistable.

The third would-be disciple is somewhat like the first; he thinks he can set his own terms when it comes to following Jesus. He earnestly desires to follow Jesus but is beset by the rules of the world, which he feels must be met before he can be allowed to accept the offer. His response seems to indicate that he thinks he must satisfy the order in which his calling will be rendered legitimate. How many times do we Christians today submit to man's understanding about what our calling is to look like? Do we assign a list of objectives to meet before we can call ourselves a follower or disciple? Do we ascribe more value to the title than to our obedience? If we cannot simply surrender to Jesus's call on our life, then we may find ourselves in conflict with both Jesus's desire for us and our own sincere desire to be a disciple. If our response to the call on our life is, "Yes, Jesus, but first ....", then we are not going to act out of pure obedience. That response proves that one is not willing to pay the cost of genuine discipleship. 

As you can see, to follow Jesus in obedience means leaving the old behind for a new life that Jesus is calling you to; this is where faith becomes possible. If we refuse Jesus's invitation and stay in our safe and secure situation, then we never learn to believe out of faith. It is a scary place to be, but the rewards are so great! When we are able to respond out of obedience, then we have the opportunity to learn to trust in Jesus as we enter into true dependence [on] and in relationship with Him. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes so well, "Had Levi (Matthew) stayed at his customs booth, Jesus might have been his present help in trouble, but He would not have been the Lord of Levi's whole life. In other words, Levi would never have learned to believe. And Peter had to leave the ship and risk his life on the sea, in order to learn both his own weakness and the almighty power of his Lord". Both men left an old reality for a new, unknown one, and all for the sake of obeying the Voice that called them.

We must also discern that it is the obedience to the call on our lives that ultimately makes true faith possible, they are interdependent. Again, Bonhoeffer explains it much better than I can: "Faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience". This is what I know ... we must take that definitive step [out of faith] into obedience, and as faith grows, we become "teachable" and the Lord's passion for mankind becomes ours. That includes both Christ's suffering and his rejection. His heart is for those He desperately loves and it is His willingness to suffer at the hands of men and to die despised and rejected by men which are at the center of His going to the Cross. Jesus makes it clear that to be a disciple of His, we must be willing to become like Him, in both the good and the bad of His incarnate existence. 

But have you thought about the fact that Jesus gives us a choice ... IF any man would come after Me....". We have the choice to become like Jesus; we have the choice whether we will follow Him in obedience and faith and deny ourselves in order to become His "disciples" by abiding in Him. But it comes at a cost; one that Jesus was willing to pay and if we are to become His disciples, then we must be willing to follow Him in all His ways. And that word "to abide" means to endure, persist, survive, conform to, to remain [in], and to suffer. So as we grow in obedience and faith and become teachable by the Spirit of the Lord, we grow into discipleship -- moving from being a pupil to being an imitator of Christ. True Discipleship is fearless; being willing to go where you cannot comprehend the road you will be asked to take; yet you are willing to go only where Jesus leads you. You are willing to pay the price of the irresistible call on your life to follow Your Master. My final word is this: True Discipleship is not for the fragile, the fearful, or the doubter. It is not an easy road ... but, oh, my friends, the rewards will be extraordinary when you meet Jesus face-to-face! Do you have what it takes, and are you willing to pay the cost to be called "Disciple" of the Living Christ?

John 15:8    My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.




November 24, 2021

Acts 17:26-27 Revisited

I recently received a comment on a post I originally wrote in 2012 concerning Acts 17:26-27. The comment was concise and brief ... "Holy Spirit anointed!" First of all, I was kind of amazed that someone would stumble upon a nine-year-old post. But as I re-examined what I wrote, I was curious as to what the Holy Spirit was showing me at the time, and wasn't surprised to note that the message then is the same for us today. So, I'd like to re-post it, along with new insight and counsel from the Spirit.

Acts 17:26-27 says this: From one man, He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and He determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us. Have you ever given thought to just what an amazing statement this is?  When I consider it, my understanding comes on different levels. First, I am astounded by the Creation; that from one man, Adam, all the nations (or every single person) have descended and populated the entire world. God has determined not only when each human being would be born, but where he would be born, his circumstances, and the boundaries of his life.

The Scripture says that He did this so each man and woman would seek Him; would reach out and find Him. Then the passage reminds us that He is not far away from any of us. We have the ability to seek Him because God instilled, within each of us, the knowledge that there is a Creator and the desire to know Him.  It just blows me away that every living being on this planet has the innate ability to seek that relationship. You may not have the knowledge of what to call Him (I'm thinking of those proverbial natives deep within some remote and undiscovered jungle); but you still know that there is a Power that you owe your life to, and it is awesome and fearful. The challenge to obtaining this knowledge is to know the true identify of this Creator God. We are each born because He has determined it; and there is a purpose for each life --- to revere Him, to obey Him and to serve His will -- to serve only Him!

But we must never forget that the Creator then gave us a great gift; the gift of Free Will. He also knows the beginning and the end of His creation, including the nations and lives of men. Hear what God says through the prophet Isaiah: I am God, and there is no one like me; declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention...” (Isaiah 46:9-10). Because God knows all, He knows what the actions of men and nations will be. And because nations act out of the free will of men, God has "decided beforehand when they should rise and fall". And yet, we have hope because as the Word says, His purpose shall stand, and He will fulfill His intentions! 

It is not pure happenstance that Empires have come and gone throughout history. God's hand has been in the rise and fall of each world power, and the extent of their dominance and influence have all served His plan and purpose. You can see it in the Biblical stories of Kings such as Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius and Antiochus IV.  Whether good or evil, each one was used to further God's plan for His world.

Do you remember what we studied in Junior High World History classes?  I loved learning about the Spanish Armada and the fact that "the sun never sets on the British Empire."  I was mesmerized with the historic battles between the British and the French over who would claim rulership of the North American continent. These events were presented as ancient, almost romantic, tales of world history. But now I see that they were just a continuation of God's action in determining "their appointed times" and "the boundaries of their lands." Leaders and rulers and nations don't come into existence and then disappear solely due to their own efforts. God is constantly working out His plan! 

So what makes we Americans think that we are above the fate of any other nation?  Can we not see that God planted this nation Himself?  And do we not think that our blessings and protection can be removed just as other nations/empires have experienced? It is important to note that the Northern Kingdom of Israel [which included 10 of the 12 tribes that originated with the sons of Jacob] were taken into captivity and essentially became lost to history. But in 2 Kings 17:7-23, the Lord reminded them of why judgment came. Here is a synopsis of their actions: For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God ... the children of Israel secretly did against the LORD their God things that were not right ... they did wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger, for they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, "You shall not do this thing" ... Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone ... So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day. 

The Bible is full of the disobedience and judgment against the historic nation of Israel, who is God's favorite of all the nations He has spoken into existence. When they abandoned Him for false idols and removed His influence from among their culture, they secured their fate. Their enemies were allowed to defeat them. If they remained stiff-necked and unrepentant, they sealed their fate by rejecting God's statutes and abandoning the covenant He had made with them. But when they repented and returned to Him, God would forgive them of their sins and they dwelt in the land in peace and prosperity. 

The same holds true for us; both as individuals and as a nation. God instilled something in each of us and in our cultural history; the knowledge that He created us. No matter what anyone says ..... that you exist because of evolution, or that the United States of America is not a Christian nation .... the truth is that our spirit and our land were ordained by God. And all He wants is for us to acknowledge our relationship and keep the connection by obeying His statutes and following His principles; remembering the testimonies of His presence in our lives and the history of this nation. As the Scripture says, He is not far away. 

Yet it often feels as if we have taken ourselves far away from Him. The forces of evil that are desperately trying to divide this nation have sown seeds of racial hatred, sexual perversion, and occultic wickedness across our land. I am heartened by those who refuse to fall prey to the lies of satan, and boldly stand in defense of God's ways. I believe that we, here in America, can reclaim our destiny and be declared a Sheep Nation. Those with eyes to see recognize that the kingdoms of this world are collapsing, and the Kingdom of God is manifesting in the fore-ordained time set by God. So, knowing the sovereignty of God to decide when and how nations shall rise and fall, let us, as citizens of both this nation and Heaven, engage in holy behavior, living lives that set us apart as Believers, displaying our profound reverence for our awesome God! In doing so, we will constantly be seeking Him, and will most assuredly, find Him -- and He will sustain us and preserve us!

2 Peter 3:17-18   Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.