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

Showing posts with label Power of God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Power of God. Show all posts

April 25, 2022

Why Does Paul Tell Us To Work Out Our Own Salvation? Didn't Jesus Take Care Of That?

Sometimes when studying a familiar passage in the Bible, I find that I have more questions than answers about something I thought I understood perfectly well. Such is the case with Philippians 2:12-13. Paul is writing to the Philippians to encourage them to be in unity as the Church; agreeing as servants of God for the sake of harmony and solidarity. The verses that are most widely associated with this Pauline letter are verses 12 and 13, in Chapter 2: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Now, if I was not a Christian, and was a critic of Christianity, I might wonder, "Why is Paul instructing Believers to work out their own salvation? I thought Christianity taught that Jesus was the Source and Power of man's salvation. And if He is the Son of God and full of love, why would Paul say to work it [salvation] out with "fear and trembling"? I always want to be prepared to defend why I believe the Bible, and so I often find myself anticipating these kinds of questions from those who are unfamiliar with the whole counsel of God, or doubt the importance of Scripture.

So, here's what I determined when researching these verses ... Paul is speaking to New Testament Christians who have 1) been faithful Jews and have come from their Old Testament understanding of what "salvation" means, OR ...  2) his audience is new Christians who have the same question that I posed in the title of this post: Why do I need to work out my own salvation, if I am to believe that Jesus paid the price for saving me from my sins? 

The first audience [steeped in Old Testament history and theology] would have understood the word salvation to be the Hebrew word, Yeshuw'ah, meaning "deliverance". Salvation to that audience would not have been understood as a salvation from sin, but rather as a broad-spectrum deliverance from things that came against mankind, such as distress, war, servitude, or enemies. This word, which denotes "deliverance", was generally used with God as the subject. He was the One who bestowed salvation [deliverance] upon someone. He was known as the salvation of His people; the One who came to their rescue and delivered them from their oppressors. [NOTE: Obviously, this was their view of the pre-incarnate and Old Testament God who would come as His Son, Jesus, to save the world from permanent separation from God]. To this audience, the worst reproach that could be made against a person was that God did not come to his rescue. 

The second audience of recently converted New Testament Christians would have understood the word salvation to be the Greek word, soteria, meaning "the spiritual and eternal deliverance granted immediately by God to those who accept His conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus, in whom alone [salvation] is to be obtained". Since Paul has abandoned his Pharisaic persecution of Christians and is now preaching the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life that Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection provided for us, I think it is safe to say that this is the understanding of the word "salvation" that Paul would be teaching. He is preaching the Good News that Jesus's death and resurrection offers us the experience of God's power [in our lives] to deliver us from the bondage of sin! Furthermore, this understanding of salvation lets Believers be assured of being delivered from the wrath of God that is destined to be executed upon the ungodly at the end of this age; i.e., those who reject Jesus. 

We can comprehend the tension that would have existed over understanding that word, salvation. Religious Jews were being asked to accept a new paradigm of understanding God -- His rescue, deliverance, and protection had a greater meaning. It was no longer just a material/physical deliverance, but now extended to a covering of sin and the promise of an afterlife. Converted pagan believers were offered the same deliverance -- and both parties were eligible to be delivered from their sin (and the wrath of God) by believing that Jesus is Lord and the Son of God, and He was raised from the dead to Life Everlasting, making a way for us to follow.

So, that brings me back to the question that I'm sure has confused many people ... why does Paul tell us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? Here is the simplest way I know to explain my understanding ... We must assume that all those Paul is talking to [including us] are those who have come to Christ. We know that Jesus, through obedience to the Father, has achieved the highest glory: Every spirit and knee will bow to His name, the Name above every name; Adonai, Master/Lord. And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. 

Paul is now saying that Jesus has delivered/saved our spirits from the power of Satan; our spirits can live eternally in relationship with Jesus and the Father in Heaven. In this present age, with our power and authority of Christ in us, we must work out the deliverance/salvation of our bodies and soul [mind, free will, and emotions]. We must take hold of that power and authority [of Christ in us] to defeat all the evil ways in which the Enemy will try to destroy us in this world. Our spirits are saved for all eternity, but we still have physical lives to complete here on earth and the Enemy wants to convince us that what Jesus has done for us is a lie; that we must reject the false narrative of the Kingdom of God on earth and our identities as children of God.

We must understand the seriousness of what Satan intends to bring against this world to destroy the truth of God and to permanently establish his false and wicked design for mankind to worship him ... and with that realization, we know our spirits are secure with Jesus, but we recognize that our physical bodies and souls will be under attack; and that should make us aware [with fear and trembling] that we have a battle ahead of us. BUT, Paul doesn't leave us in that apprehensive state! 

He reminds us that because we are in Christ, we have God working in us; strengthening us, energizing us, creating supernatural abilities [and a longing in our souls] to fulfill the very purpose He sent our spirits to these earthly bodies. Satan wants to scare us and threaten us, but the power in us is greater than anything he can bring against us! Jesus has provided a way for our spirits to overcome this world and live eternally, and has left us with His power [in us] to defeat the tactics of the Enemy and achieve God's Master Plan for the Universe. So hold fast to these words of Life, and rejoice that you have been trusted to represent the Savior of this world and all worlds to come!  

1 Peter 5:8-10   Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.   Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.


April 5, 2022

The Importance of Hosting the Presence of The Holy Spirit In These Last Days

A very good friend reminded me of the excellent video by Bill Johnson, titled "The Holy Spirit Is In You". I heard this video when it first came out, about 6 years ago, and it was perfect timing then, and is still as relevant today. Mark and I had just been activated in our anointing to partner with Jesus in an Inner Healing Ministry, and it was so important that we understand how pivotal the role of the Holy Spirit would be in our ability to carry out our assignment from the Lord.

First of all, let me tell you that I had no prior grasp or comprehension of needing a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Throughout my conventional Church experience, I only heard about praying to Jesus or God; rarely hearing about seeking a relationship with them, let alone being taught that they desired it! What I heard from the pulpit [or Sunday School class] was usually all about asking for what God or Jesus could do for me. But when the Lord arranged for me to to have the opportunity to accept an assignment to work with Him to "set the captives free", I was introduced to the Person of the Holy Spirit, who enhanced my relationship with God [in all His fullness] and beyond measure!

And now, six years later, I am so glad to rediscover the important messages of that video. I want to share what I have learned about stewarding and manifesting the presence of the Holy Spirit, and I want to encourage everyone to pursue it. I will begin by saying that what I am going to write is my own understanding of Biblical precepts, and I do not expect everyone to agree with me. But I believe I have been shown a legitimate facet of God's Truth. I do not propose that I have complete knowledge on the subject, but I am willing to state that I believe this is what God has shown me and spoken to my spirit. 

So, let me begin by saying that, as Believers, my husband and I regard the stewardship and manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit as a sacred responsibility. In calling us to His service in His Inner Healing ministry, God has given us a special assignment to be good stewards of the power of the Holy Spirit in us by overseeing and dispensing that power in accordance with His desires for the lives of others. We are to be a picture of what it is to partner with the Father to see His love, mercy, compassion and grace to defeat the strategies of the devil to kill, steal and destroy lives -- just as Jesus did! 

And I'm going to borrow from that Bill Johnson video by agreeing that God loves to see "private victories in secret places". That is the perfect description of my experience during an Inner Sealing session with a person, as I see the presence of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit revealed in what can only be described as a supernatural encounter. There is a spiritual occurrence/experience of the Presence and the Power, which are openly evident [and visible] as the Beloved encounters the manifestation of the Savior and the Comforter in their life. And it is that much more precious when it is a "private victory in the secret places" of those lives. The power of the Presence of the Holy Spirit does not have to be "for the world". By that, I mean that it is not necessary that it be declared to all the world to prove that we are good stewards of what He has assigned us. We do not need to draw attention to our stewardship ... whether it be in giving to the needy, in demonstrating how fervently we pray or worship, or when partnering with Jesus to bring His victory and healing to a wounded soul or spirit. That is not to say that public worship and prayer are wrong! God loves to be glorified!

But I believe the Father knows the true intentions and motivations of our heart, and He is more pleased when we do what Jesus did. Yes, He spoke to thousands at the Sermon on the Mount, and to crowds in every city as He traveled throughout Galilee and Judea. But I believe we have lost the recognition that Jesus also focused on personal revival in the lives of individuals. And that is how I believe the "revival" the Church is prophesying in these Last Days will be accomplished. I am more interested in stewarding revival in individual lives, by introducing people to the saving power of Jesus Christ and the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit in them. Once they submit and surrender to that consuming fire, they are a force to be reckoned with on this earth, and God will equip them to share and spread that manifestation "as they go".

I do not believe Global Revival will happen by the Holy Spirit using His power to make it happen. It will be individuals stewarding His power [in them] by being willing to step into that power they possess and having an effect in the world. I do not believe it is the Holy Spirit's role to respond to our prayers by changing the world for us! That is not properly using our stewardship! 

I will admit that I spent many years in my faith not understanding [or stewarding] the importance of hosting the Holy Spirit. It wasn't until I surrendered to the fullness of the Godhead [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] that I understood what hosting the Spirit was all about. I had to learn how to express His power in me to affect personal revival in the lives of those who came to our ministry for Inner Healing. I knew it wasn't me who could impact a change in lives, but the power of the Holy Spirit in me who could touch and heal a broken heart, wounded soul, or tormented spirit. It is He who transforms a life; changes someone's perspective to what the Father desires; and creates in someone a new birth and a new heart. I am just a caretaker and steward of His ministry to God's beloved. 

But we MUST be willing to accept that stewardship and take its responsibilities seriously. We must not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit! In today's world, not quenching the Spirit takes boldness. Because of our inclination towards "political correctness" and the advent of the "cancel culture", many Christians are unwilling to stand up for Biblical principles or God's truth because of the backlash that comes with it. I remember the first time the Holy Spirit prompted me to say something in a Bible study that I knew would cause conflict. I tried to bargain with Him that He would not want me to be divisive, but I clearly heard in my spirit, "I want them to know this Truth! Do not quench the Truth"! And I believe that because I was bold enough to declare His message to the group, that God determined I could be trusted with His Word and He moved me further into my assignment.

And I have to say that I identify with what the Holy Spirit feels when He is grieved. When I see the sin in a person's life [whether self-inflicted or imposed upon them by the sins of another], I am saddened to see God's purpose in [and for] their life stifled. And now, more than ever, as we see the character of the world deteriorating, it is important that Christians understand the importance of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He is not to be put on display as a spectacle or a distraction; or for self-aggrandizement (promoting oneself as being powerful or important). We need the Holy Spirit in the world right now to counter the growing evil of the Enemy, and to comfort us; to counsel, convict, guide, and empower us to overcome and endure. And we must manifest [demonstrate] His Power in us to the rest of the world, so that as many as possible can be Saved, Empowered, and Transferred into the Kingdom of God! He makes possible what the world wants to convince us is impossible! Whatever it is that God has called you to in this life, you can not do it without the Holy Spirit. May His Presence be a growing reality in the lives of all who call themselves Christians! It's is time to host His power in our lives -- the rest of the world needs to see Him in us!

Acts 1:8    But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.

March 6, 2022

The Sea is Stirred Up, And The Waves Are Roaring!


I cannot imagine that there is anyone on earth who is not aware of how close the world is to the brink of a global war. Not only are all the talking heads spewing their propagandized versions of the Russia--Ukraine warfare, but for the first time, we have first-person accounts from ordinary citizens who are engaged in this conflict. Technology allows innocent citizens to share their testimony of the horrors of war. No longer will the reflections of heads-of-state be our only witness to this war. The human toll will be center stage as the terror, panic and atrocities of war are recorded by those personally experiencing it. 

Which makes it all that much more tragic. Who can turn away from the sights and sounds of men putting their families on trains, then turning back to pick up a weapon to defend their homeland? Or wives kissing husbands good-bye, not knowing whether it is the last time they will be together? And then there are the children, crying out for their fathers as they struggle to comprehend the heart-wrenching separation. You don't need to understand the language -- the human suffering is unmistakable; the pain understood by the language of our hearts... and it is the same as it has always been throughout the centuries of war on the earth. Only now we are eye-witnesses to it, and we share in that intimate pain and sorrow. 

If you are like me, you might find yourself lying in the early morning darkness, praying for God to step into this conflict before it draws the whole world into a conflagration from which no one survives. I repent for all the things mankind has done to grieve our Creator; for the selfishness and greed that leads powerful men to seek more power, no matter the cost. I lament that we have allowed our hearts to grow cold to the needs of others, and that we have become so short-sighted that we seek the temporary treasures of this world, rather than our inheritance in eternity. And I pray for God's justice towards the men who embrace the Anti-Christ spirit and have joined forces with Satan's kingdom of darkness. 

As I have been contemplating what our future might look like, I am reminded of a dream I had around 2008. It was so specific and disturbing that, at the time, I didn't know what to make of it. But I knew it came from God, and it's significance has become clearer in the intervening years. This dream was unlike any other;  it was so intense and so real, that I knew it was spiritual in purpose.  In this dream, I was on a beautiful beach with nearly pure white sand, and the beach was situated in a cove.  The best way I can describe it is if you took a map of the Gulf Coast of the United States, and flopped it, so that Florida was on your left. So, on one side of this cove, the land formed a peninsula that jutted out into the ocean, but I was protected from the roaring sea in this quiet cove. Then I became aware of a strange object in the water of this cove, and as only seems logical in dreams, I recognized it as a Ferris wheel. 

At this point, I must tell you that I am not really comfortable in deep water, so it is understandable that  as I approached the Ferris wheel in my dream, I was filled with some trepidation.  But I finally climbed into one of the buckets and it began its climb towards the sky, where I could see the beauty of the calm water before me.  But as it descended, I knew I was going to have to brace for an entrance into the deep water of the cove, before the rotation of the Ferris wheel continued its circular motion upward. So, I experienced several rounds of relaxed enjoyment, followed by the anticipation and fear of going underwater. Looking back at this dream, I believe this was representative of what I have faced over the last years as God has awakened me to the knowledge that we are in the Last Days... periods of calm, serenity, and confidence, followed by times of fear, anticipation and dread as He revealed more of how He wants me to spiritually prepare. It also could be symbolic of the ups and downs of our economy for the last decade-and-a-half -- periods of prosperity and growth, followed by shortages, recessions, and inflation. 

But then the dream took a different turn.  I exited the Ferris wheel, and ventured to walk from the cove and around to the other side of the peninsula. I felt drawn to the open sea, even though the sheer size and mass of the ocean frightened me. I stood looking at the ocean, mesmerized by its power, and then I noticed far-off in the distance, a small wave approaching. I stood there, almost hypnotized, watching this wave growing as it approached me until, shaken from my stupor, I realized that the swelling waves were going to swamp the shore on which I stood. 

Despite being fearful of the ocean and deep water, I knew that I had to try to escape and swim to safety. The next thing I became aware of in my dream was swimming as hard as I could and looking back over my shoulder to see that wave coming ever closer with such speed and height. At last it reached me and came crashing down on top of me, tumbling me over and over, and dragging me into the depths of the ocean. I was so scared, and fought to hold my breath, finally resigning myself to the fact that I was going to drown. 

Even in my dream state, I could feel my heart beating wildly and could sense my acceptance of death. Then I felt strong arms scooping me up in those deep waters, and of being cradled.  I heard a voice say, "It's all right.  There's no need to be afraid. I have you."  Then I had a fleeting moment of such profound peace, freedom from fear, and of being completely loved before waking up. I know, without a doubt, that this dream was confirming that, yes, there is a wave building across the globe, and it will come crashing down upon the world. There will be moments of panic and terror, but I am to rest in the knowledge that this fear will be fleeting. I will be secure in the arms of my Lord, who will literally save me from drowning in the chaos and evil of these days.

Nothing has changed in the intervening years, since I had the dream, to give me a different insight into the prophetic meaning of it.  Before our very eyes we are witnessing upheaval in our monetary systems, the erosion of independent sovereign nation states; and our social institutions and international relations are decaying.  The institution of marriage, that began in the Garden of Eden, has been redefined.  And the sanctity of life is sold for corporate profit.  As Paul McGuire, a prophecy expert, described the world in 2008, "It’s as if the world has been set on fire by chaos or crisis of every kind; financial crisis, terrorist crisis, racial crisis, moral crisis, religious crisis and even a crisis in our weather patterns." And we are 13 years further down that road!

So I know that many of you are feeling the effects of what we are witnessing in world events. But I'm here to tell you we don't have to succumb to fear or paranoia.  The love that I felt in that dream is real, and there is power and deliverance in it!  I can still feel the peace of being in the Presence of Jesus! We have been called by God, before the creation of the world, for a time such as this.  And the years since that dream have shown me that I have work to do in the spiritual war that is waging in, and around, and above this world. That's part of my purpose for being here, at this time and in this place. And I know for certain that God and Jesus will see us through whatever is coming, and we have been promised that the gates of Hell will not overcome us!  Just remember this: that wave may have come crashing down on me, but I landed in the strong arms of my Savior and He assured me that He would not let go. If you belong to Him, His promise is the same for you!

Luke 21:26-26   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.


February 19, 2022

A Prayer For The World

 I was awakened early this morning with a prompting to write a prayer for those who will find their way to this post. I honestly don't know what words will flow as the Holy Spirit leads me. So, I pray that you hear what you need to hear in your own spirits, just as my spirit cries out to our Father in Heaven... 

Father, I come before your throne this morning humbled and repentant. I ask for forgiveness for all my sins against You, and the sins of my nation. I ask that You extend Your compassion and mercy as I approach You with a heavy heart. Just as so many in the world are experiencing, I received news yesterday of a dear Sister in Christ who has been given a diagnosis that has rocked her world. It came out of nowhere and seems to be connected to a recent bout with Covid. Father, the world has been devastated by far too many of these diagnoses. Lives across the globe have been shattered, and those of us who know You are aware of the unholy roots of this contagion. We cry out for justice!

Father, we believe and trust in Your heavenly government on this earth, and I pray that the true Church will stand in their role as Your Ekklesia -- Your governing body to see Your righteous will done in every circumstance. Rule from on High, King Jesus and give us heavenly strategies! We know we are in a fierce spiritual battle against Evil, and we call on Your Heavenly Host to fight for us and alongside us. Give us the courage to stand our ground, the wisdom to hear only Your voice, and the power of Your mighty arm to defeat every adversary sent by the Enemy. 

And Father, the world seems poised on the brink of a global war. Are we truly at the point that, just like in the days of Noah, "every imagination or intent of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually"? Do you recognize any of us as righteous, or are we all tainted by the corruption, greed, and perversion of those who have chosen to follow the Evil One? Father, Your Word has proven over and over that You save a righteous remnant for Your purpose. Let us be among those You use to restore Your Name in the hearts of humanity! Let it not be too late to please You, Father! Show us how to battle in the spirit against the agents of the devil, and how to sow seeds of Justice and Mercy in the lives of those who need to know You. Establish us in our spheres of influence so that others might see You through the ways we do Your work in our daily lives. Let us be beacons of hope for a better world, even as we show them that we never take off our spiritual armor. 

Lord Jesus, I have had the joy of seeing so many beautiful babies being brought into this confusing world, and for their sake, I pray that we can partner with You to turn this ship around. Help us to stop the perversion of Your design for humanity ... help us to stop the confusion over gender identity; the glorification of racism; and, Lord, stop the trafficking of their innocent bodies and souls! Help us to defeat the Beast System that is trying to infiltrate every aspect of our lives -- from the structure of our families, to our schools, our forms of government, and even our Churches. As a whole, we have lost our way, but You still have an obedient remnant who humble ourselves before You, confessing that we let down our guard, and we ask for forgiveness and another chance to do right!

Deliver us from these Evil times, Father! Turn the hearts of men back to You! We implore You to turn Your righteous anger and wrath upon those who have defiled Your Name and sought only evil and wickedness. We don't deserve it, but we know we have a Savior who has redeemed us, and we glorify the Name of Yeshua Hamashiach! He is the King of Kings and no man is above Him! So, Father, we ask that you cleanse our land and the world. Bring low those who would seek to sit on Your throne, and reveal the battle we are in to the blind and self-centered. We long to see Your glory on the earth and in the lives of our loved ones. Let Your Peace reign in every heart and heal us from all our pain. Give us not a spirit of fear, but give us steadfast faith as we walk in the power and authority of Jesus in us! I thank you for hearing this prayer and all the prayers that will accompany it. We bow before you and declare our love and allegiance. Thank You, Father, and we shout out loud that all the Power and all the Glory and all the Kingdoms of the world are Yours! Amen!

Zephaniah 3:9    Then I will give to the peoples [clear and pure speech from] purified lips [which reflect their purified hearts],
That all of them may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder (united).


November 12, 2021

It's Time To Take Stock Of Ourselves

How Are You Coping?

It can be difficult in these days of turmoil and uncertainty to overcome the fear or foreboding that seems to be increasing. We are living in a world that none of us have seen in our lifetimes. And we all have different ways of coping with the disquiet we feel in our souls and spirits. Some choose to ignore the warning signs, while others give in to the unease and anxiety and become focused on the evil that is admittedly quite evident.

How do you cope? If we call ourselves Christians, we should know several things that are the bedrock of our faith: we are not alone in what the world is encountering; our Savior has made it clear that He will never leave us or abandon us. Therefore, He understands what we are experiencing, and most importantly, He is our way through it. But how many Christians truly believe that? How many will rely on their own efforts or their accomplishments, even though their "works" are proclaimed in His Name?

How many of us still see God as a spiritual "medicine cabinet"... He's the fix for what ails us? How many of us pray endlessly for Him or Jesus to make it all go away -- whatever "it" happens to be [physical issues, fear, poverty, abuse, sadness, emotional pain, etc.]? It's so easy to stay stuck in the lie that God is Sovereign and Love, and love isn't supposed to hurt, so why is He allowing this to happen to me? Or throw a little pride in there and you can convince yourself that after all the "good things" you've done for Jesus or God, you shouldn't have to suffer. 

Are We Building Monuments To Ourselves?

After all, you stand out in the Christian crowd; you've got quite a resumé of your efforts that certainly speak to your dedication and devotion to Jesus. And besides, your fellow Christians recognize your desire to be involved in any cause that furthers the will of the Father. That should count for something, right? Yet, there is still something missing; you feel it's not enough, or you don't feel that connection to God that you know you should have; that the Bible talks about. 

Could it be that in our desire to represent God to the world, and to point others to Him, we have fallen short in exhibiting His power in us? That, in effect, the world only sees us and our accomplishments and we've failed to show them it is Him [in us] that is responsible for the works? The Amplified version of Philippians 2:12-13 expresses this view so precisely ... "So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure. " 

How does it glorify God if what we do in His Name only leaves an impression of who we are? Isn't that merely building a monument to ourselves? I have never written a blog post that I wanted to leave the reader focused on who I am. I've only hoped that I have heard correctly from the Holy Spirit so that everyone who reads this blog comes away with a perspective of God's heart. I've never wanted the comments to be about me, but about what I may have written that stirred someone to share their revelations of our faithful Father and Savior. In fact, my stats for readership would embarrass those who blog for self-recognition; but it's that once every month or two that someone emails me privately and says, "What you wrote today is exactly what I needed!" that has me lifting my hands to Heaven and thanking the Holy Spirit for His counsel on what to write that day. 

Whose Fruit Are We Sharing With The World?

To summarize, it is time that we, as obedient followers of Christ, take stock of where we're at ... and where we need to go. We are responsible for rightly representing God and His Kingdom here on earth. We must be honest with ourselves and see where we have been responsible for the state of the world, and where we have aided the causes of Evil by our short-sightedness, our complicity, and our selfishness. It is truth that God has declared His faithfulness in the New Covenant through Jesus, but we have a responsibility in agreeing to receive that covenant. 

As Jesus tells us in The Passion Translation of John 15:3-5, The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed [pruned] you. So you must remain grafted into Me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to Mine. I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with Me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from Me you are powerless.

So, I want to encourage each of us [including myself], to be mindful of how our view of our role in the world, our efforts for God and His Kingdom, and how we interact with everyone we come in contact with is so important for reflecting the power of Jesus in us. We can all agree that the world needs a "reset". But it cannot be done through our own power -- no matter how much we think we can do great works in His Name. It is only through His mighty power at work within us, that will accomplish what needs to happen to set this world aright. And it is infinitely more than we might ask or think on our own. And let us declare together that it is all for the Glory of God! Father, let us show the world Your Power in us! Amen! 

2 Corinthians 4:7    We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.     

August 31, 2021

"Comfort My People"

I write today, knowing that many of you are tired, weary, and yes, even disheartened. I will confess that I, too, have experienced moments of overwhelming discouragement as I witness the evidence of the Enemy's plans to kill, steal, and destroy. The world has suffered through nearly two years of a pandemic that leaves us with so many questions and concerns. We have lost family members and friends to a disease that no one can really explain, and it has cost us so much -- lives, treasure, freedoms, and confidence in those who have been appointed over us. There is a real spiritual darkness associated with this phenomenon, and at times, it seems never-ending -- at least that seems to be the devil's strategy for now.

Then, to add dismay to misery, and right before our eyes, we no longer recognize our nation. Once seen as the light and hope of the world, our country now appears to have abandoned the last of its principles and righteous standing among the nations. It's no wonder we [who walk in our Kingdom power and authority] are weary! We have spent hours in fervent prayer, battling in the spiritual realms against the forces and powers of darkness who are hell-bent on carrying out Satan's hatred against mankind. We have declared the glory and majesty of our God Most High; we have warred against the wickedness we have openly seen on display. And now the spiritual warriors are hearing the cries of the people for comfort and reassurance -- "The Enemy looks like he's winning! Is revival still a possibility?" "When will God answer our prayers?" "Has the world become so wicked that the Lord's mercy and grace will now be replaced with His judgment?"

Believers and unbelievers, alike, are feeling the stress. I know I speak for so many who are standing on the wall, and who will never abandon their post or their assignment. Like the prophet Isaiah, in chapter 40, we have been given instructions by God to comfort the people; to reassure them. Indeed, that charge is doubled! Verse 1 reads, "Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. These are words that are as necessary today as they were nearly 2700 years ago when Isaiah spoke them. Sometimes the souls of God's people are so distraught, when faced with a level of evil they've never known, that it is incumbent upon us to comfort them because it is God's will that they be comforted -- even in the worst of times. And that comfort must jointly consist of the conviction of our faith along with bold words of reassurance and encouragement.

So, forgive me if I borrow from the esteemed prophet Isaiah, as I speak to those who are weary. We need to understand that all nations will one day be judged before Almighty God, not only for how they treated His chosen people, Israel, but for how they treated their fellow man. I don't need to point out all the wicked ways of this nation. If you are a righteous follower of Jesus Christ, then you know the list is long and we deserve His discipline and punishment. But, just as YHWH showed the ancient Israelites that the sentence of "her wickedness had been taken away, and her service in warfare was finished", He will be willing to deliver us from our sins and iniquity.

It is not God's will that He remain in conflict with those He calls His children. Just as with Isaiah, we who are called to comfort the faithful [the true believers], we proclaim that the obstacles set before us will be removed and a way will be made for our God to manifest Himself in this realm ... "And the glory and majesty and splendor of the Lord will be revealed, And all humanity shall see it together". It may look like the world is on a fast pace towards ruin, but God still sits on His throne and His mercy and love for His people endures forever. We may not know how long the darkness will prevail, but we are assured that by His light we can [and will] walk through the darkness (Job 29:3).

We must come to know and believe that just as Jesus has prepared a way for us at the end of the world's wickedness, it is our duty to prepare a way for Him now! We must get in fighting shape; we must rid ourselves of our despondency and hopelessness by receiving God's divine Grace [which is His power in us to accomplish what we cannot do on our own]. We must rid ourselves of any pride or conceit regarding our own merit, and help those held captive and in bondage to prepare for their deliverance. God longs to stir up courage and determination in our hearts to break through any discouragement the Enemy is setting before our eyes. We can bring the Light of the Lord, even in the midst of despairing darkness!

The power of the Enemy, and of men, is not to be feared, nor trusted. Isaiah declares not only that, to our God, "All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless", but also, "Listen carefully, the Lord God will come with might, And His arm will rule for Him. Most certainly His reward is with Him, And His restitution accompanies Him". When we understand that God has no rival and His Word stands forever, and is incorruptible, then His promises become our hope and our confidence that we will be delivered from our circumstances. 

God called on Isaiah to remind the people of his day that "It is [God] who reduces dignitaries to nothing, Who makes the judges (rulers) of the earth meaningless (useless)". Rulers and authorities on earth are no equal for the Might of our God. "Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And a strong wind carries them away like stubble". Then the voice of the Lord declares,
“To whom then will you compare Me, that I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. 

Rulers and authorities on the earth will come and go. Throughout the history of the world, those who have chosen to act against Him have all been humbled, and brought low by the mighty hand of God. And so it will be until the end of time when all will stand before Him for judgment. Let us give glory to His sovereignty over them!

In these days when our souls and spirits are wearied and may be burdened by what we see happening on the earth, I want to remind you of what God told Isaiah to say to the people: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become tired or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who has no might He increases power. Even youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, but those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired".

We must comfort ourselves, and each other, with the knowledge that our God is an Almighty God; an Everlasting God, whose power reigns over all. In fact, He has absolute, complete, and total power over all and that power is sufficient to see His people through all the difficulties of this life. So, don't beat up on yourselves when you have those moments of despondency... we, who point the way to Jesus, are in the cross hairs of the Enemy, and our flesh can become weary and tired. But when we know our duty to represent Him, and rely on our faith in Him, and commit ourselves to be guided by His Holy Spirit ... then our spirit will be strengthened and renewed as we declare that He will not fail us. We will press forward, in the strength of the Lord, with perseverance, and we will reap the comfort, the hope, and the victory that we long for.  

Isaiah 33:2     O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited [expectantly] for You. Be the arm of Your servants every morning [that is, their strength and their defense], Our salvation also in the time of trouble.