End-times

Can Trump Really Be a Modern-Day Cyrus?

9 May 2016
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Donald Trump 2“Four years ago the Lord spoke to me and told me that in the next election, He would put a Cyrus in the White House. In fact, He said that the mantle would flow out to many, and they would do the work to galvanize the people to liberate America. I believe He will do this if we will pray. Everywhere I went I shared the vision of the Lord. I have had several dreams and visions about Donald Trump and each time, he seemed to come out of nowhere to take on the establishment! Then it began to happen.”  

 Nita Johnson 3/4/16, Newsletter, God and Donald Trump

 

I’ve made a couple of trips to Trump Towers and am known as the “Cyrus Guy” for my prophetic word to Mr. Trump. But I am still shaken by something I heard in my spirit – “he will rise or fall depending upon the counsel he receives.” He needs us to pray for him to be surrounded with wise counsel. 

Lance Wallnau 5/6/16, Interview with Steve Strang, Charisma Magazine

 

 

Several well-known prophets have spoken about Donald Trump being the modern-day Cyrus for America.  Yet it seems that so many people are disillusioned with Trump and feel that all hope is lost for the November election.  People are saying they can’t vote for Trump in good conscience.  Something is wrong here.  God is doing some major things in our nation and it’s time for us to get on board with Him lest we miss our opportunity to see the change He wants to bring about.  Let’s begin by looking at what God said about Cyrus in Isaiah 45:1-8:

 

This is what the LORD says to His Anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. “You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.

 

Cyrus did not know or acknowledge the God of Israel, yet God chose to use him.  We don’t know why God chose him, but we do know that man looks at the outward appearance, while God looks at the heart.  In the natural, Cyrus was known as a just king.  He had no desire to oppress people or steal their heritage and religion from them.  Rather than being a conqueror, he saw himself as a liberator.  The citizens of Babylon cheered when he took over their land because of his reputation as a lover of justice.  He looked for things that worked in each culture, and then sought to implement them throughout the kingdom for the benefit of all.  He respected people, a trait very rare among kings.

 

For whatever reason God chose Him, it was His choice to make.  Cyrus worshipped Ahura Mazda and relied on his help, yet God was going to make Himself known to Cyrus as the true source of his blessing.  The following is an excerpt from the famous Cyrus Cylinder that was uncovered in the ruins of Babylon in 1879.

 

“Now that I put the crown of kingdom of Iran, Babylon, and the nations of the four directions on the head with the help of (Ahura) Mazda, I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire and never let any of my governors and subordinates look down on or insult them until I am alive. From now on, till (Ahura) Mazda grants me the kingdom favor, I will impose my monarchy on no nation.”

 

God used this man to free the Jews and allow them to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.  The Jews were, no doubt, shocked to find this kind of favor coming from a gentile king.  When God spoke of “His anointed” it had always been a title for prophets, priests and kings of Israel.  It was the title for the Messiah.  How startling it must have been when the Jews realized this prophecy was speaking of a gentile king.  The Lord God of Israel chose to put His Spirit upon Cyrus so that he could complete the assignment God had for him.  God gave him supernatural ability and blessed him with great wealth and resources to accomplish it.

 

Now, if God did that in 539 B.C., what can stop Him from doing it again in our day?  The Word tells us that He doesn’t do anything without first releasing His strategy through His prophets.  The prophets of our day have been speaking that God has a new Cyrus anointed to deliver America from the grip of the enemy.  Why?  Because God loves America and wants to set her free.  Despite our wickedness, God is our Redeemer and the Blood of Jesus has already been shed so that we can fulfill our destiny as a nation.  God is only looking for us to agree with Him!  God is speaking in so many ways, making it easy for us to receive His instruction and His heart, but are we so dull of hearing that we can’t interpret the signs of our times?  Our next president will be the 45th president.  The prophecy about the first Cyrus is found in Isaiah 45:1-8.  The time has come for Isaiah 45 to be brought forth again.

 

In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus addresses the seven churches, which are representative of churches throughout the ages, but that also address key issues that He is dealing with in His church in these last days.  At the end of every message to the churches, Jesus says, “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”  Oh, that we might hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, the Body of Christ in our day!  If God is saying that He is going to anoint Donald Trump as His Cyrus to bring a turnaround in America, then who are we to say He can’t do it this way?  Let’s not allow a religious spirit to hinder our deliverance!  How can we say we will not vote for Trump because it goes against our conscience, if God says, “This is the one I’m going to use?”  This is foolishness!  It’s no wonder then, that the verses immediately following God’s decree about Cyrus contain a rebuke to the people that would doubt God’s use of a gentile.

 

“How bad it will be for anyone who disputes with the very One who created him!  After all, a human being is nothing more than one clay pot among many.  Imagine the clay saying to the potter, “What do you think you’re doing?”  or “You don’t have the hands for this.”  It’s as idiotic as asking a mother or father, “What are you birthing or begetting?”  So the Eternal One, who is the Holy One and Maker of Israel, says,  Are you really going to question Me about what will happen to My children, or lecture Me about what I should do with the ones I made with My own hands?

 “It is I who made the very ground on which you stand, I who shaped the human beings who walk around on it. I pulled the sky and the heavens taut with My own hands, and organized the army of stars that march across the night sky.  So it was perfectly right for me to raise up Cyrus; I will make his road ahead straight and level, so that he will rebuild My chosen place, My city Jerusalem, and set My exiled people free without exacting a price or seeking a bribe.”  Isaiah 45:9-13 The Voice

 

Our eyes need to be on Jesus and our ears need to be tuned to Heaven, not the media or the voices of doom.  The accuser wants to highlight every fault and certainly, there are many faults, but that is not our concern.  Our concern is to do the will of our Father and stand in agreement with what He is doing.  Let us turn to the Word instead of the news and be encouraged that God is doing so great a work on our behalf.  Let us turn to pray instead of agreeing with accusation against this one God has chosen.  We need to lift our voices in unity for the deliverance of this nation and let God be God in how He answers our prayers.

 

Father, forgive us for our stubborn ways and our lack of understanding.  Open our ears that we may truly hear from Heaven and shout back a resounding, “Yes!” in agreement with Your plans and purposes.  Grant us grace to pray fervently for Your anointed Cyrus in our day.  Thank you that You love America and You are not willing to turn away from us.  Let the Blood of Jesus cover our sins as a nation and bring us back to the destiny that You had for us from the beginning.  Let Your Glory be seen in America as You work repentance in our hearts and cleanse our land.  Amen and amen!

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God’s Fall Festival

19 September 2012
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While the three spring feasts picture events that have been fulfilled, the fall feasts symbolize that which is yet to come.  In our generation, these feasts are exceedingly important because the time of their fulfillment is NOW.  We are in the last days.  These feasts, celebrated yearly, are dress rehearsals for church, the Bride of Christ, to meet her Bridegroom at Jesus’ second coming.  The day of Jesus’ second coming is the culmination of human history, described as the “great and terrible Day of the Lord.”  We should not expect that we will just coast into this great event.  The Bible has much to say about these last days and many warnings are issued to make sure that we prepare ourselves to meet our King.  If we were invited to meet with a famous person or one who is in a position of authority, we would give some attention to how we would present ourselves.  How much more should we give great attention to preparing to meet the King of all Kings, our Creator, and the One Who gave His all for us!

These three fall feasts take place in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, the month of Tishri. On our Roman calendar, this is during the months of September and October.  The Feast of Trumpets falls on the first day of the month of Tishri beginning at sundown and continues for two days.  Ten days later is the Day of Atonement.  This ten-day timeframe is called the Ten Days of Awe, a time of personal examination and reflection.  This is followed by the Feast of Tabernacles, the “Great Feast,” as it was called in John 7:37 when Jesus was about to reveal Himself as “the Living Water.”

I believe that the three fall feasts represent three aspects of the end-times.  The Feast of Trumpets is a time of awakening.  God is calling His Body, His Bride to awaken and return to Him.  The time has come for us to be cleansed of things of this world and focus our hearts and minds solely on Him.  The First Commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength,” must have first place in our hearts.  Jesus is returning for a pure, spotless Bride.  We must be done with lesser things. We are called to glory in our King, we are called to greatness, we are called to rule and reign with Him.  That is our destiny and it’s time that we begin to focus on eternity rather than being caught in the muck of this world.  As we do this, we begin to see things shift in the world around us.   We begin to pursue the things of God’s heart.  We cry out for revival, we go after the harvest, we stand in the authority given to us and call forth Light into the darkness.  Signs and wonders abound, people are set free, healed, delivered, and equipped.  The Kingdom of God comes into manifestation.  This is the season we are in.  We are living in the Feast of Trumpets.

These things must occur before the Day the Lord.  The Day of Atonement symbolizes Judgment Day.  This day separates the saved from the unsaved.  The door will be shut and the Bridegroom and His Bride will move on to the wedding banquet…..

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures that event….when we will dwell forever in the Presence of our beautiful Bridegroom, King and Judge.  The tone of this feast is extreme rejoicing and celebrating.  We celebrate His goodness and provision.  We celebrate the harvest of souls.  We celebrate our permanent dwelling with Him.  This is our eternal destiny, the day we long for.  This is the day for which we must prepare NOW.

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God Paid Peter’s Taxes and Mine!

28 January 2012
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In my last post, I told about our $5100 tax bill that is due on January 31.  Given our current financial situation, we had no way to come up with that amount of money.  This was one of those situations where there was no option but to trust God.  God has taught me to truly trust Him over these past few years.  By that I mean putting the issue in His hands, and going about the rest of my business with childlike faith that my Father would take care of the issue.  I was able to experience freedom from worry and anxiety, yet I had no idea what God would do.  

Yesterday, the provision came and our tax bill will be paid in full! This is nothing short of a miracle.  Glory to God, our faithful Father!  He has demonstrated His faithfulness to provide for all our needs, but even greater than that, He is making a statement to whoever will have ears to hear.  I went to bed rejoicing and in awe.  When I woke this morning, I felt the need to look at the story of Jesus instructing Peter to go fishing where he would find the provision for his two-drachma tax.  What He showed me was astounding.  

In this story, Jesus was teaching Peter about his identity.  God used this example in the civil (natural) arena, to make a point in the spirit.  The tax Peter was required to pay was the temple tax.  The temple and its services were products of the Mosaic Law and represented one form of worship and government.  However, the temple really belonged to God and Jesus pointed out that the sons of the king were exempt from paying taxes.  In essence, He is teaching Peter that he is a son of God and since the temple belongs to God, he is not required to pay taxes.  This teaching comes directly after Jesus tells the disciples that he is going to be killed and then raised on the third day.  He is saying the old form of worship is about to pass away and the sons of the God are going to be revealed.  A new form of worship and government was about to be established.  

So as not to hinder the new thing God was about to do, God told Peter “I’ll give you the money to pay those taxes (because I’m your Dad), and then no one will be offended.”  There was no reason to create unnecessary trouble over taxes at this point.  Only the sons needed to know who they were and that they were really seated above the government of that day because they belonged to the King who owns it all. 

God is saying the same thing to me, to you and to all His children today.  God owns it all, He owns the land that our houses sit on and He is restoring His covenant promises with His children and with the land.  He is saying the old system of man’s government and religion is about to end and God’s Kingdom government is going to be established.  His Kingdom is advancing! Jesus is coming soon!   God will provide for the needs of His children because we are the ones He is using to bring His Kingdom to earth, just as He brought the Church into the earth through Peter and the other disciples.  We must begin to see ourselves as those that are truly seated with Him in heavenly places far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.  We are to take dominion in the earth, not be dominated by it.  Yet, as Jesus demonstrated, we submit to God’s rule and authority and therefore, carry out His plans in humility, love, and order.  Today, I will pay my taxes not as a victim of heavy taxation, but as a child of God who has received God’s provision and chooses to humbly pay my taxes so that my Father’s will can be accomplished on earth. 

Shalom!

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The Light and The Glory

20 October 2011
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Another distinctive feature of the Feast of Tabernacles was the radiant light that emanated from the Temple.  Huge lampstands, called menorahs, lit up the Temple courts so brightly that their glow could be seen across the Judean hillside.  The menorahs were so big that the priests had to climb ladders to fill their bowls with oil.  For seven days these lampstands burned brightly as a sign of God’s Presence.  When the lampstands were lit, it was cause for great joy and celebration. 

Throughout the Word, God reveals His Presence in light.  The first thing God created was light.  He visited Moses as fire in the burning bush and He manifested Himself as a pillar of fire to give light to the Israelites in the desert.  Light is a symbol of revelation, purity and holiness.  It contrasts the darkness of sin.  Light always displaces the darkness. 

In John 7, Jesus declared Himself to be the Living Water.   John 8:12 tells us of another aspect of Jesus that was revealed during this Feast.  In John 7:37 it says that Jesus made the declaration of His identity as Living Water on the last day of the Feast.  On the last night of the Feast, the menorahs were not lit.  The brilliant light had been shining for seven days was giving way to darkness.  The next day, while Jesus was still in the Temple courts teaching, that He revealed Himself as the “Light of the World.”  The light of the menorah would burn out, but His Light can never be quenched. 

“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Jesus clearly links Himself to the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.   He came in the flesh to dwell (tabernacle) among us.  He is the living water (rain which brings harvest), and He is the promised Light that had been spoken of through the prophets.  

Further study of the timing of Jesus’ birth reveals that He was born during this Feast.  Scripture shows that the angel visited Zechariah, the priest while he was on duty in the Temple. According to 2 Chronicles 24, Zechariah belonged to the division of Abijah which would have served in late June or early July.  The angel said Elizabeth would have a son and as soon as Zechariah got back home, she became pregnant.   Six months later Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  This would have occurred in December, during the Hanukah season, which is called the Festival of Lights.  From the last day of Hanukah to the first day of Tabernacles is 280 days, the exact length of a pregnancy.  

Another mystery of God revealed!  He has encoded the times and seasons for our discovery.  Keeping the feasts is not a matter of keeping rituals or acting Jewish.  In God’s great love, He has hidden His treasures throughout time for those that are hungry to find them.  When we partake of the divine mystery of God, it satisfies our hearts like nothing else can.   We are invited to celebrate in the Spirit of Christ all things that point to Him. 

Jesus, the Light of the World, was conceived during the Festival of Lights and born into the world to dwell with His people during the Feast of Tabernacles, a joyous time of Light emanating from the Temple.  When you see what God has ordained, it is clear that Jesus will come again during the Fall Feasts and set up His millennial Kingdom during the Feast of Tabernacles.  Revelation 21:23 tells us that the New Jerusalem will have no need of the sun or the moon because the glory of God will be its light and that lamp will be the Lamb (Jesus).  The glory of God in this context is called the Shekinah – it’s the Presence of God manifested by Light.  This is our destiny – to dwell with Jesus forever in the fullness of His glory!  That’s reason to celebrate!

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Draw Water With Joy

17 October 2011
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The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of the harvest.  At the end of the agricultural year, God instructed the Israelites to bring in their harvests, make offerings to Him and to celebrate His goodness and provision.  After the hard work was completed, it was a time for great rejoicing.  Thus, the feast was also called the Feast of Ingathering (Ex 23:16, Lev 23:39).

 While rejoicing over the abundance of this year’s crop, it was also a time to look forward and pray for rain for the coming year’s crops.  The priests performed a ritual during the feast to request rain from God.  In Israel, there were two seasons for rain called the early and latter rains.  The early rains came in the autumn season, right after the Feast, to prepare the ground for spring planting.  The latter rains came in the spring, after the spring harvest of barley and wheat and before the second planting (Deut 11:14, Joel 2:23).  Israel was very dry and hot, so without the rains of heaven, crops would fail and there would be famine. 

 Each day of the feast the Priests would go down to the Pool of Siloam carrying a golden pitcher.  A procession would follow them singing praise psalms (Psalms 113-118).  The priest would draw water from the Pool and carry it back to the Temple.  All the people would wave palm and willow branches before the Lord and carry pieces of citrus fruit, often called the citron, in their hand. The priest would then pour the water into the basin in the inner court which was typically used for drink offerings.  Normally, wine would be poured into the basin, but on this day the water was poured into this basin and wine was poured at the same time into another basin.  As he did so, the priest and the people would rejoice while reciting Isaiah 12:3, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

  This was a most joyous ceremony with much symbolism.  The water represented God’s provision in the wilderness, as well as the refreshing, cleansing of Messiah that was to come.  The wine represented the outpouring of the Spirit that was to come. Waving the branches was symbolic of the progression through the desert as they encountered different types of vegetation, and the citrus fruit was a symbol of the fruit of the Promised Land. 

 Just before Jesus’ death, he was celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles.  In John 7:37-38, we read that during this water-drawing ceremony on the last day of the Feast, Jesus stood up drawing attention to Himself, and cried out in a LOUD voice, “ If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  The Jews who heard this would have been familiar with the many references in the Torah and from the Prophets that spoke about Living Waters, streams of life, river of God, etc.  Jesus was declaring fulfillment of these scriptures in Himself.  Verse 39 further defines “living water” as being filled with the Spirit of God. 

 While the Jews were crying out for natural rain to be poured on their land to give them a natural harvest of food, Jesus now gave them access to spiritual rain that would produce a life-giving harvest of souls.  Many recognized Jesus as Messiah after this, but many others refused to believe. 

 The beauty and mystery of God’s Word is seen again in this story.  The word “salvation” in Isaiah 12:3 is the Hebrew word ‘yeshua.’ Yes, it is the very name of Jesus!  Yeshua means salvation by God, deliverance, welfare, prosperity, victory, health and help.    Unknowingly, for seven days the priests and the people had been declaring that they would drink from the well of Jesus’ living water and here He was stating that prophecy was available in Him! 

 The application for us today is clear.  God has stated that He will have a great end-times harvest of souls.  In order to accomplish this, He has called His people to cry out for the latter rains of the Holy Spirit to awaken people’s hearts and draw them near to God.  This is the imagery proclaimed in Joel 2:18-32.  After the people rend their hearts and repent (Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement), then God will restore the people and release a great harvest!  This is the day we are living in….God is ready for us, the laborers, to work with Him to gather in the Harvest and make ready for Jesus to return. 

 Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the latter rain….And He will give them showers of rain… Zech 10:1

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The Significance of God’s Fall Feasts

25 September 2011
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God initiated three Spring feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Early Firstfruits that foreshadowed Jesus’ first coming.  Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after these feasts, marks the release of God’s provision.  God also appointed three fall feasts and it’s important to look at all three together to get an understanding of this season.  These feasts foreshadow Jesus’ second coming and the end-times scenario.  Therefore, it is vitally important that we understand why God appointed these feasts.  This is not about keeping a religious ritual, but about understanding God’s heart and receiving His revelation in our day.

The fall feasts create a pathway into God’s glory.  At the Head of the Year, the trumpet sounds as a wake-up call.  This feast is centered around the blast of the trumpet.  The Hebrew name for this day is Yom Teruah, meaning the Day of the Awakening Blast! God is calling His people to alertness.

The next 10 days are called the “Ten Days of Awe.”  The Jewish people spent these days in quiet reflection before God.  They sought Him and asked for forgiveness for their sins of the past year.  These days culminated on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  This was a solemn day of fasting before God for their sins.  It was a day when God accepted the sacrifice of a goat for the sins of the people and they confessed their sins and sent them away via the scapegoat.  As believers in Jesus, we can rejoice that we no longer have to slay a goat to be forgiven.  Jesus atoned for our sins and we know we are forgiven, but God still requires that we confess our sins before Him.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  This process is for us!  God wants us to know that we’re forgiven, and to experience His cleansing power.  When we’re forgiven, all guilt and shame are removed.  God forgets about it and He looks at us through the Blood of Jesus, perfect and set apart.  Unfortunately, we don’t always see ourselves that way.  The confessing and cleansing that take place in God’s presence bring confidence to our hearts and restores our faith (1 John 3:21-22). 

Several days after the Day of Atonement, God scheduled the biggest celebration of the year, called the Feast of Tabernacles, a seven day extravaganza to celebrate the nearness of God.  God’s ultimate desire is, and always has been, to dwell with His people.  When Adam and Eve were expelled from God’s presence, it was heartbreaking to Him.  He set in motion the Plan of Redemption that would bring all people back to Him.  This Plan is almost complete and when it is, we will have the joy of being with our God forever in unbroken fellowship. 

All of God’s appointed feasts were designed to be a yearly reminder of the totality of His Plan of Redemption throughout human history. God wanted us to be reminded and encouraged to keep drawing nearer to Him, throughout every generation for all time.  The last days that we live in are really a ‘season of tabernacles,’ a season when God’s  judgments are released to wake us up to His call, when He is calling His people to repent and return, and when He is releasing greater and greater dimensions of His glory in the earth realm.  

Hear the sound of Heaven, the Shout of the King is among us! 

Rosh Hashanah begins on September 29, 2011.

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Hear the Hoofbeats!

23 September 2011
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The war horse of Heaven is standing over His people, breathing on our faces, calling us into the season of war.  God has issued the war cry and commissioned His army to recapture what the enemy has stolen from us, from our families, from our cities and our nations. 

Just as the Israelites had to decide when they stood waiting to enter the Promised Land, so must we decide.  God has given us the land, He’s given us the victory, He’s given us our inheritance.  Are we courageous enough to possess it?  This is not the hour to shrink back.  Caleb and Joshua were the only men of courage among their generation.  The rest knew what God had promised, but they SAW the giants and were afraid.  What they saw spoke louder than God’s promise.  We are a people destined to possess our inheritance and take back what has unrighteously been snatched away from us.  We must take the next step. 

This is the season of covenant.  As we reaffirm our covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ, so He confirms His covenant with us.  Don’t be afraid to let go of lesser things to possess the superior pleasure of knowing and obeying Him.  Consecrate yourself unto the Almighty Who loves you.  We must see Him as John saw him on the island of Patmos.  Ask for a revelation of Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom Warrior.  Once You see him as described in Revelation 1-3, you will never fear man, you will not be haughty, but you will be captivated by His beauty and His Glory.  You will walk in His power and His authority.  This is hour we are invited to dwell in His Glory.  Our eyes must see only Him.  The conditions on the earth are growing darker every day, but His light is shining brighter and brighter for those that have eyes to see Him.  Isaiah 60:4-5 says, “Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of nations will come to you.”  When you see Jesus in this way, then you too, will be radiant and people will be drawn to your brightness.  You will receive the provision you need to complete the assignment God has given. 

We cannot fear the warfare.  Our greatest weapon is our praise, our shouts, our victory cries, our declarations of God’s Word.  We are called to stand on His Word, to be confident in His promise.  This will not be possible unless we have the intimacy of knowing His heart for us.  Otherwise we will doubt His goodness, we will be superstitious.   Words alone are of no effect, but Word and Spirit shake Heaven and earth.   Let your faith be stirred and speak it out! God’s not looking for religious activity, He looking for heartfelt praise, worship and adoration that comes from the heart of a lover.  If you find yourself feeling fearful of confronting your enemies, of shrinking back from conflict, then it’s time to get alone with God.  Repent of your unbelief and ask Him to show you Who He is for you in your circumstance.  Spend the time it takes to get a fresh revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and then go to the battle line, launch your weapons of praise and take your ground.  Refuse to be intimidated by the smoke screen of the enemy’s lies and fabrications.  You are a child of the Living God, You were made in His image, You are His worshipping warrior.  Legions of angels, the Holy Spirit and Jesus, the Commander of the Army of Hosts, back you up as you go.  You are never alone.  Hear the hoofbeats of Heaven and march in step with your Commander.    The victory is already yours.

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Rend Your Heart

8 August 2011
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So rend your heart and not your garments; return to the Lord your God….Joel 2:13

To rend means to tear something violently.  The custom in Israel was for people to tear their garments as a sign of grief and desperation.  God, however, is looking for a deeper response from us.  He is asking us to violently tear away sin from our lives.  He says, “tear open your heart and remove everything that stands between you and Me.”  Jesus stated it this way in Matt 5:29, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.”

There is nothing gentle about this process.  It is personal and deep, it is painful and costly, but it brings much joy.  If you hear the voice of the Lord calling you into deeper relationship with Him, you cannot be casual in your response.  You can’t just pray and ask God to take away your stumbling block.  He will help you, but you must initiate the process.   You must be willing to look at areas of compromise in your life and be honest before God, confessing them as sin and grieving over how it has separated you from Him. God longs to be gracious to you.

Jesus tore His heart for you when He died on the cross.  God the Father tore His heart for you when He sacrificed His Son.  He continues to pursue you even when you are rebellious and distant.  He tears His heart in this pursuit.  It causes Him great grief when His children do not respond to His kindness and love.  Our God is personal, not distant.  He feels our struggles and our pain and He cares.  He longs to bring us through into the place of safety in His heart.  If you don’t understand His goodness and His kindness you will likely not come to Him.  Many have experienced great rejection and judgment from others and assume that this is how God will react to them.  But this is not God’s nature.  He makes it easy for us to turn and run into His arms of love.  Scripture speaks of His gentleness and mercy:

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  …. For He Himself knows our frame, He is mindful that we are but dust.  Psalm 103:10,14

Say to them:  “As I live,” says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”  Ezek 33:11

Therefore, the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.  Is 30:18

But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger, and did not arouse all His wrath.  Ps 78:38

Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.  Ps 18:35

When we understand His kindness, it gives us courage to repent, to tear our hearts and receive His forgiveness.  He helps us to do it, encouraging us in every step.  He meets our little step toward Him with open arms while running toward us.  He desires us, He loves us so dearly, He delights in us.  We are His creation.

If we are to be wholeheartedly in love with Jesus, then we must first go through the process of tearing away everything that keeps us separated from Him.  This may produce pain, but He heals and restores us to Himself.   His ultimate goal is to bring us back into covenant relationship with Him so that He can release the fullness of His blessings unto us.  Let us return to Him with all our heart, for when we love Him with all our heart and all our mind, then we discover that He too, loves us with all His heart and with all his mind.

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The Response

5 August 2011
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The Book of Joel is an instruction manual for the end-time church.  Chapter 1 describes the national crisis that Israel was facing in their day, both a natural disaster (drought and famine) and a military crisis (Babylonian invasion).  Chapter 2 outlines the response God requires to release protection and blessing and then describes the breakthrough of His blessing.  Chapter 3 shows how God vindicates His people.

These things happened in Israel, but the principles set forth here are eternal.  God says “when your nation is in crisis, do these things!”  Our nation needs this instruction today.  We have all kinds of natural disasters throughout the country and we have a corrupt government that is leading us to the place of military invasion.  We’re being sold into enemy hands!  Our only response can be to cry out to the One Who is All-Powerful and Mighty to save.  This judgment is released on us not for our harm, but to draw us back to the One Who created us.

“Even now, declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend your hearts and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.     Joel 2:12-13

Jesus gave His life to save us, to set us free from the bondage of sin, to heal all of our diseases, to cleanse us from guilt, to give us everlasting life, to secure our future in glory!  God is not double-minded, He did not do this and then change His mind and decide to wipe us out with disaster.  No!  He is jealous for us, His people.  His desire is for each and every person to turn to Him and come under His blessing and protection through the blood of Jesus.  But we must choose to turn.  We must say ‘yes’ to Him.  He can’t do that for us.  But He will help us to make that choice.  By allowing His judgments, He lets us see how utterly helpless we are to fight the sin, the greed, the corruption, the wrong thinking that has beset us and our nation.  Man does not have answers to the problems we face.  Only God, the Creator of all, can turn things around.  If only we will cry out to Him, He will do it.

He tells us that because He first loved us, we can love Him.  Holy Spirit is pouring out a fresh touch of His love in our day so that we can turn to loving Him and thanking Him.  The first commandment, the one that is most important to Him is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, all your soul and all your mind.”

We fast and pray as an act of humility before our God, to show our dependence and our thanksgiving to Him.  We acknowledge our sin and the sins of our nation and we grieve in our hearts because our ways are not His ways!  Our thinking is not His thinking!  He is Love, He is Righteous, He is Truth.  Repentance means we turn from our ways and we walk in His ways.  We set out hearts to follow Him, to be transformed by Him and to become like Him.

Tomorrow, as a portion of the Body of Christ gathers to fast and pray for our nation in Houston, please join in and acknowledge our need for the Lord Jesus Christ.  We need His leadership in this nation, we need His blessing, we need His protection.  He is Almighty, He is able and He is willing.

Are you willing….to Respond?

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A Season of Transition

28 June 2011
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The Bible tells the story of God’s history and future plans for His relationship with mankind.  There are three transitional generations recorded in His story.  The  first transitional generation was the Israelites as they came out of Egypt and were headed toward the Promised Land.  The disciples were the second transitional generation as they established the church age after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. The third is our very own end-times generation that is called to begin to establish Jesus’ Kingdom on earth and prepare for His arrival.

The Israelites at Mount Sinai

In Moses’ day, the Israelites had been held in bondage in Egypt for over 400 years.  Though they were the people of God, they had become accustomed to the ways of Egypt.  In many ways, they had assimilated to Egyptian traditions and thoughts because of generations and generations being raised in that culture.  They did not abandon their knowledge of God, but most of the people had, at best, a muddled concept of who God was and what He wanted to do among His people.  When God delivered them from Egypt, before He could take them into the Land He desired to give them, He had to put them through His reconditioning program.  He had to transform their thinking, removing Egypt and filling them with Him and His thoughts.  He called them together at Mt. Sinai and gave them the 10 Commandments.  In addition to the 10 Commandments, He gave them details for every aspect of living, social, religious and moral rules for relating to Him and to others.  He gave them instructions for building a tabernacle that was meant to show the people how to come into His Presence and connect with a  Holy God.  He laid out the encampment of each Tribe, grouping them together for specific functions and placing the Tabernacle (Himself) in the center of their lives.  He exhibited great patience with them through all their whining, but He showed them the consequences of their bad choices and wrong thinking.  God judged their behaviors and attitudes not because He was being mean, but only to show the people that their thinking did not line up with His and that they needed to ‘change their minds’ (repent) and align with Him so that He could abundantly bless them.

This all took place in the wilderness, a lonely isolated place where God would have their full attention.  He took away their props, their comforts, their delicacies and let them focus on Him.  This process was intended to last slightly over 1 year.  Unfortunately, their disobedience cost an entire generation their opportunity to move into the next phase of life that God had planned.  Their one year turned into 40 and the next generation had to wait.  The blessings were postponed but not abandoned.  God is faithful.

When the time came to enter the Promised Land, the next generation had been prepared by the great leader, Moses.  He had trained them to fight, both militarily and spiritually.  He demonstrated a life of humility and prayer to this generation.  When it was time to install the next leader, Joshua, he had been fully equipped to listen to God and lead the people.

The Disciples in the Upper Room

The second transitional generation came after Jesus died and was resurrected.  Jesus died to break the chains of sins and bondage and set people free.  What God used Moses to do for the Israelites was a picture foreshadowing what Jesus was going to do when He came.  To live in the freedom that Jesus provided, though, required a great deal of changing the way people thought.  This freedom would only be found ‘by faith,’ not by sacrifices and keeping rituals.  The Hebrews were so conditioned by their religious traditions that they had a very hard time recognizing the ‘new thing’ that God was doing.  Though their own traditions and teachings passed down through the ages foretold of the coming Messiah, most of them couldn’t recognize this very One when He was in their midst.  The miracles He did made them mad rather than making them joyful.  Instead of embracing Him, they wanted to kill Him.  But God had prepared a Helper to come to their aid.  God didn’t expect them to make this transition in their own strength.  He sent the Holy Spirit as a free gift to dwell inside every believer in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit was poured out and poured into them and He enabled them to ‘see’ things they had never seen before.  He brought Light, He brought gifts and miracle-working power that would now be resident inside every believer.  He equipped His people to be able to live for Him and work with Him.

Jesus, the disciples and all the Israelites had celebrated Pentecost as a religious feast ever since the time of Moses.  This was always a celebration of God’s provision.  In Moses’ day, it was celebrated as an agricultural event, a celebration of the early harvest that occurred 50 days after the Passover.  God gave the 10 Commandments and His set of instructions, now called Torah,  on this day from Mt. Sinai.  When the people came into their land and planted their crops, this giving of the law would be celebrated along with celebration for their provision of crops.

The Disciples of Jesus were in the upper room celebrating this feast when God poured out His Spirit and released tongues of fire on them and the 120 that were with them.  Instead of preparing one man, like Joshua, to take over leadership of the people, God had now equipped every believer to carry the Presence of God within and lead the way for His Kingdom to be established.  God was calling all to be His Kingdom of Priests, as was His original plan.  These Spirit-filled believers were called to build the church which would contain both Jews and Gentiles.  This new thing would again cause much disturbance to the norm.  Between Jesus’ death and resurrection and the pouring out of the Spirit, religious customs were being challenged and those who held fast to their traditions eventually found themselves opposing God.  This battle has raged in the church ever since these events in Acts chapter 2 occurred.

The End-Times Generation

We are the third transitional generation, the end-times generation that will prepare for the great and glorious day of Jesus’ return.  We find God again doing a new thing.  Isaiah speaks of the new and greater things God will do in chapter 43:18-19, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”  God is establishing His Kingdom and calling us once again to be ‘the people of God.’  We are moving out of the Church age and into Kingdom.  We are not to be bound by traditions of men or church walls.  We are people filled with the Spirit of God and the authority to drive out the darkness from the land.  Many have been walking through the wilderness.  This purifying process has challenged our worldview. To our own dismay, the Lord has shown us that we have held on to many worldly ways and He has released great grace for us to let go and instead, choose His higher ways.  He has called us into repentance, the process of changing our mind and replacing it with Kingdom perspective.  Just as the Israelites found this a difficult process and were often offended at God’s ways, so too, have we been.  Our lives have been turned upside down and everything has been shaken.  God has done this for our good and for His glory.   But now we have come out of the wilderness and have entered our Promised Land.

It’s time to arise as ‘the People of God.’  Pentecost is always about a change of identity.  It’s about coming into a new order under new leadership.  This is especially important this year because it is 2011.  Eleven is the number of transition.  Twelve is the number representing a new administration – a new government.  Those who have submitted to being in the wilderness and embraced the NEW of God are being transitioned into new assignments under the leadership of the Lord Himself.  As we cooperate with Him, He moves us into new places of responsibility and assignment.  We are in a special kairos moment – where time and destiny meet.  Those who have resisted this transforming process will be sent to make another circuit in the wilderness as the Israelites were.  God loves each one, Jesus died for all and He is the God of many chances, but our choices have consequences and our blessings can be postponed.

We must recognize the hour of our visitation.  The Spirit of the Living God is here among us like never before.  We are the generation the Lord is preparing for the greatest day in History, His return!  We must have our eyes opened to perceive all that God is doing in our day.  It is not enough to go to church.  We must be the church, the people who are sent out to represent Jesus in the world.  God will shake our world until we wake up and align with Him.   We’ve got to stop being so concerned with our comforts and our life.  Jesus says, “He who wants to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  We are the People of God.  Our lives are about Him and His Kingdom.  We are blessed in the process of building His Kingdom, not our own.  During this Pentecost season, cry out for the King of Kings to open your eyes and let you ‘see’ His Kingdom. Purpose to hear His voice speaking a fresh new sound – the voice of the Lord thunders!  Find your place in His Holy array!    He is once again positioning Himself in the center of His people so that He can dwell among us.  He wants to release greater dimensions of His power so that signs and wonders will confirm His Word and people will stand in awe of Him.  Find a new way to worship.  Sing a new song to break off old cycles.  Let Him transform you and make you new!

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