OBEDIENCE

OBEDIENCE

During the Christmas season we may think about gifts, Santa, sleigh bells, cookies, music and joy.

To those that are believers Christmas day is also a day to remember what Christ did for us. So powerful was the day he was born that angels rejoiced, filling the heavens with song.

As powerful as that was, his life of obedience overshadowed it. While on this earth he set people free from sickness and death, replacing those strongholds with hope and joy.  Still more incredible was the death he endured taking on all our sins, all our sickness to the pit of hell with him and leaving them there. It was in his death that he became victorious, rising to new life, so that we might live forever with him.

All of these events melted down to his obedience to his heavenly Father. He often stated that he only did the things his heavenly Father told him to do. At any time he could have called legions of angels from heaven to fight the battle for him. It would have been more epic than any war in history or any Hollywood movie attempting to portray the battle of good vs evil.

Instead, the angels prepared for battle, alert and with swords drawn, keeping their eyes focus on Jesus. They waited and watched as the Son of God laid down his life for each of us. His life was not taken, he gave it. He gave it because of his ultimate love of the Father; his ultimate love for us. He didn’t want to endure that cross.

BUT…he said to his Father in desperate prayer, “Not my will, but yours be done!”

“During his life on earth, Jesus prayed to God, who could save him from death. He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears and he was heard because of his devotion to God. Although Jesus was the Son of God he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.” Hebrew 5:7-8 (GWT)

We will not be void of suffering in this world. But in the end, obedience will be the only way to bring real joy.

“He saw the JOY set ahead of him, so he endured the death of the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him.” Hebrews 12:2 (GWT)

Obedience is a word that is peppered throughout the Word. It is a key that unlocks the joy that Christ desires for each of us. But sometimes it feels like death to obey.

Joseph obeyed and took Mary as his wife, although he did not really understand. Several times he obeyed and moved Mary and Jesus because Jesus’ life was being sought from the day of his birth. His obedience saved our Savior.

It isn’t easy to obey when you feel left out. Everyone wants to belong. It isn’t easy when you look strange or weird because everyone wants to be accepted.

I am sure it wasn’t “easy” for Noah to build an ark when there was no water. People mocked him and surely thought he was crazy. But he and his household were saved.

It wasn’t easy for Joseph to obey and run from a woman who tried to seduce him, losing all that he had because of a lie. Nor was it easy for him to see his brothers after so many years apart and forgive them for selling him into slavery. But because of his obedience he saved a nation from starvation.

It definitely wasn’t easy for Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to repent. In fact he didn’t obey at first and found himself in the belly of a huge fish or sea creature. But later, because of his obedience, the nation repented of their ways.

Ananias obeyed the Lord and laid his hands on Saul (who became Paul) to receive his sight again. Just days earlier this man was rounding up followers of the Lord to be killed. Through Ananias’ obedience Paul did receive his sight, was baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit and immediately spread the gospel, writing many books of the Bible.

Obedience is a key.

So today, who do you obey? Do you listen to the voices of a people who pressure you or do you obey the Lord? Each person has to give an account whether they choose to obey their Lord. Even in America, the land of the free, we see people who stand alone trying to obey their Lord. Remember the lady who decided not to give out marriage license to people of the same-sex? She was mocked and ridiculed and called names. But she felt she had to obey her Creator instead of the overwhelming crowds. People also have lost their businesses in similar cases. Obedience to their belief over road what society believes as truth.

But that is nothing.

I just read on social media about a pastor and his wife from China who have been thrown into prison for not abiding by the governing laws regarding their beliefs. It isn’t that they did a horrific act of disobedience. It was that they chose to obey God over manmade rules. This is going on in several countries that disregard freedom of religion. Some are beaten, some are killed and yet the faith of Jesus Christ prospers in the face of persecution because of obedience.

Daniel did the same thing and was thrown into the lion’s den. The king was amazed that his God protected him from the lions and worshipped the God who can close the mouths of lions.

You might ask why a God of love would allow people to walk to their deaths. I don’t have all the answers but I do know that he gives grace and mercy to those who ask for it. I also know that he desire that all people are saved from the fires of hell. Only he understands what our act of obedience will do for each of us and for those who witness our walk. Perhaps it will save a soul.

Not everyone will give their lives for our Lord. But each of us will come to a crossroad where we will need to decide if we are going to obey our Lord. Do we mean it when we state that we are believers? Or is our lives filled with mushy compromise? I am asking myself this question, too. I am not saying something that the Lord isn’t already asking me. When the heat goes up (and it will) will we walk away from our Lord?

We celebrate Christmas with a world that really may not understand the power of its meaning. Some celebrate while enjoying freedom. Others may not have freedom, but celebrate the freedom that Christ can bring.

During this holiday season, I pray that you will come to know the God of creation and understand that he loves you. And if you already are a believer, I pray that this next year will be one that will draw you closer to your Lord.

Remember the old hymn, “Trust and Obey”, written in 1887 by John H Sammis. The refrain goes:

“Trust and obey for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

How true that statement is!

God bless and have a Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

War in prayer

War in prayer

Lately I have been reposting. I guess it is because I have been reading so many great articles that it is hard to not want to share, and in some cases, need to share. This article was taken from the website: hiskingdomprophecy.com

The author resides in Ireland and has had several dreams about America that she believes are God-inspired, as do I. I know we are to test “prophetic words”. I do not take them lightly.  Yet, I believe it is important to at least listen to the word or in this case, read it and then judge for yourself.

I just want to preface it with 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

Also Matthew 5:45b – “He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.” (GWT)

And finally we should remember to pray for each other, especially as we travel through difficult seasons. Prayer -or as this article states – “waging war” changes things. Pray for those walking through hardship and pray that each person may find hope through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God Bless.

 

California, God has taken hold of the land and He is shaking all things loose, that which is good will stand, but that which is not of Him will be utterly destroyed!

Watch and pray, for we have entered into a season of sudden and violent shakings in the nations.

These shakings are taking place both physically and spiritually.

This is the time to be stationed high upon the walls of our cities, that we may know how to wage war effectively and know how to be fully prepared for what will surely take place in the days ahead!

As I went to bed last night, I had not been asleep very long when I was woken with an urgency to pray for the American State of California and for the nation of America.

As I began to war in the spirit, I was shown that the State of California is earmarked for two great shakings, both physical and spiritual.

I saw two mighty earthquakes taking place over the land in the days ahead.

Just as we are seeing the fires raging across the land, so there will be a fire of His Glory and revival that will rage across the land.

But as I looked at the fires in the physical, I saw a great shifting or movement taking place deep underground all over that state.

I saw the movement of underground plates running right across the land right up to the coastline.

Then suddenly I saw a great and sudden earthquake taking place in the physical over the land.

But as I looked at the nation being shaken violently, I saw that the landscape of the nation was being totally realigned and transformed.

Then I saw in the spirit yet another great shaking coming upon the land.  But it was a spiritual shaking and I watched as the spiritual landscape of California and the nation was realigned and totally transformed.

RHEMA REPOST:

An Urgent Word for California, America!

Posted on April 26, 2018

An urgent word for California, America!

“California, California repent and return.

For the hour of great calamity and sudden catastrophe shall come upon the land.

For have I not said, he who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed without hope or remedy?”

In the very early hours of this morning I was caught up in a very powerful vision where I was taken in the spirit over the land of California, America.

Now in the vision I encountered a warring Angel of the LORD.  Now amazingly, I have encountered the same warring angel when I received a word of warning a few months back concerning the nation of Australia, where I saw and was shown a great earthquake coming suddenly upon the land. (See “Pray for the Nation of Australia“.)

In the vision last night, as I stood before the warring angel, I heard these words coming out of the heavens, “California, California repent and return, for the hour of great calamity and sudden catastrophe shall come upon the land.

For have I not said, he who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed without hope or remedy?”

On hearing those words, suddenly the Angel of the LORD unraveled a golden scroll and set it before me as he had done before.

Written upon the scroll were the words of (Ezekiel 33).  As I looked again at the scroll, the numbers 333, and 111 were highlighted to me.

Then suddenly the warring Angel of LORD left me and I came out of the vision.

Please read Ezekiel 33:1-11.(below) and take special note of the 11th verse of this chapter:

“Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.  Turn!  Turn from your evil ways!”

Just over the last few weeks I have been lead to study the following numbers and the correlating scriptures, I believe prophetically they reflect the season we are now in.

Numbers: 333

See Jeremiah 33:3  “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”

In this hour, there is a call to deeper intercession as the hidden mysteries and revelation of His Glory is being made available to all who are seeking, knocking and asking.

Ask of the Spirit in this season for a fresh infilling for heaven is indeed releasing fresh, new Revelation and strategy for the current-season and circumstances in the earth.

Numbers: 111

These numbers talk of spiritual awakening.

A few months ago I had a dream where I could hear the sound of trumpets and bells ringing across the face of the earth and I heard these words, “The sound of a divine wake up call is now being released into the nations of the earth!”

Listen friends, prophetically, we have entered into a season of great awakening.

Many are beginning to experience the supernatural favour and extravagant provision of heaven over their lives.

It’s time to take new ground and take hold of the promises of God like never before.

We are crossing over.  We have entered into a time of divine transition and realignment, revival, restoration and reformation in the earth.

The resurrection power of God is bringing forth new life.

The sound of rattling can be heard coming out of the valley of dry bones, all that has been dead are now coming back to life.

I see divine encounters being released in greater measure.

Many are now receiving deeper spiritual clarity, strategy, wisdom and revelation.  Many are being awakened to the sense of greater Kingdom identity and purpose in God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is now advancing upon the earth.

“in that day the lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people…”   Isaiah 11:11.

I Prophesy:  The remnant is rising…!

“After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “our friend lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up,”   John 11:11.

I Prophesy:  The power of resurrection life is now awakening the Body of Christ to greater Kingdom identity and destiny

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent take it by force!”   Matthew 11:11.

I Prophesy:  This is the 11th hour.  The Kingdom of Heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent take it by force.

Watch!  For the 11th hour warriors of heaven are emerging who will take the kingdom by force!

“But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven,”   Deuteronomy 11:11.

I Prophesy:  We are crossing over into the land of manifest promise and prosperity.

Pray for the land of California and to for the nation of Australia.

A great and sudden shaking is coming to the land.

Cry out to The LORD for mercy in midst of great judgement.

“Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head.  5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.  6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’
7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.  8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.  9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’  11 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. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” 
 Ezekiel 33:1-11.

 

Blessings to you all.
~ by Veronika West

Escaping the grasp of hell

Escaping the grasp of hell

I am forwarding this short message or dream from Jeremiah Johnson Ministries. This is actually from one of  his Facebook sites dated June 23, 2018. I found it extremely enlightening, yet challenging and quit sobering. If you have not had the opportunity to read this, you might want to take a moment out of your time.

I WENT TO HELL AND WAS TOTALLY SHOCKED

Several months ago while I was extensively studying Matthew 7:22-24 and asking God for increased revelation, I had one of the most disturbing prophetic dreams of my life. The Scripture I was studying in Matthew says, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name did we not cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”

In the prophetic dream, I was taken to hell where I saw all these ministers and individuals who had performed miracles, cast out demons, and prophesied. What I was shown next, I will never forget. The Holy Spirit showed me long lines of people behind all of these ministers and individuals. He immediately revealed to me that these were all the people that had received the miracles, prophecies, and had been at one time delivered. As I gazed at the people in these lines, He said to me, “Did they not RECEIVE miracles, prophecy, and deliverance, yet I never knew them?”

I woke up from the dream alarmed and startled. I said to the Holy Spirit, “So there are not only people that will perform signs, wonders, and miracles that will be sent to hell, but also people who receive all these things that will also be in hell. Why?” Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke again to me and said, “Because those that worked miracles, prophesied, and cast out demons never preached the full gospel of Jesus Christ which is the message of repentance. They were so in love with the gifts that I had given them that people became trophies and souvenirs to them. When My power would manifest in their ministries, they would tell people that I loved them, but never that they needed to repent for their sins. I tell you that a great deception will sweep over the signs and wonders movement in the earth. Beware of the ministries where miracles and prophecies will flow, but the message of repentance is a no go. You have been warned”. Then I woke up.

Will you pray with me today that ministers and individuals who move in God’s power will not only live a lifestyle of repentance but also preach it? What if people getting healed, delivered, and prophesied to, and only told God loves them isn’t the full gospel message? What if repentance and holiness is the full gospel message too?

-Jeremiah Johnson

I have often read the same verses with curiosity. How could God state that he never knew those who walked in the knowledge of him? And how could people who walked in the revelation of the Lord, be deceived into not understanding the importance of repentance?

Was it because they never had a relationship with the Lord in the first place? Did they love the signs of the Lord but never truly love the Lord? Does this message of “love” that is being preached from some pulpits, never explain the need for repentance? According to the dream the “whole” gospel is not being preached. Love without total surrender or commitment is artificial love, at best.

The dream reminded me of the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25. Ten virgins had all fallen asleep as they were waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus). At the midnight hour the announcement of the coming of the bridegroom was heard and they all woke up. The Bible states that five virgins were wise because they had extra oil for their lamps to stay lit. They were ready. The other five, who were foolish because didn’t have enough oil to keep their fire burning, left to buy more. While they were gone they missed the bridegroom’s return.

“Later, the others also came, ‘Lord, Lord’, they said, ‘open the door for us.!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Matthew 25:11-12

Will people enter hell under the assumption they were in right standing with the Lord only to discover that the Lord never knew them? Of course he knows us each by name, but they never wanted a “real relationship” with God; not enough to repent of their sins, turn from their wicked ways and follow him.

I think about the message Billy Graham preached. It was always one of repentance.  At every meeting the song that was played was, “Just As I Am”. We are invited to come to the Lord as we are. Yet, the blood of Christ was not shed so that we can stay in our sins, and never change. We come in repentance. As we continue having a reverent repentant heart towards the Lord, we will begin to eventually look like our Lord, because we will change from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Where do you stand? What do you think about this dream? Is it just someone’s dream? Or is it really a warning to make sure that our hearts are in the right place? If you have never had the opportunity or knowledge that you are welcomed to know the savior of the world, this is it.

John 3:16 is a popular verse that explains salvation as it is. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

Please don’t walk away from the greatest invitation you will ever receive, to be in the presence of the Almighty forever and escape the hell and fire that was created for the demons of darkness. This invitation is not only for the life to come, but for you to enjoy now!

God DOES love you. He desires that you repent and accept his forgiveness and be set free. You will NEVER regret that choice.

God bless.

Can God Hate?

Can God Hate?

GOD IS LOVE!

Though I totally agree with that statement (God is love)–I mean completely! What does it mean? What does it look like in our day-to-day walk?

We hear so many people in today’s world believe with all their hearts that if they follow the God of Heaven, the Christian God, that all they need to do is LOVE– period.  I agree that we are called to love people. There is no doubt in that comment. Again, what does that look like? Does it mean that we are to accept everything that everyone is doing because we LOVE them?

I believe there is a gray place that people fall into. I have heard some people explain it as “sloppy grace”. It is a place where the love of people gets mixed in with acceptance of sinful practices. That area isn’t just gray, it is muddy, at best. Eventually truth and love become loose words that turn into tolerance. Is tolerance bad? Well, it probably depends on what you are tolerating. It can be a deceptive policy.

“The silence of tolerance can quickly morph into endorsement.” (Lisa Bevere)

Then you hear the statement, “love the people, hate the sin”. That is a great concept, but then again we have to ask ourselves, how do we put that into practice?

I have been reading the book, “Adamant” by Lisa Bevere. In her book she has one chapter titled, “Adamant in Love” explaining how much our Lord loves each of us. His love is eternal and doesn’t flinch or fade. The very next chapter is titled, “Adamant That We Love“. Of course it is just as the title describes. We are to love others, which is not always easy. Sometimes we have to just love others by faith.  In other words, we may not always “feel” like it but we take a hold of God’s love and ask him to help us.

But the next chapter is the one that caught my attention. It is titled, “Adamant in Hate“. She begins this chapter by quoting Charles Spurgeon,

“We cannot love God without hating what he hates.”

Interesting.

She states, “God hates ALL that undermines love, for everything that debases love, debases US.”

What does God hate?

Here she quotes Proverbs 6:16-19 and then goes into detail about each item plus uses other scripture references explaining things the Lord hates. Again it is because of his PERFECT LOVE for US that he hates what will undo that love. I will be using the Amplified Version and add the list numbers.

“These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him;
1) A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others]
2) A lying tongue
3) Hands that shed innocent blood
4) A heart that creates wicked plans
5) Feet that run swiftly to evil
6) A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths]
7) And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.

This is just one of the many verses she uses. (You might want to reference the word, hate, for yourself).These scriptures are so relevant for our time. Each reason for the hatred is because it twists and corrupts HIS LOVE. It corrupts the life he has for his children.

Let me add: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

These are my thoughts:
There is a battle for each of our hearts and the enemy of our souls only desire is to destroy the concept of God’s love for us so that we get confused. Eventually we don’t really understand his love at all. It becomes twisted with the world’s concept of love. That is why the Lord desires us to hate evil, NOT THE PEOPLE, but hate and despise the traps that ensnare each of us.

The world cannot understand this and tends to accept the lie that we, as believers, are hateful people because we stand up for righteousness. But the truth is that we are lovers of the Lord. Our desire should not be to “tolerate” what is sinful. And it isn’t that we think that we are better because we were once caught up in the same darkness.

Ephesians 5 states: “live a life filled with love.” But then the letter continues to warn us to stay away from the sinful life we once lived and to not be fooled by those who make excuses for sin.

Often people hate the light of the Lord simply because it exposes the sin that enslaves them. The darkness hides it. But the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 5 makes it very clear, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” (verse 10-11 NIV)

In my previous blog I stated that the Lord challenged me to love him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I believe that includes hating what he hates. It does not mean to hate those who are enslaved in sin. Love them enough to show them the light. The sin that holds them will not like this at all, but the person who is bound and wants to walk in freedom, will.

We are called to love the individual, not judge the individual. How do we do that? By being kind, helpful, gracious. Romans 2:4 states that it is God’s kindness that will lead to repentance. But on the other side we are to hate what God hates which is anyTHING that undoes his great love for us.

When we do not hate what is evil, our love is not genuine. ” Lisa Bevere

This may take his grace and wisdom to decipher. Just be wise: Do not confuse tolerance with love.

Finally: Jesus did warn us that if the world hated him, it will hate us also. If we belonged to the word, it would accept and love us. (Matthew 10 & John 15).

It is not always easy to live for the Lord, but always worth it. I have found no greater joy and peace, even in the midst of many heartaches, then following my Lord. I remember someone once said to me: “I have many things that I could regret in my life but one I have never regretted: giving my life to Jesus.”

To answer the title’s question,”Can God Hate?” I would say, yes. God can hate because he IS LOVE. I challenge you to research this for yourself.

God bless you as you continue to walk in His Light. Be courageous and filled with his wisdom and his love.

 

Winds of adversity.

Winds of adversity.

Someone once asked me if I followed the first commandment before I followed the second commandment.

“It is the greatest commandment and the only one to live by,” she reminded me. “People sometimes think that the second one is the greatest and skip the first. But the second cannot be completed without the first.”

Then she quoted Mark 12:30:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Matthew 22:38 continues to say, “This is the first and the greatest commandment.” (NIV)

That word of wisdom stayed on my mind. I thought about it quit a lot. It boils down to loving the Lord with ALL that I am and in EVERY situation.

Wow, that is intense! It makes sense that it should be the first commandment. How can a person fulfill the second commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” if they cannot understand the first. It is only through HIS love that we can come near to accomplishing loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Several days later I heard the Lord whisper the same words into my heart again, except this time he added, “I CHALLENGE you: love me with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Again, this resonated with my soul, especially in this hour.

Those who went before us surely understood this concept of complete and total abandonment of love for their Lord or they would not have been able to endure the tragedies, heartaches and persecutions that they faced then and some still do.

This leads me to share something that is on my heart. I believe the Lord is warning each of us that “a wind is coming”. It will be wind that is so powerful and mighty that if I (we) do not hold onto this verse I (we) may be blown away by that wind’s power.

You already see the wind in the American government. It is blowing away dross. And it will continue to blow. Innocent people have to hold on with all they are worth. They must hold onto their faith, while others keep them steadfast through prayer support and encouragement. But I strongly believe that if those who are dealing in lies and deceit do not change they will be blown away by the power of that wind.

As I was contemplating these things in my heart I heard the natural wind blow outside. I looked outside my front door and noticed our flag (yes, we have a flag in the front of our house) whipping violently in the wind. It was so powerful that it wrapped itself tightly around the flagpole. Then the wind changed its direction which caused the flag to unwrap, only to wrap around the pole again in the opposite direction.

A thought crossed my mind: “This is what we will have to do, as believers. We will need to cling to the cross, just as the flag is clinging onto the flagpole. We cannot stay rigid or we will break. We must be pliable, so that we can move with the wind and cling to the cross.”

Adversities may come and go but the cross of Christ is solid and strong and will never be moved. Jesus is solid and strong and will never be moved. He is every believer’s foundation. He is our rock. If we want to stand strong in the wind of adversity we must be rooted in him; we must be embedded in the rock of our salvation.

“The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe.” Ps 18:2 (GNT)

As these strong winds continue to blow we must realize that our good works will not get us through, nor our monetary values, nor our prestigious place in life, not even our friends and family (although faithful friends are of great worth). What will get us through the wind of conflict or adversity that is blowing into our lives, our communities and even our nation will be our unshakeable faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

God promises that he will shake what needs to be shaken. He is coming for a spotless bride. If gold is refined in fire, wouldn’t we be, as well?

Yet we don’t need to live in fear. In fact we should live in the joy of the Lord. That is where we will find our strength. Even Jesus saw the joy that was set before him. That joy helped him endure the cross. And he endured opposition (which we see right now in our nation.)  Each of us need to look to Jesus as our example, so that we do not grow weary. (Hebrews 12)

Ultimately, we can rest in him because these battles are his. We need to continue to pray and praise him, in spite of the opposition. It is our praises that usher in His glory.

For me, in the midst the powerful wind, it comes down this:

Do I love him with all my heart?
Do I love him with all my soul?
Do I love him with all my mind?
Do I love him with all my strength?

Do YOU?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following his path

Following his path

The ferocious wind is howling like a hungry wolf. It picks up what it wants as it races through my life. All that I thought was valuable is being lifted into its merciless vortex and speeding violently in circles around me. I grasp at items in frantic despair.

Then, suddenly all is quiet again. Nothing fills the void of quietness. Nothing fills the void of emptiness. All I see is utter darkness. The things that swirled around me have disappeared. Loneliness takes their place.

I hear a voice say, “Come this way.”  I turn towards the voice and squint, hoping my eyes can focus in the darkness so I can get a glimpse of who might be calling out to me. From another direction a new voice is heard from the depth. Its loud demanding voice pleads for my attention. “No, this way is the best. Follow this path.”

I struggle to know what I should do. Several voices join the plea. Though they seem to be growing louder, the voice I hear clearly is not heard with my ears. It is heard with my heart. I know the voice. I have heard it before many times. This voice is soft, yet vibrates throughout my entire being. This voice speaks with authority but is consumed with peace. I choose to follow the voice inside of me that I have grown to know and love.

It is the voice of my Lord.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

As soon as I take a step in the direction he is guiding me, a light shines on my feet. I slowly see where I am going, one step at a time. I notice that I am on a path that has not been well-traveled. There are dips and bumps but the light shines bright enough so that I can get a good footing. A peaceful sound, almost like the heartbeat of music vibrates from the light, as if it is alive. Though the other voices are relentless they soon begin to fade into the darkness behind me, as do my cares and anxieties. I know in my heart that if I continue on this path, things will work out for my good.

A thought flickers in my mind then travels to my heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6″ (NKJV)

I trust you Lord, ” I think to myself. And then I say it out loud with bold confidence, “I TRUST YOU LORD!”

And hence I keep following Him though I don’t always see the rainbows nor smell the roses. I walk in His peace, regardless of distractions that try to encourage me otherwise. I walk by faith.

This is a synopsis of my walk with my Lord. It is definately an adventure, as is your journey with Him, I am sure.

treasure map

Trust is like a treasure map. As you follow it, you will eventually find God’s purpose for your life.  I trust that the Lord has called me onto this path I am currently traveling . He is the one that has opened doors that no one could open. He has also shut the doors that were wide with wonder, but not filled with wisdom.

Why? Because he loves me.

It is amazing what he is doing in my life! I don’t always see his hand at work directly in front of me. But I always see it when I look behind me. I see the miracles from my past which confirms to me that he is working in my future.

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares he Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

There are many voices in each of our lives that call out to us with soothing tones. They are not always bad, though they can become distractions, and not always the best choice for our lives.” Come this way and follow me,” they taunt.  The distractions simply keep our eyes off of the Lord of our salvation and can fill our minds with clutter that carry confusion.

That is when we have to close our eyes and focus on the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Everything else…and I mean EVERYTHING else, even the blessings and good things we do, such as helping the poor, must NOT be our MAIN purpose and goal. Being good alone, though it is a good thing, CANNOT save anyone. Even that can distract us from God’s purpose. He desires a relationship with each of us.

That is why the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all our heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)

Jesus explains:

“Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name, drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, “I never KNEW you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV)

Not all endings are going to be happy, especially if we are determined to follow our own path. But even when we follow the Lord’s leading we will still need to utilize trust. One of my grandsons experienced that this summer.

I had the opportunity to take a couple of my grandkids to a theme park. One of my grandsons suddenly got filled with fear as we got closer to the front of the line of a rollercoaster. He wanted to back out. But I kept reassuring him that he would have fun.

So the brave (well not so brave) child got in the seat next to me. The person controlling the ride overheard us talking. She asked him if he was sure he wanted to go. I gave her the thumbs up.  I had never been on this particular ride but it definitely didn’t look as frightening as the one we had just ridden. I told him that there was only one big drop, the rest were little dips, at least that is how it appeared in the description.20180731_141155.jpg

Well, to my amazement those “little dips” were not as little as I thought. My poor grandson looked straight ahead and without any other visible emotions squeezed tightly onto the bar that held us in the seat.  With each drop he said in a monotone voice, “Nana, I thought there was only one drop.” He continued saying this statement several more times as we went down one “dip” after another.  A couple minutes later as the coaster cars pulled up at the end of the ride the girl who spoke with us earlier asked if he liked the ride. He said, with a straight face and a lot of pride, “I didn’t scream one time.”

He was so proud of himself, as was I.

Sometimes trust may mean that all you can do is hold on. But you don’t have to scream. You can hold on to the words of the Lord. You can hold to his promises and trust him. You can sit with someone who will endure the trials along side of you and encourage you all the way. And when that adventurous chapter comes to a close you can look at the operator and say. “I didn’t scream one time.”

The winds may blow, things may be stripped from your hands, voices may try to distract you, darkness and loneliness may encompass you, and your ride might be pretty wild. But remember what Paul said to the Philippians.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you WILL complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

Be at rest. He is holding you. Trust his voice.

TRUST HIM.

 

THIS IS JUST A PRETEST

THIS IS JUST A PRETEST

Do you like to take tests?

Many moons ago when I attended school our teachers would often give us pretests. Their purpose was to embed the knowledge needed for the final exam. When we sat down to take the final, the answers came quickly to our minds because we had been prepared.

I had a friend who was going through intense trials in her life. She was sharing about the difficult events that seem to be taking place in her life, one right after another. While she was speaking a thought penetrated into my mind or maybe it was my heart. Anyway it was so loud that I knew it was something the Lord wanted me to share with her.

These were the words: “THIS IS JUST A PRETEST.”

She half-heartedly laughed and responded with, “You mean it is going to get harder? I thought this was the test — not the pretest!”

I understood her reasoning because what she was going through wasn’t easy. Yet it was conditioning and equipping her with the knowledge and wisdom she would need to pass a test in her future. It was preparing her to be able to take the next step. One day she will be able to fight giants that are bigger than her pretesting days. She will have the tools she needs to live victoriously. But it won’t stop there. She will become strong enough in her faith to help those around her.

This happened with David, as well. While he tended sheep he killed a bear and a lion. This was the pretest for the next stage of his life. He took time during these events to write songs to his Lord in his quiet hours and to grow in his relationship with God. It prepared him to have the faith to defeat the giant, Goliath. That prepared him for his next steps God had opened for him as he became more victorious in battle after battle. Those battles together with those quiet moments kept him humble, yet unafraid, as King Saul sought to kill him. This prepared him to take the next step –eventually being King of a united Israel.  He was ready for the tests that followed each pretest. He had learned the answers.

A trial or pretest is not easy. Sometimes it feels like we are suffering unnecessarily. But  I have heard it said that we should embrace suffering. When a woman is going through child-birth, she has two choices. Either embrace the pain and flow with it or fight it with all she has. Either way the baby is going to be born. The first way, though still difficult, brings joy in the process of pain. The second way, causes the pain to become unbearable. You see fighting the process of birthing new life is incredibly hard. ( I can say these things from experience. Of course women have more options today.)

But I am talking about fighting life in the spiritual sense. If we learn through suffering, Jesus can birth new life in us. Otherwise our suffering is just that, suffering without a reward.

Paul learned the art of embracing pain and suffering. He writes about his trials in Corinthians Chapter 11. The things he suffered seemed almost impossible to bear –being beaten, flogged, whipped, imprisoned, shipwrecked, deserted and misunderstood among other things. It was incredible what he went through to spread the gospel of Christ. And I am sure there were times he may have felt discouraged.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.   2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (NIV)

He went on to say:

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

He learned something that we often do not learn. He learned the art of contentment because he overcame in the pretest. He completed the more difficult tests of life because he knew the answer from his pretesting days. The answer was and is Jesus. He spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout many regions and wrote most of the New Testament. Apparently he did it in spite of strenuous circumstances because he discovered a greater purpose and chose to fulfill it.

If we learn through an open book pretest prior to the test, we will have an advantage. Why? Because we will know the answers.  That book is the Word of God. Learning the scriptures and reading them over and over will prepare us when any trial comes our way. I have used the Word of God many times in my life through personal trials as I am sure you each have, as well.

Preparation is the key.

*The winning team of the Super Bowel didn’t win without practice and winning several previous games.

*Many tiresome hours are taken in preparation for any onstage performance, and rehearsal night proceeds opening night.

*First responders do not respond to epic events if they first do not go through hours of training. Then they practice a crisis, learning how to respond in case of a real emergency.

*The military trains in boot camp to become prepared physically and mentally before actually going onto the battle field.

The pretest may seem grueling; but it makes it so much easier for the finals.

How much more should we be prepared as we fight the battles that face our lives. Satan is not sleeping. He is like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He and his forces take any opportunity to conquer and divide, even the best of friends.

The pretests or trials that we face in life, about life — whether it is emotional heartache, anxiety, relationship problems, forgiveness issues, attack on our health, financial woes, or deep loss of any kind can be used for our benefit. I know that sounds odd and but if we learn through these situations they can be the very thing that will catapult us into the ultimate calling in our lives. Perhaps your heartache is what can help someone else overcome.

Think about what Queen Esther had been prepared to do in her lifetime. She was the one person who was able to save her people. Mordecai states, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such as time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NIV)

Even Jesus had many trials in his life. Being tempted by the enemy of darkness in the desert after a 40 day fast was one such experience. (Mark 4:1-11) But he also learned the answers while taking  pretests in life. He would face the greatest final exam known to all mankind when he went to the cross. And he would pass with flying colors, not because he was the son of God, but because he surrendered to his heavenly Father.

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42 (NLT)

If you have not faced a hardship, a trial or a test that seems to have no answer, you will. It is a guarantee! But there is more in store for you than just passing a fiery trial. You can can have peace in the midst of it because you know the answers to the final exam.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

The answers are in the Word of God.
The answer is the Word of God. 
Jesus is the Word of God.
Jesus is the answer.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1 (NIV)

Amen and God bless.