Alive!

Fear, doubt and unbelief seemed to grip the room. No one said a word. I could hear the sound of the others in the room but the darkness hid their faces. Were they filled with the same thoughts that invaded my mind?

Thump, thump, thump. I held my hand up to my chest to try to calm the racing of my heart. What if, what if this was all there was? What if we were all going to be killed for what we held as truth? What would be the purpose of it all? What would be the purpose of healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching hope for eternity if it all ended with the death of our teacher and our friend?

He had brought such hope. Did it just end? Was it over?

We cannot even imagine the long drawn out hours from the time of Jesus’ death until the day of his resurrection. We do not know the lies and thoughts that may have penetrated the minds of the disciples and followers the hours that followed his death. They may have seemed so bleak and hopeless.

The three years prior had been glorious. Miracles took place daily. New hope had risen throughout the nation. Jesus spoke with such wisdom that hadn’t been heard of for hundreds of years. He heard from God! He taught, encouraged and healed all that wanted it. Even the religious and government leaders were stunned by his wisdom.

Not too long prior to his death, Jesus was riding on a donkey through Jerusalem with what appeared to be victory. Things couldn’t have been better. People adored him!

“The crowd that went ahead of him and that were following him were shouting,
“‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9 (GWT)

People were waving palm branches and laying out their coats for him. All was glorious. Then one night, it seemed to take a turn for the worse. Yet Jesus had warned them of this moment.

But he also said he would rise from the dead.

Now I ask you,

What have you been going through that seems dark, that seems hopeless, that seems desperate? It may seem like all is lost. What was the purpose of following your Lord? There was a time when all may have seemed glorious and you were on top of your game. But then an unforeseen moment came knocking on your door and suddenly your circumstances appeared dark, and your hopes felt like they died and your dreams seemed to be unreachable.

It may seem like God is s…l…o..o..o…w about his promises and you might really feel like you are walking through molasses as you wait for his response. Yet the word paints a different picture.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

He hears the cries of your heart.

Remember:

ON THE THIRD DAY……

HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!!!!!

Your days may seem dark. Your dreams may seem bleak.

But DO NOT give up.

THE SAME SPIRIT THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD LIVES IN YOU!!! (Romans 8:11)

Do you even understand how powerful that statement is?

The disciples and other followers of Christ may have not understood right away what was actually taking place. But their dreams had not died. Jesus had to die on this earth  in order to take the sins of mankind into the pit of hell where he left them. He did it to steal the keys of death from our enemy of darkness. AND HE DID IT WITH VICTORY.

If we could grasp that the trials we face are temporary and that there really is victory in Christ, we could see with eyes of understanding.

Like Jesus, I say to the darkness that would try to choke me, to the fear that thinks it can befriend me or to the lies that attempt to take space in my mind, “Get behind me satan. You are a stumbling-block to me. (Matthew 16:23)

Remember: JESUS DID NOT STAY IN THAT GRAVE!

So be of good courage followers of Christ. Speak life over your situation and hope into your soul.  And share this hope with those who have not tasted his goodness.

Your hope is not dead. HE IS ALIVE!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

God Bless.

 

 

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 you hear the voice of truth?

It amazes me that people can read identical words or hear the exact same message and yet have complete different interpretations. They may not even hear the same words that are being said.

This became a reality to me when the “Laurel or Yanny” craze hit social media. A single word was spoken and the internet exploded. Some people heard the word “Yanny” while others heard the word “Laurel”. According to a couple different web sites, the confusion involved frequency. If a person hears higher frequencies they are sure the word is “Yanny” and vice versa.

Jay Aubrey Jones, who recorded the word for Vocabulary.com stated that he was actually saying the word, Laurel.  The word, Yanny, is not even in Vocabulary.com. Before the audio scenario debate there was the color of the dress debate in 2015. Some people said they saw a black and blue dress while others saw it as white and gold. (By the way: the dress color is black and blue.)

I realized that individuals can be extremely positive that they know the truth but somehow be very mistaken. From the moment a word is spoken it can become twisted or tainted. By the time it hits the ear of the listener it can become something completely different from what was said. It is like the game “telephone” that we played as  children.  A phrase is whispered into the first child’s ear and that child whispers it into the next child’s ear. By the time the phrase reaches the last child, it usually isn’t even close to what was said in the beginning.

The words Jesus spoke were often misrepresented or misunderstood. He often spoke in parables or stories to help explain salvation, the kingdom of God or other dynamic truths.  In Mark 4:9 he says, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (NIV)  That statement is heard several times in the book of Revelation, as well.

In Matthew 13:13b Jesus states” Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (NIV)

That is a scary thought.

The truth that can lead people to salvation, to freedom and to an eternity with their creator was not being heard. It wasn’t because it wasn’t being spoken. Jesus stood among the people of his day and yet they could not hear the truth or see it. It is the same thing today.

Jesus continues speaking in verse 14a:
“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” (NIV)

(I wondered how it could be possible that they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, yet not perceive the truth. Jesus answered that question in the following verse.)

15a: “For this people’s heart has become CALLOUSED: they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (NIV)

Calloused skin is skin that has become hardened and thick. So a calloused heart is someone whose heart has become hardened and thick. They have put up a wall over and over so that truth can no longer penetrate. They have become insensitive. People with calloused hearts have refused to listen to truth so many times that one day they do not even recognize truth. Their hearts have become so hard they cannot hear it nor see it.

That is why Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT)

Jesus is very clear that listening to his voice will allow us to follow in his footsteps for our lives. He will direct each of us if we choose to listen to his guidance. He states in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)

You might ask how I am sure that I am following truth and not being deceived. Deception is deceptive. I have confidence because I ask my Lord to keep me in truth and reveal any area of deception. And he is faithful.

My prayer is found in Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (NIV)

If you desire to hear His voice it is never too late to call out to God for truth. He will be sure to answer! God is full of mercy and grace and wants to fill you with his hope.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NIV)

My hope is that you and I will hear our Lord say ” But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
Matthew 13:16 (NIV)

God bless.

Just for fun:
If you have not had the chance to listen to the Yanny vs Laurel debate open the link below and find out what you hear.  Then decide what color the dress looks like to you.

 

Yanny vs Laurel

 

 

black and blue dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Image of my Father

The last couple years I have had the privilege of having my parents live with me. It has taught me so many things about myself; who I am and why I react the way I do. When my parents have different views regarding something, I have discovered that I can agree with both of them, even when their views or opinions are different.

You see I have inherited DNA from both of them, perhaps not equally, but enough that causes me to understand most of their viewpoints equally. Likewise I have noticed that my children have inherited a lot of my traits but they also have many traits like their father.

As believers have we inherited the traits of our Heavenly Father? Have we inherited his DNA? I know when we get “saved” or “born again” we are renewed in our spirit man. In the book of  John, chapter 3, Jesus explains to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven he must be born again. Then in Romans 8, the author states that we, who belong to Christ, have the Spirit of Christ LIVING in us. And though our bodies are subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

FLESH VS SPIRIT
We become a new creation when we ask the Lord into our lives, yet we are still living in our human bodies. So it makes sense that we wrestle doing what God desires vs what our flesh wants to do. Part of us is renewed. Yet our old thoughts argue because our flesh likes the easy way and doesn’t want to grow up. Paul explains this in more detail in Romans 7. He says that though we want to do what our spiritual nature tells us to do, our physical nature is always fighting with us.

“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:17 (ESV)

But the more we desire the Lord’s will in our lives and choose to live for him, the less hold the enemy has in our lives.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

BLOOD OF CHRIST
Jesus was human, yet he was the son of God. Though he was human, he didn’t sin. Jesus was able to condemn sin because he overcame sin while living, like us, in human form.

Yet his blood had the DNA of the Spirit of God which is pure.  So his sinless blood can heal us AND cleanse us from our sins. His sacrificial sinless blood had to be shed to cover darkness and sin. Once we ask Jesus into our lives, that same sinless blood that was shed–covers all our sins — past, present and future.  I believe God sees us without spot or wrinkle because he sees Jesus in us.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

MIND OF CHRIST
Our mind bosses us around and tells us many things, true or false, and our body follows suit, which is why many people stay in bondage. They believe their old mind-set, old thoughts, instead of the mind of Christ. They believe they are defeated. They believe they are unworthy. They believe there is absolutely NO hope. Or quite the opposite, they think they do not need the wisdom of the Lord.

But as believers we have the mind of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2 the author states that no one can know another person’s thoughts except their own spirit. In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Then he ends by stating, “But we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corn.2:15 (NIV)

It is amazing how powerful our mind is. I remember running in cross-country in high school. I kept wanting to give up, but I would tell my body to stop complaining and complete the race. My body then did what my mind commanded.

If my own mind has power over my body, can you imagine the wisdom that could filter from heaven if we would submit to the voice of the Lord Almighty?

Paul writes: “Do not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Remember when Jesus said that he only did what the Father told him to do? Well we can do what the Father asks us to do also. As believers we can hear how he thinks. He reminds us of truth, tells us when to pray, or when to speak hope into another individual’s life. You and I have the mind of Christ! BUT it is up to us to listen.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER
The Bible states that as a believer we have become children of God. Just as a child receives his/her parents traits and personality, we each have a part of the Lord’s traits and personality. If we are His children we should work together in harmony, showing grace and love towards one another. He understands us individually, just as I understand each of my parent’s view points.

In the book of John, Jesus states: “…May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:23 (NLT)

ACTING LIKE MY FATHER
So if I have the DNA of my Heavenly Father, I should act like him, right? A baby grows one step at a time. When they become adults they often look and act like their parents. As we grow in Christ we go from glory to glory. It is a process and can include trials, suffering and mistakes, but develops into deliverance, victory, peace and hope.

My prayer is that I will become more and more like my heavenly Father. May each of us grow into the image of our Father.

God bless.

 

Phrases like “he isn’t acting normal” or “that isn’t the normal way to do it” are broad at best. What is normal to me may seem completely abnormal to my neighbor. The definition to the word normal according to dictionary.com is “-conforming to a standard, or what is common, usual, regular or natural.”

Still even that can be different according to cultures, religions, languages, customs, countries, cities, neighborhoods, families or even individuals. Age or the era that we were raised in can even promote different “normal” lifestyles. And when we begin to grow accustomed to the way things are done it is sometimes difficult to change. The custom begins to become part of who we are and we identify it as NORMAL.

Tradition plays a huge role in this,” normalcy”.  If you celebrate Christmas  (as I assume most believers do) the tradition in each family can be different. Perhaps you put up a Christmas tree in your house, or pretend that Santa is coming down your chimney or maybe you do not include Santa, at all.  You might celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve or when the clock strikes mid-night or in the morning hours. There are a thousands of different traditions that are promoted in different cultures and even families. Who said that we must eat a turkey on Thanksgiving, though it is a strong tradition in America.

Tradition can melt into what you might perceive as normal.  I can only relate to what is familiar to me as people from around the world live differently.  But in America the “traditional family” has begun to change. When I was little it was normal to have a mom and dad. Soon it became normal to see a lot of single-parent households, then there was mixed families. From there couples quit getting married and began to just live together. That became normal. Then we began to see homosexual lifestyles evolve into families. And now the transgender lifestyle, though a minority, is fighting to become a new normal.

Life in America and across the world is changing. The normal is changing. People have grown accustomed to the new lifestyles. What was once thought of as “normal” in my era is fading into the background. As much as people want to ignore this fact, at one time in America it was normal to be a slave or have slaves. But THANKFULLY many good men fought to abolish that. And though it is no longer our “normal” in America today there is so much anger over our past, “normal”,  that violence is erupting. And violence, instead of peace, is becoming popular and normal.

What is normal? Does acceptance equate normal?

IF you profess to be a believer –and I write this to believers as unbelievers may have a different standard to base their truth or may believe that truth is negotiable. But as a believer, we must get back to the basics. The Word of God is the basis to use as any standard of truth. Jesus said that HE is the truth.

“I am the Way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

He also stated that we are not of this world and that this world does not and cannot understand, “our normal”.  Read John 17:14-16, John 15:19, 1 John 5:19, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, John 18:36, 1 Peter 2:11-12 to name a few.

What should be normal for the believer is what we read in the scripture regarding the life of Jesus. It should be normal to heal the sick, raise the dead, set people free from darkness. It should be normal to love the lost and forgive quickly. It should be normal to live in freedom and to overcome the darkness that plagues our souls.

Though Jesus died for each of us, because WE ARE ALL SINNERS, it does not mean that we have to change what He stated as truth (or normal.)

I say all of this because different lifestyle choices than what I hold as truth, are all around me and will continue to be as long as I live in this world. Should I love all people?ABSOLUTELY!  Should I change my view of what I consider as “normal” because others think I should? No.

There is a gray line that confuses many. There is an unseen difference between loving people as Jesus did. (And HE LOVES PEOPLE) and living our lives by a standard that holds true to scripture.

I DESIRE to love ALL people–as Jesus did. He loved us so MUCH that he was willing to die for our brokenness and deception and sin.

I DESIRE to love our heavenly Father–as Jesus did.  He loved him so much that he REFUSED to compromise his standards and though he didn’t want to, he went to the cross so WE would be free.

“Lord grant your children wisdom. We need to learn to live a life that shows abundant love, as Jesus did. And we need to live a life without compromising with sin, as Jesus did. We cannot do it without your wisdom and strength.  Amen”

God bless.

 

The Identity Epidemic – Who am I?

These days you hear a lot about people’s right and about women’s rights in particular.

I haven’t been all around the world, but because our world seems to be shrinking due to technology I have heard about different lifestyles in the world. I was curious about the subject of women’s rights so I did what we do today and began to google information.  I live in a country of freedom for women so the discoveries I found disturbed me. I was disgusted by the torment that women and girls face around the world and I am sure even in my own city (though it isn’t legal here, it does not mean that it is not happening.) It made me sick to my stomach and was hard to digest. The horrific torture and living conditions boggled my mind.

We, as followers of Christ, choose to believe that both genders are of value to the Lord and equal, though definitely wired differently.  The way the different genders respond to situations, as in “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray have been studied for years. Very different genders and yet both created in the image of the Lord.

What happened since creation that would make men in some cultures, even in the Old Testament Biblical times believe that they were somehow superior to women?  Why have women often been treated as second class citizens throughout the world?

God created Adam first and then created Eve as his companion, but they were both created in God’s image. Each had a part in their relationship that brought unity. But because of sin both were turned away from the Garden of Eden so that they wouldn’t eat of the tree of life and live forever in their sins.

The Lord told Adam that he would now have to till the ground (or work hard) for his food instead of the luxuries that the garden provided. And he told Eve that giving birth would be painful but that she would still desire her husband (some versions state that she would desire to control him) and YET  he would have rule over her.

“He said to the woman, “I will increase your pain and your labor when you give birth to children. Yet, you will long for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 (GWT)

How interesting. This confusion (striving to find our place in the family setting or as an individual) happened from the beginning.  So it has been a struggle since the beginning of time…women desiring a man to love them, a man desiring to be in control, and the woman desperately fighting for that control, as well.

I often wonder what life was like in the garden before “the fall” took place. Did they get along famously? Was God part of their daily relationship? There wasn’t any arguing over bills, over household chores, over child rearing. It was a place of peace and unity.

Then, BOOM, one day they found themselves in a selfish world where individuals had lost the intimate relationship with the Creator. They eventually lost the ability to recognize their place in a “family” sphere.

You can understand the confusion that was created in our world, in different societies and in different households because both men and women had lost their sense of identity, their relationship with their creator and with each other. You can understand why some societies began to think that men were more dominant and why woman– to this day –are struggling to become free to be who they initially were intended to be.

You can understand why women have fought so vehemently for their voices to be heard, for their lives to be of value in a society that no longer valued them.  All they desired was to fill that place of emptiness that the curse brought into their lives. You can understand why feminism vibrated in our country and why women have cried from deep inside their most inward parts to become the person God intended them to be, though they may not have a clue that is what they are doing.

Both genders have gone on a power hunger adventure, searching for acceptance, to fill a gap, to complete the void that was created through the curse at the Garden of Eden.

Now we have a world where both men and women scream for authority, for power, for acceptance. Both genders are fighting for their place in this world–striving to be heard they become louder, more forceful and more empty.

People have lost their identity, the identity that was theirs since the earth began when the Lord created both male and female in his image. Things have become so many more shades of gray as individuals try to forge through the confusion by themselves for an identity that was lost many eons ago. Fighting to find acceptance they have tried many avenues of identity that have led to an identity crisis. People don’t even know what gender they are and struggle by changing their appearance or try to find it by uniting with those of the same-sex or by searching for it through several different sexual experiences or are simply lost in the confusion.

But God desires that each person find freedom to be the person they were originally created to be. That is why God sent his son, Jesus, to die for our sins. He missed the relationship he originally had with his creation. He desires to walk with us once more. He wants us to understand that through HIM we can find our true identity. Through a personal relationship with Jesus we can have the peace (piece) of identity we crave; we can return to that intimate relationship with him and in turn share it with others.

The Lord has always honored women though men have not been as kind. Throughout the New Testament you hear stories of women that followed Jesus’ teachings. They followed him to the cross and were there when he had risen. And today many women still preach the gospel of hope to other women who may still be stuck in an identity crisis.

Lisa Bevere, a Christian author and speaker, shared how the catacombs in Rome were being excavated and mosaics of women preachers were being revealed. She explained how she felt the Holy Spirit speaking to her regarding those mosaic women and that they represented the women of today, This is what she said:

“You begin to tell the women that God is excavating their life; that he is chasing away the rubble. And when you lift up your eyes you’re going to see this beautiful mosaic out of all the broken pieces of your life. And you’re going to find out that you’ve been preaching with your life all along. You are one of those women.”

I want to encourage you in this hour, in the hour when people are searching for who they are, in the hour when there is the biggest identity crisis in our country– hear this: God created you. He created you in HIS image.

The word is clear. If you REALLY want to find yourself, you must first it give up (the way you thought it should be) and give it to Jesus. Then and only then will you really find yourself, because you will be found in Christ.

“If you cling to your life you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Matthew 10:39 (NLT)

 

Pray for America

There is a shift in the atmosphere. It has been moving for quite some time but the shift is getting louder and the images are becoming more clear. Do you hear it? Do you see it?

There are forces moving beyond our natural visibility that may not be recognized. But if we look closer to the situations of the hour we will see the heads of deceit and anger and unrest. This is not the unrest of a people group or of a nation, this is an unrest of demonic influences. These forces are fearful of the days ahead as they know their time is short. So their fury is unleashed into the hearts of people who will listen, causing the havoc that we are witnessing during this hour of time.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorizes of the unseen world, against mighty powers in the dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Though I will never choose to make my blog political, politics obviously plays a huge part in our world. We may not be of this world but crazy enough we live in it. Besides, God has used people in the political scene or who carry authority in this earth, for his purpose. So it is worthy of discussion.

Politics has always been in play. Look at Moses. The Lord told him to bring the children of Israel to a place where they could worship outside of the city. He petitioned (familiar word) pharaoh many times. Pharaoh unwittingly played a huge part of that move. Because he fought against the voice of the Lord plagues covered the land and brought the eventual destruction of the Egyptian military, setting the children of Israel free.

Even during the days of Jesus Rome was a city of power filled with political unrest. Some people believe that the disciples first assumed that Jesus would be part of a movement that would overthrow the strong political power of the day.  It made sense as Jesus was a descendent of King David and many times was called the son of David. A couple of the disciples longed to sit on his left and right side in his kingdom. But he informed them that his kingdom was not of this world.

During the Roman Empire religious leaders argued amongst themselves regarding doctrine and beliefs similar to what the church does today. But they united as they used their given power of that time to motivate the crowds to loudly petition the death of Jesus. There was chaos in the streets.

Pontius Pilate gave the Jews a choice which prisoner they would like released during the Passover. He assumed the people would prefer to release the kind teacher who did many miracles. It surprised him that instead they wanted Barabbas who was known for being part of an uprising. Perhaps he was part of the Zealots, a group of people who were bent on overthrowing the Roman Empire–which had become a government of oppression.

This may have caught the first Christians off guard. They had seen the miracles Jesus had performed and believed that he was their answer. Hadn’t Jesus come to deliver them from this political turmoil and oppression as Moses had delivered the children of Israel?  Wasn’t he the one who would help them attain freedom from the mayhem that was swirling around them?

Today when we look at the streets of our towns in America we are appalled by the violence and the hatred. Where is all this anger coming from? Why has there been such a loud shift in the last couple years in our land regarding life, regarding unity, regading respect for our land and our freedom?

Instigators who wanted Jesus killed whispered pandemonium and lies into the ears of those in the crowd to stir up anger and dissatisfaction. The same people who had honored him only a week prior now chanted words of death to Jesus. Today our quiet cities have been stirred by the same sinister voices. There seems to be an underhanded plan to tear down America from the inside out. Those silent initiators may be thinking that they have incited the crowd, but the forces behind their motivation have a much more evil intent, as satan’s only intent is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

I live in a community where races of all colors and creeds work together, shop together, go to the parks together, attend school together and even worship together. All is fine. So I don’t believe that this hatred is all-encompassing.  I think that it has been purposely inspired by those determined to destroy our nation through discord, anger and dissatisfaction.  And the media is playing into the hands of this upheaval, as predicted.

Unfortunately there is already anger and discourse in the hearts of men and woman today. So it doesn’t take much encouragement or coercing for these individuals or groups to attack and scream and lash out and to even kill one another. They may not even be aware of why they are angry or that they are being used as pawns for a greater cause.

I think of Judas Iscariot, known for betraying Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He apparently wasn’t aware that what he was doing would bring such destruction to Jesus nor to himself. He just knew he would be paid greatly for his services, but he ended up paying a greater price. What is the price people are willing to pay who are demonstrating with such rage?

You may feel some exasperation brewing in your souls. You may be frustrated that this attitude of rage and disrespect is playing out in our streets and getting so much attention, knowing it isn’t the voice of the majority. Be careful that you do not fall prey to the anger and become as guilty as those who are creating so much strife.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NIV)

Where are we, as believers, suppose to stand in this line of fire? Fortunately we can still express our views without retaliation, I hope. We can protest (though I am beginning to believe that is asking for a playground of violence).  If you feel called you can join those in the political areana or speak out regarding your opinion. And of course, we can always ignore it and put our heads in the sand and “pretend” all is well.

But above all we should PRAY!

Pray together with others; pray without stopping. Pray for truth. Pray for peace. Pray for wisdom. Just pray because apparently prayer moves heaven!!! Go figure.

Remember the story of Peter who was miraculously set free from prison? People had gathered together to pray for him after they had learned that James had been killed. An angel came to his rescue, releasing him from prison. The prayer group was so astonished that he had escaped; that their prayers had actually been answered.

Like I have stated many times in other posts: God is NOT caught off guard. He will use the very circumstances of the day to bring about his truth, his glory and his redemption. It may not be broadcasted on TV or forwarded on social media. But behind the scenes of craziness—- people are still getting set free and saved.

When Jesus died on that cross, circumstances did not look very bright either. What were the first believers suppose to think? The one who promised to deliver them was now dead. But behind the scenes a great story was being played out. The enemy thought he had won the battle. But his plot had initiated the greatest story ever told. Jesus defeated death. He actually went into the belly of hell and took the keys of sin and death from satan. And then he rose back to life and is still offering eternal life for all who want it!

The condition of our country may appear grim. Darkness may seem to have won, but we don’t know what is transpiring behind the scenes. Hallelujah God does.  I have no clue what America may look like in a couple of years. We may see much darker days in this land. Laws may get passed that flabbergast us and go beyond all reason or common sense. Landmarks may come down that defined the history of our country. And our freedom to post our opinions may be monitored or scrutinized.

Should we run? Should we hide? Should we live in fear? I read a book that inspires hope to those in despair. It offers forgiveness to the broken, inspiration to the downtrodden, and eternal life to ANYONE who desires it.

It is the Word of God and it is alive.

“God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.” Hebrews 4:12

There is a shift in the atmosphere. It is a shift of God’s hand moving and preparing our hearts. There is a shift of God wooing us to come to him in the midst of chaos. Do you hear it? Do you see it?

Listen: The voice of the Lord is calling his own.

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 20:22 (TLT)

 

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