Witness Him Now
On the way to the dump ground yesterday, I kept hearing the same thing over and over in my mind: "It is never about circumstances, it is always about fruit." Over and over. "It is never about circumstances, it is always about fruit." So I sat and meditated on what God was saying to me. I came to the conclusion that everything that happens to us is irrelevant. What?!? I think it is true. God is Sovereign. He knows every detail of our life from the beginning to the end. Before the world was formed, He knew us, and He called us by name, and He said, "You are mine." Before we were ever born, He saw every detail of our life played out, and He delighted in it. But you say, "You don't know the details of my life. You don't know what I have done, and you don't know what I have done to others." And you are right. I don't. But God does, and He loves you desperately. He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper and not to harm. Did you hear that? Plans to prosper and not to harm. His plans are good plans, plans to give us hope and a future. So that brings me back to "It is never about circumstances, it is always about fruit!"
According to God's word, the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. If we look at our lives, we can see if we are bearing fruit. Is there love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control in us? If we see even a few of these attributes inside of us, we can say that we do bear fruit. Sometimes the fruit is small and withered, but it is still there, so I want to go to scripture to find out what God is going to do for those of us who are bearing fruit.
John 15 says: "I am the true grapevine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn't produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more fruit." OK. If we have accepted Jesus into our heart as our LORD and Savior, we are in the vine - Jesus is that vine. So God, the Gardener, is watching over His grapevine. He wants one thing - FRUIT - lots of big, luscious fruit. He will go to great lengths to make sure that we bear fruit, but how does He do that? He goes on to say, "You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you." When we HEAR God's Word and apply it to our lives, the Word prunes and purifies us. That's cool, isn't it! When we become obedient to do what God is asking us to do, we BEGIN to bear fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. "Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned."
Those who refuse to HEAR and OBEY God's Word do not produce fruit. According to God's Word, they can't. We can only bear fruit if we are IN the vine. If we love Him, we OBEY Him, and it is in our obedience that we find: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. So those who refuse to obey God are cut off and thrown in a pile to be burned. They will not make it into the Kingdom of Heaven, but look at what happens when we remain in the vine. "But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father."
Oh my goodness! When we remain in Jesus, and His Words remain in us, we produce LOTS OF FRUIT! Our lives are filled with love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control. When we REACT like this, God gets great glory! Wow! Fruit is what God is after because He gets glory, AND He gets to answer our prayers! God gets to show off through us! Now this is a cool gig. We get PEACE and JOY and LOVE, and God gets GLORY! No wonder He is so concerned about fruit. This is a win, win situation here. So, I don't know about you, but I want to bear MUCH fruit.
"I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father's commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be FILLED WITH MY JOY. Yes, your joy will overflow! Wow! Filled with the joy that Jesus had - overflowing joy! I don't know about you, but doesn't this seem like what we all want? It is God's promise to us when we bear fruit, and all we have to do to bear fruit is to do what God asks us to do.
"This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you." The greatest commandment, the commandment that will bring us to a place where we bear much fruit and bring God much glory is when we love one another. That means love everybody. Circumstances do not matter. If we are to love like Jesus loved, we too will say, "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." It does not matter what they have done. When we respond to anything that comes against us with: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, we are responding in love, and that brings God much glory. But many times our emotions (spirits) get in the way of us bearing fruit. Bitterness, anger, resentment, being offended, self-pity, self-condemnation, rejection, abandonment, hate, lust, pride, selfish ambition, bitter envy, fear, worry, wanting to control, or a whole host of other spirits that attack. Their sole purpose is to kill, to steal, and to destroy us. When they are in our heart, they move us. They make us do things we don't want to do. The only way to get them out is to come heart-wide-open to a holy God and say, "I am guilty, God. Will You forgive me?" And he does. These spirits leave and peace enters. FRUIT, large fruit begins to form, and our heart responds with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, even in the hardest situations. We get JOY, and God gets GLORY!
"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything that the Father told Me." Did you hear that? We will lay down our lives for our friends. We will die to self. We will die to our agenda. We will consider others as more important than ourselves. We will grant them grace and mercy, and we will get grace and mercy in return - maybe not from them, but God sees and hears and responds to those who love Him, and He confides in us. We are His friends.
Jesus goes on to say, "You didn't choose Me, I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for using My name. This is My command: Love each other." God chose us and appointed us to go and produce everlasting fruit! WHY? He wants to give us whatever we ask for. He wants to be able to answer our prayers. He loves us so much, and He loves the world so much, too. He wants to move mountains, but He has to wait for us to ask. LOVE produces large fruit, and when we produce fruit, God can trust us to ask for the same things that He wants to give. We then become partners. Prayer moves the hand of God, so God is getting us ready to pray. He is about to show Himself strong, and we will be His witnesses. We will see our God fight once again for His people.
"A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart." (Luke 6:43-45) . We can know what is in a person's heart by what they say. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit. Did you see that? Begin to look at fruit. Start in your on life and then look at others. If you see fruit, you know that God is doing something. A lot of times, that person's life is hard. That is because God is pruning. We are in the pruning season. It doesn't feel good, but it is glorious. The season we are in now will set us up to bear large fruit, fruit so big that it takes two people to carry it. THEN, God is going to pour out a spirit of grace and prayer, and we will see God move in ways we cannot imagine. But for right now just remember, it is never about the circumstances, it is always about the fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are the attributes of our loving God, and He wants His children to look just like He looks, so fix your eyes on Jesus, guard your heart, and give thanks. God is always up to something good.
Blessings, my friends. May the God of peace, Himself, sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the LORD Jesus Christ. For He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it!
Some of you may not know me, and therefore, not know what I do, but every spring I have the honor and privilege of getting to judge One Act Plays. There are so many brilliant directors in Texas. I am in awe every time the lights come on and a play begins. A couple of weeks ago one of the plays I saw was Medea, a Greek play written by Euripides in 431 B.C. It is not one of my favorite plays, and as I read it in preparation for my judging, I thought, "OK. I get to watch a woman kill her children to get back at her husband." It was not a "feel good" type of play, not one that I would choose. The story goes like this: Medea loves Jason. She loves him so much that she committed murder and left her family and her home to go be with him. Thinking that it would benefit him (and possibly his family) Jason then turns and marries the King's daughter. Medea is filled with rage and kills the new wife and her father along with her two children to get back at Jason. Nice!
So, I was unprepared for what happened to me when the play began. The stage was set in modern times. In the set, we saw the uber rich pitted against extreme poverty. As the play opened, we saw a little boy watching TV, giggling. This delightful little boy and his baby brother were a part of the action throughout the entire play. We saw the love and watch-care that Medea as well as Jason had for their children. At the start of the play, we see Medea throwing up in a stained toilet in a run-down apartment when she got the news that Jason was getting married. Then backlit behind the opaque doors, the Greek chorus is introduced. They enter the scene, and what happened next intrigued me. This chorus of Greek women became spirits that moved Medea to do things she might not have done otherwise. WOW! I know this one! For the last seven years, God has been teaching me spiritual warfare. This is real, and I watched it being played out on stage for us all to see. Something would be said, and a Greek woman would come and turn Medea in another direction. We saw Medea change right before our eyes. Then at the ending of the play, all of the women circled Medea and came down around her. Medea disappeared for several seconds, and when we saw her again, she was covered with blood, holding her dead baby and her lifeless son in her arms. Crying and screaming, she picked up her two lifeless children and walked out the door as Jason watched in agony and torment. I can't get this play out of my mind, so I have to blog.
I want to talk about this play from a spiritual point-of-view. What Medea did was unthinkable. No mother would ever kill the children she loves to get back at her husband. That makes no kind of sense. If Medea were in her right mind, she would not have made that choice either, but spirits entered her heart that moved her to do things that should never be done. I want us to have understanding about what happened.
Jason made choices that rocked Medea's world, choices Medea had no control over. Life throws circumstances our way that can knock the wind out of our sails. Medea could not change the fact that Jason was leaving her and marrying another woman. Her heart was broken, and in this broken state, a flood of spirits came rushing in to torment her. If I were going to name what entered her heart when she found out about the marriage, I would say: sorrow, abandonment, rejection, despair, jealousy, bitterness, rage, hatred, revenge. There were probably more, but I don't have their names. These are all spirits, and they are all powerful. In her broken state, Medea embraced each one of these spirits with the same passion that she gave to Jason. She gave herself over to these spirits until they consumed her.
I want to stop here and insert a story. A few years ago while I was making a delivery to the Panhandle, I stopped into McDonald's to eat breakfast. I sat by a TV, and I watched a news report where Jodi Arias was giving her testimony at her murder trial. I knew nothing of this case because we don't have cable, but in 2008, this woman shot her boyfriend several times and then repeatedly stabbed him. Gruesome. Brutal. On the witness stand that day she gave a detailed account of what happened right up until the time she pulled the trigger. Then she said she could not remember what happened. When she said that she could not remember what happened, I knew she was telling the truth. In my lifetime I have seen two people where demons manifested, and I know of a third one. Each of these people could not remember what happened when the demon took over. I knew that a demon had taken over Jodi Arias. That is why the crime was so brutal. But I still didn't understand.
That day, sitting in McDonald's, I asked God, "Would you let me understand what happened to her?" God then dropped a scripture in my heart, "If you have hatred in your heart, you are a murderer, and there is no eternal life in you." Wow! She hated him. Not only did she hate him, but she embraced the hatred, and because she allowed the hatred to become big inside of her, when the occasion arose, the spirit took over. She gave that spirit permission to use her by allowing it to stay in her heart. That spirt became bigger and more powerful the more she embraced it.
Then God said, "If you have looked at a woman with lust in your heart, you have committed adultery with her already." Wow! Then I knew that as we choose to embrace this spirit, the spirit of lust, it becomes bigger and more twisted. That is what is happening in our country. Everywhere we turn we are being bombarded with half naked ladies who are trying to sell something. We can't turn on any TV show without seeing people hop from bed to bed, and we see everything that they do in those beds. At that point, the spirits enter. We then have a choice. We can either turn our back on them and go the other way, or we can turn toward them and embrace them. In our country, we are not withholding anything from ourselves. We are doing exactly what our flesh wants to do without restraint and without remorse. We are embracing the spirits that want to destroy us instead of fighting them. And when things get tough, just like Jodi Arias, the spirits have already been given permission to take over. Now back to Medea.
Medea was consumed with jealousy and rage. She was boiling with hatred and revenge. These spirits took over and murdered her children. I don't think that Medea knew what she did. When she woke up, she saw her lifeless children in her arms. What spirits came rushing in then? Regret? Torment? Shame? Guilt? Remorse? Self-Condemnation? Self-Loathing? Hopelessness? Despair? Madness? Suicide? The enemy came in like a flood to kill, steal and destroy. What now?
There is a way of escape, and His name is Jesus. It doesn't matter what we have done, Jesus is there with arms-wide-open calling our name. Medea could have found redemption. All she had to do was cry out to God. Everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD will be saved. If from somewhere deep within that tormented soul a cry came forth, "Help me! I need You! Jesus, rescue me. I can't do this anymore." If that happens, God will tear open heaven to come down and save us. He is waiting to hear our cry. Psalm 18 gives us a glimpse of what happens in the spirit realm when we cry out to Him
"The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in mu path. BUT IN MY DISTRESS I CRIED OUT TO THE LORD, yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears. Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; then quaked because of His anger. Smoke poured from His nostrils; fierce flames leaped from His mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from Him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath His feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, He flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded Himself in darkness, veiling His approach with dark rain clouds. Thick clouds shielded the brightness around Him and rained down hail and burning coals. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals. He shot His arrows and scattered His enemies; great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused. Then at Your command, O LORD, at the blast of Your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare."
"He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the LORD supported me. He lead me to a place of safety." Psalm 18:4-19
Our enemies are not people. Jason was not Medea's enemy, the spirits that attack us are. When a spirit enters our heart, it moves us. We want to do what is right, but anger won't let us; jealousy won't let us; unforgiveness won't let us. The only way to get a spirit out of our heart is to come to God without excuse, without pointing the finger at someone else, and say, "I am guilty of being angry. I am guilty of allowing hatred in my heart. I am guilty of being jealous. I am guilty of wanting revenge. I am guilty of letting sorrow consume me. I am guilty of trying to control and manipulate others. I am guilty of feeling rejected and abandoned. I am guilty of condemning myself. I am guilty of allowing unforgiveness into my heart. Will you forgive me?" And He does. As far as the east is from the west, He casts our sins from us. Then according to God's word, we choose to love those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who spitefully use us. So I am going to pray for Jason for Medea, and I am going to ask her to agree with me.
LORD, will You open up the windows of heaven over Jason, and will You pour out righteousness. Will You open up his heart so that He can receive that righteousness, and may righteousness and salvations spring up together in his heart. Please forgive him for what he has done to Medea and to her children. Don't hold it against him. Send light and truth and mercy and grace. Send Your unfailing love to him. Let the arms of Your love hold him close. Give him wisdom and understanding, and LORD heal his heart and set him free. I ask this in Jesus' name. AMEN
Then we get to choose to embrace other spirits: love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and self-control. 'We can ask for these spirts - along with wisdom and understanding - and our generous God will give them to us freely.
God has made a way of escape - even when we do the unthinkable. He is good like that. But to those who reject this grace that is offered to the whole world, torment and sorrow will be their inheritance. It is our choice. No one can take that choice away.
I am trembling inside right now. On Monday, February 11, 2019, my 60th birthday, I sat down with my Bible in my hand to relax after my brothers left to go home. My Bible opened to Psalm 78. I was intrigued. That Psalm started out saying, "O My people, listen to My instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you HIDDEN LESSONS from our past - stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these TRUTHS from our children, we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about His power and His mighty wonders." (vs. 1-4)
In my mind I am thinking, this is going to be good. There are HIDDEN LESSONS in this Psalm - truths that we need to pass on to the next generation, but what I read caused me to tremble. According to Psalm 78, God is listening to everything we say, and I am hearing people all around me say the same things the Israelites said. They spoke against God Himself, saying, "God can't give us food in the wilderness. Yes, He can strike a rock so water gushes out, but He can't give His people bread and meat." (vs. 19-20) . Guys, do we do this? Do we doubt that God can provide for our needs? Pay the rent? Put food on our table? Save our children? Heal our bodies? Do we trust God with the everyday details of our lives? What are we saying? We have to listen to what is coming out of our mouth because listen to how God reacted to what the Israelites were saying, "God can't give us bread and meat."
When the LORD heard them, he was furious. The fire of His wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, His anger rose against Israel, for THEY DID NOT BELIEVE GOD OR TRUST HIM TO CARE FOR THEM. (vs. 21-22) . Are we believing God. Do we trust Him to care for us? Do we trust Him to be our provider? Our protector? Our deliverer? What are we saying, because out of the abundance of our heart the mouth speaks. Whatever is in our heart WILL come out of our mouth, and by our words we will be justified and by our words, we will be condemned. So God rained down meat as thick as dust, and the people ate their fill. God gave them the food they craved, but while the meat was still in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them and He (God) killed their strongest men. (vs. 23-31) . Oh my goodness! "But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite His wonders, they refused to trust Him, so He ended their lives in failure, their years in terror." (vs. 32-33) .
Did you know that to not trust God is our sin? To think that He can't do what He says He can do is our wickedness? When we fail to trust God, look at what happens. We end our lives in failure and terror. Can you see that happening? What is going on in your heart? Is it at rest and peace, or is there something else in there? When will we begin to trust? "When God began killing them, they finally sought Him. They repented and took God seriously." (vs.34) . Are you trembling? I am. Is God going to have to start killing us before we trust Him?
This has all been rolling around in my heart all week. God is listening to what we are saying. Malachi 3:13-14 "You have said terrible things about Me," says the LORD. But you say, "What do you mean? What have we said against you?" "You have said, 'What's the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying His commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven's Armies that we are sorry for our sins? From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm." Are we doing that? Are we calling the arrogant blessed? Are we saying, "What's the use?" God is listening to what we say. He knows our heart, and He is not happy.
BUT those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In His presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared Him and always thought about the honor of His name. "They will be My people," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. "On the day when I act in judgment, they will be My own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not." (Malachi 3:16-18)
God is about to act in judgment. I believe with all my heart that we are about to see people die. Listen to what people are saying. You will know what is coming. I don't know about you, but this makes me tremble. God is God. He is going to do what He says He is going to do. He is merciful and kind, but unless we turn toward Him, we will not live.
Revival has been happening for a while now, but last night at church I could see clearly what God is doing and has been doing. Then when John Williams was asked to give the closing prayer, he cried out REVIVAL! My heart shouted back, "REVIVAL!"
Todd has been teaching on Wednesday nights on Heaven and what it will be like. Last night he was in Revelation 21. He explained the twelve layers of precious stones that is the foundation of the New Jerusalem. Each stone not only shone brilliantly with iridescent light, reflecting the glory and holiness of God and the Lamb, they also represent the virtues of God. I jotted down quickly what Todd was saying: faith, uprightness, passionate love, mercy, holiness, goodness, patience, self-control, royalty. WOW! This is happening inside of us. I can see it. I can feel it. It is happening individually and corporately. Fruit is sprouting up everywhere.
Then God took me to Isaiah 60 where it talks about what is happening in us, too. "The glory of Lebanon will be yours- the forests of cypress, fir, and pine - to beautify My sanctuary (that's us!) My temple will be glorious! The descendants of your tormentors will come and bow before you. Those who despise you will kiss your feet. THEY WILL CALL YOU THE CITY OF THE LORD, and ZION of the Holy One of Israel."
"Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations. Powerful kings and mighty nations will satisfy your every need, as though you were a child nursing at the breast of a queen. You will know at last that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel. I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I WILL MAKE PEACE YOUR LEADER AND RIGHTEOUSNESS YOUR RULER. VIOLENCE WILL DISAPPEAR FROM YOUR LAND; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there." Can you see it! This is happening inside of us. Peace is becoming our leader and righteousness is becoming our ruler. All the strivings cease. It is glorious!
"No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the LORD will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with My own hands in order to bring Myself glory. The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. AT THE RIGHT TIME, I, THE LORD, WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN."
Can you see it? Can you feel it? Are you experiencing the glory of this moment in time?
Then God took me to Isaiah 54 and 55. "O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations from lapis lazuli. I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and your walls of precious stones. I WILL TEACH ALL YOUR CHILDREN AND THEY WILL ENJOY GREAT PEACE. You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. (That's in our heart!) Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near you. If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat."
"I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy. BUT IN THE COMING DAY no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD, their vindication will come from Me. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
"Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink - even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk - it's all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to Me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food."
"Come to Me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David. See how I used him to display My power among the peoples. I made him a leader among the nations. You also will command nations you do not know, and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey, because I, the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious."
Seek the LORD while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD the He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously.
The time is now. Revival is here. But what if you don't see yourself in these scriptures in Isaiah? Maybe you can see yourself in James 4. What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what yo don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong - you want only what will give you pleasure.
You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of
God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the Spirit He has placed within us should be faithful to Him. And He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the LORD, and He will lift you up in honor.
The time is now. God is calling to His people, "Come home!" He is waiting there with open arms, longing to wrap His arms of mercy around us to set us free. If you want that freedom, face Jesus now and open your heart wide. Let Him come in and heal your broken heart. Let Him deliver you from all of your stubborn rebellion and from all of your stubborn pride and self sufficiencies.. Humble yourself before Him and say, "God, I am guilty. I have rebelled against You. Will you please forgive me?" And He will. He is just waiting for you to ask. Come, join the party! The invitation is to everyone. FREEDOM! PEACE! SALVATION! JOY! It is a free gift, and it is all yours if you want it.
The last few months the LORD has been doing a new work inside of me. This work is BIG! It is so big that I am only scratching the surface of what God is trying to do in His people - inside of me!, The richness of this grace that is being poured out onto humanity will far exceed anything I can ever imagine. It will change the course of our world, our personal world, and I am trembling to my core with excitement at the very thought of what is about to happen. There is a grace coming into our lives that will take us places we have never been before. The grace that God wants to give to us right now is honor. Not that we get honor, but that we begin to give it. This is HUGE!
When Todd King, pastor of High Mesa Cowboy Church in Brownwood, Texas www.highmesacc.com, started teaching on honor in March of 2018, his teaching hit something deep inside of me. I knew that I had fallen so short of honoring the people that God has placed in my life. I came home and started meditating on what honor meant. I googled the meaning, and it said to give “high respect” and “high esteem” to someone - to bring them glory. Wow! According to this definition, I knew of no one who is receiving honor right now. I don’t see honor given in our homes. I don’t see honor given in our workplaces. I don’t see honor given in our school systems. I don’t see honor given in our governing authorities. I don’t see honor given anywhere, and I did not see it in my heart. I so very much wanted to remedy that, so I started at the very beginning. In Deuteronomy 5:16, God said, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Both of my parents are gone. They were both good, honorable people, but my heart never gave them the honor they deserved, and I knew that. Things got in the way. Words said. Things done. I don’t think that either one of them ever intended to hurt me, but hurt happened and it got in the way. But I wanted to honor them. I did! So I posted on Facebook, and I shared my heart. Crazy things happened as I began to write. Somehow I got out of the way, and I could see them clearly. Honor entered my heart, and I could see the great gift God had given me when He gave me my parents. I started to cry. My heart flooded with gratitude. The following is what I wrote on Facebook in March?
OK. I have to say something. I want to blog, but I don't have time. Todd's message Sunday over honor is hitting me to my core. I googled what honor means. It means "high respect" and "high esteem," to glorify someone. Wow! High respect. Where do I see that? Not in America. I saw it at the royal wedding. England still knows what that means, but we don't. I don't see respect anywhere, let alone "high respect." Then Todd said that respect and honor are taught. We have not been taught to respect or honor people. Wow. It is true. So what I want to do is to publicly do what God is commanding us to do in scripture.
To give honor is a choice. It does not depend on the character of the person being honored. When God says honor someone, He doesn't say, "Honor them if they deserve it." He says, "Give honor: high respect, high esteem, and glory. Give honor with your words. Give honor with your actions. Give honor with your attitude." It is a choice, and I am going to choose to honor. If all goes well, I will do this as often as I can. Just scroll right past me if you want, but if you want, you can join me. The first commandment God gave that comes with a promise is to honor your father and your mother, that it may go well with you, and you will live a long life. So I want to start out honoring my father and my mother. Neither one are living right now, and I don't know if I honored them when they were alive. I know that I respected them very much, but I don't know if I honored them. I want to do that now.
My dad was an amazing man. He did not do things the way that others thought it should be done, he did things in his own way and his own time. He left home before he graduated and took a job on a seismograph crew. He traveled a lot. His traveling took him through Oshkosh, Nebraska where he met my mother. He was 19 at the time. When he left, a little fourteen year old girl was pregnant. He wrote a note on a napkin, and he said, "I will come back." And he did. Their life was not an easy one, but that man worked hard to provide for his family. He gave us a safe place to grow up. He protected us, and he raised us to be honest, hardworking productive people. He taught us right from wrong, and he expected us always to do what was right. He taught us to always tell the truth - no matter what. That was a gift beyond measure. I don't know that I have ever fully appreciated until now all of the good gifts that man gave to us. Thank you, dad, for being my dad. I wish I would have told you this when you were alive. I wish I had been able to tell you how valuable you are. I think you needed to hear it. I just didn't know how to say it.
I also want to honor my mother. She, too, was amazing. By the time she was seventeen years old she had three children. At a time when all of her friends were going to school and parties, she was at home with babies, and she was just a little girl herself. She worked hard to make a home for us. She gave and gave and gave. All of you mothers know what I mean. She had her own issues she had to work out, and she did. In her early forties she was diagnosed with cancer. It was at that time that she began to fight hard to live. She forgave people. She laid her burdens down, and before she died - after five long, hard years of surgeries and chemo - she called me and she said, "I know what you are talking about. I have taken up my cross, and I am following Jesus." My mom is the bravest, most self-sacrificing woman I know. I do not think I could do even a fraction of what she did and what she went through. Mom, I wish I would have told you this when you were alive. Maybe I did. I don't know. If you were here now, I know that we would be best friends. That is what my heart always longed for. One day I will be able to hug your neck and tell you how much I love you. Thank you for being my mom. Thank you for all you gave up. Thank you for always taking care of us. Thank you for loving my dad. Thank you for keeping our family together. Thank you for your unfailing love.
I love you both so much,
Even as I am copying and pasting the Facebook post, my heart is filled with gratitude - such overwhelming gratitude for the parents God gave me. I wanted to cry. Then God said, “Honor your grandparents.” They also played the part of “parents” in our lives. My brothers and I spent every summer with them. When I set about to honor my grandparents, honoring my grandmother came easy. She loved me. She loved everyone she saw. My heart has always honored her, but my grandfather was a different story. When I set about to honor him, there was not one thing that I could think to say that would bring him honor. He was an alcoholic, and he was very selfish, so I said, “God, I will just honor my grandmother instead.” But He said, “No. Honor them both,” so I did.
The minute that I turned to God in obedience to do what He was asking me to do, a spirit entered my heart. It was the Spirit of Honor. My heart was able to give “high respect” and “high esteem” to a man who didn’t deserve it. I saw him in a different light. I saw past the years of selfish decisions into the heart of a man who was created in the image of God. It was beyond breathtaking! HONOR!!! Then I set my heart to understand HONOR.
Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who HONORS Him has mercy on the needy.
Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before HONOR (high esteem and high respect, glory) is humility.
Proverbs 20:3. It is HONORABLE for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.
Proverbs 21:21 He who follows RIGHTEOUSNESS and MERCY finds life, righteousness, and HONOR.
Proverbs 22:4 By humility and fear of the LORD are riches, HONOR, and life.
Proverbs 27:18 Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit, so he who waits on his master will be honored.
Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain HONOR.
Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
Mark 7:10 For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother;” and “he who curses father and mother, let him be put to death.”
1 Timothy 5:3 Honor widows who are really widows.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of DOUBLE HONOR, especially those who labor in the word and in doctrine.
1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many bondservants who are under the yoke count their own masters (bosses) worthy of all HONOR, so that the name of God and His doctrine not be blasphemed.
1 Peter 2:18 You who are slaves (employees) must submit to your masters with all respect (HONOR). Do what they tell you - not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.
1 Peter 2:17 HONOR all people.
Love the brotherhood.
HONOR the king.
1 Peter 3:1-6 Wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right (HONOR him) without fear of what your husbands might do.
1 Peter 3:7 In the same way, you husbands must give HONOR to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is an heir together in this grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.
Revelation 5:12 Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and HONOR and glory and blessing!
Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying, “Blessing and HONOR and glory and power be to HIM who sits on the throne and unto the LAMB forever and ever!
Now this is not a comprehensive list of scriptures on HONOR. What I was looking to find is WHO we are suppose to honor, and according to God’s word, it looks like we are supposed to honor all people. That means that we are to look at everyone with “high esteem” and “high respect” and to give glory to. This does not mean that all people are worthy of honor. Proverbs 26:1 says, “As snow in summer and rain in harvest, so HONOR is not fitting for a fool.” We have to speak the truth in love. But even when a person does all kinds of selfish, cruel, unkind things, we can look past what he did and see who he is. He is a person that God created in His image. 1 Peter 2:17 says, “Honor all people.” Wow! Would this change the world?
What does HONOR look like? According to the above scriptures, honor looks like humility - thinking of others as more important than ourselves. Philippians 2:3-4 puts it this way: Don’t be selfish, don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. So to HONOR someone means to think of them as important - more important than we are. We are in essence putting their needs and interests above our needs and interests. Wow! In other words, if we treat people - all people - the way we would want to be treated, we would HONOR them. If we want to be honored, we have to give honor.
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER:
It starts with our parents. If we have not learned to honor our parents, honoring others in authority will be hard. But look at what Mark 7:10 Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother,” and “he who curses father and mother, let him be put to death.” PUT TO DEATH! WOW! We have messed up so bad. Father forgive us for not honoring our parents. LORD, teach us how. It starts here. Teach us how to glorify our parents. I know that they have not been perfect, but God, none of us are. PLEASE, LORD, teach us how to honor our parents.
WIVES, HONOR YOUR HUSBANDS:
1 Peter 2:13-21 talks about slaves submitting to their masters, but it is also talking about wives submitting to their husbands. (1 Peter 3:1-2) “You who are slaves (wives) must submit to your masters (husbands) with all respect. Do what they tell you - not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of His will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of Course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.
We have lived in a time period where men do not receive any respect. We have not been taught respect, and on top of that, we are living in a time period where women are put on a pedestal. We can’t cross a woman. If we do, there is hell to pay. This has made it so difficult for men to be the leaders in the home or anywhere else for that matter. We won’t let them. We want to control them. We put them down at every opportunity. Our homes are out-of-order. It’s a mess, but it could all change if we would start giving HONOR (high respect, high esteem, glory) to our man. We would be surprised at the results of being obedient in this area. There is a book written by Debi Pearl that is rocking my world right now, CREATED TO BE HIS HELPMEET. This is the best book I have ever read on our role as a wife. Ladies, we have messed up so bad! But it is never too late to change. God is in the restoration business.
But what about those husbands who are cruel? Honor them. CREATED TO BE HIS HELPMEET addresses all the situations. Most of the time husbands will change when we begin to treat them the way they were meant to be treated. For the rest, let the law handle them.
HUSBANDS, HONOR YOUR WIVES:
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in this grace called life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7) Did you know that your prayers could be hindered if you are not treating your wife with honor. Would this make all of the difference in the world if we would honor one another and walk in the roles God gave us.
HONOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY:.
1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many bondservants who are under the yoke count their own masters (bosses) worthy of all HONOR, so that the name of God and His doctrine not be blasphemed.
1 Peter 2:18 You who are slaves (employees) must submit to your masters with all respect (HONOR). Do what they tell you - not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.
I know that many of us have bosses who are not kind or fair, but God did not ask us to honor only the good ones, He is asking us to honor all of those who are in authority over us. This includes our President - whether you like him or not.
Romans 13:1-7 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of Course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them. Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give RESPECT and HONOR to those who are in authority.
I see no respect for our President. That makes me sad. But what makes me more sad is that we did not show honor and respect for our previous President. It is God’s will that we HONOR all of those in authority. We have fallen so far short. LORD, please forgive us. Let us start now to bring honor to those who are over us. I ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN
HONOR GOD AND HONOR JESUS!
Revelation 5:12 Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and HONOR and glory and blessing!
Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying, “Blessing and HONOR and glory and power be to HIM who sits on the throne and unto the LAMB forever and ever!
This is what it is all about. Honor God. Honor Jesus. We do that when we honor people. James 3 talks about this. “Sometimes our tongue praises our LORD and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
How can we bless (HONOR) God who we have never seen and curse (DISHONOR) man who is made in the image of God? We can’t. This is HUGE! God is honored and glorified when we honor other people. He is honored when we think of others as more important than ourselves. He is honored when we value others - even when they don’t deserve it.
I don’t know about you, but this HONOR thing is rocking my world. It is pure grace to be able to walk in honor, but I want to. LORD, teach us Your ways and show us Your paths. I ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN
About a month ago, my husband and I decided to sell one of our rent houses. Leia and James had been renting that house, and we wanted to make sure that they had time to find another place and make the adjustment, so we put off selling it until March 1st. We knew that it would be difficult for them to make the house payment and still be able to get into a new place, so we decided that we will waive the rent payment. That will give them nearly six months rent free. My husband then made an off-hand comment that the choice we had just made was a jubilee. He was right. His words set my heart on fire. It made me start thinking. It is a time when debt is canceled. A new beginning.
Then, Leia called and told me about a job she had taken to babysit. A single mom needed someone to keep her child temporarily. After two days of childcare, the woman found a permanent sitter, but she would not return Leia's texts or calls about payment. Now, Leia needed the money. She had bills to pay, and she had medicine she needed to buy, but she also had compassion on the single mom. Finally, she told her, "If you can live with it, I can live without it." As she was telling me this story, I was thinking - the woman needs a jubilee! Leia needs a jubilee! If Leia would give a jubilee - completely release the woman from her debt - she would get a jubilee. That's how God works, "Give and it shall be given unto you." Leia needs some debts completely erased - don't we all. So again I began to ponder this concept of a jubilee. It feels like we are living in that time period. God is coming to His people and canceling all debts. He is restoring. He is redeeming. But it is fascinating to me to think that we would actually take this into the physical realm, that we would actually cancel debts - real money. That we could make choices on earth that could set in motion the very essence of Christ's ministry - redemption and restoration. Times of refreshing. Times of release.
I then wanted to find out more about a jubilee. I went to Google. No help, except for the small reference to Leviticus 25. According to Leviticus 25:8-13, you must count off seven Sabbath years, seven sets of seven years, adding up to forty-nine. Then on the Day of Atonement in the fiftieth year, blow the ram's horn loud and long throughout the land. Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors and return to your own clan. WOW! Every 50 years, God proclaims freedom throughout the land, and He asks us to do the same! It is a time that is holy! A time to return to our own land.
So then I started thinking - are we really in an ACTUAL Jubilee? This time I went to Bing, and I typed in "when is the next jubilee for Israel." What came up was interesting. The actual date of the jubilee is lost. Many believe that 1967 was a jubilee year for Israel. That would coincide with a date in 1917. They believe this because they know that this jubilee period is a time of restoration for Israel and for the church, and Israel saw much restoration during those years. If that is so, many believe that the next year of jubilee was 2015-16. Some believe 2016-17. Some believe 2017-18. I can sense that this is so. The last few years has been amazing. I am watching God come and fight for His people. I am watching hearts turn, lives change. God is restoring His people. Then there was one link that said - 2018: A Year of Restoration for Israel and the Church? I clicked on the video. What this man said rang true in my ears, and I am attaching the link.
Friends of mine, I believe with all my heart that we are living in a time of jubilee. As we repent, God sends times of refreshing and restoration. Wow! God is doing that for us! What I want to say is, can we do that for others? Can we give a jubilee? Can we completely cancel debts? Can we forgive? Can we let go? Can we reset? Can we let others reset? It feels like we can. Our eyes cannot be on money. It has to be on Jesus, because canceling a person's debt on earth doesn't make much sense in the natural. It makes tons of sense in the spiritual. WOW! Jubilee! Freedom!
Blessings, my friends! May we all walk in a lifetime of jubilee!
There has been A LOT on my mind the last couple of weeks. God's word is piercing my heart, and maybe for the first time - THE FEAR OF THE LORD is entering me. I know that God is God. He is holy. He is just. And I know that the same things that made Him angry in the past, makes Him angry now. I tremble because we are doing those same things. Sweet Jesus! But then I came to realize that even though we prostitute ourselves, even though we follow after other lovers, even though we go the wrong directions, God still loves us, and He will intervene on our behalf. We don't realize that all we have came from God, not our (job-talent-intelligence-money-looks-whatever you think prospered you). We may not like the intervention, but He is so kind and gracious to stop us from our madness. Listen to what God is going to do for His people who have been unfaithful to Him.
In Hosea, God talks about us saying, "Their mother is a shameless prostitute and she became pregnant in a shameful way. She said, "I'll run after other lovers and sell myself to them for food and water, for clothing of wool and linen, and for olive oil and drinks." - What are we running after that we think supplies these things? -
"For this reason I will fence her in with thorn bushes. I will block her path with a wall to make her lose her way. When she runs after her lovers, she won't be able to catch them. She will search for them but not find them. Then she will think, 'I might as well return to my husband, for I was better off with Him than I am now.'
She (we) doesn't realize it was I who gave her everything she has - the grain, the new wine, the olive oil; I even gave her silver and gold. But she gave all my gifts to Baal.
"But now I will take back the ripened grain and new wine I generously provided each harvest season. I will take away the wool and linen clothing I gave her to cover her nakedness. I will strip her naked in public, while all her lovers look on. No one will be able to rescue her from my hands. I will put an end to her annual festivals, her new moon celebrations, and her Sabbath days - all her appointed festivals. I will destroy her grapevines and fig trees, things the claims her lovers age her. I will let them grow into tangled thickets, where only wild animals will eat the fruit. I will punish her for all those times when she burned incense to her images of Baal, when she put on her earrings and jewels and went out to look for her lovers but forgot all about Me," says the LORD.
BUT THEN I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to Me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. When that day comes, " says the LORD, "you will call Me 'my husband' instead of 'my master.'" Hosea 2
Wow! God is going to take away every good thing He has ever given us so that we will come to a place where we want Him again. Then He is going to romance us there in the desert. The world will see us naked and destitute, but God will see His bride. Humble. Contrite. Beautiful.
He loves us so much. It is passages like this one that give me such hope. God loves us - even when we are lusting after other lovers.
Thank you, Jesus!
Hi friends. Today is Thursday morning. It was just two days ago that God began revealing to me "The Fear of the LORD." I think somewhere along the way we lost the fear and reverence for our Maker. Maybe we never had it. I don't think I did. God is so good! He always has been so good to me, but two days ago I started trembling. I saw the God who got so angry with His people that He wanted to destroy them time and time again, and I want to know: WHAT MADE GOD ANGRY? I want to know this because I know that my God never changes. The same God who parted the Red Sea and rained Manna from heaven and caused water to gush from rocks, is the same God who caused the earth to open wide and swallow whole families. I don't know about you, but I want to know why, because the same things that made Him angry back then will make Him angry now. 1 Corinthians 10 talks about the people of Israel. All of them did eat the same spiritual meat and drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples that we should not lust after evil things, as they lusted. They were just like us - "Saved." They ate and drank of the Rock that followed them, Jesus - so do we. (1Corinthians 10) But most of them did not make it, and I don't want it to be the same for us, so I want to write down what I see.
FIRST, I SAW GOD SAY, "DON'T COMPLAIN!"
"And don't grumble and complain as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death." (1 Corinthians 10:10) When I look at the Israelites, and at our own lives, I see it riddled with complaints. We have to understand what is really happening when we complain. When we complain - against anyone or anything - we are really complaining against God and "testing" or "tempting" the LORD. (Exodus 17"2) I don't know what that means exactly, but the death angel gets involved. This is the same angel that destroyed all of the firstborn in Egypt. We have to understand. This is serious.
Right after they crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites traveled in the desert for three days without finding water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. Then the people complained and turned against Moses. "What are we going to drink?" they demanded. So Moses cried out to the LORD for help, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water and this made the water good to drink. It was there at Mara that the LORD set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to Him. He said, "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you." (Exodus 15:22-26) The standard that God is setting before us all to test our faithfulness to Him is - will we complain? If we will listen to the voice of the LORD in this area and do what is right in His sight, He will not make us suffer any of the diseases that He sent on the Egyptians. Wow! What an amazing promise. If we refuse to complain about anything, we get to walk in health. As I am typing this, this truth is becoming revelation to me. I want to understand healing, and not complaining is part of that understanding. Wow!
However, a month later, the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron because they wanted meat to eat. Then Moses said, "The LORD will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for He has heard all your complaints against Him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the LORD, not against us." (Exodus 16:8)
These people complained and they turned against Moses and Aaron, but they were really turning their backs on God. Oh my goodness! Whatever situations we find ourselves in, God knows where we are. He is the one who sent us there. Sometimes we are in the places we are in because God wants to disciple us. Other times, God wants to show Himself strong on our behalf. Then other times, like Job, God wants us to know Him in ways we have never known Him before. BUT just like the people of Israel, we want what we want, and we want it now. We complain when we don't get it. We demand what our heart craves. And we fail the test. God is testing our faithfulness to Him. If we only understood that complaining stops God's hand of blessing over our lives, but praise is an open door into the heavenly places for God to work on our behalf. "God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son." (Romans 8:28-29) . With everything that is happening to us, God is using that as an opportunity for us to become more like His Son. His Son would have given His Father praise and honor for whatever provisions He had - even if it were only a few loaves and fishes, because He knows His Father will take care of all of His needs. He will also take care of all of our needs, too, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) . But complaining ties God's hands. It not only ties His hands, but it causes judgment to fall on us - fire from heaven.
Then in Exodus 17: 1-7, we find another time they complained about no water. At the LORD's command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. "Give us water to drink!" they demanded. "Quiet!" Moses replied. "Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?" But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?"
Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!" The LORD said to Moses, "Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink," So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Moses named the place Massah (which means "test") and Meribah (which means "arguing") because the people argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, "Is the LORD here with us or not?"
When hardships come, we have a choice to make. Will we trust God and praise Him, or will we complain and test Him, saying in our heart, "Is the LORD here with us or not?" Psalm 81 says:
Sing praises to God, our strength,
Sing to the God of Jacob.
Sing! Beat the tambouring.
Play the sweet lyre and the harp.
Blow the ram's horn at new moon,
and again at full moon to call a festival!
For this is required by the decrees of Israel;
it is a regulation of the God of Jacob.
He made it a law for Israel
when He attacked Egypt to set us free.
I heard an unknown voice say,
"Now I will take the load from your shoulders;
I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.
You cried to Me in trouble, and I saved you;
I answered out of the thundercloud
and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah.
OK. God made laws and regulations in heavenly realms for us when He comes to set us free. It is a requirement that we praise Him. We cannot praise Him and complain at the same time. It is not possible. So this is the standard that is set before us to test our faithfulness to God. Will we praise Him even when things get rough? It doesn't get much harder than not having food or water. And in the middle of those circumstances, God is asking us to praise Him and not complain. When we do this, what we are actually saying in our heart is, "I believe that the LORD is here with us!" Our faith is tested, and we pass the test. God's hand is then loosed to take the load from our shoulders and free our hands from their heavy tasks.
What I am asking myself and you is, "What are we complaining about?" What is in our heart that causes us to murmur and grumble? Did you know that it is at the LORD's command that you are in this place? He is there with you, and He has made a way of escape. "And don't grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. (1 Corinthians 10:10-13)
So if you know that grumbling and complaining is in your heart, get it out. Come to Jesus without excuse and say, "I am guilty, and I am sorry." Then begin to praise Him. Thank Him for all of the great things He has done. The LORD had just revealed His strong, mighty arm to the people of Israel, but they soon forgot. Let's not forget the miracles God has performed in our own lives, because I am telling you the truth when I say, "He is poised to show Himself strong in our life once again!" He wants to bless us. He wants to be our provider and protector. He wants to be our deliverer. He wants to be our healer. But there is an order to things. We have to stop complaining and start praising His holy name. Praise is the key that unlocks the doors for our God to move on our behalf.
Philippians 2:14-15 says, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life." Can you see that? God makes us blameless and harmless, children without fault. Wow! Blameless. Harmless. Without fault. Lights that shine brightly in a dark world AS WE HOLD FAST TO THE WORD OF LIFE.
We cannot hold fast to the Word of Life when we are complaining. Our light goes out when we complain. We are not blameless when we argue and complain. LORD, we are so sorry. We are sorry that we have tested You. We are sorry that our light has not been allowed to shine brightly in the middle of this crooked, perverse generation. We are sorry that we are not holding fast to the Word of Life. Forgive us. Teach us Your ways and show us Your paths. LORD, help us to walk in it. Teach our mouths not to complain. But really, God, it has to start in our heart. Teach our heart to be thankful. Teach our mouth to sing Your praise.
I ask this in Jesus' name. AMEN
Oh my goodness. I am trembling inside. It started last night at Bible study. God is doing something deep in my heart, and it is moving me. I am shaking. As you can see from the last several posts, God is working inside of me to understand His ways and to walk in them. Last night I saw my God clearly, and I trembled - my knees shook, and my stomach turned. It still is. My heart saw - maybe for the first time - the God that I serve. The God who parts seas to rescue His people. The God who rains down bread from heaven to feed us. The God who causes the rocks to gush water so that we can have something to drink. But He is also the One sent fire in the camp to destroy His chosen people (Did you hear that? That's us!) when they complained about their hardship. (Numbers 11:1) Then the people craved meat, and He is the One who caused an east wind to blow and send quail to satisfy their cravings, but while people gorged themselves on the meat - while it was still in their mouths - the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague. And He is the One who caused the earth to open wide and swallow all who incited rebellion against His chosen leaders. (Numbers 16)
Are you trembling yet? This is us. This is the same God we serve, the One who is gracious and kind, full of unfailing love - slow to anger - full of mercy. This is the God who made a way of escape for us, too. He sent Jesus to us to rescue us. We walked over on dry ground. He feeds us and cares for us. But only two of the people who left Egypt (got saved) (the older generation) made it into the promise land. They refused to believe God or to trust Him to care for them. Please, let us learn this lesson from the past so that He will not have to discipline us like He disciplined them - with terror and disease and hardship and death.
Psalm 78 tells of the rebellion of God's people. LORD, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to understand what You are saying. Show us what You want from us. Cause our hearts to tremble at Your word so that we can turn and live. Send light and truth, and let them lead us to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. I ask this in Jesus' name.
Verses 9-10: "The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. They did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by His instructions." OK, let's look at our lives. When the battle gets tough, do we turn our backs and run? Do we give up? Do we check out? Do we get a divorce, quit a job, give up on our children? Do we refuse to love those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who spitefully use us? Do we refuse to never render evil for evil. Do we refuse to point the finger and speak wicked things? Or do we give in and refuse to fight? We have weapons in our hands. The Word of God is a sharp two edged sword that is able to piercing to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrow, the thoughts and the intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4;12) The Word of God is Spirit and life and able to give life. (John 6:63) . The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us, and it will quicken our mortal bodies. (Romans 8:11) . And God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He said that we will be partakers of His divine nature through His great and precious promises so that we can escape the world's corruption caused by human desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4) Friends, God is for us! He has equipped us! He has sent His Word and His Spirit. All we have to do is stand tall, with our eyes firmly set on Jesus, and begin to do what He is asking us to do.
Verses 11-16: They forgot what He had done - the great wonders He had shown them, the miracles He did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt. For He divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! In the daytime He led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! Oh my goodness! Look what the LORD did for His people, but they forgot. We, too, forget. How could we forget? But we do. Life comes crashing in, the waves too high, and we don't remember. We become fat and lazy and complacent, and we don't remember. We fill our time with too much stuff, and we don't remember. We set our affections on something else, and we don't remember. We stray so far away, and we don't remember. Will you please take a few minutes and remember all of the great things God has done for you? Will you declare His greatness out loud? Will you tell of His awesome deeds? Will you shout to the nations, "Our God reigns!" When we choose to remember - and it is a choice - something amazing happens. Joy comes. Our heart begins to take hold of God's hand and we start to trust again. The Spirit then breathes life and hope.
Verses 17-22: "Yet they kept on sinning against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God Himself, saying, "God can't give us food in the wilderness. Yes, He can strike a rock so water gushes out, but He can't give His people bread and meat." When the LORD heard them, He was furious. The fire of His wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, His anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust Him to care for them." Wow! When we demand things, we are testing God?!? WHAT? What are we demanding? What is in our heart that we just think we cannot live without? Are we testing God, too? Then when we point our finger at God and say, "You are not able!" Oh my goodness! The God who spoke this world into existence, the One who set the sun and the moon and the stars in place, the One who spun this earth at just the right angle and speed to allow life to live, the One who took dust and breathed life into it, and it became a man, the One who gave man free will - knowing that we would rebel - and then sent His Son to make a way where there seems to be no way, the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the One who is the LORD of Heaven's Armies IS THE ONE WHO IS FURIOUS! Because we, like the Israelites, don't believe Him or trust Him to care for us. I don't know if you are trembling, but I am.
Verses 23-31: "But He commanded the skies to open; He opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for them to eat; He gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by His mighty power. He rained down meat as thick as dust - birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and He killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel's young men." Oh my goodness! We have to get this one. What are we craving? A new house? Car? Spouse? Career? Fame? God gave the Israelites what they craved, but while it was still in their mouths, His anger rose against them. What if we get what we crave, but God's anger will come with it. Are we testing God in our heart? Are we demanding what our heart craves? Oh my! LORD help us! LORD forgive us! You would think that when all of this stuff started happening, that the people would pay attention and change, but look at what they did.
Verses 32-34: "But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite His wonders, they refused to trust Him. So He ended their lives in failure, their years in terror. When God began killing them, they finally sought Him. They repented and took God seriously." So what is it that God is wanting us to do? He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to believe what He says. He wants us to know that He is going to do what He says He will do, and that is to take care of His people. He said, "Don't worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all His glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, "What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matthew 6:25-34)
God is asking us not to worry about what we eat or drink or wear. He is asking us to trust Him. But despite all of the words and warnings and hardships, we still refuse to trust God. And if we don't change, our lives will end in failure and terror too. It was not until God started killing them that they finally began to take God seriously. Is that what it is going to take for us? This is a sobering thought.
;I want to tell you what happened to us this weekend. About eight years ago we had it in our heart to start preparing for the end of the world. We, like many others, began to store food and water. It was at that time that it entered our heart to dig a basement, a place to store food. From the start, that basement was not blessed. At the time we dug the basement, we were in a seven year drought, but when the drought broke several years ago, the basement filled to the brim with water, all of the food was destroyed. We had to make a choice. We chose to rebuild it. We chose to put a pool liner inside the basement and have a brick layer come and put a new layer of cement blocks in so it would keep the water out.
As you all know, it has been raining in Texas for several weeks now. A few days ago, my husband went down in the basement to reset the water heater, and all was dry. On Sunday morning, however, I woke up with no hot water. My husband went into the basement to check on the water heater, and it was floating on it's side - so was our freezer. All of the stuff stored in the basement was floating. The water had busted up through the floor of the basement, and as I looked into the mess underneath our house, my heart grieved. I knew then what I had not known eight years ago, we had sinned against God. We tried to take matters into our own hands. We tried to be our own savior and provider. We never consulted God about what we did, we just did it, and it could not be blessed.
Now some of you will think what I just said is nonsense, but I know it to be true. Isaiah 3:1-3 "The Lord, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, will take away from Jerusalem and Judah (that's us) everything they depend on: every bit of bread and every drop of water, all their heroes and soldiers, judges and prophets, fortune-tellers and elders, army officers and high officials, advisers, skilled sorcerers, and astrologers." God is going to take away everything we depend on so that we can only depend on Him. So all of our prepping was for nothing. I know that now. We were trying to prepare, but we were not doing it in the right way. Listen to what God says:
"Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of My sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. "Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey Me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
God, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to understand what the Spirit is saying. I ask this in Jesus' name. AMEN
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."