Revelation 12 describes how a war with Satan spilled from heaven on to earth. Satan in his fury and anger desiring to hurt who defeated him then went to deceive, destroy and to make war against people whom God loves. My friends, whether you like it or not, we are at war.
Today is July 4th, the day we celebrate our nation's independence from tyranny. The Declaration of Independence was signed today in 1776. It was the result of the work performed in the Second Congress. This Congress also authorized and sent George Washington to mobilize and organize an army to represent the newly formed government who represented the will of its people. It took a war to deliver a people from oppression. There were three types of people
We owe what our nation has enjoyed today, not to a majority but rather to a small group of patriots who risked their lives and fortunes for the sake of all. Many of these patriots were inspired by the greatest example of love ever set when Jesus choose to die upon the cross for the sake of all mankind. Jesus did this to give us the keys to victory in this heavenly conflict that spilled on to earth. The Bible says in,
I say that there are those who,
Genesis 1:14 says that God set the lights in the heavens for signs and seasons. Last night (April 8th) Mars, Earth and the Sun aligned one week before the start of the first of 4 blood moons. It's almost like the planets were aligning to point to the beginning of this unusual heavenly event. The rarity of this event is off the charts (click here for APOCALYPSE NOW: Why a rare astrological event LAST NIGHT could herald the 'End of Days').
How Should We Respond?
Jesus said in Luke 21:25-36 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.... So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.... 34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." NKJV
Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 40:3 "Prepare the way of the Lord.... a highway for our God." John the Baptist "prepared the way" before Jesus came the first time (Matt. 3:3) and the Lord has a people who are preparing the way of the Lord for His second coming as well. They are spoken of in Isaiah 62. They are the watchmen who pray in Zion who cry out who never hold their peace (Isa. 62:1-12). They are "pre-praying" the way of the Lord and preparing a bride (Church) to meet her heavenly bridegroom.
Yesterday I shared how fasting and prayer can affect world events click here for Fasting & Shaping History. Today I'd like to talk about the two kinds of fasting described in Isaiah 58. One is a fast motivated by pride and religion. The second is the fast that God chooses.
A religious fast that is motivated primarily by pride and works yields works that God takes no notice in. Their prayers for justice go unheard and their affliction is unseen by God. Why?
'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?' "In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
And exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. NKJV
God won't hear because the purpose of the fast primarily motivated by pride. Pride blinds a person from God's righteousness therefore their prayers and actions are misdirected. They are not right. Their prayer and actions do not line up with God's word. This is evidenced by how they exploit or take advantage of people and secondly misdirected justice. Wicked is the root word of wicker like in wicker furniture. It's called wicker because it is twisted. Wicked means twisted or evil. Therefore justice is misguided and correction is brought in wickedness. James sheds some light as to why this is.
Satan launched an all out campaign to undermine the fear of the Lord. How? I'm glad you asked.
The key is to undermine the truth that God is the Creator. When you get rid of the truth that there is a Creator then you have undermined that fact that there is "divine design." When you undermine divine design then the truth that everyone is created with a purpose is attacked. When purpose is destroyed then accountability is torpedoed. Accountability means the responsibilty to answer for your choices. When you destroy the concept of everyone giving an account for their life before an eternal God, then you have dismantled the fear of God. Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10 teach us that the fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom.
There is lots of talk in the body of Christ today saying there is no need for fear because fear drives you away and does not draw you near. That's not totally true. There are two kinds of fear. Matthew 25 and Luke 19 Jesus illustrates the kind of fear that drives a wedge between the servant and his master. You remember the parable. Three servants were given some money. Two invested and recieved a return while one servant hid their talent out of fear. That kind of fear that provoked inaction and missed the mark actually contributed to the seperation between the master and his servant. (The introduction was inspired as I listend to Bill Johnson teach on "Dealing with Sexual Sin in the Church.")
There is another kind of fear based on reverence, love, respect and awe. Its the kind of fear that is found in a healthy relationship with a parent or a spouse. It is a recognition of the consequences possible through trust being violated. This kind of fear actually facilitates intimacy and draws us near.
Campaigns are a series of battles. Here are a few battles I'd like to highlight to illustrate the effects of Satan's strategy with the hope that it will inspire you to engage in God's divine plan for your life. Let's start with Satan's attack on accountability. I like to think of it as account-ability or as, do you have the ability to count?
If you are wondering if I was using a word play you are correct. Do you have the ability to make a difference? You can if you are honest and can count numerically. This is how you can introduce accountability (a count ability).
Are you going through a real stressful time? Do you feel like you are about to "FREAK OUT?"
Well that's not good. "Freaking out" is a sure sign that fear has taken over and is digging its tentacles into your mind to torment you. 1 John 4:18 says,
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. NKJV
Faith works by love and the bible says that perfect love casts out fear. There is a good kind of fear (ie. fear of the Lord, sharks, climbing a mountain, entering a combat zone etc.) that heightens our senses and leads to wiser choices. Then there is the bad fear that torments and causes us to freeze up. That is the kind of fear we want to avoid.
Working Out in the Spirit
Some stress is good! That's what causes muscles to grow. You just need to make sure you strike a balance between fear, rest, and God's nutrition. Allow the thing that is the catalyst for fear (that's the thing that first concerns you) motivate you to take action. Fear can be like a heavy weight that can immobilize you. So, let's think of this like a workout.
As I meditated upon God's word this morning I was led to Hebrews 12:22 which so powerfully reveals what it is that Operation Rolling Thunder empowers the Church in a city to do to bring the word into manifestation. It's awesome! This brings us to:
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." 27 Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire. NKJV
Grace comes from a Greek word (charis) that means graciousness, a literal or spiritual divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life. It is translated as benefit, favor, gift, grace, joy or liberality in the King James. Many today use this word as if it means mercy which is different. Grace is God's enabling power. Grace empowers us to serve God with reverence and godly fear. It empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own.
Grace, God's enabling power, enables fallible men to go beyond what the Law required. For example:
About five years ago my wife planted a grape vine. A couple of years later she planted two more. We knew nothing about grapes. But we sure are learning and it is bringing scripture to life. Jesus says in John 15:1-2:
" I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
Vines won't produce really anything the first three years. It takes time. The first year it began to produce (3rd year) I let it grow. Those vines were shooting out everywhere and growing fast. My goodness it looked great. But it did not produce much fruit at all. I trimmed it a little and the next year it did a little better; but not much better.
The next year I pruned it so aggressively Brenda was concerned that I'd killed it. Boy was she wrong! That year it produced more fruit than the first two combined. Then I learned, the more I pruned the vines that produced fruit, the larger the grapes grew. The fruit of the vine became plump and plentiful verses puny and pitiful.
Then I began to actually do some research to learn more about how to actually grow grapes. One of the things I learned was that to grow good grapes it is recommended that you remove 80-90% of the previous years growth. Think about that. That is aggressive.
Now I learned that by experience! Imagine if I'd paid attention to what the scripture said and also to what experienced vine-dressers taught before I started growing grapes. Typical guy! Trying to operate something without reading the owners manual first. Sorry, I digressed!
So the Lord has been challenging me to apply these truths from His word to my life and our ministry. Here is what I have learned.
Rep Matt Shea
I met Representative Matt Shea in Spokane WA in 2010 while I was mobilizing the Church in that region through Operation Rolling Thunder. I liked Matt right away. He is an army officer, a combat veteran, an attorney and a Christian. I like all that, but what I truly like is that Matt entered the political arena to serve. He did not check his morals and convictions at the door of political expediency. From my observation, truth is something that is important to him and he is not afraid to stand up with boldness and courage to fight for the truth.
I remember the oath I took to defend the constitution of these United States and from watching him over the last three years, I'd say he remembered that oath too. It also appears like he has actually read it and is defending it rather than undermining it and violating it for political expediency. I appreciate the moral conviction and courage he has been demonstrating. Now, I'd like to share with you some sage advice he just offered in his recent blog
We Need to Buy a Clue!
America is embroiled in many public scandals today! The expose is growing. The Washington Post has consolidated some of these in "Mr. Obama and his scandals." It lists among other things how that the "Justice Department" leaks documents to attack a whistle blower who expose the "Fast and Furious" debacle, the IRS targeting conservative political and religious groups, the Justice Department violating the First Amendment snooping into Associated Press and Fox News reporters seeking to intimidate, the Benghazi atrocity which is worse than Watergate, and.... the list goes on.
I submit that this is the fruit of more than 50 years of a growing rejection of the Lord and His moral commands. In 1963 prayer was banned by our Supreme Court and one year later the court banned bible reading which was followed as school after school removed the 10 commandments.
President Harry S Truman popularized the saying "the buck stops here." This administration acts like the "buck stops there, and there and there..." anywhere but here. Blame shifting and avoiding responsibility seem to be the protocol of the day.
Here is a dollar for those who need to buy a clue! The rejection and erosion of our relationship with The Lord has undermined our moral fabric. No system, I repeat, NO SYSTEM can survive and function without character. The family unit can not survive. Capitalism will not work. A Justice Department run by people with no morals will not uphold laws. The IRS will not stay within the confines of the law when it is run by people with no internal moral boundaries. Here is another secret for those who believe socialism or communism is a better system. They won't work without moral boundaries either. What do you think led to the downfall of the Soviets?
Judgment began in the household of God as scandal after scandal has been revealed and I have not doubt it will continue as our Lord cleans house. But now this trend has spilled over into other spheres of society.
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The prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 32:8 ... "Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord."
How did he know? What was the criteria he used to judge the word (applies to dream, vision or sign as well)?
The book of Jeremiah is loaded when it comes to a study on true prophets verses lying or false prophets. Today I want to focus on only twp elements as it pertains to discerning a true word from the Lord.
Jeremiah 32:6 provides the context. He heard the word of the Lord saying your Hanamel your cousin is going to come and say; "Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it."
When Hanamel came and did as the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah said then he was able to say, "Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord."
Discerning True Words of the Lord - Lesson 1
One of the criteria is; did the event occur as predicted?
Years ago others recognized that God gave me a prophetic gift. It has operated primarily in the realm of government (leaders, church, business). One way this has been expressed is that sometimes God will give me a word for a leader. Over the course of 25+ years I've received words that brought correction or restoration to a variety of leaders. Some were removed and some restored. My testimony is this, to date, I can say I have a testimony like Samuel. So far, the words I've given have been fulfilled. One word for one leader's restoration took 20 years to manifest. It was fulfilled in stages with the last element being fulfilled two years ago.