“Those who are (spiritually) wise will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead many to righteousness, (will shine) like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3 (Amplified Bible)
DRAW THE LINE
Porto Enrique, Mozambique, June 16, 2008. Our 10-member mission team was preparing for the unknown in a remote African village steeped in witchcraft and idol worship. The atmosphere was tense. Hope had been squashed. It was a typical day; hot, clear, and sunny. Out of nowhere, a 20 foot swirling whirlwind of sticks, sand, and debris morphed into a cone-shape moving wall and advanced through the camp. With eyes pelted with sand, team members were amazed and distraught at the phenomenon. As a few bricks were loosened and hurled from the small church structure, the leader’s tent was uprooted, raised in the air, and turned upside down. Certainly, a tactic of fear was used by the unseen enemy, and more was coming. We were not welcome there, but the Lord had prepared us.
Who’s in Charge?
Among other very evil assaults that day, it was clear that the status quo was interrupted by our presence. The demonic realm was highly agitated and retaliatory, attempting to alter our decision to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. These beautiful people were controlled by darkness. Sickness, disease, and divination have voices; hatred for Jesus was rampant. It was not an easy crowd. We were sent ones and had a job to do. What danger was ahead? What forces were operating? How should we proceed?
Fast forward to the evening crusade where darkness reared its ugly head. The mandate was clear; the battle for souls raged. Jesus, The Slain Lamb from before the foundation of the world, was in control and all eyes were to be on Him. Always. His blood covered it all. He was Jehovah-Sabaoth, The Lord of Hosts and Armies, and all bowed to the Lordship of Jesus. As the Lion of Judah roared in that place, over 150 witches, warlocks, and idol worshipers heard and received what Jesus came to do. His inexpressible love and mercy removed any chain of darkness; the sick were healed, the oppressed were freed, salvation crashed into this hidden place. Experiencing spiritual peace and true freedom, the hopeless received hope. His beautiful glory was evident for all to see. He exchanged beauty for ashes: “to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion- to give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes, the oil of bliss instead of tears, and the mantle of joyous praise instead of the spirit of heaviness.” Isaiah 61:3
The Lord had His way. New life and establishment were on the heart of Jesus, and He was serious. What would the future hold for each person and this remote part of Africa? What was to be remembered and carried? There was a major shaking that took place. All that could be shaken was shaken (Hebrews 12: 25-29)- for individuals, the village, and the surrounding region. That was 12 years ago.
“Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift your heads, O gates, and Lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10
They had resisted the One who loved them most. Love broke into the wicked silence as they encountered the True and Powerful Jesus who invaded the darkness. A wooden chain was used to literally draw a line in the sand, expressing to the spiritual traitors the end to their reign of terror. Enough was enough. Darkness cowered under the Presence and Power of the Lord of Hosts. The captured ones were repentant and freed, as they renounced their association with their captors. This was God’s way. Their lives were changed forever. Those in bondage responded to the authoritative and passionate love released. Jesus reigned Supreme.
“As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:7-8
More Than A Memory
How does the Lord look at this evangelistic spiritual collision 12 years later? Nothing is wasted. What is He building in these people and that region today? What and Who do they remember? What was intended by the Lord for the missionaries who were used by the Lord at that time? Think about your life, where you came from, what has happened, where you are now. What does God say about it?
A Deeper Look
The Lord is GOOD and wants us to keep our relationship with Him incredibly vibrant as we continue to freely receive and freely give. The enemy wants the opposite. He wants us to become complacent, forgetting what the Lord has done, what He has built, what His intentions were. The enemy also likes to lure us into merely sorting and filing away difficult and painful thoughts, events, circumstances, and relationships so the Lord will not have His way in our lives. Pain has a purpose. These thoughts, memories, and emotions can end up in a closed area somewhere in the soul so anything other than peace, joy, and righteousness stays hidden. Hidden (unconfessed and unhealed) areas can be a breeding ground for growing pain. Anger, negativity, abuse, shame, suspicion, instability, resentment, bitterness, trauma, offense, fear, criticism, judgment, dullness, and rejection are energized where pain exists. A person can believe and accept (even unknowingly) that all is well with their soul when it is not.
When Jesus comes on the scene, He will forgive, heal, deliver, release, and extract all of the above (and more) and release His peace, joy, and hope where abundant life has been stolen. Jesus is our Rescuer and Restorer. The enemy lies to us so his destruction can remain hidden and undefined. The Lord wants our emotions and memories to be healed and whole so they will become a realistic and healthy part of our story.
Healthy Look at The Past
While some details (for both difficult and easy circumstances) may fade over time, the Lord exhorts us to remember, appreciate, and thank Him for His blood sacrifice and forgiveness, and for who He is and all that He has accomplished at the Cross, through His burial, and in His Resurrection. Then, we can appreciate all He is and has accomplished through our lives. “I will (always) give thanks and praise the Lord, with all my heart; I will tell aloud all Your wonders and marvelous deeds.” Psalm 9:1 AMP As this becomes our consistent lifestyle and we clearly focus on Him above all (and not the past), He continues to restore and build on the early foundation He designed and established. He fortifies us for the next step in His process for our lives, individually and corporately. He is the Healer and Deliverer.
He is very intentional and knows exactly what He is doing. He does not forget who He is and what He has done, and tells us to do the same. This is a safeguard for our lives. History is made with His overall plan in mind. The future is always bright. However, the enemy of our soul will attempt to minimize, dismiss, distort, and destroy the past and current Goodness of God in our lives. He loves to remove the reality of God’s work in our lives, so we lose spiritual ground. He is a twister. His aim is to neutralize the believer, at best, and lull the Christian into an unhealthy indifference. Fear is at the root. A sleepy acceptance and false sense of a preferred and “safer and risk-free” lifestyle is the enemy’s plan. Are we content with average Christianity? From the Lord’s perspective, a “normal” Christian life is a radical life of praise and thanksgiving in His Presence, because He is Faithful, Kind, and always Good. He is to be trusted and obeyed. Less than that is considered sin, because it is unbelief. The enemy loves to keep us in the dark (through sin) so we see and act differently than what the Lord says is pleasing and best. Delayed obedience to Him is disobedience. Continued disobedience interrupts and can destroy our destiny.
Psalm 100:4-5 TPT reminds us “You can pass through His open gates with the password of praise. Come right into His presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to Him and affectionately bless his beautiful name! For the Lord is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you – so kind that it will astound you! And He is famous for His faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for He keeps His promises to every generation!”
Find your place. According to Acts 1:8 AMPC, we are exhorted to live this radical life through and with His power: “But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.”
Without His activated power, we become stagnant. Interestingly, there is no neutral in the spirit. There is no coasting. There is one direction or the other, because the enemy is always active and moving. His goal is to decimate the vision, call, and purpose of our lives. And he will do that if we allow it. He will use our weaknesses to convince us that we are fine and hearing the Lord, while he steals, kills and destroys. Without a righteous response, we can miss what He is doing right now in this season, 2020. Take your place.
According to 2 Corinthians 2:11 AMPC, we have a responsibility and duty from the Lord: “To keep Satan from getting (taking) the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles (schemes) and intentions.” We need clear spiritual eyes to see and clear spiritual ears to hear so we are always advancing, which pleases the Lord. His peace and joy are spiritual and lasting and are always received and released in the context of true and complete repentance, through submission. And we yearn for this fullness to grow. Agreement is great; action is best.
Jesus came to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire, according to Matthew 3:11-13 AMPC: “I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance (that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins). But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry: He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Fire creates the climate where proper emotional, mental, and spiritual alignment occurs, which is vital to our forward movement. If we are not strong in the inner man, the enemy can easily and legally gain a foothold. We need His strengthening and reinforcing mighty power, according to Ephesians 3:16 AMPC:
“May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy) Spirit (Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality).” We are to cry out for more – for ourselves, our loved ones, and for all in these last days. A major outpouring of the Holy Spirit is upon us in this season! We must be ready for the Consuming Fire of God (Hebrews 12: 29), as Fire starters are being raised up. The alarms are sounding. The Lion of Judah is roaring in these “Roaring Twenties.”
New Era – His Story
The heart and nature of the Lord has never changed. His activity and Kingdom ways with us increase, and we must seek Him to “see.” Our responsiveness and revelation grow as we cry out to Him in this hour. It’s a serious time. He has always called us “to go and make disciples of all nations.” He has always desired that we clearly remember, declare and demonstrate His works, thank Him, and praise Him in all things. He has always provided a way for us, by Holy Spirit, to seek and obey Him. We have always been drawn to embrace His Kingdom heart and ways and serve Him wholeheartedly. He has always been the solution and answer to all situations and problems. He has always desired our humility to grow and our affection to deepen. He has always desired our oneness and unity. He is everything and always Good. There is more. This is 2020.
Signs of the Times
Just as we needed to know His mind to draw the line (in the sand) in a little African village in 2008 for Him to be glorified, we must know the signs of the times and understand what He is saying and doing for 2020. And we must remember. We want Him to receive full glory in this hour and beyond. We are to inquire of the Lord to see what is on Heaven’s agenda for every situation. All life experiences are intended to be building blocks for us as we run this race. Covid-19 has caused the world to seriously stop and consider what God is really doing and saying. Everything has shifted. This worldwide pandemic is leading to a worldwide awakening, which will fuel the great end-time harvest. We believe there is a global movement centering on the blood of Jesus, where millions are being revived through the celebration of communion. It is unprecedented. This Communion Revival is touching hearts at deeper levels where there is a more consecrated honoring of the blood of the Lamb (as in the original Passover and the Passover prior to Jesus’ crucifixion). All power was poured out (in the Holy Spirit) in fulfillment at Pentecost. The 2020 emphasis on the centrality of the Blood and Cross across the globe is staggering. The body of Christ is unifying, as seen in Ephesians 4. This is a John 17:21 moment: “That they may all be one even as You Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” We are in awe and amazement.
We believe a new anointing from Heaven is about to be poured out globally to saturate the Church, to usher in the end-time multibillion soul harvest. Just as Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:17-18 for the initial and continued empowerment (and expansion) of the Church, we believe that Joel 2:28-29 NASB speaks of the beginning of a great outpouring in these last days to enable the completion of His desires, prior to Jesus’ prophesied return. The fulfillment of this prophecy will be completed in the future: “It will come about after this, that I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind; your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” Across the globe, there is a multi-ethnic and denominational confluence, as well as a rising apostolic and prophetic convergence. Likened to birth pangs, the glory is intensifying.
Many are believing and trusting this will be a fresh and newly empowering Pentecost, as the Church is on the precipice of a Great Global Awakening. This Passover (April 8-16) marked the first literal Passover since the Exodus 12 scenario (with blood on the doorposts), due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this chapter, Israel was liberated from captivity, and the Messiah was foreshadowed as the Passover Lamb. This year, all were celebrating in their quarantined homes (even Jews in Israel and elsewhere), while asking for blood protection from this COVID-19 literal plague, as in Biblical times. There has been a growing emphasis worldwide on the blood of the Slain Lamb as noted in Revelation 5:9,12.
A 40-day Global Jesus Fast ended on Passover, April 9, as part of the stage setting for this unprecedented time. A 3-day Esther Fast was included within those 40 days. We are embarking on the completion of 50 days of intercession (since Passover) which brings us into this year’s Hebrew Pentecost (May 28), where millions of Christians worldwide are also believing for a literal Pentecost outpouring. Can you imagine a new Holy Spirit empowerment resting on hungry believers? Lord, let it be! We believe this season will frame the forward movement on God’s timetable.
There is a heightened awareness of the manifestation of God’s Presence here and abroad. There is a new level of global sensitivity and hunger for God, as the Lord is waking the Church from our slumber. There is a global cry for the growing breakthrough of the Lord of the Harvest, for laborers to be hurled or thrust out (ekballod) into the harvest field (Luke 10:1-3). The Church is casting “the net” on the other side of the boat (as described in John 21:5-11), as never before. New evangelistic ways and methods, new ideas, and new uses of media and technology are being birthed out of necessity, as Christians have gathered online. This is not business as usual; this new era will usher in all that pleases the Lord. “What the enemy meant for evil, the Lord means for good.” Genesis 50:20 The Lord is genius, and is beckoning us to draw in super close. Run into His stretched-out arms where fear has no dominion. The best is yet to come. Eyes upward. These are some of the signs of the times.