“Now my beloved ones, I have saved the most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the LORD Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.” Ephesians 6:10 TPT
OUR NEW ERA
COVID-19. BRUTALITY. PROTESTS. RIOTS.
PASSOVER. RESURRECTION. ASCENSION. PENTECOST
….(verb) To compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; the opposite natures, purposes.
….(noun) The difference between two objects, people or places.
A physical example of contrast is thunderstorms on one end of a vacation island and clear blue skies on the other end. For someone taking a much-needed family vacation, a thunderstorm would not feel like an immediate blessing; sunny and clear skies would be the desire and hope. That is obvious.
For the ceasing of a destructive and harmful riot in New York City momentarily stopping pain and violence, halting the dissension, a sudden thunderstorm would be a huge blessing. People quickly dispersed. Those who planned on continuing to destroy and loot businesses, violating curfews, firebombing police cars and assaulting/murdering law enforcement would not appreciate the reprieve. Peaceful and law-abiding protesters might be confused. Law enforcement could be relieved.
As we have determined to remain sensitive to the underlying needs in our country to stand strong in the face of uncertainty, rebellion, and rooted pain, we have been asking the Lord to rain on the wickedness as only He can. The physical rains came. We were applauding the Lord and thanking Him for His intervention as we continue to seek Him for His overall solution to eradicate the renegade spirit of hate and rebellion here and around the world. We seek Him first for His spiritual rain in our country (and globally) and step into any opportunity to be used as agents of change toward that end.
In easy times and in the darkest of times, perspective matters. Our April 8 article “Jesus’ Perspective Matters”, which can be found on our website and an email to you, highlights the urgency of God’s Kingdom perspective being seen, received, understood, and enacted in this hour. Since Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and to heal all who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38), we must remain steadfast in the fulfillment of those accomplishments that took place at the cross and were released through the Resurrection. Our attitudes and actions must line up with what Jesus has done. That’s our call as enforcers of the greatest demonstration of love that has ever been revealed. Successfully living this type of spiritual life of contrast requires the firm foundation of truth as the anchor of our souls. For every situation.
MOST IMPORTANT TRUTH
Ephesians 6:10 TPT is our anchor during these turbulent times: “Now my beloved ones, I have saved the most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the LORD Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.” We must consider this verse and the following 7 verses in Ephesians 6 in light of the spiritual place in history we are in concerning Passover, Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost (found in recent posts).
For many years, we have had a wall hanging in the foyer of our house (a gift from a couple of our children) that is a visual of the lion of Judah, with “Be strong in the Lord and in His Mighty Power” (Ephesians 6:10) written below. As the unsettling winds blow in our lives, and the frightening rains of destruction come, we hold fast to this verse as was intended by the Lord. Truth remains forever. It is no different now. We must be supernaturally infused with strength through our life-union with the LORD Jesus. We must remain diligent in the continuous pursuit of Him and His explosive power flowing in and through us. He has never let Pastor Bill and me down and will honor His word. The same is true for you.
Many years ago, a powerful international prophet spoke to me during one of the most destructive and turbulent times in my life. Only Jesus could help. I wrapped my heart and life around Him, trusting Him to make a way out of the raging storm and to end it. As the prophet sought the Lord in concentrated prayer and fasting on my behalf, he had a vision of me in a small wooden boat on the sea. The boat was not a safe place to be with the violent fury of hurricane winds raging, but that’s where I was. The waves were crashing in on me, promising annihilation. The contrast of my little life and what was released against me was ridiculously hopeless. A huge tsunami wave was overhead, cresting directly above me, and I was about to experience the worst destruction of my life. The wave was coming straight down on me and there was no escape. The enemy meant to fully destroy me and those in my care, which was heartbreaking. I had been depending on the Lord to help me as I was in these turbulent waters for quite some time, but now I was close to the grand finale of this nightmare. Only Jesus could save me and rescue all involved. In the vision, He was peacefully standing on the shore intently watching. I wanted the storm to quickly end. He didn’t calm the storm as reported in the Gospels in Matthew 8:23-28, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25. He calmed me in the midst of the storm. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NIV) was taped to my desk drawer so my eyes would always focus on the truth. I had desired a full calming of the waves and the storm to dissipate so it would all just go away. He was working in me. I also read in the NASB version of Psalm 46:10,11: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.” Don’t strive, be still, and I will fight for you and your loved ones. The Lord of Hosts was needed in this battle. So many lessons were being learned.
The hope found in Isaiah 43:1-3a,4 and 5a, 7 was the anchor for my heart as I was consistently reminded “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other people in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you. Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
Supernaturally, His arm extended to my boat. He reached underneath and held my tiny anchor in place as the full force of the wave was released. The power that was released was unimaginable. The fury of water engulfed the boat, yet it could not be destroyed. Only by His explosive power was there any hope of ultimate survival and a rescued life. The wickedness was surreal, yet my boat remained intact. It was a vision from God, based on God’s rescuing and redeeming love, in the middle of the lengthy season of destruction. It anchored my soul as I remained focused on the Life-giver, Jesus Himself.
In the midst of the ongoing problems that life brings, COVID-19 was dumped into humanity at the beginning of 2020, with an unprecedented force. The world was turned upside down and all our lives were affected, and still are to varying degrees. There is a clamoring for “normalcy” to help our souls regain a sense of being “ok” while the reality of a global pandemic altered our way of life. For the first time in recent history, people worldwide are seeking the Lord for comfort, solace, answers, hope, and stability. The Lord does not change who He is, but is inviting us to rethink, reestablish, reconsider, and regain the truth of who HE is in the midst of the storms and changes, while we still call for an end to this vile virus. He is willing to reveal His ways, His thoughts, His dreams, His plans, His intentions, His purposes for our individual lives as we live out a prime opportunity to know Him and make Him known. The Lord uses these suffering times to strengthen, fortify and bolster us as He ignites us with His fiery love and power to see His miraculous hand of mercy and grace demonstrated. We can only properly love others as we first love Him wholeheartedly, unreservedly, above all and in that order, as noted in Mark 12: 30-31. Do we really believe that?
THE ESSENTIALS OF WARFARE
We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 that becoming victorious in every way depends on our dependent perspective and His power: “For although we live in the natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons, using manipulation to achieve our aims. Instead, our spiritual weapons are energized with divine power to effectively dismantle the defenses behind which people hide. We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. Since we are armed with such dynamic weaponry, we stand ready to punish any trace of rebellion, as soon as you choose complete obedience.”
While the battles in life rage, we are exhorted to engage our souls militarily as our only righteous option. According to the following 8 verses of Ephesians 6 TPT, the Lord has commanded us to walk in preparedness for every daily battle we find ourselves facing, since our battle is not against flesh and blood. In verse 11, we are told to “Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser.” We must be protected, and we must fight. It’s both. It seems that this command often takes a back seat in our lives, and the enemy rages against us, easily bringing destruction. We need to recognize him, his tactics, and operate according to the Lord’s mandate. If we don’t fight the Lord’s way, from the place of victory, the enemy is victorious. That makes sense.
Here’s what the Lord says in verse 12: “Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.” We can’t gloss over this because it’s uncomfortable. Those who love to lead worship, and worshipers in general, are required to face this passage of Scripture and put it into full practice, or the effects of their worship is limiting. The enemy knows this and rails against worshipers and intercessors who are uncomfortable with this. And the enemy smiles as he beats believers into submission. Here’s the 2nd time in this passage that God commands us to wear the proper armor for protection as we go on the offensive: “Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.”
Often, we will not confront the darkness properly; we will not operate offensively, resulting in ourselves and those we care about remaining in captivity and bondage. This grieves the heart of the Lord. As the Lord reveals the tactics and strategies of the enemy, we are told by the Lord to seek Him and do something. This is an action Scripture. This is not striving. What would happen during the riots if law enforcement were not on the scene? Would the violence spread? Or if during the worst demonstration of anarchy and wickedness they stood still and listened to music on their phones? What if those who were captured by rebellion and violence were not opposed? Would our cities be totally torched? We are seeing this play out in front of our eyes and need to know what the Lord says needs to take place in prayer and intercession, at the societal grass roots level, in the political arena, as well as on the streets night after night. And, with COVID-19 still being a present reality, this is more important than ever. Now is the time to end any distraction and determine to know the mind of the Lord so He can count on His children. So many lives depend on us, as we believers begin rising. This is both an individual and a corporate call to report for active duty, front and center.
So what is next? The Lord exhorts us in verse 14 to “Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart.” Walking in the fullness of truth is non-negotiable if you want to be strong and stand in triumph. Strong against what? Disease, injury, injustice, deception, distraction, rejection, anger, judgment, critical heart, control, offense, and fear, to name some specific areas where the enemy tries to water us down. Don’t gloss over that list. Read it again, apply to your own life, and add more if the Lord shows you. Many times, we might agree with what He shows us and start the repentance process, but not follow His specific steps to eradicate something from our life. That’s not good. Our own thoughts and desires enter in and lead rather than the Holy Spirit’s direct leading and prompting. It is religious because the enemy’s intention is to fool us. He wants us to interrupt God’s intended process for our lives that is meant to increase and strengthen us. We call it false peace because it is not the genuine peace of Holy Spirit. If this occurs, the enemy still has access in areas that we think are affected by the Lord’s presence, but we cannot see. This can lead to rebellion to His perfect will for our lives without knowing it. Pride is at the root.
FASTEN YOUR FAITH AND HOPE IN GOD ALONE
“Putting holiness on as the protective armor that covers your heart” (verse 14) can be tricky. If we have the incorrect view of holiness, we miss it. The Passion Translation so simply and beautifully expresses the heart of holiness in 1 Peter 1: 13-20. These are action verses:
“So then, prepare your hearts and minds for action! Stay alert and fix your hope firmly on the marvelous grace that is coming to you. For when Jesus Christ is unveiled a greater measure of grace will be released to you. As God’s obedient children, never again shape your lives by the desire that you followed when you did not know better. Instead, shape your lives to become like the Holy One who called you. For Scripture says, ‘You are to be holy, because I am holy.’ Since you call on him as your heavenly Father, the impartial Judge who judges according to each one’s works, live each day with holy awe and reverence throughout your time on earth. For you know that your lives were ransomed once and for all from the empty and futile way of life handed down from generation to generation. It was not a ransom payment of silver and gold, which eventually perished, but the precious blood of Christ – who like a spotless, unblemished lamb was sacrificed for us. This was part of God’s plan, for he was chosen and destined for this before the foundation of the earth was laid, but he has been made manifest in these last days for you. It is through him that you now believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, so that you would fasten your faith and hope in God alone.”
According to this Scripture, we are to shape our lives accordingly, actively seeking more revelation of Jesus. We are to contend for greater grace, God’s empowering, to become like Him as obedient children. Check out Acts 3 and 4 as follow up to what happened at Pentecost in the upper room in Acts 1 and 2. These are empowering chapters to ignite the flame for holy living. Peter was set on fire as the Holy Spirit overtook him, after he waited for the Spirit to be poured out with 120 others. He preached his first sermon wrecking 3,000 people forever! Reading these chapters aloud and decreeing the truths can be really strengthening and empowering. They are totally for us in this season, as they bring our focus into proper alignment. Daily living in total awe and reverence for God kills rebellion. Isn’t that spirit at work in our country? Of course, we can see that. But, is it at work in any area of our lives? That is not as easy to see, because the enemy knows how to trick us, which is why we need His protective armor. The spirits hate purity and holiness. The devil hates the Lord. Here is something to think about:
DELAYED OBEDIENCE IS DISOBEDIENCE.
This plays right into the hand of false peace. Here’s another way to state it: emotional peace is a counterfeit to spiritual peace. We can fool ourselves into believing we are in the center of God’s will when we feel peace. Many times, we embrace the type of counterfeit peace that seems to settle our emotions. Sadly, we miss the greatest opportunities to receive the stretching and loving discipline of the Lord that launches us into greater endurance, holiness, purity, and action. We will never be able to truly Biblically suffer, become an overcomer, and walk in the fullness of the His supernatural ways without the preparation and process of the Lord. Don’t make the mistake of interrupting His process for you so you can fully enjoy and share the blessings of authentic peace. The exhortation in verse 15 to “Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace” is very strong. Standing and being alert are two action commands. True leaders know what this means. Fashion yourself this way and watch what happens in your life. Obedience is our portion because it unleashes more blessing and direction. There is unspeakable joy in pure obedience.
Joy and obedience don’t seem to fit. They seem to be in direct contrast to each other. Joy seems liberating and conveys a sense of being lighthearted. The word “obedience” sounds restrictive and burdensome. Most of us wouldn’t think that the way to true joy in life is found on the path of obedience to God, but in 1 John 5:3, we find this to be true: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
Have you thought that obedience is loss of freedom and fun? That’s one of the greatest lies of the enemy. The Bible tells us differently. Obedience to our gracious and merciful God reaps incredible joy and lasting fruit in our lives. It isn’t always easy and convenient. It’s easier to sleep in than to get up and get to church to worship together. Sometimes it seems easier to yield to sexual temptation than to be pure. And the list goes on. The Word of God is very clear on how to live our lives to receive the greatest joy and peace, producing righteousness that will spread to others. The more obedient your heart becomes, the easier it will be to simply obey. Focusing on Him changes everything. If we want this kind of lasting joy, we need to imitate the kind of obedience that listens quickly to the Lord and then chooses His very best, not just what feels good.
BLAZING ARROWS, HELMET, and RAZOR-SHARP SWORD
Here’s more action. The enemy is ruthless and will steal, kill, and destroy. That’s not a joke. Faith works. Verse 16 states: “In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One.” If our faith is weak, the wrap-around shield for us and others is also weak and can be penetrated. There are blazing, fiery arrows that come from the evil one and must be extinguished and resisted so they can’t penetrate. That is serious and not to be taken lightly. So, a joyful remedy is offered and must be wholeheartedly deployed. Satan and his buddies are not easily fooled, so we must be sure of what we know, believe, and do. Our faith must be strong and operating as a protective and advancing shield. And contend for total joy; it’s our portion and must be understood (a prior writing addresses this).
As we “Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies” in verse 17, there is the covering and full guarding for our thinking, our minds. This is where the enemy can quickly attack us so that we will build a case in our minds that can result in a mixed narrative of ideas, opinions, and conclusions. Remember, the enemy is always trying to defeat us, distort our view of the Father, who we are in Him, and what He has to say about us, and how we are to obey. This will highly affect our wills and emotions as our thoughts become a field of untruth where what is planted will grow up to be unhealthy and weak. The goal is for healthy roots to grow deep into the soil of His presence.
Have you ever cut yourself with a razor? It’s quick, sharp, and causes blood to quickly flow. This is the intent of the Word of God as we are exhorted to “take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken Word of God” in verse 18. The Word of God is razor sharp and draws blood, the blood of Jesus. The Lord and his heavenly hosts quickly rush to the scene where a blood-bought believer properly wields the Scriptures. The enemy stops and is defeated. The AMPC of Hebrews 4:12 states: “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power (making it active, operative, energizing, and effective); it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and (the immortal) spirit, and of joints and marrow (of the deepest parts of our nature), exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” The Ephesians 6 passage finishes with this strong command: “Pray passionately in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers.” Does this sound like an impossible task? It truly isn’t because the Lord designs His children to desire everything asked of us in Ephesians 6. He makes the way possible.
What a wild season we live in. These days are truly glorious and full of adventure if we really stop and consider the Lamb in the midst of the throne as clearly displayed in Revelation 5 (addressed in a former writing). This is the greatest time to be alive and focused on Jesus. We are to invite the Lord to highlight all fear in our lives that would keep us from desiring to follow Him wholeheartedly. He created us to deeply know Him, receiving the power of His Resurrection, and follow Him as we resist the enemy who rises against us. This blueprint enables us to succeed and win, as we walk out all that we were created for. Praying out this passage over our own lives and the lives of others can activate Heaven on our behalf. We will develop a deeper Kingdom perspective, seeing circumstances from the Lord’s point of view. We will desire deeper closeness with Him as we are more easily able to submit to Him, resist the devil, and know that he will flee from us as stated in James 4:7.
The days of clear contrast are upon us and they will only deepen. As we embrace where we are on God’s timetable, we will receive and better understand the strategies of Heaven that are required for accelerated advancement in the Kingdom. These last days require this. Our attitude needs to be “I’m all in, Lord, and, my eyes are on You above all.” Be encouraged today!