A response to the Coronavirus
Shelter in Place
Is this what “victorious” Christians do? Yes! We have entered into a season of the “pestilence that walks in darkness.” Our city, state and nation are issuing orders which—they hope—will curb this virus. Even though we have had our ability to gather curbed, there is a lot we can do! #1. Fear not! (The Bible has 150 verses that tell us this!) #2. Pray! #3. Read your Bible (Ps. 91) daily. #4. Take Communion daily. #5 Volunteer (as the Lord leads).
The following is excerpted from a passage in GIVE HIM 15 by Chuck Pierce: “The Lord is rearranging our time and space, and we need to submit in this rearrangement. I am calling it a PAUSE… and we need to submit to it. This will help all of us to develop new mindsets, new ways of operation, and new thinking processes. I was recently asked by a reporter if the Coronavirus was signaling the end of world. The Lord does not want us to have a defeatist or fear mentality. Rather, He wants us to triumph! In this year of the voice, we must be capable of discerning whether the voices we are hearing are from the Lord’s direction or are coming from another source to create fear. I pray and decree that during this Passover season we will fully pass over! God has put a PAUSE in place until He sees who is willing to cross over with Him through His blood at Passover.
There are times when God stops us from moving and causes us to pause. Why? Because we need a HEALER! The current issue is not about a plague or the Coronavirus. Rather, it’s about God pausing us because we need a Healer and getting things in His order. The enemy will work until we pause to allow the Healer to work. The Healer will reveal what you need and how to walk in this pause so the glory comes behind this mess and covers it. Times of distress are opportunities for miracles. Walk in faith, choose to praise God, and cry out for mercy! People are longing to hear good news. This is our time to pray that people turn and find the Healer in the midst of chaos.”
ARE YOU WILLING TO CONTEND?
Last month I listed many prophetic words about the year 2020. It is an exciting time we have just entered! I know that many miraculous events are happening all around the world, but not many of us have observed these in our country. Did God lie? Did the prophets miss it? Did we miss it? NO!!! Of course one might say, “Be patient!” And this is good advice, but haven’t we “been patient” in the past, some of us for 10 years or even much longer?
How do we know that we will receive “the promise” we were promised in this new era? WE DON’T. Hebrews 11:13 speaks to this. My question is: Are you in a place to receive these promises? By “place” I not only mean physically, but spiritually. God isn’t about to bless those who are not ready to endure persecution and hardship to properly steward and distribute His gifts. The devil knows this and does all he can to divert us from our “place.” One of his main tactics is to make us comfortable with where we are. Settling for the familiar (which satisfies our flesh) and those things the world would say are valuable, keep us from following the destiny God has planned us for! Our Heavenly Father knows this and permits challenges for us to overcome so that we will be polished by them and call out to Him for help and guidance, humbling ourselves in the midst. HARD TIMES MUST COME!
Do we want God’s best for us and for others enough to contend for it? If you cannot answer this with an energetic, YES! BRING IT ON! Then the miracles will pass you by!
My prayer for you is that you will be obedient to what the Holy Spirt is speaking to prepare you and that you seek God and His great GRACE as never before– in preparation for ALL that God has for you.
Betty Bitgood, Chairman
What the Prophets of God Say About 2020
The following is from Cindy Jacobs and the Global Prophetic Movement:
INCREASE: Increase is coming, and it will be wonderful.
NEW ERA: It is literally a new era. We’re going to grow into the purpose of God that He has for us. There will be Jerichos to take, so there will be battles. We want to give you hope for your future. Maybe you’ve gone through terrible times of loss, terrible times when you feel like you’ve had setbacks, but I want to say to you: believe God. that He does have something wonderful for you, no matter how many things have happened to you, how much loss.
YEAR OF THE VOICE:“Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe in His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 2 Chronicles 20:20. This is a season where we’re going to have to go to war to come into our reset and our blessings and our purpose. God’s words spoken by faith through His people are words on assignment to effect miraculous change!
A voice of warning; a voice of righteousness; an increase of guidance given through the prophets to world leaders; we’ll be able to watch and be watchmen. There are going to be marketplace prophets.
WORDS CONCERNING NATIONS: This is a time of very strong violence in the heavens. As we look at nations, we see there’s violence in weather. Brexit will come to an exit. Many nations are having godly government rise up in connection with Israel. God is giving more and more of His people a love for the Middle East and the Middle Eastern people – People that are in the Muslim world, both Arabic and non-Arabic speaking, for Egyptians and so forth. God is going to move, and we’re going to see millions come to the Lord. Miracles are going to keep playing a greater and greater part.
YEAR OF RESET AND RESTITUTION: This reset will bring a breakthrough for relations, for families, for the nation. God is going to turn impossible situations around. And so we see that God wants to re-establish what Satan has robbed from you.
So this is a year of reset, this is a year of blessing, this is a year of roaring, this is a year of claiming and decreeing the promises. And if you do this, you are going to see this will be a year of blessing. God bless you.
AM I A CHRISTIAN?
Many people will state that they are Christians. This article, submitted by Lisa Beevers, points out common misconceptions, and debunks them!
‘ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED.’ HEBREWS 3: 12 SAYS, “TAKE CARE MY BROTHERS, LEST THERE BE IN ANY OF YOU AN EVIL, UNBELIEVING HEART, LEADING YOU TO FALL AWAY FROM THE LIVING GOD. (MATT 24:10) AND THEN MANY WILL FALL AWAY AND BETRAY ONE ANOTHER AND HATE ONE ANOTHER.
THERE ARE MANY MORE VERSES ABOUT FALLING AWAY, LOSING YOUR FIRST LOVE, BEING CUT OFF THE VINE AND BEING REJECTED OF GOD. ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED IS NOT TRUTH. FOR THE BIBLE TO SAY “FALL AWAY” MEANS YOU HAD TO BE IN AGREEMENT WITH THE GOSPEL FIRST. REV 3:16, “BECAUSE YOU HAVE LOST YOUR FIRST LOVE AND YOU ARE LUKEWARM, I WILL SPIT YOU OUT OF MY MOUTH.”
- ‘I WAS BAPTIZED OR CHRISTENED AND THEREFORE I AM SAVED.’ THIS IS NOT A SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR SALVATION. BAPTISM IS A COMMAND AFTER YOU ARE SAVED, BUT IT IS NOT WHAT MAKES YOU A CHRISTIAN. JOHN 3:3 SAYS, “YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.”
- ‘I WAS BROUGHT UP IN THE CHURCH, MY PARENTS ARE CHRISTIANS.’ HAVING A FAMILY WITH CHRISTIAN ROOTS DOESN’T MAKE YOU A CHRISTIAN. YOU WERE BORN INTO AN EARTHLY FAMILY, BUT WE MUST BE SPIRITUALLY BORN INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. CHRISTIANITY IS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP. WE DON’T RIDE INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN ON ANYBODY ELSES SHIRT TAIL.
- ‘I PRAYED THE PRAYER OF SALVATION ONCE.’ DID IT TAKE ROOT? DO YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS? OR DID YOU WALK AWAY AND NEVER PAY HIM ANY MIND AGAIN? ONE OF THE TRANSLATIONS I LIKE SAYS THAT WE ARE “CONTINUOUSLY COMMITTING”. IF YOU ARE NOT CONTINUOUSLY COMMITTING DAILY, THEN I WOULD BE QUESTIONING WHERE YOU ARE TODAY.
- ‘I BELIEVE THAT GOD EXISTS.’ JAMES 2:19, “YOU BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ONE GOD? GOOD! EVEN THE DEMONS BELIEVE THAT, AND THEY SHUDDER.”
- ‘I PRAY ONCE IN A WHILE.’ WHEN YOU MAKE A 911 CALL, IT MEANS YOU WANT OR NEED SOMEONE TO GET YOU OUT OF AN EMERGENCY SITUATION IMMEDIATELY. IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU WANT A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE.
- ‘I LISTEN TO PREACHING AND I READ THE BIBLE.’ THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU RECEIVED JESUS AND MADE HIM LORD OF YOUR LIFE. IF YOU BELIEVE IT, YOU MUST MAKE A COMMITMENT TO JESUS AND BE BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. (JOHN 3:3)
- ‘I AM A CHILD OF GOD, AND GOD LOVES EVERYONE. HE WON’T SEND ONE OF HIS CHILDREN TO HELL.’ WE ARE ALL CREATIONS OF GOD. WE ONLY BECOME A CHILD OF GOD WHEN WE ARE BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. HE DOES LOVE US, BUT HE DOESN’T CONDONE SIN. SIN CANNOT DWELL IN THE PRESENCE OF A HOLY GOD. WE SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM GOD. IT IS NOT HIS CHOICE. A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP MAKES US HIS CHILD. (ROMANS 2:5-9)
- ‘I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH/ I AM A GOOD PERSON.’ BOTH OF THESE FIT INTO ONE CATEGORY. THE BOOK OF ROMANS TELLS US THAT WE ACCEPT JESUS BY FAITH. IT IS NOT BY WORKS. IF WE MUST DO ANYTHING IN ADDITION TO WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS, THEN HIS DEATH WAS FOR NOTHING. WE WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH BY WHAT WE DO OR HOW WE ACT. IT IS BY GRACE AND MERCY. MERCY IS NOT GETTING THE PUNISHMENT WE DESERVE. GRACE IS GETTING FAVOR WITH GOD THAT WE DON’T DESERVE. NOT ONE PERSON IS WORTHY OF HIS OWN ACCORD TO BE CALLED A CHILD OF GOD. ROMANS 3:10, “THERE IS NO ONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE.” ROMANS 3:22, “THE RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD COMES THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST TO ALL WHO BELIEVE.”
- ‘ I KNOW ABOUT GOD.’ KNOWING ABOUT GOD AND KNOWING GOD ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. I MAY KNOW EVERY DETAIL ABOUT ELVIS PRESLEY, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN I KNEW HIM PERSONALLY AND HE CERTAINLY NEVER BOUGHT ME A CAR. JOHN 15:4-6, “DWELL IN ME AND I WILL DWELL IN YOU.”
TAKE OFF THOSE DIRTY CLOTHES!
And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire. Jeshua’s (Joshua) clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel.” (Zechariah 3:2-3)
“Moses my servant is dead . . . .” (Joshua 1:2) This passage refers to the commissioning of Joshua as the people of Israel cross over the Jordan and are instructed to take the land. God lists promises to him (No one will be able to stand against you from taking the land given to you, and God will never leave you) and Joshua must be strong and courageous and to never let the Book of the Law depart from his mouth.
But, why were Joshua’s clothes filthy? Perhaps he had been in Moses’ shadow so long that he did not see himself as worthy to lead the Israelites? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN YOURSELF AS FILTHY OR UNWORTHY?
As Joshua was standing there, the angel said, “Take off his filthy garments.” Then he said, “See that I have removed from you your iniquity, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” (Zechariah 3:4)
Joshua needed to see himself in the same light that God saw him! WE DO TOO!
As the Israelites received their inheritance and began a new journey (now without the daily manna), we are entering a new era—a time when God has promised to pour out his Glory on his people! But we have more than manna—the Bread of Life is leading and supplying “for He has clothed us with the garments of salvation, He has covered us with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10) For the righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:22). Some of the aspects of this righteousness include: Salvation (Isaiah 61:10); Praise/Joy (Isaiah 61:3); Power (Luke 10:19); Glory (Psalm 8:1-2); and Humility (1Peter 5:5-6).
LET’S CLOTHE OURSELVES WITH HIS GLORY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT!
Excerpted by Betty Bitgood from 9/22/19 sermon by Rev. Gerald Lawson
Why Are There Still Sick Among US?
Could it be that we are not taking advantage of the awesome gift of communion often enough OR in the right way? My Pastor, Jerrold Lawson, preached an awesome message last Sunday that clarified something that I had been confused about!
1 Corinthians 11:28-30 Amplified Bible (AMP) But a person must [prayerfully] examine himself [and his relationship to Christ], and only when he has done so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks [without solemn reverence and heartfelt gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ], eats and drinks a judgment on himself if he does not]recognize the body [of Christ]. That [careless and unworthy participation] is the reason why many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep [in death]. Jesus had to take on human form to provide redemption for us. We must acknowledge and thank Him for all that He did suffer!
Without becoming weak in faith Abraham considered his own body, now as good as dead [for producing children] since he was about a hundred years old, and Sarah was only a few years younger than him. (Rom. 4:19) Heb. 11:11 tells us Sarah herself received the ability to conceive, even when she was long past the normal age for it, because she knew that God was faithful. We need to trust Him, knowing that He is able to perform what He has promised, and HEALING is promised–and already attained by the Cross! (Is. 53:5)
Our faith gives us sufficient courage to freely and openly approach God through Christ, (Eph. 3:12) so we can establish the dominion He obtained for us. We are justified through His blood. We are His kids—His legal heirs! (Colossians 1:12-14) And in Him we are complete (Col 2:9-13) —nothing missing and nothing broken–as we listen to and obey the Holy Spirit!
I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective and powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ. (Philemon 6)
Betty Bitgood, Chairman
Are you struggling? TRY JOY!
In these times of much turmoil, we must be constantly reminded of God’s mandate against dejection and sadness, but to be joyful as it is our strength. (Neh. 8:10) 1 Pet. 1:7-8 tells us we must prove our faith “even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
“I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.” (Ps. 89:1) This tells me that our joy must be outward—with boisterous shouts and laughter! Always “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2) Jesus utilized the joy of OUR salvation to bolster himself to endure the Cross! He loves joy so much, He instructs the mountains (Tabor & Hermon) to “shout for joy at Your (His) name.” (Ps. 89:13)
I love Psalm 27:5-6 in The Passion Translation (TPT):
In his shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me,
for he hides me there in his holiness.
He has smuggled me into his secret place,
where I’m kept safe and secure—
out of reach from all my enemies.
Triumphant now, I’ll bring him my offerings of praise,
singing and shouting with ecstatic joy!
Yes, listen and you can hear
the fanfare of my shouts of praise to the Lord!
Betty Bitgood, Chairman
Thank you Pastor Lawson for sharing this timely word at New Day Believers’ Church 6/23/19!
Oh Death, where is your Sting?
Christ the Lord is risen today! Allelujah! Son of God and Son of Man. Great Redeemer, Savior, friend. Jesus! Our deliverer, our comforter, our healer and deliverer. Jesus. When the sun rose that resurrection morning and the tomb was found to be empty, Hope dawned. Life pushed death aside. Humanity would be forever changed. A choice now stood before us all from that day to this—accept the Son or reject Him. God’s Son, God’s Love, God’s plan right from the very first. Before a word was spoken at creation, this moment was planned for sin-filled man. Redemption, then, on the third day, Victory! Nothing and no one would ever come between God and man ever again. Rejoice in Him and choose Him daily. Over every other thing, over every other one, over every other choice, choose Jesus! Love became yours. Joy has become yours. Peace is yours. As you have freely received, now, freely give. Spread the Good News—Jesus lives!
Jesus, You gave everything for us, now work all Your work of righteousness in us. We glorify Your marvelous Name! We will make Your deeds known, as we encounter others who need to hear about You. We will tell the lost, You save. We will tell the sick, You heal. We will tell the addicted, You deliver. We will tell the poor, You are Provider. Lord, You reign! You reign over our lives and You reign over America! You reign, Jesus. (Dutch Sheets, Give Him 15, 4/20 & 21)
Prepare for Victory!
In the Charismatic Movement of the 60’s and 70’s, millions were saved, healed, and baptized in the Holy Spirit (awakening), YET, there was no discipling of our society and nation (reformation). The result of this failure, ironically, was a gain in salvations but a loss in kingdom influence (the honoring of God and His ways declined in society). We actually regressed spiritually in every aspect of American life. It has always amazed me that a nation could experience one of the greatest outpourings of Holy Spirit in history, yet when all was said and done, had lost ground spiritually!
Thankfully, another great awakening has begun in America. And I have great hope that the coming season of revival will produce far different results. There are a growing number of Christians who believe the Church is Christ’s Kingdom government (ekklesia) on earth and, as such, has both the assignment AND ability to disciple nations according to His commission in Matthew’s gospel.
This current emphasis by Holy Spirit on influencing the 7 mountains of society (Family, Religion, Arts and Entertainment, Government, Business, Education, and Media) is an example. This teaching, first taught in the 70’s by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade For Christ and Loren Cunningham of Youth With A Mission, did not gain any real momentum at the time. Believers simply did not have the faith or, frankly, the theology necessary to embrace such a radical concept. Thankfully, this has changed and many now embrace the teaching.
The importance of this understanding cannot be exaggerated. It will fully restore America’s purpose and destiny, not only as an international voice of the gospel (Mark’s commission), but also as a discipling light to the nations (Matthew’s commission). As we enter 2019, prepare yourself for an even greater surge of spiritual power and momentum. The best days of the Church—and of America—are not in our past; they are in our future.
Be encouraged…and prepare for victory! (Dutch Sheets, “Prepare for Victory”)
Righteousness is a theme one sees often these days in reading posts, blogs or in attending/viewing teachings. Dutch Sheets is reproducing Love Ministries’ 70 day prayer focus “Righteousness Exalts a Nation” in his “Give Him 15” daily posts. I guess God is using this to get our attention!
Do you consider yourself RIGHTEOUS? Most would say no, even though the Word says we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21)–after all we must always be humble! WRONG! It is true that our righteousness is as filthy rags, but being IN CHRIST changes who and what we are! (Is. 64:6)
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Rom. 5:17)
It is because of Him that we are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Cor.1:30)
So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin* which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.(Heb. 12:1)
*See info on Killing Kryptonite in our Feb. newsletter
Lazarus! COME FORTH!
Jon Hamill in a recent blog drew the analogy of America and Lazarus needing new life! Truly, we need to recover the American Spirit of our forefathers.
He asked the question of the pulpits in our land: “ Has the feel-good message usurped the covenant flame of holy conviction.” He went on to call for a new way forward, just as the first two Great Awakenings set the course of our nation, the next will do the same—“Same God, same glory!”
Lets pray and decree together:
“We come into agreement together for the restoration of the true American Spirit to our land. Holy Spirit come again! River of fire flow! Restore Your life-giving Spirit as the spiritual undercurrent and overarching influence of the United States. From coast to coast. In Washington DC. Restore your anointing of holy conviction, such a hallmark of the first two Great Awakenings. Reveal Jesus!
Lord we say, COME FROM THE FOUR WINDS O BREATH, and breathe on these slain that they may live! AMERICA, AWAKE! By verdict from Heaven’s Court, we command Your shift from a covenant with death empowering a culture of death to Your covenant of life empowering a culture of life. We call the true American Spirit—Holy Spirit—back into the heart and body of this land. AMERICA NOW COME FORTH!”
RECOVERING THE AMERICAN SPIRIT, 11/17/18 http://jonandjolene.us/lampostings/
MAKE YOUR STEPS COUNT!
I try to seek God daily for His direction by claiming that He orders my steps (Psalm 119:133). At Moses’ commissioning, the Lord said to him, “Put off your shoes from your feet: for the place where you stand is holy ground.” (Ex.3:5) God promised Joshua that “every piece of ground the sole of your foot treads upon is yours to take.” (Joshua 1:3 ) Obviously the path we walk is very important to God—to us (& others).
We are now in a season when it is important, not only to seek what is ahead, but to claim what the enemy has stolen from us , our family and our heritage. The following was from a recent post from Jon Hamill: “ You and I are being summoned by the Lord to walk in the footsteps of our forefathers, to in some way carry the torch and complete the turnaround they gave their lives to gain. They did it for us. Right now the Lord is taking His place at the head of your year, and at the head of your movement through the gates this year.” Since it is the beginning of the Jewish year 1779, join me with the resolve to gain all that is ours and reclaim all that is due us!
God desires us to be blessed because He loves us, BUT also, “that Your way may be known on the earth, and your salvation among all nations.” (Ps. 67:1-2) As we step into this new season, all that we claim and reclaim will be a witness to others—even the nations! Betty Bitgood, Chairman
Discerning the TRUTH
Don’t you just love it when your schedule gets re-arranged by the Holy Spirit and suddenly there is now time to seek God and His Kingdom? This happened to me this last week. I stumbled upon a conference in San Diego hosting two of my favorites, Cindy Jacobs and James Goll. For two days I was able to squeeze in teaching, worship and my household and ministry chores. It was glorious! Here are some quotable quotes (or paraphrases??) from General Cindy: As a believer you have the opportunity to change atmospheres. A Heavenly atmosphere drives out darkness! Faith is the booster rocket for creative miracles! (And miracles are the carrots that will bring in the unsaved.) 2 Tim. 21-7: Hear God’s Word; activate it through the laying on of hands; encourage faith through the rehearsing of testimonies—so they will happen again (Rev. 12:11)!
James Goll taught on Discernment. The mature believer MUST discern between good and evil. He must seek to have his senses trained as he surrenders to the Holy Spirit. (Heb. 5:14) The enemy mostly speaks to us in the first person. This is how he beats us down when we think we are hearing our own thoughts about ourselves and take them as “truth!” Does what we hear produce life or death? (2 Cor. 3:6)
“And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them,… “ Make sure you listen and hear! (Jer. 25:4) Betty Bitgood, Chairman
Developing a love for TRUTH
…the Lord said He’s changing the appetites of people.
“Instead of the public now rejoicing in rumors, they will now become excited to hear the truth again. They will develop a love for the truth and reject the lies, as well as the liars. This will not be true of everyone in every place, but a shift has already happened. Truth had fallen in the streets but I tell you I’m lifting it up again and it shall cause great rejoicing. I the Lord have done this by My power by My right arm of might, and by My justice.” John Kilpatrick, January 29, 2017
When I heard this prophetic statement, I rejoiced! It is obvious that God is exposing and dealing with evil, particularly when it comes to sexual harassment. (60 Minutes had another expose’ this week on this issue in the restaurant business.) There seems to be a search for truth that I have never seen in my lifetime! It is no wonder that our children have lost respect for their parents/elders as they continue to offer lies and half-truths to them. Another quote I read this week, “words are like molten steel that enter a young person and shape their character and identity.” (Francis Frangipane)
I am sure that many of the folks we serve have ended up where they now are due to lies—their own and others. It is way past the time that WE must be purveyors of TRUTH—and even offering excuses, tho valid, are not the answer. Fess up! Repent! And choose the higher road! Put on the belt of TRUTH and the whole amour of God! (Eph 6:11-13) Betty Bitgood, Chairman
We celebrate LIFE this month, the LIFE of the pre-born, the abundant LIFE of those afflicted with addictions and abundant LIFE of those who have been exploited and trafficked!
“Large events like the Super Bowl have created an increase in the instances of exploitation, including human sex trafficking. Hundreds of thousands of fans descend upon the state that hosts the event. This time in history becomes optimal breeding ground for exploitation, including trafficking. All people should be free, but exploitation means that slavery still exists. In the past, this injustice has been hidden, but is now being publicly addressed by policy, law enforcement, and news media. This injustice is also being addressed by abolitionists and watchmen who will not be silent and who refuse to be inactive.
Minnesota will host Super Bowl 52 in 2018. The Minnesota Apostolic Prayer Network, joined by Action169 will host Justice Awakening 52.
Who will cry out and fight for righteousness and justice? Our sons and daughters are not commodities to be sold.
What if a justice sound, a war cry sound was released by those the industry once held captive? What if former captors and former users joined in the war cry? What if abolitionists and watchmen became equipped to intervene in the places where exploitation and trafficking was happening?
The alarms are sounding in this awakening 911 hour, for the abolitionists and watchmen to answer the call by combating that which fuels the sales of souls. Justice is awakening at the sound of the Bride who is tuned to God’s justice heartbeat.” Danielle and Corey Freitag
A Word from the Lord: “God is bringing a new womens’ movement empowered by the prophetic and releasing His justice, especially to other women. What one carried, many will soon carry. God’s justice is that they grow and mature into full stature in their identities and lives. The weight on their backs which mandated their sexuality be emphasized to gain favor and attention will be broken. Many who have been subject to sexual abuse and trafficking will be freed from this weight of bondage.” Jolene Hamill.
The following excerpt is from Jon Hamill, president of Lamplighter Ministries (www.lamplighterministries.net )
UN: Empowering Anti-Semitism
Later today the United Nations will vote to impose its will on Jerusalem. If memory serves, this congress of global governance convened this time last year for a similar pursuit. Right around the anniversary of the date in which Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig in the Temple of God, dedicating it to Zeus and Baal, the UN Security council voted to declare the Western Wall as Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israel.
Former President Obama pushed the declaration through.
And as we approach the final moments of Hanukkah 2017, the elite of nations gathering once again around a similar quest. This time attempting to counter President Donald Trump’s simple acknowledgement of reality. Honoring Jerusalem as the historic and present capital of Israel.
Right now a midnight cry is again resounding from Heaven. My spirit is consumed with a prophetic warning.
Countering anti-Israel sentiment is actually countering anti-semitism itself. Especially when it is advanced through the global convocation of the United Nations. The dramatic, unmistakeable rise of anti-semitism in Europe and the nations mandates for us all an immediate response of prayer and action. Like Churchill in his hour, President Trump has taken his stand. We must honor the mantle and now take ours.
The Globalist Pursuit of Jerusalem
According to the darkened theology of the United Nations, Jerusalem was never supposed to be the restored capital of Israel. It was instead supposed to be a capital city of the globe. In the resolution decreeing Israel into existence on November 29, 1947, the United Nations also claimed Jerusalem as an international city under its own jurisdiction.
When a friend first informed me of this I thought it was just a whispered conspiracy embraced by only a handful of UN leaders and global elites. But my assumption proved patently false. In a recent Fox News interview, former UN ambassador John Bolton informed us that from the beginning, the plan for Jerusalem was to for her to be an international city under UN jurisdiction. A Wikipedia article called “Corpus Separatum (Jerusalem)” details their plan. The resolution “Resolves that the Holy Places…in Palestine should be protected and free access to them assured,…; that arrangements to this end should be under effective United Nations supervision…”
Jerusalem, an international city. A seat of global government covertly rooted in globalist idolatry. “Many religions forming one altar to the great architect of the universe,” as they say.
The primary pursuit of this globalist expression of idolatry remains the capturing of the only city and space on the planet which God expressly claims as His earthly throne. We cannot forget this. “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. ‘This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it…’” (Psalm 132:13-14).
Nor can we forget that the ultimate empowerment of globalist idolatry always unleashes anti-Semitism, elitism, racism and subjugation. Even if cloaked in benign humanism, it is lethal to the core. Just ask those who suffered under Nazi persecution.
Jesus warned about those who would claim Zion and the Temple Mount for their idolatry. Referencing the prophet Daniel, he told His followers to run for the hills when you see the “abomination which causes desolation” standing in the holy place (Matthew 24). By no means is it time for this yet.
UN: Remember the Shoah!
Against all odds, Jerusalem was secured by Israeli forces in 1967. Even the Temple Mount was restored to Israeli sovereignty. And Jerusalem became the viable capital not of the United Nations, but of Israel for the first time since Biblical days.
Restoring Israel’s national sovereignty was the primary quest of the Maccabees who experienced the miracle of Hanukkah in their day. They restored their Temple to the Lord, and the nation turned as a result.
Watch this now. Preserving Israel’s national sovereignty, including her right to Jerusalem, is a primary quest of the Maccabees of today.
Jews and Christians could certainly justify Jerusalem’s restoration as Israel’s capital on scriptural grounds alone. But an even greater reality, an even greater social responsibility has seemingly been forgotten in the midst of the rancor and debate holding the world captive.
Israel was birthed out of the horrors of the Holocaust, or Shoah. At the time, many European nations felt a moral responsibility to provide a homeland for the Jews that they and their leaders had ultimately betrayed. Further, shipping the survivors of the Shoah to Israel avoided many awkward legal settlements with friends and colleagues who preyed upon their Jewish neighbors.
Because contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t only the Nazis who betrayed them.
And in any case, the Shoah survivors and the land they emigrated to were both guaranteed to fail. Neighboring Arab nations would see to that. And this time the pillaging of the Jews would no longer be their responsibility; the results would be similar, but the blood would not be on European hands. The conflict envisioned would even provide a viable excuse for UN military intervention. Jerusalem could be reclaimed, with the UN bringing peace. An easy and morally justifiable pathway for the city of God’s Throne to become the seat of global governance for the United Nations.
Against all expectations, against all odds, this tattered army of Holocaust survivors and the dispersed of the earth soon gained the miraculous breakthroughs which defined the military legacy of their forefathers. They joined the ranks of Moses and Joshua, of Gideon and David and the Maccabees. Israel not only survived, but thrived.
And in 1967, Jerusalem was reclaimed—not by the intervention of UN troops, but by the intervention of the Lord of hosts and His people.
For Zion’s Sake
That said, it’s only been seventy years since Israel became a nation. And only 73 years since the horror of the Shoah was fully revealed in the waning hours of the Second World War. Once again the nations who finally bequeathed justice to the Jewish are now on the precipice of another great betrayal.
How quickly they—we—forget the great debt still owed to God’s covenant people.
Beloved, President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of the sovereign nation of Israel stands as an unrelenting barrier against globalist claims in this hour. Further, it stands as a torch of justice for the nations to remember their own legacy of depravity, which led to the rebirth of this miracle nation in the first place. Instead of seeking to delegitimize God’s covenant people and His covenant land, we really should be regaining the resolve, “NEVER AGAIN.” Instead the tide of hatred towards the Jews increases daily. And the nations gather today to again defraud God’s covenant land.
“For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness shines as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns” (Isaiah 62:1).
Today especially, please shine for Zion’s sake.
5778 & Open Doors!
“The season we’re in that will take us to 2019 is the season of 70 (Ayin) according to the Hebrew calendar. We just entered into the Hebrew year 5778. Every year we are coming to a new crossroad and we’re having to choose which way we’re going to go. All 70’s are linked with the breaking of captivity. Whatever has been in your bloodline canbe broken in this season. Set your face like a flint and say, ‘I’m not going into the nextphase of my life and ministry without the old structures being broken.’ Ayin also means the eye of God is watching and seeing how we react – how we respond by faith.” (Chuck Pierce)
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18; ESV)
These are challenging, but amazing times! The “Third Great Awakening” will make its way on the scene soon. The best way to describe this would be a mega outpouring of God’s Spirit on all mankind, bringing many to salvation, healing and breakthroughs in every area of man and his environment. Take a minute to think about this and ask yourself if you are ready to help usher this in? We all have a long way to go! Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to help us, hence our developing a close relationship with Him will be invaluable. I recommend Benny Hinn’s book, Welcome Holy Spirit.
“Intercede for the nation . . . to set our nation free! Is it the salvation of the lost, the ending of abortion, exposing human trafficking, or justice for a racial group or the poor? Is it financial stability, job creation/mentoring, or healing of the sick, dying and mentally ill? Whatever it is, be confident that you have been prepared by the Lord to set the captives free!” (Dutch Sheets, Give Him 15, Oct. 22, 2017)
No, we haven’t changed our name/brand! But, we are very proud to share that we are partnering with this vibrant organization, chaired by Terry Bernier! Their vision is from the same source as our Hope Center vision: The Dream Centers (a national networking of places serving the disadvantaged, which S AZ Dream Center is now part of).
Not only are we locking arms with a strong and righteous organization but we are anticipating a place to serve our city: the Holiday Inn, 4550 S. Palo Verde Blvd. See the Tucson Star article, Sept. 23. “Tucson foundation converting south-side hotel into ‘Center of Opportunity’.”
As I prayer-walked the Holiday Inn property last week, I could see such potential for all of our city in this place. It was almost as if it was built for this day and use as a “Center of Opportunity.” In addition to a shelter, we see a long-term drug rehab program, a place to bring those who have been sex trafficked (the in-place security system works well for this), medical respite beds for homeless recovering from serious medical conditions, and a place to provide nutritious food for those in need. A home for a 24/7 Prayer Room and a chapel hosting services from many streams in the Body of Christ. In order to defray expenses, we even have plans for a thrift store and restaurant (where folks can train for the food-service industry).
This is not a “done deal” yet. The Foundation must make the choice of which organizations that will occupy space in this amazing place. This is where YOU come in. This facility will be a great place for you to volunteer to help “the least of these!” Please pray that we have favor with all the powers that be, and that we have the wisdom and grace to step in and oversee the ministries we have a passion for. Also, please contact any of the city or county fathers you know, write letters to the editor, add this request to your social networking group, etc. etc. Then pray some more!
It’s Time to Ask!
We are coming into a season to make our appeal. God is waiting for us to come to Him with our petitions. We are already beginning to see Him act on our behalf, as we humble ourselves and join with other like-minded Believers to see Tucson blessed. Our 23 yr. old Hope of Glory Center vision is now within reach as we align with The Southern Arizona Dream Center (rooted in the same vision). We are finding favor with God (and man) and will be a source of blessing to all of Pima County in the near future. Just keep praying and preparing for the ministry God has put in your heart!
This flag has become a beacon for prayer and because it was introduced by Apostle Dutch Sheets, a symbol and teaching of his national ministry. One of the tools he created and has maintained for a few years is GIVE HIM 15 Minutes in Prayer, a daily prayer focus. I am reproducing a recent one here, as it presents one of the aspects of the importance of prayer:
Air Superiority – Part 1
There was a man in the British military in World War II named Sir Arthur Harris. They called him “Bomber Harris”. He had a plan that he finally “sold” to Winston Churchill and the allied forces. He called it “a bomber stream.” He said, “My plan is to release one thousand bombers in one night against the Nazis.” He wanted to overwhelm them, to break their back. It had never been done and it worked! He said, “The Nazis entered this war under the childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naïve theory into operation. They sowed the wind, but now they are going to reap the whirlwind.” It had turned out to be a God-idea.
“They sow the wind, and so they will reap the whirlwind!” (Hosea 8:7a; NET)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesian 6:12; NASB)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
- Understand that we are not fighting a natural battle, but a spiritual one against rulers, powers, and world forces of darkness.
- Commit to the Lord to pray passionate prayers daily to keep striking in intercession until there is a full victory over these demonic thoughts and actions against America.
- Declare that all leakers are going to be caught and removed from governmental jobs.
- Declare that all leaks will be stopped up for the sake of our national security and so President Trump can do his job.
- Intercede between those that want to keep us a secular, globalist, socialist culture and God’s will to turn the nation back to His plan and path.
A prayer you can pray:
Father, we thank you for the air superiority You are giving the Church. Lord, we are going to take it and unleash a terrifying reign of prayer on the enemy in this next six months or so. We believe a turn-around is coming in February. We will pray and keep on praying until we see a turn-around and the turmoil end. We say that You are going to deal with the sources of leaks and those who are desperately trying to keep from happening what You want to happen in this nation. You are going to deal with those who want to keep us a secular, globalist culture, wearing away our destiny as a nation. We say, “No! We are not going to allow that.” In Jesus’ Name, amen.
We, the Ekklesia, will continue to bombard the heavens with our intercession until we see the enemy dealt with. We will not stop until they are turned away from their plans to stop the destiny of this nation from coming to pass.
By DutchSheets on Aug 17, 2017 from “Give Him 15”
I have been mulling the topic of principles. I am sure that everyone can agree that we should aspire to good principles and seek leaders and candidates with the same. BUT, just what does this mean? I believe that we begin to form principles almost from birth. As small children, we see those in our lives saying “yes” and “no” to many things, and from this we develop our view of what is acceptable and what is not. My daughter recently shared that she believes early childhood experiences are so important that they shape one and potentially our culture. (She is a trainer of foster families & case-workers and attempts to bring this concept into these trainings.)
I believe that our society is generally bereft of principles, hence the rise in violence and the drug epidemic. We even see those in respected positions being exposed for negative behavior every day. It is obvious that from early childhood on, the principles being exhibited and adopted have no root in “goodness,” “kindness” or “brotherly love.”
Where have we missed it? I can only submit that true principles of life are ONLY derived from its creator, God. He has provided, through his saints, a handbook that covers every human condition—in the broad sense of the word. Our forefathers recognized its importance and utilized the Bible as a teaching aid for over a century. God’s principles are always true and produce positive outcomes. They are stable, above man’s own reasoning and even supersede circumstances.
We are blessed today with many unique translations which make this awesome manual alive and applicable in today’s world. Betty Bitgood, Chairman
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8, ESV
Adjusting Our Nation!
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
“Prepared” is the Greek word katartizo, which means “to put something into its proper position.” It’s a word used to describe setting a broken bone or popping a dislocated joint back into place. It’s also the word for alignment. We know that God aligns and, when necessary, realigns the ages. However, He also realigns history’s dislocations. He heals the breaches. As the Great Physician, He adjusts misaligned humanity back into alignment and He snaps history’s dislocations back into place. Give Him 15 minutes in prayer by Dutch Sheets, 2/19/17
Another word I have heard from multiple places: “We need a new wineskin for the new wine!” What I understand this to mean is that, not only do we need to think “out of the box,” but we must expect a new box. Even though God will repair what has become broken, we need to expect a new look!
Thank you Lord that when we mess up Your plan, You are able to snap it back into place and get us back on track! Help us to stay vigilantly in prayer until this is accomplished and to expect the NEW!
Saturday, Jan. 21st I was privileged to hear Apostle Dutch Sheets (fresh off the plane from the Inauguration) speak in Phoenix at the Bridgebuilders’ Start the Year Off Right Conference. Here is some of what he shared: We have stepped into a new beginning and now we are in a new phase of His refreshing. We have the unique opportunity to reach the nations. We will experience a new refilling of Holy Spirit. He will make us look good in spite of our mistakes as we are being prepared to steward the greatest revival the earth has ever known. We are stepping into a new beginning—think MERCY!
He is preparing to re-mantel us—the Holy Spirit is equipping us to do a task. Healing miracles will be common.
Our new president will have awesome dreams, and 24/7 prayer is coming to the White House.
We must shift our thinking to open ourselves to the river of revelation. No man-made boxes!
The state of Arizona is a BEACHHEAD for what God is going to do in our nation! We will have the heathen for our inheritance! (Ps. 2:8). We must be infused with a victorious attitude!
The AZ border will experience the most conflict but great glory will come. Welcome renewed joy–the ruling characteristic of God’s people. (Neh. 8:10)
MERCY is our new currency. We have a window to tap into a new root of MERCY. God delights in showing MERCY. Declare it! We are entering the days of Joel 2 and Acts 2. It is time for even 20 year-old dreams and visions to be fulfilled and we will see the family, the church and the government working together.
God says: “Never underestimate My MERCY!” Lord, help us to find our treasure field. Help us to be willing to pay whatever the price to invest in our gift of MERCY!
My prayer for you: “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have MERCY upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Is.30:18)
The following is taken from the Lamplighter blog, 12/20/2016, by Jon Hamill:
Hanukkah marked the time when God’s Temple was reconsecrated to Him after it had been horrifically defiled. A Syrian army aligned with Greece invaded Israel. The leader of the army, Antiochus Epiphanes, seized the Temple and turned it into a worship center for his god, known in Greece as Zeus and in Syria as Baal.
The enemy is always seeking to defile the things which are most precious to God and to you. He is always plotting to overtake the thrones of our lives, claiming them for his own glory. Maybe you have noticed this. And his rule is never kind.
But God has a way forward to deliver us from oppression and restore us as His Throne of Glory. During the siege of the Temple, a group of spiritual revolutionaries known as the Maccabees arose against the occupation. Like the soldiers of the American Revolution, they were mostly untrained and hopelessly outnumbered. But still they faced down the strongest army in the known world and took back their Temple!
And when they took it back, they discovered just how vicious the desecration by the Greeks actually was. An altar to Zeus stood in the holy place, openly defying God’s covenant. The Greeks had even sacrificed a pig on the altar.
And for the first time in hundreds of years, the fire of the menorah, commanded by God to be kept burning night and day, had been completely snuffed out.
As an act of restoration of covenant with God, the Maccabees relit the flame of the Menorah. They reconsecrated the Temple to the Lord so that it could again become a Throne for His Glory. There was only enough oil in the lamp to keep it burning a single day. But supernaturally, the lamp blazed for eight days straight!
The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah is centered on this miracle. And it conveys a clear message to all mankind. If you will step out in faith to see restoration, God will work with you. No matter how strong the desecration, the sacred places of your life and your world can again become a Throne of Glory to Jesus.
But the Lord was summoning us to join together with Him by covenant, on the first day of Hanukkah, to receive a new beginning. A journey out of brokenness, into the honor and stability and purpose and love He had always dreamed for our lives.
Turnaround. It is always a journey. God specializes in taking wounded lives, seemingly beyond repair, and bringing restoration. Hope and love can replace despair and pain. Your heart can come alive again. Your honor and dignity can be restored. You can have a new beginning!
You can become a Throne for His glory once again.
by Deb Garrett
I’m often asked by people what they can do to help others. There are lots of things a person can do to help someone in need but the simplest and hardest one is LOVE, it is the greatest gift and strongest weapon we have in a world where everywhere we turn people are hurting.
Hebrews 13:1-2 says, Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. (Mt. 22:37-39)
When you are out doing your life, remember to listen to The Holy Spirit inside you. Look for opportunities to love on people. They are everywhere! It can be as simple as a smile, a hug, or a prayer. It can be a meal for the hungry, buying the car behind you coffee, helping someone you see in need of assistance, and of course sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and His love for us to those who don’t know Him. Don’t let fear limit you in how you love on others. I have yet to experience a person who got mad at me for showing them love and if they do, say a prayer for them and love them anyway.
One of the things I really love about Hope of Glory is that I get the opportunity to show people love. I get to listen, talk, hug, sit with and serve God’s children and remind them how much their Father loves them. We pray together and give thanks for the grace and mercy we don’t deserve but get anyway. God loves us so much, we need to share this love with others everyday.
Since we’re on the topic of loving each other, I wanted to share with you an experience of love from a stranger that changed my life:
About 16 years ago I was really struggling. I was severely depressed and trying to drink my pain away. I was suicidal and thought that a solution was to take my life, and perhaps the lives of my children so they wouldn’t have to suffer without me. I know what you’re thinking, that’s crazy! When you’re in the grip of addiction, the enemy feeds you lie after lie to keep you there. I was at a place in my life where I felt alone and had no self-worth. My kids were 3 and 10 and I had no money for food. I thought I would take some of my belongings to Persnickety’s, an upscale second hand store, and sell them so I could feed my kids. The owner, Debi, informed me that she couldn’t buy my belongings and I started to cry. Debi asked me why I was crying and I explained my situation. She asked me to go to a restaurant that was a couple doors down from her store and wait for a few minutes. When she showed up, she had $50 cash and $50 in gift certificates for food. That gesture gave me hope, it fed my children and it saved my life that day. I couldn’t believe that a stranger would do that for me.
On October 1st I will have 15 years of sobriety, I am born again today and I am blessed beyond words. Today I have a life filled with love, faith and hope. Today, I pay it forward every chance I get.
Persnickety’s is partnering with Hope of Glory and donating clothes to help clothe the homeless!! They are located at 5811 N. Oracle Rd. Stop by and check them out when you can and tell Debi thank you for me.
Remnant Champions Arise!
It is time for the convergence of the ages! “The greatest days of church history are not in your past, but in your future.” “America’s history will now be changed.” 1 Chronicles 12:32 tells us that those in the tribe of Issachar were ones who understood the signs of the times and knew the best course to take. We must follow their lead, take heed of the unmistakable signs happening now and follow our Supreme Commander! God is releasing His Angel Armies to come to our aid! We need not fear the hordes of the enemy as God’s Mighty Armies outnumber his 3 to 1. “The command, prepare for God activity” has been heralded, order executed and miracles are coming. His angels are sent to connect and direct us in the End Time work He has called us to. The Ecclesia (Church) is coming together in new ways and will create a synergy—a multiplication of action and energy for a greater flow of God’s purposes (“the mighty river of God”) which will accomplish far more than has ever been done—and it will be done in OUR times! “The King will have His harvest!”
“I am activating My Remnant Champions now and My Remnant will prevail” with the unveiling of: signs, wonders and miracles… billions of souls saved… Radiant Glory… darkness penetrated… demons destroyed… the world visibly being shaken….
“I am activating My Remnant Champions NOW and My Remnant will prevail!”
From Tim Sheets, 8/20/16, author of Angel Armies and the Standing King http://www.timsheets.org/
by Rick Ridings
At the beginning and end of the Gregorian calendar, there are always prophetic words coming out on the Internet and various places. In some prophecies, everything is gloom and doom. Then in others, everything’s going to be glorious and the Church is rising into her finest hour. Sometimes I just look at it all and say, “LORD, what’s right in this?”
Jesus described what is coming forth in Matthew 13:24-29. When the kingdom was growing, the enemy planted weeds, things that looked at first as if they were like the kingdom. Jesus said when they both come to maturity, it will be really clear. “This is wheat, and this is a weed,” and there will be no question. We need to thank God that there will be less and less room for compromise.
Balance in Intercession
To the intercessor, the LORD said there must be balance. He said in Jeremiah 1:9-10 (NIV): “I have put My words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” So we’re not just called to uproot. There is also the positive balance of planting. And we’re not just to plant, because if you only plant without uprooting the weeds, the weeds can choke the planting of the Kingdom of God.
Some think we’re going to bring in the Kingdom of God on our own, that the world is just going to get better and better. Honestly, that’s quite a naive view.
Then there are others who only see all the bad that’s happening in the world, and it’s almost like the Kingdom of God can have no influence until Jesus returns.
We ourselves will never bring in the fullness of the Kingdom of God. We need Jesus to come back. The balance is that the Kingdom of God can have a lot of influence on society before Jesus returns to complete the work. We can pray and be powerfully used of the LORD to affect areas of society, cities and nations. Yet, at the same time, we see the Scriptures speaking about the darkness that is coming upon the nations.
God is the Same Yesterday, Today and Forever
Someone shared with me recently that they were with a wonderful ministry that I love and respect, and they were shocked when they heard a leader there basically say that God now is totally different than the God of the Old Testament and that He doesn’t judge anymore.
I, too, was shocked when I heard this, but I realized there’s a subtle thing that can happen. The leader was overreacting to people who were only wanting to give prophesies of the judgments that were going to happen to that city, state and nation, so the leader developed a theology that God is different than He used to be. This is dangerous. It’s saying that God changes.
The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of New Testament. He never changes (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). Jesus Himself said, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9 NIV). Jesus is saying that He is not different from the Father and that He did not reveal a new way. God hasn’t had a change of heart and is different now.
It’s very important as intercessors that we say, “LORD, help us to understand Your mercy and Your justice – Your holiness and Your compassion – and how all these things fit together, how You can be all these things at the same time.” If we do, then we can come to say, “Good and righteous are your judgments” like the saints in Revelation 16:7 and 19:2 (NKJV).
What is Judgment?
Judgment is the lifting of God’s wall of grace or hand of protection for a period of time because of a refusal to repent from sin. It’s not so much “I’m going to send this horrible thing upon them.” It’s more like “I’m going to lift off My protection which is the norm for a short period of time, because in My grace and mercy, I know that over the long term they are going to destroy themselves if they don’t repent and change.”
In Isaiah 5:5-7, God talks about the judgment that He allowed to come upon Israel. He says to Israel, pictured as a vineyard, “I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled” (verse 5, NIV).
He doesn’t say He will trample on Israel. He says He will take down the wall of protection and allow Israel be trampled on by another nation, so they will turn from the sin that would otherwise destroy them.
The Judgments of God are Redemptive
The judgments of God are redemptive, a form of discipline to keep us from destruction. We are told in Hebrews 12:4-11 not to make light of the LORD’s discipline because it shows we are His children.
Judgments are corrections by God for our good. God disciplined the proud Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. If we don’t humble ourselves, God will humble us. Once humbled, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God and had the blessing of a kingdom that recognized God as the ultimate king.
Judgments Expose Sin and Teach Righteousness
There are judgments that expose deception, unrighteousness and injustice to pull people into the truth. “When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness,” says Isaiah 26:9 (NIV).
What do we do about Syria right now? What is the long-term purpose of God, in allowing His wall of protection to be lifted, resulting in war?
Isaiah 19, though it speaks of Egypt, lays down a pattern for how He will deal with nations.
The chapter ends with a promise of a confederation of worship in the Middle East. That’s an amazing promise. How does Egypt get there?
– Internal strife – “I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian.” (Isaiah 19:2 NIV).
– Great economic shakings – drought, famine, failing industry (Isaiah 19:5-10)
– Oppression that pushes people to “cry out to the LORD” (Isaiah 19:4, 20 NIV)
– “The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; He will strike them and heal them” (Isaiah 19:22 NIV)
God’s heart for Egypt and all the nations of the earth is not civil war, famine, economic collapse and sickness. It is to “respond to their pleas and heal them.” (Isaiah 19:22 NIV)
Some say God doesn’t use such judgments in the New Testament. In Acts 13:6-12, the sorcerer who tries to keep the leader of Cyprus from believing the Gospel is struck with blindness. That is a judgment. The leader believed in part because of the judgment on the sorcerer.
Judgments are Opportunities to Repent
God gives many warnings and opportunities to repent before sending a more severe judgment. The implied purpose of the Revelation judgments is to bring people to repentance (Revelation 9:20-21; 16:9).
Imagine someone driving very fast toward a cliff. If they keep going, they will fall off the cliff and die. Yet, there is one roadblock after another. Judgments are God’s roadblocks in His great mercy to stop people before they destroy themselves. The final roadblock is the most severe judgment that will hopefully wake them up and keep them from destruction (see Jeremiah 25:4-7).
In Psalm 83, the writer, Asaph, calls on God to defeat the nations of the Middle East as they come to destroy Israel.
Cover their faces with shame, LORD, so that they will seek Your name …
Let them know that You, whose name is the LORD — that You alone are the Most High over all the earth. (emphasis added)
We, too, should desire that all the nations would seek to know God. That may involve praying that certain things be torn down, so that there can be a building up of the Kingdom of God in them. May we all pray, “Teach me Your ways, so that I may know You as You really are, and that I may pray according to Your unchangeable character.”