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Archive for July 2014

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Open War is Upon You

army of God888

Through adversity we are born. And we are born to face and overcome adversity (a little snippet from my upcoming book "The Father's Heart and Purpose for the End Times).

Don't let the enemy steal from or lie to you about your purpose. One of your primary roles is to overcome him! "And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." ~Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

I love this little clip from LOTR. Gandalf is encouraging the King in his duty to fight the enemy. "Ride out and meet him head on!" But he didn't want to take the risk of open war. Aragorn responds, "Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not!"( See the video clip > Here)

How true...do we not see this happening all around us? It is increasing all over the world! What should we do?

Let's put on the full armor of God and fulfill our duty. Let's ride out and meet it head on! Let's fulfill our destinies as true soldiers of Christ.

The Armor of God
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." ~Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)


“For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.” ~II Corinthians 10:3-6 (AMP)

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Facing the Real Possibility of Persecution and Martyrdom

persecution

Today, let us seriously consider the reality of persecution and even the real possibility of dying for our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus laid down His life for His bride. What does He expect of us in return? Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV). Jesus also said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12, NIV)

“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” ~John 15:20 (NIV)

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” ~2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV)

Historical accounts tell us that eleven out of the twelve disciples were martyred. It is also reported that they attempted to kill John the Apostle, but he wouldn’t die. Although these things are hard to keep track of, it is estimated that from when Jesus walked the earth until now, there have been as many as 70 million Christian martyrs. Some believe that 40 million of those have come just in the 20th century alone. The number of martyrs for Christ that we see now every year could very well be the highest number in history.

What about us? Persecution is one thing. But will we again risk the same fate as the disciples did in their day? How many of us will actually face martyrdom? Let us consider the scriptures concerning this subject.

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.’” ~Matthew 24:3-13 (NIV)

“The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” ~Daniel 7:24-27 (NIV)

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” ~Daniel 11:31-35 (NIV)

“The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’” ~Daniel 12:7 (NIV)

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the distress of those days

‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” ~Matthew 24:15-31 (NIV)


“The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” ~Revelation 12:14-17 (NIV)

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” ~Revelation 2:10 (NIV)

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.” ~Revelation 9:6-11 (NIV)

“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Whoever has ears, let them hear. ‘If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.’ This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” ~Revelation 13:5-10 (NIV)

“A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: ‘If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.’ This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ’Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” ~Revelation 14:9-13 (NIV)

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands… Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.’’” ~Revelation 7:9,13-16 (NIV)

“They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” ~Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” ~Revelation 20:4-6 (NIV)

As persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ increases across the earth right through the end of the age, what should our response be? Let us look to the word of God.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~Romans 12:12-21 (NIV)

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For,

‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’

And,

‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” ~Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV)


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The Increase in the Harvest

wheat-field

In November of 2013, I wrote a blog about the harvest called, “It’s Harvest Time!” Beloved, it truly is harvest time! How long this harvest will go, we do not yet know. Jesus spoke of a great harvest at the end of the age. I believe that we have entered that time. Here are a few pieces of evidence, in case you have any doubt:

- I have been reading “A wind in the house of Islam” by David Garrison, published this year. His team conducted a very large study, travelling across the 9 “rooms” of Islam in dozens of countries. He discovered 82 voluntary moves to Christianity across 29 countries in these areas (a “move” was defined as being comprised of at least 1,000 baptisms or 100 church plants). Two of these moves happened in the 19th century. Eleven of them happened in the 20th century. Amazingly, 69 of them happened just within the 21st century!

- Every Home for Christ has brought the gospel in written form to over 1.6 Billion homes around the world in the last 60 years and has seen well over 100 million decisions for Christ. They have seen many more decisions for Christ in the last 10 years as they’ve seen happen in all of the previous 55 years combined! Also, their conversion rate right now is approximately double what they’ve seen over the course of their history.

- In talking this morning with a friend who is in ministry in the US. He mentioned that he just recently performed the first baptisms in a certain people group he has had an outreach to for 15 years!

- All of this is driven by Spirit-led prayer. We have recently seen a great global increase in Houses of Prayer, many which have worship and intercession going for many hours each week (some even 24/7) and that have been praying in an increasing way for the lost and unreached tribes. The number of these types of Houses of Prayer suddenly increased in the 21st century…from just a handful to ~10,000-20,000 Houses of Prayer worldwide!


In 1975, the prophet Bob Jones passed away and stood before the Lord. One the things the Lord said he would do is to go back and touch some leaders that would have a big impact in bringing in a harvest of over 1 billion (mainly young people) into the Kingdom! He was told he would see the beginning of it before he died. Bob began to announce that the harvest had begun in earnest in 2012 and 2013. Bob passed away on Valentine’s Day this year.

It is time to seek the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind strength. To drink in His extravagant love deeply and give it back to Him and to others.

“Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.” ~Matthew 9:37-38 (AMP)

Boaz is seen as a type of Christ in the Bible. Let us watch closely what is happening as we see Boaz returning to the “field” (which represents the “world” in Matthew 13).

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she [Ruth] went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek. Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord bless you!” they answered. ~Ruth2:2-4 (NIV) What did Boaz find His people doing when he returned? They were busy bringing in the harvest! They were joyfully doing as they were expected… just as they had been earlier instructed.

When Jesus was in Jerusalem, He said, ”For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” ~Matthew 23:39 (NIV)

God does not change His mind. When He says something, He means it! There is no crooked word that comes out of His mouth. So, what are our instructions? What should He find us doing when He returns? I think it is clear that in addition to watching and praying…we should be bringing His Kingdom of Love to earth! We should be actively demonstrating and sharing His love with others and bringing in His harvest, reaping for Him the rewards of His suffering!

”Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’.” ~Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” ~Matthew 10:7-8 (NIV)

It takes a fearless warrior, operating in the love of Christ, to bring in an abundant harvest. Evil must be overcome with good. When our enemy is overcome, then we can release the prisoners and set them free!

“’If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~Romans 12:20-21 (NIV)

“In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.” ~Mark 3:27 (NIV)

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” ~Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

As followers of Jesus Christ, what will we do? Will we respond to His commands? Or will we sit around in ignorance, apathy and cowardice, waiting for Him to return? Consider the parable of the talents. How did the Master respond to the one who hid in a hole and waited for the Master’s return, instead of laboring in his Master’s harvest? Consider the actions of the wicked servant in the Parable of the Talents.

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” ~Matthew 25:24-30 (NIV)

Notice how the wicked servant says, “I was afraid and went out and hid your gold…” How similar that is to Adam, after he had sinned and turned over his authority to Satan. “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (See Genesis 3:10)

Christ has already won the victory and holds all authority. So, let us never go down that road of holding back or hiding again! Instead, let us faithfully and courageously lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters around us and around the world just as Christ did for us! Let it then be said to us on that day, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” ~Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” ~Daniel 12:3 (NIV)

Beloved, it is time to throw everything into His harvest…while there is still time! The very least we can do is pray! (For various examples of ways to help, click: Here)

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