Empowered

“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” – Acts 1:4-14

He had told them not to leave Jerusalem until they had been endowed with power from on high, then He left without giving it to them. What next? It doesn’t make since! Do we plan? Do we plot! Do we take matters into our own hands and fight like the zealots? No, just obey, and wait. Trust what He said, pray for Him to come back again and finish what He started.

And so they gathered discreetly. Quietly hiding and praying intently for 10 days. I’m sure they asked God questions during that time of prayer and intercession. I’m sure they prayed for their brethren and their nation to be given the revelation of salvation through faith in the testimony of Jesus. I’m sure they prayed for protection for their loved ones and families. I’m sure they prayed for direction as to what God was doing and what they were to do next. Yet I think that most of all, they prayed for Jesus to come back.

He was the Messiah! The chosen one! The anointed! Their teacher! The power of the Kingdom of God on earth! He had walked with them, taught them, died and been resurrected! He had shown them that nothing was impossible with God! He had told them that He would empower them to be His witnesses! That they would go into all the world and preach His Message! Then, He left them. And they sat in the quiet seeing no difference.

They were breaking the law by gathering together to pray. The government, the other churches, and all the powers of Hell were against them. How would Jesus’ promises come to be in this situation? In this state of mind I believe that their main prayer would have been for Jesus to return to them to finish what He started. A battle in the mind to maintain faith in what He has told them and a cry in the heart for Him to come back to them. He had promised revival, so they prayed to the reviver, and after 10 days, He showed up!

Perhaps it was in a different way then they had expected, but it was exactly what God had promised non the less! Power from on high! Boldness, confidence, assurance that He was with them! Because as Jews they knew that when God showed up in the temple, Fire was seen to fall upon it! It had not happened for generations for the temple had been defiled, unholy, mixed with the world system and the Antichrist spirit! Yet now in this upper room, that fire was falling on them and in that moment they knew what that meant. They had been cleansed, atoned for, they had become His new temple! His fire now fell on them and His Spirit indwelled them! He was back and would be with them, wherever they went!

That got gifts that day, a new way to pray, but more then anything they got a revelation that could not be shaken by any person or situation. That God is faithful and will do what He tells you no matter how impossible, in ways far more grand and unstoppable then we can imagine. So don’t try to figure Him out, just throw out your doubt, trust Him, and speak to others of Him! Preach faith and repentance and demonstrate the power of the kingdom! His Spirit has been given for one reason! To make us a witness! To point all men to Him and not for personal attention, for that is a working of the Antichrist spirit.

Oh, Jesus! Come and indwell us! Remind us how precious a gift You have given us! The blessed assurance that Your Spirit is with us and empowers us to be your witness, to tell others Your testimony, to command angel armies for Your glory, to be sent with a message backed up by the power of heaven! Stir the people’s faith for healing, deliverance, miracles, resurrection, and above all salvation through the blood of Jesus, through a people who are willing to stand in faith and preach Your message because that they have first knelt and prayed until you personally demonstrated it to them. The room was shaken that day so that their faith would never be again. He proved who He was to them and it unpowered them to preach His Message that others might believe and receive Him also unto salvation. Oh Jesus, give us a Pentecost like that again.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?” – Acts 2:1-7

“And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” – Acts 2:12-24

Humility Brings You to Destiny

“And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” – Jonah 2:10

Jonah had been called by God to preach a message of repentance to a very wicked, vile, and dangerous people. These people were not the kind of people you desire to see preserved, they were the enemy of Jonah’s people, they were a selfish, violent, perverted, and cruel people. When God told Jonah that they were facing annihilation, less they repented, Jonah’s heart towards them probably said, “good riddance.”

Yet God’s ways are so much higher then ours, His mercies so much greater, His patience so much grander, and His love so much deeper. God sees in eternities. The death of a saint is precious to Him, like a child being born into Heaven to live with Him forever there. So different does He see it then we do in our grieving because we limit our perspective to earthy things. Yet the death of the wicked, to God, is a much more grievous and sorrowful thing. For they die a true death of eternal separation from the King. So is He extremely patient with them as He gives them space for repentance in hopes that they will make the right decision and be born into His Kingdom.

Jonah, however couldn’t see this. He was blinded to God’s broken heart over these children lost because his thoughts were fixed on their current condition of confusion, deception, and wickedness against him and his people. Jonah understood God’s mercy and His judgments, but He applied them to others and not himself. He knew that their sins were bringing judgment against them and they more then deserved it. He also knew that if they repented and laid down their own selfish will to the obedience of God, then He would delight to show mercy to them, and he did not think they deserved this.

So he chose to withhold it from them. He took the warning that God had given him, this great mercy He was offering, and ran in the opposite direction with it. In doing this was he now just as guilty of selfishness, rebellion, and disobedience as them. So while he had judged them worthy of judgment, in doing this, he himself had become worthy of it. So a storm rose up against him, he was cast into the sea, and a great fish swallowed him leaving him in a hellish torment in the deep.

In this judgment was wrapped up mercy that Jonah Himself was undeserving of and as he sat in it, he was given the same decision that he had tried to withhold from the wicked. He could harden his heart and be brought down to the pit in a final judgment, or he could lay down his selfishness, his logic, his feelings, and repent and lay hold of God’s mercy.

He was in the same place as the Ninevite, in darkness, in need of God’s mercy and grace, becoming grateful for His great patience, gaining compassion for those who need humbling and saving from the depths that trusting in their own vain imaginations has brought them.

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” – Jonah 2:7-8

The word “soul” in Hebrew is separate from ones Spirit and refers to ones personal will. Jonah had committed the same sin that he had judged the wicked for. He followed the leading of his own heart (which are selfish), in opposition to God’s instructions (which are selfless). Yet in his place of personal judgment, his will finally broke, his efforts had failed him, and he finally stopped running and started crying out to God and seeking His. He finally understood that those who obey the lying vain thoughts that the enemy plants in your mind through pride will only cause you to forsake the great mercies that God is trying to give you through His instructions, council, and wisdom. Jonah Himself had to learn this before he could preach it to others.

He had come face to face with God’s judgment, that was actually mercy, that not only saved him from dying in rebellion, but brought him all the way to the very shores of destiny. A fish had interceded for him, that he might intercede for the wicked, that God might have the opportunity to show mercy over judgment. God always delights in mercy, but we have to learn to trust Him and His love for us, that we don’t forsake it trusting in our own vain imaginations.

“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” – Jonah 2:9-10

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Resurrection

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” – Philippians 3:11

Modern Christianity has focused far too much for far too long on the here and now when biblical Christianity focused more on the there and then. It’s time to get back to the basics, the foundations of the Gospel of Jesus.

So many have moved in a selfish Christianity because they are seeking to build their own kingdom. Some comfort for me, more notoriety, more popularity, more things, my best life now because I’m focused on what I can see. This is a religion build on unbelief in the teachings of Jesus masquerading as Christianity but is actually Antichrist, for it opposes all that Jesus was, taught, and came to demonstrate for us that we might obtain a religion built on faith is what’s to come. He died and was resurrected so that hearing His testimony we might believe also and stop living for the moment.

When you believe for what’s to come you start to make decisions more selflessly. You start planning generationally. You start laying the foundations for bigger things then you could ever hope to see completed in your lifetime, and though you know you will get no glory for it, you know the Lord will, and your part in it will be told in eternity and that’s more then enough for me! You might remain nameless to the masses now but will have a better forever before the saints and the angels when you put your faith in the resurrection.

You will not waste time seeking to build up physical treasures where moth and rust destroy. You will find the strength to invest in storing up spiritual rewards unto the day of judgment by praying for those who hurt you, tending to the needs of the forgotten, blessing those who use you, and ministering God’s love and truth to those who dispise you; when you’re faith is in the resurrection.

You will be fearful when you slip and quick to repent when your faith is in the resurrection. You will be patient and trusting of God’s plan for you when your faith is in the resurrection. You will be enduring and steadfast for the long journey ahead when your faith is in what is to come at the end and not in what you can get out of God in the moment.

Faith in the resurrection will cause you to show forth the selfless love of Christ knowing that we will have to give an account of our every action on that day and be rewarding according to the faith we demonstrated when our fruits are examined before all the saints and angels. We will have joy in ever trial and tribulation knowing that these temporary things are laying up for us greater rewards in eternity. We will have peace knowing that our God sees everything and that our promise is surely coming with eternal glory. We will be longsuffering knowing that we are not living for a moment of glory but for eternal positions and sonship. That we are being tried, tested, and trained to rule and reign with Christ in a far grander kingdom to come. Therefore will we patiently endure our pressing preparations for it. We will be kind, good to others, gentle, charitable, faithful to God, enduring, selfless, showing restraint in all things when we are living for a better resurrection.

So powerful is the driving influence of aiming for a destination, that Jesus was willing to suffer the pain and shame of mount Calvary to give us faith in it! Jesus was the first fruits of the resurrection so that if we truly believe that God raised Him from the dead unto eternal glory, then we can believe that He will raise us also in the end to rule and reign with Him. It’s time for the church of Jesus Christ to start believing the teachings of Jesus again. It’s time to stop building our own kingdoms and start living like we believe in a better one is coming. Living and loving selflessly, urgently, purposefully. Stopping to ask ourselves inwardly at every action and decision, how will this effect my resurrection.

In our opening passage, Paul states that at the time it was written he knew that he was not ready for the resurrection, for his love for others had not yet been perfected, but he was not making excuses for it, he was determined to pursue perfection, to press on to the mark of the high calling, to doing whatever it took, to allow God to prune and cut, to produce the peaceable fruits of righteousness in him that he might attain to the best possible resurrection.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – James 1:2-4

A life lived in faith for this caused Paul to endure till the end. To preach without compromise, to love without condition, to be cultivated without condemnation, to sacrifice without hesitation, and to endure with patience every trial and tribulation knowing that it was all working toward his perfecting unto a better resurrection.

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John 4:17

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

New Jerusalem

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” – Isaiah 2:1-5

This passage speaks of New Jerusalem. A place inhabited by Christ and those who had been faithful to trust Him, serve Him, obey Him, follow His leading and teachings, and to even die for the sake of His Name and testimony through the great tribulation that will come upon all the world.

This amazing place is described in great detail in the book of Revelations as a city that only the righteous can inter from which Christ will rule the nations. At the return of Jesus, His enduring righteous saints are granted a place of rule with Him in it because of their undying faithfulness through trial and tribulation, but for all the others who remain alive at that time they cannot inter in but are required to make a pilgrimage to it once a year. All the nations of the world will come and gather to pay honor to Christ as King, to receive instruction, and even rebuke where needed.

“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;” – Revelation 21:9-11

There will be war no mare for a thousand years. The resources and technologies that once went toward destruction will be turned toward agriculture and production as the Lord gives instruction. Man will finally lay down the works of the serpent who promised knowledge unto personal power in the garden and began to fulfill the commission they were originally given to subdue the land and tend to the garden of the earth.

What an amazing, beautiful, and grand time to be alive! Yet surprisingly enough some will still resist the rule of Jesus in their pride and arrogance. Yet in His unmatched patience He does not destroy them but, (as He always does) he gives them space for repentance by holding back the rains until they come into compliance.

“And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” – Revelation 21:26-27

In historic Israel the lands were not watered by mighty rivers, therefore God’s people had to rely on Him to bring the rains to sustain them. They could not forget about Him, they depended too heavily on Him. Yet when they did began to trust too much in their own wittiness and inventions, did He have to allow them to fail as He often withheld the rains.

This will happen to the whole world in the end. They trust in their own perceived intelligence, in their idols and inventions, in their knowledge and power granted by that great deceiver, that old serpent himself. So does God eventually step back and allow it all to fail them. The earth falls into a time of Great War, of violence, of famine, of heat, fire, and rainlessness.

So great is the destruction to the earth caused by man following the influence of the serpent from the garden that Jesus Himself has to step in to stop it. Scripture then implies that He will make new and heal the land, yet does He not return it to the way it was before. In fact it implies that in some ways it will be quite opposite. Where Israel had no mighty river and relied on God for rain, in this time will there be a great and mighty river that will spring forth in Israel from the very mountain of God, yet will all the rest of the world be forced to depend on God for rain. In faith they will have to maintain obedience in order to receive it. In this way will He teach them to follow His leading, just like He did for the children of Israel in the wilderness.

“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” – Zechariah 14:16-19

How merciful and good is our God. That when there is no more excuse for sin, no more logic to rebellion, no more justification of deception, still He is willing to give space for repentance and take time to teach men as dear children. For pride and rebellion is childish, and obedience and selflessness or of a mature Spirit. So does he have patience beyond patience, even when it does not make since to us. Teaching us to love, and instruct, and have patience ourselves as we labor to bring all men into the Kingdom, and present them repented to Christ as the reward of His suffering.

My friend I assure you that this day is fast coming. He will soon be returning. May we be found worthy to serve Him in New Jerusalem where we will daily learn the depths of His great love, wisdom, and mercy.

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation 21:2-5

David’s Broken Heart

David was a type and shadow of Christ. Prophecies of the coming messiah would often speak of “a new David”. David over all was a good, humble, and Godly king and his people loved him. Yet the time came when a trader rose up against him. One of his own, one brought up under him, his own son, Absalom.

When David would give a just and righteous judgment, Absalom would come and speak in the ears of those in violation of what David has spoken. He would tell them how he agreed with them and their actions, how he would be ok with it if he were king. He would even make contrary decrees to the words and will of David, then seal it with a kiss.

In doing this he created division in the congregation of Israel by playing to the pride and selfishness of those more loyal to their own lust then to David’s justice. A King and an anti king, and a house divided between them.

Eventually Absalom revealed himself in an all out open betrayal of David, a coup, an overtaking, a theft of his house and congregation, and an attack against those loyal to him. David was far stronger then Absalom, but he was his son, he had raised him up by his own hand and David loved him. So though he could have destroyed him, he did not, he gave them space for repentance. While in the meantime, David allowed those who loved and believed in him as the rightful king to follow him into the wilderness for a season.

Some stayed behind in the cities as spies but most went into hiding. But eventually Absalom’s pride and mad pursuit to destroy David and his followers caused him to hang himself. Literally. Eventually the wrath of God rose up against him as he pursued David’s followers, his mule ran under a tree and his head was caught in the fork of a branch, leaving him hanging there alive. Then a follower of David came an thrust darts into his heart and it was over.

An other servant of David had refused to strike Absalom, sighting the Kings decree not to murder and reminding the other that though he was evil, he was still a son of the king and David loved him. Yet was his fait sealed by his evil deeds, whom wrath itself had hung in a tree.

Yet when David was made aware of what had happened we see one of the most beautiful, somberring, complex, and heart breaking situations in scripture; and it’s a perfect picture of what our Heavenly Father experiences daily towards those who betray Him.

“And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” – 2 Samuel 18:33

In Absalom I see two parallels playing out. I see Judas in this son and disciple of David that betrays him with a kiss and is eventually hanged in a tree for it. Yet do we also see the other side of it, we see Jesus’ broken heart for him in David’s. We hear Jesus’ deep sorrow in the words “I would have died for him.”

Jesus (like David) was stronger then those who opposed Him. Yet he held no offense, only brokenness and a willingness to die for even those who rise up against him. Also was David not pleased with his followers who had taken matters into their own hands and become murderers in defense of him. He was more willing to die then to see sorrow added to sorrow by having blood shed on the hands of those on both sides of this.

In this do I also see a shadow of Christ and His faithful followers and the Anti Christ and his. A congregation divided against itself in a selfish coup by a counterfeit usurping king using flatteries to take a throne that rightfully belonged to David.

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant (sin) shall he (the Antichrist) corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32

I see a false church turning against a holy church. Those who have listened to the other voice speaking agreement with their sins against the Kings good and righteous judgments. He pretends to love and bless them for it but it’s all to turn them from following David, the true King.

“Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” – Proverbs 27:5-6

I see David and his loyal followers fleeing into the wilderness for a season to give the deceived and wicked space for repentance even as they pursue them to destroy them, as Christ and His true church during tribulation. I see his decree not to bloody your own hands with revenge by killing your enemies and becoming just as guilty as them as a warning to the church of Tribulation. The wrath of God will eventually come against the Antichrist just as it did for Absalom. Don’t invoke judgment against yourself because of some false since of justice. Remember that even the deceived are loved by the king. He was willing to die for all of them, and so must we also be.

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” – Romans 12:19

Lastly it’s a reminder that when God is forced to move in wrath against the wicket, that His heart does not delight in it, and neither should ours. We should weep with Him over them. Even the Egyptians in Egypt that fell for their wickedness against the children of Israel, are we to grieve over the loss of. It’s still a soul taken from among God’s original congregation, a son of the king slain in defense of the innocent. Justice demands it for God warned “touch not Mine anointed”, but his heart does not delight in it.

My friend when the enemy rises up against us for trusting in the words of Jesus, don’t let it become us against them like the Zealots did. Let it be us broken for them, like Jesus did. It’s still about getting as many souls as we can back into agreement with the words of Jesus, the Decrees of the Righteous King. Not becoming just as guilty and blood stained as the enemy. Don’t hate Absalom‘s army. Intercede for them and seek to comfort David’s broken heart towards them, because the wrath of God will surely come upon them eventually, less they repent. Don’t allow your hands to be bloodied in the process less you be found guilty also and have to face justice for failing to keep the King’s Decrees. Obey the words of Jesus, have a heart like David’s, trust in God’s deliverance, and live for a better Kingdom. Because Just like David, once the wrath of God has done it’s work of defending God’s anointed, Jesus is coming back to once again take His place on that thrown and those who stood with him will have their time of rejoicing, but only after a season of weeping for those who were deceived by the enemy of Jesus.

Rememebr, Absalom hated David, but David didn’t not hate Absolum. The world will hate the true church of Christ, but the true church of Christ will not hate those of the world. Honor the decrees of your King, turn the other cheek, choose to intercede, that one might be led back to the camp of the rightful King. Keep enduring my fiend, our deliverer is coming.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” – Matthew 5:9-13

“But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.” – Obadiah 1:12-15

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew 24:11-13

“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:14-21

“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.” – Psalms 130:5

There’s a Price to Pay

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” – Acts 5:30-32

There’s a price to pay. This great outpouring of the Holy Spirit was entrusted to “those that obey” it. Fast when He tells you to fast. Go when He tells you to go. Stay when He tells you to stay. Preach when He tells you to preach. Pray when He tells you to pray. Give up what He tells you to give up. Pick up what He tells you to pick up. Love what He tells you to love. Do what He tells you to do no matter what it cost you.

In other words, walk humbly and lovingly into your own Gethsemane and be willing to say “not my will, but thy will be done.” You want the anointing? My friend, it’s going to cost you something. It’s going to cost your life. Your will. Your plan. Your pride.

Salvation is a free gift to receive, but the anointing will cost you everything. Pay the price and He will send you out into the harvest fields baring witness of the message that He has entrusted to you with signs, wonders, and miracles as you bare witness of Him as the risen Son of God; because that you have believed Him unto obedience and the receiving of the full measure of His Spirit. Not a counterfeit, not being a hypocrite, not entertainment, not flashy gadgets. The real deal. Preaching the real Jesus, and demonstrating the real power of His Kingdom manifested in salvations, deliverance, healing, and unmatched miracle working power that follows those who dare to truly believe Him.

Those who, like Paul, love His appearing. Not only in the second coming but daily in the prayer closet and churches, and carry a burden to see others experience Him, here, now. Those who cry out, believe Him to step out, and are willing to go out and become the demonstration, no matter what it cost them. Total faith. Simple obedience. Complete selflessness. Just like He taught us. Him Crucified, that we might receive eternal life. Ours lives laid down, His magnified. A divine exchange walked into by faith, walked through by grace, walked out in obedience, lifting up the Name of Jesus and bringing His Message to those who most need it.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” – John 14:15-16

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” – John 14:21-23

“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” – Luke 14:27-28

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Mark 8:34-37

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:33

Pentecost

They had been ordered not to gather together by government decree. Some of them had faced threat of arrest for it, but they loved Jesus and knew the power of unified prayer. They knew the scriptures and believed them. They were willing to take the risk. 120 of them, together in an upper room hiding, praying, waiting, obeying, and heaven responded…

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Acts 2:1-4

The greatest revival in history came from people who trusted more in God’s authority then in man’s. Even under threat of arrest and of death, they still gathered to pray and it changed the world to this day. What did the government of the time have to say, and what was the response of the founders of our faith?

They were arrested and commanded to stop under threat of law. The authorities sought to kill them but feared protest so instead they arrested them and brought them before the council to which Peter responded:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” – Acts 5:28-32

Haman’s Evil Decrees Reversed!

“On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king, And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces: For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.” – Esther 8:1-8

Ester, (being a type of intercessor) who stood between the enemy and the King on behalf of others, at this point in the story had already seen the enemy exposed and disposed of. Haman, a ruler in dark places, through the intercession of Ester seeking an audience with the King and pleading on the people’s behalf, had been exposed and hanged on the gallows that he had built for God’s chosen. What a victory this was, but that us not the end of it.

Ester had asked mercy against this enemy of the saints for the sake of the Kings own Name. Now the King would ask something of Ester. Make a decree, said the King. “I give you the authority. Whatever you proclaim in my name will be.”

Wow, that’s amazing. So she asked, not only for the removal of this wicked Principality (which had already happened), but for all of his works to be reversed also, and it was granted! Praise the Lord! What a total victory! God’s people set completely free! The enemy exposed, removed, and his plans reversed that what the enemy meant for harm God Then turned to good! What the enemy had plotted and planned to annihilate God’s children, birthed a revival of rejoicing instead, an uprising of faith and boldness, and an outpouring of grace upon them as all his plans where turned against him! So that where the enemy had meant to curse them, God had turned it into blessings and it all came from prayer, fasting, repentance, and intercession! So great is the power of prayer, because so great is the God who hears it.

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:13-14

God in the Balance

“He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind. And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled. The Lord thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice. And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them. And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.” – 2 Samuel 22:10-16

Man has lost sight of the awesome majesty of God. They think more of Him as someone to bail them out of trouble or bring their wish list too. There is very little fear of God. Where men once referenced God they now take His mercies for granted. The account given in this passage is meant to remind us of the wonderful, powerful, and terrible reality that God is unmatchable, un-confront-able, unimaginable in power and majesty and should be feared about all for He is not just our creator but also our judge. He should be treated, respected, and reverenced as such and we should never loose sight of this. He holds everything that ever was created in His hands and if He wanted to He could destroy it all in a second. Oh, how easily do we forget this.

“He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay.” – 2 Samuel 22:17-19

As the passage continues we see David, who just spoke of the awesome fearful power of God, turn that revelation into faith, courage, comfort, and confidence by reminding himself of the times that the awesome incomprehensible strength of the God who created everything was turned against his enemies to defend him in times of trial and distress bringing him peace and rest. What an encouraging thing that our creator God and King sees us when we are hurting and intervenes on behalf of His children when they cry out to Him having faith in His great majesty to save them!

“He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.” – 2 Samuel 22:20-25

Finally David brings these two aspects of God into balance by clarifying that His confidence in God’s defense was based on the fact that He loved, served, and obeyed Him. He was in right standing. He believed in Him and had a relationship with Him. He desired loving communion with Him. He walked in righteousness keeping his feet on the narrow path that he not invoke His wrath for wickedness is selfish and will cause damage to God’s creation and detriment to others so that God cannot rightly defend those who walk in it, but rather must eventually move against them for it; in defense of the innocent.

Therefor does David make it clear that his confidence is in the Lord because that he has first feared and respected his great wisdom and majesty unto obedience. Then doing so he had all confidence that this great power would stand in defense of him against his enemies for they that fought against him in his obedience were actually fighting against the God that was instructing him. Jesus said that those who are not for Him are against him. Paul said that to choose the world’s side makes you the enemy of God. That the prideful will be humble and that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.

There is a balance. There is mercy, power, protection, gentleness, and blessing everlasting for those who are in Christ Jesus. Those who are walking in obedience to His words and teachings as was David’s position. There is strength, peace, and confidence in the unmatchable terrible power of His Omnipotence to those who are on His side knowing that this same God who spoke worlds into existence now defends them. He leads, guides, and directs them like a good shepherd int the wilderness. His rod and staff of authority comforts them for it swings not at then but against that which seeks to steal, kill, and destroy them.

Yet for the wicked, the ones found on the other side of this rod of authority, those who do not obey Him or reverence His majesty, they will one day tremble in fear and face the wrath of this terrible and awesome God who speaks with lightening and thunder. Who rides in clouds of darkness. Who’s footstool is the earth and who’s habitation is the heavens. Who controls all the workings of creation. Who they did not believe, trust, honor, reverence, or obey. Who they slandered, and shamed, and exulted themselves against. Who they did not take serious. They will be filled with fear at His appearing and on that day will finally acknowledge Him, but it will be too late.

So let me bring God back into the balance. His Omnipotence is to be reverence. His presence to be respected. His power to be a comfort to those who love, serve, trust, and obey Him. But a terror to those who have strayed from Him. Do not be so prideful as to pray for God to take your side. Humble yourself and seek Him that you might follow His leading in obedience and be found on the day of judgment to have laid down your pride and taken His side.

For those who do there will be peace, promise, and eternal rest. For those who choose wickedness they will be counted His enemies and will face the full wrath of an unmatchable King. A King that Paul said is both goodness and severity. So walk in humility and bend the knee to His majesty now while mercy and forgiveness may be found. Don’t delay an other day for we do not know when His cup of wrath will be poured out. There is a point at which it is too late. Seek Him now while He May be found.

“With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury. And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.” – 2 Samuel 22:26-28

“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” – Romans 11:22

The Christian Response to Persecution

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:17-21

Paul wrote these words to the church in Rome. Remember that Rome was a very great persecutor of Christians. The brutality in which they had crucified Christ was continued daily upon those who had believed upon Him. Over the years many were hung, impelled, burned alive, boiled in oil, fed to lions, filleted alive, the list goes on and on. Yet Paul, who Himself has been beaten, flogged, imprisoned, and tortured instructs the church to remember Jesus and be like Him, who prayed for those who persecuted Him, who forgave them, and love them, and even died for them that they might be saved.

“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” – Romans 12:14

As the days get darker for many believers and opposition to their faith increases, it is important to remember the words of both Paul and Jesus. Jesus said pray for them and even bless them. Paul painted a picture of this buy saying that if they hunger feed them and if they thirst bring them a drink. Do not confront them with bitterness or offense or the enemy has already won both of you, for these are not manifestations of the fruits of the Spirit, but rather are the fruits of selfishness and unrighteousness.

“But I (Jesus) say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” – Luke 6:27-36

The book of revelations speaks of a great demonic army of locus type creatures that are released upon the earth from the very depths of Hell. As I see physical hordes of locus devastating the far East right now, I am reminded that locus come to eat up the fruitfulness of the land. They attack the fruits of a plant and those that they do not kill can become so stressed and wounded that the fruit they produce from that point on are bitter.

Hatred, hurt, bitterness, offends, unforgiveness, defensiveness, all such reactions to the attacks of the enemy are nothing less then these demonic locus eating up your fruitfulness. For the fruits of the Holy Spirit of Jesus are love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience and endurance), gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control.

It is these fruits that reproduce the character of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven that was manifested in Him to the world around us. As Christians we must remember that we are here only to save the lost and bring them to Jesus as we demonstrate Him to them. We are not to fight with them, but to fight for them in prayer, intercession, striving to bring them to salvation and deliverance. We are to pull them up out of the pit they are in at all cost to us, rather then diving into it with them to squabble with them in it, becoming filth ourselves in the process. Love them, my friend. Jesus did. He gave us His example and we have no excuse not to follow it. He commands us to, if we are truly His.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” – Philippians 2:3-15

Remember, as Jesus did, that this world is not your home and you better not defend it at the cost of souls. Instead manifest the fruits of the Spirit and demonstrate faith in the words of Jesus. Be willing to give up everything, even your own dignity if need be to see just one more soul added to the kingdom. Walk humbly, do good, obey the word, help those in need, bless those who curse you, intercede for those who hurt you, and return kindness for evil. These are the teachings of the real Jesus and loving them proves to the world that we really believe what we preach. That our kingdom is not here but in heaven so that it matters not what man says to us, or about us, or what we loose in the process of following after Jesus because this world is not my home. I am not fighting in the flesh to become a king on this earth, I am fighting in the spirit as a King of an other kingdom “in” this earth. Just like Jesus.

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” – Ephesians 5:2

My friend, if we truly believe in the resurrection that is coming then we will let go of selfishness and Kingdom building led by men and focus on bringing souls to Jesus so they can rule and reign with Him in His. This world is not our home, we are only passing through. Don’t loose your soul fighting for it when Jesus has purchased a better one for you. Do what you were left here to do and go out in sacrificial love and give the lost this good news. Even if they hate, slander, persecute, and imprison you for it. That’s the true gospel of Jesus preached by Him and the faithful men and women of the New Testament. Let us be like them, preaching and demonstrating it.

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” – Hebrews 13:12-16

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” – Hebrews 12:2-4