There are times when no one else can take this step of faith with you. You know it is personal; it goes deep. Ultimately, it is your decision and yours alone to trust God and surrender. You sense it is a big decision and you find it hard to let go completely. You already partly let go but this is where you need to die. You do not need any more signs and wonders to believe – no, you must just believe! Once and for all!
The desire to be cleansed is huge. The Holy Spirit has evoked a godly sorrow in my heart – I am at the threshold and I realize I never want to go back to my old life. I do not want to live double-minded before the Lord. I desire to be clean.
See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.
1. Corinthians 7:11 NIV
“God, if I can’t hear your voice right now because I am not willing to hear, would you just speak louder for me? Would you just shout out to me what you are saying?,” my desperate cry as I am walking outside on a Sunday afternoon. I close my eyes to listen and there! I hear Him loud and clear: “I love you, my child!,” and He continues, “I am desiring you! I want you!” I see Him there, standing further away on the opposite side of what seems like a dark valley of death between us. I know it is not real but only in my imagination. It is my fear and unbelief that make me dread the crossing.
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:24-26 NIV
So what now? Actually, we both know. God and I, we both know that I am going to take this step. I am going to cross over because He believes in me and is for me. I will die, only to be resurrected again. He is going to catch me as soon as I jump!
You were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:24 ESV
I do not want to hold onto my ways of coping with the emotional pain inside of me any longer. This inner child inside of me, crying out that she wants to be loved, is growing still before Him, to trust Him when He says He loves her. And the fretting goes because she finally sees! She shouts back to Him, “I trust you, God! I know your voice. Meet me there, Abba. I will jump for you. Because I know You will catch me.”
It takes time for faith to grow. Some things just are not made right until we believe. Sometimes we have to go through a season of intense endurance to finally prove that faith. Without patience, it does not work.
Recently I had a brief moment with the Lord. I was lying down on a bench on a mountaintop – that is where we usually meet. I was just enjoying the breeze and the sun. I waited for Him to speak because His words always comfort me.
It was that simple. He had promised me something and I would be blessed when I believed (Luke 1:45). He was reminding me that I needed to remain patient. If I really trusted Him, I would wait. That is, I would rest in His love, enjoying every day with thanksgiving, staying close to Him and always keeping an eye out for His ways to speak. If so, I would know when the moment comes. I would recognize His voice. I would know that it was God.
My friend, I bless your faith in this hour. I pray that you will let go of any striving. I pray that no matter how often you feel let down by God, that somehow your heart would be protected by Him. For the Holy Spirit is the one who works faith in us. It means everything to Him when we love Him patiently like Jesus did.
To close this up, I want to share some elementary verses about faith from the book of Romans. God bless you, my brave sister and brother in Christ! You are almost there!
“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.” (Romans 3:21-28 NLT)
we lift up your name as a banner over the world right now. You are worthy to be praised. You reign. The blood you shed on the cross speaks louder than the hatred of men in this hour. You have shown us the love of the Father. We repent of mercilessness in this world and ask that you give us another chance to make your love and mercy abound. May the people of God shine ever brightly as they choose to forgive and bless and they shall be proven your children of light. They shall stand the test in this hour.
Lord, you were raised from the dead and you have defeated the sting of death once and for all. The grave is empty and so shall the many graves the enemy has prepared long before this war has started. Let them be used against him like Haman was hung on the pole he himself had prepared for the Israelites in the time of Esther.
O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel (“the brother of folly”) into foolishness. Let the Ahithophels who have partnered with evil watch their counsel turned into foolishness like you did in the time of David. Place the Hushais (“Lord, hurry”) close to the Ahithophels to defeat their counsel. Hide them, Father, and let your voice thunder and cause panic in the enemy’s camp at this hour. We declare confusion in their communication channels in the mighty name of Jesus!
We declare Psalm 36 over the nations that your steadfast love continues to those who know you and your righteousness to the upright of heart. “The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” “Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.” The arrogant and proud are thrust down, unable to rise!
O Lord, let the spirit of repentance come over all the nations so that all transgressions are forgiven and new ways prepared for your coming. Come, Lord Jesus! Bring into order all that is lying in chaos, Abba, let us live and praise your name all our days. Great is your faithfulness! Your love endures forever!
Amen. Hallelujah. Worthy to be praised. Forever seated on the throne. We give all glory and honor and power to you. We surrender to you, Lord.
I hear the Lord say to the West: Many are the cries of the afflicted. Great are the sins of the proud. Many years I have waited but have found no one.
“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
I have brought this about for my name’s sake. The hour has come for the barren to bear fruits. I desire to taste them in your everyday lives! Where is the peace I have left with you? Where is the mercy I taught you to desire more than sacrifice? Since when did you consider yourself so highly as a leader of faith when I was angry with you? Did you not recognize how far you had drifted away from me? When will you revere me? Oh, but I say:
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.
Do not fear what is going to come. Do not fear my reproach. For there is a debt you have to pay to those around you but hear me when I say I already paid the full price for you to return to me! There is nothing that stands between you and me, I have washed you clean! Return to me, my bride! Return to me! You will be healed when you revere my name!
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Remember my covenant of peace with you. Remember what price I have paid for you so that you can be with me. I am neither resentful nor bitter when I say this to you. I am God. I just want you back. I want you to love me with everything you are. Pay the price of love to everyone around you, show me that you want to return to me: love one another as I have loved you. You have all you need- you have me, I am all you need.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
This post is going to be a bit long, so please bear with me. There will be a lot of bible verses to read. But I believe that the Lord wants to convey something beautiful through this – a noble cause we are invited to pursue and remember. I’m sure that many have read the bible verse above and even know it by heart. Yet how do we rejoice? Have you ever asked yourself this question? I want to share some things God has been teaching me these past few weeks regarding this issue and I warn you ahead that this is not for the wishy-washy. This is for the soldiers, the good, committed ones!
If you have ever watched the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, you may remember the battle speech of King Théoden. The Riders of Rohan ride non-stop for days and days to finally arrive at the war scene where humankind is facing the fate of near defeat against the dark forces of evil. I know you’re wondering why I’m talking about the Lord of the Rings all of a sudden but I ask you to first watch this scene to the end (or at least read the speech that is written out in the description):
Did you get goosebumps, too? How do you feel about them shouting “Death!” after their King? How do you feel about the faces of the orcs at the very end when they realize these soldiers are not afraid of anything? Look at the chaos and fear that sets into their camp as the riders approach!
Now I’m not here to only talk about the Lord of the Rings. But I’m here to talk about God’s army. I’m here to talk about soliders. We all know who the King of this army is: our King Jesus Christ, our Lord! And who are His soliders? His disciples – US, if you consider yourself a follower of Christ, too!
In his letter to his “son” Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes this:
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
2. Timothy 2:3-4
And again, a Roman centurion in the days of Jesus states this simple fact about order within the army:
But (Lord), say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go’, and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
Now imagine yourself being in this situation like the soliders in the movie clip; your King orders you to fight unto death for victory. How are you going to react? Hear this:
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” (Hebrews 12:4-7)
Do you know how many times He encourages us to rejoice in suffering? (1. Peter 4:13; James 1:2; Romans 5:3-5 etc.)
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things …” (Colossians 3:5-8a)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.“ (Matthew 16:24)
“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.“ (Ephesians 6:12)
See, this is my plea to my brothers and sisters to endure with me and to rejoice with me in suffering with Christ for the Heavenly Kingdom! There is a renewal of the mind happening as we thank Him for discipline and learn to rejoice always. Because ultimately, we will have a heavenly reward of eternal life and bliss and joy! When we set our minds on things above, we realize that there is hope in resurrection. We realize that there are things eternal which we cannot see (yet) but in which we must believe so that we will partake in it!
The Lord shared with me that this year would be a year of renewal. We will learn to have pleasure and delight in obedience and following His command, His ways only. As Paul says, good soldiers really seek to only please the commanding officer. Everything that distracts them are put aside for the sake of Christ! So coming back to the question of how we continue rejoicing like He commands us to do: We remember who we are – His children – and that we are part of His army. We fear God when He says that there is life in doing what He says: to love Him and our neighbors as ourselves; to forgive, have compassion, be generous, gentle, humble and meek. To 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 He has commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20). For this, we forsake any distraction, any “civilian affairs” and put to death our selfish, fleshly desires by the power of the Holy Spirit. We cut ties with any signs of lust, sexual immorality, evil desires, greed, and impurity. We constantly come to Him FIRST for refuge, healing and deliverance. We truly ABIDE in Him!
The Breath of God is coming from all four winds to revive the army of God! He has been calling them from all around the world because the fulfillment of His promises are near! He told us to always keep our lamps burning. Is your lamp burning? Do you have oil to keep it burning this season? If not, repent and seek mercy! He is faithful and just to forgive when we confess our sins (1. John 1:9).
We must be ready, Christians! We must prepare the way for the RETURN OF THE KING. So rejoice, soldiers of God! Rejoice! He has taught us how to! Grab your weapons, day and night! Fast, worship, pray and read His word, day and night! Do not let sin overtake you. Do not let darkness override you. We serve a God who is God. He is God.