Scripture: "For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance (to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising) so that you may fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and (enjoy to the full) what is promised. " (Hebrews 10:36)
Scripture: "So now wrap your heart tightly around the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises." Hebrews 10:23
Hello, dear ones! May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus be with us always. Let's invite the Holy Spirit into this moment. Come Holy Spirit and break open the Word of God for us that we may be changed, encouraged, inspired and transformed into living words of Jesus, our Lord.
Well today didn't go as planned! (I guess we can all say...this LENT didn't go as planned!) I woke up with Hebrews 10:36 in my head. We have need of steadfast patience and endurance. Yes, we do! So yesterday, we talked about praying for healing. I'm going “NIKE” on you. “JUST DO IT”! Pray for healing as often as you can. We live in the "now and the not yet of God." In our lifetime, if we are pursuing the presence of the Lord and actively seeking to grow and all things Jesus, He will give us His Heart. And we will begin to look like Jesus, and to love like Jesus. On the flip side of that kind of love and compassion are miracles. But not all miracles include physical healing. Sometimes, there are bigger needs than physical healings or sometimes something needs to happen first before that physical healing can come. Remember the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof? It was obvious that he was paralyzed. But Jesus didn't heal his body first. He forgave his sins. For that man, forgiveness was needed to unlock the physical healing. Even our friend Lazarus had to die again! We are all going to die eventually. But we want to die as friends of Jesus. And not just casual acquaintances. We want to say like St Paul, "For I know the One in whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard and keep that which I have given Him until that final day."
Today, where is my belief? In the midst of all that we are experiencing, are we people who REALLY know the One in whom we believe? When the tough, and even brutal times come, where do we anchor? In faith or in fear? In hope or in despair? Are we anchoring to HIS Word, His truth or what we are hearing and seeing in the world? This is going to become a more critical question as this challenging season wears on. The time to set these anchors in place is NOW, before our Ziklag. (1 Samuel 30:1-9, 18-20) This story in Samuel was an interesting time in David's life. This season in David's life was a huge time of transition. He had not yet fully stepped into his destiny as king of Israel. For 5 years David had been a fugitive. During this time, he had built an army, fought against Israel's enemies, gained great amounts of territory and spoils, and become famous. And now he and the guys were headed home. It was 12 days before David would be crowned king. He didn't know that yet, but it was 12 days before he stepped into his destiny, his anointing. He didn't expect what he found at home. "Now when David and his men came home to Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid and had struck Ziklag and burned it with fine. They had taken the women and all who were there, great and small, captive. So, David and his men came home and behold, it was burned; their wives and sons and daughters were taken captive. Then, David and the men lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep...David was greatly distressed; for the men talked of stoning him, because they were bitterly grieved, each for his sons and daughters; but David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God." (1 Samuel 30:1-4,6)
A huge shift was coming but David did not yet know that. Within days he would be crowned king. Breakthrough was coming. But at this moment all looked lost, and as leader of this merry band of brothers, David had a huge decision to make. What he did not yet know was that this decision would be critical to the outcome. "Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised." (Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV) This Scripture has been reverberating in me for days because of this incredible season we are in.
"From Genesis to Revelation, God speaks a revelatory word to his people, his people receive it, and a time of testing ensues before the fulfillment arrives. The enemy ALWAYS comes to challenge the Word, and with it our faith, trust and confidence in the One who gave it. The key to enduring until the fulfillment of God's promise is a confident trust in who God is and what He has said. Enduring to the fulfillment of the promise is the rich reward of confidence. In Ziklag moments the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy confidence in God and His Word so God's people do not endure and receive the fulfillment of the promise. But the writer of Hebrews declares we are not those who shrink back. (Read Hebrews 11:32-34) Each mentioned in Hebrews 11 faced great challenges yet endured to receive the fulfillment of the promises given by God. What is the point? This is faith. Faith chooses to believe God's Word to the end in spite of the cost and the risk. Faith hears, responds and moves forward trusting God and His Word through testing and trial until the promise is fulfilled. And Like David, we have a part to play in history. The decisions we make as we face our Ziklag moments will make all the difference in the world for our lives and the lives of those who follow us...those who are looking to us from afar to see how we live this Christian life of faith. David's choices, his unwavering faith revealed by his response at Ziklag, allowed the power of God's Word to be released, bringing God's plan for his life to fullness. He endured and received God's promise. The crisis gave way to a crown. The question we face IN THIS HOUR is not whether we will face our own Ziklag, because we will. The question is, will we endure in faith until we receive the promise...until the crisis becomes a crown?" Kim Maas, Facing Ziklag.
I believe we are experiencing a Ziklag, and a potentially catastrophic one. Where we choose to stand, the decisions we make right now, are crucial. I wonder if any family will be untouched by this pandemic. Sometimes we in the west believe that when we decide to follow Jesus it's like a vaccine against suffering. Or when we reach a certain economic or social position, all will be well--forever. It's as if we think we will be exempt from suffering. It always comes as a shock. Having visited the slums of Africa many times, I know these beautiful people are never surprised by suffering. They either lock their gaze on Jesus or sink into despair. And as in our Hebrews 11 stories, there is no promise of a happy ending here. As Beth Moore says, "God will either save us FROM the fire, IN the fire, or THROUGH the fire into His arms."
"Blessed is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the victor's crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12) Remember when Peter wrote, "Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place to test the quality of your faith. (Nero was literally setting Christians on fire. They WERE the fiery ordeals. These weren't little inconveniences!) Instead, continue to rejoice, for you, in measure, have shared in the sufferings of the Anointed One so that you can share in His glory..." (1 Peter 4:12) Suffering is part of life. How will we stand in it? And even more so, how will we be Jesus' presence and bring His love and hope and peace to others who are suffering?
I can't give you a fast forward to the end of the pandemic, but I can give you a fast forward to the end of David's story at Ziklag. The enemy loves to unleash Ziklag moments to completely unravel our faith and our hope. He tried to destroy David's hope by having his men, in their heartbreak, turn against him and talk about stoning him. The enemy doesn't fight fair. He wants to hit us where we are most vulnerable, most exhausted, and most overwhelmed. But David didn't stay "grieved." He didn't stay stuck! 1 Samuel 30:6 says, "But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God." This is KEY to enduring a crisis! David drew from his memory of how God had been faithful to him before. "David did not take the circumstances and apply them to God making a judgment about his character or his ability. He took his experience, his intimate knowledge of God and applied them to the circumstances. His circumstances did not change the way he saw God. His God changed the way he saw his circumstances...In this moment, David chose to go to God for direction. It was his practice. He had established this habit in easier times. He had decided to make it his practice to live from every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. It is difficult in a crisis to put into practice something that has not been established in peace...David was able to rise above the swirling emotions, the confusion, the distractions, the pressure, the anger and the bitterness, to take time to see the situation from God's perspective. He understood that the most important and needed thing was a willingness to let God speak into the situation and NOT make a decision on his own...David didn't ask God WHY this happened. He asks how to gain victory in the situation..."God answered him and said, 'Pursue for you will surely overtake and shall surely rescue. So, David set out.'" (1Samuel 30:8-9 ) Kim Maas, Facing Ziklag.
David obeyed, and rescued EVERY SINGLE ONE who had been taken. It was an astounding and unbelievable victory. But NOTHING is impossible for God (Luke 1:37). He endured, and his obedience released the promised destiny over him. Twelve days later he received the crown. We are facing Jesus' passion. He too endured to receive the Crown and ultimate victory for us all. THIS is our mission. Can we really live as people of outrageous hope at a time of worldwide pandemic?! We MUST. We are in need of patient endurance. "So now wrap your heart tightly around the hope that lives within us, knowing that God ALWAYS keeps His promises." (Hebrews 10:23)
Declaration: Jesus, we thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust and hope and love. We thank You that You promise that NO weapon formed against us will prosper, (Isaiah 54:17) and that we are not those who are held back by fear of perishing; we are among those who have faith and are experiencing true life! (Hebrews 10:39). Thank You for being our healer, our protector, our Savior, and hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27 And thank You for teaching us, guiding us, and speaking to us day by day as we become MORE than conquerors in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:37)
I have actually been totally caught off guard by the response to Ballistic Breakthrough. It is SUCH a blessing to me to be hearing from so many of you, passionate to pursue our Jesus for Ballistic Breakthrough. Lean in. Don't focus on your Ziklags. Focus on Him! Habakkuk 1:5 says, "Watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you will not believe, even if you were told." God is MOVING. Let's be outrageously filled with hope...so much that it overflows out of us. The Lord is with us. Let's keep each other in prayer.
All glory, praise and honor be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit now and forever. May every grace and blessing be multiplied to you. It is an honor to stand with you.