Scripture: "And now I am coming to you. I have told them many things while I was with them so that they would be filled with my joy. I have given them Your commands. And the world hates them because they don’t fit in with it, just as I don’t. I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from Satan’s power. They are not part of this world any more than I am. Make them pure and holy through teaching them Your words of truth. As You sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world, and I consecrate myself to meet their needs for growth in truth and holiness." (John 17:13-19 TLB)
Hello beautiful people of God,
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you 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.
If you haven't heard Kari Jobe's song, “The Blessing”, please stop right now and immediately find it on YouTube, or wherever you listen to music. She and Cody Carnes wrote this song a month ago and felt the Lord's prompting to get this out as soon as possible to bless the people of God. Little did they know the speed with which coronavirus would ravage our nation and our world. God is not sleeping! He is continuously finding ways to ignite His Word and partner with someone to bring His Presence into whatever situation is threatening to trip up or even cripple His people. He is not an uninvolved, passive observer. He is passionate about His people, and always looking for ways to break into our reality with His love and His peace. But what if Kari and Cody had done something else that afternoon? What if they hadn't listened to the nudge, the promptings to stop what they were doing and go into a space of worship? God had a Word for His people. Nothing happens on earth without God partnering with His people. Each of us has a CRITICAL part to play. There are people in your life placed very specifically by the Lord Himself for YOU to impact for the Kingdom. This is real. Some folks are so easy to love and pour into…and some take every ounce of Jesus in us not to slap them into next week!!
Several years ago, I was at a conference and a speaker was talking about a funny conversation he had had with the Lord. This guy has a huge healing ministry and the Lord said, "Wow, Larry, look at you! I've given you so many gifts and you're using them well. Proud of you. But Larry, did you know that when you get to heaven no one needs healing? They're healed! All you can bring to heaven is your heart...the way you've loved. And right now, your ministry has grown bigger than your heart. You need to know that little is the new big. Get little, Larry." A dear spiritual mentor was sitting next to me and she leaned over and said, "This is a word for you." She didn't have to say it. I knew it. But I was grateful that she did, that our relationship is that real.
At a time like this, all superfluous stuff is swept away. Isn't it funny to think about what was at the top of your urgent list a month ago? I was flying from Mexico to San Diego to get two sons married. Today, my kids don't even want me to go to the grocery because I'm 'elderly.' (That's still a blow!!) And in a season where everything we thought we had control over is gone in an instant. And there is no end in sight. This could potentially crash our economy, start a world war, or bring famines. The list is endless. (Am I as much fun as the nightly news?!) For David and I, we were looking forward to at least moving in the direction of retirement. We'd met with our finance people, put things in order and never dreamed that in the time it takes to get your Starbucks order, ALL could be taken away. So, what's a Christian to do?!
Here's where it gets real. I have not been spending 2 hours a day on a blog to entertain you...but to call God's people to the front line. Please reread every blog so far. They miraculously have built on each other (I never know where I'm going when I begin). This is our Esther 4:14 moment in history. For such a time as this you stand anointed!! So, when the world is freaking out and blowing the trumpets of gloom and doom, God is in his heavens "laughing at the plans of His enemies." (Psalm 37:13) HIS intention is for full scale revival. Every prophetic voice across every denomination is hearing the same thing. Full scale revival is coming. The people are finally in a place to hear. And STILL there are hardened hearts. That's where we come in. We "have been commissioned to represent Him." We have work to do. The Lord is passionately pursuing His people. And we get to help. This is where it gets FANTASTIC.
Yesterday, I was in our chapel praying. I was listening to "The Blessing," and just worshiping. I asked the Lord to give us the strategy to pray through this thing. I had my arms open and my hands out and I kept asking the Lord to fill my hands. I wasn't sure what we were filling them with but the words were just coming. This morning, the Lord had me up at 2:30 am. There was no urgency, no anxiety. There was actually great peace and almost an excitement. I felt like I was on the night shift for Holy Spirit school. It was amazing. I LOVE Acts of the Apostles. Since I was 16 years old, I have asked the Lord to make my life look like Acts. THIS is the season we are in. Let every veil be removed, everything that blocks us from seeing clearly in the spirit realm be removed. 2000 years ago, the Lord gifted us with the first Pentecost. It changed the world forever. What I felt like the Lord was telling me this morning was that His ultimate plan that will come from this is WORLDWIDE Pentecost… People are you getting this? 2000 years ago there was a moment in time that changed the history of the world forever. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit exploded on the scene and heaven came down. The prayer we've prayed daily all our lives, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," actually HAPPENED! Just simple men, became filled and flooded with God Himself, were sent forth in the power and love of God to change the world. And they did. And now, friends...it's OUR TIME!
This moment in history, the rug has been pulled out from under us. I think we all agree that something HAD to happen to get our attention. It has. Pentecost wasn't meant to be a one and done thing. Jesus' death and resurrection opened the gates of heaven to us. All that was available to Jesus on earth is available to us. And THIS MOMENT in history is THE moment the Lord wants to ignite again. This is a very exciting time to be alive. He promises to pour out His Spirit on US in the same way He did 2000 years ago, but this time...He's going global! And, please God, He has our full attention.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy--telling forth the divine counsels--and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. Yes, on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy--telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God's Kingdom." (Acts 2:17-18)
If you read Acts of the Apostles, you know that it ends abruptly. That's on purpose. Because WE are STILL LIVING in the Acts of the Apostles. We are this generation’s apostles and has there ever been a time when the world needs Spirit filled disciples more than now?! In the midst of THIS MESS, we stand anointed. We are living in a Hebrews 12 moment when the grandstands of heaven are filled with all the saints and angels who've run their race and finished strong. Perhaps the beginning of the world was the season of the Father. The early Church was the season of the Son. But now, my friends, it's the season of the Holy Spirit. Every time in salvation history that there has been great tribulation, tremendous breakthrough was just around the corner. Tribulation is the birth canal for breakthrough if we lean in and don't stop trusting, believing, and engaging in the Lord's mission.
What does that mean in real life? What have we been talking about all week? This is the season that we liturgical Christians are pouring into the Word. Interestingly, this is the season when our beloved Evangelical brothers and sisters are discovering the power of Communion. The Lord is using this time to fulfill His John 17 prayer..."that they all be one." THAT is how a global Pentecost will come. That we all are one. We may never agree on every doctrinal issue, but we have to come together in the Heart of Christ. Two years ago, I went to Brazil on a fantastic mission trip. There were 6 Catholics and 90 Evangelicals. One night, we were ministering in a church of 10,000, many former Catholics. As I stood in a church with a huge percentage of former Catholics, I was very aware of the presence of Jesus' mother. I know that the Evangelicals had lost the gift of Mary, Jesus' mother given to us to be a spiritual mom to us, to help us stay on track. And we Catholics have lost the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes and goes as He wills. Liturgical churches are often more comfortable in our heads than letting the wind of the Spirit come in and mess with our comfort zone! And since the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and Jesus became enfleshed, those two have been quite the team cheering us on. It seems that their assignment is to lead us to Jesus the quickest and best way. All my favorite Evangelical pastors are writing books on Holy Communion. One is having visitation from Mary. Nothing could be more foreign to his religious affiliation. And everywhere I give retreats there is a voracious hunger in Catholics for the MORE of God, the Holy Spirit. It's always fun to watch God move in His people and weave the broken body of Christ together with golden threads. Especially in ways that totally mess with our comfortable boundaries!
"That they all be one..." We've talked about so much these last days. The greatest of these is love. For a global explosion of the Holy Spirit to set a fire on earth we need two things: first, BE AWAKE so you don't miss it. He needs you. He's so excited to fill you and use you to bring the Kingdom here now. And second: be open to a move of the Spirit that may be different than what you've ever expected. He does not feel the need to consult us for a protocol! "Don't quench the Spirit, do not scoff at prophecy. But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good and stay away from every kind of evil. " (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)
Throughout salvation history, Jesus chose the wildest times, the ugliest, darkest times to shatter the darkness and show up with a Hallelujah chorus! This time is no different, except this time the history books will be writing about US as the heroes of the faith IF we stay the course. The world could be blowing us, but we belong to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28) So WE must not be shaken. Whatever is coming down the pike, we belong to the unshakable Kingdom. THAT is our home. We're passing through this one. But let's make it count.
"Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas...God is in the midst of them. They shall not be moved." (Psalm 46:2, 5) Holy Spirit, Mary, all the saints and angels, intercede for us before the throne, that we may "strip off every encumbrance and the sins which so readily entangle us, and let us run with patient endurance the appointed race that is set before us...looking away at all that will distract us to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2) Let us make you proud, Jesus. Holy Spirit, fill us with everything we need to be people of courage and love. And Mary, you who nurtured Jesus and helped Him learn His destiny, help us learn ours at this time in history. And take us by the hand and lead us closer and closer to your Son. All glory and honor to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit now and forever.
Declaration: Thank you, Lord Jesus, that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses cheering us on from the grandstands of heaven. Thank you that this is our moment in salvation history to make a difference, and You promise to fill us with Your Holy Spirit to make that possible beyond our wildest imaginations. Thank you that very day we are becoming bodies wholly filled and flooded with God Himself. (Ephesians 3:19) We thank you that every day we are really coming to know practically, through experience, the love of Christ, which far surpasses head knowledge without experience. We are YOURS, Jesus. And every day we want to give You more. Come Lord Jesus, set us on FIRE! Amen and Amen!
All glory to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. May every grace and blessing be multiplied to you. Let's keep each other in prayer.