Sunday, February 25, 2024

Resurrection Prayer

 

In Acts 4 we see the account of Peter and John being arrested after preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people who came to them after the miraculous healing of the lame man who used to beg at the temple gate. They were brought to the high priest, the same one who had Jesus put to death. Peter and John spoke to them with such confidence that it was obvious that they had been with Jesus.


13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. Acts 4:13

The high priest, and those with him, were left speechless, especially since the lame man, who had been lame since birth, was standing there with them, obviously healed.

They couldn’t deny the miracle, but they forbid them from speaking or teaching at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John assured them that they couldn’t stop speaking about what they had seen and heard, and after they were threatened some more, they were released.

They went to their people and prayed. They glorified God, acknowledged that Jesus had been killed in that same city, according to what God had predestined to occur, and then they prayed for more boldness.

 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31.

The words “confidence” and “boldness” in these passages of Scripture are from the Greek word parrésia. You can read more about that in my two blogs God’s Freedom of Speech Definition and The Parrésia Anointing, but it is that darkness-piercing, deception-shattering type of anointing we want to carry with us to set the captives free wherever we go.

With that in mind, here is a prayer based off the prayer of those early disciples, asking for the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus to accompany us to do His will this resurrection season.

 

Resurrection Season Prayer

This coming season, from now through Resurrection Day, March 31st, I ask Lord God, that You draw us into Your presence, and while we’re there, give us the confidence and boldness that comes from being with Jesus. This season, and beyond, give us the determination to speak, to testify in the Name of Jesus. (Acts 4:13, 20).

I bind the power of all intimidation and threats. They shall not prevail over us. We pray together of one accord, with a united and unwavering heart, to You, O Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them. You are the Creator of all things, and we submit ourselves to You and Your will. (2 Timothy 1:7, Acts 4:24, Psalm 86:11, Revelation 4:11, Matthew 6:10).

Lord Jesus, You laid aside Your glory to come to earth as one of us. And You suffered the end result of the threats of those who mocked You, ridiculed You, hated You, didn’t believe in You, shamed You, and then tortured and killed You. You suffered for us, to bear our sin on the cross, to bring us into Your Kingdom, Your Kingdom of Light. To be Your ambassadors, Your representatives, Your witnesses here and now, to give record and testimony of all You have done for us. And God has highly exalted You and given You a name which is above every other name. (Acts 4:25-28, Colossians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 5:20, Acts 1:8).

So now, Lord, I ask that You grant us, Your bond-servants, to speak Your Word with all confidence and boldness, with parrésia, with Your anointing. The anointing on Your Word, and from Your Spirit, that removes all obstacles, that pierces the atmosphere with Your Light and Truth. (Acts 4:29).

Let the anointing be released by our presence (Your presence in us) and our words (Your Words) to pierce the darkness and shatter deception and confusion. Let it remove blinders from minds so the Light of the Glorious Gospel of Christ shines into the hearts of the people and they believe. Let it bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, freeing the people’s minds, hearts, and wills from the captivity of the enemy who has them bound in the kingdom of darkness to do his will. Let this be done in us as well as those we encounter this season. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, 2 Timothy 2:25-26).

Free them Lord, all those we have contact with, and all those we pray for this season, from their captivity so they can choose You Lord Jesus. Let us speak Your Word boldly, confidently, as led by Your Spirit, and let us carry Your presence to release Your power to save and to heal, while You, God, extend Your hand to heal and signs and wonders take place in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:30).

Fill us fresh with Your Holy Spirit, pour out Your Spirit upon us. Pour out Your Spirit from us, through us, as rivers of living water flow out of our bellies. Let the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Flood this place and every place we are during this resurrection season, with the resurrection power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. (Acts 4:31, John 7:38-39, Habakkuk 2:14).

 


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Opening of the Seals and the Time of the Gentiles

 


1 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. 4 Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5 and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:1-5

The opening of the seven seals in the book of Revelation was something that only the Lion from the tribe of Judah, The Root of David, or in other words, the Lord Jesus Himself, could do. No one else in heaven or on earth was found worthy to open the book or even look into it.

When John saw Him, He saw Him as the Lamb that had been slain.

6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Revelation 5:6-7

When Jesus came and took the book from His Father on the throne everyone broke out in praise—the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, the myriads of angels, and even every created thing in heaven and in, on, and under the earth gave praise to both Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb (verses 8-14).

Then John saw the Lamb open the seals.

There are various viewpoints as to what the seven seals are, what they mean, and who the four horsemen are. Consider this:

Do the seven seals in Revelation speak of the ending of the “time of the Gentiles” Jesus spoke of in Luke 21:24?

24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

There is a period of time between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week (Daniel 9:24-27) which is between the first and second coming of the Messiah. This is the period of time we are now in and what Jesus called “the time of the Gentiles.” Paul also spoke of it when he referenced the “fullness of the Gentiles.”

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; Romans 11:25.

The opening of the seven seals is progressive and quite possibly the revelation of what unfolds during the time period between Jesus' first and second coming, or the church age. In John's revelation, the book and the Lamb appeared at about the same time, which would seem to confirm this thought that the book reveals the church era which began at His resurrection. 

Jesus conquered the kingdom of darkness during His first coming, and the proclamation of what He did began to be preached at that time, and has continued since then. There has been much opposition and attempts by the enemy to prevent it, weaken it, or undo it any way possible.

Let’s look at the opening of the seals to see how we might gain more insight regarding this.


THE FIRST SEAL: The White Horse

1 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” 2 I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. Revelation 6:1-2

From the perspective that these seals reveal the progression of the church age, the rider on the white horse represents the preaching of the gospel that began with the early church after His resurrection. This rider was given authority, as Jesus had, to conquer the kingdom of darkness and establish His kingdom in the earth. In that light, the rider represents those who preach the gospel throughout the church age.

As this white horse has continued to circle the globe throughout this time period, it has not been a smooth and easy road for Christians. Attacks against the gospel have increased. The condition of the world has become less favorable to the preaching of the gospel as the church age has gone on, even more so as the effects of the next three horses increased through the age as well. Yet the white horse rider has a bow and a crown, and continues to conquer, taking ground for the kingdom.

These other three horses—revealed in the next three seals—have continually followed the white horse to try and prevent him from furthering the gospel. They try to undo what was done, to keep it from taking root or becoming established, and generally wreak havoc in or against the church.


THE SECOND SEAL: The Red Horse

3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. Revelation 6:3-4

The rider of the second horse takes peace from the earth and causes men to slay each other. The gospel is the gospel of peace. It’s a message of peace between God and man through Jesus Christ. It’s also a message of unity between the brethren. Division in the church is a key strategy against it and the preaching of the gospel. It was granted to this rider to take peace, causing men to kill each other, and he had a great sword—a weapon which both divides and slays.

But not only would this rider take peace from the church, but from the rest of the earth as well. Any and all types of division can be seen in his work, from the pettiest arguments to the most violent wars. 

During times of war, the preaching of the gospel is hindered. Potential missionaries become soldiers, travel is more dangerous, and finances may be hindered.

The rider promoting war and divisions follows the preaching of the gospel. So, we are to learn to keep the unity of the faith for the preservation of the gospel.


THE THIRD SEAL: The Black Horse

5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.” Revelation 6:5-6

The rider of the black horse brings inflation and famine. If people are impoverished, fighting to survive themselves, they won’t be as apt to give toward the preaching of the gospel. Even living in adherence to the Word of God can be more challenging during these times. The temptation to become fearful and selfish increases.

During difficult financial times, those who are greedy for gain use various means of control to make profit for themselves at the expense of others. The love of money snares many. Lawlessness increases, and hope decreases, as people become desperate.

The rider causing financial disaster follows war, and they both are after the preaching of the gospel--to prevent or undo its power. So we learn complete faith and trust in God to provide, and for the Holy Spirit to empower, as seen in the reference to the oil and the wine. May the harvests continue.


THE FOURTH SEAL: The Pale Horse

7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:7-8

The rider of the pale horse had authority to kill ¼ of the earth with sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts. We’ve seen the sword and famine already in the second and third horsemen. Pestilence, disease, and overpopulation of wild beasts, typically follows war and famine. The determination of the rider is to stop the gospel at all costs, including death. 

Any form of intended depopulation is included in his efforts. So we learn faithfulness until the end, and to sacrifice all, if necessary, for the gospel to reach the ends of the earth (before the coming of Hades). 

Jesus spoke of deception, wars, earthquakes, famines, and betrayal before His return. and then He said, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." Matthew 24:4-14.

These three riders have been using their tactics against the preaching of the gospel throughout the church age. The enemy, the spirit of antichrist, will try anything to stop the preaching of the gospel, or undo its results—including the killing of believers and unbelievers alike. Hades followed this horse.


THE FIFTH SEAL: Martyrs

The first four seals reveal what was going on in the earth. Next we see a heavenly perspective.

9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Revelation 6:9-11

Results of the enemy’s tactics throughout this age are seen in the opening of the fifth seal—martyrs. Those who were slain because of the Word of God, and the testimony that they held, are seen under the altar in heaven.


THE SIXTH SEAL: Signs on Earth and in the Heavens

12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:12-17

When the sixth seal is opened, there is such an effect in the heavens and on the earth, that people realize the wrath of God and the Lamb is upon them. They know they will suffer His wrath—the consequence of what has been happening. They try and hide from them. It's true that no one will be able to stand against their wrath when it comes. The natural response to an awareness of one's own fallen condition, guilt, and sin, which becomes obvious when confronted with God's presence, is to hide--like Adam and Eve did (Genesis 3:8). 

However, a better response is to expose yourself to Him--to admit to and repent of your sin. This would be the response of those who had heard and accepted the gospel, but for those who rejected it, the presence of the Lord would be terrifying. The only hope would be to throw yourself on the mercy of God like David did (2 Samuel 24:10-14). 

It's a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of a living God (Hebrews 10:31), but we each must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

This is not something that has happened yet. Of course there have been earthquakes and some “signs” in the heavens, but none to the point where everyone on earth hides from the presence of God knowing His wrath has come and there is no escape. This is near the end, and we see the shift from the church age to the 70th week coming.

The 144,000

The first six seals bring us near to the closing period of the time of the Gentiles. Before the 70th week of Daniel begins, the 144,000 Jewish remnant from each tribe are sealed so they are preserved from what is to come. Revelation 7:1-8.

The Multitude Before the Throne

At the end of the six seals we also see a multitude of saints before the throne. These are those who have come out of “the great tribulation” and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, making them white.  These would appear to be those who come out of the great trouble of the end times, not just the "many tribulations" we're told about in Acts 14:22. If they have "come out of" the great tribulation then that means they were in it, at least to some degree. They didn't escape it completely.

This time of great trouble which we see beginning with the revelation of the wrath of God in Revelation 6:17 (at the opening of the sixth seal) picks up again in chapters 8 and 9 during the time of the trumpets. There will be countless believers from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, making their way before God during this time. Revelation 7:9-17.


THE SEVENTH SEAL is opened and the book is fully revealed. There is silence in heaven for half an hour. The time of the Gentiles is fulfilled and the time of the trumpet soon begins. God is preparing to respond to what has occurred on the earth. This appears to be the beginning, or soon beginning, of Daniel's 70th week. 

From an earthly perspective, the transition goes from the sixth seal in Revelation 6:17 to the sounding of the first trumpet in Revelation 8:7 (and beyond through chapter 9 and the sixth trumpet) where a third of the earth, and eventually a third of mankind is destroyed.

The time to consider your spiritual condition, the reality of eternity, and who will ultimately enforce truth and judge unrighteousness, is now.




Saturday, January 6, 2024

The Power, The Resolve, The Plan


On December 27, 2023 in the early morning, a very intense presence of the Lord came over me and I felt surrounded by a revelation of His heart. It was a very sweet presence of the Lord that began to grow. It grew stronger and stronger to where it captured my entire attention and overwhelmed me. Then I sensed that it was His power. His presence grew into His power. His presence brought His power, in fact His presence actually IS His power. You can't have His power without His presence (and why would you want to!)

It was sobering to realize that this power I was feeling, His power, could do anything. Then He revealed to me that this was power to protect and to restore. I basked in that for a few minutes. It was comforting. As I thought about this later on, I was reminded of the Scripture which says that the power of the Lord was present to perform healing (Luke 5:17) and I realized that His presence IS the power to heal.

Then I felt His resolve- His determination to do something (with His power). Still aware of the fact that His power could do anything, and thankful that His power was here to protect and restore, it was like a sudden burst of joy when I realized He had a plan. It's hard to describe the relief I felt knowing that He had a plan, and even more so when I put it all together and realized He was showing me He had a plan to protect and restore. 


I know it sounds simple, but I was fully aware of the fact that without His plan we would be completely without hope, not just in our individual lives but in our nation, and even in the earth. So when He revealed this "simple" thing to me, I was extremely thankful toward Him. Yet I felt that I should pray, ask Him something--to do something. He was showing me this for a reason.

So I asked Him to reveal His plan, and I felt that He would reveal parts of it as it applied to certain people. In other words, on a "need to know" basis. It wouldn't be one huge plan openly revealed to all, but whatever part a person had in His plan would be revealed to them. This goes along with a dream I had recently regarding a mosaic—which is made up of many small parts that come together to make a whole picture. This mosaic would be a more complete revelation of Him, and His good plans for us.

But more importantly than asking Him to reveal the plan, I sensed He wanted me to ask Him to implement His plan. And I did (also asking that He preserve what can be preserved as He has often led me to pray lately. See prior posts about this here and here).


As long as we are here on earth, and He is revealing the part of His plan to us that we are to play, then the time for that plan is now! So as He instructed, I asked Him to implement His plan. I knew I could trust Him to implement it, even without fully knowing the details of what it was. 

I saw that this plan was a gathering of His words, thoughts, and intentions. When I heard "intentions" I was reminded that right before this encounter I heard Jeremiah 29:11: 


"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'"


I began to thank Him repeatedly for His good plans and intentions for us which completely overwhelmed me as I felt His heart. The whole time I was overcome with Him and His presence.

As I meditated on this, the Holy Spirit also led me to:


Ecclesiastes 3:11 showing me that He has set eternity in our heart in such a way that each of our lifetimes are for us to rise up and take our part in His overall plan for mankind. We don't see it all at once like He does, yet we each have a part and a place.


Jeremiah 33:3 where He says to call on Him and He'll answer and tell us great and mighty things which we do not know. We can know our part and place in His plan. Call on Him and ask!


Isaiah 55:8 His thoughts are not ours and our ways are not His, but as He reveals His thoughts and ways to us, we can submit our thoughts and paths to His.

This encounter ended with the thought that NOW is the time, and NOW is the plan that will display the works of God.

Be encouraged that God has a plan and He has both the power and the will (resolve) to implement that plan! He has not abandoned us or left us alone. His intentions are to protect and restore. You can trust Him. Ask Him to implement His plan and reveal your part in it to you!




Monday, January 1, 2024

Best New Year's Resolution Ever!


 Jesus said to those who properly stewarded and multiplied what He had entrusted to them, "Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:21.

We often quote this verse as what we want to hear the Lord say to us after we die and face Him. I know I do!
However, why can't we strive to hear that, not just at the end of our life, but at the end of each year, or better yet, at the end each day?

Let's resolve to live each day in 2024 more faithful to the Lord and to His Word. Let's examine our hearts at the end of each day and ask the Holy Spirit to show us when we were faithful and when we weren't, and to help us do better.

In every situation, with every person we encounter, in every temptation we face, let it be our pursuit to stay faithful to the Lord. Let's make it a point to ask Him to show us, teach us, correct us every night, and every morning. If we stay faithful every day, we will stay faithful throughout our lives.

May our heart's cry be that at the end of 2024 we will hear Him say, "Well done good and faithful slave." So ultimately we will hear those words at the end of our lives, and also hear Him say, "I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master!"