Standing in the Storm

God’s people would be bolder and braver if their leaders were not afraid to speak about controversial subjects. Fear of losing license because of being leaders in difficult situations and having unpopular views keeps some leaders from leading people to God’s promises.

In chapter 38 of Jeremiah’s record, he prophesied that Jerusalem would be taken by the Chaldeans, and that anyone who surrendered to the Chaldeans would live through it. People who wanted to believe things Yahweh was not saying punished Jeremiah by throwing him into the mud at the bottom of a cistern. King Zedekiah gave them permission to do it, because he was not a leader.

An Ethiopian named Ebed-Melech was a court official in Zedekiah’s palace. His name meant “Bound in the King’s Service.” He heard about the mistreatment of Jeremiah and went to the king, thinking that he was informing him so that he would protect Jeremiah. Zedekiah gave him permission to rescue Jeremiah from the cistern, because he was not a leader.

The Babylonians arrived, overpowered Jerusalem, killed Zedekiah’s sons in front of him and then blinded him. He was carried away to Babylon. Jeremiah prophesied to Ebed-Melech the words of Yahweh: “I will rescue you… Because you have trusted Me, you will keep your life like the spoils of war.”

Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the poor in Jerusalem be given fields and vineyards, and that Jeremiah should be given freedom to go anywhere in the world that he desired.

Ask Jesus

On one of the very few occasions when Jesus’ disciples asked Him what He was talking about when He said something, He explained the parable of the sower (Luke 8:9-15). He will explain things to you as you ask in faith, too.

The soils in the parable were: trodden hard from much traffic; rocky; among thorns; good ground. Any of the soils could be converted to being good ground. The work in natural terms would include gathering rocks, pulling up thorn bushes, and plowing the hard dirt. In spiritual terms, the processes might look similar – removing distractions, softening our hearts, removing life activities that compete for resources.

Difficulties in our lives are frequently doing exactly those kinds of work if we allow them to be accomplished instead of running from trouble and corrections. We become mature in the spirit by manifesting the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). Co-operating with the Spirit as He develops our soil will make it much faster work. We (and those who are around us) will more quickly enjoy the fruit if we prepare the soil in every area of our lives.

We may be good soil in church meetings, but be full of thorns on the highway in our vehicles. We may be stony messes in our homes. We need to continually look for more acreage on which something wondersful can grow, and be part of the Holy Spirit’s work of preparing it and sowing seeds into it.

Jesus chose you  and set you in place where He wants you so that you will bear much fruit, so that your fruit will remain, and so that whatever you ask the Father in His name would be given to you (John 15:16). Do some digging. Be fruitful!

Hunger and Humility

Two things Yahweh rewards happily are the conditions of hunger and humility.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. The son who wanted his inheritance early and wasted it hungered for the meals and liberties of his home and therefore returned to his father. Yahweh gave Israel bread from Heaven for their hunger.

Yahweh leads the humble in what is right; He teaches them His way. Though He is exalted, He pays attention to the humble; the haughty He knows from a distance. He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. He has said, “The kind of person I will look upon with favor is humble, submits to me, and trembles at My word.”

He caused Nebuchadnezzar to become humble, and then blessed him with revelation:                                                                                                              But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing,
and He does what He wants with the army of heaven
and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can hold back His hand
or say to Him, “What have You done?”

At that time my sanity returned to me, and my majesty and splendor returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and my nobles sought me out, I was reestablished over my kingdom, and even more greatness came to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of heaven, because all His works are true and His ways are just. And He is able to humble those who walk in pride.
(Daniel 4:34-37 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Being satisfied apart from Yahweh’s Living Bread is likely to make me very hungry. Being proud and satisfied with myself is likely to make me become humbled.

Looking Foolish

Paul was trained in the art of enforcing the law. He was trained in the art of rhetoric – of arguing. He considered himself to be charged with a two-pronged advance assignment in the earth: instruct Israelis about the appearance of their King, and then to instruct Gentiles on the same subject. He was to introduce them all to a King Who had risen from the dead to be an Eternal King.

His strategy was very unlike the current mission of people who call themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their hope is to win arguments. Paul’s hope was to prove the Kingdom.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:17-31 ESV)

How would you describe the agenda of most of God’s people who are in the earth today? What about yours? Be filled with proof, with power, and with love.

The Kingdom In Heaven 2

Angels and other beings from Heaven have been the victims of much imaginative misrepresentation by humans. From impish babies with wings, to Cupid, to fairies, we have painted and sculpted them in ways that make them fit our stories since we don’t have too many stories or details about them from God’s stories.

If the warriors we need working with us look like most of the images from Hallmark’s movies and greeting cards, we are in trouble. Descriptions that we have been given in the Scriptures range from them looking like men dressed in lightning to having six wings and actually having eyes in the backs of their heads, just like your Mom.

What they do may be more important, but also more mysterious, than what they look like. A point I would like to raise is how some are related to government in the earth. Please pause and read Daniel 10.

The messenger who appeared in front of Daniel with the answer to Daniel’s prayer was so awesome that Daniel’s friends could neither see nor hear him, but were so filled with dread and fear at his presence that they ran away. Daniel could see and hear him. His response was to fall on his face like a man in a coma.

The messenger was awesome to men, but he had been trying to fight his way past a being he called, “the prince of Persia” for 21 days. Apparently, if Michael, whom he called, “your prince,” and “one of the chief princes,” had not joined him in the fight, he would never have gotten past the ruling spirit. Clearly, if the prince of Persia could hold this being still for three weeks, he was not an earthly ruler. He was ruling in a high place over the earthly nation of Persia, though.

Michael, called here a “chief prince” is called at times an “archangel.” A hierarchy is a system (heir) of authority (archy) that describes rank and relationship for those who have the keys to understand such, like the relationships of responsibility and authority in military organizations. The descriptions of Michael and the unnamed prince who ruled Persia in some way are sitting in positions that are part of Yahweh’s government.

People are already receiving understanding about this set of relationships in the Kingdom of Heaven. When this restitution is complete, there will be liaisons among the Heavenly beings and among believers who will know what the protocol is for exchange of information and of instruction between these parts of God’s government. We will learn how to displace usurpers like the prince of Persia with the beings ordained by God instead of those who are simply empowered by the evil in men’s hearts.

Cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, the District of Columbia, and Sodom all clearly have had unclean rulers in the spiritual places over them, given power by the humans under their influence. Those cities, and all others, have a nature that is a manifestation of what their relationship is to the Kingdom of Heaven.

We will also understand through these people’s revelation what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24 & 25, including the fact that He will judge nations, not just individuals.

The Kingdom In Heaven

Peter was preaching to a crowd that had gathered when he and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate when he told them that Jesus would be in Heaven until “the restitution of all things.’ (Acts 3:21 KJV). Revival is a word that means “bring back to life.” Restitution means something was paid for, or repaid after theft, or restored to an original condition.

Some of the gifts and works of the Church in the earth had hardly begun at that point in time. Many gifts and works were stolen from the Church at a later time, during the days of Constantine and other misleaders. Some of the restitution has begun to be made; it is not just adding water to something that was dried out, though. It is a bringing forth of things of old that are becoming more than they ever were, by becoming now what they are meant to be.

The Scriptures were restored when Martin Luther and others began to translate them into languages that people spoke and understood. This precipitated the restitution of the gift of teacher. In the days of John Wesley and George Whitfield, the gift of evangelist was revived. In the 1990’s, the gift of prophet was brought back to strength and function. Around the turn of this century, people began to grasp that the Spirit was telling them that they are apostles, and started discovering what that meant they should be doing.

Paul, in his letter to the Churches at Ephesus, wrote that those 5 leadership gifts were given to the Church by Jesus to equip the rest of the Church to do the works of serving Him (Ephesians 4:7-16). I have been sensing that to mean the next restitution would be the ministries of all of the believers. I believe that what will follow that (and both are already in motion) will be the restitution of the works of spirits who serve God in heaven.

Many of these beings we call “angels,” which can be translated to English as “good messengers.” Many others are very different in their work from simply carrying messages. Some, people who have seen cannot even gather words to describe. Four of the servants who are so close to God that they surround His throne, John could only describe by saying they were made by God, and they are alive and they look partly like a man and three animals (Revelation 4).

A View Of His Kingdom

You can’t see His Kingdom if you have not been born of Him (John 3:3). Once your eyes have been transformed by His Light, you can begin to see His Kingdom in many different places and times. This is a view of it from a place of exile in which His people found themselves; a place where He raised His hand among them and struck His enemies through them:

Now, why are you shouting loudly?                                                                       Is there no king with you?                                                                                       Has your counselor perished,                                                                                     so that anguish grips you like a woman in labor?                                         Writhe and cry out, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor.                       For now you will leave the city and camp in the open fields.             You will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued;                                         there the Lord will redeem you from the power of your enemies!      

Many nations have now assembled against you; they say,                  “Let her be defiled, and let us feast our eyes on Zion.”                         But they do not know the Lord’s intentions or understand His plan,  that He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.       Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will make your horns iron           and your hooves bronze, so you can crush many peoples.                Then you will devote what they plundered to the Lord,                   their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.
(Micah 4:9-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Songs of Victory

After seeing their God do one more great work of delivering them and destroying their enemies, Israel changed their tune. At least for one afternoon.

Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said,

” I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will extol Him.
The Lord is a warrior;
The Lord is His name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
The deeps cover them;
They went down into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up,
The flowing waters stood up like a heap;
The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be gratified against them;
I will draw out my sword, my hand will destroy them.’
You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?
You stretched out Your right hand,
The earth swallowed them.
In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed;
In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.
The peoples have heard, they tremble;
Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia.
Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
Terror and dread fall upon them;
By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone;
Until Your people pass over, O Lord,
Until the people pass over whom You have purchased.
You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance,
The place, O Lord, which You have made for Your dwelling,
The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.
The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”

Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. Miriam answered them,
” Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;                                                          The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.”
(Exodus 15:1-21 NASU)

He Said, They Said

What Yahweh said to Moses:

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
(Exodus 14:1-4 NASU)

What Israel said to Moses:

As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘ Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
(Exodus 14:10-12 NASU)

They were building their logic for how to interpret what seemed to be happening around them on what they had learned in Egypt. They should have built their logic on Who Yahweh was, and on who He said they were, and on what He stated as their purpose in the earth.

Hard Hearts and Swarms of Problems

Our God has designed our minds to value logic and to use it to find our ways and protect ourselves and our families. We use it to imagine things and then to build them.

Paul suggested to the Believers in Corinth that they needed to have their logic influenced by the experiences that were recorded about the Israelis who followed Moses out of Egypt:

Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.

Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil as they did. Don’t become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play. Let us not commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in a single day 23,000 people fell dead. Let us not tempt Christ as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. Nor should we complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.
(1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Yahweh told Moses that He had made Pharaoh’s heart hard, so that he would do what Yahweh wanted, and so that in the process Yahweh could show His powers to both destroy and to protect.

When we are facing a power who is against us in the earth, we shouldn’t base our logic on how to interact with them on who they are and what they are doing. We should build our logic from Who Yahweh is and what He is doing. When storms and bugs and destruction comes, we should expect to be protected while we watch our enemies fall before our God.

When we are deciding how to spend our time and emotion and how to interpret opportunities or dangers, we need to be influenced by what we know of Yahweh.