Today at sunset the Festival of Purim begins, marking the Jewish nation's deliverance from the evil plans of Haman. This is one of the most beloved stories in the Bible, a book that has the imprint of God all through it, yet never mentions God by name.
This story, as do several other bible stories, has a certain element we as believers sometimes struggle with, the 'who knows' element of our faith. That unknown factor causes many to pause and count the cost, Esther knew the cost of 'who knows'. She spoke it facing the consequence of death if it did not go well, yet in the face of this outcome she walked in obedience and an entire race of people were saved from genocide. Jonathan, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azeriah, and an innumerable amount of herbs of the faith throughout history have been faced with this question 'who knows'?
Rhonda and I have stared at this question as we follow the dreams that seem to continue to push us into new countries. What we all 'can know' is the promise of a helper, the Holy Spirit, who will be our companion, guide, and instructor. So even though our walk of faith has many 'who knows', it would not be necessary to have faith if our walk was certain. At the urging of her spiritual guide Mordecai, Esther took the dangerous path of 'who knows' and today that courage is celebrated.
Who is waiting for deliverance on the other side of your 'who knows'? Lets help others celebrate the greatest deliverance of all!
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrated His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Now that should raise a Hallelujah!
I have just returned from a missions trip to Nepal, the people as always were hungry for the Word, served with passion, and wept as we departed. The culture of honor, the agape love, and the heart of servitude continues to be the power behind the growth of the ministry we have partnered with for 17 years now. It was a joy to begin our 20th year in ministry in the country it all started. Nepal has forever captured out hearts.
The headlines of the day point to a trust issue we have in the church. Do we really have faith and trust in God? It would seem it becomes an issue when the media releases such sobering news. There is no denying a virus is spreading to physical bodies. We live in a broken, diseased world that will only see more deterioration as we watch darkness escalate. But the believers promise is much greater!
Isaiah 60 says to arise and shine for your light has come. Yes a deep darkness is on many people but the Lord will arise over His people, yet fear seems to be the emotion of the day. Fear is a terrorist, fear is no respecter of persons, fear is our enemy! Much is said about fear in the Bible. Over and over God commands His people to not fear but trust. Where is your level of trust today? It has a target on it. Satan wants to break down your trust, he is using two extremes in the media- the far left liberal media and the conspiracy camp.
Isaiah 8:12 Don’t believe their every conspiracy rumor. And don’t fear what they fear—don’t be moved or terrified.
I recall a scripture song from the 70's & 80's that we used to sing, Psalm 20:7 "some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord!"
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
If you feel your trust get hit, run to God's word. God has a covenant with us- Haggai 2:5 "My spirit remains among you, do not fear! May the Peace of God rule in your heart today.
Surrender! It is amazing where a surrendered life can take you. I sit writing this on a plane starting the long journey to Nepal. This year will be our (my wife Rhonda and I's) 20th year in ministry. When I was driving home one cold February night 20 years ago, I said a very simple but sincere prayer. "God I am yours". Seven months later I was on a plane heading to Nepal unaware of what the future looked like but excited to be in God's capable hands.
So much has happened in these 20 years. Rhonda has written books about some of the travels and newsletters have brought some of the stories to life. What started out as missionary work has now encompassed pastoral duties. All from a very simple act of obedience. Yesterday morning's message I shared these three thoughts in Luke from the story of the young man who took his inheritance and went on a prodigal journey. The scripture says one day he came to himself. In other words, he woke up! Then he evaluated his situation and realized his fathers servants were eating better than he was, so he took action, he responded.
Thank God 20 years ago I woke up, evaluated my situation and took action. Thousands have been saved, thriving churches have been established, schools, radio stations, wow! Look what surrender has done. The one thing needed to make this trip more of a celebration is my wife by my side, but due to several circumstances she felt it was not best to go on this trip. It leaves a hole by my side, but she will soon be back in the seat next to me following the dream life that began with surrender!
Disturb- To upset the usual order or natural condition of.
Yesterday's message centered around this word, unfortunately it has taken far too many years to get to the place of being disturbed about the issues we face in our nation. Anyone who watched the events from the political world last week had to be disturbed. I am horrified to see our political machine stoop to this level of low. We are better than this! I for one, am disturbed.
Before anything can burst forth in new life there has to be a disturbance. Whether it is a field plowed for new seed, a birthing of a new baby, or the overturning of the status quo, it takes a disturbance. The field has to be plowed, contractions have to start, and the Luke warm church has to have the legs kicked out from our cushy existence.
Disturbance produces a harvest! There are many problems in our society and to solve any problem you first have to be disturbed by that problem. Praise God I hear the sound of the church being awakened. I see the rising up of the army of the Lord to engage in the cultural battles we face.
I think of Esther, who responded in a time of great disturbance. Her obedience to the Lord saved a nation. The evil Hamen was eliminated. The Godly Mordecai was elevated. Tomorrow in Oklahoma City, thousands of disturbed Christians will gather, seeking the abolishment of abortion in our state. May the same be said for Oklahoma. This evil, eliminated. Life, elevated. Praise God.
Last night as the Kansas City Chiefs pulled ahead in the final minutes of the Super Bowl, social media in the Christian prophetic circles lit up with excitement! For days, the word prophesied by Bob Jones about a sign of America's next great revival would be the KC Chiefs winning the Super Bowl made the social media news. Could it be?
Yes, there seems to be a fresh stir in the atmosphere. Worldwide it has been happening in every increasing wave of salvations. The reports we hear first hand from our contacts point to a mighty revival happening globally. Reports coming from Iran suggest that an explosion of the gospel is now taking place. The common theme worldwide is places of great persecution, social hardship, and hopelessness, are where we see the greatest out pouring.
Four years ago, America was at a political crossroads. The freedom we know as a Christian Nation were taken at stake. The hand of God moved in a supernatural way and God's grace and mercy opened a door of favor for the American church. For many this open door has brought an evangelistic zeal to see the fields of America ripe for harvest, but for others sadly, complacency has become the result.
I heard one of Bill Johnson's best quotes ever last week- "Complacency is not a season, it is a devil."
If the prophet is correct, we need all hands on deck! His being poured out on all flesh, young, middle aged, old, we all have a commission from Heaven.
Let us shake off lukewarmness and complacency and go! Because - what if it is?
Nehemiah 4:8 "And all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion."
This verse sums up the day perfectly. As Nehemiah worked to lead the people in a restoration project, the news came to them to create confusion. We all, in times of trying to rebuild our lives, have heard the reports. 'It is impossible' 'let it go' 'the dream is dead' 'you are too old / too young', and it leaves us confused. Most news we hear today has one purpose, to create confusion and doubt.
Psalms 83:5 For they have consulted together with one consent;
The lines of good and evil have never been so clear. God and those who follow God are under attack. World wide persecution of Christians continues to increase. In America, which for so long declared "One Nation Under God", even those words are being attacked.
Nehemiah 4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.
The following verse starts out with a great challenge. "Nevertheless". This literally means - in spite of that. Taking the stand of "nevertheless" helps clear the air. Nevertheless, I will seek the Lord. Nevertheless I will give praises to Him. Nevertheless I will trust in the Lord.
When Nehemiah and the workers took this stance a great shift took place.
Nehemiah 4:15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and thatGod had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work.
May you not be anxious, distracted, confused about anything, but in everything through prayer with a grateful heart, let your needs be made known to God and the peace of God, which goes beyond human understanding, be a hedge of protection over your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6-7.
Nevertheless- Our God Reigns!
Isaiah 54:17 "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me." Says the Lord.
So the 'trial' begins this week in the halls of the senate. With no reservations I firmly believe God has placed Donald Trump in office. I agree he has a Cyrus anointing on his life, so I remind you of Isaiah 45:1.
Isaiah 45:1 "Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right have I have held to subdue nations before him and loose the armour of kings, to open before him the double doors so that the gates will not be shut."
Here is the word the Lord has shown me Monday morning, declare this word over our President this week.
Any accuser who takes you to court will be dismissed as a liar. This is what God's servants can expect.
"I'll see to it that everything works out for the best"- God's decree.
Open wide the gates this week and let the King of Glory come in!