“In the world…” Jesus speaks of reality for the believer. There will be tribulation, struggle, battles and fierce enemies in the world. They will resist you, fight you and distract you from the course of fulfilling your destiny. You will wonder and fear, doubt and fall… but His peace is available! He commands you to make a decision, “…be of good cheer!” Do not lose your joy, your patience nor your testimony in the hour of trial! His call is to follow Him into victory and overcome in the darkest hour!
Believer – the pivotal question is: “What are you going to do in those moments?” Are you going to let the fierce trauma define you or not? Will you allow fear and uncertainty to gain a foothold in your life or are you going to push beyond it?
Don’t Allow Tribulation to Define You!
Many are defined by the catastrophes of life. The cry of their heart is not for endurance, but deliverance! Many hearts get overwhelmed by the fear and uncertainty. Yet, this is not the character of the valiant of heart. I’m convinced there is a position in Christ that every believer should embrace. The “over-comer” has become the guardian of their heart. Scripture reminds us that in difficult moments, we must walk in faith and not by what we see with the natural eye or feel with the natural senses. In order for us to follow Christ into His victory we must take preventive action!
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23)
Advancing & Overcoming:
I love the way Scripture invites us to follow… Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.” The Apostle John says, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4). If you’re going to advance beyond the traumatic moments in life, then you must guard your heart and recognize who lives in you. Protect your heart vision at all costs! Don’t let disappointments, failures, or tragedies shape your identity. You are called to great things in God. So preserve the essence of your life – not only so you can survive – but also because it enables you to become a well-spring for others. Guard your heart! Speak to your soul and resist the weariness of unbelief.
He has overcome the world… so that you can overcome the hour!
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your Presence. To make Your Name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your Presence.” (Isa. 64:1-2)
Like many of you, I have felt the despair of this season. We are in a very narrow place and even as the nations rage, there is a sense within my heart that all is not well. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken. If we are not careful, each of us might be tempted to believe that we are alone in this season. The Tempter would love for us to believe that God is not with us, that He doesn’t care about our challenges and that no one, not even our closest friends, are concerned about us. Yet, we must not allow the devil to cause us to surrender one step or one inch of our Kingdom posture. We must stand on His Word and tell the devil, “It is written!”
Releasing His Word:
When God says He will rend the heavens, He means that He will tear open a portion of heaven for His entry. He intends to come down by releasing His Word to us. The word “rend” is connected to the same word in Greek which means to “call out”. God is calling out! He has violently ripped a hole in the spiritual atmosphere and come into our world… His Word has become flesh and dwelt among us. As unsettling and unnatural as it was for a virgin to conceive and as foolish and unacceptable as it was for the world to embrace; God was rending the heavens and making Himself known to the nations. Why? Because His very Name is life, peace and salvation!
Let me repeat: His Name is Life, Peace and Salvation!
This “calling out” means several things. First, it implies that God will call out to us. He will make His name known to us, to call us to accountability. He knows us by name and He desires that we know Him… that we know His voice and His Presence. That we recognize love when it is demonstrated by a cross. It also implies a calling out to our enemy… His adversary! That’s right, can you picture this? Not only is God rending the heavens and calling out to us with words of life, He is also calling out to our enemy; the accuser, who accuses us day and night. What’s He saying… “It is Finished!” The day of vengeance has now come…
“I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:19-21)
God is once more rending the heavens and coming down to us, by releasing His Word. Will we hear Him? He is speaking concerning our breakthroughs, as well as exposing the strongholds that are blocking His advancement in the Earth. He is speaking new strategies and equipping His people with power to transform the culture one person at a time. Shaking is not a new thing, its a God thing… God is revealing His purposes in the Earth and exposing the enemy at the same time. Our responsibility is to walk in God’s Promises and trust in His Fathering Heart.
Understand His Intentions:
Position yourself to hear the Voice of Your Redeemer! Remove the old garments for the Bride Groom stands ready. Cast aside the influence of Babylon (the world system) and Mammon. Shake yourself free from discouragement that latches onto your mind. Renewal and refreshment are awaiting the Bride as she sees with the eyes of faith and love. This Bride Groom comes with fire in His eyes, declaring His intentions. The Lord is extending peace like a river and the wealth of the nations like flowing streams (Isa 66:12). He comes announcing His intent… “I have come for My Bride!”
The Good News:
There is a good word in these times of shaking. “Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30:5). God is not finished and He has no intention of holding back… for in rending the heavens He is making His Name known among the nations. The mountains will shake, but those who have their hearts set on their Beloved… they will welcome the sound of His footsteps.
“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)
The Apostle Paul experienced some of the most intense persecution from those who could not wrap their mind around his message. He was beaten and left for dead, imprisoned and ship wrecked… but he continued to posture himself in a way that enabled him to hold onto his peace. His trust, patient endurance and testimony of overcoming all difficulties; make him a role model for believers everywhere!
He knew that peace was not the absence of struggle, but the Presence of a Person… Jesus!
From a prison cell he penned these words, “…in all things …let your requests be made known to God” because he understood how peace, the Presence of Jesus in your life; was the most vital force in the Universe.
Its Part of a Believer’s DNA!
I love the promise communicated by the Prophet Isaiah who said, “You (God) will keep him (us) in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isa 26:3) Trust is the key to keeping our eye focused upon Christ. Our ability to carry heavy burdens or win great battles is not on how we handle the stress, but who we focus upon. Trust is all about where you put your focus! Paul focused all of his attention upon the prize of knowing Christ, staying connected and living the Spiritual life. He lived with a belief that Christ was his peace (Eph 2:14-15). That through the Cross of Calvary, Jesus the Messiah destroyed the barrier that the Old Testament Law seemed to create… between God and humanity. A freedom was purchased that gave access to Heaven’s richest reward… God’s Heart.
Paul exhorts us to… “let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” (Col 3:15)
There is a name like no other… its above every name that can be named among men (Phil 2:9-11). Its the name of “Jesus” that allows access into heavenly resources, breaks through in difficult circumstances and pulls the believer into new seasons of influence. The name, “Jesus” on the lips of the believing heart is the most amazing force in the universe… for in that name is power and authority.
Access – Breakthrough – Purpose:
Jesus said, “All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and in earth“ (Mt 28:18). “In My name they shall cast out devils” (Mk 16:17). He literally gave us His own authority when He gave us His name. An authority to deal with the Devil. Every act of stealing, killing and deception is now abruptly held to a new standard of authority. The authority of the most recognized name in Heaven, the most powerful name on Earth and the most significant name in history… has been delegated to our use.
Authority is delegated power.
A person’s authority is only as great as the power that stands behind them! The police officer directing traffic in the middle of the street is wearing a badge that represents the power of the governing laws that he enforces. A large truck could easily crush him in the middle of the busy street, but because the driver understands the power of the badge, he quickly yields his will and submits the power of his large vehicle to the authority of the badge.
The Name of Jesus is like a “Badge of Authority”!
God knew that you needed a weapon of defense against all that the wiles of the Devil (Eph 6:16). What we must come to understand is how to use the name to our benefit. His name represents His person, His position, His seating, and His influence over all things. His promise to the believer is clear, ”If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (Jn 14:14). Jesus’ name can accomplish things that might feel impossible in the natural; yet when we live in intimacy with Him, we experience a growing awareness of how the natural is dominated by the Spirit.
Faith-filled and Lead by the Spirit:
The early Church recognized the incredible power they carried in the name of Jesus. Look at how Peter and John address the crippled beggar at the Gate Beautiful of the temple, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). The beggar immediately received strength in his feet and ankle bones and as Peter grabbed his hand, he leaped to his feet with joy and praise to God. Later Peter needed to explain the miracle to some critics saying, “It was His name, through faith in His name, that made this man strong whom you see and know.” Amazingly the critics were familiar with this beggar and all of Isreal knew him, because they had passed him daily going into the temple. Yet this was a new day and demonstrated a new authority, where faith in the name of Jesus was confronting what they had seen as normal.
God was and still is, breaking in at the very gate of all that humanity has labeled impossible; simply because we have adjusted our seeing. He has handed the world an opportunity to experience the “New Normal”, where the name of Jesus offers access to all the authority of Heaven. This new normal confronts all that we see as familiar, impossible and overwhelming. But it offers hope, beyond the limitations. The new normal is living by faith in the name of Jesus.
In order to break the famine of lack and release the abundance of heavenly resource means we need the faith to surrender… to offer our little for His abundance! There’s a wonderful story in the Bible that exemplifies the power of merging the principles of faith and surrender. During a terrible famine, the Lord told the Prophet Elijah to, “Go to Zarephath… I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” (I Kings 17:9-16).
- Make a note that the Lord did not command a wealthy businessman to provide for Elijah, but a destitute widow.
We enter the story with the woman facing starvation about to prepare a last meal for herself and her son. Amazingly, even though she is not an Israelite she greets Elijah with faith saying, “As the Lord your God lives. . .” (1 Kings 17:12).
God’s way to activate faith and to bring her into a supernatural provision was to require her to give over the little she had to fulfill the purpose of God. What seemed like an insensitive and even cruel command would become a new beginning, Elijah orders her to feed him first and then make food for herself and son. Although she did not know the plan and provision of God, Elijah knew and urged her into both faith and surrender. As a result a new season would begin for her and her son, God provided for her miraculously:
“The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty” until the famine broke (vs 16).
We must all at times press into the prophetic promises of God and enter this “until famine breaks” season. Knowing how to set our eyes on God even in the midst of difficult times can release a courage that looks strange to those around us… yet to whom we look is more valuable than how we look. Faith in God and surrendering to the beat of His heart will always bring the breakthrough we desperately need in life (2 Sam 5:20).
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor 2:9-10).