Do you remember this old Spiritual?
LET MY PEOPLE GO:
When Israel was in Egypt’s land,
Let My people go!
Oppressed so hard they could not stand,
Let My people go!
Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt’s land;
Tell old Pharaoh
To let My people go!
No more shall they in bondage toil,
Let My people go!
Let them come out with Egypt’s spoil,
Let My people go!
Oh, let us all from bondage flee,
Let My people go!
And let us all in Christ be free,
Let My people go!
You need not always weep and mourn,
Let My people go!
And wear these slav’ry chains forlorn,
Let My people go!
Your foes shall not before you stand,
Let My people go!
And you’ll possess fair Canaan’s land,
Let My people go!
Back at the end of 2009, I heard the Lord saying, “Only take into 2010 what you absolutely need. Leave everything else behind.” It was so significant to me that I wrote it on my calendar and reminded myself of it every month. This word came in very handy as we were moving and having to sort through almost 20 years of stuff we’d accumulated over our married years. I kept reminding myself to let go of the things I really didn’t need. Eventually we “let go” of two large trailers full of items, plus several lawn and leaf bags full of clothing, toys, etc. We also put everything else that wasn’t essential (but we wanted to keep for our new house) in a storage unit. It’s funny that after we moved, we ended up getting rid of even more things that we had stored!
Allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our lives in such a way that He refines and purifies is a good thing. He can bring radical change – even re-prioritizing our relationships and attachments. This is not only true for possessions, but of matters of the heart and spirit as well.
We also must be careful that things we feel like we just have to hold onto may in the end have a hold on us! Think about that statement for a minute.
Be Prepared for a challenging year....
There are so many people that say, “Ah, I wouldn’t want to repeat 2010”, but I think in many ways people are going to be affected even worse than in 2010 in various ways. Not only do we need to learn to let go, but I feel like the oppression of the enemy is going to be very great and God’s people will cry out once again, “Let my people go!” We must declare in authority to the devil, “Let GO!”
But, I also feel the Lord saying that when the enemy comes in like a flood, He will raise up a standard against it. Even in the darkest of nights, His light still shines and we will be like the children of Israel in Goshen. Darkness fell across Egypt, but there was still light in Goshen and it poured forth from their homes. Those in the darkness marveled at the light and asked “How can this be?”
Even if circumstances around us seem to crumble, God will be the sustaining force in our lives. Now will be the proof of the work he has done in our hearts – as we shine for Him. I also feel like this destruction will boomerang on the devil as far as the righteous believers he tries to overcome. The foot of the righteous will hold firm, but the works of the enemy are going to be destroyed!
For the church, the true remnant will be revived...
For those who allow it, God will revive and they will be infused with power from on high! Even in the midst of turmoil, His glory shining through their lives will be bright - as the sun. The trials of life will bring out the best in the body of Christ. Pressures will cause purity to arise. Out of the abundance of their hearts their mouth will speak - praise, glory, honor, and power to God!
I would not be surprised if we see more and more events unfolding that are going to shake this world. Just think of what the Word warns us about in the last days... wars, rumors of wars, natural disasters, earthquakes, famine, etc. etc. The Word also declares that everything that can be shaken will be shaken. That's not just referring to the physical world, but the Spiritual one as well. But, He also promises us that He will never let the righteous be shaken. When these things happen, we will stand unmoved because we are fixed to the foundation – the solid rock, Jesus Christ. In all this shaking, God wants to get man’s attention so that all may come to Him. He may allow things in this country that we haven’t seen before or at least in a long time.
God never wants us to be in the dark or informed about what is occurring individually or in the world around us. Therefore, I believe He is giving us a "heads up" on the current conditions.
Concerning the current conditions of the world, I believe God is using something very familiar to all of us to warn us of the days ahead... 9/11.
I was also reminded that every month this year, there will be a 9/11 (12 total):
1/9/11, 2/9/11, 3/9/11, 4/9/11, 5/9/11, 6/9/11, 7/9/11, 8/9/11, 9/9/11, 10/9/11, 11/9/11, 12/9/11
We can already see how January brought the tragedy in Tucson – and so close to 1/9/11. In fact, most people were hearing about it on Sunday the 9th. Then the connection with the little girl’s death and she was born on 9/11/01. Incidentally, we have a son – Leviticus - that was born on the morning of 9/11/01! My heart breaks for these families affected by this tragedy and they are in my heart and prayers. I can only wonder, however, what might be next….
The devil is seeking our destruction. He is going to reap havoc this year!
God has his plans for "destruction" as well....
BUT again, when the devil comes in like a flood, God will raise up a standard for His children. God is seeking to destroy the works of the devil this year. He will display His power in many ways. He will show Himself mighty and His name will be glorified. Watch for God to manifest Himself in wonderful ways, but we must also watch and beware because the false is going to flow. Only those close to the Lord will be able to tell the difference and guard themselves!
I do not share these things to inflict fear or doubt... but to share with you what God has placed on my heart so we can watch and be in prayer. These things are to protect us, not wound.
I saw a show on television recently explaining the reproduction of skin cells and the reason our skin looks "aged". The doctor explained that we begin with the original cells from the time we were Created/born and year after year, our cells reproduce by making a copy. The problem is that the skin cells make a copy of a copy, each time losing a little more authenticity. He then likened it to a copy from a printer. He said, "Just imagine what your copies would look like if you made copies of copies and could only use the last copy as the master. If you did this year after year, you can imagine what it would look like - not very much like the original!" It does bring a vivid image to mind.
I began to hear a Spiritual message in this analogy. I am reminded of how we pass the things of the Lord down from generation to generation. Our responsibility to pass down "authentic" information and testimonies of our experiences with Christ to the next generation is very important, yet, have we lost some key elements in the reproduction? I'm not talking about the translations of the Word of God, necessarily, but some even argue the validity of certain translations. What I'm referring to is more about our personal responsibility in passing on Christ to others and future generations. It's about our personal ideologies/ beliefs/ standards. Have our beliefs changed and become watered down? Has deception clouded our view of sin? Do we even view the Word as the authoritative rule of faith and conduct for our lives - or do we rely on other man made resources to give us the bulk of our spiritual food and revelation? Do we even have a clear understanding of what we believe and why?
This passing down/ copying of information is very much what it must have been like in the Old Testament. Think of it. Most of what the original followers of God knew and understood about Him was passed down from word of mouth. This probably started with Adam and Eve and their children. Can you imagine those first parents telling their kids, "We were driven from the garden because of sin?" and then explaining to them what sin was. Can you imagine them talking about the serpent and how he deceived them and what it was like when their eyes were open to sin? They even hid from God who loved them so much! You would have thought that those children would have been very eager to avoid sin at all cost - because they knew firsthand the consequences. Yet it was in this first generation of offspring that we see the first murder when Cain killed Abel. Doesn't it make you wonder about what might have been said in those first generations? What led some to believe and others to ignore the truth? Why did some possess faith while others didn't?
This scenario also brings to light that even the very presence of God walking among His people does not guarantee that they will be obedient. Even the existence of the law doesn't mean that there will never be any law breakers. We have willful choice as to whether we will obey Him and His Word.
By the time Moses received the divine inspiration to write the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) many, many generations had passed. In fact, by most credible resources it is suggested that the dates of those original Mosaic writings was somewhere around the fifth or sixth centuries Before Christ (or BCE as they like to call it today). That's 500-600 years from the Creation of man! So, you can see that up until that time, people would have had to know something about God from the ancestors (Adam and Eve). Yet, they did not live without sin. Even after the burning bush experience and the receiving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, the people were still prone to sin. Bibles weren't in existence and the law was literally read to them. It took a long time to transcribe the Word onto parchment scrolls and distribute them and those who desired/hungered for the Word weren't fed as often as they may have wished. Again, the most important aspect of knowing about God in those early days was the passing
down of information from generation to generation verbally!
Eventually people began to write things down (Scripture) and bind them to their arms or write them above their doorposts. God impressed the importance to relay the miracles that they had seen to their children. They were also to pass down the knowledge and understanding of the law. There were passages such as in Deuteronomy that God told them to know and teach to their children.
Fast forward to the time of Christ when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. He not only fulfilled all the Old Testament Prophecy, but He also fulfilled all the law. Yet, even with Jesus walking among them, performing miracles, and proving His Divinity, people chose to disbelieve. But, thankfully, the eye witness accounts of Jesus, His life, and teachings were recorded by eye witnesses for the rest of us to learn from. We don't have to imagine what was said or felt, because it was written down. These accurate historical documents don't just give us a feel for the facts, they are light and life.
So, to bring this all around to my thoughts today. We are so immersed in being spiritual, to have "experiences" during our church services, and have all the Bibles in multiple translations that we could possibly want. We have devotionals, 24/7 prayer call in lines, every resource imaginable...yet, does this mean that we are closer to the Lord? OR, could it mean that it makes it harder in some ways to know who God really is???
What is it that WE are passing down to our children? Is it our own version of God? It is emotionalism or human knowledge? Is it simply whatever the bandwagon is following? Do we have personal testimonies and experiences to share with others that would compel them to trust, depend, or believe in the Almighty God? OR, are we like the photocopies: relying on our parents’ faith - or others, which may or may not be an accurate depiction of Him?
My challenge for us today is to go back to the original. Let Him, His Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit ignite us. Let's not "settle" for a copy. Let's get to know Christ and His fullness personally and for that to be our testimony. We are all called to be imitators of Christ and nothing/no one else! Let's prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to shine the spotlight on areas that are "imitations" and compel us to seek the original. Let's become less so that HE will become greater in our hearts and lives!
My reading this morning took me to the Thessalonians where Paul is commending Silas and Timothy for the work they are doing. I would recommend reading both first and second Timothy for inspiration today, but I will close today with some of his words...
"We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers..." 1 Thess. 1:2-7
Blessings and prayers that we will be "originals" - made new each day because of Jesus!
The Dash Poem - by Linda Ellis
I read of a reverend who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning...to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard…
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash mid-range.")
If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?
It’s an honor to touch the throne of God through the united prayers; in our personal lives and when we gather together on behalf of needs throughout the world through ministry groups such as Expectant Prayers. The Word declares where two or three are gathered, He is in the midst of them.
We have been blessed to gather and experience God’s powerful presence during our prayer time. We are confident God has heard and been in our midst. We stand on His promise that prayers offered in faith by the righteous are both powerful and effective.
During our personal prayer times as we pray over the requests for others, our nation, or whatever we may be petitioning God for, we mayfeel like our prayers aren’t doing much. We must remember that WITH GOD and the agreement from our members in the body of Christ–we ARE making a spiritual impact in this world - one prayer request at a time! God has a way of multiplying our efforts that we may never realize. We must stand firm on His promise that His Word does not return void. Bless you for standing in the gap and your commitment to pray!
As 2010 closes and the new year begins, we reflect on our answered prayers.God is still making a way where there seems to be no way. He is still a miracle working God. We give Him the praise and glory for all He has done and what He is going to do.
He has been (and will continue to be) our strength, our hope, our redeemer, our deliverer,our comfort, our defender, our joy, our light, our constant friend, and our healer. What a mighty God we serve.
We also anticipate the coming year with expectation and uncertainty, yet confidence in Him that He is working all things together for our good. As we look around we see the need of those around us. People are desperate and seeking whatever it is they think will fill that need. It is our prayer for 2011 to be instruments for His purposes and that He will use our lives any way He can. May He use us in a variety of ways to reach those in need.
Here is a prayer for us as we enter 2011…
Tuesday, I kept hearing the word "war" (3-4 times). Then I turned on satellite last night and heard Christian programming talking about the coming "war". Not only are the heavens raging in heavy spiritual battle right now, but the world stage is getting set up for a coming conflict. We must be ready. Reading in Jeremiah 51 Wednesday morning - worth the read if you have time- just substitute the word Babylon for America. This passage stuck out to me as encouragement to the troops- the army of God. Typically this passage would have a negative connotation as He gives warning that He will use Babylon as a hammer to tear down. When I read it this morning - God said, but my righteous ones are spiritual weapons in my hands - for casting down strongholds and bringing thousands of evil spirits to flight...
You are my war club,
my weapon for battle—
with you I shatter nations,
with you I destroy kingdoms...
with you I shatter governors and officials.
Never underestimate the impact of your life when you're used in the hands of a righteous God!
The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. (Ex. 15:3) He will fight for us.
Then this passage in Deuteronomy:
Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by WAR, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides Him there is no other.
God is always in control and the current battles of war are forming a new nation - a new kingdom - that will know NO END!
Put on your armor...
Lift up a banner!
Reinforce the guard,
station the watchmen,
prepare an ambush!
The LORD will carry out his purpose!