A fierce warfare is happening, now. NOW. A spiritual war between God’s angel warriors and the enemy’s, it is also a physical, mental and emotional war between people, a war for power. For control. Whose principles will win?
I was thinking about all the wars and rumors of wars in the news the other day. Then as I listened to Christmas carols and thought about the Bethlehem story, the Lord began talking to me.
Men speak peace but they plan war.
Don’t pray for world peace. The angels at Bethlehem didn’t declare peace on earth – they declared peace on earth to men of good will – i.e., men of God’s choosing.
Peace happens in pockets. As one individual at a time is offered terms of peace, he himself must accept those terms, must declare peace between himself and God. As the evidence and benefits of the obtained peace become obvious to others, they may seek peace with God also. On God’s terms, of course, not theirs.
The problem isn’t that God declared war on mankind. Mankind’s beautiful false friend planned war the moment Adam…
“What is going on, Lord?” I asked him very early this morning. I had been praying about the situation in Washington (the shut-down, etc.). His response:
Things are being shaken.
The outer “chaff” is being separated; falling away so the inner core, the heart, can be revealed.
The camouflage, masks, false pretenses are being seen for what they are. They are coming off.
True character, motives and intentions are being revealed.
I am knitting together what should be together.
I am splitting apart what should be apart.
Loyalties are being shifted into proper alignment.
Some who have stood together, not because they wholly agreed but for their own personal agendas, will turn against each other.
Some who have stood apart, not because they wholly disagreed but because of misunderstanding, suspicion or fear, will join forces and strengthen each other.
In recent months I’ve been praying for the many intercessors across America, that as they pray, they will truly listen to God’s voice and speak (petition, command, declare, decree) what He wants spoken. In detail sometimes, in generalities sometimes. And particularly these days about our nation.
In a bedtime conversation with the Lord the other night, I asked the Lord “Do you even still want America?” I was wondering if and when he would get sick of the spiritual conditions in this nation as it is right now. He replied, “Define America.”
Then He began to show me images of the many, many aspects of this nation as it is right now – not just the continental United States but its islands, territories and protectorates, including embassies in foreign lands.
Physically (the multiple geographic regions coast to coast and around the globe) to begin with, then socially, politically, religiously, governmentally…
Late in 2018 I read many opinions and prophecies from around the world about the year ahead, from both secular and spiritual sources. The majority were optimistic and encouraging, although some did contain warnings about continued opposition from certain areas.
“Overall things will improve,” they said, “socially, politically, and spiritually, eventually. There may be a bit of conflict beforehand — but 2019 will be a good year, even a great year.”
That was thought-provoking to me, considering these messages came from all corners of the world, from varied spheres of interest. Spiritual leaders encouraged continued prayer. And so I prayed about it.
“What should we expect in 2019, really?” I asked the Lord. Here’s what he told me:
“Confusion and uncertainty will affect many in the body of Christ. ‘Am I believing right? they will ask themselves. Am I praying right? Did I vote right?’ “
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.”
A couple weeks ago I enjoyed some lively discussion about the Love of God with some friends and colleagues. Mention was made of love as an emotion, a sentiment, a motivation for action. Love is one of the names of God (according to the Apostle John). So Love can be an accurate label for God. There was mention…
Why did the Creator of the universe choose to become a baby?
“… who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be a grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. ” (Phil. 2:6-7 NASB)
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. ” (Heb. 4:15)
Babies can’t sin, I’ve heard people say. Surely they aren’t tempted like adults are – after all, they don’t even reach the age of accountability until 12 or so!
Have they ever been around little kids? Toddler tantrums? Terrible twos? Self-willed children? Full of selfishness, greediness, me-me-me-itis? Did you ever tell a little child No, No, over, and over, and over?
Why it matters: There are a number of examples of this stunning miracle in the Bible. Notably, 3 are attributed to Jesus. This is the pinnacle of the miracles Jesus would perform under the power of the Holy Spirit as the Son of God. They culminated in the resurrection of Lazarus who had been dead for 4 days.
In John 12 we learn the effect this had on those who knew Lazarus. “The large crowd of the Jews then learned that Jesus was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also;because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.”
And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He…
December, 1984 Tim and I were engaged on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1984. We planned the wedding for December 25th, Christmas Day — after all, nobody does anything after dinner that day, except lay around and digest their turkey, right? Maybe watch a football game or something? Nothing important. They could come to our wedding!
Tim lived in an apartment at Creekside, but he owned a house on Hobart Drive which he rented out. The tenant moved out of the house in the summer, and my son Paul and I went ahead and moved in.
Tim wanted to remodel part of the house, basically enclose the carport to enlarge the kitchen and living room. His cousin Harvey was a building contractor and he drew up the plans for us, promising to get started right away so the house would be finished in plenty of time for the wedding. Sure.
My last year’s Christmas letter to friends and family ended with “I think 2020 will be an interesting year.” What an understatement! Interesting yes; also weird and scary. My own 2020 has indeed been interesting, an adventure of sorts. Looking back on it, it doesn’t seem real. Sometimes a bit funny, sometimes a bit sad, sometimes a bit creepy — but always interesting! Requiring lots and lots of prayer!
The creepy part: Bacterial pneumonia (not Covid related) put me in the hospital in April. It started with sinusitis last October, treated with antibiotics but not completely cleared. Over the winter things progressed to bronchitis, and coughing. A lot of coughing! Stocked up with Mucinex and cough syrup, I spent wakeful night hours praying for my family, friends, other people and situations, and myself.
By April 5 I was coughing so much that neither I nor anyone else in the house could sleep! Shelby insisted on taking me to the Emergency Room at McLeod Hospital. I hesitated because the Covid-19 pandemic had hit my town very hard. I wasn’t that sick, really, was I?
Going through the doors into the ER, I suddenly discerned FEAR. A prevailing atmosphere of fear.
Horribly negative feelings of fear seemed to engulf the facility. My spiritual ears perked up and I began really interceding. I asked the Lord for insight; for revelation knowledge into how to pray and what to pray. I became really watchful, really prayerful, as a wheelchair was brought and I was rolled into an exam room.
Still, with so many worse-off people there I was sure they’d just give me more antibiotic pills and send me home. Wrong… chest x-rays showed severe pneumonia. I was close to drowning, they said. Talk about shock!
And so Shelby was sent home while I was admitted for IV antibiotics, oxygen and breathing treatments, to an almost empty hospital except for the ICU’s; those were filled to capacity with Covid-19 patients. A masked, gloved transporter rolled me down the long hallway to an elevator at the far end of the hospital complex, without our ever seeing any other person at all. Creepy.
Since they didn’t yet know for sure what was causing the pneumonia, I was taken to Floor 10. The Isolation Floor. The elevator door opened to some people at last, each one wearing a “space suit” from head to toe. Super creepy.
I soon realized that the nauseating fear in the ER had extended all the way to Floor 10, where everyone seemed really busy and really tired. The hospital was short-staffed due to the pandemic. Some staff members had come down with Covid-19 themselves. My prayers quickly became far more specific, far more targeted.
My hospital “adventures” included the following:
It often took 20 to 30 minutes for anyone to answer my call light. At first I was afraid to maneuver me and my IV pole from bed to bathroom; all those IV fluids… but I managed, slowly, carefully.
One day my breakfast was left out in the hall for several hours. I had asked for a soft diet due to my throat being so sore from coughing; breakfast was to be soft scrambled eggs and grits. After several hours in the hall? Hard as rocks. An apologetic aide scrounged up some apple sauce, just before lunch. While most meals weren’t soft enough to totally prevent coughing, mashed potatoes were quite helpful! At least twice a day.
However… Some helpful person had put me on a NO-SALT cardiac diet, which I’d never been on before. The kitchen lady wouldn’t believe I didn’t need that diet. A merciful floor nurse finally brought me a few salt packets. I stretched them out.
On day 3, after testing negative twice for Covid I was moved to a regular floor. Here the people looked more normal, but nobody would come near me without gowns, masks, and gloves, just to take my temperature or change the IV. Apparently they didn’t fully believe I wasn’t contagious no matter what the tests had said. More prayers and intercessions. Fear was still evident.
Also creepy, the hospital was on lock-down. Shelby made some calls and posted a prayer request on Facebook; I could feel the much appreciated prayers from family and friends. And thankfully I could talk on the phone, so soon I had enrolled family and friends in praying, not just for me, but for all the other patients, their families, and for the exhausted medical staff. I asked Shelby to notify the hospital Chaplain Service that I’d like a visit.
But not creepy at all, I had several in-person visits from the Chaplains. They were very welcome! They prayed for me, I prayed for them, and together we prayed for many other people as well as the pandemic situation as a whole, specifically and generally. Those visits were such a blessing to me, and I know their visits were (and still are) a blessing to a lot of other people.
Discharged on the fifth day with more antibiotics, home O2 and breathing treatments, I was grateful to get back to my family, my four kitties, and my computer. Subsequent outpatient x-rays showed slow but steady improvement and after a month or so I was able to stop the antibiotics.
Not creepy either, pulmonary rehab (exercises like cardiac rehab) was finally started a few weeks ago after being on hold for months due to the pandemic. The exercise is helping bring back stamina and energy levels; the twice-weekly company of friendly therapists and other patients in the exercise room (just a few at a time) helps too.
Changing the tone a little…
Pandemic adjustments have been more annoying than disturbing for us; many people we know have been affected, some extremely ill and some who have died. Our kids have grown accustomed to wearing masks to school and having their temperature taken before getting out of the car. They seem more adaptable than grownups, actually.
Occasionally I shop at smaller grocery and drug stores, sometimes go to lunch with a friend. Shelby and I shop mostly online like so many others. A nice grocery delivery lady knocks on the carport door and waves as she returns to her car. Being considered high-risk, I avoid crowds, even church services. I watch Sunday services online. But I sure do miss them!
Adjusting to this very different year has been a challenge for everyone, obviously. There are so very many people and situations to intercede for, in our town, our state, our nation, the whole world, every single day!
Praying, believing, and trusting in the precious One, the Name above all names, the Savior whose birth we are celebrating, we can Rejoice, no matter what 2020 has been like!
I truly hope your Christmas is a Merry and Blessed one, and that the New Year will be a Happy one for all of us!