It’s time to unclog the wells

April 30, 2021

Recently I heard someone say, “We need to dig the wells again.” I thought that meant we need the anointing of God that once flowed freely in the life of the church. Remembering the 1970’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Florence, I murmured a quick prayer, “Do it again, Lord, do it again here!” (But the words I’d heard were “We need to…”We need to…”)

At a meeting with several other intercessors this week, the Lord began speaking to us:

“The spiritual wells of the Holy Spirit that were opened here in the 1970’s have become clogged with chunks and rocks and boulders and dirt. Doubt, unbelief, wrong belief and ignorance. Anger, worry, anxiety, frustration, depression, disappointment, even complacency and apathy have been piled on.

Many distractions and diversions, the ordinary busyness of life have been dumped in until there’s little sign the wells were ever there. It’s time to dig those wells out. You, this small group of you, can begin that process.”

(Holy Spirit continued…)

“New wells are being dug, present tense. Where a well never existed before, a new well is springing up — in a living room, a storefront, a back yard, a church building, a workplace, even a school. Young children who were told Bible stories about Jesus now believe them; Jesus is their Savior now. They are beginning to pray for their family and classmates, teachers and other adults. They will pray for the sick and they will be healed.”

As he spoke I began to see these new wells, almost like grass sprouting up here and there. But these weren’t water wells — they were oil wells, each one topped by a flame! I realized that they weren’t just wells of God’s manifest presence, these were wells of his supernatural power. “Fire power,” to ignite his passion in our hearts to see people saved, truly saved. Rescued, healed, and delivered.

His supernatural fire to burn away things in our lives, including some things that aren’t bad in themselves but would hinder God’s plans. (Matthew 3:11-12.)

The message ended with a thought-provoking statement, two assignments, actually:

If you truly desire revival, you have to “re-dig” the old wells, clean out those self-imposed blocks of spiritual debris; and

Dig new wells for the Holy Spirit’s presence to flow through, not allowing preconceived notions and memories of his past work to create blocks to his working now.

How, Lord? How do we do this? Here’s what he answered.

  • By repentance, prayer and intercession, praise and worship
  • Listening and obeying the Holy Spirit as he specifically directs our actions, our prayers and decrees
  • Allowing the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives
  • Teaching the Word, including by “show and tell.” Dealing with Ignorance in the body of Christ, as much as it depends on us; our words, testimonies and examples are powerful
  • Exercising authority over spirits of compromise, complacency, apathy, deception and distraction in our own lives and in our areas of influence

Repentance and forgiveness aren’t just important, they are essential.

Some of us were here when God’s spirit was poured out in Florence, and some of us are responsible for clogging up those wells.

We took his blessings for granted. We got busy with life, we let distractions and diversions block his presence. Deception too, believing the lie, “That was nice, but this is real life.”

Others of us weren’t even born yet, but that’s no excuse to accept the status quo.

We can take the initiative to repent as did Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 1:5-11.) Ask for forgiveness and extend forgiveness. Ask the Lord what to pray and pray that; what to speak, then speak that.

God delegated his authority to the body of Christ to decree, declare and command what he wants done in the earth. Do we really want to see revival?


Matthew 3:11-12 (NASB) “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Nehemiah 1:5-11 (NASB) “I said, Please, LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps the covenant and faithfulness for those who love Him and keep His commandments: let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have committed against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”
“Remember, please, the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to have My name dwell.’”
“They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. Please, Lord, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to [fn]revere Your name, and please make Your servant successful today and grant him mercy before this man. Now I was the cupbearer to the king.”

Warrior in Chief

This is going to be long. Hope you will be patient as you read, and also pray as you read.

The other night as I prayed, I asked again, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “Chief Warrior. Lead Warrior.” Oh my.

A lengthy conversation ensued with images and descriptions of what those two terms mean. The next morning I did some online study on what those functions look like in the natural world. All of that brought on a great deal more prayer about these functions in the spiritual world, and the conflict going on in the heavenlies today. I began to realize that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are involved in spiritual warfare a great deal, more than I usually considered.

Leading the army of Israel, Joshua met a man one day who described himself as captain of Jehovah’s army. Joshua asked him, Whose side are you on, ours or theirs? It soon became obvious that this was no ordinary meeting, not an ordinary man or even an ordinary angel – if there is such a thing. It was Jehovah God himself.

“And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy. And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:14-15 KJV)

Thinking about these things, I asked myself (and the Lord) another question. Is there a difference between Chief Warrior and Lead Warrior? Yes, there is, and God is both.

The Chief Warrior is in overall control of all military branches. This work includes:

— Supporting the overall mission of national security and defense
— Information gathering
— Intelligence receiving
— Decision making
— Strategic planning
— Appointing and delegating authority
— Providing funding, people and materiel to carry out plans
— Giving orders

The Lead Warrior carries out those orders, leading and fighting alongside other warriors.

In America, “The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of all United States Armed Forces as well as all federalized United States Militia. In this capacity, the president exercises supreme operational command and control over all military personnel and militia members, and has plenary power to launch, direct and supervise military operations, order or authorize the deployment of troops, unilaterally launch nuclear weapons, and form military policy with the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. However, the constitutional ability to declare war is vested only in Congress.” (From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_the_president_of_the_United_States)

One notable American Chief Warrior was President Dwight D. Eisenhower. While he had extensive military experience, he never fought in combat. A notable American Lead Warrior was Douglas MacArthur, who fought in combat but was never President.

Several American Presidents did serve in both functions but not simultaneously, including George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. None served in both capacities at the same time.

However, King Albert I of Belgium did. “King Albert I of Belgium (during WWI) was one of the last Kings to take the risk of joining his men in battle. When Belgium entered the war, King Albert I took personal command of the Belgian army… With him in command the Belgian troops were able to hold off Germany long enough for Britain and France to prepare for their own clash with the Germans. He never stopped fighting with his men… It was said that whenever he was on the front lines the Germans refused to fire on him out of respect for him being the highest ranked commander in harm’s way… At the end of the war, King Albert I led the Army Group Flanders and liberated Belgium. Once Belgium was free King Albert and his family returned to Brussels to a hero’s welcome.” (From https://historycollection.com/7-royal-escort-kings-led-armies-battle/)

I firmly believe that God himself is involved in spiritual warfare a great deal these days, as Chief Warrior AND Lead Warrior. Who do you suppose is winning this global battle?

Unbelief can kill you

Hindrances to successful prayer

Living here and now, believers in Christ have God the Holy Spirit living inside of them, interested in their daily activities, their thoughts and wishes. Instructing, explaining, giving out assignments and directions, including what to pray.

If we are inhabited by God himself, and if we are praying what God desires for us to pray, then what might hinder us from getting those prayers answered?

Unbelief, which can come from (1) a willful refusal to believe, or (2) ignorance of who God is, his character, his love, his grace, and his will. The result is the same, a lack of active, energized faith. Faith and belief are from the same Greek word, pistis.

  • Matthew 13:58, Mark 6:5-6 – Jesus could do no mighty works in Nazareth because of unbelief.
  • Matthew 9:25, Mark 5:40 – Jesus put unbelievers out of the room (case of the ruler’s daughter).
  • Acts 9:40 – Peter also put unbelievers out of the room (case of Tabitha/Dorcas). Read the passage about Aeneas first, then this passage.

Peter put the unbelievers out of the room first, before praying. He prayed not for the dead woman, but to get God’s instructions on what to do about her. Then he turned and just spoke to her, as he had done to Aeneas, telling her to do something she could not do. And she did it. There was a good reason to put the unbelievers out, unbelief can kill you.

  • In Mark 9:23-24, the father of a demon-oppressed boy came to Jesus after the disciples couldn’t help him. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Honoring the small faith the boy’s father did have, Jesus helped his unbelief – he healed and delivered the boy. (Jesus told the disciples, this kind comes only by prayer and fasting.)

Misbelief, a mistaken belief, believing the wrong thing, such as:

  • Miracles ceased with the apostles, not for today – yet more miracles occur today than ever.
  • Healing is not in the atonement, it’s not always God’s will – but Jesus healed ALL that came to him. The word for healing is the same Greek word for salvation. You can’t parse this word, it’s the same, single word: Greek sozo, soteria.
  • “Whatever will be, will be” – but that’s from Eastern religion, it’s not a Christian principle.
  • You can’t really know God’s will for sure – but He wants you to know his will more than you want to know it. See Colossians 1:9.
  • You don’t deserve answers to prayer because of past sins, or not being good enough. But salvation is by grace, it’s not deserved, it is by accepted faith. So are answers to prayer.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Current sinful practices may hinder answers, but it’s not because you don’t deserve answers. You put up a barricade to receiving answers by believing the wrong things.

Doubt. Doubt may come before faith, and frequently does. Doubt simply means trying to decide between two things; the choice and decision is yours. This is usually from the Greek word diakrino, to examine in order to make a determination; to judge, discern, contend, waver, determine; doubt.

  • In Matthew 21:21, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”
  • In Mark 11:23, he said “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
  • James 1:6 translates this word as wavering, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

Doubt is not bad unless you remain there, never coming to a decision.

Note: Sometimes you have plenty of time, but sometimes you have to decide quickly. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God can you make the right decision when you don’t have much time…

  • In Matthew 14:26-32, Peter was headed to Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee. As the wind arose he looked at two things, Jesus and the boisterous waves. Doubting his own ability (and perhaps his survival), Peter had to make a quick decision. He made the right one. “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Belief problems can be solved. Hindrances to successful prayer, God-directed prayer, can be removed. Studying the scriptures and getting to know God’s character is essential to that, because active faith – belief – comes by hearing, present tense, the word of God (Romans 10:17).

(Notes adapted Class Notes, Principles of Intercessory Prayer.)

Why am I upset?

Here is why.

Voting is not just political; it’s spiritual.

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”   (Attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.)

Your silence says it all. I don’t feel angry, I just feel sad and grief-stricken at Christians, and especially pastors and other church leaders, who refuse to answer when asked the question,  “Who did you vote for?”

Because it matters.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14)

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16 NIV)

One candidate claims to be Catholic, but he does not follow the church’s precepts. He was refused communion at a local Catholic church because of that.

He supports abortion (child sacrifice) and many other ungodly things. He promised if elected he would govern by those ungodly beliefs.

He plainly told people to vote for him at campaign events, in news print, emails, snail mail, television and radio ads, billboards and yard signs, on social media and more across this country.

Repeatedly he said, “Vote for me.”

And so, Christian friend, did you obey him? Did you vote for him? This matters. Because if you voted for him, you were spiritually yoked to his platform and principles. You have invited a curse into your life. I can no longer trust you, which is sad too.

Battle Array

“SHOCK”. That’s the subtitle of the post I wrote on January 1, 2021. https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2021/01/01/2021/

“Wait and see. Keep praying,” the Lord told me, and so I have been. Since then:

  1. On the evening of January 1 as I was praying before going to sleep, the Lord gave me a mini-vision of an array of angels dressed in battle armor, thousands upon thousands of them in the heavens. Silent and still they stood arm to arm, facing the earth. Above and behind them a fierce spiritual battle was going on, but these warrior angels weren’t taking part in that battle; they were protecting the earth.
  2. On January 2, the Holy Spirit told me, “It’s coming down.” He showed me the warriors descending from the heavens onto the earth. My prayers became even more intense.
  3. On January 3, he said, “The battle is joined.”
  4. On January 4, he added, “We are now on a war footing.”

After that evening I haven’t heard anything specific from him during my night-time prayers. There’s just a deep sense of continued watchfulness.

Despite having received those words, like so many others I was terribly shocked at what happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. I realized that the Lord’s word to me about 2021 was coming to pass.

What will happen next? The Lord hasn’t told me. He may or may not. He just keeps saying, “Wait and see. Keep praying.” This is a spiritual battle and it’s not over.

Flashpoint . Critical mass . Paradigm Shift . 2019

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?’ “

“Why?” I asked him. His answer was brief: a short list with no further explanation:

Flashpoint — Critical Mass — Paradigm Shift

And so I did quite a bit of research to be sure I knew just what those things were:

  • Flashpoint: Chemically, the lowest temperature at which vapors of a volatile material will ignite, when given an ignition source. Gasoline and spark plugs in a car engine, for example.

In International Relations, a flashpoint is an area, or a dispute, that has a strong possibility of developing into a war. Political pundits today include the Middle East as a major flashpoint.

  • Critical mass: The smallest amount of fissile material needed for a sustained nuclear chain reaction, such as in a nuclear power plant. (A supercritical mass would result in an explosion, such as the atomic bomb in WWII.)

This concept is used in other contexts, such as group dynamics, where it refers to the smallest percentage of people in a group needed to trigger a change. On occasion it takes quite a long time, not to mention lengthy persuasive arguments, to acquire the needed percentage. Amending the U.S. Constitution to allow all citizens to vote, for example.

  • Paradigm shift: Paradigm refers to a pattern, model, or overall concept accepted by most people in an intellectual community, because of its effectiveness in explaining a complex process or set of data. A paradigm shift is a change caused when someone discovers data that disproves the pattern or concept.

One notable scientific paradigm was believing the Earth is the center of the universe, that the sun, moon and stars all revolve around the Earth. That changed with the discoveries of Copernicus and others (telescope) in the 17th Century.

“Justification is by grace alone” (Romans 1:17) was a major paradigm shift in the religious world, instigated by Martin Luther and resulting in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century.

Apparently those things would happen — or begin to happen — in 2019.  Any one of them would cause or contribute to confusion and uncertainty around the globe, including across the church world. “Optimistic and encouraging?” Not exactly.

After a while I prayed again and asked, “How should we respond to those things?”

“Having done all to stand, STAND,”  he said, emphasis on STAND. 2019 is going to be an interesting year, I thought to myself.

I was right.


(Originally published January 1, 2019; slightly edited to republish June 10, 2020.)

 

Finished… am I finished?

Ever felt like a cog in a wheel?

What exactly is a cog? It’s one of the tooth-like parts around the edge of a wheel in a machine that fits between those of a similar wheel, causing both wheels to move; cogwheel, a wheel with cogs around its edge, used to turn another wheel or part in a machine.

In human terms, it’s a member of a large organization whose job, although necessary, makes them feel as if they are not important. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/)

“A cog in a wheel is an important element; it keeps the machine running smoothly. If it’s cared for – cleaned, oiled, and polished regularly – it will serve the machine well for years. If it’s not cared for, it will break, bringing the machine to a halt. The breakage may even cause greater damage to other parts of the machine.” (https://www.drivingresultsthroughculture.com/2015/05/18/a-cog-in-a-wheel/)

“Is it time for me to quit?” I asked myself the other night. “Time to quit reading, quit studying, quit writing, quit praying – quit interceding? Is my time on planet earth over? Am I finished?”

I was feeling tired. Exhausted, actually, physically, mentally and emotionally. And a little bored, too. I was feeling like a very unimportant, worn-out old cog in a machine, no longer necessary and easily replaced if broken or removed.

I had been thinking of Jesus’ words in John 19:30, “It is finished.”

What was the IT, I wondered? The IT that was finished? His earth-life existence as a human being? His work as Savior? His sacrifice for sins? What exactly did he mean by that?

I’ve read some opinions on the meaning of that final statement. Here’s one I like:

“Jesus became the final and ultimate sacrifice for our sin. The word in this verse, “finished,” is actually from the Greek word, “tetelestai,” which is the same word that means “paid in full.” Often, it was used in an accounting term, which indicates a debt was paid. The uniqueness about the way it was written is that the tense of the word indicates both a point in time it was complete and that it would also continue to be complete or finished. And this is the essence of what Christ came to do. He came to “finish” God’s work of salvation in us. He came to “pay it in full,” the entire penalty, or debt, for our sins. He’s at work in our world still today in powerful ways.” (https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/the-power-of-jesus-last-words-the-meaning-behind-it-is-finished.html)

But think about this: Some things were not actually finished. Jesus would return as a human being in a few days, remaining on planet earth for a few more weeks. At the moment on the cross when Jesus said “Finished,” he had not yet presented his blood in heaven so his sacrifice for sins wasn’t finished; his work as Savior was not complete.

His ministry to human beings wasn’t done either. More was still to come on the day of Pentecost! And beyond that, his ministry as intercessor for believers is a never-ending assignment.

Of course, none of those things could have been realized had Jesus not actually died on the cross — died body, soul and spirit. In that regard IT was indeed finished. The debt we owed was truly PAID IN FULL.

As I meditated on all this, the Holy Spirit began to talk to me.

“Finished, hmmm? Just an old cog? Unimportant? Unnecessary?” He began to show me a few examples of old cogs, the way He sees them.

  • Abraham and Sarah — parents at 100 and 90 years of age; think they needed to be re-energized?
  • Moses — failed son of Pharoah’s daughter who became a shepherd in a foreign land; recalled to be deliverer of Israel at age 80.
  • David — many long years running for his life from King Saul, chased, persecuted; tired?
  • Zachariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s parents — elderly new parents whose son became a “wild man” living in the desert.

I’m sure they’d all prayed, waited and wondered; wondered if IT was finished, whatever IT was in their lives.

Things to think about.

In, it’s such a little word

What was the plan, exactly?

Let’s talk about words some more. Words are describers:

Short, tall. Long, short.
Strong, weak. Simple, complicated.
Ideas, plans… Plans?

Remember this for later: “No word of God is void of power.” (Luke 1:37)

I was meditating on that verse one evening. It’s the angel Gabriel’s answer to Mary that day. He had told her something amazing, something wonderful, something absolutely dumbfounding. And she had asked him, How?

I gave that a bit more thought, then asked – “NO word, Lord? No word of God is void of power?”

“Have you considered the word in?” He replied. “As in, In the beginning?”

“Hmmm. I know several verses begin that way. Genesis 1:1; John 1:1.” I could almost feel him nod his head and wait, as I continued to think.

I had to admit that I’d never really considered that little word, in. So I did. I looked it up in various secular and Bible dictionaries, Strong’s Concordance, etc. The definition is not complicated. In indicates a location, a relative position. Inside. On. Within. At. Among. With.

Those meanings are simple. How is that little word in powerful, I wondered? Various Bible phrases began coming to mind.

In Christ. In Him. In whom. Jesus claimed that He was in the Father, that the Father was in him, and one day, they would both be in us. What a thought – one day we would be inhabited by God himself.

Consider John 14:10, 20-21, 23:

  • 10 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works… “
  • 20 “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
  • 21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him…”
  • 23 “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

Also:

  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Eph. 1:3-4)
  • “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” (Eph. 3:12)
  • “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6)
  • “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (Col. 2:9-10)
  • “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17:28)

So much wonderful truth is contained in that one little word, “in!”

After a day or two, I began wondering about something else…

What exactly happened “in the beginning?” (Or even before the beginning.)

The Word was there… In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Secret things were kept… That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. (Matt. 13:35)

A kingdom was prepared… Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matt. 25:34)

The blood of prophets was shed… That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; (Luke 11:50)

God loved Jesus… Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)

God chose us… According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: … 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: (Eph. 1:4, 10)

The works were finished… For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Heb. 4:3)

Jesus coming to earth in human form was preplanned; foreordained… Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (I Pet. 1:20)

The Lamb (Jesus) was slain… And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)

Certain names were written in the book of life… The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Rev. 17:8)

I’ve begun to see a plan, haven’t you? The essential difference between Christianity and any religion: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) The Gospel. The good news. THE PLAN. The only plan, planned from the beginning.

Christians are inhabited by the same Spirit that created everything. (John 1:3, Col. 1:16)

Such a powerful word, in.

Words are Containers

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”

The following list began one recent evening as I was praying. I asked the Lord, “Would you please speak to me?”

I expected a conversation, perhaps a few sentences or so,  but He simply said, “Word.”

And then He began speaking this list, showing me mental images of what each one indicates. I put off writing it up for a few days, then finally went to the computer and began.

As I typed, word after word came to mind, even just now as I thought I was about through. Words are:

Containers      Explainers     Definers     Descriptors     Expressors
Impressors      Stressors     Reminders    Triggers     Tools    Equipment
Weapons     Armor     Creators    Destroyers     Healers   Deliverers
Revealers      Directors     Commanders     Preventers     Protectors
Comforters      Empowerers     Teachers     Trainers     Restrainers
Discipliners      Punishers     Confusers     Illustrators     Distributors
Distracters     Deceivers     Changers     Carriers     Manipulators
Stitchers     Connectors      Planters     Disguisers    Separators

You can probably come up with a few more.

Words are important. The way we use words is important. The unspoken words too, those non-verbal, physical expressions we use when speaking, are also important. Shrugs, frowns, smiles, leers, raised eyebrows, smirks, wrinkled noses, for instance, can add emotion, emphasize or negate what we are stating.

Why? Why are words so important?

Remember Genesis chapter 1? God created everything that exists and He used words to do it.

“And God commanded, Be, Light.” (Genesis 1:3, literal from Hebrew)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Words contain power, not just God’s words, even our own words. I think we need to be more thoughtful, more careful, the way we fling words around.

Why a baby?

christ_childWhy 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?

As young as they are, and as trusting of mom and dad that they are, children are indeed tempted to disobey. Determined to get that thing, do that thing, apt to stomp their foot, yell and break into angry tears when told No for the umpteenth time.

While those early behaviors may not qualify to some folks as sinful, they still need correcting. Training. Discipline. Guiding. Teaching. Lovingly, lovingly, firmly and consistently.

Children can be led astray. They are susceptible to being misled, mistreated, deceived, cheated, and abused. Susceptible to being lied to, and also lying to others.

They need to know the savior, the rescuer, the teacher, the guide and constant companion from an early age.They need to be taught right from wrong and how to tell the difference. They need to learn the word of God, and know the Word of God.

Children need to know that Jesus went through childhood himself with all its scrapes and bumps, all its hazards, and he knows what that’s like. And so he came as a baby.

Jesus loves children. When the disciples wanted to shoo the kids away, Jesus rebuked the disciples, not the children.

“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. ” (Matt. 18:3)  “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)

Was it because the children were so innocent? So charming, so sweet, so trusting, so loving – so innocent? Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe there’s more to it.

Children are curious. They are always attracted to something “new and shiny,” something different and fun. They are full of energy, running, climbing, investigating everything. Wanting to do it themselves. “Me do it! Me do it!” Wanting to have it for themselves, no matter who it may belong to.

So, why did Jesus come to earth as a baby, and not a full grown man? In order to be tempted in all points as we are, he had to.

(Originally published on 12-22-15.)