You said Yes.

“Thank you,” I said to the Lord while praying this morning.

“Thank YOU,” he answered.

“For what?” I asked, wondering what he could mean.

“You said Yes. That’s all I needed.”

Suddenly I knew he was referring to the summer day in 1972, when I asked Jesus to be my Manager, Lord of my life. He had been my Savior for many years, but Lord? No, not really.

On that particular day I had told him, “I’ve tried to manage my life my own way for a long time and it’s not working. Please come in and manage it for me.”

Several times over the years I’d heard him call my name, in a small still voice, “Bette.” I would just ignore it, shrug it off to my imagination and not respond. In the very back of my mind somewhere I was probably thinking, “Later.”

But now I was so desperate! So sad, so disappointed, so disillusioned with my life. That afternoon when he called my name, I answered. And in a split-second everything changed… (See https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/all-things-became-new/.)

Blinking back some tears as I looked through my kitchen window, I had to look again. The grass looked greener! The pine tree was browner, the canna lilies were orangier — nothing was the same!

Amazed, I walked out to my back yard to look at everything up close and slowly recognized that the grass and tree weren’t new. I was new.

Rubbing my hand over the trunk of the pine tree, I realized that verse was true: If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I was a new creation, with a new life, a new challenge, a new assignment, and a new identity.

Indeed, nothing has ever been the same since that day. Fifty years worth of images ran through my mind this morning, people and places, events and answered prayers. Healings. Deliverances. Callings…

So many things I would never have known or experienced, had Jesus not become Manager that day, Lord of my life.

I’m still thinking about what the Lord told me this morning, “You said Yes. That’s all I needed.” I’m so, so glad I finally did. I wish I’d done it much sooner.

(Also posted today, please see https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2022/09/20/after-being-delivered-from-fear-of-their-faces/)

Who are we in Christ?

We were created by God in his own image to be his own child, to do what He wants, when, where and how He wants, in order to get the results He wants.

And He made us with free will to choose to be and do that, or not.

Since starting this study, almost every day the Holy Spirit brings me another scripture with another facet of our identity in Christ to add to my notes. The following is in sort of a haphazard order, despite my attempts to make a logical step-by-step list.

I’m sure there are other descriptions and scriptures that could be added so I’m not going to publish this as “all inclusive.” Now and then He tells me, “It will ALL be helpful, you’ll see,” so I keep listening, keep studying, keep praying, and typing.

(If you get bored with this long list, just quit reading, but please don’t quit thinking about this subject, or asking the Lord for yourself: WHO AM I? He’ll find a way to answer you.)

How we live our daily lives, how we share God’s word, how we witness, even how we pray and intercede, are all related to that one essential question:

Who are we in Christ?

  • “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
  • We are in Christ, everything else is derived from that truth. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28, John 14:20
  • We are also inhabited by God: (1) by the Father, (2) by Jesus, and (3) by the Holy Spirit, John 14:17-23. All the Trinity make their home inside us.
  • We were created in God’s image, Genesis 1:27
  • Chosen, (1) He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, Ephesians 1:4; (2) God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; (3) you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9
  • Forgiven of all sins, Colossians 2:13-14
  • Free, not condemned, Romans 8:1-2
  • Saved by grace, God’s free gift to us, Ephesians 2:8
  • … through faith, also a gift from God, Ephesians 2:8
  • … faith that comes by hearing and believing God’s word, Romans 10:17
  • … his own faith was offered by Jesus to the disciples and to us, Mark 11:22
  • We are now the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Made an entirely new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Sons of God, adopted; also led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14-16
  • Heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, Romans 8:17
  • Made one spirit with Him, I Corinthians Cor. 6:17
  • Friends of Jesus, John 15:13-15, also see 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23
  • Taught by the Holy Spirit, who will also bring back to our remembrance whatever Jesus taught us; He will also show us the future, John 14:26
  • God’s workmanship, Ephesians 2:10, also see verse 8
  • Being changed (metamorphosized) from glory to glory, 2 Corinthians 3:18, also see Colossians 1:27
  • Unfinished; God began a good work in me and will continue to perform it, Philippians 1:6;
  • A life-long learner; I am continually learning and adding to what I have received and know, 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • God’s workers to do what he ordained for us beforehand, Ephesians 2:10
  • Co-laborers (co-workers) with God to do those things, 1 Corinthians 3:9; also see 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • As Jesus is, so are we in this world, I John 4:17
  • Imitators of God and of Christ, the word “followers” is literally translated imitators, Ephesians 5:1
  • Imitators of Paul as he imitates Christ, I Corinthians 4:16, 11:1
  • Seated with Christ in the heavenly places, Ephesians 2:6, also see 1:20-23
  • Spiritual warriors, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; in a war, whether we know it or not
  • Armed and armored, Ephesians 6:11-17
  • More than conquerors, Romans 8:37-39

What is our assignment?

  • Replenish planet earth, subdue it and have dominion over it, Genesis 1:26-28
  • Seek the kingdom of God, Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31-32, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” Romans 14:17
  • Because “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:31-32
  • Reign with him on earth now, in this lifetime, Romans 5:17, Revelation 5:10; 20:4-6; 22:5
  • Do what Jesus did, i.e make disciples, teach them to observe what he commanded the first disciples: (1) preach the kingdom, (2) heal the sick, (3) cleanse the lepers, (4) raise the dead, and (5) cast out demons; Matthew 28:18-20
  • Do even greater works, i.e. deeds, than Jesus did, John 14:12-13
  • Do the works ordained by God for us beforehand, Ephesians 2:10
  • Be co-workers with him, I Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • Be ambassadors for him, 2 Corinthians. 5:20
  • God is in us to will and to do his good pleasure; allow him to do that, Philippians 2:13
  • Do everything in love, I Corinthians 16:14 (agape, God-kind of love)
  • Walk (live, behave) in love, Ephesians 5:2
  • Give thanks in everything – no matter what happens around us, there are always things to be thankful for, I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Offer the sacrifice of praise, Hebrews 13:15
  • Pray without ceasing, I Thessalonians 5:17
  • Pray in the Spirit, Ephesians 6:18
  • Pray with all prayer and supplication, Ephesians 6:18
  • Pray God’s will and then we know we have what we requested, I John 5:14-15
  • Receive answers to prayer, thus receiving fullness of joy, John 15:11, 16:24
  • Note: many scriptures instruct believers to pray. None say pray for the sick, however, except for James 5:14: a sick person should call for the elders of the church who will anoint him with oil and then they pray over him. Jesus commanded disciples to heal the sick, not pray for the sick.

How can we do that?

  • Know God and Jesus, John 17:3
  • Be led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14-16
  • Receive faith, Mark 11:22, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 10:17
  • Live by faith, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 2:20
  • Receive the baptism (and thus God’s power – dunamis) of the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8
  • Be being filled with the Holy Spirit; this is a continuous verb, not a one-time event, Ephesians 5:18
  • Be a co-laborer with God, not a “lone ranger,” 1 Corinthians 3:9
  • Know who we are in Christ, know who God is and who the enemy is, John 10:10
  • Know our authority on the earth, Matthew 10:1, Luke 9:1, the same as the original disciples / apostles, Matthew 28:18-20
  • He gave them power and authority, Luke 9:1, 10:17-19, the 70 returned in joy; he gave them authority over all the power of the enemy; also applies to us
  • Fight the good fight of faith, 1 Timothy 6:12
  • Submit to God, then resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James 4:7
  • Resist the devil steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world, I Peter 5:9
  • Desire all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I Corinthians 12-14
  • Covet the best spiritual gifts (i.e. most appropriate for the need) I Corinthians 12:31; especially covet to prophesy, I Corinthians 14:39
  • Expect Jesus to manifest himself to us, John 14:21
  • Abide in him, allow his word to abide in us; then we can ask and it is done, John 15:7
  • Be transformed (metamorphosized) by the renewing, i.e. renovation of the mind (Greek word nous, way of thinking and understanding), Romans 12:2
  • We have the mind of Christ, his way of thinking and understanding as he is in us, 1 Corinthians 2:16
  • Take advantage of the information, training and equipment available in God’s word, 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, Ephesians 6:10
  • Be spiritually armed and armored with the whole armor of God, Ephesians 6:11-17
  • Realize that we can do all things through Christ, Philippians 4:13
  • Allow the fruit of the spirit to grow and develop in our lives, Galatians 5:22-24
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, John 16:13
  • Live and walk (act, behave) in the spirit, Galatians 5:25
  • Continue living and acting by the spirit, not by keeping the law, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:1-3
  • Be patient after doing the will of God, Hebrews 10:36
  • Let patience do its perfect work so we will lack nothing, James 1:4
  • Be patient with joyfulness, Colossians 1:11
  • Be anxious for nothing, Philippians 4:6
  • Do not be troubled or afraid, John 14:27, 1 John 4:18
  • Let the peace of God rule in our heart, Colossians 3:15
  • Be humble, 1 Peter 5:5-6
  • Don’t think more highly of yourself than you should, Romans 12:3

Also see:

Paul’s prayers, good examples to pray for ourselves and others:

  • Be enriched in utterance and knowledge, 1 Corinthians 1:4-8
  • Have the spirit of wisdom and revelation, understanding the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Christians), Ephesians 1:16-19
  • Be strengthened… comprehend… filled with the fullness of God; read entire passage, Ephesians 3:14-19
  • Know and understand God’s will, Colossians 1:9,
  • Be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, Ephesians 5:17

Not everything that happens is God’s will

“Woe unto them who call evil, good, and good, evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”           Isaiah 5:20

A few years ago, the Sunday School class I attended was studying the account of Jesus and the disciples, the boat and the storm. (Matthew 8, Mark 4)

They were all in a boat headed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee when a bad storm came up. Jesus was taking a nap and the panic-stricken disciples woke him up, saying “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38)

Jesus got up, rebuked the storm stopping it in its tracks, and then rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. (They could have stopped the storm themselves, without waking him up.)

One of the class members commented, “God must have been trying to kill Jesus with the storm, but then Jesus cancelled out God’s will by stopping the storm.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked her, “You don’t believe Jesus was God?” “Well, yes,” she said, “but everything that happens is God’s will, isn’t it?”

She looked puzzled when I strongly disagreed. The notion that everything bad and evil happening in the world is God’s will, his design, his doing — is calling evil, good, and good, evil.

God created man to have a will of his own, gave him authority to use it, and has never taken that authority back. God did not force Adam and Eve to disobey a direct command. He doesn’t force me, or you, or Hitler, or Jeffrey Dahmer, or a child rapist, or a terrorist, to commit evil.

It is not God’s will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9), yet some people do perish.

We are instructed to pray for leaders and government authorities, because it’s God’s will for “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:4) But not all people will be saved.

People have a free will of their own and some use it to make the wrong choices. The devil didn’t make them do it, and God didn’t make them do it.

If everything that happened was God’s will, why bother to pray? Just let “Whatever will be, will be.” But then some other scriptures would have to be torn out of the Bible…

Like Ephesians 6:2, “Honor thy father and mother which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” That’s number Five of the Ten Commandments, quoted from Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16.

Well, maybe the Ten Commandments don’t apply any more? Or maybe they don’t apply to everybody?

Or maybe they don’t apply in any real sense, just in a wishy-washy sense that only applies to some sort of group dynamic? Not to individual persons, just the whole of mankind that will survive while some individuals are slaughtered at God’s whim?

Hogwash.

Many “if” statements are found throughout the Bible. If you do this, that will happen. It’s the eternal law of sowing and reaping.

Long life is one of those “ifs.” Deuteronomy 6:2, “… that thy days may be prolonged.” Deuteronomy 11:9, “And that ye may prolong your days in the land…” If they obeyed God’s Word, that is. But they didn’t, and their days weren’t prolonged.

What about bad things happening to good people? If God isn’t behind everything, then is he powerless? NOT omnipotent after all? Couldn’t he do something to stop it, if it wasn’t his will?

Yes, if God wanted to change himself, become an Indian-giver and a liar, he could. But he gave control of some things over to people.

We have an enemy, Satan, who hates God and us. He’s real; a real liar and a real murderer. He will kill us if he can, steal from us whatever he can take and destroy anything he can’t take. (John 10:10.)

Satan is the accuser, the liar, the deceiver, the murderer, and the leader-astray, but he can’t make us do anything against our will. He can certainly suggest sin, demonstrate how to do it and promise to reward it, but in the end he will be destroyed. Those who side with him will be destroyed, too.

Creator God told us to do certain specific things. He made promises and provisions to those who are in Christ. The global, spiritual warfare is real, the devastation is real, the pain is real, but God’s power is even more real. He loves to demonstrate that power through the lives of his people. If they will let him!

If prayer was useless and “que sera, sera” was true, why would we be told to pray so many times? If faith was powerless, why did Jesus urge the disciples to have God’s faith? If death and disaster was God’s will, why did God send the Holy Spirit and gifts of healing and miracles?

The choice to believe is ours, and I choose to believe God is good, his mercy endures forever, and his Word is true. Mark 11:23-24 is true. Mark 9:23 is true. Matthew 17:20 is true.

The problem isn’t in God or in his Word. The problem is in those who fall for the “que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be” nonsense and won’t pay the price to believe. Faith is ours for the taking, but it comes with a responsibility and a job description.

When somebody gets sick and dies, it’s easier to say it must have been God’s will and excuse unbelief, than to take responsibility for failure. The disciples failed, after all — they tried to cast out a demon from a sick child and failed. (Mark 9:14-29)

Jesus came along, took care of the problem, then explained to the disciples what they needed to do differently. Pray with fasting. Do you suppose they ignored Jesus after that and simply quit praying for the sick? I don’t think so.

Jerry Savelle came to Florence many years ago for a series of meetings about healing. He recalled an incident when a man complained to him, “Brother Jerry, you prayed for brother so and so, and he died!”

Jerry explained, “Everybody I pray for will die sooner or later, but that doesn’t excuse me from praying for him or for the next fellow,” and it doesn’t excuse us either.

(This article is from the Archives; originally titled Que Sera)

Offenses hinder prayer

Unresolved Offenses Hinder Prayer

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
Psalm 119:165

“Harboring unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness is like swallowing poison and hoping the other guy dies.”

One night as I was praying for faithful people still struggling with health or family problems, I was wondering (asking the Lord), why haven’t they been healed yet, or had a positive breakthrough in their families?

I knew the usual reasons – weak or wobbly faith, unbelief, doubt, fear, and overt or covert sin being the primary ones. None of those seemed to apply here.

Were positive answers in the will of God? Yes, I am certain they are. Are the hindrances in me? In the needy person? Or both? So I kept on praying, meditating, and asking the Lord to show me the reasons.

“Offenses,” the Holy Spirit said.

The Greek word for offense is skandalon:

(1) A trap or snare. A hunter may use one, and we know an enemy who is hunting, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
(2) Any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, (a stumbling block, occasion of stumbling) i.e. a rock which is a cause of stumbling.

Jesus called Peter an offense to him, because Peter’s ideas of what Messiah should be and do were so different from what Jesus was describing. (Matthew 16:21-23.)

The Lord began showing me a list of specific, hurtful, offensive things that had happened in the past, either to me, or by me, or in the life of the people I’ve been praying for. No matter whose life they had affected, our prayers were being hindered.

Some of these offenses had been dealt with in the past, supposedly, but “reminders” would pop up now and then and an old hurt would be felt again, memories still buried deep in the brain’s memory banks. The list included the following:

    • Unforgiveness on your part, no matter how horribly bad the other person’s acts or words were, no matter how strongly you feel that they don’t deserve forgiveness.
    • Unforgiveness from someone else towards you, whether you did anything wrong or not, not resolved by explanations or apologies.
    • Memories of personal attacks, bad actions or words spoken against you and perhaps to you in the past.
    • Resentment of other people’s bad behaviors or words to you, or about you to other people.
    • Bitterness about being mistreated unfairly, whether it was deliberate or not.
    • Being taken for granted; made to feel “put upon,” misused, given more responsibilities or burdens than others who should be helping but aren’t.
    • Selfish pride, ego.
    • Misunderstandings, no matter whose side it started on, never straightened out.
    • Being robbed or abused, physically, materially, emotionally or socially.
    • Jealousy, on your part or against you on someone else’s part, deserved or undeserved. This is different from godly envy.
    • Unresolved anger, sadness or grief at being misunderstood, mistreated, cheated, i.e. sinned against.
    • Suspicion – not spiritual discernment – of someone’s motives, finding fault with them without a real cause. Avoiding them because of this.
    • Not praying for your enemies, or for your “frenemies,” because you don’t feel you can do it in faith so why bother to do it at all.
    • Believing you can’t do it, whatever it is, because you’re not good enough, clean enough, anointed enough, educated enough, trusted enough, whatever, thus you don’t even attempt, because you just know you’d fail.
    • Not using the authority of the believer given to you by God; not exercising the power of the Holy Spirit as He directs.
    • Believing a lie from the enemy – this affliction must be God’s will.
    • Fear of being ridiculed or losing something important – a relationship, reputation, position, etc.
    • An important one – underestimating the limitless grace of God.

There may be others. One thing they all have in common: They are triggered by words. Negative words. Some are whispered words from the enemy, not your own voice but masquerading as yours. All that brought up an important question:

How do these offenses hinder our prayers?

“They are spiritual leeches,” the Lord said. And then he showed me what they do in the natural – leeches, and ticks, and fleas. Here’s what I learned:

Leeches, ticks and fleas:

    • As leeches bite, they inject anesthetic, so you don’t even know what they are doing to you. Then they begin sucking blood out of you, little by little (remember, life is in the blood, and with it strength, energy, faith, confidence, assurance, all spiritual abilities, including discernment of what the enemy is doing.) They also can inject diseases, viral and bacterial, diseases which can kill you if not detected and treated, such as HIV, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and others.
    • Ticks also inject saliva which exhibits cytolytic, vasodilator, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, and immunosuppressive activity. Many species can transmit diseases to animals and people, such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
    • Fleas likewise inject saliva which contains anticoagulants to keep the blood flowing and an enzyme to keep blood from clotting at the wound site. Fleas also carry diseases that can be transmitted through bites, such as flea-borne spotted fever, plague, typhus, and cat scratch fever.

All that was eye-opening and disturbing, to say the least. They are draining our faith, confidence, assurance, peace of mind, leaving uneasiness, being unsettled mentally, emotionally or spiritually, and resulting in unanswered prayers. My next question was,

How can we deal with such offenses?

His reply was just one word: FORGIVENESS. He reminded me that forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision – and an excellent spiritual disinfectant and “pest control.”

Let’s get practical:

  1. Ask the Lord to reveal specific things, then deal with each one as they come to mind.
  2. Forgive others, forgive yourselves, ask forgiveness where needed if still possible, and if not extended or not possible, forgive them for NOT forgiving you.
  3. Refuse to harbor bitterness, resentment or grudges. Repentance is a good remedy for those. If a thought, image or feeling about a past offense arises again, (remember, Satan is the father is lies, deception, illusions, delusions), deliberately visualize yourself kicking that things right off a cliff to its demise.
  4. As often as you need to, deliberately do this again, reminding the enemy that it has been dealt with. Any remembrance of it that he brings up is another lie.
  5. Replace it with spiritual memories, God’s word, His promise of life, healing, health and wholeness to you. Personal answered prayers in the past, testimonies of others’ answered prayers.
  6. Use scriptural reminders regarding forgiveness; look verses up, write them down, read them to yourself and remind the Liar in Chief of them often. He loves to interfere with our prayers; don’t let him get away with it.
  7. And keep “short accounts,” that is, deal with anything offensive as it occurs; don’t put it off.

Offer Father God praise, worship, and thanksgiving, even when you don’t feel like it. He is worthy!

Henry’s Sentries are being called up

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

A radical revolutionary not afraid to speak up against Great Britain, Patrick Henry is most famous for his speech that includes the line, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Governor of Virginia during the Revolution, he fought to add the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

As I was dreaming a nonsense sort of dream early this morning, a word from the Lord interrupted my dream quite loudly. “Henry’s Sentries.”

It was so loud, so pronounced, that it woke me up from sleep about 4:00 AM. There was nothing more than that, no explanation, nothing. I couldn’t imagine what it meant.

I know what a sentry is – a guard, a watchman – which is what prophetic intercessors are, in the spirit realm. I am one of those.

But who or what was Henry? Immediately the name, Patrick Henry, came to mind. All I remembered about him was “Give me liberty or give me death,” a statement he made in a speech before the American Revolution.

Questions and more questions kept coming:

  • Who exactly was Patrick Henry?
  • How was he connected to “sentries?”
  • How did he get information that caused him to support resistance to Great Britain?
  • Who were his friends, acquaintances, cohorts, compatriots in those times?
  • Henry’s sentries — were they secret agents? Spies?
  • Pre-Revolution and/or during the Revolution?
  • Did Patrick Henry know Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and if so, were they friends?

I got up, fixed a cup of coffee and went to the computer. Using various phrases to seek out what that word referred to, I learned that without the voice and influence of Patrick Henry, there would be no Bill of Rights attached to the Constitution. That piqued my interest even further.

And then I came across a free online digitized biography of Patrick Henry, written by his grandson William Wirt Henry: “Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence And Speeches V1.”, published in 1891. I found a printed copy online and ordered it. I started reading the digitized  version, taking a break only to go to a Tuesday prayer meeting at my friends’ home.

I have learned some interesting things about Patrick Henry:
– Ordinary looking, unassuming (usually).
– Didn’t care much about his outward appearance or dress.
– Loved music; played the violin and flute.
– Loved fun, quite personable with an excellent personality.
– After a few years of regular school he was tutored at home by his father.
– Closely observed people and things, keeping his thoughts to himself a lot of the time.
– Highly intelligent; a voracious reader.
– A Christian from an early age; knowledgeable of the Bible.
– Possessed a remarkable and accurate memory of whatever he read, saw or heard.

I have also learned some important things about him:
– Married at age 18, he failed at two occupations, then read a couple of law books, applied for a law license, was examined and licensed.
– He began a highly successful practice while still a very young man, serving the working class people mostly; quite successful in court, he soon became respected and well liked in that area of Virginia.
– He was a powerful, anointed orator when he finally began to speak on issues that he felt passionate about. Like freedom. Liberty.
– Elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses on a “fluke,” in just a few short days he became one of the most notable and powerful voices in Virginia politics. Amazing!

I gradually came to realize that Henry’s sentries didn’t live during his lifetime. God is calling them up in OUR lifetime.

Henry was a modern-day Son of Issachar (see note below), one of Holy Spirit’s sentries whose relationship with the Lord, close observation of the times and events he was living through, and courage and willingness to speak out were instrumental in saving the American colonies from the grip of Great Britain.

Sentries like that are needed now, in the time we’re living in. I could name a few that I know of across the nation today, but many more are needed.

I shared about this with the members of the prayer group and was asked to pray a prayer of impartation over the group – there were nine of us there today – for this specific assignment. And so I did.

We are all connected to other intercessors in this area and other places, some prophetic, some not, but we have discovered a common thread in the last few weeks: attacks of the enemy to distract our attention and change our prayer focus.

Some have been hurt in odd accidents, some have become sick with unusual ailments or someone in their families have, and some have been experiencing sudden disturbances in their household or with relatives.

At the same time, there have been a number of great answers to long-time prayers, real breakthroughs.

We are committed to continuing our prayers / commands / decrees, asking the Lord to sharpen our spiritual seeing, our hearing, our attention to his voice; committed to taking greater authority over the distractions of the enemy, to standing up and speaking out when and as the Holy Spirit directs it.

How about you?

……………………………………………..

The sons of Issachar are described in I Chronicles 12:32: “Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.” They served David well.
See https://www.livingaschristians.com/resources/2020/06/14/the-sons-of-issachar

Childhood Salvation

Is there such a thing as childhood salvation?

Is there really an age of accountability? Some people think so, some people don’t. Some say it’s 8 years of age, others say it’s 12.

But have they ever lived with a strong-willed 3 year old? One who knows what it means to be “naughty?”

I think the article at this link explains the issue quite well. https://truthforkids.com/age-of-accountability

I don’t remember a time in my life, ever, that I didn’t know for sure that Jesus is the son of God, that he is God himself, and that he took my sin on himself and died on the cross to pay for MY sins.

“Jesus loves me, this I know.” And I do, actually. I was taught that simple song as a young child, and I believed it then just as I believe it now.

For God so loved the world, including me, that he gave his only begotten son, Jesus, and that whosoever (including me) believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16). I was taught that powerful verse as a young child too, and I believed it then just as I believe it now. It summarizes the gospel very well.

I have been trying to understand how I came to believe what I know to be true. Several things come to mind.

One:

My parents were both Christians who had been raised in Christian homes. (That really does make a difference.) We loved them and we trusted them. We trusted them to tell us truthful things, not to tell us lies.

They prayed for us and with us, my brother and me. We prayed over all our meals, prayed over both ordinary and special events, prayed at bedtime, and of course prayed in church. And we went to church as a family. We went to Sunday School and “preaching,” attended nearly every revival at our own church as well as other churches, plus tent revivals.

Even in the days when one or the other of my parents were far from perfect parents, far from perfect in their actions towards each other or towards themselves personally, they still turned to the Lord to help them. To deliver them. To restore them. And he always did.

I never knew my father’s parents; his dad died years before I was born and his mom died when I was about 3 years old. But they were church members (Baptist) and I can imagine them praying for their family and the families that would come in later years. That would include me. Many of the older Motte generations are buried in the Grove Hill Cemetery in Darlington, South Carolina.

My mother’s parents and most of their Powers siblings were members of Methodist churches. Many of their generation of that family are buried in the cemetery at Pine Grove Methodist Church between Timmonsville and Darlington, SC. My own parents are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Florence.

When I would see either set of relatives, Christmas Day, Easter, birthday celebrations, whatever the occasion, there was always a time of catching up with family news, and there was always prayer. Every meal where Da (my mother’s father) was at the table would begin with him saying grace – “Thank the Lord for Dinner.” (Or Breakfast, or Supper.) And he meant it, as short as it was. He was indeed thankful. So were we all.

I didn’t hear my great grandparents’ prayers, but I am convinced that they did know the Lord and that they did pray.

Two:

My brother and I were taught the Bible, as being the real, actual, word of the living God. Sometimes it was Mama and Daddy doing the teaching, sometimes a Sunday School teacher, and sometimes the pastor. The Bible was important to all of us, as important as eating food and drinking water.

Early days we were read Bible stories from a children’s book. We learned about Abraham and Sara, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Noah and the ark, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, Elijah and Elisha, many others from the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

We also learned about Jesus — lots and lots of stories about Jesus. Who he was, why he came, what he did while on planet earth. We learned about sin and what it was, how it first got into existence, what God thinks about it, and what God did about it, for us, by sending Jesus.

We learned what grace is too, and that we didn’t deserve God’s grace but we got it anyway. We didn’t deserve God’s love, but we got it anyway.

We also learned that salvation isn’t automatic just because our parents were Christians, that we ourselves were responsible for that decision. I will never forget two little lessons we learned somewhere: “God has no grandchildren,” and “Living in a garage doesn’t make you a car!”

We were first taught these concepts in simple, easy to understand words. We learned that we have the ability to ask Jesus into our heart — meaning, to ask him to forgive us when we did wrong (i.e. naughty, bad things), ask him to be our “saver” and ask him to help us change our messy way of selfish thinking.

As a teenager I had occasions to think about all that once or twice, and each time I made a conscious decision and recommitment to that truth: Yes, Jesus was indeed my Saviour. As an adult living a troubled life years later, I made an expanded, deliberate decision that Yes, Jesus was both Saviour and Lord, and although I hadn’t really been acknowledging him as MY Lord, I wanted him to be.

And in an instant, he was. A lot changed that day… I changed a lot that day! See https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/all-things-became-new/

I don’t have a specific date written down anywhere when I was born again. Some folks would say I wasn’t really born again, then. I wasn’t saved, I wasn’t really a Christian, as a child.

I have to disagree. Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have been my loving companions for too long, the Bible has been too precious to me for too long, and the Kingdom of God has been too real to me for too long.

But I have often wished I’d made Jesus both Saviour AND Lord of my life much earlier.

Lies coming down

I shared this word with only a few fellow intercessors back in February, but this week I’ve seen more and more of it coming to pass.

On Monday night February 14, 2022, as I was praying before sleep the Lord showed me ranks of angel warriors with swords drawn and pointed outwards, preparing to attack.

Father God showed me that he has called Time and the warriors are deploying. He is calling an end to the lies and deception that the enemy has been using across America (and the whole world, for that matter).

The spirit behind all the lies and deception is actually the spirit of fear, He said. Fear of being found out, truth revealed, deceptions uncovered, lies that had brought much influence, power and wealth, while hidden.

Over the coming days / weeks / months there will be a battle of God’s warriors against the spirit of fear behind the lies, deception, all the deliberate falsehoods afflicting God’s people — indeed all people.

You won’t actually perceive this battle very well on the earth for a little while, He said, because it is a purely spiritual battle. But you will perceive the results soon as the lies are made obvious. The lies and deception will come down, will end, and the truth will become obvious.

Soon the spiritual battle will descend onto the earth and the natural world will also engage in this battle. Spiritual warriors and prayer warriors will be put to work more fiercely than ever.

So be alert, be aware, watch and keep watching, listen and keep listening. More importantly, pray and keep praying.

Posted 1 April 2022

 

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.)

Weapons don’t wield themselves

GodsWeaponsMadeForYou“The worst thing the enemy can do to a believer in Jesus is to send him home to heaven early.”

Why doesn’t God stop him in his tracks?

It’s obvious that the enemy of our faith is at work in the world, sometimes very close to where we live. We wonder why he seems to be getting away with so many murderous acts, causing so much chaos, turmoil and tragedy.

Reminders of several basic facts:

  • War is being waged for control of this planet, control of the people who live on the planet, and eradication of the people inhabited by the Creator of the planet.
  • God gave control of this planet to human beings. Stopping the enemy is our job. We’re not doing a very good job of it, but it’s still our responsibility.
  • It’s not an even fight, the sides aren’t even close to equal – but you’d never know that from the way some folks act. Or don’t act.
  • We are the conquerors!

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 NIV, emphasis added.)

God’s goal:

  • “(God our Savior) who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim. 2:4)
  • “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)
  • God made a way for that to  happen: “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

The devil’s goal:

His goal is to destroy the things God loves above all – people, human beings created in His image. To do that, the enemy will try to:

  • Kill every human being he can, Christians or not
  • Prevent every human being he can from becoming Christians
  • Prevent every Christian he can from bringing other human beings to Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (I Peter 5:8-9)

Well, the enemy himself is not flesh and blood. He just stirs up flesh and blood to perform as his willing servants, or as his unwitting instruments.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)

Stopping particular people the enemy is using will not stop him from picking other people to use. We should indeed do whatever we can to stop (or prevent) attacks by those people. But that’s certainly not all – we should also:

Learn how to fight the real enemy:

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)

Changing the mind and heart of the person is the only answer to shutting out the enemy from using that person to do evil. Praying, sharing God’s Word, God’s kind of love and life (living the gospel), displaying a God-filled life, are steps toward that change.

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

You can shout and yell at people, but that won’t make them listen. You can shout and yell at the devil, but that won’t make him listen either.

Only taking authentic authority over him will work to stop his activity. And first you have to know he’s real, and that he’s really the one behind the evil actions.

“God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’

“Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” (Acts 19:11-16)

Weapons of war:

Acknowledge that YOU have been given spiritual weapons. Know what they are and learn how they work. Recognize who is actually behind the evil activity you see. Ask God what to do about it and listen for his reply. The Holy Spirit will tell you what to do. Some weapons at our disposal include:

  • Spiritual armor. (Eph. 6:10-18) This includes defensive and offensive equipment. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Withstand and resist are the same Greek word.
  • Gifts of the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 12) We need supernatural information, wisdom on how to make use of it, faith, miracles, healing.
  • Discerning of spirits. (I Cor. 12) We especially need to know whether the wicked behavior is caused by human or evil spirits. Believers can exercise authority over evil ones, but human spirits require other approaches.
  • The Word of God. (Hebrews 4:12) Knowing it’s in the Bible isn’t going to help if you don’t know the scripture itself. Study. Learn. Get it in your memory banks.
  • Prayer and intercession. (I Tim. 2:1-2) Ask specific requests, based on knowledge of the scriptures and who you are in Christ, being led by the Holy Spirit as you ask.
  • Love and forgiveness are powerful weapons. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28) Remember, the kindness of God leads men to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
  • Your own testimony. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Rev. 12:11)
  • Spiritual authority. (Matt. 28:18-20) Jesus told the disciples to do what he had been doing, and to teach others to do the same things. That includes you and me. He gave us this authority because he knew we were going to need it.

Matthew 18:20 says, “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” And “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:20) Note: signs won’t confirm God’s word that isn’t preached, taught, or spoken.

  • Stand firm in the faith. Having done all to stand, stand. Stand firm. (Eph. 6:13)
  • Pray in faith, speak in faith. “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:17-18)

If you look up those events in I Kings 17 and 18, you see that Elijah didn’t actually pray about the rain stopping and starting – he just spoke about the rain. Whatever praying he did, he did beforehand, surely to ask the Lord for instructions on what to do next.

  • Don’t waver back and forth in doubt, hoping for the best. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)
  • Confidently expect results. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16) “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.” (I John 5:14-15)

Weapons don’t wield themselves:

The problem is, too many Christians think all this is automatic –  that they don’t have to be on their guard, don’t have to put on any armor, don’t have to exercise authority, don’t have to resist the devil, don’t have to pray for their enemies, don’t have to share the gospel, in other words, they don’t have to wield any weapons.

It’s as if they think, Let the preacher do it, let the missionaries do it, I don’t have to do it myself.  They may pay a high price for that mistaken belief.

Also see: https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/armored-front-and-back/

(Originally published in 2015 — still appropriate.)

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.