An Invitation To A Treasure Hunt

And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name. Isaiah 45:3

“A treasure hunter is a person who, as either a vocation or avocation, searches for sunken, buried, lost, or hidden treasure and other artifacts.” (Wikipedia)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a treasure hunter? To experience the perilous adventures of Indiana Jones or the table-turning transformation of the Count of Monte Cristo?

What would you do if you were given a treasure map to riches beyond comprehension and a guarantee that if you would do whatever it took to seek it out, you would find it? If you really BELIEVED it was true, what would you be willing to sacrifice and invest to make that happen?

Sunday night, we watched the movie National Treasure for the first time in years. After the movie, Jesse put on some of the extras, including one about modern day treasure hunters. As I watched, at first I was struck with amazement by their passion and pursuit. I wondered how much money they were spending on each expedition. I wondered how much time. It seemed some were “spending” their very lives (even losing their lives, as in this story I found about a modern day treasure hunt here in Colorado). But when they began to show some of the treasures they had found, I was then struck with a sense of sadness. While I’m sure some of it had historic significance, or monetary value, most of it just looked like “stuff.” Someone else’s old “stuff” who was now long gone. No matter how great it’s worth at one time to the original owners, it was now no longer of any value to them. They couldn’t take it with them when they left this life, and it certainly can’t help them where they are today (whether in eternal life or eternal death). Yet, now other people are consuming their lives and resources tracking down and digging that “stuff” out of dirt, sand, and sea. I realize that for some people, it’s an occupation; for others, a hobby. But I couldn’t help but wonder how many were wasting their entire lives on a trivial pursuit for things they may never find and that, even if they did, would no more benefit them in the end than they benefited others who at one time possessed them. But, it was late – and I was tired. Maybe I was thinking too much, getting too deep, or being overly spiritual and just needed to lighten up….

Moments later, as we went to bed, I was amazed by the Lord’s response to these swirling thoughts, through the word He gave us from Letter’s from God:

“I have bought you a Kingdom and purchased for you a glorious life. I paid with My Son. He gave His life and blood to purchase for you a destiny. It cost Us everything.
The value cannot be measured; it is beyond estimation. There is NO GREATER TREASURE THAT YOU COULD EVER SEEK, FIND, or WANT. The world longs for what I have bought for you. They spend their lives looking in all the wrong places. Life after life is wasted, searching in the coffins of false saviors and dead saints. They spend their life’s savings traveling and digging for the elusive fountain of youth, the holy grail, and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They die looking, when what they want and need is standing right next to them. I AM the Desire of all nations. I AM the Missing Piece to the human heart. I AM the only One who can fill the black hole of the soul. I AM the Purchaser of your soul, bought and paid for with sacred blood and perfect obedience. …SPEND YOUR LIFE DISCOVERING THE TREASURE and spending your inheritance. Give it away and it automatically multiplies. There is an UNENDING SUPPLY waiting for your FAITH to UNLOCK.

Wow! I love how often the Lord speaks to us through the movies and about the movies we watch, always reminding us that He is WITH US at all times, attentive to and interested in everything we do. And I love that He took this opportunity when our thoughts were turned to treasure hunting to remind us of the limitless treasures available to us in Him, and that Faith is the Key that will unlock the vaults of the glorious riches of our inheritance. (Maybe it’s time to go back to re-read the incalculable wealth series .)

That night this verse was also in our Scripture confessions:

Thus says the Lord to His anointed, … whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him, and I will unarm and ungird the loins of kings to open doors before him, so that gates will not be shut. I will go before you and level the mountains [to make the crooked places straight]; I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron. And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name. Isaiah 45:1-3

And the next night, this Scripture:

We accept God’s words and store up His commands within us, turning our ears to wisdom and applying our hearts to understanding, we call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, we look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, therefore we understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (personalized from Proverbs 2:1-6)

After this, I realized that “treasure” Scriptures had been in our confession list in the days leading up to Sunday as well, before I had noticed this developing theme:

In Him (Christ) all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden. Colossians 2:3

He (The LORD) will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6

It seems that God is immensely interested in treasure hunting. The fact that He uses this imagery lets us know that He has riches and treasures hidden away for us that will not be found by the casual or careless. Though they are undoubtedly God’s will for us to receive, they will not automatically come to us without effort. Discovering them will be the result of a deliberate and diligent endeavor. He has revealed to us through nature that gold, diamonds, and other precious metals and gems must be mined for. It will involve seeking, pressing in, and digging out. It will require our time, attention, focus, energy, commitment, concentration, patient persistence, and desire. He wants our lives to be consumed by this pursuit, as long as the treasure we’re seeking with such passion is Him, His Kingdom, wisdom, will, and ways. He has given us the map to limitless treasure and has guaranteed that if we seek with all our hearts, we will find it (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7-8, Hebrews 11:6). How will we respond to this invitation and opportunity? What will we be willing to sacrifice and invest to make sure it happens? As in the example at the beginning, if we really BELIEVE it’s true, we should be willing to do whatever it takes. Unlike the treasures of this world that people are giving their lives to find, this is not a treasure we will have to leave behind in the end, nor a treasure that will be unable to benefit us in the life to come. The benefit is for this life and the next (Mark 10:28-30 , Matthew 6:33).

In the movie National Treasure, Ben’s father had ceased to seek out the vast treasure he’d heard about his whole life because he had ceased to believe. Yet, despite his father’s bitter cynicism and discouraging disbelief, Ben continued to persist in his belief, to risk all in his pursuit, and was ultimately rewarded with a discovery that transformed his life and the world.


The kingdom of heaven is like a [very precious] treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field [securing the treasure for himself]. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, and upon finding a single pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46


Update 10-13-17

Yesterday, I shared with a friend that I’d fallen very far behind on reading Lana Vawser’s words (I had probably 6 wks or more of posts I hadn’t yet had a chance to read). This morning, I was awakened very early and though I certainly tried for some time, couldn’t get back to sleep. Since Lana’s posts were on my mind from the conversation yesterday, I eventually decided to get up and use the additional hours to try to catch up on some of those. Though there were posts both before and after her October 1 post that I needed to read, “for some reason,” I scrolled past other posts and stopped first on that one. Once again, I was utterly undone by God’s orchestration of confirmations when I saw that this word I began with said: 

The Lord has been strongly impressing upon my heart in the last few weeks, the importance of writing everything down that He is sharing, speaking and releasing. …
There was a great unlocking that was taking place in the stewardship of writing down all that He says, and to meditate upon what He was saying, a whole new realm of hearing from Him and discovering His mysteries and secrets of His heart was being opened wide.
I was ministering in Launceston, Tasmania yesterday and in worship I kept seeing God’s people in scuba diving equipment and they were going to the depths of what looked like a HUGE ocean and they were discovering TREASURE they had never seen or experienced before. As they were going down to the depths I heard Proverbs 25:2:
“God conceals the revelation of His Word in the hiding place of His Glory but the honour of kings is revealed by how they thoroughly search out the deeper meaning of all God says.” (The Passion Translation)
Today, the Lord reminded me of that scuba diving vision and He said again “Write down all that I am saying and you will go deeper than you have ever been.”
There are new treasures, mysteries of God, revelation of His Word and secrets of His heart waiting for you. Chase after Him and His heart and steward what He is saying by continually writing it down, and rivers of refreshment will open up over you. …
Keep an account of all He is saying because out of that account I see a whole new depth of knowing Him and encountering Him, His heart and nature like never before and on the top of every page written in gold it says..
LIFE CHANGING!” (You can see the entire word here on FB

I pray this is as encouraging of a confirmation to you as it is to us!! #WeHearYouLord #ThankYouJesus Hold on to these words as you keep pressing in for all God has for you. Don’t give up. Even if you feel you’ve already sought certain answers wholeheartedly for a long, L-O-N-G time – that you’ve “fished all night” without receiving the clarity you expected and that it’s time to just wash your nets and go home – I pray you’ll hear the Lord challenging you, against all natural wisdom and understanding, to launch out into the deep and let down your nets again. Lord, help us all to respond to this invitation in faith. No matter how great the temptation may be to give up in certain areas, may we all still say, “Nevertheless, because You say so, I will.” (from Luke 5:5) 

When We Get This, We’ll Never Need a Greater Revelation of God’s Love

You may have heard it before – that the answer to your troubles is that you need a greater revelation of God’s love.

In some circles there’s been an endless pursuit of this greater revelation in recent years. Sometimes it seems that next elusive level of revelation is the key to receiving the manifestation of all God’s promises, being delivered from bondage to sin, and finally committing to live wholeheartedly for the Lord.

Don’t get me wrong ~ I get the concept. After all, faith works through love (Gal 5:6) ~ which many interpret to mean that our faith can only work to the degree that we believe and receive God’s love for us and others. So I would never want to invalidate the idea that we should pursue an increasing understanding and awareness of God’s love. I’m extraordinarily grateful that I can say from much experience that God reveals His personal love to us in myriads of beautiful, breathtaking, and intricate ways. When we’re walking in intimate relationship with Him as He desires, these will be a normal part of His interaction with us. He longs for us to be sensitive to the things He does, to take notice, celebrate, and be thankful for all the ways He reveals Himself and His love to us as we walk with Him day by day. And I think this is the heart behind what we’re being encouraged to discover in the quest for a “greater revelation” of God’s love.

But is it possible that we may sometimes look for this greater revelation in the wrong ways? Could it be that constantly seeking a greater revelation of God’s love that’s dependent on Him answering our prayers as we desire, meeting our needs according to our timetable and plan, letting us feel another touch of His tangible Presence, and any number of other ways we may look for Him to reveal His love in the present moment, produces a shallow, unstable foundation of faith? What if God wants us to come up higher still, so that our revelation of His love is no longer dependent on all these variables? What if He wants us to go deeper still to the stable, enduring foundation of the Truth of His Word so that we won’t be moved by shifting circumstantial evidence? Will we doubt God’s love and favor if He doesn’t provide us with the best parking space in the lot? If His promises aren’t fulfilled in the way or time we want, will we question His credibility or care? In a season where His love is best demonstrated through discipline instead of doting, will we be offended and turn away? If His Spirit leads us into a wilderness of testing and trial where we can’t feel His tangible touch as before, will we fear that He’s left us? Will painful circumstances that persist in spite of applying all the right spiritual principles cause our faith to be shaken or shattered? Or are we rooted and grounded in a revelation of His love that supersedes circumstances and can hold us stable and secure through the storms of life, knowing nothing can separate us from His love?

It was fifteen years ago when we were first introduced to the trend of everyone talking about how believers need to get a greater revelation of God’s love. Though I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, this message created an aching void that made us feel as if something must be deficient in our relationship with God. Of course, this feeling isn’t inherently bad, since we all need to maintain hunger and humility in our pursuit of knowing God, realizing we always have room to grow. So, over a period of time, I began crying out, telling God how much I needed this greater revelation of His love that everyone was talking about.

Each time I sought Him about this, He answered me the exact same way.

What was His response to this revelation everyone was pursuing?

Time after time He took me to the accounts in Scripture of Jesus’ crucifixion! After receiving this same response several times, I finally began to get it. It was as though He was saying, “Really, beloved? You came into relationship with me many years ago based on believing and receiving the greatest revelation of My love that exists! I suffered in horrific ways and died an agonizing death to make a way for you to be rescued and redeemed from an eternity in hell and brought into everlasting life with Me! Why are you crying out to me for a “greater” revelation of My love when there is NO GREATER REVELATION OF MY LOVE than the one you already believed when you first received Me as Lord and Savior?!”

I can only imagine how any one of us would feel if we had given the life of our only child so someone else could live, yet afterward this person continued to plead with us to reveal, demonstrate, or prove our love. After all He’s already done by sacrificing His Son, think how God must feel when we allow our revelation of His love to be based on whether He’s giving us the specific breakthroughs, blessings, or signs we’re believing for in any given moment.

Again, don’t misunderstand. I’m a huge advocate of people learning to recognize and delight in all the ways God expresses His extravagant individualized love for each one of us on a daily basis as we develop a close personal relationship with Him. But I also want to remind and encourage us, as the Lord reminded me 15 years ago, that we must never lose sight of the truth that God has already given every believer the greatest revelation of His love that can be found through what He did for us on the cross; there’s none greater! 

Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1

 (Amplified version, “He loved them to the last and to the highest degree.”)

 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 NASB

So, if we feel our revelation of God’s love is growing dim, we don’t need to seek a new revelation that requires Him to do one more thing to prove His love for us. We just need to go back to the beginning and remember the revelation we received when we first realized the hopelessness of our condition and understood the terrible price Jesus paid to ransom us from the pit of hell and bring us into relationship with Him and the Father. It’s this revelation of His love that we received when we first came to Him that should provide us with the foundation of faith to believe that He loves us enough to fulfill all His other promises.

Isn’t that the point Paul was making in Romans 8:31-32?

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 NIV

If God was willing to give that which was greatest and most sacrificial for us, how would He not also do all the other things that demonstrate His love for us in “lesser” ways? Clearly this doesn’t mean that once we really grasp this revelation, we’ll finally be able to receive everything we ask for in the way and time we want. As discussed in previous posts, we’ll never reach a level of faith – nor a revelation of God’s love to fuel our faith – that will exempt us from having to inherit certain promises through patient endurance in addition to faith. There is no revelation of God’s love that is the key to receiving instant manifestations every time we pray. But there is a revelation of God’s love that is key to being able to patiently endure in those times that we don’t receive an instant answer, until we see the manifestation of what God promised.  

We can and should grow in the length, depth, height, and breadth of the revelation of God’s love in ways that cause Him to become more real and personal to us. We can and should ask God for the power to grasp the full dimensions of His love (Ephesians 3:16-19). But we don’t have to wait for Him to do one more thing for us to begin that process. We can meditate on what He already did when He demonstrated the full extent of His love by laying down His life to save us. We can reignite our first revelation of His love until it becomes alive in our hearts again.

I pray that as we celebrate this Resurrection Sunday, we’ll receive afresh this greatest revelation of God’s love that should be the foundation for every subsequent revelation of His love we receive.

In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. I John 4:9-10 AMP

Passing The “Come Down from the Cross” Test

I began this blog just before Easter based on things God had been speaking to us since last Fall, but never posted it due to confusion that followed about whether God was still giving us this directive or changing course due to so many setbacks, failures, roadblocks, and delays. After seeking the Lord about it more intensely again, Saturday and Sunday we believe we received the confirmations we needed. Thank you Jesus! Hope this blesses others going through this same test…

As we’ve cried out to the Lord for wisdom and guidance for our situation, the spiritual warfare has been brutal. It’s not that we’ve been unable to hear God. True to His Word, He’s faithfully poured out His answers in amazing ways as we’ve sought. And if those were the only words we’d received, we’d be set. But unfortunately, the enemy has consistently fought against clarity by bringing other words that completely contradict God’s. If we could see the Source/source behind the words we receive, this wouldn’t be a problem. We could simply dismiss every word that defies what God has spoken. But since we’re dealing with the invisible realm, we have to discern which of the words are truly from God and which are not. This has often led to continuing to seek until God pours out His true counsel in such an overwhelming deluge that all counterfeit counsel is drowned and destroyed and His true path is clearly revealed.

During such a time of intense seeking last Fall (2015), asking the Lord to expose which voices were the counterfeits, He began to do just that.
One of the voices He exposed was the voice that tells us to “come down from the cross.”

As we walk out our own crucifixion process on the way to fulfilling God’s call, this voice can come blatantly, just as it did to Jesus, through those who consider themselves our enemies, who don’t believe what God has promised us or called us to do.

“Those who passed by hurled insults at him [reviling Him and reproaching Him abusively in harsh and insolent language], shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” Mark 15:29-32
It can also come through the enemy himself in the battlefield of our mind or through the hellish circumstances he arrays against us to mock everything God’s promised, tempting us to walk away from God’s call in an attempt to save ourselves. 
But God also showed us how this voice can come more subtly as well, not from the taunts of our enemies and circumstances, but through the concern and counsel of friends and loved ones. After all, they’re pained by seeing us led like sheep to the slaughter and can’t understand how the suffering and sacrifice of “the cross” could be God’s plan. Because they want what’s best for us, they may counsel us to go a way they believe will spare us from hardship and challenge, not knowing their advice would lead us away from where God’s calling us to be.
The voice of Peter may immediately come to mind in this category, in that infamous moment he thought Jesus surely misunderstood God’s will and needed his correction. It wasn’t that Peter was completely spiritually out of tune with God and could never be trusted to speak in line with truth. Only a moment before, Jesus confirmed that he had received genuine revelation from God. Perhaps after such a success, newfound confidence in his ability to hear God’s voice emboldened him to challenge Jesus’ seemingly ill-advised plan to go to the cross. This demonstrates just how quickly we can go from speaking the counsel of God to the counsel of the enemy if we’re not careful. Jesus revealed Peter’s mind was now on the things of man rather than God. As we’ve all been guilty of at times, he was thinking and reasoning according to his natural human perspective rather than God’s higher one.
The Lord also showed us the voice of Naomi in this category, who out of concern for her daughters-in-law, urged them to “turn back” to where they came from for a chance to find happiness again, rather than remaining with her (since she seemingly had nothing to offer). Orpah acted on this advice and we never hear from her again. But Ruth was faithful to Naomi, and though they endured some hardship for a while, we see God’s Ephesians 3:20 plan eventually unfold.
We also see this test played out through Elijah on the day he was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire. Three times on his journey he urged his protégé, Elisha, to stay behind while he went on. But each time, Elisha refused, insisting that he would not leave him (just as Ruth insisted with Naomi). His reward for persevering to the very end by his master’s side was a double portion of his spirit.
From this, God began a “Don’t Turn Back” series of words, along with the “Don’t Come Down from the Cross” words, admonishing us not to turn back from His call or give up because of the obstacles, attacks, and hardships the enemy brings to stop us, but to be “steadfast and immovable.” He surrounded us with words about sacrifice, laying down our lives, and choosing “commitment over comfort” and “purpose over profit,” lest we make the fatal mistake of Judas, who traded God’s will for his life for some silver coins.
If Jesus had been more concerned about His comfort and convenience, or about defending His reputation and proving His identity, than He was about paying the price for our redemption, He could have come down from the cross. And like Jesus – in certain areas, it will be within our power to escape our “cross” too. After all, we only got there by surrendering to God’s call (“Not my will, but yours be done”). So failure to continue to surrender may, in some cases, be able to get us out. But in this moment, God doesn’t call us to escape, but to endure. Jesus willingly stayed in that place of humiliation and suffering, not only for the sake of those who loved Him, but even for those who mocked and insulted while He died for them. And, like Him, though we may despise the process of the “cross,” if we keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the greater good that’s being accomplished and the fulfillment of God’s promises on the other side, we too will be able to endure. We must pass the test of this temptation to come down from the cross, if we want the resurrection on the other side.
“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]” John 12:24-25
“(our body in death) is sown in dishonor and humiliation; it is raised in honor and glory. It is sown in infirmity and weakness; it is resurrected in strength and endued with power.” I Cor 15:43
Though this last passage in context refers to the death of the natural body, it’s a profound prophetic parallel to the death of the flesh we experience as we endure the crucifixion process that comes with following God’s plan. Dishonor, humiliation, affliction, and suffering are the hallmarks of the cross ~ not things we normally willingly sign up for, yet things we’ll endure for a higher purpose ~ for our love for God and others ~ holding onto His promise that the rewards on the other side will make it all worth it.
One thing I love about the Mark 15 passage above is that, in the enemy’s attempt to mock Jesus on the cross, he inadvertently reminded Jesus of the prophecy/promise of resurrection to follow His painful death (You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days – see John 2:18-22). And God will continue to remind us of His promises too as we endure the crucifixion ~ giving us the words we need, even through unexpected  sources, to sustain our hope and faith all the way through to victory.
If you know you’re following what God said, no matter how hard it gets or what the cost ~ Don’t Turn Back and Don’t Come Down From the Cross.


This brings us up to date, where during our recent seeking about whether God was still giving us this instruction, He began giving a series of words about “what we VALUE.” Right after He began speaking about this, TD Jakes, our pastor, and another pastor I’ve recently listened to some, all spoke about VALUE. This past Saturday, God gave us another “commitment over comfort” confirmation, stating that He “requires SACRIFICES and a willingness to be UNCOMFORTABLE” in order to do His will. Then Sunday, TD Jakes continued his theme about value. As I listened, I was amazed by how God tied the value theme together with these previous themes – showing that what we value determines what we’re willing to sacrifice. When we value doing God’s will above all else, we will choose “commitment over comfort” and “purpose over profit.” We’ll stay on the cross, willing to sacrifice all to follow Him. Here’s a clip of some of the beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt confirmations at the end of TDJs msg:


As I prayed about whether to share this word, God gave me this word from Rick Renner that blew me away with its confirmations of the insults Jesus endured on the cross, how the enemy comes at us through people, circumstances, and in the battlefield of our minds to stop us, and the mandates DON’T BACK DOWN and DON’T BACK UP (aka Don’t Come Down from the Cross and Don’t Turn Back): A Fight Always Follows Illumination
#WeHearYouLord #HelpUsJesus

Blessings and Prayers,
Laura Tyree

LORD of the Breakthrough

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me!… You are my Help and my Deliverer. O my God, do not tarry! Psalm 40:13, 17Lord of the Breakthrough

After more desperate cries to God over disappointment of breakthrough not coming in the time frame we were requesting, God made Himself clear again that He wants “unconditional trust” in His timing and process for inheriting the promises by faith and patience. I believe He’s asking for us to trust Him as “Lord of the Breakthrough” (II Samuel 5:20), in the sense that we recognize He is LORD over when and how breakthrough comes and we submit to His Lordship in this area ~ even when, or especially when, we don’t understand His plan and time.

He’s given multiple passages during this storm regarding His “appointed time.”

For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail (deceive or disappoint). Though it tarry, wait [earnestly and patiently] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day. Habakkuk 2:3

I don’t believe this is the case in every trial and storm, since we have clear Scriptural precedent demonstrating that, on some occasions, faith was the only determining factor of when and how a breakthrough was received. But many of us want to apply that principle in every situation. This can lead to a host of heartaches for ourselves (or others) if we believe faith must be deficient when we (or others) don’t immediately receive, instead of understanding that sometimes God chooses for us to walk through the fire and flood with Him (Isaiah 43:2, as discussed in “Passing the ‘Though He Slay Me’ Test” and “When God Seems Late”). I think it’s sometimes inadvertently communicated that we should be able to reach a level in our faith that will negate our need to ever have patience, but this view just isn’t supported by Scripture. If we seek the Lord, He’ll show us which kind of trial we’re in and reveal whether He’s waiting on us or whether He’s asking us to wait on Him. In this form of storm, where God’s goal is to develop enduring faith, He’ll remind us of all those Scriptures we’d prefer to opt out of.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test you [that is, to test the quality of your faith], as though something strange or unusual were happening to you. But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, keep on rejoicing, so that when His glory is revealed, you may rejoice with great joy. I Peter 4:12-13

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Romans 5:3-4

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Here is [the call for] the patient endurance and the faithfulness of the saints [which is seen in the response of God’s people to difficult times]. Revelation 13:10 AMP

I believe God’s been showing us that in certain trials (particularly when He’s determined we must inherit the promises through faith and patience), there is an appointed time for our breakthrough. As Daniel 7:21-27 and Revelation 13:7 show, in these trials, the enemy may be given a certain period of time to make war against us ~ and even be permitted to appear as if he’s winning for a season. His goal with his persistent and relentless assaults is to wear us out and cause us to give up. But if we hold on to God’s promises and endure through the process God’s way, as Daniel 7 shows, the courts of Heaven will eventually intervene, the works of the enemy will be destroyed, and we will possess the Kingdom (we’ll receive the manifestation of God’s covenant promises and provision through Jesus).

But resist him (the devil), be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. I Peter 5:9-10

Do not, therefore, fling away your [fearless] confidence, for it has a glorious and great reward. For you have need of patient endurance [to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising], so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

God wants to give us the endurance of Jesus so we can outlast the enemy (II Thess 3:5) ~ to make us more determined than the devil and more persistent than the principalities and powers of darkness. He wants us to wear out the enemy instead of being worn out by him. He’s assuring us that as we await our breakthrough, He’s working on our behalf, flipping the script to accomplish a double-divine-turn-around, as He did for Esther, Daniel, and others: not only turning every evil thing the enemy planned for us around on him, so that he’s hung with his own noose, pierced with his own sword, and falls into his own traps and snares – but also turning every good thing the enemy planned for himself around to become our double blessing as we trust and follow Him through the process. Because of this, we can remind the enemy that with every attack he’s only making things worse for himself and better for us.

For some who’ve been enduring through long storms/battles, I believe God’s encouraging us that “Breakthrough draws nigh,” He’s continuing to promise divine intervention, and urging us not to faint, but to KEEP ON asking, seeking, and knocking (link to previous post), KEEP ON believing & speaking… (link to previous post), sowing good seeds to help others, and praising & worshiping through the pain. He’s saying we must KEEP ON putting on the whole armor and fighting the good fight of faith with the weapons of His blood, wounds, cross, Name, Word, and Spirit until we see our manifested victory ~ knowing that none of the enemy’s weapons against us will prosper and none of our weapons against him will fail (Isaiah 54:17 , II Corinthians 10:3-5). He’s promising that for those who do so, His reward is on the way.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. Galatians 6:9

So wait patiently, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits [expectantly] for the precious harvest from the land, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains.
You too, be patient; strengthen your hearts [keep them energized and firmly committed to God], because the coming of the Lord is near. … 10 As an example, brothers and sisters, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord [as His messengers and representatives]. You know we call those blessed who were steadfast and endured [difficult circumstances]. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and you have seen the Lord’s outcome [how He richly blessed Job]. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. James 5:7-8, 10-11

Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). … And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf? I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth? Luke 18:1, 7-8

#LordoftheBreakthrough #RelentlessFaith #PersistentPrayer #DontGiveUp #KeepOn

KEEP ON Asking, Seeking, Knocking

Here’s the powerful series of KEEP ON Asking, Seeking, Knocking words the Lord gave about continuing to persist in faith and prayer (for those who didn’t see them on FB). Hope they bless and inspire you to continue KEEPING ON. (See also previous post on KEEP ON believing & speaking ~ the tree will fall; the rock will break)

Post from August 4, 2016 ~

I tell you, … because of his shameless #persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened. Luke 11:8-10 AMP
(if your Bible doesn’ t say “KEEP ON asking…seeking…knocking” – The Amplified version translates it this way to more accurately convey the continuing action of the present active form of these Greek verbs). so#DontGiveUp #KEEPONAskingSeekingKnocking #Persistence

follow-up on August 9 ~

If the post last Thursday (about KEEP ON Asking, Seeking, Knocking was a word/confirmation for you, you’ll be blessed by these additional confirmations.
Saturday morning, we finally watched The 700 Club DVD we’d recently received (Victory through Life’s Storms). We knew God was continuing to emphasize this instruction for us when we heard Pat say …

Keep On Asking, Seeking, Knocking confirmation 8-6-16 from EdenReign on Vimeo.

Then today, the Lord gave me this devo:
Keep Praying

Elijah was a man just like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months!—James 5:17

Thank God Elijah was “just like us!” …. “just like us”, yet “he prayed earnestly.” The literal meaning of this in the Greek is magnificent: instead of saying “earnestly,” it says, “he prayed in prayer.” In other words, he KEPT ON PRAYING. The lesson here is that you must KEEP PRAYING.

Climb to the top of Carmel and see that great story of Faith and Sight. After Elijah had called down fire from heaven to defeat the prophets of Baal, rain was needed for God’s prophecy to be fulfilled. …We are told that he bowed himself to the ground with his face between his knees (I Kings 18:42), shutting out all sights and sounds. He put himself in a position, beneath his mantle, to neither see nor hear what was happening.

Elijah then said to his servant, “Go and look….” (I Kings 18:43). Upon returning, the servant replied, “There is nothing there.”…”Nothing!” …But did Elijah give up? No, in fact six times he told his servant, “Go again.” Each time His servant returned saying, “Nothing!” YET, the seventh time the servant reported, “a cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” What a fitting description. For a man’s hand had been raised in prayer to God before the rains came. And the rains came fast and furiously….

This is a story of Faith and Sight—faith cutting itself off from everything except God; sight that looks and yet sees nothing. Yet in spite of utterly hopeless reports from sight, faith going right on, and “praying in prayer.” Do you know how to pray that way, how to prevail in prayer? Let sight bring reports as discouraging as possible, but pay no attention to them. …—Arthur T. Pierson

Each of three young boys once gave a definition of faith that illustrate the important aspect of tenacity. The first boy defined faith as “taking hold of Christ,” the second as “Keeping hold of Him,” and the third as, “Not letting go.” (Streams in the Desert)
#relentlessfaith #persistentprayer #keepon

follow-up on August 10 ~

Just yelled out so loud in amazement when I read this latest email from Evangelist Daniel Kolenda a moment ago that I scared Jesse upstairs! (sorry babe) God’s absolutely showin’ off with these confirmations now! ASTOUNDED!!! Love this so much! #WeHearYouLord Thank you!
Recently I was out shopping with my kids at our local mall. We passed one particular store where my son knows there is an elaborate toy train set that he loves to play with. He asked me if he could play with it before we left the mall, and I agreed. A few minutes later he asked again and again and again and again. The entire time we were in the mall he asked incessantly until finally I stopped prolonging the inevitable and said, “OK, let’s go play with the train.” He was elated. As we were walking toward the store, he said, “Dad, I just keep asking because I really want to play with the train. Can I have a drink?” With one request granted, he was immediately on to the next one!

I know I am not the only parent who has a persistent child. They all seem to come with this built-in quality. But believe it or not, it does not annoy me. In fact, I think we could all learn from this. Jesus seemed to think so. In Matthew 7:7–8 Jesus is teaching about asking, seeking, and knocking. But it is important to note that the Greek implies continued action, which is why the Amplified Bible translates the passage like this: “KEEP ON asking and it will be given you; KEEP ON seeking and you will find; KEEP ON knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened”.

KEEP ON asking. KEEP ON seeking. KEEP ON knocking. KEEP ON KEEPING ON. It sounds a lot like my son asking to play with the train and asking for a drink and asking for, well, everything. Interestingly enough, in the next verse, Jesus says, “Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will he hand him a stone?” (v. 9, AMP). Here we see that Jesus uses this type of #persistence in the context of exactly what a child would do.

One day it suddenly occurred to me, children are persistent because they have to be. They are dependent creatures. The younger they are, the more needy they are, and as such, in order to survive, they must master the skill of persistence. My son asks incessantly because he sees me as his source. If I don’t give him water, he’ll go thirsty. If I don’t give him food, he’ll starve. I am his source of shelter, of clothing, of protection, of recreation—of everything. He is persistent because he must be so to survive, and he has every right to be.

My son comes to me without hesitation or apprehension. He asks with a righteous audacity. He is not discouraged or put off in the least when I don’t immediately meet his request; he simply asks again. Each time he asks, he expects to receive just as the time before. His seeking is incredibly simple and trusting. I would say it is a wonderful example of faith.

But the older we become, the less willing people are to give us what we need simply for the asking. We must win our bread and climb the ladder of success. In order to survive, we must lose our dependency and master self-sufficiency. As we become self-reliant, we hate to ask for anything. We don’t want to be pushy or presumptuous. If we must ask for something, we do so with timidity and are loath to ask a second time. So many people make the mistake of approaching God with this dignified, grown-up demeanor. They make cautious but eloquent requests that are logical and reasonable. If they don’t see an answer right away, they either assume it was not God’s will and leave it at that, or they become offended, frustrated, and discouraged.

But the prize goes to the ones who are #bold enough to take hold of heaven with reckless #confidence. I am not talking about arrogant presumption but childlike assurance. Leave your incredible intellect, your proud rationale, and your deceptive self-reliance at the door. Come to terms with your utter and total dependency upon your Father. Understand that your sonship is the only grounds upon which you can approach God in the first place. As a son or daughter of God it is your righteous privilege to ask, and it is God’s divine pleasure to answer. Therefore, ask with audacity, confidence, and persistence.

Keep asking like a child asks a father for bread. Keep knocking as the widow before the unjust judge in Luke 18. Keep seeking as if seeking for a pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45–46). Push through resistance like the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25–34). Lean into the Word like a man walking against the wind. Clamp down on His promises like a pit bull with a T bone. Place a demand on what’s yours. Give Him no rest day or night until His answer breaks through like a pent-up flood and makes your desert to blossom like a rose. If the answer doesn’t come immediately, don’t be discouraged or frustrated. With expectancy and trust just lift your eyes to the hills and ask and ask again. Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking. Keep on keeping on until you receive—and you will in Jesus’s name! (excerpt from Daniel Kolenda’s book Live Before You Die)

#DontGiveUp #KeepOn #RelentlessFaith #PersistentPrayer

KEEP ON Believing & Speaking ~ The Tree Will Fall; The Stone Will Break

Here are some of the recent words God’s given about PERSISTING in Believing and Speaking the Word (for those who didn’t see them on FB). Hope they encourage you today.
FB post on July 13 ~

One of the keys to inheriting the promises by faith and patience is seen in Mark 5:35-36. Although Jesus heard the report, along with everyone else, that Jairus’ daughter was now dead, it says He IGNORED IT and told Jairus ~ “Don’t be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only KEEP ON believing.”
When God has given you a promise, KEEP ON believing when it looks like it’s over, when it looks like all hope is gone, when it looks impossible, when it looks irreversible, and when it looks completely foolish to continue to believe.
#RelentlessFaith #TruthTrumpsFacts #TheKingHasOneMoreMove

Though some translations say “only believe,” I believe it’s helpful for us to understand that the Amplified version translates this as “KEEP ON believing” to more accurately capture the continuing action of the present active Greek verb form. This small correction can make a huge difference in our understanding of many Scriptures.

We see room for persistence again in Mark 11:23

Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

The second “says” is also a present active verb, indicating that the Lord did not necessarily mean the mountain would be removed if we speak to it one time, but that we may have to persist in believing and speaking to the mountains and obstacles in our lives in order to see them removed. The following post shows some of the words God’s been giving to confirm this truth.  

FB post on July 26 ~

Love this confirmation! Was sharing with a friend Sunday about how often God has told us – “I AM watching over my Word to perform it.” (Jer 1:12) – as we walk out this process of receiving His promises by faith and p-a-t-i-e-n-c—–e – And how He’s encouraged us that when we declare His Word/promises over our circumstances (as our sword of the Spirit against the enemy), even if it seems nothing is happening, it’s like striking a tree with an axe. There may be many blows where the tree seems entirely unmoved, but if we continue, eventually there will be a blow that makes it fall. Today, this devo was part of my Bible reading:
“Let me encourage you to be persistent as you wage war against the enemy by speaking the Word. A stone-cutter may strike a rock ninety-nine times without even making a crack in the rock. But the hundredth strike may split the rock in two. Each blow weakened the rock, even though there were no outward signs of it. Persistence is vital to victory in our lives, just as it is in the stone-cutter’s work. Don’t relent in speaking the Word against the enemy. The next time you do, it may deal him a deathblow!” ~ Joyce Meyer
Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]? says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock [of most stubborn resistance]? Jeremiah 23:29
#relentlessfaith #GodsWordisAlive #NoFoeCanWithstandItsPower #LetTheGiantsFall

I pray this encourages you in your fight of faith to KEEP ON Believing in spite of how things appear and to KEEP ON Speaking to every stubborn mountain in your life with the Word of God. May God strengthen our resolve to refuse to allow the enemy to deny, defy, and exalt himself above God’s Word. May we persist in faith until he is cast down and brought into obedience to the Truth. 

Blessings and prayers!

(See also follow-up post KEEP ON Asking, Seeking, Knocking)

Live “With The Windows Open”!

Just before writing this today, we received an emergency broadcast on our phone (an Amber Alert). Since we normally pray over them, after checking the alert, I heard Jesse say, “Lord, we pray for America!” I couldn’t help but hear God also speaking through this tragic emergency alert. Please pray for this little girl, America, to be delivered from all danger and restored to safety. But please also hear God’s emergency broadcast to pray the same for our nation ~ not only tomorrow (on the national day of prayer), but every day. ♥♥
Recently, the Lord gave us Daniel 6 and I was struck by the parallels to what’s happening in our nation. You know the story. In their frustrated frenzy to get rid of Daniel, his enemies had realized they’d never be able to do so through any legitimate accusations of corruption. His only “weakness,” in their estimation, was his undying devotion to God.
Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.”
Through a stroke of evil genius, they realized they needed to create laws that would force Daniel to have to choose between obedience to God or man ~ between practicing his faith or committing treason. (…the “A Time for Treason” theme continues). When Daniel learned of the law enacted against his faith, and its ultimate penalty for failure to comply, it would have been so easy for him to compromise. He could have simply decided to forgo praying, reasoning that it was only for 30 days. Or even more tempting, he could have rationalized that he’d still pray to God as before, but that he’d keep the practice of his faith a private matter ~ behind closed doors. No one needed to know. This would allow him to appease the authorities and avoid trouble, while convincing himself that, in his heart, he’d still be worshiping God. But this wasn’t Daniel’s response.DANIEL IN PRAYER
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
Daniel refused to take his faith into hiding; He refused to be intimidated into a silent faith or to bow to pressure to compromise to save his skin. Knowing his very life was at stake, he boldly positioned himself in front of open windows and continued to serve and worship God, in full view for anyone to see. Surely his faith was cut from the same cloth as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Come fiery furnace, lion’s den, or any other gruesome threat of demise, they knew they must obey God rather than man. They were confident that God was well able to render man’s worst threats and opposition impotent and ineffective. But even if He didn’t, they still lived with the conviction that they were ultimately safer in obedience to God and disobedience to man, regardless of the worst consequences man could contrive, than the other way around.
Daniel in the lion's denThankfully, we know God intervened in a miraculous way to protect and deliver Daniel because he stood for what was right and entrusted himself to God’s care. Since Daniel continued to open His mouth for God, God supernaturally shut the mouths of what the enemy meant to destroy him. And with the same divine irony that unfolded in the lives of Esther and Haman, God flipped the script. Not only did Daniel’s enemies receive the horrible fate they’d planned for him, but Daniel prospered and the laws were changed to protect and promote worship of and service to God.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all peoples, nations, and languages [in his realm] that dwelt in all the earth: May peace be multiplied to you! 26 I make a decree that in all my royal dominion men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God, enduring and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed and His dominion shall be even to the end [of the world]. 27 He is a Savior and Deliverer, and He works signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth—He Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Wow!!! What a relevant message for our nation demonstrating the precise kind of divine turnaround we desperately need to see. (Clearly, we don’t pray for the enemies of God’s Word, ways, and people to end up a banquet for lions – or to receive any horrible fate – but we do pray our enemies in the spiritual realm are utterly devoured.)  

May Daniel’s life inspire us to fear and obey God, not man (Matthew 10:16-39). May it encourage us all not to be pressured to conform to political correctness and to laws the enemy devises to silence or skewer God’s Word and those who hold to it/Him. May it infuse us with the COURAGE to continue standing for Truth in love and doing God’s will “with the windows open” for all to see – in spite of popular public opinion or threat of penalty or harm.  And may it remind us of God’s power to flip the script, turn the tables, and rewrite the endings – and the laws – so that we are delivered from the enemy’s schemes and a nation is (once again, in our case) turned to Him.  

Praying for us all to have the COURAGE to Live With The Windows Open!
© Laura Jewell Tyree

Surviving the Last Days

Several weeks ago, I shared on FB that I felt the Lord had been showing us that the intense attack many have been enduring, and all He’s been teaching us through it, has been essential preparation we need in order to endure and overcome what lies ahead.

He’d reminded us before the attack even hit (through the Slaying the Giants series) that the battle was for the purpose of making us STRONGER. Yet in spite of being aware of this intended purpose, our “distress” over the “traumatizing” nature of the attack (specific words we’ve used throughout), led Him to also tell us we need to trust His heart, even when we don’t understand His purpose and trust His character when we don’t understand His ways. He reminded us we needed to “get our minds right” to avoid allowing the stress of the situation to break us. This theme of trusting when we don’t understand continued into the early part of the final week of June, when He once again said – “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but later on you will understand.” (John 13:7) But this time, shortly afterward He added ~ “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” (John 16:12) He gave this same word three more times that week ~ as one shock wave after another was sent forth from Washington, culminating in the Supreme Court’s ruling, redefining marriage.

I shared in the FB post that in light of all the horrifying things He’s already revealed to us in the past years that are coming if our nation doesn’t repent (some of which are shared in previous posts), it’s an extremely sobering thought that He’s now saying there are some things He can’t even reveal because we can’t bear them yet. Last time we intensely sought Him about whether we can still see our nation turned back to Him (prior to this SC ruling), we felt He was showing us He would miraculously intervene to deliver our nation and bring us back into covenant with Him, but this would only happen after much tribulation, possibly leaving only a remnant remaining (see This is the Plan…)  (…unless, of course, He was still extending the Jeremiah 18 invitation so this could be averted through repentance.) This is why I shared in the FB post that I felt it was now unlikely that we’d see our nation return to Him without undergoing great shaking. In the “This is the Plan” note, we also shared that He seemed to be connecting all that’s coming with end-time events (as He’s been stressing since 2011). Since the SC ruling, I regret to say that He’s given us several very strong words that, at face value, say that because the nation has rejected all the prophets He’s sent to warn them, His judgment IS now coming and will be fully carried out. We continue to ask whether the Jeremiah 18 option is still possible or if the course is now determined and will not be altered. He’s given Ezekiel 33 again, which certainly still offers the opportunity for individuals to repent before these things happen, in response to the warnings still being given. But some of the latter verses seem to indicate this won’t happen on a widespread enough scale to spare the nation from what’s coming. We still pray that the Great Awakening the church / nation needs can come without the things He’s showed us, but at the same time we must all be prepared to stand no matter what. If the words He’s given us ARE now going to happen, we must focus on getting as many people as possible into the safety of “the Ark” of Christ and the refuge of His “Psalm 91 Secret Place” before they take place. For this reason I encouraged at the end of the FB post, “Please take this time to get strongly built up in the Lord and develop a deeper intimacy with Him, to be filled with His Spirit and get rooted in His Word, so that by His grace you can endure to the end, regardless of what may come on the road to repentance and restoration for our land. ‪#‎SeektheLord‬”


The week after the Supreme Court ruling the Lord gave us a word that powerfully confirmed our belief that what He’s been teaching us through this most recent battle has been necessary preparation for what’s coming (both the things He’s revealed and the things we can’t yet bear to know). Here’s a quick recap of just a few of the lessons He’s taught us in this time before I share the confirming word below:

As you may remember, from the beginning He emphasized that He did not want us to PANIC; He wanted us to remember that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND. And He wanted to be our ANCHOR to hold us STEADY, STABLE, and SECURE through the storm (see Don’t Panic; Praise). In connection with all the words He gave about TRUSTING Him when we don’t understand what’s happening or why, He strongly emphasized that we must depend on His never-failing love regardless of what attacks we’re enduring ~ assuring us that NOTHING can separate us from His love (see Watching Over You) ~ and stressed that we can have PEACE that transcends our ability to understand ( see Perfect Peace Comes From Trusting ~ Not Understanding)!  The “Watching Over You” word also stressed His protection in the midst of the battle. He’d also given us another series of words about Him being our SHIELD in response to our cries (see past SHIELD and SHEPHERD and SHIELD and ARMOR notes). (The revelation of Him as our REFUGE, SECURE FORTRESS, STRONG TOWER, HIDING PLACE, STRONGHOLD, SHELTER, SHIELD, STRENGTH, HELP, DEFENSE, SALVATION  – Healer, Deliverer, Rescuer, Protector, Provider, etc. – to name a few – has also been prevalent throughout this time. Remember, we receive these benefits by faith ~ through faith we’re shielded by His power – I Peter 1:5.)

If you’ve followed previous posts, you also know that He revealed that He wanted the storm to drive our roots DEEPER into Him and that He also wanted to train us to ascend HIGHER above the storm to the Psalm 91 secret place of the MOST HIGH. Again, this Psalm 91 secret place is the “atmosphere of UNSHAKABLE FAITH and confidence in Him and His promises and the HOPE (confident, cheerful, eager expectation of good), TRUST, JOY, and PEACE that are found in this place of BELIEVING, regardless of how circumstances appear (regardless of the storm that may still be raging below).” (see Letting the Storm send us DEEPER and HIGHER) Learning to not only fight with our Ephesians 6 weapons, but also with the weapons of Joy, Peace, Praise, Thanksgiving, Contentment, and Casting our Cares in the midst of the storm have also continued to be major themes (as shared in previous FB posts). (So many important themes for this time are encompassed in Psalm 91 and I pray all will be declaring these promises over their lives.) 

He repeatedly stressed that ascending to this Psalm 91 Secret Place, is accomplished, in part, by refusing to set our minds on (focus/meditate on) the temporary, seen facts (symptoms, circumstances, “giants”, etc.) so that they will not control and dominate us. Instead we must choose to set our minds on (focus/meditate on) the unseen eternal truths of the Spirit (God’s Word, His promises, etc.), so that we can be controlled and dominated by these greater spiritual realities (which have the power to trump and transform the facts when we stay in agreement with them in faith). (Romans 8:6 Greek, II Corinthians 4:18) This was actually the recurring theme again the day before the SC ruling came out. God surrounded us with the message to NOT BE MOVED BY WHAT WE SEE, HEAR, or FEEL, but to only be moved by HIS WORD and PROMISES. We knew He was emphasizing this again for our personal battle, but couldn’t help but notice how appropriate that word was to also prepare us for the news the next day.

Lastly, before we move on to the confirming word, I want to share that immediately after the SC ruling, the Lord kept bringing a verse to my heart that He’d given us during our battle. I went to look it up, wondering if He was using it to confirm again that this battle has been “instruction”, training, preparation for what’s coming:

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, That You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked. Psalm 94:12-13

When I read the whole Psalm I was amazed! I believe the Lord was speaking directly to what just happened in our nation! I was especially struck by verse 20, which speaks of those who try to hide, frame, and devise evil and unrighteousness in their laws, decrees, or rulings. This Psalm speaks of injustices against God’s people, but in the midst of them He promises in verse 14 that He will not cast off or forsake His inheritance. Though this Psalm prophesies God’s judgment on those who are opposed to Him (His Word and His people), again, our cry is always for His judgment to be executed on the enemies in the spiritual realm and for the people who have been deceived to come to know the Truth and be set free. 

OK – so without further delay, here’s the word God gave us from Sparkling Gems the week after the SC ruling. We were in awe to see how it was packed full with confirmations of key words we’ve/He’s used to describe our situation and packed full of confirmations of how He’s been training us to respond to it. Praying Praying Praying for all!!!!!!!

In Second Thessalonians 2:2, the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers and warned them about events that would occur right before the coming of the Lord. He wanted to PREPARE THEM so these major world events wouldn’t take them off guard and throw them into a state of PANIC. Therefore, Paul told them, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand” (2 Thessalonians 2:2).
…The word “soon” is the Greek word tachus, which means quickly, suddenly, or hastily. The word “shaken” is the Greek word saleuo, which means to shake, to waver, to totter, or to be moved. The tense used in the Greek points to events so dramatic that they could result in shock or alarm. In fact, the Greek tense strongly suggests a devastating occurrence or a sequence of devastating occurrences so dramatic that they will throw the world into a state of shock or distress. 
By using the words “soon shaken,” Paul was urging his readers (and us!) to resist being easily shaken up by events that will occur just before the coming of Jesus. He was particularly careful to mention that we must not be “soon shaken in mind.” The Greek word for the “mind” is nous, which describes everything in the realm of the intellect, including one’s will, emotions, and ability to think, reason, and decide. Whoever or whatever controls a person’s mind ultimately has the power to dictate the affairs and outcome of that person’s life. Thus, if a person allows his mind to be doused with panic or fear, he is putting fear in charge of his life. Because Paul wanted his readers to remain in peace regardless of the tumultuous events that transpired around them, he urged them not to allow fear from these shocking and distressful events to penetrate their minds, will, and emotions.
Then to make certain we comprehend the magnitude of these last-day events, Paul went on to say, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled.…” The word “troubled” is the Greek word throeo, which indicates an inward fright that results from the shocking occurrence described above. The shock resulting from these nerve-racking events could be so severe that it could cause a person to be devoured with worry, anxiety, or fear. Paul is confident these events will not be only a one-time occurrence; thus, he uses a Greek tense that points to an ongoing state of worry and inward anxiety resulting from these outward events that keep occurring again and again. It is as if he prophesies that there is no pause between these shocking, debilitating, and nerve-racking happenings.
… I have translated and paraphrased the original Greek words, pulling the full meaning out of each word and then transferring those meanings into the interpretive translation below…:
“Some things will be happening right before His coming that could shake you up quite a bit. I’m referring to events that will be so dramatic that they could really leave your head spinning — occurrences of such a serious nature that many people will end up feeling alarmed, panicked, intimidated, and even unnerved! Naturally speaking, these events could nearly drive you over the brink emotionally, putting your nerves on edge and making you feel apprehensive and insecure about life. I wish I could tell you these incidents were going to be just a one-shot deal, but when they finally get rolling, they’re going to keep coming and coming, one after another. That’s why you have to DETERMINE NOT TO BE SHAKEN OR MOVED BY ANYTHING YOU SEE OR HEAR. You need to get a grip on your mind and refuse to allow yourselves to be traumatized by these events. If you let these things get to you, it won’t be too long until you’re a nervous wreck! So decide beforehand that you are not going to give in and allow ‘fright’ to worm its way into your mind and emotions until it runs your whole life.”
Paul strongly urges us not to allow ourselves to be shaken or moved by anything we see or hear. He tells us that we must get a grip on our minds and refuse to allow ourselves to be traumatized by the events that occur in the world around us or to allow fear to control our whole lives. Instead of letting these things “get to us” and rob us of our JOY, PEACE, and VICTORY, we need to be DEEPLY ROOTED in the confidence of God’s promises!
If you take a look at the world around us today, it is clear that Paul’s prophecy about the last days is unfolding before our very eyes. Because of the many different situations that our generation is facing, we must take a stand against fear and determine to stay in faith! But in order for us to stay in faith, it is imperative that we KEEP OUR MINDS FOCUSED on the WORD of GOD.
Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.… Verse 16 goes on to say, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….When the Word of God dwells richly in our lives, it produces peace — so much supernatural peace that it actually rules our hearts! … Rather than being led by the ups and downs of the day or by what you read in the newspaper, you will be ruled by the wonderful peace of God! But to receive this benefit of God’s Word, you must let it dwell in you richly. … When you let God’s Word have this place of honor inside your heart, mind, and emotions, it releases its power to STABILIZE you and keep you in peace, even in the most difficult times.
There is no doubt that we are living in the very end of the last days. We are a chosen generation — and we will observe events that no other generation has ever seen.
If you are going to keep your heart fear-free so you can live in continual peace, you must make a firm commitment to let God’s Word rule in your heart! God’s Word will protect your mind and prohibit fear from worming its way into your emotions and turning you into an emotional mess. Is God’s Word the foundation of your life today?
Lord, I am so thankful that Your Word prepares us for every event that comes along in this life! I know I am living in the last days and that these challenging times require a higher level of commitment from me if I am going to live free from fear. This is such a critical moment for me to be strong, free, and secure. When I am strong, I can be a tower of strength to others who are drowning in the world around me. Help me be that source of strength and power to the people who surround me, Lord. I want to be all that I need to be in this hour.
I confess that God’s Word dominates my mind, my will, and my emotions! Because I have put God’s Word into my heart, I am not shaken or easily moved by the things that occur in the world around me. I know who I am; I am secure in my Father’s love; and I recognize that He destined me to live in these last days because He has a special plan for me. Regardless of what I see or hear, I take my stand on the promises of God’s Word, and it provides me with safety and security!
~ If it is true that we are living in the last days just before the coming of Jesus Christ, how should this affect the manner in which you are living your life?
~ Do you spend more time reading your Bible, reading the newspaper, or watching the news? Whatever you dwell on the most is what will dominate you, so isn’t it time that you make God’s Word the primary focus of your attention?

Copyright Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems from the Greek (for entire devotional, click on link in the title of this Gem)

 UPDATE 7-20-15

God’s bringing powerful confirmations of this message.
Yesterday He led us to watch a movie we’d never heard of. We were amazed when we realized He was confirming the message of the blog through it. Early In the film, we see a boy boxing with his father. It seemed EXTREME, like his father was being WAY too tough on him. The boy was tempted to become angry with his father for this perceived excessive roughness (which has been part of the test of this season). But even though any onlooker would have faulted the father’s behavior,  there seemed to be a sincere purpose in his mind for what he was doing. The entire time he was coaching not only his son’s physical response, but his mental/emotional response in the midst of the fight ~ telling him to focus, not to lose control, to think (strategize), etc. Later in the movie, when the boy is in a true life-threatening situation, fighting a real enemy (something we learn his father had known in advance would likely happen), we hear the father’s voice replaying in the boy’s mind, coaching him through to victory against impossible odds where he would have otherwise been in way over his head.

At this point, I was thinking ~ …OK Lord, I think you’re speaking/confirming, don’t let us miss it. The next scene removed all doubt, when we heard the boy tell his friend, “I DIDN’T GET IT UNTIL NOW. All that time spent training, wrestling, sparring… HE WAS PREPARING ME…FOR THIS MOMENT.”
We were overwhelmed by the implications of this continued confirmation that He’s saying we will (fully) understand later on that He’s allowed this extreme, seemingly excessive battle against the enemy, in order to train and prepare us for what He knows is coming!  

Then, this morning, we listened to today’s Joyce broadcast, and once again knew God was confirming when we heard her say:
“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” …
“I’m pretty busy these days TRYING TO GET PEOPLE PREPARED FOR WHATEVER MAY BE AHEAD in our lives. I hope we have nothing but prosperous, wonderful, amazing things happen in our world until Jesus comes back – but I’m not so sure that’s going to be the case. And I want us to be PREPARED AND READY. If it stays great, amen. But if it doesn’t, I want to be just as STRONG in that hard place as I am on the pulpit – in the good places. And we’re making a mistake if we don’t ask ourselves ‘am I ready for that?’ We need to ask ourselves if we’re ready, if we need to, to go through difficulty and stay firm. …The devil is on a rampage…and I think it’s b/c he knows his time is short. …We can say I believe..and I trust God, but we don’t have a clue what we believe until our beliefs get tested. And I want to make sure that, …as a teacher in the body of Christ, that I do what God would have me do to help get you prepared to stand firm in difficult times.”
Here’s part of this portion of her sermon:

Perfect Peace Comes from Trusting ~ Not Understanding

FB post June 20
For many years the only interpretation I’d heard of God’s peace transcending our understanding (Philippians 4:6-7) was that we can’t understand/comprehend the peace we experience in difficult tests and trials, but God gives us His peace in those dark times. But this past week God was reminding us again of another way to look at it that He showed us a number of years ago as we sought Him (which might be a word someone else needs to hear now too).

I believe He showed me that His peace also transcends our understanding in the sense that it can transcend our ability to understand what in the world is happening in our situation, why, and what to do about it. In other words – it’s not necessarily that we don’t understand this peace we’re able to have in the storm ~ it’s that when we don’t understand our circumstances, why they’re happening, or what to do ~ His peace can transcend and trump our understanding, or lack thereof, of our situation.

HOW can we have that kind of peace? He showed us it’s not the result of UNDERSTANDING everything about our situation; it’s the result of TRUSTING even when we don’t understand. He Rest is not found in understanding but in trustingconnected Philippians 4:6-7 for me with Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ showing that this peace is the result of trusting Him with all our hearts and not leaning on our own understanding of what’s happening in our circumstances, why, or what to do about it.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

He also tied these together with Isaiah 26:3-4 – again stressing that His PERFECT PEACE is not the result of understanding everything going on in our situation (or what to do about it), but is the result of keeping our minds fixed on Him ~ steadfastly trusting Him and His promises ~ even when we don’t understand.

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]. Isaiah 26:3-4

Blessings and Prayers,

When God Seems Late (The King Has One More Move)

(1-9-16 – Finally making this blog from last Spring/Summer public. Ironically, I’d been wondering if I was too late to share it. 🙂 But God’s been confirming it again in the past few weeks as I’ve been praying about it. So, hope it’s right on time.)
As mentioned at the end of the previous note (Passing the “Though He Slay Me” Test), God’s answers were causing a gut-wrenching theological train wreck. Fourteen years of theological persuasion was being derailed. Though we were well aware that we haven’t always received instant manifestations of healing and miracles, and have often had to endure the process of faith AND patience to inherit the promises, the idea was always present that the instant was possible/available….but that somehow we were failing to RECEIVE. So on one hand, it was a relief to discover that the lack of instant manifestation is not always due to failure on our part to believe and receive what Jesus already provided. Yet on the other hand, the idea that God would ever purposefully leave His child in a distressing situation and make them endure the process of receiving by faith and patience was a troubling thought (yet a lesson He reminded us He’d already been teaching). So our wrestling continued.

As Jesse and I discussed what we felt the Lord was saying, he challenged, “Show me one example in Scripture where Jesus ever made anyone wait to receive their healing/deliverance.” We’d come to believe from other NT passages that sometimes repentance is required before a healing/deliverance manifests (and in any storm we should seek God to know what’s at the root and if we’ve opened any doors to the enemy that we need to close through repentance). But this was still a compelling argument that we were both well versed in. However, that day I heard myself respond, “What about Lazarus? … Jesus didn’t immediately rush to his rescue; He waited where He was for a time after learning of his plight before He intervened.”

The very next day, during Jesse’s time of seeking, the Lord gave him the account of Lazarus from Scripture. We believed He was confirming what He’d put on my heart the day before ~ that He’s set a precedent that at times…..He waits. After Jesse showed it to me, I inquired, “Did you notice it actually says He waited BECAUSE HE LOVED THEM?”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.] THEREFORE [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was. John 11:6 AMP

Wha?!? We would expect it to say, “Now Jesus loved his dear friends. Therefore, when He heard of their distress, He rushed to their aid without hesitation.” Though the implications were painful, I suggested to Jesse that, while it may twist the charismatic brain into a pretzel, this account seems to show that He waited to deliver and heal because He loved them and had an even greater plan in mind ~ one that would cause them to know Him in a greater dimension than ever before and would bring Him even more glory. This account actually says that their crisis would serve the purpose of honoring and glorifying God the Father and Jesus. Obviously, the crisis did not glorify God, but the demonstration of His power to turn it around did. God later surrounded us with the same message from John 9:1-3, a passage that had long perplexed me due to its implications.

The following day, as I scrolled through an email from my friend Mark, I stopped in amazement when I saw the title of an article he’d included, called ~ “He Waited Because He Loved.” The Lord was overwhelming us with confirmation of this message. We were amazed by the irony that the very thing the enemy had called into question and challenged when God’s answer was “patience,” “wait,” was the very thing God was now saying was His reason for telling us to wait. Love.

God is never lateWhether we believe it, like it, or not, God often has a greater goal in mind than us avoiding all adversity and getting all He’s promised immediately. Most of us understand that when it comes to other areas ~ like inheriting our destiny. We realize there’s a process of waiting (and testing) surrounding receiving the fulfillment of those promises. But for certain things, some of us have been taught that God’s love is always best demonstrated by instant deliverance. The Lord asked us to realize that this kind of request can, at times, be “small picture” thinking, and that if He tells us to wait, we should ask to see through His eyes, from His perspective ~ to see the “BIG PICTURE” of the greater good He wants to achieve. He asked us to understand that at times His love is best demonstrated by waiting to deliver us or bring our breakthrough, but that He’s perfect in all of His ways and His timing will also be perfect. At times He wants to walk THROUGH something with us because there are certain things we’ll only learn by our experience of Him and with Him in that process, and certain things He can only accomplish in us and through us by going THROUGH.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. Isaiah 43:2 AMP

Among all the words He gave about changing our perspective to see as He sees, was the continued admonition He’d been giving since just before this storm began, to see our obstacles and challenges as opportunities for growth and development (again, not by embracing an attack from the pit of hell, but through fighting the good fight of faith to overcome it).

James 1:2-4 ~
NIV – Consider it pure joy (Count it all joy), my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
MSG – Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

When you’re in the midst of “a storm of hurricane proportion from which there is no natural way of escape” (as He’s described it), and God tells you to count it all joy, consider it a gift, and be of good cheer, it’s painfully clear that His ways and thoughts are truly not ours.

“The Word tells you God is faithful and He will provide a way for you, but He doesn’t always show us the way immediately. That is when you must wait . . . and trust. Waiting on God purifies your faith and builds character. You don’t like waiting, but God’s way is perfect! So be assured God has not forgotten you. Trust Him, and in His time He will reveal His perfect plan for you.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Doesn’t this leave room for temptations to be offended with God, like John the Baptist faced, and even ammunition for the enemy to attempt to provoke us to “curse God and die” (as shared in the previous post)? Undoubtedly. Our love for God and trust in Him may be severely tested in these times. Especially when the waiting goes on and on till all hope seems lost. People often say God is never late; He’s usually not early, but He’ll be right on time. But for Mary and Martha, He surely must have seemed late. We might even detect a hint of offense in their words when He showed up too late to heal their brother. Lord, You could have prevented this. Where were You? Their situation was not only dead, but buried. It appears they’d completely given up hope that Jesus would turn it around.

Jesus told His disciples this sickness would not end in death (v4), yet there lay Lazarus, dead in a tomb. But if Jesus said something would not END in death, if we see death, it’s not the END. He just failed to mention that Lazarus would pass through death on the way to that expected END. And sometimes He tells us the expected END of our situations, yet fails to mention all we’ll pass through on the way to get there that seems to completely contradict and deny what He promised. Our situations that we’re standing on His promises for can end up dead, sometimes even buried. But even if Jesus is too late for a healing (our plan), He can still be right on time for a resurrection (His plan).

One night when I was up battling this storm, desperately needing to hear from the Lord, I picked up a book we’d been reading. When I opened, I saw a story that’s often been told about a chess champion touring the Louvre. According to the story, he came to the painting “Checkmate” which depicts Faust’s chess game with the devil (based on literature). The painting is intended to portray Faust’s utter defeat, having realized it’s game over. The enemy had made a move from which there was no escape or recovery.checkmate-painting


~To move a piece placing (an opponent’s king) under threat of being taken on the next move with no way of escape or defense possible;
~ To arrest, thwart, or counter completely;

~ To defeat completely; utter defeat.

Yet, after examining the painting at great length, the chess champion concluded that the name needed to be changed. Regardless of how things appeared, THE KING HAD ONE MORE MOVE. 

Regardless of whether it’s a true story, the Lord wanted to make sure we knew it is a true lesson. A week or so later, we were overwhelmed when we heard the guest speaker at The Potter’s House say:

No matter what corner the enemy has backed you into, how imminent defeat appears, or how impossible victory may seem ~ remember he can never checkmate our God. THE KING HAS ONE MORE MOVE. No situation is too far gone for our God who can breathe life into dust, create beauty from ashes, and reassemble armies from piles of dry bones.
His resurrection power lives in us to turn our dead situations around for our good and His glory ~ exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask, hope, or imagine.


[Abraham was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he {would receive what} he had been promised, …. He did not weaken in faith when he considered the {utter impossibilities in his natural circumstances}. No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. Romans 4:17-21

Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God? John 11:40