SO many confirmations of this word while we’ve been praying over it!! Continually in AWE of the Lord!
I believe the Lord said, “Feed them what you’ve been eating.” It’s hard to know what to include since it’s been so much over these months, but this is at least a sample platter of what He’s been feeding us. Though not all of it may apply to your specific situation, I hope those who are feeling depleted can at least find enough morsels to have a power-snack. If even one person is encouraged not to give up, but to keep moving forward in God’s call, then it’s worth it!
After so many months of intense seeking we finally began to have a little down time again several weeks ago at the Lord’s direction. As usual, He speaks to us even through the movies He leads us to watch in these times. Each of the past three weekends we have noticed a definite theme in what we watched (a different theme each weekend), completely unintended by us, which precisely confirmed other things He’s been speaking. A few weeks ago we watched “The Incredibles,” so please indulge me in a few quotes from Elastigirl. 🙂 (plus one from “E” and Sherlock)
“Things are different now. Doubt is a luxury we can’t afford anymore.”
Through “The Incredibles” He emphasized ~ The public may insist that they no longer want the church to “save the world” and demand that we take the Truth and God’s power and go into hiding. But doing this only results in the loss of the purpose for which we were born (and born-again) and the destruction of many lives/souls while evil flourishes. The church must come out of hiding and conformity to the world to take up our true identity in Christ and “save the world” (thwarting the plans of the enemy to destroy the people and leading them to true relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Savior). Just like the Incredibles, it’s going to take all of us working together with all the various gifts of the Spirit God has given in order to accomplish our mission.
Eradicating doubts that threaten the life of our calling (and even our literal lives) has been a theme. He continues to speak of the necessity of being fully persuaded with confidence and conviction of our God-given callings and assignments despite the targeted attacks of the enemy to strip us of what God has told us. If we do not yet have confidence in His vision for our lives, we need to keep seeking the Lord until He makes this crystal clear beyond the shadow of all doubt so that we can have the conviction we need to be willing to go wherever He tells us to go, do whatever He tells us to do, and pay whatever price must be paid in order to faithfully carry out His will. As mentioned previously, it’s essential that each one finds their place/post and fulfills their assignments (Ninevah’s Shore – pts 1 and 2).
“Everybody calm down. Now, I’ll tell you what we’re not gonna do. We’re not gonna panic…”
The Word talks about those whose hearts would literally fail from fear of the things they see coming on the earth in the end, but I never realized there could be a similar threat just from Him showing us some of these things in advance and from us trying to receive the direction we need for what to do and how to proceed. During this season of intense testing before entering the promised land, since mid-April, He’s been pouring out much to comfort us, build us up, and establish us in His peace in spite of all that’s going on around us. So just a brief summary of that…
In the midst of what He was showing us and our seeking for direction, He told us that we were entering an even more intense time of testing (represented by Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness). Because what we’d been through had already been so intense, we could not imagine it going to another level. We began earnestly praying that our minds would not break and our faith would not fail. In mid-April, He unveiled a new revelation we had never heard of about where we were in prophetic process. He showed us that after we endure the “crucifixion,” there is a time (represented by Jesus’ “3 days”) that we are “dead and in the grave.” It’s a time of “darkness” (not in the sense of sin, but in the sense of needing His light of guidance and direction to illumine our next step). It’s a time of “silence” ~ certainly of much time spent seeking Him in silence, but also of an apparent silence from Him. Though we have heard much from the Lord during this time, there has been a season of waiting on His answers to be made clear surrounding the issue of receiving clear direction for our next step. Intense warfare often also surrounds receiving the next clear direction as we seek (which can lead us to battle severe double-mindedness and confusion). Due to these things, it’s a time where it appears we have been abandoned by the Lord (though we know this is never true).
He showed us that this seeming time of abandonment actually began at the end of “the cross” before the time in “the grave,” again corresponding with what Jesus went through. We know that Jesus literally experienced this abandonment, when the Father turned His face away from Him because He was carrying all our sins. We praise God that since Jesus experienced this separation from the Father in our place, we now have His promise that He will never abandon us! However, as we walk out the process of crucifixion and death on the way to resurrection into our destinies, we will go through a time when it appears we too have been abandoned and the Father has turned His face away. During Jesus’ time in the grave, He literally descended into the bowels of hell. In the same way, when we go from “the cross” to “the grave,” we will likely feel as though we have descended into the very bowels of hell itself to battle the enemy. But just like Jesus, while we are “in the grave/Sheol,” God wants us to hold to His prophetic promise that He will not abandon us there; He will not leave us to rot. Through the power of Christ in us, we too will defeat the enemy, get the keys of God’s kingdom to fulfill our destiny, and be resurrected as He promised in the power of His Spirit!!
I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. Psalm 16:8-10
This time in the “grave” exposes areas where we’re still vulnerable to anxiety and fear while we wait in seeming darkness, abandonment, and hell, where to solely natural eyes all hope appears lost. It’s a time of the Lord testing our hearts and minds under extreme conditions (Psalm 26:2). Just as one of the theme words God has surrounded us with for the last several years has been hypomonē (and hypomenō) ~ the Greek words for enduring and persevering despite intense trial and suffering ~ in the past season one of the recurring Greek words He’s given us has been thlipsis. This word refers to a tribulation and pressure so great that it has been used to describe an enemy stretching someone out flat and laying a massive boulder on him/her until he/she is crushed. Though not the kind of training exercise we would ever wish on anyone, part of what the Lord teaches us through this is that in order to survive and not be crushed by the weight of the enemy’s attack we must learn to cast our cares and maintain His peace even in this kind of tribulation and adversity.
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. For the Lord will not cast off nor spurn His people, neither will He abandon His heritage. … the Lord has become my High Tower and Defense, and my God the Rock of my refuge. Psalm 94:12-14, 22
As we’re seeking the Lord and waiting on Him in this time in “the grave,” He wants us to FULLY cast our cares on Him and be anxious for nothing. Staying up all night fretting does not make the sun rise any faster; when it’s “dark” and we’re waiting for God’s light to illumine our path, it’s time to focus on rest (trust).
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. I Peter 5:7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Though it would be nice to think that passing this test would be the end of all battles, the reality is that this testing is preparation for future battles. It’s necessary training in order for us to be ready to take the promised land where we will face even bigger giants. (New level, new devil) It’s necessary to prepare us to survive whatever may lie in days ahead. We must make sure we’re suited in the whole armor God has supplied and that we’re allowing Him to train us as skillful warriors through these spiritual battles. As intense as this season of training has been, the treasures we receive “in darkness” will help enable us to live peacefully and fearlessly in the last of the last days no matter what happens in the earth or in our circumstances. As we fervently pray, but also cast our cares, His peace that transcends our understanding (or lack thereof) literally guards our hearts and minds (so that our minds do not break and our hearts and faith do not fail). He wants us kept in His perfect peace by keeping our minds steadfast, trusting in Him, and not allowing our hearts to be troubled or afraid. We hold to His promise that the darkness CANNOT overcome the Light (John 1:5 AMP).
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] John 14:27
Though following His instructions may have led us straight to the cross and the grave, when we understand prophetic process and see His plan, as Psalm 16 says above, we can come to the place of being glad, rejoicing, and resting secure. Though it may appear to the natural eyes that all hope is lost, by seeing with the eyes of the Spirit we continue to believe, strengthened in fully persuaded faith that God is faithful and able to do all He has promised (Romans 4:18-22).
to be continued…