Heart Song; Thy Kingdom Come

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408698_10151155622175895_2081552083_nLift up your heads, you gates;

be lifted up, you everlasting doors,

that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?

The Lord strong and mighty,

the Lord mighty in battle.

(Psalms 24: 7-8)

As believers it can become very easy for us to slip into the comfort zone of ‘waiting and sort of watching’ for the Lord as we ‘do’ church things. Prayer meetings and baptisms, pot lucks and church camps, mission trips and revival meetings. Doing, always doing things for the Lord. We feel productive, we feel validated that we are not being lazy about being about our father’s business. But sometimes, the list of ‘to do’s for Jesus gets so long, and so involving that we fail to stop and prioritize the things that God wants us to prioritize.

Time and again, the scriptures point us toward God’s heart;

seek ye first, the kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

Every parable He ever spoke about the Kingdom of God, pointed forward in time to the end of the age. The allegories pointed forward to a time when the principalities and powers who have been given the dominion of the earth now, for a season, are cast down from their many thrones, and Christ our King and his Holy saints are established on theirs. The manifested Kingdom of God is the climax and resolution of human ages, and is established after the Day of the Lord, being built over the ages of the millennium and the new earth, as all things are brought subject to Jesus Christ whose body we are.

As believers, the ones who are called and chosen in this age to be the shepherds and rulers who lead the world into righteousness in the next ages of mankind’s story, our eyes should not be as focused on trying to build out of carnal busyness, a shadow of God’s coming Kingdom in the Kingdom of the world’s current darkness, as we should be on preparing ourselves for our assignments. For how can we be shepherds, if we ourselves are still lost sheep? And how will we be fit to teach righteousness, if we have not yet learned it ourselves?

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen.4 The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear. (Isaiah 32: 1-4)

Our first and greatest duty to God our Father, is to seek His face; to desire our own refinement. We have to worry less about making sure the show comes off without a hitch, and more about groaning in the spirit before God, that His righteousness be made manifest in our lives, and crying out to Him, to come; come as He has promised so that the Kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ.

This can almost feel selfish, because it is the world’s system of validation that says your reward is based on how much you can do, and how often you can do it to what degree of impact. In the scriptures this was Martha’s problem. Mary was fully prepared to stop ‘doing’, when Jesus walked into the room. All she wanted to do was sit at His feet, look into the master’s face and worship as she learned from Him, how to be formed into the likeness of His father. Jesus appreciated Martha’s service, but He loved Mary’s worship and single minded focus on growing and developing her spirit.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He taught them to say,

“Our father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy Kingdom come.

The assignment of the saints, after worship of the Father and above all else, is to cry out to God for the return of our anointed King, that His Kingdom would be established on the earth. I cannot honestly think of one time growing up in the church when the congregation lifted their voices to heaven in intercession to plead for Christ’s return.

We worship Him, we hallow His name, we give Him thanks, we ask for forgiveness, we pray for strength, we pray for the salvation of others, we intercede for people and nations.. we bind and we loose in warfare, but somehow, we don’t remember to travail in the spirit for the Kingdom of God to come into the earth.

Could you imagine what might be unleashed in the spirit if every one of two billion believers, with single minded focus of heart and spirit, battered heaven’s gates with our pleading for the Lord to hasten the time of the Kingdom? Right now, we are lucky if a few congregations remember to sing one song in the worship time that alludes to it indirectly. Is that attitude an invocation of welcome? Does that posture say ‘we are ready?’ Is there any wonder that there has been a delay to the season? The bride doesn’t behave as if she’s ready to get married with any sense of urgency.

The Lord made it obvious what our posture spiritually is to be, as He closed out the words of His holy scriptures. It was the conclusion of His instruction manual for the learning of righteousness in this age, and His instruction on what our role in it was to be. Jesus didn’t ask us to be ‘about His business’ as His concluding remarks. No. This was what He left to resonate in the heart of the church that He is building of living stones.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22: 16-17)

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. (Revelation 22: 20-21)

Thy Kingdom Come.

This prayer, this plea has to regain its priority of placement in the hearts and desires of those who call themselves by the name of Christ. The world has already rejected Christ once in His commission as Savior, they are not going to invite Him to come as King and Judge. As the church, one of our primary duties is to invoke and invite the Kingdom of God to be established in the earth.

This is why the psalmist admonished, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, in psalm 24:

Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory. (Psalms 24: 7-10)

It is almost easy to overlook the cause and effect relationship that exists between one action and the result it produces. God’s children are commanded to ‘lift up their heads’ SO THAT ‘the King of Glory’ can come in. And to be sure that we register that we are inviting the Judge, and King, as opposed to the sacrificial lamb in this instance, the image of the Lord riding mighty in battle on the Day of the Lord is established; God as the Lord of Hosts. The scripture almost seems to indicate that the time of the Lord’s coming will happen when His children cry out for His coming with one heart.

Does anybody want to hazard a guess as to when God’s children have a tendency to cry out to him?

Answer: When they are in trouble, when they need Him and when they are under duress and persecution.

I pray we become wise enough to discern how to make this plea our prayer, before the discipline of the winepress becomes a necessity.

Seek ye first, the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness.

That is our Lord’s command. Maybe it’s time we got down to the business of following it.

An Invitation

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There are those times in your life when the Spirit of the Lord kidnaps you; many of my readers will know what I’m talking about. In those seasons you can barely manage to keep yourself grounded in the physical world because cooking and cleaning and shopping and being social just don’t seem to matter as much as drowning yourself in the river of God. Deep cries out to deep as the Lord figuratively leads you out into the wilderness and works you over. Things are burned out, and things are established. If you linger, sometimes He will give you of the hidden manna. It can be at one and the same time the most spiritually edifying and exhausting experience to endure.

Many of us are not able to experience this, because life and time, just won’t let us. As a teacher, and a woman with no children, the summer months provide the ideal scenario to just let go and let God, and that’s where I’ve been for the last month or so, lost in the Father. I just wanted to let those who follow my blog know that I’m still here, and have not stopped writing. As the Lord leads, I will continue to share my journey, and already have the seed of a new posting in mind.

One of the outcomes of this latest separation unto the Father, was the revelation of one of the primary assignments He has established for me in this season, which is a book He has called me to write. Its target audience is a little broader than the bride alone, as its primary ministry is unto salvation, but in it I revisit and explore some truths of the word that have become less popular on the church circuit, the deeper into the church age we have come. God is teaching me to be a literalist. To read what the word says for myself and to believe it, rather than rely solely on what establishment doctrine proclaims is an interpretation of scripture. If the pulpit says X, and I find forty verses saying Y, I am choosing to believe the Lord’s report, and that is where every believer should be in these days. Test every spirit, whether it be of God, and lines up with the word.

I’m writing for the moment in the form of an eblog book on wordpress, (which my loved ones aren’t thrilled about, because they want me to preserve security for copyright and publish) but my desire is to reach out with God’s good news, now and across time and national borders. Time is of the essence as the spiritual clock of this age ticks down.

This is my invitation to you who follow this blog to visit and read along, if you desire. You do not have to follow it, and I won’t be offended if after a peek you reconsider following me at all on either blog. Sometimes deep water is terrifying. The Lord had to drag me out of my own doctrinal comfort zone, less for the sake of those who already have the gift of life, and more for those who are lost and stumbling, because they are not strong enough to will themselves over some of the hurdles that unsound doctrine has established, which has made it difficult for faith to come by hearing and the word. It was a scary proposition to step out, knowing that I might be saying something that feels new and unfamiliar, even though it is as old as the scripture and our faith itself, but the Lord comforted with the word. “Do not be afraid, you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace, you will not be humiliated.” (Isaiah 54:4) And I will believe His report.

The following scriptures present the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it is not what is being taught by most of Christendom anymore. The Lord has called me to teach this truth and the scriptural evidence of it, to those who are yet lost. Yeshua, the Messiah, is, and will be, the savior of all mankind. God has sworn on His own name and will command it with divine authority on the day of salvation. This truth does not negate the sound doctrine of the chastisement of the wicked and unrepentant in the second death, because Jesus holds the key of Death and Hades, but it collides squarely with the questionable and almost universally embraced doctrine of eternal damnation in physical hellfire.

The word of the Lord declares:

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him. (Isaiah 45:20-24)

God speaks in decrees and commands, not petitions and hopeful begging. ‘Turn’ is a direct order from Almighty God. He did not say ‘ If you turn, you will be saved’ God will command it. Be saved. And in case we missed that fact, He seals it with a divine oath. A man can come and be saved in shame and chastisement, or be saved with celebratory boasting, but all mankind will find deliverance at the end of all the ages, in Yesuha our Messiah. This was His commission in coming to earth and He did not fail on the cross. The blood of Christ is sufficient for the remission of the sins of all mankind, and the founding fathers of our faith bore witness to it.

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

This is the true GOOD NEWS of the gospel, and I believe that the Lord will restore it to this age, in the last hour of harvest. Every hindrance to acceptance of the word must be removed, and there are many, MANY who refuse faith in Christ, because it means accepting the doctrine of eternal damnation of others with it.

God has always chastised His children in love, unto reconciliation. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and His modus operandi cannot change. He is no respecter of persons. We who are made in the image of God, the spirts of mankind, are His very spirit family, and will not be held to a different standard than the nation He chose to be His witness within humanity, Israel, to whom is promised ultimate reconciliation. Will not Israel have wicked over the ages of its existence as a nation, who are sentenced to the second death chastisement? Is God a liar when He swears that all Israel will be reconciled to Him? Are we to believe God is going to pop into ‘Hell’ and rescue those of Israel who died in rebellion and Idolatry and give them a paradise on earth, while allowing others to be punished eternally for the same sins because they are Gentile? The answers to these questions are simple and self-explanatory if we know the nature of God, and our scriptures.

There is much scriptural evidence and support for the doctrine of reconciliation, too much to provide all here, and that message is not the purpose of this blog. If you are interested in exploring these particular truths with me, you are welcome to visit my sister blog “The Message”  at thewordofhismouth.wordpress.com

Otherwise, I’ll be posting here again soon, now that the Holy Spirit has let me up for air.

Be blessed.

Chosen For A Proposal

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Image“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place…
(Psalms 139: 13-15)

It’s my birthday today, and apart from spending some time thinking about both of my parents who have gone home to be with the Lord, I spent some time meditating on the blessing and privilege I have been awarded to be called and planted into existence during the time period in which the God of all creation made His ‘marriage proposal’ to humanity. Those righteous who have come in the thousands of years before the arrival of Christ, and those who may be born or live during His millennial reign, do not have the opportunity we do, to know and love the Lord as a bride does her Bridegroom.

There are no accidents. Every spirit formed and placed by the Most High into mankind in this season of betrothal, has a special, unique gift made available to them, that the righteous who have gone before would probably lay down their lives to afford. For it is the Bride, the Church, the perfected and purified Body of Christ who will be allowed to dwell in His presence most intimately for eternity.

While the scriptures promise that ” The nations will walk by His light” in those days when God finally makes His dwelling among mankind eternally, it is His Church, His Bride, who is identified as dwelling within the city of God, the New Jerusalem from which that light of God’s presence will radiate across the perfection of the new heaven and the new earth.

 

“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:9-11)

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.” (Revelation 21: 22-24)

These scriptures clearly identity that there will be people, entire nations, and in fact an entirely populated new earth, that will be ruled by the King who is God of the heavenly city, and that His people will finally be given a restored Eden to live in in His presence. But it goes on to identify the inhabitants of the city itself, and their role there.

“The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22: 3-5)

Again, we see that God is careful to identify who is present, serving Him within the city; It is those who ultimately bear the mark of the name of God on their foreheads, whether they earned that reward before, or after His testing and purification. Dwelling intimately in God’s presence is the promised reward of the church  the Bride who overcomes. The honor of bearing God’s name, is not offered to all of His righteous creation, but to his enduring and overcoming Bride.

I have gotten into the habit of studying scripture when I prepare to write, with a parallel version of the bible in the Orthodox Jewish version open on biblegateway.com. I have found that there are some incredible nuggets of revelation that can be discerned when we go back to the original language of the word.

In Hebrew the word that translates as ‘servants’ in Rev. 22: 3-5 in English is avadim. As I was reading that last scripture however, I felt prodded by the Holy Spirit to dig deeper. Something didn’t quite feel right, in my 21 century interpretation of servant, that the reward of the Bride was to ‘serve’ for eternity; at least not in the capacity that we think of as ‘serving’ in our contemporary understanding.

So I did a word search in the Hebrew scriptures of the word avadim, to explore how it had been translated across the entire scriptures. Sure enough, there was a second translation available. The avadim of the average man without rank or authority was translated as slave or servant. The avadim of a king or ruler, was translated as ‘officials’ or ‘officials of the court’. In the book of genesis, in the story of Joseph and pharaoh especially, the jewish scriptures consistently refer to the avadim of pharaoh as the officials of his court. Here are examples of the two possible interpretations in action.

As Officials:

“And it came to pass on Yom HaShlishi, which was the yom huledet of Pharaoh, that he made a mishteh (feast) unto all his avadim; and he lifted up the rosh sar hamashkim and the rosh sar ha’ofim (head of the chief baker) in the midst of his avadim (officials).” (Bereshis 40:20)

Translated in the NIV it reads:

“Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials:” (Genisis 40:20)

 

The more frequent and common use of avadim however was slave or servant.

“And the ish increased exceedingly, and had much tzon, and shefachot, and avadim, and gemalim, and chamorim.” (Bereshis 30:43)

This translates in the NIV as:

“In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.” (Genesis 30:43)

It really shouldn’t surprise us that in Hebrew the word for ruler and servant is the same, Yeshua modeled that when he washed His disciples’ feet. It does however help us to put in context the destiny of the Bride of Christ, which is to rule the kingdoms of the worlds with Him, from the heavenly city as officials of His court. We shall reign with Him for ever and ever.

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5)

We say it, we sing it, we preach it, but do we understand it? Do we appreciate it? Do we understand that before the foundation of the world. Yaweh God knew us, called us by name, and planted us in time during a season that was destined to birth eternal rulers of the heavenly realms? Do we understand the privilege and the power? The day will come when we will be exalted above angels and the rulers of heavenly places; a day when we will reign, with God.

Every soul, every spirit appointed to be born and planted in the age of the church has this gift, this blessing, this proposal extended. The scepter of service and authority is one “I will” away, if we would just accept the proposal of the Bridegroom King.

Oh that the called and the chosen would wake up to these truths, that we would come to value the opportunity that is being offered, extended for relationship and reward. It is heartbreaking to think of the thousands and millions who have chosen and will choose another destiny, when all of this was before us for the taking.

I choose to bow, now. I choose to say “I will”, to Your proposal to be one with You Lord. “I will” be the Bride that you have called me to be. I thank You for the honor, the privilege, and the trust placed in Your call to be part of your body and Bride. I do not take it for granted. I do not take it lightly, and I pray that I will find the grace to endure, that I may reign with you, and dwell in Your presence for eternity, as is my appointed destiny.

That is the best birthday present a girl will ever have.

A Bride Undefiled

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“I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:7-8)

 

There is something wonderful, and at the same time terrifying about allowing Yahweh God to be your teacher. So often times, we find ourselves focusing or worshiping ‘what’ we believe instead of ‘who’ we believe, and in that forms the seed of pride. Pride that we own the truth, pride that we know it all, pride that we are ‘ready’ and worthy.

All ten virgins who were expecting and waiting on the bridegroom believed themselves prepared, and yet five were left behind.
Every church congregation, and every denominations likes to think of themselves as the wise virgins. They have crossed every t and dotted every i. And yet, in scripture when Jesus walked among the lamp stands, He spoke to seven churches, in several spiritual conditions, and only before one church was placed an open door. Only one seventh of those claiming to be the church of Christ, were found worthy to be preserved from testing and purification, and this is something that I believe the body of Christ is ignoring in this age, to their detriment.

Please test the spirit of this revelation as you will, after I share my reasoning and biblical evidence with you, but I believe that the Lord has revealed to me in scripture that there is a first fruits who are empowered with and by the presence of the Lord, -before- the large scale, complete removal of the purified church from the earth that we typically think of as ‘the rapture’ I believe that the number and portion of the church who is spared the hour of testing, (either through a literal catching away or a spiritual covering that protects them) is a lot smaller than we think, and so we all need to search our hearts and relationships with God to align ourselves with the condition of that church, if it is our desire to be spared that hour of testing. We all ‘get there’ but we do not all get to ‘fly away’ from the hour of trial. This escapist teaching, is one which has encouraged laziness in our spiritual readiness, and spirits of judgment and entitlement, and these are the very things which may find us like the five foolish virgins, unprepared. Only one in seven of the churches was presented an open door.

Follow me on a brief journey through the word. God’s word cannot contradict itself, and any spirit that is not of God cannot come into agreement with scripture. When the Lord revealed this to me, it shook me to my foundation, rocked everything about my spiritual traditions and has planted me squarely at a crossroad of decision making which I am currently, prayerfully considering.

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:7-8)

The church in this modern age, from the Catholics to the least known ‘cult’ of Christianity, attempts to lay claim to the condition and inheritance of this church, because of its reward. The scripture goes on to reveal that the reward of this church, is to be spared the hour of trial and testing that will come upon the earth. A time period we commonly identify as the great tribulation, ( in which there will be persecution of the saints) which is followed by the wrath of God, (the judgment of the unredeemed on the earth.)

“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

So what are the characteristics of the church of Philidelphia?

“You have little strength.”

Strength, power, might, numbers? This specific church does not have a large following, and it holds little recognized power in its world. This gave me pause. Contemporary Christianity would find it hard to describe itself as of little strength, even if believers are being persecuted. Many powers of the world declare themselves as ‘Christian nations.’ Christmas and Easter and other ‘Christian’ festivals dominate the times and the seasons. I stuck a pin on that. Next?

“You have kept my word.”

Don’t we all keep/ observe the fullness of the word of God? I wondered. The blunt answer to that question frankly is no, we don’t. What is the fullness of the Word of God you may ask? Is it in observances and rituals, do’s and don’ts, days to worship or feasts to celebrate? No. The fullness of the word of God was embodied in Jesus’s words. His command was that we love each other as He loved us. It’s the simplest and most difficult command to follow at one and the same time.

Mankind’s nature and desire is to create a structure, a list of laws and regulations that become a yoke of bondange and failure prone self effort because we desperately want to feel that we have ‘earned’ our place in God’s favor. This was Cain’s sin (error). He wanted his hard work to be acceptable as an offering, even if it was not quite what God had commanded. True Love, from a human soul is almost impossible to effect. Only the infilling of the Love of God can bring us to the place of keeping this ‘word’ or command of our Savior. We cannot love like He loves, without being filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Walking with and in God and letting Him love through us, will bring us to that place of being the ‘church of brotherly love’ Fitting, is it not? The very name of that congregation provides that greatest clue of what it takes to be a qualifier for its crown.

The third condition of the church at Philadelphia:

“You have not denied my name.”

This also would seem to be a no brainer. Every church on the planet that is a follower of Jesus, acknowledges His name- be it the greek interpretation of the Hebrew name, Yehshua, or any other name by which He is named. In Hebrew His name means The Lord is our Salvation and this is the spirit of the meaning of the name of Jesus.

Jesus is the savior of the world. This was His commission. He was sent to pay the price for the redemption of mankind and all of creation, and it was paid, IN FULL. The moment that He laid down His life, the price for every sin was paid and the world became His rightful possession, bought back from the power of sin and death. What the special company of the Elect identifies and experiences as salvation in this age of grace as the Bride, is actually the experience of reconciliation and sanctification. It is the restoration of the positive relationship between the redeemed and their redeemer. The apostles themselves identified their ministry as the ministry of reconciliation; as being the facilitators of bringing God’s redeemed (blood bought) people back into a relationship with Him, for the express purpose of being raised up as shepherds in the age to come, in order to bring that same reconciliation to all of the creation which groans for the manifestation of the sons of God.

It may be a controversial proposal, but I believe that denying or not denying Jesus’s name only deals in part, with whether we confess Him as our savior and Lord under persecution. In it’s fullness, acknowledging the name of Jesus, may in fact be tied to our recognition that He is in fact the savior of all men, through the redemptive work of His blood sacrifice. In other words, the embracing of the belief or understanding that in His perfect time and season and way, somehow Jesus will reconcile all of creation, past present and future, to His Father, because He has already paid the price for their sin. He paid the wage with His death. Some may endure punishment and chastisement..they may suffer for a season (which may be a long one, until the end of all the temporal ages of the earth) for their rebellion, but the name of Jesus bears witness that they will be restored in a mystery.

If, and I will admit that this is a HUGE if.. If the acceptance of the doctrine of universal reconciliation is one of the qualifiers for the church of Philadelphia, then almost all of organized Christendom is currently missing the mark by espousing the doctrine of eternal damnation in hell. (The same hell, which, by the way, is cast into the lake of fire and destroyed) The case has been made, and well, from scripture and in particular the original Hebrew and greek versions of the scripture, that the doctrine of eternal damnation may be one of the greatest errors of doctrine that ever came into the church, making the God who is LOVE and MERCY into one who embodies UNFORGIVENESS in the very opposition of everything His incarnate image in Jesus Christ ever taught. Must man forgive his enemies 70×7 (codespeak for ‘without limit’) but God who created man not be held to the standard that He has established with that decree to Love without ceasing? No..Something doesn’t add up somewhere, and I tend to be inclined toward believing that God can follow His own greatest command; that we love our friends AND our enemies.

Yehshua said of the church at Philidelphia,

“I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.” (Revelation 3:9)

And there will be reason that they are worthy of that reward. One not easily earned, and one awarded to a company few in number and weak in strength/power in the earth.

And so, on reflection, to qualify as being a member of the Church of Philadelphia, before whom there is an open door to be spared the hour of trial that comes upon the earth, an individual is probably practicing a minority, not widely recognized version of the Christian faith. One that likely walks in the true love for all men that Jesus commanded and that worships and recognizes Yehshua by His true name; the Savior of the world. They also keep the WHOLE of His word, and so they are likely walking in the fullness of the dispensation of grace, filled with the Holy Spirit, and acknowledging the gifts that He has given the church.

This awareness, for me, is an almost seismic shift of spiritual awareness, and doctrinal belief, and one with which a number of decisions will likely have to be made, regarding how I walk out my process of reconciliation and sanctification before the Lord. I desire Philadelphia’s reward. Less for the ‘pass’ on time of testing that the bride will endure to be made pure, and more for the reward of the overcomer. Choosing this path will no doubt put me at odds with the belief system of most of Christendom, but I have to trust the whisper of the Holy Spirit that assures me of the truth of the fact that God is perfect LOVE. There is no shadow of turning in Him, even if somehow, man has managed to make His very written word, appear to contradict His living incarnated Word in the establishment of organized religious doctrine.

“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.” (Revelation 3:11-12)

The church has taught, incorrectly, that this is the reward of the -entire- body of Christ, when it is in fact Philadelphia’s reward for overcoming by meeting the qualifiers I’ve just proposed. An easy miscalculation, if the modern day church is perceived as all being Philadelphia, rather than still separated into the seven spiritual conditions. There is evidence of this, when we realize that we can identify separate rewards for each church’s overcoming conditions.

To him who overcomes in..

Ephesus– I will give the right to eat from the tree of life (Rev 2:7)
Smyrna– I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Rev 2:11)
Pergamum– I will give some of the hidden manna, and a white stone on which is written their new name. (Rev 2:17)
Thyatira– I will give authority over the nations. I will also give that one the morning star. (Rev 2:26-28)
Sardis– They will walk with me, dressed in white. (Rev 3:4)
Philadelphia– I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.(Rev 3:11-12)
Laodicea– I will give the right to sit with me on my throne. (Rev 3:21)

*Note. The Laodicean congregation was the one accused of being lukewarm, who were counseled to.. ” buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” (Rev 3: 18-19) I believe this is the dominant condition of the church in this age, which is why it will be required to endure refinement. This may happen in our walk in life through suffering and affliction, or in an apocalyptic setting, through the enduring and overcoming of tribulation. Scripture also reveals that the martyrs of the tribulation period will rule with Him on earth during the millennial reign of Christ here, and so the promise of a throne as a reward does not contradict itself, despite their weaker condition.

Having established then, that Philadelphia is NOT the entire body/bride of Christ, and that we will not all spared testing, does the scripture provide further evidence that Philadelphia is in fact caught away as a smaller community, before the body of the bride is, at the appointed moment during their season of testing? The answer is a resounding yes, and this were where God sucker punched me with the revelation.

“Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.” (Revelation 14: 1-5)

Wait, what?.. Rewind. What is the reward of Philadelphia?

“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.”

Could the church of Philadelphia, the ones small in number, who kept the word and did not deny the name of God, be the 144 thousand who follow the Lamb wherever he goes, sing the new song and bear the name of God on their foreheads as their reward for being an undefiled part of the bride? Only God knows, but scripture certainly seems to point that way.

What are the implications of all this, in the end? I am -not- denying that there will be a catching away of the entire bride of Christ. In fact, I believe scripture points fairly directly to when exactly it would happen. The moment when the Lord’s voice says ‘Come up here, and just before the sounding of the first trumpet.” After the two prophets/witnesses have been dead in the streets for days at the end of their ministry, the bible says,

“But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.” (Revelation 11:11)

Given that the deaths of the witnesses seems to come at the climax of the time of persecution of the saints, (during the season of the sixth seal) and right before the sounding of the trumpet that hails the beginning of the judgement of the earth,(the seven trumpet judgements) it seems a logical moment for the bride to join Yehshua in the air on His triumphal march toward earth, a purified and perfected bride. The dead martyrs shall rise, like the witnesses did, at his ‘shout/call’ then we (the church) shall all be caught up to meet Him in the air and to watch Him execute judgment. Notice that the sealed 144 are still present during the trumpets, (the sealed of Israel) since they need to be preserved from the plague that rises from the abyss at the fifth trumpet. That there is a remnant of God’s people (the Jews, and those who respond to God’s final warning after the church has been removed) still present to be caught up at the seventh/last trumpet, before the bowls of God’s final wrath are poured out, again seems to speak to the idea of an incremental ‘harvest’ of the Lord’s people from the earth. (Jacob did marry Leah, then Rachel after)

What I -am- saying, is that I do believe there will be an initial catching away of those who carry the witness of the church of Philadelphia, as first fruits to the Lord, and that this group is not who most of us think they are. This is why the Lord’s coming will be like a thief in the night. These are they who are the five wise virgins, and there will likely be mass chaos when a seeming ‘mass abduction’ of people occurs, but most of what people think of as the true church is still on earth. It also seems that a first fruit of Israel is also sealed to some purpose, but in both instances the remnant of God’s elect still, in their entirety eventually are called to his presence before the Wrath of God is poured out. This is why it is not a contradiction to believe that God’s people can and will face ‘tribulation/persecution’ and yet still scripturally be spared from wrath.

These are the times that will test the patience and perseverance of the saints.

This is not an easy ‘doctrine’ to subscribe to. I don’t know if there will be 144 thousand only, to be found in Philadelphia when the Lord calls, and that’s not what I would claim. I can only point out that 144 thousand people, bearing the name of God on their forehead that was specifically ascribed to that church, were to be found with Christ in the vision of mount Zion.

(I am, incidentally still in prayer for revelation about if this 144k with the name of God on their heads, are the same 144k who are sealed of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Hebrew words used for seal, and the name of God are different, and I’m beginning to think there may be two different groups with two different experiences and assignments in these times. It’s not a stretch to believe, given we have the 12 apostles of the church age, and the 12 patriarchs of the old covenant. That God would reap a first fruit of the church, and seal a first fruit of natural Israel is not something that would contradict scriptural patterns.)

The idea of a mass bride escape, is comforting. It’s safe. It means our commitment to God would not need to be put to the test. But we only need to look around, even in our own congregations and into our own hearts, to know that some of us need to be refined. The Lord will receive a spotless and unblemished bride, in the end. The fact that most of us are probably afraid to face trial, is probably a good indicator that we might need it.

Trying to ‘escape testing’ should not be our motivation for being found in Philadelphia, but rather, a desire to be the faithful witnesses of the fullness of God’s word, the LOVE of God, and of the undefiled truth of the good news of salvation that He has given to the world. We cannot work to earn a portion of this body, but we can love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and souls, and our neighbors as ourselves AND believe that God loves us, as much as He is asking us to love each other.

Stepping out of comfort zones and traditional beliefs and practices tainted by ‘Babylon/Jezebel’ will be hard, especially if they are ingrained practices and beliefs. But God is able, if that is what He is calling you to, to provide the confirmation, and the grace to walk through the narrow gate.

I have been shown what I believe to be a truth, I suppose for me that means I have to decide what to do with it.

Be blessed.

Unity; The Glory of the Bride

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ImageThe Friends: “Where has your beloved gone,
most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
that we may look for him with you?”
(Song 6:1)

The season of the Lord’s outpouring of His spirit on all flesh is surely upon us, and I think that the concept and idea of all is something that the church as the Bride of Christ really needs to wrap its mind and heart around. Human beings are, at their unredeemed hearts, selfish creatures, and jealous to be the ones in ‘the right.’ For generations, literally since the beginning of the Reformation when the church as a theological entity first divided, we have been hard wired into positions of judgment. We have let ourselves worship our ‘construct’ of Christianity, rather than worship Jesus Christ. We have programmed ourselves to judge, and name as flawed, fallen, or unworthy, manifestations and traditions of practice and worship that do not fall into our pre-approved ideas of worship, and have forgotten that God judges us not by what we do, but by our hearts and what we believe and declare with our mouths.

Do you believe that Jesus is God made manifest in flesh as the son of God among men? Do you believe that He laid down his life and took it up again so that you can enter into blameless and redeemed relationship with Him, and via Him with the Father? Have you accepted that sacrifice, and just as you are in all your mortal imperfection stepped into relationship with God? Then you are my brother, and you are my sister. You are part of the Bride. Everything else, is trimming, and probably, if I may be so bold as to speak for Him, not really high on God’s radar, even if we have made them cripplingly high and divisive on ours.

There is no way to know the mind and heart of God in its entirety. But we do know that God is Love, and that He commanded us to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbor as we love ourselves. Love does not manifest as condemnation, or presumption of damnation based on a list of dos and don’ts that meet our standards. Love is the seeking of the heart after the things of God, and after God Himself, no matter the ‘denomination’ of the Christian faith in which we may have been raised. He alone stands as a final judge, and He alone knows the hearts of men as they seek to know His face. There are many, many people who are practicing members of faiths that people have deemed ‘cults’ of Christianity, who may believe, or profess to believe in their practice, the fundamental truths of Christianity, but have added ‘traditional’ elements unique to church subcultures that some might deem heretical.

Whether it concerns the acceptance or rejection of the restoration of aspects of the fivefold ministries, or the debate over whether the catholic faith is a Christian faith, we need to start asking ourselves, what do these people believe about who Jesus is, and what He has done? That, in the end is far more important than how we dress or what liturgy we use.

I have been fascinated by how the enemy works. He must know that a unified church of Jesus Christ, a living Bride on the earth, would be an entity of unfathomable love and supernaturally infused power. How best could he go about making sure that never happened? By making sure Christians were almost mortality afraid of any kind of outreach or ‘unity’ of spirit with each other across denominations.

How long has the specter of ‘one world religion’ been raised as part of the apocalyptic boogey man that the church itself anticipates and portends as ominous? At what point did a state sanctioned global religion mentioned in the book of revelation become equated with a unified but heretical church of Jesus Christ? Does anyone -really- think that any variant of Christianity will ever be embraced by the powers of this world as a global faith? The world will NEVER acknowledge Jesus as Lord until He is Himself seated on the throne in our midst.

And so it begs the question. Is Jesus returning for a perfected and unified spiritual bride? Or is He coming back for a ‘favorite’ piece of it and damning the literal millions of souls who believe in the salvation of Jesus, but who just happen to go to ‘the wrong church’ in our self-centered perception. I know that Jesus will return for a Bride who is ready, and perfect, and that to me, speaks of one that is unified in spirit as the body of Christ, and on all of whom, the Lord will pour out His Spirit.

To me this points to major revivals and reformations happening in every denomination and faith that calls itself by the name of Christ. Perhaps even in ones that have been deemed as ‘cults.’ God’s Spirit will not be arrested and held captive to one group, or movement, or place. He will find His Bride wherever she is secreted, in every corner of the earth and call her out. Doctrines can be changed, new creeds can be forged under the anointing of God, by men and women raised up in these communities. Martin Luther did it once; it birthed the reformation. Who says it cannot happen again?

The name of Jesus is power, and He will not let that power return unto Him void. If people joined a faith or denomination looking for Jesus, regardless of that faith’s scripted doctrine, He will reveal Himself and His truth. There is nothing too big for God to do, and we as the Church already blessed with sacred truths need to start paying attention to these friends of the Bride, who are seeking the truths that we possess.

I believe that we are entering a season where God is demanding that we set down the framework of judgment and fear that we have been using as a lens, and begin to seek God about how He is going to do His restorative work and what role we are to play in it.

I had a dream a few nights ago; in the latter part of the dream I was traveling along the road to an appointment, in a car. I was aware that the purpose of the appointment was to help improve a friend’s appearance or presentation. (I remember thinking I’d have to give them a haircut.) I realized then, or came to the awareness that for all I wanted to help, that I did not think I had my own best appearance in place. Suddenly I was in a dressing room, dressed in white and styling my hair into a classic bridal style. When I rose to go out to meet the friend, there was small stain on the white of my gown. Later in the dream I was seated next to the friend, and had the impression that we were prepared to debate or discuss the things of God. They had sheets and reams of notes prepared, and I had nothing prepared. I only prayed to the Holy Spirit for the right words to say and reach past the logic of debate, to the heart.

There were other elements to the dream, but these are parts that resonated in particular, and that the Lord has led toward some revelation via different means since I had it. We as the bride of Christ are not yet perfected, there is a work yet to be done, a harvest yet to be reaped, and from places even closer than the highways and the byways where those completely without knowledge dwell. The outreach needs to start with the friends of the bride.

I began to pay attention to the words of the friends in the Song of Solomon. What were their attitudes toward the beloved and her lover? Why were they still on the outside of the bride? Did they desire to know more about the Bridegroom? How did they feel about the love being displayed? In every instance, there was evidence of people who were not yet a part of the Bride, having a desire and taking pleasure in the love that they were witnessing. The Bride and Bridegroom both were overjoyed to share detailed and specific answers to the questions of the friends, and the friends bore witness and testimony of the love that was blossoming between the lovers.

“We rejoice and delight in you [Him]; we will praise your love more than wine.” (Song 1:4)

The friends are the ones who pointed out where the lover was to be found when the bride herself was seeking Him. We owe so much to those who have come before us to lay spiritual foundations:

“If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the sheep and graze your young goats by the tents of the shepherds.” (Song 1:8)

Over and again, the friends seek to understand the mysteries that have been revealed to the bride, and she is happy to answer them.

“How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women? How is your beloved better than others, that you so charge us?” (Song 5:9)

The time has come Church, for us as a body of believers to see as God sees, and to minister as He directs. It will be our spirit of love and acceptance, more than divisive judgment, which will usher in the greatest age of Harvest that the world has ever known. For the Bride must be lifted high, to shine in the darkness that all men might be drawn to the love, and light and power that is Jesus Christ in her.

I join my heart to that of Jesus Himself, in agreement with what He prayed to the Father,

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11)

And repeated..

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—” (John 17: 22)

The unity of the Bride of Christ, is the desire of God’s heart.

It’s time to embrace that vision.

The Vindication of The King

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ImageHis intent was that now, through the church,
the manifold wisdom of God should be made known
to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
(Ephesians 3:10)

Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power, be to You, the only wise King.

Sometimes the weight of revelation is more than the mind can wrap itself around. The thoughts of God are so much higher than our own, and His ways, than our ways.

There is a Bride in the earth. Hallelujah!! There is a Bride in the earth, and she is the vindication of God almighty. It is by her, and through her, that God proves His wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places; be those the authorities the twenty four Elders who encircle His throne and worship, or those fallen principalities and powers who have authority over the earth for a season.

If we tried to understand the choices that God made, or the seeming risk He took in creating man, after the experience of the fall of an already immortal creation in a third of His angelic host, we would call it foolishness.

Free will didn’t work with Lucifer and those who chose to follow him in rebelling against God, and they were not made in the very image of God. It would seem the evidence of the feasibility of a free will relationship between God and the height of His creation should have been shot down in that moment. There is no redemption plan in place for the angelic ‘sons of God,’ their fates are sealed.

Mortal wisdom would dictate that trying again, that creating man as a spirit in His own image, and once again providing free will to a creation that allowed him the choice to remain in relationship with or to reject God, was unwise. Especially within the frail and weak confines of mortal flesh and wielding little of the power or authority that had been afforded the angels. Nor would man ever see beyond this earthly ‘garden’ to see the face of God as the angels who had certainly been favored to experience it, had done. Lucifer had been in His very presence, had bathed in the awe and glory and majesty that is God and had still fallen.

How could God expect that humanity would do otherwise?

How would there ever be a voluntary union, a voluntary submission, a voluntary love and obedience to come from the heart of mankind? It must have seemed like madness to the rulers of the heavenly realms; an impossible goal.

And when Adam and Eve fell, so very early in the dawning effort of that communion, the rulers of the heavenly places could not have been blamed for believing that somehow, the wisdom of God had faltered. This was not how it was supposed to be.

But our God, Hallelujah.. our God, is the ONLY wise King. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and He knew, and knows every aspect of our destiny.

In the beginning, He saw the Bride.

Almighty God saw the fall, and He saw the root of Jesse, the seed of David. He saw the Word made flesh, His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection.

And He saw the Bride.

He saw a royal priesthood, a holy nation, called out, redeemed, sanctified and consecrated. He saw the fulfillment of every intent He had when He made mankind, and He saw the vindication of His wisdom, before the rulers and powers of the heavenly places.

Our God is the only wise King. His wisdom is absolute, His authority is absolute, and our existence as the Bride of Christ in the earth is the King’s evidence of that fact, to all of creation.

There is a war raging in the heavenly places that has been going on since Lucifer’s fall, and certainly from the beginning of man’s existence as the pinnacle of God’s creation. It would be easy to think of a war with ‘no casualties’ or cost, but that does not make much logical sense. We may not know how the warring angels count the cost of spiritual warfare, but there is a part of me that considers that if we as mortals can grow weary with the burden of earthly wars, it may be indeed be taxing for these warriors too. Lucifer felt emotion..he felt pride. He was tempted and succumbed, along with a third of the host of heaven. Is it not reasonable to believe that those who stood the test are capable of those more honorable emotions?

It made me wonder what it must feel like to be warring for millennia, for and over a creation who have become what humanity has become. It makes -me- sick to the stomach to see what darkness we are capable of. All it takes is a scan of the front page of the news website. And it made me aware of just how valuable we, the Bride of Christ as His Church are to God, as a testimony to His host, and all the heavenly hosts.

There is a Bride in the earth, and we are the vindication of the wisdom of God.

Rise up Church. Rise up Bride. When the warriors of heaven raise a standard, our praise should rise before them as a fragrance, our worship should rise as a weapon in their hands, our light should pierce the darkness before them, and our love for the King should burn in their awareness as a prize sacrificed for. God left the throne of Heaven, for us, for the Bride of the Bridegroom King.

And it’s almost our wedding day.

Every Praise is Due Our God!

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Him: “You are a garden fountain,

    a well of flowing water.”

(Song 4:15)

There is no feeling in the world like the weight that comes off your shoulders when the spirit of heaviness in broken, and no deeper truth than that it can only be banished by the spirit of praise. Praise and worship that is rooted in a deep wellspring of the joy of the Lord is like atomic warfare. It shatters strongholds, demolishes fear and shines a piercing, blazing light into the darkness that is trying to stifle you.

I have been in warfare for days, against the spirit of heaviness. It wasn’t depression in a classic sense, or even rooted in my feelings about events in my own life. I have been feeling, I think, the weight of the world, almost literally. I’m a news junkie. I love to be informed because it is in the big and small things going on in the world that I can see the prophetic truths of the word unfolding before my very eyes. I like to adopt the posture of the watchman at the gates,  the wise virgin with ready oil, which means inevitably you have to look the trouble in the eye as it approaches.

It is very easy to grieve, and drown in the groaning labor pangs of the earth and its people. War and rumors of war, earthquakes in diverse places and death and harm, especially of young people and the despair that ensues as the kingdom of this world makes a last stand is sometimes almost overwhelming. The enemy is not going to go quietly into that dark night.

But He will go.

I feel like Peter on the boat in the storm sometimes. I know Jesus is there. I know who He is, His power and authority. I believe in my heart He is standing on the water and has dominion over the waves. I truly believe, but I forget to walk in it. I forget to walk on the water with the understanding that when Jesus says “Peace, be still..” it will come to an end.

God has declared that we as His bride, are a fountain in the garden of this world, a well of flowing water.. What a seeming contradiction. How can a well flow, when it is dug deep specifically to stand as a still water source in that garden?

Movement is power, energy released. We are a supernaturally charged source of life and light to the world in darkness, and the release of our praise and worship has the power to change situations and circumstances in the earth.

I was thrilled when a dear friend passed on a bit of news that I had missed in my usual web crawling. Ironic, given it was news events that had threatened to put me in bondage in the first place. A nine year old boy was kidnapped a short while ago in Georgia, and was released by his kidnapper unharmed, after singing the worship song, “Every Praise” (Hezekiah Walker) continuously in the car as they drove around for hours until the man set him free.  Here are some of the lyrics.

Every praise, is to our God

Every word of worship, with one accord

Every praise..Every praise, is due our God!

God my Savior!

God my Healer!

God my Deliverer!

Yes He Is! Yes He is!

Worship; pure, unadulterated worship from the heart of a child released such an explosion of power into that situation, that it confounded the intentions of the enemy. That a child had such faith, such understanding of the power of worship to overcome circumstance has encouraged me more than anything else in the last week, and has triggered my own spontaneous praise and worship of our God and King.

It was a much needed reminder that Jesus is inheriting a bride who rejoices in Him as much as she loves Him, and reverences Him.

Every praise, is due our God! Is He worthy?

Yes He is!!

Here’s a rendition of the song he sang. It’s anointed to break strongholds I’m sure. I can’t get it out of my head and heart! Enjoy.