THE HONOR

Darkness hangs over Thanksgiving like never before. Millions of Christians will gather with family and friends over a feast that can be overshadowed by a nation in distress.  There is something defiant you can do that will take the oxygen out of Satan’s attacks. It is a confession that flips the script.

Try this: When it is time to give thanks…thank God that you were born for this time in history. It may be hard to believe, but I am asking you to tell God that it is an honor to be living in this moment in history.

What I am about to I tell you may be hard to believe.  Especially in these times that are dark, evil, angry and dangerous. There is no question that they are the most challenging days ever: in which to be married, have children, own a business, or lead a ministry.

Paul waged war for the Lord in the perilous times in which he lived, and he told Timothy to “fight the good fight.” A warrior shines best in the hottest battle. We must put on the armor of God, and learn to use the sword of the spirit.

Why should you learn to fight? Until you face the fact that you are locked in mortal combat, you will never stop being confused and you will never take adequate measures to arm yourself. Some even coddle the notion that if they remain a commonplace Christian, Satan will not attack them. But the warrior understands that it is the unarmed who are taken out first.

Rejoice in the honor of being born in these times! How can we do this?

 First, it is an honor because of what you get to see God do.   These are times when you will witness the power of God working miracles and doing special things through special people.  He gives grace that is not available in other, less chaotic times.  It is in times of crisis that He grants extraordinary power, wisdom, and courage. A life of knowing God and serving God is available to you—a life that was not available to prior generations.  Daniel wrote about dangerous times: “…but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.” [Daniel 11:32b]

It is in the darkest times that the greatest glory rises.  Isaiah 60:1: “And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you and His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

It is God’s grand finale. It is the time when He will at last reveal the mystery of His work in the world, and He will release all the provisions He has been storing up.

 Then there is the matchless honor of suffering shame for Christ.   Acts 5:41 says, “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

Jesus said in Luke 6:22: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they excommunicate you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! Indeed, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same things to the prophets.”

 You were born for this time.  It is not punishment, it is not an accident, and it is an honor—because there is a glorious plan!  There is a holy design, and God in His perfect timing has placed you here on earth right now. We might yearn for simpler times, but the rewards are much greater in this time in which we are living.

But there are consequences for not participating… 

Let me take you back to another dangerous time, and urge you to embrace this, your hour of destiny.

Moses had sent out twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to do reconnaissance and then report back on the status of the land Jehovah promised to give them. They were at war, but only two of them were eager and ready to enter the land and fight to take it.

Here are the highlights of the story from the book of Numbers:

13:30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are. 33 There we saw the giants…and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight.”

14:1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. But Joshua and Caleb, tore their clothes; 7 and said: “The land we passed through is an exceedingly good land. 8 Since Jehovah delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us. Only do not rebel against Jehovah, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and Jehovah is with us. Do not fear them.” 10Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. 30Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 36 The men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and brought a bad report of the land 37died by the plague before Jehovah. 38 But Joshua and Caleb remained alive, of the (twelve) men who went to spy out the land.

The great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and who are, at this very moment watching from the grandstands of heaven, would give almost anything to be in your shoes!  Jesus said, “I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.” [Luke 10:24].

Today you can terrify the enemy and glorify God by turning the tables. Instead of withdrawing out of fear and feeling like you are victims for being born in these times, like Joshua and Caleb, fully embrace this moment. See it as a great opportunity. Embrace your destiny!

Mechelle and I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Just when Satan thought he was safe

A highly visible worship leader defects from the faith. A million-seller Christian-influencer denies Christ. Social media blocks churches. A national frenzy for immorality. Millions raging in anger against believers.

Satan believes he is safe against the prospect of revival. He could not be more wrong—and the pessimists in the church could not be more wrong.

Revival struck London through John Wesley when everyone thought it was impossible.   One out of every seven houses in London was a house of prostitution.  More people were attending séances than church.  Nearly 100,000 children lived in slums like animals.  The London Times had not mentioned Christmas for decades…not even once.

After the revival, England became the missionary leader to the world.

Revival struck Kentucky when it was unthinkable.  This was the most lawless state in the union.  There was no police force.  Every criminal on the run headed for Kentucky.  Murder, rape, and alcoholism were pandemic.  Revival flipped Kentucky so violently that it became the most zealously Christian State in America.

The early twentieth century was a far more skeptical era than today.  The blush of Darwinism and Marxism was so feverish that it was a foregone conclusion that Christianity would go away altogether. Scientists declared the Age of Reason and solemnly assured us that religion would be a thing of the past by the 1920s.

Imagine in that atmosphere, if you were to have said in 1906, “A one eyed black man is going to rent an old and dingy horse livery on Azusa Street in downtown Los Angeles, and start a movement that will engulf nearly 600 million people worldwide.”  The men in white would have been sent to collect you.

The point is that revivals are impossibleuntil they happen.

You should also know what the church was preaching in those darkest moments before the awakenings began.  Pulpits were filled with pessimists who, instead of rebuking the despair, joined in the chorus.  They declared the day of revival to be over!  But, even that did not stop God.

How is it that revival can strike without warning in the most unpromising times and grow in the hardest soil?  The answer is that when darkness is intense, we tend look at the wrong indicators.  It’s not that there are no warning signs that revival is coming, it is simply that we do not know them when we see them because the fear is so loud.

Look at today.  Do you see any signs of revival?  Most would say, “Absolutely not!”  They would say all of the same things that people have said prior to every outpouring of God: Revival cannot come because the times are too evil.

That is the argument today.  We have legalized gay marriage. We have legalized drugs. And we are even toying with Islam.  Many of our leaders are delusional snowflakes that are bent on finding the best ways to drive us to extinction.  Churches are closing and thousands of ministers are leaving the ministry every year.  You know the rest, because you have heard it a hundred times.

Atheists are boasting that the whole world in general is becoming secular and anti-supernatural.  The facts are just the opposite.  It is a very religious world, far more religious than it was 50 years ago.

Consider these statistics from sociologist Rodney Stark:

Gallup World Poll Surveys of more than a million people living in 163 nations show that:

  • 81 percent claim to belong to an organized religious faith, and most of the rest report engaging in religious activities such as prayer or making offerings to the gods in various “folk religion” temples.
  • 74 percent say religion is an important part of their daily lives.
  • 50 percent report they have attended a place of worship or religious service in the past seven days.
  • In very few nations do as many as five percent claim to be atheists, and only in China, Vietnam, and South Korea do they exceed 20 percent.
  • Furthermore, in every nook and cranny left by organized faiths, all manner of unconventional spiritual and mystical practices are booming.
  • There are more occult healers than medical doctors in Russia.
  • 38 percent of the French believe in astrology.
  • 35 percent of the Swiss agree that “some fortune tellers really can foresee the future.”
  • Nearly everyone in Japan is careful to have their new car blessed by a Shinto priest.

To be sure, little of this is Christian, but it is undeniable that the waters of supernatural hunger are being stirred worldwide.

Another sign is the evil within people themselves.   For example, Saul of Tarsus was at the peak of his terror-attacks on the church when he was violently converted. What no one but God knew was that there was a growing desperation inside of this Pharisee, who would soon become Paul the Apostle.   In a similar way, societies are often at their worst right before revival.

What we do not want to do is miss revival when it hits!

Dark times can absorb our faith in the power of God.  Many believers find themselves in a condition that is truly worse than they ever imagined.  Pangs of fear grip men of God who were once lions in the pulpit.  We invent doctrines that fit our disappointment.  We build ministries based on our lowered expectations.

You need a healthy respect for how the power of dark times can rob us of faith.  It has happened to the best of us.

500 people saw Jesus Christ ascend into the clouds.  Think about that.  In the face of such absolute proof that Jesus was the Son of God, how could they ever doubt?

As He ascended He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit.  Surely they would wait…right?  Astonishingly, only 120 were still waiting in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost.  How is it possible in the face of so great an assurance that those eyewitnesses would falter and abandon their posts?

Their world was filled with sudden terror from a wicked king, oppression from religious leaders, and tyranny from Roman occupiers.  Their daily grind absorbed their zeal for the promises of God.

Do not be like those 380 people who missed one of the greatest moments in history.  Here are two things that you need to confess and say to your spirit, so that you will not leave the upper room.

Either it was always true or it was never true. Times do not alter truth. A lack of money does not change God’s word about prosperity.  Sickness does not nullify the fact of God’s healing power.  The evil of men does not overrule the supremacy of Christ.  If God has made you promises, these dark times cannot stop their fulfillment.

Here is an example of that: 1 Samuel 17:34, “But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”

It is easy to say that evil today is more intense and sophisticated than ever before.  But, neither Saul nor Israel had ever faced anything like Goliath before.  David said that it did not matter; this new threat would have the same outcome as all of the previous threats God had given him victory over!

Jesus is telling us to wait for the power that is about to break out, no matter what.  Does revival look totally impossible to you?  Don’t worry, revivals all look that way until they happen.

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