A course correction – the right direction

The Lord has been speaking these same words “a course correction” to me over the last month or so. It has certainly got my attention and through various scriptures and pictures, I keep coming back to this theme of a “course correction”. As I have been reading and praying, I believe that the Lord is emphasising that whether it is on a personal level or even governmental and national – there is need of a “course correction”.

I have this sense that some may have gone “off course” in terms of following God, or in doing what God wants us to do in our lives or doing what is pleasing to Him. The degree of “course correction” required is going to vary depending on how far we have wandered from the right path or direction that God wants to take us. It could be just a small correction or adjustment to get us back on track or if we are going in the wrong direction entirely then it will mean a complete “U” turn – whether that is in terms of mindsets and/or behaviors to get back on track.

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For some I believe it means they will find the right way in God through Jesus for the first time. It will be a complete revelation of truth to them. They will hear the good news and receive the gospel and believe. There could be opposition, trouble and persecution to this new direction in life and for some people it will mean going in the opposite direction to those around you – people you may have journeyed through life with for a long time. There will be challenging times ahead but Jesus will journey with you and take you through.

You might be led to take a different path and for some there may be a literal parting of ways with certain people – this even happened with the Apostle Paul when he parted ways with Barnabas and they went in different directions in their missionary journey. I see this happening in certain ministries – people are going to part company but God will show the timing of this and trust Him to give you peace about the decision. It may mean for those who do not discern God’s hand and direction that there could be hurts along the way and difficulties to overcome, so I pray for God’s grace in these situations and a covering of protection of hearts & minds. That no root of bitterness will spring up or jealousy among fellow believers leading to disunity and trouble.

At the start of Covid 19 we certainly seemed to be having a time of “reset” and people took the opportunity of an enforced lockdown to review lots of aspects of their lives. Even Churches were not immune and had to review their practices and make changes to the way that they functioned in terms of meeting together, teaching & helping each other and their local communities. Lots of changes were made, there was innovation & new practices undertaken – but recently people seem to be wanting to get back to “normal”.

People are saying more and more that they can’t wait until things return to normal. I can understand this because there has been a lot of confusion and changes of rules/regulations and this has unsettled us -there are restrictions on our every day lives and we are longing for a return to normality, but I don’t think God wants us to return to the old “normal”. I believe God really wants us to embrace a course correction. God does not want us to return to old habits and ways of doing things especially if they were wrong. There is something better that God has for us.

The Lord first got my attention on a “course correction” with a reading in the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was a prophet in the Old Testament and in Chapter 2 he says “I will stand my watch and set myself on the ramparts and watch to see what He (God) will say to me and what I will answer when I am corrected“.

Habakkuk actively sought correction from God – he prepared himself to listen and receive it but in my experience (this may just be me) -we usually try and avoid correction or disciplining. I don’t think I have met anyone yet who really likes being disciplined and told they are wrong but it is good for us and its necessary. We can make wrong choices or we move and act impulsively or at the wrong time. God loves us and correcting us is a sign of His love for us – If we are children of God then it is a given that He will correct us. As a loving Father, God wants to correct us and show us when we are “off course”. God wants the best for us. He showed Habakkuk plainly – God said “write the vision and make it plain i.e. clear so that he may run who reads it” – in other words God speaks clearly to us through His word and shows us what is required for Godly living.

When I was thinking about this scripture from Habakkuk the Lord showed me a picture of a sail boat. It was just a small simple boat with a sail and a person sitting at the helm with his hand on the tiller. The tiller is the “course corrector” – without the tiller the boat would just go with the currents, the winds & tides which would dictate its course. However, the sailor constantly adjusts the pressure on the tiller to keep the boat going in the right direction. God is the tiller in our lives. There is always going to be a “wind” or a “current” in our lives which tries to influence us and take us in a certain direction. It’s identifying which is prevailing and influencing the direction of my life – is it culture, relationships, work, fears, lies, anxieties, my desires, my assumptions etc. there are so many things – or am I allowing the word of God and the breath of the Holy Spirit to lead me in the right way – with my eyes fixed on Jesus. It’s challenging to take time and ask God to identify what is truly influencing our decisions and the direction we are travelling.

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The good news is that Jesus comes to set us back on track if we are going the wrong way. Jesus set two of His followers back on the right course. In Luke 24 starting at verse 13, we read the story of two followers of Jesus, one named Cleopas, who were travelling from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. Both had been in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified and were discussing everything that had happened with Jesus’ death and also the story that the women had told them that morning of Jesus’ tomb being empty. They were confused, sad and didn’t know what to believe. They had now left Jerusalem & the other believers – we are not told why- and were travelling to Emmaus – 7 miles away – going in the wrong direction. Jesus took the time to go and meet them on the road and explain the truth to them – he took them through the scriptures and explained the truth about the Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament. These men both knew Jesus but they didn’t immediately recognise Jesus on the road but something compelled them not to let this “stranger” go on but to hear more from Him. The story ends with them doing a “U” turn and heading back to Jerusalem.

I love this story – Jesus shows His love and compassion as the good shepherd for these two followers. He actively seeks them out because they are headed in the wrong direction but they don’t realise it. They need to be in Jerusalem. They need to go back to where they headed out from. Jesus eventually reveals himself to them when they all sit down to eat & break bread together (this speaks to me of a time of intimacy and fellowship) and then immediately once they recognise Jesus it all makes sense – they get up and head back to Jerusalem – even though it is late at night to tell the rest of the disciples the good news – Jesus is alive – He has been resurrected.

This story made me think – What would have happened if those two followers had not returned to Jerusalem. Not only did they encourage and immediately witness about Jesus’ resurrection to the other disciples when they returned which must have had an impact especially when their story was verified when Jesus appeared again to all of them there, but I also think they could have missed out on receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit which Jesus had promised His followers. It is not recorded in scripture, but I do believe those two men were part of those 120 who were recorded as gathered in the upper room in the Acts of the Apostles and received the infilling and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not want them to miss out on the fullness of what He had promised and it’s the same for you and I today. Jesus does not want us to miss out on the fullness of what He died and rose from death to give us – life in all its abundance.

I think Jesus wants to cause an intervention in some lives to get us back on track. We hear of “interventions” being made in secular terms – someone might be in a desperate situation and there has to be an “intervention” by friends or authorities to get them to stop and change – to get them to realise truth. Jesus does the same and the New Testament is full of stories of Jesus intervening in people’s lives and totally changing them and their circumstances. The apostle Paul is another example who comes to mind- Jesus meets him on the road to Damascus and totally changes the direction of his life – instead of persecuting and killing Christians as Saul – he becomes Paul – a believer and follower of Christ who becomes a witness of Jesus – an apostle and missionary.

Isaiah 55 v 7 says “Let the wicked forsake his way, …….Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God for He will abundantly pardon”. The good news of Jesus is that salvation -believing in Jesus and accepting Him into our lives – the biggest course corrector to lead us back into fellowship with God – is available to everyone. Repenting means doing a “U” turn – a “turn around” – turning away from our former sinful and self-centered lives – and following Jesus as a disciple. It is not too late to make that decision to get off the wide path that Jesus says leads to destruction and instead choose to take the narrow path which Jesus guides us to and puts our feet on – the path of salvation and to eternal life with God. Restoration in all its fullness.

And what of those of us who are followers of Christ already- where could we possible need a course correction. Jesus speaks to the churches in Revelation and showed them some course corrections needed -Firstly – the church who had forgotten their first love. I was really convicted of this recently – My love for Jesus – it needed rekindling. My passion for Him as I had at first as a young believer – when I first came to know Him and love Him. Those verses in Revelation 2:4 spoke right into my heart “I have this against you – that you have left your first love”. Remember from where you have fallen – repent – a course corrector – it’s always first and foremost about Jesus. It’s about our relationship with Him. It’s not what we do but why we do it – Jesus is the reason – our love for Him.

It’s not just losing our first love, Jesus also points out in these early chapters of Revelation the churches who are tolerating immorality, idolatry, false teachings, tolerating false prophets, the indifferent church – neither hot nor cold and the dead church – having a name for being alive but actually dead. Jesus has words of correction to all these churches but also words of encouragement to keep the churches on the right paths of His presence and teachings. To help them get back on track and overcome all trials and temptations just as Jesus did – with His guidance and the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us. We, who are the Church – the body of Christ – a living, breathing body with Christ as our head need to take these words of Jesus on board – They are relevant to these times that we are living in. What is Jesus saying to His church today – what words of correction is He bringing to us.

I pray that this blog will be an encouragement, challenge and help to you. It may resonate with you and may you be blessed in Jesus’ precious name.

Time is for our benefit

As I was praying this morning I felt the Lord say the following:

Today is the day.

There is always a Today. What you choose to do with your Today is the key.

A day is important. It is written – a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.

God works outside of time. God made time for us.

Time is a record. Time is set.

God created time for our benefit.

A day is important. It has a start and it has an end. It is set.

The sun rises and the sun sets. It is fixed. God has set the boundaries of time and He sees the start from the end.

As it is said – “I am the Alpha and the Omega” –

What is it that God requires of you & I today? That is the question.

What will you do with your today?

The Lord says – I have asked the question and you will answer by your actions.

Will you redeem the time God has given you?

The Lord says that He has told His people that the days are short. This is the time to keep your eyes fixed on the King – to serve the King, Jesus with humble hearts.

To do the thing the Lord has asked of you.

What does the King, Jesus, require of you today – to act justly, to love mercy, to show love, to walk humbly with your God.

Redeem today before it is too late for one day you will give an account to Him for all the days alloted to you. Spend them wisely.

Redeem the time for the days are short.

Amen

Revelation 22: 13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”.

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”.

Psalm 90:4 “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night”

2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

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Watch the Nations – whose side will they take?

I sense that God is encouraging us to watch & pray and see which nations are aligning themselves with each other in the times ahead.

Nations which at one time were bitter enemies may start to align themselves – taking sides against other nations.

Nations which at one time would have relied on support from another nation will instead be betrayed when that nation unexpectedly sides against them.

I felt God say that this is a time when nations need to be careful who they align themselves with in the days ahead and what they do. Those decisions will have eternal consequences.

Nations are in danger of allowing pride to deceive them into making the wrong alliances.

Obadiah is one of the shortest books in the Old Testament but it warns about the consequences of such actions for the nation of Edom. In verse 3 we read about the nation of Edom “the pride of your heart has deceived you”.

Edom picked the wrong side to support. They chose to align themselves with an enemy against Israel & the people of God who were their brothers.

Edom was part of the winning side or so it seemed at the time. Israel was defeated. Edom celebrated the victory and rejoiced over Israel’s destruction & captivity.

However, God was against their behavior – v 10 – For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you” v11 – in the day that you stood on the other side”

Edom aligned themselves wrongly.

The consequences of that decision & their subsequent actions were that they were going to be shamed & brought low. God would take vengeance on their actions and against those who harmed His people. God was going to restore His people.

In verse 15 it says “For the day of the Lord upon all nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you – your reprisal shall return upon your own head“.

How the nations act & what they do – God will measure it back to them.

There is a day of divine justice coming to all the nations of the earth.

Jesus said that in the last days “Nations will rise against Nations” – Matthew 24:7

Let us watch & pray over the nations as the Lord leads us in these days.

God bless,

A divided Kingdom will fall – pray for the United Kingdom

This morning the Lord led me to read Daniel 5 and the account of Belshazzar’s feast. During the feast a finger divinely appears on the wall and writes. This sight terrifies the king and he wants to know what the words mean as no-one can read them. Daniel is brought in and he interprets the words as:

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

He tells the King that the meaning is this: God had numbered Belshazzar’s kingdom & finished it. Belshazzar had been weighed and found wanting. His Kingdom was now going to be taken from him and given to others.

Belshazzar had not learnt the lessons of the past from his own father’s (Nebuchadnezzar) experience and was brought down by pride.

I believe that God is warning us that we, the United Kingdom, are in danger of being brought down because of Nationalistic Pride.

I have written below the words I heard from the Lord this morning in my spirit:

My eye has been over the kingdoms of the earth since the beginning of time. I have watched them rise and I have watched them fall.

In the time of Daniel, my servant was shown the mystery of the kingdoms of the earth and how they would be brought up and brought down.

I have measured each one in My hand and all have been found wanting. Not one earthly kingdom has measured up fully to the calling that was put upon it and the mantle which covered it.

The kingdom that you live in (the United Kingdom) is a kingdom about to divide itself again.

For a kingdom divided against itself, such as your kingdom is now, cannot stand.

The day is approaching faster than some can see – that the kingdom will divided. This is not part of My divine plan for your nation but is an inevitable outcome if they continue in this way. If each one takes continual power for themselves and decides what benefits their own nation rather than the collective then this kingdom will fall.

It is an inevitable consequence unless there is a repentance and turn of heart and each nation truly joins together for the common good of all. Divided they will fall otherwise.

May My people pray for a turning to occur in the hearts of those who govern these nations. May they humble themselves and rid themselves of nationalistic pride but rather seek the good of all. United they stand but divided they fall.

Pray for the unity of the kingdom before it cleaves itself completely and then it will not be able to fulfill the destiny calling to which it has been called for the last days.

This is the day for coming together and not tearing itself apart.

I was reminded of Jesus words in Matthew 12:25 – “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

I believe that we are stronger together as a kingdom rather than as individual nations. Nationalistic pride is a stumbling block. Each nation that makes up the United Kingdom – Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland is important and has a voice that should be heard but no element should be favored above the other. Let each work together for the benefit of all.

Lord we pray that you will open the eyes of those who govern our nations and the ministers of each nation of Scotland, Wales, England & Northern Ireland. Lord let them see the division that is occurring. Open their eyes Lord and convict their hearts. Let their hearts be softened and let truth be received. Reveal nationalistic price and let all be truly repentant and turn instead in humility to working for the common good of all in equality and for unity. Let there be true unity among those who govern our nations. Let the stumbling blocks of pride be removed.

Let them lead us, the people, by example and let their example Lord then bring change in us. Let us all Lord come together as one – truly united in You our sovereign God.

Lord reveal the demonic plans of the enemy to bring division and stir up hatred. Let the enemy be undone and let his plans to divide this nation come to nothing. Lord we pray that your Will is achieved in us and that you use the United Kingdom powerfully for your purposes in these days ahead Lord. Amen

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Truth will always out

Matthew 5 v 8. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. 

There is a very dramatic scene in Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” when Lady Macbeth is observed at night sleep walking and “washing” her hands over and over in an attempt to clean them from the “blood” which only she can see on her hands.      She keeps repeating over and over “out damned spot out” but no matter how often she cleans her hands it has no effect.    The “blood” is still there and she knows it. 

Those watching her think she has gone mad because they cannot see any blood on her hands.     As far as they know she hasn’t murdered anyone or spilled blood– her hands are to all intents and purposes clean.     

Her unconscious actions whilst asleep however betray the truth.  

Lady Macbeth was to all intents and purposes a murderer. She had persuaded her husband to murder the King and now she was suffering from guilt and revealing through her actions what had previously been hidden in her heart.      Her heart was certainly not pure as it was full of murderous thoughts, jealousy and scheming ambition.   Consequently, her apparently clean hands were not really clean at all. 

She was the ultimate hypocrite whose heart betrayed her.  

The story of Lady Macbeth is rather an extreme example but I hope it might makes us stop and think and consider our own hearts and what motivates us.   We can all put on a good show (myself included) but impurity in our thoughts and character will eventually come out no matter how much we might try to hide or pretend it’s not there.  

Jesus taught his disciples that it wasn’t enough to just observe the religious rituals of the day because it was the evil thoughts which came out of their hearts which actually defiled them and shaped their actions. 

Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy and wasn’t shy to challenge the religious people of the day.  

I believe Jesus issues the same challenges to us, His followers today.   

Jesus didn’t mince His words.   He called the Pharisees “whitewashed” tombs and accused them of being too concerned with appearing holy to others but actually inside they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.     

The religious leaders of the day were so meticulous in enforcing, and on the face of it obeying all the laws and traditions, but in practice they were not living out a pure life but were full of “extortion and self-indulgence”.   The outside of the cup may have been clean but not the inside.

Matthew 5 v 8. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. 

These words of Jesus show us that it must be possible to become pure in heart otherwise Jesus would be lying.  I believe that Jesus is truth so this statement would on that principle be true.    

The bible teaches us that we cannot be pure through our own efforts – it is impossible.  

The Old Testament points us to the need for a Saviour.    I believe that Jesus is that Saviour who makes this possible. Jesus is the only one who can make us clean from sin by His sacrifice on the Cross and His blood shed for us to cleanse us from sin. 

The apostle Paul teaches us that “Jesus loved the church and gave himself for her that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the Word in order to present her as a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and without blemish” i.e. pure.    

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross ensures that we can daily come and take hold of His blood to cleanse and purify us.   However, we must not treat his sacrifice with contempt and pay lip service when we are convicted of sin.      True repentance means turning away from sin. Changing our behavior. Replacing the old wrong behaviors and thoughts with the right and Godly ones.

I believe in the biblical promise that one day when we die in faith we will then be with and see God.    To be absent from the body as Paul put it and present with the Lord.    However, I think that Jesus’ promise that we will see God can be evidenced in our behavior in our everyday lives.  

When we are hypocritical and our actions do not mirror what we say we believe or what God requires of us in his Word then we do not “see” God at work in our lives or in the lives of others around us.  

However, when we submit ourselves to God and allow Him to work in us and to change us by the power of the Holy Spirit, then I believe we “see” God at work in the changes we experience in our character and motives.     We become more Christ like in our attitudes and so we see God’s character reflected in us and our actions to others.   

I know for myself and I am sure that others can testify to the changes that have taken place in them since becoming Christians.   Some of the immediate changes in my behavior were more obvious and noticeable (my lifestyle changed dramatically when I came back to the Lord) and I think it can be the same for a lot of people.   The lifestyle changes are usually the first to be seen. 

However, some changes in character and behavior are a deeper work of the Holy Spirit especially if we are “blind” or don’t want to acknowledge those character flaws within us.    This is when the Word of God and applying the Word is so important as we can use the Word to hold ourselves to account.   1 Peter 2 says “Lay aside all hypocrisy –desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby” and   Romans 12:  “Let love be without hypocrisy”.  

True Christian love in our hearts will show itself through our actions.   These are certainly the days for action.

We are because of Covid 19 in a new day of opportunity in how we live out our Christian faith daily- the old pattern & structure of church attendance is not the same any more. We are not pew fillers and were never just meant to be “Sunday believers”. I believe we are now less “building focused” and more “body of Christ” focused.

I am not perfect by any means and some days the thoughts and motives of my heart are anything but pure.  I would be lying if I said otherwise, but I love the fact that God’s grace is at work in my life.  I take confidence from the fact that “He who has begun a good work in me will complete it” Phil 1:6.

It is difficult to acknowledge that our hearts might not be right before God and to humble ourselves. 

There is an encouraging prayer in the Psalms – Psalm 51 –A prayer of repentance which can help us. 

David acknowledged that he needed to be cleansed from his sins and that God “desires truth in the inward parts”.  David certainly knew what he was talking about – the sinful desires of his heart had also led him to contrive a murder (rather like our fictional Lady Macbeth) which he then tried to cover up but God revealed the truth through his prophet, Nathan.   David was truly repentant and experienced God’s redeeming love.     

Can I encourage us all that our prayer to God this week is “Create in me a clean heart O’ God”.

Being a Faithful Servant

Look up and see the King of Glory (JESUS). Do not be asleep when He comes.

Do not let Him find you beating and taking advantage of those more weaker than you. Oppressing those who are weak.

Rise up & shine. Dust off your garments. Shake them out. Let them see the light of day again. Step out into the light of His glory. Do not conform to this world but be different. Be children of the king. Act like children of the king.

In my spirit as I prayed I heard the Lord say:

Woe to those who are sleeping. Let them wake now. Let them wake now and put their hand to the plough before it is too late. I will take away from them and give to another if they do not act on my words and follow me. Deny themselves, take up their cross and follow the master.

I am grieved by some within my body of believers. I am angry with the corruption, hypocrisy and those who abuse My name. They take My name in vain. My name is Holy. My name has authority. My name is not to be taken in vain. My name has power & authority but woe to those who use it in vain & treat it with disdain. They will be undone. They will be destroyed.

Make your way straight before My face.

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
Exodus 20:7

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:62

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 24:45-51

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Hebrews 12:12-13

A warning -Don’t be deceived -Watchmen take your place

You will hear a rumour or a word that “The Lord is there ” – Jehovah Shammah”  but the Lord says do not be fooled.

This morning the Lord impressed this word to me:

The Lord says that in the past many have run after the manifestations of the Holy Spirit because of a deep hunger to meet the Lord and encounter His presence but these have often been false manifestations and have led peopled into the wrong things and opened up a door in their lives to the enemy by accepting a false anointing or a false spirit to oppress them.

The Lord says that you don’t have to run after manifestations of His glory. The glory of the Lord is coming to you.  Wait patiently for the Lord he says – He will come.  He will not disappoint you.

The Lord says that He has already warned us in His word not to run after such manifestations or people that claim to be Him.  He says not to do it -for if you do then you will be deceived.

As the lightning streaked across the sky as it did in the storms that roared across this nation in the night and which all could see clearly in the sky, then so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

Do not be deceived.  Do not go running after false manifestations of the Spirit and the glory.  You will know the awesome presence of the Lord for He is Holy and where He is – is Holy.   You will not be able to stand in His presence.  Every knee will bow & every tongue confess that He is Lord.   He is Lord & there is no other.

The Lord does things according to His Word.   He does not act outside of His Word.  Keep the Word of God close to your heart.  Feed on the Word of God.  Be guided by the Word and do not be deceived for many false prophecies & false words are circulating at the moment.

Many false prophets and leaders are rising up in this hour to lead His people astray.  Do not be deceived says the Lord.   Say true to His Word – Put your trust in God & do not be deceived.   God is faithful and He is true.  He will sustain you and protect you at these times.

Watchmen – Take your place on the city walls.  Arise & look out at the horizons.  What do you see?    Warn the body of Christ.  Sound the alarm.  You need to watch in these days ahead says the Lord.   There is an acceleration now occurring and things will happen fast.  There is a suddenly approaching – Look & Wait.  Sound the alarm when the time comes and warn the body of Christ.

24 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives,( the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming( and of the end of the age?

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.(For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.( You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted( and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets( will appear and deceive many people.

12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom( will be preached in the whole world(as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place(‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop( go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders( to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning( that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[

 

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven,with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[ is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.(37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,(up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.( 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.(43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,(whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

blue body of water with orange thunder
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Psalm 55 – Betrayed by Friends? Trust in God

If you have never read Psalm 55 then I recommend a read. It is an amazing Psalm. David just pours out the hurt, pain & anger he feels over being betrayed. You can really feel the pain behind the words. It is raw and real. He puts his broken heart out there and the emotion is tangible.

Why this Psalm is enlightening is that it’s not just any betrayal though.. it was the betrayal of a very close friend and equal. Someone David trusted completely who went to the temple with him. They worshipped together. Spiritual companions. They were of the same heart & mind as David or so he thought. David found out the truth though. His friend was not really his friend. He was out to destroy him. It cut him deeply to be betrayed by someone he trusted completely. As David said, if it was an enemy he could have coped with it. You know your enemies are against you but you expect your friends to have your back.

Imagine as a Christian being betrayed by your closest confidant at church. You have been going to church together for years, perhaps you came to faith together, walked the journey together, you think you know them, trust them, you have shared your heart with them and then you find out it was all a pretence. They weren’t your friend at all, they didn’t have your best interests at heart, they were actually working against you all the time. The shock, the pain, hurt, anger…you would feel it just as David felt it.

I believe Holy Spirit is warning us that we are going to see more of such betrayal being revealed in the body of Christ. We need to prepare our hearts. You may have already experienced it. Jesus warned believers about it in the last days that brothers & sisters etc. will betray each other, How will we deal with it if it happens to us and not compromise our faith. For our own sakes we can’t allow such betrayals to crush us and destroy trust of others and impact future Godly relationships. We can’t give into revenge or thoughts of revenge. David certainly wanted God to take vengeance. You read it in this Psalm. He gives voice to those thoughts.

The pain and hurt of such betrayal needs to be acknowledged and poured out to God. It will fester otherwise. It is important to guard our hearts so that bitterness and resentment do not take root and cause us and others even more trouble. Choosing to forgive others as Jesus forgives us is the test. God can help us to forgive through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to do this. Without the Holy Spirit, I think it is impossible as our flesh will want to lash out and cause hurt as we have been hurt. We can trust God though to bring healing to the wounds and for justice and truth to be outworked. He is our shield and protector.

We can’t allow these painful experiences to drive us away from fellowship with other Christians. David wanted to just run away – verse 6 “oh that I had wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.” and these things will want to make us run away too…run from everything even those people that truly love us and want the best for us. Betrayal can be a doorway for shame especially if someone has betrayed things about us to others that will cause people to judge us or treat us differently. Running away is not the answer. We won’t find any rest by drawing away and isolating ourselves. There will be a true godly friend who can draw alongside you at these difficult times. Help is there. Don’t reject those who want to help and love you at these times out of fear of the same thing happening. Learning to trust again.

There is something else I believe in this Psalm though that the Holy Spirit also reveals. In the midst of David’s brokenness & outpouring I read in verses 20-21 a prophetic word inspired by the Holy Spirit about the anti-christ and how he will operate and it’s a similar story.

“He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He has broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords”.

Anti-Christ will pretend to be a close friend & ally of Israel who will deceive Israel into making a peace treaty which will prove to be a deception. He will break that treaty mid way through and betray them. This is prophesied in other parts of scripture about a seven year peace treaty. Israel will feel utterly betrayed. Anti Christ is a flatterer and a deceiver. War and not peace is his true intention. The betrayal of David by a close friend shows us I think how anti christ will operate. Is Anti Christ a fellow worshipper or spiritual person? I don’t know but it provokes me to think about the possibility.

Why have I also flagged these verses. To show that God can still use us in such situations despite our brokenness and work through us for His glory. He can use you still. Don’t give up and allow the pain of betrayal to consume you. Instead rise up, believe in the gifts He has deposited within you and the ministry He has called you to. You are a gift to the body of Christ. Don’t let the enemy rob you of it and destroy your future.

There is an answer and hope in v 22 “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. He shall never permit the righteous to be moved”. This promise to sustain you also means to nourish, bear, hold up, protect, support and defend you. God will do all this for you – give him the burden of betrayal and trust in His unfailing love.

Blessings to you in Jesus name.

Shepherds – after Gods own heart

“Then I will give you Shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding”. Jeremiah 3:15

We live in times when good shepherds are certainly needed in the body of Christ. In Hosea, we are warned that Gods people perish or are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Ignorance is certainly not bliss and especially at these times when there is so much false news and deception out there. There are false teachings and practices which try to lead us astray.

All wisdom & knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus. Godly shepherds will lead you in the true gospel of Jesus Christ so that we are not deceived by false doctrines or as Paul said to the Colossians “fine sounding arguments”. Their teaching will be centred on Christ Jesus and the gospel so that we are rooted in Jesus and have a solid foundation of faith to build on. We need such shepherds.

If you are blessed to have a good shepherd or shepherds in your life then value them and respect them. They are a covering for you and watch over you. They will lead you in the right direction and help you make wise decisions. If you are without such a shepherd then I pray that you will find one and God will provide such a shepherd or shepherds for you. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we need shepherds according to His heart.

Perhaps you could be such a shepherd? Is God calling you to be a shepherd and help shepherd His people.

The bible has a lot to teach us about the value of knowledge and understanding. I believe that we are living in days when God will accelerate knowledge and understanding for Christians. This will help not only us but also others, so that we can bring words of knowledge and wisdom into all sorts of situations where it is needed. Not just in Christian circles but to guide and lead in the world. To be influencers for good. To be the Daniels and Josephs for these days.

God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning to Daniel and his friends. They used this knowledge to help the King make wise decisions. God gave Joseph a strategy to prepare for a famine. He helped the Egyptians prepare for this time and saved many people in the process.

Ignorance is dangerous and wilful ignorance even more so. Burying our heads in the sand helps no one. It is our responsibility to seek out knowledge. A wise person said that foolishness is doing the same thing time and again and expecting a different result. Let’s not fall into that trap.

Confusion can lead to an inability to see clearly what needs to be done. We stagnate and can’t move forward. Fear can also result in paralysis so decisions are not made and things wither and die. If you find yourself in this position then I pray God will show you the way ahead and give you shepherds with His heart to help you along the journey.

Christians Awake- Time to rise & shine

I mentioned in my last post that whilst myself and two friends were praising God & praying recently at the Waseley Hills – the “high hills”- the Lord gave us 3 separate words.  I have set them out in the order they were given to us.  The first was a tongue & interpretation:

“For the Lord God Almighty says

“Awake, Awake, Awake, Awake, Awake, Awake my people.   Look & Listen for the Lord God is on the move and He strides out across this nation.

Wake up, Wake up, Wake Up – Hear the bells, Hear the bells, Hear the bells – For the glory of the Lord is going to fall. The glory of the Lord is coming.  The glory of the Lord as it sweeps across this nation.

The Lord says “Awake, Awake, Awake – Arise people of God.  Arise people of God.  Arise people of God & hear the voice of your Master.

The voice of your Master is calling to you.  The Lord is calling to you he says “Arise, Arise, Arise My people.  Arise, Arise, Arise – Give voice to Me.

For the glory of the Lord is shining upon this nation and here He comes.  He is riding.  he is riding on the wind.  He is riding.  He is coming to this nation.

The Lord says He is coming in power and the sword is going forth from His mouth and He is declaring His word over this nation and the Lord says – every knee will bow, every tongue will declare that He is Lord and He is God and He alone is worthy of all praise and honour and glory – to Him who sits on the throne forever and ever – All glory belongs to the Lamb Amen.

After this first word was given, we saw opposite us in the distance on the hillside a bright white light – it was so clear and we believe it was a sign from the Lord.   The light was visible for some time whilst we continued to pray.

The second word then came to my friend:

“All My people will see Me in My glory (Jesus).  I will shine.  You will see Me.  You will not miss Me coming because I will stand out and everybody will see Me and the truth will be declared in this nation.  All the lies, all the hidden things I will bring forth and the truth will shine.   My people will speak the truth out  – they will bring the truth to everyone.  I declare the truth of the Lord the word of God- that you are coming (Jesus) – you are coming”  Amen.

The last word was then given:

“The Lord says “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail.  Satan your days are numbered. You have had your time.  You have had your day but you will not prevail.  I call to you My people to be aware, to be wise and to open your eyes and see. Do not follow that wide road, do not follow that wide empty road.  Look for the narrow path that leads to Me, that leads to life.  I am coming.  I am going to be there with you and you will see Me in all My glory and your knees will bow and you will profess that I am Lord.  I open My arms to you this day and I say “Come, Come to Me, Come to Me all you who are heavy laden, all you who are weary and you who are tired of this life and all you who are seeking.  Come to Me.  I am the answer.  I am the way and the truth and the life. Come to Me.”

There is a scripture in Judges 5:12 which says “Wake up, Wake up Deborah!  Wake up, wake up, break out in song!  Arise, Barak!  Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam”.

I believe that this is the word to us as believers in Christ at this time -it’s time to wake up, to be watchful,  to rise up and take action for Jesus.  Live out our faith where we are – right in the heart of our communities.  Church is changing – it’s not about a building where we all meet.  We are a body – connected to each other in Jesus Christ.    We are powerful testimonies for Jesus – we are His witnesses.   Let us encourage each other to live as Jesus wants us to live as His disciples and co-workers of the gospel. To be bold and voices for justice & truth.

Romans 13 11-14 “And do this, understanding the present time: the hour has already come for you to wake from your slumber, because our salvation now is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over, the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light.  Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”.

Ephesians 5 8-20 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  Buy everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.  This is why it is said “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.”  Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

It is so important that we as Christians are awake and not asleep & that we are clothed in Christ – Jesus said if we are not awake then he will come as a thief and we will not know when he comes.

Revelation 3:3 “But if you do not wake up (or watch), I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you”.

Revelation 16:15 – “Look, I come like a thief!  Blessed is the one who stays awake (watches) and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed”

Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, Shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

backlit cemetery christianity clouds
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