Stay the Course. Believe the Love I Have for You

September 18, 2021:  Prophetic voice Gina Gholston is quoted by Dutch Sheets in mid-September as having had a word from the Lord that read, “I hear the Lord saying:  ‘In the days ahead, I’m going to remove the covering where evil has been hiding.  Up from that will rise a stench.  But I say to My church, stay the course, for I am giving beauty for ashes.  This is MY time.  I will come, and I will make things right again, but you must stay the course.’”

Her accompanying vision included a fighter pilot flying his jet while being divinely protected from incoming missiles which hit an invisible barrier just before reaching him, exploding all around him.  The repeated phrase she heard was “stay the course.”

Gina’s encounter occurred in February, 2020, just before the lockdowns began across our country and across the world.  At first, I moved on after reading it – but God kept bringing it to my mind and her vision has really dug deeply into my thinking and perspective.  And I find it helpful.

We are definitely living in a time when the stench of evil is nearly everywhere we look or listen.  Corruption—corruption “on steroids”, to utilize a popular phrase—is being revealed from school boards to the illegitimate regime overseeing our American government; from clinical workers in local settings to the powerful heads of medical conglomerates and pharmaceutical mega-companies; from small, independent nonprofit organizations to powerful, over-arching and intertwined Foundations; from local government officials to the highest national political Conventions and Parties; from all these (and more-such as illegal censorship, oppressive taxation, unvetted non-citizens with no loyalty to American ideals imported by the thousands to undermine the strength of national unity) the stench of evil is daily in our sight, our nostrils, impacting our lives with a constant buffeting of fear, anxiety and confusion.

Our individual “fighter planes” are being assaulted and rocked endlessly.

Stay the course.  Are you kidding, Lord?  Have you taken a peek down here to see what that entails?

He is not kidding, for we are His hands and feet on this earth, His voice to proclaim.  I read a 9-16-21 prophetic word from Johnny Enlow, who said he asked the Lord, ‘Why is this taking so long?’  The answer he reportedly heard in his spirit was lengthy, but centered around a central theme, “I am still interested in My Kingdom ways being demonstrated on earth as it is in heaven, I need My church awake and in agreement with My mandate. My message hasn’t changed, ‘You are the light of the world,” “you are the salt of the earth.”  You must from now on TARGET darkness in your society.  That is what an Ekklesia does.  Enough with the doctrines which permit you to excuse yourself from My Kingdom Mandate.  I did not say, ‘Speculate until I return,’ I said ‘Occupy until I return.’  “Occupy” is a military term.  Doctrinally-induced sleep and escapism has made My church almost irrelevant compared to what I made her to be…I have held Myself back from your quick rescue at this difficult time as I am thinking of your children, and their children, and your children’s children.  You will awaken, you will make the shift, you will arise and shine.”

Godless evil is not new.  Adam and Eve faced it.  Moses faced it.  Noah faced it.  King David faced it.  Elijah and Daniel faced it.  Jesus faced it.  Each of the disciples faced it.  And history since those centuries has had its own representatives of goodness and freedom facing the forces of evil and enslavement.

Just as the evil has had many names throughout ages, it is called by many names today.  John correctly discerned in I John 2:18, “even now many antichrists have appeared” – even though we, as an American society, tend to think of ourselves as “too sophisticated” to boil down complex issues as being a conflict of good vs. evil.  Yes, there are many antichrists in our midst, and it is a perspective we should, perhaps, relearn. 

There is more to Gina Gholston’s word:  “What is coming in the days ahead, will cause a great temptation to abort the mission.  But the Lord says, believe the love I have for you.  My love will carry you through unscathed if you STAY THE COURSE.  The danger is when you get off the course, says the Lord.  My peace is on this course.  My mercy is on this course.  My grave is on the course.  Do not focus on what you see in front of you in these days.”

I was thinking about that phrase – My love will carry you through unscathed.  “unscathed” is a tough word to process in today’s crisis-laden world.  Forced chemical injections.  Forced job losses.  Forced compliance.  Forced loss of different freedoms.  Forced educational indoctrination.  Forced financial parameters.  Forced awareness of genuine dangers inside and outside our national borders.  There is even a sense that we are being pressured into “forced faith.”

Paul described to those in Corinth, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  (2 Cor. 4:7-9, NASB)  I like The Passion translation of the same scripture:  “Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed; at times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option.  We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us.  We may be knocked down, but not out.  We continually share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity.”  (TPT, 2 Cor. 4:7-10)

The Message translation of 2 Cor. 10:3-6 teaches, “The world is unprincipled.  It’s dog-eat-dog out there!  The world doesn’t fight fair.  But we don’t live or fight our battles that way – never have and never will.  The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.  We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”

Stay the course.  Seek Him as to what and where to occupy ground that the enemy has claimed, and TARGET that darkness.  His love will carry us through.   

Your Future Self and a New Day of Destiny

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New Year’s Day.

I am thinking about a poster I photographed on my camera phone, which read, “Do something today which your future self will thank you for.”  I posted that picture on social media and subsequently deleted it from my storage…but I have thought of it often in the year or two since then.

Your future self.

Sometimes it’s difficult to think of yourself as anything except “what” or “who” or even “where” you are, right now – and the details of that identity probably involve considerable time and energy to fulfill the routine and responsibility that is attached.

I certainly fit that category.  But I know there is “more to me” than what I currently see and express, because there is “more of Him in me” that is constantly seeking to be released.

Envisioning my “future self” can be a tangible motivation to seek my heavenly Father Hope candle w flowersand ask His participation in bringing me to those steps, that growth, training, discipline and focus necessary to “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

The “same image,” of course, is His – “Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.”  But He chooses our individual and unique flavor of “the glory of God” to tangibly display His amazing, multifaceted love, mercy and transformative power to the world and populations He loves.

New Year’s Day is a fitting time to take a few minutes and think about that concept.  Of the many tasks and engagements involving you, right now – which of them touch others with His Presence or cooperate with Him to develop those giftings, opportunities, assignments He has for each of us?  Which are those activities which Paul describes to those of us who are “His workmanship” as being “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

It is our ability to “walk in them” that is impaired by endless routine and responsibility which the world’s system is happy to throw our way.  It is one of the enemy’s schemes that we are so thoroughly deterred and drained by earthly focus and demands that we have no energy or vision for heavenly opportunities.  No energy or vision to make preparations for “your future self”…a forthcoming, fresh release of His Presence, Christ in us, “the hope of glory.”  (Col. 1:27)

Today is a good day to “take a stand.”  Today is a great day to ask His guidance in sifting through the necessary and the assumed-necessary.

The Passion Translation begins Romans 13:12 with the words, “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns.”

IMG_5368I like that phrase, “new day of destiny.”  As 2020 starts, we actually face a new decade of destiny.

In this New Year’s Day context, I think of “night’s darkness” as being those deceptions and busy-work the enemy endlessly shovels onto our path to drown out His Word and stifle His “light to my path.” (Psa. 119:105)

Today is the perfect day to consider your plans and strategies with a  future thanksgiving in mind.

The Switched Nativity

Jesus in the center.

Nativity pic 02I was carefully setting up this year’s Nativity display on the wooden shelf by the fireplace.   I meticulously turned individual pieces in incremental degrees until each one faced Baby Jesus in a stance that reflected wonder and adoration.

With a sense of satisfaction, I stepped back to view the final arrangement.

I sort of chuckled at myself, knowing full well that Biblical timelines do not place Jesus’ birth, first shepherds, and traveling kings all arriving in Bethlehem at the same time.  Still, I love creating a niche every year that displays that time-condensed version of the events as described.

Unexpectedly, I felt like the Spirit whispered, That’s not what it looks like today.  After that statement, a clear image flashed into my mind.  In that image, each of my Nativity pieces had been switched around and now stood in a completely different configuration.

Nativity SwitchedInstead of all attention focused towards Jesus, I saw Joseph, Mary, all three kings and even the shepherd, all facing one another in a circle of earnest conversation.   Their circle was closed and turned away from the Messiah.  He and the manger had been positioned at the opposite end of the shelf…alone, except for the company of a glass donkey and lamb.

The redesigned arrangement was thought-provoking.

I mused regarding the role each character might represent in today’s world:  the three kings would still represent leaders of nations, countries, and their respective political systems.   Joseph – perhaps a representation of men stepping forward to mentor, to “father” others, to model godly masculinity and leadership to the next generation; Mary — carrying the concerns, responsibilities and unique callings of women?  And the shepherd – would he represent a segment of the less fortunate in this world, or those who dedicate themselves to finding and winning lost hearts back to God?

In this Nativity’s switched layout, the people and those they stood for were not seeking wisdom or guidance from the Miracle Worker, the King of Kings who has government “rest on His shoulders,” the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6) though He was very near to all of them.

Instead, they talk-talk-talked only amongst themselves, solidifying their own worldview in which each was a captive, both a victim and perpetrator of the worldly system’s injustices.

light shaft in clouds, ver, origBut God is never static and never distant.  “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”  (I John 3:8)  One of my favorite Old Testament verses is Habakkuk 1:5 – “Look among the nations!  Observe!  Be astonished!  Wonder!  For I am doing something in your days – you would not believe it even if you were told!”

God is always “doing something” in whatever days we find ourselves. 

Good days.  Bad days.  Days we anticipate with joy and even those days we face with dread and prayer.  A “perfect Nativity” in this life has yet to be fully implemented or fully manifested in any area of our earthly walk, our sojourner’s path through both the marvelous and the horrific.

“The reason the Son of God was revealed was to undo and destroy the works of the devil.” (I John 3:8, The Passion Translation)

God is never without purpose.

IMG_1679The essence of “The Christmas Story” is not diminished even towards those nations whose cultures and calendars forbid its acknowledgement or celebration.  God is always seeking His lost sheep, His captured children held deep inside satanic fortresses.  As the grace of the Holy Spirit is poured out on those who seek it, so it is also poured out on those who are standing with their backs turned away from Him.

There is a resounding “Glory to God in the highest” that is constantly shed abroad, a sharing to step into the announcement “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.”

Looking Up from an Avalanche: Why God Chooses Rain

The prediction of a significant mid-week “blizzard event” has indeed come to pass and is in progress.  As the snow piles up on our deck ledge, pushing upwards of 9-10-11 inches in stature, I am enjoying the view from inside, sitting close to the warmth of the fireplace.snowstorm from the window

Just twelve hours earlier, at midnight, I had been lulled to sleep by the steady and relaxing sound of rain falling on the deck, the roof, plunking on the outside metal BBQ.  As I drifted into a wonderful rest, I unexpectedly recalled the words to a mid-80’s song whose first line was, “It’s beginning to rain, hear the voice of the Father….”  The gentle, relaxing melody had whispered me into slumber.

In quick curiosity I looked up the title of the tune and discovered it was a Jimmy Swaggart creation, made perhaps more famous by Bill Gaither a decade later, when I had first heard it. The second line invites, “Saying whosoever will, let him drink of the waters, For He said, ‘I will pour My spirit upon your sons and daughters.’ So if you’re thirsty and dry, look up to the sky, it’s beginning to rain.’”

And as I looked out the window at the fierce downpour of wind-whipped white, I had the whimsical thought, I’m so glad God doesn’t offer us His Spirit as a snow storm instead of a gentle rain. leaf edge drops

At first I chuckled at the rather fanciful comparison. Then, as I thought about it, an ah-ha moment of sensing divine wisdom arose.  The word that came to my mind was avalanche.

Colorado’s winter-into-spring transition has already birthed a significant number of avalanches due to radical temperature swings: 28-degrees and snow one day, 60-degrees two days later, snow and 28-degrees two days after that.  Freeze-thaw-freeze….and then a white cloud billowing dramatically into the air when an avalanche is triggered and sheets of snow recklessly plunge down the mountainside.

This cycle of nature and the intervals of stress-ease-stress in our own lives forms a pretty good parallel.  Oftentimes, the triggering point in our lives is just as unexpected – and with little warning, here it comes, a significant emotional slide that leaves us bewildered and sometimes displaced, wondering just-what-happened and facing the uncertainties of what-comes-next.

This is not a back-slide, mind you…but a slide layered by frustration, unmet expectations and exasperation when the things we think we know about God’s nature, His transforming power in our lives and on this earth appear stymied, nullified, thwarted despite our prayers and anticipation of results.

IMG_2571In I Thess. 5:24, Paul teaches, “Faithful is He who calls you and He also will bring it to pass.”  (NASB)  The Message translates that verse, “The One Who called you is completely dependable.  If He said it, He’ll do it!”

That’s not a bad place to securely hang your hat, once you’ve gone through the effort to retrieve it from the snowfield.

The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition offers a rendering that is the most thought-provoking to me: “Faithful is He who is calling you (to Himself) and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it (fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you).”  (I Thess 5:24)

I admit it – I have never spent much time thinking about the specific intent of my heavenly Father hallowing (setting aside for holy use) and keeping me expressly to fulfill His goal that my ears and heart would be open to hear, respond, embrace His persistent and loving call.Single rose in the spruce

In similar theme, Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus as “the author and perfecter of faith.”  (italics added)

What encouragement and hope to strengthen ourselves in Him!  In I John 3:2, we are reminded, “Beloved, now we are children of God and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.”

We are creations in process and He Who saw us before our beginning, also sees us beyond our life on this earth.  That fully includes those times before the avalanche, after the avalanche, and – especially — during the avalanche.  It is unlikely we can fully declare our lives a “No Avalanche Zone,” and Jesus warned those who listened, “In the world you have tribulation. (John 16:33)

He did, and we do. And He encourages us to “take courage; I have overcome the world.”

raindrop on leafHis Spirit gently sends us His comfort, loving reassurance and guidance in the soft kindness that mirrors rain, not the chilling touch of snow.  It is a metaphorical rain that melts the frozen and hard areas of our hearts and lives and allows us to firmly embrace and stand in the security of His Love.