“For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'” ((Matthew 4:10).
So, where to begin?
It has been a while since my last blog post, and it may be an even longer while until my next.
First some thoughts, followed by scripture, and then I’ll end with a dream I had last night…
You don’t need a prophetic gift to see what’s unfolding before our eyes, or maybe you do. I don’t know anymore. People choose to stay ignorant; they choose to stay blind (2 Corinthians 4:4). I used to scoff at the great deception described in Revelation, because I couldn’t imagine how such a situation could ever come to pass, but God’s Word has rightfully made a fool of me. Dogs do return to their vomit for a reason (Proverbs 26:11; 2 Peter 2:22). I’m not pointing fingers politically, because I am quite confident that every one of us is deceived to one degree or the other, myself included. Even the big time internet and mega church prophets have been led astray. I say this to say that no one’s perfect, and as I will share in just a few more lines, I was reminded recently that neither am I. The only question then, is whether or not we’re content to remain where we are.
I recently shared the following with my pastor, and since it is a part of my witness, I’ll also share my portions of our exchange here:
If the seriousness of the COVID virus turns out to have been hyped to the degree that some are saying, then I allowed myself to be persuaded away from a vision I received straight from God, and there will be consequences. I sought human understanding of imagery that God had in His way explained to me, but I didn’t like and feared. I don’t know what to do but pray and give the situation, mistake or not, to the Lord as a learning experience. I replied to my pastor’s response, to what I had written so far, by saying that I take comfort in two things. First and foremost, I take comfort in the fact that God already knows everything in advance and already had a plan that even includes human error, and I am faithful, and second, I take comfort in our continuing to pray for one another and for the Church. The issue was that I lost faith and I doubted God. So, please by all means, I asked him to keep me in his prayers. Also, somewhere within the messages, I assured him that I am not going crazy, as I often do, although I feel that way a lot.
Thank God for my pastor, my mother, three or four close and dear friends, and this blog. There really is no one else to talk to.
I was reading and subsequently wrote out the following scriptures months ago, long before COVID-19. The indented passages are ones to which I was led building off of the last non-indented passage. I hope that made sense. I take great comfort from these too. Reading back through them, they seem like God had them in mind then, for me now.
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).
“It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matthew 4:7).
“For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'” ((Matthew 4:10).
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (John 3:16-21).
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life” (John 6:44-47).
“Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one’” (John 10:25-30).
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:31-33).
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
“’Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise’” (Luke 10:36-37).
“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:47-48).
“Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous’” (Luke 14:12-14).
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40).
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it'” (Matthew 16:24-25).
“’My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work'” (John 4:34).
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:39-42).
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45).
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17).
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times'” (Matthew 18:21-22).
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there” (Matthew 19:14-15).
“But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matthew 19:30).
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Now, back to the question I raised earlier, if you’re still here, whether or not we’re content to remain where we are. Are we too proud to admit that we are in as much need as we are? Are we too comfortable to grow past where we are? Is reciting a sinner’s prayer week after week enough for us, or do we yearn for the Holy Spirit to transform us to bear the fruits of our pardon? These are some points on which, with God’s help, I am currently working out. From our perspective, here on earth, I’ve come to believe that it could take a lifetime of Philippians 2:12 to get from the beginning of Romans 7 to the end of Romans 8, but how differently things must look from heaven; the manifestation of Jesus’ promise in John 10:28.
Finally the dream…
I walked into a candlelit room and was greeted by a woman dressed in a beautiful ball gown. She was grand yet subtle, not humble though, just subtle. The woman was wearing some kind of crown or tiara on her head, and she was pleasing to the eye. She spoke in a gentle and pleasing sounding voice. The woman said that she would mix into the celebration elements from the Pagans. She acknowledged that some of the Christians might get mad, but more or less, she said that they would have to get over it. She didn’t seem all that concerned with them. The meaning could have been communicated without her uttering a single word; in fact, I think spoken words distracted from fully taking in everything going on around me. There were many onlookers present standing along one side of a decorated processional path, and on the other side set chair adorned in gold designated specifically to her honor. Next on the path, there was a little boy laid out on what looked like a typical, unremarkable church alter, which was specifically intended as an affront to Christ. I remember thinking that the boy was intentionally positioned so as to appear to have been mangled in an accident. Finally, at the end of the path, there was a collection of what I think were human remains stacked higher than me. I know that my account may not seem like much, but every stop along the way was full of meaning that words are at a loss to adequately describe. Besides, I rarely, if ever, am able to see anything clearly, more like puzzling reflections in a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12).
I pray that you are all safe, well, and blessed!
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