God is inviting those who will listen to begin blessing the wilderness of 2020. Here in the eleventh hour of this year, we can rise up in faith and declare that King Jesus has been drawing us into deeper intimacy with him through all of its challenges. In Song of Songs 8:5 there is a prophetic question, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?”
May God open our eyes to see the past year through his eyes. May he heal the eyes of our heart so that we will have wisdom and revelation. Our Bridegroom King has drawn us into the wilderness out of his deep desire for us. As we lean upon him with all of our hearts, we can trust that he is blessing us as his Bride and will provide more than we could think or imagine.
Hosea 2:14-23 contains God’s promise to his Bride (the people of God);“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.“In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground.Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.“In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord—“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth;and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
There is a profound glory being poured out from heaven to those who will rise up in bold, courageous faith through Christ and bless the wilderness of 2020. Our Beloved, our bridegroom King Jesus has never let us down. May we have ears to hear and eyes to see how he has led us in 2020. He is good and his extravagant love is about to be displayed as never before upon his Bride. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come, King Jesus.”
I’ve been crafting and honing a prophetic word for 2020 over my own life. The phrase that has been coming to me is, “This year you will SEE in 20/20”. I’m working on a prayer that will express what I want God to do in me over the coming year. It involves restoring the eyes of my heart and renewing my ability to see clearly in the Spirit
According to the American Optometric Association, “20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet… Having 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance.”
I want an inner vision that has been refined to “normal visual acuity” for a child of God living to see God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. I want to see at 20 (spiritual) feet what I am supposed to see. And, I love the prophetic idea of having clear “vision at a distance”.
I feel like God is blowing on the fire in our hearts with a desire to see in 20/20 in the New Year. I am definitely intrigued. Has the Spirit been stirring up anything similar to this in your life? I am wondering if others have been getting revelation for the year to come.
Good morning from Saint John, NB, Canada. Last night, as I was worshipping with a room full of brothers and sisters in Jesus, I became aware of the presence of God. As we were singing with passion, there was another force coming upon us. I began to see, in the spirit, that the Lord was not waiting for us to pursue Him. He was actually coming toward us in waves. His love and glory, which were coming to us, were overwhelming our love and desire for him.
I began to understand that IT IS TIME to lay down any confidence we have placed in our ability to journey or climb up to God. Any awakening of HIS glory in the nations is happening because of his amazing grace and initiative. We have the honour and privilege in Christ of responding in extravagant worship.
Once again, I was so blessed and encouraged as I sensed the overwhelming intensity of His love for all of creation. I submit to you that
When it comes to being a solid, life-giving Christian or Jesus Follower, we are really talking about being a faithful son or daughter. One of my favourite Father/Child stories in the Bible is the one found in Matthew 21:28-31. Jesus posed this question to some religious experts; “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted? ‘The first,’ they answered.”
For Jesus, the faithful son was the one who understood the importance of getting his father’s work done.
I see myself in this story. I have prayed hundreds of times that our Father in heaven would keep me awake to the “vineyard” he sends me to every day. I have learned to perceive my ordinary life and responsibilities as His vineyard for me to work.
God did not create you to simply behave yourself and measure up to a moral code. He designed you to work in His vineyard. The place where you live and the circumstances you are in stand ready for you to be a creative force for the kingdom of God, on earth as in heaven.
Will you say yes to your father’s call to go and work in His vineyard? It is what you were created for. Your vineyard will look different than mine. But, you are designed perfectly for it.
So, don’t lose heart! Every new sunrise brings a new call from the Father. He’s not listening for the right answer. He’s looking for you and me to step into the mundane and/or daunting day that lies before us and look for Him there.
When I hear, “It’s easy, just be yourself” I have to laugh. It’s costly to be yourself. To be real in this world demands a grace that is beyond us. You were created to reflect the character of God into your world every day. But like the rest of us you need help. Before we go on, you need to be reminded that you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I had always been part of a church family. That also meant that I had to endure the pressures of religion and especially misguided religious people who put my dad and our family on a pedestal. As a result I learned very young to pretend and present the right image at the right time to keep the crowd happy. Hiding became a lifestyle for me.
By the time I was eighteen I was torn and imprisoned by the lie that I could manage my life by myself. I couldn’t. In the Fall of 1980 I finally surrendered to Jesus with this prayer; “Jesus, Whether you are happy about this or not, you are stuck with me. Because I am not going to let go of you.” What I didn’t see was that He had never let go of me. Thus a journey began. It has been a tough journey of surrender. But, I have always been sure of His presence with me.
Maybe you get my struggle. You know what it is like to feel that you can’t be yourself and follow Jesus. There is hope!
How can you discover “The Real”?
When you embrace faith in Jesus Christ, you receive something the Bible calls “eternal life”. Another way to think of it is life the way God designed it. You become part of the culture of heaven. You still live your ordinary life but your eyes open to a brand new dynamic in the world that Jesus called the “kingdom of heaven”.
Tucked into the package of eternal life is a promise. As you trust God’s agenda in your life you will grow into who you really are. The real you will actually break through the surface and shine for God’s glory.
I want to share a couple of scriptures and personal habits that have helped me break through to more authenticity.
Jesus Christ entered into our world as God in the flesh. If you study his life you will find that he won the war against all that is fake, toxic and dark in this world. He even faced death and came back to life in order to free you and me from the prison of counterfeit, dead existence.
In this letter to the Colossians Paul reminds his friends that their true identity is secure and hidden with Christ. He is with us and we are with Him as we face every day. If you will trust in Him you will know it for yourself.
But don’t miss what Paul said next. You can be confident that when Christ appears for everyone to see, you won’t be revealed as an imposter. Instead, because you have learned to surrender by God’s grace, the “real” you will be known and appreciated because you will shine with His glory.
Remind yourself every day that no matter how things seem, if you put your trust, faith and dependence in Jesus, He is bringing the real amazing you out into the open for all of us to appreciate. In the end the real you will be a testimony to God’s glory.
Make it a regular habit to remind yourself that as a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is guiding you through a process of becoming who you really are. All of the ups and downs of this life are bringing the real you out into the open. The best is always yet to come!
So glad you took the time to read this today. If you have found it helpful, I’d love it if you would leave a comment. Also, please share it with a friend who could use some encouragement in living today with Jesus.
They had joined his revolution. Three years earlier they had first encountered him. They had never met anyone like Jesus. He spoke and lived with authority as if he “owned the place”. And then he demonstrated in countless ways that he actually was in control because God had given him authority to usher in a brand new day for all of creation.
But, now they had arrived at the climax of Jesus’s plan. The next few weeks would prove to be the ultimate test for these followers. Not all of them would make it. But, for those who did, it would be because they learned to trust in the Spirit of God with them.
Do you sometimes wonder what the Holy Spirit means to you? You aren’t alone in that. I want to give you three helpful tips on not missing the Holy Spirit in your everyday life. If you are up for that, lets go!
Can you imagine being one of Jesus’s best friends? It was costly to be his friend but you wouldn’t have traded one moment for all of the gold in the world.
You didn’t really see this coming, but Jesus had begun to talk about what was going to be next for him. “The Son of Man must suffer and even lay down his life”, he had told you. Through many conversations along the road he had explained that he would be taken from you and the other disciples. He hadn’t held back. It was going to get very rough for all of you.
Now the moment had come. Imagine being in the room at the Last Supper as Jesus walked his disciples through this:
“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and getyou so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”
5 Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”
6-7 Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you wouldknow my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”
9-10 “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words thatI speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.
11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doingbut even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.
15-17 “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! John 14:1-20
God’s bold move was to launch his restart of all creation through Jesus. Once it was launched he took a risk that only God would take. He handed the mission over to human beings like you and me.
How can you make sure you don’t miss the Holy Spirit’s help?
1. Do the works that Jesus did in your ordinary day.
Jesus called us out by saying, “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you”. The Holy Spirit is with you to lead you back into accomplishing Jesus’s mission in the world. One of the best things you can do for yourself each day is to give your plans to God in exchange for what he wants to do. The Holy Spirit has a plan for your day. It will always lead you back to serving the people around you with the love of Jesus. Anything that doesn’t lead us back to the mission of Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to start your day with a simple prayer like this. “Spirit of God I surrender my plans to you. Lead me to accomplish the mission of Jesus in this day so that my world can see that you are real. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
2. Love being a student of Jesus for the rest of your life.
For many reasons we can get fooled into a very limited view of Jesus’s identity. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Hebrews 1:1-3. The Bible teaches us that Jesus actually reveals God to us. We know who God is and what He is like by studying Jesus. Jesus and his life are the most important message we will ever receive from heaven.
And according to John 14:26, Jesus wants us to know that the Holy Spirit is just waiting for us to set our hearts on knowing Jesus. He is an endless supply of support for us in showing and reminding us of what Jesus said and brought into our world.
3. Dig in to the teachings of Jesus in order to give the Holy Spirit the space to speak to you.
Many people will say that they aren’t sure if God ever speaks to them. If that is the way you feel, I challenge you to focus your Bible reading in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John for the next few months and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. I know you will be surprised by the results in your everyday life.
A powerful wisdom hack for the person who wants to hear from God is found in two letters written by the Apostle Paul to two different churches in his day. His comments to his friends in these churches are very much the same with one twist. The first is found in Ephesians 5. The second is found in Colossians 3. The only difference is that he coaches the Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit while he calls the Colossians to let the words of Christ dwell in them.
A wise principle that has helped me many times is this:
Without the Holy Spirit the words of Christ won’t come alive in you. And without the words of Christ the Holy Spirit has nothing to work with in helping you know his voice. You need both.
Thanks for reading and I hope it helps you live this day with Jesus. Leave me a comment if you have a minute. And if it helped you please share it with someone else.
But, it won’t come easy. In order to possess the life of boldness and adventure you were designed for you will have to fight for it. One of the key battles is over what you truly believe. The good news is that Jesus came to set you free, bring you to life and empower you to overcome toxic, false beliefs. Are you up for it?
Real people who carry the fire of God are always a threat to human power brokers. On that day they confronted Jesus asking him, “What gives you the right to do these things?”. Jesus knew that these leaders were religious and wanted to “save face”. He pressed them to say whether or not this message he carried was from heaven or simply a human agenda.
They couldn’t answer because if they admitted it was from heaven, their hypocrisy would be obvious to everyone. So he told them a story and asked them a probing question that unmasked their toxic belief:
28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway.30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. Matt. 21:28-32
Toxic belief is saying you will live according to what Jesus taught and not doing it.
The “chief priests and elders of the people” heard John’s message, didn’t believe or “change their minds”. Even when they witnessed the change in the “sinners” it didn’t budge them. The darkness within them was powerful & deep because they had convinced themselves that God endorsed their shallow self righteous ways.
How can you avoid toxic belief and live authentically?
Two Life Hacks for Authenticity:
1. Remind yourself every day that God has called YOU to make “AWESOME” happen.
Much like the sons in Jesus’s story your Father has come to you and said; “Go to the vineyard and work today.” So let’s camp on that a second.
Since you are God’s masterpiece designed to make “awesome” happen today for his glory, “What are you waiting for”?
2. Change Your Mind from Religion to Revolution
If you are serious about unmasking toxic belief in your own life you need to change the way you think. Following Jesus as a child of God is not about being religious. Jesus didn’t come to start a religion but he DID launch a kingdom revolution. Authentic belief is all about faith in Jesus that results in daily engaging with “the vineyard” of our ordinary lives.
In his book, “With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God”, Skye Jethani wrote, “Fear and control are the basis for all human religions.” @SkyeJethaniClick here to watch a 5 min video for more on this idea. The hope of the world is not found in religion. According to Jesus, the life that God honours is engaging our everyday lives in His name.