Righteous Remnant vs. Counterfeit Christians

(Photo via Google Images) (Photo via Google Images)

It’s not hard to tell we are living in the last days. The world itself testifies of this right now  through earthquakes, christian persecution, blood moons, and religious wars. People idolize money and fame, all while transforming themselves into narcissistic Nebuchadnezzar’s and manipulative Jezebel’s. 2 Timothy 1-5 says,

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.

Wow! You can’t turn on the television without seeing this. You can’t go into the marketplace without seeing this.

And the sad thing is, you can’t even go to church without seeing this.

What God intends to be a house of prayer, a safe place for the body of believers to worship Him, we are turning into a den of thieves. Many churches have become more about financial profits than about the prosperity of the soul. We see charismatic pastors turning their God-given platform into an entertainment stage and their congregates are idolizing every word they say. Professed believers are worshipping their pastors and their church rather than the One they profess to have saved their very soul. Church has become more about networking than serving.

Lord have mercy on us!

This realization reminds me of Elijah and his bold question to the people of Israel during King Ahab’s rule. He asked them,

“How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow Him.” [1 Kings 18:21]

Oh, how we could ask ourselves the very same question! Are we going to serve the world or the Maker of the universe? Ourselves or our Savior? Are we serving the one true God or a god we’ve conjured up in our own imaginations?

But the people did not answer Elijah a word. So he devised a plan – an ‘I’ll show you who the real God is‘ plan. He told the prophets of Baal to offer up their sacrifice to Baal and then He would offer up his own sacrifice to God. “The God who answers by fire, He is God.” [1 Kings 18:24] It is noteworthy that both prepared an altar and offered a sacrifice. The Lord only responded to one of them.

So Baal’s prophets, all 450 of them, prepared an altar and called upon the name of Baal. They prayed from morning until evening crying out, “O Baal, answer us!” [1 Kings 18:26] They even leaped about the altar and called out louder. Still there was no answer.

My, my, my… I think I’ve seen many a church services filled with acts such as these. People may hoot and holler and shake and roll, but this is not what gets God’s attention. Let’s study Elijah’s sacrifice to see what God is after.

Elijah began his sacrifice by telling all the people, “Come near to me.” [1 Kings 18:30] THAT is exactly what God is after. He tells us to draw near to Him then He will draw near to us. [James 4:8] God responds when our hearts are bent towards Him!

Next Elijah took twelve stones and with these stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Did you know the number twelve symbolizes power and authority and completeness? And Jesus Christ Himself, the stone that the builders rejected, is the chief cornerstone! [Matthew 21:42] He is the giver of power and authority and we can be complete only in Him. [Luke 9:1] When the foundation of our faith is built upon Jesus we grow into a holy temple becoming a dwelling of God in the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:20-22]

After the altar was built then Elijah consecrated his altar by pouring a total of twelve pitchers of water on the sacrifice and on the wood. I’m sure the prophets of Baal were standing by mocking and persecuting Elijah at this one. Everyone knows wet wood does not burn! How ridiculous!

No, not ridiculous. Miraculous! And again, we see the number twelve signifying completeness. Jesus gives us living water and whoever drinks of it shall never thirst again! [John 4:14] In addition, the water symbolizes the consecration, sanctification, of the altar. Jesus sanctifies us by the ‘washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.’ [Ephesians 5:26-27]

Then Elijah prayed a simple prayer. He says, “I have done all these things at Thy word.” [1 Kings 18:36] 1 Samuel 15:22 tells us that to obey is better than sacrifice.

So after Elijah drew near to God, established the Lord as the foundation of his altar, and sanctified himself and his offering by obedience to the word of God, guess what happened? The fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the trench! [1 Kings 18:38]

When we are on fire for the Lord – real fire, not false fire – not only will we be consumed by the things of God, but everything and everyone in our path will be touched by God’s fire too! And when all the people see it, they will fall on their faces and say, “The Lord, He is God!” [1 Kings 18:39]

The church today must no longer hesitate between two opinions. We must remove all mixture. So many churches have a form of godliness, but they still hold on to the things of this world thus denying the power of God to move in their midst.

This is a Pharisaical spirit and it has penetrated our churches. The Pharisees hesitated between God and tradition. Likewise, many professed believers hesitate between God and the world. Jesus didn’t stutter when He called the Pharisees a ‘brood of vipers’ [Matthew 12:34] and He further spoke of them saying, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” [Mark 7:6-7]. Their heart is divided and God will break down their altars and destroy the pillars they’ve constructed [Hosea 10:2].

But there is a remnant!

There is a band of survivors whose zeal for the Lord is undefiled! The spirit of Elijah is being poured out and a great and mighty army of the Lord is arising! Strong is he who carries out His word!

Which camp are you in? The righteous remnant camp or the counterfeit christian camp? Ask the Holy Spirit to answer this question for you. Ask Him to open your eyes to the things in your life that are not pleasing to him. He paid a ransom so that the altar of your hearts would be consecrated completely to Him. In light of His glory, the things of the world are no longer appealing.

The Lord is returning for a pure, spotless bride and all imposters will be exposed. It’s not too late to join the righteous remnant! And for those of you who are already remnant warriors, let’s fan the flame! May the fire of our altars never burn out! [Leviticus 6:13]

Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God.” –Joel 2:12-13

In summary, if we follow the directions of Elijah,

  1. Draw near to God.
  2. Consecrate our altars – Prepare our hearts before the Lord.
    1. Repent
    2. Make Jesus our foundation for He is the chief cornerstone.
    3. Be holy as He is holy. 
  3. Emerse ourselves in the Word of God.
  4. Pray.
  5. Obey.

Then the fire of God will fall on us and consume our lives. We will be a living demonstration of God’s power and authority and all who see will know the Lord, He is God!!! Amen and amen!

Like a Child

(Photo via karlsprague.com)

Lord, let me see through the eyes of a child.
Restore unto me the wonder of the universe, the excitement of the simple things, and the intense passion for life.
Let me love with fervor, stand in innocence, and laugh often with joy unspeakable.

Lord, let me trust You as a good Father.
Restore unto me the faith of a child, the abandonment of worry, and the reliance of Your strength.
Let me partake of Your perfect love, rest in Your arms, and obey Your every command.

Matthew 18:3-4 – “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven…”

I Will Endure

After such interest in a previous post, “Walk Like a Blind Man,” I felt pressed to share this prophetic song God gave me to encourage that friend overcoming cancer. I pray it ministers to you.

I will endure,
I will endure,
I will endure for a little while.

The first gleam of dawn is breaking,
Soon the sun will be soaring.
Weeping may last through the night,
But joy comes in the morning.

I will not fear.
My robe is bullet proof.
Though the storm winds blow,
I will not be moved.

I will trust God.
My anchor is hope.
I will find rest
With Jesus in the boat.

I will endure,
I will endure,
I will endure for a little while.

I will lay hold of that for which
Jesus did lay hold of me.
I will obtain the prize that in
His perfection I am free.

The promise is mine.
This I will confess.
The word has gone forth,
And it will manifest.

I will endure,
I will endure,
I will endure for a little while.

Peace… Be… Still…

Like Jacob,
I will not let go until you bless me.

Like Abraham,
I will have faith in the promise you’ve spoken over me.

Like Daniel,
Even in the lion’s den, I will not bow to any other.

Like Paul,
Even in the prison cell I will sing your praises forever and ever.

I will endure,
I will endure,
I will endure for it’s just a little while.

Peace… Be… Still…

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” –Hebrews 10:36

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” –Hebrews 10:23

Lost… but not Forgotten

(Photo via CMCSVirtues)

A love story based on Ezekiel 16 & 36

I have loved you from the beginning of time. In the beginning, I created the heavens and the earth thinking about you and My Son. I created you for Him. Blood, water, and spirit I created you from the dust and separated the veil of time to place you in your point of history. For such a time as this you were created.

I look upon you and admire the beauty of My creation. Your hair as dark as the midnight sky; your eyes sparkling like the ocean at dawn. A delicate flower on the outside you are, but on the inside I made you a mighty warrior. I made you to be mighty for My Kingdom. To wrestle violently against the darkness.

I loved the days of your childlike faith when you let me hold you in the palm of My hand. But one tragic day, your warrior spirit – the tenacity that I love so much about you – turned against Me. You thought you knew better than Me and you jumped out of My hand. I could have closed My fist and held you tight, but I didn’t. In My great love for you, I always give you a choice.

You didn’t choose Me.

No longer safe and secure and clothed in My splendor, you lay naked and exposed and you hide in darkness. I cry out for you to return to Me and you turn the other way in shame. The darkness I created you to wrestle against, you begin making it your home.

You quickly become prey for all that is in the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Quickly you ran and quickly you fall. Every good and precious gift I give you, you squander with your loose living. You worship everything that catches your eye. All the while, I never take My eye off you.

My heart yearns for you. The separation you’ve built between us doesn’t hinder My love for you. Though you drown out My voice with endless distractions, My love for you is never quenched. Neither height, nor depth, nor any other created thing can separate you from My love.

So, I sent you a Savior, my Son, to rescue you from your harlotries. He was pierced through for your transgressions. He was crushed for your iniquities. The chastening for your well-being fell upon His shoulders. He poured Himself out to death only so you can live.

I know your heart aches as does Mine, for you were created to abide in Me and I in you. We were not meant to be apart so I’ve provided you a blood-stained cross to bridge our great divide. Come to Me, I beckon you. Let Me sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness. Let Me replace your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Let Me put My Spirit within you. I will save you from all your shame and disgrace. I will clothe you in My splendor once again. You will be Mine and I will be yours.

And same as always, I leave you a choice. Will you choose to cross that bridge and return to Me? Will you choose life through the death of your Savior? Will you choose Me? Choose this day whom you will serve.

Remember, you may be lost… but you are never forgotten.

Signed and Sealed with No Greater Love,

God, your Father

Walk Like a Blind Man

Photo via http://www.openheaven.com

My husband and I received a voicemail the other day from a friend whom we are believing healing for from cancer. He had called to give us a praise report. Needless to say, I was extremely excited about calling him back to hear the great news. But, before I could pick up the phone I heard God speak, “I am teaching you to walk like a blind man.” My first thought was, “What kind of lesson is that? Blind men can’t see.” I pictured myself walking aimlessly in the dark with my hands held out in front of me grasping nothing but empty air.

But then God immediately replaced that image with a picture of a blind man walking securely with purpose and direction. He had a keen sense of hearing allowing him to navigate safely and rather than having his hands extended to keep himself from stumbling, he held tightly to a leash fastened to his guide dog.

Then revelation quickly came. Blind men rely on their sense of hearing much more than people with eyesight. God wants us to close our eyes and rely completely on His voice. He wants us to become ‘blind’ to the natural realm. The earth around us is Satan’s dominion and is full of deception. When we close our eyes to the natural, God will give us vision in the supernatural, spiritual realm around us. This is God’s kingdom and here we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

In this place, God opens our ears to hear His voice which says, “This is the way, walk in it.” [Isaiah 30:21] In this place, our eyes are fixed upon Jesus not circumstances. In this place, our sight is on Him who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope, God calls us to believe and trust Him. [Romans 4:17-18].

In this manner, blind men aren’t weak and definitely do not stumble. God endues His followers with power and the Holy Spirit becomes our ‘guide dog’ leading the way. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor and provides discernment and wisdom to walk in His ways, keeping His statutes and commandments. The word of God illuminates the path before us. [Psalm 119:105]  God even gives His angels charge over us to bear us up, lest we strike our foot against a stone. [Matthew 4:6]

So, back to the phone call. To give you a little background of our faith journey with this friend, when we first heard the news of his diagnosis, we had wanted immediate miraculous healing. Who wouldn’t, right? God is Healer. But the very first words God spoke when we prayed healing for him was, “Endure. Endure for a little while.” Not exactly what we wanted to hear, but we knew God had spoken and was in control.

Enduring is a hard place to be. There’s a struggle in enduring. We had to take our eyes off the diagnosis, not in pretending it wasn’t there, but rather not allowing it to be our focus. When we focus our attention upon the natural realm, fear will creep in until it consumes us. But rather our eyes must focus completely on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith for through Him all things are possible. [Hebrews 12:2; Matthew 20:26]

The things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal. [2 Corinthians 4:18] This was helpful for us to remember while our friend was persevering through medical treatments, including radiation and surgery. God may have us endure treatment for a little while, but He will always be working behind the scenes. Yet all the while our faith is not in the treatment or medications, for these things only offer a ‘temporary fix’ to a problem. Most medications are taken daily because they work only temporarily. However, healing comes from God and God alone. His ways are eternal. He is the cure.

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

This process of enduring is a faith walk requiring us to patiently trust and believe God with a tranquil mind. We trust Him as a good Father who gives good things to his children. We trust Him as Healer. And when our faith falls into cadence with Him, the world around us will fade in light of His radiant glory.

So, I called our friend and was ecstatic to hear that the physicians found no cancer in any lymph nodes and there were no signs of metastatic disease. They believed they had removed all the cancer with surgery. Praise God, that was great news and I rejoiced with my brother in the Lord! God is Healer and the endurance gained in walking this out made his faith much stronger!

This reminds me of Thomas who had to physically see the pierced hands of Jesus and put his hands into the side of Jesus before he believed. But Jesus said, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” [John 20:29]. This is faith producing endurance, my friend.  Faith that can move mountains. The faith of a blind man.

God has called us all on a faith journey, to walk like blind men. In the same manner we have faith in an unseen God, we have faith for our healing. Just as creation screams from every mountaintop, valley, river, and desert of God’s existence, so does the Word of God scream from every page that God is Healer. Sometimes our healing is immediate. Sometimes we have to endure. Either way, we trust God and believe. We move when He says move, speak what He says speak, and go where He says go. And if we don’t hear anything, we stay the course until He tells us otherwise. Sometimes the road is short and sometimes the road is long.

If you are believing for healing in your life, know that your promises are in the Word.  Stand on the Word of God and walk like a blind man. Focusing only on Jesus. Remember, the promises of God are for him who overcomes. For the one who prevails, enduring through until the very end. We overcome by the blood of Jesus and the very Word of God! [Hebrews 10:36; Revelation 12:11]

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. –Galatians 5:25

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” –2 Corinthians 5:2

Knowing Jesus

Photo via Mark Lindberg

Like many growing up in the Bible belt U.S.A., I was immersed in religion at a very young age. My mom and dad saw that I attended two to three church services a week including youth group and Sunday School. In high school, I was president of my church’s youth group and vice president of my school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Upon graduation, I attended a Baptist University and was active in Baptist Student Union (BSU) and FCA. Then, after completing my pre-pharmacy requisites, I continued my education at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy where I was involved with Campus Crusade and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (CPFI). Whew! I’m worn out just typing all that!

To say I’ve been churched is putting it mildly. I knew the christian lingo, the appropriate things to do, and the things I needed to avoid. Sure, it kept me out of trouble, but it was all organizations and rules.  I was a country club christian attending all these functions to fellowship with my friends, not necessarily with Jesus. I did occasionally touch God (or rather in His grace and mercy He touched me), but instead of eating from the tree of life where there is true freedom found in Christ Jesus – the only source of Life – I was partaking from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yes, this is the same tree Adam and Eve ate from in the beginning which was the very first sin (Genesis 3:3). Rooted in this tree is the source of Satan’s power. It kills us by distracting us with christian legalism, so we lose focus of Jesus.  For years, I ate the ‘good’ fruit and avoided the ‘evil’ fruit simply because it was the right thing to do. After all, I was a ‘good’ girl. Outwardly, I had the perfect life. I married a wonderful man who loves the Lord, had two beautifully healthy boys, and climbed the pharmacy career ladder until I obtained my dream job as a managed care clinical pharmacist. I lived in a gated community, had a housekeeper, and a closet full of the latest fashion. I went to church regularly and even ministered into people’s lives upon occasion. It was great! What else could a good christian girl want?

It seemed I had it all, but I seriously lacked fulfillment. I remember going through the day with a smile on my face and then lying in the bed at night exhausted from pretending to be perfect and frustrated that I wasn’t perfect. This was my life for years. I was tired of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this way of living kept me under the Law which is of the old covenant. It kept me constantly focused on myself and I knew I could never measure up to who I thought God, and everyone else for that matter, wanted me to be. It was literally sucking the life right out of me. I even tried the evil fruit to see if it tasted better. It was as bitter as eating a dandelion, which may look pretty, but I knew it was a weed that would spread like wildfire if not uprooted.

When I was at the end of myself, in the pit created by my own doing, God showed up miraculously. At the point when I’d had enough, God spoke to me saying that if I would give my life completely to Him, I would have a life unimaginable in Him. A life of rest instead of striving; of abiding in Him instead of producing works for Him. A life walking in the supernatural, including gifts of prophecy and healing. A life led by the Holy Spirit and not the Law. Then He touched me and I witnessed two people healed by the hand of God in one night. It was no longer about me anymore. It was about God first, then my family, then others God placed in my path. That night, I finally gave up control of everything.

I wish I could say I walked on Cloud 9 from that night on, but when I relinquished control, my life fell apart and looked like a huge mess. I’ve always heard Satan builds us up so he can tear us down, but God tears us down so He can build us up. Well, this was the tearing down stage. Everything I had built had to come down – every idol I had built and exalted above the most high God. Really, the best way I know how to explain it is by comparing it to cleaning out a closet. At first you have to pull everything out, then sort through all the clothes and shoes getting rid of things that no longer fit or things you never wear anymore before you can start putting things back in order. If you’ve ever cleaned out a closet then you can relate to the big mess I’m talking about. It just has to get messy before it gets better. Just like a closet, God cleans us from the inside out. Going through this process hurt terribly, but it was so good and refreshing at the same time.

I walked away from a six-figure career that I had worked so hard to obtain. I stepped down from a leadership role in my church. As a matter of fact, because church and ministry had become one of my many idols, I quit going to church altogether for a short while in order to seek God and His truths for myself. My friends and family thought I was crazy and I experienced some persecution from those who didn’t understand what God was doing in my life.

When God stripped down the facade, the great masquerade I hid behind, I discovered that the foundation of my faith was built upon the Law, which is always full of works, and not Jesus Christ who came to redeem us from the Law (Galatians 3:13). God began showing me a lot of mistruths in my beliefs too. I’d been spoon-fed religion for so long and had never really searched the word for myself. When I did, I only highlighted the ‘bless me, Lord’ scriptures and not the piercing truth that exposed the evil in my heart. I certainly didn’t want to deny my flesh and suffer through the refiner’s fire. Who wants that!?! I’ll tell you who! The one who worships God in Spirit and in Truth and now I can boldly say, “I do because I am a daughter of the Most High God!”

At the time of this post, it’s been a year since I walked away from all the world had to offer to follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. My life is still not perfect, but my gaze is not on me anymore, but rather on the One who is perfect. I no longer need to prove my worthiness by good works. My trust is in Him for He alone is worthy. I find rest and peace and hope in Him. My righteousness comes from the atoning blood of the cross (1 Peter 2:24). It’s not about what I’ve accomplished, but rather what He has accomplished! He alone is the Life Giver!  (Be sure to check out the video at the end of this post. It is an amazing testament of God’s redeeming love for us!)

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 3:7-14