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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Divine Delaying

OK, here's a pop quiz (embedded in a hypothetical scenario) to see how obedient you are to God. Ready? OK!

You are a worthy, male priesthood holder. Your best friend lives a couple of cities away. The sister of this best friend (who you also know) sends you a text message and says, "Hey, my brother is really, really sick. In fact, the doctors say he could die at anytime. We'd like YOU to come give him a priesthood blessing. Now. Please."

What do you do?

Well, you go give your friend a blessing, right?

<< buzzer sound >>

OK, end of hypothetical scenario.

Divine Delaying and Lazarus


2,000 years ago, Yeshua was in a similar scenario, as recounted in John 11. He loved Lazarus (Hebrew: Eleazar—"God is my help"), and Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha. When he was told that Lazarus was sick, he stayed put in Bethabara for two more days. Afterwards, he told his disciples that they would be visiting Lazarus (who, by this time, was dead).

Yeshua was outside Bethany two days later, at which time Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. He was greeted by Martha, who stated, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." (John 11:21-22).

Clearly, Martha still saw her reality, saying, "Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days" (v 39). But Jesus replied from a greater reality, "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"

After the stone in front of the cave was removed, Yeshua cried in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth" (v 43). And he did.

On that day, the news of Jesus' miracle traveled at lighting speed and brightness. From that day, many more Jews believed in Christ, while the chief priests and the Pharisees began plotting his death.

Did Yeshua procrastinate healing Lazarus? Of course not. Did he think such an opportunity was unimportant? Quite the contrary, he saw it as an opportunity "that the Son of God might be glorified thereby" (v 4) and for Martha to "see the glory of God" (v 40).

I personally believe that Yeshua also did it to glorify the Father, and to manifest to the world, for recorded time, that even the most incredible, impossible and inconceivable thing -- raising a dead person to life -- can only be done in and through he who has overcome all things.

(Parenthetically, I know of others who have raised the dead to life, including Tisina Wolfgramm).

Imagine if Christ had gone straightway to Bethany when he first heard of Lazarus' condition. Imagine if Christ arrived at Lazarus' side after he had been dead minutes or hours, instead of four days. What impact would Christ's intervention have had then?

No. Christ delayed because he knew what was coming, and that the sheer magnificence and transcendence of this delayed event would praise and glorify God in new, truly breathtaking and awe-inspiring ways for the rest of recorded history.

Yeshua's delaying was inspired.

Timing is Everything


Fast forward to today.

Those who devoutly and devotedly worship Christ constantly seek, and in fact create, opportunities to serve others -- to be charitable. We want to heal the brokenness of others or perhaps save them from future pain and discomfort. We want to help replace death with life, pain with peace, sadness with joy. And we want to do it now.

But as we learn from John 11, as well as Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven".

We are also told that "a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment" (Eccl. 8:5).

To me, this means that there are both acceptable times (Isaiah 49:8) and unacceptable times (Genesis 2:17; John 7:6) unto God for man to proceed on a certain course of action.

I believe that there are some things, like repentance, which require no delays.

However, in other cases, in our eagerness to emulate the Master, this sequence chart...

1. You want to be anxiously engaged in a good work.
2. You ask for divine confirmation of it.
God says, "Do it"
3. You ask, "When?"
God tells you when you should do it (Now, Later)
4. You do it (when God said to).
5. Results: are divinely decreed.

...becomes this sequence chart:

1. You want to be anxiously engaged in a good work.
2. You ask for divine confirmation of it.
God says, "Do it"
4. You do it.
5. Results: You later discover that your timing was off, and you have a "mess" to clean up.

Real-Life Stories of Divine Delaying


Story #1: A friend of mine recently found out (the hard way) that when embarking on a divinely confirmed course of action, it's probably a pretty good idea to ask a follow-up question (like, "When do you want me to do it?").

This friend scheduled an event which involved the inclusion of other people. They asked God if this event was divinely approved, and received an affirmative confirmation. With that information in hand, they planned the event, sent out invitations and held the event, which was intended to be spiritually uplifting and instructive.

Unfortunately, the event was not uplifting. In fact, it crashed and burned. It was instructive, however, in that my friend learned a valuable lesson: they never asked regarding the event's timing, nor did they ask for a divinely-directed invitation list. They lamented the fact they needed to send out an apologetic e-mail.

Story #2: Earlier this year, I had wanted my home teaching partner and I to visit Marilynn (not her real name) towards the middle, not the end, of the month. But I kept getting a feeling that I needed to schedule it much, much later. I finally scheduled it for the last day of the month. When we arrived, we found Marilynn in near tears. She was applying for a job (which she had found out about the previous day) online, and was quite intimidated by the online nature of the whole job application process (the fact that her browser was about 10 years old didn't help matters either). She had been struggling with this online job application for about four hours, always thinking she could do it by herself.

I told Marilynn to sit tight, and that within an hour, her application would be submitted. My partner and I raced to my house, grabbed my laptop, returned to Marilynn's and worked on her online job application. We were done in under an hour.

Typically, either my partner or I leave Marilynn's house with a word of prayer. But that night, it was Marilynn who looked up to a loving, compassionate Father and thanked Him for the perfect timing of His -- and our -- help. I remember my eyes kind of getting moist at that point, too, because it was clear to all of us in that living room that the right resources had been brought together, at the right time, for this humble and meek daughter of a Father who loves her very much.

The Lesson of Belshazzar


I am very blessed to know many people wanting to do God's will. They are willing to devote all they are, and all they have -- even their own lives -- to God.

And yet, in their eagerness and zeal to please God and help care for His children, they miss a step or two. Consequently, they end up stepping in something icky. Sometimes they learn their lesson. Sometimes they don't, continuing on, never humbling themselves to seek and understand what they did to get so messy.

But something beneficial has happened -- to me.

I have learned (or, shall I say, it has been seared in me) that God is very much a "measure twice, cut once" kind of being. Belshazzar learned this (the hard way) when God wrote with his own finger the following: "MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN"
"This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." (Daniel 5:26-28)
My brother, my sister...

In the coming years, all of us will need to number and weigh a lot of important things, both temporal and spiritual.

Our lives, the lives our families, and perhaps others, may depend on it.

We cannot, we must not, gingerly proceed down a path while being self-assured that our endeavors are built on a foundation of divinely-approved timing. Matters of such importance require more than just self-assurance.

A wise friend once told me to always, always, always give the Holy Ghost a chance to weigh in...ESPECIALLY when other lives are involved.

I like that.

Because sometimes, "Divine Delaying" really is the correct course of action.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Safest Place in America (During The Upcoming Shaking)



Note: This video resonated with me so much, I thought I'd post it. Your thoughts? Also, I couldn't find a complete and accurate transcript of this video, so I did it myself. 


This is Jonathan Cahn, the author of "The Harbinger" and "The Mystery of the Shemitah."

We've been deluged with questions from around the nation, around the world, as to recent events and to what's coming. So we decided to make this to address this in a very brief way.

I believe a great shaking is coming to America and the world.

I believe it will involve an economic collapse, a financial collapse and a shaking even greater than those realms.

Does it have to happen in this period coming at the climax of the Shemitah or autumn?

It doesn't. I've given two cautions throughout: First, God is sovereign. He doesn't need to do anything according to our timetable or our thoughts. And our faith, I do not want to rest in dates but in God, and in getting right with God. That's the point.

And the Shemitah is a pattern, a cycle that can manifest more in one cycle, less in another. Nothing has to happen. It could be uneventful. The point is not dates; it's getting right in the will of God.

At the same time, the other caution is, it could happen according to this timing. And that's why I gave dates in the book "The Mystery of the Shemitah," that it's actually there that we should be aware of that.

I believe regardless of the timing, whether during or beyond this time period, a great shaking is coming. What has happened since "The Harbinger" was released is America has not grown closer to God; it's grown farther. And the harbingers have continued to manifest as America has continued on a course away from God.

And what just recently happened is ominous. What happened a little while before recording this, earlier in the summer, is America took a step -- it crossed the line, it struck down, through the Supreme Court, the biblical definition of marriage. This was a tectonic event, a seismic event, a culture-changing event, with profound ramifications not just for marriage, but for America's future itself -- for culture, society, education, law, religious freedom, persecution, apostasy and judgment. It altered what has been for thousands of years the most basic component of human civilization, like altering the atom and not expecting a massive repercussion. It represents the breaking of nothing less than the order of God's creation.

On the first day that America existed as a fully-formed,  constituted nation, on the day of the first inauguration,  President Washington gave a prophetic warning. He said, "The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the internal rules of order and right that heaven itself has ordained."

In other words, if America ever turns away from God, disregards his eternal Rules of Order in right, then the blessings of God will be removed from the lands. And if anything could constitute the disregarding of the internal rules of order and right that heaven has ordained, it is the striking down of the biblical, historic definition of marriage.

And so it represents what happened -- the rejection of a nation, of its Judeo-Christian foundation, of the Word of God on which it was built, to become an officially post-Christian nation or an anti-Christian nation in its mainstream culture.

And when as the prophets cried out, when sin is enshrined or is viewed as good, then righteousness is viewed as evil.

And so a warning has come of persecution -- not just from the pulpit, but from the Supreme Court itself. Every one of the four dissenting judges issued a warning to the effect that believers, Christians in effect, will be persecuted.

A change has come, and there is an ominous message here.

So the word "Shemitah" can mean "the fall." And the Shemitah of 1973 there was a moral, spiritual fall when America decided to legalize the killing of its unborn children. And now, in this Shemitah of 2015, has come another fall.

One of the principles in scripture is that judgment is often preceded by an act of desecration. Ezekiel was in the temple, was shown by God the desecration of the Holy Place that was being committed there. And then, he was shown of the judgment that was coming. Daniel was in Babylon. In Babylon, they had a feast, a party or celebration, to the gods. And the king of Babylon sent for the holy sacred vessels of God that were taken from the Temple of Jerusalem to be brought out into the party and to be used as drinking vessels as they partied to the gods. And as they did it, a hand appeared on the wall and wrote words in Aramaic -- the so-called "handwriting on the wall." The words warned that judgment was coming. And that night, judgment came to Babylon.

Desecration precedes judgment. What happened this summer, to take what is of God -- marriage is a vessel, a sacred vessel of God -- to take it and use that vessel as the temple vessels were used against their purpose for another purpose and against the purposes of God and the Word of God, is an act of desecration. And that leads us to drink wine in Babylon from the sacred vessels of God. And that portends judgment.

The nine harbingers that are mentioned in the book "The Harbinger" -- the signs of a nation heading for judgment -- have all been fulfilled, have actually continued to manifest as America has been racing to judgment in defiance of God. And all these things are converging while America has descended from God with increasing acceleration.

So at the same time, its relationship with Israel has deteriorated to levels it has never known. That is another danger sign. The Bible says, "I will bless those who bless the children of Abraham. I will curse those who curse them." And  in every way, we are converging. It's like a perfect storm.

Do I believe it is wise to be ready, to prepare physically? I do. Not in fear, but in wisdom. Not in selfishness, but to bless others. But having a store of essentials, to get you through when systems could break down, I believe is a wise thing anyway to have regardless -- of food, water and other essentials.

If nothing happens -- worst-case scenario/no worse case scenario -- you can eat your investment. We are not survivalists, we are revivalist. We are here to bless others and to be a light. But I believe it would be wise, in this way, says the wise man sees calamity coming, and prepares.

Financially, I wouldn't feel wise to be investing in the stock market unless the Lord told you, or having things linked to the rising of the stock market.

Rather, the most important preparation is to be right with God.

You looking for safety in such times -- the word for safety in Hebrew is "Yeshua." Yeshua is the name of Jesus. The safest place is to be in him. If you're not born again, if you're not saved and born again, if you're not born again, you're not going to heaven, and if you're not saved, you're not right with God, you need to get born again. Get your life into Yeshua Jesus -- that's salvation.

And if you are, and you looking for what's the safest place to go, where should I live, is it in the midwest, is it on the coast, where should I be?

Well, I can tell you the safest place in America is called "The Will of God." 

Make sure your life is in the will of God. Whatever is in your life, that shouldn't be there in your life, get it out of your life. Don't say tomorrow; do it today.

Whatever should be in your life, that's not in your life, the time is now -- today -- to start ruling it in. Take that first step.

What happened this summer, in the highest court of the land, it represents a change where the faith, the Biblical faith, is going from a status quo faith to a radical faith...a cultural faith to a counter-cultural faith...an establishment faith to a prophetic and revolutionary faith. And we have to become a prophetic people.

The temptation is to be intimidated, to be pressured, to go along with things, or dance around them, or to be silent. But we have to resist that.

This is the time of our testing. We speak of the days of Elijah. Well, these are the days of Elijah when a civilization has turned against its very foundation in apostasy. These are the days of Ezekiel. The same thing, the days of Jeremiah, the days of the Apostles within an increasingly anti-Christian world culture.

You know, we preach about biblical times and we preach about living there, or hey, we would want to live in the Book of Acts. Well, you've got them now. That time has arrived.

These are the days of Elijah, and we must become the Elijahs of the day. The most important thing you can do now is to make the decision that no matter what, you will follow God without compromise, without reservation, without wavering, all out, on fire.

The grays are disappearing. And as the grays disappear from the darkness, or the darkness removes the gray to become totally dark, that means it's time for the lights of God to remove the gray from their lives and become totally bright for God.

This is the time of our testing, we will show where we are at. But this is the time that not only produce the greatest evil, it also produces the greatest good. These are the days that produce greatness. This is when the greatest testimonies come, when the greatest believers come. It will produce greatness in you because it's going to force you to make the decision to make it for one or the other. If you make it for god, you're going to grow stronger and stronger and stronger.

Let this produce greatness in your life. Draw the line in the sand. People ask me, "Is going to be judgment or revival?" I answer that it can be both; there can be judgment or shaking and revival at the same time. In fact, revival can come out of shaking. And it may be that America has grown so deaf to the voice of God that only through shaking, only through his shouting, can revival come.

But we need to be ready for that. We need to be praying for revival. Now. Fervently. And not only praying for revival, we need to be actually living in revival.

If you decide to live in revival, in your own life with God, then the revival starts here and now. We need to be ready.

It is time to be bold for God. If these are the days when the world grows darker, then it's time for the people of God to grow and shine brighter. If the bad is going from bad to worse, then it's time for the good to go from good to great.

And those who do, God will especially anoint. It says the eyes of the Lord search the entire earth looking for the one whose heart is completely his. And he will show himself mightily, powerfully, for that one.

You be that one! You be that people! You be that congregation! You be that ministry! Shine for God. Be "all out" for God. And God will greatly, powerfully anoint you.

This will be our most challenging time, but it can also be our greatest hour.

Be great. Rise to the call. Rise to the mantle for which you were placed in this world, in your mother's womb, for such a time as this.

As the Lord said (and says) to you, "Kumi ori, Ki va orech, U’ch’vod Adonai alayich zarach" -- Arise and shine people of God. Arise and shine man of God, woman of God, child of God. Arise and shine because your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. Darkness covers the Earth. Darkness will cover the peoples. But the Lord's will shine and his glory will rise upon you. And nations will come to your light and Kings to the brightness of your shining (Isaiah 60:1-3).

Be strong, and be of good courage, and may God bless and keep you now and always. Shalom.