ANN MORGAN MIESNER was known for many years as the 'book lady' when she was a distributor and Area Manager of Successful Living Products, selling and placing inspirational book racks in stores in South-Central Kansas and all of Oklahoma. Her company's motto was to "go to where the people are." She is still a Good Book lady, and that is still her motto as owner of CROWN Connections: CROWN: Calling Real Ordinary [Wo]men NOW.
Miesner and her husband Jim have been married from three weeks after his return from Vietnam. Their military family is comprised of four children and their growing families. They have overcome about twelve deployments so far and many other trials. Their family continues to fight the good fight of faith daily. Be sure to watch her videos on the home page at: https://www.godwhoareyou.org
This week I was invited to join a private Facebook group called RED DOOR FRAMES FOR PASSOVER. We were invited to decorate our front door frames in red ribbon, cloth, paper, anything to SIGNIFY the POWER in the blood of Jesus – the Lamb.
The group had 77,000 members when I joined. One hour later, it had 87,000. Yesterday, the number was 277,069. Today it is 295,308.
People can also ask for prayer in the group, and they have — many from Covid-19 hospitalizations. Many have been healed!! One man posted and said, “I just asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and I asked Him into my heart. I know my life will be so different from here on.” The great awakening is here folks!
I have also joined a free training called 4:14 Challenge – named for Esther 4:14, where Esther was called for such a time as this. We are also here not just by chance. God has a very unique and personalized reason for us being alive right now – especially among this Covid-19 plague. The reason has to do with the BLOOD.
THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS, THE LAMB OF GOD
Here’s the reason I’m writing you today: in the RED DOOR FRAMES FOR PASSOVER group I never saw a prayer in response to very dire circumstances with Covid-19 that mentioned the blood of Jesus or the name of Jesus – a very group about the blood and the Passover which is to be an everlasting memorial to all generations, a sign.
We must understand the power in the blood. We must understand how to appropriate the blood over ourselves, over our families, city and nation. The revivals in times past were marked by the POWER in the blood. People learned to apply, or to plead the blood of Jesus. It made all the difference. Healing ensued and people were drawn to Jesus.
Do you remember the song we used to sing in church, “There is power, power, wonder working power, in the blood, of the Lamb” Repeat. I’ve tried to stress this throughout my book and told the story of my friend Janice and how her aunt taught her to do this – by using her mouth to say, “I plead the blood of Jesus in this nook and in this crannie” throughout her whole house. You may have already read her story. The demonic activity in her house left and she and her husband accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
TODAY IS PASSOVER #3333 of the Blood of Jesus – April 9, 2020
Passover began last night and will run for seven days. This year it will also align with Easter Sunday, on the twelfth.
3333 years ago, was the first Passover. This is when the death angel passed over the children of Israel’s homes where they had struck the door frames of their houses with the blood of a perfect lamb. This act was in obedience to the Lord through Moses.
This was the last of ten plagues the Lord brought upon Egypt in order to bring his children out of bondage and into the promised land. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened during the first nine plagues and would not allow the Israelites to leave with Moses and his brother Aaron.
But, after this last plague, on the night the children of Israel ate the Passover meal with the whole roasted firstborn, perfect lamb, all the firstborn children of Egypt died. BUT the death angel passed over the homes of the Israelites.
WHY did the death angel pass over their homes? Because of the BLOOD – the blood of the Lamb – the Lamb without blemish who was to come years later – Jesus Christ!
PHARAOH – THE ENEMY – FINALLY QUIT FIGHTING
After the death of the firstborn, Pharaoh said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and he children of Israel. And go serve the LORD AS YOU HAVE SAID. Also take your flocks and your herds, AS YOU HAVE SAID, and be gone; and bless me also” (Exodus 12: 31-32).
AS YOU HAVE SAID!
AS YOU HAVE SAID!
As believers, we have been given authority in Jesus Christ. We are in Him, and He is us. Our words carry great weight. As we align our mouths with His words and speak them in faith believing, we will see answers; we will see miracles; we will see the supernatural every day of our lives.
The other crown articles I wrote all last year are gaining ground, too. As the virus is noted for having a crown, it seems to me that Satan is trying to take our crown. Will you stand against him with the blood of Jesus?
May I offer you a BLOOD OF JESUS challenge?
The next time you see a prayer request that grabs your heart, instead of saying merely “prayers,” and keep scrolling, take the time to write out your short prayer, something like, “Be healed in the name and in the blood of Jesus Christ.”Let your words speak. Let your words be powerful. Let your words bring victory. Be an over comer in Jesus’ name and by Jesus’ name!
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have; that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).
“And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their own lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11). These are the captured, raptured saints in heaven.
*Corona means the part of the body, the crown of the head; a white or colored circle or set of concentric circles of light seen around a luminous body, especially around the sun or moon.
When adversity comes, knocks, strikes, and hits down your door
My husband and I recently made a beautiful ascent into Jerusalem onto the Mount of Olives (where Jesus’ feet will one day land) that descended past the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed before His afflictions and crucifixion. The steep path led into the Kidron Valley that led up to the Eastern Gate through which He will return to the city.
I’ve documented our trip with images and explanations on my Facebook page: C.R.O.W.N. Calling Real Ordinary [Wo]men NOW. That’s about all I’ve done business/ministry wise in the last four months since we left for Israel in October.
We soon learned that a descending of afflictions into the valley follows an ascending
Jerusalem is a city built on the mountains. So, to go out from Jerusalem, the disciples had to go down. They had to go down the mountain. So, to send them out from Jerusalem was to send them down from Jerusalem. Just as important as it is to ascend the mountain is to descend it. In fact, that’s the direction of ministry . . . down the mountain (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, (Charisma House Book Group 2016, pg. 325).
Our traveling plans were to return home through Germany to see our daughter and family at their Army post. She had warned us that they were on the top fourth floor of their apartment building. They had missed getting into a house four months prior when they moved there. But it didn’t matter that they had no elevator, because Jim and I were both afflicted that whole week.
After arriving home, I discovered I had double pneumonia; Jim had ear and sinus problems. Six weeks after I recovered, I was able to care for my sister who had a hip replacement and get ready for Christmas for our children. A couple days later, I went for a walk and then another sudden affliction hit me…a complication from the pneumonia which put me on a breathing machine three times per day for thirty days. Today is the first day off that contraption!
During this trying time, I tried to pray which was hard since energy was out the door. But, one morning I heard in my spirit, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” How encouraging that was! I looked it up in my Bible:
To afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain and suffering. To afflict means to cast down; to strike; humble; overthrow; to distress so severely as to cause persistent suffering or anguish; trouble; injure; torment.
Afflictions are the state of being afflicted; the cause of persistent pain or distress; great suffering.
What strikes me about this definition is that a “cast sheep” is one that has turned over on its back due to outside sources. Because it’s heavy with lamb and wool, it cannot turn over on its own. Without the shepherd’s help, it will die. To be enlightened how we are like sheep, go to>> Sheep of the Lord and Jehovah Rohi
Where Do Afflictions Come From and Why?
The Bible shows where adversity comes from and why most clearly in the book and story of Jōb.
Jōb lived in the land of Uz with his wife, seven sons and three daughters. He was a righteous man, who was blameless, honored God and shunned evil. He was blessed by God with material wealth: seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants.
One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”
Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Jōb? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
Satan retorted, “So do you think Jōb does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him and his family or his possessions, bless everything he does— he can’t lose!
“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”
God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.”—Job 1:6-12 The Message
If you are going through a difficult time right now, you will want to go HERE to read this full story. The story of Jōb will help you like no other. It guided me at our most difficult days years ago. It shows what is going on behind the scenes where Satan brings disaster upon Jōb by taking away everything he owns except his wife. Eventually, his own body is struck with painful boils.
Job’s three ‘friends’ came to see him. They accused him and his adult children of sin and criticized him for days. Never did they pray for him.
Job gets so frustrated that he said, “I’m going directly to God for answers.” Of course, this is exactly what God wanted to hear >> The Story of Job.
We will look at four principles this story teaches us about suffering, adversity and afflictions, and what God is doing by filtering through His great big hands what Satan wants to bring against us––and how we can overcome.
Why Face Adversity?
Although Job was angry with his friends, one thing they did do was to put some fight into him. Would Job have given in to his afflictions and let them get the best of him if they had not troubled him more? We don’t know, but Job did learn to face his adversity. And, in doing so, He overcame.
Do you know of someone who lays down in the face of troubles and gives in to every blow that comes along and are always sick, having surgery or are perpetually distressed? They live by their emotions, and only what they can see, feel, taste, touch and only what the doctor says about them.
The first step to overcome is to face it by going to the Great Physician to see what He says about it, rather than what friends say. Facing adversity takes courage and means FIGHTING to overcome.
The Lord delivers those from afflictions who not only fight the spiritual battle, the good fight of faith, but they know God by knowing His Word; it’s not automatic and takes a lot of effort, but it’s so worth it.
Through Job’s story, we learn these four principles:
Afflictions Help Us See God and Know Who God Is
1. God is sovereign. We cannot understand his working through rational thinking alone.
When we want to ask, “Why God, why me?” we must remind ourselves that God sees the big picture of what He hopes to accomplish through our lives. Job took his complaints directly to God and God answered him. Bottom line: Job realized how small he was and how big God was and that there was a purpose in his whole ordeal.
2. God’s will toward us is good – always God is good. God really is near to those going through adversity. He always makes His presence known – when we are looking to Him and His word.
After many weeks of weakness, I pulled out my ARROWS SWORD & SHIELD (a 5 x 7 laminate) that I made after previous difficulties. I spoke these Scriptures over myself out loud declaring His promises as already fulfilled while thanking God for strength and healing although I didn’t feel like it.
The next morning during my one hour of computer time of scheduling pins for my Pinterest business, SEVEN times this Scripture crossed my vision:
God always cares and will communicate His care to his children.
Afflictions Bring Growth in Humility and Reveal His Divine Purposes
3. We can focus on our innocence and question God’s justice as Job did, or we can grow in humility and wait for God to reveal Himself and His purposes for us.
The Lord spoke to Job and answered his questions. Job replied, “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head” (Job 42:1-3 Msg).
Job found that God did not have a list of offenses against him, but his only offense was his complaints against God during the suffering. He knew God had to have had a purpose, and now he knew what it was: “I admit I once lived by rumors of you, now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!” (Job 42:5 Msg).
Afflictions Make Us Stronger and Build Character
4. The testing of our faith is an individual, personal testing.
At times uncontrollable forces will come against us. Family, friends, health, houses and job, and other sources of strength may be taken away leaving us seemingly ALONE in the battle. It’s in this ALONENESS, however, that we must hear God’s voice rather than the voice of others.
We must trust God alone to fill our voids and return us to victory. After Job did this, God asked him to pray for his friends; in doing so he had to forgive them, and Job was healed. God restored double to him of all he lost, and he was now on the road to be able to comfort others as he had been comforted by God alone (2 Cor. 1:4).
Who Can Overcome Afflictions?
We know the righteous will be delivered as Psalm 34: 19 says, but what about non-Christians? Does God hear their prayers, too? My friend Janice was married at seventeen years of age. Her husband tried unsuccessfully to drown her when she was pregnant. At the birth of her daughter, the doctor announced, “You will never take this baby home. She has only half a liver.”
But, Janice, not yet a Christian, did what James 5:13 says to do, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” She went out into the hallway to call her sister to pray for her. A woman appeared beside her and voiced the prayer over the phone. To read this miraculous story go HERE
How Can Suffering and Afflictions be Overcome?
Barbara Watts suffered from multiple sclerosis. It hit her while she was witnessing to a friend. Her story shows how perseverance and the Word of God brought her miracle from this incurable disease. And it all happened in a church that did not believe in divine healing. Here is her story of faith>> What Does the Mature Bride Look Like?
God is Jehovah Rapha [The Lord our Healer]. Over and over again I’ve seen miracles of healing from my past, in our marriage and with our children––mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Here is my story of learning about faith and how to pray for family and friends: Because God is Jehovah-Rapha I Am Healed
What Current Afflictions Are Teaching Me
I’ve realized that my old habit of a performance mentality is not dead. Early in my marriage, I unknowingly felt I needed to work to gain God’s approval and was unable to see myself as God saw me. I’ve written about that in My Red Umbrella Story.
With all that needs to be done with a Web site and business/ministry, I’ve lately let that wrong attitude gain mastery in my life at the exclusion of other more important things.
Over these last few months, and without ‘my’ help, God has demonstrated that He doesn’t need my help (but he wants me and loves me). He has brought a 279% increase in traffic to my site with six times more organic browser searches. If I’d not been absolutely prevented from writing more posts and doing other ‘marketing’ things I would not have known that.
Immediately upon falling ill, I asked God, “How am I going to keep up with Pinterest?” When I read about Jesus turning the water into wine and the marriage feast, He spoke to my heart, “Just fill one jar, or one day, at a time with your pins and trust me to turn them into wine.” He’s doing that. And subscribers are still finding my free ecourse on this site––with the excerpts I’ve given you here.
I’ve determined not to make any more deadlines of my time with the Lord so I can “get on the computer.” I will not merely throw a kiss to Jesus from a distance, and I commit myself to spend more time with Him in His Word and in prayer.
I’ve repented and made a quality decision to do only what He says when He says and how He says––having descended the mountain into the valley where other people are.
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot [b]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
May I Pray with You?
I’m closing with more Scriptures about affliction, but if you’d like me to pray with you, please hit reply or post a comment below.
Here are some additional helps you may enjoy:
Because God Is . . . I Am << this link is the booklet given away with the free ecourse of GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? You can get it now for only $.99 that makes it available at your fingertips on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and many more. It has additional healing Scriptures of Jehovah Rapha and eleven more Hebrew names of God that cover every area and need in life.
Eyes Wide Open<< this link is the booklet given away with my periodic newsletter. It will help you know who Holy Spirit is, His benefits, and how you can know Him better and give you the power to live the Christian life. Same price; same reading apps.
Scriptures about Afflictions:
Psalm 34:17-20 ESV
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Romans 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 5:3-4 ESV
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Psalm 119:71 ESV
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
James 5:11 ESV
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
Psalm 22:24 ESV
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
This post was written by my friend Susie Kyman. I discovered it after I completed writing a series about the 5 Eternal Crown Rewards Christians will receive in heaven. I went to her Facebook profile to look for a certain post she had made.
However, this is what I found, I was astounded at the clarity and insight she wrote about heaven and what it will be like for Christians. I know it will bring deeper insight for you, too.
As you read the last paragraph keep in mind that she wrote it before her beloved husband Troy was diagnosed with cancer that took his life. He personally “liked” her post and is now in the great cloud of witnesses watching for her!
HEAVEN: A RESURRECTED LIFE, IN A RESURRECTED BODY, WITH A RESURRECTED CHRIST, ON A RESURRECTED EARTH!
October 8, 2011 at 10:53 AM
Heaven and eternal life are talked about and taught about very little considering it is our only hope! The Word of God gives us many glimpses of Heaven and even goes beyond that to promise life on a new and redeemed earth.
Even many Christians continue to fear death, dread death and are not confident about what awaits them when this life ends.
Many have been taught or have assumed that heaven is a place of “disembodied spirits,” that we will spend our days floating on clouds, in a state of eternal sleep, or that all of eternity is spent worshipping around the throne.
None of these descriptions fit what the Word promises us regarding eternal life! It will be a LIFE, although much richer than the one we enjoy now. We can’t know everything that awaits us, but the Bible has given us many clues as to what we can look forward to.
I am going to include the Scripture references for each of these claims, but I am going to let you look most of them up, as I believe our own diligent search in the Word brings the most revelation.
HEAVEN HAS PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND IS CAPABLE OF CONTAINING PHYSICAL OBJECTS. IT HAS CITIES, GARDENS, BUILDINGS, BANQUETS, AND BODIES!
City – (Hebrews 11:16)
Buildings – (John 14: 1-3) Jesus promised a house with many rooms.
Food – We are promised a “wedding banquet” and a supper. Jesus talked about eating and drinking again when the Passover was fulfilled (after His death) – Luke 22. Wedding feasts and banquets in Jesus’ day served the best foods available to them.
Garden – Jesus called it paradise when talking to the thief on the cross (Luke 23-43). The Greek definition of paradise compares it to the enclosed gardens of the Persians.
IN HEAVEN WE WILL NOT BE DISEMBODIED SPIRITS. IF THERE IS NO NEED FOR A BODY, THERE IS NO NEED FOR A RESURRECTION!
The body is referred to as a glorified body free of sickness, pain, and limitations.
A resurrected body is the thing that distinguishes Christianity from every other belief.
In order to receive and believe in Jesus for our salvation, we have to believe that His BODY was resurrected after 3 days.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
WE WILL ENJOY RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMUNITY IN HEAVEN
Heaven = rich relationships with people and with God
Hell = isolation from others and separation from God
Abraham and Lazarus were together (Luke 16:19-31)
Moses and Elijah returned to earth together to visit with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8)
Jesus tells the thief on the cross that he will be “with him” in Paradise (Luke 23:43)
WE WILL BE ABLE TO ASK QUESTIONS, WE WILL STILL BE LEARNING
The martyrs ask God a question in heaven (Revelation 6:10).
THE SCRIPTURES SUGGEST AN AWARENESS OF “TIME” IN HEAVEN
Jesus refers to time and dates for all events of the future.
The angels are aware that there are future events yet to unfold.
The martyrs in Heaven ask “How long until there is justice for our murders?”
WE DO NOT BECOME “ANGELS” WHEN WE DIE
Angels, as described in the Word, are separate created beings who have only resided in heaven. We will remain children of God when we die which is an even higher privilege.
When Jesus was asked if we will marry in heaven, he said, “no you will be ‘like’ the angels (in that you will not marry).” Even the angels have their own names and identities (Michael, Gabriel, etc.) which further shows everyone has their own identity in heaven.
THERE IS A CONNECTION BETWEEN PEOPLE & EVENTS IN HEAVEN AND PEOPLE AND EVENTS ON EARTH
Heaven’s occupants may not have knowledge of your everyday coming and going, but are aware of the spiritually important events on earth:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).
A great multitude is rejoicing over God’s judgment on the earth.(Revelation 10:1-5).
There is much rejoicing over one sinner on earth that repents(Luke 15:7).
He promises even more than that. The heaven that we refer to is the “3rd heaven” that Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 12. It is the heaven where God currently dwells. It is the location where believers in Christ currently go when leaving this earth but is referred to as a “temporary place” until the formation of the New Heavens and the New Earth! (2Peter 3: 10-13).
This hope does not completely erase the current pain of losing someone you love. As one pastor said, “The depth of your grief can be measured equal to the depth of the love that you had for that person.” Even Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died even though he was about to resurrect him from the dead and return him to his family. But it can keep us from being hopeless and look toward the day when we do get to see them again.
A NOTE FROM ANN:
Susie’s article brings to light what I’ve recently read in The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn. He compares life on this Earth and heaven to living in the womb and after birth. In the womb we have eyes, ears, a mouth, feet, and hands, although we can’t see, hear, speak, walk and touch; however, we were created to do those things. Just think how much more the difference will be for us to LIVE in heaven compared to our existence down here!
On the way back from a mission trip to India, our boarding seats were scattered all over the plane. Although witnessing for Christ was the last thing I wanted to do, I said, “I wonder what assignments the Lord has for us now?”
Pastor Marty looked at my seat assignment, a number B, and said, “You have a double assignment, A and C.”
“Oh no! I don’t think I can handle that.” It had been over 24 hours since I’d slept.
Finally, it was time to board the plane. As I found my seat the lady on the aisle did not budge. She had her eyes closed while she asked me if I could step over her, which I managed to do. She obviously was very tired and not in the mood to talk. Whew!! Me too!
The young lady by the window was a beautiful young lady wearing a brown and tan plaid hajib which revealed to me she was Muslim. We smiled at each other as I thought, Lord, do you really expect me to witness to this lady? I don’t know the first thing about witnessing to a Muslim. All I know is that Allah is not God and they believe Jesus was only a prophet, not God. But Lord you know I’m willing. Give me the right words. So, for the next hour the Lord gave me His strength beyond anything I’d experienced before.
I learned her name and that she was returning to America from seeing her sister in Pakistan. Her husband was a physician; she was also, yet, she chose to be home with her three children.
That gave me something to say. I told her she reminded me of my daughter because she was just as pretty, and her children were about the same age. Then, it occurred to me to ask her the questions I’d been thinking since being in Dubai––our layover.
“Can you tell me the difference between how you dress and those who wear all black with the black headdress and face covered? Does it have to do with the Muslim sect?”
She explained. “The extent to how we dress is by choice. I just cannot live with the mouth covered. Many wear makeups. I don’t.” That explained the many women I saw in Dubai with bright red lipstick and fancy headdresses, especially the stewardesses.
She spoke of the things she had to do, like praying five times per day. saying, “I believe it’s good that we learn about each other’s religion. That’s good.” She kept bringing up the word “religion” until I could take it no longer. I realized then how important it was to be at a church with the motto: Relationship not Religion, and I could hardly believe she was the one bringing up ‘religion.’
“I must say respectfully, I don’t believe in religion, I believe in a relationship, a relationship with Jesus Christ. I have the Quran, but I’ve never read it. Is it a book about love?”
She didn’t answer, but said, “I’ve never read the Bible.”
“Well, I just happen to have a little New Testament with me you can have.” I explained how it was only part of the Bible and how it related with the Old Testament. I turned to John 3:16-17 and couldn’t even see the words, so I asked her to read them.
She looked at me with a shocked face and said, “If I say those words, it will change who I am! I’m told I will go to hell if I even say those words!” I nodded as she said it would change who she was.
I called her by her name and said, “I want you to know it’s not just by chance we are sitting beside each other now. God is here with us.”
“I know.” She motioned with her hands in the air and said, “I can feel him.”
That opened the door for me to share the high points of my testimony that I’d practiced for the India trip. A printable pdf file of my testimony >> My Story How God Found Me << is at this link. (It includes my Red Umbrella Story with diagram.)
I looked right into her eyes and could see tears that she immediately tried to hide. She said, “Well, I know I’m right.” She didn’t sound convinced, but she knew I was.
“If you aren’t right, wouldn’t you want to know it?” She didn’t answer and took no offense. “Are you aware that millions of Muslims are turning to Jesus Christ right now?”
“Christians are turning to Muslim, too.”
“If they are Christians who are turning, it’s because they don’t know who God is, and therefore, don’t know who they are.” I couldn’t believe I’d said that, but she still took it in. I felt like maybe she had heard the Truth about Jesus before.
The words to the old hymn from In the Garden came to mind, “He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. And He loves you, too.”
Suddenly, I couldn’t say another word and said, “I’ve enjoyed our conversation, but I have to sleep now.” I tucked my written testimony in the New Testament, with my Scripture booklet, “Because God Is . . . I am,” and my Two Super-Natural Events paper. She took them all. I felt like I was pouring water on a dry and thirsty heart.
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:7 NKJV
As the plane neared our destination and morning had come, the lady on my right was watching a movie and finally finished. I had no clue what to say to her, if anything. Before leaving Dubai, a stewardess came up to her when she had her eyes closed and expressed appreciation for her being on their flight, calling her by her name. So, I knew she was some kind of frequent-flyer VIP.
I thought maybe I should use a friend’s tactic and told her the truth of not being able to get into India because our visas were not accepted even though they were granted. I would at least find out where she stood. She said she goes to India about twice per year – with Texas Instruments. Her daughter had met her there this time and she had pictures. She showed me her pictures of India! They were amazing, and I let her know how much I appreciated her doing that, saying, “We didn’t even get to see Chennai.”
“Chennai! That is absolutely the hottest place on the planet I’ve ever been. It’s at least 120 degrees this time of the year.”
She continued, “All the different religions in India are each trying to force the other to convert to their own. It’s pretty volatile right now.”
“Trying to force?”
“Well, I just don’t think it’s right to tell another, ‘you are wrong.’”
“I couldn’t agree with you more.”
“It’s about sharing.”
“Do you mind if I share with you my story?”
“That would be okay,” she responded, and I pulled out my Two Super-Natural Events paper and handed it to her as the plane landed. I wondered did she hear me talking with my new friend? I wish I had another story of my testimony and brochure.
I turned to my left and asked my new friend if I could take her picture for my prayer book. She said it was okay as long as I didn’t share it with anyone else. We also exchanged phone numbers, but she wouldn’t give me her address saying, “If something comes in the mail, my husband . . . ”
When we got to Baggage Claim, our eyes met, and she smiled. Her husband’s family and her mother live with them in a 7,000 square foot home—each family on opposite ends. They all need to come to the Lord together, and I will forever pray and believe God for that.*
“We are in control of who gets in to see the King. When we are silent, we’ve chosen to keep those who would hear away from eternal life. Sobering indeed.”––Bill Johnson
God taught me a valuable lesson that day: witnessing for Christ is easy when we are prepared, ready, expectant and alert to opportunities with a written plan. That plan can be our written testimony or other creative, easy ideas we will address in this article.
This is the last of the five crown rewards in heaven we are examining. Today––the Crown of Rejoicing, or the Soul-Winners Crown. A pdf file summary printable of all five with Scriptures is at the end of the overview article HERE.
What is the Crown of Rejoicing – or the Soul-Winner’s Crown?
This crown reward comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20,“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For YOU are our glory and joy.”
The Crown of Rejoicing is also called the Soul-Winner’s Crown because the people at the church of Thessalonica were the apostle Paul’s converts and reason to rejoice. He and Silas led many people there to Jesus Christ with their witnessing and teaching so that the church became the second major one on the European continent.
Creative Ways to Witness for Christ – for Individual or Group
My friend Dwight taught me how to witness for Christ with a New Testament on hand––with highlighted Scriptures––an easy way to witness. He quit his job with a diesel repair shop and started his own so he could treat people honestly. One day, his employee, Sam approached him, “I’ve noticed things are done differently around here. Do you mind sharing with me why you believe the way you do?”
Dwight had not been talking about God at work—only working . . . honestly. He tried desperately to share about Jesus with Sam that day but felt he had botched it up good. At church the next Sunday, he shared his frustration with an older lady. She told him about a book by William Fay (with Linda Evans Shepherd) called Share Jesus without Fear. William had run a house of prostitution until he found Jesus. The lady felt Dwight could learn from this man who had led 25,000 people to the Lord one by one.
Dwight bought the book and devoured reading it in two days. He bathed the situation in prayer for God to prepare Sam’s heart. Dwight wanted more than anything to share his faith, and hopefully, help someone else avoid making the mistakes he had made with two divorces.
“Sam, will you allow me to try again to share my faith with you? I feel I did a lousy job the other day.”
“Well sure. Go ahead.”
Dwight highlighted John 3:16 in the New Testament, plus other Scriptures as indicated in the book. He opened the Bible to the very first page that said, “Turn to John 3:16, page ___.”
“Sam, will you read this verse out loud?”
“You want me to read it?”
“Yes, and when you finish, at the bottom of that page is another Scripture. Turn to the page number listed and read it too.”
After Sam read the verses out loud to Dwight and voiced what they meant to him he said, “If I receive Christ, I will have to change my entire life!”
There was nothing in there that told Sam he would have to change his life, Dwight thought. He witnessed the Holy Spirit working through the Word—convicting of sin and righteousness—that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that the wages of sin is death, and that all must be born again spiritually to have eternal life.
Sam made no decision right then, and Dwight said, “Okay. Just remember . . . if you die tonight without choosing Jesus . . . you will go to hell. Drive carefully!” [This is not a recommendation from the book he read, but the words that came to his mind to say to Sam.]
About one week later, Dwight arrived at work. Sam was already there and announced, “I got saved last night!”
Sam’s wife had kicked him out of the house. With nowhere to go, he went to the shop and read and reread the Scriptures from the New Testament Dwight had given him. He asked Jesus to come into his heart. God restored their marriage. They now serve the Lord and have a new baby. [These are the Scriptures Sam meditated on that night: John 3:16; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 3:3; John 14:6; Romans 10:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Revelation 3:20.]
After this experience, Dwight taught a class at his church to forty other Christians who felt inadequate to share their faith. He told them what he learned: “It takes between six and seven times of hearing the Gospel for a person to make the choice to follow Jesus. We want to be the one to reap the harvest, but we are successful in sharing if we have shared in a clear manner. It’s like a chain where we are only one link. If we are silent when given opportunity, we break that link. God cannot use our silence—we must be prepared!”
[New Testaments can be purchased at discount INDIVIDUALLY or BY THE CASE and IN BULK – all below two dollars each, even whole bibles. How easy and fun it would be to have a highlighting Bible-marking party in a small group.]
Witness for Christ with Your Own Written, Salvation Testimony
How to Witness to Strangers
A complete stranger came up to me and handed me her written salvation testimony. She was certainly witnessing for Christ proactively. It was about her husband’s legs being crushed behind a trash truck by another vehicle when he was working. This incident brought both of them and their children to Jesus, and her written story found its way into the local newspaper—the same newspaper that reported the accident a few years earlier.
This lady’s obedience to Christ to witness for Him has been like the link in a chain that Dwight mentioned. Look where her story and example has landed right now. The power of the printed word is just that––powerful!
I give you permission to use my testimony shared above if you don’t think you can write yours. Grandmothers have used mine to lead their grandchildren to the Lord. The John 3:16 prayer is good for young and old.
I personally don’t use tracts, but they are good. I believe personal stories are better. You have a story, too. Put it in writing. Above all, please don’t do what I’ve seen some Christians do: put a tract or fake 100-dollar-bill tract on the table for the waitress’ tip with no real money with it! How can anyone think that is witnessing for Christ?
When NOT to Witness for Christ With Your Words – Spoken or Written
When it comes to witnessing for Christ to our families, especially our spouse, our words don’t do the trick. In fact, they will turn them off, unless under the leading of the Holy Spirit in certain situations.
“Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition” (1 Peter 3:1 The MSG).
Other translations say, “they will be won by the conduct of their wives.” Creating that inner disposition that will win a person to Christ whether it is a wife or husband or family member may take a lifetime, but isn’t it worth it to see them in heaven and out of hell at the end of life?
You may remember Don Piper’s story in the book 90 Minutes in Heaven. This Baptist preacher was killed in a car wreck and spent 90 minutes in Heaven until he woke up singing with a man in the back of his car who was praying for him.
In this incredible true story, Don said everyone who had mentored him and witnessed Christ to him met him at the gate. He immediately saw everyone who was responsible for him even being in heaven.
The “How to Share Jesus Without Fear” book contains questions and answers to guide us in how to answer seekers we are willing to engage in conversation as we seek to witness for Jesus Christ.
However, I believe the KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) principle is the way to go. It removes anxiety in the process when we have a testimony or marked Bible in our purse or pocket that we can hand to someone at a given notice—like the lady I met on the plane.
When we are ready God will do the impossible. We were not supposed to be on that plane on that day at Spring Break when my Muslim friend was returning home from Pakistan, but it was a set up by God Most High of the universe. If I had not been ready, God would not have been able to do anything through me. What a valuable lesson I learned that day.
It’s not about rules or steps, it’s about being ourself from our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we keep ourselves filled up with His Word and Holy Spirit, He will witness from our overflow to those around us.
When we make God’s mission our mission, it’s especially easy when we are proactively willing, and expectant with a ready and written testimony or marked Bible to witness for Jesus. There is no greater joy. The Crown of Rejoicing award in heaven is only an added benefit.
And they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing [at the Rapture of the Church]” (2 Timothy 4:8: NKJV my emphasis).
The crown of righteousness is laid up only for those who love the Lord’s appearing at the Rapture of the Church––“on that Day.”
What Must Happen Before we Love the Lord’s Appearing?
The question is: what must take place before we will love His appearing? I began to learn this lesson when I was a young mother with two small children.
This writing today is at my 50th wedding anniversary, jubilee year when we have ten grandchildren. We are looking forward to our trip to Israel to celebrate. For the last twenty-five years, I have been sharing two vision events of the Rapture and end time signs in every way possible.
Here is the story of my first early lesson:
It was no different than when President Kennedy was shot or when 9/11 hit. I knew exactly where I was and what I was doing when the realization came to me of what Jesus’ blood did for me. I was folding laundry, listening to a spiritual cassette tape when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the words “in the name of Jesus.”
It happened during the same time span when I was seeking to find the Something More I knew I was missing. It seemed to me every prayer I prayed hit the ceiling and came back down. My thoughts were: Why would God give me the time of day when there are so many other people who deserve His attention more than I do? Then, the man on the tape mentioned that Jesus, standing at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for us, and “that’s why we pray, ‘In the name of Jesus.’”
I had always learned to end a prayer with the words, “In the name of Jesus,” but until then, the full impact of what they meant had not gone from my head to my heart. However, now, in my mind’s eye, I could see a red umbrella covering me so that when God looked down upon me, He saw Jesus’ red blood, not me. Until then, what I saw was the underneath side of the umbrella smeared with my own unworthiness.
The words no good in me came to mind. I looked them up to see if they were in the Bible. Sure enough, there they were, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18).
I realized I’d been trying to feel worthy on my own when Jesus had already made me worthy—justified. God actually did hear my prayers because of Jesus; He is the only good in me. God actually did see Jesus when He looked at me. He saw perfection. What awesome thoughts! I just had to believe them in order to walk in the knowledge (receive) of what His blood had done for me.
How I’d limited God’s power and ability! I also began to realize that growing as a Christian was learning and relearning and comprehending the awesome dimensions of what Jesus did for me at the very moment that He came into my heart many years ago.
Crown of Righteousness Revelation: What Is It All About?
This year the Lord made it clear to me to write about the five eternal crown rewards we will receive in Heaven once our assignment on Earth is done. The crown of righteousness is number four. All five can be found with their links and a free summary and easy fill-in-the-blank, one-page, Scripture reference>>HERE
For God to release me to write about the crowns has been very significant to me because the name of my ministry is CROWN: Calling Real Ordinary [Wo]men Now, (or CROWN Connections for short). I inherited this name from three friends who took this name with them to a South African women’s retreat over ten years ago. Today’s post is even more meaningful to me because it is my story.
My story started with feeling unworthy of God’s love, not feeling His love for me, although I was a Christian from age eight. My self-esteem was nil; I never read my Bible or wanted to; never learned that I needed to, and God knew it. He intervened this day as I was seeking to know about the Holy Spirit––the only God on this earth––who I’d heard could open my eyes to who Jesus was and is and would give me the power needed to live the Christian life.
What I learned was more than I ever thought possible––that when God looked at me, He saw Jesus. He saw perfection! He saw the blood. How? Because of what the atonement meant; because of Jesus’ blood which covers us and fills us when we accept Him as our Savior and Lord.
I’ve explained all this in detail in chapters 4 and 5, Jehovah Tsidkenu [The Lord Our Righteousness], in my workbook of four parts, GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? which also comes in four eBooks. The first eBook of four is Part 1: LEAVING BONDAGE.
That’s it. I didn’t even know I was in bondage until I learned what Jesus’ blood did for me. It’s so important that I’ve made this first eBook FREE for you. >>FREE BOOK
Why is it so Important to Understand What Righteousness Has to Do with the Rapture of the Church?
Allow me to share another story about how important understanding righteousness is. I kept noticing a friend would go to the altar every Sunday. Feeling I should invite her to my house to go through my Bible study workbook, she came. After we finished chapters 4 and 5 on the Jehovah Tsidkenu – Lord Our Righteousness, I could see that the light bulb had not come on for her. Like me, she had gone to church all her life and been a Christian many years.
I finally asked her, “Do you feel God’s love for you?” She immediately said, “NO!”
The minute she looked at it she said, “Now I get it! I see it!”
There is power in the blood! Today, she is sharing her faith, mentoring other people and looking forward to the day of the Lord’s appearing when she will see Jesus face to face.
I’ve shared for you a reconstructed diagram of the blood atonement that I showed my friend at the end of Chapter 5: >>HERE
What is the Crown of Righteousness?
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing [at the Rapture of the Church]” (2 Timothy 4:8: NKJV emphasis mine).
AGAIN, UNDERSTAND THIS: We cannot love the Lord’s appearing at the Rapture of the Church until we know and understand what it means to be made righteous. That means how we are made right IN HIM and HE IN US. And, it is laid up only for those who love His appearing. Very plainly, that is what the crown is all about.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV). We are acquitted by the righteous Judge. We are removed from Satan’s grasp and our sins remitted once and for all time.
The images were in vivid technicolor and pressed indelibly into my mind. Although the whole dream probably only lasted less than two minutes in length, the message was emotionally disturbing, and I abruptly awoke from it with tears streaming down my face.
The Rapture was taking place, and some people, who had been walking around, perhaps in a big city, suddenly began rising straight up in the air toward the brilliantly lighted, open sky. As they were ascending, some were going quickly. But to my surprise, many were rising slowly.
As I looked closer, these people held their arms straight out from their sides. In each hand, they tightly grasped either a large bag or suitcase. As others were swiftly passing them, although they were looking straight up to the heavens, these people began to drift slowly back down to earth, obviously weighted and pulled by the objects they held onto.
Some seemed to come to their senses and opened their hands, the bags falling quickly by gravity. At the same time, the release allowed them to shoot freely upward. But many others, tightly holding on to their possessions, came all the way back down to the ground, and walked slowly away amidst the crowd, their eyes cast down and their countenance low and dejected. The sky closed back up and it was over.
We are unable to love God until we know and understand how much He loves us. Until then, we do carry excess baggage from hurts, disappointments, rejection, and life in general. Other things that can weigh us down are gods, things of this world, we place above love for God.
What is the greatest commandment? “Jesus said to him [a lawyer], ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment’” (Matthew 22:37 NKJV).
Those who HAD loved His appearing in Barb’s dream had no trouble seeing Jesus face to face and receiving their crowns of righteousness at the Rapture––because they were READY.
“While they [five of the ten virgins] were going away to buy [oil for their lamps] the bridegroom [Jesus] came, and those who were PREPARED went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut” (Matthew 25:10 emphasis mine).
When Does the Day of the Lord Begin?
Let’s go to the Bible to find out when the Rapture of the Church will happen – which will usher in the Tribulation:
“But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].
For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.
[They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 Amplified).
“In the last days,” does any of this sound familiar?
Let’s read on:
“They have depraved and distorted minds and are reprobate and counterfeit and to be rejected as far as the faith is concerned. But they will not get very far,for their rash folly will become obvious to everybody. . . .” (2 Timothy 3:8-9 Amplified).
What Happens Right Before the Rapture of the Church?
A few years ago, the Lord opened a door for me to share my two stories of the Rapture of the Church: one a super, natural event in 1994, the second an open vision in 1995. I had the freedom to share the details to a small room full of pastors. Afterward, one came up to me and said, “When you share this, do it exactly as you have done it today.”
I knew what he meant: to take time to share the details––with my own questions and subsequent events. Why? Because both have a deep meaning that even today, I’m still learning more of what God is teaching from them.
Finally, God gave me this platform on my blog site in 2017 to do videos with the written word as well – with all the details so you can make your own conclusions.
In 1994 my husband was teaching in his business and industry class on teamwork. Since I was in business, he thought I should take his class which I did. This is what happened shortly afterward. [Click heading for video and text describing the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing aspects of the Body of Christ.]
In 1995 I saw this happen as I was driving from Oklahoma City home to Arkansas City, Kansas, during wheat harvest. [The text of this one gives more of the after story also. Click heading for video and text.]
Both Vision Events are Partially Fulfilled
Another reason for this blog site is to share the afterward story of their partial fulfillment. Things keep on happening. For instance, in March 2016 I went on a mission trip to India. Another series of events too much to share here showed THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH AND TEAMWORK happening in the body of Christ with that trip.
This book also captures more of the meaning of the second vision that was not yet revealed and recorded in my main workbook, GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names. It also has more Rapture stories from people I’ve met along the way.
Another 2016 Partial Fulfillment of the Vision
On voting day, November 8, 2016, this is what I wrote in my watchman journal, 8 Hours in India: “This morning as I sat down to read my Bible, I heard in my heart, ‘this is your vision.’ I knew instinctively that today – the whole body of Christ would turn right, and Donald John Trump would be elected our new president. And he was, by a landslide. It was so wonderful. Thank you, Jesus!”
What About the Last Half of the Visions?
When the last half of the two events are fulfilled at the Rapture of the Church, I won’t be here to report it. Will you? I hope not. Please take this seriously! We are at the consummation of all things and past the tipping point when things happen very quickly! You have been warned!
When we have this all settled in our hearts and minds, we will love Jesus like never before and we will be able to let the things of this world take their rightful insignificant place and be longing (and yearning) for His appearing.
We will also not be willing that any should perish but all to come to the knowledge and saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rapture of the Church Scriptures:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17 NKJV).
“Therefore, you also be READY, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40 NKJV).
As in the days of Noah, “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40-2 NKJV).
“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV)
“Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10 NKJV).
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed––in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NKJV).
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV).
“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him, If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself “(2 Timothy 2:11-13 NKJV)
Remember, sharing is caring?
Do you have stories to share like my friend Barb? Please take the time to share them with us and the world. Thank you!
God is raising up latter-day shepherds (mentor-s) according to His heart who are feeding His sheep with knowledge and understanding and who will receive the crown of glory. This prophecy in the book of Jeremiah is being fulfilled in our day.
You may already be one of these mentors, and if you would like to be, here is how to get started. The harvest field is not closed to the faithful. You can’t miss this opportunity to face the what, why and how of becoming a Christian mentor for God’s glory online or off!
What is the Current State of Shepherding, or Mentoring?
These words irritated Dad more than he ever let on. He was a bi-vocational pastor for 35 years – a very good finished carpenter. He worked harder than most men I know. When he came home at noon, he laid flat on the floor to rest his back.
He was up at 6:00 a.m. every morning, even weekends, trying his best to have a sermon on Sunday and able to teach every Wednesday night. There was also a committee meeting almost every night of the week where he was expected to be. We four kids saw very little of our father.
In every place we lived, which was never over four years, Dad either built or remodeled the church building. He was the contractor using the architect’s drawings; men of the church helped when possible. Sometimes he even had to have an additional carpentry job besides this in order to feed his growing family.
At his last pastorate, he and mother physically tore down the old church building and reconstructed it into a beautiful parsonage. Of course, that was after Dad had built a wonderful new church building that left the congregation without debt!
It wasn’t long before they left the ministry so they could buy a house (without having to live in a parsonage) and have it paid off before they died. That house paid for mother’s care after Dad passed away. Their $200 monthly-retirement benefit plus Social Security would not have done it.
Never did my parents have the time or felt the freedom to ask friends over for fellowship. They felt they would cause someone to be jealous. Mother craved to be able to do something besides go to meetings, but Dad was always too tired.
Statistics about pastors, or mentor-s
When I came across some statistics about pastoring, I realized my dad was one of millions [i]:
72% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. 57% believe they do not receive a livable wage, so like Dad, they probably have another job. 80% believe the pastorate negatively affects their families, and only 1 out of 10 retire as a pastor.
While 54% find the role overwhelming, and 45% spend only 10-15 hours a week on sermon preparation, is it any wonder some Christians feel they’ve never been fed or discipled, and people are leaving the church.?
No One Leader Can Do Alone the Work of Pastoring, Shepherding or Mentor-ing
One person cannot do the job of pastoring sheeple alone, whether it’s a small church or large. Although Moses had been a shepherd, he was an overwhelmed and overworked leader of millions, and he had a lot to learn. His father-in-law Jethro looked on as Moses tried to govern the people all by himself.
Jethro advised Moses to teach faithful men who would be able to teach others also and put them over 1,000s, 100’s, 50s, and 10s. Only the difficult situations were brought to Moses and for all the others, the people took responsibility for themselves.
In other words, Moses was assisted by mentors who taught in small, medium and large group settings. The sheeple didn’t have to stand around and wait from morning until night to see Moses. Every person was accounted for and no one was left behind.
In sheep terms, when one became ‘cast’ – (overturned on its back due to heavy wool) people noticed in the small groups and helped them get on their feet again before they died.
The Moses’ example shows how the sheep got fed, tended and cared for. My dad’s greatest worry as a pastor was having time to study in order to feed the sheep. Even after he had built a new church building, a lady I will call Martha complained to him about not being fed. So, he moved away, feeling inadequate.
I believe Martha later realized her mistake in complaining, because she began studying the Bible, learned about the Holy Spirit’s desire and ability to help her become a mentor, and fed a small group of sheeple herself. She became a good and willing teacher as she kept learning herself.
THE SOLUTION: Take Responsibility to Mentor Others While Feeding Ourselves
Probably, without even realizing it, Martha was doing what the Bible instructed her to do. Titus, Chapter 2, speaks about older women being an example for younger ones, showing how to love their husbands and children, being virtuous and pure, and good homemakers. It also gives instructions to older and younger men to lead disciplined lives with integrity and wisdom. However, this next Scripture is more thorough about what it means to be a mentor and the reward for being so:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).
The Crown of Glory – Reserved for All Mentors
My dad was a willing example to his flock and led with integrity. While planning one new church building, an older lady was upset at the prospect of putting in a basement with stairs. Dad listened to her and changed his plans. Although my dad and I differed on the biblical teachings about the Holy Spirit, he was called and qualified to be a pastor shepherd and glorified the Lord.
Dad has also received the crown of glory. I believe this crown of glory is reserved for all mentors, although it is also called the elder’s crown, or shepherd’s crown and here’s why:
The root word for glory is doxa: splendor, radiance, and majesty centered in Jesus. Doxa is the majestic, absolute perfection residing in Christ and evidenced by the miracles He performed. Jesus prayed to His Father for us all, “All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17:10 NKJV). As we willingly watch and care for the flock in our sphere of influence, He is glorified through us.
Mentors Equip the Saints for the Work of the Ministry
Furthermore, Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us Jesus “Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
Did you catch that? We, as the saints and ordinary people, are to do the work of the ministry to edify the big C Church, the body of Christ worldwide. We are shepherds operating ultimately under the mighty hand of Almighty God, and Jesus Christ who is the only perfect, good Chief Shepherd!
Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). He did it through Peter and the early disciples and He wants to do it through us latter disciples, too. We are accountable to Him to teach and mentor others in everyday life.
How Are We to Care for the Sheep, or to Mentor?
Ezekiel was a prophet who brought out how important it was for the individual to take responsibility in watching, speaking up and warning the sheep:
“You, son of man [Ezekiel], are the watchman. I’ve made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked man, wicked woman, you’re on the fast track to death!’ and you don’t speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I’ll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don’t do it, they’ll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life”(Ezekiel 33:7-9 MSG).
Deaths of people are on the rise around the world from taking risky selfies. India has the most, with young people doing anything, no matter how dangerous to get a good selfie to go viral on social media, like standing on high narrow bridges. A young man reports he lost 24 of his friends one by one as they were swept into the river where they sat on rocks in it. On Mt. Everest in Nepal, people stack themselves like dominos against each other as they strive to reach the top for a selfie. Nine people died in one week.
People are going into eternity thinking they are not worth more than a fly we swat on a table. We must speak up and warn them of danger and mentor them in the ways of Lord–that “the thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and that they may have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Whose Responsibility, Really, is it to Mentor -Shepherd the Sheep
Jesus is the only Good Shepherd. He laid down His life for the sheep. He bought them with His blood and, therefore, is the owner. He is the only one who really cares enough for them to not abandon them. The hired hand will run away when wolves attack (John 10:11-13). Jesus is the only one who can save us, has saved us, and cares for us.
Ezekiel, chapter 34, is a whole chapter about irresponsible shepherds, how God feels about them, and what he is doing right now about the situation:
“God’s Message came to me [Ezekiel]: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, ‘God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren’t shepherds supposed to feed sheep? You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don’t feed the sheep. You don’t build up the weak ones, don’t heal the sick, don’t doctor the injured, don’t go after the strays, don’t look for the lost.
“You bully and badger them. And now they’re scattered every which way because there was no shepherd—scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. Scattered—my sheep!—exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them!”(Ezekiel 34:1-6 MSG).
“God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep. I’ll rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered to in the storms . . . And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited . . . I’ll come in and save my dear flock, no longer let them be pushed around. I’ll step in and set things right between one sheep and another.
“I’ll appoint one shepherd over them all: my servant David [Jesus Christ of David’s lineage]. He’ll feed them. He’ll be their shepherd. And I, God, will be their God. My servant David will be their prince. I, God, have spoken” (Ezekiel 34:11-24 MSG).
Whose Responsibility is it to Mentor and Feed the Sheep?
Jesus will feed His sheep. He has done so with His Word and given us many translations of the Bible today for us to be able to understand with the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit that He sent us. Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep three times––to teach others with His knowledge and understanding.
You can be a good teacher and mentor, too, if you have overcome a difficulty in life and desire to comfort others also (2 Cor. 1:4) you can encourage them with your story and witness (Rev. 12:11); the love of Christ compels us to do so. “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).
Maybe God is calling you to write? Have you written a journal for years knowing it has to lead somewhere? Here it is…now is the time!
“Then [in the final time] I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and [true] understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15 AMP).
Isn’t this what must happen if we, as the bride of Christ, are to be without spot or wrinkle, so that the Chief Shepherd will want to return to claim us and give us the crown of glory? We must be willing and obedient to mentor with knowledge and true understanding.
Now is the time! We have to grow up and quit expecting someone else to do the work of the ministry. That work is ours to do. Our Chief Shepherd is waiting for us to make His mission ours. He is calling!
Volunteers Have Answered the Call
There’s a Scripture I’ve been waiting and watching to see fulfilled for many years: “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew”(Ps. 110:3 NASB).
This day of power is NOW! I asked the Lord recently how I would know when this day would be here. A while later I was praying for confirmation to know if I should start a writers’ group after a lady asked me to help her. An image came up on Facebook from times past where I had the option to share it. I did, but instead of it going to my timeline and the news feed for all my friends to see, I received a message through this one lady saying, “That’s nice!”–from a lady who had asked me to help her learn to write.
The image had gone directly to her, chosen from all my friends, and not on my timeline at all. The Lord spoke to my heart, “This is what I mean about the day of my power. I will get your message supernaturally to the right people, at the right time, in the right way as you are willing to share.”
I’m watching millions of people mentor with their Christian faith as mother to mother, parent to parent, marriage to marriage, older to younger, younger to older and men doing the same. Plus, all are creating beautiful printables to share Scriptures and Bible knowledge, with an explosion of books. [If you want to find them, go to Pinterest: Education]
Since I restarted blogging a couple of years ago, I’ve come across several women who teach how to get your writings to be read online and your products known. Millions of these amazing fantastic people have small, medium or very large mailing lists which comprise their sheeple, or flock.
Suzi says, “Because of our grandmothers, we want to be stay-at-home moms, and because of our own mothers, we want to be in the workforce.”
She reports that in 2014 there were 4.4 million moms blogging and they are increasing at one million per year. Many monetize their blog and make a good income.
Will You Answer the Online Mentoring Call?
If you are interested in joining the online media missionary mentors, you need to know about these other Christian women who are mentoring younger and older women and men to know how to serve in partnership with Jesus. Many pastor’s wives have found their niche online and off:
Deb Wolf – manages Blessing Bloggers Facebook group for Christian bloggers. She has a consistent weekly strategy to assist bloggers to share each other’s posts and on all social networks with prayer all along the way. Her blog is Here.
Alisa Nicaud hosts Bloggers Corner – a Facebook group for Christian bloggers offering teamwork mentor-ship. She gives great support on any blogging question and offers courses. Her blog is Here
Kelly R. Baker hosts the Blogger Voices Network Facebook Group which mentors Christian bloggers in teamwork strategies “With One Voice.” Her blog site is Here
Kelly Holmes was a professional writer and editor for 15 years. She makes a full-time income from blogging and offering her sticky blogging course by sharing her secrets to attract readers and keep them. Her site is Here
Ruth Soukup has two good books about blogging to mentor starters: How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul and Do It Scared. She has a large following with her Elite Blogging Academy. Her site is here
I have also mentored one-on-one at local restaurants. Click this>> Each One Teach Onelink.
Both options have been the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Interpersonal relationships are the best although finding people online you can mentor is great too. That’s why I put my discipleship book on this blog site in a 15-minute e-course devotional. Learn more at the button below.
My discipleship workbook is GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names. To learn more how this book has impacted lives, go HERE
A user- friendly leader’s guide for the first timer is also available at the “Get the Book(s)” link below.
The Lord gives the command, the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host–Psalm 68:11
Esther Helland’s father was an overcomer who founded Project Amazon (PAZ – meaning peace in Portuguese) that works in partnership with all organizations like Joyce Meyer Ministries and Samaritan’s Purse/Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc. They were a big part in BGEA’s My Hope Project of 2008.
Esther’s father died in Brazil at the age of 44 in 1944. His by-plane hit a tail wind and crashed. Early in his life, he had a dream where Jesus asked if there was anyone in this crowd who would be willing to die for him. No one raised a hand except her dad. He woke up in sweat knowing he’d had a visitation from the Lord. His whole life he mentioned off and on to his family to expect him to die young. He knew he would be a martyr, but it was very difficult for his family.
Esther was born and raised in Brazil. Her brothers are leading in the planting of churches in all the little villages along the Amazon. Their mother remarried and is a missionary in Japan. Esther and her husband Aaron and their four children moved back there almost ten years ago. Their mission? To bring the vision to a close – for all of Brazil to be saved!
When the Hellands returned, it was estimated that only 35,000 more villages were left to be evangelized. Today, they have a Christian president and are close to seeing their Father’s vision materialized. And the family’s testimony lives on––with one member wearing a CROWN OF LIFE in heaven.
For an introduction to the 5 Eternal Crown Rewards and their meanings, with links to the article about them, click this link for a nice printable summary>>5 ETERNAL CROWN REWARDS.
THE OVERCOMER WILL RECEIVE REWARDS IN HEAVEN
All five crowns are referred to as imperishable and are victor crowns for those who overcome. Whether there are actually five crowns when we get to heaven, or all five are rolled up into the one CROWN OF LIFE, we will find out one day soon. For me, I want to know about all five mentioned in the Bible, so I can be ready to come face to face with Jesus––without any regrets. How about you?
The Crown of Life is described in Revelation 2:10: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” This crown is the reward for the Christian who is faithful until death – whether that death is natural or not.
The nickname for this crown is ‘the martyr’s crown’ which caught on early, because most Christians in the days after Jesus was martyred were martyred also. All the disciples were killed; one was not: John.
John was banished to the isle of Patmos because of his testimony of Jesus. He had a vision, wrote the book of Revelation and sent it to the seven churches in Asia. He later died and was buried in Ephesus as an old man.[i] It’s certain he received the crown of life as well.
The character and spiritual makeup of this Christian can be described as follows:
THE OVERCOMER PERSEVERES
To fully understand this crown, we need to read the full Scripture: To the persecuted church in Smyrna, John wrote: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10: NKJV).
The root Greek word for tested is peirazō which means to try,to prove and “describes the testing of the believer’s loyalty, strength, opinions, disposition, condition, faith, patience of character. Peirazō determines which way one is going and what one is made of”[ii]
James 1:12 tells us this person is blessed because he preserves under trial; for once he has been approved [or passed the test], he will receive the crown of life.
Do you feel you’ve ever been in a trial where you know God was trying to see how you would respond––what you were made of?
SEE>>Tested Through the Refiner’s Fire of Jehovah-Jireh: HERE
THE OVERCOMER ENDURES UNDER TRIAL
Perseverance moves us to endurance under trial as James said. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 what to expect in the days we are living in. The first sign of the times is deception; then, wars and rumors of wars; nations rising against nations; tribulation to be killed and hated by all nations for Jesus’ sake; betrayal and hate of one another; and false prophets will deceive many.
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:12-13).
The root word for endures is hupomeno: “to hold one’s ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate and mere patience, but the active energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance.”[iii]
The apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews 6 that it was time to go on to perfection beyond the elementary principles of salvation. What follows salvation, or merely obtaining our ‘fire insurance’ is this:
10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hopeuntil the end,
12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Paul goes on to recount the promise and blessings given to Abraham,
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise [of multiplication,: a child, a nation, a land].
“Do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” This encompasses the character and disposition of the overcomer: This Christian is busy helping to care for others’ needs; not lazy, but 100 percent surrendered to Jesus Christ.
Overcomers from the Bible
So, let’s look at a few overcomers from the Bible in order to see some examples. What did they endure, and what was the result?
Heb. 11:2 Abel: by faith, obtained a good testimony and a witness that he was righteous. Being dead, he still speaks. He was the first martyr, killed by his brother Cain
Heb. 11:5 Enoch: by faith did not see death but was not found, his testimony was that he pleased God and God took him.
Heb. 11:7 Noah: By faith prepared the ark and saved his family, by which he condemned the world and obtained righteousness which comes by faith.
Look at that! They did not receive the promise personally, but they endured by BEING faithful until death; thereby obtaining a good testimony that lives on and on to the next generation. Their lives still speak, and their testimony is recorded and bearing fruit–just as Missionary Helland’s life.
THE OVERCOMER CROWN-OF-LIFE REWARD GOES TO THE FAITHFUL MARTYR
The crown of life reward goes to martyrs and faithful Christians who endure and persevere until death. John records to the church at Pergamos in Revelation 2 about Antipas who was a faithful martyr.
The lives of faithful martyrs still speak in our present day: Remember the image of 21 Egyptian Christians with the orange jumpsuits facing beheading in 2015?
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, an academic research center that monitors worldwide demographic trends in Christianity, estimates that between the years 2005 and 2015, 900,000 Christians were martyred — an average of 90,000 Christians each year.
The center explained the definition of “martyr” it used for its study. Two of the qualifying factors for “martyr” is that the slain Christians must have been in a “situation of witness” and have been killed “as a result of hostility.”[iv] They leave behind a testimony of a witness.
Before many martyrs accept Christ, they know they are facing immediate death. Evangelist Daniel Kolenda, of Christ for all Nations, reports of a young lady who accepted Jesus in his crusade in Muslim territory, returned home and was murdered by her father. Her witness lives on. Missionary Helland’s death was not immediate, but he knew what he was facing.
It’s impossible to name today’s many martyrs. Mainstream media ignores those martyred in Nigeria, who have no one to help them. During 2018, more than 6,000 were killed by Boko Haram, and genocide is threatening them.
Especially relevant, Revelation 6:11 says that martyrs in heaven are told to rest a little while longer until the full number of their fellow servants and brothers join them.
THE OVERCOMER CROWN-OF-LIFE REWARD GOES TO THE FAITHFUL SERVANT
Epaphras and Tychicus were hailed and recorded as faithful servantsand bond-servants by Paul in the book of Colossians but not because they were martyred. Moses is said to have been faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony, yet, not a martyr. He gave his life for God’s mission to set His people free from bondage and take them to the Promised Land.
To two out of three servants, the master said twice in Chapter 25 of Matthew: “‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’” (Matt. 25:21 and 23). The third was fearful and hid his talent.
No doubt the joy of the Lord is eternal rewards in heaven and joy on earth. Our goal is to hear these words from Jesus in Matthew 25..
Jesus goes on to tell them and us to repent or else He will remove our lampstand from its place. He looks at the heart more than the works. He wants a relationship with us–not our religious works.
It all comes down to love, doesn’t it? We could be the most dedicated overcomer and faithful servant with all the faith in the world, but without love, we are nothing. (See 1 Corinthians 13.)
What are we made of? What is our character, our motives, our disposition? Do we love Jesus and others? Is what we are doing out of love or selfish ambition?
May we always look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Heb. 12:3).
And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death––Rev. 12:11
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more . . . . I will write on Him the name of My new name. Rev. 3:12
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work––Rev. 21:12
My husband’s parents taught me how to pray, even though they never knew it. They didn’t know they were teaching me how to have victory in prayer; in other words, how to receive the Victor’s Crown when this life is over.
Victor was the name of the foreman for the job of constructing the roof to the house we bought a few years ago. It had to have a new roof quickly after we closed the sale so that our homeowner’s insurance would cover it. Our only job was to let the roofing company know when we finished moving.
We were shocked when the very next morning at 7:00 a.m. the roofers showed up. They tore off the old and replaced them with beautiful new shingles on our 3,000 sq. ft. house and picked up all the nails in the yard with a magnet machine. They left at 6:00 p.m. the job completed!
We could hardly believe what had just happened. When the business owner came to see us the next day to get his final payment, we learned the secret to his success. He pays his employees by the shingle bundle, not by the hour, and they are docked pay if one nail is found afterwards.
This event made me think about how Victor had crowned our home with success. I felt absolutely loved by my Creator, highly favored and honored––only a small portion of what it will be like in heaven when we receive the real imperishable crown, or as it is also termed––the Victor’s Crown.
When I Learned How To Pray
I thought back over my life to Jim’s parent’s prayer that God would shield him and his brother when they were in Vietnam. After we were married upon his return, Jim told me he could feel bullets whiz by his head, but they never found him. I learned about power in prayer right then.
I would need that assurance after ten years of marriage when we found ourselves without a job for one year. God met our every need when we crossed our DRY RIVER BED. We learned the facts of faith that year.
I later found 53 Scriptures that give us the ‘shield’ promise we can claim.
I didn’t know I would need to know those Scriptures and how to pray when our own sons were deployed overseas:
· Oldest son: after Desert Storm
· Middle son: twice in Iraq
· Son-in-law – 5 times in Iraq and Afghanistan, now in South Korea and soon to be in Germany the second time.
OR: during open heart surgery for our oldest immediately after he graduated from West Point Military Academy and married his high school sweetheart; then nine years later another surgery because the first valve was too small…doctors told him he was one heart-beat away. Three more times he would be at death’s door as we learned how to pray.
OR: when our youngest son’s daughter was born premature and his wife very ill with pre-eclampsia.
I thought back over all these trials and attacks of the enemy and remembered Isaiah 54:15, “If anyone attacks you, it will not be God’s doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to YOU.”
Yes, we have overcome and continue to do so. These hard times have made us who we are today and give us confidence in the LORD for tomorrow. That’s why I pray you will take this article very seriously, because I know you have trials, too.
There is victory in Jesus! But, also, like the awesome roofing company we experienced, there are secrets to success––especially in spiritual growth. I’m sharing the facts of faith we learned with you today so your problems will surrender to YOU. As you learn how to pray, you will overcome any problem and discover the 5 ETERNAL CROWN REWARDS now and in heaven.
What is the Victor’s Crown that teaches us how to pray?
The incorruptible victor’s crown is described in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Verse 26 is what we are addressing today:
“Therefore I run thus, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.”
If the roofing company had come without a strategic plan, they would still be here––as though they were beating the air. The following is the strategic, certain plan for victory:
The B-E-A-R Facts of Faith: how to pray in faith believing––or how to fight like a bear
B – Believing the Word – Believing Comes Before Seeing
Some Christians believe parts of His Word have passed away and cannot be believed for today. However, God says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35), and Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Miracles seen in the Bible are the same for us today, if we believe. Jesus even tells us that if we believe, He will do greater miracles through us than He did while on earth (see John 14:12). Even He could do no mighty works because of unbelief in His hometown (see Matt. 13:58).
Before God spoke, “Let there be light,” He saw in His mind what He wanted the formless dark earth and water to be. He believed it would happen and planned for success. The story of Lazarus drives home this point.
Jesus waited four days to see his friend Lazarus, because he knew the lesson he wanted to teach. When Jesus asked for the stone to be rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb, Martha, the sister of the dead man said, “By this time there is a bad odor, for he has been dead four days.”
Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:39-40). Jesus spoke directly to Lazarus, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he did so.
Believing comes before seeing, if you want to know how to pray for answers.
E – Expecting from the Word – Having Eyes on the Circumstances and on the Word at the Same Time is Impossible
After we believe God has our answer, our hearts are filled with expectation. Until we expect to see something happen, we will not know when the answer comes.
When Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Moab and Ammon came to make war. Surrounded by a vast army, the Israelites came together to seek the Lord. The king encouraged the people, saying to the Lord, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chron. 20:12).
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Janaziel, son of Zechariah, who said,
“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them . . . . You will not have to fight in this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” –2 Chronicles 20:15-17
Keeping our eyes on the Lord means keeping our eyes in His Word. When we look at His Word, we are looking to Jesus who is the “Word made flesh.”
The first chapter of John says Jesus was the second person of the Trinity who spoke into existence everything that was made. “In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).
The bottom line is this: when our eyes are not in the Word, we are not looking to Jesus. When we are not expecting from the Word, we are focused on the problem, or the circumstances, allowing fear, doubt and worry to overtake us. We cannot keep our eyes focused on the problematic situation and on the Lord at the same time. The word from our mouth, working in conjunction with His Word, opens the door for Him to fight those battles.
Earnest expectation that turns the head from any distraction assumes that once we have made a quality decision to trust God concerning a situation, we can expect opposition, harassment, trials and challenges.
Words contradicting what we believe will come. That’s when we must fix our heart and keep on believing, saying out loud, “[I] will have no fear of bad news; [my] heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Ps. 112:7).
We can lay our requests before God each morning (see Ps. 5:3), but unless we expect something to happen, it’s unlikely we will see any results.
Having Eyes on the Circumstances and on the Word at the Same Time is Impossible if you want to see results from learning how to pray.
A – Asking from the Word – Praying the Scripture, not the Problem
The book of James tells us what to do when we have a problem. After we begin to believe God’s Word has a solution for every situation and embrace hopeful expectation for the answer, we need wisdom such as Jehoshaphat received through Janaziel.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Furthermore, he says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).
Jehoshaphat did this very thing. Alarmed, he resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for himself and all Judah. He praised the Lord, recounting the covenant promise to Abraham and God’s deliverances in the past.
He put his faith in God’s ability, rather than his own, to take care of things in the present. He then spoke positive, believing words, “You will hear us and save us” (2 Chron. 20:9). He did not belabor the problem. God already knew it, and he knows ours, too.
Asking from the Word means praying the Scripture. His Word is His will. His Word contains the answer to any problem we could have. The more we take our words from God’s Word, the more we are looking to Jesus who fights for us. For God says, “. . . I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it” (Jer. 1:12 Amplified).
Jesus himself defeated Satan during his forty days of temptation with Scripture saying, “It is written.” He tells us, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63).
Seeking God’s wisdom, and asking from His Word, involves hard work much like digging for hidden treasure, such as picking up acorns one by one like bears should naturally do. Furthermore, having God’s revealed wisdom and then doing something about it is a matter of life and death—to our marriages, children, cities and nation.
As we put voice to Scripture during our situation, the entrance of His Word gives light and brings victory (see Ps. 119:130).
Pray the Scripture, not the Problem, if you want to know how to pray for answers.
R – Receiving from the Word – Confessing the Word and Living the Word
We can receive answers to prayer through Believing, Expecting and then Asking through Scripture. However, the “R” of our faith-bear is reserved for the critical battles. It requires a more disciplined decision to battle with faith to overcome the most trying circumstances.
Therefore, it is wise to choose our battles wisely, and know what is truly important and worth fighting for.
Without the “R” there might be no answer to prayer. We could pray, believe, expect, and ask, but unless we are willing to receive, there could be no victory. This is where many Christians miss out on the joy of their salvation, because this is the hardest part.
Receiving from the Lord involves two aspects: a deeper knowledge of what faith is and how it works with words of praise with positive actions. Receiving from the Lord requires us to understand “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20 KJV).
The mature Christian knows that “works” are tied to our words, because positive words spring forth positive actions based on what we believe from the Word.
One thing Jesus said about believing is puzzling: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
We all want to receive, but what does it mean, to “believe that you receive?”
The verse before this one gives us our first clue: “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” So, we know receiving has to do with what we truly believe and, therefore, speak (like Jesus spoke TO Lazarus).
Our next clue is found in 1 John 5:14-15. This Amplified translation says it plainly: know that God has “granted us as our present possessions the requests made of Him” when it’s in agreement with His plans for us. This is what faith is, and what the B-E-A-R Facts of Faith are all about.
Faith is further defined in Hebrews:
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and conviction of their reality–faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. –Hebrews 11:1 AMP
By faith, we already have the title-deed to what we have requested from the Lord. Faith is “perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.”
If we can claim for ourselves what we want to see happen, knowing God has already granted (past tense) what we have asked for as our present possessions, then would we not have already received? Almost, but not quite.
With this knowledge, our words are still the key. Hosea tells us, “Take words with you and return to the Lord” (Hosea 14:2). Then, God says, “I will create the fruit of the lips”—what our words say.
The Amplified translation explains how God uses His own faith-filled words: “God . . . who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed” (Rom. 4:17).
So, does not our creative power with God lie in speaking of the nonexistent things as if they already existed and then acting that way? Yes!
How Jehoshaphat Put the ‘R’ on His Fighting BEAR
Jehoshaphat and his people had to put the R on B-E-A-. Early the next morning after they sought the Lord, Jehoshaphat spoke words that perceived as real fact what was not yet revealed to his senses. He told them, “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld . . . .” 2 Chron. 20:20).
Because of what he believed, expected and asked of God, he appointed singers to praise the Lord as they went out at the head of the army—a work of faith. His actions were bold. Though still fearful, the people began to sing and praise (a positive action). The Lord sent ambushes against their enemies; no one escaped. Most were destroyed by each other.
Praise puts the R on B-E-A-. When we praise the Lord, no matter how we feel, we are receiving the past tense of what God said He would do. In different words, praise claims our requests. Until we have a thankful heart toward God, we will never receive His best.
Without the R, there is no enduring faith, and without faith, we cannot please God—there is no “mama or papa bear” who is caring and fighting for their cubs. With God-given faith we have His knowledge that brings light and victory in ALL situations.
Confess the Word and Live the Word daily to receive answers to your prayers.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat the fruit of it [for death or life]” Proverbs 18:21 Amplified, meaning we bear the consequences of our words.
Laura W. was diagnosed with rectal cancer that reoccurred FIVE times. She had FOUR surgeries with radiation. By the fifth time, she was maxed out on radiation and no more tissue could be excised. So, what did she do? She turned from looking only to her doctors and formed a prayer group and learned how to pray in faith believing. Shortly thereafter, the doctor told her, “We see no sign of disease!”
Learning how to pray takes time, study and work, yes. But if we are to have victory, peace, joy and life now––which will result in receiving the Victor’s Crown when this life is over––we must live above our circumstances. It takes the B E A R Facts of Faith–a strategic, certain plan for success to overcome.
Francy married an Army Lieutenant. His assignments created numerous moves in the states and abroad, let alone all the deployments thrown in. It was hard leaving behind friends and family and starting over every couple years.
Early in their marriage, Francy resented some of these assignments and took it out on her husband, blaming him until she realized that soldiering is all he ever wanted to do in life. She was going to have to alter her perspective to be able to support him better.
Finally, Francy decided that if her husband was to be able to do what he was called and trained to do, she had to learn that his mission had to become her own. She believed in what he was doing, and she knew the only way he would ever be happy was for her to become adaptable.
Not being a natural extrovert, she learned to go out right away, make new friends and get involved in the community. She settled in faster and experienced a whole new state and/or country, which became an exciting adventure—especially when running marathons in each state became a new goal.
Francy became an expert in running marathons and created her own training system for leading the wives of Army personnel to run also. They all had the same challenges in making so many moves, and it brought them together.
Before long Francy had a whole wall of medals, so she decided it was time to train her parents! They could not run after 40 years of marriage and weight gain, so she helped them to walk a half marathon – the 13.1 miles – without stopping.
A race was coming to her city––the perfect opportunity to get her parents ‘in shape.’ Her parents complied and were glad to be part of their daughter’s world. They worked hard, but still didn’t see how they could finish the race with everyone else unless they ran it. So, Fran got permission for them to start earlier in the morning.
It worked, and they finished the race approximately the same time as all the rest finished the whole marathon. Of course, only one person received first prize in each age group, but they received a medal when they crossed the finish line.
BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST WILL RECEIVE CROWN REWARDS
Much like a marathon, at the end of our race on earth, believers in Jesus Christ will receive eternal crown rewards when they make their Creator’s mission their own.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
We must be clear on one point. Scripture does not say that a person is saved, or obtains eternal salvation because of his works, or what he does while in the body; it does say our works matter.
Ephesians 2:8-10 will always be our faith foundation: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God. Romans 14:11
In other words, we will all have to “give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:12)––at one of two judgments.
[To understand more of what it means to be a Christian believer in Jesus Christ, click on these links to learn about HEART change and the what the BLOOD of Jesus Christ did for you.]
THERE ARE TWO JUDGMENTS
There will be two judgments: one for believers (the *Bema) and one for non-believers in Jesus Christ (the Great White Throne Judgment).
THE *BEMA JUDGMENT FOR BELIEVERS – CROWN REWARDS . . . OR NOT
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 tells believers that their works can be compared to gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay and straw. Each one’s work will be revealed by fire that tests each one’s work of what sort it is.
“If anyone’s work which he has built on it [the foundation of Jesus Christ] endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT FOR NONBELIEVERS– NO CROWN REWARDS
Revelation 20:11-15 reveals what will happen at the Great White Throne Judgment for unbelievers. All the dead, small and great, from the sea, death and hell will be judged, “and books were opened. And another book was opened which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books . . . And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
What are the books that were opened that were compared to the Book of Life? Read Psalm 139:
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:16).
All the days ordained for you were written in your book the moment you were conceived in your mother’s womb. This is God’s plan for your life, your destiny and your days numbered.
Everything about your life is recorded in your book, especially if you have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him and have allowed Him to fulfill His plans for your life.
Believer’s crown rewards are determined from this book at the Bema Judgment. Believers take no part in the Great White Throne Judgment at the very end of time.
WHAT ARE THE FIVE CROWN REWARDS?
They are summarized below.
[I will write about each one of the following in the next five posts, so if you are reading this before completion, they will not be linked; otherwise, they are linked to more detail.]
1. Incorruptible Crown/Victor’s Crown– “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown” (1 Corinthians 9:25).
2. Crown of Life– “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
3. Crown of Glory – “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).
4. Crown of Righteousness – “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
5. Crown of Rejoicing – “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you [souls won] in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1Thessalonians 2:19-20).
(Other descriptive names given these crown rewards: 1. Victor’s Crown 2. Martyr’s Crown 3. Elder’s or Shepherd’s Crown 4. For Those Who Love His Appearing 5. Soul Winner’s Crown)
Notice that the Apostle Paul summarized the imperishable crown (#1), also called victor’s crown, in 1 Corinthians 9; still yet, all the crowns are also victor crowns for those who overcome. My next post will address the Victor’s Crown in detail as to how I can know I will receive it; what am I to do?
The following Scripture passage from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NKJV) is merely an introduction to the incorruptible victor crowns:
• 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
• 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
• 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
• 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
I RUN to receive crown rewards
Even though we may not come out first, we must run or walk very fast as though we will be first. Those of us who started out life earlier than most, will cross the finish line at the same time when the body of Christ is caught up together to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
For a visual of what this will look like, you may go HERE to listen to or read about the open vision the Lord gave me of what happened when the body of Christ RAN fast and faster.
I FIGHT to receive crown rewards
We must fight because we have an adversary (the devil). He does everything he can to keep us from fulfilling our destiny and what is written by our Creator in our own personal book. We must not allow him to cheat us of our reward (Colossians 3:18), or lose it by deception (2 John, vs. 8).
If we do allow this to happen, we stand the chance of losing our crown reward if we continue to let the enemy “take our crown” (Rev. 3:11). The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. Jesus has come to give us life and life abundantly (See John 10:10).
We must educate ourselves on how to use our spiritual word weapon, so we don’t just beat the air. This is what my next post will address in The Victor’s Crown.
I DISCIPLINE my body into subjection so I’m able to receive crown rewards
I think we all know how hard discipline is. It takes a conscious decision to prepare for a marathon; even a half marathon of 13.1 miles. Likewise, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ requires discipline and a quality decision.
It’s not by chance that ‘disciple’ is the root of ‘discipline.’ And how we live our life on this earth affects everyone we know and possibly many we may never know. Will you receive a crown reward?
It’s time to RUN!
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work (Revelation 22:12).
*Bema is the transliteration of the Greek word used in the New Testament used to distinguish the Great White Throne Judgment of nonbelievers from the judgment seat of Christ for believers. A bema was a raised platform in the city square or at the coliseums where a dignitary would sit to hear civil matters or hand out rewards at competitive games (Tim LaHaye & Thomas Ice, Charting the End Times, Harvest House Publishers, p. 122.)
I sidled up to the crowded counter where my husband was getting ready to pay for gasoline and his drink at the convenience store. I placed my coffee next to his––as I always do. To my surprise, he said, “What are you doing?”
When we got into the car, I asked him, “What was that all about back there? Why did you ask me what I was doing?”
“It was crowded, and I could hardly get my money out of my wallet. You were too close to me.”
Having learned to pick my battles, I let it drop, but my feelers were hurt and as much as I fought taking an offense, I did, until I went for a walk that evening and had a full-out pity party. I complained to the Lord and let it all out.
As I rounded the corner close to the house, I heard the still, small voice of the Lord say you can’t get too close to me.
These words stopped me in my tracks, as I knew they were also the Lord’s loving correction to me. I needed to seek His face more than I had been doing. One day of missing to read my Bible had led to another, and now, I had let my spiritual armor down and felt far from God.
When I sought the Lord, I was reminded of what I had recently heard a preacher say, “There are five levels, or stages in the Christian’s life: believer, disciple, bondservant, friend and son/daughter.” That was it, no explanation of these.
My first reaction was to think there was another level beyond son/daughter. Finally, as I determined to research what the Lord had to say about this, I realized I was wrong, and what He showed me was a pleasant surprise.
Please follow along with me as we discern these five progressive levels of growth in relationship to God Jesus Christ: a relationship not religion. You may feel like I did, far from God, or you may be a new believer who, like me years ago, did not know what to do with what they got when they asked Jesus into their heart.
You may be a stressed-out mom or dad, or single person feeling unloved and unappreciated, rejected or neglected. You long for someone who would just have your best interests at heart. If so, you must keep reading.
The still, small voice of the Lord is just waiting to speak to you now and give you encouragement and new direction.
BELIEVER: The First Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ
The Bible Believer believes these four things:
• Jesus was sent from God and is His Son (John 3:16);
• He was born of a virgin (Luke 1:27,31)
• He died on the cross as the lamb of God; thus, paying the price for sin, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22);
• He was buried and rose again, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Jesus himself gives us a definition of what a true believer is when He prays for His disciples right before He is crucified. “I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me” (John 17:8).
HERE Is a link to MY STORY – HOW EL ROI FOUND ME. Just click on it for a pdf file of my story. Mothers and grandmothers have used this simple model to lead their children or grandchildren to the Lord.
DISCIPLE: The Second Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ
The disciple encompasses three D’s: Disciple, Discipline and Decision
• Disciple: Webster’s dictionary’s very first definition of disciple uses the synonym of ‘follower’ to explain that this disciple is “a follower of Jesus Christ, and one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.”
• Discipline: “to train or develop by instruction and exercise in self-control” (Webster’s). To be a disciplined disciple, the believer must make a:
• Decision: Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And what did they do? They immediately left their fishing nets and followed Him. James and John were in the boat with their father mending their nets. When Jesus called them, they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him (Matthew 4:22).
It was this very account of Jesus calling His disciples that got my husband’s and my attention when we made the conscious, quality decision to follow Him. Jesus knew his twelve disciples before he called them by name to follow Him.
Jesus is still walking along the seashore calling out believers by name to make Him Number One, LORD of all. He wants followers who are quality-decision making, disciplined disciples.
BONDSERVANT: The Third Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ
Paul, Timothy, James, Peter and Jude all referred to themselves as bondservants of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. This period of servanthood is marked by trials, suffering and circumstances that cannot be understood at the time.
Jesus says that the servant does not know what his master is doing (John 15:15). Do you find this as interesting as I do? During a test, the Teacher is absent.
The bondservant stage is characterized by three things:
The word servants comes from the Greek word doulos, [Strong’s 1401]: from deo, means ‘to bind,’ The word denotes one in bondage to, or subject to another, and is usually translated, ‘slave’ or ‘servant.’ Often the service involved is voluntary, in which a person willingly offers obedience and devotion and loyalty to another, subordinating his will to him.
No longer a men-pleaser:
The disciple finally comes to realize that he/she cannot follow Jesus and worry about what other people think of them, “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6).
Humble selflessness and learned obedience:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
If Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience, how do we think we can get by with less? He died literally and says we must take up His cross to follow Him. That comes only by commanding SELF to die daily – knowing that “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). Self-centeredness is the root of all evil. Every overcomer has learned this lesson.
Every overcomer in the Bible had a period of suffering in their life before they came out on top. Only a few examples are: Joseph who spent time in prison before being exalted to overseer over all the land of Egypt; David was anointed king of Israel, yet ran and hid from Saul for many years before he was able to take the throne. Job lost his health and children, everything he had, except his wife before God restored him double.
Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13: 15-16).
God’s promise to the bondservant: “You prisoners of hope, even today I declare that I will restore double to you” (Zechariah 9:12).
FRIEND: The Fourth Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ
How would you like to be called a “friend of God?” What an honor for someone to call you that. James 2:23 tells us that, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.”
As Jesus was preparing his disciples for His departure at the end of their training period, He said to them,
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you. These things I command you that you love one another” (John 15: 15-17).
A friend of God is marked by two things:
Jesus commanded that, because you are my friend, “Love One Another!” Love is the first fruit of the Spirit detailed in Galatians 5:22, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” When we learn to love, the rest will follow; without the others, there is no love; fruit is singular as one bunch of grapes.
And because we love, we will pray for others as Abraham did.
Intercession for others with the ability to change God’s mind:
Genesis 18 tells the story of Abraham’s intercession for the city of Sodom. As God was about to rain down fire and brimstone upon the evil city of sin, He said to Himself, shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?
When Abraham learned of God’s plan to destroy Sodom, he stood before the Lord and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: “Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?”
The LORD said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.”
Abraham persisted until he influenced the LORD down to 10 people. The only righteous people found in the city were Abraham’s nephew Lot and family. Angels took them by the hand and led them out before fire rained down.
“Come, let us reason together,” says the LORD . . . “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:18-20).
SON/DAUGHTER: The Fifth Level of Progression in Relationship with Jesus
As I contemplated this fifth and last stage of relationship—Son/Daughter– my first thoughts were, no, there is a sixth level–the body of Christ as His bride–the Bride of Christ. Slowly, the Lord directed my thoughts to Jesus’ baptism by John and proved me wrong.
The heavens were opened, and Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him, and suddenly a voice came from heaven saying,
“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3: 17)
This must be the highest compliment from the Father possible!
I said to the Lord, “I wish I could hear You say to me that I am your daughter.”
My thoughts immediately ran to the book of Ruth, and I found chapter 3 where Boaz the family redeemer, a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, spoke to Ruth.
Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi both had come through a time of great suffering in the land of Moab (and their false gods) where both their husbands had died. They were now back in Bethlehem after the famine where Naomi’s house and land remained.
Ruth had been gleaning grain from the fields of Boaz to help care for her mother-in-law. Knowing that Boaz was a close relative who could redeem their family name, Naomi prompted Ruth to go to the threshing floor at the midnight hour. Naomi told her, “uncover his feet, lie down, and he will tell you what you should do.”
“Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled and turned himself, and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”
Then he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! . . . And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request . . . .” (Ruth 3:10-11).
Ruth was referred to as ‘Ruth the Moabitess’ five times in the book of the Bible named after her, but when she responded to Boaz/Jesus who asked her who she was, she said, “I am Ruth, your maidservant (bondservant).” But, Boaz/Jesus called her His daughter.
It’s like the song titled, “I am a child of God.” From the very foundations of the world, we were created to be a companion for the Son, Jesus Christ, and to live with Him forever as His bride. The question is, “Do we know who we are?”
Is not the bride of the Bridegroom Jesus the daughter-in-love of The Father?
Boaz married Ruth and their son Obed, whose name means “He who worships,” became the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. Twenty-eight generations after David, Joseph (of the lineage of David) married Mary, mother of Jesus—the promised Messiah.
Oh, and by the way, Ruth, who left her family back in Moab to follow Naomi’s people and their God in Bethlehem, Israel, had a name that means “friend of God—something worth seeing.”
Is not the bride of the Bridegroom, Jesus/Yeshua, the daughter-in-love of The Father?
“And it shall be in that day,” says the LORD, that you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals [idols and false gods], And they shall be remembered by their name no more” (Hosea 2:16-17)”