We have been invited into the complete work of the cross. Over the past forty days a remnant of the global family of God has received the invitation to yield their body, souls, and spirits to that completed work. It has been a supernatural work of the Spirit, partnered with our prayer,
“Not my will but Your will be done.”
God gave instruction to Israel, and also, to us: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:15-16). We have been yielding to the Lord to bring us into an encounter of greater purity and intimacy.
Yet so often we’ve bowed our heads in despair rather than lifting our hands in surrender as we looked upon our human weakness. Even this season of “yielding” that we have taken part in could have become a source of discouragement if we allow ourselves to be measured by any human understanding of God’s commands to us.
But here is a precious truth: Our Father wants us to be holy even more than we want to be holy.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. Moreover I will give you a new heart. I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the stony heart from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Ruach within you. Then I will cause you to walk in My laws, so you will keep My rulings and do them. Then you will live in the land that I gave to your fathers. You will be My people and I will be your God. So I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful. I will not bring a famine upon you. (Ezekiel 36:25-29 TLV)
The same promise is spoken in Jeremiah 31:32,
I will put My Torah within them. Yes, I will write it on their heart. I will be their God and they will be My people.
So, the cleansing He has done this season has been a work of His own hand, by His authority, according to His power and mercy. And, we are astonished to discover that our great and awesome God wants us. He desires to fellowship with us, because we are His treasure and we belong to Him—corporately and individually. He has called us each of us by name, so that we become aware of His individual concern and care. He nurtures and protects and cherishes us.
Every unique individual bears an imprint of the Eternal, and He loves the personality and gifts and expressions He has placed within each of us. Before creation—before anything was—He prepared promises and treasures for each of us, to give Him glory and bring us pleasure and fulfillment.
These gifts, and the close fellowship with our Maker, create who we are and release wonder in the earth. He does not stand in opposition to us because of our weakness; rather, He is for us, and nothing can condemn or stand against us.
So, at the end of these forty days, with the eyes of our hearts open and filled with light, we see Joshua the high priest, no longer condemned, but clothed in purity because the Holy One decreed it. We see the menorah in the temple glowing brightly, miraculously, with pure oil, day after day, because the Holy One created it.
We see ourselves, cleansed and purified and fully clothed in righteousness because of our Savior. We are ravished by His love; we are fearfully and wonderfully made; and we are beckoned to continue into the romance of becoming one spirit with Him, joined forever.
First love has been restored and becoming one spirit with our precious Savior has been completed by the miraculous power of His Spirit who lives within us. We have yielded to our King and He has been faithful to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. We prayed, like Mary,
“Be it unto me according to your word.”
It has been done and is now complete. Our Messiah came and purified our lives and created a resting place for Himself in each of our lives. Our light shines brightly—just as the Son—for all the world to see.
We complete these forty days of yielding with the knowledge that we have crossed a threshold into a new realm where the shadows of old have passed away and unfiltered light shines like a lamp stand in a darkened world. We declare today,
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let Earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare him room and Heaven and nature sing!”
May peace and joy, and the depth, height, and width of His love rest upon you and your loved ones. The King has received and responded to our yielding!
I awoke today with the verse from Luke 12:27 flowing though my mind:
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith." Luke 12:27-28
Last night I dreamed that I had a home in the most beautiful setting. The beauty of the trees and the snow-capped mountains took my breath away. God’s artistry in creation overwhelmed my senses. God clothed the Earth in radiant beauty and glorious splendor and yet His Word says that He has “all the more clothed us."
As I’ve spent the past forty days yielding to the work of the Spirit in my life, I have experienced an awakening to the reality of my personal value and to the greatness of God’s love for me. This awakening has been like receiving royal robes and white linens that have clothed me anew. When God looks upon me, and upon you, He sees such splendor and beauty—far more than even the most beautiful setting on Earth.
If we are of such great value then why do we fear or fret about the earthly things? We are eternal beings who have been clothed with a heavenly love that will never be removed. We are the inheritance of Jesus, His radiant bride who takes His breath away. He cares for every need we have while here on Earth.
When I was a teenager my life was very difficult. I felt that I had no value or worth. A man at my high school began telling me about having a relationship with Jesus. i had never heard of such a thing. At that time, I was given an album by the Christian artist Keith Green. Though I did not yet know the Lord, I would listen to one particular song over and over. The words of the song caused me to weep and experience a washing that I did not understand. It was as if the words to this song would clothe me and cover me in worth and great value. Here are the lyrics to that song,
My son, My son, why are you striving?
You can’t add one thing to what’s been done for you
I did it all while I was dying
Rest in your faith, my peace will come to you
For when I hear the praises start
I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child and you know me
To Me you’re only holy
Nothing that you’ve done remains
Only what you do for Me
My child, My child, why are you weeping?
You will not have to wait forever
That day and that hour is in My keeping
The day I’ll bring you into heaven
My precious bride, the day is nearing
When I’ll take you in My arms and hold you
I know there are so many things that you’ve been hearing
But you just hold on to what I have told you
For when I hear the praises start, My bride,
I want to rain upon you
Blessing that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child and you know me
To me you’re only holy
Nothing that you’ve done remains
Only what you do in Me
(“When I Hear the Praises Start” by Keith Green)
I have not thought of that song in many years, but as I awoke today with the verse from Luke 12 in my mind, it ushered me back to the days when I first discovered how much He loved and valued me. It awakened first love again. It brought me back to the days in my youth when the words to that song began to cover my shame and nakedness, bringing me into the greatest and purest love I’d ever known.
These past forty days have rekindled first love. The Spirit of God has reminded us of the greatness of His love toward us and how greatly we are valued. We do not need to worry, strive, or weep for we are His children, we are His bride. We have been clothed in the splendor of His love and we are held by the arms of a God who will never let us go.
I will close with the words from Isaiah 40,
“O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:27-31
Our strength is found in the greatness of His love for us. His love gives us wings to soar and strength for the journey ahead.
Oh, how He loves you and me!
“In a single day everything can change.”
This statement is often used when a great loss or tragedy happens in a life or in a nation. These traumatic moments mark time with a delineation of “before and after”. They are what humans dread and fear most.
God is desiring to mark a time in your life that changes things for good. What if there is a “before and after” stamp on the timeline of your life that represents a great victory? Do we have faith and expectation to see a victory so great that it changes everything, or do we more readily embrace the fear and dread of experiencing a traumatic loss?
As we’ve been going through Zechariah 3, it finishes with these verses,
"Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.”
As believers, each of us has a moment in time that the penalty of our sins was removed in a single day. The day that we received Jesus into our lives we were marked with the greatest victory we will ever experience. We were saved by grace and birthed into the endless mercies of being loved as a son or daughter. The timeline of our lives has been marked by salvation’s kiss.
As the year 2017 began, Holy Spirit spoke to me regarding the verse in Ephesians 3:20,
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…
The Holy Spirit asked me to spend the year decreeing and praying this verse over our lives, our family, over our ministry partners, and over every believer. As I did this I watched how God began to shift lives from the dread of terror to an expectation of victories and blessings. Many moved from a mindset of lack to a mindset of more than they can ask or imagine.
There has been a great warfare against this shift in posture and beliefs, but as we have remained in faith, hope, and trust, we are convinced we will see the victories made manifest in lives, families, and nations. As we walk with renewed minds and in the oneness of spirit with Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:17) we will experience His “more than enough”. Our spirits will soar and we will lack no good thing. Though the enemy has come in like a thief and stolen precious things, the Lord will respond with vindication and a greater restoration and we will not lack!
We are entering into a greater grace than we have ever known, that will usher in victories that mark our lives with good things. We will say, “My life was changed for good in a single day.”
Today we turn from the fear of evil to the expectation of more than we can ask or imagine.
I leave you with the faithful and true words of promise from Psalm 34,
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:4-10)
For any of you who follow my writings, you are aware of the 40-day time of “Yielding” that God has been leading us in. When I saw that today is day 37 I immediately thought of one of our life passages from Psalm 37:
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:3-6
One of the greatest lessons of my life has been learning to trust God. I discovered, after years of unnecessary fretting, that He is faithful, true, and trustworthy in all things. There are often times that I don’t understand His ways or find Him leading in the direction that I’d naturally choose, but as I rest and trust, His faithfulness anoints my steps and draws me into peace.
He has become the absolute desire of my heart because in Him there is such peace, light, and unfailing love.
Psalm 37 continues,
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:7-9
Do not fret!
I have found that the moments I allowed my heart to turn away from trust and enter into fretting only led me away from the Lord’s green pastures and still waters into dark alleys where my enemies had set a trap for me. Decisions made in a fretful state of mind were reactions to natural circumstances rather than the response of a yielded and trusting daughter.
Psalm 37 finishes with these words,
“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” Psalm 37:39-40
Today turn your heart to trust fully in the salvation of the Lord. Let fretting be removed like an old garment and put on the garments of faith and trust. He will not forsake you or leave you without help. The impossible is merely an invitation to see the sovereignty of the Lord made manifest in whatever you are facing. Lay your head upon His chest and be still. Trust Him!
As I’ve taken the past two months to meditate on Zechariah 3–a story that is marked by God’s miraculous grace to save a man defiled by his own iniquities—I have become keenly aware of this continual work of grace happening in the lives of God’s sons and daughters even now.
As believers we stand before the Father fully clothed in the purity and righteousness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet still, we are being transformed in our souls— our minds, character, thoughts, and feelings. Our minds are continuously being renewed in order to obtain the mind of Christ, our belief systems are being aligned with truth, and our actions are being adjusted to mirror only what we see the Father doing. Condemnation has been removed and we have been set free from guilt and shame, even while our souls are being purified from all that the enemy has defiled from the old patterns of this world.
As I awoke this morning I saw in my spirit a scene of snow falling. As it fell it began to cover the branches of each individual tree, then the soil and brush beneath the trees, causing the entire landscape to be clothed in this pure white snow. It was a gradual and peaceful transformation. The land did nothing to receive this gift, it merely received it.
The same is true in Zechariah 3 with Joshua the high priest; he merely stood and received the new garments (white linens) just as the land received the white covering of snow.
There is an accuser who desires to replay and remind God’s people of their past iniquities, hoping to cause them to return to the pig pens of his demonic defilement. He wants to keep our souls in his defilement so that our light will be hidden. The definition of defilement is to sully, mar, or spoil. impair, debase, degrade; desecrate or profane (something sacred), desecrate, profane, violate, or to violate the chastity of (a woman). Jesus has clothed us in new, white garments and removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. He has set us free from sin and it’s defilement, He is the pure oil that renews and transforms us into a bright and pure light that reveals Christ to a darkened world.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Remember that just as it took time for the landscape to be fully covered in the white snow, and as the oil that was used to light the flame of the menorah took eight days to purify, so our souls are in a process of purification. Though we stand blameless before God because of the blood of Jesus, our souls are still being transformed.
Today is a day to yield to the transformational work of the Holy Spirit. I heard the Spirit say that there is a deep work of grace happening even now. He is removing defilement from lives. I saw the “landscape” of lives being purified from all the mire of iniquities of the soul and He is covering places that had been left uncovered.
The landscape represents all that pertains to your life. Just as in the scene of the snow falling, not only were the individual trees covered in snow, but the ground that they were planted in was covered and the growth around them was covered in white. Even the atmosphere was permeated by the falling snow. God is removing defilement from spiritual atmospheres, from lands, people groups, families, and from your life. He is covering every detail. All you have to do is to be still and receive it.
Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:8-10
For a couple of months I’ve been hearing the Spirit speak the words,
“What has happened before will happen again.”
I wasn’t sure specifically what this meant and didn’t want to assume a meaning, but today I heard these words again. As I heard them this time the Spirit showed me miracles that had happened before suddenly beginning to happen again.
We are in the middle of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah that recalls a miraculous victory followed by a miraculous eight nights of the temple menorah remaining lit when there was only enough oil for one night. As I heard, “What has happened before will happen again,” in my spirit I saw miracles happening. They were like the ones that Hanukkah commemorates: miraculous defeat of enemies, miraculous restoration of land, miraculous provision from lack, miraculous light in darkness.
Not only did I see Biblical miracles of old about to happen again, but miracles that had previously been experienced in individual lives and families that had been lost or stolen, I saw them restored and returned, never to be stolen again. Their miracles would accompany an anointing to release the power of breakthrough onto others as well.
Expect miracles! Expect beyond what you have experienced before; miracles that give you victory over your enemies, that restore what is rightly yours in Christ Jesus, that bring provision out of lack and that cause lost things to be returned! I declare over you, “What has happened before will happen again.”
Today, yield your faith to an expectancy of miracles!
As I pondered the beauty of the candlelight that is seen in the Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations, it bought me back to the light that shone so brightly in the night sky two thousand years ago. It was a light that led wise men to the eternal Light that would offer deliverance to all mankind from the darkness of sin and death.
That light came in the form of a tiny baby. While Bethlehem slept in their beds, the Savior was born and laid in a manger. A King became a helpless baby in a town that had no room for him. He allowed Himself to leave His throne and become fully dependent on the ones that He Himself had created.
As we have been led like the wisemen to the King, who once again sits upon His throne, will we allow ourselves to become fully dependent upon Him? Will we make room in our hearts and our cities for the One who the angels announced to shepherds and a star led wise men to worship? For He is the perfect light and there are no shadows within Him. As the Christmas carol says,
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light
The Holy Spirit is our “Star of Wonder” that leads us by His light. He is “Emmanuel- God with us”. Never are we to fear darkness again, for we have received the greatest gift known to man…Christ Jesus, our Lord.
We worship with hearts fully yielded to the babe that once laid in a manger and the King who sits upon a throne called “Mercy”. What light and love came that night and shines with great brightness still.
Do you need a light to lead you forward? A star that brings you into wonder and delight? Today, your humble king has grace, mercy and delight to be poured over you. He will lead you where miracles never cease and light always dispels darkness. Present yourself before Him, like the gifts the wisemen set before the babe…the Messiah who slept in a manger. Surrender all.
Together we sing…
Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Earth to heav’n replies
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John1:5
During this time of Hanukkah that is celebrated by the Jewish people all around the world, I am reminded that even the smallest flame overcomes the darkness. It takes but one lit match to bring light.
I recently had someone write me and ask me this question,
“What is my purpose here on Earth?”
They felt purposeless. Yet, as a believer they contain the light of the Holy Spirit and their mere existence dispels darkness. Though their life (and every life) is created with a call to great purpose, if all they did was let their light shine it would have a significant impact.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. Matthew 5:15
I have a friend whose son was severely handicapped. In the 29 years that he lived he brought significant light to all who would come in contact with him. He could not speak, walk, or even feed himself but he could reveal light. His smile, his love for God and mankind was brighter than some of the most able-bodied people you’ll ever meet. He didn’t hide the light that was placed within him but let it shine like the steady flame of a candle.
During these eight nights of the Hanukkah celebration let us let our light shine forth for all to see. What greater purpose is there than to reveal the light that Christ has placed within us? He is the Light of the World and the darkness CANNOT overcome it.
Today we ask that our lives would shine with the light of Christ. In anymanner that we have placed our light under a basket we say, “No! I’m going to let it shine.”
This evening begins the celebration of Hanukkah with the lighting of the first of eight candles. The miracle that occurred over 2200 years ago is a picture of the light that has illuminated our hearts—a light of purity and a light of the miraculous.
We pray as Paul did in Ephesians 1:18; that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened—“filled with light”—that we would know the hope of His calling and His glorious inheritance in us, and that we would understand the greatness of His power to us who believe. This power is like the mighty strength He exercised when He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:19-20).
This is a work of grace in our hearts and our lives. It is our Lord’s mighty power at work in us. We don’t earn it; we don’t cause it to come to us through effort. We posture ourselves humbly; yielding, trusting, believing that He is true and faithful, and that His Word is true. He will fulfill His purposes and promises in our lives. He is the Alpha and Omega—the beginning and end, the initiator and perfecter of our faith (Revelation 1:8; 22:13; Isaiah 44:6; Hebrews 12:2).
He faithfully began a good work in us, and He will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). This work unites us with our Bridegroom, creating worship and faithfulness within our hearts, that we would be the “five wise virgins” with our lamps full of oil (Matthew 25:1-13), purified by the Holy Spirit, watching with the eyes of our hearts wide open and full of light.
The darkness of our present age is no match for the burning devotion—fueled by pure oil—that the Lord Himself is producing in His family. Just as the Maccabees refused idol worship and refused to be intimidated by the enemies of God, so we too enter the temple of the Lord to worship, to set aright those things that have been displaced, and to receive a miracle of power and devotion placed within our hearts by the One who performs miracles.
We need the oil of the Holy Spirit within us to keep our light burning in the night season until the return of our Bridegroom. His truth shines more purely and brightly within our hearts, and the light we release to others—bringing the light of hope to their darkness—will continue to grow in authority and power as we have yielded and find ourselves united in one spirit with the Lord.
This will display the true light that lights every man (John 1:9) and will release the power of the Holy One to restore us, our families, and our lands.
Wise children heed their father’s instructions.
When we were young, if we chose to not obey our parents or guardians, we could be easily misled, deceived, and manipulated. Even as adults, we are not always able to keep ourselves from being coerced and seduced by the enticing and flattering treasures of the world. If we think ourselves wise in our own eyes, we prove that we are foolish.
But fortunately, we understand from Scripture that in His kindness, our gracious God makes provision for us to understand true wisdom. He has made it available to us at all times, in many ways.
Wisdom calls aloud in the streets,
she raises her voice in public squares.
She cries out above the commotion.
At the entrances of the city gates,
she utters her speech…
Behold, I pour out my heart to you.
I will make my words known to you.
(Proverbs 1:20-21,23 TLV)
The prophet Isaiah also reveals to us the heart of our gracious Lord:
I was sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I was found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
To a nation that was not called by My name.
I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people….
He is always faithful, even when we are unfaithful. He longs that everyone would walk in truth and the counsel of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter who has come to lead us into all truth. He reminds us of the truth today, just as the Lord spoke to Joshua the high priest,
“If you will walk in My ways,
And if you will keep My command,
then you shall also judge My house,
And likewise have charge of My courts….
God went on to tell Joshua that He was sending forth His Servant the BRANCH, the One who, according to Jeremiah 33:15, brings righteousness and justice upon the earth.
As we listen and yield to Him, trusting and following His continual instruction, we will speak and act in true wisdom as we have been taught; we will be one heart with the great shepherd who loves us and all people, who is making us one as He and the Father are one. We will do only what we see the Lord doing. We will move as He moves, and love as He loves.
Wise men still seek Him!