Today I was thinking about the power of declarations and the words from Psalm 19 began to flow through my mind and spirit,
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…” Psalm 19:1-4
A declaration does not have to consist of words; it can speak its message through creation, through visual beauty, and through the strength of the elements. These are demonstrations of His glory and majesty. Our lives, too, can declare, demonstrate, and pour forth speech without ever using words.
As we walk in alignment and obedience to God’s ways and wisdom, we become a living demonstration of the glory of God for all to see. Our lives pour forth the speech of peace, love, and joy. It is in the posture of unity and oneness of spirit with Christ that the sons of God are revealed.
As we heed God’s instructions we are refreshed and what seems lofty becomes easy—simple and light—giving us joy.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.”
Today, we yield to the instructions of the Lord. We wear them like costly jewels and like a crown of great wisdom. Proverbs speaks often of receiving wisdom and instructions; bringing great benefits to the son who listens to them. We ask the Spirit of the Lord to instruct us in ALL of our ways and we rejoice in the benefits that His wisdom will produce in our lives and families.
Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.” Joshua 23:6
Do not turn aside to the right or the left…
The instructions of the Lord are a narrow road but one which provides great safety for all who travel its path. The right and the left call to us to turn aside from the absolute surrender to God’s truth and yet the Lord says,
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
In the 23rd chapter of the Book of Joshua, God’s people are not only exhorted to stand firm but they are also warned that turning aside from His Word will cause us to be joined to what the Lord has previously defeated on our behalf. It will cause disunity with God and a joining to that which will bring us harm.
“But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.” Joshua 23:12-13
Many in the body have wavered to the right or left throughout history, causing them to be snared and caught in the traps that the enemy set for them. The beauty of God’s wisdom is that, as we turn back in repentance, it sets us back on track with truth and blessings. The amazing grace and gift of repentance allows us to move back into victory and begin to reap the rewards of faithful stewardship of the great call upon our lives.
The promises of God are without fail; there are promises of blessings as we walk in His ways and promises of discipline if we violate our covenant with Him. This is not a word of condemnation but a word of exhortation and a sober reminder to “stand firm”!
“If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”” Joshua 23:16
We must heed the whole truth of His Word, not only the parts that comfort our souls. The good news is that if a man or woman has wavered and they repent, they are restored. This is a time that the Spirit of the Lord is setting His people upon the path of righteousness. He is carefully positioning us to walk in authority and victory with the King of Glory.
Today we yield and once again ask the Lord to do for us what we cannot do in our own strength: help us to stand firm and to align our steps with the covenant we were brought into when we gave our lives to Christ. We ask that all other gods will be driven out from among us and that we will no longer join ourselves to them. We chose to stand firm!
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
As I prayed I heard the Lord speak these words,
“Like a father protects his children or a man protects the bride of his youth, so I watch over my children and bride with a fierce and jealous love. You are the apple of my eye!”
I could hear the cries of many sons and daughters who have faced battles sent against them. The Lord’s voice heralds louder than the sound of the battle and He has come to protect and restore the ones His heart loves.
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.” Psalm 17:8-9
Though the enemy has surrounded many, it is God who sets a table for us in the presence of our enemies. Though the thief has stolen, it is God who will restore double, and although the accuser has taunted many with his mockeries, it is God who will rebuke him.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:5-6
Whoever touches you touches the “Apple of His Eye”. God Will not be mocked and will not allow His beloved to be touched without vindicating her. He is watching over the great transformational work that is occuring in His people just as He watched over and orchestrated the work done in the life of Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3). He presides with detailed and tender care over your life. Those who have risen up against you will not be left without punishment.
For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—”
Though this verse is specifically about Jerusalem, many Scriptures have dual meanings; it is for Jerusalem and for His chosen people (Gentile and Jews).
Today, thank Him for His care, His protection and the banqueting table that He has prepared for you. Vindication belongs to the Lord, so know that as you hide in the shelter of His wing, you can rest assured knowing that your life is in the hands of the King. He will rule over you with justice and mercy.
Also, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, whom God loves!
To be saved is to be given a second chance. When Jesus paid the price for the penalty that sin had brought against mankind it created a way for every man and every woman to receive a second chance through a full pardon.
As I’ve been studying the third chapter of Zechariah I see such an amazing illustration of God giving someone a second chance. Joshua the high priest’s second chance was purely an act of grace. He had been soiled by his iniquities and bombarded with accusation—most likely true accusations. Joshua needed a second chance!
God did what only He can do by rebuking Satan and His taunts of accusation. Though many of the accusations may have been based on actual iniquities, we must remember that the enemy can only accuse…HE CANNOT CONDEMN! God is the true High Priest and Righteous Judge over all men. Though our lives and actions may have given cause for accusation, we must remember that there is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2
Just as God cleansed Joshua the high priest, gave him new garments, and restored his position, so He has done for everyone who has accepted the ransom for their sins through the price that Jesus paid on the cross. But it goes even beyond that: we are given a second chance to live in freedom from the sin that leads to death.
“…the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
We have not only been saved by grace but clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God comes and lives within us, causing us to now walk in freedom from sin; giving us wisdom, counsel, and power.
Romans 8 goes on to say,
“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”Romans 8:3-4
We are free to follow the Spirit of God. God declared an end to sin’s control over us! The enemy still loves to whisper thoughts that accuse or replay past regrets, but we can say to those thoughts, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Declare the words from Romans 8:1 every time an accusation brings up guilt, regrets, and dread,
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
The enemy wants you to come into agreement with accusation so that he can snare you with false alignments and with old captivity. Condemnation is gone, the price has been paid, and sin’s control has been broken over your life. You are now the recipient of abundant and eternal life!
Obedience to the Lord is necessary to move forward in maturity and authority, but it is the power of the Spirit within you that helps you to walk in God’s ways. It is the oil of His Spirit that anoints our heads, gives our feet steps that are pleasing to the Lord, and purifies us from all iniquities.
Then he said to me, “This [continuous supply of oil] is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [prince of Judah], saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of whom the oil is a symbol],’ says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 (AMP)
He is the pure olive oil that keeps our lamps lit as we await our Bridegroom’ return. Today, we yield to the oil of the Spirit, who causes us to walk in purity and holiness. We turn our dependency from our own strength to the Spirit. We will walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. He is our second chance!
Twelve years ago I lost a necklace that had been given to me while my husband and I were the directors of a house of prayer in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. We had been praying daily for Israel and the Jewish people. A dear friend felt to send me the necklace that had upon it a menorah, the Star of David and the Christian symbol of a fish which is a Greek symbol that translates into, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”.
I was very sad when I lost it. I looked everywhere, and asked God for its return but never located it. In the years since then, our family moved back to the United States, and we have lived in five different homes and two different states. This week as I put away the boxes that held our Christmas decorations, something dropped on the ground in front of me. I looked down and saw the part of the necklace that has the menorah, Star of David and the fish (not the chain, only the charm). I was shocked. We have celebrated Christmas twelve times since it was lost (and it wasn’t lost at Christmas time), we’ve bought new containers for all of our Christmas decorations over the years and emptied the boxes a dozen times, and never seen the necklace; but nevertheless, there it was!
As I picked it up the Holy Spirit spoke to me,
“This is a sign for many that things lost will suddenly and miraculously be found. Not only objects but lives that have been lost will be found.”
These words reminded me of the story in Luke 15 about the lost sheep and lost coin,
““Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
““Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”” Luke 15:4-10
These two stories come right before the story of the prodigal son. God cares deeply about lost things and lost loved ones. He heard my prayer twelve years ago to recover my necklace, and though it appeared that it was forever lost…suddenly it was found among the decorations that we put up to celebrate the birth of our Messiah. This necklace that symbolically announces “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” to the Jews was found within these items that celebrate our Savior’s birth.
As we’ve been meditating on Zechariah 3, where Joshua the high priest is “plucked like a brand from the fire”, we encounter a beautiful picture of Lord taking back what was stolen from him (this one who was lost). It was a sovereign and miraculous act that caused Joshua’s life to be restored and recovered.
When Mary said to the angel of the Lord, “Be it unto me according to your word,” that one act of yielding became the doorway of the entrance of our Savior. As we continue to yield our lives and say to the Lord, “Be it unto me according to your word” then we too become a doorway for others to see the Messiah. Our lives become the manger in which He lays His head. We become like the star that led wise men to come to him and like the angels that announced the Savior’s birth to the shepherds. Our lives announce the Good News that says to all who are lost,
…“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
This Good News continues,
“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”” Luke 2:12
I believe that my lost necklace being found is a sign for us all. It is a sign that the lost will be found. I also believe that the symbols on this necklace are symbolic of the salvation of Jews; light is coming to reveal that their Messiah has come and He is “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”
Today as we yield our lives to the will and word of the Lord we pray for the lost. We come into agreement with the intercession of Jesus our Savior for both wise men and shepherd to have eyes to see and ears to hear that their Savior has invited them to “come”. We will see lost things recovered suddenly.
I woke up this morning with a line from the worship song, “One Thing Remains” playing over and over again in my mind,
“My debt is paid,
there's nothing that can separate my heart
from Your great love.”
We were born into a world that already had victory, jubilee, and eternal life provided for us before we ever took our first breath.The offer and invitation into forgiveness and full pardon had been paid for two thousand years before our existence; before we ever sinned or ever allowed iniquities to touch our lives. Our only requirement was “yielding”. His love paid the price for every sin of every man. All debt cancellations have been provided for by the grace that comes from His great love.
As we’ve entered the month that Christians celebrate the birth of our Messiah, let us remember how this Great Love entered the world that He created as a vulnerable infant. He left His throne to be born in a stable where a young girl would be his mother; a young girl whom He created.
What kind of love allows such vulnerability? He came to pay our debt of sin knowing that many would not ever open and receive the greatest gift mankind was ever offered. Yet still He came. He came as an infant and died as a spotless lamb; the perfect sacrifice for the sin of all mankind.
Today, may we remember and rejoice in Jesus our Savior.. For we have been given eyes to see and ears to hear salvation's song. We have received the greatest gift the world will ever know. Our debts have been paid and they are remembered no more! We are free from the captivity of sin’s slavery and can now walk in the way, the truth, and the life. Like Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3) we are “brands plucked from the fire”. Nothing can separate us from His great love!
May we be awakened from our slumber to experience the joy that has been set before us...a Savior and a King. May we yield, and receive the fullness of everything the gift of salvation has offered us. May we shake off the slumber that tries to separate us from first love and wipe the sleep from our eyes so that we may see clearly. The King is on His throne and we have been seated there with Him!
“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6
We celebrate the honor and joy of walking with Him. We celebrate that our yielding has become the doorway to live in all that His life, death, and resurrection provided. Today we once again yield to Him that we might fully embrace abundant life!
Yesterday God moved powerfully at our church in Portland, Oregon (USA). It was a time where God was blessing the generations to walk as one together. First the fathers and mothers laid hands on those between ages 20 to 30; releasing the blessing of what we carry and the fire of God upon their lives. Then the younger generation turned and blessed the fathers and mothers. It was a powerful and beautiful time.
When one of the young men came to pray over me, he saw God hand me a blank check. He then said that the Lord trusts me and is giving me this check to fill in whatever I wanted to ask for. Immediately the word “Wisdom” came to mind. In my spirit I could see that word being written upon this check. As I silently whispered the word “wisdom” the young man said, “I see the wisdom of Solomon coming upon you.” It was as if this check was cashed immediately. I was having a 1 Kings 3 moment.
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:5-9
Solomon asked for a discerning heart; the wisdom to lead people in the way they should go and to distinguish between right and wrong. To have this kind of wisdom is to come into alignment with God’s Word and ways. As soon as I asked in my heart for wisdom I heard a sound in my spirit, it was the sound of something large shifting that caused it to lock into place with something else. I knew that wisdom was the key to walking in the fullness of unity with my God in the days to come.
God’s response to Solomon’s request was this,
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 1 Kings 3:10-14
Solomon received more than he asked for and with this answer he was given further instructions (wisdom),
… And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.
Solomon was given a choice. He was being asked to yield his life in order to walk in obedience to the Lord and to keep His decrees and commandments. This was the wisdom that would unlock the promise of long life for him. It would secure his future.
Throughout the scriptures we often see that immediately following a sovereign act of God there is an invitation for the people to yielding their lives to walk in His ways for the sake of remaining in the blessing and breakthrough they received. In Zechariah 3 we see this happen once again. Immediately after the Lord clothes Joshua the high priest in the new garments, He gives him the key instructions that will secure his future and his blessing.
““This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.”Zechariah 3:7
“If you…” These are the words of the invitation into intentional surrender. This is where we yield our will and say like Mary, “Be it unto me according to your word.”
Grace saves us and then then invites us into the yielding of our lives to walk in His ways. Today we can ask for a discerning heart and for wisdom but do not ignore the“If you…” that follows. It is what secures your future.
“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.”Psalm 37:3-4
Psalm 37:3-4 has been the Scripture passage that God spoke to my family when He asked us to move away from our home state to live in a new land that He was calling us to. In some version verse 3 reads,
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” Psalms 37:3
Since arriving in this new land, just over three years ago, we have trusted in Him and we have fed on His faithfulness. As we have obeyed His directions, His statutes and His ways the Lord has set a bountiful table of His faithfulness before us. We have been drawn into safe, green pastures and His love and goodness have become the greatest desire of our hearts.
As we yield to being His delight, He in turn becomes our delight.
Psalm 37 continues,
“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 37:5-6
Many of the prophetic words in this past season have been about personal breakthrough. I believe this verse is a key to seeing that take place. “Commit your way to the Lord…” We must not commit part of our way or a portion of our life but rather all. Commit it all! Fully trust Him without holding anything back and watch the break of dawn shine forth and His vindication shine over you without any shadows.
When Jesus gave His life as a ransom for us, He gave it all. Likewise, when we gave our lives to the Lord, we gave it all. We did not commit part, we committed all.
During this last month of 2017 God is doing a sovereign work, as we yield to Him, that is bringing us into an undivided oneness. The places that our hearts have been divided and that we have been double-minded are being made whole so that we might enjoy oneness of spirit with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17 & John 17:20-23).
The white garments and royal turban that was placed on Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3 is a beautiful illustration of the purity of heart and renewing of our minds that is even now taking place. This is crossing us over a threshold that takes us into safe, green pastures.
Today we declare with David the words from Psalm 23,
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I was recently having a conversation with someone who was struggling with some areas of captivity in their life as well as struggling with a lack of intimacy with God. He had been wrestling this captivity with human strength and when that did not bring the freedom he desired, he would back away from God in defeat.
During this conversation he asked me, “What does it look like to walk with God? What is my part?”
Immediately an answer came forth from His Spirit,
“Intentional surrender. You must daily be intentional about surrendering your life to God.”
Ultimately, all transformation is a sovereign act of grace that comes by the power of the Spirit, but we have a part within this grace…it is to yield or surrender willingly and intentionally to Him. God will never violate our free will, therefore our growth and change comes from the posture that Mary took in Luke 1:38,
“Be it unto me according to your word.”
That is intentional surrender!
Just as we must be intentional about nurturing intimacy with our husband or wife, the same is true with our relationship with the Lord. We are invited into the deepest intimacy a person can ever experience but it is an invitation. God waits patiently for our response; not withholding His love but never forcing relationship. Like the father in the story of the prodigal son, he watches and waits, although when he saw his son coming home he ran to him!
Today the Lord is once again inviting us into a deeper surrender. Our response is an intentional one where we yield in faith to the One who loves us more than we can comprehend. We long for the manifestation of Ephesians 3:20–the “more than you can ask or imagine”—and yet this is only realized in the posture of intentional surrender. It is in that posture that a love beyond anything that we can ask or imagine begins to be experienced.
My prayer for you today comes from the Book of Ephesians,
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21
Intentionally surrender to the width, length, depth and height of the love of Christ.
I awoke hearing the words,
“Peace on Earth, good will to men.”
It came like a Heavenly declaration from the Creator of the Earth and of men. With it I could feel the longing in the very heart of God for men to experience all that He creates them to enjoy: peace, goodness, joy, adoration, and a love that brings all things together in beautiful unity.
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14
The longing within this declaration took my breath away and caused my heart to race with a fresh revelation of His love for all that He has created. I could hear His cry that passionately groaned,
“Oh, that none may perish but all would know the depth, height, and width of my love for the ones that I died for.”
This was like the words from 2 Peter 3:9,
“The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
The mercy of God is stirred once again to intervene on behalf of those who have no ears to hear or eyes to see. Like Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3, who was a “brand plucked from the fire” or Paul on the road to Damascus, who was apprehended by grace, I feel the mercy of God reaching down to capture the ones that have been held captive by sin and death. Oh, that none should perish!
The Father’s longing is not about right or wrong, it is not religious or political...it is the longing of a loving father who wants His children to experience all the love and beauty that they were created for. Just as the prodigal son’s father waited patiently for his return, the Heavenly Father waits with bated breath to embrace and restore those who have left his home and arms.
Today, receive the longing and love that is pouring forth from the very heart of God. As you do, enter into His longing for those who are still in captivity. Call them home. Weep with Him for the ones that He weeps for. Call for mercy to be the road home during this season.
We pray from the words of the Christmas song “Away in a Manger”,
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.