3 Truths That Destroy Fear by Brandon Armstrong

The truth is simple.  The gospel is a simple message; it is made for a child and designed for enjoyment.   This is a story of great love to capture the heart and create hope.  The truth is easy to fall into and requires no effort or work from you.

If you take all the packaged programs and self-deprecating messages out of your head when you read the bible then it becomes very simple.  Most of the confusion and trouble that we have with the good news is that someone that sees life through fear has told you what it means and told you how to understand it.  Fear is a confusing way to live, it only produces reactions of thought, and action that you hope will save you, but the nature of fear is that it grows and there is always something new to be afraid of.  If fear is your driver then your plan for surviving is always changing and getting more difficult and confusing. 

The only way to get out of fear and live in Joy is the truth.  The truth will find you and your only part is to not reject it, John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth”.  Believing that the truth is the truth can be hard, we have been taught from a very early age to distrust the truth and live in fear.  But if you decide to believe what you know is the truth then fear can no longer have power over you.

The first truth that is important to know, that will start cutting the control of fear is to know who God is.  The easiest way to see God is to look at Jesus.  He is the perfect manifestation of God.  The first thing to see is that He was born into mankind in the most humble and vulnerable of circumstances.  He did not do this to be a victim or to show us how bad we are to reject Him.  He did this to show us His love and care for us.  We have nothing to be afraid of, he did not come on a war horse or with trumpets for glory, he came inunthreatened, to be gentle and lovable.   Look at the names he was declared with “Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6 “God with us, the saver of His people” Mathew 1:21-23.  In Luke 2:14 the angles that are telling the shepherds about the birth of Jesus are running up and down and shouting like a bunch of kids on Christmas morning “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”, “people with whom He is pleased” He is happy with people and He is sending Jesus to show us.

The next important truth that will destroy fears grip is that Jesus came to save you, and He did.  He did not rescue some of us, He did not save only the “best ones”,He saved all of us.  In John 1 Jesus said “I will take away the sin of the world”, not some, not just the ones that work hard enough but the world!Romans 5:18 consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people.  This salvation is for all people.  We did not have a choice to inter into Adam’s sin, consequently we do not have a choice to enter into the life of Jesus. 

The third truth that is paramount to believe to rid yourself from the deception of fear is that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Love you.  They love you, not the idea of you, not the hope of a better you, and not the “you through the lens of Jesus”.  They Love you right now just the way you are right now.  You are their perfect child, their perfect Bride, they are over the top consumed with Love for you.      

Cuba Libre!! By Rhiannon Smith

cuba5I’m so happy to share a small slice of Cuba that I know.

I would say the burning desire to see Cuba, for me, began about 6-7 years ago. I marveled at the thought of a country in this day and age still living under communism. I was perplexed that the Castro regime had total control of the country since 1959. I imagined what life there was like, how people lived day to day and the curiosity of knowing a land that the United States had an embargo against really got to me.

I began trying to understand as much as I could about Cuba. I started following Cuban “political dissidents”, independent journalists, following all the news I could. I’ve probably read and watched more documentaries than I'd like to admit.

I "googled" how God was moving in the island, and I learned that the government officially renounces ANY religion and for a long time prohibited the practice of it. I really wanted the people of Cuba to experience the joy and freedom in Christ that I had discovered, regardless if their government allowed it or not. Despite politics, Cubans still practiced religions in secrecy. I had even read about revival in Havana where huge groups of youth were praying for their nation, publicly, and were supernaturally protected from police and military.

In around 2011, one of my teachers was a student in Cuba and had been to the island many times. She decided to come back to Washington State with a piece of Cuba – their religion. I asked her many questions about her time there, the people, and ultimately wanted to know more about the religion she practiced, called Santeria. During the time I was her student, she was devoted to becoming a priestess.

When I learned more about Santeria, my heart’s cry for Cuba grew larger. In brief summary, Santeria is the religion that African slaves brought to the island. Butcuba8

because of the time of heavy Catholic influence during that time, they were not allowed to practice their African religion, and began using the names of Catholic saints as a guise to pray to their deities. While in Cuba, our guide explained that approximately 80% of Cubans practice this religion. This is what really drew me in to praying for Cuba.

The country continued to grow on me, a nation I’ve never known. I asked fellow healing rooms team members to pray with me, prophecy over the land, and started questioning friends to make plans to go.  As a Canadian-born citizen, I asked any Canadian I’d ever known if they would be willing to travel with me, since the travel embargo didn't apply to us. I even asked some brave (American) healing rooms staff if they would be willing!

Seeing the conditions of public hospitals, the constant oppression and persecution of the people, the rationed food system (and very obvious lack of food and basic medicine), all the Castro propaganda, no liberty to practice faith and the amazing capability of the Cuban people to press on – this all had a part in captivating my heart.

I wept as I learned young children were often "pimped" into prostitution, often by their school teachers. Parents would give permission for this as a means to bring income to their family – I learned the sex-trade was very common in Cuba.

I kept searching for groups of people or missionaries who had the same passion I did, and nothing quite clicked, until one day.

John Crowder, Sons of Thunder ministries decided to coordinate a mission to Cuba. The light bulb was electrifyingly bright!! I absolutely love the message that John carries, the anointing he has to share about Grace, and the freedom in Christ that brought me out of so much bondage and suffering in my own life. I knew it was a perfect match!!

I applied, and being in the financial circumstances I am in, I knew If God wanted me there – He would provide. And He DID! Thanks to the prayers and support of my Healing the Northwest Ministries team, that was my first miracle of the trip before it even started!!

The enemy pulled out all the stops in my journey to meet with our team in Miami, FL. My first flight I wasn’t able to take because the plane was switched with a smaller one that booted 32 passengers, myself included. I made the choice not to stress, trusting God wanted me there in Cuba, and I was able to get a flight with a different airline and a good price shortly thereafter. 

Then upon arriving late evening in Florida to meet the team, my hotel didn’t have my name in the reservations, only my roommates, a person I hadn’t yet met. Thankfully, we figured that out. Next morning, as we were all checking in on our charter to Cuba, they made my reservation with the wrong last name.  With visas and traveling to Cuba still being rather difficult, it took some time to press this out – but praise God, He DID!

A short 40 minute flight later, I landed in Cuba with our team of about 30. It was a dream come true, to lay hands on the nation I had been praying for!! I have to admit I hardly slept the entire time I was there, because of all the anticipation and expectation.

cuba4Our first day we spent visiting a few home churches, worshipping, and laying hands on pastors who were running churches out of their tiny, very humble homes. The presence of God was so strong!

After the home church visits, we ended up in a Baptist church where John was scheduled to preach. Pastors and missionaries from all around Cuba came to visit and attend this Pastor’s conference that John spoke at. If you have been to any event with John present, you may know the message he carries may cause spontaneous laughter, joy, and all sorts of glorious supernatural outpouring. Our team was a joyful bunch, absolutely plastered on the love of God and overflowing with the Holy Spirit!!

John said for us to get a fire tunnel rolling. It was amazing, people were being loved on and we enjoyed prophesying over people who started to nod, cry, smile and offer huge spontaneous hugs.

Little did we know, the interpreter and church pastor was asking for us to all sit down, and not continue with the fire tunnel. But obviously, God had different plans - None of our 30 team members even heard them asking us to put a halt on it!

So, afterwards we got to spend some time in fellowship with the people as John got a little “talking to.” John said the pastor was so kind, and really enjoyed the message – but obviously haven’t seen a move of God quite like that yet. Amazingly enough, we found out later that we were invited to come back to the same church the next day, if only we could "contain ourselves." The consensus of our team was that this had to be all very new to Cuba, and that we didn’t want to quench the message God had for the church, so we went back the next day a little more quiet, but God still doing amazing things.

After the next day’s service, we had lunch and fellowship with the pastors and their families. All I can say is what beautiful, pure hearted and loving people Cubans are. We talked a lot about what God was doing in all of our countries (our team members where from around the world) and they shared their difficulties of spreading the news of the Gospel on their island. I believe that will be changing, and I have for a long time!

Later on, our team began to break into smaller groups and did some street outreach. All of the team members brought tons of candy and chocolate from the US (as these things are near impossible to find there) and had such a great time meeting people of the community, praying over people in the city and blessing the kiddos with yummy treats. A team member happened to bring his guitar with him, and we had such a great time just singing with children and seeing big smiles on their faces.

As God was leading our small street team, he led us to the public health administration where we got to meet a few doctors and administrators who shared with us about their country and people they cared for. It was such a joy to meet them and pray blessings over those who serve their community.

Later in the evening our team went to dinner and on our way back to the hotel, a man saw our group admiring a building. He told us all about the building, thencuba6 began to share with us the hardships in his life. Being homeless with his ill mother, malnourished, losing his teeth, and killing a couple people out of desperation. Without asking for details, he told us he wasn't a Christian because he was nothing but a lowly sinner and was trying to get his life back on track and do right after a long time in prison. He began to walk with our team and continue to express his unworthiness and self-hatred.  It had to be the highlight of the trip for me, as our team got to blast him with the love of Jesus, proclaim the truth of who he was, bless him financially and his entire countenance changed over a very short time. When our team decided to head back, I asked if he would like to receive Jesus in his heart and he got down on his knees in the middle of the street and cried, exclaiming YES and called us his brothers and sisters.

Other team members had also shared some amazing encounters. One gentleman, who said he had lost all hope and love in his life, spent some time with our group and had felt restored!

An amazing woman on our team blessed him with a thumb drive of some great teachings to support him in his journey.

Another team member made it a specific mission to find a priestess of Santeria. Everywhere he asked, no one would lead him to one - and many people told him to stay away. Eventually, he got to meet a priestess and love on her with a huge hug, kind words and blessings!

Some other favorite moments were taking taxis into town and back to the hotel, sharing words of knowledge, and praying for healing and blessings. One of our drivers had a broken hand with several pins. Our team had tons of words for him that he confirmed, and we prayed for complete healing as he was about to have his cast taken off the next week.

cuba10It was so fun to share food, clothes and toiletries with the staff in the hotel as well! One housekeeper had a smile from ear to ear overflowing with gratitude about all the family she could share some necessities with. If you didn't already know, often times it is difficult to buy clothes for many reasons; one being the average salary of around $30 a month, the other being that basic necessities, even with having money on hand, can be extremely difficult to come by. If you can imagine this: I was not able to find one single banana in our hotel, in the restaurants, or any of the stores close to our hotel... on a tropical, banana-growing island!  

I believe God did put the nation of Cuba on my heart for a reason. I am so thrilled because I really do believe Cuba will see a huge revival. Restrictions on many things are starting to get some wiggle room such as practicing religion - although be in prayer for Cuba as some of our team was repeatedly circled by police while praying for a woman in the street.

Our president's recent visit will hopefully encourage some more liberties the people are so desperate for.

The highlights of this mission were simply sharing the love God that he has for his people. So many smiles and hearts touched. Also having the most awesome team to minister with was a total joy!

My heart's desire is to go back to Cuba again (and hopefully again!) It was a blessing to me to be able to help translate for some team members, and a blessing to give the words that God had for so many people, and to be a part of what God has for the island.

Thanks for taking the time to read about the mission, a huge thank you to everyone for their prayer and support, and if this has touched you in any way - I would encourage you to go on a mission as well! Or at the very least, pray for a nation that really needs it.

Blessings to you and yours!!

Rhiannon 

Declarations For Freedom In Your Life

“Father, I am your child, as an act of my own will I choose to loose all darkness, all fear, all offense, any unforgiveness, any torment, any lust, any addiction, weather to a person, place or a thing, any witchcraft, anything of the enemy, that I let in knowingly or unknowingly, right now I LOOSE IT from my soul, In Jesus name, YOU GO!”

This is a great form of repentance plus healing for your soul. You can take out or put in more specific things as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you or whomever you are ministering to. I try to do this at least once a week to clean out any garbage that I have picked up along the week. This is pivotal to do in order for your soul to prosper. If you wish to prosper in all areas it is a requirement that your soul prosper first. Let’s do one more declaration. This one will help prepare you for some of the revelations you will receive and to get more of God. 3 John 1:2 (NKJV)  “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

“Father, As an act of my will, so my soul will prosper, I choose, to call back, any part of my soul, that I have given out to a person, place or thing. So I call them back, through the blood of Jesus,  and I receive them, In Jesus Name, Amen”

 

Father – You are the Most High God!

  • You’ve created the heavens and the earth, and it all belongs to You!

  • I trust You that You have plans for me, for my family.

  • You are our protector!

  • You are our provider!

  • It doesn’t matter what’s going on in this world, my trust is in You!

  • I want Your presence in my home!

  • I want You to invade every one of my family member’s life!

  • Help us to lay down our differences and stop fighting!

  • Let the world see Your love in us!

  • I ask for and receive grace for this day – fuel from heaven! Thank you!

 

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  • Father, You made me!

  • I come from You!

  • I am Your child!

  • Above anything else, I love you!

  • I thank you for sending Your Son.

  • He came to die, that I might have grace to be free from sin, not so I can freely sin!

  • Father, open my eyes, let me know You!

  • Give me revelation so I can help change this world!

  • Let it start in my home!

  • Remind me in the morning to declare & decree what you want for me!

  • Father we agree as the body of Christ on this earth, we want Your will done, your way, just like it is in heaven!

  • So I give you permission to invade my life, my mind, my soul, my spirit!

  • Come and take control!

  • Expose anything in me that you don’t want there -  I give you permission!

  • And Father, invade this land!

  • Let heaven come and make a habitation in this land where I live!

  • I desire to live to see the day of Your Power take place on this earth, when this country and this world will know there is a God.

  • I decree it! Amen!

God's Army Marching Orders by Brian Thompson

 As I sat there my whole being felt like it was vibrating. Something had been released, something new. After watching so much healing and unity take place from the stands of the LA Coliseum at the Azusa Now event on April 9th, 2016, Something was unlocked. It was as if the Lord now had a church that was pliable and usable for his purpose in a way that had not existed, or at least not for a many years. One week after returning home I felt the Lord say to release the word I gave you 3 years ago. Below is the word I was given in 2013:

I have regular devotional time that I read my Bible, pray or just worship and be in his presence. I’m going to list the scriptures he walked me through. I asked the Holy Spirit one day where I should read in scripture for revelation. He told me Joel 2 and 3. So I started to read. The beginning of Joel 2 is a warning to his people. Then it talks of repentance of his people by returning to Him and he has mercy on them. Then suddenly the scriptures give us revelation on something that will come to pass. 

The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit Joel 2:28

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;

your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams,

and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants

in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”

What God is saying is that this time is now. He is pouring out his spirit like never before. First to the leaders. He is raising up unknown people to lead. Take me for example I am not much or known for anything. I just happen to have a relationship with my Father in heaven. Even you who are reading this, you are so powerful that you too are one of these leaders. This is the last thing that Satan wants you to know. He want you to keep believing the lies he has been telling you over the years to keep you from rising up. 

God spoke to me about Joel 3 the main purpose for writing this book. This is what God is saying to his people now. He wants us to know what is happening and what we’re supposed to be doing.  However I need to break it down in the various sections in how it's been revealed to me. So let's read the scriptures first.

Joel 3:1-8

“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.

“What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border. Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will return your payment on your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the Lord has spoken.”

God tells us that in “those” days which is now, of the things that will take place. He will restore Judah and Jerusalem which is Israel. Then he will gather the nations and bring them to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. This valley runs along the right side of the temple mount.[1] So what God is saying is that he will bring all the nations before himself. He will enter in to judgment with them there. We must be careful here as the word for judgement is not what most of the western culture thinks it to mean. The Hebrew word שָׁפַט or shâphaṭ means to enter into or an action of judging. The Lord said to me how many times do you use judgement in a day? When you open the refrigerator and are seeking the ketchup. Every item you look at you are using judgement or entering into an action of judgement to resolve if said item is ketchup or not ketchup?

God will enter into judgment with the nations. He will see if they are for him or not. The scriptures continue on to tell us that the nations have scattered his people, divided his lands and sold children for things of this world. Children are gifts from God. People are selling gifts God has given them so they can seek the things of this world. Abortion is an example of this, the mother doesn’t want to be pregnant and does not see the child as a gift but wants to continue living her lifestyle. Please keep in mind while this example is extreme and does not necessarily apply to all abortion cases, there are much more subtle examples out there. My intent is not to convict any one action over the other as that is not my job but the Holy Spirits.

The rest of the above passage is a dialogue with Tyre and Sidon whom at the time were enemies with Judah and Jerusalem. Simply put God is saying that anyone who is against him or his people, that their plans to do harm or evil will end up back on them. If God can confound the wise he can certainly expose darkness before it can carry out its plans. This is something we will see more and more of. His people are praying for the light to expose the darkness. One of the bigger exposures in recent months would have been the NSA spying on the people of the world. I believe this happened because of the prayers of his people and God is already exposing the plans of the enemy.

In summary of this passage of scripture God will examine all of the nations before himself. He will make a judgement if they are for him or for the world. You cannot serve two masters. There is an old Native American saying that goes “If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.” God will expose the plans of darkness so that their evil ends up falling back on our enemies.

Joel 3:9-12

Proclaim this among the nations: Consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”  The Hebrew word for warrior is (Ghib-bore - powerful, by implication warrior as they are talking of going to war) Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O Lord. Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.

What an exciting time we live in. God is saying that the next 10-15 years will be some of the most exciting times in the Kingdom of God that anyone has ever seen. In Joel 3:9-12 this is our commission for this season. God is telling us to tell all the nations to get ready for war. To take you plowshares and pruning hooks and turn them into weapons of warfare. This is significant because Plowshares and pruning hooks were tools of the professions. He is telling people to turn your businesses and careers into weapons of warfare. Businesses ran by kingdom minded people will prosper. New start ups by spirit led people will flourish. Whole cities and regions will be altered because of this. Examples are things like out of work farmers being contracted to grow non-GMO and organic foods for organic restaurants. There is nothing wrong with marketplace ministry. In doing this anyone whether they be male, female, tall, small, strong or weak. Let them say “I AM A WARRIOR”

The word warrior is pronounced Ghib-bore which means - powerful or strong, by implication warrior as they are talking of going to war. To be strong in warfare is to be a warrior. In today's terms you could translate this as ‘Hero’ of war if you wanted to.

Continuing on in the scriptures we see the Lord saying hasten and come. So quickly these things will happen. The nations themselves will have a stirring of people. He then calls out all the warriors from all the nations. God is literally examining the earth at this time. Searching the hearts of the people. He is doing a new thing. He is surpassing the religious establishments. No longer are the days of the big cannon individuals like Billy Graham. Those times have passed. It's to easy nowadays to smear one person's reputation. God is saying now is the time of the equipping centers, the 24 hour worship centers, Small groups, house churches etc… The mainstream churches of America will still exist however I do believe in a lesser capacity than in the past.

Today's model of the Church doesn’t and has never worked to the fullness that it could have. The pastoral centric model is not a biblical based model. It is completely unfair to the lead pastors that we ask them to get on stage every week and tell us about God. It's like a religious circus show that they must entertain us in order to receive our financial giving. I’m not against teaching so please listen carefully. I am simply trying to relay that we as the church put entirely too much pressure on the pastors of today's church models. We literally ask them to carry all the weight in their shoulders. Then some people get offended if the pastor doesn’t acknowledge them or call them if they missed church or show up to every church event. It's not right and it needs to stop. That is why a new model of gathering is arising. One that teaches and equips the believer.

I recommend a book from Frank Viola called “Pagan Christianity[2]”. The book is very well written in a non condemning way. It lays out facts on where we get some of the order of service we use in the Church today. After reading it I couldn’t help but chuckle when I went back to church. It's a quick read and the information is priceless.

In summary on this passage of scripture, God is calling all people from all nations that are for the Kingdom to prepare for war. This is not a war of flesh but a spiritual war. He will examine the world for these people. Do not be surprised if you feel called in new directions and/or operating in new circles of people.

Joel 3:13-16

Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow,

for their evil is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.

This passage of scripture is amazing. We are seeing what will happen as a result of the coming season and shift in the kingdom. Once the church rises up and shakes off doctrines of fear and doubt. When we start walking in the finished works of the cross and seeing ourselves as saints. We are no longer sinners if we have Jesus in our lives. If we have relationships with Jesus instead of religion. If we begin to understand the goodness of God and stop blaming him for many things that are not holy. The glorious church will arise. God is currently pouring out his spirit in a way that has never been seen before. He is calling this time on earth “The Kingdom Age” and has nicknamed it “The Heaven Invasion”.

The Great Harvest! It is here at last. This will be a long and fruitful season for the Kingdom of God. Put in your sickle for the harvest is ripe the Lord says. Multitudes are in the valley of decision. They must pick which kingdom they will serve. The kingdom of Light or the kingdom of Darkness. There will be many signs, miracles and wonders. God is shaking the heavens and the earth up in a new way. The Lord is calling out from his throne and he is our stronghold from which we operate.

In summary of all these passages God is examining all the earth. He is calling out the ones who are after his own heart. He is calling those that want to go deeper into revelation. The result will be spiritual warfare against the kingdom of darkness. Many will choose to come into the kingdom of light. So get ready it is going to be an amazing time.



[1] "Valley of Josaphat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." 2006. 10 Dec. 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_of_Josaphat>

[2] "Pagan Christianity ~ By Frank Viola and George Barna." 2007. 31 Aug. 2014 <http://www.paganchristianity.org/>

MONTHLY SUPERNATURAL MEN'S BREAKFAST-- (FIRST SAT OF EVERY MONTH)

On the first Saturday of every month, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM, join us for a monthly gathering for the Supernatural Men's Breakfast at Mud Bay Coffee Company at 1600 Cooper Point Rd SW #630 (next to the new West Olympia Providence Family Clinic). This is a fellowship breakfast for men, along with worship, and an encouraging word. Come buy a coffee and a bite to eat and start your month with encourgaing teaching and fellowship!

 

Is God Distant Because of Sin?

Abba Father and the Religion of Distance

By William Stackpole

 

"There is a widespread, almost ubiquitous idea that has embedded itself into the very fabric of all things Evangelical, and it is the thought that sin brought separation between man and God." (Jeff Turner, Saints in the Arms of a Happy God.)

The premise is that God was so outraged by Adam and Eve's sin that in His righteous fury He banished man from His presence forever. Or similarly, God's so holy that he cannot bear to be in the presence of sin.  Nonsense!  If that were true He wouldn't have showed up in the Garden of Eden asking Adam what he had done.  It wasn't God who was hiding, it was man!  Man - whose nature and understanding of who God is got corrupted by sin.  Perhaps one of the best examples of this corruption is our understanding of kingdom vs human family. 

I've always thought it a little odd that Christians do not attribute the same characteristics to family in the Kingdom of God as we do to human families.  If we did then fathers abandoning their children because they sinned would be normal!  So would punishing children for the sins their father committed or punishing one child for the sins of the other children be acceptable.  As ridiculous as these things sound, isn't this the picture we have painted of God's family?  God loves us but can't have anything to do with us because Adam sinned and that sin nature along with our own sins condems us to eternal separation from our daddy.  Oh but wait!  If we are willing to believe this, the Father will show us how much He loves us by accepting the unjust and senseless murder of our oldest brother as payment for everything we have done that offended Him!  Does this make sense at all?  In human terms this is dyfunctional family at its best.  Is this the Father Jesus spoke of when he said, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father" or is this God a product of our own corrupted imagination?  Are we sinners in the hands of an angry God or are we saints in the arms of a loving Father?

The doctrine of separation (the notion that God is not present with us but in some distant place) is based around three primary scriptural references.  The first is in Genesis 3 when God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. However, there is no indication in this passage that Adam was in any way separated or removed from the presence of God.  The first example of someone being removed from God's presence is the banishment of Cain after he killed Able (Gen 4:14).  Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden to prevent him from eating from the tree of life (Gen 3:22) but by all other indications he continued to live in the presence of God for some 900 years!

The second reference is Habakkuk 1:13 which reads, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil..."  If this scripture means God is too pure to look upon evil then Adam's 900 years in the presence of God is certainly perplexing.  So what is the prophet actually saying?  To figure that out we need to consider what is written in both its historical context and the pasage context.  Habakkuk like the other prophets of his time is speaking to the Jewish people about the impending destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans.  Habakkuk begins (v1-4) by expressing the vexation of his heart over the iniquity and wickedness he is constantly exposed to.  The Lord responds by revealing the judgment that is to come through the Chaldeans (v5-10).  Then Habakkuk actually questions God's revelation!  He asks how it is possible that God would permit a nation that is far more wicked than Israel to oppress and devour Israel like a fisherman does his catch (v12-17).  This is the context.  Habakkuk isn't making a broad statement about God's inability to relate to sinful man.  He is speaking to God's sense of justice. How can a Holy God who hates evil wickedness and treachery look with favor on the Chaldeans?

The third scripture is Matthew 27:46, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When Christ took the sins of the world upon himself on the cross, God (being a holy God who could not look upon sin, turned His face away, forsaking Christ in the hour of his greatest need.  At lease that's what we've been taught, but is that what really happened?  Even if we conclude from our study of Habakkuk that God can look upon sin, it still does not answer the question.  "Why did Christ feel forsaken?" I believe the answer to that question lies in the context of Christ's statement.  Jesus was quoting the opening line of one of the most poular songs of his day - Psalm 22.  It would be like someone today quoting the first line of a Christmas carol and everyone joining in to sing the song.  Can you imagine what the impact of singing that messianic psalm at the cross would have been?  There right in front of them was Christ with pierced hands and feet (v16), bones out of joint (v14), divided garments (v17), being taunted and sneered at (v8 & 9).  Wow!  That certainly would have put the events they were witnessing in a completely new context!  But there is more to it than that.  The first portion of this psalm is a cry of anquish where the Messiah asks twice that God not be far from him (v10 & 19).  The final statement in this section is, "Thou dost answer me." The remainder of the psalm is a song of praise.  God answered, therefore, "I will declare your name to my people in the assembly I will praise you...For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help." (v22 & 24 empahsis added) Does this sound like abandonment?  Certainly not! And in that final moment, face-to-face with the Father, Christ commits his spirit to Abba.

"There is no hint here of a severed or even strained relationship.  There is no sense of a Father who has rejected his Son or who has turned his back on him.  In fact it is hard to see how such a view could be compatible with the last words of Jesus. To the contrary, Jesus prefaces his last words with a sense of deep relational intimacy: Jesus addresses his 'Father'.  And they are words of complete trust; what we see here is an expression of the closest imaginable spiritual communion.  'Into your hands I commit my spirit.' "  (Thomas McCall, Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross and Why it Matters)

Friends, if God did not distance Himself from Christ when he was laden with the sins of all humanity, you can be assured that He has never distanced Himself from you; not for one moment of your life.  Papa has always desired the same deep intimate relationship with you that He has with Christ and the good news is that you do not have to go find Him!  You are already a saint in the arms of a happy God.

William Stackpole is on staff with Healing the Northwest Ministries and is available for ministry Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-5 PM at our offices; 221 Railroad Avenue, Shelton, WA  98584.

The Lifestyle of Waiting

 

The Lord Jesus spoke to me in a very strong tone, stating, "When it comes to seeking ME, I detest multitasking!" We cannot develop this ability to hear from the Lord unless we first learn to wait upon the Lord (see Isaiah 40:31).

This "waiting" must be experienced in times set apart in which we are alone with Him (see Psalm 46:10-11). These set-apart times must have a place within our daily life experience. Our seeking is not haphazard or hit and miss: it must be a lifestyle (see Psalm 27:8)!

The true seeking of God is a continuous seeking. It has to do with the position or attitude of our spirit being lifted toward the Lord. Our heart must be attentive to His presence, and our ears must be open to His voice. We must continuously live in an attitude of worshipful listening, hearing and heeding the direction of God's Spirit. A yielded life is essential.

He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. II Chronicles 26:5

The Spirit of Truth is seeking hungry-hearted saints who are desperate to hear and heed the voice of God, wholly following the Lamb of God – those who personally know Him and have received an understanding of His ways (see 1 Corinthians 2:6-7). We only come to maturity by personally knowing Him. And how do we come to know Him? By spending time with Him in His Presence our entire life takes on a new vibrant outlook (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). (Photo via Freeimages)

We must pay close attention to nourishing our soul, making sure our spirit-man is not anemic and malnourished. How do we do this? By continually abiding in the Wisdom and guidance

of the Word of God! God does promise that if we seek Him, great will be our reward.

Read more: The Lifestyle of Waiting

Relationships

Relationships...Commitment...Love

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           Today, March 4, 2016, is Marc's 57th birthday and to celebrate I would like to share a bit about this wonderful man and how his example demonstrates true love and commitment in relationship.

            In a few months Marc and I will celebrate 34 years of marriage and 35 years of knowing each other.  As my husband and best friend, we have lived more years as a couple than years being single.  In today's society staying committed in relationships is not common, yet God's desire is for relationships to be long-term.  I am not only speaking of marriage relationships, but friendships as well.

           Those who know Marc, know he spends much of his time encouraging and edifying others with words of wisdom and prophecy, as Paul encourages to do in I Thessalonians 5:11.  As Marc's wife, I can testify that he has spent the last 35 years being my biggest encouragement as well.

            Knowing each other's love language is a key to keeping relationships strong.  Marc's primary love language is words of affirmation followed by quality time.  My love language is acts of kindness followed by words of affirmation. Since our times of dating, he has always found time to demonstrate his love and commitment through doing things for me he knew I loved.  He makes me breakfast when I'm running to get to work, rubs my back when I'm in pain, drops by my office with a Starbucks Chai Tea, does the grocery shopping when I'm too tired, just to name a few.  He also meets my need for affirmation by putting love notes in my lunch, texting me during the day to see how my day is going, encouraging me and reminding me of who I am and my strengths when I'm feeling down or stressed.  He loves to give me gifts and is always giving me flowers and sweet thoughtful gifts, even after 35 years.

            Marc always puts others needs before his own. He may be tired and need to rest, but the phone rings, someone is in need of counsel or prayer, he lays aside his desires and responds to another's need. He does the same for me, always making meals or running an errand when he could use some down time.  He truly serves others and honors them above himself (Romans 12:10).

            So you are saying to yourself, is this guy for real?  Is he perfect? No. Do we every have disagreements and fights? Yes.  But over the past 35 years we have spent more time honoring, preferring and serving each other so when disagreements happen it is easier to remember what we are thankful about each other and our lives together.  The enemy loves to blow issues way out of proportion, but when we put on God's perspective glasses on, we see each other again as God sees us, and with God's perspective we can operate in forgiveness, grace and love toward each other again.

            Communication is another key to relationships.  Men and women are wired differently in communication and so this can be an area of difficulty in relationships as well.  In our 35 year relationship we have learned that keeping communication open is vital. To accomplish this, both people must keep communication with God daily as a high priority. Marc and I find that if we are hearing from God, we can better work through our own miscommunication.  We have also learned that God will break down the barriers we focus on in each other.  When we first met, one of the things that attracted me the most to Marc was his relationship and communication with God.  He has continued to keep communication with the Lord as a priority in his life. Being a good listener is also a strong communication skill and Marc knows how to allow myself and others to share and feel we have been heard.

           I Corinthians 13:4-7 gives a description of the character of love, Jesus himself, is Mr. Love.  Marc and I both used this description in our wedding vows and continue to learn how God in us demonstrates his perfect love. We cannot love correctly by our own efforts, but we can let Jesus, Mr. Love, who we are in union with, show us how we are one in love. This is how God loves us.

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.

Love never fails.

                 Well, we are off to catch a ferry to Seattle. It's time to show my love to Marc by meeting his other love language of spending quality time together. I thank the Lord for this wonderful man with whom I get to spend my life on earth.

        Happy Birthday Honey!

 

Benjamin White - Power and Truth

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Benjamin White delievered an amazing message at one of our Lovefeast events. Those that were present were greatly belssed by it and many breakthroughs occurs shortly after. The following is a comment from Ben the following day. 

"Had a good time last night. People who have never felt God, felt God... people who needed to be clean, where cleansed  ... I know of 2 people with back problems felt the pain leave and believed they were healed, one of which i had my hand on his back and felt a palm sized lump instantly leave as we both felt the Kingdom of Heaven fall on us! One man who said he started burping and coughing and believes that he got some deliverance as he was reveling in the presence of God, and i don't think I've ever seen him laugh and smile like this before it was good to see the Father of Glory present! Thank you Jesus for being real!"

Click here to Download the message from Benjamin White

 

Man Raised From Dead In Military Facility

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Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Yesterday was another day at work in our Fathers kingdom and His manifest Presence.  My husband and I had just gotten back from a VOA conference and Heidi Baker had talked about raising people from the dead.  I spoke out load to the Lord, “I want to do that”.  Little did I know that the day I came back from the conference I would have an opportunity to do just that.  When I came back to work the very next day I received my opportunity to put into practice “raising the dead”!!!!  Yeah, God!!!! I had been listening to Steve Swanson’s CD “RAW” where he sings the song of healing the sick and raising the dead on my way to work.  When I got to work I heard a rapid knocking at my door from one of the workers.  When I opened the door I saw one of the employees laid out on the floor.  When I got to him he had no pulse and was not breathing, his eyes were rolled back and his jaw was clenched, his body was completely rigid, ashen blue and cold I knew he was already dead.  I knew this because besides being a nurse and working in the ICU in the past, my father’s sides of the family are morticians.   I definitely knew the lifeless ashen blue and cold look of death.

 I told the workers to call 911 & get the AED so I could have a moment with him alone, because I did not know if we were authorized to raise the dead on government time. So as they left to call 911 and get the AED, I commanded the spirit of death to leave him and commanded the spirit of life to come back into his body in Jesus Name.   He made a huge gasp and his chest rose off the floor and the power of God breathed life into his body.  His whole body shook and he gasped for air and he started breathing and his pulse returned.  We hooked him up to the AED but he was already breathing and his pulse had now returned.  When the ambulance arrived they asked if there was any time where he was not breathing etc. and once again I did not know if “raising the dead” is authorized on “work” time so I said well there was a long time when he was not breathing and had no pulse but then he was revitalized!!! 

 They took him off in the ambulance and the other nurse I work with (also a born again spirit filled Christian), and I went back into the office and I did a happy dance as we rejoiced that God had raised him from the dead!  This morning I went to the hospital and went to see him in the intensive care unit and I told him how much Jesus loved him and all that happened.  I stayed with him while he ate breakfast,  I prayed for total restoration and left the hospital.  (He had been diagnosed with a massive blood clot in the middle of his heart, almost all people who have that do not come back to life, let alone live to talk about it). God is so good and is into “raising the dead”; He is the same yesterday, today and forever!!!  To Him Be All the Glory and Honor!!    This impartation stuff really works!!!

Rethinking Your Reputation

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From Frank Viola's blog:

Early in my Christian life, I sometimes thought about how many of us Christians would follow Jesus if we lived during His time?

I was mainly thinking about the possibility of being killed for our faith, just like most of the apostles were.

However, after I began reading church history and got to know some people whom God was using mightily in my own lifetime, my question shifted from the threat of death to something else.

Imagine . . . a man who claims to be the Messiah, living during your time. This man is impressive, but He’s been accused of the following:

*He’s an illegitimate child (John 8:41).

Read more: Rethinking Your Reputation

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