Christians Do Not Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day

 
Christians Do Not Celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day
Saint Valentine’s Day is yet another way to disguise the pagan rituals of the Roman Empire.  This holiday is in the same category as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.  Once we have an understanding of the origin of a practice, we should not partake in it.

The Origin

On February 15, the ancient Romans would honor the god of fertility and husbandry, Lupercus.  He was a mighty hunter of wolves and protector of herds of animals and crops.  The Romans believed that Lupercus would protect them from wolves that went about killing people and livestock.  The festival to honor him was called, “Lupercalia” (Festival of Sexual License). 

 The male priests, called Luperci, would be helped by virgins and perform purification rites using goats and a dog.  The priests would wear loin cloths made from goats and smear themselves in the blood of the goat and run around the countryside hitting women with whips made from the goat skins.  These whips were called, “februa”, which is defined as, “means of purification”.  The priests believed that when the hit the women with these whips, it increased their fertility and made childbirth easier.

Another big time of celebration of Rome in February was called Juno Februata, in honor of the goddess of love, women and marriage.  Small pieces of paper with the names of teenage girls would be put in a box so that teenage boys could draw a name at random.  The boy and girl would then be coupled off to participate in sexually arousing games and parties.  This festival was held on February 14.  The boy and girl would have to be sexual partners for the rest of the year. This festival was the norm in Rome for centuries.

The Catholic Church and the “Christianizing” of Pagan Rituals

The festival of Lupercalia and Juno Februata were renamed under Pope Gelasius.  Juno Februata became, “Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary”.  The date was changed from Feburary 2 to Feburary 14.  Later, it was changed back to February 14.  Other names include, Candlemas, Presentation of the Lord, Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.  When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome, the church leaders wanted to get rid of all pagan rituals.  The citizens of Rome did not agree.  The compromise was:  to whitewash, or “Christianize” these pagan holidays.  Two years after Juno Februata was renamed in A.D. 494, Lupercalia was renamed to Saint Valentine’s Day.  It was named after a saint in the Catholic church was executed for his beliefs by the Roman emperor.  The legend is that he secretly wed couples that were forbidden to marry. This fact has been disputed.

 The Catholic Church attempted to tone down Lupercalia by having the names of Catholic saints written on the slips of paper instead of teenage girls.  The names were drawn by both girls and boys.  It was each person’s responsibility to try to live like the saint (whose name they had drawn).  Because the church had banned “coupling off” the teens, men began sending woman they were attracted to handwritten messages in Saint Valentine’s name.  This is the origin of the beautifully decorated cards accompanied by candies and flowers that we see practiced today.

 The Way of the Heathen
Jeremiah 10:2, Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
 
Beloved, God has called us out of the darkness into His marvelous Light.  When we know to better, it is our responsibility to do and be better.  We now have an understanding of the origin of Valentine’s Day. It is our duty to seek God for our own selves and see how the Lord is ministering to our spirits.  We are not to worship the Lord in vain by using commandments of men as doctrines (Matthew 15:9). We cannot say that we are worshippers of the Most High God and participate in a known pagan holiday thinking that is harmless to our spirit man.  We know better.  Let us reason together and do better.  
 
They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.                                                                                                Psalm 106:34-39

How We Shed Innocent Blood Today

We have a responsibility to raise our children with reverential awe of the Lord.  If we do not revere Him, how will our children learn to be serious about the things of God.  By letting our children participate in these holidays at school or in a social club we are sacrificing “innocent blood” because they do not know better.  They are following our example.  It is up to us to lead them in the way of Truth.  We should not willingly give our children or our family members up to the devil’s schemes.  Though we are mingled among the heathen, let us be careful not to learn their works.  Let us establish in ourselves that we will not do what the world does.  If we do, our land becomes polluted.  Could it be that some of the things we are afflicted with presently be the result of an open door to the enemy because we have been engaging knowingly/unknowingly in pagan rituals and practices of the world?  Selah. 

God is Love

When we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, every day is an opportunity to give and receive love.  When Jesus went to the Cross, that was His way of showing us how much He truly loves us, even unto death. 
 
John 15:13 states, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 
 
Is there anyone you would lay your life down for today?  There is a way that can be done—by sacrifice.  Perhaps you could sow the manicure, Starbuck’s or fast food money into someone’s life.  Or, you could forgo that nap and call someone up to encourage them.  The benefits of being obedient to the spirit of the Lord in displaying His love to others are immeasurable. This is real love.  Not the kind of romantic love that leaves people desperate, insecure, lonely, jealous, angry or depressed.  The kind of love that God condones believes, hopes and endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).  The world will sell you an image of love that causes you to feel worthless when it does not measure up to its deceitful standard.  The standard that promotes young girls dressing like harlots.  The standard that promotes promiscuity because sex is just something you do to feel good—no need for attachments.  The standard that has more “baby daddies” than “husbands”.  The standard that would cause a woman to think that it is okay to be a, “side chick”.  That kind of “love” will leave you feeling empty.  And worse, on a so-called holiday like Valentine’s Day, it is the kind of “love” that could make you feel worthless, especially if you don’t have a “valentine”. 

 As Sons of God, we are Kingdom minded, Kingdom inspired people in word and deeds.  We are not to place any emphasis on carnal desires.  Let me encourage us to come out from among them and not have unclean things named among us (2 Corinthians 6:17).  When we set our hearts to be who called has called us, then we can go back IN and rescue a lost, dying generation.  But, we have to get an understanding first.  It is my desire that you study this subject on your own and do your own research and see what the Lord says. 

 References:  The Restored Church of God. (2017). The truth behing St. Valentine’s Day.  Retrieved from: https://rcg.org/articles/ttbsvd.html
 
Northernway School. (n.d.). February 2, Candlemas, Imbolc, Feast of Purification. Retrieved from: https://www.northernway.org/school/way/calendar/candlemas.html

 Prophet Yolanda Pelzer Parker

Pastor-Teacher-Psalmist

PerfectedWorshipCentre.com



Where Did The Prayer of Salvation Come From?

 
Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
 
The question was posed that the thief on the cross next to Jesus made it into Heaven without saying a prayer (Luke 23:32-43).  So, why do we need to go through the ritual of saying a prayer to accept Jesus into our lives and make it to Heaven if a thief could get in just by making a request to remember him? Good question, especially in light of Acts 2:21, 
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
 
If we understand two concepts, then we can glean a sound, biblical answer.  The thief, like the woman with the issue of blood, had something in common:  FAITH.  As Jesus walked the earth, He was moved by compassion for the lost and FAITH.  The Kingdom of Heaven is RECEIVED BY FAITH.  The thief understood this.  The woman understood this.  The thief said, “When you come into your kingdom, remember me” (verse 42).  His statement bore witness that he believed Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God and He had a Kingdom in which to return.  The woman with the issue of blood believed that Jesus had a divine healing nature and all she needed was a touch (Luke 8:43-48).  
 
The other concept they both understood was PRAYER.  We have made prayer so convoluted by trying to improve upon something so simple, yet so powerful in its simplicity.  Prayer is not formulaic or ritualistic.  It is a private conversation between a Father and his child.  That’s all.  The thief made a request:  “Remember me”.  The woman made a request:  “If I could just touch Him, I know I will be healed.”  And it was so for both of them.
 
The Beginning of Confessions
There is a supposition that the sinner’s prayer/prayer of salvation was birthed out of the rejection of the dogma of the Catholic Church which stressed good works were the way to secure a place in Heaven.  The Protestant Reformation dismantled this ideology of justification by works and taught that
FAITH in God alone
was the way to Heaven.  
 
During The Great Awakening which occurred in Europe in the 1700s, revolutionary preachers like John Wesley and Johnathan Edwards began to preach about the need for repentance and conversion.  They supported this movement by tugging at the heart strings of sinner’s using Revelation 3:20, 
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  This Scripture is actually Jesus speaking to an unrepentant church and urging them to let Him in.  He is not speaking to those that are without, He is addressing those that are within
and telling them to come back into alignment with Him.  But, this passage was often used to evoke emotions with a begging Jesus asking man to let Him into their hearts.  Imagine the Creator running after the creation.  However, this tactic was effective in bringing many to the altar for a conversion.  Unfortunately, it was not a lasting change.
 
The Mourner’s Seat
In the 1730s, a preacher named Eleazar Wheelock pioneered the, “Mourner’s Seat”.  Sinners were asked to sit on the front pew in church and he preached directly to them about the need for conversion.  This was the beginning of preachers beginning to manipulate people into having emotional “experiences” which were scripturally unsound and borderline heretical.  In Cane Ridge, Kentucky, there were people reportedly falling on the floor barking like dogs and becoming delirious because of the long services held in intense heat with no food or water available.  These “manifestations” were supposed to be the Spirit of God moving on the hearts of sinners. But, it was really the charisma of the preacher that could whip up emotionalism in the place.  The problem with the Mourner’s Seat and other practices like that was the lack of fruit. Though the altar was full, the conversions were not genuine.  
 
Dwight Moody and American Evangelism
One such preacher that changed the game, so to speak, for modern evangelism was Dwight Moody.  He refined Wheelock’s, technique and every other preacher that had been practicing the “public confession” method to get a new convert.  Moody pioneered the, “Inquiry Room”.  Trained counselors led everyone from the altar to another room, to ask personal questions, share scriptures and then lead them in a prayer. This is how the “Sinner’s Prayer” originated, yet it was not called the, “Sinner’s Prayer”.  
 
The Three Billy’s
There were three preachers named Billy that led to the practice of praying, “The Sinner’s Prayer”.  The first was Billy Sunday who popularized crusades in the 1900s.  He preached about going to hell, then offered salvation by leading large crowds in a prayer at the end of the service.  Billy Sunday handed out a tract entitled, “Four things God wants you to know”.  In the 1940s, Billy Graham took this crusade model to the next level by having his trained counselors lead people in prayer with his tract, “Four Steps to Peace with God”, which was based upon Sunday’s tract.  Then, in the 1950s Billy Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ,  introduced his tract called, ” Four Spiritual Laws”, which allowed ordinary believers to witness about Jesus Christ any time and any place. At the end of the tract you will find the, “The Sinner’s Prayer”.
 
Faith, Repentance, Conversion and Obedience
Acts 2:36-40 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
 
At the conclusion of the matter, I would offer to you that it requires faith to believe that you need a savior because you have sinned and fallen short of what a holy God desires from you.  We must then believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world and His death results in our everlasting life. After that matter has been settled, we must make a choice to give up our lives and serve Him in total obedience.  I believe there are many things that ultimately lead up to full conversion.  There are calamities in life that bring us to our knees in repentance.  There are times when we come to the end of ourselves and we feel there has to be something more than just working to make money. This realization can drive us to our knees in repentance.  Or, it could be someone that has the Light of God shining through them and we want to know more about that Light.  These encounters can drive us to our knees in repentance to cry out to a Savior we desire to know better.  
 
The only way to the Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is but a prayer (request) away.  Just look at the thief and the woman with the issue of blood.  It was their FAITH that changed their lives forever.  Have faith, stay repentant, be fully converted and persuaded and then obey the commandments of God always to the best of your abilities the One who saved you and called you out of the darkness. Amen.
 
Reference:  Staten, S.F. (n.d.) The Sinner’s Prayer: Modern apostasy and false teaching that prevents men from being saved. Retrieved from: http://www.bible.ca/g-sinners-prayer.htm
 
Other Scriptures for Reference:
John 14:12-13
John 15:7
Acts 2:21
Acts 22:16
Acts 2:38
 
 
Prophet Yolanda Pelzer Parker
Pastor-Teacher-Psalmist
 
Minister Gloria Hicks
Beyond The Jordan
 
 
 


On The Anointing Oil and Laying on of Hands

There are many things done in the Church that need explanation.  Especially with the pervasive influence of social media outlets and its ability to affect people in such a profound way.  Some “churches” have become a three ring circus with all of the buffoonery, antics, rituals, and distractions that are taking place under the umbrella of, “The Spirit of God moving in this place.”  
 
One such sacrament of the Church that has been become a spectacle in that it has become so dramatic and spooky that it is almost of none effect is the practice of using holy oil to anoint people and the act of the laying on of hands.  Let us reason together through the use of Scripture in order to illuminate our hearts and mind of the purpose and the power behind these ordinances.
 
We see in Scripture that when Jesus commissioned the disciples, He gave them instructions (Mark 6:7-13).  Once they were on their assignments, one of the things that is described in scripture is anointing those that were sick with oil (verse 13).  Here we have in scripture a description of the disciples of Jesus at work in the ministry, anointing the sick with oil. 
 
James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
 
From this passage in James, we see that the elders of the church were to be called to the sick, pray over them and anoint them with oil.  Further, verse 15 tells us that the “prayer of faith” will cause the Lord to heal the sick.  What does Mark 6 and James 5 have in common?  Both passages have sick people being healed by the prayer of faith and the application of holy oil.  
 
Anointing Oil is Medicinal
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we find that “oil and wine” was poured onto the injured man (Luke 10:30-37).  The oil was used as a skin conditioner.  The wine, undoubtedly, was used to calm the man’s nerves after that severe beating.  Many times, Priests in the Temple would add herbs with healing properties into the olive oil and vigorously massage the oil onto the person.  Presently, we dab the oil onto foreheads being careful not to soil clothing or carpets.  But, the First Century church did not use the oil sparingly–you were practically bathed in it.  This is why we lay hands upon the people.  This is the best way to apply the oil.
 
Anointing Oil is Sacramental
 
Sacrement:
a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular.
 
Anointing people or things with oil was regarded as a sign of being set apart for service or holy unto God.  When Aaron and his sons were consecrated as Temple Priests, they had the oil applied upon them (Exodus 28:14).  The prophet Samuel was instructed to “fill thine horn with oil” (1 Sam. 16:1).  He was headed to Jesse’s house to anoint a then unknown to anyone King…. David.  When He identified the King that God had chosen amongst his many brethren, the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he” (1 Sam. 16:13).
 
The sacramental use of the anointing oil symbolizes something being set apart for the special attention and special service to God.  Hence, impartations, ordinations and activations involve the oil being applied to being launched into ministry.
 
The Power of the Anointing Oil (Shemen-8080)
Isaiah 10:27
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing (oil).
 
The Israelites were battling against an enemy called the Assyrians in this passage of scripture.  What does Assyria symbolize for us today?  The Anti-Christ spirit; anything that is against God.  The promise here, though, is that the Lord will take away the burdens from our shoulder and remove the yoke from our necks.  A yoke is likened to a harness that is used to attached two animals usually about the neck.  The Lord says that the “yoke shall be destroyed” because of the “shemen”, the Hebrew word for oil, especially from the olive.  That oil is going to make that yoke (bondage to the anti-christ spirit) slide right off your neck and be destroyed!  When something is destroyed, it cannot be repaired.  It is irreparable.  If something is broken, it has a possibility of being fixed.  The Lord said that He would cause the OIL to keep that mess from ever being able to reoccur or be reestablished in your life!  Glory to God!  
 
This is the purpose and the power behind the order of anointing oil and the laying on of hands. It’s relevance today is just as sure as it was in the Old Testament and the First Century Church.  
 
Prophet Yolanda Pelzer Parker
Pastor-Teacher-Psalmist
PerfectedWorshipCentre.com
 
 
 
 


Do We Have To Say, “In Jesus’ Name?” Why?

IN JESUS’S NAME

We often say, “In the Name of Jesus, or In Jesus’s Name.” Do we have to pray in Jesus’ Name, and why?

Many times, because of tradition, or because of what we have learned, we may casually, and repeatedly say things of which we do not understand the magnitude of our speech, but here, Jesus tells us to not use “vain repetitions,” honoring God with the lips.
 
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
 
Isaiah 29:13 – Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
(See also Matthew 15:18; Mark 7:6)

Jesus tells us the only way to the Father is through Him. Were it not for Jesus, we would not even know, or have a relationship with God. Therefore, we must respect Jesus, on the way to God. John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Jesus tells us that He only speaks on behalf of God. Which means Jesus is closer to God, seated at His right hand interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25) and advocating for us (1 John 2:1-2), and He is “closer”to God than we are. Again,we can only access the Father through His Son, Jesus. He says that whatever we ask God, in His Name, God will give it to us. So it would seem that Jesus is “access” to the Father, and by asking in Jesus’ Name, access is granted.

John 14:23-24 – 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
 
John 15:13-16 – 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

1 John 5:13-15 – 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Jesus is the only way to our Heavenly Father. Sometimes people slip into a mindset that they can go straight to the Heavenly Father without acknowledging Jesus and what He did for humanity on the cross. Not only did He return the authority over our adversary to us, He also reconciled our relationship to God. So, to go to God, without acknowledging Jesus suggests disrespect for who Jesus is. Jesus bore our sins specifically for the purpose of us being united back into right relationship with God. How is it that we might think we do not have to acknowledge, respect, or believe Jesus, and just go straight to God with our requests? Let us honor Jesus’ Name.

ELDER DENISE J. ANDERSON 1/31/17

Heirobics@gmail.com



3 Ways to Discern God is Moving You in a New Direction

There invariably will come a time in our spiritual journey when the Lord will solicit our cooperation in permitting Him to guide us in a new way. His preference is that we would sense His leading, fully cooperate and move in the new direction.

However, as is all too often the case, He must intervene in the affairs of our lives due to the fact that we are comfortable and entrenched in our present course of action. 

To secure our attention and place us on the pathway God desires, there are strategies that He employs that are very effective. As much as we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11), we must be even more knowledgeable of the ways of the Lord (Ps. 25:4). Knowing God’s ways will result in us experiencing His mighty acts (Ps. 103:7). 

Here are three ways God works to move us in a new direction: 

  • Disruption of Our Plans
  • Dissipation of Resources
  • Dissolution of Relationships 

Disruption of our Plans 

The Apostle Paul had received an apostolic commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. In keeping with his mandate, he targeted key cities in the Roman Empire to visit. Yet, the New Testament narrative informs us that on at least one occasion he was not able to fulfill his objective because God saw fit to stop him. “They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they came near Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them” (Acts 16:6-7). 

Like Paul the apostle, while attempting to do the will of the Lord, perhaps you were heading down a certain roadway and you ended up “hitting a wall” and were stopped in your tracks. From that point on, no matter how hard you worked, you were incapable of making significant progress. Initiatives and projects that were originally inspired by a lofty vision and deep passion ended up languishing, some of them even terminating. 

When stuck at an impasse, it is a natural tendency to return to familiar surroundings. We see this in the lives of the disciples after Jesus’ death. They went back to fishing even though they had clearly been mandated to forsake their vocation and follow Christ (See Luke 5:10-11; John 21:3). Because they were commercial fishermen, there may even have been economic motives behind their actions. Nevertheless, we see clearly that there was no lasting provision and no permanent peace in returning to past environments. 

When God leads us out of a place of familiarity and the way forward is blocked, what is the solution? 

There are some breakthroughs reserved for us that can only be accessed through prayer. We must seek God until we receive a clear answer from heaven. Whether it was Paul’s night vision of the man in Macedonia summoning him, or the voice of Jesus speaking to the disciples on the seashore in Galilee, the New Testament Christians received clear direction from the Spirit and were able to regain momentum and experience breakthrough. 

Dissipation of Resources 

When God wants us to move in a new direction, He may also permit us to experience the dissipation of resources. Elijah had been powerfully used by the Lord to declare prophetically the purpose of God in dealing with Israel. “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kin. 17:1) And just as the prophet had foretold, the word of the Lord came to pass. “And there was a severe famine in Samaria … “(1 Kin. 18:2). 

During the famine, God looked after Elijah. He gave him specific instruction relative to how he would be sustained. “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’ So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook” (1 Kings 17:2-6). 

Cherith which means “place of covenant,” was where the Lord demonstrated His faithfulness in taking care of Elijah. However, the day would come when the brook would run dry and the birds would no longer fly (see 1 Kin. 17:7). Although Elijah had come to depend on such provision, God seemed to have no compunction at all cutting off these resources. 

Has Your Brook Dried Up? 

Have you experienced something similar? Your streams of resource have dried up. You struggle to make ends meet and you do not know how you are going to keep going. During such a time, trust that the Lord will soon speak to you like He did to Elijah. “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you'” (1 Kin. 17:8-9). 

More than a cute cliche, you will see that the place where He leads you will be the place where He feeds you. Where the Lord guides, He provides! 

Dissolution of Relationships

A third way the Lord works to set us in motion in a new direction is through the dissolution of certain relationship. (Please note: we are not addressing covenant marriage relationships here). We see this clearly in the life of David. The heart of King Achish, once favorable to David, turned away from him.” Then Achish called David and said to him, ‘Surely, as the Lord lives, you have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army is good in my sight. For to this day I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless the lords do not favor you. Therefore return now, and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines'” (1 Sam. 29:6-7). 

An unanticipated meltdown in a relationship can cause great pain. Abandonment and unanswered questions will naturally follow. One vital truth to come to grips with is that God will on occasion send certain people into our lives for a short season or perhaps even a brief encounter. 

God-sanctioned, transitory connections, though nonsustainable, serve a purpose in facilitating the plan of the Lord. Being able to differentiate between what is intended to be provisional and what is meant to be permanent will enlighten one of the Father’s intention for the relationship. 

Here is a powerful truth to embrace when a key connection you value has dissolved for no apparent legitimate reason: The Lord is turning the hearts of men in the direction He desires (Prov. 21:1) and is in fact making it easier for you to let go and move forward into your next assignment. Therefore, do not take the matter personally and become bitter with people as though they are rejecting you. 

Trusting in God’s Good Guidance 

You may not understand what is currently happening in your life. Does it seem to you that God has messed up your plans? Have resources dried up? Has a relationship disintegrated? 

Sometimes Father God’s ways do not make sense to us. Scripture even attests to this reality. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:9). This is because the LORD possesses infinite knowledge and perfect wisdom. He is eternal, Almighty and omniscient. He sees the end from the beginning and is completely aware of the final outcome of all things. 

No matter how it may appear on the surface, He is actively involved in the affairs of our lives. On occasion, He may even interrupt our plans resulting in us experiencing a sense of anxiety due to a perceived loss of control. However, as uncomfortable as we may become, we must trust that He is leading us along the best pathway for our lives. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye on you” (Ps. 32:8). 

Trusting God at all times is a non-negotiable prerequisite for living supernaturally in the kingdom! 
-Glenn Bleakney


The Job of an Intercessor (Part Two)

If we are weak in prayer, the strongman will come into our homes and our workplaces and take what is rightfully ours.133 A tree best illustrates the outer court and the inner court of our lives. The tree limbs represent the outer court; intercession represents the roots. The fruit represents the degree of abiding in the Vine. Intercession in the inner court allows the roots of our tree to go deep into the soil so that we can withstand the winds that are sure to come. Our tree can only grow bigger if we have a root system to support it. The more influence we have, the greater the storms and the greater the need for deeper roots. 

God will lead and be with each of us in our times of intercession. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” 134

Intercession is not substitution for sin. Only Jesus, the Son of God qualifies to pay for sin. However, the intercession so identifies the intercessor with the suffering that it gives him a prevailing place with God. He moves the heart of God. He can even cause Him to change His mind, as in the case of Moses and the people of Israel. 

The Inner Court represents the work you and I must do in intercession on behalf of those we are called to serve. We fight the spiritual battle on behalf of those who would never make it without our intercession. When I came to an awareness of this fact, I was very convicted of my own prayerlessness for my wife and for the marketplace I am called to serve. I realized I had spent much time during of my years of ministry operating from the outer court. I asked God to help me learn to be His intercessor for those I am called to redeem. If we are going to reshape cultural mountains, it will only happen if we do our inner court ministry of intercession as a priest to our marketplace. 

God asks us if we are willing to stand in the gap for another. Do you need to stand in the gap for a spouse, a co-worker, a politician, a business leader, a city leader? Why not identify now who God may call you to intercede for on their behalf.
 
-Os Hillman


Five Toxins of the Tongue That Can Poison Your Marriage

Here are five toxins of the tongue that we must work to avoid:

1. Sarcastic Words: Comments like, “The lawn isn’t going to mow itself,” or “Do I look like your maid?” seem like no big deal on the surface, right? But sarcastic words are sometimes just symptoms of an underlying unmet expectation that has frustrated a spouse for quite some time.  They can be used as a cowardly way to “dig” at your husband and wife…poisoning slowly.

2. Unsupportive Words: Every husband and wife wants to know that they have their spouse in their corner cheering them on. When a spouse says things like, “That’s a crazy idea,” or “Do you really think you can do that?”…what they may really be saying is “I don’t believe in you,” or “I’m not on your team.” Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t tell your spouse when you think they have a truly bad idea. But, instead of saying, “That’s the worst idea ever,” you could say, “That’s a great idea, but I feel like you would be better at this…” Supporting one another’s aspirations is essential to a happy and productive marriage. We should be our spouses #1 fan, not their biggest critic.

3. Disrespectful Words: Respect is not something that has to be earned. It should be given unconditionally in marriage. Disrespectful comments like, “Can’t you find a real job?”, “I don’t care what you say; I’m going to do it anyway”, and “You’ve really been putting on weight” are insulting, offensive, and can undermine a spouses sense of worth.

4. Comparing words: When saying things like, “Jonathan would do that for his wife” or “Why can’t you be more like Karen?” what you’re really communicating is “You don’t make the grade…you’re not good enough” as a husband or wife.

5. Selfish Words: “I don’t care how you feel, just get it done.”  “I want that new dress.” “I need someone who really meets my needs.” Spouses who care more about themselves than their spouses often start their sentences with “I.” It’s all about their wants and their needs, rather than their mates.

Have any, or many, of these toxins of the tongue been injected into your marriage? If so, here are several antidotes you can use to counteract their effects.

  • Apologize to your spouse for all the poisonous things you’ve said to them over the years.  Healing can only begin when toxins are removed.  And in the case of verbal toxins, relationships begin to mend when couples ask for forgiveness from each other.
  • Be slow to speak.  There’s an old adage that states you never regret what you never say.  It’s okay to be quiet, reserved, and thoughtful about what comes out of your mouth…especially when you are upset.
  • Make a personal vow that toxic words will no longer come out of your mouth. Putting a post-it note by your bed or on your mirror can serve to remind you of your commitment.  Give your spouse the freedom to inform you when toxicity starts to stream from your tongue.
-Mark Merrill


Understanding Our 7 Needs

 

God created man to have seven needs as human beings. They include the following: 
1. Dignity 
2. Authority
3. Blessing & Provision
4. Security
5. Purpose & Meaning
6. Freedom & Boundary
7. Intimate Love & Companionship

These needs are not listed categorically in Genesis 1 and 2, but are implied in many different ways as you read through these two chapters. It is important for us to realize God created mankind with these seven needs because unless we understand this we do not understand why we are tempted to meet our needs outside God’s design. Understanding this foundation will help us understand how we are to receive from God in appropriate ways and how we are often motivated to receive by meeting our own needs outside God’s order. 

We are all tempted to gain things in life outside the parameters of God’s intended plan. One of the primary strategies that Satan uses in our lives is to manipulate outcomes outside God’s intended plan. The more we begin to meet our own needs in our own way the more we open ourselves up to entry points where Satan begins to establish territory in our lives. Over time a stronghold is developed which the apostle Paul describes as follows: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor 10:3-6). Notice some key thoughts expressed in this very important passage. 

  • Strongholds are a belief system that entices us to argue against the knowledge of God. 
  • It is a thought or idea that is not rooted in God which motivates us to meet our own needs. 
  • It is a form of disobedience to the ways of God. 

When Jesus was baptized and fasted and prayed for forty days, Satan came to him and tried to convince Him to meet His needs outside God’s design and purposes. Satan tried to appeal to Jesus by actually misquoting scripture to Him. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you’ and, in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone'” (Matt 4:1-6).

Jesus was physically hungry. His need was for food. But Jesus knew that what God wanted Him to receive at that time was not physical food, but spiritual food. He refused to receive what He knew He was not to receive at that time. Satan tried to convince him to refocus His attention on His physical need, not His spiritual need. Satan was trying to change Jesus’ belief system and what to believe about meeting His needs. 

Sometimes a stronghold can develop as a natural defense mechanism to being hurt by another person such as a parent, sibling or even an accident. If you were abused when you were young you will tend to have built-in defenses to avoid being hurt again. However, all spiritual strongholds in our lives develop when we begin to focus on meeting a need in our lives outside God’s intended way. It tempts us to believe a lie about the nature of our Heavenly Father.
 
-Os Hillman


Your Job as an Intercessor

Our commitment to Intercession allows us to accomplish three things: 

1              Intercession allows us to internalize and deepen our ownership of the assignment. 

2              Intercession forces us to sit quietly before God to clarify what we are called to. 

3              Intercession catalyzes the actions needed for fulfillment of the vision by depending on the Holy Spirit to reveal our action steps. 

 

When Nehemiah heard that the wall in Jerusalem had been torn down, it affected him at a passionate heart level. He mourned along with his people. He fasted and prayed for several days in an effort to gain understanding of what he was to do. He was led to appeal to his king to go and repair the wall. He developed a detailed plan from his prayer time and his professional expertise. He accomplished the task by being aware of the enemy’s schemes to thwart his efforts by having his men work with one hand on the wall and a weapon to defend themselves in the other. 

Daniel is another great example of a man devoted to prayer and excellence in what he did for a living. He was gifted with the ability to interpret dreams. This supernatural gift allowed him to break through the wall of religion in a very religious culture. God revealed “deep and hidden secrets.”135 Each time he was challenged, he went to prayer for the solution to a problem and stood firm to his convictions. On two occasions, God delivered him from death. This is the model for change agents to impact their cultural mountains. Influence will not be achieved by our entrepreneurial skills alone. It must be sourced in heaven, and carried out through a combination of the direction of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our professional expertise, which gives us the platform to operate on that mountain. 

God has called each of us to a purpose greater than ourselves. We are not here to fulfill our agendas or to win a popularity contest; we are here to establish the kingdom of God through our lives. Are you called to reclaim a cultural mountain as a change agent? Are you called to a specific group of people? If so, make intercession a strategic part of your focus to impact that cultural mountain. Interceding for those who control the mountain is important if you expect to gain victory. 
 
-Os Hillman


Understanding Your “Inner Court” Responsibility

Understanding Your  “Inner Court” Responsibility 

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap 

before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 

Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them 

with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own 

heads,” says the Lord GOD. -EZEKIEL 22:30-31 

 

When the children of Israel committed the grievous sin of making the golden calf for an idol, Moses had to play a new role. That role was priest. He stood in the gap on behalf of the people in order to stay the execution of his own people. God was very angry, and was going to wipe them off the planet just as He did in the time of Noah. Sometimes God is looking for the individual to stand in the gap for a situation that requires judgment, which can only be averted by one who is willing to stand on behalf of the offender. Moses was willing to risk his own salvation to thwart a mass judgment. “Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.'”126

Would you be willing to lose your own salvation for the benefit of another? What an amazing level of sacrifice on behalf of the people by Moses. His intercession kept the people from being destroyed. It did not forgive their sin, but it did give them time to repent themselves. This is known as identificational confession, when one person pleads before the throne on behalf of another. We identify with and confess before God the corporate sins of one’s nation, people, church, or family. 

Every marketplace believer has a calling to be both king and priest. Like Melchizedek who was also a king and priest, we too are called to both assignments.127 Moses’ operated as both a king and priest. He operated as a king as the leader of an entire nation. His role as a king was a very public one with the people. But he also operated as priest, going before the people on their behalf spiritually by interceding on their behalf. This does not mean we are called to vocational priestly pastorate ministry; it means we are called to intercede for those we are called to serve. We are called to lay down our lives for that worker next to us in the cubicle, that CEO who operates at the top of your cultural mountain, or that government leader who wants to change your values in your state or nation. We are called to rebuild the ancient ruins.128
 
-Os Hillman