When God whispers!

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)

A whisper is defined as a soft voice with little breath, to give a hint or tell a secret, to speak with little or no vibration of vocal cord. When God whispers, remarkable things happen. God whispers in the still small voice, and His whisper is very different from His thundering voice. When God whispers He begins sharing about secrets that He doesn’t want anyone else to hear, about things that are hidden and secret.

Other translations say great and unsearchable things (NIV), remarkable secrets (NLT), and incomprehensible things (HCSB). When God whispers our destiny comes alive.

In Genesis 3:8, the sound that Adam and Eve heard in the Garden was different from previous days they had walked together. They had only known His whisper, but now they were hearing His thundering voice echoing across the Garden. Adam was afraid! Psalm 29 says “The voice of the LORD thunders” (v. 3).  

The enemy wants us to fear for our life. To hide ourselves amongst the trees in our garden. Many are called but so few choose to step into their destiny! How many have missed their moment?!

God often thunders so others can hear. In John 12 we find Jesus’ heart being troubled. A voice was speaking to Him about taking a short cut, but Jesus cried out “No, it is for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name” (v 28). Suddenly the Father answers with a thundering voice, saying “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” Many in the crowd simply heard thunder, though others heard the voice! Jesus replied that the voice was for their benefit, not His. That is because Jesus knew the Father’s still small voice!

Jesus chose to not shrink back for He knew this was why He had come. Jesus didn’t need to hear the thunder because He had the still small voice within Him. This voice came for others

The moment you say ‘go for it,’ the enemy loses his voice and leverage over us. When we chose to just go for it, putting our fear, our greed, our own wants, hopes and desires, on the altar, the enemy ceases to have power over us! And we can do that because we have heard the still small voice, the whisper of God!

Pray this prayer with me…

Father, glorify Your name through us, though our families, through our churches, through APN! Father teach us to hear Your still small voice, to know Your voice, just as Jesus said we would (John 10:27). Father, may we hear Your voice in our dreams and in our watching during the night, as well as in our journey throughout the day. Father, grant us a grace to learn and discern your whisper in a world of much chatter. Father as we say ‘yes’ to You and ‘no’ to the devil and the world, to greed, fear and our ambitions, may we hear Your whisper with even greater clarity and have boldness to stand in greater confidence! We pray for our pastors to seek intimacy with You and to take the time to hear Your whisper over them and our church! May You reveal as You promised, great, unsearchable, amazing, and hidden things that we have not known! Thank You Father, in Jesu’s awesome and powerful name, amen!!!

Crushing power of peace!

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16:20 (HCSB)

So, it is the God of peace who crushes Satan, under our feet! This is important to acknowledge. It is not God the mighty warrior, or the Sovereign Lord, or the Almighty One who will do this crushing under His powerful right arm! No, it is the God of peace!

A person will often train in fighting so that they won’t have to fight. We are called into such training, as the enemy does not want us prepared to engage him, and crush him under our feet. And this simply illustrates how awesome our God is! He does the crushing under our feet. This means that we are to battle from a place of peace. We must be in alignment with the head, for our feet to have crushing power. Since the enemy’s primary battle is in our minds, we must take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 

We are told that instead of being anxious about anything, we are to turn it into prayer with thanksgiving. We are told that when we do this, the peace of God that is beyond our understanding will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7). Paul goes on to tell us that if we fix our thoughts on good, true, noble, pure things, the God of peace will be with us (Philippians 4:8-9). Before He can crush Satan underneath our feet, He needs to be with us. And the implication here is that if we focus on the wrong things the God of peace won’t be with us. Ouch! In other words, what we think about and fill our minds with, and meditate upon really matters! Of course, God doesn’t leave us, but His peace definitely does, and we are meant to fight from a place of peace. That’s why we are instructed as warriors to put on the shoes of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15).

Here’s the thing, it is not only anxious thoughts that we are to take captive and cast at Jesus’ feet with petitions and thanksgiving. But we are also to cast fear, stress, worries, depression and all of Satan’s works at Jesus feet! And Isaiah promises that God will keep us in perfect peace as we fix our minds on Him, and that requires us to trust Him with all those things (Isaiah 24:3).

All this to say, we cannot fight this spiritual battle from any other foundation but peace. And when we lack His peace we are out of alignment with the God of peace, making us vulnerable to the devil’s schemes, deception and traps. When we are at peace, God can crush Satan underneath our feet!!!

Right now, do a peace assessment. Is there any place in your life where you don’t have peace? If there is, confess it, bring it to Jesus’ feet with thanksgiving. Submit this area to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Remember, any place where you don’t have peace is a potential open door for the enemy. Ask God to show you every door that is open, even if it is just a crack. Then lay it before the Lord and ask Him to close it. Ask Him to make your home a place of peace, where people literally comment on it when they walk in. Jesus ministers from this place of peace. And ask God to do this in your church, in your pastor and leaders. Ask Him to do this peace invasion across our city. Then the God of peace will indeed crush Satan underneath the Church in Athens!

Completely supernatural!

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NLT)

So much of the church has allowed religion to suck its very life out of it. If you, your church, your doctrine, your religion has put God in a box, He will ultimately bust out. In fact, He is about to do just that. How dare us to limit God in any way! Christianity is all about the supernatural, from Jesus’ birth through His life, death, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The church is supernatural. It was always meant to be supernatural. Yet religion has always been attempting to put out the Spirit’s fire (1 Thessalonians 5:19)!

But that is about to change! God’s glory will be seen in His church, manifesting His glory to the world! The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover our city, nation and the world (Habakkuk 2:14).

People who are willing to die for what they believe are unreasonable and unstoppable by religion, the world or the devil. The Church is waking up from its religious slumber. The church is waking up to its identity and destiny in Christ!

Cry out to God to reveal to you hidden ways that religion has sucked life out of you. Tell Him that you’re willing to live for Him, even die for Him and that you will obey Him no matter what! Invite Him to be all He says He is in you. Invite Him to release His supernatural in you! Pray for your pastor to break out of all influence of crusty, powerless religion and to allow God to do whatever he wants in your church. Pray that churches across Athens would wake up and become His supernatural body in our city and beyond.

Pray through it!

And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Luke 18:1 (ESV)

Too often we stop short of securing the answer to our prayer. Jesus strongly says we are to pray and not give up! We must pray through it not just to it. Don’t just seek the answer but stand on it. The enemy will often come and try to kill, steal and/or destroy the answer (John 10:10). We must resist the devil when comes to limit the fulfillment of our request (James 4:7). Remember the enemy will always come back and challenge our victories. He may even come back with reinforcements (Luke 11:26). Don’t fret this! Stand firm in it until the end. If the enemy is resisting you it’s because you are doing something he’s threatened by. The very process of resisting is part of the overwhelming victory that God wants us to walk in (Romans 8:37). When we stand firm, we stand in the victory. In fact, it secures the victory. Daniel is a great example of this we prayed through till the answer came, which required 21 days of intensity, with seeing nothing in the physical realm (Daniel 10). The answer is worth the wait, the persistence, the endurance, and the glory God gets! I prayed for 25 years, every day, for my dad’s salvation. Then it came!!! What if I had given up after many long, barren years? Perhaps my dad wouldn’t be in heaven right now!

Whatever it is that you’ve been praying for (i.e. salvation of loved ones and friends, prodigals, getting pregnant, healing, financial provision, to hear Jesus’ voice, etc.), please recommit and press in, for as long as it takes! Commit it and yourself to the Lord. Choose to trust the Lord with all your heart and not the way things look (Proverbs 3:5-6). Ask God to ignite or reignite prevailing prayer people in your church, starting with your pastor. Cry out for God to make your church a house of prayer, filled with joy and endurance. Ask God to grant us a grace for prevailing, enduring prayer in our city!

Choose to look up!

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” Acts 7:55 (NLT)

Stephen, when surrounded by angry stone welding religious folks, chose to gaze upward into heaven instead of around him. He could have been caught in the moment of what was happening on earth but he chose to fix his eyes on God. And that is what he saw. The heavens opened up, right in the midst of his life-threatening moment and he saw the glory of God radiating from the throne and from Jesus, who was standing looking at him!

That same invitation is ours. If Stephen could do it in his life-threatening moment, so can we! We can choose to fix our gaze heavenward upon Jesus, or we can get caught up in the earthly theater. We are told in Proverbs that if we trust in the Lord with all our heart (the One who is in heaven above it all) and not lean on our own understanding (what’s going on around us) He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). We are told to fix of eyes on Jesus instead of on the things that hinders and entangles us (Hebrews 12:1-2). We are told that when we fix our gaze on God’s glory, we are literally transformed by it (2 Corinthians 3:18). In other words, we have a choice of what we fix our thoughts, attention and gaze upon. If we gaze upon the things around us, the narrative, the evil, the darkness, we will be consumed by it. But if we intentionally choose to look heavenward, we will be transformed by His glory. When we think of the higher things, such as what Paul says are true, noble, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy, such as Jesus, then the God of peace will be with us (Philippians 4:8-9). God’s peace, especially in our day, is otherworldly! God peace is heaven touching earth!

Cry out for grace to gaze on the glory of God today, no matter what else is vying for your attention. Choose to look heavenward. Specifically take some time and meditate on the Father, on Jesus, on the throne in heaven, upon His glory! Ask God to show you His glory, and begin making that the way you start your day. Pray for your pastor to fix his eyes on the things above, on Jesus and His glory. Pray that God would open heaven over your church as you take time in your worship services to gaze upon His glory! Pray that Athens would be a city where heaven opens up and is seen on earth!

Under the hood!

Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (HCSB)

In my teens, many years ago, I had a 1969 VW bug! We are told not to judge a book by its cover. Well, that was true with my VW! It was beige and looked very average, except for the chrome wheels, and a nice exhaust system. But you can’t judge it by its looks! It was fast. Not just fast for a Bug. One time it actually beat a Porsche in a street race. Oops, was I supposed share that? But yes, it was my teenage days! Well anyways, I had invested all my part-time job earnings in rebuilding the engine into a high-performance machine. From the outside you could not tell the power that was packed under the back hood. It was only when the pedal went to the metal that you could see and hear what was inside.

Likewise, followers of Christ usually look just like those around them until God’s power and truth is manifested in us. We are called to press the pedal to the metal and let others see what’s inside! In this hour, we are not to be undercover believers, camouflaging our faith from the world. We are meant to look and sound different. We are meant to set the pace not simply run with the pack!

Btw, it was a real pain and quite costly having a high-performance average looking VW. I had to tune it, all the time, like every week, constantly tinkering with the duel carburetors and adjusting the valves. I actually got so quick about dropping the motor, that with a friend’s help I could take it out of the vehicle and have the heads to the machine shop within 30 minutes. In this hour, true believers must rise up as high-performance warriors for Jesus, no matter the cost. This requires constant attention to details as the Holy Spirit does His work in, through and on us!

Invite the Holy Spirit to do whatever is necessary to make you operate as a high-performance lover of Jesus. Ask Him to search your heart, and install whatever new parts are necessary for this hour, and removing the dead weight of unnecessary equipment. Ask God to connect you with other wholehearted, passionate lovers of Jesus, who will journey with you in this next season! Pray that your church would become a place for wholehearted lovers of Jesus to gather, grow and move out on assignments to fight the battles for our city, and nation. Pray that wholehearted lovers of Jesus and warriors of God would unite across our city to a new level! Pray that the roar of our “engines” would be heard and felt across our city and beyond!

Till the beginning!

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15b (ESV)

Lord willing, Shellie & I want to run wholehearted with all our energy, passion and strength across the finish line into eternity. We want to lay it all out in this life, till we step into eternity. That’s when it really begins! Retirement is not even in our vocabulary. In fact, there is really no Biblical precedence for retiring. Perhaps one can retire from their “job” so they can serve God with the rest of their days. I believe we should be talking about “refiring” instead of retiring! Of course, we may not be able to do the things we used to do. Yes, believe it or not, I don’t quite have the energy level as I used to. And the hot days do get me more than when I was younger. But maybe our latter days are meant to be different, though no less passionate! God has troves of treasures and wisdom that He has invested in us over the years. Our latter years ought to be our best years!

If this agrees with you, commit your life, all your days, completely to the Lord. Declare that every second that you have breath belongs to Him. Every day that has been ordained for you on this planet, choose to live it for Him. If you have retired from your job, or ministry, ask God to refire you! If not, ask Him to reboot your thinking that your latter years will be your greatest years, and begin living like it, and prepare for that. Don’t simply plan for retirement, ask God what He has for you in those “productive years.”

Remnant!

“…there is a remnant chosen by grace!” Romans 11:6 (NIV)

There is so much of the church that is asleep at this present time. But she is being awaken. Those who are awake often feel alone and misunderstood! By it is God who has awakened us, by His grace, so that we can be alarm clocks to the rest of the church. It is time to sound the alarm through loving and praying for the sleeping church. There are actually more ‘remnant’ than we realize! Just as Elijah thought he was the only one, when there had been seven thousand set aside, hidden in caves, who had not bowed the knee to Baal (Romans 11:3-4). By the way, Baal worship was all about child sacrifice (which is equivalent to the practice of abortion, which is now even allowing mothers to kill the children after the birth). The church’s silence is the church’s complicity in the act!

But remnant you are not awake without reason. You need to know… grow… glow… and go!

Know that you have been called and awakened for a purpose, by the grace of God. Know that it was He who called you for such a time as this. Know that you are deeply loved and entrusted with a great responsibility to steward what you have been given. Know that you have been born for this moment! Know that you are not alone!

Grow up in your new responsibility. Grow into the man or woman God has created you to be in this hour. Grow up in your authority. Grow in the knowledge of the word and who He says you are!

Glow with the radiant glory of God. Take time daily to fix your eyes on the glorious man Christ Jesus. Allow the glory to shine through you to those who have not yet awakened. Carry His glory into everything you do so that the knowledge of His glory would fill our city!

Go! Get out from your confines and do what Jesus is doing now. Obey as He leads. He has not called you to hide out and wait for the rapture rescue mission. You have a purpose, a reason for being here right now. Go be and do it with all your heart!

Ask the Lord what it means for you to know, grow, glow and go! May He empower you with all you need to fulfil your purpose in this generation!!! Ask the Lord to show you how to stand up against the “prophets of Baal” in our day. Ask the Lord to draw you, connect you and assign you others of the remnant who are awakened. Pray for your pastor to become fully awakened and to have the courage to lead your congregation to know, grow, glow and go!

Is prophecy for today?

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” Proverbs 25:2 (ESV)

There is so much tension, confusion and division today around the role of prophecy! But just because there are challenges, we are not to throw it out. In fact, I unequivocally say yes, prophecy is absolutely needed in this hour!

Though Paul said he would have us all speaking in tongues, but even more that we should all prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:5)! We are told to earnestly desire spiritual gifts but especially prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1). We definitely need the gifts of the Holy Spirit in this hour, especially prophecy! Is your church equipping you to hear His voice, and to operate in the other gifts of the Holy Spirit?

I just wonder if we have made prophecy too mystical! I suppose that is why Paul said we are not to despise prophecy. He told us to test it not simply reject it (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). Paul said elsewhere that prophecy is all about encouragement, comfort and bringing strength to others (1 Corinthians 14:3). Boy, is that needed in the body at this hour! And we all can do that!

Jesus said that His sheep will hear His voice (John 10:27). Are you being equipped to hear the Master’s voice? Jesus didn’t say, His prophets hear His voice and the sheep must hear His heart through them only! No, He said His sheep will hear Him directly and personally! Every believer should hear Jesus’ voice and to speak prophetically. If you are not being trained in this, you are being severely held back!

We are told that God does nothing, meaning NOTHING, without first sharing it with His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). God wants us all to be prophetic! His children are meant to be a prophetic people!

We have this beautiful friendship with God. Jesus told us that He no longer considers us servants, but His friends (John 15:15)! Like all friendships, we must grow with each other and continue to learn to communicate more effectively. God wants us to continually grow in hearing His voice. In one season He may speak one way, then in another season speak to you in a very different way. We are meant to press into God, to seek Him until we find Him, and then keep seeking Him! God is always communicating, but we need to dig for it, to wait on Him, to seek! It is the glory of kings is to search matters out (Proverbs 25:2). We are the king’s kids!

Btw, there is a difference between being a prophet and being a prophetic people. The church is meant to be prophetic, but not all of us are prophets. Yes, prophecy is necessary for the church in this hour. Like all the five-fold ministries (Ephesians 4:11-13), the prophet’s role is to equip the body of Christ in hearing the Lord’s voice and to become a prophetic people.

Prophecy not only reveals the Lord’s voice and heart, it also exposes where the enemy is operating. It’s no wonder that the prophetic is so highly attacked, especially by the religious! Queen Jezebel was highly focused on taking out all the true prophets. The reason for that was, prophets exposed what she was really about. Prophets still do this today, and are attacked by the same evil spirit that was behind Queen Jezebel so many years ago! We need the prophetic to identify where this is operating in the church today!

Ask God to open your ears to hear His voice so that you can follow Him better (John 10:27). Ask Him for the Spirit of wisdom and REVELATION so that you can know Him better (Ephesians 1:17). Ask Him to equip you as a prophetic person. Repent if you have ever mocked or despised prophecy. Ask Him to restore it in you. Ask Him to fill your words as you speak encouragement, comfort and strengthen to others. Ask Him to do the same in your pastor, and for your church to become a place that better equips Jesus’ sheep to hear His voice! Ask God to stir and increase prophecy across our city!!!

In the garden!

You are My private garden, My treasure, My bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.” Song 4:12 (NLT)

I actually love gardens and gardening. It is our desire to transform our property into a prayer garden where His presence is tangibly felt! Amazing things transpire in gardens! And I believe that God loves the garden too!

The Garden was a beautiful place where God put Adam and Eve to work and care for, before they fell (Genesis 2:8-10 & 15). It was in that garden God originally walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). The bride establishes a secret garden that she shares on with her lover (Song 4:12-16). And the Groom comes into the garden to collect the fragrant things that have been prepared for Him (Song 5:1 & 6:1). It was in a garden called Gethsemane, that Jesus loved to pray and where He ultimately spent His last hours of freedom in agonizing prayer as He sweated great drops of blood (Matthew 26:36, Luke 22:44, John 18:1). It was in that same garden Judas betrayed Him with a kiss (Luke 22:48). Jesus’ tomb is in a garden, making a garden the location of the resurrection (John 19:41). Remember, the risen Jesus was mistaken as the gardener by Mary (John 20:15)!

Isaiah tells about a “garden of the LORD” where joy and gladness is found, along with thanksgiving and the voice of song (Isaiah 58:11). Jeremiah tells us that kings have gardens which often provided a secret way of escape (Jeremiah 39:4 & 52:7). Ezekiel tells us about Satan being in Eden, which is called the garden of God (Ezekiel 28:13).

Today there are many “prayer gardens.” Billy Graham has one in Asheville, NC. We briefly stopped at a few years ago. God’s peace tangibly rests in that place, even at the entrance! Decades ago I had the opportunity to spend time at a couple prayer mountains in South Korea, which included prayer gardens! It was evident that God’s presence fills the places we pray and worship. As such we can create physical spaces that drip with God’s presence.

Yes, gardens are important to God! Many people also feel God’s presence in their own garden or when they go to places like the Botanical Gardens. And of course, the enemy will do whatever he can to defile it and get us out of it (remember that serpent)! Nevertheless, there is a secret garden, that hidden place where we develop a private history with the Lord. This is our secret place where we meet with the Lord, where we cultivate the things in our life that pleases Him. Where we commune with Him and Him with us! This place is just between Him and each one of us individually. So how you tend your garden really does matter. You truly will reap what you sow! No one else can do that for you. You must seek the Lord to find the special herbs, and fragrant flowers that He loves and wants in your life (Song 4:12-5:1). The only way to enjoy your garden is to send much time cultivating it, and of course I am talking about investing in our intimate relationship with God!

Ask Him to give you a glimpse of the kind of garden He wants to grow in your life. Repent if you have neglected your garden! Ask Him what sort of fragrant things He likes and begin cultivating them in your heart. Go to your secret place with Him often. The more you go the better it will be. It is crazy how fast “weeds” pop up and accumulate. Pray for your pastor to cultivate the garden of his heart with the Lord. Pray that your church would truly become a fragrant place because of all the individuals who have cultivated their intimate relationship with Jesus. Pray with me that Athens would become a garden city where the Father loves to walk in the cool of the day with His kids, and Jesus with His bride!