Category Archives: Christianity

Who Is on the Lord’s Side?

Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on the LORD’S side? Let him come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. — Exodus 32:26

As Christians, we are called to be prophetic people — understanding and then speaking forth Christ’s heart to the world around us. We have a responsibility to consistently stand with the Lord. That often means we must first step back from the current issues of our day, not form or speak hasty judgments, and take time to inquire of the Lord about His perspective.

In our current world, the news media takes upon itself to be the judicial system. They indict, prosecute, and preside as judges, demanding that their readers be the jury. Sadly, the “jury” is often given unsubstantiated rumors, which we are duped into thinking are facts. The witnesses are anonymous “sources,” presented as tellers of truth, but they may or may not be accurate witnesses. No one seems to care anymore about vetting the witnesses to see whether their claims hold up.

As a result, many inaccurate or even false stories become the headlines of the day. And if they turn out to be untrue? There might be a lesser headline or a back-page retraction a few days later. Then again, maybe not. By that time, not only has the exposed person or people group been tried on minimal information; they’ve been executed as well.

Where do we fit into this mess? Many of us are quick to pronounce a guilty verdict based on rumors and incomplete information. We cry out, along with the non-believing world, for someone’s condemnation. How does that fit with grace and justice? How does that line up with 1 Corinthians 13:6, 7: “Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (NIV)? We are eager to crucify, even as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were.

Just as bad, if not worse, is justifying someone’s sins because their agenda is the same as ours. Political ideology is an enormous idol, worshiped as much in the Church as elsewhere. It disturbs me that we are willing to compromise what God has clearly said in order to hand power to someone who fits our political persuasion. Some of our influential Christian leaders even twist Scripture to convince us that sin is either acceptable behavior, or at worst, of minor consequence (because everyone does it, after all).

What should the people of God be speaking instead of  immediate and vocal condemnation? The answer is found in the Word of God:

In the multitude of words there is no end of sin: but he who refrains his lips is wise.Proverbs 10:19

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua went to him and said, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”

And he said, “No. But as captain of the host of the LORD have I now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshiped, and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” Joshua 5:13, 14

Those three passages give us guidance on how to respond wisely to the events taking place around us:

1.) We must refrain from speaking hastily.

2.) We must seek the Lord for His perspective. His viewpoint is higher and more complete than ours, but we can attain to it by inquiring of Him. Only when we have His counsel on a matter should we offer our opinions. Even then, prayer should be our first response. We must not only find out how God sees things, but also whether He even wants us to speak into them — or, should we remain quiet?

3.) We must not align ourselves with any agenda but the Lord’s. God is not a card-carrying member of any political party. He is sovereign, far above political agendas and persuasions. He is neither a conservative nor a liberal. He is only concerned with how those agendas measure up against His holy Word.

Does that mean we should not affiliate with political parties or social movements? Not at all. But we should make certain that we are aligned with Him, rather than swallowing whole an agenda just because somebody of our party or persuasion says that’s the way it has to be.

Lovers of Christ, take up your mantle to be God’s prophetic voice to our world. Seek out His counsel and stick with that. Do not let yourself be manipulated by the other voices shouting so loudly around us. Do not be like the masses, spewing natural-minded opinions right and left. We are a holy, set-apart people, with a message of light to share. Let’s start doing that.

Growing in the Prophetic (audio series)

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
Audio Series,  by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Before Whom We Stand, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God, by Lee Ann Rubsam

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Have You Lost Your Hope?

Do you find yourself battling frequently with a feeling of having no hope? I have felt this way, especially in the last year or so. Many are the times when I have prayed, “God give me hope. Restore my hope.”

I don’t think it is just a response to the current state of our world, although that is a factor. For those of us who know the Lord, it might be a deliberate spiritual attack. And we cannot afford to take it lying down.

First of all, we must understand that God’s will for us is to be filled with hope. If we are experiencing the opposite, something is happening which is against His will. That should be a signal that we need to stand in warfare to retake what has been filched from us.

Hope is such an important part of our covenant with the Lord that He calls Himself “the God of hope”: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”Romans 15:13

The God of hope desires to fill us with joy and peace as we believe on Him. He also wants us to abound in hope — which happens through the power of the Holy Spirit continually working within us. This verse has really come alive to me in recent weeks. I have meditated on it and prayed it back to the Lord frequently. As a result, I am sensing a fresh hope building inside of me.

Some people can pinpoint a specific disappointment or sorrow which caused them to lose their hope. If this is you, you may need to ask Jesus to heal the wound. Like blood oozes from an injured spot, an untended emotional wound can cause our hope to leak away. Maybe you cannot identify a specific cause. You just feel a general blanket of hopelessness weighing you down. No matter what the cause is, there are some ways we can fight back.

The Aggressive Use of God’s Word

Any time we are undergoing spiritual attack, declaring the Word is our prime weapon. It is called “the sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6:17. When Jesus was tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1-14), in each case, He parried Satan’s thrusts by declaring what the Scriptures said: “It is written.” The last verse of that passage tells us that when the assault was over, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.”

In addition to quoting specific Scriptures to silence the enemy’s lies, meditate on uplifting verses about hope and the promises of God. Romans 15:4 tells us “that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” And Lamentations 3:26 reminds us, “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” If you need some verses to get you started, I’ve got a great list of them at my webpage, Encouragement from God’s Word. Even better, ask God to bring to your remembrance verses He wants to personalize to you to rebuild your hope.

Repentance

Along with the aggressive use of God’s Word, we must also repent of the words we have already spoken which aligned us with hopelessness:

  • “I can’t go on.”
  • “I give up.”
  • “This is never going to change.”
  • “There is no hope for me.”

These are sinful utterances, because they are not what God says about our situation. We need to ask His forgiveness for fighting against ourselves and against His plans for us through our contrary words.

Assuredly, the opportunity will come up again to fall into the same trap. So, when the hopeless feelings resurface, we must commit ourselves to resisting giving way to those wrong declarations. While in a faith battle, the less we verbalize how we feel, the better. Pour out your weakness to the Lord in your heart if you need to, but then also tell Him you will trust in Him in spite of the feelings. Don’t spill from your lips anything which opposes what God says about the situation.

Worship

Worship and praise dispel darkness and bring the atmosphere of heaven down all around us. Our outlook can completely change, if we persevere in deliberate extolling of the Lord. It is not easy. Worship is a sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15). It goes against our flesh.

It is also a tool of warfare. Psalm 8:2 tells us, “Out of the mouth of babies and infants You have ordained [established] strength because of Your enemies, that You might still the enemy and the avenger.” Jesus quoted this verse, “Out of the mouth of babies and infants You have perfected praise(Matthew 21:16). We are strengthened to overcome, and the turmoil with which the enemy tries to afflict us is silenced, as we aggressively worship.

Genuine hope is not based on the temporary situations we face right now. It has its foundation in Christ. Ultimately, our hope rests in living from an eternal perspective, our eyes fastened on Jesus, so that we are not like unbelievers, who have no hope.

May we take back from the enemy of our souls the hope which is rightfully ours, and may we then be bearers of it to our hurting world, assuring them that the hope we possess can be theirs in Christ, too.

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

The Shelter of the Most High (Book Review)

by Francis Frangipane

The Shelter of the Most High, by Francis FrangipaneI love Francis Frangipane’s writing.  His gentle but uncompromising commitment to humility and the servant lifestyle just grips me. He carries the authority to be able to say the things he does, because he has been through the fire and allowed the heat to refine him.

The Shelter of the Most High is a book about intimacy with God and dwelling under His protective covering through prioritizing relationship with Him. It gives deep insight into what it means to cease striving in our own strength and truly enter into the rest of God (Hebrews 4). Basically, it’s a book about what the Christian life was always meant to be.

Here are a few quotes:

  • God has always been more concerned with the condition of our hearts than the activity of our hands. What we become to Him is far more consequential than all we will ever do for Him.
  • He will not fight for our attention; He must be sought. He will not startle us; He must be perceived …. We must learn to see Him Who is unseen.
  • Before the Lord is through with us, the way of Christ will be more than something we know; it will be something we instinctively choose in the midst of temptation or battle. This is where we graduate into the power of God.
  • Rescue is the constant pattern of God’s activity.
  • [God] intends to make your life a key that unlocks God’s shelter for others.
  • Our primary purpose in life must be to abide in Christ. Otherwise, we can become so   consumed with the deteriorating condition of the world that we fail to see the deteriorating condition of our own soul.

Other concepts revealed:

  • If we know God, we are in companionship with Him. If we are companioned with Him, He sees to it that we dwell in His rest. God’s rest means we are not fretting or striving to work. God works in us, with us, and surrounding us.
  • When we grasp Who God is, we enter into a place of spiritual immunity. We receive into ourselves the victory Jesus won for us — oneness with God in Christ.
  • Seeking and finding God is our end-all purpose and goal.
  • In the abiding place we are fascinated with Jesus, fastened on Him, guided by His voice, surrounded by His love, sheltered from distresses and distractions.
  • To Him, the voice of our weak prayers is sweet. We are lovely to Him.
  • The secret place of the Most High is not only a place of shelter, but also of restoration.
  • We come to a place where we can carry out our spiritual warfare from our position in the shelter of the Most High.

I highly recommend The Shelter of the Most High as essential reading for any Christian who desires to live an overcoming life in Christ from a place of absolute security and safety. If you long to go deeper in relationship with the Lord, absorbing the keys presented in this book will help you to get there.

Prepare for War

… A time of war, and a time of peace. — Ecclesiastes 3:8

Jousting_Knights_by_DegasBelievers, in case you have not noticed, a war looms on the horizon. Indeed, we are already in it. The conflict might seem complicated with side issues and questions, but really it boils down to being about truth and the gospel of Jesus.

Up until now, many of us have felt we had the option of spectating, rather than engaging in battle. “Let Dr. Dobson do it. … Let Franklin Graham do it. … Let my pastor do it.” Like it or not, sideline-sitting isn’t going to be available much longer.

Years ago, the Lord showed me a vision, illustrating the condition of His Church in America. I saw people in a medieval army camp, leisurely handling their armor, casually looking it over, and admiring it. They did not seem to sense the urgency of putting it on and getting into the battle.  They were merely playing at being soldiers.

 Because the Church did not go to the front lines back in the day, the front lines have now come to our own doorstep. But too many of us are still merely gawking at the armor and talking about it. It’s time to suit up and start swinging the weapons.

We need to listen to the spiritual perceptions Holy Spirit is giving to us, and take action as He reveals it to us. But what kind of action am I speaking of? Much of our warfare takes place in the arena of prayer. We contend for the souls of men through mighty intercession, coupled with fasting and devoted worship.

But we have come to the place where we must also contend for truth publicly. It is time to speak. We can no longer be silent while those around us march over the cliff to their destruction. Even in the Church, many are so concerned about showing a humanistic compassion which makes people feel good about themselves no matter what they are doing, that we have forgotten to care for their eternal well-being. Genuine love does not pat people on the back and tell them they are A-OK, when the Bible clearly says the road they are on leads to a horrible eternity in hell.

Part of the battle is to know how to speak like Jesus would. Colossians 4:5, 6 tells us, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside [the family of God], redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every man.” We must be able to listen carefully and calmly before engaging, and not angrily tear people to pieces in the name of truth.  We are not effective when we lose track of who the enemy (Satan) is,  and start attacking people. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). We tend to forget this far too often.

We must also prepare our hearts by understanding the cost of war. Concern for preserving our popularity, our comfort, and even our possessions will no longer be possible.

The war we engage in is not only external. As we approach the end of the age, Satan is raging against the Church with an intensity most of us have never experienced before. A lot of that war is against our mind and emotions, our health, and our spiritual integrity.

Each of us should ask the Lord to give us clarity about what our particular position on the front line is supposed to be, and then stand fast there. We each have a specific role to play. While there are many good causes to champion, none of us is called to fight them all. Choosing our battles wisely is key to successful warfare.

The Lion of the tribe of Judah is not a toothless lion. He has not left us toothless, either. We need to perceive this. He has given us all that we need to come through victoriously — His Word, His blood, His name, His authority, revelation from the Holy Spirit, and even angelic assistance.

In ancient times, spring was the season when kings went forth to war. This is our time to do likewise, for the Lord “has made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). We cannot passively watch from the sidelines anymore.

The Coming Great Divide

pendulum-626623_640For many months, I have been hearing strongly about a coming division in the American Church. It is the division between the true Church, and a false one. By a false church, I do not mean those who openly deny the deity of Christ and subscribe to grossly unorthodox beliefs. Those have been with us for a long time already and are fairly recognizable for what they are. No, the false church I am referring to is more subtle. And it is fast gaining influence even within evangelical and Spirit-filled congregations.

Many in the false church were at one time aligned with the true, but have veered off course. For those who are pastors/leaders in this false church move, their deviation from the true may have started with a desire for more church growth, popularity with society as a whole, a fear of being persecuted, or the drive to gain more wealth for themselves and their churches.

Because many started out all right, the lines between the true and false have been blurred, and there has been much confusion about which is which. Some of the leaders of this false church continue to convincingly talk the right talk in some ways, while having shifted into compromise and deception in others. They say a lot of wonderful, highly quotable things, which encourage us all that we are loved by God, that God wants to bless us, and that He intends for us to be successful at impacting our world. Those messages are not bad in themselves. We need to be encouraged. The problem is that these good words are mixed with a lot of humanism — worship of ourselves. The gospel message, with Jesus being central, is distorted or nonexistent, and instead there is a constant barrage of “If you just think and speak positively, there are no limits to how successful you can be!”

In the midst of the fog of who is who and which is which, God is dropping a plumb line into the Church, which will clearly divide the straight and true from the crooked and false. As time goes on, the distinctions between the two will grow more apparent. Believers will have to make a clear choice to come out from fellowshipping within the false and make a conscious step over into the true, if they are going to continue on with the Lord.

Jesus’ parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) is another illustration of what is currently happening. At first the tares look very much like the wheat. It is hard to discern between them. But as the plants mature, the differences become more noticeable. Likewise, we are approaching the point where the distinctions between the false and the true Church will become more marked. And when we notice the differences, each of us will have to determine whether we’re going to malnourish our spiritual stomachs with “tares” teaching or whether we will only ingest the wheat.

What are some telltale signs of a false message?

1.)  Universalism — The belief that all will be saved, that no one will go to hell, because God is love, is a heresy which has been around in one form or another for a long time. But in recent years it has made large inroads into many evangelical churches. Jesus is presented as the best way to the Father, but not the only way. The end of what Jesus said in John 14:6, “NO man comes to the Father except through Me” is conveniently not quoted.

2.)  A message which is primarily motivational in nature — There is minimal talk about Jesus, the cross, living a sacrificial lifestyle of obedience to Him, or Jesus’ soon return. The focus is on having a satisfying life now, with little emphasis on eternity. YOUR destiny purpose now, YOUR success now, YOUR happiness now is the all-in-all, rather than the Lord’s desires being fulfilled at any cost.

3.)  Anything goes — The message implies or openly states that God understands we all sin and therefore does not mind if we indulge in whatever sin we would like to keep indulging in.

4.)  Acceptance of homosexuality — This is snowballing on us at an alarming rate, and I personally think it is going to be the clearest dividing line between the true Church and the false in the next couple of years. Several prominent ministries have already fallen off the cliff on this issue, and I think that within a year or two we will see some internationally known pastors openly embracing homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle within their churches. They are already on the brink and teetering.

Watch out for any teaching which says people can be practicing homosexuals and still be Christians at the same time. No matter how much some may want to explain it away, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 still says what it says: “Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators [sexually impure], nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

When God drops a plumb line, it is important not to stay on the wrong side of it.  We will have to decide whom we want to please and whom we are willing to offend. We will have to choose whether we are going to compromise in order to stay comfortable (and popular), or whether we will abide by what God says, no matter how much ridicule, and even persecution, we endure.

James 4:4 states the choice clearly: “… Do you not know that the friendship of the world [system]  is at enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” We can’t have it both ways.

The apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers, “What fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness? And what communion does light have with darkness? … ‘Wherefore, come out from among them, and be separate, … and I will receive you and will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Moses asked, in a time of crisis within the Israelite camp, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come to me” (Exodus 32:26). God is asking that same question of us today. Let us get up and step across to Him. His plumb line is the dividing point between spiritual life and death.

Misplaced Adoration

There’s a common trap which we can easily fall into — giving the adoration which should belong solely to the Lord to a Christian leader. It is an idolatry which has repeatedly afflicted God’s people.

Paul warned the Corinthian believers about it:

… One says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos” …. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered — but God gave the increase. So then, neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. … For we are laborers together with God. You are God’s field; you are God’s building — 1 Corinthians 3:4-7, 9.

People who carry a weighty anointing quite naturally attract us. We sense the presence of the Lord upon them, and it makes us want to be near them, to receive from them, to bask in what they have, to be in their inner circle. But no matter how bright their light, we dare not let ourselves forget that it is only a secondary, reflected light, while Jesus is the Source. Go directly for the Source.

We’ve all heard the excessive attraction of one person to another likened to a moth’s attraction to a flame. It’s a good comparison. Fluttering too close to the flame of a fellow, flawed human being will scorch you. It will eventually bring you pain, disillusionment, disappointment. By contrast, flying close to the Lord’s flame will destroy your soulish attitudes and desires, but you will be strengthened, healed, and made clean by His fire. He consumes the impurities, while in exchange giving greater life. No man or woman can do that for you. The best of them will fail you.

So, learn what you can from men and women of God. Let them impart what they are able to give  to you. But don’t slip into worshiping them. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2) is a wise word to live by. If you have already fallen into the trap, ask the Lord to forgive you, and then guard yourself in the future. Refocus your attention on Jesus. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s aid in reordering your affections and thoughts. He will help you.

Leaders, if you don’t mind me saying it, often the problem of misplaced adoration rests at your doorstep. Don’t allow yourself to indulge in the heady flattery of being the center of someone’s world. It’s a snare to you and them. Refuse to be worshiped. Be like John the Baptist, who remained ever conscious that “he was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:8). He pointed his young disciples to Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:29, 30, 35).

Currently, there is a God-breathed emphasis on older saints becoming “fathers and mothers” to spiritual sons and daughters, with the purpose of raising up a triumphant Church army which moves in the miraculous, just as Jesus said we should do — the “greater works” of John 14:12. In the process, be watchful that they do not misplace on you the awe which rightfully belongs to the Lord. When the sons and daughters come to you with stars in their eyes, point them upward to Jesus, the bright and morning star (Revelation 22:16).

Not one of us is awesome. Only Jesus is awesome. He alone deserves worship.