Category Archives: Encouragement

Your Most Important Accomplishment (and an Announcement)

finishing the raceWe will fight many battles in this life and, with God’s help, win many victories, both for ourselves and for others. But the most important victory we will ever achieve is to finish our race well. This is about our character and learning to depend upon Jesus.

There will be those who accomplish mighty feats — prophecies which accurately come to pass, healings, deliverances, and miracles. These are rightfully impressive, but we must never forget what Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? And in Your name have cast out devils? And in Your name done many wonderful works?” And then will I profess to them, “I never knew you: depart from Me, You who work iniquity.” — Matthew 7:21-23

In Matthew 24:13, Jesus also said, “But he who endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” Not, “He who does the most miracles,” not, “He who prophesies the best,” and not even, “He who wins the most souls.” Just, he who endures: staying faithful to the Lord, obeying Him, acting like Jesus would, and not denying Him when things get tough. To Jesus, enduring while keeping His testimony is far more important than anything else we do.

As the days we live in continue to darken, it is excellent to press in for miracles, to heal the sick, to set the captive free, to participate with Jesus in destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). But to faithfully confess His name right up until the end, testifying well of Him through a life of pure, Christ-like behavior — that is priority.

Don’t stop. Don’t grow weary in well-doing, including the well-doing of prayer. Keep your eyes always on Jesus, Who waits for you at the finish line, cheering you on. Finish well, with Jesus’ character so much a part of your inner fabric that, as you run your race, you leave His distinct aroma in your wake.

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God's promises are yes and amenUPDATE: After a two-year break, I am working on two new books. One is a Bible promise book, with all the promises from Genesis through Revelation. (This is something I have wanted for myself for a long time, but couldn’t find one done the way I had in mind.)

The plan is to do it in both the KJV and a modernized KJV (the same text without the thees and thous, with modern spellings and punctuation, but still completely faithful to the KJV, my favorite translation). I’m currently in the Psalms, which will take a while, I think. Just working on this book has been drawing me into the Lord’s Presence, and I hope it will do that for you, too!

The second project is a Christian dream interpretation book. If you are a regular reader at Out of the Fire, you know I write a lot about dreams and how God speaks to us through them. In the past year, Paul and I have presented several extensive dream workshops.

This new book will be much more detailed than the article series and even than the workshop materials. It will include a dream dictionary, which particularly emphasizes symbolic imagery found in the Bible. The dictionary will no doubt be the hardest part of the book to accomplish.

With the Lord’s help, I hope to have both projects completed sometime in 2020 or early 2021.

dream interpretation

 

If you want to learn a lot more about understanding your dreams now, we still offer our audio dream workshop, Hearing God Through Your Dreams, in mp3 or CD form at our website. I think you will enjoy it!

 

 

 

Jesus: Architect of Your Future

God's blueprint for your lifeThe Bible tells us in 103 places not to be afraid. And yet, many of us struggle with fear, especially about what the future holds. It’s something I personally battle, although I have been gaining ground against it through the years.

Because it’s still a struggle, the Lord often speaks to me about fear. Recently, He said to me, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Jesus is in your future.” This was a joyful reminder to me!

Jesus is with us in the now. He is our Immanuel, God with us. But at the same time, He has also gone before us, preparing the way. And, He is already waiting for us there in our future. We just need to catch up to where He already is.

The primary reason we fall into fear is that we have not yet fully grasped God’s nature — how good and utterly faithful to us He is. But another major reason we fear is because we so easily forget that He has a definite plan for each of us with specific purposes He is committed to helping us fulfill. In 2 Timothy 1:9, He says that He “saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Before the world began, He had already called us. Before the world began, He had already designed a life blueprint for each one of us. He is the master architect, Who has meticulously thought out and planned for all of our life events. Not only is He the architect, but He is also the project manager, overseeing the building of our lives from beginning to end. He will see us through to completion. He is both the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Philippians 1:6 expresses it this way: “Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Recently, the Lord led me to meditate on Psalm 16:5, 6: “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: You maintain my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.”

The “lot” spoken of is the destiny He has planned for us — our lot in life. The “lines” are boundary lines defining that lot, as with a plot of land. So the Lord is telling us that He has given each of us a certain territory which is uniquely ours. He maintains it and carefully watches over it. He has not given us a desolate plot of land, either, but a “goodly heritage.” He has planned for it to be pleasant, a delight to us.

Now, sometimes we have to see our lot through the eyes of faith. It won’t always look pleasant from a human perspective. Circumstances — sometimes for extended periods of time — can be very hard. It’s difficult then to see through the murk to where it will ever get better. Temporary troubles tend to becloud the long-term picture.

When life looks bleak, if we determine to look at it through the Lord’s eyes, we will gain a higher perspective. Meditating on and declaring verses such as these in Psalm 16 are practical ways to attain to His viewpoint. We begin to see, believe, and speak with conviction, “He truly has given me a good life, a great destiny, with a great future.”

Verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 16 take us a little deeper into seeing the good plan our Architect has for us: “I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also shall rest in hope.”

The inheritance our Architect has planned for us includes a glad heart, a soul which rests in hope, and a satisfying destiny. If we purposefully keep our focus on Jesus, knowing He is right beside us, we will not be shaken with fear. Truly, “the lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage.”

Here’s a classic song from Steve Green to encourage you along the same lines:

 

inner peace

 

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

 

nature of God

 

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

In Defense of the Elijahs

Oh, here we go again. Another sermon on Elijah’s failure and how God never used him after that.

I don’t know how many times the story has been spun from our pulpits: “Elijah scored his biggest victory ever at Mount Carmel, and then he blew it. He gave in to discouragement, ran for his life, and that was the end of his ministry. God was so displeased that He immediately chose someone to replace Elijah. And Elijah never did anything important for God again.”

The moral of this concocted version of 1 Kings 19 is, if you allow fear, doubt, or discouragement to get in, you’re done — so don’t ever do that. (Like we haven’t all already done the same thing a time or two!)

In actuality, Elijah continued to have a powerful prophetic ministry after his brief lapse into discouragement. He prophesied to Ahab about the consequences of seizing Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:17-29). He prophesied to Ahab’s successor, demonstrating his prophetic authority by calling down fire from heaven on the king’s soldiers. And he was still around during the reign of the king who came after (2 Kings 1). Furthermore, he established training camps for young prophets in Bethel and Jericho (2 Kings 2:2-5).

Perhaps most importantly, he spent years pouring himself into Elisha, raising him up to be a mighty prophet like unto himself. Jewish historian Josephus indicates in Book VIII of his work, Antiquities of the Jews, that Elijah continued 13-15 years after he anointed Elisha to take his place (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/josephus/ant-8.html). Other Bible scholars estimate anywhere from 10-20 more years passed before Elijah was carried up into heaven.

I’m glad that the story as it has been told from too many pulpits is untrue. You see, through the years, I have identified with Elijah a lot. I have repeatedly prayed that God would help me to hear Him with pinpoint accuracy like Elijah did. I’ve desired to be persistent and effective in prayer, as he was.

But I’ve also felt a kinship with Elijah in his temperament, leaning toward the melancholy side, sometimes taking myself a little too seriously, and having a tendency toward despondency if I don’t rigorously guard against it.

I take comfort in the apostle James’ tribute to Elijah (James 5:16-18). He held him up as our example for effective prayer. Apparently, James did not regard Elijah as a washout, and God didn’t either. Besides giving him a nod in James’ epistle, He chose to have Elijah appear with Moses on the mount of transfiguration to encourage Jesus concerning His impending death for mankind (Luke 9:28-31).

Elijah’s story does not end there. In truth, his greatest ministry is yet to come. We are told in Malachi 4:5, 6, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD, and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers ….”

This prophecy was foreshadowed, but not completely fulfilled, in John the Baptist. Some Bible teachers spiritualize the Malachi passage by saying Elijah will not literally come again. They think it will be carried out by a last days’ generation who will collectively carry “the spirit of Elijah.” That may certainly take place, but seeing how Bible prophecy consistently is fulfilled quite literally, I believe we will see Elijah himself accomplish this on the earth, perhaps as one of the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11.

What can we take away from Elijah’s story? 

Perhaps you’ve failed. Maybe you got your eyes off Jesus, became afraid, and “ran for your life” when you were supposed to stand in your victory. It’s a lie that God is now finished with you just because you didn’t do it right.

In spite of those sermons, God did not throw Elijah on the garbage heap. (Neither was He done with Peter when he failed to keep walking on the water or when he denied Jesus.) God knows our failings and has compassion on us. “Like a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him, for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13, 14).

If you have grown discouraged and have run from your calling or your circumstances, don’t buy the lie that God has permanently put you on the shelf. Put your hand back in the Lord’s and keep going. Your most fruitful days can still lie ahead of you.

Christian foundations and the nature of God

 

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

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World

inner peaceMy newest book, All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World, is now available!

Thank you so much to those who took advantage of our pre-order sale! If you enjoyed All-Surpassing Peace, please help us spread the word by recommending it to your friends! (Rating it at the site you purchased it from also helps, and is so appreciated.)

Book Description:

All of us long for peace: for the world, in our relationships, and most importantly, inside ourselves. Why is peace so elusive, even for those of us who are Christians? How do we manage to achieve true peace — and then hang onto it?

In All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World, you will discover why peace is the covenant right of every child of God, and how you can access it. I share practical keys from Scripture and my personal experience to help you enter into a greater peace than you have yet known.

Discover:

  • How to enter into a covenant of peace with God
  • How to overcome hindrances to your peace
  • Your calling to be God’s agent of peace to others
  • How peace can be a tool to guide your life
  • Ways to maintain or restore your peace in times of turmoil

Read a Sample

Available at:

Thanks for taking a look! I hope All-Surpassing Peace will be a blessing to you!

 

 

Safe Passage — A Parable

girl-hiding-pixabayHave you struggled with feeling embattled, constantly harassed by the enemy of your soul? Perhaps you have even felt on the verge of losing your personal spiritual war. Many months ago, I had a dream and a vision, which I hope will encourage you.

In the dream, a very powerful bad man was trying to get me, to enslave me. His many loyal henchmen were constantly after me, and I could never outsmart them. I ran from one house or building to the next to hide. Whenever I tried to escape out in the open, sometimes in one direction, sometimes in another, my pursuers spotted me. They always seemed to know where I was and what my next move would be, so I couldn’t get away, and I always had to hide again.

The dream ended with me entering still another house to hide, and the people who lived there were willing to help me. They planned on disguising me, so that the bad guys would not recognize me. But by this time, I was pretty skeptical that even disguising myself would be successful, as nothing had worked thus far.

That’s where it ended — not a happy conclusion. What was also disturbing was that I had experienced similar dreams in the past. So, I prayed that God would reveal to me what was going on, hoping that I could then apply His truth and avoid having such a dream again.

Instead of the Lord explaining the issue to me, I entered into a vision, which was a continuation of the story. Jesus, Who bore the title, The Ultimate King, showed up at the front door of a house where I was hiding. He took me out by the front door, right into the street, in broad daylight. He wrapped the full-length cloak He was wearing around my shoulders and held me close by His side, so that we were both covered by His cloak.

All the bad guys who wanted to capture me were standing around in the street, staring at us, but they did not dare touch me, because I was with Jesus. They had to let Jesus pass right through the midst of them and down the street, because they knew He was The Ultimate King, Whom no one dared to touch.

Together, Jesus and I walked slowly and steadily through the enemy’s streets. I was safe, a “hidden one” (hidden in His cloak). I was not invisible, but I was hidden, in the sense of the bad guys not being able to harm me. Jesus and I had safe passage together. I knew that He was unafraid, and I didn’t have to be afraid either. They could not touch me, because they dared not touch The Ultimate King. They knew Jesus held the position of supreme authority through His victory on the cross, His subsequent resurrection, and because He had taken back the keys by which the devil once imprisoned mankind.

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This dream addressed a particular issue I have often struggled with — shame over past events where I had not acted with the maturity I have since grown into. I tend to be quite the perfectionist when it comes to the standards I hold for myself. Sometimes the enemy reminds me of long ago failures, and if I’m not immediately vigilant to reject those thoughts, I end up kicking myself all over again, instead of remembering that Jesus bore all my shame and imperfections on the cross, and that they are mine no more.

I think that is why, in the vision, Jesus came to the front door. My inclination would have been to slink out a back door, but He boldly took me through the front door, into the sunshine, and down the street in full view, acknowledging me as His own.

Perhaps you also struggle with shame — or perhaps your issue is something quite different. Whatever it is, God wants you to know that you are not at the mercy of the enemy. It’s time for the endless game of staying one step ahead of spiritual defeat to stop. Jesus wants not only to help you escape, but to take you out unashamed, safe and secure under His protection, in full view of the enemy. He wants you to know that He is committed to you, and that you are valuable to Him. He wants to walk you through enemy lines fearless and unscathed.

The Word says, “He Who is begotten of God keeps him, and that wicked one cannot touch him” (1 John 5:18). It also says that Jesus “is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

So, stop hiding in the shadows. Let Jesus cover you with His own cloak. And let Him walk you through the enemy lines unharmed, because you are hidden in Him (Colossians 3:3). He is your safe passage.

We Will See What the King Will Do

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“My Wonderful Tiara Again!” by Taku, via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Many years ago, while in the midst of praying into a serious situation, a distinct snapshot picture came to my mind. It was a vision, but I didn’t know it then, not yet having been taught how seeing in the Spirit works.

In the picture, a king was seated on his throne. Next to him sat a beautiful, black-haired young woman, with a simple tiara circling her head. Her hand rested on the king’s arm, and her gaze was fastened on his face. It was a picture of quiet trust and confidence in him.

And I heard the words, “We will see what the King will do.”

The vision, of course, was a picture of King Jesus and His bride. It was also a picture of my relationship with Him. It was a great comfort to me, and it helped me to put the problem I was praying into in a better perspective. Through the days and weeks after that, I repeatedly thought, “I will see what the King will do about this.” Eventually the trial was over. Everybody came out of it OK. Jesus made a way where there was none.

Through the years since then, this vision has continued to live and breathe its truth deep in my spirit. Many times, as I have prayed with others about their desperate situations, I have told them the vision and have encouraged them, “Let’s see what the King will do.” Many of them have also come through their fiery test. The King has acted on their behalf, too.

We live in difficult times, and many in the Body of Christ are experiencing very distressing circumstances. I am praying with several loved ones right now who need the Lord’s miraculous intervention. There is no way out for them, other than His supernatural provision and direction. The ability to fix things through human logic and practical maneuvers has come to an end for them. And after praying with them, I have once again said, “Now we will see what the King will do in this.”

The messes we need help with are not always our own fault. Other people’s actions can create a lot of trouble for us. But even when we have no one to blame but ourselves, the King is still eager to fix our problems for us. He is in the salvage and restoration business.

Some of us have damaged our relationships, our churches, and our personal destinies because we have tried too hard to fix impossible circumstances ourselves, rather than bringing them to the King, Who can fix all things. We’ve been unwilling to wait for Him to work, and have made foolish mistakes from a position of panic, when rest in Him was what He was really after.

The Lord often deliberately takes us to the end of our abilities so that we will lean on Him, much as the young woman leaned on her king’s arm in my vision. He lets us wear ourselves out and do all the screaming, kicking, and crying that we tend to do in our flesh. Then, when there is no more fight left in us, He leads us to the place where we give it all to Him, broken and beat up though it may be.

Isaiah 30 talks about the place God wants to get us to: “Their strength is to sit still” (v. 7), and, “In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (v. 15).

If you’re fighting one of those no-way-out, beating-my-head-against-a-wall types of battles, the King wants you to come to Him. Sit down next to Him as His Beloved. Put your hand confidingly on His arm, and fasten your gaze on Him. Remind yourself, “I will see what the King will do for me in this impossible situation.” He will refresh you and give you new expectation for better things to come. He may open your eyes to a solution you had not thought of before, or He may put things in motion to clear up the problem without you having to do a thing. However He chooses to do it, He will certainly act on your behalf, for nothing is too hard for the King.

Angels in Charge

Today, I’d like to share a story which illustrates God’s supernatural intervention on behalf of ordinary people who belong to Him.

My family and I were on our way to an eagerly anticipated revival service at our church. We stopped at a busy intersection with a particularly blind corner — a light pole on one side and a fence on the other. In order to see the traffic coming from both directions, it was necessary to pull a few feet past the stop sign.

As we waited our turn to cross the intersection, to my sudden alarm, a driver turning left onto the street where we were stopped cut his turn way too sharply. He had not noticed until it was too late that he was turning directly into the path of another vehicle, and he was making a last-second, desperate (but futile) attempt to avoid a collision. Of course, there was no time for us to back up and get out of his way. We just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The oncoming car did not have time to stop, and smacked the left-turner broadside, spinning him around. As they crashed and spun, I tensed and shut my eyes, fully expecting that we would be caught up in the accident as well.

It took a few seconds to realize that the impact never came. We had heard the squeal of the tires and the screech of tearing metal, and thought we were part of the collision. When I opened my eyes, one of the cars was resting just a few inches from our front bumper. My husband got out and walked about, looking for damage to our vehicle. We were completely untouched.

It was then that I noticed our position. Before the accident, our car had been nosed out in front of the stop sign. Now we were resting about fifteen or twenty feet behind it. We gazed at each other in amazement, realizing that we had just experienced God’s supernatural protection. If our car had remained where it had been, the driver’s side of our vehicle would have been struck with violent force, and we could have been hurt badly.

We realized that there was no logical explanation for our deliverance other than that God’s angels had moved in, picked us up, and put us down just far enough back to keep us out of harm’s way. Truly, we had experienced firsthand the promise in Psalm 91:11, 12: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, so that you do not dash your foot against a stone.”

Do you have a story of God’s miraculous intervention in your life? Why not build the faith of others by sharing it as a comment?