Every Sunday we'll be posting a short word of encouragement to get your week started off right. Make sure to check back every week!
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
The word for "way" (Strong’s #H1870) comes from a root meaning “to tread or bend.” It was used to describe an archer stringing a bow, because one “treads” on the bow to bend it, and came to mean the way a person walked, physically or metaphorically: the course of one’s life, the manner and habits in which one “walks” through the world. This passage states that we ourselves plan the “way” we walk—we “string our own bows,” so to speak. And that’s not a bad thing. As rational, free-thinking people, God has given us the ability to choose our own path, for good or bad, and we can use our “bow” for defense or offense.
It is not wrong to plan our own way. Each of us must make dozens, perhaps hundreds, of decisions on a daily basis, and some of them can have lasting impact on the “way we walk” for the rest of our lives. It is important, then, that our decisions are carefully weighed to avoid as many rough patches in the course of our lives as we can.
But it is more than just us being careful to pick our “way” through life, as if there is no outside involvement whatsoever. There is an element of faith involved that God is orchestrating our steps. Again, this is not a bad thing. We want God to create our paths, because we know His way is best. That’s not to say God has created robots, moving through life on rote, executing some program. Rather, He has incorporated our plans, our hearts’ desires (Psalm 37:4), into His own.
As we submit our paths unto Him (Proverbs 3:5-6), trusting in Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Deuteronomy 6:4), we can be assured by faith that He is directing our steps, even when the pathway seems difficult and full of stormy situations.
The Hebrew for "directs" (Strong’s #H3559) means “to establish or prepare, to make ready.” God is in the unique position, outside the constraints of linear time, knowing the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), to prepare the steps of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) Take comfort in knowing this truth!
“YOU ARE MY hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God!”
Hiding place (Strong’s #H5643) comes from a root meaning “clandestine, secret, covered up.” It is literally “shelter” from the storm. Think of the Lord as a secret cove in which you anchor your lifeboat till the raging tempest has passed. In the meantime, while hiding out under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1), He provides not only a hiding place, but acts a shield against the buffeting of that storm. We’ve highlighted elsewhere the meaning of this word for the meaning of this word for shield in the Hebrew: a buckler that is swiftly moved about to fend off a flurry of attacks; the root of the word means “to defend.”
The basis for this shelter and defense comes from “hope in Your word.” Again, hope speaks of “waiting, tarrying, staying.” Staying in the Word is the means of staying in the hidden cove of protection. To the level a believer places emphasis on studying the Word of God is directly related to the level of being hidden and defended from the circumstances of life. This is why downplaying the importance of the Bible is a dangerous misstep!
“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:9
So how do we battle our adversary? Actually, the battle is not ours—it’s the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 20:15), and He’s already crippled your enemy by His victory at the cross. Satan’s head (that is, his authority) has already been crushed. (Genesis 3:15) All we’re waiting on now is death’s final defeat at Jesus’ second appearing, which is the culmination of this age. (1 Corinthians 15:26)
That’s not to say we don’t have a “battle” on our hands. But it is a battle of willpower, played out in the arena of our minds, wills and emotions, not some physical confrontation of strength. We wrestle against spiritual forces, this is true (Ephesians 6:12), but how we fight the enemy is through steadfast resistance. This is why Hebrews 12 talks about “running a race with endurance”—not hacking at a foe far more powerful than we are. Our double-edged Sword (the Word of God) is just as sharp for cutting through our issues as it is the enemy. (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12) Our role as soldiers in the army of the Lord is to resist a paralyzed foe with endurance. Don’t exceed your standing orders!
In honor of all the wonderful mothers out there, who we owe such a debt of gratitude to, we're pleased to offer the Who Is Jesus? series by Joy Maloney, free of charge. Please copy and paste the five links below to download the teachings, and a very special Mother's Day greeting to you all! Blessings! Andrew Maloney
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
The context of this verse is James’ discourse on trials and temptations. He makes it clear that God only gives good and perfect gifts, and therefore, the negative circumstances we undergo do not originate from Him. It is incorrect theology to believe that God creates the storms of life as a form of punishment. We’re not always to blame for our storms, either (though sometimes we are.) This world system, which was originally created without flaw, both good and perfect, has been infected with the principle of sin and death. The vast majority of our storms originate from here.
However, because He is good and perfect, He works within the framework of those storms to bestow His gifts through the covenant we keep with Jesus Christ, executed by the power of His Spirit residing within ours. And further still, this covenant is kept perpetually for all time because the Father has “no variation.” He is incapable of changing. So if He has provided shelter from the storm through our relation-ship with the Son, you can rest assured that will never be altered by Him!
“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:22-24
Jesus was addressing His disciples in this passage, offering a prophetic prediction that after they had seen Him in His resurrected state, absolutely nothing, no one, would be able to take their joy from them. Their faith in His resurrection would carry them the rest of their lives, no matter what trials and tribulations they would face. This prophecy was true—we find nowhere in the Bible that one of His apostles ever doubted the cause for their joy after seeing their Lord and King resurrected.
Our hearts should rejoice, too, and no one should be able to steal our joy. Our faith in Christ’s resurrection and ascension should be unshakably firm, such that “in that day” we will ask Him nothing. Our questions will seem inconsequential to the reward of our faithfulness: seeing our resurrected Lord just as the apostles did. Amen.
Your Appointed Time of Visitation
The oft-quoted passage from Jeremiah 29:11 shows us that the Lord’s intentions are to prosper us—His plans are to bring us peace, not hurt. He does not delight in our sufferings. Our well-being is on His mind, not our undoing. The reason this scripture is so beloved by Christians is because it is comforting to know that the dealings of God are intended to give hope for the future—a future of peace, not evil. This verse is saying we have a happy ending, a reward from the Lord; that is the “expected end” of the KJV translation. Psalm 138 is another famous passage on a similar theme. We know that the Lord will “perfect that which concerns [us].” (Verse 8) His right hand of strength will save us.
Further to this, we see in Job 14:13-16 that there is an appointed time that we are eagerly waiting for so that a change might come. We can misunderstand this portion of scripture, assuming that Job was waiting for death. But that’s not really accurate. He was waiting for a divine visitation. Despite his miserable condition, he was looking for a change in his circumstances. He was waiting for an appointed time of visitation to revive him.
I would like to submit to you that we also have an appointed time. A change is coming. You will “hear the sound” (2 Samuel 5:24) and know that, “He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” (Jeremiah 5:24) My point is, we can still have revival in the midst of our difficulties—we can still be prospered in the midst of the bondage of our circumstances. While we are waiting for vindication, for release, there is still a rest (Exodus 33:14) even while we labor. It doesn’t mean that we kick back and just let the winds of life push us wherever they may take us. But it means that even in the midst of “hard service” (again, Job 14:14), we have the rest of faith. (Hebrews 4:9)
Our circumstances may be unpleasant, but they are necessary to bring about the expected end—the season of change that is coming upon us. Note, I am not talking about physical illness being a “test” from the Lord—that is not the biblical basis for “glorified sufferings.” I don’t have the space here to go into this concept fully, and I refer you to Lord in the Fires for a deeper discourse. But for the purposes of this article, I am talking about the circumstances of life that we all face, the hardships of day-to-day living. I believe there is a wind of change that brings us into a state of faith-rest—even though we will always have labors—where there is a relative absence of the stresses, hassles, conflicts, turmoil, and tension that wear us down to a nub. I’m not saying your life is always a cakewalk; I’m saying the circumstances of your life don’t change you. Rather, it is the Lord who changes you. He brings you to a state of peace and rest even while you work through the symptoms of life. This is the wind of change I want to look at here.
It seems to me that in every major revival in church history, there were three “winds”—or breathings—of God. I think this applies to us on a personal level as well. The first is the wind of holiness. It starts with a breath of cleansing. This wind is the precursor to the wind of harmony. Now, the sins that disrupt harmony are not profound revelations you’ve never heard of before; the proverbial “gold, glory and girls (or boys)”—these self-exaltations, the lusts of the flesh. The wind of holiness shakes us from lethargy, complacency, and yes, the fleshy sins and compromises that weigh us down. This is not a comfortable wind, but it is necessary in getting us ready for great things, a wake up call from the Father to draw us back to our first Love. This wind is a gale force blowing the dead leaves off the tree, and we are changed from the weariness of the present.
But after the windstorm comes the gentle breeze. This is the wind of harmony that brings peace, a precursor to the wind of harvest. The wind of harmony is a trough in between the two mighty winds of holiness and harvest. In this wind, there is a time of reshaping—reestablishing our commitments to the Lord and other—readjustments of our attitudes and thought patterns that weigh us down. We are drawn back into His sweetness and love—this is the joy of the Lord, inner healing, the restoration of hope and renewed vision. We are changed from the weariness of the past, given a renewed strength to look forward to our bright future.
Which brings us to the wind of harvest—your appointed time of visitation—and this wind is more than a gale force; it’s a hurricane! God will combine all the winds that have previously been blowing on the earth, multiply it a hundred times, and give it you all at once. This is your expected end, and yet, as odd as it may seem, this is a hurricane of peace!
Your Appointed Time of Peace
Here we deal with attitudes. Though you may have grown weary in waiting, don’t surrender your peace! There is a set up here: the enemy is trying to steal your harmony, producing storms of doubt, fear—wars among the people of God. Conflict. Don’t fall for it!
Jesus is giving away His peace as the Steward of peace (Isaiah 9:6-7)—not as the world gives it. (John 14:27) God’s purposes are still intact for your life no matter what storm of life may come, because the Lord is giving away His peace to you. The greatest expression of faith manifested is power over the storms—but also peace through the storms. Here’s a principle to mediate on: peace is power by another name, and peace in the storm comes before power over the storm.
Case in point, read Mark 4:35-41. See, the disciples missed out on the miracle of peace, as Jesus had it, sleeping in the midst of the storm. Rather, they were only impressed with the miracle of calming the storm itself. Look, we need both kinds of miracles, but it’s important to know that we can learn to sleep in the storm!
Okay, but let’s ask a theoretical question. What if God chooses not to deliver us in the manner we’re expecting? Now, understand me here, God does promise to deliver us, but He does not say whether we are delivered over the storm, or through the storm. So what do we do? What happens when life’s issues don’t work out as we planned?
Hey, this is an encouraging message—we are experiencing winds of change as we approach our appointed times, don’t miss my point here. Don’t use this little article as an excuse not to have and take power over the storm! What I’m saying is there are effects of trust, learning to rest in the midst of storms: confidence and stability. These are important too. We need balanced, sound doctrine that draws the distinction between deliverance and discipline. Most of us ask the question, Who wants to discover peace when you can have power? I’ve thought this way, and I’m pretty sure so have you. Except, when we have just the power teaching, we can’t find the peace in the storm. You know, if we just spoke authority over every single situation, we’d never learn anything. Think of it like this, if you really want to experience God try reading the verses you don’t underline. Selah.
Look at Joseph, twelve years asking himself, Where is the promise? More than a decade spent “walking through the fires.” (Isaiah 43:2) He submitted to authority, rather than just taking authority. Check out Paul’s words in Acts 27:22—please note, they were still shipwrecked, you know? Even Peter (see Luke 22:31-32)—the Lord didn’t stop him from going through the experience; he was allowed to fail. But note that God put a limit on Satan’s actions.
Your Appointed Time of Promise
Hebrews 12:11 says that after the trials of faith, the peaceable fruit of righteousness is yielded. God promises to extend peace like a river. (Isaiah 66:12) “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” (Isaiah 32:17) As the winds of change blow, you will reach your appointed time of promise. How can you ensure this? Don’t cast away your confidence! (Hebrews 10:35-36) In fact, here’s some passages from Hebrews; check them out: 4:14; 6:12; 10:23.
The Lord is saying, Everything that I’ve promised you—that which I’ve spoke in dreams, visions, prophesies, promises in My Word, I am going to begin working them out. Everything I do for you in My dealings with you are for the distinct purpose to fulfill your time of promise.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3)
So wait for it. It is coming!
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)
I believe the Lord has shown, that if Jesus should tarry, let’s say, another thirty years, the body of Christ will spiritually fulfill Isaiah, Chapters 60-66. It is my firm persuasion we are coming into Chapter 60 right now, and this period will last several years with an overlap of the continuing chapters, phasing in at different intervals of time.
No one can deny there is gross darkness covering the face of the earth. Just in the last fifty years we are seeing a marked increase in violence, apathy and self-destruction in this country alone. Like the author stated when I was approached to contribute to this book, “Fear is at an all time high.” People are desperate for a true touch of God’s glory, to demonstrate the reality of Kingdom principles on this earth. Anyone who knows the ministry the Lord has entrusted to me knows I make no pretext for a dynamic need of signs, wonders and miracles that validate the truth established in God’s Word.
The prophetic Spirit has laid upon our hearts a key to recognize the release of this miraculous demonstration through His believers; one that is found in the understanding that the dwelling place (the temple) of God is established already inside each born-again disciple, that we are, indeed, the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19). As such, the spiritual Kingdom of Jesus is already on earth, in us—not just a third heaven experience that must be brought down to this plane of existence. Don’t misunderstand. I completely agree with and profess the need of establishing what is in heaven on earth, but let us not forget that we already have the heavenly Kingdom residing in our very spirits. The distinction is slight, yet profound. This Kingdom experience is found not so much in bringing God down to earth (although there is truth in this notion), but in us coming up higher, to His domain, seeking Him at His gates. I sometimes humorously feel that the Lord is tired of always coming down to visit us—why don’t we come up to Him? (I’m speaking somewhat facetiously, but the point is valid.) The question becomes: how is this accomplished?
I believe there is an application of Matthew 6:4 that employs more than just “charitable deeds” for what “your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly”—this is a principle of Kingdom release. Coming into that secret place, that inner sanctum, the proverbial “prayer closet,” to seek Him in secret, so that He may reward us openly: through the demonstration of His Kingdom come now on earth. It is in this secret place that we are entrusted with Kingdom authority, wisdom and power.
(As an aside, let me then share the importance of Jude 20. As I believe in miraculous demonstration, I also believe in the importance of tongues. Entire segments of Pentecostal or charismatic congregations have moved toward a lessening of the use of praying in tongues—this alarms me! Praying in the Holy Spirit is vital to the building up of our most holy faith and keeping us in the love of God. As we pray in tongues, the Spirit moves us from the soulish realm to the spiritual realm. We come into the holy of holies; there is a cleansing of the soulish debris, the weights and discouragements of life, that inhibit the flow of God’s grace in manifestation. Praying in tongues purifies our soulish life. We look forward to the coming of our Lord. As we seek Him in the secret place, the hardened, fallow ground of our souls is plowed and turned up, so the seed sown can germinate in the light and water of the Lord and His Word. It is the release of our heavenly prayer language in that secret place that adds the fresh oil, the anointing, the representation of God’s glory, to our light—the Kingdom within us. Without it, we may miss the time of visitation, dear friends!)
I feel the Lord is calling us into an intense time of secret meetings, communicating with Him in the Spirit, so that our light might shine in the darkness in a way before unseen on the earth.
Some would call this a Third Great Awakening. Perhaps that is a good term, because I believe the Lord has revealed through His prophets that entire communities, perhaps entire ethnic groups, will be swept into the Kingdom before His second coming. But I also remind the reader of what Kenneth Hagin, Sr., proclaimed the Lord told him during his time in heaven: that there will also be entire communities, areas of the world, that will not experience another time of awakening because they already missed their time of visitation. (Luke 19:41-44) But don’t fear because Jesus said there is always a remnant.
That’s us. We are that remnant bringing the light to the darkness.
Don’t despair! Be prepared.
Twenty-five years ago I believe the Lord told me that starting in 2015 this darkness of Isaiah 60 would begin to increase exponentially across the globe, but that we as the remnant were to arise and shine because the glory of the Lord was risen upon us. This darkness isn’t comprised solely of arrant sin, but of a spirit of antichrist. I define a spirit of antichrist as anything that is anti-anointing (Christ means “Anointed One.”) Just as Hebrews 13:8-9 proclaims it is a strange and variant doctrine (of a demon, let’s be honest) to teach that Jesus Christ is not the same yesterday, today and forever; those who adamantly oppose a doctrine that shows Jesus today operating as He did in Acts 10:38 (see, He was anointed); those who maintain a distinction between Christ and His body in the way we are to operate; those who purport the Holy Spirit has stopped the anointing in this age of cessation; those who claim acts of the supernatural are rooted in evil—these fall dangerously close to blasphemy against that same Spirit who anointed the Christ (Luke 4:14) and anoints His people. (Acts 6:8; 1 Corinthians 12; James 5:14-15) This is the darkness that our light is to overcome.
The ultimate fulfillment of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 comes from His people recognizing His Kingdom is come now (check out the original Aramaic)—on earth as it was already being done in heaven. How is this recognized? In letting our light shine—that Light from heaven being experienced in holiness through us—overcoming the deep darkness with the complete representation of Christ’s earthly ministry through His body in the same signs, wonders and miracles that He wrought as the God-Man on earth. Yes, we are facing deep darkness, but the Light of the world shining through us will draw the nations.
Conversely with the anti-anointing, after the progression of Isaiah 60, the coming years will see a marked increase in the false anointing, a gift mixture that is pseudo-spiritual, or preternatural, in manifestation, similar to the lying signs and wonders Paul was talking about in 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
Alongside the spiritual fulfillment of Isaiah 60, starting 2015, I believe the Lord has said the strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11; paralleled to Isaiah 66:4—actually both chapters in their entirety) will begin; people given over to a reprobate mind, believing the lie (Romans 1:25), beginning what Paul proclaimed as the great falling away, the apostasy, leading to the release of the son of perdition. Not so much that believers out-and-out reject salvation, but rather they love not the truth and take pleasure in unrighteousness; they ignore the unadulterated, sound Christian doctrine—the simplicity of Christ, and by association, His anointing. (2 Corinthians 11:3) But don’t be fearful—this is not you! Some will fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1)—not you! In the midst of this, I believe the Lord has said He will sanctify His name among His people, and that remnant of which we will be a part shall rise up in a true manifestation of His grace—our staffs will swallow theirs. (Exodus 7:12) It is my personal opinion this is what Zechariah 13:7-10 speaks of—the (comparatively) one-third calls on the name of the Lord. Sadly, it is the two-thirds (again, comparatively) that Paul is speaking about in 2 Thessalonians. However, we—the third—shall withstand the strong delusion, as we draw into the secret place, manifesting the truth of God’s word through legitimately delegated authority, power and wisdom in genuine signs, wonders and miracles.
This year, 2011, I believe a divine shift is starting to occur in the Spirit that is leading us into Isaiah 60 and beyond. Primarily, I see this shift stirring the young at heart, those approximately between the ages of eight and sixteen. It is becoming their heart’s cry to see the reality of Christ’s Kingdom on earth—that manifestation of glory. These young ones are coming into the secret place, being birthed of a quickening anointing that hastens their progression through the Benjamin Gate (see Zechariah 14; Nehemiah 3)—space fails me to elaborate fully on this concept, but reference Genesis 35:18. The “son of my sorrow” is being renamed the “son of my right hand” (the representation of authority and power.) What that means is, for parents out there who have had a hard time instilling your faith into your children, this season is showing a extraordinary hastening of the Lord’s work in this younger generation. Maintain your faith; don’t waver in your pursuit of a supernatural release of God’s glory; it will prosper in you and your children. It has to! The hearts of the children must be turned to the fathers, and vice versa, lest the earth is smitten with a curse! (Malachi 4:6)
All right, let’s wind this down. I believe we will be in the spiritual fulfillment of Isaiah 60 for the next several years, with some overlap of Isaiah 61-66, each chapter phasing in with spiritual application. Starting 2015, there will be an acceleration of the Lord lifting of His hand that restrains the strong delusion. The next several years will be a period of deep darkness, full of continual upheaval and turmoil on a global scale (we’re already seeing the rumblings of it now). Be not troubled. (Matthew 24:3-31) There must be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and pestilences, leading up to the Great Tribulation and the abomination of desolation.
But don’t think I’m sharing doom and gloom. Far from it! If there is darkness, there is light, and it will overcome. In the midst of this great havoc, these next ten to twelve years are going to show a time of unprecedented financial prosperity to this remnant (see Isaiah 60:5), in order that they might get out “this” gospel (Matthew 24:14)—the gospel of the Kingdom of Light: the signs, wonders and miracles that attest to the validity of Christ’s true reign—the Lord declares “this” gospel will be preached. (Of course, this great wealth transfer also paves the way secularly for a future one-world monetary system rooted in the European Theatre after the collapse of a time of prosperity, leading eventually into the beginning of sorrows.)
We will see a dismantling of Muslim nations over this time period, similar occurrences to the Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain, etc. Each of these doors will be opened for just a short period of time for the Light to be preached. But after this season we will see the Pan-Arab nations re- solidify (aligning with China and Russia), turning their sights against natural Israel, heralding the beginning of the end.
I won’t be so presumptuous to assume “the end,” but what I wish to delineate and drive home to you, dear reader: the time has come; arise and shine! Let your light pour forth to destroy the darkness. Just as John declared (John 1:1-5), we have the Life within us, the Light to all man: He will shine in the darkness, and the darkness will by no means overcome. Enter into the inner sanctum of the secret place, build yourselves up in the Spirit, let the Lord’s Prayer be your heartbeat of desire. Shine on, my friends!
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.” Joel 2:25
Restoration here is a form of the word shalom, meaning “peace” (Strong’s #H7999) and carries the understanding of a covenant being fulfilled, completed. It’s elsewhere translated as “repay, render, reward, recompense, restitution and amends.” When we come into covenant with God—repenting and receiving His forgiveness, keeping His commandments and learning to rely upon His Spirit—we are given reimbursement, compensation, for all the years that the enemy has stolen. Our past failures, our present plights, and our future worries are paid out to us and we are restored to a lifestyle of peace as God always intended us to have. Your past storms do not have to plague you for years on end—your future is bright in the Lord, and He promises to reimburse your present circumstances with all His goodness be-cause you’ve chosen Him, and Him alone, to be your shelter from the storm!
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. Psalm 37:1