That widow who never gave up

This means warI’ve been asking the Lord what he meant by the question he asked “When the son of man returns, will he find faith?  Luke 18:8.

When Jesus asked this question, he’d been describing a courageous, indomitable widow who did not give up her petition for justice.  ‘Grant me justice against my adversary,’ she petitioned the judge in Luke 18:3.  He used her to show us what prevailing prayer looks like,

He told me to read the parable.  It’s been another parable I didn’t like because it left me wondering whether God was like the judge.  But after asking the question about what he meant by faith, I could see he wanted us to look at the widow.

War RoomHe confirmed by sending me to see a movie last night called “The war room.”  Now I had no idea what it was about.  The way it started off, I thought it was going to be a war movie.  No, it was about a widow, a prayer warrior who befriended a younger woman and taught her how to pray without giving up.

This is what this widow prayed;

Raise them Lord that will call upon your name.
Raise those who love you and seek you and trust you.
Lord, we need an army of believers who will stand upon your word above all else.
Raise up warriors Lord, who will fight on their knees, who will worship you with their whole hearts Lord.
Lord, call us to battle, that we may proclaim King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I pray these things with all my heart.
Raise them up Lord, raise them up!

This is the kind of faith he’s looking for when he returns. This is what God’s army looks like.

The movie was held in a secular movie theatre, and when it ended, the audience clapped.  This is the kind of faith the world respects.

It’s challenged me.  I recommend you go see this movie.

The rider on the white horse

Horse-homage

WWI soldiers shown paying homage to their equine partners

In NZ we’ve just observed the centenary of the battle of Gallipoli, where ANZAC troops fought for the British empire.  On Anzac Day I watched the movie “War horse”.   It bought a lump to my throat and made me think of our own horses.  Of the thousands of horses shipped off to war from New Zealand, only a horse called Bess came back.    

There were lots of tears by those men over their horses, and I know the Lord understands.

When Jesus returns as the King, he will be on his own warhorse, at the head of his army.

Perhaps God had the war horses in mind when he inspired Job to write about the horse in the earliest book of the Bible;

“Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?
It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.
It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
Job 39:19-25

Holy to the Lord

There will be horses in the Millennial Kingdom.   You will hear the sound of their bells as they trot, and on their bells will be the inscription “holy to the Lord.” Holy means “whole”.  When Jesus reigns in his kingdom, all will be made whole.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:3-4

But be aware that before the second coming, we will be hearing the hoof beats of the first horseman of the Apocalypse – the rider on the white horse who is given a bow and told to conquer.  Just remember – that’s not Jesus. It will be Apollyon (the destroyer) imitating him.

So while the world is going ooooh and aaaahh marvelling over the fake Messiah, remember the warning Jesus gave us in Matthew 24:5;
Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my Name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  – Matthew 24:1-26

Jesus will come like a thief in the night for the Church; an event as sudden as lightning.  After that He will return at the end of Tribulation on his white horse, for all to see.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Revelation 19:11-13

Jesus wins

The ultimate reveal

This is going to wander a bit, but I hope you’ll bear with me.  We’re going to go from clothes, to Chinese characters, to Mount Hermon, and back to clothes.  I promise you it will be interesting.  It’s based on the theme of “light”.

Lately I’ve had to take more of an interest in fashion.  My daughter made me an appointment with a style consultant at the shopping mall where she works.  It was to help me sort out which outfits and colour combinations suit me best.

I’d rather wear clothes that suit me than bow to the current fashion fad, and I hate uncomfortable womens shoes. I grew up on a farm wearing jeans and gumboots.  Now I work in a computer workshop, wearing pants and a monogrammed polo shirt. My daughter on the other hand, works in retail fashion, and has no trouble choosing clothes and shoes.  She was inspired to help women with clothes because of the difficulty I have experienced getting help and advice when shopping.

I was anxious about the consultation beforehand, but I needn’t have worried.  The stylist was really helpful and didn’t judge me.  She was amused at the contrast between me and my girly-girl, fashion-ista daughter.
Me at work - 2014
Here’s a photo of us at work.  My daughter worked for us for three weeks while between jNic at YITSobs.  Here she is with her nail kit, filing her nails at reception!  It was so cliche, but she didn’t care.
While waiting for the stylist I thought about dreams where you are unclothed, or not dressed right.  Have you ever had dreams where you are walking in a public place naked or in pyjamas?  I’ve heard it’s quite common.

It makes me think about Adam and Eve, and their wardrobe malfunction.  Imagine it.  Here’s God walking through the garden, and they’re naked.  Eeek.  The serpent took everything, even the clothes.

chinese character for naked

The Chinese character for naked. Notice the word ‘fruit’ in the character.

Do you think the story is a myth?
Here’s some anthropological proof that the story is based on fact.  Did you know the ancient Chinese script contains the story of Genesis, long before the Bible came to be written?  Here we see the ancient character for fruit.  How on earth did the ancient Chinese associate the word ‘naked’ with fruit?
Here’s a link to a site that shows how the Chinese characters tie in with Genesis:
The Chinese character for LIGHT has MAN in it.  I wonder if Adam and Eve’s garments were garments of light.I know the Lord has a garment of light.  Psalm 104 speaks of his garment, and dimensions.  It is written that the LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.  Psalm 104:2.
Jesus let three of the disciples see him clothed in light.
Here it is in Matthew 17:Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.”
Mount_Hermon

Mount Hermon dwarfs the remains of the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi (located at the bottom center of the photo).

I believe the mountain the Lord took them up was Mount Hermon.  The reason I think so is because in the previous chapter of the Bible, Matthew 16, Jesus was at Caesarea Philippi, a town at the foot of Mount Hermon.

Caesarea Philippi was the place where Jesus stamped his authority over the gates of Hell after Peter confessed Him as the Messiah.  I wrote about this in my blog post: True confessions at the Gates of Hell.

It’s interesting that the “Hermon Hotel”,  the highest permanently manned UN position in the world, sits on top of Mount Hermon in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel.

In the Book of Enoch, Mount Hermon is the place where the Watcher class of fallen angels descended to Earth. They swore upon the mountain that they would take wives among the daughters of men (Enoch 6).

The mountain or summit, referred to as Saphon in Ugaritic texts, is the place where the palace of Baal is located in a myth about Attar. Source: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hermon.  Attar is also known as Ashtar and Ishtar; god of the Morning Star.

So here we have Jesus, the Light of the World, stamping his authority all over Attar, Ashtar or Ishtar as well.  It kind-of puts Jesus’s promise about the Morning Star being given to those who have not learned Satan’s so called deep secrets in a new light, don’t you think?  (Revelation 2:28, Church at Thyatira)

 

I believe Moses and Elijah may be the two witnesses of Revelation 11, but that’s the subject for another post.  I believe it because of what these two can do.  Elijah was able to bring down fire and cause the rain to stop for 3½ years; and Moses was able to turn water into blood and bring several other plagues upon Egypt. And guess what the two witnesses do?  They will also be able to bring down fire, stop the rain, and cause various plagues for 3½ years,  (Revelation 11:5,6).

Anyway, to get back to clothes – they’re clothed in sackcloth for their earthly mission.  Sackcloth represents debasement, mourning, and/or repentance.

Do you have any white clothes?  Jesus talked about being dressed in white when he wrote to the Church at Sardis in Revelation 3.  This Church has a reputation for being alive, but it’s sound asleep.  Jesus said if it doesn’t wake up, he’ll come upon it like a thief, and they will not know at what time he comes.
(This is not a time to be caught napping.  Jesus expects us to be dressed for work and have our lamps burning.  (Luke 12:35))
Yet he said there are some in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with him dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white.

How bright will the white be?

 Whiter than white

The Keys of the Kingdom – true confessions at the Gates of Hell

Key to the KingdomI found a key with ‘J’ on it in my sleeveless vest pocket.  I don’t remember acquiring it.  It must have been after I helped set up the sound equipment for my church, but I can’t find the owner of the key.  It’s funny because my initial is ‘J’ and I’d been reading in the Bible about the Keys of the Kingdom.

Where do these keys fit and what doors do they unlock?  What did Jesus mean when he said He would give the keys to Peter, the apostle who declared he was the Messiah?  The promise of authority came with a question; Who do you say I AM?”  Jesus asked.  Simon Peter answered “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16).

Upon this rockAs servants, binding and loosing depends on the master’s will; as Jesus taught us to ask “Your Kingdom come, your will be done.”

Jesus still lends His authority to His true ministers today to do the same work. Sadly, many falsely claim this authority and misuse it.

The Roman Catholic Church maintains that the Keys of the Kingdom were handed to the Popes through Peter.  The keys are on the Vatican coat of arms.  That’s easily refuted.  The early church began in Jerusalem, not Rome.  It never had a Pope – from the early 3rd century the title was a general term used to refer to all bishops.  The title “Pontiff” belonged to Rome and the old roman gods.

This argument is made for one purpose: to give credibility to the idea that Peter was the first Pope in Rome.

Let’s give the scripture some context – the who, what, where and why;

Who was Jesus asking about before he spoke of the rock? 
Himself.
Jesus asked “Who do you say I AM?” and Peter answered “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God, ”

What did he say he would build on the rock?
His church.
Jesus said he would build His church upon that confession, and the Gates of Hell would not prevail against it.

Cesarea Philippi

The Gates of Hell at Caesarea Philippi. The niches in the wall held images of the gods Pan, Echo and Hermes.

Where was he when he said that? 
He was at the Gates of Hell.  They were in Caesarea Philippi, a city dominated by immoral activities and pagan worship.  There was a huge rock there, at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon, with a grotto dedicated to the Greek god Pan.  (Pan has horns and hairy legs like a goat).  The locals called it “the Gates of Hell.”

Why did he go there?
Jesus made His declaration at Caesarea Philippi to declare war on the gates of hell.  When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, he said; “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

He did not mean a sword like Mohammed’s.  The sword he spoke of is the Word of God.  In Isaiah 49:2 we read, “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword”.  When Jesus returns to our world leading the armies of Heaven the sword will be in His mouth. (Revelation 19:15)

The Confession; The Rock; The Church
I recommend the page on this site: http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-matthew-16-16-18.htm

The Confession

For the question Jesus asked; “Who am I?“, the confession is all important.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
In fact, we know that the person who refuses to acknowledge this truth is refusing to be saved! Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”  John 8:24.

I hope you have made this confession.  They are the most important words you will ever speak.

The Declaration

The declaration is “I will build my church on this rock.”  Jesus did not have the Vatican or any other powerful religious structure in mind when he made that statement.  He is the rock.  Peter is simply named after him.  Jesus is going to shake the world like he shook Hell.
The prophet Daniel had a vision of the end times, where he saw a rock not made by human hands knock the statue representing the final world empire off it’s feet.  The New World Order was broken to pieces and swept away without a trace, but the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.  Daniel 2:34-35
God said there is no other rock beside him.  He said it twice in Isaiah 44:8 and 45:5;
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?  No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

The Church

Ekklesia means “called out ones”, the Church.  It is a nation of priests, of servants, built for faith, called out of darkness, wrested away from the Gates of Hell.
We become part of the Ekklesia when we confess Christ as our Lord.  His Church is built on that confession.
We are fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  (Ephesians 2:20).
NicolaitansWe were not made to be cogs in the wheel of an authoritarian,  man-made power structure.
Jesus hates that.  He spoke against it twice in his letters to the seven churches;
“But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  Revelation 2:6, letter to the Church at Ephesus.
Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”  Revelation 2:15, letter to the Church at Pergamum.

Who are the Nicolaitans?  ‘Nico’ means rule and ‘laity‘ means clergy.  Get it now?

The devil wants to render us powerless, but consider this; “everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (1 John 5)
Jesus said “whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist.  And then He said, “The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”  Matthew 11:11-12.
They take it by force because they want to take the authority away from God.

Jesus delegates authority – just like He did with the twelve disciples, and He has given the Keys of the Kingdom to His Church, His called out ones.

Kingdom authority

Kingdom AuthorityLaughing I’d sprung up onto the horses back, waiting for my brother to sit behind me.  What a happy day, the day my father bought us the horse; a gleaming chocolate-brown mare called Lady.  I couldn’t wait to learn how to ride her.  Being the eldest I got to sit in front and hold the reins.  Unfortunately the joy didn’t last.

EPSON MFP image

The day we got Lady

The help’s children heard about the horse as soon as their mother got home.  They arrived the next day, all four of them.  I can still see them crossing the creek and running over the paddocks to our place.  I was a timid seven-year old and no match for them.  They were older, aggressive and mean – with a huge sense of entitlement.  The reins were snatched out of my hands as the usurpers helped each other onto her back.  I was left standing by the gate in tears, watching them ride our horse.

It was no good going to my mother.  She had her own problems – bipolar illness and a big family.  The big family wasn’t entirely her fault – after me and my brother were born she had two sets of twin girls.  After the birth of the last set of twins, she was completely unable to cope with us.  I’m not going to go there with the bipolar thing.  All I will say is the day the horse arrived is my only happy memory from that time.

My father hired Miriam, a woman of Samoan/Maori blood to help my mother in the house.  I know we got her and her family the same year as the horse.  I didn’t know Miriam was the help.  I thought she was a friend of my mother and her children were our “friends”, even though they seemed to look down on us.  I foolishly trusted her as an Aunty.  I didn’t know it as a child, but Miriam despised me because in her words “I was always crying”.

There is a proverb which says “A shrewd servant will gain authority over a master’s worthless son and receive a part of the inheritance.” Proverbs 17:2

I went into the house to ask the adults for help.  They told me I had to “share”.  Hearing this and knowing I had no authority as the daughter of the house, Miriam’s children sneered at me and assumed ownership of the horse.  At first I cried and became a victim – but I was a determined little kid.  I wrested control from them after I worked out how to bridle the horse, jump on her back and ride across the paddocks to my grandparent’s place.  I did this until they got the message about who the horse belonged to.

Still I felt worthless and powerless.  I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries.  I lost faith in people and felt I had no one to turn to.  Parents who don’t give their children boundaries send them defenseless into a world full of controlling manipulative people.

So how does this relate to the Kingdom of God?  What would Jesus have done?  He would have put the smallest children on the horse’s back first.  The children of the servant would have had to ask permission to ride.  If we had said yes they would have had to wait their turn.  The Lord is a firm believer in boundaries and treating people with respect.  Boundaries were the first things He helped me construct when He became my King.

https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/chapter-21-stones/
https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/chapter-23-rebuilding-the-wall/
https://kingdom777.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/chapter-39-mercy-not-sacrifice/

He gives power to the faint; 
and to them that have no might he increases strength.  
Isaiah 40:29.

God will help us in our weakness, if we recognise His authority.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom.  
Matthew 5:3

There was once a powerful man who recognised his own sin and helplessness.  This man, a roman centurion, saw Jesus and recognised His authority;

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”  Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 8:9

The Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.  We haven’t been left as orphans.  Jesus has given us his authority.  We need to know our authority as sons and daughters of the King and walk in it.

I’ll leave you with a clip of some beautiful horses responding to their master’s authority.  These horses were originally bred as “war horses” in the days of knights and armor.  As armor got heavier, bigger horses were needed and the Friesian almost became extinct.  They are back, and are one of the most beautiful horses in stature as well as gait.   These horses are native to the Netherlands.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Y5XJbSqwriM?rel=0

1-corinthians-42021_5009_1600x1200

May you find your joy in the LORD, and may He cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land … (Isaiah 58:14).

The kingdom of God – not a matter of talk but of power

“Who of you here are in ministry?” Chuck Missler asked everyone gathered at the auditorium last time we heard him speak in Auckland.  A few people put up their hands.  He then asked “Who of you here are Christians?”  Hands went up everywhere.  Then he asked again who was in ministry?  This time our hands stayed up.

I’ve never forgotten that lesson.  The trouble is we’ve been taught how to be led by priests.  We haven’t been taught how to be priests.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk 
but of power. 
1 Corinthians 4:20.

We carry the power, if we have the Holy Spirit.  To walk in it, we just need to step out, but that’s scary.  We have to be honest as well, and ask the Holy Spirit for His wisdom, guidance and power.   God promised that “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name …” John 1:12

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

My husband Bert pretending he can explode boulders. Taken at Moeraki Boulders, South Island, NZ.

What does this power we carry look like?

Well, here’s a picture of my husband at Moeraki Boulders, pretending to explode rocks.  (I asked the Lord for a man who would make me laugh, and he does.)  This is what the power does not look like →

All joking aside, the power that God gives is grounded in His will, the authority of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

I think we would all agree we need to know the Lord better.  This prayer to the Ephesians says it all;

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  Ephesians 1:17-19

Did you know this power is the same power 
God used to resurrect Jesus?

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  Ephesians 1:19-21