Activation Movement Blog
- What God Told Me About President Trump in 2019
11/20/2020"Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." - Isaiah 8:12-14I have enjoyed sharing the insights received from my experiences and words from God on this blog since being "activated" in 2016, but this one will be a little different. We have just completed our voting in the United States election, and President Trump has not conceded the election despite the results showing that Joe Biden received the votes needed to win. Within the evangelical Christian community, one reason for resistance to this result is the prophetic words from many well-known prophetic ministries and church leaders who have said that God revealed to them that Donald Trump would win a second term. And with so much at stake in this election, why wouldn't God intervene in favor of someone that is perceived by most of the Christian community to be on the "right" side?I myself have followed many of these individuals and ministries over the last year as they proclaimed their confidence in a two-term presidency for Trump in fulfillment of prophecies from years ago, or recent revelations from pastors and prophets that I won't name here. But for me, all of this was baffling because it contradicted two words I received from God in October and December of 2019:October 13, 2019: "Trump - time is short, I have withheld my hand but not for long."December 15, 2019: "Trump - not strong, weak. Enemies will overthrow him."In hearing this from God last year, I spent 2020 under strong conviction that Trump was going to lose the election, if not leave office earlier. So when I heard so many Christian voices saying something different, I posted a video on YouTube in mid-October to share what I had heard last year and offer a different view. It wasn't so much that I wanted to be "right" and others "wrong" - it was from a desire to share what I had heard, so Christians who were hearing something different would know that some of us were hearing differently, and if correct, that God has a plan that may not look like we want it to look, and that He still sits on the throne as King of Kings no matter how it may look to us in the natural.Prophecy is a wonderful gift, one that comes with responsibility and accountability as people follow and, for better or worse, rely on these prophetic words to give them encouragement and strength in uncertain times. So the lesson here for the church community is, make sure to "test the spirits" and ensure that what you may be hearing from others is accurate.How do we do that? It's so difficult to be open to what God is saying if you are so convinced of one outcome that you only hear what you want to hear. So one way to tell if a word is accurate is to follow the lesson from Michaiah in 1 Kings 22: if 400 prophets are all saying the same thing, you may want to pay attention to the one prophet who isn't. Translated into today's environment, ask God to reveal the truth to you for yourself, and be open to what others are hearing that may not fit your opinion or what you want to hear. And ultimately, accuracy will be tested in the final result - we'll all know who was accurate or not based on the outcome of the prophecy.God also told me recently, "don't choose the wrong side." When I asked Him what side I should be on, He said, "The side of Truth." Since Jesus is the Truth, we can ensure we are on the right side by following Jesus, and being obedient to the Truth that He reveals through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Truth is a narrow road and not always easy to stay on!"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." - 1 John 4:1- Adam Gellert
- What is the Gospel Message?
11/12/2020"For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received - that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures..." - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4When you think of the Gospel, what does it mean to you? When Jesus told His disciples (and that includes us today) to share the Gospel to all the world, what is the message we are to share? And if you are new to Christianity or haven't heard the Gospel Message, what is the message that is so important that I need to believe in its truth?The word "gospel" comes from the Old English word "god" meaning "good" and "spel" meaning "news." So sharing the gospel is sharing good news! Over time the word "gospel" may have taken on new connotations or meanings with people, so let's examine the true message of the Gospel and why it is such good news for all who hear it.Paul shares the Gospel Message in his first letter to the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8:"Now I want to make it clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you - unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received - that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also."So the Gospel Message can be summarized in three important truths:1) Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. As promised by God in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ was sent by the Father as the ultimate and final sacrifice for our sins, which we could never atone for on our own. God loved us so much that He wanted to ensure that we could spend eternity with Him by sending Jesus, or Immanuel (God With Us), to earth to be the "spotless lamb," a perfect and eternal atonement for our sins.2) He was buried. It is an essential element of the Gospel Message that Jesus came to earth in human form, and when He died, he was physically and naturally buried by being placed in a tomb.3) He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. The resurrection is of course the key to completing the Gospel Message. Why? Because anyone can claim to be the Son of God and be killed for making that claim. He had to complete the promise of the scriptures and conquer death by being resurrected by God, to confirm that He was who He said He was. And it wasn't just his spirit that returned - Jesus' body was physically and miraculously resurrected from the dead, with an empty tomb to prove it! He also made sure to show those He appeared to His scarred hands, feet, and side where He was pierced at crucifixion, and He ate with them, to show them that He had been resurrected. Paul understood the importance of this final part of the gospel by sharing his proof of the message - that he and many others were eyewitnesses to Jesus' resurrection.So why is this good news for those of us that hear and receive it today? Because our salvation is now secured, because Jesus is who He said He was - the Messiah, the Son of God, who completed the promises of scripture. And if we believe and accept this simple message, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day, we are redeemed from our sins for all eternity and can be seated with Jesus in heavenly places!Do you realize and understand how amazing this truth is? It should relieve you of a tremendous burden! You don't have to do anything to get into heaven (nor could you for that matter), because belief in Jesus and what He did for you is all that is needed to become righteous in the sight of God!Over the years we have made it more complicated than it needs to be, and some of you that have been exposed to Christianity and been turned off from it may have received the wrong gospel message about who Jesus is, and what you have to do to secure eternal salvation through Him. Belief in the above three truths are all it takes! I hope this simple truth of the Gospel Message brings fresh light into the truth of Jesus and allows you to revisit or re-confirm your belief in Jesus Christ!To learn more about accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, here is a link to more resources about what this means and how to do it, from Billy Graham Ministries: https://lp.billygraham.org/find-peace-with-god/"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16- Adam Gellert
- The Jesus Cloud
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
I used to play hockey growing up - this is only unique because I live in Texas, and hockey wasn't a big sport during that time in the early 1980s. But my dad is Canadian, so naturally my brother and I were signed up to play in a local youth hockey league.
In my dream, I was skating at a public ice skating rink, when I suddenly realized that everyone around me was an "evil" person. For some reason I could tell they were all criminals and other corrupt people, and I was scared to be there. Then, we all instantly dropped down into hell, like the floor dropped out from under us, and we were all in free fall down into the fiery depths of the earth!
Obviously mortified, I cried out to God that He had made a mistake. I had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, and didn't deserve to be in hell with the others I was with at the skating rink. As I cried out for help, trapped for eternity in a place I didn't belong, an elevator came crashing down in front of me, almost like something from a cartoon. I immediately recognized it to be a ticket out of this horrible place, so I jumped into the elevator. The elevator then shot up and out of hell, and catapulted me into the sky, where I was ejected from the elevator and was able to fly among the clouds. As my fear was replaced with joy, peace, and happiness, I flew up to a huge cloud that formed the letters J-E-S-U-S. Knowing that He was responsible for my ascension out of hell and entry to this wonderful place, I said, "I love you, Jesus!" I then woke up from this very vivid and impactful dream, with Jesus' message of love and salvation being implanted into my heart, and I felt a love I had never felt before.
As a reflect on this dream as an adult, I realize now that the dream meant something different from how I viewed it at the time. I thought I didn't deserve to be in hell with all of the "bad" people I was with at the skating rink. That I was somehow "better" than them and undeserving of my fate. But in reality, everyone is created with a sin nature and deserving of separation from God. And over my lifetime I have sinned enough to be lumped in with rest of those I was with in my dream. I think one of the biggest issues we have today is the judgement of others for their sins and faults, when relative to a holy God, none of us can earn our salvation. But that should be a relief to all of us - instead of having to do anything to earn that elevator rode from hell to heaven, Jesus gives us the gift of salvation through his own death and sacrifice, and the ride to eternity with Him is free!
Will you accept this truth and get on the free elevator out of hell and into heaven? Will you accept that there is no "elevator" of salvation apart from Jesus? You can then stop worrying about how you are going to be able to escape death and enter into the joy of eternal rest - just get on Jesus' elevator to the glory of God's presence!
"If I ascend up into heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there." - Psalm 139:9
- God's Amusement Park
04/25/2020"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed are those who share in the first resurrection." - Revelation 20: 4-6
I had a vivid, amazing dream recently, one that had a different but encouraging message from anything I had heard before or noticed from reading Scripture.
In my dream I was in a "holding room" with many other people that I didn't know. It was a shaded or dark room, and we were all milling around waiting for something to happen, since the room was empty and there was nothing to do but wait.
Then, it was like one of the walls was pulled back slowly to reveal what was on the other side, almost like the recent Chevy commercials where average people are shown the latest models of cars that won awards. And on the other side was a beautiful scene of an amusement park, going for miles. There was a Ferris wheel and all the other typical rides we find at our Disney and other theme parks. But this one seemed like the best one of all!
As all of us inside this room stepped out into a beautiful landscape to explore this fun-filled park, I was somehow made aware that this wasn't heaven - it was more of a holding place we were supposed to enjoy for a little while before all is completed on earth and in God's plan. I had the impression that it was a place of no worry, that we were to just enjoy the moment and fun-filled time in this place for the time being.
After this dream I explored the Bible to see if there was any reference to there being another place we are to go before heaven. The only reference that stood out to me that relates to my dream comes from late in the book of Revelation, when Jesus rules on the earth for 1,000 years before the final battle with Satan:
"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed are those who share in the first resurrection." - Revelation 20: 4-6
Ultimately, like other end time prophecy and debates, we can never know for sure. The key for all of us is to ensure that we have a right relationship with God through salvation in his Son, Jesus Christ. As Jesus himself said, "However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20).
If you have accepted Christ as Lord over your life, whatever happens at the end of this age, and during the end times, will end in a positive, completed work, as you get to spend eternity with God in heaven. But my dream was also a fun reminder that God has amazing things in store for us, beyond our wildest dreams. If you take anything out of my dream about "God's Amusement Park," be encouraged that God wants us to enjoy our current life, as well as our eternity in His presence!
"When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."- John 14:3
- Adam Gellert
- Be Still
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." - Exodus 14:14"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10
Only a couple of months later, my situation is made worse, and we now stand at a similar place as a society, with the Covid-19 virus creating an epidemic that is causing fear and panic to overtake us. We are faced with uncertainty, as we wonder how long it will last, and what impact the situation will have on our jobs, our health, and the world economy. Our human frailty is in full display, as our reliance on our economy, technology, and medical advances gives way to the reality that the natural world can still create potent enemies of the human body that we aren't prepared to fight, that can take everything away in an instant.
But these times are also a healthy reminder that God is in control, that reliance on Him is our only hope for peace and sanity in an insane world. Fear would be justified, if we didn't believe that God is here in our midst, with a plan and purpose for humanity. That because of the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we have hope in an eternal salvation, forever in God's presence, along with those family members and friends we have lost to unexpected pandemics such as this.
Sure, there are actions we must all take during this time to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and society at large from this spreading epidemic. But it's also a unique time in history for rest, as we are called to stay home and change our lifestyles as we wait for this epidemic to play out. It goes against our very nature to let go and let God work, but it's exactly what God is asking us to do.
My job security and financial future is even more tenuous than before with the present situation. But God knew all this was going to happen when He told me to "Be Still." Are we going to trust in God's sovereignty and promises for "hope and a future" during these times, or will we let the world's view of fear and uncertainty take away the daily gift of life?
Do you long to "Be Still"? Does this sound too good to be true, especially with the world seeming to crumble around us? Today's environment is the perfect time to reflect on your relationship with God, your Creator and Father, who loves you and can't wait to spend eternity with you. If you don't have the peace of Jesus Christ today, knowing with certainty that you will be in heaven for eternity regardless of this pandemic's outcome, now is the time to ask Jesus to become the Lord of your life. Say this simple prayer, and enter into your time of daily and eternal rest:
"Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart. Wash me clean. I make you my Lord and Savior. Amen."
If you prayed this prayer, contact me for more information on how you can grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Find a Bible to read and a local church that can support your continued walk with Him.
Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" - Matthew 8:23-27-Adam Gellert
- This Is Not Going to Go the Way You Think - Embracing the Mystery of God
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above - what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below - what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea." - Job 11:7-9
This same issue is one of the biggest challenges we face as Christians in our walk with God - accepting and putting faith and trust in the mystery of God when we don't (and can't) know the reasons why certain things are happening in our lives or the world around us. We've been this way from the beginning of time - Adam and Eve were temped to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because we incorrectly assumed that by knowing everything and being like God, we would have the certainty and security of a predictable life, on our own terms and apart from God. But as humans acting on our own, we gained the knowledge of good without the ability to do it, and we gained the knowledge of evil without the ability to avoid it.
I have learned from my own experiences that freedom comes from trusting in God's goodness and plan for our lives in the face of things not working out the way we had hoped. I will always have questions about why certain things had to play out like they did, like losing my twin son and daughter at 19 weeks of pregnancy when we prayed and believed God for a different outcome. And I'm sure my life will continue to have unexpected twists and turns that I don't expect or understand.
Accepting and trusting in the mystery of God, when we want control over every aspect of our lives, is one of the foundational challenges of our faith, because it goes against our very human nature. We see this play out in Jesus' ministry, when his disciples thought Jesus was coming to free the Jews from the Romans and establish a new kingdom in the natural, and he had to rebuke them for trying to take a different path from God's will and purpose for His life (Mark 8:32-33). Today, we see many fall away from their faith, or don't make the commitment to follow Christ in the first place, because of personal or global events that don't line up with their personal belief in who God is or should be. They can't accept a mysterious God who will always have a part of the story concealed, for His glory and for our good.
The great lie that Satan convinced humanity to believe was that mystery meant God was holding something back from us, something better that we were missing out on. That life would be better if we did things our way, or had things turn out the way we think they should. Those traps sow the seeds of bitterness, anger, fear, and unbelief that pull us away from relationship with God, whose true desire is to partner with us to give us the strength to endure the things we don't understand, and the wisdom to make decisions that are aligned to His will and plan for our lives.
As you go through the rest of life's journey, I encourage you to embrace the mystery of God, to let go of your personal beliefs and perceptions of how your life plan should play out. God has a better path, an amazing plan that you cannot fully know. And like a good movie, it's a lot more fun when things don't quite turn out like you expect, and the surprise ending is much better than anything you could have ever imagined!
"A religion without mystery must be a religion without God." - Jeremy Taylor
- The Miracle of Partial Hearing
"As he (Jesus) went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.""- John 9:1-3
When I was a toddler and could start to talk, my parents would hand the phone to me to talk to my grandparents. But they noticed something strange - I would always switch the phone to my left ear. They took me to an audiologist, who gave them the grim news: I was completely deaf in my right ear, and only had partial hearing in my left ear. After running multiple tests, they were told it was likely I was going to be completely deaf in my left ear too, so they needed to prepare me for life with no hearing by learning sign language.
My parents didn't accept the doctors' reports. Having attended Oral Roberts University and believing for supernatural healing, they sent out prayer requests to ministries, family members, and friends far and wide. I was taken to local churches known for healing ministries and prayed over multiple times.
Sure enough, I did not see a decline in my hearing. In fact, when I was taken back for additional follow up tests, the doctors were surprised to see that my left ear had almost "perfect" hearing, better than average and at levels they rarely see! Fast-forward to today, and at 45 years old I have maintained these hearing levels and rarely notice any issues from being deaf in one ear. And unless I make it a point to tell people, they would never know of my condition.
But what if my parents had not believed that healing is for today, as many churches wrongly teach? What if they had not had the faith to petition for prayer, and do all they could do to ensure I was given a chance for supernatural healing? I am thankful that I was born into believing parents who refused to accept what was seen in the natural, and believed God had a different plan for my life.
While I have always been grateful for my miracle of partial hearing, I used to wonder why I wasn't completely healed - if one ear could be restored, why were both not healed? I have sought prayer many times for complete hearing in both ears, walking into many healing rooms and alter ministries for prayer, with the faith and belief that I would walk away healed. And my faith has been tested when I didn't get the result I expected. But recently my church pastor told the story of a woman born with brown eyes, when everyone in her family and that part of the world had blue eyes. Being seen as "different," she prayed every day for God to give her blue eyes, and was disappointed when her prayers weren't answered. Later on though, she entered into the mission field in India. She was able to sneak into temples where girls were being held captive as shrine prostitutes and rescue them, because she had brown eyes that would not give her away as a foreigner. God then showed her that she was given brown eyes for just that purpose. It was during this story that God spoke to me and gave me the same insight, that there is a purpose for my partial hearing.
This story has two lessons. First, I can testify from my experience that healing does happen today, that your current situation can be changed with the supernatural touch of God. And second, even if you don't get the outcome you expected through prayer, continue to trust God, knowing He created you as part of His master plan, and that all things will work out according to His perfect will.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28
- The King's Friend
"And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness" - and he was called a friend of God." - James 2:23
Sound strange? Maybe so, but it's also a job held by Hushai the Arkite in David's list of the king's overseers. It took me by surprise when reading a passage from 1 Chronicles 27, which I'll paraphrase here:
Azmaveth was in charge of the royal storehouses.Jonathan was in charge of the storehouses in the outlying districts.Ezri was in charge of the workers who farmed the land.Shimei was in charge of the vineyards.Zabdi was in charge of the produce of the vineyards for the wine vats.Baal-Hanan was in charge of the olive and sycamore-fig trees in the western foothills.Joash was in charge of the supplies of olive oil.Shitrai was in charge of the herds grazing in Sharon.Shaphat was in charge of the herds in the valleys.Obil was in charge of the camels.Jehdeiah was in charge of the donkeys.Jaziz was in charge of the flocks.Jonathan, David's uncle, was a counselor, a man of insight and a scribe.Jehiel took care of the king's sons.Ahithophel was the king's counselor.Hushai the Arkite was the king's friend.Joab was the commander of the royal army.Wait, back up one line. We see a lot of jobs that make sense, but then we see that Hushai the Arkite was the king's friend? What does that job entail? I want that job!Well, I have good news! That's the job the King of Kings wants to give to you!I would imagine being a leader of a large population has its challenges. People are coming to you constantly for advice, a decision, an emergency that's come up. With all the stresses of the job, it must be nice to have a confidant, a friend that knows you better than anyone else, who just wants to hang out and keep you grounded in who you are at the core.Amazingly, God's design for us includes a relationship in which He calls us friends. He did this through His Son Jesus, who revealed the heart of the Father to the world, and therefore trusts us enough to call us friends, if we only believe and trust in Him. In John 15:15, Jesus says, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
And while we are also children of God, I remember a co-worker telling me that every stage of her children's development was better than the last. Now that her kids are grown, she likes this stage the best, because now her children are also her friends. God wants the same relationship with you, but it takes growing in maturity and closeness with Him. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God can live inside you and guide you into a deeper relationship with Him, where He can call you not only a son or daughter, but also a friend. And that's also who He wants by His side for all eternity!Through God's amazing grace, we all have the opportunity to tell the world that we have the best job title ever - the King's Friend!-Adam Gellert
- Do You Really Trust God?
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."- James 1:5-8
How can I be at this point? How can I experience the dreams, miracles, and revelations of God and still doubt that He is good? That He has a plan for all of humanity, and each of us individually, that if left in His hands will be made perfect for all eternity?
I doubt because I refuse to see reality through God's eyes. I allow my humanity, with all its imperfection and flawed perspective, to decide what is good or not good in my present situation. I see an all-knowing God and can't understand why He is allowing me to get laid off from work, lose my children, the natural disaster to wipe out my city, or not answer my earnest prayer for a miracle in a dire situation.
The foundation of faith is a combination of trust and obedience, which go hand in hand. I can't obey God's instruction and walk in His will if I don't trust Him during ALL circumstances, because I will make a different decision that makes more sense or feels more comfortable to my "rational" mind. This is why James, in the first chapter of his book in the Bible, says that doubt causes us to be double-minded, tossed about in the waves of life as we sometimes make good decisions that work out, while other times we fall back into worry and despair when something goes wrong.
That's what has made me come to realize that I don't entirely trust God. When I have a good day or something goes well, I'm in love with God and thank Him for answering my prayers and giving me favor. When something then goes wrong or not the way I expected, I blame God in His omnipotence for "punishing" me or not being good. And so we ride a roller coaster life of ups and downs, looking forward to the relief of an eternity where everything will be a smooth ride of perfection, instead of rejoicing in the peace, freedom and redemption Jesus won for us today.
Before you tell God you love Him, that you've accepted his Son Jesus as your Savior, and want His Holy Spirit to guide and comfort you on life's journey, are you really ready to trust Him? If you say you love your spouse but don't trust him or her, can you really love them? Can you really be fully committed to that relationship?
Francis Chan has a message that I'll share here, that challenges us with that same thinking. If we are worrying all the time about our lives, our children, our future,or our finances, do we really trust God? Do our children sit around worrying that we'll provide for them, that we'll do all we can to protect them, and that we are always looking out for their good, even when we have to correct them?
So what's the answer? How can we fully trust God? Like James says, we have to ask God. We have to commit to dying to self, the humanity in us that wants control. And when we ask God to take over our lives, we have to make the decision to trust Him completely, in good times and bad. God knows we will have doubts - Jesus was constantly confronted by His disciples' lack of faith despite all they experienced. But He also died for each one of us, so we could be free to live in eternity with Him, and so that we could have the Holy Spirit dwell within us to transform and shape us into trusting, obedient sons and daughters.
If you can't say you trust God today, repent and ask God to give you the wisdom to fully commit to Him. Believe and don't doubt, and watch God open the floodgates of heaven with a life of blessing, confidence, freedom, and purpose!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6
- Adam Gellert
- Removing Your "High Places"
In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there." - 1 Kings 15:32, 34-35
There were some kings that did take the step of removing the high places, including Hezekiah:
- "Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places." - 1 Kings 3:3
- "Although he did not remove the high places, Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life." - 1 Kings 15:14
- "In everything he (Jehoshaphat) followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there."- 1 Kings 22:42-44
- "He (Hezekiah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan). Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him." - 2 Kings 18:4-5
And what about the New Testament? Even the devil understood the significance of high places when he tempted Jesus in the desert: "The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world." (Luke 4:5)
So why are the high places so important to God and in Scripture, where they are mentioned 117 times? And how can this apply to us today?
The "high places" were originally a tradition from the previous inhabitants of the promised land, and when the Israelites entered the land, God commanded them to "destroy completely all the places on the high mountains, on the hills, and under every spreading tree, where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods." (Deuteronomy 12:2) Keeping the high places or setting up new ones meant turning from God to worship idols, which constituted adultery and a lack of full trust in God.
King David was the gold standard in having a heart devoted to the Lord. But starting with his son Solomon, who buckled under the pressure of foreign wives to build altars to their gods, Israel spiraled downward into a black hole of idol worship and setting up altars on high places throughout the land. And while some kings over the course of Israel's history turned from the evil ways of their fathers and grandfathers and made an effort to serve the Lord, very few had the courage to make the full effort in removing the high places. And because of this decision, God was not able to fully bless them as He did David, or kings like Hezekiah, who did go "all in" with their commitment to the Lord.
Why did even the "good" kings seem to struggle with this one area? I believe they knew better, but felt the pressure of the popularity of these high places in their culture, and they were afraid of losing favor with the people in making what would have been an unpopular decision. There were likely many influential priests and other leaders who benefited from these high places and the many people that visited them. So what's the harm in keeping them around with all the other good they were doing for the Lord?
Does this sound familiar in today's world? While we don't have physical "high places," the world puts pressure on us to follow popular culture in failing to stand against the things that set themselves against a holy God. We all have an opportunity through reading the Word, accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to lead a life that is fully committed to the Lord. But we also all have "high places," some more obvious and some more subtle, that keep us from being a David or Hezekiah and making the hard choices in removing these high places from our lives.
So what are examples of today's high places? While many are obvious, the more subtle ones can be the priority we place on our children or family, our careers, our ministries, or our standing at church. It is also not taking a stand against the world views of today around sexual orientation/gender identity, a focus on money, and other areas of popular opinion that may impact your reputation or popularity. The first commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and a high place draws us away from full devotion to the Lord.
What high places do you have in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you, and seek for understanding in the Bible. Let the Trinity help you remove these high places, so you can live a life in closer relationship to the Lord, with full obedience and commitment to Him!
"Therefore God exalted him (Jesus) to the highest placeand gave him the name that is above every name..." - Philippians 2:9
- Why is God Hidden?
"Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory." - Matthew 24:30
C.S. Lewis explained this well in his insightful book, Mere Christianity, which I just discovered recently. I would recommend this book to anyone who has questions about the Christian faith, no matter what you currently believe. This was his answer:
"Another possible objection is this, Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying: He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely.
I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks onto the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right, but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else - something it never entered your head to conceive - comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?
For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us a chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it."
This view is supported in the Bible - as we see from the verse above from Matthew 24:30, "all the peoples of the earth will mourn" because they will realize the truth and where their decision fell, or where their loved ones' decisions fell. We are in an urgent situation to spread the truth of the Gospel to all peoples!
If this strikes a chord with you, make the decision now to choose God's side. You know deep down that there is a choice to be made. If you have been uncertain up to now, I hope this encourages you to get off the fence, to make the decision to follow Jesus Christ, surrender your life to Him, and ask Him to fill you with His love. Then, like C.S. Lewis, you can look forward to the day God reveals Himself to the earth with joy and anticipation!
"Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed;blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." - John 20:29
- Enjoy Your Life!
"All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them,'If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!'"- Numbers 14:2
One of the most impactful things God has said to me occurred during some quiet time a few years ago. It was this simple request: "Enjoy Your Life!"
Why would God say something this obvious - of course I want to enjoy my life! But even though this seems like such a simple and easy thing to do, in reality it's very difficult. We burden ourselves with the anxiety and stress of work, money, family, health issues, and the like, and before you know it, you can get sucked down a rabbit hole of negativity and complaining about your life and all the things that are "going wrong."
I remember the time in my corporate job when the sales team I worked with conducted a program from an outside consultant called, "The Happiness Advantage." Based on the book by the same name, written by Shawn Achor, we studied a fable called "The Orange Frog," about a frog who was the only orange-colored frog in his community. He was also the only frog with a positive attitude, despite being made fun of for being different. As his positive attitude infected others around him, soon the rest of the community of frogs turned orange, symbolic of a happy and positive attitude.
But what I took away most about the program was how unfortunate it was that we had to pay someone to deliver that kind of program in the first place, that there is now so much demand for programs about how to be happy. Why is this such a struggle?
Because it's in our human nature - all the things we are chasing to make us happy, are really just "sugar highs" of the world - the promotions, the new car, the beach house, retirement - that all come with the promise of something better, but also wear out quickly as we look for the next "fix." I recall a recent article written by someone who retired in his 30s, who warned that after six months of the sugar high of financial freedom, he defaulted back to his previous state of unhappiness. Why? Because his happiness was built on the wrong foundation - an expectation that money and financial freedom can provide true happiness and contentment.
The only way to true happiness, or joy, comes from Jesus Christ, because the joy He provides is everlasting and unbreakable. When you put your trust in Him, you receive the gifts of peace and joy, promised by the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is unaffected by the short term highs and lows of this temporary, earthly life. Jesus himself says "in this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33), so we know that nothing we do will totally erase the challenges we will all face on this earth. We ultimately have a choice in the attitude we have during whatever circumstances we face. By putting your trust and hope in the Lord, you are building a foundation of joy and peace that outlasts the negativity that the things of this world will consistently and constantly challenge us with.
So I say to you again, "Enjoy Your Life!" You will always face challenges that can derail you from living a joyful life, but by choosing to live a life of trust and obedience to God, you can hold fast to Jesus' promise to always be there in the storm with love, peace, and joy that can never be taken away!
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." - 1 Peter 1:8-9
- Showing It All - The Value of Discretion
"Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses - the silver, the gold, the spices, and the fine olive oils - his armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them." - 2 Kings 20:13
On the other hand, my parents have been successful entrepreneurs their entire lives, building up and selling several businesses. They are much more closely guarded with what is going on with their businesses and personal lives, and the successes (and failures) they have had. We lived in a nicer area of town growing up, but they didn't like telling people where they lived, and they never wanted my brother and me to talk about it either if they knew we were doing it for the wrong reasons. They have always had a quiet humility, which has led them to live a life of Godly influence with people from all walks of life.
I have to admit that I've butted heads with them on how they approach their lives in such a secretive way, but as I've grown older, I've come to appreciate and learn from their approach. The key issue or question is, why should something be shared with others, and what is the motivation behind it? Is it to edify God or others, or edify yourself? Sometimes it's an issue of pride, or if you're like me, you may be too trusting of others who won't properly handle what you've shared with them.
Hezekiah fell into the trap of pride when he showed everything in his kingdom to visitors from Babylon. In 2 Kings 20 we see that after he did so, Isaiah the prophet confronted him about it:
"The prophet asked, "What did they see in your palace?""They saw everything in my palace," Hezekiah said."There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.""Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the Lord: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." - 2 Kings 20:15-18
We live in a transparent, open society today, where we love to share with the public through social media and other mediums our accomplishments, failures, business dealings, and family and personal issues. I'm constantly amazed at how much people are willing to share about their lives in public forums. Like Hezekiah showing everything to people from a distant land, who might you be sharing too much with? And do you run the risk that someone might use that information to take what you've worked so hard to build, like your business or reputation?
Years ago, someone shared a prophetic word that God would share secrets with me. While there is much that God puts on our hearts that we should be sharing with others, there may be some things that are just between God and us. As you grow in deeper relationship with Him, I would encourage you to confirm with God what secrets are reserved for just the two of you, so He can trust you with even more revelation about who He is.
Are there areas of your life you are too transparent with others about? Are there things you are too quick to share with others? Is Pride the root of this transparency? Ask God to give you the discretion and wisdom to keep private what needs to be private, and walk in humility knowing the only one you really need to be sharing everything with is the only one who can make sure it's handled with the care it deserves - your heavenly Father.
"Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." - Proverbs 11:13, ESV
- Jesus' Signet Ring
03/18/2019"'On that day,' declares the Lord Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the Lord, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,'declares the Lord Almighty." - Haggai 2:23
This time, when going to this place, I saw Jesus reach for my raised right hand, and put a ring on my finger!
I understood it to be a signet ring, like the ones kings gave people in the Bible when they were granting them their authority as king. Researching further, I learned that signet rings have been used since the Old Testament times as a personal signature or symbol of family heritage. Ancient kings used signet rings to designate authority, honor, or ownership. For example, there are several Bible references to signet rings:
- Genesis 41:42 - "Then Pharoah took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his check."
- Esther 8:2 - "The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman's estate."
- Haggai 2:23 - "On that day," declares the Lord Almighty, "I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel," declares the Lord, "and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you."
- Luke 15:22 - "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him (the prodigal son). Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.'"
What an empowering feeling to know that God has given me His signet ring, as a symbol of His authority, honor, and ownership of my life as a bride of Christ. All who accept Jesus as Lord are given this same ring, and like those who were given signet rings in the Bible, there is an expectation that we are to do something with that authority!What are we supposed to do? In Matthew 10:1, "Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness." And Matthew 28:18-19 says, "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'"We are called to GO, and with rings on our spiritual fingers, we are recognized as members of God's family with His authority as sons and daughters of the King. The next time you are nervous about talking to others about Jesus, or praying for someone's healing, imagine that ring on your finger, and the authority it represents. You are a child of the King - hold your head up high and show the world what that means!"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." - John 14:12-Adam Gellert
- The Visit From God: A Message From A Watchman
"Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, crippled, the blind and lame.' 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' Then the master told his servant, 'Go out into the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet." - Luke 14:16-24
Last night I had such a vivid dream with an important message for everyone, that I had to share in the hopes this touches someone.
In my dream, God himself came down to earth and "held court," inviting everyone to come to a specific location and meet with Him. He was looking forward to "checking in" and seeing how each of His children was doing. It was not the end times or final judgement, just an opportunity for anyone who wanted to meet with God to do so.
The interesting and sad thing was, many people did not want to come, and did not come. They were too embarrassed or ashamed to face God, for a variety of reasons. They didn't want to face Him given their shame and lack of repentance for their many sins. They didn't want to face Him because of a lack of relationship with Him, or having to admit during their check-in that they hadn't been obedient to God's calling on their lives. Others had not done all they could be doing to share the message of the Gospel and bring others into relationship with Him. I was also somehow aware that members of my own family chose not to go.
Even I was hesitant to go, for the same reasons. But I mustered up the courage to face God. I made my way to a large parking lot, where I could see many people walking into a large building. The glory of God emanated brightly through the roof and beamed like a beacon into the sky. I could begin to feel God's presence, in the same way I met God in a dream years earlier. And among the crowd, I somehow perceived that many people from my church were there. And then, before the dream went any further, I woke up.
The dream was not really a joyous one, as I was saddened to think about the many people, known and unknown, who chose not to meet their Father and Creator when the opportunity arose. I believe it was a message of urgency, as Jesus is coming soon to bring His people into the promise of eternal life at any time. And when He does, will you be prepared (and excited) to see His coming, or will you be ashamed, fearful, or regret that you didn't have a chance to do all the things you could have or should have done during your lifetime?
The good news is, this is not a message of condemnation or judgement! The message of Jesus is one of redemption and forgiveness. The simple solution for being able to face God with confidence, is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and through His blood and sacrifice, you are forgiven of your sins and put on a white robe of righteousness in God's eyes. You don't have to live in shame or fear of judgement for your sins, because "all have sinned and fall short" (Romans 3:23), but Jesus wipes us clean. As Romans 8:1-2 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."
And if you are saved and still couldn't face God because you aren't living in obedience to His will, it's not too late to get back on track. We are all called to tell others about the Good News of Jesus, and the harvest is ripe. This isn't about performance and we don't have to bring others to Christ to be saved, but all who know Him understand the desire that is placed in our hearts to share the Good News with others, and walk in obedience to His will.
In one of the documentary movies by Darren Wilson and Wanderlust Productions, a pastor said he wanted to be able to face Jesus at his death and entry into heaven and pick up right where he left off on earth. If Jesus is your best friend, I imagine that first moment in heaven to be the same reaction that a child has when he rides a roller coaster for the first time - he jumps off the coaster and excitedly jumps into his father's arms, saying "That was awesome, can we go again!?"
If you don't think that will be your reaction to your relationship with God, and his Son Jesus Christ, now is the time to make a change. Ask Jesus into your heart and surrender your life to Him, and pursue a deeper relationship with Him in obedience to your calling and God's will for your life. And you'll jump at the chance to see God if He came today and invited you into His loving arms!
"Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, "These words are the true words of God." - Revelation 19:9
- Women of Noble Character
As I was seeking guidance from the Lord recently on direction and purpose for my life, He led me to read the book of Proverbs. While I was reminded of some great wisdom like not making hasty decisions, the value of hard work, and the pursuit of "ill-gotten treasures," the last chapter is what God really intended for me to see:
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 31:10-31)
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I have to admit that it broke from my view of the "traditional" role of women during Bible times, and it revealed to me that I don't have to bear the burden of making life decisions or providing for my family alone. God intended for my marriage to be a partnership with a strong woman of "noble character," which I fortunately already have with an amazing wife who is doing everything Proverbs 31 describes!
My wife works full-time, waking up "while it is still night" to get everyone ready for work and school, before she heads off to work herself. She is an incredibly hard worker who is always productive in everything she does, and helps guide me in making good decisions for our family. And in my selfish focus on what "I" need to be doing with the next phase of my life, I had forgotten that with a wife of noble character, I don't have to do it alone. I need to take advantage of God's gift of a spouse and partner who has strengths I don't have, and I should be a better steward of the "earnings" she is bringing into the family, whether it's a job or the work she does at home.
As Proverbs so rightly says, having a woman of noble character brings honor to her husband, and he should be honoring her for what she is doing to prosper the family. If you are stuck in your purpose or what's next for you, what women in your life can you be leaning on for guidance and support? I'm thankful for the many women of noble character that God has blessed me with, including my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, cousins, aunts, co-workers, and friends who have given me wisdom and shown me the value of hard work, and in some cases doing all the work, to provide a good life for their families.
Are you honoring and seeking wisdom from your "women of noble character'?
- Discounting Your Children
"When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands before the Lord. But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." -1 Samuel 16:6-7
Year after year, we had somber meetings with teachers and staff, as they expressed concern over our son's development, both academically and socially. He was held back in kindergarten, and even then his scores were lower than average. I had always done well in school, so this whole experience was foreign to me. I was just happy to see him get a passing grade on a test, much less an A or B. Instead of eagerly anticipating reports from school on his academic and social achievements, I was relieved if we didn't hear anything for a period of time, because no news was good news.
One night a few years ago, as I was thinking about my kids' futures and resigning myself to my oldest son's mediocrity (at best), God said to me, "Don't discount your son. I have special plans for him too!"
It was both an encouragement and admonition as I realized that I had discounted my son. It didn't mean I loved him any less or that I wasn't going to do everything I could to give him the best life possible. But I had given up hope for a bright future based on how the world saw my son, and I had accepted it.
Thankfully, his Creator, the One who gave my son life and an exciting future filled with a powerful destiny and amazing adventures, never discounted him. As much as a parent can (and should) have a positive influence on a child's life, and God wants us to steward our children well, He doesn't need us to fulfill His purpose for our children. We can look at examples of people from all walks of life, with both good and bad parents, easy or hard situations, come into God's purpose for their lives because of the individual relationships they pursued with God, and more importantly, God's pursuit of them.
Since that message from God, I'm happy to report that my son is doing great in school, and socially with many friends, as he is developing into who God created him to be. And last year he asked to be baptized and accepted Jesus as Lord! I can't say that I'm doing much if anything to contribute to his current success, so I know that God is at work in my son in ways I'll never know. And I'm comforted knowing that a Father who knows and loves my son even more than I do is in control of his destiny, and I'm just here to help steward him on the journey.
I hope this message serves two purposes - first, to make sure you don't discount your children. If you see your kids the way God sees them, you wouldn't ever have a need or desire to do so. And secondly, if you grew up in a home where your parents discounted you, or favored another sibling over you, know that your future isn't determined by your earthly parents. It's determined by God your Father, His Son Jesus who saw so much value in you that he chose to die for you, and the Holy Spirit that is excited to fill you with His presence and guide you into your destiny as a child of the King!
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." - Romans 8:28-29
- The Dangers of Significance
This article was originally posted as a guest blog for John W. Nichols, missionary and author of GOD is HERE: Finding God in the Pain of a Broken World. Thanks to John for allowing me to contribute to his blog!
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." - Psalm 139:23-24
A) Life Under God - God is happy or mad, depending on my performance.
B) Life Above God - My way is better than God's.
C) Life From God - I want God's benefits, but I'm not really interested in Him.
D) Life For God - I have a need to be significant and to do something great for God.
(Taken from the book, "With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God" by Skye Jethani)
The problem is none of these postures are correct, even the desire to live a life for God. Because if I really searched my heart, I was motivated by what these significant accomplishments were going to do for ME, either in this earthly life or as a reward in heaven.
God's greatest desire is just to be WITH us. And when you think about it from a parent's perspective, it makes sense. If one of my sons asked me what he needed to do for me to love him more, I would quickly say, "Nothing, I already love you unconditionally." If my kids spent their life feeling a need to do something significant to achieve my love, I would tell them they have it all wrong If a flawed, earthly father feels this way, how much more does our perfect heavenly Father, who gave his only Son to be with us for eternity?
Pastor Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, put it another way in a recent sermon. He talked about the four stages of spiritual maturity:
- Give Me
- Use Me
- Search Me
- Make Me
It's also important to note that being at various stages of spiritual maturity is not an admonition that you are doing something wrong. I don't criticize a two year old for what they do at that age; I just help guide them into maturity at their pace of development and do my part to accelerate their maturity where it's needed. God's view of where you are in your walk is no different - He wants to see that you are making an effort to grow in maturity, and will step in to guide you when it appears you need help.
It's human nature to focus on ourselves, reinforced by the world's view of having to do something important or significant to achieve success, to be liked or admired by others, or to have a following. Fortunately for us, we can be free of this pressure and released from the dangers of significance by surrendering to God, making Jesus the Lord of our lives, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us into spiritual maturity. Chase after the heart of God, and you'll find the only thing of real significance - relationship with Him.
Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourselfDream your dreams, chase your heart, above all elseMake a name the world remembersBut all an empty world can sell is empty dreamsI got lost in the light when it was up to meTo make a name the world remembersBut Jesus is the only name to rememberAnd I, I don't want to leave a legacyI don't care if they remember meOnly JesusFrom the song "Only Jesus" by Casting Crowns
- Saved Just For You
01/31/2019"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." - Jeremiah 1:5
- The process whereby something is prepared or excited for a subsequent reaction
- To accelerate a reaction, as by heat
- To set in motion
- Making active or effective
- Putting an individual or unit on active (military) duty
I named my ministry the "Activation Movement" as I wanted to create a movement of others experiencing the fullness of relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. And since that time, I've seen others in ministry using the word "activation" to describe the jump start for more that we should all desire as we seek our Triune God.
Later in the journey as I was on a walk one day, I was thinking about my ministry and how it could be used, when I heard God say, "I saved that name for you!" It blew me away that God knows each of us intimately and saves assignments, business or ministry names, our spouses and children, and more, just for us!
To confirm this message from God, I met Robby Dawkins, a well known pastor and author, who happened to move to my neighborhood in Texas. When I told him about my own book, he was blown away, as he had told his publisher that he wanted to call his book, "Activation"! His publisher recommended a book title that was better aligned to the titles of his other books, allowing me to have a book and ministry with a unique name in the Christian community. God really had saved that name for me!
So my question for you is, what opportunities, businesses, ministries, relationships, and more does God have planned just for you? We are all unique in God's eyes, with a special purpose in the grand unfolding of history. God planned for our creation and existence in the world at the exact, pre-planned time that He intended. Ask God what unique opportunities He has placed in His plan for your life, and take advantage of the blessings that God has saved JUST FOR YOU!
"My frame was not hidden from youwhen I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body;all the days ordained for me were written in your bookbefore one of them came to be."- Psalm 139:15-16
- Adam Gellert
- I Just Want You
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth, and does not live in temples made by human hands. Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else." - Acts 17:34-25
In that perfect moment, feeling the amazing love in God's presence, I wanted so badly to do something for God, so I asked Him, "What do you want or need from me?" He replied, "Son, I just want you."
What a freeing statement - to know that God wants nothing more than a relationship with us. Even though this revelation should be obvious when you think about it, we all get caught in the trap of humanity, where our worth is measured by our performance and accomplishments. For example, when Jesus was transfigured in front of Peter, James, and John, and Elijah and Moses appeared to talk with Jesus, Peter's reaction was to say, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Peter did this because "they were all so terrified that Peter did not know what else to say." (Mark 9:5-6)
This shows us that our natural human tendency is to do something instead of what God really wants, which is just to be with us. When you think about your own children, wouldn't you react the same way? Aren't your favorite moments with your children the times when they just wanted to sit your lap and be held? And if one of them asked you, "What do you need or want from me?", wouldn't you also just want them to stay still and remain in your arms? Instead, we get up from God's presence and go about our tasks of doing to obtain favor from God, when all He wanted was to hold us a little longer.
The spirit of the Antichrist wants us to be caught up in doing versus being, and it causes us to be drawn to the false religions that exist today. Reinhard Bonnke, a well-know evangelist, said this, "When I stand up to preach the Gospel, I often preach to people who have no idea who God is, because they worship idols, very terrible idols. They spread the table for their gods. And I tell them, the Christian God does it the other way around - He spreads the table for His children. And in the other religions, the people always seek God, but in the Christian faith, God seeks man."
Christians can just as easily get trapped in a religion of doing versus being, as we think ritual or works gets us into right relationship with God. But we'll never be good enough on our own to be in right standing with God - only Jesus, who became sin for us on the cross, can bridge the gap and bring us to the Father in good standing.
Jesus has already done everything needed to bring you into relationship with the Father. So free yourself from the expectation that God needs or wants something from you - He just wants you!
"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but my ears You have opened. Burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not require. Then I said, "Here I am, I have come - it it written about me in the scroll: I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart." - Psalm 40:6-7
- The Living God - A Guest Blog by John W. Nichols
12/15/2018A guest blog from friend and author John W. Nichols:Once again, I’ve come to the realization that I need Jesus. It’s times like these I’m comforted by the fact I worship the living God—He who speaks, sees, hears, smells, feels, and walks. But I have to confess I often act as if He isn’t present or interested. I lay down at night too many times having settled with rote prayers and not giving Him room in the conversation. If you too ever fall into this, would you pray with me?
“I’m sorry, God, for making You interrupt me instead of seeking You. When I call, I will remember You answer.”
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.
Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
The small together with the great.
May the Lord give you increase,
You and your children.
May you be blessed of the Lord,
Maker of heaven and earth.—Psalm 115:4-8, 11-15 NASB
I need Him right now and I know I’m not alone in this. I need His whisper of direction. I need to look in His eyes and see Him nod while listening to my prayer. I need to hear the woosh of His breath as He inhales my fragrant offering of worship. I need to lay on His chest, like the disciple Jesus loved, and know He feels my adoration. I need Him to run with me in excitement. I need the living God.
Some things that get in our way from experiencing God:
- We do all the talking. We don’t do this with our personal relationships, we shouldn’t do it to God either.
- We don’t listen because we know what we want Him to say or we think we wouldn’t like what He has to say. God’s plans are what’s best for us. Even when we don’t know it or feel it—we want what He desires for us.
- If we’re honest, we don’t make an effort to seek Him, wait on Him, and listen. It’s not enough to say a daily prayer at night or read a one year Bible plan or devotional. It takes a sacrifice of time to seek God with a genuine heart.
The living God wants to interact with us, and we desperately need Him to. For those who want more on this topic along with practical tips, I’ve recorded a 40-minute teaching on communing with Jesus, the ways He speaks, and walking in His plans for your life. It’s called "God is Trying to Tell You Something" and you can get it free here.
John W. NicholsAuthor of GOD is HERE: Finding God in the Pain of a Broken World. Get the FREE audiobook and ebook here.
- He Is Not Your Friend - Dealing With Demonic Spirits
"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." - Joel 2:32
And strangely, the depression provided comfort. I could physically feel it blanketing me like a cloak. And it's okay that it's there, because I'm not to blame for my circumstances - God did this, or my boss, or my spouse, or my parents. Or if it was my fault, what could I do about it now? I was winning at some point there, but life happened, and now any hope for getting out of this situation is circling the drain. Like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless!" At least I have heaven to look forward to, so I guess I'll just bide my time with the hand I've been dealt until I reach that place of bliss.
Despite the amazing things that I had been blessed with in my life, all the books I'd read, the freedom classes and programs I'd attended, the songs I heard on the radio every day, and the Word of God I read regularly, this is the place I'd found myself in.
But then I saw a video on YouTube titled, "How Demons Can Cause Negative Thinking" and decided to check it out. Derek Prince, a pastor who specialized in deliverance ministry until his passing in 2003, had a similar period of depression that he couldn't shake, despite prayer and fasting, and reading the Word. To become free, he found Isaiah 61:3's reference to putting on "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," and learned that 80% of the battle is realizing that his depression came from a person (demon), not himself. There are some areas of bondage that originate from our earthly flesh and sin nature, but many times a demon is responsible for the onslaught of negative emotions - depression, anger, loneliness, fear - that we allow into our thought life. And if we permit those negative emotions to take root through agreement, it can take us down a dangerous path.
The other 20% of the way to deliverance comes from calling on the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32). So as Derek led the audience in prayer, I prayed his prayer along with them:
"Lord Jesus Christ, I believe you are the son of God and the only way to God. That you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead. I now confess to you any sins for which you have made me conscious, and for all sins committed by my ancestors. (Confess any sins the Holy Spirit brings to your mind). Lord, I repent of all sins I have ever committed. I hate them and I turn from them. I turn to you Lord Jesus for mercy and forgiveness.If I have been involved in the occult, I repent and I renounce it. I severe myself from it through the blood of Jesus. If I have occult objects in my possession, I commit myself to get rid of them.Lord, I forgive any person who has ever harmed or wronged me. I forgive them, just as you forgive me. (Name the persons you need to forgive. The one that is hardest is the one you most need to say.).Lord, to the best of my ability, I have met your conditions and I now claim your promise: "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be delivered." I am calling on you now. In the name of the Lord Jesus, deliver me from all evil spirits. I hate them. They are not my friends. They are my enemies and I command them to go from me now, in the name of Jesus."
Praying over the audience in commanding the demons present to leave, Derek said something I had never heard before: "He is not your friend. You hate him. He has to go. Get out!"
What a strange thing to say! Of course he is not your friend. But the following morning, while driving to work, I went into my place of depression as I prepared for another difficult day of work. And I felt myself "putting on a cloak" as I mentally shifted into my now familiar state of depression. But something interesting happened - it wasn't there! I could physically feel that it was gone, and from everything I had heard the night before in the video, it all suddenly made sense. It was a spirit that I had allowed to become part of my identity, even if it was destructive. And it was surprisingly difficult to let go - I even found myself "missing" the feeling when I realized it was gone, because it was an easy excuse to remain in my present situation. This aligns to other accounts of demonic oppression I had read about, where the first step in casting out the spirit is that the person has to want it to leave.
Do you have any demonic spirits that have become part of your identity? Demons with names like Anger, Depression, Fear, Rebellion, Pride, Loneliness, or Rejection? Or maybe they are "familiar" spirits that have been passed on to you from your family line with a history of addiction, mental illness, or dealing with the occult. Pray the prayer I shared above, and tell it to go. He is not your friend. You hate him. And invite your true friend, the Holy Spirit, to come into that space in it's place, so you can experience the fullness of joy in Christ.
(For more resources and help with your freedom journey, visit Gateway Church's Freedom page here.You can also view Derek Prince's deliverance video in Part 1 and Part 2, or contact me for any other help you may need!)
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."- 2 Corinthians 3:17
- Hating God
"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their evil deeds will be exposed." - John 3:30
Most of us can relate to this statement. We remember saying this as teenagers when our parents grounded us, or did anything else that took away our budding independence. Or we experience hearing this now with our own children, as they react to decisions we make for their own good, and we try to keep them on the right path through correction.
Or maybe while you wouldn't want to admit it to others or even yourself, you hate God, because you didn't have parents that cared enough to correct you. You blame God for giving you parents that never showed love in their actions or decisions. They hurt you spiritually and physically. They got divorced and you felt abandoned. Even if there is a God, you don't want anything to do with Him because He wasn't there for you when you needed Him. You had faith for healing but saw your child die anyway. You lost your job and are struggling to find your purpose. You tried going to church but were hurt by church leaders and members. You see the world crumbling around you with death, war, and destruction, and don't see how God can sit idly by while it all falls apart.
But if you hate God right now, you may be closer to Him than you realize! Hate means to "feel intense or passionate dislike for someone." By feeling like you hate God, you are at least acknowledging His existence and influence in your life. You were created with a mind, will, and emotions, so God is not afraid of your feelings of anger or hatred. He desires relationship with someone who is passionate rather than apathetic or indifferent.
Something (or someone) is whispering lies to you about who God is. It may be yourself and your resistance to giving up control over your own life. It may be the devil causing you to question God's goodness in an imperfect world. Or the enemy of your soul is telling you that whatever hope there was, God would not want you now because of how you feel about Him. It's too late, you're too far gone.
But no matter how you feel about God right now, He has a different view of you. He only sees His son or daughter and wants you home with Him. He has this to say to you, taken from the song "Times" by Tenth Avenue North:
My love is over, it's underneath,it's inside, it's in between.The times you doubt me, when you can't feel,the times that you question: "is this for real?"The times you're broken, the times that you mend,the times you hate me, and the times that you bend.My love is over, it's underneath,it's inside, it's in between.The times you're healing, and when your heart breaks,the times that you feel like you've fallen from grace.The times you're hurting, the times that you heal,the times you go hungry and are tempted to steal.In times of confusion, in chaos and pain,I'm there in the sorrow, under the weight of your shame.I'm there through your heartache, I'm there in the storm,My love I will keep you, by my power alone.I don't care where you've fallen, or where you have been,I'll never forsake you, my love never ends.It never ends...
If you are in a place of anger and hate, I would venture to guess that whatever you are doing isn't working, and never will. It's time to turn from hate to something better, to love. God is not afraid of how you feel about Him. It may be uncomfortable and you may find resistance to surrendering to someone else, resistance from yourself or something that's holding you back. But reach out and ask for God's hand, and discover a path to love through his son Jesus Christ, the "way, the truth, and the life."
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39
- Strengthen Your Position
10/06/2018"Strengthen your position and see what must be done,because next spring the king of Aram shall attack you again!" - 1 Kings 20:22Over the last few years I have discovered the writings of several amazing church leaders that helped usher in the charismatic movement of the 1970s, including Agnes Sanford, Francis MacNutt, and Catherine Marshall. In reading Catherine Marshall's book, Adventures in Prayer, originally published in 1975, I noticed an advertisement in the back of the book for an intercessory prayer team founded by Ms. Marshall called "Breakthrough."Even though Catherine Marshall died in 1983, I looked up the organization on the Internet and was surprised to see that this ministry still exists today. Processing over 100,000 prayer requests annually, a team of nearly 4,000 intercessors prays individually for the anonymous prayer requests of six people at a time for 21 consecutive days, then rotates to another group of prayer requests.Regardless of whether you are on a prayer team or just spend time in prayer yourself, prayer is an essential part of the Christian walk and in strengthening the church body. When you take time to pray, you are engaging in battle with the enemy in the spiritual realms, and you need to be prepared for battle. The most recent letter I received from Breakthrough's Chairman, Brian Wells, was one I want to share with you here as you enter into battle through prayer:"The stories of battles in the Old Testament aren't only historical accounts. They also point to greater truths, showing how God works in everyday life and providing analogies for spiritual warfare. I recently read the following admonition in 1 Kings 20:22:Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram shall attack you again!I noticed God gave His people three instructions that apply to praying believers today:1. Strengthen Your Position: Jesus defeated the devil by knowing the Word of God. We must do the same. We must sow God's truth into our hearts by memorizing it, and confessing it with our mouths during times of peace. Then, when trials and temptations come, we will be equipped to speak truth against the enemy's "fiery darts" (Ephesians 6:16).2. See What Must Be Done: The Holy Spirit grants us wisdom in every area of our lives. As we seek Him and cultivate a relationship through prayer, worship, and the Word, the Holy Spirit will reveal His will in every situation, showing us His strategies for defeating the devil's attacks.3. Be Ready For the Next Attack: Why should we spend time seeking God? So we won't be caught sleeping! We must be not only ready for the enemy's attacks - and they will come - but we must proactively prepare for them. Don't wait for the test or trial to come. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," Jesus tells us, His disciples (Matthew 26:41). Get on the offensive, and take back what the devil wants to steal from you! Decree the spirit of slumber and stupor is leaving now!"I hope this will encourage each of you in your prayer life, or help you begin to seek God in prayer if you aren't doing so today. And if you are looking to make an even bigger impact on others through prayer, I would encourage you to join your church's prayer team, or visit intercessors.org to join the Breakthrough team!"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16- Adam Gellert
- The Power of Threes
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." - 2 Peter 3:8
Basically the concept is to go out in time in increments of threes, to evaluate whether the situation you are in today will still be of importance that far out in time. For example, he told the story of going to the airport with a colleague after a long week and looking forward to finally getting back home. Their flight was cancelled at the last minute, and they had to spend another night away from home with a re-booked flight not being available until the following morning.
As they were driving away from the airport and their frustration and anger started to well up inside, the facilitator said to his colleague, "This may be a good time to practice the Power of Threes." They then asked each other these questions:
The point is that if you go far enough out in time, there aren't too many things we encounter in our daily lives that should cause us concern and worry, as it will be something of the past over time.While I love this concept in dealing with most situations, I also cynically thought to myself, "But what about losing loved ones like the twins I lost at birth - it still hurts and always will. I guess this theory doesn't apply to everything..."But that's when God revealed the truth, and I quickly realized I was wrong. In the view of eternity, even deep loss will be erased from our memories. When I'm in heaven with my entire family, with everyone I've ever lost over my lifetime, I'll get to spend eternity in communion with all of them, as well as in the healing presence my Creator. And three hundred years from now, three thousand years from now, and three million years from now, all of the pain we experienced in this life on Earth will be forgotten. Take comfort in this amazing truth in whatever you are going through today, and with whoever you may have lost and desire to be with again!"Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over." - Isaiah 60:20-Adam Gellert
- How are we going to feel about this three minutes from now? (We're still going to be pretty upset.)
- How are we going to feel about this three hours from now? (We will be stuck in a hotel we don't want to be in and still be frustrated.)
- How are we going to feel about this three days from now? (We'll be home, and while still raw, we will start feeling better now that we're out of the situation.)
- How are we going to feel about this three months from now? (It will be forgotten in our day-to-day routine, but it might come up if something triggers a memory of it.)
- How are we going to feel about this three years from now? (We'll probably forget it even happened and it will be a distant memory.)