I will fear no evil for THOU (v.1-Good Shepherd) art with me, sometimes, when I’m really extra good and sometimes when I haven’t made anybody mad at me and when nobody has pulled out in front of me in traffic and when I read a couple of chapters of the Bible before I went to bed. No, there was an imperfect man (David) saying, “Though I WALK THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death”. It doesn’t matter who I am, it doesn’t matter what I’ve done, it’s all on Him (v.1-Good Shepherd). Because He (v.1-Good Shepherd) went to a cross called Calvary and there He (v.1-Good Shepherd) bled and died and on the third day after they laid Him (v.1-Good Shepherd) in a tomb He (v.1-Good Shepherd) walked out. And He (v.1-Good Shepherd) didn’t even have a limp. David said, “I will not fear a thing in this valley nor will I fear a thing in that shadow. I will not fear a thing that shadow brings against me or that attempts against me “for THOU (v.1-Good Shepherd) art with me”.
Melissa—Father God has been putting the pieces together all along, and you have a role in which to stand. Don’t give up now. Don’t believe that you’ve missed it. Let me say this again, the long lasting, deep, most satisfying things take longer because we have to have the understanding and character to not only attain them but to sustain them. How do you know that you have not been trained all along for the role you are about to receive? Is He not that sovereign? Is He not the Redeemer of time?
Kathy—Jesus lived out an example for the Ekklesia, or the Church, that He said He would build. He showed us how to bring God’s will into earth’s conflicts and contradictions. He demonstrated Kingdom authority every time He did something, whether it was turning water into wine or taking dominion over a fig tree. Every time He healed a paralytic or raised the dead or delivered someone from demons, Kingdom order came into earth. He was training His People that they could access Kingdom rule and power, and He didn’t take it lightly when His trainees did not pick up the keys that He gave them. Remember when the disciples woke Him up in the boat because of the stormy sea one night, He addressed His disciples BEFORE He addressed the weather! He reprimanded them in Matt 8:26 saying, “Why are you so afraid? Why are you such cowards?” Then in Matt 17:17, when the man brought his son with epilepsy and the disciples couldn’t cure him, again Jesus rebuked the disciples BEFORE He rebuked the demon. (AMP) He said, “You unbelieving (warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring the boy here to Me.” That same verse, Matt 17:17, isn’t any milder in other versions. One reads: “You unbelieving, corrupt and perverted generation!” (MSG) “You have No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things?” (CEV) “You people are too stubborn to have any faith! How much longer must I be with you? Why do I have to put up with you?” Jesus did not mollycoddle them when they didn’t pick up the keys and take authority and get Kingdom results.
When David spoke of the valley of the shadow of death he didn’t say, “I took two dozen of my best friends and two dozen of my best intercessors and we had a great time right down there in the middle of the bottom of that thing”. No, he didn’t say that because he was all by himself. But when he was walking through the valley of the shadow of death nothing changed with Yahweh, nothing changed with God Almighty sitting on the throne of heaven. Nothing changed, no plans changed. Nothing changed with God. David messed himself up for a while but nothing changed with God. God didn’t send for a scribing angel to come and bring extra ink and quill pens and scratch out a bunch of stuff on the record of David’s life. David didn’t mess up God, he didn’t mess up God‘s plan. Jehovah didn’t push back in some stops that he had already pulled out. God did not get messed up. God did not get discouraged nor did God get confused. God did not send back some angel armies that he had already called for, angels that were already on the line and ready to go. They were still on the line ready to go. David said, “Yea though I WALK THROUGH”. There is nothing in that passage that says he paused or that he stopped or that he missed a step or that he missed a beat but he kept walking through. There is nothing going on in this nation, there is nothing going on in Russia, there’s nothing going on in China, there’s nothing going on in any part of this world that says to you and I that Yahweh has throttled back and there’s a little bit of hesitation going on in the universe. There is no hesitation going on on the part of God. The only thing going on right now is people becoming fearful while they are dealing with that dark entity in the valley. BUT…. “I will fear NO evil for THOU art with me” (Ps.23:4).
Melissa—What God has intended, been building, releasing, putting in place, and establishing is about to be revealed over the remainder of this decade. It’s far, FAR greater than what we have been seeing unleashed over our nation. It’s also far greater than the waves we’ve seen in the past! His Kingdom is going to be seen at a measure we have not seen to this point. This. Is. Exciting.
As the people of God assemble today may they receive from the Lord Most High assurances through Holy Spirit’s presence that they are not alone in the valley of the shadow of death or any other valley. May His people call upon His glorious name and find succor for their souls and clarity for victory and the way out. Ps.28:7,NASB—“The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart triumphs, And with my song I shall thank Him.”
David said, “Yea though I walk. He didn’t say, “Though I step in for a moment and then step back out. (Most folks don’t get that kind of brief experience.)That valley is not two or three feet long, it is a long enough experience for a man to write, “I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death”. He was in that thing long enough to experience what that entity could press against him with. That shadow, that pressing is evil. The thief has come to steal to kill and to destroy (Jn.10:10). The word just before destroy is “AND”. He has come to do all of it and that evil that is in the valley is set on attempting all three actions. That evil has come to take you out through whatever means are available to it. It will use anything we will agree with. David was facing unconventional threats with that shadow of death. It wasn’t simply a matter of a fever or throwing up. He was in a low place, under the shadow where there was little to no light getting down into that spot, a place of little to no revelation, little to no relief, little to no encouragement. But his response was, “I will fear NO evil for THOU art with me” (Ps.23:4).
Melissa—We will increasingly become aware of that which God has been doing all along, coming to the point where we can see it. That divine unfolding is happening on a more and more steady basis. I believe we need to get ready for it to increase even more! I already know that next year is going to be something else. It’s not going to be a stroll in the park, but hear me out. What is opening up at the end of this year is going to be fuel for not only next year but the remainder of this decade! There’s no need to be afraid or worry about being ready. You are already ready. The sovereign plan of God is unfolding in our lives right now and His plan is far more powerful than any dark agenda in high places.
Kathy—In the next verse (Matt.16:19) we find a special and specific link between The Ekklesia and the Kingdom: Jesus said He’d give His Ekklesia the Keys to the Kingdom. For the full impact of that, of course, we need a working understanding of this Kingdom for which we have keys. The first mention of “Kingdom” is in Matt. 3:2. There, the Greek word for Kingdom is defined in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as: A) rule, power, kingship and dominion, B) the right or the authority to rule, C) the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah and D) royal power conferred on (or granted to) Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom. So giving His Ekklesia, or Church, the keys to the Kingdom means that He gives His Called Out Ones access to His dominion and power. He gives us the right to act as agents of His authority in the earth. Jesus went on to break that down for us that whatever the Ekklesia prohibits on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever they permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.” (ISV) The Amplified version reads like this: “Whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (or declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.” (CEV) Having the keys to the kingdom of heaven, means God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But he will not allow anything that you don’t allow. Again, I think you would agree that these things reach beyond typical or conventional church-goer thinking. Nevertheless, these scriptures are in the Bible — in red letters even!
Did David say, “I walked into the valley of the shadow of death and I went down to the bottom and got stuck in the muck”? Not at all. David said, “Yea though I walk through” (Ps.23:4). He did not have a pup tent and a backpack and a canteen and ready himself to stay there and grab a root and grunt. Rather, he said, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And while I am walking through there I am dealing with the shadow of death”. David was talking about a demonic entity. If anybody walked through the valley of the shadow of death at least once or twice it was David. Part of what he dealt with while walking through was the fact that it was a low place. But the word we hold to, the word we confess is about going ahead and pressing on through because you have the power, you have the strength, you have the grace (the enablement) to press through and when you have pressed through you are pressing through unto… Unto that which Father has been wanting to get us to for our deliverance.
Melissa—In a conversation with a dear friend today, regarding why some things (after much prayer) have still not happened, this hit me: We want fast answers (basically bandaids). The long lasting, deep, most satisfying things take longer because we have to have the understanding and character to not only attain them but to sustain them. This kept coming back to me all day. It has been one of those kinds of days where I have been hearing about the sovereignty of God unfolding in friends’ lives (that which God has been doing all along coming to the point where we can see it). It’s been that kind of day where one quietly sits back and realizes your mouth is hanging open in awe.
Kathy—The exchange between Jesus and Peter in Matt.16:17-18 (“I will build my church”) establishes three things about the Ekklesia: 1) The Ekklesia or The Church is a called out people rather than a local building designated as a House of God. 2) The Ekklesia or The Church is a called out people because they have the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the God-sent Anointed One and they know Him to be the Son of God Son, their Lord and Savior. 3) The Ekklesia or The Church is a called out people who will not be conquered when hell’s opposition enters their life and circumstances! Although this conversation between Jesus and Peter should take us beyond typical, local-church-thinking, there are people who go to church every Sunday and are not aware of the Ekklesia that hell cannot prevail against. And there are believers who simply don’t always remember that hell cannot prevail, especially on hellish days. (Personally, I can sometimes be a hot mess before I remember I’m a called out one that hellishness cannot overpower!) (More to come on this subject in my next post)
As the people of God assemble today may they fix their eyes on Jesus who endured the cross, despised the shame and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. May they know that Jesus rose from the dead because there was more to come.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him ENDURED THE CROSS, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb.12:1-2, NAU)
Kathy was my Dad’s church pianist from age 13. (As a baby, Melissa was put under the piano seat in her baby seat) We sang this one in a lively manner. But when we got to “You ask me how I know He lives,” we held “lives” for a long time and ended with a quick and hearty “He lives within my heart!” after which was an exuberant round (or two) of “Amen!” and “Glory!”.
He Lives (by A.H.Ackley; Melodies of Praise Hymnal p.86))
V.1—I serve a risen Saviour,
He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.
V.2—In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading
Thro’ all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.
V.3—Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
To Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.
YouTube Link to Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpJfT4_COzY
Kathy—In order to develop a working understanding of the term “ekklesia” we look to its first mention in Matthew 16. Leading up to this chapter, Jesus had already walked on water and fed the 5000 and delivered Legion from demons. So the reports of Jesus were spreading and crowds were gathering as He taught in open air meetings. This was the setting when He asked His disciples, “What are people saying about Me?” They answered, “Some people say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah or Jeremiah or some other prophet.” Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s answer showed that he had the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah that the Old Testament prophets had said would come and the Son of God Who was sent to be the Savior and Deliverer. Then Jesus said to him, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. (Matt. 16:17, Msg) In the next verse, Jesus said He would build His Church, His Ekklesia, His assembly of called out ones, with those who have that same unshakeable revelation of the Christ as The Messiah and Son of God, and these called out ones would be a company of people that hell cannot defeat or hold out against.
Melissa—Our part in the big churning is moving us forward inch-by-inch as God directs. It’s about being restored to take possession. Let me go a little farther regarding this place we will hold by mentioning the wealth transfer in Proverbs 13:22 that’s about to get real! I’ve heard about the wealth transfer from sinner to the just all of my life, but I’ve never seen it like I do now. The reason the rest of this year is so important is because the great wealth transfer is not about someone just handing money to us. It’s about us taking the place of the wicked and possessing the land for the Kingdom of God. Remember those seven mountains we have talked about for years? It’s about us taking the empty spots on those mountains after God deals out Job 5:12. Those who fought at Iwo Jima were part of the generation that has been labeled “The greatest”. Let’s be tenacious and lay hold of the grace that is readily available to us to be the greatest Kingdom generation yet!
God is doing such awesome things in this season in spite of the negative narrative. The Lord gave me a word last May toward the end of the month that we would be having to press through the summer. People have told me don’t ever give any more words like that! Yet, we pressed through the summer holding dearly to the Word of the Lord. But when the Lord gives a word like that it’s not like, “Oh no, how terrible, how negative. We’re going to have to go through some very unpleasant stuff that’s negative. I don’t know if we’re gonna make it.” No, that’s not what the word is about. The word is about going ahead and pressing on through because you have the power, you have the strength, you have the grace (the enablement) to press through and when you have pressed through you are pressing through unto… We press through unto… We press through to what God has for us and those whom He has for us to strengthen, encourage, equip and comfort.
Kathy—Life’s battles do not intensify just because the devil gets mad or has a personal grudge. No, the battle heats up by reason of the needed outcome. As surely as heat can determine the strength of a weld, so does the intensity of battle establish the strength and longevity of the victory. The vehemence of battle welds the outcome in undeniable purpose rather than just leaving us with fragmented memories of war. Heat is one of the components of long-term victory and intense battle yields intensely awesome results!
Melissa–Many seem to be speaking about an awakening. This makes me ask, what are we awakening to? The thing that hits me the loudest is that we are being awakened to the fear of the Lord. I’ve heard from several places that the church has to return to the fear of the Lord, and as He sheds insight on this subject it makes more and more sense why we cannot live outside of it. Well, we have been living outside of it for the most part and that just isn’t working. If we are awakening to the fear of the Lord, what have we been in? We’ve been operating in fear, but it’s a substandard fear. A substandard fear is fear of lack, death, pain, trauma, loss, etc. We, however, are waking up to what we were meant to operate in, which is the premium fear of the Lord. In this premium fear we operate out of awe, reverence, trust, insight and understanding. This is a totally different way of living! Substandard fear is unclean fear, but premium fear of the Lord is clean fear. This obviously leads to totally different outcomes.
May the Lord enable us to effectively get through to people. May our attempts to say and do helpful things get through the fog of what people are dealing with and may those attempts be enhanced by the Word and the Holy Spirit to aid in those persons breaking through into victory. “But when the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me.” (Jn.15:26, Amp)
Kathy—We usually plan “successful endeavors” rather than spiritual wars, but the spoils of war are often much more impacting and more far-reaching than our designs would have been.
Melissa—There is something big shifting that requires us to move forward inch-by-inch as God directs. It’s about being restored to take possession. There are things that each of us have been created to lay our hands to and we are about to be called up. As we move forward with tenacity and God frustrates the devices of the wicked, we will each begin to see our place in the upcoming future.