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Kudos Not Necessary

David was not comforted in the valley of the shadow of death because he was surrounded by people patting him on the back and voting for him to be man of the year. At one point, his own son turned on him and tried to usurp the throne. David didn’t receive comfort in the bottom of the valley of the shadow of death because all of his wonderful elite friends and family were showering kudos and compliments on him, nor was it because all his bills were paid. He was comforted because the rod and staff (both used for guiding and defending) of the Shepherd was with him. That meant that David knew correction and he knew God‘s order. “Come on Shepherd, bring your rod and your staff. Just bring your presence, just bring your person, bring anything you need to bring with you for correction, for instruction, for edification.”

Preparing, Delivering, Training Us

Melissa—God has been preparing us, adding to us, delivering us, and training us for this moment.  We start by being aware of that so that we don’t skip ahead unarmed.  That awareness I’m talking about is a state to live in for the last half of this year.  Simply put, we can’t allow ourselves to shut down and just get focused on getting past this middle section of the year so we can finish the year on autopilot.  This awareness is something we can remind ourselves of when we get out of bed in the morning, “God is working something in me today that is propelling me victoriously into this decade I was born to affect.” Something along these lines would be a good verbal reminder each day.

God’s Will and Order

Kathy—We pray, declare, decree and take action with the keys (authority) God gives us, and in that moment the Ekklesia and The Kingdom intersect.  That is when God’s will and order and government manifest in the earth.  That intersection can be as personal as your prayer over breakfast manifesting healing for your headache or as public as a Supreme Court decision that came because your prayers are answered.  And before you think that’s impossible that you could ever affect the Supreme Court, remember you are the Ekklesia which means you are part of something bigger than yourself.  So when the Holy Spirit directs your prayer, you can be confident that prayer carries all the corporate weight needed to succeed because we can trust the Lord to generate any and all necessary agreement.  

Testimony and Encouragement

As the people of God assemble today may they hear the life-giving, powerful Word of God preached and may they rehearse it to one another as testimony and encouragement for strength for the battle and hope for tomorrow. May they approach the coming week and coming challenges of life with assurance that God Almighty is with them and will not forsake them. Deut.31:8,Amp—“It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].”

It Might Just be Weird

At the very moment that you find yourself stepping into the valley of the shadow of death, just start repeating the Word of God that does not fail, that does not change. “I will not fear any evil because THOU art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Now that may be just plain weird by most people’s standard: I am in the valley of the shadow of death but right in the middle of it I have comfort (Ps.23:4).

Battle, Training, Equipping

Melissa—What I keep seeing is the last stretch of earning our stripes for, dare I say it, the battle ahead. There is battle coming, but our training and equipping is gearing us up to take it head on.  I just have such a sense that even though the battle will be hot we will experience it like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, “… saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who had sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him,” (Daniel 3:27-28). In order to be like these fire-walkers we need to stay in our lane so the finishing touches can be put in place.

Delegated Authority With Keys

Kathy—It is Jesus that delegates His authority with the keys, not for us to become superman, but to become super-sons of God that don’t misuse the authority that He entrusts to us. When we discern things are not God’s will or there is obvious evil or conflict or contradiction in our face, we don’t take dominion because we are trying to rule the world (like some delusional dictator from the Dark Side).  We take dominion because Jesus is LORD and we are His Ekklesia, His called out ones entrusted to operate in His Name in the earth.  

Light When Facing the Shadow of Death

I wonder if David had seen by faith, or by revelation, Jesus already walking out of the tomb when he was in that valley of the shadow of death. If we will just open up our hearts and open up our eyes, even in the most pressing moments of the darkest hours, God will reveal things to us that we don’t know presently. It will be like the breaking of the dawn of the brightest day after the darkest night. Isa.58:8,Amp—“Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, and your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”

Assignments and Lessons

Melissa—If you are like me, and a lot of people I know, this has not been the most desirable decade for us, especially after wading through the couple just before it.  So that makes it even more understandable why we want to look ahead.  I personally would rather call it a wash, and finish the year on the couch watching holiday movies. Can I get a witness? The thing is, we can’t just sit back and wish for better times because there are assignments to be completed and lessons to be learned that are necessary for the whole decade.

Jesus Builds and Empowers

Kathy—The operations of traditional church simply don’t carry the power or impact that God intended for His Ekklesia/Church.  I am not suggesting that we strain or strive to not be traditional but that we yield ourselves to Jesus as He builds His Church/Ekklesia.  His building process is more than simply adding to its numbers.  Build also means “edify, mature and develop”.  So before we get determined and get a hernia trying to be the Ekklesia, or before we get zealous and start calling fire down out of heaven, or before we almost drown trying to walk on water, let’s remember it is Jesus that builds and empowers us as His Church.