Rom.13:12-14,Msg—“The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. 13 We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. 14 Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
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.”
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.
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.
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].”
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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.
As the people of God assemble today may they lift up their eyes from their immediate discouragements and fears and look to the mighty El Elyon Who created heaven and earth. May they find comfort in being covered by His hand and may they be filled with the assurance that He has never failed in His promises and He is acting in their behalf. Ps.121:1-2,Msg—“I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
We are in an era of history when nothing less than the extraordinary of Heaven is required in the earth. We cannot and will not look for those things offered by mere religious sentiment that serve as nothing more than band-aids covering the unresolved issues and fruitless programs of western religion. We must lift up our heads from where we are and look to where there are Transforming Power and radical answers that change individuals and grip them with an insatiable vision for the Kingdom of Heaven in the earth.
Melissa—This time of year, especially when considering, “How are things progressing and what will the progression be like in months to come?”, the norm is to start looking ahead. There’s an anticipation of what is coming and what could be. And on the spiritual side of things there is a buzz with indications of new and unconventional opportunities within our reach. We have plenty to be excited and anticipatory about but, due to the nature of what is ahead in the next half, I believe we need to press in to Holy Spirit’s leading and stay focused on present tasks to finish it well.
Kathy—The rebukes of Matt.8:26 and Matt.17:17 can stir up a bit of intimidation or condemnation unless we step back and get our bearings. For one thing, we know there is always “wise insight” behind Father rebuking a son or daughter. Also, when the Holy Spirit unfolds Truth, it is never for the purpose of condemnation. I think the emphasis here is that where the Ekklesia and the Kingdom intersect, we are simply just “not in Kansas anymore Toto”! And not being in Kansas anymore is a good thing because that means we’re not limited to Kansas either as far as resources or circumstances or timing or outcomes. The lid is off when the Ekklesia and Kingdom intersect, and staying in the comfort of familiar, conventional churchianity is no trade-off for the awesomeness of those moments.
May is the month to pray for and begin looking for major events to take place in our nation that will affect the future of our families and churches and freedoms. Rom.8:21—“That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Melissa—How do we navigate the rest of this year? With a perspective shift. It’s time to realize that our Holy Father has been doing what He intended to do all along and we can be a part of it if we stop believing lies that say otherwise. That’s literally all it is. It’s time to shift from an American Christian view of what’s happening to His view. This happens by seeking Him daily. Now, this does not mean get up at 4:30 in the morning and spend an hour reading a devotional and praying. However, that’s not a wrong thing, but seeking Him is an all day thing. It’s about being aware that the Holy Spirit is here in this moment and will teach you and guide all day, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:13-14) This perspective shift is really a lifestyle shift. The Holy Spirit is leading us away from living as victims to a life of victory. Leave the past right here and be transformed into your next role as you seek Him.
This is big. This is going to be phenomenal. It’s showtime! Are you in?
As the people of God assemble today, may they encourage one another to take hope and determine to take courage in the Lord of Lords. Joshua didn’t have all the information nor all the answers for the challenges that he faced coming at him from the future but the word of the Lord to him was to go forward anyway. Josh.1:9—“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Ps.31:24—Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.
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.