Every year, I take time to go away on several prayer retreats with the Lord. I especially like to spend a few days alone, prior to the new year, listening to God’s heart for the following year.
This year, God pulled me away in September, at the Jewish New Year, to speak to me about the year 5780 and our civil year 2020.
The Lord led me to visit Northfield, Massachusetts, the place where Dwight Moody was born in 1837.
Moody built a Bible school that overlooks the Connecticut River, and in recent years, there have been many revival meetings held on his Northfield campus by different Christian ministries. Moody’s birthplace and grave are in Northfield, along with his wife’s, and I prayed about revival as I walked the grounds.
Is it possible to love someone you have not seen?
Absolutely! 1 John 4:11 reads:
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
“Only 14 percent of young adults (ages 18-35) say they attend church because someone in their worship community cares deeply about them.”
What are you doing to reach the next generation?
Take a look around your church or small group fellowship. How many of your regular attendees are from the “next generation” following you? 10%? 20%? 50% or more?
If you see a healthy crop of young believers growing and being discipled in your church, congratulations. You’re a rarity!
As research shows, the majority of young people in our culture are suffering from serious neglect. Notably, they don’t feel anyone in church “cares deeply” for them. (Barna, 2019)
"Adjust and Trust!"
This is what I heard the Lord saying as I sat with Him recently. Many people are going through a season of transition where God's promises are visible on the horizon, yet not fully realized or accessible.
Flexibility and faith are essential in the midst of change. Do not be frustrated in the process but trust God to bring you through your transitions and into your promised land!
Here is a short word He gave me concerning times of transition:
My spiritual father has a favorite saying he’s used for years when things get tough. No matter how difficult the situation, he’ll put a big smile on his face and say, “We win!”
COMING UP THIS MONTH!
The next E3 Prophetic Training Course will be starting this October, in just a few weeks! Join us online for this 6-week training and mentoring class and discover how to hear God better for yourself and how to encourage those around you with your prophetic gifts! Want to learn more? Click here or on the photo above to visit our info page or to register for this Fall's E3 class. We will be meeting either Monday nights or Thursday nights, based on participants' availability. Contact Deborah soon to reserve your space!
THE THREE DOORS
You His Inscriptions readers are an amazing group of leaders in your local churches, families, and communities! It is you I want to encourage today with this special focus on ministry.
As I sat with the Lord in prayer last week, He gave me a picture of three doors. With the exception of our quiet times, these three doors are meant to remain open, the Presence of God accompanying us as we pass through each door into different spheres of influence.
The first door was the door to our hearts, or our "innermost room." Jesus called believers to go into this innermost place and close the door so that we could commune with the Father in secret. The Passion Translation describes this place as the "resting place of His love" (Ephesians 3:17), the source and root of all that we do.
It is like the "Holy of Holies" - a sacred space where there is a divine exchange of our sin for His righteousness, our unworthiness for His love, and our humanness for His supernatural Spirit. It is the only place in Scripture I know of where we are told to close the door, seal ourselves off, and be alone. We "cap" our well, so to speak, for the sake of replenishing and purifying what He has placed within us.
The second door opened to those closest to us: family and friends with whom we live our daily lives. This represented our secondary ministry, second only to God.
The third door opened to the world of our communities, churches, and nations; our "metron" or expanded sphere of ministry. While many believers place this sphere first, that is not the biblical pattern. (See 1 Timothy 5:8.)
What exactly is this ministry? It is the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).
The beautiful truth of the New Testament is that God's "door" is always open. The veil that separated us from intimacy with Him was torn at Christ's death, and we are now able to boldly approach His throne through Jesus's righteousness! Hallelujah!
Paul said he "resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) The message of Christ is our ministry! For our message to be authentic and powerful, we must ourselves be ministered to by the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3, 4, and 5 describe a new perspective on ministry. Ministry at its best is not an "office" or a title, but a position of servanthood. Here is what one of the most qualified Jewish leaders of Bible times thought about Christian ministry once he was converted:
The lives of the people you minister to are your "letters of recommendation."
As you minister to people, Christ writes "living letters" on the tablets of their hearts by the Holy Spirit, His "pen."
Any competence or skill you have (think of Paul's amazing qualifications, all of which he counted loss!) is the direct result of Christ's empowering Presence. HE makes you an adequate minister, not your works.
You are sent forth by God with pure motives, speaking out of your union with Christ. You are an Ambassador for Christ, yet everything you say and do is heard and seen by your governing King!
You are a mirror which brightly reflects the glory of God. If your gaze is not directed towards His brilliance you will reflect only darkness.
It is because of God's mercy alone that you are entrusted with New Covenant ministry!
You preach Jesus crucified, not yourself glorified. You give yourself as a servant to those you desire to lead.
At times you won't know what to do, but quitting is not an option. Failure is not an option, either, when you are listening to the Lord and following His strategies.
You may be persecuted by people, but God does not forsake you.
Your body may be wasting away but your inner man is renewed day by day.
You don't live a self-absorbed life but a generous and poured-out life, because you follow Christ's example.
You no longer evaluate or judge people by their external appearances. Your new perspective in the Spirit enables you to discern the heart.
In short, God has entrusted you with the ministry of OPENING DOORS to Him, however you do it. The flavors of ministry are as varied as the people God calls! You might paint a picture, write a word, grow a garden, cook a meal, counsel the hurting, teach the ignorant, fight for justice, build for the homeless or give to the poor.
Yet no matter how you reach out, you are opening the door to what you have seen and understood about Jesus in your relationship with the Word. You are lifting the veil for someone else. Through you, God is pleading with the world to be reconciled to Him. This is ministry!
I pray that you will take time this week to reflect on why you do what you do as a believer and a leader. I pray that your ministry will always be authentic, borne out of a love for Jesus that is cultivated in the secret place of the closed door. I pray that you will emerge from your "Holy of Holies" full of the Presence of the Lord, flinging wide every other door that might be a barrier to someone else who needs Him. May you have a ministry of opening doors for those around you, so that all may be reconciled to God!
As someone who has grown up partially deaf, it can be hard to imagine what life would be like hearing everything! Up until a certain point, there were sounds I had simply never heard: birdsong, for instance, the purring of a cat, the hum of a refrigerator, or the whisper of a friend.
Not so with God!
Praise God, we never have to wonder whether God hears the cries of our hearts, as this beautiful word illustrates. Perhaps these quiet-time whispers He shared with me will not be as revelatory to those who grew up hearing everything and wishing for silence. But for someone who heard mostly silence and wished to hear everything, these words are good news! I pray they will minister to your hearts as they did to mine.
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest and give Him no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.
~Isaiah 62:7, ESV
I believe that today the Lord wants to both encourage and honor His "watchmen:" those who regularly wait and watch for Him in prayer!
Most of you reading this have an interest in either prayer or the prophetic gifts, and many are called to be “watchmen:” intercessors and prophets for the Body of Christ.
Watchmen (and watchwomen!) are appointed by God to serve as protectors of the Kingdom’s flock. (See Ezekiel 33:7.) They devote hours of their time, usually unseen and often at night, listening to the Lord and praying His heart for His people. Because they make themselves available to Him, they become the first line of defense when the enemy tries to ravage the flock.
I saw this truth demonstrated dramatically during my prayer time one morning.
One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
Holiness is not a popular teaching in the church today. Our ears itch for powerful promises, personal prophecies, and protection from anything that would add to our already stressful lives!
To be holy - well, that seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? Since we live in a New Covenant age of grace, why focus on holiness at all? Isn’t holiness just the doctrine of legalism and works in disguise? We want to think about nicer things than dealing with sin: lovely and beautiful things, like Paul describes in Philippians 4:8!
What is holiness, and why do we need it at all?
A wise friend listened to me recently as I poured out my heart about a situation that seemed - despite all the promises of God - to remain stubbornly and decisively unchanged.
You know the kind of situation I’m talking about: no amount of praying, prophesying, persisting or proclaiming makes even a dent; in fact, it sometimes makes things worse!
I was fed up, confused, worn out and honestly annoyed at what seemed to be a brick wall I would never surmount.
Sure, God had given me some terrific and specific promises, but it had been years - decades, even - and nothing had changed! What was I to do?
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!
This timeless truth can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what’s in our hearts. Most people long to be heard, to be understood, and to make an impact. To do this, we need to pray not just for right thoughts and right words, but also for right timing as we speak. Our words must "fit" the moment, like apples of gold in settings of silver.
What does it mean to be a “burning one?” To be passionate for Jesus, bearing fruit in every good work?
There was a tremendous response to this topic in a previous post. I promised you I would share more about what it means to be a “burning one,” and I believe today’s practical prophetic word will be a blessing to you as you seek to burn brightly for the Lord!
“We are like common clay jars that carry a glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.”
Never is it more clear that we are “treasures in jars of clay” than when the pressure is on!
Our desire to love dissipates as we are squeezed, it seems, almost unmercifully, and what spills out of us is not love or power at all but hatred, judgment, anger, or fear.
“Lord, I can’t take this anymore! I am so stressed. People don’t understand. I simply can’t continue doing life this way.”
This complaint was mine recently, as life itself seemed to strangle and choke me. Pressure and disappointments from family, a lack of time for the things I most needed to do, some boundary issues that needed confronting, and - for good measure - several troubling issues with our house all conspired to crush me.
The funny part? That was the week the Lord whispered to me: “Write about love.”
For a moment, I wondered if God had missed something. Perhaps He was slipping as eternity wore on? Because at that point in time, my attitude was far from loving!
I had a powerful dream a few nights ago. I will share portions of the dream with you here, but the most notable aspect of it was that when I woke up I heard the Spirit clearly say these words: “The church as you know it is disappearing!”
Immediately I was reminded of the Scriptures. In Matthew 24, Jesus’s disciples are admiring the beautiful Jewish temple: its courts, structures, and architecture. Jesus turns to them and says: “Take a good look at all these things, for I’m telling you, there will not be one stone left upon another. It will all be leveled!” (Matthew 24:2, TPT)
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
I am writing to you this week from about 35,000 feet - roughly 7 miles up - in the air.
Two of my children and I are returning from a visit to North Carolina with my sister and her family. My younger boys have never flown before, and one of the most wonderful parts of our journey is showing them what it is like to soar above the clouds, in a place where bright daylight is radiant no matter what the weather below. We took off in a fog; we now soar in a luminescent sky with pillow-like clouds that beg us to somehow step out and walk upon them!
The contrast is amazing. My boys have loved every minute of their flights to and fro, with the change in perspective they bring. To be "above and not beneath" (Deuteronomy 28:13) is a blessing indeed, and it started with a simple choice to shift our focus.
"I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." -Matthew 16:19, NASB
Following is a word I received in prayer just two nights ago. I believe it will be a great encouragement to you as well! God is releasing great revelation to His people: prophetic keys that unlock vision, hearts, and even storehouses, all for Kingdom purposes! Don't miss your appointments with God, which have the potential to unlock so much for so many. Enter His gates with expectation, believing that He is ALWAYS speaking good things to those who will listen!
Press in! Press in! For the time is short and the Kingdom’s agenda still long before the coming of the Lord!
Those who linger behind will miss the joy of receiving My new assignments for age-old plans! There are still many people I wish to reach, and you must know the ones I am calling you to in this hour. Every person has a task, every believer a work to do to fulfill My hope in the nations worldwide. I can use you! I can use you as you are; only come to Me to hear and learn. Let Me touch your lips, and fill your mouths with good and mighty things!
Let My Spirit open you up in this hour to receive from Me and give to others. Without an internal opening up of your heart, there will be no external reach to the nations. Only what I will give you will have the weight and substance necessary to unlock the difficult “puzzles” of men’s hearts.
LAST CALL! There are still some spaces available in this summer's E3 Prophetic Roundtable Group! If you or someone you know would like to grow your prayer life and learn how to hear from God more accurately, I invite you to take advantage of the upcoming "E3" mentoring course.
"E3" - which summarizes the biblical mandate in 1 Corinthians 14 to "Encourage, Exhort and Edify" others, is focused on developing your prayer life and challenging you to move forward in the prophetic gifts - something every believer is called to do! Even if you've never had the opportunity to function prophetically, this series of teachings will help you see how God can use you to bless people in your sphere of influence as you share meaningful and personal words from His heart. You don't need to be a prophet to prophesy! You can develop the art of listening prayer and hear from God directly yourself. (See John 10:27)
This small group setting is ideal for those who want deeper teaching on this topic but also desire a place where they can ask questions and be mentored in their individual gifts!
We will be meeting Tuesdays from July 22 - August 27th, during the day, sometime between 10 and 2pm. (Exact time TBD by participants). Easy to join in via the Zoom app (download from Google Play to your phone or computer), so you can participate from wherever you are.
Here's what a former participant said about the E3 course: "This course came at the right time. I was in need of guidance, mentoring, teaching and encouragement. I received all of that! I am encouraged to step out and take a risk in the giftings the Lord has given me. I appreciated the detailed information, steps of action, and personal examples of what that looked like."
Interested? Register Now to secure a spot, or contact me first with any questions! Information on how to call in to each session will be provided once you are registered.
As I sat down to write and pray this morning, the Spirit of God impressed upon my heart to turn the pages of Paul’s letter to the Colossians into a prayer. With several translations of Colossians in front of me, I began meditating on the powerful words about Christ’s preeminence, transforming them, paragraph by paragraph, into personal prayers. I realized then just how rich God’s Word is when we pray it as promises over ourselves!
Never are we closer to praying the will of God than when we are praying the Word of God! The Spirit and the Word work together as we pray, making our divine inheritance manifest as we speak God’s Word back into His heart.
To pray the Word of God is to agree with what God has already said He will do, setting in motion spiritual blessings that have been seen throughout history and can be activated once again by faith.
Space limits me to sharing just the first section of my prayers from Colossians with you today. If you would like to order the complete booklet of "Pray Colossians!" please click below to purchase in our store.
May this heartfelt “prayer paraphrase” of Paul's first-century letter to the Colossians reveal more to you about your inheritance in Christ and build your confidence to begin praying the will of God over your life!
Not many Christians will admit to being angry with God. It seems unholy somehow, against the "rules" of Christianity that we have been taught. After all, if God is no longer angry with us, then what right do we have to be angry with Him?
Yet simmering beneath the surface, even the best believers have some level of anger towards God, anger they often won't admit even to themselves. Why? Because most of us, no matter how holy, deal with unmet expectations.
One of the greatest breakthroughs in how we understand God can also lead us to one of the greatest difficulties: God is a person! We can have a wonderful, personal relationship with God, yet that very same truth can become a stumbling block to us when we transfer natural human expectations over onto Him and forget He is also divine.
As I listened to the Lord last night, I felt His heart of compassion and I believe strongly that He asked me to simply pray for you today. Prophetic words are wonderful, teaching and devotionals help us grow, but there is nothing like the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit in prayer!
There is no distance in the Spirit (see Colossians 2:5; 1 Cor 5:3a). God is omnipresent and unlimited in His ability to reach anyone, anytime, anywhere. As I pray in the Spirit for you, and you agree with me, I believe I am effectively standing beside you, IN HIM. Our unity with the Savior means we are never alone!
Please join me in agreeing for these very biblical promises and blessings to take place in your life today! Read them out loud over yourself; insert your name if you'd like to make them more personal. They represent God's heart for you!
Living a godly life is actually quite simple: In every situation where you honor God, He honors you in return. One choice made for God, in the midst of many other potential choices, can mean the difference between a victory or a defeat in your personal battles!
So many of us long for more of God. More love, more intimacy, more security. I do, and I have talked to some of you who desire the same thing. The Holy Spirit is drawing us into a deeper relationship with a Father who SO loves His children!
At the same time, the enemy is launching wide-scale attacks to challenge that love. He’s presenting more options than ever to keep us from entering the secret place of God’s Presence, where we are renewed.
As I contemplated this, I heard the Lord emphasize one single truth: the power to fully comprehend God’s love begins with a life of consecration!
Far from a religious ritual, and beyond the obvious biblical requirement for priesthood, the Lord’s heart is to communicate how simple and how powerful our consecration to Him really is in our quest for more of Him. Take a moment to listen to His heart; to understand how HE sees consecration and the blessing it can be for you.
Evil roots bear bad fruit.
Have you ever said to someone:
“Well, that’s just the way I am.”
“I’ve tried to overcome ______ (fill in the blank), but I’ve never been successful.”
“It’s part of my personality; I’m a _________” (insert label here).
“I guess some things never change.”
Or has your spouse, parent, or close friend ever said to you:
“You always do this….”
“I wish you would stop ______.” (Fill in the blank)
“Can’t you see that you’re the problem here?”
I believe most of us have said or heard at least one of these statements in our lifetimes. I certainly have!
Typically, comments like these stem from issues we or others have noticed about ourselves that don’t represent our best selves. You know what I mean: the nagging wife. The controlling husband. The angry child. The fearful friend.
Ask any one of us why we do what we do and we’ll say, “It’s because _______ (name a situation or offender) made me do it. I was bullied as a child, so I never became who I wanted to be. My mother was always angry. My husband doesn’t help me around the house unless I nag him. You get the picture!
Evil roots bear bad fruit, and while it’s easy for people to spot the bad fruit (and want to throw you out like a rotten tomato for it!), it’s not so easy to deal with the roots.
Instead of thinking we are bound to bear bad fruit in some areas, we can take a more comprehensive approach to prayer and work with the Lord to destroy evil roots and establish righteousness.
Most Christian leaders I know, including myself, have a desire to see the Kingdom of God expand. Some want to grow their churches, some want to send missionaries to the field, some evangelize the lost and heal the wounded, and some pray for revival.
Each of us has a part to play, and every one of us will have a different vision. At the moment, I am called to write, while you might be called to share Jesus in your workplace. God invites ALL of us to help build His Kingdom, yet we ALL need to invite God into our processes first to see His Kingdom expand!
If you’re longing to bear more fruit for the Kingdom of God, these words the Lord shared with me recently will encourage you.
Have you ever taken a personality test?
People around the world have used personality profiles to understand each other better. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses has become a trend, especially in Christian circles. The information can be a helpful tool for teambuilding and for leaders, to know how best to motivate the people who serve them.
I have taken many of these tests over the years and emerged with a series of “labels” designed to define me. I’m sure you have, too!
I know, for example, that I am equally balanced between introversion and extroversion (although my husband might question the “balanced” part!). I love a good party, love connecting with people, but recharge alone and need some time to “regroup” after a series of social events.
I am a researcher, a teacher/trainer, a high achiever, a creative, a prophet with a pastoral bent, an intuitive “feeler” and a very passionate person. I have been called melancholic, choleric, a leader, a judge, a mystic and - help me Jesus - a "Beaver!"
What are you?
More importantly, who does God say you are? How does God define you?
Here is what I believe God is saying to us today: “I want to develop personality in you - not YOURS but MINE!”
God knows who we are. He knows what labels we’ve been given. He’ll even use our strengths and weaknesses for His glory. Yet ultimately, He wants to infuse us with HIMSELF, filling us with His Divine Personality.
Growth - both spiritual and natural - happens in the context of family. It is intimacy that brings healing, and accountability that promotes maturity.
Romans 8 says we are all children of God, adopted into the household of God and part of a spiritual "first family." Amazingly, God's family is - like some of ours - a blended family, and God understands the unique challenges we face as we grow up into His image and learn to love each other along the way!
While we will always be the children of a loving Father, our goal is maturity in God. God wants us to become mothers and fathers in the faith, just as He is! The way we do that is through our relationships with family.
Today, listen in as I share both prophetic words and experiences that will encourage you as you grow to maturity in God. Click here to listen to the Podcast on Youtube. For a written version of the prophetic words I share in this video, click below:
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.