Joshua thought it would be easy.
Fresh off an angelic commissioning, the successful crossing of the Jordan, and a decisive victory at Jericho, he was ready to take on the next city: Ai.
This commander had all his ducks in a row. Joshua had patiently served God under Moses for years. He knew the Presence of God intimately himself, and woke up early each morning to seek God. He was courageous and even received manifest angelic assistance.
Joshua was a good leader and a tenderhearted warrior who received detailed military strategies from the Lord. Everyone in Israel wanted to fight with him!
Yet despite an abundance of prophetic words straight from the Lord promising him success, Joshua and his army failed.
What went wrong?
In a vision early this morning I saw the Lord overturning tables in the temple. (Matthew 21:12-13.) The tables in the vision, He said, represented "trading tables;" places in people's hearts where the enemy had caused them to "trade" God's ways and God's goodness for demonic agendas. I felt the Lord's zealous desire to overturn those places where the enemy has taken over and "set up shop" in peoples' hearts. He longs to restore purity, peace, and prayer to His Bride!
As I prayed about this coming year, 2021, I heard a proclamation in the Spirit: “We have liftoff!” The moment I heard these words, I looked at my clock, and the time was 3:21 AM. I understood that the Body of Christ was now in a ‘3-2-1- launch” time!
I heard in the Spirit that a significant theme for 2021 was “delineation.” We will begin to see and differentiate between those who truly know God, walking by faith, and those who know or trust only themselves. To delineate means to define or describe precisely. We can expect God to bring fresh clarity this year where things have previously been obscured.
Exactly eight months to the day since the glory of God entered my home (see this post for the beginning of the story), I was preparing to take communion with the Lord in the early morning hours before dawn. To my surprise, I heard the Lord say: “I want to lead our time of communion today.”
As we shared the elements together He spoke these words:
“My body, broken for you, is a symbol of My love. It is the international symbol of love for mankind. It is the standard for love upon which all other models of love are (or should be) based. To fall short of the standard of the cross - of a sacrificial life - is to fall short of true love.
“Most people do not define love as “brokenness.” Yet a broken heart is one I can both fix and fill to capacity, for in its brokenness, all of self is poured out and there is room for My anointing of love to come in.
“Many people will never know true love because they will not allow themselves to be broken and poured out for another. Yet I tell you, every time you yield to My anointing for brokenness, your capacity to love will expand.”
A few weeks ago, the Lord asked me to set aside some time for Him, as I do several times a year, for a prayer retreat. Several days became a week, then two, of deeper encounters with Him, and I am now in the third week of intensely seeking His heart.
I have never felt more of an urgency in the Spirit, especially for our nation and the world, and I know many of you are feeling the same desire to draw close to the Lord in repentance and prayer. I believe our prayers can change even the worst outcomes predicted by man!
During the course of these weeks with the Lord, I was awakened one morning at 2 am. I often go downstairs in the early hours of the morning to worship, read, or pray, but on this morning I was led to go and share communion with Him with no Bible or notebook, just heart to heart.
I feel strongly impressed to share with you what happened during this time because I believe it is an urgent call for all of us as His Body.
For the past two nights, I have encountered the glory of the Lord in a powerful but unusual way: through the book of Ruth. Most of us know the story of Ruth and Naomi as a beautiful Old Testament "gospel" of redemption through Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer. It is impossible not to notice the love story foreshadowed between our heavenly Bridegroom and His Bride!
Yet this week, the Lord has been speaking to me about deeper truths contained within the lives of these two women; insights that have direct application to us as redeemed people called to reflect the glory of the Lord in a dark time.
The book of Ruth is an allegory: a Jewish parable containing hidden keys for a life of faith. I invite you to walk with me for a moment through its pages, allowing the Lord to inscribe on your hearts the very personal and prophetic messages He has for you today!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His Counselor?
- Romans 11:33
I am sitting by the sea today, as so many times our Savior must have done. It is chilly and windy during this off-season; more suited to snowboarders than sunbathers. Yet the sea still glistens, its waves crashing to the shore as they have done for countless seasons before.
How vast an expanse is the ocean, mighty enough to unleash powerful destruction, yet faithfully contained within its God-ordained boundaries. The sounds of water, the song of birds, the beauty of creation - all of the sea's peaceful rhythms soothe and comfort me.
As I watch, I remember that the very first city Jesus ministered to after His trial in the wilderness and rejection at home was Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, a city whose name means “Village of Comfort.”
Here among the fishermen is where Christ would find His first disciples. Here Jesus would walk on water, calm the storm, and feed the multitudes. Here, I am reminded again that faithfulness leads to revival.
In the next few posts, I will be focusing on three spiritual roadblocks that can hinder your revival. These three are not the only barriers to revival, but they are things I felt the Lord wanted to us to focus on here at His Inscriptions. The first barrier? Unforgiveness.
How familiar and comforting are these words from the prophet Isaiah!
I have been quoting this verse all week, praying it over myself as I battled sickness that overtook my son and me. Weary and decidedly un-energetic, I knew I needed God’s strength!
Then a dear friend called me and said he had been quoting that same verse this week, as he was in severe pain and could not walk. It is a wonderful promise to those who love the Lord. The Bible promises renewal, not just in our minds, but in our physical bodies!
When I woke up this morning, however, it was as though the Holy Spirit were urging me to dig a little deeper. “Those words in Isaiah are not reactionary,” he said, “but preemptive.” Isaiah does not envision only a battle-weary tribe of godly people, clawing their way desperately back into God’s renewing presence! (Although historically, that is what happened.)
No, in fact, Isaiah’s words also envision a victorious people, whose “waiting upon the Lord” connects them daily to a God who is “Everlasting;” who never grows faint or weary Himself (verse 28).
In other words, we are not just the weary who hope to run again; we are runners with the potential to not grow weary in the first place!
Why? Because we pray.
Strength In the Waiting
We may begin in weakness, but our time with God enables us to persevere. Our waiting on God precedes our running and precludes our weariness. All our strength is predicated on waiting!
Waiting on God may seem like a slow start to your day when you see those java-loaded, caffeine-energized sprinters heading out the gate, leaving you in the dust of their wake! But the quiet peace and renewed energy you gain from those first moments alone with God will cause you to keep running when the golden hours come, overtaking those who have long since dropped in exhaustion by the wayside.
Not only that - but if you do fall - when you are wearied beyond belief and think God has forgotten you, Isaiah reminds: “His understanding is unsearchable.” (40:28) Compassion, not condemnation, is extended to you like a firm and sturdy hand, lifting you back to your feet.
No matter how you look at these verses - whether preemptive or redemptive - they carry tremendous hope. Either God will sustain us as we run because we waited on Him and received our sustaining strategy; or He will come to us and assist us when we fall. There is no situation in which you could find yourself where God cannot renew or restore you.
For this reason, Isaiah says, “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God? Do you not know? (Hebrew yada, to know intimately) Have you not heard? He is your EVERLASTING God!”
In case you missed the irony of this verse, Jacob and Israel are the same person! (Genesis 32:27-28). Jacob represents our fallen nature, the soul that cries out in desperation to God. Israel, however, is the victor who emerges after that struggle, the one who learns to run his race successfully in the strength of the Lord. No matter how you feel today, or whom you most identify with, God is still your God!
Wait a Minute!
God has said that this is the year of “recompense.” (Isaiah 35:4) Do you believe He is renewing and restoring all things to you, both physically and emotionally? Do you rely on Him to help you walk - even run - through situations that made you stumble before? Are you believing Him for the prophetic strategies and insights that come from having divine perspective - the eyes of an eagle soaring above? Most importantly, is your life and are all your movements founded on the directions you receive as you wait upon the Lord?
For Isaiah, prayer precedes our daily walks and runs for a reason. Waiting on the Lord is preemptive. It protects us from the burnout and weariness that others experience in their eagerness to run ahead. Prayer is also redemptive when we run ahead of Him ourselves. We could ask for no greater God than this, whose compassion never fails and whose strength towards us is undying!
Teach us, Lord, to wait!
"Sharing or exchanging intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental or spiritual level."
The above dictionary definition could easily describe the life of prayer. After all, prayer is the place where we develop "Life-Giving Communication with God" (our His Inscriptions mission), sharing our thoughts and listening to God's heart.
Actually, the definition above is not for prayer, but for communion! Far from just a sacred sacrament, communion is one of the most powerful ways to connect with God in prayer.
I often take communion as part of my personal prayer time. It is a way of remembering the Lord's sacrificial death and renewing my commitment to the New Covenant. As I meditated on His death once again this week, the Holy Spirit highlighted these words: "The Lord Jesus, on the same night He was betrayed, took bread..."
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
As a maturing believer, I have a burning desire to see and hear God more accurately. I often ask to know more of God. Sometimes I hear from you readers asking similar questions: How do I know what God wants me to do? How can I be sure I will see Him leading me, or hear Him guiding me? I want to know Him, but I have trouble seeing Him!
God’s solution to these everyday questions is a secret that Jesus revealed in the Sermon on the Mount.
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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.