In this Jewish month of Tevet, I believe the Lord is challenging His Beloved not just to grow up, but to give up! He is looking for those whose hearts are fully surrendered, or given up, to Him.
God's desire for your wholeheartedness is not selfish. In fact, it is your best form of protection. Your choice can be a matter of life and death.
As a Christian, the war you fight against a satanic enemy is a war over your heart. All other wars are rooted in this foundational battle over the dominion and territory of the heart. (See James 4:1-4.) God wants you to win this war. Yet in order to win the war, you must humble yourself and surrender to God. To fail to surrender is to become God's enemy.
The Lord once said to me: “A surrendered heart is all I need. No matter what you are going through, your surrender to Me is the key to victory. You may not have all the answers; you may not even see the way ahead of you, but a simple surrendering of yourself once again is the yieldedness that will allow Me to move you forward.”
He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, will have the King as his friend.
The current Hebrew month of “Elul” is such a beautiful time to celebrate the nearness of our King!
As I’ve meditated on this traditional Jewish time of preparation leading up to the “Days of Awe,” the Lord has drawn me back into the story of Ruth and Boaz. Within this ancient text are keys for how we must partner with our heavenly “Boaz” - King Jesus - today.
You may remember that like Christ, Boaz returns to his field at harvest time to check on his servants and reapers. Like Christ, he probably wonders: “Will I find faithfulness in my land? Will my fields be well tended and my full harvest come in?” (Luke 18:8)
What Boaz finds becomes the seed for an incredible story of redemption and new beginnings. Ruth is the eighth book of the Bible. While it is set in the time of the Judges, Ruth’s story has unique applications for us now.
In a time of economic and political instability as well as spiritual decline, a man named Elimilech (meaning “My God is King”), encounters a famine in Bethlehem. Yet instead of remaining in the Promised Land, he moves his wife (Naomi) and their two sons to Moab, a nation hostile to Israel. This is no easy, local move: Moab is at best 1800 miles from Bethlehem; roughly a month's journey on foot.
Whether motivated by fear or faulty human reasoning, Elimilech runs from a problem instead of facing it. His decision proves to be fatal: Elimilech’s two sons marry Moabite women (Ruth and Orpah) and eventually all three men die, leaving three widows destitute in a foreign country.
Naomi sums up the experience this way: “I left full (with a husband and two sons), but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi (“pleasantness”), since the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:21)
Naomi and Elimilech's story is a picture of a curse in action.
After these deaths, Naomi hears that God has actually been taking care of His people in Judah, giving them food in a time of famine. It would have been better to trust God than to run from the problems!
Think about it: in the space of just ten years in Moab, Naomi loses not one but three intimate family members. She is abandoned by one of her daughters-in-law and winds up penniless except for an unredeemed piece of land in Bethlehem. To reclaim her inheritance, Naomi and Ruth must begin a long journey back home.
How does this apply today?
The journey symbolizes an urgent “return” to God that many people need to make right now, lest we, too, encounter worse situations in dire times.
God’s mercy is still available even to unbelievers - the “Ruths” among us - who are hungry for the Lord and His Word. But wholehearted return is often a long journey through death, grief, bitterness of soul, facing the fears, and encountering spiritual famine or impoverishment.
The journey is hard, but it is meant to restore.
Throughout the journey, Ruth remains a faithful, comforting companion to Naomi, even pledging her life to the God of Israel. The meaning of Ruth’s name is “Compassionate Friend.”
Like New Testament Cornelius, Ruth’s hard work during the harvest season, her bold loyalty, and her generous devotion are noticed by others. They earn her, in the end, a fruitful place in the lineage of Jesus. Ruth’s son becomes David’s grandfather.
Returning to God always carries a blessing with it, and Ruth’s story illustrates just how wonderful the blessings of friendship with the Lord can be.
From Boaz’s first words in Ruth 2:4, we see a Christ-like figure who speaks blessings over his people. He cares for the condition of his workers, not just his crops.
As this symbolic “King” returns to his field, Boaz hears of Ruth’s faithfulness and submission while she exercises the biblical right of the poor to glean at the edges of his field.
When Jesus returns to the field of this world once again, will He find your faithfulness, too?
Like the servants with the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Ruth has used any skills or strength she possesses to labor from dawn to dusk for her food. As a result, Boaz blesses her with more.
Ruth is “promoted” from gleaning to reaping as Boaz commands his reapers to undo their work, pulling stalks of grain from bundles already gathered. She is promoted again when she moves from doing the work of reaping to bearing fruit herself.
Boaz’s interactions with Ruth release 12 blessings:
This is what Jesus does for His friends. While it’s easy to see the connections between Boaz and Christ in these twelve blessings, I believe that Ruth's story also holds significant prophetic weight for us in our current season.
Just as Boaz blessed Ruth with protection and provision, so God will protect and provide for those families who remain in or return to Him at this hour, even in times of famine. Whether this lack is experienced naturally or spiritually, the Lord intends to satisfy those who come to Him with bread from His table (Isaiah 55).
Christ teaches in Matthew 13 that the reapers are the angels. There is a powerful partnership with angelic reapers available to all believers at this time. Where you have labored tirelessly like Ruth, there is promotion and acceleration available to you as you lean in to the supernatural help God is providing through His Spirit. Ask the Lord for these ministering and reaping angels to bring supernatural help as you labor for your harvest!
We are in a time of “winnowing,” where wheat is clearly being separated from the chaff. Yet for Ruth and for believers today, the time of winnowing can become the time of promotion! It is at the threshing floor that Ruth receives her greatest reward: the promise of a covering and full redemption by her soon-to-be bridegroom.
Notice that Ruth had to walk in a precarious place of integrity and trust throughout her difficult journey. While she grieved, she retained honor for her elders; worked tirelessly for little pay while obeying the laws of the land; had the boldness to approach her “redeemer” undercover, in the darkness of night; and found courage to invite Boaz to partner with her.
Deep trust and strong faith are necessary components for relationships that work in difficult situations. Steps of bold faith - not running from hard times - will lead you into God's current places of provision.
It is through this tiny “community” of three faithful people - two of them extremely broken but yielded to God - that healing, restoration, and the continuation of a family line are preserved. It is through these three faithful people - Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz - that healing and restoration are made possible for the world as the generational line of Christ is continued! (Matthew 18:19-20.)
Faithful, intimate alignment with God in today's “winnowing” season is a key to receiving the fullness of your inheritance! God is waiting for you to ask Him for your full inheritance in prayer. Alignment with others who share a similar commitment to excellence and integrity is essential to your survival!
THE "KING IN THE FIELD" SEEKS FRIENDS
Proverbs 22:11 describes the type of person who has the King as his friend. It is someone whose heart, like Ruth’s, is pure, and who celebrates purity of heart in others. It is someone whose words, like Boaz’s, are governed by the law of kindness, even in times of deep loss, hardship, or alienation.
When the “King is in your field,” as He is in this beautiful story of Ruth, you’ll see a shift from poverty to blessing. Widowhood to marriage. Bitterness to joy. Gleaning to reaping. Scraps to sheaves. Famine to harvest. Isolation to friendship. Barrenness to fruitfulness. Vulnerability to protection. Alienation to covenant!
My prayer for you today contains words from the book of Ruth:
Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a Redeemer!
May His Name become famous through you. May He be the One who restores your life and sustains you in old age as you devote yourself to serving Him faithfully; in season and out of season.
May you never be afraid to stand your ground when famine or loss strikes. May you have the courage to always return to God, even if your soul must journey from very far away.
May you receive the fullness of your own inheritance in Christ as you seek to remain intimately within the protection of His covering. May you find refuge under His outstretched wings. Amen.
In repeated encounters over the past few months I have heard the Lord encouraging us to “open the door” to welcome His harvest. I hear the Lord saying: “Open the door! Go, stand at the door and watch: your harvest is coming in!”
On 7.27.21 I had a vision of the Lord Jesus, followed by two encounters in the Spirit which the Lord asked me to describe to you exactly. Please know that it is not my desire to call attention to the encounters themselves, but to the messages contained within.
I saw the Lord comforting those who were suffering from trauma.
We are living in increasingly difficult times, and as trials increase, the manifest Presence of the Lord is also increasing to release grace and peace to His people!
I believe the Lord wants to impart hope and healing to those who face trauma and opposition for His Name, and I am praying that these words will impress you as deeply as I was impressed when I heard them.
At the end of this post you will find a recorded prayer you can use to receive ministry yourself or share with a friend. (Click here for audio podcast or scroll down for YouTube podcast)
In this new era, I hear the Lord issuing an age-old call to His Body to return to our First Love:
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Revelation 2:2-4)
During a time of intercession today, I felt so strongly the Lord's heart for women who are warriors in the Kingdom of God! I heard Him say:
“I am bringing forth My MILITANT WOMEN! I am pulling out of obscurity women who have been hidden for such a time as this. I'm building an UNUSUAL army of WORSHIPING WARRIORS who have fended off such mighty attacks at home that they are UNAFRAID of what’s on the battlefield! The “messes” have prepared them for the masses; the “housework” for the workings of the Household of Faith.
Therefore be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord... be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, against one another, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. (James 5:1-11)
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.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Throughout history, God has looked for people who were either curious enough or sensitive enough to turn aside from their daily routines and spend time with Him.
Just as the Lord longs for us to turn to Him, so He also draws near to us when we do so, revealing Himself in greater measure.
Abraham showed hospitality to strangers and entertained angels. Moses turned aside to see a burning bush and encountered God. Joshua, Samuel, Daniel, Anna, Zaccheus, Mary, and so many others made quality decisions to seek God, and were rewarded for pressing in.
Their reward? To hear God's voice and to know Him personally.
For the past week or so, the Lord has brought me repeatedly into an unusual story: the story of Hosea.
As I've prayed through this “minor” prophet’s book, I have been so captured by the Lord’s heart for His Bride in this hour! Please allow me to share what I believe He is saying today, and join me in praying Hosea’s prayers at the end of this post.
Christmas blessings to every reader of His Inscriptions! In this joyful season I am celebrating the gift of Jesus Christ!
I have been meditating on the first chapter of Ephesians, which reminds us of our hope of heaven's promised blessings, our redemption through Christ's forgiveness, our adoption as sons and daughters of a heavenly Father, and our inheritance in Him.
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)
“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!
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.
An unusual thing happened the other day. The Senior Pastor of my church called me, out of the blue, to say hello. No agenda. No problems. No church business to discuss. Just a “Hello, how are you” kind of call.
That call was a HUGE blessing in my day!
Most leaders I know are pretty busy people. Heck, I am, too! When I hung up the phone after our call, I sat for a moment wondering: when is the last time a leader called me and didn’t need something? Wanted to just connect, for the sake of the relationship, not the “mission” or the shared purpose, whatever that may be?
Apart from a handful of very dear friends I know in leadership, I couldn’t remember. Leaders who lead with love are a rare and special breed.
"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..."
My oldest son came home from college last weekend. For me, his mom, it felt like Christmas! I cleaned the house, bought extra food (he’s 6-foot-1, folks!), and prepared a quiet place for him to sleep near his brothers.
My heart, which felt such utter loss and lack when he left for school five weeks ago, now filled with joy as I anticipated his return. I couldn't wait to talk to him, to hear how his new life was unfolding, to celebrate his growth.
As the day of his arrival drew near, I became almost restless waiting for him, like a child waiting for Christmas morning. Everything was ready; I longed to spring into action, to make the drive to pick him up, to hold him in my arms again. The appointed time could not come fast enough!
When at last that moment arrived and my boy was home, it was as if a hole in my heart had been filled. All was well again. Everything about him – the new growth in his beard, his manly smell, even the overstuffed bag of dirty laundry he brought with him made me happy and complete!
I am mom. He’s my boy. He’s back home.
If you spent any time in Sunday School as a child, you know that God is love. You know the Christmas story and the Easter story, and you know that Jesus died for you. But when the harsh realities of life kick in, sometimes these stories can seem like fairy tales.
When you feel disconnected from the Lord, or you feel like God doesn’t love you, what will help restore your trust in His goodness? What do you really need to know about Jesus that will keep you “on track” spiritually?
Here are "5 Essential Things" you to know about Jesus, things that will get you through the tougher times in life. They are not EVERYTHING there is to know about Jesus, they're just some essential things I believe will help you hang on when the going gets tough.
This week, I hear the Lord speaking to us of His enduring love. In the midst of a season that seems to derive its energy from excitement, anticipation, and creating special experiences for loved ones, I feel the Lord is reminding us of a love that is constant and enduring, one that doesn't depend on emotional "highs" to validate itself. The love of God is true and sure, constant and unchanging. Listen in to what He shared with me, and let the peace of God settle in your spirit, filling you with a hope that is far more exciting than what lies under your tree!
Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed.
There I was: eyes closed, hands raised, completely absorbed in the worship and the amazing spiritual atmosphere of the church. A powerful move of God had hit this place, and I was determined to press in and get my healing. Full of faith, I prayed in the Spirit. Others also prayed for me. The Presence of God was so strong in that meeting. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. And then...
When Jesus needed to amplify His voice, He stepped into a boat and used the water as His "loudspeaker" (Mark 4:1). When God wants to reach the multitudes today, He often broadcasts one message through several different speakers. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but God has been broadcasting the message of GRACE on various channels, from the East Coast to the West. I am hearing about grace everywhere I go!
Despite all of our divisions and denominations, the great test for every Christian is the test of love. Can we love without judging, when our brother believes differently than we do? Can we rejoice in the preaching of the gospel by those "less qualified" than ourselves? Can we allow for differences of opinion and interpretation while still agreeing on the essentials of the faith?
This is the great test for every Christian: not simply to preach the gospel ourself, but to allow others to preach Christ in the knowledge they have attained, however limited. Paul recognized this in his letter to the Philippians. Instead of being upset by those who preached Christ out of "selfish ambition" or even contention, he rejoiced that the gospel was being preached at all! (See Philippians 1:15-18). Sometimes, even those who attack our faith end up drawing more attention to it, instead of causing its demise.
The plight of Kim Davis, a town clerk in Kentucky (who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples), is a good example of this. As Christians, whether we believe her course of action is right or wrong, we should still rejoice that attention is being drawn to the gospel, forcing people to re-evaluate what they believe and to dig deeper to find out what the Bible says about such issues.
The simple, timeless truth is that we are not called to be masters of theology, but to master love for our neighbors. The golden rule of Christianity applies to everyone, not just to some. When we become absorbed in semantics and arguments over words, we have lost the essence of the gospel message. Each of us must walk with God to the degree or level that we have attained, says Paul, making sure that we share the unity of mind that characterizes mature believers. (See Philippians 3:16).
It is up to God to reveal the areas where we are in error or where our beliefs do not fully coincide with Scripture. (Philippians 3:15). Does this mean we cannot bring correction to our brothers and sisters in Christ? No, but the manner in which it is done must be loving, and it is best done only at the Lord's leading. We tend to err on the side of judging too quickly, rather than seeking God's heart for the growth and benefit of others.
Paul's response to the schisms or immaturity of fellow Christians was to pray for both knowledge and love:
And this I pray, that your love may abound
If we follow Paul's example and take our concerns to the Lord in prayer, we will find that God takes away our desire to judge and replaces it with a sincere concern for others. Love covers offenses. Love may also confront when offended, but makes sure to guard the relationship in the process, rather than burning the bridge.
No matter what issues arise in the coming days, the greatest test will still be the test of unconditional love. This kind of love IS possible, despite our human flaws, when we stop jealously guarding our "corner" of the truth and allow God to be God, perfecting and refining each one of us in the true knowledge of Him.
A Tennessee school district bans the American flag from being displayed on student vehicles. Planned Parenthood secretly profits from the harvesting of unborn fetal tissue. A judge orders a Christian bakery to pay a penalty for their decision not to bake an LGBT cake. The issues surrounding us in our world today are unbelievable almost, overwhelming. What should we do? Or in the words of the late Francis Schaeffer, “How Should We Then Live?*”
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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.