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?*”
Would you go to church naked? No?
Maybe you're shocked that I asked such a question. It's not the type of topic Christians usually write about, is it?
Well, I have a good reason for asking the question. Many people DO go to church in the buff. Spiritually, that is. They sit next to you in the pew, vulnerable and unclothed. Surprised?
You shouldn't be. You've seen them: believers dressed in their "Sunday best" suits and stilettos, with a look that is designed to lead you to one conclusion: they really have it all together. The truth is, not all of them are as dressed up as they think they are!
"Children should be seen but not heard."
Do you remember your parents or grandparents correcting you with these words? Popular from Victorian times, this phrase is still used today to correct or silence children. I distinctly remember hearing this from adults in my childhood, especially around the dinner table! Harmless? Maybe on the surface. I highlight the phrase today because it epitomizes a deep wound between the generations that needs healing.
I know of a family whose father would not allow his children to appear downstairs until he had left for work in the morning or gone to bed at night. These children rarely ate meals together as a family, since their father and mother ate in peace - alone. It made for a peaceful home on the surface - and angry children who grew up essentially fatherless. Not one of these children ever had a decent relationship with their father, and even as adults, only a fraction of the anger with their mother has been resolved.
You might think this is a rare exception, or just a sad story I chose to illustrate my point. Older generations might even feel justified; after all, if we cater too much to a child's emotions and demands, they'll never make it in this world, right?
Actually, the opposite is true. The world is tough enough on its own, and impossible to survive without some kind of family support. In the absence of their fathers, children turn historically to their peers. Devoid of wisdom and real love, they flounder. Not because they're not tough enough - they are, in fact, much tougher than their parents - but because they lack mentors and do not trust authority. I do not have room to cite the statistics of escalating suicides, self-mutilation, alcoholism, and addiction. These are children whose behavior has been modified by rules, but whose hearts do not trust their fathers.
What Does God Think?
God has harsh words for those who ignore the brokenhearted:
"They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace. "Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD.…
Today's younger generations have largely rejected God, believing that He does not want to see or hear them, either. Thankfully, He does see, and He does hear. He saw Ishmael when Abraham and Hagar abandoned him in the desert. His response was: "What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation." (Genesis 21:17-18, NKJV; see also Genesis 16:8-15).
Through Jesus, God revealed Himself as one who gladly welcomed children when adults turned them away. The healing of a daughter (Mark 5) was as important as the healing of a disciple's mother-in-law (Matthew 8). God heard a little boy who had the boldness to offer his meager lunch to Jesus. He honored the boy's generosity and sat down with him to the biggest family dinner ever prepared! (John 6).
A New Anointing of Glory Is Here
It is interesting to me that when Moses asked God to reveal His glory on Mount Sinai, God revealed the heart of a father. He stood Moses up on a rock (almost like a kid who needed to be lifted up higher), saying: "Here is a place by Me!" (Exodus 33:21). Then He covered him protectively with His hand as He passed by in all his wonderful glory. He declared Himself to be merciful, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in goodness and truth, and forgiving generational iniquities and sins.
Look at the similarities: Hagar was told to "lift up the lad, and hold him" with her hand, just as God lifted Moses up and covered him with His hand. As we reach out to the broken generations around us, this "glory" of God will envelop and heal every one we touch. We'll know the ones operating in the glory anointing when we see them taking extra children under their wings, as spiritual mothers and fathers. They'll be the ones repenting for the sins of their generation and praying for the addicts and the outcasts.
Think about it: God definitely did not exclude Moses from what He easily could have called "adult" conversation! He didn't brush him off, saying, "My ways are higher than your ways!" Instead, He entrusted the plans for an entire nation to a timid man who was once a murderer. Incredibly, He expects the under-qualified to rise up and become great!
I believe it would be impossible for God to fully release the anointing of His glory without turning the hearts of our fathers to our children. In fact, when God speaks in Malachi of turning families' hearts, He prefaces it by saying: "Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for Israel." Remember that first unveiling of My Presence! Remember the essential nature of who I Am! I am a Father who loves His children!
It is my fervent prayer today that the older generations among us be softened to hear the heart cries of the children. And that the younger, fatherless generations be restored to their Father in heaven, who sees them, hears them, and loves them unconditionally
c. Deborah Perkins, 2015
Deborah Perkins is passionate about helping others to connect with God.
She writes about knowing God and hearing His voice at His Inscriptions.com.
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As I worshiped this morning, the Lord surprised me by speaking through the words of a classic hymn. I was singing William Bradbury's familiar song, "Solid Rock," penned in the 1800's and recently revamped by Hillsongs as "Cornerstone." Here are the words:
I was reading the parable of the ten talents last week and I noticed something I hadn’t before. It is fear that causes man to hide. It is love that causes God to seek. There is no fear in love. But it is a choice to believe the love.
Fear causes us to hide ourselves and our talents so that God cannot use either. Jesus describes the Kingdom of God in Matthew 25 as a Kingdom whose Lord entrusts his servants with gifts, goods, or talents. Then he leaves. Those who use and multiply the talents are rewarded; those who do not, lose even what they had. There are several great principles in here, not least of which is the law of diminishing returns. In other words, you use it or you lose it.
I believe this is true in the area of prayer as well. But what causes a person to lose it? Even the wicked servant, who hid God’s talent in the ground, acknowledged that the talent belonged to God: “Look, there you have what is yours.” But just before this, he said, “I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.” (Mt. 25:25)
Fear doubts the character of God. This servant wrongly perceived God as a hard and unfair man, reaping where He did not sow. Although the seed actually belonged to his Lord, this servant resented, perhaps, the labor he must invest to grow that seed. He decided instead to hide it.
Adam and Eve responded similarly in Genesis chapter 3. As a result of their sin, shame and fear entered their minds, and verse 9 says “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the Presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden.” When the Lord called to Adam, asking where he was, Adam responded: “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
And of whom have you been afraid, or feared,
that you have lied and not remembered,
nor taken it to your heart?
~ Isaiah 57:11
We know that throughout the Bible, God commands us NOT to fear. Fear is not an option for the child of a loving Father. 1 John 4:18-19 says that he who fears is not made perfect in love. Why? Because fear has to do with punishment. The only one who wants us to be punished is the devil.
The love that causes God to seek us out when we sin is the same love that provides clothing as a covering for our nakedness. It is the same love that causes His Son to bear the punishment for our failings so that we don’t have to. (See Genesis 3:21 & Isaiah 53:5).
Compare Genesis 3:7 with Psalm 27. Fear induces us not only to hide ourselves, but also to provide for ourselves, usurping something that our loving Father planned to do. Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together in order to make themselves a covering. But it was God’s intention to provide our covering Himself: “He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)
Hiding and providing are God’s prerogative, not ours.
It is in the absence of God’s Presence that the enemy tempts us to sin. Therefore, our best defense against the spirit of fear is to stay in the Presence of God as much as possible. “Pray unceasingly,” we read in a letter to the Thessalonians. How can we do this? Aren’t we busy enough? To pray nonstop, engaging our minds and our mouths, would be nearly impossible!
Strategically, God has given believers one unique gift (or “talent”) to help us in this area: the gift of tongues. As we pray unceasingly in tongues, our spirits remain active in the Kingdom realm while our bodies are able to continue with whatever work we are doing in the natural realm. I believe that this particular talent is grossly underused, and has been even hidden by the church out of – you guessed it - fear. We fear the denominational division that comes from this kind of spirit-to-Spirit prayer, and yet it is indisputably one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal.
I have said often that the believer’s “secret weapon” is hearing God. Speaking in tongues enables us to communicate with God directly and to establish a “secure connection” in the Spirit which the enemy cannot penetrate. Think of it as Kingdom WiFi that is password-protected. Once we connect to this power source, we have access to all the wonderful wisdom of God, downloaded to our minds through our spirit.
God has reversed the curse that came from Adam’s original sin. The shame of eating from the tree of knowledge has been replaced with privileged access to all wisdom and knowledge through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In this Jewish month of Elul, the traditional season for the King to visit His fields, our Beloved is searching for His Bride. He is walking through His Kingdom garden even now. When He asks where you are, will you be hiding?
c. Deborah Perkins, 2014. All citations NKJV unless otherwise noted.
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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.