It was a great day. Then it happened. Someone did something to me. At first I was taken back, but then I let it go. Normally, I can be a forgiving person, so I went about my tasks. I was confident that I was going to forget it.
A few minutes later it was still affecting me. I was hurt. I wasn’t focusing on what I needed to be doing and I was sad. It was hindering me. I was at work and noticed it was trying to interfere in the way I was interacting with people and how I did my job. I prayed and asked the Lord to help me concentrate and work with a good attitude. He answered me and said, “rest in me, don’t let it hinder you, keep doing what you know is right and godly, and we will work on it some more when we are alone.”
Later, I began seeking the Lord and I knew I needed to work on this. It bothered me that I hadn’t shaken it off, and I couldn’t simply ’let it roll off like water on a ducks back.’ I still felt bad about what happened. While trying to forgive, I tried to reason with the Lord and asked if He could have that person apologize to me and then I could then forgive them? That wasn’t a good idea… Then I would be holding a grudge, waiting around for something that may not happen. So there it was, weighing me down, stealing my energy and my joy.
I sought out some Scripture and asked the Lord to help me again. I knew I needed a heart to forgive.
One of the verses that I usually like, when I need to forgive, is where the Lord says that if I don’t forgive, that He won’t forgive me. It’s a good reminder that I have also needed forgiveness from others.
“And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.” Matthew 6:14-15
Since I know that I have needed forgiveness for things that I have done, this a verse that makes sense to me. This was helping but, I needed to keep searching. Another verse is when the Lord is asking the Father to forgive others while He is on the cross.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
This is a crucial moment in understanding where Jesus is coming from and how He is the One who embodies forgiveness. It is who He is. So, I asked the Father to give me a heart of forgiveness. The release didn’t come right away. I complained to God and told Him that this person should know better and asked why they aren’t sensitive enough to say they are sorry.
Then I read this verse:
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
It was then that I realized that it really didn’t matter if they say they are sorry. What matters is that I need to allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in my heart. Yes, I was trying, but how does it happen?
I knew that if I didn’t find the heart of the Lord in this matter that it was going to hinder any future interaction with this person. The Lord showed me this could affect me with other people as well because it was draining my energy and robbing me of His joy in me. I had to get free, but how?
I read over the verse again and felt the Lord highlight and remind me of this point in the verse; I want to be His daughter who loves people and one who allows His love to prosper in it’s work toward others. It was like a light came on.
My heart yielded and surrendered to His Word. When I realized I have a desire to be a vessel of His love and that the Holy Spirit can put that love in my heart; He did just that. At that point, I
found that I was extending His love to this person…in my heart. The Lord heard my prayer. My joy in the Lord returned.
When I come to My Heavenly Father and ask for His help, He is faithful to work in me. He is able to put His love in my heart and extend forgiveness.
For our people must learn to help all who need their assistance, that their lives will be fruitful.
This verse is from the Living Bible. The translation makes it easier to understand what Paul was conveying to the church.
There are two quotes I hang onto in life, one is by Mother Theresa. While traveling by plane someone asked her, “How do you do ministry?” Her response was, “Find something to give and then give it.”
The second quote was by a friend of mine, “It’s never convenient to do ministry.”
By that, he meant that when people need your help it doesn’t just conveniently place itself in your schedule for the day. Usually, it happens after you have worked all day and feel like resting, then you suddenly get a call.
Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to him.
I have to quote this verse to myself when I don’t feel like helping others. Sometimes I get in a mental rut of feeling used by people. Then with the proper attitude adjustment, I realize:
This Resurrection week I find myself pondering on some things in the Bible and a message from Lance Wallnau, which brought spiritual insight. I am also enclosing an article from Rabbi Ari Kahn below concerning why the 10th plague came against the first born.
Today, would you will consider grabbing some oil and putting it on the top and sides of your entrance doors? Prophetic acts are powerful in the sight of Yahweh.
Keeping our Nation, our President and our Leaders in my prayers.
Come Lord Jesus!!!!!
Passover Call to Prayer For Our Nation
When warfare and stress hit we are tempted to revert back to the old nature to get relief
It has always bothered me why all of the first-borns in Egypt had to suffering in that final, devastating plague. There is no mention in the verses of the common Egyptian being particularly bad to Hebrews so as to deserve such punishment. Furthermore, other Egyptians – like Pharaoh’s daughter who rescued Moses – actually did good. It appears that only Pharaoh and his governmental apparatus seemed bent on evil. Could you explain?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
The killing of the first-born stands out from all the other plagues as Divine retribution directed toward Pharaoh and all of Egypt. The Midrash (based on the verse, “Behold, I will slay your son, even your first-born” – Exodus 4:23) teaches that initially when God sought to bring the plagues upon Egypt, He intended to commence with the plague of the first-born. (The other plagues were a reaction to Pharaoh’s insolence.)
In order to fully understand this plague we must appreciate the hierarchy within Egyptian civilization. It was a society ruled by primogeniture. The first-born had absolute power within the family unit. Pharaoh was the first-born of the first-born of the first-born. It was from this birthright that he exercised power.
The attack against the first-born was therefore a powerful polemic against the entire culture of Egypt. The eldest ruled the younger siblings. This is why having slaves was so important to the Egyptians. This gave the lower classes someone else to control and dominate.
The Netziv (Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin) explains this idea based on the song that was sung after the splitting of the sea: “Then sang Moshe and the people of Israel this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying, I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously… the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea.” (15:1, 15:21)
The main part of the song seems to be the idea of “horse and the rider.” The Netziv explains that this verse encapsulates the defeat of Egypt: the philosophy of the “horse and the rider.” As the rider rides on the subjugated horse, so must the rider listen to the officer, and that officer listen to the general, and that general listen to the commander-in-chief.
According to Netziv, this describes the horrors of the Egyptian society, a series of horse and riders, where the Jewish slaves became the bottom of the proverbial “totem pole” – the lowest horse supporting the entire structure. This is why they were loath to release the slaves, since the entire society would crumble without them.
We now understand why the death of the first-born was so essential to the Exodus, and why the splitting of the sea evoked such a powerful response. The “horse and rider” philosophy had sunk at sea. The death of the first-born was the beginning this final chapter of liberation, where the leading “riders” were to die.
We now understand that the death of the first-born was not just another sign of Divine might. No, this plague struck at the very epicenter of the Egyptian civilization, and paved the way for liberation.
In Judaism, as we have seen numerous times, birth does not guarantee position. A Torah scholar who has tainted lineage takes precedence over a high priest who is ignorant.
The entire book of Genesis, in fact, is a polemic against the older son. Abraham was not a first-born. Isaac was not a first-born. Jacob was not a first-born. Joseph was not a first-born. Even King David was not a first-born. (Midrash Rabba – Bamibar 4:8)
It is only Jacob’s willingness to serve God which transformed him into a “first-born.” On the other hand, “real” first-borns have lost their status. Originally the Temple service devolved upon the first-born, but when they committed the Sin of the Golden Calf, the Levites were privileged to enter in their stead. (Midrash Rabba – Bamidbar 4:8)
One day the Messiah himself will merit to be called a first-born. He will help teach the world that being a child of God transcends lineage. Indeed, being a first-born of God is about how we lead our lives – the manifestation of the image of God within, not a question of sequence of birth.
I pray we will trust in no other god’s, but Yahweh And begin a cleansing and purification of our Nation In the Name of Yahshua Father heal us and set our heart and feet back on Your path
There was a day that Satan came before the Lord, and the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my church, how they gather every Sunday, and praise and worship My Holy Name. They do this year in and year out, every Sunday morning, all over the world. From the time the sun rises in the east until the sun sets in the west, My Name gets glorified, like a wave washing over all the earth.”
Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Have you not blessed them with health and wealth and prosperity, with which they have built beautiful church buildings, and filled it with amazing technology? Have You not blessed them with all manner of talents that they bring together in these beautiful churches they built and worship You with beautiful music that appeals to their senses?”
“But stretch out Your hand, and take all that from them, strike them down with a plague or even just the fear of a plague, and they will go quiet and worship You no more. This wave of worship, running from the east of the earth to the west, every Sunday morning will stop, and all will go quiet. Who will worship You then? Who will still make Your Name great?”
And the Lord said to Satan, “They are in your hand.” So Satan unleashed a deadly virus upon the earth, and soon churches closed all over the world. Everyone, Christians and gentiles hunkered down in their homes, and everything went quiet… and Satan was standing there, watching, waiting, all the angels were standing in heaven, watching, waiting and God was standing there, watching, waiting… as a great silence fell over all the heavens and all the earth.
Then one angel called out; “Listen…!”, and another called out; “I hear it too… it’s coming from the east”. In a small living room, in a locked up house, came the sound of a piano being played, and a voice singing;
“Holy, holy, holy, Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity!”
And another angel called out “Listen, over there, in the west!” And the sound of a guitar, coming from a bedroom could be heard with a voice singing;
“All hail King Jesus, All hail Emmanuel!
Kind of king, Lord of lords, Bright Morning Star!
And for all eternity, I’ll sing Your praises,
And will reign with You, throughout eternity”
And slowly, from all directions on the earth, the sound of instruments and voices could be heard, louder and louder, until it became a symphony of worship, rising up to heaven. A cacophony of song, praising God, declaring His greatness, thanking Him for His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness. Songs of dedication and declaration, songs of encouragement, songs filled with the joy and peace that can only come from God, sung by thousands of men and woman, young and old, wherever they were, accompanied by whatever means they had.
And God turned to Satan and said; “Did you notice… today is Tuesday! Now, My church, having been freed from all the business that filled their lives, worships Me every day of the week, for they still know that ‘I Am’! The wave of worship that runs from sunrise in the east until sunset in the west now circles the earth, every day, as the earth circles the sun.”
And all of heaven fell down on their faces and worshipped God, calling out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His Glory!”. And Satan turned and walked away, defeated as he has been since the day of Calvary.
A word from Anton van Reenen:
“I want to encourage you today, in this unprecedented time in the history of man, to not let your voice go quiet, to not pack your instrument away. All of creation and all of heaven is standing still right at this moment, waiting, watching… Now is the time to make your voice heard throughout the heavens, now is the time to pour out your heart before God.
“There is now no audience, there is no tech, it’s just you before the Lord. Seek Him in this time, draw near to Him through worship. If you have never done this before, discover the beauty and blessings that come with intimate, personal worship of God.”
Raymond E. Ashmore, D.Min. Imparting Life Ministries firstname.lastname@example.org Across The Earth Hillsong Worship
In reading scripture this morning over and over I read where the Lord said that various kinds of things would come upon a nation as a result of the people’s refusal to “return to the Lord God” and instead worshipped people and things, conjuring up demonic spirits and listening to people speaking who spoke lies and operated in magic and offering up of their children and their own bodies to the pleasure of idols of wood and stone ( commerce, entertainment, etc) controlled by evil spirits.
After 9/11 did we in the USA or elsewhere in the world, return to the Lord God whose name was invoked upon this nation in its inception? When on 9/11 when those of a foreign godless nation made their way through our system of pilot training and managed to fly planes and bring the death and devastation to multiplied thousands in the United States, did we return to the Lord God?
While there was a resurgence of church attendance did we as a people or nation return to the Lord? NO, instead leaders of our government said, Yes, the bricks have fallen, we recognize an enemy has attacked us. But our nation’s response was…we will rebuild, we will not yield to God but will amass our resources and build our manmade systems back up even better and will replace the ancient markers that were destroyed with our own choice of remembrances. And we will work vengeance upon those nations from which those men who flew the planes had originated.
We did not bow before the Lord our God and the lives lost in America’s longest war started as a result against a history of odds against such success of a war in that nation, live lost which continue to this day to mount. We did not bow.
Instead we divided ourselves over how we would restore America back to the prominence it once had, who the enemy was and how to protect ourselves, and how much money to spend trying to protect ourselves from those enemies who have come through the breaches in “the wall of the city.” The Lord God has said..Except He keep the city, the people labor in vain!!
And now a global disaster out of the heart of evil in the East has come killing thousands through a plague called covid19. Why is this different from the annual flu virus that has plagued nations around the world each year and killed thousands?
It is because mankind has “no sense of control” over this new virus, not that man has had control over other flu like diseases or things like driving while intoxicated, heart disease, domestic violence, homelessness or adultery or any other of our patterns of sin called iniquities that kill thousands and millions annually around the globe.
Instead we blame one another, we legislate controls over man’s fleshly wants and desires and “freedoms” uselessly, and then comes covid19 exposing the weakness of all fleshly efforts at control. Yet we continue.
YET when men pray, men raised in the house of the Lord, who bear leadership in the body of Christ…how do they pray and invite others to pray? What do we hear…cries for help, for containment, to have immediate solutions to shortages, to vaccines, to medicines.
Covid19 is helping us see the failure of governments around the world to have control over such a thing as a virus, much less human lusts and desires. And our natural response…more government!
In ancient human elemental times 19 was often thought of as the number of surrender, a prime number only divisible by itself and #1. Even among men, it is often considered the sign of completion..leading to a new beginning.
In scripture instead of looking at 1 and 9 as man does, it deals with 10 and 9.. representing God’s perfect order in regard to judgment in the bible. And 19 is the basis of the way of tracking years …a 19 year time cycle….Ps. 19 declares that the heavens and the earth and everything in it, is testimony to the existence of glory of the power of God.
So then what is God speaking to us about?
We are a weak and frail people. We have no control: governments have no real control. We as humans struggle to even deal with our own personal lusts and desires, or our tongue which cannot be controlled by man but only by the Holy Spirit.
Yet, in the face of this global virus we’re crying out to the Lord God to “help us. Help us get through this virus…to heal us, to deliver us from this consequence of evil in the earth. This is not something God originated, but it originated in the heart of evil and is perpetuated by human weakness and failure to yield in our helplessness to the Lord who is in Control, who raised up governments to serve His purposes both good and bad for the ultimate saving of a godly remnant upon the earth to serve him for all eternity.
Does this mean we don’t pray healing into and upon those who are sick? Of course not!! That is our responsibility as citizens of the Kingdom of God…the reason the Source of Life himself is seeded into our spirits and it’s our choice and responsibility to release Him in power of healing, deliverance, encouragement around the world that it might bear witness that HE IS THE LORD GOD.
But to pray for release from these consequences of man’s self centered ways instead of repenting of our iniquities, our self centeredness as individuals and as a nation only reveals the carnal self centeredness of our lives, even those of us who proclaim the name of the Lord God. God is our healer and our deliverer…but he is also the one who shed the blood of his son that we might be freed from the power of our sins and iniquities and free from transgression to walk in relationship with Him eternally. Then we are free to move in all the power and authority that He is and has put in us to bless the nations.
This is the time to realize we are members of a different Kingdom, not like the kingdoms of men where these viruses and the sword and the wild beasts and pestilences abound. How we learn to walk in the Kingdom of God in 2020 is part of the invitation that 19 invites us…surrender…surrender the total lack of control we have as human being over anything, especially ourselves, much more a virus or the evil of the nation from whence it appears to have originated. To think that we as a nation can deal with China and Russia from a human standpoint refutes the fact of who God is and what is going on in the heavenlies.
This isn’t the end…but as men of this world in looking even at 19 would say…a new beginning….but for us who are in Christ Jesus, it is the recognition that judgment is upon the world in these days, and it will continue as the consequences of our independence and our choice is to be in this world but fully operating apart from the Kingdom of God. Our choice who are in Christ is to surrender our rights and desires and failures into the work of His love for us on the cross. Then we will give thanks knowing that HE IS IN CHARGE, even when nasty things happen by the force of evil. The end is known…Christ..the Anointed King already won…we’re just playing out the script to that triumphal day with praise and thanksgiving IN all situations.
Just a place of praise and thanksgiving allows me to see His hand in things; it allows me to see where I can operate in his power and authority, praying over the sick, casting out demons where they raise their heads against the saints, walking in proper alignment and authority with God’s leadership and the leadership of the nations that he has allowed to reign in these days. Interceding from that dwelling place of rest under the shadow of His wings where fear and alarm cannot enter. It is the place where death doesn’t reign though it may manifest itself in the earthly body. It it is not the victor, for the Victor lives and dwells in my body by Holy Spirit, my hope of resurrection, the hope of being found in His image when I see him face to face! The Hope of the ages…all glory and honor be unto Him!
And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
I remember my Great Grandmother Lillie, once wrote me a letter and in it she said: “I suppose every generation gets their trial.”
When Noah entered the ark, he had the expectation of leaving the ark, he knew the flood waters would rise but he had the expected hope that they would recede, and they did.
There are two types of hope in the Hebrew, unfortunately we get the same word for both meanings. Noah had a type of hope that in Hebrew is called: YAKHAL a hope that he could wait upon the LORD to end the storm and that the waters would recede, a hope in the LORD to bring the trial to an end.
The second type of Hope is: QAVAH, it’s a feeling or a tension similar to a cord that is being stretched, stretch hard enough and the cord will break thus releasing the tension.
When we hope in the LORD we are reminded of His past deliverances, we look back on all the times He saved us from trials and disasters and even death, He always pulled me through. Maybe what I see as personal failures God sees as victories?
It seems like our generation has come into our own flood, we must symbolically enter the ark and see this through, trusting God to bring us to dry ground. It’s a test of two hopes.
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
Have you ever noticed that, the ark started in the depths of a valley, and when it came to rest it was on top of the mountain?
Maybe God is bringing you to a new level, closer to Him.
He is Jehovah-Shammah The Lord is There
Zech. 4:6 Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord
When Mike Bickle and his team at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) decided to indefinitely suspend their popular Onething conference late last year, Bickle didn’t realize his decision was the most recent example of a curious trend in charismatic ministries. Throughout 2018, Spirit-filled ministries around the world announced the end of beloved programs, conferences or even the entire ministry. The decisions came not due to scandal, bankruptcy or lack of success—rather, each one came because God told them to end it.
But Bickle couldn’t have known this two to three years ago, when he first began seriously mulling a reset for IHOP. The Onething conference got its name from Luke 10:42, in which Jesus told Martha, “One thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.”
In an ironic twist, over its 19 years of operation, Onething had become more emblematic of Martha than Mary, as IHOP staff so cheerfully busied themselves with innumerable ministries and conferences that their own spiritual and interpersonal relationships were neglected. Bickle could sense the advent of the writing on the wall.
“In the IHOP world, we’ve got more and more activity and more and more people visiting,” Bickle says. “Our footprint globally is growing. We’re busy bees, and we’ve drifted from the Mary of Bethany heart-response as a core response in our ministry. In the early years, this was so big to everybody, and so everyone would agree that we were not actually walking it out.”
Bickle says the Lord made it clear to him last summer that radical steps were needed. IHOP needed a reset, and that meant nonessential activities and events must be removed. That included Onething, an annual conference that drew over 20,000 people each year for the last 10 years. Onething was IHOP’s biggest conference of the year, and Bickle says it motivated more people to join their Bible school and staff than any other single event.
Yet if IHOP was to truly focus on the one thing, Onething had to go. So did every other IHOP conference.
“The Lord just said, ‘I want you to reconnect on this,'” Bickle says. “‘Draw back. Go deep with Me, and then second, go deep with one another in community and family. Let’s spend more time talking and interacting with each other and with Me, and then I’ll breathe on you, and I’ll help you go back to more increased activity in the future.’ The activities are good. There’s nothing wrong with the activities. But all of them together meant we’re weren’t spending quality time with the Lord like we used to, and we weren’t spending the quality time with each other that’s necessary for the kingdom community to operate.”
In early October, Bickle announced in an online video that IHOP would “reset,” but didn’t provide details until a November video clarified that Onething 2019 would be the final Onething. Between those videos, Lou Engle surprised Bickle and the rest of the Spirit-filled world with announcement of his own: TheCall would end in preparation for his new ministry, The Send.
Just two weeks before Onething, Bickle heard news that Soul Survivor—an influential, annual charismatic event in the United Kingdom helmed by Mike Pilavachi—was ending for good after its summer 2019 conferences.
“I love Mike Pilavachi,” Bickle says. “We’ve become real good friends over the years. I had no idea he was ending. Three people told me that, [and] I went, ‘Really? Why?’ I asked the same questions everyone’s asking me: ‘Why? What’s the real reason?'”
And during Onething 2019, Bickle met his friend Dr. Johannes Hartl, founder of the Augsburg Prayer House (known in Germany as Gebetshaus Augsburg). The ministry hosted an annual Spirit-filled conference called MEHRS which reached over 10,000 people annually—at least until Hartl and his team heard God telling them to cancel this year’s conference.
“I was quite surprised by this,” Bickle says. “I heard these stories one by one and went, ‘No way!’ Each one of them completely surprised me. We made our decision in a vacuum. We were not communicating with others about this.”
With so many Spirit-filled conferences and ministries voluntarily closing down, Charismaspoke to these ministry leaders to learn what the Holy Spirit is doing and how these endings pave the way for the next generation of charismatics.
Soul Survivor first began in summer 1993, after Pilavachi—who was then the youth pastor of St. Andrew’s Church, an Anglican church in Chorleywood, England—got the idea to plant a church in Warford and start a festival in Somerset. Both ministries—distinct yet sharing the name “Soul Survivor”—were focused on reaching unchurched people for Christ. Pilavachi described his vision as an event “where we don’t take ourselves seriously, but we take Jesus very seriously.”
The first festival drew 1,893 young people, stunning Pilavachi and his team. Attendance incrementally increased by thousands each year. In recent years, Soul Survivor has held four conferences across England and Scotland every summer, drawing over 30,000 attendees per year. Despite Pilavachi’s Anglican roots, the conferences are also unabashedly charismatic, drawing heavily on the influence of the Vineyard Movement and its late founder, John Wimber.
“What we wanted to do was be open to the ministry and the power of the Holy Spirit but also make it as accessible as possible,” Pilavachi says. “Our heart was for young people to have an encounter—’encounter’ was one of our key words—but also for that encounter to be accessible—not spiritual, not super weird. So our job was always to explain as much as we could what was going on, even if a lot of times I just had to say, ‘You know what? I don’t know what’s going on; you don’t either, but Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, so we’re going to trust it’s Him and find out what happened from the people afterwards.’ We created an atmosphere of family and community, an atmosphere where young people knew they weren’t going to be manipulated or hyped up.”
Pilavachi says his great joy as an old man is that almost every day he receives letters, emails and Facebook messages from people who tell him they became Christians at Soul Survivor and are now serving the kingdom. But four years ago, Pilavachi began wondering if a 60-year old was really the best leader for a youth movement. He told his leadership team he felt it was time for him to move on—though he would continue pastoring his home church, Soul Survivor Watford.
He assumed the conferences’ leadership mantle would fall to Andy Croft, a Cambridge graduate and former intern for Pilavachi who ascended over 14 years to become a key leader. But Croft sensed God was telling him to reject the leadership role, feeling called to the local church rather than the conferences. So the leadership team began looking at an outside hire. It was not something Pilavachi felt comfortable with.
“We’re trying to move away from the whole process of businesses hiring and firing employees,” Pilavachi says. “In a business, you do that. In a church, you raise up sons and daughters. … Too many churches are looking for the finished product. We have to make space for people to grow and develop. If you have a 6- year-old, and you tell them to load the dishwasher, and they do a bad job, you don’t sit them down and say, ‘I’m sorry, but you did a bad job. We have to let you go. We’re bringing in a new 6-year-old from across the way.’ No, you teach them. You go through the process. You do it with them until they’ve got it.”
Pilavachi, who has spoken publicly about his distaste for ministries “hiring the best” from other ministries, hoped to avoid that for Soul Survivor. The team agreed. But then several team members came to Pilavachi individually and told him, “When you stop, Mike, I will stop.”
Croft, in particular, told Pilavachi, “When God spoke to me, He never said, ‘It was about Soul Survivor.’ It was about serving with you.”
With a whole team ready to leave, Pilavachi realized any outside hire would simply be set up to fail. Then he asked the hardest question: “Is the Lord saying we should stop?”
“When we first asked that question, I told the board, ‘It can’t be,'” Pilavachi says. “‘We can’t stop. What about the kids? What will happen to them? There’s 28,000 of them. There’s nothing else that happens like this.’ Then two days later, the Lord spoke to me so clearly, in the nature of a little rebuke. He said to me, ‘When did they become your kids? When did they become your responsibility? They’re My kids. They’re My responsibility. I will look after them.’ Then a weight lifted off me. I said, ‘God, if You say to stop, then You know what You’re doing. We’re not You. We’re here to serve You.'”
The Soul Survivor leadership team prayed separately, came back together and agreed God was instructing them to end the ministry. But they waited three months before making the official announcement. In that time, Pilavachi had the decision prophetically confirmed.
“Before we said anything to anyone, we were getting prophetic words from people all over the world saying the same thing,” Pilavachi says. “Someone in New Zealand told me, ‘I see you as a trapeze artist. The Lord is saying you have to let go of the last trapeze in order to catch the next one.’ Someone who didn’t know us told us, ‘I could be wrong, but God wants you to lay this thing down, and as you lay it down, God will show you the next thing He has for you.’ This kept happening. It became clear. So it became easy.”
In June 2018, Soul Survivor announced its 2019 events would be the final conferences. Pilavachi says he’s both excited and at peace with the decision, though it’s not one he expected to make.
“I said it at the festivals years ago: ‘I hope one day God tells us to stop, and when He does we will be obedient,'” Pilavachi says. “The one thing I always said was, ‘God never said, “I’ll build my Soul Survivor.” He said, “I’ll build my church.”‘ We always felt we were here for a season to build the church, and for as long as God wants us, we will be here, but as soon as God wants us to hand off the reins, we’re done. And that’s what we did.”
Likewise, Engle didn’t know 2018 was the year he would end TheCall, but for seven years, he says, he held the ministry with open hands before God—knowing something would eventually happen. In 2011, Engle and several members of his inner circle gathered in his Kansas City living room to pray over what the Lord was stirring in their hearts. The group felt the Lord tell them, “There’s coming a shift to TheCall, and there will not be just fasting and prayer, but the proclamation of the gospel, signs and wonders, and stadiums will rebuild, and Billy Graham’s mantle is coming on the nation.”
Shortly before the 2018 death of Billy Graham, Engle began to pray for the next generation to receive a double portion of the renowned preacher’s evangelistic anointing. The Send—a new movement that held its first event Feb. 23 in Orlando, Florida—is the fulfillment of both those prayers and the 18-year ministry of TheCall. In an online letter to supporters, Engle explained that the Holy Spirit told him he needed to “end TheCall” so he could shift his focus to what Christ is doing now.
“The Lord encountered me on Easter morning of this year,” Engle says. “I felt strongly that unless a seed go into the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit, and that TheCall must die to bring forth resurrection power in America. For the last 20 years, God has used TheCall to gather hundreds of thousands in a John the Baptist-type movement to fast and pray in preparation for a Third Great Awakening. I am now convinced that TheCall must come to a glorious end. I celebrate this moment in my heart as I know what will come forth in the next generation as I pour myself out into sons and daughters for a new Jesus Movement and reformation in America.”
Hartl’s story of cancelling the 2019 MEHR conference looks different than Pilavachi and Engle’s—for one, MEHR is continuing, albeit less frequently than before. Still, the announcement of MEHR’s hiatus caught many in both the church and secular world by surprise, given the conference’s rapid success and growth. The first conference took place in 2008 with 120 people. After 10 years, MEHR 2018 drew over 11,000 people in person, with another 500,000 following on TV and radio or streaming it online.
Yet Hartl discovered the same lesson Bickle and IHOP were learning on the other side of the globe—success can make you lose focus on what’s most important. The Holy Spirit intervened.
“After a very busy year and a case of burnout in our leadership team, we took four weeks at the beginning of the year to seek God for direction,” Hartl says. “It felt like there might be a shift in the season. I personally clearly felt that the next year was not supposed to be ‘business as usual.’ So when we as a staff team came back together after four weeks, almost everybody agreed it was an important step to cancel the next conference and reduce some other meetings. This was a radical but very important step.”
Hartl’s MEHR conference will return in 2020, but it will happen less frequently than it did in the past. In its place for 2019, Hartl and his team will hold a smaller conference called SCHÃ˜N (German for “beauty”), designed to build a bridge between the Christian and secular communities.
Though the stories of these decisions share similar themes and contours, none of the decision makers involved knew of the other cases. In fact, Pilavachi only learned TheCall had ended during his interview with Charisma.
“I only found out [about Onething] last week,” Pilavachi says. “I just know God spoke to us and, knowing Mike, I know he would have sought the Lord, heard the Lord and tried to be obedient to Him. I’m sure the guys at TheCall did the same.”
In his 40 years of ministry, Bickle says he’s seen only one other move of God parallel these mass closings: the mass openings of houses of prayer 20 years ago.
“I haven’t seen a wave like this before—with one exception: in the prayer ministry,” Bickle says. “Twenty years ago when we started, I could think of a couple of prayer ministries on the earth that were going hard. … Then we started this, and within the next five years I ran into people who did not know us and we did not know them, and they all started their prayer ministries in a similar time frame that we did—1999, just like us. There was a huge growth spurt in 1999 with the 24/7 prayer movement. They were not started because we inspired them or repeated what they did. None of us knew each other. They just all started.”
Bickle says official numbers are hard to pin down, but he’s heard reliable estimates that suggest that as of 1985, there were 25 24-hour prayer rooms in the entire world. Today, there are over 20,000—and possibly more, depending how you interpret data from regions like Southern Africa and China.
“The number is unbelievable,” Bickle says. “There was no memo that was sent. It just all began. I’m sure some of them were inspired by others, but for many of them it was a grassroots display and evidence of the Holy Spirit. I’m always blown away by that fact.”
If the Holy Spirit could spontaneously begin all of these ministries, it seems plausible to believe He could end them just as abruptly if the season changed. Ending at the height of success seems like madness to the outside world—and even to many inside the church. But Hartl says this broader move is evidence that the Holy Spirit is leading ministries away from a business-style mentality of success and growth into a more relational model.
“God is not in the business of building ministries,” Hartl says. “He is building real people and real family. I believe there is a shift away from a worker mentality and a performance-driven ministry culture happening right now. The Lord really is very tender. He doesn’t use us as ‘tools.’ He wants us to be friends with Him and each other. But relationships take time. It is about a revelation of the family of God, where we find our identity in our being, not in our doing. I sense the Holy Spirit emphasizing this worldwide right now.”
Many Christians are quick to assume the worst if a ministry ends—because sinful scandal makes more sense than ending a good thing. But endings don’t have to indicate moral or economic failure. In fact, Pilavachi points out that in many ways, Jesus defied conventional models of success.
“I think in the church of Jesus we’re very good at starting things,” Pilavachi says. “We’re hopeless at ending them. Too many things go way past their sell-by date or best-before date. It’s about being obedient. You know, Jesus—if you look at His life—as soon as He gathered a crowd, … He’d say, ‘Let’s go from this place to some town or village where I’m not known.’ Jesus, that’s not very strategic. Where’s your PR consultant? You’re building something here and then you’re leaving. But we need to get back to those Jesus principles. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with not disciples, but consumers.”
Many will view news of these conferences and ministries ending or going on hiatus as bad news. But most of the leaders involved view them as positive developments for a couple of key reasons.
First, doing less allows the ministries to return to their original focus—and do that even better. Bickle says he’s pleasantly surprised by this trend and views it as an opportunity to reassess what’s truly important.
“I’m just encouraged that a lot of folks are pausing,” Bickle says. “It’s really a pause to do a reset. It’s pausing to say ‘business as usual’ is not okay. Just growing numerically is not enough. If we’re not growing closer to the Lord and deeper true-kingdom relationships, then growing numerically leaves me empty. … I’m 63 years old, so I’ve been in ministry over 40 years. Just having a lot of people in the room doesn’t really grab my attention like it used to 25 years ago. If the arrow’s not moving forward, and we’re still the same, I’m just not interested.”
Second, endings create a space for new, younger leaders and ministries to come into their own, with the full backing and support of the previous generation. It’s a pattern God designed in nature itself: The sun must go down on one day so it can rise on another. Already, Pilavachi has seen the end of Soul Survivor will spawn three new Spirit-filled conferences in its place—led by young leaders who grew up in Soul Survivor. He’s determined to use his final year to help them get a running start.
“This summer, we’re going to hand over the baton to them,” Pilavachi says. “From the three of these leaders, there are three groups that are going to start something, and they’re going to come to our 2019 festivals. We’re going to introduce them. We’re going to tell everyone we think they’re wonderful, and we’ll give them a chance to lead a bit. Then the following year, in 2020, I will visit each one of them for a day and just wander around [their conference], being encouraging as much as I can. And I’m thrilled. I’m convinced they’ll do a better job than we could do in the coming years.”
And though TheCall is most obviously leading to The Send movement, that’s not the only ministry birthed out of TheCall’s end. Engle himself will lead Lou Engle Ministries. His friends and ministry partners Paul and Cheryl Amabile will launch The Briefing to promote prophetic words and intercession. Finally, Engle says he is releasing his spiritual son and daughter, David and Audry Kim, to lead a movement called Contend, which Engle says “will take a double portion of TheCall’s DNA and message of fasting, prayer and Nazirite consecration to the next generation and beyond.”
“For 18 years, I have never looked to build a ministry or a name, only to see America turn back to God and to help ignite missions and prayer in the nations,” Engle says. “This is my legacy: I am looking to the next generation of sons and daughters to carry this nation into its full purposes.”
With Onething on indefinite hiatus—Bickle says it will be “many years, at least five” before he’d consider revisiting it—IHOP can pursue relational intimacy with God and refocus on its 24-hour prayer ministry. Bickle calls it a shift to quality over quantity: faithfully executing God’s original call to ministry with narrowed focus and heightened excellence.
Pilavachi says he remains as excited as ever about the future of the charismatic movement.
“A number of people have asked me and said, ‘Won’t you be sad? Won’t there be something missing in your life?'” Pilavachi says. “The honest truth is we started it out of obedience. We believe we’re finishing it out of obedience. So it’s not difficult. Obviously, we’ll miss it, but we’re not stopping doing ministry. We’re not stopping serving Jesus. We’re just stopping doing this.
“For me, my life’s never been about Soul Survivor; it’s about Jesus. And the last I checked in, He’s not stopping next summer. He’s still carrying on. That’s all that matters.”
I enclosed an article below by Jill Rische, “When All Hell Breaks Loose.” It is encouraging to see others who are “seeing” the battle we are in and trying to spread the word to those who cannot yet see. The Watchmen on the Wall are sounding the trumpet.
“Hosea 4:6 My People Perish for a lack of Knowledge.” (My People Perish Because They Do Not SEE or understand Spiritual Things)
Recently, at the Super Bowl 2019, there were statements made from Tom Brady celebrating his wife (from Brazil), as a witch. Many missed and/or dismissed this statement. However, it should be food for thought when witchcraft is casually (jokingly?) mentioned by one of our superstar football players and praised for its power to help him win a football game.
Yet no one seems to understand the depth of the statement, or the danger it released over this nation. How many people (young or old) who admire Tom Brady, will now be led (enticed/drawn) to enter into the occult, in order to try and learn how to use the power witchcraft to win a football game or whatever else they desire? One would be too many in my book.
What a wonderful testimony to the power of witchcraft from a seemingly successful role model for all of us, especially children, if they can get past the abortion stage, because abortion is directly linked to the witchcraft rising up in our Nation. If you look into the history of past generations you will discover witchcraft, the occult and false gods often called for the sacrifice of babies in exchange for power and things people wanted. Getting stuff you want through witchcraft and such comes at a high price…your soul.
And before you say Tom was just joking or if you believe white witchcraft is OK (thank you Rowling – Harry Potter), or if you really think you can honor Yahweh by being a Christian Witch, here is the written Word and warning of Yahweh, both in the Old and New Testament.
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, practices divination or conjury, interprets omens, practices sorcery, Deuteronomy 18:10
I will destroy the magic charms you use and leave you without any fortunetellers. Micah 5:12
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
And, just for the record, Yahweh also said, I am the same yesterday, today and forever. James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8; which means, He has not changed His mind about witchcraft, sorcery, abortion (premeditated murder – thou shalt not murder) and our worship of other gods. He still abhors these things, even in 2019 and forever.
Rumors of seances and such in past White House administrations continue to surface with no one realizing the depth of the infiltration witchcraft (rebelllion/lawlessness) has already released into our educational centers and society. Add to that the increasing amount of people invading our Nation at our borders, not just from Mexico, but from other countries who worship other gods and you should be able to SEE – our culture is being assaulted from the outside, as well as from the inside.
There are only two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Yahweh (light/good) and the kingdom of Satan (darkness/evil). There has never been another time in our history where we, The United States of America, have been under the weight of the evil and deceptive physical and spiritual attacks we are now dealing with.
May Yahweh stir up the gift (beast) within us and remove the scales from those like Elisha’s servant who could not see the spiritual things all around him and encourage us to know Yahweh will fight for and with us, but He will not condone the use of witchcraft, murder and such in our Nation.
Arise Oh Church of Jesus Christ (Yahshua) and take your place to stand in the gap, repair the breach and destroy the works of the enemy. Be wise and put your Praise on because, “when” Prayer & Praise are used, they are two of the deadliest weapons in spiritual warfare.
Glory to You Yahweh – You will have Your Army! In the Name of Yahshua I hear the sound of an Army Rising, I feel the ground under my feet shaking Holy Fire Fall, Holy Fire Fall
The Miracle of Holy Fire (Holy Light) 2017 – Footage from Jerusalem
The miracle of Jesus Christ Resurrection happened again. The Holy Light or Holy Fire appeared in the the Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem. Orthodox Christians, thousands of pilgrims and locals, rejoice.
The Holy Fire ceremony in the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The Holy Fire is the most renowned miracle in the world of Eastern Orthodoxy. It has taken place at the same time, in the same manner, in the same place every single year for centuries. No other miracle is known to occur so regularly and so steadily over time. It happens in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the holiest place on earth, where Christ was crucified, entombed, and where He finally rose from the dead
NOTE FROM JAN: The rising tide of evil is staggering and no one documents that better than Jill Martin Rische, the daughter of the late Dr. Walter Martin. Jill has authored this issue of our twice-a-month e-newsletter. She ends on a positive note. The devil is a defeated foe!
Why is it that humans never learn from history? The vast majority don’t know or care about it, and so we are condemned to repeat it.
Today, we live in a Twilight Zone America, where the Leave it to Beaver neighbors of the 1950s have been replaced with nasty men in dresses, filling in for Mrs. Cleaver at the public library. We don’t care about the days when biology was scientific fact. We don’t remember when reputations mattered — so now we have drag queens — some of them with occultic-themed costumes and some of them sex offenders — as the new stars of Storytime for modern-day children.
Occult-themed drag queen story hour
Mr. Rogers’ Friendly Neighborhood is No More The level of evil aimed at innocent children is off the charts and it doesn’t seem to faze people one bit. A recent social media scare warned about MoMo, the bird woman, who might pop up unexpectedly in children’s videos spouting violent suggestions and challenging young viewers to harm family, friends, and themselves.
Alarming media and celebrity warnings flew across the airwaves, urging parents to keep an eye on their child’s G-rated videos. It was a national response to an unconfirmed rumor, given by voices that remain silent as newborns are terminated outside of the womb. This is the insanity of a fallen world.
Welcome to the Fall of America
So many know nothing about how great civilizations fall. They don’t connect the historical fact that the rejection of God ALWAYS leads to the rise of evil. Today, we turn on our TVs or computers and see the glorification of everything vile that crushed ancient Israel and Rome — everything awful that destroyed seventeenth century France and twentieth century Germany.
But the lure of secret power is irresistible and though far weaker than the power of God, they choose it, “Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Eph 4:18). Where the occult thrives, there is no hope — malevolent evil always breeds despair. Today, clinical depression is a way of life in America and a billion-dollar drug industry sedates us, but cannot stop suicide rates from climbing.
Who could have guessed that the twenty-first century would bring a witchcraft boom? Its biggest cheerleaders are the media, who glorify it as a GOOD practice when all the evidence of history tells us it has always been evil. How do you fight a media blitz raving about Superbowls, super model wives and their cute little habit of closet witchcraft? Patriot Quarterback, Tom Brady, thought he was doing something good when he shared special moments with his wife, Gisele, in an interview after his fifth Superbowl victory.
“You know I’ve learned a lot from my wife over the years. She always makes a little altar for me at the game, because she just wills it so much. She put together a little altar for me that I can bring with pictures of my kids, and I have these little special stones and healing stones and protection stones, and she has me wear this necklace, and take these drops she makes, and I say all these mantras, and I stopped questioning her a long time ago.”
Tom Brady and wife
Although Brady never used the word witch, every practice he mentioned has always been part of witchcraft. And so we see — as front page news — the worldwide image of two gorgeous human beings with a family of small children, relying on the potions, spell-casting, and soothsaying of a wife and mother consumed by the power of the occult.
What Would Sam Walton Think?
Who could have imagined that the family-friendly Walmart empire would have turned to absolute darkness? This linktakes you to the online ordering option where you can request just about anything of an occult nature you might like!
A popular Walmart product: Satanic goat head jewelry
Pentagrams, Masonic imagery, Baphomet on every item imaginable, and more, are proudly displayed! Everything you can think of celebrates the devil in Walmart! Next time you stroll down their aisles, think twice before handing big dollars over to them.
As if the Brady’s propaganda were not enough, the “Christian Witch” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) has arrived on the American scene. This is their redefinition of witchcraft — a new and improved label — since the Bible clearly teaches that all witchcraft is evil.
But it is nothing new for Satan to present himself as an angel of light. Valerie Love, an ex-Jehovah’s Witness-turned-Christian-witch is simply marching to the same ancient drum. She believes in white witchcraft just like the Brady’s, even though biblically and historically, there is no such thing as a good witch.
But you can be seduced at her “Christian Witchcraft Magickal Convention” in Salem, MA in April.
She has a “mystery school” as well. She says she is doing these things “for those who love Christ and the craft.” The “craft” would be witchcraft. There is a reason the Bible speaks of end-time strong delusion and this woman will lead many astray.
Evil Waxes Worse and Worse But We Are Not Without Hope
A famous writer once said, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” He wrote this about a world he loved — a country that was peaceful and secure, until the people rejected God. At the start of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln wrote that Americans turned their backs on God, and all hell broke loose. This is the pattern of history and we are in the middle of a new storm — perhaps the final one. But God shows His love toward us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Our hope is in His unfailing love. We must be salt and light in a very dark place, giving Him all the glory. The power of the occult is strong, but it is far weaker than God’s power and it fears US. When it seems like all hell is breaking loose, how wonderful to know that this world is not our home. We have an eternity of incredible joy to look forward to a new heaven and a new earth. What will it be like? The lion will lie down with the lamb, there will be no more tears, no suffering, no evil people, no Satan and no death.
Dr. Kurt Koch, a twentieth century Lutheran pastor and 40-year warrior against the occult, puts it all into perspective. “Satan and all the hosts of darkness are a defeated foe. The triumphant theme of the New Testament is that ‘Jesus has disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them'” (Col. 2:15).
Also, be reminded, that an occult explosion is another sign of the lateness of the hour. The Bible references this in many places in a last days’ context (II Timothy 3:13; Rev. 9:21).
We know how the book ends…and we win! “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).
NOTE FROM JAN: Jill Martin Rische is an authority on today’s paranormal. Learn more of her work at
She and her husband Kevin serve with Olive Tree Ministries. Jill manages our social media and also is a frequent on-air radio guest. Kevin is the ministry Administrator and radio producer.
It is clear that, as the madness spreads and the church just wrings its hands, it is time for the eagles to leave the turkey-yard. You know who you are, you who are an eagle. There’s a fire inside you that you can’t put out. You are ruined for ‘Church-As-Usual.’
For too long you’ve been told to be a good little birdie. “Don’t ruffle any feathers!” But you just can’t stomach the stale kernels they toss to you. You must have fresh meat. All around you, the turkeys peck at the ground. But all you can see are the clouds and the sky, where you know you belong.
You long to be home, where the glory is. Your place is alongside the heroes of faith that changed the course of nations. “Survival-mode” teaching sickens you. The idea that tepid happiness is the goal enrages you.
You made the mistake of looking at old youtube.com videos. You saw Oral Roberts. You saw Kathryn Kuhlman. You saw Smith Wigglesworth. You jumped up and screamed, “But, where are the miracles today!?”
You made the mistake of listening to old preaching tapes, where you heard men and women preaching holy fire! They didn’t do monologues. They didn’t do stand-up comedy. They pulled the pin out of Bible verses, and flung them like a grenade to explode into the souls of their audience. You heard people sobbing at the altars. You heard them linger until something real and lasting transformed them.
Then something really painful happened to you…you looked at your generation. You saw the national cancer of wickedness. You saw the insane brainwashing. You saw the inadequate tactics of the church.
You became like David as he stared at the paralyzed army of Israel, cowering before a defiant Goliath.
You cried, “WHY DOESN’T SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING?”
So, now that you realize that the ‘SOMEBODY’ IS YOU, it is too late for you. The die is cast. You’ve gone too far to turn back. You now know too much. You feel like you should leave before you hurt someone…
You remember the verse, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” (Isaiah 40:31).
Prayer is your escape from the prison yard of compromise and mediocrity. We’re not talking about the ‘gobble-gobble prayers’ you heard in the yard—we’re talking about falling before God and waiting upon Him until you come forth as pure gold.
What are we talking about? We are talking about prayer that heaven can’t resist, and hell can’t stand. The kind of prayer that breaks the grip of ancient demonic strongholds. Prayer that causes students begin to weep on campus, even though they do not know why. Prayer that fills people with the Holy Spirit. Prayer that removes fear, and installs unshakable courage to tell a generation the genuine Good News: the mighty Gospel—which is the unapologetic, undeniable, unstoppable power of God!
Eagles dare while turkeys stare!
Eagles are born out of prayer. They spring forth from the hand of God, fully convinced of their destiny and their goal. Let mistaken millennials protest against the AR-15. You take hold of John 17:15, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.” That is your battle cry! You don’t want out. You know the Lord Jesus will keep you from the evil one! You are ready to soar into any nest of evil and destroy the works of the devil.
Where eagles gather, power is present. Where eagles gather, the deep purposes of Almighty God are revealed. Where eagles gather, there’s no self-pity, no encounter sessions, and no hiding in your ‘safe-space.’ When turkeys are transformed into eagles, they are equipped, they are ignited, and they are fitted for war.
Eagles must have a challenge. They yearn for a cause that will summon up all of their strength, talent, and time. They want something they can easily imagine doing for the rest of their lives.
It’s time for you to fly out of the turkey yard, and never look back!
During one of the darkest times in ancient Israel, Midianite invaders began a campaign of terror. Everybody was hiding in caves and mountain strongholds. They had seen the Lord do miracles in the past to deliver Israel, but this time, they lost all faith.
But then the angel of the Lord visited a frightened young man named Gideon who was hiding in a winepress. Gideon assumed God had given up on Israel. I’m sure he was shocked when the angel greeted him by saying, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judg. 6:12b). He thought the angel was talking to the wrong person.
Warrior? Gideon felt like a wimp. Yet the angel announced that God had recruited Gideon to be a deliverer for the nation—and Gideon wasn’t having it! He gave the angel several reasons why he wasn’t qualified. “How shall I deliver Israel?” Gideon asked. “Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house” (Judg. 6:15b, NASB).
Gideon was trying to become history’s first draft dodger. But the Lord ignored each of his lame excuses. Finally, after a series of dramatic confirmations—including fire from heaven—Gideon suited up and headed to the battle. And he and his small band of 300 soldiers supernaturally defeated the Midianite hordes. The story proves that one person who trusts God is more powerful than the majority.
Wherever I go these days, I find that many Christians are in hiding. They may attend church. They listen to sermons. They sing worship songs along with everyone else in the congregation. But in their hearts, they have gone AWOL when it comes to actively engaging in ministry.
They are timid spectators, waiting for someone else to act. They have disengaged. They don’t believe God can use them. Like Gideon, they have a list of excuses: I’ve made too many mistakes. I’m too old. I’m too young. My family is a mess. I’m divorced. I don’t have any training. I struggle with addictions. I have too many doubts and hang-ups. I think God is disappointed with me.
This past weekend while I was preaching in a church in Georgia, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “I am calling all Gideons out of their hiding places!” This is the time for the weak to say I am strong. This is the time for spectators to get back in the game. We are heading into a fierce spiritual conflict, and we need all hands on deck!
Gideon’s story is in the Bible because every one of us is like him. All of us struggle to believe that God wants to use us to carry His message and His power to a broken world. All of us are tempted to hide in our caves.
Yet God puts His Holy Spirit in imperfect vessels! The apostle Paul told the Corinthians: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7). If you have been in hiding, crawl out of your cave and take these important steps:
1. Let go of your shame. Many Christians don’t believe Jesus has forgiven them fully for their past sins. The devil loves to replay our sins over and over so we will wallow in condemnation. You must believe God’s Word and renounce the devil’s lies. Your sins have been washed away, and you have been made righteous.
2. Swallow your fears. Fear can paralyze. It will stop you from every taking a risk. Yet the Bible promises: “God has not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7a, MEV). Gideon started out as a fearful man, but in the end, he became a champion. You can experience the same transformation.
3. Stop disqualifying yourself. I have met so many followers of Christ who think they are not really on the team. They hide in the shadows, take the back seats in church and never volunteer to do anything because they see themselves as misfits. Don’t you realize God loves to take failures and make them successful? If He can restore Peter—who denied Him three times—and make him an apostle, can’t He redeem your past mistakes?
4. Tear off every label. So many of us were programmed for defeat by our past experiences. Friends, teachers, bosses or family members may have belittled you. Bullies may have told you that you are stupid, ugly, irresponsible or useless. But those people do not have the ultimate power to define you. Let God heal you of those wounds.
5. Embrace your new identity. When Gideon had his encounter with the angel, he received a new name. He was called “Jerubbaal,” which means, “Let Baal contend against him” (Judg. 6:32b, NASB). The name clearly meant that Gideon became a serious threat after he struck down the false god Baal. The wimp had become a warrior!
Please stop hiding in the shadows. The alarm has sounded. We need you to suit up and run to the battle.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.