A Word For 2021

A Word for 2021

“It is time for My Sons and Daughters to come forth in the knowledge of My Spirit. I am bringing new sons and daughters born into My family  into the family business and letting them experience the work of My Kingdom. I am establishing a new tier of Kingdom workers. I am bringing a freshness of My Spirit through them to renew my work.  This is a year of My business and those who are led by My Spirit will know My business. This will be a year of great Kingdom business for those who know the business of My Kingdom. I will bring forth a new strength in planting and establishing My work for those who are led of My Spirit.  I will reveal where and when to plant, I will say to put a seed here and put a seed there. I will reveal what are weeds to Me and what weeds need to be pulled and cleaned out of My garden at this time. While the Kingdom remains the same in heaven, all things of the earth need renewed from time to time, and it is so with my Kingdom business here on earth. All of My workers, those who know My business, I am bringing a freshness of My Spirit and a renewal of my work. I am giving a new charge to those workers who have been in my garden doing the work, it is time to step up and encourage the new workers to come forth with power and discernment. Leading them and teaching them the way My Spirit works. My heart is for My family, My children to be involved in our family’s business. So it is time to flow with My Spirit, to engage in the ways of My Spirit. Those with this knowledge will find My rest and My peace. For this is where you will find My strength in the midst of a changing world.”

Thoughts: 

In the sower and the seed, the second seed was an emotional commitment, when the feeling was gone, so was the commitment. We must be committed, no matter the price, then we have the right to the emotion. God wants us to be completely overwhelmed with the experience of what His Spirit brings to our emotions but He wants us to be committed to His plan first. We need solid commitments to do for Him what He asks, being committed whether we had the experience or not.

It is time for the true Kingdom seekers to come forth in God’s Building plans.

It’s time for the true servant heart to come forth, doing it for the Lord, satisfied with being seen by Him not man, not looking for any recognition, doing it anonymously.

Scriptures: 

Rom.8:14-17, Gal.4:4-7, Eph.3:14-16, Jn.8:35-36, Lk.12:32, Eph. 1:5-6, Phil. 2:13

I Won’t Give Up

The following was found among papers of a young pastor in Zimbabwe after he was martyred.

I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power. My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!

A Trumpet Call

Martyr Missions A Trumpet Call by John G. Lake

The following is the transcript from a commissioning sermon John G. Lake delivered to a band of apostolic laborers in Africa before scattering into the dark continent to bear witness to the light of the Gospel a century ago. May his words pierce the hearts of another generation of martyr missionaries mobilizing into the hardest and darkest places of the earth.

The thirteenth chapter of Acts tells us the story of the ordination and sending forth of the apostle Paul, his ordination to the apostleship. Paul never writes of himself until after the thirteenth chapter of Acts. He had been an evangelist and teacher for thirteen years when the thirteenth chapter of Acts was written, and the ordination took place that is recorded there. Men who have a real call are not afraid of apprenticeships.

There is a growing up in experience in the ministry. When Paul started out in the ministry he was definitely called of God and was assured of God through Ananias that it would not be an easy service but a terrific one, for God said to Ananias:

Arise and go into the street which is called Straight and inquire, in the house of Judas, for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.

That is what Jesus Christ, the crucified and the glorified Son of God, told Ananias to say to the apostle Paul. He was not going to live in a holy ecstasy and wear a beautiful halo, and have a heavenly time, and ride in a limousine. He was going to have a drastic time, a desperate struggle, and a terrific experience. And no man in biblical history ever had more dreadful things to endure than the apostle Paul. He gives a list, in his second letter to the Corinthians, of the things he had endured.

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. In weariness and painfulness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness.

They stripped him of his clothing, and the executioner lashed him with an awful scourge, until bleeding and lacerated and broken, he fell helpless, and unconscious and insensible, then they doused him with a bucket of salt water to keep the maggots off, and threw him into a cell to recover. That was the price of apostleship! That was the price of the call of God and His service. But God said, “He shall bear My Name before the gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel.” He qualified as God’s messenger.

Beloved, we have lost the character of consecration here manifested. God is trying to restore it in our day. He has not been able to make such progress with the average preacher on that line. All too often, it is, “Mrs. So and So said so and so, and I am just not going to take it!” That is the kind of preacher, with another kind of call; not the heavenly call; not the God call; not the death call if necessary. That is not the kind the apostle Paul was, or was called to be.

Do you know why God poured out His Spirit in South Africa like He did no where else in the world? There was a reason. This example will illustrate. We had one hundred and twenty-five men out on the field at one time. We were a very young institution and were not known in the world. South Africa is seven thousand miles from any European country. It is ten thousand miles by way of England to the United States. Our finances got so low, under the awful assault we were compelled to endure, that there came a time I could not even mail to these workers, at the end of the month, a $10 bill. It got so I could not send them $2. The situation was desperate. What was I to do? Under these circumstances I did not want to take the responsibility of leaving men and their families on the frontier without real knowledge of what the conditions were.

Some of us at headquarters sold our clothes in some cases, sold certain pieces of furniture out of the house, sold anything we could sell, to bring those hundred and twenty-five workers off the field for a conference.

One night in the progress of the conference I was invited by a committee to leave the room for a minute or two. The conference wanted to have a word by themselves. So I stepped out to a restaurant for a cup of coffee, and came back. When I came back in, I found they had rearranged the chairs in an oval, with a little table at one end, and on the table was the bread and wine. Old Father Vanderwall, speaking for the company said, “Brother John, during your absence we have come to a conclusion. We have made our decision. We want you to serve the LORD’s Supper. We are going back to our fields. We are going back if our wives die. We are going back if we have to starve. We are going back if we have to walk back. We are going back if our children die. We are going back if we die ourselves. We have but one request. If we die, we want you to come and bury us.”

The next year I buried twelve of those men, along with sixteen of their wives and children.

In my judgment, not one of them, if they had a few things a white man needs to eat, could but what might have lived. Friends, when you want to find out why the power of God came down from heaven in South Africa like it never came down before, since the time of the apostles, there is your answer.

Jesus Christ put the spirit of martyrdom in the ministry. Jesus instituted His ministry with a pledge unto death. When He was with the disciples on the last night, He took the cup, “when He drank, saying.” Beloved, the “saying” was the significant thing. It was Jesus Christ’s pledge to the twelve who stood with Him, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood.” Then He said, “Drink ye all of it!”

Friends, those who were there and drank to that pledge, of Jesus Christ, entered into the same covenant and purpose that he did. That is what all the pledges mean. Men have pledged themselves in the same cup from time immemorial. Generals have pledged their armies unto death. It has been a custom in the human race. Jesus Christ sanctified it to the Church forever, bless God!

“My blood in the New Testament… Drink all of it!” Let us become one. Let us become one in our purpose to die for the world. Your blood and mine together. “My blood is the New Testament.” That is my demand from you. It is your high privilege!

Dear friends, there is not an authentic history that can tell us whether any one of them died a natural death. We know that at least nine of them were martyrs, possibly all. Peter died on a cross, James was beheaded. For Thomas they did not even wait to make a cross they nailed him to an olive tree. John was sentenced to be executed at Ephesus by putting him in a cauldron of boiling oil, God delivered him, and his executioners refused to repeat the operation, and he was banished to the Isle of Patmos. John thought so little about it that he never even tells of the incident. He says, “I was in the Isle called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” That was explanation enough. He had committed himself to Jesus Christ for life or death.

Friends, the group of missionaries that followed me went without food, and went without clothes, and once when one of my preachers was sunstruck, and had wandered away, I tracked him by the blood marks of his feet. Another time I was hunting for one of my missionaries, a young Englishman, twenty-two years of age. He had come from a line of Church of England preachers for five hundred years. When I arrived at the native village the old native chief said, “He is not here. He went over the mountains, and you know him, he is a white man and he has not learned to walk barefooted.”

That is the kind of consecration that established Pentecost in South Africa. That is the reason we have a hundred thousand native Christians in South Africa. That is the reason we have 1250 native preachers. That is the reason we have 350 white Churches in South Africa. That is the reason that, today, we are the most rapidly growing Church in South Africa!

The Chocolate Soldier

HEROISM is the lost chord; the missing note of present-day Christianity! Every true soldier is a hero! A SOLDIER WITHOUT HEROISM IS A CHOCOLATE SOLDIER! Who has not been stirred to scorn and mirth at the very thought of a Chocolate Soldier? In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their heart’s desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldier’s vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes him a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength, and vigour of a hero. EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SOLDIER—of Christ—a hero “par excellence!” Braver than the bravest scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger, and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends.

THE OTHERWISE CHRISTIAN IS A CHOCOLATE CHRISTIAN! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. “Sweeties” they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution. Here are some Portraits of Chocolate Soldiers taken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. “He said, ‘I go sir,’ and went not.” He said he would go to the heathen, but he stuck fast to Christendom instead.

“They say and do not”—they tell others to go, and yet do not go themselves. “Never,” said General Gordon to a corporal, as he himself jumped upon the parapet of a trench before Sebastopol to fix a gabion which the corporal had ordered a private to fix and would not fix himself, “Never tell another man to do what you are afraid to do yourself.”

To the Chocolate Christian the very thought of war brings a violent attack of ague, while the call to battle always finds him with the palsy. “I really cannot move,” he says. “I only wish I could, but I can sing, and here are some of my favorite lines:

“I must be carried to the skies On a flowery bed of ease,Let others fight to win the prize, Or sail thro’ bloody seas. Mark time, Christian heroes, Never go to war; Stop and mind the babies Playing on the floor. Wash and dress and feed them Forty times a week. Till they’re roly poly— Puddings so to speak.

Chorus:

Round and round the nursery Let us ambulate, Sugar and spice and all that’s nice Must be on our slate.”

GOD NEVER WAS A CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURER, AND NEVER WILL BE. God’s men are always heroes. In Scripture you can trace their giant foot-tracks down the sands of time.

The rest can be read at: http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/msctserm.html

4th-Century Christian Monk

Chuck Colson tells the story of Telemachus, a 4th-century Christian Monk.

This man lived in a remote village, tending his garden and spending much of his time in prayer. One day he thought he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, heading out on foot. Weary weeks later, he arrived in the city at the time of a great festival. The little monk followed the crowd surging down the streets into the Colosseum. He saw the gladiators stand before the emperor and say, “We who are about to die salute you.” Then he realized these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd Telemachus cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!”

As the games began, he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed his way over the wall, and dropped to the floor of the arena. When the crowd saw this tiny figure rushing to the gladiators and saying, “In the name of Christ, stop!” they thought it was part of the show and began laughing. When they realized it wasn’t, the laughter turned to anger. As Telemachus was pleading with the gladiators to stop, one of them plunged a sword into his body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, “In the name of Christ, stop!” Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood looking at the tiny figure lying there. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others began to follow. In dead silence, everyone left the Colosseum.

The year was 391AD, and that was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd, all prompted by one tiny voice that could hardly be heard above the roar, one voice that spoke the truth in God’s name.

You know, it takes something to be the only voice. It takes guts to be the lone man or woman, sticking out in a crowd. It takes heart to speak out when it’s easier to keep still. It takes courage to stand up when you’re standing alone.

Becoming A Wall Builder

“Like a city that is broken into and without walls 
Is a man who has no control over his spirit. (Proverbs 25:28 NASB)”

In Old Testament times, major cities would often be fortified with large stone walls surrounding them. The erection of these walls was no doubt labor-intensive, time-consuming and expensive. However, once completed these walls served as an effective deterrent to invading armies, since the walls could only be breached by large armies able to surround the city and mount an extended siege.

Many times our culture tries to teach us that manhood consists solely of machismo, and that self-control is for wimps. But clearly that’s not the case from God’s point of view. Think about it: how many men’s lives and families have been traumatized by lack of self-control? Whether it comes in the form of verbal, physical or sexual abuse of women and children, pornography, substance abuse or addictions of other kinds, the lack of self-control has wreaked havoc on our society.

At the same time, there is hope! Our walls can be rebuilt, but it will take time, effort, patience, resilience and willingness to accept help from others. We rebuild our walls one stone at a time, taking the many truths from God’s word that have been given to protect us and putting them in their proper place. What it takes to start is the realization that our self-control is worth the time, the effort and the fight to reclaim and possess. Self-control is a gift of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Don’t let the enemy take away what God wants you to have.

Welcome to the fight!

Yesturday

2 Cor 13:5- Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. AMP

2 Cor 13:5- Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. MES

2 Cor 13:5-6- Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test? NIV

Recently one of the young men in our church shared a message with some great insight. Now I say young man because he is half my age. He is a school teacher and father, so by today’s standards you wouldn’t necessarily call him a young man but a full grown, responsible adult. He proposed ten questions dealing with the subject of living and sharing “His Story” His testimony in our lives. It was question five that I got hung up on. #5 “Are we living off yesterday’s testimony or are we seeking a new work of God.” I had to stop and think, am I doing this? If you were to come up to me and say anything of this nature to me I would probably say, “Absolutely not!”. But the kicker was two points within the question, “living off ” and “seeking a new work”. I found myself really looking at these hard. When I looked at the phrase “living off”, my first thought was when was my last significant testimony? What kind of testimonies am I sharing? Are they fresh new ones or am I having to go back a few years? There is absolutely nothing wrong with yesterday’s testimonies but do I have new ones as well? How honest we answer this question is how honest we really are about where our lives are at present.

I believe the above scripture makes this point. Am I still willing to truly, openly, honestly examine my faith. Living off a testimony is different than sharing a past testimony to illustrate or emphasize a point of faith today. “Living off yesterday’s testimony”, means you really haven’t anything relevant now because you haven’t done anything with your faith in the present. It’s like trust fund kids. They are living off what their parents worked hard to obtain and have stored up. While they have money, they are doing nothing with it except living off it. They have done nothing to prove their worth now. They don’t work, so there is nothing new coming in. They don’t have to be responsible to do anything now because they are comfortable and don’t really need to. What was earned in the past is sufficient to keep them now. Again, they don’t have to do anything now because the past takes care of it and it speaks of who they are now, it is their identity.

It’s funny the older I get the more I hear phrases like “back in the day”, or the classic, “I remember when”. Spiritually relating this means we need to ask ourselves if the past testimonies are being used to prove our spirituality now and is our identity still tied to the past? But in testing ourselves we must examine if there is actually fruit now that we are producing. Is our identity in who we are now in Christ or what we were “back in the day” in Christ. Once again, there is nothing wrong with past testimonies to encourage who we are now and what we are doing now. There are several scriptures where God is saying “remember”, so there can be nothing wrong with remembering what God did in the past. However, you can actively be involved in what He is doing now because He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Scripture states,

Heb 11:1-3

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. NIV

Having walked with God for well over thirty plus years, I have testimonies. I have testimonies of healings, salvations, and moments of God’s power. I’ve been there bought multiple t-shirts and have lots of pictures to prove that I was there. But regardless of how great these testimonies are, the question remains, “am I living off of them”? Am I content with what was stored from the past? I mean they really are some great stories, or testimonials. But like a trust fund kid, am I living off the past work but not really doing anything to prove my worth today?

When I looked at this question after it was presented to our church body, I saw that the second point was a key to understanding and breaking free from the past. Now before going any further, I want to reiterate the difference between living off and living now. If I am using past testimonies to prove who I am today, then I have been living off the past and not producing fresh faith in His work. Do I use past testimonies to encourage what I am actually doing at present and if so, then I’m living now and not living off yesterday. One position is about still doing the work today, which was point 2. “seeking new work in God”.

Another way of looking at this is asking yourself if you are doing things now trying to replicate or live in the past? Or, are you doing things now knowing that what happened in the past can happen in the future, again and again. It may look different and even have a different feel, but I’m looking for His power not because of the past but because of the future.

Every generation needs His power to produce testimonies for today. We need testimonies today, and yesterday is meant to encourage these to come forth now, but only with your faith that is in Christ now and not yesterday. His power yesterday is the same as it is today it has never changed but must be brought forward with today’s faith. His power is meant to move and produce new works today. So we need to ask ourselves if we are living off yesterday or are we seeking new works in God. Before you think I’m just tearing down the past, I’m not at all. The past brings a stability, maturity, wisdom, understanding and knowledge for today, and today has to have these truths. The past has taught us He will never leave us or forsake us, so we can have the faith to do the new works today. We need to use these past truths to birth new things in God, new testimonies that are a witness of the living God of today not just living off the works of the God of the past. So test yourself, give yourself a spiritual check up and see if you are in the faith. Go ahead and look at the works of God in past testimonies and know He is still wanting you to do these things for Him today. I encourage you to step out afresh in His power today. It may be different than yesterday, look different, have a different feel, but it is still the Christ in you today wanting to use you in new works today.

WHAT IS A WITNESS

When I first had the idea for Rubicon Ministries I never thought I would be writing an article that is to follow. Of course, thanks to Daniel Boone (it really is his name and he really is a descendant of the Boones) who shares the vision with me to encourage men to be all that they should be for God, we put a section on the website that we titled “The Cloud of Witnesses”, basing it on Heb 12. We have placed articles in this section about those who have gone on to be with the Lord but left behind a witness for all to follow. Those who gave their lives to Jesus Christ, paid the price, ran the race and finished their course with, I believe, a voice accepting them stating, “well done My good and faithful servant”.

I write this article today to honor such a person. His name might not have been known to the extent of being celebrity famous, but to me he was famous and a great witness in my and Bettye’s lives. Last Tuesday heaven received another amazing witness. His name was Joe Smith. Joe Smith was one of the first ministers to ever prophesy over Bettye and me. He was the first to pray for physical healing in my body. He was the first to teach me intimacy with the Lord Jesus, how God was a father and a good father and how we could go past the veil to be right there with the Lord.

Joe and his wife Katie were the first ministers my wife and I knew that were just real people with no pretense. They would stay in our home and were just down to earth but also spiritual leaders to us. He was the first one I ever heard about confessing the word of God and had tapes that my wife and I would go to bed listening to. He was a minister to mainly college students and young adults who were just coming out of college and getting married. This is when Bettye and I knew them the best. Joe and his wife saw the needs of this demographic and wrote books to help navigate and push them through so many areas of life that were coming at them. Joe and Katie produced books on marriage and spiritual warfare, raising the family, and management.

There are still so many sayings he would state that many of us to this day still remember. Such as, “We have freedom of choice but not freedom of consequences”, my favorite “Why is it we don’t have time to do it right the first time but we have time to go back and re-do it’? There were so many. But I titled this article, “What is a Witness?”, and I believe it is someone like Joe Smith.

Joe along with his wife Katie changed thousands of lives with their witness. As I look back at all the men of God that the Father used in my life, to grow me and mature me in the Lord, Joe was one of them and in so many areas he was the first to make a Godly imprint in me. The fact is that some of the foundations that were established in Bettye and me were by Joe’s faithful witness. Those truths still hold and keep me moving through this journey as a Christian. So what is a witness? It is someone who has given you a blueprint, someone who shows you how to read the blueprint and encourages you to walk it out, which builds a life in God that will keep you all your life. But it is also someone who helps you by showing you where the holes are and how to avoid them. A witness is one who, when they pass into the next phase of this journey, leaves a clear path that is worthy of following.

Joe passed away at the age of 80, still traveling and ministering God’s word. While Joe is gone on to be with the Lord, his words, books, tapes, and his life are still speaking which I believe is the greatest witness of all. They are still speaking to me about life with God that never stops, a life beyond the veil, a life that loves God no matter what. Joe was a man who, when coming to Jesus, came all the way. A life that gave it all to The Lord Jesus Christ and like the scripture states, put his back to the plow and never looked back. So when I look at the definition of a biblical witness in my life, I have Joe Smith as one of first and an amazing witnesse in my life. Thank-You Joe for being the man God called you to be and the witness that you were to Bettye and me. Thank you for being there and being you. We will always cherish your witness . You are now part of that great cloud of witnesses.