Let me just say I have one of the most loving and caring husbands on the planet. He spoils me rotten. As I began to write my second book he blessed me by sending me to a little fishing cabin out on a lake in Rising Fawn, Georgia for inspiration and time alone. For seven days it was just me, Jesus, and nature.
I was in awe of the perfection and beauty of the place. The cozy little cabin sits at the foothills of a majestic mountain. It was nicely appointed. Its decor was both rustic and luxurious. And a deck attached to the cabin extended out over the water for fishing. It surely provided the perfect place to cast a line in hopes of catching a prize-winning fish.
Before I traveled to this small piece of heaven in Georgia, I decided to look it up online to read the reviews. There were raving reviews about the fishing at the cabin. People boasted of catching Bass, Crappie, Catfish, and Sunfish right from the cabin’s deck. Even though I planned to spend most of my time writing, I decided to throw my fishing pole and tackle box into my Jeep before leaving home.
When I arrived at the cabin I looked down from the deck and saw fish of every size swimming below. So I decided to get up the next morning and try my luck. I awoke to an incredible view of the lake. Low clouds were drifting across the mountaintop, and as I viewed the beauty of nature I was in awe of God’s splendor in His creation. As soon as I had my morning coffee and prayer time I got my fishing tackle and anxiously baited a hook.
I expectantly cast my line out across the lake and waited patiently. Nothing happened— not a nibble, not a bite, nothing. I reeled in my line and cast again. Still nothing. I found myself casting repeatedly to no avail. I changed depth; I changed bait; I changed spots over and over again. I was having no luck at all. So I gave up and went back inside the cabin to write.
But a couple hours later I was drawn outside again by the beauty of the lake and the desire to catch a fish.
I cast again, waited, and still nothing. I continued the process so many times I lost count. However, even though I had no luck catching a fish, something compelled me to continue to cast my fishing line into the water and wait. It seemed that I was not going to catch a single fish.
“Why am I even trying?” I asked myself.
I read the reviews about the cabin. I read stories of the fish so many others had caught before me. And then when I myself came to the water’s edge I witnessed with my own two eyes multitudes of fish swimming in the lake. But I couldn’t catch a fish.
I was discouraged, but I know from experience that sometimes the fish just aren’t biting. And clearly that was one of those times. However, I also knew I had the all the right equipment, so I persisted. I continued to cast and reel hoping for the slightest tug at the end of the fishing line. And finally…I caught the fish in the picture above!
I wonder why it is so hard for us to persist in faith when it comes to spiritual things? We can be so determined in our dogged pursuit of earthly things; but when it comes to persisting in faith until we see God move in our lives and situations, many of us throw in the towel after sending up the first prayer.
Yet we have this assurance from the Bible:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8 NLT
Why do we find it so hard to pray and believe we will receive what we ask for when God’s Word tells us to persist? We persist at far lesser things without any kind of assurance of receiving results. Let’s remember that our God is a loving Father, and He desires to answer us. But, sometimes He requires more than one little quick prayer. We must be persistent in our praying.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing!"
*This modified excerpt came from my second book, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous. Get your copy today!
Before I even begin this post, I want to make something very clear. I do not claim to be a prophet even though I do believe in the gift of prophecy.
What I do know is that this morning as I was spending time with God and praying in the Spirit, these words came to me with such an urgency I knew I had to write them down. I could hardly keep up as they were coming to me so fast.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 says this…
“Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
That is what I’m asking you to do as you read this. Pray to see if it resonates with your Spirit.
Behold a darker day is coming. My people have forgotten Who I Am. They have abandoned their first love, and turned to idols, yet they cry out for revival. I say brace yourselves for more disaster is on the way. Until lukewarm Christians are broken and turn their hearts back to Me, there will be no great revival. You go to church, play your games, and leave Me on the shelf on Monday morning. You will see a time so destructive that you would dare not leave Me anywhere. You will need Me every second of every day.
When you finally realize your need for Me, then revival will come. Cold hearts will be set on fire. But repentance must come first to the house of the Lord. Pastors and leaders will repent or be replaced. I Am not playing games. Heed My warning and turn back to Me.
Revival will precede redemption, but My works cannot be done amidst a dead and dry people. Fall on your faces before Me. Seek Me like never before with brokenness, and a contrite heart. When I see you have turned your hearts back to Me, and only Me, I will begin to move in your midst.
Lift Me up, not yourselves, and I will draw all men unto Me. Prepare your hearts, I am coming soon. Brace yourselves for the days ahead, and surrender your whole heart to Me before it is too late.
1 Peter 5:10 ESV And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.
I pray that our hearts will be prepared and ready. I believe God’s judgment is coming to this land. Something has got to happen to change the direction we are headed in and cause people to RUN to the house of the Lord. Revival cannot come to this nation until those who call themselves Christians have completely turned back to God.
What will it take to wake us up, and get our focus back on God? We want to see a great harvest, but are our own hearts prepared to minister to those who will be rescued? Think about it. Are we lukewarm, or fired up and ready to do all God needs us to do in these last days?
I’m asking God to start with me. God, pull me from my own complacency, and break my heart for what breaks Yours. Draw me closer to You than ever before, and help me to remove any idols I have put before You. I realize I can’t be a part of the answer if I’m still part of the problem. Change MY heart, Oh God, and renew a right Spirit within me.
Lord help us all to draw near to You, to seek Your face, and allow You to plow up the hardened ground of our hearts.
I know it has been awhile since I have written a blog. I apologize. At first I was really busy and just kept putting it off—no excuse I know. But, in recent days I have been so bewildered I dared not open my mouth for fear of what would come out. But now that I have opened my mouth, hang on, it’s going to be a long post.
I have always been very careful not to share my political views on social media. I try my best to be a peace maker. And, just to let you know in advance, this post is not about politics either. It’s also not about Covid-19, and it’s not about social distancing, wearing or not wearing masks, bad cops, good cops, protesters, white privilege, black lives matter, blue lives matter, racial issues, vandalism, looting, stealing, killing or any of the thousands of other topics flooding the media today.
To be honest I’m sick of it—all of it. But, I’m not blind to it and, I can’t run away from it. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. So what can I do?
I can do exactly what I was called to do--love. Nothing more and nothing less will make any kind of lasting impact. Consider what Jesus said when asked this question by the Pharisees.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:36-39 NLT)
People have always wanted a quick and easy fix to problems. Everyone on planet earth has problems of some kind. However, there is not one single problem that can’t be solved by following these two commandments. Love God, and love people.
But, this is the overall problem. We all have a common enemy. Yes, you may call yourself an atheist and completely dismiss everything I’m about to say. That’s fine you have the right to reject Jesus and the wonderful plans He has for your life. Your unbelief will not make Him cease to exist.
And, it certainly won't change the fact that two forces are at work in this universe. Jesus is perfect and has laid down His very life to give us freedom from the grips of evil and destruction. Satan on the other hand spends every minute of his existence planning your destruction. To me the choice appears obvious.
If everyone followed those two commandments, I shared from the book of Matthew, there would be no division—no crime, no hate, no stealing, killing, or envy. Everyone would just love Jesus completely--therefore there would be no sin. And if we loved each other as ourselves, we would always be concerned with making the lives of others better than our own. Sounds like Heaven doesn’t it?
The sad truth is, Heaven is the only place we will ever experience that kind of perfect society. We live in an imperfect world where Satan’s one goal is to separate us from the One—Jesus—Who loves us with a love that cannot be matched or even compared to. Satan hates us because he will never be able to have what we will have with Jesus. He threw it all away for pride, and envy.
So--rhetorical question--if you wanted to destroy the whole world and prevent people from going to Heaven, what would you do?
IF I could even imagine being that evil…
First I would distract those Christians who do love God and put Him first. I would do everything within my power to get their eyes off Jesus, and I would flood their eyes and ears with the most negative, divisive propaganda I could possibly dream up.
I would use all media outlets, newspapers, Hollywood, and everything else I could find to spread my destructive agenda all over the world. I would use fear tactics to keep people upset and worried so they would continually turn on their TV’s and tune into everything the media has to say. I would make sure they opened their laptops, and closed their Bibles. I would convince them that what they saw in the media was the gospel!
I would keep them distracted and make them forget that God’s Word says:
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.”
Psalm 112:7 “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”
Matthew 16:23 “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’”
Next I would do everything I could to divide people. I would use all my evil lies to bring in all kinds of offenses. I would cause people to believe that they are such awesome beings—even greater than their Creator—so they DESERVE every good, and extravagant thing for themselves. I would keep them focused on their own wants and desires, and I would cause them to be competitive toward one another.
I would make sure people were easily offended and quick to hate. I would make sure they took everything personally, and considered no one else’s wellbeing but their own. I would cause people to be envious of others and speak evil of one another.
I would make sure they believed they are so perfect and so important, the Bible and the law of the land doesn’t apply to them. I would convince them they both are too restrictive and they deserve to have anything they feel would make their lives better. I would convince them that sin is all relative, and the Bible is hate speech. I would do my best to make them forget the sacrifice Jesus made for them and the prize He has promised to those who finish the race.
I would cause people to hate those who trust in God and, I would convince them that Christians are against them, and therefore, I would cause persecution against Christians to flourish. I would cause the voices of hate to become so loud and persuasive, that Christians would choose to be silent. I would make sure Christians ceased to read the Bible, so they wouldn’t see Scriptures like these:
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 Timothy 2:24 (NLT) “The servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”
Romans 12:17-21 NLT “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
‘I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,’
says the Lord.
If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Then when I finally had people distracted and divided against each other for every kind of reason, I would sit back and laugh as I continued to pour out even more deception than the world could imagine. I would introduce all kinds of false doctrines, and heresies. I would send false prophets into churches so that even the elect would be deceived.
I would do my best to twist every Biblical truth I could. I would cause people to disrespect God in every way. And as everyone was distracted by all my evil schemes, I would offer a myriad of empty promises as a cure for their problems. I would make sure people were turning to drugs, and alcohol, and sexual perversion as a means of escape from their pain. I would lie to them convincing them that every sinful distraction is a means to escape.
Then I would convince them that their lives were worthless and meaningless. I would make sure they felt that no one cared or even noticed them. That would be pretty easy because, very few would notice them—I’ve got them focused on themselves after all. I would convince them that they were completely hopeless with nowhere to turn, and I would make them think God had turned His back on them. Then I would bring their sudden destruction.
Through all this people would be so focused on the meaningless and temporary problems on earth--in this quickly vanishing vapor of life--they would have no expectation or anticipation of Heaven and an eternity with a loving God. They would not even notice the words of the Bible coming to life before their very eyes:
2 Timothy 3 :1-5 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
I would create a smoke screen ensuring they would forget to watch for Christ’s return, and I would keep them so upset over politics, and other issues that they would talk about nothing else. I would make them forget that God is still in control. They would be so consumed with their own affairs it would be just like it was in the days of Noah.
They wouldn’t dare bother to share the Gospel and attempt to rescue the lost and perishing. I would convince them that Jesus would not return in their lifetime, or ever. Then, when we all least expect it, Jesus would return. So many souls would be lost, and--by my logic--I would have won!
1 Peter 5:8 “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3 ESV “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
Now, please forgive me, because I said I wasn’t going to mention Covid, or racial issues. But, I’m going there.
I felt this at the beginning of Covid-19, and I believe it even more strongly now. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT trying to predict the time or date of Jesus’ return. This is my own personal observation, and impression from Holy Spirit.
Because God is merciful, loving, faithful, and just; what if all these things have happened to prepare us? You see, most people see chaos and unrest. I see God sifting His people. When we were all ordered to stay home, most of us were locked in with our families. We spent more quality time together, and our busyness slowed down.
In my opinion, I felt as if we were given this time to get our houses in order. This was an opportunity to get closer to our kids and nourish their spiritual lives. It was an opportunity to examine ourselves and our kids to make sure we are all ready for Christ’s return.
I’m not saying God caused the Coronavirus, or the death of George Floyd. But, recently through the riots, and looting, and racial issues, the massive explosions of unrest, and the growing hatred between every race, color and creed. Maybe, just maybe God is shaking us up.
Perhaps He is bringing to the surface all of our thoughts concerning racism, division, resentment, and hatred toward our fellow man. We should take this time to examine our thoughts, and feelings toward all humankind. The Word of God says we must forgive, and LOVE one another, or we will not be able to enter Heaven. Think about that. Do we really love our neighbors as ourselves?
It doesn't matter who we feel is right or wrong. We must realize that not everyone is going to agree with us. Our way is not the only way. People can agree to disagree peacefully. But, we are required to love and forgive. Period.
I believe Jesus is coming soon. I believe we should examine our hearts and open our eyes. It’s not time to become frustrated and give up, but we should stand strong determined to thwart all the plans of the enemy of our souls.
1 John 3:15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
Luke 21:34-36 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2 “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
I know this post was long, but if you have ever listened to ANY of my words, please hear this. We must love one another, we must confess our sins, we must forgive one another, and we must be ready for Jesus’ return. Let us not be distracted, divided, deceived and ultimately destroyed by Satan.
I love you my friends.
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.