Don’t Be Polluted
I love Jesus. Anyone who knows me well knows that, and they also know that I love the Holy Spirit. I talk about Him constantly. I also frequently talk about how I believe the amount of Holy Spirit power we walk in, directly correlates to how much we are willing to surrender in our lives.
This has been my own personal experience, and I have read books from many powerful old-time evangelists who share that same opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I know that we live under grace, and we cannot earn our salvation. It cannot be bought. It is a free gift.
Ephesians 2:8,9 NIV - For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
We know that Jesus' life was the ultimate spotless sacrifice for our sins. When we repent and make Him the Lord and Savior of our lives, He washes us clean with His precious blood that was shed on Calvary. We could never possess anything as priceless or as perfect as His sacrifice as a payment for the debt we owe. His ultimate sacrifice was the only acceptable payment for our sins.
So we can never claim to be good enough to deserve eternal life except by His mercy and grace. We can never attain righteousness on our own. But, does that mean we shouldn’t even try to attain righteousness, or at least try to pursue a holy lifestyle?
I believe it is evident that we cannot earn our salvation through works. There is nothing we can do to gain salvation in our own power. However, I believe there is a very dangerous hyper-grace doctrine that seems to be running rampant today.
Just recently I heard that a few individuals were talking about me, and they were saying I was, “A little over the top because I had been radically saved.” Really? Is there any other way to be saved? Some people may have fewer sins to be forgiven, but anytime anyone is saved, I believe it is a radical experience.
Jesus doesn’t seek to change us just a little bit. He wants to radically change us! That is why He makes us a brand new creation when we ask Him to save us. (2 Corinthians 5:17) He makes a radical change in the life of the sinner who TRULY repents and turns away from their sins. We don’t get just a little saved. We are either all in, or not saved at all.
I don’t mind being accused of being radically saved. I think it’s a compliment. Obviously, people are noticing something about me that proves I’m a Christian. But the hyper-grace movement suggests that it’s okay if we sin and cuss, and it’s okay if we want to have an alcoholic drink from time to time because grace covers it all.
I simply cannot agree with that kind of teaching. Having been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, I know the Holy Spirit lives within me. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I do not want to do anything to grieve Him.
My love for Jesus and my respect for the Holy Spirit compels me to pursue sanctification. I know I can never attain to the perfection of Christ, but I can strive daily to be more like Him as He has asked us to do.
One of the more recent hyper-grace arguments came from a friend who told me that God doesn’t cringe when we speak, or flinch when we curse.
However, this is only making God fit an idea or image you have of Him. I can’t help but think of Isaiah, and his words in Isaiah chapter six.
Isaiah 6:5-7 NIV “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Now I’m sure Isaiah didn’t run around cursing people, and speaking with filthy language, but he recognized his impurity in the presence of the Most Holy God.
Jesus tells us to be Holy as He is Holy. We must do our best to imitate Jesus. Would we curse, and use profanity if we were praying to Jesus? Not likely, if we are trying to attain to His holiness. I’ve had others ask me, “Well what if profanity just happens to pop out of my mouth accidentally?”
I think you should ask Jesus to forgive you immediately. But, on the other hand, I have a hard time believing that those words will pop out of your mouth if they aren’t a regular part of your vocabulary. I agree with the old adage that says, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
If we consistently consume the pollution of the world, it will be more likely to spill out. But, if it’s not in you, it can’t spill out. I think as Christians we can always strive to do better—myself included!
I want to walk in power. I want the Holy Spirit to find me usable at all times. I want Him to be able to use me, and not hear me curse when I’m in a different crowd. I’m willing to surrender whatever it takes in order to be usable for His glory. Let’s try to keep ourselves from becoming polluted. Let’s seek to look more like Jesus than the world.
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
James 1:21-27 NIV
“I give myself away,” those were the words that I sang from the bottom of my heart when God first called me into ministry thirteen years ago. That sweet, but powerful song, by William McDowell, caused something to rise up within me. And I realized that if I truly wanted to be usable for God’s glory, I would need to give up my own selfish desires to do His will.
I would need to surrender my own plans, and the desires of my flesh, to do all God was calling me to do. My hearts greatest desire was to be, and continues to be, totally surrendered to His will and not my own.
We also sing this powerful song in the jails and prisons. These men and women are also beginning to understand the great need to be set apart—to truly repent and completely turn away from the very appearance of sin. They are seeing God move in power. And, the idea that God can, and wants, to use them in powerful ways inspires them.
When inmates come into a church service where the power of God is present and moving, something changes in them. They begin to desire more of God. And not just inmates, but almost all who truly experience God’s power and a genuine touch of the Holy Spirit, will begin to desire more of Him.
The men and women I minister to in jails and prisons are experiencing physical healing, salvation, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Some of them are falling under the power of the Holy Spirit. (slain in the Spirit)
And they know that what they are experiencing is real and genuine. They know it is 100% God, and not me. I’m not pushing them down, or shoving them to the floor. In fact many times I’m not even touching them. It’s the undeniable power of the Holy Spirit alone. I’m simply a conduit of His power.
But, I have seen a trend in a lot of pastors—some in my own denomination—that has been very disturbing. Many pastors are surrendering to the influence of the world. Just this week alone, I saw a group of pastors arguing about whether or not it’s okay to drink alcohol.
I couldn’t get over the number of pastors who were insisting there is nothing wrong with drinking socially. They began to refer to those of us who abstain as legalistic. Their argument quickly turned to the sin of gluttony. That weak comparison seems to always rear its ugly head, and it infuriates me. Yes, we know gluttony is a sin.
But, I’ve seen and heard of many innocent people killed by drunk drivers. To this day, I’ve never heard of one innocent person killed by someone who has had too many cheeseburgers.
I realize some people consider drinking to be a gray area. Having been delivered from alcohol myself, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that consuming alcohol would be a sin for me. Honestly, I never did one single thing to glorify God while under the influence of alcohol nor have I witnessed anyone else who was drinking.
But, even if I had never even tasted alcohol, I wouldn’t want to do anything that even had the remote possibility of making me unusable for God’s glory. I have given myself away to Him for His purposes. If there are any gray areas, I choose to err on the side of caution.
Why? Because more than anything else, I desire to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. I long to see souls saved, and I will do whatever it takes to be completely submitted to God’s plans. I do not want anything to hinder what God wants to do through me.
And, if I can’t surrender something as trivial as a social drink, what else am I unwilling to surrender?
You see, I’m not special. I have no power of my own. That is obvious. I have no special talents, nor am I an eloquent, theological speaker. But, I know what the power of God looks like on a life. I know what it feels like! I know that He can empower those who truly desire, more than anything else, to be usable for His glory.
Therefore, I don’t want to do anything to grieve the Holy Spirit. He is my best friend. I don't dare offend Him. I love Him! I would be totally useless without His power. He leads me, teaches me, comforts me, empowers me, and corrects me—quite often.
So my question to you is simply this, “What kind of power do you want to walk in?” We don’t like to talk about holiness much anymore. A lot of people have tried to pass holiness off as legalism. And, I know there are some legalistic things out there to avoid. But, I also know there is a huge deficit of holiness today.
When did we stop doing everything we could to please God, and start looking at everything we could “get away with,” and still be a Christian? God hasn’t changed, we have! If we want to see a genuine move of the Holy Spirit, God’s going to need some genuine Christians to work with.
What kind of power do you want to walk in? What are you willing to give away so that you can be usable to Him? There are some things that might not even be considered sinful that God wants you to walk away from. It’s about being totally surrendered to His desires and not your own.
Instead of looking at what we can “get away with,” we must start looking at what we can “get rid of,” in order to look more like Jesus. So, if you want to have a ministry that is alive with the power of the Holy Spirit, what are you willing to surrender?
I firmly believe there is a direct correlation to the amount of holiness we strive for and the amount of power we walk in. I’ve had to walk away from a lot of things to experience His power working through me. But, I long to surrender even more, so that I can obtain more of His power!
I want to be a good steward of His presence so others can feel His power and expect something from God. I want others to be uplifted and encouraged to do more for God as well. We are in the last of the last days and there are so many lost people in the world headed for a devil’s hell. We must be powered up to reach them and lead them to Jesus.
I speak this to you with as much love as I possibly can. We live in an hour where people need to see that God truly is Who He says He is, and that He still moves in power today. People need to know there is hope, and they need to know they too can walk in power.
Who will heed the call to be set apart? Who will desire holiness more than worldliness? Who will give themselves away to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit?
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
2 Thessalonians 1:11
To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will consider you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power
Click here to find out: What God's doing in prison
Fan the Flame and Let it Shine
I was recently reflecting on being a child in Sunday school and all the cute little Bible songs we sang. I’m sure many of you can relate to singing, This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. In my mind, as a youngster, I envisioned holding a small flickering birthday candle in front of me carrying it wherever I went.
I knew from experience that a birthday candle was small, and that tiny flame could easily be snuffed out. So, I understood that I must be careful to keep it shining. The misconception was the idea that the flame was on the outside of me. I was responsible for making sure my flame was seen.
I’m so glad it doesn’t work that way in real life. You see, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, we receive such a precious gift. When we nurture that gift by praying in the Spirit on a daily basis we are fanning the flame as Paul encouraged Timothy to do.
“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” 2 Timothy 1:6 NLT
That precious flame burns inside of us. We don’t have to physically carry a candle to let others know about what God has done in our lives. The evidence becomes obvious in the way we treat others, love people, and trust God.
When we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, people will naturally be drawn to us. We carry a flame within us that shines so brightly it becomes irresistible to those who desire a relationship with God, or more from God than they have yet experienced. That small flame inside us causes others to hunger for every gift God has available to us.
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine.
So many of us in charismatic circles have shrunk back from talking about the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. We may feel like others will think we are weird, or even crazy. But we are living in treacherous times. People need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit now more than ever before.
The Holy Spirit gives us the boldness and courage to do what God has called us to do. He gives us discernment. We need to be equipped with everything God has made available to us to do His work. And, if He wants us to share the gospel, do you think He would withhold the tools to help you to do so? No.
It is His desire to use each and every one of us. So, He wants each and every one of us to be equipped with the gifts of the Spirit, so we can do all He has planned for us.
If you have not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, I have good news for you! There are only three requirements to receive the gift. First we must be saved, and striving to live our lives according to His Word in the Holy Bible.
Next, we must truly desire the gift of the Holy Spirit. He will not force Himself on us. We must believe He wants to give us the gift, and we must desire the gift as well.
And last, we must be willing to yield to Him. The Holy Spirit will not take control of your mouth and cause you to start speaking uncontrollably. You received your salvation by faith. You had to believe that Jesus truly is the Son of God and that He died for your sins, and rose again on the third day.
If you had faith to believe for your salvation, you have faith to believe for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. You only have to pray and ask Jesus to give you the gift. He is faithful. He will never give you something harmful or evil if you are seeking Him.
So, be sure to share your testimony with others, but don’t leave out the powerful gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Keep fanning that flame by praying in the Spirit daily, and watch God begin to move even more powerfully in your life!
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Luke 11:11-13 NLT
I firmly believe God is calling many of us to step out of our comfort zones and into miracle zones. In fact the step He’s asking you to take may feel more like a giant leap. It may sound scary impossible to you, but God has done it over and over again throughout history. I can certainly attest to the fact that He has been calling me to leap a lot lately, and it has been anything but comfortable. But, it has been so worth it.
When I received the message from a prison Chaplain asking me to come and minister to the men who were incarcerated in his prison, I experienced a whole gamut of emotions. It sounded exciting, but also terrifying. I’m completely comfortable ministering in female jails and prisons, but going into a men’s prison was a totally different story.
And believe me, I’ve heard stories. My mentor shared his experience of going into men’s prisons only to find they were only interested in him long enough to find out if he had postage stamps. Another individual told me stories of angry and hateful men who only wanted to argue. Others told me stories of violent men who would try to harass me as a female, and they tried to convince me it was far too dangerous for a female to even consider.
My husband wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea himself. But, knowing my heart for ministry, he reluctantly agreed to let me go.
But there was one more obstacle, I needed a ministry partner to go with me. Unfortunately most of my team has dissipated for various reasons during the months of COVID lockdowns. But, completely out of the blue, God sent Sara Kenzie to help me. I’ll be the first to admit (and I’m sure she agrees) that she was probably the least likely to help me. I knew before I asked her that this would be way beyond her comfort zone, and I anticipated a great big, “No!” But, amazingly she agreed to go with me!
Little did I know that God had already been dealing with her to step out of her comfort zone! He is an on time God! So, Sara and I went to the prison and took the training class. When we arrived at the ominous looming prison that serves as home to over one thousand, five hundred male inmates, we both took a deep breath. We mustered up our courage, and headed for the front gate.
We made our way through security where all our belongings, including our own bodies passed through X-Ray. Then we were patted down to make sure we hadn’t brought in anything. Finally we were inside all the gates.
The Chaplain led us to the visitation gallery because the number of men signed up for our church service wouldn’t fit in the chapel where services are normally held. We quickly set up the projector and speaker and made sure everything was working.
I had been battling a cold and sinus infection for over a week and was still having trouble speaking without having a major coughing attack. That was what I was worried about more than anything. I had perfect peace about ministering to these men but, my biggest fear was losing my voice! Sara also said she felt completely at ease, and had no fear. That’s God!
The buzzer sounded and in walked the Chaplain with a large group of male inmates. I was overwhelmed by the peace and calm I felt. When God calls us to a task, He equips and empowers us. I had no fear because I was certain that He had opened this door for me. The Holy Spirit was with me, and He was leading and directing the entire event. I only needed to be submissive to His plans.
I asked those men if they were ready for revival. They responded with a resounding, “Yes!” I knew at that moment, God was going to do the miraculous. We sang a couple of songs, and I began to speak. That’s when my greatest fear was realized. I lost my voice! I couldn’t speak a word without coughing. Cough drops were not working! I asked the Chaplain for some water and, finally, I was able to speak again.
That was my cue to end it. I had said enough. Now it was time to get out of the way and allow the Holy Spirit to do what He does best. I gave an invitation for salvation, and many of those men raised their hands. I led them in a prayer for salvation. Then, we went back into worship and I told them to come forward if they needed prayer for specific needs. One by one the men came forward for prayer as the worship music played.
One man was shaking uncontrollably because he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He wanted me to pray for his healing. I prayed for him, and God baptized him in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Soon after that, he completely stopped shaking. The Chaplain told me that he believed he was healed because he had never seen him stop shaking.
Two more men were baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, and many others came forward for healing, and prayers for their families. God was moving in power! It was the most beautiful thing to see! The men thanked us repeatedly for coming, and we told them we would be back next month.
I think I floated out of the prison that day. Once again, God had revealed to me that He shows up in the most powerful ways when we simply move out of our comfort zones. He provides everything that is needed. He is still saving, healing and delivering! We only need to be obedient, and give Him our “Yes!”
Why Church Outreaches Often Fail
More than ever before, there seems to be an increase in church outreach activities. That is not a bad thing. I have always agreed that we must be the church outside the four walls of a building. Over the past several years, I’ve been a part of many different kinds of outreaches.
We have had back-to-school bashes and given away backpacks full of school supplies, while entertaining the kids with carnival activities. It was a kind way of loving on the community. Some of them visited the church later, but most took the free stuff and were never seen again until the next year.
There have been a lot of loving outreaches done with the underlying intent of drawing people into the church. In one of our former outreaches, we had at least one hundred people show up for the fun and free stuff. Only two or three visited the church afterward, and none of them made our church their church home.
So why do outreaches so often fail? And why do most churches buy into the idea that giving away things, and throwing fun carnival events draw people into the church?
First of all, there’s no doubt that people are falling away and leaving churches. I believe that is a sign that we are living in the last of the last days. I also believe pastors are panicking to try to bring in people or retain people. You can’t browse a bookstore without seeing multiple books about how to grow your church or retain attendees.
But there is one big problem with all of this. We can’t grow churches by methods. Only the Holy Spirit can effectively grow The Church--and I’m talking about the church universal. When leaders begin to focus on growing numbers in their congregations instead of growing numbers for the Kingdom, they soon start to resort to secular outreaches and end up disappointed.
Another problem many churches face is they become great at outreaches and festivals, but when the visitor comes into the church, there is no power. A church that lacks the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit will not retain visitors. People are looking for more than entertainment. They are looking for churches that are alive with the life changing power of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe we must minister to the needs of the community, especially those in need. But how many times do we do these outreaches with wrong motives? And we can ask ourselves a very important question to check our motives. How many people are we leading to Christ during the outreach? Are we actively witnessing to the participants about the soul cleansing blood of Jesus?
If our priority is reaching souls for the Kingdom of God, we must be sure that the spiritual needs of the church members are met first. We must be sure we are speaking the whole truth of the Word of God, preaching about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, and His redeeming blood. And we must preach and teach on the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
We must allow the Spirit to move in our services. There are a lot of great sermons out there, but without the anointing and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit they simply fall flat. We must have the anointing. There has to be something happening--besides entertainment--inside the four walls of the church to truly reach those outside the four walls.
The popular motto is, “Stop doing church, and start being the church.” I agree with that sentiment to an extent. I don’t think church should be a routine that we casually do. But being the church has much more to do with speaking the truth to lost souls and empowering them through the power of the Holy Spirit, than giving away free goodies.
If the people in the church are built up in their faith and filled up and operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, there will be no need for outreaches. People will knock down the doors to get into a church where they can truly encounter Jesus; where lives are being spiritually changed, and people are being healed. And a church whose people are empowered by the Holy Spirit will naturally reach out to others—wherever they are.
When will we as leaders wake up and realize that our efforts are worthless unless we are empowered and led by the Holy Spirit? We can build social clubs all day long. But this lost and dying world needs far more than another social event. They need the active, life changing power of the Word of God in all its gory details—no sugarcoating—and the supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit Who causes us to be bold and gives us the power to witness.
This is how we grow the Kingdom. In the process, church numbers become a naturally occurring byproduct. We can’t do this on our own. We need Jesus and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God knows the plans, and He honors our efforts to lead the lost to Jesus.
“And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself.”
John 12:32 MEV
Who Are You?
The Holy Spirit is such a kind and helpful friend, especially when we have one of those momentary memory lapses where we forget why we have been placed on this planet. I had one of those moments recently. I was walking through a store when I passed by the pharmacy. As, I started to turn the corner a lady almost bumped into me with her shopping cart. Then I noticed she was speaking to me—very quietly.
I leaned in closer, and she asked me if I knew of a good medication for inflammation. I’m not a pharmacist, but I suggested Ibuprofen. Her expression revealed that was not exactly what she was talking about. So, I asked for more information, “Joint pain, or inflammation of the joints? You could try Glucosamine maybe?” She looked at me, smiled weakly and said, “I’ll keep looking I guess.” I told her the pharmacist could probably give her better advice, and I turned and walked away.
I had walked no more than two aisles from where we were speaking when I heard that familiar still small voice. “Who are you?” He asked. I stopped dead in my tracks. Once again, He asked me, “Who are you, Donna? Have you forgotten? You may not have the answer to her questions about medicine, but you carry something far more valuable than that.”
Oh, my goodness! Where was my brain? Normally I would have immediately offered to pray for anyone who mentioned the slightest ache. Yet, after social distancing, masks, quarantine, and all things COVID, I think I have become accustomed to seclusion. I think I have unconsciously avoided interaction with those around me, completely blind to their needs, even when they are blatantly obvious!
I hurried back to where I left her. She was still standing there. I walked up to her and said, “I don’t think you stopped me by coincidence. You see, I’m an evangelist, and I wholeheartedly believe in the healing power of Jesus. Do you mind if I pray for you?” She looked at me and said, “I would like that.”
I placed my hand on her shoulder, and as I began to pray for my new friend, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit fall powerfully right there in the aisle of the store. She looked at me and said, “Wow, where do you go to church?” We continued to talk briefly. Walking away with my heart overflowing with joy, I felt that approving nod from my best friend—the Holy Spirit.
How easy it is to forget who we are and what we carry. I was reminded of Peter and John as they met the lame man begging for alms outside the temple gate. The beggar asked for alms, and Peter and John had none. But, without hesitation they told the lame man what they did have. And it was much better than silver or gold. In the Name of Jesus Christ, they took the man by the hand and raised him to his feet, and he began to walk.
Peter and John had spent time in the upper room—waiting just as Jesus had asked them to—when they received power from on high. They were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. They experienced a new holy boldness, and a divine shift in their identity. They now realized who they were in Jesus, and what power they carried within them.
Situations may have caused you to shift your gaze in other directions. You may feel as if you have been temporarily disengaged from your purpose. But don’t you dare forget who, and more importantly, whose you are. Remember the power you carry through the Holy Spirit. Pray in the Spirit daily and be ready to step out immediately when presented with the opportunity. He will definitely provide plenty of opportunities.
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
Acts 3:6 KJV
I was neck deep in graduation planning, party planning, government issues and meetings, counseling, speech writing, shopping, and more, and I still had to fit in house cleaning before Friday. I was stressed. I was nervous about my baby girl graduating and I was tired. So, when Tuesday evening rolled around, and we were experiencing severe weather I began to consider skipping the jail service.
I mean the ladies would understand with all I had on my plate. They probably wouldn’t even be expecting me in this severe stormy weather. After all, what if the jail lost power? We wouldn’t be able to have the service anyway. Not to mention, I had a stress headache that just would not relent. It would be a good evening to just go home, rest, and focus on the remainder of my extremely long to do list.
But I couldn’t do it. I know from past experiences that when I really don’t feel like going, and especially when the enemies influences start giving me all kinds of excuses to stay away—something big is going to happen. So, I loaded up the projector, my lap top, speaker, and my Bible and off to the jail I went. It was going to be a sacrifice, but I know God honors our sacrifices.
I signed in and went into the auditorium to set up, and I waited, and waited, and waited. No one was coming. What was going on? I waited at least thirty minutes and still no one came. Had I driven an hour to get here to find no one to minister to? Finally I pressed the button and asked if any of the ladies were coming to church. The reply came back, “Yes, we are getting them ready right now.”
Finally that familiar buzzer sounded, the door opened, and in they came. A bigger group than the previous week, but still not a big group—maybe ten? I began by greeting the new ladies, and we started the worship service. The whole time I was praying and asking the Holy Spirit to lead me and give me the words to speak. I had no idea what I was going to speak on but I knew He knew what the ladies needed to hear.
And He never fails. I began to preach by the power of the Holy Spirit and before I knew it women were weeping. I gave an altar call to accept Christ, and six ladies responded. We prayed, and they repented and asked Jesus to be the Lord of their lives. I typically give them an assignment to read a particular couple of chapters in the Bible and we sing another song and dismiss. But, I always offer to pray with them individually for any needs they have during the ending worship songs.
I had just requested that they read the first two chapters of Acts, and I told them we would discuss the baptism in the Holy Spirit next week. I started the music, and one by one they came to me for prayer. As I began to pray for the first young lady, the Holy Spirit began to reveal some things about her, and as I began to speak the words He gave me she began to tremble and weep…tears of joy.
I immediately felt that I should ask her if she wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. She said, “Yes! I want everything God has for me!” I began to pray with her again, and the moment I placed my hand on her forehead she began to speak in tongues. It was flowing out of her like a river. She was rejoicing and crying and could hardly stand. This lady had just given her heart to Christ moments before this. I’m pretty sure she didn’t even understand what the baptism in the Holy Spirit was, but she simply wanted more of Jesus.
The next lady came forward and said, “Miss Donna, I want what she got!” We both giggled and the Holy Spirit began to give me words to speak to her—meant only for her. She began to weep and before I could even put my hand on her head she fell under the power of the Holy Spirit. When I helped her up she was speaking in tongues.
She ran to the back of the room and grabbed a friend and dragged her to the front. She said, “Give it to her too!” I told her I was not the baptizer in the Holy Spirit but Jesus was, and if she wanted the gift to reach out her hands to Him to receive it. I prayed for her and gently placed my hand on her head. She immediately began to speak in tongues as the Spirit gave her the utterance. Now, both of these girls were jumping up and down and praising Jesus.
Then another lady came forward and asked to receive as well. In just moments she was praying in tongues and weeping tears of joy. I cannot even describe to you the presence of God that flooded that jail auditorium. His power and presence was so thick it seemed physically tangible. One of the ladies said it felt like electricity in the air. Another said she had goosebumps from the moment she walked into the auditorium.
As I began to pray with one of these young ladies I sensed she was called to be a worship leader. She wept as the Holy Spirit began to reveal His plans for her. She told me, “My dad was a worship leader, and there’s nothing in this world I would rather do.” I told her she would be leading us in worship next week. She wept uncontrollably and was so excited. I prayed with other ladies for different needs. A lot of healing, emotionally and physically, took place. And I was reminded why I must always press on, especially when I don’t feel like it.
I sat in the parking lot after that service and cried. I know it had nothing to do with me. The Holy Spirit’s desire is to woo the sinner to Christ. He also wants to empower us to live a life devoted to Jesus, and to boldly speak the truth to a lost and dying world. It’s not by any strength or ability I possess, but by the wonderful, breathtaking power of the Holy Spirit!
Oh, what a blessing I would have missed if I had chosen to stay home. I certainly didn’t leave the jail with a headache. I also had plenty of time to accomplish everything I needed to do the rest of the week, and I did it without stress or worry! This is what revival looks like. When people realize God’s love for them, and they understand their immense need for a Savior then we begin to experience revival.
(This is not only happening in the jail, but in schools, churches, in open air meetings, and various other places. I would love to come and speak a word of encouragement to your congregation. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 319-541-1385)
Quit Praying for Revival!
For years I have prayed for God to send revival. I couldn’t figure out why we were not seeing God move in power in our churches. In this last season of Covid and quarantines I began to feel more desperate than ever before. Before everything shut down I had started to feel complacent, and I felt we would never see revival.
I began to wonder if the promises God had made to me years ago would ever come to pass. I was even discouraged with my weekly jail ministry and it almost felt like a chore to go and hold services. I began to doubt if it was really making a difference anyway. But when Covid came along, and I could no longer go into the jails or other venues, my perspective began to change.
It’s so easy to become complacent and start complaining about things even when things are good. We can quickly go from blessing to blaming when our attitudes fall out of line. For me, Covid shutdowns not only prevented me from doing a lot of traveling ministry, it caused me to take a long hard look at my attitude. I could get discouraged because my schedule when from full to nil, or I could dig deeper and prepare for the next season.
I’m so glad I chose the latter because Jesus taught me some important lessons in that time. I think the most important lesson He taught me was to quit praying for revival. That’s right, He told me to stop praying for revival as I knew it. Many of us have a concept of what we want revival to look like. We often look back to grand revivals of the past and desire that kind of great outpouring.
And I definitely believe we can see and experience that again. But, Jesus showed me that our approach must be different. He began to give me dreams and visions of revival that looked different from anything I have seen before. People were coming to Jesus in total desperation and complete surrender.
Something had changed within them. The things of earth had grown strangely dim in their eyes as they began to look to Jesus. It was as if they had been sifted, and their focus had been shifted. They were desperate for something more than holy goosebumps, and personal blessings. They were desperate for Jesus.
And as they began to see their need for Him, they began to experience His power within them. It was in the realization of Who He is, and whose they are, that revival was birthed.
I have read over this Scripture again and again, and finally truly absorbed and took to heart what it means for us:
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called--his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Emphasis mine)
First we must realize whose we are. We are His holy people, and His inheritance! We are treasured. Next we must understand that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us, and His power is available to those who believe—that’s us. We often pray for revival and beg God to send His power, but He already has. We carry revival within us!
The exact same power that raised Christ from dead is in us and available to us! What if we simply believed this power is within us? What if we quit looking for revival to spontaneously erupt in our church and began to step out in the power He has given us? What if we began to do what He has called us to do? This became very real to me over the past month.
I became desperate to go back to jail. Since the Holy Spirit lives within us, and He gives us power I began to increase my praying in the Holy Spirit. I also increased my praise and worship and Bible study. I began to feel like Jeremiah must have felt—like fire shut up in my bones. I couldn’t wait for an opportunity to speak—anywhere. I was ready to see God move. I BELIEVED He was going to move wherever I went because I carry His power inside me.
In a months time I saw sixteen people saved, nine people baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, and three received a call into ministry. These took place in a school, in an open field, and inside a jail. And this only goes to prove that we carry the Spirit of revival within us. The Holy Spirit is still the same. He has not changed. Our ideas of how and when He will move have.
The Holy Spirit’s power is displayed out of our desperation. Not just a desperation to see Him perform great signs and wonders, but the desperation to see Him change and transform lives. When we desire to see God do the miraculous for others, and not just ourselves, we will see Him move. He is just longing for someone to believe in the power that is within them.
He will do the rest!
From Anointing to Appointing
It was almost twenty years and twenty chapters after David’s anointing (1 Samuel 16) before David was appointed as King of Israel. During all these years David knew he had been anointed as King, but he had not been allowed to step into that position. He was even moved into the palace, but only to serve King Saul for many years. He was servant to King Saul, and Saul even tried to kill him on multiple occasions. If that isn’t enough to make a person question their call, I don’t know what would be?
One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn, is that anointing or receiving a call to minister, does not always mean instant appointing. Usually the moment of anointing, or the moment God calls you to do something, will result in God taking you into a place of obscurity. We are thrilled when God reveals His calling on our lives, but then we often get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results, or if everyone around us doesn’t immediately recognize our anointing.
We live in an age where everything is immediate, so we usually hate to wait for anything at all.
Many of us older and wiser individuals have experienced the joy of living in an age when 35mm film was your best option for personal pictures. That process was anything but instant.
First you had to go to the store and buy the film. Then you had to load it into your camera. If you were successful in doing that—without breaking the film—you were ready to start snapping pictures. Forty- two pictures, at most if you splurged on the big roll.
After taking all the shots, you then had to rewind the film inside the camera. You had to be sure not to open the camera until it was completely rewound, or you would ruin all the images. Next you had to unload the film and pop it back into its little plastic canister.
Now that you had successfully removed the film, you had to take it to a store like Wal-Mart, and place it in an envelope with your information on it. At that point, they would ship it off to be developed. This could take a week or two. If your film wasn’t lost, and it actually made its way back to your drop off location, you would pray with all your might as you held that envelope just hoping that you didn’t take 42 pictures of your thumb.
Those were the days weren’t they?
Now we just pick up our cellphones, snap a pic, post it on social media, and in less than one minute someone in another country can see the image! How crazy is that? We have become so used to getting what we want as quickly as possible, many of us have forgotten that really good things must be developed over time.
I believe our callings are very similar to the old cameras with 35mm film. Imagine for a minute that you are that 35mm roll of film. First God places you in His camera. He begins to flash the images of your calling upon the unexposed film of your heart. Inside we know what He is showing us. We know what He has called us and anointed us to do, but to everyone around us, we just look like an insignificant roll of film.
But then God takes us even deeper into obscurity, because now He is taking us into the darkroom to develop us. The film cannot be exposed to any light prematurely, or the images will be lost forever. So, the film is hidden in the dark room where it is now taken through nine different chemical processes. If the door is opened at any point during the developing process the film will be ruined. So, just like the film, in darkness and obscurity God works patiently with us, developing us for His purposes.
Our darkroom experience could take twenty years. It could even be longer, but we must remember that God has anointed us and called us, and He is faithful. None of our pain is wasted. It’s all a part of the process. Even Jesus went through an anonymous period. He was anonymous for much longer than He was recognized on earth.
We will go through tough times, and we will be tempted to doubt. We will wonder why others can’t see what God has already shown us.
But look at David. His own Father didn’t recognize his potential. The prophet Samuel looked at Eliab and immediately assumed he was the one! But God chose David. He knew His heart, He knew David’s character, and He knew David was willing to go through the processing God needed to do in his life. He knew David had the character to not blow it during the developing phase.
You see Eliab was tall and strong and handsome, and he might have been mans first choice as the next king. But God rejected him. There is a big difference in gifting and anointing. This is where we must understand the difference in a calling, and a talent. Not everyone will choose to use their talent for God’s glory. A talent or gift that is not used for God will not have the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon it.
People can be gifted but live an impure life and have no relationship with Christ. An individual could be a gifted singer, or a witty, charismatic, and charming speaker, but without a genuine relationship with Jesus and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, they will simply have talents that are going to waste.
As children of God we have got to be so close to Him that we are able to distinguish the difference between gifting and anointing.
There’s a huge distinction between goosebumps and anointing. If you go to a secular concert and the singer hits an amazing high note, you might get goosebumps because of their talent or gifting. That doesn’t mean they are anointed. It means they are talented.
Many people use their talents in ungodly ways, but the anointing is imparted to those who use their gifts and talents for God’s glory.
The anointing is developed in us over time, and it is usually brought about by crushing. Talent alone is powerless, but the anointing breaks the yokes of bondage! Gifting without anointing is self-seeking. Anointing points away from self, and points to Jesus. I would much rather have anointing than misused talents.
Just as people can use their gifts in ungodly ways, they can also use their gifts in ministry, but still be totally devoid of anointing especially if God hasn’t called us to that ministry, or if we try to enter into it prematurely.
Gifting without anointing will not be sustained. God doesn’t bless what He never started. We cannot rely on gifting alone, we must be willing to subject ourselves to the crushing that comes through developing.
We must be willing to be crushed in obscurity, before we can be used in amazing ways. God wants to do awesome things through us, but many of us want to skip the developing stage. We can’t skip God’s developing stage.
As I was studying, I found this interesting. We use olive oil to anoint people. Olives must be crushed into a paste, and then pressed to release their oil. I have found this to be an easy reminder that crushing releases anointing.
Our hearts are developed in anonymity and obscurity—or in the dark room. If you ever wonder why you have been unnoticed, uninvited, unapplauded, unrecognized, overlooked or ignored, just remember— God doesn’t look at what man looks at. God looks upon the heart. He is developing your heart to be able to carry the great anointing and favor that He has prepared for you.
Remember this, the light that is within you, must be greater than the light that is on you, or the light that is on you will destroy you.
We also must submit to authority. I’m sure David was unhappy about submitting to Saul, but he did it anyway. Sometimes we are in situations like David. His own Father didn’t recognize his potential. We may be in churches where our own Spiritual Fathers, or leaders don’t notice or comprehend the anointing on us, but we can’t just leave the church.
We have to remember that when we are hidden, we are still developing. God wants to see if you have what it takes to carry the gifting and anointing He has chosen you for. If we leave, we are saying we are not willing to humble ourselves and go through the crushing process. God has a reason for everything He does. Your Spiritual leaders may even get it wrong from time to time, they may prophecy over someone else and say God has called them to a powerful ministry. And you might be absolutely certain that person is living a sinful lifestyle, and doesn’t even have a relationship with God.
Pastors and prophets can miss the mark sometimes. But God looks at you to see how you will react to being overlooked. We have to be so careful in these types of situations. If we are not recognizing it as part of our developing, we can easily let bitterness and jealousy creep in.
Jealousy is so destructive. It will destroy a calling faster than anything, and if it’s not brought into control it can even keep us from Heaven. Now that’s scary!
One thing I’ve found about jealousy is that usually the people who are doing nothing for God, are the ones who want to complain about those who are doing something!
A man on Facebook told me I couldn’t be a pastor because I was female. When I asked him how many people he had led to Christ in the last month, he couldn’t account for anyone. Yet he was happy to judge and criticize me all day long! I found it interesting that he had so many hateful and negative things to say about me being a female preacher, yet he wasn’t willing to even try to lead anyone to Christ himself. I couldn’t help but think, “It’s a good thing God isn’t depending solely on you!”
People who are doing what God has called them to do don’t have time to criticize others, or be jealous of what others are doing for God. The reason they don’t have time to be jealous of others, is because the things God is doing in their lives and ministries are keeping them too thrilled, and excited to watch and criticize others.
The enemy uses social media and so many other things to trap us with jealousy. Be wise. Perhaps you were not invited to an event, and if you were not invited, you can be certain that the enemy will make sure you see it on social media. I have caught myself scrolling through and see a women’s conference where some of my friends were speaking. I had to check myself because I was tempted to wonder, “Well why wasn’t I invited to speak?” Don’t go there. It’s not about you.
At other times you might see someone celebrating something awesome God has done in their life when your own prayers have gone unanswered, and you start to feel a little tinge of jealousy. You know what? It’s not wrong to unfollow someone? If you are being tempted by the enemy to be jealous or covetous, unfollow them so you’re not seeing it all the time. But, don’t forget that God’s timing is perfect. It’s better to celebrate what God is doing in other’s lives, and rejoice with them when you can!
Do whatever it takes to nip that bitter weed in the bud! Let God develop you in obscurity. Don’t worry that God will forget you. He’s never going to forget what He has called and anointed you to do for Him.
Remember this....if God has assigned you, He will find you!
God had no trouble finding David when He was ready to appoint him as King. I’m sure many times David wondered where God was, but God always knew where David was. You will face a lot of unfair, and even unrighteous situations during your obscurity. But remember God is watching to see how you react.
Do you love Him and serve Him just as eagerly on the back pew, as you do on the platform? What you do in your obscurity will hold far greater eternal reward than what you do publicly.
You may stand on a platform and be applauded by thousands. Enjoy it. You have received your reward! But think about those who serve God in obscurity.
I had a very humbling experience a couple of years ago where I ministered to a group of pastors in Pakistan. I was excited about it, but when I actually saw those men and realized they were in hiding because studying and sharing the Word of God could cost them their very lives, and they would be leaving to go into areas where they could be killed at a moments notice just for speaking the name of Jesus; I thought, what on earth could I possibly say to these men?
I felt very unworthy in that moment.
Their names may never appear in a news article or a magazine. I’m sure you will probably never read about their accomplishments in a popular book. And they may never receive an ounce of praise from man. But, can you imagine their Heavenly reward? Jesus is priceless to them, even in obscurity.
Always keep that in mind. Even if God chooses to use you in a very public ministry. Always seek to do things for Him in obscurity. Your earthly reward is only temporary, but your Heavenly reward is eternal.
Embrace the developing process. God loves you so much that He wants to spend time with you intimately, preparing you, teaching you, and molding you into His image, so you will be the vessel of honor He has chosen you to be for His glory. Trust me when I say His timing is absolutely perfect!
There’s a whole lot of fact checking going on today. But are these fact checks really based on facts? And, where are people getting their facts?
Webster’s Dictionary defines facts as: something that has actual existence, an actual occurrence, a piece of information presented as having objective reality, or the quality of being actual and hinges on evidence.
We live in an age where anyone can share information on the internet and call it factual. For instance, have you ever researched a topic on Wikipedia? There may actually be some factual information on there, but there is a lot of information that is false.
Atheists claim there is no God. They back up their claims by saying science supports this “fact.” But, how does science prove there is no God? It doesn’t. Christianity is being attacked now more than it ever has been in America. And, most of these attacks claim to be based on facts.
Anti-Christians say the Bible is just a fictional book. Some call it a book of fairytales. I cringe at just having to type that! In our culture, most people are entitled to their own facts. Let’s take gender identity as an example. We have clear evidence that there are only two genders—male and female except for the very rare occurrence of a person who is intersex (born with both male and female genitalia).
Yet many people now believe there are an infinite number of genders. They not only claim this to be factual, but they teach this in our schools and colleges as facts. Real facts are not subject to our own interpretations.
The objective fact (fact that can be seen or observed) is there are two genders indicated by genitalia—male and female. But in our society, facts are being changed on a daily basis to fit the agendas of those who oppose Christianity and embrace sin. This alone proves that today’s perspective of facts are basically worthless.
Colleges and now even public schools teach these things and require students to accept them as absolute facts, and yet the Holy Bible is banned from schools. Wonder why? Maybe this is why they teach multiple genders, yet ban the Bible:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27 (MEV)
Abortion is embraced as natural and as every woman’s right. Women are being deceived by this lie which causes many to attempt suicide later due to the guilt they feel. The truth that every life is valuable, is neglected and traded for the world’s idea that a fetus is nothing more than a cluster of cells. They push this as factual as well. But God’s Word says:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Jeremiah 1:5 (MEV)
Your eyes saw me unformed, yet in Your book all my days were written, before any of them came into being. Psalm 139:16 (MEV)
Homosexuality runs rampant in our society today though God calls it detestable. Pornography has spread like a pandemic. Adultery has become a norm. Swingers, wife swapping, and other sexual sin is widespread. Children are being stolen and sold into sexual slavery by the thousands. All kinds of sexual immorality is celebrated. People have lost their ability to blush over sin.
Just as The Lord spoke over Jerusalem:
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? They were not at all ashamed, nor could they blush... Jeremiah 6:15 (MEV)
I could go on and on about things that are called facts without reason today, but I won’t. I’m sure you can think of many of your own examples. This attack on Christianity is typical of what Christ said would happen in the last days. But it is still alarming to see it all around us, and increasing at such a lightning fast rate.
Faith will always be more important than the twisted facts this world tries to push on us. God’s Holy Word is greater than fact, because it is Truth. I have said it many times, “Faith trumps facts.” So, we must be careful not to fall for “fact checking,” according to the world’s standards and be absolutely sure we are “faith checking,” according to the Bible.
The Bible is not subjective to our own beliefs and cannot be twisted to fit our agendas. It is plain and simple truth. And, it is the pattern by which the righteous live their lives. God’s existence is also objective which many also deny. But, He has shown His existence throughout creation in the world that surrounds us.
Still, truth is still being suppressed by sin and wickedness. This factor alone fulfills prophecy in Scripture about the last days. Terrible things happen when we trade God’s Word for lies. And, especially when we deny the very existence of God.
But because people have rejected His existence and His truth for so long, the world has been allowed to have its false belief system, along with all of its ridiculous fact checks. We often wonder how anyone—dare I say it—could be so ignorant and believe some of the ludicrous things that are believed and being taught today. But this is even explained in the Bible. Just take a look at these Scriptures and think about it.
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth through unrighteousness. For what may be known about God is clear to them since God has shown it to them. The invisible things about Him—His eternal power and deity—have been clearly seen since the creation of the world and are understood by the things that are made, so that they are without excuse.
Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him or give thanks to Him as God, but became futile in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.
Therefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. They turned the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged the natural function for what is against nature. Likewise the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men with men doing that which is shameful, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not proper. They were filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, proud, boastful, inventors of evil things, and disobedient toward parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, calloused, and unmerciful, who know the righteous requirement of God, that those who commit such things are worthy of death. They not only do them, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Romans 1:18-22, 24-32 (MEV)
It would be a terrible thing to be abandoned by God. Yet, if we continue to deny Him—if we continually rely on worldly facts--and reject the infallible, inerrant, truth of God’s Word, we may very well find ourselves heading in that direction.
Let’s forget about fact checking, and start faith checking. The only truth we need is found in the pages of His Holy Word. It is living and active, and He speaks to us through those words. Make sure your truth is coming from the most reputable source—The Holy Bible.
Earlier today I had a headache, so I lay down to take a short nap. I had the most powerful and vivid dream.
In the dream I was in a great revival service. People were walking up to me--some rough looking characters as well as poised and polished individuals--and handing me drug paraphernalia. They were begging me to lead them to Jesus. So many people were coming to receive Jesus as Savior, I had to round up a huge team to help lead them to The Lord.
As I looked out over the congregation people were being slain the Spirit even though no one had touched them. People were being miraculously healed, and others were baptized in The Holy Spirit. There was so much rejoicing, I could only weep tears of joy.
Someone went to the pulpit and took the mic and started speaking confusion. It was a distraction to what God was doing. Immediately,
I went to the pulpit, took the mic and began to speak. God gave me a powerful Word. I remember feeling the power of the Holy Spirit upon me so strong, and the words coming from my mouth were definitely not my own, as The Holy Spirit spoke through me to the congregation.
(Holy Spirit later revealed to me that He was no longer allowing mere man to take the glory for what God was doing—the distracting man was symbolic of this.)
Immediately we all started singing a song we had never heard before. Even the worship team suddenly knew the words, and all the notes as everyone began to sing and play in unison. I can still hear the words and melody as we were singing,
“We have not passed, we have not passed, we have not passed, Ohhh, Oooohhh. Here before!”
It was as if The Holy Spirit came in waves and passed over the congregation. I saw people raised from their wheelchairs and began to walk, only to then be slain in the Spirit. Healed forever.
Multitudes saved, healed and delivered. No one was looking at their watches, no one was concerned about dinner. Every eye was on Jesus!
Then I awoke! Immediately The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said,
“This is not a day of mourning but a day of rejoicing because I’m about to pour out my power and bring a revival like you have never seen or experienced before! People will certainly be singing ‘We have never passed this way before!’ My people will see I AM, and I WAS and I AM the One who is to come. I AM coming quickly and My reward is with Me for those who persevere and overcome! Now do not mourn my children but cast your eyes toward the eastern sky and REJOICE for your redemption draweth nigh saith The Lord!”
The Holy Spirit hit me and I can’t hardly stop praying in the Spirit and shaking from head to toe. I have never had a dream like this. God most definitely gave it to me. I’m so excited for whatever He has planned for our next move as THE CHURCH universal. Holy Spirit pour out Your power on us. Raise up Your remnant, and bring revival! Who is ready for more?
People don’t MOURN! It’s time to REJOICE!! Jesus Christ has won the victory! It makes no difference who is in The White House because Jesus sits at the right hand of The Father, and He is coming soon!
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 NLT
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
“I’m so excited! I found them. I didn’t even realize they were lost, but I’ve found them,” I exclaimed as I pulled the old tarnished silver earrings out of the box! “Now, where is my silver polishing cloth,” I wondered? I found the cloth and began diligently rubbing the dull earrings with it.
After a short time the shiny bright silver came back to life. It began to shine and sparkle as if it were brand new. I couldn’t wait to put them back into use, so I quickly put them on so I could show my loved ones the—once favorite—earrings that had been lost.
As I was thinking about how to begin this blog, I remembered my lost earrings, and it became obvious to me what the Holy Spirit was leading me to say. I’ve been tucked away in Georgia at my secret little paradise for a week now. I came here to work on my fourth book. But, after struggling the whole first day just to write an Introduction, I finally relented and closed my laptop.
Sometimes we lose things, or put things away—out of sight. We may not even realize we’ve misplaced it until we happen upon it again at an unexpected time. God knew exactly what I needed this week, even though I didn’t recognize it at first. What I needed was personal revival. There were some things that I had “misplaced” and needed to find again.
As I began to spend time in prayer and worship, the Holy Spirit began to polish off the tarnish, and expose the missing treasures. Yes, ministers can get tired, dusty and covered with tarnish too. I started to realize that so often I ask God questions, but rarely stick around to hear His answer. So, I dedicated myself to listening this week.
I wrote down specific questions I wanted answers to. And, I praised and worshipped Him. I put my whole focus on Him. I prayed, I asked Holy Spirit to become my Teacher afresh and anew! I repented of complacency, and I vowed to listen more carefully as I read His Holy Word. And, do you know every single one of my questions were answered?
I also spent time reflecting on other things that had been misplaced in my life that needed to be renewed. He showed me that my joy was waning. Much of my joy comes from leading people to Jesus. Since the jails, and churches have been closed due to Covid, I have desperately missed being used by the Holy Spirit to lead people to Jesus, and help them receive the wonderful gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
My joy has been tested in these trying times, as I’m sure many of you have felt as well. So, I asked the Holy Spirit to renew the fire and fervor of ministering to others. I used to be far more sensitive to His nudge to pray for people—wherever that might be. As, I have spent time praying in tongues, and asking Him to refill and renew me, He has certainly done that!
Last night I had to make a quick run to a little store not far from the cabin. I really didn’t want to go out, but I had an overwhelming urgency to go. While there He led me to two different people—complete strangers— to minister to, and pray with. Both of them with tear filled eyes thanked me repeatedly, and told me that was exactly what they needed. I was rejoicing on my way back to the cabin. What a wonderful blessing to be used to pour into the lives of others.
On my drive back to the cabin the Holy Spirit began to reveal even more to me than I had first realized. To be completely honest, I have been worried about what this next season of ministry would look like. But God revealed to me last night, that come what may, the harvest fields are ripe! People are desperate for love. We can offer our love, and that is a temporary fix, but when they discover the precious love of Jesus lives are forever changed.
I’ve been encouraged to speak the truth even more boldly than before because the time is short. We don’t have time to tip toe around the truth when lives are at stake. He’s also encouraged me to pay more attention to those around me. We always have open doors to minister. We will always have a platform to display God’s greatness, and His abundant love if we just pay attention.
And, last but not least, we must be doers of The Word. This is not time to hide and cower in defeat. We must stand up and fight for the souls of the lost like never before. We have to be obedient to His voice, and that often means we have to shut out the voices of this evil world so we can hear the underlying cries of desperation. These are just a few of the things He has spoken to me in my personal revival.
I feel encouraged, strengthened, refreshed, renewed and excited about what God is going to do next! I feel like a pair of shiny new silver earrings. Maybe you need to have your own personal revival. You certainly don’t have to run to a cabin in the woods to do it. Just set aside some time to listen. If you have questions, ask Him. But remember to listen. Listen as you pray, listen as you read The Word, and listen as you simply sit in the silence and meditate on His goodness. You will probably find some things you’ve misplaced!
The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,
the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
Isaiah 57:15 NLT
You may be asking yourself, “What is going on?” Perhaps you thought when you went to the polls and cast your vote for a president who upheld many Christian values and stood against the slaughter of innocent babies everything would be okay. Perhaps you thought life would go on as normal.
But, things didn’t go quite as expected, and now you’re wondering, “What is going on, God?”
At least that was part of my line of questioning for God. And, I heard the same thing in the Spirit I have been hearing for months—It is time for the complacent church to wake up! For too long American Christians have had it easy. We could afford to grow complacent as long as the government was attempting to uphold our Christian values. We could cast our vote for the good guy and go on with our lives feeling as if we had done our part.
We have tried to depend on those in the White House to hold back sin in America while we hang out in our comfort zones lifting the occasional prayer for our nation. We have grown very comfortable. Outside of the random social media taunts and mockery, not many of us have faced a lot of persecution here in “Christian America.”
Oh, yes, we have prayed for the persecuted who have suffered and even died for sharing the gospel in other countries, but we have remained in our cozy recliners and allowed sin to take over in America because it’s someone else’s job.
It seems that many ministers have become more obsessed with how many people they can get into their church pews than how many souls they are getting into Heaven. Many have stopped speaking truth for fear of offending people and causing them to leave the church. But what good is it to have a church full of lost people on their way to Hell? And yet, we wonder why our churches are powerless and poorly attended?
We have excluded the power of the Holy Spirit from most of our services, and wonder why everyone seems to be asleep. We can’t understand why attendance has dropped in our churches, but we have failed to see that our “cheap entertainment,” can’t compete with the worlds elaborate forms of entertainment. And most importantly, God’s house was never meant to be a place of entertainment. Jesus said His house would be a house of prayer.
It’s time to stop trying to emulate the world and get back to emulating the Church who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time seek God like never before and welcome the Holy Spirit back into our services.
I feel broken yet energized by what I hear the Holy Spirit saying to us post-election:
Blame it on corruption, and deception from the opposition but who has allowed sin and deception to gain such a solid foothold in our nation? We had one job—win the lost to Christ. The rest would fall into place as sin decreased, but…
Many of us have been busy building our own platforms as we have promoted a weak and powerless prosperity gospel. When did Jesus ever say, “Serve Me so you can have a fifteen million dollar mansion?” No, He said He was going to prepare a place for us, and in His Father’s house were many mansions (John 14, 2-3). Will any of us see those mansions? Are we so preoccupied that we have totally ignored the truth of a real Heaven, but also a real and literal Hell?
I realize Satan is running rampant in our world because he knows his time is short. But, as he has upped his game, we have all but left the court! It is time for the church to wake up.
Many people who know me well, remember what I said in 2016.
I simply stated, “If Trump wins this election, it will be because God has pressed the pause button to allow Christians to step up and fight for a harvest of souls in the nation. I don’t think he will win a second term, because I believe God is giving us one last chance.”
Did we blow it? Has God decided to allow America to have the sin it has so desperately desired, accepted, and applauded? Has God grown sick of our lethargy and complacency? Has our stagnation become a putrid odor in His nostrils?
Perhaps these—and the coming days—are the days of our humbling. For so long we have tried to do things in our own power, with our own programs, conducting church services without His help, that maybe He is showing us just how much we need His power.
I truly believe things are going to be harder from this point on. We as the Church universal must develop a spiritual backbone. We have to speak the truth in love, but speak it we must. I believe Jesus is coming soon, but will He find faith on the earth when He returns? (Luke 18:8)
We must lift Him up—not ourselves, not our talents, and not our programs. He alone is our Hope and our salvation. Jesus said if He was lifted up, He would draw all men unto Him (John 12:32). Who are we trying to lead people to? We can’t save anyone. Only Jesus can do that. We must humble ourselves and lift up the mighty Name of Jesus!
We must welcome the Holy Spirit back into our churches. Let Him convict and woo the sinner to come to Christ. We must be truth speakers led by the Holy Spirit, not seeking our own fame or popularity with man, but seeking to do God’s will above all else. When we refuse to speak against sin, we are quenching the Holy Spirit’s power to convict people of their sin.
We have got to get out of our comfort zones. We will never see a supernatural move of God as long as we are sitting on our sofas watching programs that glamorize the evil and destructive powers of Satan. Greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). But, if we keep pouring the world into our minds and lives, we will push out the greater.
Dear Jesus, help us. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and we need to honor God with all that is within us. We have misplaced our fear of the Lord, and we must get back to a place of reverential fear for His holiness and His justice.
Jesus said to “Be holy for I Am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). We are chosen, set apart, called for a purpose, and equipped to be mighty warriors in a supernatural battle that cannot be observed by the human eye, but can be won by saints on their knees in prayer.
I believe the Holy Spirit is raising up a remnant. This remnant consists of those who hunger and thirst for His Word and for righteousness. They long to see souls saved. They will humble themselves and stop at nothing to see the lost saved, delivered, discipled, and led out to do God’s work.
I believe when we desire Jesus above all else, when we realize that He longs to help us and empower us, then we will begin to see a true and powerful end time revival. So, let’s humble ourselves and start paying attention to what is really important.
I love you all, my brothers and sisters in Christ. These words were hard for me too. But, I believe we are seeing what we are experiencing in this nation right now because God is trying to wake us. Let us heed His warnings. Let us hunger and thirst for His Word like never before. We still have one job!
If you enjoyed this article, check out Donna's latest book - The Masquerade: Deception in the Last Days. Foreword by Evangelist Daniel Kolenda, successor to Reinhard Bonnke.
There is a lot going on in our world today and we can experience a gamut of emotions from one minute to the next. I can turn on the TV and find myself laughing one minute, then flip the channel and become furious. (I won’t mention which channel). The thing is, we don’t have to let our emotions run our lives. The enemy likes to use our negative emotions to control us, but we can certainly keep him from getting the upper hand.
Since Covid-19 came on the scene, I have seen a few friends and family members paralyzed by fear, while other friends and family members seem unconcerned, or ambivalent. Don’t get me wrong, I know Covid is real. I know people have died, and I’m extremely sorry about that. I know people who have had it and became very sick and uncomfortable. I hate that too, and I pray for all who have lost loved ones to it, and all who become sick with it.
But, I also know that Satan uses fear to control us and to keep us from moving forward into the plans God has for us. As, I was thinking about those in my circle of friends who suffer tremendously from fear (over most anything) it always seems to be those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ.
You can learn a lot about a person, or group of persons just by listening to them talk. What does their speech tell you? Do they speak negativity, or do they speak words of positivity and hope? Is everything doom and gloom, or is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Do they seem to only see the worst in people, never having anything positive to say about them, or do they look for the good in people?
Do they seek to forgive the wrongs of others, and realize that all of us have flaws, or do they try to remove a speck of dust from another’s eye with a pitchfork? Do they fear death or look forward to a life free from pain and sorrow in an indescribable paradise with Jesus, the One who laid down His life for us?
It seems to me that those who thrive on negativity and feel like all hope is lost are typically overcome with fear. Those who focus on the here and now, and are deceived by the hatred and hopelessness of those who only seek to spread negativity, soon begin to imitate what they see and hear—fear and negativity.
Those who would rather stomp out Christianity, and live their lives in direct disobedience to the Word of God are not happy just to do their own thing. Why must they attempt to stop Christians from living their lives in the way the Bible instructs us? It’s because misery loves company.
And, because they have lost all hope, they hate us for having hope. When hope has been eradicated, only fear remains. But for the Christian who has put his or her hope in Jesus, it cannot be taken away from us. We live for something greater than our own wants and desires. We live for a Savior Who loves us, and knows us, and has numbered our days.
We don’t have to obsess about when that day will come, or live in fear of it because we know we will be with Him. And, when we have done all we can to make sure our friends and family know Jesus as their Savior, we can also rest in the fact that we will see them again in eternity as well.
I think Paul said it best.
“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”
(Philippians 1:21-24 NLT)
Paul had no fear of death. His love for Christ, and the purpose he had been called to, was far greater than any fear he could ever face. He desired to be home with Jesus! This was his greatest and highest goal. His eyes were fixed on the path Jesus had called him to. His trust was grounded in the knowledge that when he had accomplished all he was called to do here on earth, he would join Jesus for all eternity.
Paul knew his purpose. He knew his mission, and he refused to lose hope in his future. He was unmovable, and resistant to the enemies attempts to cause fear.
What do we have our eyes fixed upon? Do we know our purpose? Are we stuck in a repetitious loop of negativity? Have we lost our hope?
Or have we fixed our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith? Are we living a life filled with hope and longing to be with Jesus in our heavenly home, yet still focused on what He has called us to do in the meantime? Are we living a life in submission to Christ Jesus, or in submission to our fears?
Where have you placed your hope?
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6 NLT)
Since the day I wrote my last blog, I have been praying for God to reveal to me exactly what He meant by “a shaking” coming. I have wondered if it was literal as in an actual earthquake, or if it was a Spiritual shaking?
Today in my prayer time I believe the Holy Spirit answered my questions. I was writing these words as quickly as possible, trying to keep up with all He was pouring into me. My hands are still shaking, so I hope I don’t make too many typo’s.
I believe what He spoke to me today was very similar to my last blog, but I feel He has revealed even more. After He spoke to me, He led me to two specific passages. I will share those as well.
This is what I felt the Spirit was speaking to me:
I have given you a voice and a platform to speak my Word—a voice to speak warning and repentance. I will shake this nation and bring it to its knees if she does not turn back to God. The earthquake I have shown you will be literal and Spiritual. People will be brought low to recognize their need for a Savior. Pride and arrogance will meet judgment. Glass houses displaying mens works will be crushed so My works may be seen and My Father glorified.
I Am coming soon, and I Am coming for a people who love Me. I’m returning for those who would lay down their all to follow Me. I Am calling together a great army of humble warriors to gather My harvest. There is a remnant whose hearts and eyes are fixed on Me. They WILL see this harvest. They will be My carefully chosen laborers, and they will share in My joy in the fields of harvest. I Am coming soon, and My reward is with Me for those who will consecrate themselves to Me and follow Me with their whole heart.
I always ask God to give me a confirmation from His Word, so I picked up my Bible, and let it fall open. I looked down and saw these words. (I know some will say I’m taking the Scripture out of context, but I believe God speaks to us with a rhema word to us when we ask or need it.)
(Isaiah 13:13 NIV)
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.
I immediately put my Bible down, and flipped it over a couple of chapters, and this highlighted passage jumped off the page at me. I felt led to share it as well.
(Psalm 20:6-8 NIV)
Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Pray and see what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. We must be ready for whatever lies ahead. We don't have to trust in government, or politics, or any empty promises of any man. But, we will trust in the Name of the Lord our God!
I Feel a Shaking!
I believe there is going to be a shaking of great magnitude very soon. You may remember several months ago, I wrote a blog entitled Brace Yourselves. Even then, I sensed God was bringing a shaking. I kept hearing the word “earthquake,” but I wasn’t sure if it was literal.
Now, more than ever I believe there is going to be a shaking—a sifting of the complacent church, and church leaders so to speak. I’m sensing a revival of repentance like we’ve never imagined. Some of you have waited for years feeling as if you were just treading water and getting nowhere fast. God is about to supercharge your boat! Your nets are going to break because of the overflow that is coming. Because of your faithfulness, obedience to God, and willingness to speak the Truth, He is going to bring it to pass.
I’m not worried about who will be in office after January, 2021. God’s will always prevails. He is in complete control, and no matter which way it goes, it is part of His plan. That is also why I believe this shaking will be a revival of preparation. It’s a revival of repentance to prepare the bride for the arrival of the groom. There will be no stopping it. Complacency must go! No liberal ideology, or tactic of the enemy will be able to thwart the plans of God. We will see Him move like never before.
As an earthquake sends shockwaves from deep beneath the surface of the earth, and causes structures to be removed from their foundations, so will this shaking be. Those who have not grounded themselves in the Word of God, and have not been obedient to Him will quickly fall from their foundations.
Those who have served up helpings of greasy grace followed by sugar coated words of deception will be removed from their platforms, if they refuse to repent and turn back to God. Truth will prevail. Wickedness will be seen for what it is—a masquerade of deception held by Satan and his influences. Witchcraft will be exposed and defeated.
Those who have taken this quarantine time to build themselves up in their most Holy faith will see the strongholds of the enemy begin to topple like skyscrapers built on sand. They will find God as their refuge and place of refreshing. The feeble arms, legs, hands and feet of the church will be made strong, and flesh will once again stretch over the dry bones that have laid dormant. Jesus is coming soon, and He is coming for a spotless bride. We must clean our garments and have an abundance of the oil of the Holy Spirit to fill our jars.
Those who have embraced worldly idols, and continued in their sins will be covered in the rubble unless they repent. Conviction will come upon hearts like never before. Some will listen to the wooing of the Holy Spirit, and others will turn a deaf ear, but the Spirit of God will move across the land.
The weak, timid, and humble will be made strong and bold enough to spread the Word of the Lord with an unmatched anointing. People will be drawn back to the cross. The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of HIS glory, and only in His glory. Competition and jealousy between leaders and ministers will cease for those who come to total repentance.
When every eye is turned upon Jesus, and only when we have laid down all our idols—then we will see Him use us in the way He has longed to for so long. Yes, I sense a shaking. Shake us and wake us to see what really matters, Jesus. It’s all about You, and what You have called us to do—to speak truth in love so that others may be rescued from eternity in hell.
Help us to repent of anything that would come between our hearts and yours. Show us the seriousness of the hour. We don’t have time to sit around playing church when the lost are perishing.
Anchor us in Your love, and help us to gather all those who will come into the Strong tower of the Lord. We love You Jesus, and we give You all the glory. Amen.
So many people talk about wonderful revivals in the past and how they are praying for revival now. And, that’s great, but there is only one thing that will bring true revival. Hunger for God—only the pure, authentic, relentless hunger for God will bring revival to our churches and our lives.
Many of you know that Covid has shut down our jail and prison ministry. I miss it so much. We often had revival in our jail services, God moved in power. Ladies were saved, healed, delivered, baptized in the Holy Spirit and experienced other miracles. I began to wonder why we often had such powerful services in jail, but we rarely experience these things in our churches.
I soon began to see what the difference was—hunger for God. When these ladies come into the services in the jail, they are not coming because it’s a fancy building with a bunch of modern conveniences. They don’t come because they are expecting expert musicians, and extremely gifted singers. They don't come to hear a dynamic speaker, or to be entertained. They don’t come for the coffee because we certainly don’t have any. They come for one reason only.
Many of them have come from painful backgrounds. They have experienced, abuse, abandonment, trauma, and other things that often lead to their endless search for peace and happiness. The terrible things that have happened to them and the search for joy and acceptance has caused them to run to every option Satan has offered them to ease their pain.
Satan’s options land them in jail feeling even more lost and hopeless than before. So, when these ladies come into the jail services they are coming because they are desperate. They have tried everything the world has had to offer them, and all of it has failed them and left them empty.
They come in with a hunger. They want answers to their problems, and peace for their souls. When Jesus see’s their desperate hearts pleading for love and acceptance, He pours it out all over them. And when they receive His forgiveness and ask Him to be their Savior that hunger only grows. They are hooked. They come to each service afterwards hungry for more and more of God. And as they continue to come hungry for more of Him, they continue to be filled.
But look at us. We come to church wondering what songs the worship team will sing. Will they be to our liking? Will the music be too loud, too soft, too high or too low? Will the temperature be to our satisfaction? Will the coffee be hot, and will the Pastor preach something that entertains us for more than five to ten minutes? Will we get out in time to beat the crowds to our favorite restaurant? And we continue this routine week after week.
Is it any wonder why so many people are absolutely sick of going to church? Yes, I said it, people are sick of going to church because they are going for all the wrong reasons. If we could ONLY realize that we must stop seeking God’s hand and start seeking His face—if we would truly HUNGER for His presence, and if we would tune out everything in and about church and come relentlessly seeking Him—then we would see revival.
God is not stingy with His presence and power, He longs to pour it out. But, He isn’t wasteful either. He shows up where He is truly wanted. He comes in power to the places where He is desired. He comes to people who are desperate for His presence. He comes to the Hungry.
Oh, that we would become hungry and desperate for Him and His presence! If we would only see that we are absolutely bankrupt without Him. If we would fall on our faces and ask Him to forgive us of our worldly fascinations, and repent for all the idols in our lives—If we truly want HIM more than anything else…Then! Then we will see true revival where people are changed for eternity. Are you hungry?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’”
When my youngest daughter, Hannah, was little I would take her shopping with me. After she got her “toy,” or whatever item she was in search of, she was ready to be done with shopping. I can remember how she would lay on the little bench inside the dressing room as I tried on clothes.
It didn’t take very long for her to start saying, “Mom, I’m tired and I wanna go home.” I’m sure part of it was because she wanted to go home and play with her latest acquisition, but she was also tired of going from store to store to browse. She wasn’t the least bit interested in clothes at that age. She became overstimulated by all the activity, and it was exhausting to her.
I can certainly relate. Maybe you can too. Today there is so much going on that can overwhelm and agitate us. Negativity abounds. If we turn on the television we are soon bombarded by information that distresses us, depresses us, and often just outright frustrates us.
We can sometimes become so absorbed with what we are seeing, hearing, and experiencing we find ourselves irritated, and we become increasingly bitter. When the division, violence, and total disrespect for God seems to spread like a brush fire it can be almost infuriating.
Then on top of that, we are dealing with a pandemic that just won’t go away. People are arguing daily about whether you should or shouldn’t wear a mask. Some people are carefree, while others are paralyzed with fear.
It seems like everyone wants to argue about something—anything. It’s almost as if there is a plague of disagreement, offense, and hate affecting everyone. It is a masquerade of manipulation and deception organized and imposed by Satan himself.
When we as Christians no longer want to share the gospel because we feel that we will never make a difference in lives that have become so deceived, we often want to tell God, “I’m tired and I wanna go home.”
I know I have certainly said it many times myself lately. I personally often wonder if I’m making a difference at all, and that causes me to become tired and complacent. I tend to shrink back and keep my mouth shut around certain people in order to avoid conflict or arguments.
Feeling as if we have been silenced can make a person feel indifferent to what is happening around them. I sometimes feel like I’m just tuning out the world. And, sometimes I just want to give up and say, “Jesus, YOU deal with them, I’m done!”
See how underhanded and manipulative Satan is? He knows exactly how to push our buttons. He is doing all he can to silence us in a time where all the loud obnoxious voices are drowning out the quiet desperate voices crying for help. And, they are out there.
So, even if we feel like we aren’t making a difference, we have to remember—one soul is worth it. One life changed, set free, and on their way to Heaven is worth it. One lost individual who misses hell is worth it! One person who becomes set ablaze with the Holy Spirit can reach a multitude in their own circle of influence.
We also need to realize when we need rest and refreshing. Only the Holy Spirit can refresh us and provide the strength to move us forward. We must get into the Word of God, and remember we are not the only ones who have gone through this. This is not a new tactic from the enemy of our souls. So we press on.
And, we must not get tired and give up. We have to be wise to Satan’s schemes. Its time to see his shenanigans for exactly what they are. And let’s give this short period of time we have left all we’ve got. Its time to rise up and fight the battle. We know who wins, and He is coming soon!
“He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13,14 NLT)
God In My Own Image
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NLT)
When my daughters were young, I would read Bible stories to them and we would discuss them. There was one story in particular they both considered to be hilarious. When God gave Moses the ten commandments, and Moses came down from the mountain—after being gone for quite some time—he found the Israelites worshipping a golden calf.
This is how the conversation between Moses and Aaron went:
He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”
“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:21-24)
My girls were amazed at how Aaron could even say such a thing with a straight face. The fact that a grown man would say he threw gold into a fire and out came a calf amazed them. How ridiculous!
We think about this Bible story and wonder how Aaron could have dared to fashion an idol in the image of a calf, build an altar in front of it, and lead the people to present sacrifices to it. The thought is utterly absurd, especially when you take into consideration all the things God had done for them already.
I used to think if I had been there and actually saw God part the Red Sea, I would never doubt His existence ever again. So how could the Israelites see such miracles and then make a golden idol and worship it?
The sad—and scary—fact is many of us do the same thing. We may not physically fashion an idol with our hands, but we sure do try to make God fit into our molds of how we think He thinks, and what He considers sin to be. We have forgotten that He created us in His image and not the other way around.
This is why we must continually read the Holy Bible and remind ourselves of what God is really like. He has given us a clear picture of His character, His power, His Sovereignty and most of all His holiness. However, when those qualities don’t exactly line up with our fleshly desires, we tend to soften His edges and like putty in our hands squeeze Him into the molds of our ideas, traditions—or false interpretations—of what His Word says.
I recently posted a blog entitled, “Brace Yourselves,” in which I shared what I sensed the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. There was an overwhelming amount of positive responses and I give all the glory to God for that. However, one lady made a not so nice comment and it totally took me aback.
Quoting part of what I said in the blog she commented, “‘I am not playing games’... lol! We need to stop making God into our own image with our own vernacular.”
At first it upset me, but then I wondered what does she think the voice of the Holy Spirit sounds like? Does He only speak King James English? No, He does not. He speaks our language. He is a translator between God and man, so of course He speaks to us in words we can comprehend.
However, in her mind, God could only speak a certain way. But, why would the Holy Spirit only speak in King James English, especially since Jesus didn’t speak King James English Himself when He physically walked the earth? We can be sure that God never changes, but His voice is clear to all.
To say God couldn’t speak in our vernacular would also mean He can’t speak Spanish, Chinese, Russian or any other foreign language simply because we can only hear His voice in King James English, or any other way we have imagined Him to speak. So, how does He communicate with other parts of the world?
This is just one example of making God fit our traditional views of Him. Another example would be limiting our praises to only hymns, and vilifying contemporary songs of worship. Some presume to accept a God Who only likes hymns, and despises other songs of worship based on how they view Him. (i.e., If our taste is more suited to songs in hymnals, then God certainly must prefer hymns also.) We can become a stumbling block to others when we try to make God fit into our traditions.
Unfortunately some churches have created a God who approves of sins such as lying, stealing, cheating, and homosexual lifestyles. Their image of God condones and approves of fornication, people shacking up before marriage, abortion, and a God that has totally forgotten how many genders He created. This is almost as absurd as the calf coming out of the fire.
Sometimes people want to try to soften the blow when it comes to the Word of God and His absolute Truth simply to justify their fleshly desires. But we cannot change a God who has absolutely stated that He never changes. If we change our minds about Him we are guilty of creating and worshipping an idol—a God in our own idea or image of Him.
We simply cannot bring God down to our own standards. His Holy Word is the Standard we must live up to. There is no other way to live a life dedicated to Him. God has called us to be a Holy people striving every day to be transformed to His image, and not to be conformed to the image and morals of the world.
Anything we put before God is an idol whether that may be our preferences, our desires, an individual we admire, a hobby, sport or other interest. Not to say we can’t enjoy those things, but if they come between us and God—and if our focus is fixed on those things rather than God—it is an idol. We must continually watch for idols that sneak into our lives.
To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to desire to be more like Him and not to replace Him, or try to change Him to fit our tastes.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
(Colossians 3:1-5 ESV)
So many times we feel like we are racing to fulfill the dreams God has given us. We know what God has promised us, and we know He is Faithful, but we fail to recognize the miracles during the journey! If you are discouraged and tired of waiting because you haven't seen your promise come to life, release it. Don't give up on it, but release it to God's hand and His timing. Pay attention to the miracles on the journey. The valleys prepare us and give us the strength and the "right attitude" to stand on the mountains.
Nonetheless, waiting is extremely difficult. And sometimes it seems even when we are gaining momentum on our journey we can hit a brick wall and come to a complete stop. The sudden stop can be jolting, but it doesn’t mean the journey has ended. Here are a few ways to enjoy your journey as well as the pit stops!
First of all we need to remember, when God calls us to do something for Him, or places a dream in our hearts, it might not come to pass immediately. We can save ourselves a lot of frustration if we understand the appointing doesn’t always occur at the time of the anointing—or calling. Think about David. He was anointed as King when he was just a boy, but it was years later before he was appointed as King.
God doesn’t do this to frustrate us, but to encourage us to draw closer to Him and prepare for the task He has assigned us. Its like a roll of film. If it is exposed to the light before it is developed, the film is ruined. There is joy in the development phase even if we don’t recognize it immediately. Looking back now, I can see all the things God used to prepare me for ministry. At the time I didn’t realize it was Him preparing me because it was enjoyable. Look for joy in the small, but necessary training assignments! We have to remember we are also being developed, and God will let us know when its time to move into our appointed place. His timing is perfect!
Secondly, we need to understand that just because God has revealed our calling to us, He hasn’t necessarily revealed it to others yet. If you are like me, I felt it would take a lifetime to get speaking engagements. I became so frustrated because I knew God had a message for me to share, but I had nowhere to share it. No one had ever heard of me and so doors were completely closed to me.
I did everything to get invitations to speak. I sent out emails to pastors. I sent postcards and brochures to pastors telling them about my ministry. And guess what? Nothing happened. Out of 200 emails sent, I received maybe three or four replies, and they replied to say, “Maybe we can schedule something in the future.” I never heard from them again. It was hard. I was hurt, I was confused, and I even doubted my calling.
That’s when God said, “Stop! You have been trying to do it your way. When you let go, and quit striving to make things happen, I will open the right doors for you.” It was so hard to release it to Him. I felt I should be doing more to become noticed. When I finally stopped trying to get speaking engagements, I started getting invitations. Oddly enough, none of those invitations came from any of the churches I had contacted.
God knew which doors were the RIGHT doors, and great things happened in those churches and venues! Talk about miracles—God opened doors that I would never have dared to knock on in the first place! But, if I hadn’t released my desires to Him, I would probably still be sending out emails and waiting.
Thirdly, and probably the hardest to deal with is the sudden stop! This one has been particularly hard for me. Ministry came to a grinding halt when Covid-19 came on the scene. I can no longer go into the jails and prisons to minister. All of my speaking engagements were cancelled starting with Fiji, and trickling down to the very last venue.
It is devastating. I can’t even pray for people in Walmart because of social distancing! It has been one of the hardest things to endure. When you are an evangelist, and you can’t evangelize, you feel as if the air has been sucked out of your lungs. So, I’ve had to wait for Covid to dissipate and hope that doors will open again.
But there is still joy in the journey. It has helped me to become more creative in the ways I minister. I have shared messages online. I have spoken on Facebook Live for church services, and Teen Challenge, and I’ve been interviewed multiple times for podcasts, and other shows.
AND, I’ve used this time to examine my own heart and draw closer to God. My time with the Holy Spirit has been so sweet, and has enriched my life in ways I didn’t think possible. As I have prayed in the Spirit, I have felt absolutely sure that whatever comes my way, God has got me. I don’t have to fear the future, and I can expect to hear His voice when I pray—such sweet communion.
It might not be my ideal way to minister, but unfortunately times have changed. Ultimately, God is in control, and I know as I continue to draw close to Him, He will continue to make a way for me. And He will continue to make a way for you as long as you trust Him with your journey!
Even though I’m not a prophet—and I have stated that many times—I think I finally might have an inkling of how Jonah must have felt. Go with me for a minute.
Many of you know that I wrote a blog on June 15th, 2020 entitled, “Brace Yourselves.” I shared what I truly believe God spoke to me in that post. A little over a week later, a friend brought to my attention that another Assemblies of God pastor in Kentucky—Dana Coverstone—had shared some prophetic dreams He felt God had given him in a video.
She sent me the video, and when I watched it my jaw dropped as he repeated the same words “brace yourself!” I’m sure at this point, many of you have seen that video which has now gone viral. I didn’t know Pastor Coverstone, and he does not know me. To be honest, that was the first time I had ever heard of him.
Since then, I have seen multitudes of people going online posting response videos to his. My own website has been flooded with web traffic because of the similar message--brace yourselves. I have had many encouraging responses, some not so much. I can’t begin to imagine what has been said to Pastor Dana himself, but I wanted to jump on and share my two cents based on some of the videos I’ve seen circulating.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t trust him because he’s just some pastor no one has ever heard of. They say he’s not a “well-known, or trusted prophet.” “Maybe if he was a seasoned prophet, or if he had sought the council of other well-known prophets first, he might be more reliable.”
Others say his video instills fear and leaves people with a feeling hopelessness. There have been well-known ministers who call themselves prophets with large followings that have also posted fiery rebuking videos toward Pastor Dana. Some have even gone as far as to call him a false prophet!
Still some people have said his video should have been an edifying and encouraging word, and “it should uplift you and make you, ‘feel good,’ if it is truly from God.” I could go on and on about all the responses this pastor has evoked because he shared a dream he felt that God gave him.
Not once did I hear Pastor Dana call himself a prophet. I didn’t hear him say, “The Lord said…” I saw a man who simply and humbly shared his dream. He did not ask anyone to evaluate it, or break it down or to rip it apart as it has been. He didn’t ask anyone for their opinion or tell anyone to share his video. But, many people did. Wonder why? Was it because he is a false prophet?
What was it in his message, that would cause someone to fall away from God? What Scripture did he twist to fit his agenda? If compared to the prophets of the Old Testament, was it more harsh than anything Isaiah, or Jeremiah said to the people of God?
Many of the things Pastor Dana said, bore witness with my Spirit. I might not agree with every word he said, but I will ponder these things in my heart. The test of a prophet is to see if these things come to pass. But, then we face another question.
Can or will God change His mind?
When God gives someone a word of warning, a message, a dream or even a vision to warn His people, there are few messengers who are jumping up and down to share it. It’s not a joy to be the bearer of bad news.
Take Jonah for instance. When God gave him a “not so happy,” message for Nineveh, the last thing Jonah wanted to do was hop the next ship for Nineveh with a bull horn. No, he hopped a ship for Tarshish to get away. Not only did he not want to warn the people of God’s impending judgment on them if they didn’t change their ways, we read later that He knew that God might even change His mind and not do what He had told Jonah to warn them about.
And guess what, that is exactly what God did. When the people repented, and urgently called upon God and gave up their evil ways—God relented. And Jonah was upset.
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:1-3 NIV)
I have heard a lot of self-proclaimed prophets who are glad to hop online and share a good happy feel good message. Many feel safe and comfortable preaching peace and prosperity, but it’s not exactly fun to share the opposite. And, they tend to get upset when someone else shares a message that might contradict their happy message.
Anyone who has a good knowledge of the Bible knows that God does indeed warn His children. We also know that God can change His mind. We love to quote the verse:
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
We also know that Abraham was able to convince God to change His mind and spare Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
So, here are my thoughts. You can throw them out the window if you want. Warnings serve to save and protect us. They cause us to draw closer to God, to ask for mercy, and repent from our ways. If Pastor Dana, or I am wrong in what we feel God is sharing, time will tell. Is it going to hurt you if you dedicate more time to seeking God’s face? Will it cause you any harm?
We know that if we are living for God, and serving Him with our whole hearts, there is no need for fear. God hasn’t given us a Spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV) And, we also know Whom we have believed in and He is able to keep that which we have committed against that day. We can trust in Him.
But, if no one sounds the alarm many could be lost. I will re-iterate the fact that neither of us—Pastor Dana or myself—have called ourselves prophets. I can’t speak for Pastor Dana, but as for myself, I felt an urgency to share what God had shared with me. But, I was extremely cautious, and I prayed fervently before sharing it because it's not popular to share these kinds of messages. But, what if this warning is the spark that brings people to pray like never before and in turn brings revival?
Because, I don't know about you, but I DO want to see repentance. I want to see revival, and I want to see everything good that God has promised us for these last days to come to pass. I want everyone to know the peace and love of a Perfect Heavenly Father Who sent His own Son to lay down His life so that we could be with Him forever in eternity.
I don’t want anyone to perish. If we love like Jesus, our messages will not always be happy feel good messages. But they will stir us, and cause us to seek the face of God so we can be ready when He returns for His bride. Please don’t shoot the messenger just because they may not look the part, or sound like a professional prophet. And certainly, let us not rip each other to shreds when we need to stand together like never before.
But, pray and test all things.
Once again, I share this passage with you:
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-20 NIV)
The Sleeping Giant
This morning as I was praying, I felt like God showed me something. I have never had a vision—that I can recall—and I wouldn’t say this was a vision but more of a mental image. Once again, I’m not claiming to be a prophet, but these things are coming to me more and more urgently and frequently in the Spirit. So, I ask you to pray yourselves and see what you feel the Spirit is speaking to your heart.
This morning I had a mental image of a huge sleeping giant. It made me think of the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. As the giant slept, I saw small groups of tiny people running around with ropes and chains and securing the giant to the ground until he was completely immobile.
He was still asleep, so he didn’t notice. But, slowly different parts of his body began to awaken. He began to notice he couldn’t move his leg, then his arm, and so on and so on. Though he was still asleep he began to become subconsciously aware of the resistance in his limbs and other body parts.
I believe the Spirit spoke to me and said the giant represented the church worldwide. We have been complacent for so long that issues such as homosexuality, adultery, abortion, hate, deception, twisted truths, normalization of sin and more have crept in and tied us down. The remnant has been struggling to get free, but the resistance has felt unsurmountable.
Discouragement has crept in because voices that have been faithful to speak truth have been disregarded, their churches poorly attended and ignored, while churches who preach prosperity and sugar coated sermons have been praised and have thrived. Many of the body parts are tired, and feel weak and helpless.
Next I heard a sound so loud it startled the sleeping giant, and finally woke him from his slumber. At this he jumped up breaking all the ropes and chains. As I pondered this, I believe God was showing me that something big was going to happen that would finally shake and wake the sleeping church. When the church awakens, it will be called to true repentance, break free and come up from the ground.
There was great celebrating as the giant began to dance around in freedom, and as some of the tiny people began to bow down, others began to run and hide. I believe this signifies the revival that will come when the church awakens and gets things right with God.
We will see repentance come first to the house of the Lord, and with repentance we will see revival as God moves in power bringing salvation to the lost. That is what revival is all about.
"Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God." (Revelation 3:2 ESV)
Also see "Brace Yourselves," my blog post from June 15th.
Would it make sense to mix together all the ingredients for a cake but never put it in the oven? Or, how about planting a huge garden and caring for it daily, but never picking any of its produce? Wouldn’t it be odd to buy a boat, but never put it in water?
These things all sound pretty absurd don’t they? But, we as Christians often do the same thing. Have you known of those who have given their hearts to Christ, but cease to seek His will or follow Him in His plans for their lives? I think we can all think of someone who has done that, and we may even be guilty of it ourselves.
We can’t just stop at salvation. That’s where our journey begins. God has given so many gifts to His children, and we would be missing out on so much if we stopped short. This is why I often emphasize being baptized in the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. We need the empowerment, and boldness the Holy Spirit brings to our lives. He also opens the door to other Spiritual gifts in our lives.
Today more than ever we need His power and boldness to do all God has called us to do. And, we need every Spiritual gift God is willing to give us to minister to the needs of others. My life has been significantly changed and enriched by the Holy Spirit.
I remember what my life was like before I answered God’s call, and He set me apart to do the things He called me to do. I thought I was happy going through the motions—church on Sunday, church on Wednesday and little interaction with God in the space between—except for when I needed or wanted something.
I was more caught up in earthly things than the purpose God had handcrafted for my life. But, when I decided to surrender everything to God and allow Him to take absolute control, things changed. I didn’t view life through the same lens.
Its like the old chorus we used to sing:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full into His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His mercy and grace
When we decide to go ALL IN for Jesus, the things of this world have less impact on us. We are aware of God’s goodness, His mercy, and His power. The cares of this life fall to the wayside when we realize He is a Good Father, and His plans for us are GOOD, and exciting!
We don’t have to fear bad reports. We can rest in knowing that whatever comes, we are in His hands, and in His care.
When we go all in, we begin to see Him move in our lives and in our situations. The miraculous comes near. The truth rises up within us, and we can easily accept that the same power that raised Christ from the dead LIVES IN US. The Words of the Bible take hold in a powerful way, and we start to believe we can really DO what God says we can do.
There is nothing on earth more exciting, fulfilling, and miraculous than walking in the complete will of God. Life becomes so amazing that we can’t wait for each new day to see what Jesus is going to do next. It is such an adventure. But until we are willing to go ALL IN, we will miss the exciting adventures God has planned for us.
Are you living all in for Jesus today? If not, what’s holding you back? I encourage you to surrender all to Him and seek Him like never before. Your life will be so much more worth living!
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10 NLT)
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!
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.