Thursday, December 31, 2009

Standing Firm, Under the Shadow of His Wing in 2010

This year I felt impressed to sit down and write down what I feel like the LORD is saying about this upcoming year, 2010. While I don't claim to be the primary spokesperson for God, I do know that I hear His voice and I know that He desires for His people to be aware of what is going on all around us. I feel compelled to pass this along to others who, like myself, are desiring to live out this upcoming year enamored with the LORD will bring about upon this earth.

I personally feel like 2010 will be a year when religious games and false shells of godliness will fall. I believe that many movements and "ministries" that are rooted in the strengths and abilities of men will begin to be exposed for what they truly are – to those who have the spiritual eyes to see. I also feel like those who are desiring to truly please the LORD with their entire lives and live holy and set apart must be aware of the battle that is going on right now, and will increasingly be waged against them. You do know that the devil hates all who declare the Lordship of the One True God, right? I want to be clear that, from this point on, I'm not painting the enemy to be too strong and powerful, but I fear that far too many Believers see him as the little pitchfork-wielding creature that sits on their shoulder and encourages you to do "bad things" now and then. The reality is, scores of angels were cast down and, by their rebellious actions, became enemies of God. This army wages war against the children of God and too many Believers seemingly have no clue of this reality. They form weapons against you. Do you know what some of the weapons that have been formed against you specifically are? I sure know mine. What most often comes up and attempts to keep you from intimacy with the LORD? For many, it's fear and dread. For others it's lust. For some, it's greed and earthly gain or power. Someone else may find themselves constantly battling with mistakes of days past, tormented by days long gone. The list could go on and on as we seek to personally determine what the enemy knows is more prone to derail our Christian walk. If you ever read my articles, you know that I'm not referencing what keeps you from "attending church". I am however referencing what keeps us from moment by moment intimacy with the Father. What builds walls between He and us? What is it that is high time you recognize and say "no longer!" to the enemy that seeks to devour you?

As you ponder on this, I'd like to steer this article where I believe God would desire me to. I'm no prominent, modern-day prophet. I'm not well-known, nor am I promoted on large email lists as one who accurately declares what the LORD is saying at the beginning of each new year. But, with all of that nonsense aside, I'm fully convinced that I'm hearing the voice of the LORD quite clearly in this season of my life. If you're an avid reader of this blog or know me personally, you likely know that I suffered a stroke earlier this month. In the midst of my need and weakness, the LORD has brought me into a new level of His strength. My reliance upon Him was taken to astronomical levels throughout the entire ordeal and the Spirit is speaking several things right now that I believe are for the entire Body of Christ. I feel such an urgency to shake off all that hinders and press on to possess all that the LORD might have in store for me in this upcoming year. It's my prayer that the biblically-defined, born from above Believers in Jesus, The Christ get about our Father's business.

There's simply no time to just keep repeating fruitless routines and traditions of men, producing the same regurgitated results as years passed.

It's time for the Body of Christ to truly live as new creation men and women unified under the Lordship of Christ! I started this piece by asking if you have a proper understanding of the enemy because I believe it's imperative that we're all prepared to stand in this upcoming year of 2010. I'd like to look at two different viewpoints that I feel are going to be vitally important for us to grasp as we enter this new year. It might seem confusing at first, because in our limited understanding, they seem somewhat opposite and unrelated to one another. One is standing firm and being strong, ready for battle. The other is resting under the shadow and safety of the LORD's wing. Before I tie these together, let's look at several Scriptures that speak of both of these actions.

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD." Psalm 31:24

"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight." 2 Samuel 10:12

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

"Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me." Psalm 57:1 and 2

"Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 17:8

"May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge." Ruth 2:12

"For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy." Psalm 63:7

"He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark." Psalm 91:4

"For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock." Psalm 27:5

"For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3

How do we stand firm and be strong, ready for battle yet still be found resting and hidden in the shadow and shelter of our Father's wing? They seem somewhat contradictory, don't they? I'd like to look at the account of David and Goliath to bridge this gap of seemingly different approaches. I believe that the LORD led me to this Scripture to vividly paint a picture of how our resting in Him is absolutely the most empowering act that we could ever do.

"The Philistine also said to David, 'Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.' Then David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands.'" 1 Samuel 17:44-47

David's assurance of victory obviously had nothing to do with his own strength, choice of weapon or personal ability. His assurance was rooted and established in the LORD's ability to bring about the victory that He desired. David even uttered clearly that the LORD would "give" the enemy over to them. Don't miss this simple, yet powerful truth – although David stood strong, as we are commanded to, the victory over the enemy had absolutely nothing to do with David's strength, abilities or personal agenda. He stood in faith and expectation, but did not battle in his own might. In preceding verses, we see that he even chose not to wear the armor of Saul (representing the strength and reliance upon the flesh) and faced Goliath only protected with his spiritual armor. Saul, full of doubt and completely lacking faith attempted to prepare David as he saw fit, but David said he had not "tested" them. In other words, David was not accustomed to fighting in his own strength and abilities as Saul and his men were. David even gave credit to the LORD for "delivering the lion and the bear" while he was tending sheep. David's reliance was upon the expectation that the LORD would likewise deliver into his hands this blasphemous enemy of God.

Likewise, any reliance and trust in our own fleshly abilities will only weigh us down and hinder us. It's time we cast it all aside and walk confidently in the spiritual armor of the LORD in this hour. Our personal achievements, our positions, our strengths - we must lay them all down. Like David, we'll likely look silly to the world. We may even look completely foolish to the Christian majority (it was David's people that doubted him because they all chose to be afraid), yet our confidence must be sure! The battle is still the LORD's and He will deliver the enemy into our hands today just as He did then, if we stand firm in His power and abilities, dwelling under the shadow of His mighty wing

Paul seemed to understand this balance as well when he penned many verses such as these.

"For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light." Colossians 1:9-12

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:10 and 11

Interestingly, we're right back at armor again. It's worth noting that the full armor never included anything for your back as turning and fleeing was never an option. Turning around in fear is not even to be considered. We forge ahead with victory after victory – paying no mind to the old flesh man that we have left behind! We have been given armor and arms. There are times to be on the offensive and there are times to stand and defend. We must be wise and know what our position is to be as we face the challenges of this upcoming year.

Armor has, throughout all of history, always borne insignia and emblems that identified the bearer as part of a larger army. The crest that you went forth into battle with declared who you were fighting for. This will be a necessity for this upcoming year. We see the spiritual implications of this throughout the Scriptures from the blood on the doorposts in the Old Testament to Paul's references of setting a "seal" of the righteous, to the end times spoken of in Revelation where thousands possess the seal of God on their foreheads. It is imperative that we bear the insignia of our LORD! We cannot be like the priests that were called whitewashed tombs by Jesus. The outside appearance means absolutely nothing in the realm of the spirit. While many a man may be easily deceived by exterior forms of godliness, the enemy sees right through these religious facades. Only genuine intimacy with the LORD marks you as His. Only a life devoted to obedience and reliance upon Him marks you as His son or daughter.

Worldly religion and false spirituality only breed vulnerability in the spiritual atmosphere.

It's time that we're alert and aware of what is truly going on in the realms unseen by our physical eyes. Bear His name! Raise high His banner! Set Him as your seal! Declare that you are His and that you will be His Ambassador in 2010! Fix your gaze upon His beautiful face and allow nothing to sway you!

Recently, all about us tragedies and trials seem to be abounding. Many things have just not seemed "fair" or made much sense in our own understanding. But what I set before me is that the LORD is in absolute control – period. He alone sees the bigger picture. He is just and He makes no errors. Absolutely nothing takes place without His full consent. I cling tightly to these simple biblical principles and make sure that my focus is sure. Of course I wrestle with my lack of faith at times, but I'm determined to stand and set my mind on things above. I desire for peace to reign in my life in this upcoming year. Peace that remains, no matter what comes. To wrap this up, I'd like to share what I recently discovered while doing a word study of Philippians 4:7. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I was deeply moved when I studied the word "guard" within this verse. In the Greek, guard is "phroureo" which is a military term defined as to keep; to protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight. I found it revelatory that the peace that the LORD gives not only keeps me safe when the attacks of the enemy come, it also enables me to remain hidden in Him, my dwelling place. His peace keeps me in His care and protection. I find that incredibly powerful! Dwelling in His peace will be imperative in this upcoming year. Solace in buildings, programs and man-made endeavors will not be sufficient. My desire is to move into 2010 with my heart and mind completely guarded by His supernatural peace.

So as another year rolls in, remember, the LORD is looking for sons and daughters that will stand firm in Him, resting in His power and abilities, under the shadow of His mighty wing – unmoved by what unfolds around them. All of our religious efforts and attempts to look like we've got it all together need to die. We must decrease so that He might increase. We must lay prostrate before Him and raise high His glorious banner! It's time we become nothing so that He might reveal Himself as our absolute everything! May 2010 be all about the LORD receiving all glory, honor and praise!

Spiritual Keys for 2010:

Be marked with the mark of the LORD. Know who you are and Whose you are! Raise His banner throughout your parcel of earth.

Develop and cultivate your faith by studying the Written Word of God and learning to discern His voice. Make developing intimacy with Him a priority.

Run to God, not away from Him in all situations. Live a life of repentance and quickly run to Him always, no matter what.

Weigh all that you hear and see within the Body of Christ. Be cautious. Hear what the Spirit is saying above all voices and opinions of men.

Stand in unwavering assuredness that He is in control, no matter what your natural eyes see. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

Remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. Be careful not to get so wrapped up in worldly events and people's actions. See the deeper issues.

Be careful not to live a life full of "why's". Rest in the reality that He is in control – period. No matter what may come.

Live a life of unconditional praise! Learn to see all via the mind of Christ, rejoicing in the LORD always! Praise is the absolute best weapon we have against the enemy!


Yvonne said...

Wow! Excellent Post..Surely one worth a second read! Good points!

Harriet said...

AMEN and AMEN!!!!!!!
I am always encouraged by the words you pen! And thank God for yours and Kristin's friendship!

NINA said...

Great reading.I know that this is truth.I have never in my life experienced things like I have in this past year. It was truly a test of faith. It seemed like the closer I got to God the greater the attack would be. There has been many times that I thought to myself and debated crying out as Christ did "Why have thou forsaken me". But I have come to the realization as I am sure Christ had to, that the closer you get to the Father, the greater the suffering. I even thought about trying to release my spirit(LOL)> I laugh now but at the time it wasn't funny at all.I enter this new season now, knowing God at a different level. A level that I am not familiar with.A place where I am not as familiar with God's hand as I am His heart. When we can get to the point where we can overlook His hand and go after God's heart there is where you find true favor. But just as David did, there you must be prepared for battle. I enter this new season drained, both spiritually and emotionally and all I ask is for a fresh anointing. All I seek is the face of God.This is where God wants us. This is how we must be before we achieve the fullness of faith. And I find comfort in knowing that in our weakness God's stength is made perfect. I find peace in His words and they soothe me. Now I know love, which I found that I have never truly really known. It is not a feeling, but an action. An unction.It's doing what is in the best interest of someone someone, in spite of what you feel. It is believing in a person inspite of how things look. It is unconditional and eternal. It's not a ritual that we do one day a week.And it is taking the risk of being alone and the risk of being forsaken by all others because all you need is that ONE person.These are the things that I learned in 2009 and if I grasp hold to these things then I am prepared for 2010 because I am not alone.

Joel Spencer said...

Yvonne: I have read through it twice myself as I really feel it's important to get embedded in my train of thought.

Harriet: May this upcoming year be overflowing with intimacy with the Father - for you and your household.

Nina: I praise God that His mercies are new every morning. I stand with you expecting to see His great love extended to others via us, His children, in this upcoming year.

lioneagle said...

Hi Joel -

Thank you!

This piece is chock full of truth.
Clearly the Lord spoke what He gave you to express here.

So much in this piece is vital to retain, and to diligently act upon steadfastly!

Joel Spencer said...

Lioneagle: I'm so glad you commented on this post as I needed to revisit this. Looking back, what I heard the Lord saying was incredibly accurate. I'm so thankful we can prepare for what lays before us, if we hear and heed.