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Constantinople! Constantinople!!

This morning, I was standing at my kitchen counter and was simply making turkey sandwiches. Not really engaged or fully awake.  I had basically rolled out of bed and with one eye open, headed out to make my sweet daughter’s lunch for the day.

At first it came to me a bit garbled, breaking through my fog.  “Constantinople.”

But then, just as I was grasping that an unfamiliar word was entering my thoughts, there was a shout in my Spirit. “CONSTANTINOPLE!!”

It was so loud and so clear, there was no mistaking! Listen up!

I, still in my jammies, hair tussled, head out to start the car and I can’t stop this feeling that something is emerging! Something is happening.  Constantinople.

I head back inside and ask my son, “What does Constantinople mean to you?”

He replies, “Ummm…. (eye roll)… it’s a city?”

Yeah. No kidding.

So, I do what any uneducated parent does who resorts to asking their freshly schooled children and falls short. I Google it!  (Not that I am uneducated. I’m certain I have learned about this already but my every day usage of Constantinople is a bit rusty. Especially since  I was unsure of even how to spell it. And it’s not exactly something I need to refer to when making cheese raviolis for dinner and it’s not an item on my list of errands to run.)

So here it is, according to Wikipedia and you can find the entirety of the explanation here…  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantinople

From its foundation in the 4th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe[6] and it was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom’s holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. After the final loss of its provinces in the early 15th century, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, and the city eventually fell to the Ottomans in after a month-long siege in 1453.

Aerial view of Byzantine Constantinople and the Propontis (Sea of Marmara)

Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defences. Although besieged on numerous occasions by various peoples, the defences of Constantinople proved invulnerable for nearly nine hundred years before the city was taken by foreign forces in 1204 by the Crusader armies of the Fourth Crusade, and after it was liberated in 1261 by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, a second and final time in 1453 when it was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, and surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. Later, in the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Land Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 km (1.2 miles) to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front.[7] This formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity and the city was built intentionally on seven hills as well as juxtaposed between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara and thus presented an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes, and towers, necessitated from being the gateway between two continents (Europe and Asia) and two seas (the Mediterranean and the Black Seas).

 

From this, I am bulleting some things that are of importance to take note of.  As with anything, take what is good (what comes from God) and discard the rest.  This is simply history and if history repeats itself, perhaps we can learn from it.

CONSTANTINOPLE WAS:

  • the guardian of Christendom’s holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross
  •  famed for its massive and complex defences
  •  proved invulnerable for nearly nine hundred years
  • The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, and surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts.
  • later, a double wall was erected.
  • a formidable complex of defences which was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity and the city was built intentionally on seven hills.  (Makes me think of Lance Wallnou’s, The 7 Mountain Mandate)

Is there a Constantine arising?

Isaiah 60:18, Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in Church, Government, Prophecy

 

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God’s Love…Does It Save Us?

Recently, I was talking with a friend about a church billboard sign that said something to this effect, “You are gay, you are welcome. God loves you.”   As I was hashing that concept out, several thoughts surfaced.

First of all, without  argument, the latter part of that statement is true.  God does love us, relentlessly, passionately, eternally.

But you see, the problem with that billboard statement is not that God loves us but that it implies that

1. God’s love saves us.

2. God’s love overlooks sin.

3. God’s love justifies sin.

4. There is no consequence for sin.

The honest truth here is that the very same God that loves us with all of His being will forever be apart from many that He loves for one reason and one reason only.  Sin.

The very thing that sign says is welcome IS NOT welcome in the presence of God.  Yes, He is love but love hates many things…all of which are born of sin.

Here’s the kicker.  That sign specifically says “gay” but it could just as easily read a liar, an adulteress, a thief, a gossip, a murderer, a glutton, covetous, rebellious, serving other gods, etc.

The misconception here is that being “gay” isn’t sin, when, yes it is.

And again, the greater misconception here is that God’s love saves us, when it doesn’t.  Yes, John 3:16 does say, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”   

Looking closely, we understand that His love isn’t the key to our salvation but rather our belief in His love.  His love for us birthed a Savior but in order to be saved, we must believe in Him, Jesus. And Jesus is the Word (the bible) that was made flesh, and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth.  And the Word that says, “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”  (Leviticus 18:22)…that’s Jesus.

And furthermore…

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

(Disclaimer: the above list is inconclusive.)

Romans 8:9 tells us, that Jesus was the first-born among many sons and daughters but in order for that to happen, we must receive Him.  John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

We must be born again…of God, through Jesus.  Knowing God loves us is not enough.  We must respond to His love.

Love is like the interstate to salvation but our belief (our faith) in Jesus, the vehicle.  No one comes to Father except through the Son.

But what about 1 Peter 4:8?  “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 

Well, James 5:20 makes the same statement.  “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

 

In both passages, we see love in action.  The God kind of love doesn’t hide our sin but seeks to turn us from it (that’s what repentance is), saving us from death and covering over a multitude of sins.

At first glance, we might think that to cover over sin means to shield it from judgment or to keep it from view.  But it doesn’t.  Covering over a multitude of sin in no way allows us to “keep our sin” or to “continue” in it, making it a lifestyle that God is OK with.  That word cover actually comes from the word “klepto”, meaning to steal away or to take away by theft.

Our Jesus, a thief? Well, yes.

A thief takes what isn’t rightfully theirs, correct?  Did Jesus sin?  No…yet He desired to bear our sin, taking it from us and all of the consequences that come with it.

Matthew 24:43, “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.”

We can either repent now, giving up our sin willingly or later, when He comes, He will find it and as Matthew says, our house will be broken up.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  1 Peter 4:18

All of us are guilty and none of us are worthy to stand in His presence.  (Ezra 9:15)

Being accepted socially and a warm welcome to a church doesn’t make us nearer to God.  There is only one way to come near to Him.

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13

 

Generic Christians

There is a delima we are facing as Christians.  The term “Christian” has become watered down, denominate, and trite. We’ve compartmentalized God’s power by our divisiveness.  When we say we are Christians, yet cannot agree with one another, something gets lost in translation.  We are painting so many different pictures that it’s coming to the place where “anything goes”.  The thread of the common integrity of God is laid bare and the fibers of Godly character worn.  The line between right and wrong is clouded.

Christianity has become not so much about Jesus as it has about our preferences. I’ve said this before and I think it bears repeating that we can have as much of God or as little of Him as we want.  And here lies the real delima… in this, we run the risk of becoming generic.

To say “I believe in God.” simply isn’t enough anymore, especially when saying it demands nothing of us.

After the elections, I was driving to work after having been up most of the night.  I admit, I wrestled with God over the outcome and I was grieving a loss on many fronts.

I found myself asking God out loud, “What would Christianity look like if words alone could not prove that we serve You God?  What if we didn’t have words but merely action?  What if what we say has no bearing but only what we do?”

For the first time, the reality settled in that the Lord had come to draw the sword. (Matthew 10:34) I felt a swift cut and nothing would be exempt from circumcision. Not my home, my family or my friendships.  I was left with an awareness that He meant it when He said “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.” (Matthew 10:37)

The sword of the Lord is being released in this hour and it is this very sword that will bring a distinction and if we will allow it, it will cut ties that have been binding us, cords of limitation and will most certainly release us into our destiny.

We are going to be challenged in the coming days to love God like never before.  We are on the path to discovery.  “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”, Matthew 10:39

 

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The Lord Came Down To See

Genesis 11:1-8

1 And the whole earth was of one language,and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

This is an excerpt from my personal prayer journal this morning, after reading this passage:  

Father, Guard my heart today and guard the church, that we don’t waste this precious time “making a name” for ourselves and not You.  Your plan is for unity and so much can be accomplished if we will just come together.  Lord, I desire the unity, that in Your name alone, (not our own)  that nothing will be impossible that we have imagined to do.  

You have created us to be one with You. Nothing is impossible with God.  Nothing is impossible to those who will believe.  I declare, With God! With God! With God!  We are with God! I am with you God! Remove the “let us make a name” from our speech! Remove it from mine, Father.

I see this as the condition of the church today. We are building cities and towers, making a name for it and ourselves.  Denominations.  Help us.  We think our tower reaches right into heaven.  That it’s the only access.  Yet, Lord, you had to come down to see it.  How often do we bring you down to see this thing “we” are doing?  How often do I build something that I believe is reaching heavenward, yet, you are brought to my level?   Forgive me.

Lord, if I am speaking of things and making plans that are not Yours, send the confusion. I invite You because I don’t want to build in vain!  

It’s time again for the scattering abroad and the confusing of the plans of man.  Begin with mine, Lord.  

It’s time for the church to get out from these places and to go into all the earth!  Leave off from building your denomination, cities for yourself and a name for yourself.  Leave off from building your reputation and go and build His! 

 

 

The Seeing Years

Recently, Melissa Flores posted on The Seeing Years.  You can find that post by clicking here.  http://definingwords.com/2010/09/09/welcome-to-the-seeing-years/  It would be good to read that post because what the Lord has revealed to me in this, is quite intriguing in light of that.  I can’t help but think the two are somehow connected. 

I’ve been on a mission to find out what characteristics the Groom desires in His bride.  Song of Solomon 2:16 says, “My beloved is mine and I am His.”  That’s what I want to be.  His.  Nothing less.  

So, I said all that to say this, I have been meditating on one passage and I am captivated.  

Song of Solomon 4:9

You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 

Many interpretations of the bible, namely the Amplified and the NKJV will word it  with one look from your eyes. (NKJV) and what’s more, the AMP expounds with you have given me courage with one look from your eyes.

I don’t disagree with either of those interpretations but I couldn’t help but think that the original wording had significance in itself.  (In fact, I will touch on the Amplified interpretation later on.) 

Look with me again at the original KJV.  …thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes.  As I began to study this out, I found an awesome explanation in John Gills Exposition of the Bible.

…the allusion may be to the custom of the eastern women; who, when they walked abroad or spoke to any, showed but one eye, the other, with the rest of the face, being covered with a veil;  the eyes of women are ensnaring to lovers;…

It was custom for a woman to cover at least one of her eyes because the eyes were thought to be alluring or captivating to others. To cover the face and one eye was what was acceptable, so that men would not be drawn to her.  One eye was “safe”, so to speak. 

It’s amazing to me that even in this, our lover says that He is ravished even by one eye exposed.  He just can’t help Himself.  He loves us that much!

If that’s not enough, I can’t help but refer to Matthew 6:22, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

To have a single eye is so attractive to the Lord.  

The word single in the Greek is haplous and it means simple

The opposite of the Greek word haplous is poneros and means envy, jealousy and covetousness, signifying that haplous would then speak of generosity and a  giving heart.

2 Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 

I believe this is a season of returning to our first love.  Being undefiled and fully aware of the simplicity that is in Christ. 

It’s simple to love Him.  It’s simple to seek and to find Him.  It’s simple to give Him all of me. 

The simplicity that’s in Christ  is undoing religion.  The simplicity that’s in Christ will undo all the trappings of  envy, jealousy and strife among us as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Because He has simply favored us all and chosen us all.  And I love how Song of Solomon states it (NKJV), “Thou art all fair, my love and there is no spot in you.”   

We are ALL fair to Him and it’s when we realize that no one of us can be His bride without the other, that we have truly entered into to His bed chamber of love and rest.  He requires ALL of us. 

As I was writing this, I caught a glimpse of something.  We have been so star struck as a church.  Cameras have been flashing and we’ve been blinded!  Envying, jealous and covetous of the stage!   And when we look toward one another, we don’t see the clear picture anymore. That every life is a stage for Jesus, whether we ever take the “stage” or not.  We are left with spotted vision for one another.   But He says, there is no SPOT in you!

As promised…one last thought on the Amplified take on Song of Solomon 4:9…  “you have given me courage with one look from your eyes.”  Need I say it?  WOW! To give Him courage.  We can’t give the One who is Courage, courage but I don’t think that is what this means.  It’s courageous to live this way.  With one eye covered and it’s what we can offer Him.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Church, Prophecy, Seeing

 

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Lackadaisical Dilemma

Strange title, I know but true nonetheless!  These are the very words that the Lord used when speaking to me last night upon my bed. I’ve been asking for definition.  I’ve been asking, What’s the problem? and now, I know. 

It was a toss up really…the title of this post, between Lackadaisical Dilemma or Holy Fervor because the former is where I have been operating from, is situational and let me emphasize, TEMPORAL!  In fact, as I write this and prayerfully as you read this, it’s a thing of the past!  BECAUSE, the latter, Holy Fervor, is a word of prohesy, breathed by Holy Spirit and is mine and yours if you want it!

Let me define some things for you.

lackadaisical: lacking life, spirit or zest.

delimma: an undesirable or unpleasant choice; a situation involving such a choice.

Recently, in my own personal time and in the church, there has been an emphasis placed on Holy Spirit and on praying in tongues.  I read and was greatly impacted by Francis Chan’s, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect Of Holy Spirit.

Lisa, when leading in prayer two Sunday’s ago said, “We must not neglect praying in the Spirit!” (in tongues)

And Tuesday night, Melissa taught on the importance of praying in tongues.  (Read more on this subject from Melissa at http://definingwords.com/2010/08/19/tongues-for-the-post-modern-saint/)

I said all this to say, this lackidaisical dilemma is running rampant in the body of Christ and things are about to change!   It’s time for holy fervor to surface in the body of Christ.I declare buoyancy! 

God took me to Hebrews 10:37-39

37For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.

 38But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.

39But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul. 

Convictions…Recently, a prophet spoke into my life and said, live by your convictions.  Need I say more?

Holy fervor… This word holy means to be separate, set apart.  In my heart, I believe it’s to be reserved for the things of the Spirit.  Reserved for His presence. Knowing Him, seeing & hearing, feeling and experiencing Him.  Reserved for His power and authority.  Reserved for His goodness.  Reserved for His pleasure, purposes and plans.

But fervor, it has everything to do with expression of Him; releasing Him and all of attributes into this earth.   A relative word to fervor is wholeheartedness.  It’s passion!  There must be a releasing of  holy fervor now!  

If you want to know the words that left my mouth last night as I prayed to my God, it was this.  Take pleasure in me Lord and release your holy fervor in my life.  Forgive me for hampering it.  Release it again. 

There has been much prophesy over the years of twins.  I can’t help but read this passage in Hebrew and think of it. 

Conjoined:  being, coming, or brought together so as to meet, touch, overlap, or unite

Holy fervor is born of faith and conjoined with it.  One cannot be separate from the other!   

So, release us Lord from this lackidaisical dilemma! Let it be said of us that we pray in tongues more than you all!  Ha ha! Let is be said of us that whether we went in body or in spirit, we know not!   Ha ha!  Release us from the religious predicament we have put ourself in and loose the holy fervor! Thank you Lord!

 
 

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No More Me and My Shadow

James 1:17 says,“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” 

What are the gifts? 

1 Corinthians 12 gifts… spiritual gifts, tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, working of miracles, gift of healing, faith. 

Ephesians 4 gifts…apostlic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, teaching.

Romans 12 gifts… Prophecy, ministry of helps, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, showing mercy.

I find it interesting that a double emphasis is put on the gift in this passage and even more interesting that there are two words used to describe the gift, that would seemingly hold the same definition.  Good and perfect would seem to be relative to one another, so what’s the difference between a “good” gift and a “perfect” gift?  

Taking a look at the word good, it means, to be of good constitution or nature.  Constitution refers to the physical makeup of an individual, in regard to the appearance of such an individual.  We’re talking about the one who the gift came from, so that constitution would be Father God’s.  And the nature referred to here is very much the same, yet speaks of creative power as well.  The power to act and something interesting is that is speaks of disposition…what is transferred to another.  It is the essentially useful gift.  It’s meant to be put to use.  

When we use the good gift, it’s going to look like Father and what He himself created.  And with it, we create.  In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1:1  and in verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21 and 25 that God saw that it was good! In fact, when you read it, in it’s original context, the words it was were added.  So it should read, God saw that good! 

You see, after the fall of Adam, what was good was no longer ours.  We had to work for it. The law required it.  But since Jesus, the cross and the resurrection, good has been restored to us through grace. And that word gift is simply another word for grace.  And as we use the gifts or the graces that God has given us, we create again in this earth that is rightfully ours through the blood of Jesus.  We have been restored to the good! 

Now, how about perfect?  There is a perfect gift. Why the distinction?  Well, perfect means to be brought to it’s end, finished, wanting nothing, complete.  To be perfect is not about being “flawless”.  It’s about fulfilling our purpose.  Matching our integrity, moral character and virtue with God’s and doing His will in this earth.  Psalm 37:37 says, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.”   

We also know that the Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus was made perfect in that he became the author of eternal salvation to all that would obey him.   If it was about being flawless, it wouldn’t have applied to Jesus.  It was about becoming His purpose.  

When we use the perfect gift, we become the purpose God created us for. 

And He is the Father of lights.  I find it interesting that the word light translates of truth and it’s knowledge but more than that, it’s the truth and knowledge that is exposed to the view of all, openly and publicly.   

In Him there is no variableness nor is there shadow of turning.  God never turns from His purpose…His perfection.  And if we are to be like Him, perfect as He is perfect, then we must use these gifts and not turn from the truth.  No more me and my shadow.