Storms of Life

20180416_100328_1523899731218The old idiom that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb didn’t quite hold true in the Midwest this year, as is well illustrated in a message from a friend in Minnesota in mid-April: “Today’s Spring blizzard is reminiscent of the delicious winter blizzards of my youth that caused school cancellations (public libraries are closed today because of storm—a small nod to the school closing ‘cheers’ of my childhood). The wind is angry, and pounds in bursts that nearly knock you over; snows whirl in madness; snow-downfall can be measured in inches per minute, and drifting creates splendid art forms that no human hand can rival; visibility is measured in feet, wind chill effect on temperature is surprising, and it’s all better looked at than felt!  I suppose, all in all, it is an exciting farewell to winter.”

I’ve rarely experienced such a snow storm, but can clearly remember the historic Christmas flood of 1964. Today there are markings on trees and buildings of how high the water got, and it boggles the imagination. All roads into Humboldt County were cut off and the sky was full of helicopters doing all the things that helicopters do when there’s no other way in or out. We lived about half a mile from the Mad River, fortunately on the uphill side. This very angry river was often reduced to a trickle during the summer when it would only reach to our ankles as we waded across. But looking out over it that Christmas, all of the surrounding dairy and farmlands were totally under water for miles, with the tops of houses or barns peeking out of the water here and there.

The upside for us kids during what came to be known as a thousand-year flood, was that since there was no reception from any of the 3 incoming television networks (totally laughable now!), the local station played old movies nonstop. Since we couldn’t go outside in the rain and were on Christmas vacation anyway, Mom let us sit there and watch them for hours on end, an unheard-of treat. What else was she going to do in a house bursting at the seams with five bored kids in those day that were pre-computer, pre-smartphone and pre-electronic games? I loved it!!! Finally, when we could go back outside, there was a huge pond in the woods across from our house and someone built a raft that we paddled around for weeks, often falling off and getting soaked, but such fun!

It was pretty exciting to be in the midst of this big, terrible storm, but I had little comprehension of the impact of grief and despair it was having on many other people because we were safe and warm, and I had not yet experienced anything so tragic in my own life.

I still have some local newspapers that my mom saved, and looking through them on occasion reminds me of the widespread devastation. By the end of January 1965, about 200,000 square miles had been affected in parts of Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington and Nevada, 47 people had died, and thousands were left homeless. In our area near the mouth of the Mad River, the river not only met the ocean but also reached over to join with Humboldt Bay, causing a whole peninsula to become an island. Hundreds of dead cattle floated out to sea along with innumerable logs and stacks of lumber from the many sawmills the area, and the beaches were left with piles of wood and trash where the mighty waves of the Pacific deposited much of that which was lost. Aside from the physical and emotional trauma that cannot be measured, the price tag of about $540 million would equate to around $3.9 billion now.

Planted by the Rivers of WaterToday, if one is traveling through the scenic Avenue of the Giants a stop at the Immortal Tree will show the incredible contrast of a gorgeous little creek flowing behind the tree and a high-water marker on the front—mind boggling! IMG_2023

 

 

Perhaps my youthful lack of sensitivity to the vast reaches of destruction all around me are representative of the ‘it-can’t-hurt-me’ philosophy of so many today in regard to what the Day of the Lord will look like when Jesus returns:

Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
    cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
to make the land a desolation
    and to destroy its sinners from it. (Isaiah 13:9)

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:10)

The great day of the Lord is near,
    near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the mighty man cries aloud there.
A day of wrath is that day,
    a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the lofty battlements.

I will bring distress on mankind,
    so that they shall walk like the blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
    and their flesh like dung. (Zephaniah 1:14-18)

 

I pray that many will choose the safety that will belong to those who have chosen Jesus, for we will not have to endure His holy outpouring of judgment against His enemies that far, far exceeds anything as small as an April blizzard or a thousand-year flood.

...so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:7-8

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:40)

 

An Upgraded Mind

img_3311In my dream, I was in a restaurant where food was ordered and picked up at a counter, and there were a few tables scattered around. I was with three unidentified friends (represents God in all three persons) and there was one table for four but it was right by the line/register and was very crowded. One friend suggested we go upstairs where there were some more tables and we headed up there. I didn’t actually see it, but knew instinctively that it was surprisingly spacious and open.

At the same time, there had been an experience going on in which I had received what looked like a balloon with a small amount of water—maybe 1/3 full (me, undergirded by God!)—so plenty of room for expansion. I remembered that much earlier in the night I had been awake and got the word, ‘backdoor’, but didn’t understand why.  I was developing a prayer in my sleep and couldn’t remember it when I woke up, but immediately realized that my mind/brain is an exquisitely designed computer and that programmers often leave a backdoor entry so they can get in when nobody else can. I got up and wrote a ‘backdoor’ prayer, also asking the Lord to apply to me personally everything I had ‘written’/prayed while in the dream state, though I don’t recall the exact words.

The backdoor prayer, “Lord, please forgive me for all unrighteous thought and for believing the lies of the enemy. Please forgive me for not setting my mind on things above and for allowing fear, worry, and regret to dominate my thinking. As my Creator/Designer/Programmer, please access the ‘backdoor’ of my brain/mind, which is like an elaborate computer system. Close all doors that should be closed, and open all doors that should be opened so the gates of my mind may never be shut against You. Please kill all viruses and erase all ungodly pathways. Please upgrade my speed, memory, and storage capacity so I can quickly recall all that You want me to know. Please re-program me; upgrade my existing programs and install new ones that align with your latest designs for my life; and set my entire being for automatic updates and releases. Please build a firewall of Your truth through which deception cannot penetrate, and install the Word of God as my always up-to-date anti-virus program. Please cause all of my thoughts to be aligned with Yours so I can always understand what You are doing and know how to respond appropriately in the world. Conform me to Your image, Lord.”

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

 

Standing In Faith

Barbara ParkerAs we approach Christmas, many of us reach out to others a bit more than usual, perhaps re-connecting with people we haven’t been in touch with lately; perhaps finding ways to help those who are less fortunate; perhaps greeting total strangers with a, “Merry Christmas.” Also, as one year concludes and a new one approaches, we often find ourselves in a self-evaluation mode. We examine what have we accomplished as well as what should we do differently next year, and such a process is scriptural:

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5

I’d like to do a bit of both in this post that doubles as an announcement to the Standing In Faith group on LinkedIn and an invitation to join us, offering first a quick review of our group, and then sharing with old friends and new, the message of hope the Lord has given me.

The Standing In Faith discussion group began as a leap of faith on my part in March 2011. New to LinkedIn and not a big fan of social media, it was quite a surprise when the Lord impressed me to form the group, and from the very beginning He has had full ownership. This is not my group—it is His, and I’m simply His group manager. There have been several times that I’ve wanted to shut it down because it seemed as if it was going nowhere and accomplishing nothing, but His permission for that to happen was never given. Now, in retrospect, I am in awe of what He is doing, and I’m well aware that He is accomplishing His work through the group in ways that I will never be aware of this side of eternity, which is very exciting. Our growth during 2015 has been astounding, and there are new members every day from nations around the world. This is an international outreach such as I never could’ve imagined, and I welcome all of our new members and pray that the fellowship we have here will bless and encourage you in your Christian walk.

From the beginning, the Lord designed Standing In Faith around the passion He has given me for the Body of Christ to live by faith and to operate in unity, and our stated purpose is, “To encourage Christians to live by faith and not by sight, building each another up in the unity of faith that we share in Christ Jesus.”

With that purpose in mind, there are a couple of things about this group that may differ from other groups; things that don’t make us any better or worse, but just different. First is that the Lord has led me to accept everyone who requests membership without any pre-screening, just as He is willing to accept all who come to Him. Second, while we often discuss our differences of opinion, we do not enter into divisive debates or arguments, and no comments are allowed that denigrate the person or faith of another. This can pose a huge dilemma for me as the “referee”, and I must rely strictly on the Lord’s leadership regarding which discussions and comments to allow and which ones to deny, so I would appreciate your prayers for His wisdom in this regard, as well as your understanding and forgiveness if I make a mistake in judgment. I do not agree with everything that is posted here, nor will you, but instead of taking offense and arguing with every statement, please respond from a spirit of love that displays the grace and mercy of the Lord. We are not all “on the same page” doctrinally, but instead of allowing the enemy to separate us as has been done for centuries, we consciously choose to set our differences aside and focus on Jesus in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

As you may be aware, LinkedIn has recently re-designed much in regard to groups, and both the appearance and the function has been affected. Visually, it is easier to quickly scan through discussions, but it is also harder to get the full impact of a discussion without choosing the option for “more” in order to read the entire text of the comments. I would encourage everyone to dig deeper into the “more” of our discussions to get the full benefit of what each person has to say. Also, the space allotted for text has been diminished, so it is more important than ever to try to make a point succinctly.

Previously, the group was open and a request to join received automatic approval, but now every membership request comes to me first. As mentioned before, none are turned away, but any member’s contributions may still be designated for pre-approval if they are deemed to be divisive or off the topic of faith in Jesus; and any individual may be completely banned from the group at my discretion (this has only happened with 3 people whose obvious intent was disruption and destruction). Also, please be aware that with this new system, for reasons I certainly do not understand, LinkedIn is flagging as inappropriate many entries that are fully acceptable, so please be patient if your submission doesn’t appear immediately. I try to turn everything around within 24 hours or sooner, but occasionally that isn’t possible.

Please review the group rules since there have been a few changes to remain in alignment with LinkedIn’s way of doing things. Also, please remember that we do not focus on personal agendas, make political statements, or doctrinal positions; but we discuss the traditional Christian values of the majority. That said, it is difficult to completely avoid the political arena since it has such a huge impact on our lives, but our goal is to approach any such discussions with the intent of illuminating God’s truth and not man’s opinion.

Enough review, and on to our Hope! This morning, the Lord highlighted some phrases to me from Hebrews 3 that are relevant to Standing In Faith.

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession…[who] is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope…Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Our “today” is a day in which hearts have become hard throughout the world. Jesus warnings of end times events are occurring right before our eyes. His words (Matthew 24:4-14) resonate with what we see and hear daily:

“See that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We are not to despair! Buried in a passage where many accentuate the negative, is one of the most promising phrases in scripture. “See that you are not alarmed,” isn’t just an impossible suggestion, for Jesus would never have advised something we cannot accomplish. In Him we have hope, He is our strength and our refuge, and we need not fear:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1

At Christmas we often hear people saying that Jesus is the reason for the season, and that’s true; but I’d take it a bit farther to declare that Jesus is the reason for every season in our lives. Our very existence here on earth is designed to bring honor and glory to Him, and the fact that we are here “today” is by His design, and He has a purpose for each of our lives.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalms 139:16

So what does this have to do with Standing In Faith? Go back to the Hebrews passage from which the Lord spoke to me today, for this is the re-affirmation of our purpose:

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

May our Lord be with you all, may He bless and keep you throughout this and every season, and may He make you a blessing to others as you all are to me. Merry Christmas to all, along with my prayers and best wishes that in the year to come each person will find their strength in Him and will learn to stand in faith as never before. My prayer for each of us is from Hebrews 4:

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…Let us hold fast our confession…Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

 

 

Do it Again!

IMG_1241“Again! Again!” my small granddaughters squeal with delight as we play “upside down girl,” with me lifting them up by their ankles as I used to do with their brother. I tire of the game much faster than they do, for with every visit they’re a little bigger and a little heavier, so before too long our game will end. But I wonder if my joy in their exuberant fun is anything like what God feels when I plead for more from Him.

These are my thoughts as I ponder the past week of “games” the Lord has provided for me. You see, He has created me to love puzzles and my idea of fun is unraveling His mysteries.

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. Proverbs 25:2

One way we “play” is that He gives me dreams to interpret in order to understand what He is doing; sometimes they’re mine and sometimes they come from friends, which is fun because I then have the privilege of helping them figure out what the Lord is saying. In the past 7 days, I’ve had personal dreams that led to unexpected deliverance that I didn’t even know I needed, insight into His plans/purposes/protection, instructions that I knew I’d received in my spirit even though the memories faded quickly when I awake, and times of knowing I’d been co-operating with Him to accomplish unknown tasks in the heavenly realms while asleep. I’ve also been honored to help several friends understand the encouragement and guidance of their own dreams. With each instance, my heart cries out for more. Do it again, Lord! Do it again!

He will fly away like a dream and not be found;
he will be chased away like a vision of the night. Job 20:8

For God speaks in one way,
and in two, though man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
while they slumber on their beds. Job 33:14-15

It’s also been a week in which we’ve had a lot of “scavenger hunts” for nuggets of His truth; for His puzzle pieces that form a greater understanding of Him even before those nuggets were known by me to be necessary. Time after time, He has taken me to specific scriptures that were relevant for something that would occur later in the day or week; for conversations or events that He knew were coming even I was still clueless. In awe over His foresight each time I cry, “Again!”

Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way. Psalm 119:97-98, 103-104

This was a week in which I attended several “parties,” otherwise known as gatherings of believers. Each instance was delightful, either because of the fellowship or because of the wondrous new insights I gained into what God is doing throughout both the earthly and heavenly places. Current events as reported by any news media pales in comparison to current events as revealed through communion with God and His people. More, Lord, more; please do it again!

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Fortunately, unlike me with my grandchildren, God never tires of my pleas of, “Again! Again!” I’ll never become too big or too mature for Him to call a halt to our games, and I know that He delights in my joy in Him.

For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4

A Song of Hope

IMG_0105_2Like many of us, my cousin, Crystal Kain Ross, felt overwhelming grief at the Supreme Court’s decision to endorse gay marriage.  Soon though, she realized that God had not been caught unaware, He is still in control, and in the end He has already won the battle.  When all is said and done:

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  Romans 14:11

Then the Spirit of God spoke to Crystal’s heart and gave her a new song to sing. In telling me about the song, she emphasized two phrases (italicized in the text) that spoke volumes to her.  In the first verse, “His crystal tears,” the Lord showed her that Jesus’ tears are as crystal, multifaceted and pure.  In the fourth verse, the phrase, “His torrents of love,” cannot do justice to the magnitude of His love for us.

The darkness will soon disappear
The daughters of earth are awakened
To cry His crystal tears
His voice sings o’er the oceans
With judgments in their waves
The nations soon are coming
To see His brightest day

Soon every knee is bowing
Before the King of truth
And every heart will be accepting
Of the faith that needs no proof
The sinners are confessing
The secrets of their nights
They see the King’s great promise
Every day a new nation in His light

Sweet rivers of salvation
With healing life and grace
Flow now inside us unceasing
Until the darkness is stayed
Wash over us victorious
Bring purity from sin
Until we join the chorus
Of the songs that never will end

His torrents of love are falling
In glorious light-filled rays
So bright His paths before us
They flow in brand new ways
Each cry to heaven is counted
No prayers are cast aside
The gates to the heavens are opened
The King is drawing nigh

No matter what the Courts say
Or all their dark desires
The King of glory cometh
To light His holy fires
Be of that group so counted
Of His purity within
So when you time here is over
Your soul can enter in

Each cry to heaven is counted
No prayers are cast aside
The gates to the heavens are opened
The King is drawing nigh

Be Encouraged

BibleLet the people of God be encouraged!  The unrighteous decision of the US Supreme Court this week is an affront to God as well as to His people, and it is surely one more nail in the coffin leading to His judgements on man.  But His purpose in judgement is to cause people to look to Him and be saved, not to pour out His wrath on the righteous.  We must come into agreement with His plans and purposes to draw all men to Himself, even if it takes very severe/difficult/unpleasant circumstances; and in the midst of it all we must stand in faith and rejoice that our God is on the move!

I have sort of been in mourning for a few days over the increase of evil that has been unleashed, with a heaviness of heart over it all, but this morning the Lord directed me to three Psalms that brought things into perspective for me.

First, Psalm 131, just 3 short verses, but they pack a punch, and I believe show the way to the first thing we need to do, which is to quiet our soul and rest in Him. What peace!

Second, He directed me to Psalm 75, which speaks of judgement, and there are some truths there we need to hold onto. In verse 2, we see that in the set time that He appoints,  He will judge with equity.  Wow!  From our calm place of rest in Him, we can be assured of the righteousness and justice of His judgements, for God is the One who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another, and as He does, the wicked will be cut off but the righteous will be lifted up (verses 7 and 10).

Third, was Psalm 35, David’s prayer the God would “contend with those who contend with me and fight with those who fight with me.”  We must realize we are at war, and it’s much bigger than just the “gay agenda.”  It’s an all-out attempt by all spiritual forces of evil, aided by their physical allies, to overcome the world.  But it’s simply not going to happen!!!  Jesus has already won the victory, and even as we witness the terrible consequences that come in any war, we must commit to the attitude of verses 27 and 28:

Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long.

In the midst of the judgment that God will undoubtedly be pouring out, is our opportunity to tell those who are deceived of His righteousness, of His grace and mercy; it is an opportunity and a call for righteousness such as we’ve never had before.  There no hope except in God, and we are the ones who know the truth and are equipped to deliver His hope to those who are desperate.  Let those whom He has called rise up and joyfully enter into battle, for our commander in chief is Jesus, our Soon and Coming King!!!

He told us repeatedly not to be afraid, so heed His words.  He wouldn’t have instructed us to be fearless if it were not possible, so kick fear out the door and focus on Him.  Remember the power of obedience and praise, and watch from His rest as the present-day “walls of Jericho” are taken down.

On A Leash

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119: 10-11

page21color

Sheba loves her collar and her leash.  After a bath, she gets very excited about having her collar replaced.  Why?  I don’t know.  But the leash I do understand—that means she gets to go out for a walk, and there’s nothing she loves more.  When she was younger she’d run away if she escaped without a leash, carelessly darting out in the street or playing hide and seek in a neighbor’s yard, daring us to chase her.  But maybe somewhere along the line she’s learned that it’s for her protection, because now—even without the leash—she stays close by, not wanting to stray too far from her master.

What a lesson for me! How I cherish my “leash”—the never changing Word of God. The more time I spend with it, the more I never want to be away from it, for God’s Word is where I go for comfort and direction when I’m tired or frustrated, alone or afraid.  Full of promises of God’s love that will forever amaze me; its truths pull me away from harmful temptations and give me strength to stand in the face of illness or loss, disappointment or persecution.

I love the description of “my leash” in The Message version of Hebrews 4:12-13,:

God means what he says. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.

Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. It draws me ever closer to my Master—and like Sheba, I never want to stray too far.

A New Day is Dawning

023 copy

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.        Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV

Never has the fulfillment of these words felt as imminent to me as it does now.  My sense that our God is on the move was enhanced a few nights ago when, after confronting evil all night both while awake and in my dreams, I finally fell into a restful sleep and dreamed of righteous change. When I awoke, I knew deeply within my spirit that whatever is on the horizon is a move of God that cannot be claimed or labeled by any ministry, denomination or other group.  He simply cannot be contained!

Much that I see in the physical realm is confirming my sense of the spiritual, as indicated in God is On the Move in Southern California and I Had a Dream of the Triumphant Church.  In my own life and ministry, change is in the air, with new opportunities beginning to appear on my horizon after several years of pulling back and waiting on the Lord.

So, with only 3 weeks until 2015 arrives, I’ve begun preparing for whatever the Lord choses to bring during the new year.  The first change I’ve made is to make my first three books, Pug Parables, I’m Still Standing and Richard’s Story available as free downloads.  Secondly, I’ve updated my blog site to become my ministry website as well, and it has a whole new look.  Within the first few weeks of January my old domain of http://www.standinginfaith.org will be directed to this site, http://standinginfaithministries.com

Certainly, we live in a time that confirms the truth of Jesus’ words in Luke 21.  Men’s hearts are failing them for fear because of all we see occurring in our tumultuous world with wars, commotions, hatred, persecution, and natural disasters surrounding us.  Yet His encouragement to seek Him first stands.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28 KJV

God is On the Move in Southern California!!!

God is on the move in Southern California!!!

Every day, we are seeing new evidence of His handiwork, the magnitude of which is so amazing that it’s difficult to describe;  but my friend, Paul L Cox of Aslan’s Place, has done a wonderful job of writing an introduction to what is happening.

The Harvest Has Begun

Something is happening in the High Desert of Southern California, and it looks and feels like the early rumblings of revival.

Some weeks ago, I was with a pastor-friend from Hesperia and he told me the Lord had directed him to start going witnessing door-to-door. He was surprised but obedient; and in awe, he reported that at every house that he visited the people not only received him but also received Christ as their Savior. I am also hearing of this kind of evangelism beginning in other places.

My wife, Donna, and I recently began attending Abundant Living Family Church in Hesperia, a multi-generational and multi-cultural church fellowship. I was wonderfully surprised to see that Mark Graham, the pastor, invites people to stand to receive Christ as Savior during each service, and many people respond each time. I have not seen this since the Jesus Movement in the late 60’s and 70’s, and now, 40 years after the height of the Jesus Movement in 1974, it is happening again!

When Donna and I moved up to the High Desert in 1994 we began receiving many prophetic words that there would be a great move of God here. One particular word said that cars would be backed up at the off ramps of Interstate 15 in the High Desert waiting in line to reach the locations where the tangible presence of God was located. We also met many individuals who told us that God had told them to move to the High Desert because a revival would be taking place.

During the following years, everywhere that I went in the world I would hear similar prophecies of revival coming. Often, during our local schools and seminars, words would also come indicating that that we should anticipate revival and an amazing influx of the power of God. During all these years, we have seen many wonderful moves of the Lord, but nothing as dramatic as what has been prophesied. While many of God’s moves were gracious renewals of Christians, included many magnificent healings, where was the great outpouring that would lead to thousands coming into the Kingdom?

On Pentecost of 2013, Kevin Basconi of King of Glory Ministries in Moravian Falls, NC was visiting with us. Two days prior, the Lord had spoken to us to call for a gathering at Aslan’s Place and I invited Kevin to join us. We certainly were not expecting what happened! At sundown, as Pentecost began, we started by simply waiting on the Lord. Suddenly, I felt like someone had grabbed the back of my head and was squeezing it like one would squeeze an orange. We asked the Lord what was happening and the Holy Spirit revealed that I was discerning God the Father as the Power.

Matthew 26:64 (NKJV) Jesus said to him [the High Priest], “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Suddenly I had an insight that I had never had before. Just before Pentecost the Lord promised His followers that the Holy Spirit would come upon them and they would receive Power. Could it be that what they received was the revelation of the Father as “The Power”? It is the revelation of the Father as “The Power” that is being released on the earth.

JThis Power is now releasing a move of God that will result in a billion souls coming into the Kingdom of God. Doug Addison wrote of this September 16, 2014.[1]

“Arthur Burt was a revivalist in the U.K. and was given a powerful prophetic word from God in 1934 entitled: And There Shall Be No Ebb. “It shall come as a breath and the breath shall bring the wind and the wind shall bring the rain. And there shall be floods and floods and floods and torrents and torrents and torrents. Souls shall be saved like falling leaves from mighty oaks swept by a hurricane. Arms and legs shall come down from Heaven. And there shall be no ebb.” Arthur died August 28, 2014 at 102 years old. Bob Jones had prophesied that Arthur would see his 1934 prophecy come to pass in his lifetime. This is the year of the release of Arthur Burt’s life-long prophetic word and Bob Jones’ word of one billion people coming into the Kingdom. Both of these great men went back to Heaven this year. The prophetic sign in Arthur’s death: he died at age 102 on 8/28. Psalm 102 is the cry to God to see Him move again. But 102:28 is a prophetic word for what is coming.”

And, Psalm 102:28 says, “The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.”

On January 7, 2007, I was with Patricia King and several others at a summit for the New Year. This was just after the Lord had given us the Prayer to Release the Living Stones at Aslan’s Place. I remember wondering at the airport what would happen to me. Even though I had pastored for 20 years, it seemed there was no longer a place for me in the institutional church. I said to the Lord, “I know where I have come from, but where am I going?” With this reflection in my mind, I heard Stacy Campbell deliver a profound word.

“There’s a great transformation going on in the Body of Christ in the globe. And the forms and the structures—they’re coming down from the old wineskin, and a new wineskin is being built, but it’s very hard to discern. But what is coming? The harvest that is coming is so big, it cannot be contained in one structure. And this is the key—the life is in the bricks. Living stones. They’re alive! They’re alive! They contain His Spirit! So the key is not to discern the form, but the key is to discern the brick. Who are you in God? But whenever you discern the stone, uh huh, uh huh, I see that stone! I know that stone–that’s an Apostolic stone. That’s a Prophet stone. That’s a healing stone! And you begin to let the old stones go with the young stones. The male stones go side-by-side with the female stones. When you discern the stones, you will put those living stones that contain life together with other living stones that contain life, and they will build a container for the times to house the presence of God.  It’s too small! It will NEVER be able to contain what God is about, to millions and millions and millions. Yea, a billion souls harvest that will need stone joined with stone, joined with stone united, and not divided!”

It is now 20 years since we came to the High Desert. Last Sunday, September 28, Pastor Mark Graham shared in church that the Lord told him the night before that revival had come to the High Desert. During that service, the Presence of God filled the room and the pastor walked up and down the aisle praying for people. The Lord’s Glory was obviously present. No sermon was given, and no offering was taken. At the end of the service Mark said the Lord had asked him to call for 14 days of prayer, meeting each night at 6:00pm. Last night, Monday, September 29, 2014, he handed out a call to prayer. He was clear that this was not about a pastor or a church, but about the Kingdom of God. It was time to seek the Face of God and not His Hand. It was time to ask Jesus to come and live in our midst. It was time to cry out that His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

Would you join in prayer with those of us in High Desert of Southern California that His Kingdom will come, not only here but also in your community? Consider the following list of prayer points from last night, and pray that:

  • Jesus and His message will return to the High Desert.
  • Salvations in the High Desert throughout all of the houses of worship will explode.
  • Biblical signs and wonders will increase dramatically, both in our families and the houses of worship.
  • Our corporate obedience will increase to Jesus.
  • Our personal obedience will increase to Jesus.
  • Our regional government will turn over and be filled with Spirit-led politicians.
  • America will be shielded from all terror, and that our hearts as a nation will return to Him.

2 Chronicles 7:14–16 (NKJV), “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 will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”

[1] Just in the month of September, 2014 the following articles contained reference to this new move:
– Rick Joyner: “The Full Manifestation of Jesus in Our Midst” September 28, 2014
– The Tsunami of Glory is Coming-Be There September 23, 2014
– Steve Scroggs: “The Signs of the Harvest! Can You See the Signs?”September 22, 2014
– Tim Sheets “The Alarm Clock of Heaven Is Now Ringing… Power to Prevail is Being Poured Out!” “My Shaking Has Come. I Am – Shaking Earth. I Am Shaking Heaven” “The Third Great Awakening Shall Now Advance in Tidal Waves of My Power” September 9, 2014

He’s Kidding…Isn’t He?

ID-10083939    Television, Internet, newspapers—any media; take your pick, and it will be full of bad news—violence, dissention, hurricanes, fires, deception, scandals, unemployment, and more.  So, while only God himself knows exactly where we are in terms of the end times, we’re certainly far enough along for people to be overcome with negative emotions—disgust, hopelessness, anxiety, depression, worry, fear.  But, as He explained what end times would look like to the disciples, Jesus said that these things should not be frightening .

 “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:4-12)

    He must have been kidding!!! Could knowledge of such a dire future be comforting?  Yes, because it comes with His promise.

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:13-14)

    These days it can be hard to trust others because, somewhere along the way, deception and manipulation seem to have become acceptable behavior in order to achieve a goal.  Some might ask how we can trust what Jesus said?  How do we know that He was any different than our leaders today; that He was telling the truth?  What’s His track record?  Are we really supposed to believe that we don’t need to worry?  That doesn’t seem logical, or even possible! 

    Evidence that God’s word is true is overwhelming, and many volumes have been written documenting fulfilled prophecies and promises.  So let’s narrow it down and get specific regarding His track record with people who were told not to fear.  Is there proof that He came through for them—that He kept His word?

    Abram was already 75 years old when God told him to pack up, leave his home, and go to another country; all based on His promise that, “I will make of you a great nation.”  Years passed—difficult years—years of famine, fear, family friction, battle—years in which no heir of whom a great nation would come had been born.

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

    Even more difficult and disappointing years passed before Isaac finally came along; and Abram, renamed Abraham, was 100 years old.  Yet, through all of the trials, he steadfastly chose to believe God and to continue on in faith.

    Isaac had grown up and married when there was another famine, and God showed up to restate the promise he’d made to Abraham.

And the Lord appeared to him and said, “… I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.  I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Genesis 26:2-5)

And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” (Genesis 26:24)

    Eventually Isaac’s son, Jacob, had his own encounter with God.

Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!”  And he said, “Here I am.”  So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.  I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.” (Genesis 46:2-4)

    Fast forward to Joshua, just after Moses’ death.  Here he was, 80 years old and taking over the leadership of the Children of Israel, with years of battle ahead in order to seize the land of Canaan.  Talk about someone who could’ve been frightened!  There were giants in that land, and 40 years earlier all of the Israelites except Joshua and Caleb had been so scared that they’d refused to go forward, and ended up wandering around the desert until they all died and a younger-and-braver generation grew up.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-10)

[After Joshua’s death] the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.  Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them.  They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so.  Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge.  For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. (Judges 2:16-18)

    And along came Gideon.  One day an angel showed up with the news that God was calling him to undertake the thankless task of leading this unrighteous bunch.

Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”  But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” (Judges 6:22-23)

    And how about some prophets?  Jeremiah and Ezekiel were both commissioned by God to warn His hard-hearted people that they were headed for destruction—not a fun job, to say the least.

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; or to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:7-9)

And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 2:6)

    Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Joshua; Gideon; Jeremiah and Ezekiel; all were told by God to not be afraid in the face of tremendous trials.  Oh, but they were Bible heroes—they were special—right?  No, they were ordinary men, and the only thing that made them that made them any different than others is that they made a choice to believe that God’s would be faithful to His promises.  They all chose faith over fear.  They all understood the truth of words that had not yet even been written by Paul the Apostle…

… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5: 3-5)

    Still, they lived so long ago in Old Testament times—surely it’s different now.  No, not unless we choose to ignore Jesus, who repeatedly encouraged His followers, “Why are you so afraid?”  “Take courage.”  “Don’t be afraid.”  “Why did you doubt, you of little faith?”   “Do you still have no faith?  It is I—don’t be afraid.”

    So here we are, living in difficult, disheartening and even frightening times; and like those Old Testament believers, we have a choice.  We can choose to dwell in the mire of fear, or we can exercise our faith in God, for He can be trusted to keep His promises.

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)