Updated: Nov 9, 2020
One common thread is touching billions of people right now. Before coronavirus and after coronavirus.
Before Corona, I was planning and praying for a whole year of international and local travel. Uganda, Pakistan, UAE, and Japan. Now, the Lord is drilling me down into the domestic ministry developments spoken in dreams, words, and visions in grace. The rest of the year is unclear or becoming clearer.
In Oregon, I was working on AWAKE OR - circuit riding to the four corners of Oregon with the Kingdom Gospel and planning AWAKE gatherings - walking in the Spirit carrying the Kingdom Gospel and calling out the Fivefold graces and "burning bush encountered" people the Lord is raising up. The Barn and burning bush realities of the new season fresh in my mind and heart, I continued pressing into everything I understood from prophetic grace, dreams and Fivefold ministry calling. Running in prophetic words and grace and putting into place the walk of double faith for a new season and awakening in OR, I've been circuit riding to Astoria and seeking the breakthrough next steps along the way.
In my heart, I latched onto a certain description of the Saints before corona. A time and season focus that matched the day we are in prophetically. Which, in the present days of the corona, appears to me to be the required character, required focus, to overcome. This word combined with an encouragement I heard for the season, sparked in me a new clear focus.
I've found three expressions. Three keys to overcoming. Three core realities of the people of God - his Ekklesia - his called-out ones - that the time and season call out. These are pathways of power and overcoming that the Spirit is emphasizing to me.
"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their witness;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." Revelation 12:11
And then there was coronavirus.
Seeking the Lord in the midst of all the change, my heart remains clear. The Awakening that is underway may find a more dramatic advance in the coming days than ever expected. I'm convinced the Saints, who will carry it forward, will root themselves in these three keys. Are you one of them? I hope so.
They triumphed over him.....the Adversary. The Devil. The ruler of the kingdom of the air.
As much as the Devil actively works to stir fear and terror around the world... (https://jeffreynoldsonedesire.blogspot.com/2015/01/7-things-enemy-devil-doesnt-want-you-to.html), the Father is ever-present and wise in his counsels. The Saints are never without his Voice (Revelation 19:10). The Word is ours and filled with abundant Illumination, his plans and ways, and his present help in times of trouble. Words of Promise from the heart of the Father our ours - promises to proclaim and cling to in times of need. The Spirit promises to "remind us" of the Lord's empowering messages and our freedom. As we dwell "richly" in the Word of God (Bible/and abiding in Jesus the Word) we find transforming power and grace.
The three overcoming keys are in direct counter to these three, each a destruction of humanity. The apostolic Ekklesia of Jesus Christ - its power and truth teaching - are focused on the work of Jesus brought to the world in "witness" through the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is an apostolic witness. This I believe is the identifying "witness" of the apostolic prophetic foundation of the Ekklesia of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22).
1. Sin - overcome by the blood of the Lamb. The CROSS of Christ. Stripping the Devil of his weapons. The Lamb of God took away the sins of the world. We are inheriting a "new and living way" as we follow the forerunner Jesus our Lord, Master, friend. FREEDOM! GRACE! Loving Kindness leads to repentance. The way is open for us to abide in the Presence of God at all times and in all the seasons of life. The Cross is the "way" to the presence of God, the cleansing power of sin crucified.
2. Death - overcome by the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ. In all its forms death is defeated. Now, the Saints advance and grow in grace. We are transformed into the perfect work of Jesus. This is an eternal work --- these kinds of changes inside us stick forever. We are invited in the Spirit to walk in resurrected power. To stand and understand in the abundant realities of the new creation life. We walk in this power and await the full consummation of the rule of Jesus Christ as he puts his enemies under his feet. We are living in forever now; waiting for the consummation and return of the Lord. Eternal life is a new reality for those who follow Jesus -- following Him into life, love, and service. We keep his commands, and they lead to life, to his glory in works already prepared (Ephesians 2;10).
3. Devil - overcome and sealed - the ASCENSION of Jesus brings full circle 'from heaven he came" to "heaven he returned". Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father. The unshakable Kingdom of Jesus Christ - 1. Came from heaven 2. Lived/died on the Cross 3. He rose from the dead - Resurrected. 4. Ascended from the mountain top before the apostles' eyes and sat down - is forever sealed in the work of Jesus Christ and the powerful witness of the Holy Spirit.
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure." I John 3:1-3
This is the first key to overcoming - The Blood of the LAMB. The CROSS of Christ.
Imagine the power of the Blood of the Lamb. All the sins of the world cleansed in his one sacrifice (I John 2:2). The effects and measure of sin in my life alone is staggering --- and the blood cleanses me by faith in Jesus Christ. And the Blood cleanses the whole world. CLEAN. Sins are forgotten. Cleansed from all unrighteousness. By believing in the Son of God, by putting faith in him, we receive every good and perfect gift of his work and obedience. By faith, we are saved. The work of the Cross washing us in repentance from all sins.
Wow. Feel that freedom pouring over your body, mind, soul, strength? I feel the tangible freedom The sin haunting my future, having wrecked my past, defeated by Jesus Christ. Day in and day out Jesus makes me free in the Spirit's power. Free from the sins of my youth, the cracks of sin from my family lineage, the weaknesses of my dead man. Yes, we move from glory to glory through faith and trust in Him.
This is the process, the transformation that we have inherited in Jesus our Lord. As we follow him and obey him (I John 2:4-6) he leads us into LIFE. Transforming Grace is activated by faith as Christ dwells in us (Col 1:27). WOOOOOHooo. WOW! Praise the Lord Jesus. We are FREE.
This is what is welling up in me right now...
Thank you, Lord, for your sacrifice in steadfast love and obedience to the Father for my salvation. Thank you, Jesus, my God, and King, for your courageous heart to forge into the hot fires of hell itself for my redemption. Oh how I love you, Lord Jesus. Oh, the tears run free. Make me an offering, like smoke on the altar. Smokey fragrance of the Lord's loving-kindness to the world. Let my praise rise in the smoke of a life left behind for the real life of knowing Jesus Christ.
We are seated in the heaven-lies with Jesus.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
The second great overcoming key...
The word of our witness. Often this is translated "testimony". I think something much greater going on here than the testimonies of individual Saints. Our testimonies, as awesome as they may be, do not have the power to overcome the world. Rather, they bear witness to the power of Jesus in us, the power which overcame the world. I John 5:1-5 is clear on this.
Overcoming the World
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
THE TESTIMONY of JESUS CHRIST, the one who overcame the world, is the testimony, the witness. The Greek word used here is marturion. Witness. The same word often used to describe the Gospel proclamation of Jesus Christ and what he accomplished in the CROSS, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION. Our Gospel, the redeeming and powerful message of Jesus is the testimony. Revelation 19:10 says the same thing.
"At this, I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Don't do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus." Revelation 19:10
I don't want to discount or take away from the testimony of the Saints' today. The promises of God lead to the miracle power of Jesus and the presence of the Spirit moving in our lives. This is tremendous and vital as an encouragement to the Ekklesia. Yes. Yes. All promises are "yes" in Jesus and giving testimony of such fulfillment in our lives is remarkable and praiseworthy. Yet, for us to think that our 'testimonies" are what this passage is about, maybe falling short of the glory the Father revealed in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. I wonder? Check it out.
Hebrews makes this clear.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Our word of testimony, of witness, is Jesus Christ and him crucified (I Corinthians 2:1-5). No greater word, testimony, revelation, saying, or witness in all heaven and earth exists than that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not proving Jesus and his message is real by our testimonies and interactions with God. Jesus already said the final word. He himself is the final message of God to the world. We are living it out as he lives in us, and we obey his commands. A misnomer and off teaching are to presume that our testimony "validates" and makes real the Father's testimony in Jesus Christ. The simple clarity of the Gospel tells the Son of God's story better. "It is finished" - Jesus said. He is the testimony in the Gospel of the Kingdom.
It would do us well to point to Jesus in everything. Every Saint, in every circumstance, known or unknown, rich or poor, under threat or free, persecuted or unnoticed, carries the Gospel of Kingdom and the friendship of Jesus through the Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension as the Witness that overcomes the world.
Yes. No secrets to learn (Revelation 2:2-25). Jesus is the treasure (Col 2:2-3). Revealed and made known. Proclaimed and preached the world over. Jesus Christ and him crucified. This is the testimony.
Yes. Our living testimonies are wonderful, but the witness of Jesus Christ is the power of God to deliver from dominions of Darkness to the dominion of LIGHT and LOVE.
Yes. God speaks and is speaking to the Saints, yet he is saying, "This is my son, whom I love. Listen to HIM."
While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown in terror. Matthew 17:5
The word of our witness is the Gospel of the Kingdom and the perfect redemptive work of Jesus Christ. No other story, testimony, cultural witness, compares to what God told us and is telling us in the SON. Tell that story. Yes. We are living the story. Yes. Following the forerunner Jesus. Yes. Becoming like him and walking in his ways. Yes. In following him we see the good works he leads us into, the miracles, signs, wonders of his compassion to redeem whole new groups of people. Yes. Becoming testimony of his loving kindness and his voice each day.
The Gospel of the Kingdom, of Jesus Christ, is the living and active word that delivers us from the dominion of darkness into the glorious light of Christ Jesus. He ushers us into knowing the Father through powerful works in the CROSS, RESURRECTION, ASCENSION.
Let's get back to telling this Gospel as our witness. Jesus is the one working remarkable works for the people of God; bringing new people into the blessings he won for the world's freedom. We are his servants and co-laborers if we follow him and obey his commands.
Paul himself, a person filled with remarkable personal testimony, preaches Christ and him crucified over any self-expression or personal testimony. (I Corinthians 2:1-5)
They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." Revelation 12:11
The resurrection of Jesus Christ put death to death. Eternal life is right on our doorstep. We will transition to eternal life forever living in his presence, in a short a time. Yet, now, today, we are overcoming the world. Even as death loves to abide in and through our lives, the resurrection is breaking its fear and threats.
It seems whenever we set out to new ventures of faith, Gospel witness, following Jesus into a new life, we are affronted with the death of the world.
The world is passing away right now (I John 2:15-17). The rate of evaporation appears slow. Much like when you plant seeds in your garden and check it every day, the progress is hard to see. But we see the "unseen " and so now the world is passing away each day a little at a time. What is replacing it? The Kingdom of God, the will of God brought forth by the Saints in faithful and obedient actions of worship and friendship with Jesus (I John 2:15-17).
If you love me, keep my commands.
I've discovered that whenever I am moving ahead, sent in the will of God, death is right there seeking to shut me down. Thoughts of death or uncertainty are invigorated by the demonic and thrown back at me with insidious intent. The reality of "what is not" over what "is" confronts the faith I'm exercising. It requires faith to walk out the will of God. These are the sufferings and persecutions of the world against the revelation and redemption of God. They affront life with death. Dead thoughts. Dead perspective. Dead predictions. Death. Hovering and looming over the simple acts of faith the voice of God spoken into us.
Fear is an ever-present partner in the world spirit, seeking to snuff out any and every try at the will of God by faith.
In this way, our walk with the Spirit is so similar. We all confront the "fear of death" as we advance in the will of God.
The spirit says, "go and talk with your neighbor about Jesus." Possibly in a dream, we see ourselves sharing the Gospel in our business relationships. Or we are in a store and the Spirit points out a person to us and gives us encouragement for them. Maybe we receive a long term assignment from the Lord and are tasked every day to carry it out step by step in faith.
What pops up often and at once is the fear of death. Fear. Seeking to hold us back from exercising the most basic Kingdom actions, fear often rises up, a response, when we hear the voice of the Lord. We are encountering the darkness in such moments. The strongholds surrounding us and possibly within our thinking are being confronted by the Voice of God. Even as we execute the most demanding acts of faith, like Peter stepping out on the water, we meet our fears. This is the process of revealing what we confront.
Do we fear to die from the Corona Virus? Can we be asked by God to act in a way that put us at risk? The entire medical community is being asked to be "at-risk" for the sake of the nation. Yes, God asks us to do what may put us at risk. But we don't count our lives as greater than obedience to God's will or in reaction to fear. The power of the disciple is in doing what he commands.
Romans 12:1-2. We are the smoke of an offering of obedience. The same obedience that led Jesus to the CROSS. When we move in this kind of focus and commitment, the powerful realities of the Gospel of the Kingdom come forth in boundless abundance.
They did not love their lives...
The kind of disciple needed for these times is one of resolute patient endurance in bringing forth the will of God in the world. Walking in faith. Seeing the unseen. Keeping the commands of Jesus above any and all other commands. Believing God in the impossible, to do the impossible.
Jesus taught us about this. "If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life." I John 12:25
The backdrop of great moves of God is the hardships and sufferings in the lives of those who bring it.
For us to bring the true witness of Jesus Christ, it must carry with it the reality of his own victory and character. He overcame death. His disciples thus, do not fear death. In any form.
Freedom is to obey God and follow Jesus. We are his children, loved, adored by God and that same love is lavished on us as we obey his commands. Death is defeated. It needs a clear witness of this reality.
Some practical steps.
1. Love One Another. The three testimonies will always lead us to compassion, laying down our lives and loving the Bride of Christ. He poured out his blood in obedience to God so that we could freely love and encourage one another in the power of the Holy Spirit. Find some practical and simple ways to love. Ask God. He will speak to you about it.
2. Pray without ceasing. To walk in the way described above without a continuous and vibrant abiding prayer life is not possible. Jesus calls us to himself every day. Devotional prayer is essential. Intercession and prophetically powerful prayer is the way to overcoming victory. Learn to "practice the presence of God" as an every moment reality. It can be the most exciting life.