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A TIME FOR PREPARATION

October 3rd, 2011

        

Many words have been coming out of the media, as well as from the prophets, pointing to a huge ‘event’ that is to take place the end of next year.  In part because the Mayan calendar ends in December of 2012, many people believe that date marks the end of the world.  We know that cannot be true because the world is never going to end – we who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior know we will rule and reign with Him for all eternity.  Some believers think this upcoming event will usher in the return of Jesus and the end of this current age.  As I read Scripture, I do not think that can be true because many prophesied events have not yet taken place.  For instance, in order for the “abomination of desolation” to take place, there must be a temple in Jerusalem where the antichrist will come in and demand to be worshipped.  Plus, the Church has not risen to her fullness, nor has evil risen to its fullness.  Not yet, but soon? 

Although I do not believe next year will bring about the end of the age, I do believe we will very likely experience some sort of event that will bring about much change in our lives.  That line of thinking is not much of a stretch when one compares the signs of the times with the prophetic words in Scripture.  Who knows, perhaps fear alone will bring about many unwanted changes in our lives.  One thing is certain:  God will be glorified in the middle of whatever takes place.

What I am left with is a decision:  will I continue in my current lifestyle or will I choose to be proactive and make some changes in my life to be better prepared for a possible life-changing event.  Stating the correct answer is a no-brainer; however, it gets a bit more difficult when I take an honest look at my life, and I take action to remove the things that do not produce eternal fruit.  This is the place in which I find myself today.

Recently during a time of worship, I received a word from the Lord.  While I was singing praises to Jesus, in my spirit I saw two angels enter the room and stand in front of me.  They invited me to go with them, so I stood up in agreement.  They took their places, one on each side of me, standing very close and squeezing me between them.  We rose up and up, and entered a huge room.  I did not think I was in heaven because the room was hazy blue, like it was filled with smoke; however, I did sense it was outside of this earthly realm.  There were lots of people in the room, all of them frantically moving couches and chairs, arranging and rearranging the seating.  When I asked why they were moving the furniture, I was told they were getting ready for a whole bunch of new people.  The angels said that something big was about to happen and many lives would be taken.  I asked what I should do.  I was told to keep doing what I have been doing:  pray and intercede, take my rightful place, lead, write, declare the Word of the Lord.  They said to tell the people:  do not be afraid; this is not the end.  Much must still take place before this age comes to a close.  Read the Word to know the signs of the times.  Tell the people:  do not fear.  Fear causes a herd mentality, and the Bride of Christ does not follow the herd.  She stands and holds her place.  Tell the people – write it in your blog:  times are going to be more difficult for lazy Christians.  If they do not rise up and fight for what they believe, they will grow cold and turn away.  Times are going to be more difficult for the double-minded, the people who are straddling the fence, with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world.  If they do not make a commitment soon, as the chasm grows wider, they will crash and burn.  Remember your aunt Leona, who could not make a decision to go right or left during her driving test, and she crashed into the auto dealership plate glass window in front of her.  She never drove again.  Take a stand; blow the trumpet; sound the alarm.  Time is short.  Be at peace.  Shalom.

That message really got me to thinking and pressing in to the Lord, asking Him for a deeper understanding of these words.  Several nights later I had a dream.  I rarely remember my dreams once my head leaves the pillow, so when I remember one this vividly, I know it is significant.  In the dream, I am trying to find the hallway that will take me from the back of a building to the front, where my workplace is located.  As I am heading up yet another hallway, I meet a young man and I ask him if he can help me.  I am so drawn to this man because he is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, with an engaging smile and a captivating manner.  Yes, he says he knows how to get there, and he would be delighted to show me.  He wraps his arm around me in such a courtly manner that I am somewhat distracted, as I wonder why a handsome young man such as he would be so incredibly attentive to an older lady such as I.  He escorts me down another hallway, and then he stops midway and invites me to join him for a short movie.  I am already late, but I agree.  He sits in the movie with his arm around me in a pure and respectful manner, and I am quite taken by all the attention he is showering on me.  After the movie, he asks me to walk with him to his friend’s house in order to get his car, and I agree.  At the friend’s house, I am warmly welcomed and everyone treats me like I am a dignitary.  We go out to his car, which is named Vector, he puts the top down, and we go for an incredibly refreshing ride.  I am beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable about being so tardy to work, so I force myself to tell him I really do need to get back.  He reluctantly drives me to my workplace, but he takes the long way.  I slowly get out of the car, and I quietly take the back stairs up to my office, hoping to not be noticed.

As I shared the dream with my husband, he quickly connected the dots as to its meaning.  That beautiful-looking man surely represented the devil (who Scripture says can even appear as an angel of light), whose goal was to distract me from my job.  For as long as I allowed it, he kept me from returning to work, disarming me with his charm and distracting me with delightful activities.  Isn’t that so like the enemy to draw us into all sorts of worldly pleasures, while the jobs we were made for sit unattended?  I felt really duped, but I reminded myself that it was only a dream, and no doubt a gentle reminder from the Lord.  I chuckled as I thought about the car’s name:  Vector.  That is an aeronautical term, and when the vector is not set precisely correct, a plane can fly cross-country and arrive in Seattle when its intended destination was Los Angeles.   

The next evening we discussed my concerns with some friends, identifying activities in our lives that produce fruit, as well as naming activities that are barely remembered the next day.  Then in the night I had another dream.  In this dream, I am at a big conference table with lots of people, and we are discussing strategy to prepare for the days ahead.  We are sharing ideas about what things to include in our lives in order to produce the greatest results, and what things we want to eliminate.  We seemed to be making good progress when I awoke suddenly, experiencing intense pressure on my chest.   I was in a lot of pain, and having difficulty breathing.  My first thought was that I might be having a heart attack, but as we prayed and commanded the discomfort to cease, the Holy Spirit confirmed that I was fine.  I was simply experiencing an attack of the enemy (it would seem that he is not interested in seeing me make some positive changes).  Praise God that He has given me the power and authority to banish evil.

As I lay in bed, I asked Holy Spirit to lead me down the best path, to show me what things the Lord would have me change in my life, for my joy and for His glory.  He reminded me of a vision I had several years ago and had never written about.  It goes like this:

During a walk on my treadmill, I envisioned what I knew was the Spirit of Jesus.  He was in the shape of a very large man, but completely transparent and without features.  He said to me something like this: “Let Me show you how to walk through life’s challenges.  Come up really close, right behind me.  Now, staying very close to Me, take a step every time I take a step, as if you were my shadow.”  So I did just that.  He walked through tall thickets, moving the branches away as He walked.  The branches waited for him and me to pass by and then they bounced back, never touching either of us.  Then He walked through a muddy swamp.  Every step He took left a big dry place for me to step and the mud waited to cover up each footprint until after I stepped out of it.  He walked through a rushing river and the water swirled around behind us.  As I looked ahead, I could see right through Him, and since I was so very close behind Him, it seemed as though I was out there all by myself.  When I would get frightened, I had to remind myself that I was not at all alone.  When I would fall back a little, I was blasted by the elements, but as soon as I pressed in close behind Him, I was once again protected.  As I looked around and thought about going another way, I would be reminded that doing so would leave me to face the elements all by myself.  So, even though I did not always want to go the same direction He was going, I chose to let go of my own ideas and stick with His.  Smart girl!  I noticed that the air smelled so much fresher and the trip was so much easier, so long as I stayed very close to Jesus.  I was not fearful at all, but instead, I was at peace and filled with joy.  I was glad I had chosen to remain in His tracks long enough to experience a taste of the peace and joy that passes all human understanding.

As I re-read the words of my vision, I realized that this was all the answer I would ever need!  When I am tucked in, right behind Jesus, I am safe from the world’s troubles – no, actually, I am safe IN the middle of the world’s troubles.  I must know that I too will be affected by whatever comes.  The media will scare people into frenzy; after all, the reporting of shocking events is how they make their money.  But rather than allowing fear to overwhelm the Church, we must know and declare that this is our finest hour.  People always run to God when their world gets turned upside down, and we will be there, ready to proclaim the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As for me, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to re-assess my priorities and shore up my life while there is still time to ease into change.  I am likening myself and the year ahead to a young man leaving home and heading off to the military.  He empties his room of the familiar souvenirs of life that have surrounded him during his youth, and he arrives at boot camp with a single suitcase filled with the basic necessities.

So long as I stay in lock-step with Jesus, following closely behind Him, keeping my eyes continuously on Him, going wherever He is going, I will never need to be concerned about my life.  He will never be wasting time, so neither will I.  He will always be doing His Father’s will, and so will I.  So long as His priorities are also mine, I will always be right smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for me.  And you will know me by the fruit that is produced in my life.

 

Matthew 24:14-16  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

 

Isaiah 41:10  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you.  Yes, I will help you.  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

James 1: 2-3, 6-8  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. … But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

II Corinthians 11:14-15  And no wonder!  For satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to His purpose.