This Is How You Become MORE Than a Conqueror - It's all about the PLUNDER!

We can use the battles of the Old Testament as a template for how to wage spiritual warfare. We no longer battle against flesh and blood - we do not battle "people" like the Kings in the Old Testament - but we DO battle the same powers and principalities that their enemies represented. 

We no longer fight with swords and spears. We fight on our knees using the word of God (our sword), His name (our authority), and His blood (our power/strength).

The more we learn about spiritual warfare, the easier it becomes. Personally, I used to constantly battle a demon of depression. But I can now easily knock that spirit to the ground by using my weapons of warfare. The "feeling" of depression flees quickly from me once I respond to its attack by telling it to go, or quoting scripture, or by singing a worship song.

Once I came to truly understand and believe that I had authority over it - it didn't try as often to overwhelm me and take me out.

But though I understood my authority in Spiritual Warfare - there was one thing I was still not understanding...It's one thing that I think a lot of people overlook.

Once you have victory in Spiritual Warfare - YOU NEED TO ASK FOR THE PLUNDER.

This is how we are MORE than a conqueror!!

For a long time, I was just a conqueror --- until I understood that I also needed to ask for the plunder. It wasn't until I asked for the plunder that I was fully implementing all of my authority.

Now - when I finish fighting something in the spirit realm and I know it’s finished.

I picture myself before the Supreme Judge and I ask Him for the spiritual plunder from the fight. He usually asks me to make a list of plunder that I want from the defeated spirit.

So I ask for things that were stolen by the spirit to be returned plus 7 times what was stolen. I let the Spirit lead me and I write it in my journal.

Sometimes I ask for lost finances or for favor to be given.  If I’m praying for a nation – I will ask for the generations to reap the blessings that have been held up.  

When I ask…I ask BIG! It’s kind of like the King who struck the arrows on the ground. (2 Kings 13)  How much do I want to win? I strike the ground a lot when asking for plunder.

God says that we do not have because we do not ask --- so I ask BIG!

When David plundered the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 30, he took back the things that originally belonged to him but he also took all of the enemy’s livestock and goods as well.

Then he shared it with those who were faithful to him.

If we use the Old Testament as our blueprint for fighting powers and principalities, the Kings always brought the plunder back to their Kingdom. They used their plunder to build their kingdoms BUT more so, they used it to build God's temple.

So in keeping with this blueprint, when we ask for the plunder after defeating our foe in the spiritual realm, we need to keep in mind the people of God and ask for plunder to meet their needs. After that be sure to ask for personal plunder as well.

Become MORE than a conqueror by becoming a plunderer!

You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:2


How to Improve the Quality of Your Life by Improving Your Foundation

Jesus said there were two foundations to choose from.  He said we could build our lives on the sand or we could build our lives on the rock.

The SAND shifts.

If our feet are standing on sand, we are dependent on the circumstances of life.  When the conditions of our life shifts, our footing becomes unstable.  If we lose a job, if a loved one dies, if relationships become broken – our lives that were built on the shifting sand of our circumstances is thrown into uncertainty.

The ROCK is steady.

If our feet are standing on the rock, we are dependent on the person of Jesus Christ.  When circumstances of our life shift, it does not affect our footing.  If we lose a job, a loved one, or relationships become broken – we have no fear because we are still certain of the outcome because we KNOW that we are deeply loved and valued by the “ROCK” that we are standing on.  We know that Jesus will turn all things for our good – because we are standing on the rock – everything will eventually be ALL right.  However, there is a stipulation.

The Word says that we must put His words into practice!!  We must BELIEVE what God says in the Word.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 

25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 

27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

The circumstances of the SAND often revolve around what the world and our friends say about us.  The “SAND” is basically the approval of others or the self-defined peace that comes from our own minds.

The “SAND” says… 

You are awesome if you are winning.

If you have the right group of friends – you are accepted.

If you are making a certain amount of money then you are valuable.

If you have a family that is perfect in the eyes of the world you are valuable.

If you look a certain way – you are valuable.

If your relationships are at peace – you are alright.

But “The ROCK”  says…

There is nothing in the world that can separate us from the ROCK of God’s love.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:38-39)

We no longer have to fear our circumstances because we are on the ROCK.

So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir

.(Galatians 4:7)

The ROCK uses everything in our lives and turns it for good.

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

We have direct access to the ROCK at all times.

[Jesus Christ] In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. (Ephesians 3:12)

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

The grace of the ROCK enables us to endure any situation in which God may place us.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

If you build your life on the sand, when the circumstances change - your world becomes insecure. Because your foundation is built on the “SAND” of people instead of God – when the rain comes… you will have nowhere to stand.

If you build your life on the word of God and BELIEVE what it says about you – that no matter what comes against you – you are safe and you have value because of the ROCK of Jesus Christ.

If you want to improve your life, ask God to begin to show you the areas of your life in which have been constructed on the sand.  As you do this, He will show you the places that you have been trusting in the opinion of man and the opinion of your own flesh.  As He reveals this to you – repent by turning over that part of your life and begin to BELIEVE that His ways are higher and His thoughts are better.  

The ways of the world are the SAND.  Jesus is the ROCK.

Be my ROCK of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my ROCK and my fortress.   (Psalm 71:3)

Prophecy: What if God Is Not FOR You?

Recently the Lord lovingly admonished me about a lie that I had been believing.  He surprised me by saying, “Tisha, I love every person on earth, but I Am not FOR everyone. My favor and My blessings do not rest on everyone.  You mistakenly believe that I Am on the side of humans – while being opposed to My enemy, Satan.  This is not true. 

I Am FOR Myself.  I Am for My Glory, and I am on the side of every person who is seeking My Kingdom first.  I Am not on the side of those who are seeking their own kingdom.  I Am against the Anti-Christ spirit.  Anything that is not of Me and My kingdom is Anti-Christ.  I Am not FOR any human who would choose to follow the Anti-Christ spirit.  I desire their repentance - but My favor is not given out for free.

He continued,  “I Am also not FOR anyone who practices witchcraft.  I Am not FOR anyone who continually sins sexually.  I Am not FOR anyone who beheads My people.  I Am not FOR abusers.  I Am not FOR those who enslave women and children as sex slaves.  I Am not FOR people who use corruption to pad their own pockets.  I Am not FOR pastors who bend My truth to make people feel comfortable in their sin.  I am AGAINST them.

I oppose the proud.  I humble those with selfish ambition.  I will not tolerate those who use prostitute the giftings I have given them. I Am not FOR people who practice other religions.  I Am against the Pharisees.  I Am against those who teach the doctrine of demons. 

Part of your problem, My love, is that you haven’t understood this.  You have mistakenly thought that I was FOR everyone, and it is not true.  I will spit out of my mouth those who are lukewarm and those who seek to make My remnant stumble.

Many will be surprised that I have not been FOR them.  Many will be surprised that the things they blamed on the devil were actually Me resisting them.

Because I will not share My glory with another.  I Am the I Am. 

If you seek My Kingdom first, I Am FOR you.

If you seek your own kingdom first or the kingdom of My enemy – I am AGAINST you.

Seeking My kingdom first grants you My favor.

Seeking your own kingdom first gives you the hand of My resistance.

Judgment begins with My House, and you are about to see who I Am FOR and who I Am AGAINST.

Romans 8:31 begins with a crucial word, it begins with an “IF.”

If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

There is an “IF” at the beginning of this statement because it requires action on your part for Me to be FOR you.

I Am FOR everyone who is FOR My Kingdom!  If anyone repents and follows Me then I receive him and Romans 8:31 will apply to him.  But for everyone else who seeks his own kingdom of the kingdom of My enemy I spell out very plainly what will happen in Revelation 3:15-20.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

God loves every human being.  But that does not automatically mean He is FOR us...

It's our job to be FOR Him and His Kingdom.  

Heavenly Father, may all of the lukewarmness be burned out of Your Church.

Thou Shalt Not Lie – Is Not One of the 10 Commandments

God hates a lying tongue. (Prov. 6:17)

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. (Prov 12:22)

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices. (Colossians 3:9)

There are verses in the Bible that clearly show God’s displeasure with lying.  We should strive to deal with people in truth at all times. 

Did you know that "Thou Shalt Not Lie" is NOT one of the Ten Commandments?  The commandment says "do not bear false witness against your neighbor."  That is not the same as "do not lie."  

Somehow – maybe to help children understand the 10 Commandments a little easier -  Commandment number 9 got a not-so-accurate rewrite.

I want to point out to you that several times in the Word, misinformation is used to accomplish the will of God.  I am not saying that God is a liar – for He clearly is not.  But as you’ll see, God commended some liars.  God used lying spirits against evil kings.  Several heroes in the Old Testament told lies.

It is so important that we understand the WHOLE counsel of God and understand the Word of God accurately. 

When Pharaoh was killing Egyptian babies - God commended the midwives for saving the babies.  They saved the babies by lying to Pharaoh. (Exodus 1)

Rahab the harlot lied to protect the two Israelite spies before the battle of Jericho. (Joshua 2)

God himself didn’t lie but ordained some deception spoke forth through the prophets in II Kings 8:10 and I Kings 22:22. 

King David lied on several occasions and was never condemned by God for it. (1 Samuel 21 and 1 Samuel 27)

During WWII Corrie ten Boom lied to the Nazi's and said there were no people in the house.  In fact, MANY people lied during WWII to save the Jews from extermination.  Is God going to condemn them when they stand before Him on Judgment day?

Of course not!  The people who lied during WWII to save the Jews from extermination did so because they loved God with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength.  They were loving their neighbors as themselves. 

Missionaries lie all the time to get Bibles into countries where they are banned.  The Church in China lies in order to be able to hold underground church.

Personally I would lie to protect my family or others from death.  I would lie to protect my property from thieves.  I would lie to be saved from being raped.  If I lived under the regime of a tyrannical government I would lie to them if it was necessary for my family’s survival. 

However, I would not lie for petty things like getting a job or cheating on my taxes.  We WILL answer for these on judgment day.  I do not do white lies - I do creative compliments that don’t twist the truth! 

Do Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor

And I would not lie about another person. 

I would not tell a falsehood that would ruin the reputation of my "neighbor."  I would not give a false testimony about people to others which is ---> GOSSIP!

And I would never lie if I was asked if I was a follower of Christ.  If I die for that one I will be a happy camper with a martyr’s reward!

God DOES hate a lying tongue and generally we should not lie.  But just maybe there ARE appropriate times to lie... or give misinformation.

More importantly please stop saying that “Thou Shalt Not Lie” is one of the Ten Commandments.  It is quite inaccurate.

In the New Testament, the Law (The 10 Commandments) are summed up like this.  “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.  And love your neighbor as yourself."

Lies to get ahead in life are the opposite of loving God with all that we are.  Lies to get ahead in life are completely rooted in selfishness.  These are the lying tongues that the Lord hates!

The lies of the Egyptian midwives and of Rahab the spy, the lies of Corrie ten Boom and Anne Frank, the lies that save people from trauma or death - these are the lies that fulfill the "law" …loving our neighbors as ourselves.

My purpose for bringing up this subject is not to make the case for lying.  Ninety-eight percent of the time we need to be truthful in all things.  But there are appropriate times for misinformation and there is a biblical precedence. 

It is not about rules and regulations… it’s ALL about the condition of the heart!

Asking God for Mid-Term Grades

You know that point in high school when mid-term grades came out?  Your heart skips a beat right before you look at them?

In my high school there were four quarters in a year of school.  Mid-Terms were the half way point in a single quarter.  If a D showed up in those mid-term grades – I knew I would have to buckle down and get to work the next 4 ½ weeks in order to get that grade up!

I wasn’t always thrilled to get that sheet of paper – but at least I knew where I stood.  It wasn’t the final grade that would be marked down in my high school record, so the truth of my mid-terms helped me to plan accordingly for my final grade.

This may be quite a new thought to many of you – but there is a FINAL GRADE for how you run the race of this life coming for each of us.

We get “X” amount of time on this earth.  The Scriptures show us that we will each be rewarded according our final grade.

 "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”  Rev 22:12

Just as you earn a grade in high school, you earn grades on earth.  The grade that you receive on Judgment Day will translate into your eternal reward.

So let me tell you a little secret!

God is VERY willing to give you your mid-term grades here on earth.  He would LOVE to tell you how you are doing in your life right now and the grades that you are receiving so that you can make any necessary adjustments.  He wants very much to give you a “Well Done!”  when you get to heaven.  So Your loving Heavenly Father would be more than happy to tell you how well you are running your race according to His judgment.

When I began asking for my mid-term grades from the Lord, it was scary at first.  Honestly, there were some grades that I knew that I did NOT want to know about.  But as I have walked this path for several years – I have learned to LOVE it!  Because the truth sets us free!

Knowing the truth about where I stand in this life on earth has actually brought me GREAT freedom.  There are no more questions about being in God’s will or speaking God’s truth.  I simply ask Him for a grade.

I ask Him for a grade about being a wife.  I ask Him for a grade about how I handled specific conflicts.  I ask Him for a grade about how I am doing at obedience.  I ask Him for a grade when I put on events and gatherings.  I ask Him for a grade on just about everything.  When I do He is faithful to answer.

Sometimes I hear a “Well done.”  Sometimes He will bring a specific thing I said to mind and bring conviction.  Sometimes I will come across a Bible Verse that will be the answer to my question for a grade.

Other times I flat out hear a grade in my spirit.  Sometimes it’s an A and other times it’s not.

A few summers ago – I asked Him for a grade about how I was doing as a mother.  I heard B+ in my spirit.  I was able to accept that B+ and say “Lord, I would like to raise that to an A.  What are the things that I need to do to get an A as a mother.”

I quieted myself before the Lord and I saw the number four.  There were four things that I needed to change in order to raise my mid-term grade to an A.

     1)   There was a generational sin that was holding me back. I had to ask the Lord to break it off of               me.

     2) I was believing a lie about my childhood and the loss of my mother at a young age. The Lord               had to show me the truth and set me free from the lie.

     3) I was not pouring vision into my children like I should have been doing -- that needed to    

     4) I was letting my children get away with a few things that were not pleasing to the Lord.

Even though it was a bit scary it was COMPLETELY worth asking for a mid-term grade.  I have made all of these corrections and I hear a “well done” in my spirit from time to time.  On top of that – my kids have a better mother.  I have been set free from a generational sin and a childhood lie that allows my “love tank” to be at full capacity.  I have been pouring vision into their lives which helps them to be on track and on time in their calling.  AND I have been more precise in their discipline which helps them to be more righteous in His sight.

If I hadn’t have asked for a mid-term grade, I probably would have entered heaven with a B+ in “motherhood.”  But now I am running the race to win the prize!  I desire to win!  I desire to hear “Well done!” 

Some people aren’t ready for grades.  Specifically if you are a perfectionist – grades might be a hard concept for you.  But I have a friend who God gives the primary grades of E (Excellent) S+ (Above Satisfactory) S (Satisfactory) and N (Needs Improvement).

Whatever your method, ask God for the truth about where you stand with Him.  It will have eternal consequences.

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Psalm 51:6

Prayer:  Lord show me the truth about myself.  Give me my mid-term grades so that I can fulfill my calling in this earthly life and at the end of it hear “Well done, good and faithful servant!  Come and share your master’s happiness.”

People Pleasing: The End-Times Snare

So many of our issues revolve around this one thing:  pleasing people rather than God.

The Bible repeats warnings over and over about how we will have to leave people behind in order to follow God in the end times.  I delve into a few of them here:

Jesus speaking about His return and eternal judgment in Matthew 19:  Jesus tells His disciples that there will be some who will have to leave houses, brothers, sisters, parents, spouse, children and jobs for the sake of the Kingdom but they will be rewarded for their sacrifice.

Jesus declaring His purpose to His disciples in Matthew 10:  Jesus said he didn’t come to bring peace on the earth.  He came to bring a sword.  He further said that He would pit a man against his father.  That household family members would be enemies.  This makes me shake in my boots.  I am praying hard for my family members – that we will all be followers of Jesus and be unified always!

Jesus giving instructions about the last days in Mark 13:  Jesus warns us that family members will betray family members and some will be put to death because of that betrayal.  Some WILL be handed over to authorities and the Holy Spirit will speak through them.  And we can expect to be hated by ALL because of His name.  Yes my friends Jesus said “hated by ALL!”  He goes on to say that if you endure to the end, you will be saved.

Jesus prophesying to Thyatira in Revelation 2: Jesus rebukes this church for not throwing a false person out.  They tolerate her.  How many churches do that today?  We don’t want our reputations ruined by throwing a person out of our church, so we tolerate them and their false doctrines.  Are we loving our sheep above Jesus?  This will never work in the last days.  We must not fear to separate from people within the four walls of the church.  And Church leaders need to learn how to protect their flocks from wolves without fear of retribution. 

In all of these cases – the Lord shows us that there will be times in the last days that we must leave behind the people that we love.  Think about it fathers, brothers, children, parents… there will come a time, if they are not following Christ we MAY have to leave them behind.

We need to be prepared in these last days to leave EVERYTHING if Christ asks us to.  It will be the hardest thing we ever have to do.  But the only thing that we can have on the throne of our hearts is Jesus.

If you have another person, even your daughter or husband or best friend, on the throne of your heart, it will be very hard for you to follow Christ.  Our hearts must have only ONE focus:  to please Jesus.

Now this doesn’t mean that we are going to HAVE to leave our family and friends.  It simply means that we are prepared to – if He asks.  He wants us to lay our family on the altar.  He wants us to lay our reputations on the altar.   He wants us to be LIVING SACRIFICES.

We must make up our minds NOW that we are going to endure to the end. (Mark 13)

It is time to do an inventory of our hearts to make sure that Jesus is the only one on the throne.

And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut. 10:12

Steps to Wholeness:
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to judge your heart. 

Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anyone or anything that your heart wants to please more than Him.

Listen to anything the Spirit might say.  Be aware of images He brings to your mind.

Ask the Lord to forgive you for having a person/thing on the throne rather than Him. Declare that they no longer have a right to be on the throne of your heart.

Ask Jesus to sit on the throne of your heart.  Ask Him to be the most important Person in your life.  

Give Him permission to have control of EVERYTHING in your life.

Then tomorrow – ask the Lord to judge your heart again.  This is how we remain on the path of life. We constantly ask the Lord to judge our hearts and to line up our hearts and minds with His.

How It's a Mistake to Want Jesus to Come Back NOW!

There have been days that I simply wish Jesus would come back for us.  There are days I want to be done with the pain of this imperfect life.  I know there is another life waiting on us.  I’m ready for no more sorry, no more pain and no more tears.  I’m ready for golden streets, a crystal sea and most importantly there will be the perfect peace of being in the presence of Jesus.  I have a lot of loved ones who are already there.  There are times I have a burst of grief that makes me long for heaven.

Several years ago during a day of grief, I was longing for the next life so I could escape the pain.  The Holy Spirit comforted me in a most unusual way.  He spoke to my spirit and said, “Tisha I know you long to be here with Me, I just need for you to bring a few people along with you when you come.”

It completely blessed me that He identified with my suffering.  He understood that I wanted out of the pain.  But then poured VISION into me which helped me to lift my eyes.  He was basically saying I had some work to complete on earth that would enable others to come to heaven as well.  The Holy Spirit encouraged me with the vision that when it is my time to come home to heaven others will come behind me because of my faithfulness.

I have work to do.

I had a friend tell me about a dream the Lord had given to her as she was longing for the return of Christ as well.  In her dream she saw Jesus turn the light switch on and then off.  He spoke to her and said, “That is how fast this life goes in the span of eternity.”  END OF DREAM

Think about it – compared to the massive width of eternity – this life is a TINY part of it.  Yet whatever happens in this tiny little earthly life will affect us for all of eternity.

In all honesty, I was being a little selfish to want Jesus to come back so I can be pain free.  It is a self-focused way of living life.  Enduring pain is part of carrying our cross.  In my desire for His return – I was essentially saying that I didn’t want to bear my cross anymore.  I had forgotten the reason for carrying my cross – I carry my cross for the sake of the Gospel. 

Jesus has His reasons for waiting to return for us.  He doesn’t want any to perish.

2 Peter 3:8-9  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

It is OK to desire the return of Christ but it is not OK to long for His return for selfish reasons – that is called “Escapism.”

I have a much different outlook now.  I am focused on the work I have been given to do.  I am focused on the simplicity of loving Jesus each and every day to the fullest.  If I keep my eyes focused on Him and not so much His return – I will have accomplished all that I have been assigned to do. 

And when I enter heaven’s gates… I pray that I take a few more people along with me when I go! 

The Bride Isn't Ready - A Warning Trumpet

The return of Christ is not timed to the depth of darkness that we are living in, 
it's timed to the readiness of His Bride. - Terry Bennett

As a child I remember in Sunday School the teacher telling us the story with the flannel graph shapes of Jesus coming on the clouds.  I have fond memories of thinking what a grand day that would be.  We would all meet our Savior together in the sky.  I would see my mother who had died when I was four and we would all fly to heaven.  

As an adult, I have a more mature perspective on that day.  I have a deeper more intimate understanding of Jesus, who is no longer just my Savior, but the Lover of my soul.  He is my comfort and my constant companion through the Holy Spirit.  He loves me unconditionally and I can hardly wait to see my faith become sight.  “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so
we will be with the Lord forever.”  (1Thess 4:16-17)

My grandmother who died in 1999 thought Jesus would come back during her lifetime.  Her parents thought that Jesus would come back in their lifetime as well.  Generations have been waiting on the return of the Bridegroom for his Bride, which is the Church.  But the very hard truth is that the Bride is not yet ready.

I no longer believe that we are waiting on Jesus’ return.  I believe that He is waiting on our return to Him.

Jesus is coming back for his Bride, but it is a “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Eph 5:27)  I don’t believe that we even need to ask the question “Is the church without stain or wrinkle?”  It is apparent that we are quite far from being prepared for the Bridegroom’s return.

I do not believe that God is angry with us.  I believe He cares deeply for us and is concerned that we have grown into a lukewarm Church.  We no longer pursue Him like the early Church did, for they needed Him desperately.  We do not pursue Him like some of the Third world countries have to, for their very lives are at risk because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  We live in unparalleled leisure and comfort with no urgent need for a Savior.  We have no real hunger for Jesus. We have no real desire for our Bridegroom.  And I believe His heart breaks because of our half-hearted relationship.

Church have we fallen asleep waiting on His return?  Have we fallen into lukewarmness by letting our everyday lives swallow up a fervent relationship with Christ?  Have we been filling our oil lamps by reading God’s word and praying to Him with the faith that He will answer? 

As a prophetic intercessor, I would like to blow this trumpet as a warning.  Jesus loves us enough to cleanse His Bride before He returns for her.  There are many things happening in the Church that cause her to be stained with sin.  Sexual immorality, greed, false idols of comfort, Pastors on thrones, people pleasing, control and manipulation -- these sins are all staining His Bride.

We can repent from our sins now and fall on the rock, or the rock of God’s discipline is going to fall upon us and we will be crushed.  “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”  (Luke 20:18)  It is better to fall on the rock (repentance) than to have the rock fall on you (discipline).  Jesus says, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19)

Jesus is coming back for a spotless and wrinkle-free Bride.  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, this includes you.  Each one is responsible for himself/herself.  I implore you to make yourself ready for His return.

Pray this prayer with me... “Father God, come and reveal my sin to me that I might repent.  Show me my wrinkles and spots, and then give me the grace to overcome.  Give me a fire to pursue You.  Give me the humility, wisdom and understanding I need to wholeheartedly return to You.” In Jesus Name.

Salvation vs. Eternal Reward: There Is A Difference

It was in my early adulthood when it dawned on me that salvation and reward were two separate things. In Sunday school I had always been taught that the two were intertwined.  Later in life, the Holy Spirit had to unwind the two separate concepts to teach me this: The gift of salvation is free, but our eternal reward is earned.

Jesus died for the whole world.  Every person who has ever lived or ever will live, is invited to accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus bought for us through His resurrection and death on the cross. 

“For God so loved the world that He gave is one and only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8

When we give our lives to Christ and make a commitment to be His – it is a gift from
God that we receive simply by faith.  We don’t earn salvation.
We do, however, have to earn our eternal reward.

In Revelation 20, on Judgement Day there are several “books” that are opened.  Only one of them is the Book of Life, which your name has to be written in to enter INTO heaven.  The others are books that have recorded our works.

The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”  Revelation 20:12

The Book of Life contains the name of those who receive the free gift of salvation.  The Book of Record contains the works that you did while on earth.

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”  Ecclesiastes 12:14

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 contains a very clear witness about what happens on the [Judgment] Day.
(Whenever you see the word Day capitalized in the word – it is referring to Judgment Day.)

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

I kind of picture this verse like this: Everyone is going to stand before the Lord on Judgment Day.  The Book of Record will be opened and our works will be poured out before the Lord.  Fire will fall on everything that is laid before the Lord.  The works that we did in our flesh (wood, hay and straw) will be burned up and the works that we did using eternal material (gold, silver and costly stones) we will receive a reward for. Even if everything is burned up, if our name is written in the Book of Life we still will be saved and enter heaven’s gates.

Now I don’t know about you, but I do not want to get before the Lord and see my entire life’s work burned up and receive no reward.  I want to hear “well done!”  I want what I build on earth to survive the Judgment fire!

My deepest desire is to run the race to win, so let’s dissect what kind of materials Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 3.

Wood, hay and straw are going to burn up when exposed to fire.  They are references to our flesh.  When we build on the foundation of Christ with our own strength and might and not according to the Spirit of God, we use wood, hay and straw.

When we use lasting materials like gold, silver and costly stones we are building by the Spirit. (Zech 4:6)

Let me give you an example of a time when I used wood, hay and straw to build God’s Kingdom.
Several churches in our community decided to hold a unity service.  I was on staff at one of the churches as a director of worship.  We spent a lot of time planning, praying and organizing.  We also spent quite bit of money to rent out a local auditorium and a really nice sound system. We also hired a speaker.

There was an associate pastor who was quite uneasy about what we were doing.  He was not in agreement with the decision that our senior pastor had made.  I didn’t understand why my associate pastor was not on board.  The underlying premise was in line with the word of God.  Yet I trusted this associate pastor’s wisdom.  So I began to seek the Lord about His opinion about the unity service.

“Lord, why is my associate pastor not onboard? I don’t understand what the issue is?”  The Lord began to show me that He considered the unity service wood, hay and straw because it was not a service that He had directed the pastors to organize.  The Lord showed me that the pastors did not seek God first on His timing for this event.  They had decided to build something great for God, but the Holy Spirit did not direct them to do so.

This is the perfect example of using wood, hay and straw to build God’s Kingdom.  Fleshly decisions made without the Holy Spirit’s leading. 

I spent a lot of time planning and praying for that event.  On Judgment Day when all of my works are laid before the Lord on the altar, the work that I did for the unity service will be burned up.  I will receive no reward for that event.  It was a work that I did apart from the Vine.

What I learned from that disappointing experience is to ALWAYS check with the Holy Spirit before planning any event or when doing any “building” in God’s Kingdom.  It is imperative that we are in the flow of the Holy Spirit and we are remaining on the vine to bear much fruit… fruit that will last. (John 15:16)

Our goal should be to know the answer to this question: Does the Holy Spirit want to do this work through me?

God wants to be on the throne of His Kingdom.  When we build according to our flesh using wood, hay and straw we are basically saying that our own plans belong on the throne rather than God’s plans.  This is why our fleshly works will burn up on Judgment Day.  Only that which the Lord has done through us by His Spirit can remain…because the earth is the Lords, not ours. 

As you think about your reward, make a daily effort to let God build His Kingdom through you.  When the Book of Records is opened on that Day – your works will not be burned up and you will receive your reward.

Jesus and Teddy Ruxpin

Religion OpEd Article  ~ The Courier Times, March 29, 2014    By Tisha Sledd

I have felt prompted by the Holy Spirit in the past year to really dig into the book of Revelation. It's such a deep and confusing book that studying it in the past has seemed cumbersome.  I am also frustrated by the disagreement that so many Bible teachers have about the interpretation of this book.  It's like the waters surrounding Revelation are all muddied up!  But I figured there was something that Holy Spirit wanted to reveal to me.  So I look at it as eating a great big steak, slicing off a little at a time and chewing thoroughly until I can digest the meatiest book in the Bible.

One of the first slices of steak I digested from this book
comes from the first five words.  “The revelation of Jesus Christ...” Revelation 1:1.  The thought that the entire book of Revelation is the actual revelation of who Jesus is has escaped me all of these years.  Why haven't I studied the character of Christ as He is revealed in Revelation?  Why didn't I understand that it's not just a prophecy about what is coming in the end times?  It is actually meant to reveal who He is.

As I have looked at Revelation in the context of studying Christ's character instead of trying to figure out what all of the signs point toward, I am fascinated that we pretty much don't understand His character at all.

In America, Jesus is presented like a teddy bear.  He's loving, and full of grace.  He fulfills the wishes of His children.  He's always soft and cuddly.  He says the right thing to comfort us and would never ever say something harsh.  And if Christians ever do say something with a sharp edge of truth to it we are immediately told that it is unChristlike and we should be ashamed.  We are told Jesus is love and we should accept all of humanity like He would because He is a divine Teddy Ruxpin.

Well friends I am here to bust your bubble.  Jesus is not a divine teddy bear.  He is a Lion.  And He is not tame! (Thank you C.S. Lewis for that reference.)  If we believe the first five words of Revelation then we must allow our definition of Jesus include ALL of the book of Revelation as well.

Jesus casts His unrepentant people on a bed of suffering. (2:22) He rules with an iron scepter (2:27) He casts away people who are lukewarm (3:17) He brings sword and famine and plague. (6:8)  Jesus actually brings torture upon His enemies. (18:7)  Friends that is not a Teddy Bear Christ.  That is the character of a just judge.

The first time Jesus came to earth, He came as the Lamb.  He came to seek and to save that which is lost. He offered Himself on the altar and beat the devil at his own game. For He allowed death to swallow Him up not letting on that His holiness would be a poison pill that would destroy death once and for all.

The next time we see Jesus on the earth, He will come like a Lion.  The book of Revelation is to prepare us for this part of His character.  Throughout Revelation, Jesus rewards the faithful and punishes the wicked.  There must be a shift in the hearts and minds of true followers of Christ.  If we are to fully receive the understanding of the character of Christ – We must know Him as the Lamb and the Lion.  If we are lukewarm He WILL spit us out of His mouth.

He is not a divine teddy bear.  He is a just Judge who is 100% grace and 100% truth. He is coming back and will rule with an iron scepter.   If you think of Jesus as more grace than truth perhaps you should take a look at the book of Revelation yourself.  There is a blessing for reading it. (1:3)

Jesus prefers mercy over judgment but when mercy does not work.  His judgment is His mercy!

Revelation 22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”