A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rulea all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.
And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
“Now have come the salvation and the powerand the kingdom of our Godand the authority of his Messiah,bfor the accuser of our comradesc has been thrown down,who accuses them day and night before our God.But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamband by the word of their testimony,for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
Rejoice then, you heavensand those who dwell in them!But woe to the earth and the sea,for the devil has come down to you with great wrath,because he knows that his time is short!”
So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursuedd the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. Then from his mouth the serpent poured water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus. Then the dragone took his stand on the sand of the seashore.
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days, wearing sackcloth.”
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; anyone who wants to harm them must be killed in this manner. They have authority to shut the sky, so that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that is propheticallya]”>[a]”>aa]”>] called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days members of the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb; and the inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to the inhabitants of the earth. But after the three and a half days, the breathb]”>[b]”>bb]”>] of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and those who saw them were terrified. Then theyc]”>[c]”>cc]”>] heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watched them.At that moment there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed. The third woe is coming very soon.
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lordand of his Messiah,d]”>[d]”>dd]”>]and he will reign forever and ever.”
Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,singing,“We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty,who are and who were,for you have taken your great powerand begun to reign.The nations raged,but your wrath has come,and the time for judging the dead,for rewarding your servants,e]”>[e]”>ee]”>] the prophetsand saints and all who fear your name,both small and great,and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
The Call of Jeremiah
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for 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.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond[a] branch.”Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.”Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north disaster[b] shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land.For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the Lord, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah.And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands.But you, dress yourself for work;[c] arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land.They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. – 2 Corinthians 10:3
Who are you hanging your hopes on?
I thought my hope was in waiting on God. But this week I was shown I had been waiting on a man. Albeit, I excused my lapse in focus by assuring myself I was waiting on God to prepare this particular man for me. Go ahead and laugh – my foolishness is not loss on me.
I also excused my search by pointing to all the men and women in the Bible that God provided companions for to support them in their assignments – from Adam to Jesus. I have not been able to understand why my companion hasn’t been placed with me yet. The spiritual walk is difficult. Getting your spirit cleansed and keeping it right is an ongoing, never-ending process that requires supernatural balance, focus and support. However, it doesn’t require removal from the world. For Jesus prayed the Father in John 17:15-18
I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
But dealing in the world is where our vision gets blurry, isn’t it? Even when our intentions are pure, our thoughts can be tainted. I was reminded last week to take even my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5)
How are you thinking? I thought my thinking was in alignment with the Word, but as my Pastor said in Bible study this week, even being off by a centimeter or a millisecond is enough to doom you and mark you as disobedient to the will of God. I admit that shamed me. If the only thing I have going for me is willingly, obediently, and fully keeping God’s commandments, adhering to His instructions and waiting for His mark then missing anything is a crushing blow to my spirit. What must I do? I must continue pressing towards the mark….
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:12-14)
A man at a dinner party last year told me and other ladies present, “If you’re waiting on a man, you’re wasting your time!” [Read everything else he told us in My God & Me, p. 221 ] I heard him, actually felt he was talking to me directly, but I didn’t want to think the message applied to me because God was taking care of the man I was waiting for, after all!
Over the past couple of weeks the story of God coming down to wrestle with Jacob has been bombarding me from different people and mediums. Again, I took what I wanted to take out of it. I wanted an answer and a timeline from the man I thought I was waiting for. So, I wrote him and asked him to bless me with his honesty: “Is there anything here?” He blessed me with his silence instead.
A couple of days later, I opened an email from Prophetess Tanya M. Baker through her FB group, Breathe International Kingdom Ministries. I had been shaken, tossed and spanked by the Word all week, but what she had to say knocked me over and opened my eyes:
“Even though Jacob has the promise of God that he will be the greater brother, and even though he just saw an army of angels following him out in the desert, he still doesn’t have the kind of faith to really believe that God can take care of the details.
You don’t have to make yourself good enough to come to Jesus, because that’s not possible. And yet, a lot of people still doubt the promise of God, and just like Jacob, they try to fix things themselves.
There might be a Bible full of promises, there might be a band of angels following you across the desert, but still you want to fix things your own way, and just like Jacob, you are going to come up empty-handed.”
Preach, Sister! Oh, my Lord! What a foolish, foolish woman I am! I needed that!
What are you struggling with? Identify it and give it to God. He’ll handle it and He will bless you for prevailing!
Watch & Listen and you’ll know
What is the man you’ve been hanging your hopes on, telling you? Now that my blinders are off and the ear plugs removed, I’m no longer making excuses for what my former hope had been telling me for years:
I have no encouragement or support for you
You are not worth my time
I don’t want to know you
I’m not going to provide for you
I’m not going to honor you
I’m not going to claim you
I’m not going to love you
I don’t want you
Now, he never spoke any of those words, but his actions (and lack thereof) did. I honestly would have preferred the bluntness of the spoken word. Then again, if he had gifted me with such unrelenting clarity, I would have missed my struggle.
Another magnificent piece placed before me this week was “Wrestling With God” by Rev. Bruce Goettsche (www.unionchurch.com). The Reverend outlines Jacobs struggle from Genesis 32:22-32, below are the points that spanked me (when I put myself in Jacob’s place):
Jacob is afraid. He reaches out, he asks God for help, and he seeks to make some kind of restitution. But in all of these things, Jacob is still resisting. He is still holding back, relying largely upon himself.
Jacob knew the right words and could perform the right actions . . . but his heart still was not completely the Lord’s. It’s easy to have superficial faith. However, a crisis forces us to grapple with our real feelings and our true faith.
God did not just want Jacob’s worship. He wanted his heart. And He wants the same from us.
Jacob was standing between his past struggle with Laban and the impending struggle with Esau. God comes at this time because he wants Jacob to realize that his real struggle all along has been with God.
God asked Jacob his name to see if Jacob was ready to face who he really was or if he was going to continue to fight the Lord.
The struggle was necessary for Jacob’s growth
God allows the struggles in the hope of producing faith. It is in these moments that we have a choice. We can give up . . . or look up.
We need to realize that we are the problem and we need someone to change us.
What Jacob didn’t realize was that the greatest battle being waged was the one being waged in his heart: “Who will be in Charge?”
Jacob wanted God’s blessing but did not want God’s ownership of his life. Jacob had a surface faith – he wanted the benefits of God, but not a relationship with God.
Today I can tell you that the best I could imagine for me is nothing compared to what God has in store for me! I know He always, without fail, has my best interests in heart. I can tell you that even though my tainted thoughts blurred my vision, I am now able to better see my True Champion: Jesus Christ and the far-thinking Father who sent Him! They have spoken plainly about their feelings and intentions for me. Not only that, they followed their words with action.
God sent His Word to teach me
God loved me so much, He gave up His Son
Jesus loved me so much, He willingly went to the cross and laid down His life
Jesus provided a comforter for me during his physical absence
Though the world leaves me all alone, Father, Son & the Holy Spirit are with me always
Jesus left instructions on how to love like him and how to identify a husband like him
My Father knew me before He formed me in my mothers’ womb
Even when I can’t, He can; His strength is glorified in my weakness
My Father made certain from the beginning that EVERYTHING I encounter will benefit me
From beginning to end, He tells me I am wonderful, marvelous, resourceful, worth more than anything else in His creation, beautiful, courageous, well spoken, a problem solver, a warrior, a king, a priest
I have dominion wherever my feet tread, I am full of integrity, honorable, self-disciplined, a citizen of heaven, His ambassador, created to receive His love, I am COMPLETE, I am fulfilled, I am blessed and well favored.
I’m His one and only. He’s faithful, He will never forsake me, He’s my covering and my protection, and He’s committed to our union. He’s in it for eternity.
He wants me.
Though He provides for me abundantly, even now, He’s preparing something so much better!
WOW! My head knows all that and so much more, but could it be my heart missed it? My Champion is forever fighting me for my attention and favor, even when I don’t think I’ve strayed. Yeah, such love and acceptance may seem daunting for a flesh n’blood man to live up to. Luckily, they don’t have to do it on their own. We can all choose to allow Jesus Christ to live in us and love through us. That’s a fact. God wouldn’t have based His word on love if He wasn’t prepared to give it, spread it and have us multiply it by use. If love wasn’t important He wouldn’t have created us as physical representations of His spiritual realm. I want to live and love in all of God’s promises. I want EVERYTHING He wants for me! I don’t wish to miss any portion of my blessings… so I wait. I will wait on God and trust in Him, something I thought I was doing, until my actions said otherwise.