18 June 2021

Juneteenth and the Synergy of the Ages

Juneteenth and the Synergy of the Ages

In this Give Him 15, I want to commemorate Juneteenth, a new federal holiday, which is celebrated tomorrow, June 19th. Slavery officially ended in the United States with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. However, slaves in Texas didn’t learn they were free until June 19th 1865 - more than 2 1/2 years later. This day became known as Juneteenth. It was initially only celebrated in Texas, but is now being recognized around the country. You can learn more about Juneteenth here.


I asked my friend, Will Ford, to share regarding this important day in American history:

“The ending of slavery and the celebration of Juneteenth are rooted in the power of intercession. Prayer changed our nation and led to revival and transformation.

“Slaves were often forbidden to pray, and if caught doing so were sometimes beaten. Nevertheless, many slaves, in spite of the danger and because of their love for Jesus, prayed anyway. My slave ancestors used a cast iron kettle pot as an acoustic means of concealing the sound of their voices. As I detail in my book, ,THE DREAM KING, they would invert the pot, lay it on the ground and prop it up with 3 or 4 rocks around the edges. They then prostrated themselves on the ground and put their mouths to the opening between the ground and the kettle. Thus, it was used to muffle their voices as they prayed. This pot also became a reminder of the prayer bowls in heaven, where God collects our prayers (Revelation 5:8).

“Years ago, I began to wonder if there were similar stories passed down in other African American families, so my curiosity led me to do research. Over the past 20 years, I’ve combed through thousands of slave narratives at the Library of Congress. I learned this testimony of secret prayer meetings wasn’t just in my family’s slave history, and neither was their method of concealing their prayers. I found hundreds of written examples from Christian, African American slaves who used wash pots, barrels, and kettles to muffle their voices as they prayed.

“Albert J. Raboteau, professor of religion at Princeton University, confirms this. ‘The most common device for preserving secrecy was an iron pot usually placed in the middle of the cabin floor or at the doorstep, then slightly propped up to hold the sound of the praying and singing from escaping. A variation was to pray or sing softly with heads together around the kettle to deaden the sound.’

“Many accounts mentioned how a secret code song was used to alert them of the secret prayer meetings at night. The song was called Steal Away To Jesus. Sometimes they sang and prayed all night.

“In his slave narrative, Peter Randolph revealed how slaves also concealed prayer meetings by building temporary tabernacles, called ‘brush harbors’ or ‘hush harbors.’ In the dark of night, those first to the selected spot bent the boughs of trees in the direction of the prayer meeting, and those following behind were guided by them to the prayer meeting. After arriving in the desired location, they often soaked quilts with water, which were used to build four walls around them. This created a tabernacle. The wet blankets helped to deaden the sound as they prayed.

“The beauty is that prayers offered in secret, in wet-blanket tabernacles and muffled under cast-iron kettles, filled golden prayer bowls in heaven. It’s exciting to think that our prayers are stored in the same place. Note that in Revelation 5:8, ‘bowls’ is plural. We don’t know how many bowls hold our prayers, but it’s very likely that each of us has his or her bowl in Heaven. God stores our prayers in them for use at the proper time. At the right time, He tips them and pours out powerful answers.”


This part of American history is not taught in schools. Though recorded in our archives, these stories are only now being retold because of the research Will is doing. He is helping us understand our history is a spiritual one, not just one composed of secular events and decisions. It is a history grown also from the prayers of the saints.

Psalm 78:2-4 and other scriptures encourage us to search out and share the history we have in the Lord: “I will teach you hidden lessons from our past - stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders,” (NLT). Without the fullness of our Christian heritage being known, godless men and women will try to reconstruct a history leaving God out of the picture. This revisionist history leaves us soul-less and divided, hopeless, and without a moral compass or purpose.


Will continues:

“Imagine, one day, in response to the prayers of our enslaved forefathers, God tipped over the prayer bowls in heaven and changed society. Quiet but fervent prayers for freedom, offered underneath kettles, joined with the prayers and sermons of the first and second Great Awakenings bringing deliverance. One of the little-known revivalists who became a voice for the voiceless was John Girardeau in Charleston, South Carolina. A white pastor and a rising star in the Presbyterian church, Girardeau also had a heart for the lost, especially enslaved African Americans. In the summer of 1857, at the Anson Street Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Girardeau called his congregation of 48 slaves and 12 whites to pray for revival. They prayed for many months.1

“One evening, while in prayer with the congregation, Girardeau said he ‘felt as if a surge of electricity’ struck his head and filled his entire being. He looked up and saw those praying with him shaking, trembling, and in tears. Their cries became more fervent as they continued praying with tears for the souls of their lost neighbors and loved ones. Revival came to the entire city of Charleston! One church gained 400 new members in just 3 or 4 days! 2

“This move of Holy Spirit lasted for eight weeks of nightly meetings and impacted all of Charleston. Crowds of 1,500 to 2,000 of every background gathered from across the city. Free African Americans, the enslaved, and whites of every strata of society were impacted. Girardeau’s church grew from 60 people to 2,000 Sunday morning attendees. 3

The Presbyterian church decided to ride the wave of enthusiasm, and initiated evangelism and prayer campaigns up and down the east coast. Eventually, they started one in New York City on Fulton Street at a Dutch Reformed church building, asking a young businessman who had been impacted by the revival in Charleston to head up the effort. Jeremiah Lanphier began a noon-day prayer meeting for businessmen. His first prayer meeting of six people soon turned into hundreds. Within weeks, 5,000 were coming to prayer! Eventually, over a million people across the country would give their lives to Christ and participate in these noon, business prayer meetings. 4

“This revival of prayer not only resulted in a harvest of millions of souls, but also societal transformation. Because of the new ethnic diversity in the congregations in Charleston, many people became voices for their brothers and sisters who were still enslaved there and throughout the South. This change of heart over slavery was an answer to prayer for those bound in chains. Incredibly, historians record the first shot of the Civil War came from Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C. I believe, with many others, that the first shot of the Civil War actually came from the prayer meeting on Anson Street. Ultimately, on June 19, 1865, two years after slaves were freed through the Emancipation Proclamation, freedom for all enslaved came to the streets of Galveston, Texas.

“The questions for us now are, ‘Which prayer meeting will be the “first shot” to end our division today? Who will fill the prayer bowls in heaven for those “spiritually” enslaved? Who will “steal away to Jesus” today, in order to shift and shape tomorrow?’”


Pray with me [prayer by Will Ford]:

Father, the prayers of our forefathers ring in eternity, actively working even today to shape our nation’s future. You have not forgotten the prayers of Robert Hunt, who planted a cross at Jamestown and dedicated this land to You. You are still acting on the prayers of our governmental forefathers and great revivalists in history. Your heart holds dear, as well, the sacrificial prayers of our country’s former enslaved believers.

Today, we’re gathering stones and building another altar to You for our future. Release a new fire of revival for this generation and beyond. Heal hearts, minds, emotions and relationships. Make the church in America of one heart, mind, spirit and purpose in Christ Jesus. Pour out Your Holy Spirit on us and through us.

Manifest Your holy presence across this land as You did in revivals of old. Birther of nations, You are able to rebirth this land. You can draw the lost, and You can also end systemic poverty and reverse Roe v. Wade. You can end human trafficking, senseless violence, and gang warfare. You can unravel global agendas and give Your people solutions to societal ills.

You are looking for a new generation of people who will drop their agendas, come together and believe! We want to be part of extending a storyline in America that brings healing instead of hurt, blessing instead of curses. Make it so! Amen.


Today’s decree:

The sacrifice of prayer by former enslaved citizens is still honored in Heaven. We decree that the prayers we pray today will mingle with theirs, lighting the fires of revival and transforming America’s future!



Learn more about Will Ford ,here.

Click below to watch prayer.https://youtu.be/IAnw8iahRPU

___________________________________
,https://romans1015.com/1857-anson-street-revival/
Ibid.
Ibid.

,https://www.smithworks.org/revival/1857.html

~ Dutch Sheets

17 June 2021

"Separate to Me"

“SEPARATE TO ME.” A STRANGE MIRACLE IS HAPPENING TO A MASSIVE NUMBER OF BELIEVERS.

16 June 2021

Lions, To Your Feet!

Lions, To Your Feet!

Off and on for the last few months, I have been drawn to Isaiah 40. For the last week, I have been especially drawn to verses 1-5. I’ve always found the passage to be paradoxical. The verses begin with God saying, “Comfort My people. I have forgiven them - the season of judgment is over” (verses 1-2, Sheets paraphrase). That’s nice. But then Jehovah continues by prophetically speaking of and describing the ministry of John the Baptist. Not so nice.

John had a bulldozer anointing: clearing debris, leveling mountains, filling valleys, straightening crooked places - in human hearts! His message to everyone was, “Repent!” To some, he wasn’t so nice: “Repent, you brood of vipers!” (Luke 3:7).

Comfort? Not so much.

However, it wasn’t John’s message that was comforting. It was the purpose, the intended result of his message, which was preparing the way for the appearance of Messiah, the Savior of the world. He would bring the glory of God to earth (verse 5): “Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.”

The building of every new house starts with the “comfort” of a bulldozer. The building of Christ’s Kingdom does, as well. He uproots the old, then builds the new. John, then Jesus.

I went to minister in Clarksville, TN, last weekend, with these thoughts stirring in me. While there, my friend Clay Nash prophesied the following:

“The Lord says, I had to take you out of your comfort zone in order to bring you into My comfort.” He had me! “But, let it be known that My comfort does not comfort in the way your comfort zone does. My comfort conforms you...to My image.

“The conforming to My image (brought about by My process of comfort), will bring you out of ‘the old,’ in order to take you into ‘the new’ (your inheritance). I am bringing you out of the barren wilderness...but now you must allow My Spirit to remove the wilderness mindset that has become ingrained in you during the recent journey.

“For the days ahead are days of living sacrifices - yielding, remaining still - upon my altar. I am a consuming fire that must consume all that is not Me. But the days that lie ahead will prove that your surrender to Me is your strength. This surrender, resulting in a newfound strength, will be triggered by your hunger for My presence, a presence that leads you, not only from strength to strength, but from faith to faith and victory to victory.

“Your surrender will cause our oneness to become a bond of love, and you will see the promises you have battled FOR become the promises you will battle FROM. In this new place I have prepared for My body, you will discover the words that set the enemy to flight will be, “It is Finished.”

Whoa!!!

“Out of your comfort...to Mine...which conforms you to look like Me...so I can give you your inheritance...now you must think differently...you must be completely surrendered to Me...and what you battled for, you will now battle from.” What a great word.

Yesterday, I shared with you a portion of a dream given by Holy Spirit to comfort us. It spoke of hope deferred and discouragement from the 2020 elections continuing to stall the growth process of many in the church. They couldn’t mature from “sheep” to “lions”. Like Isaiah 40, the dream’s beginning, which describes this problem, isn’t comforting. However, later in the dream the Lord made it clear He had no intention of allowing this setback to continue. He instructed me to issue a command, “LIONS” (He called them lions, not sheep), “TO YOUR FEET!” As they stood, Holy Spirit blew on them, bringing healing and transformation. If you didn’t see or hear the post, please do so.

The comfort many of us envisioned for America last November didn’t come. To millions of us, the process was flawed, the results catastrophic. God, however, is saying He wants to use this outcome to strengthen us and expose evil. We will emerge stronger, more like Him and functioning from a position of victory; those who oppose Him, while promoting death, polytheism (many gods), secularism (the removal of religion from government and public policy), government control, immorality and lies will not emerge from this season stronger. They will be exposed as fools.

The dream we looked at yesterday comforts by assuring us Father has no intention of leaving His kids in a weakened state. He fully intends to heal all who are in a hope deferred stall. He wants us to be bold, courageous lions, not just sheep. Our Commander desires us to be warriors, not passive sheep bleating for more food. He demands faith, not fear. Our Father is asking us to trust His ways and processes, assuring us that as we do so, He will do as He promised. We will release a roar, take our inheritance - our promised land - and we will war FROM the victory we warred FOR with our prayers.

The Elijah List recently posted a prophecy from Katie Barker in Australia. It, too, speaks of God turning the tide of weariness caused from intense warfare. Here are portions of the word. (You can see the entire word ,here.):

“Many have been in an intense season of spiritual warfare, but the Lord has heard the persistent prayers of His faithful ones; the battle is shifting and your day of deliverance and occupying new territory is at hand...

“I heard the Lord say, ‘Many of My front line warriors, intercessors, prophets, Kingdom builders and advancers have been under intensified attacks this year. The enemy has been relentless in his attempt to bring roadblocks, hindrances and weariness to these ones in their continued stand to see My plans and purposes come to pass. The flames of the battle have continued to intensify, but My faithful ones have continued to stand and push forward. They have spiritual eyes to see the battle and they know the territory and promise that awaits them, as they know I am faithful to bring to pass all I have spoken...

“The Lord continued, ‘The battle over the destinies of individuals and regions has been intense. The battle intensifies on the edge of breakthrough. Many are at the cusp of breakthrough, the cusp of the new territory and land they will occupy, and the cusp of a complete change in their situation. Now is the time to stand in faith on all I have spoken, and to break off the lies of the enemy that say the shift will not come. Now is the time to wage war with the promise I have given you...

“‘Rise up and take up your sword. Decree My words at the leading of My Spirit. Strengthen yourself in Me and allow your faith to arise. Surround yourself with others who will stand in faith with you and will strengthen you in your stand. Wage war through worship as you turn your eyes on Me and use every weapon in your arsenal. Wage war with My word and see Me make the path straight before you...

“The Lord said, ‘A fatal blow is coming to the enemy's plans on the back of strategic, supernatural keys of revelation which I am releasing to My people at this time. As My faithful ones spend time in My presence, specific and strategic revelation on the keys to overcome the enemy will be released. As these keys are used, hindrances and strongholds will be broken and swift justice and advancement will come...

"’Don't you know that God, the true judge, will grant justice to all of His chosen ones who cry out to Him night and day? He will pour out His Spirit upon them. He will not delay to answer you and give you what you ask for. God will give swift justice to those who don't give up. So be ever praying ever expecting…’ (Luke 18:7-8 TPT).

“The Lord said, ‘I have heard the persistent cries of My people and I am coming to bring swift justice. Recompense and restoration will be seen. This is a demarcation time – a time where a line will be drawn and a shift seen in the battle as My just verdict is released. The demarcation line is a battle line or boundary line where the enemy will no longer be allowed access. The demarcation time will see territory given back to My people. My justice will bring an overturning of the enemy's plans.’”


What a great word! And now, on the strength of the dream and these two prophetic words, I’m going to issue the command Holy Spirit gave me in the dream, along with the request to Holy Spirit. If you are struggling in your faith, if you are weary, if passivity has taken over your heart, receive these words into your heart and spirit now.

“LIONS, TO YOUR FEET! WIND OF GOD, BLOW UPON THESE LIONS AND BRING THEM INTO THE POWER OF THEIR TRUE IDENTITY!”1

Now, let’s get on with the process of helping turn this nation back to God!


Pray with me:

Father, release the wind You spoke of in the dream. Bring forth the true identity of the ekklesia. Like a roaring lion that stands, shakes his mane and releases his mighty roar, cause them to arise with strength and boldness.

We speak over Your people this day that the blood-sucking ticks of disillusionment and despair are destroyed. We speak hope into the church. Bring forth the conformity to You, of which You spoke. Weariness, be gone, in Christ’s name!

Now, Lord, SEND THE WIND!!!


Our Decree:

We decree that all weariness and hope deferred is broken off of the ekklesia. The roar is being released.

Click here to watch the prayer.https://youtu.be/16Lduzv1RLk

_________________________________
Taken from Give Him Fifteen: Releasing the Roar, 6/14/2021; ,www.givehim15.com.

~ Dutch Sheets

14 June 2021

Celebrating Flag Day

Today is Flag Day. Have you ever wondered about the words to our Star Spangled Banner? The “rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air?” Why was someone watching so intently to “see if our flag was still there?”1

“In 1814, as flames leapt out of the Capitol Building and the White House, the night sky glowed red as the American people fled Washington. The British were attacking American seaports and the mainland relentlessly, steadily moving toward Baltimore. Emboldened by victory, British Admiral Cochrane informed James Monroe, America’s Secretary of State, that the British Navy had set their eyes on the demolition of Fort McHenry, a pentagonal bastion fort protecting the Baltimore harbor.

“A young lawyer named Francis Scott Key had been sent to negotiate the release of prisoners being held on British ships in the Baltimore Harbor. After the successful negotiation of the release, Key was informed by Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane that the negotiations would be fruitless, as the British would launch an attack on Fort McHenry at dawn. Because Key had seen the British preparing to attack, Cochrane did not allow him to return to land.

“On Tuesday, September 13, 1814, the earth-shattering sound of heavy guns broke the morning calm. British ships, as far as the eye could see, filled the harbor and mercilessly released their deadly mortars. By the following morning, the British had launched over 1,500 mortars, some as heavy as 250 pounds, into Fort McHenry.

“Through the night, Key kept a watch over the Fort. As the bombs lit up the night, Key strained to see if the American Flag was still flying. Why? Why was Key so intensely watching the flag? British officers had informed American troops that the whole battle could be avoided if they simply would lower their flag. So, as long as the flag remained raised, the British would continue to attack. For 25 hours, the British bombarded Fort McHenry. For 25 hours, American troops inside the fort made sure that the flag was still there. After 25 hours, the British realized they would not take the fort by sea, and ceased fire.

“Realizing the British were discontinuing their fire, Key, several miles out, looked over the waters. What would he tell the American prisoners now aboard his ship? Would he see the flag with her bold stripes and bright stars? Would he see the sign of surrender? Did that star-spangled banner yet wave? As the dawn turned to daylight, though its pole was askew and its stars and stripes marred, Key saw that, indeed, our American flag was still there.”2

I have made no attempt to hide my patriotism in these posts. Nor have I ever suggested that God loves America more than any other nation. He does not; He loves all people equally. That fact should not, however, lessen our love for and commitment to our nation. He loves the family across town as much as He does mine, yet that doesn’t mean I bear the same responsibility and paternal love for them as I do my household. America is my homeland and I love her. The flag represents her.

“To some Americans, the flag and our national anthem are not just meaningless symbols. Our national anthem and our flag represent the things we hold dear: our country, the freedom enjoyed by all Americans, and the troops who fought for it. Many Americans proudly stand with tears in their eyes and gratitude in their hearts when our national anthem is performed; I’m one of them. Often, veterans take part in the performing of our national anthem and the simultaneous display of our flag. Such displays are meant to inspire gratitude and patriotism! 3

“On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes. As instructed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all public buildings across the country. In the years after the first Flag Day, several states continued to observe the anniversary, and in 1949 Congress officially designated June 14 as Flag Day, a national day of observance.” 4

When living in Colorado Springs, a city with 5 military bases, we had the opportunity to see the Presenting (or Posting) of Colors many times. Usually there were 4 flags: the American flag (always on the right), the state flag, the military departmental flag, and the unit flag. The military representatives (soldiers) always marched in ceremoniously, and exited the same. The Presenting of Colors always caused everyone in the venue to pause and honor the flags being displayed.

We also learned there is a flag protocol:
“When more than one flag is displayed, the American flag is to fly at peak, above any other flag.
Do not let the flag touch the ground.
Do not fly the flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.
Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.
Do not use it as a cover.
Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.
When flown over a street, the Union (stars) face north or east depending on the direction of the street.”5

And there are other specifications for proper flag etiquette. Why do I mention them? Because the importance of our flag - our symbol of freedom, patriotism, and independence - must be celebrated, fought for, and even properly cared for. That, my friend, is done by you and me.

“Flags originally were used mainly in warfare, and to some extent they have remained an insignia of leadership, serving for the identification of friend or foe and as rallying points. They are now also extensively employed for signaling, for decoration, and for display. Because the usefulness of a flag for purposes of identification depends on its blowing out freely in the wind, the material that is preferred is usually light and bears a device or pattern identical on both sides.”6

Today we observe Flag Day and celebrate this symbol of freedom and independence. Perhaps we should make the entitled athletes - who choose to dishonor what the TRUE hero in my earlier story died to honor - sit and watch a few dozen of those ceremonies before they’re allowed to pick up their million dollar paychecks for playing games. Perhaps they could also pass out the tissues to the grieving spouses and children. Forgive my cynicism.

President Ronald Reagan said, “When we honor our flag, we honor what we stand for as a nation - freedom, equality, justice, and hope.”7 Today, let’s fly our flags with honor and proudly display our patriotism. Just as a flag is designed to blow freely in the wind, we ask Holy Spirit to once again blow His wind on America. Join me.

Pray with me:

Father, we thank You for Your great love for the entire world. Red, yellow, black and white - You love us all. On this day when we celebrate our homeland, we in America remember that You love all other nations just as much as You love ours. And we pray for them today, that they would experience Your blessing and a special outpouring of Your Spirit.

Your word tells us, however, that there is significance to where we were born and placed by You. Acts 17:26 says You chose our time in which to live and the place of our habitation. We accept the responsibility that comes with this. We pray for America, as others now pray for their nation, asking for healing and the recovery of purpose and strength.

And we here in America do not take for granted the incredible prosperity we partake of and the freedom we enjoy. We are humbled by the abundance we experience. May we ever be mindful of the price others have paid to win this freedom - the blood, sweat and tears. May we also ever remember and be grateful for the favor that came from You because of our allegiance to You. We have enjoyed Your providential care and blessing. We thank You, and pledge, by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit, to turn our nation back to You. Amen.

Our Decree:

We decree that America is a nation under God and that she will remain under Him.

~ Dutch Sheets

13 June 2021

Dutch Sheets: "The Power of Hope"

The Power of Hope

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” 1 These are the opening lines of the song, Solid Rock, written in 1834 by Edward Mote, a Baptist pastor from England.

The well-known refrain states:

“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.” 2

The refrain of this hymn is based on Matthew 7:24-27, which anyone who’s attended Sunday school will recognize as the parable of The Wise and the Foolish Builders. The passage says:

“Anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!” (GNT)

Most of the words of this song, not just the refrain, are based in scripture. Edward Mote must have been a man who loved God’s Word. He had come to understand hope was found in Christ, and he clearly embraced this truth in his life. I’m sure he had no idea the powerful song he ended up writing would become a classic, reminding the millions who would someday sing it that hope is found in Jesus.

Hope is not something we need only now and then, based on circumstances. Hope must stay alive; it begins with Christ. The day we say yes to Him there is an expectancy of a different outcome to our lives. Eternity is planted in our hearts and hope is a fruit growing from it, keeping our hearts turned toward Him.

The Lord tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 He has good plans for us and, as they unfold, we will see He gives us “a good future and a hope.” The hope He gives, motivates us to pursue the future He has planned. This allows us to impart hope, which puts wind beneath the wings of others, especially the children we raise. Hope looks past any fog or darkness that may be encroaching on our path, and helps us find our way forward.

I state in my book, The Power of Hope: “Hope is to the heart what seeds are to the earth. Without hope life is sterile, unfruitful. Without it dreams won’t be conceived; destinies won’t be realized. Hope is powerful because it is the starting line, the genesis, the launch pad. It is, in fact, the incubator where faith is formed: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for,” God tells us (Hebrews 11:1 KJV, emphasis added). If there is no hope for the future, there will be no faith to face it - let alone build it.” 3

Strong’s concordance tells us the word “hope” in Jeremiah 29:11 is the word “tiqvah”. It has two meanings: “an expectancy;” “a cord, as an attachment.” The second definition is fascinating. Hope connects us to our future.

Our friend, JoNell Burch Garland, wrote a wonderful book entitled Threads of Hope...in a Frazzled World. It’s a devotional in which she has written 31 short words of encouragement on the topic of hope. JoNell shares a testimony on day nine about hope as expectancy. She describes the important difference between expectation, which is a hope-killer, and expectancy, which is a hope-nurturer:

“Some time back I was in a situation where I had prayed harder, fasted longer, and did my very best to follow all the right pathways to see a specific prayer answered. Believing I’d heard from God and giving it my all, I was doing my best to do all the right things. Well, much to my utter surprise and disappointment, nothing turned out as I thought it should or would. This caused me great grief, and I caused others grief in the process also.

“One morning while I was in prayer, the Lord broke into my thoughts and asked me a simple question. ‘JoNell, you’ve ceased to expect much from Me, haven’t you?’ Knowing He values honesty, I responded to Him simply, ‘Yes, that’s true, Lord.’

“Then He spoke something to my heart that changed me forever. He said, ‘Daughter, when you cease to expect good things from Me, you protect your heart from the pain of disappointment, but you break Mine.’ Then He said, ‘How would you like it if your children no longer expected good things from you?’

“I realized then that dwelling at or on disappointment sets us back from the onward journey He has for us. At this place, if we are not careful, we say basically, ‘Okay, I will walk with You and I will love You, but I am not expecting much out of our relationship any longer. I will just keep my expectations low and I will be fine.’”

JoNell goes on to show us the disciples dealt with this same issue. “We had our hopes up that He was the One,”( Luke 24:21). She explains, “Jesus had not lived up to their expectations, and it weighed heavily upon their souls as they walked along...Expectation is based on what we want to see. Expectancy is based on WHO He is, not on what He will do.”1

This brings us back to the words of Mote’s song, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” At some point while walking along life’s path with the Lord, this powerful truth became a revelation and he shared it with all the world in his hymn.

The second definition of “tiqvah” is a “cord or rope.” It is used in this way in Joshua 2:18. A woman named Rahab hid the Israelite spies when they came to Jericho to check out the promised land. Because she helped them, they were led to save her and her family from the destruction coming to Jericho. The spies gave her a red cord and told her to hang it in her window. They cautioned her to be sure all of her extended family members were in the room with the cord, so they could all be saved. In verse 21, she accepted their offer. It was a very good thing she did. The entire city and its inhabitants were destroyed; only Rahab and her family survived. The passage reads, “When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet cord [hope] hanging from the window through which you let us down… ‘I accept your terms,’ she replied. And, she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope [hope] hanging from the window.” (NLT)

Rahab was being asked to put her hope in these men and the God she knew was with them. Their promise to her was a covenant expressed in the blood-red cord. Most scholars see this as a prophetic picture of Christ’s shed blood, which is where we place our trust. This symbolism seems even more likely when we realize Rahab married a man from the tribe of Judah (Salmon) and became the mother of Boaz. King David was one of her descendents. She was part of Christ’s lineage! That He descended from Rahab makes it almost certain that the scarlet cord symbolized the blood of Christ, through which we are saved.

Mote’s song says, “His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.” Let’s put all our hope in His covenant with us, knowing we are saved and anchored solidly in His love and plan.

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” (Zechariah 9:12 ESV)

Pray with me:

Father, we ask You to heal Your people from hope-deferred. You tell us hope-deferred makes our hearts sick (Proverbs 13:12). Heal them spiritually and emotionally so they can be hope-givers to those around them. Many have been in a season of disappointment; some have even abandoned hope, and lost faith in You. They have allowed circumstances to determine how they see and relate to You. Hope can correct our vision and bring us into right relationship with You. You are great! You are good, faithful and have a plan to bring us into a hope-filled future.

We break off of Your people fear, disillusionment, hope-deferred, weak hearts, and confusion. We release Your promise of “no fear,” but instead “power, love, and a sound mind.” We release over them the spirit of faith (2 Corinthians 4:13). Our hope and faith are strong for ourselves, our families, and our nation. We pray and decree these things in the name of our solid rock, Jesus! Amen.

Today’s decree:

We declare that a hope-filled church will reflect Jesus, rejoicing in hope, standing patient in tribulation, and remaining constant in prayer.


~ Dutch Sheets
_________________________
  1. “My Hope is Built” by Edward Mote. Public domain.
  2. Ibid
  3. Dutch Sheets, The Power of Hope, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Publishing Group, 2002), p 3.
  4. Garland, JoNell Burch. 2020, pp 34-36.

11 June 2021

Some Good News For a Change

 

Two of the most effective weapons in psychological warfare are discouragement and demoralization. If they can discourage and demoralize you, you will likely stop fighting. That is why we want to encourage you twice a week that we are WINNING on many fronts!
Good News of the Week, June 9, 2021: CJTruth/telegram
1. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has announced that he will vote against Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill, “For the People Act.” He has faced expected Democrat backlash for this, but he is not being swayed.
2. As of Wednesday afternoon, 80% of the ballots have been counted in the Maricopa County, AZ audit.
3. Delegates from six states –PA, GA, CO, AK, VA and NV–have already visited the Arizona audit facility. Delegates from other states will tour the facility later in the week.
4. Several people have been subpoenaed in Fulton County, Georgia, for their activities in the 2020 election. These include Ruby Freeman, who was caught on tape scanning ballots multiple times and her daughter, Shaye Moss, who told GOP observers to go home and then pulled suitcases of ballots out from under a table.
5. The Georgia GOP approved a resolution to censure Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for failing to perform his duties and for undermining the security of the 2020 election in Georgia.
6. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that increased the penalty for intentionally altering ballots or election reports to a second-degree felony. These crimes can now land people in jail for up to 20 years.
7. The border town of McAllen, TX, which is 85% Hispanic, elected their first Republican mayor in 24 years. Republicans also held two other mayoral seats in the DFW area and had major wins in DFW-area school board races amid a raging battle over critical race theory.
8. President Trump was back in campaign mode mode at the NC GOP State Convention Saturday and millions of people tuned in to watch. More than two million watched on RSBN and 1.8M watched on Newsmax. You can watch the full speech on RSBNetwork. com.
9. Social media’s censorship and bans have not hindered President Trump from getting his messages out. According to a NY Times analysis, 11 of his 89 statements after the bans have attracted as many likes or shares as before he was banned.
10. The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that immigrants who entered our Country illegally and then were granted Temporary Protected Status are not eligible to apply for “green cards” to remain in the US permanently. If someone enters the US illegally, they will not be rewarded with permanent citizenship.
11. Kamala Harris traveled to Guatemala to discuss the border crisis with their president. She was greeted with huge banners of, “Kamala, TRUMP WON,” “Kamala Go Home” and “Kamala Mind Your own Business.” Guatemala’s president blamed Biden’s change in Trump’s message for the rapid border crisis.
12. The criminal investigation into NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “cover-up” of COVID-19 deaths at state nursing homes continues. Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed communications, contracts and documents used during the pitching process of his memoir to aid their investigation.
13. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to protect individual rights. He threatened to enforce FL law on cruise companies which would fine them $5,000 every time they asked for proof of vaccination. This forced Royal Caribbean to change its stance. You may now sail with them unvaccinated.
14. Governor DeSantis went on the offense and signed two bills that will combat the influence of foreign adversaries. One bill bans Confucius Institutes on university and college campuses, and the other creates new criminal offenses for the theft and trafficking of trade secrets.
15. The United Nations has suspended Iran’s voting rights after it failed to pay $16M in dues.
16. The best news of all is that Jesus laid down His life for you and me. Jesus said, “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:15

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