TESTIMONY THAT OVERCOMES

Rev.19:10 – Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecY.

The testimony of Jesus deals with authenticity. Christ working in us and through us is the testimony of Jesus. If you connect this verse to another verse earlier in Revelation, you can begin to see the power of the testimony of Jesus. This is how John said it in Rev. 12:1, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death”. The devil is the Father of lies. Everything he does is based on lies and deception. Christ is the absolute truth. Christ in us declares the truth of redemption in our lives.

If the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy, then declaring what Christ is doing in our lives is prophetic and is a powerful tool in tearing down the strongholds of the enemy. Not only does it bring victory into our lives, it goes on to break the yoke of oppression off of those we speak His word. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this verse.

“True prophecy is using one’s voice or communication to deliver a message from God—something that honors him and often reveals something of his plans and purposes. Prophecy can inform, challenge, predict, warn or encourage people regarding those purposes. Ultimately, all true, godly prophecy is related to Jesus and his work of restoring people to a personal and eternal relationship with God. As such, all true prophecy honors Christ and calls us to be in right relationship with him.”

So go ahead and boldly declare what Christ has done. Lift up your voice as a weapon and testify to what the Lord has done and is doing in your life. Tell about His power over past sin and addictions in your life. Proclaim how He has worked in your family and friends. Boast in the testimony of Jesus. Not only will you be strengthened in faith, you will begin to extend His kingdom. Those who you are around and you speak the word to will experience the life changing power of God in their lives delivering them from evil.

JOHN’S FINAL PROPHESY

Rev. 10:10,11 ¶ Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings”.

Without spiritual discernment living in our day we seem to just bump along in life embracing political and religious opinions that suit our taste or lifestyle. Today’s verse is quite disturbing given to John just before the final trumpet of the seven trumpets is sounded in his vision of the seven trumpets of judgement. In this verse John is commanded to eat the scroll in the angel’s hand that apparently fills John with prophetic revelation about the final chapter of the Great Tribulation. John will proceed to unmask Satan, the political system running the world, and the religious system which holds much of the population under its control. His words are quite disturbing to say the least. Many folks in today’s world are just swallowing the political, economic, and even religious rhetoric that is being spewed out on a daily basis. John reveals that it is all under the influence of the spirit of antichrist that is dominating the systems of the world. John’s prophesy over the final chapters of Revelation literally rips the masks off of the impersonators dominating the economic, political, and religious systems of our world. Here is how Robert H. Mounce describes it.

“There is a sense of divine compulsion in the charge given to John. He must prophesy again. The prophesy relates to many peoples and nations. It is the final act in the great drama of God’s creative and redemptive activity. The meaning of history comes into sharp focus at the end point in time. John’s mission is to lay bare the forces of the supernatural world at work behind the activities of people and nations. His prophesy is the culmination of all previous prophesies in that it leads on to the final destruction of evil and the inauguration of the eternal state.”

Those of us alive today have been chosen by the Lord to live at the precipice of the collision of these two worlds, the world of man dominated by the spirit of the world or antichrist and the coming kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. I would encourage you to read the book of Revelation and then read it again, you may be surprised as the prophetic words of John rip the mask off of things that may be having sway in your life.

GOD’S ART

Eph. 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

This verse has a very interesting word in it dealing with God’s work of redemption in our lives. It is the word workmanship. Here is how Dick Mills defines this beautiful Bible word.

“ poiema – From the verb poieo, “to make.” (Compare “poem” and “poetry.”) The word signifies that which is manufactured, a product, a design produced by an artisan. Poiema emphasizes God as the Master Designer, the universe as His creation (Rom. 1:20), and the redeemed believer as His new creation (Eph. 2:10). Before conversion our lives had no rhyme or reason. Conversion brought us balance, symmetry, and order. We are God’s poem, His work of art.”

I love that definition, God’s work of redemption in our lives brought us from a confused and disordered life into a spiritual life of balance and beauty. We have literally become God’s work of art. His masterpiece began in us the day we were born again and will be completed and revealed when we see Him in glory. Think about it, you are God’s work of art. I recently watched a movie about Vincent Van Gogh. I was taken back by his story and after doing some research found that he was a pastor’s son who loved to read Spurgeon and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. His spirituality in his younger days led him to an attraction to creation. He painted God’s creation and saw colors as conveyors of spiritual truth. Here is some info about Van Gogh from an article by Jacob A. Davis.

“Van Gogh’s work reflects his spirituality….Among his symbolic elements (which are quite extensive), blue represents God’s presence in his paintings, and yellow represents God’s love.  Reading Van Gogh’s most famous work, Starry Night, in this light, one notices that God and his love are present abundantly.  The sky reflects it, as does the town below.  The sky and village are both largely blue with God’s presence.  The houses are filled with the yellow light of God’s love….So what can we take from Vincent Van Gogh?  He was certainly not a perfect man, nor a perfect Christian….In the end, it is important to recognize Vincent Van Gogh’s attributes and his contribution to art as a Christian, for all of his strengths and weaknesses.” 

Art, like music, can transport us and effect us spiritually. It is the Lord who created us in His image who gives us artistic talent to communicate His glory. Open your heart up to Him today, allow His brushstrokes to add beauty and depth to your life. Look for Him in creation, listen for Him in the song, gaze upon Him in a beautiful work of art. After all that’s what we are, God’s work of art.

HAPPY

Phil.3:8 – More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

This verse gets to the very heart of life, the pursuit of happiness. That basic motive in everyone’s heart is often that huge elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is there but no one would ever acknowledge it. That is except for Paul, he had been chasing that elusive elephant all his life. If you still don’t know what I am talking about let me be really specific; all humans are directed, motivated, and empowered in the pursuit of happiness as the basic drive of their life. Many are not even aware that this is what motivates them but it is always present. Paul is saying he found out why that desire for happiness is the common denominator in everyone’s life. The businessman in pursuit of success is pursuing happiness. The athlete in pursuit of a championship is after the happiness that would bring. Even the prostitute in her humiliation is looking for happiness at what lies after the next trick. Drug addicts, alcoholics, policemen, and politicians (and preachers too) are looking for happiness they hope their choices will bring. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes this verse.

“Young people commonly seek pleasure in company, and oftentimes spend much of their time in mirth among their companions; but none have such delightful company as those that live in the exercise of religion, and virtue, and holiness, for they have their conversation in heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ has become a friend and companion. Oftentimes when they are alone and seem to the world to spend their time solitarily, they indeed have company enough. It is their delight to withdraw from all the world, the more freely and intimately to converse with Jesus Christ…. The Father and the Son come to seek young people and walk and make their abode with them, and manifest themselves to them. They have an intercourse with heaven by meditation, and prayer, and other duties of religion. They with a spiritual eye do see Christ, and have access to him to converse; and Christ by his spirit communicates himself to them, so that there is a spiritual converse between them and Christ Jesus. And must not this needs be the pleasantest and the happiest company?”

Edwards spoke about young people in their pursuit of happiness among friends. Edwards said that even the youth could find their greatest happiness in the pursuit of the Lord. So Paul and Edwards came to the same conclusion, ultimate happiness is found in Christ alone.

THE REVIVAL THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

Acts 11:21 – And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.

None of us have any idea of the lasting impact of the ministry that we perform by the power of the Holy Spirit. This church in Antioch was never meant to be the church that changed the world; but it was. What started as a result of exiled Christians from Jerusalem that landed in Antioch ended up changing the world as we know it. First, this was the first gentile Christian church. Think about the power of that statement with the millions of gentile Christians in heaven and on earth today. Secondly, the Apostle to the gentiles, none other than the Apostle Paul himself, was launched into ministry from this church. Paul and Barnabus preached here in Antioch for one year. This is where Paul’s vision for the church was birthed, this is where church as we know it today got its start. Here is how Maclaren describes this phenomenon.

“How little any of us know what will become of our poor work, under His fostering care! How little these men knew that they were laying the foundations of the great change which was to transform the Christian community from a Jewish sect into a world-embracing Church! So is it ever. We know not what we do when simply and humbly we speak His name. The far-reaching results escape our eyes. Then, sow the seed, and He will ‘give it a body as it pleases Him.’ On earth we may never know the fruits of our labors. They will be among the surprises of heaven, where many a solitary worker shall exclaim with wonder, as he looks on the hitherto unknown children whom God hath given him, ‘Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?’ Then, though our names may have perished from earthly memories, like those of the simple fugitives of Cyprus and Cyrene, who ‘were the first that ever burst’ into the night of heathendom with the torch of the Gospel in their hands, they will be written in the Lamb’s book of life, and He will confess them in the presence of His Father in heaven.”

So maybe your unnoticed work is not unnoticed at all. Who knows the world changer that may have read that tract that you passed out, or maybe the pastor that came to the Lord as a result of your witness. Who knows who that person was that you shared with after they answered the altar call. Antioch was not that significant until the Lord put His hand on some folks, your insignificant work may not be that insignificant at all, in the hand of the Lord insignificance becomes supernatural.

THEY OVERCAME THE DEVIL

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

This passage of scripture is taken from the book of Revelation during the peak of demonic onslaught during the Great Tribulation. John is painting the picture of Satan as being desperate and defeated in his last days before he is locked up in hell at the coming of Jesus Christ. His defeat is certain and he is trying to inflict as much damage as possible upon the followers of Christ during this dark season. John gives the solution to the dilemma that the church was facing. It was the same one he had practiced throughout his life and is God’s word for us as we too face a heightened attack in these last days. He simply said that the devil is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this conflict.

“Faithful followers of Christ on earth have access to an effective strategy for overcoming Satan’s schemes and accusations. It is not a matter of their own power, ability or efforts; it has everything to do with what Christ has already done and the victory he has already won for them. Christ’s followers are freed from Satan’s power by the blood of the Lamb—the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sin so that those who entrust their lives to him could be forgiven, restored to a personal relationship with God and have the assurance of eternal life with him. Christ’s death and resurrection are the greatest defeats of Satan and guarantee ultimate victory for those who are faithful to God. By determining to speak for Christ and by showing a willingness to serve him at any cost, Christians disarm the devil from being able to rob them of faith, even during the most difficult times of persecution and tribulation.”

What is the significance of the blood of Jesus in relation to demonic attack? The only basis for successful demonic attack against us is the sin we have committed, it gives access to our lives. As we stand in faith, knowing our sins are purged by the blood of Jesus, the devil has no grounds to defeat us. We enforce this truth by our declaration of victory in the Name of Jesus. So we too can say with John and the believers during the Great Tribulation, “we overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony”.

“BLACK AND BLUE”

Merry Friday by Parris

Have you ever felt like your prayers are making God black and blue by their pounding?

Jesus quoted a parable about the unrighteous judge that said, “He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’ LUKE 18:1

Jesus the great mediator is always about his business as the minister of the sanctuary. He ever lives to make intercession for us. Our prayers rise like incense and are not forgotten or in vain.

There is a story in Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian stays at the Porter’s house and it says; “the next day they took him and led him into the armory, where they showed him all manner of weapons which their Lord had provided for pilgrims; as sword, shield, helmet, breast-plate, all-prayer, and shoes that would not wear out.” Eph. 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” As a pilgrim we can take “ALL PRAYER” AND POUND AWAY AT HEAVEN’S DOOR. EVEN IF GOD TURNS BLACK AND BLUE FROM OUR POUNDING, HE DOESN’T TURN A DEAF EAR.

My friend pray always — with all prayer — Matthew Henry says; “With unwearied importunity renewing our petitions till they be granted, and supplication for all saints. We must pray with all kinds of prayer, public, private, and secret; social and solitary; solemn and sudden: with all the parts of prayer; confession of sin, petition for mercy, and thanksgiving for favors received. And we must do it by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, in dependence on, and according to, his teaching. It is ‘the panoply of God,’ therefore we are to be endued with it, not by exercises in our own strength, but by dependence on Him. We shall never put on the armor of light unless in silence we draw near to Him who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Communion with Christ, and only communion with Christ, receives from Him the life which enables us to repel the diseases of our spirits. If we go forth into the world of struggle from the secret place of the Most High, ‘no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper,’ and we shall be more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

All prayer is our voice that gets us through all our circumstances!

THEY OVERCAME THE DEVIL

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

This passage of scripture is taken from the book of Revelation during the peak of demonic onslaught during the Great Tribulation. John is painting the picture of Satan as being desperate and defeated in his last days before he is locked up in hell at the coming of Jesus Christ. His defeat is certain and he is trying to inflict as much damage as possible upon the followers of Christ during this dark season. John gives the solution to the dilemma that the church was facing. It was the same one he had practiced throughout his life and is God’s word for us as we too face a heightened attack in these last days. He simply said that the devil is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this conflict.

“Faithful followers of Christ on earth have access to an effective strategy for overcoming Satan’s schemes and accusations. It is not a matter of their own power, ability or efforts; it has everything to do with what Christ has already done and the victory he has already won for them. Christ’s followers are freed from Satan’s power by the blood of the Lamb—the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his life to pay the price for sin so that those who entrust their lives to him could be forgiven, restored to a personal relationship with God and have the assurance of eternal life with him. Christ’s death and resurrection are the greatest defeats of Satan and guarantee ultimate victory for those who are faithful to God. By determining to speak for Christ and by showing a willingness to serve him at any cost, Christians disarm the devil from being able to rob them of faith, even during the most difficult times of persecution and tribulation.”

What is the significance of the blood of Jesus in relation to demonic attack? The only basis for successful demonic attack against us is the sin we have committed, it gives access to our lives. As we stand in faith, knowing our sins are purged by the blood of Jesus, the devil has no grounds to defeat us. We enforce this truth by our declaration of victory in the Name of Jesus. So we too can say with John and the believers during the Great Tribulation, “we overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony”.

PROVISION FROM HIS HAND

Ps.145:16 – You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

What beautiful insight into the care and love of our Heavenly Father in this simple yet beautiful verse. Th Psalmist tells us that the Lord provides for us out of His hand but he doesn’t stop there. The Lord provides our desires out of His hand. He meets not only the desires of our heart in this world, He lavishly supplies the great desire of all of our hearts. What would that be? Of course, to feast on God Himself as our sustenance for life itself. Feasting on Him not only sustains us but satisfies us with a joy and contentment like nothing this world can supply. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on today’s verse.

“You alone provide, O Jehovah! Thou doest it liberally, with open hand; thou doest it easily, as if it were only to open thine hand; thou doest this at once as promptly as if all supplies were ready to hand. Living things have needs, and these create desires; the living God has suitable supplies at hand, and these he gives till inward satisfaction is produced, and the creature sighs no longer. In spiritual things, when God has raised a desire, he always gratifies it; hence the longing is prophetic of the blessing. In no case is the desire of the living thing excited to produce distress, but in order that it may seek and find satisfaction. These verses refer to natural providence; but they may equally well apply to the stores of grace, since the same God is king in both spheres. If we will but wait upon the Lord for pardon, renewing, or whatever else we need, we shall not wait in vain. The hand of grace is never closed while the sinner lives. In these verses we behold our God in the realm of his free grace dealing well with his believing people.”

The amazing thing about God satisfying our desires from His hand is this, He is the author of all our spiritual desires. He awakens our longings for Him and then He fulfills them. As Spurgeon said, our spiritual longings are prophetic. These desires are awakened by God and will be met by Him as well. So the Lord satisfies the cattle and sheep with lush meadows of grass, He provides shrimp for the trout, and fruit and seeds for the fouls of the air. For His sons and daughters He not only supplies us with our daily bread, He is our bread which we are called to feast on every day.

CELEBRATION AND TERROR

Rev.8:3 – Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.

Many may think that the injustice in the world doesn’t receive its rewards apparently ignored by the Lord in heaven. Nothing could be further than the truth. The book of Revelation makes that very plain. Much of that book deals with exactly that, justice being served on the wicked and mercy being displayed to the redeemed. Today’s verse lies at the very heart of this issue. The seventh seal from the Lord’s scroll is opened and the seven trumpets of justice and judgement are about to sound. The Lord’s response to the evil on earth is connected to the prayers of the saints. Apparently all of our prayers are still very much alive and will be released through God’s actions during the Great Tribulation. This is how Jonathan Edwards describes it.

“God has respect to the prayers of his saints in all his government of the world; as we may observe by the representation made (in this verse). There we read of seven angels standing before the throne of God, and receiving of him seven trumpets, at the sounding of which, great and mighty changes were to be brought to pass in the world… But when these angels had received their trumpets, they must stand still, and all must be in silence, not one of ’em must be allowed to sound, till the “prayers of the saints” are attended to. The angel of the covenant, as a glorious high priest, comes and stands at the altar, with much incense, to offer with the “prayers of all saints” upon the golden altar, before the throne; and the smoke of the incense, with the “prayers of the saints,” ascends up with acceptance before God, out of the angel’s hand: and then the angels prepare themselves to sound. And God, in the events of every trumpet, remembers those prayers: as appears at last, by the great and glorious things he accomplishes for his church, in the issue of all, in answer to these prayers, in the event of the last trumpet, which brings on the glory of the latter days, when these prayers shall be turned into joyful praises.”

The silence in heaven is drenched with anticipation. Final justice and mercy are about to begin. All of us witness evil and injustice in our world everyday. Bring these things to the Lord in prayer. He is gathering our prayers for His final response. The great day of celebration and terror is about to begin.