Friday, December 21, 2012

When Heaven Invaded Earth

Part one

As I (Garrett) have been reflecting upon Christmas this year, I felt like the Lord has been revealing more to me about Christ coming and invading Earth, with emphasis on the word invade.

I feel that the Christmas story that is so often shared is possibly a little watered down in today's society. In re-reading the Gospel account in Luke 2, I think we often have a children's program view of angels. Here is the account of the angels and shepherds in the New King James version:

Luke 2:8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Now read it in the Amplified Version:

Luke 2:8 And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. 11 For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! 12 And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. 13 Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]."

Go back and read the bolded text in each translation. I find the Amplified to be so much more powerful. This is not a knock against the King James Version at all, but I think that we can gloss over the word "Hosts." I know when I have thought about the Christmas Story in years past, I think more of a choir showing up to sing. This year though, I feel like the Lord showed me, that Jesus didn't arrive alone. There was a beachhead established upon the Earth. It started in Bethlehem in a little stable. But, the Heavenly Knighthood was there too. See, this was not a surprise attack. This was the Lord returning to Earth to begin re-establishing His Kingdom here. The enemy was not going to give up its territory without a fight. For hundreds of years, prophets had foretold the coming Messiah. I have heard the book of Isaiah referred to as the "Gospel of Isaiah" due to the vast amounts of Messianic prophecies that are foretold.

I want to share another version with you of the Christmas story. I can almost guarantee that this will NOT be the main text at your Christmas service this week. Here is Revelation 12:1-5 in the Amplified.

Revelation 12:1 And a great sign (wonder)—[warning of future events of ominous significance] appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and with a crownlike garland (tiara) of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and she cried out in her birth pangs, in the anguish of her delivery. 3 Then another ominous sign (wonder) was seen in heaven: Behold, a huge, fiery-red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven kingly crowns (diadems) upon his heads. 4 His tail swept [across the sky] and dragged down a third of the stars and flung them to the earth. And the dragon stationed himself in front of the woman who was about to be delivered, so that he might devour her child as soon as she brought it forth. 5 And she brought forth a male Child, One Who is destined to shepherd (rule) all the nations with an iron staff (scepter), and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.

This to me is the spiritual reality of the Christmas story. Satan was not planning to passively hand over Earth back to God. He knew that God was going to put on flesh and dwell with men. Satan had schemes in place to try and foil God's plan. He gave Herod the idea to have all the little boys under three years of age murdered in the region around Bethlehem in hopes of killing Jesus. Read Matthew 2:13-20:

13 Now after they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Get up! [Tenderly] take unto you the young Child and His mother and flee to Egypt; and remain there till I tell you [otherwise], for Herod intends to search for the Child in order to destroy Him. 14 And having risen, he took the Child and His mother by night and withdrew to Egypt 15 And remained there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called My Son. 16 Then Herod, when he realized that he had been misled by the wise men, was furiously enraged, and he sent and put to death all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that territory who were two years old and under, reckoning according to the date which he had investigated diligently and had learned exactly from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they were no more. 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 And said, Rise, [tenderly] take unto you the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.

My heart aches for the children that were mercilessly killed by Herod. This reminds me of the story of Moses' birth where Pharaoh ordered all the Israelite babies to be killed as population control but Moses was put in a basket and actually was raised in Pharaoh's house.

I know that The Lord is still speaking to me about this. As I continue to get more revelation, I will share with you more.

I just feel that what The Lord wants to share most right now is that He came to Earth two thousand years ago. The beachhead has been established and we are His army today on the earth. What do you need to do to help advance the Kingdom of Heaven upon the Earth? I pray that we would not be idle, but that we would be proactive in proclaiming Jesus as Lord to all we meet.

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas Season.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Throne is Still Occupied

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1 NKJV)

King Uzziah was a good king for Judah. He was (for the most part) a Godly man who was a good leader for the nation. He led Israel for 52 years. That is quite a long time to be king in that era. Basically everyone alive in Judah at the time only knew Uzziah as king. When Isaiah 6 starts, I believe that Isaiah references the death of the king because everyone would remember that time.

I feel that with last night's election, our generation will also reference this event in a similar fashion. Two states (Colorado and Washington) legalized recreational marajuana use. I believe 2-3 more legalized same-sex marriage. A congress with a 15% approval rating was re-elected at an alarming rate. And a president that I disagree with on several issues will probably be able to select 2-3 new Supreme Court justices over the next few years. The repercussions from November 6, 2012 will be felt for 3-4 generations.

But, the good news is: God is still on His throne. He is even still sitting down. Nothing about the elections - from the presidency to the smallest county officials - took God by surprise. He didn't unexpectedly hop up from His seat last night and exclaim "Obama won Ohio!?!?" No, our sovereign King was well aware of the results.

I was thinking about the prophet Jonah this morning, and about Nineveh. Nineveh was in a bad spot.

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4 NKJV)

He walked around for 3 days and the by the end of the time, the whole city repented and from the king to the beggars, everyone was wearing sackcloth. The king proclaimed a fast and the people repented. And then here is the awesome part:

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:10 NKJV)

Now Nineveh was much worse off than America is today. Last time I checked, we didn't have any guys that were spit up from the mouth of a big fish on the shore of Florida that are walking around proclaiming "40 days and America is no more!" (By the way, I am not advocating that you start dressing your family in sackcloth.)

I refuse to be just a critic who sits on the sideline and comments on things happening. I want to get involved. I am not planning to run for office, but I don't want to sit idly by as our nation continues down a path that I do not feel it should go. I want to be a vital part of changing the course of our nation. We need to continue to pray for our nation. Prayer is not something that we need to shelve for the next 3 years and 11 months. We need to begin today to pray for Godly leaders to step up and throw their hat into the ring. We need to see Godly men and women who want to run for county commissioners and mayors and state senators. We need Godly people on our education boards and running our polling places. We need people to be as passionate about voting as they are in supporting Apple, Chik-fil-a, or American Idol.

I will leave you with this final thought. Prayer is a vital component in Christian Warfare. Like the Air Force in a battle, prayer is used to drive the enemy off the ground that we wish to occupy. Prayer can also travel behind enemy lines to attack supply lines and command centers deep inside enemy territory. However, there is one thing prayer cannot do. It cannot take/hold ground unless there are troops there. We need to continue to pray for our nation. We need to remove ground from the enemy and we need to cut off the enemy's supply. But we as Christians need to be prepared to take the ground! Lets do our part. Lets begin now to volunteer in our local communities. Together, we can help lead a nation to a course that will be set toward the King who is still on the throne!