I hope this first blog finds all of you doing well in the Lord as this year draws to a close and a brand new year commences.
It's exciting for me (and a little intimidating though I rebuke that in Jesus name!) to consider all that the Lord has done in my life as well as in all of your lives in the past year. Think about it, every person reading this right now (due to the email notification) has experienced the hand of God moving in his or her life in a MAJOR WAY. I could spend so much time writing of God doing the following in our lives:
- Answering major prayers: think about it, I mean SERIOUSLY CONSIDER the specific prayers God has answered for all of us this year. In several of my recent prayer sessions with the Lord I found myself spending a lot of time thanking Him because He has been SO GOOD TO ALL OF US in 2008! Let's all be incredibly grateful for those answered prayers, even though for many of us challenges still remain, these challenges will provide more reason to stay in prayer and draw closer to Him. He wants to show His hand strong in our lives, so let's keep seeking Him out! He loves to answer!
- Delivering us from deception and clearing our understandings: consider the changes in all of our minds that have occurred this year about who God is and how He operates. Think also about how much our minds have changed with regard to what He thinks about us and how much He loves us (my mind was majorly changed this year in that regard)! Consider the different way of thinking many of us experienced in terms of understanding what He expects from us, especially with regard to fighting the enemy as well as in the area of what it means to be a leader in the kingdom of God. Without a doubt, we ALL have experienced major revelations in these areas. I can't get over how much we all have matured this year. God is so good and I know to the extent that we have received His leadership He is incredibly proud of us. Let us all take a moment to receive that love that He bestows on us as He says, "Well done my good and faithful servants." Many of you need to realize that God is saying that to you. Sometimes in our tribulation we think He has abandoned us, but believe me when I say that He hasn't. God is with you right now and He wants to minister His love to you and the gratefulness He feels toward you for loving and obeying Him. The love He's showing you now for that, even if you're not feeling it, cannot be contained. I pray right now in Jesus name that all who read this would experience that love in its entirety as they read.
- God's endorsement and backing of our spiritual warfare: God has totally backed up every prayer we have said against the enemy! Consider that for just a moment. Every time we have fought spiritually against demons God has absolutely dropped the hammer on them. As I write this I consider the witches covens that have been prayed against and whose spells have been defeated; I am reminded of people with illness and disease who have either been completely healed or who are seeing major improvement, improvement no medicines could provide, but only the Lord and His powerful Word against the demonic forces who brought the maladies, Words that DO NOT return to Him void. I am reminded of people who were emotionally hammered by others in their life who were behaving as children of Satan, and yet God stood with the sufferers as they actually grew stronger in the Lord than they were before because they took up their spiritual swords and fought the demons who were attacking them through those people. We should praise God all the day long for these amazing blessings. This is a major way He shows His love for us, by giving us this power over beings who before they fell were actually above us. Now for their sin He has rewarded them with the shame of being put under our feet. See Genesis 3 and Luke 10:19 for more on that. God is too good and we need to seriously praise Him for all He's done for us in terms of giving us power over the powers of darkness.
So let's all make it our goal, indeed our requirement, to "set our faces as flint" (thanks, Jeff) going into this next year and to be grateful to God for His amazing spiritual bounty that He daily pours out on us. Let us also continue to fight every sin and every demon that would try to attack and overtake us and the people we minister to.
We've all made tremendous progress this year, but let's not rest on our laurels, let's keep up the good work and shore up the areas in our lives in which we have weakness. We all have weak spots, so let's fight to strengthen ourselves in those areas. Let's also remember to pray for the strengthening of each other's weaknesses in the coming year.
Right now I bless each and every one of you in the name of Jesus, and I pray in Jesus' name that all of you would find in 2009 a closeness and intimacy with the Lord that you've yet to experience. That you would find His love to be all encompassing and the place in which you can find protection from the world's troubles. I beg all of you to pray for me as well. Believe me when I say I "covet" your prayers because I know God is hearing you and helping me as a result.
I believe with my whole heart that this coming year of 2009 is going to be unbelievable. I imagine that what we've seen in 2008 in terms of troubles in the world will seem tame in comparison to what is to come, but also what we will see from God in terms of His spiritual leading and in the victories He will provide for ourselves and others (if we continue in His love and do NOT depart from His Truth, His Word, and the life of holiness God wants and expects from us) will also be even more evident, to the point that we will be AMAZED by what God is doing. Considering this I can't wait for 2009 and I know you can't either. Do whatever you can to make your spiritual walk with the Lord the best it can possibly be through spending much time in prayer and fellowship with Him (oh how He loves to hear from you and to talk with you, don't neglect that), and also by staying in His Word. May God bless all of you in this year to come. I look forward to hearing many more praise reports as we all press forward in Him! A-men!