The Great Unmasking

Time to come out from hiding. And smile again!

There has never been a better time for you to show off your God-given smile than right now–especially now in these messy Covid virus times. The flimsy masks we are told to wear may give you a false sense of security. You may feel that you are being protective of others. But these masks can be actually hurting more than helping.

While the N-95 and surgical grade masks do help safeguard health care workers and food service workers, those flimsy pieces of cloth most of us wear offer little to no protection from sickness. Instead, they offer the illusion of safety where there is none. The tiny particles of the virus can easily penetrate homemade masks. (https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/commentary-masks-all-covid-19-not-based-sound-data)

Let the sick stay home. And let the healthy come outside and breathe the fresh air- -a gift from God. Be real. Sunshine is good for you.

Hiding behind a mask, on the other hand, can make people suspicious of you. Masks make people afraid. We become fearful of going too near someone to offer a helping hand or a friendly word of greeting or encouragement. We avoid looking at people directly in the eye. We can become locked in a self-imposed prison of isolation and discouragement. People with hearing difficulties (over a billion people worldwide) can be blocked from communicating and understanding, as the masks muffle the wearer’s voice and do not allow for lip reading.

Spread the joy

The world needs to see your smile and hear your voice! Even if you don’t feel like it, smile anyway. Your own joy will increase. It’s a proven fact that smiles boost endorphins, relieve stress, help you relax, and lower your blood pressure. Smiles may even lengthen your life.

Smiles increase your joy and the joy of those around you. When you unmask your beautiful smile, people feel valued, that they are worth the effort you made to smile at them. And they see you as more attractive, sincere, reliable and friendly. People respond to your smile with smiles of their own! It’s contagious. You have heard that the virus is contagious. But smiling is even more contagious!

Face it. When someone looks at you and flashes a genuine smile, it is hard not to smile back. We increase each other’s happiness.

We all feel better.

Pandemic of fear

By contrast, heavy-handed government regulations are tearing up people’s lives. The cure has become worse than the disease. Many businesses have been forced to close down, many have failed, throwing millions of Americans out of work, destroying dreams and futures. The financial and emotional stress of being unable to provide for their families, together with forced confinement at home, have caused alarming increases in domestic violence and child abuse. All this non-stop togetherness has brought out the worst in some people. Tempers have flared, and there are fewer ways to escape. Local shelters for victims are maxed out. The rates of depression and suicide are climbing. Alcohol and drug addictions have killed many more. As the stay-at-home measures continue to stretch out into months in some locales, people are losing hope. Lives are being lost at home. And especially in nursing homes in some states, where the inmates are locked down in solitary confinement, unable to visit one another or even see family members. Some patients are forced to die alone.

People should be free to choose how they want to live and die. Their quality of life may be more important to them than their length of life. How many of the so-called Covid deaths were actually the result of depression, loneliness and hopelessness caused by forced isolation?

Protection you can trust

So if masks are not the answer, how do we protect ourselves from a virus, Covid or otherwise? We put our trust in God and His word.

The Lord alone makes you dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

God wants you healthy.

Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in good health. (3 John 2)

He has supplied healing for you in the Blood of Jesus.

By Jesus’ wounds we have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

The promise of protection is for all believers, but especially for those who trust in the Lord and say so.

No evil shall befall you. Neither shall any plague come near your dwelling. (Psalm 91:10)

And if you do get sick, ask a believer to come and pray for you.

These signs shall accompany those who believe…they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

Time to believe again. And say so. Whom are you believing? Where have you placed your confidence? America’s national motto says “In God we trust.” Do you trust government bureaucrats with their dismal false prophecies, which seek to stretch out the so-called pandemic for years? Or do you put your trust in the Word of God, which is unchangeable, filled with life and healing power?

Jesus is our Savior, Healer, Protector. Not a small piece of cloth you cover your face with.

Free to choose

Most states are seeing the number of new cases steadily decreasing. All fifty states are beginning to open up. States like Georgia and South Carolina that have completely reopened have not seen any meaningful increase in virus statistics. The predictions of catastrophe have been defeated. Praise the Lord.

For most of us, whether you choose to wear a mask is optional. But if your employer or city mayor insists that you wear a mask, you may choose to comply. And no one should fault you for that. Certainly keeping your job, if you have one, is an important factor to consider. However, for those of us who are healthy and choose not to wear a mask, do not condemn us. Or arrest us. Instead, smile with us. Smiling can be infectious. And we will all feel better.

Miracle at the grocery store

A routine trip to the grocery store turned out to be anything but routine for me one day years ago.  I had been fighting a lot of fear during that season of my life, especially that day.  I knew I needed to go to the grocery store to buy food for our family.  But I was feeling swamped by fear and doubt.  As a young Christian, I was totally sold out to Jesus. I aspired to be a strong woman of faith, but I was unsure how to do it.

Pray first

Calling my Sunday school teacher for advice, he encouraged me to go out and minister to someone else.  Pray first.  Then go for it.  Even though I did not feel strong enough that day to help myself, much less anyone else, I prayed and asked God to make me a blessing to someone in need.   Whoever that might be.  Whatever their need might be.  So I prayed and left it up to God.  He did not disappoint.

I drove to the supermarket and began to shop.  I placed my order at the deli counter for sliced meat and cheese.  Moments later there was a flurry of alarm, as my server had cut her hand severely on the big slicing machine behind the counter.  Another server quickly went to her aid, backing her away from the machine, squeezing her hand tightly, trying unsuccessfully to stop the bleeding.  The wounded server was suffering extreme pain and appeared faint.  The department manager offered to take my order for me.  But I ignored her offer.  For this emergency, I knew that God’s help was needed.

Compassion rose up in me.  Faith came alive.  The Holy Spirit literally took over the situation.   I boldly proclaimed, “I am a Christian.  Bring her to me.  I will pray for her and God will stop the bleeding, take away all her pain and heal her hand!”

Radical faith

The three women looked at me with surprise.  The injured worker appeared that she might pass out at any moment.  I did not know if she could even walk the several steps over to me where I stood.  But she tearfully made it to the counter.  With God-given compassion, I told her to give me her hand, I would not touch the cut.  Gently, I touched her injured hand.  I prayed a simple prayer asking God to take away the pain, stop the bleeding  and heal her hand.  And no infection to be allowed.  In Jesus’ Name. 

Miraculously, her hand was healed immediately before our eyes.  All pain ceased.  All bleeding stopped.  Her flesh was knitted back together as if nothing had happened.  All three workers were amazed!  I just expected God would do it.  We all thanked God for His healing power. I was too stunned to say more.

Then as I walked away to continue my shopping, the deli department manager hurried after me. “I have a cold,” she said.  “Will you pray for me?”  Gratefully, gladly, I prayed for her as well.  She returned to work, praising the Lord for both healings.

Step up.  Speak out.

No one was more surprised than me at the pair of healings which the Lord gave through me that day.  I was super blessed beyond words.  God had answered my prayer to bless someone that day—twice over.   I was so honored to be His chosen vessel to help these women in need.  I had not been feeling strong or gifted that day.  Quite the opposite.  But God does not wait until we are feeling strong and anointed to use us.  He loves it when we are feeling weak, totally dependent on Him to empower us.  He knew my heart was to heal.  And He answered with LOVE and grace.

            As He is, so are we now in this world.

                                                                        1 John 4:17

Since that day I have prayed for many people in many places.  It is the joy of my life.  I have been privileged to see Jesus heal many—some instantly, some over time. Some people need to forgive themselves first before they can receive healing.  Some need to stop worrying and turn their problems over to Jesus.   Whatever the need, He always supplies.

But I am not unique or special to participate in God’s healing miracles.  The Lord invites all believers to join with Him in His healing ministry.  The Lord invites YOU to heal the sick.

And these signs shall follow those who believe…they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

                                                           Mark 16:17-18

Don’t wait until you are feeling strong and holy.  Step out today—no matter how you are feeling.  Pray first.  Ask God for the opportunity to bless someone.  Ask the Holy Spirit to be in charge.  Then step up and speak out in faith.  God will use you in miraculous ways.  Glory to God!

Christ in you—the hope of glory.

                                                            Colossians 1:27

God chose those whom the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise, and God chose the puny and powerless to shame the high and mighty. He chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that he would shame the somebodies.  For he chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent, so that there would be no prideful boasting in God’s presence.

                                                            1 Corinthians 1:27-29 

Are you feeling weak, forgotten or rejected by the world today?  God does not choose the strong but the weak, the foolish, the rejected.  God chooses you!

Pray first.  Then step out!

Share your story

Do you have an experience of God’s breakthrough in your own life or someone else’s which you wish to share?  A miraculous healing or escape from peril?  Go to the comment page and share with other readers.  To God be the glory!

Love is the answer

How is your love life?

Relationships can be messy.  Conflicts are inevitable.  With all the division, quarreling and misunderstandings going on today, there seems to be only one real remedy–love.

Love your friends.  Love your family and your supporters.  But don’t forget to love those who disagree with you.  And love your enemies–those who persecute you, criticize you and lie about you.  Pray for them.  Love them.  Especially those who disagree with you–even if they are wrong.

Pray and ask the Lord for wisdom and patience.  He will show you how best to handle each situation.  If there is abuse involved, remove yourself from that situation.  If you need help, get it.

But if a person is merely annoying you, making you angry, cover that person in prayer.  The Lord may give you insight as to why they are being so disagreeable.  God may tell you to bind the evil spirits that are deceiving that person.  Bind them in Jesus’ mighty Name.  Then ask God to send that person witnesses to the truth, witnesses to whom they will listen.  Declare by faith a spirit of love over your irritant.

” Receive this truth:  Whatever you forbid on earth shall be considered to be forbidden in heaven. and whatever you release on earth will be considered to be released in heaven.”                                                                             Matthew 18:18  (TPT)

Many times the Lord will choose not to deliver us from trouble immediately but rather uphold us through that trial.  His goal is to develop our strength of character and endurance.  Our character is more important to God than our comfort level.

Endurance means patience, perseverance.  Patience can be defined as love on trial, love refined and pure, selfishness conquered.  This trial of love could be painful, but the fruit of it is worth it  Let patience have its perfect work.

Let’s see what our love life should look like. This is what God says He is working to develop in us.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s LOVE in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening! Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].                                                                              1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (AMPC)

Unconditional love that is patient and kind, not self-centered–that kind of love never fails!  God says so.  And He is always right.  He is LOVE Himself.

So agree with God.  Stop complaining about that person who irritates you.  They may be just the sandpaper you need to smooth out your own rough edges.  Start calling yourself and your irritant patient and kind with each other.  Say that you are ever ready to believe the best about each other.  Be not touchy, fretful or resentful.  Take no offense with each other.  Instead, be quick to forgive.  Say these powerful words from the Bible out loud each day, and watch your relationships change.  God-given words spoken by a believer have great power and authority.  They have healed many a relationship, many a marriage.

And in the meantime, if someone refuses to love you back–even after all your patience and kindness–just bless them and get on with your life.  Give them grace–not what they deserve.  No resentment.  No bitterness from you.  You go free from any burden of hatred or offense.

How is it possible to love the unlovable? Only by the Spirit of God.  If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, His Spirit lives inside you.  Let Him have free rein in your life.  Let Him love the people through you.  Be His love letter.  Ask Him to help you.  Love is really the only answer.

Get your hopes up

There are times when the bad news of the day threatens to overwhelm us with its negativity, bitterness and deceit.  The world seems to be spinning out of control into chaos.  Darkness tries to engulf us. There appears to be no hope for the future.

But for born again believers,  there is always hope.  Jesus is our hope.  Hope is our joyful expectation that what God has said is coming to pass in our lives.  We know that God’s word is truth.  We place our confidence in Jesus and His word.  Jesus reigns.  He is mighty to save.  We seize the hope He sets before us.  We anchor ourselves on this hope.  And our anchor holds, both sure and steadfast.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a future and a hope.       

Jeremiah 29:11

God has wonderful plans for His children.  He is working things out for our good–sometimes behind the scenes, sometimes out front, but always for our good.   We place our trust in Him.  We cannot rely on the news or social media or pop culture for direction.  We live by the light of God’s word.

                                                                                                                                          photo by Jamen Percy

 

Dare to trust Him to work things out for you.  Dare to believe His words to you.  Dare to

pray and believe Him for the answers.  He LOVES you that much–and much more.

Light shines in the darkness for the godly.

               They are generous, compassionate, and righteous….

Such people will not be overcome by evil.

              Those who are righteous will be long remembered.

They do not fear bad news;

              They confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

They are confident and fearless

              And can face their foes triumphantly.

                                                    Psalm 112:4-8 (NLT)

Do not fear the bad news.  Get your hopes up.  Encourage yourself in the Lord and His word.  The best is yet to come for you.  Your future is bright in Jesus.   Piercing through the doom and gloom, Christians can shine with hope–like stars in the night sky.  The darker things appear in the world, the brighter we shine.

Arise, shine; for your light has come.

     And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

     For behold, darkness will cover the earth

     And deep darkness the peoples;

     But the Lord will rise upon you

     And His glory will appear upon you.

                                                     Isaiah 60:1-2 (NAS)

Your light has come.  Jesus has risen.  Rise up in faith.  Shine for Jesus!

 

 

Open your gifts

Have you received gifts from God that are gathering dust, some forgotten, some still waiting to be opened?  Time to bring them out, dust them off, let them shine for Jesus.  The apostle Paul mentions many spiritual gifts available to us as believers.  Among the most valuable gifts is a heavenly prayer language from the Holy Spirit.

Have you heard of the mystery of praying in tongues and wondered if it is for you? Wonder no more.  Praying in a new supernatural language is for all Christian believers. Paul bragged that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else.  He encouraged every Christian to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and exercise their spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:5).  He urged us all to pray both in our native language and our supernatural language.

So if you are a believer, God has a language gift for you.  Praying in the Spirit will elevate and empower your life.  Bad habits and sin you may have struggled with will fall off you.  Praying in the Spirit will change the lives of those you pray for.  Praying in the Spirit can literally bring God’s kingdom to earth.

 

Praying perfect prayers

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what prayers to offer nor in what way to offer them.  But the Spirit Himself pleads for us in yearnings that can find no words; and the Searcher of hearts knows what the Spirit’s meaning is, because His intercessions for God’s people are in harmony with God’s will.   (Romans  8:26-27)

According to the Bible, praying in a God-given language ministers peace to us.  It makes us strong.  It recharges our spiritual batteries (Jude 20).  God encourages us and gives us rest.   Praying in the Spirit means you are praying perfect prayers, because they are from God’s own heart.  He gives you the words and the heart to pray them.  These heaven-sent prayers will build up your faith and trust in God.  You will become  able to hear God’s voice more clearly.  So He can warn you of trouble before it happens and shield you from danger.  As you pray, He will use you in new and miraculous ways. You will see God use your prayers to bring His kingdom here on this earth.

 

Opening my gifts 

All of this was unknown to me when I first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at my first healing prayer meeting  over 25 years ago. I honestly did not know what that baptism was or what value it might have for me.  The speakers that night, Charles and Frances Hunter, simply invited those of us without the baptism to come on down front. So we did.  (We had already been baptized into the family of God, we were Christians, but this was to be a second filling of the Holy Spirit). As we praised the Lord together, we asked the Lord to fill us with His Spirit.  We heard our speech change from English to many new languages, unfamiliar to us.  The Holy Spirit filled us with supernatural joy.  Our worship rose to a whole new level.  We even sang heavenly new songs in our various languages.

The Hunters encouraged us to continue praying in our new languages for at least 30 minutes each day.  Frankly, I did not have sufficient fluency in my new language to continue for more than just a few minutes.  I did not understand what I was saying or why.  After a few months of wondering what the point was, and with no answers,  I decided to put my new language on hold.

About a year later, I discovered some excellent teaching tapes by Gloria Copeland, Walking in the Spirit, which explained the gift of praying in tongues in terms I could relate to.  With Gloria’s detailed Biblical teaching and the help of the Holy Spirit, I committed to praying in my new language for an hour each day–stipulating that He would have to give me the ability to do so.  I sure could not do it on my own.  It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made.  With the gift of speaking in tongues, I have become both stronger and more peaceful at the same time.  I have fended off numerous  demonic attacks.  I have prayed beyond my own personal knowledge to accomplish miracles in Jesus’ Name.  Many people have been saved, healed and delivered through these prayers.  My family and I have been protected  each day.  The Lord has shared His wisdom and His point of view on many different subjects.  He has headed off problems before they happened. My faith has soared.

Has life been trouble-free these last 25-plus years?  No way.  But with God’s help and His Spirit-led prayers, I have come out of every difficulty victorious every time. Thanks be to God!

 

Ask and receive your refreshing

So if you would like to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, together with His spiritual gifts, pray along with me now.  And if you have already received the baptism, ask God for a fresh refilling of His Spirit.  Then dust off your spiritual gifts and put them to work for Jesus.  To God be the glory.

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”  But this He spoke of the Spirit whom those who believed in Him were to receive.   (John 7:37-38)

Are you thirsty for more of God?  Do you long to know and serve Him better (Mark 16:17-18)?  Come to Jesus now.  Ask Him in faith to fill you with His Spirit, expecting to receive.  Receive His gifts by faith, just as you received your salvation by faith.  Then thank Him and praise Him.

Say:  Father God, I am Your child.  I love You and am thirsty for more of You in my life.  I want to know You and serve You better.  I come to You, Jesus, thirsty, asking You to baptize me with Your Holy Spirit.  Fill me to overflowing with rivers of living water.  To Your glory, Lord.  I believe I receive now.  Thank You, Lord, for your gifts.  Thank you for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit!  Thank You for my new heavenly prayer language.

Open your mouth and let the praises of God come forth.  Pray with your understanding and pray beyond your understanding.  Allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you to bring heaven down to earth.  The Holy Spirit wants to pray His perfect prayers through you.

 

 

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Stealth fighter

The believer who prays is God’s stealth fighter in the heavenlies.   We are God’s secret weapon against the forces of evil that threaten to overwhelm us, our families, our nation.  Our heartfelt prayers, spoken in quiet, intimate communion with our Father, echo through heaven with power and authority.  As a believing Christian, your prayers are mighty to save.

The power of one

The earnest prayer of a righteous person [that’s you!] has great power and produces wonderful results.  (James 5:16)

Faith-filled prayers can save your family members and mend broken relationships.  Together, you and God can break addictions, heal broken hearts. You can move mountains, throw the enemy into confusion and destroy his plans against our nation.  As God’s elite prayer force, we can save America and change the course of history.

Stealth fighting force

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private.  Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.   (Matthew 6:6)

In the quiet of night, while others sleep, God’s stealth fighters go to their covert work.  Many other stealth fighters rise up early each day before dawn to pray in their secret place, where no one hears but  our heavenly Father.  Guided by the Holy Spirit, our strategic intercession brings His will to earth.  We humble ourselves, knowing that  without Jesus we can do nothing.  But in Him, by the  authority of His Name, our prayers are powerful and effective, tearing down enemy strongholds.

For the weapons of  our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to pull down enemy strongholds.  (2 Corinthians 10:4)

We are God’s enforcers on the earth, enforcing the victory Jesus won for us when He gave His life for us on the cross and rose again victorious!  Jesus made the way for us as believers to come boldly to the throne of grace.  We are the righteousness of God in Him.  Our Father sees us pray in secret.  He knows our hearts. He invites us to come close and know His heart.  He delights to answer our prayers.  He delights in us, His faithful prayer warriors.  He rewards us openly.

Dare to believe

Anyone can pray–anyone who believes.  And every prayer counts.  God is calling you to join His mighty prayer force.  Become a stealth fighter for God.  Find a quiet place to pray, where you will not be disturbed.  Pray every day.  Make it a habit.  Pray the word and will of God.  Pray bold prayers.  Pray in the Spirit.  Ask Him to help you.  Pray in faith, believing.  God’s kingdom come.  His will be done in America.  Thank You, Jesus, Lord over America.

 

 

God’s dream for America

As many victims of Hurricane Harvey struggled to recover last week, the Lord gave me an encouraging dream.  America shall be great again.

In the dream, President Donald Trump was visiting the flood victims in their water-filled homes.  Everything appeared lost.  The people were mourning.  As the President reached out to help someone, the presidential red cap, emblazoned with the Make America Great Again slogan, fell into the murky water.  But someone quickly rescued the hat and hung it up to dry.  Certainly Donald Trump could have got himself another cap.  But this cap was special.  It was the cap he wore visiting the people hit so hard by hurricane floods. It was a symbol of victory.

The Lord went on to explain…

“Hurricane Harvey cannot keep America down.  She will be great again.  Donald Trump will make America great again.  The waters cannot overflow his dream…God’s dream for America.  America will be great again.  Watch and see. The best is about to be for America and Trump.  Watch and see.  America shall be saved.  Jesus is Lord.

“Love will prevail in America again.  Love will overcome a mountain of evil.  Drain the swamp.  Evil stands out, exposed.  

“Make America great again.  Pray it in.  I LOVE you.  I LOVE Trump.  I LOVE his heart for America.  A man after My own heart.  I LOVE America.  America the beautiful is about to be reborn.  Beauty is the best evidence of a spirit of love.  I know…love anyway.  The best is about to come. Keep the faith.  I LOVE you.”

Pray with me for America…

Father God, forgive us, forgive America for all our sins and shortcomings. Forgive us for hatred, division and quarreling, forgive us for abortions and believing false evidence appearing real.  Forgive us for turning away from you, the Father of our country.  Make us bold to speak the truth.  Make us beautiful to love one another unconditionally.  Give us wise godly leaders who will seek and follow Your ways.  We return to You God, the Father of our country. Have mercy on us, Your people.  Deliver us from evil.  Unite us. Heal us.  Recover us.  Make America great again.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.