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A Prayer for the Home and Family
By Dr. Christi Butler 2016
Recently I was preaching a Mother’s Day message for a church in Temecula, California and I was exhorting all the mom’s about the importance of praying for their homes and their families. As a result of that message, I felt led to write out a scriptural prayer that mom’s can use to intercede for their families. Please feel free to share this prayer with anyone and everyone. I have also made an audio recording of this prayer on youtube. The link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30iQnlmTKAY&feature=youtu.be
Dear Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus, I come boldly before Your throne today on behalf of my home and my family. I pray that You would wash me and cleanse me in the precious blood of Jesus and hear my prayers and give ear to my supplications (Ps. 143:1). I pray that these prayers would be set before You like incense and the lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice (Ps. 141:1). I pray that as I intercede on behalf of my family, You would be gracious to me, You would bless me, and You would cause Your face to shine upon me and my household (Ps. 67:1).
As I begin today, I wish to pray for Your grace and protection over my home and family. I believe that in the realm of the spirit, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty in God for the pulling down of every stronghold (2 Cor. 10:4), and I believe that the blood of Jesus is one of the mightiest weapons we possess, because it is written in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him [Satan], by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
Therefore, I take the blood of Jesus in the realm of the spirit, and I apply it to my home, to my family, to my marriage, to all my family members, to my property, my pets, my finances, my health and all that concerns me. Just like the Israelites in Egypt took the blood of a lamb and applied it to the doorposts and everyone within their house was protected from the death angel that passed through the land (Ex. 12). So to, I take the blood of Jesus and apply it spiritually to my household and to everyone in it. Just like Rehab the harlot hung the scarlet cord in her window and everyone within her household was protected (Josh 2:18). So to, I lift up this standard of the blood and I believe the blood of Jesus covers my home and my family in their coming in and in their going out.
I say, in the Name of Jesus, no weapon that is formed against me or my household shall prosper and every tongue that rises up against us in judgment shall be shown to be in the wrong (Is. 54:17). I take authority over every assignment of Satan to steel, kill, or destroy (John 10:10), and I forbid the enemy to harm my family or my loved ones in any way. Matthew 18:18 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Therefore, in the Name of Jesus, I bind the enemy and every demonic force assigned against me and I loose the angels of God to accompany, defend and preserve me, and to bear me and my household up in their hands lest we dash our foot against a stone – Because, it is written in Psalms 91: 11-12, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” You have also said in Your Word, that the angels of God are ministering spirits sent to minister to those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14), and that the angels harken to the voice of Your Word to perform it (Ps. 103:20). Therefore, send your angels to minister to my loved ones and to protect us in all of our ways, in our coming in and in our going out.
Furthermore, Heavenly Father, I confess and believe that You are a shield around us (Prov. 30:5), and You set a hedge of protection around us just like you set around Job (Job 1:10). I believe, according to Psalms 91:1, that my whole family shall be hidden in the secret place of the Most High, totally invisible and inaccessible to the enemy. Cause my household to be hidden with Christ, in God (Col. 3:3). And, I will say of the Lord, “You are my refuge and my fortress; My God, in You I will trust (Ps. 91:2).” I pray, according to Psalms 91, that You would deliver us from every snare of the enemy, from every sickness, and from every evil plot. I declare that no evil shall be able to come near my home or my family (Ps. 91:3, 10). Instead, I believe that we will tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm us (Luke 10:19).
I believe the Lord gives His angels charge over us and these angels encamp around us because we love and fear the Lord (Ps. 34:7). For You God are my refuge and my strength, an ever present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1). And, I believe and confess that My help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Ps. 124:8).
Therefore, I will rejoice in my God and my enemies shall turn back, fall, and perish at Your presence (Ps. 9:3). You Lord will go before us and You will also be our rear guard (Is. 52:2). For You have promised in Proverbs 11:21 that the posterity (or the offspring of the righteous) will be saved, delivered, and rescued from every evil attack. For You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head (Ps. 3:3).
Therefore, we will be strong in the Lord and in the power of Your might. We will put on the full armor of God and we will stand firm against the devil and his schemes. We will stand and having done all, we will continue to stand (Eph. 6:10-18). Furthermore, we will be faithful to pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, and we believe You will hear and answer our prayers (Eph. 6:18). Cause our ways to be pleasing in Your sight and make our enemies to live at peace with us (Prov. 16:7).
According to Isaiah 49:25, contend with those who contends with us and intervene to save my children from every plot of the enemy. I pray that everyone in my household would continually submit themselves to God, and that they would resist the devil and the devil will flee far from them. I pray that they would draw near to God and You would also draw near to them in return (James 4:8). I pray that my household would cleanse their hands and purify their hearts from every sin and cease from being double minded. Instead, cause them to have a heart that follows hard after you (James 4:8). Cause every member of my household to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and help us all to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:1-2).
According to Ps. 51:10, I pray that You would create in all of us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Cause us to faithfully serve You all the days of our lives. I pray that we would no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world, but we would be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). And finally, I pray according to 3 John 2, that my household would prosper in all things and be in health, just as their souls prosper. Cause their souls to prosper and cause their light to so shine before men, that everyone would see the good works performed by those in my family and glorify the Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
As far as the salvation of my household is concerned, I confess and believe that You (God), will give everyone in my household a heart to know You. They will be Your people and You will be their God (Jer. 24:7). I declare in faith that as for me and my house; we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15). We will serve the Lord, and Your voice we will obey (Josh 24:24). My household shall call on the Name of the Lord and they shall be saved (Acts 16:31; Joel 2:12).
Father, You have said, in 2 Peter 3:9, that You are not slack concerning Your promise as some count slackness, but You are longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. You have also said in, 1 John 5:14-15, that if we ask anything according to Your will, You hears us. And, if we know that You hears us, we can know that we have the petitions we have asked of You. Therefore, I thank You in advance for the salvation of my household and my children.
I know that You hear me and the prayers of a righteous man or woman of God avail much (James 5:16). I believe that You are the God of the Breakthrough and You are working miracles behind the scenes to bring my family to the saving knowledge of Christ. In a spirit of faith, I call every unsaved loved one to come out of darkness and into the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. I pray that the light of the gospel would shine on them and they would be turned from darkness to light and turned from the power of Satan to God. I pray that they might receive forgiveness for their sins and an inheritance among those who are being sanctified by faith (2 Cor. 4:4; Acts 26:18).
I command every veil and every form of spiritual blindness to be removed from their eyes and I pray that all my family members would come to their senses and escape snares of the enemy (2 Tim. 2:25). I believe that the scales are falling off their eyes right now in Jesus Name (Acts 9:18). I believe and confess that my husband and children will come to Christ and continue to live in Christ, being rooted and built up in Him and strengthened in the faith (Col. 2:6-7). My family members will become rooted and established in the love of Christ and they will come to know, with all the saints what is the width and length, and depth and height, of that love. They will know the love that surpasses all understanding and knowledge and they will be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:18-19).
I believe that my household will love the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength, and with all their mind (Luke 10:27). My family will love others and love one another, just as You have loved us, and we will never pay back a wrong for a wrong, but we will be kind to each other and to everyone else (John 13:34-35; 1 Thes. 5:15). I thank You Father, that according to Eph. 2:10, we are Your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Help us to walk in every good work You have foreordained for us to walk in. Prepare the way in front of us and remove every stumbling block and obstacle, in the Name of Jesus.
Lord, in Psalms 112:2-3, You have said that the descendants of the man or woman that fears the Lord will be mighty on the earth. Cause my children to rise up and do mighty works for Your Name. Cause them to become imitators of God and to walk in love (Eph. 5:1-2). Cause my children to flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22). Cause all my children to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (Tit. 2:11-12). Cause everyone in my family to give attention to Your words and incline their ears to Your sayings (Prov. 4:20). When my children turn to the right or to the left, cause them to hear a voice behind them saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Is. 30:21).
Furthermore Lord, cause all of us to be filled with all joy and peace because we trust in You and may we overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13). May we continually offer sacrifices of praise to You and may the fruit of our lips confess Your Name. May we never forget to do good and to share with others (Heb. 13:15-16).
Father, I believe that my children and my household are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. I believe my children were chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love. For they have been predestined to be adopted by God as sons and daughters according to the pleasure of God’s will (Eph. 1:3-5). And I believe that all my sons and daughters will willingly choose to walk into that destiny in the Name of Jesus.
I pray that whatever my children find to do, they would work at it with all their hearts, as working for the Lord and not for men (Col. 3:23). Furthermore, I believe that Your divine power has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness, and that through the knowledge of You, we have been called to glory and to virtue (2 Pet. 1:3).
Heavenly Father, please help us to live in that glory and according to Your standard of virtue. Show us Your ways and teach us Your paths; lead us in Your truth and teach us. For You are the God of my salvation and on You I wait all the day (Ps. 25:4-5). I will trust in the Lord with all your heart. I will lean not to my own understanding, but in all my ways I will acknowledge You, and I believe You will direct my paths and the paths of my children (Prov. 3:5-6). I believe, the steps of the godly are directed by the Lord and You delight in every detail of our lives (Ps. 37:23).
I believe, that just like Jesus, my children, shall daily be increasing in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). I declare that my children shall be true worshippers of the Lord and they will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). I believe the work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My household will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in a secure dwelling, and in quiet resting places with God (Is. 32:17-18). I confess and believe that You will go before us, and make the crooked places straight; You will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron (Is. 45:2). In other words, You will destroy every stronghold the enemy tries to erect in our lives.
I declare by faith, according to Jeremiah 31:17, that there is hope in my future and hope for my family and my children. All my children shall come back to God and back to their spiritual boarders. All my children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of my children (Is. 54:13). For I am persuaded that You are well able to keep all the I have committed to You in prayer (2 Tim. 1:12). I commit my family to You God and I trust You will perform these things that I am praying. I pray that You would make the righteousness of those in my household to shine like the dawn and the justice of our cause like the noonday sun (Ps. 37:5-6).
Furthermore, Father, I pray that my children would listen to counsel and receive instruction, that they would be wise all the days of their lives (Prov. 19:20). I pray that the Lord’s counsel would stand in their lives (Prov. 19:21). Lord, You said, in Prov. 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Therefore, I believe that You will bring my children in remembrance of the truths they were taught in their youth and You will convict them of truth in their inner man. I believe that You will teach us, O Lord, to follow Your decrees and to keep them to the end. You will give us understanding and we will keep Your law and obey it with all our hearts. Direct us in the path of Your commandments. Turn our hearts towards Your statues and not towards selfish gain. Turn our eyes away from worthless things and preserve our lives according to Your Word (Ps. 119:33-37). Help us to do nothing out of selfish ambition of vain conceit, but in humility to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3)
Father, I also pray that you would set a guard over the mouth of every person in my home (Ps. 141:3). I pray that everyone in my family would not allow any unwholesome talk to come out of their mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up (Eph. 4:29). May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps. 19:14). Cause us to always speak the truth in love, so that we may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—(Eph. 4:15).
Furthermore, I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to everyone in my household, the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who You are, and that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened and flooded with light. I pray that we would know what is the hope of our calling in Christ and what are the riches of the glory of the inheritance that is ours in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:17-18).
Cause my children to incline their ears, to hear the words of the wise, and to apply their hearts to knowledge (Prov. 22:17). For, like the Apostle John, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth (3 John 4).[ And if my children are lacking wisdom in any area, cause them to ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to them (James 1:5). I pray that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon my husband and children. I pray they would possess the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Is. 11:2). I pray for this seven fold Spirit of God to fall upon my whole household in power. I invite the Holy Spirit to fill my home at all times and continually teach us and train us about the way we should be living before the Lord.
I pray for the blessing, the anointing, and favor of God to come upon my household. I believe that I am blessed with believing Abraham according to Galatians 3:9, and because I am blessed, I believe my household is also blessed. I speak the blessing of God over my home and family: Blessed shall be my family. We will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor shall we stand in the path of sinners. We will not sit in the seat of the scornful. Instead, our delight shall be in the law of the Lord, and in His law we will meditates day and night. Therefore, everyone in my household shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. They will bring forth fruit in its season. Their leaves shall not wither, and whatever they do shall prosper (Ps. 1:1-3).
I confess and believe that my children shall be the head and not the tail. They will live above only and not be beneath. I pray that they would always heed the commandments of the Lord and would be careful to observe them (Deut. 28:13). Cause my children to be blessed in the city, blessed in the country, blessed in the fruit of their body and the produce of their ground. Increase all that they set their hands to do and bless their food supplies. Cause them to be blessed when they come in and blessed when you go out (Deut. 28:3-6).
Father, in the Name of Jesus, I acknowledge that You have set before us life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore I pray that everyone in my household would choose life and that they would love the Lord. I pray that we would obey Your voice, and cling to You, for You are our life and the length of our days (Deut. 30:19-20). Furthermore, I believe that You God will cause all things to work together for good for me and for my household because we love the Lord and are called according to Your purpose (Rom. 8:28). I believe that You will go before us and be with us; You will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:8). And I pray that You would never allow mercy and truth to forsake us. Instead, help us to bind Your promises around our necks and write them on the tablet of our hearts (Prov. 3:3). With this, I conclude this prayer and I believe that You cause Your Word to accomplish and prosper in the thing for which it is sent (Is. 55:11). In the Name of Jesus, Amen!!
Becoming a Living Flame of Love
By Dr. Christi Butler Feb. / March 2016
Recently I was invited to share a message entitled, “Becoming a Living Flame of Love,” in Temecula, California at Legends of Faith Church. I believe this is a timely Word for the body of Christ, as well as a word that is near and dear to my heart, because it reflects the vision the Lord has placed in my heart for God’s people in these last days.
I have a passion to see the body of Christ as a whole come to full maturity in the faith and do great exploits in the Name of Jesus as they spread the influence of God’s glory across the face of the earth. I believe God’s people are being called to become “burning ones.” In other words, individuals who are radiating the light, life, and love of God everywhere they go.
Believers are being called to come up higher, to become “living flames of love,” that cannot be stopped, quenched, or contained. A clarion call is going forth in the realm of the spirit. God is preparing His Bride. He is calling for His people to go deeper into His fiery heart of love. He is calling the church into a passionate love affair with the Son of God, and He is calling all believers to awake, arise, shine, and take their place in God’s end time army of soul winning warriors for Jesus. Hallelujah!
There is a flame that should be burning in the heart of every believer. It is a flame that has burned in many notable men and women of God throughout history. As I write, I am reminded of Charles Finney, John and Charles Wesley, William Booth, John G. Lake, Katherine Kuhlman, Aimee Semple McPherson, Maria Woodwoth-Etter, Smith Wigglesworth, T.L. Osborn, Oral Roberts, and so many other fiery evangelists that could be named. I love to study the history of revival just because I want to catch the fire these people carried and spread that fire to the next generation. I hope all the readers of this article want the same thing!
At any rate, the fire of God has been one of the subjects rolling around in my heart this month. The church needs some fresh fire. I think there are many Christians in the church who have heard about the day of Pentecost; they have read about how the fire fell on those who were gathered in the “upper room” in prayer; they have heard Acts chapter 2:1-4 quoted in church, but they have never actually had a divine encounter with a living God of Fire. They have never been touched, overcome, and totally transformed by the fiery God of love that scripture describes.
This should not be the case. If Jesus Christ is the same “yesterday, today, and forever,” as the writer of the book of Hebrews claims (Heb. 13:8), then the same God that came of the Day of Pentecost should be showing up in our churches today. Every believer in Christ should know what it means to be tangibly touched by the fire of God, and every believer in Christ should be a living flame of love that is burning brightly in this world for Jesus. The world should be able to look at every Christian and know, without a shadow of a doubt, Jesus is alive and living in His people today!
The fire that fell on Pentecost was not an incident that was meant to be left behind in the annals of history. Instead, that fire was the express manifestation of a living person. His name is the Holy Spirit, and He is One with the Father and the Son [Jesus], and He is every bit as real and as powerful today as He was on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is called to help, strengthen, equip, and empower the body of Christ. Furthermore, it is by the presence of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ is “with us” and “in us,” until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). The Holy Spirit is given the title of the “Spirit of God” and “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9). Therefore, when the Holy Spirit is operating through God’s people, so is Jesus, and Jesus is the most anointed fiery evangelist that ever lived. He is the role model of a man who was living as a “living flame of love.” I pray that the church would come to a full realization of who it is that has taken up residence within their hearts.
At any rate, when Jesus left this earth, he left His followers with specific instructions about how to have this same empowering presence of God in their lives. He said, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). In other words, Jesus told his disciples to come together and pray until they experienced being, “endued with power from on high.” Christians praying for an increase of the anointing of God is a totally scriptural concept and it is something the modern church needs to return to.
Furthermore, John the Baptist said, in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” So, the endowment of power that Jesus talked about in Luke 24:49, actually involves being baptized or “immersed,” in the fiery presence of God. This is further proven to be true by the fact that the answer to the prayers of the saints in the upper room came as “a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2-3).
Fire was an express manifestation of God’s presence. This was true for believers on the Day of Pentecost and this has also been the witness of scripture throughout recorded history. For example, in the book of Genesis, chapter 15, God made a covenant with Abraham, and in the night, God came as a burning torch of fire and passed between the pieces of an animal sacrifice (Gen. 15). In Ex. 3:2, Moses encountered God in the flames of a burning bush. In Ex. 13:12, God led the Israelites out of Egypt and His presence was manifest as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. In Ex. 19:18, God’s presence came down on Mount Sinai in burning fire and smoke. Later, when Moses set up the tabernacle in the wilderness, God’s glory was manifest and a fire that came from the Lord’s presence to consume the offering (Lev. 9:23-24). Furthermore, as worship was established in the tabernacle, the Lord commanded that the fire on the alter was to be kept continually burning as a symbol of the Lord’s presence in the midst of His people (Lev. 6:12-13). This fire on the alter in the temple was a shadow and a type of the fire that is to be kept burning on the alter of our hearts as New Testament Christians. (I have written previous blog articles entitled, “Tending the Flame Part I and II,” from July 2015, that discuss this fire in our hearts in more detail).
To be complete about this teaching, I must continue discussing God’s habit of manifesting His presence by fire throughout the Old Testament. In the book of Judges, Manoah and his wife provide an offering to God, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them in a flame of fire and consumed the offering (Judges 13:19-21). In 1 Kings18:24 the prophet Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest and the fire of God falls from heaven to consume the offering. Solomon also saw the fire of God fall from heaven and consume his offering when he dedicated the temple (2 Chron. 7:1). — And then there is the wonderful prophetic visions of God experienced by Daniel, Ezekiel, John and others where the prophets actually saw visible manifestations of God’s presence.
In Dan. 7:9, Daniel describes his vision saying, “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire.” Then in Rev. 1:14, the Apostle John writes, “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire,” and so on …
The point of all of this is that Our God is a God whose presence is often experienced through the manifestation of fire. Paul tells us in Heb. 12:29, “Our God is an all consuming fire.” With these truths in mind, believers should be awakened to the reality that a baptism in fire is a complete immersion in the presence and anointing of God, and it is this type of immersion in God’s presence that is meant to empower and equip the church to bring in this last days harvest of souls. When the early church experienced the fire of God, the fruit of that encounter was that the church “turned the world upside down” with the power of the gospel (Acts 17:6).
If the church today is no longer effective, and the world is changing the church instead of the church changing the world, God has an answer. The answer is this: we need the fire of God! Therefore, let us contend, let us “tarry,” let us return to prayer and to the old paths. Let us dig again the wells of revival and see the God of the bursting forth of might waters come forth (2 Sam. 5:20). Hallelujah and Amen!
Article written by Dr. Christi Butler / Nov. 2015
In the last few blog posts I have been teaching about how to live before the Lord with a transformed heart. I thought I had finished this series yesterday, but when I woke up this morning the Lord reminded me of a few more scriptures that belong in this message. So, the post today is a continuation of what has gone before, as well as a compilation of thoughts I did not have time to plug into the previous messages.
In Matthew chapter 13 the Lord Jesus teaches a parable about a farmer who went into his field to sow seed. In this parable, the soil represents the condition of the human heart and the seed represents the truth of God’s Word that the Lord is trying to get people to receive. Unfortunately, it seems that only a small percentage of those that hear the truth are able to receive it. Jesus goes on to explain that sometimes the seed of truth falls by the “wayside” and the birds of the air (which symbolize demonic forces seeking to steel truth), come to devour the seed before it can produce anything (Matt. 13:4). The “wayside” is meant to speak to believers about a condition of the heart. People cast truth by the wayside when they brush it off, purposely ignore it, and refuse to pay any attention to it without giving it any consideration at all. People usually do this when they already possess a firm conviction about some other idea or philosophy. Or, they may do this if they truly do not want to know the truth because knowing truth would require change and they do not want to change. People are very stubborn in this way.
Next, in verse 5, Jesus talks about “stony places.” The stony places are symbolic of those with a heart condition that allows them to momentarily and outwardly agree with the truth. However, the truth is not able to take root in their hearts. Instead, they forget the truth quickly and it produces no real change in their lives. This type of Christian with a stony heart is someone I would call a “cultural Christian.” In other words, this is a person who generally agrees with the Bible and thinks it has a lot of good ideas. This person may even think they are a real Christian because they were raised in a Christian home or a Christian culture, but really the truth has no strong root system in their life and the minute standing for Jesus becomes difficult or their faith is challenged, they will back down and let go of their so called Christianity.
In verse 7, Jesus goes on to explain that some of the seeds of truth being scattered fell among the “thorns.” Thorns symbolize those things in life that spring up circumstantially, or conditions occurring in the heart itself, that choke out the truth. Thorns are “weed seeds” that infect the heart. Usually these weeds take root because of lies or false doctrines that people embrace. These lies compete with truth and seek to replace truth in the heart. Thorns can also be roots of bitterness and offense that spring up and defile the heart (Heb. 12:15). Furthermore, Thorns can be anything in life that becomes an idol and competes with Jesus for the affection of the heart. For example: a job, a hobby, the TV, the computer, addictions, etc.
The conclusion becomes obvious, there are many forces in this world warring against the soul and the spirit; there are many forces seeking to corrupt and pollute the heart. With this in mind, the exhortation to “keep” our hearts with all diligence becomes a clarion call of the utmost importance (Prov. 4:23). Furthermore, Jesus warned his disciples that in the last days, the love of many would grow cold (Matt. 24:12). As the church approaches the Second Coming of Christ this issue of living before God with a pure and undefiled heart will be the issue that divides the church from the world. This issue is the issue that will determine who belongs to God and who does not, who is part of the Bride of Christ and who is not, who is classified as part of the wheat harvest and who belongs with the tares, etc. The condition of the heart is everything.
Furthermore, when Jesus came to John on the Island of Patmos in the book of Revelation and began to leave him with a final message for the churches, Jesus was very specific about confronting issues of the heart. To the church of Ephesus Jesus says, “you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). To the church of Smyrna, Jesus warns of persecution and deception and calls the church to “be faithful until death” (Rev. 2:10). The church of Pergamos is called to repent of false doctrine immediately (Rev. 2:12-17). Thyatira is also plagued by false doctrine, called to repentance, and told to “overcome” (Rev. 2:18-27). To Sardis Jesus says, “You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). “Dead” is a spiritual condition of the heart. To Philadelphia Jesus says, “Hold fast and overcome” (paraphrased – Rev. 3:11-12). And finally, to Laodicea Jesus says, “because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” Ouch!
Beloved, the condition of the heart is of the utmost importance. Every believer should come before God in prayer and ask Him to expose those areas of the heart that need adjustment. When the Lord begins to bring conviction, be quick to repent, quick to change, quick to respond to the prompting of the Spirit. Do not harden your heart, as in the rebellion (Heb. 3:8, 15), but instead be a person who loves to do the will of the Lord sincerely from the heart.
Blessings to you, in the Name of Jesus. Christi Butler
Article written by Dr. Christi Butler / Nov. 2015
This post today is part four in the series I have been writing about how to live before God with a transformed heart. If you have not had a chance to read the previous messages, I recommend going back and looking them over because today’s lesson is a continuation of what was previously taught.
Sometimes before change or transformation can occur in a person’s life, the person has to be able to see the need for change. Furthermore, when someone who is ill goes to the doctor, the first thing the doctor does is try to diagnose the problem so that the illness can be treated correctly. In much the same way, for spiritual change to occur, believers must first become aware of the areas in their lives that need to be changed. Transformation cannot occur if believers do not see the need for change and ask God for help. Therefore, in an effort to help people see the conditions of the heart that may need to be transformed, I would like to make an analogy between the condition of the physical heart and the condition of the spiritual heart.
In the natural physical body, the heart is an organ that is absolutely essential to life. If the heart is not beating correctly, if the blood is not flowing through it properly, if there is severe pain, or if the heart is misfiring in some way, the entire body will be affected. A person whose heart is malfunctioning will not be able to engage in the same active lifestyle as a healthy person. If the heart is sick, it will effect a persons ability to exercise, work, raise children, and so much more.
What believers must understand is that what is true in the natural is also true in the spirit. A spiritual heart that is “ill” in some way can impair one’s ability to live out the abundant Christian life that Jesus Christ died to make available to all who believe. In order to live the Christian life to the full, the believer must learn how to “keep their heart with all diligence” (see Prov. 4:23).
What does it mean to “keep” the heart? It means to tend to it, care for it, and watch over it. The believer is to watch over the state of their heart exactly like Adam was called to watch over and care for the state of the Garden of Eden. Believers must learn how to “keep” their hearts because Satan roams the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8), but if people in the church become skilled at keeping their hearts, Satan will not have a door of access to bring defeat into their lives.
In an effort to explain in more detail how to “keep” the heart, allow me to continue making the analogy I began with. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. Natural heart disease is a killer, but so is spiritual heart disease. Many people are dying from heart disease in their physical bodies, but unfortunately, it seems that even more might be dying of spiritual heart disease.
In the natural, there are four stages of heart disease. The first stage has to do with having a simple genetic predisposition for heart disease based on one’s family of origin. In much the same way, all human beings on earth are born with a spiritual predisposition towards sin because of the Adamic nature. Thankfully, the Lord has prepared a way for people to overcome this tendency towards sin. God has made it possible to become “born again” through faith in Jesus Christ. When a person is “born again,” regeneration occurs and a new spiritual nature is received (2 Cor. 5:17; Heb. 10:16). Praise God.
However, even though the believer receives a new spiritual nature, he or she still has to contend with life in a physical body that continues to have certain desires that war against the new nature of the spiritual man. Secondly, even though a person becomes a “new creation” at the time of salvation, there will continue to be areas within the mind and soul that must be renewed to the knowledge of God’s Word. Therefore, even though the new birth creates a new heart within the believer, the believer must diligently work, on a daily basis, in cooperation with the Spirit of the Lord to “keep their heart” pure and undefiled before God.
This ongoing participation in daily crucifying the flesh, taking thoughts captive, repenting of sin, guarding the heart, and working out the sanctification process must become part of the Christians way of life. As Christians choose to live this way before the Lord, they will experience continuous growth and transformation.
In the second stage of physical heart disease, small structural changes begin to occur in the organ of the heart. The heart is not quite healthy, some plaque may exist in the arteries and the heart will not be getting the full abundance of the oxygen it needs. This stress on the heart will lead to problems like fatigue.
In the same way, I have noticed that when people are not being fed spiritually or when they are to busy and distracted by the cares of life, the Christian can become spiritually fatigued. In my own life I have been spiritually fatigued when I was trying to do to many things the Lord never called me to do in the first place. I have also met many Christians who have backslidden from the faith and they have told me that their trouble began by being overwhelmed and exhausted by all the demands of living in the modern world.
Beloved, we must all become consciously aware of the fact that we are in a spiritual war and one of the most effective strategies the enemy uses is the strategy of wearing out or exhausting the saints. This is even mentioned in the scriptures. Daniel 7:25 in the English Standard Version reads, “He [talking about the anti-Christ] shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High.” With this in mind, Christians must become all the more diligent to study the word, pray, read their bible, worship, and participate in activities that will strengthen and encourage their spiritual heart.
Moving on, the third stage of physical heart disease begins to be evident when there is clear structural abnormalities and damage to the heart resulting in a marked limitation of all physical activities. At this stage, there will be some hardening of the arteries and a true lack of oxygen flowing through the veins.
Spiritually speaking, this stage of heart disease occurs when a person has a restricted relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit. For example, when a person resists God in some way, when they refuse to repent of known sin, when they are believing wrong doctrines that limit the way God can work in their life, etc.
In the scriptures, Jesus provides a perfect example of third stage spiritual heart disease. In Matt. 13:15 and in Acts 28:27 Jesus warns people about having hearts that become “dull.” Their hearts are not totally hardened. These people are not spiritually dead, but they do have a serious spiritual deficiency forming in their lives. Matthew 13:15 reads, “For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’”
In this context, Jesus is talking about the Jewish people who were listening to him preach. These people should have been able to recognize the time of their visitation. They should have been able to discern that Jesus was their Messiah because of the scriptures. They should have been able to recognize the anointing operating in Jesus’ life. These people should have known God was in the flesh and speaking to them through Jesus.
Instead, the people could not see and could not hear spiritually. Their spiritual senses where defective. Oxygen (or the Spirit of God) was not connecting with their hearts. This same thing can happen to believers today. This happens when Christians go to church religiously and just go through the motions, but have no true heart connection with Christ. This happens when God is trying to move in a church, but no one is able to discern it and follow His lead. This happens when God shows up to heal, save, and deliver, but no one is connected enough with God to realize it. Finally, this happens when people quench the Spirit on purpose because the Holy Spirit is interfering with their man made plans for how a church service ought to flow.
I pray the church would realize that Jesus Christ is still supposed to be the head of the church, and when believers will not allow Him to operate in and through the church, something is seriously wrong. Repentance and heart transformation is the required remedy. (If you are interested in reading a couple more stories that illustrate third stage heart disease, read Luke 5:17-25 and Mark 3:1-6).
Finally I have come to the end, the forth and final state of heart disease. In the natural this results in severe pain, restricted oxygen flow, heart attacks, and ultimately, death. Spiritually speaking this kind of heart condition occurs when a person willfully resists all of God’s attempts to bring conviction and to call a person to repentance. For example, the Bible talks about Pharaoh and how his heart was hardened because in spite of all the signs and wonders God did in Egypt, Pharaoh still would not believe in the Lord and let the Israelites go.
Actually, the Bible says God himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart. I believe this is because Pharaoh had so mistreated God’s people that judgment was determined against Him. Therefore, God allowed His heart to be hardened to fulfill His purpose of Judgment. There are stages of rebellion believers can go through and God will deal with them over and over again trying to bring them to repentance. However, if someone continues to resist God, fight against His purposes, and grieve the Holy Spirit without repentance, hardening of the spiritual heart can occur.
This truth is also illustrated in the New Testament in the book of Revelation. In that book, the Apostle John described the spiritual condition of many of the people who take the mark of the beast and serve the anti-Christ. John says that no matter how bad the circumstances get they will not repent. Instead, these people hate God so much they come to battle against Him literally and physically in the battle of Armageddon (see Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9, 11).
Forth stage spiritual heart disease occurs when a person is totally given over by God to a debased or reprobate mind. The person with this type of thinking will be absolutely convinced that right is wrong and wrong is right. This is why Jesus said that during the tribulation people will kill believers and think they are doing God a service. They will be totally convinced that persecuting and murdering the innocent servants of God is the right thing to do. This is spiritual depravity taken to the extreme and it leads to spiritual death.
I hope this Bible study has been helpful and thought provoking. Blessings, Christi Butler
Article written by Dr. Christi Butler / Nov. 2015
For the past couple of days I have been writing on the subject of how to live before the Lord with a transformed heart. In the first post I discussed the call of God on every Christian’s life to “be transformed” from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18). In the second post, I discussed the need to have a transformed mind (Rom. 12:2; Prov. 23:7), because what believers think about will affect their hearts. In today’s post I want to talk about God’s motive for desiring that people live with transformed hearts.
Transformation is part of the plan of God for every person. God desires that every person would be conformed into the image and likeness of God. God is working to change people individually, and by doing this, He is working to change the church and the world.
God is not without a plan for redeeming humanity. He is always working in the earth to bring humanity back into alignment with His original intention and purpose. The transformation process God is working out will begin within the hearts of individual believers. From there, God will build a glorious church that will work to transform the world, but if change is going to occur in the earth, it must begin with believers recognizing the need for change.
In an effort to help everyone see the need for change, I want to explain the vision that is in the heart of God for His people. In Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul writes, “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
From this verse it is evident that God desires to have a church that is “sanctified.” In plain English, this means that God wants a holy church that is set apart for His purposes. God wants a church body that is morally and ethically pure. Furthermore, Paul goes on to explain that God wants a church that is “glorious” and “without blemish.” God wants a church that radiates the light and life of God into the world. God wants a church that is so full of who He is, that the world will stand up and take notice. God wants the world to look at the church and see Jesus.
In Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul expands on this vision for the church a bit more. He says, “11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
So here again the Lord’s will is revealed. God desires to have a church that is built up, fully equipped, and fully mature. He wants a church that has grown up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. If this is the clear will of God, as it has been revealed through the Word of God, then the obvious conclusion is this: the church has some work to do. The church is in desperate need to “transformation.”
For the believer, transformation begins at the moment of conversion and then continues throughout one’s life. Concerning the call to initial transformation through the new birth, Jesus taught about the need to be “born again.” In John chapter 3, Nicodemus approached the Lord and asked him how a person can gain access to the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Being born again is the first and initial step that every person must take if they wish to be transformed in their hearts.
The Apostle Paul goes on to explain that when a person is born again, he / she is spiritually reborn as a “new creation” in Christ. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” The Amplified Bible reads, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].”
What a tremendous description of transformation! Faith in Christ causes new birth in the spirit. The spirit becomes a “new creation,” and that new spiritual man has a new spiritual heart. Praise God!
However, being “born again” does not mean that continued growth is not required. All spiritual children are called by God to grow up. Every child has to grow. Therefore, change, growth, and transformation should continue throughout a Christian’s life.
I suppose I will end my blog post for today with this question, “Do you see that growth and change is continuing in your life and in your walk with God? Have you gone beyond the new birth experience and continued to allow the Lord to bring transformation in your life? How is the Lord presently changing you? What fruit is this change producing in your life? Selah. Pause and think on it. Blessings in the Lord and Happy Thanksgiving. This blog will be continued tomorrow.
Article written by Dr. Christi Butler / Nov. 2015
In the blog post from yesterday, I began to teach on the process of transformation that occurs in a Christian’s life when he or she is living for the Lord. In that post I was explaining the meaning of the Greek word, metamorphoo. This word is used four times in the New Testament. Twice it is used to refer to the “transfiguration” of Christ (Matt. 17:2; Mk. 9:2). Once it is used by Paul to describe the transformation of the believer into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), and the forth and final time this word is used is in Romans 12:2.
In Romans 12:2, Paul tells believers to be “transformed [metamorphoo] by the renewing of your mind.” Therefore, Christians can reasonably conclude that part of living a transformed life before God has to do with changing the thought process. Throughout the Word of God there is an obvious link between the thoughts of the mind and the motives of the heart.
In another place, scripture says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). So apparently, the heart can think. Furthermore, the heart can think according to the old carnal nature of the flesh (by this I am referring to the parts of the mind and soul that are worldly and unrenewed). Or, the heart can think according to the renewed, redeemed, nature of the “born again” human spirit that has the Spirit of God abiding within it. Believers can choose to agree with the mind of the flesh or with the mind of the Spirit.
As evidence for this assertion I encourage all my readers to look up the subject of the heart in the Bible concordance. Scripture uses nearly every conceivable adjective both good and bad to describe the condition of people’s hearts. Christian people can have hatred, envy, jealously, lust, pride, greed, and evil motives in their hearts. They can also be passionately in love with the Lord or they can let their love for God for God grow cold. The condition of the human heart is highly dependent upon free will and the believer’s choice to live daily as a person submitted to the Lordship of Christ.
If a person chooses to take their thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, as the scripture teaches, then their hearts will be filled with love, peace, joy, faith, goodness, kindness, etc. Ultimately, believers must become the gatekeepers of their own hearts.
Paul teaches believers to be “transformed” by the renewing of their minds because all people have to choose to cast out worldly ways of thinking. Instead of thinking like the world, the Christian must choose to agree with God’s way of thinking and doing things. This “choosing” is a lifelong process. The subject of the renewing of the mind could be a topic for another whole sermon. However, for the purpose of this message, the idea that needs to be clearly understood is this: the heart and the mind are connected. True heart transformation cannot occur apart from transforming the mind and what is going on in the mind, will affect the heart.
Allow me to provide a couple of scriptural examples. First, there is the example of King Solomon. King Solomon started his reign with a right heart before God, but over time he married many wives that led him off into idolatry and sin. Wrong thinking infiltrated his mind through the influence of his many wives and Solomon was led astray from his pure devotion of Jehovah. 1 Kings 11:4 says, “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.”
In the same way, modern day believers can be led astray from their pure devotion to Christ through the influence of ungodly people or through idols (like TV, computers, sports, or other things) that seeks to steel the affections of the heart.
Another example of a person who allowed wrong thinking to penetrate his heart and lead him astray is the prophet Balaam (Numbers 22). Balaam started out as a true prophet of God, but because of a greedy desire for money, he began to advise the enemy army of Balak how to defeat Israel by getting them into sin. Greedy thoughts entered the mind and corrupted the heart.
There are many more examples I could give, these are just a couple that I felt led to bring up to illustrate the point I am trying to make. Wrong thinking leads to wrong believing and wrong believing results in wrong behavior. To prevent wrong thinking from gaining an entrance in your life, learn to ask, “Does this thought line up with the way God thinks? Would Jesus be thinking this way?” If the answer is, “No.” Take the thought captive then and there. Do not allow it to gain an entrance in your life. Do not allow wrong thinking to pollute and infect the heart.
That is the word for today, I will write more tomorrow. This message is “to be continued,” so check in again for the rest of this message. Blessings to you in the Name of Jesus.
Article written by Dr. Christi Butler / Nov. 2015
I was recently invited to teach in Temecula, California for a speakers forum hosted by Trinity Reprographics. Whenever I am invited to speak I like to prayerfully ask the Lord what is on His heart. For this particular event, I felt the Lord leading me to speak on how to live before the Lord with a transformed heart. The blog posts that I put up over the next few days will be related to this topic.
In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Apostle Paul says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
This scripture leads me to believe that God is in the business of continually transforming people. Life for a Christian is not supposed to be stale process of doing the same old things. Instead, people who profess to love Jesus should be the most vibrant, effective, and empowered people on the planet earth. After all, Jesus Christ is with believers. He lives inside of them, and He is in the business of helping them on a daily basis to change from the inside out.
As Christians, believers should have a confident faith and expectation that growth and change will occur in their lives. They must be willing to continuously develop as they reach into new levels of maturity mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For the Christian, change is natural. It is something that should be an exciting part of knowing and following Christ. Every healthy child who grows up in the natural world goes through a process of change. In the same way, every Christian who is “born” into the Kingdom of God by faith, should expect to be changed from glory to glory as they press into a deeper relationship with God.
Any Christian who does not wish to grow or who rebels against God when the Lord tries to bring correction, should be deeply concerned about the condition of his or her spiritual health. Healthy people grow. Healthy people change. A failure to grow is a sign that heart transformation needs to occur.
According to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 3:18, the scripture clearly teaches that the Lord is actively working in all believers to bring about transformation. God is working to change His children into the image and likeness of Jesus. God wants everyone in the world to be able to look at the people in to the church and see the glory of God reflected. Christian’s are called to be “lights” in the midst of darkness.
If, as believers, we wish to be fully illuminated with the light of Christ, certain beliefs, behaviors, and internal motivations will have to change in our lives. We must be willing lay aside every worldly way of thinking and doing things. And instead, we must embrace Christ’s way of thinking and doing things. This is an ongoing and life long process that takes place in the heart of every person who has made Jesus Christ Lord of their life.
In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Greek word that translated as “transformed” is metamorphoo. Metamorphoo is the source word from which we get the English word metamorphosis. According to Dictionary.com, the word metamorphosis means “(1) a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism; (2) a complete change of form, structure, or substance; a transformation by magic or witchcraft; (3) any complete change in appearance, character, circumstance, etc.”
The best example of this type of transformation is the change that occurs when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. The caterpillar has a complete “metamorphosis” take place; it begins as one type of insect that crawls on the ground and is changed into a different type of insect that has wings and is able to fly in the sky.
In much the same way, God wants to totally transform people from being individuals who are flawed by sin, to becoming “new creatures,” who are created in true righteousness and holiness in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24). God wants to take people out of the grip of darkness, and He wants to transfer them into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13). God wants to take people who are cut off from a right relationship with God, and He wants to change them to such a degree that the very presence of God can live on the inside of their hearts. God wants to take what was spiritually dead and make it alive (Eph. 2:1,5). God wants metamorphosis in the human race and this process of metamorphosis starts with faith in the heart.
In the New Testament, the word metamorphoo is used four times. The first two occurrences of this word appear in the passages that describe the process Jesus went through on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2; Mk. 9:2). At this time, Peter, James, and John observed the Kingdom of God manifesting in all of its glory through the physical body of Jesus Christ. The Light of God was shining so brightly through Jesus that the disciples were at a loss for what to do or how to respond.
In the same way, God wants all believers to be transformed by His presence. God desires to have His light and glory emanating through Christians to such a degree that the whole world will look at the members of the church and wonder what they must do to be saved. God wants the lifestyle of every Christian to be a “sign and wonder,” that the will draw the world to Jesus.
As I close the blog post for today, consider this process of transformation. Do you see metamorphosis in your life? Do you see the Lord changing you? What can you do to better partner with God to bring about this type of change? Selah! Pause and think on it and give the Lord thanks for all that He is doing in your life. I will write more tomorrow.
Blessings, Dr. Christi Butler
The Alarm is Sounding Part III: Joel 2:1
Written by Dr. Christi Butler / Oct. 2015
In Part I and II of this lesson I was talking about the fact that the Bible teaches that there are two kingdoms with two visions. The Kingdom of Darkness, which is ruled by Satan, has a vision to lead everyone in the world towards deception and away from Christ. The Kingdom of Light, which is ruled by Jesus, has a vision for the salvation, healing, and redemption of the people of the earth.
These two kingdoms presently exist in the world and the people who have citizenship in these kingdoms have been growing to maturity while living along side one another. In the book of Matthew, chapter 13 verses 24-30, Jesus told the following parable: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
So, this is what the church needs to understand; the Lord is allowing good and evil to grow together in the earth until the time of judgment and both good and evil are in the process of coming to full maturity in the earth. The citizens of God’s kingdom are being transformed into the full measure of the stature of Christ. They are becoming the fully mature sons and daughters of God. The church is becoming the glorious bride without spot or wrinkle that Jesus Christ is coming back for.
On the other hand, the Kingdom of Darkness is also maturing. Wickedness is rising up until the cup of abominations is full. However, whenever the enemy comes in, like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against that wickedness in the earth (Is. 59:19). The glory that is being released to the church in these times is a response to evil in the earth. God never leaves His children in the earth without the grace and the equipment they need to deal with the present threat of darkness. God has fully anointed and fully equipped believers with all the authority and weaponry they need to deal with every work of evil. Praise God!
The call of God to the church in this hour is “overcome.” The last message that Jesus Christ left with the church through the Apostle John was this: The believer is called to overcome wickedness wherever it manifests, whether in the church or in the world (read Revelation 2 and 3). Seven times in seven letters, Jesus repeated this same message and gave promises for the overcomers. If Jesus felt the need to repeat this message seven times, in seven different ways, then this message is certainly something we need to take note of. Believers need to be taught to have a mindset that is focused on overcoming no matter what difficulties they encounter. Leaders in the church do a great disservice to the body of Christ when they do not teach people about the reality of the spiritual warfare that exists on this earth.
There are two kingdoms and these kingdoms are at war. Therefore, all believers are called to endure hardship as good soldiers (2 Tim. 2:3). They should not become offended with God when difficulties occur. Rather, believers should respond to difficulties by rejoicing in hope because the Lord has already told us that in the end, Jesus wins the war (read Revelation 19:11-16).
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul writes about the struggle that all of creation has been enduring as God works out His redemptive plan. Romans 8:20-25 says, 20 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
Paul is teaching that Earth itself is travailing in labor as it nears the time of Christ’s return. A woman in labor experiences an increase of intense pain and pressure before she is able to fully bring forth her child. In much the same way, the sons and daughters of God are spiritually coming to full maturity. The time of their birth is at hand, but at the same time travail, warfare, and difficulty may be occurring in the earth because Satan wishes to stop God’s plans at all costs.
I bring this up because I want believers to be mentally prepared to fight the good fight of faith and to continue standing in faith no matter what events transpire in the earth. The word of the Lord is “overcome.”
To listen to the complete audio message related to these blog post look up “The Day of the Lord Joel 2:1” on youtube and look for the Living Flame picture. Blessings to you in the Name of Jesus.
The Alarm is Sounding Part II: Joel 2:1
Written by Dr. Christi Butler / Oct. 2015
Earlier I began to teach on Joel 2:1. If you did not read the first post (Oct. 13, 2015), I recommend starting with that message because it is the introduction for what I am continuing to speak on in this post.
The main idea from the earlier message is this: there is an alarm sounding in the realm of the spirit. God is urgently calling His people to repentance and prayer for America and for the world.
I do not know if anyone has been paying attention to the news lately, but there are amazing events unfolding in the Middle East every day. These events should be viewed as neon signposts that are loudly and dramatically declaring to the world that, “The Day of the Lord is at hand.” Jesus Christ is coming and He is coming soon.
We are closer to the return of Christ than we have ever been and God is calling Christians in the earth to be like the sons of Issachar. The sons of Issachar are described in scripture as being men who understood the times they were living in. Furthermore, they had wisdom in those times to know what to do (see 1 Chron. 12:32).
In much the same way, Christians today must understand the times they are living in. They must be skilled at taping into the wisdom of God so they will know how to respond to the times effectively. The foundation for receiving the wisdom of God in any time has to do with knowing the truth of God’s Word. The Bible teaches that in this earth, there are presently two kingdom systems at work and these two kingdom systems are diametrically opposed to one another.
The two kingdoms are referred to in scripture as the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light. Satan is the ruler over the Kingdom of Darkness and God (or Jesus) is the ruler over the Kingdom of Light. Furthermore, there are two groups of people who have citizenship in these two kingdoms. Anyone outside of fellowship with Christ has his/her citizenship in the Kingdom of Darkness (this is because of sin and the consequences of the Fall). However, anyone who is found to be “in Christ,” through faith, has his/her citizenship in God’s Kingdom or the Kingdom of Light (see Col. 1:13; Eph. 5:8).
These two kingdoms, composed of two groups of people, each have a plan and a vision for the earth. Light (Jesus) has a plan. He has a plan to restore all of humanity back into a right relationship with God. He has a plan to completely destroy the works of the devil and to bring the world back to the purpose that God had intended for the earth, and for humanity, before the fall.
Darkness (Satan), has a plan to keep the world lost in darkness and deception. The devil desires to have the whole world under his own evil dominion. Satan was never able to obtain the throne of God in heaven. Therefore, he wants the throne of God on this earth. Satan has every intention of leading the people on this earth to worship him as the only true god. Notice the following scriptures:
The book of Daniel 11:36 says, “Then the king [talking about the anti-Christ], shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.”
In 2 Thes. 2:3-4, Paul writes, “3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin[a] is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God[b] in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
In Revelation 13:5-8 the Apostle John describes the Beast (who is the anti-Christ) saying, “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue[a] for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe,[b] tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
The conclusion is obvious, Satan has a vision and a goal of establishing a world system that will ultimately lead the world to worship him as god. The devil is doing this in phases so that hopefully the people of the world will be like frogs in a pot who do not realize they are being boiled in deception until it is to late, but God’s exhortation to believers is as follows: “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober (1 Thes. 5:5-6).”
In conclusion, be like the sons of Issachar, discern the times, discern the kingdoms, operate according to the wisdom of God, and display the light of Jesus. Endure, persevere, and have a mind-set to overcome.
Note to reader: There was much more said in the audio version of this sermon. If you would like to listen to it, visit youtube and look up “The Day of the Lord Joel 2:1” and look for the “Living Flame” title page.
God Bless you.