The Simplicity of Abiding in Jesus

In January of 1989 a dream came to me from the Lord.

In the dream our children were walking single file through a deep canyon, and I was watching them from the plateau above as they slowly moved along.

Today in my mind, I can still see the cliffs and the well worn path winding through the large rocks that were scattered around the narrow bottom of the canyon.

Then with no prior hint of danger, a group of lions approached from behind and overcame the last child in the line. There was no gory struggle, just a sudden pounce. The canyon provided no protection and nowhere to hide, and it all happened too suddenly to avoid or stop.

Then the scene instantly changed. I saw one of our children sitting in a hospital bed and a word came to me from the Lord. The word was, “growing better day by day.” Then the dream ended.

I was startled awake, but everyone else was still asleep. I went immediately to the bedroom to lay hands on and pray for the child I had seen in the hospital bed. There was nothing else I could do, and in the months that followed, the dream was completely forgotten.

Then one day almost a year later, our eldest daughter complained of an ear ache, and within a very few days experienced severe swelling in her neck and cheek. After several hastily arranged visits to doctors and specialists the diagnosis was cancer, a very aggressive tumor in her jaw and ear, called a large celled lymphoma. Chemotherapy needed to start immediately.

My wife and I were stunned by the sudden news, to the point of speechlessness.

So we did the only thing we knew, we went to the Lord in prayer as soon as we arrived home from the hospital and put our children to bed. All we could say was, “God, we don’t know how to pray.” And that was sincere. We honestly did not know what to say.

It is amazing how tragedy reduces a person to nothing, but even more amazing how God reveals himself in that moment.

I only remember a few words being spoken in prayer that night when suddenly the Holy Spirit took over. My entire body snapped to attention and I was speaking in tongues in the most commanding tone I have ever experienced. This gift of tongues seemed to go on for about 15 minutes and the sense of power and assurance was remarkable. I do not know exactly how things transpired in the heavens, but firmly believe that our daughter’s healing was commanded by God that night.

Despite the power of that evening, we went through some very difficult days when our daughter’s life truly hung in the balance. But about one month into her treatment I remembered the dream from the Lord and the word he gave to me. We held onto that knowledge tightly, it led us in prayer, and in the end everything worked out exactly as God said it would.

For eight months we watched as our daughter grew better day by day, until there was not a trace of cancer left anywhere in her body. The medical attention she received was excellent, countless Christians prayed for her during that time, and today she is a strong, healthy person in a very robust profession.

God has miraculously preserved, protected, and healed her on many other occasions, and has also given her a wonderful hunger for righteousness. She’s had challenges like anyone else, but is now a living testimony of someone who loves God with all her heart, despite suffering inexplicably at a very young age through no fault of her own.

And this is the simplicity of abiding in Jesus.

We bring our uncertainty about the past and the future, our lack of understanding, our weakness, our tiny grain of faith, and our failures to him. And in exchange we receive his wealth of knowledge, his power, his great faithfulness, his triumph over every enemy, and his assurance that everything is alright.

No matter how long you have been a Christian, abiding in Jesus is a simple exchange of your corruption for his perfection. It is no more complicated than that. That’s how it was at the cross, and that’s how it still is today.

And if you do not know Jesus, all it takes is a simple prayer, because one step in his direction and he will make sure that you find him!

I don’t care what anyone has told you in the past, stop trying to solve your own problems. And even more importantly, stop striving to please God!

Simply look to Jesus in faith for every physical, emotional and spiritual need. If you truly want to please God, trust him fully by abandoning your life to him. Over and over God promises in his word, “I will plant you, I will nourish you, and I will ensure that you bear good fruit.” No obstacle is too stubborn and no circumstance is too grave. The Holy Spirit will deliver the goods to you when you pray in Jesus’ name.

Remember, Jesus was not afraid to be weak. In fact, the Son of God became a man and suffered all of our infirmities to prove that he is not hindered in any way by our weak estate. In the flesh, Jesus depended completely on the Holy Spirit. And now in glory, he is the one making sure we get the help and strength we need to follow his footsteps.

Do you see anywhere in the Bible where it says that he forged his own way? No you don’t, because Jesus committed his life into his Father’s hands and was led throughout his life by the Holy Spirit.

Yes, he was crucified in weakness. But then in return he was raised in power, glorified, and given the name above every other name.

According to Psalm 32, when we pray, confessing our sin and our need to the Lord, we will be forgiven and experience the same abiding presence of the Holy Spirit that Jesus experienced. And according to John 15:16, when we abide in Jesus as I have described, whatever we ask our Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name will be done for us.

So be very encouraged. God has you in the palm of his hand no matter how weak or unsure you may feel. Confess your need to him and he will do the rest!

He wants to heal, and deliver you today. Simply pray… Jesus is closer than you think.

The Golden Chain

One morning in 1988 my wife received a dream from God as she awoke. I had just finished praying when she came down the stairs. As she described the dream, a vivid picture came into my mind as if it was my own, and with that came the interpretation from the Lord. It all remains as clearly today as when it happened.

In the dream my wife saw a very old, strictly orthodox religious man, leading a woman by a thin gold chain attached to a bracelet on her wrist. The woman was also very elderly, and had obviously been subject to the old man for a long time. The chain however, was extremely thin. She could easily have broken the flimsy restraint, but was thoroughly conditioned, afraid of going beyond familiar confines.

They were walking through a school yard, and as they passed, the old woman reached out, grasping my wife in a desperate embrace around the shoulders. Then like a drowning person, she would not let go. Repeating, “Help me, help me,” she dragged my wife downwards with her.

Almost brought to the ground, my wife pushed the old woman away with all of her might. Now free and leaving them both behind, she was instantly running with great leaps and bounds down a main residential road. As she ran, my wife passed lines of people from many nationalities and religions, all sitting beside the road.

This whole scene took place in the small town where we attended church.

The old man in the dream represents tradition, and the old woman, the church. The gold chain represents the thin thread of lies that keep the church in fear. Running in leaps and bounds represents the joy, liberty, and power we will find when we break free of man-made religion and follow the heavenly man, Jesus. And the people at the side of the road are the nations, who will witness the glory of God as the remnant of God sheds the shackles of tradition and walks in truth and power before Jesus returns.

Religious tradition is one of the cloaks that Satan wears in the church. Listing his many ploys would require a whole book, but his goal is always the same – to replace Jesus as the head of the church.

It is plain from scripture that the church ought to be governed by the gifts of the Spirit, and not by the institutions of man. For when the Holy Spirit is in charge, Jesus is glorified, the church grows in faith, the world sees the miraculous power of God, and multiplied souls enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Every Christian denomination started this way, as men and women were touched by the Holy Spirit and learned to submit to his leading.

But over time, Satan subtly hides behind naturally gifted, self-willed men and women, who love to have the preeminence, who worship the work of their own hands, who use pious, reasonable sounding arguments to lead the church away from a vital, living relationship with the Holy Spirit. Then, not knowing the Spirit, well meaning underlings preach self preservation to the natural man, as the spiritual man who craves to be given for others withers and dies. Finally, gasping, the church latches on to anything she thinks will help, trying to rise above the world she knows is sinking.

So it is with great sadness that God and those who know the Spirit view much of what passes for spirituality in the church today. It seems that the hope of the world is blind and failing at a time when lost souls need someone to show them light and a new way to live.

Jesus wept at this terrible, terrible wrong in his day. He wept because the word of God declares freedom from every doubt and earthly restraint, but instead the people of God willingly maintain the chain they could so easily break.

Now. Can I tell you the secret to a life of power in Jesus Christ, where you can experience the full measure of God’s liberty and joy? It is not complicated. Jesus taught us what to do.

Instead of loving yourself and the world, love your neighbour. Lay down your life, abandon your ambitions, forsake your own comforts and pray earnestly for souls. Can you do that?

I have learned that I am unhappy when I am double minded, and fearful when my eyes are on the circumstances around me.

But when I pray and share Jesus’ love for souls, I see that he is already moving in sovereign power, that many are answering his call, and that soon he will do something the whole world will notice.

In the word of God it is written. God always has a remnant who walk as Jesus walked.

I received a word of knowledge from the Lord in July 2003. “The church is about to have a short period of tremendous success, but then persecution.”

God has been preparing again, a remnant who will fulfill his word in the final days, and there will be a great harvest in every corner of the earth. But it will not be without cost. As revival goes throughout the land, persecution will arise, and a conclusive choice will have to be made. Either forsake your life and follow Jesus Christ to certain death, or choose to preserve your life and fall away to the Antichrist. For many years I have sought a gentle way to say that, but there is none.

It also grieves me to say that the distinction will not be obvious to everyone. Only Jesus’ disciples will have their eyes open. If you take up your cross, you will be his disciple and you will understand. But if you refuse God’s way, you will not understand or be ready for all that happens as the end of time approaches.

If this message finds a place in your heart, I feel confident saying that you have probably been mourning the same things I am writing about. But rejoice now, for during this difficult wilderness God has been teaching you to trust him, to follow Jesus without qualification or fear, and soon he will release you into his new work.

Are you ready? Embrace your cross and carry it to the end.

GOD will take care of you. He will make you stand, and not fall.

Prayer and Fasting

Immediately after filling Jesus, the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness to fast and pray. Fasting, as a biblical discipline, is practiced primarily to increase faith (or dissolve unbelief, see Mark 9:29), and is mentioned repeatedly in scripture for that reason.

When fasting is ignored, a great disservice is done. Since our battle is against principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness, we need every spiritual weapon offered to us. The amount of scriptural evidence for fasting should convince Christians everywhere to practice it.

I have encouraged you in previous posts to allow the word of God to wash away all of your doubts. But now, also let the word of God completely transform your view of things. We see men, and the effect of their unbelief as sin dictates their actions. But we need to see beyond that, to spiritual realities. The forces who originated this rebellion against God must be dealt with, we cannot avoid it. And whether or not we understand how power over Satan is obtained through prayer and fasting, we need it, and should trust and follow Jesus’ example and instructions.

In my experience, practicing fasting is far more important that understanding fasting. You don’t need to answer every question regarding how and why. Simply believe, Jesus said. Every example of prayer and fasting in the Bible demonstrates that faith increases, power increases, and victories are won. And that is all you need to know.

It should be acknowledged that fasting is easy for some individuals, difficult for others, impossible for some people, and also impossible in certain circumstances. No one should ever be proud of their ease, or embarrassed by their struggle when fasting. Neither should anyone feel guilty if they simply cannot fast. Although it is very valuable, fasting is not obligatory. God gives different abilities to each of us, and His plan includes times and seasons for everything. And fasting has absolutely nothing to do with punishing or buffeting the flesh, there is enough adversity in everyday life for that.

So, learning to fast one meal or two in the beginning, and extending the length of time as spiritual hunger increases is recommended. Keep in mind that God is more than patient while we learn, and if we think we have mastered anything, we have not. God looks on the heart, sees our spiritual hunger, and guides us every step of the way. Learning the faith building, power producing practice of fasting is no exception.

Fasting is by definition, “to not eat food,” and there are two main types of fasting in the bible.

  1. A Public or Proclaimed Fast called for in times of national or spiritual crisis and entered into by the entire, repentant, congregation.
  2. A Personal Fast performed simply out of an individual’s hunger for God, with the power obtained having a great variety of personal and corporate manifestations.

Then there are three methods of fasting.

  1. Partial fast – John Wesley (for example) would eat nothing but bread for various periods of time. In captivity, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego ate only pulse and water. At the end, the king of Babylon “found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” There are no health concerns restricting the length of a partial fast.
  2. Normal fast – Luke 4:2 “And in those days he did eat nothing.” Jesus had no solid (or liquid) food, only water. A normal fast should not extend beyond 21 days (the time when excess fatty deposits are all used up and the body starts to convert protein and muscle, harming the body).
  3. Absolute Fast – In the Book of Ester they fasted from food and water for three days. An absolute fast should never extend beyond three days.

Although Moses, Elijah and Jesus experienced miraculous 40 day fasts in the bible, a normal fast should never extend beyond 21 days.

Fasting, like praying and giving, should be a private matter between you and God. (Matthew 6:18)

A highly regarded, expert resource for biblical fasting is Arthur Wallis’ book, “God’s Chosen Fast.”

And an excellent video teaching is available at http://media3c.tscnyc.ws/2016/04/10s2/20160410s2.mp4

Fast and pray… you will not be disappointed.