The other day, during a Sunday evening service, Pastor had us take hands and ask for discernment to discern the needs of those next to us, and we were then to address that person's needs as revealed to us. I discerned something in the one next to me, but it was not just for that person (although it was very specifically for that person), but it was a need within our church as a whole, and I suspect in the church at large. I discerned the same condition and the same need in many that night. I was not given an opportunity to share with the entire church, but only with that individual that was standing next to me. So, I'm sharing the message with the rest of you now through this writing, and I hope that many of you will be as open and receptive as the individual that received this message as from the Lord that Sunday night.
As some of you know, Tanya and I care for my ninety-eight year old Grandma. She has been with me for ten or eleven years now, and she is now very frail indeed. Several weeks ago, she caught a cold from me and suffered two very miserable days and nights. Because she is so frail, any sickness causes her severe suffering and many complications. After two days, she seemed to have recovered, and her temperature was normal, and the battle appeared to be over. However, that very night, within a very short period of time, she became very distressed and her temperature jumped to 103.4, which is extremely high for her since her temperature usually runs a degree below the normal 98.6.
When I saw her condition, I recognized the enemy, and Tanya and I began to battle. We saw her temperature come down four degrees in three hours, and she was again able to rest. However, in spite of the victory, I didn't sense the enemy fleeing as we're accustomed to seeing. I told Tanya that the enemy is very determined and is not giving up.
Then next day Grandma was very sick again and we fought what seemed to be a new battle every day for the next couple of weeks. Jesus always gave us the victory, but again, the enemy seemed very determined and I didn't sense him fleeing, only giving ground. Apart from Grandma, I was personally under constant attack, which was much intensified beyond the normal, and I found myself struggling where I normally have no struggles. Also, I was unable to consistently walk in the Lord's presence, and at times had difficulty entering His presence, even after much prayer.
Finally, after about three weeks, Grandma acquired pneumonia, and was very sick. Tanya and I again went to battle, and the Lord, once again gave a victory and stopped her downward slide. However, once again, we never felt a total victory, and I assumed that the devil's determination was due to the fact that God is about to do a wonderful work and bring a great victory to us, and the enemy was struggling out of the desperation of a "last stand".
One night, the Lord kept speaking a word to me over and over. It was the words from His message to one of the seven churches in the Book of the Revelation, and the words that rang over and over in me were as follows: "...Repent, and do the things you did at first..." (Rev. 2:5 NIV). I kept hearing inside me, "do the things you did at first". I wondered about this word, and I went back through my mental checklist of all the things God has spoken to me to do. I checked my list of daily obligations that God has given to me to see if I was neglecting the command of God, but all seemed fine.
I then went to the book of The Song of Solomon and read the words of the Lover to His beloved when He said, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom" (Song 2:15 NIV). When I read those words, I began to perceive what the Lord was saying to me. I began to see that there was one daily discipline that God requires of me in which I had become very slack. I am to arise at a certain hour every day and spend a certain amount of time with my beloved every day. Part of that time is to be spent with Him during the morning hours, and although I had been faithful in arising and in spending the total daily amount of time with Him, I had not been diligent in my morning time. I was falling asleep or allowing other interruptions to take me away, and I would then make up the time later in the day. In short, I had allowed myself to drift into disobedience. I had become slack in my obedience, which in God's sight amounts to disobedience. This is what you see in your children when they do a chore slovenly or unwillingly. It's what's called passive rebellion, and because God doesn't overlook such rebellion in us, neither should we overlook such rebellion in our kids. Once, that is, it has been well dealt with in us.
"Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom". You see, it's the little foxes that ruin the vineyard. It's the little things that are the measure and tests of eternity, for Jesus said, he that is faithful in the little things would be faithful in the big things. The Lord showed me that I was to look back to see what He had at one time required of me, and to do the things I did at first. My circumstances have changed since He gave me this command, but that didn't change the command even though it has made obeying His command more difficult, inconvenient, and costly. I knew that Jesus wanted me to spend a certain amount of time with Him between certain hours in the morning, but I had convinced myself that He really didn't care if I put it off till the afternoon.
That night, I repented of my disobedience and purposed to obey no matter what it takes. Tanya felt a breakthrough that night. Oh, by the way, Tanya had felt for some time that this area in my life was the problem, and had been dropping hints. She never would come out and say it, but just tried to encourage me to pray through in the morning. She probably knew I wouldn't have heard it from her, judging by my response to her subtle yet slightly disturbing hints.
Any way, I repented but didn't feel any real breakthrough that night. However, the next day, after I had spent my allotted time in the morning, I got in my car to go to town and the presence of God swept over me, and I knew the victory was won. From that moment, the enemy was put to flight and has been on the run and under our feet where he belongs. Grandma began recovering that day, and is now doing much better, and I have had wonderful fellowship with my beloved day and night, and have had faith for things I haven't had faith for in some time. Thank you my Jesus. How I love Him. He is so wonderful! I tell you, I love His correction!
You know, God has given great promises to our church as a whole and to individuals in our church. God has sent us visionaries to help us see where it is God desires to take us. However, the means to attain the goal have not been revealed to our church as a whole. God's way is to first give the promise, then to give the specifics for obtaining that promise. What I want you to see is that it's the little things that matter to God. Jesus said if you are faithful in little, you'll be faithful in much. In other words, you'll never raise the dead if you can't get out of bed in the morning. You'll never break the bread of heaven to hungry souls if you can't pass up the chocolates (I love chocolate). You'll never cleanse the leper if you can't wash the dishes after every meal or do a good job cleaning your house or garage, and you'll never obey Jesus in some great thing if you can't obey your husband or your boss in the littlest things.
You see, many of us think God isn't that interested in the material or the mundane, but is only really concerned about spiritual things like pulling down the strongholds over our city. However, if you can't be faithful with the talent that He has entrusted to you - with the earthly mundane workaday responsibility that He has entrusted to you, He will not entrust to you the gates of a city, no way. The scripture says, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; And he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city" (Prov. ASV). He that's faithful in little will be entrusted with much.
If God's authority is not ruling in every area of our everyday lives, He
will not be able to use us to bring God's authority to a city. Thy Kingdom come
on Earth as it is in Heaven... that starts with the little areas of our lives
coming under His dominion here on Earth. That starts with absolute obedience
to Jesus in the little things. Until God's authority or His Kingdom rules
in our lives, which will be manifested by every area of our everyday lives
coming under His dominion, we will not have the authority to bring His Kingdom
on a greater level, such as bringing God's Kingdom to
The night that the Lord revealed my rebellion to me and brought me to repentance, He led me to go back in my journal, and He revealed something to me that I had known, but this reiteration came with such impact that it was like an entirely new revelation. What He showed me was very profound and very disturbing, and this truth will bring to light a very important truth concerning you and your family. I went to my journal, and I read of when Grandma suffered pneumonia back in '98. I read of how I had been struggling in prayer, and how it had been some time since I had had a really sweet time with my Beloved in His presence. In my next entrance in my journal, I had written of how the Lord had revealed to me that I was resisting the Lord in something that He was requiring of me. In short, I had been in disobedience and as I read this, the Lord revealed to me that my disobedience in '98 opened the door for pneumonia to invade Grandma just as it had this past month. My rebellion had given the enemy legal access to my family, and like the dirty devil he is, he always goes after the week ones.
I tell you, that revelation came with such impact it was very disturbing to
me. Why was it so disturbing? Because I had witnessed the pain and suffering
that Grandma had endured over the past weeks and I recognized that I was
responsible for her condition. Did you catch that word ...
"responsible"? That's a word and a concept from which we recoil -
responsibility. You see, I saw that I'm responsible for my family, and not just
my family but for those around me as well. We cannot detach ourselves from
others. Our lives, including our rebellions, impact those around us, especially
our families. If you are in disobedience, even in the littlest thing, you have
opened a door that a little fox can fit through and you have given the enemy legal
access to your family. Just look at how many times
The scripture says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and just as practicing witchcraft will open you and your family up to a curse, rebellion will bring a witchcraft curse as well. God said through His servant Moses, "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God..." (Deut. 11:26-28 KJV).
This is one of the reasons the enemy has been able to get to our kids- because of our rebellion. If you see rebellion in your kids, it is likely that there is rebellion in you. If you see overt rebellion in your kids, it's likely that there is covert rebellion in you. Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vine.
This whole experience impressed upon me once again what a stickler the Holy Ghost is. He overlooks nothing. He requires absolute obedience in everything, including what we consider to be the small or unimportant, and I was greatly impacted by the realization of my responsibility toward my family and others.
I heard a professor on the radio the other day saying that our body is constantly eliminating billions of atoms that are constantly being assimilated by those around us, carried to them through the air, streams, rivers, etc. He said it's not unlikely that part of us lives in someone else on the other side of the world. You see, you cannot detach yourself from others. Whether you like it or not, your life directly and indirectly affects those around you, and you and I are responsible. We will be held accountable; we cannot abdicate. One of the attributes of God is that He is responsible and faithful, and as we are changed into His image, we take on more and more responsibility and become more and more faithful. Responsibility is a character trait that He desires to build within us, for it is a part of His nature. Can you imagine the chaos into which our universe would fall if God were not absolutely responsible, absolutely faithful, and absolutely disciplined? Where do you suppose the chaos in our families comes from?
The brother that I shared this with that Sunday night asked, "How do you become obedient?" My answer: Jesus said, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me..." (John 14:21 KJV). He said in that same chapter, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15 KJV). If you love Him, you'll keep His commandments. If you either don't have his commandments, or you are not keeping them, then you can be sure that you don't really love Him, and His commandments are not grievous: they're costly, but never grievous. We love to say, "Jesus, I love you". However, many times He can't hear what our mouth is saying because our lives are shouting in His ears. If you love Him, you'll keep His commandments. If you are consistently not keeping His commandments, and therefore recognize that you really don't love Him, the first step on that road to a love affair with Jesus is just admitting to Him what He already knows. Just tell Him the truth. You won't shock Him. One of the first steps to God is just recognizing your true condition, no matter how painful that process may be. Just tell Him, "Jesus, I know I don't really love you, but I want to."
I want to encourage you to remember the things you did at first. Think back to something the Lord was requiring of you that you have long since cast aside. Just because your circumstances have changed, doesn't mean God's requirements for you have changed. Have your children gone astray? Go back to when they went astray and see what changed in your life. Have you neglected the command of God? Are you in rebellion? It may now be even more costly or inconvenient for you to obey what God has told you to do, and it may even appear to you that it would interrupt what you're doing for God now. However, remember that to obey is better than sacrifice. Until you repent of your rebellion, don't expect the youth ministers or the Master's Commissions to save your kids from their rebellion.
I know that in my own life, because of changes in my circumstances, at times I tend to question God's commands and ask Him if He really wants me to continue to do thus and so. I've found that He rarely repeats Himself. When He gives a command, He expects it to be obeyed and He is rarely willing to tell me over and over.
This may seem a hard word to many of you, but you know what? It wasn't a hard word to my brother to whom I gave it that Sunday night. He received it with gladness, for he saw his error and he recognized that repentance and obedience would save his family and restore sweet fellowship with his savior. I know this isn't a "feel good" message, but you must realize that repentance and obedience are one of the means by which you will enter into the promise. Brethren receive this message with the attention, joy, and faith with which you received the prophetic messages telling you of the glory and wonder of God's plan for your future. Receive this message as you received the promise, for this is a marker, a road sign that will help lead you, your family, and the church safely across the spiritual desert and into the Promised Land.