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Hills and Valleys

There is a song called “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells that speaks vividly of God’s presence in our lives. This weekend my son, Michael, sang it during a Revival gathering we had, it was amazing to watch God used Michael to release a fragrance of worship, but even greater than that was to know that God put that song in his heart. He took ownership of it and sang it with all his might. Beautiful. After he sang the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the Scripture in Isaiah 40.

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see [it] together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." [Isa 40:3-5 NKJV]

These words are a prophecy of John the Baptist preparing a way for Jesus, which has been fulfilled. But there are types and shadows as well as figurative messages in the Word of God. I believe just as the prophet Isaiah was crying out for a way to be prepared for Jesus so the same is true for today’s prophetic voice within the Church.

13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; [2Pe 3:13-14].

We are to do our best in diligence to be without spot and blameless as well as being found in peace. This means we should “Be holy for God is holy.” This is not found to be a popular message and it wasn’t popular when John the Baptist spoke it either, as a matter of fact he ended up beheaded!

Stumbling Blocks

If we are indeed to see this day of the Lord, a day that the Prophet Joel spoke of when God would pour out His Spirit on all mankind, then we have some things to do as believers in Christ Jesus. We need to be living in peace, getting rid of the spots of sin in our lives and doing our best to be found blameless, whereby the devil himself would have no accusations against us. This isn’t easy but the word tells us that perfect love cast out all fear and love covers a multitude of sin. So, love wins.

While I was preparing for the recent conference we did, I was led to meditate on Isaiah 57 and I found myself astonished at God’s love for His people even in His discipline!

And one shall say, "Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, Take the stumbling block out of the way of My people." Isaiah 57:14

As I was meditating on the above verse I heard “cultural stumbling blocks.” I then began to see how many believers struggle with their identity and conform more to the culture of this world, their ethnicity or gender more than they do their heavenly identity and these have become cultural stumbling blocks.

Believers have also put numerous stumbling blocks in front of each other. But we are in a season where God is causing His righteous remnant to awaken to His truths regarding stumbling blocks. It is time to remove the stumbling blocks that are in the way of revival, the stumbling block that will not allow reformed people to walk in love, holiness, purity and truth. I say reformed people because that has to come first. If a person is reformed in their thinking by allowing their minds to be renewed with the washing of the Holy Spirit and the word of God then they can make ready for revival. Reformation then revival.

The divisions within the church are an abomination to the LORD for He hates dissension. Things such as racism, gossip and slander among church leaders as well as unforgiveness within the leadership and Body of Christ are just a few of the things that Holy Spirit brought to my thoughts. We have Christians getting offended with each other and refusing to have the hard conversations that may bring healing.

Envious Competition

Leadership within the Church is often times competitive and envious of each other and instead of strengthening the hands which hang down and the feeble knees (Isa 35:3), many have seen the condition of others and finished them off with a spirit of jealousy and competition. Instead of helping those who are lame make straight paths so that they could be healed many in the Church have spearheaded direct assaults against the lame, causing their frail conditions to become their death.

As the church goes, so goes the world. The Church is to set precedence for humility, morals, values, righteousness and peace. We are told in Hebrews 12 to pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. We are to look carefully at ourselves in case we fall short of the grace of God and allow a root of bitterness to spring up and cause trouble, in turn defiling many.

I believe that the root of bitterness in our nation is partially the fault of believers who refuse to walk in their true identity, instead they choose the walk of the world which causes them to fulfill the lust of the flesh. When we walk in the flesh we walk contrary to God’s word and when we walk contrary to God we stumble. We are told to walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Because of a lack of identity, many people follow the cultures of the world, these cultures are the behaviors and beliefs that characterize society, this current generation, as well as identifying more with gender or ethnicity.

Citizens of Heaven

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. Phil 3:20, and Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Phil 1:27 NLT

We are to fight together, not against each other. Our purpose in fighting together is for the faith, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to win souls both in the Church and outside of the Church. I say inside the Church because we are one body, one spirit and should be in one accord for the unity of the faith. I recently read that only 20% of people make their friends in church! Can you believe that? That is a sad statistic and absolutely goes against everything that we are taught as Christ followers. How can we be of one accord when we can’t even make friends within the church walls?

Paul said, 1 Therefore if [there is] any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind. [Phl 2:1-2]

Comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and mercy bring us to one accord. These are the ingredients to a strong family. We desperately need revival!

Highway to Holiness

We are to be found holy because God said. Holy simply means to be set apart, sacred, or a saint. God’s people are a royal priesthood with a priestly anointing to do kingly things! We cannot do these kingdom things with a worldly mindset, dysfunctional and divided. Satan’s lust for us, is to divide and conquer. If he can rip our Body apart limb by limb he knows he will cause us to become separated from the love of God within each other.

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. {Isa 35:1,8}

I live in Arizona, a dry and hot desert much of the year. But when the prickly cacti bloom we are able to get a glimmer of a very hidden but beautiful creation of God; for there is beauty in the desert places! Arizona has multiple prophecies over it stating it will be a forerunner for revival! Praise the Lord! We are a desert that is about to rejoice and blossom for the coming of the day of the Lord is near. There’s a highway of holiness that we need to be on, yet many of us have taken a wrong turn and landed on religion instead of holiness, or a grace that allows sin to continue instead of a grace enabling holiness. Many have never found a relationship with Christ Jesus and others have been in a church for years and still are not saved nor are they convicted of sin.

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name [is] Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy [place], With him [who] has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isa 57:15

God wants to revive His family! The Lord inhabits eternity, His name is Holy and He dwells with the contrite and humble. God revives the spirits of those who humble themselves and revives those with contrite hearts. Contrite are those that are broken, crushed, beaten and trodden down. A soul that is weighed down with a sense of sin and unworthiness; a heart that is, as it were, crushed under the weight of guilt. God wants to impart fresh spiritual life and comfort. His heart is not to punish us or bring affliction, however, He is also a Judge.

For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls [which] I have made. 17 For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. 18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him And to his mourners. 19 "I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to [him who is] far off and to [him who is] near," Says the LORD, "And I will heal him." [Isa 57:16-19 NKJV]

Praise God that even though He has seen the ways of a backslider He is still willing to heal him! For if God were to hide His face from us for too long our spirits would fail us. We were made for God, by God and if we are not in relationship with God we will die. We will die as our souls’ thirst for the living water yet remain stubborn and backslidden to our idols! Our spirits would not soar like eagles but would burn in a fire that is never quenched. Chastisement is not meant for our destruction; every good father disciplines a wayward child.

When the Church begins to awaken to the frail and unholy state She is in then people will begin to recognize the need to pray with a repentant heart. I want to encourage you to pray now, even if you don’t feel like the world is affecting you personally pray until you have a broken, humble, contrite spirit before the Lord. Pray with unity and hope that God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh!

God Does Not Change

God never changes. He turns His face from our sins just as He did to Israel. Yes, it is true that we have the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. He will be a Mediator by His Blood for our sins, however, if we take Him for granted and choose the world and sin over righteousness and holiness then we are at risk of God hiding His face from us. We are at risk of God lifting His hand of protection and blessing.

My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, None at all exalt [Him]. [Hos 11:7]

We live in a society that prays to God but not to exalt Him, there is no fear of the Lord. Wisdom is the beginning of the fear of the Lord and because so many believers don’t read their Bibles they lack the wisdom that leads to the fear of God. Fortunately, God’s promises never change, and He has promised to heal the backslider and help us make a way for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. {Isa 40:3}

Sin is the Disease, Pardon & Salvation the Cure

In the Bible, we often see sin represented as a disease, and pardon and salvation as the healing of the disease. Through repentance God will pardon and restore us, He already made the way through the blood of His Son. However, when we believe that our sins are forgiven because we said the “sinners’ prayer” and yet continue to live the sinners’ life we are sadly mistaken and in fact are re-crucifying Jesus every time. When our minds remain in this carnal state we are filled with our own wisdom and Jesus said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from [the] wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. [Mat 11:25 NKJV]

When we can go to the Father with a heart of a child, knowing all our good deeds and self-righteous acts will get us nowhere and that we must be humble and repent in order to receive His blessing it is then that God will turn towards us.

14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer [made] in this place. [2Ch 7:14-15] “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him. [Hos 14:4]

Hebrews 13 tells us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, therefore His promises do not change from generation to generation. He made promises and covenants with the people of the earth and no matter we do, if we will be humble, pray, seek and turn from our ways then He will hear, heal and love! The blood of Jesus Christ made it so much simpler because we need only confess with our mouths while believing in our repentant hearts!

1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, ... 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [1Pe 2:1, 5]

Disunity is the Devils Victory

The devil and the world have had much victory over the Church because of the disunity and the backslidden state of believers in it. This division within our body has allowed Satan to take territory within the 7 mountains that we as Christians should have. Instead of the Church influencing the world the world has brought its influence into much of the Church. I am not bashing the Church, on the contrary it is my heart to exhort and encourage us to do better, to esteem each other and to quickly forgive and repent. If we can live by God’s standard of morality we will stop holding people to our standards! Amen? But if you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be consumed by each other. Gal 5:15

Remember, 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love [is] the fulfillment of the law. 11 And [do] this, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation [is] nearer than when we [first] believed. [Rom 13:10-11]

Lay down your mortal sword and pick up your spiritual sword!

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