God Who Brings Life to the Dead

new lifeEaster is an amazing reminder to us that Jesus rose from the dead.

How many of us live in the victory that He is daily the God who brings life to the dead?

We have no trouble with the concept of Spring and new life bursting forth in the midst of dead things.

Yet, in our own lives it seems more of a stretch.

Can God really bring life to the deadness of my marriage?

Can God raise to life the deadness in my heart after my divorce?

Can God revive my spirit after the death of my beloved?

Can God heal the deadness in my heart after the abuse and trauma I endured as a child?

Romans 4:17 resounds with the answer to every one of those questions:

. . .the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

This verse speaks of Abraham’s faith in God’s promise that He would give Abraham and Sarah a son though they were well past the age of being able to have children.

Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for God to fulfill his promise.

Yet during those 25 years, Romans 4:20-21 says concerning Abraham:

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (ESV)

God has power to do what He has promised.

Today and everyday He is the God who brings life to the dead.

What dead part of your heart or life is He asking you to believe He can and will resurrect?

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40 Day Prayer Focuses for Churches & Ministries: Targeting Spiritual Warfare

Prayer and PraiseThe Question:

Is your church body or ministry being faced with an abnormal amount of spiritual warfare and attack?

If so, then it is possible that the Enemy has established a stronghold or a series of strongholds that can be dealt with through a 40 Day prayer focus.

Is your church body or ministry living in the victory of these promises?

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; He answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. – Psalm 20:6-8

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty.  The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, “Destroy him!” – Deuteronomy 33:26-27

“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him.  “For there are more on our side than on theirs!”  Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!”  — 2 Kings 6:16-17

The Need:

The following questions are for your leadership team to consider as you pray and discern.

1. What strongholds has the Enemy possibly been able to fortify a position of attack against our church or ministry?

2. Have there been any ongoing, undealt-with sins amongst our leadership?

There’s no formula to determine these, they must be revealed to you by the Spirit of the Living God.

For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. – Mark 4:22

3. Is there a spiritual heaviness that’s very noticeable on our church or ministry campus?

4. Have we noticed a pattern of repeated satanic attack during a similar time or against a specific ministry area?

5. In last decade or so of our church or ministry history, can we identify undealt-with sins that have created a figurative pile of dysfunction, disorder, disclosed and hidden things, death, and decay that have been “swept under the rug,” glossed over, and ignored. Has God been trying to get our attention concerning it so that He can bring healing, wholeness and redemption?

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. – Proverbs 28:13

6. Are we consistently grieving the Holy Spirit by our unwillingness to allow Him to move in biblical but also supernatural ways within our body?

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

7. As leadership do we have hearts of stone that Jesus needs to turn into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26)? As leadership are we in the consistent practice of listening to God?

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.

He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears,
and I have not been rebellious;
I have not drawn back. – Isaiah 50:4-5

8. Is our church or ministry in a “life or death” spiritual battle that needs a 2 Chronicles 20:12-17 victory?

9. Are we on the brink of Father using our church body in mighty way?

What promises has Father spoken over our church body? What has He impressed upon our hearts as to what He is about to do in our midst?

 For thus says the Lord: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.” – Isaiah 49:25

The Bottom Line:

Jesus wants to use your church body or ministry mightily for the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20), but first requires that we rid ourselves of any existing piles of death and curses (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) so we can stand against the enemies coming against us (Joshua 7:13, Ephesians 6:12-13).  Dealing with the spiritual strongholds or getting rid of your pile will follow clearly-stated biblical principles. At the same time, your church’s or your ministry’s 40 Day Prayer Focus will be tailor-fit by Jesus’ guidance and direction.

40 Day Prayer Support given through our 40 Day workbook and through 4 meetings (more meetings may be necessary depending on situation) which can be done via phone or online video call.

Angela Sansone is a knowledgeable, experienced, Spirit-led, and biblically-directed intercessor. She provides invaluable support and direction as well as helpful follow-up during 40 Day prayer process. Angela humbly assisted and supported our leadership team with written helps as well as interceding alongside us. She stood by us before, during, and after 40 Day process. — Artie Davis, Lead Pastor Cornerstone Church

40 Days in Bible:

Moses – Ex 24:18, Num 14: 34, Exploring the Promised Land – Num 13:25, Elijah – 1 Kings 19:8, Goliath vs. Israelites – 1 Sam 17:16, Jesus – Mt 4:1-2

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Is Your Child an Intercessor?

Child PrayingAs parents, we want our children to pray. And yet have you considered that God may possibly be calling your child to be an intercessor?

Having your child say they want to be a missionary, teacher, pastor, baseball player, or doctor are jobs we readily know how to cultivate their interest in such positions. Yet  being an intercessor is something you may not really understand yourself.

As parents, we have the responsibility to fan into flame (2 Tim 1:6) the spiritual gifts Father gives our children — with intercession being one of those gifts (Job 16:20-21, Heb 7:25, Romans 8:26-27).

During their childhood years, we want our children to grow in their love relationship with Jesus and in the practice of hearing and obeying His voice (Prov 22:6). Along with that, we want to come alongside Jesus in the spiritual gifts He is developing within them.

Have you noticed several of the following qualities in your child?

  • A hunger to pray for others’ needs
  • A passion to continue praying for situations, people, and even countries for long periods of time
  • A great desire to pray for long periods of time with little encouragement or evidence of a forthcoming answer or change
  • Being woken in during the night with both spiritual revelation and demonic attack
  • A delighted, overflowing excitement and joy over answered prayer
  • An amazing recall of dates, times, and circumstances surrounding answers to prayer
  • A sadness over people not praying over things that need praying over
  • A sensitivity to what God is about to do and to how He is working around them
  • Attuned ears to His voice
  • Child-like faith that boldly believes God when they sense He says what He is about to do or is going to do  (Is 46:9-11)

If you notice several of these qualities, these are ways you can specifically help your child grow as the intercessor God may developing them to be:

  • Go through the youth edition of Experiencing God (dvd pack, book) with them — this study is excellent for specific instruction on how we hear and discern God’s voice
  • Encourage your child to journal things they sense God wants them to pray for, encouraging them with the reality that it may take months or years before they see answers to those prayers
  • Encourage them to write the date by verses in their Bible that stand out to them as ones God has as promises to claim for themselves or for a person God is having them pray for
  • When they are in their pre-teens or teenage years, give them a copy of Beth Moore Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds. This is an excellent resource of verses that specifically targets spiritual strongholds in our own or others’ lives.
  • Pray Psalm 55:18, Isaiah 49:25, Psalm 56:3-4, & Luke 10:19 over the ministry of intercession God is entrusting to them
  • Encourage them in Scripture memory — these words of truth will not only act as motivators not to sin (Ps 119:11), but also as a personal arsenal of strength to rely upon during times of intercession and spiritual attack

Additionally, God often gives intercessors a sensitivity to numbers (dates, verse references, even things in nature like the number of geese flying overhead or the numbers and letters on license plates, etc.) as a means of encouragement and confirmation of what He’s showing them or speaking to them about. Encourage your child to always test the spirits (1 Thess 5:19-21), but don’t discourage them in this because you may not understand or relate to it.

Something that may be of great encouragement and spiritual inspiration to your child is visiting a house of prayer and learning more about the worldwide 24/7 prayer movement.

God is raising up multitudes of intercessors in the last days, your child may be one of those He is calling, molding, and shaping towards that end (1 Peter 4:7). How will you join Him in affirming and strengthening your child in his/her vital calling?

For more:
Beyond the Veil: Entering into Intimacy with God Through Prayer by Alice Smith
Precious Stones of Intercession: Specific and Persistent Prayer on Behalf of Others  by Angela Sansone

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Intercessors: Why Intercede? [Poem]

Angela Interceding in IndiaEarly on in my ministry as a prophetic intercessor, I wanted to put the calling God had given me on the shelf. If you’ve ever asked the same question of your calling as His intercessor, I pray this dialogue between Father and myself encourages you.

Why Intercede?
Originally written January 2008 

Sleepless nights, weird interactions, people leaning on you when they’re weak
Being weighed down by emotions that belong to the one you’re called to intercede for
Being drawn into situations that aren’t yours
Being praised when things go well and blamed when they don’t

Why Intercede?

Recipients who are thankful and warm
Then distant and cold
It seems like a personal invitation to being ill-treated and misunderstood

Why Intercede?

People want one-sided prayer
People want someone who will listen and say a verse or two
That reminds them God is around and aware
But are easily scared by
Specific direction, prophetic words, and explanation of future happenings in their lives

Why Intercede?

“HOW CAN YOU KNOW?” they scream

The messages God gives me to share
Are often unwanted things that recipients find suspect and want me to explain

Why intercede Father?

One day, My dearly beloved, you will see all the ways
I worked through you as you obeyed and interceded and spoke My messages
To brothers and sisters who were trapped, hurt, alone, sad and afraid

You keep strengthening, encouraging, and comforting them with My words of truth (1 Cor 14:3)

And when they call it “sweet-smelling crap”
Remember you’re the messenger and I AM the Message Giver

You’re responsible for sharing; I AM in charge of bringing about
And doing what I said I would do (Is 46:9-11)

I’ve got your back, My dearly beloved
You won’t be disgraced or put to shame (Is 50:7) even when they say to you
“This is 99% through and what you told me didn’t come true.”

Give My gifts and translate My truth to My daughters and sons
You’re perfectly who I made you to be and I enable you to do what I’ve called you to do

In eternity you will see how I honored your sacrifice and your willingness to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7)
And that’s why you intercede My dearly Beloved

For More:
Prophecy Isn’t a Formula
When Father Speaks  (see “Receiving and Testing a Word of Prophecy” section)
Obey or Disobey 

 

When We Resist God’s Blessings

ResistingOne the most gut-wrenching aspects of my prophetic intercession ministry are the many times that Father has me intercede towards His son or daughter receiving a blessing He has for them and they resist and resist until they’ve rejected it and missed out on the blessing He had for them.

Early on in my ministry, I naively thought that if believers knew about a blessing Father wanted to bestow on them or a gift He wanted to give them, they would embrace it with open arms.

Yet as the years went by, the opportunities increased for me to experience interceding months and even years over one of Father’s sons or daughters as they stood at the crossroads of decision and then experience them saying “no” to Father’s blessing and gift for their lives.

A pastor, mentor and friend once questioned me about this reality in my ministry. In reply, I answered:

Why does Father show me, have me intercede over, and sometimes involve me in the possible outcomes of people’s life choices when He sovereignly knows that they’re not going to choose that step of obedience and thus that outcome.

In pondering this question, Father brought to mind the examples of Esau, Jonah, King Saul, the Israelites, Judas Iscariot, Ananias & Sapphira. Each one experienced Father laying before them an outcome they sadly didn’t choose . . . and so they missed out on Father’s best.

Each disciple of Christ has the same choice . . . and for some reason Father sometimes uses His prophetic intercessors to lay out the choice at hand and intercede over the choice of obedience for long durations of time . . . when He knows, in the end, they won’t choose it.

I’ll be the first to say, “Unless Father confirms a prophetic word I give to the receiving person’s spirit, it isn’t legitimate” (1 Thess 5:19-21). Father will never confirm a prophetic word He has for your life just to the person who shares it with you and not also to you. For more on this, read When Father Speaks (see “Receiving and Testing a Word of Prophecy” section).

So even when prophetic words are confirmed to our spirits, why do we still resist?

There a million reasons/excuses we could answer with . . . frequent reasons I’ve seen of why people don’t receive the blessing and gift Jesus has for them:

  • Not wanting to make the changes that would be required
  • Being afraid to take a huge of a step of faith
  • Hedging their bets . . . being willing to settle for “good” rather than God’s best
  • Interpreting opposition from our friends and loved ones as God’s confirmation that we shouldn’t believe Him for the blessing and gift that has been spoken over our lives
  • Unwillingness to let go of our comfortability to receive it

God has a limitless, abundant, and extravagantly overflowing supply of crowns of beauty He longs to bestow in the place of your ashes, vats of oil of gladness He longs to pour out over your mourning, and closets full of garments of praise He longs for you to receive to replace your spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:3)

  • Yet everyday, His children set aside their crowns of beauty because their ashes didn’t require change or huge steps of faith.
  • Everyday they wipe away the oil of gladness, because they got less guff from their friends and loved ones when they were subdued, mundane and didn’t create waves in their states of mourning.
  • Everyday they lay aside their garments of praise and pull back on their comfortably familiar spirit of despair.

And Father weeps at how easily His children carelessly toss His blessings and gifts aside.

For more: Get Rid of Your Excuses and A 13:13 Moment by Pastor Steven Furtick

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Fearful Hearts

Prowling Tiger

Would you say that you have a fearful heart?

Do you fear the future?

Does your heart falter when trouble comes?

Do other people’s actions against you incapacitate you?

Does the Enemy’s attacks make you back away from continuing on by faith?

Are you easily deterred when opposition comes at you from other people or spiritual forces?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you may be struggling with a fearful heart.

One of my favorite “fearful heart” antidotes is found in Isaiah 35:3-7:

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

What an amazing promise for us to pray and believe!

How many of our circumstances and situations are haunts where jackals lay? Whether the jackals be our own addictions, undealt with hurts or fears, or intense spiritual attacks from spiritual forces . . . God can make them haunts where jackals once laid!

How? It takes our participation and cooperation.

In the intercession/spiritual warfare training I bring short-term mission teams or church groups through, I lead them through a visualization exercise using Isaiah 35:3-7. I begin the training, by showing them my Luke 10:19 man (click image to enlarge view).

Luke 10_19 man

I ask them to think and pray on where their greatest area of spiritual weakness is:

  • Fearful Heart
  • Feeble Hands
  • Knees that Give Way
  • Feet that Stumble with Inconsistency and Uncertainty

Any area of spiritual weakness makes you prone to the Enemy’s attacks. Thus by gaining a full understanding of who we are in Christ (Philemon 1:6) and cooperating with Father as He strengthens us by the truth of His Word concerning our areas of weakness, we take hold of:

  • Strong Hearts that do not Fear
  • Strengthened Hands that are Battle Ready (Ps 144:1)
  • Knees that Stand Firm
  • Feet that Walk Steadily

 Are you ready to start training?

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The Years the Locusts Have Eaten

locust swarmIf God has brought you through or is currently bringing you through such a season in your life, the phrase resonates to the very depths of your soul.

Years of your life have been eaten by locusts.

Substantial devastation and loss have taken place in your life.

Sometimes as a result of:

  • Consequences of your own sinful choices
  • Sinful actions of others done against you
  • Health or physical struggles
  • Spiritual oppression

To which God gives an amazing promise of restoration:

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten — the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.

Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. – Joel 2:25-27

The how and when of His restoration in our lives is up to Him. This promise isn’t like an insurance claim we wave before God and demand repayment of our own choosing. Rather, it is a promise of His own righteous restoration and redemption of the destruction and loss that has taken place in our lives.

It is a promise of hope in the devastation that once was a life of abundance.

In His promise, God makes a statement that resounds with His ultimate sovereignty, “. . . My great army that I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25)

God allowed the locusts that have eaten years of our lives. He is the Blessed Controller of ALL things (1 Tim 6:15). No plan of His can be thwarted (Job 42:2). What He has said, that will He bring about; what He has planned, that He will do (Is 46:9-11).

Could God have prevented the locusts from eating years of our lives?
Absolutely, and yet He chose not to do so.

Why?

We would do well to join Job in his conclusion after trying to reason, argue, and demand to know the “whys” from God for his suffering in Job 42:1-5:

Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 

He is the Potter and we are the clay (Is 45:9). He is our Maker and Creator and He owes us nothing, and yet delights to give us everything (Rm 8:32).

In 2000, I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In my early 20’s, it cost me my job, friends, ministry, and health. In 2003, I started having an intercessory prayer team pray over me. As these prayer sessions continued, it became evident that I was not only dealing with physical issues but also a large degree of spiritual oppression.

Before my prayer session in May 2006, I was walking and praying. As I was walking through a playground, I came across 7 folded one dollar bills. As I picked them up, I marveled at how they hadn’t been taken or strewn across the playground and road by the wind. As I held them in my hand, I sensed Father said, “You’ve almost had chronic fatigue for 7 years. I will restore the years the locusts have eaten in your life.”

At that time, I only vaguely knew the promise of Joel 2:25-27. Only after I looked it up, did Father start to connect this promise in Scripture with what He was about to do in my life.

Before Jesus would heal someone, He would ask a very interesting question, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mt 20:32, Mk 10:36, Mk 10:51, Lk 18:41)

The curious nature of this question comes when we remember that Jesus was fully God and fully man during His time of walking the earth, thus He was all-knowing. He knew what they wanted Him to do for them . . . and yet, Jesus wanted them to say it, to believe it, and to own it for themselves.

So too it is with Father’s promises, He wants us to say them, believe them, and own them for ourselves. And one of the hardest times to do that is after experiencing the years the locusts have eaten.

It’s tough some mornings to get out of bed and be faced once again with the devastation, let alone believe a seemingly outlandish promise that God’s going to redeem all this ravaging loss that has clung to your life like frost clings to grass.

Still, Jesus asks . . . and may we be like the father in Mark 9:24 who exclaims in reply, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I pray we believe Him to redeem the years the locusts have eaten in our lives. He will.

Rest Ministries is great resource for those who struggle with chronic illness or pain.

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