From the desk of Steve Shultz:
We've just entered a New Year of Rosh Hashanah and God is opening many new doors in this new season. As Kathi Pelton shares in this article - PRAYER and THANKSGIVING are key. Kathi writes:
"...during the next three months prayer is especially key to releasing the things that God is wanting to release, and the "prayer of agreement" is even more powerful (with families, with congregations, with all who will gather). God is seated at the mercy seat ready to hear and answer the prayers of His people for individuals, families and nations."
I cannot stress enough the importance of praying for our families, friends, and our nations at this time. Let's express our heartfelt worship with thanksgiving and prayers unto the Lord in this new season!
Here are also two top-selling products - one of which is a great way to start off this new year with an ElijahSeasons 2008/2009 16-Month Calendar and a "can't put this down" book, The Shack from William P. Young. Both of these would make excellent gifts to get for others too!
"Passing Through the Open Door into the Courts of Heaven"
Happy New Year, Family!
As we have passed through Rosh Hashanah, it is good to look over this past year. Although it has been a challenging year for many, it has also been a year of great growth and alignment, both individually and corporately.
We went through Rosh Hashanah last year with great excitement for what God was about to do, and yet most of us had little knowledge that it would be a year of deep refinement and learning how to be patient in suffering. But, as I wrote in a previous article: "A new day begins at midnight when it is the darkest..." Maybe the light is appearing in the sky for the Church.
"Court Is In Session"
A couple of weeks ago, I was with our local ministry team having a beautiful time of worship. As we worshiped together, the Holy Spirit told me to read Luke 18:1-8:
"ALSO [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). He said, 'In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, "Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary."
'And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, "Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man, yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming or at the last she come and rail on me or assault me or strangle me."'
"Then the Lord said, 'Listen to what the unjust judge says! And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf? I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?'"
After reading these verses I heard the Spirit say, "There is an open door before My people in this hour, and if they will come before Me day and night, I will execute justice on their behalf, for I am a Righteous Judge who is full of grace and mercy."
Let's look again at verse 7-8 in Luke 18 where we read these words:
"And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf?
"I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?" (emphasis added)
This is a promise from our Righteous Judge. He will defend, protect and avenge His chosen ones "speedily." Though He will not defer us or delay help for us, still we need to realize that there has been a strengthening of our faith that has been happening and so we live in the divine tension of this promise of God and the strengthening of our faith - which often happens under pressure!
The Way Over the Threshold
Immediately after reading these verses in Luke 18, the Holy Spirit told me to turn to Romans 12:12:
"Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer." (Amplified Version)
As I read Romans 12:12, the Lord spoke to me again, saying, "The way over the threshold of this door that is standing open before you is in the posture of continual prayer, worship, hope and steadfastness even in the midst of suffering."
Then I heard the words, "Court is in session!" I could see God take the judge's stand, ready to hear our cases. He was in His royal robes and had His gavel in His right hand, which had the word "JUSTICE" written upon it. In that moment, I realized that God was there to "hear our cases" and avenge justice.
Prayer has always been the key to seeing the hand of God move, but I submit that during the next three months prayer is especially key to releasing the things that God is wanting to release, and the "prayer of agreement" is even more powerful (with families, with congregations, with all who will gather). God is seated at the mercy seat ready to hear and answer the prayers of His people for individuals, families and nations.
"...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 will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
The Righteous Judge
Psalm 9:7-10 "The LORD reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; He will govern the peoples with justice. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You."
The woman in Luke 18 stood day after day before an unrighteous judge who had no compassion for her plight. Yet, as he tired of hearing her daily pleading for mercy, he granted her request for protection and justice in order to stop her from bothering him any further. We, on the other hand, stand day after day before a Righteous Judge who will never forsake us, nor grow weary of our asking. Though we often do not understand His ways (for they are not our ways), we can trust that He will keep His promise to us to be a refuge and stronghold for His chosen ones.
I am thankful that He is not only a righteous Judge but also a wise one. It has been His wisdom that He has not answered us in the way or the time we would want to be answered. In His wisdom He has allowed many of His people to be tested and purged of anything that would cause them to compromise His truth or to lose their faith in times of trouble. Therefore, in His righteousness and wisdom, sometimes He delays a temporary answer to keep us from a fatal falling in the future.
Let's look at 2 Timothy 4:1-8:
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction.
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing" (emphasis added).
Strengthening the Weak Links
Though I don't like suffering any more than the next person, I can say in hindsight that I am thankful for all that has been accomplished in my life through seasons of suffering. These times will most likely bring the weakest areas in your life to the surface. And though this is very uncomfortable, it is necessary that the Lord allow these places of weakness to come out in times of safety so that they do not surface in times of true crisis.
When things are good and easy-going in our lives, the best of who we are shines forth. We look strong and able to leap any mountain, but when everything seems to go wrong and the mountain that stands before us seems impassable, this is usually when the weak links in our lives will be revealed. This has been a time in the Body of Christ for us to look at the weaknesses that are keeping us from being entrusted with greater authority and facing bigger giants.
God doesn't want us destroyed by the weak areas in our lives in the days to come. It is in His wisdom that He has allowed us some "momentary suffering" for the sake of strengthening the weak links.
Now is the time to go before the Lord with the weak areas and allow Him, by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, to strengthen these areas.
"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." Romans 5:2-5
I am so grateful for the help of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God. I wanted security, but God knew that many of my securities were in temporal things rather than in Him alone - the One who is eternal. I would have wanted God to wave His hand and just create in me godly character and perseverance, but these things are not formed in a moment but over time.
Often God had released the answers to my prayers in His heavenly courts, but they were also to be administered in His timing so that the test of time would produce eternal virtues in my life rather than just temporary solutions to immediate problems. It is like the answers were held in God's "Trust Fund" so that I did not squander what was given to me in my own immaturity.
The Thankful Heart
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
This one verse explains why we can be thankful even before we see our answer. It is because of faith that we know that our Righteous Judge will help us and therefore we can approach Him with thanksgiving. He even knows what we need before we ask, although He does not tire of our asking. Just as we know by faith that He created the world, we also know by faith that He can move any mountain that stands in our way.
Just this past week my family was facing what seemed to be a mountain that would not move. In faith, we went before Him with a thankful heart because we know that He is true to His promises. Then, out of the blue, we had a miracle happen that moved that mountain...or at least "pushed it back." It came in a way we would never have expected, but it came. Sure enough, the timing of it surfaced some weak places that God wanted to strengthen, but in the end, we received both the answer and the strengthening of our weakness.
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15
Because of faith we can let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, and because of the peace of Christ and His rule in our hearts we can be thankful.
I believe that there is an open door into the courts of Heaven and that our Righteous Judge is executing justice on behalf of His people. Go through the door with faith and a thankful heart.
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name." Psalm 100:4
Grace and Peace to You,
Light Streams Ministries
After the tremendous popularity and success of our first ElijahSeasons calendar last year, we have gone the extra mile to bring you an even better Prophetic/Jewish calendar this time around!
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by Steve Shultz
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