On the Patience of the Saints
by Lonnie Lane
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get a word from a prophet and not have to seek the Lord for what He would say? I’m sure most of us would rather hear from the Lord ourselves, but some people seem to prefer the prophets. Or they don’t expect the Lord to talk to them personally. He said, “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27), but evidently some folks think someone else has to hear Him for them. Occasionally I get an email from someone wanting me to give them a word from the Lord to give them some direction in their life. I got one again last week from a man who wrote simply asking, “Please pray for me as I need a word from the Lord urgently.” I wrote him back and told him: “Open your Bible and start reading. That’s the best way to get a word from the Lord. Keep reading till you do. If you think you need a word from Him, then He’s prodding you to seek Him for it.”
This dear man wrote back again, sounding more desperate than in the first email. He really wanted a word from the Lord and he had the idea that I would have one for him. Writing articles does not make one a prophet. We can all speak prophetically as we are supposed to be a prophetic people, but that doesn’t mean we’re called to speak into the life of a person we don’t even know. It’s one thing to give counsel to someone you are in relationship with but it’s dangerous to be looking for a “word” to base your life on from someone the Lord hasn’t put in your life. Are there prophets who can do that? Yes, but you better know who they are and that they have a proven track record of being correct. I’ve known too many people who were greatly affected when a word didn’t come to pass. Some of those words are harmless, but others are not. My eldest daughter was married and had her first baby in Israel. A prophet came to Israel and told them she was having a son. They decided to name him Daniel. When the time came I flew over with a suitcase full of blue clothes for Daniel just in time for the baby shower when all the other little boy things were given to her. But, lo and behold, she had a precious little girl and my new little granddaughter wore blue for the first year of her life. It didn’t seem to affect her in the least, and in fact matched her beautiful blue eyes, but not all words are that harmless.
Open your Bible and start reading. That’s the best way to get a word from the Lord. Keep reading till you do.
This man wanted to know what the Lord would tell me about his life, why he is alive right now and what God’s plan is for his life. We would all like the short-cut answer to those questions, wouldn’t we? From what he further said, this brother feels the Lord doesn’t care enough to tell him His plan is for his life. He ended with how he was waiting for my reply. My heart went out to this brother. My sense is that he lives elsewhere in the world other than America, from his English, which was good, but it is possible to write with an accent through word choices. I don’t know where that would be but this man’s predicament is a result of inadequate or no discipleship added to some erroneous doctrines he came to believe in. Unfortunately, there is more of that than good discipleship and correct doctrine which properly equips the Body of Messiah the world over. If that weren’t so, we would look a whole lot more like the Acts of the Apostles than a good bit of the church does. Where are the healings, the miracles, the signs and wonders, the Lord adding to our number if not daily at least monthly? Why are there people who have been in the church for years and years who are still having trouble trusting the Lord or walking in faith? Why are there so many dear sweet saints of God who are so oppressed by trying to please God that they don’t know what it is to walk in His freedom, know His love, or hear His voice? It seems lately, though they’ve lived with this for years, there is now a cry in their hearts for help. Maybe you’re one of them. Or maybe you share my exasperation that too many of us are living, far below what Yeshua died for us to be living in. I keep trying not to write this article this way, and I’ve deleted what follows three times, but it keeps persisting in being written. That’s usually the Lord’s prompting, so here goes. Here’s what I think is why these things are coming to the surface at this time. This may not be an easy article to read, but please read to the end. Perhaps it will give clarity to some changes taking place in your life and your thinking.
I believe there is a shift taking place in the body. It’s even taking place in the world. The line is being drawn in the sand. The line says, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). But God isn’t just leaving us there and saying, “You’re on your own, now choose.” No, He’s walking His people through a time of preparing us to trust in Him in ways that will be equal to the need to trust Him. As I mentioned in other articles, it seems recently there are more people than usual that I’m hearing from who are under much stress from performance based faith. In other words, they’re feeling like the works they are doing for God are not pleasing to God and they feel hopeless about ever making the grade. The works aren’t working anymore. Never did really bring the peace of God. It’s as if a silent epidemic of ‘worksitis’ is now making itself known and they’re looking for the cure. Well, why now when they’ve been operating out of striving to please God for years? I’m thinking that God is blowing the whistle and saying, “Enough. Let’s get this straightened out. I did the work of salvation, you can’t earn it. You now have to learn to have faith in Me and believe that I love you.” (I’ve dealt with the matter of works verses trusting Him somewhat extensively in my last few articles if you wish to read more.)
What I do have the sense of, though I cannot say I’ve heard directly from the Lord on this, is that He is bringing a shift which is aligning things in the spirit to bring people to the right place of trusting in Him where previously we have relied on a whole lot other than Him. That is often the case with a “have” society; we don’t have the need for Him that “have not” societies do. They look to Him where we look elsewhere. That’s why so many people in Africa or South America get healed so much more easily than Americans. There is, however, a shift beginning to take place. Can you sense it too? It’s beginning with a shift in values, for one thing. But it’s not just in the Body of Messiah relating to spiritual issues that is going through a shift. During Japan’s recent earthquake, it shifted the earth’s axis eight feet westward! Is there a message from God in that? I’m guessing there is. King David declared, “Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved” (1 Chron. 16:30). But what if the earth does move?! Things in the natural often reflect things that are taking place in the spirit realm. As has been noted, the shift in Japan was not unrelated to a stand against Israel. I believe God is drawing a line in the sand having to do with trusting Him, but also it is largely about Israel. This may sound like a radical statement but it is a Biblical one. The fate of entire nations and individuals rests on whether they stand with God for Israel or against Israel and therefore against God. We’ve written before about God calling Israel “My land” (See 2 Chron. 7:20; Is. 14:25; Jer. 2:7; 16:18; Ezek. 38:15; & Joel 1:6; 3:2). Is that enough references to show you He means Israel is His land?
The last verse has to do with why I think there’s a cry in the hearts of God’s people for resolving what has kept them from resting and trusting in Him. It has to do with the Lord bringing judgment upon nations that will divide His land: “I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land” (Joel 3:2, emphasis added). How many nations will that be? Will it be your nation? My nation? Will there be a war on Israel’s soil at some point in which our nations will participate to try and force Israel to relinquish territory, the territory which is really God’s? And on what side of the line will each of us be if and when our country, our friends or family around us align against Israel? We need to make that decision and commitment now, before the Lord, so that if and when the time comes that we have to take that stand, it’s already decided in our hearts. It may be costly. But it will be far costlier in the end to go with the “politically correct” majority and abandon the “God correct” stand. It’s really God we’re deciding to stand with when we stand with Israel. Most of you who read this website know that and have already made the commitment in your hearts. Consider yourself hugged by your sisters and brothers here at Messianic Vision.
The fate of entire nations and individuals rests on whether they stand with God for Israel or against Israel and therefore against God.
The line is being drawn. It’s not that Israel or the Jewish people are anything in their own right but God has sovereignly chosen to place His name upon them. He has gone as far as to say, “I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight” (Ez 36:23). How will He prove Himself holy? By vindicating His word regarding the land of Israel and the nations who disregard His Word and seek their own idea of how the land should be given to others, namely an ungodly radical Islamic government that seeks Israel’s destruction. God will deal with this situation. Why? He says, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name….” (36:22). It is for the vindication of His Holy Name that God is drawing a line in the sand. On His side of the line, I believe He is preparing His people to grow close to Him, to learn to trust and depend upon Him more deeply then we have before in a way that is equal to the challenge that may lie before us. I believe He’s shaking out our priorities and trimming the fat off of our indulgences and self-sufficiency, for neither will equip us for difficult days should they be ahead of us.
The shift I’m anticipating will detach those of us who are truly the Lord’s from things upon which we previously relied or looked to, whether for sustenance, information or entertainment so that we look to the Lord instead. This is not to deny us those things, but to divert us from what will no longer prove to be profitable for us. By information I mean that His word will have more relevance and importance as truth in our lives than the opinions and interpretations of men. Personally, I think the media too often acts as the devil’s PR agency. He’s got people misinterpreting what’s taking place by not considering God in events or what He might be saying at all. I ask you, without the input of the One who is Truth, can what they’re interpreting be based on truth? The devil, remember, is a liar. Furthermore, theories abound on the motive of this group or how that group of leaders is intending to control the world as if the world is no longer in God’s control. That would be called a conspiracy, which means to plot, scheme, or contrive. Conspiracy is further defined as intrigue, connivance, collusion, foul-play, wire-pulling and treachery. But the Word of God says, “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it: (Isaiah 8:12). There may be people with those evil designs but this remains the truth: “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1)! Take a read through Isaiah and see how often God says that He puts kings (and presidents) in and He takes them out. Remember, God always has an eye toward redemption in all He allows to happen.
Okay, this is too heavy. A word of encouragement is due here. John who, of all those who knew Him personally, knew the Lord the longest and who went through all kinds of tzuris (troubles) because of his faith had this to say to the flock of God: “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ). This is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:18-20). Ahhh. Isn’t that soothing to your soul? A bit of “refreshing… from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). John also says, “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Yeshua (the) Messiah, the righteous” (2:1) so, unlike the world, we can come to Him and be cleansed of any sin and free again. We have a quest for being right with God and access to Him that the world system is not the least aware of.
Related again to this shift, have you noticed that you are less interested in “things” than you may have been previously, in buying them, or having them, or needing them? Some of that has to do with the economy but I see the economy as God’s tool to bring us to greater dependence upon Him and to readjust our values. We are used to things being there for us, at least those of us in first world nations. Not everyone who reads the articles on our website is from first world nations. Many from third world nations manage to have computers and televisions which God has blessed them with. That’s how some of you are reading this even now. I recall being in the bush in Africa on a small dirt road village where the houses, such as they were, had almost nothing in them, but somehow they had televisions wired up in them, so they knew what was going on in the world. We are of the information generation, wherever we are.
But most of us don’t live in small dirt road villages. A good many of us pretty much have had what we wanted, as things were there for the having. But what if they aren’t as available as they have been? What if circumstances change as they have throughout history? Americans, at least, expect we’ll be okay no matter what happens. I pray that is true. Americans have always had an indomitable spirit and a resiliency. But we have an administration that seems hell-bent (excuse the expression) on forcing Israel to give up land, including parts of Jerusalem, that would make her indefensible. It can’t happen without terrifying consequences to Israel. That is known by our administration, but there is still the push for it to happen. If we continue to push for that division of land, there will be consequences to our land as well but the difference is, God will fight for Israel.
So I ask, what if we had to look to God for things beyond what we have in the past? Do we know how to trust Him for things? For food, for healing when medical care isn’t as available as it has been, for safety should we need it, for financial assistance where needed? For comfort and for strengthening, or how about for release from anger or rage at injustice because we’ve learned to release it to Him knowing He will ultimately bring about justice? And most importantly of all perhaps, is the love of the Lord our security? Is it possible God is bringing His people out of where our walks with Him have been faulty, where we have been depending upon ourselves to hold our salvation together without knowing how to trust, even rest in the Lord, regardless of what circumstances we may find ourselves in. The first century believers gave every evidence of knowing the Lord this way. I’m expecting He will restore that same degree of relationship with Himself to His people before He returns! (See Acts 3:20, 21). Is it possible that the ‘shake-up’ that is challenging our faith is from the Lord in order to re-align things properly, to tighten up the screws so that we are sound, stable and can stand strong and poised as we wait upon the Lord while staying faithful to Him, and to each other?
We need now to learn to trust in His love for us and His promises to care for us and to bring to pass His word on our behalf.
I read a verse yesterday that seemed to add to my thoughts about this shift. I remember years ago when the major topic of Christian conversation was when the rapture would happen and what about the sign of the beast, and why you should never allow the numbers 666 to be tattooed on your arm by the system of the anti-Christ. Instead of concern about our righteousness and developing faith in the Lord, we were worried about getting ‘outta here’ and how, in case we were still here for the beginning of the “trib,” we had to be careful not to take the mark. Well, that’s still a Biblical reality. I’m doubting it would be as obvious as a tattoo that says 666, but maybe an imbedded chip with a digitized number that identifies your social security number and medical records the way my dog Lizzie has a chip in her shoulder in case she gets lost (God forbid).
I felt impressed to read in Revelation 14 yesterday, having asked the Lord if there was something He wanted me to see, and there was this whole passage about the eternal fate of those who “have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:12, 13). This was not my idea of being blessed by a time in the Word. Personally, I’m a “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely” (Phil 4:8) kind of gal, though you might not think so by this article. But when the Lord is saying, “Look at this,” you have to look. Then I saw the words I think He was trying to show me (to show us!): “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus” (:12). The NKVJ says, “the patience of the saints” instead of perseverance. Either way, it means that whatever is going on with the saints while the world is succumbing to the mark of the beast and showing homage to the image of that anti-Christ spirit, in whatever form that may take, those of us who are not participating in that ungodliness are going to need to persevere patiently in faith in Yeshua as we endeavor to keep the commandments of God, perhaps despite great pressure to do otherwise. From what it sounds like, it may require patience and endurance as we wait for God in whatever situation we may find ourselves.
It would not be the first time in history, for instance, that Christians and Jews too, have given their lives rather than bow to an idol or false god, for it would be to bow to satan and forfeit our souls (See Rev. 14:9-11). Whatever our situation, it will require staying calm and perhaps courageous, and at peace and in faith as we look to the Lord. I won’t speculate here but if we cannot buy or sell if we don’t have the mark, our provisions have to be met otherwise. There may be no ‘otherwise’ than the Lord. Happily, by faith He will come through. But we need to choose now to let Him teach us how to trust Him. We need now to learn to trust in His love for us and His promises to care for us and to bring to pass His word on our behalf. We need to get to know Him more deeply than ever before and not wait till things get difficult to fully put our confidence in Him. Forget the works and self-sufficiency and negotiate a trust in His goodness with the Lord now. It took me a few days to write this. In the midst I had an opportunity to trust God or look elsewhere for something that arose. I didn’t go the way I might have earlier. I chose to wait on God for it though it would have been easier to go elsewhere. Please do NOT put yourself under any legalism here. Take all this to God and see, over a period of time, what He begins to put in your heart about it all. This is to make you aware of the shift that I sense is beginning to take place, not to put fear or some compulsion on you. He’s always the God of love so rest in His love even now, even as He brings about some changes in our walks with Him. Perhaps this was a word from the Lord after all. It’s not that we need a word from a prophet for what our lives are to consist of; we have the word of God already. We just need to read it, believe it and heed it.
I suspect some people have been thinking, “Why has she been talking about all this negative stuff?” Because we are not to be those who are in the dark and unaware, but awake and prepared. Listen to Paul: “While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness”(1 Thess. 5:3-5). I don’t know what that “peace and safety” will look like, but it doesn’t last from what this says. I know many of us are expecting to be ‘raptured’ out of the world’s woes in order to escape them, but why would Paul tell us we’re are not to be unaware (in the dark) like those of the darkness if we weren’t going to be here for at least some of the time when it’s dark? God told Israel something that also applies to anyone who is His at such a time: “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you” (Is 60:1,2). That’s Israel’s destiny for it was said to them first, but it also applies to anyone else who follows the Holy One of Israel. So should we still be here on the earth in times of darkness, we need to be forewarned. We are not to be unaware nor find ourselves in darkness. Yeshua emphatically said, “ I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). Thank God for God!
I’m speaking to myself as well as to you folks. Now is the time to let the Lord shed excess baggage from us, to get us to respond to hearing His still small voice. When you feel a nudge of the Spirit, as I did tonight just when I was settling in to watch a movie, turn off the entertainment and come aside to Him. See what His word says to you. Like our brother who wanted a word, I believe he has this cry inside himself because the Lord is trying to get him to a safe place of living in the goodness of the Lord for himself so he can wait upon Him at all times in patience and perseverance without desperation but in loving trust. May it be for each of us to declare as our goal, “that I may gain Messiah and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law (works), but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil 3:8d, 9). Amen.
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Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.