A Curly Question

The Ransom in Isaiah 43:3

Sometimes a cell group member will throw me a curly question about the Bible that I can’t answer. Last night, someone asked what is the ransom being talked about in Isaiah 43:3? I have to admit that I didn’t have a clue! I had to crack open the commentary to find one.

Here is the verse:

For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.

It isn’t clear, but some context helps. This chapter is talking about the liberation of Israel from their exile in Babylon. Cyrus will set them free, and they will cross the deserts to return home. It is going to be an even greater miracle than when the nation was set free from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.

Historically, Cyrus had little interest in the land of Israel, but it was a strategic stepping stone on his way to conquering the northern African nations of Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba.

So what the Lord is saying to His people here is that they will be returning home under the edict of Cyrus, and in return for Cyrus setting God’s people free, the Lord will give him these other nations.

Historically, Cyrus did not invade Egypt, but his son Cambyses did. His successor Darius continued to use Israel as a stepping stone to get to Egypt.

So it does make sense when you know the background.

Christian Post: CHRISTIANITY IS GROWING FASTER THAN AT ANY TIME IN HISTORY – EXCEPT IN THE WEST

CHRISTIANITY IS GROWING FASTER THAN AT ANY TIME IN HISTORY – EXCEPT IN THE WEST

Spurious Bible Verses That Should Be There

I just love those Bible verses that people are convinced really exist but aren’t real, but should be. I think we have all heard them whether they are derived from popular imagination or misapplication or poor translation.

Here are some of my favourite Biblical non-quotes.

God helps those who help themselves

Definitely not in the Bible, not even once. It is often used as a justification for getting out there and achieving the goals you want to achieve, with little or no reflection on whether God might want the goal achieved or not.

In a sense this proverb is totally anti-christian. God saves us by grace. We have to come to a place where we realise that we are totally helpless and dependent on God alone. We cannot earn our way to heaven and we can do nothing to persuade God that we are good enough.

On the other hand, it is true that in many areas of life we have to work with God to achieve his purposes. We need evangelists to actually preach the gospel, teachers to teach God’s word, and of course somebody to clean the church bathrooms.

This one should be in the Bible, but with about two pages of footnotes explaining how it applies.

God inhabits the praises of His people.

Awesome verse this one. It suggests that when God’s people gather and praise Him from their heart, then He will come and inhabit the praise and be manifested among us.

This verse, which I really wish was in there, is a mangling of the KJV translation of Psalm 22:3.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

So the verse actually says that God inhabits the praises of Israel. If it applies to everyone who praises God then surely David, who would have been the world champion of praising, should not be so miserable and feeling abandoned by God.

The NIV translates Psalm 22:3 as:

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises

It does suggest in the footnotes the rendering “You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”

It’s not as straight forward as we would like it to be. To me, what this verse is really saying is that God is in control and His people will praise Him regardless of how distant it seems that He is.

The anointing breaks the yoke

This one is often quoted as an encouragement that the presence of God’s Spirit (“the anointing”) breaks the opposition of the devil (“the yoke.”)

I absolutely agree with this, but it isn’t in the Bible.

The King James Version of Isaiah 10:27 says

And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

The “he” in this verse is the King of Assyria who for a long time severely oppressed the nation of Israel. The promise is that the yoke of slaveryto the Assyrians would be broken by the Lord.

The NIV translates this verse as:

In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders,
    their yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be broken
    because you have grown so fat.

The NIV also gives the alternative translation as “the yoke will be broken from your shoulders.”

I don’t know why growing fat would cause the Lord to break the yoke, but that might just indicate a Hebrew verse that is hard to understand- that does happen occasionally.

In any event, this passage has little to do with the presence of the Holy Spirit smashing the bondage of demonic powers.

So another verse that should be there, but sadly isn’t. However, it is true that God is greater than all opposition- spiritual and human. As christians we can look to Him to break the yokes that hold us in bondage. That’s an issue of prayer, faithful obedience to God and faith in Him.

I understand that it is easy to talk in spiritual short hand and that sometimes that is helpful. But it is really important that we don’t build whole doctrines on Scriptures that don’t exist. Let’s try to stick to what the Bible says not what we half remember some preacher somewhere claims.

Kenneth Gentry: Postmillennialism and The Great Tribulation

A great and thoughtful article by Kenneth Gentry places the Great Tribulation at around 70 AD. I’m glad we missed it!

This is my second in a multi-part series explaining how we can believe in postmillennialism, even though Jesus teaches about “the great tribulation” that is to come. In this series of articles we will learn a remarkable fact: The great tribulation is past. Indeed, it occurred long ago in the first century and was concerned with the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

Obviously, if this is so, then the great tribulation punctuated the beginning of Christianity (as the new covenant-phase of God’s kingdom) and has no direct bearing on the end of the Church Age (supposedly lying in our near future). Thus, it does not contradict postmillennialism’s historical optimism. Let us consider the evidence.

Most evangelicals focus on the remarkable judgments in the Matthew 24. And they do so to such an extent that they overlook important contextual clues that go against the popular conception of the great tribulation. And they do this despite the fact that these clues are quite clear and compelling.

These clues revolve around Matthew 24:34 which involves the key observation for a proper understanding of the great tribulation. This is the text we must focus upon; it will be our guiding star shedding light on our pathway through this dark and frightening passage.

Read the full article here

Jodie Hughes: It’s Time To Dream Again

“It’s Time to Dream Again”Jodie Hughes, Graham, Texas

“This is what God says…’Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.'” (Isaiah 43:16,18-19, The Message)

Dreaming helps us formulate new strategies and allows for maximum capacity of creativity as we pursue new “frontiers.” We will pioneer and take new territory in the spirit in this new era and in the natural. It’s time to dream with abandon once more and stir hope for what is yet possible, and build what hasn’t yet existed. Dreaming doesn’t just activate hope and provoke creative juices, it stirs faith to go where we’ve never been before.

It doesn’t take a prophet to know that the world is in a season of rapid change. As things shift and change, God is compelling His people to prophesy and decree what He is saying. He wants us to partner with Him to establish on the earth the dreams and plans of Heaven, as we, the Body of Christ on Earth, are called to pioneer change and extend into new territory. We are being invited to walk in something fresh, something brand-new—and it’s time to dream again!

Read the full article here

Key Principles of Cell Churches: Ralph Neighbour

Here is an article about Cell Church that I rediscovered on our web-site. Apart from the Triad Principle we have very effectively grown intho these principles over the years.

Key Principles of Cell Churches

by Ralph Neighbour

Back in 1987, as we prepared to prepare pastors from all over the world who knew nothing about the Cell Church, a group of us met for two days to discuss the core values that would be mandatory for cell group churches. Here is what we prepared:

Every Member is a Minister

The Priesthood of all believers is pointedly taught in scripture. A priest touches a person with a need with one hand and touches the Lord with the other hand and becomes a channel for Christ to manifest His Presence to meet that need.

Further, Ephesians tells us that the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are to be equippers of every member to minister. If leaders are equippers, every member will be prepared for ministry. This is the exact reverse of how a traditional church sees things: they see the FiveFold as the ministers and the members as offering support.

Equipping Will Be Done in Cells

Learning how to minister is not done in classrooms. It is done in the context of ministry situations. The activity of priests is done in the cell as all confess their crises and others receive the anointing to share spiritual gifts.

Thus, the cell itself is the place for equipping. When the member must minister, only then will the anointing required be manifested. Priestly ministry is not taught—it is caught.

Evangelism Will be Done through Cells

I Corinthians 14:24-25 along with verse 3 explains that if the Power and Presence of Christ is being revealed as all prophesy, the searching unbeliever will fall on his face and repent. This is “Body Life Evangelism,” where Christ Himself is the One who draws all men to Himself.

There Will be Clear Accountability

In the cell, we gather first as Triads: I John 2 explains it: the “Little Child” is mentored by the “Young Man,” who in turn is mentored by the “Father.”

Like the slogan of the U.S. Marines, each member says to another, “I’ve got your back!” The constant care and trust between the people of God allows them “to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, for God is working in them.”

Legalistic accountability is replaced by a desire to look after other’s interests with agape love.

There Will Be No Competition with Cells

The priestly life is focused on life together in community and penetrating the households of new believers. All the focus of the cell is directed toward fulfilling the task the Father assigned to His Son when He was returned to earth to occupy His next body, the ecclesia. There is no need for the precious time of the priests to be diverted to running and attending endless church programs. The Cell Church is an equipping and ministering organism, not an organization.

Kathy DeGraw: We Must Squeeze the Life Out of This Python Spirit

Prophecy: We Must Squeeze the Life Out of This Python Spirit

 

python-prayer
As Christians, we must suffocate the python spirit gripping our nation by diligent prayer. (Photo by David Clode on Unsplash)

Our flesh can walk in disobedience to the Lord, but over time, it can build a stronghold in our lives. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

Have you ever wondered why you can’t press through to your breakthrough or get your spiritual walk back to where you want it? Our lack of spiritual desire can be more than our flesh or laziness. It can be a principality and power in operation!

I was recently in the presence of the Lord when He revealed to me there is a strongman python spirit operating over the earth.

 

A python spirit in the spiritual realm would be referred to what a python snake would be in the natural. A python kills its prey by constriction and asphyxiation. Constriction is a narrowing or tightening. Asphyxiation is being deprived of oxygen, which can result in unconsciousness or death. A python spirit or snake squeezes its prey.

The Spirit of the Lord revealed and brought my attention to COVID-19 and the recent racial tragedy where an African American man died because his airway was being constricted and he mustered out, “I can’t breathe.” When we look at both of these circumstances that have impacted our world, they were both related to respiratory or breathing issues.

The python spirit constricts and tightens around your trachea, making it difficult to breathe. When you are in a territory dominated by witchcraft, you may even feel your trachea tighten. When we look at both COVID-19 and the recent racial injustice, we see the airway being attacked. This is a python spirit in operation.

 

Python spirits generally want to make you prayerless and come to attack your spirit walk. The Lord was showing me that this spirit wants to come against revival.

A python spirit attacks a Christian’s spiritual walk and the Christian thinks they are in a dry place or “the wilderness.” The truth is a Christian can’t see and doesn’t acknowledge that the majority of the cause of their stagnancy and lack of desire for spiritual growth and breakthrough is because there is a principality in operation against them.

This same principality is in operation over the world and against revival. It may be releasing a spirit of death through COVID-19. Spirits of trauma, stagnancy, distraction, depression and fear are being released as a result of COVID-19. These are direct attacks against revival. Yes, we need to pray for individual situations, but truly we need to attack the power trying to come against revival.

Racial tensions can additionally come against revival as we get in disunity, judgment and criticism of others. We must not merely look at what is happening on the surface, but at the larger picture. Attacking the principalities in operation that are causing all of this is where our prayers should be targeted.

Acknowledging demonic powers and operations instead of people causing these destructions will be the true way we win the war. Over the last several weeks, the Lord has released multiple words to me about what is happening in the spiritual realm. The common word He continues to release is the principalities and rulers over the earth. When we target them, expose them, and decree and declare against them is when we will have victory.

The python spirit will continue to attack until we annihilate it through prayer. Its operations and tactics may change to a different demonic deploy.

You may or may not recognize its next move. Our job as Christians is to squeeze the life out of the python spirit through prayer before it squeezes the life out of us physically, emotionally and spiritually.

 

 

Kathy DeGraw is a prophetic deliverance minister releasing the love and power of God, to ignite and activate people, release prophetic destinies and deliver people from the bondage of the enemy. She is the founder of Kathy DeGraw Ministries and K Advancement LLC. Kathy hosts a weekly podcast show called Prophetic Spiritual Warfare on the Charisma Podcast Network. She additionally, has several online empowerment courses at charismacourses.com. She is the author of several books, including: Speak Out, Discerning and Destroying the Works of Satan, Unshackled and Warfare Declarations. You can connect with Kathy on Facebook or visit kathydegrawministries.org.

 

 

“Come to me…”

Just lately this verse has been coming up a lot:

Matthew 11:28-30 
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I realised this afternoon that with everything going on over the last 6 months or more, I was weary. Not weary in body or mind, just weary in spirit. Being ill at the end of last year, dramas with allergies at the beginning of the year, then dealing with the Covid thing- it had all sapped my relationship with God. The passion was no longer there- I believe, and I love Jesus, but something was missing in me.

I read earlier this week that another prominent formerly christian musician has lost his faith. It no longer makes sense to him and he finds worship is boring.

In contrast I think of the passionate cry from the heart by Kim Walker-Smith on one of the Jesus Culture albums where she shouts out something like,”If you don’t know Jesus tonight, and you would know if you did because everything would be different.”

It’s true, just one touch from the Lord and everything changes.

But we get tired, distracted or discouraged, and gradually worship becomes boring, and Jesus doesn’t make sense any more.

So I realised I needed to reach out to the Lord. I sat in a quiet place and said “I need you Lord.” Then I just sat and received. I felt a tingling come through my hands and a new burst of the Holy Spirit. I was renewed again.

A fresh touch of the Lord is what we all need from time to time- a fresh encounter with the living Lord.

If you haven’t received Jesus into your life, make that decision today. And if, like me, you’ve been walking too long since drinking the living water, take time now.

Drink from Him. Receive His love.

Thousands join outcry against NSW Premier’s religion crackdown

From Family Voice Australia:

Thousands join outcry against NSW Premier’s religion crackdown

NSW restrictions meme for website4

Pressure is building on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to end her discriminatory COVID-19 church crackdown.

Over six thousand people have signed a petition launched by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney on May 27.

Presently in NSW fifty people can meet at hospitality venues. But as few as eleven people are prohibited from meeting at a church.

“Churches have cooperated at every stage with the Government’s public health directives during this pandemic,” Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP said.

“We understand that the shutdown was necessary to flatten the curve, but it came at a cost – not only to the economy, but also to the spiritual and mental health of our people.

“They miss gathering for worship and praying in a sacred space. I am at a loss to explain to Catholics in Sydney why our reasonable requests to the government are not being granted. 

“Contrary to what has been said throughout this pandemic, we do not consider church attendance to be non-essential; indeed, nothing is more essential than the practice of our faith,” reads the petition.

“Catholics are not asking for special treatment, we are asking for equal treatment.

“This unequal treatment of religious worship leads us to ask whether the Government is listening to the concerns of Catholics and other people of faith or indifferent to the effect the closure of our churches is having on people during these difficult times.

“The freedom to practice faith is necessary for human flourishing and a great contributor to the common good.” 

FamilyVoice Australia National Director Peter Downie said, “Governments have been heavy-handed and unjust in their treatment of churches during the COVID-19 crisis.”