This is an unprecedented year. What is God saying and doing in the midst of this pandemic? Was God saying anything ahead of time, that can help us know how to posture our hearts and lives in the midst of these uncertain times? Below is a word that the Lord spoke to me at that beginning of this year, that I am feeling led to share now… to see God strengthen what He is doing right now.
A Year of War
On New Years day (January 1, 2020) I was originally supposed to go to a new years dinner with my family when I felt the Lord drawing me to pray and spend time with Him instead of going to the dinner. While I was praying that day, the word “war” dropped into my spirit. I resisted the word at first, because that word has a negative connotation to it. After praying and asking the Lord what He was saying, it was clear to me that the He was highlighting that it’s going to be a year of war, where we were going to have to war at a higher level in prayer. I specifically felt that the Lord was wanting me to fight for family/friends and relationships this year, to provide more prayer covering and protection and to pray for family that was on the outskirts of God’s will… to war for them.
I could tell that there was more the Lord was wanting to speak and that I did not have all the details of everything He was trying to say, but I knew that I was to be ready to engage in battle this year.
God gave more clarity during our Sunday service through Pastor Tim Sheet’s sermon on January 12th 2020 (video sermon here). I couldn’t believe it when I heard him preach on the subject of being a good solider and that we are in a war … that we are in one of the most strategic years of our lifetime… that we are in a war… that we have to endure hardship as a good solider… that we have to fight to overcome, to fight the good fight of faith, that we are called to be warriors not of this world, and that we must use our weapons in moments of spiritual battle.
I think there are many practical applications of what it looks like to use our weapons for spiritual battle… but the one area that the Lord has given me a burden for, is to take authority over premature death and not seeing the enemy take people before their time.
On January 14th I began experiencing what I call a “future presence”…. where my spirit begins to experience something that is coming, where it was a warning, and where I knew by the spirit that someone might be close to passing away in my family. In my spirit, heart and emotions it was like it had already happened… but I knew that it was a type of intercession…. and since God revealed it is for the sole purpose of taking authority and canceling the plans of the enemy to takes someone’s life prematurely. So I began praying for all my family/friends and taking authority over premature death. (I didn’t know at the time, but that same day one of my family members was experiencing chest pains that day. They were having a hard time believing anything was wrong, but that next morning they went to the emergency room to get checked out. They found out their blood pressure was high and so they found 2 major blockages that required stints…. and they had gone in time before things got worse.)
I believe this is just one of the many, many ways in which we need to war this year… standing in the gap for family/friends, to prevent unnecessary and premature loss of life or loss of destiny.
Going to the Next Level
For over a year now, I have felt the Lord highlight, that its time for many in the Body of Christ to begin preparing at level of intensity that mirrors that of the Olympics, a spiritual Olympics if you will. If we could see eternity and understand Gods greatness along with the authority we have been given access to walk in… our pursuit of the Lord and the level of discipline in every area of our lives would take dramatic leaps, and we would live as Olympians in the spirit, with increasingly incredible discipline in every area of our lives.
On Saturday January 11th I felt this theme of preparing for the spiritual Olympics rising up in my heart again and could sense the Lord pushing me that it was time to get ready like I have never before, to begin preparing for this spiritual Olympics. And in practical application I knew that the Lord was saying its time to raise the standard in every area in my life… spiritually, professionally, financially, in my health, in my relationships, etc. I knew that in order to get to the next level, I was going to need help. I also felt like if I were to show up to the Olympics this year, I wouldnt make the cut and that I needed one more year to finish preparing.
Olympians are able to achieve amazing and what seems like superhuman results because they also have a coach training them, pushing them, giving them feedback, telling them not to give up and encouraging them each step of the way. And so for the first time in my life on Saturday January 11th I found and hired a professional coach, someone who could help push me to go to the next level in many areas of my life.
And then that next day at Oasis, I was blown away to hear Pastor Tim Sheets talk about going to the next level… As we begin a new year I hear that challenge of the Holy Spirit saying don’t lower the bar, don’t lower the standard, raise the bar. We must raise the standard. We got to go to a higher level of genuine Christianity.… be a complete role model of what Christianity is, so that others can follow your pattern. The church is in desperate need today to see people live Christianity as role models… who don’t fake it, who demonstrate it, with dedication for the prize of the high calling of Jesus. Role models of passionate believers.
My heart and spirit was especially standing at attention when Pastor Tim referenced the Olympics about going up a notch and incrementally raising the bar. When I heard Pastor Tim say that, I was like… ok, God is 1000% speaking here. I just spent my Saturday thinking about preparing for the spiritual Olympics, that I needed another year to prepare…. and hiring a coach to take me to the next level… and here we are at Oasis with Pastor Tim preaching about going up a notch and raising the bar in our lives!! —— (February 10, 2020) ——
April 4, 2020
Fast forwarding to today April 4, 2020… where we hear the language used by President Trump and in the news that we are in a war, fighting an invisible enemy. Where they are even referring to the president as a war-time president, enacting things like the Defense Production Act. We are truly in a war, and so many lives are at stake.
Today I was especially burdened when I saw the title of this article from April 1, saying…
“Coronavirus could kill more Americans than WWI, Vietnam or Korean wars, White House projection shows.” COVID-19 could end up killing more Americans this year than some wars waged by the United States, including the Vietnam and Korean conflicts, and World War I, White House estimates indicate (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/01/coronavirus-could-kill-more-americans-than-some-wars.html).
While reading this article my heart has become even more burdened. More than ever our prayers, even if they don’t feel that powerful, could very well mean the difference between life and death. Lives are very much hanging in the balance. What we do matters right now. It will have eternal impact. People really need hope and answers right now. Not only is there the danger of the loss of life, but millions of people are loosing their jobs, and the economy is on the edge. Domestic abuse, drug/alcohol abuse is increasing, and we are at risk of seeing suicide rates increasing.
But I believe God is positioning the body of Christ to enter into its finest hour… taking what should be hopeless… and turning it into lives filled with incredible hope. God reveals things ahead of time, so that we can be strong, ready and fully awake to help people in their hour of need. Our acts of kindness during this time, could be that brief strategic moment where people’s heart will open up to God, to give them the hope and strength to endure. God wants to show up and intervene in countless ways right now… and He is ready to use each one of us, in both small and big ways.