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Here is the Hope You Need To Stand

In the days that Isaiah prophesied to Judah, Judah's king, Ahaz, was in a sweat because of the animosity of two neighboring kingdoms. These two kings had joined forces to wipe out the king of Judah and replace him with their puppet. Things looked very bleak for Judah, but the word of the Lord from Isaiah was,

"It won't arise, it won't happen." Isaiah 7:7

On the day that our national media announced the completion of the 2020 election coup, that Joe Biden would become our next President, I was angry, grieved, and frightened. As I recall, it was on a Saturday, and my family and I had spent the evening visiting with relatives. As we drove home, a wave of despair came over me but almost as quickly as it came, it was chased away by the thought, "It's not true. Things are not as they appear." I was immediately comforted. Was this a prophetic word from the Lord?

The world is full of prophets, and most of the public ones are not legitimate. Nevertheless, I do believe that the Holy Spirit gifts prophecy to some of God's children. Many people have told me that I am a prophet, not because I have the gift of foresight but because I see things in black and white terms. This black and white vision is one of the qualities of a prophet, but what people usually expect is for a prophet to predict the future. I have never predicted the future in some sort of revelatory sense. I have indicated the future based upon discernment and logic, but never, to my recollection, through direct revelation. Nevertheless, I believe that God spoke to me on the particular occasion mentioned above. "It's not true," God said, "Things are not as they appear."

We are in a moment of history when a spirit of treachery and evil has risen to enormous heights. It is like a flood reaching to the neck. The situation is mortally desperate. Someone recently asked me what I thought was happening in the world at present. My general answer is this: China, world banks, and secret-society satanist groups are attempting a world coup. That's all. No biggie. It's only world domination at stake.

On a more local level, King Ahaz, the King of Judah during the prophetic ministry of Isaiah, experienced the same mortal circumstances when two kings joined forces to attack him. Ahaz was woefully outnumbered and vulnerable. Ahaz was not a great king nor a great man of faith. Nevertheless, the word of God to Ahaz and Israel for that time was mercy.

"It won't arise, it won't happen," God said.

Governments persecute Christians around the world, but there are seasons of reprieve and seasons of suffering. Only the Holy Spirit knows when season awaits us. Many Christian could testify to the Holy Spirit's preparation for the coming seasons. I believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to us today if we take the time to listen.

God tried to work with Ahaz during Isaiah's time and to take him into His council, but Ahaz had no faith at all:

"Yahweh spoke to Ahaz: 'Ask for yourself a sign from Yahweh your God. Make it deep, to Sheol, or make it lofty, to the heights.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, I won't test Yahweh.'" Isaiah 7:10-12

God was not impressed with Ahaz's pious pretense: "Is it too small for you, wearying human beings, that you weary my God as well? Therefore the Lord—He will give you a sign. There—a girl will become pregnant, and she's going to give birth to a son, and she'll name him Immanu El [God is with us]...before the boy knows how to reject the bad and choose the good, the land whose two kings you're dismayed at will be abandoned." Isaiah 7:13-14,16

Are we any more capable than Ahaz of receiving a good word from the Lord? There are many times when Christians mistake cynicism for wisdom. We often behave as if "wisdom" equals having no hope for this world. How easily we forget that God loved this world so much that He died to save it! Yes, Jesus said, "In this world, you will have tribulation," but he also said, "cheer up! I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33)

What should we, as Christians, expect to experience in the world? Persecution? Without a doubt, yes. But should we only expect to experience persecution? Not at all.

What did Jesus do and say during the time recorded in the Gospels? When Peter's mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever? Did Jesus remind Peter that we "live in a fallen world" and everyone who believes in him would be healthy in heaven one day? No! Jesus healed Peter's mother immediately.

When John the Baptist was rotting away in prison, he wondered out loud whether he was right about the "good news" he proclaimed concerning Jesus. If the kingdom of God had truly arrived as he claimed, why was he suffering in prison? Jesus did not say that John should have expected to suffer and shouldn't hope in this life. Instead, Jesus emphatically assured John, despite the evil that still takes place in the world, the Kingdom of God has come as evidenced by the good things taking place: healings, exorcisms, and hope for the poor. (Matthew 11:2-6)

So, I put this question to you: is it Christian faith that makes us expect only the worst until we get to heaven, or does the Gospel present us with reason to hope for good things in this life too?

The scriptures teach that we are to expect persecution but also that we should expect answers to prayer. We might experience good days or evil days. Anything awaits us in the immediate future. So, the question is: in what kind of days are we living? We cannot answer this question through a theological formula or a concordance of the scriptures. Despite what many people say, the scriptures do not teach us what, specifically, to expect in our days on earth. But the scriptures do teach us:

1. To hope (love always hopes).

2. To believe that God has already won by raising Jesus from the dead.

3. To believe that Jesus already claims ALL authority in heaven and on earth.

4. To believe that the Holy Spirit is real and dwells among God's people enabling the gifts of healing, miracles, and yes, prophecy.

What is God saying about these days? The Holy Spirit knows and shares His knowledge with His people. We certainly can miss what the Holy Spirit is saying. Also, if we are not careful, we can easily claim that the Holy Spirit is saying precisely what we want Him to say. What we need is emotional and intellectual honesty along with a good dose of humility. But cynicism is a hindrance, not a tool for discerning the word of the Lord. Let us not be like Ahaz, who lacked the faith to receive a word from the Lord. Isaiah warned Ahaz, saying,

"If you don't stand firm in trust, indeed, you will not stand at all." Isaiah 7:9

Cynicism does not produce courage. Hope produces courage.

Am I saying that you must believe that my hopeful estimation of what God is saying in our day is correct? Not at all. But I am saying that you must take encouraging words into account and resist the urge to rain on everyone's party. It is more Christian to hope than to sneer. At some point, you must make decisions about how you will act and react to the events of your day. Your relationship with the Holy Spirit and your understanding of God and the Gospel will determine your reactions. At the end of Isaiah's day, the hopeful word of the Lord proved true for Isaiah: "His name shall be Immanu El [God is with us]." A child was born in the community, and before that child was a toddler, eating big-kid food, the kings Ahaz feared were gone, and Israel was still standing. This profound turn of events was evidence to Isaiah and the community of Israel that God was truly among them, protecting them and speaking to them. Isaiah's claim was Gospel truth and would eventually turn into THE Gospel truth when the Holy Spirit applied Isaiah's ancient prophecy once again to the birth of Jesus. His name shall be called "God with us." And if God is for us, who can be against us?

America is not lost forever but will return! Better days are ahead. Even, I daresay, revival is ahead. I believe that this is the Word of the Lord. But even if I am wrong about the specifics of the future, I am not wrong to say that you must have hope. Jesus is alive and active. His words are sharper than any two-edged sword. His authority is absolute, and His victory is complete. Because of these things, we must have hope. Our faith demands it. If you do not believe, you will not stand.

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