Put on Your Royal Robes

Day Twenty

Tomorrow is the last day of my fast.  My answer is coming!  While praying this morning the Lord said to me: “Put on your royal robes.”  He didn’t tell me what that meant, so I looked up the words “royal robes” in the Bible to see if the term had some kind of significance.

One thing I noticed is the contrast between the first and last mention of royal robes:

1 Samuel 19:24 (Amp) – He took off his royal robes and prophesied before Samuel and lay down stripped thus all that day and night. So they say, Is Saul also among the prophets? (emphasis mine).

Acts 12:20-22 – On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man,” (emphasis mine).

Saul took off his royal robes to prophesy, and Herod put his royal robes on.  Herod didn’t stop the people from worshiping him, and pride made God strike him down.  Saul humbled himself and that allowed him to be used of the Holy Spirit, flawed as he was.  Now, I’m pretty sure that God wasn’t telling me to put on my royal robes and get all prideful.

In the next 2 instances of royal robes (both are accounts of the same story), wicked King Ahab tells Jehoshaphat that he is going into battle in disguise, but instructs Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes in battle (1 Kings 22:30 & 2 Chronicles 18:29).  Ahab was thinking that the enemy would surely target the man in the royal robes.  But instead of being safe in disguise, a random arrow fatally wounded Ahab, while Jehoshaphat was left untouched.  So Ahab had thought to hide his royalty and be safe.  Earlier in those same chapters, the 2 kings were dressed in their royal robes listening to false prophets prophesy about the upcoming battle against the king of Aram, and even the true prophet had been instructed by the Lord to prophesy falsely, and so entice Ahab to his death in battle.  This was probably what motived Ahab to go into battle disguised.

But what does this story say to me about putting on my royal robes?  I think it says to be true to who I am.

In the next 2 passages, Ezekiel 26:16 (The Message) and Jonah 3:6, the kings take off their royal robes at bad news or in repentance.  Again this is a theme of humbling oneself by removing the royal robes.

But here’s the passage that speaks to me:  Esther 5:1: “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance,” (emphasis mine).  Esther put on her royal robes to go and intercede on behalf of the Jews—at a very real risk of death.  I believe that what God is telling me is to put on my royal robes (be aware of my position and authority) and intercede for my people.  And who are my people?  My people are the missionaries and pastors I serve here in Europe and the lost people of Europe.

So, there it is, put on your royal robes and intercede for your people—and I will.  God is good!

Heaven’s Response

Day Twelve

I had a pretty rough day yesterday.  I was not feeling good, having slept little.  By evening I began to feel truly wretched from lack of sleep and weakened from fasting.  So last night (really early this morning) I found myself preyed upon again by the enemy, attacking me with a migraine.

Peter was right when he said: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” (I Peter 5:8).  If you’ve ever watched nature shows, lions are opportunistic.  They hunt the young, the weak, the crippled, and any prey that have strayed from the fold.  The majestic males leave the hard work to the females, then bully them away from the best parts of the kill.  King of the beasts?  Hardly!  Lions are lazy, proud, bad-tempered, and opportunistic.

Just like a lion, the enemy attacked me when I was at my weakest: asleep.  In fact, that’s when these attacks usually have occurred.  So still desperately needing sleep, I woke up with a raging headache.  Usually I can pray these attacks away in an hour, but I was so weakened and in such pain that all I could manage was a wordless plea to God.

The pain subsided and in came His voice: “You’ve got to fight the enemy.  Fight with all the love in your heart.”  Immediately, I understood that when the pain is so bad, I have always longed for death’s release.  But instead what I got was Heaven’s response.  I understood that fighting with all the love in my heart means fighting for the love of my children and my grandson, fighting for the love of the missionaries that I’m here to serve, fighting for the love of Europe and her lost people.  Most of all, fight for the love of my Savior, who called me from the womb, and has a plan for my life.

When I thought about these people I love, the passion for them made my heart burn and suddenly all weakness was gone.  I stood up.  I took authority and told the enemy to get out of my house in Jesus’ name.  Then I started to praise my God—the best release for this kind of burning passion.

After a little while I returned to bed and slept.  This morning I awoke feeling much better.  The time I spent in prayer was delightful, and I didn’t want to stop.

I have heard many Christians say how tired they are of always engaging in battle.  Well, that’s life!  We live in a battlefield, like it or not.  We ignore that fact to our very great peril.  The good news is this: if we fight, we cannot possibly lose.  We are fighting a winning battle in a war that has already been won.  And the only thing we are told to do is to stand.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people, Ephesians 6:10-18 (emphasis mine).

Stand, fight with all the love in your heart, and win!  God is good!

Dream Big!

Day Eight

After writing about all my devil dreams, I didn’t want to leave the impression that I only dream about the devil or even mostly dream about the devil—nothing of the sort!  I dream God dreams all the time.  In fact, so many that sometimes I am in danger of forgetting them.

In my book, Laughing in My Dreams © 2012 Alisa K. Brown, www.lulu.com, I told about some of my dream confirmations about getting this apartment, but I had forgotten to write about one dream that was particularly beautiful.

The dream came in 2 parts.  In the first part I was on a bus with Giulietta, the wife of the Music Pastor at my Italian church.  Giulietta is a professional dancer, and dances mostly modern dance and ballet.  So, Giulietta and I were on a bus, going to see my apartment (which I was fasting and praying to get).  The bus was filled with people from church.  Elisa said, “The Lord will give you every place where you put your feet.”

When we got to the door of the apartment I woke up.  I started praying, thanking God for my apartment, and fell asleep again.  The dream continued right from where it had left off.

The bus arrived in front of the apartment—and there is a bus that passes right in front of the apartment, for real, though it stops in the next block.  We went inside and immediately Giulietta started praying in Hebrew.  Her prayer became a song, and although I don’t understand Hebrew, I recognized that it was a song of conquest and victory.  As Elisa sang everybody began to dance, touching all the walls, the windows, the doors, the furniture, etc. (even though it was an unfurnished apartment, it has furniture in my dream).  Then one after another, the people left, and finally Giulietta left, too, and I was alone in my apartment.

This dream came when I needed reassurance that I was on the right track.  Of the people who knew that I was fasting and praying for this particular apartment, only Bethany was truly supportive.  The rest would try gently to persuade me that I should probably look for an apartment in a less expensive part of town.  But not long after this dream, I had a breakthrough.  And now I am in the apartment.

Now, while I am fasting and praying for understand for End Times strategies and preparation, I know that I am on the right track.  Breakthrough is coming.

This morning I got on the bus to go to church, and the bus got about 10 blocks from home, stopped and had everyone get off because the Stramilano marathon was blocking the bus route.  The driver then turned the bus around and went back the way we had come.  I went to the tram stop, but the tram was also blocked.  So I went back to the train station about 5 blocks away.  But by the time I got there I was so exhausted and weak (fasting and physical exertion do not go together!) that I decided just to go home and pray instead.

There is a beautiful golden church at the end of my block, and just as I got to the corner, I stopped.  There was procession of 4 priests and 2 altar boys carrying gold crosses and incense censers, and maybe 4 parishioners with olive branches in their hands.  I watched as they crossed the street toward me.  I had forgotten that it was Palm Sunday today.  (In Italy, they use olive branches instead of palm fronds.)

In my prayer time, I felt such a strong presence of God that I hadn’t felt in a long time.  An hour passed very quickly, then another.  We didn’t spend a lot of time speaking to each other, we just embraced and cuddled.  It was really wonderful.

I’m not advocating skipping church, and I’ll go to an afternoon service in a little while.  But God is willing to meet you whenever and wherever you seek Him.  He might even send a procession to meet you!  God is good!

Defining the Gift

Day Two

This is my 2nd day of a 21 day fast for understanding the things to come.  Like Daniel in chapter 10, I have “set [my] mind to gain understanding and to humble [myself] before God,” (Daniel 10:12).  Most Christians agree that we are living in the End Times.  Jesus is coming soon to Rapture His Church, and many terrible things will follow, including the final war, usually called Armageddon (although in the Bible, the name actually refers to a place, not an event).  However, there are probably things that we need to do to prepare for those terrible times.

I want to make it very clear that I am not asking God to reveal to me when the Rapture will be.  Jesus said that only the Father knows the day and the hour.  The angels don’t know, and even Jesus, Himself, doesn’t know (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32).  If the Father isn’t revealing that to Jesus, then it’s for sure that He won’t tell me.

What I want is to understand what is coming and how to help God’s people prepare for it.

This morning as I was praying and contemplating my role, the Holy Spirit reminded me of my main spiritual gift: Encouragements.  In the King James Version, the gift is called Exhortation.  The Spirit urged me to consider the difference between the 2 words: encouragement and exhortation.

So I looked it up in the online dictionary.

Encourage:

  1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten
  2. to attempt to persuade : urge
    1. to spur on : stimulate
  3. to give help or patronage to : foster

Exhort:

  1. to incite by argument or advice : urge strongly
  2. to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals

Then I got curious about the original language: Greek.  In the Greek, the word is paraklesis.  Paraklesis is from the root parakletos, the word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit, and translated as comforter.  That discovery is very encouraging to me.  I love the thought that my spiritual gift is much like the Holy Spirit, Himself.

Paraklesis:

  1. a calling near, summons (esp. for help), importation, supplication, entreaty
  2. exhortation, admonition, encouragement
  3. consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment—thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)
  4. persuasive discourse, stirring address, instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse

In contrasting these definitions, it seems that encouragement is too soft.  It seems to imply jollying-along someone who is depressed or unhappy.  But exhortation seems too hard and cold, almost like how a teacher talks to a lazy student.  Paraklesis is precisely what I do, which includes both encouraging and exhorting, and also refreshing and comforting.

C. Peter Wagner defines the spiritual gift of exhortation as frequently being part of the pastor’s gift mix:

The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel to other members of the Body in such a way that they feel helped and healed.  “Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow” © 1979, 1994 C. Peter Wagner, Regal Books.

Now, having defined and contrasted the definitions, I understand at least 1 thing: this time of fasting and praying for understanding is important for helping the missionaries and pastors of Europe that God puts into my path (and others who will read it on my blog or in my next book).  God is good!

Fast and Pray for The Answers

Day One

I have always had a fascination with End Times prophecies.  It’s an interesting subject.  I read the Left Behind series by Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye, and the Christ Clone Trilogy written by James BeauSeigneur.  Both are interesting and well-researched, but regarding the Rapture, I think both are wrong.

Left Behind has people being Raptured out of their clothing.  The Bible tells about 2 people who were Raptured:  Enoch and Elijah.  Neither of them was Raptured out of their clothing, though Elijah’s mantle fell from him.  What about the rest of his clothing?  Surely Elijah was wearing more than just his mantle (or coat).  I believe that Elijah’s mantle was left as a sign of the double portion of Elijah’s anointing having passed to Elisha.  What happened to their clothing, and what will happen to ours in the Rapture?  I believe that just as our physical bodies will be transformed into spiritual bodies, so our clothing will be transformed into new clothing.  Is anything too hard for God?

While we’re on the subject of physical transformations at the resurrection: it’s silly to think that God can only resurrect a body that has been buried and preserved whole.  Lots of people shun cremation, believing that God can’t or won’t resurrect a body from ashes (scattered or not).  Absurd!  What about all the Christian martyrs whose bodies were eaten (and pooped-out) by lions?  Do they think that God just throws up His hands and says, “They should have been buried whole.  There’s nothing I can do!”?  Or what about the Christian martyrs that were burned at the stake?  What about Christians that drown at sea?  Or Christians blown up by bomb attacks?  Or beheaded, with their heads separated from their bodies, like John the Baptist?  Ridiculous!  They think that God, who made the human body in the first place—made a man out of dirt and made a woman out of a rib, can’t resurrect a body that’s not preserved whole.

All the dead in Christ worldwide will be resurrected and raptured in the twinkling of an eye.  God, who can do that, can also recover bodies and missing body parts from ashes and dust.  The problem is that many people (maybe even most people) have an idea of God that’s way too small.

I even had a funeral director dig my father’s grave in the wrong place, despite my very clear instructions.  She said that the reason was so that when Jesus comes to raise the dead, my father (and eventually, though she still lives) my mother will be raised standing just as they stood at their wedding: he to her right.  Poor Mom was very upset when she saw that the grave had been dug in the wrong place.  I told the funeral director that it is utter nonsense.  Jesus clearly says that in the resurrection there is no marriage (Matthew 22:30).  I told her to fill-in that hole and bury my father where I had told her to dig.

The Christ Clone Trilogy has a different error.  In the Rapture, it has all the Christians being found suddenly dead.  Again, Enoch and Elijah did not leave their bodies behind.  If they had, then they would have been counted as dead like all the rest that had gone before them.  In Elijah’s case, 2 Kings 2:11 (and following) would also contain an account of Elisha burying Elijah’s body.

A lot of conflicting theories about the End Times are circulating on the internet, and I realized that it would be useful to know what’s true and what is erroneous speculation, like the aforementioned Rapture errors.  When I prayed about it, the Holy Spirit reminded me that Daniel asked these same questions, praying and fasting for the answer (Daniel 10).  So today I am starting a fast to understand the true End Times answers.

One thing I want to make clear: I am not asking God when Jesus will come to Rapture the Church away.  Jesus said that only the Father knows, not the angels and not even the Son knows (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32).  So to ask God to reveal something to me that He is keeping even from Jesus is pointless.  It blows my mind that some people think they have that revelation, when the Bible is so clear about it—and somehow they convince others, too!

Here in my blog I will keep a diary of the progression toward understanding the End Times.  You’re welcome to join me in fasting and praying for the important answers to these questions.  Please let me know anything that God reveals to you.

Blessings to all of you!  God is good!