Written by Linda Schreurs
Linda in Paris, France
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Stand Your Ground!
- God's Compassion - by guest columnist, Mary Lou Ziebell
- WOFF update in Announcements!
STAND YOUR GROUND!
If anyone’s watching the TV series, ‘The Bible,’ you've probably been taken aback as have I, to see all the violence in the history of God’s people. Sometimes I've had to look away because I couldn't watch anymore of the atrocities, especially Herod’s killing of all the babies in Bethlehem trying to eliminate the Messiah Jesus. (Matt. 2:13-18). It was more than I could bear. It’s simply unimaginable to try to comprehend the horrendous heartbreak of such demented evil. I think I would have died of grief had I been one of those mothers or father’s whose child was butchered before their very eyes. Unfathomable!
But this is the Gospel Truth. And this is why the sacrificial Lamb of God came to sin-sick humanity to seek and save those who were/are lost to the darkness of satan's schemes of death and destruction of mind, body and spirit. (Mark 16:6; John 10)
Oh how heavenly divine is the Easter story of triumph over the prince of darkness and his cohorts! It’s imperative we drink in all its redeeming grace and glory! Let’s truly embrace the depth of the horrendous price Jesus paid for our release from eternal death and destruction. Life is short they say, and it is. What we do with the few years we have in the here and now is up to us. So how’s your life going these days? Are you living for God, or for yourself? Are you enjoying your freedom from sin because of His sacrifice, or are you yet entangled in compromised or dark behaviors that in an instant, should you die - would put you right in the place where satan’s abode is? Are you walking the talk, or just talking the walk with no power, no advancement, no victories? Time is indeed precious as I’ve been taking note having lost loved ones these past few months. One day can change everything. If you were to die today, where would your spirit go? What would you leave behind – warm, wonderful memories, or unresolved heartaches, pain and sorrows? Up to this date in time, have you and I done everything possible to do God’s will?
The fact of the matter is, once we’re born into this earthly realm, we have not only a body of flesh, but an eternal soul. The flesh will eventually die, but the soul will live on into eternity in heaven or hell. God’s Word declares in John 3, ‘flesh gives birth to flesh, spirit gives birth to spirit.’ We get to choose one or the other. Once dead, your choice is over! Know exactly what you need to know to inherit eternal life just as the young, rich ruler asked Jesus in Mark 10. (See also Luke 16:19-31 where there is a great chasm that is fixed between the two realms and one cannot cross over to the other!)
A price to pay
In ‘The Bible’ series TV show, we’ve seen the costly price of being a follower of God Most High. It’s not all peaches and cream, is it? Where do you stand? On shaky ground or solid ground? Even though our human nature seeks the path of least resistance, nevertheless the rewards for always believing, always pursuing, always worshipping and praising God no matter the circumstances, have enormously profound, everlasting rewards! And for that reason, the fight is worth it! This simple earthly air we breathe that’s keeping us alive on this side of the veil is so transient it’s not even comparable to the eternal, celestial air of God’s Throne Room and heaven’s uneclipsed splendor! Isn’t the day-to- day struggle you’re having now worth it all? Isn’t Messiah Jesus worth it all? He gave His life for all who would ‘taste and see’ that He is oh so good! (Ps. 34:8)
Life in the Lord Jesus is both a trial and a triumph. As my husband and I have been watching The Bible series, it’s plain to see these two dichotomies interplay. If one reads the book of Hebrews chapter 11, it shows this quite clearly. Therein are the heroes of the faith who never faltered in spite of devastating threats against their livelihood, their families or their very lives. Most certainly, some were spared, some were not. Only God knows the answers to the ‘whys’ of which ending each one experienced. It’s the same for us. The point is, will we give way to the tormentor of our souls, or to the one who saves it for all eternity? Are we willing to endure this ‘momentary affliction’ for the astounding, everlasting glory with God in heaven? The Bible, God’s holy, wonderful Word, assures us in 2 Cor. 2:17 that, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (My emphasis)
I confess I’m weak flesh and am afraid of suffering because I’m a ‘cushioned’ believer not having experienced the kinds of persecution these Biblical characters went through. And yet, dear American believers, we have brothers and sisters around the world who indeed are being martyred for their faith. If anyone of you receives the magazine, ‘Voice of the Martyrs’ you know what I’m talking about. It is a very real threat in the times in which we live.
Recently, our IWG Women of Fire Fellowship (WOFF) met for a ‘pizza & popcorn Movie Night’ for fun and fellowship. We watched the Joan of Arc movie. Most of you know her story of how she was burned alive at the stake (by the church) for being a so-called heretic and witch for ‘hearing the Voice of God’! Unfortunately, the church can be both a blessing and a curse if it’s not in proper alignment with the Word of God. Remember, Jesus was put to death by the leaders of the Temple. (More on that in a moment)
We came away with sobering thoughts of just how far we personally would, or could, go with our Christian beliefs if being threatened with confiscation of our property, violence, torture or even death. How would we measure up? What price are we truly willing to pay to walk the talk, to stay the course, to not hold anything back from our Holy Beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? I believe we may be inching ever closer to these kinds of situations in America. In my book, Armageddon Bride, I wrote of the slow progression of how the Holocaust of the Jews began with economic persecution. They were given arm bands to wear so that no one could buy or sell from them. This is still possible in the world today – and is in fact, in some Muslim nations. (See Rev. 13:11-18) You should get the book and read it!
I love reading the magazine, ‘Decision,’ from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Reverend Graham is certainly one of the most respected and renowned Christian leaders of our day. He states over and over again how alarmed and concerned he is over how much of the church today has compromised its teachings and values, becoming lukewarm in today’s society because of the lack of strong Biblical truth being taught. Perhaps some of you saw his one page ad in many newspapers across the country just before the presidential elections of last November pleading for believers to vote their godly values. Did we?
Billy’s son, Franklin Graham, states it emphatically in the December 2012 issue with an article titled, ‘America the Troubled.’ I quote him here: “It’s going to be hard in the days and years to come, but believers in Jesus Christ must continue to take a bold stand for the Gospel. We may think of missions as reaching countries abroad, but the truth is that our country is now a mission field.” The magazine also reports how some Christian enterprises are being fined for not following government mandates that violate their faith. Hobby Lobby being one of those. (Decision Magazine 12/12)
Speaking again about the waywardness of some churches as an example, and this is only one – unfortunately, there are many…the Green Street Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina announced recently that it will no longer conduct wedding ceremonies until its pastors are allowed to marry same-sex couples. Apparently they do not adhere to Biblical teaching which is quite clear, nor do they heed Jesus’ own words in Matthew 19:4-6 and in many other places in scripture like Genesis 19, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10 to name a few. I wrote of these things in my book, Armageddon Bride. They are echoing satan’s words from Genesis 3 when he said to Adam and Eve ‘you shall not die’ insinuating God lied or did not really mean what He said. They lost paradise! So beware true followers of the Lord Jesus. Persecution is coming and it’s going to come from both sides – the lukewarm, compromising, politically correct religious establishment and the government itself. Christians are called to be biblically correct, not politically correct – in love. Read Revelation chapters 1-3 for the Lord’s message to the churches in the End Times!
The Power of One
History is full of the power of ‘one.’ One soul, one person, an individual who was committed to a cause who was willing to go against all odds for their beliefs and change the world. Again, looking at the TV show, ‘The Bible,’ one of the best lines was when Peter, after catching a multitude of fish asked Jesus if he followed him, what would they do? Jesus responds, “We’re going to change the world.” My husband and I looked at each other and said, “Yes!”
I thought of Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-nego, three individual guys who each decided ‘let it be known that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image.’ The threat of being thrown into a fiery furnace did not deter them and they not only did not get burned up, they didn’t even smell like smoke when they came out! (Daniel 3) Their friend, Daniel was thrown in a lion’s den to be devoured because he too would not bow to any other god and he was spared. (Daniel 6) I thought of Joan of Arc again and how she stood her ground – literally under fire. I thought of John the Baptist, beheaded, because he declared the Lamb of God’s presence. And what about Esther who was willing to die for her entire nation?! Many of these precious souls died, many were spared. Only God knows the reason. But scripture declares in Hebrews 11:38 that these mighty ‘ones’ were those “of whom the world was not worthy.” We’re not after the world’s favor, but the favor of the Lord Jesus Christ!
There are thousands upon thousands of those who stood alone in their beliefs against all odds. Will we?
We’ve come to another time in history where things are being shaken, possibly as a precursor for the coming of the Lord. As with the Apostles in the book of Acts, who were under constant threat, and most were martyred in the end, they declared they could not stop speaking about the Lord. Remember how amazing it was that Jesus prophesies His resurrection from the dead – and then He does it! Like them, I couldn’t stop talking about it either! Acts 4:20 “For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” The fact that they had been with Jesus was evident in their determination to give honor and glory to Him at all costs, at all times, for all eternity! What does our life reflect? Can people see that we’ve been in the Presence of Jesus? (Acts 4:13)
Let’s be filled to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit and speak with boldness in our own society no matter the cost. It’s time we answer the question, “Am I willing to be ‘that one’ for the Lord Jesus Christ? Our heart, our life, and time - will tell.
By Guest Columnist: Mary Lou Ziebell
The above picture was taken of Mary Lou and I at a train station on our couples’ ‘trip of a lifetime’ to Europe and Israel last fall. Mary Lou and her husband, Steve, have been longtime friends of Mike and I and are on our ministry board. They have been married for 38 years and have two sons. Mary Lou has worked with children in a number of capacities, including care of children with special emotional needs and had a lifetime career in public school teaching. She is currently retired and serves in several local ministries.
Recently God reminded me of a vision He gave me when I felt the need for comfort and compassion from Him. He showed me sitting on His lap on the Throne. I was leaning my head against His breast listening to the soothing beating of His heart. The rest and peace I received from Him soothed me as I lie in His soft, loving embrace and felt His breath on my face.
A few days later I heard Him ask me to read a Psalm as if He was saying it directly to me. I will give you an example from Psalm 61.
He spoke to my heart saying: "I hear your cry and listen to your prayer. You can cry from any end of the earth and I will hear you. I will comfort your weary and overwhelmed heart. I will lead you to My towering rock of safety. I am your safe refuge; a fortress where your enemies cannot find you.
I want you to live with Me forever in My sanctuary safe beneath the shelter of My wings. I have heard your vow to praise Me every day. I have an inheritance reserved for all those who fear and reverence My name. I will add many years to your life that your life will be richly blessed and will span many generations. Live for Me that you may forever reign under My protection and in My presence.
I will appoint My unfailing loving-kindness and truth to watch over you. I love to hear your constant songs of praise to Me fulfilling your vow to praise Me daily."
I find almost every psalm can be spoken from God's perspective as He wants to communicate His vast love and protection for us.
Romans 8:38-39 - For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
Blessings upon you as you draw deeper into the very heart of God.
Women of Fire Fellowship – The last meeting for the season will be Saturday at 10 AM on April 20 at the Strategic America offices, 6600 Westown Pky., West Des Moines, IA 50266. Register online at: www.intimacy-with-God.com or call Linda at 515-270-0231. Each WOFF meeting has been filled with a ‘high level, governmental briefing from God’s Throne Room,’ followed by teaching, prayer and impartation. Don’t miss this last one for the season. Become a part of the army of fiery, passionate, anointed women the Lord is raising up in these strategic times in which we live. (No class on 4/6 due to the Solitude Retreat) We’ll begin again in the fall.
Women’s Hermitage - Sept. 26-29, 2013. (3 nights/4 days; $55 per night plus traveling expenses and some food). More information with registration. Very limited room, so contact Linda quickly to reserve your beautiful, one-room cabin at LindaSchreurs@intimacy-with-God.com or call 515-270-0231.
Linda’s Books and CD’s can be viewed and purchased on the website or ordered directly from the address below.
Intimacy With God Ministries
Mike and Linda Schreurs, P.O. Box 1294, Johnston, Ia. 50131-1294, Phone: 515-270-0231
E-mail: LindaSchreurs@intimacy-with-God.com Web site: www.intimacy-with-God.com
*All gifts tax deductible. *Member of Morning Star Fellowship of Ministries, Charlotte, NC