Thursday, February 22, 2018

A New Era In Evangelism


There is a fasting and prayer conference occurring in Washington, D.C. this week (Feb 22-24). Multitudes of Christians are praying for our nation, the church, for a new Jesus Movement, and also praying in behalf of the millions of unborn babies that are being murdered in the womb through abortion.
In response to the passing of Billy Graham, whose death came the day before the prayer conference in Washington, and in praying for the prayer objectives of the conference, my wife Laurel felt a strong sense of the Lord speaking to her the word given below.

A prophetic word from Laurel Long.
February 21, 2018
This is what the Holy Spirit spoke to me.
"It is not insignificant that my faithful servant Billy Graham passed away a day before this conference and the call for a 40 day fast. The church has been held in the grip of evangelicalism. Today I will usher in a new era of church history. I will raise up a new generation of evangelists like Phillip (Acts 8:5-25), true evangelists who will call cities to repentance with miracles, healings, and deliverance from sorcery. Signs and wonders will be done in the name of Jesus. Apostolic teams will enter and pray for them to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Cities will be filled with the joy of the Lord; and the fear of the Lord will fall on our nation.
And 'I will do a work in your day that you would not believe it even if I told you.'”  (Habakkuk 1:5).                                                                                                                   




Monday, January 8, 2018

SPECIAL QUALITIES OF THE EFFECTIVE INTERCESSOR


This article is written for those who are called to intercession and for those who desire a deeper prayer life. The paragraphs below are just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more beneath the surface. Anyone interested in the list of Biblical references that inspired the message can email me at broblong@gmail.com.    ----Billy Long
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Special Qualities of the Effective Intercessor

HUMILITY
It takes faith and humility to be an effective intercessor. Most deep intercession takes place in the “prayer closet” and in secret rather than in the spotlight on stage. The intercessor prays “unto the Father who sees in secret and who rewards openly.” People who are self-centered or selfish or who need to receive recognition and the praises of man will have difficulty with the anonymity of being unheralded in the background. But the intercessor will have the joy of knowing he has access to the heavenly court in the Father’s presence.  

SPIRITUAL INSIGHT
Intercessors are often given insight into the spiritual realm and are thus armed for effective prayer. From their position as “watchmen on the wall” they have a view into the city (insight into the lives of those for whom they pray), and also a view of the surrounding countryside (discernment to see the approaching enemy, his snares, and schemes). Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, they are able to experience the groaning and intercession Paul speaks of in Romans 8:26 in which intercession is made according to the will and mind of God. This stands in contrast to the shallow, ineffective prayer of those who “beat the air” while missing the target.

 GODLY ATTITUDE
An intercessor must have a level of maturity that enables him to handle information in a wise and godly manner. When God gives insight, exposes issues, and entrusts a person with knowledge, that person must be able to maintain sobriety without yielding to pride or being overwhelmed by the information. Shallow, immature, or insincere Christians, when given insight, will tend to engage in gossip rather than prayer. They will criticize and condemn rather than interceding with compassion. A godly attitude is required for effective intercession.

LABOR AND TRAVAIL
Intercession involves labor. An intercessor cannot be spiritually lazy. Prayer can be a casual discussion, joyful praise, and peaceful worship, but the scripture also describes prayer as “fighting,” “wrestling,” “laboring,” and “travail.” The battle can sometimes be hard because the intercessor encounters resistance. He stands in the gap for those rushing toward disaster and oblivious to the danger. He may be praying for people who resist God in unbelief, whose walls are broken down with breaches where the enemy can enter unhindered to destroy…were it not for those prayers. The intercessor stands in the way to warn those who are speeding in the dark towards a precipice where the bridge is out. He blocks the road to prevent them from blindly falling headlong to destruction.
The intercessor’s work is sometimes hard because he is crying out to God in behalf of those who are too weak to stand up for themselves, too blind (ignorant or oblivious) to realize the danger, or too rebellious to care. Sometimes he prays for those in sin who have no desire to do the right thing.
The intercessor stands in the gap to…
1.     …prevent someone from plunging off the cliff. He stands in the gap before the person.
2.     …prevent the enemy from entering through a breach in the wall. He stands in the gap before the enemy.
3.     …prevent the wrath and judgment of God. Like Moses, he stands between God and those who would face judgment.(Ezekiel 22:30).

PERSEVERANCE
The enemy works very hard to hinder, prevent, and discourage Christians from fervent prayer. And our own flesh (human weakness) also gets in the way. That’s why Jesus told the disciples that “men ought always to pray and not to faint.” He knew we would be tempted to give up and quit. We tend to think a task is not of God unless it is easy. We are like the disciples who fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane while Jesus was in the agony of intercession. The intercessor must realize that prayer is not always goosebumps, “glory clouds” and thrills, but can also be agony, labor and warfare that require us to press in knowing that God responds to faith and importunity. Jacob wrestled through the night and told the Angel of the Lord, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Lately in my own prayer life in my desperation I have prayed, “Lord, I will not let you go unless you bless me…because I cannot go unless you bless me!”  

WHEN WE DON’T KNOW WHY
An intercessor may sometimes be led to pray when he senses something but doesn’t know what “it” is. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus told the disciples to watch and pray. They had no idea what was coming, even though He had told them. They must have seen His agony and struggle of the moment. But still they were not moved to action. They were troubled but did not understand why. They suffered with two problems that often prevent us from effective prayer: First of all, they did not feel like praying. And secondly, they did not realize the hour that was upon them. We start to pray…but suddenly we are sleepy or dull of mind. We are troubled, but still we are comfortable enough to fall asleep. Like Lot, we may walk in righteousness but in our spiritual insensitivity are oblivious to the fire that is coming. If we could see into the spiritual realm and really know the activity occurring there, we would wake up, fall on our face, and cry out to God. Thank God for the “Abrahams” who enter the council room and hear the Lord’s voice telling them the seriousness of the hour and the intensity of what lies ahead. Without Abraham’s prayers, Lot may have perished in the fire along with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:29).
The intercessor is often given prophetic insight to see into the spiritual realm and is able to pray with knowledge and understanding. But he must also be prepared for those times when Jesus tells him to “watch and pray,” but does not tell him why. Those are times when the intercessor prays in the Holy Spirit and waits before the Lord.



Thursday, December 21, 2017

HE WOULD HAVE PASSED THEM BY?

I am re-posting this article because of its encouraging insights. It deals with the significance of a "boat" and how we should face the "storm" when it seems the Lord has sent us on ahead without Him, and when it feels like the Lord is "passing us by." ---Billy Long

HE WOULD HAVE PASSED THEM BY?
1

 "Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side...Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by."    Mark 6: 45-52

“He made His disciples get into a boat.”
The “boat” is significant because it represents a context from which we can not easily escape. The disciples, on that small boat in the middle of the sea, could not simply change their minds and walk away from the problems and issues at hand. They could not escape the process; they had to ride it out. The Lord desires to work deeply and significantly in our lives, but He knows that human nature wants to run from the fire and will attempt to escape if it has the option to do so. We would rather sin than suffer, and in the crunch we seek relief rather than the purpose and glory of God. We tend to be like the Psalmist who cried out, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” It is interesting to note that a "successful" escape leads only to “wandering” and to “the wilderness.” Wandering gives the illusion of freedom, and the wilderness gives the temporary illusion of comfort, only because it is less intense than the crucible God designed for our change and growth.

This explains the boat. He places us in a class room or training context from which we can not escape, by-pass, or take the easy way out, at least not with integrity and righteousness. This is a good thing. It shows that God loves us enough to work with us in spite of ourselves.

“He made …His disciples go before Him.”
Jesus promised to go "before His sheep" when He sends them forth, but here He commands His disciples to go “before Him.” This seems to be in contrast to the promise, and when it happens to us we are tempted to feel alone and left to ourselves.
But the reality is the opposite. The psalmist, in his dark hour, feeling forgotten and forsaken, and crying out daily with sorrow in his heart, came to understand that God was actually dealing bountifully with him. Sometimes our darkest moments indicate God’s most intense presence rather than His absence. We must remember that the disciples, although in the middle of the sea in a storm at night, were not really alone. Miles away and through the darkness “Jesus saw them.” With Him there is no darkness nor distance. God may be out of our sight, but we are never out of His sight. He saw them and went straight to them. They were not ignored by God. To the contrary, the whole experience had been designed especially for them. They were getting special attention. As one story goes, we see only one set of footprints not because He is not walking with us, but because He is carrying us.

“He…would have passed them by.”
This sentence requires more discussion than can be done in this short space. It represents a principle that Christians often miss. While there is such a thing as Divine resistance which is accompanied by the absence of grace, there is also an area in our training where we encounter what appears to be Divine resistance but which is actually the Lord’s desire to stimulate us to aggressive faith and prayer, to provoke us out of passivity and apathy, and to move us to the assertive and determined action of obedient children passionate to do His will. It is a place where we work together with Him through intercession and patient endurance. How often do we let the Lord pass on by because we think that is what He wants to do? How often do we interpret His apparent reluctance as a genuine lack of interest? We think He does not want to engage us and so we back away, drop the subject, and let Him pass on by. It is clear that Jesus never intended to pass by that boat. His heart was with those men. They were the object of His special care and focus at that moment. We should take note and learn from this example.

There are other Biblical examples of God’s children pressing into Him when on the surface it appeared they were encountering resistance. The two men on the road to Emmaus constrained Jesus to stay with them when He made as though He would have left them behind and gone on further. The Canaanite woman cried out to Jesus and obtained healing for her daughter after Jesus had given her three negative (almost offensive) responses (that would have caused most of us to turn and walk away). In wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless bless me!”

I don’t fully understand this principle, but I do know that God wants us to “trouble” Him with things. Our quickness to let Him pass on by is not courtesy, but rather complacency, passivity, and spiritual laziness. Sometimes it reflects our low self-esteem. We think we are not worthy of His attention and help. But ultimately it reflects our lack of understanding of God’s love and desire to be involved in our lives.

“He made His disciples…go…to the other side”
Our destiny is the “other side,” which means we will make it through. We must not be afraid of the storm that comes on the way. Jesus will silence and still it as soon as its purpose is completed. The experience in the boat was to make them grow and to cause them to know Him at a deeper level. Peter even had the opportunity to walk on the water with Jesus at this time. So maybe our goal should be not simply to get to the other side, but to be at His side. Let’s not jump to the conclusion that the Lord does not want to be bothered, that He has better things to do. Let’s touch the hem of His garment and cry out to Him to abide with us. Let’s also cry out to Him as Peter did, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” We will find that He is not only present, but very present, "a very present help in time of trouble."

Biblical references for further study:

Mark 6: 45-52; John 10: 3-5; Luke 24: 28; Mat.15: 21-28; Gen 32: 22-32; Luke 11: 5-8; Lu 18: 1-5; Psalm 13; Matthew 14:22-32; Hebrews 10:19-23; Psalm 46:1.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

IN GOD'S HANDS

“For…you have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy.” Psalm 31: 7-8

The following paragraphs are intended to help us see that God’s hand is the undergirding “moving sidewalk” that is constantly carrying us forward in His purpose even when the enemy and circumstances try to point us in the opposite direction. Lawless hands may “grab” us, but God’s hand rules. We must see ourselves in God’s hands rather than victims of those who mistreat us.


Whose Prisoner?
“…I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you…” Ephesians 3: 1

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner….” 2 Timothy 1: 8

The apostle Paul did not take on the role of victim nor did he rail against those who placed him in chains. Focusing upon them would have depleted his spiritual life leaving him bitter and frustrated. He counted himself a "prisoner of the Lord" not of the Romans. And his enemies, without realizing it, sent him to the very city (Rome) to which Jesus had told him to go (Acts 23:11). His epistles from the Roman prison are in our Bible today and have been read by millions. Though he was bound, the word of God was not bound. His testimony is a poignant reminder that we are in the hands of God, not in the hands of those who afflict us.

Who Sent Joseph?
“But the patriarchs, being envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him.” Acts 7:9

“He [God] sent a man ---Joseph--- before them, who was sold as a slave.” Psalm 105: 17


Joseph’s brothers sold him to traders who carried him off to Egypt in chains where he served as a slave and was unjustly accused and imprisoned. His “owners” and masters controlled all the decisions for his life. They “hurt him” and had no regard for his God, yet unwittingly sent him to the very position of which God had spoken in the prophetic dreams of Joseph's youth.

“God sent me.”
“But now, do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Genesis 45: 5

Had Joseph focused on the cruel acts of his brothers and masters, he would have developed the victim mentality with all its self-centeredness, ungodly attitudes, and deficiencies of character. He would have been overwhelmed with bitterness and anger. He might have written a book with a sad ending about how he had been mistreated and sent to Egypt as a slave. He most likely would have committed adultery with Potiphar’s wife and wasted away in prison.

Joseph, however, did not focus on those who mistreated him. His business and call was higher. On the surface it appeared that his brothers in cruelty had sent him to Egypt, but the truth is that God sent him to save his family and a nation, and to settle his people in a place where they could grow and develop until God was ready for them to enter the promised land 400 years later. Lawless hands had “grabbed” him, but God’s hand ruled.

In Whose Hands?
“Him, being delivered over by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, and have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” Acts 2: 23-24

“Lawless hands” were at work with malevolent intent grabbing Jesus to crucify him upon a cross, and yet beneath it all was the hand of God delivering Jesus over to his determined purpose. Here is the mystery of God's sovereignty. The actions of wicked men against an innocent person were turned to the purpose of God and to the salvation of the world.

Oppressed people tend to see only the “lawless hands” that mistreat them. The result is loss of faith accompanied by harmful and ungodly attitudes. Jesus, however, kept his heart toward the Father's plan knowing that the redemptive hand of God was at work to fulfill the greater purpose of God. The enemy's plan backfired. Christ became the crucified lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, and He was raised from the dead as our Lord and Savior.

We are in the hands of God.
The sovereign hand of God undergirds and holds us in spite of the “lawless hands” that work against us. His hand is the “moving sidewalk” on which we stand and which carries us forward even when it seems the enemy and life attempt to carry us backwards.

When we spend our emotional, mental, and spiritual energy on the "brothers" who "threw us into the pit" or the "Romans" who "threw us into prison," we make ourselves their victims and their prisoners. But when we engage the Lord, surrender to Him, and stand in faith with a right spirit, we experience the grace and power of God working all things together for our good and to His purpose.

We may not always be given the most comfortable route. The Apostle Paul might have preferred to go to Rome on a wonderful Mediterranean cruise ship with the bountiful buffet meals and lively entertainment. Joseph may have preferred to go to Egypt as part of a family vacation, a group tour of the Holy Land with all the first-class accommodations and helpful tour guides followed by a first class excursion to Cairo. But each man’s journey was painful and in chains. They took the way of the cross and drank the “cup” of suffering on their way to the joy set before them and to the fulfillment of a purpose which was greater than themselves and their comfort.

“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.’ So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying '…I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you. Now please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your fathers.’ And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, ‘behold, we are your servants.’ Joseph said to them. ‘Do not be afraid.... But as for you, you meant it for evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive…and he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50: 15-21

Sunday, December 10, 2017

KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Below is a list of principles that will be helpful in your walk with the Lord and in facing the adversities and difficulties of life. Each of the items listed below is just the “tip of the iceberg” for the particular topic being given. There is more to say and many Bible verses that speak to the points given. If you have questions or would like more information or would like to know the Bible verses that accompany the principles written below, please contact me at broblong@gmail.com.   ----Billy Long

Keys to Successful Spiritual Warfare

 Realize we are on a battleship and not a cruise ship.
We must face “Og,” cross the Jordan, and deal with “giants” in the land we will possess.

Don’t be disillusioned by adversity, hardship, and struggles of battle.

Realize that in your walk with God, you have to deal with people. This complicates matters, and requires more faith on our part. When David played his harp, the evil spirit fled…but Saul did not. David had to walk in the Spirit, in faith, obedience, and perseverance in order to deal with Saul. We can cast out demons; we cannot cast out people. It takes faith and godliness to deal with people.

Be prepared for intensities, complexities, perplexities, and surprises.

Have a heart for God’s purpose rather than a self-centered focus. A self-centered focus will “sideline” you from the real battle. Self-centeredness causes you to be focused on yourself without actually seeing yourself. It will be a distraction from your ability to see reality, the heart of God, and the real needs and situations around you.

Trust in the Sovereign God who is able to procure, and secure, to uphold and defend.

Wait upon God to judge. We generally want to pass judgment and execute vengeance (cloaked with the desire for justice) upon our oppressors. We must trust that God is the Righteous Judge.

Engage the Lord. Press into the Lord in faith, prayer, and intercession. Maintain real and intimate fellowship with the Lord in all that you face in life.

Engage the Lord FIRST.  Wrestle with God, as Jacob did, before you wrestle with the devil or other people. The main characters on the stage of your life are you and God. The devil and other people are secondary. We must make sure the slate is clean in our relationship with the Lord, and make sure we hear what He is saying to us, before we “attack” others or the devil.

Sanctify the Lord. This means that in our daily life, we set the Lord apart from and above all else, so that our spiritual eyes are always on Him. No matter what people say or do, no matter what circumstances fall before us, we see the Lord. We respond to everything knowing He is watching and listening. So that in all things we try to please Him rather than reacting to people and circumstances.

Realize that you are in God’s hands…not in the hands of people or the devil. Paul did not see himself as prisoner of the Romans, but rather a “prisoner of the Lord.” Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold as a slave, and put in prison on his trip to Egypt. But the testimony was “God sent a man” to Egypt. Because he trusted in God and saw the Lord as in control of his life, God caused all things to work to Joseph’s good and God’s purpose. He became ruler of Egypt next to Pharaoh. 

Avoid the victim mentality. A victim’s mentality places your life into the hands of other people. If others are responsible for your condition, then you will depend on them to get you out of it. Therefore, you blame them, wait for them, and sit helpless, bitter, and angry. Accept responsibility for yourself. Acknowledge your own sin, bad decision, and wrong responses. Then seek the Lord and discover the way out. Don’t blame others. Look to the Lord in faith, and arise to your destiny. You may have actually been oppressed and treated badly. Joseph experienced that. But he still fulfilled God’s plan for his life. You can too. But you will not succeed if you are hamstrung with a victim’s mentality.

Walk in God’s ways to accomplish God’s will. It is not enough just to know what God wants in a situation, we must also know how He wants us to accomplish it. The devil tries to keep us from knowing God’s will. But when we discover it, the devil then offers suggestions on how to do it. We must walk in the Spirit and godliness. Often Christians think that because they are right in a particular matter, they can “throw a fit” and get “in the flesh” to get done what they think the Lord wants done. If the Lord told you that He wanted you to prosper, you would not then go out and rob a bank. You would then work and be diligent in life, you would not turn to crime. We must apply the same principle to how we behave in church in other matters.

Be sober. Sobriety means sound judgment rooted in a right spirit. When we maintain a godly attitude we are able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and have good discernment. A wrong spirit such as hatred, bitterness, resentment, and anger, will cloud our understanding and perception. Spiritual laziness and complacency will also fog our ability to discern and see clearly.

Maintain a humble and contrite spirit. The Lord will not despise a broken and a contrite heart. Arrogance and pride will cause God to resist you. Pride will bring contention. It will also make you susceptible to the suggestions of the devil.

Be strong and courageous. Fear not. Know that the Lord will not leave you nor forsake you.

Don’t be angry at God. Do not tempt the Lord by accusing Him of evil, injustice, and unfaithfulness. Ascribe greatness to the Lord. Praise Him for his great and abundant mercy and manifold grace. Praise the Lord for He is good and His stedfast love endures forever.

There is more to say and many Bible verses that speak to the points given above. If you have questions or would like more information or would like to know the Bible verses that accompany this message, please contact me at broblong@gmail.com.   ----Billy Long

Write to me at:
Billy Long
PO Box 147
Longs, SC 29568

Monday, November 27, 2017

DISILLUSIONMENT: MAKING JUDGMENTS BASED ON YOUR LIMITED "NOW" MOMENT


The Narrow Perspective
To have an accurate understanding of truth as God sees it, we must look beyond ourselves and our moment. We must see God’s purpose beyond our own comfort and pleasure. Disillusionment comes from a narrow and self-centered perspective, from making judgments based on ones limited "now" experience and current moment rather than faith in God and his power to fulfill His will and plan. Sometimes He gives us immediate victory and keeps us from harm and trouble, but other times He may allow us to suffer persecution, adversity, and hardship. Our circumstances may change, but God and His plan remain fixed and inexorably moving forward.

Mark Twain’s Mistake
Palestine, before the renewal of Jewish settlement during the late nineteenth-century, was virtually laid waste and its population in acute decline. Mark Twain visited the Holy Land during that period and seeing its desolation and the absence of the Jewish state, proclaimed, “See, this proves the Bible is just another book”. But had he lived until 1948 and beyond, he would have seen the miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel and the reappearance of the “land of milk and honey” with the desert blooming. He would have realized what a tragic mistake he made by judging the bible based on his own limited and short moment in time.

We make the same mistake in our own lives. We become discouraged and disillusioned when we draw conclusions based on our own personal and immediate experience without considering God's overall long-term plan and His sovereign power to fulfill it. There are many periods in history when God’s people might have given up had they based their hope in what they saw and experienced at their given moment. We must never assume God has or will fail. Time and patience will always prove God to be true, faithful, and well able to accomplish His purpose.

Examples in Biblical History
As we survey the history of God's people in the Bible we have the advantage of having the whole story before us. But if we could set ourselves down anywhere into that history, we might experience any number of places where we would be tempted to be overwhelmed with despair and disillusionment. Here are a few examples.

The bondage in Egypt
You might have been disillusioned had you lived among the suffering Hebrew slaves in Egypt during the 400 years of bondage. You would have been tempted to think God had forgotten you and the whole nation. Living in what seems to be interminable grief and waiting can very easily produce a very negative and wrong theology unless the heart is fixed in God—no matter what.

Time of the Judges
You might have been disillusioned if you had lived in Israel during the time of the Judges. After having seen the glorious conquests, order, relative purity, and strength under Joshua, you would now have witnessed a nation of confusion, perversions, and subjugation that occurred on a regular basis throughout that period of Israel’s history. Were it not for the recurring emergence of Holy Spirit anointed judges, you might have been tempted to think God had forsaken the nation.

The Divided Kingdom after Solomon’s Glory
You might have been disillusioned had you lived through Solomon's glorious reign when Israel was at its height of peace, security, power, wealth, reputation, and prestige, and then later to see the kingdom divided into two third-rate nations fighting each other and harassed by their neighbors.

The Captivity
You might have been disillusioned had you lived during the revivals of Hezekiah and Josiah which tantalized hopes of strength and stability, only to see the nation at Josiah's death come briefly under Egyptian domination, then under Babylonian bondage, then on to captivity.

The Return
You might have been disillusioned had you been among those who witnessed Israel’s deliverance from captivity, expecting her to rise to power as God’s people, only to see her rise to a very disappointing stature compared to her former glory and then continue in subjugation to Greek and Roman domination during the 400 year period between the Old and New Testaments.

Jerusalem’s Fall
You might have been disillusioned had you known the bustle of Jerusalem and the grandeur of its temple when Jesus walked its streets, and yet within a couple generations witness its complete destruction. How disheartening it must have been that within a hundred years of Jesus’ first advent the Jews were not even allowed in the city except once a year.

Look at Church History.
The church’s history has often been as discouraging as Israel's history. Consider the dark ages with its corruption, ignorance, and cruelty. Look at our own contemporary examples. Consider the church splits, broken relationships, moral failures in leadership, foolish behavior, embarrassing antics, and other discouraging situations that have been on display to us and the world.

Our Response
The Bible makes it clear that in spite of Israel’s failures and Satan’s attempts to destroy them or cause them to stumble, God was able to preserve the nation of Israel and in the fullness of time bring forth Jesus Christ our Lord to bring redemption to mankind. Our Sovereign God has and is administrating history and the future to the fulfillment of His plan. His dominion is forever and His kingdom stands strong, inexorably moving toward the consummation of His eternal purpose. Israel’s “ups and downs” and “in and outs” never hindered the plan or kingdom of God. The same fact holds true for the church, for me, and for you.

If we stand faithful to God’s word and ways, and persevere with patient endurance in faith and hope, we will ultimately see the rewards that come in God’s time. Our experiences may seem inconsistent with what we expected and may vary from one end of the spectrum to the other, from wonderful to painful, from clear insight to the perplexity of looking through the glass dimly. But in all these we must stand in faith and know that God is God, that He loves us and has a plan for us and for the world, and that His kingdom purpose will be fulfilled. The land may be parched “today” as Mark Twain saw it, but “tomorrow” it will be a fruitful and fertile land of milk and honey overflowing with the bounty of God’s kingdom. And those who say “today” that God has failed will “tomorrow” look back and see how foolish they were to doubt the Almighty and Wonderful God our Heavenly Father.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42: 5

Monday, November 6, 2017

Youtube video on Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Check out my Youtube video giving a brief teaching on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Just click this link:
Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Billy Long