Someone else’s faith and a mustard seed

It was the early 70s. The Beatles, public demonstrations and disorder (sound familiar?), gas shortage lines1, and the Vietnam war were in full swing. It was the “sign of the times.” 

In 1971, the Jesus Revolution was Time magazine’s featured front cover.  It was a period in history of soul searching, of looking inward. We were trying to figure out who and what we were, and where we were going as a human race. For me, I wanted the assurance of going to heaven when I died and not to be left behind.

In January of ‘72, I became a believer in Jesus Christ during the Jesus Movement. The ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’ counterculture was discovering a new way to live as many “long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen, give me down to there hair, shoulder length or longer2 haired hippies began to embrace the gospel. I was now “getting high on Jesus,” “Peace and Love.”  Hey, what about “God is groovy” and “Smile God loves you.” 

On my college campus I made friends with a charismatic group of Jesus People who believed in miracles, signs and wonders, faith, healing, and powerful works of the Holy Spirit. Many testified to having supernatural experiences similar to those recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, especially speaking in tongues. I wanted what they had. And so, I began attending an Assembly of God church which operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

At first, my faith to believe in miracles was … well, let’s just say, challenged. In my previous church, I was taught miracles, signs, and wonders ended with the apostles. Many denominational churches and pastors are trained in skeptical unbelief and rejection of the supernatural. They do not believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing and words of knowledge, that they are for today. In Christianity, the word of knowledge is a spiritual gift listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8. It is simply the Holy Spirit transmitting His specific knowledge to you about someone or something that you would have no ability or means to be able to know otherwise with your limited intelligence and knowledge levels. It is supernatural knowledge and insight being given directly to you by the Holy Spirit Himself, not by your mind or your intelligence. These words of knowledge, that you can receive directly from the Holy Spirit, can literally cover an infinite number of things in your daily life from simple things such as where you misplaced your car keys to having a supernatural revelation about someone or yourself. Have any of you had a prophetic word of knowledge shared with you that was spot on?  Ever wonder how they knew? 

My faith is challenged

Back to the story. Eddie Smith, an evangelist faith healer, was coming to Kearny, New Jersey to lead a weekend healing revival service. I had heard of faith healers before, but mostly by hearing and reading accounts of famous people such as Smith Wigglesworth and Oral Roberts. There were numerous claims of divine healing during their ministries.  Now I would get to see one.

Was freedom from disease God’s will on earth? Was the kingdom of God now and not yet in its fullness? Meaning that healing and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today and not just when we are resurrected with new bodies. Perhaps these questions would be put to bed after this weekend. No more questioning. PROOF that miracles, signs, and wonders were for today!

I asked my younger brother, who was also a new Christian if he wanted to go with me. He replied that he would.  So, the two of us on a Friday evening hopped in my Forest Green 1968 Volkswagen Beetle and drove to the church where the revival was happening. If you weren’t looking for it, it was easy to pass by. The small suburban white clapboard Assembly of God church on Elm Street had no parking and sat nestled between houses no more than 20 to 25 feet apart on a tree-lined street resulting in it blending in with the other houses. The church, as you can see from the picture below was neither attractive nor spacious, although, it comfortably accommodated a small congregation of people just under a hundred. There were no ornate stain-glassed windows, church bells, or an inviting entranceway or vestibule as many might be accustomed to. It was plain to look at on the outside, but on the inside, there was something extraordinary about to happen.

My brother and I waited momentarily under the aluminum awning behind other attendees ahead of us. As we approached the door, a man warmly greeted us. “Welcome. Glad to see you.”  We acknowledged his greeting and then went in.

Inside, the room was already packed to overflowing. We were fortunate to find a couple of seats on the end of a pew about 8 rows back from the front where I could stretch out my long legs into the aisle. We then sat back and waited for the service to start.

There was a buzz in the air with people talking loudly while others sat quietly, anxiously waiting for the service to begin. Not long afterward, the senior pastor of the Assembly then quieted the room and opened with prayer and singing before introducing Eddie Smith.  Like most churches, there was no clapping to welcome the guest evangelist and faith healer, as would have been customary if this were a theatrical production. But this was not theater; this was a REVIVAL!   

Eddie Smith opened with a couple of jokes in typical British humor. “Who here has a crick in their neck?” A guy in the audience stood up. “I am suffering from a pain in the neck,” he said. “Well,” Eddie Smith replied with a sly smile, “will you please ask your wife to approach the altar?”  Sounds like Smith was trying to get to the real source of this guy’s “pain in the neck.”   LOL.

Eddie Smith was a heavyset man with an authoritative presence. I looked curiously on as he had words of knowledge of healing for those in attendance. “Who in this room is suffering from one leg being shorter than the other?” Unequal leg length is a rare condition where the legs are either different lengths or appear to be different lengths because of misalignment.  “The Lord wants to heal you,” he said.  A person stood up and made his way to the front of the room. There was an abnormal gate to his stride. Smith asked him to sit down in a chair and stretch out both legs so that he could assess his condition. There was an expectancy in the room that something miraculous was about to happen. I looked on in wonderment, hoping.  Would one of his legs actually grow out?  “In the Name of Jesus,” Eddie Smith commanded the one short leg to grow out, and it did! The room erupted in loud shouts of praise and raising of hands. Many more healings also happened that night. This made me want to come back the next evening. What miracles would God do again on Saturday?  I looked forward with expectancy.

The second evening of meetings was also packed to overflowing. You could just feel the excitement and expectation.  Much the same as the previous night, Eddie Smith had words of knowledge for those who needed healing, and again many were healed. Then I heard, “Who in this room has plantar warts?”  I was stunned, shocked into disbelief. How could he know that I suffered from plantar warts?  Plantar warts are small growths that usually appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet that can cause extreme pain.  It was true that I suffered from plantar warts, but I thought Eddie Smith couldn’t mean “Little, Ol’ Me.”   I reasoned it must be someone else. And so, I did not respond, nor did anyone else answer the invitation to go forward for plantar warts. When I didn’t respond, Eddie Smith continued inviting others to be healed for other ailments.  Why didn’t I go out on a limb? Was it because I might risk failing, or look foolish? I didn’t like being the center of attention. But mostly, I believe it was to deflect disappointment if I were not healed of my plantar warts.

Final Invitation

Again, Eddie Smith made the same invitation as earlier – “There is someone here with plantar warts.  Won’t you please come forward?” Nothing. Crickets. No one moved. Deep inside I knew the invitation was for me, but I still didn’t respond.  “Nope! Can’t do it. No way!”

It was not until the third and final invitation of the evening when my brother nudged me.  That’s you, bro. You have to go up.”  I was stubborn and refused to budge.  “This is the 3rd and last time I will make this invitation for someone with plantar warts to come forward. I want you to come up here right now!”  Finally, my brother then got this brilliant idea to push me out of my pew. Next thing I knew, I stood frozen like a deer in headlights for everybody to notice. It was too late for me to retreat, so, I tepidly approached Eddie Smith. He was expectantly waiting.  

As I stood there, Eddie Smith laid hands on me and called on all of heaven and the Name of Jesus to heal me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. It was not some feeble prayer lacking strength or boldness. “O God. You invite all who are burdened to come to You. We therefore implore thee Almighty Father to heal, should it be your gracious and sovereign will.” It was instead with authority that Eddie Smith commanded.  “In Jesus’ Name, plantar warts leave right now! GO! In the Name of Jesus.” There was no reservation or doubt in his voice, only a complete and unwavering faith that I would be healed by the blood of Jesus.

Reaching out His hand, He touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean,” and immediately the disease left him. (Luke 5:13)

What was I feeling? To be honest, I felt nothing short of nothing. Crazy, huh? I didn’t fall to the floor and start to shake and roll. I didn’t feel a surge of electricity go through me or tingling in my extremities. My eyes didn’t flutter, nor did I hear God’s speak audibly or even in a small still voice to my spirit. I felt nothing. I heard nothing. Absolutely, NOTHING!  I was more self-conscious of being the focus of everyone’s attention and looking foolish, that I moved rather quickly back to my seat after Eddie Smith finished praying for me. Phew! That was embarrassing.

When I got home that night, I went straight to my room to get ready for bed. As I sat on the edge of my bed, I began taking my sock off when my hand rubbed against the bottom of my foot. I was completely taken by surprise as I wasn’t expecting to be healed.  Miraculously, the bottom of my foot felt smooth and without blemish. God had completely healed me of plantar warts!  To this day, they have never returned!

Multiple faiths at work

God works in miraculous ways, despite our inadequacies and little faith. Did I believe in healing for myself?  I wasn’t sure.  However, there had to have been a mustard seed of faith to bring me and my brother to the revival meeting.  

Matthew 17:20 “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

It took my brother’s little faith to push me and encourage me to move from my seat so that I might experience more of God.

It took Eddie Smith’s great faith to command, with the authority he had in Jesus’ Name, “Be healed!”  As the disciples were empowered to do the things that Christ did, so are we today. John 14:12-14 is a wonderful verse that we must believe is for TODAY.

Sometimes it is also through God’s prophetic word and other’s testimonies of personal healing that move us to greater faith to believe.

Ultimately, however, it was because Jesus heard the Father’s heart for me. It was because of the Father’s tender kindness, His grace, His compassion, and His constant love for me that He chose to heal me. (Psalm 69:16).

Has this whet your appetite to hear more?  I want to create hunger in you to desire more Holy Spirit as it did for me following that evening in 1973.

Take a moment to sit quietly with the Lord and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about God’s heart for you. God desires to not only save us but to empower us and commission us to do the things Jesus did.  It is God’s will for you to grow in faith. God desires to heal your body and soul. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you His truths in scripture.

“I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him.  Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!” – John 14:12-14

Have you personally received healing in your life or administered healing in the Name of Jesus? What was your experience? Would you share it?

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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FOOTNOTE
1 America Out of Gas – A Lesson in Patience by Bill Hutzel, 2016
2 “Hair” by the Cowsills, 1969

Is God your vision, or are you looking through broken spectacles?

Is God the focus of your every thought? Do you consider God’s will when you are making decisions? Do you trust in God to establish your every step? Does God delight in your ways? Is He your total abandon?

Trust in God for all things.
He is the light that redeems.
He is the light that restores.
He is the light that heals.
He is the light that protects.
He is the light that saves.
Almighty God, we thank you.


Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth
(Colossians 3:2)

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Copyright 2019 by Bill Hutzel

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Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 4

I began writing this as a continuation of a series of posts entitled Adventures in Flowing in God, but perhaps this should have been renamed “ADVENTURES IN FLOWING IN GOD … NOT SO MUCH THIS TIME.”

Do you ever wish to hear God, but you can’t? This is not an uncommon problem for the average Christian. Not hearing God’s voice, however, was never intended by God. Learning to discern and hear His voice is invaluable. I found this out on vacation in Arizona last September 2019.

Lovers of God have been given eyes to see
with spiritual discernment
and ears to hear from God.
(Proverbs 20:12)

So, why am I sharing this with you? What lesson did I learn?

TV and radio transmissions are broadcast 24/7 daily, but we can only hear a broadcast if we turn it on. Similarly, we can only hear God’s voice if we turn Him on and tune Him in. God is always transmitting. How’s your reception?

NOT HEARING FROM GOD

Although traffic was heavy, I left with plenty of time to arrive at International House of Prayer Eastern Gate by 6 o’clock for the Thursday evening service, and so I wasn’t particularly anxious; YET!  I was looking forward to playing in worship and was earnestly seeking Him and connecting with Him on my drive there.

UNTIL ….

I had never traveled this particular route before and so I depended on my GPS device to get me to my destination. Normally, the GPS is very reliable unless it loses its signal or goes awry, which is very infrequent.

The road was heavily traveled with lots of stops and starts due to lights and a large number of cars and trucks on the road. It was “rush hour. Frequently cars would cut in front of me to get in my lane. “Okay, Bill, take a deep breath and count to 3.”  I eased back on the accelerator and put a couple of car lengths in front of me, although what I really wanted to do was ride this guy’s tail and lay on the horn. I didn’t, however, remembering to BE FILLED with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) rather than be filled with the flesh.

The female voice on my GPS alerted me to a turn coming up. Unlike my demeanor right now, there was no alarm in her voice as she matter-of-factly said, “Take next right turn in 500 feet.” I’ve gotten used to her voice. She is my friend. I don’t have a name for her, so I’ll just call her SHE. And so, I listened and followed her instructions.

But SHE’s instruction had to be wrong. Too late, I had already committed to making the turn. Why did SHE put me on a jug handle to go in the opposite direction from which I was traveling?  My frustration showed as I told her so in so many words. Have you ever had your GPS take you in circles as if it were confused? I have, and so I thought this was one of those times. Ignoring her, I instinctively got back on our original route. SHE did not correct me and allowed me to continue. I discounted the mistake to be a malfunction.

Sometime later, SHE instructed me to get in the leftmost lane. I did and then saw that I was in the left two lanes for the Holland Tunnel to New York City. “What!??? I’m not going to New York City.” What’s going on with SHE?”  Alarmed, I immediately put my right blinker on and edged my car into the middle lane. Still, with my blinker on I attempted to get into the rightmost lane to get on to the Pulaski Skyway to New Jersey. My car was rolling forward slowly with the traffic until I abruptly stopped. All cars came to a halt in front of me. When we started moving again, someone sped up and wouldn’t let me merge. “C’mon!,” my frustration showing again. Typical New Jersey driver! Ugh.

“Okay, enough of the horns already!” No one was allowing me to merge into their lane, and so I momentarily held up traffic in the middle lane until someone was kind enough to let me get in front of them, or perhaps it was I who got a little aggressive and cut the nose of my car in front of theirs until they had to yield. By this time, I had lost any feeling of the presence of God. I would have leaned on the horn but reconsidered. In New Jersey, if you annoy the driver in front of you, they will personally see to it that it takes you twice as long to get to where you are going. Can any of you new jerseyans relate?

The Pulaski Skyway is a 4-lane highway that runs for 3 ½ miles over two rivers and the New Jersey Meadowlands where rumor has it, Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried underneath. It soars 135-feet into the air bypassing railroads, interstates, factories, oil refineries, and canals. Trucks, pedestrians, and bicycles are prohibited on the skyway because the four-lane highway, two in each direction, barely fits onto the structure, leaving no room for a shoulder or sidewalk. At one time, there were over 400 crashes a year on the highway and thus the reason for prohibiting commercial vehicles and pedestrians today.

Talk about not hearing from God. You assume the worst. What if I don’t get there at all? Yup, my frustration had gotten the better of me. We’ve all been there, done that. I needed to get back in the Spirit.

Over an hour into my route, SHE alerted me to  – “Route Memory Full,” and then my GPS stopped working. The maximum available memory had been exceeded. Why is this happening to me? If SHE were a real person I might have wondered, was SHE angry at me for something? Or was she just having a bad day and malfunctioned? We humans sometimes malfunction too. I was having one of those malfunctions right now and could not hear God as He had designed me to hear Him.

What do I do now?” I thought. I was completely lost without my GPS. But then I was quietly reminded in my spirit of my vacation in Arizona when my wife Peggy and I heard God’s voice for guidance. So, why not now? I thought. I needed to rely NOT on my GPS device but God’s Positioning Satellite instead.

It wasn’t so easy, though, under duress and the incessant chatter in my head. Instead of hearing God’s voice, I kept hearing – “You are going to be late; really late!” “Are you delusional?” “You can’t hear God for directions.” “How foolish of you to think that God would supernaturally guide your way there.” “Stop at a gas station and ask for directions.” Oops, I just passed one a 1/2 mile back.

“Take the next right,” I thought I heard in my spirit. But too late to respond I passed it and kept going. Did God really tell me to take that right-hand turn or was it all in my head?  The next right-hand turn was a dead-end. I kept going until I finally committed to the next right-hand turn. It seemed most logical and was at least in the right direction.

Hearing God was difficult. It felt too much like rowing an 8-man 60-foot long sculling boat against the tide and wind by myself. Where was my coxswain to encourage and guide me? If you don’t know what a Coxswain is, it is the person in charge of the boat, particularly its navigation and steering. During a race, a coxswain is responsible for steering and calling the moves. “LET IT RUN; LET IT GLIDE.”

Well, I certainly wasn’t a smooth-running vessel, and the finish line wasn’t in sight. Was God even listening to my cry of HELP? Had my coxswain fallen overboard? No, clearly the problem was not with God, but with me.

It would have been so much easier if my scull was equipped with sails to catch the wind, analogous to catching the Holy Spirit’s wind. Coming into alignment with the Holy Spirit then would be just like sailing, not by my own strength, but effortlessly with His breath. Things could then happen in our life that would otherwise not be possible, things like asking for small, even unorthodox things like this, not just the big things.  “Give ear and come to me” (Isaiah 55:3) – in everything!

Circumstances were different now than our vacation in Arizona where there was no deadline to be anywhere. Yet I won’t say that hearing God’s voice was not without some resistance, then, either. It was just different. Given our unfinished spiritual condition, we often resist God and withdraw from what He wants to show us. And so, this is where I had mentally retreated in my moment of panic.

Listening, like most disciplines is a skill we develop that comes from a deeper relationship with God that is developed by actually engaging with Him, by finding intimacy with Him.

My GPS device, by the way, did come back online, although it only worked intermittently. So, there were a couple of wrong turns, yet God still got me to IHOP with 7-minutes to spare. I was relieved that God came through despite my victim mentality to succumb to negativity.

HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED

In retrospect, I am now able to look back. I am convinced that God was always in control even though I wasn’t. When it seemed like I was facing problems at every turn (Haha, forgive the pun), I needed to be reminded of how God saw my problem. I needed a new perspective, a different thought process, a language nothing the world had ever heard before. Here’s what Graham Cooke said in his video The Language of Heaven.  “No problem can come to us without a provision and a promise attached to it.  A problem is meant to move us into God’s provision. What if a problem is so big? Then the promise is bigger than the problem. Imagine! It’s a new way of thinking. Every problem comes with a promise and a provision. Convert your negatives into something brilliant because Christ doesn’t want us to be victims of negative situations. We need a new mindset. We need a new language that describes who God is for me.”

I am learning how to step into God’s fullness when I have problems. I am learning how to step into my inheritance. Everything I face in life, whether small or large, is meant for me to become more like Jesus.

Have you set your sails, or are you still rowing under your own power? Who is your coxswain?

If you haven’t already read:  “Adventures in Flowing in God,” Parts 1, 2, and 3. Click on links below.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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Change the Tide in the Name of Jesus

https://youtu.be/lAWPKdsabfw (Duration: 1 min 55 sec)

Recorded live at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate. It’s more important than ever NOW that we pray that there be a Holy Spirit increase, that there would be an increased spirit of prayer and song, that Jesus Christ would be lifted up in these days, and that the Word of the Lord would break out and turn the tide in our region and nation. God calls us to worship and rise!

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Related: Post Worship and Rise

Change the Tide in the Name of Jesus (FULL LENGTH VERSION)

Recorded live at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate. It’s more important than ever NOW that we pray that there be a Holy Spirit increase, that there would be an increased spirit of prayer and song, that Jesus Christ would be lifted up in these days, and that the Word of the Lord would break out and turn the tide in our region and nation. God calls us to worship and rise!

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When I Think About the Lord

By James Huey
Recorded live at International House of Prayer Eastern Gate
September 26, 2019

When I think about the Lord
How He saved me, how He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
How He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How he picked me up
Turned me around
How He set my feet
On solid ground

It makes me wanna shout…
Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus
Lord, You’re worthy
Of all the glory, and all the honor
And all the praise

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God We Pray

GOD WE PRAY by Pete & Jess (Hutzel) Gillott

FEAR IS A LIAR. Fear is a predator. Fear is a spirit that takes captive and releases no prisoners unless commanded to do so by a higher authority. JESUS IS THAT AUTHORITY!!! Faith is that authority. Our song and prayer over you is this…LET FAITH RISE UP and LET FEAR FALL DOWN, in JESUS NAME! Here’s a song that God recently put on their hearts. Sing it over yourself. Sing it over your family, your community and our world. “But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7. We rise up in faith praying, God, YOUR will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Be at peace and of sound mind my friends; we are praying for you and with you and we WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

WORSHIP AND RISE

On a Sunday morning in 2019, my friend Martin saw musical notes rising from the top of my head. He would pen his vision on a 3-hole punch lined paper, and later present it to me at the end of the service.

Spelled in large letters in the drawing was the word WAR, an acronym for Worship and Rise. The very act of worshiping and arising, a spiritual war that releases God’s power to have sway over our circumstances, allowing Him to change our circumstances.

This is a time to Worship And Rise, to prevail. It is a time for faith to rise up and for fear to fall down.  

We are called to WORSHIP

We are facing a very dark and evil time in our world today. COVID-19 Coronavirus is an evil that is ravaging the entire world, bringing disease and death and financial adversity. Yet, we are reminded that “in times of disaster we will not wither, and in days of famine we will enjoy plenty” (Psalm 37:19).  In such a time as this, we are also reminded to Worship and Rise, to prevail. “I would have despaired otherwise had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I wait on You Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you! (Psalm 27:13-14)

King Jehoshaphat provides a great example of how praise and WORSHIP lead to victory.

When a great multitude from Syria came against Israel, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, fasted and prayed. It says in 2 Chronicles 20:9 “When the worst happens—whether war or flood or disease or famine—and we take our place before this Temple (we know you are personally present in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give victory.”  Stand firm, hold your position and see the Lord deliver you. This is a time to Worship and Rise, to prevail. “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast invasion force (substitute Coronavirus), because the battle doesn’t belong to you, but to God” (2 Chronicles 20:15, ISV)

Praise and worship elevate us into God’s presence and power. In Psalms 22:3 it says God inhabits the praise of His people. “You are God-Enthroned, surrounded with songs, living among the shouts of praise of your princely people.” Yes, we are princely, not pathetic “o, woah is me,” sad, weak and helpless people.

Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:17–18).  And when they arose to give thanks and praise to the Lord with a very loud shout, the Lord answered them and delivered them from their enemy!  Let’s declare that God will deliver us also from Coronavirus during this Passover season and that there be a shift in the spiritual atmosphere that brings healing to our nation. May the blood of Jesus be our covering, and a hedge of protection around us.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 20:21)

This is not the first, nor do I believe the last that we will see plagues and pestilence. God promises to protect his true believers “when we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High,our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?” (Ps. 91:9-10, The Passion Translation).   

God is calling us to ARISE

Arise, the verb is defined as to get up, to jump up, to make a stand, to ascend. It is a positive action that conveys something coming into existence. It can be our prayer, our praise, our thanksgiving. It can also be courage rising up in the face of fear.

In Joshua 1:9 it says “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not fear; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What!? Be strong and courageous? Do not fear? At a time like this?  That may be easy for you to say, especially when the world is in a panic. I tried to wrap my head around the verse “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear,” yet anxiety does not always stand down.  I feared just like Jehoshaphat in time of trouble, and so I cried out to God for more faith.

Doesn’t fear have to fall down to get courage?  Profoundly, NO, it is not the absence of fear that makes you courageous, but it is “when faith and fear collide that courage can be ours … They always go together, so courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the ability to do what you need to do EVEN when you are afraid (Franklin D. Roosevelt). It’s “to act in Christ’s power even when your knees are knocking or your stomach is doing cartwheels. Or as John Wayne defined it: Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway! That is true faith in God to act with courage.  And when we do decide to act with faith and courage, God will answer. “Courage is the very best part of me that is going to show up in a situation that is trying to chase the very best part of me away.”  (Danny Silk, The Courageous Spirit). 

The world is a scary place right now and so we must fully abide in Christ. When we do, He will show up, but we must completely empty ourselves and depend on Him to save us from ourselves and the pandemic. God will always make a way.

Have you asked Jesus where He is in your uncertainty and trouble? I bet if you do, He will answer you. Go ahead, ask Him. He will show up and greet you with outstretched loving arms. His arms of faithfulness will be a shield keeping you from harm. And You can be assured that you will walk unharmed because God is your refuge.

Jehoshaphat was a man of courage who lived by faith in God. By living faith in God, courageously, he would arise and be delivered from his enemies.

Yet, when Jehoshaphat heard that the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites were coming to wage war against him, “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord.”  He then arose and called upon God to deliver Judah from his enemies. “O Jehovah, the God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and art not thou ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? and in thy hand is power and might, so that none can withstand thee. Didst not thou, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and give it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever? … If evil come upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before thee, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, and thou wilt hear and save.”  And God did hear and deliver Jehoshaphat and all of Judah. I believe this can be applied today.

I keep Martin’s drawing on my desk as a reminder. In the drawing he also drew a flute and musical notes on a staff. He said he saw the notes rising off the top of my head as I worshiped. That matched what I was imagining in my head, of me playing the flute to the worship music.  I was amazed at his prophetic word and vision. The musical notes rose up from me and wafted through the air over those in the room. I believe those notes, as they arose into the atmosphere, were beckoning the Holy Spirit to come. As I imagined playing with the anointing of Almighty God in the office of a psalmist, a fiery wall of protection went up around the room. Demons would flee at the sound of the flute playing and no enemy could penetrate God’s protection. People worshiped with hands raised and shouts of praise, bowing down, some prostrate fell, some dancing, and occasionally the sound of someone blowing the shofar summoned all present to greater awakening and awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Recorded live at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate
Duration: 1 min, 55 sec

Every day I am reminded that it is a time for us to WAR – Worship And Rise. It’s important NOW, more than ever, that we pray that there be a Holy Spirit increase, that there would be an increased spirit of prayer and song, that Jesus Christ would be lifted up in these days, and that the Word of the Lord would break out and turn the tide in our region and nation. God calls us to worship and rise!

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – John 16:33, TPT.

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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Have you gotten infected?

We often think of infection as a bad thing, as a disease that invades a body’s organism resulting in illness, and which is often communicable. It can cause fear and widespread panic if not contained. However, there is another kind of infection – God’s love.  It too is infectious. It too is communicable. It too is transmissible. God’s love is 1 Corinthians 13. 

Here’s how Infectious Love affects your body:

Head – Your thoughts become more loving, kind, compassionate, gentle, generous.

Eyes – When you see the whole good in someone from God’s perspective, you will tend to linger, gaze longer and more intently than you used to.

Ears – You will be more prone to hearing good and loving conversation. Your hearing will shut down when gossip and malicious lies are spoken. You will begin to hear what was once faint, God’s voice more clearly – loving and guiding you.

Mouth – You will speak words of love, kindness, compassion, and understanding. Your voice will become more gentle and tender. You will call out, and talk to the least in the room, the one who looks like they are hurting; your love to and for them easily communicated.

Heart – Your heart will bleed for the lost and hurting and will only stop bleeding when you pray for the person and hand them over to Father God. Your heart is soft and pliable like a gummy bear, not like rock candy.

Hands – You reach out to help steady someone who is about to fall and pick up the one who has fallen.  You stroke the face of the elderly, or a child, or one’s whose face is tear-filled or dirty.

Arms – You hug without abandon and continue to hug until the person begins to squirm;  then give one more tight squeeze and say, “You are now infected by Love. Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise,” Jesus said.  Do not allow infectious love to stay localized but go out and spread it. Note, however, once infected, there is NO CURE; there is no inoculation against it once contracted.

God’s Infectious Love is of the most contagious kind. I hope you get it!

Copyright 2020 by Peggy Castorri

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LET FAITH RISE UP and FEAR FALL DOWN

During worship on Thursday night at International House of Prayer Eastern Gate, I had a vision of spears pointed upwards and a single horseman charging them. There was a spiritual war ensuing. Are these the end times or is this just some distraction? I wondered. Was the horseman who brings plague and death, famine and disease, the horseman depicted in the Book of Revelation? “When he ripped off the fourth seal, I heard the fourth Animal cry, “Come out!” I looked. A colorless horse, sickly pale. Its rider was Death, and Hell was close on its heels. They were given power to destroy a fourth of the earth by war, famine, disease, and wild beasts” (Revelation 6:7-8, MSG). Or is this rather a season where the Lord will take what the enemy meant for harm and turn it into good, to turn infectious disease into infectious love?

THE VISION was just a flash, although I sensed God’s assurance to believers that we are not to fear and that our faith should rise up because we are under His covering of protection. The horseman could not penetrate the spears, nor could disease be victorious over us!  So, let fear fall down. Our faith will drive it out!

I believe the spears were symbolic of God’s protection over those who live every moment with Him in His house. I was comforted knowing that I was hidden in the shelter of the Most High God. The enemy will not penetrate God’s Stronghold shelter it says in Psalm 91:1-2.  “When you sit enthroned under the shadow of Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High. He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence.”

That day, I had been previously meditating on Psalm 91:9-10. It says, “When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm. How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?” (Ps. 91:9-10, The Passion Translation). How timely this word is in light of a worldwide pandemic.

God had, for the last few days, been impressing upon me to draw near to Him. Drawing near to Him is key to living our lives within His shadow, shielded from harm or disease. Later I would open my Bible randomly to Psalm 27:4, TPT. And here was His affirmation – “Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.” If you continue reading, it says that in his house I am kept safe and secure, and I will be triumphant.  We need to be reminded of this always!  

March 15th was declared a National Day of Prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Therefore, let’s pray for our nation that they might find hope and salvation in Christ Jesus and that our nation would be healed. Let’s pray that fear of contagion lead to revival, not survival; let outbreak lead to outpouring.

“The Lord says FEAR NOT!  FEAR IS A LIAR. Fear is a predator. Fear is a spirit that takes captive and releases no prisoners unless commanded to do so by a higher authority. JESUS IS THAT AUTHORITY!!!  Faith is that authority. So, LET FAITH RISE UP and LET FEAR FALL DOWN, in Jesus’ Name.” Sing the following song over yourself, your friends, family, nation, and world.

THE SONG IS BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND SUNG BY MY NIECE JESSICA (HUTZEL) GILLOTT AND HER HUSBAND. IT IS SO TIMELY FOR TODAY.

CLICK VIDEO LINK HERE >> https://www.facebook.com/pete.gillott/videos/8847915115260345/

CLICK VIDEO LINK >> https://www.facebook.com/pete.gillott/videos/8847915115260345/

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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