As I listened quietly to the soft rain that was falling outside the bedroom window, I heard the Father speaking softly to me. He said, “One day soon, all the world will see.” I reflected over the past few weeks, the goodness of God, and how the Holy Spirit of God reveals all hidden truth and shows us things to come. I reflected on the course of events over the past six weeks and how the mercy and grace of God are overwhelming, and how God positions people around us to give us comfort, encouragement, and support.
As I lay there with tears of joy running down my cheeks, I sensed the sweet presence of Jesus. I heard the Father speaking to me about how Mary, the mother of Jesus, wept at the feet of Jesus as he gave his life on the Cross. Then there was Mary, the follower of Jesus, who knelt at the feet of Jesus, holding onto every word He spoke with an intentional and listening heart. It was as if I were watching the crucifixion in my mind and I could see the women weeping and kneeling beneath the feet of Jesus at the Cross. Then I saw the empty tomb. Then I began to think about what it is going to be like when Jesus comes back for us.
The Bible says, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25). Matthew 27:56 (Mary, the wife of Cleophas, the mother of James and Joseph). They were also the first witnesses of the resurrection.
There are several women who accompany Jesus to the cross and tomb. These are the ones who didn’t abandon Jesus when trouble arose. The multitudes who were singing praises a week earlier had deserted Him, but not these women. While it may be hard to determine who all was there, because they were all named Mary, one thing is for sure…they were there for Jesus.
The Bible says, “Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for His needs” (Matthew 27:55). These women had been with Christ throughout His ministry, and had followed Him to the cross to encourage Him through this hard time. Can you imagine the comfort Jesus must have felt to look down and see all those sweet ministering women, that have been faithful over the years, there lamenting and mourning His death?
Are we that type of encouragement to those hurting around us? Do we walk through the valley and deep waters with someone, or do we bail when the waters start rising and the fires of trouble start burning? God wants us to stand by each other, encourage each other, and pray for one another. You never know what it means to someone who is hurting or walking through a hard time, for you to show up to be a support and encouragement.
If you have ever sat beside the bed of a loved one, waiting to hear them speak after surgery, you will know and understand what I mean. If you have ever sat in a hospital waiting room for what seems like endless hours…waiting for the surgeon to come out and tell you everything is ok, you will better understand. Whether you are waiting at the feet of a child in a hospital bed, beside your husband or wife, or a friend or family member, you understand the emotions that come with it. Waiting for someone to come out of surgery can seem like eternity.
While we are waiting for Jesus’ return, He wants us to be present. Any of us can be too busy being an activist….always doing and never present. It would be like having a meal with a person who is always on their phone talking with someone else. While many things are good, the one thing Jesus seeks above all else is time spent listening to Him, “sitting at His feet.” That is where peace is found…the only place of spiritual rest. If we want to experience spiritual rest, we must be willing to shift our priorities to Jesus. Instead of trying to follow the Holy Spirit, we must surrender to Him.
Let’s look at Mary of Bethany….she is one of the most beautiful characters in all of Scripture. We can learn valuable lessons from studying her life. Mary was the sister of Martha, and her brother was Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. We see Mary three different times in the Bible. The incident that happened in the home of her sister Martha (Luke 10:38-42), where Jesus, and the disciples who traveled with him, were being entertained. Martha was distressed and “distracted with much serving” and frustrated that her sister wasn’t helping that she actually rebuked Jesus, accusing Him of not caring that Mary sat at His feet while she did all the work.
Pay attention to Jesus’ first response that gives us valuable insight into the life of Mary at Bethany. Jesus commended her “for choosing the better.” This simply meant that Mary’s desire to be near the Lord and hang onto His every word was far more beneficial than running herself into a frenzy preparing and planning for an event….a meal. Jesus also said that choosing the better thing, learning of the Lord, would not be taken from Mary.
“Choosing the better” also meant that those whose priority in life is Christ, the knowledge of Him, and the nearness of Him have chosen what will last for all eternity…..such as the “gold, silver and costly stones” referred to in 1 Corinthians 3:11-12. We learn that those who are distracted with the cares of life, the mundane preparations and planning and earthly, are building upon the foundation of Christ with “wood, hay, and straw,” materials which will not stand the fires that come to us in times of testing, nor will they be remembered in eternity. The insight we gain into Martha’s heart when she rebukes Jesus is that she was consumed with making everything perfect and was so distracted that she forgot and lost sight of whom she was speaking to…who was in her presence.
We can also observe from Mary’s silence in another incident, a lack of concern for herself, and from defending herself. She was fully consumed with Jesus. When we focus on Jesus, He becomes our greatest passion, adoration takes over the heart, and our tendency in life to self-absorption fades away.
Mary listened while Martha labored. Martha was distracted by plans and preparations (Luke 19:40a…..while Mary was focused on the Person of Jesus Christ…only one thing is needed (Luke 10:42a). Jesus puts a person’s allegiance to following Him higher than any other human responsibility.
We can learn the valuable lesson of taking comfort in Jesus in the second incident where Mary and Martha appear in John 11, with the raising of their brother Lazarus from the dead. When Mary hears that Jesus has come and is calling for her, she immediately leaves the group of people who came to mourn, and rushes to meet Jesus. So great is Mary’s love of Jesus and her desire to please Him, that she leaves her home and all those who had come to comfort her, to place herself in the arms of her Beloved Jesus…the greatest Comforter mankind has ever known.
Jesus sees her sorrow and weeps alongside her…even though He knows her brother will be restored to her momentarily. When we choose to place our lives in the loving nail-scarred hands of Jesus, we find the greatest comfort, peace, and security. We learn the truth of Psalm 30:5b: “Weeping may endure for a night, buy joy comes in the morning.”
The third and final time we see Mary of Bethany is days before the crucifixion. (See Matthew 26:1-6, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-8). We see Martha busy again…with another meal prepared at the home of Simon the leper, and Martha serving while the resurrected Lazarus reclined at the table with Jesus and the disciples.
This is where Mary broke an alabaster jar, poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’ head and feet, and wiped them with her hair. We learn that in spite of criticism from some of the disciples, Mary said nothing. She allowed Jesus to defend her. Jesus said her beautiful and unselfish act of service with the perfume she had kept for His burial would be remembered forever.
Mary knew the time of Jesus’ death was near, a fact that the disciples had missed in spite of Jesus’ clear and concise declaration of the truth. While Mary was content with listening to the Lord and meditating on His Words, the disciples were busy bickering about who would be the greatest among themselves in the kingdom. They missed the important truth Jesus was teaching them (Mark 9:30-35) because they were focused on self, rewards, competition, status and their reputation among men.
God has preferences on the way people respond to Him and worship Him. All forms of worship are NOT equal in God’s eyes. In the case of Jesus, putting on a great dinner for the Master doesn’t compare to listening to Him and obeying Him.
Mary’s priority was Jesus…sitting at His feet, learning from Him and holding onto His every Word. She had a passion for Christ, a settled confidence and conviction in her Lord….in such great measure that she was not compelled to defend herself in the face of criticism.
Mary did not give what was of little to no sacrifice. Her worship was personal and costly. Instead of waiting till He was gone to show her devotion, she poured out a year’s worth of work on her Savior’s head and feet. This was an act of pure love. You see, she had been listening. All that time at Christ’s feet, holding onto every word, did not go to waste. She knew what Jesus was about to face…that He must die. She knew the turmoil that He had predicted. Oh, what passion and great love she had for Jesus. She wasn’t thinking of the cost; she didn’t care what people might say. She didn’t care about how it looked. She was concerned with one thing, and one thing alone—Jesus Christ.
Like Mary, who knew what Jesus must face, how He went to the Cross for all mankind; we must know that one day soon, all the world will see…Jesus coming back again.
If we make sitting at the feet of Jesus our priority, we can experience, like Mary, the passion for Christ, the depth of understanding, and have complete faith in His plan for our lives. May we be passionate people of God with contagious faith, whole-hearted devotion, and a zealous fervor to show God our love…and to shine the light of God to the world.
BOOKS BY DEBORAH STARCZEWSKI
GOD’S PRICELESS TREASURE (How To Overcome Challenges, Be Transformed and Know Your Purpose)….move from drama to destiny, pain to purpose, a mess to a message…trials to triumph through turning to Jesus Christ.
A LEAP OF FAITH (25 Days At The Mercy Seat)….the miraculous stories will keep you turning the pages…and give you faith to believe God for anything.
THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (Will America Turn Back To God?)…a must read for all.
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, www.starministriesinc.com and other distributors.
We need to look at what Jesus said the times would look like just prior to His return, and learn what we MUST do. We must love the Truth and learn to depend upon the Holy Spirit in every detail…to hear the still small voice of God, and recognize His Hand in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts the world of sin.
What will it take to succeed in these times? Endurance.
What is endurance? It is not a very popular word nor one that is understood very easily. However, in order to succeed in battle, we better understand it and learn to endure. It is obvious that we are living in times when it is increasingly important that we understand what it means to us as individuals.
The King James Version of the Bible was translated well over three hundred plus years ago, and the meaning of some English words have changed. The KJV uses the word patience where we would use the word endurance today. Nobody likes that word—patience. People cringe when they hear someone mention that they prayed for patience. Many say that asking God for patience brings tribulation and all kinds of trouble.
Where we talk about patience, the King James Version uses the word long-suffering. Patience or long-suffering means to be willing to put up with irritating people, circumstances and situations without losing your temper—to remain in good character, composed, and not fly off the handle like a volcanic eruption. It is a highly valuable Christian virtue…and satan knows best how to trigger each person to lose their temper. Hello?!?!
I am well aware that I could use more of it myself when it comes to injustices, lies, betrayal and long-suffering. It’s blatantly obvious that the whole world needs it desperately. Never think you have arrived to some special place of achievement or honor in the things of God—we are always learning and growing…and will be till the day Jesus calls us home—through death or when the Trumpet sounds.
When the King James Version uses the word patience, the modern day word would be endurance or perseverance.
The verb form that the King James Version of the Bible uses is “to endure.”
We need to look at what Jesus said the world would look like immediately prior to His return. Jesus gave a prophetic preview on the Mount of Olives. Many of the things He spoke about are coming to pass before our very eyes… right now.
What I want to focus on is what we are going to need to get through these days. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).
Pay close attention and notice the direct connection between lawlessness and lovelessness. It’s obvious that when people become lawless, they become loveless. We sometimes think of love as spontaneous, a natural response to others, as something free, something that requires no laws and no discipline. But that is far from truth. Love and discipline go hand in hand. Think about what it is like to raise a family. You love your kids, but they have to be disciplined. A good father disciplines his children. God disciplines us.
Think about this with me. When discipline and law break down, love grows cold. We have watched it manifest for some time now in America…and across the nations. The word for love in verse 12 of Matthew 24 is agape, which refers to the love of Christians. Jesus is not talking about the love of the world growing cold, but the love of Christians growing cold.
We are witnessing this terrible tragedy today—presently—lawlessness abounding and love growing cold—Jesus says: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” We have to endure to the end. The original Greek says this, “He that has endured unto the end, it is he who will be saved.”
In Mark’s rendering of the same Olivet Discourse—Jesus’s prophetic preview on the Mount of Olives—we find this warning repeated:
“Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” —Mark 13:12-13
This is a bleak and somber picture of lies, deception, betrayal, rampant treachery and disloyalty within family relationships and toward Christians who will be hated by all. This is what Jesus warned us about….
This is happening today…and has been happening. People are being persecuted for their faith abroad and here in America. Adult children have risen up, like Judas in the Bible, to betray their own parents. That same deception is going on in marriages, legal battles, in businesses, and even in church and among believers.
Never forget, in the Book of Revelation Satan is called “that serpent of old…who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). And Paul warns in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 that this satanic tactic will find its ultimate expression in the Antichrist, who will deceive with lying signs and wonders all those who “did not receive the love of the Truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
Our only protection is to receive the love of truth. All who refuse this will not merely be deceived by Satan; God Himself will send them a strong delusion…to those who chose not to believe the Gospel of Christ..the Truth.
Love of the truth is not a mere conformity to religious tradition, imitating man, or using the latest worldly methods and strategies to draw a crowd in a church. It is not even reading your Bible and having a “quiet time” before the Lord on a daily basis. It demands a total, unreserved, unwavering commitment to believe and obey God’s Word—one that rules out all forms of compromise.
It’s where we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal any areas in our own lives that need purifying…where we allow Church services to be led by the Holy Spirit, instead of man, where families and businesses are committed to God and Holy Spirit-led. The Holy Spirit reveals all hidden truth and shows us things to come. He empowers us, sanctifies us, and equips us to stand strong and to succeed.
What Paul would tell us today is this……he knew Satan was terrified of his calling. The reason Paul was attacked repeatedly and recurrently is that the devil was fearful of the enormous progress Paul would make if he didn’t face opposition and adversity. Paul would remind us right now, for today, that his anointing, his calling, and his potential were the factors that triggered demonic attacks in the first place.
Paul suffered many horrific and crazy things during the course of his ministry because he was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. You see, Satan was terrified of what would happen if Paul could operate in his divine call without hindrance and opposition.
It’s starting to make sense to you now, isn’t it? Think about it. How much could Paul do without any opposition? How much territory could Paul take without opposition and resistance? If Paul was able to do all the incredible things he did with God for God’s Kingdom in the face of such evil opposition, what kind of Gospel advancements could he have made with no opposition!
Satan stirred up trouble, threw every obstacle he could in Paul’s way to slow him down, to ruin his name, to discredit him, to destroy his relationships, friendships, and, if possible, to even kill him. Satan hated the call of God on Paul’s life…and he hates it on mine and your’s too.
It’s obvious that Paul had a made up mind—a firm decision—that he would not stop, not quit, and not give up until he had apprehended that for which Christ Jesus had apprehended him (Philippians 3:12). You will have to do the same thing—have a made up mind—make a firm decision—so that you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks and successfully achieve all God has called you to do with Him, by determining, right now, never to stop, until you have accomplished your divine destiny. Jesus taught that those who “endure to the end” are the ones who will receive the prize (Matthew 24:13).
So..what are we to do? Resist the devil. Don’t give in. Hold out. Endure. I firmly believe that God is speaking that word to us today. I pray that God, through His Holy Word, will put steel in your soul, increased boldness in your heart, and give you a spiritual backbone to endure if you do not already have one.
I pray GOD will give you a holy boldness to stand strong, stand apart, and step out to represent Him well in the earth.
BOOKS BY DEBORAH STARCZEWSKI
GOD’S PRICELESS TREASURE (How To Overcome Challenges, Be Transformed and Know Your Purpose) …learn how to move from drama to destiny, a mess to a message, from trials and troubles to triumph through turning to Jesus Christ.
A LEAP OF FAITH (25 Days At The Mercy Seat)….a miraculous story of hope and healing that will keep you turning the pages. God raised my husband from death, healed him from two strokes, and walked with us through two open-heart surgeries. This book will give you increased faith to believe God for anything and has a Confession Prayer inside that will change your life.
THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (Will America Turn Back To God?)…a must read for all.
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, xulon.com bookstore, www.starministriesinc.com and other distributors.
Suppose it were your last hour! What would you choose to be doing? But let me tell you, it is the last hour. God is giving us warnings and signs in the heavens and in the natural.
“Little children, it is the last hour…” (1 John 2:18). John penned those words almost two thousand years ago. If John were writing today, he would probably say it is the last seconds of the last hour. If anyone thought they only had an hour left, I seriously doubt they would be concerned about things…they would be concerned about where they would spend eternity and those they love. Living with eternity in mind brings all of life into proper perspective.
When I heard about the recent evacuation at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the story of a line being cut at a bridge that ushered in darkness and loss of power for three days…my mind thought about the evacuation that will happen in a twinkling of an eye when the Trumpet sounds.
When we don’t renew our minds in the Word of God and stay connected in close communion with God, and with other believers, we can live in the world and be unaware of the times. Anyone can lose their power if they live in denial or do not stay plugged into God and His Word.
With the power outages and evacuation that occurred due to power lines being cut, I also thought about how the law has been changed to go against God’s Word, and how He is warning America to return and repent. The enemy wants to destroy all mankind through destroying our connection with God. My third book THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (Will America Turn Back To God?) is a wakeup call for everyone. America was founded on God’s Word. Jesus is the bridge for all mankind to heaven…and it is our choice if we receive the gift of eternal life or not.
With the next event happening on August 21, 2017, with the narrow path across America where the total eclipse will be visible, I learned that it has only happened once before in 1776. What is significant about 1776? It is the year that is celebrated as the official beginning of the nationhood of America.
People are converging from all over the place to watch this total eclipse of the sun. Hotel rates have skyrocketed and mass productions of eyewear are available. People are being warned to check the safety of their glasses as viewing the sun without proper eyewear can cause permanent damage.
The constellation that is forming on September 23, 2017 is the first time since Creation. We are getting signs in the heavens of warnings, and those warnings are getting bigger. (Take time to read Revelation 12). In between, on September 11, 2017, is the Feast of Trumpets on the Jewish Calendar. One day the Trumpet shall sound and we will be called to meet the Lord in the air. We are not called to predict dates of the return of Christ. However, we can surely see the signs and warnings for all to repent and be ready for His return.
It is obvious that we are much closer to the end every single day. Paul saw it that way too: “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
The Bible’s message is that our days are “numbered”….not numberless. The Church must awake out of slumber, sleep, and sinful ways and be more concerned with the battle that rages—the war with Satan and the salvation of souls. We have to check our own hearts and be prepared at all times. The Bible says, “Pursue the enemy, and without fail you shall recover all” (1 Samuel 30:8). In THE MIDNIGHT HOUR, you can see the principles that are time tested that still work for today…if we will repent and return. David wept before the Lord, he worshiped, he inquired of God, and God gave him strategic instructions….David obeyed and recovered all.
We also know David was also the one who chose to tackle the enemy. First Samuel 17:48 says that David “ran” toward the Philistine champion—the Giant. The believer in the army who tackled the enemy was the one who carried the anointing of God. It’s time to stand up, stand apart, and step into battle…with faith in God! Magnify the Lord over all.
We must humble ourselves and repent and return to the Lord. The Good News of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, is eternal, but we do not have eternity to preach it….time is short. It is the last hour for someone today. Somebody is crying out to God for help. No one is good enough to make it to heaven on their own. We all are in need of Jesus. He came, he gave His life for all mankind, but we must believe on Him, confess our sin, and experience a heart change. Knowing about God is not enough.
If you are not born again, if you are living in sin and you are reading this, it’s not too late. Repent and believe. Read the Bible for yourself. God says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
The warnings have hit America. Weather patterns are changing, wars and rumors of wars, increased violence, chaos, confusion, and fake news. Lack of respect for authority to betrayal of all kinds. The spirit of antichrist permeates human thinking and society. It is has created havoc and caused moral collapse. But God… God has His answer. The outpouring of His Holy Spirit is His amazing and special provision for the last hour.
No one knows when the Trumpet will sound…no one knows when the Church will be caught up to be the with the Lord in the air. When that evacuation occurs, everything will change forever. All of The Feasts of the Lord are appointed to a certain day. When the stars and planets are lining up, these are signs in the heavens from the Lord. God does say, “Surely, the LORD GOD will do nothing, unless He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:8).
God sends warnings. He warned the people through Noah of the flood that was coming. He warned Pharaoh by Moses. The list goes onward. He is still warning. He warns through dreams, visions, His Holy Word, through His Servants, and through signs in the heavens. He goes to extreme measures to get our attention.
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; …before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” (Joel 2:28, 31).
The Body of Christ, armed with the Word of God, will be mobilized for the last onslaught of the enemy. Satan will lose again. We know the end of the story.
It’s time for the harvest of souls and Satan can see his opportunities are slipping away. He knows his time is short. The greatest outpouring, the greatest revival of all time, the greatest anointing of God’s power is coming upon us. Revelation 12:11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
The future has been written and settled beforehand by God. The last hour is determined and has a glorious conclusion. Make sure you are standing with Jesus. Look at the what the Bible says:
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” (Revelation 12:9-10). That’s a good ending.
If you are born-again, witness to your family, friends, and foes. Walk in God’s love. Sow mercy and grace. If you are not sure, or if you are caught up in sin, repent and return to the Lord. Don’t allow darkness to cover your heart.
The total eclipse that is coming is a warning for every person to make sure their heart is right before the Lord. Light and darkness do not mix. Check your own heart. This is the heart of our heavenly Father God—for those who will hear.
He loves YOU with an everlasting love. Worship His holy name!
BOOKS BY DEBORAH STARCZEWSKI
GOD’S PRICELESS TREASURE (How To Overcome Challenges, Be Transformed and Know Your Purpose)….learn how to move from drama to destiny, from a mess to a message, from pain to purpose, from trials, tribulation, and trouble to TRIUMPH through turning to Jesus Christ.
A LEAP OF FAITH (25 Days At The Mercy Seat)….the full account of God’s miraculous intervention—God raised my husband from death, healed him from two strokes, and walked with us supernaturally through two open-heart surgeries and 25 days at Mercy Hospital. He gave signs in the natural to reveal His hand at work behind the scenes. This story will keep you turning the pages—and give you hope and faith to believe God for yourself, for your family, and the nations.
THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (Will America Turn Back To God?)…a must read for all.
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, www.starministriesinc.com and other distributors.