Archive for October, 2020

Are you Ready? Preparing for 2021.

I’ve been hearing many words and prophetic insights into this time of pandemic in 2020, and I’ve been thinking about how we were/are to use the extra time most of us have received due to unemployment, working at home, and being quarantined. This blog is designed to share some of my resources and to help you find your own resources to thrive in the end of this year through 2021.

As we’ve said many times over the years (quoting the Bible and especially in the last few blogs), God works all things for our good (Rom 8:28), He’s in control, and He has a plan. Since this time in our lives factors into his overall plan, please understand that God is probably looking for humanity to do multiple things as a result of this pandemic. One, quite obviously, is to bring people to Him for salvation. It’s simply a fact of life that difficult times often provide the only impetus for people to make big changes to their lives. This can be one of those times. 

A second thing, which seems equally obvious to me, is to re-direct people who say they are “Christians” – but who are not behaving like true followers of Jesus – back to Him and to rebuke those “Christians” leading people astray. In short, and for whatever reason, there’s a certain amount of pre-judgment separation of goats from sheep going on in the church, with broad swaths of followers of Jesus being illuminated and identified as goats (that is, not true Christians). Not to put it too simply, but don’t be a goat because it has eternal consequences. Matt. 25:31-46.

A third thing that I think God wants us to do is just to press into Him. Over the last several months, I’ve heard and felt the Lord telling us to use any extra time we have to press in so as to truly know Him. Only by truly knowing God can we effectively clean our hearts and souls of the sins and ugliness of rebellion, hate, unforgiveness, bigotry, racism, judging, and bitterness so as to better position ourselves to clearly see the deception and lies of the enemy.

In fact, this is roughly how I’ve been spending the entirety of my pandemic experience. Early on in my work-from-home/quarantine time frame, I developed an insatiable desire for the manna of God’s Word and Presence.  Through that study, God has revealed many new gifts to me and directed me to various supernatural trainings to understand their use and purpose for furthering the Kingdom. I felt in my Spirit (and have also had verbal confirmation from others) that God is on an acceleration plan to reveal, train, and move people into new Spiritual giftings.  He’s lining up his earthly, spiritual warriors to shine the light of Truth on the lies and deceptions of His enemies and to set people free from the oppression of worldly bondage and, ultimately, eternity without Him.

Moreover, He’s calling up His children to new and higher responsibilities and tasks!  Don’t ask yourself if you’re ready because you’ll probably never feel completely “ready” for the kind of wisdom you’ll gain. Just take the leap of faith and say “Here am I, Father, not my will but your will be done.  Use me to bless and bring your people to you.”  I admit that it’s a bit scary to think of our Heavenly Father – the creator of the Universe – having a discreet plan to use us for His work here on earth, but isn’t that one of the fundamental pillars of our Christian faith?  Understand that no matter how unworthy or fearful we might feel, our Lord is right beside us all the way.  In fact, He loves to use us in our weaknesses and our faults because He knows we will lean on Him to help show us the way. 

In sum, the extra time given to us in 2020 should be used to bring us to a new level capable of handling whatever may come next, standing firm and strong like a tree planted by the river and not swayed by the world. And what’s coming next is 2021.

My Pastor, Phil Smith of Colorado Christian Fellowship, began this year with a message that we would see significant “shaking” in the world and in the church. Needless to say, he was right. Shaking is a way to get people’s attention, and it’s also a way to separate one element from another. Ever since then, our little church has been routinely weathering the difficulties with an enormous amount of comfort that God is most definitely in control. But the shaking isn’t over, and it appears it may last – indeed, it may intensify – as we move into 2021. Realize that this is a different message than you may get at other churches. Other churches seek only to move back into their buildings, run their services the only way they know how, and collect their mortgage or building fund. Their message is one of praying that the whole thing will end, resulting in a swift return to normalcy, and toward some sort broad Christian political revival that will apparently happen without forcing the church itself to examine its own practices.

My pastor and I simply don’t believe it will happen that way, and so we need to get ready for possibly an even more trying year in 2021. The clock is ticking, and we only have about two months left. But there’s still time to develop a plan to press into God so that you can handle whatever comes next with tranquility, and to use it as a tool for reaching and helping others. The key is to start getting ready now. There’s no more time to wait. 

So, my plea to you is to put away the flesh of politics. Put away the notions and tendencies of the natural world. Get ready to hunker down and study, opening your spiritual gifts and stepping into the real person God intends for you to be. No more unwholesome television. No more games or time objectively wasted on social media. And no more “religious” activities that turn you away from the relationship God intended for your life.  God is doing a new thing, and you need to be able to see it and fully participate in it. Isaiah 43:19.

My husband continues to do a lot of Christian apologetic and philosophy of religion study, and one day I’m sure he’ll share his resources. In the meantime, here are a few of the resources I’ve been using to learn, grow, and feast on the Truth during 2020.

  1. Sunday sermons online for Colorado Christian Fellowship (CCF) at https://ccfyourhome.org/view-page1/  Sunday church is at 8:30 am MST but is a recorded message so you can watch at your leisure or re-watch at will.
  • My pastor and his wife, Phil and Sylvia Smith, also do a weekly “coffee time” every Wednesday at 8 a.m. MST on the Colorado Christian Fellowship Facebook page. It’s like a family bible study (that only lasts about an hour), and it’s meaty and fun! Here’s a link to past recordings: https://ccfyourhome.org/apostle-phil-and-sister-sylvia-coffee-time/ 
  • I have also taken a few free classes (Revelation and Names of God) at Dallas Theological Seminary and here is that link https://courses.dts.edu/.  The have many free courses that allow you to work at your own pace.
  • CCF also has wonderful online classes for developing the 5-fold ministries (Apostle, Pastor, Prophet, Teacher, and Evangelist) as well as many other classes for spiritual development.  These are offered through Colorado Vocational Training School (CVTS).  Here is the link to see what they are offering.  https://www.cvtsonline.org/  I am taking several classes right now (Exegesis, Your True Spiritual Identity, Revelation) and they are great and very inexpensive and sometimes free.  There are also really great seminars offered throughout the year.
  • I have also been taking some online classes from Patricia King and reading books specifically for my giftings. 
  • I like to follow, Rabbi Schneider (Discovering the Jewish Jesus) as I am always interested in the Jewish teachings, festivals and aspects of walk with the Lord.  After all, Jesus was/is Jewish!  Here’s his site: https://discoveringthejewishjesus.com/.
  • I also follow Joseph Prince for his digging into the Word while working in the Hebrew and Greek and speaking to operation of the belief for our spiritual gifts.  I especially love his messages on healing through communion! Here’s his site: https://www.josephprince.org/.
  1. Finally, I’ve been journaling my prayers and making a gratitude list every day as well as logging and prayerfully interpreting my dreams and visions, using the daily devotional by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn called, “The Book of Mysteries,” which is about mysteries of the Bible.  By the way, if you want some really good prophetic books on events of and surrounding 911, and other mysteries of this time we live in, check out his other books like “The Harbinger.”  I’ve also been reading a ton of books on dreams and visions, revelations, and prophecy.  Don’t be overwhelmed, I work a full-time job and am using the extra 3 hours per day that I have now since I am not commuting downtown to my office.  It’s possible for you, too. Just start feeding your spirit and your mind good things!

Warning:  We’re always called to test the spirits (1 John 4:1) and we need to be ever careful in guarding our hearts and spirits to be sure we are learning from people with correct theology, who are speaking Truth and striving to be obedient to our Lord.  I have become much more discerning and watchful of who is speaking into to me, and frankly I’ve been surprised at how many false prophets seem to be operating at this time. Occasionally, I also see people claiming someone or other to be a “false prophet,” but with no evidence whatsoever. So do watch what you consume.

Remember that our bodies take in the words and spirit of those we allow to teach or speak into us.  Personally, I simply reject listening to anyone acting in rebellion to God or rules, anyone mixing money/politics into their words, or anyone in which my spirit feels a hesitation. If I find that I’m listening and learning from someone who I later discern not to be in alignment with God, I stop immediately, repent for following a false teacher and ask the Lord to remove any religious or polluted teachings from my spirit.  I admit that I’m not perfect. Like all of us, I’m just a work in process. Nevertheless, I find with such a wide array of teachers out there, I’m able to get confirmation of Truth.

If you have specific questions on what I’m studying I would be happy to share more.  Just get started if you are not already pressing in! But remember that wherever you are in your scriptural study, there is always more to learn.  Join us on our Arming The Saints Facebook page and/or my personal page at Denise Burrows as I share links to CCF Coffee Time and Sermons and other things from the people above.

May God abundantly bless you all!

Are We Selling God Short? (Part 2)

This blog was written by Tim, my husband.

This article, https://www.christianpost.com/voices/fri-2nd-embargo-for-noon-we-are-pro-life-evangelicals-for-biden.html?fbclid=IwAR1tf4aIvz53xyfDypNs7SAi9QaEL-ri4jvg1ws7bFRIw-9UPN2RTFp0WXA, and this statement, https://www.prolifeevangelicalsforbiden.com/, were recently written by a group of pro-life “evangelicals” who are, nonetheless, urging people to vote for Joe Biden. Like them, I am (along with Denise) personally against abortion. We want every child to be born into a loving family, and if that family cannot handle the important duties of raising children, then we want the child to be adopted into an equally loving family. Nevertheless, this article and statement mostly made me think deeper about certain theological issues that are raised by the whole issue. So, read the article and statement, and I’ll only add two things.   

First, as a lawyer, I echo the statement that even if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe, there isn’t all that much that will change. It means the decision will be left to the states, and most states simply aren’t ready to get rid of abortion. Having worked in the federal courts, I simply don’t see the clear connection between putting someone conservative on the Supreme Court and “ending abortion.” It’s far more complicated.

Second, and for all my friends who are followers of Jesus, I encourage you to think deeply about the theology you’re embracing when you think that it’s crucial for you to vote for a particular President in order to advance God’s Kingdom and purpose, and particularly to vote in order to see one biblical thing accomplished at the expense of all others.  

As we mentioned in this blog before, if you’re a Christian, you undoubtedly believe in Divine Providence (or what one might call His wise and purposeful sovereignty), which is simply the belief that God is in control of all things to accomplish His plan. That’s an important part of Christian theology, most arguments against it are strained, and I simply disagree with any even unstrained arguments that tend to diminish God’s knowledge and authority over all things. In sum, Divine Providence is an important pillar of our faith.

Indeed, think about what it looks like if you don’t believe that. It means that you think God is constantly surprised, and possibly even confused by what’s happening in the world. There are actually people who believe this (they’re sometimes called “open theists”), but I think you’ll recognize that such a notion seems at least superficially unbiblical and is definitely unsatisfying. In fact, we followers of Jesus often say these things out loud – God is in control; God knows everything; God is all powerful; God is morally perfect. God is, as Saint Anselm described, the perfect being or the “greatest conceivable being,” and perfect being theology is on par with scripture for giving us insight into God’s nature. If God weren’t perfect, we’d simply have little reason to worship Him. And, as I’ve frequently said after years of study, I’ve come to reject all arguments that tend to dimmish any of God’s perfect characteristics. In sum, a God who is surprised or shocked at human events isn’t much of a God.

But if you do, in fact, believe in Divine Providence, then you have to recognize that God is in charge now just as He has been in charge all throughout human history until now. Indeed, He has allowed abortion – just as He has allowed wars, famine, murder, and pandemics – for what we can only fathom to be His incomparably good reasons. That’s not to say that God is bad or evil, or even that he is remotely pleased by anything considered evil. It’s simply the likely inevitable outcome of creating free willed creatures and actualizing a world that produces what He wants in the way of an eternal Kingdom for those creatures. The discussion of why certain bad things happen in the world when we have an all-powerful and perfectly good God is called by theologians the “problem of evil,” and if you’ve never looked into it, I encourage you to do so, as it’s a primary reason that people choose atheism. In sum, whether articulated as a logical or a probability issue, the problem of evil should never stand in the way of your belief in God. Similarly, following notions of God’s Divine Providence, you can find equally cogent arguments by Christian scholars as to why God might have allowed abortion to happen and not need anyone’s help with eliminating it.  

The point is that if you believe in Divine Providence (as nearly all Christians do), then you quickly move off track when you think that without your help – for example, without your vote for a particular person for political office – God cannot get done what He wants to get done. The fact is, God doesn’t need your help, and the future is as unsurprising to God as the past.

Interestingly, and for whatever reasons, it appears that it is only in America that we tend to discount God in such a manner. Indeed, as we mentioned in our last blog, prominent Old Testament scholar Knute Heim (who has ministries on something like four continents) once told me that thinking that God needs our help to achieve His kingdom and purpose is a uniquely American notion. Something about our independence I suppose.

Personally, I’m a Molinist, which means that I believe that by using His middle knowledge, God gave up neither divine providence nor libertarian creaturely freedom, and created a universe (or actualized a world out of all possible worlds) in which a certain amount of suffering was inevitable. That means that I still have the ability to choose to do what’s right, but it also means that I know without doubt that whatever happens in the world has been allowed by God for an incomparable good that I might never fully understand. His plan is to grow His kingdom, and I have to leave it to God to best determine how to do it.

Nevertheless, even if you are one of those Christian folks I mentioned (the “open theist,” above) who thinks that personal free-will actions can somehow change God’s overall plan, then you’re still in the same boat as people like me, who affirm libertarian free will but also absolute Divine Providence at the same time. The question that must be answered is what, as free-willed individuals, we’re to do on a daily basis to adhere to our Biblical worldview. To an open theist, I think the answer would be easy. On any given day, the open theist would try to make decisions that follow clear biblical principles. When the question becomes casting a vote between one person versus another, then it seems most rational to vote for the person who, overall, generally advances biblical principles more than his or her opponent, since nobody can fully live up to Jesus’ example. This position would be based on a number of things, including the notion that as a perfectly Holy being, God treats all sins the same. To the open theist, the statement I linked, above, would seem to articulate fully why he or she should vote where the balance is tipped in favor of one candidate better following the Bible than the other.

By the way, I note that the first comment to the linked story (when I first read it) says that “the blood of tens of millions of murdered babies cries out to God for justice.” But even open theists believe that God is perfectly just and thus are likely to believe, as I do, that justice has already been provided in His plan for these babies. Again, to think that casting a vote a certain way is the only way to “bring justice” to the issue is to, once again, diminish another attribute of God that is central to the Christian religion.

If you’re not an open theist, however, and, like me, you’ve already grappled with how to reconcile Divine Providence and libertarian free will, then you’re still in the same position. Divine Providence should not keep you from doing the right thing on any given day (as on the Molinist view, the plan can be still be affected by, for example, specific actions or petitionary prayers), but having libertarian freedom should in no way make you think that you’re God’s only way to achieve his purpose. It’s a bit complicated, but the result is really the same in the sense that you have an obligation to act in a biblical way on discreet issues every day. Accordingly, as a Molinist, and when choosing between two people for office, I similarly would likely vote for the one who tends to foster overall biblical principles the most. I understand that, for whatever reason, God chose a world in which sin (including abortion, but also lying, hypocrisy, and hating) exists, but I still feel an obligation to do my individual part to follow the Bible in my own actions, whether or not it has any bearing on God’s overall plan. I would much rather God tell me, “Good job following your heart and the biblical principles even though the result is not what you wanted,” than ask me, “Whey didn’t you follow biblical principles? Did you think that I didn’t have everything under control?” 

The upcoming election provides special circumstances, however. In any normal election, one might see a mix of pros and cons, biblically speaking, for any particular candidate. But in this election, I see one candidate trying to reach Christians by speaking to only one issue (abortion), while disregarding, if not willingly flouting, every other biblical principal I can list. Indeed, in previous blogs, I’ve written that the Republican candidate actually espouses a life credo that is identical to that found in Laveyan Satanism (a sort-of opposite Golden Rule). Such is his disdain for God’s creatures. Personally, I would never base my vote for a person on a single issue when doing so literally means discarding scores of other, equally important biblical principles like poverty, racism, hypocrisy, dishonesty, conserving the planet, and hatred. Indeed, to do so would be akin to striking a Faustian bargain with the devil, which, as you know from reading the legend of Faust, inevitably ends with the corruption of one’s soul.

In the end, and as we mentioned previously, we simply shouldn’t sell God short. Everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen is under His control. Whether we like it or not – and certainly whether we understand it all – it’s all a part of His plan to create a Kingdom into which you – by being created with God’s purpose in mind – are invited.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


%d bloggers like this: