Dear Believer, I want to write to you today to encourage and impart to you courage for this season. Though we face what seems to be increased darkness, we must be reminded that we are the light that drives away darkness and the powers of darkness. However, as we continue to serve Christ, we are faced with increased persecution. The other day I heard the Lord speak to me concerning our season of favor. He reminded me of Isaiah 49:8 (RSV) which says, “Thus says the LORD: In a time of favor I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you.” I knew immediately that God was speaking to me about entering into a new season of favor and that in that season He was going to reveal hidden mysteries and give answers (revelation) to those mysteries. So, therefore, we can expect to hear from God and receive answers to prayers! Believer, just be assured that God is releasing not only great favor right now, but also a divine boldness to confront powers of darkness.
Webster’s defines persecution as “the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group.” Webster’s goes on to say that one of the most common forms is “religious persecution.” This involves, according to Webster as an inflicting of “suffering, harassment, isolation, imprisonment, fear and/or pain.” I can relate to persecution from our enemy, Satan, as I am positive that you can also. Our enemy is seeking ways to imprison us with fear and bondage. However, when we refer to “religious persecution,” we must conclude that this harassment can come not only from Satan and his cohorts, but also from a religious system or a religious belief system that persecutes us as we continue to advance the kingdom of God. In this article, I will address both types of persecution- religious persecution from a religious system and the persecution that occurs when a Jezebel spirit is active within a church, organization or a family.
Demonstrating the Kingdom
Dear ones, there is not a single one of us that enjoys persecution. However, if we are determined to demonstrate the power of the Kingdom of God on earth, we will definitely confront powers of darkness. Let’s just be real a moment and admit that there have been times that we have been challenged with a lack of courage and boldness when we attempt to do as Jesus commissioned; heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils (to name a few).
However, I recently read how Peter, while under serious scrutiny from the Pharisees, prayed not to be delivered from persecution, but rather receive increased boldness to stir things up even more!
Healing the Lame Beggar
If you will recall the account in John chapter 3, Peter and John were on their way to prayer and passed by a lame man who was carried daily to the gate called Beautiful to beg for alms. Rather than donate to his beggar’s cup, they healed him!
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:6-10 (NIV)
The Gate Called Beautiful
This gate referred to as Beautiful is translated in Greek as not only being beautiful, but interestingly also means “belonging to the right hour or season (being timely)” and “flourishing.” I feel it is safe to say that it is a beautiful thing that happened that day when Peter and John demonstrated God’s heart to heal the lame beggar. In fact, it was his “time and season” for a miracle. Dear ones, I believe we are in that same season. The Spirit of God desires for us to flourish also- He wants to touch us with His beautiful expression of grace and His divine love through demonstrating His power on earth.
When the people around noticed this miracle, they followed Peter and John to Solomon’s Colonade. It was as if they could not believe their eyes, they actually witnessed a miracle from God! Yet, Peter addressed the crowd and addressed their doubt and unbelief. He reminded them that Jesus had just been among them and demonstrated heaven on earth with signs, wonders and miracles. Yet, they disowned Him and killed the author of life. Peter explained that Christ had been resurrected and that it was not by their own power that they were able to heal, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Power of God Stirs Up Religious Spirits and Legalism
Acts 4 picks up with the leaders and the Sadducees who approach John and Peter as they boldly addressed the crowd. These religious leaders and teachers of the Law were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching about Christ’s resurrection and demonstrating resurrection power and then seized them and put them in jail until the next day. Persecution comes with demonstration, doesn’t it? And when we demonstrate the grace and love of God it stirs up legalistic spirits. Yet, we must remember to focus on the fruit of demonstration rather than the persecution that is coupled with demonstrating God’s power on earth. Scripture says that many saw what happened and heard the message and the number of men grew to five thousand! Wow, now that is a sign flourishing, isn’t it? It truly is the love and grace of God that brings people to repentance. Yet, we must make note that there was boldness in operation when the apostles were demonstrating power and pointing to the life Jesus was offering His people.
Acts 4 goes on to discuss even more persecution. More leaders approached Peter and asked, “By whom and in whose name are you doing these things?” (My words). And again, the Holy Spirit fell upon Peter and he spoke with even more boldness. Peter and John were on trial because they healed someone. How ridiculous is that? Just to imagine that when the apostles healed people from diseases, lepers and spirits of death, etc., that it upset the religious leaders. Rather than rejoicing, there was persecution.
Yet, Peter and John did not ask to be delivered from this persecution, but as noted in acts 4:29, they prayed for more boldness! They asked for the Lord to continue to use them to demonstrate His miraculous power- regardless of the persecution.
Acts 4:31 (NIV) After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Please take some quality time and read through the entirety of Acts 3 and 4. Your faith for boldness will arise and you will become even more empowered to demonstrated God’s’ kingdom on this earth!
Confronting Jezebe l – A Demonic Power of Intimidation
In my travels, I come across many believers who claim they are intimidated by a spirit of Jezebel. When we are intimidated, our boldness to do great exploits for God is dwarfed. I have written two books on this evil spirit. The first book, Breaking the Threefold Demonic Cord: Exposing the Seductions of Jezebel, Athaliah and Delilah will empower you to understand the power of a demonic threefold cord the enemy still uses against us today. The most recent book, The Jezebel Yoke, discusses how easily we’re yoked with the deceptions of Jezebel. If we are in agreement with doubt and unbelief, we are easily yoked with the deceptions of an evil Jezebel spirit.
It is important to understand that the Jezebel spirit operates strongly through a spirit of religion (religious spirits) and legalism, Religion hinders the demonstration and power of God. Elijah confronted Jezebel and her false gods. As a result, she sent an evil messenger with words saying that she was going to kill him for what he had done. Actually, Elijah “saw that” which she was prophesying. Jezebel will always send a false message to us that causes our imaginations to picture utter defeat- even death! This evil messenger sent Elijah running off and ending up in a cave! Elijah was persecuted for standing up to Jezebel and her false gods. We also will be persecuted when we confront Jezebel. However, we must not cower down and run away from confrontation- we must become as Peter and pray for even more boldness.
I believe that if we will pray for boldness, God will bring a shaking and fill us with even more boldness and power just as He did in the books of Acts.
We must be on guard and remain aware of how Jezebel easily slips a yoke upon us:
- Idolatry: Don’t allow anything or anyone to take the place of God in your life. When the “Ultimate thing” is no longer the “ultimate thing,” you are easily yoked with idolatry.
- Examine your spiritual thermometer. Have you lost your passion? Jezebel steals godly passion and replaces it with religious works. Examine your heart and ask yourself “why” you are working for God- is it out of love or out of fear? God will always give grace to do as he directs. If there is no grace, then you may be involved in religious works. Jezebel loves that!
- Is your life in chaos? A Jezebel spirit brings with it confusion and chaos. In local churches and ministries, there will be control issues and the need to have power (not true delegated authority). When Jezebel is active, the local church will experience the fear of church splits and confusion along with major disunity.
- Check for a pattern of illness and infirmity. Jezebel will drain the life from you. Especially, if you are a counselor or leader, Jezebel attempts to wear you down with her control issues and by spreading lies of disunity.
- Are you discouraged? Jezebel robs us of courage. She is known in Rev 2 as a false prophetess. Today, this spirit falsely prophesies to us concerning our destiny. This evil voice sounds like this:
- You’re not strong enough to be a leader.
- You’re not smart enough for God to use you.
- You will never fulfill destiny.
- God doesn’t care about you.
- God might heal others, but you’re not good enough for Him to heal you.
- Jezebel is legalistic and demands religious performance. Remember, we are no longer under the Law. We are under the New Covenant of God’s grace. We are righteous in Christ Jesus, not because of what we “do” for God (speaking of religious dead works.). More evil messages that come from her influence sound like:
- You’re not “doing” enough to please God
- You must perform for God to love you
- You are righteous only because of your performance for God
These are only a few examples of how Jezebel operates and attempts to rob us of boldness and courage. Remember, if God asks you do demonstrate His power, He will give you to grace and the boldness to do it. I have many other examples in the books I have written that may help you break off any influence of Jezebel.
Dear one, I believe that it is our season for beautiful and timely things to occur. It is our season to flourish. Have faith today in His divine grace to equip and empower you to do whatever He has instructed for you to accomplish as you advance His kingdom. God is going to shake things and fill us to overflowing with power and boldness. Just as He encouraged Joshua to be bold and to be strong (see Joshua 1), God is saying the same to us today! Let’s cross over into our promises- with divine power and demonstration!
Allow me to pray for you:
Father, I pray for every reader that you led to read this article. They are reading this by divine appointment. It is their season of favor. It is also their season to receive divine revelation and answered prayer. I pray for the spirit of Might to be upon each reader and for a supernatural boldness to confront evil powers that are opposing their breakthroughs. Father God, I thank you for the finished work of the Cross and the shed blood of Jesus that was the ultimate sacrifice for our victory over the enemy. Lord, I thank You for Your grace which will empower us today with greater boldness to confront and defeat spirits of darkness- especially a Jezebel spirit! And, I also thank You for a divine impartation of boldness today as well as an anointing of power and demonstration for every reader. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.