1/30/2020 The Hidden & the Hiding

Is. 49:2, “And He has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand he has hidden me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver He has hidden me.” NKJV

There are some who, like young Joash in 2 Kings 11, have been hidden. Your hiddenness is not because God has finished with, is angry at, or forgotten you. It is because the release of your destiny, your time, is yet to come. God has hidden you so that the manipulations of the enemy do not destroy your future before you can grow into maturity to fulfill His plans and purposes. To you, you are in a safe place. God knows where you are, and those that help protect you will be used as catalysts to declaring with the sound of trumpets your release into destiny. Some of you are feeling like you’ve done something wrong, that perhaps God has changed his mind and decided not to release you. The anxiousness you feel is a tactic of the enemy to alienate you from your purpose, and questions your calling when God is silent. Stand strong and wait. Use this time to learn from the Spirit and those around you. Young Joash never trumpeted his own coronation. Attitudes toward your past can affect your effectiveness in the future, so don’t look back any longer. I hear the Lord saying to be of good courage, wait, and learn. Release is coming. Arrows are released at the point where they will have the highest potential to hit the target – being too far away is a waste. You were created to prosper in that for which God created you.

Some have been hiding. Some know the call, carry the anointing, and have even prophesied along with others. Just like King Saul in I Samuel 10:22, now that the recognition has come, you are hiding in the stuff. You are hiding amid the vessels and implements of war, instead of wielding them with power, standing confident in your position in Christ. Whether it’s fear of the future or failure, you have refused to acknowledge God’s plan. For you, know that God sees exactly where you are and is calling you forward in this time. Like King Saul, you are anointed as a captain over God’s inheritance. It is an awesome responsibility that requires a confident response to God’s choice for you. Yes, there will be naysayers, but there are people whom God has already prepared to stand with you. What God has confirmed, God has empowered. Step out with humble confidence into God’s plan into the jurisdiction He has given you. He will be with you. Remember the Parable of the Talents, and do not hide, failing to give God a return on His investment in you.

Whether you’re currently hidden for God’s purposes or hiding from them, God’s timing is imperative. To understand His heart and what He is doing is paramount to His plans for you. Moses understood the ways of God, not just His acts (Ps. 103:7). As His people, whether in preparation or release, learning the character, nature, and habits of Him who leads provides the motivations of His actions. Many see what God is doing, but seeing beyond God’s hand into His heart, to understand the why of His movements takes intentionality that must be continually cultivated to result in a faith able to lead God’s people through desert places and war into the place of promise.

1/28/2020 Becoming a Family Who Praise

Praise. We often hear of the fiery darts of the enemy, but praise, too, can act as an arrow that penetrates the enemy’s lines and brings victory when defeat seems imminent. Praise is a confession of who our God is regardless of life’s circumstances and trials.

As we began this year, I sent out a challenge to daily praise the Lord for one thing. In our household, we have been doing this diligently. Every morning, the question we ask one another is, “What’s your praise?” It isn’t something God has done, but who He is, and we have allowed no repeats. All six of us have our own lists, and we are finding our God to be truly limitless, touching only the obvious, and yet searching hearts, minds, and Scripture to discover the sacred person of our God.

As we have done this, the tone and atmosphere of our home have changed. As we have praised, we have gotten closer to the Lord, spent a day reflecting on an aspect of His character and nature we haven’t thought of before, and we have drawn closer as a family. Worry has fled at the high praise of God, and it has become an essential part of our family worship. Indeed, we triumph in His praise!

Below, I have listed for you just some of this month’s praise from the Coventry Clan.

Above all the Earth, Almighty, Alpha & Omega, Authoritarian, Awesome, Beginning & the End, Caring, Clever, Confident, Counselor, Craftsman, Creative, Color, Courage, Discipliner, Emmanuel, Eternal, Everlasting, Exuberant, Family, Faithful, the First & Last, Forgiver, Freedom, Friend, Gentle, The God Who Sees-to-It, Good, Glorious, Graceful, Gracious, Healer, Helpful, Holy, Hope, Humorous, Jealous, Joy, Just, Kind, Logical, Longsuffering, Lover, Lovingkindness, Magnificent, Mercy, Mighty, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Patient, Peace, Perfect, Praiseworthy, Present, Preserver, Protective, Provision, Righteous, Sacrifice, Salvation, Self-Controlled, the Shepherd, Sovereign, Strong, Supportive, Teacher, Transformative, Truth, the Upholder, Wisdom, Wonderful.

Our God is limitless! (Maybe that will be mine for tomorrow). We invite you to join us as we seek this year to uncover the many facets of this incredible God we serve.

1/23/2020 Look Up!

Am I not the One who redeems you, who has called you by name? Look up! My redemption is drawing closer. It is not a hollow or partial redemption; it is whole and full! The world may tremble, but you, you look towards Me – there is no reason for fear in you. I have paid your ransom, your freedom secure in Me. I have already redeemed the entirety of your life from destruction – I do nothing half-way. Do not say I have not kept My promises, for I will complete all that I began. In this you can be confident, your trust triumphs over fear. Only believe! Ps. 111:6-9, “He shows his people how powerfully He works by giving them the nations as their heritage. The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts can be trusted. They have been established forever and ever, to be carried out truly and honestly. He sent redemption to His people and decreed that His covenant should last forever. His Name is holy and fearsome.” CJB Luke 21:26-28, “There will appear signs…as people faint with fear at the prospect of what is overtaking the world; for the powers in heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with tremendous power and glory. When these things start to happen, stand up and hold your heads high; because you are about to be liberated!” CJB

1/22/2020 Healing the Brokenhearted

I have seen you in your brokenness, and in your heartache, I have held you. Do not fear or grow dismayed; I am your God. I am the One who makes you whole, and in death, I am your resurrection. You will come out on the other side of the shadows to a place I have prepared for you. It is a good place – one of healing and provision and a place of rest. For now, encourage yourself in Me, as I set the brokenness of your life and make whole the fragmented pieces of your injured spirit. You are not in a place of defeat but on the cusp of victory. I am with you! Ps. 147:1-5, “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and praise is beautiful. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the numbers of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” NKJV  

1/17/20 Joy Unspeakable

One of the words I have heard many times over again during this year is “joy.” While the world is in a tumultuous place, God’s people are to be characterized by joy. It is the result of faith tested and found to stand. Amid all the world’s troubles, we know in whom we have believed. We understand that no weapon formed against us shall stand because we are found in our Lord. The Lord who promised never to leave or forsake us; the God who fights for us as we remain in peace. We are the redeemed, and our lives are gloriously His! As we sit beneath the banner of His love, we bask in the certainty of our inheritance, boldly approaching the throne of grace. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, holy and without blame. By an operation of His power at work in us, we can step into all He destined for us. In everything, we act with joy. When trials come, we pray in joy; we stand in joy. We abide in Him who encompasses and personifies the Word of Joy!

I Pt. 1:6-9, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

I Chron. 16:26-27, “For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy are in His place.” ESV

Ps. 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” NKJV

1/13/2020 Great Expectations

My people, this is a time of expectation! Not of fear unto death, but of hope unto life! Remain in Me; remain in hope; remain joyful! As you continue to stand, scan the horizons and watch what I am doing. For where many have feared to tread, I am already at work. The principalities and powers of darkness that you have confronted in the secret place that you have withstood for so long, you will see them falter and fall. Yes, the days are evil, but that does not prevent Me, nor should it prevent you from pressing forward and taking ground. It is not a time of stagnation, but a time of fruitfulness. Look forward, expectantly! Greater things are yet to come for those who abide in Me! Num. 23:19, “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” NKJV

1/7/2020 Get Your Praise On!

We are now a week into 2020, and, dare I say it, fifty-one weeks away from 2021. SIGH! Life is a series of beginnings and endings and everything in between, and here in the Coventry household, we see that profoundly this year as our oldest, Ezekiel, graduates high school this May. It seems like only yesterday when, with fear and trembling, we began our Coventry Academy, embarking upon our homeschool adventure. Time seems to fly by as you advance towards the end of a long-term goal.

That being said, we in our household have begun something new to us. We have chosen that every day of this year, each of us will start with specific praise to God as we walk through every fresh beginning and triumphant finish. Deuteronomy 10:21 states, “He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.” God is the One who deserves our every adoration. He is the title to our every heart-song, both the music and the lyrics. In First Chronicles, David’s Song of Thanksgiving explains that we “triumph in Your praise” (I Chron. 16:35).

Yesterday Ezekiel rejoiced in God’s provision, Joshua in God’s lovingkindness, Gary in God’s forgiveness, and Sam in God’s mercy. God is eternally all of this and more. Today, we are praising God for His patience, His creativity, that He never forsakes us, and that He helps us and heals us. What a wonderful God is He! So today, we invite you to join us and get your praise on! Please feel free to comment as we acknowledge our marvelous God in all of His spectacular attributes!

1/3/2020 From Rocky Start to Smooth Finish

I saw someone who was living in a place that God had called them to; however, it was rocky, and their feet began to hurt. Everywhere they walked, pain was their companion as their bare feet slipped upon various rocks and shards. Their motivation was right, desiring to serve the Lord, but the pain was so intense. At the moment of greatest distress, the Lord stepped in and made this rocky place smooth, to the point that this individual could now dance. No longer did it take a while to get from one place to another, but they moved quickly and efficiently, doing everything the Lord asked of them. Though they could see the rocks beneath their feet, the Lord had made it level with a layer of glassy transparency separating them from what had once hurt.

For those that have had a rocky start and persevered through the pain, the Lord is about to level things out. What has seemed uneven and, even at times, unfair, is going to be made plain before you. You have not been in the wrong place; you’re right where the Lord wants you. He is going to release the pressure of pain so that His work in and through you is accelerated. Where there was once mourning, He is going to cause you to dance.

Ps. 30:8-12, “I cried out to You, O LORD; and to the LORD I made supplication: ‘What profit is there in my blood when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!’ You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” NKJV

1/2/2020 An All-Consuming Wave Part 2: A Word on Judgment

Judgment can be either in your favor or not. Judgment exposes what is hidden and passes a verdict. The purpose is to bring justice on behalf of an injured party by bringing things into the light of truth. So, for the child of God, we should not fear judgment because we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We rejoice as God rules in our favor against the enemy because of the blood of Christ that covers us. We celebrate as He rules in our lives regarding our health, finances, needs, and wants. Our God is awesome! However, we tend to gloss over Scripture that clearly states we are to be holy for He is holy (1 Pt. 1:16). That is not a suggestion to the Body of Christ; it is a clear-cut statement. So, God expects holiness in our lives or nation, but we suddenly want to change Scripture to make God subservient and justify our wills. We cannot have it both ways. If Jesus is Lord, then He is Judge, as well.

Now, as citizens of a nation subject to the God of the Universe, we cannot assume that our personal faith prevents an unfavorable judgment on the country as a whole, although God has in times past stayed His hand because of the righteous. For Sodom and Gomorrah, despite the many people, God was not able to find even ten righteous and so carried out His plan of judgment. The prophet Jonah pouted when God stayed His hand at Nineveh’s repentance, and he was chastised by God. In the United States, as a people, we have injured our unborn. We have wounded families by attempting to redefine and reject God-given roles. We have harmed other people groups and nations by our policies, so we, as a nation, must answer to the Lord for what we have done. That being said, the effectual, fervent prayer of righteous people avails much (James 5:16). Oh, that God would defer His judgment at our repentance!

However, God will not be mocked, and when according to God’s Word judgment came upon Judah righteous people were among those taken into captivity. Most notably, Daniel and the other Hebrew boys. In the midst of what was national judgment, they yet engaged their culture, sought to establish God’s reign in their lives, and declared the Word of God even at risk to their lives (Dan. 1). Nehemiah interceded and repented on behalf of a nation, reminding God of His promise to return them to their own land and became God’s instrument to rebuild the wall (Neh. 1).

So, even when judgment comes, it does not mean God has abandoned His people. It means He is just and righteous, ruling against the works of darkness in our nation.  In interceding for Sodom, Abraham asks, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?” (Gen. 18:25) The answer is a resounding “YES!” God will do what is right. God will still stand by you and continue to use His people even while He executes judgment on the nation as a whole. As Paul quotes, “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:11-13).

As David so beautifully reminds us,

“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;                                                                                                 The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.                                                                            More to be desired are they than gold, Yea than much fine gold;                                                                             Sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb.                                                                                             Moreover, by them Your servant is warned,                                                                                                                    and in keeping them there is great reward.                                                                                                                     Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.                                                                                   Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;                                                                                                      Let them not have dominion over me.                                                                                                                          Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.                                                                      Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight,                                             O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.” (Ps. 19:9-14)

Fear has no place in the child of the Living God when it comes to judgment. If anything, when all is exposed, the blood of Christ rises as a standard covering us, because Jesus is our Mediator and High Priest. Instead, we should rejoice because His judgments serve as a warning to remain holy and blameless. In the midst of it all, His love is steadfast, and His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness (Lev. 3:22-23).

1/1/2020 An All-Consuming Wave Part 1

Several weeks ago, as I was in prayer, I heard the Lord speak, “Hold fast, hold fast, hold fast,” followed by “national tragedy,” and “imminent.” I held it close to my heart, asking the Lord for greater clarity. This past Saturday evening, I had a dream and awoke, feeling sick and with a sense of urgency in my spirit.

In this dream I saw what I can only describe as an underwater attraction, just below the surface on the east coast of the United States. I was shown this place was filled with all sorts of snakes and predatory animals. People were walking amongst them, petting them and even being offered a night’s stay with these animals. It was as though they were immune to the danger they were in, walking in a hidden place and interacting with animals that would willingly consume them. Thoroughly disgusted, I asked why they weren’t being hurt, and he responded that they were being prevented for now, but it wouldn’t be long. These snakes were crawling around everything, and people were treating them like harmless pets. I have to admit the whole thing made me want to wretch.

As we exited, I was on a platform overlooking the ocean. I thought to myself that at least the view was beautiful. Nothing could be seen of what lurked beneath, although people flocked to the descending stairwell in droves. Suddenly, as I looked out at the ocean, it had become deathly still, and I knew something was wrong. I begged for an alarm to be sounded, believing a tsunami was approaching, but as I turned, I saw the spirit of seduction. He laughed as I realized that the unassuming who had petted the animals would now feed them as the people would be washed into the cages below. Even more, it was revealed that these predators would not be content with what they had been given, but that in the coming wave the predators previously hidden below would be released as their containers were destroyed, and they would be swept ashore on the coast to devour at will. As I lifted my head, I saw the wave headed for shore and awoke with an intense sense of urgency and warning as though red lights were flashing in the spiritual realm.

Let me first say that I do not believe in fear-mongering. Christ has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). I also don’t post this lightly; however, throughout Scripture God exhorts us to write what we have seen and heard.  I am convinced the Spirit of the Lord is warning us regarding the spirit of seduction running rampant in our midst. While the clarion call resounds, many are still captivated by the subtle temptations of the enemy.

This spirit of seduction has been working under the surface level of what we have seen. Paul warns Timothy about this in 1 Timothy 4:1-2, which states, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” Christ Himself echoed the warning of the prophet Daniel that in the last days the enemy would seek to deceive even the elect (Dan. 11:35; Matt. 24:24). More than anything we need to mature and walk in discernment, so we are not tossed about with “every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14).

We have been lulled into a false sense of security while finding amusement with the forces of darkness. We’ve stood by as our Lord is mocked, His name taken in vain, and been silent as perversions and abominations are committed within His church. We indulge our desires and excuse our behavior with doctrines of demons, never realizing that the danger is real. We’re dancing in dark places, and the enemy is laughing at us.

We’ve been seduced into thinking that it was just the world and held ourselves aloof instead of engaging our culture. As we voted out the creative Word of God in our lives and schools, we rejected the very Word that gives our existence purpose, individually and as a nation, forgetting that in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We killed our children and focused on ourselves. Many have exchanged the truth of God for a lie (Rom. 1:25), and are content in their dalliance with the devil. Because of this, we have given the enemy carte blanche to do what he will, and that is always to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). Those who flirt with the devil are in danger of being consumed.

People, God does not interfere with your will. We insist the devil flee when it comes to sickness and pain, but we consistently make a place for him in our homes, giving in more often than not. In addition, we do not submit to God (James 4:7). We have rejected the counsel and correction of the Lord and turned every one to his own way (Is. 53:6). We thought we were wise when we reinterpreted Scripture to justify our fleshly desires, and have become fools. We have worshipped the work of our own hands in the church and without it. Because of this, God has given up our nation to our vile passions (Rom. 1:18-26).

Dear friends, judgment is imminent. Our nation is without excuse, and the Lord is going to bring to light what lies beneath. While many natural disasters have occurred over the past years, it is nothing compared to what is coming. There is a wave of exposure that is coming to bring to light what lies beneath, both spiritually and literally. It’s not a question of if, but when, and it’s soon.

So, what now? Judgment is imminent and escape it isn’t an option.

One, God’s character and nature do not change because of His judgment. He is as He has always been. James chapter four tells us that if we will draw near to God, God reciprocates. We must cleanse our hands, recognizing we have sinned, and purify our hearts because we have been double-minded, seeking our desires rather than His. There needs to be a sincere, radical change in our country, beginning with the church. We must humble ourselves in godly sorrow.

Second, the prophet Jeremiah tells us to recall to mind and hope. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not” (Lam. 3:22). God redeems. Revival will come to our nation, but it will be a revival birthed in pain. God is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Pt. 3:9). Our hope and salvation are in the Lord. He has not forgotten His promises to us, and His judgment does not negate that the righteous have never been forsaken (Ps. 37:25).

Third, we pray in hope, believing. We pray for our nation like never before. God loves the United States of America. He came to redeem us with His shed blood (Col. 1:14). Even in anger, God’s hand is yet stretched out. God tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14, that if we who are called by His name will humble ourselves and pray and seek Him, turning in legitimate repentance from our wicked ways, He will hear, He will forgive, and He will heal. What a beautiful promise for us who stand in the gap for our nation. Healing begins at the place of confession.

Fourth, we hold fast in peace. Hold fast to what? Hebrews 10:23 tells us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Faithful in judgment? Yes! We must hold fast to our confession of faith, not abandoning it. He will complete what He has begun in us. It’s in our confession and by His blood that we overcome. It is impossible to overcome without our testimony.

What is coming is hard. There is no denying it. The temptation is to curse Christ amid the calamity, but church, resist that temptation. He remains the ever-present help in time of trouble (Ps. 46:1). In my dream, I was in it, yet above it. You, too, are in the world and yet not of it. You are more than a conqueror through Him who loved you (Rom. 8:35-39). When the enemy pulls you to himself, seeking to deal a death blow to your faith, remember Christ’s love not only for you but for the entirety of our nation. He has not yet finished His good work in us or our nation.