Happy New Year! Phyllis and I are so thankful for you, and we are believing for you to LIVE FREE in 2023! Free of sickness, free of pain, free of debt, free of lack, free of oppression, and free of any other aspect of the curse. As a child of God, it is your right to live and walk in the freedom that God established for you through the shed blood of Jesus!
We always look forward to this season. There is something so invigorating about transitioning from one year to the next, about saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new. Every year we get a clean slate, an opportunity to decide if we will repeat the previous year, or if we will receive the provision of grace that Jesus made available to you and me for the purpose of moving higher, as well as lighting the way for others to do the same. Every January, we get to choose if the next twelve months will be months of blessing, or of cursing. Health, or sickness. Victory, or defeat. How do we make this choice? By how we respond to external conflict or pressure.
Throughout the course of the current war in Europe, we have continued to sow spiritual support and financial aid into our partners in Ukraine as they fight to withstand Russian aggression. The state of the world economy, the vast politicization of the war, and now the harsh onslaught of winter have all contributed to the gravity of their situation. And yet, the faith of our brothers and sisters has remained strong, and even grown as God has continued to prove Himself on their behalf. The testimonies pouring out of that region are incredible and inspiring, and they demonstrate an important point concerning faith.
Some of the characteristics that our dear friends and family have continued to exhibit include hope, gratitude, optimism, and joy. They are in a literal warzone where they have been physically bombed and attacked. Politically and economically, they are dealing with pressure on all fronts. Yet, the circumstances have done nothing to shake them up or divert them from their mission, and as a result of their focus and faith, they have experienced unusual provision and intervention.
The “secret” to their continuous breakthroughs, and ultimately your secret weapon, is this: When the enemy launches an attack on your life, you stand your ground and RETURN FIRE. When your health is deteriorating, when your marriage has grown weak, when your back is up against the wall financially, you don’t turn your back and hide. You don’t cry and ask, “Why me, God?”. You don’t get religious and say, “Well, I guess God is trying to teach me something.” No! You return to the covenant. You buckle down and cling to the Word, and you return fire on the enemy of your success.
I have a dear friend who pastors a wonderful church in Ukraine, and a few years ago, he partnered with our ministry. Throughout this war, I have been in communication with him and standing with him for the needs of the believers over there. When the bitter cold of the winter began to set in (we in America cannot comprehend the unrelenting cold they experience), it dropped in my heart to sow a significant seed, placing it directly into the hands of someone I knew I could trust to get it to our brothers and sisters in need over there. As this process began, I remembered that in the midst of his war-torn country and among his own congregants in desperate need of provision, he continues to faithfully sow financial seed into this ministry. As I pondered this, the Holy Ghost spoke to me and said, “He’s returning fire.” He recognizes that his true fight is not with “flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). He is returning fire on his true enemy, Satan, by putting the principles of God’s Word to work. He’s continuing to sow seed in a time of famine. He continually rejoices in the midst of widespread fear and uncertainty. He’s continuing the work that God called him to do by pastoring and preaching the Word.
Friend, when I think about this example of a man who chooses God’s way above all else, I am reminded that we have NO EXCUSE for going about life on this earth any other way than God’s way. So, how do you return fire? You return fire by declaring the Word over a seemingly impossible situation. You return fire by sowing in a time of famine. You return fire by rising up like a healed person would. You return fire by shouting with a voice of triumph regardless of your surroundings.
Friend, in 2023, let’s return fire. Let’s press in like never before. Let’s walk in the victory that was secured for us and given to us as an inheritance when we were brought into the family of God through the shed Blood of Jesus.
In closing, remember this…your victory is not yours alone. The choice you make in 2023 between life and death, blessing and cursing will not solely affect you. The world is watching. That family member who doesn’t believe in God, that co-worker who believes but is not yet convinced of His goodness, your children who are watching how you live as a model for how they will live their lives.
We are ambassadors of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is our home, our message, and it should be our way of life. We represent and act on behalf of Jesus, and when people look at us, what they see will preach much louder than any sermon we could ever utter with words. This year, choose life, choose healing, choose victory in every aspect, because through you, others will see that Jesus is the Healer, the Provider of every need, and the Author of life. In you, they see Him, so let’s show how He has changed our lives.