Today, precious saints, I would like to begin sharing with you some spiritual training I have been going through in the last four months. I am sure that you too have been going through intensive training and pressure. The Spirit is making sure we are ready for what comes. Navy seals go through very intense training before they are released on assignment. They must be at peak fitness mentally and physically for what they will face.
On 22nd June, 2020, I fell and broke my ankle. Because the break consisted of the ligament ripping out a chunk of bone right at the bottom of the fibula, the doctor placed my ankle in a brace instead of a cast. This was around the time when Dana Coverstone first began sharing his warning dreams. So, every morning as I prepared for the day, I heard the words ‘Brace yourself!’ as I put on my brace and was very aware that I was living out the message, that the bracing of ourselves was not something to be done now and again, but daily and that without the necessary bracing, it would mean the healing and strengthening in order to be able to stand would not be accomplished. And I found myself in a wheelchair because a previous back injury had left my right leg too weak to hold up my whole body weight.
The doctor indicated a 6 week (42 day) recovery period and immediately the Holy Spirit said He was going to begin teaching me what the 42 months or 3&1/2 years ahead were going to be like. This was my mini orientation course for the tribulation period ahead! Firstly, I was unable to do anything for myself — I was completely dependent on another for everything I needed. And the Holy Spirit indicated that His people would be in the same position. We will be completely dependent upon God and other saints to meet our every need during this time. WE will have no ability to earn our own income, provide our own needs or be independent. But we will be completely provided for!
Miraculously, my daughter and son-in-law had moved in with us two days after my accident, so I had a blessed volunteer nursing team — for which I am very grateful. However, anyone who has been confined to a wheelchair will know the frustration involved. Bathing or showering is a major undertaking. All independence is removed. You just cannot do your own thing anymore. And I was made starkly aware of just how very independent I was at my core. Pride had to be repented of, because it did not sit well with me having to ask for every glass of water or even my clothing for the day to be brought to me. And the Spirit whispered, “Ask and it shall be given you…”; “Do not worry about what you will wear for your Father knows you have need of these things…”. Then I had to learn that it was not about when I wanted things to happen. They took place when others had time to do them, yet all my needs were met. I learned what it was like to not be in control of my own welfare and to entrust myself fully to another… and I have been very well cared for. God wants us to know He will not forsake us or let us suffer lack. He knows our needs and has already made plans for us to be taken care of in the 42 months of tribulation (Rev 12).
I also had to give instructions on how to tend my vegetable garden and care for my chickens because I was unable to get outside. I had to enter into rest and cease from my labours. I had entered a time when I could not work.Then the Lord began speaking to me about His portable throne with fiery wheels (Dan 7:9) and how His judgements were executed from this place. I was tutored by the Spirit about what it meant to rule from a seated place of rest, using the sound of my voice and how to phrase sentences in the right way to accomplish the intended result. In the 3&1/2 years of tribulation, the Lord will release His righteous judgements and execute His decrees through the sons of the right hand who are seated with Him in heavenly places. They will speak His Word, not adding or subtracting from it, and extend His rule in the midst of His foes (Psalm 110).
Your Rod and Staff Comfort Me
After a couple of weeks, I progressed to a pair of crutches and one foot on the ground and had to be very careful about where I moved. I had to take careful note of every step I took or I would fall and cause further injury. In the days ahead, we will not be able to plunge into our day carelessly. We will have to stand at the crossroads and look and hear a voice saying ‘this is the way, walk in it’, when we turn to the right or to the left.’ We will have to be watchful and focussed and aware that any unwise movement will bring disaster. We will have to commit our ways to the Lord and He will make our paths straight. Of course, we all think we do that now anyway, but I can assure you that I have learned by painful experience that we lean upon our own understanding far more than we realize every day.
Finally, I progressed to one elbow crutch, as I began to put weight on my right foot after 4 weeks. And the Lord began to speak to me about the staff of His Word and how we would need to lean our full weight upon the unshakable promises He has given us in these 42 months; how this would build strength in us and allow us to move forward surely without stumbling.
As the days went by, I grew stronger and got more confident and began to chafe against having to pick up the crutch every time I wanted to walk anywhere. Sometimes, I thought, “Oh, I am only going to the kitchen to make tea, I don’t need that old thing” and I would launch forth without seemingly disastrous consequences. However, the little trips without the crutch grew more and more numerous and because it didn’t hurt too much, I paid little heed to any slight twinges.
Finally, I noticed my inner ankle was swelling up quite a bit. The physiotherapist explained that because my ligament and new join in the bone were not strong, my body was subtly redistributing my weight onto my knee and inner ankle and this was taking all the strain! What a lesson — when we do not lean upon the support of His Word in everything we do, other parts of the Body pick up the strain and are adversely affected. When one part of the Body hurts, we all hurt. The choice you make in the days ahead to fully throw your weight upon the Word of God will help the whole Body to grow strong. WE must look not only to our own needs but to the needs of others. We are one Body and we all partake of the one Bread. We MUST acknowledge Him in ALL our ways and not lean on our own understanding, and He will direct our paths.
Strangely enough, my ankle did not miraculously come right after the allotted 6 weeks. By this time, I had got used to the understanding that I was also walking out a prophetic parable, in order to gain wisdom. I became grateful for the ‘brace yourself’ message that was repeated each morning as I applied the brace to my ankle. I needed the reminder. As Dana Coverstone released further dreams with increased understanding for the season directly ahead of us on the calendar, I understood more than ever the need for the staff of His Word and the inner spiritual preparation to be able to face the difficult time we are entering. I memorised scriptures and continued to seek the Lord for instruction and guidance as to what He wanted me to do during the next season.
But as time dragged on and progress was slow, I grew tired of all the restraints on ‘normal daily living’. I wanted to be free to live as I had before my fall, drive wherever I needed to go and attend to all my own responsibilities. And yes, you’ve guessed it, that crutch got left behind more and more. Some days, I decided I didn’t really need the brace. I was strong enough to venture forth without it. One day went by and all seemed well. Two days unbraced seemed to bring no disaster on my head. And confidence in my own ability to deal with daily life grew. Unknown to me, confidence in the flesh was also growing in my heart. I began to lean more and more on my own understanding, disregarding instruction without seeming consequence.
Then suddenly, one day this week, I reaped what I had sowed. I found myself almost back at the beginning of my journey. My foot began to hurt at night, as well as my ankle and I woke 3 days ago to significant swelling! Long story short, I am now braced and back on my crutch and, if swelling continues, I have been warned I will be back on two crutches. I feel chastened!
This morning, I was pondering this deterioration and like a flash, I realized that the deterioration of my ankle is directly paralleled by my failure to read the Word in the last few days i.e. my refusal to lean on the staff of His Word. Swelling, pride and self-sufficiency had crept in and with it, a limp. As soon as I saw this truth, I came before the Lord, broke bread and repented for trying to stand on my own two feet, for independence instead of complete surrender and dependence, for pride, presumption, leaning on my own understanding instead of on the Truth of His Word (represented by my crutch/staff). I also repented for rebellion (because the Spirit DID gently nudge me to read the Word, but I ignored it because I was feeling sorry for myself with my painful foot and swelling.) A scripture came to mind:
Pro 11:2 When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness.
Pride causes one to walk in the light of one’s own understanding; in the wisdom of man, in one’s own perception of what is the best thing to do. The next scripture the Spirit fed me was this:
Isa 30:15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength. But you would not, Isa 30:16 And you said, No! We will speed [our own course] on horses!
I realized I also had not been resting in Him concerning provision, but had been frantically applying for editing job after job (without success), even though I had heard Him whisper at some point, “Am I not able to provide for you?” Instead of these words returning me to a place of quiet rest and trust, I brushed them aside and increased my frenzied search for a source of income all the more. How stupid! So I realized I also needed to repent of unbelief because, having heard Him speak, I did not put my faith in that word but continued to act as though my own ability to bring in income was more reliable. Frankly I am disgusted with myself at falling into this behavior at this late stage. And then the Holy Spirit showed me that underneath my own frantic efforts lay a foundation of fear of lack. Oh goodness, don’t tell me that, after all that I have walked through, this weed is still growing in my heart! How I wept at my own distrust of my faithful Father so graphically displayed. My efforts were really a pointing finger saying, “I don’t trust You to provide for me!”, in spite of having experienced His provision in the past.
I continued to read on in Isaiah 30, about a day when the power of God is coming to heal, a day when the Sun of Righteousness comes with healing in His wings. I need that healing.
Isa 30:26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD binds up the breach of his people, and heals the stroke of their wound.
I discovered on digging into this verse that the word for breach means ‘fracture, broken foot, destruction’! This ankle of mine is a speaking sign in the earth. And sheber comes from a root word meaning ‘to crush’, but amazingly, it also means ‘to bring to birth’! Remember how there is a leader who arises to crush the power of the holy people for a season — a 42 month season?
Dan 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right and his left hand toward the heavens and swore by Him Who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half a time [or three and one-half years]; and when they have made an end of crushing the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
The amazing spiritual truth of this word ‘sheber’ is that this crushing for 3&1/2 years brings to birth something powerful. The continual flow of oil to the menorah in the vision of Zechariah 4 is produced by a continual pressing and crushing of olives. These sons of oil are subjected to crushings day after day that light and understanding may flow to the lampstand.
Medical science told me my broken ankle would heal in 6 weeks or 42 days. I am now in the 17th week of crushing and affliction! But very slowly (partly because of my own tendency to lean towards self-sufficiency), wisdom and soundness is being imparted. And I am truly grateful that God is rooting out every bit of self-sufficiency in me, every tendency to lean on my own understanding. I remember He said a short while ago, “Do not doubt My Word when your own understanding of its unfolding is adjusted.” This impacts me again as I consider the restoration of my ankle.
By His Stripes
The word for ‘wound’ in Isaiah 30:26 is makkah and it means ‘a blow, stroke, stripe, plague, pestilence’. Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. He received blows with a flail; stripes to secure healing for us. As I was breaking bread and repenting today, I suddenly saw that His body was the Word made flesh and the blows that fell upon His flesh laid it wide open, causing the Blood to flow. The power of this Blood releases healing. But also, as the Spirit of Truth came and broke the bread of His eternal Word with me, laying it wide open, it has released the power of His Blood to cleanse and heal — first, my wayward, wandering soul, and then my physical body. How foolish were my days of avoiding the breaking open of His Word and the consequential pain of Truth piercing my understanding! In the 3&1/2 years ahead, we must ask the Spirit of Truth to lay open the Word to us, that we may receive strength and power daily to stand. And we must endure His chastening and training now because it is for our certain good!
Heb 12:11 Now chastening (Greek is ‘tutelage, discipline’) for the present does not seem to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it. Heb 12:12 So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble knees, Heb 12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed.
Coming back to Isaiah 30, there is a powerful promise but also a prophetic message for the difficult times ahead. In verse 20, the word for ‘adversity’ also means ‘tribulation’ and ‘affliction’ can also be translated ‘oppression’; in other words, the rule of a tyrannical leader during a time of tribulation:
Isa 30:19 O people who dwell in Zion at Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Isa 30:20 And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself any more, but your eyes will constantly behold your Teacher. Isa 30:21 And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.
During the time of tribulation and harsh oppression for the people of God, we will constantly behold His face and hear clear instruction as to the way to go and what to do. God is allowing the time of tribulation to sift the nations. Multitudes will be in the valley of decision, but at this time, He will also extend His scepter from the midst of His heavenly city, the Zion above (psalm 110) and as Isaiah 30:29 goes on to say, we will have a song and gladness of heart because He is in our midst! His glorious voice is going to be heard from the midst of His people and the sound of His righteous decrees is going to be released from among His Bride as they execute His judgements. Moreover, the blow of His rod or staff wielded by His strong right arm shall fall upon the Assyrian, accompanied by the sound of His people’s high praise.
Revelation 11 also speaks of the time when the sons of oil are active. They are the people who know their God and therefore are strong and do exploits. Though the outer court of the temple is trampled and trodden underfoot for this time, they are His witnesses:
Rev 11:1 A REED [as a measuring rod] was then given to me, [shaped] like a staff, and I was told: Rise up and measure the sanctuary of God and the altar [of incense], and [number] those who worship there. Rev 11:2 But leave out of your measuring the court outside the sanctuary of God; omit that, for it is given over to the Gentiles (the nations), and they will trample the holy city underfoot for 42 months (three and one-half years). Rev 11:3 And I will grant the power of prophecy to My two witnesses for 1,260 (42 months; three and one-half years), dressed in sackcloth. Rev 11:4 These [witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth.
Interestingly, in Revelation, it speaks of two lampstands, whereas Zechariah saw one. While the trampling is happening, the two lampstands are distributing the blazing light of Truth in the Holy city. A judgement of fire comes from their mouths to deal with their enemies, verse 5 tells us! The sons of oil are only able to do this because they have personally been chastened, purified and disciplined by the spirit of God. Sackcloth is a sign of mourning, repentance and humility.
These 3&1/2 years will be times of continual pressing, of discomfort, but they will also be times of seeing Him, of hearing His voice and receiving His daily counsel. They will be days of complete dependence, of being miraculously provided for, of being upheld, strengthened and comforted by the sure staff of His unshakable Word. They will be days of doing exploits and ruling from a seated place and decreeing His righteous judgements. This much I have learned…