18, '11 8:38 AM
By Regner Capener
Frank Villa is a recent (within the past year) friend, brother in the Lord and co-laborer in the Gospel.
Among my friends I like to describe Frank as a fellow-investor in the Kingdom of God and a broker of Kingdom opportunities. That may sound like a funny way to describe him, but Frank has discovered that it is our investments (our time, our labors and energies, as well as financial giving) in the Kingdom of God that pay the kind of dividends which are reaped not only here but in eternity as well. Whether they describe it like this or not, Frank and Jan (his wife) have entered into a powerful covenant with the Lord.
Let me remind you of this rather remarkable covenant that Jesus made – and this covenant applies only to those who don’t draw back or withhold any part of their existence from the pursuit of excellence in Jesus Christ. First let me take you to the context of this covenant.
Jesus has just finished with His invitation to the rich young ruler to forsake all and come and follow Him. The rich young ruler can’t quite bring himself to make that kind of commitment and leaves Jesus in sadness. Jesus says to His disciples, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God.”
He follows that statement by saying, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle (a very low and narrow gate in the wall of the city of Jerusalem), than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”
Because Peter and several of the disciples are fairly well-to-do businessmen and fishermen, and have a rather abundant supply of resources, this shakes him and he answers, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus now answers Peter like this: “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” The point He’s making is that the ability to prioritize one’s life for the sake of the Kingdom and lay aside possessions is a gift from the Lord.
Peter thinks about his situation, as well as that of James and John and some of the others and seeks to make the point with Jesus that, while they have plenty, their trust is not in their wealth and personal resources. So, he responds to Jesus and says, “You see, Lord, that we have left all our wealth behind and have followed you [not making our well-being and personal comfort our priority].”
Now Jesus responds with a covenant statement: “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”(See Mark 10:17-31)
Are you seeing and understanding the nature of this covenant? Our families, our friends, our relatives, our wealth and possessions get bumped out of first place in our priorities.Jesus obviously didn’t care if people had family and friends, wealth and possessions – in fact, He was promising all that to them! What He was saying was, “You follow after me!You make the Gospel of the Kingdom your priority, even if you have to walk away from your closest family and friends, even if you have to walk away from your wealth.If you’ll do that, I covenant with you to make family and friends, wealth and possessions my promise to you a hundred times greater than anything you walk away from – not only now, but in the ages to come, along with eternal life!But know this!If you have all these things and you are following after me and making the Gospel of the Kingdom your priority in life, you will have persecution because of it.”(My paraphrased rendering from the Greek text)
Whewww!!! How’s that for a mouthful? You get it, don’t you? His promise and covenant to those who receive this gift from God to be able to set aside their family, friends, lands and possessions is that He will restore to them – IN THIS LIFE – all that they walk away from a hundred times over!
It’s really the same thing that Jesus said in Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I’ve said all that to say this: Frank Villa has made it his life’s purpose to promote every opportunity God has directed him to for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear to invest in avenues which provide a financial means to enlarge the Kingdom of God.He and Jan have entered into this covenant with the Lord. It’s the same covenant that Della and I have entered into – hence our great appreciation for Frank and Jan.
Can folks get rich doing this? Sure. But the riches are not for those who just want to have lots of money for themselves. The objective is to ensure that those who are on the frontlines of the Kingdom doing battle with the Enemy and taking back Kingdom territory stolen by Satan have all the resources they need in order to accomplish the mission God has anointed them for.
Remember what I said in one of our last Coffee Breaks? Tremendous opportunities are being given to many to invest in the Gospel of the Kingdom. Those who hear the Word of the Lord and obey every command to invest with their seed sowing and their abundant giving will see their opportunities, their finances and personal resources multiply greatly. This great transfer of wealth into the hands of God’s people, however, is not so they can build a collection of mansions, Rolls Royces or Bentleys (and it’s not that God objects to His people having these things!); the purpose for this great wealth transfer is to capitalize on the moment so that the Kingdom of God expands and multiplies in the earth. Our first priority as believers is to extend the boundaries of the rulership of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.
OK. Time for us to get back to our main discussion. Got a big carafe of some dark-roasted Columbian mixed with some lighter-roasted Swedish coffee sitting on the kitchen counter. Come on by and pour yourself a 16-ouncer as we continue talking about my adventures in Heaven.
It was in the early spring of 1971 after returning from speaking at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Convention in Phoenix that I dived into a three-week fast. Other than some one-, two- or three-day fasts, I had never really engaged in any fasting to speak of up to this time. Somehow I’d become fixated on the Esther-type of fasting: that’s to say, no food of any kind and no water. I knew Moses had gone twice for 40 days without food or water so it never dawned on me that it took a rhema and an act of God in order to pull off something like that.
“No food and no water” was pretty normal to me and that’s the way I dived into this three-week fast.It wasn’t until I hit the 8th day of the fast that I realized I was in physical trouble. You’ve no idea how rough it is on a person’s constitution to be without water for eight days!It was in my physical weakness that I flipped open my Bible the afternoon of that 8th day. My Bible fell open to the 10th chapter of Daniel. In a split second my conversation with Daniel (20 years before while I was in Heaven) came flooding back and I suddenly knew it was OK to finish out the fast drinking water. Even though Daniel could eat bread on his fast (it just couldn’t be whole bread or sweet bread), I felt restrained from eating any bread.
That fast finished and culminated with the miracle of Eskdale (if you’d like to read that story go to this link –http://regnersrangers.multiply.com/journal?&=&page_start=540 – and scroll down the page just over halfway. There are three parts to this story.)
Picking up where I left off in our last Coffee Break, my questions to Daniel now centered on his life of prayer, intercession and fasting.
"Where and when did your daily life of prayer and intercession begin," I asked.
"My prayer life began in my youth," he began, "even before we were taken into Babylon.It had become a regular activity for me. While I was still a very young person, my prayer life was resulting in a tangible sense of the presence of the Lord being with me.If daily activities and family affairs interfered for a day or a few days, it soon became clear to me that I was missing out on the immediacy that I experienced with regular and consistent daily prayer."
It was at this moment that he allowed me to see a quick vision of the carrying away into captivity and the long, tiresome and wearying procession. I saw Daniel and his companions as they trudged mile after mile after mile. He also allowed me to see the combination of disappointment and occasional flashes of fear -- a fear of the unknown that lay ahead. At the same time I saw the rising up of hope and determination in him with the knowledge of God's presence. There were flashes of revelation in his spirit that, despite the fact that he was leaving home and all the surroundings he'd known in Judah, he was walking into a destiny that God had purposed for him before he'd ever been born into the House of David.
Daniel now continued his discourse."During our long trek to Babylon, it became very clear to me that the only way I was going to succeed or prosper in any way in our new and foreign environment was to be constantly in communication and communion with the Lord.I resolved in myself to spend my first waking moments in praise and worship, prayer and intercession and seeking the heart of the Lord for that day. When mid-day came, I wanted to renew and refresh my spirit with His spirit and ensure that my day was completely on track with His plans and purposes.
"When evening came, it didn't matter that I would be asleep during the late hours. I wanted my spirit to be completely in tune with the Lord in such a way that any dreams or visions would be those in which He wanted to reveal more of Himself to me. It was mandatory for me -- a mandate in my spirit from which I could not escape -- that my last waking hour or minutes would be spent in communion with Him."
It was in that moment that I saw what God was doing in me, even at my young age. The very first thing I did each morning when I awoke was to grab my Bible and read. The hunger in me to know the Word was nothing less than voracious. As I read and meditated, there was a place of communion with the Lord that unfolded in the midst of that time. It wasn't a thing where I would grab the Bible, read a few verses or a chapter, put it down and focus on the things that I wanted or needed to do. I enjoyed the presence of the Lord and would read and read and meditate and commune until I heard my Mother call me for breakfast.
The concept of stopping in the middle of the day to read or to pray had not entered my mind or my spirit, but there wasn't a night in which my last activity was to get my Bible and read and read and meditate and commune with the Lord until I fell asleep.In fact, here I was in Heaven, brought here by the Lord while I was doing what I always did: read the Word and meditate on Him before going to sleep.
I realized that the prayer and reading practices of early morning and late evening which had developed -- and my parents readily encouraged -- were very much like that which Daniel lived. Suddenly I related to him in a way that I couldn't put into words, but there was a bond of communication in the realm of the spirit. There was nothing in me at that moment that said my life would unfold like Daniel's life had, nor was there any idea that the Lord would unfold for me that same kind of revelation he experienced.
Daniels' next words to me were almost obvious. I knew where he was coming from.
"Remember Nebuchadnezzar? Remember the dream he had and how when his so-called "wise men, soothsayers and astrologers" couldn't begin to explain or unfold it, he sent forth Arioch, the Captain of the Guard, with an order to kill all his wise men and counselors?"
I interrupted him."Daniel, how was it that you and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were incorporated into his wise men? How did you get chosen for that when you were anything but an astrologer or soothsayer or someone who invented connections between the position of the stars or other heavenly bodies and unfolding events?"
Daniel began to laugh. "That's a humorous way of putting things," he said, smiling broadly."But you are right! Astrology is nothing more than an effort to predict events based on the position and alignment of stars or other heavenly bodies. Those who engage in astrology fail to realize that every constellation was named by God when He created the heavens. The constellations are there as His signs in the heavens so as to confirm His Word -- NOT to predict events in the lives of individuals before they happen.
"Those who seek to use the stars as a means to foretell events or draw personality profiles become the tools and victims of a lying Spirit of Divination because they are not walking and living in a personal relationship with the Lord. Without that place of intimacy and covenant with Him they become subject to lying spirits which purpose to lead them astray, confuse them and sidetrack them so that their focus is not on receiving the life God has for them.
"To answer your question more directly, because we were all of the royal House of David, it was thought that, as members of royalty, we would have had better training, better schooling and -- as a result -- more wisdom and knowledge than the average individual. Add to that the fact that the four of us had an outward manifestation of the Spirit of God upon us which set us apart. Without the king's advisors realizing it, they selected us to become part of the magi because they sensed the Spirit of the Lord God with us; and His Spirit -- all by Himself -- conveys a wisdom and understanding that the natural world does not have."
"Does that make sense to you, my young friend, Regner? "Daniel asked." Do you understand?"
I nodded my head affirmatively, and he continued the discourse I had interrupted a few minutes earlier.
"Let's get back to my question to you about Nebuchadnezzar's dream and his order to Arioch."When I realized what the king's orders were, namely, to destroy all of the magi because they couldn't tell him what he dreamed, nor give him an interpretation of that dream, I knew immediately in my spirit that the Lord would not only unfold the dream to me, He would also at the same time explain the dream in such a way that I could make the king understand what God was saying."
"God had given me favor with Arioch, the Captain of the King's Guard, so that I was given an opportunity to request time from the king to put the whole matter before the Lord. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were quick to agree with me and we began a time of prayer and intercession and waiting in the presence of the Lord. That same night, God gave me a vision in which he literally put on display for me every facet of the king's dream, along with a full understanding of the events that would follow throughout the centuries to come.
"It was really fascinating to me! It was the first of many like experiences in which the future unfolded in front of me like a scroll. As amazing as it was for Nebuchadnezzar to hear his own forgotten dream read back to him, I was honestly just as amazed to see and hear what the Spirit of the Lord was saying about the kingdoms that would succeed the Babylonian kingdom.
“What it did ultimately was to inspire and compel me towards a life of prayer and intercession more than ever before. Intercession, you see, is more than simply praying intensely over some situation or set of events. Intercession is active participation in bringing to pass the heart's desire and the will of Father God on earth and in the affairs of men. Intercession is what Father God has ordained for us in order that the Kingdom of Heaven and God's rulership be implemented and enforced here."
That last comment sparked a series of questions from me -- and we'll take those up in our next Coffee Break.
Next: HEAVEN XVII: Daniel's Prophecies.
When people are given a glimpse of their individual role in God's destiny, it transforms them and sets them on the course to repentance and the impartation of the Christ-like nature. They see the cause of God and are forever changed and have the joy of their salvation restored. We are seeing that happen now. Strongholds of hopelessness, despair, depression and other oppressive mindsets will be overcome when God's "zoe" life is breathed into an exceedingly great army. -- Paul Keith Davis
Blessings on you!
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