On-ramp to 2021

Early in 2020 I felt the major word from God for us was…

“If My people  who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

After “turn from their wicked ways” has run like a ticker tape in my soul for ten months, I wonder what wicked ways His People have not yet turned from. I cannot, except as directed to act prophetically, turn from the wicked ways of evil doers or people in rebellion against God.

With the onset of Advent, I emphatically heard…

Those who walked in darkness have seen a radiant light shining upon them. They once lived in the shadows of death, but now a glorious light has dawned! (Isaiah 9:2).

That brought and brings much joy—I am border-lined stoked about an American Awakening. Some of the International prophets are forecasting one. Another verse slipped into focus a few days ago:

And here is the verdict: The Light of God has now come into the world, but the hearts of people love their darkness more than the Light, because they want the darkness to conceal their evil (John 3:16).

How much hope shall we hold out for those people to turn from that which they clutch to their hearts? Whose verdict? God or those who reject the Light?

Family Benton has examined ourselves, confessed and turned. We have listened to the prophets whom we discerned were hearing from God. Now some of them are saying God has spoken a second thing, which to me sounds like a contradiction of the first. Sometimes, I feel as if we are hanging on to Truth by our fingernails, and mine are prone to breaking and cracking.

I have a couple of friends who are “long-haulers” with COVID. They’ve been to ICU, on the ventilator and survived, but each day is a struggle with pain, imbalance and emotional upheaval. I am concerned that the drugs of despair—opioids which have our nation in its grip—will look like a workable option.

Great Britain lost so many men in W.W.I, history says “a whole generation of leaders was lost,” which led them to misread trends building for W.W. II. At times, I think America has lost two generations to Socialism’s lies and the Communist deception. Whenever I say, “What can they be thinking?” I am pushed to examine the fruit of those thoughts and who planted the seeds. The election, the main-stream acceptance and celebration of an ideology that has proved evil and unworkable in a Free Society and the destruction of our institutions causes me to wonder if this Constitutional Republic is salvageable and who will lead.

So! I come to the on-ramp of 2021 and I’m “hearing” God say…

“Be not dismayed…” (Isaiah 41:10).

From Strong‘s Exhaustive Concordance #8691: Dismayed: “to gaze at or about for help or to look away….”

“Dismayed” is image-oriented. Example: Sitting at the kitchen table looking out the window into space. Looking for an answer, solution and seeing nothing. Or sitting cross-legged beside a campfire with a stick in hand drawing lines in the dirt oblivious to everything. Somewhere between trying to figure things out and giving up.

God gives His reasoning that we should not go to a Place Called Dismayed:

“I am with you; I am your God.”

So do not fear, for I am with you

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I’m hearing, “Don’t go to dismayed. Just don’t go there!” It is not a healthy place to live. To put tent pegs deep there is not a Kingdom act.

Lots of people are hunkering down in Dismayed for whom God has better plans. Those whose businesses have floundered under lockdown, those who lack one idea from taking their dream to market, students who have given up on education, but have vision, desire and ability.

Are there roads out of Dismayed? I can only tell you what I sense I’m hearing from The Father about what I may do with His permission, perhaps with favor and anointing.

  1. Leaning into the provisions of God.

I have seen dismayed—the hanging head, the feeling, the mindset, the curse, approach to life. Psalm 3:3 tells us how the Psalmist dealt with dismayed.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”

  1. Continue to follow the daily regimen of Philippians 4:8.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

  1. Walk in faith—to be a blessing agent. One of Gary & Marilyn Hansen’s grandsons returned from Oxford and is studying New Testament. We received his blog about “the spiritual life.” (https://tylerevancallahan.medium.com/the-myth-of-spiritual-life-8461ea4518be) He says, for the spiritually alive, all of life is spiritual, not just biblical disciplines and stuff related to church. I know that you are anointed to be a blesser, an encourager and equipper—when the challenge is big enough.
  2. One generation from lost. Since we are always one generation from the loss of freedom; since we are always one generation from losing the vitality of the next generation of Jesus Followers, I feel nudged to invest. We have to start somewhere with someone.

We watched the last few minutes of the movie Seabisquit the other night. The book is great as is the movie. Debi told us about an at risk kid. He came to class one day with a book on his head and insisted the teacher tell every student to read it. He was emphatic and persistent. The kid had found a story he identified with and it opened him to possibilities. He had to share it. Having one’s eyes opened to possibilities is how we begin our move toward a better life. That is why we pray for healings for those who dismiss new possibilities. Your story(ies) can confront those in darkness because they feel assigned or consigned by birth, habits, behavior or just because they are who they are.

Second Corinthians 5:17 is a fact we cannot underestimate or neglect.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

I like the Living Bible Translation with its “new life has begun.” Begun and continuing to come forth! Each birth of new life comes with a catalyst that opens “the eyes of our heart” to see what was blurred before. Creativity expands in the new life.

Benton Ministries will announce a 2021 investment in February. You will receive more news.

You and yours have walked with us through 2020. We have prayed for one another and poured love and confidence into each other. We thank you for your companionship in the past and look forward to our 2021 pilgrimage.

©2021 D. Dean Benton

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