It's almost become anti-American. We work, we buy, repeat. We build a house, we work, we save, in hopes that when we retire (and until then), we'll be self-sufficient. We won't need anyone, because WE were responsible. We were smart with our finances. We were... safe.
I'm starting to really dislike how that word is being used.
Stay safe. Stay 6 ft apart.
Stay safe. Stay at home.
Stay safe. Don't come to church if you're sick. (assuming your church has even opened)
I've heard people misuse the quote by Corrie Ten Boom, "The safest place is in the center of God's will," to mean that God keeps us safe in the temporal no matter what. What a horrible joke. Let me put this as clear as I can:
God absolutely does not want us to be 'safe' (as the world defines it) in this life.
Wait, I thought this blog was about independence. It is. Safety, being taken care of, having all our needs met through our own 'responsible' labor, so that we can go through life with ease is why independence is a goal of so many in America. To have what I want, when I want it. To live 'comfortably'. To have access to all the amenities. To push buttons and things happen that didn't happen for thousands of years.
Independence is not needing anyone. We can do it alone with hard work and good morals.
Some would say, "But I do need people! I need people working at Amazon so I can order whatever I want and have it shipped to my house. I need people to fix my car. I need people to start restaurants so I can go out to eat. I need gas stations. I need this... that... I'm not independent!"
But yet we work so that we can be as independent as possible. We work so we have safety and comfort. We work so we can live better than kings did for thousands of years.
Many of us will do everything our boss tells us to do for money. But we won't do what our Lord tells us to do for love. - Kris Vallotton (paraphrased)
If you love me, keep my commandments. - Jesus
The real question is why? Why do we place such an outrageous value on independence?
The answer: FEAR!
What if I can't provide for my family? What if I'm old and I have no one to take care of me? I need to make enough money so I can continue my comfortable existence and not be a burden to anyone.
"Safety in light of eternity is to be in God's will."
"But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God."
"But I'm not following idols!" we exclaim. Listen, the devil has gotten a lot sneakier when it comes to idols. They are in the very fabric of what most call American.
Jesus said in John 8:28, "I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me..." Did you catch that?? "I do nothing on My own..."
JESUS! God. The savior of the world!! He stated that He does nothing on His own. That is dependence. That is not independence. He didn't even come to do His own will or be served. We are always thinking of ways we can be served... comfort, convenience, a life of ease. We are selfish! Oh, Lord! Help us to be dependent on YOU!
WE CAN DO NOTHING without HIM! Nothing. The very breath we breathe is His.
Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Let's look at some of those commands.
Love your enemies.
Bless those that persecute you.
Do not store up treasures on earth... Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.
Do not worry about what we should eat, what we should wear.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, "While people are saying, 'Peace and SAFETY,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."
SAFETY. Independence. FEAR.
Back to Corrie Ten Boom. Her quote is exactly right if you're not in the temporal, not in the world.
Safety in light of eternity is to be in God's will.
It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31
I'm all for hard work. I'm all for true wisdom. I'm not for lies in our motivation; lies that deceive our own hearts.
Pray with me today Psalm 139:23-24
"Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."
Lord, I repent for all the ways my heart has put my labor, my safety, my independence and my fears ahead of you. Forgive me of my sin in these areas and Holy Spirit, testify to the truth in my life. Help me to not fall into these lies again. Wake me up from my sleep and apathy.
In Jesus name,
Tear down the idols in your life. Ask the Lord what they are. Wait on Him. Repeat.
We have been in Nashville for just over 4 months. It’s amazing to step into what God has prepared for us here in this region, and it’s not at all like we had expected... I guess that’s pretty typical on this journey of following the voice of our Father.
We arrived in March and circled the city with prayer, worship and intercession. Then, we had high hopes to enter the city, similar to how Joshua led the Israelites into Jericho way back in Old Testament times. Turns out that wasn’t what God had planned. We are not yet physically entering the city, but we are continuing to take ground in the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.”
God has arranged our steps so that we have landed at a beautiful retreat center just 15 minutes north of downtown Nashville. The Nest sits nestled into 127 acres of tree covered hills. There is a chapel and full kitchen/dining/library building, along with a shower house. The leadership of The Nest are among the most gracious and humble people we have ever encountered. We have been welcomed into family. Though small in number, this group of seasoned warriors have an intense love for God and their pursuit of revival is essential and powerful in this region.
As we have spent the past couple months at this facility we have experienced the mercy of God in new ways. He is reminding us of his grace and his power and his love, even in the middle of a major pandemic. We have felt God refining us and getting rid of junk that we have unknowingly allowed to muddy up our hearts. He is such a good Father and He has a dream for us. This dream is part of His larger plan to see His glory cover the earth like the waters cover the seas. Habakkuk 2:14 “The time will come when all the earth is filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.”
God has confirmed to us that Nashville is strategic to reach the nations. (Please check out Josh’s post titled, “Light Shines in the Darkness,” for all the stats to support that. It’s a great post!) We know that God spoke to us about reaching the Kurdish people, but it is going to be accomplished vastly different from what we had thought.
Last year, we felt the Holy Spirit tell us that our names are prophetic. Josh is to lead people into the Promise Land; the promise land is life in Christ. My name, Mary, is like Mary of Bethany who sat at Jesus’ feet and worshipped. We believe that we are to advance the Kingdom of God and our weapons of spiritual warfare are worship, prayer and intercession.
Jesus brought old testament scriptures into new testament life and declared, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations…” Mark 11:17. This is it folks. We have been given the next stage of our journey and it involves us sitting at the feet of Jesus. We know that our family is to focus our attention and energy on worship and intercession in order to reach the nations.
Over and over again God has confirmed that this is how He created us to function. It is not the only way God will bring the nations of the world to Jesus, but it is the way God has put before us. It doesn’t mean that we won’t go out and share the gospel with Kurdish people and others, but the first fruits of our time, energy and resources will be spent at the feet of Jesus. We must advance the Kingdom of God on our knees in prayer.
One of my favorite things to do is sleep. Yes, it is a sad thing when you think about it. But what can I say? Sleep is great! When I sleep I’m comfortable, I don’t have to think about anything, I don’t have to do anything... In fact I like my sleep so much that, here in the Hoeckle bus, I wear earplugs to sleep.
One night God woke me up saying, “Take your earplugs out so you can hear Me.” I was like, “God, I’m pretty sure these earplugs cannot keep you from speaking to me.” But as confused as I was, I still took them out and laid back down with all the little kid noises impairing my sleep. A couple nights later God woke me up again saying the same thing, “Take your earplugs out so you can hear Me.” This time I was annoyed. “Come on God, I just want to sleep! I don’t want to take my earplugs out!” But again I obeyed anyways.
I had no idea what this meant. But I was talking with a friend about the Church being spiritually asleep and “ding!” A lightbulb turned on and I realized the whole earplug thing was a prophetic picture. The reason why some believers are asleep is because they WANT to sleep! They want to keep their earplugs in so they will not be awakened. They want to remain in their comfort where no action is required of them. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.” Proverbs 24:33
During these times we are in I have seen God using the circumstances to wake people up who had been sleeping. But I have also seen some of us who seem to be lulled to sleep as we take advantage of the “ebb.” We hear, “Stay home, stay safe.” And think, “Now that sounds nice!” After all, at home and surrounded by our comforts is the safest place to be.
Please don’t take this wrong. If you want to stay home that’s fine. That’s just the physical side of things. I just want to make sure to also consider the spiritual side of things (there is always a spiritual side, which is usually more important). So I think there are some questions we should ask ourselves. Was I doing anything for the Kingdom before this? Am I doing anything now? Am I attached to my comforts? AM I ASLEEP?
Over and over in the Bible we are admonished to stay awake, stay sober, stay alert.
Matthew 26:40-41 Then He (Jesus) came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
So easily we fall into slumber because our flesh is weak.
Matthew 25:1-13 is a parable of ten virgins. The five wise virgins were ready with oil in their lamps as they waited for the bridegroom. The five foolish virgins were not ready, they had no oil, and they fell asleep. When they tried to get in through the door at the wedding, the bridegroom would not let them in. He said, “I do not know you.”
When you are comfortable you fall asleep. When you are uncomfortable you automatically seek what you think will make you comfortable. I find that God is continually making me uncomfortable in order to reveal to me the things I desire above Him. Some of the best advice I have found is in the words of a hymn: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” When we look fully at Jesus and put Him as our greatest desire, all other desires fade and comfort becomes irrelevant.
Open your eyes and turn them to Jesus. Take the plugs out of your ears so you can hear what He is saying to you. “Awake you who sleep! Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14
Sleep is overrated.
In 2013 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Earlier that same year, 2 babies died in my womb. It was a rough year. In October the chemotherapy began. My hair fell out, my body began to decay and my white blood cells were nearly zero October-December. I was hospitalized for 6 nights because I spiked a fever and they couldn’t find the infection. Since I had no white blood cells I had to be hooked up to antibiotics. It was miserable to say the least…
But, God... His grace covered me. Psalm 91 became my lifeline. I would lay in bed, all alone in that hospital, hating everything about that sterile room. Tears would pour down my cheeks as I tried to fall asleep each night listening to truth in song. I would hold my phone next to my ear in order to have the truth of the scriptures speak louder than my despairing thoughts.
Psalm 91: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He alone is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will save you from the trap of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions. And under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a wall. You will not be afraid of the terror of night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noon…
Deep and unwavering trust began to take root in my heart. I began to believe everything I had ever read in the Word of God. Every word is true. God became so close to me in those 2 months of heartache and pain and suffering and hopelessness and loss. In my darkest hour of life, the Light of the world burst forth. Not with exuberant shouting, but with peace and hope and steadfast lovingkindness. I felt that I was in the middle of a raging river holding onto a rope for dear life. The rushing current whipping me back and forth as I held tight. That rope was Jesus. The peace that surpasses all understanding was guarding my heart and my mind as I was clinging to Jesus! The scripture is REAL!
In that time I still feared dying, but with a whole lot less intensity. I actually believe that to live is to be completely hidden in Christ and to die would be gain. I would be home with Jesus, my beautiful savior and King.
This pandemic is producing a sifting in every person. I met a new friend yesterday and she told me that each one of us is being given this season as an opportunity to grow. Some may feel the growing pains and decide that it is too painful. Those people may shy away from that pain and remain stuck in their behaviors and beliefs, refusing to embrace the growth. However, many will embrace growth! And as we allow growth to happen, we will walk strongly into the new truth (not new normal!) of what God is doing.
When I was a young child, maybe 8ish, I was reading my sweet precious moments Bible and Matthew 25:31-end of chapter broke into my innocent heart. I had a real moment with God as He planted this passage deeply into my soul. I believe it has truly shaped me. Now, I’m feeling the conviction of that passage again and I can see how the enemy of our souls is working mercilessly to tempt us to neglect those we are called to be with.
Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison,and you came to me [ignoring personal danger]. [The righteous will say, “Lord, when did we do these things?”] The King will answer and say to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for me.”
In many places across our nation and the world, our authorities are forbidding us from completing any of these things mentioned above. We are forbidden from visiting those in prison. And, many of the people in our lives are succumbing to the fear of sickness and refusing to even smile at the sick, much less visit them. People are ostracized and quarantined and isolated. People are actually isolating themselves! We met an older couple full of the Love of God a few weeks back. They were heartbroken because their son is in prison and they are forbidden to visit him. Because of the fear masquerading inside of a health pandemic, even a mother and father have been forced to abandon their son.
What are we supposed to do as followers of Christ? We are commanded to pray for peace in the land and to honor those in authority. I firmly believe that every one of the disciples that followed Jesus walked in love and peace. However, they also caused intense political and religious disruption. All of them were either killed or imprisoned because of their obedience to the will of God over the will of the government.
The times we are living in are unparalleled in history. The eyes of our hearts are being opened to the tactics of the enemy to distort our love. What DOES love look like? It is such a powerful question to ask! The answer to that question is found in only 1 source: God. God is love. Love is not to be “nice” or make others feel good. Love can only be defined through the powerful word of God. The life of Jesus and the Holy Spirit inspired scriptures offer complete knowledge of how to love well.
We want to challenge you to align your heart and your mind with the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 states that all disciples of Jesus have been given the mind of Christ. However, we have the choice to fill our minds with garbage. If you are filling your life up with any other source more than The Source of Life, the mind of Christ might be on mute.
Whatcha gonna do? Turn off the mainstream media. Stop scrolling on Insta where the ideas of every single person on earth are available. Don’t turn to your mom or dad or friend or neighbor. Your local government might be awesome or totally deceived, but they are NOT the Truth. There is only 1 source. Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life.
What is He saying?
What is He doing?
What is He asking you to do?
Ask the creator of every human being what LOVE looks like.
Be the powerful child of God you were created to be.
Scripture is so clear. The same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is alive and at work inside of us. Do you believe that?! I mean, really deep down believe that the power of God is flowing through your veins? Ask God for fresh passionate revelation of what love, without fear, looks like. Love like that.
I want to welcome you on this journey with me: this journey of Truth. If you don’t agree with me, please pray and seek God for yourself. Ask God to reveal his heart to you and me. The enemy is using the media and those with worldly “authority” to silence the bride of Christ. If you hate what I’m saying, please pray for me. Pray that the Holy Spirit would take this conviction away from me. I don’t want to make a stink or ruffle any feathers. It would be so much easier to simply bow down to the wisdom of man. But, the question that keeps shouting in my heart is, “Does the church get a pass from being the church in this season?” NO! We must still be the church. We have the Spirit of God living in us. KNOW WHO YOU ARE!! You are a new creation! If you have made Jesus LORD of your life, you are no longer a mere human. You are something this world has never seen.
And, if we perish, we perish.
Such a short word. Yet, He is infinite.
He's so much bigger than we can understand, but He still wants to be near to us.
His Word tells us that He is near to the brokenhearted. Psalms also promises that He is near to all who call upon Him. The book of James says to draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Hebrews, Isaiah, Acts, Jeremiah and so many more books tell of the nearness of God.
It's so important for us to remember and proclaim these promises, especially when we are feeling far from God. Many times I've let my feelings get in the way of the truth of God's word. But, when we fill ourselves with His truth, the enemy's lies have no ground to stand.
We can trust our Father to be near always, even during the hard times.
We've been in Nashville for three months, but we've only been "on the ground" for a few weeks. We've been laying a foundation of prayer around the city for longer that I had planned.... but not longer than God had planned.
I want to give you some interesting facts about Nashville:
-13-15 mosques (depending where you draw the metro lines)
-Holds the largest Hindu Temple in Tennessee, along with 3 or 4 other temples
-9+ Buddhist temples
-A full scale replica of the Parthenon from ancient Athens, Greece with a 40+ ft statue covered in gold of Athena, Goddess of wisdom/war etc.
-14 metaphysical stores, also known as occult/pagan/witchcraft stores (to give you an idea, Houston metro has 7 million people and 9 metaphysical stores, Nashville has 1.7 million people and 14 stores) In fact, we ran into a witch casting spells at the capitol building during one of our prayer walks.
-Greek mythology is celebrated clearly through one of the city's nicknames, "The Athens of the South", to the football team, the Titans, and everywhere in between.
-The "heroes" of this town and state are men who brought slaves to build the first forts. They also wiped out the Native Americans that had lived here for centuries. The Trail of Tears you can actually walk on by the Cumberland river. Over 6000 died on that torturous trail. There's not even one reservation in Tennessee. The American Indians were all forced to go to Oklahoma.
-Slaves, hired by the government, built the capitol building, modeled after a Greek Ionic temple.
Lynchings were early in the state's history as well as Indian massacres.
-Besides Athena, the city literally raises up idols in the form of musicians.
I could seriously go on and on... But, I want to share another two nicknames of Nashville, "The Buckle of the Bible Belt," and "The Protestant Vatican."
Let that sink in for a little bit...
Are there Christians here? Absolutely. Are there Pharisees? Absolutely. Is there dead religion? Yes. Is there every form of evil? Yes. Is Nashville a very dark city? Undeniably, yes!
Is there a God who is bigger than all of it?? Praise the Lord, YES!!
Romans 5:20 says this, "But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded,"
You see, where darkness seemingly reigns, God's grace has surpassed it!
Matthew 4:16, in referring to Isaiah 9, says, "“The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a Light dawned.”
And, in John 1:5, "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
Jesus is the Light. In Romans 13:14, Paul says to "Put on Christ!" We must clothe ourselves with Jesus if we want to break through the darkness. We must abide in Him. We must rely on Him. For the sake of the many lost who don't know Him and don't understand Him.
I talked with one man here in Nashville whose daughters go to a local school in southern Nashville. There are people from 90 different countries in their school, speaking 100+ languages. NINETY! That is close to half of the nations in the world!
Then you have the Kurdish people. We are talking about a city with 600+ churches and a plethora of christian nonprofits, and yet, there are only two women missionally working full-time with Kurds. Two. Are you kidding me?? This is the largest population of Kurdish people in the U.S. They are the largest unreached people group in the world. There are more than 20k+ Kurdish living in the buckle of the bible belt with hundreds of churches surrounding them... and yet, the workers truly are few.
PLEASE... pray with us as the Lord commanded, Matthew 9:38, "therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
He truly is near to us. If you would like more information about our work in Nashville, please contact us. We are praying for more workers, for protection from the enemy and so much more.
Blessings to you all!
We have been in Nashville for roughly 60 days. Well, we haven't actually been in Nashville. We are parked just north of Nashville on a beautiful property and ministry called, The Nest. We stayed for a few weeks at a place called "Eagles Landing" and now we have been invited to spend the month of May at The Nest. It totally sounds like we're on some sort of prophetic journey! How awesome is that?!
Now we're here and it's incredibly peaceful and beautiful. However, the main word I keep feeling is "WELCOMED." We are truly welcomed here into this community of Jesus lovers. We haven't actually met much of the community, just the pastors and their daughter and 1 other family that lives here. But, there is such a sense of rest and peace.
I just want to share some pictures with y'all because it is soooooo beautiful!
There are trails to walk and woods to explore and a keyboard to play and swings to swing on and an oven to bake bread in and they are even putting in a washer and dryer! Hallelujah!!!
It has been such a sweet reprieve to enter into a place and not feel the pressure to fit into whatever shindig is going on. The pastors are genuinely supportive of the call of God on our family to go and make disciples amongst the Kurdish population in South Nashville.
We have committed to a one month trial to see how we all mesh. I am beyond excited to spend more time with them and worship and seek the heart of God with them. Who knows how our perfect Father will work all things out? We believe that this partnership is ordained by God.
Please pray with us that we would keep our focus on God and his plan for our family. Join us in praying for the Kurdish people and for this ministry, The Nest.
Be blessed with the blessings of HEAVEN!!
This the first blog post for Esther since she joined our team! We're so excited for her perspective, gifts and talents. May you be blessed! -------------------------------------------------------------------------
There are a million things God is doing right now. One thing He is doing in me is drawing out what is in my heart.
Someone mentioned that this time of seclusion that we are in is like Jesus‘s time in the wilderness. (Lk 4) For forty days he prayed and fasted and then was tempted by the devil. I had felt the similarities in that it has been a time of prayer and fasting for us. But now I am also beginning to feel the similarities in the temptation.
It has definitely been a time of testing for me, and he is drawing out what is in my heart by the testing. He brings me through the wilderness to try me, to humble me, to know what’s in my heart. To see if I will do what he commands. (Duet 8:2)
He refines me as silver is refined. (Ps 66:10) He prunes me that I might bear fruit. (Jn 15:2) He is so gracious not to leave us where we are, but to transform us! Not to leave those things in our hearts that are opposed to him, but to draw them out and make them bare.
When I see how beautiful his work is, I realize that I am not even worthy to be pruned! It is in his grace that he prunes us. Yes, it is a loving hand that turns up the heat.
So, if you are also being tried and tested during this time and you begin to see ugly things come out of your heart, do not be discouraged. He uses fire and water to bring us out to rich fulfillment. (Ps 66:12) He is using this time to make us READY! May we, like Jesus, come out of the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit! (Lk 4:14)
It's time for a revolution. Love demands it.
Jesus is a radical. He baffled the religious leaders of His day... and HE'S STILL DOING IT! Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors, people who were at the bottom of the moral social ladder in their day.
Jesus sent out His followers when they hardly knew what they were doing. They didn't go to bible college, they didn't spend years, studying His word... in fact, they didn't even have the New Testament!
Jesus started a revolution. He didn't say, "Be nice people that everyone likes and respects." He said things like, "Take up your cross and follow me, whoever wants to save their life will lose it, love your enemies, become a servant, blessed are the persecuted..." and so many things that were unheard of in their day, and still are today.
This revolution was, and still is, the pure embodiment of love. Many have twisted what love is, but Jesus' life defines it perfectly -- see also 1 Corinthians 13.
So, let's go back to our first love, Jesus. Let us live like Christ. Let's wake up from the slumber that is brought on by the world and all its' cares.
Let's join the revolution He started.
Today (April 19, 2020) is the 245th anniversary of the Revolutionary War. God is using the current state of the world to awaken His bride, the Church. People all across the world are coming back to their first love, Jesus, and are joining Him as He runs into the darkness.
"Do this [LOVE], knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep" (Rom 13:11). The darkness of our world is getting more and more pronounced. As followers of Jesus, we are called to go into the darkest places and bring freedom and LIGHT. Jesus said that we are the light of the world.
It's time for a revolution.
Love demands it.
Josh & Mary
*** This is Part 5 of 5 of our story about why we're going to Nashville. It is a supernatural story and we're so excited to be a part of God's work in Nashville! Since writing this post a few days ago, Nashville has had a devastating Tornado rip through the city. Besides the things we mention in this post, we are going to absolutely help with the recovery effort going on in the city. God's love should flow through the hands of those who follow Him. With that said, here is part 5. Please read the first 4 blogs leading up to this for specific context!***
We came out of Bend, Oregon like a slingshot! But not before one more supernatural experience happened. It was Sunday and we had parked our skoolie in a church parking lot for the previous four days.
That morning I (Josh) woke up early, at about six. As soon as I opened my bible, it was like I was being directed by the Holy Spirit. I believe I was reading Joshua. God has shown us over and over again that we are not only to bring the Kingdom of God to people in various ways, but we are also to take back land.
Joshua was the one who learned under Moses and brought the people into the promised land. We believe this is a huge part of what God has called us to do. We are to bring people into the promised land--a relationship with the Father, through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I had been thinking about surrounding a city in prayer and worship for months. I had been thinking on and off about what a modern day Joshua taking Jericho would look like. I remember thinking about RVs, buses, cars, etc. circling a city in prayer and worship. I also felt like the term “occupy the city” applied to this idea. I thought it was my idea... until that morning.
As I was reading and praying, I distinctly heard, “Deuteronomy 20,” in my heart. I flipped there in my Bible and quickly saw there was only 20 verses. This alone was significant because the Lord had spoken to us months before that the vision He had for us would be clear by 2020: 2020 vision!
However, it was 2019 still, so instead of starting at the beginning of the chapter, I started in verse 19. It starts like this, “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it…”
I’m not sure I initially even was able to read past, “When you besiege a city,” before the tears began to roll down my face. The Holy Spirit testified in my spirit that this was confirmation that the term “occupy the city” was not my idea. It has been His plan all along.
We love the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. The people of Judah are outnumbered and scared. The king proclaims a fast and they seek the Lord. His words at the end of the prayer say it all, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
The Spirit of the Lord comes upon a man and he prophesies over the people. The man concludes by saying, “The battle is not yours, but God’s.” There are so many great lessons to learn from this, but without going into too much detail… God wants to fight our battles. He just wants us to know Him and trust Him. When our eyes are on Him, He will fight for us!
We have always desired to see God move like He did in the early church and the Old Testament. He is the same God He was then! He can do it!
Now, we didn’t know what city this game plan was for, but we now know it’s Nashville. He may have us do the same thing in another city at a later time, but we don’t know that for sure. He always wants relationship, and we do too. He wants us to stay connected to His heart so that we know what He is doing in a particular situation or place. It’s a beautiful thing!
There’s more to Deuteronomy 20 that I won’t go into in this post. I’ve read it probably 25 times since October. However, I’m going to finish up with the story of that morning in Bend, OR.
So, I end up taking all the kids into the pre-service prayer while Mary got ready for church and had some prayer/worship time. Mary loves to just worship and be in God’s presence. She is truly like Mary of Bethany. Many times her intercession is just dancing/singing/crying/praying/ministering to the Lord. It’s part of her calling and I know it does things in the heavenly realm that we can’t even begin to understand. She had a wonderful time with the Lord while the kids and I were in His presence with a few others from the church.
God continued speaking throughout the church service, and needless to say, we were filled to overflowing with the Spirit. Not only that, but we were excited and confident of what God was going to do in the future. We are partnering with the Lord in what He wants to do. It’s not our agenda, it’s ALL HIM. Why do we try to do it in our own power? I tried for many years, It stinks! His ideas are so much better!
Ok, so Nashville. Are we going to besiege the city to make war against it? Absolutely! I was so excited to hear that over 700 churches mostly in the Nashville area were fasting and praying for their city and the state of Tennessee in January and February of this year. God is doing something there that is so much bigger than us. We are just doing our part.
Now, obviously we’re not going to destroy everything in the city, but we are going to tear down strongholds in the city. There’s been books written on this subject, but look at 2 Corinthians 10:4, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
It sounds like a physical war, but it’s not. It is, and has always been, a spiritual war. Jesus came to defeat the enemy in the heavenly places. He made a way for us to step into His victory and see the enemy defeated everywhere we go. Our weapons to tear down spiritual fortresses begin with the Word of God, our sword. Intercession, fasting, acts of justice, redeeming the land, worship etc. are all part of God’s plan for bringing a city back to Him.
Nashville isn’t Ninevah, but God did save that whole city as they humbled themselves in repentance. We don’t yet know the extent of why we are going to Nashville; the Kurdish people coming to salvation in Jesus and tearing down the spiritual strongholds are the pieces God has given to us.
I know I have said this is blog 5 of 5 on Nashville, but we will continue to write about what God is speaking and doing there in the future.
Thank you for joining with us in prayer for the Kurdish people and city of Nashville. There’s a new song coming out of Nashville. It is far superior than any song a person could write. It’s the song of the redeemed!
Part 4 of our Nashville Story. We would love for you to read the blogs leading up to this one: just click on the 'Nashville' Category below!
Back in September 2019, we were so excited to finally make it to Bend, Oregon. We knew the previous summer we'd be heading to the northwestern part of the United States, and Bend was #1 on our list.
As with most of the cities we visited in our first year, we had never been to Bend, but had several confirmations that we should go there. I won't go into all those, but we were very expectant of what God was going to do.
A family we have known for over 15 years had recently moved to Bend, and another family we've had supernatural encounters with multiple times also lives there (You can read about one of those here ). We arrived in Bend, OR in the beginning of September, 2019 and spent a significant amount of time with Matthew and Tiffany Libby and their 4 kiddos.
One morning while in Bend, Mary went out for a coffee date with Tiffany (from above family) and that is where the prophetic word began to stir. Tiffany asked if there was anything significant with the month of April for us. Mary immediately thought of the miscarriages and her journey with cancer. Two of the four miscarriages happened in April and her journey with cancer began in the month of April, 2013. After hearing this, Tiffany said that she believed God was going to do something new in April to redeem all of the things the enemy had stolen from us!
Towards the end of our time in Bend, we had a night of prayer and worship with our friends, the Libbys. We took time to pray for our families and shared some prophetic words. Tiffany asked if we wrote music. Anyone that knows us well, knows we were both in bands, wrote music and led worship for many years.
I said, "Yes, although not for some time," and Tiffany continued. She talked about the song in Bambi called Little April Showers. She felt like there was a new song coming for us in April. This is how the chorus ends:
Drip, drip, drop
Little April shower
What can compare
To your beautiful sound
The prophetic word really resonated with me because I had been feeling like I would start writing music again. However, it was over 6 months until April, so I tucked it away not thinking too much about it... until October hit!
***Please read the previous two blogs for what happened last October*** So, God calls us to Nashville, also known as Music City U.S.A. Now, before you think, this guy thinks he's going to get famous!... No, I actually don't. You see, God started putting these words in my heart after Bend.
There's a new song rising, it's the song of the redeemed.
There's a new song rising, one that sets us free
There's a new song rising up in me
I love music and I believe it's very possible that music is the language of Heaven. The devil has twisted and perverted it for far too long. I know that God has written a song that is better than any song we could create. It's the song in the hearts of people that have been redeemed. He's going to make the song louder and louder in Nashville by multiplying those who worship Him in spirit and in truth.
We shared the prophetic word with our friend Esther, who is joining us in Nashville. She watched the scene from the movie and pointed out that the shower starts with a drop and then becomes a torrential rain. Join with us in praying that this is coming to Nashville. A song of redeemed hearts that continues to grow louder and louder!
We have such joy, peace, and love because He has redeemed us. It's a song about Him and given by Him. In short, the new song coming to Nashville is all about HIM! No one can take credit for it, because only He could do it! Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord!!
Psalm 107:1-3 (NIV)
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, (emphasis mine)
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
...and in Revelation 5:9-10 (NKJV) it talks about the new song coming:
"And they sang a new song, saying:
'You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, (emphasis mine)
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.'"
The Kurdish people, we believe, are a key for Nashville. Someday, every tribe, tongue and nation will be worshiping God... The Kurds included. This is our heart, our mission, our purpose for the next season, however long it lasts.
I know I said we'd be sharing what we'll be doing in Nashville. I'm sure you can imagine most of the things, but I want to go in depth on the strategic plan in the next blog. We're in a war and God is doing strategic things in strategic places.
So, until next time....!
Hi! We're the Hoeckles.
We're a family of six living full-time in a skoolie (aka a school bus converted into an RV). We are inviting you to join us as we live life to its fullest and empower others to do the same. Welcome to the family!