First off I was able to make to church last night. Pastor told us that he fights off some degree of guilt because, as he said, "I know that the church has been called to pray, and Jesus himself said that my house will be called a house of prayer." He opened with this passage:
Isaiah 61:1-2 KJV The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
This is recorded in Luke's gospel:
Luke 4:18-19 KJV The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
After reading the passage he called the elders to the front, and then opened the service for anyone to come forward and receive prayer.
This is so out of the ordinary, as services are so oriented to video schedules.
My heart has been crying out for revival. Think about this concept, revival. What does that mean to the victim of a crash or some injury. For some it may mean being brought back to life. If the air got knocked out of you, it means being able to breath once again. To Lazarus, it meant life once again.
So what does revival mean to us, the church. It means: it needs to be global; everybody needs to get on board; you have to get proactive and participate; it means that this is the last call. It means that God wants to breathe life into a dead church.
But in light of the passage that Jesus used it means change.
the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor
to bind up the brokenhearted
to proclaim freedom for the captives
release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
I am trying to be rather specific in this post and need to get to my point. An obvious factor here is that God may be pouring out revival upon the earth even as we speak, but what use is it if you refuse to participate or allow it to change you, or motivate you.
Israel heard words like this, and still turned their backs on God. That sounds simple enough but there is more to it. They not only rejected God, but substituted the Holy God with some of the sickest forms of idol worship. Stephen gives us some insight into this when he is brought before the Sanhedrin, prior to his stoning. Stephen, in his speech, tells us that this was not just some cute calf statue that “came out of the fire”, but an image of the god Molech and Rephim. Molech was a mixture of sights, with a calf's head and the arms of a man. It was hollow and would be heated with a fire burning inside. Children were then laid upon the heated arms in sacrifice. What made this worse was that Aaron may well have been blowing the trumpet that had a secondary purpose of drowning out the screams of the dying child. Consider that Joshua, who had been upon the mountain, away from the people thought there was war in the camp.
I had two options for church service this AM. I could go to a mens' life group. An acquaintance of mine had invited me to this group a couple of weeks ago. Having tried it, and only having a rare Sunday morning off, I now debated internally about whether I should go to this life group, and suffer through the discomfort and lack of enthusiasm, or go to a church where worship always rends my heart.
I chose the other church. I must tell you it was incredible.
I have come to the place in my life where I like Jacob do not want to let go of God until he blesses me. I understand what God has called me to, and it is now my pursuit. Having read Ezekiel lately, this phrase is constantly on my mind, “they shall know that a prophet has been in their midst.” How would you know, or care that a prophet has been in your midst, unless he did exactly what Isaiah 61 decrees, and brought you a word or showed you a sign. Until that day comes then I just keep pursuing Him.
That being said, I went with and attitude of prayer. I am not an extrovert, but if I have something to say, I will not keep silent. That means that I don’t go there looking for people to mingle with. Although I sometimes wish I knew how. What is important to me is that I respond when God tells me to speak to someone.
Two things God said to me this morning.
The spirit of the living God has been calling forth the prophets,and he has been speaking to many of you about stepping out in faith and doing the unusual. That means moving in the realm of the prophetic. To define that just a little. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, therefore the act of you speaking out in Jesus name: declaring those things that be not as though they were; speaking life into people; reclaiming captives and setting them free, is acting in the role of a prophet. This is not the time for big heads, the world has had its fill of them, and they have disillusioned many, leading them astray. What it is, is time for responsible people to start finally acting like the priest warriors that God called us to be.
God has spoken to me over the last couple of weeks, telling me to rend the heavens on behalf of those he places upon my heart. What does that mean? An example would be the man at the restaurant. Watching the futile discussion at our table, he finally got up and left. Who knows, he might be sitting with us if it were not for the arrogance and stupidity of this argument. When I noticed that he had left the building God spoke to me about him, saying, “if you will rend the heavens on his behalf then I will move at your word and turn his life toward me.”
This morning God began to speak to me about applying this to virtually everything that seems impossible. The spirit said, “I am asking you to rend the Heavens, opening the way for me to cause a tidal wave of change.” Clearly, I could see my own daughters and the prayers I made over them, even before they were born. God is asking me to impact their attitudes, that are currently filled with anger and deception, so that they fill the roles he intended.
Only days ago I was at a bible study where a comment was made that goes something like this, “Why are people so worried that our economy is going to collapse, they are just living in fear.” Our discussion at that moment had been about what is going on in this nation, and the world. It does not take a genius to pick up on the idea that some are walking around blindly, ignoring the signs of the times, and holding the word of God in contempt. Jesus told us that we are not in the darkness that we should be able to read the signs, and be spiritually prepared.
In response to this indolent position I opened my mouth and this came out, “This nation will not fall while my feet are planted on its soil.” There was a sudden hush for a moment. Some will flatly challenge you, while others start thinking. Paul encountered people like this, thinkers, they were the Bereans, and they searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true. I happen to know its true, based upon faith if I had nothing else, but what I have is precedent. Someone, in the name of God has gone before and performed or said things of this nature. You don’t believe me. Elijah told them, “by my word, it will not rain.” and it did not. I might have a hard time with this myself if I had not seen it action on a previous occasion. Someone I knew from childhood, a christian, had asthma attacks with some frequency. I do not remember where we were going but I told him, “as long as you stay with me you have no attacks.” I had forgotten about that, and was recently reminded of it. One of brothers has stayed in touch with this fellow and he told my brother that as long as he was around me he could breathe. Praise God, and thank you Father for honoring my word.
The second thing God kept speaking through me was a word, relentless.
RELENTLESS – To be persistent, intently fixed on a goal.
What is the goal? What ever you apply your faith toward in Jesus name. Don’t be foolish about this, this is not about your favorite teams winning some championship that you have a bet on. God will not honor that. This is about you acting out in God’s will. If you must ask the question, “what is God’s will?” Then I recommend you read Isaiah 61:1-2 once again.
You want a synopsis. God is calling you to move out in faith. If you will rend the heavens on behalf of this nation, Israel, and captive people, God will move at your word and rescue them. Decree it so. And then be relentless about this. There is a cute little poem / story that states the devil should say oh no! when you get out of bed in the morning. Make that a reality. As my pastor said the other night, be open to the spirit of God, pay attention to what spirit is saying to you, and change the world for Christ.