The Jericho Lesson
November 3rd looms larger every day it seems, as many people are saying "never has there been a more important election." Of course we remember that was spoken often in 2016, and most likely will be the same message in 2024. This is the reality of the days we live in. The book os Isaiah 60:1-2 is before us on every media outlet available. Darkness has descended upon this earth, but in the same manner, the glory of God is rising upon a remnant church like never before. Praise God for the promises the Bible has in place for these days. We are not caught unaware and should not be surprised. This was all spoken about by the prophets of old, Jesus Christ himself, New Testament prophets, and modern day seers who, like the sons of Issachar, understand the times. These are truly the best of times, and the worst.
This could be how the Israelites felt staring at the fortified city of Jericho and the promised land before them. As the men recovered from their painful desert circumcision, the rest stared at Jericho wondering how this was going to turn out. It seemed impossible that desert wanderers could defeat such a city and its mighty warriors. Then God intervened! He sent His commander of the army to instruct Joshua in Godly warfare. As the story plays out we see without a doubt, His ways are not how we would operate. I believe in the times we are in today, the same theme will play out. God will once again bring about a deliverance we did not see coming. It is conditional, as always! Will we follow instructions?
Joshua encountered the Angel and his first thought was to find out whose side he was on. A good question to ask a man with a drawn sword! The angel's reply was one many today would not like to hear. We want sides, the media wants sides, it is all about whose side you are on. Let's not be deceived into this carnal game, we must choose God! He is not a side!
Here are the rules of engagement from the Angel- first, acknowledge the Presence of the Lord! Very dangerous to not spend time in His presence before going into battle. In our zeal to conquer we miss step one many times. We must take off our shoes and humble ourselves before the almighty God. Joshua did so, and we should also. The presence of the Lord is near, He is ready to have face to face encounters with His people, let's not forget this is rule number one!
Then the Lord instructed Joshua to see! This seems to be such an emphatic order as if to say "wake up! I have no doubt given you this city." There is no doubt the church is being awakened this hour. We have to See the victory that is ours as believers. Then the Lord gave specific instructions on what to do next. Here it is- everybody get involved! Yes, nobody gets a free pass, they all have to walk around the city, they all have to shout, but they all get credit for the victory!
If the church will get involved today, seeking His Presence, praying for the eyes of our understanding to be opened, and everyone find their place, we will see His kingdom come to earth like never before. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Repent - Return - Vote!
On September 26th, a nationwide gathering will take place to cry out to God for an awakening. The main event will take place at the National Mall in Washington, DC. Hundreds of host sites are registered to broadcast the event from their facilities. There has been numerous such events like this over the years. I attended "The Call" prayer event in 2008 and in 2018 the "Awaken the Dawn" tent meeting, both in Washington DC. What a setting these events take place in. On one end, our nations capital, the other the Washington monument and Lincoln memorial frame the mall grounds. It is truly awe-inspiring and brings one to tears to think of the history this sacred ground represents. I will not be at this event but we are a host site at Grove Christian Center and we will join with what looks to be millions of Christians worldwide. What the main emphasis of this prayer gathering is that God's people will humble themselves and repent.
2 Chronicles 7:17.
It's my prayer that this is the event that shakes this nation unlike any other. The one thing that should unite ALL believers is the fact we need to turn to God and Him alone. It is so unbelievable to see the disunity in the body of Christ these days. The lines of good and evil have never been so distinct. Many believers keep pointing to the political process as a source of relief, but that is not where it will happen. This present darkness will only dissipate when the church wakes up, repents, and longs for the Living God.
I ministered a message from Psalms 84 yesterday, this psalms is a cry for revival. When souls long for the presence of God more than an easy life, we will have revival. When our heart and flesh cry out for the living God more than material gain, we will have revival. When we keep walking by faith day in and day out we will gain new strength and be revived. When we declare a day in the presence of God is better than anything the world has to offer, we will see revival. When we trust fully in God, blessings will overtake us and a revived lifestyle will be the norm, not the exception. I pray that we all, across this great nation, long for His presence and cry out for an encounter with the Living God!
2 Chronicles 7:14
We received our weekly update from our friends in Nepal, Pastor KB & Suchila Basel, this morning. As I was reading the report, this statement by Pastor KB caught my attention. Pastor KB was sharing about a team that went to a ministry location to encourage the leaders. Many great stories of much fruit being added to the Kingdom were shared by many of the local Pastors. What they testified of was this; "the hearts of the people are softening more"
This spiritual shifting was bringing many to seek, as the apostle Paul declared in Acts 17:3 "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah." The scripture goes on to say many were persuaded or 'their hearts were softened' to believe. Reports from Paraguay have a similar ring, community leaders, long resistant to the Gospel message, have had their hearts softened, and now with arms open are inviting Jesus into their hearts and to the communities they oversee.
Depending on what you are seeing and your spiritual discernment, these are the best of times and some of the most difficult.One cannot ignore the fact that death has and is taking place by a virus, death is also taking place by many other forms of sickness and disease. The recent monsoon season in Nepal has taken more lives than any virus. Christian persecution takes lives on a regular basis. Governments are shaken and crumbling before our very eyes. These are as scripture foretold, perilous times.
Throughout history there is usually one of two factions to these events in human activity. One is the pride and arrogance of the rebellious nature, causing a hardened heart and man says 'I can fix this'. We see this in Isaiah 9:9b-10.
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
Pride is a dangerous emotion. It causes powerful leaders to crawl on their hands and knees and graze with the cattle. (Daniel 4:33). The seed of rebellion, satan has planted in humanity is truly on display before our very eyes. God is being challenged for supremacy. That is a challenge man will lose, as he has over and over throughout history. The cry going up from a vast majority of our evangelical leaders is the need for repentance. In simple terms, this is nothing more than a "softening of hearts" to lift our eyes up to God once again.
We see in Daniel 4:34, Nebuchadnezzar did just that. A diet of grass would do that I would think? Scripture says he lifted his eyes to heaven and understanding returned to him. In humility he writes, "no one can restrain His hand." This is a prophetic word to the church today. The hand of the Lord is upon His church. His church, established through His son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Jesus had already stated that this church, his legislative assembly will not be overcome by the power of death, and just so you know Jesus says "I give you the keys to Heaven's Kingdom." (Matt 16:18-19)
May the hardened hearts of men and women be softened so they will lift their eyes to heaven and seek God. May God's people humble themselves and repent, turning from their wicked and evil ways, so our great land can be healed. America lift your eyes to Heaven! This is where our help is!
Just The Facts, Please!
According to the cultural professors we are living in the Information Age. I can not dispute that fact! Any story, graph, or statistic is just a call to Siri or Google away. It still seems strange to talk to a phone asking for advice, but that is where we are today. What we now see with facts is that they are being hijacked by personal agendas and political persuasion. The tongue in check joke used to be "I read it in a checkout tabloid". We all knew those stories had no facts, just sensational stories to make a buck. Today, the tabloid printed on paper has succumbed to the internet and social media. What has not changed in the fact so much is based on sensationalism, personal agenda, and of course political persuasion. How we long for the simple days where Joe Friday, detective on the old TV show 'Dragnet' would ask "Just the facts!"
How we would love to have just the facts concerning all cultural issues we face today. With all the personal agendas ruling our media, that is doubtful. This is the world we live in. But there is hope! Thanks be to God that we as believers have our facts come from another realm, the Kingdom of God realm. As we read the bible we see God's people faced with all manner of earthly facts. Hostile people groups, giants, fear, oceans, mountains, sickness, demonic possession, the list goes on and on. Those were facts, not to be ignored or kept in a closet of shame, fear or guilt. The Apostle Paul faced many of these facts. He admitted it, yet one fact that allowed him and will allow us to overcome is what Paul states in 2 Timothy 4:17. Paul states people have left him, in this realm he was abandoned yet he writes,
For in spite of this, my Lord Himself stood with me, empowering me to complete my ministry of preaching to all the non-Jewish nations so they could all hear the message and be delivered from the mouth of the lion (satan)
Let all us remember this fact; in spite of all that is going on in our nation, and in this world, the Lord of Hosts stands with us. So many Christians are like the servant of Elisha. He wakes up one morning, looks outside, and the enemy has surrounded the city. This was a fact, he saw them with his natural eyes. Full of fear, he runs to Elisha asking what to do. Elisha's calm response: 'do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Elisha prayed for the servants eyes to be opened and the Lord opened his eyes to a whole new realm! God's Kingdom in all it's splendor and glory with horses and chariots of fire all around!
Fact: In spite of it all, the Lord is for us! The Psalmist declares: I will never fear what men can do to me. For you stand beside me as my hero. This is a fact!
Is The Church Awoke?
As we hurtle to the November 3rd election, our country still is mired in a deepening hole. The debate to add 1 trillion or up to 3 trillion dollars to our national debt hardly gets a second glance as "bigger" issues have captured our attention. Sports of all varieties seem to be on the shifting sands of the next "hero" to test positive for covid. The big issue whether to mask or not to mask has many captured in this battle. Deciding which lives matter has another group on edge. The assault upon our history and whose story gets stricken from our books has another group riled up. Perilous times seem to describe these days well.
The church, the Ekklesia, the call out ones, sit positioned in the midst of all this. These events have challenged every church leader in this country. No one has been immune from the effects of these events. It has been a wake up call, without a doubt.
In the book of Isaiah chapter 51, an interesting dialogue takes place between God, God's people, and the prophet. In summary, God reminds the people where they came from spiritually speaking. Two senior citizens, who in the natural had no chance of producing a child, did just that. Verse 2 says "but I blessed them greatly so that one became many." What God has blessed, it will always reproduce and multiply. God then promises a process of restoration with great joy and righteousness. This sounds wonderful to the people so they respond with this shout, verse 9, "Wake up God, do your mighty words again!" A typical response to people wanting an easy way out, 'you fix this God!'. God responds by saying 'I have placed my word in your mouth and hidden you in the palm of my hand', so basically 'YOU wake up!'
Yes, God has staked our bed, it's time to get up! No more hitting the snooze button, it is time to wake up! Rise up! The heart of this conversation is in Isaiah 52:5-6.
Praise the Lord for this promise! That we will become aware, once again, of the power of His name!
Senior pastor at Grove Christian Center.