Thursday, November 14, 2013
Our job is to guard against the thief who is at work
The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm:“Never again will I give your grain as food for your enemies, and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled; but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the Lord,and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.”
THIS Isaiah 62 passage began with the words: “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent!” Once we know our authority in the heavenlies, we have the power to bless, and also to intercede and call down to earth God’s purposes, discerned in heaven but applied to our lives and situations. One is to bring a situation to God and to release more of what He is already doing. The other begins with God and gains clarity from His perspective and purpose, and then calls it down. This is two sides which make up the same coin.
God certainly has a purpose, for His church and beyond. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), to fulfill His desire that everyone should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4), something which the old school Calvinists of a couple of centuries ago seemed to have overlooked.
But there is a problem. Jesus said, on the occasion after the Triumphal Entry with the palm branches, when an audible voice was heard from heaven, that is was a sign, the time of judgment on this world when the prince of this world would be driven out (John 12:31). But the driving takes time; people who are opposed to God still give the enemy ground and reason to remain. The predatory activity continues, to the extent that we, the church, are weak in proclaiming “Your kingdom come! Jesus is Lord!” and weak in guarding the precious fruit.
We are seeing far too much kingdom gained – and lost. Outreaches of many kinds, Alphas of the past, friendships built through men’s and women’s breakfasts, have been good and genuine initiatives resulting in many in the area having a knowledge of the Lord, but not in a church family. And a loving church family is the only place where we can grow and develop our gifts.
I believe this is a prophetic word for Speen Church. If you are reading this the other side of the hill (or the other side of the world) there is plenty of encouragement here for you as well – this is a scenario we all relate to.
Charles Finney – on of the most influential men of his time
The revivalist Charles Finney ministered in New England in the 1820s and 30s. He would pray extensively over each mission, usually walking from place to place, which afforded plenty of time to pray and hear God. He teamed up with another minister, known as Father Nash, who would visit an area some days beforehand to fast and intercede and bring change to the spiritual atmosphere.
It was Finney’s expectation that substantially everyone in a town would give their lives to Jesus. Sometimes he would delay, if it was said there where still some who had not heard the message. Rochester, upper New York state, was a busy town by the side of the then-new Erie canal, where at times in 1830-31 the whole business district would close down and shopkeepers shut their shops, urging people to attend Finney’s meetings.
Our approach will be different, but the promise is the same: “Those who gather the grapes will drink the New Wine in the courts of my sanctuary.” We will celebrate God’s promise in the courts of His sanctuary – in other words, as we set about doing God’s church, God’s way, and prayerfully guarding what is His, the produce will no longer be stolen by the enemy.