Storms Clouds Approaching

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Storm clouds are approaching America at a rapid speed. The time is now to allow the LORD to examine our hearts. It’s time to turn from our willful disobedience to God. It’s time to return to Jesus. Much of the Church in America has compromised with spiritual darkness. We have allowed the values of our culture to shape our thinking.

While we must stand up for justice, we must not align ourselves with movements with dark spiritual roots. Riots in our streets, pestilence, and anarchy abound. Civil war seems to be a real possibility and forigen enemies could take advantage of this situation. God is not the author of this chaos.

Those of us who claim to follow Jesus have a responsibility to seek and pursue peace. But, compromising with evil is never the answer. Christians are called to live out the gospel and to stand in the gap. The gap is an opening in the wall of an ancient city. Walls were important to keep out foriegn invaders.

Watchmen were placed there to fill in the opening that was caused by the attack of an enemy. And to be lookouts on behalf of the city. We stand in the gap today by praying for the protection of our cities and for God’s mercy. Without repentance in the church, we can do very little to help the world around us.

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” – Ezekiel 22:30

Answer The Call: Romans 8:28

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It’s always been a comfort to me to know that God had a plan for me even when I was walking in rebellion to him. He never approved or caused me to live in defiance of his will – but was involved in my life none the less. Our genetic makeup, our choices, the actions of those who we have associated with have influenced us significantly.

The home that we grew up in, the neighborhood, the school we attended, and even the car we drove help to shape us. Even when we didn’t know God, the wise decisions that we’ve made in life were the result of God’s mercy. And the bad choices that we’ve made can’t be blamed on Him. Nor can we blame God for the evil inflicted upon us by others.

Romans 8:28 doesn’t say that everything that has ever happened to us was good. Evil actions are never good. But, God takes those things that were meant to destroy us, or cripple us emotionally, and worked through them for our good.

Satan is real and at work to bring destruction to every human being and to the earth itself.

The promise of God working through evil only applies to those who answer the call of salvation. If you haven’t already done this – please answer the call to follow Jesus, today.

Can These Bones Live?

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I took this picture behind a Medieval Church in Germany.

Can these bones live? Without prayer the Church in the west as we know it will not survive. We (the Church) must recover our prophetic voice. Our prayerlessness has paralyzed us and we have very little spiritual power. As a whole, we have become conformed to the world and we are presently in retreat. Politicians cannot fix our present dilemma so we must rediscover the power of God in prayer. 

During the pandemic, God  lead the Church into a forced sabbath. We’ve been given time to reflect on our depth of commitment to the values of the Kingdom. We must ask the question of ourselves; do we value the Kingdom of God more than Church as usual? We can emerge from this season in the power of the Spirit or just go back to a form of godliness that denies God’s transforming power.

God has given us time to reset and to reengage the culture with spiritual power. This will require us to return to the ancient paths of prayer and holiness. We can no longer look to the Supreme court or politicians to get us out of the cultural chaos we find ourselves in. Jesus came out of his wilderness testing in the power of the Spirit. The question is, will we? God is going to raise up an “exceedingly great” spiritual army during these chaotic days. Our LORD still has a remnant in the western Church, those who have not bowed to political correctness or to cultural idols. May Jesus restore his Church in our day.

“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. He made me walk all around among them. I realized there were a great many bones in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, listen to the Lord’s message. This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live. I will put tendons on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied— I heard a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. As I watched, I saw tendons on them, then muscles appeared, and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath in them.

He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,—prophesy, son of man—and say to the breath: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.” – (Ezekiel 37:1-10 NET Bible)

The Source Of Real Power

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The people of God, not the Church building, make up Christ Church. Followers of Jesus are presented as God’s spiritual temple in the New Testament.

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” – (1 Peter 2:5 NLT)

The Holy Spirit now resides in the corporate body of Christ. Disciples of Jesus (the Church) make up Christ’s visible body on the earth. After the resurrection, Jesus spent time with his followers teaching them about his Kingdom, before his accession into heaven.

On the day of Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to fall upon and empower the gathering of believers.  Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem were full of anticipation. These were just average men, women, and children. Peter stood up to preach about what the prophet Joel had spoken.

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. – (Acts 2:17-18 ESV)

We (the Church) are the Spirit empower representatives of God on the earth. But tragically many of us never tap into the Source of real power. In the book of Acts we see the Spirit falling upon a praying people. We must spend time on our knees personally and corporately. If we don’t rediscover the power of prayer, we will continue to experience moral failure. The lost world is turned off by our arguments, inconsistencies, and lack of unity

The world is looking for transforming power.

Unity and prayer are the keys to Kingdom power.

So, let us return to prayer.

This New Day: A Prayer And A Blessing

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Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.  – Book of Common Prayer

Blessing 

Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

The Apostle’s Creed

 

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Three disciples of Jesus. Detail of mosaics ordered by the Grand Legothete Theodore Methochites (1st quarter 14th) when he rebuilt the 3rd century Kariye “Chora” Church.

 

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth;I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.He suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended to the dead.On the third day he rose again.He ascended into heaven,and is seated at the right hand of the Father.He will come again to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit,the holy catholic Church,the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins the resurrection of the body,and the life everlasting.  Amen.

 

Help Us Holy Spirit: A Prayer From Augustine

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“Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.” – Augustine

Jesus Wants Back In His Church

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The Church of Jesus Christ is presently enduring a test. The focus of this post is not the darkness of the world system we all live in. It’s all about the darkness in the Church. God is calling his people back to him to a place of repentance.  Jesus earnestly desires to dine with, and fellowship with those of us who call him Lord.

‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and will dine with him, and he with Me. –  (Revelation 3:20 NASB)

He wants to be welcomed back into the Church, that he purchased with his own blood. He who calls us his friends, desires genuine friendship and intimacy with us.

It’s time to cast off all distractions and those sins that enslave us and return to Jesus as “our first love” again.

We need to recover the proper fear and respect of the Lord that the Church seems to have lost. The Church must become a “house of prayer” again. If prayer is not central to our individual lives and to our corporate Church gatherings, then, what is? If the Coronavirus doesn’t drive us in desperation to God in prayer, what will? As believers, we need to embrace this pandemic as the discipline of the Lord. We need to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church in America.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – (Revelation 3:22 ESV)

The Church, in what we call the third world, experiences suffering daily. Many of our brothers and sisters around the world would like to have our present situation. Even during this pandemic, they would have a more prosperous life than they have now. Let’s face it; most of us are overfed with food and entertainment.

My wife and I moved into a new neighborhood recently and had to go without cable and the internet for a couple of weeks. As a result of the pandemic, our cable and internet provider was delayed in providing service. And trying to get other basic services for our home and buying groceries has tested our patience. I must confess, it was depressing to me.

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. –  (Revelation 3:17 ESV)

God is using the pandemic to show me just how blinded by prosperity I’ve become. God was faithful to me even during those years of financial instability. I believe God is using this pandemic to show me some of my blind spots and to reveal those unnecessary distractions in my life.

Jesus is knocking at the door of the Church, friends. Will we open up and let him in?