Tag: Revival

YOU Matter

 

I had the wildest dream. No, not like some I’ve had. 

The other night I dreamed Elvis (yes, THAT Elvis) was alive. Not only was he alive, but I was at a bowling alley with him. Alternating between bowling and singing; we were having a blast! 

No, when I say a wild dream, I mean a dream like none I’ve ever had. 

I’ll give you the highlights, so you can judge for yourself. 

I found myself in a large room, the size of a gymnasium. There were a few people in the room with me, though no one I knew.

I don’t know why I was in the room, but it seemed like we were all waiting for something. No, we were waiting for someONE; the person who had invited us all to attend. 

Everyone there was a “person of color”; I was the only white. 

Now here’s the part that I thought was wild. 

I found myself on my knees praying for those who were with me in the room. The leader still hadn’t arrived, but I was compelled to pray. 

Suddenly the room was packed with hundreds and hundreds of young people, mostly black kids, with a lesser amount of young Asian and Latinos. Still, I was the only white.

My prayers turned into groaning and weeping, crying out to God on behalf of those in the room. Others began to join in the intense intercession, while we waited for the leader to arrive. 

The intensity of the prayers was so great, we were so involved in praying and weeping for one another, the leader’s arrival was of secondary importance. Sure, we wanted to see the leader, but we knew we had to care for one other while we waited. 

By now, almost everyone was lying on the floor, praying and weeping. I remember a young black man, a teenager, getting so close to me, praying for me, I could feel his tears against my face. 

When the prayers were more than groaning, I could hear myself and others pleading with God that each person there “would be filled with the Spirit of Glory, so each one would know the length, depth, height, and breadth of God’s immeasurable love, so the world could really see Jesus among us.”

The season of prayer kept increasing, while more and more people filled the room. By the time my dream was over, the room was crammed full of people praying and weeping together. 

I finally awoke, realizing my wild experience was only a dream. But a dream which could, and should, become reality. 

“that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:25 ESV)

There’s a lot of fuss these days over the various “________ lives matter” emphasis. “Black lives matter”, “All lives matter”, and others slogans floating around social media outlets don’t do a bit of good in bringing people together. 

The slogans, as catchy as they may be, only help drive people apart. 

“All lives matter” sounds good, but it has an underlying message: “YOUR slogan, and what YOU believe, IS WRONG!”

What if, while waiting for the true Leader to arrive, we put all we have and are into the task of praying and weeping with those whose skin is a different shade than ours. 

Wouldn’t it be something if we could, by our actions, not our rhetoric, say to the world “YOU matter“?

I say it would be WILD!

And who knows, maybe the Leader would arrive while we busied ourselves with caring for one another…

Wild? Yeah, like revival wild.

ETERNALLY wild!

Two Evils

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Agree or disagree: there are many evils in the world.  

Agree? I do. To a point. 

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about a passage of scripture that speaks of only two evils.

Just two evils. However, those two evils are responsible for mankind’s plight. Two evils powerful enough to enslave mankind with addictions, abusive behavior, adultery, and anything else that can steal, kill, or destroy the original purpose God had for his glorious creation.

Two evils which can push you and I beyond the edge of reason, past the counsel of dear and godly friends, into a place where shame, torment, and isolation are the normal way to act.

Not a good place to be.

“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13 ESV)

Evil number one: “They have forsaken Me”

It began in the Garden, and has been happening ever since. The Creator God, the Fountain of Living Waters, has an endless supply of everything we could ever need. He’s wrapped it all up in the substitutionary work of His Son, Jesus Christ. 

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him…” (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)

Everything that pertains to life and godliness is available to whoever takes the effort to “seek the Lord while He may be found”, and who “call upon Him when He is near” (Isaiah 55). 

No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly before Him (Psalm 84:11).

Yet, in spite of that, we commit evil each time by choosing to reach for ANYTHING (or anyone) other than the Source of life. 

We get into all kinds of trouble when things, people, money, entertainment, work, sex, etc., become more important to us than knowing and doing the will of God. 

The forbidden fruit became more important to Adam and Eve than their Creator’s word. 

Jesus told the disciples, in Mark chapter four, that “the desires for other things choke the Word and it becomes unfruitful.” The “other things” He referred to actually means “forbidden things”. Or, another way of saying it is, “the desires for the things not on God’s list of approved items”.

Adam and Eve chose the “other things” above the Word. That act brought devastation into their once perfect life. 

And it does the same thing to our lives.

“They have forsaken Me…”

Evil Number Two: “Broken cisterns have been chosen”

Cisterns, broken wells; wells full of dirty, disease riddled water. Rather than drinking from the refreshing waters of God, we settle for the nasty waters of our own making. 

We somehow think we know what’s best for us. We bristle at the mere suggestion that we may be poisoning our lives with every glass we drink. 

But it’s true. Every drink from the well of “I know best” conditions our hearts, minds, and imaginations to go just a bit farther from the Fountain of Living Waters; accepting what was once perverse and atrocious behavior as the new norm. 

And God calls it evil.

The first thing Jesus preached was, “Repent and believe the good news.” Change your mind, turn around, believe God’s right and you’re wrong (if there’s a discrepancy). 

He’s still reaching out with that same, old message; turn around. Face the Creator, choose Him, and drink from the living waters. 

Come to the fountain that never runs dry. Lay aside your evil ways and find real life.

There are two evils, but both can be cured by returning to the Lord.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9 ESV)

 

Seven Churches

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Have you ever considered Jesus’ words in the Book of Revelation: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches”?

Brethren, I don’t believe those words were meant solely for those seven churches mentioned in chapters two and three.

I strongly believe those words belong to us, the Church, right now in 2015.

Realizing that some may be offended, or think I’m taking wild potshots at ministers, ministries, and churches in America, I’ll say it up front.

I am not. 

I’m not writing to offend or wound.

I’m simply trying to make sense of some things.

You see, just as Jesus stood in the midst of the candlesticks (representing the churches), I can see Him doing the same today. As He stood inspecting (“I know your works”, He’d say), He listed deficiencies and adequacies within each church.

And He’s standing in our midst, inspecting, saying,

“He who has ears, let them hear.”

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God.” (1 Peter 4:17 ESV)

But what could He possibly want us to hear? Would His message be one of affirmation only, or could there be a few words of reproof?

Can we even hear His voice? Are we prepared to hear words of correction, or would we, upon hearing such words, rise up and shout, “Get behind me, Satan!”?

Imagine what it must have been like back in the first century churches. They were people much like you and I. People who had learned how to play the church game; you know, do certain things, speak with a holy sounding voice, and ostracize everyone who doesn’t look or act exactly like you.

Well, not everyone acted that way, but some did. And not everyone acts that way today, but some do.

“You folks know how to recognize false apostles”, the Lord told the Ephesians. Quite the commendation, don’t you think?

I wonder if they were too busy slapping each other on the back to hear His next words, “But you’ve left your first love!”?

See what I mean? What would Jesus say to our churches? To our pastors?

Here are a few things I believe He’s saying; some of the same things He spoke to the brethren some 2000 years ago.

“I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:9-10 ESV)

Suffer? The devil attacking our church? Our parishioners? No!

Tribulation and poverty are not fun things to talk about. And I wonder how many people are members of our churches who aren’t genuinely born of God?

I don’t believe we ought to take a vow of poverty or invite persecution just so we can earn our “Badge of Holiness”. But all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. And living right, doing right, seeking first the kingdom of God is much more important than living a life of comfort and ease; if a choice must be made between the two.

Could His words to us, the American Church, be somewhat like those mentioned above?

I know this; it would certainly be hard to grow a “dynamic, world-changing church” if a pastor repeated the words Jesus spoke to those in Smyrna.

I’ll stop for now. But read through the second and third chapters of Revelation and ask the Lord, “What are You really saying to us?”

I’ll write more later.

By the way: please comment. What do you believe we should be hearing from the Lord?

 

 

 

 

American Idols

American Idols (3)

The following is part one of a new eBook which will be published on 8/15/14. American Idols, the Final Call?

 

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.  (Acts 2:17)

Dreams can be SO real. At least this one was. I remember running through a town in the middle of the night; a sleepy little town of about two thousand (which included dogs and cats). I recognized the town as one we had lived in some twelve years earlier.

I shouted, “Tear down your idols, tear down your idols!” I was like a mad man. Like a man rushing into a burning apartment building with only one thought; rescue the residents from the tormenting flames.

“Tear down your idols, tear down your idols!”

People were yelling at me as I ran, wondering why I was acting so bizarre, so intense. I shouted, “First Samuel three twelve”, and kept running.

“Tear down your idols, tear down your idols! First Samuel three twelve!”

And then I awoke.

Here’s the passage I was referring to:

In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.(1 Samuel 3:12)

The complete paragraph, from the Message Bible, reads:

God said to Samuel, “Listen carefully. I’m getting ready to do something in Israel that is going to shake everyone up and get their attention. The time has come for me to bring down on Eli’s family everything I warned him of, every last word of it. I’m letting him know that the time’s up. I’m bringing judgment on his family for good. He knew what was going on, that his sons were desecrating God’s name and God’s place, and he did nothing to stop them. This is my sentence on the family of Eli: The evil of Eli’s family can never be wiped out by sacrifice or offering.” (1 Samuel 3:11-14 MSG)

I had not been thinking about idols, Samuel, Eli, or anything else from that “neck of the woods”. But the dream sure got my attention.

A number of people in the Bible were given dreams which God used to speak to his people, and to nations. Joel prophesied, and Peter quoted:

And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:28)

“…your old men shall dream dreams…” At sixty, I guess I fall into that category.

Here are a few examples of God-given dreams.

Daniel interpreted two of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. Jacob’s son, Joseph, was referred to as “the dreamer” by his older brothers. Jacob himself was known to receive a message from God from a dream.

God used dreams to warn  people: Abimelech, Laban, Esau, an unnamed baker, and of course, Egypt’s Pharaoh.

King Solomon had a visitation from God, as God appeared to him in a dream. Mary’s husband, Joseph, was warned in a dream, as well as were the Magi. Pilate’s wife tried to persuade her husband to release Jesus; saying she had “suffered many things in a dream because” of him.

Dreams. Specifically, God-given dreams.

I believe my dream is a warning for America; but not just a warning for Hollywood or Wall Street. It’s also a warning to the Church. Much of the American Church seems preoccupied with the ways of the world. A growing, one-sided love affair has the Church courting the world’s acceptance. Seeker-friendly services are used to promote church growth; while society does all it can to exterminate Christianity as if it were the Black Plague.

Time will reveal whether I’m right or wrong, but it’s really not too hard to see. Just look around. The United States of America is in a condition of decline and decay. It is not the great nation it once was. It is no longer the “city set on a hill”.

Wars and rumors of war, the national debt, liberalism, conservatism, religious cults and sects, promiscuity, selfishness, and the like. What a mess. Issues such as “gay” marriage, abortion, the legalization of marijuana, and illegal aliens have polarized this nation like never before.

Where is the greatness of America these days?

Revival Characteristics (Final)

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Every spiritual awakening, revival, or whatever you’d like to call it, has certain visible characteristics. This is the third and final post in the series, “Revival Characteristics”.

Fences are repaired.

The boundaries of truth.

Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set. Proverbs 22:28 NKJV

Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations. (Proverbs 22:28 NLT)

I’ve noticed the idea of absolute truth is hard for some (most of us) to handle. Some use it as a way to control others. They hold “truth” over other lives like a club of sorts. They even blame God for the way they act, saying they’re just “defending truth”.

Others propound the idea that truth must be redefined for each generation. But as Proverbs talks about not moving the “ancient boundaries”, to change the meaning and substance of truth every twenty to thirty years is like moving someone’s property line every so often. Someone is going to be cheated.

Each generation struggles with the process of handing off the baton of truth. Because truth can be very uncomfortable and demand much change, it is easier to compromise a little to make it more acceptable and less divisive.

But someone gets cheated! Someone loses each time the fence is moved. I believe each generation has become “cheated” in a greater way than the previous one. As the world continues to spin, almost out of control, the church is allowing more and more “property lines” to be violated.

This is the hour to stand for truth. The Holy Spirit wants to show us where the old “fence posts” of truth really are. To give us revelation from the Word so we can regain the ground lost through compromise. Future generations are right now in our care, desperately needing to know the difference between truth and error.

Searching the Scriptures and the God of the Scriptures is like rebuilding a fence. The Lord will show us “the property lines” like He did for Abraham, Moses, and Joshua, when we seek him with all our heart.

The Lord recently gave me this word:

“This revival, this awakening will not come from above as much as it will be a peeling away of the old calloused ways. As in Noah’s day, when the heavens were opened, first the deep was broken. More water poured forth from the depth than from above.

“I have deposited more than is required. For generations I have poured forth, deposited revelation upon revelation; power and glory incrementally.

“I’m not requiring my church to learn new things, as some may teach. If my people will simply learn my ways, and follow the path I have set before them, the grace to win the lost and raise the dead will certainly accompany their steps.

“So now it’s time to rebuild the altars, reclaim the wells, and mend the fences. Prepare for glory.”

Rebuilding, reclaiming, and mending is not something to be taken lightly. The enemy, the “Seven Spirits” of the land, do not simply step aside to allow the Kingdom of God to dominate. The devil will do everything possible to keep you and I preoccupied, too busy, indifferent, or whatever; just as long as we don’t attempt to lay claim to the promises and power of God.

But we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

Revival Characteristics (Part Two)

Great_Awakening

Every spiritual awakening, revival, or whatever you’d like to call it, has certain visible characteristics. This is the second message of a three part series.

Wells are reclaimed

Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth. And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them. Genesis 26:15-18 NKJV

The wells represent the source of life, refreshment, and power our forefathers had with God. Wells were dug out of need and, like the altars which were built, as a memorial of what God had done or said. They would symbolize the promises of God and make reference to one of the covenant names of God.

Then he went up from there to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well. Genesis 26:23-25 NKJV

The Hebrew definition for the word translated “well” is to dig, and also, to declare or explain. Reclaiming the wells, digging through the years of traditions and doctrines of man until the water of life is found, is each generation’s responsibility. In doing so, we declare plainly and openly that the gospel preached by our forefathers is the same gospel we preach today.

The God who was more than enough for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is more than enough for us. The Lord who was the healer, sanctifier, provider, shepherd, and the ever-present God then is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

So, by faith, we dig past the dirt the devil and his crowd have used to keep mankind from the life-giving water in the well, until it begins to bubble up within us and flow out of us. As Isaac called the wells by the same name his father had given them, so do we. Our fathers knew the power of God, called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They knew God as a deliverer and miracle worker. We say the same thing, declaring it plainly and openly.

And the same God who delivered the demoniacs, healed the blind men, and raised Lazarus from the dead, is at work today. Confirming his word with accompanying signs and wonders.

Revival Characteristics (Part One)

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Every spiritual awakening, revival, or whatever you’d like to call it, has certain visible characteristics. These are the results of people coming face to face with their idol, and their God. I’ll mention three distinguishing characteristics that will be demonstrated before and during a spiritual awakening.

Altars are rebuilt

Places sanctified for prayer and worship – OPEN PORTALS FOR GOD’S POWER

Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord… Genesis 12:7-9 NKJV

Abram (Abraham) built altars to the Lord. They were used in worship, and in memorializing, or helping them and their offspring, remember what God had done and what he had promised to do.

Jacob, Abram’s grandson, built an altar at the same place his grandfather had many years prior.

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” (see Genesis 28)

…And they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan… And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother. Genesis 35:1-7 NKJV

God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is God to each generation, not just God to the past. He is wanting to do great things in and through each generation, whether it’s the Boomers or the Millennials. But each generation must build upon the altars of their godly forefathers. Or, and probably more accurately, rebuild the altars that have fallen into disrepair due primarily to neglect.

The “old-time prayer meetings” are such altars. Every move of God begins with God and man, Heaven and Earth, meeting together in fervent prayer. Today’s no different.

The prayers of the upright are God’s delight (Proverbs 15).

Chuck E. Cheese, Skeeball and Fisticuffs

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I just finished reading a bunch of news reports of recent riots and brawls taking place at a national restaurant chain near you. All over the country people are going nuts and breaking out the fisticuffs between bites of pizza and games of Skeeball. In Florida, there were more people involved in one single fight than attended my wife and I’s wedding back in 1972. Not to be misleading, there were 11 who attended our wedding counting my wife and I.

Eighteen adults acted worse than a thousand toddlers at the Chuck E. Cheese in Boynton Beach, Florida. The brawl started when two men started arguing in the restroom. I’m not sure what the argument was about; maybe they both wanted to use the same urinal and couldn’t decide who got there first. Shortly, as they were arguing in the dining room, it escalated to face punching, at which time sixteen others joined in.

Hey, if you’re going to rumble you might as well make it a doozy. Might as well let the children know how tough you really are. And you might as well fight where you can grab a slice of pizza between punches.

Maybe they were training to play hockey.

The mother of the birthday child was arrested for possession of illegal drugs and marijuana.

At Chuck E. Cheese!

Apparently Mr. Cheese couldn’t be reached for comment. But I find it beyond amazing that people can become so short tempered, short fused, and ready to fight at the drop of a hat. In fact, they don’t even need a hat.

But really, why should it surprise me at all? How come I’m amazed?

People are going nuts; out of control.

Ever attend little league baseball, soccer, or football games? Do you ever listen to some of the parents? Are YOU one of THOSE kind of parents?

Like I said, out of control. Yet the very ones who can’t keep their hands, or mouth, to themselves are the very ones who will say they don’t need any help. Really?

Maybe the government could appoint a task force to determine what should be done with the Chuck E. Cheese family entertainment center. I would suggest Iowa’s own Chuck Grassley as the task force chairman. After all, his name sounds similar to the restaurant’s name.

I must admit, their registered trademarks are awesome, even if they have a different meaning to the public than to the company executives.

“The best place for family fun.”

“Where a kid can be a kid.”

And my favorite, “Where awesome parents go.”

Chuck E. Cheese. A place to go to have a brawl, er, uh, I mean, ball.

And people still have the audacity to say they don’t need a savior. But it’s a well documented fact: when revival of religion (or a new awareness of God’s holiness and righteous standards) prevails in a society, or a community, people begin to behave better, kinder. They begin to treat one another with dignity, honor, and respect.

Mr. Cheese, maybe you should post the Ten Commandments some place in each of your stores; or, at least, post a few warring angels to help keep the peace.

And call upon Gideon’s International to come and hand out pocket New Testaments. You know, the kind they give to people heading off to war.

Crazy, man, crazy.

Needed: Revival In America

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Where will the next Great Awakening begin? Will it be somewhere in America?

With every true revival, a great shaking of religious tradition occurs. Is it possible that the American Church will witness such a degree of shaking? Will the epicenter of the Holy Spirit induced shaking be a large denomination, or a small church no one but God pays any attention to?

Will it begin in the hallowed sanctuary filled with worshippers shouting praises to God? Or might it be ignited in the dimly lit bedroom of a faithful prayer warrior?

What will be the reaction of those whose traditions are challenged? Almost everyone agrees things must change; that the religious traditions and dogmas need an overhaul. But not everyone agrees which ideas, or whose ideas, need to take the hit.

It’s like, “Yes, God needs to change THOSE people! When THOSE people get in line with God’s word this nation will witness a great outpouring of God’s Spirit.”

Really?

I wonder what would happen if the Church slowed down its activities and programs enough to take time to seek the God of revival. The God who has promised to “once more shake the heavens and the earth. The God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or even think. Yes, the same God who said, “Ask of me, and I will give the nations as your inheritance.”

If it’s true that God does nothing in the earth except as an answer to prayer, why must we be so busy with everything but prayer?

Here are some quotes by a man of prayer whom God used to shake his nation, and the world, almost three hundred years ago. His name? John Wesley.

“I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.”

“It seems God is limited by our prayer life – that He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks Him.”

“God does nothing but in answer to prayer; and even they who have been converted to God without praying for it themselves, (which is exceeding rare,) were not without the prayers of others. Every new victory which a soul gains is the effect of a new prayer.”

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”

As I look at my life, and as the Spirit of God shines his searchlight into the depths of my heart, I must admit I’ve been busy with many good things, but have neglected the most important thing. I’ve witnessed his touch on my life, and I’ve seen him touch others through my life, but he’s telling me there’s much more that he wants to accomplish through me.

And you.

Revival in America? The Spirit is saying that we have not because we ask not. Or we ask that we may build a big congregation, earn a bigger salary, or gain a larger platform. In other words, we ask so we can spend it on our passions (James 4).

God will have the final say. He will bring revival to America. He will answer the prayers of those who have only one passion. Him.

Those who don’t share such a simple passion, will find themselves and their beliefs shaken to the core.

I believe the Spirit of God is admonishing the church to cut the busyness and get down to business.

It’s now or it’s never. For us.

We’ll either be involved with his holiness and power or we will find ourselves becoming irritated with and jealous of those he has chosen to anoint.

When will the next, possibly the last, Great Awakening occur? May the fires and shakings begin now!

Where will they start? How about with you and I?

If God is going to use someone’s prayers, he might as well use ours.

Jonah

20130719-171438.jpgHello. My name is Jonah, son of Amittai. I come from a little town called Gath-hepher. Maybe you’ve heard of it, but probably not.

I am a prophet of God. Yes, I have heard the voice of God, for through the years He gave me different messages to speak to my generation. At times His word was so compassionate and full of mercy; like He was slow to anger and didn’t want to punish the people. You know, it’s as though His love was unfailing and He’d rather turn away from destroying anything or anyone.

But I’ve seen a side of Him most will never witness. I’ve experienced His words of displeasure. I’ve felt His intense anger, even hatred, towards evil doers and the rebellious. I’ve declared His word to ungodly kings and have sensed the spiritual forces at work in their lives. God has, at times, even shaken me right to the core of my being as I’ve heard the word I have been given to share.

A prophet’s ministry is not a glamorous one, that’s for sure. Allow me to give all you momma’s a tip; don’t let your babies grow up to be prophets. But then, maybe I’m biased. Yeah, just a little.

One day I got “the call” to go to the metropolis of Nineveh. What a huge, nasty city! A city given to worshipping the goddess Ishtar. Sexual perversion and an obsession for combat and war, were characteristic of her followers. A city so steeped in pride and arrogance, it was as though Lucifer had saturated the area with his presence. Pure evil!

Now, mind you, I wasn’t afraid of hard work. I wasn’t a coward when it came to speaking a Word from God, even if it was to the devil himself! Of course, you all know that I initially ran from my Nineveh call. But it wasn’t because I was afraid of what the people would do to me. Not at all. Rather, I had a uneasy feeling of what God might do. I’d heard that voice before, remember? That “I’m going to judge you if you don’t repent, and I really hope you’ll repent” kind of voice. I could see it coming!

So I picked up and started going; just as fast and far as I could go! In the opposite direction.

Do you know what it’s like to love God so much, and have such a desire to obey His every desire, and yet hate a group of people so intensely you can’t think straight? Do you have any idea what it does to a guy?

I figured I’d get out of town without letting anyone know where I went. No forwarding address, cell phone shut off, completely off the grid. Didn’t work, though. God never lost track of me. He followed me to the travel agency, watched me purchase the one way ticket to Tarshish, stood back while I boarded the liner, then, when we were out to sea, caused such a commotion among the crew and passengers they ended up throwing me overboard. Great! At least I would be able to be relieved of the battle of love and hatred raging in my heart and mind.

Wrong again! I’d heard of submarines before, but had never seen one, let alone been inside one. But there I was, sinking into the ocean one minute, then, from out of nowhere, I was swallowed by a big, ol’ fish. I tell you what; I remembered one time skimming through some of those fishing magazines at the local convenience store, and looking at pictures of some pretty big fish. But I had never seen a fish the size of the one I was now a resident of. Never!

It looked to me like I was right where God wanted me. Well, sort of. Where He really wanted me was in Nineveh. Then it dawned on me that He loved them, actually cared for that evil city, more than He cared for me and my feelings. By the way, where does a guy go to resign?

Yes, I realized God would go to the greatest measure, using whatever means available, to get His message of love and restoration to the ones I could only hate. I wouldn’t have been surprised, that if necessary, He’d even send His own Son to such an awful place, just for the sake of people who only practiced evil and cared nothing for their Creator.

As I said, being a prophet is not all it’s cracked up to be.

So, from the belly of the fish I prayed, searched my soul, contemplated the purpose of my life and God’s prophetic claim on my life. And though I did not want to go to Nineveh, I still wanted to be faithful to the Lord. So I cried out in repentance and He heard my cry. The next thing I knew, I was sailing through the air, heading for a beach with a road sign on it which read, “Nineveh – 102 miles”.

Isn’t that just like God! He had arranged for me to get stuck in a fish that was more obedient to His voice than I had been!

So, I cleaned myself up a bit, making myself a little more presentable for hitch hiking. Kind of hard to get a ride when you smell like a fish, with seaweed hanging out your pockets, sticking out your ears, and wrapped around your neck.

I arrived at the outskirts of the city a few days later. Feelings of hatred began to rage within me, and the urge to run from the assignment almost caused me to try and flee from God’s presence a second time. But I stayed, trying to focus on the message He’d given me to share.

“Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed! Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!” For 3 days I said nothing else. I walked and talked, talked and walked. 3 whole days of,”Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed.” There, I’d done my part. All I had to do was wait for 37 days, then watch the show. Sweet!

Except it wasn’t sweet! The king of Nineveh somehow got this bright idea to call everyone together for fasting and repentance. When I heard that, I just cringed. God could be such a pushover. I’ve always thought it would be best if God would allow me to take care of some of His less than desirables. It’s obvious to me, He doesn’t think straight at times. But that’s just my opinion.

Did I tell you it’s not easy being a prophet?

So there I sat, from my ringside seat, watching a mighty revival take place. I could see and hear people crying out to God, asking for mercy and forgiveness. I saw the city take on a new personality, a new character, as the old perverse ways gave way to the righteousness and holiness of God. Pride and arrogance yielded to humility as people submitted themselves to God and each other. What a sight!

I only wish I had been more receptive to the revival spirit. Maybe I would have been changed, and the hatred in me would have yielded to the love and forgiveness of God.

See, it’s possible to be someone God uses, and yet miss out on the most important part of the process! The part where one experiences the very thing they preach. When one understands the love that is beyond comprehension.

Great days are ahead for you, my friend. But tough days are coming, as well. Take a tip or two from me, will you? Don’t be satisfied with only being used by God. Don’t be content with your spiritual status. Everyone needs to change; to grow more and more into the likeness of the One Who is called God!

Your cities need revival, just as Nineveh did. And God calls people like you to speak His Word, declare His Righteousness and Holiness, and call for repentance. It may seem like an impossible feat. The cities are full of people obsessed with sexual perversion, pride, greed, and seeking after their own pleasure. And, remember, “no one really wants to seek God”. But don’t listen to that thought. It could just be your prejudices and hatred showing through.

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7 NLT)

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