Coming Home Again

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“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.  Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)
 
I say a lot of ridiculous things.  Most of the people that know me would testify to the truth of that statement.  I suppose it’s just part of who I am.  Some people would say I’m witty.  Others might call me comical.  I don’t know how much either of those things are true.  What I can say with certainty, though, is even I am surprised sometimes by the things that come out of my mouth.  I have this tendency to quote my great-grandmother in the most absurd situations that are unbelievably specific.  She almost certainly never said any of the things I quote her as saying; that’s just part of my humor, I guess.  I also like to use the expression, “If I had a nickel for every time…” There’s almost no end to the hilarity of using that expression attached to a situation you’ve clearly never even done once.  Of course, there are things that would be unmistakably valid used along with that phrase.  In fact, I can think of one that can honestly say: “If I had a nickel for ever time I’ve done…, I’d be rich.” Actually, so would you.  Collectively, we’d have more money than we could spend in a hundred lifetimes.  I’m talking about sin.
 
Monumental failure would probably be an apt description of the majority of our lives in the context of morality.  It’s true.  I’m usually the last person to be hard on myself or others, but it’s biblical reality that we were a complete mess of sin and guilt before salvation.  It’s not that we had slightly missed the mark of holiness.  We weren’t even facing in the right direction when we fired the arrow at the target!  The prophet Isaiah even describes our righteousness as filthy rags compared to God.  Again, the point isn’t to exemplify how sinful we are, but rather how holy God is compared to us.  When we put it like that, it only goes to display how far away from God we were.  But, of course, God had a plan of redemption and salvation.  He sent His one and only Son to pay the price for our unrighteousness so that He Himself would be our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). Jesus brought us back into relationship with the Father.  You could say that He brought us back home where we belong.  And you would naturally think after
that kind of display of love that in our gratitude, we would never sin again.  Yet, as you already know, we do sin.  It actually reminds me of a parable that Jesus taught.  You probably know it.  We call it the parable of the prodigal son. 
 
Once upon a time, there was a wealthy man who had two sons.  One son decided that he wanted to go out and see the world, so he asked for his inheritance from his father, packed up and left.  Not too long after this, this particular son had squandered everything he was given.  He had nothing left to his name.  In desperation, he thought that maybe he could go back, be a slave to his father, and at least fend off starvation.  When he was still pretty far from home, the father spotted him from a distance and took off running until he encountered his son with an embrace.  Even though the son began to ask for servanthood, this particular dad was having none of that.  He gave him new clothes, he threw a feast to celebrate his return, and he welcomed him home with open arms.
 
There’s a little more to this parable in regards to the reaction of the older brother, but that’s not what I want to look at today.  I want you to stop and take notice of the reaction of the father.  There was not a shed of hesitation in him to welcome his son back.  We even read that while the son was a long way off, the father spotted him.  What does that tell us?  I think it says that the father was looking for his son.  He hadn’t given up and was hoping that they would be reunited.  I also notice that there is a complete disregard for the son’s desire to be a slave.  Slavery wasn’t in the heart of the father.  Instead, the abundant overflow of everything inside the father was forgiveness and sonship.  All that was required was a returned child to bestow those things upon.  It’s not a stretch at all to say that coming home again was not a landslide win for the son, but a victory of joy for the father as well.
 
That’s the thing about sin and what Jesus did for us.  With arms wide open and nail-pierced hands, He made an eternal way for us to run back to God by His blood.  And now we no longer have to worry about what the Father is going to say.  The sin has already been paid for.  The response of God is always the same: “I love you and I desire for you to return to Me.”  So what I want for you today is simply this: I want you to take some time to search your heart.   Honestly give it some thought.  And if find sin in your life, honestly and truly repent to God.  Run back to Him and submit your heart fully. There’s no such thing as a partial repentance, so lay everything at HIs feet.  We have to give everything or give nothing.  That’s the choice.  But He’s so gracious and willing to forgive that I think the option isn’t that difficult.  When you have a Father who cares enough to be waiting in expectation for your return, It’s worth coming home again. 
 


Reflecting On The Year…Preparing For The Future

Reflecting On The Year Banner
Just a few weeks ago, I was on a conference call with several pastors.  We were discussing the end of 2105 and the beginning of the new year.  As people were sharing and reflecting about the events of the past year,  some rather thought-provoking questions were asked.  I was deeply challenged to look at my own personal growth over the last several months and begin focusing on how to continue growing in the upcoming year.

 

Winston Churchhill once said, “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” As we see 2015 come to a close, you have the perfect opportunity to reflect, plan, and prepare for a new year of progress and development.  Use this time wisely and contemplate what took place in your life in 2015.  What successes and mistakes were made?  How will you help you continue to succeed?   What will keep you from making those same mistakes? Spend some quiet moments asking yourself some of the following questions and give serious thought to the answers.  Prepare your spirit, mind, and body for the new year and ask the Spirit of God to equip you to move forward in 2016!

 
EMOTIONAL

What drained me emotionally in 2015?
What fills me emotionally?
Is there anyone whose forgiveness I need to seek?
Is there anyone I need to forgive?
Where is the clutter in my life?

 
SPIRITUAL

What is my calling?
Am I closer to God today than January 1, 2015?
In what spiritual areas do I want to grow in 2016?

 
RELATIONAL

What relationships are adding strength to my life?
What relationships are draining me of strength?
Would I rate my marriage a 10?
Would my spouse (you might want to ask over a nice dinner)?
If it’s not a 10 ask this question, “What would it take in 2016 to make it a 10?”

Same question for the relationship with my children.
 
PHYSICAL

How is my physical health? Is that OK?
What’s my major physical focus area for 2016?
What things do I need to do to obtain my goals for better health?

 
INTELLECTUAL

How am I growing mentally?
What are my reading goals for 2016?
What am I pretending NOT to know?
What caused me the most stress in 2015?
How can that be changed in 2016?


A Significant Word

A Significant Word Banner

For the past few days I have been reflecting on a prophetic word given to our church through Lee Grady.  Lee ministered to us back in March and delivered a very timely and significant message.

 

The scripture tells us that God will watch over His word to ensure that it is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12).  When God speaks prophetically to us, it is like a seed planted in the soil.  We are to continually remind ourselves of the prophetic word and pray over it in faith.  It is like cool water poured over the small seed.  As we believe God for the fulfillment of the word and obey as the Holy Spirit directs, we will watch that small seed grow and mature.  At the right moment, we will see that word come to completion.  As you read this message again, believe that the Lord is bringing His prophetic promises to fruition!
Tonight, I want to begin by praying over Champions Church, Lord. Thank you for this couple that said that they would go. And we thank You for the willingness in their hearts, Lord, to serve You in a, in a hard place.

Because God has called you to do something that’s out of the box. And He’s called you to do something that there’s really not a book telling you how to do it. And in fact, you know you’ve tried…you’ve read some of the books and you’ve followed some of the instructions, and some of them didn’t work because God has called you to do something very unique here.

And, Ben, what I want to say over you is that I had this very strong but unusual word about Champions Church. And He said, “It is going to be a church on wheels.” And I said, “Lord, I don’t know what that means?” And I saw this… and it was like this, you hear about meals on wheels, but I just saw this mobilization. I saw going here and going there. And it was a church on call. And it was a church that could readily and quickly go into places and situations where there was need. And that’s not your typical church, because typical church people just come and sit. And they sit in a building.

But God said, “No, I want this church to be mobilized.” And I even felt that He said, “I am going to give you vehicles.” And I don’t fully understand what that’s about, but its about meeting needs. And that He will provide supernaturally for you vehicles to be able to go and serve. And go into needy situations; go into, into crisis situations. Go into even traumatized situations, because you’re willing and available. And you are going to train up a battalion of people who will role up their sleeves and say, “We are willing to go at a moments notice when we’re needed. We’re willing to get in and drive and go to that need and meet that situation head on.” And bring the love of Christ, but not just words. It will also be with action and it will be with provision. And it will meet needs in situations where people are desperate.

So, Father, I declare over this church, Lord, that You are bringing Your blueprint and Your strategy. It’s very unique.

And I want to say to Ben and his wife…I want to break off you. In the past you felt that you had to fit and you had to conform. And you felt like you had to fit in somebody’s armor. And the Lord says, “You don’t have to wear Saul’s armor. You don’t have to put on, which in the past, was told that you had to wear.” I break that off of you, in the name of Jesus. And I break all the expectation, even that you’ve put on yourself. That you said, “I have to be this certain way. I have to fit this denominational model or I have to do this or that.” I break that off of you now, in the name of Jesus.

I break it off of your wife, in the name of Jesus. Where that thing tried to say, “If you’re going to be a woman in ministry, you have to do it this way and you have to do it that way. Or you have to say it this way.” I break that off of you now, in the name of Jesus.

We thank you for flexibility, and we thank you that instead of Saul’s armor, you will wear David’s armor. You will wear what fits.

And I just say, Brother Ben, just, just relax. Just relax and just fit in what God has called you to fit in. And you don’t have to fit in that armor of the past. We break it off of you now, in the name of Jesus.



Coming Home

Coming Home
How do you react when you see someone who is homeless?  Do you turn away and try to ignore them?  Do you give the leftover change from your pocket?  Maybe you offer to buy them a hot meal.  There are numerous organizations and ministries that are devoted to helping those in need.  I am grateful for the ministry our local church has in feeding and clothing the community.  Each week we are helping those with physical needs and God is blessing people’s lives through it.   But my real question is,  “What do we do with the spiritual homeless?”
 

 

The spiritual homeless are those who may have their spiritual needs met, but their hearts are empty and bare.  They search for comfort and fulfillment, but find none.  They are spiritually hurting and desperate for hope, but they may never speak of it.  And honestly, no one speaks to them about the issue.
 

 

The scripture calls them “sojourners.”  A good definition would be “a wanderer without shelter.” They are searchers looking for somewhere or someone to fulfill them.  They want spiritual peace and contentment.  They want a home.
 

 

The Message Bible reads,  “My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off.  Go after them.  Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God” (James 5:19-20).
 

 

God has given us the responsibility of searching out the wanderers.  But He does not send us alone.  You and I have been given the partnership of the Holy Spirit who is constantly at work within us and through us.  We reach people as a team!  He speaks and leads; we simply are obedient.
 

 

With heart-felt passion, Jesus told His disciples, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  His words still resonate in the heart of every believer today.  We must go into every man’s world and share the good news of Christ.  There is a quote which says, “We do not have a secret to be hidden, but a story to be heralded.”
 

 

In Kansas City there is a ministry called Healing House.  It is a home for those battling drug addiction.  It was started by a woman named Bobbie Jo. Bobbie Jo had been walking the streets for many years but then someone cared enough to share the Gospel with her and she became a follower of Christ. About the same time, her mother died and left her an inheritance. She knew that many of the women who were drug addicts turned to the streets to support their habits. Once they were arrested, put in jail and then released.  Having no place to go, most went back to working the streets.

 

With her inheritance, Bobbie Jo bought an old retirement home that was boarded up and remodeled it. She invited the ladies to come and live there and as they did, she would share the Gospel with them. Eventually, that home was completely filled with women getting help.

 

There was a home next door that was owned by a neighborhood pimp. Bobbie Jo and the women began to pray that God would give them that home.  After much prayer and by gathering some resources, they were able to purchase the house. It soon filled up and another home was purchased.  Soon they were able to buy an apartment complex!
 
At Christmas time, the women would pull together their small earnings and buy presents for those still living on the streets.  It was a reminder to that there is still hope and there is a Savior who loves you.
 

 

One Christmas Eve, they pulled into a gas station to fill up the house van and two police officers were there. He recognized one of the girls in the van and walked over and said to her, “What are you doing here? I thought you were dead.” He recognized another and then another and said, to all of them, “I thought you all were dead”! He called his partner over and showed him the women saying, “They’re alive!”
 

 

And the women truly were alive; not only physically, but spiritually as well.  Because one woman stepped out, many women have been brought home to the family of God!
 

 

We call Jesus’ words, “The Great Commission.” And it truly is “great.”  It is GREAT to see a broken heart healed by God’s love.  It is GREAT to see families restored by the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit.  It is GREAT to hear the words, “I once was lost…now I’m found!” How exciting it is that you and I get to partner with God in bringing the wanderers back home!
 

 

Remember…You Are A Champion!


The Deadly Act Of Comparison (pt. 2)

The Deadly Act of Comparison Part2
Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.
– Helen Keller
 

 

At some time in our lives we will all compare ourselves to someone else. The amount of money you have does not matter.  What you look like, where you live, or even what you own is not a concern.   We will all commit the act of comparison.
 

 

It begins when we are just toddlers.  Two children are sitting on the floor, each with a toy.  One child quickly compares the toys and decides the other child has the best toy.  In a flash he reaches over and grabs the other child’s toy.  He was not taught how to do this.  Comparison just comes naturally.
 

 

Sometimes the act of comparison will actually become a motivator for us.  That moment of examination sparks us to better ourselves in some way.  But often in my life it has been less of a motivator and more of a discouragement.  Instead of inspiring me, it depressed me.
 

 

We see this in the writings of Asaph in Psalm 73.  “For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3).  He has viewed the great strength and wealth of others, and became jealous because he did not see those same things in his own life.  Over several verses, Asaph compared his life with those he viewed as wicked.   He was upset to the point that he said it physically caused him pain when he contrasted their lives with his own (Psalm 73:16).
 

 

But then something changed.  “Until I went into the sanctuary of God…” (Psalm 73:17).  When Asaph went before the Lord, his attitude changed.  When he stood before the eternal God, he realized how temporal his thoughts had been.  Most of the time we are making comparisons based on very momentary elements.  Our weight, our finances, our physical features, our clothing, our job…While all of these things have a level of importance, they pale in comparison to the eternity that is seen through the eyes of our everlasting Father.
 

 

When he realized how ridiculous he had been, Asaph wrote, “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You” (Psalm 73:21-22).  The presence of God was a great wake-up call for Asaph.  Earthly wealth, physical strength, and external beauty are all very fleeting….they will not last.  Yet, the majestic beauty of our Lord never fades.  His wisdom, power, and might will never diminish.
 

 

Our joy is not found in how we look or even what we have accumulated.  That can only bring short-lived happiness.  Our joy is found in our wonderful God and His never-ending love.  When we look at the blessings that we have been given, how can we be discouraged.  When we focus on His guiding hand and abiding presence, how can we be defeated.  “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
 

 

When you and I look around and begin to feel depressed because of the temporary success of others, we need to remember the final words Asaph writes in this Psalm:
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works. (Psalm 73:28) 

 

Remember…You Are A Champion!


The Deadly Act of Comparison (pt. 1)

The Deadly Act of Comparison Title

I look at his shoes…
her hair…
his car…
her job…
his height…
their house…
their money.
Then I look in the mirror. And I compare.

If you are like me, you can easily get caught in the deadly act of comparison. Looking at what someone is, has, or does and then looking at my own self to see how things measure up. It is something I have done since I was a child, and too often the comparison did not fall in my favor. Feelings of not being athletic enough, smart enough, spiritual enough, funny enough, or looking good enough seemed overwhelming. The result often left me feeling as if I somehow had failed.

As an adult I still struggle with comparing myself to others. It happened this past weekend. Our church hosted a fall festival to reach out to families in our surrounding area. It was our first time to do this, and even though we faced a few hurdles, we ended up with many new families coming from the community. It was very successful and I was so proud of our team as they shared the love of Jesus. We walked away excited about what God had done.

I felt really good until I looked at social media. Yes, social media…the breeding ground for harmful comparisons. I started looking at a few other churches pastored by my friends. The results from their outreaches surpassed what we had been able to accomplish. By the act of comparison, I allowed the pleasure and joy of the night to be stolen. What started as a feeling of success, ended quickly with the feeling of defeat. Even though we reached new families for Christ, I did not get “as many” as other churches. I didn’t measure up! Instead of being excited about what God had done, I became jealous and critical. Was it wrong? Yes. Was it petty? Yes. But the feelings were still very real.

In the Bible, we read that Asaph had a similar reaction. It wasn’t because of a fall church event, but his emotions were the same. He wrote, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:2-3). Asaph saw that evil people seemed to do very well. They were happy, healthy, and wealthy. “Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish” (Psalm 73:7). The wicked seemed to have everything while Asaph seemed to have very little.

At one point Asaph writes, “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me…” (Psalm 73:16). The emotions were too raw and hurtful. His comparisons had caused him to become critical…to find fault with others and eventually to find fault with God. When we start finding fault with God, we become cynical. The definition of cynical is “non-believing, doubtful.” Asaph doubted God when he wrote, “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning” (Psalm 73:13-14). He wondered, “What was the point in serving God if all the blessings go to other folks?” This is where the act of comparing, if left unchecked, will eventually lead us. If I continue to compare myself to others, I will become critical. If I continue to be critical, I will become cynical.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It really is! Comparison robs us of our contentment and steals our peace. It causes us to become isolated and resentful. It is a deadly act that goes all the way back to Lucifer’s fall.

But, it can be overcome…



When It Falls Through The Cracks

Last summer, we held an outdoor water baptism service.  Afterwards, we celebrated with refreshments and ice cold watermelon.  It was delicious!  Some of the kids (and dads) were practicing spitting seeds into the rock filled median strips on the parking lot.   It was a lot of fun and we really had a great day.
 
Little did we know that those little seeds would work their way through the rocks and the cracks until they planted themselves into the ground below.  This summer, instead of a rock-filled strip of space, we found a patch of watermelons!  The vines had covered the rocky ground and cute, bright green watermelons began to sprout.  What seemed like a silly, pointless act of spitting seeds actually produced something very fruitful.
 
Someone noticed the watermelons and said, “I think there is a message in that!”  And there is.
 
When we pray for friend, give encouragement to a co-worker, or act in kindness to a stranger, it is like planting a seed. What may seem small and insignificant to you, could have a major impact on the life of someone else.  But like a seed, we sometimes do not see what is taking place below the surface.  We can become discouraged thinking that nothing it actually going on…that we somehow failed.  We can feel like giving up because we do not see any change on the surface from what we have done.
 
The scripture says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).  The apostle Paul is encouraging us to not lose hope while we are planting the seeds of goodness.  We may not see the results instantly, but as the Spirit of God is working on the life of the person, we will see the outcome at the right moment.
 
Robert Schuller Quote
 
I received a phone call late Saturday evening from a friend.  He began to tell me about his nephew who had been addicted to heroine and had led a very troubled life.  My friend then said to me, “You and the Holy Spirit saved his life!”  As I didn’t know his nephew, I didn’t know how I could have helped him.  He then told me the young man’s name and suddenly I did remember him.  He had walked into one of our services and experienced the love of God.  He left and I never saw him again.  But the impact of that encounter was like a seed.  He couldn’t shake the love of God that he felt.  The young man checked himself into a rehabilitation center and is on his way to a full recovery.
 
You never know what will happen to the seeds that you plant!  Rev. Robert Schuller once wrote, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” God can take that kind word and loving act and use it to plant a seed into the hardest heart that could end up influencing the lives of numerous individuals.  Do not be discouraged…keep doing good.  Sometimes those good seeds will fall through the cracks and produce a beautiful harvest for God!
 
Remember…You Are A Champion!

 



What Do We Do Now?

Fear is the great disabler.  It impairs sound judgement, it silences healing words, and it paralyzes powerful actions.
 
The scripture says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).  As followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot allow fear to divide and isolate.  We cannot hide behind walls of worry and despair.  When life looks darker, the light must shine brighter.
 
Rosa Parks, a great woman who stood for freedom, once said, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”  We must set our minds on what we can do now, both collectively and as individuals.  So what do we do now?
 
WE MUST FIGHT THE SPIRIT OF FEAR
“…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7)
  • Pray for family and friends that have been personally affected.  Ask the Lord to bring healing to their hearts and comfort them during times of anger and grief.
  • Pray that the peace of God will overcome all anxiety and panic.   Allow God’s peace to protect your own thoughts, words, and actions.
  • Pray for government leaders, community organizers, clergy and other leaders.  Ask the Lord to strengthen them and guide them by His Spirit so that they may be ambassadors of healing.
  • If you have children at home, guard how much time they are exposed to conversations and media that are filled with frightening language or images.
  • Turn the radio up and sing.  Laugh out loud.  Do something today that will bring a smile to your face.
WE MUST BELIEVE THAT THE POWER AND LOVE OF GOD WILL PREVAIL
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18)
  • Pray that followers of Christ in our region will display the love of God by uniting together in prayer, worship, and acts of service.
  • Pray for miraculous intervention.  Believe that our supernatural God will show up in a real way!
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you to someone in need (emotionally, physically, or spiritually).  Be a source of resource!
  • Buy someone a cup of coffee.  Take a meal to an elderly neighbor.  Choose to show the love of God in a practical way.
WE MUST ALLOW SOUND THINKING TO OVERCOME RAW EMOTION
“He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace” (Proverbs 11:12)
  • Pray that people will think clearly before they speak or act.  Wisdom and understanding must guide us. 
  • Allow God to examine your own heart.  Are there personal prejudices that are clouding your own thinking?
  • In conversations you have, whether in person or over social media, strive to bring unity and healing in your language.  Do not allow personal bias to bring pain or division.


Tipping Point

waterpark

“You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.” (Psalm 23:5)

Last night at our House Church, we were spending time in prayer and worship when the presence of the Holy Spirit came into the room.  There was such peace as people were singing and loving on God.  I was overcome with emotions and begin to softly cry as the presence of God continued to linger.  It was in that moment that I saw a rather unusual picture…

Over the last few summers, we have taken our children to a water park that is near our home.  The park has an awesome children’s playground with tunnels, water-slides, squirt guns, etc.  On top of the playground sits a giant barrel that slowly fills with water.  When the barrel is nearly full, all the children run to get under it.  They know that any moment it will tip and gallons of water will come splashing down on them.

This is the picture I saw!

As we continue in prayer and worship, it is like the small steady stream of water that is pouring into the barrel.  The scripture tells us that our prayers are literally filling up bowls in the heavens (Revelation 5:8). As we are faithful in our praise unto God and our intercession for the world, things are happening beyond what we can see in the natural.

The Bible says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).  The phrase, “effective, fervent,” is from the Greek word, “energe?.”  This is where the English word, “energy,” comes from.  When the energy is put into prayer and worship, there must be results.

What are those results? The last part of that verse says, “avails much.”  The word “avail” means to have “power, strength, or force.”  The result of persistent prayer is the FULL FORCE of God’s power!  This is one of the reasons that Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, emphasis added).  It is God’s will for us to continue in worship and intercession.

Those who have been praying, do not lose hope.  With faith and expectation,  prepare for the pouring out of God’s power.  If you have not been praying, what are you waiting for?  There is about to be a tipping point!

 



GLASS ON THE PLAYGROUND

My children were begging to go down to the little park by our house.  They loved to swing, slide, and spin on the merry-go-round.  So after dinner, we walked down to the playground. After a little while of them playing on their own, they asked me to join in on a game of hide-in-seek (and of course I said, “Yes!”).

The kids were all in the their hiding places and I was on the hunt when I noticed a reflection of light on the ground.  As I crouched down to see what it was, I realized it was a jagged piece of glass. I then begin to notice more glass scattered nearby.  I picked up several pieces and threw them away, disgusted that someone would leave sharp glass where children were playing.  We went back to our game, when I saw another reflection in a different part of the playground.  More broken glass!  I stopped, picked it up, and threw it away.  This happened several more times as I found more fragments of glass scattered across the park.

As I walked home with the kids, I thought how good it was that someone found those bits of glass before someone was hurt.  A child could have easily cut their leg or foot causing a serious injury.  Luckily, after I saw the first piece, I was intently searching out other pieces in order to keep the playground safe.

The scripture describes those who search out danger and alert others.  It calls them “watchmen.”  The duty of the watchmen was to stand atop the walls of the city and focus on the horizon.  If danger were to come, they alerted the citizens so that they could prepare themselves.

The prophet Ezekiel writes about the watchman and his role: “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people…” (Ezekiel 33:2-3).  If the watchman warns the people, yet they do not prepare themselves, then they are held responsible for the outcome.  However, if the watchman does not warn the people about the coming danger, then he is guilty of their deaths (Ezekiel 33:4-6).

These scriptures are not just talking about men sitting on the city walls, it is speaking of the people of God becoming alert to the dangers erupting in our society.  It is the prophets of God calling out to warn the citizens of the land of the threats against our children, our marriages, our families, and our churches.  God tells Ezekiel, “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me” (Ezekiel 33:7).  As our eyes are fixed on the horizon and our ears are tuned in to the voice of God, we must warn the people.

Just like the kids on the playground, we can keep playing not knowing danger is right at our feet.   But someone must arise and warn others of the hidden peril.  The Bible tells us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  Our prayer must be, “Lord, awaken my heart.  Help me to be alert and aware of the times at hand.  Speak to my heart and give me the boldness to deliver the warnings so that others may be rescued.”

Wake up, watchmen!