The Purpose of Pharaoh – I Mean Biden

exodus II

Much of America continues to lament, if not protest, the election of Joe Biden. Was it fair? Was it rigged? Was there fraud? (What? Fraud in politics? Shocking!) But in how much up stir should the believer in Christ partake, might not sovereign God have a purpose in raising and establishing leaders and kings? He says He does in Daniel 2:21,

“He changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings”.

An elementary view of the Hebrews in Genesis into Exodus finds that, following a severe famine, God brought the sons of Jacob into Egypt where they enjoyed prosperity and the best of that land. God providentially brought Joseph into Egypt ahead them and raised up this godly young man to be a powerful leader. God established Joseph and blessed His people through his reign.

Generations later, an oppressive and cruel Pharaoh arose over Egypt and the Lord declares that He Himself raised him to power. Why? Through this despot sovereign God would display His powerful attributes over demon gods and in doing so, set His people free.

But the bigger picture may be missed here. God raised up Joseph through divine providence to be a reigning power in Egypt and through him the people of God were gathered there. They enjoyed the best of the land, prosperity and safety. Life was good for many generations. Why leave Goshen? Who wants a nebulous ‘promised land’ or ‘deliverance’ from a good life?

Raising up a despot that would oppress and enslave was a formidable catalyst for a heart cry to God. And became the fire needed to ignite their hearts to separate and flee.

With all the American clamor and protests about elections, fraud, economic and legislative fears, have we become so attached to Goshen that we have lost sight of the Promised Land, eternity in God’s coming Kingdom? Have we any cry for our Deliverer to “save us from our sins” and “rescue us from the dominion of darkness”? Or do we just want deliverance from leftist socialist intrusion into our prosperous and enjoyable life?

Many Christians are praying for God to remove people from office, install others, and abolish immorality. Was it at all possible for the Hebrews to pray away Pharaoh? Could we imagine praying away the Antichrist? A pastor’s wife, who had asked me to pray for a election overturn, replied to my objections, “It’s only prayer, what harm will it do?”

Are we rubbing a genie bottle or approaching the King? Aren’t we compelled to pray in His will, to align with His heart? There is a harm in trivializing prayer and the holiness of Whom we beseech. Moreover, if we are occupied with the thoughts, desires, and will of our own heart and the things of this world, what true burdens are we neglecting of the Lord’s heart?

The Lord says nowhere, “make yourselves at home in this world”. He says live like strangers, foreigners, and aliens. For the most part, those folks can’t even vote. Without an oppressive Pharaoh, perhaps the Hebrews would still be in Egypt. What will charge us toward our Deliverer and turn our hearts away from the things of this world to our promised land?

Campaigning for righteousness, morality, and prosperity seems very good and unifying but it is not the Gospel. Morality marches seem virtuous, even invigorating but are always ecumenical. The true Gospel is unpopular, and our true strength does not come from improving the world but separating from it.

Whomever is inaugurated in January, let us draw nearer to our King. As the world spins faster to its demise, let us not miss one call, not one divine assignment or appointment. I pray we not settle for improving or upgrading this already condemned world but set our heart on things above, that the Lord might lead and fulfill His purposes through our imperfect yet willing vessels.

Missing God’s call because of ‘good causes’ would be the worst fraud of all.

However difficult to receive, if it be God’s will, let ‘Pharaoh’ step up and lead. God reveals His great power with the backdrop of darkness.

The Purpose of Pharaoh – I Mean Biden

exodus II

Much of America continues to lament, if not protest, the election of Joe Biden. Was it fair? Was it rigged? Was there fraud? (What? Fraud in politics? Shocking!) But in how much up stir should the believer in Christ partake, might not sovereign God have a purpose in raising and establishing leaders and kings? He says He does in Daniel 2:21,

“He changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings”.

An elementary view of the Hebrews in Genesis into Exodus finds that, following a severe famine, God brought the sons of Jacob into Egypt where they enjoyed prosperity and the best of that land. God providentially brought Joseph into Egypt ahead them and raised up this godly young man to be a powerful leader. God established Joseph and blessed His people through his reign.

Generations later, an oppressive and cruel Pharaoh arose over Egypt and the Lord declares that He Himself raised him to power. Why? Through this despot sovereign God would display His powerful attributes over demon gods and in doing so, set His people free.

But the bigger picture may be missed here. God raised up Joseph through divine providence to be a reigning power in Egypt and through him the people of God were gathered there. They enjoyed the best of the land, prosperity and safety. Life was good for many generations. Why leave Goshen? Who wants a nebulous ‘promised land’ or ‘deliverance’ from a good life?

Raising up a despot that would oppress and enslave was a formidable catalyst for a heart cry to God. And became the fire needed to ignite their hearts to separate and flee.

With all the American clamor and protests about elections, fraud, economic and legislative fears, have we become so attached to Goshen that we have lost sight of the Promised Land, eternity in God’s coming Kingdom? Have we any cry for our Deliverer to “save us from our sins” and “rescue us from the dominion of darkness”? Or do we just want deliverance from leftist socialist intrusion into our prosperous and enjoyable life?

Many Christians are praying for God to remove people from office, install others, and abolish immorality. Was it at all possible for the Hebrews to pray away Pharaoh? Could we imagine praying away the Antichrist? A pastor’s wife, who had asked me to pray for a election overturn, replied to my objections, “It’s only prayer, what harm will it do?”

Are we rubbing a genie bottle or approaching the King? Aren’t we compelled to pray in His will, to align with His heart? There is a harm in trivializing prayer and the holiness of Whom we beseech. Moreover, if we are occupied with the thoughts, desires, and will of our own heart and the things of this world, what true burdens are we neglecting of the Lord’s heart?

The Lord says nowhere, “make yourselves at home in this world”. He says live like strangers, foreigners, and aliens. For the most part, those folks can’t even vote. Without an oppressive Pharaoh, perhaps the Hebrews would still be in Egypt. What will charge us toward our Deliverer and turn our hearts away from the things of this world to our promised land?

Campaigning for righteousness, morality, and prosperity seems very good and unifying but it is not the Gospel. Morality marches seem virtuous, even invigorating but are always ecumenical. The true Gospel is unpopular, and our true strength does not come from improving the world but separating from it.

Whomever is inaugurated in January, let us draw nearer to our King. As the world spins faster to its demise, let us not miss one call, not one divine assignment or appointment. I pray we not settle for improving or upgrading this already condemned world but set our heart on things above, that the Lord might lead and fulfill His purposes through our imperfect yet willing vessels.

Missing God’s call because of ‘good causes’ would be the worst fraud of all.

However difficult to receive, if it be God’s will, let ‘Pharaoh’ step up and lead. God reveals His great power with the backdrop of darkness.

Cluster Bombs on Karabakh – Pray for Armenia!

cluster bombs

“The use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries,” Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty‘s acting head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in the statement.

“Cluster bombs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their deployment in residential areas is absolutely appalling and unacceptable,” he said.

https://www.24newshd.tv/06-Oct-2020/amnesty-warns-of-cluster-bomb-use-in-karabakh

On Sunday, 9/27/2020 at 7am most Armenians were preparing for church and family gatherings when struck by surprise military attack from Azerbaijan. Not a random act of aggression, this act of war was strategically calculated from Armenia’s darkest foe, Turkey. President Erdogan’s mission to resurrect the Ottoman Empire takes a big step forward, exerting Turkey’s military strength in the region. Although criticized, they remain virtually unchallenged.

“Turkey bets that the West and Russia will sit idle as Nagorno-Karabakh burns.” Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal 10/6/2020

With world powers preoccupied with pandemics, social uprisings, and chaotic elections, the Azeri – Turkish alliance is forging ahead to claim the cherished Armenian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh – Artsakh.

Bombings destroy Stepanakert….

Turkey’s recent invasion into Syria, aggressively pushing out the Kurdish stronghold against ISIS, provided a devilish resource. Turkish ‘security corporations’ now employ these freed ISIS fighters – mercenaries – to join the attack upon Karabakh. A perfect Islamic coalition of wealth, military strength, and jihadist blood thirst vows to fight on until all Armenians are removed.

Of course, Armenians globally are deeply grieved by these unprovoked acts of war and the real threat of another genocide (From 1915-1922 the Ottoman Turks annihilated 1.5 million Armenians, the first genocide of the 20th century).

While many are mobilizing resources, volunteer soldiers, and humanitarian aid, it is my cry that believers also will join in a spiritual battle through prayer.

As the world once again turns away, may the Lord burden the hearts of believers to press in for the suffering Body of Christ. Armenia claims to be a ‘Christian nation’, although many are nominal and religious. May true believers rise up in faith, may nominal Christians cry out to God with true faith.

Please remember Armenians daily and especially on Friday night, 10/9/2020 starting 8pm as we cry out to the Lord on points such as these:

1. Pray for the Body of Christ in Armenia and especially those in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

* Pray for church leadership – Pastors, elders, deacons – that God will strongly encourage them, and speak clearly to them that they may deliver God’s heart to the people.

* Pray that God strengthen believers, quicken their faith, and ignite a living faith in nominal Christians

2. Pray for soldiers on the frontlines, many of whom are farmers and villagers defending their families, their community, and country.

* May the Holy Spirit bring a spiritual awakening on the battlefield, that God will ignite their hearts to pray, finding their marching orders through Christ.

* Lord, stir up a revival on the battlefield. While bombarded by vast numbers and sophisticated weaponry, draw them to depend upon You and Your leadership, strength, and wisdom.

* Let great testimonies arise from the battle, may the Lord be glorified and honored

3. We pray for the enemy Lord, confound and push them back. Bring their Islamic onslaught to naught. Shake the hearts of these Azeri, Turkish, and ISIS fighters. Raise up a contention in their hearts and thwart their zeal, deflate the spirit of murder, and lead them to godly sorrow.

* Lord, thwart Azeri stock piles of bombs, drones, and missiles.

4. Pray for peace negotiations and conflict resolution.

Lord, even surrounded by enemies, stir up Armenian churches, let them be a light and let Armenians live to glorify You!

“Let God arise and His enemies be scattered.”

The Bad Thing About a Good Life

American believers have, for the most part, enjoyed a ‘good life’ where the fruits of freedom to worship, work, plan and save grounded us in ‘One Nation Under God’.  The ‘good life’, often entangled in this world, gave birth to ungodly prosperity ministries and carnal churches.  However, the bad thing about a good life in an ungodly world is the inevitable upheaval of misplanted roots.  Since, “…Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin...” and “…the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”  this is not the place to invest our heart and trust.

Americans and believers alike are alarmed by the powerful forays that are, through destruction, forcing change.  A country that was built and cultivated over hundreds of years is seemingly toppling before our eyes.  But it was toppling all along….

removing 10 commandments

The Ten Commandments,  ordered removed by Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2015, under cover of night to avoid controversy

We lost all fear of ‘controversy with God.’  What was sanctioned in secret has come to utter fruition in the daylight – toppled statues, ruined icons, wanton cultural destruction.

‘Successful’ Christians are now scrambling to secure their lives here, especially with the growing threat of socialism… “Should I cash in my 401K?…Put my money in a safe?…But will there be a ‘cashless society’?…Should we buy property?”

Self-preservation is the most natural instinct within us – who doesn’t want to live and preserve a good life?  The only problem facing the believer though is the prevailing word of God that exhorts us to “pick up our cross” and follow Christ, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” This call of separation unto God is an ongoing call from Genesis to Revelation, as is the rebuke against ‘friendship with the world’ and its entanglements.

I challenge myself in this:  maybe God is calling us to set our hearts upon and actually live according to His word,

“…godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that….take hold of the life that is truly life.  (I Timothy 6 excerpts)

These social, political, and moral upheavals pose great challenges for believers but also great opportunities to live out our faith as God intends – to believe and stand on His word, to express the glory and faithfulness of God, to be content…strengthening our hearts with the reality of Christ’s promised and soon return.

Believers are called out in every time and place of world history and with that call comes the power of God to live out our faith and fulfill His purposes for our short time here.

Lord, help us walk in and live through Your word in greater measure, proclaiming Your truth and faithfulness as this dark world readies for Judgment Day. 

Remember the Darkness But Stand in the Light

Cattle Car

Actual cattle car used to transport unsuspecting Jews to Auschwitz – Freedom Tower looms above.

There is a profound exhibit at The Museum of Jewish Heritage commemorating those who perished during Jewish Holocaust, particularly at Auschwitz.  I highly recommend a lengthy visit there to anyone visiting NYC.

I take a personal interest in the Holocaust as it sequentially follows the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, 1915 to 1922.  In fact, Hitler famously boasted,

“Our strength consists in our speed and our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak Western European civilization will say about me….. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”  August 22, 1939, excerpt from Hitler’s orders to Wehrmacht commanders, a week prior to Nazi invasion of Poland.

Premeditated, systematic and diabolical, the Ottomans’ plan proved a formidable forerunner for the Nazis.

map of transports to auschwitz

Transport strategy to rout European Jews to Auschwitz

list of jews in world

tally of Jews in Europe, summed for extermination

 

While Armenians, Jews, and other victims may cry, “Never again!”, we as believers understand that, even as our brethren are persecuted and suffer today, global persecution and annihilation is on the sure horizon.

The power of social engineering, scapegoating, and ostracizing was blatant in Germany, permeating the culture through education, media, and government.  Wickedness was ripe in the hearts of Germans when a Jewish teenager avenged the deportation of his parents by killing a German diplomat.   Kristallnacht – ‘the Night of Broken Glass’-  was the horrific response.   Fermented anti-Semitism exploded with violent destruction of Jewish stores, homes, schools, and synagogues.  From one youth’s crime came the arrest of 30,000 Jewish men who were then sent to concentration camps, solely for being Jewish.   While this unleashed the holocaust, Nazi Germany was strategically and socially prepared.

thousands arrested after kristallnacht

Thousands of Jewish men arrested during Kristallnacht. 

 

Those fortunate to visit this engrossing exhibit will see filmed testimonies, rare artifacts, Auschwitz reconstructions, military charts, photos and more.  Juxtaposed against cruel and relentless suffering and death was the phenomena of overwhelming German passion and devotion to Hitler.  Moreover, civilians and businesses were complicit in the murder of thousands systematically killed every day –  none of the concentration camps, death chambers, and crematories could have functioned without architects, engineers, suppliers, builders, and transport experts.

Two grievous realities became evident at this exhibit.  Despots like Talaat Pasha and Adolph Hitler are satanically inspired, if not indwelt.  Secondly, evident in the filmed interviews and testimonies, is the heartbreaking reality that nearly all the Jews marked for destruction did not believe it or perceive it until they actually arrived and faced it.

We must commemorate and honor those who suffered and perished and uphold the memory of brave heroes that stood up and risked all on their behalf.  But as believers in Jesus Christ and the living word of God, we must remember one more thing:  tribulation, persecution and death await those saints who live as the Anti-Christ arises.

We may not believe it, we may not perceive it, but unwarranted hatred for Christians is fermenting.  While our brethren in Islamic areas suffer daily, our plight is stirring in the undercurrents of social engineering, political posturing, and educational indoctrination.  This world power, the Anti Christ, will be “…given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.”

Unlike Hitler, who basked in the adoration of Nazi Germany, the Anti Christ will be adored throughout the world, “…every tribe, people, language, and nation.  All inhabitant of the earth will worship the beast..”   Unimaginable?

gas-chamber-auschwitz.jpg

The world watched as Christians and Jews were annihilated and the apathy continues today.  But we, as believers, cannot afford to be complacent, scripturally ignorant, or enrapt with the world.   This world is fermenting and cultivating an anti-Christ spirit that will ripen like ‘Kristallnacht’ – may we stand today and on that day in a way that honors our Lord. 

hitler quote

 

The Forgotten Door to Power, Position and Peace

We were created for a place of power, position, and peace and yet our quests for them often lead to futility and disappointment.

Rather than reset our compass,  we dig deeper in ourselves for inspiration, motivation, and self confidence, cheering ourselves on with words of “gusto” and “empowerment”.   Seeds of self promotion and self-actualization were sown long ago with a dark promise,  “…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Satan’s design for man mirrored his own downfall –  exaltation of self – selfish ambition, self love, self importance and self reliance….separation from God.  

But the position God plans for us, the peace He promises, and the power He avails to us is far greater than any ‘self actualization’.   His personal love and plan for each of us will lead to places where He awaits, with a calling only He can fulfill.   

The life lived by faith in Christ is one with eternal value. 

The will of God is unique to each individual life. God has created each of us specially unique in that there is not, nor will there ever be anyone like you.  He has also placed you here on earth in this time and generation in the country and ethnicity for His own desire.  Your impact in this world is nothing without Christ; it’s all about surrendering our will unto His.   (Excerpt from Anchored in the Cross  3/15/18)  

Hollow and temporal achievements in this world can never compare to the work of the Holy Spirit through the life of a surrendered believer.  Sadly, today’s church has lost the power, the peace, and the position before God.  They are ‘safe’ places for personal sin, without conviction and without a loving challenge to pursue God’s holiness.

From ancient days to this present moment, through broken yet indwelt believers, and through His living word, God desperately calls us.  Fellowship, salvation and eternal promises come forth only through this forgotten door…

door with snow pinterest

“…we can boldly enter heaven’s most holy place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus opened a new and life giving way…” (Hebrews 10:19-20)

Church agendas of ‘good works’, excellent music, special events –  campaigns against every social ill – can never reconcile us or anyone else to God.  Nothing at all in us can please or satisfy God.  In view of God’s holiness the Apostle Paul declared, “In me dwells no good thing.”    From this revelation opens the life giving truth:  The blood of Christ alone brings new life.  He restores us to God, and indwells our hearts.  (Read what God did while we were sinners…  in Romans 5) 

Our flesh and soul often suffer regret, remorse, and self condemnation leading to inconsolable emotional suffering.  But “godly sorrow”, as described in II Corinthians 7:9-11, is a blessed drawing of the Holy Spirit leading to true repentance.  There, at the foot of the cross, the door opens to the power of the cross:  forgiveness of sin and deliverance from the power of sin.

New power, through the life of Christ within us, new position – the right standing before His throne, and new peace, through Christ “which surpasses all understanding”…..God awaits us.  And Jesus declares,

“…I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”   

door with snow pinterest

 

When No One Else is Watching…

Everyone knows that God chose a shepherd boy to slay a giant, but why a shepherd?

God chose David and displayed His glory through David’s life, making unconditional covenant promises,  “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”  (II Samuel 7:16)  But why David?

David did not ‘score points’ with God by slaying Goliath or championing God’s honor in the face of scorners.  God was watching what David was doing when no one else was watching.  

Most of us know that David was the youngest son of seven and given the lowly job of tending sheep out in the fields.  We’re familiar with his bravery, fighting lions and bears who attack the lambs.  Who doesn’t want that courage and strength?  I really believe though, that God’s eye was on much more…

David was outstanding in a job that nobody wanted.  A shepherd extraordinaire who:

  • never bragged or broadcasted his exploits.  No one in his family seemed to highly regard David – he was initially excluded when his brothers were presented to Samuel.  In fact, his father Jesse could say nothing about David except, “he is tending the sheep”.  David’s fierce courage only became known when he sought to convince King Saul that he could slay Goliath.
  • risked his life with no apparent motive for reward or acknowledgement or even possibility of promotion!  No sheep would celebrate when rescued, neither would David receive an award, trophy, or bonus.
  • worshiped God in the dark and lonely places, praising and exalting without audience or witness except God alone.   Although gifted, David did not perform, he worshiped.

I believe there are such ‘young Davids’ in the Body of Christ who may risk their lives as a servant extraordinaire for their Father.  They may also risk reputation, position, and livelihood and find themselves in lowly places but it doesn’t matter.  They have a task at hand and will excel even when no promotion is possible, no one acknowledges or esteems them and in fact, no one is even watching.   And out in that field they will worship, without choir, without musicians and without special effects.  

Perhaps we won’t meet these brethren until we get to heaven and even then they may be far closer to God’s throne!  There we may find caretakers to the infirm, single parents, elderly believers, disabled brethren…and some whose only ministry was to pray – and giants fell because of them!

Most everyone imagines being a hero, catching the applause, and receiving an award.  Only the Lord though, can change hearts to be like this David’s – fixed to excel at whatever task the Father entrusts,  a heart that worships the Lord with exuberance, just because He’s with us and worthy to be praised.  

God bestows gifts and talents to us all, perhaps they come forth and bear fruit through faithfulness in those lonely fields.  But this communion with God prepares us…when the giant looms overhead, when the enemy encroaches, when crisis arises we’ll know as David did: ‘victory is mine’!

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”

 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep….”  

What a resume!  What God is fashioning and refining in us may be unseen to the whole world but He gives life to the given gifts within us…and He will be exalted through them, even if no one else is watching.  

Inviting Jesus Makes the Difference

But I am going to the Mets game at Citi Field on Saturday. Be it corny or weird, I am inviting Jesus to go with me, not just to be with me but as a guest that I might honor.

That excerpt came from my post before the game, Jesus on the Guest List, 8/3/17.

There may well be a difference between asking the Lord to be with you and inviting the Lord to be your honored guest.  “Be with me Lord” usually initiates a prayer for favor, help, courage, provision or resources.  “Come with me, Lord, let me honor You as my guest”  creates a different priority of honoring Jesus.

I prayed before going to the game, asking the Lord to open my eyes to any encounter where I might honor Him and touch others for Him.  I imagined bumping into someone who needed the Lord and sharing the Gospel.  And oddly, I added, “show us what to do with the money we’ve saved.”

Once we reached Citi Field we joined the pregame worship outside the stadium.  As families ‘tail-gated’ and played catch, the Times Square Church band played songs of praise.  “Here Lord I will honor You by praising Your name for all to hear.  May You be high and exalted!” 

During this time I happened to stand near a Filipino family, a young couple with small children.  Unlike everyone else, they did not wear Mets T-shirts, Faith Day shirts, or any other baseball day attire.  The entire family wore bright yellow T-shirts with  #CareforCandize; when I asked, the mother shared about their six year old niece suffering  from cancer in the Philippines, lacking affordable health care.  While the band played on and everyone sang praises, this woman held her toddler and shared the story of Candize.  While I knew the grief of watching a loved one suffer and die, I did not know the great burden of unreachable medical help.

“Are you raising donations to help?” I asked and just as she shared the fund my husband called out, “C’mon, it’s time to go get our seats!”

With all the distractions of crowds, cheers, and junk food, I could not forget the family with the bright yellow shirts.  They came to honor God yet their suffering loved one, so far away, could not be forgotten.

The Mets are not having a good season and this game reflected it. They lost.

The great victory through, took place after the game where stands and platforms were immediately erected and a worship service commenced.  Jesus was the honored guest, as songs of thanksgiving and worship filled the stadium and the jumbo-trons.  Christ loving Mets players testified of their faith and walk with the Lord before Pastor Carter Conlon preached a message of salvation and hope.  Many attendees came to Christ and received salvation and the promise of eternal life.

faith day II

 

I believe the Lord was honored.    But what about…

Later that night I shared with my husband about Candize’s cancer, her pictures and family story.   When I asked, “What should we give?”  he responded with the same amount I had in my heart.

I knew my ‘Guest’ was honored when we ministered to Him…

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  
Matthew 25:40

 

Jesus on the Guest List

In Matthew 22:1-14 and Luke 14:15-24 Jesus powerfully describes, through parables, a wedding feast and banquet with elaborate preparations and personal invitations. The intended guests of these extravagant affairs dismiss the servant messengers and worse, abuse and kill them. While representing the tragic rejection of Jesus by the Jewish people, the Lord affirms the offer of salvation to the Gentiles.  The Kingdom of God is available to all who come by faith in Christ as Savior.

God is determined to fill His banquet hall. There is no mistaking His personal invitations, His outreach to the byways and country roads and neither is there uncertainty about the fate of those who reject Him.

However, the wedding feast in Cana recorded in the second chapter of John is an actual wedding, most noted for Jesus’ first miracle of changing water into wine. There is great significance in the wine and wedding and much is gained from studies therein. Yet an important point seems neglected in this passage. Unlike the Jesus’ portrayals of God’s invitation to man, here Jesus is the invited guest. The parents of the betrothed decided, let’s invite Jesus and His disciples to this wedding (John 2:1-2).

If it were only Jesus and Mary one might conclude that the invitations were familial but the varied backgrounds of the disciples lead us to conclude otherwise. Perhaps the anointing and authority of Jesus became evident and so, when planning a most important life event, Jesus and His disciples would be on the guest list. And undoubtedly they accepted.

It is paramount for us to accept God’s invitation of salvation and the promise of eternal life. But aren’t we greatly remiss if we neglect to personally invite Jesus into the everyday events of our life whether great or small?

Would we invite Jesus as guest to our wedding or how about on that date, would Jesus and His followers join you at that movie? Is there any rendezvous or event that we would not invite Jesus?

Being sovereign and omnipotent is not the same as being invited. We are right to consult the Lord with all our plans and submit to His will. But a consultant is not an honored guest.

I believe that if we decidedly make Jesus our guest of honor – even at church – we will see change. His divine presence may not be evident to all, perhaps only ‘servants’ will see His glory. The wedding party and guests all enjoyed the supernatural wine but God’s glory was revealed to the servants and disciples, “…and his disciples put their faith in Him.”

I am not planning a wedding or other significant event. But I am going to the Mets game at Citi Field on Saturday. Be it corny or weird, I am inviting Jesus to go with me, not just to be with me but as a guest that I might honor.

faith day

“Lord, I pray that we welcome and honor Your presence wherever we are. Give us real desire to ‘introduce You’ in every encounter with others and open up the way.  Soften our hearts to express Your love in word and deed and invite You, “the Truth” into every conversation. As the world never cowers to present an honored guest, let us present You, our King, with joy and reverence. I pray for Faith Day Lord, that You may be invited and honored by many. Let Your glory be revealed and give birth to redemption and new life. As You are invited, King Jesus, I pray that Your wedding banquet greatly increase!”

Who is God Looking For Now?

“Too bad you missed that prayer meeting – it was so exciting!

I always get a puzzled look from others when I share about the Times Square Church Worldwide prayer meeting.  Prayer meeting? Exciting? The large gathering of multicultural believers, the online fellowships around the world and most importantly, the presence of God make this prayer meeting so exciting.

So encouraging and stirring in fact, I am presenting my notes from Pastor Carter’s message preached during Tuesday’s prayer meeting, 6/20/17:

Thoughts on Faith and Prayer – Who is God Looking For Now?

We are living in a time of immense pain, perhaps unrivaled since the civil war…What type of people is God looking for now?  The kind of people who can push back this pain…In Biblical history when the enemy came in to destroy, God sought for a person or people who would stand in the public place and declare who He is.

Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world…”

In the time of Judges…people rose up but then fell to laziness, complacency, fell into darkness…God raised up a voice – Gideon.  He didn’t believe or see that he was a ‘mighty man of resources’ because he looked to himself, not the power of God that could  be his…we are like that – not knowing the strength we have in God…when God sends you to do something, His word is all you need to get it done – whatever He’s spoken to your heart…

You don’t need a diploma, resume, credentials…just belief in what God will do!

God sent Gideon to be a light on a hill – and God will give us His torch, smash the jars and cause our light to shine.  All we are to do is declare the victory that is in God, not us!  They made a public declaration of who God is and how our victory is in Him…God brought confusion upon the enemies and they turned on themselves…He used a people whose hearts wanted to honor Him…

What does God need from people today?  What kind of people is He looking for??

Gideon mustered a large army…~ 32,000…God said “reduce it”…first, tell all the fearful to GO HOME.  Twenty thousand men went home while 10,000 remained.  Fear says, “God is not able.”  God said, ‘those who are afraid to go public – send them home.  They are not a light on a hill’.  

The worst thing that God can ever tell us:  “I have a battle to win – go home!”

That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with fear…we are not called to an absence of fear but to overcome fear.

God continued to decrease Gideon’s army…took them by the water…water always represents the Holy Spirit.  Then sent them to a hill – He wanted a people who would venture out, willing to go public.  And He looks today for a people to speak on His behalf to the addicted, the afflicted, the marginalized, radicalized, the broken…This is where the victory is…The devil has done all he can to silence the church.  By God’s grace we’re going to say what God gives us to say…

We are the light that God has set upon this present hill…we must proclaim, ‘It is the power of God that you need in your life – the power of God will heal your home…the power of God to break your addictions…to give you a sound mind…it is the power of God that brings clarity, a future for your children…It is the power of God alone alone that brings healing to a nation…brings unity to every race, every culture, every people…

The church will rise and be counted…like Gideon’s tiny army against a huge army…we must stand and declare to a lost generation that there IS salvation, there IS a Savior, there is a heaven and a hell…and a bridge called ‘the cross’ between the two… 

The church is going to rediscover her identity in these last days, by the grace of Almighty God!

I am willing to stand and be counted among the ‘foolish’…oh, to the Midianites it must have looked like an insane battle plan…300 people against 135,000…what a site! You had to know God was in that!…

And I know that God is with us when we choose to openly declare His name and talk about His victory…with the compassion of God in the center of our being, we call the lost from every place to His wonderful plan of free salvation and the promise of power to live a new life….

Who wants to go?  Who wants to go to the top of the hill?

Whether you are afflicted, addicted, filled with sorrow, whatever your circumstance – you too are invited to come to that hill called Calvary, invited to receive the strength of God, have your sins forgiven, receive divine purpose in your life…you too are called to hold up your torch and say, ‘follow me as I follow Christ! I know where victory is!  I know where love is, where healing is…it’s all at the cross of Christ!’

My prayer is, Pastor Carter declared,

“Wherever You call me to go, whatever You call me to do…may I have the privilge of being an ambassador of Your power…Let me not boast of myself but boast of You, Your cross Your victory…let me be a light in this dark generation…”  

 

Oh Lord, let that be the cry of my heart too!

What about you?

 

http://www.tscnyc.org/webcasts/tuesday-7pm/

or find the message later in sermon queue for Worldwide prayer, http://www.tscnyc.org

Better, join us in Times Square or online, Tuesdays 7pm….