“Thank you” to all of you who are persisting with humility while fasting during this
generation-shaping moment in time.
As we consider the various implications of our current crisis, including the nature and timing of it, one of the providential aspects of it is how it is occurring during the traditional weeks of Lent. This ought to serve as heightening the levels of meditation and reflection on our sins that called for the sacrifice that only Jesus the Christ could make and adequately be the “propitiation” or payment for (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2;17; I John 2:2, 4:10). While there is nothing on our part that we can do to add or detract from what Jesus accomplished in His death, burial and Resurrection, being intentional about listening for The Spirit’s leading, and aligning our hearts and minds with the will of God is perhaps the most fruitful and fulfilling discipline that we can do in any season or stage in our lives! And, especially in this season of providential refinement, as we press into The Lord, Who is Holy, for guidance and grace, we must be sure to continue to press on with a “broken spirit and contrite heart” in the face of this harbinger of a time that we are in.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.”
While we indeed believe “that God works all things together for good for those who love God, those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), and that the entry of The Resurrection (that I wrote of previously) came in The Word Who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), we must allow the work of repentance and lamentation to be complete in us as we wait on the Lord.
“Let us search out and
examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.”
Lamentations 3:40, 41
Therefore, let us each individually and all collectively seek The Lord as to what form and substance the repentance He is calling us to is to take place. Let us not neglect in this season to humble ourselves in repentance, not only for our personal contributions, but for the contributions of our families, The Body of Christ, our nation and the world to this predicament that has manifested in our generation. Not merely because of the viral pestilence that has impacted every dimension of our society, but the increased distance and decreased deference to God that has “gone viral” in our day.
Recall how recently
much of the nation lamented the death of a sports star. And, while his death
was indeed a tragedy and warranted sadness, it pales in comparison to the
tragic and widespread loss of righteousness in our dealings with God, His Word
and His Spirit. How much more ought we
to mourn and repent of our generational waywardness before God under so grievous
of consequences that no doubt come from human sin –
“lovers of (self), lovers of money,
boast(ing), proud, blasphem(ing), disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
unloving, unforgiving, slander(ing), without self-control, brutal, despis(ing)
of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers
of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (II Timothy 3:2-5).
. What drives our lamentation in this hour? Are we lamenting conveniences? Toilet paper? Lines at the store? Availability of luxuries? Freedoms that we have squandered, as James says, “on (our) pleasures” (James 4:3)?!
“Is it not from the mouth of The Most High that woe and well-being proceed?
Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?”
Lamentations 3:3:38, 39
It is certainly appropriate to lament the loss of lives, but it is much more urgent that we be lamenting the root of that which robs us of life…the sin that distances us from Life Himself and from hearing and obeying His will that is established for our well-being and good.
To those who may think this harsh, unsympathetic or lacking compassion, consider again Biblical precedent. Were the prophets of old uncaring in calling for the nation of Israel’s repentance in times of national downturn or defeat? Certainly not! Their obedience to The Spirit and calling out the root of the problem was a clarion call of “one crying in the wilderness” (Isaiah 40:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23) that time and time again made the way for deliverance and salvation to come. Without hearing this call, a people and nations are left writhing in the consequences, looking for mere temporal solutions and groping for understanding about its origins, meaning and how to prevent it again by human means. And, lest anyone turn to quickly to Job, let us first consider that “all our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Certainly, by faith we are “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22), but have we been living that reality fully in our relationship to God, one another as a people or to the world which we are called to lead to Christ? I can speak for myself, I most certainly have not lived out His righteousness to the fullest.
Are we not facing a downturn and devastation that reaches around the globe? Even if the numerical devastation is lessened the global response is of Biblical proportions. Yet even as we face this stark reality, the glorious and hope-filled promises of God ring true again and again in Scripture. None more clear than in I Chronicles 7:14 and I John 1:9 (respectively).
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
These conditional statements give us strong consolation that, “if” we turn our hearts to God, He will forgive and heal our land. May we as the people of God, so persist humbly through this waiting “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in (our) hearts” (II Peter 1:19), and lead those who have never turned to God in Christ into everlasting deliverance in Him.
Pressing into God with you,
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said...
“O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our leaders, our congressmen, our judges, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the Your people, to the inhabitants of the cities and all The Unites States, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.
“O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our leaders, our congressmen, our judges, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, The United Sates has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing warnings of a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.
“As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore, the Lord has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!
“O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
In the Name of Your Son and our Savior
Jesus the Christ of the world
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.
- God our Deliverer and a call to worship Him as El Elyon, The Most High God – Exodus 15:1-19
- God our Refuge and Fortress and a call to the Secret Place of The Most High - Psalm 91
- God our Victory over the enemy and a call to remember the triumph of the Lord in our midst – Psalm 18
- God our Shield and a call to trusting The Word of God - Proverbs 30:5 (also Psalm 28:7; 84:11; Proverbs 2:7)
- God our Peace and Strength and a call to keep our minds on Him - Isaiah 26:3, 4; 40:28-31 (also Psalm 33:20-22 and Ephesians 2:14-18)
- God our Healer and a call to faith in the work of The Cross - Isaiah 53
- God our Defense and a call to confidence in battle - Isaiah 54:17 and Romans 8:31-39
- God our Comfort and a call to strength in Him - Isaiah 41:10
- God our Power, Love and Sound Mind and a call to NOT have a spirit of fear - II Timothy 1:7
- God our Safety and a call to run to His Name - Proverbs 18:10
- God our Healer and a call to humility in prayer - II Chronicles 7:14 and Exodus 15:26
- God our Author and Finisher and a call to look to Him – Hebrews 12:1, 2 (also Romans 8:28-30)
- God our Supply and a call to give God glory – Psalm 115 (also Matthew 6:33)
- God our Hope and a call to give hope – Romans 5:1-5; I Timothy 1:1 and I Peter 1:3-25 (also Psalm 33:22; II Thessalonians 2:16, 17; Titus 2:13-15)
As the time of fasting comes to an end for today, I just wanted to say “Thank you” to each of you who are joining with us in prayer, in agreement, in unity, in Christ, in seeking the Lord for His grace, guidance and glory in this time and in our day!
Jesus said plainly:
“‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’” (John 14:13, 14)
“‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.’” (15:16)
To that end, I offer this exhortation to guide our prayers. From the first Sunday that restrictions were in place, The Holy Spirit put on my heart The Resurrection. This happened in response to the simple question of “What do you want me to say?” as I was praying on that first Sunday of restrictions, March 15th. And so, I opened service on that day with “He is risen!” and led our congregation in the traditional response, “He is risen indeed.” As I said that morning, I write now, remember that Jesus said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life, He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25). Jesus later then says, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Seeing Jesus for the “world-overcoming, resurrection-power” Savior that He is is of vital importance, not only to our wellbeing, but our advance in that power and authority as children of God as we serve on behalf of all that we are called to steward – our families, our churches, our communities, our nation, the nations and our generations!
Thus, while the President has informally set Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Day as a goal for bringing America, and specifically the economy, back to life, I believe The Spirit is saying, “Resurrection is NOW.” And, we ought to have faith and pray accordingly, not of presumption, but in humble trust that, as Jesus appeared to be too late for Lazarus then and was not, He will no less be right on time for His resurrection power and compassion to be in full and glorious display! Hallelujah!
So, Believe with me, pray with me, and as The Body of Christ in the world as He was in the world, let’s “call forth” to life and vitality our communities, our country and the world from the tomb of death. In the mighty Name of our resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of The Living God!