The Path Towards Totality

Today’s solar eclipse is but the beginning of a series of upcoming celestial events that have some saying it’s the end of the world, the beginning of the tribulation, or an indication that the “rapture” is about to happen. Could be, I don’t know. But what I do know is that we are most definitely on the path towards totality-Jesus is going to totally dominate.

Regardless of how men claim total and absolute power, the day is drawing near when Christ shall appear and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. Although the rulers of this world set themselves and take counsel together saying, “We will not submit to God nor allow him to rule over us.” The Father has promised the Son, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage and the ends of the earth your possession.” And he shall rule them in totality!

We live our lives like there is no tomorrow, thinking only of how we can please ourselves. We have become so deluded that we deny even the simplest of truths. But the time is drawning near when the totality of God’s revelation of Jesus Christ shall be made known from one end of creation to the other. And on that day, when the total and absolute glory of God is revealed there will be truth and justice. Not the redefined powerless notions that we have made them to be, but the righteousness of God in totality.

While today is still called today, may we give to Jesus all that we are even as he has given us himself. Humbled, torn apart, and poured out upon the cross on a day in which the sun was also darkened, and God assumed the brokenness of his creation in totality.

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Israel, Egypt & The American Church

For years my heart has become increasingly burdened for the American church. I have sought the Lord, prayed and wept as I have examined my own life and the state of things in “Christian” America. I was reading Isaiah 30 this morning, and though this word was originally spoken to Israel during a time when they were looking to Egypt for deliverance from their oppressors, I truly believe it is an applicable word for the American Church today.

It is my humble and sincere prayer that God’s Spirit will speak to you as you read the following words:

“’What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,’ says the Lord. You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade. But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced. For though his power extends to Zoan and his officials have arrived in Hanes, all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you…

Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witnessthat these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions.

They tell the seers, ‘Stop seeing visions!’ They tell the prophets, ‘Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your Holy One of Israel.’

This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: ‘Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies,calamity will come upon you suddenly— like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapseand come crashing down. You will be smashed like a piece of pottery— shattered so completely that there won’t be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.’

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.’

You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!One of them will chase a thousand of you. Five of them will make all of you flee. You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

“O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.

Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images.You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, ‘Good riddance!’”

The Threshing Floor

We come now to the threshing floor, to the One whose winnowing fork is in his hand. The wind of the Spirit blows upon us, separating the wheat from the chaff.

We have sought fame and acceptance, hiding our fears behind words like: grace, mercy and tolerance. We have made idols out of denominations, doctrines and tradition. Idols without mouths and no word of the Lord upon their lips. Without hands, lest we be shaken from our slumber. Without feet, lest we be moved away from our apathy. The word of the Lord has suffered in the hands of idolatrous children who merely rise up to play, and lay down to rest.

We come now to the threshing floor, to the One whose winnowing fork is in his hand. The wind of the Spirit blows upon us, separating the wheat from the chaff.

We have planted vineyards of our own design and have become poisoned by the grapes of our own desires. “New wine, new wine.” the Spirit cries. But we harden our hearts against his voice, for we are drunk with our own beauty and our own glory. The holy vine has been strangled by the twisting vine of the world, and we resist the pruning shears of the Husbandman who would set us free.

We come now to the threshing floor, to the One whose winnowing fork is in his hand. The wind of the Spirit blows upon us, separating the wheat from the chaff.

We speak of unity and love, but view each other with suspicion. There is one bread from which we all partake and one cup of blessing from which we all drink. But we lay sick and dying for we have sinned against the Body. True communion has been sacrificed on the altar of carnal allegiances.

So now we come to the threshing floor, to the One whose winnowing fork is in his hand. As Ruth came to Boaz, we come softly and lay at your feet. You are our Redeemer. Humbly we pray that the wind of your Spirit would blow upon us, removing from our midst those things which grieve your heart. We would be wed to only you.

Return

“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?
    How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah
    or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me,
    and my compassion overflows.” (Hosea 11:8)

 There s good news for those of us who know the Lord, but find ourselves struggling: Your God loves us! And he will not let us go. Yes, he is holy. Yes, his Spirit grieves over our sin. But he loves us, and longs to heal and comfort us if we will only return to him. He does not hate us, nor is he waiting for the chance to “get” us. Oh no, quite the contrary; he is waiting, even yearning to have compassion on us and restore us to himself.

 “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces;now he will heal us. He has injured us;
  now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us,
    so that we may live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
    Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
    or the coming of rains in early spring.” (Hosea 6: 1-3)

Although the Father does discipline his children, those whom he loves; it is for our good that he does so. It is his love that tears and breaks so that we might see our need and return to the One who waits from on high to have compassion upon us. As surely as the sun comes up in the morning, we can be certain of his kind intentions towards us in Christ.

 “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,for your sins have brought you down.Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
    Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
    so that we may offer you our praises.

The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
    my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.
I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven.
Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon.” (Hosea 14: 1, 2; 4-6)

We may have been faithless. But he is faithful. We may be dry and all but withered. But he will refresh us and cause us to blossom once again. His love for us knows no bounds. It is he that has saved us and called us by name. He has not forsaken us though we may have wandered from him. Come now; let our broken hearts drive us to him. Don’t run away in fear. There is One who has born our sin, and poured himself out that we might receive mercy and know the love of God. This is the One who lives that we also may live, free from the sin that has beset us. He offers forgiveness, healing and restoration.

 “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10: 12)

 

 

 

 

The Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast 1/21/2013 Guest Speaker Jonathan Cahn

I realize I’m probably a day late and a dollar short because most of you have probably seen this video; however, I wanted to pass it along in case some of you have missed it.

Jonathan Cahn delivers what I truly believe is a “word from the Lord” at the 2013 Inaugural Prayer Breakfast. There is no political bias represented in this video; both the left and the right will probably be equally offended. I pray you will watch and listen with all spiritual discernment.

Vessels not Vassals

Christian, do we really think that legislation is the cure for what ails the land? Do we really believe that we can extend love, grace, and mercy to a group of people that for all intents and purposes we are at war with? Do we really think that the kingdom of God is furthered by amendments and laws?  We are called to preach the gospel, not pass laws. Only the Spirit of God can change the hearts of men. We are called to be vessels of God’s spirit, not vassals of the world system.

Perhaps it is easier to take up arms, march out of classes and demonstrate than it is to get on our faces before God and repent of our own sins. Have we forgotten that the same verses of scripture used to condemn the homosexual also include unrighteousness, envy, murder, disobedient to parents, deceit, gossip, strife, malice, unloving, unmerciful, and without understanding in the same list of sins? When is the last time you as a Christian young person disobeyed your parents? Are you a gossip my dear brother? Are you arrogant? Do you lie to your family and friends? Are you envious? Let me ask you; are we to pass laws against these sins as well?

Maybe the answer to what ails the land is congruent with what ails the church. Perhaps we in the church should repent of murdering our babies, cheating on our wives, spending hours looking at porn on the internet, getting high, etc… Maybe then, after we return to the Lord with all our hearts allowing him to cleanse us and continuously fill us with his Spirit, our lives will be a living gospel transforming those around us. Could it be that what the world needs to see is a church arrayed in the beauty of holiness, a church consumed with love for her Lord, a church meting out agape instead of amendments?

Yes Christian, we are called to holiness. We do not condone sin or make excuses for it. But, that’s the conversation that should be happening within the church. Why are we surprised that the world is behaving immorally? They are without Christ, dead in their trespasses and sin, just like we were at one time. That’s what sinners do-sin. Do we honestly think we can legislate a new heart for them? Or, is that really our goal? Could it be that we are so in love with this world’s system, having confused the American Dream with the blessings of God, that we fear the nation’s sin will bring God’s judgment on the land , and we might lose all of our stuff? Spirit of God, search our hearts.

Let’s turn away from of our preoccupations with, “team Zimmerman,” “team Trayvon,” and our hatred for Dan Savage. Let’s come together in prayer and repentance, asking God to give us a hatred for the sin resident in our own lives. It is time for us to repent of our sin, turn away from our dead religion, quit “running to Egypt for help,” and wash our garments. Let us who are called by his name run to the cross, weep and pray between the porch and the altar, turn from our own wickedness, and return to the Lord in truth. For if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the wicked. Do I hate sin because I am in love with a holy God, or because I am in love with a self-righteous me? Yes friend, judgment is coming, and it begins with God’s house.