The Lord has paid a great price, an infinite price, in order to set the stage for Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the relationship that God can thereby have with us is beyond description. Jesus laid everything down through his incarnation, ministry, and crucifixion so that He could take up residence in our hearts. The love of God demonstrated at the cross is so profound that it can immediately overcome any amount of lies from the enemy. He has prepared it all for us. He has carried the burden. He has won the victory. He will give us the power to prevail. He will equip us for our callings. He will give us the grace to forgive. He will send us forth into this generation. He paid the ultimate price for the joy that was set before Him. You are that joy. Go forth and declare this incomparably wonderful news to those who are desperately adrift. Arise!
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Bible recounts a list of those individuals and families who rose up to rebuild after the captivity. They were motivated by the Lord ans responded to His call. Now is the time for us to be called the repairers of the breach in this generation. A harvest is due for the glory of the name of Jesus and the advancement of His kingdom. God thank you that we can know that you are with us. You will never leave us or forsake us! Give us the strength in this generation to rebuild the testimony of the Lord in our own lives, nor through our own ability but through faith in your power. Give us the grace to respond and raise up your people. Let us rise and rebuild!
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:
All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.
Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.
This year we need a newness of vision in order to walk by faith and not by sight. There is a massive blindness in our society to the things of God. Tragically, this blindness even exists in the church. While we will never be able to see everything with perfect clarity on this side of eternity, we can and must see Jesus lifted up in this generation. The lies of the enemy must be destroyed, and only the everlasting light of God can break the darkness that has enveloped so many in our world. It is time for each and every one of us to take heart, look to the Lord, and allow Him to anoint our eyes. Then we will see Jesus as worthy in every circumstance. Lord open the eyes of your people for the harvest you deserve in this generation!
Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”
Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”
The Holy Spirit will intercede for us when we don’t know what we should pray for. We cannot allow our perceived inadequacy limit us from seeking the freedom that only God can provide. Jesus doesn’t require us to be polished, perfected, or poised in order to approach His throne. He will provide the Holy Spirit to lead us. He is all sufficient. He is no respecter of persons. He is the King of Kings. He rules and reigns. He sets the captives free. He chases us to the ends of the earth. Nothing can separate us from His love. If you are groaning today cry out to heaven! It’s time for us to respond to the Holy Spirit. This generation will waste away without the Lord if we don’t kneel in prayer and stand in obedience. Glory to God!
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Regardless of our views of the nature of the Christmas holiday, it is always appropriate for us to remember the birth of Jesus and what the incarnation means for us today. Jesus is no longer in the manger. He was born a baby with all of the weaknesses and dependency that comes along with that status. He is now ruling and reigning at the right hand of God the Father. Yes, brothers and sisters this is truly good tidings of great joy! Let us abandon the worldly trappings of this season and press instead in towards the Lord who loves us with an unparalleled tenderness and passion. All can come to this faith regardless of where you are. Will you cry out to Jesus and let Him change you during this season? When surrender is accomplished, the results will last for all eternity!
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
The birth of Jesus is Luke 2 carries in it a demonstration of the failure of religion. There was none who would answer the knock at the inn and give up their spot to Mary and Joseph. An unprecedented wonder was about to be performed, and the people of God were unwilling to give of themselves. When we look at ourselves and our modern institutional religion, how many wonders have we missed because of our attitude? What if they had opened the door? Will we do so in our generation? Now is the time to call out to God, to repent, and the rededicate our selves, our families, our communities, and our nation to the Lord. There is a cry in the hearts of the people, and doors are opening. Pastor Carter Conlon has been invited to lead a meeting on the 400th anniversary of the landing on Plymouth Rock to press in to God, to call upon the name of Jesus, and to pray for wonders in this generation. Let your faith be stirred. Let 2020 be a year of wonders!
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
How hungry are we to know God and to see victory? We must understand that our pride creates a blindness that we have to actively seek out freedom from. Pride is not something that we can search our own hearts for, because we typically won’t be able to identify our own lack of humility. The Holy Spirit must do this work of breaking the strongholds in our lives. Are you burdened by the wrong decisions and the failures we have experienced? The Lord can and will transform even these into precious, living water. When the enemy presents our failures to us after we have repented, let it remind us of the victory of Jesus and the faithfulness of God. This freedom is real. It is not a freedom from the fiery darts of the enemy. It is a stalwart shield of faith against them.
Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim. But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers.
Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them. This we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.” And the rulers said to them, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had promised them.”