Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few : )
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
Hear that! Jesus gave us His vision and it is an exciting and challenging one but to me the really exciting part is this…He also gave us His promises regarding His vision. Jesus prefaced the vision with the promise of power, and He ended the vision with the promise of His presence. So what I feel this Word is saying to me is if we have a God-given vision and you can tell if it is God-given if it embraces the vision of Jesus set forth in these scriptures…then it is no different for us. So as Jesus is always present in the ministries of the churches that embrace His vision, we also have the same promises.
He was saying, in effect, to all nations and to us not just I will be with you but I AM WITH YOU. His promise is that if we are doing His will, and if we are pursuing the vision He has for His church then we can count on this, We will never walk alone! He didn’t say that He would send an angel to be with us, even though we know that they encamp around us. He didn’t say that He would send another man or woman, though we do have the body of Christ. But Jesus said that if we will pursue the vision, He Himself would personally be with us.
No great move of God will go unchallenged. It won’t. So stand. Prepare yourself to stand and be prepared to stand. There will be attacks from the enemy as we pursue the vision, but Jesus is with us. There will scoffers and nay-sayers but Jesus is with us. There will be those that abandon the fight and that abandonment may feel at times personal, but Jesus is with us. There may be times when the resources don’t look adequate to meet the needs required by the vision, but Jesus is with us. There will be times when we want to throw in the towel but if you saw Jesus standing right there with you, would you? Could you? HE IS STANDING THERE!!!! HE IS…If I could scream it louder here I would…JESUS IS WITH US! He alone has the power that will give victory but we must stand with Him! He will help us but we must stand with Him and against the enemy. Those are His promises, not mine, so stand on them just like the old hymn that we used to sing by R. Kelso Carter- Standing on the Promises. I have put it below because I am just liking it a lot today.
Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
I’m standing on the promises of God.
JESUS CHRIST said: “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” or in another translation, “Pray all the time and don’t quit.” (Luke 18:1) and Paul said this: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17)
“How long are you going to continue this praying thing?” That is the question someone just asked me. Wow…how do I answer that? My life is very much a developing life of prayer. I take these verses literally and so I have purposed in my heart to try to figure how to live this life on earth while also living a life of prayer. To me ending my prayer life would kill the person that I am as much as someone killing me physically. I am not ashamed of my life of prayer but I really don’t discuss my daily schedule unless I am asked. Most don’t understand this life and many are frankly offended by it. The longer I pray and the more I pray the smaller my circle gets. Maybe some don’t understand my heart or maybe they don’t understand theirs. The flesh part of me would like nothing more than to be accepted and understood and liked by people. The part of me that was forgiven of so much and changed so radically and quickly by such a merciful God can never ignore nor do I want to ignore the debt paid for me. I feel nothing but absolute total love to the one that set me free. God changed me and showed me through His Word that I was to know Him in ways that I had never considered.
I asked for it all…this change. I said I would give Him whatever He wanted. He asked me into a life of prayer. Nothing has changed me more or continues to change and then sustain me than knowing my Lord the way that I do through prayer and the Word…they go hand in hand for me. It is glaring to me in these days as I watch and as I study, how little we all pray…even me. I am nowhere near the “without ceasing.” I have heard some try to explain and justify my actions as a calling. Was I “called” to this life? No. I may be assigned to certain ministries but I believe we are all to pray and so there is no waiting to be called for prayer any more than I would be called to something like obedience. Both are expected of me and demanded of me… but in the end I do it because I love God. I love Him. When I said whatever I did mean it. Love gives whatever is needed and to me it is so obvious that what God needs most is PRAYER PRAYER PRAYER.
There is this great saying: “Find out what God most wants done and do it!” Sounds simple.
You want to see the world evangelized? So does Jesus. In fact Luke 10:2 says: Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
I have heard sermons on that verse saying GO and I have to tell you most everything in me wants to GO. But I want my definition of go, my will. Jesus didn’t say go, He said PRAY. If you GO, only ONE of you will go. What will that do to a huge harvest? But if you PRAY, hundreds can go. PRAYER ENABLES GOD TO CALL AND EQUIP AND SEND WORKERS INTO HIS HARVEST FIELD. I have found myself saying… but God, I want to win souls in Africa! And God says, “Do you know their language?” I say no and He says, “Do you know their customs?” I say no and He says “You pray and I will send someone who already knows the language and the customs.” His Will be done…not mine. So I pray. Does that mean I don’t take care of a need in front of me? Witness to the person across the street? Go into the mission field of my own town? Get outside the prayer room? Absolutely not, but in addition to a life of prayer, not as a substitute for. You want to see the world evangelized? Prayer may be the greatest act of evangelism.
Why are the harvest fields unreaped? I believe it is not because we didn’t GO, but because we didn’t PRAY. I pray because God loves me; I pray because I love God. And you know what? When you think about it, I pray because God loves you. Oh, and I don’t intend to ever stop.
I have given a lot of thought over the years to Judas. Maybe because I am the daughter of a man who was also my pastor, who committed suicide. By doing so, my dad betrayed so many…yet mostly God. To me Judas is not just the person who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Out of the necessity of trying to figure my own life I have always sought to know him as more. Recently one morning I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me and showing me something new and really unexpected about this from these verses.
“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to that yourself!’ 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:3-5
Oddly enough, I had never considered that Judas felt such deep sorrow that he made an attempt to repent. The only problem was he repented to the wrong people, the religious crowd. I began to consider what would have happened if Judas instead of going out and killing himself had went to Jesus as He was dying on the cross and pursued forgiveness from Him. What would Jesus do? Would He have forgiven Him? Will God forgive anything and everything? These were all questions that were swirling in my mind. I do believe Jesus would have forgiven Judas if He was given the opportunity, but Judas could not forgive himself so he took matters into his own hands and killed himself.
I knew the Lord wanted to show me more; in a sense I felt Judas had something else to say to me. So I continued to pray over this and I also talked to friends about their perspective on Judas and within days someone walked up to me and handed me a book titled, The Gospel According To Judas by Ray S. Anderson. I did not even get past this first sentence in the prologue when I read what was to be only the first of what Judas was telling me.
“I saw it in the men’s restroom in a restaurant in San Francisco, printed in block letters with a blue felt tip pen across the top of the mirror:
JUDAS COME HOME – ALL IS FORGIVEN!”
When I read that phrase it was like someone stuck a red-hot sword into my heart. All the memories- but not of anything to do with my dad…these were memories from my own Judas moments that came into my mind. I remembered the feelings of having betrayed my God…the rejection, loneliness and the feeling of not having a place I could call home. I also began to think about all the many people I knew and know who have also betrayed or lost face in the church or suffered rejection or shame and eventually left.
Then I heard a whisper from heaven saying tell them…tell the Judas out there, “Come home all is forgiven, I love you.” That little phrase really broadened my revelation of the Father’s heart and love toward all of us. It makes me want to go to everyone I know that has run way for any reason, even as I did, and tell them “Come home, all is forgiven, the Father loves you.” This is what Judas was trying to tell me – how big the Father’s heart really is.
In the epilogue of the book Ray gives us a wonderful picture of the love and grace of the Lord.
“My choosing of you counts more than your betrayal of Me!” Through His grace I discovered that the calling of God by which we become children of the kingdom does not rest upon our faith alone, but upon His faithfulness toward us.”
Judas please come home, I know how you feel, but all is forgiven and the FATHER LOVES YOU!!!
Prayer notes (12/1/2009) God has stirred my heart this week to some new places. To press in and push hard in this last month of 2009 for the breakthrough that was proclaimed by our pastor at the beginning. Is this not the will of God? I believe it is and therefore this breakthrough is also a PROMISE of GOD as He said in His Word “anything we ask according to His will.”
1 John 5:14-15 says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
and Haggai 1:13-14 says,
‘”I am with you,” declares the LORD. So the LORD stirred up the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God,…’
So I’m asking tonight…
Lord! We love you. We declare our love for you! We pray tonight as a part of the body of Christ, along with You, Jesus! Stir us Lord! We want Your will, purposes and expectations fulfilled in us and through us; in this church and through this church. We pray with a living hope and confident expectation because we serve a Living God. We are going after Your honor and Your glory and are thankful for this opportunity as we humble ourselves in Your presence Lord.
We believe we will see a demonstration of the power of the resurrection manifested through our prayers tonight in a very real way– even this day. We declare NOW is Your time, Lord! Now is the time to build Your house. Now is the time for souls. We ask for souls Lord as Your Gospel is proclaimed this week by our man of God- through the Word; through song; through the Love of God flowing out of all of Your Body. Now is the time for Your Kingdom to advance and increase; for breakthrough. Now is the time for revival!