Brothers and Sisters:
When Pam and I were raising our five kids, the coming of mid-August was always a happy occasion because all the kids were headed back to school. There was a funny question back then that parents would ask each other- “Are you a clapper or a cryer?” In other words, were you clapping your hands that the kids were leaving the house to go back to school, or did you love having them around 24/7, and now you will miss them so much? Well, I hate to admit it, but Pam and I were definitely “clappers”. (so were the kids by the way).
Here we are in mid-August 2020, and young families have had a rough go of it this year with school closings, restrictions or cancellations of activities, masks, social distancing, isolation from family, you name it. It doesn’t seem to be returning to the way it was any time soon. Even though dealing with the “new normal” has been a challenge, I have heard many reports from families that they are enjoying more time together and really getting to know each other better and deepen their love for one another during this time. A sort of “reformation” of how to “do” family has begun. Parents are less tempted to abdicate their responsibility and authority to an outside institution for education and faith formation of their children. The Lord I believe is using this time to pour forth graces and clarity about the importance of building a “Culture of the Holy Spirit” in our families amid a world that is spinning out of control. I am reminded of Joseph’s words in Genesis after his brothers threw him in a cistern, leaving him to die, but God raised him up as a means of salvation for his family:
“As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones."
Thus he reassured them and comforted them.” (Genesis 50:20-21, RSV-CE)
Please continue to pray daily for our young families in the Community that they would thrive and be a light to those that are in darkness and confusion- (also bring some food over and send some encouragement their way!) If we are honest, there is a strong temptation these days to focus less on the goodness of God, and more on the concern and anxiety created by the current political unrest and division in our nation. Satan indeed appears to be “prowling like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour”. The “false prophets” of secular culture and media are oracles of deception in a way reminiscent of the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings during Elijah’s time. Ahab, the King of Israel had abdicated his authority to his Queen Jezebel who personified the qualities of witchcraft: intimidation, manipulation and control. The false religion that was allowed to come into Israel and deceive it, because of the weak leadership of Ahab, would have continued unless the prophet Elijah arrived on the scene, sent by the Lord to confront the deception. In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah poses the question to the nation of Israel-“ How long will you continue limping between two different opinions? In other words, snap out of it and stop being deceived! Jezebel and her prophets were able to merge a false religion with political power and deceive a nation. The enemies of our nation are indeed like a counterfeit religion, requiring a “conversion” of sorts to kneel and confess allegiance to their intimidation, manipulation, and control. Elijah was the “remnant” of God’s true prophets, and the Lord used him to wake up the nation of Israel and break the deception by displaying the power of God by fire falling from Heaven and consuming his sacrifice. But even after all he had seen firsthand of the power of God, Elijah had fear and ran from the threats of Jezebel. When Elijah was hiding in a cave, the Lord asked him-“What are you doing here?” Elijah then had a great complaint against the faithless nation that rejected the Lord. The Lord then asked Elijah to stand as He passed by. The Lord was not in the great wind or the earthquake, or the fire, but in the low “whisper.” Again the Lord asked him, “What are you doing here?” Elijah had a job to do, and the Lord sent him back to deal with the enemies of Israel.
Brothers and Sisters, the Lord is asking each of us individually and as a community, “What are you doing here?” Are we hiding, waiting for the Lord to do some mighty work in a great wind or an earthquake or a fire? We have a job to do, City of the Lord, and the Lord isn’t going to do it without us, Amen? Yes, the Lord is in the “whisper” to His remnant people, but his power is manifested through us to bring freedom and clarity and a witness to the “Culture of the Holy Spirit” to our spheres of influence. Our life together should be strengthening us and supporting us in our resolve to impact the church and the nation for the Kingdom. Does it? If not, the Lord asks, “What are you doing here?” Brothers and sisters, let us all be more intentional in laying down our lives for one another and working toward unity and true covenant love in our Community. This will give us the strength to offer the sacrifices that the Lord will be asking from us in the coming days.
I pray that the Lord will give City of the Lord the Spirit of Elijah; a special anointing of the Holy Spirit for a time such as this; that we will be instruments of the Lord to break the deception off the minds and hearts of all people, particularly of Christians in our country, and that He will use His remnant people to turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and Sons to their fathers in the Spirit of Elijah.
Blessings, JeffBACK TO LIST