Our “Exile Moment” continued
1. Two weeks ago I talked about us being in some sort of exile – Our Exile Moment. Looking back on history, I spoke about the Israelites and the Exilic period – and Babylonian capture under King Nebuchadnezzar. He moved the Israelites to Babylon – first in 597 BC; then in 587/586 BC, then in 582/581 BC. Consequently, most Jews were absorbed into the Babylonian culture. But the Remnant held fast to the covenant – the 10 commandments, especially the first 3, and the words of the 3 great prophets – and refused to be absorbed into the culture.
Communities are built by the grace and power of God. Communities are also built on loving, inspiring, and caring people who want to be disciples – people who want to live and give away the Gospel. Many prophecies given have come true.
Here is one about our mission that was given 50 years ago:
“You will reap a harvest you did not sow. You will sow, and in years to come will see the harvest. The work you have seen begun here will spread….I will bring many to you…and I will baptize them in my Holy Spirit. I will raise up spiritual sons and daughters for my work. I will send people to you from all across the nation to receive a message they will take back [with them]….”
Felicia and I lived this. We have seen God raise up communities all across the world – 15,000 people in Sword of the Spirit and People of Praise plus millions touched by the work of covenant communities – including The Word Among Us, God’s Word Today, New Covenant magazine, hundreds of books, conferences, and all kinds of service to the churches – 10,000 priests.
Here is another message that was given about 10 years ago:
A time of darkness is coming on the world, but a time of glory is coming for my church, a time of glory is coming for my people. I will pour out on you all the gifts of my Spirit. I will prepare you for spiritual combat; I will prepare you for a time of evangelism that the world has never seen.
And, today, we have all seen the first part of this to be true in many forms, not just COVID. But, the second part will also come true.
2. With far less personal contact with each other it’s more difficult to stay focused on our way of life. This is precisely what happened to the Israelites. This is why so many lost their way. But, the remnant came home to Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple. The Prophets Haggai and Zechariah and the leaders Ezra and Nehemiah – and many others – poured themselves out on a broken nation. Haggai said, “My house lies in ruin.” And the people were moved to re-build God’s house. Ezra began prayer meetings.
We, in the Spirit of Christ community, have been called to join together and be the Remnant of Christ. Certainly we are not the only remnant, but, nonetheless w are a remnant. Like those in exile we have to hold the ground God has given to us and we have to expand the ground.
As the prophetic word above said, “You will reap a harvest you did not sow. You will sow, and in years to come will see the harvest. The work you have seen begun here will spread.” And, “As this time of darkness comes, it will be a time of glory for you. I will pour out my gifts on you. I will prepare you for a time of great evangelism.”
As of today, 10 million people in the US and 50 million in world have been infected,
238,000 died; 1.25 in world – that death rate was when 60,000 affected people per day – now it is over 100,000 COVID cases per day. So, the death rate will proportionately increase. These are dark numbers.
However, we received some good news today. Pfizer has a vaccine for COVID that is 90% effective. Pfizer stock up 8% today.
I believe this is a grace-filled time for us – a time to be the Ezra’s and the Haggai’s of our day. It’s a time to be a light to others – and tell them – by word or witness – that Jesus matters.
3. So, how can we be the Remnant of Jacksonville?
A. Let’s try our best to make time for Jesus each day
By setting aside time to worship & worship as a family if you can
By repenting for your sins and reading the Word every day
By coming to morning prayer if you can
By coming to PM with “expectation” – that God will bless us
By coming prepared – with Words of Knowledge, Prophecy, or words of encouragement and with personal witnessing
- Let’s make it a point to increase our love for others
By Words of inspiration – peace, inspiration, joy, encouragement – to others
By not saying any divisive or negative words to others
By doing acts of kindness to family, friends, and neighbors
By inviting other people to come to morning prayer
By gifts of money or supplies to those in need –
- Let’s make it a point to be like the remnant of Israel
Many Israelites fell into idolatry and worldly ways but the remnant remained faithful to God – even as others tried to undermine their way of life.
Like the remnant, each day, let’s wake up and say, I will hold the ground that God has shown me and given to me and to our community.
Let’s know that God is with us and he will never forget or abandon us. He is with us forever. Scripture says, “Do not fear, for I am with you for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).