The renewed church

On that day, the LORD’s branch will become beautiful and glorious. The earth’s fruit will be the pride and splendor of Israel’s survivors. Whoever remains in Zion and is left in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who is on the list of those living in Jerusalem. When the Lord washes the filth from Zion’s daughters, and cleanses Jerusalem’s bloodguilt from within it by means of a wind of judgment and a searing wind, then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the light of a blazing fire by night. Over all the glory there will be a canopy, which will be a booth by day for shade from the heat and a hiding place and shelter from a stormy downpour. -Isaiah 4:2-7 (CEB)

This passage was an encouragement to ancient Israel, for those who survived the calamities described in the previous chapter. Today, we have changes coming, shaking and quaking and rearranging. There will be great confusion in the world, but those who are walking closely with God will be comforted and find rest.

In the midst of chaos and change are Christ's followers, the people of the Messiah; and they will be fruitful. In the times ahead, Christians will truly be in Christ. Church attenders who have not been in Christ will get in Christ. Christian leaders who have not know God will get saved or stop pretending. The headship of Christ in his church will renewed.

God will cleanse all his people who walk closely with him in the days ahead. Holiness will not be seen as an option that many Christian say "no thanks" to, but walking with God and gathering with his people will naturally open doors to healing and cleansing and deliverance.

The glory of God is returning to the church. The people of God will be known again by the presence of God among them. Church will be known again as a gathering of people with God amongst them, rather that a place built by human hands, where men and women rule institutionally. God is coming back to church. Some reading this might say that since God is everywhere, He never stopped coming to church; but that's not what I am writing about. Yes, God is omnipresent and we cannot hide from God.

God's glory will return to his people. When God's glory appears, the agenda, the schedule, the talking stops. Church will suddenly be more like, "as it is in heaven". But since we are on earth, what is on earth must be affected by heaven and become as it is in heaven.

God's glory will become the enclosure of his people. Denominationalism will be de-emphasized in the future as saints seek each other out to gather anywhere at anytime under the glory of God in Christ.

The coming quaking

This is what the LORD of heavenly forces says: In just a little while, I will make the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land quake. I will make all the nations quake. The wealth of all the nations will come. I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of heavenly forces.
-Haggai 2:6-7

I believe that a shaking is coming. I believe God is going to shake the nations. I believe that it will change things. Some things and people will be shaken loose and other things and people will be shaken from their high places.

I believe that the wealth of the nations will come to the house of the Lord (the church), and I believe that God is going return His glory to His house (the church).

Originally, Haggai wrote this word about 500 years before Christ; that Messiah would come, he would physically enter the temple, his coming would quake and shake all the world, he would redeem the nations, and fill the temple with glory. It came to pass in Jesus.

But in the past 2000 years, it has happened over and over, as Christ's impact reverberates through the nations and the heavens and the earth. Things that are not in alignment with God and Christ shake and quake and come apart as God's kingdom invades.

God's movements are like quakes and shakes. Like in a shaking, we are quickly made aware that something different is happening. We wake up. We come to attention. "What is that?", we ask. We stop, look, and listen.

I believe our time for another wave, another move of God is coming soon. There with be quaking and shaking and re-arranging, as there always is when God moves. The wealth of the nations are Jesus' people who he will redeem with his precious blood. The wealth of the nations is also the money. God is going to shake out the money from places it should not be in.

God's glory will fill the house again too. God's house today is his people.

Be in the shelter of God's presence for protection

Living in the Most High’s shelter, camping in the Almighty’s shade, I say to the LORD, “You are my refuge, my stronghold! You are my God—the one I trust!”
You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, Say this: "God, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!"
Live under the protection of God Most High and stay in the shadow of God All-Powerful.

Because you’ve made the LORD my refuge, the Most High, your place of residence.
Yes, because God's your refuge, the High God your very own home.
The LORD Most High is your fortress. Run to him for safety.

God says, “Because you are devoted to me, I’ll rescue you. I’ll protect you because you know my name.
"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God, "I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me.
The Lord says, "If you love me and truly know who I am, I will rescue you and keep you safe.
-Psalm 91:1, 9, & 14 (CEB, MSG, CEV)

  • Now is the time to draw near to Him.
  • If you have already been walking with God, now is the time to walk closer.
  • It's always good to walk close to God, but in the days ahead, it will be essential for us.
  • Living with God, sitting with God, or dwelling with God is what we need to be doing.
  • Practicing the presence of God, as brother Lawrence called it.

Psalm 91 could have a note scrawled next to it: DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

You don't have to be a prophet or get a special prophetic word to know that disaster is coming, so get prepared. Some people live in earthquake country, some live in tornado alley, some live near a river that floods. Being prepared, for people who live in these places, is common sense and just a given. But many other disasters happen as well that are completely unexpected.

Following the sage counsel in Psalm 91 will help us in disaster.

Psalm 91

1 Living in the Most High’s shelter, camping in the Almighty’s[a] shade,

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my refuge, my stronghold!
You are my God—the one I trust!”

3 God will save you from the hunter’s trap and from deadly sickness.

4 God will protect you with his pinions; you’ll find refuge under his wings.
His faithfulness is a protective shield.

5 Don’t be afraid of terrors at night, arrows that fly in daylight,

6 or sickness that prowls in the dark, destruction that ravages at noontime.

7 Even if one thousand people fall dead next to you,
ten thousand right beside you— it won’t happen to you.

8 Just look with your eyes, and you will see the wicked punished.

9 Because you’ve made the LORD my refuge, the Most High, your place of residence—

10 no evil will happen to you; no disease will come close to your tent.

11 Because he will order his messengers to help you, to protect you wherever you go.

12 They will carry you with their own hands so you don’t bruise your foot on a stone.

13 You’ll march on top of lions and vipers; you’ll trample young lions
and serpents underfoot.

14 God says,[b]“Because you are devoted to me, I’ll rescue you.
I’ll protect you because you know my name.

15 Whenever you cry out to me, I’ll answer. I’ll be with you in troubling times.
I’ll save you and glorify you.

16 I’ll fill you full with old age. I’ll show you my salvation.”

Common English Bible (CEB)

  1. Psalm 91:1 Heb Shaddai
  2. Psalm 91:14 Heb lacks God says.

Fading glory

On that day, Jacob’s glory will dwindle; his sleek body will waste away. -Isaiah 17:4

There is a fading of glory that is occurring. Things that are not built on the rock are going to have problems when the flood comes. Old ways of success that involved cheating, unethical dealings, and fraud won't work any more for certain people. Alliances that believers have made that are ungodly will come to light; be exposed, cancelled; and rendered null and void. Those who continue in them will fade and become irrelevant to the kingdom of God, like the men who sewed up the curtains in the temple that were ripped when Christ rose from the grave.

Jacob's glory will dwindle, Jacob's glory will fade. I believe that the reason that the people in question are called Jacob, rather than Israel or Ephraim is that God is saying,
"you have gone back to your old self, before I changed you, and are building upon that old self, instead of the new person who encountered Me and began to learn My ways."
Because God loves his people, he disciplines them. God corrects his people. God re-delivers his people who become captured by the enemy.

Rude awakening precedes great awakening. There's no time like the present to get right with God, to get go of the things and ways that are not godly; that don't have Him in it. Better to humble one's self than have to be humbled. Repentance today keeps the darkness away.

In Christ, for Christ, and to Christ in 2012

Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
-CT Studd (1860-1931)

I got the idea that many of us, Christian people of faith, have built things or grown things or even birthed things in our lives that are not from God or were not conceived with God. We might be under an illusion or delusion that everything is from God, like things we were born with, or everything that comes our way. We might think any opportunity knocking is God. We might think that any choice we make to get into something or allow something into our lives has God in it. After all, God loves me and God is with me; so what I have and what I am into, God automatically approves of because God is full of love. No, this is not true, but is a delusion.

The truth is that we Christian people can be involved in all sorts of things that are not Christian or in-Christ or of-Christ, by-Christ, or from-Christ. God loves and blesses what his son does and what his children do in and for Christ.

I started out my thoughts on this by seeing this verse in Hosea: "I will also have no compassion on her children because they are children of prostitution", Hosea 2:4 (CEB). It has been understood that Hosea is a prophetic book, telling the story of a man whom God directs to marry a prostitute, have children with her, and care for her. This story is a living picture of God and Israel. In Christianity, Hosea has been also taught and preached as having principles that are applicable to all of God's children and things in it to learn about God's character.

In Hosea, we can learn that the context was a people of God who had given themselves over to idolatry. God shows that time and again, he would have mercy on his wayward people. Gomer, Hosea's wife, even conceived children through prostitution. Israel also conceived children, figuratively but actually; in it's prostitution with those other than God.

The Christian person or the person of faith can conceive things, give birth to things, raise things up like a father or mother, and watch them grow as they nurture them; and they might not be conceived in God or in Christ.

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last."

Life is short. Why not follow where God is leading, or grow what God has planted, or do what Christ is doing in 2012 and beyond?

Ask for the Ancient Paths in 2012

The LORD proclaims:
Stop at the crossroads and look around;
ask for the ancient paths.
Where is the good way?
Then walk in it and find a resting place for yourselves.
But you said, “We won’t go!”
-Jeremiah 6:16 (CEB)

The beginning of a new year is a good time make a course correction. If you knew that hard times were coming, wouldn't you want to get closer to God now? If you knew that calamity was coming, wouldn't you want to get closer to God today? When the day of disaster comes, personal disaster or national disaster, people will cry out to God and some might curse God. Wouldn't it be better to be connected to God as deeply as possible before the hard times come?

There's no time like now to choose to walk closer to God. A crossroads is an opportunity and a challenge. You have to go one way or the other. You are forced to choose and each choice has consequences. You are blessed to have a choice, but you have to take responsibility for choosing. We can't be passive and float. We can't say that God didn't give us an opportunity. Passivity is not an option.

We have to ask to be guided to the right path, the ancient paths. Perhaps the ancient paths do not come natural to us and we need guidance. God wants to guide us. "Ask", he says.

The word comes that says, "stop and ask", because we need to stop and ask. We might not make the right choice without stopping and asking. We need to slow down, dial down, and stop. Be quiet, ask, and listen.

Some people assume that to get, "back to the Bible", that that is the ancient paths. They might say we need to obey the law of Moses and obey all the laws in the New testament as well and that is walking on the ancient paths. Did God tell them that, or did they assume that because they are Bible-ians (people who worship the Bible).

The word here says to stop and ask. Don't assume. Was the world in chaos and then the law appeared and mankind on and off followed the law until Jesus came teaching more laws? No. From the beginning, God has been relational with humankind. It started out pure and then Adam and Eve fell (they sinned) and things changed, but God still took care of humans and sought to walk with them.

We each need to ask to be guided to the path that God prefers for us. Some people will say, "the ancient paths are the highway of holiness spoken of in Isaiah". Holiness is the result of walking with God. Holiness or legalism is not the path to God. We are not good (behaving) so that we can be loved and accepted into fellowship with God. But we fellowship with God through God's mercy and he helps us to behave (be good).

There is a path that people walked on before the law of Moses and that non-Jews who never heard of that law could walk on.

On the ancient paths God calls us to, there is rest. Jesus calls burnt-out religious people to come to him and walk with him and find rest for their souls (Matthew 11:28).

Stop and notice, there is a fork in the road. Look around (stop the tunnel vision). Ask: -for the ancient paths. Ask: -where is the good way? Then walk on it and find rest.

Whitewash The Tombs