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In the Gap

We are just days away from another catastrophe, at least that’s what is projected. A hurricane has its sights on Florida or the east coast. I sit in my little home in a safe distance from the coast of North Carolina, but that didn’t matter for Hurricane Fran. I didn’t live here at the time, but heard of its destructive path. What will Irma hold for us? Part of North Carolina was under flood waters last year due to Hurricane Matthew so it could happen again. We just never know which way it will turn and what will be the destructive path.

I watched a video on YouTube yesterday afternoon from a prophet from India. His message was delivered in 2015. During a prophetic conference in Houston, the Lord gave him a message for the people of Houston that devastation would be coming by flood. The prophet reminded the audience that we are here for such a time as this. This is our time to stand in the gap just as Esther stood in the gap for her people.

Houston is known for floods so maybe it was brushed off as just another flood. I remember a time when I went to Houston in the midst of a tropical storm. I remember how deep the waters flooded the streets and the underground area beneath the large buildings. It doesn’t take much for streets to flood. So I can see the people who heard the message thinking we’ve survived thus far, it couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve already seen.

So from the message in 2015 to the hurricane that brought the devastation in 2017, the gap could have been filled to keep this prophetic word from coming to pass. Even as the hurricane was forming, people could have dropped to their knees and cried out to God to keep this from them. Maybe some did. But maybe it was too little, too late. Houston was not spared from devastation. Maybe God needed to send the warning. Maybe He is still sending a warning to us with this next storm.

The prophet said that devastation is to wake us up. It’s a shaking to drop us to our knees. Devastation always comes before destruction. God always warns us before He destroys. He sent the prophet Jonah to the city of Nineveh and gave them forty days to repent before the destruction would come. The people dropped to their knees and repented. God delayed the judgment for a couple more centuries because of their repented hearts.

The prophet also stated that he has seen the US divided in two. Politically, we are already there. Physically, could be an earthquake that divides the nation. However, he said we could be captured and this would divide America. North Korea, Iran, and Russia all have an agenda for America. All eyes are on North Korea, but it could come from any direction, if God allows it. The prophet said that with Trump as President, we have been given a grace period. If his tenure ends early, captivity will come early.

The message I received from the prophet was to stand in the gap and plead with God to keep these destructive things from coming to pass. The prophet made a comment that we are good to hear the word and just walk away. It might not really affect us so we let it go. Or we just don’t care or believe it could happen to us. I am just as guilty to hear these things and do nothing with it, but maybe write about it. Or pray half-heartedly.

Last week, Pastor James MacDonald spoke a word about Jesus’ return. He said that God’s justice is coming. Pastor Tony Evans had a series based on the churches in Revelation. Every church was told to repent. And every church was told to have ears to hear. We are not to get comfortable with the status quo. We are not to compromise on God’s principles. I know this won’t be popular, but we are not to tolerate sin – especially in the church. We need to repent, now more than ever.

On the Jewish calendar, we are in the month of Elul which is the month of preparation. From August 21 (the solar eclipse day) until the Day of Atonement on September 30 is the time of preparation – a time of repentance. Forty days. I think we are in a very significant time. Not one but two historic hurricanes in this one month – maybe even one more before the Day of Atonement. Wouldn’t that be significant? It’s time to get on our knees and cry out to God to keep this from coming to pass. This is our time.

Oh Lord, have mercy on us; please keep this hour of destruction from us. You are the Lord Almighty – Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. You speak and storms cease. You are the only One who can save us from this hour. Please forgive our apathy and our complacency. Please help the church be cleansed and made pure. Help us to see ourselves as you see us and let us repent of our sins. Oh Lord, keep Hurricane Irma from touching our shores, drive it out to sea by Your mighty hand. Lord, let Your will be done as You see fit for this time. Whatever we need to get us where You want us to be; let Your will be done. For this we ask in the mighty name of Jesus – our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief. Revelation 3:2-3 (NLT)

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Still the Message

Repent! For the Kingdom of God is near!” John the Baptist was given this message before the ministry of Jesus began. He was the one who called from the wilderness to bring about the change of heart for those who would hear and heed the word. Jesus had the same message. It might have been stated a bit differently. He spoke of forgiveness of sin to those who came for healing. The sick and hurting came in large groups for healing. But Jesus always looked to their hearts first to find their true sickness. He offered forgiveness and told those who came to Him “Go and sin no more!” The same message of repentance – turn away from your sins, and you will receive the Kingdom of God. Overcome that thing that holds you back. For the one who overcame, many promises were given. When Jesus taught the large crowds He ended His teachings with this phrase: “For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”

In Jesus’ time, the message was verbal. No one had ten copies of scrolls that they kept on their nightstand or coffee table to show those who entered their dwelling how “spiritual” they were. They went to the Temple to learn from the scholars. No one carried a scroll around to read while waiting for the next caravan to come around to take them to the mall to shop. It was all by the word of mouth that people were taught. So when Jesus said, “for those who have ears” He meant everyone that was listening to the sound of His voice. Pay attention – this is important to grasp the understanding you will need to enter the Kingdom. He said the way to the Kingdom is narrow and only a few would enter by the narrow gate.

I was listening to someone speak about the seven churches in Revelation on Sunday morning. I had a few thoughts that came to mind as they were speaking that I took note of and wrote them down. The first thought was: these letters were sent to churches – believers. I know it’s pretty obvious. Jesus wasn’t pointing out flaws or giving encouragement to non-believers. He had a message to give His followers. He had to get them back on track if there were going to fulfill His mission. Jesus gave every church a directive and a promise. Every church was called to repent of their deeds and for those who overcame their “issues” a promise was given. I have a red-letter Bible (meaning that the words that Jesus spoke are printed in red). Every word in this section of Revelation chapters two and three are in read letters. John wrote down what Jesus instructed to the seven churches. After Jesus gave the direction to each church, Jesus ended each letter “for those who have ears, let them hear.”

The message reminded me also when Peter, James and John went up the mountain with Jesus. Jesus was transfigured before them and they were overwhelmed with His glory. Peter being Peter started talking nonsense about building shelters for Moses and Elijah. God interrupted Peter telling them to listen to His Son (Matthew 17:5). Pay attention, boys! Jesus’ words were important to record. If they were important to write then they must be important to remember and obey. Listen! For the Kingdom of God is near.

Do we get that in this day and time? Are we so far removed from the message that we fail to hear the truth behind it? Would Jesus still give us this message today? The word today should still be repent for the kingdom of God is near. For believers today, the kingdom is already here – the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Even more today, we should pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. For those who have ears to hear: Pay attention! Repent! Set ourselves apart from the worldly pursuits and pursue holiness! This is not a message we like to hear. But we’re all called to do just that. Our lives matter here on earth to bring glory to Jesus. But it takes a pure heart and a willing spirit and a renewed mind. It’s still the same message today. Pay attention to what the Lord is saying today.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:19-20

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