As I was praying last week and in worship at Church I had a picture of a bride. I first saw a picture of a lion and knew that this was Jesus – the lion of Judah. The Lion was looking at something and when I followed his gaze, I saw that He was looking at a bride.
The picture shocked me. Although the bride was dressed in a beautiful white dress and veil -the dress was truly beautiful – spotless and pure bright white, the bride herself looked grey and gaunt, withered and frail. Her beauty had faded and she had no vitality or joy. Her skin was stretched tautly over her bones and was grey and papery. She looked weary as if she had no strength in her from lack of food. She reminded me of a living corpse. It was a terrible sight. The bride was not old which accounted for her appearance. She was young.
I thought is this a picture of the church at the moment- the body of Christ as a whole in the world? Is this what Jesus sees when He looks at us? That the body has lost its vitality, its beauty and is famished and without strength. I was encouraged that the bride’s dress was pure and white. Jesus’ blood truly cleanses us from all sin and purifies us. It reminded me that Jesus is coming back for a spotless bride, but I believe He also wants to come back for a radiant, beautiful and strong bride who is full of His life, joy, power and strength and who radiates His glory and goodness in the world.
I pray that if this picture is correct that the Holy Spirit will reveal it and show us our true condition. That our hearts will be convicted of our lack of His life working in and through us. That we will acknowledge and repent over our condition and turn again to the living hope which is in Christ Jesus by the power of His Holy Spirit to be restored and refreshed. We will realise our desperation and need of Jesus and that without Him there is no power for living. He alone is the bread of life and the living water. John 7 v37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink, he who believes in me as the scriptures say out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”. John 6: 48 Jesus said “I am the bread of life”. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and His words are life to us. The bible is food for our soul.
Jesus is in the business of restoration. The Lord reminded me of the picture of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 later in the same day and God’s question to Ezekiel – can these dry bones live? In my picture – Can the bride’s strength, joy, life, beauty and power be restored? In faith I believe that the answer is Yes and I say Yes to God. As Ezekiel prophesied to the dry bones – we say to the Church – hear the word of the Lord. “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live” V5 “I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live” v13.
Isaiah 40 v 29 says “He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might, He increases strength”. V31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”. I believe God wants to restore our strength for these days ahead so that we will not grow weary in doing good but will have the strength to continue in the face of adversity and persecution and persevere. We are called to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. May our vitality be restored. May we be filled with the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God.
Over recent weeks God keeps bringing these verses from Isaiah 55 back to mind. v1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”
Many years ago our Pastor had a vision in which he felt God say the following to him.
” I am going to restore the appetite of the church for the manifest power and presence of God. A spiritual famine has touched your land. It’s not the result of the lack of or withdrawal of God’s presence and power but it’s a famine of the appetite of God’s people.
Then I looked and saw two groups of people. The first group looked thin and drawn and slightly withered, they were frail and looked prematurely old. God said to me, these people are not the result of an imposed famine. Their condition is the result of a famine in their appetites for the presence and power of God. They have withdrawn in their faith, belief and expectation of God. As a result their appetites have been suppressed, reduced and their health is at risk.
Then I looked and saw another group of people, they were overweight, large people. I said to myself, they must have an appetite Lord. And I felt the Lord say to me “they are also part of a famine. They have just filled their lives with something other than the manifest power and presence of God. They have substituted their appetite for God for other things, as a result they too have suppressed their appetites. I was reminded of this scripture. Isaiah 55 v 1-2. Ho everyone who thirsts come to the waters and you who have no money come buy and eat, come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is good and delight yourself in abundance. “
I pray that God will restore our appetite during these days so that we may hunger and thirst for righteousness and will overflow the “goodness of God in the land of the living”.
Last week we felt led by the Holy Spirit to cry out and call back from the north, south, east & west in this nation, those who had once walked with the Lord. Those people who had previously given their lives to the Lord but were no longer serving him. We prayed for healing, forgiveness and restoration particularly for those who may have been hurt in church life, become ensnared by sin, who were discouraged, frustrated or had lost their first love. Those who had lost their way and given up. Those whose places had been taken by others – that they would be restored. Jesus wants them back and this is the time for them to take up their place again. We felt the trumpet was being sounded up and down the nation to draw them back to the battle field and to take up their place in Christ’s army of believers.
There is an old song which says “Sound the battle cry! See! the foe is nigh; Raise the standard high; for the Lord; Gird your armour on, Stand firm every one; Rest your cause upon His Holy word. Rouse, then soldiers, rally round the banner! Ready, Steady, pass the word along; onward, forward, shout aloud Hosanna! Christ is captain of the mighty throng.” The cry has gone out for the prodigals to return and we believe the Holy Spirit is drawing them back. The Word says that great strength will be given to those who turn back the enemy from the gate. Our enemy Satan wants this nation and at this moment he wants to cause fear and disruption. We must take up our place, pray and stand against him in faith. To stand for righteousness and truth. The battle belongs to the Lord – praise God.
The bible reading which God gave us as we prayed was from Isaiah 49 v 8-12 “Thus says the Lord. “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you. I will preserve you and give you as a covenant to the people. To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages, That you may say to the prisoners, “Go forth” – To those you are in darkness “Show yourselves”. They shall feed along the roads and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights, They shall neither hunger nor thirst, Neither heat nor sun shall strike them, for He who has mercy on them will lead them, Even by the springs of water He will guide them, I will make each of My mountains a road, and My highway shall be elevated. Surely these shall come from afar, Look! Those from the north and the west and these from the land of Sinim”. Isaiah 55 6 & 7 “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”