The words of Isaiah 55 remind us of God’s invitation to abundant life. Jesus issues this invitation to all – regardless of race, gender, creed or colour – everyone is welcome. Jesus calls people to come to Him – everyone who is weary, thirsty or hungry – only He can satisfy and give us true life in all its fullness and the promise of eternal life. I attended Encounter at my friend’s church last night. Their mission statement is simple -to help people find Jesus and follow Him. An invitation to church or a special service can be one way to help someone you know discover Jesus as Saviour for themselves. It is providing an opportunity for someone to meet and see Jesus – perhaps for the first ever time. Christmas is just around the corner and we have the opportunity to invite people to a variety of events. Jesus told a parable about people who were invited to a wedding feast but refused to come – they made lots of different excuses. People will always have the choice whether to accept the invitation or not – that is up to them, but we should not give up or be discouraged from issuing the invite because it gets refused – Jesus isn’t. He told the disciples to shake the dust from their feet and move on when their message was not welcomed at places. Perhaps we need to shake off some past disappointments and defeatist mind sets and start sending out those invitations. I know I do. There will come a time when it will be too late to issue the invites but we can encourage others to “seek Him while He can be found”. Isaiah 55 v 6. Who can you invite today to find Jesus?
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.”
We were led to go and pray at the bridge over the river Stour just off the Ring Road leading up to Amblecote and also at the canal which is nearby. We felt led by the Holy Spirit to take a red banner down with us to wave as we sang and worshipped and also to take communion when praying for the town. We pleaded the blood of Christ over our town and declared the power in the blood of Christ to bring cleansing and redemption and break the power of sin. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins. We dropped one drop of the communion wine into the river and canal. There is more power in one drop of Christ’s blood that was spilt for us than in all the power of evil influencing our town. The declaration which the Lord gave us to proclaim over Stourbridge was from Ezekiel 47 – the waters rushing in and flooding our area- particularly verses 1-12 -rivers of living waters which get deeper and deeper flowing from the throne of God and which bring healing. v 8 “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed and everything will live wherever the river goes. It shall be that fishermen will stand by it ; there will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceeding many. But its swamps and marshes will not be healed and will be given over to salt. Along the bank of the river on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for medicine”. A picture of salvation, healing & fruitfulness for our area. Let us be rooted in Christ who is the living water. Amen. Stourbridge – Wells of Living Water Part 1
The early church prospered and walked in the fear of the Lord. In Acts 9:31 it says “and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit they were multiplied”. We long to see new people coming to know Christ and finding salvation. The Lord spoke to us earlier this year about the need for the fear of the Lord to be restored within the body of Christ at this time. I have never heard a word preached on the fear of the Lord and didn’t understand truly what it meant. I knew that fear in this context is not about being afraid of the Lord but didn’t understand that it is an attitude of complete reverence in response to the revelation of God and then responding by living in submissiveness towards Him. Being obedient to Him. Being holy for he is Holy. Job 28:28 says that “Behold the fear of the Lord that is wisdom”. We are constantly asking God for wisdom and this is one of the keys to discovering Godly wisdom.
The Bible has much to say about the fear of the Lord when you look in to scripture. Psalm 25:12 “Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses”. v 14 “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him: and He will show them His covenant”. Proverbs 10:27 “The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.” Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence.” Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; And He who has it will abide in satisfaction, He will not be visited with evil” Malachi 3:16 “fear of the Lord and who meditate on His name”.
Proverbs tells us how to discover the fear of the Lord Proverbs 2 1-5 “My son if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding, yes, if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God”.
Jesus understood the fear of the Lord. In Isaiah 11 2-3 it said about Jesus “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Spirit of Counsel and Power, the Spirit of Knowledge and the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.” If Jesus walked in the fear of the Lord and we are called to be like him then we too should walk in the fear of the Lord.
We prayed a simple prayer that we discovered had been written when researching this topic and I encourage you to pray this prayer. “Oh God my Father, I come to you through Jesus Christ my saviour. You have put in my heart a desire for the fear of the Lord. I am asking you from now on to lead me, to teach me and to impart to me this wonderful treasure of yours – the fear of the Lord. In Jesus name. Amen”.
In July 2003 we were led as a group to pray for Stourbridge and the churches in Stourbridge. We prayed for wells of living water to spring up and we had a picture of people coming from far and wide to Stourbridge. Stourbridge was like a beacon of light drawing people to Christ. We prayed for schools, churches, businesses, people in leadership. We saw a picture of people falling to their knees as they walked down Stourbridge High Street convicted of sin and coming to Christ. They were encountering the power of the living God in the street.Prayers for Stourbridge