In the Name of our mighty Lord and Risen King! He is worthy of all of our praise and all of our adoration! He overcame death and the grave! He made a way for us to get to the throne! He defeated our enemy! He took captivity captive! He loosed the chains of those who were enslaved and said “Who the Son makes free is free indeed.” We are free indeed! Because of His great love for us, because of His infinite wisdom, His never ending compassion, He refused to leave us without remedy and He came for us Himself that we might have this hope in these earthen vessels. He would not have done all that to fail us now.
In the midst of all this, I honestly forgot that Resurrection Sunday was coming up. The greatest day there ever was! The day our Lord and Savior declared that sin would no longer condemn us to death. The day He went Himself and made the way of escape, that just as He rose, we could rise. Hallelujah!!!
In Revelation 5:1-2 it says, “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” The LAMB!!! (Sorry, since we know the answer, I can’t help but shout it out J) I love this passage. It tells us no one in heaven or on earth, or even under the earth was able to open it or even look at it. And poor John wept much because in that moment he must have felt how much we have all fallen short. But we don’t have to count on our worthiness, because we can count on His goodness, His faithfulness, His Holiness, His worthiness. There was One! It was the LAMB! He is worthy! He is worthy! He is worthy! Rev 5:9 “And they sang a new song saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals. For you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood. Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
We all know this but let’s go ahead and glory in it for a minute. We are redeemed by His blood. Washed. Made clean. Made whole. Sanctified as kings and priests. Not by anything we’ve done to deserve it. We couldn’t of ever done anything to obtain it. He knew our nature. Knew the evil intent of our heart. And yet that did not deter Him. How infinite is His compassion and mercy! For every nation! All the nations we are seeing with people dying from this virus, He gives them the same hope that He has given us. Our nation has this hope! We have this hope! He is worthy. Out of all the thousands upon thousands of angels in heaven, what could they possibly have ever done to not be considered worthy enough to open that scroll? It leaves me in awe thinking of how holy that scroll is, that only He, who laid down His life for all humanity, has obtained the right to open it. There are so many wonders that will be revealed to us in heaven! My heart soars to think about it. We do have to get through this life, and yes, the matters at hand are very real and very pressing, but we have so much more ahead than what we see before us.
One thing I appreciate about all this is activity being stopped on the Sabbath. This is something that I have always struggled with, just like most Christians do. In this day and age how do we properly honor the Sabbath? After church is it wrong to go and eat out? Or to catch up on some shopping? When doing ministry, and we’re in a prison in another state on Sunday, I always feel guilty driving hours to get home late Sunday night, but life resumes on Monday. Should I stay over and pay for one more night at the motel just to “rest”? It seems selfish & like I’m not being a good steward of the money. But He commanded it.
In 2Chronicles 36:15-21 we read about the Lord God having given the people warnings by messengers and prophets but they despised His words until His wrath arose, until “there was no remedy.” That is such a sad sentence, “no remedy.” And so the Lord allowed the city to be torn down and the people to be carried away, to fulfill 70 years, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. The Sabbath may not seem like a big deal to us, but it’s a big deal to Him.
In Nehemiah 13:15 Nehemiah says, “In those days I saw people in Judah treading wind presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions.” He went to the nobles of Judah, and asked them what evil thing were they doing and in vs 13:18 said, “Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city?” Nehemiah not only closed the gates just before the Sabbath but he posted guards at them and at first, the vendors camped outside until Nehemiah threatened them with bodily harm! All the things they were doing, is exactly what we do. Good things, bringing in food and supplies that I am sure the people were using for good purposes. To all those people I’m sure Nehemiah seemed like a mad man at that point.
I was sharing this with my pastor, Monte Sheets, and he told me that just the night before at church they had been discussing Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Can you imagine being “delighted” on Sunday morning just because it’s Sunday, His day! Do we known what it means to “delight yourself in the Lord”? How wonderful of a place that must be to be in His delight!
There was such relief in my heart one morning as I read the Word and then knelt to spend some time in worship, knowing I was not going to be leaving the house that day. It made a huge difference in how I was able to interact with Him. There was peace and joy in it, (and it wasn’t even Sunday!) He never said “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you,” to keep us from any enjoyment, but to bring us into an intimate place with Him as we worship Him. How serious are we willing to take the Word of God? We talk about standing on His word, are we willing to stand on this one? What if we did it, and He radically changed our relationship with Him? I’m not saying any of this in judgement or condemnation. This has been stirring in my heart and it’s thoughts I have been asking myself. It’s an inner challenge that I’m thinking I need to lean into and figure out what changes I can make to honestly honor the Sabbath. When they announced that all sporting events were being shut down, especially where thousands upon thousands fill the stands on Sunday, it struck me about the Sabbath, what it’s been turned into, and how much the Lord wants the heart of our nation to return to Him. What if we delighted ourselves in Him and He fulfilled His end of the promise! What if His Word is true!!!
Hopefully, during this time, you are having some wonderful moments with the Lord. I pray He reveals His word to you in awesome ways. As much as it is a hardship for people, it’s exciting to see what the Lord is going to do to turn this around for His glory. That’s especially my prayer for the inmates. Sickness in there spreads like wildfire. There’s no way to keep them spread apart. They will never have enough sanitizer to continually wipe down surfaces with prisons that have so many inmates. I only just recently learned that Newcastle Correctional, here in Indiana has over 3000 men. The Rockville Women’s prison has over 1000. And that is only 2 out of 20 prisons in Indiana. I’m praying that during this time, the Christian inmates will be filled with fresh fire and anointing, that they will lay their hands on the sick and the sick will recover, that all the seeds that have been planted will come into full bloom and there will be a wave of glory flow through those places such as no one has ever seen before. I’m praying the flow of drugs will dry up. Since no visitors are allowed, may the Lord reveal and expose the officers and staff that have been supplying the drugs and if there’s no repentance, may they be removed from their positions.
We’ve been praying for the Lord to move and now we have to thank Him for answering our prayers. May the Lord turn the hearts of our leaders towards Him for direction and leadership. May parents turn to Him for food and provision for their children, as they bond with their children in prayer and reading the Word.
I was praying for a particular family this week for the Lord to please provide for them & the very next day, someone came to me and said the Lord put it on their heart to give money to that family and asked if I’d take it to them! He answered pronto! How awesome is that! I love being in His employ. He never lays anyone off!
I went out this morning with our new treasurer, Jim Koch, and his wife Beth, to feed the homeless. They took the feeding ministry over for me at least 5 years ago when dad and I were away so many weekends, and they have done an amazing job. A church has let us use a building on their property for 8 years or so every winter to give out the food so the homeless can come in and get warm as they sit and eat. But because of the health crisis, the church has said for the time being we can’t gather there. So this morning we were under a train viaduct. It was cold and rainy. I picked a couple up who were sitting outside a gas station on milk crates with bags around them and asked if they’d like to go get coffee and a sandwich. They were so grateful. When we got there, one man’s hands were so cold that his fingers wouldn’t straighten out. I had to pry them open one by one, as I worked each finger into a glove. (And yes, I had on plastic gloves.) With all the restaurants closed, the library closed, and the Rescue Mission no longer allowing the public to come in and sit down to eat, these people are destitute. The couple was telling me, the Rescue Mission will give out one bottle of water per day to each person outside, and a meal to go, but there is nowhere else they can go in to get a drink of water for the rest of the day. They used to sit in the library, or even Burger King would allow a bible study in their lobby for them. But now every door has closed. It’s a hard call as to whether to take food to them or not with the mandate in place. But James 2:15 -17 says “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Our faith has to be in God to give us guidance in this and we have to believe that if He sends us, He will protect us and those we come in contact with.
The couple I’d picked up, asked if I could drop them back off at that same gas station when we were finished. As we were driving, I asked if they were in a tent. They said they’d found an abandoned garage to sleep in for the time being. I don’t hand out money unless the Lord tells me too and when they were telling me how hard it is to come by a drink of water during the day, I thought maybe I should buy them some bottles of water, but then I thought that would be more weight for them to carry and she was already having trouble walking. I had a little over $30 in my pocket, so as I handed it to them I said, “I don’t normally do this…” and she started crying and said, “We can get a motel room for tonight and take a shower.” I asked if they could really get a room for that and she said yes. When she told me where, I understood why, but it was so much better than being outside wet and cold. I drove them there and on the way was trying to figure out what I had in the bank and how many nights I could pay for. Then the Lord reminded me that this is His ministry and since I haven’t went to any prisons this month, there was money in the ministry account! He’s rich! Over and over on the way there they were talking about how happy they were that they were going to shower and I thought how much I take that for granted every morning, how much I enjoy it every morning, and how different life would be without it. I paid for a week with the ministry card, it was 150.00.
She was in the van when him and I went into the lobby and was still thinking it was only for the night. When we drove to which room would be theirs, as they were getting out, he told her, “She paid for a week,” and she started crying all over again. I had the privilege of praying with them before they got out.
This is what’s so amazing about the family of God. No one of us has to do every-thing by themselves. Thank you for trusting us with your support and believing we will use it to further His Kingdom. It takes all of us, working in community, believing that the God we serve is greater than what we see before us. No one knew that couple’s situation as they were sitting outside in the cold, being wet, with cars driving by and no one noticing them, but they have a Father who seen them, heard their cries of despair and reached out for them.
Be blessed and enjoy His presence!
Your sister in Jesus – Pam