April 7, 2022
Praise the Lord! For He is good, and His mercy endures forever! I am sure you’re aware that this is the prayer the praisers were singing in the battle led by Jehoshaphat in Second Chronicles 20. We have heard numerous reports from our brothers and sisters in Ukraine of the protection and faithfulness of God in the current situation over there, and many of these reports sound more and more like the testimony found in this Scripture, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chron. 20:15)
One incident in particular occurred when insects from hives near a certain village woke up and flew into the territory of the military unit captured by Russian soldiers. There, due to a lack of food, the bees bit the invaders to death. This sounds much like Exodus 23:28, And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
Philippians 1:19 says, For I know that this SHALL TURN to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Once again, be encouraged that your prayers are availing much, and we are seeing this turn! Because of your generosity, we have been able to respond financially to some vital needs they have had, both in Ukraine and in Romania where many refugees have gone. What an honor it is to work with Him in helping to bring about deliverance and victory to His people.
Early in the year, I received a word concerning my church and family for 2022, as well as a revelation into God’s vision for the church in these perilous and trying times. This vision is best illustrated in Psalm 23 as operating in oneness with the Shepherd, or I AM, and thus living in a place of divine peace and provision due to the life of God flowing in and through us continually.
Something I noticed when delving into this Psalm was the relationship between Psalm 22, 23, and 24, and their connection to our time in history. Psalm 22, for example, represents the life, ministry, and death of Jesus. Psalm 24 is a glimpse into the millennial reign of Christ, and Psalm 23 is where we currently live. This Psalm is a beautiful picture of God’s desire for His church today.
Have you ever noticed that the “meat” of Psalm 23–the green pastures, still waters, restoration, paths of righteousness, fearing no evil, and comfort, is sandwiched between “The Lord is my shepherd” and “I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever”? Each of these statements point to the local church, which directs us on how to dwell in this perfect place of peace, protection, and provision.
The other day, as I was stoking my fire (I love a good fire!), one of the coals fell out of the fireplace and onto the hearth, and I noticed that the coal cooled off almost immediately. One misconception that people have concerning a fire is that the flames contain the heat, but the reality is that the most intense heat from a fire comes from the hot coals. The Lord showed me something when that coal fell out of the fire–when believers separate themselves from their local church, they immediately go into “cooling down” mode. The flow they experience while plugged into their church will cease once separated. On the other hand, when we stay connected to the local church, we’re like those hot coals that keep the heat flowing, and it positions people to receive exactly what God has for them.
Friend, the devil did his best to shut the church down a couple of years ago, and many people lost sight of the importance of their local church in the process, but that does not have to be your story. Recognize that the picture of the local church contained in Psalm 23 is attainable, but it won’t manifest for believers who have separated themselves and believed the lie that church isn’t that important.
I would encourage you to revisit this passage and speak it out loud regularly, and as you continue to speak it, it will build in your heart. It will build vision, faith, and expectation on the inside of you. This scripture will make known in a new and personal way God’s desires for you, and it will work in continuing to reveal God’s heart towards you and towards others.