Our God is a God of Mercy. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that we can come boldly to the Throne of Grace – or the Mercy Seat – and receive grace and mercy to help us in our time of need.
Jesus said to the Pharisees to “go and learn” what mercy over sacrifice means. They were obsessed with outward religion, but neglected to offer mercy to the weak and the struggling. They hadn’t understood the mercy in the Father’s heart.
Here’s today’s encouragement for our prayer focus.
In today’s daily encouragement we refer to one of the great prayers of the great Apostle Paul, from Ephesians chapter 3.
He prays for the church out of his pastor’s heart, that they would know the love of God and become lost in the depth and height and width and breadth of that wonderful all-consuming love.
How often do we use this prayer to pray for ourselves? Or for others? There are amazing keys in praying this prayer. The fullness of God can only come as we are filled with His love, with for us, and then through us. There is no fullness outside of love, because God is love.
We are going through an unprecedented global ‘time’ of pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Additionally as a church we are also in a ‘time’ of fasting and prayer. Both of these ‘times’ are significant and require us as Christians to become more aligned with Heaven’s purposes.
Paul tells us in Eph. 5:15-17 to be discerning and not unwise, and to redeem – to buy back – the times. Redemption in the New Testament is a concept from the slave markets of the day, where a person captured and brought into slavery could be bought with the purpose of then setting them free. Jesus has redeemed us from sin. We were all slaves to sin, but through His death on the cross He paid the price to set us free.
But here he talks of redeeming our times. The word used for time is “kairos” and it means a specific time or opportunity. The amazing thing is that we have been given the authority, through seeking God, to buy back key moments and opportunities. Our times – even in this difficult season we find ourselves in – can be submitted to God and His loving hands, and they can be redeemed so that something profitable comes out of them.
Yesterday was the end of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. It was “day eight” called, “Shemini Atzeret”. It’s an extra ‘add on day’ to the week of Sukkot, and is connected to the idea of lingering longer; pausing; remaining another day; not rushing away. It’s also the day when traditionally the Jews begin to pray for the rain again.
Numbers 29:35 calls it a ‘solemn assembly’. On this day Solomon sent the people home after their celebrations and their dedicating the new Temple in Jerusalem. That night God appeared to him and gave him the promise that if the rain was lacking or the crops were being destroyed, if God’s people would turn back to Him and repent, seeking His face, then He would open up His blessings again.
On this day also, Jesus Himself cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” [Jn. 7:37-39]
So we encourage ourselves at this time to embrace the pause. Linger longer in His Presence. Don’t rush away. Come to Him and ask for the rain of His Spirit. Come to Him and drink.
There is one proviso: thirst. Anyone can come and drink – as long as they are thirsty. That’s the prerequisite for receiving what God is wanting to give. He works on desire. The careless receive little because they place little value on what God is offering. Thirst and hunger for God are gifts from Him. We can’t work them up. But we can ask, and He will give them to us.
In this season, let’s get hungry and thirsty for more of Him. Let’s linger in His Presence. Let’s drink from Him and cry out for a fresh outpouring of Holy Spirit rain.
Here’s today’s video encouragement. May God bless you.
As we move on our journey from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur to Sukkot in Heaven’s calendar for earth, we are come to Israel being reminded to recall the faithfulness of God in bringing them safely through the wilderness, as He led them in the pillar of fire and cloud.
The faithfulness of God is all over our lives. He has led us this far.
The people dwelling in temporary shelters for this Feast, also points us to the fact that as Christians we are in a temporary dwelling place here on earth. Heaven is our true home. Heaven is our eternal and lasting home. We have no lasting house here. We have one in the heavens which is being built for us by Jesus Himself, Who has gone ahead of us.
Tune in to today’s encouragement for day 6 of our fasting period.
Today we begin our Autumn Fasting and Prayer in Golden Valley Church.
It’s not a coincidence that we are beginning our season on the Jewish and Biblical “Day of Atonement” [Yom Kippur].
Yom Kippur in the Old Testament was the day when the High Priest entered into the Holiest Place to make atonement for the whole nation. Today it is still the holiest day of all in the Jewish calendar.
We also believe these days to be highly significant as they are part of Heaven’s calendar for the earth. Although as Christians we believe that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Day of Atonement in the sense that He was both the sacrifice and the High Priest, and that He opened up the heavenly Holy of Holies for us to enter boldly through His blood, it is still highly profitable to make specific and special time to draw near to Him on this day.
Yom Kippur ends 10 days of soul searching, repentance, forgiveness, and cultivating the fear of the Lord. Of course, in one sense we should do this all the time, however, it’s expedient and powerful for us align with heaven’s dates and seasons.
Let’s approach the Throne of Grace – the Mercy Seat – with boldness and confidence, and yet with deep humility, repentance, and awe. I believe God will meet us as we do, in this fast time.