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.
It was with great joy that we welcomed Sarah Liberman and her team from Carmel, Israel, to host the “Ascend: The Worship Journey” conference in Golden Valley Church, this past weekend.
Sarah is a Worship Leader, Songwriter, and Speaker with a deep passion for true worship from pure hearts. Her love for God, and her appreciation of all that Yeshua (Jesus) has done is clearly evident.
She challenged us to go deeper and higher in our worship, to listen and obey God’s voice, and to develop pure hearts before Him. Sarah carries a unique sound of worship, which bridges across generations and nationalities.
The prayer session on Sunday afternoon was powerful! Those in attendance sought God fervently for our own area of Gloucester and Cheltenham, for the UK, and for Israel. Many delegates commented on how impacting and life-changing the weekend has been. We are truly thankful to God.
Sarah has two worship albums, “I Am Before You” and “A Pure Heart”, and also her own YouTube channel.