The Year of the LORD’s Favor
This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
So many people come into the church with “disqualified” branded on their souls. Their weaknesses, inadequacies and fears shout louder than the preacher, and so they find an obscure pew and settle in for their weekly dose of “religion.” We’ve got to look them in the eye and say, “We’re in this together!” Jesus didn’t care whether Peter smelled like dead fish or not! He said, “Come on! Let’s go fish for men!”
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
When people work beside their leaders in the harvest, they learn that God can compensate for their inadequacies; where they are weak, He is strong! In ministry to others, they find a new heart beating within, a new soul being born. They begin to see themselves as servants, as useful.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
When people die to self and live for others, the life of Christ blooms in their midst. Trampled twigs become trees of righteousness. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-24) blossom in their souls. They grow; they reproduce.
“For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”
And God shows up, because He loves hanging out where love is growing. When God shows up, the lights come on. When the lights come on, those people lost in darkness come in search of life. And as the world sees the love of God in action, through the people of God in unity, spiritual scales fall from their eyes and they suddenly believe that the Father sent the Son (John 17:20-23).
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
All this happens through a church where everyone is a minister.
Jesus — servant of all though Lord of all — give me a servant’s soul that I may impart it through service to others. Amen.
(Adapted from God’s Heart for Ministering to God’s People by
Phil Hernandez and Mark Ammerman)
The River of Life
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Jesus Is Coming
And he said to me,
“These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”