Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a two-part series. Click here to read part 1.
How many of us are brokenhearted when we watch the news and see that state of so many lives, even entire generations, looking for answers? The world is distracting them from getting the real answers. What they need is Jesus—not worldly intellect or all the solutions imposed upon us through secular ideologies, philosophies, institutional systems and politics. We need Jesus to manifest Himself upon our city, our nation, our generation and to see His presence permeate and change lives, individually and corporately. We need that kind of move of God.
There is a battle for the soul of a generation and for the heart and soul of the church. How can we heal souls, if the heart (the church) is sick? We need a spiritual defibrillation.
"They said to me, 'The remnant that returned from captivity is there in the province enduring great affliction and reproach. Also, the wall of Jerusalem remains broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire' (Neh. 1:3).
Nehemiah is deeply burdened here because his people are in reproach and distressed; the walls of his city are broken down. This should be a place of protection and gathering for them, a place to grow in God and restore the altar of worship. Instead, they are unprotected and facing danger.
"When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days. Then I fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven" (Neh. 1:4).
Nehemiah wasn't praying for a list of things; He was praying for God to hear his cry and do something! He wept over the state of the people and the city.
Nehemiah prayed in the month of December, but there was no answer; he prayed in January, February, March ... still no answer. Finally, after a few months, the Lord moves the heart of the King to allow Nehemiah to go. It can be discouraging and disheartening when it feels like God doesn't hear. But God is not a man, He does not lie; He keeps His promises. He answered Nehemiah's prayer by sending him to his city, not only with the king's blessings but with provision as well—more than he asked for.
When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that there was not a gap in it (though at that time I had not erected the doors on the gates), Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, that we might meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono."
But they planned to do evil to me. So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so I am not able to come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and come down to you?" (Neh. 6:1-3).
This is God's word to you and me! The enemy wants us to distract us with difficulties and challenges any time we are doing a great work, but we must keep our focus and continue what God has called us to do.
Every person's story is different but the ending is the same: We serve a great King! We serve the Creator of the heavens who chooses to live in you and me, and He is greater than our circumstances. When I was battling cancer, I knew my healing was not going to come in leaving my calling—instead, my healing was in my calling! If you stop doing what God has called you do to, the devil wins. Don't respond to circumstances, but to what is true in God's Word. Stay on the wall—don't quit!
In 1989, I took a team on a mission trip to Belize. While my team went out to do street evangelism, I stayed behind to dig a large latrine hole to improve the community's health and sanitation. I grew frustrated as I tried to dig through and around big rocks without the proper tools, and I began to have a bad attitude. I murmured and complained to myself, but God used this Scripture in Ezekiel to remind me how many times He had cleared the stones and rubbish out of my heart:
"Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezek. 36:26-27).
As we prepare for this great harvest, we must be committed and persistent to overcome every obstacle and distraction the devil sends our way. God wants us to keep our vision of hope and destination, our expectation in Him, and a perspective from His vantage point. We need a clean heart, a right spirit and a sharp, stable, sound mind so we can be ready when God says to move!
God of the Suddenlies
God is about to do a suddenly moment! A breakthrough moment! And we need to be prepared to receive the harvest. As God opens the eyes of the blind, they'll have questions and we need to answer with the truth of God's Word, seasoned with grace.
This is not about a militant strategy, and it's not a battle with flesh and blood. Just as atmospheric pressure, which we do not necessarily or immediately see, yet it causes storms and destruction that we can see, the same is true with the spiritual atmosphere. There is no doubt an increase of spiritual atmospheric pressure taking place around us, yet through knee-time and vertical worship, we can bring about a change in the spiritual atmosphere that we can see in the natural. And when there is a breakthrough in the spiritual realm, the church needs to respond as an ark of refuge, a place where people know they can go to grow in their faith and relationship with the Lord. Like Noah, we need to prepare in advance because when God moves quickly, it's too late to start building. We need to be preparing and building now in every way: spiritually, physically, practically, emotionally and mentally.
The God of the breakthrough is about to do a "suddenly." We are about to see a pouring out of His presence.
What would happen if thousands more people suddenly started responding to the Good News and going to church? What if people at work and on the streets suddenly started asking you about Jesus? I'm expecting God to do that if His people come, by the thousands, to the place of pulling down strongholds in prayer and worship, with the expectation that God, who has all authority, can penetrate the most difficult of circumstances.
As we pray and prepare, I believe people will come out of the woodwork; they'll be curious and not even know why. They will see God's love through His people, pulling down strongholds and raising a new standard, telling a new story that creates a new narrative. That's the expectation in my heart, my vision of hope, if people will gather and prepare.
The risen King lives in you and me. God is bigger than our circumstances. Storms will come, but circumstances do not dictate who we are or who God is!
We are living in a critical moment, and we have a window to get people's hearts ready. Jeremiah 8:20 says: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Let's not miss this opportunity. Will you join me this summer to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send laborers and to prepare us for the coming harvest?
Doug Stringer is the founder of Somebody Cares America and International, author of many articles and books, including Leadership Awakening, Foundational Principles for Lasting Success, In Search of a Father's Blessing and others. Doug's podcast, "A Word in Season with Doug Stringer and Friends" can be heard on the Charisma Podcast Network and other outlets. A version of this article originally was published in January 2012.
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