A family friend whose daughter is battling mental illness has written these poignant words about intercessory prayer:
"I have set watchmen on your walls O Jerusalem. They shall never hold their peace day or night.You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth." Isaiah 62: 6,7
This Scripture speaks about the importance of intercessors for the Kingdom of God. The role of intercessory prayer in bringing God's Kingdom to this earth is vital. Sometimes, the establishing of His Kingdom comes one life at a time, one person at a time. Then each one manifests that Kingdom to others and they continue to pray for God's Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This Scripture is interesting to me because the intercessors are watchmen on the wall.
They have been put there by God Himself. The walls of the city protect the city. The watchmen are to "watch" or "look out" for anyone who would be coming to attack the city. So, to be an intercessors means that we are also keenly aware of opposition from the enemy. We know from experience, that the bringing of God's Kingdom can and will be met with great opposition from the enemy of our souls! Matthew 11:12 talks about the Kingdom of heaven suffering violence and the violent taking it by force. The clashing of the the kingdoms - God's and the kingdoms of this world is a violent one and yet God says, "give yourselves no rest until".....you see Him establish that Kingdom as the praise of the earth.
I am so grateful for all of you as you watch with me on the wall.
This touched me because of the severity of her problem yet the strength she sees in the prayers of us, the “Watchmen” on the wall.
Let us be encouraged to continue in prayer. You might also add this family friend and her daughter to your personal prayer list. There is room on the wall for us all to be watchmen and pray!
Well, it’s that time of year again. New Year’s Resolutions. Earnest intentions to change the way we live. Honest pledges to begin to do things differently.
And there’s help! You can’t turn on TV or surf the net without seeing ads for gym memberships or the newest diet or a pill that will rejuvenate you. It’s time to get in shape.
If our great grandparents could only see us now. They might think our whole exercise fixation is just plain silly. Back then they had to work for a living. There wasn’t time or energy to do what it takes to get six pack abs. They didn’t go to Weight Watchers. They never had to lose ten or twenty pounds. They controlled their weight by hard work.
Still, we do want to get in shape so we will have a better life -- so we will be healthy and fit. Our work usually isn’t as demanding as it was in the old days. Instead, we place hope in the ads that make a lot of promises about the easy way to control our weight. Yea, right. There is no easy way.
I was reminded of this shortly after Christmas dinner. We did a pot-luck this year, with everybody bringing something good. After eating the turkey and ham, after the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, after the pasta salad and the cranberry salad, after the squash and the green bean casserole, after the gooseberry pie and the chocolate cheese cake, I knew I had made some wrong choices.
Often, it is the influence of the world and our secular culture that shape us into ways that are not in God’s plan for us. Often, it is the influence of our best friends and family that shape us into people that do not reflect God’s way. Often, it is the unexpected events in our lives that get the best of us, and shape us in a different direction. Often, it is our deliberate choices that shape us into a sinful path.
New Year’s isn’t just the time for making resolutions about getting physically in shape. There is our whole spiritual dimension that probably needs a tune-up even more than our bodies. Most of us do tend to get a little out of shape in our relationship to God. In the worst case we become real spiritual slackers. We no longer feel the hands of God shaping our lives. We no longer live so following Jesus has high priority in our lives. The result ain’t pretty!
But listen, church -- there is real hope. (And I didn’t get this from a junk mail flyer, but from the Bible!) God is always there, willing to reshape, remake, renew us. God is always there to help us become people who are whole, useful, and beautiful.
A new year lies ahead of us. An old one is behind. This is always a special time when new opportunities and adventures seem to present themselves. What will 2016 bring for us and for our church? The possibilities seem unlimited. Personally, will there be career changes? New housing? Additions to the family through marriage or birth? We will see as the new year unfolds. As a church, will we see growth in numbers and in spiritual maturity? Will we seek to serve others with a new urgency? Will Jesus become more real to us as we walk with him?
As we focus on personal New Year?s resolutions may we also focus on new goals and expectations for the church. As your Christian Education director, I see a need for more Sunday School teachers as the numbers and ranges of age in the children increase. I also see the need and desire for individuals to study God?s word in depth in our Bible Study groups. I see a need for outreach to those who would benefit from hearing the gospel as it is preached hear Sunday after Sunday. I pray for strength and guidance for all our church leaders.
May we be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in 2016. May we have discernment about where and how to invest our energy and resources. And at the end of 2016 may we expect to hear our Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Join us on Christmas Eve at 5 pm for a candlelight service to welcome the newborn king!