Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In the Aftermath

First, I want to give thanks and praise to God for His protection and grace through the hurricane. This one was way worse than the one that hit us last year. However, there was a lot less damage because it hit in the autumn. Most trees had already lost their leaves so they didn’t come down as easily as before. Also, the ground wasn’t already saturated by weeks and weeks of rain, like last year. So we didn't have as much flodding. Various sections lost power off and on throughout the night, but overall, our area came through in good shape.

I honestly believe that our area was spared because we have been in intercession and prayer for over a month, in obedience to the directive of the Holy Spirit to pray.

In the aftermath of this massive storm and the news of a major earthquake that occurred just off the west coast, I’m going to emphasize, again, why we have been in this prayer campaign. I told our church family, at the end of September, that I felt like something bad was about to happen and we are now watching it unfold right before our eyes.

Back on September 26th we sent the following email to the church family:
"We wish we could put into words, the urgency that we feel right now. All we know is that we can sense that something horrible is on the horizon and the Spirit of God is calling us to pray NOW. The urgency is beyond words. All we can say is that if you can hear the voice of God, respond now. We’re dropping our schedule and changing our plans. Starting this Sunday, it’s all about prayer at Urban Life Church."

 In light of that prophetic email, here is Tuesday’s assessment of the hurricane from New York City's Mayor Bloomberg:
* 26 fires, 80 houses lost;
* 76 shelters are open and accepting people and pets;
* 10 dead in NYC and the number is expected to go up;
* extensive damage in the city, loss of power & flooding of mass transit;
* worst disaster in mass transit in 108 years;
* 3/4 of a million people without power as well as 326 buildings and 50 developments;
* hospital heating via the steam system is shut down;
* all under river tunnels are flooded;
* public transportation is closed "until further notice";
* all major airports are closed due to flooded runways;
* NYU and Manhattan veteran hospitals were shut down,
* Bellevue Hospital is on back-up power,
* 2 other hospitals were evacuated;
* 4000 downed trees in Queens;
* schools (public & Catholic) are closed;
* all parks are closed; stay away from beaches and sea walls.

I cannot stress it enough. We must make prayer a priority in daily life and make every effort to join together for prayer on Sunday mornings. We're rebuilding and restoring the gates and walls that protect our hearts and homes through intercessory prayer and prophetic impartations. That’s what we believe we were sent to Harrisburg to do. We were called to this city for such a time as this. I don’t want to blow it in any way. It’s time to step up, like never before.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Old Gate and Valley Gate

Our Prophetic Family Prayer campaign continues. Last Sunday the Spirit of God led us to teach and then pray from the story of Nehemiah, and how the Jewish people took on the task of rebuilding and repairing the walls and gates that surrounded the great city of Jerusalem.

There were ten gates that were embedded in strategic points along the walls of Jerusalem and each gate had a very specific purpose. Each gate has a prophetic meaning for our families today. Therefore, we are taking the time to look at each gate, understand its purpose and then pray about the significance of each gate in our hearts and homes.

Last Sunday, we prayed about the repairs of the Old Gate and the Valley Gate.

First, the Old Gate: There are two theories why this gate was called the Old Gate. It might have separated old Jerusalem from the suburb of Bezetha, which was called “New Town”. Another theory is that it once belonged to the very ancient city of Salem, first built by Melchizedek. Regardless of where the name came from, this gate represents a foundational gate for our lives and our families.

This gate symbolizes a return to the old ways. It symbolizes the return to walking in the timeless wisdom of God.

Jeremiah 6:16a declares; “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.”

Since the Old Gate has been destroyed for millions of Americans, as a nation we no longer understand the value of the old path. We live in a time where only the newest thing is valued. We want new philosophies, New Age beliefs, and new fashions. Today the focus is on youth and youthfulness. We have millions of people striving to look and feel young. We live in an era where the wisdom of age is despised.

Job 12:12 says, “Wisdom is with aged men, And with length of days, understanding.”

Look at this declaration by Elihu in Job 32:6-7, “I am young in years, and you are very old; Therefore I was afraid, And dared not declare my opinion to you. I said, ‘Age should speak, And multitude of years should teach wisdom.’

Can you imagine young people today saying this to someone in the older generation? If our hearts and homes are going to survive and thrive, we must rebuild and restore the Old Gate, which is basically, the Word and Wisdom of God.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”  Psalm 119: 105

Then we looked at the Valley Gate. In the Bible, a valley symbolizes sorrow, trials, and humbling experiences. We must restore the Valley Gate which is the understanding that we will have trouble and difficult seasons.

As a nation, we have been spending thousands and millions of dollars trying to avoid trouble, and hundreds of hours and days trying to get away from the Valley Gate. In America, comfort, pleasure and ease are gods.

This gate remains unrestored in many hearts and homes because most of our valley experiences have come in the family and in our closest relationships. However, rebuilding and restoring the valley gate is going to give us intestinal fortitude, determination, and a never give up spirit.

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:34 NIV)

We do not enjoy walking through the valley gate, but it is a necessary part of our journey. There is a closeness and resolve regarding our relationship with God that is established only by the material of the valley gate.

The valley gate also produces humility. Pride reveals itself as haughty arrogance AND in low self-esteem or self-hatred. It is obvious, in the haughty person, that pride is present. They never want to do anything to risk embarrassment and they loathe making any mistakes in public. They do everything they can to hide their secret faults and flaws. Many are passionate perfectionist.

However, the person who wallows in self-hatred and tearing themselves down can be just as prideful. They make negative declarations about themselves that defy what God says about them. It is pride that causes them to lift any thought, even if it is self-defacing, against the knowledge of God.

"God resists the proud, but he gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)

The Valley Gate, and the embarrassing things that can be exposed about our lives, has a way of identifying pride. In the valley gate experience, when we find God resisting us and our pleas going unheard, we are forced to look in the mirror of His Word and see ourselves. That's when we need to make the choice to humble ourselves.

Next Sunday, we’ll continue our journey around the wall and begin making repairs to other gates that surround our lives

I’ll close this blog  with this prayer:

Father God,

We thank You for proving to be faithful to us through the Old Gate and the Valley Gate. We return to the old paths. We restore the Old Gate and receive the wisdom that goes far beyond the newest and latest, witty invention.

We rebuild the Valley Gate. You have provided the material to build this gate and we know that you have never left us in our most trying seasons. We will not seek a trouble free, trial free life. We will seek You; knowing that even if we must walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil, because you are with us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Repairing the Gates

Our Prophetic Family Prayer campaign continues. Last Sunday, the Spirit of God led us to pray from the backdrop of the historical account of a massive restoration project in Jerusalem. Under the leadership of Nehemiah, the Jewish people took on the daunting task of rebuilding and repairing the walls and gates that surrounded this great city.

Since we were sent to Harrisburg, over eight years ago, to rebuild, restore and renew hearts and homes, we believe that we have a similar assignment. However, we believe that it’s our hearts and homes that need their walls and gates repaired. During this season of fasting and prayer, this is where we are concentrating our efforts.

Proverbs 4:23 (Amplified) declares: Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs (issues) of life.

Whatever is in our hearts depends upon what has been allowed to come in through our gates over the years of our life. Whatever flows out of our heart, (our view of life) depends on how our heart has been guarded.

There were ten gates that were embedded in strategic points along the walls of Jerusalem and each gate had a very specific purpose. Each gate holds a profound prophetic meaning for our families. Therefore, we are taking the time to look at each gate, understand its purpose, and then pray about how each gate is supposed to guard our hearts and homes.

Last Sunday, we started praying about the repairs of the sheep gate and the fish gate.

First, the sheep gate was the place where sheep and lamb were brought into the city and taken to the temple to be used in the temple sacrifices. This gate symbolizes the place where Jesus, as the sacrificial lamb, comes into our hearts and homes. This gate must be repaired and restored because it means we are establishing this one prevailing truth for our families; Jesus Christ is our ONLY savior and Lord. He must be welcomed into our hearts and homes to cleanse us and deliver us.  We must accept the truth that Jesus is the only salvation of our lives. If this gate is broken down, we will believe that there is some other way to find deliverance, freedom and success.

The President, Governor and Mayor cannot deliver us. The business community cannot deliver us. Education is beneficial, but it is not the thing that will deliver us. This gate has been destroyed in many hearts and homes and most people do not see Jesus Christ as the answer for themselves or their family. But today, we restore the sheep gate. Jesus is the answer for our families and communities.

Then we looked at the fish gate. This was the entrance for fishermen to bring in their catch. This gate symbolizes the place where we see the importance of our roles as fishermen. Jesus told his disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Spiritual fishermen understand the importance of using lure and bait to catch fish. They understand the timing of fishing. There are certain times of the day that fish are active. They even understand when some people are caught in the net of our influence, some are like the fish who have to be thrown back into the sea, until they are ready. The Bible says, “He that wins souls is wise.”

The fish gate symbolizes the importance of living a life that lures, baits, attracts and even catches people to come into the Kingdom of God. The fish gate expresses the priority of the Kingdom agenda for our lives. In a time when many people work and live only for themselves and personal survival, the fish gate symbolizes this new value of living for a purpose greater than our own.

Today, we restore the fish gate. We follow Jesus so that He can make us fishers of men.

Next Sunday, we’ll continue our journey around the walls and begin making repairs to other gates that surround our lives. Every gate that has been destroyed means that we have been allowing things that are the opposite of what God intended for us.  Destroyed gates are indicators that we have been open to concepts and ideas that are against God and His ways. We have believed lies and followed philosophies that have led us to destruction.

Lord, help us to minister effectively to your people so these gates can be rebuilt, restored and repaired.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Prayer Focus: Esther, Mordecai and Haman

I feel that we’ve made a good start with our Prophetic Family Prayer campaign. Last Sunday the Spirit of God led us to pray from the back drop of the marvelous story about Esther, Mordecai and Haman.

He led us to pray concerning those who are in the position of Esther; where God has blessed them to be hired or assigned to high positions. We prayed that they would recognize that God has blessed them so that He could use them in this hour of crisis in America today. We prayed that they would not seek to merely preserve their careers. We prayed that they would take on the attitude of Esther who asked for her people to join her in fasting because she was about to do something that could cost her life.

The Spirit of God led us to encourage those who are in the position of Mordecai, where the enemy is plotting against them. They are the ones who deserve positions of leadership, but they have been overlooked and ignored. 

One of the great things about Mordecai was that even when he was finally recognized and honored for a deed that had never been recognized or acknowledged, his heart remained focused for the deliverance of his people. We prayed that this kind of spirit would be released in us today.

We also prayed concerning people who are like Haman, who have been elevated to high positions of authority, but they have used their authority to intimidate, manipulate and dominate others. Even though this Haman-type demonic influence has oppressed this region for many, many years, we are taking a stand in the Holy Spirit to pull down this stronghold that has established itself in the hearts and homes of this community.

Sunday was another powerful session of intercession as the Lord led us to exhort, encourage and speak prophetically over all who were in attendance, as well as those who were watching online.

We have provided a few things to help them during this weekly fast and prayer:
1.)  Prayer Campaign webpage, where you can review the weekly prayer sessions
2.)  Passion for Prayer (a 7-video teaching series on prayer)
3.)  Prayer Agenda webpage (Praise reports and prayer request)

I want close this blog with this prayer:

Therefore I also …do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1: 15-21)

Father God, we stand before, in the name of Jesus Christ, on behalf of this wonderful family that you have given us here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. These are the ones who have heard your call and stepped out beyond the normal, the usual and the predictable. They have dared to respond to your voice and step into the great adventure of following you for a higher purpose than their own.

You are positioning them, like Esther, in high and lofty places. You have caused them to stand out amongst many. You are bringing them to these places for such a time as this. May they be filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and may the eyes of their understanding be enlightened.

We lift up those who have been like Mordecai. If it had not been for them, the company that they work for would have failed. If it had not been for them, their department would have been cut. If it had not been for them, their supervisor, manager or department head, would have lost their job. Their true worth has gone unnoticed and unknown.

So like you did for Mordecai, cause their true worth to be revealed. You caused the King to come across the records that showed how Mordecai had been the man who foiled a plot to assassinate him. Reveal the records of the faithfulness of those who have been like Mordecai.

Reveal the faithful record of fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and siblings. What they have done has preserved lives. Reveal the records of the faithful in this hour, Lord! 

May hearts and homes be rebuilt, restored and renewed. In the authority and name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Prophetic Prayer

Our month of prayer has officially begun. Along with the Sunday prayer gatherings, we are fasting every Wednesday. I asked the church family to join with me in this time of seeking the Lord.

We can literally feel the strength, now that prayer is going forth in a national, united, coordinated prayer campaign. We are just simply doing our part, guarding our spot on this vast wall that stands against the advancement of the enemy.

He seeks to destroy our faith. He seeks to destroy our homes and families. But we are standing strong in the name of Jesus Christ!