Update from Jason Hershey: Last week Davids Tent was at $50,000, facing giant expenditures for power, tent, sound, logistics, etc. As of today, $37,000 more has come in–a total of $87,000! This is an absolute miracle. To all who have given in prayer and in funds, we are beyond grateful! THANK YOU JESUS!
Our next prayer call is Wednesday night at 9pm EST. Conference call number: 530-881-1400 access code 903-586. Use *6 to mute/unmute. Invite your friends to join us!
Choosing Your Heart
For the past few days, we have explored choices God is encouraging us to make in this season known as the Days of Awe. Each of these decisions are vital to securing God’s “homeland security.”
We have heard His call to choose Israel, and His invitation to embrace the grace of giving. Today we’re going to again explore our alignment with God. A passage from the Book of Jolene–ok, I mean Joel–really comes to mind. But Jolene totally could have written this!
With crisis looming over Israel, the prophet Joel admonished his generation to return to the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning.
“And rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to Me…” (Joel 2:13).
Many will find this choice the toughest of all. But within the grace of opening our hearts, authenticity and purity are recovered. We again see God. And that is what matters most.
News of the Hour
Here are briefs from recent events, just to set context. American embassies worldwide are on high alert after last week’s riots–held “spontaneously” on 9-11, complete with paid protesters. Meanwhile, more than 30 nations are participating in a mine sweep of the Strait of Hormuz as friction between Iran and Israel roils over. Iran has responded to international pressure by doubling their nuclear capacities. We are now hearing rumors of Israeli troop movements.
The Federal Reserve just pumped billions more in stimulus money to keep our economy from implosion. We are now $16 trillion in debt. Yet approximately 47% of Americans don’t pay income tax.
Meanwhile, Afghan troops are using the military tactics we mentored them in… against our own troops. The Iraqi Dinar still hasn’t revalued. Conspiracy theories abound.
I think that covers most of the news today. Oh–and it’s raining in DC.
Joel’s Admonition–Rend Your Hearts!
Just like today, Israel in Joel’s time was facing an existential threat from a foreign army. Recession and scarcity had overtaken the land.
Politicians and power brokers were offering competitive solutions. Spend more. Build infrastructure. Hey–maybe a war could get us out of this recession…
God’s solution was a bit more drastic than all the pundits combined. Rend your hearts, the prophet offered.
Note to self–the prophet is naive. Want inner peace? Try yoga classes. Whatever you do, just don’t flinch–remember, no sign of weakness. Pretend all is well, and you have the solution. Then flex your muscles for the cameras…
God says, rend your hearts, and not your garments. To face down your challenges, become open and vulnerable with the Lord. And with His people. Let your guard down. Weep.
Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the porch and the altar. And let them say, spare Your people, oh Lord. Why make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations?
What was the result of their obedience? True homeland security–again, God’s way! Joel records how God would respond with great passion for His land, and not only avert tragedy but leave a blessing in its place. In our language, the X becomes a bridal canopy.
Speaking of which… David’s Tent is just over a week away! We are in a season of restoring the Tabernacle of David. From a young age, David kicked… um… ass. Sorry, but he did. He faced down Israel’s fiercest enemies, again and again prevailing to turn the tide of history.
What was his secret–muscle milk? A media face? No, his secret was an open heaven, and an open heart. Again and again he wrestled with God over his own issues. He continually implored the Lord to fight for Him, to protect Him. He depended on God’s Presence to shelter him from strife and conspiracy. He begged God to create in him a clean heart.
And again and again, God gave David the victory.
As we are praying for Davids Tent–lets pray for God to bring His Davids into leadership positions across the governmental spectrum! Those who will cling to God, love God, and shepherd their spheres with competence and a listening ear.
Here’s a point that’s really important to make. God wants you courageous and strong–otherwise He wouldn’t hold out His ultimate prize to “him who overcomes.” He wouldn’t describe the heroes of the faith as “Out of weakness were made strong, and waxed valiantly in battle.”
He wants you strong. But He wants your strength–inner and outer–rooted in authenticity, in relationship with Him. Just like David.
Anything else is pretense, not real strength. Maybe that’s why God said to rend our hearts, not our garments. Maybe it’s time to put the garments of rhetoric and empty ritual aside. Breakthrough comes when we get real!
Pour Out Your Heart
How do we align with God and open our hearts? First–worship Him. Maybe with no one around, and no iPod to play. Make up your own words. Find your own heart!
I also strongly suggest sharing with God the things that are on your heart. Talk to Him as your best friend. Confide your secrets in Him.
Expect to hear the Holy Spirit speak in return. But don’t make hearing from God the focus of your prayers. Instead, open up your heart and let Him hear you! Maybe it helps to go on a long walk.
God will totally speak in due time.
More often than not, as I seek the Lord in this way, I find He has already deposited keys within my own heart. I often finish my own sentences with the word of the Lord!
But that’s not the primary focus. As your Friend, God places great value in your relating to Him at a heart level. Worship Him. Confide in Him. Cry. Laugh. Heal!
Rend your heart.
I have also found that praying in the Spirit helps immensely. Try interspersing your conversation with a flow of your spirit language to God. You’ll find this comes so naturally, as the Holy Spirit fulfills His role to “partner together with you against your infirmities” (Romans 8:26).
The Gift of Tears
Finally–try tears. In your time before God, you can move into weeping just like you move into worship, or laughter, or even your prayer language. You find you can navigate through to a point of connection with God’s heart.
I have found this expression of identification with God to be incredibly powerful. Haven’t you, at one time or another, wept through a pocket of pain in your heart? Only to discover the wound has been cleansed, and the pain has been healed? Yet for many of us, our healing is delayed by our own unwillingness to become vulnerable before the Lord. Not saying that communing with God in this way will bring a miracle… but it will set you on the course of healing, for yourself or for others.
Even for a nation. David found this to be true. We’ll end with His example, recorded in Psalm 56:6-9.
They attack, they lurk,
They watch my steps,
As they have waited to take my life.
Because of wickedness, cast them forth,
In anger put down the peoples, O God!
You have taken account of my wanderings;
(You have) put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?
THEN MY ENEMIES WILL BE TURNED BACK IN THE DAY I CALL.
This I know, that God is for me!