Isaiah 59: Sin & Intercession

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Have you ever wondered why we don’t see the power and hand of God in our meetings today? Or maybe you feel like Gideon when he exclaimed “, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about,” (Judges 6:13). Jesus said in John 14:12, “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do”. I have often wondered where are the greater works? I have often asked God what is missing?

I think Isaiah 59 has the answer.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear” – Isaiah 59:1.

So it’s not because the Lord’s hand got tired of saving people and healing. It surely is not because His ear is not as sharp due to old age or weakness. His hand is still as strong today as it was the day he parted the red sea( Exodus 14), and his ear is as sharp today as it was on the day He heard Elijah’s prayer for fire and sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice( 1 kings 17).

But Isaiah 59 highlights two main reasons, which I believe are very applicable to today!

  1. The problem of Sin

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.”- Isaiah 59: 2(NKJV)

If there was one word to describe the cause of all the sufferings of the world, the fall of humanity, our lack of communion and fellowship with God, pains and diseases in our bodies, it would be Sin! Sin is detestable to God, because God is Holy! Oh how many times we have sung the hymns saying “Holy is the Lord” but it never sunk deep into our hearts. Our lips are full of praises and honor to God, but our hearts are removed far from Him. Lord Change us!

“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,” – Isaiah 29:13(NKJV)

Outward worship

Wicked heart

Wicked heart

When we reject his message and instead choose to listen to lies that give us comfort to continue in our ways of sinning, the repercussions  will come for us suddenly when we least expect it.

“Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:

Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant
.” – Isaiah 30:12-13(NIV)

It’s very foolish to think that we will not suffer the consequences of sin just because we are saved. That’s what Jeremiah 7 is saying. We cannot continue to live in lies, perversion, immorality & compromise and then stand before God and say I am safe because of “Grace”. That’s prostituting the precious blood of Jesus!

 “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!” – Jeremiah 7:8-11(NLT)

If we are born of God, we have overcome the world. Because whatever is born of God overcomes the world. But if we claim to be born of God, but continue to Sin, we should stop and ask God if there’s that accursed nature that is of the devil still in us.

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” – 1 John 4:6(NIV)

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” – 1 John 4:9(NIV)

So beloved Sin is serious. We cannot continue to sin and expect to have fellowship and communion with God. We must repent, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that may be hidden in us (Psalm 139:23-24) and put to death what belongs to our earthly nature( Colossians 3:5) because we have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer we, but it is Him, that lives inside of us.(Galatians 2:20)

  1. The Problem of the Intercessor

“Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;”– Isaiah 59: 16(NKJV)

God is always looking for a partner on earth. He has always used men and women who were in alignment with His will to be his hands and feet on earth. Romans 8:26-27 says that “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”. But for this Holy spirit to make intercession, He needs human vessels who are willing to be used.

However, He rarely finds such willing vessels. Thus, the frustration of God in Isaiah 59:16. “the Lord saw it and it displeased Him…there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor”. In another place, Ezekiel 22:30, the Lord shares the same frustration. “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” There was no one to stand in the gap! There was not a single person to cry out to God on behalf of the nation!

There was no intercessor! What a tragedy!

Intercession is more than prayer.

Intercession is not just intense prayer, although it is quite intense.

“There are three things to be seen in an intercessor, which are not necessarily found in ordinary prayer: identification, agony and authority” – Rees Howells Intercessor by Norman Grubb(RHI)

Identification is to be able to not only relate and empathize with the person or group that you are interceding for, but it is identifying with the said person or group by placing yourself in that person’s position and suffering, being tempted, humbling and lowering yourself to that person’s position.

“The identification of the intercessor with the ones for whom he intercedes is perfectly seen in the savior.” – (RHI)

“Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.” – Isaiah 53:12(NKJV)

“Identification is thus the first law of the intercessor. He pleads effectively because he gives his life for those he pleads for; he is their genuine representative; he has submerged his self-interest in their needs and sufferings, and as far as possible has literally taken their place” – (RHI)

Agony then comes as a byproduct of the initial act of identification. Take a look at this excerpt from the book Rees Howells Intercessor by Norman Grubb

“When the Holy Ghost really lives His life in a chosen vessel there is no limit to the extremes to which He will take him in His passion to warn and save the lost. Isaiah, that aristocrat, had to go “naked and bare-footed” for three years as a warning to Israel. We can hardly credit such a thing! Hosea had to marry a harlot, to show his people that the heavenly Husband was willing to take back His adulterous bride. Jeremiah was not allowed to marry, as a warning to Israel against the terrors and tragedies of captivity. Ezekiel was not allowed to shed one tear for the death of his wife, “the desire of his eyes”

“If the intercessor knows identification and agony, he/she also knows authority. It is the law of the corn of wheat and the harvest: “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” – RHI

Rees Howells Intercessor-0

Conclusion

Isaiah 59 shows us that the Lord’s hand is not short, nor his ear heavy but that our sins have separated us from God. Our sins have hidden His face from us, so that He will not hear. It also states in verse 16 that the Lord was displeased because there was no intercessor and no one to stand in the gap before the nation.

Will you hide in Sin and continue to live in it through the guise of “I’m struggling with this or I messed up this time”. Or will you be one to come before God in repentance and confess your sins, and ask for the Holy Spirit to help you walk out the worthy calling and authority you have as one Born of God?

Will you be that person that God is looking for to stand in the gap and cry out for the salvation of your friends, families, city, college, high school, and nation? Will you be like Abraham and intercede for the salvation of a whole city (Genesis 18:22-33)? We see in Genesis 19:20 that Lot asked for a town to be spared and it was spared! 2 peter 2:7 tells us that Lot was a righteous man, who was distressed by filthy lives of lawless men. God will surely hear the plea and intercession of a righteous person!

May we examine our hearts and repent before the Lord to be near Him today! May our sins and iniquities no longer create a wall and a barrier between the Holy One and us! May our prayers find favor before the Lord! May He give us a burden to be intercessors and to stand in the Gap praying for the Salvation of our Nation and the Nations today! In Jesus’ name! Amen!

These are the days of Noah. Are you ready?

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(image: fewthehardway.com)

Our time is short, how are we investing it? Are we building personal sand castles or are we preparing the ark for the day the Lord will flood the earth with His Glory? Are our lamps filled with oil or are we going to have to scramble because we are carrying empty jars?

Full Text Luke 17:20-37, Matthew 24:36-51

“26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”- Luke 17:26-27(NKJV)

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.- Matthew 24:37-39(NKJV)

I believe we are in the last days before the coming of Christ. But the church is asleep! And unless the bride awakens and waits in expectancy, it will be very dreadful on that day.

We are a Noah generation. Noah was living in times of great evil and sensuality. “The Lord saw how great mans’ wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” v6. Yet, in this time of great lewdness and perversity, Noah was a rare jewel.

Why?

“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God”- Genesis 6:9(NIV)

Friend now is not the time to walk in the lane of compromise. The lanes are splitting and that is not the narrow gate that leads to life!

“Choose this day who you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. – Joshua 24:14 -15

Does that statement describe your life? Or are you dabbling in idol worship and worshiping God at the same time? Can others tell that you are different when you open your mouth or do you spew the same filth and profanity that permeates the airwaves and the radio frequencies? If Jesus were to show up today( either you going to meet him through death, or the Glorious King returning to earth in all of his splendor), will He say “well done, good and faithful servant!”-Matthew 25:23 or will He say “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you” – Matthew 25:12?

“Go into the ark you and your whole family. Because I have found you righteous”- Genesis 7:1

Because Noah walked with God, God extended grace and mercy for his family to be spared. Is our walk with God that intimate and close, that he sends an extended family invitation to the feast or are we being saved as only escaping through the flames?( 1 Corinthians 3:15)

Let us stand in faith and ask God for the salvation of our families. If we are truly sons and daughters, then shouldn’t we take Psalms 2:7-8 at face value and ask for the salvation of our families as an inheritance?

We see in Luke 15 the story of the prodigal son. For illustration purposes here, we may call it the story of the Father and the son who didn’t know the Father’s heart. I am not referring to the son who went out and squandered all of his inheritance. I mean the son, who was in the house of the father, yet was angered and envious when his own brother came home in repentance and broken!

I wonder if he ever asked his father how he felt about his son who left home. Why didn’t his brother go looking for him? If he was truly about serving his father as he exclaimed, then why wasn’t he glad when his father rejoiced? It’s because he didn’t have the father’s heart!

Do you have the Father’s heart? Do you rejoice in what he rejoices in and are you saddened and heartbroken over what breaks His heart? Are you close to his heart that you are able to hear His heartbeat? If not, I’ve got news for you! It beats: “SOULS, SOULS, and SOULS”!

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” – Luke 15:7(NKJV)

These last days will be a time of great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and also a time of great persecution and evil. I don’t need to convince you about the latter. Take a look at what has happened in Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, and Israel… There’s a systematic and organized war that has been declared against the Church and Christians. What CNN or Fox News might now have broadcasted to you is though, that there is also a great revival and awakening that’s brewing in the hearts and souls of young men and women! The seeds of a new Jesus movement of radical, love-sick sons and daughters who are totally abandoned and surrendered are growing! A Gideon’s army of a few consecrated who are not in the forefront of church stages or big TV ministries but are waging war day and night in the secret place! A breed of young and old, who are striving with God for His mercy and hand upon our Nation!

Just as God remembered Noah and his family in Genesis 8:1, God will remember his servants who cry out to him day and night!

“So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” – Luke 18: 7-8(NLT)

Friend, the last days are here! The days where all the prophets prophesied about the return of the King!

“He’s not a baby in a manger anymore! He’s coming! Awake, Awake, who sleep! Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David! The slain Lamb! He was born to be a King! He’s alive! The Jewish Man! He’s alive! Prepare the Way! People get ready! Surely He’s not a man that He would lie! Surely He will come again!

Some say the carpenter. Some say the teacher. They said the prophet. They said He’s a fraud? He’s a God!

Who is this King of Glory? Jesus! Messiah! The root and the offspring of David! The same way He ascended He will descend again! He’s doing a new thing! Are you ready?” – Misty Edwards

 

 

Power of Prayer(pt. 2)

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(courtesy of: burningheartsmin.org)

Jesus’ life on earth was so powerful and impactful, that it created one question from the disciples. He performed many miracles. He healed many who were sick. He delivered those who were demon possessed. He even summoned Lazarus from the grave after he had been in there for more than 3 days. Yet the disciples inquired only one thing from Jesus.

They didn’t ask him to teach them how to heal the sick. They never asked him to teach them how to raise the dead. They never asked him to teach them how to cast out demons (although in one failed attempt they approached him privately to understand why they weren’t successful, Matthew 17:19). They understood something. They knew that the source of Jesus’ power was Prayer! They had noticed how often, how fervently and how so naturally that He prayed. So what was their one question?

“Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1(NKJV)

In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches us how to pray!

  1. First rule of thumb: Don’t be a Hypocrite! The fastest way to an unanswered/unheard prayer is hypocrisy! Jesus hated hypocrisy! So does God the Father and God the Holy Spirit!

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. – Matthew 6:5(NKJV)

 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7(NKJV)

In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus speaks a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee stood, presumably where other worshipers would be able to see him, and prayed by telling God his righteousness. Even more than that He was telling God He was better than that tax collector in the temple (He must have skipped Isaiah 64:6,all of our righteousness are like filthy rags, during his devotion 🙂 ). Yet, Jesus tells us that the sinner who wouldn’t even dare lift his head up and cried for mercy went home justified than that hypocrite!

  1. Shut your door/ Go into the secret place

“6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” – Matthew 6:6(NKJV)

 The second thing that Jesus said was to go to the secret place, where you shut everything in the world out and where your Father is already there waiting for you! He’s already there, so the moment you separate yourself from your daily routine, and chose to be alone with Him, He’s listening.

I think a lot of times we feel like we have to strive and try so hard to get God’s ears or attention. But I believe, He’s already looking for people who have set their eyes on Him! This should make our job so much easier.

2 Chronicles 16:9 says “

 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

The secret place is so important for prayer! That’s why we see that when Jesus walked on the earth He would leave the disciples to pray alone and be with His father. He was already filled with the Holy Spirit and knew what God’s heart was for the day in his prayer time, so He had no problem with opening the eyes of the blind, casting out demons , healing the sick and proclaiming Good news as he went about His day.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalms 91:1(NKJV)

  1. Pray to your Father!

A lot of people have this view of God is that He’s a cruel taskmaster with a stick in his hand ready to whack you the moment you make a mistake. No! No! No! He’s a loving Father who desires to commune with His children. When an omnipotent God who has all power and can do anything takes time to create you and me in His image that tells me that He cares about me. He didn’t just speak me into existence. He made me in his image and breathed his breath into me!

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.” – Deuteronomy 10:17-18(NKJV)

 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” – John 17:24 (NKJV)

 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 john 3:1(NKJV)

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8:15-16(NKJV)

The moment our thoughts about God become right, everything else falls in place. The way we see ourselves will no longer be dictated by our accomplishments, other people’s approval, our success in ministry, our popularity but rather it becomes who the Father says we are! We are Children of the most high.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
A.W. Tozer

We don’t have a purpose crisis in the church right now. We have an identity crisis. When we realize who we are in Christ, we start to live our lives in reality of that fact. That changes our lives. That changes our prayers!

  1. Pray in Faith & Pray with Others

You may have heard of Charles Finney, the great American evangelist. He was the leader of the 2nd great awakening in the US and has been called “The Father of modern revivalism”. What many may not know is that he had a personal intercessor, Father Daniel Nash, who would go to a city or town sometimes 2 or 3 weeks in advance to pray and intercede. Daniel Nash would go to a place as led by the Holy Spirit, and would often spend days and more in a room praying and fasting and groaning in the spirit for the Holy Spirit to move in that town and for the salvation of souls!

Charles Finney’s great public evangelistic ministry was empowered by the private prayer and partnership of Finney & Nash. Daniel was a man of prayer and of faith! He often had a list of individuals he would pray for to receive salvation, and he saw a great breakthrough of salvation for those he prayed for.

The great evangelist, Charles Finney, left his itinerant ministry for the pastorate within three or four months after Daniel Nash went home to be with the Lord. This shows you how powerful prayer of faith & intercession is in seeing revival and a move of God!

“And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” – Luke 18:7(NKJV)

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:19-20(NKJV)

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:6-8(NKJV)

Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray according to your will today! Father let my heart’s cry be what you heart beats for! Father let salvation come forth in my family, friends, place of work, city, country and beyond. Lord my prayer is that your name would be famous on all the earth! That all your children would bow down and worship you as King and Lord today! Lord, let heaven come and invade the earth! Abba let your will be done in my life, and not my will! Holy Spirit fill me with your goodness and presence today!

In Jesus’ name, Amen!