Judah’s Call

Judahs Call

Zephaniah 2:7 (NLT)

The remnant of the tribe of Judah will pasture there. They will rest at night in the abandoned houses in Ashkelon. For the Lord their God will visit his people in kindness and restore their prosperity again.

 

Prosperity is the cry of the nations today. Longing for the Hand of God to somehow save us from ourselves – we cry out for the things of this world. People don’t understand God – where He is – how He works – the way that He moves among us. So in frustration the relationship between God and His People is strained. The problem is not with God but the idea that His Prosperity is an outward maneuver rather than an inward change. We have everything we need. Every component of prosperity is available to us to meet our needs, wants and desires. Even those things too wonderful to fully comprehend already belong to us. Looking at your life, your bills and potential poverty – maybe you are wondering how this could possibly be true. Our lives are predestined by God. (Romans 8:29) He wrote every detail of our life in advance. (Psalm 139:16) His Purpose and Plan for us contains a future and hope that is good. (Jeremiah 29:11) Nothing can separate us from His Love. (Romans 8:38-39) Sin has been dealt with and grace applied when Jesus died on the Christ with the words, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) In that moment, He released His Spirit who opened tore the veil between mankind and God. He stormed into hell and the grave demanded its keys from the enemy now fallen. The graves of the godly were opened. (Matthew 27:50-52) He then took those keys and gave them back to men and women to unlock every treasure hidden for us by God. (Matthew 16:19) We are His Bride and one well-cared for. So why are God’s People struggling through life? Good question.

We have everything we need to prosper in life. We just don’t know how to use the tools that we are given. If the church ever took hold of the true concept of prosperity, not a single one would struggle to keep its doors open or ministry alive. We will come back to this little verse in Zephaniah in a moment but there is some ground to cover first.

Matthew 16:15-19 (NLT)

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

If this is our declaration, why are we living powerless lives? We all must answer the question, “But who do YOU say I am?” There are many varying answers. To call Jesus our Savior and Lord requires a change of heart and relocation of life. Many will call Jesus Lord but never really mean it. They want a Savior but remain in their sin. Nobody is perfect, but very few ever truly try out this thing called faith never really building a foundation for confident hope. Living like we want every other day of the week and just one day a week doing our religious duty hoping we will find enough grace for another six days. We live on other man’s manna. The man or woman of God pouring into the lives of others do so from a Source that is not found in one message on any given Sunday or the occasional Wednesday. Those who truly remain connected to the Source maintain a tight and trusting personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ every single day of the week to have enough to overflow and outpour to others. This group is dwindling. I am beginning to think by Divine Design. As the world around us groans in the soon and coming King’s proximity, it quakes like the rocks just before splitting to release the bodies of the saints when Jesus died on the Cross. He is coming back. You don’t have to believe it. You don’t have to like it. It is going to happen. It will all come down to one questions, “But who do you say that I am?” All the demons in hell and satan himself KNOW who Jesus is but have chosen not to serve Him and rebel against His Kingdom. What is your choice? I must focus on mine.

3 John 2-4 (TLB)

Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is. Some of the brothers traveling by have made me very happy by telling me that your life stays clean and true and that you are living by the standards of the Gospel. I could have no greater joy than to hear such things about my children.

 

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers…” In order to truly prosper in life – our soul must prosper first. This is not a one-time work but a lifelong process. You will be challenged every moment of every day to abandon ship. The world doesn’t understand faith and offers little hope. In fact, many get mad when others try to offer them a God who loves them unconditionally and a Savior who wants to save them from their sins. They have been deceived so long that such an offering only represents all the times they offered trust to be ruthlessly and carelessly cast down. If our soul is dying, what is the point of believing anything will change? Nothing in our life will change until the fruit of our soul begins to grow in the midst of faith and confident hope. Sin is the weed that chokes out new growth. It keeps us from unlocking those things we long for. Human effort is wasted for righteousness sake if our heart remains shrouded in darkness with no evidence of the Light of His Love. Like the woman in the commercial trying to explain social media to her elderly friend, “This isn’t how it works.” So today if we want a change…if we want a new life… it begins like this…

Psalm 51:12-15 (TLB)

Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to other sinners, and they—guilty like me—will repent and return to you. Don’t sentence me to death. O my God, you alone can rescue me. Then I will sing of your forgiveness, for my lips will be unsealed—oh, how I will praise you.

 

Repentance always leads to restoration. To repent is not a one and done but ongoing turning of our life over to Jesus Christ. It gives the Holy Spirit room to move through our heart and mind changing our attitudes and actions into full alignment with the Lord. Restore to me the joy of your salvation comes when we are willing to obey. Obedience to God’s Word means knowing what it says and trying to do it – no matter how things look or what the circumstances of our life may be at that time. We choose to have faith in God and trust that His Word is true enough to live His Way. This will unseal our lips as the change of heart and mind overflow us with joy and peace.

Psalm 119:90-96 (TLB)

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, like the earth you created; it endures by your decree, for everything serves your plans. I would have despaired and perished unless your laws had been my deepest delight. I will never lay aside your laws, for you have used them to restore my joy and health. I am yours! Save me! For I have tried to live according to your desires. Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind upon your promises. Nothing is perfect except your words.

Do you believe that God is faithful? Do you believe that everything serves His Plan for your life? See this is essential in turning our life over to the Lord. We must believe that He has good intentions and cares for us loving us completely to surrender the only commodity worth anything to us – our life. God’s Word is our hope. It fulfills our heart’s desire but outside of faith and confident hope that leads to obedience our soul continues to slowly die. It is natural to be jaded by the world and the way it loves. But we must not rely on what we see, but what we know about the Lord. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). But that is not enough, hope becomes a reality when we do what it says. (James 2:26) We cannot have a healthy and prospering soul without God’s Word and His Spirit active in our life. These two can only move in areas of our life surrendered to the Lord. Now let’s get back to the abandoned shack in Zephaniah 2:7…

Zephaniah 2:7 (NLT)

The remnant of the tribe of Judah will pasture there. They will rest at night in the abandoned houses in Ashkelon. For the Lord their God will visit his people in kindness and restore their prosperity again.

We are God’s Remnant. The Lord talks about a “remnant” again in Romans 9. There will be a remnant or small group that will live by faith and total trust in the Lord. Many of God’s Chosen People, Children of Israel or the Jewish community will miss salvation entirely because they continue to try to fulfill God’s Law themselves, but there will be a remnant along with the Gentiles (that’s me) who will decide to trust the Lord based on His Word and total dependence on Jesus Christ fully accepting His Work on the Cross. They will not be ashamed of the Blood but covered in it.

Now back in Zephaniah the remnant left behind in the abandoned houses of the enemy were from the tribe of Judah which means “praise”. I love to praise the Lord. It changes my perspective every time. When I am overwhelmed by the details or circumstances of my life rather than begging God to change my situation or release me, I have found that praise changes my heart and mind more quickly to accept God’s Plan over my immediate comfort. The people were living in the abandoned houses of others. They were the praisers. “For the Lord their God will visit the people in kindness and restore their ‘prosperity’ again.”

Zephaniah 3:16-20 (NLT)

On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” “I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed. On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

This is the year of restoration. Today September 13, 2015. Today marks end of Shemitah or the sabbatical year in the Jewish culture. This is a very important day for all believers. God commands that in the seventh year all debts are to be forgiven. Many are predicting a financial shaking of epic proportions. Many are preaching that God’s Favor will come to His People financially. I am excited to see what exactly the Lord is doing in this new season. However, I feel that deep within my spirit that God is whispering…”As your soul prospers…” In Zephaniah 3:16-20, the Lord begins to outline restoration for His People. Note the very last thing is “restore your fortunes.” Today we should focus on praise for that is the people that the Lord will prosper. Those who in the midst of this crazy world and shaky finances will sit in their little house, driving that old car, and praise the Lord with total abandon. He is coming. He is going to do everything He promised to do in our life according to His Word as our soul prospers so will we. The Kingdom of God holds our treasure. Our heart must be connected to the Kingdom in order to have all that it contains. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith and confident hope bound in love for the God who restores us and His Son who saved us from our sin. This connection is the Source of Life we must hold on to. God will do the rest…as our soul prospers! Today join Judah’s call to praise the Lord not for what He may or may not but for Who He is and all of His Promises. Praise Him right where you are no matter what the atmosphere currently looks like taking on the faith perspective ushered in by confident hope. Trust the Lord. He is doing better for you than you deserve. His Ultimate Goal is that you will be with Him forever. This is totally dependent on the prospering soul.

Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

 

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ou

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