Yesterday was August 6, 2011. (written Sunday, Aug 7, posted later)
Yesterday a cry went out from a people to their God.
Yesterday He heard, and Today is a new day.
Yesterday, Johnny and I attended The Response, a day of prayer and fasting for the nation, called for according to Joel chapter 2, by our governor Rick Perry.
"'Even now', declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart'..."
"'Rend your heart, and not your garment.'"
"'Declare a holy fast. Call a sacred assembly.'"
And that is what it was.
I'm not sure what we expected...but what we found was not politics, and it was not Christian 'fluff'. There was no division, no agenda voiced, religious labels of all kinds came across the platform and filled the seats, but nothing was lifted up save the name of Jesus Christ. Now THAT was a miracle to behold.
"They honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me." Matt 15:8
"They" who may have come in this condition either did not stay.....or changed.
I cannot recall everything, but I want to recount to you that which you may not find elsewhere.
As we walked in, 30 minutes late, the first thing that we noticed was a familiar worship leader on the monitor. Occasionally we have attended events and services at the Encourager Church, and we immediately recognized their worship pastor. I've not met him, but I know him to be anointed and Spirit-led, and part of a church body who, as far as I can see, as a whole, seeks the Lord in Spirit and in truth and bears fruit accordingly.
Honestly, my expectations for this event were low. We had come because our governor called us to come, and because obedience to the Word can only bring about good. Our doubts: that this event potentially originated with compromised motives, that this event might carry a flavor of religious tradition,...that this may be simply an event. But the sight of this worshipper meant that this 'event' was the real deal. Even if our doubts were true, somehow the 'all in' crowd...who we know have no agenda but to see the risen Christ glorified and honored as Saviour and King... had the mike, which meant Jesus was gonna have His way. Our expectations rose.
We were told the lower level was full, so we hurried up to level 2. This ended up giving a bird's eye view of what God must have seen.
We entered to the people singing 'Lord have mercy'. Now, I believe that mercy WAS given in the person of Jesus Christ. It is ours NOW to receive freely.
We are to approach the throne of GRACE (not the throne of condemnation, judgement, and wrath, but the throne of GRACE!!!!!! Favor we don't deserve!!!!)
with CONFIDENCE (in our accurate representation of Christ on earth? in our sincere attempt at loving God? in our having confessed and bitterly wept over every failure of our flesh? No!! In the SHED BLOOD of JESUS, nothing less........nothing more. nothing more.)
to receive MERCY and find grace (to find a disappointed Father? to receive shame? to find a closed door? to receive further instructions? ..... to find mercy.)
to HELP us in our time of NEED (when we are walking perfectly with God? No!! When we have NEED.)
So where does repentance come in? Well, ultimately the first 'repentance' or 'changing of the mind' must be TOWARD Jesus for salvation. Notice I said 'toward'. Repentance is not nearly as much about what you are turning from, as what you are turning to. In fact, simply turning from can never bring you into God's salvation or into His fullness. You must turn fully to Jesus to personally receive for yourself, what He purchased for you on the cross.
But repentance must continue in the life of a believer. Even as children of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, we all are led astray at various times and on all sorts of levels. These paths are the very ones that God warns us about because they are harmful. Saved or not, seeds are sown that naturally reap destruction in our lives. But at whatever point we repent, or turn to refocus our faces toward Jesus, to walk in the light of His counsel, we leave the destructive ways and acts that lead to death, and find ourselves reaping life. Repentance is not simply confession. Repentance is an adjustment of our hearts and minds to correct our - accidental or willful - veering from the person and purposes of Jesus.
So this is the kind of repentance that took place yesterday. There was a turning of a part of the body of Christ to re-face her Head. Many were with us in the building, but many many more took part from their own homes and churches. For 7 hours straight - no breaks - there was constant worship and prayer. No fluff. It was intense, and I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the end of it.
The first hour and a half was dedicated to personal repentance. (We missed part of this but took part in the last hour.)
The next hour and a half was dedicated to corporate repentance. Repentance on behalf of the church. We were told to divide into groups of 3 to pray. Agreement was stressed often. (Many in the room just watched, and many left at about this time. The main speaker urged personal participation in both worship and prayer several times...no spectators...no easy listening to the person on the platform. But soooo many did not actually participate. My guess is that some were scoffers who eventually left because there was nothing to scoff at, that some had come for a political rally and were simply disappointed, that some were Christians in name who had never personally encountered Jesus and were caught off guard, and that some had pure hearts but were just out of their comfort zone.) But let me tell you, there is no comfort zone in truly rending the heart. It's not comfortable. Not meant to be. I certainly wasn't comfortable. But the sincerity and necessity was evident, and many were drawn from their former states into a willingness they'd not known they had.
The next segment of time was spent on the 1st commandment...loving God. Mike Bickle of IHOP Kansas City led this. If there is anyone who knows how to purely pursue the presence of God and then reverently steward His moving, it's him. (If you google his name, you'll find that the enemy hates him fiercely. But go to www.mikebickle.org or read this facebook post: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=117592184955831&topic=68 and judge for yourself. I regretfully admit that his devotion to Jesus exceeds my own.)
Here is a portion of what he spoke yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1NlnmJXqbA
So after this, for another couple of hours we centered our worship and prayers on Jesus Himself, His truth, His standards, His love. We cried out for a personal revelation of the love of God. We prayed for the 400,000 churches in America, for a revelation of the love of God in every heart in every church, especially for the pastors. I can't find worship clips from yesterday, but here is a link for "You Won't Relent" by Misty Edwards of IHOPKC, who led the worship, including this song, for quite a while. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0F109Acx14 (from 2007)
See, we don't have a clue about the love of God. Scripture says that it surpasses knowledge...that it takes the power of God to grasp it. But we cannot love God or love others without it. However, with it we can be filled to the measure of the fullness of God! Eph 3. Folks, it is not selfish to cry out for a revelation of God's love....it is imperative! Those protesters we passed and all of the haters whose rhetoric floods the internet...they are the way they are because Christ's church does not LOVE. And we don't love because we have not been rooted and established in love. The words we use to describe God's love cannot begin to impart the actual love of God to the hearer. And they certainly do not fill us to the measure of the fullness of God. No, we must individually open ourselves to that love that surpasses knowledge...to the love that requires power to grasp...God's kind of power. It's not of this realm, and no manmade establishment can house it. BUT it IS available to us. Isn't that wonderful? Because I need it desperately.
During this portion of prayer, and during the last portion spent praying for revival by God's definition, we spent much time singing of the blood of Jesus and the holiness of God. The old anointed hymns like "Nothing but the blood" rang out, the sound itself carrying the power of that very blood. These hymns intermingled with songs of worship such as "Holy", led by Matt Gilman, also of IHOPKC. (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dvi1WPcrG4k (clip of "Holy" live from 2007)
It was during this time that the entire atmosphere changed. It was as if God Himself filled that arena, just receiving His glory. There was tangible majesty, tangible joy, a tangible fullness that I cannot describe. It was glorious. I've felt His Presence that way many times during extended prayer and worship. But this was different, because when I opened my eyes, everyone in the place had changed. Everyone was aware of Him. Where there had been at least a hum of distracted conversation the rest of the time, that hum was now silenced before a holy and worthy God. "We Exalt Thee", a cappella, filled every crevice. He is Holy. He is Worthy. He is Most Holy, Most Worthy.
And there in that stillness, joy unspeakable rose up. We knew God had heard. And we knew He was good. And then nothing short of a Holy Ghost party broke out! Jumping and clapping and dancing to shouts of praise burst out all around. No offense, but even the old people around me were moving more than I'd seen them move all day! Heaven is no solemn place! In His presence is FULLNESS of joy!!!! That means, as much joy as you have had and displayed ever, for any reason, here on earth....in His presence there is MORE!!!
You know how you feel when you bite off more than you can chew? Well, that's the sense that I got from Perry, but in a good way. Of course this is just speculation, but I believe something happened to him in those 7 hours. I believe something deeper was awakened.
Afterward we spoke with several of our friends who wished they'd known about it, wished they'd known it was the real deal, wished they hadn't forgotten, wished they'd participated, wished they'd been one of the ones repenting and praying and worshipping. You may feel the same way. I wish we had pushed this more. I wish our churches had pushed it more. But the good news is....you didn't miss anything!
The time for repentance is always now. Your heart, your mouth, right where you are.
The time for prayer and praise is always now. God hears, and He inhabits your praise from your living room or your cubicle or the pasture just the same.
But if you would like to join in agreement specifically, the archives will be up soon at www.theresponseusa.com. There is so much I left out. The words of Tony Evans, David Barton, the old guard who repents for leaving the church in such a state, Hagee and Israel, the guy who spoke throughout whose name I don't know, the prayers of children, the many specific things we agreed on in prayer... Set apart a day to watch it and participate by yourself or with your family or life group.
God is Faithful. And I believe we can expect to see His goodness in the land of the living.
Yesterday was August 6, 2011. (written Sunday, Aug 7, posted later)
11:07 AM Posted by Lacey Bankhead
8:45 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead
Johnny's been praying for his boss's boss who was diagnosed with cancer...apparently the original test 'lit up' with cancer. But now, the and biopsies show nothing. No trace. !
8:38 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead
8:36 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead
7 down. 53 to go! I am believing for this continued complete miracle! I believe in miracles! I receive my miracle of 60 lbs supernatural weightloss!! Thank You Jesus!!!! You are so good!"
- deliverance from extreme OCD, spirit of fear/anxiety (R.M.)
- pain relief in right arm (A.T.)
- headache, stress relief (J.R.)
- vomiting ceased...in the individual and did not spread to family members (C.C.)
5:50 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead
This healing came very soon after this request went out:
An hour or so later, my dad called to say that the baby was doing fine! Days later I learned the baby was born and mommy and baby are well."Friends, please pray right now for David and Kerry Kersh. Kerry is past the due date with their first child, and a fluid test on the baby showed that there may be a problem. They've induced her this afternoon, and if not dilated, she'll go in for a C-section tomorrow. Please pray 1)that the baby is whole now in Jesus' name and will be delivered healthy from head to toe, 2) for Kerry's complete peace and a sound mind (as per the Word), 3)for a peaceful birth with no complications, 4)for powerful, faith-filled nurses and doctors who operate in all ways according to the guidance of the . We praise You ahead of time, Father, for the greater-than-we-can-ask-or-imagine outcome of this situation with your children! "
Praise!! Testimony of healing from Paula S. -
First and most important, on June 6th of this summer, Tyler made public his faith in Jesus' gift of salvation. He was baptized on August 15th. This is his freshman year in high school and he was the starting quarterback and defensive safety for the freshman team. They were playing in Kerrville and he tackled a guy while on defense and broke his collarbone right before the end of the half. It was heartbreaking to him. I don't know if you've been around anyone who has trained for an athletic sport but Tyler has worked more than three years to earn his position as quarterback. We saw the crack on the x-ray at the ER in Kerrville. Today, 17 days later, the x-ray showed no crack. This week is an off week for them (no game) so it gives him extra days to lift weights and condition but absolutely no contact. The coach said they will take good care of him and he will not get hit!! He will go back to the doctor on the 11th to x-ray again. If (when) the doctor releases him, he may be able to play in the last three games. !
I know God blesses us with miracles each and every day which, sadly, go totally unnoticed. Hopefully, God answering Tyler's specific prayer and giving him the "desires of his heart" will have a dramatic impacted on his (and all of our) relationship and understanding of our Lord! Major prayer answered at age 15...PRICELESS!!
5:47 PM Posted by Lacey Bankhead