ASK FOR RAIN!

[SW177] 03/20/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Ask for Rain”
Word:  The Lord is setting the stage for revival. It’s time to pray!

Text: Zechariah 10:1ff

Spoken to: The remnant that returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Zechariah and Haggai prophesied to the rebuilders, encouraging them (Ezra 5:1, 6:4), for their natural AND spiritual restoration!

v. 1 Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain — it is spring, as of today!

— Ask rain not from man, but from the Lord! He is the only One who has what we need — His life, His heart, His love and His power in us!

— So if we ask the Lord, He will give us showers of rain

Joel 2:23 NIV    Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.

Showers of blessing (Ezekiel 34:26)!

— And we who are His people will be fruitful and have abundance once again. What abundance? The Holy Spirit. What fruit? His fruit. When His fruit is manifested, many souls will be saved.

Rain represents blessing and revival. The need to pray for it means something has been amiss between God and us. The next verse tells us what is amiss.

v.v. 2-3a False gods, false shepherds

— We have looked to dead, inanimate things that cannot answer us (Psalm 115:4-8), rather than to the living God. We have listened to ear ticklers, so we are wandering sheep without a shepherd. We have not heeded the voice of the Good Shepherd.

v. 3b But the Lord has visited his flock! He is our true Shepherd!

— Why does He use the past tense? Because in heaven, where He dwells, He sees the end, and He sees the beginning. He sits above time, so He says He has visited, even before we see that He has visited.

— Visit means He will go to see, avenge, care for, deliver to keep, and remember!

When we went astray, He left us to our own devices. But He has not forgotten us. At the appointed time, He returns to us — that’s what “remembered” means.

— He will make us like HIS majestic horse in battle.

— Horses were a superior instrument of warfare battle in those times.

— They were a symbol of swiftness, sure-footedness, power.

— No longer will we trust in men or natural horses. Instead, we will be like the Lord’s horses! Swift. sure-footed, powerful in His power! And He never loses a battle!

v. 4     His Cornerstone —  His Christ
His tent peg — His support
His bow of battle (He trains our fingers for battle, and makes us able to bend               a bow of bronze (Psalm 144:1, 18:34)
His rulers — no longer chosen by men, but by Him

v. 5     We will be as mighty warriors (2 Cor 10:5)
We will tread down the enemy (1John 4:4, James 4:7)
We will fight, for the Lord will be with us (2 Chronicles 20:15, 20)

v. 6    The Lord will strengthen us (make us firm so we prevail against the Enemy)
He will deliver us (save us out of the miry clay we’ve been in)
He will bring us back to Himself
He has racham toward us (tender mercy, like a mother toward her child)!

It will be as though He never rejected us (cast us off, moved us away from Him), though He did reject us when we followed false gods and false shepherds.

Why? Because HE is our God.

He will visited us, go to see  us, avenge us, care for us, deliver us to keep us, and remember us!

v. 9 Our exile from His presence caused us to remember Him, and now, He will remember us.

v. 10 He will bring us back from sin (Egypt).

v. 11 We will cross over and out of the sea of distress (trouble, anguish) and not drown in it.

He will strike the waves in the sea, as in the Exodus, so that even the mightiest waters dry up.

The scepter will depart Egypt — sin will no longer rule us.

Assyria’s (in this case, a typology or symbol of Satan as well as a real kingdom) pride will be cast down, it will fall down, Satan will fall down.

v. 12 Again, He says I will strengthen you in Me.

— Not in our own strength

— And He says, “They will walk in My name,” as representing Me, having My character and nature. He declares it!

We will, indeed, become partakers of the divine nature, and that will permanently repair the rift between us and our God. HALLELUJAH!

Beloved, a warning from the Lord — when He sends the rain, do not try to manage it or manipulate it. Just stand by and let Him work in hearts. Simply rejoice as you watch Him!

And remember, it will no longer be necessary to work real hard to be like Jesus — He will do the heavy lifting. All we have to do is agree with Him as we walk with Him!

Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain! He is coming to visit us once again, to free His people and bring them back to Himself!

Come back to Him even now, this very moment! Cast away your idols and false shepherds to the moles and the bats! Now is the time!

REBUILDING – SPIRITUAL WARFARE

We must be fully submitted to God to defeat the Enemy’s attempts to keep the church of today from being healed of its brokenness!

[SW139] 05/03/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Spiritual Warfare”

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild. Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!

But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us. How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare!

Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare

Chapter 5 — Conviction regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance

Chapter 10 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah interceded for Jerusalem after his countrymen brought him the sad news that the city was in great distress and reproach, with its wall broken down and its gates burned with fire.

He asked the Lord for favor with King Artaxerxes, and reminded the Lord of His promise to return them to Jerusalem if they returned to their God.

He found favor, indeed! The king sent Nehemiah with authority, timber, officers of the army and horsemen to rebuild Jerusalem.

Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, with something God was putting on his heart to do for Jerusalem. After surveying the destruction, he spoke to the people:

Come, let us rebuild
The hand of my God has been favorable to me
The king supports us

Enter the Enemy, in this case represented by a Horonite (that is, from Moab). Sanballat’s name means “may sin (the moon god) give him life.” He was the governor of Samaria, which used to be northern Israel before they were sent into exile because of their sin. The King of Samaria peppered the land with a mixture of followers of many gods.

When he heard of the repairs (so cool — the literal word is healing), Sanballat mocked, despised, accused. He was furious (2734 burning with anger) and very angry (3707 provoked). So he insulted them in Verse 2. I love Sanballat’s last words in that verse: Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble, even the burned stones?” Oh, yes! Our God can revive the church and make her living stones again (1Peter 2:4-10)!!!! All things are possible with God:

Matthew 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “ With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’  All things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus  said, “ With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Sanballat’s cohorts are Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arab. Tobiah chimes in with Sanballat. What the Jews are building will fall under the weight of a fox. Thus, the Jews who are building become demoralized.

Does Nehemiah get armed men together to physically attack the Enemy? No, he calls on God, in Verse 4-5. God, not Nehemiah, put it in Nehemiah’s heart to restore Jerusalem. Since it wasn’t Nehemiah’s idea, he was able to call on God.

So the whole wall was joined to half height, for the people had a heart to work.

What does the Enemy do when he sees us succeed in rebuilding? He forms a conspiracy to come and fight against and destroy the rebuilders. But we have One who has come to give us His life, His power, His Spirit abundantly!

Does Nehemiah get armed men together to physically attack the Enemy? No, he prays to God. He calls on God, he prays to God and sets up a guard. Prayer is the offensive weapon in spiritual warfare, and guarding is the defensive weapon:

2Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war  according to the flesh,  4 for the  weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but  divinely powerful  for the destruction of fortresses.  5 We are destroying speculations and every  lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the  obedience of Christ . . .

And from the Interlinear Greek-to-English literal translation:

Ephesians 6:10 Be made powerful in the Lord, and in the might of His strength. Put in all the armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil, because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the rulers of this world, of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenlies.”

And the last weapon spoken of in Ephesians 6?

Ephesians 6:18    With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all  perseverance and  petition for all the saints  . . .”

In Nehemiah 4:10, the people of Judah confess that they are unable to rebuild the wall in their own strength. God will do it!

The Enemy plans to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), but Christ has come that we may have His life in us, abundantly! And if we have His life in us, the Enemy has nothing on us.

The Enemy plans to attack and kill and put a stop to the rebuilding.

The Jews who lived near them heard of their plan, and told the leaders 10 times that they would come up from every direction and attack — words of fear, spoken 10 times. It is as Israel did in Numbers 13:33, coming with a bad report that they were like grasshoppers among the people of Canaan. These are words of unbelief!

Did Nehemiah form an army to physically attack the Enemy? No. He armed the people, but they were to stand:

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, take up  the full armor of God, so that you will be able to  resist in  the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  14 Stand firm therefore,  HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING  PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,  15 and having  shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;  16  in addition to all, taking up the  shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the  flaming arrows of  the evil one. 17 And take  THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the  sword of the Spirit, which is  the word of God.

Do we have no armor for our backs? Of course we do:

Isaiah 52:12 But you will not go out in haste,
    Nor will you go as fugitives;
    For the  LORD will go before you,
    And  the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The people feared. But Nehemiah exhorted them to remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for what He has promised you (Verse 14). Because God put the rebuilding into Nehemiah’s heart and it was not a scheme Nehemiah cooked up on his own, God would fight for them!

Remember what happened to the people when they decided to enter the promised land anyway, after the Lord rebuked them for their unbelief? They were defeated. It was their idea, not God’s, to enter the land after God’s rebuke and His promise that they would wander 40 years in the desert before entering the land. There is no victory if the Lord is not in the midst, beloved!

Once the Enemy heard that their plan had been discovered and God had frustrated their plan, they could not carry it out. So the rebuilders continued their work. But not without the armor (Verses 16-17).

And a trumpeter was assigned to blow the trumpet if he saw the Enemy approaching. He would sound the trumpet and the people would assemble themselves where the trumpet had been sounded. But they would not fight — God would fight for them.

The work went on from the rising of the dawn to when the stars came out. Half of the workers held spears for defense, even carrying their weapon to the water, and never removing their clothes. They stayed in the city continually, not leaving to return home, so they could both guard and labor without ceasing.

Admonishment to today’s church:

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)! Pray for the rebuilding of the church!

Beloved, unless you are submitted to God, He will not hear your prayers, and you will not defeat the Enemy who is continually conspiring to keep the church from being rebuilt (James 4:1-7)!

Submit to God, beloved. Ask Him to change your heart, to give you a new one, a heart that is not out for its own interests, that does not demand its own rights, that does not hate, but one that completely belongs to God and is filled with His love. The Enemy cannot stand and will retreat, his attack foiled, if we are fully submitted to God, and following what He has put into our hearts, and not our own imaginings.

The Lord will be your rear guard under these circumstances only:

Isaiah 52:11    Depart, depart, go out from there,
     Touch nothing unclean;
    Go out of the midst of her,  purify yourselves,
    You who carry the vessels of the LORD.

Go out of the midst of the world, purify yourselves. Then He will go before you, and He will be your rear guard, and you will have victory over the Enemy!

REBUILDING – HIS INSPIRATION AND STRENGTH

First intercede, then seek provision, then act on the inspiration of God, the heart of God that we have sought and got!

[SW138] 04/26/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — His Inspiration and Strength”

First we intercede, standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild. Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!
Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:
Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Defeating the Enemy

Chapter 5 — Conviction regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance

Chapter 10 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 2:11-20

Nehemiah interceded for Jerusalem after his countrymen brought him the sad news that the city was in great distress and reproach, with its wall broken down and its gates burned with fire.

He asked the Lord for favor with King Artaxerxes, and reminded the Lord of His promise to return them to Jerusalem if they returned to their God.

He found favor, indeed! The king sent Nehemiah with authority, timber, officers of the army and horsemen to rebuild Jerusalem.

Nehemiah now arrived in Jerusalem. After three days, he and a few men secretly went out under cover of night to survey the damage. He likely rode a horse.

He told no one “what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem.”

That’s the key scripture for this message. All that Nehemiah did was inspired by the Lord! All Scripture is inspired by Him (2Timothy 3:16, 2Peter 1:20-21). All men and women must be, to rebuild Jerusalem then and to rebuild the church now.

And when it is truly the Lord’s inspiration, He will give you His strength, and many will join hands with you to rebuild, just as with Nehemiah. Not all will join you. But many will.

Not all followed Jesus, and ultimately, even His closest disciples abandoned Him. He would like a pretty poor leader, by today’s standards. So would Paul, who lost his head for Jesus, and Peter, who was crucified upside down. What failures, some said. But they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, shepherding the church faithfully and teaching believers that they needed to be filled with all the fullness of Christ. That’s how to rebuild — not by might, not by power, but by the Holy Spirit!

Beloved, beware of who you follow. Many leaders are leading people through the broad gate, and many follow them down the wide path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). I say this because I love you.

Nehemiah did not look to Egypt:

Isaiah 30:1   “Woe to the  rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
    “Who  execute a plan, but not Mine,
    And   make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
    In order to add sin to sin;
2 Who  proceed down to Egypt
    Without  consulting  Me,
     To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh
    And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 “Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be  your shame
    And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.

I tell you, beloved, we have been looking to Egypt. We have been looking to business practices, making our pastors CEOs, and we have been trusting in Management by Objectives (MBO) — Peter Drucker has become our advisor! We consult “pop” psychology instead of our Father in heaven. How do I know this? Our great ideas are not scriptural. Therefore, the Lord has humiliated us and made us a reproach.

Nehemiah did not trust in horses and chariots:

Isaiah 31:1   Woe to those who go down to  Egypt for help
    And  rely on horses,
    And trust in chariots because they are many
    And in horsemen because they are very strong,
    But they do not  look to the  Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!

Nehemiah did not seek the support or assistance of the pagan nations around him, but rather, spurned it:

Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite  official, and  Geshem the Arab heard it,  they mocked us and despised us and said, “What is this thing you are doing?  Are you rebelling against the king?”  20 So I answered them and said to them, “ The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build,  but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah did not forge ahead under his own inspiration. He interceded, got the heart of God, and God inspired him.

But if our leaders are blind to the spiritual condition of the church, they will not intercede for her. If they seek worldly ways to grow the church, they will ultimately fail:

Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are  wise in their own eyes
    And clever in their own sight!

So Nehemiah told no one what his God had put on his heart to do for Jerusalem, until he had inspected the damage. In some spots, the wall was so broken down that he could not pass through on his mount.

Then he returned and spoke to the people:

Come, let us rebuild
The hand of my God has been favorable to me
The king supports us

I tell you, beloved, they will say, “Let us arise and rebuild” and will put their hands to the work!

The Enemy will mock, despise and accuse. But like Nehemiah, who sought and got God’s heart, we will say to the Enemy:

Nehemiah 2:20 So I answered them and said to them, “ The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build,  but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”  

The sheep gate will be consecrated, and there will be no bolts or bars. Access will be free for every sheep of the Good Shepherd!

Side by side, the people will work, united in purpose.

The gates and walls will be rebuilt!

REBUILDING – PROVISION

[SW136] 04/12/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church —Provision”

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.

Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Interceding

Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision

Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom

Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discerning

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting

Chapter 10 — Consecrating

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 2

Having heard the report that the remnant in Judah was under great distress and reproach, Nehemiah interceded for the sons of Israel, asking the Lord to forgive, and reminding Him of His promise that, if they would return to Him, He would return them to Israel. He asked the Lord for mercy when he went before King Artaxerxes.

It was not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit that Jersusalem and its walls and temple would be rebuilt (Zechariah 4:6). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Spirit-filled believers, will the church be rebuilt.

As intercessors for today’s church, we ask the Lord Jesus Christ, head of the church, to have compassion on His church. Unlike Nehemiah, thought, we do not deal with a pagan king as an intermediary used by God — we go to the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One who is above all things:

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created through Him and for Him.  17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

The earth is His, and all that is in it (Psalm 24:1)!

He preserves His promise to those who love and obey Him (Nehemiah 1:5)!

We can come before Him and ask whatever we will, and He will do it:

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because  I go to the Father. 13 “ Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that  the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything  in My name, I will do it.”

The Lord sees our sadness of heart over the brokenness in the church (Nehemiah 2:2). But we are not afraid, as Nehemiah rightfully was afraid of the pagan king. No, perfect love casts out fear of punishment:

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but  perfect love casts out fear, because fear  involves punishment, and the one who fears is not  perfected in love.

And so:

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Oh, our King lives forever! As we sit at the table with the Father, Son and Spirit, the Son will ask us, “What would you request?”

Our desires are Your desires, Lord Jesus. We have come to do Your will, O Lord; Your Law is written in our hearts (Psalm 40:6)!

We will say, “Send me to Your broken church, that we may rebuild it” (v. 5).

“Whom shall We send, and who shall go for Us?” Isaiah said, “Here am I! Send me!” He saw the Lord highly exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. His heart was cleansed by the coal of fire touching His lips, in Isaiah 6!

It will please the King of kings to send us (v. 7), and we will return to Him at the appointed time.

Our fathers were in the church, and we want to bring it back to what it was in those days. The church was with Christ at one time, but now all but a remnant have been exiled from God’s presence.

What must we ask our King for?

— First, authority. We must have authority to pass through Enemy territory, from the One who is greater than our Enemy, Satan:

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to  tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that  your names are recorded in heaven.”

Beloved, in today’s church, few have asked for Christ’s authority to pass through Enemy territory. Therefore we are blindsided and ambushed, deceived and destroyed.

We cannot ask for Christ’s authority over Satan if we are disobedient. But if we will ask Him to change our hearts, so we love and obey Him, He will surely grant us the authority we lack!

— Second, timber. Nehemiah needed natural wood.

We need the whole message of the Cross, from the bounty of the King. What is the whole message?

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. We all know that one.

Why was that necessary? He was, indeed, a sin offering to cover our past sins.

But the message of the Cross goes beyond that — it is the rest of the story, the part which must be in place for the church to be rebuilt.

God sent Jesus Christ that we may have His Spirit, His heart, His love,  His nature, with our old, rebellious nature crucified, in a moment of time!

That is the timber by which the church will be rebuilt — the whole message of the Cross! We must ask Him to put steel in our backbones so we boldly speak it!

In today’s church, beloved, the message of the Cross is the message of the “CRO.” It is half the message. It leaves out the “SS” which is Sin Sickness. That is a disease only Christ can heal, and that by way of His work on the cross and afterwards, when He rose from the dead after three days. He ascended to the Father, was glorified, and poured out the Holy Spirit, who fills us with God’s holiness and gives us a new heart, a new nature!

Yes, we continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but we no longer resist as the Lord molds and shapes! We have given up our rights to ourselves! We are dead, and now He lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

We must return to building on the one foundation, Christ, so our work will not be found by Him to be wood, hay and straw.

1Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a  foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver,  precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  13  each man’s work will become evident; for  the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test  the quality of each man’s work.  14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will  receive a reward.  15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

As the Nehemiahs for today’s church, we call that all pastors once again build on the foundation which is Christ!

When we ask the Lord for the authority and the whole message of the Cross, He will go beyond what we have asked. He will send with us (Verse 9) officers of the army and horsemen — angels, ministering servants:

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
“ SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
14 Are they not all  ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

They will assist us when the Enemy hears of the church’s rebuilding and is displeased that we seek her welfare, just as Sanballat and Tobiah were displeased!

But our Lord has won the victory. Satan has nothing in Him (John 14:30). And we walk in Christ’s victory, when we have called the Father to do the whole gospel in us (Luke 11:13)!

Jesus Christ WILL have a church glorious, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27). But just as with Nehemiah, He wants those who love and obey Him to participate in the church’s rebuilding (Ephesians 4:11), even to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Will you join me, O remnant, and rebuild the church? The One we go to for provision will certainly provide.

Next week, we will celebrate His victory, on Resurrection Sunday. Then we will return to Nehemiah and learn the next step to rebuilding.

#1 REBUILDING — INTERCESSION

[SW135] 04/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“#1 Rebuilding — Intercession”

The Lord Jesus Christ is calling for intercessors within His church to beseech the Father to rebuild today’s broken down church (see the latest Barna report). He is faithful and will hear us!
Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Interceding

Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision

Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom

Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discerning

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting

Chapter 10 — Consecrating

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Here was the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel) was exiled through Assyria:

Ezekiel 22:26-31 “Her  priests have done violence to My law and have  profaned My holy things; they have made no  distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the  unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  27 “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and  destroying lives in order to get  dishonest gain.  28 “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing  false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.  29 “The people of the land have practiced  oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have  oppressed the sojourner without justice.  30 “I  searched for a man among them who would  build up the wall and  stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found  no one.  31 “Thus I have poured out My  indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath;  their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord GOD.

Prior to the exile, the Lord’s prophets had warned and called for repentance, but no one listened. It continued during the exile, and once again, men stood in the gap to intercede for Israel:

— The Lord’s call to intercession through the prophet Joel, in Joel 2:12-17

— Daniel’s great prayer of intercession in Daniel 9, after he read Jeremiah 25:11 and realized that the 70 years of Babylonian exile had been completed.

— Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, who stood in the gap before the Lord for the people, to restore and rebuild.

Nehemiah 1

Cyrus of Persia made the proclamation to his entire kingdom (and the Medo-Persian empire conquered the Babylon empire which encompassed the known world). In 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Cyrus proclaimed that the Lord God had appointed him to build Him a house in Jerusalem, and released all Jews in exile to go up to Jerusalem. This was just according to the prophecy the Lord gave Isaiah in Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1, 150 years before Cyrus came to power!

Persia was now under the rule of Artaxerxes. Of the approximate million who were in Judah at the time of the exile, only 42,360 Jews would return to their land and rebuild. The rest died in battle when Babylon laid siege, or tried to escape to Egypt and were killed there. A few were allowed to remain in the land to tend it and a few escaped. Some stayed in Babylon, preferring it to Israel.

Intercession was the first step to rebuilding, and that’s what Nehemiah 1 is all about.

Nehemiah heard the terrible report about the remnant in the land. He wept and mourned, fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

That’s intercession — seeking God’s heart for the church or for individuals, weeping and mourning, praying and fasting day and night (v. 6), beseeching God to act on behalf of His people, and having faith that He will answer.

Let’s look at Nehemiah’s prayer in Chapter 1, so we may understand how to pray for today’s church —

— He beseeches the Lord God of heaven, who is faithful to keep covenant with those who love and obey Him.

— Hear! See! I am Your servant. I am praying on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants. We have not served you well, for we have sinned against you. Even I and my family have sinned against you.

— We have acted very corruptly against You. We have completely disobeyed You. And just according to Your command to Moses, You have scattered us.

— But remember, Lord God, that if we repent, if we return to You and obey You, even though we’ve been scattered to the remotest parts of the earth, you will gather us and return us to Israel, where You have chosen to cause Your name to dwell.

— You redeemed them before, Lord, by your great power and strong hand.

— I beseech You! Hear the prayer of Your servants who love and revere You.
Bless me by granting me compassion (7356, raham mercy, from the word for womb) from King Artaxerxes.

— For I am cupbearer to the king. I have a close relationship to him, as a friend. I hear what goes on in his throne room. He trusts me not only with his secrets, but with his life, for I taste his wine before he drinks it, so if it is poisoned, I die rather than him.

For today’s church:

Please listen to the message, for I interweave the Lord’s words for today’s church with verse-by-verse explanation of Nehemiah 1. The video will available later today at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/SetFreeMinistriesFMC

http://vimeo.com/myfathersplace

Intercession did not end when Jesus came! Our Lord interceded in John 17, and He literally IS our intercession in heaven, for His work is finished! The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26-27). The Apostle Paul was a great intercessor, in Ephesians 1 and 3 and throughout all of his letters to the churches.

Oh, beloved, intercession is not only petitioning God, but it is spiritual warfare!

2Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war  according to the flesh,  4 for the  weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but  divinely powerful  for the destruction of fortresses.  5 We are destroying speculations and every  lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the  obedience of Christ . . .

Colossians 1:9   For this reason also,  since the day we heard of it,  we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the   knowledge of His will in all spiritual  wisdom and understanding,  10 so that you will  walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,   to please Him in all respects,  bearing fruit in every good work and  increasing in the  knowledge of God;  11  strengthened with all power, according to  His glorious might,  for the attaining of all steadfastness and  patience;  joyously 12 giving thanks to  the Father, who has qualified us  to share in  the inheritance of the  saints in  Light.

And it must be done for today’s church. She is exiled from the presence of God. She has sinned greatly and been scattered. Many have fallen away, many follow false teachers who tickle their ears. Many do not believe or declare that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Many of our churches are dying or dead.
Ezekiel 22:26-31 “Her  priests have done violence to My law and have  profaned My holy things; they have made no  distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the  unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  27 “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and  destroying lives in order to get  dishonest gain.  28 “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing  false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.  29 “The people of the land have practiced  oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have  oppressed the sojourner without justice.  30 “I  searched for a man among them who would  build up the wall and  stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found  no one.  31 “Thus I have poured out My  indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath;  their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord GOD.

So I pray the same prayer as Nehemiah. By the grace of God, all whose hearts are entirely His are able to pray and beseech Him to act on behalf of our broken churches. Who will pray with me? Who will return with me to rebuild the church?