Three day weekends. I love them.
Ladies, let me tell you about a wonderful weekend. I think I’ve mentioned to some of you about a couple of Bible studies that I’ve participated in. The studies are by Beth Moore, an incredibly gifted, hilariously funny and obviously anointed gal from Houston Texas. She has about a dozen Bible studies and books published. Well, Friday night and Saturday morning, her ministry, Living Proof Ministries, conducted a simulcast, broadcast via satellite from New York. Churches around the nation and Canada were able to tune in and participate in the broadcast. The Gulf coast had been advertising the event for months. Because of the hurricane, Lifeway Bookstore hosted the simulcast for free for those of us here on the Mississippi coast. What an incredible event. It was refreshing, convicting, uplifting and inspiring.
Let me see if I can capture a bit of what she covered. I hope you get a portion of what I was blessed with this weekend.
We focused on the passage Psalm 126 – a song sung by the Israelites as they returned to Jerusalem from captivity.
(See Ezra 2:1 for the historical time frame of which the Psalm is thought to be written)
Captivity does not have to be a physical prison. Captivity is any sin, stronghold, addiction, bondage, fear, or anything else in our life that carries us away from the prosperity of God.
By prosperity, I mean spiritual prosperity, not physical or monetary (like the name it and claim it teachings).
Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” These blessings are our spiritual prosperity found in Christ.
Job was in the captivity of grief so overwhelming; it consumed him for a season. Each and every one of us has experienced captivity to one degree or another. But God wants to bring us through any captivity to draw us back again to him and to bring us restoration.
Psalm 126:1-5 recounts a song of pilgrimage. A pilgrimage not experienced alone. Throughout the passage are the words “we, our, and us”. The Israelites returned to Zion together. Let us return to our God together, as sisters in Christ. Let us not walk alone.
Ezra 2:64-67 counts the number of Israelites returning to Zion: about 50,000. There were approximately 60,000 simulcast viewers (mostly women) signed up in hundreds of churches across the country. What amazing things God will do with hearts that are humbled before Him.
In the King James Version, Psalm 126, Job 42:10 and Micah 7:18 all use the word “again”: Again turning the Israelites from captivity, again restoring Job’s wealth, again having mercy on us. We have an awesome God of “agains”. No matter what our captivity, He wants to restore us again.
Down here on the coast we are dealing with a captivity of destruction from Katrina. We are experiencing a season of grief and loss. But God wants to restore us. Praise God, we are not walking alone. The sisters in Beth Moore’s simulcast prayed for us and refreshed us in praise and worship. Churches around our country are reaching out to us, supporting us in any way they can: with prayers, with workers to rebuild, with money, with food distribution, with encouragement. Many victims and survivors shake their fists at the government and insurance companies, but they cannot save us. Thank God we live in a country where our government is equipped and willing to help. But it is not meant to be our salvation and our crutch. The Lord is. In the New Testament, we read about Christians helping other Christians in need. How it must delight the Lord that His people are still responding in the same way. With Paul, we can say as he in did in 1 Thessalonians 1:2 “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I’ll recount the teachings from Saturday morning in my next email. This is probably enough to chew on for today. Friday night’s teaching was very comforting and encouraging. Saturday’s teaching was a whammie of conviction.
“May the eyes of your heart be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
Your sister in Christ
Grace & Peace