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MAY 2024


In Psalm 119:121, the psalmist says, “I have done justice and righteousness; Do not leave me to my oppressors.” He's saying, “I've done as best as I know how to do, but I'm facing overwhelming opposition. God, I've tried to walk with you. I've tried to understand and comprehend and live in your truth, but I'm finding oppression all around me, including in my head.” Do you know that internal voice? It’s the one that says, “Who do you think you are? What makes you think you will ever make a difference?”

Verse 122 says, “Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the proud oppress me.” When you're taking a loan for a car or a house, there's some doubt that you'll have enough resources to pay it off. You get what's called a guarantor. It's a person who co-signs the loan, saying they will take over if you default. The psalmist is asking for this surety. He wants God to step in when he doesn’t know how to proceed. Continuing in verse 123: “My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation and Your righteous word.” The psalmist has been searching for strength in God but hasn’t fully discovered it. Do you ever feel that way? At times, everyone struggles and feels discouraged. Many people can feel like their life is amounting to zero. This psalm says that the power of salvation is available, even if we haven’t found it yet.

Verse 124 says, “Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, and teach me Your statutes.” This verse is a plea for mercy. We don’t want God to give us what we deserve but instead to teach us the way forward. Verse 125 says, “I am Your servant; Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies. It is time for You to act, O Lord, For they have regarded Your law as void.” We're living in a generation that has spit in the face of Jesus, just as they did in the days of the cross. We're given freedom to worship and have used it to push God out of every facet of our society. We parade evil as if it's good and talk about good as if it's evil.

As the psalmist is praying, God is already answering. How many hundreds of millions have read this psalm over the years and been encouraged by its words? God works through people in His church; He is already doing something in your life even when you don't see it. God chooses to manifest His glory through us. Even though we have never fully seen or understood Him, in His mercy, He sends us out to talk about who He is. Even though our infinite God has always existed and created the universe by the word of His mouth, He wants to use us. That choice of His is mercy. The psalmist asks God to step in and do what he cannot.

In 1 Corinthians 2:1–5, the apostle Paul says: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Paul was born a leader but didn’t try to impress people with human arguments. He didn’t want to present others with anything but the power and mercy of God. He wanted those around him to know that God will take any vessel that turns to Him. It's not our strength, knowledge, or abilities that make us what God calls us to be. It's the Spirit of God in us that makes the difference. It takes us where we need to go and gives us what to possess when we get there. The proceeding verse, 1 Corinthians 1:26, says, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” Some are called, but not many. God chooses the world's foolish things to shame the wise. He picks the weak to trump the mighty. The Kingdom of God's usability scale starts with foolishness and ends with nothing.

Paul is saying, when I came to you, I didn't give you a counter presentation. Paul had a brilliant theological mind. He wrote things that the apostle Peter said were hard to understand. The Spirit of God drew him into the third heaven. Paul was not naturally weak, fearful, or trembling, but I think he shook, saying, “God, please don't let anything of me present. I don't want to stand before the people and have them walk away saying, ‘Look at Paul. Isn't he wonderful?’” Paul wanted his weakness seen so that the people could see through him to the power of God.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 says, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.” We are the show and tell of this generation. People today will not read the Bible. We are the Bible; we’re the living testimony of God. People will look at us, and if we allow the Spirit of God to work in us, they will walk away saying, “Only God could have changed that person.”

Listen to the words of the psalmist in Psalm 71:16–18: “I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.” At 70 years old, I pray for God to keep His hand on me until I have shown the next generation His power. Talking about the miracle of God isn’t enough. I need to live it through a surrendered life. Only then will people give God all of the glory. Remember, in Corinthians 2:5, Paul says, “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” It is wonderful to stand before any generation and say, “The power of God is real, folks.”

It's time for God to work. It's time for the Lord to do what He can through us. What does He require? An open heart—an Isaiah 6 moment. If nobody else speaks, we need someone in the back to say, “Well, I'll go if nobody else will.” That young man headed down to a very rebellious generation, and God gave him a panoramic view of the whole plan of salvation right through to the cross and beyond the cross into the Kingdom of God. What the Lord gave him is incredible, but God acknowledged his unworthiness and corruption. Then, the young man could recognize the mercy of God. He’s the only one who volunteered to go, and today, we still talk about him. We still read his words.

Luke chapter 11:5–7 says, “And He said to them, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you”?’” Jesus is always teaching. Somebody comes at midnight, the darkest part of the night many of us have experienced. He acknowledges I don't have what he needs now, but I know you do. My cupboard is empty, but your cupboard, God, is full. The friend needs three loaves.

The three loaves symbolize what we need: compassion, courage, and the Holy Spirit. I need the compassion of God the Father. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. I need that compassion to be able to give to this generation. Next, I need the courage and conviction of the Son of God. Despite the depth of the battle, Jesus went to the cross and became the right hand of God. Lastly, we need the power of the Holy Spirit. People are coming to me now, or they will be coming very shortly, and I must have what I need to set before them. I don't have a life that can feed them at the moment. I have some truth, but I don't have the life that bears witness. God, I'm knocking on your door, saying, “You've got to give me what I need to face this generation.” With persistence, if we don’t walk away, God will answer. He’s going to do something because you've chosen to pray. Thank you, Pastor Tim, for leading this church in the necessity of prayer.

Matthew 7:7–12 says: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Isn't that what happened on the day of Pentecost? About 5,000 people returned from the temple, where they spoke about God and read scripture. It was all confirmed; they all had information about the Lord. It wasn’t until they ran into 120 people that God was speaking through that a difference was made! They understood the Lord's miracle-working power and what He had done, is doing, and is preparing to do. They were gone into a whole other realm where the Spirit empowered them to do things they'd never done before. That miracle is the origin of the church. Why should it be any less in our generation?

Revelation 3 talks about the church of Philadelphia. Verses 8–11 say: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it, for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”

God says I will do something so powerful in you and through you that I will make them come home. They will come and bow and have to acknowledge that I have loved you. They will see something again in this generation that is not available through man’s strength or religion. They'll see people God-gripped. We’ll talk about it with authority, with that evidence of life transformed. The first step is to yield to the Spirit of God and His plan for your life.

These verses above are not just for the church of Philadelphia; they are for us, too. There's an hour of trial. It's already come to this world. It will get deeper and darker as the days progress before us—but—God. He will do something so powerful in us because we prayed. We didn’t deserve it; we're not better than anybody else. We looked to God and asked for what we needed to make a difference. Times Square Church was birthed in prayer when David Wilkerson was out on Broadway. He prayed for something to be done about the debauchery in this part of the city, and the Lord spoke to him: “You do it.” God told David Wilkerson: “If you obey me, I will give you a building that will take your breath away.” Here we are!

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