The year was 1985 and our family was visiting my parents on the southeastern coast of Georgia. As my husband and I drove over the causeway to Sea Island, we were overwhelmed with the beauty – the incredible expanse of marsh grass, the huge Live Oaks dripping with Moss, the windswept trees, the sand dunes, and the array of extraordinary vacation homes.
Each home was unique – representing the taste of its owner. There were some resembling ornate French palaces. Others exhibiting more of a rustic look. Some extremely modern. Others traditional.
There were also some common elements.
These homes were very expensive – and well-manicured. They were the vacation homes of well-moneyed families, top executives, great philanthropists, and even international royalty.
The richest of the rich. And many of the leaders of our nation.
I had taken this drive many times over the years and had loved it. It was refreshing and energizing to see the variety of homes and landscapes, and awesome to think of the money required to maintain such a lifestyle. Splendor and more splendor.
But this time it seemed different.
I felt a heaviness coming upon me – a sadness. I couldn’t understand why this could be. Suddenly I realized that God was calling me to pray. But why right now?
As we returned home, I went off alone to talk to God and He began to give me some revelation which has continued unfolding through the years.
Those homes were homes of the most powerful leadership in our country. Since they were the leaders, they also made a statement about the spiritual condition of our country.
Then I was in for a surprise.
The Lord led me to Isaiah 46:1,2: Bel bows down, Nebo stoops over…They bow down together. They cannot save, but are themselves going into captivity.
During this season, my husband and I had been studying about the time when Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity. They were captured and carried away to a foreign land – with foreign gods, and foreign customs. We were studying the underlying conditions of Israel which had caused that to happen, realizing that the natural episode was a type for a spiritual condition.
Then the Lord spoke very clearly, “My church has been taken into Babylonian captivity. No longer am I, the One true God, being worshiped, but the Babylonian gods are being worshiped. Bel (Baal) and Nebo are the idols of my church now.”
I knew who Bel (Baal) was: the god of prosperity. But who was Nebo?
I began to do some research. Nebo was the Babylonian god of handwriting, but by extension he became the god of education and the intellect.
Ah, there you have it. I knew what God was saying. He was saying that the church trusted more in money and in humanistic education than they did in Him, the one true God.
This new revelation took some pondering, because I knew that our God didn’t want us to be poor and ignorant. He wants us to be educated and to be prosperous.
But when we don’t put Him first, when we don’t look to God for our answers then the blessings of education and prosperity can become a curse. They can cause us to worship the creature and not the Creator.
We become humanistic in our approach to life.
I started to see how entrenched these idols have become in our culture, and the results are obvious. When we are worshiping ourselves, there are no standards. We think that whatever we desire is just fine. No restrictions. Lust, greed, perversion: no problem.
For many, the rule has become that whatever you can “get by with” is okay. Much hurt and confusion have come as these idols have caused us to trample God’s truth and to trample each other.
But God is calling back to Him those who will listen. He is calling us out of Babylon. He wants to cleanse us and show us His true nature. Then He wants to show Himself strong to the world.
So am I coming against education? Am I coming against prosperity?
Of course not! These are gifts from our Father.
But we are called to worship the Gift-giver, not the gift. When our hearts are pure and our perspective is clear, these gifts are true blessings.
They enrich our lives and those of others.
It all comes back to the attitude of the heart. When our hearts are in the right place, then we do have standards: God’s standards. And these standards are the foundation for our knowledge and wisdom. They become a base upon which we build our beliefs.
It seems like it’s time for all of us to do a heart check, and to continue to do these checks as we go forward.
There is much for us to do, and we want to have clear minds. We want to represent God’s truth to the world, not a skewed version of it.
Only pure hearts can do that.
It’s time to bow our knee and let God be God.
Let Him clear our focus.
It’s time to cast aside any Babylonian garment we may have acquired, and represent our father in spirit and in tr
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John Wesley, whose followers eventually founded the Methodist Church, was controversial in his day. Eggs and tomatoes were often thrown at him as he walked the streets of England, sharing what God had shown him in His Word.
One of his controversial statements concerned prayer:
I am convinced that God does nothing on the earth, except in response to believing prayer. –John Wesley
Let’s think about that for a moment.
In Genesis we see that God gave man authority (dominion) over the earth – and He also gave him free will. He doesn’t force you to obey Him, and He doesn’t control your life apart from your permission. God places great weight on people asking Him for His intervention. We can choose to run our race with Him – or not!
So what was Wesley saying?
Wesley’s point was that when God is ready to put a new piece of His plan in place, He first impresses upon the hearts of His true prayer warriors to pray for it. And He always has those who are willing to pray for His purposes.
Sure, God’s ways are so much higher than ours, He will surprise us with His methods and details. But I am talking about God’s overall plans. For your life – and for your world. The plans He reveals in the Bible.
The Word is full of examples of this concept.
One of those we can find in Daniel 9:2.
In the first year of his (Darius’s) reign, I, Daniel, observed in the Books the number of years which was revealed as the Word of the Lord to Jeremiah the Prophet for the completion of the desolation of Jerusalem, namely seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord to seek Him by prayer and supplication.
Interestingly, Daniel saw in God’s Word that their captivity was to be for 70 years. And the 70 years were complete! So Daniel prayed for this promise to be fulfilled.
And it was!
In Ezra 1, we see that God stirred up the heart of Cyrus the King to facilitate the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. Cyrus was not even a believer, but God still impressed upon him to grant favor to the Jews. And thus the return to Jerusalem began – just as Daniel had prayed.
Let’s look at one more example.
If there was ever anything which God would have done without any prayer from man, it would have been the birth of Jesus. That was God’s design from the very beginning. So did He have people praying for that?
Indeed, in Luke 2 we can see that He did. On the 8th day after the birth of Jesus, His parents brought Him to the temple to be circumcised. There He met two of God’s Prayer warriors who immediately recognized Him as the Messiah. First, Simeon, who was told by God that he wouldn’t taste death until he saw the Messiah.
When he saw Jesus, he proclaimed:
Now, Lord, you are releasing your bond servant to depart in peace, according to Your Word,
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples.
A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of your people Israel
Next comes Anna, a prophetess.
Anna was an 84 year old widow, who stayed in the temple night and day fasting and praying. When she saw Jesus and heard Simeon, Anna rejoiced greatly, thanking God for the Messiah having been born.
God always has His intercessors. While many of the church leaders were parading around in their priestly robes, trying to impress their subjects, God had some seemingly less significant people praying for His purpose.
Yet to God, they were the most significant! These intercessors were the ones who saw and recognized Jesus when He was only 8 days old.
Neither of them was a person of high position or great honor; they were simple people. Both of them were advanced in years and both spent lots of time praying. These two were the first in the community to recognize the Messiah because of their prayers.
Each of these people had seen in God’s Word that the Savior would come, and they were praying for it to happen. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he wouldn’t see death until he had seen the Christ, and that’s exactly what took place.
The joy which came from this man was evident as he recognized Jesus and proclaimed God’s Word. Overhearing these words, Anna agreed, and her joy exuded to others – the Savior had come!
God’s methodology hasn’t changed. There are many today who parade around in their pride and arrogance, ignoring God’s plan, and even discounting his Word. Even some leaders are caught up in their own importance, and ignore God’s desires.
Then there are others. There are those who love God and His Word, and who spend time praying for it to come to pass. Sometimes these people are unrecognized, even by those around them. But God knows what they are doing, and He is pleased.
Our world is in great need of awakening – a promise God has made to His people. There are those who believe God, allowing Him to direct their prayers, and increasing in their ability to pray. Those are the ones who will recognize what God is doing, as they work with Him for His great plans to come to fruition.
They take the Word which God impresses to them, and they pray it back to Him. They thank Him for the manifestation – and they decree that Word into the atmosphere. And they don’t give up!
Great moves of God can take time, so patience is necessary. Yet significant change is on the way.
We have already begun to see trickles of it, but we will see more. We will see God move in the hearts of people, calling them to a greater life in Him.
And it all happens because of prayer!!
In Luke 10:1 We see Jesus commissioning 70 (or some translations say 72) of His disciples to go into God’s harvest field. We can take these verses and apply them to us today. As you read, notice how applicable they are.
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.
That Greek word for “workers,” is ergates, and it’s also translated “ones who do.” Doers.
Doers. I like to think of them as Those who do what they pray. Doers of the Word.
So what is the harvest field?
The next few words will give you the clue.
v. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like your office or your school? Your neighborhood association?
Have you thought of those people as your harvest field? Well, they are! That’s who you can impact the most. The people you see every day or often. Even the mean ones and those that seem like they would never be interested in Jesus.
Sometimes we think of evangelism as big meetings with powerful preachers. Or altar calls at our local church.
Yet the most effective evangelism is friends impacting friends. Or sometimes not-so-great friends.
I heard an evangelist talk about an encounter he had. He was guest speaker in a church, and had called for those to come forward who needed special prayer. One girl in her 20’s came up and asked him to pray for her to find a new job. She said that she was the only Christian in her office. She wanted to get away from the cussing and dirty jokes.
The evangelist put his hand on her head and said, “Dear Father please forgive this selfish little daughter of yours. And release her from that part of the Word which says go into all the world and preach the Gospel.”
More than likely, this didn’t really happen, but the evangelist was making a point.
The world will never receive the Gospel if we just want to hang out with other Christians. We are to go into the darkness of the world and take the light of God. That’s the only way the world will be changed. That’s the only way many will ever know the Lord.
If you ever hear testimonies of some of the greatest ministers, you will hear how someone never gave up on them. Someoone kept coming back with love and prayer. So never be led by what you see in the people themselves.
Now how can you handle these dark places?
Look at the next verses.
v. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; do not greet anyone on the road.
He wants you to be totally dependent on Him. In all things. When you are dependent on the Holy Spirit, you will be listening to Him and not to other men for your directions.
To be a true Doer for God, you must be able to hear His directions and not be bound to the worldly way of doing things. Not bound to natural reasoning. Or man’s provision. Count on His Spirit to guide you and provide for you.
That’s important because, if you think in natural terms, you will want to lash out at those who lash out at you. You will want to ignore those who ignore you. However, God may direct you to continue with patience to sprinkle the salt of God’s love and forgiveness on the meanest ones around you.
Verse 16… Whoever listens to you listens to Me; whoever rejects you rejects Me.; but whoever rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.
As “Doers,” we learn not to take rejection personally. Those are people who are being led by Satan and his demons to turn away from God. But if the Holy Spirit is leading you to sprinkle some more love. More word. More forgiveness.
You return love for hate. Good for evil.
As Jesus sends out the seventy disciples, armed with His delegated authority, they return with a tremendous report. His plan is truly working. People are being healed and demons are fleeing as they go in His name.
Jesus rejoices that He sees Satan fall from heaven. This one who has tortured mankind will soon be thrown from heaven for good.
Jesus says something which many even today don’t understand.
v. 21 I praise you Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.“
Obviously the 70 He called were not wise and learned. They were simple people. Perhaps not educated. Why would that be?
Humility is required in God’s kingdom. Only those who are willing to listen to Him are to be His representatives in the earth.
The wise and learned are not very teachable, because they want to believe only what they can learn with their minds. They get caught up in their own reasoning and leave God out of it. In fact, often their pride blocks what God would like to do for them and through them.
God wants people who will allow Him to teach them. People who know that they need to depend on Him. These are the ones to which He can delegate His authority. These are the ones He can send in His name.
So allow God to lead you in your mission as a Doer of His Word. He will give you direction – and confirm it with His Word. As you worship your Heavenly Father and stay close to Him, you will grow in your ability to hear His voice and know what He wants you to do.
We have great days ahead as believers. Many mission fields. Many who need to hear about Jesus and to witness ones you walk with Him.
Do you feel insecure in this? That might be a good thing. Dig deep into God’s Word and allow it to penetrate your thoughts. Pray and ask your Heavenly Father for wisdom. Allow God’s Spirit to live big in you.
Then decide you are going to be a Doer of the Word, with all that has been revealed to you.
That’s how I want to live. Don’t you?
Yes, Lord. Send me.