Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Beatitudes - Mourning - May 31, 2015

Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Profound loss often produces profound mourning. Many of us have lost someone or something (such as a beloved pet) that has created a vacuum in our lives -- an absence so remarkable that it causes the very breath within us to be labored due to despair. When my father passed several years ago due to cancer, it left a hole in my life for some time. We had become much closer in my grown-up years after a turbulent relationship in my teens and young adult life. The familiarity we shared in those final years was something rekindled from my love for him as a child. We would look forward to our long distance calls, and the times when we could be together in person. Likewise, some of us may have experienced a trusting, loving relationship with their Heavenly Father earlier in life, only to have been seduced by the things of this earth. The wooing of fleshly carnality day after day became a sordid seductress that took more and more of our hearts. Finally, Christ was relegated to a proverbial "tool shed out back" on His once-owned expansive property of our heart. As the prior Lord of our lives, Jesus had become a silenced voice of wisdom. Now, all that could be heard was the soft weeping for His lost child.

Some have interpreted this scripture in Matthew to imply that we should mourn over our sin. While this is true in one respect, it is not if we are mourning the passing of sin as the loss of something that one holds dear to their heart. This would be unscriptural because John tells us in his first letter to love not the world nor the things in it (I John 2:15). For us to mourn over sin as merely the loss of a "dear friend", whom we once gave our heart to in love, would be a direct affront to Jesus as our betrothed. Naturally speaking, no man or woman should put up with an engaged partner longing for a past girlfriend or boyfriend. In the same wise, we should have our eyes fixed on the Lover of our souls, knowing how we have grieved Him who pursued us with a passionate longing. We should certainly mourn our past sinful lives, but even more so we should mourn the absence of of our awaited Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. When questioned why His disciples did not fast, Jesus answered thus: And Jesus said to them, "The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." (Matthew 9:15). Beloved, Jesus knew that the days would come when He would no longer be there to comfort them with His words. He knew that the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Comforter, would soon after His departure take up residence in the hearts of men, women, and children that would simply trust in Christ for their salvation. While we live a "fasted life" upon this earth, seeking to separate ourselves from carnal earthly pleasures, the Holy Spirit comforts us within. He confirms to us through our denial of self and hatred of sin that our marriage to Christ is an inevitable fact that will consummate at the end of the age. We must merely ready ourselves as the bride, adorning ourselves with holiness ... and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

While those who truly know the Lord are grieved at His absence as King of King and Lord or Lords upon this earth, we take heart in the loving consolation of the Holy Spirit in this time of absence. The book of John, chapters 14 through 16, are Christ's candid attempts to explain to His disciples that it is imperative that He must leave this earth for a season. Until His return, He promises a down payment of our riches in glory through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:7 Christ states: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (King James Version). A few verses later, Jesus tells them in John 16:20: Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. Clearly, Jesus was speaking of his resurrection in this scripture, telling His disciples that they will mourn desperately for the seeming hopelessness of His death. However, most gloriously, their mourning would be turned into joy once they realized that He had risen. They truly comprehended after conquering the grave that their Risen Savior would indeed return a second time to redeem those who waited for Him with an expectancy of a longing bride. No longer was there mourning attached to hopelessness, but there was a faith and assurance that Jesus would return as He promised. Every soul that has mourned and longed for His return -- from his first century disciples to present day believers -- have joined themselves to the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ by declaring: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." ... He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelations 22:17a22:20).

While it's a given that sin should be mourned over in our lives, this should only be demonstrative when a sinner comes to Christ and repents. Under no circumstances should sin be mourned as something we "miss" in our respective lives. If this is the case, beloved, there is something desperately wrong with our supposed relationship to Jesus Christ. If He is not the One we long to be with and know more personally every day, then there will be something else we desire in His place. Mourning for Jesus is a blessed state, according to the scripture. For only as we long and mourn for His appearing, will we know the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Are you longing for Him today? Have you set your affections on His appearing and not the re-appearing of a former lover? His longing is that we would long for Him with a holy passion borne from His Spirit that desires to dwell richly in us all. Only then will be waiting in chaste expectancy, comforted by the Spirit who is able to perfect us until that final day. Praise be to His Name!

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessing that Your Son bestowed on all those who would but mourn and long for His appearing. We thank you that You sent Your Spirit to comfort and perfect us until that final day. Help us by Your grace to make us chaste and pure, a holy bride for your beloved Son. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come". In Jesus Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Beatitudes - Poor in Spirit - May 24, 2015

Matthew 5:3 - Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus was a master orator, regardless whether He meant to use a "grabber" (as He did) in His opening remarks on the Sermon on the Mount. With a just few short words, He was about to turn all the Pharisaical teaching of the last 400 years on its ear by blowing the minds of His audience. Christ did not say "Blessed are those with impressive knowledge of the Law of Moses, because they are the ones who will be heralded into Paradise". No, He spoke diametrically to everything the common people had heard up to this point regarding what it meant to be right with God. Jesus stated in a matter of fact way that one must be poor or poverty-stricken in spirit. And, if this was the case, then they would be ensured entrance into the heavenly realms. This was a mind-boggling proposition to the masses that crowded about to hear the teachings of this itinerant preacher from Galilee! Jesus was saying that the arrogance and pride of the religious order of the day not only hindered them entry to heaven but that it would ultimately disqualify them. Jesus' saying must have spoken to many of their hearts with the razor sharpness of a surgeon's scalpel. Those with ears to hear understood that those who were crushed under the realization of their own sin and their inability to justify themselves before a holy and just God -- this is the very thing that provided an open door to the heavenly realm. However, not everyone was willing to embrace Christ's teaching of humility of soul. To many, this was a subservient attitude that many sought to relinquish in their oppressed lives.

Poverty in spirit in Jesus' day had a bad connotation with many in first-century Palestine. The land of Israel had known its share of oppressors throughout its history -- from the slavery of Pharaoh and the Egyptians to their present occupier, Rome. To some gathered that day listening to Jesus on the Mount, the implication that one must be "poor in spirit" must have smacked of anti-Semitism and downright betrayal of everything it meant to be a Jew. However, Jesus was not interested in tickling the ears of the radical zealots and Zionists of his day by telling them to be resistant against the oppressors, past and present. The Lord was concerned with redeeming a people for His own possession that were not suited for the kingdoms of this earth, but for the heavenly realms. Jesus taught that to be totally emptied of the spiritual pride that was so symptomatic of the religious ruling class of His day was the admission price for Glory. Not only did Jesus preach this radical message, but He also lived it out with perfect humility. Christ, by word and deed, established the impossible standard for mortal humans to live up to in order to be accepted by the Father. Paul stated in Philippians 2:5-11 (please read these scriptures for context) the metamorphosis that Jesus underwent in order to redeem humankind and to empower us to live as He lived while on this earth. The apostle tells us to "Have this attitude in ourselves which was also in Christ ...", which was a poverty of spirit bereft of anything except the Father's will. Paul's command to us would be nothing short of insanity if we did not have the power to complete it. The inability for humankind to live as Jesus Christ lived was resolved by the cross. The Lord's death, burial, and resurrection resulted in closing the huge chasm of separation caused by sin. By the Lord's sacrifice, we all could finally live as poverty-stricken creatures regarding the things of this earth. Ironically, this ALWAYS produces a joy of living that is lived out in this life, preparing us for the one to come.

Pure joy is the benchmark of this emptied life as typified by Christ. David wrote in Psalm 16:11: You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Beloved, God the Father and the Lord Jesus' desire for us is to yield to the Holy Spirit as He empties our lives of all pride, selfishness, and all sin which ultimately keeps us from living a life of overcoming victory. God through His Holy Spirit is a joyful Being that desires to express Himself through us in this remarkable way. Do you seek to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might? Allow yourself to be emptied of the world, and He will be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)! Or, to be so filled with His presence that His joy becomes something so wonderful that words can't describe it (I Peter 1:8)? To the degree that we relinquish our own desires and wants and walk in His Spirit daily confessing -- Your will be done -- to that degree will we live in a place of eternal joy both now and for eternity.

As in Jesus' day, there are many who would say that the Lord requires too much of us in this beatitude. To empty our lives before Him, becoming destitute of who we are is a frightening prospect to many. Just as those in ancient Palestine had the breath knocked out of them by Jesus' sayings, so it is true in our present world. There are those today who are so mired in the selfishness of their own lives, whether it be wealth or prestige or merely thinking of themselves as the god of their own destiny. However, Jesus Christ's promise to all is to fill us to overflowing with His "streams of rejoicing" if we will but yield to Him (Psalm 36:8). This is not a ruse that He has concocted to try to get us to live some burdensome life filled with perpetual moans of "woe is me"! On the contrary, this is the life set free from worry, doubt, fear, and depression because Christ has first of all fill granted the willing heart the love and desire to obey Him, and secondly His fullness of joy as we live continually in His presence. To be a pauper in God's economy means that we are far richer than any that might seek to put their faith in their own "richness of spirit". The latter will never know true wealth, either in this lifetime or the one to come. Only as we become poor in spirit will we be filled to overflowing with the riches from above!

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus and how He gave His life for us so that we too might walk as paupers in the eyes of this world. Through His wonderful gift, we can truly live as heirs of Your kingdom, far richer than anything we could ask or think. We rejoice in our poverty of spirit because by this we experience the indwelling of You through Your Spirit. Thank you O Holy God. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, May 17, 2015

God's Fires - May 17, 2015


Psalm 97:2-3 - Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about.

While fire has for millennia offered to humankind an energy source to both light and warm our respective lives, most either learn or instinctively know a safe distance to keep from its incandescent glow. A "burn barrel" set up on a cold day at a frozen lake or a snow-laden sledding hill is a pretty good indicator of the degree of daring individuals might have toward approaching its warmth. As a child, we all collected brush wood to feed the flame as we sledded or skated, returning to the warmth of the roaring fire to unthaw throughout the day. Some of us had sense to stay away from the direct flames and the heat of the 55 gallon steel drum. Others got too close and ended up either singing their hair or eyebrows, or melting a pair of nylon gloves or mittens by drying them too close to the heat. A "normal" reaction to fire should generate a healthy respect in most people. However, some might have an irrational desire to be around fire, hence they might be classified as having pyromaniac tendencies . On the other end of the proverbial spectrum are those that have a morbid fear of fire. Dictionary.com defines the word pyrophobia as "... an excessive or abnormal fear of fire". Panic-stricken individuals that run from its relatively safe illumination may have experienced a traumatic experience earlier in life that might cause them to retreat with such vehement fear. Witnessing a loved one that lost their life in a house fire can often traumatize an individual to the point of phobic episodes. While a healthy fear and respect for fire is a normal reaction, irrational and terrorized behavior toward fire are not. Phobias such as this are not easily reversed and often take years of constructive counseling to overcome. Unless, of course, God intervenes.

A normal respect for fire would include not getting too close to the flame, nor too far away in order to enjoy its comfort. God has given us all natural understanding in this regard. However, how much of His wisdom do we possess concerning the nature of God as the Living Fire to both the righteous and the wicked? For surely, scripture states that His nature is as a consuming fire to both sinners and saints (Hebrews 12:28-29). The question that every man, woman, girl, and boy must ask themselves is this: Do I wish to embrace His flame, or shall I run from it in terror? For with God's fire, there really is no "middle-of-the-road, living in the comfort of His glow" existence. One might say, "Let my preacher burn brightly for God ... that's his job, right? As for me and my house, well, we'll just enjoy the warmth of Sunday morning services. After all, don't want anyone to think I'm a fanatic or anything. That's just not my style!" Beloved, God will burn all of us up one way or another. We will either burn for Him in this lifetime, or we will burn without Him in the life to come. Certainly, there will be some saved by the skin of their teeth, so to speak. Paul talks about these in his letter to the Corinthians when he states all men's works will be revealed by fire.

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 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. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. - I Corinthians 3:12-15

If there is indeed nothing left that is built on the foundation of Christ's redemption, then the scripture is clear that these will indeed inherit eternal life. However, on that glorious day when standing in His presence, they will have nothing to offer Him but their own selfish lives. Having resisted the sanctifying fires of His presence in their earthly existence, they are now saved only through God's mercy as He sanctifies and glorifies them on that last day. Yet, what is the price to pay if one has lived a selfish life and has in reality deceived themselves regarding their eternal position? Is warming oneself by the "fires of this world" worth the gamble of jeopardizing where they will spend eternity? His Spirit is ours today to both sanctify and purge, creating a vessel that is surrendered for His use (Ephesians 2:10).

In reality, there is far less burning for God in our present world than burning for sin's passions. There will always be one that will prevail at any given time and place in human history. Sin has been allowed to burn out of control because the church has not burned in prayer for a lost world. While homosexuals march in the streets for equal rights, and baby killers speak about the rights of a woman, God grieves that there is no one to stand in the gap and burn with a holy fervor over these blatant expressions of sin that parade through our land. For these are only symptomatic of a much deeper and deadly rebellion towards a holy God. The crux of the problem is this -- THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES! They no longer fear the fires of passion that desire to consume them in this life, nor the fires that will consume them in the one to come. Instead, they should be reverentially giving themselves to a loving God that will consume them with His holy fire in this life and cause them to burn with the brightest of the sun in the next (Revelation 1:16; Romans 6:5). If there were more saints burning for God to send revival to this earth in a global way, then we would hear the words of Isaiah the prophet once again, stating: Sinners in Zion are terrified; Trembling has seized the godless "Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?" (Isaiah 33:14). Beloved, when the lost are saying in a wholesale manner once again as the Philippian jailer: What must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30), then we will know that the Spirit of Burning has been loosed upon this world through the power of men and women burning in prayer (Isaiah 4:4).

There are defined moments for every living person to make a decision for Christ. These decisions will dictate how we are to burn for the Lord, for as stated earlier, we will burn for Him one way or another. Some may think of us as being "pyromaniac" for God, intent on burning for Him and nothing else. Many will think that this behavior is socio-imbalanced or psychotic in behavior. Others, may view those with a terror or an angst toward God as those who might be diagnosed as "Theopyrophobic" (fear of the fire of God). These could be atheist or agnostics who subliminally or subconsciously use their supposed denial of God as a cover for their deep-seated fear of the unknown. Then, there are those who try to hover between the comfort of the fires of this world and the Fires of the Lord. This is a most precarious position. While this is normalcy when dealing with natural fire, it is lunacy and a bad gamble when dealing with a God who is a consuming fire. Our first desire should be to give ourselves to Him in this lifetime -- to allow Him to purge and remove from us anything that might hinder His Spirit. Our ongoing desire should be to burn long and bright in this life for His purposes, allowing us the right to shine with Him throughout eternity.

John answered and said to them all, "As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." - Luke 3:16

Lord Jesus, May we all burn with You and for You!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Embracing Judgment For Mercy's Sake - May 11, 2015

This is the sermon text delivered at the National Day of Prayer by Pastor Rick Roeber at City Hall of Lee's Summit Missouri on May 7, 2015. 
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Forty five years ago our country was in complete turmoil. We were a war weary nation. This week marks the 45th anniversary of four college students that were gunned down at Kent State University by National Guard seeking to “keep the peace.” This tragedy was merely symptomatic of the mass confusion happening in our land at that time.

Three months earlier to this tragic event, on February 3, 1970, something else erupted on a college campus 350 miles south of Kent State. In the small college town of Wilmore KY, it was just another Tuesday morning where students from Asbury Seminary would meet for their 50 minute prayer chapel. What should have been just a 50 minute gathering turned into something extraordinary and remarkable. Confession of sin by one student resulted in more confession by others, then more, until there was a weeping and repentance of sin that was totally unexpected. Suddenly, there was a long line of penitents lined up to confess their sins at the microphone. What should have been a 50 minute chapel service turned into a 185 hour (over a week long) outpouring of God’s Spirit. Arguably, many believe from this outpouring the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s resulted in sweeping our nation which brought about millions of youth turning to Jesus not only in our country but around the world.

Isaiah tells us in the 26th chapter, verse 9: “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” In 1970 our country was under severe judgment. The sexual revolution had taken its toll on our youth. The drug culture was being winked at causing ramifications still being felt today. The Vietnam War, as previously mentioned, had divided our country and put us at odds with one another. Yet, in the midst of these judgments, God had incredible mercy by sending His Spirit and saving millions through His awakening.

Why is this significant for today? As Isaiah said, the promise is that where there is judgment, there is also a display of God’s righteousness. People more often learn mercy and righteousness through judgment. Peter tells us in I Peter 4:17 that judgment begins with the household of God. As in 1970, as well as today, if the church had judged themselves in a proper manner and embraced confession and repentance, then God’s judgments on a nation would not be necessary. I believe that if the church judges themselves properly then judgment of the nation becomes moot, because the nation will then follow the church. The answer is not in the White House but from the church house.

As the church, we must judge ourselves correctly because the world is judging us every day. How do we look differently than the world? Believe me, there are not “Fifty Shades of Grey” in this area. There is God’s plumb line and he has told His church that we have come up short. It is time once again to not only confess the sins of our nation but more importantly the sins of the Body of Christ. As Isaiah promises and Peter point out, judgment is vital and necessary. It is our choice how it is delivered. None of us here desire to see God’s judgment on our land. If that is the case, let us pray that we learn righteousness by embracing judgment – first for ourselves, then our local churches, then for the Body of Christ at large in this nation.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sin's Separation - May 3, 2015

Isaiah 59:2 - But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

Many of us who have been around Christian circles for any length of time have heard our share of sermons on prayer. A favorite saying that many preachers will interject into their message is "... God ALWAYS answers prayers. It may not be on our time-table, but God always answers prayers!" I believe this emphatically. However, I also see how this can be a cop out. It is easy to say that God always answers prayers when nothing demonstrably happens once a so-called man or woman of God pray. How often have we seen a television evangelist pray over someone and then when the miracle doesn't materialize, they simply tell the person being prayed for to keep believing in the miracle and that it will come in due time. They loose themselves from all responsibility of the miraculous occurring by putting the fault back on the one being prayed for if it doesn't happen. After all, the "pray-ee" just didn't have faith to receive the miracle, right? Hogwash! My soul feels revulsion for the lack of power in prayer by so-called healers and workers of miracles, telling those being prayed for that they must provide all the faith for the miracle to manifest. In only two instances in the Gospels were Jesus' healings contingent on the faith of those receiving prayer (Matthew 13:58; Mark 9:23-24). Preachers and healers love to quote these scriptures when there are no demonstrable results from their petitions. However, the vast majority of the time Jesus is chronicled as healing people indiscriminately, whether they had faith or not. Without a doubt, it pleased the Lord when those He prayed for possessed faith. The scriptures show several examples including the Centurion's son (Matthew 8:5-14) or the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:23-28) but it was not the determining factor in most instances. The Gospels are clear that Jesus went into areas and did "wholesale" healing, if you will, laying hands on all and healing them with His immediate touch (Matthew 4:24; Matthew 8:16; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:40; Luke 5:15).

Jesus stated in the Gospel of John: 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 (John 14:12). His promise to His beloved are works or manifestations of His power greater than what He did as a sojourner on this earth. So what is the problem? Why do we not see more immediate answers to prayer as Christ demonstrated in His ministry? Personally, I believe the answer is much simpler than most would feel comfortable believing. The scripture tells us point blank why God does not hear our prayers ... we STILL have a sin problem! I'm not talking about our position in Christ because clearly all who know the Risen Lord and have trusted in Him for salvation have died to sin, POSITIONALLY that is. Too many, I fear, have not taken Paul's admonition to heart when he instructed us to die to sin CONDITIONALLY, once and for all (Romans 6:11). As our opening scripture states, God has hidden His face from us because of sin (Isaiah 59:2). Most have not allowed God to truly sanctify them, to live lives of 100% obedience which would first mean a time of deep introspection and confession of sin. James the brother of Jesus is very clear on the progression of steps to command fervent, effectual prayer. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16). Beloved, first we must confess our SINS to one another. I'm not talking about SIN which was what we confessed to Jesus Christ when we acknowledged that we were sinners in need of His grace. But James is stating that we need to "clean house" and sweep away every thing that is not of Jesus. It must be destroyed. According to this scripture and many others like it, we can only find healing as we confess our sins to another human being. This will allow the Holy Spirit to come in and fill our hearts and lives as never before. Then, our prayers will begin to take on a power that we never dreamed. It is not by happenstance that James goes on in the following verses to compare effective prayer with that of Elijah. This prophet prayed for the sky to be shut up for three and half years and it happened according to his word (James 5:17-18). The apostle is not merely making a comparison here in the attempt to give a flourish to his writing, but he genuinely believed that those who live clean and obedient lives can invoke heaven in much the same way as the Old Testament prophet.

A remarkable instance of God coming in an extraordinary way through confession happened on February 3, 1970 at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. What was supposed to be a 50 minute chapel service on a Tuesday morning turned into a 185 hour manifestation of God's revival power -- a 24 hour prayer and praise meeting that would be the spark for the Jesus Movement of the early '70s. And, it all started from a deep sense of conviction (John 16:8) and then a confession of sin(s). Before long, students and faculty were lined up to come to the microphone, confessing their sins and testifying of the Lord's goodness through their repentance. (An account of the Asbury Revival is available on video here.) Asbury is just one example. Every revival or manifestation of God's power was predicated by a deep conviction of both SIN for the unsaved and SINS for those who knew the Savior. No matter if it was during the Great Awakening in John Wesley's day, or Charles Finney during the Second Great Awakening of pre-Civil War America, or the more recent Azusa Street Revival of Los Angeles in 1906, these all characteristically began with the Spirit of Conviction regarding sin resting on those God both moved on and through during these momentous manifestations.

Beloved, many of us who desire to see God move in our time as He has done so faithfully in the past can only concur with God's desire to move in like fashion. I say this with an assurance given to me by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit and by His holy scriptures that God will move once again on our darkened world when we cry out from hearts that are completely His. What we see in many parts of the world with the Global Prayer Movement is an awesome thing! Many of these prayer meetings have been going strong for years, covenanting with God on a 24/7 basis. God is going to move in a powerful way through prayer as it births world-wide revival. However, there must come a holy conviction first that we have yet to see in order for God's Spirit to be poured forth. Once God grants us the Spirit of Conviction that convinces of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8), THEN we will begin to see and hear the fervent and effectual prayers of righteous men and women as they invoke the fire of God upon this dying world. No longer will He be hiding His face from His beloved, but He will be rapturous with expectation along with His Bride regarding the workings of His Spirit within our midst.

Come Lord ... come and bring to us conviction of sin both to the sinner and to the saint. We confess our sins to you, O Lord, and to one another. May You move with a power and an unction we have never imagined. In Jesus' Precious Holy Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick