Psalm 92:12-14 - "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree; they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord; they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green." Palms are symbolic of long life, triumph and victory. Several years ago this Scripture was given to me and the man who would become my husband. We both held it before God and remembered it as a promise.
Yesterday we saw the beginning of the manifestation of this promise. God brought Jac and I together in the spring, during seed time. We quickly feel in love with one another and planned a wedding for harvest time. God graciously gave us a crystal clear day for our wedding, and yesterday we joined together under a chuppah at our church, The Crossing. Friends and family were so excited for us as our union represented the way that God "restores the years that the locust have eaten," (Joel 2:25) gave us "beauty for ashes," (Isaiah 61:3) and redeemed our lives. (Lamentations 3:58)
God's plans and purposes always stand. Even though the realm of darkness may try to discourage us and destroy God's plans, it cannot overcome. That is why Paul tells us in Ephesians, "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand." (Ephesians 6:13) So Jac and I stood our ground while God led us to the place of victory. Our intent was that every aspect of the service of holy matrimony would speak of the faithfulness of God.
Psalm 126 promises that "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy, He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." This Psalm was demonstrated by the sheaves that I carried up the aisle. We stood under a chuppah which means covering or protection. It is symbolic of God's protection around us and His covering over us. Grapevines, symbolic of prosperity and fertility, were intertwined around the legs of the chuppah and palm trees stood at their base.
We declared the faithfulness of God in song, and friends who introduced us read the verses of the Bible that have become foundational to our lives. Victory was in the air as we said our vows to one another and pledged to love and encourage one another all the days of our lives. Our intent was to honor God in everything that we did. From the reports that we received from those who attended, God answer our prayer that this wedding would honor Him and people would be touched by His Presence.
We are grateful for the opportunity to declare God's goodness that endures forever. Please pray for us as we begin our new life together as a triple-braided cord, tightly interwoven with the Holy Spirit.
Do not miss the significance of the current month on the Jewish calendar. Cheshvan, the eighth month, is without any holidays. Jews call it the month of Messiah and believe that the third Temple will be inaugurated during this month. In fact, the alphabetical symbol for this month is NUN, which symbolizes the Messiah. Eight means eternal revelation and new beginnings.
Do you think that it is significant that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church on October 31, 1517, in the month of Cheshvan? I do! At the age of 33, Luther had a revelation from Romans 1:17 that the "righteous will live by faith" alone. He questioned the practice of the Church that sold indulgences as a way for the parishioners to have their sins forgiven. In an attempt to get the Church to take a hard look at this practice, he wrote the 95 Theses in Latin for the Scholars to review. However, someone translated them into German, printed and distributed them. The rest is history!
In the month of new beginnings an awakening occurred that transformed the Church. The Great Reformation saw many people rediscovering the Bible as they began to read it for themselves. The message of salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16) came to the forefront, and the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored.
October 31, 2017, will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of his 95 Theses. We would do well to consider the state of the Church today and the need of another reformation in our time. Consider that the Church is not walking in its full inheritance and has abdicated its leadership role to politicians and various secular organizations. Consider the state of our world where we call good evil and evil good and where immorality is given a seal of approval.
At my church this morning our speaker, Dr. Mike Hutchings, gave us a word--"convergence." It means a coming together. Could it be that this is the time when God will bring together the 8th month of Messiah and new beginnings with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation to give birth to another great awakening and transformation of our churches and our society?
Interestingly, my fiancee and I are starting a new beginning by being married on October 27 in the month of Cheshvan. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will manifest His Presence in our marriage, our church and our nation. Let us pray this thing in! We are in desperate need of a great awakening that leads us into repentance, a Kingdom mentality and a love of the Lord that changes everything!
God created the heavens and the earth with a command. (Hebrews 11:3) He gave the water boundaries, spoke land into existence and declared that vegetation would grow on the land and produce seed. He separated day and night and placed the sun in the sky to give light in the day and the moon to give a lesser light in the night. (Genesis 1:1-16) He determined the number of stars He placed in the sky and called each one by name. (Psalm 147:4) Isaiah 40:26 says of the stars, "Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." God filled the sky, the land and waters with living creatures. Then He made man in His own image. (Genesis 1:27) "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17) In Hebrew, His name is Elohim. This name conveys the magnitude of God and means Mighty Creator.
This amazing God, who made everything out of nothing, imposed order out of chaos and designed beauty to surround every creature and all humankind, knows each one of us by name and placed us on the earth for specific purposes. Elohim desires intimate fellowship with us. Our magnanimous God, in addition to holding the universe together, cares for us and longs to bless us. He is aware of every desire of our hearts. Elohim knows what is good for us and will move heaven and earth to show us His amazing love.
For the past seven months I have had an increasing awareness of God's favor over my life. He has been lavish in pouring out blessings upon me. Daily I see the dancing hand of Elohim pouring out His indescribable gifts. I am humbled by the way He cares for me in the midst of all that He is in charge of. Let me share how I see Him in every aspect of my life. In March He fulfilled my desire for a godly husband by having mutual friends introduce me to the perfect man for me. Both Jac and I knew immediately that it was God who put us together. Our love for one another grew, and we are to be married at the end of October.
There is much to take care of in planning a wedding. So, God sent me precious friends to help with all the details. Two of them asked me to trust them with planning the decorating; they had a vision of what to do. Here we are, two weeks before the wedding, and I feel a strong desire to include pomegranates in the mix. This fruit, grown in Israel, is so significant as it is one of the seven fruits associated with the Promised Land and is the prophetic symbol for love. Wouldn't you know that Jane and Patty already planned to include this fruit in the decorations?
I find myself making lists for each day so I remember what needs to be done. Recently, my fiancee and I were running errands. At the bottom of my list was this: "Stop by the farmer's place for fresh tomatoes." It is the end of tomato season, and I want to eat them until the last one is gone. In the late afternoon we went to Doylestown, PA to apply for our marriage license. It got late, and I knew we would not be able to get to the farmer's place before it closed. For some reason, I decided to go home by a different route. Unexpectedly, we passed a farm that had a tomato sign by the road. As we drove in, the farmer had just returned from the field with a basket of tomatoes, and told me that this was his last picking for the season. I returned home with a bag full of tomatoes--praising God for noticing and caring enough to set this up for me.
I am overwhelmed that the God of the universe is interested in the minute details of my life, fulfilling my desire for pomegranates and tomatoes. Think about it! He is like this for all of us! Isn't this God, Elohim, worthy of all the praise and worship we can give Him?
It is such a treat to be able to ride on a new highway. Usually the road is smooth and well-marked, and it gets us from one locations to another more quickly than traveling old roads. New highways are planned to help us get to our destinations more easily. Isaiah talks about preparing a highway for the people of God. "Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations. The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your Savior comes! See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.'" (Isaiah 62:10-11) The Message Bible says, "Tell daughter Zion, 'Look, Your Savior comes, ready to do what He said He'd do, prepared to complete what He promised.'"
The Lord always looks to partner with someone on earth to accomplish His purposes. He continues to look for willing vessels who want to bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth. We can play a part in building a spiritual highway for the Lord. How do we do this? Be attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Listen and watch for the stream of thought that comes into your head. Allow the Holy Spirit to take you on a journey in your quiet time with Him. We can build spiritual roads and highways with the Word of God so that we "prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." (Isaiah 40:3)
You may ask how this happens. Quiet time alone with the Lord is essential. Wait upon Him to bring you a word. When I get a word from the Lord I begin to travel through Scripture with Him. I look for common themes and words through the Bible. I connect one passage with another. This is building a spiritual highway. God's Word always takes me on a journey. One verse leads me to another which leads me to another. I am unearthing revelatory treasure along the way and laying a foundation for the highway that is being prepared.
Writing down verses and revelation help me to form a well-built highway. Working with the Lord, I connect Scriptures and a new understanding arises. I refine the revelation so that it is strong. I can then share it with others so that they can travel on that highway and reach a destination more quickly.
Here is my prayer: "O God, help me to be a good road builder!" May we all be willing to wait upon the Lord and travel with Him, the One who Scripture calls "The Word." (John 1:1) Together we can build spiritual highways that prepare the way for His return.
Intimacy with God is highlighted in this season as He calls us to tabernacle with Him. He wants us to sit at His table with Him because it is here that we can know acceptance and grace and love. According to Leviticus 23:34 and Deuteronomy 16:13, the Jewish people set aside an entire week to meet with God as they dine in their sukkahs outside under the stars and remember God's faithfulness to them for the 40 years that they lived in the wilderness. God is extravagant in the way that He prepares His table, and He goes to extraordinary measures to bring us there. The story of King David and Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9 pictures this.
After being established as king of Israel, David went about "doing what is just and right for all His people." (2 Samuel 8:15) He remembered the covenant he made with his dear friend Jonathan and wanted to show kindness to his son Mephibosheth who was living in LoDebar. Mephibosheth was lame since age 5 as a result of a fall with his nurse. Sadly, this boy grew up not knowing his inheritance. His dad, Jonathan, named him according to his destiny. Mephibosheth means exterminating the idol and destroying the shame. Yet he was hidden away in the wilderness of LoDebar, meaning without pasture or lacking fruitfulness. Not only were his feet crippled, but also his spirit. He took on an orphan spirit which kept him from realizing his destiny. However, King David went to find Mephibosheth, taking him out of the wilderness and bringing him to his home. David did two things for him: He restored to him the land that belonged to his grandfather, Saul, and gave him a permanent placed at his table. Scripture says, "So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons." (2 Samuel 9:11)
Like King David, King Jesus invites us to join Him at His table. The enemy of our souls tries to hide our inheritance. However, at the right time, the Lord will come to get us from our wilderness to redeem what was taken and restore all that has not been realized. He invites us to come to His table to dine with Him and gives us a seat of honor next to Him. We are sons and daughters of the King of kings!
What a blessing! As the celebration of Sukkot or The Feast of Tabernacles begins on Wednesday, let us remember that God calls us to His banquet table, and His banner over us is love. (Song of Solomon 2:4) This is the season to say yes to the invitation that is extended to us. Communion or intimacy is only realized as we set aside our daily activities and focus on Him. There is a seat set aside for each one of us next to our Omnipresent God that has our name on it. He calls us sons and daughters and has made us heirs to His Kingdom. (Galatians 4:7) This season should be one where we are reminded of our position in Christ. It gives us a great reason to celebrate!
Joan E. Mathias