Out of the Abuundance of the Heart, New Year Edition

December 31, 2019

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Hang on, Friends, here we go!

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

(Isaiah 9:2 NLT)

It’s New Year time again. As usual, folks are chiming in on the state of the world and what the future may hold. The news channels are full of pundits predicting war and peace, prosperity and penury, and the election of candidates from both sides. Obviously, they don’t know. What we do know here in the United States is the economy is great, we are experiencing relative peace, and that violent crime has decreased every year since 2016. What, me worry? Or maybe we’re whistling past the cemetery, you figure it out.

I have also heard the usual spate of prophecies concerning 2020, though I’ve not as yet heard any of the much anticipated “2020 Vision” pronunciations. I’m sure they’re coming. You know how God loves a good play on words! I have heard that Jesus is coming back, again. And that 2020 will be a year of great trial and upheaval. Others say that we will see a new outpouring and great blessing on the church and the United States. If I get a choice, I’ll take 1 and 3.

There are a few things it will pay to remember:

  1. We live in a fallen world. The world has no answers, only questions and delusions. 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12
  2. The battle is over the Gospel, the person and work of Jesus Christ. Don’t get distracted. Romans 10:13-17
  3. The end will be marked by huge sin (light is dark, dark is light) and huge revival. Grace abounds. Romans 5:19-21
  4. The first phase of revival is getting the house clean. * Persecution cleans up our church. As the cost of being overtly Christian increases, the uncommitted mixed multitude will decrease, but power will increase. 1 Peter 4:12-14 * Judgment begins at the house of God – get your house ready. 1 Peter 4:17 * Pay attention to your own house first. Christianity is not story time or a movie to watch. It’s personal and real. Galatians 6:4-5
  5. We are speaking into a pagan world. Power is needed. Get yourself ready. Jude 20-23 Our goal is to make the Gospel clear, not make it palatable to pagans. Colossians 4:2-6
  6. Jesus is alive, and you can give demonstration. Mark 16:15-20 / 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
  7. He is coming to judge the living and the dead. 2 Timothy 4:1-2

Here’s the point: I believe 2020 is going to be a wild ride. The divisions in our nation (and around the world) will seem to widen. The volume will increase. That is a result of what is going on in the Spirit. The darkness will seem darker, but it’s only because the light is shining brighter. The light will shine brighter as bushels are being removed and dying embers are either fanned into fresh flame or are removed to the dust bin. We must remember not to fight the darkness, but to shine the light. There are many bound in the darkness through ignorance and/or rebellion. They will need to be able to see the light when they find themselves mired in the pigpen.

There is no battle between light and dark. Light always wins. Our call for 2020 will emphasize equipping, encouraging, and inspiring believers to take the power and the love of God out of the upper room and into the streets where they live. Let’s do this!

Pastor Virgil Stokes

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