Such a time as this

For months now I’ve been wrestling with the verse Matthew 9:37 which says “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” I had no idea what to do with that. Also wrestling with a word given to me repeatedly along the lines of the world is coming to an end. The more I prayed and waited the smaller this world seemed until the anvil dropped out of the sky with the words “Your world is coming to an end” landed at my feet. The months to follow would offer such an interesting transition and compilation of painful, heartbreaking life change that I have no way to describe for you in the physical the spiritual change that manifested. In early March I sat out on the shores of Maui, utter paradise, plagued by this seemingly overwhelming identity crisis that had come upon me. I met a stranger from Dallas in Maui of all places who I had the most divine encounter with. An encounter of which left me questioning whether or not anyone else saw me speaking to anyone at that table. The verse below came from that conversation.

Esther 4:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

So what does this mean? Well, I can tell you what it means to me and means to a lot of other people in learning the true nature of what I was called to do for Kingdom movement. It means we are living in a day where there is an outcry. An outpouring of utter pain and desperation, of which, the world and individuals have never seen nor experienced. There is a hunger pang developed in the bellies of people who could’ve sworn they had all that they needed. That their lives were “perfect” by their definition and have no idea where this “feeling” came from.

I can tell you this much in my plain simple English. People are looking for something and have no idea what that something is. Either we get to them or the wolves will. That is what Esther 4:14 means to me. The alarming suicide rate of our teenagers. The alarming rate of which people are abandoning all principle and morality to chase things that will bring nothing but death and destruction. Trust me when I say I am speaking to you from experience as I’ve watched the destruction happen in my life as well as those near and dear to me. Our next generation has to deal with things we never imagined dealing with. Fears and opportunities for evil to surface that were so foreign to us at that age it is nearly impossible to wrap our minds around. The reason is found is Romans 13:11

Romans 13:11
New International Version (NIV)
The Day Is Near
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

It is time for us to wake up. Those of us that have awoken can no longer run from what we have seen. We have a responsible and a duty to be that influence in one person at a time. Its not about convicting. It is simply about being loving. It is about being giving of yourself to something that you may never see fruit from. Something that you will receive no credit for until you have arrived before the judgement seat and are able to give an account. We all want to hear our Father say, “well done, my good and faithful servant.” We are living in a day of reformation. This is preparation and training and the sirens have already sounded. There is no more going back to sleep. There is no more running away from this. The time is here and it is now. The harvest is bursting at the seams. This pain that you are experiencing. The confusion, anguish, and utter desperation you feel can be used to create a room for God to live. A place where He will come to meet and comfort you in a way you can not expect nor explain. Now so many of us, myself included, are in a place where we are questioning our job vs our calling. I was once asked whether I was a Peter or a Paul. Both had incredible impact and are the reason we are allowed to bear the cross of Christians today. Paul made tents and traveled and preached the gospel so we can say he had a 9-5 of sorts but was very kingdom focused. Peter actually worked for the church and was also kingdom minded. Here is the thing though, they were both fulfilling their calling in their life in the manner they were called to do so. Now if you are called to be a nurse or a doctor, think of the amazing opportunity you have to meet people in their fear of the unknown and change. Some of which can be life altering. To be able to tell them a good news. Unless God calls you specifically out of the job you are in to go and preach then you stay there, be the salt and the light and continue to preserve. If all of our doctors quit their jobs to become pastors who would care for the sick, which, we are specifically called to do as a body. There are some pastors who are not called to be pastors but called to be other professionals if profession at all. Missionaries, teachers, sports figures, famous, and the list goes on. Just imagine the number of people could be reached if a famous face endorsed their call to simply be a famous face and spread the message. It is important that we understand the difference between our profession and our calling. For some, they are one in the same. For others there is a stark contrast and we have tread carefully on how we operate in our calling while remaining professional. Now by no means am I qualified or know you well enough to even begin to coach you through this decision but Psalms 139:13 says there is someone who is.

Psalm 139:13
New International Version (NIV)
For you created my inmost being;
 you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I spent some time fasting and praying during these excruciating painful past months of my life about my specific calling. Once it was made clear to me my zealousness led me right down a path of trouble. Made me prime target for attack as I felt I could not do this. I am thankful for the one who sat me down and told me “James, you’re trying to boil the ocean.” Such a simple line yet one of cataclysmic realization. So I say to you: You boil any body of water one pot at a time. You save a nation, one person at a time. You bring healing to a nation one person. You step into the harvest and you reap one at a time. The fear overwhelmed me before being so blessed to receive that word.

Isaiah 44:2
New International Version (NIV)
This is what the Lord says — he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
 and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
 Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 48:10-11
New International Version (NIV)
See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
 I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
 How can I let myself be defamed?
 I will not yield my glory to another.

So I want to leave you with these last two verses. Isaiah 44:2 and 48:10-11. This painful inexplicable time you are dealing with is by no accident. It is because the time has come for us to throw off our old ways and embrace the new. This identity crisis that you’ve found yourself in the middle of is by no accident. God knows what He is doing at all times and He is preparing you. We all have a season in which we were called to flourish. Just like Esther, David, Nehemiah, and countless others throughout scripture. There was a season of training and a season of flourishing that they could not have fathomed they would have encountered. The refining process is hot and painful. Notice Isaiah says “furnace of affliction”, not furnace of comfort, warmth, and good feelings. God can not and will not allow us to move forward in our calling until we are worthy to bear His name. It is for HIS sake He does this. In short, we can’t go around claiming Jesus Jesus Jesus but look very similar to enemy. Act and speak like the enemy. I would not tell you anything I haven’t been praying and wrestling with myself. It is from the valley I speak to you. I am down here with you, in the trenches, not yelling at you from a mountain top. Every single day I have to start in prayer and shake off the depression that seems to be waiting at my front door. Every night I pray for sweet sleep and not all nights are successful. From one wounded soldier to another “Get up!” and keep fighting. Ephesians says when you’ve done all you can do just stand. So brothers and sisters “KEEP STANDING!!!” If you are out of fight that is ok. For your sake and the harvest that needs us push through this. I know this is hard and you want to give up. Winston Churchill said “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” Do not stop, do not rest, do not take a break until you are past where you are. Because joy comes in the morning.

God, we thank you so much for this refining period that you are putting us through. Give us clarity on where we are as well as what you would like us to do where we are right now. Show us how we can be fruitful and how we can serve You through our service to others on a daily basis. Help us understand the truth of how this pain is not about us but it is all about You. Most importantly God I ask that you bless each set of eyes to read this. Let them all read and take from this what you would like them to gain from this. Help them see how You have called them to this season and give them a clear understanding on their individual callings. Show them how you will feel that void in each of their lives. I bind up anger, sadness, frustration. I bind depression, fear, and anxiety Lord, I bind up paranoia. In Jesus Name. You said what is bound on earth will be bound in Heaven. I believe this to be true. God I speak peace into every life going through this season of hurt. I speak calm and live and unspeakable joy to each person suffering. We thank you so much for the blessings we still enjoy daily because it could still be so much worse than it is. In your matchless name we pray Jesus.

I know I said that was the last verse but I felt that I should leave you with this one too.

Matthew 9:17
Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”