Something New for You to Hear!
I believe we need to HEAR the Word of the Lord! As a staff and Body, we have been studying Haggai. You can read about this below.
Hanukkah Just Began December 1st!
Martin and Norma Sarvis, our friends and connection in Israel, sent the following at this time of celebration:
The eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah (it is also called the Festival of Lights) remembers the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been recovered by the Jewish forces of Yehuda Maccabee in 164 BC. The Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (a fore-runner of the Anti-Christ, foretold in Daniel 11:21), seeking to coerce Jews into abandoning their religion and culture for that of Greece, had issued edicts forbidding circumcision, observance of Jewish Sabbaths and feast-days. He had defiled the Holy Temple by offering a sow on the altar and raising up in the Sanctuary a statue to Zeus.
As depicted in the First Book of Maccabees (an account of Jewish history found in the Apocrypha), a revolt was launched by the priest Mattathias and later led by his son Yehuda (Judas) Maccabee. It led to the defeat of the Syrian forces, and the defiled Temple was cleansed and rededicated. Another account relates how during this cleansing there was only enough sanctified oil left to burn in the menorah for one night-yet a miracle occurred and it continued burning for eight days.
The victorious warrior Yehuda ordained "that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Kislev, with mirth and gladness" (I Maccabees 4:59). Today, part of the celebration includes the use of a special eight-branched menorah upon which a new oil lamp or candle is lit each evening. Each light is ignited from the flame of a separate "Branch" called shamash-"servant."
Remarkably, the Haftarah reading for this Saturday within Hanukkah, besides containing, as might be expected, a menorah, also includes the following words, "Behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH." Although a different word for servant is used here, there is no doubt that it refers to the Servant-Messiah, sent by the Father-the Light Inextinguishable, who illumines all coming into the world (John 1:9).
Hanukkah-the Feast of Dedication-the Festival of Lights-is a season for:
• Allowing the Holy Light of the Spirit to shine within ourselves,
revealing any idolatry or uncleanness which may have defiled our bodies
(which are the Temple of the Holy Spirit) and removing it.
• For surrendering ourselves anew to the infilling of the Holy Spirit from an inexhaustible supply.
• For letting our "lights" shine brightly in the darkness-reaching out and joining with those of other Believers. A popular Israeli Hebrew Children's song for Hanukkah is called BANU HOSHEKH L'GARESH ("We have come to drive out darkness"):
We have come to drive out darkness, in our hands light and fire:
Each of us is a small light, but together we are a strong, steady light.
Flee Darkness in the Blackness-Flee before the Light!
HOW YOU SPEAK IS HOW YOU RECEIVE! Angels will Now be Sent to Guard your Mouth!
A Prophecy from Chuck Pierce, Barbara Wentroble and Keith Pierce:
"I have blessings that, like the sea, can cover you. Because these blessings can cover you, enter in! For if you will seat yourself with Me and have a cup of tea and talk with Me, then you will taste and you will see. Taste and see, for blessings greater than the sea can overtake you.
"We are entering a season when you need to watch your mouth and project your voice. I will watch the way you use your mouth this season. I will watch how you celebrate. I will send an angel to guard your mouth.
"I will watch how you look for your provision. Will you look for provision by faith? Will you look for provision out of a heart of worship? Or will you strive to get what you need? I will watch how you speak for your provision to come. I am changing the administration of your provision. So this week be not distraught, but this week speak and watch the honey and the water come forth.
"This is not a time to Strike with anger. I AM saying: 'Speak!' I am not saying, 'Strike.' Beware, beware to speak and not to strike! In your striking there will be a drying. But in your speaking there will be a watering. Arise and put your hand over your mouth and let Me say, 'I am One who will speak clearly to see what needs to be broken; come forth in My name.'
"Give Me My Mountain!"
"Be not angry, but rejoice, for your emotions must be displayed properly. Allow your emotions to rise up in the midst of your circumstances and speak to the rock and tell that mountain you're coming through!
"I'm raising up a Caleb generation in this hour. Even Caleb was one who said, 'Give me my mountain!' He spoke and commanded the mountain to come into his possession. I am raising a Caleb generation who will speak, who will take that which I said they could have - even a generation that murmured and complained and never came into the fulfillment of the promise of the Lord in the last season - who will say, 'NOW!' In this hour I will raise up a Caleb generation, a people who will possess that which I say they can have. Even as Caleb, speak and declare that you have your mountain, your possession. This generation must arise and speak the provision of the Lord."
Consider Your Ways!
This past Sunday the Lord spoke clearly to us from Haggai. Haggai was a restoration prophet. He called the people to complete what they had begun! Haggai means "festal" or "to be festive." In this season, Haggai is the perfect book to read to understand timing, restoration, and celebration. Our assignment is to read Haggai for seven days and see the insights that the Spirit is revealing.
Here are Linda Heidler's insights on the book of Haggai:
The people had lost their priority to make God central and develop a place for His presence to dwell. In Haggai 1:5, the prophet spoke: "Consider your ways and set your mind on what has come to you!" The word "CONSIDER" is formed from three words. Consider means to appoint, call, commit, set or purpose. Consider is the word for heart. Heart is both the actual organ and the innermost part of man. The other word for consider means "over, above or beyond."
When you look at this phrase you see that "Consider Your Ways" means to call your heart above your ways - come to a higher level of understanding and discernment about what you are doing, how you are living, and the choices you are making. Perhaps you are looking at things from a low circumstantial level and need to come to a higher level of understanding. Your perspective could be too small and limited. This might be causing you to not see the full picture of what is going on in your life. Your priorities may have been shifted from the perfect purpose that God "began you with."
Your lack can blind you. A wrong perspective can cause you to not see the real source of your lack. The issue is not the lack of food or clothes or resource, but that your heart is set on too low of a level of earthly versus heavenly purpose, and the things of earth rather than the things of God. Bring your heart up to a higher place! Set your heart on God and His plans for you.
Remember, this is our month to catch up! If we will seek Him daily, we will catch up in our celebration.
Pam Pierce: Celebrating In and Out of Season!
With Thanksgiving past and Hanukkah and Christmas before us, I asked my wife to write something. I said, "Share with us your most memorable holiday." Here is what she wrote:
The year 1968 was a tumultuous one. It was the year of the Tet Offensive and the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. It was the year in which Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were murdered. It was the year the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia and Richard M. Nixon was elected president of the United States.
That year was significant to my family for a different reason. With increased military activity in Vietnam, my adopted father, Chief Master Sergeant Clint Hughes, was sent to Korat Air Force Base in Thailand. That left my adopted mother, Betty, at home with four children in New Hampshire. And that meant my mother and I had to call a truce for a while.
When my sister, Paula, and I first went to live with our Aunt Betty and Uncle Clint in 1965, it was supposed to be a temporary solution. Paula and I had been sent to live with relatives before when our mother was institutionalized for alcoholism and mental illness. This time, however, we knew it was different. This time, our father, a high-functioning alcoholic, sent us all the way to New Hampshire to live with people we had only met once or twice before in our young lives.
At first, everything seemed to be working out just fine. I had a room of my own overlooking the White Mountains. The farm on which we lived was a paradise of old-growth forests, pastures, rocky outcroppings and clear, cold streams. After years of living in suburban Los Angeles and Houston, I jumped right into country life with exuberance.
The problems began when I had to do what I was told whether I liked it or not. When Uncle Clint was at the air base in Portsmouth, I rebelled against everything Aunt Betty asked of me. Finally, out of sheer desperation, Aunt Betty told my uncle that they would have to put me into foster care, but Paula-my sweet, well-behaved sister-could stay.
That is when Uncle Clint stepped in and rescued me. Instead of sending me away to live with strangers, my uncle said, "No, just let me take over with Pam, and we'll see what happens." And so, I entered boot camp with my Air Force sergeant uncle in the winter of 1965. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. Over the next two years, my uncle took an unruly, undisciplined, red-haired brat and trained her to be a useful member of the family. He taught me to make biscuits, to take care of livestock, to respect those in authority over me, and to serve others. He showed me how being a useful person with a purpose can change everything.
In the spring of 1966, my natural father died and my mother relinquished her parental rights to my aunt and uncle. Paula and I were adopted and had our last name changed from Rolley to Hughes. There was no more talk of sending me to foster care after that!
When my dad was about to leave for Thailand early in 1968, he pulled me aside for a private conversation.
"I'm counting on you, Pam, to take care of your mother while I'm gone," he said solemnly. "You'll need to make the coffee and start the biscuits every morning before she gets up."
"Yes, sir," I nodded.
"And I don't want you arguing with her," he continued. "Just do what she asks, and it will be all right. This is going to be hard on her, you know."
The Value of Celebration
My dad's absence was hard on all of us. As Thanksgiving approached, however, we received good news from Southeast Asia: Dad was coming home for a short leave in November before returning to Korat to finish out the year. We had hoped for more time, but we decided to make the best of it.
That was the year we celebrated Christmas at Thanksgiving. My sister, two brothers and I took a sled down into the woods behind the house, cut down a young fir tree, and hauled it up to the house through the snow. That evening, we decorated our Thanksgiving tree with lights and ornaments. After dinner on Thursday, we gathered around the piano to sing Christmas carols. We gave our Dad his Christmas gifts and celebrated as though it was really December 25. The next day, he had to leave for Thailand.
There are times when we have to celebrate according to God's timetable. When that happens, we have to be willing to set aside our own agenda and submit to the Father's plan. His timing is perfect, and He understands the value of celebration in a way that we barely comprehend. His calendar is always right.