A 3 am wake up call–from God

Let me set the scene. We live in a rambling old house, part of it built before 1946 (the part that local legend has it was a casino and "house of ill-repute") but mostly additions from the 1980s. Because of its age,we expect to have major repairs from time to time, probably averaging one a year. Over the past 2 months we have had four major things go wrong including our well pump and our septic system–all expensive to replace or repair. We've been praying a lot about this, asking the Lord to show us if there's any specific reason at a spiritual level. Our experience is that this level of attack occurs at strategic times.

Pool level falling

Yesterday afternoon, when our ingound pool started going down at the rate of an inch an hour (probably due to an underground pipe breaking), it was just one more thing gone wrong. On the way to see a friend yesterday evening, I said to Tony, "This feels like that verse where the people of Israel had holes in their pockets."

"That verse comes in Haggai," Tony said.

At 3am this morning, our pool alarm went off, no doubt due to the lowering of the water level. Unable to get back to sleep we determined to find the passage in Haggai.

The context of the verse in Haggai is that the Israelites have been back in their country for almost 20 years following their captivity in Babylon, but are more interested in building their own houses than the house of the Lord. So through Haggai, God tells Zerubbabel the governor and Jeshua the high priest, "The people are saying, 'The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.'" That was the reason they had  experienced poor crops and hunger and thirst, and "your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes."

The passage goes on to talk about the drought the nation was experiencing. That hit home because Texas is in the middle of one of the the worst droughts in recorded history.

As a result of Haggai telling the people, "I am with you," says the Lord, the people began work on God's house.

But it was the next chapter in my New Living Translation that made us sit up and take notice. 

"Then on October 17 of that same year, the Lord sent another message …" Tony and I looked at each other. Today's date: October 17th. This has to be more than coincidence. Now God really had our attention. 

Haggai's message goes on, "Does anyone remember this house in its former splendor? How in comparison does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! … Be strong… get to work, for I am with you. My Spirit remains among you…" the passage goes on to talk about everything being shaken in the nations and that the future glory of this  new Temple would be greater than the past glory.

We remember the days when, back in England, God's presence was almost tangible when we came together. Sometimes we were unable to stand in his presence. There were healings and miracles. We never dared go into his presence with unconfessed sin, because we knew that the Holy Spirit would reveal it publicly. This was not a manufactured glamor and glitz, but the presence of God–his glory– among his people.

For a while now, Tony and I have been praying that God would fill these new wineskins of simple/organic churches, with his new wine, his presence. We've been praying for our situation that whatever we touch would bring the presence of Jesus with it–whether that's our business, our home or our gatherings. 

What does it mean for us to build God's house? For his house to be more important than anything we're doing ourselves? (This is not a theological statement: I know that Jesus is the one who builds his church.)

God's promise is that he is with us. Can our faith arise so this is a tangible reality in all our churches? Can you imagine a situation where, in gatherings in homes/offices/restaurants etc throughout the country, unbelievers walked in and were overwhelmed by the presence of God, as is happening at Ffald-y-Brenin in Wales.

Could the glory of the latter house indeed be greater than the former? 

What is God saying through this passage? Any insights?

 

 

22 thoughts on “A 3 am wake up call–from God”

  1. Its so interesting you say this … Yesterday morning God was showing me how Leah and Rachel were pictures of the Bride of Christ. Leah was the first, but “weak of eyes.” Rachel was the second, but chosen and loved one, “who was lovely and beautiful in form.”
    Yes, I think God is telling us the second Bride will far succeed the first. That this one will endure and please the Lord. Its just overwhelming to even believe given how the spiritual landscape looks right now. I know God will make a way, though. Praying for it and can’t wait to see the Bride arise again!

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  2. This word is on time. Not only because of the date, but because of God’s heart for His church, His bride. He wants us to be prepared for His glory and presence. Thank you for sharing Felicity.

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  3. Wow! Father has something big underway, he’s undoubtedly stirring up another move amongst his people, another new beginning. That means that the Son will be putting this latest new thing into action – just at the right time. Father and Son are communicating with us right now, pouring out essential messages into our hearts through the Spirit of Truth.
    If something new is going to happen in the Bride’s life (and I am convinced the wheels are already turning), then Father, Son and Spirit will be involved together. They are One, they do everything together.
    What’s more, the Son came to reveal the Father and to draw us all into the Oneness of the Three. (John 17:20-21)
    This is a time for ALL of us to be listening and sharing what we hear.
    So thank you Felicity, Kaley and Vicky for sharing.
    I am feeling very excited, this is a time of unfolding and making new.
    ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’ (Isaiah 43:18-20)
    ‘You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.’ (Leviticus 26:9-11)
    Also see my post about building the church (http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/2011/10/thought-building-church.html). I plan to add more to this mini series when I can.

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  4. Felicity I had Haggai last week and had to show my husband this, as I had a strong sense that God is going to do something in Dubbo, NSW. We have pulled out of the church structure, and the now word for us is to wait! … Please pray, as we have a couple of Christian friends that have also come out of their churches, and like ourselves, are waiting for directions. Bless you Felicity and thank you for sharing, as I believe this is a timely word in season.

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  5. Felicity I had Haggai last week and had to show my husband this, as I had a strong sense that God is going to do something in Dubbo, NSW. We have pulled out of the church structure, and the now word for us is to wait! … Please pray, as we have a couple of Christian friends that have also come out of their churches, and like ourselves, are waiting for directions. Bless you Felicity and thank you for sharing, as I believe this is a timely word in season.

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  6. Hi Felicity,
    I rejoice that God spoke to you about this and that God has given you and Tony a platform which allows this to go to a much broader audience than one family or some believers in Austin.
    The thoughts that come to mind when I read this have to do with personal holiness and corporate holiness. We have a tendency to be self focused. We are much more concerned with our house than God’s. At best we want to be connected with a God who is going to take care of US, ME, MINE.
    We bring this lack of personal holiness to a group and we just have a bunch of people who are focused on US, ME, MINE. Then we wonder why the Lord doesn’t show up.
    I’m certainly not making a statement about you or Tony. After all, he gave this to you to speak out, which is an indication of confidence and favor. I’m making a general comment about the self focused state of the Western church (simple church or non-simple church), with quite a bit of self reflection.
    If we want the Holy Spirit to show up in power in our lives individually and among us when we meet we have to seek him, only him and his will, not our own. When we do this individually, corporately and nationally, we will encounter Him and His power. It really boils down to Matt. 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

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  7. Felicity,
    When i read this my hunger for God to show up at our meetings intensifies. I can’t say that I know much about this in terms of experience but I want to live here. This morning my thoughts were that what we call miracle really ought to be our natural state of life with and in God. Please pray for me as I pray for you and may the manifest presence of God be with us for His glory.

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  8. I am encouraged by your words, Felicity, especially about the moving of the Holy Spirit. My prayer focus recently has been to see the Holy Spirit’s power and moving in the harvest. I am excited to see the next steps the Lord has for you, the other commenters and myself with His harvest…that unbelievers are so overwhelmed by God’s presence that they will see that He is good after such a big taste of His presence.

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  9. Don’t overlook the significance of the very last verse. The Lord brought this passage to me some time back. What he helped me to see is that when we are hearing the Father’s heart (regarding His house/kingdom matters) and seeking to fulfill  the will of the Father, He allows us to operate with the authority of having his “signet”- cf ‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet  ring;  for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:23 NKJV) We are only acting as His agents with His “signet ring”.
    Initially I shrank back from thinking God would vest this authority in his Children. But He kept bringing me back to this passage. I’m not talking “name it claim it” stuff here. I’m talking about hearing the Father’s heart regarding any kingdom building issue and knowing that we have the full weight of His authority behind us regarding anything the enemy throws at us o/!
     Walking in this new reality has been exciting and very humbling. My wife and I are seeing people’s hearts change as we are seeking to plant the gospel in the field where the Father has placed us. 

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  10. I immediately felt the well pump/septic system/pool water were all significant because they were water related. John 7:38 came to mind: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Living water is not artificially treated (pool water). What an encouraging sign (in the spirit at least) that it was dwindling! Living water is not polluted, either, as the septic system. But living water is fresh water from the Spirit…from deep wells within us! “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3)Our well pumps need fixed so that the fresh, living water of the Spirit can flow freely and we can begin to see what has been prophesied…begin to see the glory of His house which is made out of living stones…you and me. Parched land needs water. Even chemically treated or polluted water looks fine to those who are dying…and may even bring relief for a season. But only pure water brings life that lasts. Your “signs” encourage me that the time for His glory to be seen in greater measure is near.

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  11. Your comments are very insightful and helpful, everyone. Maybe this passage in Haggai is a word for our time since the Lord has been pointing it out to others too. Tony and I are now praying through the whole book together to see what other things jump out at us.
    I highly recommend that people take a look at the blog posts that Chris Jefferies mentions. They are excellent.
    John, I’m very interested in your comments about the signet ring and authority. We need to understand our authority in Christ. The Great Commission begins with “all authority…”
    Brenda, I hadn’t picked up the link to water with all the issues we have been having. (We’ve also had two air conditioners go out). But the ones I mentioned in the blog are water related, as obviously is the drought that we are experiencing here in Texas. Hmm… Have to think and pray some more about that.

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  12. John also sent me this, which for some reason he was unable to post in comments:
    I think that it would be important to take note of how many times the title “Lord of Hosts” is used in this little two-chapter book. To me this underlines the very important idea that if the house of God is going to be built, it will be built by those who have come to understand the significance of cooperating with, and knowing how to leverage the full weight, power and authority of the Kingdom as represented in this notion (the Lord of hosts) found in Haggai and many other places in scripture.
    Joshua (ch 5) is one example where the Lord of hosts shows up (a Christophany) and is (I believe) very instrumental in every victory they won.
    In my view leveraging the reality of God’s hosts in the building of his house (being built of living stones) and expanding his kingdom might be a significant piece to consider.
    ‘In that day,’ says THE LORD OF HOSTS, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:23 NKJV)

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  13. well, in the new covenant His house is people – living stones [as you say above]
    maybe the greater glory is that He shows up not just in meetings – as that is just the old buildings containment syndrome..
    but with His people, and those being drawn into His house – wherever…’out there’
    and it is happening, but early days for many, as the hard [fallow] ground is still being dug by many of us who are ‘on the edge’ and connecting with those who don’t have much connection with believers.

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  14. I just love how you listen for the Lord’s voice in everything. Could this involve some kind of re-prioritization of your resources of time, money and energy in a way that helps create a more suitable environment (house) for the Lord’s glory to dwell?
    It seems that this passage and the whole theme of the Lord’s house being built always involves a choice between investing in our own houses and His.

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  15. Summer, I was struck by your comment about the fallow ground and connecting with those who have little natural connection with believers. I believe this is something the Lord is doing for many who are just entering the simple/organic church journey.
    Michael, thank you for your comments. It’s fascinating–in the last few days we have been presented with an idea tied up with our business, that, if it worked out, has the potential to do just what you describe in re-prioritizing our time, energy etc. more directly into “building his house.” It will be interesting to watch how it unfolds.

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  16. Hi Felicity,
    I just want to add thought or two …
    I have had a strong impression that years that Locust have eaten are going to be restored… Only yesterday we were discussion that there is only so much we can do but what we really need is that presence that you are speaking of…
    Here in Albania and in Northern Greece we are convinced that the financial crisis is going to cause a turning to God and we long for the presence to come and invade our space… We have sown much and harvested little but feel sure this is now the time for harvest.
    So we too are praying for the new wineskins that are forming here to be filled with Glory!
    Thanks for the encouragement of this word…

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  17. Felicity, this really hit home. After reading your post, the Lord is using those verses in Haggai to bring strong conviction! I am repenting of “building my own house” (i.e. being wrapped up in my own schedule & agenda) before I even think about building God’s house. We are going through a difficult dry time with our house church but I am re-inspired to take the steps and make the sacrifices that are necessary to build God’s house! Thank you for this encouragement!

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