November 26, 2020
Dear Praying Friends,
As we take time today to reflect and recount the blessings of this past year, may we not become distracted or dismayed by those things that have been lost, taken, or just don't seem to quite add up after all that we have seen and been through in this extraordinary year. The Lord knew we would be facing unique challenges and be asking difficult questions when He providentially laid out this Year of Divine Government and assigned each Book from His Word for the twelve months of this year long before 2020 even began. How gracious He was to begin this year for us with the book of Ecclesiastes to remind us that all humanity is searching for true meaning and purpose in this life and our souls yearn for something that will last which can only be found in Jesus Christ. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). As we journeyed through the Book of John in February we were bathed in refreshing, soul-satisfying, spirit-filled words which reminded us that it is Jesus alone who can satisfy our soul's desire and He is the only remedy for man's search for significance and eternal life. "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31). In March, as the world began to shake in the wake of the global pandemic, the words of Habakkuk rang in our ears as we were being called to higher ground to rely more fully on the Lord as He purposed to enlighten our spiritual vision and turn our attention more fully to His coming kingdom on earth and His reign of righteousness: "Look among the nations and watch - be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you" (Habakkuk 1:5). In those early challenging days, as the Lord sent everyone to their rooms for a holy time out, and brought a stillness to all activity and industry, the Lord was calling His people to make the assent from fear to faith to worship. "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (2:14). As masks became mandated and the church was told it was non-essential, the Lord had us examine our worship through the lens of the Book of Micah to see if ours was truly heart worship or solely lip service. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8). How deeply and dearly He, who delights in mercy, loves and forgives His people who repent and return to Him with all their hearts! In the Book of Ezra, the Lord showed us how He had purposed to rebuild the hearts of His wayward people in their return from exile, and to re-establish their moral, spiritual, and religious life. "And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage" (Ezra 9:8). With the rise of rioting and civil unrest, the Lord led us through the Book of Daniel, reminding us that He works out His purposes through His servants in the midst of an idolatrous generation and even in the courts of pagan rulers. Daniel provided us a masterclass in prayer as the Lord reminded us not to fear, for He is the Ancient of Days seated on the throne and rules in the kingdoms of men. "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him" (Daniel 2:20-22). As the Lord revealed through Daniel the details of His kingdom calendar and the unfolding of end time events, He directed our hearts to the blessing that comes to those who wait upon the Lord for the setting up of His kingdom (Daniel 12:12). "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). As He purposed to sharpen our vision and tune our hearts more fully to His, we were called to wait upon the Lord symbolically for 45 days as we journeyed through the Books of Job and Joel. As we sat with Job on the ash heap of his suffering, we received an important reminder that God's plan is best though we don't understand it. We were provided the divine perspective on human suffering through the life of Job and confronted with the truth that we have just heard the whisper of God and have yet to hear Him thunder. "Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?" (Job 26:14). As the Lord took us on a much needed field trip through His creation and a walk through the stars with Job to remind us of His sovereign power, we found ourselves agreeing with His humbled servant: "I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (Job 42:3b). The Lord has led us like a good and faithful shepherd through this year and has removed barriers and obstacles out of our way so that we can see Him more clearly and repent and return to our First Love relationship with Him. "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5, 6). Throughout all of these journeys we have seen how the people of God had become defiled and had to be reformed to become a vessel fit to be Identified with the LORD. He is doing a mighty work in the lives of His children who are humbly yielding to His work within. Let us therefore not become distracted by what we see with our physical eyes or hear with our physical ears - let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus! The Lord has been tenderly and carefully preparing us all year with one soul-satisfying feast after another, and we still have one more feast to go! "We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near" (Psalm 75:1). May this feast day with your family be a time of refreshing and energize you for the season ahead as you offer up prayers of thanksgiving for the Lord's manifold blessings that have been deposited into your life this year. I look forward to our next feast together during the Feast of Dedication beginning on December 11th (see below)! Invite your friends and family to come to the table of the King for a feast like no other, as we end this year as we began, in His Word, in prayer, in His presence, with joy! It is a joy to walk this journey with you!
Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving
to you and your family
Trumpet and Torch Ministries
With gratitude and love,
"We give thanks to God always for you all,
making mention of you in our prayers,
remembering without ceasing your work of faith,
labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
in the sight of God our Father,
knowing, beloved brethren, of your election by God."
(1 Thessalonians 1:2-4)