Pastor Jim Sanderbeck
December 29, 2022
As we head into 2023, if we are going to overcome in this world, we are going to need to adjust our paradigm. What is Holy Spirit saying to us RIGHT NOW? For those of us who have endured in faith some of the most upside-down/inside-out experiences over the past four years, I can understand how you might be discouraged and disappointed. But, if you are of the Ekklesia, you must be willing to dig deeper.
Our nation and our world have been drastically changed by ideologies, lies, pandemics, governmental policies and outcomes that are so opposed to the Word of God and even logical thought that I don’t even recognize our nation any more. I lay that at the hands of those whose desire it is to change our culture through their perverse and evil motives. Sad, but I suppose that can be expected because they, in their sinful nature, have no cognizance of the Kingdom of God. They have no life; they know no better. They simply have chosen evil over good.
However, within the faith-based communities there has also been voices and behaviors that, I believe, have grieved the Holy Spirit. These voices are without excuse. There have been those leaders who have refused to publicly take a Biblical stand by saying religion has no place in the public/political arena. At the expense of those five-fold leaders who have taken a bold stand, these leaders have decried them publicly and, in one case, demanded the prophets who prophesied some form of God’s intervention be forced to sign an apology to the church with the admission of being false prophets. It has been such a tragedy that Jesus’ example and teaching and His prayer for unity among believers is trampled underfoot by those professing to be His disciples. Quotes from Eric Metaxas’ new book, Letter to the American Church, take institutional religion to task with such statements as:
- “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”
- “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
- “God will not hold us guiltless.”
He says, “The Church is called to speak out and fight not just when the cause is fashionable—as with such causes as human trafficking—but also when it is unfashionable, and perhaps especially when it is unfashionable. If we do nothing when we see our culture being attacked in ways that will cause innumerable people to suffer, will not God hold us accountable? We are responsible to those suffering now, and to those in future generations. How can we let others—rather than our own consciences—dictate what we say and do?”
In summary of these past 4 years, the confusion and chaos has taken its toll on many Christians. Those who struggle cry out with the question “where is God?” Believers, with or without shepherds, that have not made a clear distinct sound on their bugle have sheep scattering in fear of the wolves. I understand why the fatigue, confusion, and the statement ‘just hang on ‘til Jesus comes.’ Even Elijah found himself hiding with the feeling of being all alone. —BUT STAYING THERE—THAT IS NOT BIBLICAL! I refuse to accept that statement to just hang on. Elijah rose up from the doldrums and called down the fire of God and overcame his adversaries. As believers we are to “ask and keep on asking, knock and keep on knocking.” In Ephesians 6:13 we are told that in the evil day, having done everything we know to do, we are to put on the armor of God and “stand”. It does not say run, hide, give up, or hang on.
We need a paradigm SHIFT. Obviously, the old wineskin of going to the familiar place where we have found God in the past is not working—at least not to the degree that is required for victory in this day. The battle rages; we go on. As a distance runner at the most demanding part of the race with the pain tearing at lungs and legs, I couldn’t quit the battle and just say ‘this hurts too much. I’m going to quit and give the victory to the other guy.’ If I wanted to win, I had to endure to the end—and so do we now going into 2023.
In 3:16 of the Song of Solomon, we read:
Son 3:1 “On my bed night after night I sought him Whom my soul loves; I sought him but did not find him. 2 ‘I must arise now and go about the city; In the streets and in the squares I must seek him whom my soul loves.’ I sought him but did not find him. 3 “The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, And I said, ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’ 4 “Scarcely had I left them When I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go Until I had brought him to my mother’s house, And into the room of her who conceived me.”
When the familiar places where we have in the past found Him do not reveal His presence, we must go out and search for Him. When He is not found in the Sunday morning worship service or the Wednesday night prayer meeting or the Friday night healing service, we have to search further. When we don’t find Him in our dreams or in a familiar Bible verse, we have to search further. He is our lover—the most important person in our lives. We can’t ever give up. Then we encounter the ‘watchman.’ The Holy Spirit will direct us to here He is. When we encounter the watchman that’s where we will find Him—never to let Him go.
My Brothers and Sisters, now as we enter into 2023, we have to dig deeper into the Holy Ghost and prayer. We have to be willing to go out from those comfortable places and search for Him in new areas. There are no services or events that satisfy. I’m not saying that old wine is not good wine. I’m saying God is always moving forward. We have to be willing to find new wine and put it into new wineskins. Holy Spirit is our watchman now. Not a book or even a trusted man/woman. Pray and find Holy Spirit and you will find HIM. He will direct you. In this Kingdom season, ruling and reigning is where He is. You must choose to go out into unexplored regions of the city and find Him and your assignment.
In Luke 24 and in Mark 16:12. Jesus met 2 men, His followers, who didn’t recognize Him. We read in Mark 16:12: “After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. There is much to be drawn from this verse, but for us right now in our current circumstance, these men were disappointed because of what they thought was a disastrous outcome to what they had believed about Jesus. But, He appeared to them in a different form. Don’t look for Him in the old wineskin alone. This is a different season. A new wineskin is now with us. He will be found in a different form. You must go out; you can not turn in. He isn’t in a dead sanctuary or a repetitive classroom. Now He is out in the world around you. Find Him. It is in this world that you will find your foundation and your assignment. It is where you will find your Lover. WE WIN, or, WE WIN! TOGETHER, WE CAN!