Sometimes I am known to ramble when I speak. Tonight I am going to take the liberty of rambling as I write in Spirit-filled happiness - as I saw with my own eyes a great and magnificent work of restoration tonight in Jesus name. Tonight was DEFINITELY a Joel 2:25 kind of night.
"I'll make up for the years of the locust, the great locust devastation - Locusts savage, locusts deadly, fierce locusts, locusts of doom, That great locust invasion I sent your way. You'll eat your fill of good food. You'll be full of praises to your God, The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder. Never again will my people be despised. You'll know without question that I'm in the thick of life with Israel, That I'm your God, yes, your God, the one and only real God. Never again will my people be despised.We have just arrived home from one of the best parties that I have been to in years.
Not the most extravagant. Nor the most glamorous. But in all honesty, one of the most joyous, worship, prayer and praise filled celebrations that I have experienced in a LONG time - even in this year of the Jubilee and the Olympiad. And why was this party so special? Simply because it was a RESTORATION party.
Let's take a quick look at the meaning of the word "restoration.
The Oxford Dictionary defines "restoration" as:
The action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition:
The reinstatement of a previous practice, right, or situation:
The return of a monarch to a throne, a head of state to government, or a regime to power: the restoration of a democratic government
Would you agree with me that the word "restoration" simply points us to the name of Jesus?
Jesus' purpose was to put right or to restore our relationship with "our previous owner" (God!)
Restoration just screams out "renewal", "hope", "future" and "right relationship" to me. I am so thankful that God is the owner of the business called RESTORATION!
Much like in the book of Luke when the prodigal son returned home, tonight's party was one in which the cause celebre was the restoration of rightful relationship under God between brother and brother, sister and sister, friend and friend. So in that context hearing the name of Jesus being worshipped and honoured with many, many unified and triumphant voices was just awesome. Much like the story of the prodigal son, tonight's party involved an awesome feast - but more importantly it was about celebrating dead relationships being returned to life and the lost being found!!
The Parable of the Lost Son
To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.
The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.
The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
“His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.
We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!"
Tonight was a wonderful reminder that we are all parts of the body of Christ, the doctors, entrepreneurs, teachers, academics, nurses, pastors, students, a great multitude of children, social workers, artists, musicians, fashionista, tradesmen, aviation workers, children's workers, philanthropists, therapists - all different, all unique and yet all forming equally important parts of the body of Christ (the church).
When we shared communion in the midst of the celebration tonight I could sense the devil gnashing his teeth at the work of the Great Restorer. But more importantly, I could sense the REJOICING in Heaven. I am pretty sure THAT party is still going on now!!
As I sat basking in God's presence tonight I was powerfully reminded that our God is the Great Restorer..... He is the great I am. He is the beginning and the end. The alpha and omega. He is simply so powerful, magnificent, omnipotent, omniscient. He is so vast. His love knows no bounds. His mercy endures forever and ever. There is not a corner of the universe in which we can - or need to - hide from him.
There is not a hair on our heads that he hasn't personally numbered. Every breath that we take is ordained by Him. He loves us. He loves us so dearly. He treats us all as if we were His only children and He LOVES RESTORATION.
Our God is a good and just God and He pursues righteousness, truth and justice, for justice is His very heartbeat.....
The Scriptures say:
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Tonight my friends, God's awesome restorative justice was served up. My God's purpose - to give us a rich and a satisfying life - was fulfilled in abundance. Amen
I believe that evidence of the fruit of God's work is never more obvious than it is when we see miraculous and powerful Kingdom restoration.
I have used this illustration before - and I will no doubt use it again, however when a car buff restores a car, he ALWAYS rebuilds it better, faster, prettier, more expensive and more loved than it originally was.
This is exactly the same as when God restores us - or something to us. It is infinitely better, prettier, more wondrous, more loved and more outwardly lovable - precisely because it has been REBUILT from the inside out!
The ultimate display of God's restorative power is in the restoration of the Cross - the restoration that we have in Jesus - restored to what we were always designed to be or to have - intimate relationship with the Father. The old has come, the new has gone.....
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!
So friends, I want to encourage you - when the devil attacks and takes from you stay steadfast and stand strong! Keep on believing for the season of feast after the famine. Our God is an awesome God and a God of RESTORATION and JUSTICE.
Friends, please join me in praying for continued restoration here on earth (as it is in Heaven). Amen
I want to leave you with - and encourage you to take a few (12 to be exact!) minutes to listen to this amazing musical rendition of the Prodigal Son. It is perhaps one of the greatest Christian songs ever written - Keith Green's the Prodigal Son Suite.
Thanks so much for sharing in my joy tonight. An after-party is so much more fun when shared with good friends.....