“The glory of this new house will surpass that of the old,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot, “and in this place I will grant shalom,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot.’” Haggai 2:9
Sunday morning I woke up and a FaceBook Page I follow had shared this verse. It really touched me and spoke to me.
I was visiting some friends and they had invited me to their Community of Faith, so I went with them. We began to worship and I felt the need to write. I found a pen and began to write on the bulletin.
Worship continued for over an hour and when it finished the pastor looked at his wife (they co-pastor) and said that she was going to deliver the message and she replied by saying, “I don’t believe it is for today. I sense that it is not in the right stream and it needs to be saved for another day.”
As this was taking place my heart began to pound. I truly sensed that the Words I had written were from Holy Spirit and needed to be shared. I didn’t know these people. I don’t usually do this. But, I leaned over to my friend and told him that I felt like I needed to share something. He got up and went to the pastor and told her. She told him sure and had me come over. She asked what it was I felt led to share and I showed her what I had written and she got confirmation, so she told her husband and next thing I know I am holding a microphone and sharing what Holy Spirit had given me.
As I was writing the words, I also knew I needed to share them with others. Here is what I wrote:
“I hear the Lord saying this (a community gathering) is what He wants you to prepare in your homes. The days are coming when corporate worship will be difficult. Begin to prepare your homes to reach your communities. Your neighbors will be lost and look to YOU for HIS strength because it is IN you. You will be HIS lights in your neighborhoods. Don’t be afraid to share HIS worship that is within YOU with those around you. What you have here this morning will be in your homes. Your homes will be HIS safe haven for others.
I had the opportunity to live in Israel for many years. Living there taught me that when the Temple was removed and destroyed, the place where the Jews went to worship was taken away. Today, the Jews consider their homes their ‘temple.’ Their homes are the place they worship. Shabbat brings HIS WORSHIP. It is time to PREPARE your homes.
Some homes are a mess. It is time to change it. Prepare your homes!”
After church a woman approached me and said, “Thank you so much for sharing. When I moved into my home 12 years ago I called it a ‘safe haven.’ I even had a worship room with a piano. Over time, as my kids grew, things got packed away and it became another room in the house. Holy Spirit has been convicting me to get the piano out and prepare the worship room again. I was supposed to do it yesterday, but now I know I need to get it done.”
She went on to tell me that she had also recently gotten to know her neighbor a little better, and another neighbor was facing cancer. She knows her house will soon become a “safe haven” for those around her.
Friends, here is a verse we all have heard:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (NIV)
I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means ‘Rock,’] “and on this rock I will build my Community, and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it. (CJB)
The CJB gives a more accurate description here. God’s original intent was to build “communities.” It will be HIS Community. A lesson I always taught when I was in Magdala or Capernaum in Israel is this:
“God wants us to LIVE in our neighbors and communities. ‘Going’ to church is fine, and the Word does say, ‘Go and make disciples…’ BUT, if we cannot BE a part of the community around us, we are missing the mark. We miss the intent of being a LIGHT to our neighbors and a LIGHT in the place He has placed us. Early communities of faith met in homes. They WORSHIPPED in homes. This is where true fellowship took place. It did not happen at the synagogue.”
Covid has already given us the experience of not being able to meet together. Countries/Governments around the world have already stopped communities of faith from meeting. The Word is clear that we will face more and more challenges and difficulties as the return of the Messiah grows closer. I believe the day is coming when Governments will shut down communities of faith and we will be forced to gather and fellowship with those who are “in our community.”
The verse above from Haggai clearly says that the “new house will surpass the old and it will be filled with PEACE.” When we have Holy Spirit in the middle of it all, HIS peace will fill our house. That peace can, and SHOULD BE, shared with others.
The New Testament Communities of Faith grew FROM THEIR HOMES. They gathered together and shared together DAILY in their homes. Are you ready to do this?
We must begin to prepare our hearts and HOMES. We must purge and clean out physically, spiritually, and emotionally so we can be READY to approach the throne with “clean hands and a pure heart.” We must be ready to be HIS LIGHTS to our neighbors.
You ARE His vessel and will be used for His purposes. Don’t be afraid or fearful.