Recovery and Restoration
For decades, I’ve arisen in the middle of the night for what I describe as my mid-watch prayers. An undistracted, focused time of seeking God in prayer, reviewing scriptures and in reflecting and planning for what lies ahead.
During the mid-90s there came an adjustment to this practice. Two key things triggered this change. First, the Lord began speaking to me about capturing and writing articles, about what I was discerning from His heart during these mid-watch prayer-times. Around that same time, I also become aligned with and involved with initiatives being stewarded by Messianic Jewish believers.
Among the areas in which I was influenced by my association with Jewish believers included becoming much more aware of the importance of the biblical time of rest. The time the Lord told Moses to set aside for His people to recover: the Shabbat. A time, when observed across the community, that Scripture tells us that God would sanctify His people.
Sanctification is the renewal of our human spirit by the Spirit of God. It is part of the process of being consecrated and purified; an undistracted enablement to serve Him. Spiritual renewal has two integral targets: that of individuals and that of the community. There also are two facets to making renewal happen: our part and God’s part.
I recall a time while in Israel, as the sun set one Shabbat evening, while in the middle of a conversation, that I suddenly experienced the result when these two facets converge. It was a tangible peace and conscious presence of the Lord. It was so strong, it was almost startling. I looked out to the normally busy road, to see it empty. What I experienced at the inception of that Shabbat was the overflow from when even non-practicing citizens of Israel observe this time of refreshing and renewal set aside by God.
Paul made reference to this process of renewal being linked to the spiritual maturity that would be evidenced by unity, as a people. Despite the difficulties and discontinuities experienced by so many due to the abrupt changes during 2020, it’s been a process in which the gap, long impeding spiritual maturity as a people evidenced by unity, is starting to be closed.
So, since that time for me in the mid-90s, the personal adjustment I have made in my practice, during my Shabbat mid-watches …. is to take communion, to humble myself before the Lord with special prayers for those I’m in relationship with, as I examine my heart and essentially reset things spiritually for the upcoming week. I describe this personal practice as a time in which I push the spiritual default button.
The Process of Recovery
Conscious spiritual recovery is a much needed part of the spiritual maintenance of God’s people. It represents the interim adjustments and refreshing required in reaching for the goal of restoration. Assembling together plays a role, but only when combined with it being a part of our everyday lives, becoming an overflow of our proactive pursuit of walking with Him with an undivided heart.
From the point in Genesis 3 when man fell, to the end of the book of Revelation, the story laid out in the Bible has been of God restoring man to the original state he had with God in the garden. So, whether it is the periodic recovery from times set aside by the Lord to refresh and slow down sufficiently to get close enough to allow the process of sanctification; or the longer-term resets such as times of jubilee … the biblical process laid out by the Lord involves times set aside to recover and reset, as we reach for the ultimate goal of restoration.
Recovery, Balanced Direction and the Times
So, in understanding the times, we need to recognize that 2020 has been a reset in this process of recovery. Scripture says that old things are passed away, that God makes all things to become as new. Renewal. We’ve entered an acceleration of the process of corporate renewal of believers. Within that context, we need to be on the alert for the interim adjustments that yield the release of the new parts of the equation spiritually and for matters in the natural that will enhance this recovery.
In short, we’ve entered season marked by recovery in this age-old significant process of restoration.
Like Daniel and his companions, for those who “get it,” despite what may in some cases be a jolt in the adjustment, it will entail roles that prove to be strategic assignments, not unlike that of Joseph in Egypt. It begins with the simple things … in embracing these assignments.
The simple things access God’s gateways into the balanced direction needed for the times … and the recovery. As a people, believers need to embrace the importance of the roles of its members: as community leaders, people of influence in the society around them, not just being monastically spiritual, but as contributors spiritually as well as economically and societally, as good stewards who make a difference.
This balanced direction for each era begins with the question God asked Adam in the garden of “where are you?” In a covid-impacted world, the response to this question is as pertinent as when having sought understanding, humbling himself before God, that Daniel was visited by the angel.
The Centurion Mind-Set
I have walked with the Lord, consistently hungry for more, since 1971. Scripture indicates the Jesus was taken by the faith of the Centurion. That means a lot to me personally, as I was a salty, battle-seasoned Centurion, a leader of men, at the time I met the Lord. Like the Centurion, I was a God-seeker, dedicated to what I believed and the cost more times than I care to recall, that I had faced in firefights and was willing to pay for: of being willing to die for what I believed.
I believed in the cause I had been sent to defend. Becoming a warrior takes more than intense training. I have observed that I learned more in the first week of being shot at, than in the year of training designed to prepare me for combat. Yet, over and over, that year of training saved my life and those of my men.
I quickly learned to actively listen to those with actual track records in battle. I became courageously bold under fire, seasoned and wise from the realities I encountered. Sadly, most Hollywood and TV screen writers degrade the realities of combat … based on politically-correct portrayals of exceptions to those whose combat experiences have been the norm. Those exceptions range from the nut-job Rambos with a death-wish to those whose lives will never be normal due to PTSD caused by fearful overreactions in facing death.
The Faith and Character Needed in a Post-Covid Era
Both exist, but are extremes to the norm …. a norm that triggered the response Jesus had to the Centurion whose caliber of character and faith was unlike anything He had observed from His circle of followers. What Jesus discerned in the faith of the Centurion are the qualities needed in this post-covid era: spiritual maturity, wisdom, courage and a leadership that engenders unity.
Lest we get stymied into viewing these character qualities as an end into itself, the reason Jesus deemed them so important was because they are the pathway into recovery …. of the process and goal of restoration that is reflected between Genesis 3 and Revelation.
Facing the Priorities of Our Journey
In my first real encounter with the Lord, the time I first heard His voice, He asked me a pertinent “where are you?” question. One pertinent to me as a seasoned combat warrior …. as I was reading in Acts about the story of Stephen, who as a committed follower of Jesus was boldly facing death for what he believed. The Lord’s question to me was simply: “Would you be willing to do that for Me?”
It made me realize that for all my priorities and high ideals, I had never brought the Lord front and center. My simple response of “Yes Sir” became a quantum shift in my priorities, in who I was, and where I was headed in life.
It was a response which led to a deep desire in serving Him, which set the stage for my life-long journey with Him. Knowing Him. Knowing His ways. Serving Him with an undivided heart. Taking the courage of commitment into a place of spiritual maturity. Taking the tough-minded dedication of a seasoned warrior to levels of commitment I had never known in the natural. With it came the wisdom that listens and recognizes the value that comes from the mix of maturity and unity.
The Choice of Influence
Early in the process of my journey with God were two key mentors, both of whom were serious, committed prayer warriors. While I was good at planning and good tactically, one of these mentors imparted a greater level of strategy than I had gleaned from taking care of my men and accomplishing my assigned missions in combat. It impacted how I thought and managed the realities of life. The other mentor opened the gates in my understanding to this spiritual process of renewal …. and with it, restoration. And like I mentioned, all this being actuated within the process mapped out by serious prayer.
While those in the persecuted Church tend to understand these realities, recent months have resulted in believers in the West being awakened to more fully engage in this age-old conflict.
Not unlike those going into battle, people of faith need to choose their sources of influence. Ones with track records that enable them to be the head and not the tail, undistracted and focused in the right direction …. in their assignments. Throughout the history of God’s people, the enemy has been masterful in planting undermining influences at the very seats of relationships and power. Throughout the word of God there have been two key sources of influence that undermine ones faith.
For each, being yielded to these influences triggers the love of the world, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. One is in wanting to blend in, to identify with and be like the world around them. The other is in being subjected to the influence of the immature and misguided whose instincts are guided by passions and oversimplifications rather than wisdom. It is unfortunate that misguided teachings that define compatibility in relationships as being the “unity” sought, tend to dilute the standards of scripture and lower the bar, rather than raising it.
The Shift in the Standard of Recovery
As a people of God, we’re at one of those times set by the Father in which nothing will ever be the same. Not unlike the time the Lord appeared to Gideon, there is an awakening and defining word being given to many: “The Lord is with you, O mighty warrior!” It’s a time long awaited by that great cloud of witnesses spoken of in Hebrews.
It is a juncture that is paving the way into the corporate spiritual maturity and unity as evidenced by the early Church. A corporate spiritual maturity and unity that has recovered the importance of the Jewish roots of the faith … before these pertinent foundations spiritually became a battle-ground of contention during the second and third centuries.
It’s a juncture requiring dedication and leadership, courageous boldness and wisdom, and the maturity that majors in the essentials that enable its members to work together in unity. With these factors is the need for the discipline of war-time thinking and the willingness to sacrifice what is necessary for the faith required for the tempo of the times that lie before us.
Spiritual Maturity. Immaturity can come from being spoiled, too self-absorbed, living a soft life …. and a blindness to being accountable and responsible for the important things. Paul the Apostle wrote that when he was a child, he thought as a child, but in becoming a man, he put the childish thinking away. Jewish culture has long recognized the importance of having a rite of passage into adulthood. For far too many, Western culture has unfortunately digressed into fostering a spoiled, weak, irresponsible path impeding maturity in adulthood. For those willing to humble their hearts, the challenges of 2020 have triggered a rite of passage mete for this new era.
Wisdom. Solomon revealed that wisdom does not necessarily equate with being smart, as those he branded as fools tended to come from the ranks of the successfully elite. Wisdom begins with having the humility to embrace the importance of a listening heart. One that discerns the priorities of the heart of God. One of the key aspects to the teachings I take to the persecuted is that of the combined gifts. When the natural and spiritual gifts of individuals begin to operate within the gift of community, it triggers an exponential increase on both the individual and community level.
Courage. The Lord spoke very pointedly to John the Revelator that at the forefront of those who would fall short of the Kingdom …. from among the ranks of believers …. would be the cowardly and the unbelieving. The importance of the cause and the commitment to the cause requires a boldness and courage that equates to that of the Centurion, those willing to face the realities and challenges of operating in a realm beyond the best of their human capabilities. THIS is the faith Jesus observed in the Centurion that He had not seen in all of Israel. The faith to face the risks of the unknown, to get out of the box, knowing that in being prepared for the unexpected, that the Lord is the great Equalizer.
Unity. Unity comes as a result of operating together …. both spiritually and economically. It is the resolute confidence of knowing your identity in Him, together. Knowing what you have together is not based on the precepts of a doctrine, but rather a relationship. Yet in balance, it is in understanding the value of the truths … and the practices that keep these relationships active and strong. Simultaneously recognizing that there are personal aspects to these relationships in God …. and that we grow in understanding by being connected with ones who are different, but who share in the bond of the essentials in this relationship. From that, will come recognizing the value and importance of crossing doctrinal boundaries with those we pray with.
The Mindset for Restoration
There’s something about recognizing the significance of restoration for this new era. It certainly can challenge the status quo, not to speak of provoking angry responses from those outside the household of true believers. Certainly a dynamic experienced by the First Century believers.
It represents a challenge to our response and thinking …. on what side of the power curve that we choose. God never intended for us to be victims, but rather in the face of adversity to be game-changers, forerunners who face seemingly impossible pathways as the head and not the tail, who are willing to pay the cost to pave the way for His highest agendas. Such are the choices and the times now upon us.
The mindset for restoration has got to be tough. Tough-minded and prepared. Totally committed and courageous. Yet, the choice is neither a Rambo nor a fearful overreaction, but rather one that like the seasoned Centurion recognizes the spiritual realities, the Source of the authority and power guiding the process, together with an unwavering response to “Where are you?” with “Here I am Lord, send me.”
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and voice for the higher dimensions of spiritual game-changers and intercessors since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program and the Jewish Business Secrets YouTube series, Mr. Ruddick equips economic community builders with strategy where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
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