Recently I have felt stirred to go back and review some of the prophetic words that have been given to our church. There are dozens which have been recorded, going back over a period of 22 years. A common theme that weaves through many of these is that God has plans for us to grow and be a bigger church than might be expected for the size of our village. I believe that we need to lay hold of prophecies like that and believe them even though we don't yet see them being fulfilled.
One of the prophecies that resonated with me was given to us by Alun Davies towards the end of the year 2000 which said "God says 'I am going to visit this church in prayer times.'" This word was in my mind when I called the church to come and pray on Sunday 24 September. That was a precious time of worshipping, waiting on God and praying. There were a number of encouraging words brought that evening and a real sense that God was meeting with us.
One in particular really stands out. Ann read Haggai 2:19 to us which says: 'Give careful thought: Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. " 'From this day on I will bless you.' "
In this verse the people of Israel face the reality that the barns that should be full of seed are empty. To add to their woes we learn that there are other harvests that have failed: the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree all have not borne fruit. This represents a pretty comprehensive failure of the staple foods they depended upon. Although they fear facing starvation brought about by crop failure God goes on to encourage his people with the promise that 'From this day on I will bless you'.
The circumstances that face us as a church are not dissimilar to that facing Israel. The harvest of people we have been expecting has not happened. Instead we have seen a number of people move on from our church. Additionally we face a challenging shortfall in our monthly income. However there is no need for panic because we have the promises of God over us as a church.
The latest one given to us is clear 'From this day on I will bless you'. Remarkably when we look back to the previous verse to read some of the context that this promise was given to Israel we discover that it was given to them on the 24th day of the ninth month, the very day in our calendar that we met to pray! The two verses together read: From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid. Give careful thought: Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. " 'From this day on I will bless you.' "
I believe that God wants to strengthen our faith and expectancy at this time that he will accomplish all that has been prophesied over us and more. Please pray expecting that this will happen and happen soon. I would also encourage you to prioritise the times we meet to pray and share in deepening times of encounter with God.