A Call to Anguish
Would you open your Bibles to the first chapter of Nehemiah please? Please just leave that open on your lap. We’ll get to it in the course of my message.
I would have a hard time preaching this if I believe my own flesh telling me that I preached too much of a heavy message. There have been times I’ve been to the Lord and asked him can’t you give me a happy message? But I can’t. Now God may be speaking to me. This may not be for you. But it’s a call to anguish. Lord, if you don’t help me I can’t get through this. I can’t. Lord I’m too old for games. Foolishness. And I’m tired of rhetoric, meaningless rhetoric. It never changes things. Lord, just help me.
Folks, I’m tired of hearing about revival. I’m tired of hearing about awakenings, of Last Day outpourings of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard that rhetoric for 50 years. Just rhetoric. No meaning whatsoever. I’m tired of hearing about people in the church who say they want their unsaved loved ones saved. I’m tired of hearing people say I’m concerned about my troubled marriage, when it’s just talk, rhetoric. I don’t want to hear any more talk about how immoral America has become, how godless our society, how corrupt our business. I’m tired of hearing about Islam taking control and Christians losing power. And how dead the church has become, because that too is rhetoric, meaningless. Away with all of our how-to conferences because they accomplish nothing. How to cope, how to build a bigger church, how to reach the lost, how to improve your people skills, and how to impact the world in this computer time. I look at the whole religious scene today and all I see are the inventions of ministries of man and flesh. It’s mostly powerless. It has no impact on the world. And I see more of the world coming into the church and impacting the church rather than the church impacting the world. I see the music taking over the house of God. I see entertainment taking over the house of God … an obsession with entertainment in God’s house, a hatred of correction, and a hatred of reproof. Nobody wants to hear it anymore.
Tell me now how many churches have you visited recently when you walk in the Holy Ghost is so strong that every one of your sins are brought up before your face, and the loving grace of God. When was the last time you’ve been to a church where you’ve seen young people under such conviction because the people of God have been on their face? And there’s such a concern, and there’s such an agony, that young people are falling on their faces and calling on God because a spirit of conviction is called down from heaven upon them. How many churches have you been lately where you hear a word comes forth that’s so burns in your soul, you know it comes from heaven, you know it comes from the heart of God. I hope you hear it here. Whatever happened to anguish in the house of God? Whatever happened to anguish in the ministry? It’s a word you don’t hear in this pampered age. You don’t hear it. Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful, acute deeply felt inner pain, because of conditions about you, in you, or around you. Anguish, deep pain, deep sorrow, and agony of God’s heart. We’ve held on to our religious rhetoric, and our revival talk, but we’ve become so passive, our so-called awakenings are stirrings that last but a short time. And when the short-lived revivings and awakenings come from the hand of God, they are so short lived, and in those times we promise God we’ll never return to our passivity. But it’s not long, it’s just weeks or months and we’re back, and this time we slip further back into passivity than when we started. I speak from experience. And we say this time God you’ve touched me for life, I’ll never be the same. And it’s like fireworks, a loud bang and a lot of noise and then it dies.
All true passion is born out of anguish. All true passion for Christ comes out of a baptism of anguish. You search the scripture and you’ll find that when God determined to recover a ruined situation, he would seek out a praying man, and he’d take him down into the waters of anguish. He would share his own anguish for what God saw happening to his church and to his people, and he would find a praying man, and he would take that man and literally baptize him in anguish. You find it in the book of Nehemiah. Jerusalem is in ruins. This is the center of God’s interests on earth at the time, his holy city is wasted and it’s full of iniquity and mixed marriages with the heathen. They were enslaving their own people making slaves out of the poor. The house of God was polluted with filth. The high priest was in league with Tobiah, a heathen, reprobate. How is God going to deal with this? How is God going to restore the ruin? How does he do it? What does he do?
You see we face a similar situation except ours is many times worse. The time when men, according to the prophecy of Jesus wax worse and worse and that is happening. The church that’s defiled with pedophilia, child molestation, incest, adultery. A nation in a moral landslide that’s inundated with pornographic filth that the whole world blushes at. And now out of Con film festival according to the New York Times there’s a new movie about that hit the shores of the United States with 13 14 year old kids having unspeakable kinds of sex with adults. And they said at the Con film festival we’ve not only pushed the envelope, we’ve gone over the edge. And America is now ripe for it. The ruin and moral chaos is corrupting the house of God also. How else do you explain that multiplied numbers of Christians go home and watch HBO, a program I’ve never seen I don’t have television, but I read about it in the newspaper today in the New York Times called the Sopranos? This is a mafia bunch that kill and murder and maim, gratuitous sex, cheating, lying, mafia. And we have millions of Christians now in the United States getting together and talking about the next show and they’re addicted to it. Some of you hearing me now, that’s your favorite show. No laughing. This is life and death. Did you come here tonight, did you raise your hands and sing and shout and have a good time, and you know you’ve been watching this filth?
Now I believe in the love of God. I’ve preached mercy and grace and covenant love. And I believe in preaching the goodness and longsuffering of Christ. But multitudes today are being saturated with “you’re ok” messages. And we’ve got people now that are turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. We’ve become like the children of Israel who said the right words, but here’s what God said: I’ve heard the words of this people. They have well said all that they have spoken. Oh that there was such a heart in them that they would fear me and keep my commandments always that it might be well with them and with their children forever (Deu 5:29). You have the right words. You sing the right songs, but your heart is not right.
Nehemiah verses 1 through 3.
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, (Neh 1:1 KJV)
That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. (Neh 1:2 KJV)
And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. (Neh 1:3 KJV)
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, (Neh 1:4 KJV)
Here was the word. Here was a delegation from the ruined city of Jerusalem coming to Nehemiah. It said Jerusalem is broken down, the walls are down. There’s nothing but ruin. Now these I’m sure were godly men. These were good men but they had no concept of how God was going to deal with the situation, how he was going to bring about a recovery. They had no concept of what God was going to do. All they could see was ruin and brokenness and despair, and hopelessness. Verse 4 when I heard the words I sat down and wept and mourned certain days and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. You see God found a praying man and he takes him down in the waters of baptism of anguish. This man goes down into anguish.
And in verse 6, I pray before thee now, day and night, confessing the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee, both I and my father have sinned. Nehemiah was not a preacher. He was a career man. He was the king’s cup bearer. He was in comfort. He was in royalty. He had it made, so to speak. But this was a praying man. And God found a man who would not just have a flash of emotion, not just some great sudden burst of concern and then let it die. He said no. I broke down and I wept and I mourned and I fasted, and then I began to pray night and day. When I heard I wept. Why didn’t his brother, Hanani, why didn’t these other men, who apparently were godly men because later Hanani was given the rule of the city (Neh 7:2). Why didn’t they have an answer. Why didn’t God use them in restoration? Why didn’t they have a word? Because there was no sign of anguish. No weeping, not a word of prayer. It’s all ruin. That’s all they could see.
Does it matter to you today that God’s spiritual Jerusalem, the church, is now married to the world? That there’s such a coldness sweeping the land, so many people I know that were my friends and I see them go one by one, husbands and wives into such passivity, going to churches where they can find smooth messages, no longer wanting to hear anything of wrath or of correction. Some of my closest friends, I see them falling by the wayside. Is it nothing to you? Closer than that, does it matter about the Jerusalem that’s in our own hearts? The sign of ruin that’s slowly draining spiritual power and passion, blind to lukewarmness. Blind to the mixture that’s creeping in. You see when spiritual blindness comes very few recognize it, it’s the last recognized thing that happens to a child of God. If I as a pastor knew you personally and I was watching your life, and as one of the pastors of this church I come to you and say I love you but I have to tell you the truth. You’re changing. You know what you were. Something of the world has gotten your heart. I don’t know if it’s television. I don’t know what it is that has your heart, but I see changes in you. I don’t see the brokenness. I don’t see the compassion you had once for your family. I don’t see concern for your unsaved loved ones. You’re changing, little by little something’s happening to you. Would it bring you to your knees? When the ruin that you are not even aware of is suddenly brought before your eyes? And to tell you the truth I thank God for the anointing and the singing tonight. I thank God for the praises that came from so many sanctified hearts living in covenant with the Lord. But the truth of the matter is. In all honesty, there are numbers among us are changing, and they don’t know it. You’ve lost your fight. When you read the book of Joshua it’s almost a book of failure because they lost their heart, they lost their fight. That’s all the devil wants to do is get the fight out of you, and kill it, so you won’t labor in prayer anymore. You won’t weep before God any more. You can sit and watch television and your family go to hell.
Let me ask you. Has what I just said convicted you at all? Did you just let that go in one ear and out the other? When a pastor tells you, you’re changing, little by little you’re losing the love of God. Little by little these things are making inroads. Folks why do you think your pastors cry out against television? Do you think we get any pleasure out of the flesh. There’s no pleasure in somebody coming and saying I’ve heard your message and I threw away my television. That doesn’t give me any pleasure. It doesn’t give any pastor pleasure. We have to give an account because we watch for your soul. These things I don’t know where it is on the job, these things that creep in, and suddenly this Jerusalem the walls go down, and ruin sets in. Does it really matter to you that your unsaved loved ones are dying and getting closer and closer to the end? Does it really concern you? They could die and go to hell, even though you’re a lover of Christ? Where’s the anguish? Where are the tears? Where’s the mourning? Where is the fasting? Now many of you fast, many of you pray, broken before the Lord. I’m talking about the body of Jesus Christ in general. Where’s the getting up in the middle of the night. You see he said night and day I began to pray. Where’s the confessing of your sins and of confessing your children’s sins before the Lord, or your mate’s sins before the God because this is exactly what Nehemiah does he confesses his sins and the sins of all the people. And then he says “we” have sinned. I have sinned. And then he said we have sinned. When Nehemiah heard of the ruin and destruction he never asked “why?” Why can a holy just God allow his city to go to ruin? Why were so many dispersed? Why were so many killed and murdered? He didn’t ask the question that we’re asking in America today, why did God allow the towers to fall and over 2000 people died in the crash. How could a loving God … folks I share with pastor Carter said today the holy anger that arises in my heart when I hear preachers on television or radio or hear that they’ve said on television “Oh God had nothing to do with it”. God had nothing to do with it? “Don’t put it on God”.
Why don’t you go to Daniel 9. And I want to once and for all tell you that this was God allowing America to be wakened. God didn’t do it. He didn’t stop the plans of the enemy because he had a greater purpose, because it was love for America that was about to slip into everlasting hell. I’m going to lower my voice so you won’t think I’m angry. From verse 5:
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly,
Can you say that about America?
and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: (Dan 9:5 KJV)
Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. (Dan 9:6 KJV)
In other words the government has been warned by righteous men.
O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. (Dan 9:7 KJV)
O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. (Dan 9:8 KJV)
Why? because we have sinned against thee.
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; (Dan 9:9 KJV)
Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. (Dan 9:10 KJV)
Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. (Dan 9:11 KJV)
And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. (Dan 9:12 KJV)
Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. (Dan 9:14 KJV)
Now let me get back to my message. There ‘s a great difference between anguish and concern. God’s been dealing with me about this. Concern is something that you take an interest in, a project, or a cause, or concern, or a need, something that gets ahold of your attention and usually it comes through some emotional stimulus. You can hear like what you heard last Sunday from South Africa and all of the hundreds of thousands dying with aids and you can hear what we heard from sister Hulda this afternoon of the thousands upon thousands of children dying in Calcutta, India, and get all stirred up about it. You can get emotional and you get very concerned. But folks there’s a difference between concern and anguish. Cause you see you can tie yourself to a cause, you can get excited about it, or some project you can talk it up. You’ll go public with it, you can advertise it, you can support it, organize it, put a lot of effort into it. Let me tell you something I’ve learned over all my years 50 years of preaching, if it is not born in anguish, if it has not been born by the Holy Spirit, where what you saw and heard of the ruin that drove you to your knees took you down into a baptism of anguish where you began to pray and seek God.
Folks this church was born in anguish, 6 months of anguish, tears. A little country town in PA where a pastor of a small church cried out “Oh God I’m dry and I’m empty and there’s more to it than this, and if this is all the Holy Ghost is I don’t want it”. It was such a desperation. Weeks and weeks of calling on the name of the Lord, confessing my own deadness and dryness. Then finally coming for street rallies here in the city and walking the streets and then wind up on 42nd street and see them selling a kind of heroin that would kill you saying “I’ve got the good stuff it’ll kill you”. And I remember breaking down and it didn’t matter the crowds going by I sat on a fire hydrant type … on the side of building and wept. And I was in anguish. I was in anguish 4 blocks from here on Broadway, weeping and crying and wailing. I wasn’t looking for a ministry. I wasn’t looking to build a church. I was feeling God’s pain for a lost city. The same agony I felt years before when he started Teen Challenge. And I’ve never had anything that’s been any worth to God in my 50 years that wasn’t born in agony. Never. Never. It’s all been flesh otherwise. And folks I’ve been around the world again and listened to the cry of pastors dead and empty, some treating their wives like animals. And here I haven’t prayed in months. I haven’t prayed in 6 months. And I know that sermons won’t do it. I know that a new revelation won’t do it, covenant won’t do it. I know now, oh my God do I know it. Until I’m in agony. Until I have been anguished over it, I’m preaching sermons. Then I said no it’s too late I don’t have that much time. And all our projects, all our ministries, everything we do. Where are the Sunday school teachers that weep over kids they know are not hearing and are going to hell. Everywhere I go somebody’s got a project, somebody’s got a plan or a dream. That’s all it is, just an idea. They didn’t come to me from a broken heart. They didn’t come to me after hours of fasting and praying and mourning, not a broken heart. It’s just an idea. I’m sick of it.
You see a true prayer life begins at the place of anguish, a place where lifetime decisions are made. If you set your heart to pray God is going to come and start sharing his heart with you. He’s going to open up his heart. And I’ll tell you there’s pain in his heart. What he sees … and so few to hear. He’s going to show you the condition of his church. He’s going to show you the condition of your own heart, and he‘s going to ask you a question, “What is it to you?” And that anguished servant has to make a decision. And everyone hearing me now you’re going to have to make this decision. I have to make it. You either get up from your anguished place, you walk out of the baptism waters of anguish, and you say I can’t handle this. I can barely make it as it is. I don’t want it. God I have enough. I just want to be an ordinary Christian and I don’t want to carry this kind of a burden. I don’t want to have to weep over my family anymore Lord, I want to just take it by faith. See you have to make a decision. He’s going to come and he’s going to say now if you’re going to bear my burden, if you’re going to be an instrument of restoration, if you are expecting somebody else to be an instrument to win your family, to do this work, you’re mistaken. I’ve burdened your heart. I’ve given you my heart and I’ve opened up my anguish to you and I’m letting you feel it and share it so that it will bring you to your knees because it is there that I’ll speak to you the word of direction and that’s what happened to Nehemiah. He came eventually out of the waters of anguish with a clear word nobody could reject. He brought the city and nation to its knees. You find that in Nehemiah chapter 8. You see you either walk away and go back to your passivity, you say I’m just going to be an ordinary Christian, and there’s no such thing.
Or your heart begins to cry out Oh God your name is being blasphemed. The Holy Spirit’s being mocked. The enemy is out trying to destroy the testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and something has to be done. It can’t go unchallenged. Let’s go back to these words. When I heard that Jerusalem was broken down. You see if he believed this theory that the need represents the call, you know what he would have done? He would have said gentlemen if you’ll just wait I’ll pack my bags. Just give me a day or two. This is the kind of challenge that’s my meat. I love it. Let’s roll. Let’s do it. No anguish. No fasting. No prayer no brokenness. Let’s just do it. Nothing would have been done. The walls would have never been rebuilt. Anything you try to do without this baptism of anguish is going to falter and fall. It’s not going to work.
Here’s what a sister wrote to me this past week. She said Brother Dave I’m so hungry for the Lord. I’m so tired of how to meetings. It’s all spiritual fluff. I was told of a woman’s conference that was going to be a great spiritual experience so I went with a group of sisters, there were 15000 women. I was horrified the first night when they opened the conference with a comedy sketch. It went from bad to worse. We were hoodwinked by the leaders. There was not a single prayer, not one mention of prayer. It was a farce. And I’m as empty as I’ve ever been.
The prophet Amos cried out with such woe to them that are at ease in Zion eating, chanting their music, but they’re not grieved for the affliction of Joseph (Amo 6:6). And in the original Hebrew root word they are not agonizing in prayer over the ruins of joseph. They’re not agonizing. They’re not in anguish about the conditions. Comedy yes, happy singing yes, eating, fellowship, good time yes. Weeping anguish praying fasting, no, no no. They will not have it. Folks I’m going to tell you something. Out of this baptism of anguish comes a marvelous thing that happens to those willing to submit to it. It’s the instant prompt knowing of God’s voice. Instant. Now see if you don’t have a history of prayer, if you don’t have this willingness to share God’s heart. You get it by asking him for it. He said I’ll give. I’m more willing to give than you are to receive. This is something you ask oh God I want to step out now; I want to know your heart. And when you begin to seek his face, you allow him to melt and break you. You come into this communion with the Lord; out of that experience … you see God hasn’t called us to live in anguish. This is the womb of something God is stirring, God wanting to accomplish in bringing out of ruin restoration, in your family, whatever it may be. He brings you down into this baptism. Now just like the baptism of waters you come up, you come out, but you’ll come out with this instant knowing of God’s voice. Because you see Nehemiah, he’d been fasting, he’d been praying, he’d been mourning, it left a mark on his countenance, and the king noticed it. He was his cup bearer. And one day he brings the wine to the king and the king says, why are you so down, why your countenance? Nehemiah didn’t have time to go and muse in his heart to the Lord. He didn’t have time to say give me 3 days to fast and pray. No he had to have an instant word. Nehemiah said I was very sore afraid so I prayed to the God of heaven and I said to the king. In other words, instant prayer, instant direction. Knowing God’s voice. There are times you’re not going to know what to do. You have no time to run to the closet. You have to hear his voice, “This is the way, walk in it”. Instant. That is a glorious result of the baptism of anguish.
The servant who willingly takes on the mantle of God’s pain is the only servant who has the authority and the right to hold God to his covenant promises. We preach covenant here, but only those who’ve known his heart, and in those times have allowed God to bring healing, has allowed God to go down deep in the soul and say Oh God I can’t do this my own, but I’m not going to let my kids go to hell. I’m not going to let my husband, my wife, oh God I’m not going to live in this death, I’m not going to live in this lukewarmness and this coldness anymore. God, change me. And when you get desperate before God you’ve set your heart to seek him, then you can hold God to his covenant promises. Look at Nehemiah 1:8,9
Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: (Neh 1:8 KJV)
Now he holds God to this covenant:
But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. (Neh 1:9 KJV)
He calls on the covenant made to Moses. He says here’s what you promised God. And folks when you allow God to lead you into this place beyond concern, beyond just fleeting emotion. You say God I’m going to set my heart, then you have every right to hold God to every one of his covenant promises. You see, and I’m going to close in just a minute. We have a nation and churches today full of diagnostic experts. Just about anybody can tell you what’s wrong with the church. And now they’re coming out with statistics and polls. They can tell you how many heathen there are in China. They can give you polls and charts … but not the slightest idea. They have all these how to books. You won’t hear one word about anguish, tears, and brokenness.
In my closing thoughts I want to ask you why did Nehemiah of all God-fearing men that were left in Israel. Why did God share his anguished heart with Nehemiah? Because he was a man of prayer, he was already in prayer. Now I want to tell you something. I believe in destiny. I believe that God chooses men. But God can choose a man and he can abort it just like that. Nehemiah could have said, Look, I have more influence right here. I have the ear of the king. I need to stay right here. And God I’m sure has, I’ll agree with you that God will raise up somebody. No, he said, “Oh God, this is my burden, open your heart to me”. I know now, it’s going to take more than preaching, more than a new revelation. There’s going to be no renewal, no revival, no awakening, until we’re willing to let him once again break us. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s something that’s coming. The other pastors have shared with you what they feel about some very very troubling difficult times just ahead, and it comes not only from the pulpit, it comes from politicians, it comes from all over the world. But I have to tell you that God’s calling me personally to a baptism of anguish. I don’t know what it’s all about right now. But I told God, I will not … I’m supposed to go on pastor’s conferences in May in Scotland and wales and Ireland. Then to Minsk and all over the world. I’m only going out two or three times a year. I say God I’m not going any more. I won’t take another meeting until I know your anguish for pastors. I can’t go just because there’s a need. I can’t go just because I’m wanted and accepted.
When I preach sometimes like this everything gets so quiet and I get to feeling … Lord I want to make people happy. Folks it’s getting late, and it’s getting serious. Please don’t tell me you’re concerned. Don’t tell me that you want your unsaved loved ones saved when you’re spending hours in front of internet or television. Come on.
I don’t know how to end this. Lord help me. I have a sense that this may not be for the whole congregation, that he’s speaking to some very deeply. If he’s speaking to your heart like he’s speaking to mine. Maybe you don’t need prayer along this line but I beg you, I plead with you, I need prayer. Lord I just have to pray I don’t know what else to do. I just … I’ve preached what you’ve put on my heart, and I don’t know how to end it. You end it, you do what you want to do, Lord. You speak to us. Lord there’s some that need to get to this altar and confess “I am not what I was. I’m not where I’m supposed to be. God I don’t have your heart or your burden. I’ve been wanting it easy. I just want to be happy”. But Lord true joy comes out of anguish. That’s where the joy is when we see the results of our laying hold of your heart and then you give us direction and then we see the results that are lasting. We see a whole city come to repentance and then Nehemiah stands up and says now’s the time to rejoice, let the joy of the Lord be your strength. But that joy came out of seeing the victory that came out of the anguish. Oh God. I’m not chastising this church. I’m not trying to bring woe on anybody, but oh God, if you do it for anybody, do it for me. I want my heart broken again. Lord I want you to take me into your heart and I want to feel the hurts and the needs of this people too, so that when I stand in this pulpit I preach your mind and your heart.
Will you stand? Nehemiah the 8th chapter,
They read in the book of the law of God distinctly and gave the sense and caused them to understand the reading. And the people said, they all said amen and lifted up their hands they bowed their heads they worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Now folks this is the result of this baptism of anguish. Now God’s dealing with all the families of Israel, he’s dealing with the princes the leaders. Ezra and Nehemiah have now gathered the people. Ezra opened the book in the sight of the people. When he opened it all the people stood up. They read the book of God distinctly gave the sense and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah and Ezra the priest the scribe, and Levites that taught the people said unto all the people “This day is holy unto the Lord your God, mourn not, weep not, for all the people wept when they heard the words of the Lord. He said to them go your way eat the fat drink the sweet, send a portion, for this day is holy unto the Lord, neither be sorry for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8:10). That’s the result of taking on the heart of God. The ultimate joy of seeing God fulfill his word in his covenant promises in your life. There’s nothing of the flesh will give you joy. I don’t care how much money. I don’t care what kind of new house. There is absolutely nothing physical can give you joy. It’s only what is accomplished by the Holy Spirit when you obey him and take on his heart. He gives you the knowing of his voice, that instant knowledge. God saying, “This is the way walk in it” (Isa 30:21). And then the wonderful joy of seeing God answer your prayer, build the walls around your family, build the walls around your own heart, and make you strong and impregnable against the enemy. God that’s what we desire.
Would you lift your hands? Would you just tell him what’s in your heart right now? Right out loud. Just tell him what’s in your heart. Tell him, there’s a reason you came up here. Tell him why. Here’s why I’m here. Just speak it out. Tell him why you’re here. Tell him what you have to do. Lord forgive me.
Wherever you’re at all over this building, listen to me closely. All we can expect God to do is begin a work in you tonight, a very special work. When you go home tonight say Lord I’m not going to lay my head on this pillow .. Folks there’s a discipline to this. There’s a discipline. You have to will to do it. And when God sees you set your heart he’ll give you all the power and authority to follow through. But there has to be something in your heart right now. Say, God I’m going to give you no rest from now on until I see my family saved. I have to do that for my family. I’m praying this desperately. I want to tell you something. When a man comes up to me, as he did recently, and said I’m just bound by pornography. I said you had better baptize yourself in prayer. Immerse yourself in the word of God. And you better get deadly desperate before the Lord. And that’s what he wants from us. He wants that heart that’s set. If you do that he will give you … he will balance that with a peace and joy like you’ve never known before. And the joy that you have then will not dissipate when you get out. It will be an eternal joy, his peace. If he gives you his burden he’s going to give you his peace to accompany it. He’ll never let your heart be broken without all the oil you need for total healing. Never before in my lifetime have I want … to be broken before him. Because when I stand now before 4 and 5 thousand pastors at a time I know, oh do I ever know, and folks it’s the same thing you face when you go to a job tomorrow, and face all the powers of hell, you’ve got to know that you know that you know, you’ve got to have his voice. I can’t say anymore, I won’t preach another sermon. But I want us to sing that and I want you to just yield to the Holy Spirit, and I want you to set your mind. Now God tells you to get rid of your television set, do it quickly. Do it quickly. If the internet’s got you get rid of your computer. Do whatever God tells you. He’ll give you direction. Nobody’s going to have to tell you, it won’t be some legalistic thing that we establish for you to be something born in your heart out of God’s own desire for you. Would you just now set your heart and say Jesus I’m willing to follow you all the way. I want to know you and I want to know your heart. Come Holy Spirit. You do it Holy Spirit.