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Revelation 19: 6 – 10 AMP
Let us rejoice and shout for joy (exulting and triumphant)!  Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb (at last) has come, and His bride has prepared herself.
She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white – for the linen is the righteousness (the upright, just and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the Saints (God’s holy people).
Then the angel said to me, Write this down: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, these are the true words (the genuine and exact declarations) of God.
Then I fell prostrate at his feet to worship (to pay divine honor) to him but he said,” Refrain! I am (only) another servant with you and your brethren who have the testimony borne by Jesus. Worship God! For the substance of the truth revealed by Jesus is the spirit of all prophecy.”

In a few days, Tuscaloosa will reach the 6 month anniversary of The Storm.  Questions have been answered, and much has been revealed but  spiritual questions remain in the wake of this undesired natural  renovation. Where will Tuscaloosa be spiritually in one year? 3 years? or beyond and has this experience moved Tuscaloosa Forward – spiritually? For now the city remains in the fires of purification and in a period of time that many esteemed pastors worldwide believe to be on the precipice of Christ’s return to retrieve His Bride, the Church.  Are we ready? A.W. Tozer writes in The Wisdom of God,  “Wisdom, among other things, is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means.”  Are we walking out from this perfect storm our perfect means to achieve the perfect end – for as many Tuscaloosa residents and churches as possible?

It would be derelict to allow to go unnoticed the degree of  neglect  exposed by this direct hit, acres of city and county blocks tormented by poverty and blight.  God would be  indignant if any city espousing to be spiritually tightly woven and “together” would tolerate this degree of poverty and neglect.  Has the city been purified to pay closer attention to these issues?  This question has certainly received  my attention. Purification is painful, and worse, ugly, it is difficult to have weaknesses  exposed by a loving God  (the scriptural term is “chastening”  experienced by King David which does not seem to adequately describe the term “being purified” ) but it is this  “gift”  that exposes the bad and enables us to be and receive His very best.  The New Covenant redemptive benefit correlation is Jehovah M’Kaddesh God Our Sanctifier. We are being sanctified to become more in the likeness of Jesus.  Sanctification is the gift no one wants but the gift everyone needs.  This storm, as method of purification, was an act of grace from a loving God, a divine awakening and an opportunity to leverage  tragedy to its highest and best use for His glory.

A sanctified and purified city is better positioned to be the true shining city on a hill that other cities yearn to emulate. We have the leadership in place at all levels and across city churches to come through this stronger and better prepared. Last week, city pastors met at the annual Pastor’s Prayer Summit to pray for Tuscaloosa, each other and God’s direction for their churches – unified, corporate prayers of agreement that are coveted by the Holy Spirit. These powerful threads of prayer are woven into a rich, unified brocade of denominations, races, and ages protecting the city walls from spiritual onslaughts of which most live unaware.  God, who is infinitely wise, all knowing and the Chief Strategist would not have allowed this storm without a higher and better purpose. He loves us and has an eternal covenant with us through His Son, our Mediator. We have the right municipal and pastoral framework in position to arrive on the other side like mighty warriors for His Glory.

Luke 14: 12 – 24 AMP
Jesus also said to the man who had invited Him, When you give a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, lest perhaps they also invite you in return, and so you are paid back. But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame and the blind.
Then you will be blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied), because they have no way of repaying you,  and you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (upright).
When one of those who reclined (at the table) with Him heard this, he said to Him, Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God! But Jesus said to him,  A man was once giving a great supper and invited many: And at the hour for the supper he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, Come, for all is now ready.
But they all alike began to make excuses and to beg off. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of land, and I have to go out and see it; I beg you, have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine and put my approval on them: I beg you, have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife and because of this I am unable to come. So the servant came and reported these to his master. Then the master of the house said in wrath to his servant, Go quickly into the great streets and the small streets of the city and bring in here the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame.
And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you have commanded me to do has been done, and yet there is room”. Then the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways and the hedges and urge and constrain (them) to yield and come in so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall taste my supper.

Are we ready?  We must not allow our attention to be distracted from  frequently and consistently teaching  faith, prayer and the meaning of Christ crucified.

Tracy Gatewood
Twitter  @TracyLGatewood
Please continue to pray for Tuscaloosa

This is a follow up to the first article, Wisdom of God, May 2011.