Season of Restoration by Apostle Lafayette Scales
Pastor Scales wanted us to turn to the book of Joel. He told us Joel was a minor prophet with a major lesson for this time and season.
Pastor Scales had us laughing throughout the teaching. He has a wonderful sense of humor. He said when we get to Heaven Joel is going to ask us, “Did you read my book?” And now we can say, yes, a few verses of it.
To set the stage for Joel, Pastor Scales told us the Nation of Israel was divided between two kingdoms the Southern Kingdom – Judah, and the Northern Kingdom. Both nations set up kings and both nations sinned against God. There were prophecies given to the kings of both of the kingdoms. We could use a good prophet today to speak to the leaders of our countries, to bring a Word of the Lord to our leaders. God used prophets to speak not only to Israel, but also to people from nations that surrounded Israel. God wanted them to stop idolatry, injustice, and opposing God’s laws.
Not only did prophets bring a Word of the Lord, some spoke of the coming Messiah. Some spoke, others like Ezekiel were demonstrative prophets, acting out what God wanted to show the nation of Israel.
In 722 BC the Assyrians brought the Northern Kingdom into captivity, the Southern Kingdom held out a little longer. Joel spoke prophecies to the Southern Kingdom. Jerusalem was the center of Worship for Israel, yet there was idolatry in the nation, in the priesthood and in the Temple. The people oppressed the poor. They violated moral and ceremonial laws. Joel told the people they would go into captivity but, if they repented, their captivity would only last 70 years and God would bring them back to their land.
With that background information, Pastor Scales led us to
Joel 2:21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done marvelous things!
This is a remarkable prophecy because this comes after Israel has suffered from locusts that came to the land and ate all the green plants, the bark, the stems, the roots, and the land was barren. And in the face of this plague of locusts, God’s judgment on the land, Joel tells the people to fear not. Judgment does not come all at once, all of a sudden. But in stages. We see indications of the coming judgment, for example the economy failing, the families falling apart, nothing we do works any more, little nations overwhelm our nation. The prophets in our land say hard times are coming.
And yet, Joel tells us to fear not. Even though these things are occurring, we are not to fear.
Joel 2:21-22 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done marvelous things! Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength.
Even though the circumstances show the land barren, Joel tells the people to be glad and rejoice, for open pastures are springing up. All the destruction happened, the people deserved it, and yet God is establishing the restoration of the land. Even with the curse of Judgment, the people of God need not fear.
There was judgment in Egypt, while it was dark in Egypt, there was light in Goshen. When the water turned to blood, the people had water. And then God delivered the Israelites with blood. God will preserve us through this. We have a BIG GOD. In the midst of destruction, we can make it!!!
Pastor Scales told us he was born in 1951, and his parents lived through the time of the Great Depression. He talked about commodity foods – powdered eggs, and meat in a can (wasn’t sure what the meat was, but it was all-purpose, could be cooked many ways or eaten cold), and navy beans that you had to soak in order to eat – cooking them with ham hocks. He talked about how as kids they were never hungry, and when company came over there was always enough to eat of this simple fare. It wasn’t until Pastor Scales went to visit friends in the suburbs and saw what they served, that he realized that they were po’. He said that they were so poor – they couldn’t afford the last two letters, they were po’. But God provided enough, helped to break the loaves and fishes to stretch the food.
The Word is in our mouth – Fear not.
Pastor Scales went to Africa, around the time of Apartheid, and spoke with a local pastor. The pastor had a piece of land, and said God was going to give him a church building. He described the building to Pastor Scales, and at the time the land was cleared and there was a huge tent for the members of the congregation to meet. Pastor Scales could see the building as the pastor talked. His sermon was going to be Genesis 1 – and all the Holy Spirit would let Pastor Scales say, was “In the beginning —–God.” The Holy Spirit did not let Pastor Scales say more, so for about 20 times he said, “In the beginning —-God.” People started anticipating this, so Pastor Scales would say, “In the beginning….” and the people would say, “God!” After awhile, he said that before there was anything, there was God. And if you have God, you have everything.
Joel told the people, fear not, your empty valley will spring up leaves, grass, bark, and roots. There is hope for the future. Joel spoke of the valleys blossoming, even when circumstances did not show that. We are told not to fear. Faith neutralizes fear. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Our faith can see things that are not even there. No matter how crazy or devastating it looks, we can see a day beyond this. As BELIEVERS we ought to BELIEVE.
Pastor Scales told us one day he got on a plane on a cloudy and overcast day, and as the plane rose in the sky, getting over the cloud cover, the sun was shining. There is sun behind the clouds.
Faith will paralyze fear. Fear is:
God is with us,
Joel 2:23-24 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
When things are tough, you can still rejoice, sing and praise God. Even in the dry and lean times you can praise God. Pastor Scales told us about how he came down with the disease sarcoidosis many years ago, and was hospitalized in great pain. At that time Hosanna Music came out with a CD that had the song “Give Thanks.” Pastor Scales laid in the hospital room listening to this song and singing, raising his hands and praising God through he pain:
“Give thanks with a grateful heart,
And now let the weak say “I am strong.”
He was pumping music into his head, kept singing and rejoicing and praising God. Sometimes you can cry through your thing, walk through your thing, or sing through your thing.
He also sang the song, “His eye is on the sparrow.”
“I sing because I’m happy,
God is God and He never changes. He is with us in our situation. He is master of our circumstances, He is worthy of our praise. We need to believe those things not seen. He (God) is worthy! Yes, we can hurt, cry, get mad at our circumstances. When people would ask Pastor Scales about his situation, he would say, “This stinks but I trust the Lord.” God never wastes an opportunity to teach us.
In the Garden, after the disciples were sleeping, when the guards came for Jesus, Peter cut off the servant’s ear. Jesus used that as a teaching moment, “We don’t cut off people’s ears in the Kingdom of God.” When things are good He teaches us, when we are under pressure, He teaches us, when we are in pain He teaches us, when we mess up He teaches us.
Pastor Scales told us when he is going through a situation he asks God to teach him what God wants him to learn so he does not have to go through the situation again. Let’s get an A on the lesson, and then God can bring us to the next place God wants us to go.
Sometimes when we mess up we do not feel like coming to the House of God, but we want to run away. We really should run to the House of God, and not fall prey to the nay sayers.
Job’s friends were not prepared for the devastation Job faced. When they came to visit Job they sat for a whole week and said nothing. When they opened their mouths they did not have the right words to say. Job, in the midst of his distress declared, “I know my redeemer lives.”
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah `
Joel 2:25 “ So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you.”
The people would go into captivity, yet God would restore what had been lost. Our God is a God of Restoration, and He would bring the land back to it’s fullness. He can restore marriages, family, friends, children, our identity, those circumstances where people have spread false rumors about us. He can restore what was lost. He can make us as we are supposed to be.
Pastor Scales told us about how, in his town, there is a club that goes to junk yards and buys old cars and restores them. They put in restored auto parts and spruce up the cars, and later gather at places and open up the hoods of the cars and sit and admire the cars. Sometimes the cars that are restored are worth more than when the car came out of the factory.
When God restores you, you have more value than you had in the beginning, more worth.
People will see you have changed from what you were a few weeks, months, or years ago. Don’t give up on a church or on a member who is going through tough stuff. God can restore.
It is a day of restoration. God can fix you up and return you to where you should be. He can straighten out all things from your name, to your reputation, your stuff, your contracts. After we let go, God restores. He can fix us up, and renew us.
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
He can restore our joy. If there is trouble in our marriages or relationships, God can restore them, and return joy. We, like David, can pray that God restore to us the joy of our salvation. God is committed to restore relationships. We can come to God in prayer and He will help us to restore Joy even in a fractured relationship. God wants to restore relationships with Himself and with others.
Pastor Scales told us a joke about a man who was sick. His wife brought him to the doctor, and the doctor told the wife in private that her husband would die unless she cooked him three wonderful meals a day and had passionate love for her husband. The husband, on the trip home from the doctor, asked the wife what the doctor said, and she said, “You are going to die.”
God can restore relationships, bring back the laughs and the good times. Joel prophesied that even though they deserved the consequences they received, God would restore. God promised to restore David. God will restore relationships.
You may have done crazy things and offended everybody, but God can still restore joy, the fullness of joy.
Proverbs 6:31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house.
God wants His worship atmosphere to be pure. In the Old Testament, when someone stole from another, not only did they have to repent and restore what was stolen, they had to return the stolen thing and pay a penalty – 7 fold. God made many of the rules to keep the worship atmosphere right and pure. When people are stealing it violates the other person, and then there is tension instead of a good worship atmosphere. God wanted to restore right relationships with the people.
Pastor Forte said this is the day when you need to ask God, “I want my stuff back plus a penalty.” Justice is a principle of God.
He told us people were borrowing his books and CDs and not returning them. One Sunday he preached about the 7-fold restoration and told the people that if you have borrowed something from someone and kept it a long time, you owe the person the return of the item and a gift card. People thought Pastor Scales was looking at them, but over the next few weeks he received many of his books and CD’s back with gift certificates. And all over the church people were returning tools and things to other members with gift certificates.
He told us it is hard to worship and reach the third Heaven when you are harboring resentment because someone borrowed your chain saw and did not return it, or borrowed an item and kept it. God is committed to restoring property, and when people keep your stuff it interferes with the worship atmosphere. Leviticus and other books in the Old Testament have many statutes and laws that have the real purpose of keeping worship pure.
Joel 2:25 “ So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you.”
God will restore the years the locust ate, God will restore everything and anything.
EVENTS – things that suddenly come up.
Pastor Scales told us that years ago he got into economic debt and prayed to God to remove that debt. God told him he did not get into that debt overnight, and that if God quickly removed the debt Pastor Scales would only go back into debt. Instead God gave Pastor Scales a plan, to list all debts from the largest to the smallest and to stop buying things. Then Pastor Scales was to throw all his extra money at the smallest debt, when that was paid to use the leftover money to tackle the next smallest debt. He talked about a sofa they had that all the stuffing was falling out of it, and they threw a cover over it, fake it until you make it. In the midst of paying off the debts, at one point Pastor Scales asked God how long this would last. But over time, they were doubling and tripling payments.
God can restore, even the stuff we created ourselves. As they began to end their debts, things started falling apart in and around their house and car. Tires would burst and need to be plugged, then they needed new tires. A water heater sprang a leak, and then the furnace died. Pastor Scales thought the devil was loose in his house. When the repairman came to fix the furnace, he asked Pastor Scales how old the furnace was – it was 25 years old, and a furnace is only supposed to last about 15 years. So God had sustained the furnace 10 extra years. It was a blessing of God that things outlasted their warranty. We need to praise God for things that outlast their warranties. He then asked the congregation how many of us have things that have outlasted their warranties – microwaves with dials instead of buttons, old TV’s with coat hanger antennae, etc.
God can restore cash, confidence, credibility, reputation, stuff that we messed up and brought onto ourselves.
God is committed to restoring family, relationships (parents, kids, relatives, husband, etc), crazy folks in the family. He said that crazy folk do crazy things. Pastor Scales has some crazy folk in his family and on Labor Day he invited them to his house. Some of them do not want to have anything to do with God. He doesn’t preach at them, but God shines through him to touch their lives. Once he caught someone smoking herb, and when they saw him they put it behind their back. Pastor Scales wanted to know how long they would keep it there, so he kept talking to them until they shook their hand in pain as the herb burnt their fingers.
He then told us if we do not invite these people into our lives (wisely – not inviting a pedophile to sleep in his house with his teenage daughter), how can they be touched with God?
God can restore your health. When Pastor Scale had sarcoidosis, he had symptoms from 1985-1988. After that he was completely healed. Once God restored his health the condition never came back.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
God can restore people completely, even if they have committed moral, legal, ethical, and sinful failure. The Spirit can help to restore a person, fix the person up so they can complete God’s original intent for them, and restore them as a possession in the House of the Lord.
Pastor Scales told us about a church member who Pastor Scales had to speak a word of correction to. The person, as many people do when they receive correction, did not take the correction well and left the church in anger. They never came back. One day Pastor Scales was pumping gas into his car and he saw that person. The person had a bottle of beer in his hand. Pastor Scales looked beyond the beer, and said to the person, “We miss you. We need you.” The person came back to church, and sat in the back of the church, racing out after the benediction. The next week they sat closer to the front, still racing out. The third week they returned, and went forward for prayer. The prayer team loved on him and prayed for him. Later the person told Pastor Scales that he could not get his words out of his mind, “We need you.”
You never know when you are given a word by God to share with someone – it may not even be a Word from the Bible, but a loving sentence can restore people who need restoration.
Peter three times denied Jesus, cut off the servant’s year. He later decided that he was disqualified for ministry and went back to fishing. He wasn’t that great of a fisherman, needing Jesus to tell him where to place the net. Jesus came back and said,
John 21:15-17 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus three times restored him, and put him into ministry.
God wants people to be restored.
Ask God to put the right words in your mouth when you see a brother or sister who has left the church – ask God to put words of restoration into your mouth. And love those who so desperately need loved back into the church.
Joel promised Joel 2:25a So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten….
Pastor Scales said that this is a season of restoration and he prayed for those in the church who needed restoration in their lives in any area.
What a blessing this teaching was. I pray for all of you who need restoration. God can restore all.
Have a blessed day!
Heather’s Blog Recent Posts
- John 14:1-14 – Many mansions, the Way, the Truth, and the Life taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying disciples/Discipleship identification – notes from discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying Disciples – notes from Discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Syria – letter from trapist nuns
- John 14:1-11 taught by Pastor Don Moore with comments from Rabbi Michael Zeitler
- Notes from homily taught by Father Raphael Iannone taught August 25, 2013 – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last
- Homily – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone
- Notes from a Homily on Luke 12:49-53 by Father Raphael Iannone
- Facing Your Jerusalem – transcript Say Amen show 161 taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Mammon – homily by Father Raphael Iannone