“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)
The streets of Cincinnati were heavy laden last night. I was out ministering with a small group of women, from about 9:45p.m. until midnight – Lord Jesus, this city…this region…desperately needs you. This city desperately needs a fresh impartation of the Holy Spirit pouring down upon it. This country desperately needs you Lord! Forgive us Father God…we have fallen so very far from you! I weep at how dark our culture has become.
I’ve had a heart for this city since I was a teenager. Even during the many years residing in other states, my heart was always here in the Queen City. I always knew I belonged here. I believe with all my heart, God ushered me back here a little over a year ago, with a purpose that is so far beyond anything I would have ever anticipated. I am humbled and grateful that He is using me as he does today. Through Jesus Christ I have discovered a true purpose, one that isn’t about me rather centered around others, and His deep desires to love His children.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV)
The homeless, addicts and prostitutes have always been a part of Cincinnati vein as far as I’ve known. I’ve never been afraid to mingle amongst them. They are people. They deserve to be looked in the eyes and made to feel human, for Christ’s sake! People used to tell me I was nuts for stopping to really converse with a homeless man or trying to get a roommate’s ex-wife to leave the streets and prostitution behind; inviting her into my home, hoping she might respond to love. I didn’t know this at the time, but it is what Jesus would have done:
Unfortunately, she didn’t respond – instead choosing to sell herself, and ultimately her soul. I have no idea what happened to her. I’d see her standing on the corner of Race and Vine once in a while. Her name was Karen and believe she ended up with AIDS.
I never feared the cruel streets that lie to the north of the beautiful city skyline beyond the Ohio River. Just one block north of the expensive stadiums and mixed use development along the river front, homeless people sleep in the open (no camps) along the street; I’ve seen a single block with up to 10 men and women sleeping there for the night.
The homeless often stay on the streets…Yes, even those who will stand in prayer with you or pray along with you…but why?
Because it takes more than us. It takes them wanting and believing for more; coming to a place of believing they are still loved by God and worthy of his blessings. It takes them encountering God in such a dynamic way it delivers their souls of all that oppresses them. Yet, God seems to be rising up a remnant with a true heart for his children. Disciples of Christ who show a radical generous love and who go after God’s heart with abandon. It’s exciting and it is risky to be such a person. This remnant rising truly does not care what the world thinks of them because their eyes are set so firmly on Jesus…
Last night, people on the streets (meaning the homeless, addicts, etc.) were praying with us. Now, I am not naive…I understand an addicts behaviorism, however, some were truly desiring to receive from the Father. Addiction is one of those strongholds that usually runs much deeper than the drugs; there is something hidden or some deep inner conflict. Never presume you know why someone has chosen this path unless you know their entire history, not just their recent history. Please do not presume that a person on the street or with an addiction has never known the Lord. Many grew up in church and some attend church still, when possible (or at least receive the gospel from ministries). You simply do not know!
There is hope! The Lord Jesus has been delivering people in this city, from decades of addiction, and they are out sharing the gospel at all costs and bringing people into a relationship with Christ. Remember:
“With God All things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)
But, it says “with God” and even with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we are not God. A person has to be ready. Jesus did not seek those whom he healed, they sought Him!
Cincinnati has such a strange dynamic…there is no longer a clear dividing line between Over the Rhine (which was/is the “ghetto”) and the rest of the city due to redevelopment. It is so easy for some unsuspecting person to go a half block “too far” and end up in a bad situation. To stumble upon someone who is offering something they may not want but are intrigued …some dip their toes into leech infested waters. That a drug such as heroin (and lately, in this city, laced with elephant tranquilizers!) has become so easily accessible is concerning on a level I won’t dive into here and now. I do believe that only an act of God can clean this mess up!
On this night, I cry out to you Lord and ask that you intercede in this prayer:
All powerful ELOHIM, I beseech you on THIS night to hear the prayers of your concerned children for those whom are lost, not only in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) but in every dark corner of Your world. You gave it life and you love it! God we know that this crime against humanity of addiction is a device of the enemy to keep your children in bondage; yes, even those who claim to know you Lord – you see them hiding in the shadows and not under your wings of protection. Call them out unto yourself God…pour out a heavy impartation of the Holy Spirit to assist those who minister to these souls, so they are able to labor on behalf of the Kingdom and save them from the pit of hell. You state in your Word that those who partake in this lifestyle, will not see heaven. Those not walking uprightly with the Lord, in HIS righteousness, He does not know. Show us ELOHIM through your Spirit what you desire from your humble servants, so we might be better bondsman for your Glory. Help us LOVE these poor lost ones back to into a relationship with your Son so they might have a chance to sit at his feet in awe.
Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on the cross, for the least of these. For a sinful humanity. For your love so great it bears the weight of every sin of humanity against God the Father, whose heart has room enough for us all.
In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!