"Rise Up, California! Your Spine Is Being Strengthened"
May 23, 2020
From the Desk of Steve Shultz:
I lived in California for awhile and have a special heart for it. In fact, my wife Derene and I will often visit there when we can.
While others have said God is done with California...we know He is NOT and has great plans for this state.
Much of what comes out of California affects the world...and we want to see the great plans of God come forth for California that will impact the world in a fresh, new way.
Enjoy this great message from Joey LeTourneau who lives there...and let's decree together for California to RISE UP! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
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"Rise Up, California! Your Spine Is Being Strengthened"
"...'The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, '"a land which flows with milk and honey."'" (Numbers 14:7-8)
Recently, my family and I were packed into our vehicle, as we often are, taking what has become a very common and frequent drive for us over the years – up and down the state of California. We had to stop more than twelve times on this trip because of car trouble, which was frustrating and draining, though I sensed God was wanting us to pay attention as He was trying to speak to us during these stops.
That's when the Lord began to connect the dots and show me a fresh picture of the "spine" of California through this familiar trip and territory. I saw the spine of California, specifically Highway 99, rising up. Instead of being bent or hunched over in its posture, it was aligning, arising and becoming the backbone of the state.
There's a common phrase about California, "As California goes so goes the nation." California is a leader and forerunner in many ways. Typically, most of California's attention is focused on the technological advances of the Silicon Valley, or the entertainment industry of Hollywood, or the sports teams of its major cities, or tourist attractions along the coast.
But right now, California needs its spine to align and come together, rising up to be strengthened in its core. This is, specifically, the Central Valley of California – from Bakersfield through Fresno and from the Sacramento area and up to Redding. I especially see the smaller towns and rural communities all along Highway 99, and the internal strength they have within their people – ready to stand up and help lead California so that California can help lead the world in the right direction.
Produce of the Land
"Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you." (Haggai 2:19)
There is a new season of produce and harvest ahead! The Central Valley of California is one of the great agricultural centers of the nation, and the world. It provides more than half the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the United States and it is home to the top four agricultural counties, as far as AG sales, in all of America. Simply put, the Central Valley has always been a place of harvest and fruitfulness. It is not just home to such produce but a true leader in these areas. (Photo via Pexels)
I believe this rich region is about to produce an even greater kind of fruit from a different kind of seed. And as it rises up, to be the spine that California needs for such a time as this, it will also help make straight the way for the rest of the state and country to do the same.
You will be blessed in a new way, Central Valley! Freely you have received, freely give! The rest of California and the world need your strength, not just the fruit itself, but the generous giver and hospitable host that you are. Abide in Him and you will bear fruit that remains!
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David." (Isaiah 55:1-3)
Fabric of Society
"...[T]hat they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:21)
Another special mark of the Central Valley, and all of California for that matter, is its diversity. We are in a time and season that must see the church come together, beyond its walls, in an uncommon unity. This is not just a unity of churches, but a unity that spans into the spheres and needs of society through generations, cultures, individuals and families.
Like a quilt, we are many unique pieces of fabric. Perhaps we have come from our own cloth and design, which we have been working through over the years, but now is the time to, together, form the whole. A quilt's beauty is marked by the contrasting patterns that compliment each other. Each unique piece is even more beautiful when it is stitched within the others. Our churches, businesses, organizations, etc. may have been their own "blankets" in the past, but now it's time to take your place in the quilt God is mending together to revive His true fabric of society.
"Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, 'Celebrate with me! I've found my lost sheep!'" (Luke 15:4-6 The Message)
The richness of culture that resides in the cities and towns up and down the 99 is truly special. Some of these too-often-forgotten-about towns make up the heart of California. California is not just the headlines and spotlight it is famous for, but it is also made up of underdogs in this corridor who (much of the time through their harvest) are the backbone of this great state. California's future is at a vital moment in time: Which way will it lead the nation? (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
I believe there is a collective people up and down Highway 99, specifically, who are called to rise up to the moment together. It is a time not to focus only on our own "flock" or house, or to protect and contend for our own or what once was. It is time to go outside our fields into society and culture, together! Together, we need to lead with a steady and strengthened backbone to contend for the parts of the world, culture and society that have gone astray.
California needs a shepherd. Central Valley, will you be that shepherd? You have been prepared for this time in culture, together. It's time to go into the world and show what God has been preparing inside of you, as you each have a unique part to play that will be far greater when you come together. Your alignment and leadership through this will help bring the lost sheep back into the fold.
To the leaders and people up and down this "99" region, you have been prepared as a shepherd in the field for such a time as this. You are a "Boaz" for the family of God, a "family redeemer" that knows its roots and plumb line. You have been prepared to shepherd a culture with depth of heart, unity, truth, direction, hospitality, generosity, and a great love that calls to the parts of the world that have gone their own way. Your example in this season will give those like Ruth a place to be abundantly loved, favored and redeemed!
"I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth..." (Hosea 2:15)
So, rise up, spine of California! Rise up, Central Valley, for you have been prepared for such a time as this. Rise up and lead with wisdom and humble strength for collective "family," and do so in uncommon unity. Rise up and strengthen the rest of California from its true roots. From this special valley we will see God open a door of hope in a time of trouble. Align, O spine of California; come together, strengthen and help straighten the state to be the kind of leader that California is truly called to be!
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Joey, his wife Destiny and family are pioneers and reformers who carry the Father's heart to re-build God's family. They have lived and traveled all over the world speaking, training, consulting and creating resources to impact and empower cultures, nations and generations through hope, identity and purpose. Joey has written seven books and they have launched a movement, The Culture Purple, designed to empower your community to bring out the best and the most from within one another.
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