Minggu, 28 Desember 2008
A close friend of mine shared this message which reminded me that the devil is doing everything to confuse God's people .Kindly read & pass it on to all the people you care for.
God bless u,
SATAN'S MEETING: (Read even if you're busy)
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.
In his opening address he said,
"We can't keep Christians from going to church."
"We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth."
"We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their saviour."
"Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken."
"So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.."
"This is what I want you to do," said the devil:
"Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"
"How shall we do this?" his demons shouted.
"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered.
"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow."
"Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles."
"Keep them from spending time with their children."
"As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"
"Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice."
"Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive." To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly."
"This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."
"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers."
"Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day."
"Invade their driving moments with billboards."
"Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.."
"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. "
"Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night."
"Give them headaches too! "
"If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere."
"That will fragment their families quickly!"
"Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas."
"Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about his resurrection and power over sin and death."
"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive."
"Have them return from their recreation exhausted."
"Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead."
"Keep them busy, busy, busy!"
"And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences."
"Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus."
"Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."
"It will work!"
"It will work!"
It was quite a plan!
The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.
Having little time for their God or their families and friends.
Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives.
I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?
You be the judge!!!!!
Does "BUSY" mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?
Please pass this on, if you aren't too BUSY!
Selasa, 23 Desember 2008
Merry Christmas and a happy new Year 2009. Harapan kami di malam Natal kita sekali lagi berjumpa secara pribadi dengan KRISTUS. Doa kami sekeluarga ada penghiburan dan kekuatan yang baru di malam Natal ini.
We that love and care for you,
Dave and Novie
We that love and care for you,
Dave and Novie
Selasa, 02 Desember 2008
The Healthy Church
By Malcolm Webber Phd
What is the best and most biblical way to define a “healthy” church?
Should a church be considered “healthy” when it is doing well financially or when large crowds of people are coming to the meetings? Perhaps a church is “healthy” when the majority of its growth is from new converts, or when it has a strong foreign missions program? Is an effective children’s ministry or youth program the key element for “health”; or perhaps the fact that the church engages well with the culture? Clearly, there are many different things we could focus on.
Biblically, how should we define a healthy church?
In the New Testament, the church is compared to the human body (e.g., 1 Cor. 12). When a part of someone’s body is not functioning properly, that person is, by definition, sick or unhealthy. Thus, a simple definition of a “healthy” human body is one in which every member is functioning properly. In the same way, a healthy church is, quite simply, one in which every member is functioning properly.
There are many popular, and valuable, models of what constitutes a “healthy church.” For example, a healthy church will have inspiring worship, need-oriented evangelism, loving relationships, etc. If every member functions properly then the local church will have all these components.
But, what does it mean to “function properly”? In Ephesians, Paul shares a clear revelation of this:
From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:16)
There are three things that each member must do in order for him or her to be considered “functioning properly.”
First, each member must “grow.” Personally and directly connected to the life of the Head (“from Him the whole body…”) each member of the church must grow in spiritual maturity. In the church around the world, we’re not doing too badly in this regard. Many Christians do take personal responsibility for their own spiritual lives. They know that God has called them to grow, and not to remain spiritual babies.
Second, each member must serve, or “do its work.” Every member of the church is a “minister”; we all have a calling from God and the corresponding gifting. For the last couple of decades, there has been much teaching on “finding your gifting,” etc., and the church has improved considerably in this regard. Many believers now have a clear vision for their own personal involvement in the ministry of their local churches. Of course, “serving” does not only involve “official ministry activity” but, even more importantly, also serving one another in the broad, practical context of daily life and relationships.
Third, each member must “build” others: “the body builds itself up.” This has been the critical missing element in many churches. We have not taken deliberate, personal responsibility for building others. Usually we “delegate” that responsibility to others. So, for example, the children are taught spiritually at Sunday School, the new believers go to discipleship class on Tuesday night, the emerging leaders are sent off to Bible school, etc.
However, biblically, we all have responsibility to build others. Parents are responsible to build their children (Eph. 6:4; Deut. 6:4-9; 11:18-21). Existing believers are responsible to build the new disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). The older women are responsible to build the younger ones (Tit. 2:3-5). The mature men teach the younger men (2 Tim. 2:2).
A healthy church is one in which every member grows, serves and builds others. We must have all three. And all three must come from life – the indwelling life of Christ in each believer’s life (John 15:4-5; Eph. 4:16) as he or she grows, serves and builds.
This is a profound paradigm shift for many believers and churches. It is a shift away from a program mentality to a people mentality. However, if we can create a church culture in which every believer takes responsibility to grow, serve and build, our churches will transform their worlds!
Minggu, 23 November 2008
GETTING LOOSE FROM A RELIGIOUS MIND
A few years ago I worked closely in ministry with a young man named George Johnson. George had only been converted for a short time when he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and began to move freely in spiritual gifts. He soon became an ardent soul winner and an effective minister of the Gospel.
One thing that caught my attention was his absolute freedom from religion. He didn't use the "churchy" phrases or the King James English. He didn't weigh everything to see if it fit into his denomination's doctrinal statement. He never attended Bible school or seminary. He didn't change the tone of his voice when he prayed in public, but talked to God with honor and respect just as he would talk to a close friend. He had more liberty and power in his ministry than I did in mine and I had been a minister for 20 years before he ever became a Christian!
Over a period of time I became aware of many areas of my life in which I had become "religious minded." It had built so slowly and subtly within me that I had not realized what was happening to me.
I had been a Baptist for many years but I had always seen myself as being more open-minded than most of my brother pastors. However, I soon discovered that I had a Baptist mind. I looked at things as a Baptist does and not necessarily as God does.
As I sought the Lord in prayer and in His Word, He began to teach me about the perils of a religious mind.
It was a religious mind that blinded the Pharisees and made it impossible for them to recognize God when they came face to face with Him in the person of Jesus Christ.
It was religion that drove Saul of Tarsus to persecute the very God he was seeking to serve.
It was in the name of religion that Jesus was crucified; "Blasphemy!" cried the religious leaders, "Crucify Him!!"
It was the religious mind that was disturbed and angered when Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath Day, whom Satan had bound for 18 years.
King Saul became religious when he spared King Agag and the fattest of the cattle. The prophet thundered his disapproval, "Does God have as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as He does in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than to sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry." (I Sam. 15:22-23)
We can never substitute religious works for simple obedience. To God there is no difference between "religious things" and "secular things" because "all things" concerning our daily lives are naked and open to Him, and at every moment we are either in the center of his will or we are doing our own thing in the strength of the flesh.
The brazen serpent which was at one time an instrument of God's deliverance, became a snare to the people when they lifted it up and burned incense to it. (II Kings 13:4) If we try to program the present move of God or reduce it to a formula to use later, we are lifting up a brazen serpent. We must flow with what God is doing now! He has not led us to burn incense to memories of the past, but continue to flow with the River of Life that is flowing now!
Man tends to build monuments to spiritual experiences and deify doctrine rather than to feel comfortable with a simple walk with God in the Spirit.
On the Mt. of Transfiguration after a tremendous spiritual experience, Peter said, "Let us build three tabernacles!" God rebuked Peter's "good idea" and then underscored the one thing that is needful: "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON . . . HEAR HIM!"
Don't marry your church, your denomination, your Bible, your books, your tapes, your orthodoxy, your own understanding! Your Husband is Jesus! Worship Him!
Suppose I got all enamored with my wife's letters, her pictures, her clothes, her cooking, her sewing, and never spent time with her? We must never lift up a brazen serpent of worship, prayer, fasting, church attendance, tithing, witnessing, giving, or working. These are only channels of deliverance and communion. They are not God!
The spiritual mind is God's answer to the religious mind. "He that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches."
"Corban" was a religious word in the time of Jesus. It meant "An offering to God, in fulfillment of a vow." The phrase was often used to avoid fulfilling the obligation of children to their parents. If a person said "Corban", it meant that he was no longer obligated by law to help his parents because he had dedicated his material wealth to God. Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day, "And many things like this you are doing." (Mark 7:11-13)
Peter' s religious observance of a past word from God would have made it impossible for him to go to the home of Cornelius if he had not changed his mind and said "Yes" to present guidance. (Acts 10)
God is shaking me loose from strictly formulated doctrinal positions, neat formulas, air tight theologies, iron-clad rules, rituals, laws, and principles, and is crowding me into a corner. And when I get fully and completely and helplessly crowded into that corner there will be nothing there except . . . me and Jesus!
A Declaration of Unity
I belong to everything that belongs to Jesus and everything that belongs to Jesus belongs to me! It's not us and them. It's just us! There's only one Body of Christ, and the problems of the church, the whole church, are our problems, for we are the church and we can do more united than we can do divided! So let's unify, simplify, and multiply!
Divine Appointment Prayer
Father, give me a divine appointment today with someone who is hungry for God, or sick, or in need, and give me grace to minister the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Living to Give
Father, make me a generous giver today! Show me where to give, what to give, how much to give, and let all my giving bring glory to the name of Jesus.
The law demands, demands demands, but gives me neither feet nor hands
Now Grace and Truth are better things, they bid me fly and give me wings!
Selasa, 11 November 2008
Poverty - Roots and Fruits
The Sound of Poverty - I want to suggest a simple axiom that will help us understand why it's hard to let go of poverty in both theology and practice. "If we believe we're inherently sinful it's nearly impossible to believe that God would want us to be successful in promotions or finances or influence or mountains." Success would simply be a platform for greater levels of sinfulness. To make this point stick, I want to share a couple of paragraphs I received in a newsletter this week. Listen to the tone.
Worshipping Success - Though you may find it hard to believe, there is an addiction more subtle and more powerful than either drugs or pornography. It’s older than prostitution, more prevalent than alcohol, more addictive than cocaine. It doesn’t discriminate between male and female, black or white, young or old, rich or poor. Its strength is greater than all other addictions combined. It’s as rampant in the Church as it is in the world. It leaves the body unscathed but destroys the soul. The vast majority of people addicted have little if any understanding of its power or perils.
The history of the worship of success dates back to Lucifer, the rebellious archangel who wanted to relegate God to a subordinate role and take the ‘top gun’ position for himself. This desire for success soon spread throughout the earth like a cancer, reaching its pinnacle with mankind seeking to build a tower and to make for themselves a name. What a contrast in attitudes we find between Genesis 11 and 12. Chapter 11 exposes man striving for recognition, while chapter 12 we find God promising humble Abraham that He would make his name great.
We could also add a verse:
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:9-10 NIV
Why Choose Poverty! - Both the exhortation in the paragraphs and the Paul's warning have their place. However, what we've received in our hearts from an overemphasis on those warnings produced a foundation for poverty in our lives. Those words are so strong that we would never risk success at the possible expense of our salvation. We view ourselves as too sin-oriented to ever trust ourselves with success. We dial our initiative back to just waiting for God (or someone else) to do something so we can flow with it. Our only goal is to stay in the boat - no walking on water.
Responsibility is Key to Spiritual Success - We've often heard that it's easier to get God's people out of Egypt than to get Egypt out of God's people. It's very true. Israel wandered 40 years in a desert that could have been crossed in a couple of weeks at a leisurely walk. The "slave mentality" left the people wanting others to do everything for them. They wouldn't take responsibility; they stuck with their programming to: 1) do as they were told, 2) expect someone else to take care of them, and 3) complain about the whole process.
Slaves will not fight for themselves or for God; they cannot be trusted in spiritual warfare. Although Israel was armed with the weapons for battle when they left Egypt they didn't have the mind for it. Sadly - that describes the present, passive state of many believers today. We have the armor, but not the attitude.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. Ex 13:17-18 NIV
Caleb had a different spirit. He was willing to take responsibility to inherit his land. He was anything but passive. He didn't expect anyone else to fight his battles for him even when he was 85.
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Num 14:23-24 NIV
So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. Josh 14:10-12 NIV
Maturity Is? - Contrary to popular belief, spiritual maturity comes when we are willing to say yes to success. We're not called to be monks; we're called to take mountains! We not only have to agree to the possibility of success, we have to take the steps to make it happen ourselves. This may surprise you, but God will not hand your inheritance to you until you have the stomach to kill some giants and the ability to manage finances. Yes, it's yours in the will of God, but God is waiting for you to show some initiative. That's how real spiritual maturity works. The idea that God does it all while we believe and pray and obey is simply a false concept rooted in poverty theology... Good for slaves - bad for Kings.
It's your responsibility before God to manage your inheritance and make your dream come true. Slaves will wait and murmur and try to sound spiritual doing it; you cannot. You are a steward of the dream in your heart. God expects you to use wisdom, management, finances, business plans, and take some risks to make it happen. His favor will follow your initiative. You won't get guidance on every detail. God has left many decisions to your free will. How specific is, "Be fruitful and multiply"? You're created in His image to have dominion over the earth and you carry His will in your heart.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them,"Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion... Gen 1:27-28 NKJV
PS: You're going to experience a few setbacks along the way. It's OK. Keep going. Learn from your mistakes. Take responsibility for your success in the Kingdom.
John & Sue
Senin, 03 November 2008
by Various Authors www.revivalschool.com
"The greatest wisdom on this earth is holiness."
- W.S. Plumer
"We fear men so much because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man's terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God." - William Gurnall
"Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that reared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them we shall find a nest of honey within them." - John Bunyan
"Making heaven on earth is our business." - William Booth
"If your faith can't be tested, it can't be trusted."
"When filled with holy truth the mind rests." - C.H. Spurgeon
"If we look carefully within ourselves, we shall find that there are certain limits beyond which we refuse to go in offering ourselves to God. We hover around these reservations, making believe not to see them, for fear of self-reproach. The more we shrink from giving up any such reserved point, the more certain it is that it needs to be given up. If we were not fast bound by it, we should not make so many efforts to persuade ourselves that we are free."
- François Fénelon
"Is what you're living for worth Christ's dying for?"
- Epitaph of Leonard Ravenhill
"One life to live
and soon it will be past.
Only things done for Christ
will ever truly last." - unknown
"Some people complain that God placed thorns on roses, while others praise him for putting roses among thorns." - unknown
"Actors speak of things imaginary as if they were real, while you preachers too often speak of things real as if they were imaginary."
- Thomas Betterton
"Pray hardest when it is hardest to pray." - Charles H. Brent
"Don't be afraid of tomorrow -- God is already there." - unknown
"Your character is who you are when no one but God is watching you."
"The Sunday morning service shows how popular your church is.
The evening services show how popular your pastor is.
Your private prayer time shows you how popular God is!"
- Leonard Ravenhill
"And When I am dying,
how happy I'll be,
If the lamp of my life
has been burned out for Thee."
- Author Unknown
"The men that will change the colleges and seminaries here represented are the men that will spend the most time alone with God. It takes time for the fires to burn. It takes time for God to draw near and for us to know that He is there. It takes time to assimilate His truth. You ask me, How much time? I do not know.
I know it means time enough to forget time." - John Mott
"When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words, than thy words without a heart." - John Bunyan
'If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.' - Martin Luther
"If you don't plan to live the Christian life totally committed to knowing your God and to walking in obedience to Him, then don't begin; for this is what Christianity is all about. It is a change of citizenship, a change of governments, a change of allegiance. If you have no intention of letting Christ rule your life, then forget Christianity; it's not for you." - K. Arthur
"Our murmuring is the devil's music." - Thomas Watson
"Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another's life, another's death, I stake my whole eternity." - Horatius Bonar
"Preach abroad! It is the cooping yourselves up in rooms that has dampened the work of God, which never was and never will be carried out to any purpose without going into the highways and hedges and compelling men and women to come in."
- Jonathan Edwards.
"No sort of defense is needed for preaching outdoors, but it would take a very strong argument to prove that a man who has never preached beyond the walls of his meetinghouse has done his duty.
A defense is required for services within buildings rather than for worship outside of them." - William Booth
"The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church...grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil." - Leonard Ravenhill
"One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do no constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always."
- A. W. Tozer
"It is God's way to let ministers try all their strength first, and then He Himself comes and subdues the hearts they cannot."
- Jonathan Edwards
"A man full of hope will be full of action." - Thomas Brooks
"We have the truth and we need not be afraid to say so."
- J.C. Ryle
"Finney preached, and sometimes the whole congregation would get up and leave! That's good preaching." - Leonard Ravenhill
Selasa, 21 Oktober 2008
Raising the Standard
by Joyce Meyer
Make a decision to serve God wholly, putting Him first in everything you do. Living above society’s moral decline involves the choices we make regarding our conversations, the way we dress, what we read, and the TV shows and movies we watch. It also has to do with the level of integrity with which we live our personal lives, interact with other people and conduct ourselves in our businesses or professions.
As Christians, we need to encourage one another to live by godly standards and to resist the pull of the world. We need to hold each other accountable for the words, images and information we allow into our minds.
A well-known quote offers some good advice: “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
You may be thinking, Joyce, the music I hear and the movies I watch are really none of your business. True, but I know that setting high standards and living a godly lifestyle will bring you blessings and set you on a good path toward your future. I don’t believe watching excessive violence, listening to filthy language or seeing images of people scantily dressed will help you grow in God.
Romans 14: 22 makes very clear that we should not do things we feel guilty about or try to make others live by our convictions: “Your personal convictions [on such matters]—exercise [them] as in God’s presence, keeping them to yourself [striving only to know the truth and obey His will]. Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves [who does not convict himself by what he chooses to do]” (The Amplified Bible).
God is interested in the influences we allow in our lives. In addition to what we see and hear, we need to be very careful about the people with whom we spend our time. The Bible teaches us not to sit passively and inactively in the pathway of sinners, nor to relax and rest in the presence of the scornful and mockers (see Ps. 1:1).
It is easy to dive into a body of water and float downstream with the current, but it is more difficult to swim upstream. It is often easier just to go along with other people and do what the majority of them want to do, but in the long run doing so can cause us significant heartache and misery.
We must set high standards for what we wear, what we watch on TV, what we listen to, how we use our time, whom we associate with, and how we spend our money.
A lifestyle of obedience to God’s Word offers many blessings. If we would commit to higher standards of holiness in our lives, we could eliminate some of the enemy’s ammunition and thwart some of his plans against us. Our lifestyle choices would help form shields around us that Satan could not penetrate. The things we see and hear can be tools the enemy uses to wage war on the battlefields of our minds.
When we see or hear something, it is recorded forever in the subconscious mind. Who do you think is behind ungodly scenes, images and words in so much of today’s music, television, Internet and printed material? It isn’t God; it’s the enemy!
Working through the world’s system, Satan constantly pours out poison, and often we just sit by passively taking in whatever is being offered. We must decide whether we are going to dedicate ourselves to God or serve the world system.
One of God’s great gifts to mankind is the power of choice. If we want to enjoy the blessings He has for us, we need to make lifestyle choices that align with His Word and are consistent with the values of His Word, not choices reflecting the constantly eroding values of the world.
I urge you to make a decision to serve God wholly, putting Him first in everything you do.
Sabtu, 18 Oktober 2008
Standing Behind Our Wall
by Francis Frangipane www.frangipane.org
The sense of distance we often feel between Christ and ourselves is an illusion. As we enter the days prior to Christ's Second Coming, the Lord shall begin to remove that falsehood. Indeed, He promises, "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (John 14:20).
The Scriptures tell us that Christ is the vine, we are the branches; He is the head, we are His body; He is the Lord and we are His temple. From start to finish, the Bible declares the Lord not only has a dwelling in heaven, but that He also abides perpetually in redemptive union with His people. The ever-present focus of His activity is to guide us into oneness with Himself.
Thus, for all that the Holy Spirit has come to establish in our lives, whether through gifts, virtue or power, His highest purpose is to lead us into the presence of Jesus. The Holy Spirit labors ceaselessly to establish intimacy between ourselves and the Lord Jesus. Someone once said that intimacy means "into-me-see." This holy transparency fills the letters and words of the Bible with the heartthrob of God. Like sheep, we actually hear the Shepherd's voice speaking to our spirits, bringing comfort, correction and direction (see John 10:27).
Not only are we privileged to know Christ's teachings, He is so close to us in spirit that we can discern the tone of His voice as He instructs us. This is heart-to-heart intimacy. Listen to His wonderful promise:
"I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15).
Jesus says, "I know My own, and My own know Me." How intimate is this relationship? The union between Christ and our hearts is of the same quality as His union with the Father. He says it is "even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father."
Yet, the sense of distance between Jesus Christ and us persists. You may have prayed, "Lord, You said You are with us forever but I feel alone. I cannot perceive You." If Christ is within us, how can we find the living flame of His presence?
In the Song of Solomon, this quest to find the secret place of His presence is given wonderful expression. The bride says, "Listen! My beloved! Behold, he is coming, climbing on the mountains, leaping on the hills! My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag" (Song of Sol. 2:8-9).
This is our Lord, full of vitality! He is "climbing on the mountains, leaping on the hills." To see Him on mountains, though, is to behold Him from afar. He is still distant. How do we live in a moment-by-moment sense of His indwelling presence? We still ask, "Where within me are You, Lord, within me?"
The bride continues,
"Behold, he is standing behind our wall, he is looking through the windows, he is peering through the lattice" (Song of Sol. 2:9).
Yes, Christ dwells within us, but He is standing behind our "walls." The walls between us and the Savior are primarily the work of unrenewed minds and hardened hearts. We have barricaded ourselves behind fears and carnal attitudes; we are held hostage by sin and worldly distractions.
Yet these barriers can be eliminated. To the degree they are removed, we possess oneness with Christ and experience true spiritual advancement.
Removing the Walls
Even now, let us pursue the removal of these barriers. How? Imagine that, even as you are reading, the Lord Himself has quietly entered a nearby room. You look, and suddenly the room is vibrant and alive, shimmering with waves of light. Instantly, your senses are flooded with His holy presence as the living, probing light enters you and descends into your heart. The darkness that shrouded your inner sin nature is gone and your heart is exposed.
My first question: Knowing that Jesus Christ is in the room, would you enter?
If you could not bring yourself to move toward the room, what would be your reason? If it is because you feel you have failed the Lord too many times, then shame has become a "wall" between you and Christ. If fear keeps you distant, then fear is the barrier between God and you; if an unrepentant heart is keeping you from intimacy with Christ, then heart hardness is your cause of isolation.
Remember, the pure in heart see God (see Matt. 5:8). If we repent of our wrong attitudes and sins; if, instead of shame and fear, we clothe ourselves with the garments of praise and salvation, the barriers between ourselves and the Lord shall be removed.
But let me ask you a second question: How would you enter Christ's presence?
It is my opinion that we would not pick up tambourines and dance into His glory. No. When the greatest apostles and prophets beheld Him, His presence caused each to fall face down as a dead man before Him. For me, it would be with great trembling that I would approach the room of His presence. I would inch my way closer.
How can we break the sense of distance between ourselves and Christ? In the same way we would repent of sin and shame before entering the room, let us turn our gaze toward His living glory. In trembling obedience, let us enter the fire of His presence for, in truth, He is closer than the room next door. He is, even now, standing behind our wall.
Lord Jesus, I remove the wall created by my fears, sin, and shame. Master, with all my heart I desire to enter Your glory, to stand in Your presence and love You. Receive me now as I bow before Your glory.
Dominion- An Eight Letter Word
by Robert Ricciardelli www.vision2advance.com
When some people hear the word dominion, flags go way up. I have seen fire come out of some who have heard the word preached. I can understand this, because there are various interpretations of what this word means as a believer in Christ, and His Kingdom. Agenda filled paradigms make this an eight letter cuss word in some circles.
I wanted to briefly share my view of dominion in light of the Kingdom of God. Dominion is in the bible. Stewardship and godly influence are in the bible. The ability to carry His love, His presence, and watch atmospheres and hearts change for His glory, are all in the bible. When Christian or non-Christian men are after their own desires, the dominion they operate under is a very ugly word. Greed, domination, and control, are some characteristics that come to mind. Ultimately, power, while putting others in bondage is the fruit of ugly dominionist mindsets.
Father's love for the world and allowing us to be His ambassadors of love, is the foundation of His dominion plan. He has always desired His people to steward the earth as led by Him. By walking in His presence, in His plan, and with His heart, dominion is inevitably going to happen. It is His very nature. It is His very plan from the before the genesis of creation. The Lord stewards people, and His people steward His stuff.
We must remember that Jesus said His Kingdom is not of this world. So if what we are building looks like, smells like, tastes like, the kingdoms of this world, we probably are operating outside of His blueprints for the thing. I am not interested in building an earthly kingdom, but I am interested in building His heavenly Kingdom on earth for His glory.
How do we get there? We die. Baptism is supposed to symbolize are commitment to death of self, and our new birth and life in Jesus. Our journey is supposed to be increasing death, while revealing His increasing life flowing out from within us. If we do not live, move, and have our being in Him, then it is probable that we may be building an earthly replica of His true Kingdom. When we do not use the keys of His Kingdom, we build a product that does not represent Him or His Kingdom. Binding and loosing in a sea of humanity opposes the Lord’s Prayer of “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
We must hear His voice and begin to declare His will and purposes for our life and for the things He has called us to. We must have His revelation, His vision, and His mission for our life. The world is looking on and they are seeing self seeking church, a church seeking after a sign rather than delivering a sign and a wonder by His mandate, and His authority.
My friend David VanCronkhite says often, “If the Kingdom of God is anything, and it is everything, it is relational, supernaturally relational”. Anything that we do must have relationship and love as the foundation. When we desire to do good to others, which should be always, we put them first. We take on the role of servant. What happened to the “greatest among you must be your servant” concept? It has fallen way to agenda’s, mammon, control, etc. These are the things of anti-Kingdom building. These have no part in the Kingdom Jesus was talking about, and this is not the dominion Jesus is talking about. Hear Ye Him!
The Kingdom of God desires to serve, influence, transform, deconstruct, reconstruct, shake up, wake up, and glorify Him in all things, in all spheres, throughout the planet. If you want to call this dominion, and the bible calls it such, then we can call it such. I do not understand all of it, but it is unfolding to me, almost daily, and sometimes moment to moment. So if you want to throw stones at those believing in dominion, make sure you are certain of what brand they are speaking of, and oh yeah, check again and see if the Father is calling you to stone anyone. (I would suppose not).
Rabu, 15 Oktober 2008
Don't Let the Devil Eat Your Lunch!
by Lee Grady (Charisma Editor) www.themordecaiproject.com
In this season of spiritual shaking and financial uncertainty, we must press into the secret place of praise in order to overcome discouragement.
I’m a big fan of newspapers, but I haven’t enjoyed reading mine lately. The news has been intensely negative for the last few months. Plus, the number of advertising pages is shrinking because of the economic crisis. So when I picked up my very thin copy of the Orlando Sentinel today, I had to search hard to find anything positive. (I am happy, of course, that the Florida Gators crushed the Tennessee Volunteers over the weekend!)
On today’s front page, one article explained how the economic downturn is affecting kids. Psychologists are warning parents not to talk about job loss, foreclosures or high gas prices in front of their children because they may internalize fears, causing them to lose sleep or fail classes. Experts call this phenomenon “trickle down anxiety."
That anxiety is trickling everywhere today. How do you deal with it?
“I believe the book of Psalms is in the middle of the Bible because praise must be at the core of the Christian life.”
When discouragement hits me, I know I must fight back immediately. If I wallow in my sorrow or entertain my fears, the devil steals my joy and robs me of the strength I need to serve God faithfully. I’ve made a list of the seven most common things that tend to drag us down:
1. Difficulties. When circumstances don’t go our way, our emotional reaction to the pressure can cause severe stress and even sickness. Whether it’s a devastating hurricane, a family conflict, a wayward teenager or a bankruptcy, a trial can break us if we allow it to.
2. Disappointment. Many Christians become discouraged when they struggle unsuccessfully to overcome sinful habits. The enemy of our souls whispers, “You’ll never stop doing that.” Then he throws more temptation our way and lures us into defeat.
3. Dismay. The dictionary defines this as “a sudden and complete loss of courage because of danger or trouble.” Fear is the greatest enemy of faith. It has the power to paralyze.
4. Death. I have two friends, both ministers, who lost their sons recently in car accidents. Both young men were strong Christians, so their parents at least have the assurance that their boys are with the Lord. But this does not take away the grief. Often, the death of a loved one can trap us in depression.
5. Delays. God gave me some promises a long time ago that have not been fulfilled. As birthdays tick by, I’m tempted to think He’s playing tricks on me. When promises elude us or expectations dry up, we question if God really promised anything or if He changed His mind.
6. Daggers. I get lots of angry letters from people who don’t like something I wrote. Last week, in fact, a person who identified himself as a Christian said he hoped I would “roast in hell” and then described my spiritual condition in profane terms. Normally those kinds of off-the-wall comments don’t affect me, since I know hate mail is part of my job. But if I’m fighting discouragement on some other level and my guard is down, toxic criticism feels like a kick in the groin.
7. Darkness. Demonic opposition is invisible, but it is real. In August I preached in a city in Bolivia where the people practice witchcraft and worship frogs. When my friends and I arrived we were greeted by a row of 10 huge sculptures of the devil, all on proud display along the main avenue. The images didn’t scare me, but there was a heavy blanket of oppression over the entire place that made me feel like catching the next plane home. Thankfully I ignored the feelings and preached anyway—and several people became Christians that night.
So how do we resist discouragement? I believe we must learn King David’s strategy. We must run to the secret place.
When David returned to Ziklag and discovered that the Amalekites had raided his camp and kidnapped all the women and children, he was probably tempted to give up. He had lost everything—and his own men were threatening to stone him. Yet the Bible says: “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6, NASB).
How did he do that? We only need to turn to the middle of our Bibles—the book of Psalms—to read what David did when he spent time with God.
I believe the book of Psalms is in the middle of the Bible because praise is at the core of the Christian life. Praise was certainly at the heart of who David was. God’s presence was the “one thing” he sought above all else (see Ps. 27:4).
David wrote: “For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock” (Ps. 27:5). To effectively encourage yourself in God, you must find the secret place, shut the door to all distractions and speak to God until the heaviness has lifted.
David was not reserved when He shut himself away with God. He prayed, sang, shouted, clapped his hands and danced. And he talked to himself. He said with confidence: “Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I will be confident” (27:3).
We normally think it strange when someone talks to himself. But the Bible actually encourages us to do so when we are praising the Lord. If you are fighting discouragement, one of the best things you can do is hide yourself in a room and begin to tell God how awesome He is. If you can’t sing well, put on some lively praise music and follow along. The important thing is that you open your mouth and speak—because by doing so you are canceling the enemy’s lies.
Many Christians only praise God in church once a week. No wonder so many of us are spiritually frail. We’ve also lost the art of true biblical confession. When our souls have been overwhelmed by bad news, we must counteract by declaring our faith out loud.
After David spent time in the secret place, he said confidently: “And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy” (27:6). Praise, when it is uninhibited, has incredible power. It paves the way for breakthrough. It cuts the cords of fear and anxiety. It unleashes holy joy and pulls us out of the pit of depression. It scatters demonic darkness.
Don’t give the devil an advantage in this day of adversity. If you are facing difficulties, disappointments, delays or any other discouraging circumstances, remember the priority of praise.
Minggu, 12 Oktober 2008
Dinah's Silent Cry
by Lee Grady (Charisma Editor) www.themordecaiproject.com
When Jesus visited the woman at the well in Samaria, He opened a fountain of healing that still flows today.
Thousands of years ago, the beautiful daughter of a biblical patriarch wandered into Canaanite territory without any clue that she was stepping into a nightmare. The Bible says that Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, was raped that day by Shechem, a local prince (see Gen. 34:1-2).
We never hear Dinah’s screams or muffled sobs. In fact we never hear the voice of Dinah in Scripture. Shechem tried to bargain for her hand in marriage after he stole her virginity, but Jacob’s sons deceitfully plotted to kill him and his brothers for his act of defilement. One rape resulted in wholesale slaughter.
But the bloody act of revenge did not bring healing or restoration to Dinah. She was most likely shut away for the rest of her life, since women who had been raped in those days were considered unclean and unmarriageable. The rape was not her fault—but she bore the guilt.
“The world—and often the church—is not willing to visit the place of abuse. But we have a Savior who broke cultural and religious rules to bring His miraculous healing there.”
Dinah’s silence is deafening. She represents the tragic loss of innocence endured by all those who have been sexually abused. She became the prototype of all women who have been violated—and then blamed and shamed as if it were their fault.
What is most interesting about Dinah’s story is the setting—a dusty plot of ground in Israel that would later be part of Samaria. The site of Dinah’s rape was near the piece of land that Jacob had previously purchased from Shechem’s father, Hamor (see Gen. 33:18-20). We don’t read much more in the Bible about that awful place—until the Son of God arrives on the scene in the New Testament.
It is truly amazing that Jesus was willing to visit that unholy site. During His ministry, no rabbi in Israel would dare go near it. Rabbis took the long road around Samaria to avoid mixing with its people.
Yet the Bible says Jesus marched right into Samaria and sat down at a well, located on the plot of ground that Jacob had purchased centuries earlier (see John 4:4-6). There, Jesus broke every religious rule in Jewish rabbinical tradition by speaking with a divorced woman about theological issues in a public place.
We don’t know the Samaritan woman’s name, but I am sure she was familiar with what had happened so long ago in that land. All women in that region probably whispered to each other within their tents about Dinah’s tragic legacy as they shared their own stories of abandonment, abuse and mistreatment.
But something miraculous began to unfold when the Son of God set foot on that defiled ground.
After He spoke tenderly to the Samaritan woman, telling her of the water of life that comes from the true Messiah, He looked into her tormented soul and drained out the pain she had endured from men who had misused her.
“Go, call your husband and come here,” Jesus told her. She threw up her defenses and protested, saying that she did not have a husband.
Jesus lovingly replied: “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband” (John 4:16-18, NASB).
Jesus was not wagging His finger in the woman’s face or shaming her desperate behavior. He understood her anguish. Most likely she had been abused and abandoned by five men in a row, and by the time the last man threw her out of the house she had no self-esteem left. The sixth man did not even have the decency to marry her.
But on that day in Samaria, the dark clouds that had cast a heavy pall over all women in that region parted. The seventh man had arrived! Jesus was willing to go to that forsaken place, and He identified fully with the pain of abused women. He offered the Samaritan woman not only total freedom from her guilt—but also the boldness to share her story of redemption with an entire village at a time when women did not speak in public.
Do you see the amazing grace and mercy of God at work here? Jesus answered Dinah’s cry.
The world—and often the church—is not willing to visit the place of abuse. We sweep the pain under a rug and ignore the victims. But we have a Savior who broke cultural and religious rules to bring His miraculous healing there.
If you have suffered any form of abuse, or if you still struggle with its shame, then go to Jacob’s well. Jesus is waiting there to give you pure, living water that will cleanse your past, restore lost purity and satisfy your deepest thirst.
Selasa, 07 Oktober 2008
How to Guard Yourself Against Spiritual Deception
by A.W. Tozer
THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN'S SOULS.
The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.
Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied.
THE SEEKER AFTER GOD'S BEST THINGS
IS EAGER TO HEAR ANYONE
WHO OFFERS A WAY BY WHICH HE CAN OBTAIN THEM.
He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.
Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," said Paul
(I Thess. 5:21) .
"Beloved, believe not every spirit," wrote John, "but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1)
"Beware of false prophets," our Lord warned, "which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:15).
Then He added the word by which they may be tested,
"YE SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS."
From this it is plain not only that there shall be false spirits abroad, endangering our Christian lives, but that they may be identified and known for what they are. And of course once we become aware of their identity and learn their tricks their power to harm us is gone.
"Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird"
IT IS MY INTENTION TO SET FORTH HERE A METHOD BY WHICH WE MAY TEST THE SPIRITS AND PROVE ALL THINGS RELIGIOUS AND MORAL THAT COME TO US OR ARE BROUGHT OR OFFERED TO US BY ANYONE.
And while dealing with these matters we should keep in mind that not all religious vagaries are the work of Satan. The human mind is capable of plenty of mischief without any help from the devil. Some persons have a positive genius for getting confused, and will mistake illusion for reality in broad daylight with the Bible open before them.
Peter had such in mind when he wrote,
"Our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (II Pet. 3:15, 16).
IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE CONFIRMED APOSTLES OF CONFUSION
WILL READ WHAT IS WRITTEN HERE
or that they would profit much if they did; but there are many sensible Christians who have been led astray but are humble enough to admit their mistakes and are now ready to return unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. These may be rescued from false paths. More important still, there are undoubtedly large numbers of persons who have not left the true way but who want a rule by which they can test everything and by which they may prove the quality of Christian teaching and experience as they come in contact with them day after day throughout their busy lives. For such as these I make available here a little secret by which I have tested my own spiritual experiences and religious impulses for many years.
BRIEFLY STATED THE TEST IS THIS:
THIS NEW DOCTRINE, THIS NEW RELIGIOUS HABIT, THIS NEW VIEW OF TRUTH, THIS NEW SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE - HOW HAS IT AFFECTED MY ATTITUDE TOWARD AND MY RELATION TO GOD, CHRIST, THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, SELF, OTHER CHRISTIANS, THE WORLD AND SIN.
By this sevenfold test we may prove everything religious and know beyond a doubt whether it is of God or not. By the fruit of the tree we know the kind of tree it is. So we have but to ask about any doctrine or experience, What is this doing to me? and we know immediately whether it is from above or from below.
1) ONE VITAL TEST OF ALL RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IS HOW IT AFFECTS OUR RELATION TO GOD, OUR CONCEPT OF GOD AND OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD HIM.
God being who He is must always be the supreme arbiter of all things religious. The universe came into existence as a medium through which the Creator might show forth His perfections to all moral and intellectual beings: "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another" (Isa. 42: 8) . "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
The health and balance of the universe require that in all things God should be magnified. "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." God acts only for His glory and whatever comes from Him must be to His own high honor. Any doctrine, any experience that serves to magnify Him is likely to be inspired by Him. Conversely, anything that veils His glory or makes Him appear less wonderful is sure to be of the flesh or the devil.
The heart of man is like a musical instrument and may be played upon by the Holy Spirit, by an evil spirit or by the spirit of man himself. Religious emotions are very much the same, no matter who the player may be. Many enjoyable feelings may be aroused within the soul by low or even idolatrous worship. The nun who kneels "breathless with adoration" before an image of the Virgin is having a genuine religious experience. She feels love, awe and reverence, all enjoyable emotions, as certainly as if she were adoring God. The mystical experiences of Hindus and Sufis cannot be brushed aside as mere pretense. Neither dare we dismiss the high religious flights of spiritists and other occultists as imagination. These may have and sometimes do have genuine encounters with something or someone beyond themselves. In the same manner Christians are sometimes led into emotional experiences that are beyond their power to comprehend. I have met such and they have inquired eagerly whether or not their experience was of God.
The big test is, What has this done to my relationship to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? If this new view of truth-this new encounter with spiritual things-has made me love God more, if it has magnified Him in my eyes, if it has purified my concept of His being and caused Him to appear more wonderful than before, then I may conclude that I have not wandered astray into the pleasant but dangerous and forbidden paths of error.
2. THE NEXT TEST IS: HOW HAS THIS NEW EXPERIENCE AFFECTED MY
ATTITUDE TOWARD THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?
Whatever place present-day religion may give to Christ, God gives Him top place in earth and in heaven. "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," spoke the voice of God from heaven concerning our Lord Jesus. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, declared: "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Again Peter said of Him, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) .
The whole book of Hebrews is devoted to the idea that Christ is above all others. He is shown to be above Aaron and Moses, and even the angels are called to fall down and worship Him. Paul says that He is the image of the invisible God, that in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily and that in all things He must have the preeminence. But time would fail me to tell of the glory accorded Him by prophets, patriarchs, apostles, saints, elders, psalmists, kings and seraphim. He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. He is our hope, our life, our all and all, now and forevermore.
All this being true, it is clear that He must stand at the center of all true doctrine, all acceptable practice and all genuine Christian experience. Anything that makes Him less than God has declared Him to be is delusion pure and simple and must be rejected, no matter how delightful or how satisfying it may for the time seem to be.
Christless Christianity sounds contradictory but it exists as a real phenomenon in our day. Much that is being done in Christ's name is false to Christ in that it is conceived by the flesh, incorporates fleshly methods, and seeks fleshly ends. Christ is mentioned from time to time in the same way and for the same reason that a self-seeking politician mentions Lincoln and the flag, to provide a sacred front for carnal activities and to deceive the simplehearted listeners.
This giveaway is that Christ is not central: He is not all and in all.
Again, there are psychic experiences that thrill the seeker and lead him to believe that he has indeed met the Lord and been carried to the third heaven; but the true nature of the phenomenon is discovered later when the face of Christ begins to fade from the victim's consciousness and he comes to depend more and more upon emotional jags as a proof of his spirituality.
If on the other hand the new experience tends to make Christ indispensable, if it takes our interest off our feeling and places it in Christ, we are on the right track. Whatever makes Christ dear to us is pretty sure to be from God.
3. ANOTHER REVEALING TEST OF THE SOUNDNESS OF RELIGIOUS
EXPERIENCE IS, HOW DOES IT AFFECT MY ATTITUDE TOWARD THE HOLY
Did this new experience, this new view of truth, spring out of the Word of God itself or was it the result of some stimulus that lay outside the Bible? Tender-hearted Christians often become victims of strong psychological pressure applied intentionally or innocently by someone's personal testimony, or by a colorful story told by a fervent preacher who may speak with prophetic finality but who has not checked his story with the facts nor tested the soundness of his conclusions by the Word of God.
Whatever originates outside the Scriptures should for that very reason be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them. If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in the Scriptures. "To the word and to the testimony" must always be the last and final proof.
Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with a lot of caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Over the last half-century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among the truths that were to be revealed in the last days. To be sure, say the advocates of this latter-daylight theory, Augustine did not know, Luther did not, John Knox, Wesley, Finney and Spurgeon did not understand this; but greater light has now shined upon God's people and we of these last days have the advantage of fuller revelation. We should not question the new doctrine nor draw back from this advanced experience. The Lord is getting His Bride ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We should all yield to this new movement of the Spirit. So they tell us.
The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite. Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning. Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence. You cannot help him and he surely cannot help you.
Granted, however, that the Scriptures may not always be clear and that there are differences of interpretation among equally sincere men, this test will furnish all the proof needed of anything religious, viz., What does it do to my love for and appreciation of the Scriptures?
While true power lies not in the letter of the text but in the Spirit that inspired it, we should never underestimate the value of the letter. The text of truth has the same relation to truth as the honeycomb has to honey. One serves as a receptacle for the other. But there the analogy ends. The honey can be removed from the comb, but the Spirit of truth cannot and does not operate apart from the letter of the Holy Scriptures.
For this reason a growing acquaintance with the Holy Spirit will always mean an increasing love for the Bible. The Scriptures are in print what Christ is in person. The inspired Word is like a faithful portrait of Christ. But again the figure breaks down. Christ is in the Bible as no one can be in a mere portrait, for the Bible is a book of holy ideas and the eternal Word of the Father can and does dwell in the thought He has Himself inspired. Thoughts are things, and the thoughts of the Holy Scriptures form a lofty temple for the dwelling place of God.
From this it follows naturally that a true lover of God will be also a lover of His Word. Anything that comes to us from the God of the Word will deepen our love for the Word of God. This follows logically, but we have confirmation by a witness vastly more trustworthy than logic, viz., the concerted testimony of a great army of witnesses living and dead. These declare with one voice that their love for the Scriptures intensified as their faith mounted and their obedience became consistent and joyous.
IF THE NEW DOCTRINE, THE INFLUENCE OF THAT NEW TEACHER, THE NEW EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE FILLS MY HEART WITH AN AVID HUNGER TO MEDITATE IN THE SCRIPTURES DAY AND NIGHT. I HAVE EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE THAT GOD HAS SPOKEN TO MY SOUL AND THAT MY EXPERIENCE IS GENUINE.
CONVERSELY, IF MY LOVE FOR THE SCRIPTURES HAS COOLED EVEN A LITTLE, IF MY EAGERNESS TO EAT AND DRINK OF THE INSPIRED WORD HAS ABATED BY AS MUCH AS ONE DEGREE, I SHOULD HUMBLY ADMIT THAT I HAVE MISSED GOD'S SIGNAL SOMEWHERE AND FRANKLY BACKTRACK UNTIL I FIND THE TRUE WAY ONCE MORE.
4. AGAIN, WE CAN PROVE THE QUALITY OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
BY ITS EFFECT ON THE SELF-LIFE.
The Holy Spirit and the fallen human self are diametrically opposed to each other. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Gal. 5:17). "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit . . . . Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8: 5, 7).
Before the Spirit of God can work creatively in our hearts He must condemn and slay the "flesh" within us; that is, He must have our full consent to displace our natural self with the Person of Christ. This displacement is carefully explained in Romans 6, 7,and 8. When the seeking Christian has gone through the crucifying experience described in chapters 6 and 7 he enters into the broad, free regions of chapter 8. There self is dethroned and Christ is enthroned forever.
In the light of this it is not hard to see why the Christian's attitude toward self is such an excellent test of the validity of his religious experiences.
Most of the great masters of the deeper life, such as Fenelon. Molinos, John of the Cross, Madame Guyon and a host, of others, have warned against pseudoreligious experiences that provide much carnal enjoyment but feel the flesh and puff up the heart with self-love.
A GOOD RULE IS THIS: IF THIS EXPERIENCE HAS SERVED TO HUMBLE ME AND MAKE ME LITTLE AND VILE IN MY OWN EYES IT IS OF GOD; BUT IF IT HAS GIVEN ME A FEELING OF SELF-SATISFACTION IT IS FALSE AND SHOULD BE DISMISSED AS EMANATING FROM SELF OR THE DEVIL. NOTHING THAT COMES FROM GOD WILL MINISTER TO MY PRIDE OR SELF-CONGRATULATION.
Nothing that comes from God will minister to my pride or self-congratulation.
If I am tempted to be complacent and to feel superior because I have had a remarkable vision or an advanced spiritual experience, I should go at once to my knees and repent of the whole thing. I have fallen a victim to the enemy.
5. OUR RELATION TO AND OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD OUR FELLOW CHRISTIANS IS ANOTHER ACCURATE TEST OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
Sometimes an earnest Christian will, after some remarkable spiritual encounter, withdraw himself from his fellow believers and develop a spirit of faultfinding. He may be honestly convinced that his experience is superior, that he is now in an advanced state of grace, and that the hoi polloi in the church where he attends are but a mixed multitude and he alone a true son of Israel. He may struggle to be patient with these religious worldlings, but his soft language and condescending smile reveal his true opinion of them-and of himself.
This is a dangerous state of mind, and the more dangerous because it can justify itself by the facts. The brother has had a remarkable experience; he has received some wonderful light on the Scriptures; he has entered into a joyous land unknown to him before. And it may easily be true that the professed Christians with whom he is acquainted are worldly and dull and without spiritual enthusiasm. It is not that he is mistaken in his facts that proves him to be in error, but that his reaction to the facts is of the flesh. His new spirituality has made him less charitable.
The Lady Julian tells us in her quaint English how true Christian grace affects our attitude toward others: "For of all things the beholding and loving of the Maker maketh the soul to seem less in his own sight, and most filleth him with reverent dread and true meekness; with plenty of charity to his fellow Christians." Any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christians may safely be written off as spurious.
The Apostle John makes love for our fellow Christians to be a test of true faith. "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him" (I John 3:18, 19).
Again he says, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (I John 4:7, 8).
AS WE GROW IN GRACE WE GROW IN LOVE TOWARD ALL GOD'S PEOPLE.
"Every one that loveth him that begot loveth him also that is begotten of him" (I John 5:1) . This means simply that if we love God we will love His children. All true Christian experience will deepen our love for other Christians.
Therefore we conclude that whatever tends to separate us in person or in heart from our fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil. And conversely, whatever causes us to love the children of God is likely to be of God. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).
6. ANOTHER CERTAIN TEST OF THE SOURCE OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IS THIS: NOTE HOW IT AFFECTS OUR RELATION TO AND OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD THE WORLD.
By "the world" I do not mean, of course, the beautiful order of nature which God has created for the enjoyment of mankind. Neither do I mean the world of lost men in the sense used by our Lord when He said, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved"
(John 3:16, 17).
Certainly any true touch of God in the soul will deepen our appreciation of the beauties of nature and intensify our love for the lost. I refer here to something else altogether.
Let an apostle say it for us:
"All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:16, 17) .
THIS IS THE WORLD BY WHICH WE MAY TEST THE SPIRITS. IT IS THE WORLD OF CARNAL ENJOYMENTS, OF GODLESS PLEASURES, OF THE PURSUIT OF EARTHLY RICHES AND REPUTATION AND SINFUL HAPPINESS.
It carries on without Christ, following the counsel of the ungodly and being animated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2: 2) . Its religion is a form of godliness, without power, which has a name to live but is dead. It is, in short, unregenerate human society romping on its way to hell, the exact opposite of the true Church of God, which is a society of regenerate souls going soberly but joyfully on their way to heaven.
ANY REAL WORK OF GOD IN OUR HEART
WILL TEND TO UNFIT US FOR THE WORLD'S FELLOWSHIP.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (I John 2:15).
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness?" (II Cor. 6:140)
IT MAY BE STATED UNEQUIVOCALLY;
THAT ANY SPIRIT THAT PERMITS COMPROMISE WITH THE WORLD…
…IS A FALSE SPIRIT.
Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil and this regardless of how much purring its leaders may do about "accepting Christ" or "letting God run your business."
7. THE LAST TEST OF THE GENUINENESS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE IS WHAT IT DOES TO OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD SIN.
The operations of grace within the heart of a believing man will turn that heart away from sin and toward holiness. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Tit. 2:11-13) .
I do not see how it could be plainer. The same grace that saves teaches that saved man inwardly, and its teaching is both negative and positive. Negatively it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Positively it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly right in this present world.
THE MAN OF HONEST HEART WILL FIND NO DIFFICULTY HERE.
He has but to check his own bent to discover whether he is concerned about sin in his life more or less since the supposed work of grace was done. Anything that weakens his hatred of sin may be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour and to his own soul. Whatever makes holiness more attractive and sin more intolerable may be accepted as genuine.
"For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness:
neither shall evil dwell with thee.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight:
thou hatest all workers of iniquity"
(Psa. 5: 4, 5).
Jesus warned, "There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect." These words describe our day too well to be coincidental. In the hope that the "elect" may profit by them I have set forth these tests.
The result is in the hand of God.
Sabtu, 04 Oktober 2008
I Am Well Pleased!
by Robert Ricciardelli www.vision2advance.com
When you are walking through the darkest of days, I am there. Listen for My voice, and expect me to communicate to you in ways you have yet to realize. I have not left you and continue to speak of my Love for you. There are times and there are seasons. But in each season, I demonstrate my glory through each of my people in different and unique ways. You just have to need to know what I desire for you. Some may be reaping abundance in this season while others may be experiencing lessons from my wilderness training. Some will be sowing tears, some will be sowing love, but remember that there will be a harvest in your life. There will be reaping just ahead for you. Be mindful of the sowing, and not too concerned with the reaping that will surely come.
Do not look to where others are, look to where I have you, and where I am leading you. I have each of you in my care and will do something special in each of your lives. You will not miss it, you do not need to look far for Truth, because Truth has found you, and Truth is in you. When you are relying on Me for daily bread, do not despair, and be thankful for all things. Abundance does not prove greater love, and lack does not prove lesser love from ME.
I have a plan for you, and it is a very good plan, even if you do not understand the experiences you have lived through, or are going through now. My ways cannot be interpreted by man, but always have the end in mind, LOVE. Your journey towards the image of my Son has been planned before you took your first step. You may only see the very next step, and no more until that step has been taken. If you do not see the step, wait until it is revealed. I am not in any hurry for you, we have eternity you know. Be still and Know I AM with you, and will quicken you for the move for us. When you move, I move with you, when you are still, I am still with you. Your obedience brings me great joy, and my joy becomes your strength. You cannot find strength outside of Me for the destiny I have for you.
There is a reason for what you are going through, although you may not see it while you are going through. I am teaching you through all of it, if you will seek after me for My message, My perception, and My glory. Remember you can fail, make mistakes, and yet never lose in life, because you are in Me and I in you.
You do not need to seek after other anointings, for the Anointed One is in you. You do not need to hear from others as I am speaking to you, and you can hear My voice. I have prophetic servants who will confirm my voice, but I desire to talk to you directly and it is important that you hear Me, and follow after Me for your life. Be very careful when listening to others, because they cannot know what I have intentioned for you. Mary did not know what I had intentioned for My Son. They may have good intentions, but they will often not be My intentions, and so listen for My voice. You must not entrust your lives in the hands of men, you must not chase after the ways and devises of men. But as you seek me and my Kingdom, you will have all you need for I AM all you need.
Look at every tragedy as part of the journey, for it is part of the journey. No man or woman of God who has given me pleasure has ever escaped tragedy in this life. In this world, you will face challenges and adversity, but in Me you have peace, because I am with you and nothing you have gone through has ever caught me by surprise. Nothing you are going through and have gone through has ever escaped my notice.
My church has been looking for the next thing, the next experience, instead of Me. They look after a sign, they create their own signs, and all the while they have looked for the wrong thing. Do not look for the created thing, but look only towards the Creator. I AM the former thing, I AM the present thing, and I AM the future thing that desires to consume your every thought and focus. I want to encompass you with My life, My love, and My peace. Be careful not to be derailed off of the plan and vision I have given you. But when you stumble off the path of My plan, you are only one step, one shout away from being on the Right track again. Know that I love you, am for you, and will be successful in bringing you through. I have never failed any of My children, and I will never fail you. You will never fail to complete My journey for you, as you live in Me and for Me.
I absolutely love you in the process you are in. You are My ambassador, you are My love, you are My light to the world. You do not need to seek a time and place of revival, for I AM revival, and therefore in ME, You are revival in the earth...
As more of my children die to self and live in Me, then my revival children will become a lighthouse of My Love to the world. You will be a safe harbor in a world of turbulence. I will continue to be revealed on earth through your life and in everyday living. When I say that in ME you live, you move, and have your being, believe it, know it, and walk in it. Watch my glory unfold, watch the miraculous happen all around you, in everyday living. My Son walked in this and many things happened “along the way”. Expect things to happen along your way, as you live in My way.
Remember this as you go forward in whatever process that you are in, do not let other voices of the past and present, and even your own voice deceive you. You are precious to Me regardless of what you have done, regardless of where you or others think you are. Remember it is always Who you are to Me, and not what you do. You please me not in perfection, not in your worship, but in your being, because I see the end that you cannot see. I will take obedience over sacrifice every time.
I am pleased in your process, and you are right where I want you to be if you faint not. Do not ever give up in this journey, it is well worth it. Humility, repentance, selflessness, obedience, and love are the keys to living in Kingdom reality. Move quickly as I present opportunities to be humble, to repent, to die to self, to obey, and to love in a supernatural way. These opportunities to walk in My nature will expedite my training for you into the image of My Son. But in all things, remember this, I Am Your Father, and my eternal message for you is "You are my child in whom I am well pleased".
Rabu, 24 September 2008
Are You Mad At God?
by David Wilkerson
I believe there is nothing more dangerous to a Christian than to carry around a resentment against God. Yet I am shocked by the growing number of believers I meet who are peeved at the Lord. They may not admit as much - but deep inside, they hold some kind of grudge against him. Why? They believe he's not interested in their lives or problems! They're convinced he doesn't care - because he hasn't answered a particular prayer or acted on their behalf
I received a letter recently from a young man who's incarcerated in a southern prison. This convict was once a committed Christian - but now he says he's mad at God. He wrote:
"I'm in a hellhole - and I believe God is going to leave me here! At one time I wanted to follow Christ with all my heart. But I had a sin that overwhelmed me - a sexual sin. I tried to repent, but it never helped. I read my Bible, studied and prayed - but it was no use. My sin always took control. And now I'm in prison for a long time because of it.
"I've given up on doing spiritual warfare. Trying doesn't seem worth it. God delivered me from drugs and alcohol when I was a new Christian. But why didn't he take away my sexual lusts?"
Every page of this man's letter was full of bitterness toward God. He has allowed his resentment to turn into an all-out rage!
I see a similar rage among a growing number of ministers in many denominations. They've become disillusioned, burned out, angry with God - and now they're walking away from their calling. When you ask them why, they answer:
"I was diligent, faithful - I gave it my best. But the harder I tried, the less results I saw. My congregation was not appreciative.. And all my prayers seemed in vain. At one point, everything I preached felt phony, because it wasn't working in my own life. Now I've quit the ministry until I can figure things out."
I have learned over the years that very few such ministers ever return. Why? They hold onto their peeve against God! They say, "I did everything right. But nothing turned out the way I'd hoped. I was faithful to him - but he failed me!"
The Awful Danger and Bitter Consequences of Holding a Grudge Against God Were Brought Home to Me Recently!
Not long ago, I picked up a missionary biography entitled Aggie - and I couldn't put it down. This amazing story gripped my heart, and I ended up reading it in one sitting. I'd like to summarize the story for you here - because it vividly illustrates the destructive power of grudging anger in a Christian's heart:
In 1921, two young couples in Stockholm, Sweden, answered God's call to the African mission field. They were members of Philadelphia Pentecostal Church, which sent out missionaries to locales over the world. During one particular missions service, these two couples received a burden to go to the Belgian Congo, which is now Zaire.
Their names were David and Svea Flood and Joel and Bertha Erickson. Svea Flood was only four-feet-eight-inches tall, and she was a well-known singer in Sweden. But both couples gave up everything to lay down their lives for the gospel.
When they arrived in the Belgian Congo, they reported to the local mission station. Then they took machetes and literally hacked their way into the Congo's insect-infested interior. David and Svea had a two-year-old son, David Jr., and they had to carry him on their backs. Along the way, both families caught malaria. But they kept going forward with great zeal, ready to be martyrs for the Lord.
Finally, they reached a certain village in the interior. Yet, to their surprise, the people wouldn't let them enter. They told the missionaries, "We can't allow any white people here, or our gods will be offended." So the families went to a second village - but they were rejected there also.
At this point, there were no other villages around. The worn-down families had no choice but to settle. So they hacked out a clearing in the middle of a mountain jungle and built mud huts, where they made their homes.
As the months went by, they all suffered from loneliness, sickness and malnutrition. Little David Jr. became sickly. And they had almost no interaction with any of the villagers.
Finally, after about six months, Joel and Bertha Erickson decided to return to the mission station. They urged the Floods to do the same, but Svea couldn't travel because she'd just gotten pregnant. And now her malaria had become worse. Besides all that, David said, "I want my child born in Africa. I've come to give my life here." So the Floods simply waved goodbye as their friends began the one-hundred-mile hike back.
For several months Svea endured a raging fever. Yet all that time, she ministered faithfully to a little boy who came to see them from one of the nearby villages. The boy was the Floods' only convert. He brought the family fruit, and as Svea ministered to him, he simply smiled back at her.
Eventually, Svea's malaria got so bad she became bedridden. When the time came for her to give birth, she delivered a healthy baby girl. But within a week she was at the point of death. In her final moments, she whispered to David, "Call our girl Aina." Then she died.
David Flood was badly shaken by his wife's death. Summoning all his strength, he took a wooden box and made a casket for Svea. Then, in a primitive grave on the mountainside, he buried his beloved wife.
As he stood beside her grave, he looked down at his young son beside him. Then he heard his baby daughter's cries from the mud hut. And suddenly, bitterness filled his heart. An anger rose up in him - and he couldn't control it. He flew into a rage, crying, "Why did you allow this, God? We came here to give our lives! My wife was so beautiful, so talented. And here she lies, dead at twenty-seven.
"Now I have a two-year-old son I can hardly care for, let alone a baby girl. And after more than a year in this jungle, all we have to show for it is one little village boy who probably doesn't understand what we've told him. You've failed me, God. What a waste of life!"
At that point, David Flood hired some local tribesmen as guides and took his children to the mission station. When he saw the Ericksons, he blurted out angrily, "I'm leaving! I can't handle these children alone. I'm taking my son with me back to Sweden - but I'm leaving my daughter here with you." And with that, he left Aina for the Ericksons to raise.
All the way back to Stockholm, David Flood stood on deck and seethed at God. He'd told everyone he was going to Africa to be a mrtyr - to win people to Christ, no matter what the cost. And now he was returning a defeated and broken man. He believed he'd been faithful - but that God had rewarded him with total neglect.
When he arrived in Stockholm, he decided to go into the import business to seek his fortune. And he warned everyone around him never to mention God in his presence. When they did, he flew into a rage, the veins popping out on his neck. Eventually, he began drinking heavily.
Shortly after he left Africa, his friends the Ericksons died suddenly (possibly poisoned by a local village chief). So, little Aina was handed to an American couple - some dear people I know named Arthur and Anna Berg. The Bergs took Aina with them to a village called Massisi, in the northern Congo. There they began calling her "Aggie." And soon little Aggie learned the Swahili language and played with the Congo children.
Alone much of the time, Aggie learned to play games of imagination. She imagined she had four brothers and a sister, and she gave them all imaginary names. She would set a table for her brothers and talk to them. And she would imagine her sister continually looking for her.
When the Bergs went on furlough to America, they took Aggie with them, to the Minneapolis area. As it turned out, they ended up staying there. Aggie grew up to marry a man named Dewey Hurst, who later became president of Northwest Bible College, the Assemblies of God school in Minneapolis.
For Years as an Adult, Aggie Tried to Contact Her Father
But to No Avail!
Aggie never knew that her father had remarried - this time to Svea's younger sister, who had no heart for God. And now he had five children besides Aggie - four sons and a daughter (just as Aggie had imagined). By this time, David Flood had become a total alcoholic, and his eyesight was failing badly.
For forty years Aggie tried to locate her father - but her letters were never answered. Finally, the Bible school gave her and her husband round-trip tickets to Sweden. This would give her the chance to find her father personally.
After crossing the Atlantic, the couple spent a day's layover in London. They decided to take a walk, so they strolled by the Royal Albert Hall. To their joy, a Pentecostal Assemblies of God missions convention was being held. They went inside, where they heard a black preacher testifying of the great works God was doing in Zaire - the Belgian Congo!
Aggie's heart leaped. After the meeting, she approached the preacher and asked, "Did you ever know the missionaries David and Svea Flood?" He answered, "Yes. Svea Flood led me to the Lord when I was just a boy. They had a baby girl, but I don't know what happened to her." Aggie exclaimed, "I'm the girl! I'm Aggie - Aina!"
When the preacher heard this, he clasped Aggie's hands, hugged her and wept with joy. Aggie could hardly believe that this man was the little boy convert her mother had ministered to. He had grown up to be a missionary evangelist to his own country - which now included 110,000 Christians, 32 mission stations, several Bible schools and a 120-bed hospital.
The next day Aggie and Dewey left for Stockholm - and word had already spread there that they were coming. By this time Aggie knew she had four brothers and a sister. And to her surprise, three of her brothers greeted her at the hotel. She asked them, "Where's David, my older brother?" They merely pointed across the lobby to a lone figure sitting in a chair. Her brother, David Jr., was a shriveled-up, gray-haired man. Like his father, he'd grown embittered and had nearly destroyed his life with alcohol.
When Aggie asked about her father, her brothers flushed with anger. They all hated him. None of them had talked to him in years.
Then Aggie asked, "What about my sister?" They gave her a telephone number, and Aggie called it immediately. Her sister answered - but when Aggie told her who she was, the line suddenly went dead. Aggie tried calling back but got no answer.
In a little while, however, her sister arrived at the hotel and threw her arms around Aggie. She told her, "All my life I've dreamed about you. I used to spread out a map of the world, put a toy car on it, and pretend to drive everywhere to find you."
Aggie's sister also despised her father, David Flood. But she promised to help Aggie find him. So they drove to an impoverished area of Stockholm, where they entered a rundown building. When they knocked on the door, a woman let them in.
Inside, liquor bottles lay everywhere. And lying on a cot in the corner was her father - the one-time missionary, David Flood. He was now seventy-three years old and suffering from diabetes. He'd also had a stroke, and cataracts covered both of his eyes.
Aggie fell to his side, crying, "Dad, I'm your little girl - the one you left in Africa." The old man turned and looked at her. Tears formed in his eyes. He answered, "I never meant to give you away. I just couldn't handle you both." Aggie answered, "That's okay, Daddy. God took care of me."
Suddenly, her father's face darkened. "God didn't take care of you!" he raged. "He ruined our whole family! He led us to Africa and then betrayed us. Nothing ever came of our time there. It was a waste of our lives!"
Aggie then told him about the black preacher she'd just met in London - and how the country had been evangelized through him. "It's all true, Daddy," she said. "Everybody knows about that little boy convert. The story has been in all the newspapers."
Suddenly the Holy Spirit fell on David Flood - and he broke. Tears of sorrow and repentance flowed down his face - and God restored him.
Shortly after their meeting, David Flood died. And although he was restored to the Lord, he left only ruin behind. Besides Aggie, his legacy was five children - all unsaved and tragically embittered.
Aggie wrote down the whole story. Yet as she worked on it, she developed cancer. Just after she finished writing it, she went to be with the Lord.
This Message Is for All Who Believe - Like David Flood - They Have a Right to Be Angry With God!
David Flood represents many Christians today. They've been disappointed, cast down - and now they're full of rage toward God!
The Bible gives us an example of this, in the book of Jonah. Like David Flood, Jonah received a missionary call from God. And he went to Nineveh to preach the message of judgment God gave him: The city would be destroyed in forty days.
After delivering the message, Jonah sat on a hillside, waiting for God to begin the destruction. But when forty days passed, nothing happened. Why? Nineveh repented - and God changed his mind aout destroying them!
This angered Jonah. He cried out, "Lord, you've betrayed me! You put a burden on my heart to come here and preach judgment. Everyone in Israel knew about it. But now you've changed everything without telling me. I look like a false prophet!"
Jonah sat under the hot sun pouting - peeved at God! Yet, in his mercy, God caused a plant to spring up to shelter Jonah from the heat: "...that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief....." (Jonah 4:6)
Now, the word "grief" here means "displeasure, disappointment." Simply put, Jonah was grieved because things hadn't gone as planned. God had changed his course - and Jonah's pride was wounded!
This is where most rage against God begins - with a disappointment. God may call us, burden us and send us - but he may make changes without including us in his sovereign plan. Then, when things don't go as we'd planned, we may feel misled or betrayed.
At this point, God understands our cries of pain and confusion. After all, our cry is a human one. And it is no different from Jesus' cry on the cross: "Father, why have you forsaken me?"
But if we continue nursing a peeved spirit, it will grow into a rage within us. And God will ask us the same question he asked Jonah: "Doest thou well to be angry...?" (verse 9). In other words: "Do you think you have a right to be so angry?"
Jonah answered, "I have every right to be angry, to the day I die!" "...And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death" (same verse). Here was a prophet who was so vexed, so irritated, so full of rage at God, he said: "I don't care whether I live or die! My ministry is a failure. And all my suffering has been in vain. I spent three days and nights in the stinking belly of that whale - for what? God has changed everything on me. I have every right to be angry with him!"
Many Christians are like Jonah - they feel they have a right to be mad at God. They think, "I pray, I read my Bible, I obey God's word. So, why has all this trouble fallen on my life? Why don't I see the blessings God promised me? He has failed me!"
The Worst Danger of Harboring Anger and Irritation at God Is That You Might Spin Out Beyond the Point of Consolation!
It is possible to reach a point where you're no longer able to be touched. This is a point where nothing and no one can console you!
Jeremiah writes: "...A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping: Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not" (Jeremiah 31:15).
At the time Jeremiah wrote this, Israel was being led away into captivity by the Assyrians. Their homes had been burned and destroyed and all their vineyards laid to waste. Jerusalem was reduced to a pile of rubble. All around them they saw nothing but ruin and desolation. So Jeremiah used Rachel - Israel's ancestor - as a weeping figure who's so distraught at seeing her children taken from her that nothing could comfort her.
In essence, Jeremiah was saying that these mourning Israelites had settled into their grief - and they were beyond all consolation! Jeremiah couldn't comfort them; there was no use even trying to talk to them. In their minds, God had allowed captivity to overtke them - and they had a right to be bitter toward him!
Yet here is the danger: When we harbor our questions and complaints for too long, they turn into irritation. Then our irritation turns into bitterness. And, finally, our bitterness turns into rage. At that point, we no longer listen to reproof. God's word does not affect us. And no one - no friend, pastor or spouse - can reach us. We shut out all wooings of the Spirit!
For Those Who Admit They Are Near or Even Past the Point of Refusing Consolation, There Is Good News!
God's word says there is hope! "Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy" (Jeremiah 31:16). In other words: "Stop crying - stop complaining. I'm going to reward you for your faithfulness!"
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Beloved, your cries and prayers have not been in vain! All your pain and tears have been for a purpose.
God is telling you, "You think it's all over. You see only your circumstances - failure, ruin, no results. So you say, 'This is the end.' But I say it is the beginning! I see the reward that I'm about to pour out on you. I have good things in mind for you - wonderful things. So, stop your crying!"
Dear saint, allow God's Spirit to heal you of all bitterness, anger, rage - before it destroys you! You may see only ruin in your life - but he sees restoration! Let him restore you now from the desolation surrounding you. He has only good things in mind for you - because "...he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Hallelujah!