A man or his methods
"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His" [2 Chronicles 16:9]
The verse above is a reminder as well as an indictment to the then king of Judah who although he has once relied upon the Lord, subsequently took matters into his own hands. The prophet Hanani reminds him of this very truth in relation to a previous battle (verse 8) and the battle he now waged against his own kinsmen (verses 1-4) through an actual adversary of God, the king of Aram (verse 7). There is a lot to be discovered here in this little passage.
First, note that previous to this one decision, Asa had been faithful and reliant upon God. Earlier in 2 Chronicles 15:14, 15 we find Asa and the people making an oath to God;
"All Judah rejoiced concerning the oath, for they had sworn with their whole heart and had sought Him earnestly, and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave them rest on every side"
Furthermore, Asa even removed Maacah his own mother who was found worshipping an idol. God's description of Asa's character before Him during this time: blameless.(verse 17)
Asa's heart turns from God
Not long after Asa's oath above, we find him making a decision that eventually leads to his downfall. He is being barricaded by Baasha king of Israel which is preventing him from being able to trade. The end result of being cut off and losing one's supplies and support like this is often invasion which we know was all too present in those times and in that region. (15:5, 6) Despite this, Asa had two promises from God spoken directly to him by Azariah the prophet:
"Listen to me Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you"
"But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for their is reward for your work"
Under the pressure of being barricaded, Asa caved under that pressure and forsook God's promises and for his own wisdom and solution to his problem. He not only failed to rely upon God but made a decision that was in direct opposition to what he knew was God's desire. He not only sinned against God, he entrusted himself to a wicked adversary for deliverance, actually bribing him to fight against his own relatives.
It would be difficult to discover just how or why Asa acted in the manner he did at the time. But due to the promises God gave him, we can be sure of one thing, Asa forsook God and yet God's promise still rang true as God forsook him.
In 2 Chronicles 16:7-10 we find the seer Hanani reminding Asa of his errors. He specifically reminds him of his own wholehearted oath wherein he promised to obey God. Furthermore, he tells him what the result of his disobedience will be: "Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars" [16:9) Needless to say this made Asa furious and resulted in three more bad decisions by him. First, he imprisoned the seer of God who brought God's indictment against him. Secondly, he oppressed the people as if they had in some way contributed to his own poor decision making, and lastly he refused to seek God years later when he came down with a serious disease in his feet. A progression can be seen here, a subtle and yet continual hardening of Asa's heart.
The modern day Asa
Sadly, most of today's expressions of modern day Christianity are both pioneered and ruled by modern day Asa's. Many of these people once appeared to be very Bible centric and zealous and yet today have taken upon themselves what could be called "the heart of Asa himself."
The Asa of politics
Despite New Testament Christians never involving themselves in, nor trusting in any worldly institution whatsoever, "Christians" everywhere are not only endorsing and supporting specific candidates but actively campaigning for them as well. One might ask, "At what point did these individuals abandon their hope and trust in Almighty God?" When did the power of the gospel become a secondary focus and exchanged for a hope in fallible man?"
When the people of God trust and obey Him, He oversees and honors that faithfulness. When the people turn to the world's help like Asa, they receive the due penalty and judgment of their errors.
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For their is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God' [Romans 13:1]
"The kings heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes" [Proverbs 21:1]
Man's efforts to elect certain individuals have no bearing upon God's soveriegn choice of rulers. It does have a bearing upon one's relationship with Him though, adversely.
The Asa of Morality
These individuals, almost always having formed some political support group or religious institution, recruit likeminded believers to support "their" moral causes. They often use guilt and fear to manipulate the masses and to raise funds to support these causes. It doesn't matter whether that cause is fighting abortion, euthanasia, opposition to homosexuality, same sex marriage or gambling. Their purpose is to force a secular sinful society to conform to what was supposedly once a "Christian" nation. The methods they use range from supporting political candidates, trading favors with unbelievers, donating funds to other organizations,
bribes and pursuing as many ecumenical ties as possible regardless of the falsehoods among them. Often contracts, treaties or manifests are signed as "proof" of their cooperation together. An example of this would be the document "Evangelicals and Catholics Together." Also note that although these "agreements" and "efforts" are an affront to Biblical truth, so are the various "labels" Christians use in identifying themselves. Both are sectarian in nature and abominable before God.
Nowhere does God support or sanction forced morality upon any society. To do so would bring about a forced obedience contrary to what God desires. This originates from the false concept of the "rulership" of the people of God being "over' the state or government (church and state) through which they claim to be ushering in the kingdom of God. It is often referred to as "Dominionism." This lie, that Christians have to reclaim dominion over the earth is compounded by another lie: that America was or is a "Christian" nation.
"The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh in the land of Shinar. From that land he (man) went forth….." [Genesis 10:10]
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm" [John 18:36]
God has graciously called men to participate in representing Him and His gospel here on earth which is the power of salvation. Any hope for a transformed society lies in God's ability through the gospel to transform individual hearts and lives. We do well staying within the framework of God's purpose for us.
The Asa of Religion
It may be difficult for us to conceive, but their is something inherently adverse about being born into a religious family or culture. Before we can even think for ourselves, people all around us are telling us what we are obligated to believe. In most cases these people are merely passing along the shell of what they themselves picked up or were taught by their parents. In few cases do these even practice what they themselves preach and even if they do, that's no guarantee they could lead us to the truth.
Notice that in our other two examples the Asa's referred to people who claimed to have an authority or speak from a supposed platform of authority. Unlike Asa who was chosen by God to be a king and was therefore granted a position to rule, our modern day Asa's only claim to have such an authority. It is not in any sense a delegated authority given to them by God.
Unlike Asa, who although he sinned, remained albeit judged in a position of authority, today's Asa's exalt themselves into a position of authority and over others by their own making. Unlike Asa who remained where God positioned him, men today, unwilling to remain a mere member of Christ's Ekklesia which is devoid of religious positions, impart their own mission outside of what God has orchestrated and allowed. They do this by creating their own ministries and appointing themselves head or founder or CEO or ruler etc within the framework of what they themselves have created. How can this happen so easily and so often?
"An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it? (when God destroys it and you in it) [Jeremiah 5:30, 31]
It's interesting to notice that before God acts in any significant manner He often sends a prophet to make His will known. In some cases, as was true with Asa, he sent two prophets. In our day, we have two incessant problems as they relate to the gift, function and message of ther prophet.
First, many claiming to be Christians dispute the obvious need for prophets today. They claim that because we have the full revelation of God in the Scriptures that the need for prophets no longer exists. Sadly, and due to the supposedly authority men have delegated unto themselves, some of the most visible voices in "Christiandom" (a word I use to denote all things called Christian whether true or false) are promoting this error. Had they not built their own churches and ministries to disseminate their own beliefs this would never had been possible. Instead, their errors are multiplied a thousand fold due to their international "ministries" These men have sinned by departing from the Biblical precedent of localized ekklesias and therefore opened the proverbial door to numerous errors that compound one upon another. Needless to say their obvious neglect of what is scripturally commanded by God far exceeds the sin of Asa. Pick your favorite big name preacher or teacher, yes, I'm talking about him!
The true prophets primarily function to "see" the direction or "trend' in which God is leading His people. This may or may not include having the ability to to foretell events, nonetheless the prophet sees what God would have His people to know, understand that will and obey it explicitly. In the New Testament local ekklesias we find prophets; "Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment" [1 Corinthians 14:29\
It appears here that a prophet could be mistaken and therefore his words were to be judged by the others present. This of course coincides with God desiring all of His children to be subject, and that one to another. Keep in mind that the gift of prophesy (an individual spiritual gift) is not the same thing as a prophet who actually is the gift himself (an individual person) for building up the body.
A second reason that the gift of the prophet is so maligned and misunderstood is due to the abundance of people claiming to be a prophet these days. Rest assured, anyone going about proclaiming themselves to be anything or anyone is not likely what they claim to be. No Christian, regardless of how God has gifted them is going to boast about themselves or their gifts but rather in their own infirmities and weakness. For it is in this very weakness combined with a broken spirit before God that allows the Holy Spirit to move powerfully within them. Like John the Baptist or Elijiah, a true prophet not only sees but speaks into the face of conflict and adversity. Their sole aim is to glorify the God they serve, oftentimes at their own expense. They are never "popular" among the masses.
Man's man or God's man
We live in a world where individual professing Christians are exalted at the expense of Jesus Christ and His preeminence. Here is one example of how this occurs that relates to the function of the prophet.
In the Bible their are five different functions that are exemplified through individual men for the purpose of building up and establishing others in the faith. Ephesians 4:11, 12 states;
"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ"
A popular teacher, having refused to stay within his local area ministering solely to a local ekklesia, now attempts to further "his ministry" by writing books and accepting appointments to teach elsewhere. Before long he is so popular he gains a national if not international reputation and in the process neglects his local responsibilities. Even though his gift as a teacher is for building up of the local saints, he forgoes that and exceeds the parameters of a teacher. Before long, his popularity is so widespread he is offered opportunities to speak all over at various churches, conferences, special events and even on behalf of the body of Christ through major media outlets. Even if he attempts to portray only a segment of Christiandom, his very presence in the latter place portrays him as a "Christian authority" despite the very likelihood of that being entirely false! He may have had authority in the initial local ekklesia, though one does not have authority where one's gift or function is out of place. A teacher has no place speaking on behalf of the entire body. Do you see the problem here?
Where man is preeminent, God's message is stifled or replaced
Like all error, sin compounds more sin. It only takes one wrong choice to send a man upon a trajectory that has no place in God's heart or will. Note the progression of the paragraph above.
1. A local man is recognized as having the function of a teacher. He is the gift. Although he may be faithful initially in teaching the local saints, others hear about him and then "request his services" elsewhere. Note that they request him- he becomes the object of their affection.
2. If he chooses to accept any extra-local ministry, he is likely neglecting his local responsibilities.
3. Extra-local exposure opens one up to all kinds of temptation and error, primarily that of becoming popular. This popularity only increases the temptation to travel more and accept more appointments. The local saints are neglected that much more.
4. Eventually this popularity tempts the man to sell himself in one form or another, usually through book writing, various fees for services or bigger platforms wherein he can expose himself.
5. The once teacher is now acting out a different function such as apostle and or prophet. Although God can and does transition a believer from one function to another periodically, one only needs to examine his fruit to see if this is so.
6. The once teacher is now acting and speaking in a manner in which he is not qualified. He therefore may misrepresent God's message that prophets do exist today and are necessary and replaces it with his own: prophets no longer exist today.
7. The end result is that the man becomes preeminent, replacing the truth of God with a lie of his own making.
"The international stage, whether through some media venue or other medium is only reserved for the prophet and apostle. The teacher, shepherd and evangelist are local functions for local bodies of believers. They have no place nor reason to be addressing the body as a whole"
… and you're wondering why so-called Christians bookstores are filled with trash…isn't it obvious, everyone thinks they are an authority!
The Bible makes clear that God doesn't value the things man does. When the above individuals take upon themselves responsibilities God has never placed upon them, to include franchising themselves and "their ministry" all over the globe they become popular if not famous. Sadly. this exposure grants them quite a following even if this individual is no longer following God's truth or direction. Is this not true with almost every one of these "Christian" celebrities? When God desires to speak His message through the instrument of His choosing, self-appointed leaders drown that message with a message of their own. Is it any wonder so many of God's children live in confusion these days?
Jesus only remains preeminent among His people when He is center stage and His message is brought forth. No famous teacher or preacher with "their own earthly ministry or kingdom" could possibly be that message. Their very life is a contradiction of the truth. Man is impressed with such credentials but not God. Upon His search for the next king of Israel God said to Samuel;
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart' [1 Samuel 16:7]
Just like us these days, Samuel himself judged God's choice by what he saw. Today, we're not real impressed with stature or size, we're not looking for someone to fight our physical battles for us. We're far more impressed with an individual's good looks, books, speaking ability, reputation, power, influence, number and type of degrees and their overall charm and willingness to tow the church party line. It is these things, along with a few claims to fame (whether they are true or not is more or less unimportant) that court our favor. How little do we really see as God sees.
Man's success in God's service
It is sad but true, that although God would have us as individuals and as a corporate body to learn to be dependent upon His abilities, far too often we are found depending upon our own. Why do we bring into the fold others with the qualifications above? Isn't the question an answer unto itself? We want this person to use those qualifications in teaching us how to be a Christian like them. Isn't that why the prosperity gospel is so popular? We want to be rich too!
Do you remember when you first heard and received the gospel? Do you recall what you initially thought you might do for God as a result of Him saving you? I wanted to be an evangelist. I had early success at it too, I think I led someone to Christ in the first week of my new found faith.
For most of us, we eventually get around to thinking about what we might "do for Him." We talked about this before, how despite our sincere intentions, God isn't really interested in what we might do, and there is a very good reason why that is true. As human beings living in a sin stained world, we have become accustomed to doing things a particular way. For example, if I want to find a decent paying job, well that's going to take more than a superficial effort. There are others who want that job too and so I am going to have to want and work for it harder than they do. When and if I finally get an opportunity to meet with the hiring firm, I'll have to do my best to impress them so they will hire me. I may try all kinds of things after that interview in order to get what I want or need. If I am eventually hired, all sorts of new duties and responsibilities await me. There is a fairly good chance that the manner in which this business operates will differ from the last business in which I worked before. I'll have to adjust for that.
In like manner, the principles that govern the spiritual realm do not always directly apply to the natural realm. The harder I work at my job, the more likely I'll be appreciated or rewarded. That isn't necessarily true in either realm. In God's kingdom, we're not competing one with another, we're not trying to outdo a brother or sister. We're not attempting to have a better position or title. In fact, we should honor them above ourselves. God's work and kingdom principles are in fact the opposite of this world system and therefore affect the manner in which we serve Him. Think about that before you attempt to "apply" at your local "Christian" institution. Have you never even considered how ridiculous such an institution is as well as its manner of employment? Can one apply for a Christian job?
The madness of methods
Most Christians in their earnest desire to "get people saved" fail miserably in explaining both the nature of the true gospel and the cost associated with it. Despite this, their church family, friends and other influences keep suggesting they read this or utilize that as a means to reach other people for Jesus. Sometimes the method is staying up all night talking, giving others spiritual books, inviting people to church or utilizing the latest popular music CD. Do we actually believe any of these things have power to influence the sinful nature of men's hearts? Where in Scripture is any particualr methodology more effective than another? Exactly, nowhere.
Let's follow Paul the apostle as he follows Christ. Did he use any particular methodology in preaching Christ? Sure, he talked about his former life as a Jew, he shared his experiences and what he now realized was the truth. But is this a methodology, or is this merely his personal interaction before and after meeting the risen Christ?
The question we must ask ourselves is this, "What is it that actually convinces others of their need of Jesus Christ for salvation?" Can it really be the manner in which a Bible track is written? Can it be a Saturday night church service that caters to the unchurched? Should we use a rock band in order to appeal to the masses of sinners in our locale? Should we drop the suits, the big words and lower our standards to this world's level? Should we visit the bars, have a few and thus interact with sinners? How about echoing the cultures TV shows, music and dress in order to appease them? How about if we take down our crosses, give away prizes for church attendance and invite comedians and musicians into the fellowship. Don't laugh, this and far more has been attempted already, and that in the name of Jesus. Shame has far left most communities of believers.
The problem, reliance upon man
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death" [Proverbs 14:12]
Our efforts above are usually based upon a faulty understanding of what happens when an individual truly becomes a Christian. We come to Him bankrupt with nothing to give, nothing to contribute to His free gift of salvation. We merely believe and trust in the facts of what He has accomplished on our behalf. It is a miracle of grace no doubt. Despite having believed upon Christ, that very nature that Jesus condemned as being sinful and unable to contribute to that gift is now attempting to contribute to His service to others. That is plainly unacceptable. Only via the new nature, The Holy Spirit, can any of our actions or "works" be acceptable before Him. What does this mean?
Instead of a preoccupation with what I might do in service for Him as we noted above, my effectiveness would surely be greater if my affection was for Him. For as we abide in this relationship, the effectiveness of my service does not derive from what originates in me or my ideas, but only through what originates with Him.
Jesus, an Adequate example
"Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" [2 Corinthians 3:4-6]
Jesus knew from an early age what His purpose was in coming to this earth. It was actually a three fold purpose, one in which we ourselves will also follow if we intend to walk faithfully before Him. First, He came to serve others. Second, He came to teach others just how to follow Him. Lastly, He came to show us the fulfillment of what such a self denying lifestyle would look life when culminated. Did that mean He simply went about that call all by Himself? Jesus said;
"Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel." [John 5:19, 20]
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" [John 5:30]
"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak" [John 12:49, 50]
"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and disclose Myself to Him" [John 14:21]
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" [John 14:26]
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me"
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing"[John 15: 4, 5]
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" [John 15:13]
"But when He, the Spirit of tuth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and disclose it to you" [John 16:13, 14]
and the conclusion:
"All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you" [John 16:15]
now to professing religious leaders-
"How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?" [John 5:44]
Now what conclusions can we come to from these verses?
1. Not only can we not do anything outside of God the Father's will that He accepts, why would we want to? This doesn't mean we can't act, obviously we can. But our actions outside of the leading of the Spirit amount to dead works, wood, hay, stubble etc.
2. People marvel at what Jesus accomplishes as He is led by His Father. It is the same as we are led by the Holy Spirit.
3. As Christians, we no longer have the right to act out of our own initiatives. What we judge we judge rightly for it is the Father's judgment in us provided we are seeking His will alone.
4. What Jesus says or commands is exactly what the Father says and commands.
5. In Jesus' absense, the Father will send the Holy Spirit in Jesus' name to teach us and remind us of these things.
6. We are to keep His commandments and as we do Jesus will disclose Himself to us. These commandments include loving and serving others, teaching others what He teaches us, denying ourselves and abiding in our relationship with Him.
7. The Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of what Jesus said.
8. We cannot bear fruit unless we abide in Jesus.
9. We are promised to bear fruit if we abide in Jesus.
10. The greatest love exemplified is laying one's life down for their friends.
Just as Jesus heard from the Father, so the Spirit hears from Jesus. Just as the Spirit hears from Jesus, so are we to hear from the Spirit. Subsequently, we what hear from the Spirit, others in need will hear from us.
This might be a good time to ask a question, In light of what Jesus has been sharing about our need to listen, obey and abide in our relationship with Him as the means of bearing the fruit the Father desires, "Where does our doing anything for Him fit into this?" Wouldn't that be contrary to what is stated above? Isn't that the opposite of our own initiative?
From the very onset of our new lives a lesson must be learned, Christianity is not about taking any initial initiative for God.
Christianity is not about attempting to do or create something we think or believe will glorify God. That is not an acceptable sacrifice. There is an acceptable sacrifice though, and it is found here in the middle of this very section we are studying in John. John 12:24-26 states;
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him"
God is looking for a man
Most people professing Jesus these days have a very warped understanding of what it means to be a Christian in God's service. Instead of looking upward for direction from God, they look inward toward what they believe are gifts, assets or talents they think they possess. Having discovered these or in some cases merely claiming to be what they desire, off they go in an attempt to serve God as they think best using those resources. They rarely if ever think whether this is an acceptable practice or not. Combine these possibly sincere attempts to the warped and toxic framework of "church" or "religious institutions" through which these practices will be exercized, and that's just wrong, really wrong!
Forgive me, but I thought Christianity was about losing our lives. Isn't that what Jesus said above? Just curious, "When men take titles unto themselves, start earthly institutions, use those institutions to promote their books, writings, sermons and reputations around the globe, do these actions characterize those who are dying to themselves or promoting themselves?" What about professing Christians on a worldly show called American Idol where they are specifically attempting not only to glory in themselves but also in the face of the entire world as an idol! You're seriously not this deceived are you? What about the Billy Graham Association granting an award to a religious heretic or "Christian musicians" singing about the glory of God only to receive awards from both this world system and one another? Is that dying to themselves too? A thousand more examples could be given. In each and every case, a man or woman is using the methods or methodologies God has never sanctioned to exalt themselves and using the name of Jesus to do it!
God is not, has not and will not need your abilities whatsoever in serving Him. Until you discover and accept this you might as well go back to being a sinner because you're living like one anyway! God doesn't need your help. He's looking for a man, He's looking for a woman who will obey Him by dying to themselves. This is the proper preparation PRIOR to being useful in His service, not I, but Christ, remember?
God has one method, the Cross
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, [with my desires, strength, abilities, talent, intellect etc] but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, [faith in His abilities verses my own] who loved me and gave Himself for me" [Galatians 2:20]
"But may it never be that I would boast, [in my own desires, strength, abilities, talent, intellect etc] except in the cross of Christ, [which crucifies myself and self-ability daily as we embrace it] through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" [a reference to being separated from this world and its system of thinking and working which is opposed to God] [Galatians 6:14]
There are two very simple tests in which every single thing you or anyone else calls "Christian" is actually from God or from another source (human or demonic).
First, the Cross of Christ remains central. This means much more than the author or the founder of a particular ministry talking about Jesus or salvation as anyone can do that. We're specifically talking about the presentation of the cross as an instrument of execution. In everything we do, in our actions as a believer we are living out practically the premise, not I, but Christ. Note the word "practically." Real Christianity doesn't just talk about Jesus dying for us, it emphasizes us dying with Him. Until we die to ourselves practically, our use in God's service is severely limited if not crippled entirely. We simply cannot accomplish in our human strength what Jesus alone can. His life isn't lived in the natural but in the supernatural. What we do, we get credit for. What He does, He gets the glory due Him.
Every so-called ministry that emphasizes man in any capacity is just that, man's ministry and can ultimately only affect others superficially. There may be excitement and strong feelings associated with it, but ultimately there will not be any real and lasting change in those who participate. It only leads to a dead end with the participants wanting more. Note the word, "wanting." The self life is never satisfied.
Secondly, real Spirit led ministry cuts across the grain of all this world stands for and represents as God's value system is diametrically opposed to this world. Wher e this world, its people and its beliefs find any expression of Christianity acceptable and are supportive of it, take notice. God has made it plain that His people and His truth will not be acceptable to them. Furthermore, a true expression of Christianity will incite the masses to both hate and persecute real Christians. These are not things God says may happen, but rather His promises as to what will with certainty happen if we are faithful. This world is the antithesis of all that Jesus Christ is and stands for. They hate Him, and will no doubt hate us as well if we remain true to Him. ldsthatsis is Th ifHTaswillrthermemoremorFto wi GGce. ctaaaas find s sssssisorldooooorldld,ld
There are times when God will decide a particular manner in which He chooses to convert someone, (as with a grass eating Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:30-32), heal someone (as with Naaman's leprosy, 2 Kings 5:10-14) or abolish some enemy about us. (as in Pharoah in the Red Sea, Exodus 14:13-28) God does not always use the same manner of working in all instances as He has His own methods. What is important is this. It is not up to us to choose the manner in which God will work and then ask God to bless our efforts. Rather, we should seek out His will in every endeavor, making sure to embrace His cross daily as we seek to follow Him. Ultimately, and in His time and in His way His will becomes known and then we can follow in obedience. We wary of anyone who has discovered "the way" to accomplish anything in God's service. God does not operate within the paradigm of our creations and boundaries. Everything "church" should be more than an adequate example of this truth.
Over the years, God has only used a few select individuals to proclaim the message He intended for His people at a specific time in history. Sadly, and despite the courage and faithfulness of these few, most of the professing religious world refused to listen to them and often persecuted them instead. So it is in our world today.
God is still looking for a man. A man who has faith to believe, ears to hear and a heart filled with hope. A descendant from days gone by, still looking to ancient paths, still hoping in the God of his fathers. For him nothing's changed except his old self, though little does he recognize this.
Rise up my friend and take hold of that for which you have been destined. You can be the example, you can be His vehicle, you can be His man, if not in this world, at least in your neighborhood, amen?
"Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things" [Philippians 3:17-19]