What the Earth Wants

The earth is a planet. The world is the systems of people living on it.

The earth is waiting for something to happen in the spirit – for the revelation of the sons and daughters of God. The bar & bat mitzvah of the ages…

The Spirit himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God; and if we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Messiah — provided we are suffering with him in order also to be glorified with him.

I don’t think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed; for the creation was made subject to frustration — not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God’s children will have. We know that until now, the whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth; and not only it, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons — that is, to have our whole bodies redeemed and set free. It was in this hope that we were saved. But if we see what we hope for, it isn’t hope — after all, who hopes for what he already sees? But if we continue hoping for something we don’t see, then we still wait eagerly for it, with perseverance.
Romans 8:16-25 Complete Jewish Bible

The earth is waiting for us to rise up and manifest His glory and His Kingdom. What are we waiting for?

Pharaoh’s Prison

When Joseph was imprisoned for not submitting to Potiphar’s adulterous wife, he was put in Pharaoh’s prison, not the county jail. Being in that prison, he was in proximity to the throne on which Yahweh was preparing him to rule. Since there was a purpose in being in that place that aligned with his destiny so intricately, it is appropriate to really say that he was in Yahweh’s prison.

Even with regard to timing, he was in that prison to encounter Pharaoh’s cupbearer. If he had been released 2 days before Pharaoh had the dreams about the cows, Joseph would have been on his way back to his father’s house, and would have completely missed his destiny, and ruined the plan that later Moses picked up. At that time, Joseph’s bones were on Yahweh’s way to Palestine, not on Joseph’s way there.

My job, my neighbors, my family members, and a host of other potentially annoying or destroying people may be hosting me in Pharaoh’s prison today. I should be careful to think higher and consider how much of what bothers me about my life today is actually Yahweh’s prison, where I am being held for the proper Kairos moment of God’s timing, or for the proper crucible of His preparation for being and doing what pleases Him when I am released and launched into the reasons for which I live and breathe.

Another valuable truth to grasp is that most of the employees of Pharaoh’s prison don’t have any idea about Who the prison really belongs to, or what your purpose is. That is why they treat you like you’re just a criminal who deserves to be in Pharaoh’s prison. Don’t take it personally…

Eklegomai – Chosen

“You didn’t choose Me, but I chose you…”

This word was use 22 times by New Testament writers. Each time, it is translated something like “choose” into English. Strong’s Dictionary calls it NT1586, and says that it is a compound word that is built from “Ek” (Strong’s NT1537) which means something like “out of” most of the time, and “lego” (Strong’s NT3004) which refers to speaking in various ways. “I called you out,” is a paraphrase.

“Ekklesia” is another compound, from “ek” and NT2564, “kaleo.” It is almost always translated “church” in English. Its compound meaning, though, is “called” “out” “with a purpose.” The typical way it was used in the context of life in the first century is as Luke used it to describe a riot in Ephesus, in Acts 19. It was used normally to denote a group of people who had been called out of a larger group, with a purpose in mind.

In Ephesus, it described the crowds of confused people who were being called together by a silversmith to stir up animosity against Paul and his friends. Paul was evangelizing Ephesians, and teaching them in the process that worshiping Diana, the patron goddess of the city, was demon worship, and quite wrong. This put fear in the hearts of people who made their livings off the business of idol manufacture. They called out an “assembly” of the citizens of Ephesus to start a fight that they hoped would end with the destruction of Paul’s ministry.

If “church” means “religious building,” it can’t be a proper translation of “ekklesia.” If “ekklesia” means a group assembled from a larger group for a purpose, it could describe a meeting of believers, if their meeting has purpose. In Matthew 22:14, Jesus said that “…many are called, but few are chosen.” “Chosen” = “eklektos,” NT1588, a word that is derived from NT1586 – “eklegomai.” Modern, religious uses of the word “church” rarely resemble Scriptural uses of the word “ekklesia.”

Tithemi – Ordained

As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My command: love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: love one another.             John 15:9-17
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © Holman Bible Publishers.)

Couched in this last-supper monologue by Jesus, in a section greatly devoted to instructions on loving each other, is what we call verse 15. We didn’t choose Jesus, but He chose us. And he ordained, or appointed, or co-missioned us to bear much fruit. The word with these various translations into English was “tithemi.”

Using tools like Strong’s Concordance and Dictionaries and the Englishman’s Concordance, it is possible to see other places listed where the word was used by the same or another writer, and compare the contexts to help discern deeper meaning or implication. Strong’s number for the word was NT5087.

Some of the instances of its use found in the Englishman’s Concordance include Matthew 5:15: “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” “Put” in that sentence was “tithemi.”

In Luke 6:48, “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock:…” “Laid” in that sentence was “tithemi.” In John 10:15, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” “Lay” = “tithemi.” I John 15:13, “lay” down his life for his friends = “tithemi.”

Your “ordination” to serve Jesus is in the form of Him “laying” you as a foundation on which your ministry could become you “laying down” your life for your friends. Not taking up death – taking up a life that is put in place for His use.

Giftless Ministries

Life is complicated. Life in the Spirit is more complicated than carnal life in the world.

Our God wants awesome things happening in and through our lives. Even when we refuse to do things the way He has made it clear they should happen, He works with us to cause His will to happen to the greatest degree possible under the twist we make of the circumstances. When we ignorantly try to accomplish things that He seems to want done, with no idea what His design is for doing them, He mercifully dances with us to the place of success. Or near success, in some cases.

Some ministries have been launched to do work prophets are gifted to do easily with the express intention of doing the work without prophets. Because there aren’t any prophets, these days, you know… Some teachers reasoned their ways through a ministry they call “God’s Light” (Theophostic) with complex instructions for making the people who are in need of the ministry come up with the answers through prayer that prophets are able to see by their gifts.

Some people have raised up ministries of casting out demons by teaching their servants to dialog with the demons until everything is done. A person with the gift of discerning of spirits should be able to see and name the spirits; a prophet should be able to discern an infestation in people or homes or businesses or congregations, but we don’t have those gifts anymore, because they were replaced by the KJV…

We can raise up work that doesn’t require any spiritual gift. Noise will be made, and dust will fly. How much more work will be done and change happen when the powerful Hands on the plow are full of the Holy One, gifted to do the impossible?

Every gift, all of the resultant work (ministries), that we can identify in the Bible should be functioning somewhere today. Even more, I am convinced. Greater things than Jesus did (John 14:12) will be done by people who are able to believe their callings. We don’t have to settle for substitute ministries, because we should be raising up every ministry.

Pray that your calling is made unmistakably clear, and that you walk in it with great faith. Pray that other believers around you experience the same blessing. Pray for the relationships that make up your connection to the Body of Jesus in the earth – pray that they would include every ministry, at work by the presence of every gift: every manifestation by His Spirit of who Jesus is.

Genuine Ministry

How can you tell if a ministry is really something God is doing in the earth or in the Body?

People are accused of false works all the time. There are ways to pretend you have healed someone. Giving “prophetic words” based on a counterpart’s interviews of people before the meeting happens sometimes. People planted in audiences who are part of the show give fake testimonies or fictitious participation in healings or demon exorcism.

There are ways of presenting information that lead some to believe that God is in the process. I saw a preacher who was being invited to take a position leading a large congregation not get the job, because when he was prompted by one of the leaders to be sure to “whoop” at some points during the sermon, he refused. “Whooping” won’t be a familiar term to people who have not heard classic Pentecostal preaching: when the audience is getting engaged, or when the audience is not getting engaged, noisy, breathless gasping for air between syllables indicates that the revelation is coming to and through the preacher faster than it can be processed. It is, therefore, clearly the work of the Spirit and not of men. No kind word of further description fits here…

It’s hard to fake peace. Joy and happiness are confusing on days, but kindness and gentleness and self-control are hard to fool people with fake substitutes. Look for the fruit.

Even when there is a genuine gift operating (a work of Jesus) that isn’t sanctified by the fruit of the Spirit (the nature of Jesus), it is still bordering on fake.

Be sure that your ministry is verifiable as a manifestation of His character, too. Bear much fruit – both work and nature.

Maturity, Responsibility, Authority

I have become deeply convinced that the level of our maturity should not be measured by how large our following is, or how deep our revelation is, or how powerful our miracles are. I believe that the only reliable measure of maturity is the responses we have to situations. The quicker we are to respond with something that has its source in the fruit of God’s Spirit, the more mature we are (Galatians 5:22,23).

It is generally unwise to trust someone who is immature with much responsibility. It us usually even more unwise to trust authority to the immature. The other side of those truths is that it is appropriate, if someone is mature, to give them responsibility, and when they are mature in their management of responsibility, to give them authority.

Describing the Kingdom, Jesus taught (Luke 19:11-27, Matthew 14-30) that a king gave responsibility to several people, and that the ones who handled it well (with faith, a fruit of the Spirit) were then given authority.

When Samuel allowed Yahweh to own his life and influence him, Yahweh rewarded his responsibility with authority – He didn’t let one of Samuel’s words fall to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19). When Elijah stopped rain from falling in Israel for three and a half years, what James called Elijah’s “prayer” (James 5:16-18) was, “As surely as Yahweh, the God of Israel lives, before Whom I stand, there shall be neither rain nor dew in the coming years unless I say so.” (1 Kings 17:1).

When will we become “profitable servants,” (Luke 17:5-10), who are valuable for more than simply “obedience?” When will we step into a level of maturity and experience with responsibility that is rewarded with genuine authority? If that’s not scary, we’re not thinking big enough about our futures, as the Sons and Daughters of God, who reign and judge as His family in His universes (1 Corinthians 6:3).

Humble Empowerment

Some of us may be surprised that we take what our King has invested in us (talents & minas) to Heaven with us without having invested it in anything ourselves.

Paul, to the congregations in Philippi, wrote in what we call chapter 2 of his letter that they should have the mindset Jesus had. He was humble. He emptied Himself. He became a slave. He died for the cause. Paul made it clear that the power to walk in that level of humility was being led by the Spirit. It is as the Spirit is allowed to work in our hearts that we can have godly desires. When we let the Holy Spirit work in us, we become able to do the things He wants done. The level at which His empowerment is accessed by us is equal to the level we allow His liberty to make us humble.

If we bury the revelation, or miracle, or teaching, or prophecy, etc, in pride, or bitterness, or selfish ambition, we may prevent it from being invested in the people the King gave it to us for. We may have no effect, no fruit in the earth, and no return on His investment in us.

A prophet who is angry at the rejection s/he has experienced may bury the next word they offer someone in anger, and make it unable to take root and produce increase.

A teacher who is proud of their revelation may insult their listeners with words that boast in their knowledge and, instead of opening the people to the revelation, may insulate them from it. I have heard people argue over who knew something first, and complain to each other over who should have been the one get to teach something to a group of people.

Trying to control the beliefs or works of a next generation can simply be pride and fear of being relegated to ministry instead of being exalted to mastery, and can prevent something God wants to do next from happening through us or those whom we can influence (or control).

Humbly empowering people to fulfil their calling will bring increase in the Church and the earth in ways we haven’t imagined. And the more we give away the opportunity and the credit, the more it becomes our treasure.

Working Together

Paul wrote a letter to the congregations in Ephesus that became part of the Holy Book.

In what we now call chapter 4 of it, he informed the Ephesians that the power that builds the Church up to maturity is love, and the process for love building the Church up is that every part of the Body does its work, being led and empowered by Him being the Head of the Body.

The maturity of the Body will not be accomplished by agreeing on our theology or our ecclesiology or our political views or the slanted, partial view of the cosmos our spiritual gift provides. It will be done by valuing each others’ contributions by asking the Spirit how to appreciate their validity and purpose. Asking Him what gall bladders are for when we are lungs will be the only way to access such hidden knowledge.

The opposite of such work can look like wanting to control what people believe, what we spend the most money on, whether there is a prophet or pastor or teacher or evangelist in charge, what kind of music we use, and whether we think believers can have demons. And if we do, how we cast them out…

Good news is, he prophesied that we will get it right! Love your neighbor.

Biblians

Someone has said well that we are CHRISTians, not BIBLians. We should be more founded in Him than in His Book, as valuable as it is. He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.

The Church proved that we can be powerful Christians with or without a printed New Testament. For a few hundred years they did pretty well, actually.

The Church has also proven for many more centuries that we can be powerful, destructive jerks with or without a printed New Testament. Much of the population of the world thinks of the murderers who led the crusades when they think of the Church, actually.

As you study the Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, focus on being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, and on learning to be thankful for the privilege of paying any cost to represent Him well in the earth as you interact with the rest of the people He loved enough to be tortured to death for.

Romans 12    Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy, use it according to the standard of faith;
if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching;
if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. But

If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

(from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © Holman Bible Publishers.)