The human governments and cultures of nations aren’t sources of darkness and abuse simply because evil people are ruling in them and influencing them.
Darkness overtakes cultures and governments because sons and daughters of Yahweh are not rising up to bring influence to them from their relationships with the King of Righteousness.
You may feel as unempowered or unimpressive as Gideon, who was hiding in a winepress when the messenger of Yahweh found him and called him a “mighty warrior,” (Judges 6:11-16). You may still, however, be called to make a great difference in the earth – either by doing something to influence culture, or to influence a person who proceeds to do so.
“But I will be with you,” the Lord said to him.
Leonard Ravenhill made some challenging comments about our preparation for Sunday morning meetings.
The idea he presented was that if we spent at least as much time getting spiritually ready as we did getting dressed up and made up, we would have different meetings, and we would be different after we had them.
If we have a garden, we put fertilizer in it if we want it to do well at producing flowers or fruit. Prayer impacts our lives and our work and our relationships that way too. The more we apply the better the garden grows.
Are you stuck in a place where all you expect to do, where all you expect Yahweh to do, is what can be easily explained? Where what is expected is what seems possible under normal circumstances?
Sometimes that is exactly what we should be expecting. Much of the time, though, I think that we should be expecting the impossible. We should frequently expect things to happen that cannot be explained.
In 1956, several missionaries were killed by Huaorani warriors in Ecuador when they went to evangelize them. One of the martyrs was Nate Saint. One of the warriors was Mincayani. Two years later, Nate’s wife and children and a couple more missionaries successfully moved into the village of the Huaroani tribe, leading them to Christ. Mincayani, because he had killed Nate, felt responsible for becoming a father to Nate’s children, and developed a strong relationship with Nate’s son Stevie.
Stevie brought Mincayani to the US beginning in 1997. He was impressed that when Stevie went to a grocery store, the people gave him whatever he wanted. When they went to a restaurant with a drive through window, Mincayani described the scene to his wife back in Ecuador: “The people hand you all the food you want through a window, and they don’t even make you trade anything for it!”
Stevie tried to correct him by pointing out that he had paid for it by giving them his credit card. “Yes- but they just give it back to you!” was Mincayani’s response. We typically have just as little understanding of transactions and activities in the Kingdom. Mincayani lived in the remote jungle of Ecuador for over 60 years before Stevie Saint put him in a plane and brought him to the US. He had no frame to put that new picture in.
We have the writings of both Old and New Testaments to use as frames for what to expect. We should be able to grasp more than we do. We shouldn’t be embarrassed by not being able to explain why our God does some things and doesn’t do some others. We should be in a dialog with Him that teaches us His ways.
(See the 2004 film Beyond the Gates of Splendor and 2006 End of the Spear for details of the story about the missionaries and the Huaoani tribe, and encouragement about viewing a bigger picture of the Kingdom of God.)
Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:-39).
Many things can, however, separate us from His provision or guidance, including timing. If we are instructed to be in one place doing certain work, and are actually in another place or busy at other work, we have separated ourselves from the resources we need to be able to accomplish our assignments.
If we delay in our obedience until the time for planting or watering or harvesting has passed, we can miss our opportunity to engage with our assigned work. If you think that you have missed a window, ask the Lord of time to reset the clock. Ask Him to continue to be at work in you and around you to make you succeed at what He has ordained you to be and to do.
Time and space are under His authority. When His disciples found Him in the middle of the lake walking on it, and allowed Him to get in the boat with them, they were suddenly where they needed to be:
When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. Darkness had already set in, but Jesus had not yet come to them. Then a high wind arose, and the sea began to churn. After they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea. He was coming near the boat, and they were afraid.
But He said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid!” Then they were willing to take Him on board, and at once the boat was at the shore where they were heading.
(John 6:16-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
In his first letter to the churches in Corinth, Paul suggested three times that they should do something, and one time that they shouldn’t. The root of the word he was using means to heat up, or to boil. The times he suggested they should do it are in 12:31, 14:1, & 14:39. There, he suggested that they should do it to things that belong to the Spirit of God.
The time he suggested that they should not do it, he was saying not to do it over things that belong to each other (13:4). It means something like being envious, or jealous, or moved with desire. What he said they should want was gifts of the Spirit.
“Covet the best gifts“; “desire spiritual gifts“; “covet prophecy“. Be wishing you had a powerful spiritual gift if you don’t already have one.
Preaching obedience to all of His commandments is one of His commandments. One of the most life-impacting, life-changing and life-giving concepts we are given the privilege of sharing as good news is this truth: that being where the King has instructed us to be, doing what He has instructed us to do, puts us in the place where His protection and provision and supporting relationships and destined opportunities are to be found.
Nothing can separate us from His love, but almost anything could become a separating factor or influence hindering us from fulfilling our purposes. The reasons include the fact that all we need has been placed where we need it in order to use it in the work we have been assigned. If we are in a different place, it has no need to be moved to the place where we are. It still needs to be in the place where the work should be done.
An example of this concept is presented to us in the story of Jonah’s ship trip. He did not experience Yahweh’s provision and protection when he went to sea. Instead, he was apprehended with severe discomfort and faced the real danger of death.
Almost everyone in the New Testament writings had something to preach about the Kingdom. What do we have to say about the Kingdom, and how often is it on our lips?
When Christ came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:17-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible ® ©)
The assembling that the writer to the Hebrews mentioned in 10:25 was like this, I believe – being built together; not just going to meetings. Being joined in relationships. Loving one another.
Please consider taking an hour sometime soon to be still and quiet. Ask the Spirit of the Lord to help you imagine something about your future that you need to prepare for. Ask Him what that preparation is.
Don’t be so distracted by the current flow of minutes and hours and duties and demands that you miss hearing that a shift may be coming that you need to be ready for.
Pray, as Paul prayed for the believers in Colossae, that you would be filled with all spiritual wisdom (Colossians 1:9-10)
When Jim Bakker was imprisoned for participating in the abuse of funds that were received for the PTL ministry, he had been preaching what is called a “prosperity gospel” for many years. He had promised riches to people who invested heavily in ministries that preached the proper message.
While he was in jail, he says that he was led to read the Bible a few times. He could tell that something was not right in what he had been preaching, but it was not immediately clear what was wrong. At one point, he felt led to read the words that Jesus was quoted as having said, and to see how much of his previous doctrines were left unspoken by Jesus. He read the red ink. He had a new story to tell when he got done.
We frequently get two things backwards and are then confused. One is that we try to understand Jesus by looking at the Church, instead of trying to understand the Church by getting to know Jesus better. The other is trying to understand the words of Jesus by looking at the rest of the New Testament.
Many unbelievers don’t want Jesus because they don’t like us. Many theologians don’t understand the Kingdom because they won’t read the words of Jesus without separating teaching about the church from teaching about the Kingdom.
God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. 2 Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah
4 There is a river—its streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High. 5 God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns. 6 Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when He lifts His voice. 7 The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah
8 Come, see the works of the Lord, who brings devastation on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; He burns up the chariots. 10 “Stop your fighting—and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” 11 The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah
(Psalm 46 Holman Christian Standard Bible ® ©)