Look to the Father’s heart and desires and intentions for revelation about what to do next, not at the needs around you or the abundance or limits of your resources. Spend time resting in Him and listening to Him so that you can serve well with Him in you.
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went into Simon and Andrew’s house with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them.
When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all those who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. The whole town was assembled at the door, and He healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. But He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Simon and his companions went searching for Him. They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!”
And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” So He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
(Mark 1:29-39 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
Our future includes the hope that when our flesh dies, we will be done with the earth and transition to life in heaven. Generally, that picture resembles in our minds the same thing as when we look at a future that includes retiring from work and taking a break to enjoy our final days.
If our work is dislocated from our main purpose in the earth, there is a weariness that longs for the end and for rest. Jesus told people once that if they are weary that way, He has a better plan for their labor: to take His instructions about what to do and His strength for getting it done.
In his book, “Secrets of the Most Holy Place, Vol 2” (©2004: Don Nori; Destiny Image Publishers), Don Nori suggested that there is a big difference between our destination and our destiny. Our destination is heaven. Our destiny, though, is what purposes we have in the earth that affect eternity.
Much of the Church is more focused on retirement than on doing an effective job of our assignments. Most of the songs we have written are pitiful whining like “Precious Lord,” longing for the end of the day rather than for the privilege of bringing the Harvest to the Lord of it.
We can do better!
When his son was in need of exorcism, a man brought him to the disciples of Jesus. They could not convince the demon to leave the boy. The man then took him to Jesus.
“How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father.
“From childhood,” he said. “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ Everything is possible to the one who believes.”
Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:21-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
Lord, please set us free from unbelief to fullness of faith, so that everything will become possible to us!
Enthusiasm literally means being filled by or possessed by a god. (EN= in; THUS=theos)
Enthusiastic new believers lead more people to commitment to Jesus than seasoned evangelists do. Enthusiastic salesmen sell more products than salesmen who know more about the product and the customers by better education in those areas. Puritans made the term enthusiastic an insult because they didn’t believe anyone could receive revelation, so they mocked the idea that someone was filled.
Enthusiasm is what Paul was describing in Philippians 2:12-13:
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.
Are you afraid to argue with Jesus? There are days when He wants us to be so moved with compassion or faith or love that we press Him, like Abraham did with his intercession for his nephew in Sodom, or like the Gentile woman did for her daughter, who was possessed by a demon, or the persistent widow, who simply wanted vengeance against her adversary. Jesus told the story about the widow so that His listeners would always pray and never give up on their requests (Luke 18:1-8).
When Jesus left there, He withdrew to the area of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came and kept crying out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly tormented by a demon.”
Yet He did not say a word to her. So His disciples approached Him and urged Him, “Send her away because she cries out after us.”
He replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But she came, knelt before Him, and said, “Lord, help me!”
He answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to their dogs.”
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table!”
Then Jesus replied to her, “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.” And from that moment her daughter was cured.
(Matthew 15:21-28 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
The message we have received and which we hold onto and hold out to others is the word of LIFE. It has benefits of wisdom and health and love and joy and comfort and fellowship, but they are not the message. They are the results of holding fast to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing. But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.
(Philippians 2:12-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.
While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
(Matthew 9:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
“The house” was, perhaps, the home of Matthew. Don’t be too hard on the Pharisees for not being able to understand the ministry of Jesus and the callings He placed on the lives around Him. John wondered about the same things (Matthew 11:2-3).
When Jesus doesn’t give us details about what He is calling us to until after we surrender to the call, we wonder many things, too. We also wonder about the validity of each others’ callings when they don’t make sense.
The answers to our questions for clarity and validity will always come from Jesus. Modern Pharisees, or even modern leaders like John who have not received revelation about some new thing Jesus is doing will always persecute what comes next. Don’t join them. Ask Jesus what He thinks about it. Join Him.
Every spiritual servant from Heaven is not an angel. “Angel” is a partial translation of what would be “messenger” in English if fully translated. Some spirits are powers, some are princes, some are “creatures.” Some are seraphs, cherubs, etc. Not all are messengers.
In Acts 12:1-19, Peter was told what to do by a spirit Luke called an angel while he was delivering Peter from prison. When Paul was writing to congregations in Galatia about the purpose of the laws given through Moses, he said that the law had been their tutor. The scene he described was of the heir in a household being under the authority of a servant when he was a child, but growing into his own authority in his father’s household, he inherited the tutor as a slave he owned (Galatians 3:19-4:7).
Servants from Heaven, including the messengers, are responsible for leading and protecting us until we are mature enough to begin leading in our Father’s enterprises. Shifts in our relationships with them will be that we begin to work with them, we begin to have revelation that they don’t, and we are therefore leading them, and at some point we judge them.
There are people in the earth now who are getting revelation about this sequence of shifts. They may be friends of yours. You may be one of them. Pay attention to the process, wherever you fit into it. It’s important.
Charles Spurgeon once said that he could find ten men who would die for the Bible for every one who would read it. This is a portion of a book written by the Jewish historian Josephus (AGAINST APION: Section 8):
It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them. For it is no new thing for our captives, many of them in number, and frequently in time, to be seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds upon the theatres, that they may not be obliged to say one word against our laws and the records that contain them; whereas there are none at all among the Greeks who would undergo the least harm on that account, no, nor in case all the writings that are among them were to be destroyed; for they take them to be such discourses as are framed agreeably to the inclinations of those that write them; and they have justly the same opinion of the ancient writers, since they see some of the present generation bold enough to write about such affairs, wherein they were not present, nor had concern enough to inform themselves about them from those that knew them; examples of which may be had in this late war of ours, where some persons have written histories, and published them, without having been in the places concerned, or having been near them when the actions were done; but these men put a few things together by hearsay, and insolently abuse the world, and call these writings by the name of Histories.
(from Against Apion and Discourse to the Greeks, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Josephus was arguing with some Greeks about the value of having true historical records. The Greek historians all disagreed with each other and accused each other of fabrication, but the Jewish people were normally persecuted for their heritage and its records.
Knowing and trusting the Book enough to be willing to be persecuted for it should be our normal condition as the people whom Yahweh trusts to be His representatives in the earth.
When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony!”
“I will come and heal him,” He told him.
“Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured. For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”
Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith! I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And his servant was cured that very moment.
(Matthew 8:5-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)
It seems that we should be surprised when miracles don’t happen, but we’re usually surprised when they do. Lord, make us able to believe all that you want us to!