Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Life Hidden in Him

I remember hearing of David Wilkerson years ago and read The Cross and the Switchblade in my youth.  My heart grieves for his family and rejoices in his meeting Jesus face to face.  As far as I know, this man's face was not plastered over the covers of books, newspapers, magazines and television.  Oh sure he may have been on a magazine or two, but his name was not commercialized and yet his obedience to the Lord has rescued numbers beyond my imagination and impacted even more.  I've gone with my parents when the ministered at Teen Challenge and saw the transformation of lives.
Last night in prayer, I was challenged by the Lord about my motives.  When I clean the bathrooms at church, do I go about telling everyone what I've done?  If I do, I am lifting my own name up.  That doesn't do anything for anyone, not even me.  Jesus said that if He is lifted up He will draw all men unto Himself.  It's all about Jesus and His Kingdom.  David Wilkerson was so radically changed that He couldn't help but lift up the Name of the One who transformed his life.
It's all about a wedding to come.  There is a royal wedding about to take place and not the one in England.  It is the one where the Bridegroom King is coming for a pure and spotless bride.  The bride must lose her own identity to take on His name.  She will not only take on His name, but she will bear it in all ways.  Her former identity will be hidden in Him as they become one.  Are we ready?  Getting ready isn't just cramming for His appearing at the last moment, but changing our ways.  Until I change my ways, I am not truly changed.  I must die to self and hide myself in Him now.
Lord, may everything I do be as unto You!

David Wilkerson Killed in Car Crash

David Wilkerson Killed in Car Crash

Friday, April 1, 2011

Random Reflections

Genesis 27:34-36 34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob ? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
When we speak we are unable to take back our words.  Even when we speak in error, the words have left our mouths, so we must be mindful of our words.  In Esther, the kings decree had already gone out and could not be repealed.  They had to write another decree to have any hope.  My friend just shared with me this week about Jesus and the fig tree.  When He cursed the fig tree, it did not immediately shrivel up, but at the moment the words left His mouth, it was done.  The evidence came later.
I'm finding that there is merit in controlling my mouth.  Proverbs 17:28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.   This controlling of my mouth is from idle words, misplaced blessings and curses, foolish words, gossip, and other words.  The Lord has really been ministering to me and I'm finding that holding my tongue is often times better than if I were to speak.
What comes out of my mouth is obviously an issue, but the Lord has also been dealing with what I put into my mouth.  I have eaten without restraint.  It wasn't until I began to document what I should eat and compare it with what I do eat that I was amazed.  In just a few days of restraint on what goes in, I have lost weight.  I began limiting what I eat and making sure that it is nutritionally balanced.  The interesting thing is that I am satisfied with smaller portions when I get complete nutrition.  Obesity is not of God!  Even Daniel and his colleagues proved that eating right is good.  Instead of the "choicest" food from the king's table, they ate vegetables.  They proved wiser and surprised the king.  Wow, what goes in my mouth and what comes out of it both need to be bridled.
Another thing that has really been on my mind since I heard it was a comment from a wonderful Christian whom I believe is following God wholeheartedly.  The comment was something like, "Well, it has nothing to do with the ministry that God called me to do, so I really have nothing to do with it."  It was spoken in regard to another Christian entity.  I've heard similar comments before.  Isn't this His Kingdom?  Shouldn't we be in unity?  If your gift is evangelism, does that mean you pay no attention to the prophet?  If your gift is prophecy, does that mean you pay no attention to the gift of helps?  I remember when the previous pope passed away.  I am not catholic, but I felt compelled to pray for the incoming pope that God would place the right person in that position.  I shared this with a few other believers who share much of my understanding of the Bible and one of them made some comments that I don't remember clearly except that the tone was unkind.  They felt that the pope had little importance, possibly because he wasn't over our church.

Mark 9:38-41 38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,40 for whoever is not against us is for us.  41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly be rewarded.
Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through Him, and that is key.  If your church offers another option to go to heaven by some other means, then reexamine.  Jesus warns that there will be those who come claiming to be the messiah, and those are false messiah's.  If you are going in Jesus' name and knowing that He is the ONLY way, then you are considered the church.  When Jesus said that we are many parts, but one body, He wasn't just telling each congregation that they were a body, but the church as a whole is one body, His body.  If the only spiritual food we receive is from the pulpit on Sunday morning, open His Word and invest time into the knowledge of his Word.
Now what if a church/congregation/denomination is doing something morally wrong?  Unfortunately, that comes from the fall of man.  Man runs the church under God and man can be wrong.  We shouldn't send out bulk emails or run our mouths about the sin of another church.  In the book of Revelation, God speaks to 7 churches about their individual problems.  Apparently, He already knows about the problem.  Am I surprised?  No.  If I am not surprised that God knows and He is in control, then I shouldn't have reason to gossip about it in the form of a concern.  Neither should I discount the ministry of a megachurch or a small church or a certain type of ministry because of its category.  I should judge each by the Word of God and pray for issues that may come into the light.  My own church has had to make course corrections because we've done things wrong.  I pray that corrections happen across the body of Christ when mistakes are recognized. 
This leads to the final reflection for the day.  Even as I type this, I have people, and churches and examples in mind as I'm sure any reader may have.  This is not directed toward them.  God is changing my heart even today.  He has ministered to me in ways I have never before thought necessary.  He keeps asking, "Do you trust Me?"  Similar to when Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him.  My answer is, "Of course."  He keeps asking me, though.  He then showed me that in the same way He is dealing with me, He is dealing with His bride.  I believe that this is a time of awakening for believers everywhere and it is not what I say or think about someone that will change them.  His kindness leads us to repentance.  He is dealing gently with each of us right now.  This is seriously important.  I have no idea the conversations that anyone else is having with God right now and I cannot presume to.  He has all things in His control.  My interjections are not going to change things for those I am concerned about.  My prayers, however, will.  If He gives me words, then I will go and speak, but my fired up opinions and words are like stones in my hand.
Father, guard my mouth.  Guide what I put into it and guard what comes out of it.  Guard my mind and my thoughts that they may be directed only toward you.  Help me to love your people.  Help me to not misrepresent Your word or think more highly of myself than I ought.  Help me to take my place in Your body and support the rest with my eyes open.  Help me to trust You to complete the works that you've began in all of us that You have called Your own.
In Jesus' Name,

Any scripture quoted here is from the TNIV c 2005