Friday, December 7, 2012
Today, we are being called out. Today, the Lord is raising up Ezekiels and Jeremiahs. God is calling those who will listen. And God is giving them the hardest task He can, which is to speak to the house of
Israel, the spiritual , His people who claim the Name of Jesus. Israel
Our hardness and obstinacy has brought God to this point. We have ignored His Word, preaching and teaching weak and powerless versions of our own religious thoughts. We have not clung to the faith handed down to us by Paul, Peter, John, James and the other apostles. In fact, we have woven beautiful tapestries of our own choosing, lovely garments to wear which are made up of bits and pieces of the Truth, mixed in with the colors that strike our religious fancies.
For those whom God is calling, you will know the hardness of God’s people. You will experience their anger, their censure, even their direct opposition. You will be judged for speaking what you have been given to say. Reference every man or woman who had a prophetic gift in Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments.
Jesus had few who stuck with Him, and many who dropped away when He began teaching harder truths. He was bucking the religious system, the house of
’s traditions. He was not what they wanted, and when they saw that, they began to turn away and go home. Israel
Those who speak for the Lord will speak from the Word of God, and from the Truth, without defending themselves. We are not the Word, we are the messengers called out to declare it. We are not ourselves the Truth, we are only the ‘earthen vessels’ given the honor of speaking it to God’s people. Never does defense need to be made for speaking out what the Word of God says, nor should we hold back what God gives us to say to accommodate the religious sensibilities of others.
The whole system of man-made Christianity will be shaken down to the foundations in the coming floods and fires. Even the foundation will be uprooted, wherever it is not Christ. The simple Christ-life, devoid of religious trappings and sentimental foolishness, is what Christ is working in His people around the world. It’s always been His Way. We have been the ones who’ve strayed into false positions, and now find ourselves without a worthy ship, clinging to the wreckage of the religious system we thought would take us through the storm.
“But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth
and you shall say to them,
‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Whoever
will listen let him listen,
and whoever will refuse will refuse;
for they are a rebellious house.”
God’s message is always positive in Christ Jesus. Those who cling to Christ alone now, and leave behind the religious ways, all that is not foundational in Christ, all that is of the old man, and the old man’s comforts, will be found standing in Christ when all is shaken around them and under them.
In the early centuries of Christ on the earth, when the Romans and other pagan cultures dominated, it was routine for those who followed Jesus to follow Him in His crucifixion. Today, it is still routine for many in cultures other than our affluent, western societies.
Where will you be when the walls of
are destroyed, stone by stone, pulled down by the enemies of your Christian religion? What will you be left with? Will you be prepared for the coming tribulations? Are you today facing trials you never expected or wanted to face? Jerusalem
If you build your life now on Christ, if you spend your time with Him, living in the Spirit, walking by the Spirit, embracing the difficulties and hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, you will be ready for prison. You will be ready for torture and pain. You will be battle-hardened, tough-minded in Christ, able to withstand all the slings and arrows that the enemy throws at you.
Rejoice, for your Lord counts you worthy of His Kingdom, and would have you ready, lamp lit, when He comes. Spend all your time seeking Him. Work only for your daily bread, which He will provide, not for worldly things. Let us seek together to become the Body Christ has prepared for Himself, full of His Spirit, rich in good works. Let’s leave our weak and silly traditions behind, and give ourselves fully, as the martyrs have throughout history, to Christ now, so that we will be prepared when all the foundations are shaken, when all the stones crafted by man are pulled apart.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
THE RESISTANCE FIGHTS ON.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,
returned from the
and was Jordan
led by the Spirit in the desert,
where for forty days he was
tempted by the devil.”
“When the devil had finished all this tempting,
he left him until an opportune time.
Jesus returned to
the power of the Spirit…”
Jesus had been baptized in the
Jordan River by John, and the Spirit had descended on Him. He was led by the Spirit of God, and full of the Spirit of God. He then went out into a deserted wasteland, and for almost a month and a half, he experienced loneliness, hunger, thirst, and constant temptation by Satan.
The devil had been alert to Jesus’ presence since His birth. He had followed Jesus’ life, and of course, was well aware of John, who declared the coming of the Messiah to all who met him in the desert. So when Jesus came to be baptized, guess who was there watching. He was ready when the Messiah, the prophesied One, walked by Himself out into the empty places to pray and gather strength from His Father for the ministry He was about to take up. Satan knew enough to know that Jesus was human, all human, as well as God in the flesh. Satan knew Jesus was no robot, no avatar, no droid formed to walk unimpeded and untouched through the world. God’s enemy knew that Jesus felt and thought and hungered and got tired. He knew the Christ had to go through everything man experienced, in order to fulfill the Father’s purpose for Him—to become the perfect High Priest—once for all giving Himself in sacrifice for the sins of the world. So Satan had an opportunity to bring down God’s plan right at the beginning, before it could get started.
The point for us is this. When we come to Christ in humility and poverty, willing to give up our lives for His, and ready to go to our
Gethsemane for the Father, then Satan will find his greatest opportunity to strike.
You see, Satan is alert to our presence, too. He has followed our lives, and knows when we submit, truly are baptized in the Spirit, truly walk through the Narrow Gate. He is ready for us as He was ready for the One we love now. He wants to derail God’s work in us at every opportune time.
When we are weak and hungry—hungry for food or hungry for significance, or hungry and thirsty for love and attention, or hungry and thirsty for recognition, or hungry and thirsty for possessions or the things of this world—then he will strike. When we are tired, not only physically, but mentally, and spiritually, having battled our own feelings, our own bodies, our own minds in the heat of the desert experience, then Satan will tempt us.
When we are lowly, and poor, and forgotten, then our enemy, Christ’s enemy, will come to us and offer us his sweet things, his comforts, his answers. Because he wants so much to destroy anything good that God is doing. He hates God, and He hates Christ Jesus, and He hates and wants to destroy that anointing we have from the Holy Spirit to walk in Christ. It is Satan’s choicest work to woo away the
Chosen, and we must always be aware that he will try.
Jesus resisted, though He was led about by Satan, and offered the world. Jesus Christ led the Resistance, and we must not fail him in our testing. Christ Himself was tempted, by all the powers of hell, and He stood and refused to give in.
Note the important result. Jesus went out into the desert full of the Spirit, and led by the Spirit. He came back from this intense, painful, and desperate desert experience “in the power of the Spirit” (v.14). He was ready for the ministry God had prepared for Him. He was not operating in His own human power, but the Spirit had intensified in Him to the point He was living only for the will of His Father.
In fact, the first thing Jesus did when He came back was to confront the people in His hometown, in the Synagogue where He grew up, and let them know the Truth straight up. He told them who He was, and predicted that they would not accept Him. They were so furious they grabbed this hometown boy and as a raging crowd took Him up on a hill to throw Him down from a cliff and kill Him. But Jesus, empowered by the Spirit now, “walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” (Luke 4:30)
When God gets hold of us, and tells us we must enter the Christ-life fully, and we respond to that call, we will have desert experiences similar to those our Lord Jesus Christ went through. We must go through them, relying only on the sustenance of the Father through the Spirit of God. We will be alone, as He was. As Israel was in the desert for forty years, shedding itself of the old men and women—a whole generation of unbelief and doubt dying out—so we, like Jesus, will be in the desert, shedding ourselves of the old man or woman, losing much unbelief and doubt. If we submit to God, and don’t listen to Satan’s many temptations, then we will emerge from that desert experience with much more of the Spirit’s power, as Jesus did.
It is absolutely essential for us to realize that it is not our power, and not our sufficiency, and not our strength from that point on. It is all Christ in us by His Spirit, as it was all the Father in Jesus by His Spirit after Christ’s desert time.
We may go through many of these testings in our lives. Each time, if we submit, and continue to lose our own lives, we will come back more intensely empowered by the Spirit of God, and less and less attached to this world, and the things of this world.
Make no mistake, brother. The devil will come around again and again. He’s looking for that opportune time, as he was with Jesus. Our deserts, our Gesthemanes, will be many, but God will not leave us alone, but will uphold us as we seek Him.
“But when you are tempted, He will also
provide a way out so that you can
stand up under it.”
1 Cor. 10:13
Let’s follow our Lord Jesus willingly, and not reluctantly. Let’s be part of the Resistance, willing to give our lives over daily for His sake.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test, he will
receive the crown of life that God
has promised to those who love Him.”
Monday, December 3, 2012
WHICH PASTORS WILL PRAY
THIS PRAYER OF CONFESSION
WITH THEIR CONGREGATIONS?
WHICH PASTORS WILL PRAY
THIS PRAYER OF CONFESSION
WITH THEIR CONGREGATIONS?
With the same defiance Jeremiah was given by God, I stand in the "marketplace" of modern Christianity and pray the following prayer.
Oh, Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth;
I am overwhelmed with grief and sadness over my sins,
and the sins of all those who claim the Name of Christ.
We have departed from Your Word.
We have not listened to Your prophets.
We have ignored the simple commands of Scripture.
We have left the
Narrow Road that our Lord Jesus
asks us to walk with Him, and have built superhighways,
freeways, and high-speed trains with our own hands.
We have left the simple, steep, footpath of Christ that
winds its way through the mountains and valleys,
preferring instead to bulldoze our own wide trails,
flat, smooth and free of obstacles.
We have built enormous, comfortable lodgings for ourselves,
while Your House lies in ruins.
We have designed beautiful, gracious religious buildings,
and built them at great expense
to satisfy our own cravings for recognition,
while our brothers in need go unrecognized and
the poor among us go unfed.
We have taught a gospel that is not a gospel,
which allows us to come to church and participate
without true repentance and renewal in our lives.
We have accepted and embraced the world’s ways,
marketing You like a commodity,
presenting Christ as a product,
selling our way of life like a better mousetrap.
We have given up on You.
We have left the Way, and planned our own trip.
We are captive to the kings and princes of this world,
yet claim we are free.
We are slaves to our own affluence,
rich in land and homes, cars and businesses,
electronic gadgets and leisure time,
yet are grindingly poor in Your eyes.
We have ignored You, and so You ignore us.
Our meetings, our festivals, our celebrations, our banquets,
our concerts, our shouting and loud worship, our solemn
assemblies, our processions, our programs, our curricula, our
advanced degrees, our fine educational institutions, our vast
entertainment industries, our constant activities—all are
an offense to You, and a bore.
Please forgive me, and forgive the sins of Your people.
Have mercy, Oh, Lord, and don’t sweep us away
with the lost on the Day of Christ.
May Your people return to You,
in true repentance,
in true saving faith,
in love for You and one another.
May we leave all other ways behind,
and follow Jesus, the Way.
May we sell all we have to obtain
the pearl of great price,
. Kingdom of God
May we be willing to lose our own lives
so that we may gain Christ.
May we decrease and become nothing,
so Christ Jesus may become everything in us.
May the churches abandon their own plans
and schemes in favor of your revealed Word.
May our leaders repent of their sins,
leading us to You instead of away.
May you forgive us, and Your great
mercy be upon the modern, affluent,
self-satisfied ‘Christian’ churches.
When you discipline us, remember
to keep a remnant for Yourself, as
Your Word promises. Have mercy on
us, Lord, and save us.
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