Decades ago, the Lord gave me a vision or dream, I cannot remember which. However the pictures he gave are still vivid in my mind.
I saw two pictures of church.
In one picture, I was watching a group of children rolling a monster snowball across a school playing field. In fact the picture was lifted out of a children’s comic strip. The snowball got bigger and bigger as it rolled.
This notion had fond memories for me because I remember at my junior school in the 50s when we rolled one of these monster snowballs across the field and left it parked in the goalmouth. It stayed, blocking play, well into the spring, long after the snow melted on the field.
The problem in my vision and in the cartoon, was that those rolling it could no longer see over the top of the ball, and if anyone perhaps decided to help push in a new direction, they just got rolled up into the snowball. The picture on the cartoon strip was of a snowball with hands, legs and the odd head sticking out of it. Frozen and helpless, everyone just got consumed by the juggernaut.
This is what the church of today has become, filled with inoperative, ineffective, helpless, believers, frozen in their spiritual growth, whilst the church gets bigger, heavier, and more unwieldy. Woe betide anyone who feels a slight change of direction would be in order! Goodbye!
The next picture the Lord gave me was of tumbleweed, just as we might see in a typical western cowboy film. The tumbleweed has no worthwhile substance to it, other than its loads of seeds. When it is seed time, the wind snaps it off at the roots and it then tears across the ground throwing seed everywhere. What is left may possibly make good kindling, I have no idea. However as a spreader of seed, it is second to none. It is so light, that every change of wind direction, the tumbleweed follows easily. Left, right, up, down, it has instant lightweight reaction to follow the wind. Tumble weed, is born on the wind, just like Jesus said we should be. Tumble weed carries no weight, no excess baggage. It exists to spread seed.
The true church of Jesus Christ would be a tumbleweed church, born on the wind.
Unfortunately the church that man has created is a juggernaut snowball which freezes the life out of the saints.
We can all make the choice of what type of believer we want to be.
We don’t need to let church dictate where the wind blows us. That choice is our responsibility and ours alone.
Given the faithlessness and declared atheism of most of our national leaders today, it is worthwhile looking at some of our past leaders. This prayer of Queen Elizabeth 1st is a clear indication of her strong deep faith in God and Jesus. Oh that we had some of her faith in our leaders today!
The Elizabethan age is regarded as the start of England’s rise to power in the world. Recent British leaders have supervised its current slide into increasing obscurity.
Happy is that people that is in such a case, yea, happy is that nation whose God is the Lord. Ps144.
A Prayer by Queen Elizabeth I
O Most Glorious King, and Creator of the whole world, to whom all things be subject, both in heaven and earth, and all best Princes most gladly obey. Hear the most humble voice of thy handmaid, in this only happy, to be so accepted. How exceeding is thy goodness, and how great mine offences. Of nothing hast thou made me not a worm, but a Creature according to thine own image, heaping all the blessings upon me that men on earth hold most happy. Drawing my blood from kings and my bringing up in virtue; giving me that more is, even in my youth knowledge of thy truth: and in times of most danger, most gracious deliverance: pulling me from the prison to the palace: and placing me a Sovereign Princess over thy people of England. And above all this, making me (though a weak woman) yet thy instrument, to set forth the glorious Gospel of thy dear Son Christ Jesus.
Thus inthese last and worst days of the world, when wars and seditions with grievous persecutions have vexed almost all Kings and Countries, round about me, my reign hath been peaceable, and my realm a receptacle to thy afflicted church. The love of my people hath appeared firm, and the devices of mine enemies frustrate. Now for these and other thy benefits (O Lord of all goodness) what have I rendered to thee? Forgetfulness, unthankfulness and great disobedience. I should have magnified thee, I have neglected thee. I should have prayed unto thee, I have forgotten thee. I should have served thee, I have sinned against thee. This is my case. Then where is my hope? If thou Lord wilt be
extreme to mark what is done amiss, who may abide it? But thou art gracious and merciful, long suffering and of great goodness, not delighting in the death of a Sinner. Thou seest whereof I came, of corrupt seed: what I am, a most frail substance: where I live in the world full of wickedness: where delights be snares, where dangers be imminent, where sin reigneth, and death abideth.
This is my state. Now where is my comfort? In the depth of my misery I know no help (0 Lord) but the height of thy mercy, who hast sent thine only Son into the world to save sinners. This God of my life and life of my soul, the King of all comfort, is my only refuge. For his sake therefore, to whom thou hast given all power, and wilt deny no petition, hear my prayers. Turn thy face from my sins (0 Lord) and thine eyes to thy handiwork. Create a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Order my steps in thy word, that no wickedness have dominion over me, make me obedient to thy will, and delight in thy law. Grant me grace to live godly and to govern justly: that so living to please thee, and reigning
to serve thee I may ever glorify thee, the Father of all goodness and mercy. To whom with thy dear Son, my only Saviour, and the Holy Ghost my Sanctifier, three persons and one God: be all praise, dominion and power, world without end.
Years ago a friend of ours called and asked us if we wouldn’t mind hosting a dinner party at our house, because her home was too small. She was a regular and excellent hostess in her own place, but she wanted more space, and more people, this time. She planned to ask several acquaintances along who were either non or ex-believers, and mix them with believers.
We agreed, and between us we prepared the evening. It turned out a thoroughly interesting time, and I found myself alongside a couple who had suffered abuse at the hands of church leadership. They related a sad story which inevitably led to me explaining demonic control and spiritual warfare. They were very probing and demanding of my thoughts.
After about twenty minutes of this, a lady opposite them, who had been listening intently, interjected with, “excuse me, but what are these demons you are talking about?”
I had never met Karen, and was a little unsure as to how I could in a nutshell, answer her obviously sincere question. The subject demanded a lengthy answer.
I did the best I could, starting briefly with God’s creation and Satan tempting Adam with the fall etc. Followed by a sketch of the war of Satan dragging God’s creation as far removed from Godly influence as possible, and of mankind rejecting God’s chosen way.
When I had done, Karen simply said, “That explains a lot, explains my family.” I was truly taken aback. She apologised when she saw my perplexed look. She was not mocking me, she had genuinely understood how it had affected her family.
The meal continued with much interesting discussion, and with some clear needs admitted. As we ended I suggested we adjourn to the living room for coffee, and a time of prayer. The table was cleared and the dishwasher stacked as we gradually migrated to the living room.
This was a group of almost complete strangers, of totally different spiritual experience, so I was not sure where to begin. One of the couples had a very distressing family problem, and they asked for prayer immediately. I therefore suggested, rather than diving in with heavy handed prayer we just ask God for his direction and then wait quietly to see what God spoke to us. I also encouraged each to be humble before God, and to truly expect Him to speak quietly into our hearts, no matter what we had experienced before. If he did, we should then be bold enough to reveal it to the rest.
We quickly got under way, with a few of the group praying out loud. I soon had an impression in my spirit as to the root of the problem. However I knew if I revealed it too soon, everyone else would relax their listening. So I quietly continued to pray and wait. Suddenly Karen, who had asked for an explanation of demons, spoke out. She had a word going around and around in her head. I asked her to let us have it, which she did.
Paydirt! Not only did it confirm what I had kept silent about, but the couple who had asked for prayer immediately concurred that it was true. We were therefore were able to do a quick, spirit led, deliverance from demonic control over the situation. The demons were soon cast out and all present were amazed at the spontaneity, normality, and speed of dealing with the issue in a Godly manner.
The evening came to a successful conclusion and everyone departed full of thanks.
After the door shut on the final person, my wife said to me. Did you realise that Karen only gave her life to the Lord as we filled the dishwasher in the kitchen.
I had presumed she was a mature believer, when she in fact she was simply a little child in God’s eyes. She had innocently accepted my call to listen to God with none of the preconceived doubts that I find amongst church people who have merely learned to depend on their pastors. Karen saw the kingdom through the eyes of a child, and told what she saw or heard.
As I got to know her later through our mutual friend, she had absolutely no desire for church. She just kept a close walk with God. She had several Christian friends and often had fellowship with them. She really saw where the roots of trouble in her family came from and showed more wisdom than many or the church Christians I had met.
My early days as a newly committed Christian in the 70s were in what was then called a Christian fundamentalist charismatic fellowship. I think such churches avoid the word fundamentalist now as it has been hijacked by others who are less than user friendly!
That particular church had a strong bible teaching basis and gave me lots to be thankful for. However some things, which everyone else took for granted, really grieved my spirit.
In the beginning I didn’t entirely understand the root of what caused my grief, but one thing I truly learned from the Lord, was that is I must never simply follow the crowd. Crowd followers usually do so for fear of being left behind on their own. Personally, I hated being left behind, alone, but the usual crowd decisions left me with a hollow feeling inside, and I really didn’t like that feeling at all.
I KNEW THAT FOLLOWING THE HERD, WHILST SEEMING SAFE, WAS ABSOLUTELY NOT THE PLACE WHERE GOD WANTED ME TO BE. I knew that God didn’t want me to hide behind the skirts of the majority. For better or for worse, I also wanted to be seen by God for who I was, not for who I hid behind. This sounds stupid because God obviously knew everything about me, and everyone else, but there is within man a certain delusion about such things. I needed to know that I was honest to God for being ME not for being a clone.
I desperately wanted to personally interact with God. However, as I watched, herd decisions with no questions asked, seemed to be the order of the day. If the leaders made a decision, it was duly regarded by the herd as the will of God, and everyone was swept along in that direction! If I asked someone what they thought about these things, the only response seemed to be a repetition of the church leadership stand. For myself, I needed to understand what God thought about these things, not just men. Unfortunately such curiosity merely brought trouble, and more derogatory labels got added to my name.
At that time there was a lot of teaching about, “covering”, a fake scriptural doctrine that meant everyone should have “authority” over their heads in order to be safe from the devil’s attacks or from demonic deception etc. This doctrine is still around although using other titles. Covering meant that our ability to discern the will of God should be submitted to the “anointed” leaders, who would be the ones to direct our paths. Obedience to the leaders is equated to obeying God. Questioning the wisdom of the Leaders equated to rebellion against God. Being a fundamentalist church we always carried out such things with great enthusiasm. The church had to collectively demonstrate that they worked to New Testament teaching, or so they thought.
It was as if when a man became a Christian, he almost immediately took leave of his common sense, he abdicated his own God given decision making process in favour of an outsider doing it for him. The church was a herd of sheep, but in reality their leader was not Christ, he was a just a man.
The herd saw it as obedience to God. I saw it as blatant idolatry towards a leadership which had actively dethroned God.
I recall one particular elder’s and leader’s meeting I attended. A decision needed to be made, but there was something clearly wrong going on in the discussion, and dissent was being subtly suppressed via the use of hierarchical authority. Some there were not at all happy, others were piously and proudly compliant, which is what the hierarchy wanted. They needed backing to justify their decision. I unfortunately asked awkward questions which they were reluctant to answer. Then one of the acolytes of the hierarchy made an outrageous statement. “We stand in fear of God if we oppose these men who are the Lord’s anointed.” The Elders looked mightily pleased as their superiority over the rest of us was thus proclaimed. Everyone went fearfully silent, not knowing what to do.
I then said. “I don’t stand in fear of God for opposing these men, I stand in fear of God if I don’t follow my conscience, and say what God wants me to say.” That did not make me popular in the least, fortunately others then woke up, and the dishonesty was thwarted, at least on that occasion. The problem is that so many believe without foundation that these men can make no mistake because they are the, “anointed of God.”
Yesterday, as we reminisced over past experiences, my wife said to me, “you do not need faith to follow the herd“. This is a very interesting statement. What she meant was that it required no faith in God. Following the herd was an act of very shallow faith, in the herd, and in the one who led the herd. Running with the herd was safe. Nobody could ask whether you had independent thought in any situation. No real decision was ever required, no choice was made, no risk was taken. Individual responsibility and individual decision making, before God, was considered an act of disunity and brought accusations of pride and rebellion. This situation is common in many churches which I have attended.
Following the herd is hailed as an act of faith in church circles. Obedience to God is defined by our obedience to the leaders, those apparently “anointed of God”.
So what does it all boil down to?
We have all heard the biblical precept, “Faith comes from hearing the word“.
Yet watching many Christians it is far more true to say, ” FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE HERD“
Basically, the average christian has no clue when it comes to discerning the direction when God speaks. This is why there are so many denominations, people would rather stick with the herd and follow a man, than follow God.
God is invisible but a pastor is visible.
God is silent but a pastor can be heard.
God cannot be known but a pastor can be known.
If I do what the herd are doing it must be God’s will.
So go find a decent church and the pastor will tell you what God wants you to know. Once you find a decent Pastor then stick with him, run with the herd. As long as you follow the leading of the Pastor you will stay out of trouble and please God. That is what you will find in all popular and successful churches.
Unless of course you get some upstart who asks awkward questions. That was me, until they threw me out on my ear.
Sadly the way of the herd is the broad way that many travel to destruction.
The narrow way to life is a very lonely path with few companions. I would still prefer it though.
So make your choice, does faith come by hearing the herd, or does faith come by hearing the word?
This is really a follow on from my last post about God speaking to us, or to be more precise, us hearing God. To be even more precise this post is about SEEING IN THE SPIRIT.
My wife and I really got into making fruit jams over the last few years. Over a season we made hundreds of jars and really got into the swing of things. What delighted us more than anything was using wild fruit from the woods and the hedgerows.
Everyone in the UK knows that the hedges are full of blackberries, and that always gives anyone an abundant source of great jam making. However we noticed something we had never seen before. The hedgerows are also full of apple trees and plum trees, sloe bushes etc. Well maybe not quite full, but nevertheless, up to this point in time we thought the hedgerows empty of any fruit other than blackberry.
Near where we lived we picked buckets full of plums, damsons, sloes, bullaces and apples. It happened gradually. We first found some plum trees at the end of our lane. To our thinking it was a rarity. We kept it secret, watching everyone driving by without noticing. As soon as they were ripe we grabbed a load. However once we got used to that we found that as we drove around the lanes, it was as if our eyes had woken up. Suddenly, even zipping along at 50 mph, one of us would cry out “apple tree” or “plum tree”.
This might sound crazy, but at that speed we could not possibly see apples or plums, nor could we see the leaf shape. If anyone said to us what does an apple or a plum tree look like, we could never particularly describe it, within a crowded leafy hedgerow. The fact was that our eyes were becoming atuned to something beyond our intellect.
It really came home one year when we were looking for sloes. A sloe is a relative of the plum. It tastes like battery acid, but makes fantastic sloe gin though. For several Christmasses we had gained a reputation for our sloe gin gifts. This particular year there was nationally a great shortage of stone fruits, plum, cherry sloe etc. so we were in trouble.
A friend had an old orchard on his land and we were apple and blackberry picking there. It was just before dusk, and we were about to pack in for the day. As we headed back across the land towards the car with our catch, I glanced at a distant boundary hedge against the dimming sky. I suddenly said to my wife, “those are sloe trees.” She looked and instantly agreed. We stood rooted to the spot because we realised that we had no way we could possibly say why we knew they were sloes. The light was dimming, they were almost silhouetted, it was hazy air, they were nearly 100 yards away. There was an extremely mild bluing of the general outline, but that was also true everywhere. We just stood trying to work out why we knew and we could not in the least bit say why. There was just something about them that said SLOE.
We walked up to the hedge, and sure enough this was the best sloe harvest we had seen all season. However we were amazed at the powerful gift of discernment. To make it clear, I am not talking about the spiritual gift of discerment. I am talking about the fact that in a short period of time, our eyes had become attuned to discerning things which had been unseen before. These things were now not only seen, but seen in the most difficult of circumstances, and without a guide book. Our eyes were learning, or our brains were becoming better at interpreting the image our optical equipment sent down the line.
No amount of classroom lessons would have taught our eyes what they needed to learn. In fact the thing which blew our minds was that our intellect still could not say what the recognition parameters were. We both just knew it when we saw it.
IT WAS PLAIN UNCANNY!
This is just like seeing in the spirit. Until you exercise that spiritual muscle, it just lies dormant. Until we started to make wild fruit jams we never SAW anything of value in the hedgerow. Until we decide to make something with our spirit eyes, we will never learn to see.
WE WILL, LIKE MOST OF THE CHURCH, REMAIN BLIND TO THE THINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Again I confess to cheating on my blog posts. This post is actually an enlargement of a comment that I placed on projectmathetes, a blog I follow. I have not done much here on my blog for a long while because of spending so much time on other blogs. However, I thought this story would be fun.
The subject of hearing God speak is something dear to my heart. Hearing God is also something I am not particularly good at, but I love the learning experience, and the result when I do hear Him speak.
We often end up rejecting what we think is, maybe, maybe not, the still small voice of God. We reject it because we believe God has a big stick to beat us when we make mistakes. We are fearful of God’s anger.
This is not the God of the bible. It is the false God of religious and church tradition. God knows before the world began, that we would foul up on a given day. Yet he still loves us. Those who make no mistakes usually make nothing. The same is true in the walk of the spirit.
I really hated school, but the School of the Spirit is something entirely different. It is where I always get personal tuition, and that from the Great Teacher Himself. I am not always aware when I am in his lesson, but I quickly see when things start to happen. Also I never have had to go to a college or university or even church to learn, I can learn anywhere in life.
The following story started at our coffee table writing Christmas cards.
Just before departing for our house group meeting last friday, we remembered that we had two Christmas cards to take. My wife was watching me as I wrote out the words “Merry Christmas and a happy……” at this point she interjected with “Happy new ear”, making me laugh.
However knowing that Sandie had a sense of humour we decided to actually write “Happy new ear”, just to see if she spotted it.
On arrival at Sandie’s house we handed the two cards out before we sat down with everyone to enjoy an evening of fellowship and listening to the Holy Spirit.
As we waited on the Lord, there were shortly a number of small but inconclusive “words” and “pictures” given by the Holy Spirit. We talked, and continued to listen and pray.
Then the Lord reminded Sandie about a story which she had heard. Her story was about a man long ago who was applying for a job as a Morse code telegraphist. When he arrived at the place, there were lots of people in the lobby waiting to be interviewed, all creating a general hubbub. As he waited with the crowd, faintly over the noise, he could just hear morse code being tapped out. He turned his ear away from the din of the people to listen. He suddenly knew what to do, and to do it immediately. He slipped away from the din and through an office door where he was immediately given the job.
The Morse message? “If you understand this message, come through the door and present yourself to the secretary.”
Sandie’s recollection of the story was triggered by the Spirit, to illustrate the importance of having a sensitive ear to hear the voice of the Lord, above the noise of everything going on around us. It was about our choice to tune in with our Spiritual ears just like a Morse signaller would.
He who has an ear to hear let him hear!
As we discussed the story, the pictures and words received earlier, started to make sense.
At this point I remembered the card and asked her if she had read it, which she had not. She opened it and burst out laughing, to the perplexity of the others. As she read it out, we all sat in awe at the humour and wisdom of the Lord in using such a simple “Happy New ear” message to carry such importance to our spiritual journey. It was as if God had ordained the silly greeting in the card as a way of validating his message to his children.
This all may seem very trite to those who are used to strong structured meetings. However the Lord had for a very long time, been leading us via the Holy Spirit on a very clear learning curve. This meeting in its unscripted, Spirit led way had again revealed God’s hand of love and his clear purpose for our little group.
A number of years ago I was travelling north along one of the main routes in England. I had forgotten to fill up with fuel before leaving so I was on the lookout for the service area. As soon as it came in sight I indicated and proceeded to the fuel area. I very soon regretted my decision as the price would have required a bank loan to refill my tank. So I just sailed past and started down the slip road onto the main highway again. As I accelerated towards the road I was aware of a figure at the side of the road with his thumb out hitching a lift.
Now, gone are the days that I hitchhiked or regularly picked up hitchhikers, however I sent a quick query up to the Lord, “shall I stop”.
Feeling a distinct affirmative from the Lord I screached to a halt 50 yards past the man and blasted my horn, whereupon he came running after me.
He climbed in with profuse thanks, and settled down for the ride. He was a stonemason, I guess about thirty years old, who had been working on one of the ancient cathedrals of England. He told me that he was now on his way to visit his mother.
Mixed with general conversation his story unfolded. While he talked, I started to quietly ask the Lord about this total stranger who was sat beside me.
With obvious emotion he started to speak about his childhood, his family having split in what sounded like an acrimonious divorce. He being taken by the father and the rest of the children remaining with the mother. He hardly knew his own mother and now she was sick and he was, with trepidation, visiting with a view to restoring a lost relationship.
That he was hurting badly inside was obvious. He then said something like, “my father must have really hated me, taking me from my mother like that”.
I listened a little more, and then as the Holy Spirit prompted me I simply asked him, if he thought his father hated him so much, what did he think his Father in Heaven thought about him.
At this point he started to lose all control of his emotions.
I was also by now over a hundred miles further along the road and most desperately in need of fuel, but had up to that point not wanted any reason to distract the conversation. The next service area was at hand and I pulled off to refuel.
This also was the parting of the ways because he needed to go in a different direction on the road ahead and this was the only road legal place for him to get another lift. In order to continue the conversation I therefore asked him to wait whilst I refuelled so we could go inside and get a coffee and a bite to eat, which he was gratefully accepted.
We sat down and picked up the conversation. In a short while I had given him a rundown on the Father’s love for him. He and I prayed together and the presence of the Holy Spirit radiated in that corner of the cafe as he wept his way into the Kingdom. I confess that I was not at all dry eyed.
As he regained his voice he suddenly started to say again and again, “this was meant to be, this was meant to be……”
Shaking with emotion he explained.
” I stood at the side of the road and said, GOD IF YOU ARE REAL, GET ME A LIFT”
He got much more than just a lift, from a very real and very loving God.
I was equally shaken. If I had not listened to the whisper of God’s voice telling me to stop………..?
I cheat a bit on my Blog.
I find myself so engrossed in other blogs and adding comments that I don’t spend sufficient time posting here. However there are some excellent debates going on out there. I get inspired by the questions being addressed and this leads me to cut and paste what I have written as comment elsewhere. This post is one such example pasted from a comment I put on Larrywho’s blog yesterday.
Go see the whole story on larrywho.wordpress.com
When the final true revival comes, it will be because congregations have realised they have been robbed, robbed of what God ordained them to be. They will realise that they have been robbed of their personal Holy Priesthood by the men and women in robes or dog collars which they asked to stand at the front. Robbed by those who tradition alone calls priests or ministers, and who have orchestrated the church’s walk for over a thousand years.
When that same pew fodder finally gets out and puts Elijah’s mantle on and enters the battle, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE CAPTAIN OF THE HOST OF THE LORD ALONE, rather than another man, then we might see some butts kicked, (spiritually speaking I mean). As Larry rightly says, Luther changed the doctrine but not the wineskin. Until the wineskin of church structure bursts, the saints will always be labouring under a burden of manmade leadership ideology, an ideology that didn’t originate in God.
I feel sad for America. King Obama is on the throne now. His clear and declared intention is to do in one presidency, what has taken sixty years to achieve in the UK. ie destroy a nation by deception and the infantilising of its people. The “Land of the Free” becomes the Land of the Feeble, like Britain, everyone kept in the spiritual, social, financial play pen so they don’t get hurt.
The promise of the Labour government which came into power in the UK after the war was that their new “Welfare State” would take care of everyone from the cradle to the grave. ie the state would become Mummy, Daddy, Nanny, Nurse, God etc. (or pastor priest vicar etc)
The UK is now in a state of acute moral degeneration. Socialism is the biggest vote purchasing scheme imaginable. Keep throwing money at the lazy and undeserving and they cease to be productive or responsible. The constant cry in the UK is, “why doesn’t the Government do something”. The idea of anyone personally doing anything, through a simple sense of mature responsibility has long gone from most of this nation. In fact most such actions are now illegal!
My prayer for a long time has been for the massive collapse of our Welfare State. (I am hoping that we may just be seeing the first shoots of that disintegration. Only time will tell.)
There is a distinct connection between strong Church leadership which makes decisions on our behalf, and strong state leadership which also makes all decisions on our behalf. It is called “Abdication”, it is an “Ahab” spirit, a spirit of immaturity which refuses to take responsibility for personal decisions and risks.
It is evident in the Israelites when they demanded a king to rule over them. God said that it was rebellion against his personal reign over them. However they insisted, despite Gods most stern warning. God said that when the king that they choose becomes a tyrant, “don’t come to me about it as I won’t listen to you”. Likewise I don’t think he listens to those who protest about tyrannical church leadership. “You chose that system, don’t complain to me!” Its like expecting a crocodile not to eat people! (The very reason I exited the church system)
The Saints have adopted the same spirit in demanding “strong leadership” to make the decisions for them instead of getting before God and learning to hear His voice and do His will.
The voters have demonstrated the same heart as the church in demanding a “Big State” to rule over them and take the decisions for them. The two are very connected, the same demonic power is very clearly at work. Its purpose in both cases is to create a passive people. To quote Larry,- “Three corporate church and personal sins we all struggle with are apathy, lethargy and compromise.”
WHATEVER HAS HAPPENED TO THE RISK TAKING, PIONEERING AMERICAN PEOPLE?
The saints, vast numbers of which voted for social welfare both in the UK and the States, MUST take personal responsibility for their walk before God, instead of letting their Pastor or minister carry it on their behalf.
I believe that God is challenging the Saints to come out into the wilderness, away from the safety of their cozy congregations.
I believe he is challenging the Saints to take risks in their walk without the safe “covering” of church leadership.
I believe Christ is saying, as he did to Peter when he was in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, “come”.
It is time for the Saints to get out of their manmade boat, the church, and walk over the water with Jesus.
Come and discover the “Covering” of Christ himself rather than another man. Then we will experience Revival. There will be mistakes on the way, but those who don’t make mistakes usually don’t make anything.
The question in the title above represents the thoughts of many Christians I have encountered. Why would God who is Holy, speak to non Christians. Also because they are in rebellion they wouldn’t be able to hear him until they are born again? The additional problem is that the average Christian rarely seems to experience the voice of God, therefore it would be entirely wrong to countenance the idea of God talking to his enemies when he doesn’t seem to give time to talk to his own. There is another way of considering this question. Does Satan talk to unbelievers and sinners. Does Satan draw them both along with evil ideas hoping that evil fruit will ensue. I know its a bit of a daft point, but often when you reframe a question or statement in a slightly obtuse or inverse way the answer stand out in neon lights. Satan can, and constantly does, speak into both saints and sinner’s lives. Witness Adam in the Garden of Eden, or Jesus in the wilderness and also all those demonised people who Jesus healed in the gospels. If Satan or demons are shown doing such things, then to maintain that God doesn’t, can’t or won’t speak to ANYONE who listens is plain absurd. (or perhaps just religious). Delving deeper
- Everyone, saint and sinner has a spirit man, (remember we are body, soul, and spirit) . Our spirit man has five senses like the physical man. The problem is that in the western world, we have put our spirit senses to sleep, in favour of our physical senses. Our physical senses however are deaf and blind to the things of the spirit. This makes actually hearing God an unfamiliar idea. Remember, “he who has an ear to hear….”
- Disconcerting though it may be, many New Agers can comprehend things of the spirit far better than most Christians I have met. The problem with New Agers is that they keep bad spiritual company, and are thus also likely to be deceived.
- Christians on the other hand obviously know much better, they just disallow all spiritual voices out of fear, (unless they’ve checked it with their Pastor). They instinctively know such voices must be demonic!
- If the gospel is “spiritually” discerned, how can a non Christian possibly understand it, when his spirit is supposed to be dead?
- What about Nebucadnezzar’s dreams? They were clearly from God.
- What about Pilate’s wife’s dream, whatever that was, it troubled her greatly!
- What about the Muslims, many of whom are receiving dreams about the deity of Jesus?
- What about Jesus who was God in the flesh, (if you have seen me you have seen the Father), who spent all his time with sinners for the very reason that they would hear him whereas the religious leadership wouldn’t listen.
Perhaps maybe just a little, God does talk and give dreams to sinners as well as saints! Has anyone experienced God speaking to them, in words or dreams, before they “became a Christian”.
Back in the seventies when I was a college student I owned a little mini car. That mini was like an extension of my persona.
I remember my Dad saying to me, “you don’t have an accelerator pedal on that car do you?”. “What do you mean?” I asked him a little perplexed. “You’ve just got an On-Off switch haven’t you,” he replied with a grin. Dad had a great humour.
I laughed knowing what he was getting at. Get in, slam the door, foot flat to the floor. Being a mini it stuck to the road like glue, and went where you aimed the wheel. There is no point in being slow when you are young!
I gave my life to the Lord while I was at college, (although I had known the Lord since a child) and everything became crazy for a while.
My Mini needed new tyres and being a tight fisted Northerner I wasn’t going to pay stupid prices for the tyres when I knew that the cheapest place for tyres on planet Earth was back in my home town several hundred miles from college. I owed my parents a weekend back home.
However I was literally cutting it a bit fine as far as the tyre tread was concerned. I was not too worried though as I was confident that they would last until then.
The weekend came and I thrashed across the moors and mountains to the other side of the country, arriving at my parents late on the Friday night. All was well and it was good to be home. My plan was to go the fifteen miles into the nearby town on the Saturday morning, straight to the tyre shop and get a complete set for all four wheels. However it didn’t work out quite like that.
First thing Saturday morning we got a phone call from a friend back at college saying that some crisis had happened to a close friend whose life was now in danger, and they were specifically asking that I urgently return.
I apologised to my parents for the rapid cancellation of our family weekend, and set off in the return direction with my foot flat on the floor. The journey was uneventful apart from being stopped for speeding by the police. He joked that it must be a life or death issue that I was in such a hurry, and was taken aback when I said yes. When I explained, he told me to clear off and be more careful not to let him catch me speeding through his patch again.
Anyway the event turned out to be all a storm in a teacup. There was no crisis, just some idiot being over dramatic. I was annoyed because it had spoiled a weekend, cost me a lot of money in fuel, and meant that I was even more at risk on my even more perilously worn tyres.
However the next weekend came, and again I arrived at the family home on Friday night after thrashing the car over from the other side of the country. Saturday first thing I headed straight for town, top priority being new tyres.
My destination was part of a big car sales and spares and repair complex. The actual tyre depot was at the far corner of the big car park, accessed by a track around the perimeter. As I entered the site, I saw that another car was slowly negotiating the route in the direction of the tyreshop. Now being young impatient and cocky, I decided to take a short cut at speed through the car park. This meant that I had to zigzag through all the parked cars, slotting through all the empty spaces. The carpark was a gravel surface, and I was going fast, racing against the other car heading the same way from the opposite corner. He of course was not racing, he was just another peaceful driver going about his business.
I did get there first and raced into the tyre bay, braking sharply to a halt. This is where it all got a bit strange.
I slammed the brakes on, stopping with a screech. I instantly switched the engine off, and made as to leap out of the car. However, before I could move, I felt a very distict and sudden drop at the front drivers corner of the car. I jumped out and looked at the wheel. The tyre was totally flat. However that was the easy part, the problem was the hole in the side wall of the tyre which was so big that I could put my hand through it!
At that moment, I started to realise the presence of angels, and I goosebumped all over. I knew the presence of God was there. The tyre fitter was standing beside me a little perplexed. “You didn’t drive here like that did you, that’s crazy”. Well I hadn’t just driven, I had raced, I had zigzagged, on gravel, through the narrow gaps between the parked cars!
THAT TYRE, ALTHOUGH IT HAD A HOLE THE SIZE OF MY HAND IN IT, WAS ABSOLUTELY NOT FLAT WHILST I WAS DRIVING. I WOULD HAVE KNOWN BY THE HANDLING THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG. BESIDES I FELT IT SUDDENLY DROP WHEN I SWITCHED THE ENGINE OFF. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW LONG THE HOLE HAD BEEN THERE.
I know without a doubt that the angels of God were riding shotgun on my journeying that day!
I got my new tyres and drove home, a little more sedately and thoughfully on that journey.