What’s the Problem?

For the past couple of weeks I have been struggling on my journey. I had been reading the thirteenth chapter of every book in the Bible that had one, based on a thought I was given, in regards to a lesson I heard the night before, during prayer. Just something different to do. As I started writing this piece, I began questioning my stance on certain issues, were they too strong regarding some of the false prophecy’s and interpretations, or lack there of, in the Bible?  I had started part three of “Love is a Battlefield” but kept hearing, “Your beating a dead horse.”  I even struggled with not getting something out within my week and half routine.  But, as I was struggling with time, I found I was also struggling with the words. Truly God is guiding me down this path.  I find that I am beginning to question the frequency of certain things I’m hearing from many around me.  I’m trying to understand the fine line between truth and fallacy when it comes to what the Bible says and what people are preaching or saying. I knew I couldn’t just put something out for the sake of completing the task because if this is my calling, then it has to be God’s words flowing through me and not mine.  I kept saying to myself as I was writing this, “What is the problem?  What am I trying to say?”  I admit I had temporarily lost the joy in my heart.  I felt that God was trying to show me something but also thought, “could something else be trying to keep the truth from me and at the same time try to persuade me to write from my ego and say something wasn’t possible?”

 

I am not trying to put God in a box or paint myself in a corner.  God is limitless and if He wills something, so be it. What I truly want is a deeper relationship with the Father. I also want the same for you. I want what He wants for me but, while I say that, I am not always sure if my words line up with my heart most of the time.  See, there is a price to be paid in this walk and sometimes we talk better than we walk.  When I become hungry, angry, lonely or tired, HALT!  I find I need to engage damage control measures. After all these years you’d think I would know when I am in a bad spot and I’d spend more time praying.  Nope! I end up taking on the fight myself and it ends badly with me crawling home to the Father battered and bruised.

 

When I was a practicing drug addict, it was moments like this that I would backslide and pick it back up even though in my heart I wanted to quit. When sober, work and sexual vices would temper my agitation.  At other times, I would create a crisis so there was something to fix. I ran up debt on useless things that seemed important at the time.  I would also create an enemy to fight or someone to be mad at and, last but not least, find a cause to fight for; all of this to fill the void inside.  In this new life, the void can still present itself and it still wants to be fed!!! It usually craves the “forbidden” fruit – the proverbial apple.

 

As a maturing Christian, I am discovering I have fewer excuses as everything is being stripped away.  I can’t turn to the world for support, I can’t turn to my old vices, I can’t turn to work, I can’t run away fast enough, I can’t lose enough weight, I can’t even write enough; another lesson I’ve learned these past two weeks. I can’t even get on my old pity pot anymore and play the victim. God is successfully stripping it all away and I willingly prayed for it.  I am not enjoying this stage of my journey because I am either being attacked by doubt or I’m having a hard time believing everything  people reference in sermons, articles or books about God and Heaven that seem to push the envelope. Yet others seem to “ooh” and “aah” over what they are reading or hearing from a faucet of never ending prophets.

 

Then I read this in “Tried and Transfigured” by Leonard Ravenhill.

 

At this point I beg you to pause and reflect this startling fact concerning the three men who saw the Transfiguration. These three amazed and amazing disciples, these who where eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty, these who heard of Christ’s glory more than any other of the favored twelve, these who saw these things, who heard and knew the voice of God, who knew by name the visitors from the regions beyond the grave (Moses/Elijah)- it was these men who soon backslid. Mark this fact well, for it is a stern warning. Glorious manifestations of divine power in lofty mountain ranges are not in themselves any guarantee of security against deflection and failure in the spiritual life…….

 

I repeat: These three mean on the Mount had visitors from eternity and more revelation than any other living man. Yet under the final assaults of doubt, they cracked. We have been warned.

 

When I hear people say they are experiencing God in ways I haven’t and it is always confusing to only hear the happy, happy, joy, joy experiences..  I wonder where life kicks in; where did the Power of God show up in a situation and where did that faith bear fruit.  I walk out of my house each day and believe I am on the front lines.  I bring God into all my conversations at work, play, home and with friends.  I struggle at times and I ask God for help through those situations.  I myself have an undeniable list of miracles that I can point to in my life to confirm God’s guiding hand.  But when life throws a curve ball at me or I allow negative feelings to permeate my thoughts, trust me, it is not the truth that dictates my actions in spite of my beliefs.  As I continue to pray I will  at times get something from God but sometimes I am left alone to walk out my faith.  One minute I am thinking about one thing and the next everything opens up in front of me and a deeper understanding is unveiled about a situation. I guess that is why they call it revelation.

 

Case in point, I have been surrounded by people speaking in tongues for years.  I never doubted their faith or whether or not they could or couldn’t speak in tongues yet I didn’t.  I just felt if I pushed the issue I would be faking it so I didn’t try.  Recently God told me I was ready.  I’m fifty-one and this is not my first rodeo.  I was at a prayer meeting and I heard a small voice inside say, “Ask that kid to show you how to pray in tongues.” The “kid” was someone I had never met before.  Utilizing my perfected delay techniques I found myself a couple of hours later unintentionally standing next to him in the kitchen and no words were being spoken. “OK, God,” I said.  I looked over at the kid and said, “God told me to ask you if you would show me how to pray in tongues” and he said, “Let’s go outside.” 

 

I was always willing and simply waited for God with a humble heart.  I did not have to force it.  You know what the funny part of all of this was?  A few days later, my next teaching that I would have read was about how to speak in tongues if you don’t. This was from the gentleman I no longer follow due to the doctrine he supports. This is my point, for years, I waited and it came.  If you are impatient for God’s revelation, there are many people out there willing to give you a revelation regardless of whether or not you’re ready for it or its release into you lines up with God’s timing.  I was fortunate that a part of the Trinity interceded before I went down that path of the teaching and followed Holy Spirit.  I had to laugh when I heard a voice inside say, “You didn’t need him to show you that.”  God always gives you a way out!!!  So let’s go reference the book quote above; Adam and Eve turned from God in the midst of Him..  They walked with God yet Satan was able to convince them they weren’t satisfied with what they had and they should have MORE.

 

When I spoke in tongues, at the prompting of the Father, it started this current leg of my journey with my writings.  (Note: this is a revelation I am receiving as I am writing this to you. I am also repenting for not seeing how the gifts of tongues unlocked my gift of the pen for you today. I have lived in spiritual doubt for two weeks and have felt isolated, but now I see.  I am sensing a joy in my heart, Hallelujah!)

 

From this place, I have seen and been able to uncover false teachings, erred beliefs as well as discover that the person I was listening to at that time had a belief system that was contrary to what I read in the Bible.  With that knowledge I politely cut ties without regret. He did not pass the “Holy Spirit test”.

 

Where would I be right now if I had not obeyed God at that moment ???   Is it possible the teaching I would have heard concerning tongues would have been my apple? It is not a hard bridge to cross if other parts of this man’s teaching are founded under doctrine that is rebellious to God not to mention his views of the covenant with Israel.  It must have been important for God to point this out to me.

 

From the spiritual gift the Word of God was confirmed!!!!

 

When it comes to what I want God to show me or experience, most of the time it just hasn’t happened yet.  I pray, meditate and wait.  However, as I look back on my life I have seen a number of “God moments”.   Most of the time, it was when I was at a place of surrender and demonstrating a deep sense of humility while waiting for God. I could be digging a hole in the ground praying and talking with God, and BAM!  Just moments before this revelation hit me, I asked God, “What do You want me to write about?”  I have been writing in circles for over two weeks and this is where we truly begin.

 

I reviewed the notes I had been keeping about the thirteenth chapter  of the books of the Bible. I  was alarmed by the fact that out of the twenty-seven books with a chapter thirteen, seven  discussed issues surrounding false prophets,  nine discussed dire consequences and warnings for those who showed a lack of reverence, demonstrated spiritual pride, outright disobedience, idol worship, judgment, unrepentant sin or failure to turn to God. Two chapters discussed what the end of the world would be like. That is over half and it’s not just in the Old Testament.  Think about that for a minute!  When God says it once it means something, but this many times.  This is bigger than a 2×4 up side my head.

 

This little journey started when I listened to a Kenyan minister talk about how the number thirteen was a gateway and Jesus is represented by that number.  The next day after hearing this, right before I took communion, I heard a small voice say, “Read the thirteenth chapters in the books of the Bible.”  Most interpretations of this number form around an ill-omen of some sort.  The first time the number “13” is brought up is in Genesis 14:4; “In the thirteen year they rebelled”.

 

Now let’s think about this: Jesus is the answer to our rebellious heart is He not?  I have been in constant discussion through prayer with the Father trying to make sense of it all resulting in many revisions to this writing.  So, as I was wrestling with my thoughts, I read this right before I went to bed:

 

“Whenever the Bible holds out rewarding promise either for this life or the next, it is a delightful book to us.  But when it touches on the body or on that manner of life that would mark us as daring to differ from the status quo in Christian circles, we say that the Bible needs interpretation.”-Leonard Ravenhill

 

I was having a difficult time with it at first.  Why?  Thanks for asking.  If we all read these verses and hear a statement like the one above, we’d all nod our heads.  But I will wager that if you are like me, we have opened ourselves to many interpretations we should have questioned long before we made a departurebecause we wanted it to be true.  Look at the people you listen to. You want to believe they all have sincere hearts – and they may, I can’t question that.  However, why is it that when we hear about some scandal or falling out, we say we never knew? Surprise!!!!  By now, shouldn’t we know?

 

If you think back, can you ever recall sensing that something just wasn’t right?  It seemed everyone around you was pressing forward only to find out later what you were “sensing” was correct?  Sadly, you went along with it anyway, because you wanted it to be true.  I will be the first to raise my hand!  In the Name of Jesus you want to believe in your heart of hearts that your faith is not tainted and you want to believe you’d know if you were being sold a bag of rocks.  I know I do.  A little leaven goes a long way.  If you’re exposing yourself to something and get a slight tug in your spirit, you should be asking God for clarification.  Once received, refuse what doesn’t line up with His truth and act on what He reveals!  You can’t cry ignorance anymore.

 

If I am mature in my walk I must ensure that my discerning eye will not be drawn away by Satan or his minions.  I must always test things and see if they pass the Holy Spirit test.  I have an obligation not to hide from truth and always turn to God no matter the cost.

 

If you are listening to someone and say, “I wish I could do that” and then you run out to get all the books and CD’s on that spiritual topic to learn how to do it – HALT!!!! Ask God if this is the path He wants for you or is it something you want to be true?  Remember what Jesus said to one of His disciples who was a bit jealous of one of the others,  “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” John 21:22.

 

Rarely heard are sermons that speak of the dire consequences of idolatry, sexual sin, blasphemy, heresy, apostasy and gnosticism.  This is an important part of making disciples for all nations, which Jesus explained.  Today, we hear teachings and sermons based on third party texts, unsubstantiated revelation being used as the basis for new interpretations that push the envelope.  There is just enough truth cluttered with just enough facts to keep many engaged.  From my viewpoint, it is enough to meditate and wait for the Father in your secret place, as it was written for us to do, allowing Him to reveal Himself.  People are still chasing people and conferences wanting to hear what someone else said God said to them and what they are doing in their walk and how they engage God.  If more people listened to God in their own heart, the world would be a different place.  If you dare question what has been said, what I hear is this, “As long as we have the love of Christ in our heart we will all be OK.”  I usually interpret that to mean, “As long as I love Christ, I can do what I want within reason and I will be OK.”

 

This begs the question, “Would you bet your salvation on it?”  Did Jesus really mean we could do more things than He did?  How will that happen, under the direction of Holy Spirit or under our own direction?  Knowing how we humans never get it right EVER, I would have to say the answer is under the direction of Holy Spirit as Holy Spirit seems fit.  Impatience in the area of waiting on God is no different than a craving for a drug.  We want what we want.  Impatience and immaturity in our spiritual walk will propel too many to follow teachings they may not be ready for.  On your journey, the enemy will make sure there is an apple waiting for you to notice, pick up and admire for its beauty.  Look, wanting to be closer to God is not permission to accelerate your use of spiritual gifts and gain experiences under the wrong pretense.  This is my point in all of this.

 

When someone espouses newly defined Christian practices saying they’ve been there all along and are available to all of us; we just didn’t have the revelation surrounding them, I believe we are being sold the same “new age” philosophy with a different wrapper.  We are seeing once again an emphasis on spiritual experience over obedience. 

 

From obedience comes the experience, not the reverse.  I am only saying what Christ said.  He said He did what the Father told Him.  When these types of questions are brought out into the light from non progressive teachers, they are characterized as, unloving, phobic of everything, judgmental, afraid to embrace the spiritual world that Jesus said we could enter; they are under the influence of a religious spirit and, last but not least, they’re un-cool.  (Please refer to second quote). 

 

Hebrews13:9 “Don’t be lured away from him by the latest speculations about him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life. Products named after Christ don’t seem to do much for those who buy them.” (Message)

 

The truth is that loving Jesus is not all that matters.  While love is truly a call to arms by the Father, it is obvious that while demonstrating love, one must be careful not to take liberty with it using it as an excuse not to embrace the entire definition.  Jesus, while walking out His ministry, demonstrated a disdain to those who did not honor the Father’s house and violently threw them out.  I am sure the people in the market loved God, but wanted to take advantage of the synagogue’s central location.  Hmmm…..  Jesus hated irreverence (He had a holy anger) and was not afraid to demonstrate or warn us about it. At the same time, He welcomed those whose heart was yearning for the truth.  If you’ll notice, after every encounter with someone, Jesus gave them direction after He spoke to them. He never said “go and do what ever you want, just love Me.” No!  He gave them a choice to be obedient. 

 

If Jesus warned people what would happen through parables, (warnings and woe’s), why is not OK for us to do it today?  Why are so many afraid to challenge the untruth people are listening to about God in today’s world?  Do you believe it is easier to stay silent and believe you’re acting out of love by not confronting sin?  Are you timid in bringing something to someone’s attention for fear of rejection or scarring them away?  If you do then what faith do you have for Holy Spirit to bring them the rest of the way?  We must love and judge to bring about life.   How many times in your life were you prompted by Holy Spirit to call something out in someone’s life, you didn’t do it and then regretted it?  What’s wrong with being scared to righteousness at times to get your attention?  Is Jesus, the apostles, prophets and preachers the only ones qualified to do it? 

 

As a parent, how many times did you warn your children not to do this or that with a threat of consequences? You felt you had a responsibility as a parent to point those things out.  Why is this different? As adults are we all of a sudden graduates in life. Have we created a mindset that says you can’t warn adults anymore because we’re all on our own path to God?  Think back to when you were a child and visited your grandparents.  Most us ran around and frolicked about, but there were always places that were off limits. I don’t know about you, but I was told if I trepassed those limits I would get punished.  Am I making the point?

 

My wife says, “Don’t tell me you love me; show me!!”  I can tell her I love her but then spend all day doing what I want to do.  I can go here and there, run errands, go watch a game, go hiking and THEN expect her to be at my beckon call when I am done running around.  When I behave this way, I am not showing her any honor or respect.  What I am really telling her is, “When I’m ready, be there for me……….”  This is what is starting to happen in our Christian walks I am afraid, please I welcome your challenge on this.

 

I always have to go back to Esther.  She was intimate with the King, she was his favorite wife.  She had the inside track to this man, but when the rubber met the road, she had to follow protocol and give the King the respect he was due.  No question about it.  If she didn’t, she was subject to death.

 

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 

2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.”

 

Patience and protocol is what I believe is missing with the majority of the teachings that are coming our way. We all want to experience the Trinity and pray that Heaven will be opened up to us in our lifetime, not just when we die.  We need to be patient.  Do we ever consider that not waiting on God is disrespectful and irreverent?  We have been told how to approach God, but unfortunately it might be too simple to simply grasp.

 

Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God.” ESV

“Cease striving and know that I am God.” NASB

 

God has demonstrated that He can, and will, open Heaven to us.  Grace will come down.  God walked in Eden, God split the clouds at Jesus’ baptism and spoke.  He was a pillar of fire during the Exodus, He was a cloud that engulfed them on Mt. Sinai and when people experienced the Glory of God, or Jesus, they fell on their faces.  God is with us, make no mistake.

 

The transfiguration confirmed that Jesus was the Son of God.  God blessed Him and there were five witnesses.  Then God said, “Listen to Him.”  Jesus was, and is, the way.  You would think that after their experiences Peter, James and Paul would get it right, but they didn’t.  With all the knowledge and personal experience we dream of having, Peter still denied Jesus.  Please tell me how different we really are. With all the knowledge and experience I possess, I proved I wasn’t any different these past two weeks, 

 

Is your impatience a means to an end to satisfy you spiritual desires or is your impatience a way God can mature you in order to position you in a place where you’re ready for more?    God has His reasons why things are not revealed all at once.  As the great theologian Jack Nicholson said in the movie, “A Few Good Men”, “You can’t handle the (whole) truth!” emphasis mine.

 

We have a growing number of Christians who are teaching about, and searching for, spiritual knowledge and revelation without discussing how to reverently approach God and His Kingdom for the most part.  Many talk about exploring Heaven because the Bible said we can and I believe we can.  However, it is not a means to and end. We are still here on earth with a mission.  How does the phrase go, “you can be so Heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good.”  Go back to my first and second quote.

 

There are different areas in the heavenly realms that have heavenly angels moving about but also powers and principalities. If you are not in the right frame of mind and want all of this to be true for you right now, if it’s not your time, Satan will make sure to hold out the apple.  It is your decision to pick it up and bite. 

 

And for those that refer to Enoch often in their teachings, he warned us about right doing Messengers and wrong doing Messengers in the context of Angels and Fallen Angels. This is what he said of certain men:

 

“And I know this mystery, that wrong-doers will twist and pervert the words of right doing in many ways, and will speak wicked words, and lie and practice great deceits and write books concerning  their  words.   Enoch 104- Book of Enoch, Timothy Sakach, PhD.

 

Two weeks ago I asked, “Whose word are you standing on?”  Today I ask, “Who are you listening to and do you want it to be true?”

 

So what’s the problem?  Impatience – God’s timing vs. yours.

 

I used to joke that there were three versions of time.  My timing, what I thought was God’s timing (patient to a point), and God’s timing. There was a big difference between the first thought and last one.

 

Well I don’t want to leave you with a poke in the eye, so let me share what happened last night.  We decided to go visit about two-hundred people I didn’t know. They packed themselves into a small chapel with plain wooden benches that had no backs just to see a few people I did know.  Everyone there had a desire to strengthen their walk with Jesus.  At one point in the evening, after a short word and communion, we all stood in a circle about five deep facing each other.  We were led in worship without a PA system singing an old Gospel tune praising God with every breath we took.  I was so overwhelmed with joy at the sight I was witnessing.  It was something you could not ignore.  There was no doubt that Heaven was open above us and God’s Grace fell down upon us.  The sound that filled the room was like a choir of angels. There were many people weeping with joy.  My heart burned as well and, for a brief moment, I wept too.  It was so beautiful hearing everyone worship God in unison on Earth as it is in Heaven, the way it was meant to be.  It made me wonder if we are complicating things.

 

Be still and know that He is God, and tell me what happens.

 

I love you Father, Hallelujah Amen. 

1 thought on “What’s the Problem?

  1. “God will work when He pleases, how He pleases, and by what means He pleases. He is not bound to keep our time, but He will perform His word, honor our faith, and reward them that diligently seek Him.”
    Raymond R. Begin

    Like

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