Saturday, March 16, 2013

Show Thyself

 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” I Kings 17: I

The letters I write are written to the Church, the body of Christ, not a particular movement or denomination. It’s important for us to hear from God and keep His message simple. The purpose of God’s Word is to transform and expand our minds to enter into the liberty of the Spirit of the Word.  Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Truth will set us free from any type of religious bondage or doubt and unbelief. 

Look around and see the darkness that has covered the earth including much of the Church. God is continually raising up those of us who recognize the spiritual state of the Church and long to do something about it. He is taking the longings of our hearts and setting us aside preparing us in His secret place. As we enter into the secret place of God He begins to train us in our everyday lives. I speak from the training the Lord has brought to my life.

I had a desire to go to a bible institute when God first called me 30 years ago. After days of prayer I understood that the Holy Spirit would lead me into all Truth and I was not to attend a bible institute.  Therefore, these letters come from the depths of my heart shaped by moments of solitude with our Heavenly Father.   During moments of solitude, Truth is able to deal with any ignorance, spiritual limitations and weaknesses in us.   A true minister should be able to declare as the Apostle Paul did in 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Understanding the process of God is important. 

As I minister in different countries I often hear ‘man of God,’ thrown around so flippantly; I feel a strong need to address this. If we are going to use that title, let’s go to scripture and see who is a ‘man of God’ so we don’t use it carelessly. Let’s return to the Old Testament where consistent principles are at work. During Solomon’s reign the priests were keeping their religious duties and the people lived in peace. When he died, his son Rehoboam began to reign. An uprising occurred in the people and Israel became two kingdoms; Israel and Judah. In I Kings we read about the spiritual state of Israel and Elijah’s appearance on the scene. 1 Kings 16:29 reads, “In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years.”  These were desperate times as the kingdom was in a steady decline while doing evil in the site of God.  I Kings 16:30 reads, “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.” To make matters worse Jezebel, a daughter of an uncircumcised king, marries Ahab and they are both sitting on the throne that at one time belonged to King David who reigned in power and authority.  As we read about Ahab and Jezebel’s twenty two years of evil there is no mention of Elijah.   Elijah is being kept in the secret place of God in training.   In the New Testament the Holy Spirit reveals to us Elijah’s life before he presents himself to King Ahab.  James 5:17 reads, “Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.”  Elijah was in the secret training of God in the midst of darkness.   It’s important to understand unless you’ve been trained in God’s secret place; your public ministry/service will be like a super structure whose foundation is weak; or a large tree with plush branches whose shallow roots in the midst of a storm are unable to keep it from toppling over.  God will use you if you have pleasure being in His secret place. It is in solitude that we come to know the mind of God as stated in Psalm 25:14, “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” Amos 3:7 reads, “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”


 It’s important to understand unless you’ve been trained in God’s secret place, your public ministry/service will be like a super structure whose foundation is weak; or a large tree with plush branches whose shallow roots in the midst of a storm are unable to keep it from toppling over.

Confusion is overtaking the land while we struggle with our identity, not knowing who we are in Christ Jesus.  God is not at fault; we’re the ones who walk away and find comfort in this world even though Jesus said in John 17:16, “They are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.”  However, God is calling us back to Him.   God does not take issue with your intelligence, your ignorance, your wealth or your poverty.  He has you on His heart and He will not leave any one of His children behind as stated in Ephesians 5:25, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Knowing this should bring much comfort and strength to our own hearts.  Christ is forever interceding for us as our High Priest. Exodus 28:21 – 29 gives a similitude of the twelve tribe’s names engraved on precious stone on the breastplate over the priest’s heart, meaning we are always on God’s heart.  Grace and mercy are abundant in the midst of an oppressed people. Oppression comes when God’s people turn from looking to him and depend on the resources of this world and government for their lives, not realizing that the spirit of the antichrist is in control of the world system. God will use you just like He used Elijah to bring light into the Kingdom of God.  Perhaps you are thinking you’re not an Elijah or Elisha with a mission.  But, we all have a mission as recorded in John 17:18, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” You are getting to know the one who is sending you as He deals with you in His secret place.  He will speak to you; not in the thunder or fire, but in a still small voice where the Holy Spirit directly guides you.  Elijah stood before evil King Ahab and spoke, I Kings 17: I; “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” In some versions of the Bible it reads, “before whom I stand”. What does it mean “to stand”? It means to be ready for your Lord’s bidding. You are waiting for His will to be expressed.  It’s not merely walking before Him or running about always restless to busy yourself with His service. Standing is ready to listen to His Word, waiting for His direction. Elijah is declaring judgment on God’s covenant people who had turned to other gods and worshipped them.  The anger of the Lord burned against them and this was an earlier warning by God recorded in Deuteronomy 11:16-17, “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.   Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you.” Remember God is love – but also just. Isaiah 55:11 reads, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Here is a man who was set aside while God was building his character.  Character will always reveal your position with God.  He stood before God waiting and waiting; praying before the God he served.  Is it possible to serve a God that you do not know?   How can you know the mind of God if you do not spend time with him?  So many ministers rise to the top only to shine for a few moments, and then die out.  The man of God stands before Him and is being trained in the secret place.   Ministry formed in the secret place speaks the word of God and not the opinions of man; ministry formed in the secret place will last forever.  II Timothy 3:16, 17; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” My prayer is that you see the DivineDiscipline at work in the ‘man of God.’

I Kings 17:2 says, “Then the word came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.” God is very clear with His instructions, never letting us second guess them. Elijah is very obedient to the Word of the Lord. He never questions or argues, but follows the directions of the God he serves. He leaves his public ministry and enters into dependence on all mighty God; living only from the brook, and the bread and meat the ravens brought him.  He’s spiritually living off the Word that came to him.  A servant listens and obeys without questioning. We must count the cost even as our Lord did and submit to God’s direction.  Separate yourself, get away from the public;   trust and believe what He says and allow His word to manifest itself.  Paul said we die daily; every day we’re like sheep led to the slaughter. Death works in us but life in you.  Understand this process.

Ministers today speak with shallow words and bring confusion into the Body of Christ.   Much of the church can’t discern the spirit behind their words.   God is bringing forth his true ministers who are not interested in titles, positions or exposure and will not bring confusion. God knows the time to bring you forth.

The Holy Spirit has stopped me here, but there is much more that He will reveal to us as we listen and obey. Amen!