Monday, December 21, 2015

Why ME God?

Until you and I receive a clear understanding of the greatness of our Lord Jesus, we will never see what we have been chosen and called to. When God reveals His purpose to us, He does not give it all at once.  It will come according to the grace and sovereignty of God.  All through history we see this.  In the book of I Samuel 13:14 (NIV), after Samuel rebukes Saul for not keeping the Lord’s commandments, Samuel says in V. 14, “But now your kingdom will not endure;  the Lord has sought out a man after His own Heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lords command.”  Read II Chronicles 16:9 (NIV) when again the King of Judah is rebuked for trusting in man and not in God.  Hanani, the seer, says to him in V. 9, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him...”  Several words come to mind in these scriptures; devoted, faithful, committed and determined. This is what God sees in every chosen vessel. This is exactly what He received from His only begotten Son Jesus Christ and what He expects from us if He is going to use us to fulfill His purpose for His Son.

Let’s return to John 15:16 (NIV) where Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you...”    As we continue you will understand what I Samuel 13:14 and II Chronicles 16:9 have in common with John 15:16.  When I read ‘I Chose You’ two questions arise; when did you choose me and why did you choose me Lord?  I know that John 15:16 continues with “and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.”  Some ministers use that portion as an evangelistic message.  They are not wrong. However reading it in context, Jesus is talking about Himself being the true vine and we are the branches and God is the husbandman.  I see a whole different picture. The Lord is saying, I chose you to be an extension of ME.  It is important to note that Jesus and His chosen ones have just left the room where they took the bread and wine and Jesus spoke to them in seclusion in a more intimate way.  This reveals that there are times when God will speak to us in a more intimate way in the privacy of our hearts.   As He takes them out, and they walk along there are two things that He is doing.  One, He is preparing His disciples for after His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.  Second, He is fulfilling prophecy. Isaiah 43:4-8 (NIV) reads, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, and nations in exchange for your life.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back’. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth -  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.  Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.”  Habakkuk 2:14 (NIV) reads, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”  By these two prophecies and many more, we can see that being chosen by God involves more than attending church. 

I remember the dream I had over thirty years ago where I saw the glory of the Lord and these words came forth from that glory, “If you seek me, you will find me, and you will grow in me.”  These words are still working in me; they led me to the point where I not only receive but also understand what God’s Ultimate Intention is producing in us.  God spoke those words to me in that dream shortly after I had given my life to Him. Taken by those words and giving myself to study His word, I came to the Book of Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NIV), “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, “declares the Lord...”  Our God will never lead us astray and the Holy Spirit will not work in us outside of God’s Word. 

God is always testing our hearts because He chose us to be His companions.  This is where we enter into the why He chose us.  The word companion is full of meaning; getting the right meaning will result in absolute satisfaction both to you and to God who chose you. To begin our understanding of this word companion let us look at Hebrews 3:1 (KJV), “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling...”  Hebrews 3:14 (KJV) reads, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” The word partakers can also mean companions. Luke 5:7 (KJV) "So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them..."The word used in Luke is partner which has the same meaning as companion.  Companion can mean two persons or more who have taken up a cause, chosen for a specific purpose.  This is something we see throughout scripture.  Abraham, a great servant of God, was devoted and faithful; however the special name given to him was ‘friend of God.’ Isaiah 41:8 (KJV) reads, “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.  God’s description of Moses in Exodus 33:11 (KJV) “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend...” Samuel describes David as “a man after His own heart.”  John 15:14-15 (KJV) reads, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what His lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for ALL THINGS that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”  It becomes clear in these scriptures that there is a unique intimate relationship between the one who chose and the one chosen.  When our Lord came into this world, He chose His disciples and apostles on the basis of companionship.  There was something dear in their relationship with the Lord; it was their companionship with Him.  Luke 22:28 (KJV) reads, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.”  It is important to note that these words make it obvious that a companion continues with you through life’s sufferings. John 15:14 (KJV) reads, “Ye are my friends...” It is very important that we take note of that. God revealed to me several years ago that I was united to Him by the Spirit; that I was one with Christ in the Spirit.  I Corinthians 6:17 (KJV) reads, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.”  Galatians 4:6(KJV) reads, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father.”  This is what John 15 is all about.  This is what the gospel is all about.  This is what the cross of Christ is all about.  This is what His death, burial, resurrection and ascension is all about.  He chose us to be His companions for all eternity.

There is one purpose revealed in the scriptures from Genesis to Revelations. This purpose lies behind every stage of life; it lies behind creation and divine foreknowledge. This purpose lies behind every person God chooses; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Joshua.  It’s behind the Judges, the priesthood, the kingships and the prophets. Throughout the bible and all of creation God has had one purpose in mind and every sovereign move of His is governed by that one purpose   that IN ALL THINGS God has the fullness of His Son in view.  John 1:3 (KJV) reads, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”  Colossians 1:16 (KJV) says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers. ALL THINGS were created by Him, and for Him.”

I must stop here and ask the Holy Spirit to remove anything and everything that obstructs our spiritual vision and impedes our spiritual progress into the fullness of Christ.  There is no other conclusion but that truly this is no small thing He has called us to.  There is no doubt this is a great companionship which was planned before this world was ever created.    Let us look at a few examples in the Old Testament to see important characteristics of companions.  We will look at Gideon first, but to appreciate this chosen vessel, we need to look at the state of God’s people.  Judges 6:1 (NIV) records, “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites.” (V6) “Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.” The first thing to notice is that before God sends deliverance, He exposes their sin.  God is always dealing with our hearts.  God sends a prophet to make clear why they were in misery; why did God do this? They had rebelled against the rule of God. He is teaching them in the land of blessing and privilege the difference between the rule of God and the rule of man.  We must take this to heart, especially here in America, here where we have had the privilege and freedom of gathering together to worship our God and Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that since the beginning of time God set in motion two paths; one of blessing and privilege through obedience and the other of curse and death through disobedience.  I heard someone say ‘God is not through with the United States.’ To this I say it depends on the spiritual state of the church. Israel was called to be a blessing to the nations, so is the church.  We may have forgotten, but God is not dealing with the Midianites yet; He is using them to judge His own people. Selah (Stop and think about it) In the midst of Israel’s misery, we find God’s man of deliverance, Gideon; God’s companion and witness.  God is bringing him into circumstances in which he is to act. This should immediately remind us of Philippians 2:5-9 (NIV), “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Gideon is in the midst of Israel’s misery but notice what he is doing; he is threshing wheat and hiding it from the Midianites.  The angel of the Lord is watching him; what is he observing?  The angel is watching the attitude of Gideon’s heart. He is not angry nor is he murmuring. He took upon himself to alleviate some of the distress of the Israelites. He was concerned for others; the care of his people was on his heart.

When you come to see why God chose you, the Holy Spirit makes the Ultimate Intention of God clearer.  Even the small things that we do which are governed by God’s purpose are noticed by God.  Man may consider the deed insignificant, but God notices.  Let us return to Judges 6:12 (NIV) when the Angel of the Lord says, “The Lord is with you." The angel saw deliverance in the heart of Gideon. God’s love, interest and desire were at work in Gideon whether he knew it or not.  We should never make the mistake of coming into adversity and accuse God of abandoning us.  Two reasons for experiencing adversity: One is ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Two God is putting our trust in Him to the test.   Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) reads, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  Our Lord wants everyone whom He chooses to know that God opens doors, He closes doors, He sets up and pulls down.  Whatever He must do to make us compatible He will do.   Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (NIV) reads, “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?  When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:  God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”   It is so very important to know, understand and accept all that is in the process in making us compatible for our Lord. The following word spoken by Jesus to His disciples greatly anchored my soul, mind and emotions when I was experiencing a trying circumstance.  Luke 6:40 (NIV) reads, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”  When God spoke that in my spirit, the raging storm within me stopped and the peace of God took over.

We all should have a history of our walk with our Lord.  The moment you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and accept Him to be Lord of your life, you enter into the school of Christ.  Hebrews 5:8-9 (NIV) reads, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”  Hebrews 12:3 (NIV) reads, “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” May the precious Holy Spirit encourage, strengthen and establish you in His fullness and for the glory of Jesus Christ.  We will continue this unfolding revelation in our next letter. Amen!

Your Companion in the Heavenly Calling,

John Casarez