Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Whatever You Do, Do For the Glory of God!

Crisis: a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

I must confess that when I first heard the word crisis I assumed something bad.  I learned that a crisis in and of itself is not evil. Everything that has happened and will happen is within the perimeter of God’s divine, perfect, and eternal wisdom. What determines whether a crisis is good or evil is what you do with it; how you use that crisis is determined by the influencing spirit. Unless we see God’s wisdom in every crisis that He brings us into, we will never see Christ, because CHRIST IS WISDOM.  

During my last visit to Haiti, Pastor Ezekiel and I were on our way to visit various orphanages to conduct Bible studies for the youth that had received the Bibles we sent. When we came to a bridge we had to cross, it was down.  Someone had removed the bolts supporting the bridge in order to sell them; this gives you an idea of the economic state of the country.  We had to drive through the river, but Pastor Ezekiel was very hesitant about crossing. I told him God knew what was ahead for us that day and he hadn’t brought us this far to turn back.  There is one thing I have learned about our heavenly Father, he does not go halfway and neither should we.  We crossed the river to the other side only to confront another test. Cars were backed up trying to get out of the village onto the main road.  Men were blocking the road with a tree trunk forcing travelers to pay to cross.  As we got on to the main road I knew it was another teaching moment. I told Brother Ezekiel, “The world will take a crisis, man-made or not, for their own benefit to push their own agenda.” A few years ago a politician said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”  As the Holy Spirit brought that quote to my memory I heard Him say, “A crisis can be used for good or evil.”  We must conclude that self driven agenda’s are part of human nature which have been corrupted by the fall and can only produce evil. When we turn to the Lord with all our heart and receive His sacrifice on the cross we have a new nature.  II Peter 1:3-4 reads, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises so that through them you may participate in the Divine Nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

I am asking the Lord to help you understand what you’re reading because it’s not how much we read that’s important, but the understanding we get from what we read. Don’t forget what we are discussing, ‘CRISIS’.

The first crisis recorded is in Genesis 1:1-2 which reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”  Take a moment and marvel at WISDOM on display.  Here is something we must never forget, ‘God is the beginning, and the end is God’.  By definition wisdom is the power of discerning and judging properly what is true and right; having the ability to use knowledge with understanding.  Proverbs 8:22-30 reads, “The Lord brought me forth as the first of His works, before His deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity from the beginning, before the world began when there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before He made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world.  I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep when He gave the sea its boundary, so the water would not overstep His command, and when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was the craftsman at His side, I was filled with delight day after day rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind.”  After reading these scriptures it becomes clear that another realm is in control; the spiritual realm of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Spirit of God will reveal to our hearts the wisdom of God in creating a crisis in His universe.

We know the story in Genesis of Joseph and his brothers and how his brothers hated him.  They were jealous of the tremendous love their father Jacob had for him.  When the opportunity presented itself they sold Joseph to traveling Ishmaelites.  Next we see him being sold again in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. Reading the complete story, you will note other events that happen to Joseph which to the natural man seem evil and cruel.  We see God’s wisdom all through the story.  Most important to note is that God’s wisdom was in each crisis that Joseph was brought into; the hand of God working in Joseph through each crisis.  We can read the story of Joseph’s life in thirty minutes or less; therein lays the problem. If we read too quickly we overlook the fact that many years pass between the crucial turning points in his life; there was something God was working towards. Note the phrase in Genesis 39:2, “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.” God prospered Joseph as Potiphar’s right hand man but when he was put in prison God continued to prosper and give him favor.  Prosper is a word the church has confused with wealth, some of the words in the dictionary to describe prosper are: to succeed, thrive, grow, etc. vigorously. God prospered Joseph with wisdom and favor.  Colossians 3:1-4 says, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthy things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory.” I am sure the Holy Spirit will bring many more similar scriptures to your memory.  Genesis 41:39-40 says, “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders, only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’“  Unless we see God’s wisdom in every crisis, we will never see Christ, because CHRIST IS WISDOM. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  With natural vision we would ask, where was God? After reading Joseph’s statement it becomes obvious God’s eternal wisdom was in total control. Here is a warning to the Body of Christ! We must be very careful how we view crisis when it happens to us personally, to a member of the Body of Christ, or anyone.  Joseph’s brothers sold him to get gain for themselves, but God used it for His Glory in bringing Joseph, his family and their servants into the blessing of His Glory and Wisdom. How important to have a discerning heart so as not to be deceived and influenced by a wrong spirit.
Look at the cross and see the wisdom of God in Christ.  God did not first think about our redemption when Adam fell from his position in God’s grace. Redemption was included IN the wisdom of God.  In the book of Acts 2:22-24 Peter says, “Men of  Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.  This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.”  Once again we see how God in His divine eternal wisdom was in control of His Son’s death; using His chosen Jewish family who had rejected Him to fulfill His purpose.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul writes to us in I Corinthians 1:22-24, “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greek’s look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.  But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  Paul is letting them know that what he is preaching did not come through human intellect nor did it come through the wisdom of man.  What he is preaching is a person, Jesus Christ revealed in him and expressing Christ through him in every crisis he went through.  Colossians 1:15-16 reads, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation, for by Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by Him and for Him.”  The wisdom that created all things is in us and that wisdom in us has a purpose.  I Corinthians 2:7 reads, “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our Glory before time began.”

Our Lord came into this hostile world with only one all inclusive purpose and that was to glorify the Father.  Jesus said to Phillip in John 14:9-14, “Don’t you know me, Phillip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, show us the Father? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father living in me, who is doing His work.” We have a destiny in God’s kingdom.  When we take every circumstance, trial or crisis and use it to glorify our Lord, we are glorifying the Father.  John 1:4, 5 says, “In Him was Life, and that Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

Have you heard God’s people say ‘we are going to rule and reign with Christ’?  I ask you how can anyone rule and reign if he has not seen the King or His Kingdom.  The early church saw Him and His Kingdom, they had clear spiritual vision.   Today Christianity has so many things hindering spiritual growth.  Man appointed spiritual leaders have brought their traditions, false teaching, self centered Christianity; only looking out for number one.  This is completely the opposite of how our Lord lived and taught.  Jesus taught if we are going to be His disciples we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him; this is still for today.  If we honestly believe what scripture says in I Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a Holy Nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”  We must listen as he speaks in Isaiah 57:14-15, “Build up, build up, and prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people. For this is what the high and lofty one says – He who lives forever, whose name is Holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with Him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 43:6, 7 reads, “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.”

Jeremiah 22:13-16 gives us a warning, “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor. He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.  So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red. “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?” Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.  He defended the cause of the poor and needy and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know Me?” declares the Lord.”

I close with two scriptures;  Isaiah 9:6 declares, “A child is born, a son is given.”  Revelation 1:6, a King is made. Selah!
John Casarez