Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Have You Amazed the World Today?

I have been in LOTS of prayer and meditation, because I'm tired of fighting with "church folk." I'm tired of trying to prove myself in God, or as my Pastor says, vindicate my anointing. Everything done for the Kingdom seems to be questioned. So many in the Body have lost the focus of ministry to the point they believe ridicule and discouragement is actually of God. We have come to a point where those trying to live for God are constantly attacked while sin continues to run rampant.

I need to encourage those who are under attack by the very ones they walk with. God is calling us to remember THE CALL and the PURPOSE for your life and ministry. We are called, first, to worship the Father - to walk in obedience to Him and follow ALL His commandments. As a Body, we are assigned to sharpen and edify one another. We are called to correct in love and strengthen one another. We are to encourage one another in unity and GET A WORK DONE. Many have forgotten the BIG PICTURE, the greater work and the GREAT COMMISSION.

Yes, we all have a specific call, but God wants to remind us of the unified call on all His people - the ministry of reconciliation. We are all summoned to follow that which Jesus taught.

The truth of the matter is this - signs and wonders have ceased, because we are too busy trying to impress one another and trying to prove ourselves in the Church. The greater challenge and the greater work has been abandoned, because the people of God do not walk in unity and power. We as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are called to edify the Body of Christ and bring us into the unity of the knowledge of Christ. Why? - So that others will be drawn and also taught. When the church operates as it should, souls are added (Acts 2, 11) with TRUE repentace. The world is drawn AND CHANGED.

Matt 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matt 5:15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence {and} your praiseworthy, noble, {and} good deeds and recognize {and} honor {and} praise {and} glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

The church is a place of worship and training. Many who operate in ministry are called to the Body of Christ, but we are ALL called to be the light of the WORLD, not just our own churches or spheres of influence. Have we forgotten that this is how souls are drawn into the Kingdom? The Word tells us the men will glorify the Father when they see Him working in us through our "good works." The signs and wonders, the godly love, the longsuffering and character is needed to draw men into the Kingdom. We don't need the gimics and the compromise with the world - we need to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. We need to stand out in the world.

How many of us preach in service, but pick fights at the grocery store? How many shout during worship service, but curse out the person who parks in our spot at Wal-Mart? In worship, in the presence of God - this is the time to be naked and to deal with YOU. In the world, you are to be sent as an ambassador. In the world, the gifts of the Spirit should rise the more. Where is the patience? Where is the kindness and meekness? Where is the longsuffering? You're faithful to choir rehearsal, but what about the job? You give money to help pay the building fund, but refuse to pay the debt YOU OWE on the credit cards. Where is the integrity?

Just a nugget - God told me that bad credit indicates nothing more than robbery. OUCH! So often, we in the church fool ourselves into thinking that we can run up debt and not pay it because we are children of God. Not so. The God I serve is big enough to release me from debt WITHOUT ROBBING FROM SOMEONE ELSE. Can we just get real and get delivered???!!! Hmmm...

After we've argued in church... after we've fought our husbands and wives... after we've searched the Scriptures and given great dissertations... after we've convinced everyone in the church that we are right, who in the world has been astonished? Who in the world has been drawn?

Acts 8:9 But there was a man named Simon, who had formerly practiced magic arts in the city to the utter amazement of the Samaritan nation, claiming that he himself was an extraordinary {and} distinguished person.
Acts 8:10 They all paid earnest attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that exhibition of the power of God which is called great (intense).
Acts 8:11 And they were attentive {and} made much of him, because for a long time he had amazed {and} bewildered {and} dazzled them with his skill in magic arts.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed the good news (the Gospel) about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) as Philip preached it, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 8:13 Even Simon himself believed [he adhered to, trusted in, and relied on the teaching of Philip], and after being baptized, devoted himself constantly to him. And seeing signs {and} miracles of great power which were being performed, he was utterly amazed.

The world needs to see the signs and wonders of God's people. However, they will never come until we focus on the Father. The Father reminded me of something that happened to me two years ago. I was on a job and had to have a meeting with a psychic. When I met the woman, she recognized that I was a prophet, and was fearful. She began to confess her sins and admitted that she could "feel" God in me. Though she was not living a holy life, she paid respect to God's presence within me, and had godly fear. I remember leaving her home that day asking God how she could recognize something that many "saints" didn't see? How could her discernment be greater than that of others in ministry?

As I was reminded of that, I have been encouraged. Just as Simon did, the world (even when operating in power) should have a fear and reverence for the presence of God within us. WE SHOULD BE DIFFERENT. We should walk in enough power to draw the world's wonders to repentance. We should be able to stand beside a magician and do greater wonders. We should be able to heal more effectively than the witch doctors. Many are turning to New Age beliefs, occults and the occult because we, the Church, have not been salt of the earth. We have become the salt of our own churches, our own families and our own neighborhoods only. Why? Selfishness. We enjoy the pats on the back. We appreciate the accolades. It's so easy to please those in the church and argue with them, but it's a difficult thing to completely rely on God to show up. Faith in the midst of the enemy requires a greater faith than what's required in the midst of friends. Was this not the very point Satan tried to prove to God during his testing of Job?

Acts 8:18 However, when Simon saw that the [Holy] Spirit was imparted through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he brought money {and} offered it to them,
Acts 8:19 Saying, Grant me also this power {and} authority, in order that anyone on whom I place my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:20 But Peter said to him, Destruction overtake your money and you, because you imagined you could obtain the [free] gift of God with money!
Acts 8:21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is all wrong in God's sight [it is not straightforward or right or true before God].
Acts 8:22 So repent of this depravity {and} wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this contriving thought {and} purpose of your heart may be removed {and} disregarded {and} forgiven you.
Acts 8:23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in a bond forged by iniquity [to fetter souls].
Acts 8:24 And Simon answered, Pray for me [beseech the Lord, both of you], that nothing of what you have said may befall me!

Are we ready to get past preaching to the same people over and over again, and seeing false deliverance after false deliverance? I believe there are some still causing the world to say, "What must I do to be saved?" There should be some seeking to offer whatever it takes to have relationship with the God we serve. People should be seeking us for refuge. The Word of God is true, so if the world is not being drawn to the Father, we are not operating as the light of the world.

Perhaps too many of us look like the world to draw them... Perhaps we have abandoned the works God called us to do, so the world feels as comfortable in the church as they do outside... Where is the distinction? Where is the power?

Matt 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matt 10:7 And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand!
Matt 10:8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.

Even in ministering to the lost INSIDE GOD's HOUSE (lost sheep of Israel), signs and wonders are essential and COMMANDED of those in ministry.

So much word is going forth, but God's people are not being sharpened and edified. The growth is not coming forth. We must take inventory. Why are we not operating in authority and power? Why is "church service" not producing the fruit that it should? Why has the world lost reverence for people of God? Where has our power gone?

Have you shocked the world today? How many of us can think of a psychic that speaks more life than the prophets we know? How many of us can think of a tarot card reader that predicts with better accuracy? How many of us know soothsayers and witch doctors that have raised people from the dead, but don't know of a saint with the faith and power to do the same? How many of us know sinners that are more kind and benevolent than the church members? How many of us know people in the world who are more humble and willing to help someone in need?

Luke 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the foul spirit of a demon; and he cried out with a loud (deep, terrible) cry,
Luke 4:34 Ah, {let us alone!} What have You to do with us [What have we in common], Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are--the Holy One of God!

Does the enemy know your name? Does the world have reverent fear of you? It's a blessing when those who don't agree with you, those who don't like you and even those who don't live holy still reverance the God in you.

Matt 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.
Matt 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matt 5:15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence {and} your praiseworthy, noble, {and} good deeds and recognize {and} honor {and} praise {and} glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Yes, the world will hate us, but we are still their salt and light, and we should NOT be hidden. Who have you amazed in the world today?

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