WANT TO BE USED BY GOD?

The big first lesson to learn: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  James 4:6 & Proverbs 3:34

God is opposed to the proud — He resists them — but He promotes the humble. Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. If you want to be used by God, one of the essential things you need to do, is to choose to live humbly.

God is in love with process! The process will inevitably involve whatever is necessary to develop our character, repentance will be prominent in the journey. Process gives us the things that are needed to sustain the greatness that God wants in our life. The truth is we never get to be a person who “arrives”!

The trap of pride is one of the big obstacles. It’s easy to think, “I know more than someone else; I have a special relationship with God.”

Image result for picture of Ben Armstrong Director Prophetic Ministries at Bethel

The testimony of Ben Armstrong, Director of Bethel Prophetic Ministries is enlightening in this regard. You can see the whole interview on http://www.krisvallotton.com. The article by Kris prompted this post.

“For me, it was a 14 years process from the dream to actually becoming the Prophetic Ministries Director at Bethel. Whenever we are promoted in a healthy way, it is a combination of two things: the favour of God and the favour of man.

The favour of God can be judged by the fruit of the Spirit. Let me be clear: NOT the gifts of the Spirit but the fruits! Beyond that, the favour of man is two-fold — it lies in both the community you’re leading and the leadership that recognised you.

One thing that I wish I could tell all prophetic people is to fall in love with the process. Realise that if it’s taking longer than you expect to fulfil your destiny, it may be because there is a greater gift that God wants to instil in your life and He is making sure that you will be able to sustain it. So embrace the process and try and get all of the good things that God is trying to teach you in your present season. If you lean in, you will be a lot more mature and a greater resource to the people you are ministering to.

Q: IF THERE WAS ONE THING YOU COULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF ABOUT THE PROPHETIC, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A: Because prophets can see so much of the future, sometimes the trap of pride can take hold in their lives. It’s easy to think, “I know more than someone else; I have a special relationship with God.” Personally, I had to die to a lot of pride. It’s important to anyone who can see the future in people’s lives, and who have a propensity towards the prophetic, to learn patience and to humble ourselves enough to help people navigate the bread crumbs to their future.

Trust me because I did the whole gig where I impressed people with powerful prophetic words, but it never helped promote them into the future. In fact, it was actually an obstacle to their future because it was too big for the moment they were in. I learned through the School of Hard Knocks to give bread crumbs that led people along the path and helped them move to the future without keeping them from the steps that God had in mind for them.”

The practice of keeping our hearts and minds pure, repenting frequently, will help us to run and thrive, to be in the centre of God’s will for our lives!

 

 

CHANGE THE WORLD – POLITICS OR JESUS

Are Australian Christians committing the same sort of errors as our American brethren? Lacking the power of the Lordship of Christ many frustrated believers feel like they must do something to be useful to God in the midst of a dramatic decline of national righteousness. The power of the political sphere is the obvious avenue to bring change, even if Jesus’ Lordship operates in an exactly opposite way to the coercive power of legislation. I foresee the Australian Church losing one political battle after another, all the while being distracted away from her chief concern, the abiding life of Christ.

What disturbs me about “political Christians” is that their zeal for a cause often comes across as more intense than their passion for the Person of Jesus. Why is this?

We live in a day when everything is being politicised, and in the popular imagination politics stands for power. A recent example of this is when government registry offices were opened to gay people last week the agencies were all flying the rainbow flag of the LGBT movement.  So powerful has been the political success of this lobby that its core values have now become part of the identity of Australia as a nation. As with the earlier feminist-libertarian victory over abortion, we are now subject to “institutionalised lawlessness”

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And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:12).

To think that politics shapes culture, rather than the reverse, is back to front. The de-Christianising of the West happened because densely networked anti-Christians took possession of the culture-making institutions of society, particularly higher education and the arts. Despite every good intention the average believer has no access to the more elite “clubs” from which social change is initiated. Unlike, for example, the wealthy, educated, aristocratic group that William Wilberforce drew together, few believers have influence in institutions that re-invent how people see reality. If there is no remedy for moral decline through the political process should we take more radical action?

There is another way forward for the re-discipling of our nations but it will require unprecedented humility (Matt 28:18-20).

Recently, 14 of Australia’s most senior Church leaders publicly appealed to the PM and Opposition leader to make good on their undertakings to uphold religious freedoms. This political act is as completely unsurprising as it is hypocritical. How often and how loudly have our spiritual leaders been speaking up, inside and outside the Church, for the cause of our persecuted brothers and sisters in other nations?  Why should a national Church which has so blatantly sinned against the Lord by failing to pray and advocate for our afflicted brothers and sisters (1 Sam 12:23) expect God to hear appeals for our rights? Do we secretly believe our long Christian history entitle us to some sort of preferential treatment? Perhaps in God’s good purposes we need to be oppressed in order to be revived (Hab 3:2)? Songs sometimes speak of a “near revival”, but is this actually imaginable? The answer is “Yes”, but not in the mode of power many selfish Christians are seeking.

When Hillsong and Sydney Anglicanism put their resources into the “No” campaign against SSM this signalled that political causes have the power to unite polarised Christian traditions. But contemporary Pentecostals and Evangelicals have lost touch with the source of real power. They have drifted far from their roots in great revival movements that transformed the character of Western Christianity.

It is idiocy to imagine that the Lord would send revival through the organised Church whilst it has its own elites and clubs who exercise political power inside the churches in a way that does not look like Christ crucified. Institutionalised Christianity can never defeat institutionalised evil.

Jesus said to the politically savvy Pilate, “my kingdom is not of this world” and went on to show the true  character of the divine rule, by death, resurrection and visiting people with the Spirit of repentance, joy and a radical change of lifestyle (John 18:36; Acts 2:37-47). The mass of comfortable middle class church leaders and their members do not really want to lose control of their life options. There is a market in peddling worldview programmes as a remedy to the spiritual decline of the West, but Jesus is not a set of mental images you can learn, cultivate and studiously apply. The power of the presence of the risen Christ cannot be contained in any wine skin, within or without Christianity. When we are broken enough to accept this and renounce any hope we have placed in politics perhaps the Lord will visit us with his mercy (Luke 1:78).

When the Australian Christian Lobby recently called on the “standing army” that had formed to oppose gay marriage to prepare for bigger battles ahead they reinforced the feeling amongst many Christians that something must be done to save Australia. Political engagement however is not the kingdom priority our nation needs if there is to be any remedy for lawlessness in the land. We need the powerful presence of the Jesus in his compassionate wisdom in all the culture making spheres where “Christianity” has been so soundly defeated (Eph 3:10). This does include politics, as well as education, the arts and other dimensions of culture. A Church compromised by political and other powers will never experience the limitless power of God that can change the world. We need to return to be seeking the Holy  Spirit power which took hold of our lawlessness and defeated at the cross and went on to raise Jesus in perfect righteousness (Rom 8:11; Heb 9:14). Only by abiding in the life of Christ can there be any transformation of our cultures. This is happened before, and can happen again, but only if we humbly submit to the final reality about divine power; “If Christ is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all.” May God turn our hearts to Jesus before any other power.

Gathering in China to embrace JESUS and HIS KINGDOM

In these last days God has prepared the Chinese Church through their faithfulness and humility under persecution to lead the Church in this part of our end time journey. The Chinese Church has acknowledged God’s call to take the Gospel to the Nations on the three silk roads back to Jerusalem (Back to Jerusalem, Called to Complete the Great Commission by Three Chinese Church Leaders published UK 2003). Their freedom from fear of death, their humility and complete abandonment to the will of God is allowing the Lord to speedily bring them into unity with one another and alignment with His headship.

In His wisdom, God has positioned the Chinese in the natural realm, geographically close to India and the Arab Nations and to have favour among the Arabs as well as respect among the Jews. So the Chinese are able to go where the Western Church cannot. They are able to stretch their arms wide to embrace not only the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Isaac, but also the Western Church, bringing the whole Body together into one family.

Hopefully this video will give you a glimpse of the passion the Chinese have for our Lord.

Extract from article by David Demian “The Road From Asia to Jerusalem”

Dr Michael Guillen – do you believe every word in the Bible?

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Yes I do, he says.  So who is Dr Michael Guillen?

He was born in East Los Angeles, earned his BS from UCLA and his MS and PhD from Cornell University in physics, mathematics and astronomy.

For eight years he was an award-winning physics instructor at Harvard University. For fourteen years he was the Emmy-award-winning science correspondent for ABC News, appearing regularly on Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline, and World News Tonight.

Dr. Guillen is the host of The History Channel series, “Where Did It Come From?” and producer of the award-winning family movie, LITTLE RED WAGON. Among his popular speaking topics is the series “CRAZY! Because Life Is Not Logical.”

Have I read the Bible cover to cover? Yes, I have (as well as the sacred literature of other religions), more than once and in different translations. Do I understand every word of the Bible? No, I don’t but believe every word, yes I do.

As 1 Corinthians 13:12 points out, no one should expect to comprehend everything right here, right now:

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

Having faith in something I don’t completely understand is not limited to my spiritual life; it’s also true of my relationship to science and rational thought. Science and logic cannot explain everything about the universe – especially since more than 90% of the cosmos is invisible to us – nevertheless, I believe in them so much I dedicated my career to their practice.

For me, science and rational thought are precisely why I abandoned the atheism I practiced during many years of my schooling. As part of my rigorous scientific training, my mind was broadened with respect to things I cannot see. I was urged to believe in black holes, parallel universes, dark energy, and a plethora of other modern scientific exotica based solely on clever theoretical imaginings and indirect, circumstantial evidence. So now, when I read the Bible, which invites me to believe in all kinds of seemingly unbelievable things, my reaction is informed by what I’ve learned as a theoretical physicist. I believe Shakespeare said it best when he penned that immortal line: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

It takes humility to admit that to seemingly intractable problems there are many possible solutions we haven’t thought of yet, and might never think of in this life. It takes humility to have faith in something of everlasting importance that you don’t completely understand yet and can’t possibly, given its infinite nature and our finite capacities. It takes humility, above all, not to jump to any conclusions about what isn’t possible in this glorious, mysterious universe of ours … and what is.

For more information, go to www.michaelguillen.com or get his book Can a Smart Person Believe in God?