Monday, September 1, 2014

Understanding His Way

On the one hand, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!  For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has [ever] been His counselor?” (Romans 10:33-34 Amp.).  On the other hand, “BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart” (1 Corinthians 2:16 Amp.).

On a cursory reading of the above words they seem contradictory; most of us would have to admit to being royally ignorant of His ways—even with the mind of Christ!  But it is also certain that “First the natural, then the spiritual”; and furthermore, “SOUND WISDOM HAS TWO SIDES. Know then that God forgets a part of your iniquity.  ‘Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?’” (Job 11:5-7 NASB).

The Lord that said “In whirlwind and storm is His way” (Nahum 1:3) to the guilty Ninevites, is the same Lord that said “Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) to blameless Job.  Because “When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, BUT the righteous has an everlasting foundation” (Proverbs 10:25), the wicked Ninevites lost their lives, whereas righteous Job lost only his stuff.  God is not so much angry with His people as He is angry with any and/or all of His people who stubbornly hold to their pet doctrines and secret sins in light of how much more of Himself He wants reveal to us.

Another prophet chimes in: “For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word?  Who hath marked his word, and heard it?  Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.  The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: IN THE LATTER DAYS YE SHALL CONSIDER IT PERFECTLY” (Jeremiah 23:18-20 KJV).

I know the whirlwind is terrible and frightful, but remember, wisdom has two sides.  God—in the whirlwind—alights atop the head of the wicked, but—FROM the whirlwind—He speaks to His people.  I would suggest that the difference between us and the wicked is razor thin, just as it was between Peter and Judas.  Peter denied, Judas betrayed; one was saved, the other, condemned.  Both had the same glad tidings proclaimed to them!  “For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (WITH THE LEANING OF THE ENTIRE PERSONALITY ON GOD IN ABSOLUTE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN HIS POWER, WISDOM, AND GOODNESS) BY THOSE WHO HEARD IT” (Hebrews 4:2 Amp.).  This is more than heart or spirit agreement; the personality of man is the soul of man, comprised of mind, will and emotion.  The battle in the soul realm must be won!  But a battle in that realm is the point.  The whirlwind that falls on the head of the wicked is apt to fall on us too if we do not sanctify our souls to the rule of our new creation spirits.

The idea herein expressed speaks of an attritional paring of our persons in order to be fit to rule in the midst of our enemies: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, only the remnant (a small part of them) will be saved [from perdition, condemnation, judgment]!  For the Lord will execute His sentence upon the earth [He will conclude and close His account with men completely and without delay], rigorously cutting it short in His justice.  It is as Isaiah predicted, ‘If the Lord of hosts had not left us a seed [from which to propagate descendants], we [Israel] would have fared like Sodom and have been made like Gomorrah’” (Romans 9:27-29 Amp.).  Though this is undeniably true of the body of Christ at large, the macrocosm of reality, our individual body, the microcosm of reality, is also treated this way.  “If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell” (Mark 9:43-48 MSG).

Ultimately, we either agree with God or the enemy; we are either in the Spirit or in the flesh.  Indeed, we must—ESPECIALLY IN THIS LAST HOUR—mature and awaken to the realization that we “have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.  For they could not bear the command, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.’  And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘I am full of fear and trembling’” (Hebrews 12:18-21 NASB).  Rather, we “have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 12:22-24).

God is for us, BUT ONLY in our new creation mold of self; He is, and always will be, against dead flesh.  Many speak of “the gathering of eagles” today, and rightly so if rightly understood.  But if these gatherings are merely about spiritual sight, they are insufficient or incomplete.  They must also devour much flesh!  As it is written, “Wherever the dead body is, there will the vultures or eagles be gathered together” (Luke 17:37 Amp.).  In context with these words concerning eagles are these words concerning the WAY to eternal life: “Whoever tries to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve and quicken it” (Luke 17:33 Amp.).
   
“Be careful, then, and do not refuse to hear him who speaks. Those who refused to hear the one who gave the divine message on earth did not escape. How much less shall we escape, then, if we turn away from the one who speaks from heaven!  His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, ‘I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven as well.’  The words ‘once more’ plainly show that the created things will be shaken and removed, so that the things that cannot be shaken will remain.  Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe; because our God is indeed a destroying fire” (Hebrews 12:25-29 GNT).

God’s power is perfected in weakness!—declares the Scriptures.  And a perfect example of this paradoxical concept is found in the front-line battle tested words of two missionaries to Mozambique, Heidi and Rolland Baker.  In their new book “Reckless Devotion,” on day 75 under the subtitle “Sustained,” they say this:

“We are sustained by beholding Jesus’ beauty.  We are confident in His cross.  We are satisfied by what He has done.  His Gospel is all-sufficient.  We will immerse ourselves forever in the river that flows from His throne.  We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

We choose His perspective.  From another perspective, we are assaulted relentlessly.  Often we are exhausted, overextended and overrun by needs, crisis, corruption, disappointment and the desperate cry for relief that rises up constantly from the poor of the world.  We cannot keep up with the demand for spiritual relief that calls for our attention from all over the world.

But His mercy and compassion never fail.  They are new every morning.  We are never discouraged, for:

'We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.'

                                                                     2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Here in Africa, among the poorest of the poor, we are seeing revival fuelled and sustained by the power of God, in spite of all our weaknesses.  Onlookers react in many different ways, and there is always so much to criticize, but at the core of this movement is a white-hot, total abandonment to Jesus and His Kingdom.

We will not be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Him.  We are advancing.  Our weapons are a firm faith, gentleness, peace, patience and love that cannot be resisted.  In Him we cannot lose.”

The idea that His “super” must be added to our “natural” to create the supernatural is undeniably true.  Spiritual vitality is that which arises from out of the carcass of our natural death.  The two sides of wisdom are that there are two realities concerning us: we are both cursed and blessed, dead and alive; but that mercy which triumphs over the judgment of death is not completed until the redemption of our bodies is completed.
 
Therefore, we continue to fight the good fight of faith.  Victory is ours no matter how much mayhem and death afflicts us; even when our strength fails, we win!  And actually, this is the rub, that our strength failing is the WAY to that victory; it is God arising from out of the inner chambers of our heart into the outer courts of our person, manifesting Christ in mortal flesh.  A whirlwind swirls about our carnal heads, and is designed to destroy the strength of our carnality, to remove the head of that beast leviathan reigning in our circuitry; also, from out of that whirlwind God speaks to us in loving rebuke.  The destruction of our agreement with the enemy is our salvation agreement with God realized; to understand how this works, is to understand His way.

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17-18 KJV).