Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Lord's ways

Was listening to a sermon by Derek Prince, and one by William Lao and got to thinking. Derek Prince talked about waiting on the Lord:

Acts: 1:26 Then they cast lots and the lot fell to Matthias." They threw a coin?

Acts 13:
1In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
They hadn't "planned" to do anything. They were simply praising God. And God told them what to do. Usually, it's the other way around. We plan something. Then we ask God to bless it.

So, after I listened to Derek Prince this morning I listened to the book of ACTS. Stephen's speech is simply amazing. It's about not seeing and recognizing God's works. (BTW, it's interesting that he says that Joseph was made known to his disciples "the second time." Nice prophetic hint at the second coming there.) Stephen is the first martyr. He was chosen to be a deacon when the apostles said they had to preach the gospel and waiting on tables was just not important. So they choose some Deacons to do it, one of them being Stephen. And who ends up being powerful and doing mighty miracles? So much so that the people love him and the chief priests hated and killed him. Stephen. Love him. Interestingly, we don't read much about what the disciples who stayed in Jerusalem actually did. Luke followed Paul and recorded Paul's journeys. And most of the New Testament was not written by these apostles who didn't want to wait on tables. In fact, if it weren't for Barnabas they wouldn't have accepted Paul as a Christian.

Then there was the call to Macedonia. They hadn't "planned" on anything. They were just sitting there praising God and then later they get this vision. And the entire church sent Paul off to Macedonia.

In the Book of Acts we see that from the beginning the church tended to lean on its own understanding. As it does now.
So Derek said, "The initiative must be from God. The guidance must be from God." At least in certain important changes. We must learn to wait on God and not plan things withour own human understanding.

Wow, we really need to be open to God guiding us. And we really need to be holy. From the story of Ananias and Saphhira, holiness was so important to the holy spirit that even liars dropped down dead. God is THAT holy. If our churches were as holy as God wanted them to be, would any of us be alive when we stepped into them?

But I also listened to William Lao. He was talking about the difference between waiting on God for direction and simply trusting that God is within us guiding us. So, on the one hand, we have to wait on the lord. And on the other hand, we are already told what to do. The LOGOS -- the complete total of God's word-- tells us what we should do in a general way. For instance, all believers have the authority to heal the sick and preach the kingdom. (Although when it comes to raising the dead we should do what Peter did and pray to ask God if he wants us to raise that person. And we should also pray about casting out demons. Paul waited a while before deciding to cast out that Python spirit from the girl with the spirit of divination. No use casting out a demon out of a person when the person isn't willing to turn to Jesus and resist the devils. As Jesus said, that would only mean the person will get re-demonized and end up with eight more demons.) So some things we already know what to do. But at the same time there is the specific moment when we are given a word of knowledge or a RHEMA or a direction from God that there is something we must do at a specific time. We have to rightly divide the word of truth. And we have to wait before God for wisdom in what we do.

We shouldn't sit around waiting around all the time for God to act. But we should also not plan everything as if our plans are the plans that matter. God has his plans.
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