Seeking After a Sign

A POSSIBLE YOU
FINDING GOD’S DESTINY FOR OUR LIFE
PART 41
SEEKING AFTER A SIGN

As many of you know, I started these weekly writings in 2009 with the first year’s theme about worship. I was a worship pastor at the time and was inspired to write about my experiences along with my studies about worship throughout the years. With those writings, I have been working to compile them in a book called, “Wonders of Worship” and it has been a grueling job to cut, tweak, edit, add, merge, separate, and organize to make it clear and presentable. In the process of putting this book together (my first), it has stirred my heart and allowed the Holy Spirit to “convict” me as well. It is no secret that I have been (I guess you could say) dis-enchanted with the church environment for many years and with His mercy and love, He has allowed me take another step of maturity and enjoy the freedom that comes from His truth. While proof reading my previous comments, I am seeing worship in a bigger picture with a deeper insight than ever before and I would like to share it with you.

I have been asking the Lord to enlighten me about His church for years and what He has told me is not exactly what I wanted to hear. Sadly, He has revealed to my heart that I have had a lot of pride and much of it has been connected with looking through a microscope instead of binoculars. Generally speaking most of the time we think we have pride under control and are convinced that the self-discipline of our conscience prevents the darkness from sneaking around in our life. But of course, as we have said before, deception is “silent but deadly” and can quietly hold us captive within our mind and heart without us even recognizing it. The danger is that it is only invisible to the one who cannot see it as this character trait of our old carnal nature is usually noticeable to everyone except the one that is in denial and is especially common in those who think they know a lot about their favorite subject and have spent much time becoming smarter than everyone else. Unfortunately, many people believe they know more than anyone else and have a difficult time listening to someone that might have a new insight that is worth considering. I have said all of this because many times even though we are highly convinced in our conclusions – things are not always the way they seem. I believe we can agree that all of us are like this to a certain point and the difference between those who continue learning God’s wisdom and those who are hindered by their rebellious attitude comes down to being open minded. In this light, we can see that pride is actually a “damn” of sorts that can prevent us from moving forward and can hold us as slaves to ignorance and blindness. It can also cause us to have a calloused conscience where we spend more time criticizing the way everyone else lives instead of having compassion and demonstrating how Jesus wants us to live. I did not mean to spend this much time about the dangers of arrogance but I certainly needed it for my own soul.

For many years I have taught and written about the church and my endless pursuing of its purpose and mission. Like most people, my studies and experiences have influenced my theological views and molded my convictions into what I believe. In my quest to find the mysteries and wonders of God’s glory in this realm, I have seen bits and pieces of His super-natural interventions and on these rare occasions my faith has been strengthened. I am convinced that we must continue to have these visions which are an internal clarity of God’s will that is given through the intimacy of seeking Him personally. Without knowing Him, we have no clue as to what He is saying or how to please Him. However, it seems that in my journey of trying to serve Him, the church has repeatedly been a place of hurt, misunderstanding, rejection and disappointment for me. I have always thought I had much to offer and had no shortage of enthusiasm or willingness to be involved, but it has been my perception of how things “should be” that has frustrated me. I realize that I am guilty of actually adding to the problems of church by thinking that I am the “judge” of how it should operate and I am realizing that if this attitude is not controlled by the conviction from the Holy Spirit, I will continue to lead discord, resentment and strife. Yes, it is common for the average church to have these difficulties but instead of making it worse, I should invest my time in trying to make it better!

My mothers, dad used to always say, “everyone else is crazy” yet through this comical expression is a serious hidden infection that can and will hinder clear thinking. While it is true that many do not comprehend truth, there are some that do and if we build walls around our reasoning, our opinions can sometimes betray us. When we refer to a specific topic, it is important to remember not to include everyone because there are usually exceptions. For example, to say the church has failed, we are saying there is not a single person that can be found faithful. If our discussion about the church is to remain intelligent, I believe we need to remember that devotion for our Lord was never expected to be huge but actually rather small. When Ephesians chapter five talks about the “glorious” church, it did not say that it would be massive because Mathew 7:14 says, “Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it.” He was emphasizing a holy, spotless bride which consists of the remnant disciples that are few and far between. Within many assemblies there may only be a handful of true disciples and as it may be true that the church as a whole has not followed God’s voice, it does not mean that everyone that attends is only a religious spectator. God invites all who hear HIS Word to respond and will save all that is His, which gives us the assurance there is and will be a band of overcomers, a victorious bride and a holy remnant that He is excited about and has lovingly called them to serve His purpose

I know the Bible teaches about groups of people that have gathered together to worship God since the beginning. There has been praise music, and leaders that teach and relay what God is saying to the people and there are tithes and offerings that were used to support the ministries and outreaches of these groups. We observe everything from the Old Testament where we see Moses and the tabernacle, the congregation of Israel, and the law of God’s Word all the way to the Pharisees, the temples, and the observance of religious ceremonies in the day of Jesus. Then after Christ we see the New Testament Christian church developing in the callings, offices and gifts of the Spirit, having meetings in the upper room and the revival at Pentecost. Then of course we read about the condition of the seven churches in the book of Revelation and all of this gives us a small insight about these assemblies of believers that were organized and observed the commands and commission of God’s will. But, I must admit that I am still confused because I have been thinking that the “church” as an organism would rise up “stronger” in the power of God and be a recognizable representation of God’s glory here on earth instead of growing weaker. When studying about the restoration of the tabernacle of David and trying to identify it, mostly what I have witnessed in my life has only been a gathering of believers that sing and talk. However, the reason why I began with mentioning about my pride is because evidently my views have been distorted by my lack of understanding. It all has to do with comprehending that the CHURCH is not the building down on the corner because that is just a practical meeting place for God’s followers. The literal CHURCH is a sold-out individual that is a member of a chosen generation and a holy nation that make up the body of Christ – the TRUE church. Like the commercial says, “everybody knows that.” But, it is amazing how many still cannot separate the church as a building from the church that is a person. Within this reality of there being few serious Christians around, mostly of the assemblies are filled with spiritual babies that have chosen not to surrender their will. Seeing this revelation, it is understandable why the mighty rushing wind does not blow through the buildings, people are not healed and delivered, or angels are not seen flying throughout the sanctuary. To make a long story short, my disappointment of not seeing the phenomena is now put in the perspective that the general church population is not abiding in the Spirit and do not have any intention to do so. AND, this lukewarm and carnal attitude explains why the “church service” is not as miraculous as God desires for it to be. In order for the manifestations of God’s glory to be revealed – Christ must be OVERFLOWING within the life of the believer. The church service is a direct reflection of the heart of the people and if they are “the walking dead” so will the church service! Allow me to say this; if we are waiting for the glory clouds, angels and lightning and thunder from God’s presence to fill the sanctuary – we are probably going to be disappointed. I am NOT losing my faith or compromising in defeat and negativity, I am just trying to see clearly what the glorious church is all about. Yes, the Lord desires to move mightily when His children meet together but He cannot manifest the literal glory of His throne in the brick building across the street when the majority of the members do not believe it and do not want it! Since we are the “temple” of the Holy Ghost, I believe this mystery is being revealed unto those that are “seekers of truth” and have become determined to give their entire life to God. These are the ones that will be used to perform miracles one moment and be martyred the next as they represent the Kingdom of God. The beauty of holiness and the perfection of His holy love WILL BE the demonstration of His presence and will be accompanied with the power and glory of the super-natural. God longs to reveal His wonders and mysteries to those who desire to see heaven on earth but it will not be with a vessel of dishonor or a conscience controlled by carnality.

I have poured out my heart to simply say that I have been expecting something that will not come the way I thought it would. This is not to say that God will not manifest Himself in meetings but I believe it will mostly be through individuals that have become refined and willing to be used as His instrument. The remnant overcomers will conquer their flesh and as they surrender the control of their will, He can fill them with the power of His Spirit. It is faith that releases God’s authority that will generate miracles for His honor and purposes. These holy expressions of love will NOT be treated as pearls before swine or a carnival side show of unexplained magic tricks, it will be done according to God’s perfect will and always an extension of His ransom of love. I have always thought the glory cloud would fill the church sanctuary and the foundations would shake like Isaiah talked about. I have heard people testify that during a worship service they saw gold dust falling from the ceiling and angels or an image of Christ that manifested above the congregation. Allow me to say, God is not against bringing healing and deliverance or showing His glory, but the problem with us “weak” humans is how the phenomena captures our attention more than instruction. I noticed with the gold dust testimony that nothing was mentioned about God’s Word or how He had convicted them to repent or change their life. All that was talked about with the meeting was the “sign.” We can clearly see with modern technology that it is taking more and more entertainment to hold people’s attention because we have a tendency to move away from discipline. Maybe in trying to see the super-natural, people like me forgot to appreciate the people and that my ministry was to intercede and love them like Jesus does. Instead of spending my time in the prayer closet learning how to live holy life and allowing God’s anointing to be a blessing to everyone, I became frustrated and critical with everyone’s failure to be holy. A good suggestion would be to not spend as much time worrying about why other people have not yielded their will, and just do what Jesus is telling us to do. May God help me to learn that I CANNOT change anyone! To even think that we could transform a congregation and set them on fire for God is arrogant. The best chance for anyone to be touched through our life is for them to see God in us! When we are living in the awareness of His presence and have allowed Him to become our Lord, people will sense the anointing and be convicted to search for His truth.

Allow me to clarify what I am saying. All of these phenomena are wonderful and God wants to do it and can perform it anywhere He wants, but I was looking in the WRONG location! Instead of coming to the service and waiting for the Shekinah cloud to fill the house, He desires to manifest His power and glory in our heart and soul all the time! If His glory is going to be revealed when we are in church – then someone who is anointed by God will release it and everyone will recognize it! You see, this is the reason why many meetings are cold and dry, He will not force His presence and I believe that many times He feels that He is not welcome. The level that He can move among us and in us comes down to how determined we are to give our life over to Him. A church assembly that is filled with carnality and lukewarmness is nothing more than a room of religious spectators “What? Know ye not that your body IS THE TEMPLE of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.” (I Corinthians 6: 19) I am not suggesting that He cannot or will not manifest His presence in the church service, but I saying He wants to demonstrate it within US first! I did not intend to be someone who always seeks after a sign but rather wanted everyone to “SEE” His majesty and be filled with His love. The wisdom that I need to apply here is that this can still happen through the way I live – not where I go to church. “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. And He left them, and departed.” (Mathew 16: 4) Everything that God is trying to do in the earth – He desires to do through His disciples. What we call church has been swallowed up by the same religious spirit that contaminated the Pharisees. Our programs and rituals cannot take the place of allowing God to possess us! Allow Him to “pour out” His Spirit in you and fill you to overflowing. Let us yield our will completely to Him so that we can be in the position to be seen as a spotless virgin bride. I have been in many services where it seemed the mission of the day was to “pump” everyone up into a state of excitement. To be honest as a leader, I learned over the years how to do this myself. In some churches where this is the accepted style, if the song leader and pastor does not perspire through their shirt and a few saints run around the sanctuary a couple of times, they have not had church! Allow me to say without offending either side of the fence, that emotion is not necessarily the anointing. I have been guilty of wanting all of the gifts of the Spirit to be activated every service and I thought I was extending my faith! I have prayed to see miracles that could not be explained along with outpourings of God’s power that would bring salvation and deliverance and was disappointed when it did not happen. I now realize it is still wonderful to have expectations – but the members will only be as anointed together as they are individually. If the people are not walking in His Spirit, the church will not be empowered. Nothing takes the place of “abiding in the vine” and it is time we understand that it is God’s presence “radiating” from within the overcomer. If you and I really want to “see” God manifest His glory, let’s fast and pray for a week while we ask Him to open the eyes of our understanding. Let’s make a decision to intercede 2 hours a day for the lost that is in our network so they might be saved by God’s grace. Mmmmm…it seems we all want the fishes and the loaves without having to personally drop our nets and follow Him. It is true that God IS and has done many awesome miracles and He had a reason for every one of them, but His utmost desire is to convict us, change us, equip us and use us as an extension of Himself. Selah.

“I am sorry Lord for all of the times I was looking for your miracles instead of looking for you. I wanted to see your power without desiring to be transformed and filled with your Spirit. Forgive me for looking for you all around me – and not within me! Your truth was there all the time and I could not see it. It was like I could not see the forest for the trees. Thank you for speaking to my heart and revealing your truth. It is so easy to become confused with deception and I pray for all Christians who are living in denial. Stir the hearts of your pastors and leaders. Convict them to fall on their face and learn from you. It is a snare trap of arrogance to think that we know it all. Help us O God, we are desperately needy for you, we love you, amen.”

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