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I Protest - Again!!
Standing on the promises
Both Abraham and Elijah were standing on the promises of God. We are going to stand on air at the resurrection when we "meet the Lord in the air", and we dont doubt it, so why cant we do it now? Elijah has!
There is a fine line between using the promise now, and using it sometime in the future. It depends entirely on the promise. Some are everyday ones, some are special, some are to be used on behalf of others, some to be used in the future. But all are to be used.
Are you wanting to use those which are available? Now? Today? ASK God why do YOU have to wait for a particular promise dont just assume that you have to wait. God is often disappointed because we presume to know His will without asking Him. Also, do not accept every statement that God makes at face value only. Remember, Jesus said that it was He that destroyed the world at the time of the Flood. But how did He?
It was Jesus who said He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Why not dig a little like Abraham? Argue reverentially. He loves us to ask questions, politely, prayerfully. But push the point because of need. Do not give in too quickly and say, "This is the will of God" as the Arabs do. Luke and others did just that when they tried to persuade Paul not to go to Jerusalem and die!
"And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come to us, he took Pauls girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus says the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owns this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
"And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean you to weep and to break my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
"And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done."
Was it the will of God that Paul die?
Acts of the Apostles 417.2-3
"The Saviours words of reproof to the men of Nazareth applied, in the case of Paul, not only to the unbelieving Jews, but to his own brethren in the faith.
"Had the leaders in the church fully surrendered their feeling of bitterness toward the apostle, and accepted him as one specially called of God to bear the gospel to the Gentiles, the Lord would have spared him to them. God had not ordained that Pauls labors should so soon end, but He did not work a miracle to counteract the train of circumstances to which the course of the leaders in the church at Jerusalem had given rise.
"The same spirit is still leading to the same results.
"A neglect to appreciate and improve the provisions of divine grace has deprived the church of many a blessing. How often would the Lord have prolonged the work of some faithful minister, had his labors been appreciated! But if the church permits the enemy of souls to pervert the understanding, so that they misrepresent and misinterpret the words and acts of the servant of Christ; if they allow themselves to stand in his way and hinder his usefulness, the Lord sometimes removes from them the blessing which He gave."
Moses continued to plead with Jesus even after He told him to get out of the way so He could go and destroy the sinners worshipping around the golden calf. He KNEW the will of God was not to destroy (rather, allow to be destroyed) so he held his ground and argued respectfully with his God.
"And the LORD said to Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: now therefore let Me alone [get out of My way], that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation.
"And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why does Your wrath wax hot against Your people, which You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?
"Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people!"
Are you willing to argue [discuss] with your God and ask Him to repent of statements He has made in His word? Especially when He has just offered to make you great! Jesus taught us in the parable of Luke 18:1-8 to keep asking and not to give up. Go to your Friend and ask Him for loaves for your neighbour, and be importunate [respectfully demanding] so that He will delight in stretching your faith, for He is often waiting for us to grow in understanding.
The man Christ Jesus knew His Fathers will because He read it and asked for it. He has told us that while we do not know His Fathers will we are but servants in the house of God, although we may be His friends and know Gods will if we want to. John 15:15-16. And do it.
God communicates with you
Acts of the Apostles 152.3 -154.2
"The experience of Philip, directed by an angel from heaven to go to the place where he met one seeking for truth; of Cornelius, visited by an angel with a message from God; of Peter, in prison and condemned to death, led by an angel forth to safety - all show the closeness of the connection between heaven and earth.
"To the worker for God the record of these angel visits should bring strength and courage. Today, as verily as in the days of the apostles, heavenly messengers are passing through the length and breadth of the land, seeking to comfort the sorrowing, to protect the impenitent, to win the hearts of men to Christ. We cannot see them personally [why? the others did!]; nevertheless they are with us, guiding, directing, protecting.
"Heaven is brought near to earth by that mystic ladder, the base of which is firmly planted on the earth, while the topmost round reaches the throne of the Infinite. Angels are constantly ascending and descending this ladder of shining brightness, bearing the prayers of the needy and distressed to the Father above, and bringing blessing and hope, courage and help, to the children of men. These angels of light create a heavenly atmosphere about the soul, lifting us toward the unseen and the eternal. We cannot behold their forms with our natural sight; only by spiritual vision can we discern heavenly things [but with it we can see!]. The spiritual ear alone can hear the harmony of heavenly voices.
"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. Psalm 34:7. God commissions His angels to save His chosen ones from calamity, to guard them from the pestilence that walketh in darkness and the destruction that wasteth at noonday. Psalm 91:6. Again and again have angels talked with men as a man speaketh with a friend, and led them to places of security. Again and again have the encouraging words of angels renewed the drooping spirits of the faithful and, carrying their minds above the things of earth, caused them to behold by faith the white robes, the crowns, the palm branches of victory, which overcomers will receive when they surround the great white throne...
"We need to understand better than we do the mission of the angels. It would be well to remember that every true child of God has the co-operation of heavenly beings. Invisible armies of light and power attend the meek and lowly ones who believe and claim the promises of God. Cherubim and seraphim, and angels that excel in strength, stand at God's right hand, all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. Hebrews 1:14."
Are you being ministered to?
Three ways to receive specific orders
1. By visions or dreams given with the help of loyal angels.
2. By misfortunes, sickness and accidents which He allows rebellious angels to inflict.
3. By prophets and teachers whom He sends to you.
"For God speaks once, yes twice, yet man perceives it not.
"In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that He may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword."
This is what Elihu told Job and this is amply confirmed throughout the Scriptures.
God speaks to all who will listen
To understand that God speaks to Christian and non-Christian alike see Daniel 2:23 and 2:1.
This method is Gods first and favourite choice. If He can place His message directly in your mind there is no possibility of Satan twisting it during delivery.
A vision occurs when the mind is yielded to God while the saint is awake and in harmony with God. A dream is yielding when daily pressures are relaxed during sleep, but does not occur during a conscious state. It is most often used when the saint is slightly separated from God. In practice, both are identical. Sometimes God can only use impressions on a worldly-busy mind because this is a great barrier. But all of these are normal methods of communication with Christians. Consider all the great men and women of God in the Bible these were their experiences.
There is more than one source of dreams and visions, of course, so be careful as to the origins of any you have! In a vision or dream from God the Christian viewer is normally aware of the fact that it comes from Him, and is capable of asking questions of angels who may also be watching the vision. Daniel 7:15-16. The extent of the viewers awareness depends on their closeness to Him. Compare the experience of Pilates wife with that of Daniel. Matthew 27:19.
Some dreams come from Satan and these would normally lead you away from the fundamental principles of the gospel. e.g. King Sauls vision of the prophet Samuel after the prophet had died. 1 Samuel 28:11.
Then there are dreams which are caused by worry, tension, or maybe just the combination of foods you had for your last meal.
If God is not successful with His chosen method then He has to use an alternative whereby the Christians attention is gained. This is mentioned in Elihus next words.
"He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: so that his life abhors bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
"Yes, his soul draws near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers."
It was Martin Luther who said that if we would not look up voluntarily to God then He would have to lay us on our backs so that the desired effect is reached. Of course, our loving Parent does not do this of His own choice. As we wander from Him so we open the gate to the "destroyers", the disloyal angels, and thereby allow them to lead us into an area where we can pick up a germ or virus, or have a contrived "accident."
You may fail in business, be sacked, or have financial problems beyond your control, etc. Such occurrences should bring you in penitence to God asking Him why it is that He can no longer protect and bless you.
Dont blame Him for your problem admit that it is your fault that He can no longer fully protect you and ask for His forgiveness on your straying from the path of righteousness. Then ask what it is that you are doing (or not doing) so that full cover can be reintroduced. If this does not work because of a problem in your mind, then you may expect sickness and death amongst those covered by your area of righteousness. Animals and children first, then maybe your spouse, and finally, yourself. See the story of Job to appreciate this.
In an early vision of Sister Whites she tells us that,
R & H July 21, 1851. para 11.
"I earnestly begged of the Lord, that if I must go and relate what He had shown me, to keep me from exaltation. Then He showed me that my prayer was answered, and if I should be in danger of exaltation His hand should be laid upon me, and I should be afflicted with sickness."
But even then, under these circumstances, God doesnt give up if we fail to respond.
"If there be a messenger with Him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show to man [or woman] His uprightness [and one whom the sufferer will listen to]: then He is gracious to him, and says, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a Ransom.
"His flesh shall be fresher than a childs [when he accepts Gods message]: he shall return to the days of his youth: he shall pray to God, and He will be favourable to him...
"Lo, all these things works God often with man..."
To those who are suffering through no fault of Gods He will send a helper, if He can find one. Understanding Christians are few and far between, and He may not be able to get a very good one for you, but He will try. A close friend of Gods would be His first choice as a personal messenger, but a more distant one may have to speak from the words of the Bible in a sermon etc. Remember Jobs three "friends"? Only Elihu actually told him the truth without condemning him.
But God tries and tries and tries. If we would only not frustrate His attempts He could do so much more.
We have looked at personal communications which God tries to make with an individual, but there are also requests which He makes to the whole church. Thus the group works through the leadings of the individuals and the group.
Acts of the Apostles 163.1 - 164.1
"God has made His church on the earth a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purposes and His will. He does not give to one of His servants an experience independent of and contrary to the experience of the church itself. Neither does He give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church while the church Christs body is left in darkness. In His providence [wisdom] He places His servants in close connection with His church in order that they may have less confidence in themselves and greater confidence in others whom He is leading out to advance His work.
"There have ever been in the church those who are constantly inclined toward individual independence. They seem unable to realize that independence of spirit is liable to lead the human agent to have too much confidence in himself and to trust in his own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of his brethren, especially of those in the offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people.
God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for he who does this despises the voice of God.
[We must read these words prayerfully in conjunction with those of Desire of Ages pages 458-460 and ask for a specific direction when needed, for the majority is not always right.]
"Those who are inclined to regard their individual judgment as supreme are in grave peril. It is Satan's studied effort to separate such ones from those who are channels of light, through whom God has wrought to build up and extend His work in the earth. To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by, and to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy and overthrown.
"The Lord in His wisdom has arranged that by means of the close relationship that should be maintained by all believers, Christian shall be united to Christian and church to church. Thus the human instrumentality will be enabled to co-operate with the divine. Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all the believers will be united in an organized and well-directed effort to give to the world the glad tidings of the grace of God."
If you have still not had any communications through one of these methods then you do not know the specific orders for your life, and if you go ahead and attempt anything at all in the Christian work you are more likely to hinder God than to help Him! So wait! Pray that God may be able to take the scales off from your eyes that you may be able to see wonders in His word, and continue to search the word prayerfully, while He gets you prepared for His work.
But do not move without a direct command from Him.
This may be hard to believe, but it is the sad truth that many children of God have actually been fighting against Him, and when the day comes that this is revealed to them, they will feel an anguish which is indescribable.
It is the greatest crime a Christian can commit!
And it is all the more serious in that it is often done in ignorance, just as the Jews crucified Christ in ignorance. Acts 3:17. Willing ignorance in their case, because they were not prepared to hear the word of the Lord in this matter, but presumed to know His will. Is it so with you?
God will forgive you for it, but will you be able to forgive yourself?
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