HOW GOD OPERATES
by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now these are the words of Jesus in Mark 9:
38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.”
39 “Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me.
40 Anyone who is not against us is for us.
41 If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.
Many in ministry have been catering to the “Me, Me, Me first! Me Now!” spirit. And that is the way of babes, but true ministry takes you beyond that, because babies should just be babies for a short time!
Like some of you, I get weary of ministry that constantly berates you. I don’t think that is the Spirit of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. We know there are parents and leaders and ministers who will use terror or intimidation to rule others. They are ruling by fear. But if it is not necessary, it really is good not to be that way. There is a difference between conviction and intimidation for the goal of humiliation. God wants humility, not the destruction of humiliation.
But we also have to understand that when laws and lifestyles are laid down for the first time, many times there will be an impending or intimidating or sometimes even shocking manifestation. God wants your attention! Many leaders and advertisers have caught on to this and use it in their style – for good or not.
For many, God has our attention right now, and we need to hear what He is saying. As humans we are not perfect as He is, but we should be trying – working at getting it the way He wants it, and we have to learn and live to figure that out! (Sometimes I get concerned when I see only young people in groups and few older ones, who should have the wisdom from taking the hard knocks in life, especially with a Godly history. I know the more mature helped me along, and I am grateful.)
The “Me first” stage of life believes that everything is waiting to cater to them NOW. They want the benefits now – and who doesn’t want good things? We all do, whatever our flavor preferences are, but there is more to life than just “right now.” However, if we fail to see the goodness of God in the land of the living – for us – then we will become jaded or bitter or frustrated, and many will turn away. I say all that because I want us to understand the Spirit of the verses above.
Ministers who just want high turn over with new faces all the time will continue to cater to the “me firsts” and their impulsive ways. They can only be short lived if we do not get the meaning of life. But there are enough Christians who really got born again who want to go on in life development in Him that are willing to learn the greater things of truth. They will not disappoint if we learn them right!
If you go further in that chapter of the verses above, Jesus will give you the other side of the story. But let’s hear the first side first! He is saying that following Him has rewards and benefits. This is not just a “good old boys” club, as far as He is concerned, and there are many of those in the world and even the church, sad to say. But before you go accusing, let’s hear what Jesus really wants us to know.
He want to bless us! He wants us to know that there is a reward for getting it right. Now He had taught His disciples how to cast out demons and that was pretty impressive. And because it was impressive, the boys now had a thing going on! (We get that way, don’t we?)
It did get attention and of course others wanted the benefit, because we all like good and powerful beneficial things, so they were working at it. We can’t help it, we do like thrills, but we need to see the greater thing and that is THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Jesus had to correct His disciples by saying that the other guys were getting the Spirit of this thing right – even if they didn’t have all the facts and knowledge yet. Deliverance (and healing) is not for the sake of a show – it is a manifestation of the Kingdom. Greater life is beyond that.
We all see Heaven as this wonderful place and we all want to go there – except not right now! And the reason is because we think we might miss out on something good still here. The Lord wants us to know there is a work going on here and Heaven will be gained, in greater and greater measures, and the Kingdom of Heaven (or Life) can be brought here to earth! But there is a process and we have to learn it.
When God was working with the young Israelites, He did a lot of thundering and fire and even warned the people of impending death if they didn’t get this thing right. Was He trying to intimidate them by fear? No, He was letting them know that a good thing was going on and not to mess it up because it was a matter of life and death for all the world!
They didn’t quite get that, but it very much was what was going on. God was taking chaos and setting it straight. He was putting in order things that did not really prosper. If you live in only the short term on some things, you will do the seeming expedient for the moment many times, but we need to see that there is a bigger picture going on and God knows that cute little babies grow up! Even ugly little babies grow up!
But what happens from there can be good, because He is the Messiah, Deliverer, Healer and Master and He wants our fellowship in quality relationship! We were created for fellowship with the Divine, and we must come into His Order for that to manifest and prosper.
We need to understand in these above verses that Jesus is saying that if even a little bit in your heart you want what is good and right, He can work with that, and He will reward it! Maybe your reward does not come this very instant, but God has you in mind and that reward and blessing is in the works!
You really don’t want this life to be all there is, as good as it can be sometimes. We want more! We are always seeking for that eternal youth and life and happiness, but in Christ, it is there!
We are shedding off the old as we take on the new. The new grows inside and has benefits in this life and beyond. And the new is good – if you want it! And God will get the glory for it. It’s a life time experience that goes into forever. We will get new bodies and a new world. But it starts in the now.