My friend Peng asked me to add a note to a video:
that I had posted to a Facebook page for believers across the chinese speaking countries.
By the time I had finished this note, it was too long to post on the page so I have added it here and hope to post a working link from the FB page to which I refer…
God’s word can be offensive to many, just as the things that He does can also bring contention or concern. As this may be the case with the things Bill speaks of in this video, I have written my thoughts on this.
Remember though, that I am just an ordinary man, “a fat guy on his way to heaven” as a beloved man once said.
“My dear Brothers and Sisters called to serve Christ,
Who are we but dust blown on the wind except for the breath of our Lord giving us life, Jesus redeeming us from hell to deliver us into a life eternal and the Holy Spirit setting our hearts & lives ablaze for His glory?
I give thanks for each of you as you work out the meaning of your salvation which, as you walk ever more closely with our Lord will cause you to shine ever more brightly, as a city on the hill shining in the darkness calling to those who are lost and stumbling in the darkness into the light of Jesus.
Some of us here may be but baby’s in Christ, reborn only recently and still full of first-love wonder.
Some may have just awoken from a luke-warm stupor to realise in horror how close they were to being spat out.
Others may be as fires now flickering back into full flame after years of all but going cold.
Others still will have been walking strongly with the Lord, knowing the call of the Holy Spirit, meeting with Him not only in our prayer closets and secret places but seeing him move with us as we move with Him through our daily lives.
We come from many different traditions to worship our Lord Jesus and I praise God for the diversity of His glorious creation, each of us unique yet made in His image.
I posted this video in which a man called Bill Johnson talks of what he and many others believes are supernatural signs from God of His power and authority. Signs and wonders given not for the glory of man but for His own glory given that:
- man should see and know who it is that does these things,
- man should be blessed by signs of His intimate presence,
- man should be awed by His power in a world where so many assume power to be in their own hands,
- men who have denied Him have cause to wonder over these things and move closer to giving their hearts to Him and
- men who doubt will know that He is alive and moving today.
I did not post this to cause you offence but glorify God.
Our God is a supernatural being Who’s ways are above our own, Who’s knowledge, power and authority are greater than we could possibly imagine.
He may chose to whisper to our soul, He may chose to reach out to us through the ministering hands of His saints, He may chose to demonstrate His great love for us through emotional, mental or physical healing, He may chose to feed many from very little or challenge our understanding of who He is by any way He knows is right for us, even a glory cloud raining something like gold dust.
We must trust Him.
We must also be discerning.
We may know God, but even so, the amount by which even the most learned, the most wise, the most Holy Spirit filled follower Christ may believe that they know our Lord and Father, God’s is so immense that His extent of being, authority and power must surely be unknown to us.
This is extremely uncomfortable for many of us as we who are created are often uncomfortable with that which is unknown.
As I write this I find myself reminded of Paul’s famous words to those Athenians in the Areopagus where he spoke of the “unknown God” found in Acts 17:
“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
In Him we most surely do “live and move and have our being”. These are words Paul used to challenge the intellect of those he was addressing that day on Mars Hill. He quoted a mystical Greek philosopher called Epimenides who was very popular in that day. God used Paul to shake the intellectual position of these Greek debaters, to awaken them from their comfortable slumber and some responded and gave their lives to the Lord.
Paul tells us that God is not like gold or silver or stone or like anything else created.
I believe that He will, however, use any or all of created things to get our attention and draw us to Him.
The trouble is that we like to be in control, to know and to be able to explain.
See the many hero’s in God’s word. So often they are confronted by the unknown power of God and respond in fear or confusion.
Our need to know and understand can and is so often the reason for idolatry as we turn to physical images of God or His power that in the end become false God’s themselves, Gideon is but one such hero I could point you toward in this regard- look at what he led his people to worship at the end of his story.
We can make our liturgy or ways of meeting into idols.
We can seek to contain God to the limits of our understanding and thus our understanding is set in a higher place than He who gives us minds to understand with.
We can even set the seeking out of signs and wonders from God at a greater importance to us than our abiding relationship with Jesus!
We are told in Proverbs 4:23-27, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
We must not lose sight of the One to Whom and with Whom we walk by becoming distracted or obsessed by the things He gives us out of His loving kindness for us.
We must keep drinking from the source and lean not upon our own understanding as “”The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.” (Jeremiah 17:9). We must stay close to Jesus the Word of God, pray, dwell in our bible, dwell in fellowship with other believers and seek His face.
And if we stray, know that we will face the discipline of a loving Father, Who will”… search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” (Jeremiah 17:10).
So where am I going with all this? Why have I written this to you?
I started this by asking you to not be offended by what you see here, to not contain God by your own understanding and experience.
I am asking you to not become a sensation seeker, setting experience above our abiding relationship with the One who created us and knows us.
I am asking you to be encouraged and blessed by that which God does to encourage and bless us.
I am asking you to know that He who spoke the universe into being is unknowable but is known as Love because He gave His Son that you and I may have a life with Him.
I am asking that you demonstrate grace to one another.
I am asking that we can consider each other in the Body of Christ in love and kindness, doing everything without grumbling or arguing, so that we may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then we will shine among them like stars in the sky as we hold firmly to the word of life.
In living like this we will see yet more come into a living love of Jesus and be able to join with Paul in boasting on the day of Christ that we did not run or labour in vain.
God bless you richly as you love Him and your neighbour as yourself!