June 24, 2006 What Do You Know? Kathleen Maples Let me just say before you start reading this, I know the saints of God are all enduring trials of their faith. Some are very real attacks of the enemy. Some are in ourselves, where the Spirit of God is warring against our carnal nature, for supremacy, so we might have life and have it more abundantly. It is hard to endure, but endure we must. (Luke 21:19) We need patience and strength. I understand there is some very real and hard suffering in the lives of God’s people. We need to love and pray for one another and we need to unite our hearts and prayers through the power of the Holy Ghost, and give it all to Him and trust Him to sustain us in our time of hardship. There is no other Source we can go to but the Lord. 1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. We need to know who we are in Christ. We need to know what He has given us, and all He has made available to us. I'm not there yet, but I'm digging. I'm growing. The Lord said in his Word that him that cometh to Him He would in no wise cast out. We have been given access to Him. That access cost Him dearly. He has all the wisdom, and knowledge we need. He is more than willing to teach us all what we need to know. If we go to church, and are not satisfied and catch ourselves thinking critical thoughts of others, or of how the service is going, or of how someone is worshiping God, or singing, we are being carnal. If we are not approving of the way things are going, and feeling let down, and unsatisfied, we need to first examine ourselves. We have no right to be unsatisfied and murmur and complain about the direction of things or the way of the service at the House of God when we can go directly to God ourselves and get full. If we make that our habit, we will see the needs in the church and be prepared to step in the gap. To make up the hedge. To strengthen and bless God’s people because we will have that river of living water flowing through and from us. I am not saying if there is sin, or if the preacher gets out of the Word, or if things are being allowed that contradicts Scriptures, accept it, no, that is an entirely different story. What I am saying is if we belong to the Lord, and we have been given his Spirit, so we can know what he has made available, freely, to his children, and we can know it ourselves, do we know it? Have we taken possession of it? Or, do we expect the minister to feed us, and preach a good message that will put fire in us, and make us feel better? Shouldn’t we be asking GOD to put HIS consuming fire in us that will burn up the chaff and fill us with his strength and power and love so we can minister and serve like Jesus did? Do we walk in church with an attitude that is needy, and focused on self? Oh, before I go any further, let me just confess I am guilty, have been guilty of this so I know what I am talking about, and I know how the Lord got after me for it, and ouch, did it hurt and make me ashamed. How kind and loving He is to show us ourselves at times when the picture is not pretty. The church is to be a place where sinners come in and find hope and life. The saints worship and feed at the table of the Lord. But don’t come starving. If you come starving, you haven’t been meeting with the Lord like you should. Again, I confess I am guilty. But he is changing me, from image to image, faith to faith, and glory to glory. He will not let me stagnate because I run to his Word. When I don’t know how to pray about something, I run to His Word. Did he not magnify His Word above His Name even? Pro 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. We have the Source of all life, knowledge, and wisdom inside of us, we have His Word, and His Holy Spirit, to teach it to us if we just give Him time. If we will but seek His face, spend time alone with Him, in prayer, reading His Word, asking for understanding, He will reward them who diligently seek Him and open their understanding. He will feed us if we spend time with Him alone, and then when we come into His house, we can fulfill His Word, and be full and ready to praise Him as we enter His courts, be ready to be a blessing to others, not sit there on the pew, feeling sorry for ourselves because we had a bad day and are having a hard trial, and look to the preacher like a drowning man or woman with a desperation and a "give me, give me" attitude. No, if we have fed at His table before we get there, we can come into His house and help others and serve Him by ministering to His people-whether it's a testimony that will stir up the minds of those in need, or a song, or Scripture. We are to love one another and serve one another, which is the example Jesus set. Isn't that difficult to do when we walk in His house and rather than being focused on Him and giving glory to the Lord whose been so good to us, we sit on the pew, upset with our circumstances, hating the trial we are going through, listening to the lies of the enemy in our minds that only beat us down more? Oh, I've done this! I am guilty! I did not understand at the time just what a disservice I was doing to my Lord. 1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: I'll never forget one time I was going through a trial early in my Christian walk, and my precious little momma she was sitting on my porch, and I guess you could say next to Jesus, she is my confidant, my best friend. She's never failed me. She's never lied to me or hurt me. And I was pouring out my complaint to her, being very carnal, and she looked at me and smiled this big, beautiful smile, and said, "Honey, you should be shouting right now! You should be rejoicing!" Well, I looked at her like she had suddenly sprouted two heads, and said something to the effect of I don't feel like it, how can I do that? Why would I do that? You know, I guess I expected her to feel sorry for me, just like I did, I mean after all, I was trying to serve God, I'd given up this, that and the other, I loved God, I was ‘letting him’ change my life (how magnanimous of me, don't you think) and here I was suffering through a very unpleasant trial, and not handling it very well. She began to remind me what was written in the Scriptures. Geez, I was so carnal. I had it so wrong. 1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Jam 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Jam 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. Then she said something I never have forgotten, because she told me if I had no trials, if there was no warfare (and this was one mainly of flesh and spirit, warring against the other, and I didn’t understand what was happening or why) but she explained that because of this, it was evidence I was moving in the right direction, and growing in the Lord. Growing pains, I believe she said. “Oh, honey, if there is no trials, no warfare, THEN be concerned. If the devil is not fighting you, he’s already got you.” I look back on my carnality and I must say “OH GOD YOU ARE SO MERCIFUL!!!! SO KIND TO YOUR CHILDREN!” She was right then. She still is and I thank God for her and her God-given wisdom. You know, I would go in to church, having a bad day, and later trials began to be stronger, and harder, and more painful, and instead of seeking God, I’d read his Word, and pray a little, then go to church expecting the Lord to speak to me through the preacher. And sometimes, we’d have a service where there was no preaching, just worship and singing, and I’d leave so down. I’d feel so cheated. But God doesn’t want me to depend on a man to provide for me, when He is the One who does. He wants to provide for me. He wants me to come to Him first. He wants me to let Him fill me so I can share what He gives me, under his Divine guidance, with others. It’s better to give than to receive. Jesus said there was one greater than Solomon here. If that is true, and it is, and if I go to Him, I won’t always be confused, and uncertain. He won’t leave me in confusion. He won’t leave me wondering. If I am confused, and not sure what to do or where to go, it’s because I’m not seeking his face and talking with Him like I should. If I want to understand His Word I must pursue the Author. I must come with faith, patience, and a willingness to wait with expectation on Him who is worth waiting for. Come hungry, and come often. Isaiah said, wait upon the Lord, and renew your strength. I should not expect our pastor or preacher to be my primary source of strength, sheep food, or anything. I am to be his helper, to pray for him, not drain him. There’s no reason for me to be feeling needy and neglected when God is always there, and able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all I could ask or think. I must be willing to submit myself to the Lord, and spend time with Him. I’ll never regret learning of Him and loving Him. Then I can be a blessing, a vessel meet for the Master’s use to minister to the hungry and hurting around me instead of making God look bad by walking around with my head down, and confused and unsure all the time. This was a message from God to me personally, back in 2004. I hope it blesses you and helps you. It did me. If you are at a place in your Christian life, or walk, where the church you go to isn’t satisfying you, check yourself first. If you are not satisfied, and wanting his glory to fill the House, and I DO, then instead of focusing on what is wrong, what if I prepared the way for the Lord to fill me, and trusted Him and began to pray that he’d set a fire in the hearts of those around me? What if I let Him have full control of me and minister life to those around me? What if I ask Him to help me pray His will to pass? Are you eating His flesh and drinking His blood? Are you putting Him first? Do you let things hinder your prayer life and time of dedication to Him? If you aren’t, you need to start. If you do not have a steady church draw nigh to God, seek his face, and ask him to order your steps. Psa 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. He can’t do this if we don’t give Him time to teach us, and learn His voice. If we don’t listen, he can’t instruct us and show us where to go. If we walk with God first, and seek His kingdom first, (Mat 6:33) THE REST WILL FALL INTO PLACE. He’s GOD. He can say “turn here, pull in here.” He can lead you where you need to be. But we have to do our part. We have to draw nigh to him, we have to cleanse ourselves, and dig into His Word and pray, and wait. He knows what we need before we even ask. What if we just humbly bowed before Him, giving him our first alone time, whatever time of day, and just love Him, recognize all the good things He’s done for us? Worship Him. Adore Him. Meditate on His wonderful holiness. Not bombard Him with our needs first, which He already knows. But just love Him. Seek more of Him. Spend time in His presence and wait on Him. What might He do then? Do you think He will leave a child of His with a dedication like that in need? I’ve been asking the Lord to teach me how to pray. I don’t know how to pray like I ought to or who needs praying for. But I know He knows. And this is something that has been on my heart. What if His people make a concentrated effort to get alone with Him and worship Him and seek Him before they come to His house? What if they start setting aside meals, and time, to pray and seek Him, His Presence, His Will, over all and in all things? What if pleasing God became priority ONE in our lives and hearts? What would happen? Are you hungry enough for Him to find out? Believe me, I’m asking myself the same questions here....how much do we know? How hungry are we? There is a lost and dying world out there, that needs to see the Light. But how can we have oil in our lamps if we never go to the Source to get filled up? If we neglect prayer and His Word, we will be dry. What oil we have will leak out, and dry up. Again, I say, I’m guilty. I’m not where I want to be. But praise the Lord, I’m not where I was two years ago. I don’t go to church looking for a blessing anymore. I don’t depend on mom, or my precious pastor, or my brothers and sisters to meet my spiritual needs. I dig into the Word of God, and ask the Holy Spirit to open it to me. It’s the Word that will kill the carnal in me. It’s the Word that will strengthen that life of Christ in me until it overcomes the outer man. It’s His Word that is Spirit and Life!
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