People who don't want to hear, won't be given ears to ear? It's like a heart cry..., He knows those who are crying on the inside who are open to hearing Him. But those who are content to go it alone and don't want Jesus Help, and don't even want to want Him or His Help, then they won't be given ears to hear. But the ones He can draw by The Holy Spirit without forcing them to come, He gives them ears to hear His Voice or His tug or whisper and they will come. And they won't come, they can't come if He doesn't call them, because it takes The Holy Spirit (not just any spirit) to draw them out, to draw them to Himself. So if their heart is crying and God is calling, and if they are open to the possibility, then He makes a way for them to hear. And sometimes, maybe every time, God has to put us in touch with the pain or the cry to help us consider Him. Sometimes it's a Catch 22, but suffice to say that if they don't want to hear, or they don't want to want to hear Him or consider His Offer, then He won't force them to hear Him because that would be forcing them to be with Him. But God is Lord of All, and Lord of the Catch 22. He knows what to do. And if there is a way without forcing them, then He will make that way. Saul of Tarsus was against Jesus and against those who belonged to Jesus, but Saul was obviously open to hearing the real thing because although Jesus forced Saul down, He didn't force him to come. And thus it begins. Just like Paul, just like all of us, because we all needed His help to hear and to come.
There aren't enough "Pastors" telling people they won't be able to pull it off!
That it won't work!
Too many people are saying - "I can do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens me!" but translated all too often means…, "Get it done with Jesus!" Like a tagline, or as long as they somehow "attach" Jesus on to their gig. That somehow that's all "they" needed!!! Wow. But it's more like He's trying to include us in His thing but too many are too busy on "their-own" path. Wow. -Yuk-. Anyone who has tried this has had huge Grace if God has shown them the error about that.
Jesus came not only to show us, but to save us, and to be in us and through us what we could not be under any illusion, even the illusion of "religion" or thinking that we're somehow taking God along with us! He's actually taking us along with Him, not the other way round. This becomes more and more clear the more He reveals Himself to us and the more He helps us be more open to Him. But we still get to choose, yet without His Help we can't warm up to Him. And yes of course we can do All things through Christ Who Strengthens us, but not "our will our way with His Strength", but His Will and His Way with His Strength…, Otherwise it's likely "our will, our way, our strength" and that produces nothing good. And that sometimes (maybe even most times) is difficult to distinguish. He works that all out in us over time as He shows us more who we are dealing with in ourselves in our own strength and flesh, and Who He IS and that we can trust Him and Entrust more and more to Him, even through great pain and suffering as He gets more and more Grace to us and we learn that His Grace runs farther and faster and deeper, and gives us huge endurance, and satisfies even in and through and out of extreme unsatisfaction…, Jesus becomes our Satisfaction. And even though that gets us clearer, still not completely clear unless God wants it to be, but totally clear when we go to be with Him. Most times though, He wants us to walk by faith because that's relational and when we do by His Spirit..., over time He teaches us what He does when we trust Him and move forward etc.
So to recap: There's the part where Jesus gives us strength, and there's the part where He just includes us in His River that's flowing, and Power and Love is doing the thing and we're included. The first way kind of works - but is more hit and miss on our part, but the latter is Relational and deeper place of maturity and a confidence that is beyond anything that can be seen or felt with our natural senses, it's deeper and coming form deeper. But you can't just put yourself into "maturity" it's where He takes us when we let Him take us there and even our willingness He develops over time, and obedience comes from more and more freedom, not from slavery or bondage. So He frees us more and more to be less bound by the old to be more free to be in and operate in The New Man or The New Woman so to speak. So when we let Jesus in more, let Him draw us nearer, then the focus will be less and less on us and more and more on Him, and the Rest IS HIStory. And we get to learn how cool it is that He includes us in it, in the story that He is writing rather than us trying to include Him somehow in the story we're writing. It's subtle but very powerful difference. The Lord knows those who are His, and He knows those who trust Him, and that's a pretty small list compared to all the people going around professing things as if that was all it took. Suffice to say that to get anywhere with Jesus, we have to let Him develop us into His vessels and that is very uncomfortable (un come for table) (interesting), especially uncomfortable when it costs us, but with Jesus, He's Always Always worth the price of admission. Anyone that has tasted and seen that The Lord IS Good, has never looked back at the cost, but what God did after that and because of that, and through that. And many times He brings to Life the thing that had died way better than it was before it died. But that's probably another lesson. So without Him we can (literally) do nothing, but it's really working when He's doing something with us and we're letting Him take us with Him, letting Him lead us there. And please please don't think that's always known, many many times it's just walking in the direction by faith in Him, that He has put in our hearts, and then we get to see how He plays it all out and He makes our crooked paths straight and we look back an marvel how He did that and many times without our knowing until later.
That's why we walk by faith, we see through a glass dimly, but then face to face. He knows what He's doing. So lets let Him continue to change our vision from trusting what we see and what we perceive is unfolding, into more trusting Who we can't see with what we don't know. Knowing that in a moment He can reveal how He's been turning everything upside down and using it all for His purposes and to grow His kids and His Kingdom.
Have you ever heard a pastor telling the whole congregation that they need to be telling more people about Jesus? This is usually a misguided short sighted mistake. Explained: The disciples in the upper room that night were all sold out and would have gone out in their own strength to try to change and overturn the world. But they would have fallen down and been defeated needlessly. So they weren't being told to do something or go be something they weren't being or doing already, and certainly they were willing and they no doubt knew who they were. They were being encouraged and empowered to do more of what they already were, and what God was already overflowing from the deepest parts of them, they just needed to be primed, filled, and sent out. What we have mostly in the churches today are not yet sheep or not yet being transformed by the Grace and Love of God. Once that begins to happen, sheep, Lost Sheep that have been found by Jesus, they know they were lost and they know they have been found, and they know Who Found them! They only need the means and the empowering or filling to overflowing that will indeed spill over into and onto wherever they go in this life, so they don't need to be told, they need to be fed, and they usually don't need more teaching as much as they need more and more of Jesus, so they need to become more yielded, and that is a work of God's Spirit, not a work of man. We are not good at changing or modifying our own will, but Jesus IS The Master of Wills, or the "Will Whisperer" if you will. Most sheep in churches today don't even know who they are in Christ. Either because they aren't yet, or because they haven't been shown who or what they are or even Who Jesus really is or why they should trust Him and let Him in deeper. He's God, so whatever He touches is either made more alive or more dead if the thing doesn't belong.
Paul was a Jew, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Paul knew the law probably as good as anyone at the time, practiced the law as well as if not better than anyone at the time, had a personal encounter with Jesus Himself, received more Grace than maybe anyone else at the time because he had persecuted the church yet was saved by and called by Jesus, wrote half the new testament, was filled with the Holy Spirit, saw God do many many things in and through his life..., yet what was Paul's Testimony? He had the information, he knew the Law, he had lived by the Law, the perfect Law of God, but then Jesus ran into Him, and Paul let down his guard for Jesus and submitted his will to Jesus on the road to Damascus on that day when Saul of Tarsus was freed from his own sowing and reaping, and began to enter into Jesus sowing and reaping that Jesus had finished on the cross leaving nothing left to be done. So Paul had the information, and had the Grace, including that he knew as well as anyone the Spirit of the Law..., yet Paul's Testimony was Simply This, that he still couldn't do it, and that many times what he wanted to do that he knew was right, he didn't do, and that which he knew was wrong that he didn't want to do, he still ended up doing..., So he said in no uncertain terms..., “i still can't“ and so..., “oh wretched man that i am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" "I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind i myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." Yet still there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to The Spirit. For the law of The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
And we could go on for hours and cover the whole of the bible and get the same answer, that it's all about Jesus and it's not about us to be able to accomplish anything good in and of ourselves. Paul also said in many ways many times that the onus was on God, not on Paul. For instance Paul would say, "He (Jesus) is able to keep that which i have committed to Him against that day." "For i am persuaded that neither death nor life..., nor any other created thing (including himself) will be able to separate him or us (who belong to Jesus) will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus. Far too many Christians are spending too much time staring at their naval thinking that they will soon be able to discover something useful in there..., instead of letting Jesus teach them to stare only at Him and let Him take care of the Rest. This is not a switch that we can flip but rather a process of further dependency on The Person of Jesus.
So in summary, Paul's Testimony was still "i can't but Jesus in me can, and so it was Jesus and Him Crucified, and "i ran better than the rest, yet not i, it was the Grace of God that was in me." So by Grace (that comes from God) we are saved through faith (that comes from God and we use it to connect with Him by faith through Jesus The Door). So then by Grace we are saved, it is the Gift of God to Salvation, and so Grace is the door to Jesus by Faith, and Jesus IS The Door, The Only Door to The Father, by the drawing, wooing, and sealing of The Holy Spirit, and Grace also runs the race. So by Grace we are saved, Grace gets us all the way across the finish line, and Grace also runs the race. If this were not true then Paul's Testimony would be false, and we know it is true, and he would certainly know best aside from Jesus Himself.
Jonah knew the way but he wasn't going..., and he had some really good reasons and probably such good reasons that we probably would have acted the same way..., Paul on the other hand was completely on board with wherever and whatever, even to the point of death as long as Jesus was in the boat, but Paul didn't know the way. Paul was told to go to the Gentiles but Paul thought he was a better fit for the Jews and so he focused on getting Jesus to them, but he soon found out that wasn't going to work, so then he thought he was supposed to go to Asia, but he was supposed to go to Europe..., so Jonah knew the way and wasn't going, and Paul was completely on board with whatever God wanted but he didn't know the way, yet God All by Himself got both of those men where He wanted them to be..., AND He got them to choose! Now that is a mystery and an enigma and providence and Extreme Grace all rolled into one. Their stories and even the whole Bible are proof that we don't know God's ways, He keeps blowing up our boxes that we try to put Him in, and He keeps showing up over and over in each of our lives saying..., "Oh, by the way..., I'm LORD of that too!" "And that thing that you haven't been able to fix in yourself for so long that you've been struggling with..., I'm LORD of that too!" He's also Lord of the Harvest and that doesn't seem to be common knowledge in many circles of Christendom in that many think that they're in charge of the harvest but that's another message.
We had nothing at all to do with our first birth. There were only three in the room that decided that we were going to come into the world..., God Himself, and our earthly father and mother. We didn't even participate in the birthing process... we didn't push ourselves out, we didn't even help..., at best we either hindered the process or we relaxed and let the process play out. So too with our Second Birth..., we had nothing to do with that either.., we didn't push ourselves through the birth canal, we didn't provide or bring to the table any of the necessary ingredients for salvation, we didn't even help, and at our worst, we hindered the process, and at our best we got out of the way and let Jesus take us through as He was calling us from the other side in a way that we could hear, and giving us faith to be able to exercise to be able to come to Him, and He provided the Grace or favor to come that was all about His Perfect work and not ours, and The Holy Spirit was on our side wooing us and drawing us and enabling our will to be able to recognize Jesus calling. So in effect we were agreeing with what God already knew. And it is Certain that not a one of us were born an Island, but completely dependant on others at our birth! And our second birth is the same, only completly dependent on God and others to get us from infancy to the next step(s).
Jesus won’t say on that day..., “depart from Me, for you didn’t know Me...!” but He will say..., “depart from Me, for I never knew you...!” Because you never let Me in, not when I knocked, not when I sent My Spirit to woo you, to draw you to Myself, not when I let your world fall apart so you would come to Me..., I wasn’t going to force you to come to Me, and I won‘t force you to be with Me now...., “So Depart from Me...!”
So Paul says to us that he counts all his gains as loss that he might know Jesus and the Power of His Resurrection. Paul eludes that that’s the main thing to us who believe who are His., but that’s because we’ve accepted Jesus offer, but to the goats, the thing they neglected was that they never opened to Him by the faith that He gave them to mix with their agreement or their trust so that He could come in to give the the power to become the sons and daughters of God. Anyway, it would seem that the church at large is preaching to wrong message to the world, and prematurely..., for they keep saying to the world that they should get to know Jesus, but Jesus is saying that they need to let Him in so that He can give them His Spirit on the inside, so that He can know them, so that He can reveal Himself to them, so they can get to know Him. etc..., And to us who are brothers and sisters in Christ, we can tell each other like Paul did, that we can know Jesus and the power of His Resurrection or His Resurrection Power. But still, how that plays out is Jesus gets us to open the gates a little wider and let Him in a little deeper etc, and He takes care of the rest.
Jesus IS Lord of The Harvest, and Lord of All as well. But i always used to think that my family and those in my own house were part of my field or the field i was in since i have been in such close proximity to them so often for so long. But one day it would seem that these two passages collided...,
"... for a prophet is not without honor except in his own home town, in his own house etc...," and "...Pray to The Lord of The Harvest that He would send more laborers into the fields for the fields are ripe for Harvest." So when God really gets it to us that it's All about Him and not about us, then that starts to open other possibilities that weren't seen from inside the box so to speak..., and one of those possibilities is that the people closest to me, maybe even all of the people closest to me are in someone else's field and not in the field that i find myself in at the moment or maybe even for a long time and maybe won't ever be..., so then i begin to pray to The Lord of The Harvest that He send laborers into the fields that my Loved one's are in and that He would send me and others into the fields of those who may be in the same boat where they don't realize that they're in a different field than their Loved one's are in. Anyway, this gives me new found hope that i'm maybe praying more specifically for those that i've been laboring in prayer for, for these past years (probably not proper english but i'm ok with that);.. Also starting to pray these types of prayers in prayer meetings where others are requesting prayers for their Loved one's etc. This has helped me focus even more on God rather than my own possible limitations, but i certainly didn't see that limitation before, in that i might not even be in the same field or location spiritually as the one's i care most about even though they are in close physical proximity to me.