Those "The Father Has Given"
Monday Afternoon, April 29, 2002
Question: I did read and consider again what you wrote a couple of days ago about those the Father has given us, versus just good deeds and “working” for Jesus with no regard for what the Father SPECIFICALLY thinks, case by case. I can surely see that with my previous mindset, I would have gladly welcomed Ananias and Sapphira, or the man from Corinth (1Cor. 5) without any thought whatsoever because, “It’s always right to invest in someone” with my OLD philosophy. I’ll live a little deeper now.
Let me share a couple of thoughts that entered my heart after I had read your e-mail and the scriptures you referred to, and PLEASE, if I am off track let me know. First of all, the scripture in John 17:8 convicted me, especially the RESPONSE from the disciples that Jesus was referring to: “For I gave them the words you gave me and they ACCEPTED them. They KNEW with CERTAINTY that I came from you, and they BELIEVED that you sent me.”
The fact that their response was “deep conviction” and “certainty,” got me to thinking that this type of response has possibly been lacking in our times together with others. Have I really prepared my heart and sought God’s direction PRIOR TO our times together? One brother said yesterday that he didn’t even know what we were going to share with a marginal man (potentially an unBeliever), until he arrived. Shame on me and I think you get my point. I think that when I originally asked you about our times together with others that I was more concerned with the “methodology/execution/format” of our times together—than focusing on actually the eternal principles at stake.
I am right with you on your point regarding “awkwardness,” that when dealing with life and death Issues, it’s okay. My wife and sister played us a song last night that basically said, “I am growing (in the Lord) and I don’t like it.” Growth can be very painful/awkward at times, but it is also very wonderful! In reflection, some of the most AWKWARD times I have ever been through have been my BEST TIMES. I forget that sometimes. : ) God is Good.
While this might sound odd at first, it actually may be okay to not know what you’re going to share with a marginal(?) man, or anyone, at any given time. Or I could go further and say that it may be okay to have NO idea what one will ever say, if anything, in living rooms full of people in Dallas or Oradea, Romania or in an auditorium in Poland or Mumbai, India. Often pre-planning is a way to lose God’s Words by allowing fear to cause us to depend on our own minds. Consider carefully Matthew 10:20. Sometimes one may have a basic idea of what to address, but have no idea how. And that is FINE. And handled in the Spirit rather than as “speakers” and mere men do, even the “what” we might have in mind to address always remains subject to God’s Thought of the moment, so we can easily change directions radically and never miss a beat. In fact, we could get cut off by someone with greater Revelation two sentences into what we had thought to say, and that would be great, if we are building GOD’S Way. And that is possible due to how the situation is “set up” (1Cor. 14:30). (This is a far cry from the little note cards, outlines, and practicing voice inflection, hand gestures, and emotional altar calls in front of the mirror—that they teach future “pastors” and “preachers” to do at Bible College and Seminary! “Those were the days, my friend. I thought they’d never end. La la la, la la la la la.”: ) Slight diversion there. : ) )
All of that to say, it is our whole heart and trust that we will not “speak one word that we do not hear the Father speaking”—regardless of any external pressures. That’s what we do anyway, if we truly believe He is alive and allowed to be Head of HIS Church rather than a figurehead or icon or historical figure to be worshipped and emulated. He’s ALIVE. Let’s live like we believe that He speaks through anointing, granted “as He wills” amongst the Gifts that He has deposited upon ALL of His People, not just some unBiblical “clergy” and “speech” system where the “laity” are relegated to some “extra” time, but dare not interrupt the “man of power of the hour” who is the automatic or designated “speech giver.” We all are to Listen for His Voice, and respond at any given moment to what He is saying or doing. And all of this without a lick of “hyper-Spirituality” of, “I think the Lord is saying…blah blah blah.” THAT is NOT Jesus’ Style. That strong-arming and manipulation, as well as drawing attention to oneself, is yucky. Everyone feels it—except the one doing it, and those who have been conditioned into being gullible by many years of that unBiblical way of relating to God and each other (Jer. 23:16-40). Jesus is far more Real and simple and unobtrusive than that. And those who really know Him will trust that “the sheep know the Shepherd’s Voice,” and His Lambs don’t need coercing in this Covenant.
Anyway, to be prepared to speak into a situation is Right. But the preparation I speak of is not “the words or how to say them” (Mat. 10:20 again), but rather a focused heart and mind for the gravity and importance and the substance of the task at hand. It is the same “sensitivity” that we discussed last time I was in your city. It is the same “sensitivity” to all that is around us every moment that is required to be a true “night and day” worshipper, rather than a religious “singer” or “praise-word repeater” rather than a true Worshipper that “the Father seeks.” This “sensitivity” lives “noticing all the details” around us at any moment. The jagged rocks, the dancing trees, the river bed crevices carved by the now-flooding, tumultuous brook. These sensitivities to the moment give us the potential to “worship in the Spirit” rather than in the mind, at some certain time and place that has been set up for a religious “experience” by men.
In a similar way, to Hear God in the Moment and to be useful to Him in the lives and situations of others, we must also be similarly sensitive to every moment. If our own “ego motors” or loud voices or fears or worldly appetites have deafened and blinded us, then we can only regurgitate the borrowed words of others, and not Hear God. Be sensitive. Notice the mannerisms, the voice inflections, what those in the room care about or don’t seem to care about—regardless of what they “say.” All of this so that you can then draw on Insight and Timing from God, that they may be HIS Words, and that the words “won’t return void”—as our words alone will certainly do. Even if we can “emotionally” get a response by rehearsed or conjured ideas and clever word-crafting, it will still “return void” in a matter of time. The weeping “at the altar” will revert to the same sins and weaknesses and tragedies within days or weeks if it is not truly GOD speaking. It looked good during the “special occasion,” but there was not “fruit that lasts”—so it was not Him at all.
On the other topic above, that was a good thought you brought up about folks who are “accepting” His Words. Clearly, this is requisite for those “the Father has given us”—that they accept His Words. But allow me to speak for a moment to another side of what “accepting” His Words may mean that is easy to miss. We DO know some who “accept” His Words as His, but have little strength, and obey seldom. We can sense that they can HEAR Him, and “the sheep know the Shepherd’s Voice.” So we have persevered with such as these, though they are not welcome to live and move and have their being amongst us if they do not obey Him from the heart. Jesus was clear on this matter of whether those who disobey can be in our midst, as was Paul. “If they love Me, they will believe the right things about Me.” Wrong. “They will obey me.” “Depart from Me, I never knew you. You did not DO the Will of the Father.” “Remove the leaven from the batch.” “You must listen to everything Jesus tells you. Anyone who does not listen to Him will be completely cut off from among the people” (1Cor. 5; Acts 3:19-23; Mat. 7, etc.). But there is still a level of those “the Father has given us” that does not include being daily in our midst (as the above Commands clarify for us), but does involve a commitment on our part.
There is a young woman named Tanya who is an example of one who seemingly can “Hear” but will not soften her heart and obey. She has been dear enough to us that we have paid her mortgage payment, for her and her husband and three children—eight months of the last 36! There is a softness there in her heart still, in spite of her poor behavior over the years. She clearly has not been turned over by God to the “strong delusion” that she would “believe the lie.” She still, in fact, abhors the lie and is soft enough that in spite of her behavior, it still seems God’s Call is on her life. In such a case, we have a responsibility to her forever, regardless of what she does or doesn’t do. As long as GOD hasn’t “turned her over,” and as long as she still seems to hear His Voice, we will not turn our backs on her either. Weird, huh? She’s not a part of the Church here (notice the Commands above, again), but she can still Hear. So we are obligated to her (and love the privilege). We will continue to keep tabs on her, and care for her and try to watch out for her. She is, on one odd level, one “the Father has given us.” As long as Father is still in it, so are we.
Others we have known, by contrast, seem to have no ability to hear the Shepherd’s Voice, realistically. It would only be wishful thinking, but not discernment, to credit them with anything Spiritual. They try to cooperate and “keep their nose clean” and try to go along with “as much as they can.” But they are restless and ugly on the inside and don’t respond to a Living Jesus, but just to their own wills and judgments and foolish, arrogant, small minds. There isn’t an ounce of SUPERnatural or Heaven-Life in their bones or minds, but they try to DO all the right things to “stay out of trouble.” Maybe they “behave acceptably” for the children’s sake, or to please men, or to not be lonely, or because in their BRAINS they “know it’s right” or some other worldly “of the devil” reason to “act right.” But IN them (Col. 1:26-27) there is no heart, no passion, no humility, no softness, no true Life. Although they behave well, that category of person is FAR less welcome in our lives than the young woman I spoke of who behaves poorly, but can See what “flesh and blood has not revealed.” The Father has not “given to us” (Jn. 17:8ff) those who “believe the right things” or “behave well,” and yet there is no discernable LIFE in them. That is the “deposit”—the “guarantee”—the “proof.” “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision. What counts (alone) is a New Creation.” This is not “theory,” but impressive Reality—when it is REAL.
To those who are play-acting, and “are still their own” and not “bought for a price,” they are NOT those “the Father has given.” And therefore, we refuse to “give an account for their souls” (Heb. 13:17) or let them think that we will. To God we will say, instead of “giving an account for his soul”: “Father, we do not know this man, and will not vouch for his soul. He inspires nothing in us, and while we tried to help him turn the corner, he continued to only worship himself, with some strategic (but transparent) religious jargon and good deeds thrown in. He’s on his own. God have mercy on his soul.”
Such as these, who do not “accept” Jesus’ Words (though they may “behave” better in “keeping the Commands” than one who can “Hear” and “Accepts,” but still must yet soften their hearts to obey), are “dead even while they live.” And yet full of religion (at times even a borrowed, “deep knowledge of God” and impressive words and deeds—[Mat.7]), they do not “accept” His Words, even though they seem to, if judged only externally. They may behave well for self-motives (rather than from “Hearing His Voice”), but, “The Spiritual man indeed discerns all things.” It is not that hard to see through such a person, even when you can’t “prove it” with a list of “sins” or a lawyer’s argument. Nevertheless, those who have no antennae in the Spiritual Realm, even though they behave fairly well—the Father will not “give us.” We need to act on this Truth by not pretending that they are okay! It is for them that we must act. “Times of refreshing come from repentance” and we are robbing them of the Opportunity by not Representing Jesus properly and “vomiting” at what makes Him vomit (Rev. 3:16). Those of mere mud and clay, but without the Wind of Heaven in their lungs and the Blood of Jesus in their veins, are not Family to be cared for indefinitely. Act like it. They must not be received the same as those who have those “Spirit-antennae.”
As Jesus said, “ONE MORE YEAR”—and that’s it—for those without Spirit-Antennae, those who cannot “accept” or “receive” His Words because they live in the wrong language and “receive” on the wrong “frequency.” Do not let carnal sympathy, biological ties, fear of man or any such thing cause you to build as men build. “In the end it leads to death,” and “the work is burnt up” when we build on the sand with such wood, hay, and stubble.
Well, there’s a little more on the topic. This will save you from poor Building—and much grief and collateral damage of innocent ones. If you’ll take it to heart and have the courage to apply it, it will help “bring many sons to GLORY.” Pass it on to the Church with you there, as you’re inclined.