Tuesday Night, June 24, 1997
God provides an oasis for His betrothed, His beloved. Oh, yes! His Holy Spirit, the Comforter. Wonderful Counselor! What a nightmarish life to not have constant and true Companionship in the Person of the Spirit of Christ Jesus! WHAT A GIFT! And yet, did He even stop there, as He seeks to bring us real and constant hope and life and truth and love? NO, there’s still MORE! “I will build my CHURCH—and against THAT, the gates of Hell itself will crumble—in your life, and in the lives of those you love!” Just as the Father sent the Son—the Word became visible, touchable FLESH...there is, again, Treasure in EARTHEN vessels: the very BODY OF CHRIST... There is an Oasis in His Church!
“This is what the kingdom of God is like: A man scatters seed on the ground night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up. The seed sprouts and grows though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain, first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head” (Mark 4).
When you are inside of God’s Holy City, there is an awesome thing that happens. God’s Holy City is one that is functioning as it should out of relationship and not attendance. It is a City defined by commitment to one another on a daily basis. It is not defined by where you show up or what you believe or who you know. It is defined, instead, by how much your heart is open to receive and to give on a daily basis. In a City like this, the awesome thing is that the seed grows into full maturity and fruitfulness, and we don’t even know how! That really strikes me as awesome. Because if I plant myself in that environment, and if I stay in that environment, then I don’t even have to “figure out” how to grow. The Word of God is going to come at me in so many different ways that I don’t have to spend my energy “figuring it all out.” Maybe you have lived in situations where most of what you got was on Sunday morning, if then, and there weren’t people in your life who were watching, involved, caring, loving and praying for you every day. Maybe it was just a collection of people who showed up someplace. You know good and well how difficult it is to grow in a situation like that. It’s difficult to even stick to your own, sincere commitments to live for Jesus. You know how easy it was then to get off track. But, something is very different when you’re living in that City—that Oasis. The seeds sprout and grow “though you know not how.”
I’m not saying everything is easy when you’re inside His City. It’s still not easy! My flesh and my spirit wage war with one another. Paul didn’t say, “Your flesh and your spirit wage war with one another, unless, of course, you happen to know the right people.” No, I’m sorry. It’s a battle until the day we die. That’s just the way it is. Until we face Him, and see Him, and become who He is because we have seen Him face to face, the spirit and the flesh will wage war with one another. And part of that is good. God left the enemies in the Promised Land in order to purge His people and teach them war in the wilderness. He needed to teach them how to be warriors. Part of this is preparation in being overcomers so that we can sit with Him and rule with Him. Part of the pain and struggle is very, very necessary. A cup and a baptism are required in order to be useful to God. No question about that. The seed must fall to the ground and die, otherwise it abides alone.
Do you want to be the loneliest person on the earth? Then just avoid dying. Just avoid it, avoid it, avoid it. Avoid any kind of pain. Avoid any kind of fear and rejection. Avoid any kind of cost at all in your life. Avoid obedience that hurts. Avoid all of that—and guess what? You have a guarantee from the Son of God that you will remain alone. You will be a lonely, empty person your entire life if you won’t let the seed fall to the ground and die. If you won’t give away your life regardless of the consequences, you will be alone. That’s just the way it is. That’s a promise from God.
But the neat thing is that if you will abandon yourself into the process of living life in the Kingdom of God on a daily basis, then you will grow and you won’t even know how. Time will pass and you won’t have had any bible studies, any systematic format for discipleship growth, any prayer partners, any “prayer meetings” (per se), or curriculums, or “vacation bible schools.” You won’t have had anything but people who loved you every day of your life and who helped each other live out the Word of God out of their own weaknesses. But the seed grew and you don’t even know how. The seed has to fall to the ground and die (that means you are going to suffer various things along the way), but the neat thing is that there is nothing systematic or programmed about it. You will become a different person from the very process of letting the seed be in the soil of God. We “know not how,” but the seed grows. That’s a beautiful thing to me.
Maybe it is a child born of the Spirit rather than a child born in the ordinary, logical way. Maybe it’s not to borrowing western technology and the scientific method, but just abandoning ourselves in love. Perhaps then the seed will grow up to the full head and the multiplying seeds will allow us to fill the earth 30, 60 and 100-fold. But the fun thing is that we don’t even know how that seed grows. There is something simply supernatural about “I will build my church that the gates of hell won’t prevail against.”
“Happy are those who can live in your house always singing your praises... Happy are those who are strong in the Lord” (Ps. 84:4-5). Who are the “those”? “Those who set their minds on a pilgrimage”—to Jerusalem, to the City of God, to the Oasis that God has planned! We set our heart and our mind on that. (Heb. 11—“I’m looking for a City whose Builder and Maker is God, and I’m not going back to the old country. I’m looking for a City. And God will be pleased to be called my God if I am looking for a new Jerusalem—one that is descending from Heaven, becoming a habitation of God by the Spirit. If that is what I set my mind on, I will be strong in the Lord.”)
“When they walk through the valley of weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs where pools of blessing collect after the rain” (Ps. 84:6). Guess what? There is still weeping there. But if you are on a pilgrimage to the Holy City, your tears become springs of blessing.
“They will continue to grow stronger and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O Lord God Almighty hear my prayer! Listen O God of Israel! (Interlude) O God! Look with favor upon the king our protector. Have mercy on the one you have anointed. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in homes of the wicked” (Psa. 84:7-10).
We all remember that verse, “I’d rather be a gatekeeper in the house, than live a single day with evil people out in the world.” But can you see why he says that? You can if you read the earlier verses, right? “Because my pool of tears becomes a pool of blessing in the house of God.” God miraculously turns the water into wine. He turns the water of your tears and the water of your sufferings into the wine of glad singing—if you are in the Oasis. If you are not, it doesn’t work that way. It’s vanity. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House. I’ll be the butler or the baker or the candlestick maker. I don’t have to be important. I don’t have to be recognized. I don’t have to have anything. I just want to be where tears turn into the oil of gladness. That’s what I want. That’s where strength comes. We need to apply the Word of God to our own personal lives and existence, corporately and individually. But the fact is, God is strongly desirous of raising a City set on a hill throughout the world. People we know, people we don’t know—7,000 or 700,000 who haven’t bowed a knee to baal.
Have a passion to apply it to your own life and to recognize that God is calling His people by His Spirit all over the world to the common ground of life in Christ in a real, corporate sense, not just individually. The Holy Spirit is crying for the wall to be built around His people around the world. And if He is merciful to weak people like us, perhaps we can be blessed enough, fortunate enough, and obedient enough to be a part of that! God does want to do that. He will have a Bride that has made herself ready. Come, Lord Jesus!