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 Post Post subject: Devotions - Thursday, June 14th, 2007
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:56 am 
Catspaw knows all

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Reading: Proverbs 10, Proverbs 11, Proverbs 12; Acts 1

Good morning Church,

What makes us, the Church, so different from the world? We have our church boards, our executive officers, our discussion groups or focus groups, our research, our demographic charts, our wisdom and wise council just as the world does. Is it our little prayer at the beginning when we ask for guidance and then totally go on our own, or the little prayer at the end when we ask God to bless what we have decided to do? What really makes us any different from any business in the world?

Not everything we read in the Word is given as a good example. God the Father also allows us to see the mistakes that were made so that we may learn. Peter made a mistake right before the birth of the Church. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit was given. I think that “wait” should have been understood to mean wait in everything, but Peter did not.

The twelve apostles had become eleven because of Judas’ betrayal. Peter thought they needed to replace Judas immediately so they relied on the method that had been used since the ancients for determining God’s will. They started by nominating two people who fit Peter’s description of an apostle. Note that this was Peter’s description; the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them so he was left to his own wisdom. Two were nominated and then lots were cast which is close to the same thing as roiling dice. After the Spirit came upon them we never again hear of the casting of lots. So Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. It seemed like a wise thing to do. However, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not God’s ways.

A while later, there will be an appointed day when a young political zealot would be on a road to a place called Damascus. He would be going to persecute, to arrest, to even kill if necessary the followers of Jesus Christ. This is God’s way of doing things. Jesus appeared to this man who was persecuting him and I understand that he appointed this man as the twelfth apostle, responsible for bringing the gospel of grace to the gentiles. If we examine it carefully we will see it as a God-thing. It is not man who gets to make the decision on who is called to what position in the body of Christ but it is by divine appointment, regardless of what any man thinks.

We conduct most of the affairs of the Church in a like manner. We use our wisdom instead of the Spirits guidance. Even in our daily living we make decisions without council and then we cry for help when it lands us in difficulty. We have whole churches that are founded on the wisdom of man. They function well because we can achieve a lot in our own wisdom, but they will not survive God’s testing. This is not a judgement on any church because there are also many great churches that have been birthed in the Spirit. Only when the testing fires come will we know which is which.

However, I have heard judgement passed on little churches that make my hair curl. I have heard “wise” leadership say that we are wasting kingdom money by having lots of little churches, that all these little churches should amalgamate and make one church. It makes sense, and appears to be wise council, according to the world. But in the body of Christ there is no such thing as large and small churches, there is only the Church. We hope that each church has been birthed in the Spirit to its own purpose and calling. How I long to see a thousand churches in our city, all filled by the Spirit, all functioning in their calling, whether they are big or little. Success is not measured in size but instead in faithfulness.

Is it success to grow a huge church that was not the will of God, based on the economic and business sense of this world? Or is it a success to respond to the Spirit, to begin a work, to stay faithful to that work and take it to the end no matter the size or success? Which do you think will please God the Father and which do you think will stand the test of fire?

No, not everything that is given in the Word is given as a good example. Some things are given as lessons. We must learn to discern in the Spirit.

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