Are you waiting well?

waiting wellHave you ever been offended against God?

Come on, let’s be honest for a moment. Have you ever felt disappointed with God? I have.

Disappointment with God is possible because of a misunderstanding of what we like to call “breakthroughs”.

We love our breakthroughs. We are all waiting for our “breakthrough”.

We have received a promise or prophetic word from God [or so we perceive] and it has not happened yet. Because our lives are bounded by time and space we feel the injustice of this; God has promised us something and He has not delivered.

The problem is; we believe that since God has promised something there must be nothing more important to Him than delivering it.

And have you ever noticed that the breakthroughs we seek are always of a certain kind – a husband or wife, better job, bigger house, a promotion or raise, physical healing, freedom from worry or low self-image.  All things that would make our life more pleasant and bearable.  And what could be better than that?

But here is the problem; God is waiting for a breakthrough for you as well, but for Him it’s a different breakthrough and to Him it’s much more important.

We can’t imagine anything more important than our breakthrough because our breakthrough is usually a very good thing, especially in the area of ministry. Imagine God has promised you a powerful healing ministry. You can almost imagine God’s joy over watching you heal people.

You can picture God and Jesus in Heaven talking and all of a sudden God says, “wait a minute, stop and look at this! Bill is about to raise that neighbor’s baby from the dead, oh I love it when he does this. Bill is amazing!!  What a healer Bill is!!”  Then the Holy Spirit who has been quietly listening says, “Wait a minute; that was ME doing that!!” We forget that God is not impressed with our ministry because it really isn’t our ministry.

The fact is, there is something more important to God than our breakthroughs and that is our character development.

The breakthroughs He values most are character breakthroughs and He is willing to allow us to wait for our breakthroughs if it is the only way to grow our character.

The upsetting fact is that He will intentionally prolong our wait until we have learned what He intended for us to learn.  David was chased by Saul for 14 years after he was promised the Kingship over Israel. Joseph was in slavery and/or prison for 17 years before his God-given dreams came true. Paul lived in obscurity for 11-13 years before his life calling began. The children of Israel were forced to wait 40 years in the desert because they failed the test of character at the border to the promised land. All of these delays were IN GOD’S WILL! He had a plan in the middle of all of them. What we have to understand is that He has a PLAN for you in the middle of your wait. The plan always has to do with your character and it usually has to do with one or more of three things: 1] perseverance, 2] humility & 3] thankfulness.

PERSEVERENCE

Romans 5:3-4 “Not only so, but we  also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope”.

The Biblical definition of perseverance is always to do with steadfastness. It is to hold to what you know to do and not quit. It means much more than just continuing to believe for the breakthrough.

It has to do with how you live and act before the breakthrough.  Joseph was persevering when he decided to be the best slave he could be in the house of Potifar, and the best prisoner while in the dungeon, and the best interpreter of dreams when a fellow prisoner was in distress.

Tune in next blog post for more stories of Biblical characters and the most important question we need to ask.

You never know who you are influencing

Hi Mark,

You don’t know me, though we met a couple times about twenty five years ago. I was probably eight or nine years old at the time. You were serving at with the Vineyard church in Calgary and came to do a weekend workshop in my small town in northern Alberta. My parents attended and I was there off and on.
My older brother recorded your sermons on cassette tapes. Back then I didn’t pay much attention, while I was a Christian, as a child understands it, I would have rather been playing with my friends then listening to a grown up talk.
Those tapes sat on the table at the back of the church for years afterward. I don’t think anything anyone really knew what they were.
The seminar was on ‘Relationship’ and how it defines Christians and Christianity. I grew up Anglican and religion to me was mostly about participation in the liturgy.
Going through the motions and following the rules.
One day when I was about thirteen, for some reason, after looking at them for years, I took those tapes home. I began listening. It was the first time I can remember thinking God might be something more than an abstract untouchable being. I knew he loved me and all the typical rhetoric that comes from church, but it never really sunk in that you might be able to know him.
There was a tape that talked about meditating on and just thinking about the Lord’s prayer, line by line, absorbing how significant each is and why it was said. I had never thought about how deep simple words could go. I was confirmed a year later.
Fast forward two decades. One failed marriage, and a lot of life experience later. The marriage fell apart after my wife had three affairs. Not the best time in my life. I’ve never had a crisis of faith or even really stopped attending church, but I felt empty. I felt disconnected.
Nothing seemed to make sense. I went searching again.
The pastor at my church was very good. He helped me understand grace in way I hadn’t thought about before. I had moved on to a Christian Reform church. My life started to recover. I needed more. Fortunately by now, the internet was a thing. I listened to many speakers, Ravi and Driscoll, Chan and Stanley. They were good for the intellectual arguments I had inside me, yet I was missing the relationship. This is when I googled you.
I found your website archive, picked one, and soon a familiar voice came through. God opened my head and my heart, and I absorbed it like a sponge. I downloaded some of them and listen to them in my car. I turn them on when I’ve had bad day at work, or need to something for my soul to digest. Thanks for that.
I’m not an emotional guy. I work in engineering, I’m intensely pragmatic and not at all touchy-feely, but I wanted you to know, if you read this, that if we never meet again, the impact you’ve had on my life, through the decades, across a continent.
Your ministry is worth it.
Your words are valued.
I hope one day you get the ‘well done good and faithful servant’ you desire. Thank you Mark.
Tim

 

Twilight Trek

Have you wanted to see God use you in supernatural ministry? Have you wanted to see the power of God displayed in our current culture? Have you wanted to see the kind of working of the Holy Spirit that the church in the book of Acts experienced? Then you’ll need to take a journey into the “Twilight”, in other words, be willing to step out into the unknown and trust God to meet you there. In this video we look at the biblical account of how 4 men saw the power of God change their lives and the lives of a whole city by taking a walk in the “Twilight”.

 

Oracle

Have you ever wanted to see God speak through you to someone in need of a touch from God. Have you wondered how the early church was used by God to speak to their world. Do you long to see God release his prophetic gifts in your life. If so, then this video will encourage and inspire you to step out in the prophetic gifts.

In this video we investigate the world of the New Testament and see how God used the early believers to “speak for God” in a pagan world that so desired to hear from the “gods” that they would seek out strange oracles to hear from the “divine”. Let this video challenge you to be a voice (oracle) for God in the 21st century.

Teachable moment

This is the answer to the teachable moment mentioned in the last video from Mark and Bob – the one about the “sign” about being on the Sid Roth “Its Supernatural” TV show.

When we receive a potential prophetic sign or word, what is our part in its fulfillment?

“In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom—in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So, I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:1–3

Here is the back story: Daniel, a Godly man, has discovered from reading God’s word that God has set the length of time that his city, Jerusalem, will remain in ruins. He discovers that the time is up. According to God’s unalterable word the city is soon to be liberated. God has prophetically proclaimed the exact end of the time of suffering. This should be great news! We would expect a celebration of thanks to God at the very least, but this is not what Daniel does. He puts on sack cloth and ashes and he begins to fast and pray, asking God to do the very thing that God has already promised that He would do. This is very strange; can we take God at His word or not? What is the correct response to a prophetic promise of God?

Here is another similar example:

“After many days, the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year of the drought, saying, ‘Go, present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain on the earth.’” 1 Kings 18:1

Again, the back story: the nation is being ruled by a corrupt and ungodly leadership [King Ahab] and the country is suffering because of him. Sound familiar?

There has been a drought in the land for three years. God’s people are getting desperate. Soon they will be killing their flocks, because they have no water for the animals. Once they kill their flocks, their economy will be ruined and they will be destitute. God decides to rescue His people, not because they are good or are seeking Him [they are not], but because He is good. He sends Elijah to King Ahab to tell him that rain is coming.

Ahab is God’s leader over Israel. He should be God’s man as well, but he is not. Although he is one of the people of God he is in bed with the world. He has married a woman who is not one of God’s people and who is evil. She has been pulling him and Israel away from God. In many ways Ahab is like a portion of the church today; God’s in name, but not in heart or action.

God sends His word to Ahab to tell of what He is going to do to help His people:  God is going to send rain! God has sovereignly spoken, rain is coming! So, Elijah says to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of rushing rain” 1 Kings 18:41.

Elijah tells Ahab to celebrate because God is going to bring rain. This is what we would expect to do; celebrate because God has promised help. This is not what Daniel did and it is not what Elijah does.

“So, Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; there he bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees”. 1 Kings 18:42

Elijah responds the same way Daniel did. He hears the promise and then he begins to fast and pray fervently. What is the difference between Daniel and Elijah on the one hand and Ahab on the other? All three are Israelites, all three are leaders, and all three are faced with a crisis and a promise. Two pray; the other parties.

Here is the difference; the two who are in relationship with God and are in unity with Him share His heart and enter into His work. They begin to travail in prayer. Because they know God intimately, they know that His promise is an invitation to share His heart and His work and they respond with prayer. The one who did not know his God chose to say, “God has promised to save us, that’s wonderful, but I don’t have any part in the fulfillment of that promise so I’ll just continue to enjoy myself.”

Ahab has no real relationship with God and so God’s heart means nothing to him and neither does being with God in His work. We need to understand that a prophetic promise is not just a statement of what God is going to do; it is also an invitation to join Him in accomplishing the promise. It is as much an invitation as a future prediction. We need to remember that there is biblical precedent for God to change His mind. He does this when He speaks judgment and then hears a repentant people and gives mercy instead of judgment and vice versa.

At the very least a prophetic word is always a call to pray.

As we have said earlier, much prophecy is not given by God to be shared in church, but to be prayed in our prayer closets.