In the gospels, Mary, the sister of Martha , seemed to annoy people just by being herself. There were two outbursts against her. She was attacked for what she didn’t do and for what she did do. On each occasion Jesus commended her: in one incident He commended her for her wise decision making, in the other for sensitively blessing Him when others were completely insensitive to His needs. In her presence He felt blessed and ministered to, open to the physical touch of love, comfortable enough to weep.
Those folk that annoy you either by what they don’t do in church or by something they suddenly do for Jesus, may be the very ones with whom Jesus has the closest of relationships.
Or let me apply this another way. Do you feel that others consider you an odd bod? Do you feel that everyone seems to look at you as though you are a bit strange and even avoid you a bit, not including you, not even thinking you may have something worthwhile to contribute or thoughts worth hearing? Do you feel on the edge of church, that you don’t quite have folks’ approval, that some even seem irritated and angry with you? You may even be a leader or a leader’s spouse and be experiencing that. No matter. Enjoy Jesus enjoying your company today.
I think I must get a sermon together on how comfortable Jesus is with those considered by themselves or others to be “odd bods”, how He honours them and how much His church needs them in its life and mission…it will probably bless some and annoy others who are more compliant with rules as to how one is meant to be, ought to be, should be. I can cope with that…
Felt the Lord’s indignation tonight as I came before Him and was aware of His presence.
I am not saying it was a propheticky thing, but it was close to it. This was the thought:
“Who made you a judge of the reality or adequacy of the Church’s repentance in readiness for Revival, the fittedness of this or that person, this or that congregation, etc? Attend to your own humbling of yourself before God, and others will catch fire from you, otherwise your call to repentance is a powerless, unblessed cliche, trumpeted by your flesh. It will not bring about the righteousness God requires in you or anyone else, no matter the fierce anger with which sin is denounced by you.”
I believe I needed to hear that because of reading a discouraging post that seemed to denounce the genuineness of every sign of life and hope in the church. I think the Lord’s indignation was about the spirit and the heart and pen behind that article, but I felt I had to search my own heart, my own attitudes as well.
I bless God for those times in my life where I have come close to those burning with fresh fire. Just being with them made me desire God with fresh intensity without them saying a word to me. It was as though God poured from the pores of their skin and was on their breath and in their eyes and in their sighs: on each occasion when such people have become part of my story, even for a fleeting moment, I found myself not only on my knees but on my face before the living God until fire from heaven came afresh upon me too.
Even remembering such people now seems to create in me a longing for the presence of the Living God, to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The sense of God hovering over me as I remember is very real.
I noticed some Facebook friends apologising with humility and integrity for promoting prophetic words and declarations about the ending of Coronavirus that were not fulfilled. It is humble of them to do so and may God bless their humility and and integrity. If the well known prophets and leaders of Intercessory prayer movements who made these declarations in the Name of the Lord would themselves apologise publicly rather than try and twist the meaning of what they clearly said, that would have even greater significance for the Charismatic Church. Since well known names have not yet repented of unfulfilled prophecies concerning year 2 K maybe I am hoping for too much. “Sorry” seems to be the hardest word for many but without that word in the spiritual vocabulary of a ministry it lacks integrity and may well lose the blessing of God though continuing to exist as an exciting, noisy carnival or show. I have found it necessary to say sorry now and then throughout my years of ministry. It is not so hard once you have said it a couple of times.
By the way some will jump on this post as a weapon to be used to enable them to further mock the very notion of there being such a thing as the gift and ministry of Prophecy today. (If you use this post exalting humility and integrity in the exercise of Prophecy to do that, then perhaps you need to seek God for greater humility and integrity for yourself.) I believe in the gift and ministry of Prophecy one hundred percent and thank God for those who exercise this wonderful gift with integrity, known names or otherwise. Prophecy from others has strengthened me at crucial moments in my ministry right from early days of feelings of spiritual inadequacy and insecurity, consolidating my calling, to this present moment. It has brought great comfort and strength to me in some darker moments of life. It has often confirmed my own sense of where God is taking me in a new phase of life and ministry, even to this present hour( well , a week ago, since we are talking about integrity!). I am immensely grateful to God for those who exercise the gift and ministry of prophecy with reverence and love, honouring God and people, lost and found. God bless all of us with obedience to Scripture to seek the spiritual gifts, especially that we may prophesy. It is part of making love our aim.