Month 11:8, Week 1:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year 5935:295 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 30 January 2012
Prayer & Worship VII
Yahweh's Guidance in Your Life II
continued from Part 6
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
Yahweh has spoken to people throughout history and He has done so in many ways. Sometimes He communicated in supernatural ways, like the burning bush that Moses saw, or the Voice that the boy Samuel heard; or the light that blinded the young zealous Pharisee who later became the apostle Paul. In revivals of emunah (faith) down through the centuries, there have been recurring instances of guidance like this. And as Yahweh has done this before with His men and women talmidim (disciples), so He may also guide you in the same way today. But on the daily pathway of life, you can expect that more special form of guidance that Elijah knew - the "still, small voice":
Knowing Yahweh by direct, quiet, and loving communication honours His ahavah (love) more than always needing to have great displays of supernatural direction. Think of a Father in a home of great wealth and power. Which do you think would honour Him more when He wants His boys and girls to listen to what He says - putting on a 'sky-writing team' to lay out His instructions for the day, writing them in neon lights, or even having to speak to them in person before they do what they know He wants done - or the pleasure of just watching them read the books He las left in the house about His aims and duties and doing what He wants out of ahavah (love) for Who He is and knowing what He has His lev (heart) set on? Sometimes Yahweh must use the 'supernatural' means to get through to us, but often this is because we are too hard of hearing spiritually to know what He wants in any other way. Yahweh never shows off. He is humble, in all His greatness. But you can expect Him to speak to you, whether it is by one of the strange and supernatural ways the Bible mentions, or the still small voice heard by Elijah.
"Behold, Yahweh passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before Yahweh, but Yahweh was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but Yahweh was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but Yahweh was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:11-12, NKJV).
I'd like now to spend some time looking at the most common forms of spiritual guidance we can expect from Yahweh throughout life which I am calling 'The Three C's':
The Three C's of Guidance
1. CONVICTION. A deep-down sense of the right thing to do that comes from the guidance of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and a clear conscience. From reading Yahweh's Davar (Word), from prayer, and working for Yahweh from day to day. Yahweh will surely and steadily make clear what He wants you to do. Never act out of doubt. If you are unsure that this is the right step, don't move until you feel clear before Elohim (God). The Bible says:
If you cannot go ahead with a clear lev (heart) and a free spirit, don't move. If you find that while in prayer or in daily work for Yahweh, something keeps on coming back to you (not like a 'flash' or in a sudden, dramatic burst in your mind, but just a steady, returning 'nudge' in your mind and spirit), then listen. Yahweh often keeps bringing things to our mind that He wants us to act on. If you get really excited about something everytime you are close to Yahweh and you hear about that 'something', listen again. It may be Yahweh speaking to you. Conviction is something that 'grows' on you. If it is of Elohim (God), you will never shake it off. And if a conviction is rejected, there will be a deep sense of loss and a knowledge that you have missed the voice of Elohim (God) in that situation.
"Whatever is not from emunah (faith) is sin" (Rom.14:23, NKJV).
Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
If we belong to Yahweh's fold, we have Yah'shua's (Jesus') promise that we will know His voice. If we don't, then it is either because we haven't surrendered and haven't been born again, or because we have a serious sin issue that is blocking open communication that we need to resolve first, then we will be unclear and confused.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27, NKJV).
2. CIRCUMSTANCE. Yahweh will often close or open doors to help you see what His will is. You may set out to do something and find out that everything falls apart; it doesn't 'hang together', or go right, even when you pray about it. This may be Yahweh blocking a wrong path when you have missed His directions. On the other hand, after you feel something in your lev (heart) that you believe might be Yahweh's direction, an opportunity may occur in the most unexpected place. If you are trying to follow Yahweh's will as honestly as you know how, don't be afraid that you will make an irrepairable mistake. Sometimes it will be a little hard to determine exactly what Yahweh is saying to you; and many times, doing what He seems to be saying involves a risk to your reputation, your pride, or your popularity. But if we really love Him and walk in the light of His Davar (Word), He will go before us to prepare the way.
'Circumstance' guidance is like walking up to the door of a big supermarket or department store with automatic doors; you walk up to the door, and just as you think you are going to hit the glass, the door swings aside and you go through. This is what I commonly call one of Yahweh's 'last minute' actions. Push forwards, and let Yahweh swing open the doors of circumstance as a help in confirmation of His will.
3. CONFIRMATION. Yahweh may find other ways to confirm to you what He wants done. Sometimes this may come in the form of a dream or a vision or a sign of some kind. Gideon used the "fleece" before Yahweh because he was afraid and unsure of His voice:
But don't go around ' fleecing' Yahweh all the time, even though He will honour the 'fleeces' young believers put out sometimes to encourage their emunah (faith) in Him. But learn to expect some form of confirmation, especially from the Bible. The greater the decision you have to make, the greater the right you have to expect that Yahweh will make His will abundantly clear to you. Ask Yahweh for scriptures to deny or confirm what you feel in your lev (heart) and what circumstances seem to be leading you towards. But if He confirms something clearly - DO IT! If you dishonour Him by repeatedly asking for more 'signs' when His will is plain, He will take from you the assurance you already have; and you will be left in a confusion which only sincere teshuvah (repentance) will deliver you from.
"So Gideon said to Elohim (God), If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said -- look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.' '' And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to Elohim (God), 'Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew. And Elohim (God) did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground" (Judg.6:36-40, NKJV).
One other thing - don't expect Him to tell you in the same way He told someone else. He delights in using different ways to guide His children. Let it be a special surprise to you; don't tell Him how you want Him to guide you. Just wait His time.
A Word for Young People and New Believers
I thought I would finish today with a special word for new believers and for teenagers who are seeking to know their purpose for the first time. Don't be worried if you don't immediately know the night after you gave your life to Yah'shua (Jesus) what Yahweh wants you to do! Sometimes He puts us through training to see if He can trust us before he will make clear what he has on His lev (heart) for us. Use the years of your early conversion to learn discipline and obedience from Him, and expect that He will open up the derech (pathway) for you.
In the meantime I have five general words of counsel that will see you right if you are a young person:
1. Follow your INTERESTS and ABILITIES. Find out what you can do well, and what you can't. Sometimes our backgrounds are part of Yahweh's purpose for us; the lessons we have learned from life, the responses and the choices we have made in the past are all used by Him and woven into His ultimate purposes. Yahweh wants to use us - as we are. You are different from anyone else in the world. Find out what makes you special. Sometimes Yahweh may use your talents; sometimes it is your very lack of talents that make you very special to Him. Hudson Taylor said:
Learn what you like to do well and what abilities you have.
"When [Elohim] (God) wanted to evangelize China, He looked for a man weak enough to use."
2. Have MANY INTERESTS, especially in your teenage years. Learn to do a lot of things, and be interested in more than just a few things you have already done. Try your hand out in different sports, for instance; they may help you develop your body in different ways that will make it stronger and more serviceable for Yah'shua (Jesus) in the years ahead. Keep fit. Don't, as Paul Washer once warned, throw away the metaphorical 'horse' (your body) that will convey your spirit in Yahweh's service - in other words, don't only not abuse it but make sure you do all you can to keep it healthy through proper eating and exercise so that it can go where Yahweh wants you to go. Develop that discipline while you are young and set a standard for the rest of your life. It's the temple of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (1 Cor.6:19) - it's only on loan, so look after it.
Experiment with different hobbies - some of the things you learn in recreation times will become valuable tools in the future; especially ones like radio, electronics, computing, photography, animals, horticulture, survival, mechanics, cooking, art or crafts. Try to devlop the capabilities Elohim (God) has entrusted to you. Be enthusiastic about what you do! Really get into it, and get an interest in as many things as you can so that you can be self-sufficient enough to take care of your future family and others when the times get really tough, as they will and already are. Be prepared for a changing world that is becoming more and more hostile to the Besorah (Gospel). The more things you know a little about, the more people you may be able to reach for Yah'shua (Jesus). I have constantly been surprised how every piece of knowledge and how every skill I have acquired has helped me at some time or another in the Kingdom mandate.
3. READ ABOUT the things you'd like to do. If you think Yahweh might be calling you into some form of missionary work or evangelism, read biographies of, or watch movies about, famous missionaries. If you think Yahweh has called you to be a Christian or Messianic artist, or a mechanic, or a scientist, read books about art, mechanics and science. If you learn to like books, you'll have a wider picture of the world Yahweh wants to reach.
4. Get some PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE early. Take a part-time job in the area of your interest. During vaccations and holidays, ask if you can do some off job around the place you would like to work in, and talk to others already on the job. In spare time, ask a lot of questions. Do they find it interesting? What does it cost in terms of time, study and commitment? Can you advance in it? Will it take care of your financial needs? Of course, all jobs must be those that honour Yahweh and help forward His creation; anything else that is shady or morally tainted is totally off-limits to the child of Elohim (God).
5. STUDY Yahweh's Davar (Word). Even secular jobs will benefit from a year or so in a good part-time Bible school or correspondence course in Scripture, or working with an evangelist or pastor. And PRAY; talk over new developments and disappointments with Yah'shua (Jesus).
From my interests as a teenager, which were principally science, politics and history, I knew pretty much which direction I was going in early on. When at college I met Yah'shua (Jesus), I knew pretty much from the beginning that I was going to be a teacher professionally, and then in the Besorah (Gospel). Practically every single interest I have ever had has been useful to me in some way or another, and most I have been able to press into service for the Kingdom. I regret some of the hobbies that I turned down which have left be lacking in some areas of my life, like mechanics, for instance, which I could have learned from my father who was very good at this. Boys and girls in particular need to learn the skills they will need to fulfil their rôles as adult men and women in a world where basic services may either be unavailable or unaffordable.
Whether we like it or not, you are now living in the most decisive and challenging years of the world's history. There has never been a more strategic hour. Never has complete dedication to Yah'shua (Jesus) been more important that it is for you today! You need to be a rock-solid believer for the simple reason you must learn to thrive in a world that is hardened in sin and wickedness. Lukewarm and half-hearted believers simply aren't going to make it. Longfellow, prophetically it seems, wrote:
You may be the most important new believer or young person in the world because you may be that man or woman to whom the Christian or Messianic world is looking for leadership or inspiration to postpone Yahweh's final Yom Kippur or Day of Judgment, and bring in one last great revival of righteousness to our generation before darkness envelops everything and everyone in the seven years of the Great Tribulation before Yah'shua (Jesus) returns. You are needed for the Final Gathering.
"Humanity with all its fears - with all its hopes for future years - is hanging, breathless on YOUR fate"!
A sixteen-year old boy named Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov saw soldiers hang his younger brother Alexandr for treason (he was part of a conspiracy to assassinate the Czar) and banish his sister Anna, and made up his mind to change the world. Because of that decision, over a hundren million people have died, tens of millions have been tortured, and nearly a billion have been enslaved. As he stood there in hurt and anger, he bitterly said:
A contemptuous adult beside him said with a sneer, "You'll make who pay?" The boy replied, "Never mind. I know". A few years later, that young man changed his name to LENIN, meaning, 'man of steel'. A compatriot said to a friend on seeing this young, committed man: "I'm afraid of that young man." His friend asked: "Why are you afraid?" He said: "Because he's the only man I know who thinks and dreams of nothing but revolution twenty-four hours a day." And that young man made the world pay for his brother's death. Under his discipline and genius, the ideas of Karl Marx and Engels were forged into a military, militant killing machine that changed the face of the world in less than 60 years in the communist revolution. And the Lenin's of this world multiplied making more mass-murderers like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Kim Il-sung and Pol Pot.
Now is the time for Yahweh to find the set-apart, holy rebels, the radicals for righteousness. Your degree of dedication or set-apartness (holiness), your willingness to sacrifice for Yahweh's glory, your availability for service - these are the weapons which alone will decide whether your generation - the last generation - will be marked by the Sign of the Cross or the Slash of the Sword.
Only the dedicated will win. True Christianity or Messianism is all-out commitment to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). A critical world is watching our conduct and by some strange instinct it knows that authentic believers deserve everything or nothing. It responds to us - to our failure to live up to the high ideals of our Master by persecuting us, or by our success to live in emunah (faith) and obedience to Torah by first begrudgingly respecting us and then - sometimes - listening to us and responding to the call of salvation. One thing I am 100% convinced about is that to yield to sin in any degree is to guarantee our failure in witnessing - to be moderate in sin is no more possible than to be moderate in death:
Yahweh is not calling for hard-core sinners to become moderate sinners but for those who are willing to stop sinning altogether. He's looking for people who are willing to forsake sin completely by surrendering totally to Yah'shua (Jesus) who can then live only for Him and who can then be used to turn the world upside down for the Besorah (Gospel). That is why you - the new or the old believer - have got to count the cost of the Way of the Cross:
"Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Col.3:5, NKJV).
Yahweh can use you and He will use you if you are willing to pay the price, the high cost of Messiah, as He did for us, by giving Him your absolute obedience to His will.
"Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My talmid (disciple). And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My talmid (disciple)" (Luke 14:25-33, NKJV).
May the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) bless you as you think on these things and as you make critical, eternity-affecting choices in your life. Amen.