Wednesday, December 09, 2009

SUDDENLY from Heaven!!

Rob Rufus received a word from God a couple of years back that has resonated with me since I heard it. He mentioned it during the monumental "Invading the Impossible" series;

"Please Rob, tell My people to stop trying to impress Me with human effort and holiness and obedience. Let Me impress them".

I think years of inbuilt pride and legalistic traditions of men have kept me from doing that even when I have thought I was trying. Without trying to conjour sympathy (because I know others are going through the same thing) this year has been AWFUL! Just - horrendous and I won't go too much into detail. I was driven out of my job at Acorns Children's Hospice by homophobic bullies at the beginning of the year and then have gone from one crisis to another. Even personal events - such as my car catching on fire on the motorway - all just seemed to come altogether!

I think I am beginning to understand why. I am now running on empty. I am pretty upset, bitter, sad and exhausted. I don't have much energy to even muster any faith in God - other than the prayer; "Lord I believe - help my unbelief". I don't have any money to be able to give away and bless other people or enable me to work towards what I feel is my calling. It's just all ... gone!

I realised tonight when I was walking home from work that is a pretty good place to be actually. Because I am out of ideas to try and "impress" God. All I can do is sit back and wait and watch for Him to act. For Him to prove His Word - to Rob Rufus. For Him to impress! For Him to be God! Throughout the Word of God - the worst thing that He could do was to remain silent.

Ern Baxter preached a sermon in my home church in Dunstable called; "Sovereign Surprises". Ern was talking about the burning bush and said;

"A lot of Christian life is very plebeian and ordinary and mundane and unexciting and uninteresting and it shouldn’t be so. There should be an area of valid excitement that comes from having faith ... Are you ready for a bush? If God suddenly breaks into your life and you see a phenomenon like that, are you ready for it? Is it in your thoughts at all, this whole process of divine intervention? Or is tomorrow going to be like today? Are we just going to go in a kind of hum-drum existence, or do we have the biblical right to expect that God has historically engaged in a process of divine intervention that gives us hope?".

It seems that religion reacts to God not seeming to be very active by responding with a theology that He has withdrawn into heaven, given us the Word of God in a book and our next expectation of Him intervening is at the 2nd Coming. But that isn't building a theology on the Word of God! It is building a theology on our experience or lack of experience of the manifest Presence of God!

I must admit candidly that I don't have a personal testimony of many awesome manifestations of the Presence of God. But I have striven through my life so far to let my faith be fired by reading of encounters - and hungering after it. Of continually hoping for "MORE" rather than settling for "less". During the sermon Ern Baxter gave a real-life account of a time when he was with William Branham - here it is;

"I remember when I was in South Africa many years ago travelling with William Branham. We were going through a time of bitter persecution by the Dutch Reformed Church plus the press. Thousands of people were coming to the meetings in South Africa and it was stirring. And he and I were alone one night holding our case before God. Suddenly I was aware of a Presence. Now I know the Presence of the Holy Spirit and I wasn’t getting the same registration. Brother Branham said in his very quiet way, “Brother Ern – don’t be frightened. The angel of the Lord is in the room”.

Well he didn’t have to tell me. The next night, still under persecution, a Dutch Reformed minister who was bitterly opposed to us, was on his way home and he felt a hand on his shoulder. There was no one around him and he couldn’t understand it so he hurried home. It was a warm night and he had just been wearing a white shirt. He took his shirt off and looked at the back of it and a print of a hand was burned into the back of it".

Wow! This makes me so hungry - not for experience. The Charismatic Movement was roundly criticised by critic cessationists for chasing after "experiences". That may have been true in cases. But I would say in my experience - most are hungry just for the Presence of God! For God Himself! For the glory! Ern Baxter went on;

"I’m asking you this morning to do is open your heart to expect God to do something else that is going to be of such a nature as you hadn’t thought about before. How many would have believed the Pentecostal visitation at the turn of the century? How many would have believed the Charismatic visitation? In our own century we have had such divine manifestation that is unprecedented and exciting. God is not dead! He’s alive! If there’s any charge of death, it belongs here. We are dull of hearing. We are unexciting! We are unresponsive to the divine activity".

Surely that is why church is having relatively little impact upon the lost. Because we have no expectation - no hunger for divine activity. Before I close with a prayer by Dr Ern Baxter, let me quote from Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his monumental; "Joy Unspeakable";

"Certain men you will find become concerned and disturbed and unhappy and they say; "What we need is another baptism with the Holy Spirit, we must seek the face of God". They do everything they can; they repent and render obedience, they try to go on walking a life of faith, a life of surrender to the Spirit and they do so genuinely. But nothing happens. And they go on and on like that and are almost at the point of despair, when SUDDENLY something HAPPENS! Often when they least expect it. When they are on the verge of utter despair, suddenly on the assembled company, the Holy Spirit falls again".

It is not just Ern Baxter or the charismatics who believed and taught in a "suddenly from heaven!". Dr Lloyd-Jones saw it clearly in the book of Acts also. Here is Ern Baxter's closing prayer and it is the cry of my heart;

"God I’m a candidate for a surprise! I can’t make it happen. God I deplore the pornography, the sexual perversion, the permissiveness in society! I deplore it God! But unless you rend the heavens and come down and I’m saying to you this morning, God I’m not going to lift a carnal finger to make a good meeting – I will worship you and keep my spirit open but I won’t simulate a prophecy and I won’t manufacture a healing. But God – here we stand. Our eyes are upon you! God this morning our eyes are on you! We’re not match for international problems – we’re no match for this thing or that. As far as the world is concerned they walk right past our door. They don’t hate us! We don’t even deserve their hatred. They ignore us. If they hated us it would mean that we drew their attention but they don’t hate us because they don’t even know we’re here.

And God there is no way we are going to try and make it happen. We’re not going to go out and confront them on the street – no we don’t want that Lord! But oh! Rend the heavens and come down! Visit this vine which Thou hast planted! This is Your people Lord! You said you’d prune and visit and water them! You said you’d make them flourish and make them grow! And God we want to open our hearts to that element of surprise that has characterised You from that moment when You spoke worlds into existence right down to the time when you incarnated Yourself in the virgin womb of a peasant girl! Right down to that time when You came into our lives with such an impact of Your glory that we didn’t expect. Do it again Lord! Do it again!"

And as if in confirmation as I was writing this post - a personal prophecy has come to me from a respected Newfrontiers prophet. He didn't know my personal circumstances and couldn't know. The "secrets of my heart" have been revealed. I think the surprise may be coming! And it can't come soon enough.


Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Pauses reveal our hearts. Well they reveal mine.
Saul sacrificed when Samuel never turned up.

Yet God's tide marches on relentlessly, rolling in and out,ever higher.

God's cycles are best described with His descriptions. He has a Passover, then follows the next Pentecost then the next Feast of Tabernacles.

At least one of these cycles a couple of hundred years ago, culminated in some pilgrims toddling off and helping others launch America.

Last century, the Pentecostal wave birthed John G Lake who revolutionised South Africa. The others formed apostolic Churches...(long before you and I,) who are scattered all over Asia, South America and Africa.

But it is wave upon wave. And the Tabernacles phase is the Feast of the next Ingathering.
I know we're meant to sow in season and out...but the bigger scale operations are sovereign...and typically the lulls in between can be quite frightening.

The Two world wars and the holocaust for example. Then in the 60s before the Jesus Movement, all these awful theologians trying to convince everyone that Jesus did not ever rise again. It wouldn't have been so grim if it was just Sartre and Camus...but theologians!

it was good to read that tale about Branham and Ern. Did not know that one...or if I did it was a long time ago.

Ursula said...

Dan, Im thinking we should have that meet up with Chris and his wife next year....early next year? I can travel to Birmingham. More than that, it would be fantastic to just spend time with you again my beautiful friend.

Love you heaps and heaps- oh and before we visit in person, come and visit me on my new blog!!!!!!