Monday, 30 April 2012

What Matters Most in Eternity

In eternity, what will shine brightest will not be how much money we made, nor how many people attended our conferences, nor how many people we directly led to the Lord, nor even how many people came to the Lord indirectly through us. What will shine brightest will be our faithfulness.

Did I do God's will? Did I follow God's plan for my life? Or at least, did I follow my conscience? That's what will matter the most.

James the Apostle was martyred early in the history of the church. He didn't get to live as long as his brother John, or his friend Peter. He didn't directly lead as many people to the Lord as they did. He didn't have a chance to write an Epistle or a Gospel. But He was faithful. And so he will be honoured in heaven just as much as someone whom God willed to live a longer life.

Even today, many believers suffer and are martyred, without having the chance to live a long life of ministry. They may die unknown. Yet in heaven their faithfulness will shine nonetheless brightly than someone else's. It's faithfulness that counts.

Jesus told Peter not to be concerned about God's will for John - but to focus instead on following God's will for his own life.

So don't fret when others prosper who do things which your conscience wouldn't allow you to do.

It may be that your prayers gave God permission to invade your life in a deeper way, and to require a more sacrificial life from you. But intimacy with God has rewards.

For example, even though you may feel that your role looks smaller than others, in reality your role may be the cause why others have been enabled to begin their seemingly larger role in the first place. Their fruit may be accreditable to your account.

But even that is not what shines brightest in heaven. Even if your life on earth is not in any way more fruitful than someone else's - neither directly nor indirectly - still, if you are faithful to what the Holy Spirit led you to do, then you have what matters most in eternity, in heaven, to the heart of God.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

And yet, if we can learn something from others, then lets be open to that.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Is the Fig Tree in the Bible Always a Type of Israel?

Does the Bible always use the fig tree as a type of the nation of Israel?

Answer: no. Not always. Sometimes it does. But not always.

In Jeremiah 24, Israel is illustrated by figs.

But in Nahum 3:12, the analogy of figs is used to describe not Israel but Nineveh, a Gentile nation:

"All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater".

So in Luke 21, when Jesus said, "Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand", the shooting-forth of branches doesn't necessarily mean the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948.

Firstly, because the fig tree does not automatically mean Israel.

Secondly, because even if the fig tree does mean Israel in this context, the text doesn't single-out the fig-tree, but all the trees - not only Israel.

Thirdly, the text itself explains what is meant by the shooting forth of the branches. Jesus said, " likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass..." The shooting-forth of the branches illustrates "these things". What are "these things"? The rebirth of Israel? No, Jesus didn't mention that. Instead, He mentioned the siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple, the abomination causing desolation standing in the holy place, the deportation of Jews all around the world; wars, rumours of wars, famines, pestilences, false doctrines, earthquakes, persecutions and the
preaching of the Gospel to all nations. Those things - not necessarily the rebirth of Israel as a nation - would mean the end is near.

That doesn't mean the rebirth of Israel isn't significant. It simply means that the parable of the shooting-forth of branches was not necessarily prophetic of that event. It also means that the end doesn't necessarily have to come within the generation that saw that event.

Christ cometh at an hour that ye think not!

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Supernatural Living, Ministry and Meetings

When an individual believer does what he is meant to do (in his life, ministry and meetings) he will constantly see the supernatural. If everyone does what they're meant to do, we will all see more of the supernatural.

By doing what we are meant to do, we will depend on the supernatural, we'll experience it, and we'll flow in it. We'll see supernatural guidance, supernatural provision and supernatural manifestation - with supernatural results.

If we all live in the supernatural and flow in it, then we'll bring others up in an environment too where the supernatural is normal.

But if we don't do what we're meant to do, and rely instead on visible resources and limit our activities to those natural resources instead of depending on supernatural leading and supernatural provision, the result will be that we could end-up falling short of seeing the supernatural as often as we could. We may see occasional manifestations of the supernatural.

Many people today are neither depending on the supernatural nor do they see it nor flow in it very often. Instead many have succumbed to life on a lesser level - to the lower level of natural resources, natural expectations, natural standards, methods, activities, plans, meetings, ministries, experiences and results.

For those who are brought up in this substandard environment, the natural becomes regarded as the normal standard, rather than the supernatural being regarded as normal. Those who are brought up in this environment then replicate the same sub-standard when they run their own meetings, ministries and lives. Supernatural leading, supernatural provision and manifestation then becomes merely sporadic, or it's not experienced at all, or it's considered to be only for a few.

But Jesus set a different standard for His disciples. The example and atmosphere He set for them by His personal life and by His ministry was entirely supernatural. Jesus lived, was led and was provided for supernaturally. The disciples lived with Him and followed Him for three years in an atmosphere where the supernatural was normal. The supernatural was commonplace - because the supernatural was the source and resource for everything Jesus said and did.

So when the Apostles later went out into their own ministries, they replicated that. They were supernaturally led and provided for. And those who were brought up by the apostles naturally expected the same when they later ministered themselves - they expected to be supernaturally led, provided for, and they expected to see supernatural manifestations, just like their apostles and the Lord Jesus did. They in turn reproduced the same expectation in those whom they brought up. So the supernatural became normal.

We too can depend upon the supernatural in every way. We can be supernaturally led and guided and provided for. Our plans and activities and methods are meant to be supernaturally instigated and are therefore meant to depend upon supernatural provision. And when that is the case, supernatural manifestations are inevitable, and supernatural fruit will be the result.

So ask God today, "What do you want me to do? in this meeting? in my ministry? with my life?" And expect an answer! Supernatural instigation, leading, and guidance will require supernatural provision - but you can be sure there will be supernatural manifestation - and fruit. Enjoy!