Back in 1979, I came to the Lord under the Word of Faith Ministries. You know, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Jerry Saville, Lester Sumerall, et al. But somewhere along the line, I found the writings of men like Tozer, Ravenhill, Finney, Green, and others.
One group introduced me to the Lord, but another formed the foundation of my faith. If you can find it, Tozer wrote an excellent book entitled, “Men Who Met God.” As the publisher explains, it is the testimony “of seven biblical figures who had the tremendous experience of walking and communing with God in some fashion . . . May you be moved toward God as you see how men of old encountered his Awesome Presence.”
By immersing myself in the words of those men, I develop a great distaste for the TV Preachers wearing the fancy (and expensive) suits, the plastic smiles and their empty messages. I had touched the sweetness of a genuine and sincere faith, and I could never go back. I saw that the god many were serving is not the real God! As Paul taught:
“People like these are not serving Christ our Lord. They are serving their own desire . . . (Romans 16:18)
Many “gods” call out to us today, so if you claim to be a “Christian” you better figure out which god[s], you will serve! However, when you meet the “True God” found in the Scriptures, you will discover a new hunger, passion, and zeal for Him! The Psalmist declared, “My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God!” (Psalm 42:2). Or as they proclaim in Hebrew: “El Chay” (Khah-ee) the GOD OF MY LIFE!
If your faith is genuine, there will be a longing, a thirst, a deep desperation, a desire to know and seek Him every day of your life!
“I have asked one thing from Yahweh.
This I will seek:
to remain in Yahweh’s house all the days of my life
to gaze at Yahweh’s beauty . . .” (Psalm 27:4)
Oh, all kinds of people profess a love for God, but do you? He is not a cosmic ball of love, a force within, or a doting grandfather. And once you discover Yahweh, you will never be able to enclose Him into your safely defined limits!
This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Yeshua Christ, whom you sent (John 17:3)
Does your soul sincerely thirst for the one true and living God and His Son? He is seeking an honorable, useful and humble person; someone who has experienced times of trouble, struggles, and frustrations, yet remained faithful. Someone who has been tested and tried in the furnaces of life. Oh sure, men look for those who are happy and prosperous. But Yahweh desires a person who has experienced the crucible of suffering; a person who is not the jovial, “smiley” kind!
The author of the letter to the Hebrew church understood this:
You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised (Hebrews 10:36)
Consider the venerable and old prophet, Ezekiel. He didn’t come from a pleasant and rosy background. No, the light had gone out in his heart. He probably figured that the Lord took a long time to work out His plans. Is that what the TV Preachers are telling you? Do they explain that it takes time to plow and cultivate? Nah, we wouldn’t listen to that. We want the fruit and the harvest NOW! We never want to fight any spiritual battle that runs into a long night. We want the morning light right NOW! I can’t imagine any woman who enjoys the processes of her pregnancy (or the labor pains). I am sure that she wants the baby without all of the pain!
We think Jesus was just using hyperbole when He told us to “Take up our cross.” We are more interested in wearing the crown than earning the privilege! Maybe it is just me, but I have found that the trials in my life have never for a moment, caused me to doubt my Father’s faithfulness. No, I am not wearing them as badges of honor, but I can honestly say that I have been glad for them!
Yeah, that may sound odd, but that in my personal life (and I see confirmed within the Scriptures), I discovered that trials had strengthened my trust in my Father, and my faith has never whithered or failed! The tests have kept me trusting; burned away any self-confidence I may have possessed, and driven me to my Savior!
This attitude is nothing new. A long time ago, Thomas à Kempis wrote,
“The Lord has many lovers of His crown but few lovers of His cross.”
But Franklin Graham encouraged us when he said, “No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you.” James put it this way:
Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12)
Spend some time alone, today. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you:
Father, I don’t know what to make of all of this. help me to be a “lover of Your cross.” Instead of just a lover of Your crown! Please open my eyes to see who you truly are! Amen.”
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.