COUNTING THE COST
by Pam Clark
Waiting on the Lord is one of the most difficult things we do because faith is required. Jesus said that our work is to believe on Him. (John 6:29)
Some days, we seem to get ahead and feel we have arrived at a marker place. But if we do not learn the cycles, then we will be surprised when troubles come again. As you know, there are two reasons for this. Either we have pulled away from God, or we have gotten comfortable and He is pulling and stretching us forward.
This is not a saved world yet! Some things happen because God is preparing us for future work and ministry, or He may even be protecting us from things happening or things to come that we do not even know about. We are in a warfare and the enemy is not always waiting for us to make the first moves!
God trains our hands for war. Have you ever noticed how when you enter a very heartfelt and sincere battle for something, that all hell seems to break loose? Have you paid attention to the open doors of the enemy? Have you discerned how they got there? This is part of the training process.
There are many things that I am not doing right now because I have counted the cost. Some things I learned the hard way and some things I just had wisdom revealed to me but it is hard to wait in those lonely places. None the less, you have to trust the rhema words, the testimonies of the saints and your own past spiritual successes.
Sometimes God is stretching us to minister more. Sometimes He is beckoning us to prayer. Sometimes He is conveying to us that we need wisdom. We may make mistakes acquiring wisdom, but His word says that if we seek it, He will not upbraid (or fuss) at us. He will cover us.
And then there are places that He wants us to understand that we really do hear His Voice by the Spirit. A lot of people ~think~ they don't hear God, when they actually hear Him more than they realize. We develop inner strength in the inner man by the inner knowing that comes through experience.
Once at a ladies meeting, a woman was praying and asked the Lord to strengthen our inner woman. Another woman said to me that was not right because the inner man is Jesus! That made sense, so I took note of it. We are to become more like Him, until we can see Him as He is and be like Him.
Another time, a lady told me that she died on an operating table and began climbing the stairs of God. She said it was marvelous and she met with angels. She heard the Lord's voice say that she had a decision to make. She knew that her family needed her but she so wanted to enter the gates. The Lord told her that if she entered in and saw His Face, she could not turn back. Obviously she came back, but it was very reluctantly she said.
I think something happens when we see Him. We can no longer survive in this world. I know people who have had dramatic visitations to Heaven and they have said they are very depressed for a season coming back to this world, but they were given the job of giving His message so we can be prepared and increase in our faith.
We must stand for what we believe. Sometimes that is hard with our desire to have mercies and be kind. But faith only grows with stretching. It takes work to believe Him, and that He is good.
Sometimes we need a little (or a lot) of help from our friends. God made it to be that way. He wants us bonded and united.
It seems as the veils are removed from our spiritual eyes, that something also happens that causes us to walk in more humility. I think there are reasons for that. Patience comes through tribulations, and in our patience, Jesus said we possess our souls. It's a work of the fruit of the Spirit of self-discipline or self-control.
The last trials that I have been through have caused me to see the Lord in a greater way. I would not have chosen the trials, but I have seen Him in them! It's not that He is speaking the whole time, but when He does, it is profound. There is an abiding knowing that is sweet.
There is a quietness that the Lord speaks through that causes us to know what to do. If we do not learn how to develop that, we will miss hearing Him speak. We can conclude things by our head knowledge, but true confidence comes in knowing.
God's Spiritual language is not always words. That is why the Bible speaks of the "interpreting of tongues" rather than the "translation of tongues."
Spiritual language can come through in variety of ways! It can be a phrase or a song or even a bumper sticker coming our way. It can be through the comments of an individual we know or a complete stranger or a prophetic word or dream. It could just be wise advice given! Sometimes these are so nice that we "pull" for more but find after a season that the Lord cuts them off, so that we don't get so full of ourselves that we can't minister in His Spirit of grace.
God wants to love on us first, but then we are required to minister to others. And in this imperfect fallen world, we do find enemy engagements. When we do, we have to learn strategies. These are hard at times, but they cause us to be resourceful and there is a mininstry in that!
Some concepts God wants in our hearts more than just in our heads. We can "know" all the right things but not really believe them! That is why the "trying of our faith" is more precious than gold. It helps us to know where we stand. It helps us to learn to count the costs.
Faith is required. Faith pleases God. When Jesus returns, He is looking for faith. Part of the work of humility is learning how to admit the places where we need faith. And part of that is learning how to function in and with the Body.
And it also increases the strength of our prayer life! We can pray prayers we have been taught to pray and many of those are very good. But there are adventures in prayer where you move out with experiments in God. These adventuresome prayers can delight His Heart, but He will also teach us wisdom through it too. It pays to be teachable!
There is an inner work and an outer work - individually and corporately. We can learn to be content when God gives us the "big picture" vision and we find our place in that. Then we don't always need the "spotlight."
I have found that if I can give a minister a word that helps him or her, then I have helped their whole congregation! We learn that giving words or messages is something that we develop, and the test of true ministry is that the words really help and prove true! So it pays to learn our place with the skills.
Since pride was the devil's fall, he works it on us to make us fall. We are all tempted, and even Jesus was tempted, but the mark of true Love was to pass the tests! The difference between Jesus and us is that He was able to pay the price for our sins, but faith and obedience are still required from us as the entry passes.
In these end times, things are being shaken so that the lukewarm have to choose. Good ministry helps the indecisive to make the right decisions. End time shakings will pull on our need for God, and the Body. He is looking for laborers and He is preparing harvesters.
It's more than just a sinner's prayer; it's about a repentant sinner's lifestyle change. If we are not practical about a holy and practical yet supernatural lifestyle, then the enemy has an advantage. It is not just material things that will be shaken! We need to learn how to stand.
God wants us to move forward in our prayers so that we can apprehend the glories of Heaven. They are not just falling down on us, they are to be acquired for a supernatural and overcoming victorious lifestyle.