by Pam Clark
As I consider the mind of God, as I seek for His will, as I meditate and wonder about His desires for me, and the Body, the words I get are: "Seek My Face!"
Before we can seek His Face, we must return to our first love. Many of us have been in very good works, but many of us have lost our first love. Something inside is missing and sometimes we feel that we are going through the motions more than we are serving HIM.
We are pleasing Him by works more than we are pleasing Him by relationship and it is not working. We feel dry or dead inside. We must come back to our first love.
Why did we decide to serve Him in the first place? What was our vision, our plan, our goal? As I shared once earlier, I am in an area where there are lots of strong ministries. There are plenty of meetings one can attend. So, it's easy to "coast" here and feel that you are up with what is going on.
But that does not mean we are "with Him." We can have the words, and the "info" but if we are not "with Him" then we are just into works! We will not please God by our information or our intellect or our "current status." WE WILL PLEASE HIM by our hearts!
It is our hearts that cause us to react and respond with faith. When we are young, we are very focused on what He wants from us. But as we mature some, we realize that other things are going on besides what He is telling "just" us. At first we work to submit to the "authorities" that be and are over us, and that is right and good, but growth demands attention and accomodations.
Five fold ministers are called to prepare the saints for their works of ministry. At first people are eager to serve any place they can. That response is beautiful to God's heart. But then He begins to work on us in our spirits and we venture out into new areas. It is here where things can really seem to go wrong.
Maybe we were forced into a place we did not want to be. Maybe we were too timid to move into a position where God was tugging on us to move. Maybe you were in a church where the leadership was so controlling that you had to jump through hoops to be accepted and find a place to be confirmed. Not every church is like that!! Sometimes we need to learn self discipline and patience, but sometimes we need to move on!
We need to figure out when we are not fitting and work to overcome that. Your foundation should be that God loves you and will minister to your life. Because we are in an ever maturing process, we will have seasons where we seem to fit real well and then not seem to fit at all. In many ways it is great when we say, as the Scripture, "This place is too small for me!"
Sometimes we are full of zeal, but without the knowledge and experience we need. Sometimes we want to show out for God so much that we really jump ahead to show Him how much we care. Like Peter, we are ready to go for this thing with all we've got, only to find we didn't have all the stuff inside that we thought, and so now we have to regroup and find our way back. Obviously, it happens to the best!
We must return to our first love. It is there that we will discover God's will for us. Many seek out prophetic words because they want a clue as to where they are supposed to be. They begin to look at the prophets for their direction more than discovering their own relationship with the Lord. We can get prophetic words that excite us, but which do not ground us. It can look good for a while, but it won't hold us.
We need to realize the importance of the five fold ministry in our lives. We need them all! We need teachers for that grounding in us with the Word that remains. We need pastors to help and guide us with words that encourage and our personal lives. We need to develop in our outreach and be encouraged by evangelists who have signs, wonders and miracles following. God honors that. But if we only focus on the evangelist and not the other aspects, we can grow cold in the presence of miracles!
The prophets will give vision for the Church. It may be for individuals, local churches, or the Body at large. The true prophet seeks to build the Church, not their personal ministry. Honor should be given where honor is due for every ministry, we need them all. But the prophet is not the guru or end all. Jesus is the Head of His Church, His Body! The apostles are sent to minister in ground breaking works. It can be long distance missions or establishing local churches. Apostles understand territory and are gifted (after the experience of serving) to work with the other ministries in seeing great works established.
Many of the ministry gifts flow and "fold in" with the other gifts. None of us are "one thing." It's the same Spirit of Jesus in us in differing measures as He wills to accomplish His Work! Some days I may be an administrator, some days I may be in the pulpit or Sunday School room teaching, or somedays I may be out on the street or in the market place witnessing to lost souls. It is all important and we should each have a flavor for it all, IF WE KNOW HIM, because all of that is Him.
How do we know what He wants us to do if we never approach Him? Sometimes we see evil things and get disheartened. But do you know that He is coming back as a Judge for all things? We cannot afford our offenses to take us to the place where we will get judged ourselves for failing Him. Sometimes these things are allowed to get us into a new place of ministry.
Why did God just punish Cain (in Genesis) and not kill Cain for his deed and raise up righteous Abel? Because He is the Resurrection and the Life. Abel was pleasing to God, so God took him! We do not always understand His ways, but when we know WHO He is, really know, then we can submit to Him in a trust that we do not fully understand, but have by His Spirit. His Presence speaks Life. His promises hold Life. His Light overcomes our blindness.
God is not opposed to raising the dead. He delights when we get so close to His will that He can share His powers with us. But we must place ourselves in His will by seeking Him, sometimes in dramatic ways. Miracles come with the price of faith. Faith is believing in spite of the obvious "facts" or unseen. The enemy challenges our faith because he rejected God, and God allows him to test us. It's not easy, but in God, in Christ (the anointed) Jesus, we can overcome the enemy as He did. He had to work at it and so do we!
For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the Cross, despising the shame of it. Jesus was even falsely accused there. But He was willing to take on the price for our sins that we might live. We are His joy!
But we don't know Him if we don't seek Him. If we fall to sleep, and allow ourselves to get lazy and indifferent, if we harden our hearts so that we no longer care about others but only ourselves, a blindness sets in, a dullness, even a death of sorts that can really lead to death.
He says, "Seek My Face!" When we do, we learn how to work with others in HIS ministry! It's not really "our" ministry, it's His. We have His Fruit and His Fruit remains. The good works remain, the good works go on and ever move us into the future with joy and significance.
It's really not hard, we just must seek His Face, who He is! He is fascinating and all encompassing. "Call unto Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you know not." Jer. 33:3 So whose fault is it if we don't? Are you bored? Do something different and find Him in it. He is there!!!
THE JOURNEY by Pam Clark