Monday, June 23, 2008

Upside-down...

I know... two posts in three days! I've got so much tumbling around inside of me lately, and I'm having trouble getting it all out, except to those who have shared it with me! (Like my new pastor's wife and already-dear-friend, whose ear I've talked off half-a-dozen times in the last few weeks. Sorry, Angela!) The result of all of these confirmations is an overall confirmation from God that I am where He wants me to be... here, in Ohio, and a part of At His Feet Christian Center. (Isn't that an awesome name?)

Anyway... Saturday's post made it out, and my sister's comment actually leads right to one of the other things jumping excitedly around in my brain/spirit/soul. She said, "God's been showing me so many things in creation off and on, and it's cool because ... I'm really seeing that humans see life upside-down of what it really is. Things here on earth ... they're a picture of heaven, right? So we think something like, "God's Word is so much like eating." When really it's, "eating is so much like learning God's Word." See the difference? What difference does that make? Well ... just knowing where the reality lies, I guess. It makes a difference. :)"

That's EXACTLY what the pastor who visited yesterday said during his message. Well... one of the things he said.

This man is involved (to a degree I quite honestly am unsure of) in Kenneth Copeland's ministry. Now I must admit that I have had some serious problems with the "faith message" since I was a girl. I clearly remember our church calling up a man who had one leg longer than the other, and who needed crutches. This precious, gentle man of God was prayed over, had his crutches taken away, and told to walk if he had faith. When he fell, he was blamed for not having enough faith. I, as a child watching this, KNEW it was not right, although I hardly knew exactly where our church had gone wrong. But as the years went by and I watched and heard more and more people turning faith into a work... taking the glory away from God and lavishing it on anyone who had enough faith to accomplish God's work for Him... burning and blasting God-seekers left and right, I quickly got to the point where I wanted nothing to do with anyone who claimed to be part of the faith movement.

Since that time, God showed me that I had thrown the baby out with the bathwater. I resolved to stop judging men of God, and just be very, VERY cautious about who's authority I accepted over me, looking for confirmation every step of the way (which is another revelation in and of itself).

Anyway... Saturday I shared about how this pastor's wife's message was so much a beautiful confirmation of so much that God's shown me, all summed up in the fact that we are not of this world, but ambassadors of another. Well, the pastor's message yesterday was also a gift from God to me, showing me that there are, indeed, some that came from the "faith movement" who haven't screwed everything up. His message was a beautiful explanation of how we've turned everything upside-down, focusing on the promises instead of the Promise-Maker... seeking the provisions instead of the Provider... glorifying the healings instead of the Healer. In fact, he warned about what happens when we do that... the consequences of which I've seen all my life.

That famous passage in Hebrews that talks so much about faith... the one that is often cited as an example of "what faith accomplished." He pointed out that Abraham had no scripture, no pastor preaching an amazing message. Rather, Abraham's faith was real because he knew God, so when God spoke, he had no reason to doubt him. It was that way for every man of God throughout the Bible. As he said, it's not what we know, it's who we know, which is oh-so accurate! Yes, we need to know truths... but God's promises would be empty if He wasn't who He is. And they are empty in our lives until we know who He is.

He so wonderfully stated it this way: Faith comes in hearing the word of a God that you know. Jesus didn't die so that we could be healed, or so that we could prosper, or so that we could come to church. He came and died so that we could be restored to fellowship with the God who wants us to know Him. When we do, and He speaks to us in revelation, we don't waver. Isn't this so much what David said in Psalm 37:4? "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." We look at this whole thing upside-down, all too often!

As I listened, I received my own explanation of 2 Cor. 5:7: "We walk by faith, not by sight." So often, we think of faith as a tool, but in reality, it is merely knowing that we are now children of God, knowing that we are ambassadors of His kingdom, and knowing the other truths that that God has shown us. It means that we pattern our lives and walk daily according to truths that the world does not recognize - truths that cannot be seen or understood with the natural mind no matter how hard we try - truths that must be seen with the eyes of the Spirit and known through God's revelation. When we have no money for our daily needs and we are worried about how we're going to pay our bills, we are walking by sight. But when we can truly rest in His peace, knowing that He will care for us no matter what happens because He has revealed this to us in ways that we cannot deny, that is walking by faith. It does not come after we hear someone teach it, and it does not come if we can only convince ourselves of it. It comes the same way the faith for our salvation does... as a gift from God, given to us as we come to know Him more and more.

Then, when God shows Himself mighty on our behalf, we sometimes make a further mistake! We look at what He did from the outside in, instead of the inside out, as He does! We say, "Look! God blessed me today when I was able to buy $150 of groceries for only $60." Instead, the reality is that we ARE blessed, and therefore He made it possible to purchase the $150 of groceries that we needed for the $60 that He had given us.

See the difference?

2 comments:

  • annie says:
    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Oh, Love it! This is really awesome. So true of God! God's showing me things that are threaded throughout all of what you wrote here ... knowledge of Him (I blogged about that too ... a few weeks ago) ... so profound. So deep. Yet apparently so obvious and shallow on the surface. EVERYTHING hinges on knowing Him! ah. I know I just blogged, but I think I'll blog again. :D

  • Chris and Michelle says:
    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Hi Katie. I couldn't agree more with your conclusions. My reservations about the prosperity movement as well as the faith-healing movement stem from similar thoughts.

    Awhile ago, a friend from my church was telling me about the number of true healings people have seen in third-world churches, but so very few in America. Instead of just assuming that Americans don't have enough faith to merit healings, (as you said, that would be turning faith into a work) we wondered whether God provides more healings in third-world countries because the people there NEED miraculous intervention more. Not only do Americans have access to amazing medicine, but most times we have the money to pay for it too (if not personally, then through insurance, family, church love-offerings, etc.). And another possibility that's occurred to me since then is that Americans have it pretty easy comparatively. Perhaps God chooses to allow health problems in us or in someone we love in order to refocus our attention on Him and on eternal things? Probably not a popular thought, but I don't think our priorities are God's priorities.
    And of course, I'm not saying these are God's reasons for proving healing in one place and not another, or wealth to one person and not another...really just saying that we don't know His reasons but we do know He has good ones.

    In the Gospels, Jesus frequently rebukes the people, and especially the religious leaders, for expecting signs from Him. Our primary focus shouldn't be on the signs, or what God can do for us, but on God - Who loves us and gave Himself for us. (Gal. 2:20)

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