THE PLANS OF HIS HEART
The motorcycle diaries was
a film chronicling the early life of Che Gueverra and the inner transformation
of purpose that happened as he swam across the amazon. The
student doctor from middle class Buenos Aires felt impotent as he struggled
to heal severe cases in a leper colony. He was celebrating his birthday
with nuns and medical people in their camp on the opposite bank from the
leper colony. Suddently he went out into the black night, took off his
shirt and swam to the other side. The lepers gradually made out his bobbing
head and began to cheer his bravery and identification with them on his
special night. The change from doctor to revolutionary was taking place
deep in his heart.
As believers, have we been
transformed from our own agendas, opinions, desires to the plans of His
wise and loving heart? Psalm 33 verse 10 tells us:
brings the counsel of the nations to nothing. He makes the plans of the
peoples of no effect.”
and verse 11:
of the Lord stands forever; the plans of His heart to all generations.”
Whatever our race or status
or intelligence, we are only products of our environment, without the new
birth and baptism of the Holy Spirit. To enter Kingdom culture
is to be profoundly changed, maturing in our ministries and destiny.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 is like an inspiring mantra loved by charismatics but
also a reality for the obedient. The Scriptures of destiny
are desperately needed today and prophecy is one way only they may come
to us. Deep down we know we need His plan and purpose to penetrate
us - nothing else will satisfy. What is our relationship to
the word of God that guides us into His plans?
(1) The Scriptures
of destiny can mock us
Sad but true for many, because
we’ve given up our journey of desire, doubt the
future and discover diminishing
hope. Some even feel Jeremiah’s lament “harvest is past, summer
is ended and we are not saved” closer to their real condition than
the promise of abundant life. The summer of opportunity in
your life can remain til you die if you have the Caleb spirit (Numbers
14:24). Some drug addicts go through all the seasons of life before they
are twenty five. As believers we may be experiencing mid-life crises
or post-charismatic depression, or illness or failing strength or the gnawing
sense we have frustrated the will of God. We can rescue ourselves with
2 Corinthians 1:3-6 and know that our sovereign God has placed negatives
alongside positives as He spins the potter’s wheel of circumstances to
fashion our hearts individually. He will open a door no man can shut because
despite little strength we have kept His word, and have not denied His
name. Rebuke the disbelief of mockery when the promises of God seem to
condemn or conspire against His Plans. Rebuke all self-pity and live
in Christ Jesus.
(2) The Scriptures
of destiny can mould us
We are to be conformed to
the image of the Son. Sin is the disposition of
degeneration, but the redemption
brings the regeneration of the character of Jesus. The Christian
worker is tested for character again and again that Jesus may shine through
a) are you
prepared for the end of earthly security?
Here are a dozen questions that
test our maturity and remain the road toward the plans of His heart.
b) how much do you
c) will you criticize
d) will you be faithful
in what belongs to another?
e) will you split
a church for any reason?
f) will you examine
the state of your flock and spend
time listening, counselling,
healing, being with them?
g) will you defend
yourself when being attacked?
h) will discouragement
lead you to a sense of failure and premature quitting the work?
i) will you beat God’s
people with legalism?
j) can you live in
emotional pain and never let it break your spirit?
k) will you make Christ
and Him crucified and Jesus is Lord your central emphasis?
l) will you spend
time mentoring disciples and rejoice when they
can go beyond your
level of spirituality?
(3) The Scriptures
of destiny can motivate us
We mature through being servants
committed to the motivational gifts of Romans 12. Every believer
can find a place of usefulness there when humility and the measure of faith
combine. Make much of the Pauline epistles (14 letters that
comprise a temple of truth) when you seek destiny for your life. There
you will see more glory than anywhere else in the Bible. Why?
Because they are EXPERIENCE. All the men and women of the Bible had a hunger
for glory, because its essence is to motivate you toward God’s purpose
and inheritance for your life.
2 Thessalonians 2:14 says:
“to which He
called you by OUR gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus
Flesh cannot receive glory,
but your spirit where the Holy Spirit dwells needs this divine fuel. Moses
had the hunger in Exodus 33:18,19 and it was experienced as the goodness,
grace and compassion of God being revealed to him. Why does the Spirit
flow strongly in Africa? Pastors and leaders go up the mountain
to pray and fast (Isaiah 58:8)
Is the gospel working for
you? The gospel of grace collects the glory - other gospels
fail because of self or law additions or deception. From 1975 to 1982
I was seeing men as trees walking even though I spoke in tongues and fasted
regularly. After two experiences of the Lord Jesus, God gave me a second
chance, a deeper revelation, where the gospel became deeply personal. The
Master’s second touch releases us into His seconds (the new covenant) so
we can walk the second mile. The Falklands war was nothing to do with Britain
recapturing a bit of imperial glory but God’s method of breaking a cruel
dictator and the Roman Catholic system so that Argentina had a second chance
to embrace revival fires. The counsel of nations come to nothing, and the
plans of His heart come to each new generation. Hallelujah!
How do I position myself
to enter His purpose?
(1) Simplify Lifestyle
You must allow the screaming
assertions of self to die and allow Jesus to be Lord. PRIORITIES
in Matthew 6:33 have to be grasped. Make the first things first and the
second things second:
the Kingdom of God and His righteousness AND all these things shall be
added to you.”
The trouble is in western Christianity
we have been taught wrongly, i.e. to make the benefits first and the intimate
relationship with Jesus Christ second. Simplifying lifestyle is essential
for this to become reality. The TV, the witch with the switch, has spiritually
killed off millions of believers. The lust for entertainment has put people
in a muse for amusement. Are you over-concerned with mortgages or will
you rent and be flexible for mission, for motion and move into the plans
of His heart? Will you eat simply and seek God for the regular
fast that fast tracks you to a place of spiritual authority?
Do you seek first God or Christian fellowship? The issue of loneliness
must be dealt with in the secret place. Have you fasted from
human contact for just 3 days and fallen in love with the Master, your
Redeemer - Lord?
Read the desert fathers’
* and rather than mock their poverty, have a sense of wonder at how they
managed to be true successors of pentecostal power in the areas of miracle
and deliverance. This fun, fortune, fame saturated world needs
a new standard. Professor William James in “The Varieties of
Religious Experience”, says:
when wealth-getting enters as an ideal into the very bone and marrow of
our generation, one wonders whether a revival of the belief that poverty
as a religious vocation may not be the transformation of military courage
and spiritual reform of which our time stands most in need.”
* Early Christian Lives
- Penguin classics is an excellent primer.
(2) Hearing God’s
God’s still and small voice
is for those who will be still and be small in their own opinion and agendas.
The Pharisees rejected the counsel of God through the deceit of pride.
(Luke 7:30). If we are willing to enter His plans and available through
a simplified lifestyle and dependant on His leading, the plans of His heart
The word of God must speak
to our hearts and the witness of the Spirit within
confirm the divine guidance,
by echoing the divine life within us. The Spirit never witnesses
to our rational thinking and reason or emotional whim or personal volitional
choice. He witnesses to the life within our spirit.....to God’s
job is to abandon ourselves
willingly to hear God’s voice on a matter. This involves being in
the right place at the right time. It may be a coppice of trees
in a lonely field, it may be you just have to get to that meeting or a
conversation with a Spirit-filled friend where His counsel is manifest.
Establish your own Bible
study on guidance: Habakkuk 2:1,2 offer four keys.
a) be still
by being in His presence (Psalm 46:10)
(3) Die out to self
b) focus your eyes
on Jesus alone (Hebrews 12:2)
c) tune into the flow
of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39, 1 Corinthians 14:14, Jude 20).
d) write down the
rhema revelation....so you can test it later or share at the right time
with friends for there is wisdom in many counsellors. The wisdom of a spiritual
overseer can be crucial in the early stages of guidance.
Only the plans of His heart
amaze us, keep us on the cutting edge and establish
maturity. Out job
is to die to the rebel fleshly carnal nature. A trustworthy
servant has to go through:
- Romans 8:17,18
These treasures of darkness
qualify us to give God’s comfort for those going through crisis.
When we DIE to ourselves and fling ourselves upon Jesus Christ as LORD
in real abandonment, we can bless others by the truths God has INCARNATED
within our lives. We are real warriors and leaders THROUGH
WHOM GOD CAN MANIFEST HIMSELF. Most pastors and elders are
still children and some still in their nappies because they have refused
the Cross in their lives. The bond servant gives up his
right to himself forever....... so he can explode for the glory of God.
They never steal hearts to themselves but hand them over to God (see Acts
20:30) A true servant is never co-dependant, they seem to do
without you, because there is a snare if the child of God gets taken up
with you and not God. Lack of death to self in leaders has
produced a weak, fearful body of Christ oftentimes that finds it almost
impossible to connect with God for themselves and simply exist from one
conference to the next! Die out to your charismatic self!
b) separation - 2
c) submission - Luke
d) sorrow -
2 Cor. 6:10, 7:9,.10
e) sacrifice - Romans
12:1, John 12:24
THE PLANS OF HIS HEART
- TO ALL GENERATIONS
The sovereign God has the
same plan A. to all generations. The unchanging Father has
no shadow of turning. Check out three generations in the history
of Israel, all experiencing radical new beginnings.
(a) The generation
that came out of Egypt under Moses but died in the wilderness. They saw
amazing miracles but unbelief in the wilderness with criticism and rebellion
brought the wrath of God. Only Caleb and Joshua survived and arrived on
the other side of the Jordan, to take the promised land.
(b) Joshua 5:3-7 describes
the new generation, their children, born in the wilderness and victors
in Canaan under Joshua. They did not completely succeed, but
fulfilled plan A to a far greater extent than their forefathers. They had
faith to experience remarkable victories at Jericho, Ai, the five kings
etc. Little by little they possessed their inheritence.
(c) Judges 2:7-10 speaks
of another generation who did not know the Lord nor His works. They went
after idols, and sin led them into enemy territory, and judges had to receive
a special anointing to periodically deliver them from cruel enemies. These
deliverers were full of mixture - Gideon was wise in abolishing the idols
but foolish in later making the gold an ephod (Judges 8:27).
The plan of God’s heart to
each of these generations was the same: conquest of Canaan, followed
by obedience to the Law, so that Israel could be a testimony to the surrounding
nations. In the present church age of grace it’s also plan A!
Spiritual warfare preparing God’s people for such a visitation of glory
that the Lord’s testimony becomes clear and radiant to the watching world.
Joshua was the book on how to do things and echoes Ephesians. Judges is
how not to do things and has many analogies with our present day church
in the UK.
One similarity of our Lord’s
dealing is found in Judges 2:21 - 3:1. God is testing our loyalty by allowing
the enemy to do outrageous things in the church. Even the Evangelical Alliance
now is doubting the full inspiration of Scripture in terms of faith and
church practice! God will test the church by ultimately dividing wise and
foolish virgins. There will come a separation between the body
of Christ and the remnant bride. There will be overcomers and
compromisers. We should not be surprised because He has dealt with Israel
in the same way. The anointed deliverers in Judges brought temporary rest
and then the cycle of sin began again. Before the rest there is a test.
Before the 1000 year rest of the Millenium, there is an increasing test
upon the professing church, which will come to a head in the seven year
God tests our hearts to refine
us, and prepare us for heaven. Every generation has the opportunity to
cleave to the Lord like Ruth clinging to Naomi. Or we fail the test of
loyalty and become like Orpah (the one who turns the neck) and kisses Naomi
but goes back to her own gods. In every generation God is willing to use
a prophetic remnant to restore the altar of the Lord. Elijah
and Gideon did it, and countless others from Moses to Gene Edwards.
|1. Fear of man
2. Tolerating sin
7. Self on the throne
|1. Fear of the Lord
2. Repentance and personal
3. Holy Fire
6. True Worship
7. Death to self
Will you take your Bible
and do your own study based on these eight opposites? Will
you examine yourself and pray for a deeper fellowship with your Lord?
The plans of His heart to
all generations begin with restoring the altar, the place of communion
with the Most High God. Only this guards against spiritual decline.
Only this brings the true presence of God. Only this guarantees the
success of His exploits. Derek Prince based his ministry on prayer and
fasting and stood amazed at the end of a fruitful life that “God is faithful”.
At the altar we perceive His divine attributes and we become partakers
of His divine nature. God tests UK believers in 2005 and 2006 - will be
worship at the altar or the high places of denominational respectability
and demonic doctrine?
Each of us must answer by
our lifestyle now, and when we are judged by our Lord..
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