Sunday, January 27, 2008

Disappointed? Today an Angel Might Stir the Pool

I mentioned in my last post on my Rob Rufus blog that I was quite saddened by Terry Virgo's latest "Firstline" from the Newfrontiers Magazine. While he emphasises his continued desire for revival, he very honestly admits that he is disappointed revival hasn't come ... yet. I have seen this disappointment before. At my home church it was a disappointment that we didn't see more genuine Isaiah-like prophecies uttered from the congregation, or we didn't see the Word of Faith point out people who were sinning and call them to conviction and repentence. In other circles it has been to observe the Toronto Blessing and hope for more from the charismatic movement. Rob Rufus himself wisely has counsel for these two scenarios I observed;

"Disappointment is a disastrous father of theology. It develops heresies and pervasive traditions that lowers and limits the word of God down to the level of your experiences, and unwittingly surrenders to the Spirit of unbelief while masquerading as main line orthodoxy!".

How therefore do we do it? How do we keep our hope for more of God high? How do we keep expecting, as it says on Jesse's blog; "because God has more!". I read an awesome chapter in the latest book I am reading which is highly relevent. It was recommended by Kylie and Ryan Rufus from their sermon; "Unlocking Your Ability to Hear God through Dreams". The book they recommended was;

"Dream Language: The Prophetic Power of Dreams" by Jim and Michal Ann Goll.

In this particular chapter, they were discussing the man by the pool at Bethesda. I was reading it before I went to sleep and was once again floored by something mentioned so casually in the Word of God. The verse went like this;

Now has anyone else ever heard a sermon preached on THIS verse?! Has anyone else satisfactorily consulted a commentary that opens this part of the Word of God up that is profitable for our teaching and taught us rightly that we can and should expect angelic manifestations just as similarly today? Or, like me, have you heard that the period that Jesus walked on earth was a "special period" (which it was) and we shouldn't expect the same today (why not?) and there is a spiritual meaning to the angel stirring the water (which is?) and it means we should read our Bibles more or something (well - that's fine if it means finding more verses like this!).

That being said, here is what the Goll's had to share from this wonderful account of Jesus miracle by the pool at Bethesda.

"Why did that crippled man stay at the pool of Bethesda every day? He probably could have gotten someone to take him away or simply stopped coming. But he didn't. Perhaps, despite years of disappointment, he still believed. He still held out hope that his day would come. What are you going to do when God seems silent and the dreams do not come or their promised fulfillment appears to be delayed? Are you going to give up and say "I guess this isn't just for me?". Or are you going to stay by the pool and wait for God to stir the waters?

Why are you still here? What keeps you coming back? Is it because somewhere, somehow you caught a glimpse of the unshakeable Kingdom of God that is being established in the earth? There is a Kingdom that will stand even when the earth itself is shaken! Hold fast to that belief because it is in these times of waiting, when God seems silent that the enemy will come and say, "Well you don't deserve revelation anyway".

It sounds very familiar doesn't it? I guess we can all associate with that - Terry included clearly. How do we do it? How do we cope with the fact that our hopes and dreams may not quite match up with the time scale and plans of Almighty God?

The Goll's have some advice;

"When God seems silent, there are several things you can do.

1. Stick with what you already know.What was the last thing the Lord said to you or told you to do? Have you done it? Why should He tell you something new until you have completed what He has already revealed?

2. God may be testing you. What do you believe?

3. Don't doubt in darkness what you have seen or heard in times of light.

4. Don't compare yourselves to others. This is one of the biggest ditches to avoid. Just because God works a certain way with someone else does not mean He will work the same way with you. God will work with you in a way that is significantly personal to you.

5. Be childlike. Don't be overly complicated! Hold out your hand, take hold of His and say "Daddy".

6. Don't expect everything to be so dramatic!

7. How about the person sitting next to you? Can God speak through him/her? Could it be that God wants to use one of His little princes or children to speak a word of encouragement, exhortation or comfort to you?

8. Walk by faith and not by sight. Sometimes going from word to word is walking by sight and not by faith. Stick to the Word! Obey the Word!

9. Learn the wisdom lessons of true guidance".

What can we learn from all this? Times of perceived silence from heaven aren't always what they seem. God made certain promises in the New Covenant that don't change. "I will NEVER leave you or forsake you". "Suddenly from heaven there came a sound". "I will pour out My Spirit on ALL flesh". "The veil was torn in two from top to bottom". "Seeing as we have such a great High Priest let us enter BOLDLY".

I'll close with another quote;

"When God seems silent, recognise this as His invitation to you to come into greater union with Christ. God's silence is His way of calling you to press in. It is a strategic chess move on His part. "And now", He says, "It's your move". Press in, because silence is God's invitation to greater union with Him. When your dreams seem to fade away, press in because the God of dreams has not faded away. He is there waiting to embrace you and to expand your heart's capacity to receive more of His Word, His will and His ways.

When God seems silent, press in!".


lydia said...

Wow Dan, you have no idea how timely this was and how much I needed to read this exact post, Thank you, thank you!!!
So I guess you would recommend that book, I was thinking about checking it out...!?!

So press in I will!!!

Dan Bowen said...

For me too! Press in is the word of the hour! God is waiting for our move! Yes - yes - yes I would definately recommend the book although I think a recommendation from Ryan and Kylie Rufus is enough!

Don said...

I really needed to read this - today! This rings so true: "Press in, because silence is God's invitation to greater union with Him. When your dreams seem to fade away, press in because the God of dreams has not faded away. He is there waiting to embrace you and to expand your heart's capacity to receive more of His Word, His will and His ways."

Dan Bowen said...

I am so glad to hear that Don! It is really Pete and my heart that blogs on this website are written and posted as we feel the Spirit of God prompting. So its a tremendous thrill to know when someone leaves a comment and find out that it was of benefit! Awesome!

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