Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
Earlier this year, I was contacted via email by Rose, a young woman on the other side of the planet who had come across our web site in her spiritual journey. Over the course of a few weeks, she wrote several emails concerning her desire to find the right way. She seemed excited to learn about the holy Ghost baptism, and when she received the music CD’s, teaching CD’s, and reading materials we sent her, she was very thankful and joyous. This is an excerpt from the letter she sent after receiving them:
“Many thanks for the package received. I was totally overwhelmed with emotion as I unpacked the contents. How generous of you and God bless you for this wonderful gift. Oh, the joy that filled my heart when listening to your music. Words cannot describe the joy and thanksgiving in my heart. It is beautiful, the best music to my ears I have ever heard. The pictures of all the beautiful people on the disk touched me deeply, especially the smile of one particular gentleman positioned just below the face of the baby. The love and inner peace of Jesus radiates from the face of this man and brought tears of joy to my eyes. The gifts of the Spirit manifested in your recorded meeting touched me so deep and filled me with such longing to have the same.
“Thank you in Jesus for sharing this with me. Jesus truly lives, I see Him in you. I love the song of the rose and the JESUS song with the laughter - I laughed with you. Halleluyah!!! I have only so far listened to the songs. I have read the tracts and agree and believe with what they say.
“I sat and listened to the teaching CD’s on Saturday morning. It gave me such joy to hear the truth concerning the New Birth. I believe in this New Birth and believe that there is only one baptism, the baptism of the Spirit. I have not yet received the Baptism of the Spirit of Christ.”
After a few emails of this sort, silence fell upon her communications. Months went by with nothing from her at all. Then, just days ago, I began receiving some of the nastiest emails from a couple of would-be apostles who demanded that unless I submit to their doctrine, I am of the Devil, a hypocrite, vile, a false prophet, and many other awful things. Not only me, however, they wrote many of the folks on my email list saying the same sort of thing.
After a few of these emails and some investigating, we learned that Rose had fallen in with these men and had given to them the email addresses that she had from being on our email list for those few months. When I wrote her to ascertain whether or not she had actually done this, I received from her emails of a similar tone. She wrote such things as “The Lord has visited you and found you wanting for you have not said, ‘Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord.’ . . . You do not know the Lord. . . . I am not sorry to say this to you, but you have a religious spirit. . . .”
“I have not received the Baptism in the holy Spirit yet, but will in God’s time . . . What I can also say is that you have not received the baptism of the holy Spirit but have received a lying spirit because you do not recognize that [the two men] are speaking from the Lord. What I now see is the house that John built ”Pastor John’s house“, not the House that Christ built. You cannot edify me, not then, not now, not ever, how self-righteous of you to even suggest.”
Now, how does a person degenerate from such a happy and humble person as Rose was to become the belligerent and over-confident person she now appears to be? The answer is that she kept praying past her answer. She sought for the truth, found it, and then kept searching. She asked for the truth, it was given to her, and she kept asking. She knocked on the door of heaven, the door was opened for her, and she walked away and knocked on other doors.
Every person who asks God for the truth is given the truth. Jesus said so. But he did not say that everyone who is given the truth would believe it. Jesus also said that everyone who seeks the truth finds it, but he did not say that everyone who finds it would embrace what they found. And he said that the door of heaven would open to everyone who knocks, but he did not say that everyone to whom the door of heaven is opened will enter into it. God’s answer will never satisfy anyone who is really searching for something else.
It is a dangerous thing to ask God for the truth, receive His answer, and then ask again. Balaam prayed earnestly for God’s direction, and he received a very clear answer; but then he prayed again and lost his soul. God’s answer would not have made him rich, and Balaam didn’t like it. Some desperate men in Judah begged the aging prophet Jeremiah to get an answer for them from God, and when after certain days he brought it to them, they angrily reviled him and accused Baruch of giving those words to Jeremiah. They didn’t like that plan of action.
My friend, what do you really desire? I tell you that none of us really knows what we desire until God speaks to us. His voice and our reaction to it reveal our inward condition. If God’s voice satisfies our soul, then what we desire is really to do His will; if we keep seeking and praying and knocking after he has shown us the truth, then what we really want is to do our own will. Pray that when God speaks to you, it will satisfy your soul. Pray to have a heart that thirsts for God so that when He gives you His answer, your heart is fully satisfied. God’s voice is the end of our prayers if our hearts are really after His answer. His open door is the end of our knocking if we really want to go in.
May God grant us the grace to prove our love for Him, and we do that best when we stop praying long enough to rejoice when He gives us our answer. God must see it as love for Him when He opens His door to His kingdom, and the one who was knocking stops knocking and dashes with excitement through the doorway. And what can it say to God but that we love Him when we find His way to eternal life and never search for it again?