I’m testing and proving what I preach. That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ‘I’m going to come to you, but I’m not coming puffed up as a greater speaker. I’m coming to you as one who has seen and demonstrated the Power!’ No one can deny, those early apostles were seeing and demonstrating the Power. The whole of the Acts of the Apostles is based on the demonstration and fulfilment of the Power which came on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell. The whole testimony of the Book of Acts is of men going out and doing everything Jesus had promised! That’s been my life!
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:1, “Let a man so account of us as of ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful!” So often in ministry we like to consider ourselves as evangelists, pastors and so on, but here, Paul is looking at it in a different way. He’s saying, all of us, as ministers of Christ, are stewards of the Gospel. And the requirement of a steward is that he should be found faithful!
Whether you are a member of the congregation, or in ministry as a pastor, prophet or apostle, what counts is faithfulness in whatever God has called you to do!
We are living through a very critical time but let me encourage you: the more difficult the situation, the greater the Power of God! In Deuteronomy 4, the Lord says to the Israelites that they will be scattered among the nations and be left few in number (v27) – isn’t that the situation we are in today? The church has been scattered; we are unable to fellowship like we did at the beginning of the year; we now worship alone at home; for the churches that have reopened, the attendance is few in number. But God says in v29, ‘If from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.’
'Adoration' used by kind permission of www.vinesong.com
God always reinforces and fulfils every promise He makes. In Exodus 3.21, He says, ‘I will give you favour in the eyes of the Egyptians; you will not leave empty handed.’ I find this one of the most amazing promises in all Scripture, because God commands the Israelites to go to their slave-masters and borrow all kinds of precious and valuable items. I believe there comes a time when God will give us – you and me – for the furtherance of the Gospel, the riches of the world. If we, as the righteous, are in obedience to the Lord, He will meet our every need. I remember in 1994 when God sent me to evangelise Siberia, I had no support, but He promised me the men, the money and the materials. Can I tell you; God met every need! Not only did we evangelise for three months there, but we went back the next year, and I’ve continued to return; and every time God is faithful to His promise and command. Our faith and confidence is not in men, but in Jesus: He is our way-maker and promise-keeper.
'Peace like a river' used by kind permission www.vinesong.com
How do we know God is with us when we are in the midst of trial and tribulation? Moses asked this very question, to which God responded in the most unusual way: ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain’ (Exodus 3.12). You will know God is with you, when, after you have come through your tribulation and are living in victory, you will look back and see the Hand of God guiding and directing you. God will say, ‘I led, I was in control; I Am.’
In retrospect, when we look back on our lives – and this is the advantage I have at my age – the one thing I am conscious of, as I look back over my life, every step, every decision, everything that happened, was part of God’s plan and purpose: to the extent that looking back, I need to give God the glory for all that He has done in my life. – This is the evidence of God: it is in the retrospect that He was leading us.
I want you to experience the glory of God; to behold Him face to face. During those months of torture and suffering in a communist prison, I had an experience which transformed my life; it was as if I experienced heaven in that prison cell. Yes, I have seen the power of God in my life! Not some emotional experience in a conference, but step by step walking closer to God – my teenage cry for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, my two cancers, the prison – and many other problems and miracles. Every step is another miracle towards experiencing the power and glory of God!
'I behold Your Glory' used by kind permission of www.vinesong.com
God tests our reaction! Many of the things which happen to us serve a purpose; they occur, not by chance, but by divine planning. I want to challenge you: God is interested in your reaction to events, will you trust Him or give in to fear? God tests our faith, just as He tested the faith of the Israelites by allowing them to go through hard times in the wilderness, ‘to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands’ (Deuteronomy 8:2, NIV).
Use this time of lockdown to seek God’s purpose for your life. Whatever your job may be – not everybody can be a preacher; I couldn’t do what I do without the wide variety skills and talents of the staff in my ministry – work as until the Lord; following His instruction and guidance, then whatever you set your hand to, will prosper and succeed. Maybe today the Lord is telling you to throw down your net, but this time on the other side of the boat.
'Holy Spirit move me now' used by kind permission of www.vinesong.com
How do we seek God in the midst of chaos and uncertainty? Moses gives us the answer, ‘If from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them’ (Deuteronomy 4.29-31).