Lent 2016 – Be Careful What You Say – and What You Ask For…

“In that day you will not [need to] ask Me about anything. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name [as My representative], He will give you. Until now you have not asked [the Father] for anything in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete. “I have told you these things in figurative language (veiled language, proverbs); the hour is now coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I am not saying to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf [because it will be unnecessary]; for the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Ah, now You are speaking plainly to us and not in figures of speech! Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; because of this we believe [without any doubt] that you came from God.” (John 16:23-33 Amplified)

 Jesus’s words here were a reminder to the disciples that they already had the authority of His Name. He’d sent them out previously and they’d seen healings, driven out evil spirits and everything Jesus Himself had done. The reminder to them here is that during the next 72 hours until His Resurrection they still had that authority.

It was a message of comfort to them.

They missed the point – and so do we.

There’s a massive number of people – nearly half the population of Earth – who are considered by the World as “christians” (note the lack of a capital “c”). They go to church, pay their tithes, don’t smoke, drink or go with girls/guys that do and keep the ten commandments. They’re good people.

But they’re not Christians. That number is a small percentage of those 3.5 billion people (roughly) who get labelled.

A True Christian imitates Christ in Word and Walk. We should aim to be doing what Jesus did. We should say what He’d say and ask for what He’d ask for. That’s Christianity.

In that day you will ask in My name, and I am not saying to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf [because it will be unnecessary]; for the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from the Father”.

We ask in Jesus’s Name and God does it for Jesus’s sake because He Loves US.

Imitators of Christ. Little Anointed Ones.

That’s us. We’re Plan “A” – and there’s no Plan “B” in case.

Frank Peretti in one of the “Darkness” books – I forget which one as it’s been a while since I read them (sorry Mr Perretti) has the angelic forces state “There’s always a remnant”.

Mega-churches grow and individuals get swallowed up. The spoken words are restricted to a select few at the front and the “anointed” ones get on the prayer teams. The majority – especially in older denominational large congregations – are anonymous and go unnoticed if they disappear by all but a few.

I visited a church a few years ago looking for a Spiritual Home that had a large (400+) congregation. They had the same welcome team on the door every week for the two months I visited. Every week the same “greeter” gave me a news-sheet and asked if it was my first visit.

This was a church that had almost everything I needed. Solid teaching from a pastor who I ran into recently in a supermarket and – bearing in mind it’s about 5 years since I stopped going to that church – he remembered my name, my wife’s name and that she’d been ill at the time. He asked if she was doing better and if I was ok. It was the first time a member of that church had acknowledged that I was missed and the only time I felt I may have made a mistake in not sticking it out.

That being said, the church I now go to I’m being cautious to get over-involved in because of what I’m doing with this ministry. The church shares the values I do (and by extension Eagle’s Wing Ministries does) but I learned that things can seem one thing but be another. After the last few months I’m feeling at home more and recognising I can trust people here. But I need to guard my tongue.

We all do.

Consider Jesus after He was arrested. He barely spoke after His arrest. What you say can be twisted and get you into trouble. The false witnesses they brought against Him demonstrate that.

But consider Peter after Pentecost. Shouting the Good News from the roof to anyone who’d listen and 5000 saved in one day.

By the way, I hate the term “saved”. It’s been hijacked from the religious right. Anyone pro-choice or liberal instead of conservative views is the enemy and needs “saving”. I don’t know what we should say instead. Mike Yaconelli suggested “captured”. I’ve heard others suggest “courted”. Nothing seems to fit well.

We need to make sure we’re in one mind with the Holy Spirit. That only happens if we are filled with the Holy Spirit. But when we ask as one with Him we see blind eyes open, deaf ears hear, terminally ill recover.

But it takes balls to pray like that. (Yes I did just say that!)

You take a chance when you pray. The Enemy comes at you (and me) with the classic “what if” question. About 20 years ago I came back from a conference so certain of what I knew, no – it was beyond knowledge – that my prayers would be answered. I met a friend, a good, solid Christian in a different place in his walk to me (and there’s no sin in that – we all have our own path) who had literally just heard another Christian friend of his, a young father with children had just died a few hours ago. My first response was “So let’s go pray and see him rise”. The reply I got was “But what if he doesn’t?” and it was enough to stop me trying. 

I’ll regret that choice for the rest of my life because I put what the family would think of me above what God was able to to through the power of prayer in Jesus’s Name.

I’ve seen illness stop it’s progression in some people and healed in others. I’ve seen my own illnesses stop progressing but not been able to receive healing. Yet. It has nothing to do with God.

There’s not a single instance of Jesus telling someone to wait for healing in the New Testament. Not one that I can find. (Chapter and verse quote in the comments if you find one I’ve missed).

Paul’s “Thorn in the flesh” is described by Paul as a messenger of Satan sent to stir up dissent and persecution, not illness, so don’t quote that at me as I’ll write more fully on that another time.

What we say must be to build up our family in Christ, not sow doubt and fear.

What we ask for in Jesus’s Name that is in line with God’s Will He will give us.

So watch your mouth. Watch your speech.

Be careful what you say.

God’s listening.

So is the World.

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