Children of the Prophets
by: Stephen Glover
A longtime friend and minister of Jesus Christ, Ray Wooten, recently introduced United Christian Ministries (UCM), which is the work he has been directing for some time, on the “Haggai114” telephone fellowship of Living God Ministries. The stated purpose for both ministries is to actively pray for and pursue real spiritual reconciliation and restoration among the church’s many members. The subject discussed dealt with “Chaos to Communion,” which was the theme of the UCM feast of tabernacles and of an article written by Ray, himself. All the participants in this ground-breaking fellowship were invited and encouraged to check out the website of this partner ministry at www.4ucm.org.
A follow-up telephone discussion on the next Tuesday evening dealt with the unusual and powerful circumstances, and amazing events surrounding the human ministry of Jesus Christ. The challenge was offered that we must be able to expect the same kinds of inexplicable responses from our heavenly Father in this day! After all, didn’t our Lord and Savior promise that His disciples and apostles would do even greater things because He was going to the Father (John 14:12-14), and He promised to send the Spirit of power back to dwell in and remain in His servants (John 14:26-27) until their change at the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20)?
Consider, when Jesus was riding in a boat across the Sea of Galilee, a violent storm quickly arose and threatened the stability and physical lives of all those present; however, the Son of man was peacefully sleeping in the midst of the maelstrom. When He was awakened by the fearful cries of the disciples, who believed they were about the perish, He chided their lack of faith and then ordered the wind and waves to desist. The question that we need to ask ourselves today is whether we have any more faith than the disciples to believe that all things are possible through the power and authority granted us by the glorified Son of God (Luke 9:1-2, Matthew 28:18-20 and John 15:14-16) ? Do the storminess of human relationships and the conditions in our lives cause us to become afraid and begin protecting our own selves out of concerns that our security has disappeared and we are all about to perish? Personally reflect on Matthew 8:23-27.
On another occasion, Jesus realized that the people were preparing to create their own insurrection against the Roman Empire and the local authorities by proclaiming Him their king. Rather than submit to their designs, He withdrew to a solitary place to pray to His Father, after sending the disciples across the sea in a boat. Perhaps the disciples wondered how Jesus was planning to cross without any means of conveyance, but they followed His instructions and headed across themselves. Their efforts; however, were stymied by contrary winds and waves pushing them backwards unless they labored mightily to hold their own. Early in the morning, Jesus came to them walking on top of the water, which frightened them since they believed it was a spirit and not a man. The Lord spoke to reassure them and then entered the boat with them, and they immediately arrived at their destination. Again, ask yourself whether you can actually believe that these kinds of supernatural occurrences are not only possible, but should be expected by God’s faithful children today? Personally reflect on John 6:15-21.
Next, let’s remember the time when Jesus used a fishing boat to teach the people by the sea, and then upon finishing speaking He instructed Simon (Peter) to go to deeper water and let down the nets for a catch of fish. Naturally, an experienced fisherman like Peter pointed out that they had worked hard all night without any success, perhaps preparing the situation for what he thought would be an embarrassing failure. Much to all the disciple’s surprise; however, they not only caught some fish, but they hauled in a catch that was in danger of breaking the nets and sinking Peter’s boat and that of their partners, who came to help. By now you should be prepared to contemplate how our faith compares to the relatively miniscule faith of the disciples, who, rather than expecting a mighty evidence of God’s power and provision, were completely surprised and overwhelmed by what happened. No wonder Jesus mused on whether He would find any actual faith on the earth when He returns! Personally reflect on Luke 5:1-11.
One glaring evidence of the abysmal lack of faith in the power of God is the number of churches, groups, and ministries that contain ministers and members who are either unwilling or unable to extend the right hand of fellowship to their brethren in another group. If Jesus can calm the waves and the seas, along with the hearts of those He loves most dearly, can He not calm the strife and distrust of any who claim to believe He is the Son of God? If He is able to walk across the water without any difficulty, and even invite Peter to join Him there, is He now powerless to cross the distance that has been created by human emotions and misunderstandings of the past? If not, then how can we give any credence to His willingness and ability to bring us safely to our destination in the kingdom of God? Finally, does He lack the efficacy in our modern technological and secular world to bring in a catch of men and women to reward the faithful labor of those who trustingly let down their nets at His command, instead of following their own experience and natural wisdom about the ways of the world? I suggest that it would do us all a lot of good to consider our ways in the light of divine revelation about the brotherly love He commands us all to cast out upon the waters.
It is amazing to me that there appear to be many who have concluded that it is not God’s will to reconcile the various groups, ministries, and churches who all claim His name and the power that He supplies. Please don’t misunderstand my meaning; I do not propose that it is our Father’s purpose to join us all together in one giant corporate body, since that has already been done and it was necessary to destroy that “temple” because, like the ancient temple in Jerusalem, it had become the focus of the people instead of the ever-living God Who sits on the heavens with the earth as His footstool. Where is the “house” any of us could build for such a God, indeed? And, how will our Lord find acceptable the many “houses” built by men to the detriment of His own spiritual temple, which can only be built together and in unity of purpose as a house of prayer for all the nations (remember what God says in 1 Corinthians 1:11-17 and 3:1-15)? Remember the congregation of Israel in the wilderness, where the manifest presence of God appeared at the center of the camp in a tent that was surrounded by the various families and clans of the tribes of Israel. Each group was designated a specific location to set up their houses and given a precise order in which to depart when the pillar of cloud or fire began to move. After all, God is the Author of order and not the confusion, as we see in the churches today!
Jesus knew that His time to depart was near when He prayed to His Father for those who would follow Him in the spiritual works of taking the gospel to all the world. His earnest supplication was that they might all be one exactly like He and His Father have existed from eternity past. To achieve this they would all have to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood in order to be infused with spiritual life in Him. Paul warned those who were in Corinth about the consequences of carnal sectarianism, including a lack of power leading to weakness, sickness, and even death (1 Corinthians 11:30-32). With the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread coming up in the spring, it would be wise for each of us to consider our worthiness to participate in Christ‘s sacrifice, rather than risk eating and drinking God’s judgment on ourselves. If we are expected to love even our enemies, how much more odious is it to our Lord when we fail or refuse to love, without hypocrisy, the “least of these” who are indeed His and our brothers and sisters in the faith (Matthew 25:31-46)?
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Will you believe that He is still eager to powerfully work in the midst of a healthy spiritual body made up of many members unified by their belief in the one Head, Jesus the Christ? After all, did not God give to His true church the MINISTRY AND GOSPEL OF RECONCILIATION (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)? Are these mere words or are they clear instructions from God?