Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
2 Corinthians 1:20 – For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Mark 11:24 – Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:20-24
Rees Howells was a minister of the Gospel, missionary to Africa and a man called to intercession. He prayed until he prayed through…for people, for families, for cities, and for nations. God used him mightily during WWII to pray. I heard a story this week that I feel led to read to you. This is a story in his own words. I know some people turn their minds off when someone is reading something to them, but I am going to ask you to turn your mind on for just a minute to receive what the Lord is saying through this.
There is always a tendency to keep the money, so as to get out of God’s testings and we tried our best to do it this time! Anyway, we had to spend the money, and all the people of the place thought we were well supplied. So, we were, up to that week, and we thought money would be sure to come the day before we were to leave for London; but the last post came, and no money and our train was leaving before the post next morning.
Next morning, we felt sure that it would come o the station platform, but no, the time came for the train to leave. What were we to do? There was only one thing possible. We still had ten shillings, and we must go as far as we could with it; then our (desperate need) would be God’s opportunity. We had to change trains at Llanelly Station, about 20 miles from our home, and wait there a couple of hours; so without letting anyone know, we only booked as far as that.
There were many people at our home station wishing us all the good things, but what we needed was money to go to London! Many also came as far as Llanelly, singing all the way. The thought that came to me was, “I’d sing better if I had the money!”
We went out to breakfast with some friends as Llanelly, and then walked back to the station still not delivered; and now the time for the train had come. The Spirit then spoke to me and said, “If you had money, what would you do?”
“Take my place in the queue at the booking office,” I said.
“Well, are you not preaching that My promises are equal to current coin? (are they not ‘yes and amen’) You had better take your place in the queue.” So, there was nothing I could do except obey.
There was about a dozen people before me. There they were passing by the booking office one by one. The devil kept telling me, “Now you have only a few people in front of you, and when your turn comes, you will have to walk through. You have preached much about Moses with the Red Sea in front and the Egyptians behind, but now you are the one who is shut in.”
“Yes, shut in,” I answered, “but like Moses, I’ll be gloriously led out!”
When there were only two before me, a man stepped out of the crowd and said, “I’m sorry I can’t wait any longer, but I must open my shop.” He said good-bye and put 30 shillings in my hand! It was most glorious, and only a foretaste of what the Lord would do in Africa, if we would obey. After I had the tickets, the people who came with us to the train began to give gifts to us, but the Lord had held them back until we had been tested. We were singing all the way to London!
On arrival we had breakfast with Mr. Head. He then told them that he had 50 pounds for them, but he failed to post it.
“Thank God, you didn’t,” I said, “I wouldn’t have been without the test in the queue for anything.”
Mr. and Mrs. Howells were set to go to Africa and at that point they had need of only three things – a watch, a fountain pen, and a raincoat for each. They never mentioned these things to anyone but the Lord. During breakfast that day Mr. Head gave them watches from his son. He gave them a good raincoat each because he wanted them prepared for the rainy season in Africa. And he gave them each a fountain pen. The three things they had named to the Lord, he gave to them!
It was then that Mr. Howells told Mr. Head the story of the Lord’s provision for the trip and the three things he had given. “I prefer this to 1,000 pounds,” said Mr. Head, “to know that the Lord can guide me like this in my giving.”
So, they left England on July 10, 1915, after a glorious victory, knowing that the One who had called them into this life was able to deliver in all circumstances.
REES HOWELLS (and really Mr. Head too) learned great lessons in obedience and testing. Because of testing they each had a knowing that God would not only guide every step of the way but also that He would sustain them all the rest of the days of their life. I am here to tell you today that just as God tested and delivered Mr. Howells, He is testing some of you with His heart set on your deliverance. He wants to use you to get to the place in your testing where you say…Thank God for this trial. I wouldn’t have been without the testing for anything.
If you read the stories of these men of God, you will see over and over where they were used. They prayed, they believed, and they obeyed, and they received provision…deliverance…healings…fruit. God did amazing things for them and through them and still is using their witness to this day.
God wants to use you. As a giver; as an intercessor; as one that goes out. Whatever He has called you to – walk with Him through the test – Keep yourself in His Word. Keep your eyes on Him and follow Him.
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. ~ Rev. 11:1-2
I don’t really know all of what this verse means, but I do know that it tells us that the Spirit of God is measuring worshipers. He is looking for those whose treasure is in Heaven and who abide in the “inner court” of God’s temple.
Consider: in our world of terror, pressures, trauma, our only refuge exists in the living presence of God. We must not accept a religion where we only know about God and assume it is the same as living in the presence of God. If we are to truly dwell in the Presence of the Lord, we must become true worshipers of God.
Jesus taught that “true worshipers” are those who worship “the Father in spirit and truth.” In other words, their worship to God flows freely regardless of difficult situations or challenging conditions or even good times…they still worship. The Bible says, in John 4:23 that “the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
God is seeking worshippers. In fact, God’s first priority isn’t for us to be miracle workers or great preachers and teachers or singers. What does He seek? He is seeking worshipers. If we focus on being true worshipers, everything else will fall into place; the miracles will follow.
If we focus on making our worship true, whatever ministry we do and whatever Words we say will be anointed, and our walk with God will be true. If we bow in worship before studying God’s Word, His Word will sink deeper into our soul; our fruit will be abundant and enduring. If before we open our mouths in prayer, we spend time honoring God in worship, our intercession will reach Heaven and our trust and faith will GROW! Jesus told us to begin our prayer with worship. “Pray, this way,” He said: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:1). You see, before we even lift our voice in prayer, He instructs us to bow our hearts in worship.
True worship rescues us from the mundane and the routine; it takes our minds off ourselves and burrows us into the depths of God.
Indeed, whether the outward form of our worship is expressed with tears of joy or in silent awe, worship unites us with love to the heart of God.
The Story of True Worshippers
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. ~ Matthew 2:11
We know them as the Wise Men. Some call them by other names: Kings, Visitors, Travelers, Magi. But rarely do we hear them called Worshipers.
We don’t have a lot of details about these Travelers from afar, yet their story is a part of the story of Jesus birth and recorded in the pages of the Bible. The Wise men were compelled to seek for this one “that is born King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2) so they could worship Him. With each step, they made a choice to continue a journey estimated to be around 1,000 miles and likely took at least 25-30 days.
These men were diligent and eventually reached Jesus. When they arrived, they didn’t begin by asking lots of questions or telling about themselves. No, first they bowed down to worship. The Wise Men recognized Jesus’ majesty, and before they gave earthly gifts, they offered Him their greatest treasure – their worship.
How often do we worship Jesus just because He is Jesus? The truth is sometimes I’m guilty of selfish worship. Rather than glorifying God for who He is, I quickly sing a song of praise and then begin my list of what He can do for me. But here we have these Wise Men…these travelers, who sacrificed much. Unlike them, my worship too often costs me nothing.
Right now, as we head right into this Christmas season where we will celebrate and remember Jesus’ birth, let us follow the example of these Wise Men and pay the price to get ourselves into God’s presence so that we too can offer our greatest treasure. Then let us choose to worship the King with all that we are…holding nothing back.
Lord, come into my life and fulfill Your promise of transformation. Create praise on my lips, and help me to worship You in spirit and in truth.
There is much debate today concerning the modern day existence of apostles and prophets. I find this quite interesting since Ephesians 4:11 says And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.
And I Corithians 12:28 says And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
There is no place in Scripture where it says that He removed any of the gifts of the Spirit nor the ministry gifts which includes apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. God knows how to build His Church. In Mathew 16:18 Jesus said He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. What He has set in the Church cannot be voted out by a deacon board or any man. I have heard where denominations have voted and decided there are no apostles in the Church today. The problem with that is that Jesus didn’t say it and He didn’t do it; and it’s His Church!
There is also an order mentioned in I Corinthians 12 which says that the Apostles are set in first. This word is the Greek word, “prōton” which means firstly (in time, place, order, or importance): – before, at the beginning, chiefly, at the first (of all). It comes from the word, “prōtos,” which means, foremost (in time, place, order or importance): – before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.
After the apostles come the prophets and the teachers. Then it says something very enlightening. It says, after that miracles. Could it be that one reason we see so few miracles is that we are all out of order?
My opinion is that there have always been apostles in the Church that Jesus builds. They may not have been called that by people or even known exactly what they were themselves, but there has always been apostolic anointing in the Church somewhere.
There were only 12 “apostles of the Lamb.” We are not referring to the original twelve who walked with Jesus when He was on the earth, but to the others that have been set in the Church.
The problem today is that we call everyone who leads a ministry a pastor and everyone who travels an evangelist. We are confused. We seem to be afraid to use the very terms the Bible uses and instead prefer words man has made up. We have been told that it is pride to know that you are called as an apostle or prophet, but ok to know you are a evangelist, pastor or teacher. All the ministry graces come from Jesus, no one earns any of them.
I understand that on the flipside there are those who run around using “titles” with no substance or identification. When someone is called to be an apostle or prophet, they will be confirmed and affirmed by other apostles and prophets. It takes some time for that to develop but when someone is true, they will eventually be identified if they walk faithfully with the Lord. They should not identify themselves, but wait on God’s timing. He knows when we are ready. There will come a day when we can acknowledge that we are what we are.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
What we do in the Body of Christ should always be according to grace. Part of the definition of grace is the ability to do what you have been called to do.
The apostle Paul said he was a “wise masterbuilder.” This word, “masterbuilder” is the word, “architektōn”. It is where we get or word, “architect”.
So, apostles are builders. They lay the foundation of Christ for others to build upon.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
These verses tell us that apostles and prophets are foundational in the “temple of the Lord” with Jesus Himself being the Chief Conerstone. How is it that we have cut them out of the Body for so many years? What a disaster!
We need apostles today to impart according to Rom 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.
Apostles strengthen the Church. Apostles are pioneers, messengers, ambassadors.
They have a very specific call from God.
Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.
Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…
Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2Ti 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Paul knew for sure who God had called him to be. So if we are in pride when we know we are called as an apostle, was Paul also in pride? I have only placed a few of the Scriptures where Paul says he is an apostle. You can study more about it for yourself.
Paul said he was a preacher or a herald of the gospel. He said he was an apostle. This word is
“apostolos” and it means, a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”), (with miraculous powers): – apostle, messenger, he that is sent. And he said he was a teacher or instructor. He was confident in his heavenly mandate. He said he was suffering some things because of his calling. Apostles are familiar with suffering in some fashion. We are not all called to suffer the same things in the same way, but apostles are acquainted with suffering.
Apostles are sent one’s. They are sent by God with a mission. Their lives are a direct mandate from God. They can tell you details concerning how God has called them and know they are called beyond any doubt.
Luk 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Luk 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Apostles are sent to release the supernatural power of God.
Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
This word “warfare” is the Greek word “strateia”. It means, military service, that is, (figuratively) the apostolic career (as one of hardship and danger).
When someone is called to be apostle, they cannot expect everything in their life to always be smooth sailing. They have a career of warfare.
2Co 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
The Bible in Basic English says it this way – 2Co 12:12 Truly the signs of an Apostle were done among you in quiet strength, with wonders and acts of power.
One meaning of the word patience is consistency. Apostles are constant. They are not easily swayed. They are focused on their assignments. They move in the power of God with signs and wonders. They preach the Good News, heal the sick and cast out demons among other things.
1Co 9:2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
Apostles train others. They pour their lives into those who are connected to them. They do not expect to have the same relationship with everyone in their lives. They are very relational and know those who are connected to their apostleship.
1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 1Th 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Apostles are parental in the Body of Christ. They have traits of a nursing mother. They love deeply, even though many times they are accused of not being loving. They take relationships very serious. It is their life.
The English Standard Version says – 1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
And they have the traits of a father.
1Th 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 1Th 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
Apostles expect those who are with them to grow and walk in holiness. They teach and train in Kingdom living. If you are looking for someone who views Christianity as “going to church” won’t be comfortable with an apostle as a leader. They will think that too much is being required of them. Apostles focus on raising up leaders.
Mat 28:18 Then Jesus came up and told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Mat 28:19 Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Mat 28:20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.”
The world view of an apostle is that all nations are to be discipled. They are not only locally minded, but have a heart for all nations. They are aware that wherever they are, they are there because God has sent them. Apostles also want to see others sent into their own divine assignments.
If you are looking for someone who is full of vision, will challenge you to grow in Christ, give you opportunities to move in the gifts of the Spirit, release impartation to you and expect you to develop in your God given purpose, then you will love being with a true apostle.