Back when I was young westerns were popular, and even today that is all my dad watches. Some peculiar parts of every western were: the Indians were always the bad guys, the whites were always the good guys, and the good guys always won. This was usually guaranteed by the last minute arrival of reinforcements in the way of a hard charging, trumpet-sounding Cavalry. Sometimes in real life the Cavalry never arrives…..
I have had it in my heart for weeks to write about this, but who wants to be the bearer of this kind of news. This is that topic in the sermon that you will never hear. Today’s church is centered about image and success just like the world, and the way you spell success is profit, money, budget, income, revenue, and the bottom line. This teaching will not sell CD’s and thus bring you “success,” but it will minister to thousands of Christians who are going through it at this time.
Prophetically, it is a season of transition and adjustment for what is to come. If we were snakes I would say its shedding season. God has to remove what hinders our future growth. It’s not a happy moment, and if we are not careful we will fall prey to the lies of the enemy that our wonderful Father is somehow mad at us or has removed His favor from our life.
The American gospel has led us wrong, and in our quest to prove our faith, we have gotten in competition with the Joneses to see who can own the largest TV, the classiest car, and the finest home. God has only one answer to this Idolatry and it is fire. Fire purifies and removes the foreign objects that have attached themselves along the way in the journey of life.
We belong to Christ, and we are not our own. We exist to do His will and not our own. Christianity is about God’s purpose in our lives. We are not Gods. He doesn’t exist to be our Heavenly Concierge. Everywhere you hear “Come to Christ and enter Christian Disney World”, “Accepting Jesus will make you a happy person,” “Living the Christian life will get you your best life now!” They are nothing but pure American Gospel lies which were created to satisfy and appease a self-centered society. I would use the old term “backslidden,” but that would mean that at some point they actually were converted. You cannot slide back from somewhere you were never at!
For those who really came to Christ, it’s time someone told you that your self-centered heart is headed for a train wreck, and your self-will is going to crash and burn. The Lord does this not because He is mad at us but because He loves us so. I know what some of you are thinking right now: “I wish He would lighten up on that kind of love.” I know I have been there, and sometimes I feel like I live there. I told a brother the other day that was really going through it that “the greater the call, the greater the fire.” Somehow I don’t think he felt encouraged by that, but it is true.
We have been taught that if we pray right or if we do right, God will always answer in our favor. So when God doesn’t answer like we want and our child dies, our husband continues to sleep around, or our boss doesn’t get fired, and we get laid off instead, we experience shock. Religion that always has a quick answer usually says it’s the devil, and it’s always because we did something wrong, or we deserved it.
The slide into living hell goes something like this; we demand to understand, so we get mad and bitter when no answer ever arrives. Then we throw ourselves to the world only to feel more used and lonely. We get mad at everyone and anyone we can blame for how we are feeling. Parents, pastors, spouse, and bosses are the number one target. They stand for authority and the highest authority, “God,” has failed us and we can’t say we are mad at God. This entire nightmare could have been avoided if we hadn’t been drinking the American gospel Kool Aid.
Today, all over the world, thousands of Christians will die at the hands of radical haters of God. They will pray God to intervene, but the cavalry will never arrive. Will the living stop praying or following God? NO! They haven’t drunk our Kool Aid. They will be driven to love the Lord more, to give of themselves more, and to thank Him for the privilege to suffer for His Name. What kind of Christianity is this? Well, if you read the bible, it’s right there in black and white. The truth is good guys die, nice people suffer, and all prayers are not answered to our liking.
Here are some examples that do not fit in our American gospel mindset;
Acts 7:57-60 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
2 Cor 11:25-27 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness
Heb 11:35-37 Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented —
2 Tim 4:19-20 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.
So what are we to do when we pray and God is silent? How do we respond to pain and suffering as a Christian? How do I stop being secretly mad at God even though the Word says the He knows our hearts? The problem we have is that we have lost our trust in God because of bad doctrine and the circumstances of life have made it appear (the enemy loves this) that God cannot be trusted and that has caused us to lose faith in His goodness.
Here are a few things that have helped me:
1. I am not Divine (God) and if I could understand Divinity (God) then I too would be Divine.
Isa 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
2. Only the Lord sees the whole picture. Like an Iceberg there is more out of my line of sight than what I can see. This means that until I can see the whole picture or look back and fully see what the Lord was doing when I was questioning Him, I should withhold my judgment. This requires that I mature and believe through the difficulty.
Ps 27:13-14 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
HERE IS A SECRET;
1. Joseph was sold into slavery, but the caravan took him to the place where he would reign, save his family and the Nation of Israel.
2. Paul was caught in a hurricane and shipwrecked on his way to Rome. The winds blew the ship directly toward Italy for 14 days vs. the usual 3 months to get him there in less time to the place where God was sending him to minister.
May we mature to the point that we can handle what is on the horizon for America, the World, and all of Christianity.
By His grace I say today;
Dan 3:17-18 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Jose L. Bosque
Jose Bosque has ministered in Jacksonville since 1987 and served the city since 1992 as a citywide servant leader. Jose is considered a resource and a spiritual father to many leaders in the city and in the 59 nations where the Lord has sent him to serve. Originally born in Cuba, Jose has resided in Jacksonville since 1966.
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Copyright 2012 Jose L. Bosque www.JaxChristian.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact JaxChristian1@aol.com