The title of this teaching is You Are The Only You God Has. I have also put four other sort-of subtitles on it.
- The Power of One—that is one God, one Lord, one you
- The Human Element
- Choose Life
- For Such A Time As This
I am going to ask you as you read this transcription to ask the Lord to show you his heart in it. I am going to ask you to lock your mind in and think very biblically. I will ask you to ask yourself, “Why do I believe what I believe?” That is what I ask myself when it comes to God or any spiritual matter. I want to be certain that what I believe is exactly according to the written revelation of God Himself, as found in His Word. I honestly believe with all my heart that the Lord can change your life through this teaching. I know what the truth contained in it is doing in my own heart, and I believe that he is going to do the same or even greater things for you.
1 Timothy 2:1-5
(1) I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—[that’s a very long prayer list] (2) for kings and all those in authority, that [it is actually so that it is a purpose word…so that] we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
(3) This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
(4) who wants all men [the will of God is] to be saved and to come to a [thoroughly applied] knowledge of the truth. [The focal point of the truth is in the next verse.] (5) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
The word so that in verse two is a purpose word; that is, if what comes before it does not happen then what comes after it will not happen. You need to do the part that comes before to get the results that come after. That is the point that I want to focus upon as we continue.
It appears very clearly from those verses above that if we pray as the verses exhort us to do then his-story will be different than it would have been. I only picked that section; I could have picked probably thousands of places where the same principle is very evident in the Bible. Now, most people would immediately acknowledge that, but then when you probe deeper into the principles that are involved and the ideas involved with that, some people balk—I was one of them. I believe that I balked based upon a misconception of God that was handed down to me from ancient Greek philosophers, which infiltrated western theology. We will be getting into some of those things. The point that can be made in the verses that we just read in 1 Timothy chapter two is that the future is not fixed. Our choices allow God to intervene and make things different. If that were not true then what is the point of prayer? We will talk more about prayer, and I will read you some quotes from a wonderful book that I think will, if it does for you what it did for me, improve your prayer life even beyond what it already is.
1 John chapter 1, as you may know verse 5 says, “God is light.”
1 John 1:3-5
(3) We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
(4) We write this to make our joy complete.
(5) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no [that means not even a little bit] darkness at all.
Now putting these two things together helps us to take a look at current events in a different light than some Christians do. I have in my hand the cover of the September 4th, 1999 issue of World Magazine, which is a Christian periodical that looks at the news from a Christian perspective. It has a very sad picture on the front cover of a Turkish man after the earthquake on August 20th. The man is holding his dead child who appears to be about two or three years old wrapped in a blanket. You can see the little foot of the child sticking out. The expression on the man’s face is extremely poignant. I know that if you saw this picture your heart would go out to him, especially if you have children or you remember your children being that age and how much you love them. Just think about what it would be like to be holding your dead child in a blanket.
Well, at the back of the magazine an editorial is entitled “Whence and Why: Finding Meaning in the Earthquake in Turkey.” I am going to read you some excerpts of it. A well-known man who is the senior pastor of a large church in a large American city writes it. You will see where I am going here. He begins talking about where do we turn for answers in a horrible tragedy like this. He says, “So we turn to the Word of God for help.” I say, “Amen, hallelujah!” The next sentence, however, is kind of sad. “No earthquakes in the Bible are attributed to Satan.” I am going to have to take issue based upon 1 John 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 4:4:
1 John 5:19
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
2 Corinthians 4:4
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Many other verses show that evil and tragedy are caused by the Devil. At this point, I heartily encourage you to read our book called Don’t Blame God (we have posted key chapters online) because it will greatly elaborate on some points that I will only be able to briefly touch.
So he says, “No earthquakes in the Bible are attributed to Satan. Many are attributed to God.” He then quotes Luke 8:25 and says, “This is because God is Lord of heaven and earth. He commands even the winds and the water and they obey Him.”
“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
First of all, that was Jesus that commanded and from where was the winds and water coming? They were coming from the Devil who was trying to kill Jesus. Jesus says, “Hey, knock it off!” That is the context; it is not the context of God sending the earthquake to kill someone. Again, that makes it plain that a battle is going on there.
Reading on in the article:
“Earthquakes are ultimately from God. Nature does not have a will of its own. God owes Satan no freedom.”
Is that a biblically accurate statement? No, because God gave Adam genuine free will, and that will be one of the absolute main points of this teaching, so be thinking now, “What is genuine free will?” God certainly looked down and saw Adam starting to relinquish, if you want to look at it that way, to hand over his authority and dominion over the earth (see Gen. 1:26-28 – man was given authority). God did not say, “Hey, hey, hey, I did not give you that. You just keep that dominion, and you little serpent just get lost!” No, He did not. He did not because that would violate the nature and the character of God, and also it would go against the sovereign decision that God made when He was once upon a time all by Himself. He had the right and the ability to do things anyway that He wanted to. He sovereignly decided to enter into a genuine free-will love relationship with His created beings. He, in His sovereign choice, determined the kind of sovereignty that He would exercise in the world. We will be talking more about that.
God does owe Satan freedom because Adam delivered unto Satan the dominion that God had originally given to the first man, Adam. Of course, we will see then how God can intervene in what the Devil is doing. That is the point of Jesus and that is the point of you (and other fellow laborers with God) inviting Him into the mix. This is fabulous, so buckle your shoulder belt as well as your seat belt!
This is the next sentence from the article that makes me very sad:
“What havoc demons wreak, they wreak with God’s permission.”
Oh, hello, I am here to knock your kid upside the head. You being the parent say, “Yeah, but don’t hit him too hard.” Would you say that? No, you would not give anyone permission to hurt your children, and neither does God!
The article goes on and says:
“The Lord is good; therefore, God has good and all wise purposes for the heart rending tragedy in Turkey that took thousands of lives on August 17, 1999.”
I wish that you could see the cover photo because I want you to tell that man who is holding his dead child in the photo that statement, “It is alright sir; God has a good purpose for that.”
Back to the article where the man quotes Isaiah 31:2, “He also is wise, and will bring disaster.” I took the time to look up that verse and the context is stopping evil. The disaster is aimed at the Devil in that verse. It is doom for the wicked. Then the article quotes Job, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” Of course Job said that. Do you know what God says? God says, “Job said it.” This is all explained in our book Don’t Blame God (and our article Job: The Righteous Sufferer). At the end of the article, he makes a real strange statement. He talks about how an earthquake is very disconcerting because there is no place to go. In other disasters, the earth stands firm. He says, “Where do you turn when the earth itself is unsafe?” Answer—God! Am I goofy? He just said that God sent the earthquake and now we are going to turn to God for help! That just does not make sense to me; what about you?
The author of this article believes that God is totally in control of every single event that happens. I am going to question that because we just read that it is God’s will for all men to be saved. If that is God’s will, and His will always came to pass then all men would be saved. If that were true, then we would not have Jesus saying in the Lord’s Prayer, “Hey, you guys really need to pray.” Why? “So the will of God will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
I am going to read another editorial from another issue of World. This is from October called Wedge Wood Witnesses. “Where is God in the tragedy in Texas?” In the Baptist Church, where a man went in and killed a number of people sometime in September of 1999. The article continues:
“How could God have let this happen? How do we explain this evil?”
Now, this is a very good statement:
“Far to many Christians, theologians and preachers included, cave or crack in the face of the question of evil. The temptation is to compromise either the power or the character of God. Presenting God as powerless to prevent the evil or unwilling to protect His own.”
I would like to suggest another possible alternative, which does not compromise either the power or the character of God. The Bible, this teaching, and our book Don’t Blame God is all about this. God is not lacking in power.
Romans 4:21 (KJV)
…what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
His character is given in Scripture, and it cannot change. Of course, I feel sorry for the pastor of this Church because he had to get up and preach after this tragedy. That would have been a terribly challenging job, but he of course went to Romans 8:28. He told his people that God is in control.
Romans 8:28 (KJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…
That does not make any sense because all things do not work together for good! Lots of things have no redeeming goodness whatsoever, like the man holding his dead child. The NIV says it more accurately:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…
Amen! The pastor then says, “God is sovereign over every molecule in the universe.” The article continues saying at the end, “We cannot expect to compromise church preaching with a diluted gospel to produce the kind of conviction that true martyrs have.” I say, “Amen, amen, amen!” There is a much more deep-rooted suspicion of God and distrust of God in Christian leaders today who preach this kind of Gospel than people realize. People’s lives are being very negatively affected.
I saw an email that was going around on the Internet about the Wedge Wood Church shooting. Someone in the church apparently put out this email. It said, “This is a testimony to the power of our God.” Well, it is a testimony to the truth of Romans 8:28 properly translated. I am only going to read to you one or two lines from it, but it tells about how the gunman passed by one room with a whole bunch of little kids in it, and he did not shoot them. Yes, God was in there. God was right there doing everything that He could, but if He were really in control the guy never would have shot anybody.
“God has done amazing works…Before the shooting our pastor had prayed that God would do whatever it took to expand the ministry of Wedge Wood Baptist Church.”
Now look, I am sure that he did not have in mind to have a gunman brought in to kill some of the people to get their commitment level up. I know that he did not mean that, but that is the implication of this as it reads. The email continues:
“Evidence of God’s control during the shooting…”
No, God’s control was only partial. He couldn’t do it. If God were really in control, the gunman would not have shot anyone. The email continues with a quote of Genesis 50:20 about Joseph, and it is kind of skewed the way that it is handled. Again, that particular verse is covered in our book Don’t Blame God.
I am going to read briefly from my column On The Edge in the June 1999 issue of The Contender. It is about the shooting in Littleton, Colorado. It says:
“The United States is still in shock about the tragedy in Littleton, Colorado on April 20th. In the context of this column, let’s explore some aspects of it. As we do, let us stay anchored to the firm rock of God’s Word because we are going to consider some very deep and emotionally charged issues. Ready? Okay, how do we know that God the Creator, the most powerful One in the fight, could not stop those two boys from murdering those other people?”
Well, we know that He could not because He did not. By God’s nature, He cannot allow evil; therefore, if God does not stop something, it is only for one reason; He could not stop it.
The article continues:
“We know by taking His Word for it. Yes, because in His Word, He tells us that He is love, light, good, kind, holy, etc, etc, etc. Thus, His very nature prohibits Him from allowing evil. [I am defining allow as being able to stop something but choosing not to do so.] That brings up another question does it not?”
You see questions are good. Do not be afraid to have questions. Golly, the theology that most of us were subjected to growing up, if we grew up in a Christian environment, deserves a lot of questions. Really it does because a lot of stuff does not add up.
Well, the perspective that we are going to present in this teaching adds up to the highest total for us, so to speak. It resolves most efficiently and biblically the deep philosophical issues involved, and these are issues that surround the human heart on a daily basis.
This is the next question in the article:
“Why was God not able to stop the horrible events of that day as they unfolded right before His eyes?”
There was plenty of evidence in the aftermath that God was trying to make the parents of the boys aware of what was going on in their garage!
“The biblical answer is because He did not have anyone cooperating with Him to the degree necessary to shut down the forces of evil at work in the two killers. Think about it—What other answer could it be? With the gift of holy spirit, do we as Christians have the power to overcome demons? Sure we do, but it does not happen automatically. In every situation, God and the Lord Jesus are right there with us virtually drooling to destroy the works of the Devil.”
1 John 3:8 says that is one of the reasons that Jesus came. He is passionate about rubbing the Devil’s face in the cement—dirt would be too soft.
The article continues:
“But they need our cooperation. They need us to speak, think, and act according to what Jesus made available; so as to unleash the power of God in the moment. Some might say, “Wait a minute! Is not God sovereign?” The word sovereign basically means ruling, but the way most Christians think of it is not how God expresses it in His Word. Scripture clearly says that God’s overall plan will come to pass. [We win in the end—we will talk more about that.] Those who believed in Him will win, and the Devil and those who did not will lose. But—by giving man free will, God severely limited Himself as to how much He can intervene in our lives. Therefore, God is not in control of everything that happens and neither is everything that happens the will of God! The will of God comes to pass when a person knows what it is and acts accordingly, then God can do His part and accomplish His will. Our best example of what is available in terms of God’s protection is found in the life of Jesus Christ.”
The article continues and elaborates on that. Of course, Jesus is the representation of God, and in him we find great truth. I will quote just a little more from the article. It says:
“When trying to understand such a deep issue, let us remember what God’s Word says, that is, what we know for sure. I say this because we must not relinquish what we do understand in the face of what we do not understand. First, God is love. Second, He will therefore always do for us what is loving. Third, we are not robots—He requires faith on our part. Fourth, our faith will grow if we build His Word in our hearts.”
I want to interject just a brief letter that some precious folks on our mailing list sent me some time ago. It says:
“Dear John, God bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Your ministry blesses people to the utmost even in the pit of despair. Our daughter was killed in a car crash three weeks ago. Praise the Lord that we were able to find solace in your wonderful book Don’t Blame God! It has been our only antidote to our well-meaning relatives and friends that claim our God had “taken” (i.e. murdered) our daughter. I am proud to contribute in my small way to the success of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International.”
Well, bless their hearts.
The last part of the article that I want to quote says:
“So what would you do in such a situation? [Like Littleton or something like that.] In case you do not know, I can tell you. You would do exactly what you had sown in your heart day by day until that moment. The sum total of your response in a crisis is dictated by how you have previously (educated your conscience) (developed your mindset) (acquired your worldview) (built the Word in your heart) (all of the above).”
Your choices depend upon your faith. You are made in the image of God, and one aspect of that is that you are a free moral agent and you can “create.” You have created by your choices the “world,” in other words the circumstances, situation, and the way that you look at them. It has been the past choices that you have made that have furnished your present world, and you will furnish your future world with the fruit of your current choices. I do not think that anyone would argue with that statement. Everyone understands these things practically, but then sometimes we go to mythos-ville. Mythos is the Greek word for myth.
We have quite a bit in our book, One God & One Lord, about the ancient philosophical Greek mindset of mythology, which has totally infiltrated Christian doctrine today versus logos, the logic or the plan articulated by words that make sense, but when we go to mythos-ville we are wasting away because nothing has to make sense there. We can just believe anything, and Monday through Saturday, the way that we really live, goes out the window because on Sunday at church, anything goes.
Well, I am asking you to think because your free will is so awesome, and it is so precious, and you never want to relinquish it. Not only that, you want to put it to work for you and do not let the Enemy use it against you because then you get in this victim mentality.
In Deuteronomy 30, God is speaking to Israel near the end of Moses’ life.
You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today.
In this chapter are a lot of “ifs.” If you do this, you get this good thing. If you do not do that, then you will get this bad thing. Remember that is how God spoke in the Old Testament because He could not reveal to the people the truth about the Devil that Jesus revealed in the New Testament. Why? It was because before Jesus came, lived, died, rose, ascended, and then poured out the gift of holy spirit on the Day of Pentecost, God could not equip every person for the spiritual battle. This is all explained in our book, Don’t Blame God! In the Old Testament some people were given holy spirit for a period of time to do a specific job, but the vast majority of the people did not have it. Suppose God had said over the radio, “Good morning Israel. Hey, here it is. Here is the deal for today! You have an invisible spiritual enemy. Actually, he is second in power only to Me, and he hates your guts, and he wants the absolute worst for you! You cannot see him, hear him, smell him, taste him, or touch him! Have a great day!” I do not think so. They would have freaked out, so the testimony of the Old Testament (it is figurative language when compared with the New Testament revelation) is that, “Hey, you do good, and I will bless you. You do bad, and I will pop you.” But, God is not actively popping anyone.
Deuteronomy 30:9 and 10
(9) Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers,
(10) if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Look at this next verse, how reassuring verse 11 is!
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.
Now, that is a phenomenal verse. In this reciprocal relationship between you [The only you that God has], and God [The only God that you should have], is the dance. “You can do it; you can do it.” He will never ask you or me to do anything that we cannot do. Keep that in mind, it will be helpful.
(12) It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”
(13) Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”
(14) No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
(15) See, I set before you today life and prosperity, [That’s door #1!] death and destruction. [That’s door #2!] (16) For I command you today to love the LORD your God, [Yahweh, the personal touch of God in the Old Testament.] to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
(17) But if [If is a little word with a big job!] your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,
(18) I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
(19) This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, [and on the other hand] blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
(20) and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Psalm 78:40 and 41
(40) How often they rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland!
(41) Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
Psalm 78:41 (KJV)
Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
They “limited the Holy One of Israel.” Think about that. If you said to most people, “Did you know that you could limit God the Creator?” Most people would say, “No!” Especially if they adhered to certain theological belief systems where He is totally in control. Free will is not really free will because that would be attributing to man too much credit. After all, we are just these fallen creatures and in no way can we do anything like that. We really are just pawns on a big chess board, puppets in a little marionette show.
I do not think that is the testimony of Scripture. The KJV reads, “They turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One….” In Ezekiel 9 the verb translated limited in Psalm 78:41 appears only one other place in the Bible. I love these dual usages because they are short word studies; besides that, they often have some real nuggets of truth hidden in them. I am aiming at Ezekiel 9:6, but let us get a running start at verse one. It is God once again speaking completely in regard to Israel and the future judgment upon them. Why? It is because of their unbelief and idolatry. Oh man, some very deep stuff is in the Old Testament. God is extremely graphic. Yikes, it is X-rated about some of the stuff Israel was doing and how they were just “thumbing their noses” at God, to put it so mildly; it is absurdly ridiculous.
(1) Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring the guards of the city here, each with a weapon in his hand.”
(2) And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.
(3) Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim [These angelic type creatures, guarding the place.], where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side
(4) and said to him [I want you to cover this story.], “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark [This is the same verb as limit in Psalm 78:41.] on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”
In other words, mark the good guys! This is the magic marker man.
Ezekiel 9:5 and 6
(5) As I listened, he said to the others [the guys with the weapons], “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion.
(6) Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple.
Wow, most people would read this and say, “Oh, God is so mean. He is so this or that.” No, no, no, this is Old Testament language! It is not God actively doing this. Whose choice was it in which group the people were—the marked group or the unmarked group? It was their choice; it was the choices that they had made up until that time that determined whether or not they lived or died. That is exactly what we just read in Deuteronomy 30.
Let’s look at Matthew 13:58. Remember what we are reading; our choices either limit God’s involvement in things or they expand God’s involvement. We can make it possible for Him to see His will come to pass. It is just a fabulous truth that can change your life. Perhaps you are familiar with this verse where Jesus had been hanging out in his own town trying to do the same things that he’s tried to do in other places.
And he [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because…
He had become unplugged?! No, no! He was tired? He had forgotten the Bible? No, no, it was because of…
…their lack of faith.
Was Jesus just as willing and able there to do what he was doing in other places? Yes!
Look at this verse:
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful…
In other words, it makes a difference what we do.
Hebrews 4:1 and 2
(1) that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
(2) For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they [rebellious Israel] heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
That is exactly what we just read in Matthew 13. It was the same word that Jesus preached in his hometown as he preached in Capernaum or wherever else he went, yet the results were different. Why? It was because of the choices of the people.
Many examples can be found. We are going to go to Ezekiel 22, but first we will look at Esther. Esther is only one of many individuals stepping up, to stand in a gap, which is what we are going to read in Ezekiel. Esther is a rather unique example in regard to what is said. Remember, she is a Jew married to a pagan king. Her uncle is Mordecai, and Haman is the bad guy, and he tries to trick the king into killing all the Jews. Esther is the only one who can save them, but she has a big decision to make because she was only to come in to the king when he invited her. If anyone walked into the king’s presence without being invited and he did not hand them the golden scepter, they were taken and killed.
Mordecai is exhorting Esther to do what she needs to do, to stand in the gap, to step up.
Esther 4:13 and 14
(13) When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.
(14) For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
A qualifying clause can be found here because the statement, “If you do not step in there Esther, relief and deliverance will arise from another source for the Jews” cannot be a blanket statement of doctrine because Littleton, Colorado and Wedge Wood, Texas will show us differently. No deliverance arose from another source in Littleton, Colorado. Those people died because no one was there to step up and stand in the gap!
That statement Mordecai makes to Esther relates to God bringing the Christ into the world. God had promised that Jesus would be born, and to that end, He would have found another way to deliver at least some kind of remnant of Israel to preserve the bloodline. The power of one, consider Joseph of Arimathea, a man who stepped into the gap and was responsible for making possible the witness of the empty tomb—one of the historical proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Think about King David. He was the only David that God had. One day David was bringing food out to his brothers who were at war. They were cowering on one side of the valley with all the other Israeli soldiers because of this big smelly guy who kept coming out into the valley and screaming and cursing at them. His name was Goliath; he was a freak. David was a young teenager. He comes out with the food and says, “Who is that guy? I am sick of him and I am not putting up with this guy!” David stepped up and stood in the gap! No one else would do it. David went out there and said, “I ain’t puttin’ up with you.”
How about Joseph of Arimathea? I think that he was the only guy that believed that Jesus would rise from the dead, so he went and got his tomb ready. He was the only guy who went to Pilot and said, “I want the body of this man.”
Ladies and gentlemen, you will have opportunity after opportunity, and gap after gap come at you in your life. You can be the man because You are the only you that God has. You can be the woman of His dreams. You can be the man of His dreams. You can be somebody’s hero in the right sense. You can step up and obey God in a moment and bring deliverance to others. The choice is up to you, and God says, “In every situation, choose life!”
In Ezekiel 22, God was looking for a man to stand in the gap. Let me clarify that obviously God can do many things that are independent of human cooperation. Humans would not be able to cooperate were it not for what God did without our cooperation previously. He is working in many ways, but the testimony of Scripture is that in the vast majority of situations, His hands are tied to a certain extent by our choices. That could be bad news, and it could be good news. It depends on the choice that you make. How do you know that God is not in control of your life? You know because it would be a lot better if He was, but you are in control. That is not bad news but good news because you have what it takes. Remember, it is not out of reach to step up.
I know that you may not live in the United States, but I think that you could look at your country the same way that I look at the United States of America in that the place is a mess. In Ezekiel 22, God is looking for somebody to do something for Him. I say the situation is totally parallel to today because I do not believe that much of what is passing as Christian doctrine and Christianity is that effective for God. I think that it should be having more impact on the world.
Ezekiel 22:23 and 24
(23) Again the word of the LORD came to me:
(24) “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has had no rain or showers in the day of wrath.’
Okay, so the physical land is messed up. The same thing holds true on the earth today. Let us see if the government leaders can help.
There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her.
Yikes, perhaps the religious leaders can do something about it?
Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean;
That means that they do not hold the Written Word as the absolute standard of truth.
and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
Maybe other government officials are there who could step in place?
Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.
Have any government people ever done anything like that? I think that surely we can count on the prophets.
Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations.
I would like to say that some Christian leaders today are doing exactly the same thing and claiming that certain government officials are God’s choice, because of course God is in control of everything and giving all these revelations and dreams and visions about all this stuff. It is exactly what is covered here.
They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’— when the LORD has not spoken.
That is what they say, “This is God!” When in fact it is not God at all! How do you know that? You know because when you read these things, they contradict the Written Word. Okay, the last hope verse 29—of the people, by the people, for the people, let us come to the rescue? I do not think so!
The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.
In verse 30, God was surveying the pitiful scene.
“I looked for a man among them…
How many? He looked for one. How many are you? You are one; the power of one, the human element, you are the only you God has.
who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.
Once again it is Old Testament language. God did not actively destroy His people. It was the Devil who wanted to destroy Israel like he has from the time that they were birthed as a nation, because he knows that the redeemer came from them. It is the Devil’s goal to stop them, and the coming time of Jacob’s trouble known as the tribulation will be the ultimate persecution of Israel by the Devil. God is saying (literal rendering), “I looked for a man to stand in the gap so the Devil could not destroy my people, but I did not find anybody and the people went down the drain.”
I want you to do your very best right now to stick with me and think in the most biblical way that you have ever thought. I am going to get into the subject of fellow laborers with God. I need to introduce something to you that relates very closely to the idea of God being in control of everything that happens. The corresponding idea that is very closely related is that God once upon a time, or at some time in the past, saw as present reality every single event of the future including the shoes that you are now wearing. He knew that you had gotten them on sale two weeks ago. I do not believe that this is the testimony of Scripture. I am going to share some things with you that I believe right along with what I am sharing will enhance your vision of the importance of your life as, the only you that God has, and greatly increase the urgency of obedience for you.
I am going to read some quotes from a book called The God Who Risks by John Sanders. You can order this book from a Christian bookstore, Half.com, or Amazon.com. I am going to read about six sections and then wrap up with some fellow laborer verses and some points on prayer. It says:
“Whereas theology [In other words Christian theology that we received from church fathers and so forth.] has traditionally emphasized the abstractions of omnisciences and foreknowledge. The biblical writers stressed the wisdom and knowledge of God, which enables Him to be of help. For the biblical writers, God’s knowledge of the future is less important than His promises and His faithfulness to them. What makes God, God, is not prediction but promise—His hesed the Hebrew word translated steadfast love. What makes God, God, is not prediction but the promise of his steadfast love or covenant or faithfulness.”
He then answers the objection about the word foreknowledge that only occurs seven times in the New Testament. Five times it is used of God knowing something in advance. Two times it is used of humans knowing something in advance, so that the word itself does not answer the question because it is used of humans also.
“When God in His sovereignty decided what kind of relationship that He would have with creatures, He set boundaries to the end that He could guarantee victory because He knew His own ability, His own plan, and what He could bring to pass.”
This is why He is awesome beyond my comprehension. This is the next point from the book:
“For two thousand years, two millennia, the neoplatonic [In other words, the guys that picked up on Plato after Plato.] philosophical understanding of God, which begins with a particular understanding of so called perfection [In other words, what people think that God should be.] has been brought together with the biblical portrait of God as involved in history into one grand biblical-classical synthesis. Phylo of Alexandria for example defined the divine essence as that which is. This idea resulted in a radical displacement of the Old Testament understanding of God as a personal being involved in a relationship of steadfast love [the Hebrew word hesed.] with His creation. Phylo de-historisized and de-escethologized [It means that he took away the Jewish worldview of God relating to people in terms of an end time goal and a vision and a plan. You will see that He has invited you in to the plan of redemption, the purpose of the ages.]. The classical doctrine of the divine essence was sometimes abstracted from the divine project, redemption, and made a subject unto itself; thus, God was analyzed as a non-relational concept. That is the nature of God was divorced from the relationship from which God created us, and God was defined in terms of utter transcendence [In other words out of our reach.], immutability [or change its mind or anything like that] and power apart from the project God initiated and carries on. Consequently, the attributes of omnipotence, omniscients, and impassability often acquired means that they need not have. Such terms may be used but they must be defined in the light of the biblical understanding of God’s divine wisdom, love, holiness, and faithfulness. Divine immutability, omnipotence, and so on were often defined in terms of Plato’s understanding of perfection that which could never change since any change would only be a change for the worse. Western theology has had a difficult time placing “God is love” at center stage when discussing the divine attributes instead it emphasizes the more abstract and impersonal attributes of omnipotence and omniscients.” [Now, those words are not specifically found in Scripture; therefore, they cannot be defined in an extra-biblical way or contradictory biblical way.]
The author writes:
“In my opinion this results from the failure to place the discussion of the divine nature under the category of a personal God carrying out a project. Despite its claim that God is a personal being, western thought has paid insufficient attention to the specific sort of world that God decided to create. That world is defined in Scripture. It is a world in which God enters into reciprocal interpersonal relationships.”
I want to elaborate on this briefly. Remember, why did I believe what I believed about God? Was it from the record of Scripture or because of philosophy that infiltrated Scripture? To sum up some of these things: God in His sovereignty chose to risk. That is the point that John Sanders makes in this book that God set things up without a guarantee that His will would come to pass. Because if He gave Adam and his descendents genuine free will, then He took the risk that we would choose not to love Him and not to obey Him. In that regard would you not agree that God models love because God is love. What is love? Love risks; it is never manipulative or controlling, and that is God. Of course, what is God’s ultimate communication—Jesus! Did Jesus risk? Yes, he risked everything. We read about the heart of God not only in Scripture but also in Christ. Think about this. God is grieved. He is joyful and He repents. Jesus wept! He was happy and he was sad. Think about it. You can make God smile, or you can make God cry! That is what Adam did. God said, “Adam where are you?” That was the cry of a broken heart. Remember, God was sovereign; He could have done it anyway that He wanted. He could have made robots, but He decided to limit His sovereignty and risk. What an awesome God we have. He is not in control of every little detail of life.
Now, let’s discuss the idea of a future seen by God as a present reality. If God at some point in the past can see the total future, then there is no other way that it can turn out to be. Understand that this is not a question of whether or not God has foreknowledge; of course He has foreknowledge. He is amazingly resourceful in bringing to pass His predictions and His prophecies. The question is what kind of foreknowledge are we talking about? Is God’s foreknowledge absolute—that is what He already pre-visions is going to turn out? If that is the case, then He cannot genuinely intervene in it. Think about that.
I used to teach that it was like God looking down at a parade so He could see the beginning float and the ending float, but I am standing on the corner and I can only see part of it at a time. I will have to ask the question, if God already saw everything ahead of time, then do you really have free will? Many people will say that is not incompatible but I do not believe that Scripture will stand up to that idea. You will have a very hard time with someone asking, “Do you mean to tell me that God absolutely knew that Lucifer would rebel against him, that Adam would sin against Him, that my daughter would be killed or be born deformed or raped and dismembered, and He went ahead and did it anyway?” If you hold to classical western theology, you will have to say, “Yeah.” It will be real hard to get that person to like God.
I would suggest another alternative that you consider. We have been chewing on this and sort of came to this conclusion a couple of years ago but did not want to open this particular can of worms, but I promise you that the worms will line up. They will be wonderfully in sync when you just think about it. This is going to make God much bigger!
This is a quote from Greg Boyd, author of God of the Possible. He is quoted in World Magazine and has taken a lot of flack because of a statement like this. As free world beings he says:
“We create the reality of our decisions by making them. Until we make them they do not exist. There simply is not anything to know until we make it there to know, so God cannot foreknow the good or bad decisions of the people that He creates until He creates these people, and they in turn create their decisions.”
If you are having a hard time with this, think biblically, no verse is there that portrays a foreknowledge of God as seeing every event in the future once upon a time. Does He know the end from the beginning? Absolutely He knows the end from the beginning, but the way that we get to the victory celebration is completely open and history will be written by the interaction of humans with God.
Let me make this point. Jesus Christ was the greatest risk that God ever took. I am going to write to Mr. Sanders and send him a copy of our new book, One God & One Lord: Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith, and hope that he will really consider what is has to say because his book, The God Who Risks, articulates some things along the line of what we are talking about just fabulously. Yet, he has no axe to grind; it is not a belligerent piece of work. He is just saying, “Hey, think about this.” I am going to suggest that he go a little bit deeper because he is a Trinitarian and thinks that Jesus is God. I am going to suggest if that is true then God did not risk at all with Jesus because if Jesus is God, then he could not have sinned etc, etc. Jesus was the greatest risk that God ever took. Did Jesus have free will? Yes, he did. Could he therefore have sinned and walked away from the cross? Could he have sinned like the first Adam? Yes, he could. Then what would we do with the Old Testament prophecies? Could he or could he not have made them lies? I believe that Jesus could have. That is why God put all His eggs in the basket of Jesus. That is why Jesus is now God’s favorite subject because of what Jesus did. That is what our whole book is about. It is about Christianity 101. Until Jesus said, “It is finished.” Everything was up for grabs, but once Jesus said, “It is finished.” God said, “Amen!” The future then was assured, but the way that we get to the future is not fixed. It is open for discussion. What discussion? The prayer and dialogue that happens between you and God—we will get to that. We believe that the administrations in Scripture are evident of God’s resourcefulness in working with His people.
How about the chess game analogy in our Don’t Blame God! book. Bobby Fisher sits down across the chessboard from me. Bobby Fisher was the world’s greatest chess player. Is there any doubt of the outcome? No, no doubt is there of the outcome because Bobby Fisher would win. Think about it. Would he win because he already knew every move that I am going to make, or would he win because of his expertise in chess, for his unbelievable ability and resourcefulness? Which Bobby Fisher is an impressive Bobby Fisher? The bored Bobby Fisher just sitting across there, just moving according to what he already knew that I was going to do, or the Bobby Fisher locked on to the board perceiving a hundred different moves for every move that I make because he had worked to become the greatest chess player in the world? I do not think that God worked to become the greatest God, but He is the one and only true God, and He is awesome. I would rather place my faith in His steadfast love, His resourcefulness, His power, and Romans 4:21—His faithfulness to do what He had promised. He is not a static impersonal abstraction of some kind of divine perfect knowledge of every kind of thing out there. I am sorry, that does not resonate for me. I think that the chess game analogy is absolutely awesome. The Bobby Fisher who is more impressive is the Bobby Fisher of ability, power, and resourcefulness.
How about when God said to Abraham, “Do not kill Isaac, hold it….because now I know that you are serious” (Gen. 22). If those words mean anything, they mean that up until this point I did not absolutely know based upon a prevision of seeing exactly what could happen. “I had a very good idea because I am God, and I am omniscient (as defined as knowing everything knowable). I know every thought of your heart. I know every thought of Isaac’s heart. I know every circumstance around you. I know the thought of every demon. I know the thought of the Devil. I know My own persuasiveness.” God speaks in the way He speaks for a reason. Now of course, those who want to cling to the classic theology—we will say that is a figure of speech (anthromophism / condisencio), but what does that do then? If all of the emotions of God are reduced to figures of speech, then He is an abstraction, and not a personal God who is in there holding your hand through the trenches of life and agonizing with you. When I disobey, He agonizes with me cheering me on to obedience. That is the God that Jesus represents.
Romans 4:21 is the classic verse where it says that Abraham judged Him able and faithful to be able to do what He had promised.
being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
That is what I want to put my faith in. How do we know that we can count on God to do what He promised? Give me a J, give me an E, and give me an S-U-S! That is how we know that God is faithful. Jesus is the ultimate indication of God’s faithfulness to His Word. When God makes an unconditional promise, it will happen. The Bible is loaded with conditional promises.
Let us now go back to the God Who Risks book for these quotes:
“God sovereignly enters into a relationship with His creatures in a way that involves risk for both Him and them. The Almighty God creates significant others with freedom and grants them space to be alongside Him and collaborated with Him. God expects this collaboration to proceed toward the fulfillment of His goal for creation. God loves us and provides for us and desires our trust and love in return. We see this most fundamentally demonstrated in the life of Jesus who came not to dominate others but to reconcile rebellious creatures through the power of love.”
Risk then quotes W. Norris-Clark who says:
“God is one who enters into deep personal relations of love with His creatures and an authentic interpersonal relation of love necessarily involves not merely purely creative or one-way love but genuine mutuality and reciprocity of love including not only the giving of love but the joyful acceptance of it and response to it. This means that our God is a God who really cares, who is really concerned with our lives and happiness and who enters into truly reciprocal relations with us. Who responds to our prayers to whom in a word our contingent world and its history somehow make a genuine difference.”
Finally Sanders writes:
“God freely chooses to be affected by His creatures. God has a contingency in His relation with creation. Moreover, God is the sovereign determiner of the sort of sovereignty that He will exercise. [I add, “and the Bible is the description of that.”] God is free to sovereignly decide not to determine everything that happens in history. He does not have to.”
He does not have to determine everything that happens because He is Bobby Fisher, so to speak. He is supremely wise. He is endlessly resourceful. He is amazingly creative, and He is omni-competent in seeking to fulfill His project. In the God-human relationship, God sometimes decides alone what will happen and other times God modifies His plans in order to accommodate the choices, actions, and desires of His creatures.
That is the record of Scripture. Look at the dialogues that God has with Moses and Abraham. Those are real. Those are not figures of speech. He really entered into and was affected by those dialogues, and prayer is the heart of the dialectical relationship that He wants with you—the only you that He has.
1 Corinthians 3:8
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
You know the context here, reaching out with the Word, planting the good seed of the Word…
1 Corinthians 3:9
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Think about it, you are a fellow laborer (sunergos). Please take some time and research this for yourself. There are a lot of good verses there about working together with God. Remember, Deuteronomy 30:11, it is not out of reach; I would not ask you to do anything that you cannot do.
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.
“I remember the time that Michelangelo and I painted the Sistine Chapel. It was awesome; I held the ladder, and then we took the photo, while arm-n-arm and said, Yeah, we did it, uhuh. I held the ladder. I am a fellow laborer.” Who gets the most credit? Mike does. Who gets credit also? Me. You get credit for what God asks you to do—if you do it!
Then, you have 2 Corinthians 5. He has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation and also the word of reconciliation, and so we are ambassadors and God says, “Please, please, please get involved; please do your part; I need you”
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
(18) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
(19) that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
(20) We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 6:1 and 2
(1) As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
(2) For he says, [in the kairos, in the right moment, I helped you etc.] “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
Verse one of chapter six indicates that we very well can receive God’s grace in vain, does it not? It absolutely indicates that. We can receive it in vain or we can step up and be fellow laborers and enable God to do everything that He wants to do. One way that we are fellow laborers is by prayer. Writing from prison, Paul says:
Philippians 1:18 and 19
(18) But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(19) for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
2 Corinthians 1:11 talks about you also helping together by prayer. That is the reciprocal relationship.
2 Corinthians 1:11
As you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Listen to these final quotes from The God Who Risks about prayer:
“God removes certain plagues at the request of Moses. God announced to King Hezekiah that he would die, and he prayed and God gave him 15 more years.”
Not because like most people think that our time is up. Life is not a big bakery. “Ah number 52.” No! That is Old Testament language. God did not kill Hezekiah. What happened was that God stopped the hand of the Enemy in Hezekiah’s life because Hezekiah prayed. It says about these people and others, “They received because they asked.” It is quite possible for us to miss a blessing that God desires to give because we fail to ask.
How about James?
James 4:2 and 3
(2) You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
(3) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Think about it. Sanders continues:
“To pray means to bring God back into the world to expand His presence. His being imminent in the world depends upon us. God takes our prayers seriously and weaves them into purposes and actions for the world. God desired the deep personal relationship with us and this requires genuine dialogue rather than monologue.”
This is talking about the Old Testament:
“The dialogue with God in order to determine together what the future would be. God wants us to be His partners not because He needs our wisdom but because He wants our fellowship. It is the person making the prayer request who makes the difference to God. Their request is important because God is interested in you. God loves us [You can put you here.] and takes our concerns to heart just because they are our concerns. This is the nature of a personal loving relationship. Their relationship is not one of domination or manipulation but of participation and cooperation wherein we become co-laborers with God. It did not have to be this way. This occurs only because God wanted a reciprocal relationship of love and elected to make dialogical prayer an important element in such a relationship. Biblical characters prayed boldly. They understood that they were working with God to determine the future. God has opened routes into the future, and He desires that we participate with Him in determining which ones to take.”
He talks about how sometimes God will take our suggestions, so to speak, and other times He says, “Sorry Charlie, that ain’t best; we are going my way.” He continues:
“When we turn to God in prayer, we open a window of opportunity for the spirit’s work in our lives, creating new possibilities for God to carry out His project. Dialogical prayer affects both parties and changes the situation making it different from what it was prior to the prayer.”
Quoting another author he says:
“Our asking in faith may make it possible for God to do something that He could not have done without our asking. If what God holds as most valuable is the personal relationship with us, then God will not want to do everything for us without our asking because this would lead to a breakdown in the type of relationship that God desires to have with us.”
Thank God for the way that He set it up. Let’s look at Ephesians 5 and cover “a kairos moment.” A moment, an opportunity that comes at you in the chronos; chronos is the Greek word meaning time in general, but the chronos is made up of kairos moments. The kairos moment will become a Kodak moment in the Book of Life when you act in a godly way in that moment. Wow, I cannot tell you how much more I have prayed since reading those quotes. I pray much more often and much more fervently and with much more faith. I pray that the same thing will happen for you.
Be very careful, then…
Why? Because it makes no difference what you do? I mean do anything because it is all fixed; it is all going to happen that way anyway. It makes no difference—I do not think so.
Be very careful, then, how you live…
The KJV says, “walk circumspectly.” That is the word used of a mountain climber. He has to know every little thing to grab onto up the steep face of the mountain. It makes a difference where he puts his foot! It is life and death. He chooses life.
Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise,
The KJV says, “but as wise, redeeming the time,” and the NIV says, “making the most of every opportunity.” Why? Because the days are evil, and the Devil is real and he does not like you, but we have a bigger God who will help you. It is awesome!
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
How do we do that? We do this from the written revelation of God’s heart to us – the Bible. However, for years I thought, “Well, that is what the Bible says.” No, it is what somebody told me with a few verses out of context, and I allowed myself to believe it. I do not want to do that anymore.
Here we see that opportunity will be there for us after—after is a time word is it not? One after another—here they come, opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. The days are evil!
We have to pay attention to what we are doing because it makes a difference. You furnish your world with the fruit of your choices, so let us choose life.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand,
Some people have thought of the hand in the form of a fist. “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand or He is going to pop you.” No, no, no! Just look at the next phrase:
1 Peter 5:6
that he may lift you up in due time [kairos].
At the right moment, God will exalt you. He will give you the fruit of your good choices. That is what it is saying. Stay put under His hand—in other words, under the umbrella of His love. How do you do that? Give me an o-b-e-y. By obeying His written Word, He can exalt you.
John 12 is going to be about the supreme example of everything that we have talked about here, The Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, as we are fellow laborers with God, we make possible kairos moments, and then it is our choice whether or not we act. God will continue to provide those moments as we walk with Him. You are the only you that God has; you are the world’s biggest deal. Jesus knew who he was, and he knew his mission and his destiny if he would be successful in carrying it out.
John 12:23 and 24
(23) Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
(24) I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, [In other words, if you do not bury it—this is figurative language here.] it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. [A bunch of fruit!]
Jesus knew that he was the promised seed of Genesis 3:15. He knew that for him to produce fruit, he would have to go into the ground looking much different than he would in the category of the fruit that he would produce.
John 12:25 and 26
(25) The man who loves his life [psuche, his physical] will lose it, while the man who hates [in quotes “hates,” figuratively, compare to] his life in this world will keep it for eternal life [coming age—that is the word zoe, life].
(26) Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.
Sure, when you follow someone, you end up where they are.
My Father will honor the one who serves me.
In verse 27, do not let these just be words on a page, this is not just a little troubled.
“Now my heart is troubled,
Everything in him was shaken to the core of his belief system. His faith was stretched to the limit, even in this moment, and it would be stretched further as he walked from Gethsemane to the cross.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?
Time out, Father, get yourself another boy? No! Save me from this hour? No! It was for this very reason I came to this hour.
John 12:27 and 28
(27) Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
(28) Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
This same God who loved Jesus in this moment will be cheering you on. You may not hear a voice from heaven, but you will hear the written Word in your heart, and you will hear the spirit of God in you, and if you surround yourself with the right people, you will hear them encouraging you. Think about this man – Jesus. The clock is winding down and his team was 2 points down. He needed a three pointer. He said, “Give me the ball. I will make the shot.” That must be our attitude. We must have Samson’s attitude of seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Remember, it is not out of reach. We can do it! Jesus said that I am so troubled; I am so concerned, but I will not back out of this kairos moment because I know that this is why I came.
You are the only you that God has! He is going to bring to you moments that are similar to this. You will never have to have the pressure that Jesus had, but guess what? You have the same strength that Jesus had to deal with whatever pressure that you do get because it is Christ in you, figuratively speaking, by way of holy spirit. You have the potential to be like Jesus, to speak like Jesus, to stand in the gap. God was looking for a man to stand in the gap so that humanity would not be destroyed by the Devil, and Jesus is the man. Today, you are the one (the fellow worker), with Jesus on one side of you and God on the other side on this path of life. No matter what comes at you, they are never caught off guard, and they are anticipating way ahead of you. If you listen and obey, a right next step will always be there for you to take. Our God is an awesome God. Our Lord is an awesome Lord. They are not small; they are not ignorant! They are not lacking anything that they need to keep their promises and to do what they say that they will do. We are guaranteed a victory in the coming age because of what Jesus Christ did and God’s faithfulness to keep His Word. God will do no less for you, the only you that He has.