Tag Archives: God’s direction

His sheep hear His voice. Whatever else we learn as Christians, our number one priority is to learn to recognise and listen for the voice of our Shepherd.

The Off-Road Vehicle

I have held the material for this post for a couple of weeks, but I think now is the time for it, as it is saying something very similar to what I felt the Lord gave me yesterday about the mountain bike. I believe that the Holy Spirit is emphasising to the Church that we need to be equipped for an exhilarating, but rough ride. The first part refers to something I read in an online daily devotional; the second part is a word that Jake was given at the end of July. He hadn’t seen the material referred to above, but it follows on seamlessly:

Are we ready to be led off-road?

A daily devotional I subscribe to recently told how church leadership has become a high-risk career for insurers, as an increasing number of pastors are suffering from stress-related health problems at an early age. (This is in the USA: I don’t know how much it applies to other nations, but I have a feeling it probably does.) The writer, an internationally known leader himself, compared some ministries to motor racing, where the emphasis is on always building and driving a better and faster car – but it’s a car that keeps going round the same track without actually going anywhere. The word was a warning to church leaders to concentrate on building a ministry that would take God’s people where He wants them to go; not one that looks flashy and successful in the eyes of the world, burning out the driver as he fights to keep up in the race.

“I believe the lord is saying as individuals and as a church we have built the wrong car: we have built a car that has instant power for smooth track racing, but although it’s exhilarating as soon as we hit bump we tend to lose control and break apart. I believe God wants to build a jeep or land cruiser type of vehicle that is designed for a rough ride with obstacles in the way.  It has higher seating for better vision and power that is built up over time, and although it’s built for off road we know it will be comfortable inside. (The comfort is the peace and rest that we have in His presence – Bob) This doesn’t mean it’ll be smooth or easy, but it will help to enjoy the challenges of off road driving and the obstacles we will encounter. The tyres have immense grip even in the most slippery of conditions. God has given us the traction we need to stay on the right course.”

The Mountain Bike

Our bike is not a road bike; it’s a mountain bike. God wants us to go up the mountain to seek His presence, and He wants us to ride on the paths that He shows us. I’ve written elsewhere about not being conformed to the world, so I won’t repeat it all here; but essentially the relevance of the idea of a mountain bike to thoughts on Christian discipleship is that the mountain bike is designed for the narrow way, not the broad road of the world’s thinking.

Long before Coronavirus, prophets of God all over the world were announcing that ‘God is about to do a new thing.’ There is material on it here as well – in particular the guest blog “You have not been this way before.” Now that new thing is upon us. I am sure that this is just a beginning; there will be more changes to come. But we are setting out on a path without a map and without roadsigns: only the Holy Spirit can tell us where to go, so we need to listen to His voice. If we aren’t used to hearing it, now is the time to learn.

As Jesus leads his off-road church further up the mountain track and away from the road there will be a separation between those who are following Him and those who are staying on the road that they have always known. It will be gradual, and for a while those on the road will say ; “It’s OK, they’ll see sense and come back down soon,” while those on the mountain will say: “Surely they will pay attention to what the Lord is saying soon, and come up here with us!” And some on the track will go back to the road, because they long for the smooth ride, while some on the road will turn off up the mountain to seek the presence of the Lord.

As the track goes higher the going will get harder yet more exhilarating, and a time will come when the distance between the two is too great and the crossing over will stop. The riders on the road will have become wedded to the world and its ways, while the Bride of Christ will be up the mountain, waiting for the Lord to return.

The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
(Hab 3:19; Psalm 18:33)

Next: Two wheels.

The Snowball

I felt that God gave me this yesterday:

God has made a snowball, and has set it rolling down a mountain. It is the true Church; the righteousness of God in Christ, the people of God loving one another, held together by the Word of God and moving in the power of the Spirit of God. As yet it is small, but as it rolls it gathers momentum and it increases in size as it keeps gathering more snow to itself. The enemies of God and of righteousness say “this is only a snowball!” and seek to stand in its path to break it up, and they set fires to melt the snow. But the snowball crushes those who stand it its way, and puts out the fires that would melt it. Our strength is in Him as we hold fast to one another and to the Word that binds us together, and as we keep to the trajectory that He has ordained.

As I was meditating on it this morning I thought the following, but this is my further reflection on what I had felt the Lord had showed me, rather than the original rhema word:

As we do this we will find the snow sticking to us as we go, because we will be His witnesses. We do not have to make this happen, and we cannot gather another person’s snow: our responsibility is to pray for those that we are connected to in the Body of Christ, that they will be “sticky” enough to gather the snow that is in their path and remain united to the rest of the snowball as it rolls. For each one of us, the snow that we gather is our part of Ephesians 2v 10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Or, in this case, roll in them.

The mantle of Elisha

“Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him. Then they said to him, “Look now, there are fifty strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master, lest perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send anyone.”” (2 Kings 2: 11-16)

Elisha was possibly the most complete type of Christ in the Old Testament. His name is a clue: it means “God is salvation.” Among other things, he broke a curse (Jericho 2 Kings 2),
He raised the dead (2 Kings 4: 19-37),
He spoke with authority and healed at a distance (Naaman, 2 Kings 5),
He taught love for enemies – (the Syrian raiders 2 Kings 6 22-2),
He multiplied food (The jars of oil , and also bread, both in 2 Kings 4),
Even His death brought new life (A dead man was raised to life when he touched Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21).

The Bible is full of transitions: Egypt to Promised land, Judges to Kings, Saul to David, Kingdom to Exile, Exile to Restoration, The Law to Grace, Crucifixion to Resurrection, Flesh to Spirit – Jesus brings Life; life is dynamic, and dynamism means change. We go through many and various transitions in our own lives, until we all come to the final one where we move from the dimension of corruption to the dimension of immortality. We pass through some by choice and some by accident, but the changes to our body as life takes its course in us are inexorable. And so it is, I believe, with the Body of Christ.

The church is in transition. The spirit of Elijah now rests on Elisha. Christians the world over have been taking an unprecedented opportunity to spend more time with the Lord, not letting go of His presence, and following Him to a place separated (by the Jordan) from the commerce of the world (Jericho). Now that season is drawing to a close, and the time is coming for us to bring Jesus and His salvation back to Jericho. But we cannot go back over the Jordan unless we pick up the mantle and strike the water, in faith that the God of Elijah will part them for us. And to wear that new mantle, we need to take off our existing clothes and tear them in two. What we have been in the past will not serve us for the future.

What matters now as we stand before Jericho is that we don’t follow the inclination of the “sons of the prophets” and go up into the mountains to look for Elijah. If we look for our old ways and expect to carry on just as we were we will find that the power and authority – the Spirit of Elijah – has gone; we’ll be stuck on the other side of the Jordan and will have no impact on Jericho. I believe that this transition is as inevitable as the physical changes that take place in the human body on its journey through life. Either we move into Jericho wearing the mantle of the God of Salvation and cloaked in His miracle power, or we waste our time in the mountains looking for what is no longer there.

Elijah (“Jehovah is God”) has a strong association with fire: not only the fire of God that consumed the sacrifice on the mountain and demonstrated that Jehovah, not Baal, was God (1 Kings 18:38); but also the fire that fell twice on the captains and cohort of fifty men that Ahaziah sent to arrest him (2 Kings 1:10). Elijah comes before Elisha. The fire of God comes before the salvation of God. Jesus said “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished.” (Matt 17:11-12) As John the Baptist came and prepared the way for the earthly ministry of Jesus, so the fire of God will prepare the way for the Body of Christ to minister again in all the restored fullness of His authority and power.

In the book of Acts it wasn’t just the leading apostles who saw the power of God confirm the preaching of the Word.  “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.” (Act 11: 19-21) Some of us have felt the fire already, and if we haven’t, we soon will. Because now is time for the whole of the Body of Christ, not just the leaders but also the “men from Cyprus and Cyrene,” to pick up the mantle of Elisha, cross the Jordan, and bring salvation to Jericho.