By Chad Taylor
The early church did not have promotion or propaganda. They did not have slogans and banners. They did not have multi-million dollar budgets and webpages. But one thing they did have, power. On that memorable day recorded in Acts chapter 3, we find Peter and John making their way to the temple to pray. They are met by a man who has been lame from his mother's womb, begging for alms. If Peter and John were walking the streets today, the crippled man would have a sign that exclaimed "Crippled, Need Food. God bless..." He would confront us as we entered the grocery store or gas station. In this short exchange 2000 years ago we see an attribute of the Kingdom of God rarely noticed in modern day religion.
Power without glamour. Miracles without advertisement. Mass revival without mass promotion. These two early disciples had been with Christ. That was the secret of their success. They had watched the Master day after day. They had seen the miracles of Jesus and the innumerable crowds that followed. They had also seen the gimmicks of the Pharisees and their limited effect. The religious manipulation in the temple that robbed from the widow and poor, and made the rich richer.
In Acts 3 we find these two Christians at the gate of the temple. In the very same courts that still echoed with the chants of, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" They now boldly demonstrate His majesty. In the streets where the threats and accusations of murder resounded was the Power of Life and Love expressed through the simple people that followed Him, Jesus. In this hour of gross darkness and demonic threat, we need more than in any other time in history, the demonstration of that divine love through those that follow Him. The world needs more than conferences and meetings, they need miracles, signs and wonders. A people that have had a Mt. of Transfiguration experience and enter into the world shining.
There is only one way to really KNOW Him. It is to be in that secret place WITH Him. God is looking for those who will abandon themselves to a life of prayer and devotion. To honestly say with Peter, "Lo, we have left all and followed You..." (Mark 10:28) Those who "esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt..." or this passing temporal world. (Hebrews 11:26) Who will seek the place of prayer more than the place of leisure and pleasure. These are the ones who will change the course of history. These are the ones who will be written in the books of Heaven. It is you and I. It is anyone who will take up their cross and follow Him. Who will DIE and let Him live inside. These are the ones who are known in hell. Their very steps cause the gates of hades to tremble and quake. They are the children of the Most High God, who are crucified with Him so that they then now walk in resurrection power.
You see, first you must know the fellowship of His suffering before you can know the power of His resurrection. First you must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood before you can break that Bread for others. This invitation is to all of us. All those that will follow the Master. All those that will give away the things of this frail life and pursue the one to come. It is an invitation to you and I, "And the Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts, come. Whoever desires, let him take of the river of life freely..." (Revelation 22:17) .
We see such a similar situation in the book of Joshua. Joshua and all the tribes of Israel found themselves at the waters of the Jordan. Thirsty not only for new springs to drink from and meat other than manna, but they were hungry and thirsty for the presence and power of God. A rugged generation who had seen the hardship and testing of the wilderness. They had only heard in legend and rhyme the awesome power of the Lord of Hosts. Over and over they had heard recanted the wonders of God demonstrated to their fore-fathers. They were hungry for their own experience, to see Him for themselves. Like Moses, they were crying out, "Show ME thy glory!".
As they gathered at the Jordan, it was in a state of preparation, anticipation, and expectation. To finally see the promises they had heard of for so long... "Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, PREPARE you victuals, for within three days you shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God gives you to possess..." (Joshua 1:11). They left Egypt laden down with gold and riches, only to wander for forty years, poor and wretched. Now all that they clutched in their hands and hearts was the promises of God and a hunger to see them fulfilled.
A breed of men and women have taken center stage at this present hour who have the same passion. "Silver and gold we do not have, BUT WHAT WE DO HAVE WE GIVE TO YOU! RISE UP AND WALK!" (Acts 3:6) A people filled with love not only knowledge, power not only words, action not only religion. That have one thing on their minds, the nations of the world, the uttermost parts of the earth. They are crossing the Jordan of circumstance and are invading the kingdoms of this world. They carry the torch of histories revivals and awakenings, they cry with those of old, "give me children or give me death..."
The preparation is for the demonstration! To be a people not only of word, but of power. We have practiced behind closed doors for long enough! It is time to display and demonstrate the Truth that we have so long believed! It is time to take the new wine out into the streets! What is the wine and oil for? Is it not to pour out into the wounds of the one beaten and left for dead on the side of the road? Who will be the world's neighbor in this hour? Who will ignore their own flesh and its demand for comfort and dare the cold and wind and leave the ninety-nine for the one? Listen to Jeremiah and let it pierce your heart! "Arise from your bed, cry out in the night...pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift up your hands toward Him for the lives of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street... (Lamentations 2:19)
The word "street" comes from a Hebrew word chuwts (khoots), which means literally, "separated by a wall, i.e. outside, outdoors. Or abroad, a field, or highway..." To go to the streets is to go beyond the confines of our habitations. Beyond the boundaries of our church buildings and to demonstrate to a lost world the love of an Eternal Father who gave ALL for even ONE of them. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him..." (1 John 4:9) .
So we find ourselves as the army of the Lord, at a prophetic junction. He has assembled us at the waters of decision, to cross over and possess the land that He has given us, or to stay in the wilderness of tradition and die. The entire creation awaits our response. The nations weigh in the balances of our obedience. Will we as individuals be as the rich young ruler who gave in to the arguments of this world, or like the soldiers that Apostle Paul spoke of, "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who has called him to be a soldier..." (2nd Timothy 2:3&4).
If we engage in this spiritual struggle of the age, we must then disengage from this fleeting futile world and "seek first the Kingdom of God." "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." We must, "...deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Him." This is the resume of the army that will cause the gates of hell to tremble and break, the very earth to shudder and shake, the sinner and skeptic to contemplate, the power and majesty of the Most High God manifested in and through His saints!
But now in Joshua chapter 18:3 we see a paradox. Here was a land that had been given to them by God Himself. They had already seen the victory in the plains of Jericho, and numerous other battles won hands down. Yet in just a few short years we find Israel in a compromising state of existence. "And Joshua said to the children of Israel, 'HOW LONG WILL YOU NEGLECT TO GO AND POSSESS THE LAND which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?'" How long? How long will WE in this present time neglect the God given command to each of us? "GO THEREFORE AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL THE NATIONS...".
How long? Have we so soon forgotten the promise of God to those that He has called? "ASK OF ME! AND I WILL GIVE THE HEATHEN FOR YOUR INHERITANCE AND THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH FOR YOUR POSSESSION." (Psalm 2:8) How long, my friend, will we wait to do the job God has called each of us to do? To "Occupy till I come...". I say again, "HOW LONG?!?"
My eyes still wonder to and fro,
For those that surely know, that I am coming soon.
To strongly uphold these hearts that are mine,
That await My coming in the sky,
Hastening the coming day of the Lord,
Occupying the land and engaging in war...
Chad Taylor - 1/19/99
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