"..Yet in My Flesh I Will See GOD" [Job. 19.26]

Monday, May 7, 2018

When Real Generals and the Church Clergy Meet

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If you're a pastor, you should learn how to spot real generals of God in your church. As a pastor, you may or may not be a real general---yet. Earthly positions do not determine rank in God's Kingdom army. To be a general, you should understand how the least is the greatest and the greatest is servant of all.

So, as a pastor, search for generals. These are lowly folks whose presence in church does not seem to count much because they are not that active and often merely sit in the back pews watching church does its thing---the usual operations and procedures in worship services and ministry. But they have strong faith and deep personal spiritual lives in Christ. They're well equipped in Scriptures and live according to the Word.

Regular church members are good, but these low-profile generals move heaven and earth by their faith. Angels obey their every beck and call and devils shudder at their word. You remember Mordecai and Haman, of course. Haman occupied a very high position in King Xerxes' empire and Mordecai was an unknown, faceless subject. But in the spirit realms, Mordecai really called the shots. Haman's fate was in his hands. It's something like that.

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For examples closer to home, remember the woman who poured costly perfume on Jesus' head while he was in Bethany? She wasn't named, wasn't among the apostles, but Jesus declared that wherever the Gospel is preached, what she did will be told in her memory. In other words, she found great favor with God, a permanent place in God's list of preferences. The simple act she did was powerful enough to have an eternal effect.

Great ministries or projects for the Lord are not guaranteed this same recognition or stature in the Kingdom simply because of their sheer size or cost or glamour. The rich all gave great amounts of money in the temple treasury but Jesus belittled them all. What he commended was the meager offering of the poor widow. It wasn't the amount of money but the quality of faith involved. This should prod or inspire us pastors to always look for "poor widows" in church, not literally poor widows, but people with quality faith like that of the poor widow.

Often, we still tend to value members by their active participation in church or their money contributions. We put them in positions, judging by what our physical eyes see. And often, we're proven wrong in the end, though we never really learn because we still replace them with people we think are assets for the church basing on what we see in them physically or materially. What "potential" we recognize in them is the same potential the world appreciates in people.

If we were in Jesus' shoes, we'd probably miss the poor widow and have all-eyes for those who gave big sums. We often fail to spot the real generals God sends us because we rely on the flesh---popularity, intelligence, scholastic records and grades, skills, talents, titles and degrees, economic stature, looks and everything else the world applauds. We get easily impressed by people who speak well (or those who sing well or play musical instruments well), who make a lot of noise, or those who are good at talking about themselves and their achievements.

Jesus wasn't like that:
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. [Isaiah 11]
Then why was Judas Iscariot chosen? Was he a general or a mistake? Judas was not a mistake. He had been prophesied beforehand. God had planned it that way ever since the beginning. My guess is that he was an example of what it's like to put a private soldier in a general's position. But he was given every chance to live up to being general but he simply screwed up, threw all that away in favor of getting 30 silver pieces. Like what Esau did with his birthright.

And we're all like Judas---we're all given chances to prove ourselves worthy of being generals in the Lord's army. But often, we brush that opportunity aside in favor of some earthly gains---a higher position, a mega ministry, a huge church with huge income, ministerial fame, fortune, travel abroad, greener pasture, power, titles and degrees, favor from the congregation, etc.

Of course, we cannot all become generals, although nothing is impossible with God. God can create an army of generals anytime he wants to. But as it is now, perhaps some of us are sergeants, majors, captains or colonels. Perhaps a lot of us are mere privates. But a mere private genuinely empowered by the Holy Spirit can easily put to flight a thousand devils.
One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. [Joshua 23.10]
Pastors, for all we know, that lil, naughty kid who often runs around the church and can't stay seated properly in one place is all the general you have in church.

Stephen and Philip were designed by God to be powerful evangelists. They were generals. But those in church failed to spot them, so they were assigned as waiters instead. But God himself promoted them so that they preached the Gospel with signs and wonders and powerful miracles. When Stephen was being stoned to death, Jesus gave him a standing ovation.

Remember, the rule for generalship is being the least of all. You cannot gain worldly appreciation (even in church) and gain God's approval as well. Well, some generals do get material rewards from God but they remain meek and never hold on to any of them. Elisha the prophet easily ignored material rewards from Naaman after the latter was healed of leprosy, but Gehazi's true color was revealed just for some silver bars and clothing. You also see this in church---true character shows when it comes to money matters.

Pastors who are God's generals can be rewarded big, peopled and moneyed ministries but they remain uninterested about material and worldly gains. They thank God a lot for the rewards but they never base their worth on them. They do not think they have become better than other pastors. They are unmoved by anything earthly. You can see in their lives and characters that they want only one thing---the Lord. Because HE alone is their Portion.

Generals want nothing except the Lord. They crave for deeper experiences with Him and they know so well it will never come about by just being active or visible in church. Or by being always seen and applauded on stage. They know that church activities are good---and they take part when given any part---but their hearts are in God's spoken WORD and in the Holy Spirit, seriously aiming to have the life and character of Jesus manifested in their bodies. This is all they want---to be God's flesh on earth.

The rest pursue hard after man's recognition and trophies. They even die for them.

So be extra careful to spot God's generals in your church. You need them badly. They powerfully attract God's awesome Presence, grace, mercy and favor. Others merely attract material blessings.

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