Let’s Take Off The Glasses
And Put On A Heart That Listens
Several years ago, before a service at the mission, a member pulled me aside and informed me about a lady who just arrived. He said,”Bill, if you like you can confirm what I am saying with the police documents in the office.” At that time, he pointed her out so I would know how to minister.
She was in her sixties, partially handicapped on one side and looked like she had gone through a very rough time.
I was told that her ex husband lured her to a house under the guise of wanting to be reconciled. When she arrived, he had several ‘buddies’ waiting for her. They abused her and burned her with cigarettes. I cannot bear to write any more than the above. You know what took place.
In my heart I thought, Lord, I know what we will be preaching on, the mercy and love of Jesus. I wanted to have His loving Spirit flow, to minister to a heart that had been tortured.
While setting up, I noticed a man in front of her, talking rather loudly and waiving his arms. I heard him site some scriptures in the mist of his dialog. Obviously, he felt she needed his direction.
Before starting, he sat in the front table, adjusted his glasses and closed his briefcase. I remember him ‘clicking’ the latches shut-with a look, you can now begin.
Armed with an MP3 player, we started by playing several worship songs. Despite so many limitations of the ministry, the Holy Spirit used the willing hearts of the Lords ‘musicians of worship’ to minister to her. Without preaching a word, I knew she was in good hands.
When the Holy Spirit gave me a nudge to preach His Word, I wanted to continue in the same manner, gently ministering to her. To my surprise, that did not happen. The Lord kept having me go back to my error in Bible College. I had Bible knowledge but very little true scriptural understanding. Simply put, I was preaching how the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge (Prov. 1:7). At Bible College I had it backwards. It is not how much you know, or even who you know, but how He knows you. Are you one of His and how close are you to His heart? The only way to know Him is having a humble heart like that of a child. (Matt 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. (See Salvation, Why We Disagree, site map)
The Lord was showing me that His wounded daughter would indeed be ministered to. She obviously had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and His love was reaching her (see Baptism of the Holy Spirit-site map). Now however there was a driving force to ‘crack the concrete’ known as pride and shake its foundation. I felt that I was directly talking to the gentleman ‘front row-center seat’.
Week two. At this mission most stays are limited to 2 or 3 weeks. The window was closing fast. We started the same as the prior week, with worship music. Again I wanted to continue in the same manner. Forget about everyone else and help the hurting.
His daughter did seem better this week, but we all know the healing process can take time. This sermon will be directed toward her needs.
When God says He will take care of someone, He does not have to prove anything.
Again I sensed the Spirit wanting to crush pride into a thousand pieces. I don’t remember the exact words, but felt the Lord desired to drive pride into the ground with a sledge hammer and take out its last breath. At times I was embarrassed, the crowd was small. Most of us knew who this word was directed to.
Week three. Same crowd, I think. Something about those glasses. As you already know I started with worship music and was going to minister to her. Once started, I was expecting of coarse to be ‘redirected’.
It was those glasses. They were off. It had to be the same guy, maybe. His face was completely soft, without glasses. His wife was there this time. They did not sit in the middle front, but off to the side.
The strangest thing. The more I looked, the more I realized it was softness in his face that was the real difference. It had to be the same guy, but ‘he’ was not the same.
As Gods words of healing were spoken, I noticed something completely different than before. They were entering him as well as His daughter in need. Glory to God we continued in the ministering Spirit. Instead of challenging or evaluating teaching, this brother was receiving His Word. Like water on a scorched plant, you could see it soaking in. This teacher without glasses was finally listening with his heart. God will spend eternity touching His daughter’s heart, but wanted to use a rare opportunity to ‘shake’ his son- so he might learn to listen with his heart. God knew what many of us have witnesses in life. Pride can take root in ones heart for ages, His children are not immune.
Every time Jesus mentions a lack of understanding about any Godly truth the calloused heart is usually the culprit. Pride always seems to be the main active ingredient.
Mark 12:38-40 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces,… and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets…. and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.
Matt 13:14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ” `You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
Today, as I write, I am still bewildered. Not about what happened at the mission, but about the glasses. To be more specific, where are the men with soft faces that reflect a heart willing to listen to the Spirit of God?
Why am I being directed to focus on pride, when the church is in urgent need of Gods truths? Gods’ purpose of the Kingdom of God needs to be shouted to the church. The entire body of Christ should be challenged to take hold of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need to be leaving the nest of segregated believers and come together as a city, state and nation to fight (and in His strength-conquer) a stronger opponent that is murdering our children (Matt. 24:14) (Rev. 12;7-11). (see 1st four articles on Kingdom of God)
Maybe it is because he cares about His sheep, like myself, who were ‘blind sighted’ because of pride.
Maybe the urgent convictions of those who fear the Lord are correct. Is the Lord attempting to reach the hearts of His called ones so they will be ready to minister to His sleeping bride that will be awoken suddenly by the sword? Matt. 25:1-13 (See Prophecy-site map)
All I know is what is in my heart. Men, it is ‘NOT OK’!. This issue of pride (obviously the main stumbling block for men) has been keeping the church from accomplishing the purpose of Christ. It blinds the hearts of the Lords intentions.
Pride elevates self and devalues others. That is judgment. When we falsely judge Jesus personally promises we will have a plank in the eye or our heart
Matt 7:2-5 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?….You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Again, pride blinds the intentions and directives of the Lord.
Do you think pride was not prevalent in the early church? Lets’ listen to Paul.
Phil. 2:19-21 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon,…I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
The examples are numerous. My hope is to have the Holy Spirit unify ‘His call to our hearts’ – so we can fulfill the same mission. Not mine, not yours, but the Lords. To accomplish this, we have to share not only His name, but also the voice of His Spirit. It was not Bible College that opened my eyes, but praying with drug addicts. When we humble ourselves, the Spirit becomes the teacher (John 14:26). See Be Humble.
It has to be pointed out…that we all must be on the same page to hear the urgency of the Lords calling. Not a ‘cookie cutter’ directive from the Lord, but a ‘yes, He has been revealing that to me also’ familiarity of the Holy Spirits teaching.
Here are some of the critical ways we ‘miss it’ in the church.
1) Two brothers ‘active’ in a church-both wanting to be ‘king of the hill’. The same character trait they dislike in the other, they are too blinded to see in themselves. James 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen
1 Cor. 8:1 We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge (without humility towards the Lord) puffs up, but love builds up.
2) Being nice. Nice is nice, but it is not The Fear of the Lord. Many Christian brothers fall in this category. My friend, do you? Before you answer, let me first say, I am guilty. Casually read the Word, give to the pot luck, contribute and tithe. Do everything but get close enough to God to hear Him call you by name.
Numbers 12:3 Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than all men on the face of the earth… Exodus 33:11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
Whole groups of men in sound Biblical churches (the focus of this article) nice enough to rarely hear Gods directives. Unity of the Holy Spirits’ truth is replaced by social life deemed as ‘fellowship’. See Fellowship or Friendship. We must take the next step,
Matt 22:36-37 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
3) Leadership supremacy. ‘I am the man, I will be busy for your, but not be your servant.
John 13:5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
The sole purpose of the church is to first seek the Kingdom of God and not build your ministry.
Matt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
This will cause the church to be built up in Christ.
Ephesians 4:12-13 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Often, we ‘switch’ striving for the ‘fullness of Christ’ with a cheap replacement-our church programs.
I will be busy for you. I will visit you, baptize you, marry you and bury you. Jesus reply to this is
Luke 9:59-60 He (Jesus) said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him,
“Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
I remember one time after preaching sermon thinking, “Man I did not do well, I was rough’. That same instant, the roughest looking person in the mission crowd smiled and waved his hand in a flat line ‘Hey preacher-smooth’. While I was inclined to disagree, this smiling ‘angel’ was a God send. So many times, the Lord will use the “nobody’s” to help us. They can even include the least articulate and emotionally wounded. Yes, even the donkey (Numbers 22:28). Starting with John the Baptist, the Lord moves outside the box in church history. Are we open, not to immaturity or strange teaching, but to those who are ‘least of these’
Matt 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?…. He called a little child and had him stand among them… Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
It can and will be done. An unified radiant church will come and present herself to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:25-27 just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for herto make her holy,…and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 4:13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Let’s work to have His Spirit bond us as one, instead of having us lead the way. We can begin by listening with our hearts. The greatest command is not the easiest, but the most important. Let’s start there and God will indeed take care of the rest. Take a moment to sincerely ask God to help follow this command. Not only to draw close to Him, but to bring us closer as brothers sharing the same purpose spoken from Him.
Mark 12:29-30 “The most important one,(commandment )… answered Jesus “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’