14 February 2010
Speak, Lord…. I really, really, really want to hear YOUR voice… I really, really, really want to listen… I feel like all we are doing to be accurate and correct and even to set high expectations and seek the best leader we can find, is total foolishness. Oh, Papa, all I want is YOU. Please, Father, open my ears, open my eyes, open my heart, Lord! Please! Go ahead, I am listening… I already this morning heard You speaking so clearly about our situation that I felt sick to my stomach and just wanted to just run away from it all. But running away is not what You ask, I know. What do You really want, my Father? What do you want from me? What do you want from all of us, Your children, Your body – Your church? Please speak to me, to us, now. Please help me, help us, to listen! (Thank You).
“Oh My children, this is not what I want. My church is not a business. Can’t you see what is happening when you try to run it like a business? In the past, of course, the “business” seems to have been failing because, as it appears to you, you didn’t keep proper business records, which led to discord and gossip, and you weren’t even sure what the rules and regulations were, and everyone was trying to make up their own rules and regulations, which led to more discord and to chaos; and so now you try so hard to run this business well, researching the rules and regulations and trying to follow them exactly; properly, carefully, dotting every i and crossing every t, keeping perfect records (to the point of silliness), balancing the budget, keeping the structure intact no matter what, and seeking the perfect CEO who can bring it all together. But My children, in all of that process, this church, this gathering of My people, has become more and more your church, not Mine - even though you piously now believe it to be Mine more than it was before, when it seemed to be disastrously failing. My children, as long as My church is run like a business, a business is what you will have. But is a business what you really want? Or do You really want Me?
My children, My church is a family. In My word, in the New Covenant, I gave you the family model. A family is designed to live together, to love together. They share their homes, their food, their ups and downs. A family has a father who pours out his life for the family, working for them, providing for them, protecting them, even giving his own life, if necessary, that they might live (that’s called Love!). And a family has a mother who respects and honors and obeys her husband in love, and nourishes her children fro their very conception, again even to the point of sacrificing her own life. The children honor their parents, and live together, and the whole family sticks together even when they don’t agree on everything, because they are family. Families grow naturally, because their very nature is one designed to be fruitful and multiply. Families carry on, through years, decades, centuries, millennia. You are all descendents of the first family – think of that!
In My word, in the New Covenant, I also gave you the body model. The body model I gave you recognizes One Head, to which all the other body parts are connected and from which they are directed. The body model has all its parts connected to a heart, from which the life source, the blood, pumps through all the other parts, and then back through the heart, over and over; and so there is no part that can stand out on its own above or alone from the others. The body can certainly “survive” without certain of the other parts, and yet without them, it is not whole, it cannot be all it was meant to be. Even the loss of one little toe puts the rest of the body off-balance!
I, even in the Old Covenant time, gave a chosen family, the children of Israel, a kind of business model – organizational, institutional - an earthly kingdom/ governmental model. A business, an organization, an institution, runs on rules and regulations. The Old Covenant, the Law, was this kind of a model (although I was meant to be their King, and that potentially made it very different than other earthly, man-made institutions). This business model is divided up into hierarchical layers, with very distinctive roles. The business requires each member to contribute set input (for example, hours of work, varying job descriptions, fees/taxes/dues). It also values different members differently, with some more highly honored, regarded, paid – and depended upon. The business model also requires a physical structure, a central edifice, so to speak, that holds all the members in line through rules, regulations, and other structural aspects; and also often provides a specific physical place for them to gather together to fulfill the requirements of the business. Businesses, well-run, certainly offer some advantages such as efficiency, ability to produce worldly wealth, and a way to set goals and achieve them. But businesses inevitably seem to care more about the institution that they do about the individuals that are part of it.
An earthly business has no real love and no heart. The head of the business is a person, with the limits that accrue to every human being. A business is not a family. In fact, “family businesses” often end up disintegrating the very families that set them up. A business can provide a family with income (earthly treasure), and a degree of protection and security, and even a sense of community, but a business is always dependent upon and affected by surrounding circumstances. Businesses fail, over and over and over again. The “business” that was the Old Covenant failed, because its members chose an earthly King over Me, and without Me, nothing can succeed – even families and bodies. Even the so-called “family of God” and the so-called “body of Christ” and the so-called “Kingdom of God” cannot succeed, unless they truly are reborn of God, through the shed blood of Christ, and filled and led by My Spirit.
Your first parents made a choice that separated the human family from their true Father, resulting in spiritual death. They made a choice that separated them from the Source of Life, which in turn limited their bodies, resulting in physical death. They made a choice that even made them incapable of running a perpetually successful business/ government/ institution/ kingdom, because there would always be sinful selfishness and greed and hunger for power. And every human descendant has inherited that fallen state.
But I have given mankind the opportunity to once more be a family, a family that operates as I originally designed families to be. I have given mankind the opportunity to once more be a body, a body that operates according to the pattern and functioning I originally designed bodies to be. And I have even given mankind the opportunity to be part of a kingdom – yet not a physical earthly kingdom like that of the Old Covenant, but a New Covenant, a new eternal, spiritual kingdom, in which we are united as you abide in Me. I long to be your Father, your Head, your King. I long for you to be My children, my body, each one of you a part of My royal priesthood.
I know you do want to be led by Me – but, My children, You have gotten so caught up in the models themselves that you have lost hold of the Reality, lost hold of your connection to your Father, to your Head, to your King of kings – to Me, your God – Father, Jesus My Son, and our Holy Spirit. You have come to choose earthly structures to try and hold My body together, instead of trusting and abiding in Me, the Head, the Lord of lords, the Vine, the Shepherd, the King of Kings, God Almighty.
Instead of all being branches fed by the One Vine, and all producing wonderful clusters of fruit, you have too often become willing to be simply suckers, soaking up the nutrients from the Vine, but producing neither leaves nor fruit. Instead, too often you have passed that privilege off to selected people whom you delegate as special leaders/ shepherds, not only to produce fruit on your behalf, but too often to become go-betweens, actually replacing Me, so that I am no longer allowed to be your personal direct source of Life, Light, Love, Truth, Righteousness.
Sadly, also, instead of allowing Me to prune the vineyard, a most necessary, though often painful part of the process of fruit-producing, you have too often built up great trellises. Instead of allowing me to strip away growth which is useless, growth which is damaged and diseased, or growth which produces a great many beautiful-looking leaves but in the process diverts the nutrients of the vine away from producing fruit; you have too often wrapped it around the trellises, and then you have built the trellises larger and stronger, to hold up even more of this growth that I long to prune away for you. And finally, there is a complex trellis holding up a great deal of what appears to you to be a large, rich, bushy vine, but it is one in which there are only a few clusters of fruit here and there, and even those are often small and sour. And where one single juicy piece of fruit appears here or there, it is seized upon with great joy as a sign of health and growth. Oh, My children, I want so much more for you.
My children, My children, when will you stop building the trellises? When will you turn directly to Me, the Vine, for life and growth – and for pruning by Me, the Master Gardener - of each of you, individually and together, instead of depending upon human go-betweens and human structures?
When will you become My body, My family, instead of a business run in my name? When will the eternal riches of My kingdom, life lived with and in Me and My love for you, become your longing, your desire, rather than the religious kingdoms of man with their cathedrals and pomp and ceremony? When will you allow Me to be Your Head, guiding you, directing My work through You as I desire, when I desire, how I desire? When will You draw your Life from my Son’s Life-blood, shed for you to give you the true Life for which I created you?
When will you accept that, while I provide among you those who shepherd you in spiritual matters, those who have walked My Way a little longer and a little ahead of you; that they are only there to help you along, nourish you a little for a season, as a mother nurses her infant; yet that it is My desire for you in turn to grow up into Me, depending upon Me to provide the solid food that will grow you to the point where I can use you in turn to shepherd and nourish others, just as your earthly children will grow up and produce and nourish their infants in turn; and so on through the generations. To some of My children I have given gifts to preach or teach or evangelize, it is true; but where would they themselves be without those who first shepherded them in their early growth; and without those even now to whom I have given gifts of wisdom and discernment to keep them on the true path, those to whom I have given gifts of hospitality and helps to care for their physical needs, those to whom I have given a heart for prayer to support them in their walks? Truly, each one of you needs every other one. When will you honor each of my children? When will you all, together, honor Me most of all? When will you learn to follow and worship Me alone?
When will you accept that every one of you is infinitely and equally valuable in my eyes? That everyone of you is an essential part of My family, My body? I do not want a family, a body, that is just existing on “survival mode” – or even as an efficient business! I want a healthy, growing, supportive, sharing, caring, encouraging body and family whose every member edifies the other, and whose every member loves Me, your God, with all your hearts and souls and minds and strength, and who love every other member in My family as you love yourselves – and also to similarly love those who are not yet in My family, but for whom I gave My Son that they should have full opportunity to come back into My love.
When will you become MY church, MY body? Oh my children, come to Me. Aren’t you tired, exhausted, sick of all your effort and all your differences in opinion and all your failures? Don’t you want to be branches growing on Me, Your Vine, every one of you producing great, ripe, sweet, bunches of fruit which together form a truly fruitful vineyard? My promise truly never fails: “Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Close down the business, My dear children, and let Me welcome you into My body, My family, My eternal kingdom. Let Me love you with all the infinite, perfect, unfailing love that I, as your God, Father, Elder Brother, Guide, Creator, Shepherd, Lord, and King, have ready to pour out upon you. And let Me teach you to love each other so profoundly that the world will look at You and recognize that you have been with Me, because they will see among you My love and the fruit of My Spirit, in your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, as you reach out to each other and to the world I am calling to Myself. Yes, they will know you are Christians, truly Christ-followers, by your love – My Love – and by the glory and the supreme honor and the worship which you give to Me alone. My children, be Mine. I love you.”
Thank You, Father. Your kingdom come! Your will be done – on earth as it is in heaven! Amen!