If we serve the Lord long enough at times God will allow us to discover some truths that will off set all of the trials and problems we often face.  This was the case as I was making plans for a trip to India.  In my self I seemed to struggle with going or not going. My heart said yes go, go, go Pastor Wilson and his son Julian are such great friends and the 50 or so orphans they care for and feed in their compound are so precious, but I felt in my spirit the Lord saying “go if you wish.”  Now I have had the Lord say this before, but never with such intensity.  God did not say go nor did He say not to go.  It would have been much easier if God would have said, David go and I will bless all that you do and say, but He did not say that, He said, “go if you wish.” Well now when I was younger in the Lord I wanted to go, go, go, wild horses or God could not keep me from going, but now I am older in the Lord and in earthly years so going is not so attractive. The older we get the more we see and feel the price to be paid for ministry. Ministry is the pouring out of our life so that God can live through us.  It is not a question of my faith or desire, God knows my heart, but it is a question of my thoughts (plans in the KJV), motives and intentions. Jesus questioned Peter’s thoughts, motives, and intentions when He said, “Verily, verily, (double negative) I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst (strengthened) thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird (strengthen) thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”  (John 21:18)  When young in the Lord we “girdedst” our self and “walkedst” where we want to go, but when we get old, “thou stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” In other words when we get “old” (that is in physical years and in the Lord) we will make plans to go and our thoughts, motives, and intentions to go for the Lord in ministry and “another” shall strengthen or gird us AND carry us to where we do not want to go. We understand the price to be paid and know of the loss required in us (spiritually) and from others (physically) for us to go and minister. Now it does not say another person will strengthen and carry us to where we do not want to go. It says, “another” (Strong’s #243, another or other) shall gird or strengthen us.  Please know I am not saying other people have not strengthened or even carried me all the days of my life in the Lord. I could start naming names (beginning with my mother) and go on for hours of the people who have had great impact in my life, people who have mentored and molded me, people who have suffered and sacrificed to make sure the Lord was been able to grow in me as I grew in earthly years.  But what I am saying is “another” probably is not a person, but is the maturity, wisdom, and experiences we must allow God to work in our lives.  Anything we get from God comes by way of us allowing God to work them into us. God does not change our heart (no matter how hard we beg, pray, kick, dance, cry, or speak in tongues) until we submit in obedience to His dealings and judgments in our lives. I wonder why we think God must do what we want Him to do or worse believe He has a magic wand that He bonks us over the head with and presto changeo we have been changed. Oh no my friend God changes us one dealing and/or judgment in our lives at a time.  God comes to us and says how about this sin, wrong motive or intention in our heart? We can either agree or reject His advance. If we agree with God’s words He then can take us to the next level, maybe even show us our heart condition in all of this or bring us down into a place of low degree of understanding to the truth about us.  But if we reject God’s words to us God will do nothing to change us, the Almighty of the universe is powerless to intervene. Our response is either anger and we stiffen our necks to His words or what most Christians do respond in a religious ways through:  singing, dancing, giving in service to the church, running to the latest conference or praise and worship concert some religious. All of these lead us no where in God. God is after the inward thoughts of our heart to be brought to a calmness and silence before Him and a spiritual reverence of knowing Him, for there is where righteous and Godly change in our lives happens.

This strengthening and carrying (out from the wisdom, experiences, and maturity) Jesus talked about with Peter happens over time as we grow in the knowledge and grace of God. This growth is a process we must undergo when we come into God’s family. Never forget we come into God’s family not to get things from God or learn our destiny in Him, but for learning.  The spiritual principle of first things first of the Spirit of “adoption” in God is for learning the things we must learn to grow and mature to the point we will be able to speak for God.  Did you know not just anybody can speak for God? Many Christians think they can, but their words are shallow and powerless and their lives reveal the lack of relationship which is an automatic disqualifier. But the Christian who speaks for God, their words are felt in the spiritual realm (in heaven and hell) and the reality of the manifestation of what they speak is seen in the authority and power that is produced.  In Romans Paul talks about this process. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23) and “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”  (Romans 9:4-5)  Here in Romans Chapter 8 and 9, Paul projects this thought of “adoption” as it relates to a three day Jewish feast the father holds for his son after the son completes his schooling and training. When we think of the word “adoption” today we think of legally taking someone into our family.  Well this may be true now in 2009, but that is not what Paul was taking about. When a Jewish boy becomes of age (say around age 12) he is given tudors and teachers to sit under in school so that they can lay a foundation of understanding of his father’s business and how he (the son) knitly is joined with the family. The son undergoes years of rigorous schooling and if he does well in his schooling he may (not a given) be able to go on to training. Even in God there is a big difference between schooling and training. We today in the church kind of lump them together so that we can be a know-it-all sooner. Now the better the son does in schooling the better chance he will have in his training if selected. Oh did I mention his training is dependent on the father. Just because his schooling went well does not automatically guarantee or qualify him for training.  I wonder why we in the church today think we get to be trained just because we completed a seminary or Bible school? I will let you chew on that one for a while.  Any how, after years of schooling and years of training, and after the son has learned his lessons the father holds this three day feast, called the adoption feast, for the son as a show of the father’s good pleasure in his son.  At this feast the father can now present his son as a member of his family.  At this feast the father lets the entire town know the son can now speak for the father. The son’s words are equal to the father’s words and must be obeyed as the father is speaking.  In Romans 9 Paul asks, “to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;” or who have completed this adoption process and can now receive the glory? Who has such a wonderful relationship with the Father? Who operates and functions under spiritual laws? Who can now go, speak, and work for God? And who has completed their training so that they may be able to receive the Father’s precious promises as Peter said, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, (whose divine nature? The Father’s of course) having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  (2 Peter 1:4) When are we given these “exceeding great and precious promises?”  Is it when we are saved as babes in the Lord?  No I think not, but when we have been adopted after our schooling and training is complete, now the Father can trust us with His goods. Every Jewish man knew what Paul was taking about when he used the word “adoption” it was the right of passage for business from childhood to manhood.  It is really a shame we have twisted the meaning of this word (like many other words) to fit our little schemes and agendas.  I do not know about you my friend, but I have not been adopted (in the modern denominational religious thinking) I am a blood heir with Christ. We sing songs with words like “Abrahams blessing are mine,” well I do not want Abrahams blessings I want the blessing God has reserved for me if I meet the conditions of obedience.  But is this not the same way we train our children today?  When our children are babes they do not get to speak for us, they must undergo years of family interactions, years of failure, trial and error, discipline, correction, and even punishment followed by years of formal schooling and training. Why would we expect things to be different in God? There is no silver bullet or magic pill to take that will make us complete in God, we must grow in God through failure, correction, discipline, and punishment until we come to some measures of obedience and understanding. God trains us the same way.  If we would want our child to go through a door we would work with them and when they get off track we would straighten their way. We would tell them and show them the way to go, but as they get older and mature there should be a less of a need for us to instruct them.  Ultimately the goal (and God’s goal in our lives too) is for us to be able to tell our children one time to do something and there would be obedience. If God has to speak to us it would be for correction.

As I said earlier, when I was planning for my trip to India I felt the Lord saying, “go if you wish.”  This freedom to choose really got my attention. And as I said I struggled with the decision until the Lord let me know His thoughts here. As Karen and I were walking our boxer Gremme and discussing the trip I felt a sudden peace in my spirit, as I heard God say, “go if you wish.” The light came on. What a joy flooded my soul it was like the weight of the world was lifted from my heart. I understood what God was saying. After all I did not want to make the wrong decision.  I think this desire of not wanting to make a wrong decision can really be a big problem with our walk with the Lord if we are not really careful.  When Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) Jesus was not saying to ask, seek, knock again and again until you get an answer.  Oh no, Jesus was saying be careful!  If you ask something will be given to you, maybe not what God wants in this situation. If you seek you will find something. This is a part of our human nature, always seeking and wanting to know things. This got Adam and Eve in a lot of trouble with God. Seeking always ends in finding something, maybe not what God wants us to find. If we knock a door will open, maybe it is the wrong door. Jesus was saying to take heed, be careful with all of our asking, seeking, and knocking. All of this beseeching of God must be done in the context of what God wants in each situation and not just our self-seeking desire for things or to get God to jump through the hoop for us. I understood what God was saying, “go if you wish” there was no wrong decision.  Going or not going was up to me. God was counting on me to look at the situation and make a decision.  Wow! A sure sign of maturity in God is when He does not have to tell us to go or not to go.  God is counting us to know what to do.  Like when our children grow up we count on them to know what to do.  God is counting on us to look at all of the information and make a decision.  God knows the schooling and training is complete, He knows our thoughts, motives, and intentions our wisdom, maturity, and experience has manifested in our lives and now God has faith and confidence in us.  God cannot do this with babes, He still needs to change their diapers and spoon feed them direction.  Believe it or not I got scared then. WOW!! God wants me to make the call.  I thought why not, I have been schooled and trained, I have spoken for God in the past, I represent Him now, why can I not make a decision for Him? This is what God is after in our lives; to live so that God does not need to tell us what to do, we will automatically know what God wants.  We will be able to automatically take on our heart what is on the heart of the Father.  His knowing will be our knowing. Our knowing what God wants will be second nature, as breathing is automatic.  We will be able to hear God say, “go if you wish” and know what He means.