Fading Lights Quench Other Lights
by Patricia Backora
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Some say that just because a saint has been walking with me for X number of years, that one ought to be able to stand on his or her own two feet and meet all their spiritual needs alone, without any help from the other Christians. That means it is allegedly a shame for an older saint to ask a younger one to pray for him/her. Excuses are being made by many as to justify their lethargic prayer life (if they have one at all). One of the best ones is “You’re older in the Lord now so you should be doing all your own praying and standing on the Word, then satan would run away from YOU.”
Where, oh, where does Paul, or any other apostle ever teach this in My Word? Instead of bragging that he’d finally arrived and graduated from the hallowed school of faith, Paul humbly requests in I Thes. 5:25. Notice, Paul says, Pray for US, not to just pray for the recently converted people in My flock.
Many of these older (and some younger) embattled saints DO stand on My Word. They read it and quote it both day and night, awake and in their dreams, to fend off satan. They are definitely NOT guilty of failing to use My Word, the Sword of the Spirit, to defend themselves (and others) against the onslaught of satan. Some of these people spend many hours praying constantly for deliverance for themselves and their loved ones, and it does feel like an uphill struggle for them at times. So don’t go accusing such people of neglecting My Word. That’s a smug copout. People under trial do NOT need Job’s comforters accusing them of secret sin. They need allies in this war against the unseen forces of darkness. Satan counts on my army denying that they ARE an army. He counts on Christians nipping at each other instead of fighting him. That makes his job so much easier. He sits back and laughs as more and more people drift away from loveless churches and go look for answers elsewhere.
And as for one being enough to chase satan, well, I CAN use just one if that’s all I have available. I am able to grow a mighty oak out of one tiny acorn. I used mighty Samson to clobber thousands of wicked Philistines, even when he didn’t have a visible army by his side to help him (Judg.15:15-16). But what else does My Word say?
Leviticus 26:8: And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Notice, the number of enemies defeated rises with the number of warriors in the battle. Yes, it IS possible for me to deliver the saint standing alone (I delivered Daniel from the lion’s den), but My highest will is for My saints to band together as one body in Christ to ward off satan’s attacks and to do offensive warfare against his kingdom. I Corinthians 12 and 14 teaches the unity of the saints and each person operating in the place I’ve placed them in to do his/her part to keep the Body built up in the Love of Christ.
The ugly truth is this: Some saints who used to shine brightly and include saints from many backgrounds in their loving fellowship have let their love and care for one another fade away. Years ago, saints would sit down at a table and take half an hour to write a letter to each other sharing their joys and sorrows, their prayer requests, and things out of My Word to edify each other by mail. Years later, I allowed this to become even more convenient with the invention of e-mail. My people could still write one another, much more quickly and without the excuse that postage is expensive. Then social networking sites came along, where information posted had to be chosen much more carefully, lest other eyes read it too. The communiqués between My saints became more watered-down and much shorter, then much less frequent if they were sent at all. After ten cheery words posted online maybe ONCE per year, some saints pat themselves on the back, thinking, “Well, the Lord must be pleased with me. I’ve communicated with so-and-so. I’ve done my bit to edify someone else. Now I don’t have to be bothered with that person ever again.”
And what was that other person’s offense that you should forget about that precious one? Does he/she disagree with you about whether or not Christmas is a sin? Is he/she a social activist fighting evil, while you think it’s better to just ignore it and smile for Jesus all the time? Does he/she wear their clothes or hair different than you do? Do you disapprove of their dyed hair, their jewelry, their choice of music? Does that Christian remind you more of Braveheart than Ned Flanders, and therefore he/she must be too sinful to fellowship with anymore?
My New Testament does NOT teach wimpy pacifism. It teaches gentleness and peace toward the lost, who are possible candidates of salvation. But when certain elements are bringing harm and destruction into your personal life or your community or your child’s school, you cannot sit idly by and zip your lip, nod your head and say nothing. It’s much easier to say “God doesn’t want me to get involved with this world’s disputes” or, “we must follow peace with all men, so I’ll turn a blind eye and hope the devil just goes away and leaves me alone”. Ephesians chapter 6 teaches that you are in a warfare, not at some peaceful picnic, while you’re on this earth. It’s wonderful to smile and look happy all the time but real life doesn’t always allow My people to do that.
So many of My people look like they’re on drugs the way they grin sweetly all the time, even when circumstances don’t warrant it. Instead, they should be raising up their voices against the evil destroying their homes, their families, their nation. They should cry out unto Me for the holy boldness to show My people their sins (Isa.58:1). They should exhort one another to carry out the Great Commission of loving one another as I have loved them, that those outside My Church might be drawn to My light and embrace their Savior.
So don’t go around judging and snubbing precious saints who do accept that the saints of God are in a warfare with satan. Don’t discourage their holy zeal or quench their light by refusing to fellowship and pray with them. So many have grown so discouraged by unwarranted ostracism that they’ve finally gone off and joined false cults so they could gain a little acceptance, the very love others refused to show them in the church. Many cult members today are former “church members”, “church” as defined by carnal men.
And why is it that I see so much loving, caring and sharing among outcast heathen groups that I don’t see in My own churches? Why should New Age hippies, Moonies, and Wiccan groups have a joyous time fellowshipping with each other while My people act like they’re going to church to take a whipping from one another? Why is it that bread is freely distributed to the poor by some of these groups while bread is TAKEN FROM the poor in so-called churches, and those who don’t fork over their children’s milk money are lambasted as stingy hypocrites? Why is it that these heathen groups don’t hold each other under a microscope to look for tiny flaws in each other so they’ll have an excuse to throw somebody out, while church members bicker all the time and nitpick about clothes, hair, makeup, TV viewing habits, etc.? Instead of pecking each other to death, heathen groups celebrate life together, though their concept of eternal life and how to get it is distorted and misguided.
Why, oh, why, don’t My people remember that Christ called many people out of diversified backgrounds to do His will? They didn’t all hail from high society. And none of them acted like Ned Flanders. Yet I was able to bring them to that place of service ordained for them before the foundation of the world.
Mary Magdalene came from a doubtful background (Mark 16:9).
Peter was a loud-mouthed fisherman who forgot to put on his white shirt and black tie before he jumped in the lake to go see Jesus (John 21:7).
Mary got pregnant before she tied the knot (Matt.1:18).
Rahab was a lady of the night (Joshua chapter 2).
Ruth was a penniless widow looking for charity from the rich (Ruth 2:1-2).
Moses was a murderer and a fugitive from justice (Ex.2:11-15).
David was an adulterer and a murderer (2 Sam.12:1-14).
David led a band of outlaws who lived off the land instead of getting a regular job so they could pay tithes to the church (I Sam. 22:2; chapter 25)
Paul had a hot temper (Acts 9:11; Gal.1:8-9; I Cor.4:21).
Jeremiah was a crybaby (Jer.9:1).
Samson was a womanizer (Judg.14:1-3;16:1, 4).
He wasn’t always kind to animals (Judg.15:4).
Daniel and Nehemiah were slaves in a foreign land (Dan.1:1-6; Neh.2:1-2).
Luke was a Gentile physician who used natural, as well as spiritual means, to heal (Col.1:14)
John the Baptist dined on bugs (Matt.3:4; Mark 1:6).
He was inappropriately dressed for a respectable church minister (Matt.11:8; Luke 7:25).
Some of Ezekiel’s religious practices were controversial (Ezek. chapter 4; 5:1-4).
Lydia was a wealthy businesswoman who led a worship group but didn’t have a fancy building for her services (Acts 16:13-14).
Timothy tended to be timid (2 Tim.1;6-7).
Paul himself sometimes felt weak and afraid (I Cor.2:3).
The Thief on the Cross squeezed into the Kingdom at the last possible moment (Luke 23:42-43).
Onesimus was a runaway slave who was spiritually profitable to Paul (Book of Philemon).
Hagar, a heathen slave who ran away from Sarah’s cruelty, was the first woman in the Bible to give Me a name to honor one of My attributes. She was the first woman to receive an angelic visitation, and the first woman to receive a divine promise of blessing for her child (Gen.16:7-14).
Lazarus, a starving, outcast beggar covered in ugly, oozing sores, beat the well-fed, pampered, sweet-smelling Rich Man into the Kingdom of heaven (Luke 16:19-31).
King Solomon, dripping with jewels and surrounded with every lavish splendor invented by the hand of man, was widely acclaimed for his wisdom and glory. He made an excellent beginning with Me but lost all his spiritual treasures in the end because of heathen idol worship (I Kings Chapter 3; Chapter 10; 11:1-13).
I don’t honor certain manmade stereotypes as being spiritually superior to the rest. You are all to be in holy agreement on the core doctrines of the Christian faith, and to be of the same mind on everything clearly spelled out in My Word. But there are areas in which each believer must be specifically led by My Spirit. I don’t order all of you women to wear long blue dresses and white caps. I don’t tell you to drive horses and buggies instead of an SUV. I don’t insist on you all wearing the same hairstyle. All I insist on is that your actions and words are motivated by love, and that you let My Word, kept in correct context and correctly applied to New Testament saints, be My final authority.
Paul, who poured out his life and suffered persecutions and privations to build up the Body of Christ through his teaching and writing, watched sadly as, one by one, his formerly loyal co-workiers drifted far away from him and forgot about him completely (2 Cor. 6:12-13; 12:15; 2 Tim.4:11). Paul didn’t always preach the “feel good” messages people liked to hear, so those who deserted him went to find teachers more to their liking (2 Tim.4:3-4).
When you cut off those who may differ in one or two nonessential issues not directly addressed by My Word, you deny that person his right and obligation to follow the leading of the Spirit for himself or herself (Rom.14:3). In cutting off these precious souls from fellowship you inflict a severe punishment reserved for sinners such as idolaters and fornicators (I Cor.5:11). To escape the unjust ostracism that person will probably leave and end up struggling to keep their faith in Me. Your meanness toward others creates a legacy of bitterness and hurt. If you sow meanness you’ll reap meanness in the end.
When you reject the innocent members of My Body and cut them adrift from your love, don’t be surprised if you yourself land in a messy trial of rejection where you feel lonely and forsaken by man and God.
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