a little at a time

Do you ever wonder why some folks get delivered of everything at once and others seem to take years? Does it ever bother you? We have a friend, and yes I can call him a friend, that still needs a lot of deliverance. We have known him for over 15 years. Jim met him while street witnessing. He was one that got saved in a parking lot. He is one who has called us several times not even knowing where he was but he knew he needed the Lord’s help. We have prayed with him and shared with him and often cried with him. Many years ago I remember asking the Lord why oh why this one was taking so long. He still had addictions. He seemed to have a right heart, very sincere, and humble. The Lord told me not to look at where he is but how far he has come. The goal is for them to become like Him, not us.

Sometimes we want to ask God why He isn’t doing things the way we would, sometimes we want to help Him along.

We have seen folks “help God along” before. We have seen folks in what they call deliverance ministry that have not sought God and have driven folks to suicide. We have seen the downside of impatience. It is not pretty. They often come to us for help right when they have had so much that they cannot take more. Deliverance is God’s business and not one of the 5 fold callings or offices. The church has done some damage and it is time to make things right. Sometimes things take awhile. Sometimes folks don’t understand. Sometimes folks aren’t ready. Now I am not saying leave them in their misery. But first things must come first. Our God is a God of order.

In Exodus 23 the Lord is teaching the people BEFORE He takes them into the promised land. They need to change before He got them there, or else they would make the very place they were coming from exactly like where they had been. It took 40 years because He is a patient God. He has all the time in the world and then some. It isn’t all about the results but also about the process. He had prepared the place but now had to prepare the people.

20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. 28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.

Notice how many times the Lord says He will drive out the enemy. The most important thing He tells the people to do is obey! To follow. If we can learn to obey, He himself will be an enemy to our enemies. He will fight our battles. It is not always our job to fight. There are times when He will direct us to do something, like tear down the idols and altars, but mostly that is within our very hearts. But as for our enemies He says HE will make them turn their backs and run. If we have enough of HIM in our lives the enemy will fear us because he fears HIM! But it takes time. Because Jesus knows how prideful we can become. He knows that for most folks instant deliverance would make them independent. It would remove their need for Him. Our land, which is our very hearts, needs to be prepared to become a welcome place for Him to completely fill. Some folks are only willing to give up a little at a time, some folks only understand how to give up a little at a time. Either way it doesn’t matter as long as they are moving forward. Jesus knows a willing heart when He sees one and He will finish what He starts, and He is very very patient. He has forever.

Our job as believers is to preach the cross. We can take no pride in that. It is HIS finished work not ours.

His timing is not always our timing. Sometimes, often times His method of operation is beyond our understanding. But the answer is clear. “Worship the LORD your God,” if we can get that across, if we can just teach that one method He will take away sickness and the spiritual miscarriages that happen daily in the body of Christ. We point them to the cross, we tell them, see what He as done, He loves you, worship Him. And it will all be ok. Not easy, but Ok. That is faith. Believing that He is big enough. Believing that He can do it without us, but He chooses to use us because He loves us and wants to bless us by taking part in the process.

Teach them to love him, that is the answer.

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