June 16th, 2011 by Eric Gilmour

POVERTY

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…

…for theirs is the Kingdom (Matt. 5.3).”

“Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”

Turning in the core of my heart is a fire, not a fire for “power” or “passion,” but for the restoration of internal poverty in the Christian life.  I extend to you the case of internal poverty; without which a man is locked away in the cell of self.  He is chained in the irons of worth.  He is fixed progressing in the wrong direction.  As Dietrich Bonheoffer said, “if you board the wrong train, it makes no sense to sprint down the corridor in the right direction.” Internal poverty is the dethroning of self that clears the throne of our lives for the King to have His rightful place.  Have you wondered why the Kingdom is given to the poor? The rule of God, the King’s domain and the power of Kingdom life is ignited by poverty alone. The spiritual man is bound to internal poverty.  He has fastened himself to poverty by his own will, having learned its attractiveness to God. He is gripped by the total freedom of bondage to Jesus Christ. Without internal poverty a man rejects such binding, attractiveness and consequently forfeits true liberty.

Poverty is greater than power.  A man may posses miracles and healing, yet be disconnected from the disposition that draws God’s heart to Him; “I am poor and needy (Psalm 86.1;40.17;70.5;109.22).” The poor man understands that he doesn’t have what he most severely needs and without aid from the outside he will most definitely perish.  Are you as poor today, as that day you first called upon His name to save you from your sins?

Poverty is greater than prayer. A man may pray hours upon hours and yet posses not that quality that bestows Grace on his being. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5).” Once, two men came to the same place to pray. Oh how two individuals can perform the same actions from widely different motives!  One man came to boast of his right living and the other to cry out for mercy (Luke 18.13).  Hearts are seen by the King (1 Samuel 16.7;Prov. 16.2).  Internal poverty is His delight.

Poverty is greater than passion. A man may impress many in the assembly with volume and fervor, yet be inwardly bankrupt, because he finds great value in himself.  He far removed from the riches of the Kingdom being bestowed in his soul through poverty alone.  For the Kingdom is the possession of the poor. Francis De Sales said, “Nothing can so effectually humble us as the consideration of what He has done for us and what we have done against Him.” Oh brothers, poverty is that for which their exists no substitute.

Poverty is that ingredient without which there exists no potential for rise in God.  Poverty is the daily and constant reaching for mercy by revelation of our inability and nothingness without His presence.  Poverty is united with dependency.  We are never exempt from poverty’s dependency. As David Ravenhill Said, “we never graduate from dependency.”

Lust we for GLORY? “That faculty of the soul that pants for glory is implanted of God (R. Govet).” Have you an inward burning attraction to be absorbed up into your God?  Poverty is the only route, dependency the only way and humility the only foundation.  For this trinity there exists no substitute.  Poverty is the recognition of our wicked state without God’s presence, which thrusts us into dependency on His presence and manifests itself in humble hearts and lives.  David Popovici said to me on the phone the other day, “the day we wake up without a casting of ourselves upon His mercy, we are finished.” I would add, the moment that we cease to cast ourselves upon His mercy we are finished.  Temptation is a reminder of what we are apart from His presence in our lives.  How many times have we all failed in some way and disappointed ourselves and God?  After 14 years of following JESUS, I see more than ever, that every failure in my life was first a failure to depend upon Him.

As the rain rests upon the ground after the storm, it yearns to return back to the high place from which it has fallen.  It can only long for such a return, till the sun shines down upon its humble state causing it to rise again through evaporation into its desired residence.  So we as men, have fallen from a height of glory.  “For all…fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23).” We all, as redeemed men, long to live in the heights from which we have fallen.  Man is burning internally for Glory to be restored.  I submit to you today, that without internal poverty there is no identification with the positional restored glory now and no promise of its fullness in the age to come.  And most certainly, there is no connection with its transforming reality in our daily life. For His humble dying must be met by the sinner humbling himself to ever produce a humble life.

Cerebral arguments and superstar – superhero preaching all stem from a lack of poverty. Poverty alone ensures the Glory to God. A value in ourselves robs Him.  He takes the beggar from the dunghill. Not the prince from the palace or the theologian from the seminary.  All we see as holy acts and ways in men are empty without poverty as its heart beat.

I am well aware of the fact that I as one man do not posses a full picture of God and my heart is longing for the church to take her fullness again.  And though there are many camps that have different emphasis in God, in receiving as much as I can from each camp, I believe that arrogance is heightened when a man claims now that which God has set for the future.  There is no fullness now.  There exists no sinless perfection now.  There is no full seeing now. Just as much as there exists no reigning King JESUS in Jerusalem now.  And anyone who wishes to preach “fullness now” or boasts in their intellectualism  is missing the heart of a risen life, namely, poverty.  Anyone finding the slightest satisfaction or interest in the failures and judgment of others knows nothing of poverty.  For the value of themselves has blinded them to nakedness of their own soul.

We do not posses independently anything of value and that which we do posses in Him is a deposit of a fullness to come.   And that which is possessed is penetrated into us by humility alone. “Beloved, if you have ever seen yourself, you will know that you are never going to be anything other than what you were (Paris R.).” Paul the apostle, who was closer than anyone alive today to a fullness of the image of Christ released in a human life said, “…as for me and my flesh there is no good thing (Romans 7).” He understood His nothingness as God’s power.  Seeing strength perfected in weakness.  Seeing a treasure in an earthen vessel, so that, the greatness of God’s power would be of Himself and not from us (2 Cor 4).  This is in no way an advocating of sin, but rather, the way to true holiness of heart.  Poverty blesses man with the riches of God’s grace that makes men truly holy from the inside out. For in the poor soul alone does the Holy Spirit find a resting place.  The otherwise man is occupying the whole of the throne himself.

Listen, I fear that educated Christians in America like us will educate ourselves out of poverty and into a delusion of “fullness now,” intellectual know-it-all-ness and deceive ourselves into a mindset that is far from the current divine situation concerning God, man, mercy, power and redemption. Our power is not found in the cerebral realm.  It is found in death.  It is not found in a new vision of ourselves or in a puffed up identity that changes the way we carry ourselves.  It is found in His mercy.  It is His mercy that works everyday in us; His mercy that quickens us back to life from the death of truly understanding that we cannot ever in own ourselves please Him or move toward Him.  If we know anything, let it be our continual sins forgiven and our personal poverty coming face to face with His boundless love and His timeless mercy, restoring and keeping us in the power of His presence.

In 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, Paul is thanking God for the Church’s  “labor of love, works of faith and steadfastness of hope…in the presence of God.” The presence of God is the ground for faith that works, love that labors and hope that is steadfast.  I can’t help but see it as a scene from an old UFO movie where the powerful UFO activates and charges all the power tools, lights, cars and everything electric as it flies over the old Farmer’s house in the middle of Nebraska fields.  That is the activation of the presence of God.  As He draws near, our love, which was otherwise frozen, comes alive.  Our faith, which was otherwise dead, is working and our hope, which was otherwise forgotten, is realized.  Internal poverty is the landing pad for the kingdom, which is to say the King.  Dependency sustains the kingdoms rule in which a humble character is the inevitable product.  And such a way to such a presence is the activation of a Christ like life. Poverty gives the kingdom, humility receives exaltation and dependency bears forth fruit which glorifies the Father.

Finally, I encourage a meditation upon Luke chapter 21 vs 1-4.  This simple, yet moving, short story  reveals the severity of poverty like none other.  Without poverty there is no totality.  Without poverty there is only partiality.  The reason that most Christians in the West do not give all that they are over to God is due to the missing element of poverty of soul.  The reason why most Christians in the West give partially to God is because they give out of their surplus.  God return us to the poverty that brings totality and save us from giving to you partially!
 

Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com

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April 25th, 2011 by Eric Gilmour


“The end time demands upon the church will require a community situation.”
~Art Katz

The cultivation of a community situation is crucial for the growth of an individual. The safety net of deeply spiritual relationships and honest love for one another is essential. Ephesians tell us that “Speaking the truth in love” is the way to maturity. “Love is the perfect bond of unity (Colossians 3.14)” and our unity is to be “of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3).” The Holy Spirit wants us connected to others in selfless love, speaking the truth to one another and bound in peace together by Him.

One person said, “you don’t gossip about the people you pray for.” I would go further and say, when you really pray for someone you are melting into them. We melt together in the presence of God. “God Himself is a sweet company (Bonheoffer)” so He reproduces the same. Jesus taught us to “love one another (John 13.34).”

It is my experience that when two individuals, that are flowing with God’s love, come together-they automatically love one another. The Church should be longing to be together. “The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5).” In the Revival in Pensacola I got right with God and was immediately connected with others who were right with God and we gravitated toward each other, burning for Jesus and one another. This is the product of Revival. Which is to say, the product of the Holy Ghost.

There was a brotherhood deeper than blood. Jesus said, “my…brother is He who does the will of God (Marl 3.35).” Those born of God are now the children of God, born of His Spirit and washed in His blood. We have an eternal connection with each other. Because of this we are in one another, needing one another so we should never neglect getting together (Hebrews 10.25). Actually, something is wrong if we do neglect Spiritual fellowship. Proverbs tells us that the man who “isolates himself seeks his own desire and quarrels against all sound wisdom (Proverbs 18.1).”

We should desire each other and what each one brings to the puzzle. We should never get so earthly with each other that we encourage each others flesh, but seeing one another after the Spirit, lift one another up to God encouraging each others gifts, even if they are not like our own.

The Church is not a building or place of worship. It is the new race (1 Cor. 10.32). They are the only other people in the world who share your mind. The church is a race and not a place; a people and not a steeple. Church isn’t somewhere we go but what we are.

The fullness of the expression of Christ will not come into the world any other way. It is to come through a community of born again individuals who love God and each other. We are a family with the most wonderful Father. Community is a people of common union, sharing spiritual communion keeping a common unity. Pastor Andrew Lamb from Acts 2 Church in Altamonte Springs, Florida always says, “the word of God never tells us to make unity but to keep it.” It other words, Jesus made us one at the cross. The rejection of the cross will cause a rejection of each other. Ephesians 3.10 show us that all things were created in order that the Church would have a platform through which to communicate a wisdom to the principalities of the air. That wisdom is namely, love. “The church is to perfect our wisdom and knowledge on how to live with each other (Art Katz, “True Fellowship”).”

Prayer with each other is the heat of the presence of God that melts us together in purpose, focus, heart and burden. We must pray together. We must tackle issue of life together. We must break things open together in prayer. Fasting together is such a powerful thing, we need to live this way. We should be so connected together in prayer, fasting and strengthening each other with Spiritual gifts, that the only other thing we have time to do together is preach the gospel in the world. Besides seasons of rest to regain physical strength there is no time for foolishness.

The problem that I am seeing is that the church is playing video games together instead of praying together. They play sports or watch sports together instead of preaching the gospel together. They would much rather call a poker night than a season of extended prayer and fasting.

This is not community. This is a bunch of friends that profess Christ. There is no spiritual union or divine melting through hours of movie nights or football. Community is spiritual union as we deliver Christ to each other and to the world together. A pizza night with two movies and a prayer will lead to the disaster of an apathetic complacency that eventually spiral into sin and death to the unity.

Lastly, we tend to gravitate only toward those who are as fleshly as we are or as gifted as we are. May God destroy partiality and bring in a flood of divine love for one another, connecting us as brothers who do the will of God, reaching to this world in prayer, fasting, true spiritual fellowship and preaching the gospel.

“There is no other way, for the way, to be the way, than the way, the way was, when it was the way.”

The first Church was not perfect but they shared their lives together. The first fruits of the Holy Spirit outpouring show us the heart of God for His people. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit upon our lives will create the same today.

We must allow the Spirit of God to move us in love for one another beyond our natural tendency. We need a close life. Many men of God have fallen because there was no brother doing the will of God next to him who could look into his eyes on a regular basis and see if his heart was compromising.

Most church systems in America today are an environment where men can satisfy a religious itch, get an ounce of God and hide from any real dealing with issues. This was never the oneness that Jesus wanted amongst His own (John 17).

Practically we should have at least one strong (preferably stronger than you) brother to talk to everyday if not see every day. We need a core group of people to look at face to face and share Jesus with and receive Jesus from. The fullest picture of Christ is released in the assembly when every member brings from his heart that which the Holy Spirit is impressing upon him.

We love the open participatory place of house to house, but must never substitute it for the devotion to the Apostles teaching in Solomon’s temple.

System churches in America are important to have; the structure, the leadership, the service. It is all good and to a degree necessary. But it cannot be a substitute from authentic Christian love or community as I have above defined it.

The Scriptures tell us that there is one body but many members; the hand and the eye, the foot and the knee. We are fitly joined together and have a part of the whole. We must not look down on the gifts or emphasis of others. We must respect them and let them grow in their area. When a person who is evangelistic meets with him who is pastoral, they need the love of Jesus to see each other’s sides.

It is like two blind men on either side of an elephant. One is holding the trunk and describing it to the one holding the elephants small tale. They must trust each other and hear each other to be able to put together what animal it is. If they insist on their side of feeling alone, they will divide. They must simply feel their side and listen to the other.

Robert Gladstone told me that when two men pray for bread, God may give one man two loaves and the other none. The man with two says, “God why didn’t you give him one of these loaves?” And God says, “I did, when I gave it to you.”

 

Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com

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