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Without judgment or condemnation, but based entirely on the words inspired by the Holy Spirit as it is written in the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as we now know it… does it not concern you, elect, that after three years of discipleship and fellowship, what Jesus raised up was a group of men who would not believe the news of His resurrection, who would not obey the command to go to Galilee immediately, and who did not repent when they knew they had not obeyed?  If that is the result of the Lord’s own personal work, does it surprise you that no one else, that is, no other man, has been able to do any better when it comes to making disciples, and the disobedient, the unrepentance and the disbelief continue to this very day, even amongst the elect?

So then what else should be the concern of an elect?

Surely it must be this:  his personal obedience to the commands of Jesus, his personal belief of the words of Jesus, and his personal repentance for his disobedience and disbelief before anything else.  For the whole timeline of the church, the whole history of the church and therefore of the world of the last 2,000 years would have been different if just one of the eleven believed enough on that first day of the week to go to Galilee when the women came with the message from the angels, or obeyed enough when Mary and the other women gave them the second message, this time from the Lord’s own mouth to go to Galilee.  The history of the church and of the world would still have changed had one of the ten (for Thomas was not there) repented as Jesus came into the locked room the evening of that first day because they had not gone to Galilee.  If Jesus said to Peter, almost as a backhand rebuke, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?  You must follow Me,” then likewise our personal focus must at least be this as well.  What is it to us what the Lord wants with other disciples; we must follow Him.

Paul challenged the Corinthians and Galatians to test their faith and their actions. So likewise we should test our own faith and our own actions… not so much the faith and actions of the eleven on resurrection day and thereafter… but our own belief and our own response to the commands and messages of the Holy Spirit as He reminds us of the words of Jesus and works to turn the prophecies of Jesus into daily news for the world.

In the previous chapter, we have spoken of serving as being defined by the care and concern for the one who (that) is our master.  In the global financial crisis of 2009, here is a simple test of faith and action:  what did you pray for?  For the success of the actions of governments to prevent the destruction of the financial system or for the opening of the eyes and ears of those whom Christ commands to see that it was a dress rehearsal for the destruction of the kingdom of mammon so that the beast can bring in his mark to introduce a new form of buying and selling, turning yet again prophecy to news?

Make no mistake, elect, these are times when prophecies are becoming news and bad news at that, not gospel (good news).

The prayers raised by everyone and anyone who belongs to Christ rather than those who say they belong to Christ is the proof of their true belief, for they showed from their hearts whom they truly serve.  If you think you failed, good, because you can repent.  However, if you do not see the error in your prayers, then you will not see the need for repentance, for you have deluded yourself as to whom you truly serve.  Descendants of Balaamites who rely on the availability of financial stability and abundance to preach the gospel and win souls will have seen the GFC as a work of Satan to disrupt their ministry.  Whereas those whose eyes are on the Word of God and His Spirit will see the GFC as a significant birth pain contraction so that they would work even harder to be ready for a time when those who hold onto the Word of God and their testimony can no longer buy and sell.  It is due to the truth that not even the elect of the Lord are ready that the GFC has been delayed for the moment, but as all who know something about birth pains, there will be more contractions and more powerful ones until the birth occurs.

So then, where lays your heart, or rather, what do you treasure, for everyone serves that which they treasure?  A man who treasures his car works and polishes his car, like one serving the car, as an example.  And as the Lord has said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” and also, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Thus it is not what you say to another person or preach from a pulpit that tests your faith and betrays your true nature to God.  It is what you pray about that betrays your heart to God, for we pray about what we treasure, and what we treasure is what we find ourselves serving.  The truth then, elect, is that we fall far short, for when we have prayed about our needs to the Father, we have treasured and served our needs.  No wonder then that when the Lord first taught the freshmen disciples to pray, He said, “This, then, is how you should pray:  ‘Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.’ “ But later in the final weeks of their lessons with Jesus, as they were accompanying Him from Ephraim through the border area of Samaria and Galilee, He taught them a much simpler but more direct version… He said to them then, “When you pray, say:   ‘Father, hallowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come.’ “ Both times, as freshmen disciples and as final year disciples, Jesus taught them to treasure first in their hearts their relationship with God that has come through Him… a child speaking to his or her Father… first as a group, hence, “Our Father in Heaven…” and then with maturity, as a singular person speaking privately, one on one, “Father…”

The sequence of the prayer shows the sequence of things as we should serve (or treasure) and that is, His Name and His kingdom come before our livelihood and life, our righteousness and our safety.  God comes first… we come second.  How would it be if we brought before Him our prayers about the welfare of the kingdom of His enemy, mammon, and the kingdom of the world?

So you see, elect, our faith is tested by our prayers… not whether we believe what we have said, no… rather, it is what we have served with our prayers that truly tests our faith, and if we are to grow in holiness, that is, separation to Him, then we must ensure that our prayers continue to so focus that there remains only one treasure we serve – “Father…”

For if the ten were gathered together that first morning in the room, what were they praying for and about, if they were praying?  What they were praying for, we are not privy to know… but what is public knowledge is what they were NOT praying for, for had they been praying for the raising of Jesus from the dead – as He had told them He would rise on the third day – then the women bursting into that room with the message from the angels, “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see Him,” would have seen the eleven men push past the women to run to Galilee, for that message from the women would have been taken as an answer to prayer.

But that message did not move them because that was not what they had been hiding in that room praying about.  Neither did the second message move them, for they had still not changed their prayer topic, that is, what they treasured in their hearts was not the rising of the Lord.  Their action, rather, their inaction revealed their faith – that which they were praying for and believing for.

So, elect, you need not be concerned about the faith of others or what they serve or treasure.  It does not take much to reveal what a man utters when he is alone with God in prayer.

However, be concerned now about your belief, obedience and repentance before Him when you are alone with Him… and if it has not occurred to you yet, then I will shout it aloud now… YOU ARE ALWAYS ALONE WITH GOD IN YOUR HEART, for no one knows the thoughts of your heart except God who lives in your heart and who searches your heart.

Do not be deceived by Jesus… yes, deceived, when you read of the times that He went to be alone to pray as Mark recorded:  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. For such verses may deceive you into thinking that those were the times Jesus was alone with the Father.  Rather, see the truth:  Jesus was always with the Father alone, even when He was surrounded by crowds, for He was always saying and doing exactly what the Father was saying and showing Him.  Every action and every word from Jesus was to reveal the Father He knew, so the overflow of the words of Jesus’ heart shows you the treasure of His heart and the One He serves… His Father.  The aloneness of Jesus with the Father is all consuming, ever present.  Hence, He is truly the Holy One of the Father.  Can you also do that?  Of course, otherwise, what He said in John 14.12 is a lie.  The question is not whether you can, for all things are possible with God.  The question is, do you care to or want to?

A man who uses the words of God to reveal his piety, anointing or whatever portion he cares to believe, but yet does not reveal the Father, has missed the whole point of his service to Jesus.  As such, is it any wonder anymore that Jesus will say “I never knew you.  Away from Me, you evildoers!” to those who call Him, “Lord, Lord…” when they say to Him, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?”?

So, elect, your concern should not be about your salvation (safety) as the eleven were concerned about that morning.  Rather, your concern must be the use to which you have put that salvation.  For those who believe in Jesus are saved because He said so, not because they believe so, and eternal life is theirs either now or later.  The question is… to what use have they put that eternal life, or rather, elect, to what use have we put our eternal life to?

As you know, eternal life has only one purpose and that is, “…that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” So if you have spent the time from when you first believed till now getting to know Him, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, then you have really spent that time coming to know the Father, for when you know Jesus Christ, you know the Father, and the only true God is the Father.  The proof of that is when your life and your ministry begin to reveal no one else except the Father who sent Jesus to save you and the Holy Spirit to be your Counsellor.

So then, elect, your concern… can the Holy Spirit disciple you into one whose entire prayer is “Father…”?

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