"An Inside Perspective"

April 2017

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! The shaping of a man of God is a strange work. The Word tells us that, “His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts…” (Isa.55:8-9) We would not shape ourselves the way the Lord does; indeed, we could not, for only He sees the heart.

Abraham was going about his normal business when the Lord called him to sojourn in a foreign land. We now have our Bibles and, therefore, a perspective of Abraham that he at that time did not have. He bowed his head and went, walking by faith. God alone fashions a man.

As a nation, Israel needed 400 years in Egypt to learn to depend upon their God. Still, they murmured in the wilderness, thus failing to enter the Promised Land. Moses, full of Egyptian wisdom, thought himself ready to deliver Israel. God thought him ready to spend forty-years in the wilderness. There, the man of God was fashioned and spiritual wisdom imparted. Moses learned to walk with God, to trust Him, and to wait on Him. Only then did the remainder of Moses' life flow like a river from that holy fount. God alone fashions a man.

David was anointed King of Israel, yet before he took his throne, he had to serve a jealous King Saul. As if that was not enough, he was also hunted and banished to live in a cave for years. Then, and only then, did he take his throne. He had thought himself ready, but God said, "Not yet." God alone fashions a man.

Jonah did not want sinners to believe. He feared in his heart that God would be merciful, and that if he preached, power would fall and grace would find its port. God thought Jonah ready for the first submarine ride, which of a truth, wrought repentance. The next time God sent--- Jonah went. God alone fashions a man.

Jeremiah knew that he was called of God from the womb. He was a preacher, although, he did not yet fathom from where he would preach. Later, from the bottom of a nasty well, he preached to a people without ears to hear. Yet, in Jeremiah's captivity, God's word went forth to a disobedient, chastised Israel. All the while, the man of God was formed. God alone fashions a man.

I could speak more of Daniel, Paul or even young Timothy. Beloved, may I speak of you? Are you God's man? If so, rest assured you will surely become a man of God.

It is written, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened [only] to you." (1 Pet. 4:12)

All these men (and make no mistake, there were women too) had no clue as to how the Lord was going to fashion them. It was undoubtedly not the path they themselves would have chosen. They were gifted men and women. I am sure that in their own minds God was already "using" them. He does not want to use us though; He wants us to know Him. Only then can He really "use" us. We may suppose they too thought it strange when their fiery trial came upon them! It was not strange – but normal.

God is forming Kingdom character in us. Holiness is our portion. We are the marble, and He has the chisel. He is not fashioning us for this world (that is so hard for us to grasp), but for Himself in the next. He first desires intimacy of relationship with us, not how much we do for Him, which is how our thinking goes. In our doings, we lose Him. The Lord is steady, polishing us, His jewels, that we may shine forth His glory forever more. We are living stones beloved, and when all is said and done, we will all shine forth a crystal clear reflection of Him!

Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. Incarnation was incarceration for Him. It was not natural for him to be in a human body. Do you think He thought it strange? I do. Now though, He can sympathize with our weaknesses.

Sister Debbie is a wonderful woman of God. She was very busy about her Father's business. Debbie was in "all the jails", teaching the Word and encouraging the women. She has been on countless missionary trips around the world. She is now in a rehab; think it not strange my precious sister. You are learning to rest at your Lord's feet. It is His desire. Your head is now fully bowed. Know this---that God alone fashions Martha into Mary.

I too was teaching, preaching and evangelizing to all that would listen, and to many that didn't! I was joyfully tending to my precious garden every day. I had my only begotten Carlos always at my side. I thought, "I am doing well." The Lord thought otherwise! He determined that I needed to be in a dorm with 140 other men for my last four years. Yes, I think it strange. I tried to escape by every means possible. The Lord said, "You'll stay there Philip." My head is now fully bowed. God alone is fashioning me. This world is our Potter's house. Here and now is where we are fashioned by the Lord's good pleasure. What trial are you now in? Beloved...