VATIC Expressions: Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume 2, Spring 2016 Issue. A division of Vatic Publishing®, LLC.
by Penny Ojeda
I arrived at church a few minutes before Wednesday service, and immediately someone approached me to ask if I had a room for them and their friend at my house. They are homeless, and I think they are using drugs. I said “no” because I share a home with my parents. I was really annoyed… and then I realized I needed to look inside my heart. Sometimes people come to church for whatever they can get, including money, and I get frustrated because it seems like they are using us. I don’t really think they come because they want to be healed or free, but they are related to one of our church members, so then I have to look at them as family. My Pastor is very gracious and he is a great example of the Love of the Lord. He welcomes everyone, no matter what. I have not achieved this attitude, but I need to so that I will be more like Christ.
A funny thing happened that day: I was cleaning my glasses during service, and they cracked. I wear my glasses all day, every day. I need them to read but I get dizzy if I try to use them only when reading, so I just don’t take them off. As I reflect on this incident, I realize that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, and He was teaching me something in that moment.
Romans 2:4 Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 Or do you have no regard for the wealth of His kindness and tolerance and patience [in withholding His wrath]? Are you [actually] unaware or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]?
If someone comes to church with maybe wrong motives, we must still welcome them and love them. We must do what the Lord says to do in the situation. The Holy Spirit can touch the heart of the person and the Word being preached can touch the person. How many of us have been changed by the words of a song, the embrace of a person, or a teaching of the Word? It’s like a sword that pierces and we are touched!
My Pastor always says, “What is happening in the natural is an indicator of what is happening in the spiritual realm.” Well, the Lord is saying to me that I need to change the way I see; I need a new pair of glasses and a new outlook.
Throughout this week I have also been reminded of what the Word of God that says about the laborer in the Vineyard:
Matthew 20:1-16 AMP
Laborers in the Vineyard
20 For the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out in the morning at dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour (9:00 a.m.) and saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right (an appropriate wage).’ And they went. 5 He went out about the sixth hour (noon) and the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), and did the same thing. 6 And about the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They answered him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He told them, ‘You go into the vineyard also.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last [to be hired] and ending with the first [to be hired].’ 9 Those who had been hired at the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) came and received a denarius each [a day’s wage]. 10 Now when the first [to be hired] came, they thought they would get more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they protested and grumbled at the owner of the estate, 12 saying, ‘These men who came last worked [only] one hour, and yet you have made them equal [in wages] to us who have carried [most of] the burden and [worked in] the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But the owner of the estate replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go, but I choose to give to this last man [hired] the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not lawfully permitted to do what I choose with what is mine? Or is your eye [b]envious because I am generous?’ 16 So those who are last [in this world] shall be first [in the world to come], and those who are first, last.
Have you grumbled about how someone new comes to the church where you have labored, served, cried, prayed etc., they are so blessed and the Lord just uses them and gives them so much that the Pastor promotes them quickly? Did you feel left out, forgotten, jealous etc.? I have experienced this, and the Lord is saying to me change my view because it is old and He will break it so that I can see with new vision! My pastor, Apostle Brad Alford, was saying last week, “Established religion can never bring about the reformation that the church desperately needs!! So God brings His "outsiders" in to shake up the status quo which causes many in religious systems to attack in order to keep their power base!! Are you an outsider?” I need to be happy when outsiders come, or new believers get blessed and used by God. I need to listen to what the Holy Spirit says through them.
Guess What? It doesn’t stop there. The Lord is calling me to change and look inside of my heart more. I started a Biblical Counseling class in January, and we are reading Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically by John F MacArthur. I had to wear old glasses to class (they are probably 4 to 6 years old) for two weeks. When I read, especially at night, I could not get very far because my eyes strained so badly. I work during the day, so there isn’t a lot of time to finish my reading in daylight. Even my attempts at using a magnifying glass didn’t help very much at all. I was looking forward to getting my new glasses and being able to read a lot again.
In the same way I have had to look through eyeglasses that do not allow me to read clearly, I believe that we as the Body of Christ have allowed mixture in our lives that has hindered our faith in God and His Word. In fact, if we have mixture in our lives, we cannot even walk in the full power and destiny the Lord has for us. “Mixture” can be philosophies, doctrines of demons, traditions of man, opinions of man, religion, wrong mindsets from our own experiences and attitudes, as well as cultural or family traditions and worldly influences.
My Biblical Counseling class is causing me to come face to face with the psychology I have learned throughout my life. Psychology has been integrated into the church for many years, and there are many types like clinical, Jungian, Freudian psychology, etc. Using eyeglasses that are not allowing you to see clearly is like believing, and walking in, lies, philosophies, doctrines of demons, etc. rather than the truth!
Now, many people are trained in psychology—you believe it and use it. However, for me, this class is challenging me to ask myself (and you!) “Is Psychology your final Authority?” The week I began writing, this I was talking to a customer who retired from a local institution as a psychiatrist for the sexually violent. Only the Lord knows what I am learning right now, and I have not been talking with very many people about it, so I am confident this was a divine appointment. I asked this man, “Did you like working at the institution?” He said, “It was a job… I found that none of my clients became better with the treatments.” I responded by saying, “Because it’s a spiritual problem and only God can change someone in that condition.”
While wearing my old glasses, the Lord is showing me how we tend to have mixed philosophies, humanistic ideas, opinions, etc. and it causes us not see clearly how the God of the Bible sees us and others. I wonder, where are we with the Word of God? Doctors and professionals are valuable, but GOD’s WORD as a Christian needs to be the final authority in our lives, right?? Do we help others with the pure WORD of GOD or use philosophies, doctrines of demons, opinions of man to counsel? What did God say about doctrines of demon’s, philosophies, etc.???
Colossians 2:8 AMP
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the [f]elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God].
Forgive me, Lord, when I have placed other beliefs above You and Your Word.
I am not satisfied with the doctrines, philosophies, traditions, etc. of man. As far as I’m concerned, I put them in the category of my old eyeglasses: they keep us from being able to see clearly and hinder our ability to become, fully, what the Lord has created us to be. I want the pure WORD of GOD to heal me, correct me, free me, guide me, comfort me, and strengthen me.
I am going to continue my training in SOLID BIBLICAL COUNSELING. I am going to swim against the tide of the world. Being solid in JESUS ALONE no matter the cost. Is there a cost? Oh yes, I have already lost so much. But I have JESUS and, therefore, I have everything.
Allow this to challenge you; are you standing on solid ground of the Word and Jesus? Or do you have philosophies, doctrines, and traditions of man that have taken you away from, or kept you from, your FIRST LOVE?
Its time, Body of Christ, to choose. It’s time to change. It’s time to believe the WORD of GOD, FULLY.
Guess What? We will always have areas in our lives that the Lord says to look inside and change. I have found if I am willing, He gives me the grace, and He sends the support and resources I need. Oh, How He Loves Us.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
2 To proclaim [a]the favorable year of the Lord,
[b]And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a [c]turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3 AMP)
© 2015 Penny Ojeda