The other day some thieves used a sledge hammer to knock a hole through a brick wall and broke into our trailer late at night. They stole over a thousand dollars worth of stuff. Many of the things we got for prisoners and we can’t afford to replace them. It caught us totally unprepared. Jesus says “But know this if the master had known at what hour the thief came he would be ready…Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh…Be ye also ready: for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Mt.24:42/Lk.12:40).
Jesus is saying we must live as though He will return any moment. We had a phenomenal experience when we split up for a city at the southern tip of Chile named Conception. It is winter here and very cold. It was like the early days recorded in the Book of Acts. The Holy Spirit is searching to save men. There were large crowds separately around Abraham, Joshua, Ruth, Elizabeth in the city center. We gave out thousands of tracts and had much individual sharing. By faith Abraham and Ruth went to the prisons and God opened the doors. Joshua went to one of the largest and most prestigious universities in South America down here. The attitude was surprisingly receptive and crowds of kids listened as he shared (photos below).
We visited a large orphanage recently where we once again moved my heart breaking stories by children abandon by parents. One little boy instantly ran over to our large speaker and kept his ear hard pressed against all day. He couldn’t hear or speak. He was autistic and it was so sad to see. He is the little boy holding onto our giant frog (Joshua) a few photos down.
It was such a cool picture when a guard put our signs and poles next to their machine guns, vest, rifles and other weapons. Then they were escorted into the prison yard by these amazing guards into over three hundred prisoners. The guards all stood in formation behind them. All the men gathered around them in a semi circle as they preached Jesus. So many stories. In the women’s prison and two with men. Praise Jesus. We are leaving for Brazil in two weeks. On the way we have been invited to several maximum security prisons. Did I say “It is cold?”. It is cold.
The other day my son Joshua needed a box for a skit. So he walked down the street towards a dumpster. Store owners exchanged casual greetings with him. However on the way back from the dumpster everyone ignored him. Those same smiling people would not even look his way. Not even a glance. Suddenly he realized everyone thought he was homeless because he was looking through the trash.
It is the wicked instinct in our blood to look away from any reality which interrupts our world with suffering. Isaiah says the face of the Messiah reflected a culmination of all suffering of mankind to such an extent that Jesus was One Whom men “hide their face from” (Is.53:3). Jesus says when you see The Sufferers you see Him (Mt.25:41ff). There are so many beggars on the street, or guys in prison, or old people in wheel chairs, or mentally handicapped who can pierce and shatter our self-insulated armor of comfort with just one look.
I see my evil reaction rise up and have learned to forcibly bend my will to face the unfaceable and not just see them but go to them expecting nothing less than God to rise up within me to meet them. It is not just for their sake. It is for my sake. That my heart of stone would be broken into a heart of flesh (Ez.36:26). That my selfish ways would turn into loving ways. That I could actually bring the living Person of Jesus to them in my mortal body (2 Cor.4:11).
Jesus warns that in these last days the wickedness that presses upon us from every side will cause our own hearts to “wax cold” of love (Mt.24:12). So many “little” wicked ways can infiltrate daily thinking and without realizing it harden your heart.
A few days later Joshua shared about his experience while preaching downtown. A homeless man came up and was just broken by his words which exactly described his way of life every day. No one would even look at him. They had a great sharing. Amazing how we have no idea the domino effect our lives can have when we are in God’s will. Even in the smallest or strangest things God has a plan beyond our imagination. The just shall live by faith (Rm.1:17,Rm.14:23).
You must get beneath the shell of your man to the hidden place where salvation happens and mere existence gives birth to life. David calls it “the innermost being” (Ps.51:6). To be a pawn on the chessboard of the King is no little thing. Destiny is everything. And it only happens beneath the surface. That thing that so many people today call “a blessing” may happen at a carnal level but the intimate mystery of being led by the Father only happens at a depth of spirit (Jn.4:24). To sense His strategy and be moved by His hand is all I live for. Without it my life has no meaning.
Each man is tested. God challenges the depths of our being in the most personal way. What we do and how we react determines whether we enter His destiny or go the way of all men. My son Abraham does a dance/skit in prisons using these giant fishing nets. They are thrown over him. He looks to me, as the Father, for escape. But instead of immediately taking it off of him I slowly push him to the ground symbolizing Rom.6:6. Fellowship in His suffering is the only way to, not just be delivered, but understand His ways of destiny (Phil. 3:10/1 Pt.4:1).
The net is something in life God uses to break, deliver and then bless a man (Read Psalms 66:10-12). Back in my early beginnings, in seeking Jesus, I naively thought men would listen to me when I shared of my nothingness. I thought they would be so happy to hear this that they too could discover the glorious life of Jesus. “God requires us not to be something but to be nothing.” I am intimately aware of my ‘Gold Card’ status as an absolute nothing (1 Cor.1:27-28/1 Cor. 4:13). No one else has as “higher rating” of nothingness than I do.
To my amazement, after 40 years of serving Jesus, I have come to see how everyone despises a nothing. I was completely wrong. No one wants to be around someone who isn’t into being “righteous”. No matter how hard I have tried to win various people they simply refuse the offensive nature of TRUTH. They can’t get beyond themselves. The face of Reality is on the face of His followers and men do not want to see it. Jesus says “They hate Me…they will hate you…” (Jn. 15:19-20).
What is defined as “getting saved” these days is nothing less than a “gospel” from hell. The caption of a recent article in a popular evangelical newsletter read “ESCAPE ALL SUFFERING”. It might as well have said “ESCAPE CHARACTER” (1 Pt.4:1/Rm.5:4). Today’s “salvation” has no price or cost or offense or cross. There is no Jesus. It is self-preservation. It is a Catering Service for the flesh.
The only thing men have is their pride so they are not about to give it up for nothing…Someone….invisible. No sinner wants to have nothing but faith in the cross (1 Cor.1:18). They don’t want to lose their face… to face His Face. Yet this surrender is the true requirement for being a Christian. And it is tragic that such an “easy” thing, as becoming nothing, is so despised. For it is the “easy yoke” (Mt.11:30). Indeed, He Who is everything became nothing (Phil.2:7).
Today’s “Christians” fight to prove that they are “righteous”, not realizing that such fighting proves they do not feel righteous. They agree with Bible verses that say they are “sinners”. “Oh yes I know I’m a wretched sinner…blah…blah…blah…”. But when it comes to “the living Word”; i.e. one on one with them, well they are quickly and easily offended in a heartbeat by any personal confrontation (Heb.4:12). “Who are YOU to tell ME? I have come so far”. So I have concluded that “no man can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him; For the redemption of their life is costly, And it faileth for ever” (Ps. 49:7). So I let ‘em go.
I have had the most wicked things said against me by most “Christians”. Not because of anything I did but because I insist they must become nothing as I am. Paul says we are “the things that are not” and “I am the dregs and scum of the earth” (1 Cor.1: 28,4:13). If you refuse to be dead in Christ you will not discern between flesh and spirit because you will have no spirit, only flesh. So you will constantly be offended as any sinner. Since you have no understanding of sin you will take everything personally.
I have had the most wicked things said against me by the most wicked and I must fully agree with them because I do not take myself personally. Before I am Michael I am MAN. As man I stand condemned under the Law. I stand as an enemy of God. Thus I die to live. Now, contrary to the popular bumper sticker (HAVE PATIENCE WITH ME, CHRIST IS NOT FINISHED YET) Jesus says, in regards to things concerning my salvation “It is finished”. I no longer have to try to defend myself. I am fully secure in Christ. I take all offense objectively because all things evil said against my dead man are true. The truth has cut me free of myself. I am seated in heavenly places with Christ (Gal.2:20/Col. 3:1-4).
You see, it’s easy to agree with Christian theory. Billions do it. Some better than others. Their Christianity is like a well put together model airplane sitting on their desk. But when it comes down to the disposition of being broken, transparent and humble, well such things require far more than abstract Bible knowledge. Suffering is the automatic outcome of standing in Jesus because the world rejects Him because it belongs to Satan (1 Jn.5:19). To offer yourself as a sacrifice to Jesus is the fragrance of obedience He Himself gave to the Father (2 Cor.2:14ff/Heb.10:5ff).
It’s all about attitude. In our work in the prisons here we made a “Jacob’s Ladder” as a teaching tool (Gen.28:12/Jn.1;51). It is the “place” in which God meets every man. It is symbolic of the Person of Jesus. Elizabeth made this thing out of cloth with a place on each side to slide in a pole. There are six rungs in which we wrote 6 teaching points. In Spanish the letters comprise the word Arriba which means “above”. We have a skit and music which explain it.
Rise “ARRIBA” (above) yourself– The six rungs of Jacob’s Ladder are:
1) Attitude-Humility- Going low gets you high. Jacob was content sleeping on a rock. Attitude determines altitude.
2) Remember- Not what you did or who you were. No regrets. Remember a future promised in Jesus. Jacob made a memorial that God’s Word insured a future.
3) Rendicion (surrender)– When things are not the way you planned believe God has a plan. God requires a heart to do His will not a slave carrying out obligatory actions. Jacob learned God’s voice in his surrender.
4) Boca (mouth)– Everything concerning God is dependent upon opening your mouth to speak to Him specifically and expressly as an individual. Nothing happens if you don’t talk to Him. Jacob was a man of creative articulation.
5) Investigate- How will you have faith in God’s promises if you do not know Him? What exactly has God revealed of Himself in the Scriptures? Meditate. What does it mean to pray in the Spirit? In his dream Jacob contemplated God’s revelation.
6) Apply yourself- Take advantage of your intelligence, health, opportunity to apply these things.
If you implement this you will be “Nacer de arriba” (born from above-Jn.3:3). Jacob obeyed.
It is not a ladder to temporarily get over your problems, just to have to face them next week. Rather it is so that someone can get above themselves, into the Spirit of Christ, and once and for all resolve things (Gal.2:20/Rm.6:6/Jn.12:25). Salvation is not about you and your continual struggle with yourself about yourself. “I am just this way…I am just that way…”. Who cares? Salvation is about “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex.3:14).
Jesus says “Where I am there shall My servant be…” (Jn.12:26). You actually are supposed to die with Christ so you can be consumed with caring about sharing Jesus with others. Wow. What a supernatural concept, hey? Indeed. This is salvation (Jn.6:54-58).When everything in your life is nothing, and this nothing fills everything then the only thing that determines something is what you do in faith (Rm.1:17/10:4ff). There is nothing to motivate you. No person, place or thing, etc. This is when you prove yourself to God. It’s time to do something.
My wife asks me “Will you think about wearing some nice clothes?”. I say “Sure, I’ll think about it.” But I’ll never do it. I like to dress like a bum. I tell her “If it makes you happy I’ll think about it”. I think about a lot of things I will never do. It is not enough to have good thoughts. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. If you know that you should study the Scriptures this is not studying them. You will never find new life if you think you are doing something when you are doing nothing. If you think about prayer this is not praying. To admire love is not love. To make no effort to love someone is delusion. You will never experience the destiny of Jesus in the Father if you do not change your heart.
One day you will look up and see something strange happening in the clouds.
The King of Kings will appear.
Michael Woroniecki | The Fragrance Of Nothing| May 29th | 2015