To follow up from the last blog where I shared about us all going to the prison to ask if we could perform for the ten thousand prisoners. The commander approved our visit so we will be going there three times this week. This is quite a move of God if you knew of all the obstacles we had to overcome.We did something last night that we have never done before.
We explained to the crowd that we were going to the prisoners and asked if anyone wanted to help us bless these guys because we can not afford to do what we would like to do. We told them if they could help us we could buy some things for the prisoners. One person actually gave us thirty five dollars! We were shocked. They didn’t even want credit. They just put it in a hat we had sitting on a speaker. All together we got sixty four dollars. We’d like to get something that lasts. But when you multiply things out times 5000 to 10,000 it gets very expensive.
I don’t know anything else so sad as seeing the long lines of men, dressed in street clothes, holding a garbage bag and standing in a line outside the prison gate waiting to be processed into this hell hole. For how many years?! It reminds me of the Jews being herded into the concentration camps. These guys don’t know the immense pressure of death and evil waiting to extinguish their lives. It is no little thing. This is why Jesus specifically says “REMEMBER THE PRISONERS as though in prison with them and those who are ill treated…” (Hebrews 13:3). I will let you know about our visits next blog. Also going to the orphanage here in the city.
Long ago we bought a 40 foot sailboat with a desire to preach Jesus to this very area. That was sixteen years ago. Now we are here, in God’s time. We often thank God for stopping us. We sold our bus back then to pay for a fixer-upper sailboat. The very first day we crashed into a dock and put a huge gash in the hull. It went from one burden to another with a list so long I could write a book. God’s love was that of a Father having to discipline a son (Heb.12:4). A year after purchase we sailed to Cuba but a school of dolphins were used to alert us to stop us off the coast of Miami because serious steerage way problems were lingering under our ship. That was the final straw and the beginning of a marvelous path into “the deep waters” of His Spirit ( Ps.42:7).
I learned many things as God promises to cause ALL things to work towards our good (Rm.8:28). A sailor determines the nature of his voyage, as a man does his future life, not at the time he faces a “rogue wave”, but rather by the degree of calculation invested in his voyage. The accuracy of his calculation process is crucial. Humility is essential. Due to the depth of calculation I made to follow Jesus I could cope with the complexity of dealing with our sailboat fiasco. Jesus says to “Calculate the cost…” of following Him (Lk.14:26). It is the calculation process that actually creates character for life. Resolution of will is tested, forged and the profound outcome is a person who is not just another talker but one who DOES things. Like they say “The path to hell is paved with good intentions”.
Today, men have no desire to “CALCULATE THE COST”. A quick prayer, religious exposure, experience or confession is naively expected to equip him to navigate the deadly currents of Satan’s world. A man decides his future, not at any given turn, but at the time he chooses his attitude. A man with an ill-prepared attitude will live an extremely shallow and difficult life. At every difficulty he will be full of questions and accusations; i.e. a bad attitude. The oceans of the world will undoubtedly leave him shipwrecked.
It is difficult to minister in a city day after day after day. But I calculated and resolved this long ago. It’s not just the physical toll but the mental and emotional stress of constant contention. The people are steeped in depression and hopelessness. Their faces are just full of misery and self-pity. Like others they want to be entertained not confronted with Jesus. The work is having to communicate in such a way so as to make them see His provision is their answer. The history of Peru explains so much. Plagues devastated the indigenous. Government corruption left the city in financial ruins. A Japanese ruler and Chinese influx had a communistic influence. The Shining Path had tremendous influence. It was a Maoist terrorist group brandishing the hammer and sickle on the red communist flag. It is worse than other countries we have dealt with.
The other day I needed an expansion in the longitude and latitude of my attitude.I have long learned the process of repentance so it’s just a matter of attainment and implication. Facing the hostility of men towards Jesus and watching men just walk away takes the heart out of you. It makes no sense (Jn.15:25). I am mere human flesh. I’ve done it hundreds of times. Yet every time is like the first. It kills you.
So God led me to Philippians 2:5-7 where Paul explicitly explains the thinking of Jesus. Jesus reveals it’s all about ATTITUDE. It is something we CAN create, build, change alter and it effects everything. He says there is ONE attitude that is “magic”. He says “Have THIS ATTITUDE in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,(now He could have said hundreds of things like faith, courage or boldness or nobility or even love instead he says one thing) Who… EMPTIED HIMSELF taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men…HE HUMBLED HIMSELF by becoming obedient to death”. How is a wicked man like me supposed to get the attitude of GOD?! Empty myself of myself. I can’t do a lot of things but this IS something I CAN do.
Who would ever think that “THIS ATTITUDE” is the answer to every problem you face?
It starts with individual contemplation and meditation. Stop. Think. Pray. All alone. How serious am I about solving my struggles? Pride is the GARGANTUAN monster that opposes me. It blinds us and ultimately fills our moments of of life with misery because we are unwilling to break it’s power. Do you really want the phenomenal experience of the living Jesus within you?How much do I believe His cross can break and replace my ways with His resurrection attitude? One of the best sayings of the world is “Where there is a will there is a way”. Jesus said it first in John 7:17. If Jesus Who is God Almighty could CHOOSE to be so humble why would I not do it? If an attitude of humility was His answer in dealing with men and situations then surely it is mine also.
There is a purpose, a gigantic purpose, in such humility. It’s called abundant life (Jn.10:10). Jesus came that things would NOT be a burden but a joy. The purpose of life is to find the truth and live it to the fullest.
Just think, of all the things Jesus could have chosen as to how He would visit this world, He chose the lowliest of lowliest attitudes. God chose to humble Himself before men! To see others as more important. To not fault men for their faults but rather see your own as worse than theirs. To realize you REALLY are a worm (Job 25:6/ 17:14). This kind of thinking is not basic. It requires the manner of calculation used by a rocket scientist. You ponder as no man ponders. You consider how a what you really feel, the evil that you have done, what you say in a facial expression, a posture, the sincerity behind your eye contact, how much you really care when speaking or listening, how much you talk about yourself and why, how much do you REALLY want to understand someone else’s situation, etc. are all matters of true humility. Humility requires that we see our own sin and fear it’s consequences then do what is necessary so it does not dominate you (Mark 9:43/Mt.11:12). My attitude is rooted in gratitude for His “Purchase” (Revelation 5:9).
In a strange way our original purpose of creating a performance has been more successful than we ever imagined. It was intended to draw people to us and communicate Jesus in country’s where we did not know the language. Sometimes the crowds get very big. It is only natural to be intimidated and feel pressure to want them to like you. Yet this is not our purpose. Jesus brings offense and persecution. Two worlds collide. Lamb found dead. Thus we constantly deal with consternation and so many other related issues. It wipes you out. The answer is the attitude of Jesus in realizing our sole focus is to please, not men, but through obedience, “even unto death” the Father.
This reality is an integral part of being a disciple. In order to make sure that we do not fall short of sharing the whole gospel every time we go out we have a predetermined appointment of one of the Biblical issues that each one of us is designated. So each of us, at some point during the time, share with the crowd one of the matters of; the Person of Jesus and faith, forgiveness, the Law or Jesus, judgement and the end times, hell, eternal life, the Scriptures, the world belongs to Satan.
The most rewarding gift a man give himself is a humility that leads to a CHANGE of attitude.
The Day is almost hear when the Beast will wage war against the Lamb and the called, the chosen and the faithful will be at His side (Revelation 17:14).