When you take things away from people you've got to give them something that's just as good. Like some of these false cults, for example: They enable their members to have all kinds of spiritual powers and do miracles and things, and when you take them out of that and give them Christianity, you've got to give them something that to their way of thinking is just as powerful.
Christians and the churches take a negative approach to false religions. They attack them negatively, trying to show everything that's wrong with them, but they don't really offer them something better! They don't really show them how much better the Lord (Jesus Christ) is, at least a lot of them don't. They don't really show them how much greater power they can have through the Lord! (Maria: They can't, because they don't have that power themselves. Because they don't want to accept it.)
My mother used to illustrate it by the famous picture of the little girl that has dropped her fancy little dolly that she loved so much. You see the dolly falling to the ground out of one hand, and she's reaching up to a real live dove that's coming down to land on her other hand! In other words, the imitation was easily traded for the reality of something even better.
Mother used to illustrate it that way to show that you don't have to fight these false religions, just show'm something better, give them something better! Show them that Christ is better, the Holy Spirit is more powerful and that God is the God!--That you can really have greater peace, greater power and the only Salvation through Jesus! Because nearly all of them are imitations and counterfeits of the reality. And who wants an imitation and a counterfeit when they can have the real thing?
(Maria: But even manifestations of some of the more miraculous, more helpful, protective things seem to occur for these false cults in a more spectacular way than in the Christian's life. We as Christians have many many miraculous answers to prayer, none the less miraculous just because we can't see them take place before our very eyes! But the Lord more often than not lets our miracles be done through natural channels in accordance with His natural laws, not bypassing them in a spectacular show that calls public attention to them. Do you think that's because the Lord wants us to believe by faith and just know that He's doing it and taking care of it without us having to see what He's doing?)--Yes, of course.
Our main miracle that we want people to see is salvation and its power to change hearts and lives! These false cults emphasise and spend their time on signs and wonders with no real power to change people!
Of all the nine gifts of the Spirit, only three really are obviously observably supernatural, such as tongues, miracles and healings.--Miraculous types of healings, instant healings etc. We have plenty of healings, we have plenty of tongues and we've had miracles. But they've not been the main nor most spectacular part of our ministry and they've not had to be!
We're trying to win people to Christ and the love of God, and not just going around showing off our super-duper spirituality, that we're some kind of mystical gurus that can perform miracles and healings and speak in tongues and do showy spiritual manifestations! (Maria: It would make us too proud, wouldn't it? And it would gain us a following who were coming along just for the miracles.)--Just for the loaves and the fishes, just for that sort of thing, just like the Pentecostals have.
(Maria: I guess the Lord wants us to have faith too, just faith in Him, in the unseen.)--Yes, most of the gifts of the Spirit are not showy gifts, they are the gifts of wisdom and knowledge and faith and discernment and things which are not so showy, not so obviously supernatural, but things which are the most needed and the best of all the gifts if you're going to work for the Lord! If you're really going to do things for God and be led of His Spirit, THEY are the things that you have to have in order to be a real leader for the Lord!
How many church people really want gifts of the Spirit which will help them witness and win souls and have the faith to go to the mission field and faith for support and to self-sacrifice to give their all and suffer for Jesus and for others that they can save souls for Heaven! (Maria: Not very many.)--Not many!
Most Christians are after God with the attitude, "What's in it for me? What can God do for me?" What J. F. Kennedy said to the nation: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country?", could be paraphrased for Christians: Ask not what your God can do for you; but what can you do for your God! My message for the average church person is quit asking God, "What can You do for me, God? What's in it for me?"
We literally have a higher and far more sacrificial calling which requires far more faith and wisdom and knowledge and other gifts of the Spirit in order to sacrificially witness and preach the Gospel and win souls, save people for Heaven!--And not just, "What can I get out of this religion? What can I do to still live comfortably and sacrifice little or nothing and give up almost nothing to go to church on Sunday and get out of it whatever I can for me selfishly?" That's what most church people are after with their selfish motives of self-aggrandisement, self-interest and self-acquisition.
Most Christians have a selfish approach to faith and Christianity and Churchianity: "Is it doing any good for me? What do I get out of it? What's in it for me?" I mean, everything's in it for us, of course! By forsaking all and serving the Lord and pleasing God, He'll give us almost anything, the desires of our hearts abundantly above all that we can ask or think!--Not only our needs, but our wants!--The desires of our hearts! everything's in it for us!--If we will delight ourselves in Him and His Will and His service in obedience to lay down our lives in love for others and for Him! If we'll obey Him and do His Will and follow Him and serve Him and others and win souls, everything's in it for us!
There are two sides to the deal! It's not only, "God, what can I get out of You?" But also God wants to know, "Christian, what can I get out of you?" And if He can get enough out of you, He'll give you anything, like He has us! PTL!
So this business of wanting spiritual manifestations and miracles and powers and supernatural demonstrations just to show off your power and that you're some kind of a god and you're some kind of a supernatural superman human being, this is what most people are looking for. They're looking for the spiritual, even church people. They're not really looking for what they can do for God or others, they're looking for what they can get out of it for themselves and show off to others!
The Lord showed us that this is foolishness as far as God's concerned! "O foolish Galatians! O foolish Corinthians!" All this foolishness of child's play, of playing with the gifts of the Spirit like they were toys! The Lord had to show us that we needed to grow up and be mature Christians with the responsibility of parents and the responsibility of souls and followers, babes in Christ, to teach others to teach others to teach others, that a Christian has most of all a responsibility to God in thanks and gratitude for what God has done for us already! We're not just to be looking for more and selfishly craving more, selfishly boasting of more, but we are to sacrificially want to serve Christ and serve others and witness and win souls forever for Heaven!
The lord tells people to sit down and count the cost, because as far as we're concerned, when people join our Family they know what's in it for them--they're going to have to live like they see the Family living, and they're going to have to witness like they see the person witnessing who witnessed to them! They're going to have to win souls like they were won! They're going to have to live by faith like the Family lives! They're going to have to suffer persecution like the Family suffers! They know what's going to be in it for them! But because they know what priceless benefits they have already gotten out of it, they join anyhow because they love the Lord and they want to please Him, and they love souls and they want to save'm! that's what's in it for you and me!--Amen?
I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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