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This Thing is from Me
Jan 7, 2004
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
I was speaking recently with a conference coordinator who called to ask me to be their keynote speaker. We talked awhile, and the theme emerged for the conferenceówalking with God. Then we began to talk about the tendency of believers to blame circumstances, other people, and/or the devil for adverse events occurring in their lives, adverse, that is, from their perspective.
I began to talk about a verse that jumped out at me a long time ago in the OT. It was in 1 Kings 12.24 and 2 Chronicles 11.4. After Solomon died, the kingdom split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. Israel, the ten tribes to the north, made Jeroboam king, determining not to follow the house of David. Judah, along with Benjamin, gathered around Rehoboam. A hundred and fourscore thousand warriors were ready to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, Saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king Of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, And to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus says The LORD, You shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren, the children of Israel. Return every man to his house; for this thing is from Me. They hearkened Therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to Depart, according to the word of the LORD.
(1 Kings 12.22-24)
This thing is from Me. You see, previous to this time, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite had approached Jeroboam in a field. The prophet rent a new garment into twelve pieces, telling Jeroboam to take ten pieces because the Lord was going to rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give ten tribes to Jeroboam. Only one tribe would stay under the house of David for Davidís sake and for Jerusalemís sake. (The one tribe including Benjamin.) Why? "Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father." (1 Kings 11.33)
God planned to rend the tribes into two kingdoms. Only Judah with Benjamin would remain in the house of David so that a light would always be before God in Jerusalem, the city where God had chosen to put His name. Davidís house would be afflicted but not forever. At the time of this prophecy, Solomon was still living. Jeroboam fled into Egypt because of it and because Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam. Jeroboam did not return from Egypt until Solomon died.
After Solomonís death, all Israel came to Shechem to make Rehoboam king. The people wanted the tax yoke lessened (donít we all?). Instead of listening to his older advisers and the peopleís cries for relief, Rehoboam listened to his peers and increased the yoke, so much so that it sparked a revolt. The revolt, however, was in Godís plan so as to fulfill the prophetic word to Jeroboam. Thus, when Rehoboam was ready to fight in a civil war, the war was averted by yet another prophetic word. "This thing is from Me."
You can read more of the story in 1 Kings. I want to consider the words, this thing is from Me.
Sometimes itís hard to see through the maze of circumstances and events occurring in our lives. We read that verse in Romans 8.28, which says, "And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose," but when something adverse actually happens, we donít want to embrace this truth. This thing is from God and for the believer. All things will work together for good. We say, "Right. You betcha. Okay. When?"
When I became a real Christian (for I had grown up in the church but didnít really become born again until my twenties), no one let me in on what it would mean to have Jesus as Lord as well as Savior. No one sat me down to explain to me the cost of discipleship, the cost of following the Lamb wherever He goes. Godís plan to sanctify me and change me from within to without wasnít too clear. At first, I mostly lived by default, not really having a clue as to the design of God.
So, Iíll try to give you a clue, a little hint to help you in your Christian life. God has a plan for your life. Whateverís going on, God is sovereign over your life. Things are happening, but behind the scenes, God is directing everything. "This thing is from Me." God is fulfilling His Word, fulfilling His promises, fulfilling His purposes.
"This thing is from Me:"
- to call you to relationship with a covenant-keeping God, to call you closer, to call you higher. Everything in your life led up to the time you were born again, and since that time, God has been working in your life to cause you to desire relationship with Him, to desire Him more than you desire His gifts and goodies. "I will be your God, and you will be My people."
- to carry you as one borne by the Holy Spirit into circumstances uniquely designed for you to test you, to prove you, to examine your faith against the standard, Jesus Christ, to see whatís in your heart. These times are tailor-made just for you. (James 1; 1 Chronicles 28.9; 2 Thess. 3.5; 2 Corinthians 4)
- to chasten you as a son. To make you chaste and purify your heart and life, God disciplines you as a son. Out of His love for you, He shows you your sin, where you are out of alignment with Him and His will, so that He, a holy God, can fellowship with you, manifest His presence in your presence, and love you more and more. (Hebrews 12)
- to crucify you with Christ, crucify the flesh with its passions and lusts, and crucify you to the world and the world to you. (Galatians)
- to consecrate and complete you as a vessel and tabernacle of ministry. (Hebrews 8.20-22; Ezekiel 43.26, 27; 1 Thess. 5.23)
- to conform you to the image of Jesus Christ. (Romans 8.29, 30)
- to cause you to become an overcomer. (Rev. 2.7, 11, 17, 26-29; 3.5, 12, 21; 21.7, e.g.)
God is after relationship, and salvation is really about getting back to the Father. There is only one way. Jesus said, No one comes to the Father, but by Me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If we want relationship with God, relationship with the Father, it can come only through Jesus Christ, through faith in Him and by Him. Jesus has rent the veil of separation and made possible access to the Holy of Holies. His whole life was one supreme act of obedience. By His death and resurrection, by His blood, by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us, we have boldness to enter into the holiest. We can know the Father, abide in Him, live in relationship with Him. We can carry the anointing of His presence and live, really live.
Whatever comes in 2004, there is an open door. It is a door of grace and a door of hope. God will turn the valley of Achor (trouble) into a door of hope. Jesus is the Door, and His arms are open wide to receive you. He is saying, This thing is from Me, and it is a gift, a gift of grace. That grace is given that you might hear and obey God through faith working by love. This gift of grace comes to sanctify you that you might be separated unto God and from your sin. This gift of grace comes that your faith might grow and that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. So come to the waters, drink, and be filled. Whatever the day, rejoice in the Lord. He loves you. His heart is good, true, pure, loving, and holy. He desires to bless you this year. He desires to draw you close to Himself. He desires to walk with you in the cool of the day in the garden of God. Go after Him this year, seeking Him as never before. And you will find Him.
The conference coordinator in Miami said to me, "Thatís the message we need you to bring to us. Talk to us about that! This thing is from Me."
We thank you for your gifts of love, which enable us to continue ministering to those coming to Craighouse and to the recipients of the Barnabas Project. We resume mission trips this year and are in the planning stages for a home visitation ministry, which will begin very soon. The anointing has never been stronger, and many coming are being born again and being healed by the Lord.
One young man, a Muslim whose mother participates in the ministry of Craighouse and MCM, wanted to come "to be saved" at Craighouse. As I presented the gospel and prayed for him, he gave his life to Jesus Christ. Already, the Lord is at work in his life. He had a dream indicating to him that he needed to give up companions that were not "good." His friends are surprised that he is no longer running with them. He wants the Lord! And he is willing to let God make changes in his life to have Him. We praise God for him and for the others whose lives are touched and changed through MCM.
We thank God for you as well, for your support is so needed for us to continue ministering. Itís a new year, and this year we hope to strengthen our commitment to the cause of Christ. Will you join us?
Held in the grip of His grace,
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
If any man hear My voice and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him,
And he with Me.
To him that overcomes will I grant to sit
With Me in My throne, even as I also overcame,
And am set down with My Father in His throne.
He that has an ear, let him hear
What the Spirit says unto the churches.
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