Share It

Google+ Followers

Google+ Followers

Google+ Followers

Google+ Followers

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

IT TOOK A WOMAN

Strategic Lessons of Faith from the Christmas Miracle
There was a very important time in salvation history in which a special human vessel was needed,  and gender was a necessary factor in God's choice for this mission. For the miracle of bringing the Son of God into the world, a man would not do. The Incarnation and virgin birth would require the cooperation of a woman.
In this essay I have identified 5 important lessons from Mary’s encounter with the angel (Luke 1:26-38) that are crucial for us as we believe God for miracles in our lives today.
(1) This miracle was initiated by God.
Mary was not straining in faith, prayer, and spiritual warfare trying to produce this miracle. This was a God-thing. There is no question that she had positioned herself for this miracle by a life of purity before God; but there was no initiative on her part for this specific miracle. Mary merely responded in faith to God’s initiative.
The emphasis today seems to be on human initiative, i.e., what we can do to generate miracles. One only has to look at the “how to” books that crowd the shelves of most Christian bookstores—“5 Steps to Your Financial Miracle” or “10 Keys to Your Miracle Healing,” etc., etc. Miracles have become commercialized and professionalized. And in the midst of this preoccupation with ourselves and what we can do, it is all too easy to forget that God Himself has thoughts and plans and that He acts according to His own sovereign will.
The wise thing for us, therefore, is to seek with all our hearts to know and understand His thoughts, His plans, and His will. Let’s not be so quick to make our plans and then “storm heaven” asking God to bless our plans. Instead, let’s get His plan and cooperate with His plan, for His plan is already blessed. Mary cooperated with His plan in the making of that first Christmas miracle.
(2) This miracle was beyond Mary’s ability to comprehend.
How can this be, since I do not know a man, was Mary’s response to Gabriel’s announcement. Her point was that, as a single woman committed to a life of purity and godliness, there was no way this could happen. God’s promise (vision) for our lives will always exceed our understanding of how it can happen, and our ability to make it happen. God’s revealed promise and plan will cause us to also ask, “How can this be?” God’s promise and plan for our lives will only happen as we learn to walk with Him in absolute, unequivocal trust.
(3) This miracle would come forth, not by human effort, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In answer to Mary’s question of “how can this be,” the angel Gabriel said, The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will over shadow you. This is also the answer for all our impossibilities--The Holy Spirit will come upon you. As to how a small, insignificant group of disciples could take the gospel to all the world, Jesus said in Acts 1:8, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
We must, therefore, relinquish all trust in ourselves and yield our lives totally to Him. As we cooperate with Him, He will turn all our impossibilities into possibilities. As the prophet Zechariah said concerning how Israel could overcome the impossible circumstances they faced, Not by (human) might, nor by (earthly) power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 4:6).
(4) The promise was like a seed with the potential power of fulfillment already inherent in that promise.
To the promise he is delivering from God, Gabriel adds the words, For with God nothing shall be impossible (NKJV). The Greek text literally reads, No rhema from God is void of power. A rhema is a particular word or promise for a specific situation. When God gives a promise, the power of fulfillment is inherent in that promise.
In Scripture, God’s word is often compared with seed because a seed has within itself the potential power to produce the desired end results. For example, to have a harvest of corn you do not have to know all the science of how a seed of corn germinates and grows into a mature stalk bearing multiple ears of corn. You simply have to put the seed in the ground and look after it because the seed has the power within itself to produce the end results.
The same is true of every rhema or word from God. It has within itself the power to produce the desired end results. Our part is to allow the seed to be planted in our hearts and then guard or steward that promise until we see it mature and bring forth the promised fruit or fulfillment (Luke 8:15). Once when struggling over the “mechanics” of how to build a church, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Preach my word and the church will emerge and come forth.”
(5) Mary’s faith response sealed the deal.
Let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38), was Mary’s response to Gabriel’s final explanation concerning how the miracle would happen. She is saying, in effect, “I recognize that it is naturally impossible but, nonetheless, Let it be to me according to your word.” This was the faith response for which Gabriel was looking and with it, he departed. Mary then departed to visit her cousin Elizabeth who, upon seeing her, exclaimed by the Spirit, Blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of those things that were told her from the Lord.
Mary was blessed because she believed the promise, not because she had some special status with God. We too are blessed when we embrace the promise and say with Mary, Let it be to me according to your word
Concluding Thought

Mary was astounded at God’s incredible plan for her, and realized it could only come forth through an absolute and unequivocal trust in Him. That is also how His plan for you and me will unfold in the days ahead. We say with Mary,” Be it unto me according to your word.” 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BECOMING A PILLAR IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

by Dr. Susan C. Hyatt
President of God's Word to Women
drsuehyatt@live.com


If you have not yet read the "musings" that I've posted as you scroll down this posting, I do hope you will take 5 minutes to do so. God is creating some "pillars" in "His temple" and many of you are, like me, "becomers."
Yesterday, I received a gracious FB Message from Bishop Steven Liberty, Sr., alerting me that he had included a “musings” that I wrote on Nov. 1, mainly for the God’s Word to Women Administrators!
Originally from Liberia, Brother Liberty and his wife, Evangelist Favor P. Liberty, make their home in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa. He is CEO & President at Shepherds Without Borders Lighthouse Bugle Ministries.
Brother Liberty publishes a magazine that reaches more than 78 nations, and in the current edition, which you can access from his FB Page (Bishop S. Liberty, Sr.) he reprinted that Nov. 1 musings!
In the lead to the posting of the current edition, he writes,
“We bless God for giving us the strength, courage and means to publish another edition of the Shepherds Without Borders Lighthouse Bugle Global Outreach Magazine , after months of battling with the tempter on every front of life! The battle goes on but with Christ as our Captain we know we will be victorious. We are ever bless for those who contribute articles etc to make each publication a success!” (Go to Bishop S. Liberty, Sr. orhttps://www.facebook.com/bishoplibertysr?fref=ts)
In his FB Message to me, he wrote:
“During those dark days when we felt we had he been defeated, we received a letter to post from Marilyn Orton, President of “Women of Worth,” which was written by … Susan Stubbs Hyatt. That letter revived a fire in my very soul and I cannot conclude this editorial without leaving you, God’s Faithful, facing the challenges of spreading the word without fear or favor or bowing to any pressure from the kingdom of darkness.
“A ‘Becoming Pillar’ in the Hands of the Master Builder”
By Susan Stubbs Hyatt
Reminder! YOU are important to GOD, to those who love you, to the masses of hurting women (and men) at home and in the nations around the world, and to Eddie and me. We are grateful for you and for all that you do for us and for others. Only God knows the extent of your work and sacrifice for Him.
I do know that most of you are hurting in at least one way or another. I know that you are dealing with the harsh realities of living in a fallen world. But I also know that the LORD JESUS cares and that He has wisdom for you that lead to solutions, relief and fulfillment.
Our challenge is to let His peace reign in our hearts and minds, and to walk in that peace. We are called to be overcomers, and overcomers are “pillars” in the Temple/House of the Lord! The fact is that were there nothing to overcome, we could not be overcomers. We becomes “pillars,” not by yielding to emotions, but by exercising our power to choose God’s will and wisdom.
With that in mind, I want to share a couple of things that you may or may not know.
First, Eddie has been shut out of many places of influence and ministry because of his willingness to stand with me regarding Biblical equality. Many people think that, given his giftings and calling, that he is busy most weekends in ministry. Not so! He has given up much to follow the LORD with me.
Secondly, in my own case, my willingness to take a stand and proclaim truth has shut me out of many venues, even when what God has done through me in those situations has released God’s manifest Presence and done much good! Truth, even spoken in Love and in the Power of the Holy Spirit, is a threat to many in positions of religious power.
So we do not lean. Pillars don’t lean. Pillars support.
I am sharing this because, with all my heart, I want you to stand strong in the Lord, to be a pillar. And in that, we are all becoming. None has arrived. We are becomers.
But the more “becoming pillars” that are in place in a structure, the more spacious the structure, the more space there is to bring in those who are lost and wounded, the more effectively we can offer hope, healing, and salvation. The world is a dark place and you are needed.
With little bits that you share with me, as well as by that inner Voice of the Holy Spirit, I am so aware that many--if not all--of you are facing serious challenges. Often we make our own challenges by our wrong choices. But many of the challenges you and I are facing are directly related to your being a committed follower of Jesus AND are amplified by our stand for Biblical equality. Both culture and the devil are aligned against you and me. But the Greater One is in us and is giving us all that we need to live in His peace. We can choose to acknowledge His goodness and let Him bless us. Every day, He wants to bless us with benefits of every good kind. And we can count on Him.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him or her out of them all.
In Eddie’s case, a “political” effort to crisscross the nation and the world in ministry would, no doubt, loose considerable financial support and catapult him onto “the stage.” Some would suggest we go that route, the way of the world. But God’s ways are better and bring forth His will, not only for Eternity, but also in the “here and now” in strategic ways that are in God’s Heart. Standing for truth without compromise and allowing the LORD to direct our steps and provide everything we need to do our small part in His Big Plan is our choice. He is faithful!
So, whatever you are facing, please, know that God is with you and for you, and that He will never abandon you. Release those cares, troubles, and challenges to Him. Stay in His Word. Pay attention to His Voice in your heart.
A “Becoming Pillar” in the Hands of the Master Builder,

Sue

Sunday, August 17, 2014

LISTEN TO SARAH

When Wives Should Confront Their Husbands
and Why Their Husbands Should Listen

But God said to Abraham, Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called (Genesis 21:12).

At a recent wedding reception in Ontario, Canada, Sue and I were seated with a Jewish businessman and his wife who are quite orthodox in their faith and fluent in Hebrew. We had a great time discussing O.T. Scripture and I decided to ask them a question concerning what I had read in the Chumash, a well-known Jewish commentary, about the phrase ezer neged in Genesis 2:18 that is translated “helpmeet” in the KJV and “helper comparable” in the NKJV.
We Have Gotten it Wrong About the “Helpmeet”
The Chumash, which is widely used in Jewish homes and synagogues, carries comments on the Torah by Jewish rabbis and teachers, both ancient and modern. Written by people for whom Hebrew is their native tongue, the Chumash says neged literally means “against,” and that God literally said he would make the man a “helper against” him. The Chumash commentators go on to say;
Many have noted that the ideal marriage is not necessarily one of total agreement in all matters. Often it is the wife’s responsibility to oppose her husband and prevent him from acting rashly, or to help him achieve a common course by questioning, criticizing, and discussing. Thus the verse means literally that there are times a wife can best be a helper by being against him (The Chumash, Stone Edition, 13).
I told this couple with whom we were seated about this reading in the Chumash and asked their opinion of its meaning. They confirmed that the word, indeed, means “against.”
I then recalled how I had learned in my own studies in Genesis, with Gentile sources, that neged means “corresponding to” and that it expresses a picture of two people standing face to face. This was in line with comments of another Jewish friend who said that neged carries the picture of two people standing “nose to nose.” I also recalled that the Hebrew word translated “helper” in Genesis 2:18 is ezer and is commonly used in the Old Testament of God being the “helper” of humanity (Susan Hyatt, In the Spirit We're Equal, 236-37).
Through all this, it was becoming very clear that the “helper” God creates in Genesis 2:18 is not a mild, meek “yes dear” sort of person who never challenges or expresses an opinion. I was beginning to see the truth of the Chumash that the helper God was making was a strong and equal individual who has the right and responsibility to confront her husband.
In contemplating on this original meaning of Genesis 2:18, I was reminded of two examples from Scripture, one from the Old Testament and one from the New. In one case, the wife confronting the husband was affirmed by God and it actually helped him fulfill God’s will for his life. In the second case, the wife did not confront her husband and, as a result, both lost their lives. The former case concerned Sarah and Abraham and the latter case concerned Ananias and Sapphira.
Sarah Confronts Abraham
In the Old Testament Sarah confronted Abraham over his passive and tolerant attitude toward Ishmael’s destructive behavior toward Isaac. She was very insistent that he get rid of Hagar and Ismael. Abraham was reluctant to do so and the Scripture says that Sarah’s demand was very displeasing to him.
Nonetheless, God took Sarah’s side and said to Abraham, Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. (Genesis  21:12). It was not a matter of who had authority over whom; it was a matter of what was right in the situation and in this situation Sarah happened to be right.
We can be thankful that Sarah was a true ezer neged and confronted her husband in that situation for he was wrong. We can also be thankful that Abraham was “man enough” to listen to Sarah and respond to her demand, for much was at stake in that situation, both for them and their posterity.
Sapphira Should Have Confronted Ananias
In the New Testament Luke tells about a man named Ananias who sold a property and decided he was going to give a portion of it to the church but tell the church he was giving it all (Acts 5:1-11). Luke says, his wife, was aware of what he had concocted. But, instead of confronting him, she put herself in agreement with him, i.e., she submitted to him.
When Ananias brought the money into Peter, Peter discerned the lie and confronted Ananias about his hypocritical scheme. When Ananias heard Peter’s words, he fell over dead and was immediately taken out and buried.
Three hours later Sapphira came in not knowing what had just happened to her husband. Peter asked her if they had sold the property for a certain amount. When she said, “yes,’ Peter replied, How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who buried you husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.
At that moment Sapphira also fell over dead and was taken out and buried next to her husband. Think about it! Here is a situation where two lives could possibly have been spared if the wife, instead of going along with her husband, had confronted him and stood against him and his evil scheme.
This story also shows the fallacy of the popular teaching that God works exclusively through delegated authority, and that it is our duty to submit to the authority even when they are wrong. Not so! God held Ananias and Sapphira equally and individually accountable for their actions. He is also holding each of us accountable for our actions, for as Paul says in II Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
It’s Time to Break with Tradition
Yes, our marriages must consist primarily of mutual love, support, and encouragement. But because we are all fallible and prone to shortcomings, there are times we need to be confronted by the person closest to us, which should be our spouse. Tradition has given this right to the husband, but not to the wife. The Bible, however, is clear on this matter. The wife has the right—and responsibility--to confront her husband and the husband has the responsibility to listen to his wife. 

Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Bible teacher who believes the body of Christ must be mobilized based on individual gifts and callings, not on gender. He derived this article from the book, In the Spirit We're Equal, authored by his wife, Dr. Susan Hyatt, who is president of God's Word to Women and GWTW College. In the Spirit We're Equal is presently out of print but is available in the Kindle format from Amazon. 


Friday, July 25, 2014

DID THEY GET IT RIGHT? THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND'S DECISION TO ORDAIN WOMEN AS BISHOPS

The Church of England (Anglican) set off a firestorm of protests and complaints when earlier this month its General Synod voted to begin ordaining women, not only as priests, but also as bishops. Roman Catholic leaders protested the move calling it an “obstacle” to Christian unity. One Catholic publication suggested that the move rejects the Catholic and Orthodox theology of Apostolic Succession and the nature of the priesthood. Protestant evangelicals, meanwhile, complained that it represents a capitulation to modern, secular culture and a departure from Biblical truth, often citing I Timothy 3:2, which says that a bishop must be the husband of one wife. Who is right?
In my book PURSUING POWER: How the Historic Quest for Apostolic Authority & Control Has Divided and Damaged the Church, I show the historic development of the New Testament episcopas (bishop) from a ministry of service into an office of power. I demonstrate that it was when the episcopas became associated with “power” rather than “service” that women began to be excluded, and the “bishopric” became the domain of men only. That the current controversy is still centered in “power” and not “service” only highlights the need for all sides to seriously consider a return to Jesus and the New Testament. (Jesus actually never used the word bishop/episcopas)
Since Catholics, Evangelicals and Anglicans, with some important qualifications and differences, would agree that what we teach must be based in Scripture I would like to point out, from Scripture, why a woman is not excluded from functioning as a New Testament episcopas. Since Jesus never used the word I will base this discussion on the most oft quoted passage in this regard, which is Paul’s statement in I Timothy 3:1-5 wherein he says that the episcopas must be the husband of own wife. Here are 5 reasons that this passage, and particularly husband of one wife, does not exclude women from serving as a New Testament episcopas.
Reason #1 
The Episcopas is Not an Office but a “Service,” i.e., a Responsibility.

The word “bishop” or “overseer” in this passage is a translation of the Greek word episcopas, which literally means to “watch over.” It did not originate with the New Testament, but was actually a secular word that Paul borrowed and used in regards to the responsibility of Christian leaders. In the ancient Greco-Roman world, episcopas was used of teachers who had the responsibility to “watch over” the academic progress of their students, of the superintendent of a building project, of watchmen stationed on a city wall, and of army scouts. Paul used it to designate the responsibility of elders to “watch over” the affairs of the congregation.
Paul does not use the word “office” or “position” in this passage (nor anywhere in the New Testament). Such words were added by the translators who thought they were helping clarify the passage. I am convinced, however, that they actually skew the meaning of the passage, which should be left as actually stated by Paul. What Paul is referring to is not an office, but a “work,” i.e., a function, or responsibility. He literally says in 3:1, This is a faithful saying, If anyone aspires to oversight, they desire a good work.
The functional nature of the episocopas is confirmed by Luke in Acts 20:17, 28 where he uses the word interchangeably with presbuteros (elder) and poimen (pastor) in referring to the leaders of the church in Ephesus. At this early date episcopas was still a ministry of service rather than an office of power.
Writing in the 5th century, the famous African church father, Augustine, noted that a mark of the true church is that its leaders are servants. He then went on to explain that the original meaning of episcopas is related to responsibility, not authority. “Therefore,” said Augustine, “He who loves to govern rather than do good is no bishop” (vol. 2 of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, 413).
Reason # 2
Throughout this discussion Paul uses Gender Inclusive Language.

Nowhere in this passage (I Timothy 3:1-5) does Paul use the Greek word for man, aner, but instead uses the gender inclusive personal pronoun tis, which means “someone” or “anyone.” For example, in 3:1 it is not if a man as the KJV and NKJV have it, but if anyone (NIV) or if someone (NRSV). This is also true of vs. 5 where Paul again uses tis, not aner, to confirm that oversight is not restricted to males. If Paul had wanted to exclude women from this function of oversight, he could have easily done so by using male-specific language. Instead, he uses gender inclusive language throughout the discussion.
Reason #3
Women were known to be heads of households, whichPaul says is a proving ground for serving as an overseer (3:5).

Verse 5 says, If a man anyone does not know how to manage their own household . . .. As mentioned above, Paul purposely uses a gender inclusive personal pronoun, tis, in this verse. As in vs. 2, it is not if a man, as the KJV and NKJV have it, but if someone (NRSV) or if anyone (NIV). Managing a household was not the province of the male in Paul’s world, for in his travels he had encountered women who were heads of households. In Philippi, he and his team were received by Lydia and she and her household were baptized (Acts 16:15) and her estate became the base for Paul’s ministry in that city. In I Corinthians 1:11, Paul mentions those of Chloe’s household who had brought him unfavorable news about the Corinthians. Chloe too is a feminine name and is further proof that women managed households in the ancient world, which qualified them to serve as overseers in the church.
Reason #4
In the pagan, patriarchal culture of the Greco-Roman world, men could carry on multiple, illegitimate sexual relationships, but women could not.

I once had a eureka moment while meditating on this verse that highlighted and underlined for me the fact that Paul was not excluding women from oversight when he said the overseer must be the husband of one wife. Interestingly, because there is not a separate word for “husband” in Greek, this passage literally reads that the overseer must be “a man of one woman.” Again, this particular criterion would not relate to a woman for women did not have the legal right or the cultural freedom to divorce and remarry and carry on illegitimate relationships as did the men. Women would be considered sluts and whores if they carried on in this way, but for men it was acceptable in that culture. It was necessary, therefore, for this condition, that relates particularly to men, to be included in this list of criteria for tis (anyone) who would serve as an overseer.
Reason #5
Women too Can Serve and Do Good.

I suggest to you that Paul had no problem with women serving and doing good, which is what New Testament leadership is about. We have been so brainwashed in an official, institutionalized, hierarchical form of Christianity, that we have a hard time grasping the open, free-flowing nature of New Testament Christianity.

But if we can catch the vision of what the Spirit is saying in this regard and move from gender-determined roles based in “power” to Spirit-guided functions rooted in “service,” who knows what exploits may be wrought for God in the days ahead!


Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian, theologian and Bible teacher. This article was drawn, in part, from his latest book, PURSUING POWER: How the Historic Quest for Apostolic Authority & Control Has Divided and Damaged the Church, available from Amazon and his website, http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Testimony by the Late Dr. Catherine Clark Kroeger

by Dr. Susan C. Hyatt

While unpacking boxes during our current move, I came across a handwritten testimony by Cathie to me for publication in a magazine I was publishing at the time called "CHANGE YOUR WORLD." Cathie, a dear friend, certainly did her part in that regard! Here is what she wrote.

My task is to bring women to full liberty in Christ, both in their lives and in their labors for Christ. At the age of 49, I trudged back to graduate school to gain the skills necessary to evaluate St. Paul's controversial teachings on women. I was convinced that this servant of God who penned Galatians 3:28 and I Corinthians 11:11.12 was no woman hater. Long before, Catherine Bushnell had pointed out that over 100 passages of Scripture affirm God's blessing upon the activities and ministry of women. 

Upon the fingers of one hand, one might count those texts that appear to be restrictive, largely in the writings of the Apostle Paul. So it was that I determined to study those passages diligently: to examine text and context, language, and cultural background, the circumstances and challenges discussed.

The more I studied the cults of ancient pagan women, the more I understood that Paul was seeking to guide them to new patterns of worship and conduct. While women well taught in Jewish tradition were given a significant role in ministry, recent gentile converts needed more instruction. Instead of noisy shouting, they were to worship quietly, modestly clothed, respecting the sensitivities of others. 

Jewish women or those whose behavior was appropriate became emissaries of the Gospel: Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia, Euodias, Syntyche, and the women at the empty tomb. These faithful ones were instructed to proclaim their risen Lord to the frightened and disbelieving apostles. In my writing, I seek to challenge women to emulate these early evangelists and to make Christ known in every dimension of life to every part of the world. 

But the Bible speaks out against violence, stalking, lying in wait, twisting the words of another, against insults and name calling, against humiliating another or degrading them, against sexual abuse. Women need to understand that this pattern is not God's pattern for either the victim or the perpetrator. The Bible offers guidance for many ways in which believers can intervene and protect in troubled situations.

In cooperation with a Canadian sociologist who studies abuse in Christian homes, we authored a book for World Evangelical Fellowship, No Place for Abuse: Biblical and Practical Resources to Address Violence in Christian Homes. I have as well co-edited, Women, Abuse and the Bible and Healing the Hurting: Help and Hope for the Abused Christian Woman.

My wider writings include an analysis of I Timothy 2:11-15, the passage most often used restrictively against women (Title: I Suffer Not a Woman). A study New Testament (A Study Bible for Women) provides study notes for the inclusive NRSV of the New Testament, while the InterVarsity Press Women's Bible Commentary offers a commentary on the entire Bible from a woman's perspective. I continue to teach at Gordon Conwell Seminary, the Center for Urban Ministerial Education, and occasionally at the Evangelical Seminary of Croatia."


Eddie & I are forever grateful for the time and friendship God gave us with Dick & Cathie. Her FB Page remains: https://www.facebook.com/catherine.c.kroeger?fref=ts
The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Clark_Kroeger

Catherine Clark Kroeger (December 12, 1925 – February 14, 2011) was an American author, professor, New Testament scholar, and a leading figure within the biblical egalitarian movement. Born Catherine Clark, daughter of Homer and Elizabeth Clark, in St. Paul, Minnesota, she graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1947. Then she earned an MA and a PhD in Classical Studies from the University of Minnesota. She was married to her husband of 60 years, Richard Clark Kroeger Jr., a Presbyterian pastor. They served together in ten pastorates in five states. In their latter years they resided on Cape Cod in Brewster, Massachusetts. Richard Clark Kroeger Jr. died 9 November 2010,[3] Catherine Clark Kroeger on 14 February 2011.[4]

Friday, July 11, 2014

THE PROPHETHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS

Finding Confidence in Your Own Ability to Hear the Voice of God

Oh, that all the LORD'S people were prophets and that the
LORD would put His Spirit upon them
.
(Moses in Numbers 11:29).

My phone rang and the voice on the other end of the line, in a very emphatic tone, said, “I was lying by the pool meditating and God spoke to me and said, ‘call Eddie Hyatt and tell him to start a church and call it The Gateway to Heaven.’” This person also told me that he had seen a vision of the church building and described it in some detail as a white building situated in a large field.
Some things in life are as obvious as the nose on your face. Some things are so obvious you do not even have to pray about them. This was one of those situations and I said to this “prophet,” “I appreciate you telling me this but just know that I would never undertake something of this magnitude unless God Himself told me that He wanted me to do it.”
Don't be Afraid to Test the Spirits

Some weeks later this brother, who was sincere (but misguided) in his zeal to be a prophet, was still attending our weekly Bible study. In these gatherings we allowed, and encouraged, people to flow freely in the gifts of the Spirit, but also made it clear that we would follow the Biblical injunction to test the spirits and judge prophecies.
On this particular evening, this same individual announced that during a time of prayer that week God told him to tell me that I was not to put down roots in that city because I would be travelling. Deciding to use this as a teaching moment, I stopped him. “Wait a minute Larry,” I said! “What happened to that white church you saw a few weeks ago?” He replied, “Oh, that might be 10 years down the road.” I then asked, “Do you know what they did to people in the Old Testament who gave false prophecies?” With a note of irritation in his voice, he replied, “I know! I know! They stoned them!”
At this point everyone, including Larry, began to laugh. It was a healing moment. Larry suddenly realized that he needed to relax and stop trying to curry favor and impress others with his super spirituality. He realized that I would continue to accept him and be his friend, but I would not accept everything he said just because he prefaced it with a “thus saith the Lord” or a “God told me.” He continued to grow in God and our friendship continued for many years until the time of his death a few months ago.

A Big Difference Between
Old Testament & New Testament Prophecy
I was not susceptible to Larry’s “soulish” prophecies and visions because, even then, I had more confidence in hearing God for myself than I did in someone else hearing God for me. In the Old Testament people did seek out prophets to hear God’s word and will, but there was a big difference between them and us. They did not have the Holy Spirit nor did they have the written New Testament revelation that we have.
In the Old Testament, only certain prophets, judges and kings were given the Spirit of God. The masses did not have the Spirit. But in this new and better Covenant, the Spirit is made available to all of God’s people. This is why, in the New Testament, there is not a single example of anyone ever seeking out a prophet for guidance or direction. In all of Paul’s 13 letters to churches, not once does he exhort them to seek out a prophet in their midst to hear from God. He assumes that they all have the ability to hear God through the Scriptures and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
There is one example in Acts of personal prophecy being given to Paul when he is on his way to Jerusalem. These “disciples” admonished Paul through prophecy not to go to Jerusalem (Acts 21:4). What does Paul do? He goes on to Jerusalem. Paul had more confidence in hearing God for himself than he did in someone else hearing God for him.
Don't Base Your Life on Personal Prophecy

Can God encourage and confirm through prophecy? Absolutely! God often uses Sue and me to encourage others by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I was launched into ministry when, as a very shy young man, a dear saint of God, Aquilla Nash, spoke to me by the Spirit concerning the call of God on my life, which call I had kept a secret and not shared with others.
But many people today are in bondage to personal prophecies. They order their lives, not by the Scriptures, common sense and the leading of the Holy Spirit, but by personal prophecies that they seek out here and there. There are people who have collected reams of personal prophecies that they adhere to more than they adhere to the promises of God’s word. They have more confidence in someone else hearing God for them than they have in hearing God for themselves, and this makes them vulnerable to prophetic charlatans and religious hucksters. How sad!
This reminds me of something I heard Freda Lindsay say when she was around 90 years of age. Having co-founded, with her husband, The Voice of Healing and Christ for the Nations, she was no stranger to miracles and gifts of the Spirit. But on this day she stood before the student body at Christ for the Nations and said, “If I had followed all the prophecies that were given to me in my life, I would have been going in circles all these years.” She had more confidence in hearing God for herself than she did in someone else hearing God for her.


No Elite Company of Prophets in the New Testament Church
There is no evidence in the New Testament that there is an elite group of “prophets” today who hear from God more accurately than the rest of us; and to whom we must resort to hear what God is saying. The noted New Testament exegete, Dr. Gordon Fee, makes the convincing argument from the Greek that when Paul says in I Corinthians 14:29, Let two or three prophets speak . . ., he is not referring to a separate, distinct group in the church community.
Fee says that the language is functional and means “the one who is prophesying.” This is confirmed by vs. 31 where, in the same context, Paul says, For you can all prophesy one by one. They all have the Spirit. They all hear from God. They are all prophets. 
Because of this evidence, Fee says that those who are referred to as “prophets” in the New Testament are merely those who prophesy more than the other members of the community. This makes sense in light of the fact that the word “Prophet” is never used as a title in front of someone’s name to set them apart from other believers. 

In this New Covenant the desire of Moses' heart is finally realized. When a young Joshua wanted to stop two individuals from prophesying and confine that privilege to Moses alone, Moses cried out, Oh, that all the LORD'S people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them (Numbers 11:29). That time has arrived! What a wonderful time to be alive!


Conclusion

In summation, be teachable and open to the counsel of others, but never put another person between you and God. Never allow yourself to come into bondage to personal prophecies. You have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. You have the word of God. Be more confident in your own ability to hear God than in the ability of someone else to hear God for you.

by Eddie L. Hyatt
Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, teacher, revivalist and ordained minister. He is also an advocate for women and a vice-president of God's Word to Women. His latest book is PURSUING POWER: How the Historic Quest for Apostolic Authority & Control Has Divided and Damaged the Church, is available from Amazon and from his online bookstore at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.

Monday, May 5, 2014

LOVE vs POWER

Love, Sex & the Misguided Pursuit of Power
During the first year of our marriage Sue and I had a disagreement and neither of us was willing to yield any ground. Being young and assuming that I, as the man, held the reins of “power” in the relationship, I went to prayer asking God to help this woman understand her responsibility to submit to my leadership, i.e., to do it my way.
As I prayed in this manner, Paul’s exhortation for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church suddenly stood before me with the words and gave Himself up for her seemingly highlighted in bold letters (Eph. 5:25). As I pondered this, I heard the Holy Spirit speak in my heart, “The problem is, that you are not willing to let go of yourself.”
That was devastating for I suddenly realized that it was my “I” or ego that was standing in the way of resolution and peace. I knew that I would have to die to the selfish desire to have it my way and be in control. That was the day that I began to learn that love and power, like oil and water, do not mix.
Love & Power Do Not Mix
The well-known sociologist, Willard Waller, discovered that there seems to be an inverse relationship between love and power. He noted that in interpersonal relationships as love increases, power decreases; and as power decreases, love increases. Waller coined the term “principle of least interest” to describe this phenomenon, revealed by his studies, that power lies in the hands of the person who cares the least about the relationship. Love and power, it seems, are incompatible, at least in this world.
In counselling, therefore, it is easy to see who is the guilty one, or the fearful one, by noting the one who seeks to exercise the power. The one who wants to control and dictate the terms of the relationship is the one who loves the least.
Take, for example, a husband and wife who seek counsel for their marriage that is on the rocks. He makes demands and seeks to dictate the terms of the marriage. She, on the other hand, is willing to make any sacrifice for the relationship to succeed. Which one is walking in love? The answer is obvious when we realize that love and power do not mix.
This ungodly pursuit of power is known as "abuse," and the guilty party can be the woman as well as the man. It's just that the church has given theological justification for the man to pursue such power, but not the woman. That is why it was important that in the first year of my marriage (it will be 39 years this month), I learned that it is impossible to love someone and at the same time seek power and control over them.
Sex, Love & Power
Sigmund Freud believed that all human behavior is sexually motivated and he interpreted all of life within that context. Friedrich Nietzche saw it differently and argued that the basic driving force in human beings is what he called “the will to power.” He thought that most of what goes on in the world, even sexually, is about people seeking to exercise power and control over others.
I think Nietzche had a point. I have heard ungodly men boast about their sexual exploits; like basketball Hall of Famer, Wilt Chamberlain, who boasted that he had slept with over 20,000 women. Don’t tell me that is about love, or even sex! It is about conquest and ego. It is about exercising power and control.
The feminists are thus right when they argue that rape is more about power than about sex. It is about the psychological gratification that comes from being in a position of power and forcing someone into the ultimate submission. It is a pursuit of power; and there can never be love where there is power and control.
Jesus Let Go of Power
This helps explain why, in the Incarnation, Jesus let go of the power He had eternally known with the Father (Philippians 2:7). In the Old Testament He had shown His power, thundering fire and brimstone from heaven, parting seas and wiping out entire armies. But when it came time to reveal His love to humanity, He laid aside His power.
Instead of being born in a place of power–a castle, palace or cathedral--He was born in a lowly stable to a poor family who offered up two doves or two young pigeons in the temple, an alternative offering allowed by Scripture for poor families who could not afford a lamb (Lev. 12:8; Luke 2:22-24).
He grew up in in Nazareth, an insignificant and despised village, well away from the power centers of Jerusalem, Caesarea and Rome. When He began His ministry at the age of thirty, He did not seek either power or approval from the civil and religious institutions of His day.
He ended his life in a place of ultimate weakness, suffering a slow and agonizing death nailed to a Roman cross. This point of human weakness and vulnerability was the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for humanity. It is also the place where God chose to release His mighty saving power, making His free offer of salvation available for every person.
That love and power are incompatible also explains why, again and again, Jesus directed his disciples away from visions of “power” to thoughts of “service” in regards to His kingdom. When James and John, for example, requested the two most prominent seats in His kingdom, Jesus rebuked them for their preoccupation with “power” and told them they were thinking like Gentiles, i.e., like people who did not know God.
He then presented to them a new and radical model of leadership that would be characterized, He said, not by power, but by humble service (Mark 10:35-45). They must have been shocked when He told them they were to function as diakonoi, a Greek word meaning “servant,” with no connotations of status, importance or power. In other words, he forbade them to pursue power.
Pursuits of Power in the Church
In spite of the example and words of Jesus, pursuits of power continued in the church right down to the present time. I recall sitting on the platform with other faculty members and leaders of the Institute where I taught courses in Bible and Theology. It was a Day of Prayer and as I quietly prayed I was drawn to observe the height of the platform on which we sat and how high we were above those seated in the auditorium. As I sat there with this strange awareness of how high we were seated, I heard the Holy Spirit speak in my heart, “You need to come down off your thrones.”
Unbeknownst to me there were, at that very moment, individuals on that platform who were secretly plotting to oust the leadership that had founded that ministry and led it, at great sacrifice, for more than fifty years. The ouster failed but caused much hurt and painful separation. I now realize that “Come down off your thrones” was a timely word, not only for that situation, but for the church and its leaders everywhere. It was a word that pursuits of power must stop in His church.
America’s Founders Rejected “Power”
America’s Founding Fathers, who held a Christian worldview about fallen humanity, distrusted power, even in the hands of Christians. That is why they divided the powers of government into three branches; the executive, the legislative (with two branches) and the judiciary. They wanted to make it difficult for any one person or group of persons to gain too much power in the nation they were forming. They would agree with Sir John Dalberg-Acton who said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
They were so intent on keeping power out of the hands of any one person that they not only divided the powers of government, but in Section 9 of the Constitution, they forbade the American government from granting honorific titles of nobility to anyone and forbade anyone holding a government office from accepting a title or office from a foreign king or state without the consent of Congress. (the church could take a lesson here)
The Founders envisioned a nation in which people governed themselves from within according to Christian principles of morality, particularly the teachings of Jesus. This is what Thomas Jefferson, the chief architect of the Declaration of Independence, had in mind when he said, Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, put it like this;
We have staked the whole future of the American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future . . . upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves.
Conclusion
How things have changed! Governmental power and control is now seen by many as the answer for everything. Pursuits of power are ripping our nation apart. Politicians are grasping for power; but so are Christian leaders who see power as the answer.
The Bible, however, is clear. If we humble ourselves God will lift us up (I Peter 5:6). If we humble ourselves He will heal our land (II Chrn. 7:14). We will change America, not by gaining political power in the next election, but by boldly confronting our generation with truth spoken and lived out in the love of Christ.

This article is derived from Eddie Hyatt’s latest book, PURSUING POWER: How the Quest for Apostolic Authority & Control Has Divided and Damaged the Church, which can be purchased from Amazon or from his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html