As soon as we got out of Peru we started seeing one warning sign after another; Zone of Fog (fog so thick we could not see twenty feet), Zone of Sandstorms (fierce winds of sand), Zone of Landslides, Zone of Falling Rocks, Zone of Tsunamis, Zone of Dangerous Curves. We felt like any minute we were going to see a sign that read; Zone of Monsters. Then, believe it or not, there was the Zone of Hazardous Explosions. We had no idea what that meant. Seriously we felt like we were entering some kind of strange children’s storybook land where, at any minute, some big monster was going to come out from behind a mountain and try to swallow our van. It was weirder (if that’s a word) to think it was all real than to think that maybe a monster could…. No. Forget that.
Anyways, so many things have happened in this leg of our journey through South America that have made us feel we are living out something planned long ago (Is.25:1). It’s like when I saw a movie one time where people in a control room were directing someone in a car far away by simultaneously using a tracking device, map, satellite and cellphone. No matter what that person saw before him, he was fully confident that he was headed to a predetermined destination because he was communicating with someone who could see everything and was closely monitoring his every move so as to bring him to that place.
Thus is ‘the journey of a son’.
I don’t mean to sound “out there” or super spiritual. Destiny has no Hollywood sci-fi special effects. The essence of destiny is the profound sense of deep security that Jesus IS Lord. No more aimless wandering through random experiences. No more outward pretense and deep anxiety. Destiny is an ongoing realization that God, in Christ, is working in you actively involved in all the actions leading you into your present actions. I think that if someone who reads this,would humble themselves and BELIEVE, no matter what their sin or past, God would change their…destiny.
In the plain and ordinary stuff of every day existence the Creator of the universe puts a son in His So and thus on HIS map. No more wandering aimlessly because obedience becomes your rudder. God wants you to yield and learn. He can commandeer your circumstances, people and the littlest of things to bring you into His blessings. He requires one thing; a substance called FAITH (Rm.1:17). It transforms your priorities of this world into those of His world (Jn.18:36/Rm.12:2). I don’t mean to sound like I know everything because I don’t. What I do know is real. It is no little thing (Heb.11:6). It causes a man to do things far beyond his own fears and limited abilities (Hebrews 11, the whole chapter).
We have seen so clearly how FAITH has overcome impossible situation after situation. So many times I have said “It’s impossible” then see it come about. I could write a book about God’s redemption of my sin, mistakes, failures along with good things that have come to me that I never dreamed of having in my life. The relentless demands of this world, the stress and anxiety of responsibilities and the highly consequential decisions can be overwhelming. Yet, if you will become like a child, as a son or daughter, and simply have FAITH in God’s grace you too can find the power even more overwhelming.
Over some some forty years, my “senses have been trained” to hear His voice, and follow His Spirit. We have seen the unquestionable Presence of God, when we walk humbly before Him to, either provide wisdom, or supernatural intervention, so many times to alter that which would otherwise destroy us (Is.54:17/Jn.10:3,27/Heb.5:14 ). This is His PROMISE and God can not lie!
We have, and are, nothing in this world which qualifies us to receive everything God offers (1 Cor.1:27-28ff). When God became a man in Jesus He made everything accessible to those who believe (Jn.16:14-15,17:26). Who will believe such a thing (Is.53:1/1 Cor.2:9)? The faith I speak of is absolute foolishness to men (1 Cor.1:18ff). I’ve heard guys freak out over the whole predestination thing. God says, straight out, that some men are destined for wrath and some for eternal glory so one could wonder how can anyone do anything about his destiny (Rm.9:22/Rev.13:8)? “Why believe?” they say. “God is going to do what He wants”. No. God is going to do what YOU want. It’s as easy as being childlike (Matthew 11:25).
Check it out. So we are driving along down this seemingly Zone of Endless Desert Road (just kidding), up and down, around and over narrow mountain paths. Suddenly, out of the back seat, comes the little girl voice of my precious Sarah “Hey dad. Do you know we will be driving through the number one star gazing place in the whole world?”. Oh boy, here it comes. Living with this little princess for thirty three star-gazing years I already know where it’s going. “No, Sarah. I did not know that…but let’s hear what it means for one sorry-dead-driving dad and his exhausted driving comrade Abraham.” Driving from Bogota, Colombia then the length of Chile is more miles than the width of the U.S.
I have long learned that such issues usually end up with an awesome family experience so I know how to get beyond the “common sense” struggles of my old dying lazy flesh to hear about our next venture. Long story short we went to the top of a mountain in Antacollo, Chile to camp in our tent in the desert. Wow. Wow. And, oh ya, WOW! What we saw was beyond any feeble words I could write here. The stars filled the sky like I had never seen. Joshua will include a few pictures to prove the glory. We stayed up the whole night full of wonder over His destiny.
Abraham said something that gave us great insight; “Just think guys. One day, long ago, an old man walked out of his tent, looked up at these exact same stars, and gave birth to what we call FAITH. This old man was so blown away by the stars that his only response was “I believe that such a One as You Who created such a thing can and will do what You say”. The origin of faith is not in you. It is not in the Bible. It is not in a religion, sinner’s prayer or church. It is not in a personal feeling or unction.
It is in an event long ago when destiny was shown to be the “magical” outcome of FAITH. If you read the story you will see that Isaac means laughter because Sarah laughed when she was introduced to such a thing. Faith is the intimate response to One Who created THE STARS (Genesis 15:5ff/Rom.4:3/Gal.3:6/Jm.2:23).
Faith is so powerful that, because Jesus becomes the focal point, it instantly summons the entire invested interest of the Father in your actions. He instantly calls into being that which does not exist so you will be in Him by His doing (Rm.4:17). Salvation is not a thing you get. It is the profound manifestation of all the heavenly wonders of God personally revealed in the Supernatural Being we call Christ. Faith is not passive acquiescence. It is not wishful thinking or emotional resolve. It is the full engagement of your will drawing from your body, soul, heart and mind. It is the calculated commitment to obey the Word of the living Jesus so as to watch your actions completely contradict your present reality (Rm.4:19).
God could have chosen out of a thousand different wonders of His creation (ocean, mountains,etc). He chose the stars to bring forth a substance from the heart of a man that leads a man to simply say “God IS…” (Heb.11:1-6). It’s not as though a wicked man like me, or anyone, is predestined for anything. Rather destiny only exists in Christ( Gal.3:16). So if a man comes into Christ he then comes into His destiny (Jn.3:20-21/1 Thes.5:9/Rm.8:29/Eph.1:4,11). Destiny is like a train. It’s up to you to do what is necessary to get on. Once you do so the tracks of Christ are set in one destination; eternal life. You can then reap the ‘high’ advantage of going along with the ride. The world chooses not to believe so they incur the destiny of destruction.
It is simply an inevitable fact that junky cars go to the junk yard. A new car goes a long way. Fix your car and you’ll go to heaven. Bam. Keep it simple Stupid. Wicked men who choose rebellion rather than faith will never know His destiny only the destiny of hell. God doesn’t MAKE men do this. A man chooses the “destiny” of his own ego; rebellion; SIN. Men brag about “I make my own choices”. Right. And everyone one of them is wrong. Choice is not good thing. Obedience is a good thing because God is never wrong and promises to lead you into His righteousness which comes through faith (Phil.3:7-12).
For the few, the remnant few, this wonder-filled creation of the stars is the divine proof God exists. Such a childlike choice is the mode of participation in the destiny of FAITH. It is the answer to any and every question. No matter what culture or country we visit we inevitably face the “Christians” of the false church. It’s the same everywhere in the world; “How can you say that the religion of Christianity is not salvation in Jesus? Are all the “churches” wrong?” Notice the usage of ” ” .
Let me quickly lay it out. Salvation is solely a gift of God. God says “by grace you have been saved THROUGH FAITH” (Eph.2:8). Any tendency or ever-so-subtle urge to insist that something is “right” (righteousness)(other than faith) and MUST be done to be a Christian IS THE LAW. God reveals “a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Christ…by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal.2:16ff/also 3:11).
Some say “You MUST congregate”, emulate moral righteousness, believe a certain doctrine, or “You MUST go to church on Sunday” or other laws. ANY REQUIREMENT for righteousness (other than simple FAITH) is contrary to God’s Biblical revelation. Nothing a man can do is NECESSARY to do something right because all of righteousness is “reckoned” by faith (Rm.4). It is the pride of man to think he can do something right. He can not (Rm.3:10). Paul says “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness (doing what is right) comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly” (Gal.2:21). People take Hebrews 10:25 and the concept of church completely out of Biblical context.
People who say such things only expose they are void of Christ and have laid a sand foundation built, NOT on personal revelation of Christ, but on the cultural definition of Sunday sermons. When Jesus says “I go to prepare a PLACE for you…” He was not referring to a concrete building (Jn.14:2). It is an “abode” without walls or ceiling. It has no requirements for attendance, nice clothes or movement of feet, only heart (Jn.15:5). It is a place no one else can find, but you…alone.
It is written “The Law came through Moses…grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (Jn.1:17).
The “churches” are, and will always be, a joke because they are not THE CHURCH (ecclesia- “those set apart to Christ”). The true church are those who live by faith in the finished work of the living Jesus and thus “fellowship”, not in social clubs for an hour on Sunday, with hypocrites, using empty Christian rhetoric, but rather in “spirit and truth” and with those born not of the will of man but of the will of God ( Jn.1: 13). Take the time. Find a place. Behold the stars. Believe. The ramifications of those stars defining your faith can blow your mind.
As we entered the city of Iquique, Chile, where the huge earthquake took place we heard story after story of tragedy. To imagine what must take place deep within the earth to cause such huge cracks in the roads was mind boggling. The first gas station said we could not use the bathrooms because the tanks had been crushed by rocks. The attendant told us of how he tried to flee with his family but the rocks on the side of the mountain fell into his windshield. When they got out of their car to run his wife had a heart attack. This event was no little thing.
When we went to minister downtown the sense of fear and terror was on everyone. “Jesus offers comfort and understanding…but also a reality check on your life” we shared. I told them that, in one sense, they had something no one else in the world had which is a personal encounter with God’s power and potential wrath. We share with many families and individuals who were shaken to their core. It was such a privilege for God to have us there at the precise time it took place. Destiny.
Yet, neither earthquake, fire or tornado can break the pride of man. It is a free will to choose to believe. This past week there have been five major earthquakes around the world. Jesus warns of them as “birth pangs” before final destruction (Mt.24:off/1 Thes.5:3). Maybe not today or tomorrow but the issue is WHEN IT DOES HAPPEN what will be you doing? It seems only reasonable that men would fear, repent and sober up to follow Jesus. God says that most men will not repent but rather curse Him (Rev.16:19,9:5-6,6:12-17). So we labor for those who will “hear” and will repent (Rev.11:3).
The police welcomed us into a Tent City where we were able to bring Jesus to a number of families who, along with their children were terrified. Once again, we were so complimented by a father who wondered how we could have such instant connection to do what he could not do with his child. Paul says we “are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our MORTAL FLESH” (2 Cor.4:11). We have seen such a witness with preaching, carrying our signs and playing our music to bring Jesus to the center of the city. Afterwards we were welcomed into a hotel… by a 6.2 earthquake and have experienced at least ten aftershocks over this time.
It is so edifying to be able to touch people who share the same problems of all humanity yet be open to Jesus. He so leads us. While ministering in Antofagasta, Chile, and a guy pulled up and told us something was wrong with our tires. There was a grapefruit sized bulge in it. After finding a reliable tire center they told us it should have already popped but that all our tires needed to be replaced since they were originals. God is so good. If we would have had a blow out while pulling our trailer up one of the narrow mountain passes it could have been really bad. It doesn’t matter how desperate or hopeless things may appear God is mapping our direction for His destiny….destination. The tires we needed were not cheap but God moved on the manager to give ’em to us for his cost.
The roads throughout Chile are like driving through Saudi Arabia. No exaggeration. Evidently Chile does not have many Americans drive as we are doing because when the police at the border heard what we were going to drive their heads just nodded in unbelief as they told us it was going to be horrible. “Gee thanks for the encouragement guys. Just what we wanted to hear”. Everyone thinks it’s all green with mountains. Not even close. Even the cities listed on a map under a twelve pica are like two buildings if that. We can’t figure out why things are extremely expensive for being a third world. Somewhere along the lines of traveling to these cities in Chile we picked up some bug. There is a pain deep in our lungs that causes exhaustion and a cough. I also have some kind of unrelenting pain in my stomach. Such is part of the price that we gladly pay to bring the living Jesus to so many thousands and thousands of desperate people.We are constantly in awe of the numbers of people roaming the cities.
Before we left Lima, Peru the girls went to a prison on a women’s visiting day. They told the guard a name they just made up and he let them in. They were able to reach all the prisoners with tracts and had some very beautiful one on one sharings with numerous guys. The next day we were invited to an orphanage where there were about fifty children from ages ten to about twenty. Elizabeth wrote this skit using some costumes a company gave her back in the states. It was so moving. Let no one say that children can not understand the gospel of the living Jesus. We are thinking about now going to La Paz, Bolivia before heading any further South.
These things that we do are not of ourselves. We are simply doing the destiny of His life being lived out from within us. It is not our life but His (Gal.2:20). Some will agree with Ephesians 2:8 but stop short of verse 10 which declares the automatic outcome of being on His road of destiny on God’s map.
If you will BELIEVE with the simple faith of Abraham you can enter the destiny of Jesus and find the love to change another man’s destiny…and another…and another.
If you change your mind the rest of your life will follow.