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The Older Old, Old Story
20 March 2013
Today there is an article on the ElijahList Web site called A Fresh Cry Exploding From Heaven — "I Love to Tell the Story" by long-time house of prayer worship leader Julie Meyer.
In this article she recounts a dream she recently had. In summary, it basically goes like this: she saw some ambulances, each one containing a mostly-dead intercessor, with angelic medical staff attending them. In the end, the angels discover that by telling these intercessors the "old, old stories" of past giants of the faith, they were able to revive these intercessors. The article specifically mentions such illustrious believers as:
After finishing the article, the thought stuck me: There isn't much about Yeshua (Jesus) in this article. It strongly stirs my heart to seek the old, old stories of the people listed above, but it doesn't do much to stir my heart to seek Yeshua Himself! And that is what articles like Julie Meyer's are supposed to be doing. As it says in Revelation 19:10, "The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
I've read the biographies of all the famous Christians listed above, except for Count Zinzendorf. They are encouraging stories which can inspire us. But why was it that these men and women of God became such well-know leaders, and such great examples of what God can do through a person? Was it because they had a passion for the old, old stories of the giants of the faith who came before them? Or was it because they were focused on the older old, old story, and had a passion for Yeshua Himself? I think the answer is obvious!
In Hebrews 11, the author lists some of the great pioneers of the faith from Biblical days, and explains how their examples can be an encouragement to us in our own faith journey. Then he continues:
Do you see what this means — all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running — and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Yeshua, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed — that exhilarating finish in and with God — He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:1-3)There are a few important points I want to touch on from this short passage:
As to why intercessors have fainting and almost-dead hearts, I think it is because they are taking their eyes off Yeshua, and focusing more on their intercession than on Him. It's very easy to do, and I myself have been in that place of total burn-out as an intercessor. When our ministry, whatever it is, becomes the center of our attention rather than Yeshua, we are sure to fall short and faint. This is what Yeshua explained in John 15:
"I am the True Vine... In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with Me.... Separated, you can't produce a thing.... But if you make yourselves at home with Me and My words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon."I don't think we need "angelic paramedics" and the old, old stories of pioneers of the faith to revive us as much as we desperately need to be branches intimately connected to Yeshua the True Vine. We need to keep our eyes fixed firmly on Him, and not be distracted by these other things.
In her article, Julie Meyer recounts the significance of the hymn I Love to Tell the Story in her dream. The first verse explains that the "story" is of Yeshua, His glory, and His love. It's NOT the story of other famous Christians! But the rest of the hymn is quite disappointing, because the lyrics are NOT about Yeshua, but all about US, and how much WE love the story! Whoopdee doo! Why sing about ourselves when we can sing about Yeshua?!
In the end, I think Julie Meyer's dream and article were more of a distraction than an encouragement. This is typical of a lot of what The ElijahList promotes as "prophetic" — and is common in much of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements in general. It really reminds me of an old article by David Wilkerson called A Christless Pentecost.
In this article — which I strongly encourage you to read — Wilkerson quotes from Frank Bartleman, who was an eyewitness to the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit in 1907 at the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. Over a hundred years ago, Bartleman warned:
We may not hold a doctrine, or seek an experience, except in Christ.... Religious enthusiasm easily goes to seed. The human spirit so predominates the show-off, religious spirit. But we must stick to Christ.... Whatever causes us to exalt and love Jesus is well and safe. The reverse will ruin all. The Holy Spirit is a great light, but focused on Jesus always for His revealing.... Jesus must be the center of everything.Be sure to read the entire article — it is as applicable to our day as when David Wilkerson wrote it decades ago. And whatever else you do, keep your eyes fixed on Yeshua, and not on any human being, no matter how old their story or how great their example. Yeshua, His story, and His example, is what counts!
This article is 15th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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