Five-Fold Today - Shelter of the Wings - Diotrephes and Demetrios - Seeking - Two Sets Of Books - The way is narrow - The Church: The Power of Church Finances

July 14, 2000

Shelter of the Wings
Stephen Hanson

Psalms 91

  1. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

  2. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
  3. Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
  4. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
  5. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
  6. nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
  7. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
  8. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
  9. If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my refuge--
  10. hen no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

(I saw the Lord in a temple, and He was at the front of this temple, with wings spread out on either side, as a canopy, or a shelter. These wings although alive and beautiful, also appeared to be "chiseled and gem-like in appearance.) "My wings overshadow you, and my wings enfold you. You who sit in the shelter of the Almighty are indeed, sheltered. What is there in your life that you would find shelter in? Would it be a home or a business, or a wife? I tell you that the only shelter that can truly save you are my wings. For I AM the Most High, and those who dwell with Me dwell under the shelter of my wings. From morning until noon, my wings are a shelter from the storm. "

"The terror that comes at night, or at noon-time, will not come near your tent. Nothing will harm or destroy you. The pestilence which will come upon this earth will not harm you. Surely a time is coming when this earth will be judged. The mountains will quake and the seas will rise. There will be "unrest" seen upon many on this earth; and there will be many things which will cause these things to happen in their lives. But those who dwell with Me under my wings, will be safe."

"Why would you seek another? I AM the Ancient of Days. My wings can encircle and enfold many. I created this world out of nothing.....Can I not hold the inhabitants under my wings? Eagles have wings, and so do various birds of the air. For it was to my delight to have them fly in this way. And it has been told that: "Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, and they shall mount up with wings as of eagles." And surely, you shall mount-up. But remember, all you who soar with Me, to soar "under my wings" as you soar. Be held in the "pinions" of my grace. Be held in my "captivating" Spirit. Soar with Me and fly with Me. Then the mountains will not "quake" before you, and the seas will not rise in their tumultuous fury. Dwell under the shelter of the wings of the Almighty. "

Diotrephes and Demetrios

Petru Prinsloo


Consider the case of Diotrephes and Demetrios (3 Jn v 9-12):

Diotrephes was a false teacher and impostor. He loved himself more than anyone else, was pretentious and vain. He did not receive the word of the apostles as coming from Me, but instead rejected it and did not acknowledge the authority of the Apostle John. Diotrephes refused to receive or care for the missionaries, and showed his true character by even preventing others from doing so - he excommunicated them from the church. Diotrephes: a Christian with an unchristian spirit and a Gentile name that means "nourished by Jupiter/Jove/Zeus", wanted to rule the church. He was self-opinionated, self-sufficient, self-exalting, self-willed, self-satisfied, and self-confident. He felt that he could do all teaching and preaching and did not need others to come and minister. Diotrephes, who did not know Me, was working for his own glory.

Demetrios, was a pagan who converted to Christianity. Both John and his fellow brethren attested to his good Christian character. Not much was written about him, except the three witnesses to the fact that Demetrios did not belong to Ceres, the God of agriculture as his Gentile name suggested, but to Christ: 1) the truth of the gospel was demonstrated in his life, his spirit, character and conduct were commended by 2) John and the 3) brethren. He was known to do good, had sure faith and was one of the saints I had planted to carry the gospel throughout the Roman Empire. He was My humble servant, doing what I called him to do - humbly, obediently, faithfully and to My glory.

You may recognize the characters of Diotrephes' and Demetrios' among your people:

The Diotrephes' want to rule and reign. They want to move around with trumpets blowing and a great fanfare about them. They crave popularity like the flesh craves oxygen. They want to be the chief among the chiefs, and they play lord over the sheep with Satanical power and deceit. Diotrephes' corrupt men's judgments, contaminate their consciences, perplex their minds, and discourage their inclinations to righteousness and holiness. As persecutors and false prophets they sow the tares of false beliefs and division. By their pretended zeal for Me and My glory, they promote bigotry and persecution. They disturb the peace of the church and obstruct the progress of the gospel. They are as little foxes, which have to be taken, tamed, or restrained. Unless they repent, I will remember their deeds! Listen to Me church: firmly yet lovingly, take, tame or restrain that Diotrephes you recognize, before he destroys you.

Where the Diotrephes' are highly visible, the Demetrios' rather hide in humble service. They do not want to lead or control, be chief or chairman of anything. They merely want to do the task I gave them, no matter how small, or menial, or large or important it might be. Demetrios' serve faithfully and obediently and are quite happy to do so without any recognition. They are known for their Christian character; their lives shine with the truth of the gospel. These are the pillars of the Body, the shining lights of the Kingdom. These deeds I will too remember, for I have planned a rich reward for them.

Beloved, yearn not for the apparent fame, success and importance of a Diotrephes, for it is all wicked emptiness. Seek out a Demetrios and follow their unassuming humility and faithful obedience. Follow not what is evil but what is good, for he who is good is born of Me. The real test of Christian life is not on the stage before a crowd, it is by just living for Me. Fame and glory lie in having your name in the Book of Life; it lies in being unrecognized by and unapplauded in the world; but by being known, loved and applauded by Me.



Becky McLendon

We are seeking too much to signify before men and trying too hard to "be important" before God.

He says, "Cease seeking recognition and importance. SEEK ME."

We are seeking comfort from other human beings and putting our trust in "relationships".

He says come to Me and I will give you rest. I AM the comforter, trust Me.

We are, like Martha, running to and fro trying to "get it all just right for Jesus' sake."

He says, "Consider Mary and sit at My feet and LEARN of Me."

We are caught up in our "do good" causes and programs.

He says, "Seek first My kingdom and My righteousness. For therein lies something of eternal value. The rest is vanity."

We are struggling to inherit the promises and get our "piece" of the action.

He says, "I AM your inheritance. Receive ME."

We are seeking gold, glory, and glitter and are calling it revival.

He says, "Repent. Count the cost, and become like silver, My redeemed ones. THEN you will KNOW revival."


Becky (Wayfarer)

Two Sets Of Books

Pastor Francis Frangipane

It was not a dream. It was simply a thought in the middle of the night, but it came into my mind with such clarity that it roused me from my sleep. It said, "He keeps two sets of books: one is exact and the other forgiving."

I barely had time to wonder who it was that kept these mysterious two accounts when the parable of the wise, but wasteful, steward surfaced in my mind. The story, which comes from Luke, chapter 16, tells of a manager who was soon to be dismissed for squandering his employer's wealth.

"What shall I do," the steward pondered, "since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? (vs 3).

To secure his future, he shrewdly contacted his employer's debtors. To the one that owed 100 measures of oil he said, "Write fifty." He reduced another's debt from 100 measures of wheat to eighty. So clever was his plan that even the steward's master praised him because he acted shrewdly, with wisdom and prudence (vs 8).

The parable becomes even more meaningful when we consider that, in ancient Palestine, a steward's wage was a hidden commission added to the total debt. It is likely that the steward was actually canceling the portion of the debt that was legitimately owed to him. By canceling his share of the bill, he made friends for himself and, in spite of being unrighteous, he prepared for himself a future.

God Is Calling Us To Account

In many ways, American Christianity has been like the unrighteous, wasteful steward. Our Master has given us great wealth. With it, He expected His church to better care for the poor; we could have a hundred times the number of missionaries. Instead, we have squandered much of what the Lord has given us on personal pursuits and possessions.

The Lord has also given us each other. But, again, instead of using our diversity for our common good, we fell into jealously and selfish ambition. James tells us that when jealousy and selfish ambition enter our lives, they bring with them "disorder and every evil thing" (James 3:16).

If we look honestly at the church today, whether it is in regard to ourselves, our cities or our environment, we are guilty of squandering our Master's possessions. What was written of Jerusalem applies also to us: "the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem--because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests" (Lam 4:12-13a).

If we had not wasted our resources, we could have easily remedied many of society's needs. The Lord, I believe, is holding the church accountable for that part of our national decline which is due to our neglect. Although we are in trouble, He has not abandoned us. God wants us to see that our future hinges on how wisely we respond to our failures. So, even though we have made a mess of the past, the Lord tells us there is still hope.

Indeed, through this very parable of the "shrewd steward," Jesus tells us that He anticipated our wastefulness. Using the steward's actions as our model, Jesus offers a profound, yet simple strategy. He tells us, "Make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings" (vs 9).

Perhaps we have been seeking answers for our cities that are too sophisticated. Maybe God's antidote for healing the conflicts in the world begins with healing the conflicts in the church. By canceling what others owe us we are actually working to create an "eternal dwelling" which shall endure when all else fails.

Our future is connected to the quality of our Christian friendships. You see, a healing initiative has already come from heaven and it is beginning to descend into the historic wounds between peoples in America. But, the Lord is not only interested in our canceling what others owe us, He wants us to make friends with one another. Our future hinges on how we care for each other.

Jesus tells us plainly that the "mammon of unrighteousness" shall fail. When it does, in city after city where the church has become united, where debts have been forgiven, a habitation filled with eternal life is being prepared.

It is time we begin keeping two sets of books: One which is exact toward God, being fully accountable to Christ and walking in diligence toward Him, but the other set of books is forgiving. In it, we cancel what others owe us. Picture the outcome: blacks and whites together removing the stronghold of hopelessness from our inner cities. Imagine, evangelicals and pentecostals forgiving each other, uniting in Jesus according to 2 Chron 7:14; seeing God supernaturally begin to "heal our land!"

How do we get there? We must "make friends" for ourselves. I don't mean invite other churches to our conferences, but other Christians to our homes. Go fishing together. Eat together.

In every city where Christians have canceled the debts owed them, an "eternal dwelling" is emerging. It is called the Habitation of God. It is made of Christ-centered friendships. Noah had a boat, but God's ark of safety for us is us, friends, united in the mercy of Christ. It is Christians with two sets of books: one exact toward God, the other forgiving toward man.

The way is narrow
Loleen Denney

I have had several people saying to me "What is happening to me? I don't feel the Lord in the same way, I feel like He has left me, or things that I thought were dealt with are rising to the surface, I feel so uncomfortable." As I was thinking about all of this. This is what I "felt" I heard and "saw".

I "saw" a side view of where the body has been, where we are going, and the path to getting there. On the left was the old of where we have been, leading out of there was a hallway. As a person progressed down the hall way the passage got narrower and narrower and more and more "stuff" had to drop off and be left behind because it just couldn't fit. Before the person got to the opening the passage got so narrow that only the person could fit just barely, the head touched the top and the shoulders scraped the sides and the hands had to be flat against the legs in order to get through. As the person squeezed through the opening they entered a very large room.

What I "felt" was that we all know that we are passing from one season into a new one. We have been in a broad place that has accommodated all of our baggage that we have grown accustomed to and collected, whether personal or religious. The Lord has been convicting us to get rid of it and cry out for Holiness, but we have enjoyed where we are and our stuff. In order for us to enter into this new season we must go through this narrow passage way of crying out for HOLINESS, PURITY, AND HONESTY with all of our hearts. We must embrace this uncomfortable place we are finding ourselves in, do inventory, and desire cleansing. We also have the choice to stay in the old with our stuff and not be a part of the new, choose not to count the cost and continue on with our lives they way that they are. If we choose to do that we will miss being a part of the most exciting time in the history of the church.

The cry of my heart for a long time has been for purity, to understand His Holiness and what it means to walk in it. After "seeing" this I now am crying out for Him to not only purify me, but block up the way behind me so that even if tempted, I can not turn back to the old. I want to keep going forward to this new place unencumbered with the "stuff". I want to walk in the new season of the Lord useable, free, and holy before Him. Let this become the cry of your heart also.

Because of Him
Loleen Denney
Tree of Life Ministries

The Church: The Power of Church Finances

A. W. Tozer

...but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. --James 2:9

It is an ominous thing in any church when the treasurer begins to exercise power. Since he may be presumed to be a man of God he should have a place equal to that of any other member, and if he is a man of gifts and virtues he will naturally have certain influences among the brethren. This is right and normal as long as he exercises his influences as a man of God and not as a treasurer. The moment he becomes important because he is treasurer, the Spirit will be grieved and His manifestations will begin to diminish....

Again, it is a sign and a portent when a member is cultivated for his generosity and given a place of eminence in the church out of proportion to his spiritual gifts and graces. To court a Christian for his financial contributions is as evil a thing as to marry a man for his money. To flatter a man for any reason whatever is to degrade ourselves and imperil his soul. To flatter a man because he is a heavy giver is to offer him a concealed affront as well, for back of the purring and the smirking is the hidden opinion that the man's money is more important than the man and more to be esteemed. The Warfare of the Spirit, 7,8.

"Lord, we have to have a treasury and a treasurer. But deliver us from the dominance of the dollar. You meet our needs, Lord, and then help us to minister faithfully, with no thought of how the finances might be affected. Amen."

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