All things work together for good by Pastor Don
Last night was a stellar Bible study. There are Bible studies and then there are Bible Studies. This was a Bible study! I typed up my notes instantly because I did not want to miss a single point. It blessed so many in attendance that I just know it will bless you. I know this is a long post, but there was no way to break it apart without destroying the flow of the Holy Spirit in the teaching.
Pastor Don (Pastor Don Moore, Living Word Chapel, West Hurley, New York) pointed out that many people say when a person is suffering, “all things work together for good.” But that is taking a passage out of context. God is not thrilled when you are hurting so that He can turn something into good – God will not arrange a period of suffering so He can turn it to good, but God can take our suffering and turn it to good. Pastor Don took us to this passage and we looked at it in depth.
He said that a good Bible student will ask several questions of any passage of Scripture. Who is speaking? Who is he speaking to? And what is he speaking about.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Who is speaking? Paul. Who is Paul speaking to? Believers, the saints who are needing help in their weakness. What is he talking about? Prayer.
The Holy Spirit in this passage is interceding. We looked at the verse backwards. The Holy Spirit is interceding with groanings which cannot be uttered, for we do not know what to pray for, and in this way the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.
Romans 8:27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Reading this backwards we see that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God because the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, and the heart of the saints. The will of God wants to do something for the saints and only the Holy Spirit knows what that Will is.
Then Pastor Don brought three people up to demonstrate so that we could get a picture of what these verses are saying.
He had one person sitting in a chair (the saint), a person standing up higher than the saint (God) and a person between God and the saint with their hand on God’s head and the saint’s heart. The Holy Spirit knows the heart of the saint and the will of God.
The saint does not always know what the will of God is so that they can pray God’s will, but the Holy Spirit knows. Then Pastor Don also told us that sometimes we are called to pray in the Spirit or in groanings and we are not even praying for ourselves. God needs to intercede for someone on earth and God looks for a willing saint who is open to the Holy Spirit and uses that saint to intercede for another person. We may not even know whom we are praying for.
Verse 26 (see above) What is our weakness? We do not know how to pray the Will of the Father.
Then Pastor Don spoke about being in churches where people are speaking forth “Thus says the Lord,” and they go on and on speaking and expounding on what “God” said often for several minutes. Pastor Don told us God had 6,000 years to speak and in that time he had 40 people write 66 books of the Bible. God is not that verbose, He comes straight to the point. After the first few words or sentences, the rest of what a person is saying that God says is usually of the flesh. Sometimes God just gives an impression or an idea or just two or three words.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
What things work together for good? The things of verse 26 and 27 – we know when we are open to the Will of God, when we are doing God’s will for our lives then all things work together for good.
Pastor Don reminded us of Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
And Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith comes, but it is not seen. Pastor Don pointed out that faith is not in chronos (our time frame) it is outside of our time and is part of eternity. We need to hook up our time with eternity and then step into faith. But it may not be instantaneous. Often when we pray or intercede for ourselves God does not answer immediately after our prayer. Why? Because we want to hear God say, “yes.” Not “wait a minute,” “have patience,” or “why don’t you switch what you want for something different?” God needs to wait until we are able to hear what He wants to tell us.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
All things work together for good to THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, and who are CALLED TO HIS PURPOSE. So often we want to skip the prerequisites and assume that God will make all things work together for good. But sometimes we do not love God – sometimes we are mad at God or angry with God for something, and sometimes we are not doing God’s will in our lives, sometimes we are disobedient. In those cases God does not make all things work together for good.
Pastor Don then asked us, are we always called to His purpose? Many of us (including myself) instantly answered “Yes.” But Pastor Don told us to not be so fast to answer. Sometimes we do things for fun – like go bowling or fishing. God has no specific purpose for us at that time – maybe He just wants us to have fun and relax, but there is no set purpose for the activity. Sometimes God just wants to spend relaxed time with us and has no particular mission for us. Our goal is to be ready if God wants us – to be on call – sort of like a doctor is on call – and when God needs us we can respond to His call, but He may not call us all the time.
God has general purposes for our lives – such as God would love it if everyone was saved.
And at other times God has a specific purpose for us -something He wants us to accomplish for Him, for example speaking to a specific person a message God has, or laying on of hands to heal a person, or whatever else God has for us.
Other times God just wants to hang out with us, to love on us.
Pastor Don told us that when we pray, we should ask God if there is something specific that God wants us to do today.
When God calls us for a set purpose, He needs us to obey and be there. Remember Adam and Eve gave satan dominion over the earth, and because of that God needs us to be willing to do what He wants to do through us. Remember God places His Word above Himself, and when He gave dominion to Adam and Eve, He gave it to them – when they gave it to satan, God then needed our cooperation.
We have free will, but once we say, “Yes, Jesus is Lord,” there are certain walls and limits that God puts on us. There are certain things that, once we are His, we do not do. Pastor Don gave examples of Balaam and his donkey, Jacob wrestling with God, David and the Hittite and Bathsheba. God will give us opportunities to see what we will do with them. Will we obey God or will we disobey? When we step outside of God’s will for our lives there are repercussions that we face.
God has a purpose and the Holy Spirit searches for a heart that is willing to yield to His will. At the same time we have the enemy, satan, seeking to thwart God. And at times satan will put lies into our heads. Satan will tell us that God cannot use us, that we were too sinful to be of any use to God, that we are ineffective, that we can’t teach, preach, write, or whatever. We can’t be used for God’s purpose.
Pastor Don then mentioned how God turned the serpent in the Garden to a being that crawled on its belly – because God wanted Adam and Eve to be reminded of how lowly the serpent was and how it crawled, not walked upright. This is to remind Adam and Eve that God gave them dominion.
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God knew us before we were ever in our mother’s womb. We were predestined, yet at the same time we have free will. Jesus was the firstborn, raised from the dead.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified
God knew us before we were in our mother’s womb, and God called us for a set purpose. When we are called we are justified (just as if we never sinned), for a time, for a purpose.
There is a statement of condition or status. Our status is permanent – glorified, justified, predestined. But at other times we are called for a particular condition and then we walk in the Glory of God, called by God. When we are in our status state we are sort of like on standby.
Sometimes we are waiting for someone to pray the Will of God, and that person praying then empowers us to act in God’s will for a particular person or situation. But in order to have the grace and power to act, we are in need of an intercessor, someone to pray and call down the power of God.
Intercessory prayer is when we are praying and our prayer takes us to a deep place where God calls us to pray for a specific purpose. We are so empowered by the Holy Spirit so it is not deterred or defeated. To get to that kind of deep prayer requires that our hearts are open and we permit God to use our body, mind and soul for that purpose, and you are at a point where you are not aware of tick tock time, but of eternity.
When you intercede for God you are either empowered to do what He wants you to accomplish or you are praying for someone to be used by God to do what God wants accomplished.
God never leaves or forsakes us. Some people will say that they are sick because then God can get the glory, or they are facing a crisis so that God can deliver them and get the Glory. God does not need us to be sick or in a crisis to get His Glory, it is not of God that we suffer. The Bible would still stand if there were no Job, if David and Bathsheba had not sinned,.
Pastor Don told us the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He is not going to drop in on us to use us to intercede while we are doing something like standing in a bank line – He will wait until we get to the car alone. We are in control, and we can be crying and interceding and still respond to what is going on around us. Some people live and die and are never used for intercessory prayer. Some are just dealing with God through their emotions, they will still go to Heaven, but will not be used by God this way.
Pastor Don said that intercessory prayer is you and God working together, where time and eternity meet. God told Pastor Don so many people are looking for a move of God without recognizing that WE ARE THE MOVE OF GOD. God is always moving and active and looking for a heart that is sincerely seeking Him and He will meet that person.
Seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you. He is looking for people with a Heart to hear Him, for people who diligently seek Him.
I mentioned how the other day I was praying that I needed a touch from God, to know His love and feel His arms around me. Someone from my church messaged me that God loves me and had his arms around me. She used the exact same words that I prayed. Pastor Don pointed out that God answered my prayer through her, that others in the church were too busy or not aware of God wanting to use them to answer my prayer, but she was there and willing to be used, stopped what she was doing and typed me that note.
Pastor Don then pointed out that the person who is willing to be used by God also receives a blessing. So not only I got blessed but the person who listened and obeyed God’s command to type that note got blessed as well.
It is the will of God to answer prayer. This does not mean that God will give us everything that we ask, it has to also meet His purpose, but God can change our viewpoint so that our desires line up with His. He glorifies us and then He gets glory from that.
Is there a point of no return? Pastor Don talked about how he received a healing for diabetes and also an incurable lung disease. He said that you can study about healing and not get healed or sometimes you can get healed and then lose your healing – only 4% of those who are healed maintain their healing. Pastor Don said when he got healed he began studying more and more about healing because he determined he would not lose his healing. He learned how to fight so that the spirit of sickness did not return. Had he not done that, he could have had the sickness return.
Now Pastor Don could have taught about faith and healing without having those incurable diseases, and he would have taught the truth. But because he had those sicknesses, it made him be able to speak from personal experience. It was not God’s plan that Pastor Don got sick, but when Pastor Don did get sick and then got healed, God took that and used it for His glory and gave him the fruit – the ability to teach faith and to heal.
Saul killed his 1000’s and David his 10,000’s. What was the difference? David had a heart for God, and was concerned about Kingdom things. Saul was more concerned with himself and not about what God wanted. So the fruit of David was much greater.
God does not put sickness, bad credit, poverty, depression on a person to accomplish His will, but since it happened you can utilize it for God’s glory. When Paul spoke about his thorn in the flesh (not a physical ailment, but a badgering by satan) God told Paul that God’s grace was sufficient.
If we understand what Grace really is we can be so empowered. But in order to have the full impact of God’s grace we have to conquer our pride and learn to take the lower seat. Some pastors are invited to our church to speak and they look for their special seat on the altar only to learn that in our church the pastors sit with the congregation and worship – that does not please their egos. But God is looking for those willing to be humble and take the lower seat. Being humble releases great power in your ministry.
God even puts His Word above Himself, and that limits God to keeping His Word and God does what He wants within that framework. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit delegate authority to us and we are to step into the power that they offer. Only 4% of those who receive a healing maintain their healing over time. So Pastor Don told us that rather than just show off using signs and wonders, he is careful to make sure that the person is really ready to receive their healing, and can be taught to maintain the healing. He told us that one Sunday he saw that someone could be healed of a particular condition and he called it forth. The person did not come forward, and he knew he could go and bring the person to the altar, lay hands on them, and they would be healed. But at that particular time they were not ready for that healing. He kept ministering to them until the right moment in time when they could receive and maintain the healing.
There are many faith healers and ministers who are playing for the show of God’s power, not playing for the success of what God wants to do in the person’s life. We need to ask ourselves if our desire to produce signs and wonders is for the show or for the people to win. We all have hangups and things that hold us in bondage. It comes down to what can we believe for and when we get into that moment of faith we can release our faith and that bondage or hangup has to go. That’s where the faith is. The faith is not intellectually believing that God can do it, the faith is not intellectually believing our biblical knowledge. Faith is can we believe it in the moment, to open our heart to receive it?
The key is: to have the faith to accept it and cut the line – that is where we fail. So many of us cast away our problems, and like with a fishing rod, we reel them back in and examine them. We cast the problem away and reel it back. So, when we reel it back, we catch a fish (accept the lie at the end of the line). We keep reeling in the lies. We are not ready to let go of the problem and keep testing God, checking the bait. We need to cast our problem off and cut the line and never bring the problem back. As long as Jesus knows we are attached to it, He can’t do anything. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE LET THE OLD POSSIBILITY COME BACK ONTO YOU.
We all got stuff we wish we didn’t have. We get disappointed at life. We do have a measure of faith – we don’t need MORE faith, we have enough faith. Our problem is we don’t cast the problem away and cut the line. Our mind, will, and emotions work against us and bind us to possibilities, but they are the wrong possibilities, we spend more time planning for disasters than planning for our victories. We worry what will happen if they do that, if that circumstance happens, etc.
We need to be aware of what is coming out of our mouths. So often it is so personal that we don’t see it. We can talk the talk of faith, but the thing we are dealing with is still hooked up. Sometimes we are sick so long that we become used to the sickness, and don’t have faith for the healing. We can become so adept at hiding our lack of faith not showing our brokenness. What we need to do is to get real, as faith people we need to get out of the realm of pretend. Take an honest evaluation of where we are and call it as it is. But then ask ourselves, is that all that it is, or is it more than meets the eye, is there a supernatural component?
If the doctor tells us the way it is supposed to be under normal circumstances, seek the Lord and see if He has a different plan for your circumstance. Obey God, and when you come to the point of faith – the I know that I know that I know, cut the line and don’t fall back into doubt and unbelief. At the same time, unless you have a clear word from God, don’t do anything foolish. Fight the good fight of faith. Hold fast to your confession of faith and don’t let anyone talk you out of it, especially yourself. We are all very adept at talking ourselves out of faith.
Open your heart and say to God, “I’m ready to hear whatever it is.” The next word that comes to you may not be from God though, so you have to use your discernment. When we tell God that we are ready to hear and do his will satan also hears that and may drop a word in that sounds godly but is not from God. Often that word that is dropped in is one that will appeal to your ego.
How does God answer? It may not be in the moment that the prayer is brought up. Pastor Don told us to read the book of Acts and see how the Spirit of God moves. Agabus the prophet ties up Paul’s hands and feet to show Paul what the Romans would do to Paul if he continued on his journey to Jerusalem. Then Philip had seven prophesying daughters who prophesied to Paul about what was going to happen to him. At Ephesus the disciples pray and tell Paul what will happen and pray against him going. They had misinterpreted the prophecy, and were trying to prevent it from happening. But Paul was aware of what would happen, and it was during those years that most of his writings happened, and his ministry prospered. Paul was willing to make the sacrifice to advance the Kingdom.
Are we really ready to do what God tells us to do?
In another instance Paul prayed and wanted to go to Macedonia. The Spirit of Jesus prevented him from going. A second time the Holy Spirit restrained him from going, then later in a dream an angel appears and tells Paul to come over to Macedonia.
We can’t always predict the way the Holy Spirit moves. He does not always come in the same way or do the same things. We can get into religion and tradition and think that God is only going to come in one kind of meeting. If a meeting is silent some may conclude that God did not come, if a meeting is rowdy and people are dancing and loud you may think God had come, but many are still in the flesh. Others may think that the rowdiness is not of God.
Pastor Don gave one way to tell if it is really the Holy Spirit – he said to watch the kids. Little kids recognize a real move of the Spirit and tend to get quiet, even the most ADD off the wall kids will respond to the real presence of the Holy Spirit.
In answer to a person’s question about hearing from the Lord, Pastor Don told us that often when we are interceding for ourselves we don’t usually hear an immediate Word from the Lord, that God will wait for a more opportune time. The problem is that when we are interceding for ourselves we sort of know the answer we want and anything else that is not that answer will not always be heard by us. So God waits until we are in the shower, engaged in something else, and our minds and hearts are open to really hear what HE wants to tell us.
Pastor Don told us he values the private presence of the Lord. God does not always have a specific thing to tell us, sometimes He just wants to be with us in fellowship.
Sometimes we are depressed, are feeling in a bad way and that sometimes we can give ourselves permission to yield to it for a set period of time. If you don’t limit what you yield to, the devil can take you to a place where you can’t get out of. But sometimes when we are depressed or hurting we can pray and then our prayer changes as we yield to the Lord and make ourselves available to God. The Holy Spirit uses our body to intercede for someone else, and it will transition to the point where the sadness is not about you anymore. You become aware of the presence of God, and it changes from being a pity party to being an intercessory prayer. If it doesn’t change and you are still depressed and in a pity mode, tell your self two more minutes and then I am out of this mood. God will help you to come to the peace of God and a joy in your heart.
The Holy Spirit is greater than the mind and emotions, if you call Him, He will bring you into a sweet peace and you will feel that peace. Sometimes we pray with groans and words that can’t be uttered. We do not always understand what we are praying, but we can ask the Holy Spirit if he wants to reveal to us what we were praying about in our private prayer language.
Pastor Don also told us that he always begins his prayer time asking for forgiveness from sins and repenting, then he prays for whatever he can pray in his intellect – he prays for his needs, his family, sometimes he prays the church membership list, prays for the missions we support, prays for other pastors and churches, our country, the president, prays until he exhausts his intellectual ideas of what to pray for. Then he prays in tongues. If God wants him to intercede he will, sometimes God does not have any thing for Pastor Don to intercede in the Spirit for. Then he asks God that if there is anything he should know about what he was interceding for, and would God show him what it is? Then he puts up his spiritual antennae and listens for what God wants to show him. He likes to pray the the prayer in Daniel Chapter 2, which is a prayer for prophets that asks God to reveal the hidden things of the King’s heart.
We are coming into a time where the Word of Knowledge is getting sharper and specific, not a vagueness. So often people calling themselves prophets will throw out a vague thought – in a large meeting they will call out if anyone has a back problem. Yes, in a large group there will statistically be some with back problems. But a true Word of Knowledge is specific. You can, for example, look at a person and tell them that their left foot is bothering them, and when it happened, etc.
There is also the Word of Wisdom where God tells us what to do with the Word of Knowledge.
God is getting more powerfully specific with those people who speak to Him in prayer. We talked about some of the current prophets who have moved in the anointing of the Word of Wisdom and the Word of Knowledge – People like Kenneth Hagin, WV Grant, etc.
We need to analyze what we say over ourselves and begin to eliminate those areas of negative confession.
Pastor Don said that it is not only pastors who are to move in signs and wonders, but all the believers are to minister signs and wonders. The signs and wonders are for the unsaved at the hands of the saints, not just the pastors and ministers. We need to stop giving excuses as to why we are not operating in the gifts that God has given us.
Satan will gladly give us a million reasons why we can’t do what God wants us to do. We walk in our lives as if we have no power, when we are really filled with the Holy Spirit and have the tremendous Power of God.
Someone told Pastor Don that before he does something he wants to have a mental grasp of it. Pastor Don replied that the move of the Spirit is not like that. The person who asked the question was a musician and Pastor Don asked them if, when they play music do they think of where their hands are, what their feet are doing or do they get into the groove and just move with the music. Operating in the Holy Spirit is getting into the groove and moving where the Holy Spirit wants us to move – we don’t think about it, we just obey Him.
Hear, obey, and then step out in faith. Remember, it is not us doing the doing, but the Spirit in us. Even if we feel adequate, God is able.
I hope this blesses you. It sure touched a lot of areas I needed confirmation about.
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