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For Lack Of Interest!
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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In the 1960s a satirical TV headline read "Tomorrow has been cancelled for lack of interest." It was a dig at the complacent approach of most people towards the spectre of nuclear annihilation that hung over their heads. Totally wrapped up in their own little world, they went about their daily business oblivious to the fact that any day everything could end through nuclear destruction. Their tomorrow might never come!
The satire highlighted the short-sightedness of people's selfishness.
Selfishness is a dreadful trait. It leads to failure in marriage, communities, and, as the satire obliquely hinted, contributes to the destruction of civilisation through disinterest.
Sadly, the same trait is common amongst most believers! So, you have to ask: Could God's Work upon earth ever fail for the same reason?
"Oh no! Of course not! God would not allow that," you might respond.
If that is what you think, you are naive. The apostle Paul suffered and went without because of the failure of the Corinthian Christians to respond as they should. He wrote to them, tactfully reminding them that he had a right to their physical support (1 Cor 9:4-14) which they had denied him. It had forced him and Barnabas to give up preaching full time and take a job (1 Cor 9:6).
Can you imagine?! The apostle Paul – the most pivotal individual in the progress of the gospel to all nations – being left without support?! Financially bereft! (2 Cor 6:1-12.)
Why did he have to work for his living? Because of the selfish myopia of those whom God had called to provide for him! He wrote to them:
We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us (2 Cor 6:12, NIV).
They were doing that by failing to give the physical and financial support he needed for his gospel ministry.
They tolerated schisms (1 Cor 1:10-13) and entertained false ministers who were dividing the Church (2 Cor 11:3-4), but they failed to recognise the value of Paul's ministry! In their selfish folly, they followed those who impressed them. Paul was simply not impressive (1 Cor 2:3).
It didn't take much to lead them astray, because in their spiritual shallowness they did not seek truth above all else. Consequently, their selfishness left their door open for the devil's incursions. It was taking them down the road of apostasy. Paul became a casualty of their failings. He was deprived of the means to do the Work of God.
Time has moved on, but things have not changed much! The majority do not seek truth. They follow their whims and fancies. They flock after evangelists who bring teachings that impress, while the ones who bring more of the Truth of God are shunned and go without.
The Work of God can suffer all right! Every prophet of God throughout history has had to bear the brunt of this human failure.
Today, we endure the same indignity and lack as Paul did. The means to do this work as it should be done is simply not there, because of others' failures. While false prophets get the acclaim and the wealth, we are left to struggle on virtually alone, like Elijah (1 Kings 19:10).
What It Costs
The night before this article was written, God gave me this dream:
7th May 2002. The huge costs.
I was sitting in the middle of an audience or congregation. A man came up to me holding a copy of Volume 1 of Articles of Faith. He had obviously benefited from reading it and asked me if the next volume was available. I said regrettably that it wasn't, because of lack of funds to print. "It is written, but we need £10,000." At that, he was visibly shocked.
What this dream from God portrays is this. People don't realise what it takes to do this work. They have no concept of the massive costs involved, which are totally out of reach of individuals like us who have so little support that the word is a joke. We operate this ministry on less than a shoestring. It is a family enterprise, that is all. We have no church to back us. We have only a handful of supporters, and they are not rich. Our elder daughter gives most of her wages to us just to keep us from sinking by servicing our debts.
But do people want to get involved and pull their weight? No. Only a few – very few! We have had many people come across our path over the years, but their motives have been entwined with selfishness. They come to get what they want FROM us, but they don't want to give TO us. So, they drift away and leave us to shoulder the burden alone.
In the dream, the man's reaction and body language showed that he wasn't prepared to assist us pay the high price of producing these publications, despite the fact that he found them very helpful. The dream highlights the lack of commitment in people. He is illustrative of most.
It is not the only dream down these lines which God has given us. If I would dwell on these particular dreams alone, I could get discouraged. "Why bother?" "Why continue?" "Why should we shoulder the burden all the time to help people?" That would be a purely human reaction, and I have not been exempt from occasional discouragement. Nor was Elijah (1 Kings 19:4).
As with every prophet, Ezekiel found the message of God sweet in his mouth, but it turned bitter in his stomach (Ezek 3:3,14; Rev 11:9,10). I know just what he felt! The prophet's task is a bittersweet commission from God in this world – wanting to give people the purity of the Word of God that they need, while they only reject it.
The problem with people is their lack of commitment. They are selfish, and so they are uninvolved. If you read about the commitment in the fledgling Church, it was totally different:
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had (Acts 4:32, NIV).
We have done that with those whom God has brought here. But in each case, they failed to properly respond in like manner. It hurts.
If there were the same commitment today to doing God's Work, we would not be short of funds to do the job. But the painful reality is this:
Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ (Phil 2:21, NIV).
Jesus has raised up an Elijah-like work, to bring down the strongholds of Satan that bind Christians in pagan syncretism or a compromised faith, and how do they respond? Why, just like the unconverted:
They paid no attention and went off – one to his field, another to his business (Matt 22:5, NIV).
We have seen this so often that, if we were to record what takes place, it would sound like a record stuck in a groove.
About a year ago God gave me dream after dream about human selfishness. These dreams kept recurring, so I knew that what God was trying to say was very important.
He had me write a booklet about it because Christians must strive to overcome this dreadful trait if they want to enter the Kingdom of God. If you don't know how to go about overcoming, or countering selfish desires, then read the booklet What Every Christian Should Consider.
Many people don't realise that selfishness is the limiting factor in what God does on earth.
You might think that God is all-powerful. He is. But that does not mean He can do whatever He wants to do with you. He has ordained that He will not violate the free will He has given you and me. It is central to what He wants to produce.
Sceptics are glib to blame God for all the world's evils and inequalities. But they never consider that this is the result of errant human behaviour – in one word, sin! And if it hadn't been other people's sins that produced this mess, it would have been their own sins.
But they don't want to change, so they ignore the issue of sin. They gloss over their own sin. They don't want to be concerned about it – that is, not until it affects them! (And even then, they would not admit it as their fault, nor regard it as sin.)
So, they continue to pursue their self-willed path, repeating and compounding the mistakes of humanity throughout history, looking for a scapegoat. The scapegoat, for a sceptic, is often God!
Things aren't much different with those whom God has called. Believers may recognise the sin issue in principle, and perhaps even to a certain extent in reality. But because of selfishness, when they change, the transition is shallow. Often, when people repent, to begin with it is only partial. Much has to transpire before they are willing to completely commit to God and relinquish self-will.
So, is it any wonder that there is a lack of concern in the Church for what He is doing to restore totality of Truth? People would rather have their own way than submit to the demands which the Truth makes upon their lives.
Things haven't changed much since Ezekiel's time. God told him:
The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn (Ezek 2:4, NIV).
It's because of this resistance in the heart of mankind that God's Work languishes today. God speaks, and prophets do their tasks, but few listen and even fewer change!
Jesus was blunt about His generation. People are no different now:
O Jerusalem [a figure for God's people, or Church] ...you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together... but you were not willing (Matt 23:37).
We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn (Matt 11:17, NIV).
God's Work is cancelled for lack of interest!
Our Car Falters
On 1st May 2002, I had the following dream.
Our car faltering.
In this dream, the car we were driving [the car symbolises this ministry, MM] started to develop engine problems and I went back to the Person who had given me the car to see what could be done about it.
This symbolises how I have been seeking God for His deliverance because we have not been able to move forward for lack of finance.
Also, the back wheels on this car were not upright, they must have been loose because they were slanted at a very marked angle. It looked like the car could collapse at any moment!
Meaning: The 'impossible' state of our ministry due to lack of sufficient money to move on as we should be doing (we have large credit card debts).
A second witness.
In another dream which Helena was given some weeks previously, God revealed that our insufficiency is due to the failure of those whom God has called to support us as they should have been doing.
Most of those whom God called to provide our financial support have selfishly run off to do 'their own thing' first. They should have given God the FIRSTfruits, after which He would have blessed their efforts. Instead, they languish under the repercussions of losing out on the prophet's reward (Matt 10:41). The reward you receive from helping a true prophet is firstly understanding his God-given message, and secondly the deliverance of God in your own life in various specific ways.
People lose out on this reward when they don't believe a prophet of God – because their heart is not right. This is the over-riding problem in the Church today. God showed Helena in that dream that our financial precariousness is a result of the fact that the Church doesn't want to hear what HE has to say!
How Human Evil Prevents God's Work
If you wonder how human evil prevents the purposes of God being fulfilled, let me explain.
For years, as we have written the spiritual material to take God's Truth to others, we have had totally insufficient physical support – because people are innately selfish.
We have had spiritual support. God never fails to provide that! But the physical arm has been weak.
Most of the time, finance has had to come from within our own family, to make this venture possible. Up until 2001 'internal income' barely provided the funding for publishing costs and office expenditure. The small amounts in contributions from others were so meagre that they only went part way towards postage costs. As for paying wages to those of us who work full time at the task... well, that's a joke! If Helena or I expected to be paid, we wouldn't be doing the job! We have worked for years without being paid, and now are owing Zenya her wages for past years, so she effectively works for nothing, too. We are not complaining, just explaining.
God has called us all to be living sacrifices (Rom 12:1), following the example of Jesus. As you lay down your life as a living sacrifice, God will replace it with His. This is the simple principle underlying the gospel. It's simple in principle, but very hard to practice.
It's much easier to reason, "I really want that car, or that holiday (or anything else that YOU want with your human desires). So, I'll get that first, and then I can give to God's Work."
That's no good. God doesn't approve of that. He expects you to thank Him by your giving. He doesn't want your leftovers, nor even your seconds. He gave His first-born Son for you. He wants your FIRSTfruits, too. If you don't give Him your firstfruits, don't be surprised that He leaves you to wander in spiritual limbo and get in a mess. Your understanding and spiritual vision will depart, and demons will gladly take God's place in your life.
People don't see how the devil does his work. How does he get you to oppose God's Work? Simply through your physical desires. When he gets you to take care of them before taking care of what is on God's agenda, he's achieved his aim in damaging what God intended, and in thwarting His Work.
You've got to give up giving in to your selfish passions or whims. You've got to put God and His Work first, before you do what you want for yourself. Then, God will give to you. That was the message of the prophet Haggai. It was recorded for all subsequent generations to learn the same lesson.
It was also what Jesus said early in His ministry:
Seek FIRST His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt 6:33, NIV). Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven... for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:20,21, NIV).
When you put this principle into practice – by giving God's Work your FIRSTfruits, even if you have to FORCE yourself to do it (that's what sacrifice is, it's something you don't want to do naturally) – then God comes through in your life and turns things around.
Before every blessing there is sacrifice. Without sacrifice there can be no blessing. It's as simple as that. You've got to sacrifice what YOU want, and first give God what He wants from you (your generosity, selfless devotion, submissive obedience, and outgoing love), THEN He will come through for you and grant you whatever you need. And He will surprise you! He will give you understanding, emotional comfort, satisfaction, spiritual help – whatever you need. He will open new doors in your life!
Give! And You Will Be Satisfied
On 26th May 2002, God gave me four dreams. Here are two of those, because they are relevant in this context:
Lack of money for ourselves.
I needed 4 or 5 pounds to buy myself a pair of socks and pants, but I didn't have it. (How we have emptied ourselves of all we have, so that we don't have money for our needs. We have literally been this low!)
I asked someone who was nearby if he could lend it to me. It was only a small amount of money, but he was begrudging at first. Then, as time progressed (presumably as he got used to giving, and realised that I was really in need, and not merely asking to get something for myself), he gave willingly. He gave me more than I asked for. He put a number of pound coins in my hand; about eight or ten of them. Even though I offered to give him back the extra ones, he didn't want them back.
The meaning of this part of the dream is that once people learn to be giving, instead of keeping everything for themselves, they find out that it doesn't hurt them and they actually enjoy it! It does them good!
It is a central principle in the Christian faith:
Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6:38).
That's what happens. People get back according to their own measure! It's a reciprocal principle. Compare the person exemplified in the above dream with those below, in another dream given the same day:
No one wants to join with us.
I was waiting for others to join me and have a game of football. But no one came. No one wanted to get involved with us. There was a new room or building. It was small and painted white on the inside. (This represents our ministry. Spiritually, it is white.) But because it was new, things needed doing and no one was there to do them. The walls were dripping wet and needed wiping down. (New buildings 'sweat'.)
Those poor souls are missing out! Besides harming us, they're hurting God and themselves.
The Churches of God
Steal What is ours
On 3rd May 2002 God gave me 2 dreams.
In the first one, a former friend (I will call him Peter – not his real name) who is now a minister in a 'Church of God' group, bought a caravan worth between £1,000 and £2,000 which should have been ours. The owner was offering it for sale for only £300. Peter had the cheek to offer him £250 for it (which illustrates his personal stinginess). He bought it, but the dream conveyed that it should really have come to us. It was ours by right.
Meaning: The caravan, worth a lot to us, represents the financial support we should have had from various people who have joined the offshoot CoG church to which Peter has given his loyalties. During the nineties, we paid out a lot of money and sacrificed to try to deliver those people from the WCG's dominating, restrictive mentality, but they were 'stolen' away from supporting us by the cunning and selfish manipulation of Church of God ministers who sought ultimate control.
Peter knew us well. He knew we were faithful to God and to His truths but he ignored us out of expediency. He never contacted us, despite my attempts in the early nineties to reach him with further truth from God. We sent wave after wave of publications, tapes and videos to show what was wrong with the WCG and its theology – not just to him, but to hundreds of such people. It cost us thousands! For all our sacrifice, we never had a proper word of thanks or financial remuneration from anyone bred by the ungrateful selfish WCG system!
During those years that we tried to alert WCG members to the spiritual dangers they faced, Peter stayed in the WCG, only leaving them some years later. Now 'his' church leadership financially benefits from those who left WCG at that same time to follow 'his' group. God says that their tithes rightfully belong to us.
This is but one example of how the Work of God is hindered. & M B Heap
(The second dream given that morning is related in the leaflet Fierce Persecution! under the heading A Dream From God About Opposition!)
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