Don’t get distracted, but trust in God

Our thoughts and God’s thoughts are not always compatible. Many things can change around us, the Chief Apostle says. Despite everything, God remains faithful to His plan of redeeming mankind—regardless of all the changes.

The Bible text the Chief Apostle used for his service in Rosenheim (Germany) is very interesting indeed: “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55: 10–11).

Caught up in one’s own thoughts

At the time, the people of Israel were in exile in Babylon. And their exile lasted longer than they had expected. The first generation had already died, and still there was no sign that things were getting any better. However, God did send prophets to comfort the people. For example, He told them: “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54: 10). Despite this, many doubted.

God had the prophet tell the people that His thoughts were higher than their thoughts. Behind this was God’s message to the people: “You cannot grasp my activity and work with your intellect. You cannot measure the effectiveness of God with human criteria. You just have to trust Me. What I said, I will do. Trust Me!”

Water must infiltrate the ground

And then the Chief Apostle explained the image of the water cycle used by Isaiah. Rain falls from heaven, infiltrates the earth, then waters it, evaporates, and rises into the atmosphere again. “But in the meantime it has had an effect. It has benefitted the soil.” God’s word, so the Chief Apostle, is not cold comfort. On the contrary, it has power. “The word of God is a force that produces change.” And that, the Chief Apostle said, is the difference to us human beings. “What God says He really does.”

There are similarities in the New Testament. When the Son of God came to earth, the word of God became incarnate. Jesus Christ announced salvation to mankind. And yet people were disappointed. “Mountains crumbled. The people had such high expectations of the Messiah.” Even the disciples were shocked when they realised that things were coming to an end! But when Jesus returned to His Father, He accomplished what He had promised. He created salvation. He created the possibility for mankind to come to God. “He had accomplished His mission one hundred per cent.” Later, it was His Apostles who carried out the commission of being ambassadors in Christ’s stead. “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them. And proclaim the gospel!” And God said about this: “What I said will be done! The word will do what pleases Me, and My word will succeed in doing what I have sent it for.” The same applies today, the Chief Apostle said.

Some mountains have crumbled

“In the meantime, we notice that many a mountain has departed and many a hill has been removed,” the Chief Apostle said. “What seemed so stable has crumbled.” The landscape has changed completely, he said.

  • It begins in our personal lives. The course of our lives is disrupted by dramatic and unexpected events.
  • In society, well-established values are being questioned. Churches have lost influence, the Christian belief is on the decline.
  • And on the New Apostolic map, the doctrine is developing, the focus of the Church has shifted to Africa, districts are being restructured, and congregations are being closed. “That can certainly destabilise us.”

But then God comes and says: “What I have said still applies! Those who believe in Jesus Christ, who follow Him, who are reborn of water and Spirit, who grow into the likeness of Christ, who overcome evil, who remain faithful until the end will enter My kingdom. Those are My words! Just trust Me!”

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted

Even if things seem different from what we hoped for: “You cannot measure My success, My action, with your human reason. You cannot measure the success of this work with human criteria. You cannot do that. My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

The Chief Apostle appealed to the congregation: “The Lord will come. He will take His bride to Himself. He will carry out His plan right into the new creation step by step. All we must do is trust Him.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, let’s not allow ourselves to be distracted by changes in our personal lives or in the social landscape.”

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Peter Johanning
Chief Apostle, Divine service