Today, I was sitting in my van that is my home, reading from the book of Acts. I had made a commitment to God that if I lost everything, that, like the Apostles who had it so hard and had nothing, I would continue my quest to seek the Lord Jesus and give up everything I owned just to seek and know Him.
It was like I had read the verse about leaving everything and following Him, that I remembered at the time I had to give notice at my apartment, where I had lived for five years, because I did not earn the income I needed to stay and pay the bills. The impending doom of not having enough income to pay the rent and all the bills made me face the reality of living in a car. It was the only way for me to give up my apartment, my cat, and all that I owned. It reminded me of the verse where Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything he had to follow Him, and that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
On hearing this, Jesus told him, “You still lack one thing: Sell everything you own and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” ~ Matthew 19:21
And this verse:
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. ~ Matthew 19:24
It taught me that knowing and believing in Christ Jesus was worth much more than anything I owned and I was glad that I had come to learn about Jesus’s saving grace, and that I had been saved. I really believe I have been saved.
So I set out living in my car, which made sense because these verses came to mind and I’m sure the Holy Spirit helped teach me so that I would know, giving up material possessions would unfetter me from worldly ways and values. That putting the Lord first in my life was the way to go. I would not advocate that Christians give away everything to become homeless, but that is what I had to do at the time.
My budget would not allow me to live in an apartment at that time, and I regret having to re-home my cat, but I prayed many times for him, and that he would be cared for by someone who would love him, and take care of his medical issues. He had something wrong with his teeth which began to fall out which I have never dealt with in a cat. He also was covered with fleas which made it hard to live in my apartment.
After leaving my apartment for my car, I traded my car in a few month later for the van I now live in. That was over seven months ago, starting on the first day of March, 2017, that I became homeless, living in my car.
In the book of Acts, I began thinking about how hard it would have been to go through the travels and troubles of Paul, and the other Apostles. They must have walked long distances, rode horses, and sailed in ships to get to where they were going, to preach the gospel. I wondered at how uncomfortable they would have been and I identified on some level with that.
How hard they had it, speaking to people who were hostile to their teaching. They lived in houses that people provided, like nomads, going from home to home in each city they visited. How uncomfortable that would have been. How easy it is to enjoy having your own privacy in your own home, never thinking about how hard it would be to stay with people you may have never met before. That is what the Apostles did. Maybe sometimes they knew the people they stayed with, but sending letters was a slow way of introduction and communication was so slow in those days.
They had the Holy Spirit to guide them, reminding them of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything that I have told you. ~ John 14:26
I thought about the verse that says that knowledge shall increase, and I thought about how today we have the Internet, and can learn the scripture quicker than in the times of the bible. They went from home to home and preached, and met secretly in homes and buildings, preaching the gospel. Now, we have it so easy, we have bible teachings online. We can watch video teachings, listen to preachers and study well-written articles online, all for free. It is certainly faster for us to learn what the bible teaches these days, then when Paul the Apostle traveled around under extreme threat of being murdered or attacked, teaching the gospel of Christ Jesus verbally to people like Jesus did. What a hard life that would have been.
Daniel’s prophetic words spoke to this, where in the last days we would have knowledge available to us more rapidly:
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. ~ Daniel 12:4
Knowledge being increased speaks to me of today’s internet. We are in the Information Age. Even books and the bible being found online speaks of how knowledge shall be increased. We can learn how to take care of our bodies and minds through online teaching; beyond books in the library, we can learn practically anything we want by researching online.
I was struck by how Paul declared to them “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27b). He was warning the Ephesian Elders to watch over and protect the flock from the false teaching that would enter into the church. I have a problem with all the false teaching going on today.
I feel it is incumbent upon all of us to learn the Word, to rightly divide the Word, and to learn about the false teaching, and if not directly call out a person who teaches falsely, then to at least warn our Christian family about the false teachers of the world. The United States is full of them. It is too important to leave people out there who think they know God, and who follow false prophets and preachers who are giving them wrong information, who are wrongly dividing the Word.
In his teaching to the Ephesians, Paul said:
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. ~ Acts 20:28-31
Is it because they are too lazy to learn? Is it because of their corporate, religious affiliation that they cannot leave, making them feel isolated and uncomfortable that they won’t teach more correctly? They do not strive to learn the Word, learning the history of the bible characters, the days and times, and who the people in the bible are speaking to, rather than saying that everything spoken in the bible is directed toward us?
The more I have learned, the more aghast I am at my error in thinking that verses mean me; although verses may have been meant for the Jews, or for the Christians of another time. The way verses are explained is many times wrong. A favorite healing verse that is misconstrued, is Isaiah 53:5, which says:
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
Christians in the The New Apostolic Church (NAC) movement and those churches that take on the teaching of the NAC explain this verse to mean that we will be healed in the physical body, and not that we will be healed spiritually. This verse is taken out of the context that it was intended, although I know this will make people mad to read this. If we are healed spiritually, it is far more important than whether we get healed physically. My spiritual fitness is far more important than my physical fitness. After all, Paul wrote:
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. ~ 1 Timothy 4:8
A quick reference where you can read that this verse is talking about spiritual healing is found in an article online where you may begin to search out the meaning of this verse:
I pray for my health almost every day, and I certainly want to walk the earth in good health, so I understand the desire of everyone who wants good health. I am not trying to take away from this. But shouldn’t we seek the Kingdom of Heaven first, and let things follow from there. I trust Jesus and the guidance of his Holy Spirit enough, to trust that He is going to provide for my needs here on earth. And He has. Even living in my van, He has met my every need.
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. ~ John 16:13
Let’s learn to rightly divide the word, never stopping our learning. Jesus should be the center point of our lives, the moral compass we need in order to follow in His Holy footsteps. Let’s also trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us in everything we need to know about His Word. Peace be with you.