Dellas Linaman - "Our Little While Will Soon Be Gone" - Madrid Convention, 2005

Hymn:  Our Little While Will Soon Be Gone 

That should be our theme song, a song we should sing often, for we need to be reminded often that our time is passing.  In Taiwan, there were two little girls walking the street.  One of them went into the store and paid the price to buy a sweet sugar coated lolly.  The other little girl wanted a bit of it, good to see her begging.  So after while, the little girl let her taste a little bit of the sugar on her finger.  As we have gathered these days, we have had a taste from what others have paid a price for.  God wants all of us to have what others have paid the price for.  It is in us to want things cheaply but these are things that we do not bargain for.  There is one price to buy the things of God and that is your all. 

I notice that the evening meal here consists of quite a combination of things mixed together.  The other day, someone mentioned that the name was a Russian salad.  That is the kind of salad I am giving you today, a mixture of many things.  I hope that we will be able to comprehend a little of what God is trying to speak to us.  In Taiwan, we have two big motorways.  The roads that lead off are very limited.  Once in a while, there are rest stops which are welcomed, and then there are places to get something to eat and to be refreshed.  This convention has been to us a rest stop.  We need to remember that it is a rest stop and not our destination. 

Jesus said in John 17 to his Father that the world has hated them because they hate me.  He then asked his father to keep them from the evil one.  In only a few hours we will be faced with the reality of this world, a spirit working against the spirit that we have here.  We may be wishing it was different.  We still go back to the same old wife, the same old husband, the same old boss, the same old teacher, the same old companion.  One lady always had to battle with her husband when she wanted to go to convention.  Finally, this year, she said she would not fight with him, just not go and stay home.  The husband asked her, "You are not going to convention?"  "No, you always make it so hard for me to go."  So he answered, "You had better go, please go for you are always a better wife when you come back."  I wonder if there is any difference to our lives, to our attitude when we leave here today.  The reason why the world hates us as it hated Jesus is because we are not of it.  The world is there for a purpose, and the purpose if for you to overcome.  Don’t forget to overcome, don’t forget to change, for that is where the change should take place, in us.  We are not going to change the world but we need to change. 

Jesus asked His father to sanctify them through the truth.  To sanctify means to become holy.  What does holy mean?  It means to be different, for there is nothing like it.  That is why the bible is called the holy bible because there is no other book like it.  God wants a holy people, no other people like it.  This calls for us to be an overcomer.  Last week, we were standing at an airport waiting for someone to come.  There was this huge screen and of course you look at it.  Oh, you wish you had never seen it, for you are polluted in a second.  I wished I had a rock that I could throw at it.  There is so much for us to overcome and the problem is me.  The problem is not the things in the world but it is me.  Just don’t watch it.  The things that we hear, we say we can’t help it, but just don’t listen to it.  Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  I hope that this will be your experience in a few hours from now, being led by the spirit into the wilderness.  What is in the wilderness to feed us?  There is only food for wild animals, there is nothing there for your soul, and there is nothing there for you.  We find that in this place the devil tempted Jesus but Jesus was an overcomer.  Why did Jesus go into the wilderness?  He was making footsteps for you and me, to show how to overcome.  If we do not follow his footsteps, we will not be an overcomer.  We need the wilderness to live a life of overcoming. 

It tells us in Romans of the things that will not separate us from the love of Christ - tribulation, distress, famine, peril, etc.  I am persuaded that nothing can separate us.  So often people get into difficulty and say that God does not love me anymore.  One of the friends gave their testimony, "The past year, I have had much suffering.  Perhaps it was needed to teach me more of Christ.  Perhaps, if I had more of Christ, it may not have been so hard."  Paul says, for thy sake, we are killed all the day long.  We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter, which is for God's sake.  Not for 15 minutes per day, Sunday morning only, no, we are killed all the day long.  We are counted by the world as sheep for the slaughter.  If you see a group of sheep waiting to be taken to the abattoirs, there is not one thing you’d admire in them.  This is the way the world wants to see you. 

The time that Phillip saw the Ethiopian Eunuch, he was reading in this part, led as a sheep to the slaughter.  He opened not His mouth.  It says this:  in His humiliation, His judgement was taken away.  Who shall declare His generation, for his life is taken from the earth?  This is the question for all time:  Who will declare his generation?  Peter followed afar off.  He wanted to see the end.  Later, Peter wrote about Jesus, end.  He saw a lamb that opened not his mouth.  There is no other way to declare his generation apart from having the spirit of the lamb.  Overcoming by arguing, no, putting others in their place, no.  Have the spirit of the lamb. 

What is this spirit of the lamb?  I was driving with others one day.  I had not held a lamb for over 50 years.  We saw a ewe with her little lamb so I said, "Stop, I want to take hold of a lamb."  I got close to it and the other man went around it.  Soon, the mother was alerted.  She would not let you get him.  The wife got out also and we all helped to catch this lamb.  The poor little thing, it wanted to stay with the mother.  We were intruders, we had no right to do what we were doing.  We made it run.  As it was running away from us, it did not see a wire fence.  It ploughed right into the fence.  So, I grabbed it.  It completely submitted itself to me - no struggle, no cry, was completely at my mercy.  I felt its wool, felt its mouth, its tongue then took it to the car and took some pictures.  The mother ewe was over there crying, but the lamb paid no attention.  Then I took it back partway and put it down.  The little lamb then followed me back to the car.  This is the spirit of a lamb. 

Some time ago, a brother worker was driving a car.  I was sitting beside him in the front.  The car in front was going slow.  I could see this brother getting agitated.  Finally, this elderly couple in the car in front pulled over to the side of the road.  This brother worker honked the horn and flew past.  We get these tests every day.  It gives us an opportunity to show patience.  Don’t miss your opportunity show the spirit of the lamb for there is no other way to declare His generation.  To live a life of overcoming, we need to let in the overcomer, to be alive and let Him live over His life in us. 

A girl found a dead cat in the garbage.  She picked it up by the tail and brought it into the house.  She said, "Mum, look I have found a perfect cat, a good cat."  It is all there but it had no life.  If we do not have the life of the lamb, we will have no life.  If we have not the spirit, we are none of his.  This is vital and there is so much out there to be overcome.  The time we do not need to fear the enemy is when we are obeying.  We then have peace, for there is contentment in being an overcomer.  It is not popular to be content, for the young people in their conversation and the older ones, too, worry about what are we going to buy, something better than they have already.  The Devil shows you what you don’t have.  God wants to show you what you do have.  Keep our hearts and lives clean.  That’s victory, getting bread.  That’s victory, being able to forgive others.  That’s victory.  Having victory in spite of all the things that need to be overcome.  We just keep continuing on, desiring more and more of the spirit of Christ within.  He gives us the victory. 

There is a story in Taiwan of playing baseball.  There was this little village on the east side called Red Leaf.  In this dirty little village, there was a baseball team.  These boys competed with each other.  Then, they competed against all Taiwan.  They won.  Then,  they played in Japan and they won.  Then, they went against all the Asian teams and won.  All this winning was in the paper.  Then, they were taken to Florida and they won.  Any old grandmother in Taiwan would say, "We won."  People who had never played baseball before could say they won.  This winning belonged to them.  We also want that winning spirit.  The final victory is Christ, for there is no victory without Him.  The final victory is there. 

There was something that used to bother me a lot.  From my second convention, it was a very devastating thing to me.  It was if a person made a vow and not keep it.  This happened to me.  I felt a complete failure, almost felt like giving in, saying, "What’s the use?"  It tells us in the Chinese bible that we are not to vow because you cannot make one hair white or black.  James tells us not to swear, by heaven or earth, saying yes, yes because we will be brought into judgement.  When Mary was spoken to, did she vow?  No, she submitted, like a little child, vowing no, just obeying.  Then we read something in Ephesians:  now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.  To him that is able.  Where does my vow come in?  We read here that God is able to do far more than I can imagine if I am submitted to Him, just allowing Him to work for He will supply all our need.  A purpose is like a vow for in the Old Testament.  You made a vow to God that, if You do this, then I’ll do this.  In the New Testament, God has already done everything so now it is up to you.  God has made all available to us.  Just submit to all the promises in God.  Just say yes, not yes and no.  In Timothy, Paul says that all the promises of God in Him are yes.  There are no "No"s in the will of God.  Just say yes to God and no to the world.  Can you think that a little child 2 years old could say no to its father?  Can you think that you have a right to say no to your heavenly father? 

We are like clay in the potter's hand.  If left there, he is able to do something that far exceeds our imaginations.  Everything we read in the teachings of Jesus is positive and not negative.  It is Satan that sows the negative thoughts.  We cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought.  We in the work have got to be positive.  Sometimes we hear that we have to look for a place to have meetings and we can’t find one.  Even if we do find one, no one will come.  If we do have meetings, no one will profess.  If someone should profess, they will not go on, so we might as well go fishing.  We need to lift up our eyes to the fields that are white unto harvest. 

A young man asked us what are we supposed to do with our leisure time.  Why I say, "If we are professing, we do not have any leisure time.  There is much to do so get with it."  People who are positive have joy, they are seeing something accomplished, and there is a fulfilment in it.  People who are negative feel that they are mistreated; they have fear, have doubts and have resentment.  People who are positive have calmness, a peace in it.  They have energy and enthusiasm.  A negative person feels tired, feels alienated from others, and possesses anger, tension so we want to be aware of this.  Satan seeks to sow doubts as he did with Eve saying, "You won’t die if you do this."  Jesus says that if you must doubt, doubt your doubts.  Doubts are very deceitful.  They hinder us by taking away our privileges and opportunities.  This is the result for our enemy.  Doubts must be removed before God can do anything in us at all. 

Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat.  He compelled them to cross over the sea.  Jesus was on the shore praying.  The wind was against them.  I have been in a ship a few times.  We are in the harbour today.  We are taking onboard cargo and soon we will be sailing on the open sea.  It is not the same as it is in here.  The first thing we need to do is to fasten things down or we will lose it.  We need to fasten down what we have gathered here for Satan wants to come and rob, take away the seed that has been sown.  The Taiwan straits are very rough water.  The reasons for this is that the waters are shallow.  Shallow waters are rough.  This world is a shallow place.  There are lots of stones.  The National Geographic tells us that at any one time there are 2,000 storms taking place in the world.  We cannot avoid them.  In Taiwan, we receive storm warnings, typhoon warnings.  The warnings need to be obeyed for we cannot prepare in the storm.  We need to give heed to the warnings.  One thing that can capsize a ship is being overloaded.  When I first went to Taiwan, we encountered a storm.  A ship followed ours a week later and it was overloaded.  As a result of coming through the same storm, it went down, broke in the middle, and sunk.  Our captain told us that this other captain always overloads his ship.  You might think that you can get by with an overloaded life, but the storms of life will test it. 

Paul says to take heed to the weights, not the sins, for if they are weighing us down in a storm you may sink.  In Sweden there is a ship in the museum, a beautiful work of art.  It was built for war.  It is this kind of ship we need to be an overcomer.  There were 1,000 oak trees cut down to make this ship.  Wood carvers came in from Germany to carve the decorations, a double deck with canons, a great battleship.  It was the battleship of all battleships.  Sweden had an enemy in Poland.  The ship floated and the canons were fired, all very impressive, all very true.  They hoisted the mainsail.  Along came a gust of wind.  Over she went and down she went.  She never got out of the harbour, all because she lacked one thing - 100 tons of ballast, something that is unseen.  It is the inner parts that are deep, that in a storm enable the ship to right itself again.  Do you have ballast?  If not, you had better get it.  What is ballast?  Think of the blind man in John 9.  He got his sight and the storm came.  His parents did not stand beside him.  The Pharisees attacked him.  What did he say when he was asked about his sight?  I don’t know him, but one thing I do know, that I was blind and now I see.  This is good ballast.  When we remember how it once was, who could sink him?  Think of Mary, who could sink her?  She knew what happened when her brother was resurrected.  She remembered Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today & forever.  That is good ballast and we had better get familiar with it.  When we professed, it was like this.  Now it is all different.  God’s lamb brought changes.  We remember that, we need that kind of ballast.  Paul could say, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure."  God knows those who are His, and that all who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  This is good ballast.  These words of Jesus are not established on the internet.  There we can glean all kinds of stuff, but God’s word is fixed in heaven.  Just remember that. 

End of Matthew:  teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  The end of the world has not come yet and today we want to have the presence of God with us.  In the Old Testament, they had the presence of God.  We are not in the Old Testament, but in the new.  How can I have the presence of God?  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man cometh to the father but by Me.  Believe in the Father and also believe in Me."  So often Jesus is bypassed, but Jesus says that they who honour Me honour the Father.  If we do not honour Him, we will not honour the Father.  Here Jesus says, "If you observe all things that I have commanded you, then I will be with you .  These words are not my words.  They are the words of the Father.  This word is going to judge you." 

Today, we need to be taken up with what Jesus said for the tests will come.  Where are we going to get the strength from to face the tests?  I like that story about the Professor who was preparing his students for a test.  One student asked him a question.  The professor said, "That is a good question, but it is not in the test."  Satan tries to create a lot of questions.  Questions produce doubts.  We need to be taken up with what is going to be in the test.  The things that are going to be in the test are simply the sayings of Jesus in Matthew 5, 6 & 7 and not Leviticus, Isaiah.  You and I do not know how much longer we have to prepare for that test.  We need to have these sayings of Jesus that we have made our own and made living in us.  This is what gives ballast in the storm.  It is wonderful to be upright again after being in a storm and when we have been leaning.  Ballast is the unseen part.  We need it for we are all carrying precious cargo. 

We are a family when we gather for a Sunday morning meeting.  We have known many who have their conscience seared and have made shipwreck.  I like Colossians speaking about the gospel coming to them, as it is in all the world, and bringing forth fruit.  Jesus is looking for fruit, fruit as a result of the gospel coming.  One time, Jesus was hungry and He saw a fig tree.  It says it was not the season for figs.  Jesus cursed it, and there is something in our carnal reasoning saying, "It is not fair."  Everything that Jesus did and said had Christ in it.  It was planned in Christ that there would be a fruit in every season.  When we are tired, when we are mistreated, in every season we are to bear fruit.  This yields fruit every month.  There is no excuse for any of us to be unkind, impatient.  Our example is kind and patient.  This fig tree was in the vineyard.  The owner came 3 years and found no fruit.  The man that owned it wanted to eat figs and not grapes all the time.  He said to cut it down.  This is where the advocate comes in and says he will dig about it and fertilise it.  I wonder if there has been any digging around our roots today.  One time, a man had a tree that did not bear any fruit so he cut a ditch deep all around it.  Why?  Because there were other roots coming in and sapping the strength out of the soil so that the tree was not getting it.  What are the unseen roots sapping your strength so you do not bear any fruit? We need to have these things dealt with so that there may be fruit.  If we respond to what God puts before us, there will be fruit. 

Colossians again.  Paul writes of being buried with him in baptism and then risen with him.  He writes:  If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, set your affection on things above, set your mind on them.  Ye are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Paul tells what this new life does.  It puts to death the members that have evil desires, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, idolatry, etc.  Sometimes people think that they do not have these things after they are baptised, but, after you are baptised, you get some power to deal with them.  This putting to death:  We asked our teacher at school what kind of death is that.  He showed us a house plant that had not been given any water, air, sunshine.  It dies, this is the way it dies.  Then, if you give the plant a shot of water, it revives again.  This is exactly like your human nature.  Don’t feed it and it will die.  Feed it and it will stimulate and get going again.  You will have the wrath of God on you.  It doesn’t matter what the world says, don’t go by that.  It says let the peace of God rule.  Okay if you don’t have peace.  Maybe it is because you have been seeking to put these things out of your life.  Like lying  - then you have told a lie and you find out that it was this that has disturbed your peace.  Deal with that lie and you find peace coming back again. 

The greatest miracle is not Jesus turning the water into wine.  Not the feeding of the 5,000 but to be able to present you and me before God blameless.  It says to continue in the faith, grounded and settled and not being moved away from the hope of the gospel.  We find that all things are possible with God if you continue.  Remember there is no stopping place.  We can never say that you have gone far enough.  Just continue and you will have this result.  I will finish with a story.  A few years ago, two ladies came to visit from South Africa.  They carried with them a snuff bottle, very old.  They had it appraised for value in South Africa before they came.  They wanted to know if it had any value in China.  One lady stuck it in her handbag and went around all the various homes carrying this.  They get to Taipei and go to a palace museum where there are endless exhibits of Chinese antiques.  There, she took out this snuff bottle.  A little old man took it away to appraise it and came back exclaiming how wonderful it was.  This had been in the forbidden city and was stolen 1700 years ago.  She asked what value it had, and he said it was valued at $26,000.  Now that she knew the value, it spoiled the rest of her trip.  For the rest of the trip, she was always worrying about where her purse was because in it was the snuff bottle.  Then she got back to South Africa.  The snuff bottle ended up in a separate box and kept safe.  If only we knew the value of what we have in these vessels of clay!  We had better not take it for granted.  It is the only thing that has any value at the end of life, this eternal life.