Joan Ware - First Part of First Meeting, Nuriootpa Special Meeting - May 10, 2004

My thoughts have been on "Addiction" and it might seem a strange thing to speak about, but we read of those who had "Addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints." In the world, people are addicted to many bad things. Addiction is more than a desire, it is an urge, a compulsion, a passion, and it can take over a whole life. It starts in a small way but gradually grows, often it starts in secret but as it grows it becomes more and more evident, and when it gets a hold on a persons life, they can't do without it.

There is a right kind of addiction and those people in the scripture had addicted themselves to the ministry; helping others; thinking of others. Right from young, at the age of twelve, Jesus said, "I must be about My Father's business," and it filled His whole life. The right addiction also starts in secret and it's between God and us and at first nobody else knows, but later, as it takes over in our lives, it will become evident to all.

I once knew a man whose father had died when he was very young and the family had a struggle, but his mother insisted that he should make a mark on this world, so he chose a profession and worked hard at it to get a name for himself. The one who made the biggest mark on the world was Jesus; none has affected the world so much; even today, as the life of Jesus, yet He didn't set out to be big but rather the opposite. He left His mark on this world because serving God was His life. It was His life's work and He could say, "I am the light of the world," yet there was no-one more humble. 

We are not out to make a mark on our district or anything like that, but when we are addicted in our service to God, it will become evident by our lives. It is the compulsion of that addiction that draws us to Him, and continues to draw us. Satan said to me last night, "You'll never make it; you won't get through tomorrow," but I had a good night's sleep and I'm here today, so I said to Satan, "You are a liar."

When people are addicted to something, they just can't leave it off because it has grown too much in their lives; it has become part of their lives, and it speaks in that verse that those people had addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. That is something that I've been very conscious of during the last few weeks. I have enjoyed ministering to the saints; not that I want to boost myself up, but I thought of one lady in particular who the nurses said couldn't respond to them. That was true enough, but when we spoke to her of the things of God - that which she always loved, there would be a squeeze of the hand or a smile. I thought of the different saints in the nursing-homes, that even though they may appear not to be able to respond, don't leave them unvisited. Talk to them of Jesus and they will respond, so I would like to be a help to them while I can.

He wants to adjust our walking, our running, our building, our praying, and our speaking.  It's not just how we are walking; we may be walking aright but it is how we are acting. I was thinking of what the Lord has put within our hearts, and there is a verse in Isaiah in the 2nd chapter and it says, "Oh, house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord." I thought of those times when, after they had known of being off course far away, but God was pleading with them, "Come ye let us walk in the light of the Lord."  We could be found walking way off course; a distance from God; with God not being able to touch us, but here He is now pleading, "Come ye," calling us; drawing us to Him.

We know that when we are walking in the light, it's different to walking in the darkness because we can see where we are going, and that's what the Lord wants of us, that we would be found walking in the light where we can see Him. We will be seeing very differently to what we could in the dark.  In the dark, we don't see much at all and the little that we do see is very dim; it's not clear, if we are walking in the path that Jesus has trodden, we are going to see more clearly everywhere and we'll be glad to walk in that path; we'll want to walk there because there is safety.

Then I thought we could be running, but how are we running? I like thinking of that man Ahimaaz, and of what the watchman could say of that man when he was running to bring a message to the king. The watchman saw him and called to the porter, "Behold I see a man running," and he knew the way that man ran. He knew it was the running of Ahimaaz. The king had respect to that man and he said, "He is a good man; he will bring good tidings," so I thought we could be running, but how are we running? That man wanted to bring news to the king; tidings to the king, and I thought also of what it says in Hebrews, in the 12th chapter, and it just tells us there we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

Let us run with patience, and I thought about running; just enduring with patience as we have our eyes set on Jesus the One who is lifted up before us. We could be running in a different direction, and we could be making our own path by carrying burdens and this would be making the way seem hard, so it would be good if we can just be found laying aside the sins that are a burden to us; the things that keep us bound and keep us in captivity and that make it difficult to run freely.

Then I thought of our building, and again I thought, "How are we building?" I thought of those in Nehemiah's day who were building upon that wall. Recently we were hearing about that wall that those who were building on that wall, built in unity, because they needed unity so that wall could be built aright. I noticed too that, when they started building that wall, they began at the sheep gate and they finished at the sheep gate, and that would simply  speak of sacrifice. We know that this Way of God; this Kingdom is built on sacrifice. It started with sacrifice and it will finish with sacrifice, and those who were building that wall were in unity and although there would be sacrifice with it. Sacrificing things that they would have liked to do, but the Kingdom came first. I liked that thought and thinking of unity that it will build us up, but we know division will down.

Then there is praying, but how do we pray? My thoughts went also to those to men who went up to the temple to pray, and know what was in the heart of one man. It says that he prayed with himself and he thanked God that he wasn't like other men were. It would be a sad condition if we should become like that and criticize others, even those who we have contact with and are close to us, and say discouraging words. God didn't hear that man's prayer, and He also condemned that man that was with him in the temple praying. He thanked God that he  was not like him, but that other man, it tells us, that he didn't so much as lift up his eyes towards Heaven but smote upon his breast and said, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." That was the condition that man prayed in; he was a needy man. He wasn't justifying himself but was humble in the place of prayer to receive help, and because of that we know he would be a help to others. 

We are grateful that Jesus has left that parable on record so that it can be a help to us today. Just not building ourselves up. Then I thought of speaking, and we ask of God so much in our life every day, but how do we speak? This is something that has spoken to me and I want to learn how to speak, when we are speaking to others we know our spirit is manifested, and we read of our words needing to be seasoned with grace, and this is what the Lord is looking for. I felt as I thought of this Meeting that these are the things that the Lord is wanting to correct in our lives.