I’ve been meditating about different kinds of counsel. I found four different counsels in the life of a man. The Scripture says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3) The Lord was watching Babylon tower being built, and He said: “Come, let us come down and see what is on their minds”. And they agreed to make a name for themselves – to build a tower, whose top is in heavens and make a name for themselves, they had agreed. The Lord looked and said: “now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them… they must be corrected». So He came down, confused the languages and scattered them all over the earth. Babylon is confusion.

And this is really powerful when there is counsel, because it reinforces human spirits, reinforces human intellect, action, physical power. It reinforces through joining into counsels. Therefore, even in the structures of this world there are different counsels, unions, associations, corporations – these are all counsels. And the first counsel that exists in the human world is unrighteous counsel.  The Scripture says in Psalm1: «Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.» These are evel plots, counsel of the ungodly. I won't speak long on it, it is said that this is the counsel of the ungodly, the path of sinners, the seat of the scornful. You don't have to travel to a different city to find the seat of the scornful. Today these black internet channels and web sites can instantly give you the counsel of the ungodly. You may be watching something online and you are indeed in the seat of the scornful. It literally takes a second to click the button, and while in your home you are in the counsel of the ungodly. This is very serious. Satan is extreemly furious, he is set out against the saints, to consume even the chosen ones if possible. Through these today's communications and achievements he does it successfully. Even the saints who are defiled loose the power and serve powerless. And we must break off – this is the only way – to break off with the ungodly counsel. We have nothing in common with the ungodly. Because there is no peace for the ungodly, as the Scripture says. And we must break the counsels of the ungodly. Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us check our counsels, examine our friendships, our fellowships, do you see? For the ungodly we have only one thing – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, preaching them the Kingdom, showing them Christ. But sitting with them, spending time, enjoying their community and atmosphere is not acceptable for the saints. Do you agree with that? Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners. Nor sits in the seat of the scornful. There are these three active things: walking, standing and sitting. It is said about all the actions you can do with your feet. Therefore, may God give us strength to get separated and keep God's salvation. Amen!

The second counsel is the counsel of the fearful that comes out of fear or because of circumstance or anxiety. I like this passage in Judges, when Deborah said to Barak, which is in Judges 4: «Then she sent and called for Barak…» Deborah was the judge of Israel, she had a husband, she judged under the palm tree of Deborah, but the anointing of the judge was on her, not on her husband. She was stronger than her husband. And so it happens, when the wife is stronger than the husband in gifting. And you know that even in Russia there was such  a whole period in history when women ruled the country. A whole period. This is interesting – for some reason the Lord allowed it that for a whole big time period women ruled Russia. Those were the empresses. And that was actually a sign.

And something was happening in Israel then, that there were no men, such weakness was upon them for some reason. Take for instance Deborah’s husband – where is he? It was Lapidoth. A good man, a nice beautiful name – Lapidoth. But it was Deborah who ruled under her palm tree. She judged Israel under her palm tree. Why? Because the matter was in Lapidoth. Lord, help that we can some day see Lapidoth and he is not offended with me. I want to bless him.

But Deborah was the one who took responsibility. Do you see? Today sisters take up responsibility. I am so thankful to God for the daughters of Zelophehad, for Priscilla, for Mariam, for Mary. We thank the Lord that they take responsibility; for Jael – we thank the Lord for that. And this is normal. When our sister was pastor of one of our churches – seldom, but it happens, that sister is stronger – I came and thanked brothers that they let the sister feel of full value, be the leader, lead the church. And you don’t switch on religious criticism, but you help her to minister, because you see that her gift is stronger. I thanked them saying it was a true man-like act that they let a woman move in power. “You are real men”, - that’s what I said to them. So, we must give way to the gifting.

So Deborah sent and called for Barak – because still a woman wants a man to go ahead of her, that brothers help at least somehow. Is that so? Why would she call Barak then? That there may be a commander.

“Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?” – and there goes another like Lapidoth: «And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” – Deep, isn't it? He thought long to say such a deep thing. What was it with him that he said so? – Because he saw she was a woman of God, he was confident that God was with her, and he was not confident of himself. But he forgot the words of the prophet: «Thus says the Lord God: go, and I will deliver Sisera into your hands!» He missed these words, but asked at once: «Will you go? If you go I'll go, if you don't go I will not go». He actually missed God's prophecy. And Deborah being a truly powerful leader, didn't leave him a chance. «So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.»

So, counsel out of fear. And they moved together: here is Deborah, and there is Barak. But it was not that glorious any more. And though there was the victory, for the sake of both Deborah and Israel, and even Barak, and for the sake of Jael as well. You know it, she didn't mean herself, but Jael there, but she didn't mention it to Barak. Because it was Jael, who called Sisera, covered him with the carpet, he asked for water, she gave him milk, and pierced his head through. And glory passed into the hand of a woman, and Joel received the song from heaven. Deborah was singing out her song praising Jael. So I desire that we take responsibility. This counsel was not of full value, because the initial plan was for Barak to raise up men. If Barak went, rose up the army of men, 10000 men, then the sisters wouldn't have to interfere even, because the prophecy was to him. But he did everything so that he protected himself, and the sister got the glory before the Lord. Do you hear? This is very interesting.

How can you avoid such counsel? – By accepting the responsibility. And we do accept it. And it's not only about men and women – it's about each of us as of God's creation.

The third counsel is that of brothers. It is written in Judges: «Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, “Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?”  And the Lord said, “Judah shall go up. Indeed I have delivered the land into his hand.” (Judges 1: 1-2) That's it – Judah received a prophecy. He is untouchable, he will go, and all of the land will be delivered – «my lot is for me». But Judah said to Simeon, his brother… Look, I receive a prophecy and inviolability, moreover there is Phinehas, who received the covenant of peace, that is I will not be killed with a sward. God promised: the covenant of peace means I will not die unnatural death, which makes me practically untouchable, like Achilles or even greater, because he had his heel unprotected, but here he is absolutely untouchable. Phinehas died natural death, because God said so: “You will have My covenant of peace.” And it may seem he could get away from everybody saying: “I’ll go now. You can have some sleep meanwhile”. But having received such promise Judah says: “Simeon, come with me. I don’t really make it well on my own. I need your help.” Look at what he says here: “So Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me to my allotted territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; - that is, we'll share then what we have - and I will likewise go with you to your allotted territory.” Just imagine emotions of Simeon. He has little and he doesn't know what will happen afterwards. And he thinks: «Go with Judah?» - «Yes, of course, go with me. I need your help. Let us take my land first, and then I'll go with you to take your land. And then we'll share it equally.» Can you imagine how noble that is! He just lifted up his brother when he saw him in need. That is brother's counsel! This is the counsel of brothers – beauty! This counsel of brothers, Judah and Simeon, is meant for reinforcing one another. This kind of counsel is pleasing to the Lord. Jesus sent in twos. Paul and Barnabas moved together, though there was some misunderstanding about Mark, still they were brothers. And we never hear Paul speak bad about Barnabas, they were brothers. Timothey and Titus were of about same age, only Paul circumsized Timothey and didn't do it with Titus, though they were both a mix, had Greek blood in them. It was brother's counsel, such a beauty.

And the last counsel, which we all strive for, and it is the subject for my study, there were prophecies into my life as well, when one of the prophets said: «You must reach the COUNSEL OF THE LORD. There is the Counsel of the Lord. The Lord said once: «They didn't stand in My counsel». That is, the Lord has His counsel. I found one the Lord's counsels in the Bible where it says about Micaiah prophesying before Ahab and before Jehoshaphat, and he told the vision that he saw in the spirit: «I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.  And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.» (1Kings 22:19-20) Isn't this the Counsel of the Lord? It is. The Lord was having counsel with His hosts, not because He doesn't know and needs advice, but because the hosts must be built up, so that they can use their heads. As a leader I sometimes ask questions: knowing the answer myself I want people to think and find the answer themselves. This is one of the reasons, why the Lord takes counsel. It was very interesting. You remember, when the Lord had one intention for Israel, but Moses changed it. He said: «Lord! What will the enemies say, if you destroy Israel now and make a different nation of my seed – will they say that You brought us out and couldn't bring in? Please, give us another chance!» And the Lord said: «Good. I'll go with you and show mercy, though I will punish those who have sinned.» But how was it possible to change the intention of the Lord? Moses had such a relationship with God that he stood in the counsel of the Lord. Can you imagine what a spirit! Kinglike. And Daniel was the same way. It is written that high spirit was found in him, the spirit of the Holy God was in him. Even the Gentiles said so about him. And we really need this counsel of the Lord today, that we can ask Him for it. What does He think – before we do something.

And I can testify of myself, what kept me from asking God's counsel. I thought that the Lord spoke to me very rarely, and it was very difficult for me to hear the voice of God. And thus I didn't even try, but made dicisions out of my head. But then I realized it was wrong. You must make attempts, and God will find His way to speak to you. Therefore, when they call me or ask for my opinion or advice – and this is very serious and dangerous to give wrong advice – then I ask within myself. And you know, the Lord is faithful, He gives His advice. Do this. Ask for God's counsel. Take time, say, «brother, give me a minute», walk aside, into a restroom or other place and just ask inside. Or ask for a day, say «give me some time and I'll give an answer». And simply pray «Lord, there is this need, I have to give an answer…» And the Lord shall give. He is faithful! He wants us to ask for His counsel! What a beauty. Let us learn to ask for the Lord's counsel. It is the Lord's counsel when we ask for it.

But there's also high Counsel, when it is the counsel of spiritual people, when there is guidence of the Holy Spirit, when we war with the prophecies, when we reach the gifts of ministry and are able to fellowship in spirit on a high level.

Soon we are going to have our friend visit us, who fasted for us every Tuesday for over two years. When there was pursecution here and hard time he came, a francophone Apostle from Canadians. He said: «I saw your nature. I don't know what I can give you. I was just praying in the morning thinking what I could give you. I don't know. And I thought that I would fast for you every Tuesday untill you have your breakthrough. I will fast untill I hear it from you that you've overcome. I thought, I had never heard of such a gift. This is an amazing gift, indeed, I never heard of it. Then one sister joined him in this fast, he showed her to me when I was visiting him. This is incredable. Do you see, this is high spirit. He is coming soon, and we will have fellowship, I'm really happy about that. And I really need such people of the Counsel of the Lord. So pray that the Lord may raise mature people. Because the maturity of the church is the total of the mature people in it. So that we may know the Lord. Therefore, I wish we can all have this fourth Counsel: to learn and reach being in the Counsel of the Lord.

"House of Life" Church Association

Vladivostok, Russia