Archive | August 2014

Declaring A Fast

To my spiritual blogging family:

Dear ones, I have been moved by the Holy Spirit to go into a period of fasting and prayer for 3 days, from Sunday 8/31/2014 – Tuesday 9/2/2014, to be in the silence and seclusion of prayer in order to seek the Lord’s will and direction on a number of levels. During this time I would appreciate being covered with your prayer support, if you are so moved. Or if you are moved to join me in this, in your own space, please do – since we may gather together in Spirit more readily than we can in physical presence.

This message is going out to those who understand the challenge of the times into which God has sent us, and thus the specific voyage upon which we embark, as the USA and the world descend into a spiritual maelstrom, reaping what has been sown. We have never been more in need of the Lord’s specific guidance for ourselves, our families, communities, spiritual fellowships, and governing authorities. Personally my opinion is that we’ve already begun the slide into a spiritual black hole which will require repentance on our part and divine intervention, if a way is to be granted us to escape this, or emerge intact, whole, and the wiser for it on the other side of it.

Thus I would humbly direct your attention, if you are moved to participate in this particular quest, to the directives and scriptural support of 2 Chronicles 7:13&14, Isaiah 58, Matthew 6:5-18, James 4:7-10, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. (There are many more.)

May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior and Lord, be with us all and reveal His wisdom to us necessary for this hour. All glory to His Name now and forever!

Eldering

My comments spring from reading this post which comes to my attention each day from one of my favorite sites, The School of Christ. I hope I don’t come off offensively or defensively, but please read the comments in the link first. It will explain the springboard for my thoughts. http://theschoolofchrist.org/daily/august26.html This was simply a thought provoking little note that reminded me about a recent church experience.

Certainly what is said here in the foregoing link is so. We cannot always identify spiritual maturity through years someone has spent in the physical body.

However – as someone who has reached the “golden” years and has walked with the Lord for nearly 40 years in a committed way, we are also charged with the commandment of the Lord to honor our “fathers and mothers”. Many older folks may have godly wisdom to offer, but are kicked to the curb in the organized churches and “assigned” to the cookie walks and the rummage sales. There needs to be more appreciation and more opportunity for those of us who are willing to share the guidance and principles of deeper discipleship with those who crave maturity in Christ. Yet these opportunities are virtually non-existent.

We may have much to offer spiritually, but even in churches I’ve recently visited (I’m not a member of any organized church), there is youth obsession and emphasis on numbers and using worldly means of “attracting” large audiences of people. Then they are left for spiritual babies ad infinitum, and real disciples are not made because there is no room for the mature. There is a continual turn over of younger people, and one wonders if ten years down the road they will not have left for even greater sensual gratification. Time will tell.

After all the real goal is not “church planting” and massive mega churches, but as St. Paul says, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (See Ephesians 3)

This passage speaks to the broader perspective of WHY people come to Christ. That cannot happen when the devil’s worldly and irreverent music and the devil’s corporate styled means become the methods for bringing people “to church”. The real deal goal of coming to Christ is “until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (See Ephesians 4). We need to get back to being the church – the holy body of Christ – being Jesus in the world. the Lord is not about getting large numbers into the church; He’s about making disciples, which frankly means being filled up with all the fullness and God… unto a perfect man, into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

Where in the youth crazed churches does anyone see this? Where is there room for elders in this? So many of these organizations are so interested in using the world’s means to attain the Lord’s ends that they fall flat on their faces. All it reflects is an adolescent church mimicking an adolescent culture.

I recently visited one of these churches. I’m not saying that you cannot have lively praise sessions and the like, but it was a complete turn off, and quite frankly a mind altering mind programming event, that bore no resemblance to the Holy Spirit. It was a “soulical” circus that appealed to the flesh and simply represented no more than a “Christian-ized” kundalini raising and emotional hype! Not to mention the fact that the music was outrageously irreverent and loud to the point of creating a hearing deficit, and it went on for literally forty minutes, where the congregation was induced to join in the frenzy, to “prepare” them for the sermon.

How “spiritual” can that be? Or maybe a better question is, what kind of spirits are being invoked by such practices? It is easy to be deceived, especially these days, where sensuality is in and real Holy Spirit discernment is out the door, where the Church wants to mimic the world and pretend to do so in the name of Christ, instead of seeking the Holy Spirit for direction and discernment.

As someone who has also had training and experience with music used in integrative healing settings, I can tell you that this outrageous circus was anything but healing. It was nervous system jolting and frankly revolting!

Does it really take that much noise, cacophony, and persistent loud drumming rhythms to raise awareness to God’s Presence?

No, instead He says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

This isn’t a “generational gap” issue; it’s a serious spiritual discernment issue, and one where the Scriptural directives are being ignored.

It may be time to do as the desert fathers did – head for the hills and leave Babylon to babble on!

Proverbially Speaking / Chapter 16

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25)

This might seem like a real downer at first glance, but if you’ll give me a few moments, I’d like to open up a different perspective of it, if I may, dear reader.

There are many ways that the world and the human mind like to “fix” things. Politics and even religion are big fixers, but since neither really connects to the Divine Mind directly, they provide limited solutions. Seldom does this do little more than make things worse, and when it does do any good, the solutions are temporary and fleeting. They may also be subject to personal agendas and not committed to longer term and larger perspectives. Human decisions and “helps” are subject to human limitation, and often the “ends” we want fixed cannot possibly justify the means of attaining a good outcome. This always reminds me of what our daughter’s riding instructor used to say: Nothing good can come out of anything bad. A “stable” idea in any arena of life!

So the finite mind can come up with some really good or some really bad ideas. None of them last (fortunately in some cases), but are more like bandaids on cancers, ineffectual and harmless at best, utterly counterproductive at worst – whether it’s politics, medicine, science, education, you name it… or just everyday life.

So where are the lasting and positive answers? In the Infinite Mind of God!

God’s Mind contains essentially the “vision” of all that ever has been, all that is, and all that ever will be. All of it is contained in the ever present now. There is no time or space or limitation in the Mind of the Almighty. We’re informed, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8,9) In other words, God sees it all. We see only our little myopic point of view. We’re reminded, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18 NASB). This word “vision” is also translated revelation, prophetic vision, or even redemptive revelations (per the Amplified Bible) – meaning wisdom that comes from the Divine Mind.

Yet apparently, this gap between our mind and God’s Mind is not necessarily supposed to remain a gap, for He indicates that apparently some understand that it’s acceptable for His people to approach Him for answers that work, and it is in fact a delightful thing to do so: “Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.” (Isaiah 58:2)

This may seem a little scary. We have, after all, these religious images of God that can get in the way of the direct approach. The big scary-looking mean guy in the sky and that sort of thing.

Many also believe they cannot approach the Heavenly Father without the mediation of priests, ministers, rituals, or some other sorts of middleman. These ideas can make us feel unworthy of approaching our images and ideas about God, when God Himself invites us to feel free to show up in His Presence – which is everywhere – at any time.

Instead the invitation still holds down through time: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5). God promises that if we need to know where the answers are, what the solutions are – from a divine perspective – we are invited to come to Him in faith, without doubting. We trust as we offer our prayers.

Or we may sit in the Silence and wait, as in meditation. The answer may not arrive immediately, but a posture of quiet reverence and receptivity may just allow for that answer to gently enter our awareness. Or it may come to us at another time, maybe even when we least expect it. What we need is to be receptive and grateful.

Since God knows all there is to know from A to Z, “it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24). God’s Infinite Mind, since He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, sees the questions with which we approach Him, and knows the answers we need and what is the best way and time for us to receive them.

Sometimes this requires laying aside doubt and impatience. We might even need to ask Him for this kind of Faith and Patience, so that our little ego self doesn’t pitch a tantrum because it expects that its own desired outcome is needed right now, thus limiting God’s best for us.

It’s easier to complain and whine, and to gripe and be afraid. But there is a higher Way, an invitation, that goes like this: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6.7) . That phrase, “be careful for nothing” is better translated “be anxious for nothing.” Instead, bring everything to God in prayer.

Realize that this is your Heavenly Father you’re approaching, the same one of whom it is said, “… God is Love.” (1John 4:8).

Want to get closer? Want to know those ways that are not our ways? Oddly enough this song, which is not religious at all, suggests a beautiful approach for relating to God and to His ways. As you listen to it, imagine yourself sitting with our Heavenly Father and what it’s like as you relate these words to Him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7E8dC2g_XA He’s waiting for you…

Of Stones, Serpents, And Scorpions

The question always arises for me, is the Jesus so many love to hate the real Jesus, or the Jesus they perceive through the filters of 1) their own uninformed opinions, or 2) the false Jesus often presented through “church” dogma and/or the behaviors of its representatives (who may not know Him for themselves)?

I’m not so sure that Jesus is offended by their offense based upon personal bias and distorted impressions. If that were the case, Jesus would be a very little Jesus indeed.

The answer to this dilemma is to ask Jesus to introduce Himself to you personally, get to know Him, and build a relationship with Him by seeking Him and Him alone.

He always reveals Himself and His Truth to the one who sincerely and perpetually seeks Him – the one who asks, seeks, and knocks.

He promises this revealing to us in this manner: that if we ask for bread, we will not be given a stone. If we ask for a fish, we will not be given a serpent. If we ask for an egg, we will not be given a scorpion.

How much more greatly, He promises, will the Father give the Holy Spirit to the one who hungers and thirsts for His Truth and Righteousness, and who asks and keeps on asking.

These promises were shown to me many years ago in the first phases of my “conversion” – the journey out of darkness into the light of God’s glory. They have never failed me. They were given because the Way Home is strewn with many dangers: stones of stumbling, the twisted cunning of serpents, and the poison sting of spiritual scorpions.

This is the stuff of a trek through a desert. These could be places of stumbling and great wounding, but the Holy Spirit transforms them all into a feast, a banquet table in the presence of deadly spiritual enemies powerlessly looking on.

This is the Jesus I have come to know, as He safely walks me through barren wastelands and wanderings. He transforms all of it for my good, which is His glory.

Yet the greatest transformation of all is that which He works within me through the Holy Spirit as I walk and journey together with Him. Then the “outer landscape” of life changes as He transforms the inner one! All the outer things only “mirror” what the Holy Spirit does with me inwardly, as He transmutes the heavy stones into the bread of life, makes fish out of serpents, and turns deadly scorpions into eggs.

The journey is not yet complete. I can see this because I’m not complete, or “perfect”, but manifestly a work in progress in His gentle hand. Thus my prayer and affirmation does not change, as it resonates in an old hymn I learned as a child:

“Let us ever walk with Jesus, follow His example pure,
Flee the world which would deceive is, and to sin our souls allure,
Ever in His footsteps treading, body here yet soul above,
Full of faith and hope and love, let us do the Father’s bidding;
Faithful Lord abide with me; Savior lead I follow Thee!”

These old hymns were always based on Scripture texts. As I meditated upon these words, a gentle reminder, I noticed that this one was based on a very obscure passage, which is hidden in the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Thomas called Didymus invites us to follow Jesus. He says in John 11:16b, “… Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” At first glance I thought this was some mysterious reference to Lazarus, but Thomas is speaking of “dying with Jesus!”

When we affirm and abide in this walk and relationship with Jesus, all within us that is hard (stones), twisted (serpents), and spiritually deadly (scorpions), falls away from us: That part of us “dies with Him!” This dies and the New Man of the Spirit arises at the Word of Jesus, just like Lazarus! This is the path of the Cross.

This is the Way, leading through the kingdom of Heaven within us – setting us free (first of all inwardly) from stones, serpents, and scorpions – as He restores us back into full fellowship with our Supernal Heavenly Father. In this Way, all is removed by Grace, through this intimate one-on-one fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ, as we surrender ourselves fully to Him. Then we can proclaim with the psalmist, as he reminds us and affirms, “He restoreth my soul for His Name’s sake, ” because we know from experience that this is so.

Scripture References: Luke 11:11-13, Matthew 7:7-10, John 11, Luke 10:19

See also Hymn 409, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1941

Proverbially Speaking / Chapter 15

(Central verse from Proverbs 15 is found further down the page, interwoven with the thoughts written here…)

The “Green Eyed Monster” takes over when we cannot distinguish between needs and wants. It’s the “gimme more” mindset. Jesus’ admonition: “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15)

A simple definition of covetousness is greed. It’s a really fascinating subject, and I hope you’ll stop a moment and go to the following link and consider its several aspects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greed

What do covetousness, jealousy, and trespassing have in common? They walk together, but in somewhat the same manner as the Three Stooges, but spiritually such antics only pave the way to destruction.

If you think about it, when you covet something, you may “cross the line” or a boundary to have it. Boundary crashing on any level is “trespassing”. You may think that you are entitled to have something someone else has, so you may even premeditate a plan to acquire it, to steal it. It begins in the mind. Jesus gives us an example, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

In the Lord’s Prayer, for example, we pray to be forgiven our trespasses, to not be led into temptation, and finally to be delivered from evil.

I would submit that in order to understand what we call “original” sin in mankind is actually rooted in the covetousness and boundary crashing of the Watchers, or fallen angels. Self ambition as covetousness, and a desire to step over the boundaries of one’s God ordained domains and duties, is the angelic original sin that preceded human original sin. They wanted to control humankind, possess our souls, and the earth given to us by God. They wanted our domains, being dissatisfied with their own. They wanted to replace God. Lucifer wanted what Jesus had, as King of kings and Lord of lords.

I think we Christians may need a reminder these days as to these components of an adversarial presence among us, which is very real. This has been downplayed by doctrines which state that there is no such thing as evil, or that there is no God.

On a personal note, I highly recommend the Book Of Enoch (you can read it online at http://www.hiddenbible.com/enoch/online.html ). For whatever reason, the Lord used this book to draw me back into the Bible at a time when I’d become somewhat lax in my Christian perspective and pursuit, and for me it absolutely is key to understanding “the fall before the fall”, why things are such a mess, and what is to become of us and our world. I find it to be absolutely indispensable to my Christian understanding of the need for redemption and restoration for the children of God.

Enoch presents us with greed and covetousness at a very high level that anciently impacted our reality. It seems that the iniquity found in the Watchers was nothing less than of cosmic proportions, in that they were not content with their domains, for which they were created.

Ever since mankind became complicit with this diabolical scheme, self will and covetousness has characterized much of what we do and how life is approached. It determines world view and is the avarice which dominates the minds and hearts of many.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)

Yet all this scheming leads to no good outcome, for Isaiah continues, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”

I would offer that greed, or covetousness, seems to be the source of all our ills. It is the cause of theft, war, conflict, deceit, treachery, and destruction against everything that belongs to our Heavenly Father Creator. It’s all about possessing temporary things of which our life does not consist, and which pass away. It’s the green eyed monster that smirks and says “You have what I think I ought to be entitled to, and I’m going to figure out how to take it.”

A will sanctified by the Holy Spirit is the only thing that stands as the boundary. Temptation is that which seeks to erode the boundary of the will, so it is necessary to have a little help from our “friends in high places”, some inspiration, maybe even some angelic intervention to help us get past covetousness. Ask and you shall receive.

Proverbs so wisely reminds us, “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” (Proverbs 15:16,17).

Covetousness may bring great treasures, but also the trouble that comes with them; it may bring security and stately wealth (the stalled ox). But none of these things last. Not only will they not last, but there is the matter of continual vigilance in needing to protect and preserve them against others who may covet and attempt to take them. And this is what goes on in order to have “the good life”?

There is always trouble, hatred, and envy in the service of Mammon, for no one can serve God and Mammon. They are two different kingdoms!

Jesus shows us another way, the way of no worries, no anxiety. He says, as He points us toward the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

St. John adds, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

As we take Him at His Word, we soon discover that the Kingdom of God is the way to order our priorities and to keep us from jealousy, greed, and covetousness.

Good To Be Here

This is a commentary on electronic social networking. For awhile I took a sabbatical from Facebook. 

I wasn’t off Facebook because of Facebook’s issues, but to straighten out some of my own. I just needed a break from it for awhile, and to decide what I want to and don’t want to participate in within this electronic “venue” of “social networking”. And how much. For me that is sometimes overwhelming.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t care to participate in propaganda, whether it’s religious or political. Few if any of us understand the big picture. All it does is divide people in a time when enough waters are being stirred and we need each other. I’ve come to understand how it’s possible we’re all being used for certain agendas, and we may not even know who really stands for what in the midst of all that.

What counts is the people in our lives and that we reach out and care for one another. I don’t think I’ve been as effective in that as I should be, but instead got caught up in a lot of other paradigms and “directions” – many of which are beyond our control. Interesting? Yes. Useful? The votes are not in on that one yet.

Certainly the Serenity Prayer comes to mind here: 

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.

( I didn’t know there was a long version either, until I looked it up.)

It’s become abundantly clear that everything changes. Something or someone is here today, gone tomorrow. I’ve come to the conclusion that “this too shall pass”, whatever the latest “medicine show” is on the planet. And it includes the cycles of the “dis-eases” the medicine shows claim to fix! None of it ever remains the same even one second to the next. It’s amazing when you consider this! Change did not come a few years ago. Change is the constant m.o. of the entirety of all that is, and has been so from the “Beginning”, if there was one, and will be until the “End”, if there is to be one. In many cases we can be thankful for this paradoxically immutable principle that everything is in motion and change. What hurts today will be gone tomorrow.

Thus my reply to every gripe and complaint is, “This too shall pass.” 

So, perhaps in the final analysis, it’s best to learn to surf rather than be taken down by an undertow. How we choose see things is what will determine that choice. 

It’s important to encourage each other, laugh together, to share humorous anecdotes and personal experiences from our own daily lives, to be and to speak peace, to care – if in no other way than saying “I hear you” by hitting the like button, to be the immensely creative, beautiful, and loving sacred individuals our Creator made us to be, in His image.

What a fabulous life we have for a few short years, shot out of the canon from nothing-ness into Something-ness. How sweet it can be. How sweet it is! And to quote my favorite dear old Captain Jean Luc Picard, it’s up to us to “make it so!”

Coming back from nowhere to now here,

Yours truly,

The Messenger

What Are They Thinking?!

It’s getting to be too much. I’m going to stick my neck out on this one. How low will it go to wear the “Christian” label? Halos more vapor than substance? Hmmm… For a clue please see http://rare.us/story/say-grace-before-meals-get-15-percent-off/

What is the Apostolic admonition? What would Jesus Christ say? Seems to me I recall Him kicking the moneychangers out of the temple. He couldn’t be bribed into or paid to pray. Or even if some religious leader challenged Him to work a miracle. No, not even there. Not even for 15% discount on temple sacrifices.

Where did His power come from? Directly from the Father! If He didn’t hear it from the Father, He didn’t do it or say it. That simple.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who… made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant… he humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites… that they may have glory of men… that thine alms be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest… enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:2-6)

Being a Christian is not about being seen of men when doing our praying or connecting with the Father. It’s not about having a plaque on the hospital wall or a wing of a building donated in your name. That’s what hypocrites do to cover up their other sometimes unmentionable activities. It’s not about getting a dinner discount because the restaurant wants to reward an open show of piety.

It’s about putting on the holy Mind of Jesus Christ – humility, not seeking reputation, taking on the form of a servant. Nothing diminishes ego, self, and pride like “invisibility”.

The Way of the Kingdom of Heaven, as we can see, is the polar opposite of the kingdoms of this world. Let’s ponder this in our hearts and minds.

If I had to pick two words that describe the “mind”, the attitude, the thinking of Jesus Christ, they would be humility and surrender.

However, what does the mind of the world look like?

Me, myself, and I… Win!… I love money, notoriety, fame… Follow your heart, your dreams, your “self”… Put yourself first… Think it into being… Think and grow rich… Love yourself first… “I love money and it loves me”… If it feels good, do it… And last but not least in my list of favorites: I am God! (You have to be joking!)

News flash! The message of Jesus Christ is not about being noticed, powerful, or rewarded, which are not the lifestyle, mindset, or world view of Jesus or His disciples, then or now.

But I drift afar from my original focus. However, it you think it through, it’s not difficult to see the connections. If you are of the world, it’s all about being seen and rewarded by the world. That can manifest as a religious front – praying in a restaurant or being known for how spiritually great thou art by “good deeds”. You may be kidding yourself.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

“…Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)

How can His will be known personally to us unless we go into that closet and shut the door for a meaningful heart to heart with Him (as well as the spirit of the written Word)? Jesus was often out in the wilderness, or alone on a mountaintop when He prayed. Even during His agony in Gethsemane, He distanced Himself from the others to pray! And what was the content of His prayer? “Not my will, but Thy will be done!”

St. John reminds us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

Could it be that desiring to be seen praying in public (let alone being rewarded for it) is a subtle way in which we unwittingly love the world – being seen, being noticed for “being spiritual”? It’s well worth asking.

It is so easy, especially in today’s political climate, to become ensnared in spiritual pride, to want to be seen of men as “Christian”, which in many cases unfortunately can be seen for what it sometimes is by the world, as it cries, “Hypocrite!” Seriously, it’s the same old fig leaf, and we’re not hiding anything or fooling anybody – except maybe ourself.

Jesus relationship with the Father was firmly plugged in, turned on, and tuned in. It was direct connection.

Many will counter, “But I’m not Jesus.” However, this is the reason He began pouring out and anchoring His Holy Spirit into all flesh at Pentecost – so we can let His mind be in us!!!  “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)

Do we want healing in our country? Then the salt of the earth need to be salty, to be His preservers of His Good! Here’s the answer: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) We need to pray, not my will, but Thy will be done. And listen… “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) That’s His promise!

Ask and keep on asking… in that secret place within. He has the answers, but are we seeking Him and His will with all our hearts, or just asking Him to bless our ideas? He is not my “co-pilot”, but always the Captain.

This is well worth ferreting out. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)