The “desert” has its purposes…
Ponderable… From Slave-ation to Salvation.
The “desert” has its purposes…
Ponderable… From Slave-ation to Salvation.
How goes it with you this time of year, dear reader? Are you ready to make room for Jesus, for Emmanuel – God With Us? In the scheme of things, are there “stable” conditions for this? Or is there “no room at the inn”? Curious? Read more:
If you wish to join us in fasting and prayer, read more here: https://withintheholyspirit.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/fasting-through-the-frenzy/
Or here for discussion at Fellowship at the Crossroad:
“… put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:24)
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)
Happy Reformation Day!!! … That is my greeting. No tricks. No treating.
Are you dressing up for this “holiday”? It is better called a Pagan observance, not any sort of holiday – because that word implies “holy day”. It is anything but that. What will you put on? Or will it be just a put on? Better be careful – it may become difficult to get out of character if you take the role too seriously.
Personally, it was difficult to watch this afternoon: moms leaving the public school across the street – clad in black, dressed like witches, body language in a lot of cases indicating they were enjoying embodying the dark side far too much. (Was this party at the school for the kids or for them?) Few in any other costumes.
More and more each year this observance moves toward the dark side. And therein lies its subtlety. What was once just a day for wearing costumes such as butterflies, ballerinas, and bunnies has now become an excuse to give in “just a little” to the allurement of appearing witchy. For Christians this ought to be a no brainer, as the directive is “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22) Yes, that one is “controversial”. It seems that wherever the Scripture is clear on something, there are those who’d like to wiggle out of the conviction the Holy Spirit puts on them about it and twist its meaning, or water it down. Certainly “appearing” as the representative of evil, in order to celebrate its prime holiday, is more than to flirt with it.
If you have an “outpost” like mine (a desk by the picture window across from a public school) from where one observes many things, and you’re taking note of the “trends”, that is what is seen at Halloween. Often people used to dress as angels. Now they’re dressing as angels of deception. And loving it. And if you deck out your little ones that way, it frankly borders on child abuse!
Our tax dollars now allow for the observance of witchcraft and its holidays in public schools, but children are not allowed to pray Christian prayers, or to read the Bible. Where’s the religious equality in that? Next up will be an introduction into Islam – coming soon to an indoctrination center near you.
I wonder – if people knew of the real forces behind these ancient Pagan observances, what the practices were, and had just enough of a bump with the actual presence of evil – in a clear and unmistakeable way, whether they would still think it’s all fun and games to celebrate Halloween?
Apparently, considering all the Christians who involve themselves in all the Halloween hype, hoopla, and hanky-panky, we could use yet another Reformation Day and movement. If anything, at the very least, may all who love the Lord and understand His holy purposes ponder that as the alternative to the world’s engagement with this dark observance.
Scripture for reflection:
“… they sanctified themselves in holiness… And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (2 Chronicles 31: 18,20,21)
This is a very juicy chapter about the beginnings of restoration among God’s people. I’m not going into detail here about it. This little focus passage makes the point quite nicely and simply – that “prosperity” needs to be according to divine understandings, not personal agendas. (The reader may desire to make a study of events leading up to this on one’s own for context.)
All of us probably have someone in our life who specializes in whining instead of winning. Life for them goes from bad to worse. Constantly entreating others for prayers or help, they fail to understand that the root of the problem is actually the private agendas of self and an un-surrendered and un-sanctified heart.
What often unfolds is that the perpetual whining about no-win situations puts off any who have been willing to help – with prayer or matters of practicality. Eventually intercessor and helper alike begin to realize that the ongoing game is “poor me”, and there is little if any interest in real answers that will resolve the issues. Instead the deeper unacknowledged wish is to have victimhood supported and perpetuated. Intercessor and helper alike then walk away.
In some cases there is also volatile reaction at any hint that this “victim of life” may not be in alignment with the Lord or willing to listen to His directives – either the revealed Word or that Still Small Voice in the heart which has the answers. This reactivity makes it doubly hard for truth to enter the scene. No, they insist, God will do my bidding; it’s only a matter of time. But meantime said sad soul goes about in its misery and disappointment from bad to worse, and in defeat.
If this is you, and your conscience is pricked, your ire raised, and offense taken, perhaps it is time to look into that mirror of the perfect law of liberty and see what appears. This mirror may not reveal who’s the fairest of them all, as in the fairy tale. The disappointing view may instead look like this:
There is a battlefield, and on a hill overlooking it is the tent of the General who is in command of the field. A Private just out of boot camp has been summoned to the General’s tent for orders. Instead of listening to what this wise, seasoned, and respected warrior expects of the Private, he begins to whine to the General about how inadequate are his rations, how uncomfortable are his quarters, how unsavory are his fellow soldiers, and how overwhelming are his duties. Additionally he impudently begins to give unsolicited advice to the General as to how he thinks this war should be won. This guy will be fortunate to not wind up in the stockade or court marshaled, for he is a threat to the mission and is inwardly absent without leave. He is traitor material.
At best he may receive some sort of “remediation” to help him better understand why he has been recruited and assigned here – if he is open to deeper ideas other than his own private agenda. I would offer that the private agenda portrays the “prayer style” of about 90% of Christendom. Stated bluntly, might it not be time to appear before God in silence, shut up, and listen for a change – in humility rather than effrontery?
Essentially “will worship” has infiltrated into the Churches. More than the Christ we claim to serve, it reflects the image of the first “light bearer” from of old, still standing in rebellion before God Almighty declaring his monumental “I will” statements. (See Isaiah 14:10-15 to see where that goes!) Where there is will worship there will also be whining, and a life that reflects that it is out of alignment with the Lord.
Hezekiah’s attitude instead reflects the mind of Christ whereby he reigned. St. Paul encourages us to allow that mind or attitude to be in us which was in Christ Jesus. This was the mind of perfect humility, of seeking nothing but God Himself and His will – it is the Way Jesus walked and wished to show us, the yoke that is easy.
Instead it is so easy to be governed instead by the drives of self – the private agendas (spurred on by the world’s values, politics, human philosophies, and corrupted religions) rather than the “General’s” directives. Yes, self… the same self we are to reckon as having died at the Cross of our Lord, must be replaced by the resurrected, ascended Christ in me the Hope of Glory! Does it make sense then that where self has already died, there is no more unholy trinity of “me, myself, and I”?
If we name the name of Jesus, of Emmanuel – God With Us, this then is the major “shift of consciousness” that needs to take place: He walks in us as us, in perfect oneness. All other ideas are illicit pretenders to the throne of the heart.
The modus operandi is that of showing up in the Presence of God in a receptive manner, in quiet listening and reflection. We sit at the feet of Christ as did Mary of Bethany, with no agenda of our own, but for greater understanding of why we are here and have been recruited. We have our Bible open, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its depths to us, and then apply it prayerfully to our hearts. We examine ourselves daily to see if we are in the faith of Jesus. We understand the essential two-fold mission of the body of Christ: 1) that Jesus Christ manifested to destroy the works of the devil; 2) that He became the son of man that we might become the sons of God. If we can keep these at the forefront of our motivations, we do well – humbly, without murmuring or complaining.
We show up for work – His work of Grace in us! No private agendas.
We could say that Mary Jesus’ Mother also typifies the body of Christ, reflecting the humble attitude of the mind of Christ. If we are going to bear Christ to the world, we must let her affirmation of surrender be ours, “Be it unto me according to your word.”
For contemplation and consideration:
“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will He pay him again.” (Proverbs 19:17)
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’.” (Matthew 25:40)
To say the least, things look pretty shaky for a lot of us these days – both personally and globally.
Where to begin? This may be one of those moments when to shoot straight from the hip seems the best route. So much is being broadcast as to “solutions” via the mind of man, but somehow I don’t think we’re really getting the clear message from “Headquarters” (or is it “Heart-quarters”?)
No, it isn’t about the latest come alongs from the “banksters” with their methods for self preservation of worldly “securities”. It’s not about the latest book on theological perspectives, or all this garbage about Jesus being an E.T. or any other distraction designed to lure us from Earth Mission 1 – being about our Heavenly Father’s business! It’s certainly not about the bogus political solutions being offered by parties and candidates incumbent or those new to the scene.
Meantime the overall health and prosperity of our once great nation, the USA, seems to be dissipating like morning dew. Why might this be – at its deepest root level? What is the real etiology of this drastic and deadly condition? What kinds of seeds have been planted that a harvest of demise and destruction should be reaped? (Check in with 2 Chronicles 7:14 for some clues.)
Could it be that our concern about our own self preservation and comforts – rather than being our brothers’ keeper toward other human beings who live under abject squalor, poverty, terror, and oppression – may have something to do with it?
It may be for lack of information, concerning which the mainstream networks and publications do not inform us. If interested in reliable information, I have resources I’d be happy to share with you.
Hard information leads often to hard questions leading to challenging answers, especially if we call ourselves by the Lord’s name. Have we taken His name in vain, in the sense that we do not live out what He (and by extension the church) stands for on the Earth? He gave up Heaven to bring Heaven to Earth! So – where are we with that in practical terms? Do we seek to be instruments of His peace and Presence, to bring a little bit of Heaven to Earth – especially where people live lives that more resemble hell?
Where is the deep, celestial passion and compassion where we “descend” from our lofty perches of religion to actually intervene in some meaningful way, led by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus lived and moved and taught?
Extremely influential religious and political leaders are on the scene, who live as kings in royal splendor and luxury, yet dictate to everyone else, that we are to have our wealth “redistributed” by either threat of religious hell or force of civil law made by lawless lawmakers.
Jesus commented on a very similar problem in His day: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.… (Matthew 23:2-4).
The candidates for upcoming elections represent only what the people want to hear – the self preservation of their own perceptions of the American dream, but not the Way of Jesus Christ.
The question arises: To whom does my heart really belong? Where are my priorities?
Did not He say that friendship with the world is enmity with God? (James 4:4), and again, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.” (Matthew 10:21,22)
I wonder what the church would look like if we were actually obedient to the Lord’s directives – voluntarily, from the heart, inspired by the Holy Spirit Who chooses us as His temple? Does Jesus not ask, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
I think we get the drift here… Too much “cheap easy” grace without sanctification? Too much adherence to salvation by ritual formulas? Too much wealth and prosperity teaching – as if God is the big dispenser in the sky – where you put in your two cents worth and out comes the Milky Way?
Seems like the devil has what’s supposed to be Christian reality sewed up in his little bag of lies and half truths… So is it business as usual, sin so that grace may abound? I’d like to believe that not so many are blinded by this anymore, and that many are awakening, asking to be shown the truth about the world we live in, and sincerely asking the Holy Spirit to reveal just exactly how the Father’s business is best specifically served by each one of us.
My prayer is that this awakening occurs all over the world, so that we can stop playing church and become His dynamic Presence on Earth. Somehow at this point, this old hymn comes to mind as an appropriate prayer:
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
It’s been said that this is a dangerous prayer… God may take you up on its intention.
A few thoughts about the Creator’s creative work in us –
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. The secret of a Christian’s life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life.” –Oswald Chambers, from My Utmost for His Highest
I want to make this quote from Oswald Chambers into a plaque to be seen in my home as a daily reminder! This is the difference between flesh/works righteousness and the righteousness of God, the difference between doing things for God and the works of God.
Sometimes I think this is a tough point for Christians to comprehend. I know it was for me for a long time. Unfortunately it’s not always understood by clergy who encourage works for God, rather than the work of God as we offer ourself to the Holy Spirit, motivated by the Holy Spirit.
Consequently many Christians either lapse into an easy believe-ism modality, where – because “Jesus has saved me” – I can go on being a reprobate – or it becomes a matter of external pietistic behavior or ritualism, or church work, without a mighty Holy Spirit sea change within.
What it boils down to is that there isn’t anything along those lines that we can offer to God, but He has His own righteousness to apply to our inner man – the very thing we need that we cannot of ourself produce in any acceptable manner.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
What it boils down to is this: it’s not just a “faith position”; it’s a living spiritual reality where Christ takes His rightful position in us, and we in Him.
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