29 November, 2014
I am reading Isaiah book and I started thinking of how God chose Isaiah in Chapter 6. There was a time where I got involved in everything that I could in the Church because I wanted to serve, but I also knew that my Church would never choose me to serve in many areas, for two reasons. 1) Was my divorce even though they never knew me when I was married. The second reason was that I did not wear masks like almost everyone.
But, when God started dealing with me, I went through a period of time where He kept talking and teaching me in my dreams, all about service. To make a long story short (can you believe I can keep it short? LOL) One day I was praying vehemently and for some reasons I kind of felt asleep because my eyes were so suddenly heavy. I have no idea to this day if that was a dream or not, but I was aware that the Spirit took oil and put it on my lips. I have to say that I was always shy when it comes to talking about God and what I knew. I did not mind evangelizing and had no problem with unbelievers, but I never felt adequate to talk to Christians. Anyway, when I went to one of the Pastors and explained what has happened to me about the oil on my lips, I was dismissed and the pastor said something like “only an elder could do that” and he quoted James 5:14 which apparently is not for just sickness, but also the significance is that anything that concerns oil, has to go through an elder and that the right channel is important to God because God is a God of order. I was disappointed but, I moved on with God because I knew what really happened to me was from God and man's understanding or lack of it, could not derail me. This Pastor’s answer to me, right there, is a good example as to why we as Christians need to have an attitude adjustment toward God so we can become more spiritual.
My point is, no man has ever commissioned me yet, I know that God is using me the right way, instead of me running around like a chicken without head, getting involved in everything in the Church. So, the lesson here, make sure you pursue God instead of man. Once you reach the place where the Cross of Christ has significance to your heart, you know that you were truly lost and found by Him, seek for Him with all your heart and with all your might and He promised that you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13-14) It does not matter where you are from, your skin color, your status in society and how much you have failed Him in this life. Don’t be absorbed by what is out there and how good you look and sound. Don’t allow yourself to be addicted by man’s approval. Don’t seek for love in the wrong place. All these things are a temporary fix. Resolved to know nothing about anyone, but Christ crucified.
It is in looking for Him with all that you are and focussing on Him alone to mold you and make you, that you get to the point where you can live this life in this world, He can use you to touch all those around you, yet, you know like Christ, you are not of this world.
Don't fear rejection when you have a mighty God willing to accept you just the way you are. Beloved, allow Him to customize your life, His way.
I will go back to my Bible now.....
28 November, 2014
One if deep thankfulness and joy.
The heart's apprehension of this most blessed truth of the sovereignty of God, produces something far different than a sullen bowing to the inevitable. The philosophy of this perishing world knows nothing better than to "make the best of bad circumstances". But with the Christian it should be far other wise. Not only should the recognition of God's supremacy beget within us godly fear, implicit obedience, and entire resignation—but it should cause us to say with the Psalmist, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name!" Does not the apostle say, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20)? Ah, it is at this point the state of our souls is so often put to the test. Alas, there is so much self-will in each of us. When things go as we wish them, we appear to be very grateful to God; but what of those occasions when things go contrary to our plans and desires?
We take it for granted when the real Christian takes a train-journey that, upon reaching his destination, he devoutly returns thanks unto God—which, of course, argues that God controls everything; otherwise, we ought to thank the engine-driver, the stoker, the signalmen etc. Or, if in business, at the close of a good week, gratitude is expressed unto the Giver of every good (temporal) and of every perfect (spiritual) gift—which again, argues that He directs all customers to your shop. So far, so good. Such examples occasion no difficulty. But imagine the opposites. Suppose my train was delayed for hours—did I fret and fume? Or suppose another train ran into it, and I am injured! Or, suppose I have had a poor week in business, or that lightning struck my shop and set it on fire, or that burglars broke in and rifled it—then what? Do I see the hand of God in these things?
Take the case of Job once more. When loss after loss came his way, what did he do? Bemoan his "bad luck"? Curse the robbers? Murmur against God? No! he bowed before Him in worship. Ah, dear reader, there is no real rest for your poor heart until you learn to see the hand of God in everything. But for that, faith must be in constant exercise. And what is faith? A blind credulity? A fatalistic acquiescence? No, far from it. Faith is a resting on the sure Word of the living God, and therefore says, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). And therefore faith will give thanks "always for all things". Operative faith will "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4).
We turn now to mark how this recognition of God's sovereignty which is expressed in godly fear, implicit obedience, entire resignation, and deep thankfulness and joy—was supremely and perfectly exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ.
In all things the Lord Jesus has left us an example that we should follow His steps. But is this true in connection with the first point made above? Are the words "godly fear" ever linked with His peerless name? Remembering that 'godly fear' signifies not a servile terror—but rather a filial subjection and reverence, and remembering too that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," would it not rather be strange if no mention at all were made of godly fear in connection with the One who was wisdom incarnate! What a wonderful and precious word is that of Hebrews 5:7, "Who in the days of His flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and having been heard for His godly fear." What was it but 'godly fear' which caused the Lord Jesus to be "subject" unto Mary and Joseph in the days of His childhood? Was it not 'godly fear'—a filial subjection to and reverence for God—that we see displayed, when we read, "And He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up—and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day" (Luke 4:16)? Was it not 'godly fear' which caused the incarnate Son to say, when tempted by Satan to fall down and worship him, "It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve"? Was it not 'godly fear' which moved Him to say to the cleansed leper, "Go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded" (Matthew 8:4)? But why multiply illustrations?
How perfect was the obedience that the Lord Jesus offered to God the Father! And in reflecting upon this—let us not lose sight of that wondrous grace which caused Him, who was in the very form of God, to stoop so low as to take upon Him the form of a Servant, and thus be brought into the place where obedience was befitting. As the perfect Servant He yielded complete obedience to His Father. How absolute and entire that obedience was we may learn from the words, He "became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross" (Phil. 2:8). That this was a conscious and intelligent obedience, is clear from His own language, "This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father" (John 10:17, 18).
And what shall we say of the absolute resignation of the Son to the Father's will—what, but between them there was entire oneness of accord. Said He, "For I came down from heaven, not to do My own will—but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38). And how fully He substantiated that claim, all know who have attentively followed His path as marked out in the Scriptures. Behold Him in Gethsemane! The bitter 'cup,' held in the Father's hand, is presented to His view. Mark well His attitude. Learn of Him who was meek and lowly in heart. Remember that there in the Garden we see the Word become flesh—a perfect Man. His body is quivering at every nerve, in contemplation of the physical sufferings which await Him; His holy and sensitive nature is shrinking from the horrible indignities which shall be heaped upon Him; His heart is breaking at the awful "reproach" which is before Him; His spirit is greatly troubled as He foresees the terrible conflict with the Power of Darkness; and above all, and supremely, His soul is filled with horror at the thought of being separated from God Himself. There He pours out His soul to the Father, and with strong crying and tears He sheds, as it were, great drops of blood. And now observe and listen. Still the beating of your heart, and hearken to the words which fall from His blessed lips, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will—but may Your be done" (Luke 22:42). Here is submission personified. Here is resignation to the pleasure of a sovereign God superlatively exemplified. And He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. He who was God became man, and was tempted in all points like as we are—sin apart—to show us how to wear our creature nature!
Above we asked, What shall we say of Christ's absolute resignation to the Father's will? We answer—that here, as everywhere, He was unique and peerless. In all things He has the pre-eminence. In the Lord Jesus there was no rebellious will to be broken. In His heart there was nothing to be subdued. Was not this one reason why, in the language of prophecy, He said, "I am a worm, and no man" (Psalm 22:6). A worm has no power of resistance! It was because in Him there was no resistance that He could say, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me" (John 4:34). Yes, it was because He was in perfect accord with the Father in all things that He said, "I delight to do Your will, O God! Yes, Your law is within My heart" (Psalm 40:8). Note the last clause here and behold His matchless excellency. God has to put His laws into our minds, and write them in our hearts (see Hebrews 8:10)—but His law was already in Christ's heart!
What a beautiful and striking illustration of Christ's thankfulness and joy is found in Matthew 11. There we behold, first, the failure in the faith of His forerunner (vv. 22, 23). Next, we learn of the discontent of the people: satisfied neither with Christ's joyous message, nor with John's solemn one (vv. 16-20). Third, we have the non-repentance of those favored cities in which our Lord's mightiest works were done (vv. 21-24). And then we read, "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes" (v. 25)! Note the parallel passage in Luke 10:21 opens by saying, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank You" etc. Ah, here was submission in its purest form. Here was One by which the worlds were made—yet, in the days of His humiliation, and in the face of His rejection, thankfully and joyously bowing to the will of the "Lord of heaven and earth".
What ought to be our attitude towards God's sovereignty?
27 November, 2014
Some Christians' discussions on the internet are killing me inside because some of these people are so well educated that I’m in awe when they speak or when I read some of their posts, some with great social status. Yet all their analysis, while well intentioned, are being made in the flesh. Some are blatantly discussing things that only those who understand the spiritual things can understand, yet they carry on, not aware of their limitations, and that they could become stumbling blocks to those who are not in the Spirit.
When we read something whether it is from Johnathan Edwards, Spurgeon, Finley, Chambers, Pink, Pastor Charles Stanley, John Piper and so many more. Whether we talk about the Reformers, the Puritans the Calvinism and on, we should read them with, and through the Spirit. Never approach our teachers as if they have the absolute truth. We should also never approach their teachings with a kind of disdain because your opinion is already formed about them and you do not like their teachings….Unless the Spirit confirms it to you.
A genuine Christian who knows what it means to live in the Spirit will be open to learn from anyone. A genuine Christian will learn to read books from certain periods and writers and take what is good that, the Spirit confirms in the heart and leave the rest to God. The truth is, as we learn to walk in the Spirit, we find that no one on earth, except the apostles whom God used specifically for His purpose to bring His word to us, has all God’s doctrines perfectly “down.” I find that when my mind is purposely made up, about someone and the way they approach God’s doctrines, then I stop the Spirit of God from teaching me anything.
I love Oswald Chambers, Tozer, Spurgeon, Pink and many more of the past centuries. Notice that I said the past centuries because I really don’t care whether they were called Wesleyan, Calvinist, reformers or what have you. Would you believe that there are certain things that I do not agree with Spurgeon, or Pink or Wesley, or Chambers? When I read someone’s book or listen to their sermons, the first thing that I am concerned with, is for the Spirit to reveal to my heart if this person is or was someone after God’s heart? Would you believe that the Holy Spirit is willing to do that for you right away if indeed your only motive is to grow and learn? There are times where the Spirit warns me not to even bother about someone. Would you believe some of them are very popular pastors that are extremely well known and wealthy through their television programs, with a sea of Christian followers?
Once we decide to leave the shallow life behind and we stop fighting those that are forcing us out of our comfort zone, only then can we find freedom in reading books, sermons and posts where we can learn and grow spiritually. When I do not agree with one of those pastors I mentioned above, chances are it is not worth making a big fuss. Someone who is or was after God’s heart will not make a mistake that will derail you in your journey. But, if you were not in the mood to go forward to begin with, then, you can choose to spend time fighting and debating frivolous things in your own understanding. I learn to put what I do not understand, in His care and move on. Most of the time, He would come back to me and teach me about why the discrepancies. If He chooses not to teach me about them, then so be it. Nonetheless, I keep going with Him, because none of us are perfect.
Often times, when I do not agree about a particular teaching, because God has not only taught me, but He made me experience the subject in question. So sometimes, I find that those giants of the faith might have been off a tad bit. Even when I can see that I understand a subject better than them, I am not puffed up because it would be like criticizing a tiny dust in their eyes while I have a whole tree right there in my own eyes. So, when God allows me to see something that I have experienced with Him,
where they did not, I humble myself, and thank God for His blessings because I am not deserving. I also usually see myself being on the right path when something like that happens and pray that God would help me to remain steadfast in the faith and keep me living for His Glory.
26 November, 2014
One Of Entire SubmissionA true recognition of God's absolute sovereignty, will exclude all murmuring. This is self-evident—yet the thought deserves to be dwelt upon. It is natural to murmur against afflictions and losses. It is natural to complain when we are deprived of those things upon which we had set our hearts. We are apt to regard our possessions as ours unconditionally. We feel that when we have prosecuted our plans with prudence and diligence, that we are entitled to success; that when by dint of hard work we have accumulated a 'competence,' we deserve to keep and enjoy it; that when we are surrounded by a happy family, no power may lawfully enter the charmed circle and strike down a loved one. And if in any of these cases disappointment, bankruptcy, death, actually comes, the perverted instinct of the human heart is to cry out against God. But in the one who, by grace, has recognized God's sovereignty, such murmuring is silenced, and instead, there is a bowing to the Divine will, and an acknowledgment that He has not afflicted us as sorely as we deserve.
A true recognition of God's sovereignty will avow God's perfect right to do with us as He wills. The one who bows to the pleasure of the Almighty—will acknowledge His absolute right to do with us as seems good to Him. If He chooses to send poverty, sickness, domestic bereavements, even while the heart is bleeding at every pore—it will say, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right! Often there will be a struggle, for the carnal mind remains in the believer to the end of his earthly pilgrimage. But though there may be a conflict within his breast, nevertheless, to the one who has really yielded himself to God's sovereignty, there will presently be heard that Voice saying, as of old it said to the turbulent Gennesaret, "Peace be still"; and the tempestuous flood within will be quieted and the subdued soul will lift a tearful but confident eye to heaven and say, "May Your will be done!"
A striking illustration of a soul bowing to the sovereign will of God, is furnished by the history of Eli, the high priest of Israel. In 1 Samuel 3 we learn how God revealed to the young child Samuel that He was about to slay Eli's two sons for their wickedness, and on the morrow Samuel communicates this message to the aged priest. It is difficult to conceive of more appalling news for the heart of a pious parent. The announcement that his child is going to be stricken down by sudden death is, under any circumstances, a great trial to any father—but to learn that his two sons—in the prime of their manhood, and utterly unprepared to die—were to be cut off by a Divine judgment, must have been overwhelming. Yet, what was the effect upon Eli when he learned from Samuel the tragic tidings? What reply did he make when he heard the awful news? "And he said, It is the Lord—let Him do what seems good to Him!" (1 Sam. 3:18). And not another word escaped his mouth. Wonderful submission! Sublime resignation! Lovely exemplification of the power of Divine grace to control the strongest affections of the human heart and subdue the rebellious will, bringing it into unrepining acquiescence to the sovereign pleasure of Jehovah.
Another example, equally striking, is seen in the life of Job. As is well known, Job was one who feared God and shunned evil. If ever there was one who might reasonably expect Divine providence to smile upon him, (we speak as a man,) it was Job. Yet, how did it fare with him? For a time, the lines fell in pleasant places unto him. The Lord filled his quiver by giving him seven sons and three daughters. He prospered him in his temporal affairs until he owned great possessions. But suddenly, the sun of life was hidden behind dark clouds. In a single day Job lost not only his flocks and herds—but his sons and daughters as well. News arrived that his cattle had been carried off by robbers, and his children slain by a cyclone. And how did he receive this news? Hearken to his sublime words, "The Lord gave—and the Lord has taken away!" He bowed to the sovereign will of Jehovah. He traced his afflictions back to their First Cause. He looked behind the Sabeans who had stolen his cattle, and beyond the winds that had destroyed his children—and saw the hand of God. But not only did Job recognize God's sovereignty, he rejoiced in it, too. To the words, "The Lord gave—and the Lord bath taken away," he added, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21). Again we say, Sweet submission! Sublime resignation!
A true recognition of God's sovereignty causes us to hold our every plan in abeyance to God's will. The writer well recalls an incident which occurred in England over twenty years ago. Queen Victoria was dead, and the date for the coronation of her eldest son, Edward, had been set for April 1902. In all the announcements which were sent out, two little letters were omitted— D. V. (Deo Volente) God willing. Plans were made and all arrangements completed for the most imposing celebrations that England had ever witnessed. Kings and emperors from all parts of the earth had received invitations to attend the royal ceremony. The Prince's proclamations were printed and displayed—but, so far as the writer is aware, the letters D. V. were not found on a single one of them. A most imposing program had been arranged, and the late Queen's eldest son was to be crowned Edward the Seventh at Westminster Abbey at a certain hour on a fixed day. And then God intervened, and all man's plans were frustrated. A still small voice was heard to say, "You have reckoned without Me," and Prince Edward was stricken down with appendicitis, and his coronation postponed for months!
As remarked, a true recognition of God's sovereignty causes us to hold our plans in abeyance to God's will. It makes us recognize that the Divine Potter has absolute power over the clay and molds it according to His own imperial pleasure. It causes us to heed that admonition—now, alas! so generally disregarded, "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15). Yes, it is to the Lord's will we must bow. It is for Him to say where I shall live—whether in America or Africa. It is for Him to determine under what circumstances I shall live—whether amid wealth or poverty, whether in health or sickness. It is for Him to say how long I shall live—whether I shall be cut down in youth like the flower of the field, or whether I shall continue for three score and ten years. To really learn this lesson is, by grace, to attain unto a high grade in the school of God; and even when we think we have learned it, we discover, again and again, that we have to relearn it!
25 November, 2014
One of Implicit Obedience
A sight of God leads to a realization of our littleness and nothingness, and issues in a sense of dependency and of casting ourselves upon God. Again, a view of the Divine Majesty promotes the spirit of godly fear and this, in turn, begets an obedient walk. Here then is the Divine antidote for the native evil of our hearts. Naturally, man is filled with a sense of his own importance, with his greatness and self-sufficiency; in a word, with pride and rebellion. But, as we remarked, the great corrective is to behold the Mighty God, for this alone will really humble him. Man will glory either in himself or in God. Man will live either to serve and please himself, or he will seek to serve and please the Lord. None can serve two masters.
Irreverence begets disobedience. Said the haughty monarch of Egypt, "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord; neither will I let Israel go!" (Exodus 5:2). To Pharaoh, the God of the Hebrews was merely a god—one among many, a powerless entity who needed not to be feared or served. How sadly mistaken he was, and how bitterly he had to pay for his mistake—he soon discovered! But what we are here seeking to emphasize is, that Pharaoh's defiant spirit was the fruit of irreverence, and this irreverence was the consequence of his ignorance of the majesty and authority of the Divine Being.
Now if irreverence begets disobedience, true reverence will produce and promote obedience. To realize that the Holy Scriptures are a revelation from the Most High, communicating to us His mind and defining for us His will, is the first step toward practical godliness. To recognize that the Bible is God's Word, and that its precepts are the precepts of the Almighty, will lead us to see what an awful thing it is to despise and ignore them. To receive the Bible as addressed to our own souls, given to us by the Creator Himself, will cause us to cry with the Psalmist, "Incline my heart unto Your testimonies. Order my steps in Your Word" (Psalm 119:36, 133). Once the sovereignty of the Author of the Word is apprehended, it will no longer be a matter of picking and choosing from the precepts and statutes of that Word, selecting those which meet with our approval; but it will be seen that nothing less than an unqualified and whole-hearted submission befits the creature.
What ought to be our attitude toward the Sovereignty of God?
24 November, 2014
I decided to share this little poem which I found in the devotional “Springs in the Valley” because back in the days, when I was losing everything that I possessed, Jeremiah 29:11 was one of my favorite verses.
“'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
My understanding of the verse was so far from God’s intention. I could not even imagine that the calamity that my life had become was God’s plan for my welfare, to give me a future and a hope.
I also like the fact that, even though the writer has long passed away and was born in the 1800 era, God’s way has never changed. More than a century down the road, her life experience was about dark days, surrender and abiding life. Because this has been my path for so many years now, the poem is encouraging for the reason that, sometimes it is not easy to follow after God. Through my journey with Him, I learned that those verses of the Bible are not there to make my life easier and more comfortable. As I let Him do His work in me, He is able to get rid of my corrupted view and understanding.
At the end of the day, even though it is a hard life that God has put me on, I will cherish it and rejoice in the pain the sufferings and all the lost that I have incurred. Through the hardships and His teaching, I learned the difference between mature Christians vis a vis God and mature Christians vis a vis man. Spiritual maturity is acquired through learning to persevere when the shadows in the deep valleys never end. It is acquired when you truly learn from Him how to live this life with Him alone as your hope and there is nothing else left to hang on to, except the hope of this life in Him. It is also acquired, when we learn to abide there, at His feet, in a life of surrender and oneness. As He infuses your soul with His character, you cannot help but rejoice in the suffering because your soul can see the beauty that is being produced in you. A mature Christian is one that is established, strengthened and settled and it is forged mainly from the valleys of this journey.
Poem From: -Freda Hanbury Alle
love of God a perfect planIs
planning now for thee,It
holds a "future and a hope,"Which
yet thou canst not see. Though
for a season, in the dark,He
asks thy perfect trust,E'en
that thou in surrender "layThy
treasure in the dust," Yet
He is planning all the while,Unerringly
life of him, who holds His willMore
dear than all besides. Trust
were not trust if thou couldst seeThe
ending of the way,Nor
couldst thou learn His songs by night,Were
life one radiant day. Amid
the shadows here He worksThe
plan designed above,"A
future and a hope" for theeIn
His exceeding love. "A
future"-- abiding fruit,With
loving kindness crowned;"A
hope"-- which shall thine own transcend,As
Heaven the earth around. Though
veiled as yet, one day thine eyesShall
see His plan unfold,And
clouds that darkened once the pathShall
shine with Heaven's gold. Enriched
to all eternityThe
steadfast soul shall stand,That,
"unoffended", trusted HimWho
all life's pathway planned. I
have an heritage of bliss,Which
yet I may not see;The
Hand that bled to make it mine,Is
keeping it for me." -Freda
22 November, 2014
21 November, 2014
|ATree on sinking sands|
One of the reasons that I keep pushing Christians to stop being people who reason with common sense and their own understanding is because I used to be like that too. I used to have a beautiful Christian life on the outside. Busy in the Church service in almost every aspect of the Church. From being an usher to being a leader in the alpha group, and so much more. This is on top of my Bible study, mentoring group, weekly prayer group, weekly evangelism group and weekly visit group where we would go out and visit the newcomers in the Church. I do not need to continue, this should give you a good idea what my life looked like on the outside. Furthermore, I was always a good person on the inside, I knew how to turn the other cheek, I respected my elders and leaders even when I did not agree with their leaderships. I was really good at forgiving others because the bible says so and the list goes on.
I never thought for a second that the changes that I put forth in my life, were not from the Holy Spirit, nor that I ever thought, there was something wrong with what I was doing. With all my heart, I truly believed that I was honoring God. But, the truth is, anyone of us is capable of these things. Anyone human being is capable of change and transformation. I used to be somewhat content to live my life where I stumble and fall, pick myself up and go right back to God. But, something was nagging me on the inside. I was so annoyed by the fact that I stumbled way too many times. I guess the reason it bothered me it was because my relationship with Christ looked like my marriage where for every one or two good days I had ten to twenty horrible days. There was that little bell inside that kept nagging and would not give up. It caused me to ask myself the question “why is my relationship with Christ, like that of a human being? Shouldn't it be different?” After all, everything in the Bible indicated that God was supreme, so what gives?
When He got hold of me, lead me to the wilderness where He could teach me, only then my eyes opened and I could see that my beliefs were wrong. How could that be when I believed these things with all my heart and I truly love God? He finally showed me, spiritually, I was not doing things, “IN CHRIST”. My being “in Christ” was activated in full fledge for me to live out to the fullest, only after my consecration to Him. The Holy Spirit made it clear to me that it was not like I did not have this deposited in me at the moment of salvation, but it was activated in a moment of clarity when I made the decision to follow Him like in Luke 9:23-25. At that time, I surrendered all in complete abandonment to Him, as He became more than a savior, but my Master too. Through walking in Him, I also discovered, the reason I could see my relationship with Him was almost like having a human being relationship, it was because in living apart from Christ, I knew nothing of what it means spiritually speaking to live in His power and to be victorious.
Now, you all my faithful readers know how much I like Oswald Chambers and you know that I have been reading his devotional for almost as long as I have been a Christian. But, today, as I read his devotion, God took me back around that time where I used to live a powerless life with my own understanding and revealed something to me, and I knew I had to share it with you in today’s post. The Spirit took me back to that time where I used to believe that Christ love me, died for me, forgave me, and the cross was the only ground that allowed me to stand before God. Then, He said to me, “can you see how your understanding of me was as veiled and unspiritual as the apostles? Because they were not living in the power of the Holy Spirit yet, they had no idea what to do after my death.” HERE COMES THE BIG REVELATION…., He said, “my death threw them off and they were lost, so each one of them went back to what they knew, to the best of their abilities.” You might say to me, well, everybody knows that about the apostles, you are not saying anything new to us. But, I am here to tell you that even the smallest and most common truth, when revealed to us personally by God, become a big affair within. In this revelation, He was showing me how the apostle’s mind could not comprehend what was right there from the beginning and was also inevitable. While we have been reading so much about His death and we take all that we know for granted, but, put yourself in the apostle’s shoes who thought they found their kings, then, there was a twist to it that they did not expect.
It was an exciting revelation because He showed me their hearts, and in their intents, I was like them. The Spirit then explained to me that most of us are like that after we receive His salvation. Our expectations are different from God’s way, God plan and intention. Our intention will never be good enough and His intention alone has to prevail. But, He said, “the danger is when we remain there all of our lives and build our Christian lives on our own false foundation.”
There is no way the apostles would have understood that Christ death was the ultimate sacrifice. This was the big moment, this was the reason that all of it was put in motion in heaven. Remember something, Peter knew and said it in front of all the other apostles that Christ was God’s son. Yet, after Christ’s death he went back to his fishing business.
I am trying so hard to make you understand, how our understanding, even though sometimes might be honorable. Sometimes, we can even say the right words, and we make a great impact on others because of our knowledge, but without the Holy Spirit to walk us through things step by step, to reveal the true meaning behind what we cannot see and especially, GOD’S REAL INTENTION, then we have no idea that we cannot see. So, back then, even though I believed the right things, but they amounted to nothing in my life, until God made them real and made them part of me.
Our walk in the Spirit is like that. It is one lesson after another and every time we learn more we move forward to seeing more and more through His eyes. Explaining this is easy for me in a way because I can see it with the eyes of the spirit and they are also part of me. But, I do understand for some of you, if anything, I am giving you a headache and you might even see me as a fool or someone who complicates salvation. But, the reality is that when you can see with the eyes of the Spirit and when you become truly spiritual, this is a piece of cake. It is what’s become natural to you. So, I encourage you to be patient, and go to God with an open heart, knowing it is not about me or you, but about Him. Bring Him your understanding, whatever it might be. Bring your open heart to Him, with a willingness to follow Him with a heart totally consecrated and abandoned to Him. One of my favorite prayers when I was young in the faith was “LORD, MAKE ME WILLING TO BE WILLING TO DO YOUR WILL”
Faith is our belief in action, but never apart from Christ. It has to be “in Christ”
OSWALD CHAMBERS NOVEMBER 21 DEVOTIONAL
OSWALD CHAMBERS NOVEMBER 21 DEVOTIONAL
20 November, 2014
Our Savior had been showing his disciples the necessity of walking in the narrow way to heaven. He knew that many false teachers would arise, who would point out an easier way; and the Pharisees at that very time encouraged people, by their instructions and example, to walk in the broad road which leads to destruction.
There have been false teachers in all ages. There were some among the Jews of old. Jeremiah and Ezekiel warned the people against prophets, who said, "Peace, peace, when there was no peace," and "healed the wound of the daughter of God's people slightly," and "daubed the wall with untempered mortar." (Ez. 13.) By these comparisons we are taught that the false prophets encouraged people to remain in sin. False ministers do so now; they do not teach the necessity of a living faith, and of an entire change of heart; therefore their hearers are not led to wash in the fountain of Christ's blood, or to pray that they may be truly converted.
It is quite necessary to warn people against such teachers; for many listen to their words, and follow their pernicious ways. These ministers are compared to wolves, because they destroy the souls of God's people. They are described as wearing sheep's clothing, because they often speak in a religious tone, and use Scripture language. When Lord Cobham was tried in London, in the year 1413, these hypocritical sentences were written by the Papists in his letter of condemnation and death—"Following Christ's example in all that we might, who wills not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live, we took upon us to correct him. . . . Pitying him of fatherly compassion, and entirely desiring the health of his soul, we appointed him an adequate time of deliberation. Christ we take unto witness, that nothing else we seek in this our whole enterprise but his glory."
This language was sheep's clothing. Those who used it were inwardly ravening wolves. They sought to kill a pious nobleman, because he would not believe the errors which they taught. At last they obtained their heart's desire; for Lord Cobham was sentenced by the English parliament to be hung in chains and roasted over a slow fire!
Christ has told us how we are to detect false teachers when disguised in a fleece—by their fruits. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. These heavenly qualities adorn every faithful minister, though in some they flourish more than in others. Love reigns in the heart of every true Christian, and shines forth in his actions. He may be known by his kindness to all the saints, by his patient behavior to his enemies, and by his unwearied efforts to save the souls of men. None but a converted person brings forth such fruits as these. There are many unconverted people who lead moral, respectable, and even benevolent lives, but their hearts do not overflow with this love that we have described; and as their apparently good actions do not proceed from the right motive, they are worthless in the sight of Him who searches the hearts. None but a good tree can bring forth good fruit. We are all bad trees by nature; but God can make us good trees by his Spirit.
How dreadful is the declaration—"Every tree which doesn't bring forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire!" Should not this terrible sentence lead us all anxiously to inquire, "Have I received a new nature? Have I become a good tree? Has the heavenly Husbandman found good fruit growing upon my branches?" The loving, the tender Savior would not have alarmed us, had there been no cause for alarm.
By Favell Lee Mortimer (1802—1878)
19 November, 2014
"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." Luke 9:23-24
I was thinking this morning how the Church leaders, along with a bunch of fanatics’ out there, love separating salvation from Luke 9:23-24. I know there are a great number of them, when they do that, their intend, is to please the mass. When you learn to see Salvation from God’s point of view, meaning when He gives you a peak to the big master plan that He alone put together, you cannot help but come up with a different point of view. You know for sure that, holiness, spiritual maturity, intimate relationship with God, engaging His heart, yearning to be like Christ day in day out, true discipleship, surrendering to Him as your Master, and losing yourself to Him and so much more, are all a continuous blessing string of His grace. They are the work of our faith and evidence of our Salvation. To truly understand these things, you have to learn to live and walk in the Spirit, which also is an after effect of Salvation. Salvation is complete and not lacking anything at all. It is like receiving a beautiful and expensive necklace made of pearl.
This is not my first post on this issue and it will not be my last, simply because I lived out with God what He meant to do with the “real Salvation,” not the one we have become accustomed to in the last century. We went on revamping Salvation with our common sense, and we took so much away that we are left with a counterfeit of God’s true Salvation. Yes, it is true that He worked a new life “in” us, at the moment we truly receive Him into our hearts, but we have to allow Him to work it “out.”
What gives God great pain and cause Him to lament for us, is because we chose to take one single pearl out of the whole necklace and we are content with what we have with an attitude that He should accept our will. Imagine you are living in the sewers and one day, the king who has deployed everything in His power to find his long lost son or daughter, found you. Then you are informed that you are royalty and the King, who is your Father has been looking for you and wants you by His side. Now, you are over the top with this news. Once you reach the King’s palace you are told to clean up, get rid of your dirty and smelling clothes and put on the royal garment, then a guard will come and get you to lead you to meet with your Father.
During the time of preparation, you look around you and decided this life is not for you. Not because you do not like it, but it is going to take too much work, discipline, and way too demanding. So, you decide to find a way out of the palace and go right back to living in your sewers. All the while, you are proud of knowing you are royalty and shout it out to everyone who is willing to listen to you. To what extend are you royalty? In deploying all resources out there to find you, the King had a plan in mind which involved a different quality of life, a place for you, next to Him, and an intimate relationship with you. What have you done with His generosity and His love? In choosing to live in the sewers, where is your allegiance? How is the King suppose to feel about your decision and rejection of the offer of a relationship, His heir and a transformed life? Your decision to live in the sewers tell your new found Father, “well, I am glad to know I belong to the King, but, I have no intention of being taken up with your interests and purposes for me.” In saying that, aren’t you changing the terms between you and the King? We seem to be spending more time telling Christians how they cannot lose their salvation, than teaching them how to walk in the spirit, how to surrender and how to live a life of obedience to God.
This practice is dangerous simply because we do not know their reasons for accepting Christ to begin with. Especially, if you are able to tell through your close relationship with the Spirit of God, that some of your Church members are not showing evidence that a major work took place on the inside. This means, the Spirit of God has to help you bypass the Church attendance, the regurgitation of Bible verses, the empty service on His behalf and all the outward religiosity. Even when you find out through the Spirit, your job is not to judge but, if you are a leader, you ought to examine yourself first and to what extent He is the main instrument behind all that you do. Then, you come alongside those that He showed you are not part of the flock, or those that have taken a long detour and are not quite aware of their need to come back. (various way: preaching, prayers, counsel, different Bible study group etc.,but, only through the Spirit's leading, if done in the flesh you will keep failing them.) Majority of Christians, even after years of being in the Church, trample Salvation under their feet. In the meantime the Church, which is the body of Christ at large seems to missed that. We go on proudly with our own interpretation of a lot of verses in the Bible, while many claimed to have been saved by faith but simply not interested or incapable of walking by faith. What kind of godly relationship and faith are we promoting?
Not long ago, I was following a conversation on Linkedin where some people believe that this Christian life will happen to us through osmosis and if we have to do anything, then it is no longer grace. For the life of me, I cannot understand why these people cannot see that they have been brainwashed into adopting the wrong attitude, as such, they are rejecting God’s grace on a daily basis. They misapply and misappropriate the word grace along with God’s intention and divine purpose, yet not aware of it. But, doesn’t the Bible tell us that we have to diligently stand with Him? Or to make every effort? If there is no need for us to do as He said and embrace all that is in the Bible, instead of choosing to decipher things on our own and put words in His mouth, then we are doing the same thing Adam and Eve did when they let themselves be tempted by Satan. Furthermore, Christ could have done the same thing to His dad and say, well, I am not leaving the comfort of heaven, you are God and you can do things differently without me going down there. He could have bargained His way out of it, yet He was obedient unto death. He honored His Father’s way, His process and divine purpose.
We have to stop living like the unbelievers with a spirit of entitlement. We need to let the Spirit guide us in what we write, say and preach so that the impact we make on weaker Christians, will not affect them the wrong way. Some say they keep reminding people about the fact that they cannot lose their salvation, because Satan the accuser could rob them. Not only it is the wrong way to rationalize things, it is the wrong focus and it is also an insult and blasphemy to God. In fact, the wrong focus might cause these weaker Christians to be in greater danger as they adopt the wrong attitude and message, and GET SET IN THEIR WAYS. So sometimes, in trying to prevent Satan, we are the very instrument that he uses to get his work done. Our focus is wrong because while Satan is powerful, but my Lord and Savior is bigger than Satan will ever be. He is Stronger and Mightier. He is also able to keep those who have been entrusted to Him by God. What He wants from us, is to allow Him to use us as we live and walk in abandonment to Him, in the Spirit.
As I write my posts, it is not my job to please people or tolerate our disregard for the true Christian life. It is not my job to encourage the lack of walk in the Spirit that is being displayed within the body of Christ. Doing so, would be applying some sort of misguided love that has nothing to do with the true love Christ wants us to use to reach out to others, Agape Love.
17 November, 2014
When I was younger in the faith and since I had no idea what
it meant to walk in the Spirit, I kept going around being myself. I was judged
harshly. But, although these people were judging my behaviour, i.e I laughed
too hard, not “compose” enough, not good being divorce and single in the
Church, etc. I don’t know how to explain it, but there was something about me
that God must have put there to help me see that they were judging me to either
feel better about themselves. The older Christians judged because they were so
settled in their ways they took their interpretation of the word of God for
being right, as such I was wrong in their sight. Somehow, even though I had
great respect for my elders, teachers, and all who decided to lead me.
Strangely, I knew in my heart that the majority of them were no different from
the unbelievers I was dealing with at work. I knew it was mainly external and
that they have learned to control their behavior. Someone even said to me,
“When you are here or in any Christian functions, remember, people are
watching” This came from someone who wanted to be friend with me and knew how
much people were talking about me behind my back.
Because this person was a Christian much longer than I, and was respected by the leaders, I took the advice with humility, promising to try harder. As time went by, I realized, the difference between me and majority of my brothers and sisters in my Church were that I stood out, because of my refusal to wear a mask. It was important to me not to wear a mask when I was in the Church, because I felt, if I had to wear one among them, then what was the point of being Christian to begin with? To me, it was like being in a hospital and acting as if you are not sick and in no need for a doctor.
I was never bitter about it, but in my heart, I was hurt to see that I was judged so harshly, while I was really no different than those who were doing the judging. This went on for years, until I grew so dissatisfied with the kind of Christianity in all my surroundings, then I went directly to God, complained my heart out to Him, accusing Him of lying about Christianity and putting the bar so high that no one can reach it. (Funny how I was still making excuses for them) After I finished complaining, the Holy Spirit said sternly, “why don’t you surrender to me” I sort of stop and remain quiet just to make sure that I heard what I heard. He said again “surrender to me”. I finished my prayer time totally unsatisfied, at the same time, I was aware of something that somehow I felt in my heart, I did not want.
The point of this post is this, as Christians, when we are judged harshly we have a choice to make. We can harbour resentment against those who are judging us unfairly in their self-righteousness. We can retaliate, we can become bitter, let anger direct us, we can become arrogant and be as self-righteous as them or we can take it all in and go humbly to God with it. What these people did not know about me is that deep inside, I knew I was not good, and I was craving to be like Christ. Because I did not have spiritual knowledge of the word of God and because I did not know Him yet, I did not understand that my craving was because I wanted to be like Him. I kept thinking that I wanted to be like our forefathers in the Bible who walked with Him. I could see there was a difference and I wanted that for me. So, even though I was hurt, but I focussed mainly on Christ without knowing it was the right attitude and response. Remember, I was a babe in the faith and so stupid and clueless that I was cute.
Years after that, God showed me how the majority of people in the Church, from top to bottom, are a perfect example of the Pharisees. He showed me how they have learned to interpret the word of God to coincide with their own prejudices. It was as if the Church was a theater and everybody was in character playing a role where they were bad at it, but they did not know because the critics were not out yet. It was cold and unrighteous. Yet, in appearance, that was not the Church I knew, in fact people love this Church because it seems to be so good externally, and so on fire for God. He showed me the lack of the Holy Spirit leading and so much more that I was overwhelmed. At times, I felt, I could live this life without ever knowing those things. Furthermore, I kept feeling that I was not worthy of all those revelations about people who outranked me and their businesses. But, while He started revealing the disobedience of my Church, He did not stop there. It was like teaching me how to diagnose the state of His Salvation, His plan and His Church, throughout the body of Christ, in North America, through His eyes.
The worst part of my training was when He decided to reveal His heart to me and how He is lamenting over His Church. There are no words to describe God’s lament for us. Here is how stupid I am, when I first experienced God wailing for the Church and wailing for what we have made of Salvation. I do not want to go through the whole thing with you because it is something between me and God and also too painful and hard to relieve out again. But when all was said and done and I was back to being myself, I first realized that I would never want to be amongst those people causing Him so much pain. So I made it a point that His purpose for my life, will be my purpose and nothing else would do. But I asked myself, why does He allow us to have so much power over Him? Since He is God, why doesn't He remove this part of Him that cause Him pain? I have grown so much more since that time and I know that God is God and feeling the pain for us is part of Him and cannot be removed. That in itself was a big lesson with Him where I learned to understand why God felt anger, love, wrath, mercy, and so on. They are all part of His holiness.
For few years in the wilderness, that’s what my education was based on. I came out with some big things that I learned. One, God does not wait to judge us with the same measure He promised we would be judged when we are hypocrites and self-righteous. He starts right here with those who are following Him wholeheartedly. I bet you these people never thought for a moment that God would pronounce judgement on them, and use them to teach me about His Church lacking “Christ and the Holy Spirit” in everything. Secondly, when you are judged in any shape or form, whether it is righteous judgment or in self-righteousness, learn to recognize that God can use even unbelievers to teach you something about yourself. So, instead of digging your heels in who you are, until you become set in your ways that even the Holy Spirit could not make you budge, go to Him directly. Do not lash out and resist the temptation to reciprocate while you are hurting. I was too stupid about the word of God and lack knowledge to pass judgment on the people judging me and I was not malicious enough to use the information that I knew about them wearing masks and controlling their behavior through the flesh. It turns out that God was training me through the gift of wisdom and godly discernment. The third thing I learned from this training, is that God was preparing me for my ministry, but in those days, I had no idea how to walk with God, let alone thinking that was a preparation for His purpose for me. You see, Ministry is not something that we do, but something that we are on the inside before it becomes external.
Another thing that I did not know is that, when we are
self-righteous in the Church, most of us tend to see it as “our business.” God revealed to me, that, it was not my
business or their business, but our self-righteousness is “His business” so He
can train anyone He wants to teach them “righteous judgment” to put their noses
in God’s business and shake us out of our lethargy. I also learned that we
might be on fire with our emotions for God, but spiritually speaking, lethargic.
(Just like Paul used to be or the Pharisees). After all this training, I had no
idea what to do with it and I even asked Him how He planned to use someone as
stupid as me? At one point, I dreamed that He would change me overnight and
make me someone eloquent and educated, which was my desires, not His. Instead,
He told me He will not give me those desires of my heart because they were in
the flesh, however He gave me the gift of boldness. I’ll tell you, if you knew
me before, you would understand why the gift of boldness hit me like a
bulldozer one day. That was 2012, when I started blogging. It has been quite a
ride with God in teaching me how to let Him use me. In righteous judgment, we
need to be right with God first, He trains us, and teaches us how to discern
and give us the wisdom needed as He uses us. Mainly, we need to keep walking
and living in the Spirit so that we do not judge others through our eyes and
prejudices, but through His eyes alone.
I will not split this post into two parts, however, I will
not blog tomorrow to give you time to read.
In His Agape Love,
By Favell Lee Mortimer (1802—1878)
The Lord Jesus had been warning his disciples against many of the evil practices of the Pharisees. There was no sin to which they were more addicted than to "judging." They did not judge righteous judgment, according to the word of God; but they judged according to their own wicked passions. Because they hated Christ, they endeavored to find faults in his conduct, and accused him of breaking the Sabbath, of encouraging sinners, and of being a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber. The men of the world still walk in the steps of the Pharisees—they are continually looking with a malicious eye for faults in the children of God, and attributing wrong motives to all their actions.
We may be sure that such judgment is sinful, because it is passed in a spirit of hatred. In how different a spirit the Christian judges! He cannot but know that the world lies in wickedness; he sees it with grief, and exerts all his powers to persuade sinners to flee from the wrath to come. By this rule we may know whether we are judging righteously or unrighteously. Do we rejoice over the faults of others, or do we lament over them! If we are seeking for their faults, and watching for their halting, then we have the spirit of the Pharisees, who maliciously watched the conduct of Christ and his disciples; then we may be sure that we are offending God, that we shall be judged by him, and that with the same measure we judge others, will be measured to us; for "he shall have judgment without mercy that has shown no mercy." (James 2:13.) It is in this spirit that irreligious people judge those whom they call "evangelicals and saints." They accuse them of hypocrisy, and of pride; they watch their conduct with an eagle's eye, and triumph over their infirmities with a demon's joy. Such people have a beam in their own eye. This beam prevents them from seeing their own sins. We may be assured, that if we do not see ourselves to be very great and miserable sinners, there is a beam of unbelief in our eyes which prevents our seeing it. While we cannot see our own sins, we cannot see the sins of others aright. What we call sins in them, perhaps are not sins. We do not know how to reprove until we have discovered what sinners we ourselves are.
But when God, by his converting grace, takes the beam out of our eyes, then we may help our brother to overcome his sins. Then we shall warn him in a spirit of humility and love, feeling our own unworthiness, and anxious for his good.
But there are some characters, in dealing with whom great caution must be used. Hypocrites may be compared to dogs and swine. As these animals feed on carrion and the vilest garbage, so hypocrites delight in sin. It would be wrong to give holy food, such as the priests ate, to dogs; and it would be foolish to cast pearls, such as queens wear, to swine.
But is it wrong or foolish to declare the holy and precious word of God to wicked men? O no—for Jesus said to his apostles, "Preach the gospel to every creature." But when men, having heard the truth, trample it under foot by their blasphemies, and turn and rend by their revilings, those who speak it, then they must be left to themselves. In this manner the apostle Paul dealt with the wicked Jews of Corinth. "And when they opposed them and blasphemed, he shook his clothing." "Your blood be upon your own heads—I am clean—from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles!" (Acts 18:6.) Thus the apostle left the dogs and swine, that he might feed the sheep committed to his charge