Archive for December 2009

Shhh, Hush, Listen!

December 28, 2009

Have you ever had a friend or acquaintance who always misunderstands what you are saying to him or her? Or a friend who talks incessantly but never listens to you? It’s frustrating isn’t it?

We live in a world like that, everyone is talking at the top of their voices and not listening to God.

Jesus spent three years teaching the disciples about the incredible relationship He was forging for mankind, for anyone who will seek Him, and He sent the Holy Spirit to seal the deal. The disciples became apostles, and spent the rest of their lives passing the message along to the world at large with the Holy Spirit to sustain them and to keep them on track.

So what has it come down to today? We have people who think Jesus started an exclusive “God favors me” club made up of all the “right” people, with lots of rich friends, and their very own political party. We have folks who think Jesus came to allow us to keep the law (or as some express it, “to make us good”). We have a lot of people who believe that Christianity primarily means serving the church, and it’s leaders, instead of serving Him. We even have people who think that a minister is or should be an authority on theology and church history, who will “set you straight” if you stray from the party line.

Our modern “church” leaders are so busy talking, telling you their grand ideas, and condemning others, that they are not listening to the Lord. Most of what they have to say is reworked “wisdom” from their seminary days. Great!, so we are being led by the well worn traditions of men. That is the wide path, the path that leads to destruction.

The early church had a tremendous secret, which most folks don’t know today. But, it was a secret which they were eager to share. They knew that a minister was simply someone who knew Jesus intimately. Someone who lived in His presence and helped bring others into this same kind of relationship. A person who could lead another person into the place where they could hear the Good Shepherd themselves and start to grow. No seminary, no denominations, no high sounding pronouncements, not a Father, a brother in Christ, a fellow priest and king. Just living in His Spirit, and sharing it, furthermore they knew that every person who knew Jesus, who was led by the Holy Spirit, was a minister. They took the narrow path, the one where they walked with the Lord and were taught by Him.

I know many modern “authorities” have all kinds of arguments against our hearing God in our everyday lives, and following His lead, but God said this;

“18 What good is an idol, once its maker has shaped it, a cast metal image and a teacher of lies, that its maker puts his trust in it, and goes on making non-gods, unable to talk? 19 Woe to him who tells a piece of wood, “Wake up!” or a speechless stone, “Rouse yourself!” Can this thing teach? Why, it’s covered with gold and silver, without the slightest breath in it! 20 But ADONAI is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”
Habakkuk 2:18-20 (Complete Jewish Bible)

And Jesus said,
1 “Yes, indeed! I tell you, the person who doesn’t enter the sheep-pen through the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd. 3 This is the one the gate-keeper admits, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep, each one by name, and leads them out. 4 After taking out all that are his own, he goes on ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. 5 They never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because strangers’ voices are unfamiliar to them.”
John 10:1-5 (Complete Jewish Bible)

In Habakkuk 2:20 He said “But ADONAI is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”
Do you know where that temple is now days?
In the sanctuary of your local church? – nope.
In St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome? – uh, no.
In your hearts? – Yes, ding, ding, ding we have a winner!

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:16 (NASB)
All you have to do is earnestly seek Him, and learn to listen in humility, and He will tell you what you need to know, He will lead you.
You know it’s true, it was part of the original plan, you know “My sheep hear My voice”? Old time folks used to talk about it, they called it “waiting on the Lord” or “praying through”.
Did you know that you can talk to Him and hear Him answer you? It’s all part of having a living Lord. A real person, not a tradition, not a dead poet or philosopher. He is God, He is here with you, He has been listening to you all of your life, wouldn’t it only be polite to listen to Him for a change? He is waiting to forge a relationship with you, a relationship like no other. So how do you expect to know Him, if you never listen to Him?




At Bay

December 15, 2009

The more we read Scripture and listen to the Lord. The more it becomes apparent in a deep, visceral kind of way that the flesh, our flesh hates the Holy Spirit. It will do almost anything to sabotage our union with Christ.
We choose our course by deciding whether to follow the Lord, as difficult as that sounds to our minds (and our flesh which is screaming, “No, no, Aaaaaargh!”), or by following the flesh. When you follow the flesh, you may come up with some dandy religious stuff, but nothing really changes. Not one single thing. So even though our flesh knows that it will have to go, and may be trying to bail on us, we must keep moving toward the Lord and listening to Him no matter what the consequences. For if we are at all serious about following the Lord and walking with Him, then there is no other option, the flesh has to go. This short bit is about that struggle. It is not an easy one and we will almost certainly surprise ourselves with our stubbornness, but ultimately, if we always turn back to Him even when we screw up badly, He will pull us through.

At Bay

I was running very fast and very hard, down a path in the thick forest, almost in a panic, gasping for breath, listening behind, rather than looking back. I was being followed, it was bad, nothing I did seemed to shake my pursuer, I zigged, I zagged, I even left the path, and ran through the trees, though I was in danger of losing my way. My level of panic began to rise as I realized that I was becoming exhausted. I started to look for the place where I could make my stand, I saw a clearing ahead, I began to calculate how difficult it would be to defend. Satisfied, I wheeled around and whipped out the large knife I carried for protection. I tried to calm myself, but my effort had been too all out, I could not catch my breath, I was still sobbing great panting breaths when He came into view.
I thought He had been hell bent to catch me, to kill me, what I didn’t understand is that instead, he was walking calmly toward me to relieve me of my hell, to calm my fears, to give me life. I stood gasping and looking at Him, His kindness was shining in His face, I could see it in in His eyes. He held out His arms to me. I took a step toward Him, still wary, and then, I don’t know how, but I caved in, I threw down my weapon, I sank into His arms, crying loudly.
I did not know that He actually cared for me so, I could not know, I had been listening to the lies I grew up with, the lies which I had grown accustomed to. “God is angry with you,” they lied, “He will send sinful little boys to hell.”
As He comforted me, as you would a little child, I could not believe that this was the person who was supposed to be so angry with me.
He held me for a while, and when I had finally caught my breath He held me at arm’s length and said, “David, I pursued you because I love you. I was not going to leave you to your own devices, no, not in this world, no, not ever. I am never going to abandon you, never. You are My son, I will always come after you when you are in trouble, always.”
He brought me to a stream where I was able to wash myself and get a cool refreshing drink, then We walked back to His house, it was much shorter and more pleasant going back than it had been running away. It was much better walking with Him.