Posted tagged ‘God’

The Stream

February 26, 2012

There comes a time in the life of an infant when they discover their hands. They are fascinated by these things which move in front of their eyes guided by the impulses from their brains. For most of us that is a defining moment and the fascination can last a lifetime, for some it can be an obsession.

But there is another reality, a reality which is not tied to flesh and bones.

In each of our hearts there is a stream, a stream that comes from our Creator. It can be sensed intuitively, if we are paying close attention. These days we are inundated by lofty interpretations of the stream, made by men and women who have constructed their little worlds (their interpretations) with those fascinating little hands. We sometimes buy into their little worlds, and believe the stories they’ve spun out of thin air, even to the extent of living and dying by their new little world’s rules. These new little worlds are “perfect”, so they say, and they have to be for they were crafted by those fascinating little hands. Besides these craftspersons have such strings of authoritative titles after their names, like Doctor of Divinity, PhD. and so on.

All the while the stream runs unabated, but ignored in the background of our hearts. You see if we would just break away from our fascination with man-made things, the things of the flesh, Jesus would take us down to that stream, and teach us how to swim in it and let it flow through us. A stream which is not made by human hands, a stream which is that little bit of His Spirit which God gives each of us to guide us to Him. If we will walk with Him by the stream, if we let Him teach us how to swim in it and flow with it. The stream will widen and become deeper and break loose and cleanse our hearts. It will introduce us to the real world.

This is how we come to abide in Him, flowing in the stream of His Spirit. This is how we discover the place where we can live and move and have our being in Him.

So the next time you feel that funny tug in your heart which is warning you that something you are beginning to accept is false, walk away from the ridiculous worlds made with hands, and go swimming with the Lord of all.

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Adonai Is In His Sanctuary

August 23, 2011

It is like selfish men to say “What have I to do with thee”. That is what the rich and powerful, the proud say. They do not want the responsibility of caring for their fellow man. They take the spoils for themselves, and turn their backs.

Yet Adonai knows when each leaf hits the ground,

He knows our needs and He will meet them.

The hearts of men are cold, but Adonai loves us and makes plans to save us, even as we are rebelling against Him.

Adonai is in His temple, yes even the temple He built in your heart, humbly seek Him there.

The clouds part, His light shines upon you,

and you are face to face with Him.

Arguing With Ourselves

August 2, 2011

I woke up this morning with the oddest impression, you know that Scripture about the rich young ruler, yeah that’s the one, the one that makes us squirm when Jesus says, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

 

As I was waking up I had the distinct impression that Jesus wasn’t only referring to the rich man’s houses, camels, and servants, but also to his scrolls, the ideas the young man had studied and held close intellectually. Of course we know that the young man sadly withdrew from Jesus’ presence because he was unwilling to give them up.

 

The rich young ruler was unwilling to let go of the material goods to be sure, but there is a deeper item he didn’t want to release, he didn’t want to let go of the ideas that made him feel comfortable as a well-to-do man of influence. I would imagine that he was expecting Jesus to parrot the teachings of the Pharisees who saw riches as “the blessing of God” or even as God’s mark of approval. He did not expect to have those “blessings” turned into a millstone hung around his neck. He probably sought comfort with his fellow rich men later on, and they talked about the necessity of being rich and how “natural” it was that men like themselves should own so much.

 

You see this is not just a matter of material possessions it is a matter of mind set. The Pharisees were world class champions in that category, they would argue til they were blue in the face about whether one should stoke the fire on the Sabbath (their answer was no) or just how far from home one was allowed to journey on the Sabbath, and they had opinions on an infinite number of other theological minutae and if you didn’t agree with their conclusions you must be one of the other party, those heretics.

The spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well today.

 

I see examples of this on the web all of the time, I see comments like “Well I looked at her blog but it was obvious that she is an Arminian so I stopped reading it” or “you know I was enjoying that guy’s book until he said that Rob Bell’s writings were just a fad, so I closed the book in disgust.”

 

How many of us carry “possessions” in the form of pre-judgments or preconceived notions we are unwilling to loosen our grip on?

How many of us cling to intellectual ideas over and above clinging to the Lord?

 

With the advent of the internet and social media there is yet one more conduit for theological fads to spread across our culture. Now you are a heretic if you do not fall in line with the theological flavor of the month, and there are plenty of people willing to blast you, and burn you to a crisp, for saying otherwise. So what does all of this storm and fury mean?

 

It doesn’t mean anything.

Theological ideas are just the boxes we build to put our latest idols in, and we fight bitterly to keep our idols safe from damage or question.

 

There is so much more to having fellowship with Jesus than fighting over a bunch of silly human ideologies. Put yourself in the place of the rich young ruler with the riches of your ideas arrayed round about you, but with this difference, you then realize the futility of fighting against where God is taking you, and you let go of those clinging encumbrances and turn back and fall in with Him, you follow Him. You learn to listen to Him and let the overwhelming cacophony of the world slip away.

 

It is far better to know Jesus in Spirit and in Truth, than to possess all of the “correct” ideas that mankind can conceive.

Our Refuge, His Presence

May 6, 2011

If you are poor, tired, forlorn, and lost there is a place you can go to meet Jesus. It does not depend on your being accepted by a bunch of snooty church folks, you do not have to wear the right clothing, or smell nice. It is a certain and guaranteed thing, because it depends on Jesus alone. Therefore it is not subject to the whims and religious attitudes of men. It is also a place that many have been denied, because the most basic information about it has been obscured for hundreds of years, yielding generations of babies who know a little (or maybe just a lot of academic schlock) about Jesus, but who do not know Him personally (or by means of the Spirit).

 

The place I speak of is the place where Peter was when he was praying in Joppa, (Acts 10:10) and it is where John was when he mentions that he was “in the Spirit” at the beginning of “The Revelation Of John” (Revelation 1), It is where Paul was when he mentions casually that he was taken up to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-6).

 

It is as if, when you hear the good news and accept it, you are set down in the outer courts of Solomon’s temple and you tramp around there enjoying all the praise bands and the religious goings on, but to get to the court of the Priests you have to seek the entrance, you have to find the door. Further on to gain access to the temple itself and the Holy of Holies which is your right as a child of the Living God, you have to find the entrance, The entrance in all cases is Jesus, getting to know Him in the most intimate way, is your doorway to these wonderful places. You might say, well this Scriptural evidence is sketchy, yet I am only scratching the surface, there are many examples of this in the New Testament, you just have to look for them, Jesus set the tone in this way of life by spending considerable time, alone with the Father, in prayer.

 

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

“19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves,” New Century Version

 

Paul said very much the same thing in several places in his epistles, and I would like to suggest to you that for Paul the Temple he once served and the temple God was building in His people were not so different, just far more personal.

 

When you ask, seek, and knock (Luke 11:9-13) God sets up a place in your heart for His presence, a Holy of Holies to which you can retreat to be with Him. I also think that in a slightly different way He is speaking of the same thing when He said “Behold I stand at the door and knock,” Revelation 3:20-22
He encourages us to seek Him, but I believe that He also actively calls us to seek Him.

 

The initiative was God’s from the very beginning, it is our responsibility to respond. To live the life that He has so graciously provided we must walk with Him and dwell in Him. But the flesh resists this simple and beautiful gift which God has placed on our doorsteps. The flesh wants an appearance of Godliness, but please none of that radical stuff!! But sometimes, in it’s contrary way, the flesh makes a religious duty out of being radical. So you can see it all around you in the religious observances that Christians occupy themselves with every day.

 

On the one hand, it is fairly easy to detect an immature approach to the Lord, when others try to convince you to follow their example (and they will!), because the followers of babydom do not have the Spirit to guide them, they only have the book (the Bible) and lacking clarification from the Spirit they cling to whatever interpretation of Scripture they have obsessively, because that is all they have.

 

On the other hand, life in the Spirit is multifaceted, you can walk and talk with Him, listen to Him, and obey Him, He guides you, there are secrets and gifts He will share with you so that you may help people, and He has secrets and gifts for you alone, it is never dull and Scripture will unfold for you in the brilliant light of His Spirit, the very one who wrote it.

 

When you give up your feeble, and failed attempts at controlling your life and place yourself solely in His hands you will find that He is adding to you and augmenting your life beyond anything you ever thought possible.

 

This is our legitimate claim on Jesus, and He is pleased to help us receive it.

But it all starts when we find our refuge in Him, our sanctuary in His Presence.

My Soul Reaches For You, Lord

February 25, 2011

 

My soul reaches for You Oh Lord,

For I must respond to Your call.

I am tall in Your sight as you guide me,

I can do the things You require as you lead me.

I have no gift to give You Lord, save what you have given me.

There are weeks when I cannot lift my eyes because of the tears my sadness expresses.

Yet You lift my head oh Lord.

You lift my head and You set me on the high ground, far above the flood.

When I have cried my last tear and walked my last step

When every man has turned away from me

You are the one who will take me up and cherish me.

I am alive in your embrace and at peace under Your gaze

Do not let my heart fail before I have sung your praise with my life.

Microcosm

February 13, 2011

I have been on Facebook for some time now and I have begun to notice what an odd microcosm it is, not that it is in any way a faithful representation of the way the wider world is, but there are microclimates that encourage certain mirror images of what is going on in the world. You may be fortunate to fall in with a group of people whom you wholeheartedly agree with or you may find yourself locked into one of those endless and fruitless debates which have been the hallmark of internet exchanges for more than a decade now.

We used to call them flame wars and they are usually precipitated by someone dangling flame bait. All that a person has to do to start something like this is to ridicule a subject which he or she knows someone else holds sacred or dear, and stand back. Often after the gasoline has been thrown on the fire the resulting inferno will burn for days, or at least until all the participants are exhausted. I have seen these things going on long before Facebook ever existed. So now when I see them merrily reproducing with predictable frequency on Facebook. It makes me wonder what is being achieved. All of this energy and righteous indignation, spraying out into the ether, for what?

It reminds me that there are people in this world who actually make a living by spreading disinformation. Have you ever wondered why TV news picks up certain stories to run with? Have you ever noticed when the subjects of a news report are characterized as being crude or backward in those reports? It may not be apparent in the copy of the story, often it is in the video content. Have you ever thought through the sage advice you got from that political analyst?

As a culture we are immersed in media throughout the day, every day. It is so pervasive that we often cannot tell that we are being swayed. We do not understand why we don’t care to be around certain types of people, but we are very certain that we don’t.

Our reasoning faculties are hobbled at an early age through ceaseless bombardment. Are we quite certain of our own tastes and ideas? Or have we surrendered to the barrage of endless input from the endless parade of “authorities” we see in newscasts, and advertisements, that we hear on talk radio, and we read in the press, or even from the sermons we hear?

This world is full of distortions of the truth, if we are to move forward Spiritually, if we are to mature, should we be relying on the things people tell us? Or should we be seeking the One who knows?

Why Do We?

January 15, 2011

Why do we use “crossing the Jordan” as a metaphor for physical death when we can live in the Promised land now (by means of the Spirit)?

Why do we not find fault with a minister whose idea of “being a servant” is to insist on being honored and having authority over us?

Why do we find fault with people who fall down when someone prays for them? Maybe they are more comfortable on the floor.

Why do we read about the Spirit in the Bible, but only think about the flesh?

Why do we tolerate preachers who push us down when they pray for us?

Why do we hold hands and proclaim our unity in the sanctuary, but get into a heated theological debate in the vestibule?

Why do some congregations throw people out when they dance in the aisles? After all, that could be the high point of the service!

Why do we say that we love God and live only for Him, when all of our desires and plans have to do with making our way in this world?

Why do we obsess about sin when Jesus already took care of that? If you are troubled, humble contrition is all that is needed, He is in His office 24/7.

Why do we gather with that same old group of crabby, and/or unnaturally cheerful people each week and call it church?

Why do we feel that the people in a church building are God’s people when the plastic smiles and handshakes are less genuine than Madoff’s hedge fund?

Why do we pass up an opportunity to help someone, so that we might get to church on time?

Why are we so sad at funerals (not counting relatives and close friends who are sad because they will truly miss the deceased) when we say that “he/she is with Jesus now”?

Why oh why do we believe the promises of men which are nearly always empty lies, while we ignore the true promises of God.

Why are we content to live shallow lives when we could be living in the fullness of His Spirit?

If you have done one or two, or more, of these things and understand how inconsistent they are, congratulations you are human.

For that matter if you drew breath and opened your eyes this morning you are human.

We all have needs, to love and to be loved, to be sheltered and fed, but most of all we need God.

Our need for God is apparent when we hunger and thirst for justice, or love, or friendship, or even for a break from the chaos which is this world.

God can bring us peace, love, provision, and companionship, if we will have it.

We can live in Him, in union with Him.

Jesus is the cure for our feckless humanity.