Posted tagged ‘The Call’

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.

For Those Who Believe In Jesus

December 3, 2010

For those who believe in Jesus.

There are a few things which we must come to grips with in this world.

Jesus is real, Jesus is alive.

There are a lot of people in this world

and yes, even “ministers of the gospel” who do not truly believe it.

But they will not tell you that

because people lie.

You can know that He lives

You can know that this is true.

You can meet Him and you can hear Him,

if you seek Him.

How do we know this? He said, “Seek and Ye shall find”.

The problem with the world is, they are not seeking.

 

There are a few things which we must realize about this world.

There are people who want to own everything in the world.

There are people who want to have all of the power in this world.

There are a few people who very nearly do own everything in this world.

There are a few people who very nearly have all the power of this world.

If there were no God, we the ones without worldly power would be up the creek without a paddle.

Fortunately this is not the case, for our elder Brother and God, Jesus, has all of the real power.

This world is like a dust mote in His hands

and it’s power is like a tiny watch battery compared to the mighty power of the universe of God.

He who made all of the worlds and suns of the universe.

Can unmake this one and not even break a sweat.

He could poof us back into the dust cloud our world was made from,

But He does not do so for our sakes.

There are people among us who know Jesus

There are still people, even among the very wicked who can come to know Him.

There are people whom we are going to meet and lead into a relationship with Him.

Some of them will not seem to be very nice people.

And some of those same people will become closer than family to us.

I am not talking about taking someone to “church”,

I am not talking about taking them to a Christian concert,

I am talking about a face to face encounter with Him.

And their journey will start with your face and end up with His.

 

The time for wicked, worldly ones is limited.

This world will soon pass away.

Our lives in this world will end

but Jesus will not leave us.

So why is it we don’t trust Him, fully,

with everything?

 

So this is the deal, we all need to grow and mature in Jesus,

Don’t ask your pastor about this, don’t call up your favorite TV preacher either,

Go to Jesus. Yes, straight to Him.

It doesn’t take a degree in Theology, to talk to Him.

It doesn’t take a high falutin’ title either.

Just seek Him in your own humble way.

And listen.

He spoke to Abraham, and Moses, and David, and the Prophets,

And He will talk to you too.

He is the only one who really knows what is going on anyway!

Sorrow Into Joy

September 28, 2010

When we are ready to lay down our lives for Him, God will open our eyes.
For you see as we give up our desires and let go of our selfish demands, we will better understand the selfless action He took for our sakes,
not total understanding, but better.
As we open our hearts to Him, we will allow Him to show us what is in His heart.
Because by opening our hearts the way He opened His for us we can begin to understand what He gave us, that terrible afternoon on Calvary.
Yes, we will begin to understand, yet He will bring it all into fruition.
He has been and He will be our teacher. He died to share His life with us, to recreate us in His image,
to change us from being petty and small to being great and generous as He is.
He has so much to show us.

Why is it we couldn’t see before?
Why couldn’t we know Him and His heart?
In the life most of us presently lead, our own desires and needs blind us to everything else, we are infatuated by the mirror of our ego.
What we want is even more important to us than who we are.
We think that we can construct a new version of ourselves by succeeding in the world.
We would gladly turn away from love and justice to gain wealth and power, things that in this transitory world will only last a fortnight, then vanish like a vapor, the whole world could fall to pieces around us and we would still cling to the forlorn hope that this kind of success will make a difference.
We are truly and tragically blind.
How wise Dante was to inscribe the entrance to hell with
“Abandon hope all ye who enter here”,
there is no hope, no change, and no true reform in the confines of a self-centered life.
In our blindness this is all we can see, and in this hopeless state of mind many have despaired of light and life, and they have embraced the empty coldness of life without hope.
But even from the cold, dead, depths Jesus can lead us into the light.
How do you think that Saul of Tarsus felt as he sat in darkness, blind and forlorn in Damascus?
The Lord had broken through his daydream of righteous indignation, and told Him that he was wrong, that he was persecuting God and His people.
After all the things Saul had done in his life dedicating himself to the service of God, he must have sat in a well of despair waiting for what God had for him next, with his hopes of righteous achievement dashed.
Surely he would have thought “God will soon finish me off”, for the wicked all have the same dire fate in the Scriptures.
All of his training told him that a swift end lay ahead for him, for God did not suffer the wicked to succeed for long.
But God raised Saul up out of his despair and restored his sight. God took him and made a new man of him. He renewed Saul’s heart and God Himself took Saul in hand to instruct him and prepare him to become an Apostle.
God opened the door to Saul’s personal prison of despair and set him free.
Ever since the day of Pentecost people everywhere have been given the opportunity to seek Him, and sadly most people could care less.
Do not lose your opportunity to seek and find the Lord of Creation.
Do not turn aside as so very many have and reject His gift, the gift of His life.
You can walk with Him everyday. You can come to know Him, the one who loves you and gave His life for you. But it will cost all of your selfish desires, all of your meagre resources to gain everything in Him. Lay the burdens of this world down, all of the empty, haunted castles of your dreams, all of the forlorn hopes, they are nothing but garbage anyway. Hand them over to Jesus, He will know what to do with them for He will restore you, He will shape your life into something useful. He will turn your sorrows into joy.

Maturity

August 26, 2010

This is a re-post of an article which I posted over a year ago, when I perused the stats I noticed that not many people had actually seen this one.

I hope you will enjoy it.

Have you been frustrated by the song and dance many ministers perform when you ask them about what happened to all of the miracles, which are plainly and routinely spoken of in the Bible? Are you shocked (even just a little bit) when they tell you that miracles are not for today? I have often been amazed at some of the people around me who identify themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and call themselves “Christians”. They are reading the same Bible or Bibles (various translations) that I am, yet it seems that we are not getting the same message. In the Bible I see a long line of people all the way back to Abel, who despite the fall, walked and talked with God. The true depth of some of the relationships is not spelled out, but there can be no doubt that Enoch, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph had unusually close relationships with the Lord, And this is just in the book of Genesis.

I am struck by the fact that God is sketching out for us, throughout Scripture, the life that we can have in Him. These Biblical fellows were not identified primarily by their professions, no, they were the people who knew God and knew Him well. There was no wavering on Abraham’s part at the command of God to sacrifice Isaac. We see Jacob the rascal transformed into a great man of faith by His relationship with God. There is the picture of the immature Joseph becoming wise as he suffers in prison with no one but God Himself to rely on.

Where are our modern examples of this kind of faith, this intimacy with God. I am disappointed to find that many men and women who call themselves “Christians” identify themselves primarily with their professions, or with their families, their relationship with Christ is lower on their list of priorities. We do not see very many, if any, who “walk by faith and not by sight”.

It is alarming to me that so many people in the various Institutional Churches believe that gaining head knowledge of scripture and following the advice (sometimes the commands) of their denominations constitutes a walk of faith.

Ever since the finished work of Christ on the cross and pentecost, we who believe in Him, have had immediate access to God through the Holy Spirit. If the Biblical accounts are to be taken as the gold standard this means that each of us who seek Him have the ability to speak to Him and hear Him answer. And the ability to daily seek Him and know His presence. The presence of the Holy Spirit in your life means that He has set up a place in your heart where He can be met and communed with similar to the Holy of Holies in the ancient temple in Jerusalem. A place where we can get to know Him, if we are willing.

If we are the people of God with this special constant contact with God, then it should be more obvious. We should be seeing people who are continually conscious of the presence of the Lord, humbly walking with Him, taking everything to Him everyday. And the presence of God should be apparent in our lives, in our demeanor, in our faces, the reflection of the glory of God in our hearts. Oh and yes there should be miracles, wonderful things follow the people who are His vessels, just look at the amazing life of Moses. A group of people who know Christ intimately should be the people you can rely on to lead you into a similar, deeper relationship, a Peter or John type relationship, a Moses type relationship, or a King David type of relationship.

Instead a “Church” group is a place where you are likely to be manipulated into giving money to a building project or where you may find yourself getting into fruitless arguments about the interpretation of some Scripture or theological matter. Or worse yet a place where you are indoctrinated into their denominational teachings which have become, for many, more important than the Bible itself.

Paul made it very clear in his pastoral letters that a believer grows into the fullness of Christ, that is, it is a maturation process. Are we seeing people, growing into giants of faith, like Samuel, Peter, John, or Paul, or are we seeing people trudge in and out of some “Church” building, as hungry for the Bread of Life and as thirsty for the Living Water as they were before they even heard of the Lord?

It seems that in our cultural expressions of “Christianity” we are stuck in first gear, a sort of self perpetuating immaturity that keeps us dependent on our trained “clergy” many of whom no longer believe in the integrity of scripture having been “enlightened” by the scholarship of the seminary. I recall an Assembly of God minister who advised his congregation that the woman caught in adultery passage in John 8 can be dismissed because it was not in the earliest manuscripts, I was shocked. Is there no room for the sovereignty of God in the Assembly of God seminary? Are we therefore trusting in the Lord, or are we leaning on our own understanding, or in this case modern scholarship, and are we making an idol of our “wisdom”?

Everybody who is in a “Church” knows how to lead you to join their “Church” and become members in good standing of their “Christian” group. Yet how many can lead you deeper into the things of Christ, into intimacy with the Spirit of the Living God.

I cannot claim this full maturity yet, it is the process I am involved in, and maturity will be the fruit  of being closer to, and more like Jesus, but I invite you, dear reader, to seek God with your whole heart and enter into this process of growth in the Spirit. There are numerous scriptures that speak of how willing He is to respond to you, when you humbly and earnestly seek Him.
There is the timeless Revelation 3:20

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.” Amplified Bible

Jeremiah 29:11-13

“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.
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” NASB

Jeremiah 33:3

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” NASB

and Proverbs 3:5-6 says

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” Amplified Bible

In the verse from Proverbs, if we are to trust in the Lord with our whole hearts how shall we do this if we are not in close communion with Him all of the time.  It is obvious that God desires that we not be ignorant of Him and His ways.

So walk with Him and grow in Him, spend time with Him, listen to Him, and you will find the desert in your heart blossoming from the springs of Living Water He brings to your life.

We Must Respond

February 3, 2010

I am beginning to understand that there is no such thing as a right place to be, there are no holy places, and there isn’t any such thing as a correct state of mind, so long as we are apart from Jesus.
It seems that the most important attitude we have on our own is the response we make to Him, when He has knocked us off our high horse and brought us down to the desperate hunger of the prodigal.
The new found humility of knowing our futility and how we react to it is the key.
A man cannot forge his destiny with God, no matter how many scratchy robes he wears or how many “Our Fathers” he lisps.
No, you cannot pack up the car and hit the road some morning and find God.

The wisdom of how we are to find Him was set down very early, very long ago, as He walked in the garden calling to Adam.
Adam would have been wise to respond, to seek forgiveness, but he didn’t, and in so doing he set the course for his children.
But we can reverse this age long tendency.
It is the simplest thing imaginable, as God calls to us, we are to respond.

Therefore the journey is not to God, the journey is in God, but we must respond to God to place our feet on that path.
We have always gotten the story wrong because we have been trying so hard to make ourselves the heroes of the saga.
We thought of it as our adventure, instead of His.
We are but, annoying little children who refuse to see the reality, we catch a glimpse here and there, but we fail to comprehend, because it does not fit our pre-conceived notions.
We do not truly grasp that He is the Shepherd who comes after the lost sheep.
The God who seeks us.
Oh yes, as Jesus once taught, we are to seek Him, but we must understand that we are not heroic in our quest, we are not the initiators.
We are to seek Him because He first sought us, He called out to us long ages ago, from the cross, and from the empty tomb.
The path is secure, for Jesus has already blazed it.
The path is secure because it is His finished work, not ours.
And now it is our moment to act, we must respond.

Nathan

nathan@cherandana(dot)com

In A Nutshell

November 23, 2009

I was a victim of my own fame, that is the fame which I ascribed inwardly to myself. When things were going swimmingly I imagined that I was the captain of a great ship on the sea of life, a large, beautiful schooner. I was breezing along, immune to the cares of the world about me, passing the wreckage of those who had foundered, without so much as a how-dee-do. I avoided the unfortunates lest I also run on the rocks and shoals they were cast upon. In my triumphant journey each success or honor became an adornment for my vessel, a showy bit of brass or some smart paint. I imagined, if only I could find some tropical paradise where the fish jump into your boat and the islands give their fruits willingly to the wayfarer. Ah, to be a part of the grand procession of human progress. But I deceived myself and the day came when I looked about and things were quite different.

I then found that I was still at sea, but I did not have a grand ship, oh no I had a walnut shell and a leaky one at that, no sails, no crew, no motor, only paddles. So between bailing, and paddling I found that I was making no headway. And the currents were taking me to places I did not wish to go, in fact toward the very shoals and rocks I had been avoiding.
I paddled madly, bravely, but the current was so strong that I despaired.
Then I noticed a sail on the horizon. It was a ship, it was far grander and larger than my former one was, and it was heading straight for me. I tried to paddle and stay in one place, but it seemed hopeless. So as the ship drew closer I waved my arms and paddles and yelled like a wild man, and yes, the crew spotted me, they got as close as a large vessel could to the dangerous shoals and they skillfully hove-to, backing sail to slow their progress. A boat was lowered with a single occupant, he handled the oars with swift and sure strokes, until he pulled alongside me. I still couldn’t believe that I was being rescued, but I gripped the gunnels of his boat and jumped for it. As I landed safely aboard, my tiny, abandoned shell settled beneath the waves. Then to my amazement I saw that the man who came after me was the Captain Himself. He smiled, deftly brought the boat about and headed for the ship. I couldn’t believe it, I pinched myself, I felt the seat and the sides of the boat, yes it was real. Then I got a splinter in my finger from the strake along the side and it finally sank in, the pain underscoring the reality. This was what was really happening, this was not a nightmare from which I would soon wake and find myself safe aboard my own ship, I had no ship of my own, the tiny, sinking shell was my vessel, my way of life, and the gracious Captain who risked Himself to rescue me was the Lord. When we reached His ship he gave me warm dry clothes and seated me next to Him at the table in the Captain’s ward room. With all of His officers gathered ‘round He served me Himself and was most attentive.
Finally I found my voice and said, “Captain, You risked yourself to rescue me and I am deeply grateful, but now you heap honors and favor upon me, it is too much! I do not deserve it, my seamanship stinks and I have no means with which to repay You.”
The Captain looked at me with a sparkle in His eye, he cast a friendly glance around the table and said, “My friend, I knew when I saw your dire situation that in rescuing you I would gain an appreciative companion and a great shipmate. You have all of the means to repay Me at your disposal for all I require is your total dedication to Me as your Captain. All which you need to serve Me, will be given you in time, and training, by Myself, and My faithful crew. You need no longer worry, you are now a crew member aboard My ship, and most welcome. So say we all.”
At that a rousing cheer went up around the table. And the Captain’s fine wine was poured in celebration.

that they all may be one

October 19, 2009

If you got up one Sunday morning (Saturday for those of you who are Adventist, Messianic Jews, or Jewish) and drove to your place of worship and found that it had suddenly burnt to the ground, and after driving around town you discovered that all the other places of worship had met a similar fate. What would you do? Would you straggle on back home and spend an afternoon in sad reminiscence, would you just pick up your fishing gear and head for the lake, or would you spend the rest of the day on your face before God asking Him what went wrong.
Relax, there are no wrong answers here, for if this really happened and you are His, He would get His intended message through to you, one way or another. Well, the calamity depicted above may or may not happen, but I will tell you about a calamity which has happened, and is happening. Far too many people who warm pews, read creeds, and sing hymns, never look beyond the pages of the Bible for the Lord.

Are you saying to yourself, “did he say what I think he said?”
Why yes I did, we must go through Scripture by His Spirit, to the very heart of God, in Spirit and in truth.
Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Revelation 3:20-21

Is this something to be ignored? Are we going to pass this wonderful statement up in favor of the Mother’s Day sermon (sorry, a pet peeve of mine).

Jesus said, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:6-11, 21

Does this sound like an invitation to a church social or to the service with the good praise band? I have read these lines many times and they always bring me to my knees. “That they all may be one even as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us”, This should give you a shiver, this is serious stuff.

Is it not obvious that Jesus is talking about something bigger than a group of nice people getting together and agreeing that Jesus is nice too?
Many scriptures do not lend themselves to being personalized, but these two do. They are a call, a clear and startling call. And these are not the only ones, if you allow the Spirit to make you sensitive to it, you will find passages like these throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New.
If these messages have any meaning for you, then Jesus is calling you to a deeper walk with Him. He is knocking on the door, He is pleading for your heart, with the Father. He is making room for you on His throne with Him.

Is this an offer which can be put off while you check to see if there are any better ones?
Is that a stupid question or what?
Seize the opportunity, get on your face, lift your tear stained cheeks to Him and ask Him to lead you, to guide you on the path which only He knows for sure. The straight and narrow path requires a guide, and it is the Lord Himself. Quiet your foolish heart and the manic babbling of your mind. Listen for Him, listen to Him. If Jesus is your guide in all things, you will never stray. You will grow to be like Him.