Posted tagged ‘Walking with 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.

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.

Recovery or Collapse?

July 6, 2011

 

The world is recovering economically!

 

The worldwide economic collapse is imminent!

 

These days you will likely see both headlines, on the same day, sometimes on the same front page. So what are we to do?

 

There is a reality which has to do with understanding what God is doing, very few people experience it, yet many, many people who have walked with Him have known that the power and glory of all the earthly kingdoms and governments is fleeting. All of the kingdoms of the earth are existing on borrowed time. We cannot shore them up, apart from the will of God and we can’t expect our puny ideas to build our own lasting palaces of hope and freedom. There is only one enduring place of hope and freedom and that is to be found in Christ.

 

You see the “church” has spent two thousand years blessing and excusing the actions of men. The problem with that is that we are busy counting things that we deem positive and worthy as good, without asking God about it, and He has made it clear that He doesn’t think like we do.

“There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.”

Proverbs 14:12 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart).”

Proverbs 16:2 Amplified Bible (AMP)

 

As a culture we spend a lot of time consoling ourselves and rationalizing our actions, shouldn’t we be seeking Him to learn what we should really be doing?

 

We have “churches”, “megachurches”, impressive institutions, one might even call them corporations, but do we have an understanding of the things God is doing and our place in them?

 

As the dark economic clouds gather over our heads we should all be seeking His face. When a man has been living a wayward, selfish life there are small points in time when he might be able to see how things really stand, much like the prodigal son standing in the pig pen. At that point, he may realize, there is nothing further he can do to improve his lot, he must turn to the Father. We are being presented with our small moment of clarity as a nation, but we need to respond to God individually and seek our Father’s embrace.

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.

Social Progress?

April 7, 2011

Social Progress, we talk about it all the time. Yes, I know you might be scratching your head and saying “Now wait no one has approached me and started to talk about that subject”. Ah but they do, whenever someone discusses racism, they may refer to what a non issue slavery is in our culture now, or maybe someone might mention that in Dicken’s time people were hanged for stealing a loaf of bread, or how they used to burn witches at the stake. Yes indeed we talk about social progress all of the time, and usually in a self congratulatory fashion, as in, “oh we are so far past that awful business now”.

 

But are we? We may not keep people in chains now, but a person can be chained to a life of debt and underemployment, and if they try to run away or not fulfill their obligations they face dire consequences, in a different way of course, but I think you can see my point.

 

Have we come so far? When a family can be foreclosed on and thrown out of their home for having the misfortune of a change in the local property values? When a healthy man, even an educated man cannot find a job because he is over forty and might expect to be paid for his experience? Are we expressing that higher social conscience when we say that poor people don’t deserve financial help, or older people should be thrown out in the snow when they cannot pay their bills?

 

Truly Solomon was right when he declared that there is nothing new under the sun. The only difference in modern times is the spin the PR department puts on the unflattering story. People have not changed all that much, they are still proud, avaricious, selfish, and unfeeling about the troubles of others, yes even the troubles they have caused for other people.

 

So if you owe money to a person or a corporation, or if you depend on someone else’s good sense and judgement for your employment, your circumstances could change in an instant, depending on the whims of others. And these examples are just a particle of the storms we could face in our lives.

 

I was meditating on Scripture once, it was the passage in Matthew 13 where Jesus is teaching the people from a boat, and then I found myself in the boat, keeping it steady with the oars as the Lord taught the people. Then He turned to me and said let’s go on across the lake, so I turned the boat and pulled at the oars to move on out. The wind picked up and the waves got higher and I was beginning to struggle with the oars. Jesus told me to scoot over and He sat down on the bench next to me and took up one of the oars. He talked and laughed when the waves threw spray over the bow, wetting us. Suddenly a squall burst over us and we continued pulling hard at the oars for as the waves become more violent you must maintain way or the waves will broach the boat and you will founder. So we kept on and this time Jesus did not rebuke the storm as it struck us, and a right violent squall it was, but He stayed right there beside me pulling at His oar right along with me, and we made it safely through that pitiless squall, we had taken on some water, sloshing around our feet, but in all other respects we were still sea worthy. The sun came out and Jesus rather playfully threw His arm over my shoulders. We were brothers in labor and we had weathered the worst and we laughed at the things in life that would have foundered us, and sent our boat straight to the bottom. Some other things happened too, but when I recall that vision I remember how the Lord threw His arm around me and we laughed, He was preparing me for the storms in my life, because the lesson, of course, is that He is with us and He will see us through even the toughest situations, for you see it was not just my boat, it is His too.

The Dusty Road

March 12, 2011

You are trudging on the long weary road with a heavy heart, the dust rises and chokes you as the cars pass,

the clothes you are wearing are gritty and grimy,

and the sun seems to have picked you out for particular attention and torment.

The cold wet streams, you can hear splashing, are out of reach, undrinkable because of pollution

You are about to give up and collapse

all around you there is a deafening stillness,

the stillness that screams,

“You took the wrong turn, you are lost, you will never make it now.”

 

When you find yourself in a situation like this, just remember that there was another dusty road once

and two down-hearted men were walking in the hot Judean sun

Just to get away, to get away from the madness that they had witnessed in Jerusalem.

They had seen a man who had never hurt anyone, who had helped and healed many

being brutally beaten, and driven through the streets and in the end nailed to a wooden beam and hung above the heads of a bloodthirsty crowd who spat on Him and reviled Him.

 

Those two men were shocked and weary and afraid. What they witnessed made them avoid the company of others, I am sure they felt they couldn’t trust anyone to be just and fair anymore. I am sure that is why they left town.

 

They didn’t notice that someone was walking with them until He spoke to them. They shared their concerns their fears and the extreme insanity of what they had witnessed

Jesus listened to them, but He didn’t stop there, He explained to them about the necessity of His death, He encouraged them. And then when the meal was served He opened their eyes to see who it was that had kept them company on the hot and dusty road of disillusionment. It is important to note that He did not jump out of the bushes and holler “Surprise!”, no, he walked with them and shared their troubles and their sorrows.

So when you feel like you are all alone and the road is the only place left to you, when the cruelty of the world shocks and repels you and makes you wonder, with good reason, if the world is insane. And they have thrown you out to eat and sleep with the dogs, there is One who will walk with you, He is gentle and kind and He knows all about rejection.

When you are all out of options and all out of friends, you still have one friend, the most important One.