Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Nowhere Else


The Loneliness of the Christian
By: A.W. Tozer
The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an
ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the 
fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate
world.
His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his
kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his
absorptions in the love of Christ; and because with his circle of friends
there are few who share his inner experiences, he's forced to walk alone.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused
them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord himself suffered in
the same way.
The man (or woman) who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual
inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few
who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so
he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk.
For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is
avoided, and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for the
friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes
and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none, he, like Mary
of old, keeps these things in his heart.
It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find
human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find  
nowhere
else.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Stealth

Stealth - 
One of my boys likes to use this word when he describes certain people. Part of the definition involves doing something secretly without anyone realizing it is going to happen. Most of us have heard of the stealth bomber. 

That aircraft was built to move quickly, efficiently, & secretly, and the after-effects of the stealth bomber are unmistakable. 

Months ago, I found myself in a predicament that brought fear upon me. I wasn't sure why I was placed in the situation, but I wanted out of it. I prayed earnestly on the matter for days, and when the Lord spoke, He literally said, "Walk on." 

You see, a part of me wanted to consult people regarding the matter, but the Lord instructed me to "Walk on" past those I thought I should speak with in the matter. He told me that He would handle it and that I was not to consult 'wizards and warlocks' who just offer worldly solutions. 

I literally kept walking that day. And now months later, I see a stealth God Who knew exactly what He would do with that situation. 

He doesn't call Christians to cower somewhere in the corner or to run from the battle. He calls Christians to report for duty, waving the banner high. 

He will stealthily place His people in the eye of the storm so that we can bear witness of HIS TRUTH right in the middle of a Roman system of lies.




Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Warden

Recently, I, as well as other teachers in our area, were given the opportunity to visit places of employment for an in-service day.  I chose a USP (United States Penitentiary) in our area.

We were scheduled to take part in a tour of the prison that houses over a thousand inmates.

We discovered when we arrived that the tour would not occur, after all, because there had been violent episodes a few days prior, and the prison was on lock down.

I said all of that to really say this:  Instead, we were escorted to a conference room where three USP employees planned to introduce themselves to us, explain the dynamics of a prison system, daily life, employment opportunities, etc.

The teachers hadn't been in the conference room but for a few minutes when the first USP employee began introducing himself and his role at USP.  As he did, a man walked into the room; immediately, another USP employee saw the man, and she interrupted the speaker mid-sentence.

She said, "The Warden is here."

The way she said it was unmistakably understood. Somebody just entered the room.  SOMEBODY just entered the room.  Everybody else take a seat because SOMEBODY --the leader, the boss, the rule maker, the rule enforcer-- just entered the room.

The speaker didn't even finish his sentence.  The floor belonged to the Warden.  The other speakers very obviously stepped back as the Warden began speaking and were attentively engaged.  This moment was one of the best examples of respect I have ever observed by man.
One day, every knee shall bow.

This may sound silly, but for me, the moment was remarkable not because of the man or his job title but because I couldn't help but liken it to what everyone should do when the LORD enters the room.  

How often do we stop mid-sentence when The Lord has something better to say?
How often do we truly reverence the Spirit Of God when He enters our realm?
How often are we willing to lay down our dialogue as we converse with others when the LORD stops us mid-sentence?
How often do we listen attentively when The Lord is speaking?
How often do we allow our egos to take a seat because The Lord has a better plan?
How often do we heed the signs when it is time for God to speak and time for us to be silent?

We better know that although the warden held the keys to a man-made prison; the Lord Jesus Christ holds the keys to hell and death.

May we be found faithful to HIM and know that The Lord  is the SOMEBODY who

  • always has something better to say,
  • always deserves our reverential respect,
  • always supersedes our thoughts, and
  • always deserves our undivided attention.



Amen!




Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Struggle

Jesus said, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50)


According to Strong’s Concordance, the word straitened in the Greek means:
“to hold together, i.e. to compress (the ears, with a crowd or siege) or arrest (a prisoner); figuratively, to compel, perplex, afflict, preoccupy:—constrain, hold, keep in, press, lie sick of, stop, be in a strait, straiten, be taken with, throng.”


Are you experiencing this baptism of anguish right now? Your response during time(s) of  “straitening” is crucial.  Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.


This baptism of tremendous struggle (an anguish that will seem impossible to bear) must be endured in the faith.  You must endure the humiliation. You must endure the loss.  You must endure the agony.  Giving up is not an option for those whose eternity will be spent with Christ.


You will suffer as a Christian. Let that sink in.  How will you respond in such times?  In your patience, possess your souls (Luke 21:19).  Understand that while the suffering (your tribulation) is and will be the most agonizing time(s) of your life, those times of trial are the most important, and if endured in Christ, the most holy encounters a person can have with the Lord.   


Never find personal delight in another person’s suffering, but, at the same time, always know that suffering is an opportunity for a person to either continue on the narrow path that leads to Jesus Christ or an opportunity for a person to begin his journey with Christ - as long as the suffering person continues in the faith.

During tribulation (agony), read (study) the Word of God, pray, fast, and most importantly, never give up on the Lord manifesting Himself to you. Satan will whisper all kinds of deceptions to you. He will want you to be angry, to give up, to kill yourself, to assume God just doesn't care; each of these ultimately equal not continuing in the faith. Don't you believe him!

The first true moment of tribulation in my own life occurred some 9 years ago.  I’ll link those personal
testimonies at the end of this article. During that time of being crushed by the wine press (a death of my flesh and birth of the Holy Spirit within me), the Lord was first silent for a long period of time, but He, in His mercy, sent a sister in Christ to feed me manna until I could reach the crucial and mandatory place of Peniel (Genesis 32:30). It was there that I saw His Face. His presence manifested after months of agony (months of prayer, months of weeping, months of building faith, months of fasting, months of studying His Word).

In that process, I was trampled on the ground in a state of utter humiliation.  All types of “notions” I had about my abilities crashed to the floor!!! Hallelujah! The Lord was patient during all of this, and He, being all knowing, waited until I reached complete brokenness, complete humility before He showed me  #1 that He truly exists and #2 that I am nothing if I do not rely on Him. The scales gradually fell from my eyes, and through this threshing process, my perception of sin and carnality was turned on its head -  better yet, it was ripped to shreds !  It was only during that excruciating process (the process where my cross was heavy and my knees were buckling underneath) that I was truly born of the Spirit and the Truth.


The aspects of carnality that I loved about life (my life, other people’s lives, and just in general) died a slow, agonizing death.  Due to truly enduring by faith, Christ was forming in me, so that I could walk in the SPIRIT of CHRIST (Romans 8:9; Romans 8:11).   I gloried in God to see that dead carcass of selfishness and carnality at the end of this tremendous struggle, and you will too!  Just endure, knowing that your fiery trial will yield the fruit of righteousness.  I was happy to see my carnal self put to death. As painful a battle as it was and some of the battles were beyond brutal, such was necessary to really be straitened (pressed, perplexed, afflicted, thronged) (Luke 12:50).  Not only was it a battle against my flesh, but Satan was also very fond of my carnality too; he had spent 32 years molding me, so he brazenly made his presence known over a period of several months.  Hallelujah, the LORD is stronger though!

Why do I share this?  When YOUR day of tribulation comes (and maybe it is here now), do not take the easy way out.  Do not listen to your flesh or Satan.  Do not listen to voices in this world who know nothing about truly enduring in the faith.  Go to God, and do not relent until He speaks.  He will.  He will.
Further Reading:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Babylonian Mountain



Remember this Saints:

Paul wrote Holy Spirit-filled letters WHILE IN prison, and roughly 2,000 years later, what God did through Paul WHILE he was imprisoned is still transforming those who are seeking the Face of God.

No matter what evil purpose Satan and his minions hope to accomplish by imprisoning you, silencing you, and restricting you, know this: Bars on a jail cell did not stop God then, nor can the enemy stop those whose primary objective is to serve and glorify God today. Just when the Devil whispers 'all is lost,' God says, I am with my people WITHERSOEVER they go! There is nothing the Devil can do that will ever RESTRICT an Almighty God!


Lest we forget, there is a false Babylonian church/world system parading around and pretending to be something special, but IN the midst of that corrupt system, God has planted His remnant CHURCH, a separate and holy nation that is peculiar to God. The Apostle Peter ends his first epistle with: "The church that IS AT Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you;."

No matter what shackles Satan has clamped on your feet, hands, and mouth, PRAY! Pray that God will do a great work through you! Pray that God be glorified even in the presence of the oppressor! He will! He will!

I prayed back in January about an issue that appeared impossible to withstand and conquer, and God said, "Wait on me, Joy. I'll handle this!" And today the moment arrived - God handled it!

The mountain moved.

Daniel faithfully served God while in Babylon! So can you!

Acts 16:
"19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison,"

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Rejoicing in Sin?

Only Those Who Do The Will of God Will Inherit Eternal Life.
We are doing no one any favors when we attempt to change God's Word on this issue. If man is more concerned about pleasing others, rather than pleasing God, that man will find himself compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, there will be many who will stand before God and be rejected by God because they spent their lives speaking a gospel that made people feel comfortable in their sin. They spent their lives soothing 'worried' sinners into believing it was okay if they continued in sin and that God would welcome them into Heaven regardless, simply because they professed Jesus with their "lips."
~What a tragic lie~
When a person is abiding in Jesus Christ, changes occur! A Holy transformation begins and continues to take place! Branches/believers IN Christ will receive Holy, Righteous, and Life Giving 'sap' that flows from Jesus -- The Vine. A person cannot and is not abiding IN that which is Holy all the while remaining the same old sinner. It is spiritually impossible!
When I was IN the world, I looked like the world, and my very nature was that of the world. Why? Because I was attached to the "sap" of the world. Worldliness flowed through me. I liked the sights, sounds, and sinfulness of the world. It fed me. And I didn't know I was a mess of sin because my master was the world and its sin!

Thanks be to God though ... when I was born of the Holy Spirit of God after being tried by fire, my blind eyes were opened. I repented, and I became a branch IN the Vine of Christ. By faith, I began to dwell/abide/live with Jesus Christ. His goodness began flowing through me. I was/am transforming all because of Him.
As Jude taught, somewhere along the way, false notions of salvation crept in. Oh, if only the masses knew the Power of God to transform a person into Holiness, Righteousness, and Purity. This Truth is available to all, but sadly, many would rather chance believing the lie in order to continue sinning and to continue consoling those who practice sin.

Regrettably, many have more faith in "SIN" being so powerful that man cannot overcome it, rather than having true faith in JESUS being able to overcome the sin nature within us as we abide IN Him. What a shame! What a compromise!
Read carefully the two sections of verses below.
If a person is not in the WILL of GOD, that person will not inherit eternal life WITH God. May he who has ears hear what the Spirit says.
Section 1:
 1 John 2:
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL of God abideth for ever.
Section 2:
Matthew 7:
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, AND DOETH THEM, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.