Dry Prayer And Monkey Chatter

Hi, there! We all have had those times in prayer when we felt like nothing was accomplished, and even felt somewhat guilty because of our seemingly fruitless effort. We couldn’t “get spiritual” in our frame of mind and/or there was that constant bombardment of unsolicited thoughts. This is abundantly true especially in the early stages of our Christian journey.

If we are persistent in a faithful walk, these problems will be taken care of by the Holy Spirit….not only in time, but at the present:

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness ; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words”. Romans 8:26

Even if we struggle often in prayer, rest assured that what is necessary and has to be said to the Father and Christ Jesus on our behalf is ALWAYS automatically taken care of by the Holy Spirit within us (again, Romans 8:26!!). Never feel as though you have to “perform” in any prescribed manner when praying formally or informally. The MOST IMPORTANT consideration here is that we are going to Them, however feeble our efforts may be.

And, Christ Jesus, Himself,  is ALWAYS there making intercession (“pleading”….Concordant Literal New Testament) on our behalf on every front. Romans 8:34

Let’s not forget Matthew 6:8: “for your Father does know those things that you have need of before your asking Him.”.

Finally, a prayer of thanksgiving is an excellent approach when coming before our Father and Christ Jesus. Just start thanking Them for any and everything that comes to mind….not only the “good stuff” they give us but for our least and worst trials, as well as our failures. Those failures should lead us to depend on Them more than ever!

Sometimes, as brought out in the Post on “God’s Silent Treatment”, it is good that we just come to Them in silence. If monkey chatter persists, usually repeating in our minds or verbally “Lord”, “Lord God”, “Father”, “Jesus” or similar words will keep the intrusive thoughts at bay. This also applies to what is brought out on the Post: “Pray On The Potty”.

And, your position in formal prayer should not be an issue: my favorite is lying in bed where I am very comfortable. (You might want to reference the Post “Pray On The Potty”)

The most important consideration is that we are coming to Them, giving Them our attention….as such, They and the Spirit within us will take care of the rest!

Later, in Christ,

Fred

Why Not Be A Mystic

Hey, there! Here is an interesting article I came across at http://freebelievers.com/fbnblog-entry/why-not-be-a-mystic, and received permission from them to reprint it. You might want to also check out my Post: “Practicing The Presence Of God”. Here goes:

May 28, 2011

Why Not Be A Mystic?

Perhaps it was the several years of religious hell I went through, or the overload of information from every side telling me what to believe, how to live, and how to approach God. Perhaps it was the deep longing in my soul to touch the face of God and to simply know Him as real, but I decided to choose the path of the mystic.

First things first, I will say that the only authentic mystic is the Christian, as you cannot know God as He is in His deep mysteries without Christ. If we cannot accept Christ, His sacrifice in His incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, we cannot know God. I would caution anyone strongly against the mysticism of the rest of the world in the plethora of its religions.

Many acknowledge Jesus in a form, but most refuse to accept His deity and His work of salvation as done on the cross. Such people I say stay away from as they are no different than the Gnostics.

So what is a mystic? My humble attempt to define a mystic is one who directly through experience, thought, meditation, emotion and contemplation actively receives and hears from God. The mystic’s religion is not stuff of Sunday rituals and preaching, or the obligatory Bible reading and good works as is expected in Christianity. Rather his/her religion so consumes them in such a way that their whole life is spent saturated in it, living in and out of it. It is all encompassing to the point where there is little room for anything else.

A mystic, in my view, is not one who spends hours practicing ascetics and spiritual disciplines in monasteries, cloistered away from the world, although for a short season I recommend that the seeker would take part in these things. The reason is that it is impossible to know God without living in the rest of the world actively loving and engaging people where they live.

For me, it began in the darkest times of my life. St John of the Cross calls it the dark night of the soul. I have been through several as they guided my unwilling soul into a place of complete abandonment of all things in this world with a deep need and hunger to know my God.

That is what drives me. A hunger. It is a deep, relentless desire and longing to know the presence of my God, to be filled to the point of overflowing with Jesus and His spirit so that, in the end, He is all that I have. It is a realized poverty of the soul, or as Jesus put it, being poor in spirit and hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

I came to this point out of need. Nothing man had to offer in his church institutions satisfied me. If anything, they nearly destroyed me. I escaped only with my life and my sanity. Even still, my soul aches with a longing only Christ can satisfy when I occasionally force myself to sit through a church sermon for whatever reason.

It was the realization that I am loved, filled with His love, and the need to love others with a realization of the passion of God Himself for His church which launched me on this path. When I could no longer find those things in the traditional or mainstream Christian churches of our country, I had to leave and spend my time in the wilderness where God had to speak to me directly.

My time in the wilderness has created within me this hungering and thirsting for God. I remember one church I attended many years ago, a pastor once stated that the church of America is not hungry. It is bloated, overfed, and obese. This was true of me. I was overstuffed with the religious knowledge of various sects and denominations. I wasn’t hungry for God. I was filled. I was filled not with God though, but the junk food of the ramblings of religious men. It was when I left all of that and was starving for three years that I learned how to drink deeply and dine from the water and bread of life within me.

The problem with being a mystic is that most people don’t understand the one who chooses this path. But then again, perhaps God chooses me for this and I just hang on for dear life and my own sanity. The thing is, a mystic is so wrapped up in the Holy Spirit that no man can control them.

One of my favorite teachings of Jesus is “He who is born of the spirit is like the wind. No one knows from where it came or where it goes.”

The life of the mystic is the life chosen to follow hard and persistently after the Spirit. Consequentially, no one can control the mystic any more than they can control the Holy Spirit or the wind itself!

It is in this journey that I see no longer the need to follow teachings and lectures, rather, the need to become a physical embodiment of Jesus Himself. This cannot be taught adequately. This cannot be lectured or written about. Yes, I have heard many sermons and read quite a few riveting books about the subject, but it cannot be understood or fully realized in practical living until one embraces this for themselves.

The mystic acknowledges that it is no longer possible to tell where we end and Christ begins, as He is interwoven into the very fabric of who we are. One can no more separate me from Christ as one could separate the food I ate and processed from the cells it nourished and fused with to strengthen or even create new living tissue. If Christ is food, and we digest Him, He then becomes our very cellular makeup and spiritual DNA. We are inseparable.

It is here, my starving soul found the fountain that Christ spoke of which wells up from within unto eternal life. True mysticism is the ability to drink from Christ, the living water in such a way that we will never thirst again. We will never run dry. We will never be hungry again as He is always within us.

Most American Christians I meet are in a perpetual state of starvation. They go to church meetings every week, retreats for mountain top experiences, or whatever they can find to refill and refresh. It is always outside of them and they always worry about running dry. Many seem to think that they cannot function spiritually without the church meetings feeding them. I find many of them leave their “feeding” times for Sundays, and the rest of their week is there for them to do as they please, only to find themselves hungry once again.

I find it funny when people tell me that I needed to attend church meetings so I could be “fed.” I laugh inwardly and reply “I am fed, perpetually from the Bread of Life who is in me. I will never hunger again.” The bread learned educated church men offer will not satisfy forever. I often hear people tell me that they need to go to church for another dose of the Holy Spirit because they feel hungry. If only they knew.

If only we knew the deep riches of God’s Spirit and His treasure that lay dormant inside of us! If only we knew the mysteries that His Spirit constantly speaks to our souls, feeding us with life. If only we could tap into that and live fully and completely!

This search for that fulness and wholeness of life is the path of the mystic as it takes us ever deeper into the heart of God, drinking deeply, eating fully, and then turning around to feed our fellow man in such a way that it whets their appetite for more. Manna in the wilderness sustains, but one does hunger. If one is courageous, we leave the manna that feeds us temporarily, and brave the battles and the giants which threaten to keep us from the land flowing with milk and honey. The path of the mystic is an invitation to dine at the table with the Father forever, as sons, as family, as a part of the Bride of Christ, forever living in His love.

by David Backus

End of article. There are several points on which I disagree with the author, but overall, there is a lot of truth here, and I am grateful he has shared his experience with us.

See you later.

Fred

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

“for Him Who did not know sin, He did make sin in our behalf, that we may become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21….Modern Young’s Literal Translation)

“7.but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”. (Philippines 2:7-8….NAS)

The Creator of the universe and of all living beings (John 1:3), because of Divine Love, was willingly nailed to a tree He had created by the creation He had created, after beaten beyond recognition by His creation (Isaiah 52:14; 50:6), so that even His crucifiers would come to experience unimaginable glory and joy along with the ENTIRE creation at the end of the ages….along with Him….when God will be ALL in ALL! (1 Corinthians 15:28….New American Standard)

I cannot think of a Greater Love Story!

Later, in Christ,

Fred

 

Jesus Christ The Almighty

Hey, there!

Yup, I have another excerpt from Oswald Chambers’ book “My Utmost For His Highest”.  (Please reference the Post by this same title to get a free copy of his book from online.)

I read this one today from his February 27th entry:

“The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity is because we have no Almighty Christ. We have Christian attributes and experiences but there is no abandonment to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying – ‘Of course, He cannot do anything,’ and we struggle down to the deeps and try to get the water for ourselves. Beware of the satisfaction of sinking back and saying – – ‘It can’t be done'; you know it can be done if you look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness is deep, but make the effort and look away to Him.”

End of excerpt.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

Inferior Misgivings About Jesus

Good morning!

I want to share with you another excerpt from “My Utmost For His Highest” (please see the Post by this title) I read this morning from the February 26th entry in the book:

” ‘I am impressed with the wonder of what God says, but He cannot expect me to really live it out in the details of my life!’….Your ideals are high and they impress us, but in touch with actual things, it cannot be done. These misgivings about Jesus start with amused questions when we talk of our transactions with God – Where are you going to get your money from? How are you going to be looked after? Or they start with ourselves when we tell Jesus our case is a bit too hard for Him. It is all very well to say ‘Trust in the Lord’, but a man must live, and Jesus has nothing to draw with – nothing whereby to give us these things.

None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus.

My misgivings arise from the fact I ransack my own person to find out how He is going to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them – ‘Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thee wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.’ “

End of excerpt.

Until later,

Fred

Thank You Lord

Greetings!

For some time now, “Thank You Lord” has been my CONSTANT and CONTINUAL prayer to our Father and our Savior MINUTE by MINUTE (repeating it numerous times each minute when possible) and HOUR by each HOUR.

It has become my version, all wrapped into one, of the ‘approaches’ taken by Brother Lawrence in his “Practicing The Presence Of God” (please reference the Post by this title), the “Jesus Prayer” I came across in “The Way Of A Pilgrim” ( http://desertfathers.webs.com/thewayofthepilgrim.htm ), the writing by the anonymous author of “The Cloud Of Unknowing” ( http://www.catholicspiritualdirection.org/cloudunknowing.pdf ), the writings of William Law and others in an effort to CONSTANTLY and CONTINUALLY have God and Christ Jesus before me….my aid in assisting me to “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8).

As Brother Lawrence clearly explained, this kind of dedicated attention to God and Jesus can be difficult at first, but after persistent practice, it becomes a ‘natural’ part of you. Personally, I still have lapses but they are becoming fewer, and in spite of this….IT’S WORKING!!

Of course, I certainly haven’t attained to the ‘mystic’ experiences of Brother Lawrence, Saint Catherine of  Siena and so many others but the slow, evolving progress is obvious to me.

Although I don’t exactly “whistle while I work” quite yet, I have become much more patient and calm with menial tasks, which I used to NEVER look forward to! There is a peaceful acceptance of these chores that I never previously encountered.

More importantly, I am becoming more acquainted with our Father and Jesus in a way I cannot humanly describe. Again, it is by far not of a ‘mystical’ magnitude!

It helps keep me from those vain and useless ‘wandering thoughts’ (please reference the Post by this title) as well as my mind off of myself. This is probably why I am more at peace and contented.

I find my daily Scripture readings/studies to be more ‘alive’. Words take on more essence and meaning than they did before and I contemplate on them more often….it takes me much longer to get through a chapter and I thoroughly enjoy it!

I am quicker to laugh and more overjoyed in my spirit when I see or encounter good stuff; and on the other hand, I am also more deeply touched with sorrow by sad happenings, whether by natural evils, human evil and sin or just plain suffering; I cry easier at both the good and the bad.

This short HEARTFELT prayer repeated so frequently is not some mindless, robotic ‘chant’ or ‘mantra’, but rather, an expression to my Father and Savior that is understood between us to represent and include the following, but not limited to:

“Thank You Lord” for:

1.  Your loving and selfless sacrifice Jesus, not only for us believers but also those of the entire world (1 John 2:2)

2.  Just being there the way You are Father and Christ Jesus

3,  Your unfathomable grace, patience and mercy in Divine Love toward me and the entire world….especially believers

4.   Your calling me and guarding as well as establishing me (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

5.  Being able to be “strong in Him Who is invigorating me – Christ!” (Philippians  4:13)

6.  Filling my every need as well doing infinitely more for believers than we can ask or imagine (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:20)

7.  Always knowing what I need without my even asking (Matthew 6:8)

8.  Humiliating and allowing me to suffer when I do not let You have Your way with me

9.  Allowing me to see that You will bring to a GLORIOUS END from ALL the sin, evil and suffering I am constantly and forever observing in the world  (1 Corinthians 15:28 and the Post “All Creation Will Be Saved”)

10. Your precious gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) which not only is my Comforter/Advocate/Helper but will also lead me into all truth (John 14:26), will guide my every step through the day if I allow it (Romans 8:14), allows me to know the very depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10) and the mind of Christ, Himself (1 Corinthians 2:16), is always interceding on my behalf with utterances and pleadings to God I cannot humanly understand (Romans 8:26)….but will also enable me to bear the  Holy fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

11. Preparing an inheritance for all believers that is GLORIOUS and MAGNIFICENT beyond human comprehension and to take on an immortal, incorruptible celestial body (1 Corinthians 15:53) and existence EVEN of the nature of Christ Jesus Himself (Philippians 3:21)

12. Having ALL THINGS work for the good for all believers (Romans 8:28)

And, the list goes on!!!

Please don’t misunderstand me….there will always be times for regular, formal prayer. Likewise, during the day, we can spontaneously thank Them for various  things as they may occur as well ask for help as the need may arise.

It is in between these times that I go to Them with the “Thank You Lord” prayer.

We are fortunate and blessed beyond measure as Christians to ALWAYS be able to thank God and Christ Jesus for ANY and EVERYTHING (1 Thessalonians 5:18)….even that flat tire you have on the way to work when you were running late to begin with (if may have keep you from a nasty accident just up ahead!)!

Our Father and Savior do not allow ANYTHING to touch us that is not for our eventual good (Romans 8:28)….certainly just another reason for us to always and continually say “Thank You Lord”!!

Until later, in Him,

Fred

The Amazing Benefits Of Olive Oil

Greetings!

I am adding high quality olive oil as Number 13 to the Post “You Are A Temple Of God: Helpful Health Hints” after receiving an article today from a well respected health website ( http://www.naturalnews.com/ ) I subscribe to. Although the actual gist of the report deals with quality olive oil being the BEST oil for frying, it nevertheless highlights the NUMEROUS benefits of this wonderful oil.

Of course, olive oil is mentioned favorably and prominently many times in the Scriptures, as well.

The article is actually entitled “Olive oil is the healthiest choice when it comes to frying food, study finds” ( http://www.naturalnews.com/047476_olive_oil_healthy_food_fried_foods.html ) but it nicely goes into mentioning the many benefits of this amazing fruit. The study was published in October of this year, and you can click on the article address above and read the full report but I will give you a few highlights here:

1. High quality olive oil tested the best for remaining stable at deep frying between 320 and 374 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is usually the ‘MEDIUM’ setting on a typical electric burner.

2. It also maintained “its impeccable, healthy qualities” at these high temperatures, and they actually reused the SAME oil 10 times!!

3. The best type is ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’. (Personally, I use organic, first cold pressed and extra virgin.)

4. In addition to the study noting that “olive oil has an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it is derived directly from the fruit of the plant, it also helps with digestion.”,  it went on to list compounds common to the oil that treat a variety of ailments.

5. Further more, “One “prominent cardiologist” recommends consuming up to two tablespoons a day to fully enjoy the oil’s various benefits, reports the Olive Oil Times.”  

Regarding Number 5, I have been doing this for years by trying to consume a tablespoon of organic, first cold pressed, extra virgin oil at each meal. For better utilization and absorption, I slow swish it around in my mouth and swallow it piecemeal when consuming it directly.

If you can’t find quality olive oil near you, there are excellent selections at  http://www.amazon.com and http://www.vitacost.com at reasonable prices. It you make minimum purchases, shipping is FREE.

In closing, a number of reliable sources recommend a high quality coconut oil for cooking at higher temperatures. The times I have used it I found that I didn’t even notice a residual coconut taste.

Bon appetit!

Fred

Sanctification

Hello!

Okay, okay….I can’t help myself!! When I read certain excerpts from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” (Please reference the Post by the same title as his book) I just have to share them with you. This one I read this morning is from his February 8th entry and it goes like this:

“Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an immense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of our interests in God.

Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained for God’s purpose only.

Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom of everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s ministrations in us?

End of excerpts.

Until later, in Him.

Fred

 

Are You Fresh For Everything?

Hey,there!

I read the January 20th daily entry this morning from “My Utmost For His Highest” and wanted to pass it along to you. You can reference the Post by the same name to learn how to get a FREE copy of this inspiring book. All words in capital letters are my emphasis. Here goes:

“Sometimes we are fresh for a prayer meeting but not fresh for cleaning boots!

Being born again is an unmistakeable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, as surprising as God Himself. We do not know where it begins, it is hidden away in the depth of our personal life. Being born again is a PERENNIAL, PERPETUAL and ETERNAL beginning: a freshness ALL THE TIME in thinking, and in talking and in living, a CONTINUAL surprise of the life of God. Staleness is an indication of something out of joint with God – ‘I must do this thing or it will never get done’. That is the first sign of staleness. Are we freshly born this minute, or are we stale, raking in our minds for something to do?

Freshness does not come from obedience but from the Holy Spirit; obedience keeps us in the light as God is in the light.

Guard jealously your relationship to God. Jesus prayed ‘that they may be one, even as We are One’ – NOTHING BETWEEN. Keep all the life PERENNIALLY open to Jesus Christ, don’t pretend with Him. Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending on anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone.

Being born again means much more than we generally take it to mean. It gives us a new vision and KEEPS US ABSOLUTELY FRESH FOR EVERYTHING by the PERENNIAL supply of the life of God.”

End of excerpt.

The possibility of this  ‘continual freshness’ from the supply of the life of God is in harmony with and verified by 2 Corinthians 4:16: “….our inner man is being renewed day by day.” (NAS). And , this is merely referring to us while we have these decaying, mortal bodies….it is beyond comprehension what we will experience when we inherit our “weight of glory” (verse 17) after we are changed “into the likeness of His glorious body” ( Philippians 3:21) when Christ Jesus returns for us.

Until later,

Fred

 

My Utmost For His Highest

Greetings!

The title of this Post is the name of a book that is compiled from lectures given by Oswald Chambers and published by his wife from the verbatim shorthand notes she took on those lectures. He died in 1917 and she was able to have these ‘sermons’ published at around 1935 in the form of daily devotional readings.

He was keen on TOTAL ABANDONMENT  to God and Christ Jesus (Please reference the Post “Absolute Surrender”) and his presentations reflect ‘mature’ spiritual truths. These are not your typical devotional readings and he certainly pulls no punches. I will give you a number of excerpts from the readings and then provide information on how to obtain all of them.

Here goes:

“Jesus Christ hates the wrong in man, and Calvary is the estimate of His hatred.”

“Let the past sleep, but  let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him. Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.”

“When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy….”

“One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized….Beware of owing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained by God; they are as much of God as the profound.”

“”Beware of ‘the cares of this world’, because they are a thing that produce a wrong temper in the soul. It is extraordinary what a tremendous power there is in ordinary things to distract our attention from God. Refuse to be distracted from the cares of this world.”

“We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place,and we say ‘Why God has girded me, though I did not know it!’.”

“Most of us live on the borders of consciousness – consciously serving, consciously devoted to God. All of this is immature, it is not the real life yet. The mature stage is the life of a child which is never conscious; we become so abandoned to God that the consciousness of being used never enters in.”

” ‘Take no thought for your life.’ ‘Be careful about one thing only.’ says our Lord – ‘your relationship to Me.’ Common sense shouts loud and says – ‘That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.’ Jesus says you must not….and you must not think of these things so as to make them the one concern of our life. Wherever there is competition, make sure you put your relationship to God first.”

“Discipleship is built entirely upon the supernatural grace of God. It does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. We have to exceptional in the ordinary things….and this is not learned in five minutes.”

“God no where tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having–viz., life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bonds that hinder….”

“It is difficult to get in stride with God….He has different ways of doing things, and we have to be trained and disciplined into His ways. Getting into the stride of God means nothing less than union with Him.”

“Never allow anything to divert you from your insight into Jesus Christ. It is the true test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you. Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit’s vision, Gazing on the Crucified.”

End of excerpts.

I downloaded my FREE copy of the entire book from http://www.apwin.org/wp-content/uploads/books-misc/My-utmost-for-his-highest%20%28Devotional%29%20Oswald-Chambers.pdf (just click this address with your pointer).

Printed versions can be found at any number of places and http://www.amazon.com and http://www.ebay.com/ have them for less than $10.00.

Until later, take care.

Fred