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.

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!

I would like to leave you with these words about prayer from Oswald Chambers that can be found at http://utmost.org/thinking-of-prayer-as-jesus-taught/, along with his other 364 daily entries. Here goes:

“The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues “without ceasing”; we are not even conscious of it, but it never stops.

Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Beware of anything that stops the offering up of prayer. “Pray without ceasing…”— maintain the childlike habit of offering up prayer in your heart to God all the time.”

End of excerpt. The “pray without ceasing” quote came from 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

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

 

True Divine Peace

Greetings!

And, yes, I have another excerpt for you from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” which can be found at http://utmost.org/are-you-ever-troubled/ , along with his other 364 daily devotionals.

As usual, editing and emphasis will  be mine throughout….we begin:

” Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you….John 14:27

….when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is IMPOSSIBLE unless it is received from Jesus.

Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life?

Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you?

THEN LOOK UP AND RECEIVE THE QUIET CONTENTMENT OF THE LORD JESUS.

If you are NOT right with God, you can NEVER turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. Allowing ANYTHING to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you either causes you to become troubled or gives you a false sense of security.

….if you only try to worry your way out of the problem, you destroy His effectiveness in you, and you deserve whatever you get. We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account.

When a person confers with Jesus Christ, the confusion stops, because there is no confusion in Him.  Lay EVERYTHING out before Him, and when you are faced with difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, listen to Him say, “LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED….John 14:27,”

Until later, in Him.

Fred

 

 

John 14:27

Self-Sacrifice

Howdy!

I have another excerpt for you from “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers and it, along with 364 other daily devotionals, can be found at http://utmost.org/sacrifice-and-friendship/ (just click the web address with your pointer).

Editing and emphasis will be mine throughout:

“We will never know the JOY of self-sacrifice until we surrender in EVERY detail of our lives. Yet self-surrender is the most difficult thing for us to do.

But as soon as we do totally surrender, abandoning ourselves to Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives us a taste of His JOY.

Our Lord is our example of a life of self-sacrifice, and He perfectly exemplified Psalm 40:8, “I DELIGHT to do Your will, O my God….” He endured tremendous personal sacrifice, yet with overflowing JOY.

If He is not the One to whom I am looking for direction and guidance, then there is NO benefit in my sacrifice. But when my sacrifice is made with my eyes focused on Him, slowly but surely His molding influence becomes evident in my life.

Beware of letting your natural desires hinder your walk in love before God.

But the one true desire of a saint is the Lord Jesus. Love for God is NOT something sentimental or emotional— for a saint to love as God loves is the most practical thing imaginable.

Our friendship with Jesus is based on the new life He created in us, which has NO resemblance or attraction to our old life but ONLY to the life of God. It is a life that is COMPLETELY humble, pure, and devoted to God.”

All the best, in Him.

Fred

 

 

Our Tailor Made Cross

Hi, there!

Here is an excerpt from one of 365 daily readings from the book “Streams In The Desert” by L.B. Cowman and it can be found at http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/desert/streams-in-the-desert-august-29th.html . Here we go:

“And he went out carrying his own cross (John 19:17).

There is a poem called “The Changed Cross.” It represents a weary one who thought that her cross was surely heavier than those of others whom she saw about her, and she wished that she might choose an other instead of her own. She slept, and in her dream she was led to a place where many crosses lay, crosses of different shapes and sizes. There was a little one most beauteous to behold, set in jewels and gold. “Ah, this I can wear with comfort,” she said. So she took it up, but her weak form shook beneath it. The jewels and the gold were beautiful, but they were far too heavy for her.

Next she saw a lovely cross with fair flowers entwined around its sculptured form. Surely that was the one for her. She lifted it, but beneath the flowers were piercing thorns which tore her flesh.

At last, as she went on, she came to a plain cross, without jewels, without carvings, with only a few words of love inscribed upon it. This she took up and it proved the best of all, the easiest to be borne. And as she looked upon it, bathed in the radiance that fell from Heaven, she recognized her own old cross. She had found it again, and it was the best of all and lightest for her.

God knows best what cross we need to bear. We do not know how heavy other people’s crosses are. We envy someone who is rich; his is a golden cross set with jewels, but we do not know how heavy it is. Here is another whose life seems very lovely. She bears a cross twined with flowers. If we could try all the other crosses that we think lighter than our own, we would at last find that not one of them suited us so well as our own.
–Glimpses through Life’s Windows

End of excerpt.

Scripture verses and examples in the Bible clearly support the truth in this story and you can let me know if you need help finding them.

You may also want to read the Category on “Suffering”.

Take care, in Him.

Fred

Common Sense

Hi, there!

Here is a gem of a truth taken from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” from the following location (just click the web address and you will have access to all 365  daily entries): http://utmost.org/prayer-in-the-father%E2%80%99s-hearing/ …. editing and emphasis will be mine throughout:

” NEVER let your common sense become so prominent and forceful that it pushes the Son of God to one side. Common sense is a gift that God gave to our human nature— but common sense is not the gift of His Son.”

Supernatural sense is the gift of His Son, and we should NEVER put our common sense on the throne.”

“The Son ALWAYS  recognizes and identifies with the Father, but common sense has NEVER yet done so and NEVER will.”

End of excerpt.

Of course, common sense is a wonderful gift and blessing when dealing with matters in the human realm….such as how best to perform a job or task or deciding which car to purchase etc., etc.. But, as mentioned in a previous Category, we can pretty much toss it and human reasoning out the window when dealing with matters in God’s and Christ Jesus’ supernatural, Spiritual realm.

The closer we are to our Father and Savior, the more sensitive we will be to our supernatural sense and the best and easiest way to achieve this is to PRACTICE THE PRESENCE OF GOD, as brought out in the Categories “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Why Isn’t God More Real To Me”.

Until later, in Him.

Fred

Cherish Our Enemies And Adversity

Greetings!

Here is some excellent advice, wisdom and truth from “Abandonment To Divine Providence” found at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/decaussade/abandonment.ii_1.ii.iv.vi.html (just click the web address and the entire book is available there).

Editing and emphasis will be mine as follows:

“I fear more my own action and that of my friends than that of my enemies.” 

“There is no prudence so GREAT as that which offers no resistance to enemies, and which opposes to them ONLY a simple abandonment. This is to run before the wind, and as there is NOTHING else to be done, to keep quiet and peaceful. There is NOTHING that is more entirely opposed to worldly prudence than simplicity; it turns aside ALL schemes without comprehending them, without so much as a thought about them.”

“The divine action makes the soul take such just measures as to surprise those who want to take it by surprise themselves. It profits by ALL their efforts, and is raised by the very things that are done to lower it.”

“ALL obstacles turn to good of this soul, and by allowing its enemies a free hand, it obtains a continual service, so sufficing that all it has to fear is lest it should itself take part in a work of which God would be principal, and His enemies the agents, and in which it has NOTHING to do but to peacefully observe the work of God, and to follow with simplicity the attractions He gives it.”

“the precise circumstances of each event are so applied to the soul, without its perception, that EVERYTHING opposed to them cannot fail to be destroyed.”

End of excerpts.

How blessed and fortunate we are to have such a great God and Father, as well as Savior, Who can ALWAYS turn the worst of events, circumstances and failures to our ultimate good….Romans 8:28. It just boggles my mind at times!!

I will add that I definitely believe in combating, physically,  an ‘enemy’ when it comes to malicious attacks on your person or when we may be called on to help an innocent person who is physically assaulted by an evil person.

Turning the other cheek when slapped (Matthew 5:39) obviously refers to a simple domestic confrontation when a single slap may be used by an opponent but not to a violent beating attempt by another person to really hurt or kill someone.

Jesus, Himself, said that carrying a sword was allowed, and this was obviously not just for using it to cut up  veggies or meat for a meal! (Luke 22:36)

Another example is in  Matthew 8:5-13 involving the Roman centurion. Jesus did not consider him a sinner for “bearing the sword” to uphold authority (Romans 13:4), but rather, greatly applauded his faith.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

God Is In This Place….And I Knew It Not

Hello!

The title of this Category is spoken by Jacob in Genesis 28:16 and this excerpt referring to this wonderful truth is taken from “Abandonment To Divine Providence” at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/decaussade/abandonment.ii_1.ii.iii.v.html (just click the web address with your pointer and you will have access to the entire book). Here we go:

““Truly,” said Jacob, “God is in this place, and I knew it not” (Gen. xxvii, 16).

You seek God and He is everywhere; everything proclaims Him, everything gives Him to you. He walks by your side, is around you and within you: there He lives, and yet you seek Him.

You seek your own idea of God while all the time you possess Him substantially. You seek perfection, and it is in everything that presents itself to you. Your sufferings, your actions, your attractions are the species under which God gives Himself to you, while you are vainly striving after sublime ideas which He by no means assumes in order to dwell in you.  ”

End of excerpt.

Of course, the name “God” used here by Jacob is actually referring to Christ Jesus, who was “God” in the Old Testament, as Paul clearly indicates in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.

However , “God”, our Father, is Who is being referenced to in this excerpt. Nevertheless, they are BOTH with us as brought out in the Category  “God And Christ Jesus Are In Us ALL THE TIME!!”.

Until later, in Him.

Fred

Trust God And Christ Jesus As Our Guide

Hey, there!

This is an elaboration on the last Category of  “Led By God’s Spirit” and is taken from “Abandonment To Divine Providence” at  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/decaussade/abandonment.ii_1.ii.ii.vii.html (just click the web address with your pointer and you will be taken to the website where the entire book is available.)

Emphasis and editing is mine throughout and here we go:

“When God makes Himself the Guide of a soul He exacts from it an absolute confidence in Him, and a freedom from any sort of disquietude  as to the way in which He conducts it. This soul, therefore, is urged on without perceiving the path traced out before it. It does not  imitate either what it has seen, or what it has read, but proceeds by its own action, and cannot do otherwise without grave risk.”

The Divine action is every FRESH , it never retraces its steps, but always marks out new ways. Souls that are conducted by it never know where they are going; their ways are neither to be found in books, nor in their own minds; the Divine action carries them step by step, and they progress only according to its movement.”

“The Divine action is essentially good; it does not need to be reformed or controlled. It began at the creation of the world; and to the present time has manifested ever fresh energy. Its operations are WITHOUT LIMIT, its fecundity INEXHAUSTIBLE. It acted in one way yesterday, to-day it acts differently. It is the same action applied at each moment to produce ever new effects, and it will extend from eternity to eternity.”

“Jesus Christ did not set a limit for Himself, neither did He follow all His own maxims to the letter. The Holy Spirit ever inspired  His Holy soul and, being ENTIRELY ABANDONED to its EVERY breath, it had no need to consult the moment that had passed, to know how to act in that which was coming.”

“The breath of grace shaped every moment according to the eternal truths subsisting in the invisible and UNFATHOMABLE wisdom of the Blessed Trinity. The soul of Jesus Christ received these directions at every moment, and acted upon them externally.”

“The Gospel shows in the life of Jesus Christ a succession of these truths; and this same Jesus who lives and works always, continues to live and work in the souls of His saints. 

“If you would live according to the Gospel, abandon yourself  SIMPLY and ENTIRELY to the action of God.”

” What He has done is finished; what remains to be done is being carried on every moment  Each saint receives a share in the Divine life, and in each, Jesus Christ is different, although the same in Himself. The life of each saint IS THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST;  it is a NEW gospel.”

End of quotes.

Keep in mind, our Father, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as our Guide, will encourage, inspire, lead and even strengthen us for our Spiritual journey; however, They will never push, pull, drag or force us to accept any part of this Holy Treasure we are blessed with because of our Savior’s sacrifice. We have to make the choice to accept it or reject it and this is to ‘work out our own salvation’….Philippians 2:12.

This is where, as so many times in the past, I encourage you to put yourself in the best position possible to fully experience this Holy Treasure we have by PRACTICING THE PRESENCE OF GOD as brought out in the Category by the same title.

Take care, in Him.

Fred