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

 

Look Unto Me….Moment By Moment

Hello, again!

This is another excerpt for Oswald Chambers’ book “My Utmost For His Highest”  and is from his entry of January 22nd (please reference the Post by the name of this book to download a FREE copy of his writings).

This particular entry actually falls perfectly in line with Brother Lawrence’s approach of ‘Practicing the Presence of God’ (please see the Post by this same title).

Emphasis throughout will be mine and here goes:

“Troubles nearly always make us look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is, in effect – narrow all your interests until the attitude of heart and mind and body is CONCENTRATION on Jesus Christ.

The very thing we look for, we shall find IF WE WILL CONCENTRATE ON Him.

The difficulties and trails – the casting about in our minds as to what we will do this summer, or tomorrow, will vanish IF WE LOOK TO God.

Rouse yourself up and LOOK TO God. BUILD YOUR HOPE ON Him. No matter if there are a hundred and one things that press, resolutely exclude them all and LOOK TO Him. “LOOK UNTO Me” (Isaiah 45:22), and SALVATION IS,  THE MOMENT YOU LOOK.”

End of excerpts. (Isaiah 45:22) is an addition by me.

Of course, he does not mean we should shirk our important “hundred and one” responsibilities, but rather, if we CONCENTRATE on our Father and Jesus MOMENT BY MOMENT, these important responsibilities will find a way to properly take care of themselves….and we will be at PEACE and in JOY as we carry them out. Brother Lawrence also found this to be true and it was his way of life.

This approach does not come easy, nor overnight, and we must be ever diligent to reach this plateau in our Spiritual walk….even Brother Lawrence wrote that it was difficult at first, but then, IT BECAME SECOND NATURE to him!!

As a side note, an example of the quotation above concerning “His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere”, King David is the perfect illustration. God had blessed him tremendously and he had certainly ‘reached the top’. But then, life got too easy and we know what happened with the Bathsheba incident. Please reference the Post “David’s Heinous Sin vs God’s Mercy” for more comments on this.

Until later,

Fred

 

 

The Great Life

Hello!

I came across this excellent article from Oswald Chambers’ entry of December 14th in his book “My Utmost For His Highest” (please reference the Post by the title of his book to get a FREE downloaded copy.):

“Whenever a thing becomes difficult in personal experience, we are in danger of blaming God, but it is we who are in the wrong, not God, there is some perversity somewhere that we will not let go. Immediately we do, everything becomes as clear as daylight. As long as we try to serve two ends, ourselves and God, there is perplexity. The attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. When once we get there, there is nothing easier than living the saintly life; difficulty comes in when we want to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own ends.

Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace, the witness of an unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry till it does, or find out the reason why it does not. If you are acting on an impulse, or a sense of the heroic, the peace of Jesus will not witness; there is no simplicity or confidence in God, because the spirit of simplicity is born of the Holy Ghost, not of your decisions. Every decision brings a reaction of simplicity.

My questions come when I cease to obey. When I have obeyed God, the problems never come between me and God, they come as probes to keep the mind going on with amazement at the revelation of God. Any problem that comes between God and myself springs out of disobedience; any problem, and there are many, that is alongside me while I obey God, increases my ecstatic delight, because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to watch and see how He unravels this thing.”

All the best in Him.

Fred

Rapture: Fact Or Fiction

Greetings!

Since so many denominations, as well as non-denominations, adhere to the ‘Rapture’ theory, I thought I would pass along an excellent article on the subject at https://sites.google.com/site/secretraptureark/ (just point and click).

In addition to the overwhelming evidence offered by the article against the above theory, there is one verse in the Bible that shows how completely false is the idea of a ‘Rapture’. Revelation 20:5 clearly states that after the Great Tribulation there will be the “first resurrection”. If there had been a ‘Rapture’ of living and dead Christians BEFORE the Great Tribulation, then the Bible is LYING by calling the resurrection in 20:5 the “first”. Obviously, it would be the ‘second’ IF the ‘Rapture’ was a fact….which it is not. It is pure fiction.

Until later,

Fred

The Responsibility Of Each Christian

Hi,again!

Even after Christians are initially called and receive the Holy Spirit, it will take some time to FULLY grasp the NEED for us to want God and Jesus to COMPLETELY CONTROL us (as far as is possible while we are in this human form), and not merely influence us in a religious sort of way. For some of us, this can take a long time. Our goal even is to bring EVERY thought into the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

God’s purpose for calling us is not just limited to having Christians be a ‘light’ in a dark world, but rather, the HIGHER purpose of having us being so COMPLETELY CONSUMED by His and Christ Jesus’ presence in us we are literally not our own anymore. Up to a point, Paul reached this stage as written in Galatians 2:20.

The problem is that some of us are satisfied with just the daily struggle of trying to be ‘good little girls and boys’ in a religious fashion; and too often, even this is motivated only by either (1) wanting to get ‘good stuff’ and blessings from our Father and Jesus (2) trying to merely ‘hang on’ until the Resurrection or (3) wanting to avoid Their wrath if we mess up. These attitudes can certainly lead to being “lukewarm” Christians and Revelation 3:16,17 clearly shows Their view on a “lukewarm” faith. A good article defining a lukewarm Christian is at http://chrismarlow.me/2008/06/are-you-a-lukewarm-christian/ .

Paul shows in 2 Timothy 1:6 that it is up to us to “stir up” or “rekindle” the “gift” that we have as Christians, if it becomes necessary. Other verses in the New Testament also clearly show that it is the individual Christian’s responsibility to develop an attitude in one’s heart to either “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6), become “lukewarm” in our faith (Revelation 3:16) or ultimately become like Demas who continued to “love this eon” (2 Timothy 4:10).

The Holy Spirit can urge as well as lead us but He will NEVER push, force or drag us.

All the best in Him,

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” or “Lord God” 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 ‘mystical’ 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” or “Lord God” represents God and Christ Jesus 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