Business As Usual

Hey there!

Paul said  he was a “slave” (Concordant Literal NT) of Christ Jesus in Romans 1:1 and all those who are called to be Christians are likewise referred to as “slaves” throughout the New Testament. This is the actual meaning of the Greek word ‘doulos’ according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

In all of history, I am quite sure there have NEVER been any ‘part-time slaves’. A slave is at the beck and call of her or his owner 24/7.

We, then, are to ALWAYS be constantly, consistently and ever presenting ourselves to God and Christ Jesus as our Owners. We may not have any particular task or duty to perform at any given moment, but nonetheless, we present ourselves to Them….24/7.

Even here, we are to be seeking FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and to be “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6)….24/7.

Before we were called to be saints, all kinds of activities and concerns were on our ‘to-do list’. We were swamped in dealing with the issues of life and they demanded our undivided attention. Some that got our attention were justified but many were not. We were quite literally ‘slaves’ not only to dealing with these activities and concerns but also to the “law of sin” within our very nature (Romans 7:23-24)….they owned us.

However, there are now new Owners in town!! Our new Owners demand the same UNDIVIDED attention but what a glorious and wonderful change They bring. They can and will enable us to “have life more abundantly” (John 10:10).

There are still those justified activities and concerns we must perform and attend to daily but they are dealt with in a different way. And, they don’t own or control us as before because ALL that we do we deal with  through God and Jesus. Even the “law of sin” within “the body of death” we  now occupy will submit to and be ruled by our new Owners (Romans 7:25, 8:1-3).

Now, this life changing assistance and help throughout each day that we are able to receive from our new Owners does not come by merely having Them in our thoughts during the day. Nor does regimented Bible study, regular church attendance, ‘mechanical prayer’ or any other religious activities, however well meant.

Our Father and our Savior want us to “come to” Them (Matthew 11:28) and “draw near” to Them (James 4:8) and the religious activities mentioned in the previous paragraph do NOT cut the mustard!

At this point,, I always wind up bringing forth the example of Brother Lawrence. He showed us how to “come to” and “draw near” to God and Jesus by actually talking to, beseeching and living for Them moment by moment during the entire day. He did this even during his  most hurried of times. He wrote how it was difficult to do this at first, but after a while, it became second nature to him and he could not imagine living his life any other way.

You can read his entire book free online as set forth in the Category “Practicing The Presence Of God” and you will be amazed and inspired by the SUPERNATURAL relationship he was able to develop with his Owners.

Personally, my moment by moment prayer to Them is “help me Lord” (in whatever I am doing, thinking or saying at the moment) or just “Lord God”….and frequently punctuated with “thank you Father” or “thank you Jesus”. And, at other times, I just freely express myself to Them. The change and results I have experienced are indescribable.

So, let us, with all our being, endeavor not to be like those in Matthew 13:22 and to never go back to ‘business as usual’, as it was before God and Christ Jesus so graciously called us to undeservingly be saints.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

 

 

 

 

Pray Without Ceasing

Hi there!

Today I added the following excerpt as an ‘update’ to my Categories/Posts  “Pray On The Potty” and “Dry Prayer And Monkey Chatter”.  The full article from which the excerpt was taken can be found at http://utmost.org/thinking-of-prayer-as-jesus-taught/ . 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.

Until later,

Fred

Spiritual Dejection

Greetings!

I have to share with you some really good truth from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest”  entry of 02/07/2015. Please reference the Post by the same name as his book title for information on obtaining all of his daily entries for FREE. Here goes and EMPHASIS will be mine throughout:

“Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer. What have I been hoping or trusting God would do? Is today “the third day” and He has still not done what I expected? Am I therefore justified in being dejected and in blaming God? Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer.

We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God’s power. Even the fact that we are dejected is proof that we do this. Yet we never realize that ALL the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only OBEY, and DO THE TASK that He has placed closest to us, WE WILL SEE HIM. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that IT IS IN THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF THINGS that we REALIZE the MAGNIFICENT DEITY of Jesus Christ.”

End of excerpt.

Please reference the Posts “Answered Prayer” and “Pray On The Potty” for some further thoughts on prayer.

Take care, in Him.

Fred

When God Becomes Real To Us

Hi, there!

I want to share with you an excerpt from Oswald Chambers’ January 19th entry in his book “My Utmost For His Highest”. Please reference the Post by the same title of his book for information on how to obtain  FREE access to all his entries, as well as how to purchase your own copy.  Here goes and emphasis is mine throughout:

“Do I trust at all in the flesh? Or have I learned to go beyond all confidence in MYSELF and OTHER PEOPLE of God? Do I trust in BOOKS and PRAYERS or OTHER JOYS  in my life? Or have I placed my confidence in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am Almighty God…”— El-Shaddai, the ALL-POWERFUL GOD (Genesis 17:1). The reason we are all being disciplined is that we will know God is real. As soon as God becomes real to us, people pale by comparison, becoming shadows of reality. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.”

End of excerpt.

William Law also continually expressed this very truth….ULTIMATELY we have to come to the point that our trust and dependence is COMPLETELY on God and Christ Jesus, no matter how helpful other Christians, devotional books and even the Bible itself have helped us along the way.

He wrote in one of his books that once this ABSOLUTE CONCENTRATION on (please reference the Post on “Temptations And Wandering Thoughts”) as well ABSOLUTE DEPENDENCE on our Father and Christ Jesus had reached a certain point, the ‘reality’ (please reference the Post on “Knowledge vs Realization”) and ‘oneness’ with God and Jesus that came about was wonderful beyond human description. This was likewise the case with Brother Lawrence as expressed in “Practicing The Presence Of God” (please reference the Post by the same title as this book).

For more information on Mr. Law’s writings please  reference these Posts: “Bible Study Is Good…”If”.. .”But”…” and “God Can Give Nothing But Blessing And Goodness”. Of course, you can always Google him, as well.

UPDATE 01/24/2015: Concerning our ABSOLUTE CONCENTRATION on God and Christ Jesus, I want to share an excerpt from Mr. Chambers’ 01/23/2015 entry that deals directly with this:

“The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God. Let everything else including work, clothes, and food be set aside. The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. We must maintain a position of beholding Him, keeping our lives completely spiritual through and through. Let other things come and go as they will; let other people criticize us as they will; but never allow anything to obscure the life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him. This is an easy thing to allow, but we must guard against it. The most difficult lesson of the Christian life is learning how to continue “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord….”

End of excerpt.

Until later, take care in Him.

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

Sanctify Your Food

Hi, there….thought I would pass along to you a little ‘food’ for thought this morning!

I came across a very interesting and beneficial truth this morning while reading 1 Timothy 4:5. I always give thanks at meals just as Jesus did in Matthew 14:19 (and I try not to make it just a ‘ritual’ but really express it from the heart). Going a step further, Paul tells us in verse 5 our food is actually “sanctified” when we “petition” before eating it.

This word “petition” is a different word from the normal Greek word for ‘prayer’ and is used only twice in the New Testament, both in Timothy (the other is 2:1). Its definition is similar to that of ‘prayer’ but it also seems to imply a special request. This is just my opinion but I would take it to mean something like asking that the food be ‘blessed’, in addition to giving thanks for it.

The ‘sanctification’ of the food after making the ‘petition’ is defined by Strong’s Concordance as:

“consecrate things to God”

“to purify”

“to cleanse externally”

So, along with my normal giving of thanks at meals I will be asking God and Christ Jesus to bless it as well.

Until later,

Fred

 

 

We Have Two Of The Greatest Allies And Best Friends Possible

Greetings!

Not only do we have a Father Who loves us beyond all human comprehension, even sending His Son to die for us (Romans 8:32), we also have 2 of the most powerful and loving Allies and Friends (John 15:14) CONSTANTLY working for us and Who NEVER FAIL, if we trust Them with childlike faith.

Christ Jesus is the Friend and Ally Who never ceases to intercede to the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:34). Further still, this Friend and Ally enables us to do “ALL things” by His strength within us (Philippians 4:13).

The Holy Spirit within us is our Friend and Ally Who  “Himself ALWAYS intercedes on our behalf with groanings that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26) when we are looking to and going to God. And this Friend and Ally is Someone we can fellowship with (2 Corinthians 13:14) and can lead us MOMENT by MOMENT in our daily lives (Romans 8:14)….IF WE LET HIM! He also enables us to enjoy the  “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22) as brought out in the Post “Fruit Of The Spirit”. And, last but not least, He is our ever present SUPERNATURAL Comforter (John 14:16,26).

Our Friends and Allies DEEPLY DESIRE and are prepared to do what is the absolute best for us….but we hinder Them by our lack of faith as well as our unnecessary concerns with the things of this world. (Please reference the Posts “Absolute Surrender”, “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Why Isn’t God More Real To Me?”)

Truly, “if God (as well as Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit) be for us,who can be against us” (Romans 8:31….parenthetical insertion mine).

Take care, in Christ.

Fred