True Lesson Of Life

Greetings!

Until we finally recognize that our continual failures, shortcomings, problems and dissatisfaction of life in all its forms are ALL  merely teachings from God intent on showing us exactly why we need to WHOLEHEARTEDLY and COMPLETELY seek and depend on Him and His Son in a moment by moment way….then we have missed the ONE TRUE LESSON of our lives as Christians.

And, until we truly learn and practice this lesson, our Father and our Savior will remain as only religious figures to us….and not real. Please reference the Category/Post on “Why Isn’t God More Real To Me”.

Until later, be blessed in Him.

Fred

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

 

 

 

 

Come Unto Me And I Will Give You Rest

Greetings!

This wonderful truth in Matthew 11:28 does NOT describe some cheap and easy benefit bestowed on a Christian from the git-go.

Believing, in itself, enables us to become God’s chosen saints and gain access to Him and Christ Jesus but it does NOT automatically afford the very real, Holy ” rest”spoken of in this verse….in fact, even demons can believe (James 2:19).

Having nice thoughts about God and Jesus, carrying out Christian functions such as good works, church attendance, Bible study, ritualistic prayer, etc., etc. likewise will NOT serve as a means to gain this blessed “rest” that defies human understanding….although, they can certainly serve to help us if done in the proper way.

The key to understanding how this supernatural “rest” can be ours is clearly revealed in the phrase “come unto Me” in verse 28. We can do ALL the endeavors mentioned above and still NOT “come unto” our Lord.  In other words, the above activities can all be done in an entirely religious manner without us ever reaching Jesus personally, and it is only here, that we actually experience our promised “rest”.

Thankfully, the solution to our problem is shown in James 4:8: “come close to God, and He will come close to you“. The way we “come close”  (or “come unto“)  our Father and Jesus is to  continuously (minute by minute and hour by hour) go to Them in ALL our daily activities, much in the manner described in the Category/Post “Practicing The Presence Of God”. I hope you will take the time to read this Category  about Brother Lawrence as well as the Categories/Posts on “Letters From A Modern Mystic” and “Why Not Be A Mystic”.

Until later, in Him,

Fred

 

A Christian On Cruise Control Is Lukewarm

Hey, there!

Being on cruise control as a Christian means being idle with no continuous acceleration relative to our attempts to GROW in our faith and subsequently become more like Christ Jesus. We can be very, very active in ‘church activities’  and human charitable endeavors and yet be totally neglecting our DUTY to draw nearer to God and Jesus. In other words, we are quite ‘religious’ but not Spiritual.

Being ‘religious’ not only enables us to remain comfortably and effortlessly human but relieves us of the burden and agony of  denying ourselves of those human traits and habits that keep us from becoming more like our Savior, as well as from ENJOYING  the glorious and wonderful “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22).

Even worse, being on cruise control is synonymous with being ‘lukewarm’ and we know what Revelation 3:15-16 says about how our Father and Christ view the ‘lukewarm’ Christian and what will happen.

We are continually admonished to ACTION and ACCELERATION:

– “hunger and thirst” for righteousness (Matthew 5:6)

– “seek” first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:23)

– “pursue” righteousness and faith (1 Timothy 6:11)

– “draw” near to God (James 4:8)

– make all “grow” into Him (Ephesians 4:15)

– “fight” the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12)

– “be fervent” in spirit (Romans 12:11)

– “slaving” for the Lord (Romans 12:12)

– “be zealous” for the greater graces (1 Corinthians 12:31)

And the list goes on to show that we should NEVER become idle (on cruise control) and ‘lukewarm’ as Christians. ‘Practicing the presence of God’ (please refer to the Category/Post by that same title) is one of our ABSOLUTE BEST ways to avoid this.

Oswald Chambers writes in his “My Utmost For His Highest” ( http://utmost.org/the-patience-to-wait-for-the-vision/ ) :

“It is a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually. We are apt to look for satisfaction within ourselves and say, “Now I’ve got it! Now I am completely sanctified. Now I can endure.” Instantly we are on the road to ruin. Our reach must exceed our grasp. Beware of the danger of spiritual relaxation.”

And again, he writes in his article at http://utmost.org/are-you-obsessed-by-something/ : “The total being of our life inside and out is to be absolutely obsessed by the presence of God.”

End of excerpts

Of course, there is one obvious exception to this analogy. If we set our control to cruise on the MAXIMUM of “loving the Lord your God with your WHOLE heart, and your WHOLE soul, and with your WHOLE comprehension” (Matthew 22:37)….then we are good to go!!

Until later,

Fred

 

 

Why Isn’t God More Real To Me?

Hi, there!

Let’s face it, to many, if not most, Christians God and Christ Jesus are not all that ‘real’ to us in a truly personal sense. Real, in that we actually ‘feel’ Their presence with us continually throughout the day (as Brother Lawrence did as illustrated in the book “Practicing the Presence of God”….please reference the Post by this title.). Real, in that we know Them so personally as to be continually and constantly looking at everything we encounter daily through Them. Real, in that we continually ask Them throughout the day as to what to say, what to do and how to handle situations we encounter during that day.

In the last Post “God And Christ Jesus Are In Us ALL THE TIME!!!”, Scriptures clearly show that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are within us. So, we “know”, then, that we have a reservoir of Holy Presence in us that defies human imagination! However, how much do we “realize” this Holy Presence as true reality? (Please reference the Post on “Knowledge vs Realization”). Paul knew that there was a difference between the two when he wrote in Ephesians 1:17-20 (Concordant Literal New Testament) that he prayed for  all saints to come to a “realization” (vs. mere “knowledge”) of what we have as believers because of the power of God and sacrifice of our Lord Christ Jesus.

The Bible shows quite clearly how we achieve this “realization” and thus be able to depend on and experience the Father and Christ Jesus in a personal way daily. It is revealed in James 4:8: “ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”. That’s it….pure and simple! Let’s explore this a little further.

Regimented Bible study, ‘mechanical’ prayer and attending church, although beneficial to some degree, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” (Please see the Post on “Bible Study Is Good…IF…BUT”).

Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, was highly proficient in performing the 3 above noted practices. In addition to this, as to observing the Law in a physical sense, Saul was “blameless” (Philippians 3:6), which was quite an achievement in a ‘religious’, human sort of way. And yet, in spite of all this, Saul would become the “foremost” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:16) and the chief persecutor of God’s saints!! So, obviously, these 3 ‘religious’ practices BY THEMSELVES  will not do the trick in getting us closer to the Father or our Lord in a PERSONAL way.

Believing,in itself, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” either….even the devils believe! (James 2:19)

What DOES qualify as “drawing near to God” is “practicing the presence of God” (Please see the Posts “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Letters By A Modern Mystic”). It means to start looking to God and Christ Jesus MORE and MORE in our thoughts and needs. Continually, as best we can at first, conversing with Them (Please reference the Post “Pray On The Potty”) and keeping Them before us at ALL times throughout the day….not only hourly, but eventually minute by minute, as is practical. In this way, we are “going to God” or, if you will, “drawing near to God”….and, in turn, God (and Jesus) will draw closer to us, as a reality.

Oswald Chambers wrote in  MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST (please reference the Post by the same name) that ” ‘Why does God not reveal Himself to me?’ It is not that He will not, it is that He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won’t abandon absolutely to Him.”

At first, it will be difficult to focus on and go to God and Jesus with such ABANDONMENT because it will be going against our human nature and the ‘flesh’, which opposes the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Ridding our minds of useless and frivolous thoughts to focus on God and Christ Jesus MAY ACTUALLY SEEM AS IF WE ARE GOING AGAINST WHAT IS NATURAL….because we have so constantly entertained these vain thoughts for so long as part of our normal lives (Galatians 4:17,23). Even Brother Lawrence admitted it was difficult for him at first to LEARN how to FULLY focus on the Father and Christ Jesus in his waking moments.

However, he went on to say “we must at first apply to Him with some diligence. Then, after a little care, we would find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.”. (Again, please reference the Post “Practicing The Presence Of God”.)

And, of course, it takes time. God may need to remove some human barriers within us, and in doing so, it may seem as if we are digressing rather than making progress. However,DON’T give in to this FALSE line of reasoning nor to apparent failure….God and Jesus know our hearts and They will continually work with us as long as we keep trying and are willing to submit to Them.

Please don’t misunderstand me, a believer can have a fulfilling and rewarding Christian journey to varying degrees without achieving this deep, personal relationship with the Father and our Lord….however, I am merely presenting the better and far richer way.

Hope to see you again soon.

Fred