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

 

 

The Purpose Of Life

Greetings!

Our time here in this life can often seem very long, but in reality….especially if we glance back over the span of our lives….it is, relatively speaking, as the tiniest of a tiny drop in the oceans of time….even SMALLER!

So, as we put ‘things’ in perspective, as Christians it just makes good sense to utilize this minuscule moment of our existence to the best after we have been called and receive the Holy Spirit.

As followers of Jesus, we are COMMANDED to use our very limited time here to not only “seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) but to be “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) and “whatever you do, do ALL things to the glory of God” and “EVERYTHING….in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17).

Further, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it is boldly stated that “YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN” and that we have been “bought with a price” to glorify God in all that we do.

Now, God and Jesus do not use words lightly nor are these COMMANDS  merely suggestions or  high sounding religious platitudes.

Quite simply, obeying  these COMMANDS are to be our way of life and the basis for ALL our actions during the time we have been allotted on this earth.

Nevertheless, Scriptures repeatedly and plainly show that Christians can and will be like those in Matthew 13:20-22 who allow the ‘things’ of this world  to cause them to fall away, like Demas who “loved the things of this world” (2 Timothy 4:10) and like those who will be withdrawing from the faith “in latter times” (1 Timothy 4:1).

Truly, our PRIMARY ‘job’  in the short time we have here is do ALL we do with the intent of obeying these three  COMMANDS. Although our human occupations and stations in life should be observed and performed to the best of our human ability they nevertheless take a far backseat concerning what is in the center of our heart, our thoughts and our motives. This is why “Practicing The Presence Of God” (please reference the Category by the same title) is so very important and necessary.

UPDATE 09/04/2915: I would like to add this excerpt from Oswald Chambers’  “My Utmost For His Highest” that can be found at http://utmost.org/destined-to-be-holy/ , along with his other 364 daily devotionals. This is an actual fourth command and it goes like this:

“…it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:161 Peter 1:16

We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble, and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance to us to decrease. The only thing that truly matters is whether a person will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs, a person must have the right relationship with God.”

End of excerpt.

And, the beautiful kicker in doing this will be for us  to then be able to bear the most HOLY and PRECIOUS “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22….and please reference the Category  “Fruit Of The Spirit”)….not even to mention the expectation  of our future GLORY of  taking on the VERY ESSENCE of Christ Jesus Himself (Philippians 3:21, Colossians 3:4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:14….please also reference the Category “Our Glorious New Bodies”).

And never forget that our Father and our Savior lovingly remember how difficult life can be as a human and we are told that They are “offering to us richly all  things for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17)….those human ‘things’ and experiences that are allowable and used with responsibility that can give us human delight, even if in a temporary manner.

How so BLESSED and FORTUNATE we are to have this as our purpose in life!

I want to add a short excerpt from my reading this morning of Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” (please reference the Category by the same title to obtain all of his entries in this book):

“we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of a lofty lifestyle— we must be spiritually real.”

All the best, in Him.

Fred

The Surrendered Life

Greetings!

Yup, I’m here to dish out another one of Oswald Chambers’ excerpts from his book “My Utmost For His Highest” and you can get all of his entries in the publication by going to the Category with the same title.

Emphasis will be mine throughout….read, enjoy and profit from the insights of a truly Spiritual saint (please reference the Category on “Who Is A Saint”). Here goes:

“I have been crucified with Christ….Galatians 2:20.

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And WHAT HE GIVES US IN EXCHANGE FOR OUR SIN IS REAL SOLID RIGHTEOUSNESS. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of the process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on ALL that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.”

Until later,

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!

Please reference the Categories “All Creation Will Be Saved” and God’s Plan Of The Ages”

Later, in Christ,

Fred

Christian Tidbits

Greetings….this Post will be an ongoing one where I will add information from time to time that you might find interesting, and maybe even helpful! It could also be titled “Did You Know?”:

1. Jesus was also an Apostle. Hebrews 3:1

2. It is unknown how many “wise men” there were when they brought gifts to Jesus; and, they actually came to Him in a “house”, not a manger scene. Matthew 2:11

3. According to Clarke’s Commentary, the names of the two robbers who were crucified with Jesus were Zoathon on the right and Chammatha on the left (http://bible.cc/mark/15-27.htm)

4. The Bible is not only the world’s best-selling book but it is also the most shoplifted! (Several sources, but one is http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=17733)

5. Believers are never told to celebrate the birth of Jesus….for one thing, it is unknown. (December 25 was a pagan holiday and has nothing to do with the real day Jesus was born on)

6. Believers are never told to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, although we are told to observe elements of  the “Last Supper”.

7. Talk about “funny money”: David purchased his first wife, Michal, from Saul with 200 foreskins of just killed Philistines! 1 Samuel 18:27

8. There are at least 64 types/kinds of “spirit” mentioned in the Bible, based on Strong’s Concordance using the King James Version:

“God, Christ,anguish,sword,worship,fear

mouth,grace,glory,antichrist,error,foul

righteousness,familiar(psychic),wisdom,jealousy

evil,sorrowful,sad,lying,good,understanding

troubled,hasty,humble,broken,man,vexation

beast,proud,judgment,burning,perverse

Holy,contrite,faint,excellent, whoredom,grace

unclean,dumb,deaf,power,infirmity

truth,divination,holiness,life,bondage,adoption

slumber,fervent,love,meekness,gifts

healing,faith,earnest,joy,peace,gentleness

longsuffering”

In addition to these, there are the  7 Spirits which stand before the throne in Revelation 1:4.

The various spirits govern us….not the physical elements.

9. The New Jerusalem will be about 1,500 miles long, about 1,500 miles wide and about 1,500 miles high. Revelation 21:16 ( a furlong is about an 1/8th of a mile)

10. It is interesting that the beginning of our present heavens and earth in Genesis 1:1-2 started with a complete covering of water. With the advent of the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21:1, the sea and oceans will no longer exist. Sorry, surfer dude/dudette! And, no more tanning,  as there will be no sun….Revelation 21:23.

11. In 1526, William Tyndale published the first printed English New Testament. For his faithful efforts, the clergy and bishops of the Church of England were instrumental is having him endure a disgusting and cruel imprisonment, then being strangled at the stake and finally burned to ashes in 1536….fervently praying with his last words, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.”. (Paraphrased from Adlai Loudy’s GOD’S  EONIAN PURPOSE, Chapter 2)

12. James, the brother of Jesus, at some point became an apostle (Galatians 1:1).

13. Humans and animals have a soul….plants don’t (this is taken from the Post: “Lazarus and the Rich Man”):

“the soul is actually in the blood: “for the soul of all flesh, it is in the blood” (Lev.17:11….Strong’s Concordance has “nephesh” or “soul”; also, Darby’s Translation, Concordant Literal Old Testament and Bullinger’s Companion Bible have “soul”). Where there is no human blood….there is no human soul (or, life, consciousness, etc.).”

“This is why animals and humans can be said to have a “soul”….because they have blood flowing within them. Even though plants, vegetation and the like are “living organisms”, they are never said to have a “soul” because they have no blood….meaning, they have no consciousness nor any type of feelings. If you chop a tree down, rest assured it feels no pain!”.

14. Why is it difficult for any Christian to believe in the resurrections to come since God was the One Who originally created humans through Christ from the ‘dirt’ to begin with? And, Jesus even says in Matthew 3:9 that God is able to create “children to Abraham” from stone itself.

15. It is estimated that the number of living species on our planet ranges from 3 million to 100 million. Consider the fact that God through Christ Jesus had to create an INDIVIDUAL and UNIQUE ‘behavioral computer chip’ for each species!! They ALL function differently and obviously need their own distinct behavioral pattern programmed into their personal being in order to live and survive, based on the way each is created. Simply amazing!!

16. Old Testament believers are never said to have the Holy Spirit “within” them, but rather, “upon” them. Please reference the Post “The Holy Spirit Was Not WITHIN Old Testament Believers” for more information.

Until later,

Fred

 

Crown Of Righteousness

Hi there!

If you are breathing and in touch with reality you know for a fact that we, as believers, are not truly “righteous” in the sense of doing “right” ALL the time (in other words, being PERFECT)……even though Romans 3:21-24 clearly states that there is “a righteousness of God to all, and upon all those believing”. (Young’s Literal NT)

I certainly don’t understand how it’s done, but God, as a FACT and as REALITY, actually sees us in this light because of Christ’s sacrifice and our gift of faith.

So, why would Paul look forward to receiving the “crown of righteousness” mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8 (notice: he doesn’t look forward to a crown of “celestial gold and/or jewels”!!)?  And, in Galatians 5:5 he says we saints “do wait for a hope of righteousness” (Young’s). How does this square with Romans 3:21-24….seems contradictory.

The answer appears to be this:

Paul wanted to experience a “real” righteousness (not just the “imputed”  mentioned above) to its fullest extent and a crown symbolized this accomplishment….in other words,  being able, AFTER THE RESURRECTION, to be as perfect as Christ Jesus, without the possibility of EVER sinning again…..ALWAYS being able to think and do the right thing out of pure, Holy love. (Reference Philippians 3:12)

Until later,

Fred