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

All Is Well….It Is The Will Of God

Greetings!

I want to pass along to you some of the excerpts I read this morning from Chapter 2 Section 2 in the book I wrote about in my last Post and the entire Section can be found at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/decaussade/abandonment.ii_1.i.ii.ii.html . Here goes:

“The soul, enlightened by faith, judges of things in a very different way to those who, having only the standard of the senses by which to measure them, ignore the inestimable treasure they contain.”

“It throws open all its doors to receive with honour what others fear and fly from with horror. The outward appearance may be mean and contemptible, but beneath this abject garb the heart discovers and honours the majesty of the king. The deeper the abasement of his entry in such a guise and in secret the more does the heart become filled with love. I cannot describe what the heart feels when it accepts the divine will in such humble, poor, and mean disguises.”

“Faith is strengthened, increased and enriched by those things that escape the senses; the less there is to see, the more there is to believe.”

“To consider God equally good in things that are petty and ordinary as in those that are great and uncommon is to have a faith that is not ordinary, but great and extraordinary.”

“To be satisfied with the present moment is to delight in, and to adore the divine will in all that has to be done or suffered in all that succession of events that fill, as they pass, each present moment. Those souls that have this disposition adore God with redoubled love and respect in each consecutive humiliating condition; nothing can hide Him from the piercing eye of faith. The louder the senses proclaim that in this, or that, there is no God; the more firmly do these souls clasp and embrace their “bundle of myrrh.” Nothing daunts them, nothing disgusts them.”

“The life of faith is nothing less than the continued pursuit of God through all that disguises, disfigures, destroys and, so to say, annihilates Him.”

“Faith, while showing us things as they are, changes their ugliness into beauty, and their malice into virtue. Faith is the mother of sweetness, confidence and joy. It cannot help feeling tenderness and compassion for its enemies by whose means it is so immeasurably enriched. The greater the harshness and severity of the creature, the greater by the operation of God, is the advantage to the soul.”

“The will of God has nothing but sweetness, favours and treasures for submissive souls; it is impossible to repose too much confidence in it, nor to abandon oneself to it too utterly. It always acts for, and desires that which is most conducive to our perfection, provided we allow it to act.”

“The more unfaithful, uncertain, and rebellious are the senses, the louder faith cries: “all is well, it is the will of God.” There is nothing that the eye of faith does not penetrate, nothing that the power of faith does not overcome. It passes through the thick darkness, and, no matter what clouds may gather, it goes straight to the truth, and holding to it firmly will never let it go.”

Until later,

Fred

 

 

 

 

 

The Habit Of Enjoying Adversity

Hello!

When I first saw this title for the entry below from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” (all of his 365 entries are FREE at http://utmost.org/the-habit-of-enjoying-adversity/ ) I admit I did a double take as I was thinking “say what….are you serious”!! Well, I was wonderfully surprised and enlightened by his extraordinary insight into the spiritual truths presented here.

Editing and emphasis will be mine throughout and here goes:

”  The Habit Of Enjoying Adversity

‘…that the life of Jesus  may also be manifested in your body.’  2 Corinthians 4:10

We have to develop godly habits to express what God’s grace has done in us. It is not just a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved so that “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” And it is adversity that makes us exhibit His life in our mortal flesh.

Is my life exhibiting the essence of the SWEETNESS of the Son of God, or just the basic irritation of “myself” that I would have apart from Him? The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the life of the Son of God to evidence itself in me. No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, “LORD, I AM DELIGHTED TO OBEY YOU IN THIS.”  Instantly, the Son of God will move to the forefront of my life, and will manifest in my body that which glorifies Him.

You must not debate. The moment you OBEY the light of God, His Son shines through you in that very adversity; but if you debate with God, you grieve His Spirit (see Ephesians 4:30). You must keep yourself in the proper condition to allow the life of the Son of God to be manifested in you, and you cannot keep yourself fit if you give way to self-pity.

Our circumstances are the means God uses to exhibit just how WONDERFULLY PERFECT and EXTRAORDINARILY PURE His Son is. Discovering a new way of manifesting the Son of God should make our heart beat with renewed excitement. It is one thing to choose adversity, and quite another to enter into adversity through the orchestrating of our circumstances by God’s sovereignty. And if God puts you into adversity, HE IS ADEQUATELY SUFFICIENT TO “supply all you need” (Philippians 4:19).

Keep your soul properly conditioned to manifest the life of the Son of God. Never live on your memories of past experiences, but LET THE WORD OF GOD ALWAYS BE LIVING AND ACTIVE IN YOU.”

Until later,

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 Will The Least In The Reign Of The Heavens Be Greater Than John The Baptist?

Greetings! Matthew 11:11 reads this way (Modern Young’s Literal Translation):

“there has not risen, among those born of women, a greater than John the Baptist, but he who is the least in the reign of the heavens is greater than he.”

That’s quite an endorsement for John by the very Creator of all humans, Himself! Remember, John “shall be full of the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb: (Luke 1:15….Young’s Literal Translation).

However, even though John had no one live a more superior  life as a human being as he had done, he was still HUMAN! And, being human, he was not yet PERFECT.  No matter how small they may have been, John was still capable of making human errors, which is the committing of sins….ONLY Jesus, as a human, was not capable of this.

Please reference the Post on “Our Glorious New Bodies” for a full explanation with the specific Scriptures confirming the following but, basically, it comes down to ONE (which is actually a combination of a number of  factors) reason why Matthew 11:11 is true:

Whereas NOW we (like John) have dying, decaying, fleshly bodies composed of elements of the soil that are DOMINATED by selfish, ‘soulish’ desires, ALL believers will THEN, in our resurrected and/or transfigured state of being, have new, immortal and incorruptible ‘celestial’ bodies filled and DOMINATED by the Holy Spirit ….THAT WILL BE JUST LIKE CHRIST JESUS, HIMSELF! (Philippians 3:21)

Galatians 5:17 (NAS) sums up the present condition of all humans in our present mortal bodies: “17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh ; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” After the resurrection, as indicated in the previous paragraph, there will be NO HUMAN FLESHLY desires to war against our Holy Spirit filled celestial bodies.

All believers have at the present received the “firstfruits of the Spirit”, or a down payment, so to speak (Romans 8:23); whereas, only Jesus received the Holy Spirit ‘without measure’ as a human (John 3:32-34). At the resurrection, all believers will receive the FULL MEASURE of the Holy Spirit as we take on the very GLORY of Christ Jesus, Himself (2 Thessalonians 2:14)….thus, rendering us incapable of sinning. This is the “crown of righteousness” referred to by Paul in 2 Timothy 4:8. (Please reference the Post “Crown Of Righteousness”)

The Scriptures clearly teach there will be different levels of authority or position granted to each believer based on “rewards” (1 Corinthians 3:8) after the resurrections (please reference the Post “Judgement Seat Of Christ vs Great White Throne Judgment”); HOWEVER, the believer with the “least” position or authority in the Kingdom will still be “greater” than John (was in his human, fleshly body) because of her or his glorified existence as set forth in the Post ” Our Glorious New Bodies” and what is in the above paragraph.

I am quite sure that not many will be above John in his glorious, resurrected existence!

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

Lazarus and the Rich Man

Hey, there! There are so many takes on Luke 16:19-31 about Lazarus and the rich man. Many, if not most, believe that it is just another parable while a good number have no doubt it is a real story. After all, a real place is mentioned (“hades” or “hell”, as the KJV has it) and even Abraham and Moses are in the picture.

If it is real, it certainly shows that there is not only consciousness after death but that sinners and unbelievers can even be in “torment” until the Great White Throne Judgement and after.

Let’s look at these verses step by step and see how they hold up to what the other scriptures say, and not just depend on our human reasoning and logic, tainted as they may be by false, religious traditions we have encountered in the past.

It is extremely important that we realize we are dealing with the “soul” of the rich man and the “soul” of Lazarus….so, what the scriptures say about the “soul” apply here. The entire person composed of the (human) spirit, the (human) body and the (human) soul is NOT under consideration….only the “soul”.

At death, ONLY the “soul” actually makes its way to “hades” (or “hell” as the KJV has it). “Hades” [ or “hell” as the KJV has it] is best defined as the  “unseen” and that is the destiny of the soul when a person dies (Psa.9:17; Acts 2:27,31).  On the other hand, the “spirit” returns to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7) and the “body” returns to the soil (Genesis 3:19 and others). All 3 (body, soul,spirit) go their separate ways when a person dies.

In this narrative about Lazarus, we are exclusively dealing with “hades” (or “hell”, as the KJV has it) and the “souls” pertaining to the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham. And, please also keep in mind the REAL “hell” (or, as it is properly translated,”hades” in Greek and “sheol” in Hebrew) is NOT the fire and brimstone fantasy concocted by false traditions and misguided religious organizations but is best described and defined by the Concordant New Testament Greek-English Keyword Concordance  as “unseen”….or, “not perceptible by any senses, imperceptible”. Please reference the Post on “Hell” for further clarification.

This brings us to our first clue: the rich man asks for some water to cool his tongue in verse 24.  Oops….no tongues are allowed in “hades” (or “hell” in KJV)!!! If this was a real story, after the rich man was entombed,  the tongue would have remained with the body and eventually decayed physically (“returned to the soil”). Only the “soul” can make its way into “hell” or “hades”. This definitely is starting to look like a parable!

Next, Jesus NEVER taught the “crowds” spiritual truths and realities except by parables:

“Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables, and He would not speak anything to them without a parable”. (Matthew 13:34)

This story of Lazarus is being told to a “CROWD” of Pharisees (Luke 16:14)! Utt oh, this pretty much clinches it….we are obviously dealing with a parable.

But, let’s continue.

This doesn’t mean that Jesus did not teach His “disciples” in parables, because He did (Luke 16:1). But, He also taught them  spiritual truths and realities WITHOUT parables such as the “sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5:1 and Luke 6:20: “and His disciples came to Him”. He never taught the “crowds” (non-disciples) in “plain language”, ONLY in parables (Matthew 13:34).

Another major reason this is obviously a parable is attested to in 3 other scriptures in the Bible, or 3 other “witnesses”, if you will.

The following 3 verses clearly show that there is no consciousness for a person when she or he dies (or “sleeps”) ….much less memory, various actions, plans, etc.. You can reference the Posts on “Death” and “Hell” if you like.

Psalm 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?” (New King James)

Psalm 146:4: “His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.” (New King James)

Ecclesiastes 9:5: “For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing” (New King James)

Coupled with this is the fact that the “soul” does not and cannot experience “life”, sensation, etc. unless and until there is the joining of the (human) spirit and (human) body first: “Yahweh Elohim formed the human out of soil from the ground, and He blew in to his nostrils the breath of life; and the human BECAME A LIVING SOUL.”. (Genesis 2:7….emphasis mine….Concordant Literal Old Testament, Rotherham’s and The Companion Bible are all similar in properly translating it “soul”).

And, the soul is actually in the blood: “for the soul of all flesh, it is in the blood” (Lev.17:11, Concordant Old Testament and Companion Bible). Where there is no human blood….there is no human soul (or, life, consciousness, etc.).

As a side note: 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!

Now, when the combination of these 3 elements (spirit, body, soul) is dissolved at death (as in Psalm 146:4 above) the soul returns  to where it was before it became a “living soul” when the human body and human spirit merged….i.e., back to  total unconsciousness (Psalm 6:5 and Ecclesiastes 9:5).

There are quite a number of additional factors which also show the story of Lazarus is dealing with fiction (a parable) to reveal a (Holy) spiritual truth but I will just mention one other. Notice in Luke 16:1, Jesus starts that PARABLE with “and there was a rich man”; and, notice in this PARABLE about Lazarus He also begins in verse 19: “and there was a rich man”.

Bottom line: This is a dramatic and FICTIONAL PARABLE to illustrate a (Holy) spiritual truth and reality that the Pharisees would have no clue of grasping. The parable was meant to illustrate that truly evil, sinful people, who have their hearts set on living in darkness and without God, WILL NOT CHANGE….even, if someone from their family literally came back and told them about their sad mistakes and illusions, and about what lies ahead for them in the way of punishment.

Later, in Christ,

Fred

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