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.

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!

I would like to leave you with these words about prayer from Oswald Chambers that can be found at http://utmost.org/thinking-of-prayer-as-jesus-taught/, along with his other 364 daily entries. 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.

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

 

Never Trust Anyone….Completely

Hi, again!

I have another excerpt for you from Oswald Chambers (found at http://utmost.org/put-god-first/, along with his other 364 entries) and the editing and emphasis will be mine throughout:

” ‘Jesus did not commit Himself to them…for He knew what was in man. —John 2:24-25‘.

Put Trust in God First. Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because HE PUT HIS TRUST IN GOD FIRST. He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for others.

If I put my trust in human beings first, the end result will be my despair and hopelessness toward everyone. I will become bitter because I have insisted that people be what no person can ever be— absolutely perfect and right.

Never trust anything in yourself or anyone else, except the grace of  God.

Until later, take care 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

Seek FIRST The Kingdom Of God And His Righeousness

Greetings!

Oswald Chambers has an excellent explanation of Matthew 6:33 :

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

It and his other 364 entries can be found at http://utmost.org/having-god%E2%80%99s-unreasonable-faith/. Editing and emphasis will be mine throughout….here goes:

“When we look at these words of Jesus, we immediately find them to be the most revolutionary that human ears have ever heard. “…seek first the kingdom of God….” Even the most spiritually-minded of us argue the exact opposite, saying, “But I must live; I must make a certain amount of money; I must be clothed; I must be fed.” THE GREAT CONCERN OF OUR LIVES IS NOT THE KINGDOM OF GOD BUT HOW WE ARE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES TO LIVE.

Jesus reversed the order by telling us to get the right relationship with God first, maintaining it as the PRIMARY concern of our lives, and never to place our concern on taking care of the other things of life.

“…do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25). Our Lord pointed out that from His standpoint it is absolutely undreasonable for us to be anxious, worrying about how we will live. Jesus did not say that the person who takes no thought for anything in his life is blessed— no, that person is a fool. But Jesus did teach that His disciple must make his relationship with God the DOMINATING focus of his life, and to be cautiously carefree about everything else in comparison to that.

In essence, Jesus was saying, “Don’t make food and drink the CONTROLLING  factor of your life, but be focused absolutely on God.

Jesus is saying that THE GREATEST CONCERN OF LIFE IS TO PLACE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD FIRST, AND EVERYTHING ELSE SECOND.”

All the best, in Him.

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

 

The Faith To Persevere

Hi, there!

Here is another excellent excerpt from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” and it,as well as his other 364 entries, can be found at http://utmost.org/the-faith-to-persevere/ . I have edited it and added emphasis:

”     The Faith To Persevere

‘Because you have kept My command to persevere’… —Revelation 3:10

Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly.

ENTRUST YOURSELF TO GOD’S HANDS. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me,  yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15)

Faith is NOT some weak and pitiful emotion, but is STRONG and VIGOROUS confidence built on the fact that GOD IS HOLY LOVE. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him.. Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with ABANDON and TOTAL CONFIDENCE upon God.

God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our ALL with total abandoned confidence in Him. There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet— places still untouched by the life of God. There were none of those places in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You…” (John 17:3).

If we will take this view, life will become one great romance— a GLORIOUS opportunity of seeing wonderful things ALL the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of POWER.”

Take care, in Him.

Fred

 

 

We Are Only What We Are In The Dark

Hey, there!

At the website I refer you to for all 365 entries in the book “My Utmost For His Highest” ( http://utmost.org/faith%E2%80%94-not-emotion/ ) by Oswald Chambers, there is a section in the upper right corner titled “Wisdom from Oswald Chambers” and this is in addition to the main entry for that date and which changes daily . They are quotes from other writings by this remarkable, quite Spiritual saint.

Here goes:

“We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark—the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God’s sight.  The Love of God—The Ministry of the Unnoticed, 669 L

All the best, in Him.

Fred

True Spiritual Life Does Not Depend On Certainty And Common Sense

Hello, and yup, I have yet another great entry from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” (all of his entries in this book can be found for FREE at http://utmost.org/gracious-uncertainty/ ). Emphasis will be mine throughout:

“Gracious Uncertainty

‘….it has not yet been revealed what we shall be….’ – 1 John 3:2

Our natural inclination is to be so precise– trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next– that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is NOT the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do NOT put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” WE CANNOT PRESUME TO SEE OURSELVES IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE IN WHICH WE HAVE NEVER BEEN.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.

When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God– it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). THE SPIRITUAL LIFE IS THE LIFE OF A CHILD.

We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, LIFE IS FULL OF SPONTANEOUS, JOYFUL UNCERTAINTY AND EXPECTANCY. Jesus said, “…believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”.

Leave EVERYTHING to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in– but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful in Him.”

With uncertainty, until later.

Fred