Social Media Buttons - Click to Share this Page




28 February, 2014

What is Discipleship?


The first time I read this piece from the Ransomed Heart devotion book, I somehow expected the end to list my previous Church. It is exactly the same model they were following and still following today. Since God called me into the wilderness, I have visited dozens of Churches and sadly, they all follow proudly the same format.  The idea of discipleship that permeates the Church today is such as the stumbling block for Christians. Believe it or not, I used to be so proud of my Church, my pastors and all of our programs. I am not complaining, after all, even in their misguided ways, God used them to find me.

Through interactions with people in the Church I learned how important it was to apply those Biblical principles  and to learn to behave in a certain way. Until God found me, I had no way of knowing the Church format was not pleasing to Him and serve mainly to replicate the Pharisee's  way. 

The difference between applying principles and walking with God is as drastic as the difference between life and death. It is the difference between finding, living and experiencing the joy of the freedom we have in Salvation Vs bondage. It is the difference between knowing God and knowing about God. It is the difference between truly loving God and lip service. It is also the difference between salvation according to our understanding and Salvation according to God. 

Now, because the eyes of my heart have been opened, I do not touch these programs at all, even with a ten foot pole. While God has taught me a lot as to why we have this problem where we apply biblical principles as a substitute for Christianity, but one of them that touched my heart deeply to the point of grieving is that MANY of today's pastors not only, have not been called or equipped by God to lead anyone in this manner, but they have erected and are leading Churches just because they can.  This is the same time when God taught me about His own Church, His true Bride. This was also the time, I stopped criticizing other Christian denominations.

It was sad to see, those people who used to put me down because they felt that I did not demonstrate clear evidence of spiritual growth by learning to control myself in the flesh, God had showed me how wrong they were in their assessment of me and of themselves. Because of what He showed me, when I sing songs that talk about how God look into our hearts and search much deeper within us, I am grateful and humble at the same time. Words like that evoke gratitude and humility in my heart because I know I was always the underdog in my Church simply because I did not know how to be someone that I was not on the inside. Yet God called me forward and separated me. During that time, I learned what God meant when He said "judge not lets Ye be judged". He vindicated me.  


This post below is courtesy of Ransomed Heart Devotion
What have we come to accept as "discipleship"? A friend of mine recently handed me a program from a large and successful church somewhere in the Midwest. It's a rather exemplary model of what the idea has fallen to. Their plan for discipleship involves, first, becoming a member of this particular church. Then they encourage you to take a course on doctrine. Be "faithful" in attending the Sunday morning service and a small group fellowship. Complete a special course on Christian growth. Live a life that demonstrates clear evidence of spiritual growth. Complete a class on evangelism. Consistently look for opportunities to evangelize. Complete a course on finances, one on marriage, and another on parenting (provided that you are married or a parent). Complete a leadership training course, a hermeneutics course, a course on spiritual gifts, and another on biblical counseling. Participate in missions. Carry a significant local church ministry "load."
You're probably surprised that I would question this sort of program; most churches are trying to get their folks to complete something like this, one way or another. No doubt a great deal of helpful information is passed on. My goodness, you could earn an MBA with less effort. But let me ask you: A program like this—does it teach a person how to apply principles, or how to walk with God? They are not the same thing.

May God have mercy on us!

27 February, 2014

The Consummation of the Affair (What Is Worship, After All?)

The post below, from Ransomed Heart is really good and it is true all the way. One thing the author forgot is that these days social media and technology toys have been ranked right up there with sex. They are used in order to fill the void we carry within us. They have become our gods and idols, and we sacrifice all to them.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying social media and technology are wrong. On the contrary, we have the opportunity to spread God's word and help other Christians growing in the Lord. But, like the Israelites, when it comes to God, we have to have the last word, as such, we fail to let Him use us, instead, most of us uses these tools  like the unbelievers, in the flesh.

I am afraid most of us will never know the joy of using social media while being used by God. It is fun, and it brings fulfillment. Mind you, this does not mean you will be more popular, but each time you decide to post something, God's hand will be at work through you. Make no mistake, when God is at work, you will reach those He targeted. His own niche; isn't that wonderful. Sometimes I read social media posts and I feel, some people calling themselves Christian need prayers and some are actually in need for people to pray for the salvation of their souls.


This is an excerpt found in the Ransomed Heart's devotion book


The older Christian wedding vows contained these amazing words: "With my body, I thee worship." Maybe our forefathers weren't so prudish after all; maybe they understood sex far better than we do. To give yourself over to another, passionately and nakedly, to adore that person's body, soul, and spirit—we know there is something special, even sacramental about sex. It requires trust and abandonment, guided by a wholehearted devotion. What else can this be but worship? After all, God employs explicitly sexual language to describe faithfulness (and unfaithfulness) to him. For us creatures of the flesh, sexual intimacy is the closest parallel we have to real worship. Even the world knows this. Why else would sexual ecstasy become the number one rival to communion with God? The best impostors succeed because they are nearly indistinguishable from what they are trying to imitate. We worship sex because we don't know how to worship God. But we will.

We have grown cynical, as a society, about whether intimacy is really possible. To the degree that we have abandoned soul-one-ness, we have sought out merely sex, physical sex, to ease the pain. But the full union is no longer there; the orgasm comes incomplete; its heart has been taken away. Many have been deeply hurt. Sometimes, we must learn from what we have not known, let it teach us what ought to be.

God's design was that the two shall become one flesh. The physical oneness was meant to be the expression of a total interweaving of being. Is it any wonder that we crave this? Our alienation is removed, if only for a moment, and in the paradox of love, we are at the same time known and yet taken beyond ourselves

26 February, 2014

Seeing with the Heart

A sower went out to sow some seed . . .
A man fell into the hands of robbers . . .
Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one . . .
There were ten virgins with ten lamps . . .
Think of it. You are the Son of the living God. You have come to earth to rescue the human race. It is your job to communicate truths without which your precious ones will be lost . . . forever. Would you do it like this?Why doesn’t he come right out and say it—get to the point? What’s with all the stories?
We children of the Internet and the cell phone and the Weather Channel, we think we are the enlightened ones. We aren’t fooled by anything—we just want the facts. The bottom line. So proposition has become our means of saying what is true and what is not. And proposition is helpful . . . for certain things. Sacramento is the capital of California; water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But proposition fails when it comes to the weightier things in life. While it is a fact that the Civil War was fought between the years of 1861 and 1865, and while it is also a fact that hundreds of thousands of men died in that war, those facts hardly describe what happened at Bull Run or Gettysburg. You don’t even begin to grasp the reality of the Civil War until you hear the stories, see pictures from the time, visit the battlefields yourself.
How much more so when it comes to the deep truths of the Christian faith. God loves you; you matter to him. That is a fact, stated as a proposition. I’ll bet most of you have heard it any number of times. Why, then, aren’t we the happiest people on earth? It hasn’t reached our hearts. Facts stay lodged in the mind. Proposition speaks to the mind, but when you tell a story, you speak to the heart.
And that’s why when Jesus comes to town, he speaks in a way that will get past all our intellectual defenses and disarm our hearts.

By Ransomed Heart

24 February, 2014

Gratitude And Awe



We know a time will come for us to look back with our Lord over the story of our lives. Every hidden thing shall be made known, every word spoken in secret shall be uttered. My soul shrinks back; how will this not be an utter horror? The whole idea of judgment has been terribly twisted by our enemy. One evangelistic tract conveys the popular idea that at some point shortly upon our arrival in heaven the lights will dim and God will give the signal for the videotape of our entire life to be played before the watching universe: every shameful act, every wicked thought. How can this be so? If there is "now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1), how is it possible there will be shame later? God himself shall clothe us in white garments (Rev. 3:5). Will our Lover then strip his beloved so that the universe may gawk at her? Never.
However God may choose to evaluate our lives, whatever memory of our past we shall have in heaven, we know this: It will only contribute to our joy. We will read our story by the light of redemption and see how God has used both the good and the bad, the sorrow and the gladness for our welfare and his glory. With the assurance of total forgiveness we will be free to know ourselves fully, walking again through the seasons of life to linger over the cherished moments and stand in awe at God's grace for the moments we have tried so hard to forget. Our gratitude and awe will swell into worship of a Lover so strong and kind as to make us fully his own.

Courtesy of Ransomed Heart

23 February, 2014

What Does He Want From Us?



The gospel says that we, who are God's beloved, created a cosmic crisis. It says we, too, were stolen from our True Love and that he launched the greatest campaign in the history of the world to get us back. God created us for intimacy with him. When we turned our back on him he promised to come for us. He sent personal messengers; he used beauty and affliction to recapture our hearts. After all else failed, he conceived the most daring of plans. Under the cover of night he stole into the enemy's camp incognito, the Ancient of Days disguised as a newborn. The Incarnation, as Phil Yancey reminds us, was a daring raid into enemy territory. The whole world lay under the power of the evil one and we were held in the dungeons of darkness. God risked it all to rescue us. Why? What is it that he sees in us that causes him to act the jealous lover, to lay siege both on the kingdom of darkness and on our own idolatries as if on Troy—not to annihilate, but to win us once again for himself? This fierce intention, this reckless ambition that shoves all conventions aside, willing literally to move heaven and earth.  

We've been offered many explanations. From one religious camp, we're told that what God wants is obedience, or sacrifice, or adherence to the right doctrines, or morality. Those are the answers offered by conservative churches. The more therapeutic churches suggest that no, God is after our contentment, or happiness, or self-actualization, or something else along those lines. He is concerned about all these things, of course, but they are not his primary concern. What he is after is us—our laughter, our tears, our dreams, our fears, our heart of hearts. Remember his lament in Isaiah, that though his people were performing all their duties, "their hearts are far from me" (29:13 italics added). How few of us truly believe this. We've never been wanted for our heart, our truest self, not really, not for long. The thought that God wants our heart seems too good to be true.


From:   http://www.ransomedheart.com/

21 February, 2014

Forgiveness!

I heard someone say one day that unforgiveness is like taking a poison and hoping the other person would die.  It is so true. Unforgiveness eat us alive inside. One of the reasons I learned to forgive no matter how hard someone hurt me, and believe me, I have been hurt so deep, if God was not on my side, there is no way I would have ever recuperate. I like paying close attention to myself to see how I react when I say or do something outside the Holy Spirit vs when I am in the Spirit. There is a world of a difference between the two and I hate the person I am when I am not in the Spirit. So, when you pay close attention to yourself, you will find what is keeping you from forgiving someone else is because your ego cannot let go even after years. You keep reliving the hurt as if it happened yesterday. Every time you relieve the pain, your pride is dying within you and it mingles itself with everything that you are to bring about a need for revenge. I have to share with you, until God took me in the wilderness, I dealt with people who hurt and humiliated me so much, people who took my job away from me and so on, I honestly wanted God to send a ball of fire and burn them right away.  

I remember there was a time I used to imagine how I would hurt them back, and I was scared of what I could concoct within me. I was scared of myself. As I looked at what my mind and heart could concoct to get revenge I can understand easily why we had people like Hitler and why we still have so many people out there who seemed to have been born to hurt others, with pleasure. Through God’s grace, I learned not to entertain these kinds of thoughts and take control of my anger as I put it all at His feet. This is easier said than done. Most of the time, there is nothing within me that wants forgiveness for these people. But, I learned to bring it to Him, in spite of the consequences of the hurt that was inflicted and in spite of the lack of vengeance. It is so painful to know someone who hurt you seemed to have gotten away with it and living it out.

We can find healing and we can find peace of mind if we truly believe. Forgiveness is an opportunity for us to prove that we truly believe the God that we serve. It is an opportunity to fear Him and glory in His sovereignty and majesty. As I learned to see that forgiveness is directly proportion to my faith in Him, I have also learned not to tolerate it in my heart for even one minute. In fact, when someone hurt me, it is imperative for me to take it right away to God, not only in word but in my actions as well. I always pray for God to heal my heart, but most of all, teach me how to pray for this person’s welfare. I do not care anymore about ever being avenged. If the person is not a believer, I pray for this person’s salvation. This is a spiritual skill we can acquire when only we understand our role in it. As time goes by, I am watching myself changing so much that when people hurt me, it hardly lasts a moment in my heart. My goal at any cost is to reach the point where I can honour God and pray for them like Stephen when he was being stoned, or to be like Christ when He was on the Cross. The healing starts, when we remember who we serve.


With that in mind, I am leaving you with this post from Ransomed Heart



We must forgive those who hurt us. The reason is simple: Bitterness and unforgiveness are claws that set their hooks deep in our hearts; they are chains that keep us held captive to the wounds and the messages of those wounds. Until you forgive, you remain their prisoner. Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Eph. 4:31; Heb. 12:15). We have to let them go.

Forgive as Christ has forgiven you. (Col 3:13)

Now - listen carefully. Forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling - don't try and feel forgiving. It is an act of the will. "Don't wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving," wrote Neil Anderson. "You will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made . . ." We allow God to bring the hurt up from our past, for "if your forgiveness doesn't visit the emotional core of your life, it will be incomplete." We acknowledge that it hurt, that it mattered, and we choose to extend forgiveness to our father, our mother, those who hurt us. This is not saying, "It didn't really matter"; it is not saying, "I probably deserved part of it anyway." Forgiveness says, "It was wrong. Very wrong. It mattered, hurt me deeply. And I release you. I give you to God."

It might help to remember that those who hurt you were also deeply wounded themselves. They were broken hearts, broken when they were young, and they fell captive to the Enemy. They were in fact pawns in his hands. This doesn't absolve them of the choices they made, the things they did. It just helps us to let them go - to realize that they were shattered souls themselves, used by our true Enemy in his war against femininity.

http://ransomedheart.com/

20 February, 2014

Surrender!


I know so much about surrender that I could literally write a book about it. But as I read this in the book Ransomed Heart, I realized there is no way I could describe it as beautiful as this one. 


SURRENDER BY RANSOMED HEART

The time has come for us to quit playing chess with God over our lives. We cannot win, but we can delay the victory, dragging on the pain of grasping and the poison of possessing. You see, there are two kinds of losses in life. The first is shared by all mankind—the losses that come to us. Call them what you will—accidents, fate, acts of God. The point is that we have no control over them. We do not determine when, where, what, or even how. There is no predicting these losses; they happen to us. We choose only how we respond. The second kind is known only to the pilgrim. They are losses that we choose. A chosen loss is different from repentance, when we give up something that was never ours to have. With a chosen loss, we place on the altar something very dear to us, something innocent, whose only danger is in its goodness, that we might come to love it too much. It is the act of consecration, where little by little or all at once, we give over our lives to the only One who can truly keep them.

Spiritual surrender is not resignation. It is not choosing to care no longer. Nor is it Eastern mysticism, an attempt to get beyond the suffering of this life by going completely numb. As my dear friend Jan describes, "It is surrender with desire, or in desire." Desire is still present, felt, welcomed even. But the will to secure is made subject to the divine will in an act of abandoned trust. Think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Courtesy of:
 http://ransomedheart.com

19 February, 2014

A "Propositional" Christianity



We have lived for so long with a "propositional" approach to Christianity, we have nearly lost its true meaning. As Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen says, Much of it hinges on your view of scripture. Are you playing proof-text poker with Genesis plus the Gospels and Paul's epistles, with everything else just sort of a big mystery in between—except maybe Psalms and Proverbs, which you use devotionally? Or do you see scripture as being a cosmic drama—creation, fall, redemption, future hope—dramatic narratives that you can apply to all areas of life? (Prism interview)
For centuries prior to our Modern Era, the church viewed the gospel as a Romance, a cosmic drama whose themes permeated our own stories and drew together all the random scenes in a redemptive wholeness. But our rationalistic approach to life, which has dominated Western culture for hundreds of years, has stripped us of that, leaving a faith that is barely more than mere fact-telling. Modern evangelicalism reads like an IRS 1040 form: It's true, all the data is there, but it doesn't take your breath away. As British theologian Alister McGrath warns, the Bible is not primarily a doctrinal sourcebook: "To reduce revelation to principles or concepts is to suppress the element of mystery, holiness and wonder to God's self-disclosure. 'First principles' may enlighten and inform; they do not force us to our knees in reverence and awe, as with Moses at the burning bush, or the disciples in the presence of the risen Christ" (A Passion for Truth).
Courtesy of: http://ransomedheart.com/

18 February, 2014

Separate Journeys: Head and Heart



The sense of being part of some bigger story, a purposeful adventure that is the Christian life, begins to drain away again after those first-love years in spite of everything we can do to stop it. Instead of a love affair with God, your life begins to feel more like a series of repetitive behaviors, like reading the same chapter of a book or writing the same novel over and over. The orthodoxy we try to live out, defined as "Believe and Behave Accordingly," is not a sufficient story line to satisfy whatever turmoil and longing our heart is trying to tell us about. Somehow our head and heart are on separate journeys and neither feels like life.
Eventually this division of head and heart culminates in one of two directions. We can either deaden our heart or divide our life into two parts, where our outer story becomes the theater of the should and our inner story the theater of needs, the place where we quench the thirst of our heart with whatever water is available. I chose the second route, living what I thought of as my religious life with increasing dryness and cynicism while I found "water" where I could: in sexual fantasies, alcohol, the next dinner out, late-night violence videos, gaining more knowledge through religious seminars—whatever would slake the thirsty restlessness inside. Whichever path we choose—heart deadness or heart and head separation—the wounds, the Arrows win, and we lose heart.
This is the story of all our lives, in one way or another. The haunting of the Romance and the Message of the Arrows are so radically different and they seem so mutually exclusive they split our hearts in two. In every way that the Romance is full of beauty and wonder, the Arrows are equally powerful in their ugliness and devastation.

Courtesy of: http://ransomedheart.com/


17 February, 2014

Suffering! FROM RANSOMED HEARTS


I chose this Ransomed Heart piece called “SUFFERING” because I know this author knows God instead of knowing about God which is completely different.
I have read countless times on the internet how we do not have to suffer to be true Christians. Every time I hear someone say something like that, I cringe. Why? Because the God that I know taught me otherwise and because most Christians who truly know God intimately will tell you they have suffered immensely. The third reason is that we are not above Christ the Master.

Christ life was a challenge every single day. He never knew where His next meal was coming from, where He was going to sleep, and what next crisis He was going to have to deal with while on the road. He was insulted every day by the Pharisees, and He had to live everyday knowing that somewhere they were plotting about Him because they did not like what He had to say. He had to make Himself available constantly because everyone wanted a piece of Him. His own brothers and the town where He grew up did not believe in Him. Most people doubted that He knew what He was talking about.
Imagine that He had to live every single day with a constant reminder of His impending death through torture and humiliation?  Christ also made it clear to us through His word that suffering is a big part of Christianity.

I have to admit that even myself, I am still learning through God what He truly means by “suffering.” He taught me a lot the past few days about why my suffering seems endless as He opened my mind to understand it better. As human beings, besides all the other kind of suffering we are to expect in order to get through life itself, we have a list of things that cause pain in the depth of the soul while God is working through us. As God taught me patience in the wilderness, I realized why it makes sense not too many people have the gift of patience that comes from the Holy Spirit. God can only teach you patience through the pain as you wait while your soul is in agony.

He is not going to teach you patience while you have no idea that this is happening to you. Besides, before He bestows the gift of patience which is also called “long suffering” you actually learn what it means to wait for so long, in darkness that you learn to wait for hope. Now, imagine having to wait for hope itself? When this happened to me, I was so sure this darkness that surrounded me was too deep in my soul to be of God. In fact, the first thing I said was, wow, this darkness must be the devil. The Holy Spirit told me quietly with much reassurance that it was Him. Then, I knew I did not have to panic. But this is a lesson I do not wish on my worst enemy. There is only deep sorrow in your soul and you still have to keep going with Him. In fact, you will find that God even takes away the comfort and reassurance you feel in claiming His promises. That’s when He showed me how we use His promises like crutches and faith has to go beyond promises. I remember saying, but, how am I going to walk when you take your word away from me? THE DESPAIR IN THE SOUL WITHOUT THE WORD OF GOD IS UNIMAGINABLE!  Yet, He did not answer, while He waited for me to have faith enough in HIM ALONE to take the next needed steps.  While you do not even have His promises as a crutch, He tells you “walk.” I remember standing there trying to understand, how do I walk without feet? God remained silent through it all. The only way you figure it out is by recalling that your soul has seen the invisible God, so even if it means you are going to break your neck if you try to take one step while you have no feet, then you do it. I am here to tell you that there is a different kind of faith He works in your heart just for making the decision to go on with Him in those circumstances that HE alone engineers for us.

The key lesson here is “HIM!” Not His word, not His promises, and not His Salvation, but HIM!

Another example is the doctrine of “taking up the cross to follow hard after Him” this is a life of radical obedience with a lot of consequences. Yet you have to be willing to accept everything for His sake. There is deliverance to self, brokenness and so on. All these things are made up of suffering that is most of the time, so painful to the soul. Another doctrine that brings suffering is our faith and it is directly related to the doctrine of taking up the cross to follow after Him. Because everything that opposes our faith is part of the cross we have to take to follow Him. To top it all, God is constantly testing our faith day in day out.  Even when He gives us a vision and He chooses the path as well, you will always find yourself in some sort of dilemma that could lead you to doubt whether you were following God’s leading. When He taught me about those continual testing, there was a pain in my heart through the waiting process, which disappeared. One of the reasons it was so painful is because I know I have been through years of testing with Him and I passed them through His grace. I never expected Him to still be testing me so much, so I was raking my brain to find out what I am doing wrong. Guess what? I am so glad He taught me this lesson last week.

I am not trying to discourage anyone. I am not saying that living the true Christian life is not possible. What I am trying to say is that, there will constantly be pain in the offering. The offering here is about the giving up our lives to God. It is not easy; there is a major struggle going on inwardly and hardships all the way. But, each one of us has to make a decision to decide who we want to serve. While I am still fighting a good fight, I know from experience that God offers rest. It is a struggle for me because I am still learning to be consistent in living the life of complete rest that He offers all of us in Hebrews 4.

This is now turning into a post when in reality the real post was meant to be the words found in SUFFERING in Ransomed Heart!

SUFFERING!  FROM RANSOMED HEARTS


Suffering is flooding the earth like a rising tide. This isn’t merely something we behold on the news. In the past six months nearly everyone dear to me has passed through a dark valley of suffering; so has our family. I’ll bet if you think of ten people you know, six are in the midst of some painful ordeal even now. Suffering will try to separate you from Jesus. You must not let it.
The worst part of suffering is the damage it can do to your view of God, your relationship with him. Feelings of abandonment creep in: Why did he let this happen? Anger. A loss of hope. Mistrust. Forsakenness. At the very time you need him most, you will feel most compelled to pull away from Jesus, or feel that he has pulled away from you.

Be very, very careful and pay attention to how you interpret your suffering. Don’t jump to conclusions. Interpretation is critical. Beware the agreements that you make. This is where the enemy can destroy you. Agreements such as God has abandoned me; it’s my fault; I’ve done something wrong, and a host of others. If you’ve been making these agreements, you will want to break them. They allow a chasm to form between you and your Jesus.
By all means, seek a breakthrough. Too many Christians simply fold under hardship and give way to the feelings of abandonment. Pray against it; pray hard. If it is an attack from the enemy, much of that can be shut down through prayer. Much healing is available, too, through the life of Jesus in us. Do not simply surrender. But when breakthrough does not seem to come, when the pain lingers on, remember this:
Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

FROM: Ransomed Hearts
http://www.ransomedheart.com/

16 February, 2014

Until We Are Broken, Our Lives Will Be Self-Centered


Right at the onset of my wilderness with God, He made it a point to break my will to His. Because I knew very well what the brokenness process was about and the difference between someone who is broken and the one who is not, I could not understand why God broke me so early in the process.  In addition, I was able to see with my spiritual eyes, several well known authors, pastors, even Christian Scholars who were not really broken in their walk with God. But they were so eloquent in their speeches. They knew so much about God and the history of all that was written in the Bible that one would never dare think they were not broken yet, unless the Spirit showed you. I needed answers so I decided to ask God, if it’s that important for my will to be broken until it becomes yours, then why is it so many Christians are so deep in their ministry before being broken by you?

The reader digest version of what God taught me is that according to His process, it is ideal that we are broken very early in our walk with Him, because it was easier to follow Him. But, if it cannot be done, because of our willingness to let Him do things in us, He proceeds with doing various things in our lives until this person is ready to accept the full process of brokenness which usually takes at least two years. (Anyone who has gone through the process knows about the length of it) God went a few steps further in showing many things about this issue. Such as, sometimes He takes matters into His hands if they are not getting it. He also taught me about how He restrains us once there is a tiny will in us. In any case, the one thing that remains so vivid in my heart is when He taught me, how those who force Him to change the process around, lose rewards in terms of the depth of how they experience Him right here on earth while we walk with Him. This does not mean that this Christian would not experience God, but it certainly means that they experience less of Him.

Do you know why this part of the teaching is so important and so vivid in my heart? Because my heart was getting conceited and God had to warn me to watch myself. As He warned me, I then learned, this “experiencing God thing” is also His grace at work, not of anything that I did  that made me better than someone else.



Here is the post by Ransomed Heart
Until We Are Broken, Our Lives Will Be Self-Centered

True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own. So long as you think you are really something in and of yourself, what will you need God for? I don't trust a man who hasn't suffered; I don't let a man get close to me who hasn't faced his wound. Think of the posers you know—are they the kind of man you would call at 2:00 A.M., when life is collapsing around you? Not me. I don't want clichés; I want deep, soulful truth, and that only comes when a man has walked the road I've been talking about. As Frederick Buechner says,
To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do—to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst—is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed. (The Sacred Journey)
Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory. As Robert Bly says, "Where a man's wound is, that is where his genius will be." There are two reasons for this. First, the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out. Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial. And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community. The false self is never wholly false. Those gifts we've been using are often quite true about us, but we've used them to hide behind. We thought that the power of our life was in the golden bat, but the power is in us. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.

14 February, 2014

Deuteronomy 30:6 - Heart's Circumcision

Deuteronomy 30:6 “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring,so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

CROSS REFERENCES:
Deuteronomy 10:16Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

Jeremiah 4:4 “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done-- burn with no one to quench it.

Jeremiah 24:7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart

Colossians 2:11 “In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands

Romans 2:29 “No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God.”


This post is more about thinking things through. I wrote above the words of Deuteronomy 30:6 along with the cross references of the Old and New Testaments. I am not giving answers to anyone. Instead, I want to show you how first of all, I do not take one verse and make it my preferred pillow and rest on it for the rest of my life unless it has been confirmed in my heart by the Holy Spirit. Only after I search according to His glory and His goals, not mine. So, my process is to make sure that I ask Him to reveal the difference between the verses, to my heart. I make sure my motives are right with God, that I am not seeking for one specific verse to be right, over the other one.  I humble myself before Him and pray for the result He expects to see in me. I also spend time meditating on them as long as God wants me to, until I hear from Him. I usually go with an open heart and willing to do anything He asks of me to get to the expected results. So, whether it is pain, loss, humiliation, I am game. If by any chance, I do not have to suffer to get it worked out within me, then it is a bonus.

Those verses first show that God’s plan has never changed. It has  remained the same yesterday, today and forever and our ability to join Him in His quest, and ability to truly love Him or reject Him, do not change what He is doing. He has one trajectory and never deviated from it.

Secondly, there seems to be a contradiction in those verses. Deuteronomy 10:16 and Jeremiah 4:4 implied that we have something to do with it, about the circumcision of the heart. Deuteronomy 10:16 tells us why the heart is not circumcised “ and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” And Jeremiah 4:4 tells us of the consequences of not having a circumcised heart.

Now, if you feel because those verses are in the Old Testament and they have nothing to do with us Christian, my answer to you is that you have a stiff-necked that causes you to be spiritually blind and ignorant. There is nothing I can do about that.

Personally, God taught me only after I found out through an experience with Him, how wonderful it was to be under grace.  He let me enjoy the freedom that I found for not being under the law. Then three days later He told me that I was being held at a higher standard than the Israelites, because I was under grace. (That was such a buzz kill)

Thirdly, Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 24:7, Colossians 2:11 and Romans 2:29 seem to indicate that the circumcision is done solely by the Spirit of God.

As I read Deuteronomy it took me back to the time that I lived this dilemma, and inquired of God as to why the discrepancies. I will be bluntly honest with you, by then, I was not interested in asking anyone to help me understand except God. Sometimes He would tell me things through some pastors who are living in intimacy with Him. But, I usually go to God first to find out what I need to understand spiritually.

I spent months, those months turned to years and He never answered this specific question about what my heart considered discrepancies. (In reality they are not discrepancies)  Although I was told I had a new heart when I first said the sinner’s prayer, yet I never heard God in my heart and had no idea how to communicate with Him personally except through prayers. I also knew nothing of what it meant to walk in the Spirit. After I consecrated myself, surrendered every bit of who I am to Him, I started dreaming and had visions. In my dreams I had the same man who would come to me. But He looked like a shadow He would sit and talk to me for hours in the night and I would wake up so much wiser with so much joy in my heart. There were times I was so sure I was not sleeping. Anyway, I will spare you the details of those years. In 2005, He started teaching me meditation, it was amazing because I knew every single time He wanted to talk to me. I would just immerse in my Bible or some Bible verses that I read before. As I learned to meditate, I dreamt less and less.

When I was almost five years in the wilderness, I started hearing His voice in my heart. It was a phenomenal experience where He allowed me to live for a few days where I could see it all with my spiritual eyes. He gave me instructions as to why, how, what and everything I needed to know. I am such a simpleton, I remember asking Him, why do I have ears in my heart then? What I am driving at, the final instruction that I received what “here is your new and circumcised heart. I would have loved to be able to keep the experience all the time, but He took it away. One question He did not answer during that period of time is: “why are you giving a new heart to me now, shouldn’t I have received it like I was told a few years back when I said the sinner’s prayer? Over the years, He has allowed me to understand why.

I also learned, when God does not give me an answer right away, it is because He knows I will not be able to handle the response right away. Often time, it is because I lack the spiritual maturity level, for it. Sometimes I know it is not my business. If He feels it is not my business, He will give me a profound peace about it and would confirm in my heart that what I know, even though I cannot explain it now in this life, does not change the fact that it is His truth. Nevertheless, I have learned to keep walking while I wait upon Him for what I do not understand.

I will give you a hint as to why the differences between those verses above. God knew the Israelites could not and would not walk with Him. Moses knew once they reached the Promised Land, their habit of disobeying God, which was ingrained in those who died in the wilderness, as well as the new generation, would not have changed. For us today’s Christians, most of us still live as if God’s word is idle.

QUESTIONS:
1.       Why do you think the Israelites failed?
2.     What do you think they could have done differently?
3.     Why did they miss out on all the warnings when they were written right there in black and white?
4.     Do you think you have a circumcised heart?
5.     What proof do you have about your claim?
6.     Why do you think their failures were included in the Bible?


13 February, 2014

Don't Study the Counterfeit

John Eldridge could not have said it better. This is why you do not see me writing about Satan. Because as far as God is concerned, if we truly focus on Him, the rest is simple and really easy to deal with because you know who you are and Satan has no power over you. Every attempt, he makes on you is met with defeat and you just put him in his place as you go about God’s business.

As the matter of fact, I know enough to say that there is no such thing as Christian being possessed by the devil because if you are possessed by the Holy Spirit, there is no room for the devil to come in and kick the Holy Spirit out.  Yes, we can be in bondage in certain areas in our lives, but if we are truly His, it is a matter of time as God deals with us through the process, to be freed. I learned enough from God to know Satan keeps us busy in casting him out that we have no idea we left the path and we have actually been so busy with him we neglected the true God. Another thing that we do is that we put all the blame on him for our sinful nature and stubbornness in following the true God. As long as Satan is to be blamed, then we are in the clear, all of the sudden, it is his fault not really ours.

By the way, when Eldridge says: “believing and agreeing with the truth” in the last paragraph, he does not mean the kind of belief that is only on the lips, but in our heart and walk with Him

 I am going to stop here, I would rather you read John Eldridge….

In order to recognize a lie, we need to know the truth. Experts in counterfeit money don’t spend their time studying counterfeits. They study the real currency. In the same way, to engage in the spiritual battle raging around us, we don’t shift our focus to lies or to the Devil. We focus on Jesus. We marinate in the truth of who God is and who he says we are. Then and only then we will be able to quickly recognize a lie. And though there are some areas of bondage in our lives where truth is not going to be enough to set us completely free, we will never get any freedom at all without it.
Remember when Jesus was in the wilderness and the Devil came to tempt him? Jesus didn’t reason with the Enemy. He didn’t engage with him in a dialogue; he simply refuted him with the truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
So, Spiritual Warfare Level One: you have an Enemy. You are hated. Evil exists. Satan exists. Foul spirits exist. Peter writes, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8 NIV 2011). Devour, not tempt. Devour as in shred, maul, kill, destroy. James commands, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
If we do not submit to God, the Devil will not flee. If we do not resist the Devil, he will not flee. There is no reason to fear or strive. But we do need to submit to God and resist the Devil. We enforce the freedom Jesus has won for us by believing and agreeing with the truth. This is a big, big part of “shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive” (Isa. 52:2 NIV 2011). Time to rise up, girl.

Courtesy of http://ransomedheart.com/

12 February, 2014

I Live To Know You Lord Should Be our Motto as Christians!



Today I was reading Deuteronomy 27-29, I found several verses such as:

Deut. 28:9 "The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.” Here is what Matthew Henry has to say about it.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
“Deut. 28:1-14 - This chapter is a very large exposition of two words, the blessing and the curse. They are real things and have real effects. The blessings are here put before the curses. God is slow to anger, but swift to show mercy. It is his delight to bless. It is better that we should be drawn to what is good by a child-like hope of God's favour, than that we be frightened to it by a slavish fear of his wrath. The blessing is promised, upon condition that they diligently hearken to the voice of God. Let them keep up religion, the form and power of it, in their families and nation, then the providence of God would prosper all their outward concerns.”

Deut. 28:47 “If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received,”
I like this verse because it shows how God expects to be served and worshiped. But if we have not learned to be grateful for who He is and what He has done for us through Christ, we end up living the type of Christianity where we feel obligated to fulfill our obligations to Him. So, while we are religious, we are so resistant to changes that the Holy Spirit cannot make a dent in us. The real love, the enthusiasm and the joy of it all will always be missing in our walk.

Deut. 28:63 “Just as the LORD has found great pleasure in causing you to prosper and multiply, the LORD will find pleasure in destroying you. You will be torn from the land you are about to enter and occupy.”
This verse might sound off a bit to some, and we might even question God. But this is who God is.  His love and wrath has the same intensity. So, yes He will find pleasure in destroying them. The pleasure comes from the fact that He simply has no tolerance for wickedness and His Holiness demands it. For us Christian our wickedness comes from the fact that we want to butt heads with Him at any cost, because we have His promises and He cannot lie.

This kind of Christianity is drilled into us day in day out. Most Churches today, along with social media, and everywhere on the internet we find joy in claiming verses we like, that speak of His promises. In reality, these verses do not stand by themselves as they are not complete. We learned to cultivate that mentality where we think He owes us something and we can get away with murder.  God has no tolerance for this kind of self-serving Salvation. The hearts of the Israelites were not right with Him, just as us today. When we insist on having our way instead of His, well, we share in the same symptoms and diseases as the Israelites. Like God showed me, there is a big difference between those who love Him and will be losing some rewards, and those who do not love Him at all as if Salvation never touched their hearts.

Moses example is one that shows Moses love for God, but his disobedience caused him not to see the Promised Land. VS God, destroying the Israelites because of their lack of love for Him, they could not follow at all.  God does not expect us to be perfect until we die because perfection belongs to Him. But, we have to learn to examine ourselves, not through our eyes, but His.


ON ANOTHER NOTE….
I shared with you in yesterday’s post. God touched my heart and I understand that I made it all sound so bad, as if God has not done anything good for me while I am waiting on Him, upon Him and for Him. The reality is that He showered blessings on me through my two sons. The past three months have been incredible. Each news I received from them is earth shattering.  There has been a lot as if God has opened a flow of blessings from heaven.

Last week I was praying and asking God how long will I have to wait? I even told Him whenever He tells me to do something, I do it, and then it is like He uses my obedience to humble me in a way that things always turn sort of sour for me. In His defense, I have to say, even though my life is truly rough and my soul could use a break from this divine training, I still pray for Him to keep me where I am. My relentless prayer goes along this line: “Teach me and train me to be like Paul so that I, too, have no aim, no end and no purpose but you my Lord.” Yes, it seems crazy that after such a long period of time I am still spending long hours with God asking Him to make me this person.

I have to be honest, there was a time I stopped praying this way because I realized God was giving me the desires of my heart, in a painful way. After a few months of not praying this kind of prayer,  God showed me how my heart was letting Him go slowly as my first love. The only thing that had changed was the way I prayed on purpose I avoided this kind of prayer.  Because God has given me the ability to touch His heart, I am able to feel His pain and joy, (only when He wants to) which is both a blessing and a curse as far as I am concerned. I had no choice but to stop the pain that I was causing Him and go back to praying Him to keep me like Paul with no aim, no end and no purpose but Him. Since then, I never deviated from the path.

So during my prayer time last week while I was talking to God as if He had forgotten me in the waiting process, I felt suddenly a flow of peace all over me. This awesome, still, peaceful and comforting voice told me “it has to be this way for now my child, but have you noticed that you are not forgotten because all the blessings that should come to you is happening to your children?” I was speechless for a moment. Then, I realized it is true; God has blessed my two boys so much. Yet, even in the midst of all these news I had received, I saw these things as “my children’s own lives” and did not associate them with me at all.

Right after that, I went to my laptop I found an email that my son sent to us his parents and wife together to announce another major news in his life. I checked the time to see when the email came in; it was less than a minute. I grabbed the phone to call him. He told me he was about to call his wife when he saw my number, needless to say he was surprised with the speed of my phone call. As I talked to him all I could see was how everything my boy touches turns into blessings in his life. It is unreal how God lined up people on his path to accomplish His will in his life.

I did not stay on the phone because I wanted him to call his wife and rejoice in the news together. As I hung up the phone God confirmed in my heart how my son’s life is about me and my walk with Him. Something inside of me could not take it anymore and I wept from the depth of my soul for about half an hour. My tears were tears of joy, couple with how real God is and how awesome my God is. If I were to list all that has happened in my two boys lives, it would look like I am bragging. Even today as I am writing this post today, I still cannot believe someone like me would have ever had the blessings that I received through them.

My point is, it is not all that bad while someone could look at my life and ask where is my God, but I know He has not abandoned me. No matter how hard things are for me, I would not have it any other way because it brings joy to my Savior.

When you read Deuteronomy 29: 24-29 I rejoice in the way He ends it. These verses tell us what people will say about the Israelites. Notice while these people will say those things in verses 24 28, they will not understand why God is doing all that He is doing in the Israelites lives because they are not privy to the whole story. So, in verse 29 He says: Deut.29:29 "The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.”