Monday, March 28, 2016

Psalm 46:10a

Be still; and now I am God.

It is amazing how many Christians have their lives so filled with "doing" that they have little or no time to wait and be still with God.  We have used so much of our valuable time wanting to be entertained.  Even being busy doing the Lord's work can be so consuming that we lose focus on having communion with the Holy Spirit.  There is very little prayer time for individuals and in groups.  
I read in a book called "Revival! A People Saturated With God" by Brian Edwards, a pastor came back from Jerusalem to his English church in 1859.  What he saw astonished him, as he witnessed close to 40 prayer meetings, eight of them done solely by children up to twelve years of age.  We boast of our monthly fasting and prayer, or our weekly Wednesday night meetings, and many of these are filled with barely 10% of those in regular Sunday attendance.  Worse is some of the prayers are so routine, we couldn't set a dry match on fire.  Yes, I am including myself in this matter; I am no better.
Last year, I went on my normal walk, but this was different.  Most times, I spend giving my concerns and supplications to Him.  That day, I didn't get three words out what He told me not to say a word.  Understand, this wasn't what you'd expect.
He said nothing, nevertheless, the closeness and communication I had through the heart was something I will never forget.  Unfortunately, the best word to describe this communion with the Most High is indescribable, and I believe it is best interpreted only if you could experience it yourself.  
Interestingly, it is the pain caused by leaders of a church that has driven me to this passion to seek Him for answers and a "cure" for these wounds.  It is those times where I am idle (Hebrew word raphah - means to cease work, to be idle) where I have found I am more receptive to the Almighty.  The Scripture verse above literally means, to cease from activity, and let Him show you "I AM."  
I cannot conform this story, for I do not remember where I read it.  There was an preacher from the late 1800s, and he would spend two weeks in a special place in the woods, and he would only tell his wife where he was going, so he could not be distracted from his "be still" time with God.  He would come back with such a refreshing, he made it a practice to this whenever he could.
Reading the Word is good, and the Holy Spirit can speak through this as well.  Sermons, listening to praise music, all are good within their own parameters.  The Bible can lead you to God, and tells you much of Him, but until we spend time with Him, our view of Him will always be limited by how we "read" about Him.
I am longing for the weather to warm up, so I can get away and be with my Father.  Any entertainment can be sacrificed so you may be with Him.  Imagine your spouse ignoring you, watching movies, spending time with friends, going shopping and you feel hurt and rejected because you want them alone - just you and your spouse.  Now think how God feels, even giving Him fifteen minutes is good but is it enough for the One who died for you?  Is that all you give to your idols?  Who truly gets more time and affection - entertainment and friends or God?
I have been married for fifteen years, and there is no one on earth today who knows my wife as I do.  This should never stop me from being intimate with her, and likewise with me.  Once this passion begins to dissipate (and it comes unknowingly), we fall in a routine in our relationship that loses that potency through intimacy, and the same goes with our relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Once a burning flame now scarcely flickers in the dark. 
If this is so, there are other things that is taking away from its source to continue burning to be with our Father.  If you spend more time on Facebook than on your knees, it is an idol.  If you spend more time watching movies and television than in communion, what do you love more?  If your smartphone gets more attention than Him or your spouse, maybe you need to realize you have a golden calf in your heart. 
If God is you All in All, prove it.  Prove He is more than the world has to offer for you.  Give up our idols, and take that time and give it to Him.  You will never regret it, and that fire will burn hot again.

Jeremiah 9:23-24


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Done With Church For Now and 2 Samuel 16:5-13

I am aware that sometimes public places are not a place to air what some seem "dirty laundry."  From my standpoint, anyone who doesn't wash clothes but still hangs them outside to dry, maybe they are doing it with the clothes belonging the other.  I am not doing this for my satisfaction or gratification, I am doing this in hopes that if there are others who have run into the same situation that me and my wife have recently, my prayer is to help you get through it.
Over two years ago, we started attending another church.  My wife thought this would be a good place to go, since the last church had their cliques filled and we watched as many lonely people were avoided like leprosy from these cliques.  As we slowly became acquainted with the process of how it is ran and the people, I was prompted by the LORD to get in touch with the leaders.  They asked me to write them so they can pray about it.  In May, 2014, the meeting was set up, and two elders and I began at the church.
In the letter was a brief description of what I saw, and it was someone sweeping some dust under the rug, but the LORD did not inform me who it was.  The second was what I felt very strongly about bringing, which was praying and practicing to wait on Him. 
The first seventy minutes went well.  The last fifteen or so minutes was an attack on me assuming the role of a prophet over their church.  It got the point where one was demanding when did God call me as a prophet and I refused to make this about me.  I ended up walking out of the meeting, since I knew this was all about getting me angry and defending me more than the other.
Fast forward two and a half years to close to today.  I had walked away from the church for almost eight months, my wife still decided to try to push through the muck.  She set up a meeting with the pastor again (against my wishes) to get to the issues, and it all finally came out.  The leaders, especially the pastor, felt I was prideful, arrogant, also non-submissive.  Every time my wife came up with a rebuttal, he brought new factions against me.  He mentioned that many of the leaders unfollowed us on Facebook because of my strong posts, since they were getting offended.  All this JUST from my Facebook posts.  Remember, I hadn't been in the church in quite a period of time.  Yet, they still held this all against me.  Ironically, the pastor preached a message that they still need to extend grace to those who disagree with them.
My wife was told I was not coming to him (the pastor) about not resolving my issues.  I had met with the elders, submitted a letter to them, I have met with him in his office twice, even invited him over for lunch at our place and our expense.  I humbled myself in this regard several times, but I am still at fault.  Simply, I have been part several ministries within a church that gladly sought believers to serve, and work out all the issues with leaders proceeding over groups.  Somehow, my issues are worse than others, and it is noticeable in what they do.
I am not looking for any retribution or vengeance.  In fact, I am taking David's approach in 2 Samuel 16:5-13.  One of Saul's relatives began cursing David for what he believed he did against Saul.  One of the David's military leaders wanted to smite him, but David responded this might be the LORD and reminding him of his own afflictions.  This was a good way, in David's heart, to remain humble, despite his position of authority. 
All this is actually driving me toward God.  Last year, I asked God to throw me in the refiner's fire.  Very few believers will ever volunteer for this, but I did, and I felt awful but God met me after the trial.   I began to come to a realization that I tried to find him through the church, when I need to find God and let him find the church for me.  We spend so much time believing what churches are doing and that is satisfactory in our relationship with God.  I will tell you honestly, it does not suffice.
If you have been through this, it is very easy to send allegations back to the church, and you may have every right.  Before we need to bring this up, first go to God, and do it not with finding a retaliatory action but come in on honest supplication before Him.  Next is to sit in silence in loneliness of Him and wait as long as it takes for an answer.  Be prepared for a response you will not expect.  We are only righteous because of His Son, and we have faults. 
Is it possible any of the allegations these leaders send about me were true?  For all of 2015, my only prayer was for God to bring up the dross of much that was not good, and I saw it.  It is the most ugly sight my spiritual man could ever want to see.  I would be willing to go through the fire again, for some things will burn in a fire, others with only get purified and not burn at all (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). 
As of now, I will be spending more time with the Refuge and my Rock.  He is my only recluse, with all the pain I had to endure, it only makes sense to want the Almighty.  Place your anger on the altar, and give it honestly before Him.  We all have emotions and feelings, we need them, God gave them to us.  Even praying angry to God is well, as long as we humbly admit these shortcomings before our Judge.  Leaving it in His hands is going to be the toughest thing ever to release, and the best option we have, in hopes there may be reconciliation.
Do I hope there can be?  Undoubtedly.  I must hold out for hope, even it may never happen.  I believe God has a place, as He says He places us as He wills (1 Corinthians 12).  We have been searching for so long, and now it gets more "selective."  I want to find an assembly that wants God and nothing else matters.  They will lay aside all just to find Him.  They will empty themselves of the world just to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so He can guide them throughout their lives.  There has to be a remnant somewhere.
I will keep looking.  Until then, my search will continue to find God and Him alone.

Jeremiah 6:16