This is from the blog 43: 19:
[20 June 2015]
Major shifts come in life. Moving from one place to another can often seem like a whole re-engagement with the world, and ultimately messes with all our self-certainty. Such shifts are a welcome release for our spirits which are most of the time too clogged down by the power of habit. Our habits actually need to be crushed once in a while to prove to ourselves that our minds are incapable of coping with the challenges of life.
I’m going home and a homecoming is always a celebration. The prodigal runs into the Father’s arms and a radical shift takes place in his identity. Radical because he is ‘re-rooted’. Without homecomings, we lose track of where we are and are eventually without purpose and without roots. Just going along the way we’ve started because we’ve started and so we have to finish. Sometimes you don’t have to finish. Sometimes you just have to drop it.
As I’m waiting for confirmation of some things before I begin to move forward in the next steps of my career, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which my heart is invested in circumstances. Too often our identity is affirmed by what we do and our routines. A crisis is triggered when the routine is interrupted. The severity of the crisis will be determined by the measure of this investment. Stability is not routine. Routine leaves a person gutless, with no power of decision. I pray that I would be continually saved from routine by a living present.
Serenity is the possession of the spirit that is not invested in or identified by circumstance.
King David and his son, Solomon, had an understanding that man’s purpose and identity are not defined by any circumstance of life, but are much more profound.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted ETERNITY in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy]… (Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP, emphasis added)
Whether he knows it or not, every man is caught in the tension between the eternity of his creation and the immediacy of his daily life. A sense of limbo in times of waiting or uncertainty can actually be healthy when it reminds us that we have a home and a stability outside of present circumstances, whenever we choose to embrace it.
David described it this way,
For we are ALIENS and PILGRIMS before You,
As were all our fathers;
Our days on earth are as a shadow,
And without hope. (1 Chronicles 29:15 NKJV, emphasis added)
The sense of loss and instability in a time of waiting, or what many Christians would refer to as a ‘wilderness period’, is actually man stepping into his true identity which is far more enduring than a circumstance of life. Man should feel like a stranger in the earth; his home is not on earth but in the heart of God where he was formed. A soul estranged from the heart of God is inevitably in a perpetual identity crisis until it returns. The despised times of waiting, or better continuing, are the real substance of life where character is formed.
The Westminster Catechism states that,
Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
When we find our identity in God, we suffer tension, but find the glory of our creation. A spirit that has this root is stable and has no hope in the circumstance of life, but in a living hope which far exceeds and extends beyond the earth. According to the book of Hebrews, Abraham found this hope along with Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua and many of the other figures of Jewish history. They didn’t see their hope on earth, but were unshaken, because their identity was in God and their perspective was eternal.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were STRANGERS and PILGRIMS on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a HOMELAND. And truly if they had called to mind that country FROM WHICH THEY HAD COME OUT, they would have had opportunity to RETURN. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16 NKJV, emphasis added)
Jesus has prepared a place for you. Live in God. Practice His presence. Be identified by heaven. Be always at home.
This blog entry is dedicated to Tim Shey, the High Plains Drifter whose pilgrimage on the roads of America reminded me that I am a stranger on the earth.
I am a Stranger in the Earth
We Are Sojourners and Pilgrims on Earth
The Spirit Driveth Him into the Wilderness
George Fox, 1624-1691
This is from The Missing Cross to Purity:
The children of the devil,
how expert are they in evil, in all deceit in his kingdom;
and yet they may speak of the things of God;
but no vulturous eye or venomous beast ever trod in the steps of the just,
though they may talk of the way.
For those who have their conversation in this world,
and only mind the things of this world,
profess godliness in vain.
But the children of God,
who are conceived and begotten of him, are not of this world,
neither do they mind only the things of this world,
but the things which are eternal.
But the children of this world do mostly mind the external things,
and their love is in them,
and the others live by faith;
the one is sanctified by the word, the other painted with the words.
The children of God are pure in heart, not looking only at the outside.
The favor of the world and friendship with it is enmity to God.
Man may soon be stained with it.
Oh! Love the stranger, and be as strangers in the world, and to the world!
For those who followed Christ in his cross,
they were strangers in the world,
and wonders to the world,
and condemned by the world;
and the world did not know him,
neither does it know those who follow him now.
So, marvel not if the world hates you;
for the world lies in hatred and wickedness.
Whoever loves this world, are enemies to Christ;
and whoever loves the Lord Jesus Christ,
and have him for their Lord over them,
they are redeemed out of the world.
The world would have a Christ, but not to rule over them;
the nature of the world chains down Christ in man,
until Christ has subdued that nature in man.
While the nature of the world rules in man,
oh, the deaf ears and blind eyes, and the understandings,
that are all shut up among them, with which they judge!
But those who love the Lord Jesus Christ,
do not mind the world’s judgment, nor are troubled at it;
but consider all our brethren, who have gone before us.
When you think you are past all crosses,
when the trial does come,
you will find a cross to that will
which meddles with the things of God presumptuously;
that man may live in joy, but the spirit is in bondage.
Do not rejoice in the flesh, but rather in the spirit,
which crucifies all fleshly boastings.
If the fleshly will be fed, then carelessness comes up,
and they fall into flatness, (from the spirit),
and are mindless of the Lord God;
such are soon up and down.
The serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit,
and she took and gave to her husband,
and so they fell under the serpent’s power, and the creatures,
out of the power of God, which would have kept them in dominion.
And so, Adam and Eve, and the serpent, all went out of truth.
And Eve eating of the tree of knowledge,
she had knowledge and wisdom after the fall,
but not in the dominion, in the power of God.
But the seed Christ, who was in the beginning,
bruises the serpent’s head, and he is the wisdom of God.
Can demons infiltrate Christians? The late Derek Prince suggested that they can, and in the book, Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle, he explains how:
In James 3:15 the apostle speaks about a form of wisdom which does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual [soulish], demonic. James depicts a downward slide in three successive stages: from the earthly to the soulish to the demonic.
When Christians become earthly they lose the vision of eternity. They cannot see beyond the things of this life: success, pleasure, wealth, physical health. They are only interested in what their faith will do for them in this life! Concerning such people Paul says: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:19). Christians like that often consider themselves prosperous and successful. God considers them pitiable.
After the earthly, the next stage is soulish. To be soulish is to be egocentric, self-centered. For such people, the Christian faith is a way to get what they want out of life. They suppose that godliness is a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:5).
The soulish opens the way for the demonic. This is one main way in which demons infiltrate the church. The question is often asked: Do Christians ever need deliverance from demons? The words of James provide a clear answer. This downward slide from the earthly to the soulish to the demonic exposes both individual believers and whole congregations to the activities of demons.
It’s the soldier not the reporter
who gives you the freedom of the press.
It’s the soldier not the poet
who gives you the freedom of speech.
It’s the soldier not the campus organizer
who allows you to demonstrate.
It’s the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag
that allows the protester to burn the flag!!!
“Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need.”
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
YES. Why do we áll, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless
Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part,
But frail clay, nay but foul clay. Here it is: the heart,
Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess
That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less;
It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art;
And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart,
And scarlet wear the spirit of wár thére express.
Mark Christ our King. He knows war, served this soldiering through;
He of all can handle a rope best. There he bides in bliss
Now, and séeing somewhére some mán do all that man can do,
For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,
And cry ‘O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:
Were I come o’er again’ cries Christ ‘it should be this’.
Hand on the Helm
By Katherine Pollard Carter
Copyright 1977. Chapter 5.
“Ninety-First Psalm Became Their Impenetrable Shield”
“For four long years, in the front line warfare of World War I, the British regiment commanded by Colonel Whittlesey had not one single battle casualty. They did not lose a single man! They could only give one explanation for this incredible record.
“During those interminable years of danger and valor, every officer and every enlisted man in the regiment daily affirmed his faith in God’s protection by repeating the Ninety-First Psalm.”
“Each officer and soldier in the regiment carried a complete copy of the psalm and either read it or recited it from memory daily.”
With the Old Breed
By E.B. Sledge
Page 91: “The conversation with Hillbilly reassured me. When the sergeant came over and joined in after getting coffee, I felt almost lighthearted. As conversation trailed off, we sipped our joe in silence.
“Suddenly, I heard a loud voice say clearly and distinctly, ‘You will survive the war!’
“I looked at Hillbilly and then at the sergeant. Each returned my glance with a quizzical expression on his face in the gathering darkness. Obviously they hadn’t said anything.
“‘Did y’all hear that?’ I asked.
“‘Hear what?’ they both inquired.
“‘Someone said something,’ I said.
“‘I didn’t hear anything. How about you?’ said Hillbilly, turning to the sergeant.
“‘No, just that machine gun off to the left.’
“Shortly, the word was passed to get settled for the night. Hillbilly and the sergeant crawled back to their hole as Snafu returned to the gun pit. Like most persons, I had always been skeptical about people seeing visions and hearing voices. So I believed God spoke to me that night on the Peleliu battlefield, and I resolved to make my life amount to something after the war.”
“Remembering the words of Nehemiah the Prophet: ‘The trowel in hand and the gun rather loose in the holster.'”
Freedom to Bear Arms
Sledgehammer, Old Breed Marine Tribute
Alvin C. York
Never the Same–Michelle Krubeck
This is from the Singapore Christian blog:
Here’s a great story shared by the late Derek Prince. It can be found in the book Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle.
Many years ago in London, the daughter of a Swedish pastor lived with us for about three months learning English, which I taught her. She was a very beautiful, talented girl with a lovely singing voice. Her father was the pastor of the largest Pentecostal church in Sweden, and she had grown up in a very strict Pentecostal environment.
When this girl was about fourteen years old, she was listening to what all her friends at school talked about—all the pleasures of the theater and dancing and things like that. And she became more and more interested. So one day she went to her father and said, “Father, I want to thank you for the care that you’ve given me, the way you trained me and brought me up. But I want to tell you that from now on I want to go another way. I want to find out what the world has to offer. I hear all my friends talking about it, and I want to find out for myself.” And her father, who was a wise man, said, “Barbara, your mother and I will pray for you.” He didn’t argue. He didn’t say it was wrong. He said, “We’ll pray.”
That night, the daughter had the most vivid dream of her life. In this dream she saw two cities, and one was a big, modern, beautiful city. It was filled with lights flashing and glittering everywhere. Across a valley there was another city that had a different kind of light. It didn’t flash, it didn’t glitter, but it was steady and calm. While she was looking at the city with the glittering neon lights, a man introduced himself to her. He was very cultivated, very educated and very well dressed. He said, “I’d like to show you around this city.” And she went with him.
The further she went with him, the uglier he became. Soon she realized it was the devil himself. As she stopped there in horror, all the lights in this neon city began to go out one by one by one until the city was in total darkness. She turned to look across at the other city, and it was as bright and clear as it had always been. The next day she went to her father and said, “Daddy, I’m coming to church with you.” She was a wise girl. She listened when the Lord spoke.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Click here to see the complete report.
2012 Annual Report