Archive for December 2014

Crucified to the World   1 comment

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This is from the blog White Raiment:

“Far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

What Paul had written in Galatians 2 is here in the end of the epistle confirmed, and expressed still more strongly. He speaks of his only glory being that in Christ he has in very deed been crucified to the world and entirely delivered from its power. When he said “I have been crucified with Christ,” it was not only an inner spiritual truth, but an actual, practical experience in relation to the world and its temptations. Christ had spoken about the world hating Him, and His having overcome the world. Paul knows that the world, which nailed Christ to the cross, had in that deed done the same to him. He boasts that he lives as one crucified to the world, and that now the world as an impotent enemy was crucified to him. It was this that made him glory in the cross of Christ. It had wrought out a complete deliverance from the world.

How very different the relation of Christians to the world in our day! They agree that they may not commit the sins that the world allows. But except for that they are good friends with the world, and have liberty to enjoy as much of it as they can, if they only keep from open sin. They do not know that the most dangerous source of sin is the love of the world with its lusts and pleasures.

O Christian, when the world crucified Christ, it crucified you with Him, When Christ overcame the world on the cross, He made you an overcomer too. He calls you now, at whatever cost of self-denial, to regard the world, in its hostility to God and His kingdom, as a crucified enemy over whom the cross can ever keep you conqueror.

What a different relationship to the pleasures and attractions of the world the Christian has who by the Holy Spirit has learned to say: “I have been crucified with Christ; the crucified Christ liveth in me”! Let us pray God fervently that the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ offered Himself on the cross, may reveal to us in power what it means to “glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world had been crucified unto me.”

by Andrew Murray, The Secret Of The Cross

A High Mountain Valley   2 comments

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Dreams from the LORD 2011-2014
21 December 2014

Last night I had a very interesting dream.  I was in a passenger plane with some other people.  We were flying somewhere and then we landed in Colorado; it was a town in the mountains.  The plane then took off and we climbed almost vertically close to this mountain.  The mountain seemed to be very high in elevation—it took a while for the plane to reach the top of the mountain.  When the plane flew to the top of the mountain, the plane leveled out and we flew over this high mountain valley.  It was absolutely beautiful:  the colors were vivid and intense.  I rarely dream dreams in color, but in this dream, the colors were incredible—I thought I was in heaven—it is hard to describe.  We were flying over that valley and then the dream ended.

Posted December 22, 2014 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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We Are Sojourners and Pilgrims On Earth   4 comments

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This is from the blog White Raiment:

First of all, however, let us remind ourselves that the Word of God reveals that there is a spiritual pilgrimage. Peter said: “Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims” (1 Peter 2:11), and the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews put it in this way: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own… But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly” (Hebrews 11:13,14,16). You see what that says: They all died in faith not having received the promises. They had seen them and greeted them from a long way off. All these heroes of faith mentioned in that eleventh chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews are still looking for a country, that is, waiting for their inheritance, and chapter twelve makes it quite clear that although they have left this earth, they are one with us in ‘looking’. They “all died in faith, not having received the promises… God having foreseen some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect”(Hebrews 11:1,40. R.V. margin). So Abraham is still ‘looking’ with us for the heavenly country.

There is a whole group of New Testament words which describe the believer as a pilgrim and a stranger, and these many Greek words relate to people in the Roman Empire who had no settled abode anywhere. They were just visitors to the place. They had come to stay for a night, for a week, for a month, or for a year, but no matter how long they stayed, they did not belong to the place. They had no permanent residence there, and our New Testament is built upon that truth. All these Greek words are taken over and applied to Christians. When Peter said: “I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims”, he did not say: ‘Be pilgrims and sojourners’ but ‘You are‘.

The first five books of the Bible are books of a pilgrimage. The Bible opens with man at home. God had made a home for man, and he was there with God in that home. It was called ‘Paradise’; but man lost his home, was driven out from it, and he became a stranger, a homeless stranger, a displaced person. He was a wanderer in the earth and a foreigner to God’s home, all because he was out of friendship with God. When that friendship broke down, man lost his home, and he has been a pilgrim and stranger in the earth ever since. There is no restful home for the soul of man in this world because the world is no friend of God. That is how the Bible begins, and then that truth is broken up, firstly in the case of Abraham. All through his life Abraham was a pilgrim. We are told that he lived in a tent, and he moved up and down the land with that tent. You may think it is all right to be in a tent for a week’s holiday (although that depends upon circumstances) but I doubt whether there is anyone here who would like to spend their whole life in a tent. Abraham was one of those of whom it is written: “They are seeking after a country of their own” – a place which they could call ‘home’.

We pass from Abraham to Israel, who for forty years of their life were pilgrims and strangers in a wilderness. God had promised them all a home, a rest at the end of the journey, but they never received that promise in their lifetime – “These all died in faith, not having received the promises”. Even when they went into the land of promise they never had rest. Why was this so? Because they were in a world which God had rejected and repudiated, a world with which God was not in friendship, and a world which was no friend of God.

T. Austin-Sparks, Oneness With God In The Repudiation Of This World

The Saint Must Walk Alone   14 comments

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This is from The Wilderness Road blog:

MOST OF THE WORLD’S GREAT SOULS have been lonely. Loneliness seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness.

In the morning of the world (or should we say, in that strange darkness that came soon after the dawn of man’s creation) that pious soul, Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took him; and while it is not stated in so many words, a fair inference is that Enoch walked a path quite apart from his contemporaries.

Another lonely man was Noah who, of all the antediluvians, found grace in the sight of God; and every shred of evidence points to the aloneness of his life even while surrounded by his people.

Again, Abraham had Sarah and Lot, as well as many servants and herdmen, but who can read his story and the apostolic comment upon it without sensing instantly that he was a man “whose soul was alike a star and dwelt apart”? As far as we know not one word did God ever speak to him in the company of men. Face down he communed with his God, and the innate dignity of the man forbade that he assume this posture in the presence of others. How sweet and solemn was the scene that night of the sacrifice when he saw the lamps of fire moving between the pieces of offering. There alone with a horror of great darkness upon him he heard the voice of God and knew that he was a man marked for divine favor.

Moses also was a man apart. While yet attached to the court of Pharaoh he took long walks alone, and during one of these walks while far removed from the crowds he saw an Egyptian and a Hebrew fighting and came to the rescue of his countryman. After the resultant break with Egypt he dwelt in almost complete seclusion in the desert. There while he watched his sheep alone the wonder of the burning bush appeared to him, and later on the peak of Sinai he crouched alone to gaze in fascinated awe at the Presence, partly hidden, partly disclosed, within the cloud and fire.

The prophets of pre-Christian times differed widely from each other, but one mark they bore in common was their enforced loneliness. They loved their people and gloried in the religion of the fathers, but their loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their zeal for the welfare of the nation of Israel drove them away from the crowd and into long periods of heaviness. “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children,” cried one and unwittingly spoke for all the rest.

Most revealing of all is the sight of that One of whom Moses and all the prophets did write treading His lonely way to the cross, His deep loneliness unrelieved by the presence of the multitudes.

‘Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow

The star is dimmed that lately shone;

‘Tis midnight; in the garden now,

The suffering Saviour prays alone.

‘Tis midnight, and from all removed

The Saviour wrestles lone with fears,

E’en the disciple whom He loved

Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.

-WILLIAM B. TAPPAN

He died alone in the darkness hidden from the sight of mortal man and no one saw Him when He arose triumphant and walked out of the tomb, though many saw Him afterward and bore witness to what they saw.

There are some things too sacred for any eye but God’s to look upon. The curiosity, the clamor, the well-meant but blundering effort to help can only hinder the waiting soul and make unlikely if not impossible the communication of the secret message of God to the worshiping heart.

Sometimes we react by a kind of religious reflex and repeat dutifully the proper words and phrases even though they fail to express our real feelings and lack the authenticity of personal experience. Right now is such a time. A certain conventional loyalty may lead some who hear this unfamiliar truth expressed for the first time to say brightly, “Oh, I am never lonely. Christ said, `I will never leave you nor forsake you,’ and, `Lo, I am with you alway.’ How can I be lonely when Jesus is with me?”

Now I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul, but this stock testimony is too neat to be real. It is obviously what the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved to be true by the test of experience. This cheerful denial of loneliness proves only that the speaker has never walked with God without the support and encouragement afforded him by society. The sense of companionship which he mistakenly attributes to the presence of Christ may and probably does arise from the presence of friendly people. Always remember: you cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart. Society has turned against him; otherwise he would have no cross. No one is a friend to the man with a cross. “They all forsook him, and fled.”

The pain of loneliness arises from the constitution of our nature. God made us for each other. The desire for human companionship is completely natural and right. The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His Godgiven instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone. The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. A certain amount of social fellowship will of course be his as he mingles with religious persons in the regular activities of the church, but true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find. But he should not expect things to be otherwise. After all, he is a stranger and a pilgrim, and the journey he takes is not on his feet but in his heart. He walks with God in the garden of his own soul and who but God can walk there with him? He is of another spirit from the multitudes that tread the courts of the Lord’s house. He has seen that of which they have only heard, and he walks among them somewhat as Zacharias walked after his return from the altar when the people whispered, “He has seen a vision.”

The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his Saviour glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and overserious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned in the crowd that Christ is All in All, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life’s summum bonum.

Two things remain to be said. One, that the lonely man of whom we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou, austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself for his very loneliness. He wants to share his feelings with others and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true. His loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the broken-hearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is detached from the world he is all the more able to help it. Meister Eckhart taught his followers that if they should find themselves in prayer as it were caught up to the third heavens and happen to remember that a poor widow needed food, they should break off the prayer instantly and go care for the widow. “God will not suffer you to lose anything by it,” he told them. “You can take up again in prayer where you left off and the Lord will make it up to you.” This is typical of the great mystics and masters of the interior life from Paul to the present day.

The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful “adjustment” to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.

–A.W. Tozer,
Man–The Dwelling Place of God, Chapter 39

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“Believe to the end, even if all men went astray and you were left the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in your loneliness.”

–Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Great eagles fly alone; great lions hunt alone; great souls walk alone–alone with God. Such loneliness is hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God accompanied. Prophets are lone men; they walk alone, pray alone and God makes them alone.”

— Leonard Ravenhill

The Spirit of a Prophet
Josephus on John the Baptist
Picture of a Prophet

The Trial of a Prophet

Wearing a Rough Garment

False Wells of Water . . .Vision   2 comments

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This is from the blog Touching the King:

At 3.00pm this afternoon sitting quietly a vision passed before my eyes and as I saw what the LORD was giving me it was for the country of America for a time that is now upon us and will intensify ……

From a distance I saw what looked like a well. The wall was built, the bucket and the drawstring attached but as I approached closer to this well I realized straight away it wasn’t a well. It looked like one from a distance but there was no well to drop the bucket into the water into it was hard ground. The bucket would have only dropped 6 inches to a hard ground of stones and gravel. It was useless.

As I looked up I saw before me hundreds of wells they were all close together in one place it seemed there wasn’t much distance from well to another. They were all like the first well, built like the first well with the wall, bucket and drawstring but it wasn’t a well and there was no water just hard ground, stones and gravel.

Then I saw many hundreds of people wandering like vagabonds and in the distance glistening buildings though not churches. The clothes they had on were you could see very expensive but were now torn with holes in them but they had polished shoes. They were all lost. Some were single, others you could see were part of a family but they were separate and not communicating with one another.

I could see that their lips were parched, severely parched and sores were breaking out on their lips. The sun was blasting down. There were no clouds in the sky, there was no rain. It was incredibly hot and getting hotter and it was set to be intensified even more.

I could see the children crying and trying to catch the attention of their parents but the adults ignored them as they walked around not knowing where they were going but going from one well to another round and around. They were shuffling. Despite this shuffling I saw the men were trying to keep their shoes polished from the dust.

There were now so many people covering great distances all going from one well to another but there was no water. The wells which looked like wells were not. I saw many fall down and die. No one around them took any notice they walked around them to the next well. More and more people died stumbling and falling. I noticed though it was more adults than children that fell down.

Then I saw many of the people trying to sell their jewels, their clothes and their belongings for water but no-one wanted them. There were so many they were piled high beside each well. It looked like a trash site. As the sun came down I saw it melt everything on these piles beside the wells and you could see the formation of golden calves in different stages some smaller than others.

I saw many on their knees beside these golden calves both adults of men and women and they were both praying and cursing God out of the same breath……

Then I saw the LORD in the Throne Room His back was turned against these people but tears were falling down upon His face …….

The vision ended ……