Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Tag

An Epistle to Friends in Ireland   Leave a comment

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This is from The Missing Cross to Purity:

[Note: Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough once traveled together to Ireland, according to the Lord’s instructions to both, to preach the true gospel. They were very successful, reaching many people, and then they were arrested and expelled back to England. This appears to have been written when they were in detention in Dublin, awaiting their transport back to England. He is writing to those who they had just convinced and set up in silent meetings in the weeks before their arrest. It serves as an excellent statement of what happens in the spiritual journey: from the touch, to the tribulation, and the kingdom, and then the union.]

To all of you who believed the report, and who received the testimony, and to whom the word of the Lord came in power, to the turning of you, in any measure, from darkness to light, our souls’ wish and desire the multiplying and abounding of the grace and love of God in you and among you; that thereby, you may grow in union and favor with God, and into the fellowship with all the Children of the Light; and may be nourished as newborn babes, by the milk of the word, which endures forever. And truly, though we are now separated from you in the body, we are present with you in spirit, not ceasing in prayer to God for you; but with heart breathings to Him, our souls are poured out at the throne of Grace on your behalf that your faith may not be made void, knowing your state and condition; being full sensible of your weakness to resist temptations of the enemy, but young and tender in the experience of the way and operation of God; and unacquainted with the wiles of Satan, who will not cease in seeking whom he may devour, and whom he may lead aside in the bypaths of iniquity, from the obedience and faith in Christ Jesus; that shipwreck may be made of those good desires now begotten in you, through the ministry of Christ sent to you; by whom a good work has begun in you, which will bring forth the redemption and salvation of your souls, if you abide in the patience, enduring the cross and sufferings unto the end.

And dear friends, this charge, in the name of the Lord, we lay upon you; that in the fear of the Lord, you meet together, waiting in the patient hope, in the Light which leads out of the night and out of all the works of darkness, unto the day, glory, and rising of the Sun of Righteousness that all clouds and veils may be removed and the night of darkness and stumbling may be wholly finished; that as Children of the Light, and of the day, you may walk, bringing forth fruits of righteousness, to the glory of God; being judged in the flesh, and condemned as men in the flesh, and changed, from its nature of transgression and disobedience, into the Divine nature of God, and into the likeness of the Father; that from this time forward, as a people redeemed by Him, and saved by Him, you may serve Him in newness of life, by the Spirit of his Son; who dwells in you, as you dwell in the Light.

May the Lord God Almighty preserve you, to the finishing of your course with joy, in the way of the Lord; that you may know as you are known; and victory may be given you over death, hell, and the grave; and that through the war you may partake of the crown immortal, which fades not away. Therefore be faithful in obedience to the will of God, made manifest in the Light, which condemns the evil, and chooses the good. Daily become subject to the cross of Christ, taking up his yoke and burden, which kills and crucifies the fleshly man, with his affections, desires, and lusts; that being slain to all mortal, you may reign immortality over all your enemies inward and outward; against which you are to war, even against spiritual wickedness in high places, and against exalting thoughts and imaginations. Therefore put on the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ, and gird yourselves with his power; and be low in heart, and subject to the Father in all things; and be not high-minded, but fear; and stand in awe, and sin not; neither flee from the cross of Christ, but let it be your rejoicing; and let love abound among you, even the love with which you are loved by the Father; being of one heart, and like minded with one another, and forgiving one another, and humbly reproving one another, if any are overtaken with a fault.

Wait for discerning, to have salt in yourselves, to know and savor one another in the spirit, and operation, and working of it; that being sensible, and feeling one another’s conditions in the spirit, you may speak to the informing of one another, to the building up on one another, in the precious faith. But be slow to speak, and swift to hear; and do not feed each other’s sensual wisdom, which is the serpent’s seat. For words without knowledge darken counsel, and betray simplicity. But take heed to the measure of the Light of Christ, and be watchful in it; having the loins of your minds girded up, as obedient servants, waiting for the will of God; to be doers of his will from the simplicity and sincerity of the heart. Be watchful, for fear that the tempter by imaginations presents himself in a way and voice, like the way and voice of the True Shepard; and thereby the simplicity is ensnared, and your way and savor is lost, and darkness and clouds come over you; and so deceit strengthens itself; and takes an offence in Christ Jesus. The last end of which will be worse than the beginning, and the way of truth will be blasphemed; and the grace of God will be turned into lack of restraint; and the door of Life will be shut against them. But be upright hearted; and single minded unto the end; for he who overcomes shall eat of the hidden manna. Rev 2:17, John 6:31-35.

Do not strive with each another, neither judge each other, in whatever you do not see in the Light; but keep at home in your own conditions, waiting until judgment is perfected in victory, and your redemption is brought forth. Though you have trouble in the world, and suffering and reproaches from it; yet in Christ shall you have peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For your present troubles, and sufferings, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in you. Coming through the same entrance of tribulations with us, you shall be made partakers of the same life, and glory, and inheritance, to rejoice, and sing the song of the Lamb for evermore, over the beast, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.

All of you, whether masters or servants, parents or children; whatever calling or condition, walk as becomes the gospel of Christ Jesus, in all holiness, and purity, and humility in your conduct; and be examples of righteousness to each other, that in your several places you may honor Him who has called you, by works of faith and righteousness; that thereby the mouth of those who wait for your halt of progress may be stopped; and by your good works God may be glorified in the sight of your enemies. For the gospel preached to you was not to lead into words only, but into life and power, and our unity stands with those who are in the life and power; and we shall never be ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. Therefore dear children, be diligent in the Lord’s work, and steadfast in watching over your own hearts in particular; and watch over one another in general for good, and not evil; that you may grow up into one body, members of one head, joined by the Spirit to Christ Jesus, who is the Light of the world; upon whom you have believed to your salvation, if you continue in the faith. And your rock of defense and salvation, has become the stumbling stone, and rock of offence to the princes and to the rulers. Beloved, truly our bowels are troubled for you, not being ignorant of the very purpose of Satan; who has now stirred up his agents, thinking to make void your faith and belief, and even to slay the child [within] while he is young: but our confidence in the Lord in this is strong, that He will preserve you to his praise, and the little seed shall never be forgotten of Him; but though it was sown in weakness, it shall arise, and spring, and be raised in power to the torment of all the Lord’s enemies.

You whose hearts God has touched, and who have entered into the way, look not back at any glory left behind; but freely give up all, and press on in the straight way, through the death of the enmity upon the cross; and as you deny yourselves for Christ, so will your reward be from Him manifold. Dwell in the judgment until the ground of all unrighteousness is removed; and so eternal peace be manifested to the seed of immortality. Do not look back at hardships or at the multitudes of temptations; but mind the Light, which is the whole armor of God, whereby you will receive strength to overcome all your enemies; and the Covenant of God will be established with you, in which you will receive the blessing in all things, and will know how to use all things to the glory of God; seeing his pure presence in all his blessings. Stand always in the cross to the carnal, and your understandings will be kept open and clear, to receive the pure teachings of the Father; and his wisdom from above will grow in you; and the wisdom of the earthly will die. If you abide in the Light that is from the beginning, you need no one to teach you; but by the anointing which you will receive, you will be taught all things in the way of God perfectly; and so stand witnesses for the Lord, and against all the world and its deceits. Beware of the love of the world; and of the bad ground; and of the envious man, for fear that he sow tares among the good seed, and so you become corrupted, and the just principle in you is betrayed; and so Satan exalts himself above the measure of God’s Spirit revealed in you; and so you perish in the arguing. But our hearts hope better things of you, even your growth into the inheritance with Christ; to reign with Him over the world, in the incorruptible inheritance; that we may reign together in one heart and mind, one with another. And truly herein will our joy be increased, in the midst of our troubles and sufferings, to hear and understand of your faithfulness and obedience, in the faith of the gospel declared unto you.

To the Grace of God, upon whom you have believed, we do commit you, in the bowels of everlasting love and pity, with tenderness of soul and spirit, to be kept in the power of God unto the day of salvation. The eternal presence of the Lord God, the Everlasting Father be with you all. Amen, Amen.

We are yours in the Lord and are fellow prisoners for the testimony of Jesus, which we hold, known to you, and not to the world.

From the house of the Sergeant at Arms in Dublin, the 24th of the 12th month 1655

Francis Howgill

Edward Burrough

Revival in Ireland?
William Edmundson, The Irish Hammer

Growth in the Storm   2 comments

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This is from the blog A Word in Season:

“And when they were come into the ship,
the wind ceased.”
Matthew 14:32

For the disciple of Christ there is purpose in the storms of life. God’s design for His Own is never random and without intent. Nothing is haphazard or arbitrary. The storm in which the disciples found themselves was intended to enlarge their comprehension of the majesty of Christ.  It was also an opportunity to experience this wonder in their own lives. The main beneficiary of this “lesson” was Peter. Peter had a desire to identify with the living Christ; his heart was not content in seeing Jesus walk upon the water! There was an inherent need within him to walk as Christ walked; to step into the storming seas of life because faith propelled him. True Faith can never find contentment in seeing Jesus only. It will inevitably compel the one in whom it resides to invest in the experiential life of identification with Christ.

The wind will cease, and the storm will become calm once the vital lesson is learned! How glorious is the inspired Word of God: “and when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased”! Let the “they” impact our hearts and stir our souls to greater faith and larger living. When Jesus and Peter step back into the boat, Peter is not the same man he was moments before. His understanding has been transformed by stepping out of his current knowledge of Christ into a larger revelation of the power of Christ.

The storms of life are designed of Him to not simply be endured, but to be the very instruments of our enlargement and growth. While many cling to the “safety” of the boat there are those who see Christ upon the waters and have the passion to walk as He walks, to overcome as He overcomes; to know within that a greater life is available. May the Lord work within us that faith that sees beyond the confines of our experience and propels us to walk outside the scope of human possibility.

“If it be thou, bid me to come”
Matthew 14:28

Jesus has one response to such faith:

“Come…”
Matthew 14:29

Brian Troxel

Provision and Protection   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

Nehemiah 9:21: Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

God is the source of our provision and preservation. Provision generally is about what happened to us in the positive, while preservation is about what is not allowed to happen to us in the negative.

In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve had provision and preservation; God said that of the fruits of the trees in the garden they may freely eat (Genesis 2:15-17). That means they were meant to be vegetarians, and till the time of Noah humanity were vegetarians. But after the flood, God added animal courses for man’s food. God told Noah that they can kill and eat animals (Genesis 9:1-3). It is thereby wrong to add any spiritual meaning to refusing to eat meat. Paul warned against such people in the last days who will be saying people should not eat certain foods, but we should receive every creature (animal and plant) with thanksgiving as given by God.

God made man secure. Security comes from having adequate provision and protection. But when man chose the path of disobedience in the Garden of Eden, he lost out of the provision and preservation of God. His body was meant to be preserved in eternal life (but he was judged with death), while he enjoyed the ambience of the Garden, fitted to meet all his needs and desires (but in judgement sin, Man was chased from the garden to fend for himself [Genesis 3]).

While on earth Jesus enjoyed the provision and protection of God in a deeper way than ever known to man. He said: my meat is to do the will of my father in heaven and to fulfil his work (John 4:34). When he was younger he said: he must go about his father’s business (Luke 2:49). That is the change that we have need: to live our lives realising that we meet our own needs when we meet God’s needs.

Jesus said that we should seek first to please God and walk in his ways, doing his will, performing his assignment and all our needs would be met (Matthew 6:33). We should bother about his kingdom; he would bother about our upkeep. It will cause us to experience righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit in our lives, filling us with divine satisfaction (Romans 14:17). If we would provide for God’s needs, God will provide for us and the bible says that God seeks worshippers who will worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24); God seeks those who seek to be close to him. He has soft spots for them. He has a special affinity to them.

In the book of psalms we read that God looks down from the earth to see the one who seeks him, who meets his needs, in doing work on the earth (Psalm 14:2). When you are busy doing God’s work God will be busy doing your work; that is the way it is, that is the path to abundant life. Life is for everyone who comes to God abundant life is for those through whom God comes to others.

With God the children of Israel in the wilderness had the assurance of provision and protection. There is a guaranteed that living in the very presence of God brings. The bible says that it is the one who dwells in the secret place of the most high that will abide under the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91), where there is guarantee of protection. Living in the presence of God for the children of Israel in the wilderness is the guarantee of provision. With trust in their heart they come out daily to pick up the manna that God sends from heaven.

But Jesus reminded us that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:1-4), which reflects the fact that man exists in three forms and the spirit, soul and body dimensions of men have different needs for provision and protection (1Thessalonians 5:23).

When Jesus was on earth, being the son of God, he had the protection and provision of God and he taught the people that they should expect their father in heaven to give them protection and provision (Matthew 6:6-13, 25-34). In the lines of prayer he taught, he said that we should pray to God: give us this day our daily bread and deliver us from evil, with the certainty that the power of our heavenly father will deliver provision and protection to us.

Provision

The body needs food. But meeting the needs of the body should not be our sole drive. Paul puts it this way: food for the belly and the belly for food, and both will be destroyed (1Corinthians 6:13). The food we give to our body has no eternal consequences. The bible says that the ones who eat, eats to the Lord while the person who declines food does so to the Lord (Romans 14:6-8), because whether we live or die we are the Lord’s.

But there is the food of the soul. That is the word of God (1Peter 2:2), while the food of the spirit is doing the will of God. Paul said that he serves God with his spirit in the gospel of his son Jesus (). And Jesus said that his food is to do the will of his father (Romans 1:9). The food of the spirit is action in the direction of the will of God. That means the more we do the will of God that expresses of the divine codes that God has put in our spirit, that means we release the divine life of God on the earth, bringing divine influence on the earth.

So the opportunity to express your spiritual gift is the opportunity to feed your spirit. It seems contradictory but the truth is that the more the spirit gives the more it “has” to give. Jesus said it this way: the one who have the more will be given to him (Matthew 13:1-13, 25:14-29); he that is faithful in the small things will be faithful in the big things (Luke 16:10); and he that does not have, the little that he has will be taken from him (and that discussion was about service).

Protection

The body needs to be protected. Paul said having food and raiment, we should then be content. Raiment serves as the protection of the body from the element (1Timothy 6:8).

The soul/heart needs protection.  The bible says we should guard our heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). That means we should be careful the kind of influence we subject it to, watch our information gathering system: eyes (e.g. pornography), ears (e.g. mis-information), touch (e.g. sexual touches from wrong people), and mouth (e.g. illicit drugs).

The spirit is also protected when we don’t partake in demonic worship and things that has to do with fellowship with evil spirit (2Corinthians 6:13-18, 1Corinthians 10:19-22), or else we open ourselves to wrongs sprit to usurp the place of our new spirit from God in influences us.

We also protect our sprit when we operate by love. If we operate in bitterness and un-forgiveness, we sell ourselves to tormenting spirit (Matthew 18:21-35); and bitterness, according to the book of Hebrews, has a defiling influence (Hebrews 12:14-15).

Addiction   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

2Chronicles 30:8: Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you.

Fellowship is a means of yielding to God, breaking from our normal pursuits to pursue God as he should be pursued.

God looks to and fro on the earth to see the one who seeks for him, and he responds to them with his grace (2Chronicles 6:19). The call in the focus verse is to break away from the wrong role models, those who don’t see the point in you being addicted to God. They’ll want you to be addicted to your job, to academics, to the pursuit of fame or money, but you should be unapologetically addicted to God.

They don’t see the point to taking God as extremely important. The man in psalm 11 complained about some people who wondered why he should put his trust in God, telling him: flee like a bird to your mountain (be panicky), but he was adamant in trusting in the Lord. People want to direct his eyes to the dangers (both imagined and real) around but he was adamant to focus on the Lord.

People have addiction to drugs because God actually made us with the ability to have addictions. But before the fall the only addiction that was possible for man was addiction to God. Paul said we should not form an addiction to alcohol or other natural products, but we should form an addiction to the Holy Spirit (spiritual wine), to the presence of God (Ephesians 5:17-18), we should not be chained to natural things (elements) but to the glory of God, addicted to it, develop a strong sense of neediness for it.

Moses had addiction to the glory of God. Moses ask above all else for God to show him his glory (Exodus 33:18). He wanted more of God, he could not have enough. Elisha had an addiction to the anointing, he realised that there was nothing that satisfies like that. He asked for the double portion of the spirit (anointing) of Elijah (2Kings 2:1-15).

The bible says we should be addicted to the righteousness, Paul said we should not be slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:13). (Note that you are a slave to what you are addicted to.)

That is the mark of the new creatures in Christ Jesus, who are given the restored capability to be addicted to God, to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and not by sight (2Corinthians 5:7), not following after inordinate lusts, but following after God.

Timothy was warned that to not follow youthful lust (the excesses of the young, still trying to find his identity), but to be as addicted to righteousness, faith and peace (2Timothy 2:22), be addicted to God as a matter of choice, because in a way, we choose our addictions, then our addictions choose us.

Paul was addicted to the service of God (1Corinthians 9:16). He said he can’t imagine not being in God’s service. He said: woe is me if I preach not the gospel.

You are addicted to what you can’t do without. So the Lord is your recommended addiction, you need to hooked on him. You need the Lord like you need the blood flowing in your vein, like the heart beating in your chest, like the air that you breathe, like the light to help you see your way. He completes you (Colossians 2:10).

There is no other way to relate to God except to recognise that he is both Father and Lord, and as Lord he demands submission. That is why when you come to Jesus, we are required to not only believe in your heart the work of he has done for you on cross in his sacrifice, but to also confess him as Lord, in a commitment to obeying him, yielding to him (Romans 10:9-10).

There is nothing that you should not yield to God.  You should yield your life, your wife, your work, your health, your finances, your children, your time to God etc. He is Lord of all, but he wants to work in your life in cooperation with you when you allow him to be Lord.

Amos asked: can two walk together except they be agreed? You must allow God to be who can be in your life; agree with him on all points as your Lord (Amos 3:3).

When you think everything is getting out of control, and you don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to say when you are questioned (Matthew 10:17-20), and you are ready to give up on yourself, that is good enough but you should complete the equation be giving that situation to God, tying it to him.

When worry seems to choke you up do what Peter said, cast your cares upon him for he cares for you (1Peter 5:7). Whatever is your cause for concern, they are non-issues when you put them in the hands of God; they are cheap for him to deal with. David said that God is the one he will trust because he would deliver him from his enemies.

What about yielding your fears to God; just like with worry, the devil will like nothing more than to choke you with fear, paralysing your initiative, causing you to see the negatives and not the positives in different situations (filled with negative expectations), painting himself in your mind’s eyes as larger-than-he-truly-is, but he is merely a defeated foe. And we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).

We should yield ourselves for God to use, for Him to shape the way he wants, to make use of us the way he wants. When God called Jeremiah, he complained that he was a youth, but God told him all he needed was to yield and he will use him for amazing things (Jeremiah 1:1-9).

We should be like clay in the hand of God, see him as potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6). We should be that yielded to him, trusting in his judgement about the direction of our lives, about who we should marry, about what our lives’ pursuit should be.

When we are yielded to God we become a tool in his hands, we become a channel through which he reaches out to others, through which he manifests himself on the earth, shifting the spiritual atmospheres to cause his kingdom to come where we are.

We should yield our words to him. The psalmist prayed: let the word of my mouth and the meditation of my heart is acceptable to you oh God (Psalm 19:14). Paul said that our words should be seasoned with salt so as to minister grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29). Yielding our lives to God can start at any age, and there is no limit in the length of time and the season of our lives.