THE SECRET PLACE
“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
BECOMING AS A LITTLE CHILD
JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, SWEETEST NAME I KNOW
FILLS MY EVERY LONGING – KEEPS ME SINGING AS I GO
I have always been a dreamer. When I was a kid, I used to lay on top of a picnic table in our yard and watch the clouds. I can still remember the lazy days of summer, when the sun would shine and the big fluffy clouds would roll across the sky. The sound of an occasional airplane would cause me to look up and try to spot it against the clear blue background of a heavenly canvas. The images of the clouds were clear and vivid; they were so obvious that I wondered if others were seeing what I was seeing. Those were the days of innocence, when cool-aid and tuna fish sandwiches were the high point of the afternoon. My only concerns were taking a bath and what shows would be on television that evening. Is it possible to return to the simplicity and spiritual state of a child? I am not speaking of the mentality, but the spiritual innocence of love, trust and joy. I believe it is possible, but it will not come easy. We have allowed sin to control us and conform our mind. In order to be renewed and restored we must receive the revelation of God’s truth, the desire to change and the determination to yield our will.
I remember as a child growing up in church, the services were predictable and orderly. We sang hymns, took up the offering, people said prayers, and the pastor would speak. After the message, they would sing another song, while the pastor offered the invitation for anyone to come and be saved. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this, but I always wondered if this is all there is to church. As I became a young man, I started seeking God’s Word, to see if I was just imagining things or if there really was more to it. I read about the miracles, the mighty presence of God, supernatural wonders, manifestations and demonstrations of the Holy Spirit. After asking the elders about why today’s church did not have any of this, they just smiled and patted me on the shoulder as if they felt sorry for my lack of understanding. They said that all of this has passed away and we do not need any of those events anymore. They were meant to help start the church and give Jesus the respect He needed to convince the people to follow Him. Hmmm….
After much study, prayer and consideration, I left my traditions to search for the truth I believed was out there. My wife and I visited the Holiness, Pentecostal, Charismatics, and Independents that were commonly associated and identified as the “Spirit-filled” camp. We did see some demonstrations of God’s power and learned many truths concerning Bible interpretations and revelations of God’s mysteries. I thank God for what we have learned and how we have grown. However, I am still not satisfied. I am troubled in my spirit about what I see happening in the churches as well as what I DO NOT see. Last week I visited a traditional Baptist church and came away discouraged. Please do not misunderstand me, I do not mean to sound overly critical. The hymns were fine although sang with a dragging tiredness. Sadly, many have never experienced the spirit of true worship or the tangible presence of God. It is gloomy to see the deadness of singing songs that are not worship at all. Singing songs about wanting to escape this life is not really worship. Singing songs that justify our decision to NOT face our responsibility to “LIVE” as a follower of Christ, is a carnal excuse to live without faith. Of course it pleases the flesh to sing songs that make us “feel good”. That is the problem! We want to feel good all the time and not be uncomfortable fighting against the lust of our flesh. We fail to pray, fast, witness, give, love or sacrifice anything – because we enjoy being comfortable more than we are determined to be obedient. To be honest, many of the songs that are being sung in the traditional churches today need to be thrown in the garbage!
Those who are called to bring God’s Word have the call to relay what the Lord is saying. We need to hear a word from the Lord that He has “personally” given for the precise hour that we are there. We do not need to hear a quick message that was pulled from a sermon file that has been preached 20 times before. If the minister does not have a message that is burning like fire and he has not been in the presence of God to receive the word for the hour, then he needs to fall on his face and repent or let someone else bring it. If pastors were led by the Holy Spirit, they would know what to do in the service, instead of going through the motions of a dead, dry, program that could rock an infant to sleep. Unfortunately, the repeated high point and excitement of the morning was the anticipation of the enormous amount of food that was waiting in the basement after the service. It is a sad time for the church when there is more enthusiasm and expectation for fried chicken and chocolate pie, than for what Almighty God wants to say and do in the midst of His people! Where are the prayers for the sick and testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of His people? Where are the words of edification, wisdom, knowledge or prophecy and weeping at the alters for sin or the lost? I am not trying to say I am better than anyone else is. I am saying there is a huge difference in our attitude when we are serious about God and when we are playing comfortable, religious games. After the service everyone was happy and seemed to have a good feeling about what had just happened, but again I walked away thinking that something was seriously wrong.
“But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God AS A LITTLE CHILD shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18:16-17) We have heard this scripture many times, but just what exactly does it mean to receive the kingdom of God? Let us notice, He does not say to become “childish”, but rather as (the mindset or attitude) of a little child. I believe in order to receive anything from the spiritual realm; we must have a strong desire to understand it. It is easy to stay uninformed because it allows us to escape the accountability to stand for something. Many people want to be blind to the truth because they think it lets them “off the hook” to change their ways. The less involved we are, the less we are counted on to do. This is why the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
Our attitude toward God must be childlike or there will be a distorted view that will affect our personal relationship with Him. Good children love their parents and honor them. They are aware and appreciative to their parents for the blessings they are given and so likewise Christians love God and seek to please Him in everything they do. Like children, followers of Christ desire to learn everything they can about God and His Word, believing with all of their heart, everything God speaks. We are to be like Samuel that simply wanted God to communicate His will, so that he could obey. Some differences between an adult and a child is that when you are a child you don’t cook, you don’t go to work and you have someone else doing all the thinking for you. Children feel secure having a house in which to live with no expenses, food on the table three times a day and fun times with friends in the meantime. As adults we have the stress of having to work to earn an income. We have to put the dinner on the table, and life cannot be spent just riding our bike all day. We have to prioritize what we do with our time. The more we play and spend, the less money we have. The more we sacrifice and work, the more money we have. After a while, we become more independent and start believing we are making our “own” way. Sadly, many have fallen into the deception of believing the more we depend on our own strength, abilities, education, personality and talents, the less we need to consult God. Gradually we drift away from the simplicity of walking in the innocense of TRUST. This is what God is saying; we must learn to be aware of His presence constantly and learn to trust Him with everything!
There are many things that relate to the remnant of God becoming as little children and we cannot forget to include humility. Good children have a deep respect for their parents and this is a paralell of the reverential fear of God that should be a vital part of our relationship with our heavenly Father. I personally believe this is one of the most dangerous errors that has been accepted in the church world. The “habitual” sins of many in the religious community has flooded the sanctuary of the church, and this attitude has definitely hindered the moving of the Holy Spirit. “Verily I say unto you, except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven, Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mathew 18:3-4) You see, it is pride and hautiness that corrupts the soul. This poisonous attitude rules the mind and completely changes the “vision” of those who are infected with its power. If people would humble themselves and allow God to increase within them in their personal life, the churches would explode with the miracles of God! Many have created their own ideas of how things should be, and have forsaken God’s presence for their own agenda – and sadly cannot recognize the difference! Humans love to do things – their way. May we not forget that God rejected Cains offering because it was presented in the attitude of disobedience and He did not accept Ishmael because it represents the works of flesh as a compromise to living in faith. It seems when man controls the program, he becomes the focus of attention. Maybe that is why many religious leaders will not step out of God’s way and allow Him to manifest HIS agenda in the churches. God will NOT force His presence on anyone. He gently whispers and beckons His people to draw near to Him and obey – as little children.