Living Behind the Veil

THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
PART 40
LIVING BEHIND THE VEIL

“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with overeating, and drunkenness, and cares (distractions) in case that day come upon you unexpectantly. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth. WATCH therefore, and PRAY always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass (trials, temptations), and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-35)
As always the flesh hates to listen to anything about discipline. Usually whenever discipline is being enforced it is in the light of training to win a competition, to receive an award or to excel as successful and victorious. The concept remains the same in the context of spiritual warfare. Being an overcomer for Jesus Christ is not an option – our salvation has a unique mission and destiny. Every child of God has been called to utilize all that Father has provided along with the responsibility to fulfill His will. The “overcoming” perception I am convinced, is as much about conquering our flesh – as it is about resisting the devil! Walking holy is not just a religious thought or phrase – it is a demand from God and a free-will determination within the heart of the disciple to follow and obey the voice of the shepherd.
God’s Word mentions about an exchange that is crucial concerning the beauty of Holy intimacy. It is the condition and commitment of the heart that measures how far and how deep we can follow Him. Selah. If we are “surface” Christians, we will only be interested in the basic blessings and eternal security that a Savior can provide. If we choose to be a disciple, we are committed to following Him into the depths of His presence as LORD no matter where they may lead. This exchange involves the tears of the servant mixed with God’s empowerment and joy. “Weeping may endure for a night – but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Do you know what the weeping represents? It represents a “breaking” of the heart. Sin has a subtle way of slowly creating a “film” of dirt which is a result of carnal compromise. In our hurried life, we can ignore the calling of the Holy Spirit to come into the secret chambers and spend time with God. We can slowly allow our emotions and flesh to lead us and influence our thoughts with negativity and sin. This deception does not go “unnoticed” in the Spirit realm in fact it has definite consequences concerning our personal relationship with Him. Each day that we ignore our need to repent and restore our fellowship – the further away we drift into lower levels of lukewarmness. Our fire and the awareness of His presence fades away while our flesh enjoys the freedom to tempt our body and mind. Our spirit cries abba Father, but cannot overrule our free-will. Our heart chooses what we do and “whom” we will serve. This condition progresses until one day Father intervenes by opening our eyes and revealing what we have done. Thus we are pierced with conviction in the deepest part of our being and as our heart breaks with sorrow and shame, we respond by weeping from within our soul. After we have asked Him to forgive us and cleanse us, we are refreshed and renewed in the beauty of His mercy, grace and love. This of course is where our heart is flooded with joy and happiness that we have now been restored into the security and good standing of His fellowship. When is the last time you have allowed Him to break your heart and cleanse your soul? “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”(Psalm 51:17) The word contrite means completely penitent and thoroughly remorseful as a result of guilt. Pride advises and protects the heart to remain hard and calloused. Humility is meek and puts others before themselves as sensitive, loving, gentle and patient.
There are many levels of maturity in the body of Christ. The religious masses love to hear about all the blessings God has for them or how wonderful they are. The problem with “nursing the bottle” of chocolate cake and rainbows all the time is that we can become unbalanced in our spiritual perception. As I have said many times, I am not against being encouraged because we do need it, however we must see the big picture of not only the reality of the way God sees everything and everyone – but more personally how He sees US. (This is where many immature believers need to leave because their mamma is calling!) If you announced a weekly Bible study that was going to be about sanctification, I would guess that you would not need to put out very many chairs. To tell you the truth I am the same way and do not spend near enough time “deeply” examining my heart and this is because we all have the same common problem – our flesh wants to rule our life. I can do a general assessment and say a quick prayer and keep running along the path of the spiritual routines we all are a part of. However, let me say there will come “seasons” in all of God’s children, where we will come face to face with truth about ourselves that has the power to change who we are for the better! The amount that we progress and CHANGE into His image will depend directly on how convinced we are of our NEED to change. If we do not believe we need to change, as the scripture above declares we will NOT pursue the image of Christ and His glory, which will result in us staying the same ALL of our life. In the routine that we have always followed, we want to live our spiritual life exactly as we have lived our physical life. We look in the mirror and see ourselves and decide what we will do and how everything will affect us. Our old state of mind will continue to lead us unless we receive the revelation of who Christ is – in us. Selah.
The concept of being made holy in the image of God can become a deception if we do not understand sanctification. If we depend on our “title” of Christian, to take the place of His refiner’s fire – we are living in a fantasy land. Just because we call ourselves a Christian, it does not mean that we are what God desires for us to be. Many believers are an embarrassment to God and to the world because they have never allowed themselves to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. It is true that we have been called to be “set-apart” but set apart from what? We have not just been separated from the world to keep from being contaminated or infected with sin, but we have been PURIFIED to be a holy witness of light to a world that stumbles in darkness. Where the crowds begin to slip out the back door, is when someone begins to reveal how much being purified is going to COST! Our carnality must be crushed and crucified just as the body of Jesus was nailed to the cross. In order for us to live the resurrected life of victory over sin, our old nature must die an agonizing death. Many will say that there is no suffering for the Christian because Jesus paid for everything. It is true that Christ paid for our sins with His blood but to eliminate the need for us to suffer as we deny our flesh to dominate us – is bad theology. The agony from sacrificing our carnality is crucial for our spiritual development and will flow directly in context with how much we have surrendered our will. If we have NOT allowed Jesus to be our Lord, (to be in control of our life) our carnal witness will prevent us from being sanctified and we will NOT be please Him as a faithful servant.
So, what makes the difference between those who desire to walk in sanctification and those who live carnal? It is either the lack of spiritual instruction – severe heart disease – or both. It is everyone’s personal responsibility to study and pray and listen to what God is telling them, but in many cases it seems that people just choose to not think about what God thinks about. Selah. I am not trying to appear to have arrived at walking in His Spirit because to confess openly, I have really been struggling lately. I realize that most of the time we are NOT concentrating on the mission at hand and I believe this comes from allowing our mind to be distracted with carnal matters. We may have a great time of intimacy one day but we spring a leak and the next day we are empty again. The vision should be for us to STAY in His presence but that will only come with the highest determination of discipline. It is God’s intention for us to develop a “constant” sensitive awareness to sin which will lead us into being holy; however this will only happen if we can begin to comprehend an awareness of Godly sorrow.
I had a person (that is close to me) make a comment about my ministry the other day. They said that in all of my songwriting and my article writing there seemed to be a consistent message. They said that God is saying the same thing over and over in hundreds of different ways and they all are about the condition and intention of our heart. The contents of the conscience is who we are, and reveals everything about us. I thought about this statement and I must agree that in the last 30 years, God in His graciousness and patience has been trying to tell me how much He wants ALL of my heart. Not just my heart – but everyone’s heart also. I know we wiggle and squirm because it is uncomfortable to think about laying down our secrets and the things we do that are not right. I mentioned Godly sorrow at the end of the last paragraph, and I wonder if we know what it is. As a Christian, have you ever done something or said something that after it was over, you felt ashamed? Have you ever felt heaviness in your soul over a sin and you tried to shake it off but the nagging misery just would not go away? This is a glimpse of the sorrow of sin. Godly sorrow is a blessing in disguise as it allows us to feel the sadness that God feels. If we could realize how much it hurts Him when we disobey, it would definitely help us to do better. If we are willing to discern truth and stop sugarcoating our “rose-colored” image, we may discover that our conscience contains things we need to deal with. Father is doing a work in His people right now! He is preparing His children not just for a one way ticket to paradise – but so they might be able to do His work NOW! There are spots and wrinkles in our bridal garment and He is saying to come away from being like the world. We must preserve our tenderness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love.

The Beauty of Holy Intimacy

THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the almighty
PART 37
THE BEAUTY OF HOLY INTIMACY

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147: 3-5)
One of the most intriguing thoughts is realizing that God knows exactly what we are thinking. There is always a motive behind every deed and even though we may go through the motions with some of the things we say and do – God knows our intentions. I am confident we will agree that life is all about love. It begins with the love from God that gives us the opportunity to live and we are nurtured with the love from our family that supports and encourages us as we grow. We receive the love of Christ in salvation and for many, love is expressed through the bond of marriage and to complete the circle of charity as Christians we abide in the awareness of releasing God’s love through our heart to the world. There are varying degrees of receiving and giving of love and likewise there are reasons why. God understands circumstances that are beyond our control pertaining to our childhood. He realizes that our past has a direct influence on how we are and in His justice and compassion He can extend as much grace as is needed to help us. We are not to use our disappointments and scars as an excuse – but rather we can give our heart to Him and allow Him to “rebuild” our mind, emotions and conscience into a brand new creation. Do not feel condemned for being wounded but trust that He can transform your stumbling blocks into stepping stones. There is an awesome beauty of intimacy associated with forgiving others. Purging us from resentment will deliver us and bring peace of mind, fullness of love and the spiritual freedom that comes from the joy of His truth. He is the one who made you, who knows you and the only one that has the power to transform your soul.
Let us talk about intimacy and allow Him to reveal the depths of where we are in our relationship with Him. Going to church has its place as a public gathering of believers, but it NOT the same thing as walking in spiritual intimacy with God. There is a huge difference between our public praise for God and our private time alone with Him. The corporate assembly is the collection of many thoughts, attitudes, agendas and opinions – all gathered under one roof to listen to a message from God. Hopefully there is an opportunity for prayer and worship but under the parameters of time, the services usually follow a program. This is one reason why the closet of prayer is mentioned in God’s Word, as we can spend as much time as we desire with God without disruption. It is the beauty of the “secret place” where we express our thoughts freely and choose not to worry about anything other than being in His presence. Allow me to say at this point something that hurts my soul deeply but needs to be said. Our actions reveal the truth about our love for His presence and exposes our lack of desire to be with Him. Selah. Brother, I cannot believe you would say that! It is offensive for you to state that Christians do not have a passion to spend time with God. As I hear from The Lord, it is Christ that relates His message to me. It is He that knows the hearts of people and it is He that experiences the hurt and rejection from being ignored and forgotten.
Do you ever think about going to heaven? What do you dream about? I have heard many messages about the streets of gold and how we will not have any worries or pain for all eternity. These are definitely encouraging thoughts but how often do you hear people talk about how they long to be in His presence so they can worship Him constantly? Do you know why this is? Because it is not really their priority now! Are we thankful to go to heaven to worship God – or to enjoy eternal life by avoiding hell? I know that is a sobering question but if we are so excited and in love with Him, why don’t we desire to spend more time with Him now? The reason why living with God is not thought about concerning heaven is because walking with Him is not our highest priority now. I have led worship in the churches for years and at times have been frustrated at the lack of enthusiasm and participation. I have often wondered if the church setting of corporate worship was the only time that members praised the Lord. The same could be said of prayers being said or Bibles being opened. If people are not interested in spending quality time with God now – why would we presume they would be excited to do the same thing in heaven? Do you believe people will complain about the style of music or the volume of the instruments in heaven? Do you believe people will become restless, bored, complaining, criticizing and disagreeing with the sermons? Do you think in heaven there will be jealousy, backbiting, politics, gossip, pride, competition, envy and all the other bad attitudes found in today’s church? Now is the time for us to honestly and thoroughly examine our heart concerning motives and intentions, our dreams, visions, thoughts and the reasons for our hope.
The act of being grateful is directly connected to our appreciation for that person. Actually, the lost who are not members of God’s household can produce the expression of being grateful. Our spiritual act of worship is a manifestation of our heart that cries to God in thankfulness. By the way, casually saying, “Thank God!” is alright but it is not necessarily spending quality time in intimacy with Him. We cannot deceive Him and should never assume that life is some sort of a cosmic game. In fact, it makes a mockery of who He is and what He is trying to do in this world. He desires to be “intertwined” with our heart and spirit and for us to be aware of Him every minute. He wants us to live under the shadow of His wings and be focused and sensitive to His voice all the time. Have I arrived at this awesome place with my relationship with Him? Sadly, I confess that I have not. This truth burns within me although I have not been able to maintain this level of spirituality for long periods of time. Can we grow and develop into this way of life? I believe there is nothing impossible with God’s power. We can have as much of Him as we desire. The question is; how much of Him do we really want?
Paul speaks of a ministry that every Christian is called to, one that does not require particular gifts or talents. It is to be undertaken by all who have been born again and in fact, this “ministry” is every believer’s first calling and all other endeavors must flow out of it. No service can be pleasing to God unless it is birthed out of this spiritual foundation. I am talking about the ministry of beholding the face of Christ. Paul says, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). What does it mean to behold the Lord’s glory? Paul is speaking of devoted, intimate, focused worship. It is sacrificed time that is given to God simply to behold Him. And the apostle quickly adds, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry” (4:1). Paul makes it clear that beholding the face of Christ is a ministry we ALL must devote ourselves to. The Greek word for beholding in this verse is a very strong expression. It indicates not just taking a look, but “fixing the gaze.” It means deciding, “I won’t move from this position”. Before I do anything else, before I try to accomplish a single thing, I must be in God’s presence. Many Christians misinterpret the phrase “beholding as in a glass”, by thinking of a mirror, with their image being reflected back to them. But that is NOT Paul’s meaning here. He is speaking of an intensely focused gaze, as if peering at something beyond the natural – into the supernatural. We are to “fix our eyes” this way, determined to see God’s glory in the face of Christ. We are to shut ourselves in the Holy of Holies, with but one obsession: to gaze so intently, and to commune with such devotion, that we are changed into what He has designed for us to be. Paul says the person who is shut in with Christ, beholding Him, is being transfigured and transformed from what they used to be into a more pure vessel of honor. What happens as a believer beholds the face of Christ? Paul writes, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”. But who will take the time to spend quiet moments with God like this? People go to church and I am not saying this is bad; however it should not satisfy our deep need for concentrated spiritual intimacy. Remember there is a hypocritical religious attitude that is an imposter to the genuine love relationship to God. It is humility and Godly sorrow that breaks our heart and keeps us sensitive to His voice – not religious activity. Holy purity comes from consistent repentance and is the only admission into His presence. Religion is filled with pride and follows the emotional leading of the carnal conscience. Religion avoids spiritual intimacy because it realizes the pain of dealing with sin and the need to change.
Are you filled with joy today? As you have been reading this, have you been excited about God and what He is doing in your life? Are you encouraged today and enthused about His Holy Spirit and what He has called you to do? Or are you sad and just feel like no one cares about you? Do you feel that everything is hopeless and that all is lost to the devil and his kingdom of darkness? Allow me to speak to you directly for just a minute. You are NOT reading this out of a random coincidence or chance. You are here this moment as a divine appointment. As we have a choice each day to put on our earthly garments – we also choose which spiritual garments we are going to wear. There is a garment of “heaviness” that is associated with depression and is void of hope, appreciation, love and faith. The other garment is PRAISE and that attitude contains our awareness and gratefulness of God’s presence and is FILLED with the beauty of holy intimacy. Decide right now which garment you will wear today – and determine who is in control your life – Jesus or your flesh! How do you do this? Repent right now for your attitude and ask Jesus to forgive you. Tell Him how much you love Him and how you want Him to wrap His arms around you. He will exchange your tears for His joy. Amen.

Behind the Veil

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)

PART 3

BEHIND THE VEIL

We see a very interesting and encouraging story found in II Kings chapter six. Syria and Israel were at war and the king of Syria was troubled because whenever he attempted a military strategy, he would discover that Israel was always one-step ahead of him. He had a meeting and asked his servants if they had any information about a traitor in their midst but they said they had heard about a prophet of God named Elisha that had the ability to see the future and help the king of Israel. So, he sent a large company of soldiers and chariots by night and surrounded the city of Dothan to kidnap Elisha and thus eliminate the gifted “spy”. Very early the next morning the servant of Elisha noticed the entire city was about to be attacked at any moment. He asked Elisha, what can we do? Elisha answered in verse 16, “Fear not: for they that are with us are more than they that are with them”. I am sure the servant was confused (just as we would have been) about this statement in a crisis that looked hopeless. In fact, how many times have we faced a critical situation and used our human reasoning and logical thinking to find a practical solution to our problem? If we only look to what is available to us in our “brain”, we are destined for defeat because we do not wrestle with flesh and blood but our warfare and victory is in the Spirit.

As we keep reading in verse 17, Elisha prayed and asked God to allow the servant to have a “glimpse” into the next world. We talk about the eyes of our understanding being opened and how we ask the Lord to “open the eyes of our heart”, but what does that really mean? I believe it is a sincere prayer that is asking God to allow us to see what He sees – and the wisdom to know how He feels about it. In this example, the servant’s understanding of truth went from imagination to literal and this spiritual enlightenment allowed him to KNOW divine reality the way God sees it. “And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”. Seeing the truth was much more thrilling and faith building than the veiled truth. Revelation transforms the veiled truth into a tangible substance that is real to our spirit. It is a privilege to peek behind the curtain into the next dimension and see the mysteries of the spiritual realm. This is not to say that we should not believe in the things we cannot see because faith is knowing, “without seeing.” However, God is saying, it is similar to many things we take for granted and then later discover how much work and how many people were involved to produce the finished product. When we can witness something from the idea phase all the way to the demonstration, we can have a greater appreciation as we know what was involved to make it happen. The lesson that is being revealed here is for God’s people to understand there is another world at work all around us and to be sensitive of good and evil at all times. Behind the veil of mortal reality, there is an entire world of spiritual reality and since we are spiritual beings living in a natural world, we must use this higher discernment to live by God’s thoughts and wisdom. The encouraging news to us who straddle these two realms is that He has complete authority and control over both.

In this story, we also have a clear picture that angels are constantly fighting battles for us behind this “curtain”. As John 10:10 say’s, “The thief (Satan) has come to steal, kill and destroy” so we can be assured that demons are all around us and have been assigned to destroy us. The second part of that scripture is very encouraging as Jesus reminds us that, “He has come that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.” How many times have we avoided “accidents” and never realized we were in serious danger? When demonic creatures have pointed their arrows at us and swords have been drawn, how many times have angels intervened on our behalf and delivered us from certain defeat? Let us always remember there are many more servants of The Lord willing to help us – than enemies who are against us. Walking in this holy knowledge gives us confidence in knowing that situations are NOT always the way they seem. The devil uses ignorance of God’s word against the saints and “bluffs” them into fear which leads to surrender and ultimately to defeat. Fear binds our faith because we have either never learned about the next dimension or we refuse to believe it is true. Selah. Let us who are children of the light praise and worship our Lord for providing our constant protection and security. Transformation and being renewed comes with seeing behind the curtain of revelation. We can learn as much about God as we desire, and be as close to Him as want to be. It depends on how important it is for Him to be our Lord and how seriously we believe what He says.

THE WALK OF ABANDONMENT II

THE WALK
PART 33

THE WALK OF ABANDONMENT II

The Christian life is NOT a fight to those who abide by the world’s system of flesh. Spiritual warfare is meaningless to those who do NOT desire to abandon the love of the world or their determination to live their own life. Religious people will not hesitate to refer to praying or their expectation of heaven but our level of abandonment unto God is the real spiritual thermometer that “tempers” our love and prayers. I attended a funeral one time where the minister tried to tiptoe around a difficult situation and in the process delivered an immune message that I am not sure, anyone really understood. I admit that some funerals are tough and this one was, but if the celebration of a life lived for God is not there, the message of salvation should be presented to those who still have a chance to repent and give their heart to Jesus. There was never mentioned the plan of salvation, the blood of Jesus, or the desperate need to be born again. The funeral home was standing room only and no doubt, many needed to hear an anointed message of spiritual reality but instead it seemed he was trying to reassure everyone that we are all just a bunch of good ole boys and girls that will be having field parties in heaven forever. What ever happened to the fire and passion about how much God demands holiness or what personal intimacy within a spiritual relationship with Jesus is all about.

The ministry is a calling to those who will abandon their fears to speak the truth. Whatever happened to the responsibility of speaking GOD’S words and not selling out to pleasing men? Anyone that disobeys God in word or deed is guilty of sin and will stand before God for not being faithful. I know that all of us have blown opportunities to witness for Christ and we need to repent and ask God to help us do better next time. But, how many pastors are intimidated by their members and do not care about what The Holy Spirit is saying because they are afraid that obeying God will cause them to lose their jobs? Everyone wants to hear that all people go to heaven no matter if they were saved or not but doesn’t this just make us more comfortable in our own deceptions? There is soon coming a day when every Christian will be forced to take a stand for their convictions and it will NOT be a time to compromise. Selah.

The modern day prosperity movement is an example of devising a plan to present God’s Word as a “money machine” in order to attract enthusiastic crowds. Deceptive teachers use the truth about blood covenant and obedience and then distort it into a “give and get” doctrine. One ministry is called, “enjoying everyday life” but how can this be when the real message of the cross is the “abandonment” of this life. It is not that God will not bless us with abundance but it is intended as a way to GIVE unto others. If we live the way God has commanded us to live, I see His Word warning us of a lot of suffering, sacrifice and persecution – not a constant party. “YEA, AND ALL THAT WILL LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS – SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION.” (II Timothy 3:12) Those who spend all their time enjoying their everyday life of pleasures can hardly relate to practicing the presence of God. The flesh is ENMITY toward God or in other words an “enemy” against the Spirit of God. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God (opposed): for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:5-8) Unfortunately, these “artificial” doctrines are taught as planting seeds and reaping a harvest so that we might fill our bank accounts and indulge ourselves with the pleasures of the flesh. This is a spiritual principal but is not intended to be twisted into a carnal slot machine. No wonder these churches and stadiums are filled! The religious seekers support and are drawn to those who say things their flesh loves. Remember when Pontius Pilate stood before the angry crowd with Jesus and Barabbas, he had the authority to do what was right but crumbled under the pressure of pleasing the people. However, those who speak the truth and who trust God even unto death, will lead a lonely life of rejection and betrayal. Why? Because very few want to hear about the need to abandon their carnality. “You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not understand that the friendship of the world is ENMITY to God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world – is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

I noticed a picture in the paper the other day of a gay rights activist holding a sign that said, “It’s ok to be gay”. I am not necessarily picking on the gay movement because actually it is more like the sign was saying, “It’s ok to sin”! What kind of world are we now living? How are we as Christians supposed to react to a crowd of people holding signs that declare that any abomination, perversion or type of darkness and wickedness is acceptable? Are we to just ignore the freedoms and rights of individuals? Are we to tolerate their sin and not worry about what people do in their own personal lives? Are we to get involved with politics and fight against sin and create laws against debauchery? I know we are to pray against the darkness and I know we are to stand for God’s truth even if our own family hates us. Nevertheless, my question is – who has the power or wisdom to declare that sin is acceptable? First, a person would have to disregard the Bible as the absolute truth of heaven and earth and that God the Father of all things – wrote it! So, if you sweep that little problem under the rug, I presume you can proceed with creating your own spiritual, legal and moral system within a brand new world order. BREAKING NEWS! This is exactly what is happening! The now generation has thrown God’s Word out the window, which gives them a brand new platform with a new clean slate. Since they do not believe that God’s Word is socially valid, our arguments against their world are not considered legally conclusive, which is the reason why watered down religion alone can never persuade the spiritually blind. This is the highest pride in the universe and compares with Lucifer’s mentality when he was still working in heaven. He said in a paraphrase that, I am smarter than God, more popular, more beautiful and can do a better job of ruling all things. And now, many are possessed with this same twisted spirit of arrogance. They are born of the dark side and pledge allegiance to the lies of darkness. Only the blind and foolish would declare that man’s limited, mortal and corrupted intelligence is the “right” way to live. For humans that do not consider God’s Word to be true, this statement takes away the absolutes and opens the door for the tolerance of all chaos, confusion and lies. In the minds of those who believe in the philosophy of doing whatever feels good, the idea of living holy unto the Lord of all Kings does not matter. Whenever man does not acknowledge sin as an opposition against the maker of heaven and earth, there is a rebellious disregard for HIS absolute truth. God has mercy on all those who shake their fist in His face and shout that they know more and better than He does – but for how long? The system of the world serves the flesh and is becoming more aggressive with their hatred for God and His Word. There is an old saying, that what is in the well, will come up in the bucket. This perfectly explains how the condition of the heart cannot be ignored nor hidden from the conscious mind. The direction of our lives and the motives behind our actions are driven by the convictions of our conscience and spirit. In addition, for that matter all who call themselves a Christian should have the discernment to realize that the one who knows every thought and who hears every whisper is weighing our intentions.

If we are walking with God, we are filled with His Spirit and His power will renew our mind and ultimately control us. If we are distant from Him, we only have traces of His presence, which leaves us lukewarm and carnally driven. Of course, those who have never been redeemed are cold and indifferent to His presence, are spiritually blind and cannot comprehend His truth. Allow me to pause for a moment and ask you where you are this moment in the levels of spiritual intimacy with Christ. We know when we sense His Holy Spirit and we know when we are living in a state of emptiness. The consequences to being lazy in our praying and worship are a “cooling off” within our spirit, which in turn causes a heaviness that blankets our joy and peace. We all go through times when we become tired of fighting the battle and the daily grind of functioning in a negative world can cause stress that wears us down. Being in a state of “blah” can be denied for a long time but that does not mean we do not know its there. We KNOW when we are sliding backward and we KNOW when things are not right within our conscience. If you feel right now that you have drifted away from being “red hot” but, you are still wearing your, “everything’s ok mask”, just stop for a minute and talk to Him. He is ready to empower us to live for Him and give us the strength to pull away from the temptation to compromise.

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all; I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I can pray no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

THE WALK OF TRUTH III

THE WALK
PART 13

THE WALK OF TRUTH III

How can we pursue truth without comprehending that it is not left up to human ability alone to know what it is? Selah. When man believes he can disregard the wisdom of God he has already missed his destiny. How can we find absolute truth without first finding the only one who IS absolute truth? Those who do not believe that God and His Word is infinite, divine, the ultimate authority, never failing and the highest supernatural wisdom in the universe will never know the spiritual reality of truth! “But without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him: for He that comes to God MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK HIM.” (Hebrews 11:6) God’s treasure map is given to all who believe that He is who He say’s He is – it is our responsibility to use the shovel. Man can do many things to enhance his chances to discern truth but we cannot substitute intelligence or imagination for listening to the Holy Spirit. Even those that have the Holy Spirit can experience error if they allow carnality to cloud and distort their thinking. God will not force His truth upon anyone because it is a “seeker” gift similar to developing a personal relationship with Him. God seeks man first as our faith comes by hearing God’s Word (which is God’s love reaching out to us) – but revelation comes through our faith by SEEKING God’s Word (which is our love reaching out to God). Selah. Those who diligently obey the Lord and surrender their will to His will profess to the Lord, “not my will but THY will be done”. But for those who reject God’s Word and build their house (life) on the sands of flesh, the Lord will respond, “not MY will but thy will be done” as He allows them to choose their own destiny. He is not pleased with anything that is not saturated in faith because that is the spiritual principal He moves through. Man can boast of his human ability but the author of truth is never impressed with diplomas, awards, medals or trophies? He desires our heart.

Listen to these modern worldviews concerning the differences in God’s truth and social opinion. “Moral relativism is more easily understood in comparison to moral absolutism. Absolutism claims that morality relies on universal principles (natural law, conscience). Christian absolutists believe that God is the ultimate source of our common morality, and that it is, therefore, as unchanging as He is. Moral relativism asserts that morality is not based on any absolute standard. Rather, ethical “truths” depend on variables such as the situation, culture, one’s feelings, etc. Several things can be said of the arguments for moral relativism which demonstrate their dubious nature. First, while many of the arguments used in the attempt to support relativism might sound good at first, there is a logical contradiction inherent in all of them because they all propose the “right” moral scheme—the one we all SHOULD follow. But this in itself is absolutism. Second, even so-called relativists reject relativism in most cases. They would not say that a murderer or rapist is free from guilt so long as he did not violate his own standards. Relativists may argue that different values among different cultures show that morals are relative to different people. But this argument confuses the actions of individuals (what they do) with absolute standards (whether they should do it). If culture determines right and wrong, how could we have judged the Nazis? After all, they were only following their culture’s morality. Only if murder is universally wrong were the Nazis wrong. The fact that they had “their morality” does not change that. Further, although many people have different practices of morality, they still share a common morality. For instance, abortionists and anti-abortionists agree that murder is wrong, but they disagree on whether abortion is murder. So, even here, absolute universal morality is shown to be true.

Some claim that changing situations make for changing morality—in different situations different acts are called for that might not be right in other situations. But there are three things by which we must judge an act: the situation, the act, and the intention. For example, we can convict someone of attempted murder (intent) even if they fail (act). So situations are part of the moral decision, for they set the context for choosing the specific moral act (the application of universal principles).

The main argument relativists appeal to is that of tolerance. They claim that telling someone their morality is wrong is intolerant, and relativism tolerates all views. But this is misleading. First of all, evil should never be tolerated. Should we tolerate a rapist’s view that women and children are objects of gratification to be abused? Second, it is self-defeating because relativists do not tolerate intolerance or absolutism. Third, relativism cannot explain why anyone should be tolerant in the first place. The very fact that we should tolerate people (even when we disagree) is based on the absolute moral rule that we should always treat people fairly—but that is absolutism again! In fact, without universal moral principles there can be no goodness. The fact is that all people are born with a conscience, and we all instinctively know when we have been wronged or when we have wronged others. We act as though we expect others to recognize this as well. Even as children we knew the difference between “fair” and “unfair.” It takes bad philosophy to convince us that we are wrong (for believing that God is right) and that moral relativism is true”.

Is there anything that could cause you to abandon your convictions? There have been many brave soldiers since the beginning of time to walk out on a battlefield and declare to heaven and earth, that they are willing to die for what they know to be true. Having faith in a false god or a false belief system does not earn favor with THE GOD of the heaven and earth. Sincerity does not earn special credit because His perfection would never allow Him to bend His own character of absolute truth which in the end will expose many who were SINCERELY wrong. I am not saying that He requires us to be perfect in order to inherit heaven because no one has it all correct. “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (I Corinthians 13:12) But, I believe that knowing truth makes a huge difference in us receiving the abundant life on earth that God wants us to have. It is our love for Him and our personal relationship with Him that is our highest purpose! We can study and learn His truth gradually as we dedicate our attention to learning directly from Him. There is a huge difference between possessing the knowledge of it and rightly dividing (interpreting) it! We can memorize information but His truth is more than just words on a page. “For the Word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

A “worldview” refers to a comprehensive conception of the world from a specific standpoint. A “Christian worldview,” then, is a comprehensive conception of the world from a Christian standpoint. An individual’s worldview is his “big picture,” a harmony of all his beliefs about the world. It is his way of understanding reality. One’s worldview is the basis for making daily decisions and is therefore extremely important.

An apple sitting on a table is seen by several people. A botanist looking at the apple classifies it. An artist sees a still-life and draws it. A grocer sees an asset and inventories it. A child sees lunch and eats it. How we look at any situation is influenced by how we look at the world at large. Every worldview, Christian and non-Christian, deals with at least these three questions:

1) Where did we come from and why are we here?
2) What is wrong with the world?
3) How can we fix it?

A prevalent worldview today is naturalism, which answers these three questions like this: 1) we are the product of random acts of nature with no real purpose. 2) We do not respect nature as we should. 3) We can save the world through ecology and conservation. A naturalistic worldview generates many related philosophies such as moral relativism, existentialism, pragmatism, and utopianism. A Christian worldview, on the other hand, answers the three questions biblically: 1) We are God’s creation, designed to govern the world and fellowship with Him (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15). 2) We sinned against God and subjected the whole world to a curse (Genesis 3). 3) God Himself has redeemed the world through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15; Luke 19:10), and will one day restore creation to its former perfect state (Isaiah 65:17-25). A Christian worldview leads us to believe in moral absolutes, miracles, human dignity, and the possibility of redemption.

True Christianity is more than a set of ideas to use at church. Christianity as taught in the Bible is itself a worldview that is a foundation for a lifestyle. The Bible never distinguishes between a “religious” and a “secular” life; the Christian life is the ONLY divine reality while the default life is automatic in the absence of God. Jesus proclaimed Himself “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and, in doing so, became the worldview of His disciples. True Christians are dogmatic because God is not tolerant of any other idol or view besides His own that tries to compete for His glory. He certainly is not humored with the “puppet” thinking that he is smarter than the one who made him. It is the same attitude that Lucifer had in heaven as pride blinds the eyes and hardens the heart from truth. God is not elected with popular or electoral votes! He is God. He created everything including the perfect way to think, believe, act and live. The standards of living are never up for debate because how could anyone sane ever question God? “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare (speak up) if you have understanding. Who calculated the measurements, do you know? Or who stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations fastened? And who laid the cornerstone?” (Job 38: 4-6) When God speaks it always becomes extremely quiet.

In Victor E. Frankl’s book, “Mans Search for Meaning”, we are given a glimpse of how depraved humans can disconnect their conscience and at the same time how God can bring revelation truth to the sensitive ones in the most difficult situations. Words cannot describe the cruel torture of a concentration camp prisoner. At Auschwitz, each morning he would march with a work party for miles to dig ditches in snow and freezing wind and at night receive one cup of watery soup. With unlaced shoes and no socks he would receive beatings with sticks and gun butts until he reached the work area where he would dig all day with a pick in the frozen ground. He learned to walk in this “valley of death” and go deeper into the spiritual realm in order to survive as he resisted the urge to give up and be thrown into the furnace. Listen to his words, “For the first time in my life I saw the TRUTH as it is set into song by so many poets and proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The TRUTH – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, the angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.” The TRUTH will be a martyr’s “beloved” in the time of persecution. Selah.
“My son, if thou wilt receive my Words and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge and lift up thy voice for understanding; if thou seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5) “Sanctify them through thy TRUTH: Thy Word is TRUTH.” (John 17:17)