THE SECRET PLACE
Jesus is not a place you go – but a person you know
EVERYONE FOLLOWS A VOICE
Is the Lord your Shepherd today? Well brother, I believe in Jesus and doesn’t that automatically make me a sheep of His fold? Well, believing in God is not always the same as following God because the devil believes in God. If we are truly born-again, we are indeed a member of His family however, that also does not mean we are ABIDING in His Spirit. Actually this is a complex subject and presents some interesting questions like; is it possible to be saved and NOT have the nature and characteristics of a (sheep) disciple? Many would say that rebellious individuals who act more like a “goat” would fall under the category of backslidden and lukewarm. In some cases, this might be true if they once were obedient and now have become intentionally rebellious, but what about the ones that profess Christ as Savior but have never embraced Him as their Shepherd? Do you believe it is possible to have an “emotional” salvation experience that “feels” like a spiritual transformation? Do you believe there are many people today that go to church and know all about God but do not actually know Him? I am convinced there is an ETERNAL difference between head knowledge about God – and the spiritual reality of knowing Him as Lord! The majority of people in America say they believe in God and many represent the traditional church, but do all of them know what it means to be a disciple of Christ? Being religious has nothing to do with a personal relationship with Jesus, except that it looks clean and decent on the “outside”. We can tell others we are a Christian and appear to be a moral person of integrity, but as the Pharisees discovered this does not automatically make us a true child of God.
Did you realize that everyone follows some type of voice? Within our free-will is the built-in voice of reason that is connected to our conscience. Proverbs warns us to NOT “lean” on our own understanding, because that is contrary to the idea of salvation about Jesus being our Lord. The reality of being saved includes the genuine trust and obedience that comes from our love for God and the “work” He is doing within us. This spiritual connection transforms our spirit, conscience, attitude, our personality and “changes” the way we think! There is nothing more dangerous than to presume we are saved and have met His requirements, and yet have never been redeemed by the fountain of His blood. In the natural, shepherds lead their sheep and the sheep obediently follow and trust them and the concept in the spiritual realm is very similar. The reason why many people are suffering and are discouraged is because they have made the deliberate decision to NOT follow Jesus! Why? Because He is not their shepherd! We can put a beautiful paint job on it and decorate it with flashing lights in order to lessen the ugly truth – but then all we are left with is a definition of religion. This is a reality that many people refuse to even consider because they know when they do an inventory within their heart they are going to find some disturbing facts and most will avoid reality if they possibly can.
There are many beautiful promises in God’s Word and everyone loves to read them, but most do not embrace and incorporate them into their lives. I have noticed at funerals, there are usually comforting writings on the cards and keepsakes that speak of the loving kindness and mercy of God. However, most people do not have a clue that it is possible to “ABIDE” in this realm as a lifestyle. It is true that we can live in God’s presence constantly and enjoy His overwhelming love and grace every moment! Unfortunately, there is this one small problem – we are so filled with our own carnal way of living, He cannot release His presence. He has designed His beautiful plan of salvation to include the requirements of us becoming a living sacrifice and in turn He will cover us in His glory. He is not a social service organization that supplies all of our desires without us surrendering our will! Humans always cry to Him when they NEED something, but when everything is going fine, He does not even cross their mind. This is NOT Christianity – it is an INSULT to God! This is another example of being deceived into a “distorted” religious lie that believes God can be fooled. Being saved involves the EMPTYING of our old heart, so that God can FILL us with Himself. This may not happen overnight, but these signs of genuine deliverance must be evident – or something is wrong.
In the places of the world where sheep are raised, it is common for two or three different shepherds to bring their herds to a body of water so the sheep can drink. The herds will naturally mingle together and become all mixed up, while the shepherds rest and talk, seemingly unconcerned with what would seem to be an impossible task of sorting and identifying each sheep back to its own fold. After the sheep are finished drinking, the miracle begins when the shepherds begin to walk away in their different directions and start “calling” their sheep. Amazingly, the sheep begin to head in the direction of the shepherd’s voice and eventually, every sheep will be perfectly secure with where they need to be. How does this happen? They have spent so much time with the shepherd and have come to recognize his voice. The sheep have learned to never follow strange voices and do not even trust their “own” sense of direction. They have sacrificed their independence for obedience and this gives them peace. They trust him and love him with everything they have – even their life. Selah.
People have a habit of asking, “How are you doing?” And, most reply that they are doing “fair”. Maybe we are really confessing (without realizing it) just how we are walking in the will of God. This sounds more like our reply if we were living on a deserted island trying to survive on our own! Many times our words reveal the condition of our soul. Our brains and common sense cannot save us, as we were never called to walk in our own will. Remember, we are to be like the sheep that lives completely in FAITH and TRUST. If we are following God and allowing Him to guide our every decision we would be doing WONDERFUL! How much more perfect could we be doing with God leading us along with our determination to submit to Him. We obviously are always looking to the earthly realm and it seems we never consider acknowledging His divine reality. This is one of the most difficult things to do in life, because our nature wants to take control and act on what WE THINK about our flesh! When we lean on our own understanding we have already taken the wrong exit, and very quickly, we can become lost and confused. Thank God this is when Jesus leaves the ninety-nine and goes to search for the one lost sheep. He loves us even when we stumble and is constantly trying to get our attention however, if we continually REFUSE to listen to Him – it can become a very serious situation. If He turns us over to a reprobate mind and allows our conscience to be seared, we will never have the sensitivity to fall on our face to Him. If we take Him for granted and believe He would never do such a thing then maybe we should get to know Him better.
We become aware of His holiness and perfection in our reverential fear of Him. We seldom consider what it would be like to stand before Him because in our minds eye we do not imagine such a place. Our minds wander and drift so much that we can hardly pay attention to a two minute prayer. We are like the disciples that could not stay awake when Jesus was praying in the garden. We are weak and easily distracted and this is the main cause for our lack of spiritual maturity. We must be careful in our assumption of God’s willingness to meet with us and that He demands our highest respect. We may be able to talk with Him casually but that does not mean we lose focus that He is the Almighty God of all things. The holiness and reverential fear of God came from the legitimate teachings and instructions to the earlier followers and was given as an example of how we are to approach Him. Moses was told to remove His shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy and later his countenance was literally glowing from being in God’s presence. In Isaiah the temple was filled with the smoke of God’s presence and on Pentecost the flaming fire of the Holy Spirit was upon their heads. We forget that God spoke the universe into being with the words of His mouth and He rules the kingdoms of an infinite heaven with the power of His majesty. He created an eternal hell for all those who are disobedient to Him and has made every person’s soul to live forever in either heaven or hell. He is compassionate but will not be made into a cosmic vending machine where the blasphemers and deceivers come to get their selfish pleasures. We should teach that God can be approached when we are sincere and in awe of His holiness. Woe to those who are teaching that God will accept any type of offering and any type of disrespectful attitude. We must approach Him with brokenness and a sincere heart of repentance and sorrow. There is an imposter parade that religion has implemented as holy and the churches of man with all of their rituals and ceremony has been an attempt to “display” God’s splendor but much of it has been reduced to the pride of man’s glory. Let us be filled with a clean heart of gratitude, humility and praise for His enduring mercy toward us. It is a privilege and honor to spend time with the God and should be taken with the purest intentions. Some have fallen like dead men at the feet of angels and this should be a hint to how much more serious we should be about His presence.
Peace is a beautiful state of mind and spirit. Many today are filled with fear and anxiety about what is coming because they choose to NOT have Christ as their Shepherd. Asking God for the burden for lost souls, humility, holiness, repentance, and agape love, should be our priorities in this last hour. If He is our Shepherd, we will not want or really need anything else. As we empty ourselves and become filled with His presence, He will bring us to lush, green pastures of abundance and fulfillment. He will lead us with His Holy Spirit, beside His still waters. If we are struggling with stress, fear, discouragement or a crisis, and we are sincere about committing our life completely to Him – He will restore our soul. Breathe deeply and slowly and cast aside all of your doubts and worries. Lay your entire life at His feet and worship Him for who He is. For His patience, love and forgiveness – He is worthy of our praise and adoration forever! Trust His wisdom, and know in your heart that He delights in you and wants the best for you. Selah.