Category: Bond-servant

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. ‭‭- Hebrews‬ ‭11:5-6‬ ‭NASB‬‬

This was the next passage about Enoch ( except for genealogies that just mentioned him in passing ).  Let’s go over the parts of this I found interesting.

1. By faith – This wasn’t an all God thing.  Of course God took Him up, but it was done by faith, Enoch’s faith.  His faith was such that the Lord could take Him up.  Why does that stick out to me, because this wasn’t God’s plan that was just going to happen.  Enoch enabled this by His faith.  If not just Enoch, why not others?

2. Death is not the best choice – His faith qualified him to go and not have to face death. I point this out because death is a result of sin. We weren’t created to die, in fact our spirit cannot, but because of sin this body can.  Go look at God’s words to Adam when he sinned.  He would die.  That means had he not, I believe he wouldn’t have.  So we weren’t made to die, which means that wasn’t God’s original plan.  This makes me think that death is a result of sin, but isn’t actually necessary.

Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death. – John 8:51

3. God took him – Might be obvious, but this is not something we do.  Our faith can enable it, but God is the one who does the work, we just allow it.

4. Pleased God – Why else should it mention it except that being pleasing to God was the main contributor as to why he was brought up.  Before he was taken up, this was his “witness”.  It was evident in His life that He pleased God so much.  To me, this implies that He pleased God so much, God decided to draw Him so near that he just left the earth.

Whether you are willing to accept it or not, there’s a section of The Final Quest by Rick Joyner that discussed the life of this beggar.  I cannot remember his name, and don’t want to go skimming the book to find it right now.  If you want to read it all, go get the book, but I’ll do a quick recap.  This man lived in poverty, had nothing to his name.  God said this man only had “one portion” of His love.  One day he ran across a cat and started to kick it, but mustered up all the love he had and just shoved it out of the way.  The Lord was moved enough he doubled the love.  This lead to something a little better, then he increased it again.  One day he ran across a tract and got saved.  That increased his love.  So he gave everything he could to buy tracts and share Jesus with others.  This continued on and on, up to a point that God said something like “all of heaven was entreating me to bring Him home”, so he let him die as a martyr trying to save someone in the cold and he came up to heaven.

The reason I brought this up, was that this man exhibited so much of love in his faith, that the heavens themselves wanted him to go home.

5. Must believe – “believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  This is something the Spirit keeps bringing to my attention. We really must believe that He is(seems obvious but do you always live that way?) but also that he rewards those who seek him. Not those who serve a lot, or those who give a lot, or those who are ministers or teachers. No, He rewards those who seek him. We can all do this. It must be ingrained in your heart that the reward is in seeking and finding God. Part of that(and faith) is to do all He asks, but it’s more. It’s your heart, desires and attention that must become more and more focused upon him.


James 4:7 would be that verse.  Resist and he will flee.   Guess what.  I’ve tried it, a lot, and it often doesn’t work.  Of course it doesn’t work in those areas I’ve allowed myself to get farther into.  I can think of a couple areas where the devil loves to come at me, and I resist to a point, and then get pushed over the edge.

I had a new twist on this I wanted to share, so as part of that, I went and did my typical “look at the greek” for the verse above.  Oh, I’m no greek scholar.  I actually did take a Biblical Hebrew class at my university.  I think I can still say the alphabet there, but I’m no scholar.  Instead, I use Bible Hub.  Here’s the link for James 4:7

Fun stuff, you won’t catch all the forms of the verbs and nouns, etc of Greek.  Gotta take classes for that, but it did give me one thing.  I followed the definition back for the word “resit” and found one of the definitions as:

take a complete stand against, i.e. a “180 degree, contrary position”; (figuratively) to establish one’s position publicly by conspicuously “holding one’s ground,” i.e. refusing to be moved (“pushed back”).

Well, that explains a little.  This isn’t just resist, this is like “take it to war’ resist.  So on that note, my new method.

Don’t just say no, don’t just run away, don’t just say a scripture.  All good things.  But take the opportunity afforded by the temptation to react to it.  Take action.  Preferably, find the base reason for that temptation that leads you to sin, and then turn to God in a way that counter acts it.  How to explain.  For example, lets say I have a sin which at root is that I’m lacking intimacy.  So I take that temptation, and when it comes strongly, I step aside, turn my heart to God, and find intimicy with my Lord.  I wait upon the Lord, looking to Him, praising and worshiping Him.  Not only does that counter-balance the desires for that sin, but it leads me to seek Him when I hadn’t planned.  Basically, I use the enemy’s attacks to draw me deeper into relationship.

Another way to describe this is through one of my favorite songs from Shane and Shane.  It’s called embracing accusation.  Here’s the lyrics.

The father of lies
Coming to steal
Kill and destroy
All my hopes of being good enough
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
He’s right
Alleluia he’s right!

The devil is preaching
The song of the redeemed
That I am cursed and gone astray
I cannot gain salvation
Embracing accusation

Could the father of lies
Be telling the truth
Of God to me tonight?
If the penalty of sin is death
Then death is mine
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
He’s right
Alleluia he’s right!

Oh the devil’s singing over me
An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently over me
He’s forgotten the refrain
Jesus saves!

So the devil likes to come and accuse us, and guess what, he’s right.  We have sinned.  He loves to tell us that, but leaves off the “oh year, Jesus saved you from that” part.  So when he condemns, you take that condemnation, shove it aside, and say, “Good thing God’s grace is sufficient. He is awesome”.

What you’ll find is that when you build the habit of taking the attack against you into something positive with the Lord, the devil is going to stop.  As soon as it’s clear that his attacks are driving you closer, he’ll learn and move on.  Oh, he’ll be back with something else I’m sure, but like the verse says, “resist him and he’ll flee”.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.  – (Matthew 7:16)

What fruit are we looking for?

I went through a men’s discipleship course lately that was very big on John 15.  You know the chapter, abide in God.  Those that abide will bear fruit, those that bear fruit God prunes so they bear more fruit.  One of the questions we asked the group was “what kind of fruit are we talking about”.  I of course started with the fruit of the Spirit, but we went on and came up with a number of other fruits.  People being saved, chruches started, lives touched, etc.  It’s hard to measure something like joy, but easy the measure something like the number of people joining a church.  That’s not wrong…. is it?

That thought crossed my mind the other day when I was reminded of another passage from Jesus.

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:22-23

So, here we find a group of people who were expressing several of the gifts of the spirit: prophecy, miracles, casting out demons(not sure that’s a “gift” but it’s an expression).  Very visible things.  Imaging a man who came to your church, prayed for some sick and they got well.  We would look up to that man.  Yet, this verse says that Jesus may have never known him.

Neville Johnson said these last couple years that we have focused on the gifts of the spirit rather than the fruit.  If Jesus said you should know them by their fruit, then let’s combine that with another verse.  Sadly, I went looking and I can’t find it.  Hmm… it’s something like we should no longer look at each other from the flesh, but know each other from the spirit.  Sigh.  If someone knows the verse i’m looking for leave a comment.   Possibly it’s just a logical part of 2 Corinthians 5:16.  Oh well.  Sorry for that dead-end.

Anyway, if we’re to judge by the fruit, and we know long judge according to the flesh(2 Cor 5:16), then perhaps we judge by the spirit.  And if the Bible just happens to tell us the fruit of the spirit, well, maybe that’s what we judge.  Is that harder, yes, but I bet not for those who are more open to the Spirit.  For those of us not there, we must be more open, observant, and listen for the voice in us.  But don’t judge by the world, you’ll miss it.

If you haven’t caught on, silly church traditions sometimes bug me.  For example, one of the denominations I’ve been to a bit likes to count up baptisms.  It seems like a decent thing to count as people who pray the prayer, often pray it and wander off.  Those that are baptized are more likely the ones that were touched and will move on.  So we count it.  As we like to count all things.  And sadly we go on to stuff like baptizing those from another denomination “just to make sure”.  They weren’t “baptized” like we are.  I can’t help but wonder if that’s really the concern, or if that adds to the count.  Silly Christians we all are.

So, I went into this, because I wonder how many people live in discouragement that are exhibiting many of the fruits of the spirit, but not the “fruits of the church”.  So they are growing, but from the external view they aren’t on mission trips, and leading small groups, and witnessing to people enough to look good, so they get discouraged.  They come to think of themselves as not as good and lose that desire to draw closer to God.  I’ve been there.  If you are, remember, what God believes is what matters.  Draw closer to Him.

The fruit is the test.  Are you showing more fruit of the spirit.  Love, joy, peace, patience….

If you’re not, the answer isn’t to try hard, it’s to abide more deeply.  Spend more time with the Lord, listen to Him, meditate upon the word, desire God.  Keep your mind on the Lord more and His love, and the fruits will grow.  When you’re being fed by the vine, the fruit will grow on it’s own.  If you try to force it, you’ll just get discouraged.

What’s it been, 3 months?

Sorry guys.  It’s been rough here.  I look were longing and regret back on those days where I had time, where I had choices.  Those days where boredom had such a hold.  To go back and do what I know to do now.

Yet here I am.  I have what I have to work with.  It is enough.

I’ve become more convinced(at least with me), that I am held back more from my choices than from not knowing or not doing things.  My sins separate me.  My lack of dedication slows me.

First is always sin.  It must be beaten.  We can overcome our failures.  That’s a lie we tell ourselves.  I dare say most of us have those couple sins, the things that keep coming back.  That we know we shouldn’t do, yet we fall back upon them.  They must go.

Next is the bond-servant role.  Willing to say yes.  Always yes.  I run.  I get overwhelmed, I get stressed, the enemy attacks me on all sides, and I go find comfort in something else.  I leave aside my strong commitments to the Lord and just try to survive.

How long have I been in this cycle?  How much longer before I run out of time, or before I finally figure it out.  The days are short, but God is good.  I write this now with the determination to leave my sins behind.  Yes I’ll make mistakes, but I’ll confess and move past them.  I will move forward.

I was never taught holiness growing up.  I was taught about doing the right things, about the commandments, about being good, but not holiness.  I’ve always known that we should be good, do the right thing, because that’s what God wants us to do.  I think I knew in some way that the better I was, the more pleased He would be, but we’ve been brought up with so much grace, it’s hard to really know what to believe.  It’s more like we’re shooting for a cutoff.  Somewhere good enough that we know we’re saved because God’s working in our lives to keep us good, but not so good that we have to give up too much, or try to hard.  Far be it that we inconvenience ourselves for God.

So, let’s just say I start looking into holiness more, we can probably think Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj for that.  And one day I went searching for scriptures and found this one.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1

Interesting.  So having “these promises”, we need to be holy.  That intrigued me more, maybe I found something very valuable here, so I go back and read the section before.

Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among themAnd I will be their God, and they shall be My people“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.  “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you.  “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Now, at this point, I feel like I need to be honest.  When I read that, it just went over my head.  I remember thinking, what do these have to do with holiness, what is this, and why is it worth it.  Not exactly sure why it didn’t sink in much, in fact, I nearly moved on, but decided to add it to my list.  My list of passages to meditate on.  I keep a list.  Things I want to memorize and just go over and over, and somehow I knew this was on.

So I memorized it, meditated on it a little bit.  Seemed good, still not a big revelation, until recently.  When I go back over it and make sure I have it memorized and I really begin to think here.

Firstly, I love the thought of God saying that I will be part of His people.  That He will dwell in us, and walk along side us.  What a promise! And it even gets better.  Not only that, but He goes on to say He will be a Father to us, and we will be sons and daughters to Him.  Think about this.  He will be a father.  Tell me, what child does not know his father.  What kind of child doesn’t live with his father, know his voice, see him often.  I can think of two types, an orphan or a bastard.  Either we were born and were lost, or we were born out of wedlock.  I really don’t have a spiritual analogy here for each, other than to say that I remember Jesus saying He would not leave us as orphans.

So let’s be honest with ourselves here.  It’s about time we actually believe the Bible.  If the word says we will be God’s people, He will dwell in us, walk with us, be our Father; don’t you think we would actually know Him.  We’re back to my age-old issue here with much of christianity right now.  We don’t know God.  We “spiritually” know Him, as in, we have faith in the Word, but we don’t live that.  We don’t talk with Him, see Him, move in His presence.  Instead, we guess, we hope, we blindly wander about trying to do His will.  If we’re honest, the life we live is not what He promised.

So what was the promise in 2 Corinthian 6, that if we come out from their midst and don’t touch what is unclean, then we will be His children.  Sounds to me like God wants us to be holy.  If that wasn’t clear enough, Paul finished it up.  “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”   So the natural result of these promises is to cleanse ourselves and be holy.

What does this mean?  That the basis of our relationship with God is holiness.  That’s it.

If we want to hear his voice, we better practice holiness.  If we want to walk in His courts, holiness.  If you want to see God(blessed are the pure in heart), holiness.

Be holy, for I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:16

If it couldn’t be done, why would Paul tell us to perfect holiness, instead of saying to try and be as holy as we can. It is possible. And it is necessary.  Something that popped into my head while I was praying today is below.  These three attributes being the basis for practicing holiness.  I have no scripture basis for this part, so take it with a grain of salt.

Holiness = HOnesty + humiLIty + brokeNESS

So holiness….

Who’s in?

I’ve thought about this a bit over the last day or two.  I think one of the biggest differences between some of these people like Neville and Sadhu may come down to something as simple as self-discipline.  They were called to ministry, I haven’t been(so far), and there is of course of lot of other stuff, but I believe their discipline is one of the things that sets them apart.

Take Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj for example.  Just listen to some of his stories about his past and you’ll see.  He spoke of when he got the revelation to get up at 3 in the morning everyday, and how he tried that.  He talked about how he’s just like us and that he would turn off his alarm and go back to sleep, but then you realize he did this for about 3 or 4 days, then got it down.  Also with waiting upon the Lord.  He talked about how the first day he could only make it 5 or 10 minutes, and each day he kept trying and trying until he could go for 30 minutes in perfect silence.  That took him a week.  I’ve been trying for months, maybe years, I’m still not there.  I tried getting up early(not the time he did), and I can’t even maintain that for the 7 days he says it takes to create a pattern for your body.

I think when he decides to do something, he does it.  He’s not going to flirt around with it like most of us do with New Year’s resolutions and diets.  We say how determined we are, then we get tired and exhausted with life and just don’t keep it up.  I find this in so many areas of my life.  I can’t help but think of the churches in Revelation 2 and 3.  “To them who overcome”.  We are meant to be overcomers.  Even if that’s as simple as overcoming our addiction to Dr Pepper(yeah, that’s me).  My wife and I joke that we can justify just about anything.  I’ll point out, that our anything is Dr. Pepper, dessert and pizza.  But we can always come up with an excuse to endulge ourselves.  I wonder what God thinks of our excuses to not fast, spend time with Him, praise Him, etc.

I think perhaps if we realized just how important discipline is.  If we realize that we try to do many of these things for the Lord, and what the great rewards are for those who persevere in Godly pursuits.  If I find some magic willpower, I’ll be sure to let you know.  Until then, I will just have to strengthen the purpose of my heart.  I am seeking the God of the universe, if I can’t manage to skip a meal every so often to pray, then I need to get over myself.  (Yeah, fasting often has been rough for me too).

One of my greatest fears revolves around this.  Possibly my biggest fear is to find myself at the end of my life before God, He will show me this table full of all the good things He prepared for me, then ask me when I didn’t use any of them.  Then I will weep.  I will weep that I was too content with my life to take the time to reach Him  I was too content to spend the effort to gain those gifts of His prepared for me.  I will weep that I would try so often to discipline myself to enter in, and give up just as often.  You see, the predominant spirit over our church is the Laodicean spirit.

“Because you say I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. – Revelation 3:17

We have so much that we think is going for us, that we’re content.  We seem ok, why fight?  Why struggle against our flesh and the world so much?  Why surrender it to God?  “Life is good”, we say(I have several of those shirts).  And we miss out.  We must overcome this spirit.  We do so by our choice.  It’s not by any strength we have, or any abilities we have cultivated.  The strength is from the Lord, the abilities our His.  All we have is our choice.  This morning I choose to get up early even though I feel tired, because I want the time with God.  Tomorrow I may choose to fast and spend the time in prayer to Him.

Let me encourage you just as I am newly motivated.  Stand.  When you choose something for the Lord, do it.  Don’t go back and forth, be big enough to do it for the Lord and stick with it.  It’s time to make goals and keep them.  Worst that happens is we fail.  Instead, we do even worse and just give up and not see it through.  Whether it works or not, I’m ready to stick with a choice and find out what happens.  I’m tired of wasting my time.  This world is about to start changing, God is starting to move, and I want to be ready.  When things start happening, I don’t want to be off guard, I want to be ready to help.

 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

This is where it all hit me today. I was listening to Neville speak of real prayer being that we pray the will of God. Most of us just pray our will. To a certain extent it bothers us that we only do what God wants us to do, we may think we know better, but that’s what Jesus did. Jesus saw and heard the father and did that. Most of us barely hear anything. Rather than thinking that the problem is on our side, we made doctrines to explain it. We rely upon out leaders rather than upon our Lord.  I have thought about this often, I have tried to do this, but I just keep moving on.

So here I am, trying to reconcile this.  I pray the things that I think are right, but now I realize that it may not be the case.  I want to pray for healing of this person, but perhaps God handed them over to sickness for their good.  I want to pray my job to go well, but perhaps God has a different job in mind.  So I should be praying for the things he wants, but I don’t know what they are.

Then this verse finally sunk in:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. – Romans 10:17

Faith comes from hearing the word.  I always thought of this as the Bible, but it’s not only the Bible but everything God tells us.  We wonder how to pray with faith, we pray what God wants.  How do we know what He wants, but to listen.  If we want to have faith in what we are doing, we must be in His will.  Only way to know His will is to hear it from Him.  I can’t find faith in hearing things from a  pastor, or a teacher.  If they tell me what to do, I’ll take it as advice, but I won’t be able to find a miracle there.  I won’t find the supernatural there.

How to get this across?  I think it was just the realization that I can do nothing apart from Him.  We like to think we’re able to do something.  That to be completely obedient is to be a robot, but that’s not the case.  Instead anything we try to do on our own is nothing.  It gains us nothing.  Think about that.  How much of your life do you think was your own decisions.  Those times where you guessed at God’s will, were you right half the time, one fourth?  Its a scary thought.  To please Him we must have faith, we get faith by hearing, we hear from His Word.  So to hear is the first step to be pleasing.

Now what.  Many today believe hearing from God is 30% bible, 20% others, 15% feelings, 20% circumstances, and 15% hearing.  Sound about right?

I am convinced there is more.  I’m convinced there is a level of relationship where the Lord tells you what He would like from you.  He has a destiny prepared for us, our way is made, I think He wants to show us.  He is the good shepherd that leads His sheep.  But I guess as long as I’m happier with my life, as long as I keep making decisions based off of comfort and not belief, then I will continue to not hear.

Maybe it’s time to change.

I’m going to start by taking your through a very common and unnaturally hard struggle in my life. I don’t know that you really care to hear it, but I think you’ll find some similarities with things in your own life.

For the life of me, I can’t get up in the morning. Of course part of the problem is I’m actually shooting for a really early time. I have been trying to test out Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj’s teaching about waiting on The Lord, that The Lord will give back strength to you when you sacrifice to Him. So I’ll make it up one day, then sleep in the next. I’ll miss an alarm one day, another I’ll hear it but decide I’m too tired. Another day we fall asleep on the couch, for me to wake up at 2am, to clean up and get back in bed. The next day we do something similar, then my wife comes to bed just as I’m about to get up, so I’m so happy to be holding her I just can’t get myself up on time. Another day she comes back in to bed(we fall asleep on the couch a lot, have you noticed that) just about the time I’m going to get up. I don’t want her to realize exactly what time I am getting up cause she’ll most likely not understand, so I try to lay in bed a little longer and miss it. Almost every time I tell myself I’ll just lay for a little long, it immediately becomes an hour at least. Some days I look at the sequence of the last couple days and can’t imagine that chance could even pull this off. I am by nature a little lazy, so that helps, but I think as I really try to spend more time with The Lord, the enemy works against me.

I say this whole thing to bring up the point of this, the little things. It really comes back to being a bond-servant. There’s a couple things like this, that I know God would like me to spend time with Him and waiting on Him, so I figure out a time to do it, then I don’t make it happen. I don’t arrange my life so that I can insure this time. Similarly, I don’t do good on family prayer and devotional time. Its such a simple thing, but amazing what reasons I can come up with for not getting around to it today.

Obedience. If I can’t obey God in the little things, He will never promote me on to the bigger things. If I don’t listen when he asks to do something, I’ll stop hearing Him. I’m pretty convinced now this is why many Christians don’t hear God. We stopped listening at some point, and He moved on without us.

A lot of us this came up because I ran across a little book from Walter Beuttler talking about the manifest presence of God. I’ll speak more about this and give you a link later once I’ve finished it.  He had an experience where God had told him He would send him around the world, then told him to get a passport. Walter didn’t do it because He didn’t have any money. God told Him three times and each time He responded to God to say why, because he didn’t have money for tickets. Then one day a women came and gave him a ticket to go somewhere that she couldn’t use. It was 2 weeks out and it takes 4 weeks to get a passport. So he missed it. He says he went the next 9 months waiting for God to send him somewhere. Because he didn’t obey he missed an opportunity.

How many of those have I missed. How much have I missed out hearing from God because I’m not disciplined enough to actually just make a daily time in the morning. Because I can’t work out with my family a time for these things to happen. It scares me sometimes.  In that book he had experiences very much like mine.  He said he tried to get up early.  His alarm would go off, then he went back to bed.  He did this a couple days, realized it wasn’t working, then asked the Lord to wake him up.  At the right time, he awoke(first was a bird at his window, then an argument in the house, then a car crash that woke him up), then went back to bed.  This happened three days.  At this point he asked the Lord to wake him up and keep him up.  So the next morning he awoke sick to his stomach and ran to the bathroom, when he got back, guess what time it is.  Maybe I should make more of a point to get up so God doesn’t start doing this to me.  I have actually noticed that when I sincerely come to the Spirit and ask for help to get up to meet with God, that most of the time(maybe all, I’m not sure) I wake up at that time, alarm or not.  If I don’t ask, there are days I sleep through my alarm and never notice.

All this to say.  We are in a war against our flesh.  God must come first.

Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. – Revelation 3:20

I used to think this was some special knock, some special situation.  Instead I have come to learn that, especially at first, it’s the little things.  It’s the morning I wake up early as if I heard a voice or an actual knock.  It’s the random time in the day where I hear my name called, but it wasn’t anyone else.  It was the sudden presence of the Lord that comes upon me.  It’s the song that comes into my head out of nowhere.  Neville Johnson calls these things God knocking at our door.  God is requesting to meet with us or telling us something.  As Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj says, he’s a perfect gentlemen.  If we don’t answer, he will go away and not bother us.  Ask the woman from the Song of Solomon who wouldn’t get out of bed quick enough.  We must learn to set aside our own feelings, our fleshly desires, and to order our lives around Him.  When He comes knocking, we should step aside and wait upon Him.

This is such a simple and “easy” first step.  There’s no special spirituality required.  There’s not intense training or knowledge.  Its the discernment that the Lord might be trying to talk to you, and having enough desire to do something about it.  It’s making a point to get to bed early so you can awake in time for a quiet time in the morning.  It’s overcoming our fleshly desires.  This is the thing anyone can understand and practice, no matter how “spiritual” they are.  And perhaps it’s also the entrance to growing that many never make it past.

We fast and we pray and we don’t hear from God.  I think I have to admit that is part of why I don’t want to do any extended fasts, because I don’t actually expect to hear from Him.  There, I said it.  Haven’t you often felt the same way.  Have you done extended prayer sessions and short fasts and never really get a clear word.  Do you not want to fast sometimes because it seems like a waste of effort when you feel like nothing will come of it.

Today in the car it hit me.  Often we ask His will and never get a response.  Why?  Because we are already out of it.  Because we live in our sins and are unwilling to change.

Again we think we should receive all the things of God even if we aren’t willing to actually follow them.  We want to pick and choose our God.  We want the buffet line of Christianity.  I’ll take some bible study, a little prayer on the side, financial security and hope for my future, but let me leave those trials in that bucket, and giving up my life, it’s just too bitter, I think I’ll pass.

A good example?  Look at Psalm 91.  Famous as a psalm of protection from God.  I’ve even read a book dedicated to this Psalm.  We want to claim the promises of this psalm but look past the first verse.  “He who dwells in the secret place of the most high”.  Can’t say I know for sure what that is, but if I were to guess, it’s either His will or relationship.  Either way, it involves being very close to God.

We must make our hearts right. We must give him control.  If we aren’t listening to Him with what we have what’s the point in Him speaking more to us?  So before you run off to fast looking for God’s will, make sure you first are following the will that has already been revealed.

Is our problem really this simple?

There is a message from Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj about this in his series entitled “A life well pleasing to God”.

I’m more convinced than ever that Holiness is such a huge deal.  We have dirtied our Christianity to make it ok to struggle with sins, to make it ok that we never get past things.  Not realizing that as we disregard the sacrifice of Christ, that we dirty his blood.  He paid a price for us to be free, and we count it less significant that our petty indulgences.  Our salvation is not that of Lordship, but of convenience and safety.

For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:16

God called us to be holy so we could be like Him.  Our relationship is based on what we have in common, and that is Holiness.  That as we set ourselves apart from the world, we become more like Christ.  As we become like Him, He in turn draws near to us.  If we continue in sin, we cannot grow, we cannot hear.  We sentence ourselves to the same place we have always been.

God is available for a personal relationship.  Not a sunday-school-answer relationship, but a true one.  Where we can talk, see each other, get to know each other.  God desires this, but we don’t.  We’ve become so convinced that our pageantry is relationship, that we can’t dig ourselves out.  We think we are rich, but we are poor.  We think we know so much, but we don’t know Him.  He is the bread of life.  He is the giver, the sustainer of life itself, but we’ve convinced ourselves that life is enjoying what we have, not knowing the one who made it.  Don’t you think life should involve Him who created it, not just the drama we had created around Him.

Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations– I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. – Isaiah 1:13-14

We have built our faith upon traditions and interpretations, rather than upon the relationship with the living God himself.  That relationship is bounded somewhere upon holiness.  Be willing to set aside all your sins, all the things that pull you from God and see whether you will grow.  Take a chance, do that which you know to do and continue.

Make every effort then to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perserverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. – 1 Peter 1:5-7

The key to godliness, is through perserverance.  Perserverance comes from self-control in the knowledge we have gained from our faith.  It’s like a ladder, we build upon it.  And keeping Holy and away from sin keeps us in that right relationship.  I for one have those couple sins that I just keep not getting myself free from.  I’m not talking the accidental stuff, but the things I choose when I’m low.  The things I know is right and then justify later.  No wonder He doesn’t move, I haven’t wanted Him to.

But I do now.