Luke 17:10 “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: for we have done that which is are duty to do.”
It’s been a most interesting week in which I was able to get into the streets five times in four days. South Bend on Tuesday, Three Rivers on Wednesday, Kalamazoo on Thursday, and visits to both South Bend and Elkhart on Friday. Despite the incredible hecticity in our lives, these windows of opportunity opened up; allowing for that which weighs heavily on my heart to be carried out. It almost seemed as if the Lord was altering the passing of time as to facilitate these endeavors to reach as many as possible before the collapse of everything familiar. One would think that a feeling of supernatural joy would be present as the words of life were distributed far and wide, however, such has not been the case. In fact, there’s been an almost overwhelming feeling of unworthiness and despair. Memories of past failures, coupled with constant reminders of present shortcommings have left me in a place where I wonder why the Lord even tolerates such a one as myself. Even in the streets, it sometimes seemed as if I was mishandling one encounter after another.
The answer; or at least part of the answer came in the latter part of the week as I was parking the truck. (I don’t remember where it was; I’ve done a lot of parking this week) It’s actually an answer to a longstanding petition which I had expected to be addressed in another fashion; that being a desire for greater understanding of our great salvation through Jesus. These memories of past failures (which God has placed into the sea of forgetfulness) and current wrestlings serve to emphasize the truth that all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. We are absolutely “not deserving” of eternal life and the passage “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (I Corinthians 1:29) has been consistantly returning to the forefront. We need Jesus every bit as much today as we did the hour in which we first believed. Despite what could be labeled a week of incredible victories in the physical realm, the truth is that I deserve to be forever separated from the presence of the Lord, as do we all.
Lamentations 3:22 “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”
This understanding does two things. First, it reveals how great the Lord Jesus is; that he would step out of eternity, allow himself to be tempted in all points as we are, and then endure the cross to pay for the sins of all with his own innocent blood. We cannot fathom a love of this magnitude; and yet it’s because of this love that we can now live forever. One of the tracts that are routinely used makes the statement “God does the saving; all of it.” We love him because he first loved us and we serve him; not to add to the finished work of calvary (which is impossible) but because we love him. This past week has been physically exhausting, (especially Friday) and yet I thoroughly enjoy engaging in that which has been placed on my heart. The physical demands are as nothing.
Secondly, this understanding will (or SHOULD) prevent us from taking on an attitude of spiritual pride. This is something that I’ve battled in the past and must continually be on the lookout for. Spiritual pride is one of the ugliest forms of self-absorbtion that there is, and over the years, it has secured the downfall of multitudes. It was the primary ingrediant in the rebellion that caused Lucifer and a third of the angels to forfeit their first habitation. Their dwelling was in paradise; in the very presence of the God, and yet they chose a path of rebellion. (what kind of promises did Lucifer make, that convinced a third of the angels to turn on their Creator?) Subsequently; every sorrow and every act of ill-will that the world has ever known can be traced to a single moment:
Luke 10:18 “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightening fall from heaven.”
John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
I think that much of what’s gone on this week has been a placing of things into perspective. A series of unpleasant memories and revelations which show just how ungodly the old man is. In this flesh dwells no good thing and as such, the old song “I Need Thee every Hour” speaks the truth. The purpose has not been to cause despair over sins forgotten and shortcommings present, but rather so show how great Jesus is. Such understanding also serves to get “self” out of the way as we become more diligent in seeking the Lord in all matters. It can be a disasterous thing when we operate from our own understanding as we see a tiny portion of a much larger picture. We must be atuned to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit and be willing to adjust accordingly.
Well, I need to be going for now. One thing that hasn’t really been adressed here is the issue of lateness. The push to get into the streets has been with a sense of urgency. Time is simply running out on this generation. We don’t have decades of continuance; wherein we can be about the Fathers business when it fits our schedule. The end of the age is here and the return of Jesus is at hand. May we all strive to die daily to self and be about those issues which have eternal significance.
Blessings always in Jesus name.
Hebrews 7:24-26 “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.”
Acts 20:22-23 “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
On this otherwise ordinary day in the city of Miletus, the saints who had travelled from the Ephesus would see the apostle Paul for the final time in this theater of atoms. Paul was pressing toward Jerusalem without knowing how events would play out. He only knew that divers forms of adversity would be his constant companions. Yet he was so fixated upon the Lord Jesus, and the age to come that his only desire was to finish the course. His heart had long ago bid farewell to the trophies of this present world. He now lived exclusively as an ambassador for Jesus; striving to deliver the words of life to as many as possible, before his allotment of days came to a close. The circumstances that lie ahead; be they false accusations, torture, imprisonment, want for basic sustinence, or what have you, were no longer participants in the decision making process. Not even the heartfelt warnings of the brethren were enough to persuade him to reconsider this journey to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:12:13 “And when they heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. But Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
The element of uncertainty concerning the particulars of what a day may hold is ever present in life; not only for one who is outside the household of faith, but also for one who is born of the Spirit and walks close to the Lord Jesus. For those who are in Christ, we know that at the end of our faith is the salvation of our souls and that to be absent from this earthly tabernacle is to be forever in his presence. The journey from here to the moment of departure, however, can be filled with one surprise after another. Upheaval in the physical realm can enter our lives without warning and cause us to learn whether or not we truly believe the words found in Romans 8:28. In a moment, the frailty of everything observable becomes manifest and we discover where our confidence is residing. Does our heart truly abide in the realm of the everlasting; longing for the moment when we are forever with the Lord? Or are we going through a religious exercise while trusting in the chariots of Egypt to sustain and protect us? This is a quetion that can only be answered when the carpet has been seemingly pulled out from under us and everything familiar has been compromised.
We tend to not like surprises; especially whern they threaten our comfort zone. And even though we know that the worlds were framed by the word of God we would usually prefer to have our personal supply chain in plain sight, with a sensation that somehow our hands are at the controls. We tend to gravitate toward an almost monotonous way of life, where every day closely resembles the previous and everything goes according to the script that we have assembled. We work it all out on paper and then ask the Creator of all that is, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, to bless it. Rarely do we consider that just as Gods ways are past finding out, it’s quite possible that he has a plan for us that is equally past finding out at this moment. His plan may be in stark contrast to the itinerary that we are striving to carry out. Kind of like Joseph, who faced more adversity than most of us can fathom. I wonder if it wasn’t until his brethren were before him, seeking corn, that suddenly all of the pieces of his life came together. (one can almost see the proverbial light bulb appearing over his head at the moment of understanding)
Genesis 45:5 “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”
Josephs testimony continues to be a most incredible account. Many of us would have not handled that series of events very well.
A future laden with uncertainty can be a frightening thing if one loves this world and is fully given to the empty promises of flesh. But for one who is in christ and has tasted of the world to come, it’s an adventure. (I John 4:18 just came to mind as I began typing out this paragraph) I don’t know where we will be in a year, but the Lord will be there, wherever it is, and will be working out his will. If we’re no longer at this address and are living in an apartment somewhere, there will be other residents there who need Jesus. (That would be a blessing because few people come by our house. There’s nothing out here but fields, woods, and millions of deer.) In addition to this, the very fact that a song remains through the course of a situation that would drive many into the depths of despair is a testimony that our God is real and that the true riches are not things which are observable.
Earlier this morning, I found myself revisiting the journey; specifically the moment when I was first born of the Spirit. My understanding was very limited and I had no idea as to how the journey would unfold. It’s been one of unexpected twists, incredible victories, stumblings wherein divine appointments were neglected, unexpected revelations that reveal a God who is awesome beyond description, stagnation from which it took years to recover, mountaintop encounters with the Creator of all that is, and seasons so dark that I became well acquainted with my wits end. There’s never been a dull moment, and yet each season has done its intended work. Even the backslidden years did a necessary work. First, it was a learning experience on what happens when we don’t keep our heart with all diligence. Secondly, it thwarted what had turned into a drift toward mechanical status-quo chrisitanity. And at the proper time, the Lord “rebooted me.” (I know that it sounds corny but this is the only way to describe it)
With so much already behind, one can only imagine how the remainder of the journey will unfold; especially as we are approaching the time of the end. I truly believe that we will be here during the time of tribulation, but I know that Jesus said “and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” There’s nothing in this world; neither threateneings or circumstances, that should cause us to be fearful. A couple of weeks ago, our pastor stated words to the effect of “we are often surprised by events. But God is never surprised. He saw it coming from afar off and sees the end of the matter.” In a recent comment offered on a previous post, Five Peas stated it like this:
As I was driving home, however, the Holy Spirit showed me that the Lord has a plan and I can trust him…rather, his way is better than the future way I had etched in my mind. My prayer became “whether through prosperity or poverty, I welcome your way.”
Gods plan is far more incredible than anything that we could conjour up with our limited understanding. As for now, this post has to conclude as a lot of stuff must be done before heading in to work. (I’m already way behind. lol) May we all be ready to let go of the picturesque image that we envision for the remainder of our days under the sun and embrace whatever the Lord is doing. Thanks to all who continue to stop by; even though I’m not as active here as in times past. Part of this is due to the fact that we’re in a continuous whirlwind of goings on that must be tended to. The other is that I’m minded to get into the streets at every opportunity. Time is truly running out. Last night, as I was leaving the plant, words to this effect came to mind: “You now have one less day to be about the Fathers business.” It really hit home because, over the course of the evening, I had allowed my “foolish jesting chromosome” to become overly active. May we all be sober minded and place our complete confidence in the Lord Jesus.
I just came across the following link a moment ago. PLEASE READ THIS!!!
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
Psalm 25:4-5 “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”
Trying to place the thoughts of the past several days into words is a formidable task to be sure. There are topics that would be much easier to address and yet these thoughts are calling out for reflection. Over the past number of years, I’ve seen the passing on of many; both from my family and from Kimberlys. All of them are sorrowful departures which bring forth reflections mingled with tears. Many memories are revisited of sunny days and joyful moments in the company of the one who is now departed, while some may remind us of past strivings which, in the grand scheme of things, were completely pointless. Each memory makes manifest the words from Ecclesiastes “for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” In such times of sorrow, priorities are placed in their proper sequence; coupled with the admonition to consider how we are utilizing our allotment of days and to make any necessary adjustments.
Of all the departures to take place over the past several years, the passing of my sister Sandy has been exceptionally hard. Yet in the past several days, I’ve discovered something that was unexpected; even though it’s a topic which is discussed often in this venue. This discovery is manifest in two ways. One is an enhanced desire to let go of every residual weight, each irrelevant endeavor, and all campaigns which have no eternal significance. The empty debatings of this world and its factions have now become exceedingly empty and cold. The second has been an enhanced desire to draw closer to, and abide continually in, the prsence of the Lord Jesus. There’s been a closeness to the Lord on a level that wasn’t there two weeks ago. In his presence is a sweetness of such magnitude that everything else seems harsh and abrasive; even the causal communications which are neither good or bad. A lot of things can be imitated; even to the point of deceiving, the very elect. (if it were possible) But the indescribable sweetness of the Holy Spirit can, in no wise, be duplicated by another. Whether it be an agent of deception, operating from a platform of flesh, or be it an entity disguised as an angel of light; none can simulate the sweetness of the Lord who created all that is.
John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
As we begin to abide in this place, it will become impossible to blend in with our surroundings. Not only will folks “think it strange that ye run not with them to the excess of riot” they will be perplexed by our inability to become rattled or overcharged by the affairs of this life. Our thoughts and conversation will always gravitate toward heavenly places as this is where our heart abides continually. Subsequently, our primary mission in this life becomes the furtherance of the kingdom of God; not by physical acquisition (as some equate gain to godliness) but in the adding of names to the book of life. Of ministering to the needs of those around us and continually striving to be a faithful ambassador for the Lord Jesus. This world, its trophies, and its promotions will no longer be able to entice us to engage in self-centered endeavors; even those to which folks can effectively attach a “christian” name tag to; thereby obscuring the true motivation behind the campaign. (A future post is in the works that will explore this in greater detail) We find ourselves longing, all the more, to depart and be with the Lord as the temporal nature of this place becomes all the more apparent.
Acts 28:30-31 “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him. Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”
This would be a dream come true in my opinion. To dwell in a rented space somewhere in a crowded metropolis, and spend each day sharing the words of eternal life with those in the ambience. Taking no thought for self, but focusing exclusively upon our Fathers business; ministering to both the physical needs and the spiritual needs of the priceless eternal ones for whom Christ died. It goes without saying that few of us actually abide in such a continuous state as the hecticity of twenty-first century living consume large segments of our time and energy. We claim to be steadfastly looking unto Jesus, but most of us unwittingly serve two masters. We often proclaim the words of Jesus found in Matthew 6:25. “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than rainment?” The key word in that verse is “Therefore.” It tells us what this statement is in relation to; that being the words found in verse 24, which read:
Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
When we are apprehensive about our personal sustinence, we become servants to this worlds system and allow the enemy a point of leverage from which he can tempt us. But when we forsake all that is in this world, we are truly free indeed. Kind of like the words in the old song from the late 1960s “Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose.” There is a profound element to these words. The cares and wares of this world will paralyze us when they become our gods. But to trust completely in the Lord Jesus and not panicking when the cupboard is bare is a place of liberty beyond description. In the days ahead, anything less than a complete abandoning of our lives in this world will lay the groundwork for irreversable compromise.
The title comes from Psalm 63, which contains the words of one who “follows hard” after the Lord and thinks upon him continually. It’s a place where we all must strive to arrive at. When we reach such a place, we’ll never again be able to settle for any of the worlds goods or any of the christian looking, but lifeless traditions, that people unwittingly employ to measure ones spirituality. Our desire will be completely unto the Lord Jesus and our lives will continually bear fruit that gives witness to this. I must be going for now as a ton of things must be attended to in the next few hours. (oh how that seems to contradict most of what was just written) Lord willing, I’ll try to make the rounds this week to the many sites that I strive to keep up with. Until then, blessings always in Jesus name.
Job 23:12 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
“For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saist thou truly.
Well this was a surprise. I was just printing up copies of the Last Trumpet Newsletter for the increasing number of people who ask for it (which now includes people at our church) when I opened up the scriptures and just happened to fall on the one mentioned above. It touches on a subject that I would normaly not gravitate toward, but there are no coincidences and so here it goes. Two things are immediatly noticable in this passage. One is the depth of despair which this lady had fallen into. To have had five husbands suggests that every attempt to find happiness had failed; even to the point that she had abandoned all hope of entering into a storybook “and they lived happily ever after.” The other is the Lord Jesus who can deliver a person; regardless of how far they have fallen or how much has gone wrong in their life.
We are in an age where a solid fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Each one is a legacy of things having not gone as had been hoped. Whatever the reason, the vow of “until death do us part” is broken and two souls left with the daunting task of trying to get on with their lives. I’ve never been through a divorce, however, I can’t imagine anyone going through such an ordeal without being forever changed in one way or another. And yet; regardless of how extensive the damage, regardless of how deep the heartache and bitterness, Jesus can completely deliver a person from the bondage of such. He bore our sins, our infirmaties, and our sorrows when he shed his blood on the old rugged cross. He can take a person from the depths of despair; regardless of the circumstances, and make them a new creature. It’s good to know that, in an age where heartache and disappointment have reached epidemic proportions, there’s still room at the cross for “whosoever will.”
While I’m here, the Last trumpet Newsletter is posted. Please keep David Meyer in prayer during this time of recovery. I’ve been asking that the Lord would grant him revelation, wisdom, and some much needed rest, which I think is the primary reason for this situation. He not only does extensive research in preparing the monthly newsletter, he’s also a full time pastor and must tend to the needs of the flock in Beaver Dam. A lot of responsibility for one person. Here’s the link to the May issue, which is entitled:
This issue provides insight to the sinister goings on at high levels of our nation and the world as we approach the time of the end. The next link addresses the various catagories of blissfull unawareness entitled:
Ecclesiastes 7:1-3 “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of ones death than the day of ones birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter. for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.”
A few weeks ago, while digging through the basement for something, (I can no longer remember what we were looking for) I came across a large batch of pictures taken at our wedding. They included pictures of the ceremony, posings with various family members and friends, and random shots of the ensuing reception. Nothing out of the ordinary, until I began to notice someting. I began to take note of how many people appearing in those pictures are no longer in the land of the living. It’s absolutely mind-blowing to consider how many of these people now have their dwelling in eternity. Their allotment of days expired and their fate sealed sometime between March 28, 1992 and the present. Many of them I never saw again following the wedding; such as my wifes aunt Ruth, who made our wedding cake. For others, the meetings over the years were very few and far between. Either way, it was an eye-opening moment as increased clarity was granted as to that which is truly important and that which loses all influence upon the moment of ones departure.
The above passage has intrigued me for a long time. To some it would almost sound like a contradictory statement. I mean, who enjoys going to a funeral? Everyone loves a wedding, but a funeral is a place of sorrow and loss. Memories of a person who was once an intregal piece of our life but is now gone on to their eternal reward. This sorrow is compounded if their eternal destiny is questionable. Then there’s the awkwardness of never knowing what to say to others. Seriously; some of the strangest sounding and most awkward statements that I’ve ever heard (including statements made by me) have been uttered at times when a loved one has departed. So why is the day of ones departure considered better than the day of ones arrival? I think it can be best explained in the comparison between a wedding and a funeral.
Every wedding that I’ve ever been to was a celebration. It is in accordance with scripture as folks leave their parents and cleave to each other and thoughts of the future are in the forefront. Ponderings of what lies ahead for the two who have become one, thoughts of a lifetime filled with accomplishments, anticipations of what their children will be like, and what have you. Without a doubt, these are positive things which all of us consider whenever the institution of mariage is being entered in to. And yet they all have one thing in common; that being a temporary nature. A marriage is only a marriage for as long as both parites are living. Death can come upon a person in an instant, but this is never thought about during such moments; except for when the words “until death do us part” are uttered. Even then, it’s likely that little thought is being given to the issue. (I confess that, during our wedding, death was not at all on my mind.) The thoughts of all are focused primarily upon the immediate future of the new Mr. and Mrs.
But a funeral bring reality front and center “for that is the end of all men.” Here is remembered, a person who was very much alive, but is now departed. For a short season they blazed a trail through the theater of atoms. They brought joy to their parents as they drew their first breath. They took their first steps, uttered their first words, they grew up, they fell in love, they laughed, they felt sorrow, they accumulated stuff, they forged out a legacy amongst their contemporaries. But now, all of that is irrelevant insofar as the now departed individual is concerned. Their demise is a harbinger to all who remain that “someday everyone takes this journey.” Regardless of accomplishments, notoriety, acquisitions, or the lack thereof, every life has a final moment. When that final moment approaches, the only thing that matters is whether or not that persons name appears in the book of life. As such, the words of Jesus in the following passage can never be over-emphasized:
Matthew 16:25-26 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
This week finds our family in another season of sorrowful reflection. On the morning of May 2, 2010, my sister passed into eternity following a lengthy illness that initially wasn’t expected to end like this. For the past month, she was at a hospice facility in Kalamazoo, but was never alert enough to hold a conversation. To make this even stranger, her departure was at 11:00 am, while we were assembled with the church. It was during one of the most incredible worship services that I’ve ever experienced at this church, that, unbeknownst to us, my sister was slipping away. To add even more intrigue, our pastors message was about contentment; even when things go in an unexpected and even undesired direction. “Things can surprise us, but nothing surprises God. He saw it coming from afar off.”
As if all of this isn’t overwhelming enough, the serious part is that I don’t have unwavering confidence that my sister was saved. In fact, I’m reminded of the damage that I did as a new Christian; when my zeal far outweighed my wisdom. I unwittingly did much damage in those years as my sister maintained an “everyone has their own opinion” theology. Between my lack of wisdom and my other sister who is a Mormon necromancer, (she both sees, and talks to, dead people) the atmosphere was inundated with confusion. This confusion was undoubtedly amplified during my season of rebellion; when, for a few years, the things of this world became a priority. In subsequent years; even after the Lord restored me in the winter of 2004, it became impossible to talk to her in-depth about spiritual matters beyond the planting of seeds as there was a wall of resistance.
This situation is bringing with it; not only the truth that everyone leaves this world, it’s also a reminder to me of how dangerous it is to not walk in the Spirit continually. One thing that has been highlighted is the fact that we’re every bit as dependant upon the Lord Jesus today as we were in the hour that we first believed. Over the past month I’ve prayed much that the Lord would raise my sister from this bed. Last Thursday, she semed to be turning the corner as she had eaten for the first time in almost a week. I was careful to thank the Lord for sustaining her as he truly holds in his hand the breath of us all. Nobody leaves until he permits it. Sadly, in talking to others, I appear to be the only one who was looking for her to be revived. Others had seemingly accepted the doctors report as being the final authority. I’m sorrowful beyond words, but not shaken. Gods wisdom is far beyond ours and he alone determines the outcome of such matters.
I need to be closing, but one more observation is needful. It’s astonishiong at how much time we devote to matters that have no eternal significance. I once heard the statement, that “Nobody lays on their deathbed wishing that they had spent more time at the office.” In the closing moments, issues balance out and that which is irrelevant fades from view. This entire situation has been causing me to evaluate some priorities and strive, all the more, to let go of the sideshow issues which cause folks to lose sight of the eternal perspective.