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Archive for May, 2015

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Romans 8:35, 36

Good question. What does happen? I’m not talking about causal prayer requests, but about those times when it seems like the whole world has collapsed around you and you are in such desperate need of a move of God that you are wrenching your soul out in prayer … and nothing happens.

God doesn’t answer every prayer — that’s pretty obvious – but isn’t He supposed to pay attention when the stakes are so desperate that it becomes a matter of existence? And when he doesn’t, is it because we don’t have enough faith? Or are we not praying hard enough, or loud enough, or enough times, or with enough people? When God does not answer, why doesn’t He?

The truth is that God sometimes sends you through trouble to test your mettle, try your resolve to stay the course, stretch and grow your character, and see if you will follow the Cross through the sufferings anyway. He sees things from a very different perspective than we do.

As we move into this modern age, we hear all these new “spiritual” movements that pull Christians like dumb sheep into new forms of faith and worship. These movements are not new, but are as old as the Garden of Eden. It is the old story of telling people what they want to hear and tempting them with a “special” wisdom, a new revelation, a secret knowledge that is designed to make you feel like you have entered into some higher level. You are lured by a Pied Piper into a path that is not the path of the lowly Nazarene.

It’s an old lie that has been working ever since Satan sold it to Eve – “Hath God said? Thou shalt not surely die.” That’s what they believed at the foot of Mount Sinai when they worshipped golden calves that were more to their liking than that harsh, old Jehovah God.

And so it is today. These New Age Christians don’t have a reason why God didn’t answer you. They are so enamored with supernatural signs and wonders and with the blessings and prosperity messages of “feel good” ministries that they have left off to fear God. These New Age Christians will tell you that you should just immerse yourself in the anointing and the Spirit will take you there. Their message is based on prosperity and blessings, not sacrifice and the fear of God. It’s all about love and blessings, never about sacrifice and the sufferings of the Body of Christ. It’s all about miracles and signs, never about repentance and holiness. It’s all about the Crown, not the Cross.

There are two paths before us that lead to two very different destinations. The wide and broad path seems so easy and good that it is a wonder that everyone doesn’t avail themselves of all the good blessings you can receive down that path. You’re told that if you choose that path, you can escape the kind of sufferings and tribulations that you are going through now. But there is another path that calls to your sense of righteousness and holiness. It is difficult, rough, and narrow. It requires you to strip away all desire for pride and comfort and riches of this world, and to place your treasure in Eternity. It is a path that leads to the suffering of the Cross.

Not many will choose it, but you have, and now you face difficulties that challenge you to the very quick of your soul and you have to make a choice if you will continue to believe God.

I don’t know why God has not answered your prayers. There may be all kinds of reasons why you are experiencing the valley you are walking through right now. This much I do know, however, that you will not walk down any path that someone has not already gone down before you. There are some big footprints there in the sand in front of you, and one of them is the Lord’s.

I also know that you will not walk through your valley alone. He will be there even when you cannot see or feel Him – He is there.

Every valley has two open ends – the one you walked into and the one you will walk out of. You will come out stronger than when you went in, refined in the fire to be “meet for the Master’s use”, and purified as fine gold.

He does hear you and holds your prayers like incense before Him. He knows. There is a reason for what you are going through. And He has chosen you for that reason.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”  2 Timothy 4:3
“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption.” 2 Peter 2:19

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In wandering through the middle of the Book of Matthew, I am struck with the disdain that Jesus had for the religious Pharisees of the time.   He not only exhibited mere disdain, but brought forth some serious condemnations. He wasn’t alone either, for he quoted heavily from the prophets.

One theme that Jesus struck upon over and over was their inability to see their own lack of Truth. Their eyes were covered with the trappings of their religious spirit, and not only could they not see, but they didn’t want to see. And that was the sin that condemned them.

As Isaiah so eloquently puts it, the Book is sealed unto them because they honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him, and the real, chilling Fear of God is taught by rote. They can read it, but it is just text on paper – there is no anointing of the Spirit of God. They see it with their eyes, but their hearts desire something else.

So close. They hang onto that “form of godliness” so they can feel good about themselves without ever yielding to the humility of the Cross, but how few seek that lowly walk of the Nazarene. It seems so much better to eat off the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.   But in the seeds of that fruit, we find Religion and that invisible sin of pride that blinds our eyes.

Why are they so blind, and yet think they can see?

You can’t look with your eyes — you’ll only see the carnal.   You can’t rely on your own strength – you’ll only go so far. You can’t try to figure it out with your own carnal mind – you’ll never understand the spiritual.

You have to surrender. You have to lean into the Spirit of the Lord instead of ecclesiastical foundations. You have to deny thyself and pick up the cross and follow Him.

Ah, there’s the rub! No self-pride, no accomplishments or achievements, nothing worthy of ourselves. We have to drop everything that has to do with self. God gets all the glory – we get to serve.

That’s the price that separates the religious from the saved, the carnal from the spiritual, and the sheep from the goats. It’s all written in the Book.

It’s just a matter of whether we want to see it.

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