Here is a true story of something that happened to me about twenty six years ago. I was about 25 years old, a young Pentecostal man very fired up about the Lord. Man, I was something. Very, very sincere, full of God's Spirit but also full of many other things that I thought were evidences of God's Spirit, if you know what I mean? Well, there was an old "shut in" sister from the church I attended that I was told loved to have visitors. She was 91 years old and her name was Dora Casteel. She had been one of the early members of the church I attended and I had never met her as she had not been in good enough health to physically attend the church for years. So, I was told that she might like a visit.
It was a weekday afternoon and I parked on the street next to her basement apartment. When she answered the door, I saw a little frail woman that did look every bit of ninety years old. She ushered me into her small living room and we small talked about the church and the things of the Lord. After about fifteen minutes she said that we should have a word of prayer together. I agreed and we bowed our heads and I began to lead prayer for this dear old saint. My "leading of prayer" lasted about two seconds and then the power that was coming out of her completely filled the room. What came out of her was the voice of a little old lady but somehow it was filled with such power that I couldn't speak except to quietly, reverently "amen" every word she said. I don't remember exactly what she said but she was invoking a blessing over me........and the Father was listening to every word she said- I was quite aware of that. I was setting across from her chair on the edge of her couch physically but inwardly I was on my belly on the floor in overpowered respect for that One which spoke out of her.
I don't know how long she prayed. I think it was only a minute or so. I got up off the couch and I think my mouth was hanging open as she "dismissed" me from her presence....Uh, she looked a lot different now then she did before we prayed. Before we prayed I saw a frail little old saintly lady. After we prayed I knew I was looking at someone that stood in the very presence of the Most High on a regular basis and I was in awe of His Spirit in her.
Well, as I made my way back up the street to my car I realized I was stoned. What I mean was I was so high in the Holy Spirit I was inebriated, "drunk" on the good wine of the Spirit. It was as strong as anything I had yet experienced in the Lord. Not like the artificial high one gets on drugs/alcohol of this world. This was pure like the hundred and twenty on the day of Pentecost that was accused of being drunk......I was stoned.
I got in the car and drove away but because this was the good wine of the Spirit I was perfectly able to drive. However, I had this grin on my face that almost hurt.....I couldn't get it to go away. When I got down to an intersection in town that I had to stop at a red light at I held a can of pop that I had open there in the car up in front of my face pretending to take a drink for the full sixty seconds of the light because I was concerned the people in the cross walk in front of the car would think I was some crazy man or stoned on the wrong stuff because of that grin on my face......it was actually making my ears hurt a little.
But, the Lord had taught me a number of valuable lessons that day.....
Isn't God good?
After reading and being blessed by Joian's last message I thought to continue in the same vein this morning. It seems Joian and myself along with Reb and Mooch, who's testimonies were highlighted in the last message, came from much the same experiences and times with regard to the workings in the church. We all went through and maybe even suffered the teachings of what many call the "Word of Faith" movement twenty and thirty years ago. If what we were all being taught and experiencing back then wasn't "Word of Faith" it was a close off shoot of it. Joian has described this time often to me as a period when we were more interested in the "tools and truths" of Christ than in Christ Himself in which all Truth resides ........ so subtle, yet so false and interspersed with misguidance.
Today, I believe we are entering the seventh day of creation where "His Sabbath Rest" is being Divinely entreated with regard to our souls. We are personally being progressively formed into His image as is also all of mankind. This is the seventh day from Adam and we see in the bible a thousand years is to the Lord as a day.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
So with that said, this morning I feel led to share two old messages that I copied. One of these is mine and it was written originally to share about and highlight the blessings of "praying in the Spirit." There is also an underlying thought in this old writing and that being "my experiencing the complete collapse of my faith" which was based on the principles being taught in the church at that time. As you read my account below, please know I could not have possibly have had more faith that there was going to be a miraculous healing take place. There was not a single shred of doubt in my mind before I was crushed with the unexpected. The crux of the matter in this story, is that it was the working of "my faith" used as a tool and not His Faith which always gives rest. Lastly, I have learned to tell others before recounting this event, to please not feel sorry for me as this truly turned out to be one of the most glorious and blessed times of my life as God brought His joy and peace when all seemed lost and so very dark.
The second and following message is but an echo of the first and comes from the writings of an author I stumbled upon a couple days ago. I believe in every generation God has had a remnant that learned it isn't about using the "tools and truths" of Christ in our lives, but it is truly about seeing and knowing only Him. There truly is a gift of Divine Knowing that He can wield the "tools and truths" perfectly when we rest in His ability and not ours. It is as Joian said previously in her message it isn't so much about the "whats and whys but about the Who."
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot uttered.
The nurse was gently holding my hand as she guided me across the room to where Gabriel lay in the warming bed. I was blinded by the torrents of tears that fell from my eyes and stained my shirt. As we came to the little enclosed bed she released my hand, and after handing me some tissue to wipe my eyes ,whispered, “go and ahead and hold his hand.”
As I held Gabriel’s small hand, and my tears dried, I was struck with how beautiful his head and face was. He was so much prettier than my first son who had been born some two years earlier and as a matter of fact he seemed to me, to be the most beautiful new born I had ever seen. Diminutive but, oh my, so perfectly formed. I spent a few minutes in prayer and quietly told Gabriel how much I loved him before the nurse said it was time to take him to the nursery where they would make him comfortable.
In all my years I had never felt so let down and confused as I had a few minutes earlier when Gabriel had first appeared from the birth canal. It was obvious God had not answered our prayers as I first gazed upon our baby. He was just so very small and so very quiet.
My wife, Cathy had unexpectedly begun to dilate two weeks earlier and after hearing the pessimistic prognosis and receiving some drugs from the physician she was instructed to go home and to bed with the slim hope that she might possibly carry the baby to full term. Full term meant four more months. We began to pray every day along with our church for a miracle and it seemed our faith grew stronger with each day that passed. Our pleadings with God turned into thanks for a healthy baby we knew was in the making. It was however, not to be.
Now two weeks after our visit with the doctor our hopes and seemingly our prayers had been dashed. After they wheeled Gabriel out to the nursery, I held my wife’s hand and we talked softly and shared our disappointment intermixed with a new flood of tears. After a bit they came to take Cathy to her room in the maternity ward and I went out to find a quiet corner in an adjoining hall. I had never felt such dark oppression since I had come to know Christ. I was bent low in my spirit as doubts of a loving and faithful God filled my soul. It seemed God’s consoling spirit was no where to be found when a brother from the church silently came into view.
It was my good friend Mike, and because he was a physician he was making his rounds at the hospital that evening. As our eyes met tearfully I cried out to him, “why?”. He said nothing but only laid his hand on my shoulder and prayed for a short moment in tongues, by the utterance of the Holy Spirit. Immediately the looming black clouds of depression left my mind and there was miraculous a bubbling new joy and hope that entered me. I immediately knew there was a fresh presence of God with Cathy, Gabriel and myself and his joy would somehow be expressed in this seemingly dire situation.
In the hours and days that followed my wife and I would come to marvel at God’s goodness and grace manifested toward us. An hour after Mike had prayed for me, Cathy and I were allowed to hold Gabriel for a few minutes and express our love to him. The staff made Gabriel comfortable in the remaining few hours he lived.
God continued to bless us the next few days as a mortician friend donated a small Styrofoam casket and another allowed me to wallpaper his bathroom in exchange for a small engraved headstone. The small burial was just amazing as a few close friends and family gathered to give praise for a little life that seemed so brief but yet so full in it’s expression of God’s blessed grace and love.
I will never forget the life changing power and love that was extended to us in the blackest of moments as a dear brother prayed in the tongues. Truly God’s Holy Spirit interceded and was exercised in groanings too deep ever be uttered.
Gabriel was certainly an angel like his namesake and he wonderfully shared God’s message of love with Cathy and myself.
Twenty three years after this miracle I love my Lord even more than ever,
Note: Two years after Gabriel’s birth, Cathy and I would be blessed with the arrival of a little girl, Erin. Cathy had the same problem with this pregnancy and was diagnosed with what is termed an “incompetent cervix.” She again began to abort in her mid trimester of pregnancy but through an amazing miracle her obstetrician caught it in just a nick of time and operated to sew her cervix closed. She was bedridden for five months and with much prayer and God’s enduring grace a healthy eight pound Erin was born. Today she is the apple of my eye.
From "Streams in the Desert"
by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
1870 - 1960
Lettie Cowman was a Wesleyan missionary to Japan who, with her husband Charles E. Cowman, co-founded the Oriental Missionary Society in 1901 for church planting in most of the world outside North America.
Treasures in the Darkness
"Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was" Exod. 20:21
God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God's face.
Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you
"Hast thou a cloud?
Something that is dark and full of dread;
A messenger of tempest overhead?
A something that is darkening the sky;
A something growing darker bye and bye;
A something that thou fear'st will burst at last;
A cloud that doth a deep, long shadow cast,
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
It is Jehovah's triumph car: in this
He rideth to thee, o'er the wide abyss.
It is the robe in which He wraps His form;
For He doth gird Him with the flashing storm.
It is the veil in which He hides the light
Of His fair face, too dazzling for thy sight.
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
A trial that is terrible to thee?
A black temptation threatening to see?
A loss of some dear one long thine own?
A mist, a veiling, bringing the unknown?
A mystery that unsubstantial seems:
A cloud between thee and the sun's bright beams?
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
A sickness--weak old age--distress and death?
These clouds will scatter at thy last faint breath.
Fear not the clouds that hover o'er thy barque,
Making the harbour's entrance dire and dark;
The cloud of death, though misty, chill and cold,
Will yet grow radiant with a fringe of gold.
GOD cometh in that cloud."
As Dr. C. stood on a high peak of the Rocky Mountains watching a storm raging below him, an eagle came up through the clouds, and soared away towards the sun and the water upon him glistened in the sunlight like diamonds. Had it not been for the storm he might have remained in the valley. The sorrows of life cause us to rise towards God.
Note: I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I have personally experienced more and greater miracles with regards to healings, finances and other areas of my life since putting away all the "tools" and learning to just rest in Him. He truly is beyond incredible as are His ways. Jack
Right: Joian & Zion
Curiosity has been in some ways, a besetting sin in my life. I have always wanted to know the why. I suspect at different points in my life I have even had a heart attitude with God, which conveyed, if you don’t explain this to me, I’m not moving from here. So my friend Jack has given me a couple of words I use to enlighten my stubborn heart.
The essence is if you know the “Who”, the why and how will fall into place. Or to paraphrase, Joian, quit trying so hard to figure it out and give it to the Lord………just surrender.
What within us wants to see what’s coming down the road that might hurt or harm us or those we love……… what desperately believes it has the power to………… avoid all these things in the future, if not our arch enemy……….our soul. The soul is where that driving fear comes from. It drives us to find some power to be in control of our lives
I have a 7 year old grandson named Zion. More than any of my other 11 grandchildren, he never stops asking questions. If you explain something to him he accepts your answer and from that, asks another question and another, staying with the subject being discussed until he is satisfied he knows it all. All the while I know I have brought my answers down to a 7 year old level. But he goes happily on; assuming he now knows all there is to know, having asked all the questions.
This past week, two from Tentmaker, wrote some very anointed messages. I printed and took them with me to lunch, rereading them several times. Jack asked both Roy and Dean (TM names REB and MOOCH) if we might use their posts on our blog and they have agreed.
Rarely, have I read words that made clear the road ahead and in some ways explain the road behind. It seemed their words point to “WHO” and "WHY" and then again, maybe it only seems so to our 7 year old mind........LOL..........yet I sensed my heart lift, as I read the things shared by my brothers.
I have known many that have "chosen" a wife/husband they felt would walk with them even in these things and the spouse they have chosen becomes their enemy opposing them from the time the sun comes up until bed time the next night. How strong would your will in Christ be under those circumstances? I have known those that have mapped out a plan even in Christ and had it crushed every step of the way. They have actually been very blessed....
To be driven to the place that no strength remains, even to follow Christ. To come to the place that you would curse God and die because every day is a burden, even in Him. It is a blessing I tell you. To be crushed to such a place that the only thing that keeps you going is God Himself. To realize that person wouldn't even follow God if not for "deep crying unto deep" within them. It doesn't mean such people are driven into nonexistence or become auto trons of some sort. It doesn't mean they give license to unbridled sin.
Some of you say that you have met those that use grace as occasion to the flesh. I have also seen such. But, there is another way that grace is taught and that is what some are saying here. There is a place to be driven to that one realizes every breath they take is because of grace. It is a place where one is constantly bowed in the heart, crushed within but realizing "when I am weak, you are strong." There's a place that one realizes that they are as limited in vision and perspective as Adam and Eve were. Where reliance upon what I know and what I think is the same as them in the garden. He must show me. He must empower me.
All things in me aren't under subjection to Christ yet. It isn't that I don't desire them to be. Neither do I blame Him that they are not. I trust Him. I have no desire to sin and I don't excuse myself for those areas in me that aren't Christ like yet. And, don't get me wrong. I am not saying the Lord has left me in blatant sin. There are just many a small thing in me that I know isn’t right yet. People around me think I am a very upright moral guy. But, I know that isn't enough. I know what is in me. But, I trust Him. It is all for my good. It is all on a time schedule to bring me into Him.
Some of you are concerned if we don't tell others of their "responsibility" their blood would be on our hands. What of those that are crushed and caused to flee under such hard words because they need to hear of His power, His forgiveness, His love. What of those that have had lives filled with responsibilities that haven't been rewarded for them? People are at different levels and differing backgrounds. When you speak such hard words to them and they are crushed, what of their blood?
I am not trying to be hard on any of you. I see much in all of you I respect and I know the Lord does a great work in your lives. I am not your enemy and the things I speak here I speak gently and in love.
John, you say you came to a place that you feel you walked away from God and it was your responsibility to come back? I have been driven to a place time and time again in recent years that I was in places of such despair that I had no power to come back. Yet, way down inside, He sustained me. He brought me back. I am so grateful He would do such a thing! He has driven me beyond my own strength and then showed me it was Him in me that had the power to endure. I am completely reliant on Him.
Please forgive me singling certain things out here. It isn't done in any way outside of His love. I am sure I have misunderstood or been too general with some things that you folks have said as, I think, you have possibly been with me. Typing out our hearts on these message boards leaves much out and much misunderstood. That is why we must be patient with each other. Only by continuing to talk do we truly get to know each other and the depths of what each truly believes.
Thank you all for this discussion.
My past is full of a life obsessed with "taking dominion".
How could it be otherwise? I was born into a family and a nation that had overcome the evil forces of Hitler's insanity. They had been raised with a belief in their own unlimited potential, experienced the fruits of their beliefs through victory in the war and then eagerly set about the getting of their share of the American dream in the years that followed.
I was not in any church at the age of 22 in 1974, and it was in February of that year that I met Jesus. Unlike Paul I went to church and it was there that I learned the doctrine that I had chosen Him... that I had 'made' Jesus Lord. I would embrace many doctrines over the next 25 years that reinforced the message of my family, my education, my culture, my country and then of my Church...The message I heard and fervently believed.
I make things happen for I'm powerful.
Now in most every aspect of my life it seemed as though I was making things happen, that I was powerful. I was experiencing the American dream. The family, career, respected in my community and Church, the kids were in private Christian schools...YET, there was one aspect of my life that I tried over and over and over again to make things happen with no success. Prayer, Bible study, scripture memorization, church attendance, tithing, giving, rebuking, resisting, speaking the word, claiming, receiving, binding, interceding, speaking in tongues, prayer lines...
What I could not make happen, what I could not change...was me.
I lived the first 26 years of my 33 year Christian life with almost the same self-centeredness and fear and selfishness and lusts and judgments and arrogance and pride as I came in with.
My story is that 7 years ago God caused me to surrender. I fought to keep my grip on the things I believed I had made happen, things I held closest to my heart and I lost almost all of them. It was after over a year of fear laden suffering that I somehow stopped needing to fix the collapse of my life. I had never been in such a place. It was a place, of what I call, nothingness. It was in that place, in the nothingness, that God revealed to me that He Is, and that I was not alone. Please forgive my words that fail to adequately describe surrender. Perhaps it is best to say that concerning God, surrender is just going over to the winning side.
I no longer believe that I make things happen. At best I need only to be human and I think it is no coincidence that the inside job of transformation, the conforming of my being into the image of Jesus Christ, is happening.
Much Love In Him.
As I reread these testimonies this morning, I was again moved to tears. These dealings of our Lord are.......all part of his way to draw us to himself...........I realize so many of his ways are beyond our comprehension. Yet, it is not his intention that he never be understood. Now we see through a glass darkly, but coming is "the face to face ".
Today I want to honor the spirit in Steve Irwin AKA "the Crocodile Hunter."
The first time I witnessed Steve's extravagant enthusiasm I thought, "who is this clown." After viewing him a number of times, I realized that Steve's enthusiasm was genuine and I came to where I loved watching him. Steve Irwin's over the top personality often reminded me of another fellow that was instrumental in my coming to know Jesus.
This fellow's name was Leon and he was a kind of nerdy television repair man. The Jesus movement of the early 70's was in full swing and God was saving multitudes of youngsters that had earlier been swept up in the promiscuous life style of the drug laden "Age of Aquarius."
Leon had befriended me at my first ever (and I thought my last) Bible study. I was under terrible conviction by the Holy Spirit and I was more than troubled. At night, wanting to be alone, I would miserably sit on the front porch of the commune I lived in and try to drink or smoke (dope) that conviction away. I would eventually get the job done, but as drinking and smoking always does I would get the munchies. So I would meander down to the all night cafe for a burger where it seemed I would always run into this strange exuberant Christian guy shouting, "Praise the Lord, Jack!!!"
Of course Leon would not allow me to dine alone and although uninvited, he would gleefully join me and tell me one Gospel truth after another while I tried to eat. Like Steve, because words weren't enough Leon also talked with his hands ....... and the thing that drove me nuts especially when I was stoned, was that Leon was missing half his right index finger. For me his stub just added to the absurdity of scene where this nerdy bespectacled lay preacher, acting like like some long lost brother, was sharing Old Testament stories with me; a stoned out, long haired hippie.
For weeks it seemed no matter where I went, I could not escape God nor His servant Leon. I would run into this guy everywhere and of course he had to tell me some new story about his buddy, Jesus. It was as though God had assigned to me my own "hound from heaven" and I could never escape.
Eventually I gave up running and Leon dragged me back to that Bible study where I got saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. This television repairman with his customary white dress shirt adorned with a plastic pocket protector and New Testament would roam the streets of this little college town for more than a half decade, saving multitudes of kids that were much younger and much more hip than himself.
Let me close with my favorite Leon story and that which sold me on his honesty of character. Within a conversation, I once asked Leon if he ever knowingly sinned. He hem-hawed around a bit and with redness of face he finally admitted to me a short coming that beset him on occasion. Leon reluctantly shared that every once in a while he would go down to the lake, rent a boat and row out to the middle away from all humanity. There he would light up a big cigar, sit quietly and smoke the whole thing.
So in tribute to Steve Irwin , I say thanks "Crocodile Hunter" for always reminding me of another hunter that stalked and captured a great many for the Father's Kingdom. Leon like Steve has passed on and I sure will miss the wonderful connection I found with these two hunters.
Sometimes you stumble across a message that is short yet so very profound. With this one there is a certain amount of maturity and depth of walk needed to fully comprehend the very last line. God bless those of you that stand today with Christ in the fiery furnace of His Love ......... for you know what is being conveyed here.
"Have I been so long time with you, and yet you still don't know Me?"
Jesus called the first twelve disciples to be with Him. For three years they were inseparable. They followed Jesus everywhere He went, listened to His teachings, and watched Him do many miracles. He spoke to the crowds in parables, but when He was alone with His disciples, He explained everything to them, encouraging them to believe.
But even after being with Jesus for three years, they still didn't know Who He really was. Jesus showed them how to live, and they didn't comprehend it. So now He would show them how to die.
The Lord held a little child in his arms, when He declared, "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
A year ago I was burdened and so hoping to have a chance to go some where such as Africa to work with aids children. I also sent out feelers to some orphanages in Mexico as another possibility of working with the little ones. It seemed God wanted me to stay put, and allow His Spirit within to groan and pray instead. Today, I still have hope that maybe some time in the future, God might open a way for me to minister and even raise funds to help these neglected and oft forgotten ones. That said, I was both encouraged and touched by this message from Cristine Beadsworth that I read this morning. I pray it does the same for you.
Vision of the Lord calling children
Mar 20, 2007
As I was worshipping, I began to see an unfolding vision and the Holy Spirit had me sing out a prophetic song which I believe I need to share with the wider Body.
Firstly, I saw little children dressed in oriental clothing running and lining up and then as I watched, other children from every nation under the heavens began to join them. I saw a sound released from Heaven like a silvery mist, at a pitch that only children could hear, go forth all over the earth and as it reached children’s ears they stopped what they were doing and began to listen. Then they left what they were busy with and began to follow the sound. It was almost like the story of the Pied Piper, where many children all began to travel in the same direction, following the sound of Heaven. I saw them being led to a great mountain and then the mountain opened up and they went inside. I saw children who were used as child labor just walk away from their owners and every color, tribe and tongue began to come. Over and over, I heard the voice of the Lord of Hosts declare, "Let the little children come to Me. Forbid them not. Forbid them not. Forbid them not. Forbid them not. Release them now and set them free! and it was as if the powers that were holding children captive in the kingdom of darkness had no option but to obey the command of Heaven. Ancient strongholds and gates fell back and through them came a mighty army of children and the Lord said, See My holy army. For out of the mouths of babes I have perfected praise and a little child shall lead my people through the gates of the Kingdom.
I saw how young children were filled with holy boldness and began to preach and flames of fire came out of their mouths and the hearts of the older people who were listening were cut to the quick and they began to repent. I saw people weep because of the holiness and purity of these children as they fearlessly obeyed the command of Heaven. I saw the sound go to young children who did not yet know the voice of the Lord and a voice cried, Let the Samuels arise. And these children did not know at first who was speaking to them but revelation was given them that it was the Lord and immediately they sat up and said, Speak, Lord. Your servant hears and they were called to speak words of rebuke and words of judgment to a compromised Eli leadership in the Church. I saw that every word that came forth from their mouths accomplished the purpose for which it was sent and not one of their words fell to the ground.
Over and over, I heard the God of Glory thunder and command the children of the nations to be released to come and worship Him. The name of every nation was declared and they were commanded to release their children to come to Jesus. I saw Muslim children with their little white caps and Indian children, Aborigine and even Eskimo children all coming. There seemed to be no place on earth where this sound was not heard. Many of those who came were very thin and very poor, having suffered greatly in their short lives and yet they gladly responded to the call of the Spirit wooing them. They did not look back or take anything with them. They just came as they were, trusting and surrendered to this One Who called their names and it seemed that darkness fell back and retreated before these children as they walked. The light of heaven was upon them and words were given them which confounded the wisdom of the learned in religious circles.
This mighty, holy army of children were demonstrating the Kingdom and signs and wonders were following their words. As all this was being accomplished, I sensed Jesus was standing proudly watching them and saying, See My holy army, to the angels watching. They will go. They will go and speak for Us!
MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOUR FEET
MAY THE WIND BE ALWAYS AT YOUR BACK
MAY THE SUN SHINE WARM ON YOUR FACE
AND RAINS FALL SOFTLY ON YOUR FIELDS
AND UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
MAY GOD HOLD YOU IN THE HOLLOW OF HIS HAND!
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY!
Six years ago my seventeen year old daughter and I traveled to New York City for a week of sightseeing. On St Patty's Day we were standing amidst the multitudes across from St Patrick's Cathedral watching the largest parade in the world. A marching band made up of mostly black students came by with a couple little black kids in front carrying an "ERIN GO BRAU" banner. My daughter turned to me and questioned, " Dad, I didn't know there were black Irishmen?"
I replied, "honey, every one's Irish on St Patrick's Day."
PS. That was a wonderful treat to be able to share St Patrick's Day in NYC with my Irish lassie daughter, Erin Colleen. Later that week we would stand atop one of the Twin Towers ............. just a few months prior to 9/11. Standing there that day I marveled as I looked down upon this great city ........... one of the most amazing sights I have ever partaken of.
"In the way of God," he said, "thoughts count for little, love does everything.””
"And it is not necessary," he continued, "to have great things to do. I turn my little omelette in the pan for the love of God; when it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and adore my God, Who gave me the grace to make it, after which I arise, more content than a king. When I cannot do anything else, it is enough for me to have lifted a straw from the earth for the love of God.””
And here are the last pages of a life given to Christ as testimony of one totally given to the will of God.
Death did not frighten Brother Lawrence at all. On his deathbed, he displayed marks of a stability, a resignation, and a joy that were quite extraordinary. His hope became firmer and his love more ardent. If he had loved God deeply during his life, he did not love Him any less at death. But the virtue he esteemed above all others - faith - became particularly vigorous, penetrating him with its grandeur and enlightening him by its radiance.
He was given some final time alone to reflect on the great grace which God had given him during his life. When asked how he spent that time, he replied that he had been doing what he would be doing for all eternity——"Blessing God, praising God, adoring Him, and loving Him with all my heart. That is our whole purpose, brothers, to adore God and to love Him, without worrying about the rest."
The next day, February 12th, 1691, without any agony and without the loss of any of his senses, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord. At eighty years of age, he gave back his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of a person falling asleep. His death was like a gentle slumber which helped him pass from this life into a more blessed one .........
This is a short bio and one that I am sending to a number of friends for their edification. This I believe is what a life lived unto Him is all about. The link is given below.
Glorify His Name!: The Practice of the Presence of God; The Life of Brother Lawrence
By Joseph de Beaufort
Twenty years ago I shook my fist at God and walked away from Him in anger over His ways when my best friend committed suicide and I had recently gone through a divorce. I spent fifteen years deep in sin before God woke me up with a tragedy of my own making(I know better now) four and half years ago. I then spent two years where it seemed I could not touch God and continually wrestled in horror with the idea that I was doomed, having committed the unforgivable sin. Then one day God began to speak to me and before long He was overwhelming me with a new walk in Him that I never could have imagined.In this letter
I try to explain to my old friends where I have been these last couple years and where I think He is taking me. This is probably the closest I have ever come to posting a testimony of my life which is His now.
________ and ______ , I so sincerely want to thank you for your gift this month. God has been so miraculously good to me in so many areas of my life these last two and a half years. It has been the most painful of times but along with the pain has come also a glorious and deep desire to know Christ more fully with each day. I find myself more than ever being stripped of all that I thought important and of necessity in this life. Never could I have imagined how aligned we must become to the Life of Christ even to being consumed more and more by His presence within. The further I walk the more my attentions are loosed from the things of this world. It seems only He can satisfy and only His will is what I can seek anymore. I think Brother Eby said it so eloquently in his last writing and upon first reading this (below) I wept because I so identified with his anointed observation.
All that the world or any creature can give, is as ashes to that hungry soul that is longing for a revelation of his Lord. Nothing else can satisfy, neither the Lord’s people (companions), nor the food of any other field. All other love is as husks, to the love and companionship of Christ, who alone is imperishable reality..............It is absolutely amazing, the miracle of the ages, to see how God is drawing those who are willing to pay the price to go all the way with God in this momentous hour. His hand is upon every one of them, and He is drawing them to Himself in increasingly deeper measures. There is no self-satisfaction with those whom God is drawing, in whom He has created the hunger after reality. Though we are always satisfied with Christ, on whatever level we have experienced Him, it seems that the more we feed upon Him and the more fulfilled we become in our relationship with Him, the hungrier we are for Him! The more we drink of the living waters of His spirit and truth, the more satisfied we become and yet the thirstier we are! The cry of the Psalmist has become our very own, "As the hart pants after the waterbrooks, so pants my soul after Thee, O God!" The closer we draw to God, the more Christ is revealed to us, the more satisfied we are, and yet the more fervently our hearts pant for Him. This is because a portion of our being has been satisfied, and the portion that remains desires Him all the more! (Eby)
_______ and _____, I feel led to share a little with you of how I got to where I find myself today which is a place where it seems in all that I do and in all that I minister is borne from a place of prayer and worship. Some days ministering to the body of Christ is filled with sharing His Love through forum messages, E-mails and phone calls and on other days it might be babysitting for some friends or taking a walk in the snow with my unsaved sister. It isn't any longer about "sharing Jesus" it is more so about "being Jesus." There is only One that is Good and only His Life is worthy of demonstration. I am aware that I am a long way from His fullness in my life but I have learned to rest in the knowledge that I can do nothing to increase His stature within me. Every day in prayer I am brought to a state of "surrender" where my soul has learned to lay in quiet passivity that I might be given by the Spirit what is meat and benefit for my growth in Him. Sometimes these times of prayer which can on occasion stretch for days are sometimes filled with great warfare, or torturous dryness but there are for the most part times of receiving His glorious revelation of the Father's heart. I must carefully state now that I never seek knowledge nor experiences in prayer but only Him in which all the riches of His Kingdom dwell. Occasionally there is dream or a vison during these times but the most delightful and incredible of all His revelations is just a "supernal knowing of Him" ....... an experience beyond description as it supercedes any thing perceived by the five natural senses.
In recounting my prayer life let me say that I was introduced first to the possibility of such a life when a couple of years ago I kept coming across the term "the Enochian Way." I had no clue what this term was describing until one night I was directed to the "Book of Jasher" where I was told there was a short biography of Enoch. Now please allow me also to state that I am not been led today nor have been previously to this time referenced above, to read the "extra books" outside of what is considered the accepted "cannon of the Bible." Anyway I found the story of Enoch in the fourth chapter and immediately upon reading it I knew this was God’s anointed direction and example for my life. In clearer terms it was "Enoch's call to prayer and worship of God from which his ministry would arise that so struck me. This was a Divine knowing that I experienced and little did I know that at that time that this was not a place nor practice that I could willfully enter into. It would be Christ that would methodically draw me into the "Enochian way." Today I can so relate to the increasing time differentials of "Enoch's prayer life" verses his "times of public ministry." Of all that is in this beautiful chapter this is what so grabbed my attention and spoke wonderfully to my heart.
I have copied this chapter with hope you would enjoy the descriptive beauty of this great patriarch's life. (note: the book of Jasher is mentioned twice in the Bible and I have bolded the part that so grabbed me)
And Enoch lived sixty-five years and he begat Methuselah; and Enoch walked with God after having begot Methuselah, and he served the Lord, and despised the evil ways of men.
And the soul of Enoch was wrapped up in the instruction of the Lord, in knowledge and in understanding; and he wisely retired from the sons of men, and secreted himself from them for many days.
And it was at the expiration of many years, whilst he was serving the Lord, and praying before him in his house, that an angel of the Lord called to him from Heaven, and he said, Here am I.
And he said, Rise, go forth from thy house and from the place where thou dost hide thyself, and appear to the sons of men, in order that thou mayest teach them the way in which they should go and the work which they must accomplish to enter in the ways of God.
And Enoch rose up according to the word of the Lord, and went forth from his house, from his place and from the chamber in which he was concealed; and he went to the sons of men and taught them the ways of the Lord, and at that time assembled the sons of men and acquainted them with the instruction of the Lord.
And he ordered it to be proclaimed in all places where the sons of men dwelt, saying, Where is the man who wishes to know the ways of the Lord and good works? let him come to Enoch.
And all the sons of men then assembled to him, for all who desired this thing went to Enoch, and Enoch reigned over the sons of men according to the word of the Lord, and they came and bowed to him and they heard his word.
And the spirit of God was upon Enoch, and he taught all his men the wisdom of God and his ways, and the sons of men served the Lord all the days of Enoch, and they came to hear his wisdom.
And all the kings of the sons of men, both first and last, together with their princes and judges, came to Enoch when they heard of his wisdom, and they bowed down to him, and they also required of Enoch to reign over them, to which he consented.
And they assembled in all, one hundred and thirty kings and princes, and they made Enoch king over them and they were all under his power and command.
And Enoch taught them wisdom, knowledge, and the ways of the Lord; and he made peace amongst them, and peace was throughout the earth during the life of Enoch.
And Enoch reigned over the sons of men two hundred and forty-three years, and he did justice and righteousness with all his people, and he led them in the ways of the Lord.
And these are the generations of Enoch, Methuselah, Elisha, and Elimelech, three sons; and their sisters were Melca and Nahmah, and Methuselah lived eighty-seven years and he begat Lamech.
And it was in the fifty-sixth year of the life of Lamech when Adam died; nine hundred and thirty years old was he at his death, and his two sons, with Enoch and Methuselah his son, buried him with great pomp, as at the burial of kings, in the cave which God had told him.
And in that place all the sons of men made a great mourning and weeping on account of Adam; it has therefore become a custom among the sons of men to this day.
And Adam died because he ate of the tree of knowledge; he and his children after him, as the Lord God had spoken.
And it was in the year of Adam's death which was the two hundred and forty-third year of the reign of Enoch, in that time Enoch resolved to separate himself from the sons of men and to secret himself as at first in order to serve the Lord.
And Enoch did so, but did not entirely secret himself from them, but kept away from the sons of men three days and then went to them for one day.
And during the three days that he was in his chamber, he prayed to, and praised the Lord his God, and the day on which he went and appeared to his subjects he taught them the ways of the Lord, and all they asked him about the Lord he told them.
And he did in this manner for many years, and he afterward concealed himself for six days, and appeared to his people one day in seven; and after that once in a month, and then once in a year, until all the kings, princes and sons of men sought for him, and desired again to see the face of Enoch, and to hear his word; but they could not, as all the sons of men were greatly afraid of Enoch, and they feared to approach him on account of the Godlike awe that was seated upon his countenance; therefore no man could look at him, fearing he might be punished and die.
And all the kings and princes resolved to assemble the sons of men, and to come to Enoch, thinking that they might all speak to him at the time when he should come forth amongst them, and they did so.
And the day came when Enoch went forth and they all assembled and came to him, and Enoch spoke to them the words of the Lord and he taught them wisdom and knowledge, and they bowed down before him and they said, May the king live! May the king live!
And in some time after, when the kings and princes and the sons of men were speaking to Enoch, and Enoch was teaching them the ways of God, behold an angel of the Lord then called unto Enoch from heaven, and wished to bring him up to heaven to make him reign there over the sons of God, as he had reigned over the sons of men upon earth.
When at that time Enoch heard this he went and assembled all the inhabitants of the earth, and taught them wisdom and knowledge and gave them divine instructions, and he said to them, I have been required to ascend into heaven, I therefore do not know the day of my going.
And now therefore I will teach you wisdom and knowledge and will give you instruction before I leave you, how to act upon earth whereby you may live; and he did so.
And he taught them wisdom and knowledge, and gave them instruction, and he reproved them, and he placed before them statutes and judgments to do upon earth, and he made peace amongst them, and he taught them everlasting life, and dwelt with them some time teaching them all these things.
And at that time the sons of men were with Enoch, and Enoch was speaking to them, and they lifted up their eyes and the likeness of a great horse descended from heaven, and the horse paced in the air;
And they told Enoch what they had seen, and Enoch said to them, On my account does this horse descend upon earth; the time is come when I must go from you and I shall no more be seen by you.
And the horse descended at that time and stood before Enoch, and all the sons of men that were with Enoch saw him.
And Enoch then again ordered a voice to be proclaimed, saying, Where is the man who delighteth to know the ways of the Lord his God, let him come this day to Enoch before he is taken from us.
And all the sons of men assembled and came to Enoch that day; and all the kings of the earth with their princes and counsellors remained with him that day; and Enoch then taught the sons of men wisdom and knowledge, and gave them divine instruction; and he bade them serve the Lord and walk in his ways all the days of their lives, and he continued to make peace amongst them.
And it was after this that he rose up and rode upon the horse; and he went forth and all the sons of men went after him, about eight hundred thousand men; and they went with him one day's journey.
And the second day he said to them, Return home to your tents, why will you go? perhaps you may die; and some of them went from him, and those that remained went with him six day's journey; and Enoch said to them every day, Return to your tents, lest you may die; but they were not willing to return, and they went with him.
And on the sixth day some of the men remained and clung to him, and they said to him, We will go with thee to the place where thou goest; as the Lord liveth, death only shall separate us.
And they urged so much to go with him, that he ceased speaking to them; and they went after him and would not return;
And when the kings returned they caused a census to be taken, in order to know the number of remaining men that went with Enoch; and it was upon the seventh day that Enoch ascended into heaven in a whirlwind, with horses and chariots of fire.
And on the eighth day all the kings that had been with Enoch sent to bring back the number of men that were with Enoch, in that place from which he ascended into heaven.
And all those kings went to the place and they found the earth there filled with snow, and upon the snow were large stones of snow, and one said to the other, Come, let us break through the snow and see, perhaps the men that remained with Enoch are dead, and are now under the stones of snow, and they searched but could not find him, for he had ascended into heaven.
After this revelation in Jasher on prayer and worship it seems I was taken by the Holy Spirit, void of the teachings of any man, and I was taught how to pray. After one night of suffering for thirteen hours the most horrendous of all experiences I was totally bewildered as to what had happened. I had never read or heard anything that would describe my experience until in God's great goodness a friend on an internet forum wrote a message describing what is termed "the dark night of the soul"
Upon doing some further research on this subject I was introduced to a number of writers of centuries past that are today known as the "Christian Mystics." Many of these saints came from what is known as the "Quietist movement" where there was, much to the displeasure of the Catholic Church, an awakening to the teaching that "each man could have a personal relationship with God void of human intermediaries." These "mystics" opened up a whole realm of teaching on contemplative and quiet prayer where the soul is bid to be passive as the Spirit ministers. Some of the more well known "Quietist" and "Christian Mystics" of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are San Juan de la Cruz. Madame Guyon. Teresa of Avila, Miguel de Molinos and Francoise Fenelon. I have read the writings of all these aforementioned saints and usually read just a little at a time each morning as a type of meditation as these writings are often so deep that to read more would dilute much of their richness. I don't take their teachings as a pattern to be followed but instead am often amazed to find out, that which the Holy Spirit has taught me is often confirmed by them. God has been so good to me in this way as I desire not to follow any man but only Him.
Anyway rather than ramble on further allow me to share some thoughts from Fenelon (below) of whom I am currently engaged in reading. I found this so beautiful and it does somewhat describe my current direction where I am learning to come to the Father as a child. It seems "simplicity and surrender" have been terms that fill much of my sharings lately. "Becoming as a child to know the depths of Christ" ....... another one of those many paradoxes that fill our walk in Him.
God speaks, too, in wise and enlightened persons, whose life, outwardly correct, seems adorned with many virtues; but such are often too full of themselves and their lights, to listen to God. Everything is turned into reasoning; they substitute the principles of natural wisdom and the plans of human prudence, for what would come infinitely better through the channel of simplicity and docility to the word of God. They seem good, sometimes better than others; they are so, perhaps, up to a certain point, but it is a mixed goodness. They are still in possession of themselves, and desire always to be so, according to the measure of their reason; they love to be in the hands of their own counsel, and to be strong and great in their own eyes.
I thank thee, O my God with Jesus Christ, that Thou hast hid thine ineffable secrets from these great and wise ones, whilst Thou takest pleasure in revealing them to feeble and humble souls! It is with babes alone that Thou art wholly unreserved; the others Thou treatest in their own way; they desire knowledge and great virtues, and Thou givest them dazzling illuminations, and convertest them into heroes. But this is not the better part; there is something more hidden for thy dearest children; they lie with John on thy breast. As for these great ones who are constantly afraid of stooping and becoming lowly, Thou leavest them in all their greatness; they shall never share thy caresses and thy familiarity, for to deserve these, they must become as little children, and play upon thy knees .........
I have often observed that a rude, ignorant sinner, just beginning to be touched by a lively sense of the love of God, is much more disposed to listen to this inward language of the Spirit of Grace, than those enlightened and learned persons who have grown old in their own wisdom. God, whose sole desire is to communicate Himself, cannot, so to speak, find where to set his foot in souls so full of themselves, who have grown fat upon their own wisdom and virtues; but, as says the Scripture, "his secret is with the simple." (Prov. iii. 32) ............
But where are they? I do not find them; God sees them and loves to dwell in them; "My Father and I," says Jesus Christ, "will come unto him and make our abode with him." (John xiv. 23.) Ah! a soul delivered from self, and abandoned to grace, counting itself as nothing, and walking, without thought, at the will of that pure love which is its perfect guide, has an experience which the wise can neither receive nor understand! .......
It often happens that what we offer to God, is not what he most desires to have of us; that we are frequently the most unwilling to give, and the most fearful He will ask. He desires the sacrifice of the Isaac, the well-beloved son; all the rest is as nothing in his eyes, and he permits it to be offered in a painful unprofitable manner, because He has no blessings for a divided soul. He will have everything, and until then there is no rest. Who hath hardened himself against Him and hath prospered? (Job ix. 4.) Would you prosper, and secure the blessing of God upon your labors? Reserve nothing, cut to the quick and burn, spare nothing, and the God of peace will be with you. What consolation, what liberty, what strength, what enlargedness of heart, what increase of grace, will follow when there remains nothing between God and the soul, and when the last sacrifices have been offered up without hesitation!
Suppose we have stumbled, or even fallen, let us rise and run again; all our falls are useful, if they strip us of a disastrous confidence in ourselves, while they do not take away a humble and salutary trust in God. (Fenelon 1651-1715)
________ and _______,I do hope I haven't bored you with my ramblings. I was hoping to just give you a glimpse of where I am today along with where and how God has been taking me in this walk during the last couple of years. Today I look back upon the last three decades and stand in awe on how our lives have been off and on intertwined. I can remember as though it was yesterday when we would sit in your living room and have the most glorious times of discovering our Christ in the weekly Bible Study. Wow! What an amazing walk and to think that it is really only beginning. I will leave you with this short message I shared with some a week or so ago on a forum. It kind of gives synopsis to all that I have shared above with regard to my travels in Him these last two years.
It cost our Christ, the loss of all to possess us and so shall it cost us loss of all, to possess our Christ. Who could count such a cost but those called to such. I tried every way under the sun to get around His calling only to find my efforts full of futility and folly. He hedges me in and then when all seems lost He takes me into a large place where He reveals Himself in His glory. Over and over He does this until I am worn out and ready to surrender another hidden piece of that false gold called this world of which self is more than an inhabitant but king. The tomb always precedes resurrection. We must die to all for all to be resurrected. Give it up and when you least expect, it reappears transformed by His glory. No secret; this life is painful but oh so glorious when He is all you desire. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1Pe 5:10
Be blessed my "dearest of friends" and know I have tears flowing as I fondly describe you as such.
PS. As I wrote my ending salutation a Celtic song came on the radio that always reduces me to tears as it gives me thought of this epic journey we travel as Christ's sojourners. I love when that kind of stuff happens and I know He is near.