After many years full of struggles, fears, doubts, pain, and suffering, I discovered, once again, that God can always be trusted. He keeps His promises even if we can hardly believe them during our darkest times. There were several times when we as a family thought that we would lose our daughter as her life was at stake. But God eventually saved her and pulled her close to His heart. I have been humbled by His wondrous ways of dealing with us little human beings again and I am thankful beyond measure!
Yesterday in the evening I really felt I wanted to write a new poem after almost four years of inspirational inactivity as to this very issue. Yet I was sooo tired (zzzzzzzzzzzz) and thus I took a ‘prayer nap’ instead. However, I felt a particular word reverberating in my mind. It was, “YOU…..YOU…..YOU…..” – “That would be a very short poem, my Lord, indeed!” I thought. 😉
It was only a few hours later as our daughter sent me a screenshot via WhatsApp. She told me that she felt ‘nudged’ to write a poem. Her first word was…. of course…. YOU. 🙂 Although the poem was written in German, I decided to translate it quickly, not yet sure whether to publish it or not. Today in the afternoon I suddenly felt inspired to keep writing a poem, surrounding hers, myself. If you are interested, here you are.
Instead of writing a long blog post of my own, I offer you two biblical excerpts from Elihu’s speeches to Job after Job’s ignorant friends had tried to share their human wisdom with him who would suffer a lot. Sometimes we cannot understand why God lets us suffer without telling us WHY and HOW LONG it might take. But there must be a reason why suffering is necessary in our lives, even if we cannot see the reason right now. Here is wisdom that Elihu, inspired by the Holy Spirit, suggested to Job on (1) ‘How does God make us hear Him?’ and on (2) ‘Why does He not answer us as we expect Him to do?’
As my closer walk with God through Jesus in 1995 had just begun, one of the first books He nudged me to read was the Book of Job, again and again. It was not ‘fun’ to read but important for me to know beforehand about these years of suffering and pain that were still ahead of me back then. I decided to copy and paste a longer Scripture that deals with the WHY and HOW God speaks to ALL people in this world through dreams, visions, and more often than not through adverse circumstances. To Job who would think he was a righteous man Elihu said,
feelings, God our Father, God's love, happiness, Jesus Christ, joy, prayer, salvation, Satan, self-forgetfulness, self-will, selflessness, suffering, T.A. Sparks, The Holy Spirit, the new self, the old self, trials, true faith
I just bumped into a blog where someone was praised to the skies for being able to do gymnastics at an advanced age. There is nothing wrong about such a laudation in itself since this and similar things are that which our fallen world can exclusively look at. Whatever is visible, audible, tangible, countable, measurable, yes, everything that is perceptible by our senses will be praised if it promises pleasure to people. As I skimmed through the comments section of this blog post, the longest response there caught my eye. The commenter, of course, was still older than the aforementioned person who would receive rave reviews, and he, outrageously, won this and that competition at an even higher age. Dear reader, it was almost impossible for me to finish reading their self-praise by which I felt greatly repelled. What about those people who cannot behave as they would want? What about those who are sick and cannot move their bodies any longer as they would love to? I doubt you will find any writing on the internet where these people are praised… BUT…
adultery, being born again, darkness, discerning the spirits, encouragement, exhortation, experience, eyes of the heart, following Jesus, George Michael, God's love, homosexuality, Jesus Christ, light, prayer, salvation, Satan, sin
It is not for me easy to define intimacy, even more difficult regarding my relationship with God. Maybe, an example might help here. Yesterday morning as I was thinking about someone who died four days ago, I closed my eyes and looked at Jesus in my spirit. I recall that I did not say anything, neither loudly nor silently in my mind, but my question was heard by Him, nonetheless. This person who died was famous and some might know that I write about British pop star George Michael who died at the age of 53. I did not know that much about him, I only remember some of his songs that touched me in a certain way, especially ‘Last Christmas’ where he sang,
“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special…”
Just lately I felt concerned about those who are grieved because they do not know whether their loved ones will be saved or not. Even looking closely at other people, we sometimes perceive no outward sign of faith in Jesus Christ. BUT that does not mean that they won’t be saved!
Christians without Christ’s Spirit are spiritually dead since they cannot grow. That is an outrageous thing to assert, one might say, but it has been my very observation that people who believe in something that can be seen, touched, and talked about like the Bible, dogmatics, and doctrines prefer to keep talking and thinking about God than to really approach Him as their counsellor, their best friend, or even as the LORD of their life. In fact, you will scarcely see these believers to ever have a real soul-stirring experience with God. However, if you ask them, they can tell you almost everything about Him. But alas, God rarely speaks through these Christians since they are not indwelt by His Spirit. That is why I called them dead in the beginning. If you meet these persons more often over time, you will find out that their relationship with God (in case they claim to have one) has never changed. They do not experience a loving God nor do they struggle regarding their faith – ever. They have no doubts (or at least they do not admit it), yet they can take a stand as to most questions regarding divine matters and it is, admittedly, pretty boring to listen to them. This reminds me somehow of the people’s reaction to the Sermon on the Mount as they realized that Jesus was so different from those Pharisees and scribes who had no spiritual life inside themselves and therefore no divine authority, either (cf. Mt 7:28). By the way, Martin Luther translated the verse I just mentioned not like most translators did with “the crowds were amazed/astonished” at Jesus’ teaching. Instead he said that they were “shocked/frightened.” That makes it even more clear that real divine authority causes reactions in those who are confronted with it. Whether positive or negative, a reaction to God’s speaking can always be observed and we can be sure that nobody runs danger to ever fall asleep when he is all of a sudden directly addressed by God.
continued prayer, dying to self, entering his rest, experience, faith, Flesh vs. Spirit, God's love, hope, Jesus Christ, light, near death experience, resurrection, spiritual power, spiritual transformation, T.A. Sparks, the new self, the old self, unconditional love
Many of you might have heard or read about some people’s near-death experiences (NDEs) which they described as having been pulled through a dark tunnel toward the light. Having had a NDE myself (see My Testimony to be headlined ‘1995 – 2008: Years of the Wilderness’), I would say today that the ‘tunnel’ stands for our old self nature that is closely related to our body and soul. When people have experienced a NDE and come back into their ‘old’ life, something inside them has changed completely. Although their old nature is still there, a certain amount of God’s light has been poured into their own spirit so that their purpose in life could be changed. From then on they ‘know’ that love and gaining (spiritual) knowledge about God is most important. All other goals in life they once had have become less and less interesting. Basically, they long to be and live eternally in this light that they have come to know for a short time only. They might also realize that it is all about spiritual growth now, about being fully transformed into the image of God’s Son (cf. Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18). Just recently I read a definition about this kind of spiritual growth. If we ask, “What does it mean to grow spiritually?” T.A. Sparks offers us an answer which is truly surprising. He said,
“Spiritual growth means that the spiritual strain goes out of our eyes, and our faces, and out of our voices, and that awful intensity, tenseness, goes. It is not a mark of spiritual growth at all. So let us get rid of false ideas about what it means to be a grown Christian. It means to be entering into His rest; we all need that.”
Actually, I was searching for something else on the net as I suddenly found an exposition on the glory of God by Alexander MacLaren. I could not stop reading although I can hardly relate to all these wonderful blessings he wrote about right now. Even while deeply suffering, I am still sitting here, knowing that which I read there is the truth. Dear brothers and sisters, have you ever heard someone preach or teach on the possibility of being glorified even during this life on earth? I am speaking spiritually here, of course! However, as far as I can see it, you often only find Christian writings about justification and/or sanctification. And you also hear that sanctification will not be finished unless we are in heaven after our physical death. Yet is that biblical truth too? Although the Bible speaks about the necessity to die once (Heb 9:27), we also have Jesus’ mysterious promise he confided to Martha whose brother Lazarus had died before,
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn 11:25-26 ESV)
I am sure there are more versions of that kind of gospel today and I presume there will pop up more and more of them in these last confusing days where Satan appears as an angel of light. However, I want to merely focus on two different manifestations of the crossless gospel I have met particularly on the internet since I began to write online comments in English on December 1, 2011. I would like to refer to these two confusing sub-categories as Spiritless Salvation of the Sinner and Spiritual Self-Salvation.