anxiety, church, depression, dreams, experience, family, fears, fellowship, freedom, interpretation, John of the Cross, joy, Michael Clark, my journal, prayer, suicide, the dark night of the spirit, visions
Well, seven years ago, as I was still all alone in my walk with Daddy and Jesus, I was plagued by several fears. At that time, it was not that clear to me what the root of these fears was. As I know today, it was the fear of death, not of my own death since I had a wonderful NDE (near death experience) in 1998, but of losing my loved ones (parents, daughter, husband… you get the picture). After having already lost our only son through a miscarriage in 2009, these fears kept coming back much stronger than before, again and again. I have been pretty anxious all my life, however, during the Dark Night of the Spirit (see John of the Cross’ same-titled book) that began in 2010, it got worse and worse, i.e., God began to open the deep recesses of my heart so that I could both see AND feel these fears – extremely!!!
confusion, discerning the spirits, doctrine, entering his rest, eternal life, evangelism, experience, fear, freedom, God's guidance, hope, John MacArthur, mind, Old Self, peace, philosophy, Satan, spirit and life, The Great Commission, thought life, worries
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:63-69 ESV)
Jesus told His disciples that the word HE had spoken were spirit and life. How could he claim such a thing? And why is that true? How come that over the centuries so many educated people falsely assumed that the words written in the four gospels would automatically have the same spirit and life in them as they originally possessed when our Lord voiced them? I know that my questions are challenging here. However, it is so important to see how easily confusion can arise when we read for example about the Great Commission.
death, decisions, discerning the spirits, dying to self, eternal life, exhortation, experience, family, freedom, friends, grace, idolatry, joy, life, loved ones, new creation, old creation, pain, peace, suffering, T.A. Sparks, unbelief, walking by the spirit
God spoke to me a few minutes ago through the following Scriptures. He made them alive particularly by emphasizing the word TODAY. You can read this word five times in these verses. As many might know, five is the number that stands for GRACE. Just to give you a few hints as for the context in which God spoke to me, I can tell you that I had a struggle regarding a decision on how to react (or not) to someone’s misbehavior that put them in more or less big trouble. If you love someone, you might know how difficult it is to not intervene when you see things go downhill. So, my heart was very troubled about this trial as God pointed out to me that NOW it was my choice to turn to Him and to obey Him instead of trying to ‘save’ someone I love. If I obeyed Him, all things would turn out well, He said. Below you can read the Bible verses that reached my heart and comforted me immediately.
discipleship, Dorothy L. Sayers, dying to self, experience, faith, following Jesus, freedom, God, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, T.A. Sparks, the cross, the dark night of the soul, the dark night of the spirit, the Kingdom of God, thought life
As I thought about describing the difference between our life inside and outside of God, I thought I could share my own experiences with you on here. Just for clarification, I do not speak about the experience of Christ IN us, that is, about feeling his love, joy and peace merely from the inside. Rather, I refer to a life IN God and His kingdom as a completely new experience that approaches us from the outside by simultaneously filling us up from the inside, too. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it…? We might have received some foretaste of such a life beforehand when we all of a sudden were hit by an awareness of ‘I-do-not-know-what-it-is… but-it-is-wonderful’ as we were watching the sun rise or going down, when we saw nature unfolding its beauty in springtime or fall, or when we shared some self-forgetfulness of any kind, be that with children who played peacefully in a sort of innocence that could almost be “touched” or when we felt a very deep and unconditional love for someone who had treated us badly.
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)
Albert Barnes, condemnation, curses, discerning the spirits, exhortation, experience, freedom, God's love, joy, judging others, love, obedience, peace, spiritual blessings, spiritual power, T.A. Sparks, true faith
Although this article springs from my own experiences with the fear of God, I did not describe here how it really feels to be struck all of a sudden by this special spirit of Him who rules the universe. If you like to read more about that, though, click here. In this entry you will rather find a definition by T. Austin Sparks’ of the fear of the Lord and some implications of what it means to truly belong to God’s people. Contrasting the evil of fear imposed on us by Satan in order to torment and paralyze us, TAS wrote regarding the fear of God,
But this fear is a holy fear. Let no one think for a moment that this fear of the Lord is death, bondage, stultification and repression. Not at all. Wherever you find this fear of the Lord you find joy, love, peace and liberty. People are not afraid of the Lord. But they are careful not to grieve the Lord. They do not take liberties with the Lord. They do not think of spiritual liberty as spiritual licence. They do not cast off restraint, they do not ride rough-shod over all sacred things, calling it liberty. No, there is holy fear which restrains and in restraining keeps things pure and keeps things clear and makes a straight way for the Lord. The true fear of the Lord is not dread. It is a very blessed and precious thing.
death, discerning the spirits, encouragement, eternal life, experience, Fellowship with God, freedom, God, Jesus Christ, new life, resurrection, spiritual power, T.A. Sparks, the new self, the old self
The following excerpts from T.A. Sparks make clear the difference between the natural man and the spiritual man who allows himself to be guided by God 24/7. We cannot reach this blissful state unless our old self has died completely since only then we are “transferred” or baptized into Christ (see Gal 3:27) and are enabled to enjoy a life of perfect obedience to Him. We may know that it is a process, a long process, until we utterly despair of our old Adam nature and leave it all up to Him. But once we have died to our old self, Christ’s resurrection power begins to flow into a renewed mind and into a completely new heart that was given by God also. And from that time on, REAL LIFE in the kingdom of God begins. What I meant by ‘real life’ is a spiritual life that no longer knows the sting of death. These who “loved not their lives even unto death,“ (Rev 12:11 ESV), or in other words, these believers who hated their old self life, are enabled to enjoy God in all circumstances instead, just as Jesus promised us here,
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Jn 10:10 ESV)
Eventually, here is T.A. Sparks’ exposition on ‘Fellowship with God’ which I found to be very helpful for me. I hope it serves you too, dear reader. As a side note, I became aware of this article by TAS as I read another quote from him in this blog article by Becky Johnson yesterday. Thank you, Becky! 🙂
This is another joint article Michael Clark and I wrote which springs from our own experiences and from what the Lord has been teaching us lately.
Paul signed off his letter to the Philippians saying,
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-9, nrs)
How opposite this is to our human natures! We search the news looking for the latest terrorist attack or natural disaster. We even listen to gossip hoping to get some information that will make us feel superior to someone we know. Someone pointed out that Christians seem to have a vested interest in the misery of this world. We truly need new hearts and minds from God.